One Woman Breastfeeding Band

This is a twins breastfeeding pillow.

One Man band

I think it needs a few adjustments.

 

Maybe tap shows, too.

Maybe tap shoes, too.

If I stood on a street corner with a tin can while feeding two babies at once and playing all these instruments, I could save up for the babies’ college funds in no time!

What’s sad is that I have been through so many indignities in this first trimester that the above scenario doesn’t even seem that embarrassing.

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McConnelling Favorites

Jon Stewart is basically this generation’s older, more Jewish Shirley Temple — he keeps America’s spirits high at times of confusion, frustration, and stupid news anchors.  He just recently gifted the internet, and thus the world, with something very special.  McConnelling.  Some old senator made a wordless campaign video with some crappy music over it and Stewart invited everyone to play the game of redubbing the video with various tunes.

It will time suck your morning, but it will be glorious.

Here are a few of my favorites – I can only embed YouTube videos, apparently, so you’ll have to go to the links for most of these.  Feel free to add your own!

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=O5z_l6NE3qs&audio_start=0

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=rjtrUuyAFjA&audio_start=0

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=N9qYF9DZPdw&audio_start=3

And *kisses fingertips*

http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=nrdTX8m5G98&video_start=0&audio=lQlIhraqL7o&audio_start=10

If Lynn Shepherd Cares About Writing, She Should Actually Read Books

I wanted to be an actress, but my parents said that I should go to college and get a degree in something useful.  So I majored in Creative Writing (take THAT!).  My favorite authors are Terry Pratchett and Tamora Pierce, but Brian Jacques’s Redwall series initially sparked my passion to write.  Needless to say, I was never interested in writing The Great American Novel.  I wanted to write about knights and magic and castles and fantasy, specifically YA (Young Adult) fantasy because that is what inspired me to become a writer.  I cannot TELL YOU the struggle I had in college because of this.  Teachers and students alike sneered at my “genre writing.”  It took me years to recover from the ego-beating I received in university writing classes from closed-minded assholes who claimed that writing about girls with swords wasn’t worthy of my page or their eyes.

I have since emerged from the Despairing Self-Pity Cave a fearless defender of YA.  Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, wrote this brilliant article that sums up my feelings exactly about the importance of young adult fiction and the ignorance surrounding what it should be and who should write it.

This morning, I stumbled across this totally absurd piece entitled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.”  I needed a rant, so I came here.

Lynn Shepherd, some writer who has not tasted the same success as JK Rowling, has decided that in order for the unknown authors of the world to get a fair shake, Rowling should step down from her tyrannical throne and let others have a chance, for Christ’s sake.  I mean, it was all well and good when Rowling was “Pottering about,” but now she’s strangling the adult book market with her crappy novels and no one else can even get a word in edgewise, so maybe she should just keep to writing for babies so that other authors can be published.

The premise alone is ridiculous, since that’s not actually how publishing works, but this line

This Line

THIS LINE

is what makes my head explode:

“I did think it a shame that adults were reading [the Harry Potter books], mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.”

So she has the audacity to judge readers for enjoying something that she has never read because she claims to be some sort of arbiter of what adults should and shouldn’t read.

I thought Harry Potter was uncool before it was cool

I thought Harry Potter was uncool before it was cool

It’s not breaking news that another snooty literary type thinks that any work labeled “children’s” or “young adult” is not worthy of adult consumption.  It’s just disappointing and tiresome.  Who the hell is anyone to say that it’s wrong for an adult to identify with Hermione or Alanna or Katniss any less than Elizabeth Bennett or Rosasharn or Lady MacBeth?

And if you say YA novels don’t use sophisticated prose, then I raise you the austerity of Hemingway as an example of powerful literature sans the fancy-pants and then hold up the maddening complexity of Joyce, who used all sorts of fancy literary devices and yet managed to make you want to kill yourself after having to untangle his sentences.

But children’s books are void of complex ideas, you say? The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss.

Good books transcend genre.  Period.

But back to Shepherd, cus it gets better.

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My life through painting or cleaning the project room

When I was a freshman in high school, I went to a private school.  A lot went to hell after that year and I ended up transferring to a public school as a junior, but before then, it was a pretty ideal place for me to be.  The classes were small, the teachers had time to get to know you, it was a community more than a school. You grew up with your classmates. I had been with my group since I was in the 5th grade.  Some of my classmates had known each other for even longer.  To this day, I have pangs of regret over leaving, even though there was no other way.

I never considered myself an artist, my childhood drawings were all pretty much of the Stick Figure Girl Walking a Dog or Riding a Horse variety.  Art class was hanging out with my girlfriends and chattering while we made something with our hands — it was peaceful.  I realize that later it would morph into hanging out with my girlfriends and cooking.  But I really enjoyed art.  A nice respite from class, but not necessarily where my talents lay.

So one day, the incredible woman who ran the art program gave us a project. She assigned each of us a square from Picasso’s Guernica to paint.  When we were all finished, she put the pieces together into this very cool patchwork painting.  I know a photo of it exists somewhere, but I couldn’t find it.  I painted the foot in the bottom right hand corner.  It was my first time using oil paint and I fell in love.  It also freed me up from thinking that I didn’t have to be the best or even very good to enjoy something — a novel idea for a 15-year-old.

I love how sneery Scarlett is in this

A visiting artist then came to the school and he assigned us a project where we would do a pencil drawing of an image and then later an oil painting of the same image.  I was in my second year or so of obsessing over Gone with the Wind (over a decade now, baby!) so obviously I chose the movie poster.  

Then I built a frame, stretched and jessoed my own canvas, and painted it.

I’ve been circling my love affair with oil painting ever since. I’ve never taken any official classes or anything, it’s been something that I just like to dabble in every once and awhile.  Something peaceful to do with my hands.

20140107_161420
Those flames must be REALLY hot, cus Rhett has a serious tan.

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An Englishman, a Frenchman, and a Guy from Brooklyn (Brooklynman?)

I’m thinking about applying to this directing internship at a local (and widely respected) theatre company. Part of the application includes a 2 minute (max) video. I thought about telling a joke first, so I recorded this to see how long it would be. Since the whole joke is about 2 minutes, I probably won’t use it (and certainly not this take since my hair looks ridiculous and I’m bra-less with a Ubuntu shirt on), but it’s my favorite joke to tell so I thought I’d share.

Beware, thar be f-bombs. Enjoy :)

Alvin Motor Bean Eichhörnchen: The Cat of A Thousand Nicknames

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Alvin Motor Bean Eichhörnchen

“The Baby”

April 1, 2010 – November 13, 2013

Little Baby

The Baby

Squiggle

Brat Cat

Little Brat

Serpent

Wraith

Little Tushie

Pest

Little Squirrel

Alvin

Alvin Bean

Alvin Motor Bean Eichhörnchen

Little Dragon

Dragon Eyes

Fluff

Little Purr

Little Bunny

Shoulder Baby

Halloween Cat

These are but a few of the names that M Fox and I used to refer to one of our kitties.  You’ll notice that “Little” comes before a lot of them.  Although certainly a term of endearment, the fact is that Alvin, most referred to as “the baby,” was always very small.  He always had a kitten face.  He had soft kitten fur.  The smell of his neck fur still had that kitten smell.  I loved to bury my face in his scruff and inhale it, the way some mothers describe craving the intoxicating scent of her newborn.

Squeak on the left, the baby on the right

Squeak on the left, the baby on the right

I was going through an Orson Scott Card kick at the time, hence Alvin (from the Alvin Maker series) and Bean (from Ender’s Shadow).  Motor was both part of his origin story (he was found in a car engine) and because he had a very big purr for such a little body.  Eichhörnchen is German for squirrel.

Sidebar: Neither M Fox nor I speak German, but M Fox had German housemates once and they all bonded over how it was impossible for Americans to pronounce “eichhörnchen” and damn near impossible for Germans to say “squirrel.”

Physically, the baby’s most defining attribute was his tail.  His tail was so long that it almost folded in half when sticking up.  As a kitten, he resembled one of those little black squirrels.  

Well, a weird-looking squirrel

Well, a weird-looking squirrel

When he would “bun” around the house, it was like he had no control over his tail.  He would be in a perfect little cat bun and his long ridiculous tail would stick straight out behind him, like a lollypop stick.  As he got a little older, he figured out how to wrap it around him.  Stretching, he reminded us of the classic Halloween black cat, back arched, bottle brush tail at attention.

We never could decide on a name, so we kept them all and added more — when we got him at 10 weeks, he already had two names from the shelter (Mr. Cheeps, then Gusto, which they pronounced Cousteau for some reason).  It all seems very fitting that he was born on April Fool’s Day.

The baby's baby photo

The baby’s baby photo

When we first got him home and released him into our small Mountain View apartment, he joyfully raced back and forth the length of the apartment, exhilarated.  I remember feeling so filled with love and pride that I got to witness our baby discovering that he could run.

Having already been denied the opportunity to potty train the new kitten, M Fox wanted to teach him to ride on people’s shoulders.  Even though he was a little squink of a thing, the baby’s paws were huge.  We always thought he was going to turn out to be one of those massive cats — he did look a little like a Maine Coon. We used to laugh about how it was cute now, when he was little, but when he became a massive beast of a cat, shoulder-riding would be onerous.  We didn’t know he would pretty much stop growing at a year old.

Shoulder baby

Shoulder baby

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This is What Drunken Photo Album Spelunking Will Get You

My ten-year-old meme-self with Pete the Parrot

My ten-year-old meme-self with Pete the Parrot