Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And when I am crazy cat lady, this will be my website of choice

A group called Australian Christian Lobbyists (who by their homophobic, sexist, hateful ideas don't seem very Christian at all to me) were so busy trying to force their bigotry into law that they forgot to renew their domain name...which now belongs to Australian Cat Ladies!

(You must visit to see the picture. It's amazing.)

My friend K sent me this and wrote, "There is love in the universe!" And she is right. And part of it is from me to you, Australian Cat Ladies!

Now, I'm just waiting for a few other groups to let their domains expire...the Westboro Baptist Church, Rick Santorum, Glenn Beck...

Well, I can dream anyway. Or hope with fingers crossed that ninja cat ladies are waiting in the IT wings!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Texting profanities and fighting the sewer

A few funny things happened this week (of course.)

Today, one of my colleagues from another office came in and made us laugh so hard my cheeks hurt.

"Well! I didn't realize the traffic in Portland was so BAD! And then you won't believe what happened. This guy totally cut me off and almost caused an accident and you know what?"

This is what: the vehicle that cut him off was a business vehicle. Right on the side, it said, "Mobile #..."

To that number, my colleague, who is normally very mellow, texted "ASSHOLE!"

Then, the guy started calling him. Then my colleague realized that although he didn't want to answer it, he also didn't want the guy to get to voicemail because it was his work cell phone (and a greeting including the name of his place of employment), so he kept picking it up and then hanging up.

Then he got a nasty text: "You annoying Prius-driving f*g!" I don't even want to type it. But the first thing out of my mouth was, "You drive a Prius? You're not an asshole!" He goes, "I know! All of other people I know who drive them are complete jerks!" (Apologies to non-jerks reading this who drive Priuses.)

So my colleague texts back, tongue-in-cheek, "I am sorry if my car or my sexual orientation offend you."

And then...radio silence! Bullies are cowards. We think this jackass probably shit his pants when he realized he had actually texted that pathetic expletive to an actual gay person.

So...in other strange news, not even knowing it was a full moon last night, I managed to trip and drop my car keys down a sewer grate in a parking lot. What are the odds? Mind you, everyone who has found out about it (except Mr. RK) has said, "I'm always afraid that will happen to me!"

On the contrary, I've feared many things, but not dropping keys into a sewer, and it actually happened.

Stupidly, I put my hand through the grate and took off some skin - right before my first meeting at an organization that was voting me onto their board. (Yes, I clean up nicely.)

I promise not to wrestle any sewers this weekend. And yes, my book is still for sale! There's my shameless plug. If you've already bought it, we would love a review! No publicity is bad publicity! And it would help make up for a member of my extended family who didn't even bother to respond to our email about it.

Follow-up email: did you get the news about our book?

Response (even though I wrote about how you don't have to have a Kindle to get it, and detailed the info about the Kindle Cloud reader): "I don't have a Kindle. I am glad you two are working together."

That sort of sounded like, "I am glad you and your brother are folding napkins together."

And kind of made me feel like this.

And yes, that is the side of the family where my dad is convinced I share less DNA with than I share with a banana.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cats vs. humans

Watching Vasil and Mandrake, we've figured out the Rules of Cat:

1. If you get irritated, WHAP! SMACK! BOOM! MEOW! Then, no hard feelings.

2. Eat when you are hungry. Get someone else to serve it for you, as well as clean up the dishes.

3. Sleep when you are tired.

4. Cuddle when you need cuddling.

5. Keep yourself immaculately clean, but leave the rest of the cleaning to others.

6. If you see a soft blanket or sweater, take it. The owner will understand. Finders, keepers. (Note: this rule does not apply, in reverse, to humans.)

7. You're never too old or too tired to enjoy a fun toy.

8. Assume you will be forgiven for having the occasional crazies.

9. When you need anything, make some noise!

10. When in doubt, play on your cuteness. Then you can get away with just about anything.

I think they have figured out a much better system than ours.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tell me again, how valuable is your time?

My buddy GB Miller asked the other day, "Are you going to post again soon about the stupid questions you get about your upcoming event?" I have a following!

The really, really dumb and repetitive question season is upon us, but I haven't yet reached the breaking point, because there's still about a month before the event. The more stressed I am, the funnier these pieces seem to get, so stay tuned. I'm sure I'll be ranting before the end of the week.

Until then...

Is it me? Or is it odd to call someone (me) several times, and email them multiple missives of 500 words apiece, complaining about something and then add a sentence saying, "My time is valuable..."

And I get the most ridiculous requests, involving tons of time spent sorting data, that all start with, "Can you..." and "Is it possible to..."

Right~! And I would like to say, "I can. And it is possible. But not for you!"

Then there's the issue of my emails not syncing with webmail, and being unable to find the contact information for the food carts that we had invited to the event last year.

I can't remember the name of the gourmet hot dog guy, who wears a shirt that says, "Ask me about my 10" weiner!" And no, I was not about to do a Google search for that. I live near Portland and there are too many things that already give me nightmares!

On a happy note, I wanted to thank all of you who have purchased and reviewed (or almost reviewed) The Adventures of Black Jack Pepper. Much appreciated! If you have a kid, know a kid, or are a kid at heart, or just feel like supporting your fellow blogger, please check it out.

And lastly, Mr. RK, who is very creative and a brilliant photographer, set up his photoblog.  Great pics and a bit of silly text.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And the bit of happy news is...

A few years ago, I sat down and started to write a children's book. And now it is up on Amazon!  (That is the short of it. Read on if you are interested.)

This amused my close friends and immediate family - people who know me well - because, well, you know how much I like to swear. My other writing at that point had mostly been professionally; as a reporter, I tended toward crime and investigative pieces and columns of commentary. Later, I did marketing writing, which I hated every minute of.

In fiction, I've dabbled in writing for adults but what I most like to do is write for kids, and the adults who read to them.
Illustration by Nik Houser, aka my brother

It's my way of creating a happy place.

I have always loved good children's books, and I hate it when books talk down to kids or otherwise make reading a chore for them. Reading is supposed to be fun! There are not enough hours in the day or years in the millennium for all of the books I would like to read. It makes me sad when kids say they don't like to read, because it's usually due to bad or boring books having been forced on them.

So, a couple of years ago I finished a short collection of stories for younger readers. It's about a sassy 6-year-old girl and her adventures with her little brother, her endlessly patient dad, and their cat.

What adventures, you ask? she nearly cooks a pet blue lobster who looks too cold, tracks a polar bear's footprints (actually belonging to a plumber) through her snowy backyard, and finds her father’s Santa suit in the attic, prompting a frantic call to the police because "the man in red" has must be running around naked.

 My brother Nik, who is a writer as well as a fabulous illustrator (I envy his talent, as I can't even write my name legibly or draw a circle without it looking like a lemon), illustrated them when I threatened to yank out his teeth. (Just kidding, but it took some persuading.)

And since I am not a patient person, rather than sending it out to hundreds of agents (and I totally respect those of you who have the patience for this), when ebooks picked up steam Nik and I decided to go that route.

So, my blog friends, here is where I shamelessly plug my book. If you would like to buy it, and review it (the good! The bad! The ugly! No publicity is bad publicity!) on Amazon, Nik and I will be able to enjoy a few lattes. (Kidding. One latte would be just fine.) You can buy it for Kindle or, if you, like me, don't have one, Amazon gives you the option of sending it to your Android phone, or you can download (free, fast, and no spyware) Kindle Cloud Reader for your computer.

You will also see special shout outs to my friends who provided help and encouragement with this book, your fellow bloggers GB Miller and A Beer For the Shower. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Someone else said it better

I had a happy announcement to make today, but then I saw the headlines.

I can't say it any better than Patton Oswalt did:

"This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness. But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

"So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.' Nothing can make death and explosions okay. But at least insights like this can make the future seem better."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Could this movie be made today?

We watched Goldfinger last night. I hadn't seen it since I was in elementary school and ignoring the obvious sexist crap (like Sean Connery slapping his blond masseuse on the ass and saying, "Bye. Man talk" when his spy boss comes around, it was pretty amusing.

So was the fact that Goldfinger changed accents a few times - we were told he was British, "but doesn't sound like it." He sounded German, then Indian, then a little bit of American and a bit of British, depending on the scene. WTF?! Mr. RK looked up the trivia, and apparently the actor didn't speak English at all, so it was all dubbed (badly dubbed.)

What made me laugh over and over (you would too) was the character played by Honor Blackman, "Pussy Galore." When I was in high school in the 90s, we mused about whether modern cinema could get away with that, and a friend said, "I think her character had lots of cats."

Guess what? No cats! (You super James Bond fans can bear with me here, I haven't memorized the entire catalogue.) On top of that, her troupe of pilots was called "Pussy Galore's Flying Circus." I kept imagining what fun Monty Python could have had with that one.

So despite the fact that there was no nudity and the worst kind of violence was when someone fell over after a gun went, "Bang!", John Wayne-style,  I'm guessing the ratings people wouldn't let us have so much Pussy if that film were released today.

Mind you, Mr. RK and my brother B went to see Trance this afternoon, and I am told that Rosario Dawson leaves nothing to your imagination (that includes a razor and sex with two characters.) Plus one of the characters gets his fingernails yanked, and another gets shot in his boy bits.

So sexual innuendo in a funny way is taboo, but blatant violence and nasty sex is OK for the MPA?

Call me a wuss, but I'm leaning more toward the action movies of 1964. Or Austin Powers.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The resident wit

I haven't posted for a few days because I'm off this week and the resident wit, e.g. my brother B, is visiting.

We've been having conversations like this:

On food safety:

Me: "The government doesn't really have tough food safety standards. Especially not for meat."
B: "So cows that do badly in high school go straight to Taco Bell."

On what a great place this is to visit:

Me: "Mom said she was impressed that you came to see us instead of going to Disneyland. I didn't think you liked Disneyland that much."
B: "I don't."

Stay tuned, he'll probably say something dry and funny in the next few minutes.

I wish all of the adults I encountered were this intelligent. I keep getting work emails about an event that is six weeks away, where you can literally just show up the day of the event (and mind you, this is all over our website, etc.), and people ask, "Is it too late to sign up?"

And I would like to respond, "No, but you are disqualified. You must wear shoes to the event, and you're obviously not bright enough to tie them."

And on to Taco Bell we go.

Friday, April 05, 2013

She blinded him with grammar

I was sad to read about Roger Ebert losing his battle with cancer. That man was such an inspiration! Even when he lost his physical ability to speak, he had an acid tongue.
Who else could write a book with this title?

Check out 13 of his most hilarious comments here; this is my personal favorite:

On Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: "If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."

Would you have had the personal strength to keep this up if you had to be fed via IV tube four times a day? I am humbled.

What was really interesting to me is that one of things that attracted him to his wife, Chaz, an attorney who was his partner for 26 years, was that her love letters to him were not only poetic, but that "As a newspaperman, I observed she never, ever, made a copy-reading error."

If this is what it takes to have a lasting partnership (writes the journalism major), I am golden. 

But seriously, I remember my friend Lynn posting this great quote from an interview with Ebert in 2010 - she posted it again today and I thought it was worth sharing.

"I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do.  To make others less happy is a crime.  To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.  We must try to contribute joy to the world.  That is true to matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.  We must try.  I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out." 

Amen to that.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Something else I couldn't make up

The weekend before last, my stepmom was in town for a quilting convention. (Everyone asks me what she does with the quilts: she gifts them to us, and other lucky people, and makes them for kids in the hospital.)

So Mr. RK took the unusual step of cleaning out his car prior to her visit. Amongst the mess he found an unfamiliar legal envelope. Inside, there was a DVD that said, "Bridget the Midget's All-Night Gang Bang." Like one of my college journalism professors put it, "There are magazines that cater to interests I didn't even know existed."

I am not making this up.

Apparently, one of his co-workers slid it under the seat a few weeks ago when they went out to lunch, and waited for Mr. RK to find it.

And how did he get it? The plot thickens.

A few months ago,the co-worker's brother's truck was stolen. It was later recovered completely trashed, and inside, the cops found used syringes, nasty porn DVDs (including this one) and three dildos, two of which were described as "in good condition."

"What about the third one?" I asked.

"It had teethmarks," Mr. RK reported back.

I couldn't make this up.

Apparently this came up at a work meeting (!) and another of Mr. RK's co-workers asked to borrow it. He's going to put it in his brother's truck so his sister-in-law will find it.

And you thought your life was interesting. But you don't live near Portlandia, do you?