Drinking Round the World

 

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This is what Epcot looks like when you pass out in the parking lot

Epcot is one of the few Disney establishments I like. It’s got nothing to do with what they offer. Nope, when you pay the $100 cover charge to get into Epcot, you’re mainly paying to get into a bunch of gift shops with equally overpriced crap. It’s not their rides. The one I did go on managed to combine my two most hated things; Martin Short and Canada.

It was like the “It’s a small world” ride at Disney, only far more boring and twice as annoying.

So despite the annoying merchandizing, shitty rides and foreign tourists, I still manage to like Epcot. Know why?

Drinking around the world, motherfuckers.

See Epcot has cashed in on the one thing adults like when they’re forced to go to a Disney Park. Alcohol. No joke, I will tolerate endless amounts of Jasmine and Nemo, provided I’m allowed to get loaded in the process. And in Epcot, they offer something amazing.

The ability to drink in every last country that they’ve created based on an Americanized stereotype.

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So the opportunity to both get super wasted and be offensive to foreigners in one fell swoop? Consider me in. Well played Epcot. Well played.

Anywho, we started off in Canada. As I’d been drinking heavily the night before, my brother became concerned as I developed the sweats while chugging a very heavy Moosehead Ale. But he had no idea. I was simply getting my early second wind.

See, me and my brother, we’re about as different as two people could be. He’s a republican. I’m a paranoid libertarian. He has a real job where he’s important and takes phone calls on the weekend. I would be both shocked and horrified if any one of my clients called me on the weekend. He’s a clean freak and I’m pretty sure I’ve grown a new form of bacteria in my toilet. He’s a health nut who regularly goes to the gym.

The last time I went to the gym was March of 2013. I needed to use their vitamin water machine to get something to mix with my booze.

So being the healthy, trim dude he is, it’s completely reasonable that he thought he’d be able to out drink me through 13 countries. What he didn’t get was 13 drinks isn’t really a challenge to me.

I call that Tuesday.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I treat my body like a temple. And by temple, I mean one of those wild, drunken orgy bathhouses in ancient Rome. I can’t remember the last time I actually ate solid food.   When I did, I assume it was some kind of fried meat. I don’t do vegetables. As far as I’m concerned, vegetables are nothing more than the product I use to lure my meat into a fryer.

As a result, my body adapts. My shriveled, probably green liver, isn’t even part of the process anymore. The booze goes right to my stomach, then slides its way into my bladder thanks to a heavy coating of cholesterol.

It’s important to have a system.

Anyway, we made it through all the countries in Epcot before passing out on the ground near the giant golf ball. At that point, I led him out to the parking lot to find our mom’s car.

You ever heard of the blind leading the blind? Well, this was the drunk leading the drunk. My brother passed out in a parking spot as I wandered like Mad Max leaving Thuderdome until I wound up in a Wet & Wild Parking lot about 4 miles away…where I led a small nation of people who had also lost their cars forever.

After about two hours of drunk wandering, I finally found our car…about 3 spaces from where my brother passed out in the first place.

So I did the reasonable thing. I loaded his ass into the back seat, peed behind the back tire, and called our mom to take us home.

Because drinking around the world is no joke. It’s hard. Going in there unprepared is a bit like attempting to run the Boston Marathon after one spinning class.

You can’t just jump into that shit. Your body needs practice. You need to know if you’re ready

Here’s a test to help you decide;

  1. Have you ever drunk mouthwash after you ran out of beer?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  2. Do you consume more than four drinks a week?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  3. After a heavy night of drinking, have you ever woken up and used more alcohol as any ‘eye opener”?
    1. Yes
    2. No

Ok, so those questions? Copied off of a “do you need AA” website. If you answered all yesses, I’ve got good news and bad news. Bad news first; you’re probably an alcoholic.

Good news? You can totally handle drinking around the world.

Rock on Epcot, rock on.

 

 

 

 

 

The School of Life Isn’t Accredited – Learn Something

If there is a phrase that I hate more than the phrase “street smart” it’s “the school of life.”

A lot of people who never bothered with college use it to make themselves feel better for not going to college. Like “I didn’t need to go to college. I have life experiences.”

Yeah, you know who doesn’t agree with that? Capitalism.

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News flash, everyone has life experience. Everyone has attended the school of life. Hell, even people in comas are in the school of life. They’re like the equivalent of those kids who slept through class in high school but passed anyway.

And people who fall back on the school of life as their only education are yet another group of people who want credit for doing absolutely fucking nothing. It’s like when guys get pissed because girls don’t like them, even though they’re nice.

“Yeah, I’m an overweight dude with no job and questionable personal hygiene, but I’m nice! Why don’t supermodels like me?”

For the same reason no one wants to pay you $100,000 a year to stock shelves. You don’t get extra credit when you do the bare minimum. The fact that you don’t punch a girl in the face on the first date is not something to be proud of.

It’s expected behavior.

Same with the school of life. The only requirement to passing in the school of life is not dying. Well, hell, I’ve been doing that for 35 years now….and I also managed to get a college education from a real, accredited university. Imagine that.  I’m like a double major.

And don’t bother with messages about how Einstein was a high school dropout and Bill Gates flunked out of college. For every one Bill Gates, there’s about 10,000 janitors with GEDs. The exception proves the rule. Extraordinary people don’t go to college because they don’t need it. The fact is, many people tend to think they’re extraordinary when they’re utterly ordinary.

Here’s the test to tell if you’re extraordinary. It’s one question –

In your free time you…

  1. Watch TV, play video games and update your educational status to “School of Life” while expecting people to pat you on the back for doing everyday things like parenting, not breaking the law, and going to work.
  2. Spend time in the garage that you’ve converted into a small-scale nuclear reactor in order to continue studying the potential of cold fusion

Here’s a hint. Chances are if you’re the kind of person who answers “number 2”, you’re not on this page.

You don’t get credit for being alive, so no, the school of life is not a thing. If the fact that you haven’t died yet is your biggest accomplishment, you seriously need to reevaluate your life, rather than brag about that.

Not being dead isn’t an accomplishment. It’s a status update.

You want credit, get a real education. Do something with your life. But stop saying you graduated from the school of life. From personal experience, I’ve found the people who attend that university are only experts at failing.

How to Fix a Bike…From a Girl Who Knows Sh*t About Bikes

So recently, I decided to get my video game addicted son a bike. I had a deep-rooted fear of him spending his life sitting in front of a computer, typing away, his breath labored from the effort it took to just sit there, as he pounded beers and ignored his skin turning slightly green from a mixture of jaundice and lack of sunlight.

In short, I was afraid he was going to turn into me.

Now we Alrocs, we don’t do sports. We don’t do nature. We are an indoor, tech dependent bred.

No joke, my plan for zombie apocalypse? Suicide. I have no desire to live in a world with no air conditioning or microwavable burritos.   That, and a Kirk Cameron ‘pray away the gay’ camp are two perfect settings for my own individual hell.

So yeah, I decided to get Logan a bike, in the hopes that he might actually enjoy it. But as I lack a large SUV and any knowledge of bikes at all, I did what I always do. I ordered the bitch online with the intention of putting it together myself.

Surprisingly I can be pretty handy when it comes to tools. It comes with being a chick who hates leaving the house. Seriously, I get Christmas cards from my pizza boy. So I order everything online, some assembly required to avoid those outdoor trips. I figured that building a bike would be just as easy as many of the stationary things I’ve built in the past.

Turns out, shit gets a lot more complicated when you add wheels.

But I’m a determined chick with too much time on my hands, so I got it done. Now, let me share my knowledge with you.

Step # 1.

That owner’s manual, the one that’s filled with words that sound like you need an advanced degree in bike technology to understand (what the fuck is a valve stem neck shaft?)? Yeah, rip that bitch in half. Use one side as a coaster, and the other to roll yourself a nice fat joint*. You’re going to want to be high for this.

Step #2.

Chances are, the manual gave you a listing of tools you’ll need. That’s crap. You only need two tools.

Tool 1: Fingers

Tool 2: One of them metal L things that came included with the bedframe you ordered off Amazon six months ago.

Step #3.

Assemble everything in a way that looks bike like and start screwing. Ignore the ameneties.

Adjustable seat? Fuck that. Ten speeds? Completely unnecessary. When I was a kid, adjustable seat meant that your dad just wrapped the seat in extra duct tape, and bikes only had two speeds. Stop and go.

Step #4.

Cover bike in the tarp from your barbeque and let sit for three months.

Bike riding in a flat state is way harder than I remember bike riding being when I grew up in the white mountains of New Hampshire. Then again, I don’t think I ever pedaled in New Hampshire. I just went to the top of the hill and coasted.

As a result, the bike I assembled remains in pristine condition, after being ridden once and walked home. Which leads me to the final step in my guide to bike assembly.

Step #5.

Buy a bus pass.

 

 

 

*Please note you should not smoke the joint if the manual came from a foreign country, as lax regulation virtually guarantees that manual is made of equal parts asbestos and lead.

A few signs you’re not ready for a giant dog

The littleness of my dog makes me live in fear every time we go outside. I fear hawks mistaking her for a rabbit. I fear her getting her tiny dog legs stuck in a sewer grate. But most of all, I fear giant dogs thinking she’s a chew toy.

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Now, I didn’t get a little dog because I have a preference for little dogs. I got a little dog because I don’t have the time, energy and resources to care for a big dog. As a responsible pet owner, I think the first step to that responsibility is recognizing your limitations when it comes to buying a pet.

And there are a fuckton of people out there who don’t take that first step.

So, in my ongoing crusade to help everyone do everything better all of the time, here are some signs that you can’t handle a big dog.

You live in a one bedroom apartment

If your dog takes up more than 25% of the square footage of your living space, you’ve gone too big. No joke people, that’s like putting a yacht into a swimming pool. Of course shit is going to get ripped up! The solution is not to compact his space even further by leaving him on your fucking porch all day while you’re at work. That’s just a dick move, not just to the dog, but to the neighbor next door who has to listen to him whimper all day.

I can’t handle that. I’m one of those assholes who cries at those Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials.

The dog outweighs you by 100 pounds or more

I have a rule that I never date or own anything capable of kicking my ass in a fight. That’s a good rule as it saves me from regularly getting my ass kicked.

What can I say? I’m very annoying.

This morning I saw a tiny Asian woman trying to walk something that looked like a hybrid between a sheepdog and a moose. Only it didn’t look like she was walking him. It looked like the dog was flying a kite shaped like a small Asian woman. This bitch was flapping in the breeze, clinging to the leash for dear life as her dog dragged her down the street, running faster than the top speed of your average Prius.

This is not a good way to show your pet who the alpha is.

You’ve never owned anything that actually requires training

If you’re upgrading from a turtle to a Leonberger, you’re doing it wrong.

Look, I’m going to openly admit that my little dog, she’s not trained. Sure, she’s housebroken, but she ignores anything I tell her to do, begs for food, watches me pee, and regularly tries to have sex with my pillow.

But that’s no big deal because she weighs 9 pounds. Even though plan A failed, and she’s completely untrainable, I still have a plan B.

Pick her up.

That’s it. All I have to do to get her to stop doing what she’s doing is pick her up. This strategy works whether she’s tossing licentious looks at my body pillow, all the way to if I think she’s about to bite someone.

You can’t do that with a big dog.

So when we’re at the dog park, and you, for some inexplicable reason, have decided to let your untrained 170 pound Siberian Fucking Moosehound run wild, all your assurances in the world that “he doesn’t always listen, but he’s friendly!” mean shit to me when he’s sizing up my Sophia like she’s a god damn chew toy.

In short, if your big dog does not immediately stop what it’s doing when you say the words ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ it is your responsibility to society to keep them away from other people (and adorable little dogs — especially mine) until they do.

Recognize the fact that there have been 325 dog related fatalities in the US in the last ten years, and 350,000 people visit emergency rooms for dog bites annually. My point is that the vast majority of those owners whose dog attacked someone probably thought their dog was friendly too.

But then it wasn’t.

If you must have a dog, but don’t have even a remote understanding of training, go small. You never hear of a five pound Yorkie ripping someone’s throat out.  Sure, they might eat their owner’s face after they’re already dead, but there’s a difference.

But if you don’t want to go little, and choose to have a large dog, or a vicious breed, you have a responsibility to society to ensure that dog is trained. That is all there is to it.

I guess my point to this whole post is dogs aren’t god damn impulse buys. They’re not a keychain you can pick up at the convenience store and then return when they don’t suit you. They’re a major adjustment and that adjustment goes up with every single pound the dog gains. So before you head on out and get a giant dog, consider your limitations. Because that kind of responsibility weighs on you.

Literally.

 

 

 

 

All In

One of my favorite shows, Nashville, did a cliché I hate last week. They showed this songwriter, this pure hearted songwriter, being forced to write a jingle for a car dealership. I guess I was supposed to feel bad for him. I guess I was supposed to say “what about his art?”

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Ironically, the photo of a musician who sold out on his dream of being a musician to become an actor

This man, this desperate man was forced to prostitute his art for the masses. I guess I was supposed to be outraged. I was supposed to say “how dare that dirty car company demand he sully his art by writing a jingle?”

But the thing is, I’m real. I’m a novelist who hasn’t taken the world by storm, but I fully intend to.  And as a person with true ambition, as a real writer who files writer on her tax returns, I think you got to pay your dues.

I get a lot of flak from my writer friends for selling out. See, I write a lot of advertising material. I ghostwrite. Not everything I write is a novel I’ve been dying to write… Some of it is just more advertising fodder.  I write to pay my rent. And I get flak from people who work as cashiers, dog groomers, pizza delivery guys and more for not staying true to my art.

And it’s time I say this.

You’re fucking kidding me, right? You really think working in a cubicle, punching a time clock or flipping pizza dough for forty hours a week makes you more of a writer than a girl who actually writes all week?

Yeah, I could work in a cubicle too. Hell, by now, I could have a corner office with actual walls. I could work every day of the week in a job I hate, making enough money to keep me in SUV payments and my very own modular home. I could have complete stability. But I don’t. And you know why I don’t?

I’m all in.

Every word I write makes me a better writer. The work I do to pay the bills is me practicing my craft, every day, all day, and seven days a week. I don’t work forty hours. That would be a vacation for me. It’s 8 pm on a Friday night. I’m a smoking hot chick with disposable income who should be out partying. But I’m still writing.I’m writing for clients at the same time that I’m working on the coursework for my MFA in writing. My life is writing.

And every word I write makes me better.

And every pizza you make, it makes you a better pizza maker. Every person you check out makes you better at math. Every phone call you take makes you better at customer service.But nothing you do every day makes you a better writer. You do what you got to do to pay the bills and you write when you can.

To me, you’re the ones who sold out.

I walked away from a high paying job a long time ago. I could have rested on my laurels and been like you, only better. My SUV would have been a Lexus and my modular home would have had a foundation.But I decided having passion for what you do is more important.

So I took a real risk. I went all in. I worked my way up from the dregs of content mills to being the kind of person who makes more in one article than you make all week. I did it because I love writing. I loved it so much that I gave up stability for it. My passion made me land on my feet. I’m all in and that means I’m willing to pay my dues. I’ll write anything, as long as I’m writing. I’ll write until my fingers bleed.

Because every word I write, that makes me better.

So no people, I’m not the one who sold out. Writing in a genre different than the one I anticipated does not make me a sellout.

Working in a job that has nothing to do with writing makes you one.

I’m all in, but you clearly don’t have the balls to be. I get it. Being all in requires bravery. It requires you giving up your cushy nine-to-five gig and trusting your talent to carry you. It forces you to accept the fact that you might not be as good a writer as you thought.

It makes that cash register seem awful cozy.

I took the risk. I get the reward. You could have taken the risk too. You didn’t. Instead, you chose yourself a comfortable career, where you work for someone else 40 hours a week, and spend about four writing. Then you call yourself a real writer, because you’re writing the stuff you want to write! You’re super cool and in fifteen years when you finish that novel? You’re going to set the world on fire!

But really, you’re not. There is a very strong chance that you and your writing are going to disappear from the world without making a dent.

But me? My writing, regardless of the genre, is going to be there forever. I don’t look down on the writing I do for clients like it’s some kind of sell out. I look at it as yet another opportunity to display my passion to the world. Because regardless of what I write, I’ll always shine and I will never look down on the people that got me there.

I’m all in.

 

Explaining Libertarianism To People Who Think I’m An Anarchist

 

I’m not, by the way. An anarchist, that is. But I am a libertarian. That one usually gets me a few odd looks. People assume I’m some kind of conspiracy nut who claims the moon landing was faked and the government is watching my every move. They assume I’m in a militia, or inches away from joining one and that I don’t believe in paying taxes period.

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A lot of people believe I’m anti-American. Just an FYI, I spent four years as an enlisted soldier in the armed services…doing paperwork for people who can run much faster, and shoot far better than I.

Hey, I never claimed to be athletic.

Being a libertarian does not mean I’m anti-government. It does not mean that I’m anti-taxation or believe that my apartment should be declared a sovereign nation. It just means this.

I want the government to intrude into my life as little as possible.

I believe that a very small government should be in place to provide essential government services. I’ll happily hand over my tax money, provided it’s spent for a good reason, that reason being it benefits society as a whole and not just one person. Such services include public roadways, law enforcement and making sure my food contains less than 0.0001% random dead rat parts per million.  Were our government to just spend our tax money on these items, I believe that the people in these departments would have all the funding they need.

Here are the things I don’t believe in. Private corporate lobbyists, the electoral college, welfare, and private corporate welfare. I believe that you should be responsible for yourself. It’s a harsh stance, but a pure one. I don’t believe one individual should be held responsible for the health and well-being of another individual they didn’t give birth to. I don’t believe I should be forced to spend money to subsidize parties at political conventions. I don’t believe I should be required to pay for hair care services for the US senate or for Mrs. Obama’s image consultant.

In short, you want luxury, pay for it on your own dime.

That luxury includes having kids. Yes, I get that you’re working at the quick stop, have eight kids and can’t afford to put food on the table…but at no time at all did I sneak into your apartment with a turkey baster and artificially inseminate you. You made your life choices and you should be responsible for taking care of them. It is not ok to put your life choices on my shoulders.

Yeah, I got knocked up unexpectedly too, so I did the smart thing and went to college while working full time so I could do what I wanted with my life without having to answer to anyone.  That allowed me entrance into the middle class, where I’m able to support my family on my own, again, without answering to anyone. And no, I don’t believe a parade should be held for me. The pedestal the single mother is put on annoys me in the same way that I get irritated when the crowd cheers on Maury after a dude who just learned “he is the daddy” announces he’s going to take care of his kids.

Why the fuck does he get applause for that? It’s what you’re supposed to do.

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The next thing I believe in is free market. I believe as long as the item cannot commit mass genocide with the pressing of a button, it should be available for sale with no government intervention. So do I believe you should be able to buy a nuclear warhead on eBay? No.

But I do believe you should be able to buy a kilo of coke and all the hookers you want to snort it off with minimal government intervention? You’re god damn right I do.

I know my belief in the free drug trade might sound extreme, but to that I say this. I really cannot comprehend the ridiculousness of a society where heroin is illegal, but several direct derivatives of heroin are available with a prescription. How does that happen?

Lobbyists. Turns out drugs are only bad when Pfizer doesn’t hold the patent.

As a libertarian, I believe in one thing. Personal responsibility. As long as I’m not hurting anyone, I should be able to do what I want. I take care of the kids I chose to have, and pay the taxes I need to pay to provide valuable services to society as a whole.

And Mitt Romney needs to go to Supercuts to get his hair did just like the rest of us.

Deus ex machina

This is a new phrase I learned as part of my Master’s program, so now I’m using it at every single opportunity like I’m an expert in it, despite the fact that until about a week ago, I didn’t even know it existed.

Yeah, I’m that kind of irritating know-it-all.

Anywho, it mainly means this;

an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I dig soap operas. Well, mainly I dig English soap operas and Mexican telenovelas.  And yes, a certain amount of deus ex machina is to be expected — but I don’t expect it when I’m dealing with a plotline that has been dragged out for months.

For example, the big reveal of the glove hand killer on Hollyoaks. For anyone who does watch the show SPOILER ALERT: it was recently revealed that Lindsey is the killer…and it made no fucking sense.

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If you don’t watch the show, let me give you an analogy of why this reveal was so unreasonable.

It would be like me turning this blog into a site filled with poetry about my love of both veganism and gun control laws for no reason at all. One day, you’d tune into Essa on Everything, with its current sex dungeon vibe, the next, you’d be on Essa Loves Everything and it would be filled with Vegan recipes and angst filled poetry about my dad.

For no reason at all, it would be like I don’t even like sex dungeons anymore!

Look, I get it when someone suddenly gets amnesia, or they even have an evil twin. But I hate it when I become invested in a plot, and am forced to be proven wrong because a writer felt like phoning it in that day.

Remember Dallas? Remember the entire 9th season? If you don’t, it went like this.

  1. Major character died
  2. Viewers wept
  3. The entire season focused on people recovering from the loss of said major character
  4. Secondary character wakes up and – it was all a fucking dream.

This was not a clever twist. It was not a preplanned plot idea. It was a way to cram a character back into a script to revive ratings.

People noticed.

Even before I knew what deus ex machina was, I noticed.  And if I, being of average intelligence noticed, that means everyone else noticed too. We notice lazy writing and it kind of pisses us off.

So I have a solution for deus ex machina that will work every single time. Whenever TV writers run out of ideas and have no way to tie up the plot, instead of forcing in a new character reveal or doing a 180 to someone’s personality, go all in on the deus ex machina.

Kill everyone off in an explosion and start over.

It would work like this

Everyone already knows who the serial killer is and you want to make the ending surprising anyway?

BOOM!

Completely run out of ideas for a show and you’re thinking about having a character jump a shark on a motorcycle?

BOOM!

You killed off a beloved character and now ratings are dropping?

BOOM!…and then start the show over in heaven.

Whatever you need to do, just stop making me invest my time in deus ex machina. If I wanted a shitty ending, I would have written it myself.

BOOM!