Photo-impaired

Some women seem born with this innate ability to take perfect photos. These women are having a lot of fun in the age of the never ending stream of selfies on Facebook, as they post photo after photo of themselves looking adorable…or like they just had collagen.

I envy these women. I envy these women because I can not take a good photo. I see these chicks pop out their cell phones and get this great photo with one shot. Meanwhile, mine looks like this;

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Despite the above photo (where I was apparently having a stroke while taking a dump) I wouldn’t call myself an ugly girl. All of my features are in the right place and I still have everything I was born with.

Something about taking a photo stresses me out. As I stand there, awkward smile on my face for a never ending amount of time, I feel more and more stupid. Soon that awkwardness starts to show on my face.

I have this internal discussion every time one of my friends forces me to take a group shot on a night out;

Oh, great, this again. Ok, chin up. No, literally bitch, chin up, otherwise you’ll have four….and they’ll be on Facebook. Ok, chins up, leaning forward. Now, how big should I smile? Like an open mouth laugh smile? Now I feel stupid. Is everyone looking at me? Focus, must focus. Oh, fuck chin up! God dude, take the picture. Fuck am I about to sneeze? I’m about to sneeze. Oh god, eyes are watering, I feel idiotic, can not hold this sneeze in. Take the goddamn picture! Jesus, it’s an iPhone not a particle fucking accelerator. “Ahhchooo!”

Click.

Apparently, I am allergic to having my photograph taken. You know what my only cure is? Alcohol.

When loaded, I can take one hell of a picture. Ok, so I might drunk and dial you (or email), key your car, vomit on my bathroom floor and potentially get a stern lecture from authorities, but I’ll look real nice when I’m doing it. But I can’t be loaded in all my pictures.

So I’m trying to practice in the bathroom mirror. You know, like all those chicks do on American’s next top model. But as I simper at myself in the mirror, do that duck bill thing (ridiculous, I look like that blond girl Muppet who never opens her eyes) or try any other method of looking sexy rather than ridiculous, I can’t help but envy the chicks that can pull this off.

So I’m probably just going to pull a Kim Kardashian and Photoshop. I might even give myself a neck tattoo!

 

 


Escape from IKEA – Choose Your Own Adventure

If you read my site, then you know that I’m a bit obsessed with 80’s pop culture. One thing I loved in the 80’s was choose your own adventure books. I actually loved them so much, I created one for the George Zimmerman jury selection. It’s a bit dated, but it’s still available for playing here.

But I recently had an experience at IKEA. While the IKEA experience is a bit intimidating, it also occurred to me that it makes a pretty good quest. And swashbuckling adventurer that I am, I can enjoy a good quest.

Which is why I attempted to buy a desk from them. Luckily, I just barely managed to escape from IKEA alive, but can you? Test your knowledge below by playing;

Escape from IKEA! – A Choose Your Own Adventure Rip-Off (with more swearing)

Today is a day for bravery. Today is a day for courage. Today, you will put down that remote, you will get in your car. You will buy a computer desk for your son from IKEA.

This is something that you’ve been putting off for awhile. This is for good reason. There are few places more feared than an IKEA in Orlando, Florida on a Saturday afternoon.  IKEA has this amazing ability to drive even the most even tempered person to murder. Entire families have broken up over simple trips to IKEA on a Saturday. People have been scarred for life.

You ever have this dream? You’re walking down a hallway, trying to get to the end. You can see the end, but the closer you get to it, the further it gets away. Every time you’re just about to reach it, it slides just out of reach.

Yeah, that’s kind of the design concept IKEA was built on. But today, you will do what needs to be done. So you brave the I-4 traffic and you finally make it to the Orlando IKEA.

Your bravery pales a bit when you see the parking lot.  It’s a lot like a parking lot right before a game at Yankees stadium, with significantly more Cuban people.

As you cruise the parking lot, you realize that parking is limited. You;

Park illegally

Park like 12 miles away and walk

Fuck this, you’re going home to watch reality TV


Bullying – An Overused Phrase That is Losing All its Meaning

Today, I saw a news story about a breastfeeding mom who received a letter from her school’s principal. Apparently, this woman had been breastfeeding her six-month-old in a middle school in Utah while participating in some ‘free meals’ program. The principal gave her a letter asking her to discontinue the practice.

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I’ve never commented on the breastfeeding debate because I never did it myself. After I had my kid, I was way too pumped up on Fen-Fen and Ephedra to consider breastfeeding. Plus, after 9 months of sharing my body with another human, I decided I wanted it to be just mine again. I regret nothing.

But here’s the deal, I’m actually not ok with you breastfeeding in front of my 12-year-old. Yes, I know it’s beautiful and natural and everyone should bow at the knees of the almighty breastfeeding mother, but my son doesn’t think that when you pop out your boob in public.

I’m pretty sure all he thinks is “Holy shit! Tits! Tits! Tits!”

Call me a prude if you want, but I think it should be my right to decide when I need to explain breastfeeding to my son. Like it or not, in this country, breasts are private parts. This is why I’m not allowed to wander around topless.

So yes, I think people should make an effort to make breastfeeding at least semi-private (i.e. not in a room full of children). I mean Jesus, I need to sign a permission slip for my kid to go to Sex-Ed, but he can see nipples in his cafeteria? You’re fucking kidding, right?

That does not make me a bully. It doesn’t make me a prude. It makes me a parent who wants the right to explain the whole birds and bees (and yes tits are part of that) to my kid in my own way. Not because you feel like popping out a nip in the middle of a busy middle school cafeteria. Yes, I get you have your rights as a parent, but what about my rights as a parent? Does me wanting to exercise my rights as a parent by teaching him about certain things on my own time really make me a bully?

Because the nicely worded letter that the mother was given was immediately labeled as ‘bullying’ by the media.

Bullying is not a catch all phrase that you’re allowed to use against everyone that disagrees with you. Bullying is to “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”

The principal was making a respectful request. Whether you disagree with that request or not, it was a request. It wasn’t bullying. In fact, the mom taking the letter to the news in order to intimidate the principal into taking it all back actually fit the definition of bullying a lot more. Let’s be honest, the second that shit went viral, I’m pretty sure that school started getting hate mail left and right.

So who’s the real victim here? The woman who was given a private letter, respectfully asking that she not breastfeed in front of children whose parents whose might be uncomfortable with it? Or the woman who started the fire storm by taking that letter to the media and creating a witch hunt?

We’re using every fucking disagreement as an excuse to scream bullying. We’re using bullying to crush free speech. Hell, I see authors with bad reviews calling those people who left bad reviews bullies. Apparently, if you and someone else share a different opinion, one of you is a bully.

Usually, the bully is the one whose opinion differs from the masses. Then, the ‘victim’ uses that as an excuse to bully their own alleged bully.

It’s getting a bit fucking ridiculous. Our witch hunts for bullies are creating more bullies than ever actually existed.

I’m allowed to feel how I feel. I mean Jesus, KKK members are allowed to hold parades in this country and the ACLU supports them, but I can’t say I’m uncomfortable with public breastfeeding in front of my kid without being labeled a bully?

People will always have differing opinions, and sometimes those opinions will be unpopular. I am the current holder of an unpopular opinion and yes, I will share that opinion. That doesn’t make me a bully. I’m not trying to intimidate anyone or hurt their feelings. I’m simply saying I don’t think they’re right. Expressing my opinion does not make me a bully.

It makes me an American adult who is allowed to express her opinions…you know, that whole free speech thing.

Well, here’s my free speech. Your boobies in my son’s lunch plate do not make me think ‘wow, what a miracle.” Instead, it makes me explain things to my child that I would rather not explain to him, because he’s only friggen twelve.

I’e. my son would like to know why it’s not ok for a girl to flash her titties in a “Girls Gone Wild” video but it’s ok to do it when she’s in his cafeteria.

Anyone else was to field this one for me?

It is not my job to change the world’s opinion on breasts.  The fact is, right here in America, they are private parts. You can’t put them on TV, you can’t put them on a billboard, so why the fuck is it ok to put them in a kid’s cafeteria?

It does not make me a bully to mention my concern about the subject. It just makes me a concerned parent who has the right to parent how she feels fit.

That does not make me a bully. That just makes me a woman who disagrees with you. Deal with it.


Everything Gives You Cancer

My dog likes popsicles. Specifically, my dog likes grape popsicles, but she only really likes them if you hold them for her while she licks them. If you put the popsicle down even for a second, she gets bored and she stops licking.

My point is this; my dogs’ obsession with popsicles is a lot like the American public’s obsession with the media. We all suck it up as long as someone is spoon feeding us the information, but the second we’re expected to do anything for ourselves, we lose all interest.

Case in point; everything gives you cancer.

In the ten years I’ve been online, I’ve been sent about 7000 messages indicating some innocuous thing like number two pencils or pork barbeque was going to give me cancer. This mass panic works. People share the message. They comment on the message.

They all get together and lick the giant purple popsicle.

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Warning: This photo will probably give you cancer.

Here’s the truth people. EVERYTHING gives you cancer. When I was in the Germany, I joined a debate class mainly out of boredom, but also to get out of work details. I was only auditing, but I was still given the opportunity to make a speech when Spring finals came.

My speech was entitled ‘the benefits of smoking’ and I pissed a lot of people off.   I pointed out the decline of obesity rates in smokers and I pointed out the positive economic impact of smoking. When people argued cancer statistics, I came up with some statistics of my own.

Specifically, in a free thought poetry format I named about 400 chemicals, that you will find everyday in products in your house, that will give you cancer. Not making this up. Email me if you want the list.

After that, everybody shut up, not just because of my mad, mad lyrical skills, but also because everyone knows the Germans can’t rap.

The truth is that cancer isn’t that complicated. It is nothing more than cells multiplying at maximum pace. Once they multiple fast enough, they go from ‘calcifications’ to tumors. How do you get those cells to multiple? Constant friction.

You ever rub your hands together real fast and little rolly balls of skin start to come off? That’s pretty much the explanation of cancer, only it’s happening inside your body where you can’t control it. Much like constant friction on the inside of an oyster will create a pearl, constant friction on the inside of a human body will give you cancer.

So yes, everything will give you cancer. Hell, if I rubbed a strawberry under my left armpit long enough I’m sure I would eventually get cancer. Because the formula for cancer is surprisingly simple. Constant friction results in frequent cell turnover, but when that friction tells cells they need to turn over faster, they start creating new cells.

And abracadabra…cancer.

But cancer, no matter how simple, is still sexy. It’s still news. Those news stations want you to tune in so you can see how your air fresheners, your carpet clearer and your box of California raisins are all toxic. After all, imminent death is news worthy. The results of friction aren’t.

Everything gives you cancer. If it hasn’t yet, it will soon. But I don’t panic and I don’t argue. Instead, I start rubbing another strawberry under my armpit and I say “I’ll see you in hell bitches.”

Because if everything can give you cancer, then there’s really nothing left to avoid, now is there?


Citizen of the World

You never really wind up where you thought you’d be. I think that’s kind of the whole meaning of life.

But if I could freeze frame a moment in time, I would freeze frame this. Me and Sara sitting on the hood of her car, at Jericho pond outside of Berlin New Hampshire. We passed a joint back and forth. I told her I was gonna be a famous writer. She told me that she was going to marry the trophy husband to end all trophy husbands.

What can I say? It was Berlin New Hampshire; our dreams were small.

Less than half an hour later, our idyllic haze was lifted by the entrance of Sara’s boyfriend. I was left behind with Sara’s bitter friend, Jesse.

Jesse yakked about his ability to steal car stereos for about 20 minutes straight, while I tried to look interested. I mean, how hard is it to steal a car stereo? See car…insert screwdriver. Done. It’s hardly rocket science.

But then Jesse started yakking about his big city dreams. At one point, he looked over at me and he said. “Nah, you don’t get it. You’re a hick. You were born to be a hick. You’ll never get out of Berlin, New Hampshire.”

Rest assured, I wasn’t offended. By the time I was 18, I learned what it was like to be the smartest person in the room, when your room was filled with a bunch of Forest Gumps with no ambition. I knew that people not as bright as me resented me and I wasn’t that impressed by anyone’s ability to steal a car stereo. Hell, a monkey with a screwdriver could do that.

But it got me wondering, what about having small town aspirations is so bad? What if I had decided to stay in Berlin New Hampshire? What if I had decided to carve out a life for myself in a town that boasts less than 10,000 residents? Would that mean I gave up? That I didn’t think I could hack it in a city?

Nope. I’m going to go ahead and disagree with that one.

Both types present their own form of challenges. In a city, you live with an anonymous past and you try to find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. In a small town, everyone knows your past and you try to find a way to get the people there to forget about the things you’ve done.

Now, I’ve acclimated myself to a lot of cities and I’ve acclimated myself to a lot of small towns, but I always found those small towns the hardest to break into. Because when you become part of a small town, it’s almost like marrying into a family. Sure, you’re technically a part of it thanks to some legality, but you can’t really become part of it but for the approval of the people.

In a big city, I show up, I pay my rent and no one gives a fuck. But also, no one gives a fuck if I’m dead in my apartment for 3 days while my dog eats my face.

You give a little, you get a little.

I have a friend. I have a really sweet friend who once told me, “I don’t care about money. I don’t care about love. I just want to find a home.” Then, after that inspirational statement, she vomited on my shoes and passed out on the floor.

City living at its best.

That was when I realized, you don’t really need to choose one or the other. You can make friends in a city as easily as you could make friends in a small town. What matters is your perspective. You get what you put in.

So I’m not a small town girl, nor am I a big city girl. I’m simply a citizen of the world.

That day, Jesse was right. He wasn’t right in calling me a hick. I had an IQ at least 40 points higher than his and I also knew that stealing a stereo didn’t mean shit if you didn’t take the base box with you, but he was right about one thing.

I didn’t really belong anywhere. I saw the cities and the small towns for their flaws and I never looked deeper. I went from place to place and avenue to avenue trying to find a home, when I should have known that home was right in front of me.

I’m a citizen of the world. I blend seamlessly into it because I know that I’m not that important. Every now and then I do something that matters. Every now and then, I say something that matters, but I don’t say it on behalf of any given place.

I say it for me and I say it because it needs to be said. I would have said it regardless of whether I lived in a big city or a small town.

Where you live is not an accomplishment. If by an accident of your birth, you were born in New York City or Kenosha Wisconsin, you’re not special. You’re not special until you do something that makes you special.

You know when I became special? It happened on a hot summer night, sitting on the hood of my friend Sara’s car up at Jericho Park in a tiny little town that no one gives a shit about.

I picked a lofty dream, despite the fact that I had small town roots and I made that dream happen. But when it did, it wasn’t about where I came from. I could have been born in a small town and I could have born in a big city. Either way, the results would have been the same. I would have grabbed the world by the nut sack and I would have made it do what I told it to do.

So I’m not a city girl and I’m not a small town chick. I’m simply a citizen of the world. I’m a citizen of the world because I know this.

It isn’t about where you came from. It’s about where you go.


Tips for Writing a Young Adult Novel

As you all know, I like to delve into various writing styles. I write in everything from technical non-fiction, to pulp novels to erotica. But there is one area I have never tried out before…until now.

If we’ve learned anything from Stephenie Meyer or Jaime McGuire, writing young adult romance is a fucking goldmine! If they can do it, why can’t I?

And why can’t you for that matter? As I was researching into this, I found many of the following common themes that I am going to use to make me a quadrillionaire.

So here are my tips for writing a shitty young adult novel that will have readers banging down your door for more. Then, you can cash in again by writing the same story from the heroes point of view.

Essa’s Tips for Writing a Shitty Young Adult Novel

  1. Your heroine must be beautiful, but she must have no idea that she’s beautiful To underline this lack of confidence, she should regularly trip over her own feet and she must dress like a bag lady…right up until her gay BFF gives her a makeover.
  2. She must have a gay BFF. Gay BFFs have three benefits. Number one, they show other girls how trendy we are. Number two, they show boys that other boys like us. Number three, those straight boys won’t be intimidated because our gay BFF isn’t competition. Because god forbid a chick be friends with a guy who is straight.
  3. The boy must qualify as a bad boy, but he also must be redeemable. See, in real life, these high school bad boys with the tattoos and the muscles spend all their time being tough and cool, instead of getting good grades and applying for colleges. After high school, these bad boys trade in their motorcycles for jobs pumping gas and peddling small amounts of weed to local teenagers. At night, they become ‘that creepy old dude’ at the high school kid’s parties. But in the novel world, the bad boy is secretly a genius who only needed the love of a good woman to set him on the right track.
  4. All the other girls in your book, aside from the kooky, weirdly overprotective best friend, are sluts and bitches who want nothing more than the leading man. Actually, every single woman on the planet should be obsessed with the leading man, even the lesbians. Because lesbians don’t exist in the young adult world. Only sluts, bitches and the kooky best friend exist.
  5. Never underestimate the power of exclamation points! Exclamation points make everything more exciting! Why describe how exciting something is when you can just phone it in with punctuation!
  6. Every man on the planet who isn’t the leading man is a nefarious, evil stalker who will eventually attempt to rape the female lead…if she hasn’t been raped already. Because there is nothing more romantic than a graphic attempted rape scene in novel aimed at young adults.
  7. The hero must commit several felonies to prove his love for the heroine, up to and including; beating the shit out of any guy who dares talk to the heroine, kidnapping the heroine, breaking into her house or repeatedly stalking her. These same crimes would usually be creepy if an ugly guy did it, but the hero gets away with it because he’s hot.
  8. When in doubt, also make the bad boy a vampire or werewolf…fuck it, make him a werewolf/vampire/pirate.

All right people, I’ve got to get to work on this. I’m estimating I can churn out one book like this a week for the foreseeable future. After that, all there is left to do is count my money.


4th of July – You Need to Earn the Right to be Proud

In a few minutes, I’m going to go outside, light something on fire and shoot my gun up into the air. No, not because it’s 4th of July. Mainly, because it’s Friday and I’ve been day drinking since noon.

I like being American. I like being American because America is me. America is a good looking, aggressive, capitalist loving, loud-mouthed country that loves talking shit. It frequently gets into fights for no reason, and gets itself involved in fights that are none of its business. It tells others what to do, despite that fact that it’s a broke, substance abusing mess. It never admits it’s wrong and when something makes it really mad, it blows something up.

I’m pretty sure that is how most of my friends would describe me. I’m super glad that I was lucky enough to be born in a country that I have so much in common with.

But I’m not ‘proud to be an American.” To me, being proud actually indicates you did something to earn that pride. Being born an American was a lucky accident of my birth. I didn’t earn being an American. It was given to me by the benevolent flying spaghetti monster. For that I’m grateful.

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But I’m not proud.

I’m proud of my novels. I’m proud of the time I served in the military. Hell, I’m proud of the fact that I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue. I earned those things because I worked for them, so I am proud of them.

I wouldn’t say that I’m proud to be white or proud to be blond. Those were genetics. I had nothing to do with that. Am I glad? Hell yeah! I can’t dance and I could never get one of those complicated handshakes down. I really wouldn’t be able to pull off being black and I’m not sexy enough to be Hispanic. So I’m glad to be white, but I’m not proud to be white.

And I’m not proud to be an American.

Ironically, the people who actually deserve the right to claim they are proud to be Americans are the ones who get bitched at the most for being here in the first place.

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The people that crawl through the desert in the dead of night to get past the border, or pay their life savings to arrive in someone’s trunk should be proud. The people that come here on makeshift life rafts, paddling their way across an ocean that is more likely to kill them than help them deserve to be proud. The people who come here seeking asylum because they spoke out against their own country’s corruption and crimes against humanity deserve to be proud. The people who have to study for and take a citizenship test that most of us born-and-bred Americans couldn’t pass deserve to be proud.

Those people wanted to be here enough to risk their lives for it. They faced imprisonment for it and they gave up everything for it, including their wealth and families. Who does that remind me of?

Oh yeah, these guys.

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Yes, I’m pro-immigration and pro-open borders, and it’s not just because of my love of Hispanic pool boys. It’s because if someone cares enough to come here, whatever the risk, I think they deserve to be here.

“E pluribus Unum” isn’t just some silly Latin phrase on our money. It means something. Specifically, it means “out of many, one.”

It was the original endorsement for immigration and it was made when this country first started, when people actually had to struggle and fight to be here and to make this our country….and also kill a fuckload of Native Americans, but I’m going to go ahead and gloss over that one in honor of the holiday.

Those people were proud Americans and the people that fight to be here are proud Americans.

But I’m not a proud American. I am a very lucky girl who was born 3 hours south of the Canadian border. I could have just as easily been Canadian…and I’m a fuckload of glad I wasn’t. I’m far too rude to be Canadian.

So happy 4th, from one glad American, who was lucky enough to be born in a country arrogant enough to call itself the greatest nation on earth. America, we were made for each other.

Now if you’ll all excuse me, I need to go indiscriminately fire some bullets into the sky and blow up a trash can with a cherry bomb.

 

 


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