We need to talk about Mulan

I think it’s finally time we all sat down and discussed the movie Mulan.

Not discuss-discuss Mulan. For that you need to read my WIP book: “Mulan: Why it’s the greatest Disney movie ever,” subtitle “Creating subtext where there is none.” Coming Fall 2017.

I’m actually not really a Disney enthusiast. I don’t have much against the company, but I just don’t go out of my way to watch their movies these days, except out of nostalgia or, in the case of Frozen, constant societal pressure and nagging.

So what I am trying to say is, I don’t just indiscriminately love Disney feature films. My heart goes to Mulan only. Not like it’s a big deal if I did, but I just think it is important to make that you understand that Mulan is special.

And during all of this, I realized there is something very important that needs to be addressed about that movie, a part that once I explain it to you, you will realize is extremely bizarre as well, and a part that I’ve searched high and low on the internet for a discussion on the topic and through the academic literature (this blog is obviously extremely academic in nature, and stands among the academic journals), but this is never talked about. Barely mentioned, and never TALKED ABOUT. There are things that need to be T-A-L-K-E-D A-B-O-U-T. Like getting down the true, honest nitty-gritty. Like when you try to squeeze past someone and your butts touch. Or when you are super pregnant and you turn around and knock someone’s drink off their table at a restaurant. Or when accidentally use someone else’s toothbrush. Or the fruit scene in Mulan.

You know the one I’m talking about. Oh what’s that? You don’t? You haven’t marathoned Mulan 6 times in a week before? You’re obviously the worst.

Here is a clip of the scene. I know when you read blogs you usually skip the video clips. I know how it goes. I know your kind. But you have to Watch. The. Clip. It’s critical. And only 50 seconds.

Unfortunately, the only youtube clip I could find of this pivotal scene was in Flemish. But there is barely any dialogue, and I can recite it to you from memory. Mulan asks her BFFs from the army that are dressed up like fancy women (a callback to when SHE had to get all dressed up to go see the match maker, and that just was not her thing. Man. Layers.) if anyone has any questions, and Yao, the small fat one says, “Does this dress make me look fat?” and then he gets slapped. Maybe by Mulan. Maybe by one of the other men. Doesn’t matter. Later the big muscly Mongolians say to each other, “Concubines?” “Ugly concubines.” That’s all the dialogue that goes on.

So what’s the first strange thing in this clip?

The apple. An apple falls out of Ling’s (the tall skinny guy) dress. Here’s a picture, because I know that despite my pleadings you still probably did not watch the clip.

mulanapple

Okay, so he stuck some fruit down his shirt to look more ladylike, and he’s apples. But do you notice that this apple is half-eaten? Several bites have been taken out of it. The emperor was just kidnapped at sword-point by the Mongolians who have weirdly gray skin, and they are worried about invasion and the fate of China, but as he’s dressing up in a ridiculous disguise, and decides to chow down on a nutritious snack. I mean, I know all this running around and cross-dressing can make a guy hungry, but there’s a time and place for this, Ling. Honestly, some people.

Then suddenly everyone pulls fruit out of their shirts and the beefy men are like, “OH MY GOSH FRUIT??? HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO COMBAT THIS? And the army BFFs smile, thinking, “Yeah, you didn’t see that coming did you??” Mulan does not have the fruit advantage, because she is actually a woman, but somehow she manages, which leads me to think that perhaps the fruit was not necessary. The watermelons? Sure. They are big and heavy and could easily cause a concussion on their own, without any additional fighting. But sticking an apple in a guy’s mouth rarely incapacitates them as it did in this scene.

Now there is one more perplexing component to this scene. Here’s the picture, see if you know what I am talking about

 

b-a-n-a-n-a

A banana? Really, Yao? Why did you have a banana stuffed down your shirt? Why was it not more obvious that you were hiding one banana and one apple in your dress? Why did you pull out your banana and smile, as if you have some awesome advantage now that you are holding a banana? Do you think that maybe bananas are magical? I checked, and it turns out that bananas were initially domesticated in Southwest Asia, so it is not that crazy to think that you would have already been familiar with them at this point in your life, and besides, I don’t think the film is striving for historical accuracy. Furthermore, what happens to the banana during your fight? These questions are NEVER ANSWERED.

Now, I recognize that we are dealing with a cartoon. I’m not begrudging the movie for inaccuracies; it’s a children’s movie that’s supposed to be funny and silly as well as awesome. Animated movies can take liberties, that’s fine. A tiny dragon breathed fire onto a hawk and it turned into a naked chicken, but I don’t think that needs discussing. That is par with the rest of the movie.

I’m just wondering why there was a fighting scene where fruit tipped the balance between winning and losing. I’m wondering why in the middle of the climax of the movie, they decided to eat half of an apple. And I’m wondering why a squat man with a permanent black eye and a beard was hiding a banana in his dress.

Maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe this is a common trope in cinema. I’d love to hear if you have explanations for any of my questions. Maybe together we can get to the bottom of this so I can start sleeping again.

(The not sleeping is augmented by having a ravenously hungry baby, who in the middle of the night is like, “WOAH MOM. IT’S TIME FOR MY NINTH MIDNIGHT SNACK.” But the unsolved problems in this movie also have a lot to do with it. Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes! )

 

Guess what I have a baby now

Hello.

I have things to say. Stories to tell. I haven’t written a blog since June of last year, but now I have things to say probably. As a blogger it’s important to take unannounced hiatuses every once in a while, to keep people guessing.

This blog entry is a little disjointed because my head feels weird but I thought it was time to break the silence. SO DON’T BLAME ME IF IT IS NOT FUNNY OR INTERESTING. Blame Nicolas Cage, that’s the thing to do these days.

Anyway, I have a baby! He is super duper awesome, no joke. He is three months old and his name is Oliver, but sometimes we call him Martin. Just kidding. That was a mom joke. Because now every joke I make is a mom joke. His nickname is actually Ollie, though Martin is an alright name so maybe I’ll bring it up at the next family meeting.

Warning: this blog is about babies. If you find that unacceptable, please hold. Future entries will not all be about babies. But you should also question why you find babies so unacceptable, because…kind of weird. Get it together.

Here is an updated photo of my family:

Oh you know. The fam.

Oh you know. The fam.

Obviously when I said “photo” I mean “very life-like drawing” and obviously when I said “very life-like drawing” I meant something I drew in Microsoft Paint. It actually took a long time to create because I accidentally deleted it multiple times, and then redrew it, and then spent a lot of time complaining to the husband about how Paint is the worst program in existence, but I was using our Windows desktop, so I didn’t have a ton of options. Also I don’t know if it is just this monitor, but Ian seems to be glowing a little in the picture. Huh. Also Oliver is red because when I drew this he had just gotten his shots at the doctor and was super mad at me, so that is very symbolic and deep.

Babies are pretty great, but sometimes gross. I know this sounds like the beginning of a bunch of horrifying stories–I’ve heard them from new parents. About how they haven’t slept in 72 days and then they show you a piece of “baby” puke in their hair, but it looks suspiciously like grown-up vomit because there are chunks of corn in it, then you look at a wet spot on their pants and they are like, oh no worries, that baby urine, not mine, and then you vow to never have children, thus reducing the birth-rate in the world. And while Ollie spits up and pees on me all the time, it’s really not as gross as I thought it would be and it gives me a great excuse to look frazzled and crazed all the time even though that is just my face. That’s just how my face looks. Or if you show up really tired to something, people are like, oh the baby kept you up? And I shrug which seems like a yes, but really it means I was up late reading a dumb book, or playing a dumb game, or maybe braiding friendship bracelets. The last likely being the most productive activity. Or if we are sitting somewhere where I am expected to act like a normal person and I start to get antsy, Oliver is like, “No worries, I got this” and cries and surprise! Instant ticket out of said situation.

Should I turn this into a BuzzFeed article?

“5 shocking secrets about having kids that will put other parents out of business!”

“10 incredible truths that NO ONE WILL EVER TELL YOU about being a new parent!”

“Watch this video! YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT THIS MOM DOES oh my gosh your life will never be the same!”

I’m going to go with the first one.

Here are my shocking secrets about having a three-month old baby:

1. Talking to yourself is now acceptable. When you talk to yourself in the grocery store, you’re the local crazy. But when you ‘talk to your baby’ in the store, it’s adorable. This is incredibly useful and life-changing. I have been talking to myself my whole life, and now it’s finally socially acceptable.

2. Oliver likes to be watched all the time. He gets upset if there is no one looking at him. This was a surprise to me, because I guess I was under the impression that babies were sort of apathetic towards the people around them, because how many emotional needs can babies have? This is incorrect. (Previous to Ollie, I hadn’t spent very much time around babies.) Sometimes Ollie will fall asleep while I’m holding him, so I carefully put him down, and he is still sleeping, good news, right? And then I watch him for a few minutes, and he is still sleeping, so I think, “Oh, maybe I’ll work on homework or something productive” and so I turn away and suddenly he is all,

“Woah woah woah! I’ll probably cry for a while now.”
“But you were just sleeping.”
“Yes, ok, I’ll go back to sleep.”

So I try to walk away again, and then I hear another cry.

“What’s the deal, babbio?”
“hmm, I just think maybe I need you to be here.”
“But you are sleeping.”
“Yes, well, I think you need to watch me sleep.”

So then he sleeps and I do watch him because who likes being productive anyway? And then later he’ll wake up and be all “FINE MOM. I’M AWAKE, HAPPY? NOW I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU’D HOLD ME WHILE YOU EAT YOUR AU GRATIN POTATOES.” But, lest you think this is a one way street, while I am eating my au gratin potatoes and holding him, he smiles a bunch and then promises to take care of me in my old age.

3. My baby is apparently always hungry. Or at least Oliver does. My niece does not have this problem. Sister #2 says that I deserve it. With Oliver, his appetite is constant. I remember at the hospital, right after he was born, the nurse said that babies usually eat every 2-4 hours, and I thought, oh well Ollie will definitely be the one that eats every 4. Obviously this was a delusional fantasy, first that I could somehow control him in any way, and second that he would not actually want to eat every 45 minutes. This is how things usually go down with Ollie (embellishing a little, like the fact that there are words involved at all).

“Hey, I need a snack maybe.”
“You just ate.”
“Yeah but that was like 15 minutes ago, sooo…maybe I should eat again.”
“Okay, but then you will be good for a few hours right?”
“I think we are wasting a lot of time talking when I could be eating.”
“So that one day you will actually be full and not want to eat?”
“Lolz.”

4. My baby is cutest. As much as I logically realize that every parent thinks their baby is the cutest, I still feel pretty positive that mine is the cutest. When I am not around Oliver, I am usually looking at pictures of Oliver. I’M OBSESSED WITH MY BABY, WHAT ABOUT IT??

5. If you have a boy, the ratio of cute things in a clothing store for boys is like 1:113. Not in favor of boys. It’s incredibly unjust. You wouldn’t believe how many places I had to go to get a good bow-tie for him. Don’t worry about the fact that I went all over looking for a bow-tie. 

Ian was wearing a wizard hat for a while. He took it off a few minute ago. It was initially for a bit, but then he didn’t take it off. Maybe he liked the look.

Okay, it is time to go. My brain is mush.

Call me, I plan kidnap-free parties.

Because my body is mostly made up of Diet Coke and anxiety, one way that I have learned to cope with things is by making plans for everything. Not just primary plans, but also secondary plans in case those primary plans don’t work out, and tertiary plans in case something in the secondary plan falls through. It’s a little exhausting, but it brings me temporary peace of mind and can stave off a certain percentage of anxiety attacks. BECAUSE I WILL BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING. Sometimes it is more calming just to “wing it”, but I can’t ditch plans to wing it, I have to plan on winging it. Ian and I went camping a few weekends ago, and I told him about how we were just going to wing it at least five times throughout the day.

Except sometimes that technique backfires, in a couple different ways. First of all, if a part of the event or situation changes–not like, oh this place is closed, or what’s her face can’t come to the throw rocks at statues, but more like–well, for example, if Ian comes to me and says, “Oh, we are actually meeting so and so at 8:00, not 6:00″ I am thrown into a temporary panic and I have to withdraw inside for a few minutes so I can recalibrate all the plans. It takes time. Watching me, it looks like I am some butt-crazy person who just died because her plans changed, but I am actually just a butt-crazy person who is trying to sort things out. SO SUE ME. I HAVE PLANS FOR YOU SUEING ME.

The other problem with my excessive planning is that I also plan out scenarios if some unexpected event happens. Example: the store has no doughnuts. Maybe someone had a party and bought them all. Maybe the employees are hoarding them (I say this from the perspective of a former cashier who used to hoard the doughnuts)(I bought them, don’t judge). Maybe a few of the employees that make the doughnuts got food poisoning so they weren’t able to get as many doughnuts out before the store opened. Maybe the shipment of dough was stolen by some well-dressed thieves.

Okay, so that doesn’t seem so bad. But I will give a another example of my scenario planning, a real life one.

I was cat sitting no less than four cats for a few days. My family loves animals as much as I do, so cat-sitting is not just a show up, fill the bowl, get out of there. They need tenderness and love.  I need to play with them, make them feel happy, reassure them. And since all the cats do not usually get along, even feeding them requires me to tackle cats and put them in rooms while I feed the others, put them back, let out the others…and then repeat.

Anyway, my mom wanted me to sleep over at the house to keep an eye on them, so I did, but Ian decided to sleep at our house. No big deal. But I decide to give him a call, and I hear a quiet “hallo…” from a man in a non-standard accent. Kind of Chinese sounding, but it was hard to tell.

WHAT. Was he messing with me? Who was talking on the phone? Why was he saying “hallo” instead of “hello”? I started to get suspicious that Ian was playing a little trick on me. “Hello? Ian? Ian? Why are you talking weird? Ian?”

No answer for about a full minute. Then–”Hallo…”

WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I hung up. Checked that I was calling Ian’s number. His face was on the phone. Called back.

“Hallo…”

This time I said nothing, and listened to the man say “hallo…” a few times and then hung up.

“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” I screamed. “IS MY HUSBAND DEAD?!”

Adrenaline rushed through my body. Realizing this may not be the only option, I sat and evaluated several more scenarios. I became sure that Ian had been kidnapped and the kidnapper answered his phone to pretend to be Ian, so that I would not be suspicious. Nice try, kidnapper. You do a terrible Ian impression. Ian is more likely to answer the phone saying “holo!” than “hallo…” C’mon! Do your research!

I was terrified. What should I do? Should I go over to my apartment and confront the kidnapper? Should I call my mom? Why do I always think I should call my mom?

I took a look at the number again, not really believing that I had called the wrong person. I was pretty convinced I had a kidnapped husband on my hands. Despite Ian not being a person of any political power, and us not having any money for ransom, and that now, in the cold harsh light of day, I realize that it is more likely he would be killed than kidnapped, unless somebody wanted him to make a website and not have to pay or maybe if they wanted him to teach them spanish?

Anyway, of course I found out that I had been calling his old number that had been reassigned to the “hallo…” man, otherwise this story would me much more sad, and I called his current number and he answered, and I said “Oh my gosh, thank goodness you are not kidnapped. I was so scared you had been kidnapped.” All was well.

This is not the first time this has happened, where I’ve called a person’s old number that has been reassigned. In a Walmart once I was calling Sister #2 and instead I called a man and demanded that he tell me his identity, because I assumed I was being tricked. “Why would I tell you who I am? You called me.” He left off the “you freak”, but I could hear it in his voice. I realized he had a fair point, so I let him off the hook.

In unrelated news, a while back I was looking through a list where I record things I might later want to write about, and one of the things on my list was “meth?please” and I’m going to tell you straight up, I have no memory of writing this. Everything else on the list? All made sense. All solid ideas. Why was I talking about meth? Why was I being so polite about it? Why did I not put a space between meth and please? That is by far the most disturbing part.

So I guess I’m pretty confused about that. I’ve never had meth. I don’t know how to get meth. I am an anxious freak so I’m definitely not interested in meth (among other reasons). I’ve mulled over that line for several months, and I still have no idea. Does meth make you forget things? Maybe I was drugged. Maybe I was drugged so someone could kidnap me and then try to impersonate me on the phone, but Ian saw through them and rescued me, but never brought it up because he knew it would freak me out. But that makes me kind of mad, because I am not a child, I can handle it. That was a pretty rude thing to do, Ian. GEEZ.

 

 

 

I rank today 8 out of 10 stars

I am exceptionally proud of myself today. Let me tell you why. I’m sure you want to know.

1. I woke up this morning. Without an alarm clock. And I put on real clothes for work.

2. I ran errands. I went to the freaking bank. I went to TWO banks. I’m not joking, I really did. I have two banks. Sometimes one just doesn’t cut it. Sue me.

3. Get this. I EXERCISED. I’m not talking about, oh I took the stairs, I’m saying, I put a disc into my Wii U, and I strapped on some straps and I gripped the wii-mote with my sweaty palms and I did what the nice lady on the TV told me to do. She was very flattering. She told me she was very impressed with my running in place skills, but she did say my lunges needed work.

I never exercise. I plan to exercise all the time, and sometimes that gets me so worked up and confidant that I go eat an ice cream cone. But today, I did it. I’m pretty sure I’m the healthiest person in the world, and #4 and #5 will further prove my point.

4. I went shopping at Sprouts. If you don’t live in the West, or…Texas, apparently (I looked at store locations. I thought it was just a west thing, but Texas is nearby I guess) it’s a gateway drug/health food store. It smells like a health food store, and they sell vitamins and I think you can grind your own peanut butter. They have an “olive bar” which was confusing, and a “soup bar” which was gross because they were all healthy soups. But walking in, I instantly  felt cool, and like I could start lecturing people about non-organic vegetables and eating habits. I looked around and thought, no one knows I ate a cookie for breakfast; they don’t even assume. Maybe I can pull this off.

5. When Ian came home and was all, “are we still on for burgers?” and I was like, no. I expected him to protest and then I would say, “let me finish! We are going to a place with sal-ads.” But then I realized that I forgot everything about Ian’s nature, and that he doesn’t care about eating out so that didn’t pan out. Anyway, I got a sal-ad! Instead of a burger! I am on a role! I am amazing! I think I just lost 5 pounds thinking back on all the healthy things I did today.

6. I was perusing the clearance section in a clothing store and tried on a pretty dress, but then I couldn’t get it off, because the arms were not stretchy, and there was no zipper, and it went on just fine, but I couldn’t lift my arms above my head, so I had to face facts: I was stuck in a dress that I didn’t own.

I had a few options. The first one that came to mind was calling in the sales woman, and honestly, I almost did it. But when you say “Hey, so, can you help me pull this dress off my body?” what you are really saying is, “Hey, I’m so fat that this dress I’ve squeezed my ample girth into is stuck, and I’m mostly nakes underneath, so that’ll be fun for you to see.” EVEN THOUGH IT WAS THE DRESS, NOT MY FATNESS. But if you say that you sound defensive, and then they just think you are both fat and insecure, and that is just insulting. I will not be called insecure. Additionally, I was afraid that because the shoulders were made out of thin, semi-sheer material that they would rip as the sales woman was trying to pull the dress over my head, and then she would awkwardly hold the ripped dress and not say anything as I stand there in my undies, but her eyes would say, “You are buying this, and I may sue you for emotional trauma,” and I would try to salvage some speck of dignity by taking the dress out of her hands and up to the register, but at that point I would realize I forgot to put my old clothes on and now this scenario is reminding me of an episode of Arthur I saw as a child where he rips his pants in the cafeteria. I guess that’s not really the same situation at all.

Anyway, you get the idea. So another idea was to call a friend to come to the store and help me, but I wasn’t close by to anyone, and also I know that a lot of retailers do not let multiple people into one dressing room, especially Target. I didn’t want to wait twenty minutes for someone to get there.

I finally resigned myself to snipping off the tag and wearing it out of the store, pretending like I was so smitten by the dress I couldn’t bear to take it off even for a moment. But weirdly, the worst part about that was that I didn’t even like the dress. It made me knees look weird. I didn’t want to buy it, and I didn’t want other people to think I liked it, because that would be embarrassing. I get selectively embarrassed. I’ll tell stories about urinating in bathtubs on the internet, and that’s fine but people thinking I like an ugly dress is UNACCEPTABLE.

I made one last desperate effort to get the dress off and then…I did it! It was so magical and somewhat surprising because throughout this ordeal I was sweating a lot because I was so stressed, so I was definitely stickier at the end than at the beginning.

So what I’ve been getting at is, I am proud of myself for getting that dress off.

 

That is why  am proud of myself. It has also been a good day because I saw a spider-man walking down State Street with a satchel over his shoulder and a glass coke bottle in his hand. The man’s gotta relax sometime, and today was a beautiful day.

To take us out, I have a quote from my lovely husband:

“Marie, life is not measured by the diet cokes you do or do not drink.”

He is so wise. Well, at least wise-sounding. I’m not a hundred percent sure he is correct.

Ian: A linguistic marvel

Listen, I love Ian.

Really.

But he talks weird.

In a hilarious way.

It’s true.

I would describe his speech as a hodgepodge of random consonant clusters, redundant vowels, rhyming and obscure pop-culture references.

It rubs off on me, too. Which is fine. Whatever. When I’m talking to him, I don’t notice. Sometimes we will quote viral videos to the point where they are not quotes anymore, they have become regular vocab. Have you seen this? If you have, good work. If not, remedy it immediately. How do you sleep nights? Becuse these babby cant frighth back. This is serious crap! Sometimes I have it on repeat in the background while I am doing homework. It soothes me. When I have a babby of my own, I will play that to her while I rock her to sleep.

Anyway, the video is all about the babbies. So I use that word instead of baby, and sometimes I say it to people who don’t know the video, and who have babies inside their stomachs or outside their stomachs, and then I am cruelly mocked because that’s the way my friends are.

Here is the proof that it is a real thing if you won't watch it.

Here is the proof that it is a real thing if you won’t watch it.

Another example. Person: “GUESS WHAT, [insert great thing that happened]!” Me: “Snoo snay, that is sno snood!” (translation: No way, that is so good!)

Here is a real life example from Ian.

“It is too cold! Too cold…snoo snold…”

That is genuinely a way that Ian talks, and now I talk that way, and it is all his fault.

As an English Linguistics major, I am required to do mini-studies a lot, and I frequently use Ian as my test subject. The results are intriguing. For one particular project I made notes about irregular speech patterns I heard, as well as recording him at least once a week for a semester. This lead to me recording a bunch of bizarre crap that I have become used to, but really, Ian is an odd duck. It’s hilarious. Some of these have some insular references that will be hard to understand if you are not from Provo, so I’ve provided helpful links. So you can get the jokes.

(Driving in the car, not saying much of anything. Suddenly Ian spoke.)

“Did you know Mark Wilburg used to be my dad?”

Just so you know. Ian has NO history with Mark Wilburg. No relation, no friendship-connection. They have never met. Later that day he had an eggo waffle served with cream cheese and half a block of cheddar grated and melted on top. That’s not relevant to Mark Wilburg, but it is disgusting.

(Driving to 7-11 to get a soda)

“Why is the Y lit up??? This must be what hell feels like.”

When the Y is lit up, it’s pretty low key. Just a shiny Y on the mountain. Kind of fun. Before this declaration, Ian had never expressed displeasure concerning putting electric lights on mountains in the shapes of modern roman letters. Nor has he since. When I pressed him for details on what made this incident so hellish, I was given none.

(A conversation between Ian and me, while walking on campus)

Me: “I thought that was a joke.”

Ian: “Would I joke about that?”

Me: “You joke about everything.”

Ian: “I know. That was a joke.”

And, to take us out…

(I am trying to get a pot out of the cupboard, so it’s noisy. Ian suddenly rushes out of the bathroom.)

Ian (who upon seeing me, and what I am doing, is very disappointed): “Oh, I thought you were getting out the toybox.”

Then he walked sadly away.

YES, WE HAVE A TOYBOX AND NO CHILDREN. Several. What? Maybe. Yes. K, bye.

Just some carrot sticks, no big deal.

You know the phrase, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”? I have been attempting my 182nd diet–you know, to lose weight, be healthy, extend my life span–and I’m trying to find a good mantra. But I don’t think that’s the one. I remember being skinny. I know what it’s like. And while I guess it feels good, it’s not something one consciously thinks about. All of my problems did not float away. Could that apathetic feeling really compete with delicious food?

It’s a toss-up. But not really. So…maybe  this will be my mantra: “Nothing tastes good enough to compensate for that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when I try to put on a pair of jeans that fit two months ago, but now will not squeeze over my ample buttocks.”

I just feel like it’s more truthful. And descriptive. And motivating.

About a month ago I was digging through my backpack while sitting on the floor in front of some vending machines and found some ibuprofen, a dirty fork, and–here’s the good AND relevant part–a few bucks. It was time to splurge.

Normally if I get anything from the vending machine, it’s a bagel, because they are delicious and not too heinous in price. But I thought about my diet.

That was actually different diet than the one I am currently on–right now I am on a diet where you only eat paper–but you can eat all the paper you want. Jk, but if you can name that reference you will get butterfly kisses from a deer AND WHO WOULDN’T WANT THAT.

Anyway, I thought guiltily about vow to be a healthy person and decided to get those carrot sticks that had been shoved into a smoothie cup with a tiny smidgen of ranch to dip in. I thought to myself, What could possibly go wrong??

Well, Marie, a lot of things. You just bought carrots from a vending machine. For ten times what they are worth. You bought expensive vegetables from a vending machine. GOSH, YOU KNOW NOTHING.

Huh. That just got tricky. Because now it’s future Marie lecturing past Marie, and I’m not sure how to smoothly get back to being past Marie…get out of here future Marie. No one likes a know-it-all.

So I bought those carrots, thinking that carrots are carrots, what could possibly go wrong, etc. But I underestimated them. I underestimated all of them. I left to go print out a paper, but I was really hungry, so I kept trying to dip carrots in ranch with my left hand while holding my computer and coat in my right hand, and such was my frenzy that for a few minutes I didn’t notice anything weird about those carrots. But when I settled down on a nice comfortable corner of carpet,and the ranch smidgen ran out, the truth couldn’t hide any longer.

My carrots tasted like Christmas trees. Whaaat? Yes. They tasted like Christmas trees. There is no other way to describe it. Actually. That is a lie. You can describe anything multiple ways, especially Christmas trees. Because they are also pine trees. But that’s not the point, the point is my carrots were crisp and not discolored, and not wet like baby carrots sometimes are when you buy them, but they tasted like Christmas trees and that offset the whole experience.

I mean, of course I ate them anyway. They were overpriced carrot sticks, what do you expect me to do? And remember: Christmas tree flavor or no Christmas tree flavor, they are still (probably) healthy, and being healthy makes me feel good about myself and gives me perceived moral high ground, which I enjoy. “Oh, you’re eating M&Ms? No thanks, I just ate some carrot sticks that tasted like Christmas trees…I eat vegetables ALL the time.” And then I laugh and toss my hair. It’s really fun, you should try it.

Later Ian tried some of the carrots and he didn’t agree that they tasted like Christmas trees, but he does not have a very sensitive palate. I know this because he used to eat pop-tarts and dry shredded wheat for dinner. And when I’m not around, he basically still does that.

And it wasn’t just that my mouth was being weird, like maybe I’d been around Christmas trees a lot that day. Because a few weeks later, I had a nearly identical situation. Bagel or carrots? Bagel or carrots? I chose carrots, because maybe the weird taste before was a fluke. Maybe those carrots had been grown next to a Christmas tree. Who knows. So in a moment of insanity, I purchased the carrot sticks again.

And GUESS WHAT. They tasted the same, yeah. It’s true. It’s so mysterious.

So a few days ago when I stopped by vending machines on campus, I didn’t waste time. I got a bagel: half the price, twice as good, and four times the calories. And that’s basically what happens when I try to be healthy.

 

Dream Teams: Amy and Will

Here’s the thing, I’m reporting to you today from inside a cloud of sickness, so…here I am. Ta da!

Anyway that’s my disclaimer. What I want to tell is partially about me and partially about two of my favorite people in famous-people-world: Amy and Will.
More about them in a minute. You should know something. When I am in a bipolar related down-cycle, a lot of weird things can set me off into despair and weeping. It’s super fun. For example, the other day, I was all happy go lucky, sitting on rainbows, and husbo was like, cool, let’s do something fun, but let me go to the bathroom first. This is how the rest of the situation played out.

**Ian exits the bathroom, and finds me sprawled despondently on the couch.
Ian: “What’s the matter??”
Me: “It’s just not fair. Nothing’s fair, everyone is terrible.”
Ian: “…”
Me: “How could she do that to him!! NO ONE DESERVES THAT SORT OF TREATMENT.”
Ian: “…who are we talking about?”
Me: “Ted, from How I Met Your Mother. When that one girl left him at the altar for the other guy, I can’t even believe her. WHO DOES THAT SORT OF THING! THEY WOULD’VE BEEN SO HAPPY. PEOPLE NEED TO JUST CHILL OUT AND STOP WORRYING AND BE HAPPY.”
Ian: *cautiously, because naturally he is confused about what is happening* “Have you…were you just watching How I Met Your Mother?”
Me: “No.”
Ian: “So…when did you see Ted getting left at the altar?”
Me: “Like…like six months ago…it’s just so sad…”
END SCENE

Well there was more to that scene, but it goes downhill from there. Ian is very nice and doesn’t make fun of me in this state, though I definitely deserve it. What the crap. I need to clarify further: I don’t even like How I Met Your Mother that much. I watch it sometimes, and there are funny moments, but it just doesn’t float my boat. So…that just adds a little more bizarre perspective.

Similarly, in Parks and Recreation (a show I love and am obsessed with, so this is even more intense) when Ben and Leslie broke up, I was so upset. I am only a little ashamed to say that I cried. They are probably my second favorite fictional pairing in all of TV (second only to Lorelie and Luke, OBVIOUSLY)(I watch too much TV?) And when Ben proposed, I cried some more. I know that I get very attached to fictional characters. When I finished the Harry Potter books, I was in a strange daze that lasted for weeks, because what was I supposed to look forward to in life anymore? Actually, any time I come to the end of a character-based book, I am filled with anguish.

SO IMAGINE MY DESPAIR WHEN I FIND OUT THAT MY FAVORITE CELEBRITY COUPLE JUST BROKE UP. I am of course referring to Amy Poehler and Will Arnett. I idolize this couple. I normally don’t give a crap about celebrity relationships; I know it seems like I would due to my interactions with fictional characters, but when a relationship lasts on average less than 7 years, I don’t let myself worry about it. I don’t expect it to become magical.

But Amy Poehler and Will Arnett were different. They are both hilarious. They hang out in similar circles. They guest starred on each other’s shows, and did movies together (the only redeeming part of Blades of Glory, C’MON)(I am trying to incorporate the word “C’MON” a lot in this post in honor of Job in Arrested D). They have adorable kids. Parks and Recreation and Arrested Development are the two greatest things ever. No. That’s not true. Sorry. Arrested Development is indisputably the greatest thing ever, but Parks and Recreation is not far behind. And Amy Poehler is hilarious in everything, and Will Arnett is just mostly hilarious in everything, so they are even.

mybffjill

Sniff. Beautiful People

I am sort of getting off the subject again. I don’t know if much of this makes sense. I’ll try to stay on track about what I am trying to say.

This is seriously how I heard the news:

Me: “You know who my favorite celebrity couple is? Will Arnett and Amy Poehler. They are just so great.”
Sister #2: “Uh…you know they just separated, right?”
Me: “LOVE IS DEAD.”

I had to find out more. What happened? What went wrong? And more importantly, how could I facilitate their reunion?

To find out, I did something I swore I’d never do, not with anyone I really cared about: I plunged deep into the gooey, sugar-stained depths of gossip blogs. Remember how I talked about 4chan? Those places are just sanitized versions of 4chan. Kind of.

Those two. Being normal and happily married together. LITTLE DID THEY KNOW.

Those two. Being normal and happily married together. LITTLE DID THEY KNOW.

It was a waste anyway. I found nothing that told me the answers, nothing to fill the void. They weren’t talking to reporters about it. There was no evidence of public smearing. They still seem “amiable”, that’s the word everyone is using. Their separation and pending divorce is private, and they are keeping it private. Kudos to those two. Curse them. I only respect and like them more.

I’ve been looking at pictures of the two together and weeping for the past several months. And I’ve found that the internet is mourning with me. Gawker has an article titled “Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are Separating So Go Home and Break Up with Your Boyfriend Because ‘Love’ Is a Lie” and multiple images of the two with “Love is a lie” and other things printed on them. I even saw a Parent Trap style photo, you know, where a picture of them is torn down the middle? Every site you go to, everyone is sad, upset, confused, and hungry. Jk jk, I know sad and upset are mostly the same emotion in this situation.

This only validates my sadness. This really doesn’t bode well.

I kind of want to concoct a Parent Trap scenario (inspired by the ripped picture I saw) where I sneakily get them back together by bringing up old times and pretending to be my twin sister. But I don’t know what their “old times” consist of, and I am not one of their children…and they don’t have twins…it’s going to be tricky. I am currently accepting suggestions. C’MON, GUYS! It’s for the good of love.

I am going to go crawl back into my sickness hole. It’s been real, everyone. It’s been real.

Some things about the internet

I have some things to say about the internet. Now, first of all, I am not computer illiterate in any way. I know my way around. I spend a lot of time on my computer/internet. A LOT. When Ian and I were on vacation in San Fran, the motel said that they had internet, but really they meant, “If you stand on a chair in the bathroom with your phone/laptop held towards the ceiling, you might get a slight signal”, and Ian was almost out of data on his phone, and I still had my pawn shop phone at the time, AND we had agreed not to bring computers on vacation so there would be no temptation for us to work (Ian) or waste time reading Cracked (me). So we had to ration the data for important things, like the GPS, yelp, and twitter, and we each got a little time on the internet, but then sometimes I would secretly use more, because…I wanted to and I have problems with impulse control, and Ian would be all, “Where is the data going??” And I would just look meaningfully at the nearest homeless person, and then Ian would briefly consider my suggestion that a random homeless person sleeping in a grocery cart was stealing our data, which, to be honest, is why I married Ian in the first place. He considers out of the box ideas.

Also, about a month ago the internet wasn’t working in my apartment, and I needed it for homework, so I texted Ian like 63 times telling him, because somehow he would magically fix the problem while at work except he didn’t (rude), and then I was like, “oh, I’ll just watch Netflix until I can get access to the router, they have a new season of blah blah” and then it dawned on my that NETFLIX IS INTERNET. And so then I cried a little, not because I cared about doing homework, but because I felt like something was missing in my life, and because I couldn’t access my e-books online? (Note: I have a Kindle and literally a thousand hard copy books)

Anyway, what I’m getting at is the internet is a freaky place. After a while in life, you get used to things, and some things are gross or weird but it’s rare that something shocks/terrifies you like the internet can.

A while ago I started asking questions about memes, like where do they even come from. And somebody told me that it all started with 4chan, and that the idiotic “anonymous” spawns from 4chan, so I got curious. What is this 4chan? Isn’t it just a forum? I decided to check it out.

It started out innocently enough, with me perusing some wallpapers of sexy unicorns, and then I came to the random board and found out that it is where evil lives, and I still don’t know how they are organized enough to do anything or how innocent things like memes come from there. NEVER GO THERE. If you already go there, then what is wrong with you, stop going there.

I wrote briefly of my experience on twitter, about how my curiosity got the best of me, and my friend responded by saying something along the lines of, “Some things are best left unexplored, like 4chan and hard drugs.”

She’s a very wise woman.

Did you know that there is a “frugal” subreddit? Great, right, except Ian discovered it, and now he thinks we should only eat uncooked rice and beans and weave our clothes from spare carpet fibers, and it is only encouraging his very blatant desire to grow up to be Thoreau so…that subreddit is dangerous for someone who doesn’t care about food or material possessions)(aka Ian)(not me)(I love both food and material possessions)(obviously). Also once Ira Glass did an “Ask Me Anything”, but I MISSED IT AND I HAD SO MANY QUESTIONS TO ASK, like, why didn’t you come to my wedding, did you not get my invitation?!

Also I want to talk about some emoticons, and what I think when I see them.

:s – I am being completely honest. I do not know what this one means. Is it like, “oh my mouth is so snaky because I am displeased”, or maybe like, “this is how I wiggle my mouth when Im happy or devious”

8 ) – I recognize logically that this is just a creative smiley face, but I see a bow that’s covering most of the person’s face, and while that could have some interesting meanings, it is usually not the intent of the user. Usually.

;( – This is a winking pirate. Not very many people know about this one, because I made it up on accident one day. Spread the word. It comes in handy more often then you’d think. I’ve used it over six times today.  Yeah. This is the real deal.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about the internet for now, and I’m not even sure what it is I am trying to say, but I really should’ve spent the time I used writing this blog to do one of my final exams, but you can only stare at a computer screen trying to think of how to solve a lame problem before you want to cut your feet off and throw them at your sleeping husband.

My cat is orange

I know I haven’t written in a while.

And while I am not under the impression that everyone reading this has been despairing over my lack of entries, I am going to talk about why.

And this is not going to be a funny entry.

My cat who is orange, whose name is Shwaybi, passed away this past summer. And I’ve been really sad. I was devastated when he got sick. I was devastated when it happened, when he actually died. And I’m still devastated. Sometimes I start thinking about him, and I get caught thinking about how he was when he was sick, and how he looked when we buried him, and then how he was when he was not sick, and I can barely stand it. I get so sad, especially at night, when my mind wanders when I’m trying to sleep.

I see him all the time, even though I know he is gone. I see him out of the corner of my eye in my apartment, even though he hasn’t ever lived in my apartment, he lived with my parents. I hear him meowing around the corner, padding into the kitchen when I’m at my parents. I go looking in his hiding spots, only to remember that he is not alive.

I have a hard time talking about this for several reasons. One of the big reasons is that not everyone understands my being so sad about the death of an animal. Not everyone gets attached, not everyone feels that way. And I guess that is fine, but I do. Shwaybi was part of my family and has been in my family for a really long time. People do not like comparing the death of a pet to the death of a human, which I understand, but that’s not what I’m doing. I’m not an expert on feelings or death, I’m just really sad because I miss my cat.

I haven’t been able to write a blog entry since he died. I have started several. There are a lot of partial drafts, about everything from Amy Poehler to me punching Ian in my sleep. But I always see Shwaybi’s face on the masthead and feel sad, and think, “I should write about him.” Pets don’t get eulogies, so I feel like I should write one. I will write more later on, I am sure. Shwaybi’s appearance marked the beginning of my utter obsession with cats that lead to me pretending to be a cat for a solid three years (at least). And I really do love all animals, and especially cats. But Shwaybi was special. You can’t replace a cat with another cat, no more than you can replace a friend with another friend.

I was planning on writing more in this entry. About how he died. About what happened, about how I said goodbye,  and about what a great cat he was. He was a great cat. I thought I was ready to write about it, but it turns out I am not. I have written this entry over twenty times, but I guess this is just what I am going to do.

I miss my cat so much. I miss my friend. Someday I will write more about him. He deserves a proper eulogy. But I need to get past this block, because I love writing, and I really do have A TON of stories to write about. So I’m going to start writing about them again. It feels strange posting a serious story directly after a post where I detailed a feud that ending with me peeing in my sister’s bathtub, but Shwaybi was a weird cat, and I had plenty of feuds with him. Lots of the stories I have to tell are about him.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for now. I’m sorry for not being weird or funny or ridiculous today. Not really, I’m not really sorry. But I don’t usually write things like this. Emotional things. I’m secretly private. About strange things.

So until next time,

The girl who has the cat that is orange

Me vs. a cat named Bird and maybe a slightly gross story

There are and have been a lot of significant animals in my life. My fish Wesley, who is basically like a child to me, except that I often forget to change his water and feed him, but that is what the husbo is for. To remind me not to let Wesley die. But seriously, I love that fish. He just dirties up his water really fast.

There is also Shwaybi, my orange cat. The love of my life. I mean the animal love of my life. He is surly and enormous (bigger than some small dogs) and also a little conceited. He is the best thing ever. I cannot emphasize this enough. You may think your cat is great, and he or she probably is, but Shwaybi is better. Do you need proof?

EXHIBIT A: He is adorable.

Best cat ever

Don't you try and tell me that he is not so cute that you might die.

I think this speaks for itself. I could list his other qualities–fierceness, an affinity to lie on things like paper or suits, his tendency to hide in closets during thunderstorms, or his intense addiction to foxtail weeds. But. I feel that no more exhibits should be displayed. He needs no more defense.

There have been other animals in my life, besides cats, like Mealy/Travis, the mealworm/beetle that was crippled because after I took him from my biology class and gave him a good home, he turned into a weird cocoon pupae, and I did not know that this was something that happened to meal worms. So I picked him up and then I may have  dropped him during this crucial development stage. I will never forgive myself. He was born a gimp. And then he became encrusted in a flour tomb. And our efforts to save him only made things worse! It was heartbreaking. I cried often. That is not hyperbole.

There were also many goldfish named–well, Goldy. I think it got to Goldy the third, who I think died of stress when we first got Shwaybi. Shwaybi was…very interested in Goldy. That is to say, he very much wanted to eat him and would stare at his bowl all day, just waiting for Goldy to slip up. It’s enough to wear anyone down.

There are many, many more animals I could talk about, but it is not the time. No. Today it is time for the story about Bird, a cat with a fitting name because she made weird noises and also was MY NEMESIS.

Bird was owned by Sister #2. Sister #1 has a cat too, his name is Riley, and he is insane as well, but I will tell his story another day. Initially the cat was named “Baby” but that didn’t last long, and thank goodness. Baby is a ridiculous name for anything except a baby human. No way was I about to go around calling the cat that. “Baby…Baby, where are you?” This isn’t a Taylor Swift song, honestly.

Baby switched to Bird. Because most of my friends are cats, I know a few things about them, and wouldn’t toss this around lightly, but she was sort of insane. So much energy. She never stopped moving. She’d be all like, I want to play, no I want you to hold me, what? Why are you touching me!!!! CLAW YOUR FACE TO TINY PIECES. Then she’d wriggle around like a hostage, start running laps around the 500 square feet apartment, and screaming a terrifying scream, like she was summoning the forces of darkness. But they never showed, so she’d just go to sleep in the bathroom sink.

The constant running was annoying particularly when I’d be staying the night because Sister #2 would close the door to her bedroom and leave Bird out with me. What, no big deal, I used to think. I love cats (and actually I did love Bird, despite her insanity). She had a tendency to sprint across my body as I slept though, and it made me want to punch her in the face, but she was much too fast! Also she is a tiny fluffball, and I make a rule not to punch tiny fluffballs.

Oh, she’s under the rug, now chasing a wrapper under the couch and now she’s attached herself to my shoulder, cool. Claws are fun.

Another thing was that she was never spayed. This wasn’t her fault, obviously, and she was kept in the apartment at all times, so no unwanted kitten batches abounded, but it seemed like she was constantly in heat. And then she would sprawl on the floor and then drag herself around with her front paws, making terrifying noises to bring the man-cats to the yard. And then she’d rub against everything, so the whole place smelled weird.

I tell you these things so you have a better idea of what I was up against when I tell you the following story. Also I want to reiterate that I love Bird, despite her psychosis. But she was also a formidable foe.

I was house/cat sitting for Sister #2 for about a week. I was left detailed instructions concerning the house and a few things about Bird. Don’t let her out, leave tin foil in the bath tub, blah blah, I don’t understand Sister #2, blah blah.

THE FIRST DAY Bird makes a run for it. What a brat. I spent hours in utter panic that Sister #2 was going to come home to find no cat and then tear my arms off and then hit me with them. Finally I hear that weird clicking bird noise coming from the laundry room and she is darting around there like a maniac, and so I catch her with the help of some nets and a huge slab of meat. Just kidding. I don’t believe in nets. I caught her with my bare hands. No slab of meat either. Slabs of meat are gross.

When back in the house, I had some friends over, and Bird promptly threw up. Which made me throw up a little, so the whole thing was just madness. The puke ended up in a rag thrown onto the seat of the neighbors bicycle, though I’m a little hazy as to how that ending came about. I was already caught up in the mind games that cat was playing with me.

Now this isn’t even half of it, but the main conflict was this: Bird thought it was a good idea if she peed in the bathtub instead of her litterbox, which was four feet away. And not just once. This was a regular thing. Apparently it was what all the cool cats were doing or something. I flashed back to the note Sister #2 had left for me, and the tinfoil in the bathtub thing made a little more sense. But it still seemed silly. This needed to stop. I was going to show Bird who was boss. Also I had to shower in that thing, and cleaning cat pee out of it every morning was not my favorite activity. And I just felt like that cat was challenging me. She was all like, oh I can pee wherever I want, just try and stop me. The nerve! Well, Bird. I will try and stop you. I will.

So I thought about it, and I thought about it, and I thought about how animals mark their territory with scent using…urine. What! All I needed was to establish my dominance. Become the alpha.

So that’s how I ended up awkwardly crouching over my sister’s bathtub trying to ‘mark my scent’ and overrule Bird’s. Mom, I know this isn’t what you want to hear about your daughter, especially since you hate when I talk about urine, but can you say you are honestly surprised? Can any of you, reading this now, say you are surprised??

Well guess what. It WORKED. For about two days, until I woke up one morning to find that Bird had done her business in blatant defiance, everywhere except the tiny spot where I had…you know. Marked my territory.

This technique really could’ve worked on a lesser cat. But Bird…she was just too strong. Too strong. I lost that battle. And also the war. And also when Sister #2 came home and I told her these things, plus the fact that I may have accidentally backed her car into a ditch (but I got it out, don’t worry) she was a little upset, and will probably never ask me to house  or cat sit again, but I stand by everything I did. I was trying to protect the house. Hold up the fort. Draw the battle lines. I did it all for her.

Speaking of nothing related to this, I just remember that I saw a dead raccoon the other day on the side of the road and I need to go see if he needs to be buried still. Maybe I will wear Ian’s gas mask.