Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arachnophobia Pyromania (And Why I Don't Keep Matches Around)

A man in Seattle burned down his house to get rid of a spider. Burned down his house. Totally normal. He didn't overreact at all.
The Huffington Post reported, "The man told firefighters that he saw a spider in his laundry room and decided the best way to take care of it was with a lighter and a can of spray paint." His homemade blow torch set the wall on fire and then the fire spread quickly from there. And as ridiculous as this sounds, this is not the first time a fire has been caused by arachnophobia.
So take this as a warning, if you see a terrifying spider in your house, avoid temptation to want to burn the evil out.
I kind of get it though. Last summer I had a horror movie worthy experience in my apartment when a bat died on my dining room light fixture. The bat had unknowingly been co-habitating with me for an indeterminate amount of time prior to its death. One night I came home and found hundreds of flies all over my ceiling and dining room.
Not an actual picture from my house, but this is so you can get the chilling visual.

At first, I thought maybe it was a summer bug infestation from something like a used wine glass left out, but then realized that a room covered in flies is in no way normal. Upon investigation, I found the rotting, dead bat on the light and commenced the freak out.
At that moment, with the hundreds of flies and a decomposing mammal, I really could understand just burning my place to the ground....but I didn't.
Though, to this day, if I see just one fly, I pretty much began screaming in a manic fit of terror.
And to protect myself from being a Huffington Post headline, I make sure I don't keep matches around.
Try to stay calm people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I Want To Be A Princess Now!

Maybe we can blame Disney for this one. But what little girl doesn't say she wants to be a princess?
Actually, not just little girls have that pipe dream.

And while I am the first person to tell you that you should absolutely always follow your dreams, approach adversity with tenacity, and strive to create your own opportunities, I question if the childhood dream of being a princess is really the one you should be going after. No matter how perfect Kate Middleton's wedding and life seems. (Seriously, can she just have one bad hair day to make me feel better?)
But the tale of the world's newest little princess isn't about a girl dreaming that someday her prince will come. It's more of a story about an over-indulgent father who literally searched the ends of the earth to get his daughter what she wants.
I thought Willy Wonka warned us about behavior like this?
Well, despite (hopefully) knowing that meeting the demands of children is really a bad idea, a father from Virginia made his daughter a princess of a patch of land in Africa he claimed by placing a flag on it for her seventh birthday. For my seventh birthday, I had a My Little Pony party. But whatever, I'm sure my dad loves me too.
As reported in The Washington Post,  Jeremiah Heaton, father of three, promised his daughter she could be a princess. So as to not be a liar, he took to google to find out how he could make this so. He began searching for "terra nullius," which is Latin for "land that belongs to no one," to find some unclaimed land. This led him to learn of Bir Tawil which is an area halfway between where the Nile crosses into Sudan and Egypt's coast along the Red Sea that has had an on-going border dispute between Sudan and Egypt leaving it to be unclaimed territory. So he headed over to Africa, with the flag that he and his kids designed, and planted it into the land to claim it. Yes, he "Columbused" it.
And in claiming the land, he is King, making his daughter, Princess, earning him a lifetime of hugs and kisses and high expectations to meet. I hope this loving fool realizes that his little princess is also going to want a pony, a Porsche, and Loubitans.
Now, in order to make this all legit, he is going to have to obtain legal recognition from the neighboring countries, the United Nations, or other groups to have actual political control of the land he is calling the "Kingdom of North Sudan." And just how will this average joe from Virginia deal in world politics? Well, don't worry, he is experienced in local politics as he ran for Congress in his state in 2012. Despite losing that election, I'm sure he'll do fine dealing with getting the Middle East on board with his Father of the Year plan. The politics in that area of the world have historically dealt with issues of land ownership so reasonably. 
This is all ridiculous. And yet, I'm now finding myself questioning why on earth it never occurred to me, in all my googling, to find some "terra nullius" to claim and declare myself royalty. There are a lot of balls I could have been attending.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So Campy

I never went to a "normal" sleep-in-a-cabin and learn to canoe kind of camp. I spent my summers from the age of 11 through high school attending prestigious ballet intensive camps where I passed the sunny days in a dance studio in a sweaty leotard watching girls not eat for six weeks.
If I had gone to a sleep away camp in the woods, all I could have hoped was that it would have resulted in my meeting my long lost twin sister and getting into all sorts of cabin hijinks.
And while I thought those chances for summer days of adventure had passed long ago, I realized recently that it is never too late. There are many opportunities I am seeing lately for adult camps. And I can't help but be tempted to sign myself up, pack my trunk, and go!
Here is a list of some camping experiences I am thinking I may just have to go to!

1. Adult Space Camp
You build and launch a rocket, go in a space simulator, all while wearing a space suit! I'm geeking out just thinking about it. (Cost $500-600)

2. Spend a Night in the Museum of Natural History in NYC
This is a first ever event this August. The night will begin with dinner, champagne, and jazz music and then will lead to free roaming of the museum's exhibit halls and a midnight showing of a space show before you fall asleep under the big blue whale. The perfect blend of science and swankiness. (Cost $325-375)
3. Camp in a Horror Movie
Head to the woods in CT in July to go all Blair Witch Project for this one night intense interactive camp experience that will put you in the middle of a live horror story where you could be "handcuffed, moved by force, restrained, gagged, blindfolded and subjected to simulated torture." I feel like this would be either very freeing to face these fears, or I'd end up in therapy. (Cost $120-140)

4. Trade in Your Legs for a Fin at Mermaid Camp
Probably the only good thing about being 30 is that you are old enough to go to this adult camp at WeekiWachee Park in Florida and train in water ballet to be a Siren of the Deep. A true dream come true for me to finally be part of this world. (Cost $425)

5. Keep it Classic at Camp Grounded
This 70's inspired digital detox camp in CA has all the classics including campfires with s'mores, archery, star gazing, capture the flag, candlemaking and crafts, woodworking, and even talent shows. Keeping it retro, but with gourmet food and coffee and yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. Only analog photography and postcards via mail are allowed. So as much as you'll want to instagram the keychain you made, it will have to wait until you come home from camp. The break from technology sounds both terrifying (especially if you are addicted like me) and amazing as it would be a true return to those simpler days. (Cost: $570)

6. Learn to Survive at Boulder Outdoor Survival School.
I am obsessed with Discovery's reality show Naked and Afraid.

I know I wouldn't last a second on that show, mostly because if I was on it, the big thing to fear would be me in a hunger rage. So maybe I'd like to spend 3-28 days at one of these camps in Utah that prepares you with major survivalist skills, you case I am ever marooned on a desert island. (Cost: Varies)

 So as you can see, with adult camp choices like these, this summer is looking like it could be the best yet.

*Some additional considerations included:
Wine Camp in Virginia or Napa
Zombie Survival Camp in New Jersey
or be able to constantly casually bring up that "One time at bandcamp" by going to Adult Band Camp

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New In Bridesmaiding: Make a Buck and Show Your Butt

I have been a bridesmaid a ridiculous number of times. I have the collection of over-priced dresses taking up precious closet real estate that I will absolutely never wear again. I have several pairs of the special dyed shoes that are unwearable because they bleed their color onto your feet when you wear them.
I have also lost respect for women I know after reading their obnoxious trail of reply all emails about planning and expectations.
I'm at the point now, where I would seriously consider turning down a bridesmaid offer just because I don't think I can take it anymore. But what if I was being paid to do it? That I might be able to handle. After all, I have experience. Probably more qualified to be a bridesmaid than many other jobs.
Well, one brilliant NYC lady came to that exact realization and took out a craigslist ad to be a Bridesmaid for Hire. She logically details why you may need her services ("Your fiancĂ© has an extra groomsmen and you’re looking to even things out so your pictures don’t look funny and there’s not one single guy walking down the aisle by himself.") and what her skills are (including "the Cha Cha and Electric Slides").
I'm kind of jealous I didn't think of starting a bridesmaid business. Despite wanting to retire from the game, I am a great bridesmaid. I have references. I do a really funny toast, I am always willing to travel, and I once saved a life performing CPR on an elderly relative at a wedding! We'll ignore the time that I almost killed one of my best friends on her wedding day in a freak accident with a rogue cork from a champagne bottle I was opening. Maybe I should one up this Bridesmaid for Hire and start my own business. Or I could gather other girls and form a whole Bridesmaids, Inc. agency to place professionals in your party. No longer will you have to rely on your flaky friends to help facilitate your perfect day. I can be your bridesmaid pimp.
But there is one other new trend in Bridesmaiding that I just don't think I am down with and brings me back to being certain I don't ever need to be a maid in fuscia satin again.

Bridesmaid butt shots.
Butt why?
To show off?
Yep, nothing helps class up your special day like you and your bridesmaids mooning for the camera. That's going to be a real picture to cherish and frame.
See, I'm all for cute, out of the box photos on your wedding day because I think looking like this is over:
But I think Bridesmaid butt photos are ridiculous. If there is ever a day you should try to have some decorum, it is probably your wedding day.
So maybe I should just let that crafty girl on craigslist take all the bridesmaid jobs she can find and keep my butt covered. I'm sure I can think of other ways to make an extra buck. Maybe I should start designing a cute line of clever underpants for brides and their maids to wear for when they flash the camera. YES! It's my genius idea. It's in print. Don't steal it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You're Gonna Have To Face It You're Addicted

There's a new app that will confirm exactly how much of your life is wasted staring at your cell phone.
The free app called "Moment" monitors your daily cell phone usage and has features that allow you to set limits and reminders when you are approaching those limits.
The app's designer, Kevin Holesh, said he created the app after realizing he "had a serious problem" with cell phone addiction.
We all do. In 2013, the annual Internet Trends report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers reported the average smart phone user checks their phone 150 times per day. And during peak time, which is 5-8pm, people checked their phone once every 6 or 7 seconds. Well, you got to see who clicked like on that sexy instagram pic of your dinner.
So today, in preparation for writing this, I tried to keep track of the number of times I looked at my phone and I lost count it was so insanely frequent.
I honestly don't think I could handle finding out the exact amount. Nor would I take kindly to an annoying alarm going off on my phone when I am using it too much. I know I have a problem. I don't need an app to tell me that. And, lucky for me, since I have an Android, this app is not even available for my phone yet. So I can continue to exist in blissful ignorance and denial.
Despite being totally addicted, I often find myself thinking about how I would live without a smart phone. How would I know where to go? How would I amuse myself when I'm bored? How would I settle an argument with friends without Google to prove my point? How would I even find my friends? I am pretty convinced without a smart phone I'd be a shut in or laying dead and lost in a gutter.
This reminds me of how my friend's android cell phone came with a bizarre default setting that when she went to wake it up, the home screen said "Life Companion" and we used to make fun of her for that. But really calling it a "Life Companion" is the cold hard truth. I wouldn't dream of going anywhere without my phone. Our phones go places with us that you wouldn't even want another human-like the bathroom. Face it, we are all Linus and our cell phones are our blankets.

Also, it must be said that post comes on the heels of another recent post about a deadly disaster in China that occurred when people tried to help a woman rescue her cell phone from a cesspool.
We need help. Or blankets.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sexy Bad Boy-What's A Girl To Do?

This week, a man in Stockton, CA was arrested on felony weapon charges and his mugshot was posted to the Stockton Police's facebook page.
But the only part of this that matters is the fact that this criminal also happens to be an adonis.
With his tanned, perfect skin tone, captivating blue-green bedroom eyes, pouty plush lips, and chiseled jaw line his face seems more fitted for a Ralph Lauren ad in Vogue than a mug shot. But, alas, life isn't always fair.
Probably the worst part of all this was the posts by women commenting on this yummy specimen.
"Oh my god he can rob my house and 'assault' me anytime." 
-Seriously? He could break and enter your home, rob you, and rape you and you'd be ok with that because he's sexy? Yikes.
 "What prison? I wanna be locked up there."
-No, you don't. Trust me.
"I don't care what crime this one committed."
-Nothing matters but what a guy looks like. Obviously.
"He's hiding in my wardrobe. Daaayum."
-Yep. I know all my fantasies start with an armed convict hiding in my closet.
 Look, I get it. He's freaking beautiful. And I definitely dig that bad boy thing. But he is being arrested on felon weapon charges. And to me, that whole felony thing kind of makes him less desirable. Come on ladies, get your horny selves together. 
This is not the first time a mug shot has gone viral due to the the perp being super sexy. In 2010 a young woman was arrested for drunk driving in Florida and her Vogue-worthy mug was all over the internet by 2012 thanks to being turned into memes of "Attractive Convict."
This woman later ended up suing the background check website for using her picture in ads without compensation or permission.
At least men and women of the internet are equally guilty of objectifying. Yay equality.
If Attractive Convict girl is single maybe she and Hottie Mugshot Man can get together in Bonnie and Clyde sexy bliss.
Meanwhile ladies, enjoy your weird fantasies about how this criminal dreamboat was using his felony weapons to defend innocent kittens before coming home to cuddle with you and those kittens.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Hole Story

"2 Dead, Several Injured After Phone Falls Into Toilet"
I saw the headline while scrolling through news and social media on my phone, and, understandably, I assumed it was from The Onion. But later, I learned this was not a caustic and witty commentary on our society's gross dependence on cell phones. Tragically it is a REAL headline describing a bizarre and horrific true story from China.
Here's what happened. A woman dropped her cell phone into an open pit toilet in the Henan provence in China. Her gallant husband then jumped into the pit filled with feces and urine to collect it for her. The smell in the cesspool was so bad, he passed out. His mother, who was with them, was so concerned for her son, who was now unconscious in a cesspool, that she jumped in as well to rescue him (and the phone.) She passed out too. And apparently, people in China are just way too nice, because this all led to several other people venturing into the stinky pits of fecal despair for this woman's phone.
So all of this culminated with the ridiculous headline above, 2 people dead, and several injured in a cesspool. Because of a phone.
We've all been there and dropped our cell phone in the toilet, off a roof, into a sewer, into the lion's cage...and in that moment of desperation we have all considered getting that phone back no matter the risk. But mostly we calm down and think, "Nope, I'll just get a new one that's not covered in poop or that I have to risk my life to get." Because it's a freakin' cell phone. It's not your child. Remember back in the 80's when Baby Jessica fell into the well? Somehow less people ended up injured or in that well with her than in this cesspool in China getting a cell phone. And she was a non-replaceable baby.
Where is our common sense? Have smart phones really made us so much dumber? How badly do we need to tweet, text, and check in? Did anyone manage to check in from the toilet pit before passing out?
The fact that this tragic disaster in the cesspool occurred is a sign that we need help as society. Ask yourself, would you be willing to wade through a hole of shit to get your phone? If your answer even included a nanosecond of pause for thought, be concerned.