Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me?

Oi...

See what this subject made me do? I just quoted the Pussycat Dolls.

I feel dirty.

Anyway, I said I was going to address something similar to yesterday's issue that I tend to hear from women--admittedly I don't think I've heard this from someone I knew well since college, so you have to give some allowance for growth and maturity there but... I do hear it perpetuated in media and occasionally when eavesdropping...

Don't judge me, if you're talking loudly in a public place, I'm gonna listen. It's the writer in me.

The funny thing about this particular phrase, is I think it's frighteningly telling about where our culture sits right now.

"I don't get why he's into her. I'm way hotter than she is."

Not.

Even.

Joking.

I have heard multiple iterations of that phrase but the sentiment is always the same: Why does the person I like not like me when I see myself as more physically desirable than their current partner.

Kids, my brain just breaks at this, I gotta tell you. I hope this thought process isn't too rampant but it does get me worrying. Because you then see these same women thinking that their physical attractiveness is in direct relation to their relationship status.

And they go kinda freaking crazy.

Do I need to reiterate that just because one person isn't attracted to you that doesn't mean you aren't an attractive person? Or that beauty is more than skin deep?

Okay. Talking about this seems odd because in general I feel this should be common knowledge but we live in weird times and our heads get screwed on funny and these cliche adages somehow lose all meaning. Most cliches exist for a reason.

And I see these girls agonize over themselves, over their hair and face, determined that once they're finally in a relationship, they'll be whole--that it will validate they are beautiful and worthy of love and that's absolutely ridiculous.

I know it boils down to the core of body issues so really there isn't anything I can tell you to convince you that you're beautiful, especially since I'm speaking to a very generic audience...

But I want you to know that I get it. I really do. I've been that weird girl on the side-lines with nothing but self-loathing and loneliness, if I'm allowed to use that emo of phrasing.

I do get it.

And I can't lend you the road map I used to get past it. I wish I could but I'm not even sure how I got out. I can't give you a of step-by-step guide that will let you get out of that mental sink pit. You have to do that on your own. But you know something?

You can.

And honestly, you have to. Because if you can't be satisfied with who you are on your own, you will never be happy in a relationship. That kind of void someone else can't fill. And you can't put that kind of pressure on them to fix you because that in itself is going to end in disaster. Really expecting that someone else is going to fix you isn't specific to this issue, but it's important that you don't make a relationship or someone's affections a means of validating your existence.

You're already valid. The only person who doesn't think so is you.

And the worst part is if you don't think it... eventually that opinion will catch on.

You're better than that. Realize that your looks are stunning, realize there's more desirable to you than your looks and realize anyone who thinks otherwise about you isn't worth your time.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Adventures in Technical Support


Today at work:

So... this happened at work today:

Customer: Do you even YOLO?
KC: Nope, I Timelord. I regenerate every time.
Customer: Legend.

They stopped trolling us after that. I'm really going to miss this job.

Tough Love

I was talking to a gent a couple weeks ago who was expressing his general frustration with the dating game and for a while I just let him vent. Partly because venting is healthy and sometimes you need to do it before you can start problem solving and partly because often half-way through a vent you blurt out the answer to your own problem.

Yeah... you see the cut of my jib so far, I imagine. However, let me make this clear: I am not about to spend an entire blog ragging on "nice guys", but I would like to share this exchange as best I can with you (pulled from memory so bear with me). Actually, screw it, just consider the following as a 'dramatic re-enactment'.

So he'd been exasperatedly talking about his plight and I noticed he kept using variations of the phrase, "And it's ridiculous because I'm such a nice guy."

So I finally blurted out, "Well, yeah, but what else?"

And he stopped and just stared at me like I had suggested that narwhals were in fact the unicorns that mutated in order to survive the flood because they weren't allowed the ark. ...which would be a totally legitimate theory if I believed Noah was more than allegory.

Not the point.

So he responds with, "What do you mean what else?"

"Nice is great. It really is, don't get me wrong--I'm very appreciative of nice people, but it's not a perk, it's a prerequisite. If you're going to be a reoccurring character that I've voluntarily cast in my life, I expect you to be nice. It's not something I'm dreaming to find in another person, basic human decency is something I'm going to demand regardless if you're someone I met on the street for five minutes or my dearest and oldest friend."

"But all of these women are dating jerks."

"Maybe. Or they are dating perfectly decent people who make mistakes. Or even if they are dating legitimate jerks, they unlikely appeared that way when they first started dating. No sane person I know goes, "Hmm, this person seems cruel and mentally unstable, I think I'll be in an unhealthy relationship with them for the next year or so.

No.

That isn't what's going on, give these ladies some credit."

(Side note, I have also had this conversation with a few lady friends, but disturbingly a lot of the complaints I hear from my own gender tends to be, "I don't get it, I'm way hotter than her" which causes a lot more head-desking on my part. But we'll chat about that tomorrow.)

"Yeah, but--"

"No. No buts. You've been in a bad relationship before. Did you think to yourself, 'Hey, this girl seems like she could build me up and smash me into a million pieces once she fully has my trust', of course you didn't. That's how relationships work. So you're nice, that's great, so is at least 75% (totally made up statistic) of the  world population. What else you got? Are you passionate about movies, do you volunteer with homeless kids, can you cook rare and exotic dishes--what else are you bringing to the table? Everyone expects that you'll at least be nice whether they're right or wrong about that fact, so you can't just bank on that being a virtue that should make you irresistible to women."

"So I have nothing."

Cue grumpy Kiri. "That's not what I'm saying."

"Well would you date me?"

"Absolutely not."

"See?"

"Dude, shut up. I wouldn't date you because it would make no sense for me to date you. You ultimately want a big family that you can take care of, I'm ridiculously career driven. Our personalities are not compatible. You want to take care of someone, I want a partner. I'm very much 'let's confront this issue now' and you're a bit passive aggressive which while you're my friend, it kinda makes me want to strangle you sometimes. And if these issues weren't enough, I'm not physically attracted to you."

"Wow, you don't have to be cruel."

"Dear god, man, I'm about to freaking punch you. Me not being attracted to you does not make you unattractive.  My taste, regardless how large my ego inflates, is not ultimate. My opinion is just an opinion. So stop having this pity party for yourself because that really isn't helping this whole attractive thing, and realize as cliche as it is, there are a ton of fish in the sea. Those women are dating whoever they're dating for a myriad of reasons. You're smart, you have a stable job and you're good at what you do. You have hobbies, interests, there is more to you than just 'nice'. Please, freaking remember that you have more to offer than 'I'm nice'. Almost everyone at least thinks they're nice. If that's all you're looking for in common, of course you won't find someone. You're not going to be compatible with everyone. Narrow the search, you're more likely to find someone with similar key words, if you get my drift."

...and that was really the gist of this conversation. Really I've had similar conversations with girlfriends of mine, so the fact that this particular friend was male is irrelevant. And I'm not sure what that says to you, dear reader, but it felt like something that needed to be shared...

So there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Every Time I See "He Went To Jared" commercials

Coloring by the amazing +MJ Rawlings because I really was not doing well with photoshop last night. At all.





...I may need to question my relationship with food because of moments like this. PS, no, not engaged, still a party of one, but the joke required a ring. 

Happy Sunday!

...I want a sammich.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Life After Death

It's been almost exactly three months since Joel died.

I admit, the closer I got to my birthday, the more I became aware that life--especially my life--was still going, still changing.

I know nothing stops for the hard times--I really do get that. But February and March had this odd "on pause" kind of feeling. The weird thing is I was doing plenty, I just felt like I was in slow motion at the very least. A world made of molasses.

And then April hit and someone pressed "play". Wonderful things happened and terrible things happened, both globally and in my personal life.

My life started changing--rapidly. Things that had been slowly set up to be put into motion finally took off--like setting up dominoes that someone finally flicked over. 

I finished my first full length novel, it will be published no later than May. I'm working with an independent film company in Oregon on some extremely exciting projects that I'll be announcing soon. I've got two really exciting new writing collaborations lined up, one with the amazing Ren Cummins, another with a writer I've been wanting to work with for a while.

I've the honor of helping out my friend and not-so-secret internet crush Blake Northcott with the audio book of her upcoming hit, Arena-mode.

In two weeks my day job will be taking a huge step towards merging with my free-lance work while simultaneously helping out the giant financial burden my student loans have been weighing on me and my family.

Great things are finally falling into place.

And last night as we held a giant party celebrating my and two of my friends' birthdays last night it kind of hit me.

Life went on.

My brother died and life--my life--went on.

I know that's what's supposed to happen. I know this isn't Victorian times where you actually sequester yourself from society and go into 'mourning'.

But last night it just shook me and I felt somehow like I'd forgotten him by going on. I realize that's ridiculous.  It's interesting though... realizing it's only been 3 months. Keeping busy... it seems so much longer. And it seems like I shouldn't be struggling this much with it. 

And then I remember that you never really "get over" someone's death. I'm always reminded of this quote from the play "Rabbit Hole"--I hear it's also in the movie but on principal of the Hollywood alterations made to how the story is told, I haven't seen it. Anyway, the quote:

  1. Becca: Does it ever go away?
  1. Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't, and that's goin' on eleven years. It changes, though.
  1. Becca: How?
  1. Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful - But not all the time. It's kinda... not that you like it exactly, but it's what you have instead of your son, so you don't wanna let go of it either. So you carry it around. And it doesn't go away, which is...
  1. Becca: What.
  1. Nat: Fine... actually.
 Today's post is more of a ramble than anything else...

I guess I just wanted to say... My life is taking off... and I wish he was here for that. I feel like I'm leaving him behind somehow.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Lara Project: Understanding Body Issues

Body issues. We all have them.

Even Lara Croft. No, really, look at that, juuust look at that structure. If the Lara Croft of today could comprehend the Lara Croft of yesteryear, she'd be as self-conscious as pig at a bacon festival.

That's a turn of phrase people use, right? Sure, right.

Weird how far video games have come in the realm of graphics, though, you know? 300 polygons, very basic texture map...

That's not the point.

My point is no matter who you are, you are very likely self-conscious about SOMETHING.

And the weird thing about body issues is that though often they are CAUSED by an outside source, they are not solved by one.

For instance, as I have written in previous articles, for a long time as a kid I was teased relentlessly about my lips. I realize the absolute ridiculous nature of this now, but at the time I was embarrassed by them and no matter how often someone else told me they were beautiful and nothing to be ashamed about, I ignored it.

Here's the thing you MUST understand about other people's (and your own) body issues: No matter what movies tell you, you cannot fix someone's perception of themselves for them. This is a struggle they have to get through on their own.

This is not to say you shouldn't correct someone when they try to tear themselves down or say something untrue and cruel about themselves... but you need to accept there are some limitations in your role there.

You cannot make someone see themselves differently.

Repeat that to yourself.

You can poke and you can nudge but that opinion isn't going to budge until they're willing to believe that their view may be a little skewed. Admittedly, something someone says could trigger that moment when they pause to possibly re-evaluate but ultimately it's up to them.

Or you. If we're talking about your body issues.

I'm getting a little garbled here, aren't I?

Now a days I'm more or less happy with my body. I'd like to be in better shape but that's what The Lara Project is kind of all about.

I'm bringing this up because if you're trying to push yourself through a program, one of the most important things to remember is to take care of yourself. If you're trying to lose weight/get in shape from a place of self-loathing; if you won't be happy with yourself until you reach a certain size or lose X amount of pounds, you're going to end up pushing too hard.

I've had friends who have (unintentionally and intentionally) malnourished because they became too frustrated with the current circumstance that they over-focused on a goal. Others have injured themselves due to taking on too much at once.

So your challenge for the week is acknowledging what those body issues are and questioning their origin and how they've persisted with you.

I get self-conscious about my stomach and thighs these days. I'm finally at a place where most days I don't hate them, but I'd like to tone them more. Every now and then I feel myself slipping and that self-loathing creeps up. Find what works for you that snaps you out of this. For me it's girly pampering (I realize this is not the method for everyone).

Find yours.

Next week is measurements. Let's do this. =)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Douchebags Will Be Douchebags

I'm a people person.

Shocker, I know, right?

But my general point is that I will always make a friend when I can and I almost never burn a bridge. I have my mother to thank for this cheery disposition and I frankly prefer leaving myself open to the occasional burn than close off.

It's a risky move, but it's still my preferred MO.

Yet despite this genuine, "Why can't we all be friends" (Oh gosh, I'm a care bear  aren't I?) kind of attitude, I of course, run into backlash that comes from seemingly no where.

This is regrettably normal.

You encounter people that, despite your best efforts to befriend them, despite how compassionate, kind or generous you try to be, they hate you. Passionately.

And they go out of their way to hurt you--even if you just met them on the street. And you will spend days and days over-thinking how you wronged this person, how you could have possibly slighted them to make them despise you so much. You lose sleep over it. Because as a responsible adult you try to take responsibility for your actions and you think that you must have done SOMETHING because there's no other rational reason for this person to be lobbing so much haterade in your direction.

So I wanted to try to bring you a little comfort in sharing something it took me yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaars to finally realize.

Sometimes, it isn't rational.

Sometimes douchebags will just be douchebags.

And sometimes it isn't even about that person being a douchebag--sometimes someone just needs something to hate. I'm not saying it's right or that it's excusable behavior, but I do want you to understand that sometimes it isn't about you at all.

Now by all means, do some soul searching when someone throws this kind of anger towards you--make sure it's not warranted... But once you get past that point, please, don't still beat yourself up about it.

I knew a girl in high school who when I finally asked her why she hated me so much, she actually answered with, "You're just so happy all the time, you seem really immature."

...She hated me... because I was happy? I'm not really sure when happiness started equating with immaturity but I suppose that's not the point. It's a little ironic that what she didn't know is when not at school I was an absolute wreck and smiling just helped me get through the school day sometimes, but that's really not the point either.

Maybe she sensed I was playing "fake it til you make it", but again, not a reason to hate someone.

But... it wasn't really about me. I bet if I was able to sift through the details of her life, I'd find something else completely. Something my cheerfulness may have reminded her of.

Which when you think of backstory and motivation, it's hard to think of someone as a douchebag, I think. Don't get me wrong, there are some really douchey things people have done to me and for really douchey reasons but...

I don't know, I feel just lobbing them into a category like that is unfair. There's a bigger story there we just don't know...

But regardless, it isn't your responsibility to dig it out. You aren't someone's therapist (unless you actually are, but if that's the case, I hope you're getting paid to dig all of that out).

So while self-awareness is awesome, know that there are times where you can't do anything about it and that's okay. Sometimes it's not about you. Sometimes someone is going to hate you because that's how they're coping with something else. And it's not healthy, neither is torturing yourself over something you literally have no control over.

You're awesome, you know that? Just... awesome. I'm glad I know you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Tale of Love and Vomit

So welcome to another chapter about the embarrassing but hopefully hilarious hi-jinks of my life.

Once upon a time (aka last summer) I was visiting my friend Marissa (@) in Portland, Oregon for the weekend. Our Friday was filled with eating delicious Thai food, watching Downton Abbey, making adult milkshakes and snacking on dairy products, which neither of us are actually supposed to have. But goat cheese is amazing. And candy. Nom nom nom.

Well the next morning Marissa threw up.

Which was odd because she really didn't drink enough to cause a hangover or alcohol poisoning or anything really. And I felt fine.

But after that she felt fine and dandy so we continued with our plan to enjoy Portland's Saturday market.

It was a gorgeous day--picturesque, just hot enough that you could walk around in a tank top and not get chilly but not so much that you were sweating while standing in place (my most hated of temperatures).

It was all going well until I started to feel a little nauseated. I started to wonder if it was the heat--my poor little Irish head possibly just couldn't take it and I was suffering from heat exhaustion or something. So I started drinking more water.

Then I began to feel a LOT nauseated. Like, "Dear god, please just let me vomit and get it over with" nauseated. Eating greasy street vendor food probably wasn't helping this... but low blood sugar also makes me pretty dizzy/nauseated so I was trying to cover my bases of what could possibly be going wrong.

We decided I needed to go home and were on our way out when I abruptly bent over a large trashcan  and tossed every proverbial (and literal) cookie I had consumed in the last 24 hours). Sitting next to this trashcan was a young teen couple looking suspiciously syrupy sweet and lovey dovey...

So I like to imagine that from their perspective it looked something like this:

Girl: Oh Tommy, I'm so glad you asked me to go steady.

Boy: I can't believe you said yes, Tara, I feel so lucky. You make me so happy.

Girl: You complete me.

Boy: I love you.

Girl: I love you.

Kiri: *VOMIT*

If only I'd had the foresight to look them dead in the eye when I rose up and wipes my mouth to say, "Get a room."

But alas, apparently when in the throws of sickness, my comedic punchlines are slow in coming.

We got home and I threw up two more times... because apparently there was something left.

It was food poisoning. Somehow Marissa had escaped the brunt of it, possibly because either A, the bad chicken was mostly on my plate, B, she'd become sick off of a bite she'd eaten off my plate or C, her digestive system is far more badass than mine.

All of these are possible.

However I had to get home that night. I can't remember why at this point but I knew it was imperative I do so.

After spending an hour or two curled up on the couch watching more Downton Abbey (have I mentioned how awesome this show is?), I climbed into my car and started the 3 hour drive to Seattle.

I stopped twice at rest stops to vomit some more.

And yes, I managed to wait until I reached a rest stop.

My magical power is that though I do vomit, I do so politely...

...except of course when interrupting sappy love scenes apparently. Oops.

However, I did make it home in one piece (obviously since I'm here to type the tale) because I'M THE JUGGERNAUT, BITCH!

...And we are never getting Thai food there ever again.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's going on?

So yesterday there was no blog post for the first time in a while, but I'm hoping you'll forgive me because 1) I was recovering from birthday shenanigans (jet lag), had a hopefully important meeting Monday morning and also had to drive straight down to Oregon afterward to film a parody short (that will be coming to you soon) and a vlog.

As well as run into my best friend for some awesome non-lethal noms at the Cornbread cafe in Eugene, Oregon.

Cornbread I can eat.

With butter that doesn't kill me.

And "Mac UnCheese".

It was amazing and delicious. I can't believe I'd never been there before, especially considering I lived in Eugene for a summer or so.

Another great place to check out, if you live in the Oregon area, is Cafe Yumm. Rice bowls of deliciousness omg.

One thing I CAN tell you right now however is that the first round of edits for Alys were sent my way and I'll be tearing into those all day tomorrow. You guys have been ridiculously patient and supportive, and I seriously can't wait to share this book with all of you.

I've been behind the past few days on my Lara workouts--though I suppose I did do a TON of walking this weekend while in San Francisco. Not as rigorous as I'd like but at least it was something.

Still, rather than mope, it's better to get back on track. It's a beautiful Tuesday, let's kick this week's butt!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Today I was born... allegedly.

Sometime today, my mother checked herself into a hospital on a space station set in deep space just a skip away from Bajor. The birth itself was a simple one but as a 3rd, my entrance into this world was nothing short of controversial. As a means of freeing my parents from an unwelcome social burden, I was enrolled in the jedi academy. My talents in the force were considered exceptional but my teachers grew increasingly concerned with my intent, believing my passion to be a deterrent that would easily pull me to the dark side. Rather than allowing them to end my training for me, I stowed away on a Firefly class ship and consequently joined with a group of smugglers on the run from the Alliance. Since that day, in my short time in existence I have battled darkspawn, saved countless princesses, was a key player in freeing humanity from The Covenant and was in short, "The Chosen One".

...Or so I'm told.

(Extra points if you know every reference made in that paragraph*)

Okay, so none of that is true other than today I was born. My mother actually did rather casually check herself in but it was in Richmond, Virginia (Not deep space but still pretty far from where I ended up, right?).

I never really know how to celebrate my birthday, but I do know that while I'd love to celebrate it with all of you, that just isn't possible.

But I can at least share one of my favorite treats (when I'm cheating on that whole gluten/dairy thing).


Kiri's Awesome Frosted Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:


3 c. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks sweet cream butter, unsalted, softened (8 oz)
1 cup golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
dash of almond extract



  • Sift together the flour and baking powder. 
  • In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, salt, vanilla and almond.
  • Add flour mixture to sugar/butter. Do this slowly, you want to get a completely homogenous mixture going so it's all good and dough like. It will be a dryer dough but if you feel the need, you can add a dash of milk. 
  • Now the hard part. You have to roll it up into a ball, then flatten to a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 1 full hour.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 5/8” thick. Cut the cookies into shapes (Honestly sometimes cups work just as well to make that perfect round shape) and place the cut cookie shape on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn a LIGHT golden brown. Remember that sugar cookies tend to need to be removed almost before they look done. 
  • Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.
Now for the Frosting.

Most people like to use some variation of butter cream but I actually prefer royal icing--it has a bit harder texture and it's really easy to decorate with.

Ingredients:

1 dram (tiny bottle) of LorAnn Oils vanilla butternut flavoring*
2 tbsp meringue (egg white) powder*
1/4 cup water
2 cups confectionery (powdered) sugar
Food Coloring of your choice

  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Add water slowly. You want a stiffer consistency so you may not need the whole ammount.
  • Add flavor
  • Add coloring. (White frosting is kind of boring for one BUT the vanilla butternut is a dark brown flavoring and makes the whole thing kind of a very light brown. Can be the color of your choice. I highly recommend using Americolor food coloring*.)
*These can be found at baking supply stores.




Answers for references made above:
*Deep Space 9, Ender's Game, Star Wars, Firefly, Dragon Age, Legend of Zelda/Mario/This was pretty generic, Halo, Buffy.

Have An Amazing Kiri-Day, everyone!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Lactard's Lament

Comic Time! Behold a nearly daily struggle for the lactose-intolerant...


Didn't I just say I wasn't encouraging people to do this? Do as I say, not as I do?

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Lara Project: Back to the Basics

So I've, as a general rule, been trying to limit any over-processed, chemical heavy foods in my diet. Which is oddly a lot harder than it sounds.

Having to avoid gluten and dairy because my body is ridiculously stupid, if I ever want to substitute... well most of those substitutes have a lot of artificial whats-its that I have no clue what they actually are.

Kiri Tip: If you can't pronounce it and have no clue what it is, chances are your body has no freaking idea either. As such I've been cutting out a lot of my substitutes (soy sour cream, gluten-free bread etc) and trying to stick to just basic ingredients.

If you can have dairy had have a sweet tooth, for instance, Haggen Dazs keeps it pretty simple. Last time I looked at the back of their basic vanilla--it had 5 ingredients (6 tops) and I could identify all of them and where/how they were produced.

It sounds odd but in the long run it does seem to make it easier on your body. I've noticed that by limiting my processed food intake, for instance, my gluten/dairy intolerance isn't quite so severe.

I'm not sure if there is really any real scientific basis to this, because let's be honest, I'm not a left-brained kind of person, but it stands to reason that if you give your body less crap to filter, it'll have an easier time when you do nom on things it normally isn't able to handle that well.

Not that I'm encouraging other glutards/lactards to go forth and nom on things they shouldn't but... you know. Just a thought.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

#AtoZChallenge Nominations for the Liebster Blogging Award



A-Z Blogging Challenge Topic: Nominations for the Liebster Blogging Award
I wanted to congratulate author Rinelle Grey for her Liebster Blogging Award nomination. The purpose of the Liebster Blogging Award is to give new bloggers a chance to gain new followers and to give more information to the blogger that nominated them.

Rules of the Liebster Blogging Award
The nominees should do the following if they accept their nomination:
1) Thank the blogger that nominated you
2) Give 11 random facts about themselves
3) Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you for the award
4) Nominate up to 11 bloggers with around 200 followers and post links to their blogs
5) Ask 11 questions that those nominated can answer
6) Post about the award and nomination on your blog and Social Media sites
7) Inform the selected nominees of their nomination

The beauteous Patty Bones (@PattyBones2) nominated me as part of her acceptance (see rules above) and that just makes me feel all shiny. Thank you, Patty Bones, this made my day.

Here are 11 Random Facts about Me:

1) I'm a legal officiant. I can marry folks to eachother through the Church of the Due (Yes, it's a thing and I am a Dudeist Priest)

2) I'm afraid of sharks in swimming pools.

3) I'm convinced I would not survive a Zombie apocalypse, I have too many food restrictions and have no idea how to drive a manual car. And you know the only car that we find with the keys still in it will be a manual.

4) I have a weakness for chai lattes. Sweet, not spicy.

5) It is unusual for me to go through a day and not make up at least one song about something. They are short, they are stupid, but they're always there.

6) Once in a blue moon I will be in a location (usually when driving) that I have been hundreds of times before and it will look unfamiliar.

7) I am physically incapable of holding grudges. I get very angry, and within a few weeks tops, it burns out and I return to neutral. Grudges take too much energy that I don't have to spare.

8) I don't like the idea of existing in a world where some form of magic, regardless how small, does not exist.

9) I have an undying love for corgis. If I had the time/money for a dog, it would be my constant companion. I would name him/her "Hamlet" and he/she will have a ridiculously silly ruff collar.

10) I'm a complete Shakesnerd (Shakespeare Nerd) ... if that was not obvious by #9.

11) I had no idea what the Liebster Blogging Award was and I'm not entirely sure I do even now after googling it, I'm still not entirely sure. 

Here are the 11 questions to the nominees from Patty Bones:

1) How long have you been blogging (include any blogging contributions you may have done for someone else’s blog)?
Oh wow... Since the early days of livejournal. 15 years? I mean, to be fair, back then it was the private musings of a confused pre-teen but still...

2) What drew you to the topic or topics you blog about?
I've always been a writer at heart so since I was writing so much about fiction I created, it seems like a natural progression that I'd be compelled to write about the facts of my life. 

3) If you wanted to change something about the world, what would it be?
Compassion. I feel if there was a way to infuse the world with more compassion in all things, we'd be a safer place.. but I don't think they've created a supplement for that yet. 

4) Who inspires you the most?
As a writer? That's a long list that I believe tops up with Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman and Ragnar Tournquist (And anyone else who worked on The Longest Journey Series) as they were all very influential when I first started considering writing as a career path.

As a person? My parents. Both of their life stories and struggles are ridiculously inspiring in regards to the strength they possess daily.

5) What is your favorite TV show from when you were younger?
Hmm, how young? Probably anything Muppets. If Jim Henson's name was stamped on it somewhere, I was probably in love with it.

6) Do you like anime? If so, which is your favorite?
When I was younger, I was a pretty big Sailor Moon man... then I got older, saw the undubbed, uncut, darker version of the anime and read the manga and was absolutely in love with it. 

7) Do you collect? If so, then what is your favorite piece from that collection?
I have moved a lot since I came to Seattle and as a result I became the 'anti-pack-rat'. If I haven't had a practical use for something in over a year, it usually gets tossed or given away. I do like to collect quotes, however. Famous quotes and even things friends say. It's my own way of keeping that person with me at all times.

8) What part of the world do you want to visit that you have not yet?
Ireland and Scotland, I think. Well, most of Europe, really... And Austrailia. I don't travel as much as I'd like to... but you know, that whole money thing.

9) What is your favorite artist (can be music or other medium)?
I don't know if I'd call her my favorite of all time of everything, but I highly respect Emily Autumn's body of work. It's charged with emotion, it always has a story and every show is a production. On this same note, Amanda Palmer, quite frankly. Both of their works absolutely shake me.

10) What book genre do you like the most?
Fantasy, I suppose. Though I tend to enjoy more urban fantasy as of late than typical medieval style. 

11) Can you cook or bake?
I can! Just not for myself really. I'm gluten/dairy intolerant and gf/df baking is frankly not as delicious. Or it's just a lot more challenging to make delicious. Sometimes the flour combinations aren't... great.

I much more prefer baking for folks who can eat gluten and dairy. XD

Blogs I nominate:

1. StoryReeler, the Art Blog by Jenalee
2. TwentyFour52 by EM Giosia
3. Steampunk and Synthesizers by Ren Cummins

Questions I have:

1. Why is it you do what you do?

2. Something you hope to achieve in 2013?

3. Something that haunts you.

4. Something that always makes you smile.

5. What you do when you're supposed to be doing something else.

6. Phrase you find yourself uttering consistently. (IE. I should be writing.)

7. How do you get your muse going? (music, movies etc)

8. Biggest professional weakness.

9. Biggest personal struggle.

10. If you could change one social norm, what would it be?

11. I'll let the last one be easy: Your food/beverage of choice before/after/while you create!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Giraffe Sex and the Things You Never Needed to Know About It


So... Yesterday this conversation happened between me and my very good friend @Lawjick

Lawjick:
Giraffe sex is weird. And kinda scary.

Kiri:
...

Lawjick:
Ok, really scary.Well, hetero-giraffe sex is.

Kiri:
Random

Lawjick
But like...90% is male on male, 1% is female on female, and only 9% of giraffe sex is heterosexual.

Kiri:
...I don't know what to do with this information. I feel like you just handed me an alien baby and I'm just holding it and looking at it thinking, "Well... this is cool... but now what the fuck do I do with it?"

Lawjick:
Well, I'll tell you what I did with it.  I told you.

Kiri:
It's like The Ring.

Lawjick:
BRAIN WORM! <3!

And so I decided to share this all with you, dear readers, because I frankly do not have any idea what else to do with this piece of information. 

You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Good Outnumber You

Boston. Fucking horrible. 
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, "Well, I've had it with humanity." 
But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths. 
But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness. 
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago. 
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will."
-Patton Oswalt on The Boston Marathon Bombings

It's hard to be optimistic about the human race after this kind of tragedy. You can't sugar coat any of it and frankly I don't think you could more accurately describe yesterday's events than Oswalt's plain and simple, "Fucking Horrible."

But Oswalt also does make a beautiful and wonderful point. Explosions, terror, blood... and people were running towards it to help everyone else. In the past 24 hours I have seen absolute carnage--photos of violent injury that I will never be able to forget and yet what sticks in my mind the most...

Is the immense caring and love that has reached out to the people of Boston and their loved ones.

During these events, the Red Cross is always in need of blood donations. They were able to meet current demand within a matter of hours thanks to amazing citizens of Boston. Some of these donations were made by runners who had finished prior to the explosions.

A Google Document was created so people could open their homes to out of town marathon runners who had no where to go. In fact people were stopping runners to make sure they had a bed to stay in, one man was even offering orange juice to runners still in shock. Even people who didn't live in town were offering to drive people wherever they needed to go.

Soup was cooked, meals were offered.

El Pelon Taqueria, a local hot spot, opened its doors to victims for a place to sit down and calm down without need to buy anything. Wifi, a place to charge their cellphones and food & drink were all offered and runners were told "pay only if you can".

Social media overflowed with care. People reaching out to loved ones to let them know they're okay, others reaching out to show their support, others merely shaken by the event called family just to say, "I love you."

Yes, something horrible happened on Monday... but whatever that one-fraction of humanity hoped to achieve, whatever they conspired to accomplish inherently failed. The nature of terrorism is to divide a community with fear and distrust. Instead we embraced each other; we became stronger.

If you aren't in the Boston area and want to help, remember donations to The Red Cross, regardless how small, are appreciated.

The Salvation Army is offering food and counseling to survivors and first responders.

And of course if anyone has any information on what happened, they're encouraged to phone 1-800-494-TIPS.

So if you're feeling lost and at odds with this world, remember, the good ones outnumber the bad. Tell the people important to you that you love them. Settle the petty things--they aren't worth the energy in the end. Remember our infinite capability for compassion in the face of adversity.

Be safe and take care.



Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Writer's Gripe: Donnie Darko

Yes, I am going to gripe about something involving a movie that's like 12 years old. So if you haven't seen it at this point, I really am not going to apologize about spoilers. Behold the run on sentence breaking down this movie for you:

Donnie Darko (if you seriously for some reason haven't seen it or just plumb forgot) is a movie that was made in 2001 about a seriously troubled teen who, after narrowly escaping a freak accident that would have killed him, is then plagued by visions of a man in a freaky bunny suit who convinces him to commit a series of crimes. These crimes uncover some darker things and at first seem to better life for everyone until these actions inadvertently lead to the death of Donnie's recently acquired girlfriend (Gretchen). Then through... magic means or what not (the logic of how all of this is happening isn't quite clear but you have pretty much suspended disbelief enough that at this point, it really doesn't matter), he goes back in time and in a move that The Butterfly Effect would later riff a little on, allows himself to die (in previously mentioned accident) so that none of the actions that followed happened. He never exposes the town pedophile, his girlfriend's mother never would have run off and Gretchen never would have been killed.

So this movie has problems, most do. For starters, it's a bit pretentious and thinks pretty highly of itself, Exhibit A:


Donnie Darko: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
Frank (Bunny Man): Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
 But what I really want to focus on is this extremely tiny detail that drives me absolutely crazy because I'm stupidly obsessed with circular storytelling.

I don't feel every story needs to incorporate this idea but this whole movie is about spiraling in on itself, we end exactly where we began, which is exactly why this is an issue for me.

When Donnie first introduces himself to Gretchen, she remarks, "Donnie Darko? What the hell kind of name is that? It's like some kind of super hero or something..."

And he answers with a cryptic, "What makes you think I'm not?"

It's a charmingly prophetic moment and had some interesting potential.

At the end of the film, Gretchen, having just moved into town and not met Donnie, stumbles on the house and is informed what happened by a fellow neighbor boy. His name is kind of uttered (by neighbor boy) in the exact same kind of inflection and there's this moment where you think Gretchen just might repeat, "It's like some kind of super hero or something" or something that hearkens back to that first moment. Not to mock the name, mind you, but some sort of melancholic, under the breath kind of observation.

But it doesn't...

Instead it goes something like,

"Did you know him?"
"No."

And then Gretchen meets Donnie's mother's eyes and they kind of share this moment.

And as silly as it sounds, that moment has always seemed really incomplete without that final tie in.
/random writer gripe.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

What You May Not Know & The Anatomy of the Happy-Go-Lucky

Today I want to talk about "Happy People". You know the type. They're always smiling, looking on the bright side of life, and on some level you almost hate or envy them for that. Or maybe, maybe you're like me and you happen to be one of those people.

Now I can't speak for all "Happy People", much like I can't speak for all women or all geeks or any other facet of my personality. However, I'd like to give you a bit of insight into my experience, because 1. This is my blog and that's kind of the point and 2. Maybe it will help, either for you to understand someone else's possible situation or to maybe not feel so alone in your own.

There is a particular kind of attitude, I have found, that I encounter for carrying a cheery disposition. Usually it's received well and has been beneficial in making friends etc etc but I have also noticed that this attitude inspires the following assumptions:

1. I'm immature.
2. I'm naive/never had to live in the real world.
3. I'm not the brightest crayola.
4. All of the above.

This tends to involve a lot of unsolicited advice when I'm in a difficult situation, or even with mundane activities. Which, I admit, I have given my fair share of unsolicited advice--like this blog (though if you voluntarily read it, is it solicited? I don't know) but there is a very particular condescending tone and method of speech that's employed that is understandably frustrating.

You know that tone. It's the "Oh, honey" tone.

...actually people have even said "Oh, honey" to me.

For those of you who aren't sure what I mean, reference the video from How I Met Your Mother.

I don't think this is a conscious thing? Well, for most people anyway? Obviously there are some who are intentional about this kind of behavior and those are the jerkwads you learn to keep out of your circle of friends but for the most part I do think people mean well.

...Shut up, cynics, this is not proof I'm naive. Go read your Thomas Hobbes.

In the far too brief 25/26 years of my life I have been accused of having it easy, not understanding how life works and a whole slew of less than flattering assumptions about my life due to my decidedly positive outlook.

So this list is going to be a bit awkward as while it's a short read, it probably won't be a comfortable one. And I'm not going to go into detail because I'm trying to make a point, not illicit sympathy. I'm just not sure if there's a better way to make it clear where I'm coming from but either way, it's my life, it's what happened and while I do not openly speak about it, I don't feel I should have to hide it.

Age 5/6
I was molested every day on the bus home by a fellow student until I mustered up the courage to tell my mother what was going on. To this day I wonder what horrible family life that boy must have had to think this was acceptable behavior.

Age 6 - 13
When we were kids, my brother was my best friend but also my biggest fear. He struggled with an extremely violent anger disorder. When he became upset he took his anger out on three things, the kitchen floors and cabinets, my mother's plants and me. This involved physical harm and ranged from beatings, throwing knives at me to even pinning me down and trying to spray cleaning solvent in my eyes or mouth. I'm always hesitant to tell people this because as adults, because for other people, it over powers all the good that was in him. My brother and I came to peace with each other and he had a far better grasp on his disorder. I bear him no ill for this and really don't want anyone else to either. Also medicine for metal disorders in kids was--and still is--really dodgy. He was a good person--there just wasn't help for him available and by the time there was, he didn't want it.

Age 18
A 'friend' molested me in my sleep. We are no longer friends.

Age 22
I was attacked/molested by a man on the street. After telling a friend about it, she asked me what I'd been wearing. We are no longer friends. PS. I was bundled up like a marshmallow because it had been the first snow of the year and I wanted to see the Christmas decorations.

Age 23
A dear friend committed suicide.

Age 24
In the series of 5 months... my grandmother, my second mother, two friends and my uncle died. 1 of old age, 1 from pancreatic cancer, 1 from brain cancer, 1 from suicide and one terribly violent car crash.

Age 25
My brother committed suicide. While we had rekindled our friendship and I think he knew I'd forgiven him and that I loved him... I worry that maybe if I had spoken it out loud... Maybe things would be different. Logically, I know that I could have done nothing, but it's hard to tell the rest of me that.

So when I make light of situations, when I smile or bring up the most optimistic of situations, it isn't because I don't know there's an unforgiving world out there--it's because I do. And we all have to fight against it somehow.

This is how some of us just get by. And it works for us. It's what's kept me going and what's kept me strong.

Don't knock that.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Lara Project: Tracking Your Progress

So I am by no means an expert on anything having to do with health or getting in shape, but I do know quite a few people who are and one of the important things I've been trying to focus on is avoiding scales.

Weight itself is weird. It really is. And it isn't very telling of what's actually going on as a lot of things can contribute to weight, not just your body fat etc. If you really want to track your progress, grab a measuring tape (the kind you use for clothing, building) and track by measuring the following:

(Make sure you're wearing tight-fitting clothing or if you'd like to go nekkid, that works as well to get an accurate measurement.)

Above all, remember it's about how you feel more than anything else. Numbers are just numbers in the end. If you really like how your tone/muscle shape is looking, don't stress about the number--this is just to help you track it--not to squeeze down to what may not be a number that may not be achievable through healthy means.

Things to Measure:

Bust (Around the chest, about at the nipple line)
Chest (Just under the bust)
Waist (A half inch above the belly button or the smallest part of your waist)
Hips (The biggest part of your hips)
Thighs (The biggest part of each thigh)
Calf (Largest part of each calf)
Upper Arm (Largest part of each arm above the elbow)
Forearm (Largest part of the arm below the elbow)

Every first Friday of the month, I'm going to start tracking my progress (Being all vulnerable on the internet, what?) and if you'd like, you can do it along with me in the comments below etc.

Have an awesome Friday and be safe out there!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How To Be A Super Villian

So... I went to art school for college... like ya do. But I went to an art school that actually gave out a full on bachelor's degree which meant even though my core classes were various aspects of acting, I was still required to take other classes, including art electives. Which sounds almost silly when your core classes would be considered art electives in a 'normal' university.

One of these classes was called "Intro to Comics" taught the incomparable Ellen Forney. Now I was the only acting student in a class full of nothing but design and classical art majors (painters, sculptors, etc) and thus was a wee intimidated, but I'd like to think I held my own. And I learned a lot, including but not limited to knowing when to improve my handwriting because apparently typed word bubbles never look right.

...boo.

But we've had some pretty text heavy things this week, so I thought I would treat you to one of my favorite pieces that came out of Ellen's class. We were supposed to do a 'how to' comic, illustrating step-by-step instructions on our subject of choice. Also, something cool about this is I did the entire thing without any digital help, just scanned it in. This effect was achieved by transferring the original onto tracing paper and coloring in both sides with colored pencil to get the super rich color. It took a HUGE amount of time, but I was really happy with it.

...I may have taken a slightly geekier pursuit than my classmates. Behold my alter ego...


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Open Letter To My Fellow Lady Geeks

Dear fellow ladies who also happen to be geeks (and women who are not geeks too, but I don't tend to meet you as much so all bullet points may not apply or make sense to you without researching first),

Ha, bet you thought you weren't getting one of these, am I right?

But see, I would also like to co-exist with you in a happy peaceful land and while we may not run into quite the same issues as I would run into with the lovely gents I spoke to in my last letter (unless you find yourself thinking, 'That Callaghan chick is pretty smexy'--then you may need to look at that other letter too) I think we can probably improve the situation by laying down some ground rules.

Again, these are basic rules, I am in no way inferring that you, the reader, personally does or doesn't do any of these.

1. Be aware of slut-shaming. Society has weirdly lulled us into doing this that we don't even realize it half the time we participate in it and at conventions, it's absolutely rampant. We need to stop judging our fellow lady geeks based on their clothing or costume as it's neither an indicator of their 'sluttiness' or geek cred. We're supposed to be the crowd of misfits that takes all kinds and I'd love for us to go back to those roots.

2. Please stop uttering the phrase, "She's just wearing that for attention." ...OF COURSE SHE IS,WE ALL COSPLAY FOR ATTENTION! Hell, I just wrote about it. You don't dress up as a character recognizable to an entire mini-population of nerds because you want to skulk around in the shadows unnoticed. Unless that's your character... But even if you love that character, even if you love sewing and costume design, cosplay, on some level (and this goes for both men and women) cosplay is partly about embracing our inner camera-whore.

3. Remember we aren't in competition with each other. I'm not sure where this whole Highlander-esque "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE" stigma came about that causes ladies to grump on other ladies, but dear god do we need to work hard to squash it. You can be beautiful and intelligent and geeky and that it no way makes me less beautiful, intelligent or geeky. My worth is not dependent on how we measure up against each other and vice versa.

4. I'm not hitting on you (Trust me, you'd know, it would be awkward and totally uneloquent) and I don't need anything from you, you really do look really nice today.

5. I really don't have a TMI filter. If you need to talk about something that most people consider extremely personal, that's fine, I'm a great listener. BUT give me a bit of a heads up that's where the conversation is going or I may get whiplash.

6. Men in a relationship are immediately unattractive to me. I realize this isn't the case for everyone but please sincerely believe he's my bro, I've no desire to try to steal him away. Also girl, you're fabulous, who would leave you? Stupid people, that's who.

7. Weight shaming, regardless if you're griping that someone is over or underweight, needs to stop.

8. Being feminist means we want equality. It doesn't make us man haters or women haters and dear gods can we please stop the term 'femme-nazi'? By associating something very beautiful and welcoming (the idea that regardless of gender we should all have the same human rights) with this really opposite concept (Nazism) we're only hurting ourselves. Feminism isn't about playing the victim and it isn't about shifting the sides in regards to oppression. It's about balance.

9. Self-deprecation is a monster and I won't let you participate in it if I'm in ear shot. The world tears you down enough, don't you understand how awesome you are?

10. If you find yourself saying, "I don't have friends that are girls, they're just so catty", it may be time to stop and re-evaluate the situation. Don't get me wrong, I was that awkward girl who got picked on a ton in grade school by the popular crowd, girls CAN be cruel... but that's a personality trait, not a gender one. Let's be honest for a second: Assholes are everywhere! We've dated them, we've been their friends, we've met them randomly on the street and they fell on various levels of the gender spectrum. Give girls a chance. I mean, you're pretty badass and you're a girl, right? You're reading my blog for some reason and I'm pretty sure I'm a lady.

Thanks for letting me talk about this. If I know you, know that I'm glad you're in my life and if I don't, know that I can't wait to meet you.

Continue to be amazing <3

Love,

The Geek Next Door
(Kiri)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"You won't know til you try it."

Is what drug dealers are telling teenagers, I imagine when pushing... whatever it is they push these days onto teens.

But this was also the phrase someone used with me when talking about the Twilight Saga. I admit, I had picked it up in Barnes and Noble initially because I thought, "Ooh, apple, snow whit--Nope, teen vampire romance that does not involve slayers." (Buffy FTW)

And I didn't really think of it much after that but was totally fine with jumping on the band wagon of poking fun of it. I had heard something about 'sparkly vampires', it sounded stupid, that was that.

But then someone, a fan of the books and friend of mine, pointed out that I got perturbed when Harry Potter was made fun of by people who had never even picked up a book.

She had a frustratingly accurate point.

And she pointed out that who knows, I may even enjoy reading them. She was right for about... 5 chapters of the first book. I've been to Forks, Washington, I was super amused that it was the location of this series.

This is what driving through Forks is like.

Sign: You Are Now Entering Forks.
*blink*
Sign: You Are Now Leaving Forks.

But the novelty of something I grew up with wore off and this catalogues my experience with the series rather accurately:


Last panel will make a whole lot of sense if you know about the whole... baby fuckery and Jacob's imprinting... Just wiki it. Seriously.

Monday, April 8, 2013

An Open Letter To Men of the Modern World

Dear (Straight) Men of the Modern World,

Hi.

We need to have a talk.

Calm down, I realize that sentence is pretty loaded and usually means some seriously uncomfortable conversation but take deep breaths, you aren't in trouble, I promise. I just feel that as we get to know each other more, I should make a few things clear.

Society has this funny way of mucking up our heads and expectations and I wanted to lend you a hand with some of that because I'd like to co-exist with you fairly peacefully and maybe even settle down with one of you and get a puppy or something.

So hear me out, I come in peace.

1. I'm a very face-value person. "No" does not mean "try harder". When you ignore a sincere request, it tells me you're disrespectful of my wishes, even when that request is, "Please let me pay for my own food." You may feel like you're being generous, but it feels extremely patronizing to be on the receiving end.

2. When I say, "I want to just be friends," this is not intended to be an insult. I respect you, I want you to have what's best for you--including someone whose heart does all those flip-flops or whatever when you walk by. I can't control if I feel that or not, but I can control how honest I am about what I'm feeling.

3. Please stop using the phrase "friend-zone". Being my friend is an extremely special thing. I hold my friends in a very high regard. If you want to treat it like I've demoted you to being a second-class citizen because I don't want to sleep with you, we should not be friends. There is the door. Please move through it.

4. Being a feminist means I want us to be both treated like human beings, it does not mean that I bear ill-feelings toward you. You don't have to walk around eggshells around me. I don't bite. ...unless you're into that. Or if you steal my food without asking.

5. Regardless of possible age-gap, do not talk to me like you're my father. Ever. I have two parents that did a fine job of raising me.

6. Monogamy is not a kind of wood.

7. Compliments, as long as they are sincere, are awesome and encouraged. Yes, I am a confident woman who knows when I look good--that doesn't mean I don't want to hear you verbally confirm it.

8. If you want out of a relationship, tell me. Yes, it sucks when one person is still into another but they aren't feeling it, but you aren't 'protecting' anyone by pretending. And you aren't as good at pretending as you seem to flatter yourself to be.

9. Contrary to societal belief, not all women are looking for 'the one' every time. One make-out session does not a relationship make. Until we have talked about it, I am going to assume there was no commitment there.

10. My male friends should not all need to be gay for you to not feel threatened. Just because a man likes vagina generally does not mean he wants mine specifically. Chill out. If you're that paranoid, we may need to talk about how you feel towards your straight female friends as you may be projecting your feelings onto me. Additionally, please respect that even if someone thinks of themselves as your competition for my affections, remember that I decide if they're competition, not either of you.

These are just a few talking points that I feel were important to get out in the open. I really appreciate that we were able to talk about this. Thanks for listening and continue to be awesome.

Love,

A woman of the modern world.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why Great Cosplay Is Good For You

I had the pleasure of snagging dinner with my friend Meris (http://fabricalchemist.com/) who is not only one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet but also a fantastic cosplayer.

We talked a bit about cosplay itself and how we'd both kind of got into it--which really sounds like we were talking about a drug addiction or something, though I suppose that's appropriate. It is kind of addicting.

We nerded out on cosplay research and our first costumes. We both have a serious love for Halloween--or really any excuse to wear a costume, frankly. I'd learned sewing from my mom when I was young but the really cool thing about Meris is that she got into sewing as a result of cosplay.

Seriously, you should check out her blog, the fact that she only started crafting costumes relatively recently, makes her craftmanship that more impressive.

If you've never done any kind of cosplay, I cannot encourage you enough to give it a go at some point. Maybe it's the actor in me but I absolutely love embodying the character. On top of researching the costume itself, I love figuring out how they move, speech patterns... Okay, so I'll always be an actor at heart, but come on, if you're costuming as a villain
  you probably shouldn't be grinning with two anime peace signs by your face for a picture... Well, okay maybe one or two pictures because that could be funny.

And frankly, it's an awesome ego boost. I won't lie, I love being able to put together a well-crafted costume and get stopped by fellow con-goers in a crazy paparazzi-like fashion. It's the one time I get to feel like a celebrity. And while it may be a little shallow, I think everyone needs that kind of boost now and then.

But the truly best part? While that attention is temporarily fine and dandy, we all reach our breaking point (well, hopefully) and want to be left alone. Which is perfect because when you change back into normal clothing, you're incognito and can walk around unnoticed again.

When I'm going to a con for professional reasons, I prefer to go in plain clothes--and frankly cosplaying every day is exhausting. I've also noticed if you really pull off a costume that people appreciate, you'll never see anything you actually went to the con to do. Great for the ego, somewhat not great when you realize that ticket you paid for is wasting away so you can stand and have people take pictures of you, or that you missed that voice acting panel, or that Neil Gaiman signing...

What are some of your favorite experiences when cosplaying?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Little Known Facts and Sims comics

Little known fact: My legal name used to be 'Kirstin Nelson'. I was never a fan of the name 'Kirstin' but grew a fondness to the nickname of 'Kiri'.

However as I entered into the world of theater, I realized that 'Kiri Nelson' wasn't a very good stage name and in college I adopted the name 'Callaghan' from family records. And boom, it stuck and now it's on all of my legal documents. Weird, huh?

I never released any writing under the name 'Kiri Nelson', but I did have a comic made entirely out of Sims 2 characters all through college.

I decided I was comfortable sharing this with you:


The photobucket that hosted the theme no longer has those pictures but all of the actual comics are in tact. I never fully finished, but I had a blast making it. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Lara Project - Nike+ Kinect Training

If you read this blog semi-regularly, you're probably, like me, fairly geeky and possibly enjoy video games. Frankly, I'm a big fan of this whole full-body gaming trend. I don't think everything should go that way but being able to work-out in the comfort of my apartment living room?

Heck yes.

So for this week's Lara Project update, I wanted to talk about the Nike+ Kinect Training game.

So if you have a Kinect sensor, you've probably played around with Dance Central or Kinect Adventures and you know that it can get you to work up quite the sweat. I used to love to dedicate 45 minutes a night to Dance Central.

Holy cow, it is nothing compared to this game. Not only does it cut down my work-out time, I know I'm using that time effectively because everything has that, "Oh hey, there are muscles you've never used before, did you know?" feel the next morning.

I am ridiculously exhausted in just 30 minutes (or under) and the sensor is pretty darn sensitive in knowing if your body is in the proper position. You can tailor the workout to your goal, there's a 4-week check in and if you have a Nike+ account, you can also check your fuel progress against your friends'. It keeps you to the basics, which I like, because you don't need a thousand things to train your body. It's also pretty entertaining--I love the mini-games, my favorite being where this glass wall moves toward you and you have to move to, crouch or jump through the one part of negative space.

This is such a short little blurb, really, but I don't have much else to say. I'm really enjoying it. Do you have any video-game related work-outs that are your favorites?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Suga--AAAAAAAH mother &#$%er!

So yesterday I tried sugaring for the first time. Now, that may sound delicious, but let me explain what it is. Or rather, let me site a Wikipedia article that will explain what it is.

Sugaring is a method of hair removal. Like waxing, there is still some risk of sensitivity or irritation but since it attaches only to the hair and not skin itself (like waxing does) it's a lot less likely or severe. The sugaring substance itself is essentially sugar, lemon and water that's been heated up until it liquefies ( a nice golden color, not burned) and then cooled until it's about  room temperature where it becomes a sticky, taffy-like substance. Then it's applied in the opposite direction of hair growth and pulled off.

Some of you just winced, huh?

Well... let's look at the other options.

Waxing: Hot wax applied to the skin (sometimes this burns), a strip is placed over it and then it's all ripped off. Through this method I have had a layer of skin ripped off a few times AND the mineral oil they use to soothe the skin tends to make me an acne farm. Joy.

Threading: A thick cotton thread is crossed and twisted so it can pluck entire lines of hair rather than if you tweezed  and had to do it individually. For a while this was my preferred method for eyebrows because while a bit more painful, it didn't have the aftermath of waxing. It did pinch the skin now and then though--and a friend of mine has even got mini cuts from this method. With waxing, I worked up a tolerance if I kept regular appointments. With threading, it always hurt like the first time.

Admittedly, my eyebrows had worked up a tolerance when it comes to plucking etc but with sugaring? Wow. I gotta admit, I barely felt anything. I would definitely go back.

...however.

I had also scheduled my first bikini wax for this because it was recommended as the least painful way to go about it. The painless eyebrow clean up lulled me into a false sense of security and I fearlessly let myself relax, expecting discomfort but nothing I couldn't handle.

Ho-ly fuck weasels, guys.

I just... I would be lying and doing you a great disservice if I didn't say this hurt. I was shouting profanity like I was auditioning for Jersey Shore. Imagine someone taking a big wad of chewing gum and sticking it in your hair and then yanking it out... except ten times worse because it's on a part of you that has far more nerve endings.

"Do you want me to count down when I do it?"
"FUCK NO."

I didn't cry. This wasn't a life-scaring-holy-crap-never-going-back kind of incident, maybe I'm a masochist but I'm planning on going back in 4 weeks to keep up maintenance.

I hear if you keep up with it, the hair gets sparser/thinner and as a result isn't quite so painful the more you do it... but wow.

Though, thus far, though the skin is a little unhappy with me, no red bumps (which shaving always gave me) so thus far I'm happy. We'll see if this is the case as  this continues.

But for now? I trooped through that. I'd say 'like a badass' but despite that I didn't cry, I was trying to keep on a conversation that kept being interrupted with Tourette style outbursts.
"So what do you do?"
 "I'm a wri---fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, dear god, why?" 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Eulogy For Bunnies

Somewhere in heaven, there's a bunny winning at hide-and-seek in the clouds....


This is Harvey. Harvey is awesome. I only met him a couple of times but he affectionately reminded me of Boober from Fraggle Rock in that he was a bit adorably neurotic and you could never manage to see his eyes.

...He could have been a tribble, come to think of it.

Harvey belonged to my friend Hawk. I'm not going to go into too much detail because you either get what it means to lose a pet or you don't. Hawk was Harvey's parent and friend. They were a duo--I'm not going to break out into the song, but it's important that you know how important this fluff-ball was, regardless how small he may have been.

Harvey, wherever you are, I hope it's absolutely fantastic.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Triumph and Tragedy of "What if?"

"What if" is such a terrifying and beautiful question really. It's the basis of change, both good and bad. For a creative mind, especially, it is the very fuel that motivates us and simultaneously the very thing that could end us.

It's that tiny "What if" that sends our imaginations whirling, that draws pens across paper and brushes over canvases. Entire story cannons have been questioned even by their creators with 'what if' shoot offs.

"What if I had a month to live?" inspired Funeral Potatoes. "What if Peter Pan's intentions were not the light-hearted ones we were taught" helped inspire Ren and I to write Into the Dust... I don't regret those "What If"s for a moment and yet...

...it's this seemingly innocent question that when applied to my life, sends me spiraling down a series of thoughts  that I'd be better off avoiding.

I'm a writer. 

I'm always looking for the story, even when there really isn't one.

So occasionally when I'm given very limited information but perception or even past experience suggests that's not the whole picture, my brain is instantly employing that beautifully ugly little question. "What if?" And it lists every possible and improbable scenario and they each play out to the end of the arc. Some are happy, some are dark and what may have started as something as simple as a miscommunication or poor word choice becomes an entire novel.

I forget sometimes... not everyone thinks of words the same way I do. Sometimes word choice is pulling from mentally available vernacular rather than deliberate coloring the meaning of the sentence.

Still... it doesn't stop the "What if". Sometimes I feel like it's really some kind of neurosis that I've forced into being useful. 

...other times I realize I was actually filling in the blanks based off of patterns of behavior I wasn't even aware I'd noticed.

"What if" is a dangerous and beautiful question in both life and fiction.

But unfortunately, when applied to life, sometimes it's right.

Monday, April 1, 2013

One Of The Most Important Things You'll Ever Learn

It's April Fool's Day: Be suspicious of everyone, your friends, your family, the internet. Trust NO ONE. Not even me.

...especially not me.