Thursday, June 30, 2011

They could only make it easier for you by barging into your house, jamming a Q-Tip inside your mouth, and then running out again.

I don't really care much about my body parts. I mean, I do...but I mean "don't care" more in the way that I would happily give a kidney or some bone marrow or half of my liver to someone else who needed it. I mean...kids with cancer, yeah? Bone marrow transplants can save their lives. I know why some people might balk at the thought of giving their kidney to someone - especially someone they don't know - and I get it. But I just kind of feel like...we have these bodies for such a short amount of time, and if we're really honest with ourselves, we really don't appreciate them as much as we could. So why not give something of our bodies to someone who might?

Then I read this article about an organization called Be The Match. Not only is the story of how the org was founded illuminating and motivating, but they make it so easy to join the registry.

And in all seriousness, it is the easiest thing in the world to get on the donor's list - they send you the kit through the mail, which takes five minutes to complete (maybe 10, if you're super careful like me), then you drop it in the mail again (postage paid!) and you're done. If you match someone who's on the list as needing a donor, they'll tell you and you can go from there. If you don't, you still get to have the heart-warming feeling of doing something good and giving for your greater community.

So do it. Yeah, do it. C'mon. Do it. You know you wanna do it. Just do it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I can't decide which I love more - the columns or Randy's comments about them.

Randy says: Everyone knows young hummers are the most active.

This Generation.

 I can hear the voices of my parents and their parents: We are so self-indulgent, this generation. Get a job, go to work, be responsible, quit whining. But I think that we have that luxury, of trying our best to be happy – really happy, in a way that doesn't feel like we're suffocating ourselves – and so we should take it. Because we can.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's a Double-Hummer Week. You must've done something reeaaaal nice.




From Randy -
It's still the Summer of Hummers!

In this issue, Dolores discusses how hummers can help you avoid STDs.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Who You Are No Matter What"

Annie had spent most of the summer lying awake in her bed at night, waiting for her father to die. And now that he was dead, she still found herself laying awake for most of the night, this time wishing he would come back.
Annie's dog Davey shifted from her spot at the end of the bed as Annie rolled onto her side. The dim nightlight cast shadows on the wall, and Annie stared blankly as the shapes enlarged and then receded, Davey having finally settled down again.
Hardly anyone had come to the funeral – they had very few relatives, her father had lost touch with most of his friends, and she hadn't even told hers – and she didn't cry. Couldn't. There was no point in it. Her father hadn't even wanted her here this summer, not really, not until the end. Go back to your life, he told her. I didn't push you out just so you could come back, he joked.
They put him in the same room as Bobby. That was the one good thing she had done. Dr. Noble hadn't wanted to, told her it was very unorthodox, but in the way she had learned to cultivate with men her entire life, she simply stared him down until he agreed. The nurses thought it was the most wonderful idea. Like a small town parade, they triumphantly rolled her father down the hallway, into the elevator, and then into Bobby's room, gliding her father's bed in as if it were a routine for Stars For Ice. And so, for the last three weeks in August, there Annie stayed – sitting in a chair between the two beds, silent and watchful for which one of them might die first. Because wouldn't it just be the thing, if Bobby did, before Dad. That would just be really great, Annie thought to herself. That would just make all of this just perfect, then.

Annie had started out having a safe, normal life, with a safe, normal family. A mom and a dad who loved each other, and a brother who loved his little sister, which made her love him right back. An unfortunate accident in a canoe, a small tumor nestled somewhere within the left frontal lobe, and a mom who couldn't deal left just Annie. Just Annie, really.
Well, Annie and Bobby. But that was the worst of it. She hadn't had to worry, when her father was still here. He could take care of it, he told her, and so she hadn't had to worry. And what was the answer, she wondered. Should he die now. Could she keep him alive. And which of those did she want the most.
 - New story entitled, "Who You Are No Matter What"

Well, well, well...

Look who's a big famous media personality now...
 
 
It's our favorite commenter, KEVIN!

Kevin was chosen by MetroMix as one of the Top Tweeps of the Twin Cities. His particular title is "Twolitico."
 
Which I will now be using constantly as a way to refer to him, as well as unabashedly soaking up any and all side-fame that comes my way thanks to his new trend-setting status.

Friday, June 24, 2011

#MetalFriday and a thing called, "reading."

So this morning on Twitter, I joined in with one of the coolest people I know - Charles K. Youel of Artcrank (@ARTCRANK) for #metalfriday. Or rather, I RT'ed something he tweeted about #metalfriday, and then he called me out to tweet something for #metalfriday, and once @ARTCRANK throws the #metalfriday gauntlet down, YOU DON'T BACK DOWN FROM THAT SHIT.

Anyway.

So since we were talking about Tool earlier on Twitter, I decided to post "Schism" by Tool as my #metalfriday pick. Also because it's A. It's fuckin' Tool and B., it's also the song that I basically wrote the entire Holiday Chick book around.

Yeah, you heard right. Can't be too much of a chicklit book if I basically wrote almost the entire premise around a Tool song, now can it? People who haven't read the book don't seem to really believe me that it's not just a book for angsty teen girls (or angsty grown women). That's why I struggled so much with the book description - if I were a guy, I don't think I'd read that and be all, "Hey, a girl has a lot of feelings and starts getting to know all these different guys...sounds like something I'd be down to read!" But, since the story is mainly about Aden, it was the most apt description that I could come up with for the book, and since you guys voted on it, it's sticking.

But, when I listen to songs like this and I remember exactly how the book evolved, it makes me want to share it with everyone. Because if I tried to do anything with the book, it was explore how different characters felt about the place they were in - from the angsty, slightly mysterious new girl to the guy you know from high school who's still skateboarding in the gas station parking lot  - during a specific time in young adulthood...and I wanted to explore what it takes to turn the people around us - the ones we see every day, the ones we grew up with, the ones we think we know everything about - into unpredictable, sometimes cruel, and maybe even dangerous spectors in our lives.

Also, this song is freaking hot (even though the scene I wrote for it? Not so hot. Maybe a little haunting, maybe a little dark - okay, a lot - but. Not hot), and it definitely played the biggest part in informing the intensity that's sewn into the entire story.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you like metal, you like Holiday Chick. And even if you don't, you like Holiday Chick.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The compass.

It didn't feel right. 
 
But it was money. 

But it wasn't what I wanted to do. Be. Talk about. 

But it might get you more opportunities. 

But it feels cheap. And kind of gross. 

But if you close this door...

This was the conversation I kept having with myself, earlier this week. Sitting at the table in the cabin late one night, I kept going over it. The pros and cons.
 
Or more to the point, I kept trying to rationalize while the cons should be pros. 
 
I'm pretty good at listening to my gut. Following my instincts. I have a lot of feelings, and those feelings are strong...sometimes to the point of freak-out-where-is-this-coming-from-strong. Most of the time, I love this about myself...I love having such a strong inner compass that I can just look at something and instantly see the impact it's going to have on my life. The only time when I don't like it? 
 
When I'm not actively listening to it. 
 
I've been going around and around with trying to say this in the most eloquent way, but I'll just say it: I shouldn't have become a brand ambassador for Chevy. I told myself that I should do it because doing so would bring in more money (money, I told myself, that would allow me to do the things I really loved, like writing) and it could possibly open the doors for other opportunities that I did want. 
 
But the offer was ironic for these reasons: I had just sat down a few days before and wrote out my vision of the kind of companies I wanted to work with in terms of branding, social media, and copywriting (companies that were progressive in their efforts to promote active living, environmental stewardship, sustainable development, and community involvement) and told myself that I would only give my time and energy to the kind of companies that fit these initiatives. I had also started working out a serious strategy for getting to the point where it was possible for me to live a more active and environmentally-friendly lifestyle by giving up my car and doing more things by bike.

And then along comes Chevy. 

It just didn't fit. And it wasn't about being a brand ambassdor or selling a brand...I'm not against that. I kind of feel like my whole life right now is selling a brand: Whether it's selling my book, selling Groucho, selling Cyber Dating Sidekick, even my volunteer gig, The Green Institute/ReUse Center, I'm actively involved in selling something - an experience, a product, a service, a message, a lifestyle. And when it comes down to it, all of them work right into my life purpose: To use my creativity, humor, and sense of empathy to inspire others to courageously live out their lives in deeply meaningful and beautiful ways. 
When Chevy came along, I knew instantly that this wasn't something that aligned with that purpose. But I ignored that red flag and made a commitment to them anyway, mostly because, initially, it seemed like a fun challenge to find new, creative ways to talk about a brand (and also, if I want a car company to be more fuel-efficient and use less resources, I feel strongly like that change is better affected from inside influence vs outside dissension). And also, money. I like money. It's hard for me to turn down money when I know there's a long list of good things that money can do - secure further freedom, buy gifts for those I love, provide payback to people who've helped me, be used for contributions to causes I care about. So yeah. When Chevy offered me money, I was like, "Well alright. I guess I like Chevy now."
But it felt gross. Not because it's not a good brand, but because it wasn't a good brand for me. And tweeting about it, blogging about it...it made me cringe. I found myself writing an email about it to someone, and thinking, "I'm trying to overly explain to you that this isn't really me... When normally I'd write you and just feel like everything I'm saying perfectly reflects everything I'm about." And then I talked to my friend Carol from New York for four hours about aligning yourself with things you believe in, and then today, I found this in my inbox. It kind of felt like the universe kept hitting me in the face with stuff, like, "You get it now? Huh? You get it yet? DO YA?!"
This whole year has been about doing good work, and doing it for the things I love and believe in. And if I'm giving my time and energy to the things I don't believe in, I have less of it to give to the things I do.
So. I'm no longer a Chevy Girl.
But I will say that, in the end, I'm glad I at least tried it out, and not just because of the valuable lessons I learned from it. 
Mostly, it's because of this.

Book Goal For Free Gift

The Anniversary Book Sale is now in full effect! And it's been super exciting, you guys.
Checking the tallies from yesterday, we only need to sell 20 more books (EDIT: As of 3:00 pm, 15 more books) to reach our goal for today!!

So if you've already bought a book and liked it (if you didn't like it, just sit there and be quiet), please spread the word to your friends today and tomorrow. People who do this kind of thing automatically get moved up to the top of my friendship list, and you get a permanent "This Person is FREAKING AWESOME" stamp on your face (in my mind), even if you do something another day that pisses me off.

And if you're one of the awesome that has bought a book yesterday and today, let's make this thing spread like wildfire so you can be one of those cool people who ends up having something that none of your friends have, thereby validating your little 14 year old heart.
I'm serious, though. The free gift has a lot of street cred. A lot a lot. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cheaters never win.


"You left me untethered, ungrounded, unsure, unanswered. Undone. Actually, you made me leave. And rather than blame you, I left you all the comforts of our nest and took just myself. So that I might pick up where you left off in the unraveling.

I wish I’d been kinder to me.

I wish you had too, but that notion seems superfluous from here.

Somewhere along the way, I realized you didn’t actually leave me because of me. You left me for her. Which might have been worse.

For a long time, it hurt to even read Holly’s name. For a while I thought I would like her, under different circumstances (say, ones in which you didn’t start wooing and loving her while we still shared the same bed). But then, as I finally started walking out of that gulf and finding my footing on overdue anger, it consumed her too.

If you asked me late at night in a hard winter, I would tell you I hated her for a long time. For replacing me. For being what you wanted more than you wanted me. For being what I wasn’t - maybe what would have kept you, I told myself. Casual and easy, athletic and slim as a reed and blond as a child.

I’d watch her and think, she must feel forgiving as hard fought freedom to you. Carefree and jubilant after me and my deep sad heart that feels everything too much. Me who can never not say what I am feeling, can never be satisfied, can never stop wondering and wandering and analyzing and pushing you and me and the whole great world to be More. Why couldn’t I be so easy, I would wonder. WHY CAN’T I EVER JUST BE EASY? I would scream out to the red blur of traffic at night or to my therapist at 5 pm appointments for which I was always late and unexcited.

The other night, we got a beer, Holly and me. This woman who had been such a torturous reflection of how I fell short. And it felt better than ok, it felt like relief. Like finding land.

The day you delivered her verdict, I stopped hating her and started aching for her instead. When one of my twin nieces is hurt, the other cries. Doubles over and holds the same wrenched gut, the same malevolent tooth. That makes perfect sense to me and my wounds, burst open by empathy. I read about this good woman heaving on the office rooftop, secreted away to find five minutes to be broken under the heavy canopy of cloud cover, in this city that didn’t slow down for either of our demises. And across town, I feel it.
 Over Surlys on a busy sidewalk on a humid night, we trade notes. All the things we never understood. Why didn’t you ever take any of the outs we offered? If we weren’t good enough, why did you spindle us back in? We unwrapped the facts we should have seen as secrets and not assuaged as baseless suspicions back then. The women you courted, the lies you told, the computers you locked down and the phone that vibrated with texts while we lay in dark beds, trying to decide if we were up for the punishment that came for asking. For not being cool enough to ignore it all. The first day you took her out, you sent me third anniversary flowers to work. I never knew that. You told her we broke up the night before, the night you were busy writing me a love note. She never knew the truth. (I close my eyes and repeat this like the answer I’ve been waiting for.) We discover how many of your lines are trademarked. Designed for maximum impact. There is no chance. No authenticity. It’s enlightening  We laugh raucously in disbelief, which I should be able to from this distance because I have Come Through. But Holly, she’s tougher than I was already. I admire her and tell her I wish I’d taken my own side like she is keeping hers.

It’s freeing, you know? It takes a lot of energy to be so hurt by someone. To feel so inferior and be so angered by the sole fact that they must share an existence in your orbit. I am grateful to lay down my tired torch."
My friend Erica is one of the best people I know. She's loving and giving (and forgiving) and welcoming and she opens her deep, beautiful heart to those who need it, regardless of what may have occurred before. I love her so much.

I won't call people out on this blog. I could, and I really don't care what they or anyone might think about it. But I'm done doing that, I think. And if I call out one, then I have to call out the others, and then really, it becomes about me taking responsibility for shedding light on the things you're doing. But you know who you are. The thing is, when you treat women badly, it always comes out. Whether it's pathologically cheating on your wife or the narcissistic habit of texting the same "Last night I cried in the grocery store. This is so hard" msg to the last two girls you cheated on...I mean. It's out there. And you might think that you can keep it quiet with lies, intimidation, charm, threats, or even social outcasting...but it's coming for you. And you know it.

How the Bruins (and the world) got such a cool infographic that explained how they got a $156,679.74 bar tab.

Mayhaps you've seen this infographic before  - 
 
And mayhaps you already know what a huge geek I am for infograpics of any kind. Why? Because they can make even the most boring information and data easily digestible and visually rad. 

So imagine my uber delight when I was scrolling through Facebook and realized that I know the guy who did the above infographic. And not only that, but I actually like him.

Personal background: Dan is married to Angela, one of the coolest girls I ever went to high school with. I first met Dan at the 10-year reunion. Not only was Dan super rad to talk to, but he earned huge lifetime cool points with the entire class when he and Angela went to the Woodshed to pick up some more kegs after we ran out halfway through the night (this is the class who seriously fought to have "'97 Kegger Kegger" as our graduating slogan). 

Professional background: LOOK at this stuff. He also does THIS. And he's local, you guys. And not only that, but he's super freaking cool. And he'll make a CUSTOM INFOGRAPHIC FOR YOU.
 
Did I also mention that he's pretty cool? 

It's words.

Postertext takes words from your favorite book and makes a poster out of them. Though, here's hoping that most people are buying the Moby Dick poster because of the actual poster, and not because it's their favorite book.

Cause that book is BORRRING. 

(Thanks to David Erickson for the good word on this cool deal)

It's on. It's happening.

For the next 72 hours, you can get an AUTOGRAPHED, PRINT COPY of HOLIDAY CHICK for only $9.99.
Not only is that 50% off the list price, but it's cheaper than you would ever find it in a bookstore. Or on Amazon.

AND, if 100 or more copies are sold during those 72 hours, EVERYONE who buys a copy gets a FREE GIFT.

And the free gift is super awesome, you guys.

It's the kind of gift that keeps on giving. And it would be near impossible to find it anywhere else.

So let's count it down: An autographed book. An autographed print book. An autographed print book for 10 bucks. An autographed print book for 10 bucks plus a free gift.

And let's just say this: If everyone who reads this post shares it, even if they're not planning on buying a copy, the 100 copies will be a s-n-a-p. It's 3 days, friends. And with your friends and my friends and that guy's friends...easy.

So go get yourself an awesome book - it's got angst and sex and accents and some violence and hot boys and wild parties and even some sports stuff in it (but cool sport stuff, like skateboarding) - and tell yer friends. And then you'll be my friend, and your friends will be my friends, and then THE WHOLE UNIVERSE WILL ALL BE FRIENDS.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Starting Tomorrow, in honor of the One Year Anniversary of the Publication of HOLIDAY CHICK...

You can get an AUTOGRAPHED, PRINT COPY of HOLIDAY CHICK for only $9.99.

And yeah, that is 50% off the list price! Math is easy, here at An Amber-Colored Life.

AND, if 100 or more copies are sold during those 72 hours, EVERYONE who buys a copy gets a FREE GIFT.

For legal reasons, I can't tell you what the free gift is.

But, it's pretty awesome.

And it's something that's almost impossible to get anywhere else.


An autographed print copy for 10 bucks, plus a free gift...and the gift is so awesome, you guys. I really want to give it to you. A really lot.

And, if everyone who reads this post shares it, (on their blog, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook...maybe not MySpace, though, because who are you? If you still have a MySpace, you better be in a band... And if you are in a band, might you be a drummer? Because if you are, let's get married and then never speak of this MySpace topic again), getting the free gift will be a s-n-a-p. Plus you will earn my undying devotion and general goodwill, two things that are worth more than gold.

If you've EVER wanted to buy a copy of the book...if you've told yourself that you wanted a print copy over an ebook because you're old-school like that but hated that the print copy price was so much more than the ebook price... if you've read the ebook and thought, hey, that's a cool cover, having a print copy would be cool and make it look like I have very stylish taste when my friends browse my bookshelf...if you've ever wanted to earn bonus points with your friends (or even a jerky book-loving non-friend) by buying them something awesome... if you already have a print copy but couldn't get it autographed and always wished you had one with my sweet name emblazoned all over the first page... this is your chance.

But it's only going to be here for 72 hours.

So get ready, because the sale starts at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I do really like this picture, though. Someone make me some of these cupcakes, kay?


Since we've kind of been talking a lot lately about other people on this blog instead of just focusing on me like we usually do, I thought it'd be cool if we continued that trend:

Monsterbeard, who has promised to befriend Jason Segal (so I can meet him and then we can fall in love) in exchange for the heart and geographic relocation of one of my best friends, has also quickly become one of my favorite bloggers. The other day, he reposted a repost (if you're on Tumblr, you get it. If you don't...just don't worry about it and keep reading) of an excerpt of this post from Julie Klausner's blog -

Don’t Fear The Dowager: A Valentine to Maturity


An adolescent boy’s bed sheet semen’s worth of ink has been spilled lately about men acting too much like boys. But the trend of reverse-striving has crossed over: adult women are acting more and more like little girls, and it’s really starting to get on my nerves.
There’s so much ukulele playing now, it’s deafening. So much cotton candy, so many bunny rabbits and whoopie pies and craft fairs and kitten ephemera, and grown women wearing converse sneakers with mini skirts. So many fucking birds.
Go read the rest.

And then this guy said this about that -

It’d be super if, instead of stereotyping women who ride fixed-gear bikes and like cupcakes as unintelligent children, we stopped making assumptions of people based on the most superficial elements of their personality. Bros don’t need to demean women when there are so many women trying to demean them already.


Which I looove.

And then Monsterbeard said this -

The people who think they hate feminism hate it when it tries to tell us what a woman should be instead of telling us women get to be what they damn well please.


Which I also LOVE.

Here's my thing: Can we please just stop telling each other what we have to be? Yes, there are things such as pandering to the opposite sex or participating in sexism or playing small to please patriarchal stereotypes or being so blinded by social and gender stereotypes that we can't even say the word "vagina" without blushing or feeling embarrassed for saying it, out loud, in a normal tone, in public (and yes, I personally wish it was a prettier word but it's just not and that's okay) or buy tampons and carry them out to our car without wanting to cover them up from public view.

But that's okay, because we're women and we have a lot of shit going on.

Right? All of us. Every single one.

So let's get on with our business and stop looking for things to knock each other down over. We're the ones who are supposed to stand together and fight for our gender, right?

And just as a singular point -
It’s all to the same ends—- women are trying to broadcast to men that we won’t bite their dicks off. It’s just that now, instead of lipstick, we’re wearing glittery lip gloss, or that shit you get in the drug store that tastes like Dr. Pepper.

I don't know any guys who would prefer to have a blow job from a girl who loves cupcakes over one from a girl who loves death metal. I think they'd be pretty cool having one from either. That's really your finest point? That we like unicorns and rainbows and flowery dresses because we think guys will want more blow jobs from us?! I'd like those things more if it meant I could get out of more blow jobs... but not because I think it would make more requests for them come my way.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Start your week off right with some more hummers.

Even though Kevin sent this to me 8 days ago, I'm just getting to it now because I currently have 536 emails in my inbox and have spent most of the weekend slugging through the messages.
HEAR THAT, EVERYONE? I GOT YOUR EMAIL. AND I WILL RESPOND BACK TO YOU AS SOON AS I CAN.

Anyway. 
From Kevin: 

Please tell me you'd already seen this headline in Wednesday's Star Tribune before you wrote that other blog post. Because if you didn't, I'm going to explode from laughter. EXPLODE.

I did not already see it. AND IT IS AMAZING.

Hummers, you guys. People love them. Who knew?

I did.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

AND THEN THERE'S THIS ONE!



It's a Trashicorn! Ding.

You're Welcome.

\

You will now probably spend the rest of your entire weekend watching more like these here.

It's true. It would be.

But isn’t the greatest hurdle just getting people motivated in the first place?


I would actually say that motivation is not the question. The real question is: What are the incentives? Let’s say I created a gym where you pay $400 the first of the month, and for every visit I refund $25. And before you sign up, we take unflattering photos of you in your under­wear, and if you don’t make a certain number of visits, we post those photos to a public website. I guarantee you that would be one fucking fit gym.
[via]

It's true. It would be. And behavioral psychologists have been saying for years that selling health is not effective when trying to get people to change (much like how sprouting off statistics about cancer and death is not effective in getting people to stop smoking)

I can't really decide if I like Tim or not. I've read a combination of endearing posts and arrogant interviews, and he does get about a billion street cred points for being funny on the Nerdist podcast, but...he's just not very likeable. But I guess when you're a genius, likability doesn't really matter all that much, does it?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Love.


Buy one here. And buy one for all of your creative friends, too, while you're at it.

I only like stuff that's awesome.

In case you didn't know already, this is one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE blogs of late. And she just did a kickass web redesign, so you should go check it out. And then read everything, every post, because it's THAT GOOD.

My Thoughts On Eat, Pray, Love, About 3 Years Later Than When Everyone Else Was Talking About It.


Okay.

I just need to get this off my chest.

It mostly started with a conversation I had with Erica last weekend about Eat Pray Love. Full disclosure? I loved that book (it was so funny, and endearing, and honest, and funny!), and Erica did, too, and we kind of ranted a bit at the backlash it received after the movie was made (mostly, it must be said, by people who didn't even read the book, which, if you've known me at all through the Harry Potter and Twilight phenomenons, makes me want to kick some faces in - you don't actually get to be a critic of something until you've actually read or watched that which you are attempting to critique. Otherwise, you're not a critic. You're a moron.)

But then I found myself flipping through channels yesterday and watching the movie again, and then I tweeted about it, and then some people agreed with me and some people didn't. But the discussion on Twitter brought up a couple of things that I've been turning over in my head for a while now, namely after I had a conversation with Soulless Ginger about it (who, incidentally, tossed all these criticisms and more at the book, despite not even having read it. He didn't have to, though. He just knew what it was about.) And also, I'm sure we're all also aware that my sparkling brilliance cannot be contained within 140 characters, so we might as well hash it out right here.

Much like the thing with Twilight, I get it. It's super cool to hate on something that's suddenly become popular. If everyone loves it, it must mean they're dumb and you're smart, and besides, being cynical about something is funny. Dudes. I'm right there with you. And yeah, it's annoying when the media can't shut up about something. And maybe you didn't like the book. Totally understandable. No one can argue with what you like and what you don't.

But here's what I don't get: Almost every single time I hear someone criticize the book/movie, the same words come up: Self-indulgent, upper-class woman. Why is it that whenever a woman writes about her feelings and experiences, she's considered "self-indulgent" (and yet when Augusten Burroughs writes a totally boring book, it's considered literary)? And let's cut the shit: ALL memoirs are self-indulgent. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most personal writing is self-indulgent. I'll never forget the time when, late one night on Twitter, a follower asked me if I didn't think my last post was just a little bit self-indulgent. "Have you read my blog at all? It's ALL self-indulgent. That's the whole point." Most of us write about our personal experiences, our feelings, our actions, memories, or about the feelings, actions, and memories of the people around us. As they say in psychology, nothing we do is ever truly altruistic. We do things to gain some type of personal satisfaction or acknowledgement, on whatever level that might be. It's often the same with writing. But whatever. People who hate memoirs tend to hate them no matter what they're about (let's not even get into the "if you're under thirty, you haven't lived enough to write a memoir." currently popular snark. It's funny that you think you can tell someone else the worth or breadth of their life experience before even knowing what that is).

And why is it that just because someone is "upper class", that automatically makes their feelings less valid than those who aren't? Being poor doesn't automatically make you enlightened. I know we would like to think this, when we're struggling to make rent and stuffing Ramen down our throats for the billionth time, but to do so is to participate in ill logic. Also, see: Classicism. Narrow-mindedness. Stereotyping. Snobbery.

Basically, everything that lower-class folks typically like to attribute to those who are upper-class.
Also - and you know I'm going to flip this coin - I don't see anyone complaining about all these bored upper-class men who are traipsing out to climb mountains and kayak rapids and sail around the world.  It's the same fucking thing. But to our ingrained social sense, those men are daring, adventurous, courageous. Yet something about a woman spending her own money (which she made by...weird, I know...writing her own books) to travel for a year, explore her psyche, learn how to meditate, and do the very thing that she's been doing for the past 10 years (aka, write a book about her experiences) seems to make some people extremely uncomfortable. What a self-absorbed jerk, right? I mean, happiness...everyone is entitled to the pursuit of it, but not you, affluent white women. You're outta the game.  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm kind of in love with this.

And I don't care what you cynical bastards think.

Also, it happened in Vancouver.

After a RIOT cause by a HOCKEY game.

Which means that it's awesome times one thousand.

(that's Awesome x 1,000 for those of you who can't read good)

[via]


EDIT: Okay, FINE.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Go the F*ck to Sleep, as read by Samuel L. Jackson



[via]

I DO! I DO see Hummers!

Happy Hum(p)mer Day!


Wish you had a cool friend like Randy to send you cool stuff like this? Friend him on Twitter. But just remember...he was MY friend FIRST.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The block.

I'm writing today.

AND IT'S NOT GOING WELL.

The first two chapters seemed like a breeze compared to this one. I just...don't like it. I've tried writing it three different ways now, and while there are some really good parts to it, as a whole...I kind of hate it. And then I get frustrated and impatient and then I try to tell myself to "savor the writing" but then remind myself that I'm on a deadline and have already taken two weeks to savor the writing of ONE CHAPTER and then I want to both cry and kick some doors in.

So maybe I'll just scrap that whole thing, eh? You know what else I kind of hate writing? Back details. If you're the kind of person who can't catch up and figure it out without having every previous step outlined for you, then maybe you shouldn't be reading books. In fact, I think I'm going to make that the defining statement on the back cover: "If you're the kind of person who repeatedly asks, "Wait, what just happened?" while watching movies, then this book isn't for you. Don't read it. Also, maybe think about not watching movies anymore, or at least while with other people."

Alright, I'm going back in. If you don't hear from me in three days, it either means that I've had a breakthrough and am thisclose to finishing the whole entire thing, or it means that I tied a brick to my foot and then jumped in the lake. Either way, I love you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

So I lied.

Magnum P.I. had to kick it.

Even though it hurt my heart to let him go.

And I still kind of want to do something with a Michael McDonald theme.

But anyway - the blog's new look is what I did yesterday, instead of laying out on the dock with homemade mojitos and a stack of books. And it's a huge point of pride for me to say that I did it, everything, all of it, all by myself. The favicon, the layout, the blog header, thesidebar, the addy change...everything. Me. I did it. For those of you who know how digitally naive I can be when it comes to HTML stuff (i.e., Luke, Ang)...the fact that I didn't resort to whiney "Can you tell me how to do thiiiiissss?!" emails is kind of a big deal for me.

There's still some cleaning up to do around here (for instance? I haven't updated my blog link list in, like, TWO years) and I still have some fun stuff that I want to try out and play around with, but mostly...godammit, you guys. I kind of want to just live here. All the time.

Here's the part where you tell me how awesome it looks and what a great job I did.

*BTW - if you're on the lookout for a fun and creative blog header of your very own, you should talk to my friend Karah. Besides some of the HUGE names that she's worked with, she designed the cover of my book and all of the fun blog headers of this past year (remember the super awesome squash-and-pumpkins-that-look-suspiciously-like-male-genitalia one from last fall? Yeah. That was allll her). She's one of those people who always has cooler ideas that you. This time it can be used to your advantage.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Themes.


See, the problem with all of this meditation and learning business is that it causes you to think about stuff. A lot.

Here's the sitch: There's about 3 lady bloggers right now of whom I regularly devour their stuff. I know this isn't going to come out the right way no matter how much I edit it, so I'll just say it: I love them because something about them resonates with me. They're just kickass. Funny. Brash. Smart. Driven.

What sets us apart, though, is that they've found a way to leverage their voice into out-and-out worldwide domination. And they've done this by pinpointing something they're passionate about and then writing about it. All the time. And reading them, I've started to feel rebuked, in a way. "I could do that," I find myself thinking, my eyes lingering over all the cool stuff they have going on. I just haven't really tried.

I haven't. I love this blog and everything that it's been to me. But I haven't really tried that hard to figure out what it is exactly that I want to say. And in fact, I've pretty much willfully gone against that idea when it comes to this blogging home of mine.

Sometimes I've wondered if that was a mistake. When, for business purposes, I kept reading articles about the importance of having a theme and being known for something when it comes to blogging, it slowly started to seep into my subconscious. The result? Here's the blogging trajectory of this year: Start a bunch of blogs that each deal with a different angle of my life. There were some great things that came out of it - e.g., being able to post audio on my Tumblr directly resulted in more serious writing this year than I've done in a long, long time - but when it came down to it, I kind of hated it. Take the above example again - yes, I posted more serious writing this year than I have in a long time...but unless you guys were all proactive about adding that Tumblr to your feed or following it with your own Tumblr account, I didn't get to share it with you. And I hate that. I want everything in one place. Easy. Accessible. I want it home.

But because I'm hopelessly neurotic, I also worry that if I put that stuff all in one place, it's just going to become a big ol' mess. I never worried about that before - I still belong to the school of thought where tools are awesome, but quit fucking trying so hard... just fucking write something good, that you like...and if you like it, chances are others will, too, and then you can shut up about it - but I like definition. I like my organized boxes.

But life is changing. I love this blog as a place where I can write about nothing and everything. It doesn't have to mean anything, it doesn't have to help you, it doesn't have to have a theme. But more and more, I also feel like there's more I want to say. I want to talk about writing and relationships and inner-growth and things I find fascinating and inspiring and motivating, like sustainable development and yes, social media (the cool as shit stuff about social media) and taking risks with your life and getting out there and fucking doing something. And even though there's a part of the internet these days that keeps saying, "No, it needs to be under a theme...if you're going to write about that stuff, then you need to make the entire blog about it so people don't get confused", I can't buy into that. We're not 5 yr olds. We shouldn't melt down just because a blogger has the audacity to write about something different for once (or writes about a whole number of different things under the same umbrella). I don't get upset when my friend Erica wants to talk about bikes instead of boys. Why are we expecting our bloggers to be these writer-ly cubbyholes (I put my social media stuff in this one, and in this one I'll find my stuff about the environment...)? It's bullshit. And it's boring.

And yes, you just read through my blog's identity crisis. And the result is this: Let's just agree that this is the place where we talk about cool shit. That's our theme...The Blog of Really Cool Shit.

I might work it out a little bit more with the title and everything, but you get it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

No need to say goodbye to Magnum P.I., however. Cause that guy is STAYING.

For a while now, I've resisted the idea of redesigning the layout of the ol' blog. Mostly because of you guys. People don't like change. And a lot of you are really, really old...I don't want to be responsible for giving you a heart attack and thus losing one of my precious followers.

Plus...I mean, besides a couple of header changes and some additions to the sidebar, this blog has looked this way for *checking post archive* ALMOST SEVEN YEARS (holy crap). There's a bunch of nostalgia wrapped up in that thar black background. Metal. The Darkness. Dungeons & Dragons. Dating horror stories. A bunch of writing series about boys. Living in Wisconsin and then moving and living in Wisconsin again.

But it hit me this past week that I can't stand the way the blog looks anymore. CANNOT. STAND. IT. It's like standing in the middle of a stuffed closet and consistently resisting the urge to grab armfuls of clothing and throw everything out.

So we're going to play around with it for the next couple of weeks. I might even ask for your input on which layout/design you like better (even though, as with everything, if I like it, I don't really care what you think). I did flirt with the idea of funneling this blog over to Wordpress or something similar, but at the end of the day, I'm a creature of habit, and even when I'm writing blog posts for this site, I still draft them over here first because the writing and tone feels different when I use something else (that's called being weird, and I'll totally own it). So we're sticking with the old Blogger.

So it's happening. I'm kind of sad. I don't like change all that much either. But we have to do it, friends. Let's hold hands and walk into that big, beautiful, bright future together. Just promise me you won't leave me if things get weird. We've been together for 7 years. That's longer than most Hollywood marriages. I stick by you, you stick by me. THAT'S HOW THIS WORKS.

We live in the future.

Looking at this picture is like staring into my future.


25 years from now...wearing a big ol' kaftan over my huge belly, walking my yippee little dog, a big smile on my face, just pleased as punch inside my crazy, hippie-loving, new age mind.

Who wouldn't want to share that kind of future, right?

[via]

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Friends Lens

Little known fact: A couple of years ago, I had this huuuge crush on Nate. Huge. Ridiculous. As in, was a total dork loser idiot whenever I found myself in the same room with him. But I got over it. Not like it was a disease or anything...but it kind of became similar to my friendship with Dave and Jeff, in that what started out as a major crush somehow morphed and flowed into this easy, fun friendship. The fun part of that is, even though I mostly see them through the Friends Lens, every once in a while they'll do something that'll make me think, "Oh yeah, that's why I used to be so crazy about you."

This is one of those things.

[photo via LOL/OMG]

Randy and I have decided that this is The Summer of Hummers.


Another gem, courtesy of my friend Randy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Gifts


In the afternoon I went for a long bike ride, the wind blowing the thoughts out of my head like so many sticky cobwebs. My skin still warm and brown and my hair dried into wavy ringlets by the sun, I tried my hand at making a smudging stick from the sage and lavender I planted a few weeks ago. “You will be good at this,” I could hear Marian, a Native healer and activist I used to know, tell me as I tied string around the bundle to keep the leaves together. She always tried to prompt me to do more with the gifts. While I hated being nagged, I trusted her no-nonsense, this-is-the-most-obvious-thing-in-the-world reaction to my careful questions about them. “You use the inner eye more than the two I'm looking at right now. It's part of the old spirit that wanders inside you.”

The old spirit. Pooks follows me as I float through the cabin, my iPod tucked into my back pocket and piping Joni Mitchell into my ears as I pick up the remnants of the day. Stirring peppermint leaves into the heating water, I tilt my head back and let it ring out, my voice feeling like a bird taking flight as I sing along to the chorus. Sometimes I forget about this.

Later that evening, I lay my head back against the stack of pillows and let the phone slip from my fingers, the words turning over in my mind. Like a small rock floating down through the lake and coming to rest at the bottom of my heart, it culls a small solidness, a calm. For a couple of weeks now, I've felt opened up. Cleaned out. Everything and everyone that was pulling on me, vying for my attention, has slowly fallen away, like water dripping from your skin after a long swim. And then suddenly there it was, like a pair of eyes that catch and hold over a bright fire on a dark night. I know who you are.

In the morning I'll go down to the dock with a thermos of coffee and watch the sunrise, like I used to do every day, years ago. When it's fully above the horizon, I'll close my eyes and open my palms and try to see the spirit brothers on my right. I know the two on my left, and can see them clearly, but when I look for the other two, it's as if I'm blinded. I know they are there, and Megan can see blue light snaking out from that side when I talk about them to her, but I often wonder why it is that I can't see them. Maybe I'm not supposed to. Maybe I'm not looking long enough. Or maybe they'll simply show themselves when I'm ready, like everything else in my life.

Later in the afternoon, I'll dip under the cold surface for a swim, stretching my arms and legs out further, further, my face cast up at the sky, eyes blinded by the sun's heat and light. And in the night I'll sit down at the table with my homemade mint tea and write, as I've done and will do every night, until this is finished. And then I'll be ready, and then you'll be here.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hummers.


My pal Randy sent me this photo, after telling me about his new favorite column.

Something tells me that this lady knows exactly what she's doing when she writes her column headlines.

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