It’s All Connected

I just sat down to write a post, and I was wavering between what I thought of as two separate topics, and then I realized that, in fact, they are the same topic: The computers are coming to get us.  If you’re a regular reader, you may recall that I’ve brought this up before and also wrote a short story about it.  It’s something I think about with startling frequency, actually.  Also, neither of these anecdotes could really fill up a whole blog post, so I decided I’d better make up a spurious connection between the two, and just do one post with both.  Here it is!

Anecdote Number 1:

I recently cut my hair from chin length to pixie, which is something I do every couple of years, when I get tired to dealing with hair that needs more than just a two-second brush-out in the morning.  I typically maintain it for two to three months and then I get tired of always having to get it cut and decide that longer hair is less work, and I grow it out, and the cycle begins anew.

Anyway, so I got my hair cut like a week ago, but (and this is important) I didn’t say anything about it to anyone.  I mean, people I interact with in person saw it, and commented on it, of course, but I didn’t text anyone or post about it on Facebook.  And yet, a couple of days later, Facebook stopped showing me the general non-sexuality-specific ads for dating apps, and started showing me ads for Lesbian dating sites.  Somehow, they knew I had cut my hair, and, based on incorrect stereotypes, assumed I was gay.  THE COMPUTERS ARE WATCHING US.  And they’re a bit judgy.

Anecdote Number 2:

I’ve been spending a lot of time outside, because it’s summer, and that’s what I do.  This means I have gotten some mosquito bites, and for some reason, this year, they all seem to be on my back.  It’s very uncomfortable, especially the ones that are out of my reach.  But the worst one I have is right at the base of my neck, exactly where the humans in The Matrix had their ports that connected them to the robots.  Obviously, the only explanation for this is that we really do live in The Matrix, and I have subconsciously begun to recognize that I have a port right there, but my brain is easing me into this knowledge by manifesting something else in that spot.  I’m just waiting for the day I wake up in a vat of some kind of disgusting viscus liquid and have to start fighting robots.   On the plus side, though, I’ll get to download the Kung Fu knowledge.

 

Goals Are Stupid, Anyway

I’m pretty sure setting goals is, like, the epitome of Adulting, but it’s really hard for me.  Either I go way too big, and I’m all, “Okay, starting today, I’m going to immediately be making $100,000/year, and also I have just lost thirty pounds!”  And then it turns out that I can’t start making that much money all of a sudden with two crappy jobs and a writing career that’s totally on the cusp of taking off.  And, as for the second part, a goal can’t be something you’ve just done, especially when you haven’t actually done it.

Or (remember, this was an either/or scenario in the previous paragraph) I set goals that are both utterly meaningless and 100% out of my control.  For example, routinely, at my book-keeping job, I’m all, “Okay, so the change in this bag is going to be under $30,” which is something that doesn’t actually affect me at all, and also has been decided by the Universe before I even touched the till.

The point I’m making is that today, I had set a goal for myself of relaxing and taking the day off from writing, because it’s ‘Merica Day and I already had/have to work my other two jobs, but then I got bored and I did a job for a client and am also writing a blog post (this one, right here), and I’m pretty sure that once I’m done with this, I’m gonna do some editing on a short story I’m working on.

I’m pretty good at other Adulting, though.  Like eating healthy and reading books and paying my bills and stuff like that.  I can’t think of anything that would make a good picture for this post, so I’m going to, as usual, fall back on posting a picture of one of my pets.  Here’s Chalupa from when she was taking a nap the other day on my laundry, and then woke up and had laundry around her neck.

 

Oh, So That’s Where Babies Come From!

I had the craziest dream last night.  I mean, I’m kind of prone to crazy dreams, but usually they’re just these run-of-the-mill apocalypse situations; you know, everyone on Earth is dying from the volcanoes or the zombies or the nuclear bombs going off, blah, blah, blah.  Last night’s dream, however, was . . . complicated.

So, it started out in St. Louis, which is where I lived from ages 13-28, and where my parents still live.  Apparently I was visiting my parents, and had brought along my dog, Chalupa, who may or may not be a Hellhound.

She’s lost most of her teeth and now has trouble keeping her tongue in.

 

While I was in St. Louis, walking Chalupa, we got held up at gunpoint, which really paints a false stereotype of the city, and I’m not behind it, although at least it was a white guy who did the mugging, so that helps.  So, we got held up, and he was all, “Gimme your purse!”  And I was all, “No!  Go away!”  And he was all, “I got a gun!”  And I was all, “Oh, yeah?  Whatcha gonna do with it?”  And he was all, “I’m gonna shoot your dog!”  At which point, I was definitely going to give him my purse, because, while I might risk my own life in the whole not-negotiating-with-terrorists mindset, I sure as hell am not going to risk Chalupa’s, even in a dream.  But before I could hand it over, he shot her in the hip and ran off!  Without even grabbing my purse!  And I was all, “Noooooooooooooo!”

So I took her to the vet, and the vet patched her up, and then told me that Chalupa was going to have puppies, and I was all, “No, she isn’t; she’s spayed,” and the vet was all, “Oh, yes, this is very common.  When an animal gets shot, even if they’re spayed, they get pregnant.”  And I was all, “I don’t think that’s a thing,” and she was all, “Yep.  Here’s a cat.  Same situation,” and showed me a cat who was nursing newborn kittens and also had a bandage on her hip.

So, I took home a kitten and also Chalupa and then Chalupa had puppies, and here’s where it gets weird.  Suddenly, everyone in Zeb’s family was imbued with magical powers, and strongly hinted that it was because of the kitten I had brought home.  Some of them were good and some of them were evil, and, unfortunately, it turned out that I was good, but most of my favorite people were evil, and so then we had a gigantic mage war, and I think everyone may have destroyed each other, except then I woke up, and was like, “Whoa.  That was weird.”

Chalupa’s puppies were really cute, though.

The Worst Place in the World

I’m not sure why I was thinking about this particular event from my childhood yesterday, but I was, and it made me laugh, and I thought it might make you laugh, too, so I’m going to tell you about it, whether you like it or not.  When I was a wee lass, of five or six, living in Seattle, my parents shipped me off to the YMCA day camp all summer long.  I remember very little about it, because of the aforementioned weeness, but I remember that I had a friend there named Flossie, which is a weird name, and another named Chloe, which is an unusual name, but not as weird, and I remember this one time when Flossie, Chloe and I were playing quietly near a group of counselors as they conversed.

One of the counselors was making up silly little rhymes about the others, based on their names, and apparently one of the names rhymed with Kentucky – we’ll call her Mary Ducky, because I don’t remember what it was.  It clearly wasn’t as memorable as Flossie or Chloe, at any rate.  So, the instigator of the poetry said, “Mary Ducky has been to Kentucky.”

And Mary Ducky Flipped.  Out.  She jumped out of her seat, and yelled, “Oh, my God, I have not!  Why would you say that?”  The implication, of course, is that going to Kentucky – not even being from there or anything; just having been there – was a terrible insult.  So, Flossie, Chloe, and I agreed that Kentucky must be the absolute worst place in the world, and we all vowed never to go there ourselves.   I have since broken that vow, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I also remember that Flossie once got a nosebleed.  I don’t think it was Kentucky-related.

It is a terrible place – they have quicksand there
Image by 1861937 from Pixabay

 

Don’t Tell Me What to Do

Throughout my life, there have been moments where I’ve had, what seemed to me, a brilliant idea.  And I’ve thought it all the way through, and gotten really excited about it, and then I’ve told a bunch of people about it, and each of them would say something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t think that’s going to work out.  You’d better [do it the way everyone else does] instead.”  For example, as a teenager, I wrote a silly little screenplay, read it to my friends, and then stuck it in a folder and forgot about it.  A couple of years later, I was in college and I came across that screenplay in its folder, and a few of those high school friends and I decided we were totally going to make it into a movie.  Then I mentioned to a class-member in one of my acting classes (I majored in the very useful field of theatre) how excited I was to be making my first movie, and she asked me where I was getting my funding.  I told her we were just going to wing it, and make it super low budget, and that it would be kind of campy, but we weren’t worried about it.  And she got a little judgy and condescending, and I started thinking maybe we shouldn’t bother, and, wouldn’t you know it, we ended up not doing it.

But lots of other movies have been made that way, and some of them even became successful, and even if it hadn’t, it would have been a great experience, and it would have made our lives better in a variety of ways, because that’s how creating art works.  This has happened to me numerous times.  I’ve always allowed myself to be swayed; either I don’t do it at all, or, more frequently, I change my plan to the more conventional method and it fails, because my heart isn’t in it.

I’m not going to let that happen here.  Writing is something I’ve been doing my whole life, but I’ve struggled to make a living at it.  Every time I’ve given it half a shot, I falter, because the usual methods just aren’t me.

I’m not going to do things like that anymore.  Screw you, naysayers.  I’m doing this my way this time, and it’s going to be amazing.  I have kept this blog going longer and more steadily than any other blog I’ve ever started.  You know why?  Because I’m actually writing about what I want to write about, instead of going the typical Sharing of Spurious Expertise route.  And it’s working.  I have fans – I have people who interact with my blog on a regular basis.  And, yes, some of those are my relatives and some are friends (including even a couple of those aforementioned high school friends).  HI, GUYS!  THANKS FOR READING!  But I’ve also got readers who I don’t know in person.  HELLO TO YOU AND THANK YOU AS WELL!

So.  What is my way?  For starters, I have removed all of the ads from this site.  Ads have always felt a bit skeezy to me, and I hate the idea of pushing something onto you that you don’t actually want.  Besides, they take away from the delight of my stories.  Instead, in a couple of weeks, I will be unveiling my brand new shop page called The Hall of Weirdness, in which I will offer a carefully gathered and curated collection of fabulously weird items for you to purchase.  Some of them will be pieces I have found among my wanderings about and some of them will be art pieces made (not by me) from upcycled materials.  This is one way in which I will be able to continue offering free content here on my blog.  If you’re an artist, and you want to sell your wonderfully weird art with me, let me know!

Paid content will be available via my new Patreon page.  Anyone who wants to see more of my work, and feels that it is worth $1 or more, can join up, support me as a writer, and gain access to my more serious (in terms of time put in – it’ll still be largely humorous) writings.  Here will be the short stories, the poetry, the essays, and early access to books.  I’m currently actively working on two books – a magical realism novel and a book of cocktail recipes called The Bloody Unicorn and Other Delightfully Dark Drinks.  I intend to self-publish these and make them available via Patreon, at least initially.  I also have an idea rattling around my head for a science fiction novel, but I haven’t really started on it.

So, that’s my plan; my big eff you to convention, and I hope you’ll all hang around for the ride, whether it’s just by continuing to read and enjoy my blog, or taking a step further and joining the Patreon.  Either way, I leave you with one of my favorite inspirational tunes: