Because I Simply Don’t Talk Enough.

So here’s the thing:

I’m turning this blog into a podcast. I bought the domain over at http://www.ClaireDeLunacy.com and I’ve migrated this blog over there.

In addition to the occasional scribblings you get from me here (or, er, there, in the future at least), there will be (God help us all) the Claire De Lunacy podcast. That’s right, a whole hour, every week, of yours truly, with call-in guests (it’s true!), some commentary, and a few new surprises (e.g., every tenth caller is randomly either hugged by a stripper,  hit in the stomach by a large, angry Hungarian, or given the power of flight*).

Every week starting NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 2nd, 2010, I’ll be hosting an hour-long free-for-all discussion covering topics (in no particular order) that I’ve posted here on Claire De Lunacy.

I already have the call-in set up, I’ll be posting the info as we get closer to the big day. In the interim, my dear, sweet friends, ruminate on these topics:

1) The hubbub surrounding Israel Luna’s odious “transploitation” film “Ticked Off Trannies with Knives.”

2) Clash of the Smitin’s: Unnecessary Remakes and Why They Suck.

3) And speaking of Things That Should Not Be™, a whole new slew of, er, Things That Should Not Be™ (got a nomination? SEND IT TO ME…NAO!)

4) LGBTidbits™ (Those of you familiar with my Twitter feed will recognize this topic. Everyone else, just be prepared to discuss the week’s LGBT news. Well, I mean, not SUPER prepared. There won’t be a quiz or anything.)

5) The Super-Fun Book Club of Fun-ness™ returns! Our book for the month of May is “American Lion,” a very compelling biography of Andrew Jackson by Jon Meachem (you don’t have to read the entire book for the first podcast, we’ll be discussing it in general and also you get to sit and listen to me explain how the SFBCOF™ works…I know, I know – does the fun ever START?)

6) Random Review: NetFlix for the Wii Or, as I like to call it, “My television’s desperate final ploy to remain relevant to my existence.” (as ploys go, it’s surprisingly effective)

7) SPECIAL BONUS TOPIC!  CASTING: UR DOIN IT WRONG We’ll be discussing how remakes SHOULD be cast, as well as remakes we’d like to see, and a whole bunch of other nerdy stuff that will make the non-nerdy among you (should you exist) throw up your hands and say “But I LIKE Matthew McCan’tActy as Dirk Pitt!

Eventually, I’ll be taking these podcasts into Audacity to strip out all the “erms,” and “uhhhs” and “Doyyyy” sounds. But for the first month or so, it’s the Wild effing West, baby! (something tells me that we’ll earn our “Explicit” rating within the first ten minutes. I know how you think, Hordelings!)

Each week’s info will also be posted to the web site, so don’t get your collective panties in a bunch if there’s something we natter on about that catches your…ear(?) and you don’t have a pencil handy.

I hope to hear from you, friends. It’s sure to be a fun time, or at least more entertaining than having your pinkie torn off by an iPad thief.**

*No, not really.
** OK, to be fair, some people might get off on that, so I will say it’s LIKELY to be more fun. You sick bastards.
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In Which Our Heroine Enters The Fashion Industry

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

That's right, I actually spent time designing this.

And by “fashion industry,” I of course mean “the novelty t-shirt business.”

That’s right, faithful readers! You can now get a brand-spankin’ new t-shirt emblazoned with my NEW design, “Tweetar®.” Some pals and I came up with this one day a few weeks back, and I decided what the world needs is another shirt, one that teaches as well as entertains.

Because I’m cool like that.

Oh, and also because I need filthy lucre to finance my other, more ambitious projects.

Do you appreciate the Awesome? Do you speak or at least appreciate Español? Do you have some spare cash you’d just spend on candy or lottery tickets anyway, you undisciplined mook?

Well, then, why not blow it on one of my awesome t-shirts instead?

Stop by today, and you’ll be conjugating Tweetar® along with the best of ’em in no time!

http://www.cafepress.com/LaBarceloneta

[The preceding was a paid announcement. No warranty given or implied, although if I see you wearing my shirt I WILL give you a hug and dance around in a circle, so probably best to keep a jacket with you at all times.]

The Rules

Henceforth:

1) All restaurants will give you free bread. Good bread, not the cheap peasant loaf they keep on hand for disliked relatives and poor tippers. Violators will be jabbed at with the jagged crust until they learn their lesson or require medical assistance.

2) No restaurant will require me to say anything like “Triple Moo-tini Milksplosion” in order to obtain a beverage or foodstuff. Violators will be required to have an equally ridiculous nickname branded on their foreheads.

3)  All dogs will be issued a memo that they may regard me from a respectful distance (let’s say 300 yards) but must not in any way lick, nuzzle, touch, smell or shed on me. Violators will be shaven in the style of a Standard Poodle, regardless of breed, and re-named “FiFi.” Ditto for their owners.**

4) Phonetic spellings are immediately illegal and must be corrected at the shop owner’s expense. Shops with names involving both “Kwik” and “E-Z” will be burned down and the earth salted.

5) All customer service staff will be friendly and eager to assist. All managers will  be solicitous and defer to the customer in matters of dispute. All stores will be laid out in such a way that a reasonable woman in her early 30’s armed with semi-concrete notions of what she wants can find it. Violators will be abandoned in the labyrinthine innards of a decrepit Meijer and forced to attempt escape while fleeing baggers infected with whatever everyone had in 28 Days Later.

6) All cute shoes will come in sizes larger than “zygote.” Clothing for larger girls will NOT be emblazoned with four enormous flowers, nor millions of tiny ones. All bras will fit properly the first time.

7) Slanket and its bastard offspring are immediately and indefinitely illegal. Anything combining a Slanket with a Popeil product is extremely illegal.

8 ) Grammar, syntax and punctuation will be cherished and used properly. Using LOLspeak, IM-ese or L33Tspeak will be punishable by tattooing of The Elements of Style on the inside of the offender’s eyelids.

9) Michael Bay is now illegal. Anyone found to be aiding and abetting Michael Bay is hereby sentenced to star in a remake of their all-time favorite film, directed by Michael Bay, written by Michael Bay, and co-starring Michael Bay.

With a special guest appearance by Michael Bay.

10) All Americans will appreciate the inherent value of other cultures. All other cultures will appreciate that we are so loud and big and boisterous because we have enormous hearts. Everyone, everywhere, will take better care of this blue rock we share. Violators will be locked in a room with both Paulie Shore and Yahoo Serious. Repeat offenders will be handcuffed to them.

Thank you for your cooperation. We now resume our regularly scheduled reality.

[**ATTENTION DOG PEOPLE: I know, I know, I am a soulless creature from beyond Hell because I don’t want dogs touching me. I’m at peace with this. Also, of COURSE I didn’t mean YOUR dog.]

A Time For Heroes

So here’s the thing:

I live in Ohio, a state known more for its election-swaying and obese presidents than its heroes (Neil Armstrong and Rodger Young aside).

That’s about to change, however: ladies and gentlemen, there’s a new hero in town.

Shadow Hare, as he is known to the grateful citizens of The Queen City, is a man on a mission. Armed only with a taser, handcuffs, pepper spray and a high, somewhat nasally voice, Shadow Hare has taken to the streets of Cincinnati to combat crime, doling out Citizen’s Arrests like they’re going out of style. And you know what? Good for him, I say.

Seriously, here is a guy willing to endure not only the ridicule of law enforcement and the public at large, but risk physical injury in order to help others (Shadow Hare reports that he suffered a dislocated shoulder while intervening in an assault last year).  And he’s not alone – Mr. Hare (?) is  the leader of a handful of heroes in the Allegiance of Heroes, a nationwide network of heroes determined to fight crime wherever it rears its hideous, gore-flecked head.

(Or at least crime of a reasonably mild nature. I don’t think these guys are going after Osama anytime soon.)

Part of me is understandably critical of a scrawny pipsqueak who runs around dressed like the bastard lovechild of Donnie Darko’s  Frank and a drunk mime. The other part of me is inspired by the courage inherent in such an act, saying to the world “I will be a doer and not simply one to whom things are done.”  We are a nation in crisis – no, crises, and the feeling of utter powerless that comes from being buffeted by forces beyond one’s control is frightening in its intensity. Obviously,  not everyone responds by donning pajamas and a mask, but it’s still heartening to see the desire to make things better rather than succumb to the slow decline of atrophy and corruption.

Thoughts, dear readers?

Chuck E’s in Traction

This post has been crafted at the request of my pal Sra, who recently requested that I share a childhood memory in narrative form. For those of you unable or unwilling to remember, there is a song by Ricky Lee Jones entitled “Chuck E’s in Love.” This little ditty has nothing to do with the story I’m about to tell you. So don’t come begging for royalties, Ricky Lee!

When I was younger and still trying to figure out what sort of error had been made during the placement of my female soul into my leviathanesque male body, I was frequently compared to a host of literary characters – Gentle Ben, Frankenstein’s Monster, whatever the hell that giant thing was in the Neverending Story – known for both their enormous size and gentle demeanor (at least until provoked). However, some things in this world will try the patience of even the most even-tempered among us – and this, my friends, is one of them. This is…

THE CHUCK. E. CHEESE STORY

My sister’s fifth birthday party was supposed to be pretty standard; balloons, cake, presents, a bunch of screaming brats running around (or, depending on KR’s opinion of their present, running for their lives). I was looking forward to a little free cake followed by a quick exit, stage left, when Ma suggested we take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for KR’s birthday instead.  In a world where KR was an only child, this would’ve been fine. However, since I am averse to both creepy animatronic bands with the eyes of the damned and costumed characters of any kind, this did not sound like a fun time of fun for me. Familial obligations proved to be mightier than my objections, and Saturday found me shuffling half-heartedly into Chuck E.’s den.

For those of you who have not experienced Chuck E. Cheese’s, let me attempt to share a soupcon of the putrid bile that is its ambience. Imagine a low-rent carnival (you know, the kind that used to camp out on the edge of the Fairgrounds, waiting for the gullible and the weak), transported to the inside of a warehouse-sized pizza restaurant.  Now, further imagine that everything has been painted in garish, fevered colors, and that you are twelve years old and already uncomfortably aware that not only is this sort of thing not fun now, but that continued exposure to it will cause you to black out, praying for death’s sweet release. By this point, adding costumed characters to the mix was just the pus-filled cherry on the scabrous sundae of repulsiveness.

I managed to endure dinner, poking at the undercooked, flaccid pizza and counting the minutes until the party ended and freedom would be mine. As things were wrapping up, I stood up in the vain hope that doing so would act as a cue to the rest of the table…a psychological gambit that had worked before but proved frustratingly futile this time. Even worse, standing up seemed to have attracted the attention of Chuck E. Cheese, the tattered eponymous pile of fur that was the dark lord of this hellish carnival of the damned. He came over to our table, hugging the other children (whose eyes were apparently blind to the pulsating aura of pure evil surrounding him). I walked away, standing at the railing just inside the entrance, hoping that whatever nightmare-inducing secrets Chuck E. was whispering in the ears of my sister and her little friends would not reach mine. And then…it happened.

Every child, I think, has a moment when they learn that, for whatever reason, adults are not to be completely trusted. Having set a trap for Santa as a child and finding only my visibly irate father standing in the moat of flour I had poured around our chimney, I knew that adults could, and did, lie to us, either directly or via omission. I was mostly okay with this, because I was sitting on a pretty big secret of my own. I’d also learned that some adults not only didn’t love children, but actively disliked them; the idiot husbands my older cousins chose were of this ilk, and took great delight in holding me down for Indian burns and wet willies and the like. And now, standing at the railing, I discovered yet another reason to distrust adults: some of them wanted to torture you, and because they were adults, they could do it and laugh.

Ma’s best friend at the time, a woman we’ll call “Demonica,” had noticed my discomfort, and decided I wasn’t quite discomforted enough. She leaned over and whispered into Chuck E.’s no doubt mite-infested ear, pointing at me and grinning.  Chuck E.’s blank doll eyes seemed to glow a little brighter, and he started his hellish shuffle toward me in what felt like super-slo-mo. Everything receded into the distance but that damned rat, his arms flung wide, his malicious buck teeth ruddy with conspicuous consumerism and, let us assume, the blood of his other victims…I froze.

But only for a moment. As Chuck E. drew in for a hug I knew would end with my dessicated corpse dropping to the carpeted floor, drained of all life force, I pushed away from the railing and ran for it. Of course, in doing so, I was fleeing the only point of ingress/egress in the whole damned place, and as I raced around the arcade machines, through a flock of puzzled middleschoolers and dodged the stage full of mechanical puppets, I knew my course could only have one endpoint. What I hadn’t counted on, of course, was Chuck E.’s willingness to chase me. He followed me through the whole restaurant, moving faster than a person in an eighty-pound suit should be able, and at the last moment, I found my escape cut off by a jeering Demonica, who encouraged Chuck E. to give me a big old hug between cackles. Back pressed against the railing, I tried to reason with the demented mouse, but he would not be dissuaded. Finally, overcome by fear, my adrenalin maxed, I ducked around him and let fly with all the pent up rage I could muster.

In case you’ve never punched a person wearing a fake head before, this is what it’s like. First, your fist hits the reinforced, papier mache-like head, covered in fur and plastic. Then, if your punch is driven by, say, the utter terror of an exhausted but freakishly strong pre-teen just discovering that 90% of the objects in the world will be destroyed by their unchecked wrath, there will come a second blow, this one coming as the fake head is knocked loose and is driven into the REAL head beneath. If the fake-headed person is unlucky enough to be standing with, oh, I don’t know, their back to a railing, then they will be driven back over that railing, falling down the stairs behind it to the floor like a broken marionette, and you will have time to leap over them and flee to the car because no one – not even you – will be able to believe what you just did.

I would’ve run and never looked back if I could. But it was the girlish scream of pain that left me shaking and sobbing in the van afterward. At first, I’d assumed the scream had come from me, but my Mother would later report that I had been eerily silent during the whole affair, my lips drawn back in a snarl of unadulterated loathing as I drove my fist into my opponent’s noggin’ “like a jackhammer. Good God, I thought you’d killed her.”

And of course, it was a HER. The young woman, probably working her way through college at the time of this story, had a sprained wrist and some bruising, but was not seriously hurt. For my part, I sent her a fruit basket via the restaurant, but as I was banned for life, I’ll never know if she received it.

The school paper did a write-up, and I became a minor celebrity, at least among small-town Ohio kids. My sister never had another birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Demonica, her amusement somewhat diminished by the fact that she’d driven me to assault and battery on a beloved children’s character, gave me a wide berth after that day.

And me? I’m still unnerved by the costumed characters. A few years after the Chuck E. Cheese Incident, I was knocked unconscious by a lamp post (apparently part of the 10% of objects not susceptible to my bulldozer-like powers) while fleeing Scooby Doo at King’s Island. Scooby hadn’t made any motion toward me – hell, Scooby hadn’t even LOOKED at me – but one can’t be too careful, and as I was running away, I glanced back to make sure Scooby (or, it goes without saying, any member of his Gang) wasn’t following, and ran smack into the lamp post. When I woke up, I had gained both perspective and a sizeable goose egg. Outside of Hollywood and the type of carnivals that lurk on the edge of fairgrounds, costumed characters aren’t out to get anyone. They’re just people doing a job, and now when my friends ask for the Chuck E. Cheese story, I may threaten to beat them instead, but I almost always end up telling it, with my oldest friends adding color commentary just in case I leave out any good bits for the uninitiated.

And somewhere out there is a woman in her early forties who I hope went on to a successful college and professional career, a woman who can only sigh and relent as, once again, her friends call for another telling of the time some batshit Mexican kid socked her in the jaw.

I like to think of her smiling as she tells it.

Twitter is Ruining My Blog-ability.

You know how it is, kids.

You’re at home, snacking on the miscellaneous Christmas goodies laying around like nutritional minefields, and when dinnertime rolls around, you’re barely able to eat some turkey and dressing before you push away from the table, sick of eating, sick of food, sick of everything.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I Twitter.

I Twitter a LOT.

And as a result of all these microblog snacks, when it comes time to sit down for a meal at the blogging table, I find myself without appetite.

There has to be a happy medium, right? Some way to find balance between these two extremes? But that’s a tightrope I’m just not sure I can walk, being one of those gals who runs hot-hot-hot or cold-cold-cold.

Suggestions? Help me, blogosphere – you’re my only hope!

And Now…a Conversation in a Quiet Room.

Married Crush: Why is your face like that? Have you been listening to Fiona Apple again?

Yours Truly: Nah, I just…look, you know, I was thinking, Christmas is the time to let people know how much you care, right?

MC (hesitantly): Yes…why?

YT: Because…because I love you. I know that’s not cool to say, and I know it’s not appropriate, and I know we’re about to go into a Christmas party full of people who will no doubt be puzzled by our distinct lack of Christmas cheer. But I had to let you know, because it’s true, and also because I’m selfish and weak and can’t deal with these feelings by myself anymore.

MC: Claire, I…I really cherish our friendship, and you are SO amazing, but…

YT: Yeah, I know. I know all that, except possibly for the amazing part. And I know you don’t love me the way I love you. I ALSO know that it’s incredibly unfair to dump this on you, especially during the holidays.

MC: <weak noises of obligatory protest> I don’t know what to say to that.

YT: You have a husband and kids (I suspect the latter is the sole reason for the continued presence of the former). And, of course, you have me, showering you with the sort of flirtatious adoration you can safely absorb without consequence because you assume (and rightly so) that I will never act on my feelings for you. But I wanted you to know, in case I’m run over by a milk truck or bludgeoned with a shovel by some maniac.

(At this point, MC’s husband, having overheard our conversation on his way to the bathroom, bludgeons me with a shovel)

And that is why (among other reasons) this conversation will not – cannot – ever happen. Part of loving someone, I think, is preserving them from the kind of deep hurt that follows in the wake of a revelation like this…and there would be plenty. So, we will maintain our friendly, flirty brand of symbiotic interaction, and I will try to bend the power of my most reliable tool (my brain) toward vanquishing my most fickle (my heart).

Also, I am adverse to being brained with garden tools.