7 Jul
2015

Cheers to the guy who invented the waterbed.

Happy Birthday Robert A. HeinleinI'll admit right away that I still have so much reading to do when it comes to Robert Heinlein. I've only read a few of his books. But two of those books totally shaped my growing years. Those books were good friends to me.

Those books also introduced me and made me fall in love with science fiction. Heinlein wasn't just writing about monsters from space or ray guns and floating cars. His books dealt with a lot of social issues, provoking his readers to think about the way the world was heading. He also dealt a great bit with things that were super important to a young me: he challenged the ideas of sexuality and gender.

If you haven't yet, you should read Stranger in a Strange Land. As soon as possible. And while you're reading it, you should keep in mind that it was published in 1961.

Also, just FYI, if you like waterbeds, you should thank dear Robert. He invented the idea after staying in the hospital and wrote it up in one of his books. He never patented it, but he used a detailed description in his book that allowed someone else to make it a real thing.  Also, on the note of him being a man before his time, he also wrote about this thing that was really a cell phone before people had cell phones. What a clever guy.

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Here are some amazing quotes from his work.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” - Stranger in a Strange Land

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." -not from a book

"Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more." -Starship Troopers

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<3 <3 <3

5 Jul
2015

International Kissing Day (aka Everyday)

My first french kiss.

My first french kiss.

It was 1989, I was 8 years old, in the 3rd grade.  I lived on a military base in Winter Harbor, Maine. Every Friday, a van would come and pick up all the kids a (in a legal non predatory way) and take us to Millbridge, the nearest town to see a movie. [INSERT EPIC MINDBLOWING UPDATE: while writing this I googled the theater, which is like googling an image in a dream you had or like that scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack finds his ex listed in the phonebook and screams "She's an extra terrestrial, a ghost, a myth, not a person in a phone book!"...basically you don't really expect it to exist outside of your brain because it's YOURS and it's the PAST...anyway, an article posted TODAY telling me that the owner died and the theater will be closing after 36 summers. True story: here's the article.]

milbridgetheaterSo despite my tears I'll keep typing. There was a boy I liked, but he couldn't decide between my friend Sarah and I (I eventually fell for her too, oof.) We all compromised and he asked both of us to be his date that night (yes, 3rd grade.) During the movie he had his arms around both of us and I was happy and sad and full of existential angst. On the ride home I started to pull away as the new Aerosmith song "What it Takes" (To Let You Go) played on the radio. It was raining, and I had my head against the window-it was pretty epic; one of those moments that NO ONE IN THE WORLD COULD EVEN UNDERSTAND because YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW because I was the ONLY PERSON TO EVER LOVE ANOTHER PERSON, etc.

So we get back home and as I go to get out at my stop, he takes my hand, pulls me toward him and says "let me french you goodbye" but without waiting for an "ok" from me. Everything went into slo mo and all I could see was his mouth open really wide and coming toward me like Alien to Sigourney Weaver. I closed my eyes and parted my lips for my first kiss:

wetness

strange suction

a tickle on the roof of my mouth

a slick tingle around my lips

what actually happened: his mouth was just on top of my mouth, we kept them wide open, he licked my hard palette and then circled my lips like he was Burt's Bees. Done. Over.

Suddenly, all that angsty existential darkness lifted as I realized I NEVER wanted him to kiss me again. I looked at Sarah and smiled as I gave up my claim on him and turned my sites toward her. Let's just say thanks to playing house I learned how to really enjoy kissing, and haven't stopped since. My fiance and I were featured on the cover of DC's city paper kissing at the Pride parade because we are both huge Allies, and because we both looked pretty hot. pridekiss (1)Just saying. I mean but really. When I'm 80 I'll remember these boobs fondly and be happy they made it onto the internet.

So, kissing pro tips:

1. Don't force it; move with your partner, compromise your styles if they are different and find your rhythm.

2. As I learned when I was 8, don't go in with your mouth wide open and don't try to eat your partner.

3. Remember to swallow once in a while.

4. Date or be engaged or married to someone super hot.

5. KISS THE ONE YOU LOVE EVERY TIME YOU THINK IT. If you're like me you worry about death a lot. So kiss before sleep, at goodbyes, and every moment in between. Because, death.

6. Don't think about death.

HAPPY KISSING EVERYONE!!!

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3 Jul
2015

It’s Kafka’s Birthday!

Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol

Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol

Need another suggestion for #KUBookBingo's Classic Fiction square? A novel or collection of short stories by Franz Kafka (or by one of the authors he influenced) may be just the sort of weird classic you'd like to read. To do so would be the perfect way to celebrate his birthday, for on this day in 1883, Franz Kafka was born in Prague. Some of his most famous works include A Hunger Artist, The Metamorphoses, and The Trial. Kafka's writing, although witty and hilarious, can often be dense, so it's worth starting with his short stories, such as A Hunger Artist or The MetamorphosisA Hunger Artist is about a man who starves himself for a living and struggles to find relevance in a world that no longer finds entertainment in his "art." The Metamorphosis, his most famous story, is about a man who wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed into a giant, cockroach-like creature. The reason for his transformation is never explained, and he must accept his new life as a feared and despised creature unable to provide for his ungrateful family.

If you're into River Song-style SPOILERS, check out Sparky Sweets' Thug Notes' summary and analysis of The Metamorphosis below, because it's great:

But if you're in need of a challenge, Kafka's novel, The Trial, (Ya know, "light" summer reading), is a must-read for all future lawyers, or anyone who hates lawyers, or anyone who hates themselves, because although humorous, the story often drags in order to show what a "drag" the judicial system can be. Kafka actually studied law in college, so he knew first-hand the absurdity, complexity, and often straight-up BS of the judiciary. Kafka's absurdism and style of writing influenced some of the best (and my favorite) 20th century authors, such as Albert Camus and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His style of writing even inspired the word "Kafkaesque," which is demonstrated in this comic below:

kafka airplane comic

So, here's to Kafka's birthday! Let's celebrate with absurdist fiction and hope that the day isn't remotely Kafkaesque and never ends. Because that would suck.

kafka-dumala

2 Jul
2015

World UFO Day

 

 

 

Clamp on your tin foil hat, look up to the stars, and hide under your bed, Alien Abduc­tion Day is here!

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 March 20 is Alien Abduc­tion Day, when the skies are care­fully watched by those expect­ing / wish­ing to be abducted by an alien life form. Although you may ask your­self, how can I, a rea­son­ably sane indi­vid­ual, cel­e­brate Alien Abduc­tion Day? For starters, you can keep track of all your alien and UFO sight­ings. If you are new at this sort of extrater­res­trial stuff, UFOcenter.com can help. You will find “The Web’s most com­pre­hen­sive and up-to-date UFO infor­ma­tion source; pro­vided by America’s fore­most UFO Report­ing Agency; in con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion since 1974.” The site even fea­tures a UFO sight­ing report form.

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Where’s Mul­der when you need him?

If this is all a lit­tle too far out, go more main­stream and sim­ply enjoy an alien abduc­tion movie on March 20. Here are a few sug­ges­tions: “Close Encoun­ters of the Third Kind,” “Fire in the Sky,” “The X-Files: Fight the Future,” “The Thing,” “Com­mu­nion” and “Signs.”

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Watch the skies. Every­where. Keep look­ing. Keep watch­ing the skies.”

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1 Jul
2015

Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones Jr.

July 1st. You may know it as a typ­i­cal summer day, or maybe as a lead up to the fourth of July? Well you’d be right and so very wrong on both accounts. July 1st is a day we should all cel­e­brate in supreme thank­ful­ness, because it’s the day that the man who kept the arc of the covenant out of the hands of the Nazis, stopped a dark evil from spread­ing over India, found the holy grail  and res­cued us from the …aliens… no, no sorry that last one didn’t hap­pen. Any­way, this guy was born. Of course I’m speaking of none other than the greatest  screen hero of all time, Doctor Henry Wal­ton “Indi­ana” Jones Junior.

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Indi­ana was the name of his dog. 

The Indi­ana Jones tril­ogy (Yes, tril­ogy. There was never a fourth movie made and it was all just a ter­ri­ble dream every­one shared simul­ta­ne­ously) is the sin­gle great­est action/adventure fran­chise ever cre­ated. It also con­vinced me I could wield a whip and out run boul­ders. Dis­claimer:  These are NOT things You can do.

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Dis­claimer #2: You also will NOT look cool in a fedora.

From the cool fedora, to the sweet leather jacket, to the man satchel, Indy has it all. Style, grace, fight moves, and big brown eyes. Indy is a man’s man. And he’ adopted small Asian kids before it was cool.

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But what­ever hap­pened to Short Round?

Okay, I’m break­ing down, I can’t do it any­more. As much as I want to pre­tend King­dom of the Crys­tal Skull never hap­pened, it did. We all saw it, we all cried. I know grief is hard, but together we move past it, get on with our lives, and love the Indy we used to know. But seri­ously, stay away from the Blu-Ray of Crys­tal Skull, I’ve heard rumors that if you watch it with your eyes open, well.…

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There might be side-effects. 

I’ll leave you with this, to help make what I’m sure is a bor­ing Mon­day into an adven­ture. Seri­ously, play it while com­plet­ing any task and tell me you don’t feel just a lit­tle bit more like a hero. Chang­ing the cof­fee. Chang­ing the sta­pler. Chang­ing the Dia­per. All now more heroic.

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30 Jun
2015

July 2015 Calendar of Events

Oh, July, you are the delicious epitome of summer. Hot days, hot dogs, corn on the cob, air conditioning, ice cream, french fries, Independence Day... July makes me nostalgic for those sticky ice pops with the plastic that will cut your lip, the pool, and sunshine. Mmm. Click through to see all of our wonderful reasons to celebrate this month!

July 2015 Events

"I drifted into a summer-nap under the hot shade of July, serenaded by a cicadae lullaby, to drowsy-warm dreams of distant thunder." Terri Guillemets

Read more >>

24 Jun
2015

International Fairy Day 2015

Get your glitter! Get your flower crowns! It's FAIRY DAY!

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On this day, once every year, people young and old are encouraged to really believe in magic again! Tell stories of pixies and faeries and banshees and pooka.

real2faerieImagine that the whole world is filled with a magic that streams like glitter and sunshine. The flowers bloom because the summer faeries open them for us, and the stars twinkle because they're being tickled by pixies.

We heartily suggest that you take full advantage of this holiday. What Real1faeriebetter excuse do you have for wearing a tutu and crown in to work? And don't forget your wings. Also, a thing that everyone around you will love and appreciate is if you flit around and throw glitter everywhere. ...wait. no. don't do that one.

Happy Fairy Day everyone!

Here. Have a link to DIY fairy wings! Also DIY tutu! Please send us pictures!

22 Jun
2015

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Eric Carle

When I say 'Eric Carle' you probably think instantly of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. What you probably don't know about Mr. Carle is that he had a cray cray life before he started writing and illustrating children's literature.  He was born in America in 1929 but his family moved back to Germany when he was 6, and he graduated from the local art school there. When he was 15, the German government drafted him to help dig the Siegfried Line. He saw some horrible shit doing that, he would say later that his wife thought he had PTSD from it, and he didn't like to talk about it. Go figure.

Since he was born an American, he was always eager to get back to the states. He came back over with $40 when he was 23. He started working at The New York Times as a graphic designer. Then he got drafted into the US Army during the Korean War, stationed in Germany (WTF REALLY?!) as a mail clerk. He went back to The New York Times after that, and then went on to be an art director at an advertising agency.

It wasn't until the age of 38 that he started doing his forreal thang. He collaborated with Bill Martin. Jr. on a book called Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? From there it was ENTIRELY DOWNHILL! He wrote over 70 books. SEVENTY! The book that stands out from my childhood is The Grouchy Ladybug, because well, children with an at-ee-tood can relate.

LOOK AT THEM ALL!

SO MANY.

SO MANY.

Now that you've been schooled on Eric Carle, I suggest you get to buying all of these books for every child you know because OH MY HEAVENS are they perfect. Adorable, meaningful, and have I freaking mentioned adorable? Happy birthday, Eric Carle!