Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More Things I'm Not Thankful For

Last year around this time I wrote the seminal piece “Things I’m Not Thankful For” because, frankly, all this late-autumn (early winter?) gratitude gets a little old. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, because everyone loved it. So here, for your Thanksgiving enjoyment, are some more things I’m not thankful for.

Books that Suck

I have a lot of friends who will only read things that will “improve” them, by which they mean “give them bragging rights at dinner parties.” Just for the record, I think that’s idiotic.

Reading educational or nonfiction books is one thing, but only reading “classics” even though you hate them does not make you a better person in any way. It just makes you more stuck up. Life’s too short to read that books that suck – and lest you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, I hold a degree in literature, so I can assure that I have read plenty of books that suck.

Dudes on the Internet

OMG FUCK DUDES ON THE INTERNET. They’re disgusting and condescending and the same time. Case in point: Read the comments on my recent post, “Do You Feel Ugly Without Makeup?”, in which various men not only fell all over themselves to assure me that I don’t need and really shouldn’t wear makeup (despite this being, you know, my face to do with as I please), while attempting to invite themselves to my house, because I mentioned my tits, which must mean I'm up for being gangbanged by half a dozen strangers.


Cat Butt

Every morning I wake up to a face full of cat butt, and I also get it throughout the day periodically, and sometimes the cat farts in my face for good measure. Mostly it’s the Noob who puts his cat butt in my face, probably because he thinks I’m going to lick it clean, like the other cat does. No dice, buddy.

Shopping for Winter Clothes

Winter is with us again, and you must dress like you’re going to a funeral. Oh, you want color? Here’s brown, that’s a color. You want a nice, thick sweater? LET ME CHOP THE ARMS OFF THAT FOR YOU.

Bra Shopping

Why is it that a bra feels perfectly comfortable when you try it on, but after bringing it home and wearing it for a few hours, it makes you want to rip your own tits off? I have one comfortable bra that I wear every day, and I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be for the rest of my life.

This is why our mothers burned their bras, isn't it?

Image by Einar Helland Berger

Car Repairs

I have nothing against the repairs themselves, it’s the cost. This month my car needed head gaskets, a new strut, something done to the axle, and four new tires. It’s still probably cheaper than a horse.

And less bitey.

Image by

Christmas Car Commercials

Few things are more obnoxious than Christmas car commercials. The kind of person who buys a car as a Christmas gift doesn’t need an advert to remind him to do it, and the rest of us don’t need to be reminded that there’s a kind of person who buys a car as a Christmas gift.

The Entire Christmas Season, Actually

Yeah, I’m thinking of quitting Christmas. I can’t put up decorations because my cats will eat them and need surgery/die, I don’t really believe in Jesus anyway, and I don’t have anyone to buy presents for or any kids who need me to pretend that a fat supernatural stalker is breaking into our home to eat baked goods and leave electronics. The only good thing about Christmas is that it’s a good excuse to throw a party. I used to feel sad that I didn’t have a family on Christmas, but then I thought about all the drama I’m missing and all the money I’m saving, so now I think I’ll just keep it this way forever. 

This is your cue to exclaim "YOU DON'T LIKE CHRISTMAS!?!?" like I'm breaking the fucking law or something.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fun Friday Facts Number I Don’t Even Know Anymore: BEARS

I am so not feeling this right now you guys, but I am writing this post because I love you, and in keeping with the current theme of animals, bears it is. Because bears are pretty awesome, and also this:


Those are newborn black bear cubs in the loving hands of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife employee, right before the mother bear ripped his head off, probably, or possibly right after, or maybe even during, I don’t know, the picture doesn’t really make it clear, all I know is that you’re not supposed to come between a mother bear and her cubs, buddy. Put those cubs down and back away.

Bears have their own website, yo. is a “site designed to help you find information about bears.” And help me it did.

Did you know that the black bear, one of the more prolific bear species, also comes in brown, white, and blue? The blue or glacier bear is a subspecies of the American black bear that lives in the region between Glacier Bay and Yakutat Bay, in Southeast Alaska, in the temperate rainforest of the Tongass National Forest. Here’s a picture of two of them standing next to a regular black bear so you can see the contrast:

Cinnamon, light brown, chocolate brown and blond black bears may be mistaken for grizzly bears:

This one ran out of Charmin.

Grizzly bears are usually larger, with a “broader, more concave skull,” and a “shoulder hump.” Grizzly bears are also more aggressive than black bears. Both kinds of bears mostly don’t eat people, but sometimes they do kind of eat some people, a little bit, but knowing people they probably deserved it.

The Kermode or spirit bear is a white, or cream-colored, black bear native to British Columbia. It is not an albino, just a pale-colored bear. White bears are 30 percent more effective at catching fish than their darker counterparts, because their pale color makes them less visible to the fish.

It also manages to look far more thoughtful.

There are between 400 and 1,000 spirit bears in the wild, but naturally, their habitat is under threat.

Pinnipeds, which include seals, walruses and sea lions, are the bear’s closest living relatives.

There are only eight species of bears in the whole world. According to, these are the American black bear, the brown bear, the polar bear, the sloth bear, the Asiatic black bear, the spectacled bear, the giant panda bear, and the sun bear.

Spectacled bears, the last surviving species of short-faced bear, are also the only bears native to South America.

You can really see the shortness of its face in this picture.
Image by Cburnett from

Like the giant panda, the spectacled bear eats a largely plant-based diet, especially fibrous plants, but also honey, sugarcane, berries and corn.

Polar bears, which feed mostly on seals, are the most carnivorous, and the most aggressive, species of bears. Unlike other bears, they do not hibernate in the winter, except for the pregnant females. The polar bear’s fur is not actually white, but is translucent, to allow light and warmth to travel to the bear’s skin. It has an underlayer of orange or yellow fur beneath this translucent fur.

This photographer has definitely been eaten.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Clever Responses to Awkward Questions

A Mother Life

Sometimes in life, we’re called upon to answer awkward questions. I’ve always found that the best defense against other people’s (willful?) guilelessness is sarcasm, because I’m an expert at shutting people out. (Ha ha ha, I totally mistyped that as “shitting people out,” and it was the BEST TYPO EVAR.) I have this dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery that makes lots of people wonder if I actually meant the crazy shit I just said, and makes others believe me with a blind and childlike faith. (For example, I once convinced a female friend that women aren’t allowed to pump their own gas, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I also enjoy making people feel just as awkward as they have made me feel, because I’m a bad person. So I’ve compiled some clever responses to the awkward questions we all face in life. Feel free to use them the next time some nosy old lady gets all up in your grill.

The Awkward Question: “When are YOU going to get married?”

There comes a time in your life when you can’t attend a wedding without some elderly aunt or total stranger squawking out this awkward question, and that time comes when you first attend a wedding.

The Clever Response: “My husband hasn’t been born yet.”

The beauty of this one is that it keeps getting better as you get older. BECAUSE COUGARS, AMIRITE?


The Awkward Question: “Why are YOU still single?”

The inbred cousin of the first awkward question, this awkward question always turns up when you least expect it to ruin an otherwise wonderful day. It’s usually asked by a well-meaning friend or acquaintance that really ought to know better.

The Clever Response: “I failed to forward a chain letter in [year of last breakup].”

By this logic, ANYONE could find themselves alone. Which is how it really is anyway, because it’s not like you can just ride into the next village, snatch up a man, carry him home over the back of your horse, and live happily ever after.

Things sure have changed since my grandmother's day.

The Awkward Question: “Where did you get the money to pay for that!?”

I get this one a lot because, as a professional writer, no one believes that I earn any money at all and everyone just scoffs, rolls their eyes and repeats, “YEAH, BUT WHAT DO YOU DO?” at top volume like I’m deaf or don’t speak English. So when shouting back, “I EARNED IT FROM WRITING” proves fruitless, I need to take another tack.

The Clever Response:  “I won the lottery.”

This one is great because sometimes people actually do win the lottery, so now there are several dozen people walking around believing I won the lottery, and at least one of them also believes that women aren’t allowed to pump their own gas.

Despite the fact that she's been pumping her own gas without incident all this time.
Image by Aaron Lawrence

The Awkward Question: “Why don’t you ever wear makeup?”

Okay, so you probably don’t get this one if you usually wear makeup/are a manly man, but I get it all the time because I don’t wear makeup. I don’t have anything against makeup, I like makeup in theory, but it’s expensive, I always forget I own it and I don’t really know how it works. My mother wasn’t a makeup person either and she never taught me how to use it. I didn’t think there was anything odd about this until I had dental work done a few months ago and spent the whole time listening to my hygienist and my dentist chat about how their mothers MADE THEM wear makeup every day from the time they were 12 and they HATED IT, but now they’re glad because THEY ALWAYS LOOK SO NICE AND PUT TOGETHER. I wasn’t sure if I should have been offended or not.

The Clever Response: “But I AM wearing makeup!”

Try to look indignant when you say it. This will baffle them long enough to give you time to escape and go find someone who can stand the sight of your hideous bare face.

Also, it's a lot more polite than pointing out that you're prettier than them.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fun Friday Facts #87: Penguin Edition

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

I decided to do penguins this week because octopuses went over well last week, and penguins are also animals. Sea creatures, even, you could say. I’m sure you’re following my logic here.

Also, in the course of my research for an article this week I came across this picture of the Second Coming of the Penguin Jesus, and I had to use it:


Image by Marc Heiden from

I’m sure you’re all aware that penguins live most in Antarctica, not at the Arctic, because you’re all so smart (and talented and attractive). The northernmost species of penguin is the Galapagos penguin, which may venture onto the north side of the equator when feeding.

Image by derekkeats

It can survive in the tropic climate of the equator thanks to the cool waters of the Humboldt and Cromwell currents, and also of course thanks to the grace of the Penguin Jesus.


Penguins are the fastest swimmers of any bird species, and can dive deeper than any other birds. They’ll emerge from the water to leap into the air while swimming, a process that coats their feathers with miniscule bubbles. These bubbles cut friction, allowing them to swim as fast as 20 mph (32 kph). The leaps also allow them to escape from predators.

The penguin’s distinct coloration camouflages them in the water. If you happened to see a swimming penguin from above, you’d see that its dark back blends in with the dark water, and from below, its white belly is hard to detect against the sunlight.

Unlike other bird species, penguins molt all of their feathers at once, in what’s known as a “catastrophic molt.” The process takes two to three weeks and the penguin must fatten itself up beforehand to survive, because they can’t swim or hunt without all of their feathers. The molting penguin will lose about half its total body weight in the process.

And will look awful.

Image by David Monniaux

Most penguin species live in such large, tightly compacted colonies that scientists can spot where penguin colonies from space by the swaths of penguin-shit-stained ice.  

Some penguin species are dwindling – such as the yellow-eyed penguin of New Zealand, of which there are only 4,000 remaining; the erect-crested penguin of New Zealand, which has experienced population declines of 70 percent over the past two decades; and the aforementioned Galapagos penguin, which has experienced population declines of 50 percent since 1970. A few species are thriving, however; the Macaroni penguin boasts a population of more than 11.6 million breeding pairs, and Adelie penguin populations are growing as polar ice cap melt has freed up more of the rocky land on which these creatures thrive. In general, penguins that live closest to the South Pole are surviving in the largest numbers, which penguins that live closer to the equator are more vulnerable to climate change.

Emperor penguins are the fifth heaviest bird species and the largest penguins; they can reach a height of four feet (1.2 m) and weigh 100 pounds (45.3 kg). The second largest penguin, the King Penguin, is almost three feet (0.9 m) tall and 35 pounds (15.9 kg). Ancient penguins, which emerged about four or five million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs, were almost human-sized.

When hot, a penguin will pant like a dog, spread its wings and fluff out its feathers to cool down.

Baby penguins are not waterproof.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do You Feel Ugly Without Makeup?

Okay, so full disclosure, I meant to write this post a good two weeks ago, but did not, because I have shit to do, including replacing the carpet in my guest bedroom after the Noob peed all over it, and, I’m told, getting so drunk at a Halloween party that I tried to make out with a guy and then cried for half an hour when he rejected me. It’s just as well; I probably would have puked on him.

That bastion of journalistic integrity, the Daily Mail, recently published the results of a study that 9 out of 10 women wear meticulously applied makeup on the first few dates with a new man, and are careful never to let him see them without makeup for at least the first month of the new relationship, even going so far as to wake up in the middle of the night to sneak off to the loo and apply more makeup so that the poor sap wakes up the next day and thinks to himself, “Awww, she looks so beautiful even when she sleeps.”

When I discovered that all the other women are getting up in the middle of the night to paint their faces so that their boyfriends don’t have to see them without makeup for A SINGLE SECOND, I understood for the first time that this is why dudes say dumb shit like, “I prefer a natural woman who doesn’t wear makeup – you know, like Kim Kardashian.” They have no idea. They think our faces really do look that way all the time.

Apparently a third of women say that their boyfriends probably wouldn’t be dating them if they’d seen them without makeup “too early,” and a third also say they wouldn’t want to run into their ex whilst not wearing makeup (well, no shit), and a fifth say they wouldn’t go to work without makeup.

I’ve probably mentioned before that I don’t wear a lot of makeup, because I’m not sure how to do it. I keep telling myself I’ll learn and sometimes I’ll even buy a bunch of it and Make a Decision to start wearing it “more often” (not “every day” because I work at home and don’t leave the house, and why am I going to spend half an hour painting my face for the cats) but I never get beyond just the face powder and mascara and maybe, on a special occasion, some eyeliner, because that’s all I can manage. The rest of makeup remains a mystery to me.

Not that I don’t get why other people would wear it. I’ve seen those “before and after photos” of the plain chicks putting on makeup and doing their hair and probably getting airbrushed a little and then looking all hot. If I knew how to do that I would totes do it for dates even if it meant that I was single forever because all my dates’ heads kept exploding.

They pretty much do that anyway.

But getting up in the night to put on makeup so dude doesn’t have to rest his delicate eyes on my mascara smudges? Hells no. I’m a human being with body hair and a mustache and weird lips and bags under my eyes and too much chin fat and amazing tits, and the sooner he comes to terms with that, the better. Besides, I like to know as soon as possible if he’s going to be one of those bratty ones who bitches and whines about wanting a “natural” woman, so that I can dump him before he manages to move into my house.

How about you? Do you get up in the middle of the night to put on makeup for a new man, and if so, HOW DO YOU EVEN MANAGE THAT??? Tell me in the comments, I’m dying to know.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fun Friday Facts #86: Octopus Edition

Today is All Saint’s Day, but saints are boring, and octopuses are not. I’m pretty sure I haven’t covered octopuses yet, but please don’t correct me if I’m wrong – I hate that.

A female octopus is known as a hen. She can lay up to 400,000 eggs during her fertile period, which lasts seven to 14 days. Males fertilize the eggs by placing their spermatophores into the funnel through which the female breaths (!!) or by simply handing them to her. For reasons no one understands, the female octopus always accepts the male’s love juice with a right tentacle. She probably uses all the left tentacles to wipe her ass.

The mother octopus sacrifices all for the care of her young, which she guards so thoroughly that she even stops eating. Once the eggs have hatched, the mother suffers “a cascade of cellular suicide,” which the Smithsonian Mag describes as “starting from the optic glands and rippling outward through her tissues…until she dies.”

How freakin' graphic.
Image by albert kok from Wikipedia probably.

All octopuses have venom, which they inject using a beak that protrudes from the side of their head. One species, the blue ringed octopus, has enough venom to kill a human. Just one blue ringed octopus, though only 5 to 8 inches (12 to 20 cm) in size, has enough venom to kill 26 adults. Its venom contains a tetrodotoxin, similar to that found in poison dart frogs and pufferfish. At least two people have died due to blue ringed octopus bites, but if the results of my Google search are any indication, you can buy them to keep as pets.

It lures you in with its prettiness, AND THEN IT STRIKES.
Image by Jens Petersen from Wikipedia, definitely.

Most of an octopus’s body is pretty flexible, enabling the animal to squeeze into the tiniest of crevices. In fact, the solidest part of the octopus, aside from its human-killing venom beak, is its eyes, so an octopus’s ability to squeeze into small spaces is pretty much limited by the size of its optical orbs.
Remarkably, the octopus’s eyes retain their orientation even as the octopus itself changes position – when the rest of the octopus rolls over or flips up on its side, its gaze remains fixed on the same spot.

Two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are found not in its head, but in its tentacles. This allows the tentacles to think for themselves. They’re capable of solving their own problems, like how to open shellfish, probe nooks and crannies, or slap researchers who have lopped them off and are pinching them in order to see how they’ll react.

Octopus ink contains tyrosinase, a compound that causes irritation to the eyes of predators and can confuse their senses of taste and smell. The octopus is not immune to its own ink. If it doesn’t escape from its own ink cloud fast enough, it will die.

The blood of the octopus has a copper base, unlike the iron-based blood of many vertebrates. This allows the octopus to tolerate lower water temperatures and lower oxygen levels in the water, but makes it very vulnerable to the acidification of the world’s oceans that is occurring as the result of climate change.

Finally, the male octopus’s sexual organ, called the ligula, is found at the end of one of its third right arm. So, don’t let it touch you with that one, I guess. 

I think this one might be a female, though, it looks like it has a funnel.