“Listen here, asshole,” and other ways to win class debates.

For those of you that have been reading from the beginning, I used to be in law school. For those of you that haven’t been paying attention, go catch up with the rest of us. We’ll wait.

Ready to go? Perfect.

So while in law school, we periodically had class debates. Especially in my criminal law class, because the professor was just as lazy as the rest of us and enjoying pitting us against each other to see what would happen.

One such debate was about whether a non-biological adult had a legal responsibility to a child they spent a lot of time with. Like if mom and dad split, and then mom had a live-in boyfriend, would the boyfriend have a legal responsibility to the kids. Not in a step-parent sense, because then there is a legal responsibility. The specific scenario was that a baby was injured and mom’s boyfriend knew mom was abusing the baby but did nothing, and then the baby died as a result of the injuries. We were debating whether or not the boyfriend should be criminally charged. This doesn’t matter right now.

Whatever we started debating, somehow the debate between me and this guy in the class (let’s call him Lt. D. Bag.) turned into an argument about reproductive rights. He was very conservative, and seemed to agree with Rep. Todd Akin’s theory of legitimate rape. When I pointed something out that completely derailed his argument, he came back at me with this gem:

“Of course you’re biased…you’re a woman.

You’re honor, this is the part where I leaped across the room and ripped out his throat and strangled him. No I didn’t.

His poor debate partner, a very sweet Southern gentleman from Georgia who was very good friends with me, threw up his hands and sat down, jumping ship. My debate partner, a wise cracking 80’s punk rocker wannabe, glanced over at me. I paused, raised an eyebrow (in that way that makes Indian boys who know what’s what dive for cover), and very carefully asked Lt. D. Bag if that’s the route he wanted to go on. Unfortunately for him, he was adamant to insist that women are too close to the issue to present unbiased and accurate opinions on reproductive rights.

I took another second, and looked at my professor, who gave me an amused nod to continue.

By that very same logic, I argued, wouldn’t men be too far removed from the issue to present unbiased and accurate opinions on reproductive rights? Wouldn’t the lack of a uterus and the ability to get pregnant detract from how carefully they evaluate reproduction? If erectile dysfunction is covered under insurance, shouldn’t birth control be as well? If birth control is unnatural, shouldn’t a chemical enhanced erection be as well?

 I ended my diatribe with “Just because you have a dick doesn’t mean you can act like one.”

My professor lost it, laughing his ass off as he awarded me the win. Lt. D. Bag looked over in frustration, and pointed out that I had been giving him a series of “mean looks” during his time to speak, effectively distracting him. My professor, his voice dripping with sarcasm and derision looked him in the eye and said,

“Son, if you, a large, tough, military man, can be so utterly terrified by a little girl raising her eyebrow, I suggest you rethink your legal career.”

And that’s how a bitch face won me extra credit.




Don’t be a sociopath.

Guys, I have a pretty intense case of Resting Bitch Face.

My tiny and delicate features just settle into an angry scowl unless I’m actively trying to appear pleasant. Which really isn’t that often.

Maybe it comes from years of studying bad guys, crazy people, and terrorists, or talking to exceptional stupid people about exceptionally stupid things. But I just always look grumpy.

And most of the time, I am not a grumpy person. Sarcastic, maybe. A little vindictive if you’ve managed to piss me off. But in generally, I am not always in a bad mood.

Unless you tell me to smile.

I will not smile all the time, dammit. You know who smiles all the time? Sociopaths, that’s who. Smiling for ages and ages makes your face tired and hides your emotions and before you know it you’re beaming beatifically while hacking people to pieces with a rusty hatchet.

Don’t hack people to pieces with a rusty hatchet.

Neighbors, Trains, or Earthquakes: the Mystery of the Shaking Apartment.

My second year in university I was able to move out of the dorms and into an apartment. Originally, Kat was going to live with us, so Anna and I signed leases for a three bedroom apartment off campus. But then things happened and Kat had to stay in the dorms, so Anna and I found a third roommate, a girl Anna had a lab with and who seemed normal at the time. That’s a story for another day.

The apartment itself was nice. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, washer and dryer in the unit, and a shuttle to campus that usually worked. We checked it out a few times, and everything was fine.

And then we moved in.

We were both super excited, and on move in day got out keys and dragged our loads of stuff up three flights of very steep stairs. Our parents left, Anna’s to go home and my mom to go to my godmother’s house for the night, and we commenced our wild unpacking.

Suddenly everything started shaking. Anna and I looked at each other over boxes and bins, and groaned as we heard a train whistle come through the open balcony door. We hoped (in vain) that this was a rare occurrence, or that the trains only came through in the morning.

Fortunately, the trains were on a predictable schedule. Unfortunately, 2am was one of those scheduled times. I don’t know if it’s a normal train thing or the conductors in Oklahoma are especially sadistic, but we soon were aware of a long and wailing train whistle as it passed the student apartments every night. There was also a senior living community down the street, but I suppose after they took their hearing aids out they wouldn’t have much of a problem with the train whistles.

Aside from the train, there was a variety of things that would shake our little apartment. They boys across the hall, mostly. There were three of them, and they went up and down the stairs like a small herd of elephants. They set their fire alarm off almost every night, to the point where Anna and I would sneak takeout menus under their door and hope they took a hint. They didn’t.

Now, I’m not sure how common this next nugget of knowledge is, but Oklahoma is on a fault line. And along fault lines, it is common to get earthquakes. One night, as we were in our rooms, at our desks, I felt a small vibration, and thought nothing of it since it was around the time a train would go by anyway.

But then the shaking didn’t stop.

Either the boys across the hall were having a stair running contest at 10pm or it was an…earthquake.

The shrieks of the sorority girls crossing the parking lot ruled out the stair theory, so Anna and I did the last thing you should do during an earthquake: we ran down the stairs.

Guys, being outside, on seemingly solid ground, and feeling it shake under you is really bizarre.

It subsided in a few minutes, and we walked back upstairs. By the time we were settled back with our books, we got a text from the university’s emergency system telling us that there had in fact been an earthquake. Thanks, guys.

But yeah, that’s the story of the time we realized that the boys across the hall could shake the building just as must as a small earthquake.

Books You Should Read If You Like Blogs

Guys, I’m all for reading big heavy books and cerebral thrillers and all that stuff your high school AP English teacher spent hours analyzing, but let’s be real, sometimes you need a book that’s just a book. That’s not a bad thing. The best things to read are books. And now, when anyone can get a blog and start writing (like me! Who reads this shit?), books are coming out faster and faster and no one knows where to start.

So, here’s a list of books that you’ll really like if you like reading blogs. Because some of these came from blogs.

1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.

First off, this chick is on WordPress (one of us, one of us), and her book was born from her blog. She’s ridiculously funny, to the point where I was in tears in my living room, and talks about things like collecting taxidermied animals and functioning as an actual adult. Which is pretty difficult, I might add.

I’d just like to crown her the queen of blogs, so here’s a link to buy her book and another one to her blog, thebloggess.com.

2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.

If you don’t know who Mindy Kaling is, you’re missing out. She was on The Office, playing Kelly Kapoor, as well as writing episodes. Currently she’s on The Mindy Project, and she’s amazing. I’m partial to this book because she’s Indian, and Indian girls stick together, no matter how famous one of them is.

Her book is an autobiography, and it’s pretty damn funny. Reading it is like texting your best friend. If your best friend could spell and texted back consistently.

3. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

If you’ve been on the internet for longer than a week, you know who Allie Brosh is. She runs the super popular blog Hyperbole and a Half, and has made the blog into book form as well. She writes about a lot of things from her childhood, and also about her struggle with depression, which really got to me.Bonus points, lots of pictures. Which she draws, by hand, on her computer. Since it takes me approximately four hours to make a simple smiley face with my mouse, that’s incredible.

4. Anything by David Sedaris.

I started reading books by David Sedaris long before I knew who David Sedaris was. The very first one I read when I was maybe thirteen, was Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, and I thought it was hilarious.

Since I was thirteen and couldn’t quite appreciate it, I didn’t realize how much I liked it and wanted to read more until I tried finding it years later, and it had disappeared into the abyss of my basement. The next David Sedaris book I read was during high school. In my AP English class we had to do non-fiction presentations, and one group presented from a segment of Me Talk Pretty One Day.

I had read exerpts from various places, but the book needs to be read in its entirety. And if you don’t want to buy it off Amazon, or at a bookstore, I’m sure you can find it horrendously marked up at an airport bookshop, which is where I found the next book on my little list, When You Are Engulfed In Flames

Along with the previous two books, this is also a collection of essays by David Sedaris. I can’t contain how awesome this book is in a paragraph, so I’ll let you read it yourself.

5. Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

Remember how I just mentioned I had to do a nonfiction English project in high school? My group picked this slightly morbid, seriously entertaining book. Like the title implies, it’s about dead bodies. Specifically, what happens to them when they’re donated to science. Mary Roach wrote for Reader’s Digest for a while, which is how I discovered her, since a good portion of my childhood was spent in doctor’s offices and I felt I had outgrown Highlights Magazine. This is a good book if you’re insanely curious and only a little bit squeamish.

Okay. So this book list is getting kind of long, and I figure I’ll give you a break to catch up on your reading. Let me know what you think, and leave your own recommendations in the comments.

The Marvelous Adventures of Team Indecisive: Battle of the Duckies.

For Christmas of 2012, my then-stepmother’s mom gave me a very large rubber duck. When I say “very large,” I don’t mean average. This motherfucker would not be chilling in the bathtub with Ernie and Rubber Ducky. He would eat RD and make Ernie watch. I looked it up on Amazon (god save me that’s where all my money goes), and they would classify it as a “jumbo” duckie. It’s a big duck.

Here he is next to a normal-sized fancy tea cup.
Here he is next to a normal-sized fancy tea cup.

So I took this duckie back to Oklahoma after break, with a plan formulating in my head. Kat was the only one who knew about the duckie so far, because she had texted me just as I was opening the duckie so I sent that picture as a reply. She and I were the first ones back after the break, and as such had the apartment to ourselves to wreak havoc. We unpacked our shit and tried to figure out what to do with the duckie.

Kelly was due back the next day and Anna the day after that, so since neither one of us is very patient, we decided Kelly should be the one to stumble upon the duckie. But where? Her bedroom was locked, and there weren’t many hiding places in the apartment. And then we knew: the bath tub. It was practically fate.The day she was due home, I filled the bath tub partially, set the duckie afloat, and drew the shower curtain. Then proceeded to giggle and text Kelly incessantly about when she would be home. A few flight delays and a pair of ripped jeans later (long, really funny story), she was dragging her suitcase up the stairs. She went into the bathroom a few times without noticing the floating duckie, but I guess she would have no reason to at that point.

Finally, when Kat and I were hanging out in the living room later that evening, Kelly came out and announced she was going to shower. Kat and I nodded as we tried containing our giggles, and waited with baited breath for Kelly’s reaction. Which wasn’t as spectacular as I would have hoped, but it was something. We heard her pulling back the curtain, and then uttering a simple, “What in the world?”

And that started a war.

For the rest of the semester, we found more and more creative ways of hiding the duck around the apartment to surprise each other. From setting it right in the middle of the entryway when we knew someone was bringing over a guest to hiding it in the freezer (so Anna could find it when she got ice water in the middle of the night), that duck was everywhere. Anna even slipped it into my backpack, and I didn’t notice all week (in my defense, it was the pocket I never used). My favorite place to hide it was in the corner of Kelly’s bed, so when she woke up the duck would be staring her in the face.

In February, Anna was leaving for her study abroad in Germany, so she went out an found a tiny yellow duckie to take with her, and would send us pictures of the duck having fun in Germany. Closer to spring break, Kat and I were out running errands, and we found small (normal-sized) duckies to take on our vacation. I named mine Peep Peep, and she named hers Ryan Gosling.

This is Peep Peep day drinking while on vacation at Disney World.
This is Peep Peep day drinking while on vacation at Disney World.

When I was going to Magic Kingdom, the security guy who was checking bags was wondering why a 21-year-old college kid was bringing a rubber duckie into the park. Because the duckie wanted a pictur with Donald Duck, that’s why!

After spring break, when we realized that we didn’t take as many duckie pictures as we thought we would and that our hopes of running a super popular blog of our duckies was not going to work out, we focused on hiding the big duck.

Here he is in front of the TARDIS. Which I should probably tell you about.
Here he is in front of the TARDIS. Which I should probably tell you about.

As I posted that particular picture, I felt the urge to tell you why there is a seven-foot-tall paper TARDIS on the wall. It’s a fun story, but can be summarized in one word: Anna.

More that later.

When I graduated, I took the duck home with me, and for the majority of this past fall semester, the girls were duckless. However, Kat’s sister Victoria had moved in with them, and for Kelly and Anna’s birthdays (they’re one day apart), Vic and I orchestrated an elaborate plan (not really. It was super easy.), and I ordered a jumbo duckie off Amazon and had it shipped to Vic. She hid it, and on the midnight between their birthdays, they found it (I think it might have been during the day on one of their birthdays, but the midnight thing sounds so much more magical.). So the duckie thing continues, and now poor Vic has been sucked into the abyss that is duck-hiding.

I Made A Store

Hey guys, I had a few ideas, and so I made a store on Zazzle, so if you feel like your life is severely lacking things like chevron striped buttons and phone cases and notebooks, click here and buy some.

I’ll be posting new things as I come up with them, so keep checking.

The cool thing about Zazzle is that I can upload images and they’ll print them on products, and give me a [very] small royalty (about 5%) for everything that you guys buy. So I don’t have to do much work other than making patterns (making chevron stripes on a blank image is a bitch, fyi).

My store is called LoveStarlight, and if you click the links I put in the blog, I get a referral royalty in addition to whatever the product royalty is. So you should definitely go check it out.

Bathing Cats and Other Impossible Things That Are Totally Possible.

Did you guys know a group of cats is called a “clowder?” That’s one of the things you learn while fucking around on the internet all day. 

Also, I have a clowder of cats. 

Not all at one house. I have two cats that live with my mom, and two more that live with my dad. So I guess I don’t actually have a singular clowder of cats, just two pairs of cats that don’t know each other. Damn. At least I got to use the word “clowder.”

Anyway, the two cats that live at my dad’s house are called Button (I named her when I was ten and thought she was cute as a button) and Bear (who is a massive cat). Button is the angriest cat I’ve ever met, but also the smallest, weighing in at seven pounds dripping wet (more on that later), so her anger is easily manageable with a dishtowel and some patience. Bear is a big cuddlebug, and at seventeen pounds, I’m glad he’s a sweetheart because holding down that much cat with small baby hands like mine would be an exercise in futility. 

These cats go outside whenever the weather is nice, and since I live in Ohio and it’s between September and April, that isn’t very often. The first time Bear got to go outside was last week, and he promptly came back in because a gust of wind knocked him over. Thank goodness Button didn’t go out or else she would have been blown into the next county (that’s funny because the county line is down the street). This morning Bear went out and found the biggest patch of dirt he could and rolled around in it. Since he sleeps in my bed, I was having none of that hippie let-him-clean-himself nonsense. And dad decided Button could use a soak so it was bath day for kitties. 

Now, bathing cats is a tricky endeavor. They tend to hate water with a burning passion, and will do anything and everything to avoid it. For Button the pint sized she-devil, all I had to do was to prep the bath (get the water running, get her shampoo and towel ready, say a quick prayer) and carry her into the shower. This cat has left scars and bloody cuts on me before, but get her into the bathroom and she starts cuddling and mewing as if she’s trying to say “I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done please don’t take me into the evil wet box please!” She mewls pitifully a few times and give you Puss in Boots (from Shrek. The really cute one.) eyes until you’re done, and the starts her growling and tail lashing the second you have her wrapped in the towel all cuddly and warm. 

Bear, on the other hand, puts up a fight. He’s the one covered in dirt and actually needs a bath, but he’s also the one who weighs seventeen pounds (he’s not fat, just a very large breed of cat. I don’t know what breed, he’s a rescue.) and knows it. He gets right in my face and meows as loud as he can. I think he believes that if he breaks my eardrums I’ll let him go or something. You can sometimes hear him crying from outside the house, but don’t let the sad noises phase you. This dirtball needs a bath. Today he managed to draw blood. His little claws caught on my neck and chest, and when I said ow he stopped struggling and looked about as concerned as a cat could look. “Sorry I hurt you, human, but let’s be real, it’s all a part of the bath game.” 

Eventually both cats got clean and tossed into the other bathroom to dry, and are now compulsively licking themselves to get their fur to lie flat. 

What I figured this was a parallel to was that some things seem almost comical because of how difficult and contradictory the sound (bathing a cat? Really?), but once you start, you have to keep at it until you’re done. And you may be exhausted, drenched, and bloody, but something totally worth it will have happened. Like a clean cat who won’t muddy up your bed sheets. 

[And if you’re about to get on my case and say bathing cats is bad for them, don’t. I know what I’m doing.]