Evil Mind Control

Help! I have the Baby Shark song stuck in my head! And now you do, too, if you’ve ever heard it. You’re welcome.

The reason for this is that they were discussing it on NPR during my commute home from work. I went home and watched my husband cook dinner. We talked about our days. And the whole time, inside my head, I’m going, “Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo…”

We settled in for a cozy evening in by the fire. We binge watched Better Call Saul. My dog Quagmire snored on my lap.

And yet, inside my head, here was the narrative. “Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo…Argh! Stop! How do I stop this? Maybe I should replace it with another ear worm. How about Mna Mna? That should do it.”

Hoo! Blessed relief. But for only a second. The minute my mind wandered, Baby Shark slipped right back in there, and I must have done about 10 choruses of that before I even realized it was back.

I tried everything. Head Shoulders Knees and Toes. I Can Sing a Rainbow. It’s a Small World After All.

You get the picture. (And if you’ve clicked on any of the links provided in this post, you are officially a masochist, in the same way that writing this post makes me a sadist.)

I think earworms are a unique form of torture. Lock someone in a room and play nothing but earworms continuously, and I guarantee they’ll tell you everything you want to know, if only you’ll stop. But even after you stop, they’d STILL be hearing those songs for the rest of their lives. And no one around them would know.

As I sat on the couch with my husband, enjoying a pleasant evening at home, he had no idea that I was in the throes of an internal battle with a baby shark. That’s what makes it so insidious. It’s so loud inside your head that it practically blocks out all other thought, and yet no one hears it but you. I even had dreams about it that night.

I find it extremely creepy that it’s so easy to control what someone else thinks about. I mean, 5 minutes after you read one of my blog posts on any other day, I suspect you’d be hard pressed to tell anyone what it was about. But today, you’ll be singing Baby Shark. All day.

I’m up inside your head. And there’s nowhere to hide.

Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo…

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We Bought Ourselves a Boulder

I never thought I’d buy something that weighed over 900 pounds unless I was planning to drive in it or live in it, but the other day we did just that. We kind of had no choice. People love to do u-turns in our driveway, not realizing how soft the ground is if you leave the paved area. And they always leave the paved area. We have the deep, muddy trenches in the lawn to prove it.

We tried putting several cantaloupe and watermelon-sized rocks there, but they’d just drive over them or shove them aside. We’d just look away and shake our heads as these people sped off with nary an apology for their destructive natures. But now we have our little free library out front, and there’s the fear that some fool would slide up in there and take out a pedestrian or the library itself. So it was time to get serious.

So we went rock shopping. Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. Who goes rock shopping?

You don’t realize just how much rock variety there is out there until you start looking. All different shapes and sizes and compositions. You kind of have to have an open mind when making this sort of purchase, because you’re never going to find one that is exactly the right shape and size for your purposes. You can’t be inflexible. You can’t be rocklike when rock hunting.

Personally, I fell in love with a thick granite slab with golden streaks through it. It was beautiful. It had a nice flat top, and when the sun hit it just right, it sparkled. I could have gazed at that rock all day long. Images of kids sitting on it to read books from the library. I mean, I really, really, really wanted that rock.

But dear husband made a good point. It was too low to the ground. Our neighborhood truck driving fools would probably just drive right over the top of it, or a smaller car wouldn’t see it in the dark and would rip out their undercarriage.

Well, shoot. There’s nothing more annoying than practical observations when you’ve already fallen in love. But yeah, I had to reluctantly turn my back on that gorgeous boulder. I will remember it fondly.

There was a better option. It was ugly compared to its golden-streaked neighbor. I was just a lopsided chunk of basalt. It didn’t speak to me, really. You might even say it maintained a stony silence. (Sorry. Had to.)

But it was the right size, and tall enough so that it couldn’t be overlooked or driven over. And basalt is a very dense rock. Nobody is going to move this sucker without some heavy equipment.

In fact, they had to use a forklift to get it over to the scales so we could find out how much it would cost. This place prices their rocks by the type and by the ton. And it turns out that this particular rock weighed 900 pounds.

Think about that for a moment. The average male deer weighs about 150 pounds, and we all know what one of them can do to your car’s front end. This boulder is one to be avoided. It’s your basic working class, utilitarian rock. I became convinced that it was what we needed.

So, we bought ourselves a rock, and it was delivered a few days later. There was much conversation with the forklift operator, because as he said, once this thing was off the pallet and on the ground, it wasn’t going anywhere. There would be no tweaking its position. Welcome home, rock, you’re here to stay.

I had grown up around large rocks in Connecticut. I used to love climbing on them. Then we moved to Florida, the land of sand and limestone. I missed the rocks of my youth. It’s lovely to be in the Pacific Northwest amongst rocks again. But I never thought I’d own one.

It’s kind of sad that we’ll never know for sure where our rock came from originally. Boulders, as a general rule, don’t come with certificates of provenance. But I can’t imagine anyone would bother to transport it very far. It may not weigh a ton, but it weighs a lot.

But the bulk of the Columbia River Gorge right here in Washington State is made up of basalt. So I’d like to think that this rock was once along the banks of that mighty river. It’s kind of romantic, if you think about it.

And just like that, I became attached to the thing. So that’s how we bought ourselves a boulder. I’ll say it now so that you won’t be tempted to clutter up the comments section: Yes, we rock.

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Hannah Gadsby: Nanette

In keeping with my distressing habit of doing the doggy-paddle several years behind any and all pop culture waves, I present you with my latest discovery: the comedy special Nanette, by Hannah Gadsby. It’s from 2017. You’ll find it on Netflix, because they released it in 2018.

In my own defense, it only just received a Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special last month. That’s how I managed to hear any buzz at all about it. And I’m so grateful that I did. I have this interview on PRI’s Studio 360 to thank for that.

Before this, I’d never heard of the Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby. Having seen Nanette, I feel as though calling her a comedian is a bit too simplistic. And if all you’re looking for is a few easy laughs, you might want to look elsewhere.

No. This show makes you think. It makes you laugh. It makes you squirm. It makes you cry. It makes you see the world differently. It has substance and value. If you see no other show, see this one.

The special starts off funny enough. She’s hilarious, actually. And this humor is her way of introducing herself to you. So you’ll listen. So you’ll take note.

But about half way through, the show takes a rather intense turn. It becomes a confession about who she is and how she feels about herself, and why we all should realize how important that is. And then it turns into an education. It demonstrates exactly what it’s like to be inside her skin.

So I leave you with a few quickly written quotes that I jotted down while watching the show for the second time. Out of context, entirely. You should watch the show. But these things should make you blink, at the very least.

This first one made me cheer, because I relate to it so much.

“All my life I’ve been told, ‘Don’t be so sensitive!’ Why is insensitivity something to strive for?”

“You learn from the part of the story you focus on.”

She states that Pablo Picasso had an affair with a 17 year old girl, and suffered from the mental illness of misogyny. And that misogyny should be considered a mental illness because you hate the thing you desire. She also said that Pablo Picasso said, “Each time I leave a woman I should burn her. Destroy the woman and you destroy the past she represents.”

She then goes on a very fascinating rant about art history, and all the unnecessary nude paintings of women, and said that high art turns women into “flesh vases for your dick flowers.” (Harsh, I know. You have to see the special to really get it. But once you do, you can’t forget it.)

She also says, “If I am the only woman in the room, I’m afraid,” and went on to say if you don’t understand that, you aren’t talking to the women in your life. Amen, sister.

But by far the best quote of all from this show is “There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”

What a fantastic show. What a profound show. Watch it, then tell me what you think.

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A Hilarious Throwback

On this, the one year anniversary of my marriage, I thought I’d share with you one of my very favorite posts. Trust me to have a wedding night like this one! (Still the best decision I ever made, though.)

For a good laugh, please click on over and read The Great Cupcake Caper.

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Junior, AKA The Culprit.

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Another Scammer Messed With

If you recall my post Messing with a Scammer, you’ll know that I take great delight in acting stupid and gullible in order to waste the time of a con artist. I look at it as a civic duty. The more time they spend with me, the less time they’ll spend bilking little old ladies out of their life savings.

It seems I’m not alone in this pastime, because a loved one of mine recently shared this exchange that he had with your basic scumbag. He was doing an honest day’s work when his phone beeped, and he came across a text from a coworker. But red flags went up because the text was coming from a strange number, and his language and syntax seemed a little off. I’m sure it wasn’t hard for the scammer to find out that they were coworkers on line, and then search for his phone number. Then they were off to the races, as the saying goes.

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Knowing his coworker would never make such a request, he decided to play along.

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Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen, buddy. So now he started acting like he wasn’t very clever about these complicated tech thingies.

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Ooh, the genious scammer sent a photo! Just trying to be helpful. Which made my friend look on line for some photos of his own to send back.

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Now the scammer is convinced he is dealing with a fool. But he’s the fool. He sent his e-mail. Wanna mess with him too? Please, please do! Sign him up for as much spam e-mail as you can possibly think of.

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Hee hee.

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Now Mr. Scammer starts getting testy.

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I’d include more screen shots, but it’s just another 50 or so idiot-related images that my friend sent to tie up scammer’s phone. But hey, if the phone number or the e-mail are still active, I strongly encourage you to mess with this dimwit. It’s a dirty job, but in the end, it’s quite satisfying, and a lot more fun than waiting for karma to bite him in the butt.

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My Return to Voodoo Doughnuts

The first time I went to Portland, Oregon, I vowed to visit Voodoo Doughnuts, one of the many quirky and iconic shops in the area, but as I explained in this post, it just wasn’t meant to be. And so, my voodoo dreams having gone unfulfilled, I was doomed to wander the earth feeling as though I had some unfinished business. I felt incomplete. It was even worse than never having gone to my high school prom.

So when I realized we’d be passing through Portland again on our way home from our fabulous Oregon vacation, I told my husband that if it was the last thing I ever did, I would be going to Voodoo Doughnuts. Even if I had to throw myself from the moving car. Even if I had to crawl there on my hands and knees. That voodoo-flavored influx of sugar and carbs would be mine, or I would die trying.

To add to the pressure (as if dear husband needed more convincing) I read from the website menu as we approached Portland. “Of course we need to get a Maple Blazer Blunt. Who wouldn’t want to try a doughnut doobie?” “And we’ve got to get a Voodoo Doll, and an Old Dirty Bastard, simply to be able to say we ate one.” “There’s a doughnut with captain crunch on top! And one with fruit loops! And grape dust! And cayenne pepper! And bacon!”

By the time we got there, I had worked myself up into such a frenzy that you’d have thought I was a 6-year-old going to Disney World. I was practically fidgeting in line. Fortunately the queue wasn’t as long as it was the last time around.

Still, I sure wouldn’t want to work there. The joint was jumping. I bet they’re exhausted at the end of a shift. But they do that voodoo so well. (Sorry. Had to.)

So, were the doughnuts all I had worked them up to be in my mind? Of course not. Nothing is ever as good as you imagine. Heck yeah, they were great, and all, but there were no fireworks, no marching bands. And I’ve been avoiding sugar as much as possible for several months now, so this particular orgy of pure gluttony kind of left me feeling sick. So there’s that.

But who am I kidding? I’ll be back. If only because we discovered further down the road that we had neglected to get the Old Dirty Bastard after all.

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Signs Along the Way

I just got home from an amazing trip to coastal and central Oregon, and brace yourself, it has inspired no fewer than 15 ideas for blog posts. But don’t worry, if you’re not a travel enthusiast, I’ll be spreading them out over the next month or so, so as not to drive you off. (I’d miss you guys!)

One of my favorite things about traveling is seeing the strange signs and t-shirts I encounter along the way. They can really give you the feel for a place better than anything else. (If you use your imagination, that is.)

The best sign I saw was across the road on a busy highway. There was no convenient place to pull over or turn around for a picture without risking life and limb, so, this blog never being far from my mind, I had to content myself with a note. The sign stretched the length of a long, rustic wood building, and it said, simply, “A large variety of wood!”

I couldn’t tell if the place was open or closed. There were no cars in the parking lot. The windows were small and dusty. Was the owner selling firewood? Driftwood art? Elaborate sculptures carved from logs? Furniture? Or something rated x? I have no idea. I’ve got to say that for some reason it makes me really happy that this place exists. But I’d suggest that the proprietor might want to expand upon his signage or his displays just a tiny bit so that passersby would know if they are a part of his target market, because I’d be afraid to stop without knowing. Just sayin’.

In no particular order, here are some of the signs that I found pic-worthy along the way.

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This place will merit a blog post all its own. We saw a lot of evidence of how hard it was to travel around here back before there were paved roads and Starbucks every 500 yards, but this one pretty much says it all.

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This one was taken at Crooked River Bridge. I will attest to the fact that 300 feet is a really long way down. I know, because I got a wicked sense of vertigo while checking for dog carcasses. I’m happy to report that I didn’t see any. A few thoughts on this sign: It seems like there’s more concern for the dogs than the children. And there was a high wall blocking you from the precipice. It would take some effort to get your dog to launch itself into that abyss. Hysterical sign maker? Or is there a dark side to Oregon that they aren’t telling us? Hmmm…

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This one made me laugh. It was at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. That amazing place also merits its own post. But after the last sign, I thought I should show you that Oregonians have a sense of humor, too.

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This one made us do a u-turn. So, you go to the state park, and then you recycle yourself, big time. Glad to hear that Oregon takes the environment so seriously!

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Now this, at the Tillamook Creamery, (which will also get its own post) is my kind of sign.

And I’m leaving you with two t-shirts that I would have bought, because I have a twisted sense of humor. But I already have way too many t-shirts. Carrion, dear reader. Carrion.

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