Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Links for Lazy Writers Like Me

Above is my Tuesday-evening impulse purchase—by Sarah Hedlund Graphic Design & Illustration. It is everything I've ever wanted. See her other art here.

Would you like to see an absurd video I made? Here is one:

I'd been searching for the right music to accompany Atwood's b@d@$$ moves, and then realized that it was I who had written it. Full version here.

I can't get enough of this Yes and Yes True Story: I Have Narcolepsy. It genuinely puts my own sleep issues into perspective.

A great writer I very much enjoy interviewed Fran Lebowicz, who has some very, very strong opinions about fashion. I can't disagree with her yoga pants stance, and all I've ever wanted to do was get away with cowboy boots outside of New Orleans, but she's got a whoooooole bunch of opinions—and claims, like “I feel very strongly that almost the entire city has copied my glasses.” Mmm mm mmm. So bold. 

Is this enough links for a post?


Monday, March 23, 2015

You'll Never Believe the Twist at the End!

As some of you already know, I have expanded my family. Please meet my little toothless terrier, Atwood:

Atwood was rescued at a puppy mill auction by Underdog Rescue last April and fostered by a wonderful, large-hearted woman (a heart large enough for her own three dogs and three fosters). I don't know what I was doing on their website, but I stumbled across his dumb little face, and a few weeks later, emboldened by many a pros/cons list and the fact that no one had expressed ANY interest in him, I was officially his official human.

Atwood came as Eugene, but I have too many uncles named Eugene (one. one uncle is enough uncles named Eugene to merit an dog-name change), and he just looks like an Atwood.

Because of neglect and etc. he had to have what was remaining of his teeth removed. But I'm not going to lie—that was 75% of his appeal. At best guess he is seven years old, and I've spent only a little time wondering how many little Yorkie babies he's fathered over the years, even though I don't like to think of him “that way.”

Atwood accompanies me to the office where he naps on my desk.

What an idiot, right? Recently I returned from a short trip to the kitchen to discover that he had attempted to help me with some client work:
.8gbtn bghg0..,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,mlm0…….lmmml0mlop0komn []’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\]]]]201 sz
I tell you: I did not see that ending coming.

Wondering how Edie is doing with the transition? Juuuuust fine...


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Links for Lazy Writers Like Me

My cool comedienne friend, Jenn Schaal, has been doing insane things like waking up at an unpublishable-adverb-early time and lifting hundreds of pounds. She is 40 weeks into this.

Countdown to 30 Days of Biking has begun. This weekend I plan on getting my bike a little better equipped for longer rides. Note: the pledge doesn't require you only bike for 30 days—just that you put your butt on a bike seat every day for 30 days.

Here's a project that's allowing young native women to be the voice of their stories.

Here's a cost-of-living calculator to determine the best foreign cities to live and work remotely. Filters include things like Women's Safety, Internet Speed and Air Quality.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Truism or True-ism?

Adage. Maxim. Aphorism. Cliche. Axiom. Dictum. Proverb. Truism. Saying. Apothegm. Chestnut. Platitude. Banality. Byword. 

For the record: I thought of at least 10 of those without the help of a thesaurus.

I have an unexplainable weakness for three things:
  1. Pretty bowlegged girls 
  2. Unexpected animal companionships 
  3. Botched aphorisms
    • Think: 
      • A picture is worth a thousand birds.
      • An apple a day doesn't fall far from the tree.
      • Don't mess with taxes.
My mom is Mom to me, but to you she is either Tawana (Rue Littleton-Grimes—aka “T. Rue”—aka “True Littleton-Grimes”) or “True”. She is both a bold and an adventurous employer of maxims and dictums—in addition to being the type of credibly convincing personage who persuaded me to believe something like “all the vitamins” are “in the crust” of the bread.

Yes, later in life I did a little baking and a medium amount of math and definitively discerned that crust is just the KIND-OF BURNT part of the bread. I know that. But what I don't really which of my mother's adages are real, official adages—and which are her own imaginative inventions. 

So I'm passing the torch to you, readers: Help me discern what is a real, actual aphorism and what is actually just my mother's fanciful take on a fictional platitude. 


1. Don't get your panties in a wad.

2. ...eating us out of house and home...

3. Don't drink your bathwater.

4. You tricky dickies; you tricked me.

5. You look like a Woolfenbooger!

6. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl.

7. ...blow hot air up your dress...


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Links for Lazy Writers Like Me

Traumatized by the poetry I wrote as a macabre teen, I had all but forgotten about the form. But Minneapolis artist/writer/micro-publisher Aaron King has released a collection of poetry by Twin Cities poet Brett Jenkins—Oh No Everything—that has restored my fondness for the craft. Overheard at Boneshaker Books from a patron fingering the—dare I say—artisanal chapbook: “This looks like a book of poems for people with anxiety and depression.” Which is 100% accurate. So good. Buy it here for $6.

Here's a little sunshine. Or at least a littler foreshadowing of some sunshine.

I wrote about my lifelong sleep struggles here.

My favorite tumblr of the week.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

From the Archives: Old Worn-Out Saddles and Old Worn-Out Memories

After 16 hours by train and eight hours by bus, we arrived in Jaisalmer in the state of Rajisthan. I'm choosing to call the locale a stone's throw from Pakistan. We were drawn to Jaisalmer for a few reasons, but we had one main purpose: to trek the desert on camels.

For the first time in my life I opted for the pricier package. After the slickest salesman in this monstrous country nearly talked Kady and me into the two-night/three-day package, we purchased two days of camel riding and one evening of under-the-stars sleeping. Why the pricier package? Because it came with warmer bedding, and this place is freeeeeezing. How freezing? So freezing that on the train we took from Mumbai to Jodhpur the night prior, we were ten-times more traumatized by the freezing cold temperatures than by the man who was doing the thing that we hoped he wasn't doing but most certainly knew he was doing and wow he didn't even stop doing when accidental eye contact occurred. That's how freezing.

At 6:30 a.m. we begrudgingly climbed into a jeep that took us 50 km outside of the city. Our camel hands made us chai, eggs and toast over an open fire, gave us a boost onto our camels and a 15-second camel-riding lesson, and we were off.

We made a brief stop in a village where the locals no doubt daily roll their eyes at all the Westeners in their technical gear who traipse by for photos of the authentic Rajisthany-village life.

And though my version of technical gear was a little more thrift-store-Target-Old-Navy chic, I didn't mind being one of these tools. Especially after they helped me tie a Lawrence-of-Arabia-esque turban.

Who's the tool now, huh?

Our next stop was a shaded spot under a tree while a lunch of chai, chapattis, rice and vegetable curry was prepared.

We listened to music and goofed off during this hottest time of day until this desert man appeared and things got real.

He was hunting some sort of predator that had killed a sheep the night prior. He didn't speak a word of English but all I felt towards him was warmth, which was most certainly 100 percent because he looked exactly like an Indian Bill Murray.

Well, this picture doesn't show much warmth because I sure wasn't expecting his face to touch mine:

But in this shot, I was channeling my inner desert comrade character (this was good stuff, friends):

Several visitors joined the cooking fire and were all fed. Besides Desert Zissou, my favorite desert character visitor was a shepherd-boy—because then our guides milked some of his goats and made us more chai. Chai. In the desert. With goat milk. From a goat I had been anthropomorphizing for an hour.

A little after 3:00 p.m., we were back on the camels. Kady rode headstrong-yet-mild Johnny while I rode the lead camel whose name I could not master any better than I could his nostril reigns. Meanwhile, I vacillated wildly between two proposed realities:

Number 1: The entire experience was some surreal sideshow orchestration put on just for us—from the paan-mouthed village children riding dwarfed donkeys to the antique-rifle-toting mystery man.

Carnival-Reality Pose

Number 2: I was a pioneer desert women who had infiltrated the northeast-Indian desert.

Pioneer Pose
But it's nothing short of morbidly arrogant to think a scene exists for you and you only (barring most of the Mexican coast of course) and the more elaborate my pioneer character became, the more I realized she was not only actually a dude—a really chauvinistic one at that—but the embodiment of three decades of Willy Nelson lyrics.

I made peace with a place somewhere in between as we made camp for a night spent under the full moon and stars.

Traveling through India is an unremitting reminder of how little one needs to survive. My toiletry bag shames me unceasingly. When I awoke the next morning to the smell of fresh ginger and cardamom seeping in chai and the gentle grunts and belches of camels, I realized that all it really takes to make me happy is a 50-km jeep ride to the desert and my own tame camel and two or three men to carry all my stuff and make all my meals and all the mineral water I can drink and someone to build me a fire and then clean up after the meal they made me and help me on and off my camel and answer all of my questions and an iPod and portable speakers and a big warm bed and all the blankets I can dream of piled on me by men who will get me more water or food or chai or fire.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

...More Like Introjerk—How to Live in Harmony with Your Contravert

From the Archives: A discussion on introversion/extroversion based on two girls who were broke and started a cupcake company shared a job, a car, an apartment and all meals and workouts...

There was a part of me that thought—for one second—”I'm gonna make this really, really good!”

People are sometimes confused when they learn that I'm an introvert. I understand. Because the thing is—I'm not particularly shy. Sometimes I even feel really on and chatty and can seamlessly flow from funny quibble to quippish anecdote like nobody's business(*1), but afterwords I'm exhausted and then suffer a crisis over my vacillating authenticity and temperamental bravado, which is followed by a pretty dark and weird tormented internal monologue that goes something like this:


Maybe I'm an ambivert.

A lot of you are familiar with my friend and occasional travel partner and onetime part-time temporary roommate, Kady, of A Lady Reveals Nothing, and perhaps you and I even share her in common as our most extroverted friend—or even the most extroverted human we know.

Here she is just...hanging out with strangers like it's no big deal. Like they're not going to suck all of her life-force vital energy from her:

Here are some examples of Kady's manifested extroversion:
  • When she places a phone call, she doesn't chant, “please don't pick up please don't pick up” over and over under her breathe.
  • She smiles and waves at every single stranger we encounter, especially if they speak English. But non-English speakers are also invited into her charming orb of interaction.
    • The girl can talk. Someone once asked her, “Do you ever think anything you don't say?”
    (it wasn't me)
        I, on the other hand, viewed our  New Orleans carpool commute to work as a social activity. On top of that, while we lived together working in New Orleans, I kept accidentally saying really mean things to her. Just two days into living and working together I said, “Man, we really need to be sure and schedule time apart.” See, I assumed she needs her alone time as much as I do, so this is what I meant to say: 

          • we live together
          • we work together
          • we commute to work together
          • we work out together
          • we know the same people
          • we cook and eat together
        ...and I want to make sure that whenever possible I make myself scarce so you don't start hating me.”

        My statement was about taking preventative measures to stay friends. But after it came out of my mouth I realized it sounded a lot more like, “Gawwwd I'm sick of your face.”

        How could I ever get sick of this face?

        My intro-awkwardness spills over into other categories of everyday life. For example, I really struggle with talking on the phone. It doesn't matter who you are or how much I love you; the entire interaction gives me anxiety. I've decided a lot of it stems from having no idea how the conversation is going to end.

        AND because I over-analyze everything, and because there are no visual cues, I'm convinced you are racking your brain trying to find a polite way to get rid of me. And because I am absurdly sensitive to rejection (yeah, another shocker for those who also think I'm an extrovert), I'm trying to break up with you before you break up with me.

        I had come up with a solution in recent years to say, “I'm so sorry but I really, really have to go to the bathroom.” First off, this is never a lie, because, as Kady will attest, I always have to go to the bathroom. But I made the mistake of telling people about this conversation-exit strategy and then some of my really good friends informed me that I've used that one on them.

        The other day before Kady and I headed out for a night on the town (which for this introvert meant changing out of sweatpants and getting a drink 20 steps from our doorstep), I realized I was ready and she was preoccupied. She said, “I'm sorry; I'm chatting with three different people, but I'm wrapping it up.” I let out a deep sigh and said, “I'm so exhausted by what you just said I think I need to lie down.”

        We then chatted about the differences between her extro and my intro, and when she asked if she was annoying, I assured her that she was in no way ever doing anything wrong. But I couldn't even say that in a non-mean way. In fact, I said this:
        “You've done absolutely nothing to annoy me but I'm just so aware of your presence all the time.”
        After reading about what an introjerk I am, it's very important you know I have spent time on both sides of the “___version” fence; I've just been stuck over here on the intro side for a much longer period of time. And because my ambiversion obviously translates into my being an expert on the topic, I've accumulated some important information for both intros and  extros:

        Many extroverts at times experience guilt over their extroversion.
        • They may believe that they are perceived as obtuse, narcissistic, overbearing or even unintelligent.
        • They may fear they make others uncomfortable with their gregarious or possibly domineering nature.
        Many introverts at times experience guilt over their introversion.
        • They may believe that they are perceived as judgmental, snooty or even unintelligent.
        • They may fear they make others uncomfortable with their reserved nature.
        Do not assume an extrovert is a confident person.
        • They may be painfully insecure or suffer from extremely low self-esteem.
        • They might envy the introvert's air of mystery and apparent poise.
        Do not interpret an introvert's reticence as judgment or disdain.
        • They're probably just letting it all sink in.
        • They may be painfully insecure or suffer from extremely low self-esteem.
        • They might even envy the extrovert's apparent social ease.
        Extroverts are often jealous of introverts' personae or personalities. 

        Introverts are often jealous of extroverts' personae or personalities. 

        Introverts are not necessarily smarter than you just because they don't say stupid things.
        • I mean, they usually say a lot less, the math...
        Do not assume what you see is what you get—and all you get—when observing an extrovert.
        • There's more to every story, dummy
        And in conclusion, if you are an extrovert sharing a space or a life with an introvert who needs some alone time, know that they are not necessarily sick of you; sometimes they're just sick of not being alone.

        And if you are an introvert, remember that no matter how earnest your intentions are, it always and only sounds really mean to say, “Wow this movie looks so good! You should go see it... yourself... or right now...”

        (*1) and sometimes I apparently say “like nobody's business”