“I’m the valet. You have to give me your car.”

person in bunny suit sitting on a bench

I’ve been reading (audio) books by actors of late.  It started with How to American:  An Immigrants Guide to Disappointing Your Parents, by Jimmy O. Yang.  It was so good I finished in two days.  (I laughed so hard, I don’t recommend listening in public.)  It made me fall in love with America all over again.  If you don’t read it, I feel sorry for you.  Next, I listened to The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, by Jenna Fischer.  I loved it.

I have no plans of becoming an actor, but she mentioned it on the Office Ladies podcast, and it sounded like useful information regardless.  It turned out to be fascinating.  I learned a lot, and it led to thoughts about defining success, how to recognize it, gather it, and how to continue growing despite it.  Since it means something different to each person, I think Jenna Fischer did a brilliant job of conveying her journey in a manner easily translated to alternate paths.

I loved hearing it in her voice, too.  The authors narrate these books, (and when the reader is an actor, it’s excellent.)  I mean.  Duh.  They’re professional storytellers.  Damn.  I just typed the obvious.  I laughed a lot with this book, too.  (I should probably make a rule about listening to podcasts and audiobooks by funny people in public.)  I’m currently more than halfway through reading The Bassoon King:  Art, Idiocy, and Other Sordid Tales from the Band Room, by Rainn Wilson.

making shadows

I like Rainn Wilson even more than Dwight Schrute.  I saw him on Mom recently playing a therapist.  He was great in that, too.  After reading about how these actors struggled when building their careers, I remember a moment of feeling retro alarmed.  In all three books, they emphasized the significance of seeking out opportunities in areas that correspond to your strengths.  I thought back to when I joined the Army, and how I chose my MOS (military occupational specialty.)

Before joining, everyone takes the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test.  It’s a tool you can use to help choose your job.  I scored well overall, so I picked a job that would help me improve in the area I scored lowest, not a job that required skills I already possessed.  To me, it was the most obvious thing in the world.  And I just found out it’s probably the opposite of what most would decide.  Whoops.

Fortunately, I got to learn some amazing stuff I had no idea even existed.  I also got to help pioneer a new job opened for women in the Army (my ego still appreciates that bit.)  Unfortunately, I loved the training and theory but felt no passion for the job, which mattered because it led to my getting into shenanigans with tearful consequences out of boredom.  So I went back to training and did it again.

cliche fake nose glasses

The second area entailed nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare training.  (sings, hated it.)  I decided if there’s ever a nuclear explosion, to run toward the flash.  I don’t even want to talk about the other two.  Guess what?  I went back and trained again.  They called me The Educated Soldier at one point because I was continually going on TDY for school.  It did help me figure out I was destined to be a chairborne warrior, though.  Anything with a computer was my eventual specialty.  Heh.

I don’t regret taking the scenic route. Skill-building does lovely things for my self-esteem.  I love being more capable than people expect.  I think one of the coolest things I learned is there are all sorts of ways to be intelligent, and most of them don’t include what they claimed in classrooms as kids.  I met soldiers who could talk to engines the way I talk to computers.  They awed me; (aside from that time, they sent me out to fill all the tires on the tracked vehicles.)  I’m off to continue my book.  💜✌🏽

“I have another complaint for Jim’s permanent file.”

decorative toys and stuffies

I had a fun Halloween.  I dressed up as a sloth and passed out candy very slowly to trick-or-treaters.  I suspect some of the kids didn’t recognize I was role-playing and thought I was just old.  Heh.  (A few got impatient and went to another apartment, then returned when I broke character after noticing it only amused me.)  The kids were loud, excited, and adorable.  I liked having their energy breeze through.

I couldn’t figure out how to take a selfie while masked.  🤪  M invited me to join him at a party, but the theme included the word haunted or horror.  We both started laughing after he asked.  I’ve never been wired to appreciate the thrill of being scared.  Epigenetics, yo.  I’m a wee bit jealous of the people who can participate in such things (without crying.) I have my Blu-rays of Us and Get Out that I won’t be watching, ever. (I bought them to support Jordan Peele.)

I haven’t even watched American Horror Story, and Stevie Nicks is in it. (!!!) (M said that alone proves it’s epigenetics.)  😂  My mind is running all over the place.  I’m officially a Lizzo fan.  I loved her immediately.  I find out about new-to-me artists from my favorite podcasts lately.  My introduction to American Griots, by Louis York, was terrific.  They performed a song on The Friend Zone podcast, and it was ear candy.  I preordered the album immediately after.  (It’s so good!)

neon sign stating, it was all a dream

XD, from Jade and XD, created a unisex fragrance, called, D’Leau.  I ordered some, and in the process, created two scents of my own.  Both M and I are in love with D’Leau.  It’s officially my favorite at this time.  However, the ones I created reek.  (It turns out; I suck at it.) Fortunately, I don’t care because I have D’Leau.  😆  I’ve had two people ask me about it so far (and you know I don’t get out much.)  😂

It’s World of Warcraft’s 15th anniversary.  I’ve been playing on and off for eleven years now.  I have no plans of quitting, although I did have an unfortunate incident the other day. I was soloing a dungeon from The Burning Crusade, and some toon assassin appeared from thin air behind me.  It scared the shit out of me, and I nearly had a panic attack.  I took a three-day break, then got right back in there and reran it, this time on the heroic setting.

It still startled me when I triggered the assassin again, but I didn’t panic.  I just stood there and let the bastard try to kill my toon until I got bored, then ended him with nonchalance.  (I’m a level 110 tank, and he was level 80 or something.)  I’m so glad Blizzard allows us to travel back to lower level areas to exact revenge.  I don’t do it often, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis I usually have a blast.  I’m going to upgrade because they’re releasing a new expansion next year.  It’ll probably take me that long to reach level 120.  Heh.  I’m off to play.  💜✌🏽

p.s.  Missy Elliot was on The Read TV show on Fuse!!!

“Did you know your ID says you’re a security threat?”

mural of two human heads

I need to get this out of my head (before I forget.)  Forgive me if what I’m about to share upsets.  I spent years of my life overcoming an irrational fear of men.  (It resulted from being raped by a male soldier while serving in the Army.) It also (weirdly) led to me becoming a super-soldier for a year.  Then reality caught up to me.  I’m still in awe of what I accomplished during that year.  (Even though being a human-robot is often synonymous with being an excellent soldier.) 🤭

Suddenly, all men became predators who would hurt me if I ever let my guard down.  I was too ready to burst into a tornado of violence or flee like the wind at the first hint of danger.  People who typically would have been like brothers made me tremble if they merely noticed me.  I could reason that my feelings were ridic intellectually, but it did not affect my fear.  Worse, I didn’t realize I was physically reacting to the men I encountered as if I was steeling myself for an inevitable attack.  Eventually, I figured out why men kept giving me the stink eye.  They were offended (and rightly so.)

I had to train myself to stop, and it took time.  It was horrible to be terrified of nearly half the world while knowing it was due to the actions of one.  I hate being irrational against my will.  Thank you, dear universe, for gay men (who were immune.)  It helped tremendously to spend time with them and allow myself space to reclaim my sense of safety.  Eventually, I stopped behaving like I was anticipating ambush all the time.  (It was exhausting.)

eerie person running from the light in the woods

Also, thinking that way made me incredibly paranoid.  At one point, I had to pause life and figure out how to stop negotiating the world like a win-or-die game of chess (that only I was playing.)  I even created a crappy video game to encourage myself, instead, to anticipate joy whenever I entered a room or went around a corner.  The graphics were so poor they were funny.  (Parody is a fabulous copyright loophole when creating while depressed.  Especially for people ((like me)) who love comedy but lack the gift.) 🤫

I was seriously worried I was losing my grip on reality, though.  Then I realized I was imagining the worst-case scenario and behaving as if it were the reality (like there was a prize), followed by wondering why I was sofa king anxious.  🤪  Eminem had a positive influence on my reclaiming safety among men.  So did Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter.  From there, I was able to pinpoint what about them was helping me heal.  It turned out to be their willingness to be vulnerable publicly as a man.

The more instances of witnessing men sharing their feelings and perspective, the more I healed.  (Hello, Will Smith obsession.) 🥰  But the man who had the most significant healing effect by far is Chaz Bono.  The documentary, Becoming Chaz, helped me to understand important distinctions between men and women from both perspectives. It helped that it was from a source I valued since childhood (when allowed to watch Sonny and Cher only when their kids were on.)  The information presented in the doc is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  Hopefully, what I learned can help provide a healing shortcut for others who struggle with something similar.  💜✌🏽

“City so nice, they named it twice. The other name is Manhattan.”

laughing child

I’ve noticed comedians keep me from becoming too extreme in my views.  They generally do it by making me laugh at myself and recognize I can’t even see the middle from there.  I don’t suffer public shame as a result and can grow promptly.  Thanks, comedically adept people of earth.  Laughter is one of the best gifts in the world.  It’s up there with life.  💜

I’m officially an audiobook only person, now.  Dear authors, if you want me to read your books, make sure they’re available on Audible.  Otherwise, I won’t be reading them.  Audiobook listening is more intense than reading written words.  I get far more from the story in a much shorter amount of time.  I’m auditory oriented, so I’m extra excited about this.  Listening to a story reaches me more effectively because I’m not using part of my brain to translate symbols.

I’ve been processing information auditorily since birth.  Reading came later, and it takes me longer because I’m controlling the pace, and I pause to think about unrelated shit to distraction.  It’s natural for me to remain focused when listening to a story because I’ve been training for this my whole life.  I love that I can do it anywhere, (and now my Echo is more than a sleep noise generator and listening post for Alexa.  ((I’m too non-verbal to worry about training it beyond what’s already out there.))

laughing adult

Whew!  I almost got off on an AI tangent guaranteed to make your eyes glaze over.  My new favorite saying is, read the room.  I think I first heard it on Grace and Frankie.  I was unaware such a concept existed before hearing it, so imagine my level of obsession.  (It reminds me of stretching my superpower to encompass and protect a group of allies like in The Twilight Saga.)  I like long epic sagas, and I read several annually.  I’m going to save years by only using Audible.  I’m so thrilled I don’t care that Amazon isn’t paying me to gush over Audible.

The only must-read book I’m not going to reread as an audiobook is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  That book put me in the head of someone else on a level so visceral it left a scar.  I would not like to experience a more intense version.  Heh.  I ordered some new coloring books so M and I can color while we listen together.  We’re going to listen to the Harry Potter series this winter.  (He’ll pick next.)

As a writer, I’m even more excited.  I already know who I want to read my books.  (They’re all podcasters.)  It’s made writing more fun.  It’s allowing me to read the room as I write, because I can hear the words in my mind, now.  Or something.  I hope all the people with Dyslexia and other issues that make reading less than fun have access to this medium because it’s fabulous.  It’s a sweet spot for me because movies so easily overwhelm; (my mind also uses a different operating system than typical.) Yay.  💜✌🏽

“Pam, I’m public speaking. Stop public interrupting me.”

new magnet

I had a good week.  I don’t think I cried the whole time.  (Probably a record.)  I did smash my fingers in the sliding doors, but I’m fine now.  I’ve been cautious about closing it ever since.  Before this, I cleaned the track and put WD-40 on it, but my muscle memory didn’t get the memo.  It was crawling around on the floor, making up new swear words, painful, but it didn’t leave a mark the next day.  (Based on the pain, it seems like a finger should have fallen off or something, but I’m not complaining.)

I got a new vacuum cleaner, recently.  It’s so much better than the last one I killed; I enjoy using it.  (Shark Navigator DLX.)  I think it might survive at least a year, which is impressive for a home with a cat.  Amelia B is a fur factory.  I didn’t know I was a cat person until I got one.  (In fact, I was quite convinced I was not a cat person.) I’ve decided it’s because my cat thinks she’s a dog.  (She’s great at fetch except for bringing it ba  nm.)

I loved listening to Loren Bouchard on 3 Questions with Andy Richter podcast this week.  I’m even more a fan now that I’ve heard him share his passion for his craft.  He’s fascinating and did an excellent job of answering the questions and expounding on them.  I watched the first few episodes of Home Movies again recently on the Adult Swim app.  I also love Bob’s Burgers, and Lucy, Daughter of the Devil.

Solange and new Funkos

For a long time, I could only watch animation or anime TV shows.  Anything with suspense, graphic violence, sirens, etc. was too triggering, but I was okay with shows like King of the Hill, Family Guy, The Simpsons, The Boondocks, etc.  Adult Swim and The Cartoon Network helped me get through some tough times and lots of insomnia.  Loren Bouchard mentioned it’s because cartoons enter our brains differently than live-action.

It explains why I can play World of Warcraft, but don’t enjoy hyper-realistic, violent games.  I love Blizzard for creating a playful world where I can feel powerful without harming others, or go fishing or fly around looking at the scenery.  When I struggle in an area of the game, I go back when I’m several levels higher and lay waste like Daenerys Targaryan over King’s Landing.  (Harmless retribution feels fabulous when the monsters that used to kill your toon die from a single blow.)

I discovered listening to audiobooks is perfect for me.  I cleaned my apartment yesterday while listening to a new novel, and realized it was even more satisfying than reading.  I don’t have to worry about staying in a weird position for too long while engrossed anymore.  Yay.  (It will also be useful when depression overwhelms, and I can’t hold my head up long enough to read.)

Funkos

I figured out the camera flash, this time.  🤭 I followed The Office Ladies podcast, of course.  I love podcasts that talk about TV shows with which I’m obsessed (InsecuriTea podcast for insecure and Jade and XD for several shows.)  I’m thrilled I’m able to watch live-action TV shows again, but more so when I can listen to people also invested in the story discuss what took place.  (Geekster paradise.)  I’m off to wind down for the day.  ✌🏽💜