Friday, July 25, 2014

Black & Decker: I Know You Are Up To No Good

Dear Black & Decker,

László Bartók Hops'burg of The House of Geissler: Concerned Citizen
I have a bone to pick with you. Recently you sold my human something with a terrifying nickname of "Weed Wacker". It says "20V Lithium" right on the box. (Yeah mofos, I can READ). Clearly this is code for the first gen of Terminators and you aren't fooling anyone with those stock photography pictures on the box of fancy bathrooms, or "lawns", as you American humans call them.

When my human removed it from its box and placed it near the wall I fear-peed and determined that barking uncontrollably from across the living room for an hour was the only way to communicate we had gone all Defcon 1 up in here. Up in where? UP IN HERE.

Eventually, she deduced it was this unpowered piece of equipment bent for nefarious plots and world domination that was the culprit. After attempting to bring it nearer to me, unsuccessfully, she took it into my private bathroom out back where now it sits up against the fence. Watching. Waiting. Judging.

I want you to know that I will be communicating your role in the Skynet takeover when Weed Wacker Transformer achieves technological singularity and eats Boston. And really, "Black & Decker"? That even sounds like you are bad guys in an cheesy Michael Bay movie. We know how those all end. Love triangles, screaming of NOOOOOO!!! and the best friend side kick dies. No one wants that Black & Decker. NO ONE.

László Bartók Hops'burg of The House of Geissler

P.S. I'd enclose a photo of me with the black and orange talisman of the end of days, but you aren't getting me within 10 feet of that thing. My human already tried.

Black & Decker responded to my concerns immediately via Twitter, where I normally just go to read Chicago Bears stats and check out the feeds of the single Lady Vizslas out there. (Bark at me, yo)

I have determined that Black & Decker is not the enemy, and instead wants me to be able to appreciate the benefits of this machine from approximately 10 feet away and ear protected. Plus I look like a stud in black and orange. Good show B&D. Good show.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lulu and the #Hashtag of My Exes Fury

In news disturbing for healthy red blooded American males today, some chick invented an app called "Lulu" to rate them as harshly as the East German judge used to go after early 80's US Gymnasts. Lulu's purpose is essentially to be a Trip Advisor for Tramps, or as it says "Facebook Meets Sex In the City". It finds every male in your Facebook friend list first and pulls their profile pictures. Women answer some questions about the guys they have hooked up with or dated, and then lets them rate his physical and sexual skills. Then it generates a bunch of hashtags about their positive and negative qualities.

I'm really glad men don't have a equivalent of Lulu right now. I can already hear my exes hashtagging away about all those qualities they found less than endearing, or downright infuriating. Susan, Lulu'd, I fear would look something like this:



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dear Men, it's mostly your fault women in your life are crazy #PetPeeveDay

Red Flags Unfurled
"Every woman I've dated is crazy. You aren't crazy, are you?" 
- Pretty Much Every Single Dude I Know

Hey bud, I'm on to you. Unless statistically you are the unluckiest male on earth it's unlikely every woman you date is certifiably nuts. I'm talking boil your bunny, stab you with scissors, drive to Florida in astronaut diapers to kill your other hookup crazy. Unless I can open up the DSM-5 and see a selfie of her next to a list of criteria she meets then I'm not buying it anymore.

They are most likely women you have:

a) driven to act nuts by random acts of ambiguity, douchebaggery, or tomfoolery*
b) labeled as crazy to save face because you weren't her jam, yo, and she broke it off **
c) consistently rewarded their negative behavior with positive reinforcement ***

Survey says, most likely C. How is this your fault, you ask? (It's not because I'm a woman and I think everything is your fault. And stop talking to the screen, it's weird, dude.) Pick up any behavioral psychology text book, crack a tallboy PBR, and read the details of how you are screwing this up for yourself and everyone else. It started right about the time your special lady friend first acted up. It was different, kind of sexy and validating to have a woman not on her best behavior. Inadvertently you begin to egg it on.

I get it, a woman acting crazy is really awesome for your ego at times. All people crave validation of some form or another. The first time she shows up 37 unanswered texts deep on guy's night to be sure you aren't in the mythological "ditch" you secretly love it. It makes you look like you are giving it to her so good she's been rendered insane. No one is giving it to anyone so good they actually develop a mental disorder, except maybe Jon Hamm. But I digress...

Any behavior that yields a positive result (ahem, we ladies lovvvve attention, guilty!) is destined to repeat itself. You don't call her out on the pseudo-stalkage or blow her off for a few days. You go home with her. Months later, when she's all hair, anger and vodka, breaking into your email, and showing up beating on your apartment door at 3am with a broken off stiletto you are mad, bro. But you trained her, bro.

It is perfectly fine for you to find this attractive, but own your role. If you insist on buzzing around pollenating the Venus Fly Trap because it looks good, don't come crying to your stable friends when you get devoured. If you are doing it because you don't want to settle down with someone and want to have an easy rip cord to pull then I get that too. Don't be in a relationship with it. Hit it and don't let her know your full name or where you live before you quit it.

I'm the proud non-owner of a semi-professional team of great guy friends. Friends know you and how it all went sideways. We also see every time you Friendzone Level: 11.5 a stable girl because she isn't as good for your ego. It's a bummer.

Word around the secret girl clubhouse is well adjusted, successful, intelligent women are over being hit on by guys who claim all their exes are crazy. It's serious red flag territory. Everyone has their idiosyncrasies, me more so that most. But a woman who isn't certifiable won't go out with you if that's what you lead with. She's either thinking that you won't like her because she's too busy to hide in your bushes every night, or that you will drive her to being the very person she dreads. If your ex is listed in the DSM V more times than a criminal defense attorney in the Yellow Pages then just hold off for a bit divulging this info.

Hopefully this PSA will yield positive results because I really want my guy friends to meet nice, normal women to put up with their tomfoolery*. Seriously, y'all are drinking me out of beer and home over here. And no, you can't have another. It's one PBR per therapy session. 

Love you, mean it.
[Stay tuned for my next rant/pet peeve/PSA entitled "Women, quit letting men turn you into crazy ass bitches"]

* Yeah, I'm bringing it back.
** The reason behind the only man who has ever referred to me as crazy
*** I think things in sets of three, so You're Once, Tice, Fee Times a Mady

Friday, January 3, 2014

Burt Reynolds, Texagoraphobia & New Year's Resolutions

I'm a BIG fan of New Year's Resolutions and I'm coming off year 5 of always achieving my goals. So here goes 2014's in no particular order of importance. May it lead me to greater personal growth as both a professional and a woman.

Build my fine art collection.
It's time to treat myself and finally get that Fathead wall sticker of Burt Reynolds on a bear skin rug. 

Refuse to go out with any man younger than the oldest scotch in my home. Sorry 21 year old Austinite nicknamed "Blackjack" on New Year's Eve. You are simply charming to offer to pour pure Deep Eddy vodka from your table bottle service directly down our throat and skip the glass entirely. But the house always wins. Now scamper away. Don't you have a unsolicited Snap Chat dick pic to send out or something? 

Travel only in the State of Texas. Tell everyone how excited I am for my 6 day, 7 night adventure vacation at the Hampton Inn of Amarillo, TX. Must purchase a Texas flag bikini the size of a postage stamp to lay by the pool in and tell the other patrons that I couldn't leave Texas because I only travel domestically. Claim to be suffering from #TexAgoraphobia, the fear of leaving the State of Texas. 

Philanthropic Events
Coming off a year of wild success throwing legitimate philanthropic events I vow to only accept for profit events that benefit things like a jersey & tiny shorts sponsorship drive for my impending Powder Puff Football league. 

Emotional Development
To ensure I do not fully descend into madness I vow to make the great Jay Cutler my Emotional Sherpa this year. Every time things start sliding downhill I will develop a debilitating issue like a hangnail or Taco Tuesday, put myself on the Injured Reserve list, and think about my hair. Even though I'm secretly dying inside I will emulate my new Emotional Sherpa, throw back my head and exclaim...DONNNN'T CARE.

Take ONLY selfies and refuse to be in any pictures that include other humans. Book gallery space for next January 1st and call the exhibition Photographic Masturbation: A Retrospective. Then encourage all my friends to wander around carrying Champagne and gasp things like "Simply Seminal!" "Brilliant Juxtaposition of the Artificial and Organic!" "Dangerously Curvaceous!" "It's a Brave Confessional Reminiscent of the Deconstruction of Human Beauty in Ivan Albright's early works." and "That Bitch Can Really Use a iPhone Filter.". First one to sell a 24x17 wins being my plus one for Save the Squirrels or whatever philanthropy requires the least emotional investment for me but has open bar.

2014 is gonna be MAD REALZ. Peace Out, Bros

Monday, December 23, 2013

The 7 Layer Dip of Passive Aggression

Do you have a holiday gathering with people you would enjoy annoying? May I suggest you make Susie's Spectacular 7 Layer dip. 

Go to the store and buy 7 containers, fill each one with the ingredients separately, and hand the stacked containers to the person or host who will be the most judgmental. When they ask what the heck you brought say "7 Layer Dip. Oh, you wanted it assembled? Little demanding, aren't we?" Then stare at them quizzically and wander off into the corner. It's guaranteed to give you at least 5 uninterrupted minutes to check your Facebook and see if any of your exes got engaged over the holiday.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Skynet & You: Taking the Required Steps to Save You & Your Planet From Annihilation

How prepared are you for the Rise of the Machines? Have you been neglecting your Skynet preparedness testing? If so, I recommend employing my simple process that occurred at 5am this morning.* [See Disclaimer]

1. Fall asleep with the laptop open in the room farthest away from you as possible.

2. Train your pet cat/dog/boa constrictor/turtle dove to find the obscure accessibility settings on your laptop. Let them turn on the "Dictation" feature using whatever set of random commands makes that happen when using a laptop as a place to take a siesta.

3. Insure that the laptop is bluetooth connected for sound to your wireless Bose system that has the volume turned all the way up from your party the previous evening.

4. At the least advantageous moment, in the deepest part of your sleep, have your pet figure out the longest work item every written. Let them arrange it so the dictation feature will begin to read it, in creepy male robot voice, with the amp turned all the way up to 11. Between the multiple different locations of sound it appears your ENTIRE HOME IS SPEAKING TO YOU ABOUT SOME REALLY WEIRD SHIT BUT YOU CAN'T MAKE IT STOP BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE IT'S COMING FROM.

5. When you process that you are under attack do the logical thing. Begin to cry and believe you are about to be stabby rape murdered.

6. Run out of the house but DO NOT turn off your house alarm, thus setting that off as well, adding to even greater levels of sound violence.

7. Stand in your yard, in the freezing cold, in lingerie, and look at your home with a combination of fear and a face that says "How could you betray me like this house?"

8. At this point you are finally awake enough to realize there may be other reasons why this is happening and there may not be stabby rapey murder in your future afterall.

9. Say hi to your next door neighbor, who is now unwittingly in on the preparedness drill, thanks to your house alarm.

10. Begin to think logically about how to make this stop. Think "I should just flip the breaker since that would shut everything down." Yes, this is an excellent idea about how to shut down things that run on battery life when they are unplugged!

10.5 Make a mental note to reset every clock in the house. Way to go, genius.

11. Yell F*CK!!! very loudly because that this point if there isn't going to be a stabby rapey murdering then this whole thing has really been a waste of valuable sleeping time.

12. Finally do the variety of steps it takes to shut this whole mess down. Go to Torchy's to reward yourself for your complete lack of calm or critical thinking skills with a breakfast taco. Why is a taco the reward? Who are you that you would ask such a disrespectful question? Tacos are always a reward. Sheesh people...

13. Repeat process at precisely the time in which you have forgotten everything you have learned here and must start over.

[*Disclaimer: Void where prohibited. Use as directed, but only if it's directed by David Fincher. Linda Hamilton's ripped upper body not included except in the Sarah Connor expansion pack. Illegal in the lower 48 states except Idaho where you can pretty much do any damn thing you want up in No, U Da Ho. Do not consume delicious Torchy's Breakfast Tacos until after consulting your physician to determine if you are healthy enough for sexual activity. In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories. If you find you have increased gambling and sexual urges consult your doctor on how to improve your Rocking the Fuck Out skills and quit looking the gift horse in the mouth you selfish windbag.  And most importantly let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with Steve.] 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pennies, Fists, & Spit: A Band Name for Bullies

Susan Geissler
Poster for new documentary about bullying.
The violence between women is unbelievable. Women try to make each other crawl so that their knees are bleeding.” - Tori Amos

The summer before my freshman year in high school I got on the bad side of some bad girls. The reasons were obscure except a senior boy liked me and not one of them. Thus began 3 years of unchecked aggression that would profoundly change me and also leave me with PTSD over $0.14 and pay phones. Loose change still freaks me the hell out.

High school cafeteria food is always a risky endeavor, but for me it included a physical and mental endurance test. Every day those girls would haul themselves up to the lunchroom overlook area, bring their bags of change and other loose metal objects, and spend the lunch hour pelting me and hurling obscenities.

If you sat within 10 feet there was a possibility of a chipped tooth from a stray penny in your baked beans or an imprint Abe Lincoln in your forehead. Not wanting to become collateral damage people left me plenty of empty space most of the time to stretch out. This is also why, as an adult, I have no problem eating out alone. If you can consume a soy pattie while being called a "stupid worthless bitch" and dodging projectiles you can easily eat Filet Oscar around a pleasant server. Also adults generally do not carry backup debit cards specifically for pelting. Technology win.

Pack of Pathetic
The leader of this collection of fighting, spitting, classless Mean Girls was named Kelly. Kelly was a very big bleach blonde with an attitude and an automobile. The law persisted in letting her drive it in spite of my protests to the contrary.

Kelly's hobbies were french braiding her hair, wearing the same cut off shorts every day, eating, plotting new ways to make me commit suicide, more eating, assembling a gang, and combining verbal and vehicular abuse into an art form. Her most important quality was to rarely do the dirty work herself, so she inspired complete strangers to hate me and hurt me usually thanks to a spectacular combination of lies and bravado. Not even my parent's home was safe from her minions. For a virgin I was apparently having a blast Super Sluttin' it Up. Our garage door became a billboard to my achievements in being a garden implement and/or prostitute.

As time progressed she and her minions realized that the loose change racket, screaming threats out the car window, and garage door defacement wasn't really affecting me anymore. I had stopped crying all the time because it showed weakness and it's not a lot of fun flicking metal at people who ignore you. The Pack of Pathetic were going to have to up their game. In the words of the Poet Laureate of Australia* Miss Olivia Newton John, it was “gonna get physical”.

There was a period of time when spitting in my face was a thing. Then tearing my clothes. Then yanking a decent sized lock of my hair out. I'd get surrounded by a circle of girls and have to push and fight my way free. By junior year I was Jean Claude VanDAMMMN girl! in physical self defense skills. My Super Hero powers were evolving when a girl in my class went to punch me while I was on the pay phone with my parents. In a move I like to believe was really Matrix-y I ducked, she missed my face, and crashed her fist directly into a brick wall. It shattered her arm. I wonder if we are going to talk about that day at our class reunion, if I don't skip it again like I did the last two.

Repression is the New Black
I don't remember all the details of the litany of increasing cruelty. In fact, parts of my bullying experiences were so painful the memories have just faded to black. If you work hard at repression it is possible to bury things so deep they require hypnosis or psychotropic drugs to excavate. I still have photographs my parents took showing my face torn up after another set of nails or another fist. I see it but she looks like my sad and scared little sister, not the strong take-no-prisoners woman I have become.

I'd like to say it is beyond me. It really isn't. My relationship with women is horrible. I haven't been able to trust very many women in my life to be supportive instead of conniving and exploitive. Women can still bully as adults; but not with pennies, spit and fists.

Truthfully, this was hard to write. Most people tend to see their pasts as happier than reality. I've looked at my childhood through a lovely dusty rose filter since I left a year early for college at 17 and have never acknowledged the pain of those years. But bullying and the effects shaped virtually every important decision in my adult life in some form; whom I love, whom I loathe, my career choice, my dating life, friendships and how I feel about myself. It's mostly been a fantastic life, albeit one simmering with a lot just under the surface. I'll confess to having a few too many glasses of champagne and a few too many defense mechanisms in an attempt to wash it away or mask it from view.

I woke up this morning looking like a bad soap opera actress with tears everywhere. I dreamed I was in between two men in my present life that I love very much. We were seated in a movie theater watching scenes from that period. I tried to explain to their shocked and disappointed faces that my life had been complicated and I unintentionally polarize people. It was too late to take back what they knew. It's also too late for me to take back what happened. The only thing left is to own it.

It really does get better...or maybe you just get better at handling it. And happiness is certainly the best revenge.

* Factually inaccurate, but you just know Australians feel that way.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Eeyoring: It's Like Having a Man Period, Bro

Susan Geissler
Because when I make memes they require long explanations...
Eeyoring: What Is It? Is It Dangerous? Does it Hurt? Is it Machine Washable? 

*Eeyoring (verb)
  1. The attitude and behavior of a man who gets their feelings hurt via some unperceived slight and proceeds to mope about but not acknowledge or confront the situation. 
  2. Characterized by being gloomy, dejected, cranky, appearing uninterested, wounded, and being an all-around whiny twit for a short period of time. 
  3. Dry clean only, because everybody's all frickin' sensitive up in here.
The Zen's Den Research Institute on Male Behavior & Cookie Combine (Geissler, 2013) pg. 23 

In Real Life, North of Blogland, I have a preponderance of male friends. The male to female ratio sits at about 10:1 and I prefer it that way. I do have a couple very close women friends who aren't the type that try to sleep with the guy they know you are crushing on, compliment you when look like a Pelican nested in your hair, and convince you that telling your boss he's an idiot will be a way to "open lines of communication." I appreciate them beyond measure. The rest of the women are just buds and I don't trust any of them as far as I can toss a grand piano. This is not a story about either set of my chick friends. This is about the dudes; the great loves and best buds. 

The Fastest Ego Bruiser in the West

When I'm banging up some poor man's ego it's almost always unintentional. I do something I think is of little consequence. Maybe I mentioned that his best friend's new haircut makes him look like a young Jon Hamm and he remembers I'm obsessed with Jon Hamm and ignored everything he was trying to tell me. Possibly I thought I texted him about dinner with the group but I was infected by my Forgot to Hit Send finger affliction. Most likely he thinks I blew him off to pal around with another elk and he's got his antlers in a bunch. 

Any of these things on their own may not normally bother him, but couple this with work or life stress and it's a recipe for Stage IV Eeyoring.

How Do I Know When We Are At Stage IV Eeyoring? 

Regardless of intent you are about to head on a week long reconnaissance mission to Suckistan. Just like Eeyore, the "Don't Mind Me, Nobody Else Does"attitude is everywhere. 

Suddenly the normally hilarious, funny, adorable dude is distant, He texts so infrequently compared to normal you fear he's now Buster Bluth with a hook for a hand and cannot hit the screen. When he does drop over to Suckistan for a chat he casually mentions fun he had without you, at your favorite place, with other people. If you physically meet up in the hallway of Castle Suckistan he walks around like he's kicking rocks until he realizes he's being watched. You mention what a Spadoinkle Day it is outside and he does not respond with the traditional "My Heart's As Full As A Baked Potato!" which is kinda your thing. Instead he will take that time to point out the waitress at the Breastarauntaplex he had lunch at is smoking hot and gave him her number, she reminds him of your best girl friend that he wishes were single, and how wiped he is from totally shredding his pecs all week. 

How Do You Take Eeyore and Turn Him Back to Tigger?

I don't have a frickin' clue what to do when men start Eeyoring all over the place. I know what I do. I ignore him, but that's what I do with everything. Oh, so you were hoping for answers? Yeah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura Berman, or Dr. Oz I'm not. Dr. Frankensteeeeennn maybe. But take heart, if you can see the signs of Eeyoring maybe it will irritate you far less. On the plus side you will have far more time that week to hang out with whomever is currently Tiggering. 

*Note: I generally loathe any situation in which people define a word for their audience in both speeches and writing. You are either insulting someone's intelligence or going for amateur hour. However this word I made up. As a matter of courtesy I define it since those of you that can read my mind number in the 1's and it's creepy when he does it. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fax Like a Champion Today

Susan Geissler
It's National Signing Day which means I sit around half working and half watching awkward interviews with barely intelligible new college football recruits. (I'm looking at you marble mouth Robert Nkemdiche)

I took some very good advice from one of my right hand men on paying much attention to this process before today, considering the notoriously flakey decision making skills of the standard recruit.

"I learned not to base my emotions on the whims of 17 year old high schoolers." 
- Jordan Ditty

Advice such as this can work on a variety of levels, not just college football. Speaking of 17 year old things being used to make decisions, how are we still using fax machines for the National Signing Day process? Yes, fax machines.

Here is your free productivity consulting advice from me for the year. Take $75 out of your wining, dining, recruits 69ing budget and buy a combo copier, scanner and printer. Treat yourself and buy a backup toner for next year. It will save you the trip. You're welcome NCAA.

Until then, FAX Like a Champion Today. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why the Real House Wives of Beverly Hills Are Good For Your Butt

Susan Geissler
The Herve Leger Red Bandage Dress
Which Will Be Mine By My Birthday
I'm coming clean. This is my love letter to The Real Housewives of Where-the-Hell-Ever. I'm so grateful for them and the entire host of women on the Bravo network that are plumped up, sucked out, tucked in, tightened and 75% composed out of a surgeon injectable super-space-age polymer.

A year ago I would have preferred listening to Yoko Ono's rendition of Gangnam Style than watch this crap. [Note, I have seen her "performance art exhibit" in the linked video above. It's at the Modern Museum of Art in New York. At the last second I elected to not jump off the third floor balcony thanks to Yoko, or as I call it, pulling a McCartney.]

My disturbing fascination with all things plastic started around November. My friend Lauren loves The RH and she elected to skip a football party with single men to watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta. That concept blew my mind but I make it a rule to not mock something unless I've tried it myself. I've done it with a variety of things yielding mixed results; Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, James Patterson novels, Days of Our Lives, jam band shows, and government cheese. I DVR'd a couple of RH of Beverly Hills episodes and figured they were perfect to kill some time on my treadmill. 

After the first two episodes I was sold. There is nothing better to motivate you to continue to work your butt off on the treadmill than watching women who clearly have had butt lifts and butt implants. I don't respond well to positive reinforcment in fitness. Having some chick on the screen saying "You are doing great!" when I know she can't see me does nothing. However seeing some total nutjob that is all long flowing hair and screaming poured into a Herve Leger bandage dress does. 

I found myself cuing up RH Beverly Hills and then Miami. With replays and reruns that took up a few nights per week. Then Vanderpump Rules thankfully came along to fit the coveted "Crap I Wish I Was At Happy Hour Instead" spot. Lastly The Millionaire Matchmaker finished out my workout week by providing an angry single Jewish woman to berate chicks to either get hot or they will never find love with men who have jobs. Put it all together and there was no WAY I was getting off that treadmill or stop lifting before the Hour of Disempowerment was up.

Women are competitive creatures. It's the biological imperative. Do I find it supremely irritating that these women live lavish lifestyles with fabulously wealthy husbands, wear killer clothes and only have two brain cells fighting each other out for space? Yes. Do I want their wardrobes and their abs? Yes. Heck, I can confidently say I'd take their wardrobes and abs, cut out the drama completely since I'm pretty level headed, be successful in my own right and continue to live a very happy life.  It wouldn't make for good TV but it's good for my cholesterol. 

So keep on looking fabulous you crazy cotton candy headed pleasure palaces in Christian Louboutins. You were clearly built for the entertainment of others and I, for one, applaud you with 12 reps at a 10 lb weight. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Well She Sure Ain't No Leaf Blower

Susan Geissler
Looking to set some goals and get some outdoor work done today? Let me presumptuously recommend the Susie Geissler approach: 

1) Take out lawn cart and swear all the way across the lawn because it's colder than you thought.

2) Place one dead item in cart and start thinking about tacos. Why tacos? WHY NOT TACOS.

3) Feel a sense of accomplishment for one dead item placed so exquisitely in cart but realize there has to be a tool that does this for you.

4) Go inside and reward yourself for hard work by making a nice freshly ground cup of French Roast. Go the extra mile and froth the whipped cream with a bit of raspberry because, let's face it, you've earned it.

5) Go back outside and find the Fed Ex man left the new guest bed frame on the porch but did not have the courtesy to place a dead item in the cart for you. Fed Ex men are selfish.

6) Sit down and contemplate who you will ask for help assembling said bed frame. Most likely the one who got a power drill for Christmas. You know who you are.

7) Place an additional dead item in lawn cart, swear across the lawn as you put cart away and...

8) Call it a day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My Top 100 Favorite Books - In No Particular Order

In the fifteen places I have lived in the last nineteen years of my life these are the books I have lovingly packed from house to house.  They have been read facing the very mountain range Steinbeck was describing in the town where he grew up, on the floor of a completely empty Atlanta airport at 3am, on a depressing roadtrip using Sedaris to combat an otherwise miserable drive with miserable people, in times of love Neruda and in times of heartbreak Ovid or Cohen.  

While I have read the majority of what most consider classics this is not that list, though there are a few in here. They are not in order of importance or genre, or alphabetical. Maybe you will enjoy some of them as well. They are all linked to their Goodread's Information Page. If you would like to follow me on Goodread's my page is here: Susan Geissler On Goodreads
    Susan Geissler
  1. The Night Circus - Erin Morganstern
  2. Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins
  3. Stranger Music: Selected Poems & Songs - Leonard Cohen
  4. Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin
  5. The Book of Illusions - Paul Auster
  6. The Secret History - Donna Tartt 
  7. The Natural - Bernard Malamud
  8. Prozac Nation - Elizabeth Wurtzel
  9. Birds of America - Lorrie Moore
  10. The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand
  11. Bust: The Guide To the New Girl Order - Debbie Stoller
  12. The Ground Beneath Her Feet - Salman Rushdie
  13. The Collected Poems - W.B. Yeats 
  14. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  15. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby 
  16. Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis
  17. East of Eden - John Steinbeck 
  18. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
  19. An American Journey - Colin Powell 
  20. Catcher in the Wry - Bob Uecker 
  21. The Shipping News - E. Annie Proulx
  22. Empire Falls - Richard Russo
  23. Bel Canto - Ann Patchett 
  24. The World According To Garp - John Irving
  25. Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Laroux
  26. The Risk Pool - Richard Russo
  27. Lady Chatterly's Lover - D.H. Lawrence
  28. Ball Four - Jim Bouton 
  29. This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  30. Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
  31. The Martian Chronicles - Ray Bradbury 
  32. On the Road - Jack Kerouac
  33. The Sociopath Next Door - Martha Stout, ph.d.
  34. Drinking, Smoking & Screwing: Great Writers on Good Times - Various Authors
  35. Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates
  36. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed
  37. The Pacific and Other Stories - Mark Helprin
  38. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  39. The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
  40. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  41. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein
  42. 11/22/63 - Stephen King
  43. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  44. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  45. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
  46. Lullaby - Chuck Palaniuk 
  47. Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling
  48. The Hitchkiders Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  49. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
  50. Glamourama - Bret Easton Ellis
  51. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
  52. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
  53. Friday Night Lights - H.G. Bissinger
  54. The Tender Bar - J.R. Moehringer
  55. Selected Poems - Pablo Neruda 
  56. The Ice Storm - Rick Moody
  57. V for Vendetta - Alan Moore
  58. Dry - Augusten Burroughs
  59. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  60. The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
  61. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
  62. 1 Dead in Attic - Chris Rose
  63. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
  64. Carter Beats the Devil - Glen David Gold
  65. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
  66. Choke - Chuck Palaniuk 
  67. House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
  68. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
  69. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
  70. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  71. The Girl's Guide to Hunting & Fishing - Melissa Bank
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker 
  73. Blankets - Craig Thompson
  74. A Place of Execution - Val McDermid
  75. The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain
  76. The Hours - Michael Cunningham
  77. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  78. The Curious Incidence of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
  79. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  80. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  81. Cat's Eye - Margaret Atwood
  82. Delta of Venus - Anais Nin
  83. The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
  84. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
  85. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - Deepak Chopra
  86. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje
  87. Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein
  88. The Devil In the White City - Erik Larson
  89. One Day - David Nicolls
  90. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
  91. Thus Spoke Zarathustra - Friedrich Nietzsche
  92. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffery Eugenides 
  93. A Streetcar Named Desire - Tennessee Williams
  94. The Color Purple - Alice Walker 
  95. It - Stephen King
  96. Happy Birthday To You! - Dr. Seuss
  97. Generation X - Douglas Coupland
  98. Love Poems, Letters, and Remedies of OVID - Ovid
  99. The Night Listener - Armistead Maupin
  100. Why Architecture Matters: Lessons in Chicago - Blair Kamin

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rockford Icehogs Yard Sale the Hell Out of that Rink

Oh Rockford, Illinois. The town I spent 2 years of marital misery in and most of my life living near. FINALLY you do something interesting.  In this situation it is a bench clearing hockey brawl that results in 230 penalty minutes and 13 player ejections.

Every time you think they are done fighting in this video another player launches a piece of equipment. It looks like a yard sale out there. Good show Rockford IceHogs! Descend into the last rung of chaos before the whole town disintegrates. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Butterscotch Pudding & Tebowing Out Your Face

Just a few thoughts barely related to actual football on this playoff evening:

I once wished for a situation where I could watch Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh face off in athletic competition. I hope this one also includes butterscotch pudding like that weird dream I once had during a nap.

If Ray Lewis celebrates winning the Super Bowl by getting all stabby it should be interesting to see what he does if they win the Super Bowl. ...lock up yo' children...lock up yo' wives...

What is the real reason Bill Belichick cuts the sleeves off his sweatshirts? Will his wrists overheat and cause his robotics to malfunction?

How many times today when y'all watched Jim Harbaugh did you lip-read him saying "I WANT CAKE NOW!"

The official Aerosmith "Anthem" is terrible and I think that could be .002% of their problem. I've heard more anthemic things out of Death Cab for Cutie.

Ray Lewis gets the bad overacting award for whatever-that-was during the National Anthem. I think he was Tebowing out his face.

Tom have always represented to me the Law of Diminishing Returns. This applies to both his attractiveness and prowess on the field.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fake an Orgasm? He Faked An Entire Relationship Once

Susan Geissler
The big news in college football this week is Manti T'eo, linebacker for my own Notre Dame Fighting Irish, had a fake girlfriend who fake died.  Everyone seems very shocked by this information. I am shocked they are shocked.

The majority of society believes sports figures and celebrities are smarter, more experienced, and better equipped than normal folk to navigate this strange interconnected world. In reality sports figures and celebrities often operate life in a vacuum, sheltered from the very experiences that teach common sense.  Sports figures in particular are surrounded by their teammates, coaching staff, and a few exclusive people deemed appropriate by the handlers. All these circumstances collide to make a guy like T'eo a perfect mark for deception.

So you are Manti T'eo, 20 years old, isolated from meaningful connection outside of your sport, come from the Mormon religion, under extreme personal pressure to physically perform at a National Championship level and make your way into the NFL. You grew up in a era where people all over the world can talk to you without having to physically be in your presence. When the stress gets too great and you find a willing ear to listen it's so easy to slide down that slippery path of believing a real connection has been fostered without an actual physical meeting.

T'eo's Mormon upbringing could certainly explain the very thing we struggle with the most on this story. How could he have a girlfriend he had never been in a physical situation with? The Mormon faith puts one thing under the sin of murder and that is violating The Law Of Chastity. To him it is highly likely that there could have been a perceived deep spiritual connection between two people that did not require a physical exchange to make her his definition of a "girlfriend". He simply needed to exchange highly personal conversations and declarations of love. To those of us outside those religious  lines it seems ridiculous. To him, maybe not so.

He is not the only one to have been allegedly duped into relationships such as this. In fact, he comes from a long line of distinguished suckers.

[ ******************** SPOILER ALERT - If you intend on reading Armistead Maupin's "The Night Listener", and I highly recommend you do, then stop reading now. I'm about to give away some major plot points.]

One of my favorite books is Armistead Maupin's "The Night Listener". The Night Listener is a roman à clef for an experience the famed and beloved San Francisco author went through in his own life. He and many other respected members of the literary community were duped into believing the "true" life story of a young boy horribly abused as a child and dying of AIDS.  This ruse lasted 6 YEARS. The entire truth is stranger than the fictionalized account can be read here: The Bizarre True Story Behind the Plot of 'The Night Listener'  In the article we also read where Rosie O'Donnell confessed to having been duped by a 13 year old girl that was really a grown woman, comics being scammed by a woman using a child with an illness, and other cases.

Where it would be quick to blame the Internet for allowing such non-relationships to get built this type of situation goes back before the World Wide Hookup Web. Then there was the story of "Miranda" (See Miranda - The Woman Who Fooled Hollywood's Leading Men). I caught a fascinating 48 Hours on this story last year. Over the phone a woman claiming to be a beautiful blonde woman named Miranda captured the hearts and deepest secrets of men like Robert DeNiro, Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Ted Kennedy, Rush Limbaugh and Bono. Billy Joel believed so strongly in "Miranda" that he called her his muse and played pieces of Uptown Girl as they were created onto her message machine tape. How in the world could this woman, who turned out to be neither young, or attractive, or rich, or anything she claimed to be, gain access to these celebrities? She prayed on the feelings of isolation and intense insecurity that come along with fame. In Miranda's case she actually did these men no harm at all. She merely "listened", but to them the relationship with her was as real as if she stood in their living rooms.

Manti T'eo could simply join Armistead Maupin, Billy Joel and many other famous people that have been fooled into believing the lie. As normal people we believe the lie all the time also. Especially in this world where we don't interact with people in the physical space as often as we do through the technological one. In my younger years I had some odd experiences where I received emails and had conversations with people who were not the person I actually knew. It's so easy for a woman to jump on the Facebook account of a man who logged in using her computer and start fishing around his personal connections.  It instilled mistrust and fear into me and I look to all associations with a very wary eye.

It's easy for people to mistake a connection via technology to be equal to one created in the online sphere. I have a guy friend who lived for over a year with a girl he met via playing World of Warcraft. She was certifiably crazy and he eventually got rid of her, but that wasn't evident in their online relationship life. Was this guy a huge nerd who couldn't get girls in the real world? Not even close. Probably one of the most awesome and attractive guy friends I have.

Maybe T'eo knew. Maybe his handlers figured it out a long time ago and decided it wasn't a good idea to announce their player was an idiot during a Heisman Campaign. In the end it doesn't really matter. He's humiliated either way. The people that perpetrated these scams are awful human beings. Most important is the lesson that we must be more vigilant in the people and connections we have in our lives, online and offline.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Less Rom-Com More Bomb-Com

Dear Men in My Life,

For heaven's sake, who does a gal have to go out with to see a guy shoot another guy in the face around here?

Take tonight for example. I know it's mostly my fault because I selected Zero Dark Thirty, thinking that the mildly sociopathic title would ensure we would see an emotion free onslaught of carnage. Not so. It turns out the plot of Zero Dark Thirty revolves around a single red head with crazy eyes. She  gets obsessed with tracking down a guy who will do virtually anything to avoid her finding him. And OF COURSE she's a "CIA Operative". Yeah right, like they let women have that job.

The dude needs some space and moves in with his bros in a house out in the desert to get some me time.  She can't rest until she catches him. [Insert longing looks, tears, and stress drinking at work here during their separation]  They both lead parallel lives until one of his bros borrows the car and causes a whole lot of problems. Hijinks ensues but in the end, she finally gets her bed.  It's not like I was paying very close attention to most of this. I was checking my Pinterest Boards on my phone looking for new ways to incorporate gun racks into the laundry room at the house. I'm pretty sure I nailed the high points of the plot though.

I'm sure you are wondering if there was male nudity? Yes. Not the kind I was especially excited about but it was there. I'm not 100% sure. This is when I went for Raisinettes. I'm also confused since this rom-com had hyped up the scenes involving "water boarding" and I didn't see one single hottie in a wet suit or carrying anything that looked like it was ready to tackle the waves. Point Break II this is not, and he really was an F.B.I. Agent.

Last weekend was rom-com-tastic with Jack Reacher. The plot was so my life in my early twenties. An blonde chick with a good job falls for a misunderstood unemployed bad boy drifter guy with a questionable past. He's also shorter than her, has lifts in his shoes, fights with guys in bars, and drives a cool car (that he stole of course). But under that tough exterior he's really Grant Theft Auto with a Heart of Gold. She puts herself into Damsel in Distress mode to test his devotion and he shows up as planned. But her level of maintenance causes him to head off into the sunset until Jack Reacher II: Romancing the Sig Sauer.  I swear I paid attention to 65% of this movie except for the parts where I stepped out to call my bookie mid movie and pull a Pete Rose. What's pulling a Pete Rose you ask? If you have to ask then it's not for you.

Male Nudity? Yes, Topless Cruise...which might be referring to the actor shirtless or one of the many reasons I have yet to think going on a cruise is a good idea.

Shortly before Jack Reacher was Skyfall. From all I can glean this movie was about a "secret agent" guy passing the time hooking up in boat showers with random chicks he meets while gambling. (I'm on a boat!) This is all a way to pass the time so he can get his cougar boss lady M out to his country estate. It ends in a church with him holding predictable. This one gets extra points since the improbably blonde Javier Bardem also tries to hook up with him because Daniel Craig is such a fine piece of man meat not even the dudes are immune.  This movie I am sure I got the full effect because I distinctly heard over my texting an Adele song and you know that's a guaranteed clue that somebody is getting or will get their heart broken within five minutes.

Male Nudity? Not enough. But they had British accents and given the sliding scale of stuffiness they were shockingly nude for most of the film.

I think I'm going to have to simply request that the next film I go to with the guys must include gun violence, obsession, stalking, paranormal activity, James Garner trying to run down Gena Rowlands with his car, and late night threatening phone calls. Seriously, this movie in the trailer below looks scary as hell. It's also been a while since I saw Les Mis in the theater but I recall that everyone dies in that one. Like everyone. Even their pets and possibly random members of the orchestra on a good night. That seems more my speed.

Love & Rockets,
Susie G.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reading Books Adored By People I Adore

Breakfast of Champions III - Susan Geissler
Breakfast of Champions III - January 2013 | Susan Geissler
One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2013 was to Read Books Adored By People I Adore. I talked in a previous blog post (Crowdsourcing Your Friends About Books) how this list evolved. The full list is included in the post and I removed all the works I previously read except for two that need revisiting (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes). 

Thank you to all my friends who helped put this list together for me via Facebook, text message, phone call, slips of paper, napkins, the back of your business card, mailing me the book, slipping the book into my home undetected, physically hitting me in the forehead with the book after you had too many cocktails, informing me that the main character is a total disaster and you suspected I wrote the book under a pseudonym, or that this may be the book to help me make sense of senseless things that have happened in life thus far.

I will think of each of you as I read all 52 of them, one for each week of 2013. And if you are looking for inspiration from me, here are my 100 favorite books ever: Susie's Top 100
  1. Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut*
  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Kahled Hosseini 
  3. The Devil of Nanking - Mo Hayder
  4. Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick - Blag Dalia
  5. The End of Your Life Bookclub - Will Schwalbe*
  6. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig
  7. John Dies At the End - David Wong*
  8. Assholes (a theory) - James Aaron
  9. Kiss Me Judas - Will Christopher Baer
  10. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis
  11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle*
  12. Life on Planet Rock: From Guns n' Roses to Nirvana, a Backstage Journey Through Rocks Most Debauched Decade - Lonn Friend
  13. Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or Why Pie Is Not the Answer - Jen Lancaster
  14. The Contortionist's Handbook - Craig Clevenger 
  15. Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers 
  16. Same Kind of Different As Me - Ron Hall
  17. 1Q84 - Haruki Murakami
  18. You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death and Other Humiliations - Michael Ian Black
  19. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't - Nate Silver
  20. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton*
  21. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) - Stephen King*
  22. Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
  23. The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett*
  24. The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George
  25. Triggerfish Twist - Tim Dorsey
  26. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller*
  27. Assassination Nation - Sarah Vowell
  28. Cheat: A Man's Guide To Infidelity - Bill Burr, Robert Kelly, Joe DeRosa
  29. Traveling Mercies - Anne Lamott
  30. A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin*
  31. The Demolished Man - Alfred Bester*
  32. Definitive H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft*
  33. The Prince of Tides - Pat Conroy
  34. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Woolf
  35. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman*
  36. A Perfect Day for Bananafish - J.D. Salinger
  37. Women - Charles Bukowski
  38. World War Z - Max Brooks*
  39. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - John Perkins 
  40. Amazing Things Will Happen - C.C. Chapman
  41. Lit: A Memoir - Mary Karr
  42. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riorden*
  43. Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides*
  44. Outlander (Outlander #1) - Diana Gabaldon
  45. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver*
  46. We Were Soldiers Once...and Young - Harold Moore
  47. Storm Front - Jim Butcher*
  48. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho*
  49. Ellen Foster - Kaye Gibbons
  50. Towing Jehovah - James K. Morrow  
  51. The Places In Between - Rory Stewart
  52. The Art of Happiness - The Dalai Lama XIV*
* Denotes books I already own. 
Breakfast of Champions I - Susan Geissler
Breakfast of Champions I - January 2013

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crowdsourcing Your Friends About Books

Every year I determine my goals for the New Year. About five years ago I stopped doing traditional resolutions STOP EATING! STOP SITTING! STOP FUN! and started doing things that improved my relationships with friends, family, or the world around me. 

This year one of my resolutions will be to Read Books Adored by People I Adore. In the past I've read through a large amount of the books traditionally listed in the Best of... collections. I've found some beautiful work but so often I have found it more enjoyable to read things that my friends love and will want to talk about. You discover a lot about people from reading things they enjoy. 

I will upload my goal list and also a list of the books that I would recommend to my friends tomorrow. The ones I've never stopped quoting or have left my head and heart. 

To get ideas for my final list (to be released soon) I crowdsourced my friends for ideas. Many of these books will not go on the 2013 list because I've already read them but I have new topics to discuss next time we see each other. I included their full suggestions below with their names in parenthetical in case you would like to try some new books as well. I am again reminded how lucky I have to have such intelligent company that surrounds me. 

These are their answers to the question:
"There are no rules to genre, theme, length, topic, appropriateness, maturity level or public perception. So I want to know...what are the books you can't imagine having not read. What are your favorites of all time? What were the game changers? I'd love some suggestions as I make my list."
  1. Assholes (a theory) - James Aaron (Lizzie Maldonado)
  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Kahled Hosseini (Jordan Ditty, Maria Cupp)
  3. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott (Lizzie Maldonado)
  4. The Hunter - Richard Stark (Britt Schramm)
  5. Life on Planet Rock - Lonn Friend (Britt Schramm)
  6. Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, Or Why Pie Is Not the Answer - Jen Lancaster (Melinda Massie)
  7. Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers (Melissa Ward Brock, Alyson Tidwell)
  8. Same Kind of Different Than Me - (Melissa Ward Brock)
  9. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (Librado Lopez)
  10. 1Q84 - Haruki Murakami (Librado Lopez) 
  11. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't - Nate Silver (Jacob Siler)
  12. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (Kristina Hernandez) 
  13. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton (Kristina Hernandez)
  14. The Dark Tower - Stephen King (Blake Northern, Cameron Lowry, Kelli Harrington)
  15. Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness (Kelli Harrington)
  16. The Shining - Stephen King (Katie Grimes, David Michaels) 
  17. The David Sedaris Collection (Katie Grimes, Tom Harrington)
  18. Black Coffee Blues - Henry Rollins (Katie Grimes)
  19. Small Gods - Terry Pratchett (Randi Edwards)
  20. Night Watch - Terry Pratchett (Randi Edwards)
  21. The Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George (Randi Edwards)
  22. Triggerfish Twist - Tim Dorsey (Randi Edwards)
  23. A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson (Randi Edwards)
  24. Candide - Voltaire (Randi Edwards)
  25. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (Randi Edwards)
  26. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson (Randi Edwards)
  27. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (Jody Arbuckle Ulich)
  28. Assassination Nation - Sarah Vowell (Jessica Hoover)
  29. Cheat: A Man's Guide To Infidelity - Bill Burr, Robert Kelly, Joe DeRosa (Chris Guilloton)
  30. The Botany of Desire - Michael Pollan (Jessica Hoover)
  31. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving (Mike Springer)
  32. Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry (Mike Springer)
  33. The Night Trilogy - Elie Wiesel (Mike Springer)
  34. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure The World (Mike Springer)
  35. Traveling Mercies - Anne Lamott (Mike Springer)
  36. The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter (Mike Springer)
  37. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness In the Fair that Changed America - Erik Larson (Mike Springer, Rich Nazarro, Alyson Tidwell)
  38. The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes - Bryan Burroughs (Mike Springer)
  39. The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein (Mike Springer, Dr. David Rocks)
  40. A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin (Lauren Martin) 
  41. Bitter Is the New Black - Jen Lancaster (Lauren Martin)
  42. The 5 People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Ablom (Debbie Thomas) 
  43. Mysteries of Pittsburgh - Michael Chabon (Mary Wiernicki) 
  44. The Prince of Tides - Pat Conroy (Mary Wiernicki)
  45. The Brothers Karamazov - Leo Tolstoy - (David Michaels)
  46. The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand (David Michaels)
  47. Naked Lunch - William S. Burroughs (David Michaels)
  48. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test - Tom Woolf (David Michaels)
  49. A Perfect Day for Bananafish - J.D. Salinger (David Michaels)
  50. Women - Charles Bukowski (David Michaels)
  51. World War Z - Max Brooks (David Michaels)
  52. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - John Perkins (Brad Sims)
  53. Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Have Become America's Scapegoats - Jim Goad (Brad Sims)
  54. Dry - Augusten Burroughs (Ana Sanchez-Morales)
  55. The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love - Jill Conner Browne (Ana Sanchez-Morales) 
  56. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Action - Simon Sinek (Simon Salt)
  57. Amazing Things Will Happen - C.C. Chapman (Simon Salt)
  58. The Lightning Thief - Rick Riorden (Jay DiBenedetto)
  59. The Sun Also Rises - Rick Riorden (Jay DiBenedetto)
  60. The Vonnegut Collection (David Michaels, Emerson Ailidh Boggs)
  61. Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler (Emerson Ailidh Boggs)
  62. Middlesex - Jeffery Eugenides (Emerson Ailidh Boggs) 
  63. Dogs of Babel - Carolyn Parkhurst (Emerson Ailidh Boggs)
  64. Chariots of the Gods - Erich von Daniken (Lucas Parks)
  65. Mark of the Lion Series - Francine Rivers (Alyson Tidwell)
  66. Armed to the Teeth With Lipstick - Blag Dalia (Dan Winemiller)
  67. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert Pirsig (Charles Soule)
  68. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand (Kalen Craig Ruiz)
  69. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen (Kalen Craig Ruiz)
  70. The Outlander Series - Diana Gabaldon (Kalen Craig Ruiz)
  71. Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver (Maria Cupp)
  72. The Princess Bride - William Goldman (Cameron Lowry)
  73. We Were Soldiers Once...and Young - Harold Moore (Cameron Lowry)
  74. The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog - John Erikson (Cameron Lowry)
  75. The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher (Kathy Bugajsky)
  76. The End of Your Life Bookclub - Will Schwalbe (Kathy Bugajsky)
  77. Devil of Nanking - Mo Hayder (Caroline Guttery)
  78. Wind Up Bird Chronicle - Haruki Murakami (Caroline Guttery)
  79. Everything is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer (Caroline Guttery)
  80. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (Caroline Guttery) 
  81. Ellen Foster - Kaye Gibbons (Caroline Guttery) 
  82. The Secret History - Donna Tartt (Caroline Guttery) 
  83. Fool - Christopher Moore (Pete Rearden) 
  84. The Godhead Trilogy - James K. Morrow (Pete Rearden)  
  85. The Places In Between - Rory Stewart (Pete Rearden) 

I Was Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift makes me want to melt things. In the age of digital music most of the pyromanical fun involved in melting CD's is gone so now I try to nuke her music with my mind. It's not working. If her song comes on as I'm driving I actively take my eyes off the road to stab at any button that makes it stop. This is the danger in allowing just anything to be played on Sirus' The Blend station. It isn't texting while driving. It's far more dangerous. 

I thought it was an innocent dislike of her mediocre musical abilities. She can barely carry a tune live in a rhinestone glitter encrusted bucket but it's passable, not detestable, and vastly better than Britney Spears. Tons of popular musicians suck and they don't make me want to Call the Suicide Hotline, Maybe. I also thought it may involve her pre-teen "DeaR DiaRy I ToTeS woRe pLaiD today! OMG!" writing style. It's no secret that women who insist on talking in letters and sound like a child make me want to slam my forehead into the table. If you have seen one Taylor interview she falls squarely into that category. 

I recently told a friend who loves T.S. I cracked her modus operandi for songwriting:  

1) Get a boyfriend. A totally hot boyfriend. The boyfriend your girlfriends want to get with. You are not actually all that attracted to him and would rather be home nerding out with the shy guy but you will put this out of your mind because there is work to do. 
2) Put on red lip stick, a dress, some Keds to make yourself look like a 15 year old playing dress up, and do up that curly blonde hair. Then walk all around vacation towns holding hands and standing on decks of ships looking like a Ralph Lauren ad together. Be sure to attend fabulous parties and have everyone say how adorable you are as a couple.  
3) Fall in fake love until precisely the time where it is about to round second base, require a commitment, and PANIC. 
4) Do something random, mildly crazy, and unverifiable so you have to break up.
5) Feel relief but recognize the immediate need to dispel all public knowledge that it was totally your fault in the first place. 
6) Commence Operation: "It's Not Me It's Him"
7) Get out the diary and use it to complete Mad Libs in Love while sitting at the piano.
8) Piece together the results of the diary and Mad Libs in Love into song lyrics that dispel all personal blame. Then distribute it in all appropriate media channels.
9) Meet a new guy while sitting around in coffee shops looking super fabulous and mildly damsel in distress-y. 
10) Rinse. Repeat.

Susan's Ex-Husband "Chicago Ken". All 6' Eleventy".
Comes complete with appropriate glassware and suits. 
So here's the thing...that 10 step process of Taylor Swift? It's essentially the 10 step dating process of moi from the ages of 16-25. No wonder I don't like her. I wouldn't have liked me either at that age. 

At Taylor Swift's age I was kind of a jerk to men but you never would have heard me admit it. I think I figured that since I wasn't sleeping with them that I could keep at least a six-pack around waiting in the wings to take me out if my #1 choice was busy. I did have one serious boyfriend in college (He reads this blog. Dear, this doesn't apply to us, but you already know that.)  Other than him I followed the 10 step plan effectively.

What ended my reign of terror? I got married. One man managed to settle me down using a combination of witchcraft and my complete inability to pay attention to anything after my father passed away.  He also walked me around vacation towns holding hands looking like a Ralph Lauren ad. This will happen to Taylor Swift eventually. And when it ends in divorce she will enter a new stage of life; making snarky comments on the Internet.  I have a feeling that portion of Taylor Swift's catalogue may be something I can get behind.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lest We Forget...

In dark times when even the sages are uncertain, declarations of love always do. 
- Stephen King 11/22/63

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SKYNET Says: 404 Date Not Found

I was Brunching As a Sport on Sunday with my girlfriend who recently signed up for the internet dating service OKCupid. She was relating the difficulty of putting together a profile that conveyed who she was without making her seem like she does nothing but read. Considering she is one fine piece of lady hotness I can see where she would get a lot of responses even if she suggested that she hadn't left the house in two years and enjoyed knitting tiny sweaters for stray birds.

I realized at this juncture in life I would be terrible at filling out any questionaire about what kind of man would be a good partner for me. I took a sampling of a few questions people are required to answer via either, e-Harmony, or Plenty of Fish. I think after this it's clear that I'm not cut out for Internet Dating anymore.

Welcome to our community! 
Let's address your usage of "community". Communities are places people want to stay. Everyone in your community is hoping to get out. It's like North Korea. Everybody knows they have to be there and pretend they love it but all they want to do is escape with a partner before getting murdered or disappearing.

What brings you here today?
I was about three deep into the Cabernet and a Terminator marathon when I thought "Love is really important. I think I will hand over the responsibility for a lifetime of my happiness to a machine."

What is your greatest fear?

Which ethnicity best describes you?
I would like to believe it is the Eskimo. They have so many words for snow I figure they could come up with some good adjectives to describe me as well.

Where should we search?
You are the internet. Shouldn't you be searching everywhere through those series of tubes? If I wanted to narrow it down I'd just meet people the old fashioned way. Drunk. In a bar. 

What do you like in a man?
I like my men like I like my coffee. Ground up and in the freezer. Wait. What was the question again?

What best describes your body type?
All evidence in the previous question to the contrary, as bodies go I like em' alive. If you are interested in the opposite of alive I think that's a totally different site. I'd recommend checking out some German dating sites first. They seem to be into some weird stuff over there.

What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? 
I read the kinds of books that other people say "That made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. In fact, it actually made me very uncomfortable about you since you recommended it."

What are your Exercise Habits?
I spend a minimum of 30 min 5 times per week rushing to judgement and jumping to conclusions. I've recently added making mountains out of molehills for some cross training.

The perfect date?
A darkly lit steakhouse, some Manhattans, and then hanging out on the couch listening to the duration of Led Zeppelin IV on vinyl.

Whose couch?
Who cares? You really seem to ask a lot of personal questions.  I thought you were supposed to be fixing me up, not trying to date me SKYNET.

What is vinyl? 
I'm too old for this place.

Favorite Hot Spots
Dimly lit cocktail lounges where it is perfectly acceptable to call me Doll Face. Section 136 of Solider Field in late October or anywhere in the Wrigley bleachers in May. The area directly in front of the grill when you are cooking dinner. My side of your vehicle. The seat you now occupy at brunch with our friends. The space between the cooler and the pool deck before you hand me a drink. That place where you put your sentimental stuff. The spot between your arm and your shoulder where my head rests during Sunday afternoon naps. The back of your neck right after you get a fresh haircut.

Does He Drink?
If you are dating me you are probably going to need it or be driven to it.

What's Your Sign?

About My Date:
We are currently not interviewing for anyone classified as "man starter kit" in the height department. You also need to be tall enough to reach the top shelf of the paper products aisle at Target. I conduct open auditions for this feature at random in large retail locations throughout the metroplex.

Have kids?
Your mentally challenged and emotionally crippled buddy who is always borrowing money counts as a kid and needs to be disclosed along with any biological children you may have fathered. 

The one thing I am most passionate about in my partner:
Honestly, obviously. Kindness, obviously. But I'd like to see a solid commitment to a collegiate or professional sports team that includes the dry years. If you can stay behind your team on a 1-15 season you probably will have my back each time I have The Bronchitis.

One of my best life-skills is:
Being so good at sarcasm that people often think I'm incredibly dumb. Also wearing really shorts skirts and a looooooooong jacket.