Holy F*ckballs, We Bought a House

Sooooooooo, a lot has happened since the last time I posted here. The Keeper and I were house hunting from, like, October to December last year. We found a place, bought it, painted it, moved in and we’ve been trying to get it furnished and organized for most of the year so far. Still not quite done with that last part. I’m in the middle of putting a stencil up on a wall in our dining/living room, which is WAY more time consuming than you might expect. Before that there was painting old furniture we got from The Keeper’s grandmother. And before that there was buying furniture. I still don’t have my office set up. But we’re getting there.

A Decent Proposal

As the title of this post suggests, The Keeper proposed to me recently. And he did a damn good job, too. So, I’ve decided to set him forth as an example for anyone out there who is trying to figure out how to go about this, apparently, daunting task.

First, here’s how it all went down:

We were on vacation in the Outer Banks. The Keeper and I had talked before the trip about having a picnic on the beach one of the nights of our vacation. So earlier in the day we bought a picnic basket/cooler and some wine. Then in the evening we grabbed a couple Subway sandwiches, packed them into the cooler with the wine and a couple of plastic mason jar cups with twisty straws, and hauled everything out onto the beach.


We tried to pick a place that the was both less populated and close to where we’d crossed the dunes. We ended up close to where we’d entered the beach, but overrun by small children hunting for ghost crabs shortly after we’d spread our blanket out and sat down. We ate our sandwiches and drank our wine and muttered about how it would be nice to have an unobstructed view of the ocean instead of a wall of small children. Eventually the adults that were with the children either decided it was getting too late or realized they were bothering us and they shepherded the kids down the beach some.

We finished our wine, watched the ocean until it got dark enough to see stars, and then laid out on our blanket looking up at the sky. We both exclaimed about how bright the stars were with no city lights to compete with, and then The Keeper said, “Man, this would’ve been a really good time to propose.” And I sort of chuckled and replied, “Oh you just thought of that?” And he said, “Nope”, and pulled out the ring box.


And that was pretty much it. He asked the question, I answered, we chatted a bit. Then we went back to the house we had rented.

Now, here are the lessons you should be taking away from this story if you’re trying to figure out how to propose:

1- Unless your partner has specifically said that they want to be put on the spot in front of a huge crowd of people, don’t. An informal poll of all of our female friends, both married and unmarried, suggests that the way The Keeper went about things was perfect. Most people don’t want their answer to such a huge question to be waited upon and scrutinized by a huge group of strangers. Or a huge group of family and friends for that matter. So either find somewhere secluded to pop the question, or if you have to do it in the middle of a crowd somewhere do it in a way that won’t draw the attention of the people around you. That means that if you’re in a restaurant, don’t do that one knee bullshit.

2- Choose a special place. It can be somewhere you go together often and both really like, or somewhere that’s special because it’s new and you’re both excited to be there experiencing it for the first time together. Just try to pick a place that will be worthy of the memory later on. I’m not generally super mushy or sentimental, but I do want to be able to tell people about this event and if the setting had been something boring he would have had to work way harder on the delivery for it to be a good story.

3- Do what feels right for you and your relationship. If it feels right to write out and rehearse a speech beforehand, do that. If it feels better to just wing it when it comes to the words, that’s fine. If you want to go down on one knee, great. If not, that’s ok too. Just take the other two points into account. If the location you’ve chosen means that getting down on one knee will draw a bunch of attention and you don’t know if your partner is ok with that, then either pick a new location or don’t do the knee thing.

That’s it. It’s that easy to get it right. Unless you’re with one of those weirdos who want some outlandish, grand, attention seeking gesture. I don’t know what to tell you about those people.

Warm Red Ecstasy

A few years ago there was a site run by Alexandra Erin called 365 Tales. It was a place for people to post “flash fiction”, or super short stories. The main rule was each submission had to be 365 words or less. I posted a few things there before some catastrophe erased it from the interwebs and you can still find some of the site via Wayback Machine, but there was one story above all the rest. One story that got more feedback from the other posters on the site. One story that I was really, really proud of. That story, unfortunately, cannot be found on Wayback Machine and I didn’t ever save copies of the things I wrote for 365 Tales because I was a moron.

I tried a few times to re-create that story, but I was paralyzed by the fear of any second attempt being clearly inferior to the original. I’ve finally pushed through that fear and I think I’ve at least paid adequate tribute to the lost masterpiece I wrote for 365 Tales.


Marina pulled the robe around her a little tighter as she watched the rain through the broken windows of the abandoned warehouse. Behind her on the thin mattress her new toy was beginning to wake. Her toy’s eyes were opening when she turned around and it was just beginning to realize it was naked and bound.

Her toy stopped thrashing when it heard her approach. It’s eyes were wide with fear and anger as she stood over it. When she dropped her robe she saw lust begin to mix with the fear and anger. She stood allowing her toy to fully take in the sight of her curly red hair tumbling over her heavy, round breasts and the little tuft of red on her mound above the glistening, hard protrusion of her clit. The fear had disappeared from her toy’s eyes, and the anger was almost gone as well leaving only the lust. And when the lust had done it’s job, Marina sunk down to her knees straddling her toy’s hips as she slowly guided it’s hard cock inside her and began to ride.

Marina rocked back and forth on her toy slowly at first. Her fingers found her clit and she began thrusting her hips harder, head falling back and eyes closing as her orgasm began to build. She was getting close when the first noise of pleasure from her toy reached her ears. That would not do.

With her hips still thrusting Marina stretched back and found the knife. The blade bit into her toy’s inner thigh and it’s eyes flew open in confusion. Marina’s hips thrust and rocked more quickly as she ran the blade over her toy’s other thigh, eliciting an angry growl through the gag in her toy’s mouth. She slashed at her toy’s arms and chest and the growls turned to screams.

Marina ground her cunt down hard onto her toy’s cock, her body beginning to shake and shudder as she brought the knife across it’s throat. Warm, red ecstasy washed over her as she rode out the orgasm. Too soon she realized her toy had gone still. She had ruined another one.

My First Tattoo

I love tattoos. I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. Every one is complex. Even if the design itself isn’t detailed or complicated and the person getting the tattoo has no deeper attachment to the design than that they think it’s pretty, there’s something incredibly personal and meaningful about the process of getting it. You’re choosing to actively seek out someone and have them permanently, and usually at least somewhat painfully, etch something into your flesh. It’s one of the more absurd things humans do, but it’s also beautiful.


I always wanted to get a tattoo, but for a long time I didn’t think it was possible. I couldn’t come up with a good design. Then I thought of a design, but I assumed I couldn’t afford to get it done. Not that I had any idea how much tattoos actually cost. Once or twice I thought I might have enough disposable income to try getting my tattoo, but I didn’t really know anyone who could recommend an artist. The idea of doing some research and finding an artist on my own was daunting. I would search around online and find shops in my area, but then become terrified I would settle on someone and get the tattoo and it would be completely wrong. So I kept putting it off.

Then on a trip down the The Keeper’s hometown I found out that one of The Keeper’s close family friends who he grew up with was going through the process to get certifications or licenses or whatever it is you need to be able to do tattooing professionally. We talked a bit and this guy’s passion for what he was doing was obvious. He seemed a little distracted and wobbly when it came to other topics, but anything having to do with tattoos or piercings made him immediately perk up and speak with incredible passion and intelligence. I had found my artist. I started thinking about designs again, hoping I might be able to save up.

Fast forward to holiday season 2013. The Keeper and I were in his hometown again doing the Christmas thing and we learn that My Artist was planning on opening his own tattoo shop! We hung out with him for a little bit and listened to him gush about this new venture. He already had a huge client base from the time he’d spent working in other shops and he was excited about the other artists he was going to bring in to work with him. He was bouncing off the walls and telling us that if we ever wanted a tattoo we would have priority, just walk in and he’d bump his other customers back to do our ink.

Now I was getting excited. I’d just got a new, better paying job. I had a savings account again for the first time in nearly over a decade. I could do this! I still hadn’t asked anyone at any point how much my tattoo would cost, but I figured it would definitely be a few hundred dollars. Tattoos are expensive right? So I went home with a plan to save up, email the shop once it was up and running, and set everything up then come back down totally prepared!

Well, despite being super passionate, My Artist isn’t the most orderly, organized business owner I’ve ever known. I was expecting to exchange emails and get the design hammered out, schedule an appointment and then drive down one weekend and get it done. That’s not how My Artist operates. I’m sure there are shops that do things that way, but not my shop. My Artist is more of a hands on, on the fly kind of guy. And he’s far more interested in the designing and poking-you-with-a-needle parts than with checking emails.

I had no idea what I should be expecting or how all of this was supposed to play out, so when my expectations didn’t line up with reality when it came to the communication and the whole process I got super anxious. I probably could have communicated that better to My Artist. I’m sure he would have made an effort to explain things better if he knew exactly how I was feeling and how little I understood everything. Despite all of that though, I did eventually find myself sitting in The Tattoo Chair at My Artist’s shop at 11pm on a Saturday night.

My tattoo is a bracelet of celtic knotwork. There are three open spaces in the knotwork where I had My Artist draw in “charms”. The charms are a Super Nintendo controller, a ball of yarn with knitting needles stuck in it, and a 20 sided die. The first thing I learned while I was sitting in The Tattoo Chair was that it is surprisingly difficult to get a clean transfer of the outline of the design when you’re trying to put it in a band around a place like the wrist. You can’t just wrap the piece of paper around your wrist because the width changes the closer to the hand you get, and any little movement of the skin will mean that the two ends of the design won’t meet up in the right spot. My Artist tried to transfer the design 3 times before he gave up and called his wife (who is also a tattoo artist) over to help. And she tried twice before she gave up on getting a completely clean transfer and just drew in by hand the parts that didn’t transfer cleanly.

That is the point at which I made my first rookie mistake. I noticed much, much later that there are a couple of places where the complicated knotwork isn’t quite right. If I hadn’t been so jazzed up on “holy fuck, I’m finally doing this thing” excitement, and if I had prior experience with this sort of thing, I might have taken a long hard look and made sure the transfer was perfect before the actual tattooing began.

Once the transfer was on the only thing left was to start stabbing me with an inky needle. Over the years I had heard and read so many different things about how getting a tattoo feels that I kind of went into it thinking that it was going to be kind of like sex. Everyone is different and experiences sensations a little differently. Some people find it incredibly painful to get a tattoo. Some people find it pleasant. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what places hurt the most to get tattooed. I tolerate pain fairly well, so I figured I’d be ok even though I was getting my tattoo done on one the places a lot of people agree is one of the most painful.

I was mostly right about how it was going to feel for me. Initially it was less painful than I was expecting. Just kind of a vibrate-y mild burning sensation. Then My Artist got to that little sort of bony protrusion on the pinky side of the wrist. THAT hurt like hell. And something that I don’t think I’d seen or heard anyone point out before- you can’t really get used to the sensation because it keeps starting and stopping. Tattoo guns don’t have, like, a spot for the ink bottle to just be plugged in. It’s like writing with a quill or painting, you have to stop every few seconds and dip the needle in the ink. Which makes the painful parts even more painful, because you can’t just grit your teeth and suffer through and then it’s done. It’s suffer, pause, suffer, pause, suffer, pause… It makes total sense and I’m amazed that I didn’t realize that’s how it would work beforehand.

Roughly two hours later, the knotwork was done. At around 1 in the morning. Now, this is where I made my second mistake… kind of. Once the knotwork was done My Artist did the research and drew up the charms I wanted. He showed me the drawings and got my approval and then we did the transfers and the stabbing again for each one. My mistake can be viewed from a couple different angles. Either I shouldn’t have gone in so late to get the tattoo in the first place, or I should have been extra diligent in checking to make sure the charm drawings were right since it was so late and I was very, very tired. Turns out, tattoo artists don’t just inherently know the difference between a knitting needle and a sewing needle. I know, weird right? So I have a little ball of string with sewing needles poked in it on my wrist now. Not hard to fix, there are knitting needles with embellishment so I’m just going to get some color added later and it will be fine. But still, that’s something I should have caught and I didn’t because endorphins and sleepy.

By about 2am it was all done. At that point I hadn’t noticed the mistakes so I was sleepy and ecstatic all at once. It was incredible. I had a hard couple of weeks afterward when I noticed the problem with the knotwork, but now that I’m on the other side of that I can honestly say that I love my tattoo and I loved the experience of getting it. I’m constantly trying to decide what/where my next one will be. Because I definitely want more. I’m one of those people. Can’t wait to get more.

Am I Alone In Wanting To Be Left Alone?

I was out running an errand tonight and decided to treat myself to some frozen yogurt. So I go into the shop and I’m headed toward the cups when I am accosted by the cashier.

First she welcomes me to the store. Yea, ok fine. I know you’re probably not nearly as cheery and happy as you sound because I also work in food service, but your boss probably requires you to greet the customers so whatever.

Then she asks if I’ve been there before. I had, and I told her that, but why even ask? Why does it matter at all if I’ve been there before?

Lastly, after learning that I’ve bought yogurt from this store before, she thanks me for coming back. Uh… you’re welcome?

Just leave me the hell alone and let me go about my business!! Seriously, am I the only person who actively dislikes all the stupid polite small talk shit that the owners and managers of retail and food service places require their employees to spew at their customers? When I go into a shop of any kind I just want to do my shopping and leave. If I have a question, I will ask.

I don’t need to be greeted, I know you don’t care how my day is and I know you aren’t nearly as happy to be there as you’re pretending to be. So can we just skip that completely pointless interaction? I honestly do not understand why the people who manage these stores seem to think it makes any difference to the customer whether they are greeted when they come in. I have never spoken to someone who was happy with their purchase but wasn’t going to go back to a place because no one said hello when they walked in the door.

I don’t need help. At least not the minute I enter your store. If you’re a retailer, I need to look for the thing I’m there to buy. If you’re a food service establishment, I need to decide what I want to eat. What I do not need is you bothering me before I’m ready to make my purchase. All you’re doing is wasting both our time. Go do something more productive until I’m either ready to leave or I actually do need your help.

I don’t like platitudes, polite small talk or attempts to sell me things. Just leave me alone and let me get what I came for. As long as you’re not rude to me when or if I engage you I will be happy.

Am I alone in this? Do other people actually care whether they’re greeted or like it when a sales person tries to give them a tour or spiel about the products in the store?

No Promises

Eight months. I haven’t written anything substantial in eight months.

And I’m not really writing anything now. But I’ve started to feel the itch again, so I thought I’d pop in here and let anyone who’s interested know that I’m not dead and hopefully neither is this blog.

Hopefully. But I’m not making any promises. That way lies disappointment.

My Boyfriend is Dating Another Girl…

…which is totally OK because I am also dating the same girl.

And it occurred to me when I woke up today that The Keeper and I are in a somewhat unique position. As of right now we’ve been out on one date with a fantastic girl that we both really, REALLY like and there’s a second date in the works probably for next week. The goal of all this (in addition to making an awesome new friend) is to eventually have a threesome and possibly have an ongoing friend with benefits/ BDSM relationship with The Girl. But right now we’re just dating, getting to know one another and trying to determine if we want to get more intimate or not just like any other dating situation. I can’t necessarily speak for The Girl or The Keeper, but I’m having all the same feelings as any other time I’ve been on the cusp of a new romantic relationship. The big difference is that this time I have The Keeper right there with me. I have the excitement of a new relationship while also having the security of my relationship with The Keeper. I get to have all the giddy nerves and the anticipation of a first kiss and the awkward should-I-make-a-move moments WITHOUT the worry that something is going to explode and someone is going to get hurt; because not only are all three of us adults who have been communicating openly about our feelings and expectations from the beginning, but also because each of us has a secure relationship to fall back on if things don’t work out. None of us is in a position where we’ll be alone and hurting if something bad happens.

That is a unique and special place to be. I’m quite enjoying it. And I’m especially happy to be sharing it with The Keeper.


There is a video currently getting a lot of attention here on the internet. It was filmed in 2004 by a 16 year old girl with ataxic cerebral palsy. The video is a seven minute long real life portrayal of abuse masquerading as discipline. It is sickening, and may very well contain images which might be a trigger for people who have gone through similar abuse.


The girl being beaten in the video is Hillary Adams, the daughter of Judge William Adams. The instance of abuse shown in the video resulted from Hillary downloading software illegally. The description on the original video is as follows:

2004: Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father’s backwards views. The judge’s wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge’s wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can’t even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgement" is a giant farce. Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.

I have seen people defending William Adams’ actions in comments across the internet. The beating itself does not sicken me as much as all the people who can watch it and not feel that it is wrong and evil to do that to a person, especially a person who is physically helpless. A couple of the comments I’ve seen mention that the girl did not share this video until her father threatened to cut her off financially and take away her car. I have not yet been able to corroborate that piece of information, but lets just assume for a moment that it is true. How the hell does that make the original beating in any way justifiable? I just do not understand.

Unfortunately, this man cannot be held legally accountable for this because the statute of limitations for assault is 5 years and this happened 7 years ago. He could, however, lose his position as a judge in three years if the people in his county vote him out. And I sincerely hope that people remember this in three years so that they can vote him out, because this kind of person is not qualified to make judgments about much of anything.

Tiny Houses & My Unhealthy Addiction To HGTV

Don’t ask me why, because there really is no good reason for it at the moment, but The Keeper and I (more I) have become completely addicted to HGTV. It started with the House Hunters series. Especially House Hunters: International. It was just so cool to see living spaces in other countries. And so cool to see living spaces that we could probably never afford. And so much fun to yell at people being stupid or ridiculous in their expectations or overly picky about things that really should not matter. But it didn’t stop there.

We started watching My First Place, Property Virgins, Holmes Inspection, Room Crashers, Holmes on Homes, Yard Crashers, Curb Appeal, and now All American Handyman. We’ve also watched a couple episodes of Design Stars, though neither of us is really all that interested in it. That one has mostly just been background noise once it gets too late for us to want to switch the channel and get invested in something. However, the most recent episode of Design Star introduced me to something that I think is super fun: Tiny Houses.


Apparently, these itty-bitty homes are a new trend among individuals and couples who want to live more of a green, small carbon footprint lifestyle. And they can be SUPER CUTE!

On the aforementioned episode of Design Star, the three remaining contestants each had to design the interior of one of these types of homes. The idea was to see who could use the minuscule space best while also making it aesthetically pleasing. 

They all did a pretty good job, but I realized something tonight when this episode was re-run and I had it on in the background. Every single one of them used the space just above the rafters as a sleeping space. They each had a carpenter assigned to them who could make anything they wanted to put into the space, but all of them chose to put the bed in the rafters. How did this show get down to the final three with such uncreative people?

The rafter space could have been some truly awesome storage. I’m sure they could have figured out some kind of drop down drawer configuration that would have been totally unique. And all of them missed the PERFECT opportunity for using Murphy Beds. They could have made a single person Murphy Bed that had a fold out table on the bottom so when the bed is up, a table could come out. Or, they could have made a two person Murphy Bed in two sections. One section could serve as a couch when the other section is folded up against the wall, and that other section could have the table underneath.

And that is exactly what I’m going to do if The Keeper and I ever decide we want a vacation home.

Super Easy Cheddar Crackers

Cheese Crackers Pre-Cook

A while back I happened upon a recipe for Cheese Nip-like cheese crackers. Today I actually tried this recipe out. And they are FANTASTIC.

Cheese Crackers 2

I’ve included the recipe as I prepared it below, but you can find the recipe without adjustments as well as instructions to make a tiny goldfish shaped cookie cutter on the blog Miss Anthropist’s Kitchen.


Cheddar Crackers

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (around 2 cups). Note: you can experiment with other cheeses.
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Pulse the flour,onion powder, salt, pepper, and baking powder together using a food processor.
  2. Add the butter and cheese, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.
  4. Remove dough, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 350*F and line 2 or more baking pans with parchment paper, silicone baking mats, or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.
  6. Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness, using flour if necessary to prevent stickiness. Cut out as many crackers as possible.
  7. Place crackers on the prepared baking pans. Bake until golden and crisp (13-18 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


I read a blog post recently about making sure you learn something new every day. It was one of those “keep your mind active”, “exercise your mind” type posts. And it put me in a mood to do one of those timed “name all the _______” quizzes, which is something I do from time to time anyway when I’m bored.

So I did a quick google search and I was soon on Sporcle. I’m not really sure what the name is supposed to mean, but the “games” section is fantastic. Especially with regard to the type of quizzes I was looking for. I started out with the simple “U.S. States” quiz where you have to name all the states in something like 5 minutes. Usually when I haven’t done this in a while I’ll miss one or two of the states I never have cause to think about in my daily life. Like Nebraska. Who thinks about Nebraska? Ya know, unless they live there. Anyhow, I don’t like to do these over and over because when you run out of time the ones you missed are displayed, and I feel it’s kind of cheating to look over the answers and then immediately go and retake the quiz. So I had to find another one to divert my focus before going back to try again.

I chose Countries of Europe.


Then, after switching back and forth between the US and Europe, I added South America.

South America 
Since there are only 12 countries in South America, it didn’t take me long to get them memorized. So I added Africa.


Once I had all 47 countries of Europe, all 12 countries of South America and the majority of Africa memorized, I decided to take on naming all the countries of the world.


I quickly realized that this was going to be more difficult than each of the little regional quizzes, because the world map is so much smaller that once you start naming things the names start to cover up the map and I had been remembering some countries based on their location on the map. I’m not doing too badly though. I can name about 150 of the 196 countries on the World quiz.

How many countries can you name?

Apparently Michael Pearl Thinks Children Are Dogs

I just read an article on the CBS News website about a child who was beaten to death with “religious whips” for mispronouncing a word.

Apparently this couple in California adopted 3 kids from Liberia. One of those kids mispronounced a word and the “parents” decided they needed to “train” the child. By beating her with quarter inch plastic tubing. They got this idea from an evangelist named Michael Pearl, who has written a book called To Train Up A Child.

Now, there are numerous, numerous things wrong with this whole situation. I don’t have the time or the emotional energy to get into them all, but there is one thing that’s I’d like to address. I read the story on CBS’s website, I read the comments, and I read an article that was linked in the comments about Pearl’s reaction to all the criticism this story has brought his way. Nowhere in any of my reading so far have I come across a single person who is bothered by the implication that children should be trained like they are dogs or horses.

Pearl even specifically mentions in his response to his critics that the same techniques he advocates and used on his own children were used to train his dogs not to eat his chickens.

Well, I’d like to go on record here and say this bothers me.


Children are people. And they should be treated with just as much kindness and respect as any adult.

Spreadable…… Bacon?

Bacon. One of nature’s most perfect creations. It’s good on its own, it’s good on sandwiches, it’s good sprinkled on things like salads or donuts, it’s good wrapped around other meats, it’s good chopped up and used in casseroles and as part of stuffings. Hell, it’s even good covered in chocolate. What other meat can boast that? A month ago I would have thought I’d just listed all the ways bacon can be prepared and eaten. I would have been wrong.

I recently came across a recipe for Bacon Jam. That’s right, bacon you can SPREAD on TOAST. 


I found this recipe on a blog called Not Quite Nigella, which is a pretty fun food/recipe blog. I’ve linked directly to the bacon jam recipe; but in case you don’t want to follow the link, here’s the recipe:

An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella

  • 500grams/1 pound smoked bacon (or use regular bacon and liquid smoke)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium brown onion sliced
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Tabasco sauce (according to taste)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Black pepper to taste
  • extra water

1. In a non stick pan, fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Using a pair of scissors cut into 1 inch pieces.
2. Fry the onion and garlic in the rendered bacon fat on medium heat until translucent.
3. Transfer the bacon, onion and garlic into a heavy based cast iron pot and add the rest of the ingredients except for the water. Simmer for 2 hours adding 1/4 of a cup of water every 25-30 minutes or so and stirring.
4. When ready, cool for about 15-20 minutes and then place in a food processor. Pulse for 2-3 seconds so that you leave some texture to the “jam” or of course you could keep whizzing and make it a smoother and more paste like.

If you’re going to attempt this recipe, I would suggest actually following my link because Nigella has some really helpful photos on her post. For the recipe itself there are a few things I would change/add/suggest. First, if you don’t have a heavy based cast iron pot, don’t worry. A large heavy based pot of any material will work, and even one that’s just cheap-o will work, you just might get a little stuck on burnt stuff in the middle at the bottom of the pot. Second, I’ve made this twice now and the first time I didn’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand. Instead, I used a mixture of about half and half plain distilled vinegar and balsamic vinegar. The difference I’m noticing is that the apple cider bacon jam is a bit sweeter, whereas when I used the balsamic it was more savory. Third, when you’re transferring the mixture from the pot to the food processor, do so with a slatted spoon and then add a little of the liquid from the pot. The first time I made this, it took a couple of tries to get the mixture to process because I had to keep stopping, opening the lid and smooshing things down. But, don’t add all of the liquid unless you want a very soupy consistency.

And the best part about this stuff is that it’s not just good on toast. I added bacon jam to grilled cheese and it was fantastic. Stirring a spoonful or two into alfredo is excellent. And there are probably many, many other ways to use it. You just need to get creative.

Dancing With The Stars?

A few weeks ago I convinced The Keeper to subscribe to Hulu so that I could watch the most recent season of Bones. Being unemployed, it didn’t take me long to get through Bones and then I needed to find other things to watch so as not to waste the free trial period. During my search for other things to watch I found a clip of Penn Jillette talking about his experience on Dancing with the Stars.

Now, I’m not big on reality TV. Especially the shows that compile a hodge podge of amateurs and have them compete. I tend to prefer the skill shows, like Top Chef or Project Runway, where professionals or people who are talented and skilled in a specific area compete and are judged by other professionals in that area. But, I LOVE Penn Jillette and the thought of him on a dance floor was just too much fun. I had to see it. And I really didn’t expect to watch past his elimination. But I realized during the first episode that Penn wasn’t the only celebrity on the show who would have caught my interest. The same season as Penn there was also:

Adam Carolla, of The Man Show fame.

Cristian de la Fuente, who I know from the USA show In Plain Sight.

And Marissa Jaret Winokur, who despite my doubts did a fantastic job as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray.

Not only were there lots of fun personalities on the show, but the dancing itself was a lot of fun to watch. So, basically, I think that as long as there are at least 3 people in the cast that I’m interested in I’ll probably be watching a lot more of Dancing With The Stars.

And since coming to that realization I’ve been thinking a lot about what celebrities I might want to see on the show. Here are some of the celebrities I would most like to see on Dancing With The Stars.

Troy Polamalu
Peyton Manning
Drew Brees
Bruce Campbell
Michael Weatherly
Jamil Walker Smith
Robert Carlyle
David Blue
Michael Shanks
Dennis Leary
Erik King
Michael C Hall
T.J. Thyne
Daniel Sunjata
Dean Winters
Alan Doyle
Josh Turner
Kelci Bryant
Elena Hight
Heidi Klum
Pauley Perrette
Cote de Pablo
Kat Dennings
Julia Benson
Mary McCormack
Lauren Velez
Michaela Conlin
Mariska Hargitay
Lisa Lampanelli
Florence Welch

And I’m certain there are more, but I can’t think of them right now.

Things I Don’t Understand…

During my looooong break from blogging there were a few things that came to my attention that just make absolutely no sense to me, or that I just don’t know the answer to or understand the reasoning behind. I considered writing about them individually, giving my opinions based on my extremely limited understanding, and then letting readers correct or applaud or call me an idiot depending on what they felt appropriate. But it occurred to me that doing things that way might not actually be the best way to educate myself. The posts (at least one of them) would probably end up being pretty inflammatory, which would mean the responses would probably be more accusatory than enlightening. So here’s what I’m going to do instead. I’m going to ask my questions in the least judgmental way I can come up with. Then I want you all to comment and try to educate me in the comments. And whether anyone replies or not, I’ll make follow up posts expressing my opinions. Sound like a plan? Good, then here are the questions:

  • Why do people whose children have extremely kinky, curly hair allow them to get it straightened when they know how harsh and harmful the chemicals required to do so are?
  • Why do people pay exorbitant amounts of money, money which in many cases might be better spent on things like food, shelter and clothing for themselves and/or their children, on hair weaves?
  • What exactly is offensive about the word “midget”?
  • Is there some reason that every time I see a girl with Down Syndrome, they always have the exact same haircut? Not the guys. The guys seem to either have differing haircuts, or they’re less noticeable or something. But all the girls I see with Down Syndrome seem to have the exact same hair and I just want to know whether there’s some reason for that.

Now, please, educate me.

(Note: It has been almost two months since I posted this and I have gotten zero comments or emails trying to give me some perspective on these questions. So I have decided to just ignore this post’s existence until someone bothers to comment on it. )

LivingSocial From A Restaurant’s Perspective

Living Social, Daily Deals, Groupon and other deal-a-day sites are great for customers. The Keeper and I have bought deals on food, cleaning services and one for a day out at a firing range from Living Social. But what about the businesses that participate in these promotions? To be honest, I never really thought about what the businesses get out of these deals or what impact these deals have on them when they are redeemed. I was just happy to be paying half price. But last Friday I got to experience a Living Social deal from the perspective of someone working in a restaurant. Here’s what went down:

We started getting calls at about 9:30am (an hour and a half before we actually open) from people asking questions about the deal and wanting to make reservations. The deal in question was with Living Social’s brand new “Instant Deals” function and the deal itself was $20 worth of food/drink and you pay only $1. They’re calling it their $1 Lunch deal and it was supposed to be valid from 11am until 2pm.

So when the managers on duty realized what was about to happen when we opened (the manager that handles making promo deals like this was conveniently scheduled until later in the day), they began frantically calling employees who weren’t scheduled to try and bring more kitchen and serving staff in to handle the extra traffic. I work in the back office normally, but being a new employee and knowing that the restaurant was going to be slammed today I volunteered to help out. They stationed me up front with the hostesses to redeem all the deal codes.

We opened at 11am and were pretty much immediately slammed. There was a line of people going out the door waiting for seats and to place carry out orders. There were people who had made reservations who weren’t getting seated because we were so packed. The kitchen was so backed up that people were waiting up to an hour for their food, both dine-in and carry out. We had to cut off service before the time that had been designated on Living Social’s site because of how backed up everything was. It was a nightmare.

Now, to be fair, I doubt this sort of thing happens with the normal deals from Living Social and other such places. Usually it’s a deal for 50% or so and it doesn’t become usable until the day after you buy it. Then there’s an expiration date like any other coupon, so people have weeks, or sometimes months to use the deal. This $1 lunch thing had a window of 3 hours in which to use it before you were refunded your money and the voucher code was no longer valid, so it stands to reason that during that window the places participating would be packed. However, as best we could tell, no one had given Living Social a maximum number of deals we could handle. Their site sold out of our deal before we actually opened, but we have no idea how many deals were bought. This sort of thing is more likely to hurt business than help it, which for the businesses is the entire point of participating.

Dungeons and Dragons, Make Way For Pathfinder

I got into tabletop role-playing games when I was about 15. My older sister had been playing them and painting miniatures for them for what seemed like ages. One time when she visited from college she brought minis and paint with her, and my younger sister and I painted them. So by the time I was in high school I knew enough about RPGs to know that I was interested in trying one.
Then came my first serious boyfriend. He was a gamer of all sorts. He played RPGs, miniature war games, video games, board games, collectible card games. And he had friends who did those things too, so all of a sudden there were multiple people around who played these games that I’d been wanting to try.

Unfortunately, being high school kids, people never seemed to be able to commit to a regular game session. That’s not a big deal with some games, but an RPG is an ongoing thing. So we ended up playing a few sessions of one thing before it disintegrated, then a few sessions of something else with a slightly different group of people, and so on. I think the first game I ever played was Vampire: The Masquerade and it lasted maybe two sessions. My high school boyfriend ran a few sessions of a game based on the Dragon Lance (I think?) book series; and later a short lived Cthulu game with myself and one other player. We found an awesome little gaming shop and played some strange wild west flavored game. And, of course, there were numerous attempts at D&D games.

D&D is the only one I actually stuck with once I got out of high school. During my one year at college I tried to join a gaming club, but I didn’t really feel like I meshed with the people very well. So, I took a break from gaming for a while and got into another scene. But it didn’t take too long before I was in a relationship with another gamer geek. And, moving to a new area notwithstanding, it wasn’t much longer after that before we found a D&D group to play with. I’ve been with that group (or, well, that game master since he and I are the only ones left from the original group) for six years now. And until a month or two ago we had been playing D&D the whole time.

But ever since the fourth edition of D&D came out it seems like everyone, everywhere wants some kind of change. For those of us who hate the way fourth edition has turned D&D into a cross between a collectible card game and a video game, there is an alternative.


Pathfinder is the natural progression of D&D 3.5. It takes the overall system from 3.5 and tweaks it to make a little more sense, then takes the classes and does an overhaul to them to make them more interesting. Pathfinder is for the player who wants their fighter to just fight and leave the magic to the spellcasters. Pathfinder is for the player who wants their cleric to actually be useful in regard to healing, instead of being pushed into the background by fourth edition D&D’s decision to let EVERYONE just heal themselves. Pathfinder is the new D&D, and D&D has become a game for small children.

Pink Eye+New Job= FAIL

After my temp position debacle, I lost all motivation and inspiration. I would sit down to write, but nothing appeared on the screen. Or nothing appeared that I was happy with. I was not quite fully depressed, but definitely in a depression-like slump. The fact that my unemployment benefits came into question because of the shitty temp job did not help.

Then I was contacted by a couple people for interviews and I thought things were looking up. I went to two interviews one week, which was more than I’d had in the previous 4 months or so. But they were both a bust and I continued to wallow in “meh”-ness.

Saint Patrick’s Day came, and with it a phone call. The author of one of the random ads I’d responded to on Craig’s List, despite the lack of simple information like a company name or who to address the emailed resume to, had liked my resume and was interested in speaking with me. But first, for whatever reason, he wanted to make sure we were on the same page regarding pay. He had budgeted $13-14/hour for the position, but since the job was located in the city I was pretty sure that I’d need a minimum of $15/hour to cover the added transportation costs. We signed off of our phone conversation with the understanding that I would do some calculations and let him know if I could make $14 work. The answer was no, but I emailed him to let him know that if he was willing to consider paying the $15/hour for the right candidate then I would still love to come in and interview.

That Saturday, during my monthly Pathfinder game, another man called me from the same business. I explained what I had spoken about and emailed to the first guy and he said they would talk it over and get back to me. A little while later he called back to say that they were still interested in talking to me, so we set up an interview for Monday.

Monday came and the interview went splendidly. I left feeling excited and optimistic. The job would be a pretty basic Administrative Assistant position, but instead of being in a typical office setting I would be working in the back office of a restaurant. A beautiful restaurant with exotic food that smelled delicious. It was perfect. And there would even be room for growth, because this wasn’t just any restaurant. This was a foreign restaurant chain which was trying to expand into the US, and the location where I would be working was the first US location. Now all I had to do was wait while they finished up their other interviews and chose who to hire.

On Friday I spoke on the phone again with one of the two guys I’d interviewed with and was informed that I had gotten the job! They wanted me to start on the following Monday! I was elated! This was the first “real” job I had gotten all on my own, and it felt fantastic.

Then, on Sunday morning, The Keeper started complaining about his eyes. They were irritated and gooey and in pain. By Sunday evening he was having trouble seeing because of gunk forming on his eyeballs and he was fairly sure he had pink eye. In both eyes. My eyes were just fine though, so I decided to go in for my first day of work as planned. I would just tell my new employers as soon as I got there what was going on, so that they would be aware and have warning in the event that I caught this affliction.

On Monday morning I got up, I got ready and I took the bus and the Metro into DC. I arrived at my new job on time and when my new boss began to extend his hand to shake mine I greeted him with the following:

“Hi! Listen, before we get started and before I shake your hand there’s something I should probably make you aware of… this weekend my boyfriend seems to have come down with a double case of pink eye. I haven’t had any problems, my eyes are just fine, but I thought I should let you know before I touch you or anything else here.”

We talked about the situation a little bit and he decided we should probably push back my start date, just to be safe. Since it’s a restaurant and all. I apologized profusely and felt terrible about the whole thing, but I think he was grateful that I brought it up instead of just jumping right in and then saying something when/if my eyes actually started to be a problem.

How Bad Can It Be?

I spoke too soon. After I left work today, I got a call from my recruiter at the temp agency saying that the organization had decided they wanted today to be my last day. Given the fact that the manager that I was dealing with at the organization was pretty obviously annoyed with all the questions I was asking and with my lack of understanding of the one task he gave me to do (which I told him up front I had no experience with), I’m not all that surprised. Considering the emotional and physical breakdown I had when I got home today, I’m also not all that upset. It would have been nice to stay long enough that I would feel comfortable putting the position on my resume, but since that didn’t happen I’m just not going to worry about it. I had been toying with the idea months ago of starting my own Etsy shop and trying to make an income from my arts and crafting. Perhaps with part of my tax return, I can make that happen.


I realize I didn’t explicitly say I was going to try to blog more when I posted my list of 2011 resolutions, but that was kind of my intention with the meme ideas. I wanted to get into some sort of regular schedule, but I seem to be failing spectacularly at that. I mean, the first full week in January I posted on 6 out of 7 days. The next week, twice. Last week, 4 times. And this week is looking like maybe just once. This week I have a pretty good excuse though.

I got a job.

I have been unemployed since February 20th of last year. During that time I have been looking for jobs through Craig’s List and Monster, and I have been in contact with multiple temp agencies. On Monday, one of those temp agencies finally came through with a job for me. It is a temporary position with, forgive me for being vague but I’d like to protect my anonymity, an organization of scientists and healthcare professionals who study diseases of a certain bodily organ. There was no interview and the temp agency initially said that it was a 2-5 week assignment, however I’ve been given the impression that there is a possibility of the position becoming permanent if these people can settle on someone to hire.

The problem is, they don’t seem to be able to find anyone to hire. These people have been through multiple temps from various agencies and have been unhappy with all of them. My temp agency actually submitted me for this position with them weeks ago and they hired someone from a difference agency before coming back to my agency and asking to see my resume again. They asked to see my resume Monday and wanted me to start today. I had to scramble yesterday to buy some work clothes that actually fit and get out to my agency’s office and do the required paperwork.

Today I had my first day of work in almost a year. It kind of sucked. Even ignoring the fact that I’ve come to enjoy being home all day with my cats, my arts and crafts, and my internet it still sucked. It sucked because the guy I’m working for seems incapable of explaining anything in a way that makes sense. He reminds me of my last manager, actually, which makes me wonder if it’s a cultural issue, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, just based on my experience today, I have a suspicion this place can’t keep temps because they have unreasonable expectations and not because there was something wrong with the temps.

But, a job is a job. I intend to work there at least until the temporary assignment is over. Perhaps once I get acclimated to the place my first impression based opinion will change. I mean, it’s not all bad. I have my own office. Not cube, OFFICE. And there’s a Perfect Pita across the street. How bad can it be?

Super Villains, The Little Engines That Might of Comics


I love super villains. Most villains aren’t supposed to be liked, much less rooted for, but that’s what I do on some level for many of the classic type of villains. Good always triumphs. It gets boring. Sometimes, as much as I love Batman, I really just want the Joker to win. And not just the battle, I want him to win the war. I want to see a world in which the Joker has somehow set himself up as a mad dictator. Then, after the Joker has lived out his life ruling over an anarchic society and died peacefully allowing a successor to take over, then perhaps a new incarnation of Batman can come and kick the new dictator’s ass.

This will never happen, because on some level people need to believe that good will triumph over evil. It’s the same basic reason that religion exists.


Nevertheless, I enjoy a well constructed villain character and even when I’m cheering on the hero, I’m also cheering quietly for the villain. And there are some really great villains in classic comics. I’ve mentioned the Joker already, but a lot of the core Batman villains are fantastic and probably some of the most recognizable villains in existence. Even people who aren’t into comics at all have some vague idea of who the Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and the Riddler are, just to name a few. Superman’s Lex Luthor is another that most people will recognize, and he doesn’t even wear a funny costume 99% of the time. And the XMen have Magneto, who I think might be the most pragmatic villain I’m familiar with and who is probably my favorite super villain.

Magneto is a great villain because if you really think about it, he isn’t necessarily evil, just militant. He provides a really good example of how good and evil are fluid concepts based on individual perception. I’ll go ahead and admit, I haven’t read all the old XMen comics; but from what I can tell from what I have read and from the cartoons and movies based on the comics, Magneto wants, or at least in the beginning wanted, the same thing the XMen want- fair treatment and equal rights for mutants. Magneto is just the Malcolm X to Professor Xavier’s Martin Luthor King Jr. And the fact that he can make people really think about the meaning of good and evil in shades of grey instead of black and white is what I like best about him. Well, that and the potential for amazing sex that I explain in the FAQ section of this blog.

The Best Egg Sammich Ever

Since I’ve been unemployed, lunch just hasn’t seemed very important. Half the time I don’t eat anything until lunchtime, either because I get caught up with something in the morning or because I sleep until 11am, so my lunches tend to be more like breakfasts. For those kind of breakfast-at-noon lunches I love the egg sandwich. Here’s how I make mine:

2 eggs, whisked
grated Parmesan cheese to taste (for me, usually two or three handfuls)
sliced tomato

Heat frying pan on medium setting while whisking eggs. Spray pan with nonstick spray (or coat with butter), unless you’re using cast iron. Pour whisked eggs into pan and cook until the outside edge is just barely wet looking. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of cooking eggs, concentrating on the middle. Fold two sides of the egg in to the middle so as to resemble a soft taco, then flip so the overlapping edged are face down on the pan. Cook to desired consistency and cut ends so that you have a roughly sandwich sized square of Parmesan filled egg. Spread mayo on two sliced of bread, add egg, tomato slices and a little salt and you have the perfect egg sandwich.

Losing A Sister, Literally

“Aspasia, I have to go pick up your Dad. Watch Ann, ok?”

I grunted in the affirmative and continued stomping on koopas, briefly glancing over at my 3 year old sister Ann. Tanna was home from college and far better equipped to watch a toddler, being twenty two years old, but Mom had asked me to watch her. It didn’t make any sense. I went back to concentrating on my game.

A few minute later, after clearing two or three levels, I looked up from my game again. It was far too quiet.

“Tanna,” I yelled, “ Is Ann with you?”

Tanna walked over to the door to the living room and said, “Nope. Weren’t you supposed to be watching her?”

“Yea… she was here a minute ago.” I got up and turned off my game. “She’s probably in her room.” Up the stairs I went, calling Ann’s name. Not in her room, or the room I shared with Sam. Back down the stairs I went, calling Ann’s name again. Not in Mom and Dad’s room. Not in the den or either bathroom. Shit, where could she have gone? She’s 3 and I was only paying attention to my game for a few minutes, she couldn’t have got far.

“Tanna, I can’t find her.”

“Shit… ok, come on we’ll look outside.”

So outside we went and I started scouring the yard, the neighbors’ yards, the building where the landlord kept his tractor, yelling her name the whole time. Nothing. I started getting really worried. I knocked on the neighbors’ doors to see if they’d seen her. I walked down to the enormous Baptist church and searched all over their parking lot, the cemetery, the trees. Nothing. She wasn’t answering my constant calling of her name and no one had seen her. I was on the verge of tears. What if she’d gotten hurt? Mom and Dad would murder me, but I didn’t even care about that at this point. I just wanted to know she was ok. The tears spilled over and began streaming down my face.

As I made my way back from the church, I looked back hoping I’d just missed her sitting near a car or a fence post or something. I didn’t see her, but on the highway past the church and down a hill, I saw Mom’s huge blue conversion van. I was done for.

I was about halfway home when Mom pulled into the driveway and passed me. I continued trudging up the driveway toward my doom as the van came to a stop. As I approached, I saw Mom and Dad get out of the van. Then, Dad reached back in and pulled out… Ann!

Tanna was standing with them cracking up. Dad tried to keep the ruse going by claiming he and Mom had picked Ann up down on the highway on their way home. I. Was. Livid. They had made me sick with worry. I had been bawling as I searched for my little sister, and the entire time she was with my parents?!

Apparently Mom and Tanna didn’t think I’d been paying enough attention when Mom asked me to watch Ann. Tanna had suggested to Mom that she take Ann with her and they would see how long it took me to notice. I think they were trying to teach me a lesson, and I’d like to say that this incident made me realize how much I loved my little sister and that I needed to pay more attention when I was supposed to be watching her. Unfortunately the only thing that was going through my mind when Mom and Tanna explained what they’d done was how unbelievably fucking evil they were.

The Duke vs. The Dude


A week or two ago The Keeper and I watched the original 1969 version of True Grit with John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby. Last night we went to see the remake starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld. We were expecting it to be easy to find seats. We were wrong. The movie has been out for three weeks and the theatre was packed.

There were quite a few differences between the 1969 True Grit and the 2010 True Grit, and I’m about to outline and compare as many of them as I can remember. So, just in case anyone reading this hasn’t seen either version, here’s your spoiler alert.

The first difference I noticed was that the new movie had a narrator, an older Mattie Ross, who explained the events which led to her hiring Ruben ‘Rooster’ Cogburn to pursue her father’s murderer. In the original version they actually show her father saying goodbye to the family, Mattie doling out cash for his trip and then the murder. While the narration isn’t bad and it moves you on to the action a little faster, I kind of like the opening couple scenes from the original better. Seeing Mattie with her father makes it a little easier to relate to her and root for her even though the character is a socially inept, abrasive little bitch.

There were a few minor changes once Mattie gets to the city, including her passing her first night in the room where the undertaker prepares bodies and her cornering Rooster for the first time in an outhouse. But mostly the story moves along in the same way and no important details seem to be changed. The next big change, in my opinion, comes when Mattie and Texas Ranger La Boeuf chat for the first time. In the original, La Boeuf stops Mattie in the dining room of the boarding house they’re both staying in and explains that he’s after the same man she’s just hired Rooster to go after. In the new movie, Mattie wakes up with La Boeuf sitting in her room staring at her and smoking a pipe. This makes La Boeuf’s comment about how he’d considered stealing a kiss especially creepy in the new movie, which I thought was kind of unnecessary.
Another big change comes directly after that conversation. In the 1969 True Grit there is a scene where Mattie walks in on Cogburn and La Boeuf commiserating about the upcoming manhunt they intend to embark on. Mattie gets upset because she’s paying for Cogburn’s services and doesn’t want Chaney, her father’s murderer, to be taken back to Texas to be tried, which is what the Marshall and the Ranger intend to do. That scene doesn’t happen in the new movie. They make up for the lack of exposition later with a conversation between Rooster and Mattie once the three of them are on the trail, but it still threw me a little that they left that part out of the new movie.

Once they all get on the trail the story progresses in roughly the same fashion in both movies, except for three glaringly huge differences. In the new movie La Boeuf and Cogburn get into an argument about their respective services in the Civil War, which leads to La Boeuf parting ways from Cogburn and Mattie. The argument happens in the original, but La Boeuf doesn’t leave. Shortly after the split, Rooster suspects that La Boeuf is following them in an attempt to use them to flush Chaney out, but it turns out to be a really weird Grizzly Adams lookalike who points them toward a dugout shelter they should be able to use for the night. In the original they never meet any such man, and Rooster already knows about the dugout. And finally, La Boeuf ends up rejoining the other two but then they all run into a dead end and Rooster gets all emo and decides to call it quits, which prompts La Boeuf to leave them yet again. None of this happened in the 1969 version.

As far as I can tell the scenes that were added, the three above as well as some other minor ones, do nothing to advance or really change the plot. All they really do is add some humor and a bit of conflict, which I found unnecessary. Not that I don’t like to laugh, I just never really felt this was supposed to be a comedy. Overall though, I don’t think that changing a few of the details and adding a few things is bad. When I walked out of the theatre, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the changes, but after thinking about it I can’t say that I dislike the new movie. Perhaps that is partially due to the acting.

Hailee Steinfeld was a perfect Mattie, aside from the fact that she’s very cute and Mattie is supposed to be plain if not downright ugly.

Matt Damon plays the somewhat cocky Texas Ranger better than Glen Campbell probably ever could have, which may be why his character was given so much more depth in the new movie.

And Jeff Bridges is the most worthy successor to The Duke that I can think of. To kick off the final gun battle of the movie, he delivers the line “Fill your hand, you sonuvabitch!!” better than Wayne did in the original.  

But even so, I have to say I liked the original just a teeny, tiny bit more. It’s a close call. If I had to rate them I’d give the 1969 version a 9 out of 10 while the remake would get an 8.5, but that still means The Duke wins. Though I will say, I did like the wardrobe in the new movie far, far better than the old.

Note: I found out during the credits of the remake that these movies were based on a book by Charles Portis. I haven’t read this book, but from what I can surmise from Amazon reviews of it, the new movie actually follows the book far more closely than the original movie did. I intend to read the book eventually, and if the new movie really is as close to the book as I’ve been made to believe, I may change my ratings to be equal, since I hate when a movie is based on a book but doesn’t doesn’t follow the book well.

Intactivists Are To The Anti-Circumcision Movement What The Westboro Baptists Are To Christianity

This morning when I was checking my Twitter feed I saw that Lenore from Free Range Kids had posted a video having to do with anti-circumcision activists, or “intactivists” as they like to call themselves. The video gives a summary of the experience of one mother whose child died, due to a heart condition he was born with, the day after he was circumcised. The mother, Jill from the blog The Real Life of a Red Head, describes how after posting about her son’s death in her blog she was attacked online. People left horrible, nasty comments about how it’s her fault her baby died and that she should be charged with manslaughter. She says they stole pictures of her baby from her blog and are treating him as a martyr for their cause. They even went so far as to call the coroner to demand a review for his cause of death and were planning some kind of protest.

After watching the video, I went to this woman’s blog. I haven’t been able to find the nasty comments, but I’ve found multiple posts from her addressing this issue. I’ve also found gut wrenching posts about her pain and grief. When I had only seen the computer generated video, I was disgusted. Now that I’ve read a little bit of what this woman has to say, I’m outraged.

I made my opinion on circumcision pretty clear, I think, in the title of my first post on the topic: Just Say No To Mutilating Your Baby’s Penis. I am generally supportive of the anti-circumcision movement in this country. But what these “intactivists” have done to this mother and her family is abhorrent. They have coopted HER DEAD CHILD to their cause without even asking her permission, and they have attacked her for a choice which, in the end, didn’t really matter at all. In my mind, they are on par with the scum-claiming-to-be-human of the Westboro Baptist Church.

And I know that not all those who identify themselves as intactivists agree with those who’ve made this woman’s life hell. I saw more than one kind, sympathetic comment on her blog from people who were against circumcision. Unfortunately, every group or movement has extremist idiots who give the whole lot a bad name to the public, and from now on in my mind that name is going to be “intactivist”. The sane people who oppose circumcision aren’t intactivists, they’re just activists. Anti-circumcision activists.