Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Family "Fun" Night Enthusiasm Gap

Happy Halloween, O.H.M. fans! It's the first sunny Halloween in Juneau that I can remember in ten years, so I consider this a good omen for all.

Awhile back, I reported on the carnival enthusiasm gap, that unique phenomenon in which kids and adults experience vastly divergent levels of enthusiasm for a traveling carnival.

Today, I bring you a similar dispatch from last night's Halloween-themed "Family 'Fun' Night." 

Family "Fun" Night is a monthly fundraiser/chaos-fest organized by the Juneau School District. For $10, you can drop off your child (2nd grade and up) or accompany your child (below 2nd grade) to an elementary school common area while they get their faces painted, do a cake walk, draw pictures, play dodge ball, and generally scream and run around for two hours. 

The "fun" part of Family Fun Night is not officially in quotes. But I like to put it in quotes, because again, Family "Fun" Night provides a HIGHLY qualified level of fun. As in, it's fun for kids. Adults . . . not so much.

Last night was Game 3 of the World Series featuring our hometown Mets, so I gave Geoff a well-deserved hall pass and jumped on the grenade of Family "Fun" Night. By far, the hardest part was the fact that I was required to attend Family "Fun" Night sober, because I was driving my own children AND someone else's child there, and was supposed to responsibly monitor all three of them for two hours.

The moment I arrived, I regretted not having moved in across the street from the school: The only thing that can edit the quotes out of Family "Fun" Night is alcohol, and a lot of it at that.

The halls were bedecked in festive Halloween decorations, and the kids were likewise trial-running their costumes. All of the adults, including the parent volunteers, looked like shell-shocked zombies, and not because that was their costume.

I immediately lost track of my charges and told myself it was OK because this was a confined space with well-monitored exits. Which was true, but still didn't entirely alleviate the sensory assault that was 300 children hopped up on sugar, running around in said confined space at top speed.

I exchanged knowing glances with another parent. I can't be sure, but I think we silently communicated that we were both in the middle of a Family Fun Night enthusiasm gap, and simply grateful that it wasn't taking place in our living rooms.

Isaac as a leopard. Yes, that's the "blood" of a "gazelle" around his mouth.

Friday, October 30, 2015

I'm Just Gonna Leave This Right Here: "Nutscaping" Is a Thing

When an alert reader told me about "nutscaping" I thought it had something to do with guys shaving their nuts. But no! It's all about bros taking sack-selfies in front of Mt. Rushmore and tropical beaches.

A report and slideshow on this new amazeballs (pun intended) trend in photography from dumb-bros-with-smartphones can be found here.

In the interest of gender equality, I am starting a competing trend called "ponscapes," where women take pictures of themselves in front of stunning landscapes--with a tampon.

Is this as stupid and obscene as nutscaping? Probably not, but it seems easier than trying to get your ovaries (the female equivalent of balls) into a panorama of the Grand Canyon. And since I live in Alaska, I've got a lot of inspiration.

BEHOLD: The world's first ponscape! This is taken against the dramatic backdrop of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. I had to do it fast, because rain. And we all know balls hold up better under water than tampons do.

Obvi, I will be starting a wiki-gallery of ponscapes by separate post. Send yours to me today, and be the first to get a jump on the female version of nutscaping!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Worth of a Girl: Why My Daughter's Weight Is None of My Business

And it's not anyone else's either. Let me explain.

I've written about this before, like here and here, so it's not as if this is a new topic. But as long as society keeps telling people (girls and women especially) what their bodies should look like, I will keep blogging about why I think that's a bad thing.

I grew up with the adults in my life (my grandmother, my father, my mother) constantly telling me I was overweight (I wasn't) and needed to eat less and exercise more. They would police my dinner plate and shoot me "looks" across the table. They said life would be "hard" as a fat girl. They said they didn't want me to "struggle." They sent me to a nutritionist at 13. They meant well. 

And guess where it got them? Nowhere. Well, not exactly nowhere. It got them ten years of eating disorders and a number on the scale--which as I type this blog post--is exactly the same as where they started more than 20 years ago.

That's why I vowed things would be different with my own daughter. 

Oh, she already knows "fat" is bad, because people have already called her fat and "hurt her feelings"--including her very own grandparents. But my job as her mother is to counteract--not reinforce--society's paradigm of the worth of a girl. 

So what--and where--is the true worth of a girl?

The true worth of a girl is in her character. It's in her intellect. It's in the way she treats her friends, her family members, and the people in her community. It's in her self-confidence and her love of math, art, and leadership.

It's not in the size of her pants. It's not in the size of her belly. It's not in how many pats of butter she puts on her pancakes, or in how many boys ask her to the prom. It's not in the well-intended efforts of older people with their own deeply-entrenched body issues who are trying to shame her into being "healthy" because of their own insecurities and prejudices. 

My daughter is healthy. She is active. She knows exactly what she needs to feel full. She knows exactly which foods are nutritious fuel for her body and which are processed junk. I can't make my daughter "skinny" any more than I can make her blue eyes brown. And I wouldn't want to. 

So while my daughter's weight is none of my business, her self-esteem is. And I absolutely refuse to let the former dictate the latter.

"Holding Space" is the New "Shut Up and Listen"

"Holding space" is a new-agey-type term that I started to hear floated around a lot in the past couple of years. 

Suddenly, everyone seemed to be talking about "holding space" for friends, holding space in therapy, holding space in yoga, holding space all over the place.  For all I know, "holding space" isn't really a new expression, but I'd never heard it before, so naturally I went where everyone goes when they've never heard of something: The Googles.

I found out that "holding space" basically means listening without judgment, and that it's really just a new phrase for an old concept: It's called shut the fuck up, stop being a narcissist with your own agenda, and try to see the world through someone else's eyes and from someone else's perspective. In a word, it's empathy.

I suck at SO many things: baking; sewing; driving a stick shift; sitting still. But empathic listening is not one of them. One of my biggest and only strengths is the ability to listen to other people's problems without judgment and maintain their confidences. 

This is a valuable skill and it's easy to acquire. All you have to do is take yourself out of the equation. Instead of just waiting for your turn to talk, instead of offering your own, cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all solution, instead of worrying what the outcome of a particular conversation might be for you, instead of assuming that the way you would handle something is the "right" way to do it, instead of feeling giddy over a piece of salacious gossip--instead of all of that--it is extremely helpful to just shut the fuck up and listen and consider things from someone else's point of view for five seconds.

In the modern world, people don't make the time to really listen. Everyone is always "swamped" and "crazy," running on a treadmill (literally and figuratively), staring at screens, running on a treadmill while staring at screens, and generally ignoring their fellow human beings. 

It all adds up to a lack of self-awareness, compassion, empathy, and--yes--space. On a macro-societal scale, it leads to things like "white guilt" and "white fragility" because white people don't want to just listen to black people and actually hear what they are saying about racism, because they're too busy defending themselves. On a micro-friendship scale, it leads to things like trying to manage other people's relationships and life-decisions in a way that might work just fine for the listener, but not for the person who actually has the problem.

If "holding space" means shutting the fuck up and making time for real human connection devoid of narcissistic self-investment, then I'm all for holding space.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

10 Small, Insignificant Things He Does That Mean He's Seriously Not That Into You

Facebook must know I'm a neurotic basket case, because it's always trying to make me read crap from some online magazine called "Elite Daily" that calls itself "The Voice of Generation Y." It's full of listicles and poorly-written blog posts about relationships and love gone wrong.

The latest thing Facebook-via-Elite Daily tried to cram down my throat was this article. The gist of it is that you can tell your boyfriend really loves you when he goes to your co-worker's house warming party; buys you tampons at the grocery store; and stocks his kitchen cabinet with Junior Mints just 'cause you like Junior Mints. 

Shit like that.

But usually most women need help realizing the opposite: that a man seriously does NOT love them based on his actions. Luckily, that's where O.H.M. comes in, with this handy list of 10 small, insignificant things he does that mean he's seriously NOT that into you:

1. He refuses to pick you up from the airport or train station under any circumstances, forcing you to make your way to his apartment in the pouring rain alone, where he is sitting in the living room playing X-Box.

2. After you text him five times and leave six voice mail messages, you don't hear back until 1:00 a.m. the following Saturday night, at which time he is drunk-dialing you for sex.

3. Following grade D sex under scenario 2 above in which you fail to have an orgasm, he makes you sleep on the couch because he "doesn't sleep well in a bed with other people."

4. One of your close family members dies and he skips the funeral for a Knicks game. Granted they were court-side seats, so hey.

5. You keep leaving your toothbrush in his bathroom, but you keep finding it in the wastebasket. 

6. When you run into him at a bar, he pretends not to see you. When he sees you, he pretends not to know you.

7. He keeps calling you Amber and sometimes Tiffany, and your name is neither Amber nor Tiffany.

8. When you get into a crowded situation such as a concert or a sporting event, he ditches you at the first possible opportunity and never looks for you again for the rest of the night.

9. He refuses to hold your hand in public or in private.

10. Both on and off drugs and alcohol, he keeps saying over and over again: "I'm seriously just not that into you. I'm not sure what else (besides not putting my penis into your vagina every now and then) I can possibly do to make you understand how profoundly just not that into you I really am."

You're welcome, ladies!

Video: These 7 Local Alaska TV Commercials Will Make Your Day

You don't have to live in Alaska to appreciate the beauty of the low-budget TV commercial aired during major sporting events on national television. Alaska has some of the very best of these ads that the free world has to offer, and I strongly urge you to waste the few minutes required to watch each of these in full. 

I will keep my editorializing to a minimum, because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then these seven videos are worth TEN thousand.

1. Twin Dragon Chinese Restaurant ("Twin Dragon, Twin Dragon, Mongolian barbequeeeeee, Twin Dragon, Twin Dragon, can we cook up something, fresh just for you?" I defy you to not let this ear-worm of a jingle hijack your head).

2. Ted Saddler's "Mattress Ranch" ("Next to the bus barn in Wasilla now is where we is! Save more bucks at the Mattress Ranch")!

3. Sicily's Pizza: (Call 333-8000! They don't use "the synthetic stuff").

4. The Ulu Factory: (Take the trolley there--it's free IF you're going to the Ulu Factory!)

5. Toyo Stove (Product Overview): (I love the authentic interaction between this guy and his dog):

6. David Green, Master Furrier: (The kids are really getting into the action here):

7. Dr. Hu's Family Dentistry/Smiles of Alaska (Not to be confused with British television cult hit TV program Doctor Who. Note: "You can go to somebody who's cheaper, but you're gonna get long lasting teeth with Dr. Hu.").

This Surgery Will Fix Your Camel Toe!

Aficionados of O.H.M. will recall prior posts about plastic surgery to turn your brown eyes blue and make your vagina whiteToday, thanks once again to an alert reader, I am forced to revisit the amazing and ever-hilarious topic of increasingly extreme and ridiculous plastic surgeries.

In a compelling advertorial/advertarticle for plastic surgeons on New York City's Upper East Side, The New York Post--NYC's shittiest and most popular tabloid--reports that "women are getting labiaplasty to look good in their yoga pants":

Well now.

I don't believe in plastic surgery, unless it's a free tummy tuck and a boob job with zero recovery time and no chance that I will die under the knife and forever be posthumously criticized as stupid and vain. Then I'm all ears. I'm also all ears now, or all lips, as the case may be. 

My love of yoga pants is well-trodden territory, but I've been less vocal about my camel toe anxieties. If it weren't for my giant vajayjay, I'd be sure to wear yoga pants more often, which is why I need to go carve a few slices off my roast beef for $5-7 large. 

Except I can't really afford this procedure, because my kids want skating lessons and shit. So I'm hoping they let me pay in that oft-used '90's currency, Camel Cash, from the back of Camel cigarettes. As I recall, in addition to duffel bags and T-shirts, labiaplasty to repair camel toe was one of the items Phillip Morris allowed you to redeem with this:

According to the Post, one patient told the surgeon featured in the article, Dr. Richard Swift, to "make [her] look like Barbie!" Another physician who is adhering firmly to the Hippocratic Oath of "do no harm" which doctors literally learn on day one of medical school, pointed out that "more women are pursuing labiaplasty to correct labia-related issues that are interfering with their ability to perform sexually, to perform daily tasks such as exercise, or are merely causing discomfort."


Because nothing will help your "ability to perform sexually," "perform daily tasks," or alleviate "discomfort" like lying down on a table under alien autopsy lights and letting a man hack away at your nether parts in order to make you "look sleeker in so-called 'athleisure wear,' made from Lycra-like fabrics which often compress the area." 

We wouldn't want our "areas" unduly "compressed," and we definitely want Dr. Edwards to carefully slice our excess gyro meat hunks off our crotch pork-tornados so he can get that new Audi convertible he's been eyeing with $0 down and 0% APR financing. 

Dr. Swift added that "one of my patients was particularly self-conscious doing Pilates in a leotard--so much so that she was afraid to do certain moves." AFRAID to do certain PILATES moves? I'm not a doctor, but if you're afraid to do certain Pilates moves, and this fear is sufficiently problematic that you are voluntarily paying someone to mutilate your snatch, I'm guessing you probably need a psychiatrist--not a plastic surgeon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Truly Your Deleted Items Folder Says Something Profound About You as a Person and You Cannot Push Delete On Your Soul

Deleted Item #1: “Missing Large 3-Hole Punch”: Describes to hundreds of people that a “large 3-hole punch” is missing from the third floor of an office building in a distant city 500 miles away, thus giving you plausible deniability in the disappearance of the office supply. Indicates that you have selected a life path that should cause you to become concerned about the disappearance of a "large 3-hole punch" under mysterious circumstances.

Deleted Item #2: “MBMcAfeeSaasReport”: An automatically-generated weekly report of spam received which is--in and of itself!--spam. Indicates that you live in an Internet-era version of a short story by Franz Kafka, wherein you would be unsurprised to awake one morning as a computer virus.

Deleted Item #3: “Glacier Swim Club Weekly Update”: A weekly update from your child’s swimming organization. Indicates you are a scatterbrained, inattentive parent who is only putting your child in swimming lessons so she can get some exercise and learn how not to drown.

Deleted Item #4: "Fun Run/Walk Reminder": A reminder that at some point in the not-too-distant-future, some people you work with will be doing a charity fun run/walk in a distant city 500 miles away. Indicates your belief that the words “fun” and “run” should never appear in the same sentence, not even when they rhyme. Further indicates that you are a lazy, antisocial shitstain.

Deleted Item #5: “Your AT&T Bill is Now Ready for Payment”: An electronic version of your AT&T bill that you pay automatically anyway. Indicates that you are a dumbass sucker with a smartphone and an email address who, like every other similarly situated dumbass sucker with a smartphone and an email address, is literally paying for air and receiving weekly salt-in-the-wounds electronic reminders of that fact.

Deleted Item #6: “New Arrival: Spartacus is Now on Netflix”: An alert that Spartacus is now on Netflix. Indicates that Netflix doesn’t know you at all, thereby confirming your growing suspicion that, as a general matter, you are deeply misunderstood.

On Over-Praising

When the Baby Boomer generation was coming of age, there was no real concept of children's mental health, bullying, abuse, or other psychological problems. Kids with behavioral issues were marginalized and ridiculed as freaks, and it was perfectly acceptable for a teacher to rap a kid with a ruler, or for a parent to smack a kid upside the head for having a fresh mouth.

When I was growing up, that was all much less acceptable, although adults still turned a blind eye to bullying among children, kindergarten graduation was a contradiction in terms rather than an occasion generating its own cottage industry of Hallmark cards, and you didn't get a trophy every time you wiped your ass. The sharp sting of defeat came often, and I can't say it was always a bad thing.

Personally, I land somewhere in the middle on all of this in my own role as a parent. I think it's good that it's no longer OK to open a can of whoop-ass on your child just for acting like what they are--a child--and I think it's good that adults have less tolerance for kids tormenting each other. But I'm also one of those "hey wait a minute" parents who thinks maybe we've gone a LITTLE bit too far with the praising and the rewarding. 

I often catch myself doing it, and I think most parents with young children in 2015 would recognize this situation: Your kid brings you something they made. Now, some of the stuff they make is legitimately cool, but some of it is also crap that they threw together in five seconds, and they are smart enough to know the difference. Yet you still react the same way every time: OH MY GOD HONEY!!!! THAT'S AMAAAAZZZINNG!!!!" Even if they are giving you crap, and they know it.

Case in point, I recently returned from a work trip to this wrapped box:

The note is a little hard to read, but it says "Welcome back Mommy. I hope you like it. I worked really hard on it." (Emphasis mine). 

Paige knew exactly what she was doing with that last sentence. She was trying to tell me that what could conceivably be mistaken for crap was in fact not really crap. And because the difference was not entirely obvious, she was going to tell me she "worked really hard on it" which is code for: "I do not consider this to be crap. Do not make me throw it out, and please praise it appropriately." In short, she was playing my heartstrings like a virtuoso. 

Because here's what was in the box:

The note had the desired effect as I immediately began praising this haphazard assemblage of construction paper, cardboard, and yarn. I wanted to have an honest conversation with her, because she's actually a great artist and often makes some very cool shit that I would never throw away. I wanted to ask: "Paige, did you actually work really hard on this? Or are you just wanting some attention from me? It's OK. You can admit that you didn't actually work really hard on this, and we can just go spend the whole day together instead--I missed you a lot and I'm happy to be home with you now." (Side note: I was prepared to believe that she worked really hard on wrapping the thing that I refused to believe she actually worked really hard on making, a suspicion later confirmed by her father).

But that convo seemed like too much effort, and also too intense. I worried her feelings might be hurt, or that I might start experiencing working mom guilt at intolerable levels. So all I said was "OH MY GOD HONEY!!!! THAT'S AMAAAAZZZING!!!"

And I left it at that.

Don't Miss Barfing at These Three Dads Judging Girls in Leggings on Fox & Friends

For today's WTF files: Do not miss Jezebel's summary of Fox News' invited "panel of fathers" who went on national television to watch young women parade out in leggings and state whether or not they would let their daughters leave the house in that. 

Once you read the Jezebel post and watch the video clip, take the following quiz to see whether you've fully absorbed its content:

1. The guy on the right (Willie Robertson from Duck Dynasty) should do which of the following things before being permitted to comment on someone else's appearance:

(a) Shave scary beard.
(b) Loosen bandanna around head as it is constricting blood flow to brain.
(c) Remove hands from vicinity of crotch to prove he is not hiding a boner.
(d) All of the above.

2. The guy in the middle (Fox legal analyst Arthur Aidala) is laughing uproariously because:

(a) He is on his way to the bank to cash his check from Fox for this.
(b) He got out of doing a careers panel at some third tier law school for this.
(c) He thinks promoting objectification and rape culture is hilarious.
(d) All of the above.

3. The guy on the left (Andrew Sansone, husband of Julie Banderas of Fox News) looks uncomfortable because:

(a) This is incredibly stupid and he knows it.
(b) He has stock in Lululemon and neglected to disclose his conflict of interest.
(c) He suddenly realizes that it's actually not very good or healthy for fathers to dictate their daughters' physical appearance and/or imply that their clothing choices make them sluts, as doing so can lead to shame and a loss of personal autonomy, since after all, fathers assuming that their daughters are first and foremost a sexual commodity is bad for their self-esteem and implies that a choice to wear leggings or not should somehow conform to or be driven by the gaze and leering of male strangers with their own fathers creepily acting as arbiters of said leering.
(d) All of the above.

Fox News Invites 'Panel of Fathers' to Discuss the Merits of Leggings

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Tennis Affair

Husband: I'm afraid you're going to leave me for your tennis instructor.
Wife: But I don't have a tennis instructor.
Husband: You don't? Then who was that guy I saw you playing tennis with earlier?
Wife: Um... actually that's just the guy I'm having an affair with. We like to play tennis sometimes.
Husband: D'OH!!

Do Not Fuck With Me, For I Am Internet Explorer!

I am the mighty and embattled web browser Internet Explorer, and I will not go down without a fight. I refuse to meet the same fate as floppy discs and those ink-jet printers that used perforated paper and fell into obsolescense before me.

While the new-fangled Google Chrome might be the preferred browser of entitled and tech-savvy millennials, I still live prominently on the desk tops of grandmas and government workers everywhere. In fact, I remain the default browser of choice and even necessity for these demographics! And Firefox? Don't get me started on that harlot.

Just last year, a random, obscure online publication called "Softpedia" declared that I was "much more popular than Chrome and Firefox" and "clearly the top leader of the browser world." 

Wanna know why? No? Well who cares. I'm going to tell you anyway. I'll tell you in one word. I am an EXPLORER! I am in the same league as Ferdinand Magellan and Neil Fucking Armstrong! What's Chrome? A gray colored metal. What's Firefox? Nothing. A fox with its tail on fire? I mean, who do these two-bit upstart browsers think they're dealing with? Yeah, Windows 10 is rolling out "Microsoft Edge." Oh what. You haven't heard of it?

I rest my case.

I am--and remain--the DOMINANT web browser in the WORLD. And even though I'm the substandard product of an antitrust-violating monopoly, slower than a land snail on quaaludes, and suck harder than a super massive black hole in outer space, people are used to me and can't get rid of me for reasons that remain unclear but that continue to inure to my benefit. 

In short: I am--and will continue to be--In. Your. Fucking. Face.


Ben Carson Says "There's a War on What's Inside of Women"

Ok ladies, this is an official call to arms for your uteruses, fallopian tubes, ovaries, placentas, cervixes/cervical mucous, uterine linings, eggs, and all your other weird gross lady parts, because guess what? 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has literally declared war on your anatomy. 

In case you missed it, here's what the front-running contender for the Oval Office (no no no, not your vagina, the actual oval office) and literal brain surgeon said in August about accusations that his party had mounted "a war on women":
They tell you there's a war on women. There is no war on women. There may be a war on what's inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.

Well, at least he admits there's SOME kind of war involving women? Women shwomen, insides schminsides. It's all semantics, really. 

But if there IS in fact "a war on what's inside of women," then I'm declaring war on Ben Carson's dick. I also declare war on the many dicks that end up inside women's vaginas against their will on a daily basis. Also maybe on the occasional dildo or vibrator that doesn't perform as advertised. Also, I hear some women are into kinky shit like shoving a clarinet or a zucchini up in there, so let's declare war on clarinets and zucchinis too. While we're at it, let's draft the peanut butter oat bar I ate for lunch, because it's technically inside of me and it's not sitting very well.

Fuck it. 

I'm just gonna go right ahead and declare myself the General of this War on What's Inside of Women. Anyone who wants to sponsor my admission to Annapolis is more than welcome to do so. 

Stay tuned for the GoFundMe site where I'll be soliciting tuition donations.

The Kiddie Confederate Soldier Costume from Amazon is Your EVERYTHING This Halloween

Parents: Are you rushing to figure out what your child should be for Halloween next week? Well look no further! 

An attentive reader was searching for a sword for her son's pirate or ninja costume or some shit, and she happened upon the most original and patriotic Halloween costume of all time: The "Confederate Officer Child's Costume" from Forum Novelties! There are only 6 of these left in stock on Amazon, so you'd better hurry up and order yours today.

Now you might think that unless you're a semi-professional Civil War re-enactor or doing a school play where the Union traitors go down at Gettysburg, this costume might be considered the teensiest bit politically incorrect. 

Well fuck that noise. 

If you're a real 'Murican, you will go ALL in on this and make it a family costume: One of you can dress up as this kiddie confederate soldier; another can dress in black-face as human chattel; someone else can be Robert E. Lee; and if you have a big enough family, someone can be a KKK grand wizard or imperial dragon or whatever the fuck they call themselves. (Tip: It's pretty easy to re-purpose a ghost costume into a KKK uniform. There's tons of stuff on Pinterest about it). There is also a ton of confederate flag swag floating around ever since that whole "remove-the-Confederate-flag-from-public-spaces" kerfuffle.

Just check out some of these reviews on Amazon, and also on the cap, sold separately:
  • "Got a lot of compliments on this costume."
  • "Don't waist [sic] your money." 
  • "It will work for its intended purpose." 
And the most "helpful" review of all:
  • "For all Americans who are fed up with the Obama regime's failures, corruption, weakening of our great nation, and the condemnation of Christians, and the Lord Jesus Christ, they should wear rebel caps as a protest."
This costume is the perfect Halloween costume for dangerous white supremacists, history buffs, and any combination of the two. 

Sword and Musketoon rifle sold separately.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

In the Feels, Bro

I am probably what you would call an "empath." I don't say that proudly or happily. Actually it's just the opposite: the feelings that I have toward (and about) other people are frequently overwhelming to me, and I wish I could reliably do something to quiet them down. 

Something more, I mean, than getting intoxicated and crawling into a ball under the covers in a dark room. Sometimes in that moment, I feel like the universe before the Big Bang: compact, self-contained, a nucleus of matter, energy, and elements; floating in space and nothingness; waiting to explode.

A therapist I saw in my twenties compared my state of emotion to a Stradivarius violin: an instrument capable of a wide range of notes, but too delicate to play hard or often.

It feels like an apt analogy.

I spend a lot of time thinking about people's feelings. Even strangers. More than that, I spend a lot of time feeling their feelings. If I read something sad about someone, or if someone seems nervous--like a waiter in a restaurant, for example--I can't get it out of my head for days, even if I have no relationship to the person. I wonder what they are doing and thinking about for weeks.

So it's hard for me to be vulnerable in real relationships and friendships. The emotions I have are too blindingly intense, and it can feel like looking into direct sunlight.

Still, given the choice I would prefer to take it in the feels and deal with the intensity of that experience. Because ironically, it's in those moments when I think I might be dying inside that I always seem to feel the most alive.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

An Ill-Fated Trip to Double Tube Town?

Our history with pets in this household is dubious at best. (Recall: the short, eventful life of Shimmer the fish; the Valentine's Day demise of Feathers (also a fish); and treating the local Petco as a zoo). But Isaac's fifth birthday tomorrow presented an opportunity for redemption.

And so it was that a potentially ill-fated trip to "Tad Tubetown" (doubles version) began. Tubetown isn't a bong shop in Berkeley. It's a mail-order tadpole habitat service, which believe it or not, is actually a thing. 

You can see from the photo below that Isaac greeted the arrival of "Squiggles" the tadpole with enthusiasm. What he didn't know--and what I remain reluctant to tell him--is that Squiggles' sibling (the "double" in "Double Tubetown") didn't survive the trip to Alaska from whence he came.

When the habitat showed up on our doorstep, I opened the box and shook Squiggles' buddy around in its plastic baggie like that little brat in braces does in Finding Nemo in her uncle's dentist office. But he was tits up, and there was no getting around it: Squiggles' unnamed companion went to the great lily pond in the sky somewhere between the Portland Fed-Ex service center and Juneau.

Then there was the water. 

As you can also see from the instructions, it was "VERY IMPORTANT!!" that the inhabitants of Double Tubetown swim around in bottled SPRING water. Well, I went to the convenience store down the street and spent $17 on six bottles of Desani only to discover that Desani was filtered DRINKING water, not spring water. 

Then I had to go to a totally different store (after returning all the Desani), and choose between DISTILLED, DRINKING, SPRING, and some other types of water. I only ever drink tap water, so I was rather shocked at the sheer variety of "water" that exists in the supermarket.

Two jugs of SPRING water in hand, I finally came back with the right kind of water and we set up Double Tubetown with careful adherence to the directions.

Squiggles survived his first night chez One Hot Mess, but as of this writing, he looks a little listless and had to be prompted to motion with a sharp rap of knuckles on plexiglass.

I won't lie: the trip to Double Tube Town is looking ill-fated to say the least ...

Hurricaine Patricia Tragically Ends White Couple's Honeymoon

You guys. This is really serious news, as reported by ABC News all dressed up in its pink breast cancer ribbon for pink breast cancer ribbon awareness week. 

If you haven't been paying attention, the worst hurricane in the history of recorded weather in the Western Hemisphere has just decimated the coast of Mexico. Thousands of residents will go without water and power, and there will most certainly be a grave loss of life and property.

So what comes through on ABC News' official Twitter feed? Why, only the most tragic outcome of the entire storm, of course! Two cranky white honeymooners being forced to evacuate their hotel in Puerto Vallarta.

It isn't the bazillions of brown people who actually live in Mexico and kind of need it to be in one piece who matter you see. It's the thousands of people at destination weddings and honeymoons at exclusive resorts with whom we all must be the most profoundly concerned. 

For it is they who are most relatable. It's sooo much easier and more comfy to pretend that the worst thing about an unprecedented storm on a planet of constantly emerging "unprecedented" weather happenings is the loss of a security deposit and a few less margaritas.

ABC News to The World: "Shhhh ... go to sleep ..."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shit That Happens When I Try to Help My Kids Clean Up Legos

In a long-ago post, I railed against toys comprised of a million little pieces. I later compared Lego sets to a virulent strain of Ebola.

None of that has changed, and in fact, it's only gotten worse. Paige loves Legos, no doubt, and all the adults in her life know it. So when it comes time for toy-giving (which in my mother's case is unfortunately every single time she lays eyes on my children), there's always a Lego set in the offing. 

Some of these have been assembled in full and taken apart again, but most have been half-baked according to the instructions and then combined together in an enormous, colorful pile of tiny plastic pieces housed in a single Rubbermaid Action Packer tote. More often than not, that tote is dumped out onto the floor, where its contents blanket several square feet of floor space. It looks like this:

Grandma and Grandpa just arrived for a visit (the ones that care about the house being clean--not the ones who are trying to drown me in plastic), so it was time to clean up. But first, a hot shower followed by a Jameson on the rocks (also good prep for parental visitation). For only with the help of Jameson Irish Whiskey is cleanup of Lego-related squalor remotely tolerable. The problem though is that a buzz tends to undermine one's efficiency, and so it was that the kids and I began playing with the Legos we were supposed to be cleaning up. 

Por ejemplo, I made it my business to find each single-dot Lego piece, which I have dubbed "the onesie." I enlisted Isaac's help in digging around in the pile for every single onesie and linking them together into a single tower, like this. I was VERY proud of myself!

When I was done with that, I insisted that we find all of the "flat onesies" and stick them onto a "board." (Again, these are my own concocted names for these pieces, and have not been officially endorsed by Lego, Inc.). That project came out looking like this: (Note some of them are tiny little cookies and nickels! So satisfying)!

While Isaac and I were occupied finding "onesies" and "flat onesies," Paige was making a swimming pool out of an upside down mini-umbrella, and insisted I take a picture of the girl with a "torch-flame onesie" for hair bathing in it:

When all was said and done, we ended up with a bigger mess than we started with. But all of the carpet in our house is intentionally patterned after dirt and Lego pieces, with the intent that it absorb both. So I'm OK with it.

So Awesome! The Governor of Maine Doesn't Want to "Give His Wife the Checkbook"

I consider it a core duty of this blog to publicize hilariously pathetic public manifestations of complete asshattery (asshaberdashery?) wherever they are found. Fortunately, America always obliges by offering me ample material with which to practice my craft.

Today's gem comes to us courtesy of Maine Governor Paul LePage. 

For those who might not be familiar with the fine work of Maine's 74th Governor, Paul LePage took office in 2011 and since then has best been known for the following acts of statesmanship: Vindictive and record-high use of the veto power; blatant nepotism; refusal to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; commenting that the worst thing about BPA-laden plastic is that it gives women "little beards" when they microwave it (and then vetoing a bill to ban the substance--kinky!); removing a mural in a state office building depicting Maine's labor movement because businesses didn't like it; calling his own state employees "corrupt bureaucrats"; declaring the enforcement of federal health care reform "the new Gestapo"; commenting that reading the Maine newspapers is like "paying someone to tell you lies"; noting that "President Obama hates white people"; and complaining that his political opponents were trying to "give it to the people without Vaseline," apparently implying that they were fucking Maine citizens up the ass sans lube. 

There is much, much more, but we don't have all day.

According to The Maine Beacon (ostensibly one of the aforementioned lie-peddling Maine newspapers), this past Wednesday night the porcine politician added insane misogyny to his impressive dossier of attributes. 

In criticizing a citizen initiative intended to strengthen Maine's public campaign finance laws, he said: "That's like giving my wife my checkbook. I'm telling you, it's giving your wife your checkbook." 


Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women's Lobby and a supporter of the ballot measure called Governor LePage's "attitude toward women, toward relationships, and toward money so dated as to be bizarre." With all due respect to Ms. Townsend though, I totally relate to Governor LePage's dilemma.

See, every time my husband gives me the checkbook, I flip through it to take stock of my family's financial picture in light of my full-time salaried job as a government bureaucrat. I then refuse to give it back, for fear that a check might be written for a new guitar amplifier, power tool, or stereo component. I wouldn't want the man who takes care of my children all day long--and who necessarily makes less money than me because all the time he would otherwise be working, he is earning thousands of dollars in imputed income in the form of savings on prohibitively and punitively expensive out-of-home childcare--to have any fun toys.

But hey, I'm no Paul Krugman. I'm just saying I'm not sure Governor LePage realizes that the only thing anyone other than old ladies at the grocery store uses checks for anymore is to send distant relatives modest amounts of belated, afterthought birthday money.

I'm also not sure whether First Lady Ann LePage agrees she can't handle the responsibility of the family checkbook. But assuming she can't, I have a suggestion for what she should do the next time hubby slips up and gives it to her: Write a $10,000 retainer to the best divorce lawyer in Maine. 

Oh--and make sure it's a woman.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Draco Malfoy Sues Trey Gowdy for Identity Theft

In a case that promises to test the boundaries of international copyright and property law, fictional Harry Potter villain and British citizen Draco Lucius Malfoy has sued U.S. Congressman Harold Watson "Trey" Gowdy III of South Carolina's fourth congressional district for identity theft.

Mr. Malfoy's spokesperson, Tom Marvolo Riddle (better known as Lord Voldemort), told O.H.M. that "Draco has been carefully monitoring Mr. Gowdy's appearance and career for years, and their similarities are well-documented. There's even a Twitter hashtag devoted exclusively to their resemblance. But Mr. Gowdy's leadership in the Benghazi hearings was the last straw. We felt that Mr. Gowdy's public witch-hunt finally justified legal action. Draco believes Mr. Gowdy is tainting his villainous brand by emulating him without permission."

Among the similarities that Mr. Malfoy claims constitute identity theft on the part of Mr. Gowdy:
  • Perfection of cold, terrifying, and vaguely sociopathic American Psycho/Aryan Nation look.
  • Smug arrogance.
  • Has lots of money.
  • Preference for formal attire.
  • Distaste for Muggle-born mudbloods.
  • Mr. Gowdy joined scholastic honor society "Order of the Wig and Robe" in law school, the equivalent of Slytherin House.
  • Tendency to surround himself with goons, cronies, and nefarious hangers-on.
  • Calculating attempts to get enemies in trouble.
  • Wears "Harry  Hillary Stinks" button everywhere just like Draco did when he was supporting Cedric Diggory over Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament.
  • In chairing Benghazi panel, copied Draco's role in Professor Dolores Umbridge's "Inquisitorial Squad" to expose purported wrongdoers at Hogwarts.
Mr. Gowdy was occupied with inquisitorial activities at press time, and could not be reached for comment.

Two Adorable Senior Citizens Discuss Emojis and It's Hilarious

The following is the (almost) verbatim transcript of an actual conversation between two married senior citizens about emojis. The video-recorded conversation was sent to me via text from an anonymous source, and is transcribed here with permission:

Wife: What do you think about the word "emojis?"
Husband: What are emojis?
Wife: It's a hot new thing. Emojis, I believe, are the  . . . um . . . the sort of icons and pictures that you make when you email and text.
Husband: Oh, oh I see. Emojis. What do I think of them? [inaudible].
Wife: Yeah, I mean it's a whole new word! They just keep talking about emojis!
Husband: Oh yeah, now I've seen it. Now I recognize it. I've seen it. What do I think of the word?
Wife: It was in ... it was in the crossword puzzle yesterday.
Husband: Oh, oh.

Hilarious, adorable, and completely priceless!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

All I Want for Christmas is Gwyneth Paltrow's Medical License

Frequent readers will recall that all I wanted for Christmas last year was a novelty wax model of Gwyneth Paltrow's decapitated head in a Fed-Ex box from the movie Seven.

What I want for this Christmas is Goopy's license to practice medicine, which actually she doesn't have. But you wouldn't know that, because she has been spouting a bunch of unsubstantiated, dangerous bullshiz from her wood-fired, gluten-free pizza-hole claiming that bras cause breast cancer!

It's time for Goops to consciously uncouple her brain from her mouth, because the former is letting the latter deliver a whole Nordstrom bra-rack full of bollocks about things it knows naught about. 

Today, Salon reports that Goops is under fuego for pushing the widely discredited myth on her official website that underwire bras cause breast cancer. Speaking as someone who (a) has many friends and family members who have had breast cancer; (b) dons an underwire bra every morning and removes it at the first possible opportunity every single evening; and (c) only puts it back on for certain company, I'm the last person to promote use of ANY kind of bra if unwilling or unable. Fuck knows I hate that mesh and wire prison more than Goops hates McDonalds.

But I also know my many limits, and one of them is the unlicensed practice of oncology. Considering the breadth and likely suggestibility of Goopy's audience, I think it's pretty irresponsible for her to tell her fans that their titties might get tumors in 18 hours courtesy of Playtex. 

As one cancer survivor and advocate quoted in the Salon article so diplomatically stated, "If you get your advice from Gwyneth Paltrow, you're probably not serving yourself particularly well," with another noting that "articles like this don't educate; they simply create more fear and offer no value."

That's one way of putting it. 

Personally, I'm tempted to put it less graciously, and you know me:  I always give into temptation. So here is the O.H.M. bottom line on this jackass: Goops, you need to stick to what ya knows best: pilates, the Oscars red carpet, and Coldplay. Your name isn't Dana Farber or Sloane Kettering and you don't know shit about breast cancer.

Friends and survivors: what is your reaction to this straight fuckery?

Two American Women Texting About Justin Trudeau

AW1:  OMG did you see who Canada just elected Prime Minister?!
AW2: Justin Theroux right?
AW1: No asshole. That's Jennifer Anniston's husband.
AW2: Oh yeah. Wait a minute. Yes. I saw that actually. He's a total hottie. Jezebel did an article on him today. It was titled "Canadians Elect Guy Named Justin as Their Leader." They called him "non-controversially fuckable."
AW1: Totes hilarious.
AW2: He's like a total feminist too. I heard he's going to fill his whole cabinet with women.
AW1: God, why can't we live in Canada? I totes want to fill his cabinet!
AW2: That's what she said.
AW2: Seriously he looks like Michael Buble AND Justin Theroux but way smarter, amirite!?
AW1: Wait let me Google Michael Buble. Who is he again?
AW2: He sang that one really bad song that was literally EVERYWHERE two years ago. Wait, actually I think his name is James Blunt. They're both from Canada or maybe England I think.
AW1: Oh yeah him. Wait. I'm Googling them both now. OMG. Totally! 
AW2: I just looked at both of them. He actually looks like the love-child of Michael Buble AND James Blunt.
AW1: And also Justin Theroux. He also kind of looks like him too kind of, don't you think?
AW2: OMG totally.
AW1: Look who's on deck for us in 2016. Ugh. I'm totally moving to Canada.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Soccer Mom Sport Pod is Totally a Thing and We All Must Have One Right Now

I was thinking about calling this post a "product review," but decided that would be disingenuous since I haven't actually seen or used this product yet. But you can bet your last folding chair that I plan to!

For a single Benjamin (plus shipping and handling), this pop-up sports tent from Anthem Sports can be yours! Here's how the good folks at Anthem describe the "Under the Weather Personal Sport Pod Pop-Up Tent for Parents":
This one-of-a-kind personal pop-up tent is perfect for outdoor sporting events. It provides protection from sun, wind, rain and snow, while watching kids sporting events, fishing, hunting, and more. The tent sets up in seconds and folds down into a 22" diameter carry bag. Inside conditions can be up to 30 degrees warmer than the outside temperature.
Here's how it looks while in use:

The product description goes on to list all the specs (e.g. lightweight and portable, provides shade and SPF 50 sun protection, zippered windows for ventilation, etc.). But being a reluctant soccer mom myself, there are other product specs NOT listed that I believe are highly applicable:
  • Allows you to suffocate rival parents ("Here, come try out this cool new tent thingie I just got!" ... ZZZIIIIPPPPP ... nighty-night)!
  • Clear windows allow rival parents to view sibling of player conspicuously reading War and Peace in Russian and immediately experience a sense of competitive academic anxiety because their own child is playing Minecraft on an iPad.
  • Lightweight structure allows you to kick pod over on its side or push it over from behind in anger whilst pod is occupied by frienemy parent. They'll never know what hit 'em!
  • Sound-resistant polyester and polyurethane paneling allows you to zip yourself inside and scream very loudly in rage without being heard.
  • Great for surviving the nuclear holocaust if it happens to coincide with the age 6 and up co-ed outdoor soccer tourney.
  • Perfect for hot-boxing with weed during painful and punishing kids' soccer matches.
This is so totally perfect for all outdoor sports, especially those played in a rain forest by parents and kids pretending not to give a shit who wins or loses. I don't know about you guys, but I'm buying mine TODAY!

Under The Weather Personal Sport Pod Pop-Up Tent

Alarm-Fail Follies

It happens to everyone at one time or another, though never in the exact same way. It's always startling, frustrating, and disorienting in the moment, and often funny in retrospect. It's the alarm-clock fail. How many meetings and flights have been missed in its wake? Far too many to count, I'm sure.

All I can say is that I was lucky I had nothing on my calendar before 10:00 this morning, because I was happily enjoying a camping trip with Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Stiller, a kid named Eric that I hadn't spoken to since second grade, and an unidentified, 90 year-old Tony Award-winning actress in Cambridge, Massachusetts when I heard Geoff grumble "What happened?" from across time and space.

I came to on the couch in Geoff's office/the spare bedroom, to which I was now slowly recalling I'd been evicted at 1:30 a.m. There had been a pee-in-the-bed/scary dream incident, the culmination of which (as usual) was both kids in my bed and me somewhere else. 

Except this time I forgot to set my cell phone alarm clock. 

I have a new "come-to-wakefulness-via-natural-sunlight" 30-watt light-bulb-based alarm system which, in theory, is supposed to slowly wake you with "natural light" meant to emulate "the sun." A doctor-friend told me to get it one day over margaritas, so naturally I ordered it on Amazon an hour later. I have used it exactly once since plugging it in about a month ago. 

During last night's pee incident, I somehow managed to turn it off while forgetting to turn on the iPhone "crystal" ring tone for our usual school-day rise-and-shine time of 6:40 a.m. (This precise wake-up time has been carefully calibrated to allow for the maximum amount of sleep while minimizing the volume of yelling and screaming required to get places on time. The latter still happens of course, but not enough to warrant moving the clock back even a single minute).

For better or worse (better, I think), the thing Paige currently fears most in life is getting a tardy slip at school. She got dressed in record time and presented herself to me for departure while I was still standing naked in the bathroom swallowing Prozac and trying to assess the collateral damage from the glaring red "7:35" that had blasted into my eyeballs just moments ago. 

"I don't care if I skip breakfast" she announced triumphantly as Geoff poured Isaac a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Her right front tooth, loose for weeks, was hanging by a thread and her hair was sticking up in eight different directions. I was certain the school would call child services, but I was determined to encourage her punctuality and demonstrate that I too could get ready for work in ten seconds if need be, despite not working as a firefighter for a living.

"Why can't I ever get you out of bed on a school day but on weekends you're up at 6:00 a.m.?" I asked with my mouth full of toothpaste. I knew the answer to this rhetorical question was "cartoons," and she knew that I knew it. Which is why she answered my question with a question of her own: "Are you going to do all your makeup shenanigans?" 

"No, I'll skip those today," I told her as I simultaneously spat into the sink and threw on the granny sweater I had just bought at Anthropologie for 20% off. A migraine was beginning to set in. I grabbed a non-travel mug of coffee and let it slosh all over my raincoat as I hustled Paige and her gigantic backpack out the door. "Are we going to make it on time?," she asked nervously. "Yeah yeah yeah," I muttered between gulps of coffee. 

I don't remember much else about the morning commute, but I know Paige made it to school before the bell rang and that I arrived at work looking sharp in my granny sweater. I'm not exactly sure what happened to Geoff and Isaac, but I don't consider that to be my problem right now. 

All's well that ends well in the alarm-fail follies. Amirite??

The infamous granny sweater.