Friday, April 26, 2019

The Alien Invasion is Imminent and I for One Could Not Be Happier

When I awoke at 2:00 a.m. this morning to pee for the third time that night (as is my habit) and checked my phone to make sure none of my east coast friends or relatives had been pushed in front of the A train on the way to work (as is also my habit), I stumbled across this WaPo article about multiple pilots reporting flying saucers to the United States Navy. Here's the gist:
As first reported by POLITICO, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis since 2014. Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month . . . 
In some cases, pilots — many of whom are engineers and academy graduates — claimed to observe small spherical objects flying in formation. Others say they’ve seen white, Tic Tac-shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind and no exhaust. 
“It’s very mysterious, and they still seem to exceed our aircraft in speed,” [an intelligence official] said, calling it a “truly radical technology.”
According to Mellon, awestruck and baffled pilots, concerned that reporting unidentified flying aircraft would adversely affect their careers, tended not to speak up. And when they did, he said, there was little interest in investigating their claims. 

Looks like all the Area 51 alien conspiracy theorists might finally be vindicated in the ultimate I TOLD YOU SO!!! I don't count myself among the believers, although I'll readily confess to having enjoyed the many--MANY--alien movies and shows on offer: X Files, Alien, Contact, Arrival, Colony, Ancient Aliens, Alien Encounters, Secret Alien Encounters, Unsealed: Alien Files, Alien Abductions, Roswell, Destination Truth, In Search of Aliens, UFO Hunters and . . . well . . . I could go on. Obvs.

Honestly though? I greet the imminent alien invasion as a rare glimmer of good news. After all, we are being ruled by a sentient Cheetoh-humanoid hybrid on a planet that is roasting to a crisp like a pig on a spit. So the thought of little green men descending to earth from another galaxy, scooping me up under a beam of blinding light, and conducting a thorough probe of my anus inside the confines of their high-tech aircraft covered in mysterious hieroglyphics sounds distinctly preferable to my current reality.

We aren't doing a very good job here on earth, so I think we should welcome the arrival of intelligent life, as opposed to the stupid life we have now. The awkward part is gonna be when they say TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER in their little green-man robot voices, and we have to introduce them to Trump. 

Like this is going to be so fucking awkward and embarrassing. How would this even go? Presumably someone from the Navy or Air Force would guide the saucer to the White House lawn, and discovering Trump not there, turn due south to Mar-a-Lago where they'd find him golfing. 

We would then have to explain golf to the aliens. And how would THAT go? Maybe kinda like this:

Um . . . so . . . we have this extremely random game we play for no reason? That is contributing to the death of our planet because it uses a disproportionate share of finite and critical resources? Where people with a lot of money like, take a stick and hit these little balls into holes? And our President is hitting little balls into holes with his sticks all the time? Instead of like, fixing any actual problems or doing his job? 

Then their robot voices would be like: SO VERY STRANGE. AND WHAT IS THIS MONEY YOU SPEAK OF, and then we'd have to explain THAT, like . . . 

So there's this green paper? Kind of the color of your skin? And our entire society is based on everyone trying to get more of it all day every day? Like everyone wants it and needs it to solve problems? But it also creates a lot more problems than it solves? 

And the more we tried to explain golf and money, the more ridiculous we'd sound.

And then they'd finally meet Trump and be like WOW, this is gonna be the easiest planet-takeover in the history of the time-space continuum! They'd probably have a little alien-huddle on their saucer and be like WE MUST CAPTURE THE ORANGE ONE WHO GRABS EARTH-BREEDERS BY THE SPAWN-HOLE. HE IS AN UNWIELDY DOTARD. VERY EASY TO LURE BACK TO ANDROMEDA 464 WITH GOOD INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

When you really think about it, an alien invasion is maybe the lifeline we've been waiting for all along.

Image result for alien

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Winter Gives Juneau a Booty Call

Winter: Hey
Winter: U up?
Juneau: New phone who dis?
Winter: lmao for real?
Juneau: yeah sorry software upgrade lost all my contacts.
Winter: it’s Winter!
Juneau: Oh lol I deleted you in Feb.
Winter: I know—ugh. Sorry I’ve been kinda MIA lately. I’m going through kind of a hard time with global warming and shit.
Juneau: k.
Winter: so ummmm ... I was thinking of coming to town for a couple days in April maybe.
Winter: and I was kinda wondering if maybe I could like crash on your couch or something maybe?
Juneau: srsly lol. are you tripping? where were you in Jan and Feb when Eaglecrest was in the fuckin hurt locker broseph?
Winter: I’m sorry lemme make it up to you I swear it’ll be dif this time. I’m in like a way better place.
Juneau: k.
Winter: no like seriously I’m really working on myself. Like I’m on a real self care journey and I’m coming back like stronger than ever next year.
Juneau: uh huh omg so tired I HAVE to go to sleep I have work in the morning.
Winter: what’re you doing for work these days?
Juneau: Lol really?
Winter: what?
Juneau: I’m pulling dog turds and needles out of snow berms (aka cleaning up your fuckin mess) so the cruise ship yahoos won’t see dog shit or litter 
Winter: that wasn’t my fault and you know it
Juneau: srsly not having this convo RN. See you next year maybe.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

My Juneau Bar Game is Rusty AF, Y’all!

That’s the sad fact of the matter.

Even in my twenties, I was bad at bars. And that’s saying something, since most of those years were spent in New York City with no shortage of them. But now that I’m (gulp) 41, that feeling of standing around awkwardly with a big purse in one hand, a hard-won amaretto sour in the other, and yelling “wha?!” into my friends’ ears while ogling men who are out of my league (and now young enough to be my kids) carries a decidedly thirsty and geriatric vibe.

It all started with this total bitch who had the gall to be born four years after me and therefore still possesses the stamina and confidence to leave her house. She’s also a close friend and it was 420 AND the drag show at the Rendezvous, so skipping this would've been like the pope missing Christmas mass at the Vatican. 

I had no choice.

The first humiliation of the night was destined to be parking. I drove down that little back alley behind City Hall (aka the Boulevard of Broken Dreams for its mercurial parking availability). But tonight I got lucky, and there were two giant spots complete with a young drunk couple pointing them out to me. They tried to wave me into the first spot, but I quickly decided it was too small and opted for the second.

Parallel parking under pressure is like trying to pee with a parole officer standing behind you. You kinda freeze up, or at least I do. And I suck at parallel parking to begin with. In fact, I live my entire life trolling for head-in parking. But, I was now this couple’s spontaneous entertainment, and I could feel them gawking in drunken awe as I—100% sober—made seventeen attempts to get my mid-sized Subaru into a parking space fit for a school bus.

“That was the worst parking job I’ve ever seen in my life!” the guy slurred effusively when I emerged, victorious, from the driver’s side door. I thanked him, took a dramatic bow, and headed on my way to the Rendezvous.

The only problem was I couldn’t remember which bar that was, that’s how long it had been since I’d been to a bar in Juneau. So I had to navigate the universal sidewalk gauntlet of arguing Saturday night drunks while squinting at every sign to make sure I was walking into the right place.

Immediately upon entering, I paid the cover and bellied up to a vacant corner of the bar where I saw my number one girl crush bar tending. She looked like she was having the time of her life. So I hugged her and in that moment experienced with new certainty the feeling that I had chosen the wrong career path coupled with my thrice-daily despair at being heterosexual.

I quickly found my friend, handed her a birthday G&T, and proceeded to watch Juneau’s best drag kings and queens strut the catwalk looking 10x better and more confident than I have ever felt in any gender role. It was at that moment that the emcee announced my arrival from the stage. My attempts to be a low profile old lady IRL had been thwarted once again by my big, loud, internet mouth.

“Libby Bakalar is in the house people!,” legendary Juneau drag icon Gigi Monroe announced from the stage to a room of 300 (much more vibrant) souls than me. “One Hot Mess, thank you for the work you do!” at which point a literal spotlight swung in my direction and I waved awkwardly to the people whose social media feeds I presumably pollute on the reg.

Simultaneously beaming and mortified, I knew I’d ideally need more than one drink for this. But unfortunately, I was driving and couldn’t afford to lose an entire Sunday of active parenting to a hangover. So the only thing I chased that G&T with was a handful of Advil and seven games of Words With Friends from my bed not 45 minutes later.

As for the Juneau drag scene, that shit is fucking LEGEND as always. (And I spent every summer of my childhood in Provincetown, Cape Cod, so I know what I’m taking about). I put all the respek in the world on these kings and queens. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I Shoulda Been a Woman Egyptologist, Randomly

That was my first mistake: being born a woman, because—and I don’t know who needs to hear this—being a woman fucking SUUUUUUUUUCKS donkey dongs!

My second mistake was failing to become an Egyptologist, randomly. 

In theory, I had the chance to make ancient historian-flavored lemonade out of my XX chromosome lemons. I coulda been a contender. I had all the good fortune and support available to a young lady of the 80s. Sure I was body-shamed, bullied by boys, and had eating disorders, but I always did my homework so the same boys who bullied me could cheat off of me too.

Yet what did I do instead? Like a dummy (mummy?) I went to law school. And I did a really good job of being a lawyer, only to get unconstitutionally fired by dudes, get a dude to sue those other dudes, and wait for yet *another* dude to (maybe?!) tell the whole world that the first dudes were wrong. I would’ve been better off studying pharaohs. Check this out:

Wai wai wait. “Who cares if you haven’t seen an ice cube in a month?” Um .... *raises hand.* Rebel king or no rebel king, all those old stone statues look the same to me. Akhenaten Shmakenaten. Fuck this 200 degree Fahrenheit dig, m’kay? I just want a frozen margarita. And I’m sorry, but no number of dope tomb artifacts can trump Cuervo on the rocks with salt. The future Dr. Bryan feels at home among pyramids?  WOOT for her! I feel at home lying on my couch, feeling unjustifiably sorry for myself, and blogging about a book that looks like it was made at Kinkos and illustrated by a first grader but is somehow— inexplicably—real.

Turns out being an Egyptologist is just as easy as any other career path: question, search for answers, analyze answers. That’s what I get paid to do anyway! I also do it in my personal life, like question: “why am I so fucking depressed every goddamned day?” Answer: “bad genes.” Analyze answers: “Perhaps I should climb into a time machine and be reborn as a Swedish man.”

BACK THE FUCK UP. Screw Sweden! I want to go back in time to ancient Egypt where I can read, write, own property, sue people, and work side by side with men. 

Oh wait... 

I have two goals as One Hot Mess Associate Professor of Fuckery at the School of Hard Knocks: (1) never accept a Facebook friend request from someone who claims to have attended the school of Hard Knocks; and (2) dunk on my enemies and breakdance on their proverbial graves like they were 1985 West 4th Street asphalt.

But whatevs. If Egyptology doesn’t work out, I could also choose/could have chosen from among these other STEM careers. Unfortch, astronaut isn’t listed because they don’t make space suits in our size. C’mon. NASA isn’t Nordstrom Rack, ladies.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

I Tried to Make My Own Janties. It Did Not Go as Planned.

Long time readers of this blog know that before I made it my daily business to call out our Sentient Cheetoh Overlord™ and his enablers, I dedicated many a post to the latest styles and fashions of Our Troubled Times.™  Several of these readers encouraged me to post about "janties," the new $315 jean "panties" that are all the rage (as my mother would say) at Coachella this year. Here's what they look like:

Now, knowing full well I was not prepared to spend 1.5 car payments on a glorified amalgam of Jockeys and cut-off jean shorts, I began digging through my massive piles of shit to find an appropriate candidate for my DIY janties experiment. What I unearthed were these knee-length Carters, which had previously been jeans, but sometime around 1992 became cut-offs. You will see in the next picture why I chose them for my victim.

As you can see, these cut-off jean shorts are none too flattering, especially with my post-Alaskan winter alabaster legs. They MIGHT be okay if I were in a junior high play starring as Huck Finn, but I'm not, so I promptly sacrificed these to fashion science.

Next, I found a craft scissors and began sawing away. I didn't really have a plan. And that, I’m afraid, is where things started to go wrong. "Measure twice, cut once." That's what my dad always told me. Welp, I didn't heed that paternal axiom, because I was too eager to get these janties on my body. So I didn't measure once, much less twice, and I absolutely massacred the shit out of these shorts.

No matter! They were looking pretty good, I thought. Pretty, pretty, pretttttyyyy good, as Larry David would say. Until I realized that I had made a fatal error. Specifically, I had irretrievably cut the most crucial part of the shorts: the crotch. In order for janties to "work" you sort of need the crotch part. Otherwise you basically just have a denim mini-skirt. Undeterred, I set out to fix the unfixable.

I did not have a needle and thread at the ready. And even if I had, I am a terrible seamstress. Regardless, I wasn't going to do things right when I could use a lazy short cut. So I quickly found a stapler and tried to staple the crotch back together. I decided to worry later about how a staple would feel on my vagina.

The stapler was a fail. The staple came right out and I knew I would need to find another office supply solution. ENTER BINDER CLIPS! Again, I would worry about the impact of two metal pincers on my poonanie at a later date. I had to get these janties TF on! Fashion demanded it!

NAILED IT! My DIY janties were not what I was expecting, but, pics or it didn’t happen. They came out looking more like the airport fashion style of 12 year-old tween girls in summer 2012, i.e. vadge-high jean shorts with pockets hanging out of the bottom. I didn't try moving or walking in my janties, because I was pretty sure that the binder clips holding the crotch together would either chafe my lady parts or fall off, and either way it was not going to be pretty. 

Ultimately, my DIY janties never saw the outside of my bedroom, and the world is a better place for it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Abstinence Only-Education for Parakeets

Does avian sex-ed exist? I’m guessing no. I’m generally not a fan of abstinence-only education, but when it comes to Violet and Steele, the two parakeets Isaac successfully lobbied me into getting from PetCo, it's the only acceptable route. I'll back up for a minute to explain how Violet and Steele (original proposed names Ruffnut and Tuffnut or Fred and George) came to be members of our family. 

Isaac and I were killing time at PetCo one day, which is Juneau's only zoo and a place Isaac likes to window-shop. The store smells like death, but that's because it's housing rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, rabbits, and all of their food and excrement. So it's understandable and after awhile in there olfactory fatigue takes over and you don't notice that there are chinchilla turds in your nose.

"Not today," I told him, as he insistently pressed the issue of parakeet ownership while deploying his most cloying voice and most crestfallen expression. "Maybe another day." 

I felt sort of bad about it. I grew up with cats, gerbils, and guinea pigs, but am now somehow deathly allergic to anything with fur. Even a weekend with Oliver, the class rabbit, proved too much for my histamine response. We have an aquatic frog named Squiggles, but as Isaac correctly notes, Squiggles "doesn't do anything." My retort is that he (or she) croaks out mellifluously in the night for a lover that will never arrive, but Isaac remains unimpressed.

Isaac loves animals. Absolutely loves them. He will pick up and cuddle everything from a gecko to a spider to a puppy or a rat. He's always been this way. One of my earliest Isaac memories is taking him to the gorilla exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in his little car seat carrier. A female gorilla came right up to the glass and began pointing and gesticulating wildly at him, eager, it seemed, to mother another primate.

Eventually Isaac wore me down about the parakeets, and Paige and I returned home from a weekend in Anchorage to find Violet and Steele in our abode. 

I had placed two conditions on the purchase of the parakeets. Well, three: (1) Isaac had to pay for them with his own money; (2) he had to read about how to take care of them and do it every day; and (3) we had to get two, because sentencing a lone parakeet to a life of solitude without a cell-mate seemed mean.

This last condition was problematic, though, because a quick Google search of "how to sex a parakeet" both drops weird cookies on your computer and makes clear that it is not easy to determine if you have two parakeets of the same sex or, God forbid, a mating pair. Something about the color of the "cere" which is the little hard piece over their beak might be a clue, but the basic gist is it's a crap shoot and you can't tell the sex unless you do a DNA sample, and my living room isn't 23&Me meets Jurassic fucking Park, now is it? And will I pay a vet a zillion dollars to neuter them? If that’s even a thing?

I don't think so. And that's where abstinence-only education for parakeets comes in. 

They are loud as all ever-loving fuck (I was warned about this). And I know you can teach them how to talk. But can you teach them to say "let's not fuck?" And have them actually internalize it and mean it? I hope so, because the last thing I want is to wake up to a parakeet egg (or worse, eggs plural) in Violet and Steele's cage.  

Because then my options are limited, and each one seems worse than the last. I wouldn't even know if the eggs were fertilized eggs or if one or both of the birds was a girl and just squirting out unfertilized eggs? That being said:

(a) I could let them incubate the eggs and--potentially--make a bunch of baby parakeets that I would then do . . . I'm not sure what with? I don't think the parakeet breeding and adoption market is particularly hot, though I haven't done a focus group or anything.
(b) I could remove the egg and compost it and/or return it to Mother Earth where a lucky raven or eagle would have it for breakfast.
(c) I could have it for breakfast.

Option (c) sounds disgusting. I eat chicken eggs so why should this be worse, and yet somehow it is worse. Much. Option (b) seems a little close to abortion to me. Don't get me wrong---I am fully pro choice. But I don't think Violet and Steele could consent to a compost-abortion, and consent is critical. Therefore, without knowing whether the eggs were fertilized, I don't think I would feel comfortable hucking them over the edge of my deck into the Tongass beyond.

Sadly, I think option (a) is the only possible solution. I know what's going to happen. I can already tell. There will be eggs and I am going to let nature take its course. The only thing that will fix this is repeating "please don't fuck" to Violet and Steele over and over again until they too can repeat it over and over again and actually act on it by refraining from copulating.

Good luck to me.

Monday, April 8, 2019

These Goys Forgot Some Key Shit!

These goys. Not guys. Goys. As in Gentiles. I had to laugh to myself when this old 2011 article from WaPo Style popped up in my Twitter feed last week. "A Jewish wedding, for two non-Jews." 

So I clicked the link to see exactly what "Jewish traditions" this couple incorporated into their wedding. I was disappointed (though not surprised) to learn it was just more of the same old same old: ceremony under the huppah (canopy); signing the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract); saying Kiddush (blessing over the wine); stomping on the glass, yadda yadda yadda. 

Traditions, trashmishions.

I wasn't offended by the arguable cultural appropriation aspect--frankly I'm always sort of flattered that anyone would voluntarily align themselves with one of the most universally reviled ethnic minorities on the planet. 

But I did find myself wishing this couple had consulted me first, because I would've told them what they needed to make their Jewish wedding truly authentic. 

1. You need Uncle Sol (or similar) leaning over to his table mate and screaming over both their hearing aids in a thick New Jersey accent "CAN YOU BELIEVE THE PORTIONS THEY SERVE HERE!?"

2. You need the Mother-of-the-Bride wringing her hands because "it's so DRRRRROOOOYYYY IN HEEAH and didn't we ask them to turn up the air?!" Then five minutes later she says, "But UCHHHH THE HUMIDITY!?!?!?!?"

3. Then you need Cousin Seth, who tries to get you to invest in his latest get-rich-quick real estate Ponzi scheme (Way to perpetuate sterotypes . . .  thanks a lot, Cousin Seth!)

4. You need a band (or DJ) playing "We are Family," "Sweet Caroline," and “Hava Nagilah” over and over. That Neil Diamond. What a mensch. 

5. Then of course you have to dance the Horah which no one knows how to do, but every dude in the room who weighs more than 150 pounds takes off their suit jackets and lifts up their pit-stained arms to hoist the bride up onto a chair while she covers her face and shrieks as everyone else trips over their feet trying to dance in two circles going in opposite directions.

6. Speaking of dancing, you have Aunt Millie complaining about her bunions. (CAN YOU BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY DIDN'T EVEN COVAH THE SURGERY?!)

7. You need Cousin Jackie (the one who got a bad nose job in the 80s) to cluck her tongue disapprovingly over the “low-cut bridesmaids dresses” while whispering that she heard the groom had been married once before and also “his mothah has *extra whisper and widening eyes* CAAAAANNNNNCAH.”

8. Also one of the aforementioned bridesmaids needs to administer fellatio in the bathroom to a groomsman after seven vodka tonics at the open bar, because cash bar is TACKAY and it’s not a wedding without a rando BJ.

9. Finally, there must be several small children hoarding pigs n’ blankets (made with all-beef Kosher hot dogs obvs) and maraschino cherries.

10. You also need a whisper campaign/NCAA-type bracket going in which all the guests place bets on what the wedding cost and who paid for it.

Then and only then will you have an authentic Jewish wedding.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Fights My Mother Taught Me

The men my mother worked with were supervillains, or at least that was my impression and frame of reference. Near as I could tell, they were Lex Luther/Skeletor-type foils to all the Good Things™️ she was trying to accomplish for the homeless and HIV-positive mentally ill population of 1980s Northern Manhattan. 

I listened to my parents talking at the dinner table, the way kids do when they sense adult conversation unfolding—observant and rapt, hanging on every word in the hopes of gleaning illicit information. The characters were always the same and the plot was too, with minor variations. 

The antagonists were egomaniacal male physicians and administrators whose priorities at a prestigious academic hospital did not include the patients my mother treated. They were perpetually trying to undermine her work by belittling it, defunding it, or otherwise throwing up roadblocks.

My dad was her cheerleader and partner in umbrage while she enumerated the latest offenses and indignities visited upon her by powerful men. 

“Unbelievable asshole!” he would yell, shaking his head. “Where do these people get off?!” 

One morning, one of these unbelievable assholes called the house. I insisted on speaking to him. As far as I was concerned, he was a famous celebrity. I didn’t want to interrogate him; only hear the voice of the man that my mother spent all day long yelling at, to know that this boogeyman was real.

“I probably picked fights I shouldn’t have,” my mom told me recently. “But it’s just not in my nature to submit to authority, especially when it jeopardizes my patients. I would often be the only one in a meeting to say the emperor has no clothes. My career probably suffered for it, but whaddya gonna do?”

Years ago, I called her at 3:00 a.m. because I was feeling pressured to do something professionally that I wasn’t comfortable doing. I felt I was being asked to put my name on something I disagreed with, and that did not reflect my legal opinion or conform to my ethical boundaries. 

“You can control what you sign your name to,” she said. “That’s the one thing you ALWAYS have the power to control.” 

Years later, when I was unconstitutionally fired from the same office despite all the excellent legal work I had done, she said:
You've been a successful and prominent lawyer in Alaska because of who you are and not because of the jobs you have held. Nothing about YOU has changed. During this time of adversity and transition, know that all of your talents are untouched by recent events. I have no doubt whatsoever that your career and your voice will continue to flourish.
Then she reiterated to me that it was worth fighting back against the specific wrong that was done to me because it was bigger than me. She validated my instinct that this was a fight worth picking against people and institutions who are malfeasant, and she told me that sadly, most of the world is corrupt. The longer you work, she said, particularly in a man’s world, the more you understand that to be true. 

She told me that most people just want to cover their own asses and won’t stand on principle no matter what happens, and I should just resign myself to that fact. It doesn’t serve you well, she said, to blame them or waste time feeling betrayed or angry, because it doesn’t move you or your ideals forward. It’s dead weight. That, she told me, is a bleak lesson of our nature that repeats itself again and again throughout human history.

“You will pay a price for fighting back, for speaking up, for standing your ground,” she said. “Only you can decide if it’s worth it to do that in any given situation. For me it always was. Probably too often, in fact.”

My mom’s encouragement to conviction and the example she set by picking fights was simultaneously the most burdensome and the greatest gift she ever gave me.