Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Biggest Lie of 2017

Is not what you think it is.

The biggest lie of 2017, as it turns out, wasn't something that Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or the Russians said on Twitter or cable TV. No. The biggest lie of the year was uttered last night--just under the wire, by Isaac, in response to a simple, straightforward question: 

"Are you gonna throw up?"

Isaac said no. He shook his head no. But the answer was the opposite of no. It was yes. A big, fat, hot, wet, messy, resounding yes.

Even if you don't have kids, you know that kids are disgusting and messy. Especially if you're a woman. At the very latest, you learn this in your early to mid-teens, when you awake one day in a literal bloodbath of your body's own making and realize, at least in theory, that it's got something to do with kids. 

And if you do have kids, it only gets worse from there. I'm not a nurse or a doctor or a personal care assistant, and I didn't sign up for this, or so I thought. And yet here I am.

The blood keeps coming, especially in the six weeks after you have a kid (which by the way no one ever really tells you for some reason), but is something I found out ten years ago today when Paige was born. (A colleague with young children had warned me just a few days before Paige's birth: "Bring granny panties to the hospital and keep a bunch at home. For a WHILE.")

Kids are born drenched in a slurry of biological gunk and they just keep making more of it forever. From their noses. From their mouths. From their eyes. From their excretory system. Boogers. Drool. Tears. Piss. Shit. Regurgitated breast milk. Blood (infrequently, we hope). Vomit. 

And it was this last biohazard--vomit--that was the subject of The Biggest Lie of 2017. 

Isaac was bellyaching right after dinner in a way that raised my puke-dar and caused me to ask--SEVERAL times-- if there was barf coming. He was sitting on my lap, on the couch on top of a blanket, and I was rubbing his belly. His forehead felt a little bit damp, which was my first clue that he was lying, or at least didn't know how to identify an impending puke episode.

He was mid-denial when the retching started.

My right hand instinctively flew under Isaac's mouth to catch the chunks of chicken, potatoes, and salad, all of which had only briefly encountered his digestive tract and was now on its way back out into the world. And by the world, I mean his clothes, the couch, the blanket, the carpet, and me. 

Geoff yelled at me to DO SOMETHING, which of course was impossible, because jumping up at this point would only spread the puke further, or so my theory went. My friend Becca and her kids were over, and they scattered like cockroaches under a flourescent light with the first heave of dinner. Paige followed them downstairs, making quite a show of her sisterly disgust, and they all cowered in her room as if in a "bunker," to quote Becca.

I immediately stripped Isaac down, threw him in the bathtub, folded all of the barfed-in clothing and blankets into a pile and threw them into the washing machine, hoping that the chunks would dissolve with a couple of washes, a wishful thought at which Becca expressed serious doubt. Geoff was left to the more industrial task of actually de-puking the couch and carpet, while I attended to Isaac.

Becca and her family quickly took their leave as I steered Isaac off to bed, a large metal mixing bowl stationed on his dresser as a precaution.

He awoke the next morning hale, hearty, and bouncing off the walls. It was not the plague, as it turned out, but simply a one-off event. 

This is a crucial distinction: is the puke episode a one-time upset tummy? Or, far worse, is it the onset of a stomach virus that will rip through the entire household and fell everyone in it one at a time, like a remake of Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman and Patrick Dempsey set in New Delhi?

Fortunately it was the former, and we can all usher in 2018 without spending more time on a toilet than usual.

Happy New Year!




Friday, December 29, 2017

Open Letter to the Sick Fuck Who’s Dosing and Raping Women in Juneau

Dear Sick Fuck Who’s Dosing and Raping Women in Juneau,

You’ve been at this for awhile, apparently, and I bet you think you’re pretty smart. 

But guess what? We’re on to you now, and you are underestimating the tribe of women (and men) in this town who have each other’s backs and will do everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again.

A friend of mine who works in the hospitality industry said it best on Facebook:

I was dosed two times in December. Two. Different bars. Different social circles. Both times utterly surrounded by close friends. I was SO DAMN lucky to have family and friends nearby. Not only that, I’ve been working in the downtown area for 12 years . . . I know lots of folks. What about someone who isn’t as identifiable? Who’s looking out for everyone? As hospitality staff we have a unique position to help spot these things. As patrons, we have a similar responsibility to watch all of our friends and neighbors to try to keep them safe by speaking out.
I almost feel sorry for you, actually. ALMOST

You must be a deeply damaged person to do this to another human being even once, much less multiple times. You can’t get anyone to love you or be with you or go home with you of their own volition? You literally need to sneak fucking ROHYPNOL in a woman’s drink and rape her during a six hour episode of amnesia and scrub away the evidence before dropping her on the curb like garbage?

You're sick in the head dude, you know that? And you need help. 

I’m sure you’ve had a hard life full of its own pain and trauma. Or maybe you’re just a straight up sociopath. Chances are you have at least some people who care about you, or who love you, or whatever? Maybe you’re more than one person? Maybe I even know you? 

Someone does.

Who knows, and on second thought, who cares. 
At a minimum, you're an entitled criminal and you’d better hope you’re as smart as you think you are. Because if you’re not, you very well might go to jail for the rest of your sorry ass life.

You are out in these streets committing serial sexual felonies and it’s going to catch up with you, eventually, one way or another. Yes, we have AWARE in Juneau, but most importantly, we have each other.

If it’s anything we’ve learned in 2017, it’s that women are powerful and we matter. 

We have the right to go out with friends and drink or even get drunk or work at a bar and not be drugged and/or raped. We have the right to our bodies, our personal space, our sexuality, our careers, our families, and our autonomy, just like you.

You don’t get to take that away. You don’t get to just do this shit without getting called out on it. I hope you’re reading this, because what you are doing will end, and it’s going to end because people will be looking out for each other.

Your psychotic ass is going down. Good luck, motherfucker!



Are You Just a Placeholder? Beware These 9 Signs!

Ladies: beware these signs that you're just a placeholder in your man's life and he's not serious about you:

1. You sneak a glance at your partner’s phone when he’s in the bathroom, and notice that your number appears in “recent missed calls” as: First Name: Third String Bitch; Last Name: Bottom Draft Pick.”

2. Your partner told you he was out of town for a work conference, but then you see him out at a party with an attractive woman. When you confront him, he says “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize place mats could talk?”

3. You’re at the movies and suddenly your partner walks in. He sits on top of you, drops a few kernels of buttered popcorn in your hair, turns to the woman next to him and says, “Thanks for saving my seat with your coat.”

4. You wake up one morning and realize that your partner is an actual, literal red flag, and it turns out you’ve just been dry humping a 5x5 polyester/cotton blend bright red cloth rectangle for the past six months.

5. When you try to make future plans, like taking a trip to Hawaii or meeting his parents, he looks at you with a confused expression on his face and tells you that his family would never approve of him dating a free bookmark from Hudson News.

6. You wake up after a night out with a tattoo on your forehead that says “RESERVED” in big black letters, but you don’t remember ever getting a tattoo?

7. Your partner insists on cordoning off your vagina with a velvet rope while he sets forth on an intrepid, Ferdinand Magellan-esque adventure in search of other, better, and heretofore unconquered vaginas.

8. You’re waiting on the subway platform with your partner, when suddenly a gorgeous woman approaches and kisses him on the mouth. He breaks away just long enough to shove you in front of a Brooklyn-bound F train.

9. Every time you try to ghost his ass, he suddenly blows up your phone as if by psychic telepathic magic to tell you how great you are, how much he misses you, and how important you are in his life. Then you go over to his apartment to fuck, but after he nuts in five minutes, he takes you gently by the shoulders, guides you over to a wooden bench by the door with a pile of shoes under it, pats you on the head, kisses you on the tip of your nose, and says “Now just have a seat right here until cobwebs form between your saggy boobs and you die alone, m’kay?”



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sarah Sanders is Thirsting Hard for those NRA Clicks, Y’all!

Hey y'all! I'm Sarah Huckabee Sanders and I'm here on Twitter, thirsting hard for some redneck street cred and NRA clicks, likes, and RTs.

See, I'm kind of trying to be the millennial Sarah Palin. Except Sarah Palin was and is (at least in terms of bona fide red-neckery) the real deal, whereas I make $165,000 a year greasing the wheels of a senile bigot's epic con on the American public.

Yee-haw, baby! 

Look at me holdin' my raaahfle with my hair curled up all naahce in my cammo jacket down at the shootin' range! See how down home and all-MURICAN I am? No one is more 'MURICAN than me! 

I'm so 'Murican, I can bake a pecan pie with flour I milled myself with my daddy's backhoe--or forkilft--or whatever it is!

I'm so 'Murican, I have a nest of bald eagles eating apple paaah off my roof!

I'm so 'Murican, the only song on my Spotify treadmill playlist is the National Anthem! 

I'm so 'Murican, I own every single rifle Smith & Wesson ever made!

I'm so 'Murican, I don't know the difference between your and you're!

I'm so 'Murican, my great-great-great-great-great-Grandpappy Silas Huckabee was the Captain of the Mayflower!

What? 

No? 

You mean according to my own Wikipedia page I've actually spent every moment since I was ten years old working for the very political consultants, campaigns, and politicians I spend all day distancing myself from?

Alongside my dad whose net worth is upwards of $9M? 

And if they made a redneck remake of 8 Mile I’d be Clarence?

Oh, um. Okay. Nevermind then.



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Imabouta Norman Rockwell the Shit Outta This Day Right Here

Alright peeps. 

I’m about to Norman Rockwell the shit out of this day right here, and not a single one of you raggedyass bitches is gonna stop me. Not even the ones I grew from scratch in my own body; the younger of whom is flipping off the older angrily in the back seat of the car for no reason on the way to Lake Instagram-Ready Christmas Card Perfection.

See, I fuck with Norman Rockwell, and so do you, because this is 'MURICA!. Norman Rockwell invented stunting for the 'Gram. Hell, he was stunting for the 'Gram before there even WAS stunting OR the 'Gram!

Granted, I spent Christmas Day mired in a bottomless depression, despite everything being objectively fine. So now it's time to stop feeling sorry for myself and low key turn this sunny winter's-day-after-Christmas into a fucking jovial, early twentieth century real-life painting of post-war Americana at its world-dominating, self-satisfied best!

And just like the hard-working, red-blooded American men and women pictured in Rockwell's best known works, I will fight!

I will fight through every last moan, groan, whine, and cry about how it's too cold and my skates are too big and now they're too small and my sleeve is rolled up in a weird position in my jacket and my sock is too tight around my ankle and this is boring and I didn't eat enough breakfast and Isaac stole my hat and Paige hit me with her gloves and I have to pee and I can't get my boot off and I'm too cold and now I'm too hot and when can we leave and how long have we been here and there's a frozen booger in my nose. 

I will fight through all of that until EVERYONE IS GOOD AND FUCKING HAPPY BECAUSE THIS IS FUN GODDAMMIT!

For as I said, I am determined to manufacture a tableau that could literally have been plucked from the pages of the Saturday Night Post, and everyone in this family is being conscripted into my project.

Fuck the 'Gram. The results, as you can see, are museum-worthy.



















Monday, December 25, 2017

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

I wake up reluctantly, and still bleeding. Bleeding from the relentless, indifferent march of womanhood. Bleeding, too, from the cracked, dry corners of my eyelids. One of a few stubborn places where my immune system defies science and insists on asserting its inflammatory response.

If I were Christian (or at least not Jewish) I'd blame Christmas for needing an extra 10 mg of Prozac this morning. I would wonder about suicide hotlines and homicide hotlines and everyone being alone and sad. 

But there's nothing special about today, other than the fact that it's special to everyone else and nothing is open. 

Christmas each year is just a spectacle to me. I'm a spectator literally glancing through other people's living room windows from a stop sign. All the cookie-making and the tree-trimming and the electric trains and the family dynamics are all just a bemusing piece of theater. A Kabuki play unfolding on a stage of social media and delayed flights and text messages, none of which apply to me.

And yet I feel something, and it's not good. 

Maybe it's the day stretching out before me--my kids needing to be entertained--with the hours a daunting muddy slog instead of a joyful future memory festooned with tinsel and cloying song. Maybe it's my family; their inevitable disappointment at my tuning them out for a Dear Diary moment with my laptop. 

But I know it's more than that. That it's another form of bleeding. Of skidding.

After so many winters in Alaska, I've become pretty good at driving on ice and snow. I know to slow down and make small moves so I don't roll into a ditch, or at least maybe not hurt myself if I do. I know not to slam on the brakes or try to steer out of a skid. I know to take my hands and feet off the gas and the steering wheel, and just more or less let the car right itself.

Sometimes, though, when I'm in a skid, when I'm suspended in that moment, I'm not sure where I'll end up. Vacillating between the ditch and the road, between self-preservation and indulgent masochism and half-hearted self-harm.

I decide that the treadmill, of all things, is what I need right now. So I rifle through an archeological dig site of three overflowing laundry baskets to find my workout clothes in level three of the fossil record.

This is not the anorexic, athletic ambition-fueled OCD running of my 20s, but the Parkinson's-avoidant, cardiovascular health running of my 40s. I do this frog in boiling water thing. This thing where I keep making the speed one tenth of a mile faster. I remember my old hockey coach telling me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. To breathe like that, and unclench my hands when I run to conserve energy and achieve maximum oxygenation of the bloodstream.

As I cue up songs, I start to hear sadness emerge from all the lyrics.

And I start to feel sad about all the mistakes I have made and the reactions I've been baited into. The things I didn't say when I should have. The things I shouldn't have said but did. The hurtful people and selfish situations I've exposed myself to for no reason and to no end. The friends I've disappointed. The inadequacies of motherhood. My professional shortcomings and my petty envies. This beleaguered, disorienting slum of a time we are living through. The tiny, insidious biases and mundane daily hypocrisies we all live with.

I think about my 20s, my 30s, and my 40s.

I think about the lost feeling I had in my low-self esteem 20s. How I made decisions then without knowing what I was doing, and how I spent my 30s living out the consequences of those decisions, for better, worse, or just plain dumb luck. (So far I've had more of the latter than I deserve, and I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop).

I think about how my 40s will have to be a place of reckoning with the last 20 years. How life isn't a Choose Your Own Adventure book where you get to just back up and ramble on down some unchosen path to see how it would have turned out.

5.6, 5.7., 6.2., 6.5, 6.7. I keep dialing the speed up on the treadmill and the volume on my headphones and my whole face is just a mess of salty wetness now. A bald eagle soars past the window in front of a snow-capped mountain and it looks like a postcard outside. There's sweat and tears all mixed together, and as I run faster I just feel sorry for myself and grateful for the people who make good sports bras and music.

I bring music into the bathroom with me so I can keep crying in the shower. Bellbottom Blues is playing. I go through these phases when I'm really into Eric Clapton. I know he's just another rich, arrogant, womanizing asshole rockstar who went to rehab, and I read his biography so you don't have to. On the other hand, dude could write a song. 

My hair drips water onto my iPhone as I scroll through Spotify for another song by another band; one of many, that always re-centers me when I'm in this type of headspace.

So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

And suddenly, there's nothing left to do but write it all down.



Sunday, December 24, 2017

More Old Lady Shit Santa is Bringing Me Besides a New Knee in This, My 40th Year

All of this is legit actually shit Santa already brought me, or that I am asking Santa for:

1. A year supply of lime LaCroix

2. New eyeglasses with age and style appropriate frames (prescription pending)

3. More ibuprofen

4. Customized ear plugs

5. Advanced genetic testing

6. Electric blanket

7. Follow-up ultrasound for dense breast tissue

8. Framed collage of the complete collection of my kids’ school pictures

9. Tuition waiver for kiddie sports

10. A big fat tax refund

11. No more pleas from my friends to participate in multi-level marketing scams for scented candles and wrinkle oils

12. Assisted living in the form of my kids actually doing their fucking part around here.

13. The right to take a shit in peace in my own goddamned house

14. World peace. Wait never mind. Will settle for world detente on total assholery

15. Santa to take Trump away in his sled forever after coming down the White House chimney with a halfway normal and unpsychotic President



Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fucked Beyond Imagination: Continuing to Resist Trump's Autocratic Kleptocracy is Our Civic Mission for 2018

"It's important not to let them change your values, your morals, your individuality. Authoritarianism isn't just a matter of external control; it's most insidious aspect is what it does to you inside."

—Sarah Kendzior, PhD

I’ve been reading Dr. Sarah Kendzior’s scholarship on authoritarian states for a couple of years now. It's grim, and, in my opinion, required reading right now. I keep returning, again and again, to this article she wrote in the Dutch outlet The Correspondent just nine days after Trump was elected to the United States Presidency with the undisputed help of a hostile foreign power. 

I recommend that you read the whole thing for yourself, but Trump's weekend Twitter attacks on the F.B.I. brought me back to Dr. Kendizor's article yet again. 

Trump spent the morning setting up his own Justice Department for a takedown. He is rightly feeling and fearing the noose tightening around the neck of his corrupt administration. He is cornered, and he knows it. He isn't above the law, unless and until he upends the law. And like any cornered animal, he is going to lash out and attempt to destroy any threat to his presidency. 

This is F.B.I. alright. Fucked Beyond Imagination. 

Not since Watergate have we seen an executive so hell bent on upending democratic norms in service of his own long-game con and bottomless greed. But this time it's much worse because we have a complicit Congress enabling a bumbling fascist's worst impulses. 

This is Sarah Kendzior's advice, and it sets forth a civic mission for living under metastasizing authoritarianism. Here are her suggestions, and I for one plan to honor every one of them in 2018. 

This is my one and only New Year's resolution: To keep writing the resistance and to keep defending, protecting, and building the vision of a true constitutional democracy that so many of my fellow American citizens have been killed and maimed to defend. 

Here are Dr. Kendzior's words of advice, verbatim, from the above-linked article:

1. Write about who you are, what you have experienced, and what you have endured.

2. Write down what you value; what standards you hold for yourself and for others. Write about your dreams for the future and your hopes for your children.

3. Write about the struggle of your ancestors and how the hardship they overcame shaped the person you are today.

4. Write your biography, write down your memories. Because if you do not do it now, you may forget.

5. Write a list of things you would never do. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will do them.

6. Write a list of things you would never believe. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will either believe them or be forced to say you believe them.

7. Though our speech is often challenged, we can still speak. We can debate each other and come up with ways to improve our country. We can scream at each other and mock each other and tell each other our political choices are terrible. You will miss those days, they may end soon.

8. Authoritarianism is not merely a matter of state control, it is something that eats away at who you are. It makes you afraid, and fear can make you cruel.

9. It compels you to conform and to comply and accept things that you would never accept, to do things you never thought you would do.

10. You do it because everyone else is doing it, because the institutions you trust are doing it and telling you to do it, because you are afraid of what will happen if you do not do it, and because the voice in your head crying out that something is wrong grows fainter and fainter until it dies.

11. That voice is your conscience, your morals, your individuality. No one can take that from you unless you let them. 

12. They can take everything from you in material terms – your house, your job, your ability to speak and move freely. 

13. They cannot take away who you truly are. They can never truly know you, and that is your power.

14. But to protect and wield this power, you need to know yourself – right now, before their methods permeate, before you accept the obscene and unthinkable as normal.

15.  But most of all, never lose sight of who you are and what you value. 

16. If you find yourself doing something that feels questionable or wrong a few months or years from now, find that essay you wrote on who you are and read it. Ask if that version of yourself would have done the same thing.

17. And if the answer is no? Don’t do it.

Following Dr. Kendizor's advice is my New Year's resolution. Consider making it yours as well.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Home for the Holidays!: The Official O.H.M. Guide to Family Harmony

Christmas is a lot of pressure. Everyone wants it to be perfect, and yet simmering under the surface are long-buried and sometimes not-so-buried family dynamics, so harmony can be a challenge.

Here's O.H.M's guide to family harmony over the holidays, specifically, this is all the stuff you need to ask or tell your family IN YOUR HEAD, lest you say any of it out loud. 

I suggest you print this post out on a notecard, laminate it, and every time you feel like you'e going to blurt one of these things out, just cross it off with a Sharpie as it occurs to you, m’kay?


TO YOUR CHILDREN

Are you seriously fighting over a cardboard box right now?


*Looks at Calendar* When do you go back to school again?

If you don’t stop fighting and clean up this mess, I’m telling Santa not to come! In fact, I'm going to shoot him in the face with a BB gun so that he can't go to anyone's house and IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT!

Do you realize some kids in this world don’t even HAVE cookies AT ALL?!

I'm going to throw the iPad out the window. 

Say you're bored one more time. Go ahead. Say it. ONE.  More. Time. 

YOU'RE RUINING CHRISTMAS!!!!

TO YOUR PARENTS

How do you even function in modern society when you still can't update an app on an iPhone?

Are you ever going to throw away this hideous collection of [BLANK]?

What am I supposed to do with all this shit when you die?

Wow. [DEAD PARENT OR RELATIVE] is probably rolling over in his/her grave right now.

Dont'sayTrumpdon'tsayTrumpdon'tsayTrumpdon'tsayTrump

YOU'RE RUINING CHRISTMAS!!!!

TO YOUR SIBLINGS

Why were you always the favorite again?

Why do you always get all the good shit?

Why are you so selfish?

Wow. So THIS is why we hardly ever hang out!

And to think just yesterday I said I wished we lived closer.

Remember that time you tortured me over that one thing for no reason?

Are you really going to let your kids jump all over the furniture?

What are we going to do with all of this shit when mom and dad die?

Do you think we could maybe hang out ONE time without regressing into childish dynamics?

I disagree with your life choices.

Are you EVER going to grow the fuck up?!

Dont'sayTrumpdon'tsayTrumpdon'tsayTrumpdon'tsayTrump

YOU'RE RUINING CHRISTMAS!!!!

TO YOUR SPOUSE/PARTNER

Are you just going to sit there on your phone doing nothing?

Oh and YOUR family is so much better I guess?!

OMG you put THAT in the Christmas letter? What is WRONG with you?!

Oh YOU do everything? What a joke! I don't think so! I do everything!

What the fuck is wrong with you, seriously?!

Maybe we should get divorced/break up.

YOU'RE RUINING CHRISTMAS!!!!



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

13 Common Alaska FAQs and How to Answer Them

1. How dark does it get in winter? 

So dark that you won’t even know what time it is. So dark that you will go to bed for the night at 4:30 p.m. So dark that your kids won’t wake up for school because they think it’s still midnight. So dark that you are convinced you are living in a cold, windy, God-forsaken sensory deprivation chamber, and only a few hundred thousand intrepid souls such as yourself have the fortitude to do it year after year.

2. How light does it get in summer? 

So light that you won’t even know what time it is. So light that you’ll be standing around a campfire and go to take a picture with your phone and realize it’s tomorrow. So light that your kids won’t go to sleep at midnight because they think it’s still noon. So light that you’re convinced you’re living on the set of Insomnia starring Al Pacino, and only a few hundred thousand intrepid souls such as yourself have the fortitude to do it year after year.

3. Do you know Sarah Palin?

Nope. Never heard of her. Is she on reality TV? Or related to Kim Kardashian, maybe?

4. Do you live in an igloo?

Yes, everyone in Alaska has at least one igloo in addition to their regular house or cabin. We build igloos by driving to glaciers and hacking off chunks of ice and loading them into our pick-up trucks. No one will tell you this, but that’s the real reason all the glaciers are disappearing.

5. Why are the glaciers disappearing?

Because igloos. I just told you. GAH!

6. Do you have electricity and computers? 

No, we light our homes by rubbing two alder branches together and reading the Bible by candle light, just like Ma and Pa used to do in Little House on the Prairie. Everything we need to know is in scripture anyway. There is no interwebs here, so Net Neutrality is actually a big whatevs. Our level of isolation is Skookum. (Look it up).

7. Have you felt an earthquake?

I’m sorry, I need to stop typing. I’m trying to figure out if that was an earthquake or just my kids running around upstairs.

8. Do you use U.S. currency?

No, we have our own money minted from Visqueen and the tears of environmentalists. This is the only currency accepted in Alaska, and we use it mostly to buy weed and Amazon Prime subscriptions.

9. Is climate change real?

No, it’s a total hoax. The fact that December looks like August and villages are crumbling into the sea is a Chinese plot to make everyone quit eating whale blubber and start growing the renewable lo mein-based economy.

10. Is Alaska actually just a glorified resource colony functioning under an illusion of independence from an unsustainable, greed-driven corporatocracy? 

I’ll punt that question to Lisa Murkowski's twitter feed and my PFD check.

11. What time do the Northern lights come out?

Every time a polar bear roars, a moose turns into a caribou, or you stare into the reflection of a frozen pond and say “Todd Palin Won the Iron Dog Which is Not the Same as the Iditarod” three times really fast.

12. Why do you call them snowmachines?

To confuse and disorient you on purpose.

13. Was there a colonialist cultural genocide in Alaska that continues to perpetuate epi-genetic trauma and seemingly insurmountable levels of socioeconomic injustice for indigenous populations and their complex cultures and ways of life? 

Yes, seriously there was, although for some reason no one wants to say so out loud because it’s easier to just come here and buy jewelry and not think about any of that unpleasant colonialist rape and pillaging of peoples and lands and stuff as that is a huge bummer on vacay, know what I mean?



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Well This is Awkward ...

Let’s get this out of the way first. Sex work is the oldest profession in the world, and who am I to knock it? No one! That’s who.

Although this career path has never appealed to me personally, I get that some women do it proudly and enjoy it. Others feel forced to do it, and fortunately I have never been in the position of needing to trade sex for money to pay bills, feed an addiction, or receive a quid pro quo for a job or possessions.

All of these are very real concerns for millions of women all over the world and, I assume, right here in Juneau where this latest Craigslist ad originates. So it’s not the idea that someone would exchange sex for rent that raises a brow. That seems perfectly plausible, especially in this housing market.

It’s more the awkward way that the guy who wrote this ad frames the arrangement.

Dude basically wants a live-in sex worker to offset the cost of his rent. Cool, cool. But he doesn’t exactly say that, despite claiming that he’s “looking for exactly what it sounds like.”

You can almost see him typing this ad up on his laptop at Heritage or the Rookery, picking at a raisin scone and fumbling around for the right way to explain that he wants a blow job 3x per week in exchange for a woman’s free range of the thermostat. This line in particular jumps off the page:

My offer includes me covering all or most or half of the rent, utilities, etc. How much I pay is up to you, if you pay more we negotiate fewer benefits (I’ll just say it now . . . sex) if you want to pay less or even nothing then the “benefits” are more often.
Ahhhh. So “benefits” = “sex.” Noooooow I get it.

He goes on to suggest that the person responding should indicate her general ballpark of how much rent she’s willing to pay: “zero, quarter, half or dollar amount” to see if an agreement can be reached.

Frankly I think it’s easier if he just offers package deals, sort of like cable and internet.

ZERO RENT PACKAGE: Woman pays zero rent or utilities, in exchange for which she will submit to the following sex acts on demand [enumerate sex acts here] and act "ablaze to enjoy it."

HALF RENT PACKAGE: Woman pays half rent and utilities, in which case she will submit to the following weekly schedule of the following sex acts to be performed at the times specified [enumerate sex acts here]. Half rent package includes teaching dude difference between "here" and "hear," and possibly your/you're/yore and they're/their/there.

A LA CARTE PACKAGE: Woman performs specific sex acts each month in exchange for particular goods and services such as two blow jobs per week = $25 off rent for the month and covered parking space; full intercourse in missionary position on command once per week = $50 off rent for the month and own shelf in shared refrigerator.

Really this last package deal is no different from casual or unspoken arrangements many roommates and even spouses, I assume, fall into over the years. 

For example, offering to suck a dick in exchange for putting children to bed. I have never heard of this happening before, mind you. I’m just saying it’s possible that this sort of thing or even this exact thing has happened behind closed doors. I’m just guessing. I don’t know this for a fact. It’s just that many people are saying it’s happened. 

I’ll stop now.




Monday, December 18, 2017

My Dance Mom Game is Weak AF

Long ago, I declared in no uncertain terms that my worst nightmare is being pressured into “dancing” at a bar, club, or party. I put quote marks around dancing, because that’s how bad I am at dancing. Dancing is for the free, the uninhibited, and the confident. Dancing is NOT for the repressed, the neurotic, and the self-hating. In other words, dancing is not for me. 

But dancing is for everyone, you say cheerfully. No, no it is not.

Truly I would rather spend three hours in oral surgery under conscious sedation than fifteen minutes twirling and flipping around a stage, studio, or even the floor of a Juneau bar during Folk Fest. (Good God, especially not then).

Dancing is, however, for my 10 year-old daughter, Paige, and good for her I say. 

There’s a reality of parenting that I sort of always knew in theory, but failed to appreciate until recently, which is that you don’t get to pick your kids’ interests. This seems obvious, but it doesn’t really start to sink in until you watch your fantasies of retiring on the income of a future concert violinist and ice hockey goalie/ski racing star evaporate before your eyes in a flurry of sequins and hairspray.

So figure skating, ukulele, and acro-dance it is. And we are not on track for the Olympics or Carnegie Hall, let's be honest. I don’t think that’s too unkind to say, is it? Like I think it’s fine to tell your kids to reach for the stars and follow their dreams, while secretly knowing all along that their perseverance is highly unlikely to overcome the terrible genes you've passed along to them. 


You don’t need to say that in so many words, of course. They’ll find out the hard way themselves soon enough.

Anyway, dance is an outlet for Paige’s boundless physical energy and work ethic, and helps her set confident goals for herself. The two women who run the 140-person dance company where Paige takes lessons somehow—and with the help of volunteers who are not me for good reason—manage to organize the entire troupe into a big and elaborate concert twice a year, and this weekend was the winter showcase.

I took a pretty cold dive into Dance Momming you guys. 
As it turns out, and not to my surprise, the only thing I’m worse at than dancing is Dance Momming. Dance Momming is a thing I’d seen on TV, but did not know actually existed in real life until this weekend, and after 15 hours of Dance Momming, I now feel I’ve been adequately initiated.

Understand that I’m one of these people who feels/is clueless and lost (literally and figuratively) a lot of the time. Some examples:

  • In college: Wait, we were supposed to register for THAT class first? 
  • At the DMV: Oh wait, I’m supposed to be in this OTHER line? 
  • In law school: Wait, this isn’t a take-home exam?
And then I look to someone—anyone—who seems to know what they’re doing to throw me a life preserver.

“Don’t worry,” whispered my friend Kate, whose daughter was in the same four minute-routine as Paige. “I was you last year.” Good, because I needed a Dance Mom Sherpa, and I made it my business to affix myself to Kate’s side like a barnacle on the hull of a ship in a storm. And still, every minute I spent Dance Momming was a minute I felt like I was about to get plucked off that ship by a rogue wave.

It was a persistent, vague, unsettling feeling. A feeling that despite having received several detailed emails, I was always supposed to be somewhere I wasn’t, or doing/not doing something I was/wasn’t, or that I was sitting/standing/loitering in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Or, worst of all, that I was poised to commit an unknown Dance Mom faux-pas for which all the other Dance Moms--many of whom, by the way, looked like (but I assume were not?) every girl who was ever mean to me in high school--would forever condemn me.

Paige proved my harshest critic.

It’s supposed to be a HIGH tight bun, "MOM! This bun is too LOW! UGGGGH!! WHY ARE YOU SO BAD AT BUNS?!?”

“OH REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEALLY BITCH!?” I wanted to scream at her little upturned nose. “WHY DO YOU LOOK LIKE JONBENET FUCKING RAMSEY RIGHT NOW!?!? I BET YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO THAT IS, DO YOU!?!?!”

I wanted to scream this at her, but I didn’t of course, because (a) comparing your daughter to a murdered six-year old beauty pageant queen is deeply sick in the head, however technically apt the comparison; and (b) I knew that the stage makeup was to be applied under strict directives as to color and palette. 


Happily, this was one thing I didn’t have to buy and felt confident about, because I’m on a slow descent into old hag-dom and both own and know how to fill in my wrinkles with matte foundation.

I began the last evening of the performance with Kate made up like a Real Housewife of Juneau (RHOJU?) and ended it looking like an extra in an Alice Cooper video. I must say, RHOJU to Alice Cooper pretty much sums up the level of ass-whooping I got from my first foray into Dance Momming.

Little brother Isaac was less than impressed, which is not surprising for a gender-conforming boy who regularly complains that there are "too many girls" everywhere. You can watch his rather scathing but mercifully short review on YouTube at this link.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I Wrote a Goodbye Poem to the 7 Banned CDC Words

Goodbye, sweet VULNERABLE
You've made us uncomfortable
You're helpless and fragile and meek 
You describe populations
Condemned to damnation
By Trump every day of the week.
 
And so long, ENTITLEMENT
We now feel ambivalent
Toward your programs and duties and rights 
The government sucks!
Full of snowflakes and cucks
But my hedge fund will soar like a kite.

And sorry, DIVERSITY
For all this adversity
But we like things to be just the same
All white male and Christian
That's Jesus Christ's mission!
So we'll find some brown druggies to blame.

And FETUS, my friend
You're a means to an end
A baby, we'd rather you be
We sure hate your uterus
This isn't so new to us
But Viagra? Well that will be free.

And well, SCIENCE-BASED
You are not in good taste
Einstein and Newton be damned
Science is lies
(Or at best has "two sides")
And so you are forever banned.

Take care, EVIDENCE-BASED 
The fact must be faced
That the truth is a fungible thing
We can't say there's evidence
But we can murder elephants
Oh it's good to have Trump for our King!

Bon voyage, dear TRANSGENDER
Your mysterious splendor
Was too much for our bean-brains to take
We'll say you don't exist
And we'll write up a list
Of banned words, and make news that is fake.





Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Recharging the Battery

I’m trying not to be one of those self-righteous people who announce their backpedaling from social media with a megaphone. As if the whole world has just been relying on my (or any one person's) pithy wisdom, witty jokes, and jaw-dropping pics without which the whole internet would be a barren wasteland of cat memes and Thinx Period Panties ads.

Really, I’m just writing this last-blog-post-for-a-little-while as an explanation for myself. As a way to reckon with the fact that social media—this blog included—is cunningly and insidiously designed by mega-corporations to be addictive, outer-directed, and profiteering.

Although it feels like--and perhaps is--a necessary evil these days, much of social media is a drug of diminishing returns.

Yesterday two small everyday things happened, in which a couple of strangers—whom I know agree with me on the issue being debated—tried to start a fight with me on the internet. This happens all the time, which is why my first rule of internet engagement is not fighting on the internet.

But for whatever reason, this time, even just being baited into the fight was too much. It was the proverbial last straw. It was like that morning in 2005 when I boarded a crowded downtown 6 subway train, and although it was no different from any other NYC rush hour commute, I suddenly reached a breaking point and knew I would not spend my adult life doing this every day.

Similarly, I know I can no longer spend my nights, weekends, and early mornings spiraling down the bottomless rabbit hole over Who Is Wrong on the Internet, and thirsting for validation that I Am Right/Smart/Funny/Good on The Internet.

It’s stupid. It’s futile. It contravenes my beliefs about the value of being inner-directed. It’s bad for my mental health. It takes the final third of my life (the one that is not spent working or asleep) and fractures it into little slices that should be redistributed to my family, exercise, and human interaction.

Worst of all, it contributes--or can contribute--to the overall divisive, negative, depressing, and utterly desperate despairing zeitgeist of the Age of Trump. 

An age in which even people who agree find ways to cannibalize each other, thereby catalyzing the divide-and-conquer mission of fascism, all the while fueling the propaganda engine that once relied only on newspapers and rallies, but is now super-charged by social media and commodified outrage.

I don’t want to be a part of it anymore, no matter how much viral content I manage to create in the process. It's a devil's bargain and it isn't worth the trade-off.

So I'm trying to take some quiet time to return to the things about social media and blogging that I love. The things that are real, and that were my reasons for being so active on social media in the first place: 
Meeting new people. Connecting with people. Sharing ideas. Honing a craft. Bringing some small, brief moment of laughter or intellectual stimulation to a friend or a stranger’s day. 

I know I can do that if I just recharge my battery and return to the creative essence of why I started this blog in the first place. 
This picture of my kids on a rainy Juneau October December morning says it all. 

See you soon.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

Could Weekends With Kids Be More of a Clusterfuck? Asking for a Friend

I’m just wondering. You know, hypothetically-speaking. Because here are a few highlights, and I’m just kind of curious if maybe my clusterfuck meter needs to be recalibrated? Like maybe it's not really AS much of a clusterfuck as it feels? 

I'll let you be the judge:

SATURDAY:


6:00 a.m.: I open my left eyeball in the pitch black. I’m super excited, because I hate mornings and suddenly remember it's a Saturday, which means I can theoretically go back to sleep. BUT WAIT! JUST KIDDING! IT’S DECEMBER IN ALASKA AND IT’S ACTUALLY 8:43-- a full two hours and 43 minutes later than it feels! Which means my kids have been watching Danger Mouse and eating foraged sugar for almost three hours now. BAD. MOMMY.

9:00 a.m.: A generational showdown is underway over the condition of our shared living space. It's me and Geoff vs. Paige and Isaac, and we pepper them with questions: How do you live like this? Like ungrateful pigs in a trough? Do you know a lot of kids don't even HAVE a house to mess up like this? Weren't you supposed to clean up this painting project three days ago? Do you realize there is now an indefinite moratorium on new stuff coming into this house? INCLUDING for holidays and birthdays? Do you think I care that you don't know what an indefinite moratorium is? Do you think it sounds like a good thing? GO LOOK IT UP IN A BOOK!


12:00 p.m.: We're between soccer games, and have already driven the same stretch of beat-to-shit Juneau pavement back and forth about 74 times. We now have exactly thirty minutes to buy used ski boots next to the going-out-of-business gun store. Just typing that sentence makes me want to fall through the floor for 100 different reasons. The only thing missing is a minivan, mom jeans, and a box of ammo. But I'll tell you what's NOT missing. A lot of whining about what size feet Paige and Isaac actually have at the end of their legs. THESE BOOTS FEEL TOOO TIIIIIGGGHHHT! THAT'S HOW THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO FEEL! And so on, until the kids are practically standing with both feet in a single giant boot and still claiming it's too small and tight, and it's 47 degrees anyway on New Planet Earth so who even cares about ski boots.

1:00 p.m.: Second soccer game, this one for Paige's team. I just mowed down three grilled chicken tacos from Breez-In in a carton off my lap in the car, and let my kids buy juice to shut them up. I'm watching Isaac hit pinecones with the empty plastic juice bottle as far as he can, and then count the number of steps back to the pinecone in, again, 47 degrees and sideways rain.

2:30 p.m.: Paige has "dance pictures" and is under strict orders to dress up like Jonbenet Ramsey for said pictures. I force her to shower for the first time in a week. Apart from her unwillingness to bathe, Paige, who will be all of ten on New Year’s Eve, is in full-blown tween ASSHOLE mode. The eye-rolling. The back-sassing. The "fresh mouth" and "tone of voice" as my parents used to call it. It's in full effect, and it's all I can do to resist grabbing her chin in my hand, squeezing it like an orange, and spitting into her face that WE DON'T TALK TO OUR PARENTS WITH THAT FRESH TONE OF VOICE!!!!

6:00 p.m.: Babysitter arrives and I can finally start tying one on and eating salami and cookies at a couple of Christmas parties. I make sure to eat and drink as much crap as possible to ensure the next day will be awesome.

10:00 p.m.: Return from parties to kids still awake, having baked "cookies," and refusing to go to bed. I remind them that IT'S A TREAT TO HAVE A BABYSITTER AND IF YOU DON'T GO TO BED THIS MINUTE WE ARE NEVER GETTING YOU A BABYSITTER AGAIN!

11:00 p.m.: Finally get kids down for the night and eat three of the "cookies," which are actually just like these round, sugar dough-bricks with a butter and sugar glaze on top adorned with those gross little cinnamon decorative candies and something else that's green but definitely not a vegetable. 

SUNDAY (SO FAR)

6:00 a.m./8:43 a.m.: Repeat yesterday’s wakeup routine, but with new flair. The kids are on the couch fighting like two cats in a sack over a blanket and whose feet are on whose. PAIGE STOP KICKING ME ISAAC YOU'RE STEALING ALL THE BLANKET ETC. I CAN'T TAKE ANOTHER SECOND OF THIS! I'm already being nagged for playdates, so I start text-stalking parents, and immediately get accused of ignoring my family because I'm on my phone.

9:30 a.m.: I gulp down two cups of coffee and instantly have to crap my brains out due to what I put my body through at the aforementioned Christmas parties. While I'm trying to take a shit in peace, I hear FUCK FUCK FUCKETY FUCK ASSHOLE MIDDLE FINGER YOU'RE A FUCKING SHIT HEAD ASSHOLE! I'm forced to scream from the bathroom down the hall to STOP USING THAT LANGUAGE OR YOU'RE GOING TO GET MOMMY AND DADDY IN TROUBLE AND END UP IN STATE CUSTODY IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT!?!??!?

11:00 a.m.: Geoff fights through his "man cold" and takes Isaac skiing. I promptly take Isaac's place to start fighting with Paige: DID YOU FINISH ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS FOR SCHOOL?! YOUR ROOM IS A MESS! YOU NEED TO CLEAN IT RIGHT NOW AND YOU NEED TO CLEAN UP THIS BAKING PROJECT!!! Paige complains that ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS IS THE MOST BORING BOOK IN THE WHOLE WORLD WHO CARES THAT KARANA MADE A SKIRT WITH PELICAN FEATHERS and I tell her LIFE IS BORING GET USED TO IT. 

11:15: I am now subjected to more "gymnastics" in my living room with promises of future cleaning and reading. I try to make Paige remove her Jonbenet Ramsey eye makeup and she refuses. Quite the opposite: she insists that I text AND email AND call her dance teachers to see if she is going to get to move up a level next session, and every five minutes asks me if they've emailed or texted back yet.

The day isn't over yet, not even close. Monday feels like a distant mirage of an oasis in the Sahara. I choose to commit the weekend's exploits thus far to the internet for posterity. 

After all, I don't want my kids to say I never did anything for them.





Friday, December 8, 2017

Your Kids’ Worst Messes

I put out a call for submissions of your kids’ worst messes and y’all delivered. For those of you who are smart enough to not have kids, or have your own messy room/house, enjoy this new form of birth control!