throwback: christmas budget

Christmas on a Budget

The holidays can be a depressing time when you don’t have money. Everything costs money all year round, but in December it seems amplified. There are presents to buy, holiday events to attend, gift exchanges at work, and even our energy bills are higher. You end up focusing on every cent spent instead of the spirit of the season. It seems like all hope is lost and you scramble to make ends meet in time to start your New Year’s resolution to save money. No wonder December seems to fly by. Well, part of the Christmas spirit is hope and to quote my spirit animal, Clark Griswold, you can have the “hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye” no matter how much (or little) is in your bank account. It just takes some faith, creativity, and a whole lot of unabashed holiday cheer.

  • Holiday movies and specials:  Lots of channels have holiday programming. If you’re partial to cheesy Hallmark flicks, you are in luck. The Hallmark channel plays their holiday fluff around the clock. ABC Family has their 25 days of Christmas movies throughout December. The basic cable networks serve up holiday offerings like A Charlie Brown Christmas and  Frosty The Snowman. Redbox ups their selection of holiday favorites and makes them available for just over a dollar a day.
  • Crafts:  ‘Tis the season to craft. Check Pinterest for endless ideas for budget-friendly, DIY Christmas crafts. Go old school and make paper snowflakes. Add glitter for that sparkle and shine and then you can forgo the lights and save on that electric bill. String a festive popcorn garland. Snack as you craft and this becomes a two for one holiday activity. Ransack Mother Nature. There are so many craft projects out there that utilize pinecones, leaves, branches, and acorns. Make gifts for family and friends instead of buying something.
  • Music:  No need to break the bank on iTunes. Pandora, Spotify, iheartradio, and Rdio all have the option to listen for free and all provide holiday themed playlists. Your local radio station may also play Christmas music exclusively during the season. It’s usually an easy listening station. You can just hang out in any retail store and jam to the free holiday tunes. Or make your own music. As Buddy the Elf says, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
  • The Christmas tree:  There are so many cool alternatives to the traditional evergreen. For the literary minded there’s the book tree. Make a cardboard Christmas tree if you have spare boxes. Decorate it with drawings or chalkboard paint and have holiday visitors make their mark. Find access to free pallets and you have found a thousand ways to make a “tree” to trim. Use washi tape to make a modern wall tree.
  • Events and activities: There are a plethora of holiday fairs and fests in December. Choose ones that provide free activities and attractions. Avoid ones that only offer shopping options, like holiday bazaars. Some will have free crafts for the kids or entertainment like carolers. When making the tough decision on which Santa to visit, see if any offer a free picture with the jolly guy or allow you take your own. Avoid the mall Santas as they force you into buying a photo package and prohibit personal photography. Cruise your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Go on foot to save on gas.
  • Charity: I guarantee you that nothing will fill your heart with the holiday spirit more than giving. You don’t need money to give. You can donate your time. Help out at the soup kitchen, sing carols at the senior center, host a food or clothing drive. Buy an extra coffee at the coffee shop and give it to someone braving the cold and the streets. Bring a reasonably priced toy to a toy drive or pick a wishing star for a less fortunate child. Usually the kids in need aren’t asking for expensive gifts.

Even if you aren’t broke this holiday season, it’s important to focus on the real Christmas spirit. Deck the halls with meaningful, homemade crafts, not designer decor. Create memories, not more debt. Spread holiday cheer, not consumerism. Spend time with family and friends, not at the stores. Get your head out of the (check)books and you’ll see all the season has to offer.

originally published at collective lifestyle 12.10.2014


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“the glorious heresies” book review

“the glorious heresies” by lisa mcinerney

3.5 stars

god is a great listener, but he or she is not much of a talker. it is left to us poor souls here on earth to interpret signs along the way. there is no way of knowing what is coincidence and what is fate. what is divine punishment and what is bad luck. what is absolution and what is self-justification. what is hereditary and what is choice. what is orthodox and what is heresy. these questions constantly bombard the characters in “the glorious heresies.” as a reader, you are constantly questioning it, as well. almost anyway you look at it, though, the results are tragic. this bitingly earnest first novel by mcinerney doesn’t sugarcoat the hopelessness of post-crash ireland. although there is a bleak air from start to finish, the string of that famous irish black humor weaves its way throughout, keeping you from the depths of despair. i also found myself puzzled by the paradox of sympathizing with every character, but not necessarily rooting for any of them. wishing for a happy ending seemed futile from the beginning. any expectation of miraculous recoveries or a character’s anomalous change of heart is dashed early on. it is refreshing rather than depressing and you find yourself wanting to go on the journey anyways.

i received a copy of ” the glorious heresies” from blogging for books in an exchange for this honest review.

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throwback: oscar drinks (2015)

Drink Your Way Through The Oscars

Celebrate the Oscars in style with themed cocktails. We’ve got eight luscious libations that pair perfectly with the best picture nominees and popcorn. Inspire the bartender within and add some panache to your awards viewing. Raise a glass to Hollywood and toast these cinematic contenders.

  • “Selma” – Celebrate the brave marches from Selma to Montgomery with the Selma Sipper. This recipe requires a blender, but as Dr. King taught us, some things are worth going the extra mile. The drink contains quintessential Southern liquor to transport you to the location of this historic civil rights milestone.

Selma Sipper

4 cups pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)

16 oz. Bourbon

4 oz. Southern Comfort

8 oz. cup club soda

Juice of 1 lime

Blend the pineapple. Strain into a pitcher and discard the pulp. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve over ice.

  • “The Theory of Everything” – “The Theory of Everything” follows the life of the incredible Stephen Hawking. Try to soak up some of his genius with A Brief History of Thyme, the cocktail, not the book. Lemon and thyme go together just about as well as Stephen and Jane.

A Brief History of Thyme

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

2 sprigs of thyme, plus more for garnish

2 oz. vodka

Juice of 1 lemon


Make the thyme simple syrup by bringing the water, sugar and thyme to a low boil. Let boil for 1 minute. Let cool and strain out sprigs. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, lemon juice, and 1/2 oz of the thyme simple syrup (more or less depending on how sweet you want it). Shake and serve over ice. Garnish with thyme.

  • “Whiplash” – Jazz up Oscar night with The Miles Mule. This cocktail gets its name from both the actor Miles Teller who portrays Andrew, the drumming prodigy, and jazz great Miles Davis. A splash of lemon is added to bring out the sourness of Andrew’s intimidating mentor.

The Miles Mule

2 oz. vodka

3 oz. ginger beer or ginger ale

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Lemon “cymbal” for garnish

Combine all ingredients and serve over ice. Garnish with lemon “cymbal.”

  • “Boyhood” – A Boy Rogers is a non-alcoholic option. In the 12 years that “Boyhood” spans, Mason is never at a legal drinking age. In the spirit of childhood, indulge in this mocktail.

Boy Rogers

1 can of cherry cola

1/4 oz. grenadine

1 maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine cola and grenadine and serve over ice. Garnish with cherry.

  • “Birdman” – This cocktail attempts to harness the crazy energy that is Riggan Thomson aka Birdman. Think of the Madman Manhattan as the Times Square scene in a glass. The combination of dry and sweet vermouth echoes the mix of drama and humor in the film.

Madman Manhattan

1 1/2 oz. rye whiskey

1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

1/4 oz. dry vermouth

2 dashes orange bitters

orange rind twist for garnish

Combine the whiskey and both vermouths in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour over ice. Add the bitters. Garnish with an orange rind twist.

  • “American Sniper” – One shot is all it takes. This is not so much a recipe as it is a shot of your favorite American made liquor.
  • “The Imitation Game” – The Code Breaker Cooler is a bit complicated, but not as complicated as actually trying to break Nazi code. Stay true to Alan Turing’s patriotism and use English lavender.

Code Breaker Cooler

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

2 sprigs lavender, dried or fresh

1/2 in. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 oz. London dry gin

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sparkling water

Make the lavender simple syrup by bringing the water, sugar and lavender to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute. Let cool and strain out sprigs. Muddle the ginger in a cocktail shaker. Add gin, lemon juice, and 1/2 oz. of the lavender simple syrup. Shake and strain into a highball glass over ice. Fill with sparkling water.

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel” – This cocktail revolves around a main plot point: the whereabouts of the priceless painting Boy with Apple. A martini is a classic drink that would have been served at the titular hotel. The use of elderflower is a nod to Gustave’s lover and Grand Budapest patron, Madame D.

Boy With Apple Martini

1 oz. elderflower cordial

3/4 oz. gin or vodka

1/2 oz. dry vermouth


sparkling apple juice

Combine the cordial, gin or vodka, vermouth, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Fill with sparkling apple juice.

Any or all of these would be a great addition to any Oscar party. If you are rooting for one film in particular, enjoy the one that corresponds with your choice. Or try all of them, but only if you can hold your liquor. Consume and view responsibly.

originally published at collective lifestyle 2.2015

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throwback: zoolander returns

Zoolander Returns

Ben Stiller has announced that the long anticipated sequel to the 2001 comedy hit, “Zoolander”, is set. He did it in a high fashion way, much to Mugatu’s chagrin. Derek Zoolander and his nemesis turned BFF, Hansel, took to the catwalk at the Maison Valentino fashion show during Paris Fashion Week. They were looking “ridiculously good-looking” in a brocade suit with a hand-embroidered overcoat and a silk print pajama suit with a double cashmere overcoat, respectively. Stiller reaffirmed it on social media, setting the date for “Zoolander 2″‘s release for February 12th, 2016. Obviously, Stiller and Owen Wilson will reprise their roles as Zoolander and Hansel. Will Farrell is to return as the notorious Mugatu along with Christine Taylor as Zoolander’s love interest. Justin Theroux returns but in a behind-the-scenes capacity. He will be penning the screenplay. No word yet if he will return to play Evil DJ, which he was practically unrecognizable as in the original. Penelope Cruz has been cast as a new addition. Plot information has been hush hush. Stiller has said that changes in the fashion industry are fast and furious and it will be 15 years since these top models were at the top of their game. It may be a story of reinventing oneself in an ever-changing industry. Whatever the plot is, you can count me in. As the photos from the Valentino runway appeared in my instagram feed my anticipation for this sequel has grown ten-fold. I’m not the only one who is excited to see Blue Steel and Company return to the big screen. This will likely be a successful sequel!

originally published at collective lifestyle 3.11.2015

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throwback: left shark

Left Shark is my Spirit Animal

By now you have probably heard about the real MVP of Super Bowl XLIX. I’m not talking about Tom Brady, I’m talking about Left Shark. This lovable dancing sea creature has captured the heart of the world. After sloppily dancing back-up to Katy Perry in the most watched concert of the year, Left Shark has taken to the open waters of the internet and gone viral. Shark Week came early this year. Memes galore have surfaced and hashtags are overflowing in all social media outlets. You got to hand it to the fish, it’s hard to outshine mega diva, Katy Perry, but he managed. The momentum this story has gained you’d think Left Shark was Janet Jackson’s nipple. In Left Shark we have a more family friendly half-time show blunder. In addition to being an online sensation, Left Shark appeared on the “Late, Late Show” with guest host John Mayer. Mayer attempted to interview both sharks, but, alas, they don’t talk. Just dance. 3-D printed Left Sharks were being sold (at least until the manufacturer received a cease and desist letter from Camp Perry). An Indiegogo campaign started raising money for the environment by selling Left Shark stickers, suit patterns, and costumes. Environmentalist David Lam who started the campaign is donating 100% of the funds raised to several organizations like WWF and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Left Shark has contributed to helping Lam raise over $45,000 for environmental causes. Left Shark will also be responsible for what will probably be one of the most popular Halloween costumes come October.

The message I get from the media saturation of Left Shark is that it’s ok to mess up and it’s ok to laugh at yourself. Even if you are a back-up dancer on one of the world’s biggest stages, you can do a few missteps and still come out ok in the end or maybe even better than you’d thought (like a viral meme). Everyone has love for Left Shark and that shows our humanity. We can all relate to failing and Left Shark shows us not to let it get us down. Just be you, left or right, shark or human, back-up dancer or inept hoofer. We are all human. We are all flawed. We are all Left Shark.

originally published at collective lifestyle 2.9.2015

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what follows is a recap of a grown woman having a geeky slumber party with her fangirl friends. just thought i’d give fair warning before any unsuspecting readers proceed.

the weekend started on a thursday evening. ryan surprised me with tickets to see jerry seinfeld at the flint center for my birthday a month ago. i hadn’t known about it at the time i booked my chicago ticket so i had to cut the show short, but those 60 min were glorious. i had seen jerry in san francisco with my mom while i was going to college at SFSU. it was the ‘i’m telling you for the last time’ tour and he was hilarious. i never, in my wildest dreams, thought i would ever see him perform stand up live again, so this was super exciting.

ryan and i went out to dinner before the show. we went to kula, an automated sushi restaurant. this was an experience. if you know me, you know i am not very technically savvy, but i got a real kick out of this place. the hostess was a computer. you go up to this computer screen outside the door and put in your information, including your phone number. as i walked away it texted me that the wait was 8 minutes long. 8 minutes later an actual human came outside and led us inside. we chose to sit at the bar. we were seated and another human *gasp* took our drink order and told us how it worked. in front of you is a conveyor belt with food in these plastic dome containers called mr. fresh. if you see something you want you pull the plate out of mr. fresh as it passes by. after you eat the food on that plate you put the plate down this little chute. it keeps track of how many plates you dispose of and once you get to 15 plates you get a prize. obviously we had to see what the prize was. the plates are small. usually two sushi rolls or a small bowl of different edible treats. so it’s not that hard to get up to 15 plates. if you don’t see what you want on the conveyor belt there is a touch screen computer above your table where you can place an order. your order arrives on an upper conveyor belt shortly after you order it. it zooms right up to your table. the sushi was not bad, but it wasn’t mind blowing either. but the atmosphere is really entertaining and the novelty of it was fun. once we put 15 plates down the chute the screen above us played some sort of ninja cartoon. and something that looks like it belongs in a casino spit out our prize. our prize was a pen that looks like sushi.

when i saw jerry in college, tom papa opened for him and he was really good so i was hoping jerry’s opener this time would be just as good. he was. mario joyner who guest starred on seinfeld and was featured in jerry’s comic documentary, “comedian,” was the opening act. he was great. when jerry came out i was squeeeeeing like a stupid fangirl. i love him so much. he made fun of the stragglers. “it’s not that hard to get around cupertinooooo!” one guy put his hands up in defeat and jerry mimicked him saying “that’s the universal sign for ‘sorry, i’m an asshole.'” he did a bit on how we all make plans to go out and as soon as we’re out, we just gotta get home. i can relate, i tell ya. then he did a whole thing about hungry man tv dinners. i was rolling. then how metaphysical the donut hole is. jerry talking about breakfast foods was like manna from heaven. but then i had to leave. it truly broke my heart to leave in the middle of my favorite comedian’s act. but i had a plane to catch for the trip of a lifetime, so i can’t complain.
 sorry, jerry, i’m an asshole.

we booked it to the airport and i made it to the gate as the plane was boarding. i’ve never cut it that close in my life! i was trying to speed read “born with teeth” by kate mulgrew which i had bought the day before since she was a guest at the comic con. i read the whole way to my stopover in seattle. i arrived at the seattle airport at 11:30pm and had gotten halfway through the book. i was planning on sleeping on this flight to chicago, but i still wanted to get a starbucks because it was my first time in seattle, even if it is only the airport. but the fucking starbucks in the SEATTLE airport was closed. what. the. shit. it was probably best because i didn’t need the caffeine and blah blah blah, but it was a disappointment, let me tell you. there was a delay in boarding because there was something sharp sticking out of an arm rest ….ooookay. i dicked around on my phone. dude next to me was blasting heavy metal in his headphones and then the fucking barenaked ladies plays next and it’s one week. “watchin’ x-files with no lights on. we’re dans la maison. i hope the smoking man’s in this one.” i’m on my way to a con with an x-files VIP package. this is too spooky! i boarded the plane and took a unisom. i knew my excitement would try to keep me up so i needed something to knock me out. i put my music on and fell asleep pretty quick. i woke up as we were descending. my music was still on and the playlist was playing drunk in love by beyonce which we’ve been using the quote “we be all night” referring to our slumber party so that was funny and fitting.

i arrived at o’hare at 7am and had about 4 hours to kill. i had thought i would try to get more sleep but the airport was busy and crowded and i probably wouldn’t have been able to fall asleep anyways. i wandered aimlessly for a little bit. i visited one of the two chili’s because reasons. the one i went to had a ginormous sign next to it that said “come touch it.” o’hare has no chill. i took a picture of it and when i turned around a security guard was approaching me. am i not supposed to take pictures in here? “did you just take a picture of that awkward sign? it’s so awkward, isn’t it?” yes, security dude, it is totes awkward. and hilarious. in my daze i was able to get my legs to walk me to the starbucks. when it was my turn i said “i would like….*long ass pause* ….the middle one.” not what kinda drink, not ‘grande.’ i gave her basically no information. i think the unisom was still in my system. luckily the cashier got me through it and i sat down with my much needed coffee. after awhile my mind became less fuzzy and i ate some breakfast and before i knew it, i had to find ashley’s gate. it had started to rain so the planes were all backed up. it was almost another hour when ashley finally got off the plane. we had a hell of a time trying to find the delta terminal, but by the time we got there shana was about to deboard, so it worked out. when shana walked out into the gate i did my excited seinfeld greeting for her since she doesn’t do hugs. we found the hotel shuttle and our tired asses were off to the hotel!

the hotel was entirely too fancy for our motley crew, but at least it was bigger than the room in brooklyn. shana said we would have to behave ourselves. yeah, okay, that’s not happening. we had to wait for the other girls to arrive so the three of us played cards against humanity. finally katie and terry arrived and after much flailing we got our shit together and went to the con to get our passes and stuff. i missed seeing christopher lloyd walk by us because i didn’t have my glasses on. we didn’t do much besides wander around for awhile.
 where’re my glasses??

we kept getting news that our final slumber party member’s flight kept getting delayed because of bad weather in texas. it was pretty nice in chicago, though. for dinner we went to nearby giordano’s. we got the famous deep dish chicago pizza and it was fucking amazing! also, their margaritas were pretty great, too. i had three, almost four, of them.

after a really fun dinner we walked to 7-11 to get supplies (i.e. alcohol) for the room. we popped open a bottle of wine and then headed down to the pool. the jacuzzi (one jet in particular ;)) did wonders for my aching body that was wrecked from all the traveling and lugging a friggin’ apple box across the country. the things i will do for shana, i swear… we were all pretty beat from our travels so it was difficult to stay up for alley who was going through hell to get to us. i managed to stay up til she got in around 1 or 2 in the morning!

we got to the convention center at a good time and had a decent spot towards the front of the entry line. we waited for like an hour and we were all jittery with nerves. they finally opened the flood gates and told us to put our hand with our wristbands up. it felt like we were going into battle and someone mentioned that it was like the hunger games so we put our hands up with the the three finger panem salute.

we ran (not an exaggeration) to gillian’s booth and got first in line for the VIP gold passes, but we still had a long wait ahead of us. she wasn’t even scheduled to be there for another 2 hours and there were a lot of platinum passes ahead of us. we found out that kate mulgrew had cancelled her con appearance due to scheduling on OITNB. alley had read the whole book during her flight delay. i had only made it through half. not that she was going to quiz us or anything, but it’s the principle, you know? finally the cute little troll came out looking fly in a “i’m with schmoopie –>” shirt (can she not), a blazer, and a sick pair of glasses. errrrmagherrrd, she’s so perfect!! finally it was our turn. i gave her a custom sandy the squirrel in a red speedo pop which she said was “fucking hilarious” and then referred to the pops as “big headed things” in her autograph to shana who gave her #nochillian™ and blanche pops. i had her sign an x-files poster. i got the poster from red bubble. the quality wasn’t very good but i love the design. it’s a hitchockian vertigo style poster. gillian said “cool. i’ve never seen this before.” and then she said “are you erin?” ohmygaaaaahhh, she said my name!!!! i die.

i brought out the charter so we could remind her that we were the slumber party. and she said “what do i do with this?” and we did a collective derp and forgot to tell her she was invited to our slumber party. at ourselves: “you had one job!” major fail aside, she was lovely and looked me in the eye and i managed to not faint, so yeah.

i’m a bit fuzzy on what happened after. that #nochillian™ high makes you go kind of brain dead. i’m pretty sure the panel was next on our agenda. luckily i was with some seasoned con vets, so they knew we had to go to the panel that was in the same room before the x-files one. i was so happy that it was the back to the future panel and that i was interested in it. it could’ve been a number of things i had no idea about, so i lucked out. as we were waiting in line to go into the back to the future panel, shana and i decided that we would split a single photo op with schmoopie. katie wanted one, too. so katie and i went to go purchase them. probably the least qualified of our group to do so. first we went to the wrong floor and then we finally found where you buy the photo ops and got ’em. then i’m pretty sure we got lost again and when we found our way back to the panel section we saw there was a giant line just to get on the escalator going to the panel rooms. so we thought we were sneaky and tried to find another way but all we did was make a big loop back to the same escalator line. but then i saw something that said ‘elevator’ so we excused our way through tons of people waiting to get on the escalator and pushed the button for the elevator. some other guys caught on and the elevator came and we got in and laughed and laughed. suckers, BYEEE. we found our group seated in the back and the back to the future panel started shortly thereafter.

it was pretty dang cool seeing michael j. fox, lea thompson, and christopher lloyd reminisce about the back to the future movies. lea thompson has an adorable laugh and christopher lloyd is quite witty. there was a video from writer/producer, bob gale, where he said there will never be a reboot or remake or spin off of back to the future. this was refreshing to hear. i’m sure they could make tons of money doing some sort of reimagining of BTTF, but they have enough integrity to leave well enough alone. if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. not that i’m against “retro” reboots. i loved the 2016 ghostbusters. sometimes they are done well. michael j. fox did say in response to one fan’s question regarding a hypothetical reboot, “if i were to do this movie again […] i say ‘i,’ but i wouldn’t be in it, i would see marty as a girl.” alright, this is a remake i could get behind. bless you, michael j. fox.

once the BTTF panel ended we moved to the front of the room and waited for the x-files panel.
here are my panel thoughts:
-wtf, david? why did you make it SO awkward and make mitch tell you to sit next to gillian. she had a shirt made with an arrow pointing to schmoopie. OBVIOUSLY you should sit next to her.

-gillian takes off her blazer to show off her shirt. she is so proud, she is beaming. omg.

-why that weird jacket, david, whyyy

-gillian doesn’t say anything until 3 and 1/2 minutes in and it’s innuendo about david. TROLL.

-gillian: “that was a long fucking time ago” SLAY. i love her non-answers to these repetitive as fuck questions.

-david to gillian: “what was your favorite memory?”
gillian: ………………………….
david: “or any memory at all.”
and then: “that time when i cried. that was good.” ahahhaaa, trolling sadist chris carter with that one.

-david is way funnier and way more no chill than i ever expected him to be and it was sweet because it seemed like he was doing it to make gillian laugh more than to kill it with the audience. she was obviously done with this shit (and i don’t blame her one fucking iota) and it was nice that he tried to cheer her up.

-god, this moderator is a tool. they would answer his dumb questions and he would just let it be silent like he’s expecting more, making them, gillian in particular, feel like they need to say more than they already said. like what they said wasn’t sufficient. but, it did give us one of the best moments of the panel, in my opinion:
*awkward silence*
david: “bill?” acting as moderator because the actual mod is sitting there like a useless piece of crap.
gillian: “god, you’re brown, bill. look at how brown your hands are. have you been on holiday?”
me: *laughs my arse off*

-of course gillian doesn’t know that CSM is mulder’s father. “when did that happen?”

-first question is good *sigh of relief*
q: “do you have any advice for someone who is struggling with what they want to be in life?”
mitch: “don’t give up.”
david: “it will always feel transitional. try to become comfortable with the fucking anxiety of it.”
gillian: “i’m always afraid. but you do it anyway. you just do.”

-bless gillian forever and ever for her response to the “will mulder and scully ever get married” question.
gillian: “not married. there are other things they can do, but they don’t have to get married.
listen, i am a hard core shipper, but what mulder and scully have is so far beyond some stupid marriage certificate and husband/wife titles, okay? gillian gets it. she gets it.

-next question is also good.
q: “what do you geek out about?”
gillian (into david’s mic that he holds up to her): “i’d geek out if i met obama.”
david: tells a story about being out to dinner with his daughter and they run into john mcenroe and david says to his daughter, “you have no idea who this is but i’m going to fangirl all over him.”

-next is an awkward af question to david about the new twin peaks. he was announced as being part of the cast. NEXT QUESTION.

-and the next question is about the red speedo and it seems we all have david to thank for that because chris carter wanted him in board shorts!

-q: “what was it like having two new guys, robbie amell and lauren ambrose, on set?”
gillian: “good question […] i remember thinking at one point during a scene with lauren that the way that she was acting was actually how real people would act in that situation *giggles* and the way that i was acting was the way one would act in the x-files in that situation just because i’d done it for so long and there was actually a difference between the two.” this is such an intelligent fucking answer. see, if you ask good questions she is engaging and thoughtful. ask stupid questions and she’ll let you know that it was stupid simply by shutting down. and i think that is so freakin’ great. she is herself all the time. she gives no fucks. she is #goals.

-i continue my praise for gillian in this next thought:
q: long ass, poorly worded question about season 11 and directing
gillian: “wait, is there an assumption that we are going to do a season 11?”
crowd: *cheers*
me: *groans* she’s not saying that to pump up the audience, you idiots.
gillian: “i mean, is that something that you guys think is a given? […] this is a serious question.”
stupid fucking question asker: “seriously…” blah blah blah… “20 million people…” nonsense, nonsense, nonsense…
okay, do not be an ass and assume you know more than the fucking stars of the show. we do not know what goes on behind closed doors in these negotiations. if it happens, there will be an announcement so can we just LET. IT. GO. FOR FUCK’S SAKE? i think gillian is fed up with fans thinking that it is owed to them or expected of her to make it happen for the sake of the “20 million people” or whatever. (seriously, what is this figure? is it an actual stat? i kind of doubt it.) gillian is in charge of her career. she can take whatever roles she damn well pleases. we can dream and we can hope, but let’s keep that to ourselves and quit bothering these busy, professional actors with what we want.
david goes on to roast stupid fucking question asker: “if there’s a season 11 and if you direct it, the hypothetical season 11, will you direct, if you direct, any differently than you directed before when you actually did direct?” translation: that was a stupid fucking question.

-david to mitch: “i love what you’re doing. you’re like the grumpy uncle today.” LULZZZ

-then the moderator jumps in mid audience q&a. who the fuck is this dude? he is quite strange.
mod: there is an iconic picture […] where gillian, you’re licking duchovny’s face. we went to twitter […] the overwhelming question was, what does david taste like?”
mod: stumbles
gillian: “avocado. he would taste like chicken but he’s vegetarian.”
david: licks his hand “hard to describe, really.”
mod: motions back to the q&a mic in the audience
q: “i forgot my question.”

-moderator jumps in AGAIN to ask david and gillian random as fuck questions. he asks david about the title of his book, bucky fucking dent, which he has explained ad nauseam at this point on his MEDIA TOUR for the book, so thanks for wasting that time. cool. cool. and then he asks gillian about her work with the NF organization which is so out of left field that gillian is taken aback. “um, sure? …yeah …uuum, okay …um.” she goes on to tell about her brother being diagnosed and her involvement with neurofibromatosis, inc. this is a great thing about gillian, but it seemed like it kind of made her sad thinking about her brother and it was just totally random.

-last question is about hannibal and the chick adds (for what purpose, i have no idea) that eventually she will have all the characters of the x-files tattooed on her arm.
gillian: “don’t. don’t. just stop.”

-gillian auctions off the schmoopie shirt she’s wearing for $3000! i really think this is why she continues to do these cons and put up with all the shit so she can raise money for her charities. she is a goddamned saint.

most of us had gillian and david dual photo ops next so we headed up to the photo op area. nerves were running rampant. we were about to be in a room with friggin’ mulder and scully! holy shitballs. the last con they did together was three years ago and i don’t think they did photo ops together besides press. i never saw any fan photos with the two of them. this is like once in a lifetime shit. we went behind the curtain when it was our turn and oh my fuck, there they are. thank the lord david wasn’t wearing that god awful white jacket thing. he was in a dark gray t-shirt so ARMSSSSSS were showing and he had this scruff that was just …really fucking nice. gillian had changed her shirt after auctioning it off after the panel. she was now wearing a black tee that said “strong female character” on it. errrrrrrgh, the feels, the fucking FEELS to see her in that shirt, creator of so many STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS that i admire and being one herself in real life. i mean, MY GOD. it was my turn and i don’t remember a whole lot. i do remember that i stood in between them and gillian and i both did this little small step scoot thing to get closer and i guess i smiled because that is what the camera captured. what you see on my face is pure bliss. i am just so fucking happy in this moment. after they snapped my pic i turned to gillian and looked her in the murder eyes and said thank you and she smiled and i turned to do the same to david but he was behind me so i kind of stumbled making a full circle immediately after having eye contact with gillian and i looked puppy in the eyes and he kind of crouched to make eye contact with me and i said thank you and stumbled away and ran into katie and we apologized to each other and gillian and david saw us and looked at each other and laughed at us being dorks. then i instantly turned into a japanese school girl and started giggling and flailing and running away down the curtained hallway.


after we all died over our photos we went to david’s booth for the autograph. i had him sign the same poster gillian signed. he looked at it and said “this is cool” with that adorable crack in his voice. and then asked me if i made it. i said “no, i’m not very artistic.” and he looked me up and down (hand to god, i swear he did) and said “your hair is artistic.” i have no idea what my reaction was but it was probably something like derrrrrrp with a thank you thrown in. i was literally doing a happy dance after this. it was some kind of running man thing. oh man, i am so white. but i was on cloud fucking nine. i had met gillian before so i expected to be floored by her beauty in person. for some reason i didn’t anticipate david having the same effect on me. but he did. my knees literally went weak.

there was a short line at mitch pileggi’s table. SKINMAN! so i went and did a “selfie” with him. it’s not really a selfie because one of his handlers takes the picture, but anyways. i asked him if i could give him a hug and he said sure. and then i’m not sure why but i didn’t give him a hug, i did this clingy koala bear tree climbing thing. i think my mind was left in a puddle back at that photo op, i dunno. i’ve officially lost it. anyhoo, the lady took our pic and then i released poor mitch and he said “you’re kind of shaking.” and i said, “i know! i’m fangirling! you know what it’s like.” and he said he did. he had mentioned in the panel that he has had his “fanboy” moments. so i think he really did know what i was talking about. he is awesome. such a nice, genuine guy. that concluded day one at the con and i could not have been happier.

the #nochillian™ slumber party express was done with the con for the day, but not done with shenanigans. we took a very memorable uber ride back to the hotel. what is it with these slumber parties and the uber stories?

 “can’t get open the door” words are hard. what even with that sentence structure?

then we had to decide where to eat dinner. come to find out the place that had the chocoflan that shana and terry had been talking about for months didn’t have margaritas. and since margaritas are more necessary than chocoflan we found another mexican restaurant and ubered there. the food at hay carumba’s was good, but the margaritas at giordano’s were way better than these. i didn’t get nearly as buzzed as i was hoping, but still buzzed enough to embarrass our group as we waited for the ride back to the hotel.

we all put on our official slumber party uniform and went down to the pool. after that we drank some wine and played CAH until 2a.

day two of the con was quite busy. we all had gillian single photo ops and a slumber party group photo with gillian. and shana and i had our single with DFD. some of us had gillian autographs, as well. david’s photo op was first. shana and i went in and i’m not sure how it happened. i think one of us said “group hug?” and david fucking duchovny wrapped his arms around us. they took the picture and we started to walk away and he grabbed us, kept us from leaving and squeezed us saying, “you two are the perfect height for this.” um, dead. fucking dead. i mean, he wouldn’t let us leave right away. ohmygaaaahhh! this was us:


next up was our group slumber party photo with gillian. when we went to see her in streetcar in brooklyn, we left her a bag of goodies with a stagehand. the next day gillian tweeted a picture of herself with a chewbacca mask that was in our gift bag and said “hope you had a fantastic slumber party” and used the HT that we use for her, #nochillian™. we got shirts made with the #nochillian™ chewie mask photo. we all wore them for the picture. we went in and terry tossed her a shirt, “we got you one too, do with it what you want.” terry is such a #boss at these cons. i want to do all the cons with terry. it was nice that she gave her the choice because it seemed like people were playing dress up with gillian like she was a doll and asking her to do stuff like she’s a trained monkey. i actually think there is a video taken at her autograph booth (which is not allowed, btdubs) where she says “i’ve just got to remind people that i’m not a performing monkey.” gillian held the shirt up to herself (bless her heart) and we took the pic. and we all look great!

most of us had single photos with gillian so we banged those out. i whipped off my #nochillian™ shirt and had my fuck younicorn shirt on underneath. gillian is a legit fuck younicorn. as soon as i saw it on red bubble i knew i had to have it for my photo op with her. two of my friends said that gillian was like checking out my shirt trying to see what was on it. i’m fine. ogle my chest all you want, girl. i am here for this. then i approached her and said “can we do..?” and did this fonzie ‘heeeeyyy’ motion with middle fingers instead of thumbs (*face palm*) and kind of motioned to my shirt. and she took a beat and then went “oh! yeah!” and then we flipped off the camera together. both of us. both hands. there’s a lot of middle fingers in this picture. my hands are all clenched because nerves and hers are flawless because she’s a fuck younicorn.


then we went to gillian’s booth again for more autographs. our group had a nice little chat with gillian that i will keep for myself and my friends. it was like gillian gave us a precious little gift that i will lock away in my heart for ever and ever. katie and i were getting our playbills from streetcar signed since she didn’t sign on the nights we were there. i had an extra playbill that we had signed for our friend who also went to see her on a night where she didn’t sign. gillian said that was “so sweet of us.” eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

and that ended the con for us. we had to say some tortured goodbyes as we started to part ways. ashley, shana, katie, and i were all flying out of o’hare at similar times so we took the hotel shuttle to the airport. katie and i were on the same flight to salt lake city. we boarded the plane and a very nice gentleman traded seats with katie so we could sit together. we were chatting and using colorful language because that’s how we talk and the woman in the seat in front of us whipped her head around and said, “do you mind, i have a child here.” she was all snooty. she could have nicely and politely asked us to watch our language, but, no, she was, PARDON MY FRENCH, a fucking bitch. and her “child” was like 12 years old and should know that adults can use that language if they choose to. but, being nice people we stopped with the cursing. we continued to chat because, hello, we bonded a fuckton this weekend and we have a lot to talk about, okay? we were scolded for our sailor’s mouths before we even took off. about a half an hour after being in the air. the asian dude next to me starts huffing and puffing. keep in mind that katie and i are talking at a totally normal, if not lower, volume and it is 6 o’clock in the evening. so, the dude yells at us “can you be quiet?!” and little miss snooty in front of us looks back, all satisfied. and katie and i are shocked. one of us says, “what?” and he repeats, “can you be quiet?!” katie and i lose our shit. we just start laughing. are we in the twilight zone? since when are you not allowed to talk on airplanes? where’s ashton kutcher? are we being punked? what is happening? we cannot stop laughing over the absurdity of it all. but, AGAIN, being nice people, we lower our voices even more, but it’s not enough for mr. crabby pants. he huffs and puffs the rest of the flight. which is like 3 or 4 hours, by the way. once we land, prude mcpruderson in front of us tells her kid, “we can’t get off this plane fast enough.” we deboard and as soon as we walk out into the gate the asian dude is standing there with his family right in the way of everyone exiting and he looks at us in horror. i almost pissed myself laughing so hard. so we are cracking up walking away from this dude that we traumatized with our normal volume voices and this other dude walks up and says, “sounds like you guys had a fun flight.” and we were like, oh crap, another one? katie asked if we bothered him being too loud and he said “no, i couldn’t even hear you. i was a row behind on the other side of the aisle.” we tell him that we got scolded for talking and he said that the asian dude’s son was bothering the guy the whole flight. so the whole time he’s worried about us, he should’ve been making sure his own son was behaving. thank you random guy for validating us because we thought we were losing our minds.

then katie and i had to go to our separate connecting flights. the flight from salt lake to san jose wasn’t too long. i popped in my earbuds and tried to catch some zzzs. my mind was racing, going over everything that happened at the con and how amazing my friends are and how incredible it is that we found each other among the muck and the mire that is the interwebs. and i’m starting to get emotional and in the aeroplane over the sea by neutral milk hotel starts playing and tears start streaming down my face.

“what a beautiful face
i have found in this place
that is circling all round the sun
what a beautiful dream
that could flash on the screen
in a blink of an eye and be gone from me
soft and sweet
let me hold it close and keep it here with me

and one day we will die
and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
but for now we are young
let us lay in the sun
and count every beautiful thing we can see
love to be
in the arms of all i’m keeping here with me”

the slumber party players:

gillian (even though she couldn’t make it to the slumber party):
-shit memory who dis
-actual magical unicorn 👽🖕🦄
-plays the tambourine

-the unicorn whisperer
-dad moves
-can face palm you so hard

-mad meme maker
-heart eyes af 😍 (but also side eye af 😒, so watch it)
-probably already read that fic
-went to prom with david

-stacks the mexicans👏👏👏
-will try to work the word “tits” into every conversation
-official slumber party braider
-la chancla
-also chocflan

-that’s what she said QUEEN
-resting bitch face #goals
-has all the t-shirts
-ship keeps getting chris cartered

-cutest texan accent
-baby agent
-frizzy haired bitch😂

-technologically incompetent
-where’s the booze?
-most likely confused about something
-snort laughs


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throwback: football

How I Went From Football Fanatic to Disinterested Non-Viewer

I have to admit, I got into football for a boy.  My husband, boyfriend at the time, was an avid NFL watcher. After several of seasons of spending game time apart, I decided to give in and actually learn about it.  That way I wouldn’t be miserable spending time with him and being forced to watch the game.  I started asking questions as we watched.  I began to understand the rules and the strategy and it was fascinating stuff.  I became familiar with players and coaches and stats.  My husband told me to pick a team at the beginning of a season because it’s more fun to follow a team throughout the year.  I chose the Minnesota Vikings and for the silliest, girly reasons you could think of: I like Minnesota because that is where one of my favorite shows, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, took place and I thought the quarterback, Brett Favre, was pretty dreamy.  My husband was right.  Even though I chose a team based on non-athletic criteria it made the season so much more fun. There was a Jared Allen on the team and my last name is Allen.  I bought his jersey.  I planned a flag football game with our friends.  My husband and I made bets and side bets with the winners getting dinner made for them or the losers doing the dishes.  I anticipated Super Bowl Sunday like a child waiting for Christmas morning.  I planned our anniversary around a football game.  We went down to San Diego to see the Chargers and the Niners play and I thought it was super romantic.  I was totally hooked on this football phenomenon.

I started to notice my enthusiasm start to fade as negative stories about the football stars came out.  Michael Vick and the dog fights.  Ben Roethlisberger and the rape accusation. The exuberant Ray Lewis who I had come to love had been charged with murder.  And my Brett Favre was in a sexting scandal!  I don’t know the extent of these cases.  I don’t even know or claim to speculate if these individuals are guilty or not guilty.  All I know is that the stories sullied my passion for the game.  I still continued to watch, though.  I have a respect for the athletes that can excel in this sport.  It is a beautiful thing to watch.  Fast forward to this season’s opening weekend and two NFL stars’ negative news stories.  Ray Rice and that awful footage of him laying out his finacée in the elevator is, unfortunately, burned in my brain.  Adrian Peterson of my beloved Vikings is charged with child abuse. Ray McDonald of the 49ers and Carolina Panther Greg Hardy currently have open cases of domestic violence.  I just don’t have it in my heart anymore to admire these football stars that tarnish their amazing abilities and talents with bad behavior.  I don’t want to be let down anymore.  It’s one thing to lose a game, fumble, or throw an interception, but to abuse another person (or animal) is difficult to stomach.  I don’t want to diminish the fact that many athletes are out there doing good and giving back, but I don’t want to add to the fame of people who think they are above the law and human decency because they are really good at football.  I make it a point not to watch the news because I don’t want to hear about violence and crime and now that has seeped into an entertainment activity. Watching football now includes hearing bad news right and left and I think I’m ready to throw in the towel.  And I’m not going to pull a Favre and be indecisive about it.

originally published at collective lifestyle 9.24.2014

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