It’s Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus: In Defense of the Villains

In honor of Halloween. Originally posted October 29, 2013.

A few weeks ago, I was telling Gail about my Game of Thrones marathon. I tried to explain that, no matter how drawn out the storyline was, it was entirely worth it to keep up with the Khaleesi.

Gail: “Okay. Wait. Are you sure she’s the heroine? Because, you really don’t have the best track record with that.”
Me: “Hey. Like 14 people liked my Facebook status defending the witch against Hansel and Gretel. Those little shits vandalized her house. She was the victim, damn it!”
Gail: ::silence::
Me: “.. but, no. Everyone else thinks the Khaleesi is the heroine, too. Even the people who can’t see that Cruella de Vil was doing her part to curb over-breeding.”

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She’s practically an activist.

So, it came as no surprise to Gail that, for my next blog post, I was going to make my case for the Sanderson sisters… particularly since I’ve watched Hocus Pocus nine times this month and have been quoting it on Facebook daily. Actually. Best thing about living alone: the dog doesn’t care that I can (and do) recite that movie as it plays. Now, just to clarify, my argument isn’t so much that the Sanderson sisters were innocent and/or wronged. It’s more that their actions were justified. The kids in the movie deserved to have their souls sucked dry. Happy Halloween, y’all.

hocus pocus soul sucking

We all know the story. In 1693, the Sanderson sisters were tried and convicted of witchcraft, after punishing some young trespassers. Perhaps the girl was lured into the yard; perhaps not. We never got to hear the details of the case, over the sounds of angry townspeople. We do, however, know that Thackery Binx was was doomed to live forever as a cat. Wait. Doomed? Being an immortal cat would be fucking awesome!

schrodingers cat meme

Regardless, the witches cast one last spell, just before they were hanged.

Three hundred years later, in not-so-modern-day Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison and his “laid-back, California, tie-dyed point-of-view” have relocated with parents and little sister Dani. Though he lives in the aparent Halloween capitol of the United States, Max isn’t buying into this whole “Sanderson sisters” bit. His enthusiasm for his new school and town is further lessened, by the bullies who steal his shoes.

ice
His name ain’t Ernie no more.

Disgruntled and frustrated, Max goes home in socks, only to flop on the bed and masturbate to the thought of Allison, the pretty girl in class, who totally shot him down. Fortunately, little sister Dani leaps from the closet before Max unzips, demanding to be taken trick-or-treating. Max puts up a fight, declaring that she’s eight and can go by herself.

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Ultimately, Max ends up escorting his little sister, leading them to a luxurious house, owners unknown. Finally, we begin to see the true character of these little delinquents as they knock on the door of this stranger’s home, and upon receiving no answer, stroll right on in. Alright Dani, I’ll forgive you for this. You’re eight. There’s candy involved… but what the fuck Max?!?! You’re 16/17 years old! You’re on your way to a fucking B&E!

Fortunately for Max and Dani, this just happens to be the home of Max’s mastubatory heroine, the one and only Allison… and she is simply delighted that the boy she turned down earlier in the day is standing in her foyer uninvited and stealing candy. At this point, Dani embarrasses Max by declaring that he loves Allison’s “yabbos.” Rather than asking her obvious stalker to leave, the teenage model in a $200 Halloween costume laughs at the fact that the rude and awkward new kid has been talking to his kid sister about her tits.

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Allison seems taken with Dani and tells her that her mother used to run the museum dedicated to the Sanderson sisters. Max immediately suggests they break in.

boy that escalated quickly

I told you he was on his way to a B&E. Despite the protests of both Dani and Allison, the three criminals soon find themselves in the old Sanderson house… setting shit on fire.

just a bunch of hocus pocus

Okay, I get that this was just a candle with a mystical warning, but this place is a damned tinder box. Look at it! It’s made of 300 year old wood! It’s best not to start fires, y’all. Also, why the hell is all this stuff still here? Doesn’t someone own the merchandise? I mean, maybe they can’t just sell the Occult shit to tourists, but the lighters and the candy? If this place was so haunted that the workers had to just desert everything inside, I’m pretty sure Satan’s Damned Candle isn’t just sitting around with an “I dare you” sign on a box of matches. Just sayin’.

Max reads the inscription and Dani does not ask what a virgin is. I’m sorry, but this is the one thing that I just don’t buy. I’ll allow for the suspension of disbelief for everything else, but as much as I adore this movie, Dani was eight. They just said so! It was 1993 and her parents scolded Max for saying “sucked.” There is no way she knew what a virgin was. Anyway… just as Max lights the Black Flame Candle, the electric lights burst and… wait, wait, wait. If someone’s paying the electric bill, surely this place is better guarded than this!

Ahem…

Green lights flash as the witches strut in and marvel over who lit the Black Flame candle. Upon discovery of the children… wait. Hold it. In 1693, a boy Max’s age was considered a man. He likely had a wife and kids. What, exactly, are the parameters for “child?” Anyway… apparently Max and Allison both qualify as children, because the Sanderson sisters want to eat them as well. I’m a little confused as to whether or not they were, indeed, cannibals and feel Disney has done me a great disservice by not clarifying. Case in point: “Let’s barbecue and filet him.” – Mary

In an effort to flee, Max sets off the sprinkler system, insisting it is “the burning rain of death.” Okay, so at this point, this kid has not only broken into two houses and risked burning the latter to the ground, but now he’s flooded it? Three hundred year old wood is going to be seriously damaged by that much water! Eat him Winifred. Eat him and scratch your back with his spinal column, for destroying your home. Before Max can escape, Binx the cat leaps onto his chest, calls him a fucktard, and instructs him to steal the sisters’ spell book

1. Breaking and entering… twice
2. Lighting the Black Flame Candle
3. Flooding the house
4. Stealing the priceless Occult artifacts

How is Max the protagonist? Why is Max the protagonist? He asked for all of this.

Sidenote: Did anyone try to blow the Black Flame Candle out? I mean, it’s at least worth a go, you know?

After robbing a museum, the derelicts and cat seek refuge in a cemetery… after dark. That’s right. The cemetery was closed.

5. Breaking into a cemetery

In contrast, the Sanderson sisters did not break in. They just hovered over the ground for awhile. Eventually, events lead the witches, desperately trying to reclaim their rightful property, to a neighborhood filled with trick-or-treaters. In the meantime, Max leads Binx into the street, with no idea that he’s immortal, ultimately getting the cat run over. Even if he doesn’t die, we know it hurts, because he complained of pain later, when he was held over an open flame.

6. Killing/inflicting immense pain upon Binx

As the witches seek out children, the main ingredient in the potion that will allow them to live forever, they come upon a creepy old man dressed as Satan and think he’s the real deal. They figure their “master” can help them reclaim their book. Let’s just hope it’s not like the books get back, covered in urine. Who knows, though. Max clearly has no regard for anyone else’s property. The Sanderson sisters consult with Fake Satan, while Max and company try to convince a cop (psych) and eventually his own parents that they’re in danger. The sisters realize they’re mistaken about their master and leave to find that their brooms have been stolen by three children dressed as our “villains.”

stealing brooms

What?!?! 

Who the hell just steals a bunch of brooms that clearly belong to someone?!?! No wonder the Sanderson sisters want to kill children! It’s not like they’ve had any pleasant experiences with them!

The witches chase the “protagonists” to a town party, where Max has been unsuccessfully trying to convince his parents that he’s being stalked by the supernatural. No shit. Really? After the sisters put on a lovely performance, encouraging overweight Americans to get some exercise with “dance until you die!”, the children hatch a plan to burn the witches in the school kiln… in the middle of the night.

7. Breaking into a government building in the middle of the night
8. Operating highly volatile and expensive equipment with no experience
9. Burning school property in the form of a boombox used as bait

The witches burn as the children cheer… sadistic little shits. But, wait! They’re not really dead. Binx is fully aware that this may be the case, instructing them not to open the Sanderson sisters’ spell book. Allison, however, is enjoying her bad boy phase and declares “What harm could it do?”

hocus pocus book

For realz, yo?!?! It’s made of human skin and has a working eye. What the hell kind of harm do you think it can do?!?!

While Max was making out with Allison, the Sanderson sisters acquired some more children…

ice
Seriously. What is a child? On what are they basing this?

… and are currently waiting for death, when they look out the window and see the beacon sent out by the book. You know what? I’ve about decided that this is just the story of a woman desperately fighting censorship. We’ve got another activist here.

book burning

Belatedly, Binx the cat tells the kids that “nothing good can come from this book”… because it is made of human skin. Seriously. These kids fucking asked for it. There’s a final showdown in the cemetery…

10. Breaking into the cemetery again

… and sadly, Max survives, though Winifred had him in her clutches.

soul sucking hocus pocus

Not only does Max survive, but the Sanderson sisters perish. The worst part? The only intelligent and good being in the entire movie is officially killed. That’s right. Binx the Immortal Talking Cat is turned back into a stupid boyWhat the fuck, Disney? First you take the awesome talking furniture in Beauty and the Beast and turn it into boring ol’ people and then you kill Binx the Immortal Talking Cat?!?!?

The movie ends on this tragic note, but we see in the sequel that Max and Dani got theirs for leaving the bullies to slowly starve to death in cages. Though it’s never addressed in Hocus Pocus, the brief soul sucking leads to Max’s eventual demise. His parents no longer mention his name, their marriage crumbles, and Dani grows up to seek refuge from that tragic night, through the comfort of the deeply disturbed neighbor boy in…

american beauty

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2016 Was NOT the Worst Year Ever

With only two more days left in 2016, ’tis the season for everyone to bitch about how awful this year has been… and I do mean everyone. Whether you bought your first home, got your dream job, or finally conceived a child after struggling with infertility for years, social media dictates that you must spend the next two days wailing about the cruelty of 2016, usually in conjunction with the death of a long forgotten celebrity.

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I, however, love New Year’s. Like birthdays, New Year’s provides an opportunity for reflection… which is basically receiving a grade, and that’s my favorite.

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A year ago, I had been dating Jake for six months, was excitedly preparing for my first day as a supervisory librarian at the Northside Library and dreaming of getting a cat after  I moved from Shetland to be closer to work. I was struggling financially, having worked as a half time librarian while substitute teaching for so long, and was still relying on the health insurance that is prayer. I was excited about all the major life changes that would come in 2016… and change things did. While I’m not so heartbroken by the death of Debbie Reynolds and Prince as to lament of the despair of this past year, I will admit that the amount of change has been a bit… overwhelming.

It all started with my new job and its surprise levels of management. As I adjusted to the demands of full time supervisory work in a new library with new people, Jake worked two weeks on and two weeks off… and then two weeks on and one week off. We made the best of the time we had together, going skiing and seeing movies… growing closer and beginning to discuss marriage. When I realized moving wouldn’t be worth the time it would save, my commute increased to about 35 minutes each way… but I still got my kitten. Thackery Binx weighed a half pound the day he joined the family and he has brought nothing but joy. Jude loves the company of his brother and even Jake likes him. Though he won’t openly admit it, I’m pretty sure he wants several more.

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By fall, I’d decided to step down from management and Jake had agreed to quit oil. I never saw him. He’d been demoted and his pay had been cut numerous times. I wasn’t game for being the oil wife, enjoying manicures and designer handbags to take her mind off the fact that she’s mostly alone. So, as the holidays neared, I chased a new dream and worked to control my nerves over Jake’s unemployment, reminding myself that he’s hard working and good and not my ex-husband who refused to hold a job for four years. In the meantime, Jake spent his weekdays on the Granger Ranch, working cattle for $100 a day and I spent mine crying in my office over how much I hated my job… simultaneously counting the days until the weekend, when I could see Jake again.

Despite all this upheaval, on November 20th, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Jake asked me to marry him, just days after I’d accepted a voluntary demotion and transfer to the Jackson Library. We could’ve waited until Jake had the perfect position and we’d relocated to Jackson, but why waste time, when we could move forward with our lives? We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving and Christmas together, since we refused to join our holidays until we were committed.

For me, this was my last Single Girl Christmas. I’ll say goodbye to my pink tree and purple glitter bulbs forever, when I put all my décor away in a few short hours. It’ll be the first of many bittersweet goodbyes as I bind my life to Jake’s on May 6, 2017. I’ll leave my little apartment, the first place I ever felt truly safe as an adult… my hometown of Shetland, where I spent my teenage nights driving around with Gaily… my maiden name and my identity as Just Belle… the time in my life where the only decisions that effected me were my own. While 2016 has been a year of change, 2017 will put it to shame as I become Belle Granger, wife of Jake, and resident of Jackson. I’ll celebrate my 30th birthday, and happily so, having accomplished nearly everything I’d planned by such a big date.

So for me, 2016 was a stepping stone to all the great things 2017 will bring… and I am so excited.

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Why My Boyfriend Will Never Be at Christmas

The holidays are my very favorite time of year. Jake enjoys them, too, though not with quite the overwhelming enthusiasm that I do.

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I’m insufferable during the last four months of the year and I know it. My text tone has been sleigh bells since mid-November, when I put up my hot pink tree and started playing Christmas movies around the clock. Every time I saw Jake, I talked him into watching at least one Christmas movie, and he did so in good spirits, even when said movie was Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. We did our holiday shopping together and Jake even waited in the obscenely long line to drive through the Springfield Christmas lights, just for me, despite having been awake for over 24 hours for work. He even did the walk-through portion. We traded gifts and had our own little celebration, after Jake made a trip to the mall the weekend before Christmas, just to get my present. Despite all of this mutual cheer, however, neither of us attended the other’s family festivities… and we spent the entire holiday season defending that choice.

Mrs. Granger: “We’re doing Christmas the 23rd. Is Belle coming?”
Jake: “That’s actually when her family is doing their thing.”
Mrs. Granger: “Is that going to be a problem?”
Jake: “What? No. We’re not married. Neither one of us is going to miss Christmas for the other.”

Dad: “Well, maybe if you guys had been dating longer…”
Me: “No. There is no period of time that we could date, when I would be willing to miss my family Christmas for him, nor would I expect him to do so for me.”

Cousin Delia: “You do have to bring him around eventually.
Me: “Sure, but we’re not married. I’m not asking him to miss Christmas for me. Would you guys be okay with me ditching our Christmas for him?”

Jake’s Family: “So, where’s The Librarian?”
Jake: “Well, first off, she has a name. Second, she also has her own family, that she wants to spend Christmas with.”

Why is this such a foreign concept?!?! Why must it be the case that Jake and I aren’t serious enough if we’re not willing to split our holidays?

giphy

My whole family knows that, not only does Jake work one week on and one week off, but his family lives well out of town, with his parents actually living in another state. Had my family done one of their smaller Christmas parties on the 20th, he’d have gladly come, but since they did it the same day as his family, it wasn’t an option.

Laura: “Well, we used to spend less time at each and do both.”
Me: “No. That’s for married people.”

That, right there, pretty much sums up my and Jake’s views on the entire issue. I recently followed a link on Facebook, leading to an article dictating what not to say to newlyweds, because Guides to Not Offending Me were to 2015, what doomsday prepping was to 2012. One of the numerous reasons to sit in awkward silence with the Just Married was to avoid asking “Do you feel any different?” The article went on to elaborate that for most people, there’s really not much difference between their dating life and their married life.

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Now, I’m not knocking the decisions of other people. On the contrary, my entire point is one of “to each their own.” If my 15-year-old cousin gets to bring her boyfriend to the family Christmas party without hearing complaints of how she’s ruining our photos with that random kid who won’t be around in five years, or concerns about why he’s not with his family, though, then why can’t I come solo without insinuations that Jake and I must not be that serious?

I love Jake and he loves me. We’re actually planning to go away for a weekend together, to attend an engagement party, so I can meet every friend he’s ever had. We also acknowledge, however, that there are perks to dating, over marriage. One of those perks is not having to divide Christmas family time. If things keep going well, then the day will come when we do have to choose a Christmas day destination. We may be able to schedule my individual grandmothers’ parties around some of Jake’s family gatherings (something completely unreasonable if we’re not married, I might add), but on December 25, we will not be able to attend two different gatherings, in two different states.

As much as I love Jake, I’m really not looking forward to hiding tears over missing my own family’s giant Christmas gathering, for the first time in over ten years. We rent out the church gym for our crazy Catholic soiree. The kids usually put on a talent show and we play Dirty Santa and board games and eat until we all want to die. Sometimes, a few of us even go to a movie afterward. It’s a blast… and one that I’ll likely have to sacrifice, in the near future, on rotating years. Jake feels the same loving nostalgia for his own family get together and dreads missing it just as much. So why would we voluntarily sign up to do this a year or two earlier than absolutely necessary? To make a statement about our level of commitment to one another? Really? That’s worth missing Christmas? 

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Quite frankly, the same goes for living together before marriage. Jake and I have discussed it and it’s not going to happen. One of the joys of being in a serious relationship, that is not marriage, is continuing to live alone. If we marry, eventually, we will have to give that up and say goodbye to midnight CW Netflix marathons/Fallout 4 binges, at least on the scale we enjoy them now. I’ll have to start folding clothes and Jake will have to own furniture. I won’t get to have a pink Christmas tree anymore and Jake will have to deal with me decorating his hunting trophies. Why do that for any reason other than marriage, though? Ideally, we don’t get to go back, to be alone again. Why shouldn’t we enjoy the perks now, instead of playing marriage without any of the actual lifelong commitment? I don’t condemn those who do it. Gail and Terry have lived together for more than three years, scheduling hobbies and holidays around one another, and they’re happy. I’m happy for them. It just doesn’t appeal to me, and that’s okay too. One day, Jake and I might decide to join our lives, trading in all of the aforementioned for the joys of being husband and wife. In the meantime, though…my boyfriend won’t be at my Christmas and his girlfriend won’t be at his.

not-going

The Sociological Horror that is Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know I adore a good over-analysis and that extends to my favorite classical Christmas movies, including Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

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There have been numerous depictions of Santa Claus in the media. He was anti-establishment in the stop action film, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. He was absent-minded in Elf (how do you not realize there’s a human child in your toy bag?) He was on acid in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. He was terrifying in A Christmas Story…

… and he was a douche bag in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. 

The movie opens with newborn Rudolph residing comfortably in a cave with Donner and “Mrs. Donner,” because female characters don’t warrant their own damned names. It quickly becomes obvious that Rudolph is horribly disfigured, when his nose starts to glow.

Mrs. Donner: “Well, we’ll simply have to overlook it.”
Mr. Donner: “Now, how can you overlook that?”
Santa: “Great bouncing icebergs!”
Donner: “Now, I’m sure it’ll stop as soon as he grows up, Santa.”
Santa: “Well, let’s hope so, if he wants to make the sleigh team some day.”

No one mentions the real concern here, and that’s that Rudolph’s nose makes a high-pitched whining noise. Seriously, light up all you want, but stop that. I suppose it doesn’t matter, though, because Santa’s made it pretty clear what his sleigh team values most: conformity.

We even see the universality of this concept, when Hermey the Elf tells his boss that he doesn’t enjoy his job.

Hermey: “I just don’t like to make toys.”
Boss Elf: “Oh, well, if that’s all… what?!?!?! You don’t like to make toys?!?!.. HERMEY DOESN’T LIKE TO MAKE TOYS!”
::Immediately, all of the elves start to whisper about the Freak Elf (not a direct quote)::
Boss Elf: “Do you mind telling me what you do want to do?”
Hermey: “Well, sir, some day, I’d like to be a… a dentist.”
Boss Elf: “A dentist?!?! Now, listen you! You’re an elf… and elves make toys. Now, get to work! 10 minute break! Not for you! Finish the job or you’re fired!”

Okay, dude, first off, you asked what he’d prefer to do. Second, he just told you he hates his job and doesn’t want to do it anymore and you responded by taking away his break and threatening to fire him, though you clearly want him to stay? Also, what kind of regime is this? Elves are born and die in their station as factory workers? They’re shamed for wanting to pursue higher education? Fortunately for him, Hermey grows a pair and decides that he can’t be fired, because he quits.

Meanwhile, Donner makes Rudolph cover his disfigurement with a fake black nose that makes him sound like he has a sinus infection. When Rudolph complains about the discomfort, we get this parenting gem:

Donner: “There are more important things than comfort: self-respect! Santa can’t object to you now!”

So, like a closeted, homsexual, country boy, Rudolph dons his fake nose to make his dad happy, and as long as he’s doing so, Donner is proud.

We return to the elves, as they practice their Christmas song for Santa. As far as we’re told, this isn’t really for any kind of event. They’re just singing Santa a song to make him happy. He accepts this gift with the poise of a mom stomping on her child’s macaroni necklace.

Santa: “Hmmm… well, it needs work. I have to go.”
Mrs. Claus: “What does Papa know? It’s beautiful. You keep it just the way it was.” 

See. Even Mrs. Claus is like…

Geez. No wonder my parents’ generation came up with the participation trophy.

Ultimately, both Hermey and Rudolph are shamed into leaving Christmastown, but not before Rudolph’s crush, Clarice, is told by her father

“You get back to your cave this instant! … Now, there’s one thing I want to make very plain. No doe of mine is going to be seen with a… a red nosed reindeer!”

Off they go, and in their travels, Rudolph and Hermey team up with Yukon Cornelius, prospector of silver and gold, narrowly escaping The Abominable Snow Monster of the North, Bumble. Bumble is apparently very dangerous, though he never actually harms anyone. Rudolph’s parents, however, are still quite worried about him. When Donner heads out to find the bane of his existence, Mrs. Donner wants to go as well, but Donner insists on leaving her behind.

Donner: “No. This. Is. Man’s. Work.”

Regardless, Mrs. Donner sets off to search, taking Clarice along with her, also known as kidnapping. Seriously, she’s a child and you’re taking her out, alone, into the arctic? No wonder the men belittle the women in this story.

Rudolph and Company find The Island of Misfit Toys, where everyone different has been banished. No seriously. The lion with wings, King Moonracer, gathers them from around the world and keeps them on the island, until they find homes. It’s never explained how they’re supposed to go about that while confined to a deserted island, though. Read: banishment. The truly confusing part, is that most of these toys’ problems are easily remedied. The water pistol that shoots jelly could be filled with water. The Charlie in the Box could start going by Jack. Also, who made these loser toys? Was it Hermey? I’m betting it was Hermey, either falling down on the job while daydreaming of incisors, or fullfilling some kind of God complex, while he created an inferior species.


Is that… other toys they’re burning?

Sadly, Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon are denied safe haven on The Island of Misfit Toys, seeing as how they aren’t toys. King Moonracer still has the gall to ask for a favor, though. Rudolph is to plead the case of the banished toys to Santa, in the hopes that he’ll find them homes. They’ve already tried to find homes, so I’m guessing they’ll end up in some kind of orphanage. The elves, of course, could replace the square wheels with round ones or repaint the polka-dotted elephant, but that was apparently too difficult in the first place… Hermey.

When Rudolph returns to Christmastown, his parents and Clarice are still out looking for him. He’s now an adult reindeer. It’s been at least a year since he left, as it takes a male reindeer about that long to reach sexual maturity.* Clarice knew that boy for about 11 minutes and she’s been searching for him for over a year. That’s what I call commitment. Lucky for her, Rudolph returns this sentiment by heading out to search for the search party, where he’s held hostage by Bumble, who honestly, is only seen petting Clarice. No one’s been harmed, until Rudolph attacks Bumble and he clubs him. That, right there folks, is self-defense. Naturally, in response, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius set a trap to knock Bumble unconscious.

Okay, so I get that Yukon is supposed to have some sort of history with Bumble. He’s apparently very dangerous and that petting would have turned vicious… eventually. Here’s where it gets intensely disturbing, though. After Bumble is knocked unconscious, Hermey and his God complex pull out all of his teeth. What the fucking fuck?!?! That’s like half of the procedure used in Human Centipedealso by a man with a God complex!!!

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Hermey. So I had a little free time? That doesn’t make me “creepy.”

After Yukon pushes Bumble off a cliff, “they realized that the best thing to do, was to get the women back to Christmastown.”

We all know the ending, of course. Rudolph and pals make it home. Santa finally realizes that the exact same idiosyncrasy, for which he shamed a child all along, can be exploited for use as a fog light in an epic storm… because the elves can’t make a fog light? Then again, I suppose if the task fell to Hermey, it would be a fog light that doesn’t light up, so he can feel better about going against The Regime’s demands of him, when he’s finally allowed to become Christmastown’s dentist. Seriously? The guy has no training beyond his experiments with animals. That’s like making the town butcher your new gynecologist. Speaking of animals, abominable snow monsters bounce, so Bumble is given a job… to put the star on the tree. That’s right. He can no longer feed himself, but for one minute annually, his life still has purpose. Last, as an afterthought, the misfit toys are saved by Santa… though we never do find out who wants these half-assed creations.

http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/hoofed_mammals/reindeer.html

A Third Date on the Fourth of July

Gail: “At least I never refused to go on a second date with a guy, just because I didn’t like his brand of microwave.”
Me: “Yeah. I’ve never known what brand of microwave a guy had after the first date, you whore.”

We’re practically Disney sisters.

I’m never going to live down the number of men I’ve refused a second date, no matter how legit the reason. That being said, Saturday night, on the Fourth of July, I had my second ever third date with Fluid Engineer.

Last I wrote about Fluid Engineer, I had to turn down the opportunity to go out, because of such short notice (as in 12 hours). He was willing to make the drive, but we didn’t have any concrete plans and I didn’t feel like brainstorming for an activity at the, fairly literal, last minute. I had suggested we find something cheap or free to do, because although I think it’s chivalrous for the man to pay, I also don’t think he should have to spend $50 every time he sees me. Knowing that there would be several festivals over the holiday weekend, I suggested we go to one of those.

Over the next week, we texted daily, though not necessarily at length. It was nice, but not overwhelming and he always kept it appropriate. Though he’s never flaked before, I kind of expected him to cancel on me as the holiday neared. Perhaps some last minute family plans would be made and he’d decide he’d rather spend time with his family than getting to know me, as Engineer 114 did. Cautiously, I avoided making family plans of my own and hoped for the best. Ultimately, we decided on the Springfield festival at 5:30.

The date started off a little rocky, when I arrived at the park and Fluid Engineer wasn’t texting back. For a moment, I was certain I’d been stood up again and was frustrated by the idea that I might have to spend my holiday alone with Netflix and some tears. I reminded myself that he’s been meaning to get a new phone and just parked my car and waited, periodically muttering “Dude… fucking text me back.” Finally, his truck pulled up and the explanation was exactly as I’d suspected. His phone had died and he had no way to ask where I was, since the park had three separate entrances.

The festival seemed dead, but Fluid Engineer assured me he’d driven around to the other side and it was quite busy. He was right, but only after we’d walked a mile did I think it might’ve been a good idea to bring the blanket I’d packed with us. I suggested we walk back to get it and was a little worried that he’d be annoyed, even passive aggressively, but he was totally cool with it and we talked and became comfortable with each other again as we walked back. I grabbed some sodas from the backseat and Fluid Engineer very sweetly offered to carry the blanket in the heat. Of course, I didn’t just thank him sincerely… but also made a joke about how I was clearly doing my share by carrying the sodas.

What I wouldn’t give for the superpower to shut up.

Throughout the evening, Fluid Engineer was casually chivalrous. He’d opened the door for me at my car and walked on the street side each time. It didn’t appear to be an effort on his part, just natural, which I appreciate. If I don’t want to pretend to be fucking precious, I don’t want him to put on a front, either. But I truly appreciated all of his little gestures. The live music was insanely loud, so we chose a spot quite a ways out to sit and eat our free watermelon and ice cream. We chatted and eventually I commented that I’d like to get something to eat from one of the food trucks, wondering aloud if they took cards, because I didn’t have any cash. I wasn’t fishing, here. I was genuinely planning to buy my own food. Dinner wasn’t in our plans and I suppose it’s habit to pay for myself. Fluid Engineer, however, assured me that he had cash and he paid for both meals and shared his fried green tomatoes with me.

All was going well and the conversation was really flowing, so naturally, I had to throw a wrench into the works. You see, I’d gone to the restroom while Fluid Engineer got the food, so he hadn’t asked if I wanted a Gatorade, but he did have two of them, so I thought one might be for me.

Me: “So… um… is one of those for me or is this a weird question?”

Subtle, I ain’t.

Fluid Engineer told me more about his family and we laughed and chatted and generally enjoyed each other’s company. Physically, we were still a bit awkward, not wanting to sit too closely or too far away, but it was a… comfortable awkwardness? It wasn’t painful. It was natural getting-to-know-you awkwardness. He mentioned that he’d told a friend about me and that made me all giddy. I talked a little about Gail and my family and he told me more about his. I’d texted Gail earlier… “On another date and he’s still pretty keen.”… only barely catching myself when I almost sent it to Fluid Engineer, the last person I’d texted. Seeing my notifications light up, I knew she might be concerned.

Me: “Hold on. Gail’s making sure you’re not raping me.”
Fluid Engineer: “Did I tell you I had to stop for a [unintelligible word]?”
He has a really thick Texan accent and I was willing to concede that what I could’ve sworn he said couldn’t possibly be the case. I was so certain, had it been our first date, I’d have left.
Me: ::still looking at my phone, hiding my expression:: “What did you just say?”
Fluid Engineer: “I had to stop and buy a [unintelligible word].”
I heard it again. There’s no way he’d say that. That’s completely out of character… especially twice.
Me: ::finally looking at him, to watch as he speaks:: “A what?”
Fluid Engineer: ::clearly confused:: “A charger.”
Me: “OH! A CHARGER!”
Mortified, I went back to my phone to respond to Gail.
Fluid Engineer: “What did you think I said?”
Me: ::still looking at phone:: “Not that.” 
Fluid Engineer: “Was it inappropriate?”
Me: “Yup.” ::finally looking at him:: “I thought you said ‘Trojan.'”

Gail: “That would be a really weird thing to say, period. ‘Did I tell you I had to stop for a single condom?'”
Me: “Actually, it would’ve been more like ‘Did I tell you I had to stop for one Durex?'”

Fortunately, Fluid Engineer thought this was hilarious, but didn’t even really tease me about it. The conversation just went back to normal and finally the lights went out for the fireworks show.

Me: “You got that Trojan, now?”

I am such a dork.

After the fireworks ended, we stayed on the blanket talking for the longest time. I was in a dress so I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I was pretty sure there would be a visible bruise on my ass, because there are only so many ways to sit on the ground in a dress. I didn’t want to end things, though, because I was genuinely enjoying Fluid Engineer’s company and I realized this was the first Fourth of July I’d spent with a man since I was married and it had gone so well. We walked back to our cars, him carrying the blanket and walking on the street side again, and stood by my car talking for ages. I don’t think either of us wanted to end things. At one point, I was pretty sure he was going to kiss me, so in my nerves of having only actually kissed two people, I started babbling like an idiot.

Any time on that superpower…

Fluid Engineer settled for putting his arm around me and didn’t push it, but didn’t seem irritated either. When I told my friend Dana, she assured me I was “gonna lose him” because we didn’t “make-out with tongue,” but Fluid Engineer seems to disagree. The fates have aligned and my work schedule has been changed to give me Monday night off, so we’re planning the – unprecedented for Belle – FOURTH DATE.

So, there it is. Over the last month, we’ve been out three times and I’ve yet to convince myself that there is something fundamentally wrong with this man. I actually happen to like him. He’s laid-back, yet quite intelligent. He’s not threatened by my level of education (it’s a thing), nor does he feel the need to belittle my career. He texts often enough that I know he’s truly interested, but not so much that I feel like he’s stroking a lock of my hair as he does it. Despite living an hour away, he’s made every effort to see each other during his limited time off. He seems to want something serious, but doesn’t expect to impregnate me tomorrow. Perhaps most importantly, he seems amused by my humor and awkwardness. So many men on online dating sites talk about how they want someone sweet. I’m a lot of things y’all, but sweet sure ain’t one of them… and this one doesn’t seem to mind. I like him. He’s still pretty keen. He even Facebook friended me and I accepted… another first.

Looking Back: The Men I Didn’t Date in 2013

Today, my Facebook newsfeed, like many others’, is equally filled with photos of newly healthy meals and bitching because the gyms are crowded. I, myself, am a goal-oriented person. I set goals weekly, so it would just be poor characterization if I missed an opportunity to set them annually. This year, I’m keeping it simple with the following five:

1. Perform more service work. Dedicate a minimum of one day, per month, to helping someone else.
2. Attend church more consistently… and punctually.
3. Swear less… or more creatively, by cutting back on the more universally unacceptable words.
4. Lose twenty pounds… because it’s New Year’s and you have to choose a cliche.

and finally…

5. Put some actual and legitimate effort into dating.

Numbers 1, 2, and 4 have clear guidelines. They’re pretty attainable. Let’s face it though; in regards to number 3, “suck my dick” is a pretty universally unacceptable phrase, from a woman. It’s likelier that I’ll lose twenty pounds by next Tuesday than it is that I’ll suddenly be a Sesame Street extra. I do, however, tend to mix dorky Disney-worthy swears with the worst ones in my vocabulary.

Me: “Zetus lapetus! Fuck. Do you think it’s been long enough since Zenon: Girl of the Twenty-First Century for me to use that?”
Gail: 

So, I’m half there. Which brings me to number 5.

2013 was a year of sporadic dating, vacillating between the two extremes of “I CAN FEEL MY EGGS ROTTING INSIDE OF ME!” to “My next wedding will take place ON A SNOW-COVERED MOUNTAINTOP IN HELL!”

burning wedding dress

Before I got my promotion to librarian, I really hadn’t been dating at all. Sure, I claimed to be putting in effort, but I just didn’t have the time, between finishing graduate school and rocking in a corner, chewing on my own hair. I went on a couple of dates, but that’s about it. So, this year, I’m going for consistency. For the past couple of months, I’ve really had no interest in meeting anyone, because the holidays are busy for losers who crochet their own Christmas presents; and every single guy who tells me Christmas Vacation is hilarious, is just plain wrong. I feel like, if I’d hit the dating scene with half the vigor I hit that bottle of bourbon on New Year’s Eve with Gail and Terry, I’d be madly in love in no time.

::drunkenly discussing Charlie Hunnam::
Terry: “He’s okay looking, I guess. He looks like…”
Me: “Like he fell from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? I know. I would give that man a rim job in front of my grandma. Admit it. You would totally go gay for him.”

Facebook status New Year’s Eve 2013:
Let’s get CRUNK! It stands for crocheting while drunk. 

Note to self: don’t drink on any future dates.

In my defense, however, it’s not like the prospects have been great, lately. In fact, I’ll treat you to some of the guys I didn’t date this year.

Aerospace
I’ve briefly mentioned Aerospace in previous entries. He was 27, educated, enjoyed his big boy job, and never sent me a penis picture. He seemed promising through text message… for six weeks. After three, even I had decided it was time to be a little forward. I mean, I didn’t actually ask him to meet me, because I don’t posses my very own set of testicles, but I did ask what his normal time constraints were. When Aerospace said he usually talks to someone for about a month, before meeting, I decided to give it a bit longer. He regularly messaged first and encouraged conversation. He seemed interested. During week six, however, I was just tired of receiving news of how his day went, when I’d never even met him and he was showing no inclination to change that. If I’m not worth meeting, fine. Find someone who is, because I’m not looking for a fucking pen pal. I’m not your chat buddy, when there’s nothing on TV. Suck my big fat furry dick.


There goes number 3.

Clingy Catholic Engineer… because there was already a Catholic Engineer
If Jane were not an engineer, I would seriously be judging this entire profession. It seems every engineer I’ve dated is batshit. CCE was a year or so younger than I, and after having discussed that issue with Jane, I decided to give him a chance. We messaged for a couple of days online, before trading numbers. The next day, after quite a bit of text messaging, I didn’t respond after work, because I was working out. We’d been texting all day, and I’d messaged on my break, to tell him why I couldn’t talk, so I figured that was fair. The next morning, I woke up at seven o’clock to…

I hope I didn’t do anything wrong. 

The voice of Gail sounded in my head and it was stronger than my fight or flight response, so I kept chatting with him. At one point, he asked me to send him pictures. I wasn’t sure what kind he meant, and I’m thinking that was the point, to allow for my own creativity. I told him there were current photos online and I wasn’t sending more, but I was a little creeped out by the vague request, coupled with his… enthusiasm. Then, the next evening I got home from work, after having traded a few messages…

CCE: You make it home okay?
Me: Yeah. I have a friend coming over. We’re going to hang out and watch Netflix.
CCE: Ah. Sounds fun.
CCE: You still want to talk, right?
Me: Sure. Just not right now, since I’m about to have company.
:: two hours later ::
CCE: Watching the game?
Me: Nope. Watching Netflix with a friend.
CCE: Oh. A marathon. Cool! Watcha watchin?

First, aside from the obvious issue of clinginess, who has someone over for less than two hours? That’s not a thing. Second, “Nope. Watching Netflix with a friend.” was a nice way of saying I was busy, he knew that, and he needed to leave me alone. That was his chance to feign forgetfulness and apologize. Still, I heard Gail telling me to give him a chance… until the next night.

CCE: You wanna watch the game and maybe have dinner tomorrow night? 
– dude, you’re coming on strong right now and that’s several hours together, making it super awkward if I’m still not feeling it –
Me: I’m cool with meeting, but why don’t we do something low-key, like coffee?
CCE: Coffee Sunday sounds great!
– okay, he’s receptive to just coffee; good sign –
Me: How about Monday, since the weather is supposed to be bad on Sunday?
CCE: Sure. We can work out the details then.
– whew… I really was reading into things –
Me: I’m disappointed by the weather. I really don’t want to miss Mass again.
CCE: Oh! We could go to Mass together. 

… aaaaand scene. I tried. I did. But the guy asked me to meet him at the chapel. Fine. I’m intentionally wording it dramatically, but we had only been chatting for a few days and he wanted to meet at church, after I’d told him dinner was too much? Dude, calm down, you are making women uncomfortable. I sent him a text telling him that he seemed to want something much more serious, much more quickly and that I wasn’t interested in meeting. Then I spammed his number. Later, I saw he’d responded, but didn’t read it past the “Okaaay. You said…” There was nothing to say. He made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t happening. A week later, I got a “Hey, how are you?” message in my inbox, like we’d never had the “thanks, but no thanks” conversation at all. Um… no.

Kinda Sorta Catholic
KSC and I had been messaging on and off for awhile. I don’t think either one of us saw the other as a real prospect, but we couldn’t pinpoint a reason to blow each other off. We’d each send an “Oh, sorry I didn’t get back to you… blah, blah, blah” type of message every 10 days or so and try to pick things up again, over the course of a couple of months. He had a real job and his profile said he was Catholic, so despite the mutual lack of interest, I decided to give him a chance when he gave me his number. Naturally, since his common religion was a main appeal, I brought it up.

KSC: I’m Catholic because my dad was. The topic of religion is a fun one for me, but I’m not sure where I stand. I think it’s really personal and those beliefs are private.

Um… well, for one, if you’re Catholic, because your dad is, you’re not really Catholic. Unless you go to Mass and receive Reconciliation and Communion and all that jazz, the Catholic Church does not consider you a practicing Catholic. That’s fine and all, but know where you stand. Two, if we’re talking about dating, I think it’s a fair question to ask what someone’s general beliefs are. I didn’t sick the Quizmaster on the guy. Finally, if this is a “fun” topic for you, why are you being such a little bitch about it?

quizmaster
The Quizmaster. My dated references are downright nostalgic.

We continued to chat, and KSC asked to meet at the cowboy bar the next night. Okay, I’ve told ya’ll stories about the cowboy bar. One involved Gaily nearly being dragged forcibly to the parking lot and the other involved damned near nudity on the Saturday before Halloween. This bar can be fun in the summer, with the right crowd and attitude, but it’s pretty sketchy. I told my dad that I’d let Woody Harrelson “stick it in my ear” and he laughed, but the man doesn’t want to hear stories about the cowboy bar. People get raped there.

Me: I really don’t like the cowboy bar.
KSC: 😦 Oh. Well, what do you like, then?
Me: It’s not even that I don’t like the cowboy bar, really, but that I just feel like it’s a really sketchy place for a first meeting.
KSC: Oh. Well, I see it differently, but that’s okay.
Me: I’m also a woman. I have to be more careful.

We made vague plans to meet for coffee and then neither of us ever talked to the other again. That’s fine by me. If Jesus gives you the heebie jeebies, but meeting a stranger at a place I recently described as “a little rapey” doesn’t, this is what I picture…

Just… ew. 
I opened the new year with this gem, from a guy I messaged a few weeks ago, but who didn’t really return a lot of interest.

Ew: I’m gonna throw this out there and hope I don’t scare you off. Would you be interested in coming over to my place and having some fun? I guarantee you will have fun.
Me: If you’re “looking for a real relationship,” you should probably keep the hook-up pleas to a minimum.
Ew: I am looking for a real relationship. I still would like to have fun though. I’m not a bad dude I just figured I’d take a chance and ask you.

Um… no. You’re not looking for a real relationship if you’re comfortable with being seen as that guy who begs for sex online, because no one looking for a real relationship will respond. His profile opened with talk about wanting to settle down. If that’s how he puts up a white picket fence, I’ll pass.

I’ll just die alone with my Christmas movies, thank you very much.

If you’ve been following my blog long, you probably realize I have two favorite topics: dating and over-analysis. There’s been little on the dating front, besides magical moments like this opener:

PoF User: you look cute without the glasses. how are you doing?
Me: I look cute with my glasses, too.
PoF User: I prefere u without the glasses…lol…how r u doing

Yeah. That happened. I’m still swooning. I didn’t realize anyone actually used “negs.”

I have two settings when it comes to dating:

1. I’m going to die alone!
2. Hopefully.

Right now I’m on the latter, soooooo in honor of the Christmas season, I treat you to my second favorite topic, with an over-analysis of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. 

There have been numerous depictions of Santa Claus in the media. He was anti-establishment in the stop action film, Santa Claus is Coming to Town. He was absent-minded in Elf (how do you not realize there’s a human child in your toy bag?) He was on acid in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. He was terrifying in A Christmas Story…

… and he was a douche bag in Rudolph the Red Nosed Riendeer. 

The movie opens with newborn Rudolph residing comfortably in a cave with Donner and “Mrs. Donner,” because female characters don’t warrant their own damned names. It quickly becomes obvious that Rudolph is horribly disfigured, when his nose starts to glow.

Mrs. Donner: “Well, we’ll simply have to overlook it.”
Mr. Donner: “Now, how can you overlook that?”
Santa: “Great bouncing icebergs!”
Donner: “Now, I’m sure it’ll stop as soon as he grows up, Santa.”
Santa: “Well, let’s hope so, if he wants to make the sleigh team some day.”

No one mentions the real concern here, and that’s that Rudolph’s nose makes a high-pitched whining noise. Seriously, light up all you want, but stop that. I suppose it doesn’t matter, though, because Santa’s made it pretty clear what his sleigh team values most: conformity.

We even see the universality of this concept, when Hermey the Elf tells his boss that he doesn’t enjoy his job.

Hermey: “I just don’t like to make toys.”
Boss Elf: “Oh, well, if that’s all… what?!?!?! You don’t like to make toys?!?!.. HERMEY DOESN’T LIKE TO MAKE TOYS!”
::Immediately, all of the elves start to whisper about the Freak Elf (not a direct quote)::
Boss Elf: “Do you mind telling me what you do want to do?”
Hermey: “Well, sir, some day, I’d like to be a… a dentist.”
Boss Elf: “A dentist?!?! Now, listen you! You’re an elf… and elves make toys. Now, get to work! 10 minute break! Not for you! Finish the job or you’re fired!”

Okay, dude, first off, you asked what he’d prefer to do. Second, he just told you he hates his job and doesn’t want to do it anymore and you responded by taking away his break and threatening to fire him, though you clearly want him to stay? Also, what kind of regime is this? Elves are born and die in their station as factory workers? They’re shamed for wanting to pursue higher education? Fortunately for him, Hermey grows a pair and decides that he can’t be fired, because he quits.

Meanwhile, Donner makes Rudolph cover his disfigurement with a fake black nose that makes him sound like he has a sinus infection. When Rudolph complains about the discomfort, we get this parenting gem:

Donner: “There are more important things than comfort: self-respect! Santa can’t object to you now!”

So, like a closeted, homsexual, country boy, Rudolph dons his fake nose to make his dad happy, and as long as he’s doing so, Donner is proud.

We return to the elves, as they practice their Christmas song for Santa. As far as we’re told, this isn’t really for any kind of event. They’re just singing Santa a song to make him happy. He accepts this gift with the poise of a mom stomping on her child’s macaroni necklace.

Santa: “Hmmm… well, it needs work. I have to go.”
Mrs. Claus: “What does Papa know? It’s beautiful. You keep it just the way it was.” 

See. Even Mrs. Claus is like…

Geez. No wonder my parents’ generation came up with the participation trophy.

Ultimately, both Hermey and Rudolph are shamed into leaving Christmastown, but not before Rudolph’s crush, Clarice, is told by her father

“You get back to your cave this instant! … Now, there’s one thing I want to make very plain. No doe of mine is going to be seen with a… a red nosed reindeer!”

Off they go, and in their travels, Rudolph and Hermey team up with Yukon Cornelius, prospector of silver and gold, narrowly escaping The Abominable Snow Monster of the North, Bumble. Bumble is apparently very dangerous, though he never actually harms anyone. Rudolph’s parents, however, are still quite worried about him. When Donner heads out to find the bane of his existence, Mrs. Donner wants to go as well, but Donner insists on leaving her behind.

Donner: “No. This. Is. Man’s. Work.”

Regardless, Mrs. Donner sets off to search, taking Clarice along with her, also known as kidnapping. Seriously, she’s a child and you’re taking her out, alone, into the arctic? No wonder the men belittle the women in this story.

Rudolph and Company find The Island of Misfit Toys, where everyone different has been banished. No seriously. The lion with wings, King Moonracer, gathers them from around the world and keeps them on the island, until they find homes. It’s never explained how they’re supposed to go about that while confined to a deserted island, though. Read: banishment. The truly confusing part, is that most of these toys’ problems are easily remedied. The water pistol that shoots jelly could be filled with water. The Charlie in the Box could start going by Jack. Also, who made these loser toys? Was it Hermey? I’m betting it was Hermey, either falling down on the job while daydreaming of incisors, or fullfilling some kind of God complex, while he created an inferior species.


Is that… other toys they’re burning?

Sadly, Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon are denied safe haven on The Island of Misfit Toys, seeing as how they aren’t toys. King Moonracer still has the gall to ask for a favor, though. Rudolph is to plead the case of the banished toys to Santa, in the hopes that he’ll find them homes. They’ve already tried to find homes, so I’m guessing they’ll end up in some kind of orphanage. The elves, of course, could replace the square wheels with round ones or repaint the polka-dotted elephant, but that was apparently too difficult in the first place… Hermey.

When Rudolph returns to Christmastown, his parents and Clarice are still out looking for him. He’s now an adult reindeer. It’s been at least a year since he left, as it takes a male reindeer about that long to reach sexual maturity.* Clarice knew that boy for about 11 minutes and she’s been searching for him for over a year. That’s what I call commitment. Lucky for her, Rudolph returns this sentiment by heading out to search for the search party, where he’s held hostage by Bumble, who honestly, is only seen petting Clarice. No one’s been harmed, until Rudolph attacks Bumble and he clubs him. That, right there folks, is self-defense. Naturally, in response, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius set a trap to knock Bumble unconscious.

Okay, so I get that Yukon is supposed to have some sort of history with Bumble. He’s apparently very dangerous and that petting would have turned vicious… eventually. Here’s where it gets intensely disturbing, though. After Bumble is knocked unconscious, Hermey and his God complex pull out all of his teeth. What the fucking fuck?!?! That’s like half of the procedure used in Human Centipedealso by a man with a God complex!!!

hermey
Hermey. So I had a little free time? That doesn’t make me “creepy.”

After Yukon pushes Bumble off a cliff, “they realized that the best thing to do, was to get the women back to Christmastown.”

We all know the ending, of course. Rudolph and pals make it home. Santa finally realizes that the exact same idiosyncrasy, for which he shamed a child all along, can be exploited for use as a fog light in an epic storm… because the elves can’t make a fog light? Then again, I suppose if the task fell to Hermey, it would be a fog light that doesn’t light up, so he can feel better about going against The Regime’s demands of him, when he’s finally allowed to become Christmastown’s dentist. Seriously? The guy has no training beyond his experiments with animals. That’s like making the town butcher your new gynecologist. Speaking of animals, abominable snow monsters bounce, so Bumble is given a job… to put the star on the tree. That’s right. He can no longer feed himself, but for one minute annually, his life still has purpose. Last, as an afterthought, the misfit toys are saved by Santa… though we never do find out who wants these half-assed creations.

http://www.theanimalfiles.com/mammals/hoofed_mammals/reindeer.html

“Roger, will you make me a drink?”: A Christmas Perspective on Children

I know Christmas is supposed to make me want kids… but it makes me want to wash out my uterus with bleach instead.

Me: “You know… I think she’s old enough now, that she’s gotten to the age where I really don’t like her anymore.”

My neice is four and a half and that’s apparently not something you’re supposed to say at a family Christmas party, but it is so very true. Don’t get me wrong. She’s adorable… like 50% of the time. 40% she’s midly irritating. 10% she makes me want to impale myself on something in the ovarian area.

When I open the front door and she screams “AUNT BELLE!” and runs up to me and starts ranting about the Elf on the Shelf, she is fucking precious, even if I do think the Elf on the Shelf is the creepiest Christmas trend ever. She shows me her Hello Kitty earrings and tells me about how she has to feed the reindeer with Santa. I pretend I know what the hell she’s talking about, because I don’t care and if I say otherwise, she’ll explain. She says cute and blunt things like “My momma had surgwy. She wears pajamas.” after my sister-in-law’s “mommy makeover” (an entirely different rant). She’s happy and I’m happy. It’s a pretty bitchin’ moment… for like twelve minutes.

Why does everything have to be a whine? Why can’t you just ask me to play with you? Pouting and whining “Aunt Beeeeeeelle. You said you would plaaaaaaay with me…” makes me want to kill your dog with Christmas tinsel and place the Elf on the Shelf next to it. I’m lying. It does, however, make me want to walk away without a word and ask my grandma’s slurring husband to pour me a drink.

Of course, when whining doesn’t work, just cry. A lot. And loudly. Right in my ear. You are fucking fine. He didn’t hit you that hard, if he even did in fact hit you. I want to hit you. Yes, that’s right. Go cry to grandma now, about how Aunt Belle is mean, because she insisted you were fine. I didn’t even say “fucking.”

When the kid doesn’t like the food she’s eating, she will atually make herself vomit to get out of being forced to eat green bean casserole. I mean, it’s diabolical and she’ll take over the world one day, but ew. Kids are gross. She used to be so cute and now half the time, I only love her as a biological requirement.

I have hope that it gets a little better with age, which I think my cousin’s 7-year-old boy has proven.

7yo: pretends to shoot me with his toy gun and braggingly sings “I have a real gun, you know.”
Me: intentionally antagonizing the child, because I’m bad with kids “Yeah, well I have a bigger real gun.”
7yo: “Nuh, huh! It’s like a real rifle!”
Me: “Yeah, what caliber?”
7yo: “It’s a BB gun!”
Me: “Yeah? Well, I have a .357 and BB is not a caliber!”
7yo: “Well, you know what? There are more boys in the world than girls. You know why?”
Me: “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but why?”
7you: “Because the boys have to protect the girls.”
Me: “Wow. You are a terribly sexist little kid.”
7you: Lightly hits me on the arm.
Me: “Hey now! You’re not doing a great job of protecting the womenfolk!”

Teenagers, though, I freaking love.

To step-sister
Me: “Hey, brat. Pregnant yet?”
Bea: “Not anymore.”

Children are like a fine wine. They only get better with age. Except then, they aren’t children anymore, and wine is always wine. I guess they’re not really like a fine wine. They just make me want to drink fine wine… or cheap liquor from a plastic bottle.

* Reblogged, with more amusing Gifs, from December 24, 2012

Why I would not survive the horror movie.

When I was in high school, I was really into horror movies. Even now, it’s understood that Malik and I are slasher movie buddies, though I am more into picking them apart these days. For example…

Why is Carrie White suddenly an ultrasound tech?

Stanley Kubrick, I really don’t think you fully understand basic human anatomy.

I’m sorry, but those zombies would’ve completely decomposed in this heat. I’m not buying it.

This analytical frame of mind might not make me the best overall movie pal, but it certainly entertains me. It’s also allowed me great introspection into the question of whether or not I would survive a horror movie. Sometimes I’m 100% sure I would, because fuck that guy, I’ll totally shoot him in the foot as bait. Other times, I’m not so certain. So, in honor of Halloween, here are the top reasons why I wouldn’t survive a horror movie.

My Priorities

Spring in the Midwest is a terrifying time. I’ve written about my tornado adventures before, but even when we don’t have Hell funneling down from the sky, we do have some epic storms. Frankly, winter can be even worse. Whereas everyone north of my home state gets snow, we get ice. Ice sucks. It tears down power lines far worse than any rain storm. Regardless of the cause of a power outage, in every single instance, I am faced with a choice: I have time to charge my phone or my Kindle, before the storm gets bad. It seems like I’d be able to do both, but in the past, there has always been something keeping me from it. Perhaps, it’s that I’ve had to buy a new phone charger three times, and have been left with my Kindle charger when it’s out of commission. Each time, however, I end up with a fully charged Kindle and 18% on my phone, until the power comes back. I mean, that phone was only going to amuse me for so long, ya know? My Kindle battery lasts for 30 hours. It just made more sense.

samsung galaxy s3
Call for help?
kindle
… or pretend this isn’t happening?

Not only do I prefer reading over communicating with other people (why wouldn’t I?), but I also prefer my dog to most of humanity (why wouldn’t I?). It’s a recurring them in horror movies to kill or threaten the pet. There’s always some scene where the group goes into the room, sees that the family dog has been killed, its blood spelling out a warning, and they just sort of forget about the defenseless animal and fight for their own survival. I would become completely engrossed in the fact that my McSqueezybear had been harmed. I’d run to the scene of the crime to see if he could be helped, putting myself out in the open and completely vulnerable for the taking. If I wasn’t killed at this point, I would not care about fighting for my survival, anyway. The movie would suddenly become all about my effort to avenge/save my puppy, my safety becoming secondary. Naturally, that awesome and totally valid number one priority would get me super murdered.

Also, there are my princess tendencies. You know that scene in the horror movie, where the woman is crawling through the rat infested tunnel to-


No.

My Observational Skills

I worked at my first library for approximately two years. At about 20 months, I realized that one of the librarians was missing a thumb. I did not notice for two fucking years. I worked with this man every day! It’s not like our paths never crossed.

Me: OH EM GEE. I am the most self-absorbed person on the planet. I seriously JUST noticed that Joe is missing a thumb.
Gail: Wait. How do you not notice that? It’s a THUMB. 

Alright. Maybe that was a fluke.

Me: I am a horrible human being.
Gail: WHY?!?!
Me: I just realized Regina is not only missing a finger on one hand, but the fingers of the other are all severely deformed.
Gail: What is so dangerous about working in a library that these people are all missing appendages?!?! 

When I wrecked my car, back in June, my uncle asked if I’d been texting. I informed him that, no, I hadn’t. I’m just a terrible driver and wasn’t paying attention. I do not notice shit around me. In a way, this is an admirable trait. Regina holds her hand in a delicate way that betrays her discomfort with her disability. I didn’t even fucking notice. I overheard a regular favorite customer talking to a coworker about his “accident” about a year ago. It was then that I noticed his missing legHe wore shorts all the time and I never even realized he was bionic. He was just my friendly, cheerful customer.

NA/BIONIC
Accident? What accident?

However… this is not a benefit in a horror movie. I don’t even watch the news. I am 100% certain that the known serial killer, with the very specific pattern of raping and butchering librarians who look like Velma from Scooby Doo, could walk into my library and I’d greet him with a smile and ask how I could help. Then I’d follow him into the stacks alone. Gaily’s big source of contention with my online dating habits is that I’m not cautious or observant enough. Only during her lecture did I realize that most of the guys I’d dated had, in fact, been left alone with my drink. WHAT?!?! I had to pee.

Me: “Oh, come on, Gail. No one’s going to rape me in a Chili’s.”
Gail: “Stop leaving your fucking drink alone!”

As I’ve said before, I’ll get caught up telling Gail why I didn’t like a guy. She’ll tell me I’m being ridiculous. Then I’ll remember that teensy weensy detail.

Me: “Well, he did say one thing that might have been kind of weird, but I think I was reading into it.”
Gail: “What did he say?”
Me: “Well… um… nevermind. It sounds worse than it is, when I say it out loud.”
Gail: “What did he say?!?!”
Me: “Well, when I texted to ask what intersection we were meeting at, he responded with ‘the restaurant or my apartment?’, but I think he just misunderstood what I was asking.”
Gail: imitating my voice… poorly  “Ell oh ell! You don’t know how words work!”

killer clown
“Certainly, Sir. I’d be happy to help you take your books to your van. Behind the library? In the alley? Alrighty. Lead the way.”

My Coordination

Scene: I’m in a hurry to make dinner, because I’m going to miss the football game between my alma mater and our biggest rival. I don’t want to waste time getting out the cutting board, so I just hold the onion and slice it. There is blood.

Scene: I’m stepping out on the patio to get something out of my storage closet. I trip over the watering can, which gets stuck in a groove of the wooden planks and does not budge. The spout gouges out a chunk of my shin. There is blood.

Scene: I’m making Oreo Balls. I mix the cream cheese and Oreos in a food processor, but can’t get the resulting dough out. Naturally, I try to scoop it out with my fingers. There is blood.

I really don’t think I need to continue. You know the scene in Scream, where Drew Barrymore sneaks around the house with a chef’s knife? I’m pretty sure I’d save Ghost Face an awful lot of trouble by impaling myself on it, before he ever even found me. At the very least, I’d disable myself by dropping the knife on my foot or somehow stabbing myself in the eye while trying to scratch my ear. Forget about running from the killer. I tripped going up my own stairs just a few days ago. I almost landed on the dog. Working the phone quietly in the hallway, while the killer searches for me? I have an Otterbox on my phone, because I literally have an “Oh, shit. Did I crack it this time?” moment five or six times a week. I am not even going to have to baby proof my house when I have kids. I, myself, am already deeply endangered by sharp corners.

drew barrymore scream
=
edward scissorhands

My Mouth

There are many things at which I excel, such as not ending a sentence in a preposition. My impulse control, though? Nope… it sucks. In my defense, I can say that I don’t have a buying addiction. That’s all I can say, though. It was even worse when I was a kid. One day, my second grade teacher used the phrase “workbook.” I felt inclined to correct her and let her know it was just a “book.” I thought “workbook” sounded babyish. I made her so angry that she went to the third grade hall to get a math textbook. This very even-tempered woman shoved the book in my face, in front of the entire classroom, and told me that this was a math book and it was hard. My response? I rolled my eyes. The was my favorite teacher throughout elementary school. I just drove her to rage that day. In the 6th grade, when the principal told me that she’d never met anyone with the nerve to poor milk on a bully’s head, I thanked her sweetly. My first day of freshman year, my biology teacher made the obvious joke about my last name, which I’ve heard my entire life, and I responded in a deadpan voice “Oh my gosh. You’re the first person to ever notice that.” Wait. How did I get through high school without detention?!?!


Meanwhile, in Great Britain…

As an adult, I’ve improved. I realize that this kind of behavior is self-destructive and keep my “Well. I’m sorry you chose to take it that way.” apologies to a minimum. But in a horror movie? Under terrible duress?

anthony hopkins
“Bite me.”

F*#% you, I’m festive.

halloween tantrum

“Have you put up any (fall/Halloween/Christmas) decorations, yet?”
“Oh, I don’t decorate, since it’s just me. You really put up seasonal decorations?”

I have had that conversation at least 20 times, since my divorce. I’m aware that there are several reasons not to decorate for the holidays. Maybe you’re working 11 days a week and you’re neither home enough to put up decorations, nor are you around to enjoy them. Maybe you’ve just announced your divorce by knocking on your dad’s door and blurting “I’mgettingadivorceI’msorryIruinedChristmas” and you don’t feel like tainting such a wonderful season with bad mojo. Maybe you don’t already have those decorations and really don’t have the funds to devote to something with no function. Maybe you just don’t enjoy the holidays, because you have no soul. Fine. Whatever. You know what’s the worst fucking reason ever, though? That you’re single.

Lack of seasonal decor is not the only scenario in which I’ve heard people use their solo relationship status as an excuse for missing out on something. I hear it when someone didn’t get the chance to see a movie in theaters, eat at that new restaurant, go to the state fair, or see that live show. Being single has stopped these people from going shopping, having a night out on the town, and attending that reunion. Maybe your distaste for eating alone at a restaurant has nothing to do with embarrassment and you just think that sounds impossibly dull. Maybe the fair is expensive and makes you fat. Fine… but if the reason you’re not enjoying yourself is because you think everyone is staring in horror at the single person buying a Christmas tree, I assure you, they’re all equally self-absorbed and probably don’t even realize you exist.

I’m not preaching the virtues of being single over being in a relationship. Far from it. I want to write the “Did I really just agree to get married again!?!?!” and “Holy shit, I’m someone’s mom!” blog posts, eventually. Statistically speaking, as long as I’m trying, I will. So… I’m going to enjoy being single while it lasts. I love the fact that I can curl up underneath my favorite chair, suck my thumb, and write a blog post, without anyone there to tell me how incredibly weird that is. If I want to shout “POTTERTHON!” and tearfully sniff the words “Emotion should be hidden like the last fucking horcrux!” when Cedric’s dad yells “That’s my boy!”, I’m not interrupted to share the TV during Duck Dynasty or whatever stupid boy show someone wants to watch. I can sing and dance to songs about how awesome the dog is, while blaring 50’s Pandora and no one gets a say. I’m even going to do so with some fake pumpkins and cheap garland in the background, damn it!

If I’m not supposed to decorate for the holidays, because I’m alone, at what point do I get to start enjoying myself? Are we still so stuck on the archaic idea that life does not truly begin for a woman until marriage? That’s a silly question, because we sure as hell are in the South. Is it not enough that I go on all of these awful dates, but I also have to sit staring out the window alone on Halloween night, longing for the days I get to dress my kiddos up in cute costumes they hate? Horseshit. In 10 years, I’m going to be trudging up a sidewalk, sleepy toddler on my hip, freezing my ass off to beg for candy I’ll probably trash and replace when Gail convinces me it’s all poison and razor blades. I’m not going to be regretting the time I spent wishing my life would start. I’m going to be remembering the night I spent watching Everwood on DVD with Gaily, while we ate far too much candy and she kept snapping at me to stop swearing, because children existed and could be just outside the metal door that was at least 10 feet away from me.

razor blade apple
Geez. They were so much subtler when we were kids.

In 10 years, I’m going to listen to screams and giggles and arguments in the living room and remember that time I tried to teach myself the Thriller dance from YouTube… and failed. I’m going to stay up all night wrapping my presents with special Santa paper and bitching about how creepy Elf on the Shelf is, while longing for the days of my hot pink Christmas tree and half naked, semi-drunken, over-analyses of the claymation Rudolph movie.

“There are more important things than comfort: self respect! Santa can’t object to you now.”

Being single isn’t better than having a family of your own. It’s just a completely different and equally valid stage of life. Even if you want to find a long-term relationship, you’re here right now, regardless. You might as well enjoy it. I spent enough time wishing the world could spin faster, to know now how much I was missing in that moment. I almost missed all of this by getting married at age 12, so I’m not turning down the opportunity to enjoy it today and not just by going on bad dates or dancing with douche bags in bars, either. I’m going to watch Hocus Pocus before September even hits, dress up the dog, and decorate my purple foil Halloween tree, all for myself, because fuck you, I’m festive.