Monday, January 30, 2012

Raising Sisters

Four Sisters
This is me with my sisters.

Once upon a time I was the only one with blond hair while all of their hair colors ranged from outrageously red to Vitamin C orange to jet black. Now you see three varying shades of blond versus my deep brown hair.  My sisters and I are all very different people, despite what our faces may tell you, and we always seem to be just out of sync with one another. As in the three of them versus me. I always seem to be doing the exact opposite of the three of them.

And that works for me. I love all of my sisters, but I have no problem admitting that the three of them take turns doing some dumb-ass things. They alternate in waves of stupidity, and I believe they try to top each other. From eloping to drinking to driving drunk to getting busted for weed in the car when the cop wasn't even suspicious until she gave him reason to be, my sisters have very little in the way of common sense. They are constantly calling mom or dad or Memaw and Papaw to get money, to get help.

My father and I speak at least once a month, and he's always relieved when it's me on the other end.

"I never have to worry when it's you calling, Nelly. You're the only one who never needs help."

Because I like it that way. Independent. On my own two feet. My own grown up world with my boyfriend and my furry child and our home that we built together with what we have together. And my sisters say I am stuck up because I don't go visit redneck relations (I try to avoid claiming kinship with them altogether, honestly), because I don't have time to go see the family every Sunday anymore, because I refuse to buy any type of shoe or clothing item from Wal-Mart (Target has much better clothes), because of all of these reasons...

I call often. I check in. I talk and catch up and tease and do all of the things you're supposed to do with a family. But I live outside of my family. My world doesn't revolve around them. We were all raised the same way by the same people, and yet we have such different values.

I love my sisters, but I couldn't live like they do. I realize that as a musician I am supposed to appreciate the life of the free spirit, and it's not that I judge. They are free to live their lives as they see fit, and so long as they don't try to interfere with mine in a negative way, I don't judge. But when I get calls at three in the morning to come bail your dumb ass out of jail because you got caught with weed in your car, that's a problem. And if I'm the one shelling out three hundred dollars to get your dumb ass out of jail, then I get to lecture, nag, and generally lay into as much as I see fit.

Don't like it?

Don't call me.

My sisters are not bad people. They are young. And I may be the second oldest, but a lot of times I feel like I'm the oldest and I'm taking care of three little sisters. Why on earth should I ever want children when I've got three from my own family that I'm taking care of?

I get it. You're supposed to be there for family. And I don't mind being there.

I'm just saying that if somebody expects me to come and bail them out of jail with my hard earned money that I will never get paid back because, let's face it, they never pay me back when they borrow just twenty dollars,  then I have the absolute right to tell them that they are irresponsible, childish, absolutely deserving of their fate, and they better not call me as a character witness because I won't hold anything back about how absolutely stupid she is.

Is it so wrong that I feel like my sisters need someone to lay down the law?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What store am I in?

I used to be a constant visitor in a popular book store known as Barnes and Noble. Three or four times a week, I would find a reason to visit the store, get a tea, and peruse the isles of books in an ambient setting that was quiet, relaxing, and comfortable.

And then Padawan, bless his heart, gave me Rosebud, and I entered the world of Amazon.com and digital books. With books so easily available to me through the computer instantly and even directly through the wifi connection on Rosebud, I stopped going into the store to buy books. Oh, sure. Occasionally I'll peruse a Half Price Books when I'm in search of a book that's out of print, but for the most part my Barnes and Noble days were over.

I received Rosebud in September of 2010, so I haven't been in there since. But today there was a book Padawan wanted and so we stopped by the old haunt to pick it up.

And...

The atmosphere that I had once enjoyed was gone.

Walking inside felt like I entered a Best Buy, not a book store. I was assaulted by a visual eyesore immediately: several tables upon which sat touch screen tables and Nooks. Row upon row of them. And only after walking through those could I find the books.

And we had to search for the section we needed. Politics and War Books and History had been moved.

Shoved insultingly into a corner in front of Children's Books.

Right next to six isles of.....toys. 

Children's toys.

In the middle of a book store. 

There is just so much wrong with that I'm not sure where to begin. 

First of all, you've got an entire section of the store closed off behind walls that you've dedicated specifically for children. If you must sell toys in a book store, then sell them where they belong: with the children's things behind the wall so I don't have to see, hear, or look at them.

Second, why the hell would you stick toys, a place crowded with children and noise and irritation, next to books that are clearly going to be read by adults who want to concentrate and hear their own thoughts.  Surely sticking toys next to teen fiction would have been the wiser solution.

But my biggest point here is this....why the hell are you selling toys in a book store to begin with? The occasional character toy? Sure. Educational toys? Maybe. Put some on an end cap or a small table. But six isles of toys? Maybe in your effort to corner the market in all things retail you have forgotten the most important rule of all: books are about knowledge, first and foremost. You are selling a lifestyle: intelligence, joy in the written word, a basic understand of and dedication to the English language. When you add toys to your books, what you're telling children is that books are cool, but toys are fun too. And what kid, aside from one like me, would want to read a book when there are six isles of toys to meander? You are sending a very wrong message.

And on top of that you, like Wal-Mart, have given parents a place to dump their loud, obnoxious children while they do other things without any fear of rebuke. They can just make noise and run around willy nilly because it's a toy section with noise so obviously the sssh, you noisy bastard, you're in a fucking book store doesn't apply anymore.

I am personally offended by this latest act of corporate greed. 

I will not set foot in a store that has the same feeling as a Wal-Mart. I simply will not do it. From now on, when I want a book, I'm going to order it from Amazon.com or Half Price without even checking to see if Barnes and Noble has it, because a book store should sell books, not Legos Star Wars.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I tried.

I briefly considered doing a surprise vlog to celebrate the retreat of SOPA/PIPA...

But after twenty attempted videos and an unexpected problem with recording flute with a webcam attached to a computer and three frustrated "fuck yous" that combined all together took three and a half hours, I gave up.

And since the unexpected problem of the microphone on a webcam is not something I can fix without getting a pick up/contact mic, I simply will never be able to play flute for you guys. It's not that I can't get my hands on one. I can easily pick one up at work. My problem is spending money on something I would use once. I do not generally record myself, you see. So there's an end to that.

I know. I can feel your disappointment seeping through the screen, but I'm sure a cookie will make you feel all better, so go ahead and have one. 

Since the world is in a better place (compared to where it was two days ago, and not relative to where it's been in the past because we've definitely seen better days) you'll be pleased to know that I'm going back to my standard nonsense. Politics are not for one such as me. (Until next time, that is.)

It's got to be hard taking a blog called "Fabulously Neurotic" seriously when it comes to Politics anyway. 

Then again...look at our Presidential Debates. I'd have to say that, yeah, some of those guys are above and beyond my particular brand of Neurotic.

Just sayin'.

Anyway, I've got Master Plo Koon hanging out behind me, playing Mindcraft on Padawan's computer. We're taking him to see Beauty and the Beast in 3D tonight, so he's excited. So am I, of course, but since Padawan took me to see the Broadway production when it came into town just before Christmas, this isn't going to be nearly as epic.

I watched a video of Mitt Romney making a fool of himself (that's not political: that's just the truth) and he asked me if that was Rick Perry. The two of them do tend to make fools of themselves frequently. (Oops...) And it's understandable.

But then again...this is the same kid who saw a picture of my heavy metal coworker and thought I had a picture of Osama Bin Laden acting as a bookmark....



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace.

As a general rule, I try to keep out of posting things about the government or politics out of this blog. This blog is a way for me to express my complete and utter insanity without fear of rebuke from my employer, my customers, or my family members.

But I'm going to have to break my never actually declare rule and speak my peace.

I am a musician. My life is lived in, around, within, about, and through music. As a musician, I have never in my life stolen or pirated someone's music. But I don't pretend that I don't understand why people do pirate music. It is expensive, and the Artists themselves hardly make a profit on the purchase. It mostly goes to the label. 

And there are plenty of laws and regulations in effect in the United State right now that protects the copyrighted material: books, movies, music, pictures. All of it, protected.

And now the Government is considering passing a monstrosity so severe, if you pirate a song by Michael Jackson you will be served with more prison time than the doctor responsible for killing him. Prison sentences for copying what amounts to $.99 of data. Seriously?

And censorship of the Internet through government inflicted Firewalls for posting copyrighted pictures? Videos of cheerleaders doing dances to music removed and cheerleaders prosecuted for the videos being created in the first place? Marching bands unable to share their contests on YouTube because they play copyrighted sheet music that they paid for, but the rest of the world didn't pay to see? Couples sharing videos of their first dance as a married couple at their wedding will be prosecuted for their recordings.

Do you see where this is going?
Music controlled by money grubbing people who are already wealthy when it isn't their choice. Because would the artist begrudge a pirated song when the kid bought several t-shirts that they made money off of? Isn't the idea of art to share it with the world? To have it reach all people on all levels? 

Let's not fool ourselves here. This SOPA Bill isn't about Justice reaching out a hand and punishing thieves. This is about giving more money and rights to corporations who are a minority of the population with a lot more money than they need. This is about the buying and selling of Democracy. It is a slap in the face to Lady Liberty, who has stood with her beacon raised for decades as a symbol of freedom, Justice, and Democracy. 

You want to crack down on the people who steal music and movies? Fine them. It's the same thing as stealing a movie or a CD from a department store. Give them a fine, community service, a few days in jail. But do not attempt to control what we can or can't see on the Internet. We have a right to the Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, and Press. The Internet is a new form of Press, Speech, and Assembly, and you can't censor that. 

You people are insane if you think we won't riot in the streets over this. I will happily spend my vacation days to camp in a tent outside of the Congress to let my voice be heard. I wrote letters. I have signed petitions. I have e-mailed. I will make calls. I will not go down without a fight, and I urge you all to do the same. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I wouldn't believe this story if I were a cop.

I went out to walk Choo Choo one morning and found, to my horror, disgust, and dismay, that someone had taken all of the doggy bags from the puppy pooh disposal stand and strung them like garland in a nearby tree. They used all three large rolls of poopy pouches. Ridiculous.

Well, out of the kindness of my heart (and concern for the environment) I pulled every single bag down. (It is a small tree, so with some jumping and reaching, it wasn't difficult.) 

The entire situation reminded me of something that I experienced several years ago.

When I was a senior, I had this boyfriend. And he had a best friend, who was dating MY best friend. And then we all had this mutual friend, who never had girlfriends but always had a date. (I used to think it was because he was a man whore. A few years ago I realized it's because he's a jerk and no girl really wants a second date with him.) One night the six of us all went around a tour of Northwest Austin. Five of us had grown up in that area, and yet had all played in different parks in our childhood, so we went to five different parks in memory of our five different lives.

While leaving the fourth one, we were driving through a neighborhood and we had to pull over because we saw something interesting. It was nine o'clock at night, not at all late with plenty of traffic going by, and there were three teenage girls in a front yard, T.P.ing a tree in someone's front yard.

Really? 

Well, what's a group of seventeen/eighteen year old teenagers on the verge of graduation to do? We obviously parked, walked over, and offered to give them a hand.

J-Lynn and I held back. (She lived just two streets over and didn't want to get in trouble. I personally didn't want to contribute to an act of vandalism, but I was not opposed to watching it take place.) 

The three girls had apparently all planned a slumber party (these were fourteen year old girls) and their fourth friend had bailed at the last minute. In revenge, her three best gal pals decided to T.P. her house while she was sitting in the living room watching T.V. with her family. The girls weren't very effective though. They had no height to their throws, and the guys gladly helped them out, reaching the highest parts of the huge cedar tree they had decided to conquer.

After a car drove by, we decided to head out and leave the girls to it. We went to the fifth park on our list.

But, you know, just to see what had happened...

We decided to drive by the house again, just to see how much further they'd gotten. What we found when we got there was funny.

Two cop cars in the driveway, lights on, the parents and one lone teenage girl on the porch, arms crossed, and three teenage girls with four male cops supervising as they pulled down all of the toilet paper they (and our boyfriends and friend) had thrown up there. 

The guys thought this was the most hilarious thing in the world. And to this day I wonder if they told the cops, "We didn't do it all! A car with six older kids in it stopped and did the worst of it! Honest, we only did a little bit!" The story would, of course, sound like complete and utter bullshit, but it was true. 

After pulling off all of those bags, I now know how much it sucks to pull rolls of things out of trees that you didn't put up there, and I feel really sorry for what I stood by and allowed to happen.

But...you know...it was pretty funny at the time. So if I had it to do over again...

I'd still watch.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Choo Choo, where's Mommy?

Padawan was home with Choo Choo while I was working, and he realized that she actually understands what he's talking about when he says, "Mommy."  He made a video.

video

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Smudges

It makes me laugh when I see people walk face first into a door.

The door clearly has a handle. It says "PULL" in perfect English. 

And yet people will walk up, put their hands on it, and push forward with such effort that they smack their face into the glass. The thunk is always audible no matter where you are in the store. Everybody looks up. It's a pretty distinctive sound.

The idiot always looks surprised, like how the hell did that happen? They stare at the door like it has betrayed them somehow, like they are baffled by the concept of pulling to get in. It reminds me of when I take my dog out for a walk and the grass is wet. They have the same reaction.

But the best part is sometimes the same person who tried pushing to get in tries to pull to get out. It's like a double helping of stupidity.

I like to leave the face smudges on the glass up for a few days, so that when I look at it I can remember the person who stupidly pushed instead of pulled.

But that's all changed now. We can't leave the face smudges up anymore because the windows have to be cleaned every day. I'm going to miss the smudges. My only comfort is that I can rewind the video feed and save it to USB so I can watch it over and over and over again.

Sometimes being the only person capable of using the security system has its advantages. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Result of My Vacation

I've told you guys I make scarves when I've got time on my hands, right?

I crochet them.

Well, on my vacation I had time on my hands, and one day I went shopping with Relly and my grandparents, and I found some really awesome yarn...for a dollar a skein. Do you know how freaking awesome it was to find this kind of yard for a mere dollar? 

So I bought several colors and a few others and I took them home to work. And Relly asked me to please make her a scarf with the really fluffy one.

Now, I've never worked with this yarn before, so it was a learning experience.

The result? 


Padawan called it "ugly and not a scarf", while T-Man, Relly's boyfriend/future husband thing, said, "It looks weird. Like a Double Helix. And it's not ugly, but I wouldn't wear it myself." And then he added that he has no fashion sense, which is correct.

Me?

I freaking love this thing. It's awesome, especially considering this was crocheting, not knitting, and I've never used this kind of yarn before.

Then I made a couple more...

But my model was a little smaller than me.

Choo Choo doesn't particularly care for modeling.


But that totally didn't stop me from doing it again.

The lesson here? 

I should probably not be left to my own devices when I'm on vacation. Choo Choo wound up with three new outfits, a Santa Hat, a bathrobe, and she was forced to model for me. Plus she got two baths, poor thing.


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