My past is perilous, but each scar I bear sings

Monuments to where I have been, and melodies to where I am going

2011: My Year in Pictures
cake or death
2011: My Year in PicturesCollapse )

Happy New Year!!

Let's put this one to bed, shall we?
cake or death
Hey Guys! Long time no post. Time to get back on the wagon, and what better way to do this than the annual yearly sum-up post!

2011 Survey GoodnessCollapse )

And, as always, my 2011 Jams of the Year: 2011 Here We Come!

That's all, folks! Stay tuned for any other crazy life developments or random chattering.

Watch The Voice. Adam Levine Wears Tight T-Shirts.
cake or death
I dislike most competition reality shows with the exception of Project Runway, and the thought of singing competitions make my skin crawl. Even so, for some reason, I am OBSESSED with The Voice. I couldn't take more than 5 minutes of American Idol or Dancing With the Stars, but I can watch this show every week. What makes The Voice different? In true Colleen fashion, I've compiled a list:

NOTE: If you're unfamiliar with the format of the show, let the NBC website fill you in. Whoever writes on the site does a better job explaining than my mindless meandering writing style would.

1. The Voice is not in the business of humiliating people.
There is no 3-day audition special where everybody and their mother who thinks they have talent sing in front of a group of judges merely for ratings. There are no William Hung's or "Pants on the Ground". The people who sing on the show deserve to sing on the show, and that makes it way less cringe worthy and more enjoyable to watch the performances.

2. The contestants are not picked based on the "total package".
As corny as this sounds, the contestants are picked based on their voice alone. The judges do not see the contestants faces before they decide they want them on their team. This allows people like Beverly, a bald, tattooed lesbian to make it to the finals. She is a kick-ass lady with an amazing voice that can belt out Melissa Etheridge even while she has a cold. I seriously love her, and she needs to take the whole thing.

3. Carson Daly
I know, how can Carson Daly be a GOOD thing? He's devoid of personality and has a very lame late, late night talk show. I personally think he's endearing, PLUS, when he hosts it reminds me of TRL which was on like a million years ago at this point. I want to live in a world where Carson Daly is relevant because it makes me feel less god damn old.

4. Adam Levine and his sexy tattoos

Yeahhh... No explanation needed here.

5. Reba McEntire
After the judges picked the initial 8 contestants for their teams, they brought in another musical artist to help coach their singers. Blake Shelton brought in Reba. I could go on and on about my strange love for Reba McEntire. I only know 2 of her songs, but she just makes me happy watching her and hearing her talk. She's a decent actress (I have watched several episodes of Reba on Lifetime, I'm not afraid to admit it), and she seems generally down-to-earth and spunky. She's been in the music business longer than any of those judges, and she knows her stuff. If I were Blake, I would listen to every word that woman told me.

Plus, I have serious red hair envy.

6. The Voice's judges pick the singers who will move on further in the competition.
This could actually go both ways. Positive: the judges get to work with the competitors before they "dual" against another person on the same team, which gives them insight on their limitations as an artist that the viewer necessarily wouldn't see. The judges also have experience in the music industry and can determine who they think would be successful based on their knowledge. Negative: I was upset because half the people they picked to win the duals I didn't even like.

Problems and Complications - What I do not like about The Voice: Christina Aguilera
Look, I get that you have a fantastic voice, Christina, even if you can't remember the words you're supposed to sing with it, but seriously. This show, as much as I'm sure you want it to be, is not about you. When you sing a song with your team members (that you've recorded previously for a movie soundtrack), there's no need to shove your tits out, one-up each individual's performance by riffing over everyone, and parading your girls around like they're your own personal backup-singing army. Guess what! They don't need to say your name. You have a recording contract! You've sold millions of albums! STOP OVERCOMPENSATING AND GIVE THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE THESE THINGS A CHANCE TO SHINE.

Also, this is a signing competition. There is no need to pretend to cry.

There you have it - the top 6 reasons to watch the show. I would say if you're mildly curious, you should check it out. I need someone to rant/rave about it with! :P

Borderlands: The Game that Changed My Mind About First Person Shooters
Fighting words - Faye
Late last year, I caved and bought the PlayStation 3. I had never purchased a game console before my PS3. I didn't consider myself a console gamer, so I could never justify picking up one for myself. First of all, they were expensive for serving one function. Secondly, I identified myself as a PC gamer. I love lame games like Myst, The Sims, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Diner Dash. Chris made an effort to change this by buying me a used PS2 a couple of years ago. I was able to play Kingdom Hearts and Katamari, but beyond that I had no clue what I could tap into. Nothing else seemed appealing to me. My fascination with God of War was almost a total fluke (I was alone in Chris' apt in Chicago bored out of my fucking mind). God of War was fun for me because I could button mash and still be relatively successful. First person shooters required video game skillz that I did not possess.

My only exposure to first person shooters was Halo. Back when I dated Christopher, his buddies would come over to play, and I didn't want to be excluded so I played a few rounds with them. I was absolutely awful. I couldn't aim and walk at the same time. I would end up staring at the floor stuck in a corner somewhere while someone I couldn't see on the screen was shooting at me. It was horribly frustrating. I tried to get his friends to help me out, which only led them to not touch me at all and basically play around me. After a few separate occasions of this I gave up and decided that FPS were not for me because they were not designed for casual gamers such as myself.

I was perfectly content with not diving any deeper into FPS. It was out of boredom, again, that I even considered playing Borderlands. It was the perfect storm: Steve was cooking at his apartment and I had to find something to do to entertain myself while my wet nail polish dried. I had seen him play the game a few times, and wasn't particularly interested in trying it myself, until I watched this:

I figured if the developers of the game could go out of their way to create a claptrap marriage proposal video, there had to be something about Borderlands that I was missing out on. I loaded up the game on his PC, played for a few missions, and suddenly got hooked. I started a hunter/sniper, and I loved that I could hang back and pick things off with my sniper rifle before they came racing toward me to hit me with an axe or bite me or something. After a week without it at my place, I pretty much demanded Steve bring it over so I could load it on my compy and play it.

Unfortunately, the graphics card on my computer was not good enough to play it. That's right! Super compy finally failed me! I was left with two options: one was to upgrade my graphics card, and the other was to play it on the PS3. I decided playing it on the PS3 was the cheaper of the two options, and since I was craving playing the game like a heroin addict craves their next fix, I decided to bite the bullet and rent it to try the whole thing out. My compy's inadequacies led to my reintroduction to first person shooters for a console.

The first few hours were frustrating because I wasn't nearly as good as I was on the computer. Sniping requires accuracy, and although you don't have to move and aim too much while you're a sniper, I still couldn't get the hang of shooting moving objects. After picking off a few skags, though, I started to get into it and ended up purchasing the game the next day. A new obsession had been born.

The premise is this: you are a bounty hunter searching the planet of Pandora (yes, I know, every planet is called Pandora) for an alien vault filled with guns, goodies and enough money to pay off your student loans. You get roped into doing quests for the people of Pandora, earning cash and items in exchange for shooting bandits or stealing beer. The map of the game is massive, and just when you think you've tapped out a current area, a new one is opened up for you, offering more quests and prizes for your efforts.

There are about 10 different types of "bad guys" you encounter in the game that want nothing more than to kill you to prevent you from finding the vault, but the psychos (featured on the front cover) are, by far, the most terrifying. They just run right at you wielding an makeshift axe and shout things like "NOW IT'S TIME FOR MY POUND OF FLESH". They have apparently worked their way into my subconscious, because after the first night of playing this, I had nightmares about psychos attacking me, which was totally not cool.

These are Claptraps. They are adorable and they dance. They help you out by running bounty boards and opening up portals to other parts of Pandora. Bandits tend to destroy them, so while you're running around doing other quests, you have the opportunity to fix them and they reward you by giving you stuff. I got so attached to these fucking things that I actually got UPSET when I saved one and he went on a rant about how unhappy he was. He was whimpering "I'm so scared, I can't move" while shuddering in the corner. And yesterday, while I was playing Dr. Ned's Zombie Island, I watched one get shot in the face and about lost it. There is something wrong with me.

Speaking of guns, you are able to choose from all kinds of deadly weapons - the variety is actually astounding. They have the standard shotguns, revolvers, grenades, machine guns, etc, but each type of weapon has reload stats, accuracy, and damage points. You may find a sniper rifle that does 600 damage on an enemy, but if it takes a super long time to reload and may not hit them anyway, it's probably not going to do you any good. I am obsessed with constantly upgrading my weapons, and when I find a gun that is freaking awesome, I get really excited to shoot with it. That is something that I could never see myself caring about 2 months ago.

I beat the game a few days ago, and I'm still itching to play more. I've probably racked up 60+ hours of game-play (possibly more...), and I've barely even touched the expansions. It's worth the money if you're interested in buying it. But get the Game of the Year edition - it comes with the downloadable content :)

Spooning with a Schoolboy? That sounds awkward.
cake or death
My first semester of college was nothing like I expected it to be. It was crazy, painful, confusing, and downright overwhelming at times, but it was also very fun (and I'm only talking about the social aspect). As academics go, I took a bunch of gen ed classes, most of them lectures, and none of them were that great. It was hard to connect with new people when you're in a class of 150 students, so I didn't feel very invested in anything I took because I dreaded going to class about a subject I didn't like and sitting alone and pretending I was super cool when I wasn't. I also had to carry around these books that weighed a TON all across campus. There are a lot of things I didn't like about high school, but one thing I did like was having a locker. I had two. One shown here:

Yeah, my OCD has been evident for a LONG time.

I would carry around these heavy books using a massive messenger bag with a kodama on it. On my first day of this environmental science class I took, I happened to sit next to this girl, we'll call her Caroline (her pen name), who told me she liked my epically sized backpack. I was excited she even knew what it was from, and for one little moment, college didn't seem so overwhelming and isolating. We started talking, and then passing notes, and then passing entire pictures and stories to each other during class. I don't remember anything from the class other than the prof graduated from Michigan State, his wife just had a baby, and we talked about the eutrophication of Lake Erie. The only reason I remember THAT was because I drew a picture of dead fish floating in a lake. I'm obviously a visual learner.

Caroline and I hit it off. She was studying Creative Writing and East Asian Studies (which is what I ended up getting my degree in... go figure). One time she convinced me to skip my class and hang out with her at the library and she let me read a story she was working on. In a way, reading this story motivated me to peruse writing myself. Writing had always been something I did in the background, but after meeting someone who was studying it themselves, it made the idea seem more concrete instead of some notion floating around in my head. My sophomore year I decided to declare a major and I never looked back (well... except once or twice when I would have panic attacks about wtf I could do with a creating writing degree).

She also convinced me to take Japanese with her since we needed to figure out a class we could take together. I had an interest in Japan and eastern cultures before, but I had no reason to take classes about it. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I was suddenly a part of a community that saw each other every day and not only did we learn, but we also created all kinds of crazy, ridiculous drama with a bunch of dorky people. Because of that class, one of my long-term goals is to visit Japan. Right now I couldn't do it because of my anxiety, but every step I take in the positive direction I think, "If I work hard at this, I can visit Japan and shop in Shibuya and visit the Ghibli museum and a Buddhist shrine and sit in a hot spring and eat lots and lots of food!" Yeah, I'm a dork, too.

During my last year of college, Caroline went to Japan to study abroad for a year. She enjoyed it so much that she went back after a few months of returning to America to make it her permanent home. Right now she's out there working as an English language teacher/tutor. We haven't been as close since she moved, but I was really thankful to have met her when I had. Seeing her follow her dreams and be successful has motivated me to take the next steps to accomplish what I've wanted out of life. She's kind of my hero.

So... Why am I bringing this up? Caroline started a blog last year: Spooning with a Schoolboy. It talks about her current and past exploits in Japan and it's SUPER entertaining. If you have any interest in Japan, or just want to follow the life of a quirky twenty-something American living abroad, check it out!

Caroline in Japan! Hooray!

Not only does she talk about her awesome day-to-day experiences of living and working in Japan, but she also provides advice for those of us interested in spending some time in the country and how to survive doing so (aptly named Caroline's Seikatsu Advice). There are a few other mini-series: "From Inside the Train" explores Caroline's strange love for all things train-related, and "Five Reasons Why Saitama Doesn't Suck", defends the place where she lives from its reputation of being totally lame. She also posts updates on her travels around the country with all kind of delicious pictures to gawk at.

OR you could read her blog just to see all the awesome things she buys. I'm seriously jealous of the styles of clothing available in Japan and her close proximity to obtaining them.


I promise you, she didn't ask me to write this. I also promise you will totally love her blog. If you don't...there is something wrong with you. She writes much more coherently than I do :D


Catcher In the Rye: I Want to Poke Holden Caulfield... With Pointy Sticks
Anime - Princess Mononoke
This past week I finally got around to reading Catcher in the Rye. If you haven't read it, you can find a good cartoon summation of it here. I have some thoughts.

Holden Caulfield is a whiny bitch. There, I said it.

I realize this book is pretty much the emo bible, and it should be, because Holden is the most emo person I've read about (trumping Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower). That being said, there's poignant emo and then there's "I'm going to pretend I've been shot in the gut and hit my roommate cause I think he's a moron and I'm never going to call this girl I like because I'm not in the mood ever to call her but I'll talk about calling her all the time and this other girl is nice but she doesn't understand me and the world is full of phonys" emo. Maybe I'm too old to read this now. Maybe if I read this book when I was 13 or 14-years-old, Holden would be my God. But as opinions go now, I can't stand the bloody bastard.

He holds everybody to a ridiculously high standard that he can't even meet himself. He dislikes anybody his own age. Girls are vapid and giggly, but he continues to hang out with him. His schoolmates are morons, but he spends a lot of time concerning himself with them, too. He walks around with this attitude that he's the only person in the world who "gets it", and those around him who don't see eye-to-eye are a waste of human space. He is also a music and movie snob. He pretty much bashes everything that is mainstream because it's corny and it will turn you into some kind of zombie. He also thinks anybody who likes these sort of things are idiots.

He is practically the blueprint for the "hipster douchebag".

As if his condescending attitude isn't enough to drive a reader mad, they are then subjected to Holden's "stream of consciousness" writing style where he repeats the same goddamn things in every paragraph. He refers to people as "old Jane" or "old Phoebe" as if everybody in the world are his long-term friends. A lot of things knock him out or kill him. Everything makes him goddamn lonely as hell. It really does, I'm not kidding. Don't ever read this book, because it might make you goddamn lonely. Or depress the hell out of you.


The only endearing trait Holden Caulfield possessed was his life's mission - he wanted to be a "catcher in the rye". He would stand at the edge of a cliff and prevent playing children from falling over it. Something about their innocence and honesty appealed to him. Despite lashing out at his sister at the end for wanting to go away with him (which was absolutely adorable on her part), the only people he treated with respect in the novel were children. Can't really knock him for that one. Although if he can't take care of himself, I'm really curious to see how he's going to protect other people.

I just don't get it. I don't understand why anybody would want to wear a "I ♥ Holden Caulfield" t-shirt. Did you not notice how self-absorbed this kid is? He may be sensitive, but he's definitely not interested in making other people happy, other than his kid sister.

It is very clear that Holden has a problem. He's manic depressive. He's also lonely, confused, isolated, and lacking any kind of direction in his life with no motivation to change that fact. I get and respect that - I've felt like that SEVERAL times in my life. BUT JESUS CHRIST, if you're going to write a book, at least have A POINT to it. I was subjected to 115 pages of him talking about his 3-day downward spiral into nothingness, and there was absolutely no payout at the end. At the conclusion of the novel, Holden gets "sick", ends up at a mental hospital in California, and mentions he is going to try to go back to school in the fall. He doesn't even TALK about how he ended up there because he "doesn't feel like it". I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. I didn't read an entire novel just to hear Holden bitch. If I wanted to hear people bitch, I would just look at my Facebook news feed! And I do realize that all I am doing is bitching about him bitching - the hypocrisy is not lost on me :P

Does the reader learn anything? No. In fact, Holden tells the reader that if we're ever asked to write about our past, don't. It makes you miss everything. Even pimps that beat you up because you didn't pay the hooker the extra 5 dollars she wanted. What. the. fuck.

I love a good emo novel as much as the next person. I reread The Perks of Being a Wallflower last year and it still means as much to me now as it did back when I first read it in high school. Where does Catcher in the Rye fail and The Perks of Being a Wallflower succeed?

Charlie has this innocence that Holden doesn't have. He's trying to find his way in the world, and it's endearing. He tries to understand how humans conduct interpersonal relationships. He doesn't look at life with this hard set of eyes, like everywhere he turns there will be another "FUCK YOU" written on a wall somewhere. He's also a few years younger than Holden, so instead of getting frustrated with him for not fitting in, you just want to pat him on the head like a little puppy and be like, "Oh, Charlie, you're adorable". Even at the end, when the reader finds out Charlie had been admitted into a mental institution because he "broke down", he comes out of his hardship trying to find the good in life. Holden is in the same situation, and he doesn't care what happens to him when he leaves the hospital. He doesn't know if he's going to try. He believes there is no good in the world and nothing will ever make him feel better.

I look at Charlie like he is a cute, innocent little bunny.
I look at Holden like he's the killer rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He may look sensitive, but he hates everyone and will fuck your shit up if you approach the little bastard. Not so much physically, more verbally. I feel like he's accosting me with every sentence he utters.

I guess what I'm trying to say (in the most winded and ridiculous way possible) is that I feel like I wasted my time reading this, and I don't understand why so many people think it's one of the best books every written. When I read a novel, I want to take something away from it. I want it to raise question about life, or provide me with a new way of looking at something. Maybe I expect too much out of literature, I don't know. The only thing this novel succeeded in doing was implant violent urges to beat Holden over the head and tell him to put on his big boy pants and deal with it.

What Colleen Has Been Crafting: Gloves, Gordon Freeman, and the Virgen de Guadelupe
cake or death
Here's a obligatory entry showing what I've accomplished craft-wise in 2011. Because I am a grandma and all I know how to do is craft. And start sentences with "and", "but", and "because" even though I'm not supposed to. Anyway. Please ignore my attempt at artsy shots. I'm obviously not a photographer.

First Big Accomplishment of the Year: White Lace Knit Gloves!

Yes, they are massive. Yes, they are too big. And yes, I cannot pick up anything in them because the yarn is too soft and slippery. BUT DON'T THEY LOOK HOT?

Lace detail

Christopher bought me this book a few years ago merely for this glove pattern. Little did I know the pattern itself was written by illiterate monkeys and it would take me a year to knit the first glove because I had no idea how to follow it. Then it took me another year to decipher wtf I did to finish the first glove so I could make the second glove look the same. But they're done now, and I probably will never wear them. Hooray.

I couldn't get a good picture of them on me, so this is what you get :P

Crochet Bag: It Looks Like a Couch From the '70's

I'm not very good at crocheting, so I decided to make a bag in order to improve my granny square technique. I used this mohair-looking yarn that Omega gave me because neither of us could decide whether it was ugly or awesome. Turns out it's just ugly. Oh well.

To get an idea of the size of this thing.

I lined the inside of it with an old t-shirt I had. It would make a pretty good yarn bag, or a little tote to carry around. Too bad I think like it looks like cat vomit.

Present for Steven: Gordon Freeman Holding a Crowbar

Steven does nice things for me, so I cross stitched this awesome thing for him as a thank you. I created the pattern using a magnet that I found online and a saying that I came across while googling "half life crow bar". Half Life is Steven's favorite game in the history of the world, and I've attempted to play it twice. Turns out I am not very good at shooting aliens, so if there is some kind of alien takeover in the future, you will not want me on your sniper team. I could make baked goods, though, which may bring up morale or make the aliens like us more because of our awesome hospitality. I dunno. Just sayin', everybody loves brownies.

Current Project: Our Lady of Guadalupe Cross Stitch

SHE kind of looks like an alien right now.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I'm obsessed with the Virgen de Guadalupe. I don't know WHY. The traditional Virgin Mary creeps me out, and I feel like she's constantly giving me this look that says, "Giiiiiirl, what would your mother think of your behavior? Shameful." Virgen de Guadalupe, on the other hand, looks infinitely more friendly, and given the chance, would know how to party. Something about her is comforting, so I tend to collect things with her on it. Like candles, and dresses, and these Virgen de Guadalupe string lights.

This is what she will look like. I bought this kit from a Joanne Fabrics that was going out of business last year. I haven't made A TON of progress on it, but I have a wall in my living room reserved for it once I finish this beast. SO EXCITED.

That pretty much covers all of it. Stay tuned for another installment of "Symptoms of OCD, Volume 3: Tedious, Repetitive Movements and Why Colleen is Losing Her Eyesight"

Reliving Childhood Pt. 2: Gamerz USA and My Abhorrence of Desert Camo Vests
cake or death
I promised this a while ago, but I'm just getting around to it now. I am so lazy/busy.

THAT and I've been fighting with the new LJ format. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to upgrade, and now I can't find a layout that doesn't make my LJ/linked pictures look like shit. Temporarily I'm giving up on it, because this has been sitting in my queue since March.

I mentioned in the previous post that Lauren and I have been revisiting our childhood. Part two of this masterpiece was laser tagging. We had gone out to dinner one night, and while drinking a massive-sized beer, I mentioned that on Groupon they had this deal for Gamerz, this laser tag place in Westland. She had seen it too, but neither of us bought the coupon because we didn't think we had anybody to go with. WELL THAT OBVIOUSLY WASN'T TRUE, because that next weekend Paul, Steve, Lauren and I went to Gamerz USA and had ourselves a grand old time playing video games and shooting ourselves with imaginary guns.

When we got there, we had to wait a bit to play a round. This downtime turned into the now-usual ticket collecting mission to buy something ridiculous from the ticket counter. We played trivia, we played basketball, we tested our luck at Deal or No Deal, and then quickly discovered that in 10 minutes you pretty much cover everything available at the Gamerz arcade. None of us were particularly sad when they called our names early to shoot your friends with imaginary guns.

My expectations for laser tag were skewed a bit. I remember the packs you'd wear with the sensors on the shoulders, chest, and back, and when you were hit they would light up and tell you who had hit you on the gun display. You couldn't die, but the more you were shot, the further down the list you would be when they would announce the scores after the round. You could pick nicknames, so of course back in 8th grade all the girls were like, "Let's all be fruit! You can be Kiwi, I'll be Strawberry, and you'll be Mango," and so on, and so on... When I was older, I would just hide up in the tower and snipe people. It was awesome.

Dude, his vest is multi colored! How rad is that?!

Anyway, it seems that laser tagging has gotten a bit more hardcore over the years. I had worn all black (in anticipation of the black lights) and my super cute DSW Madden Girl boots pictured here. incidentally, the boots, it seems, are $30 cheaper than what I paid for them, so give me a second to process that...

OK, I'm good now. I call them my running boots because they're ridiculously comfortable and have a nice chunky heel on them. I figured for darting around for 15-minutes, they would be more than fine, they'd be kick ass and stylish, too. What did I end up doing in them? Squatting for 15-minutes behind a pallet filled with Office Max paper and getting hit every 20 seconds by a swarm of 16-year-old boys.

That chick totally doesn't work there.

The audio of this video is horrible, but you can see what we're dealing with here. There were two teams, and we had to shoot against each other. The field was basically littering of random video arcade games, a cop car, and barrels. You hide behind things, move forward, and try to take out your opponents.

The guns looked like machine guns, and despite what you see in the video, you could not tell where you were shooting at all. You had to reload your "bullets" after you fired 100, and mine didn't seem to want to reload, ever. They also didn't have the lights on, so I couldn't see anything either, which meant I was crouching in the overcast light of the one spotlight in the corner opposite us trying to find the little BLACK reload button on the bottom of the gun. The only good thing the darkness provided was a protective blanket shielding how awful I look in camo.

The worst part is after you get hit 10 times, you die! You have to hold up your gun and track down the "mission commander" to reactive your lame-ass dying self. Where the spaced out blonde dude hung out was also where the only spotlight was, so everyone can see you walking up to him, defeated and sucking it up on the battlefield.

My thighs hurt for two days after that. I felt SO OLD. What happened to the cushy, bouncy, running on neon pink and green ramps and owning short little kids by shooting over their heads? WHERE IS THAT LASER TAG?! I wanted it to be a bit more How I Met Your Mother and a little less Saving Private Ryan.

See, THAT would have been legendary.

But the real star of the night was not the laser tagging, my shoes, or my affinity for playing Deal or No Deal. It was The Snake Sword.

We purchased this inflatable gem with the tickets we collected from the arcade games. Upon purchasing the sword (and a ton of temporary tattoos) we pretty much reverted to horny teenage boys.

Yeah, that's about right.

We immediately had to take pictures of ourselves playing with it. It was snowing like crazy that night (when doesn't it snow in Michigan?) so the pictures aren't exactly super awesome, but our enthusiasm, I think, translates well here.

After the sword photo shoot, we headed over to Ashley's to further act like children. We ordered beer, got tipsy, watched the wings game, and took more inappropriate pictures.

This has to be my favorite picture of Paul, ever.

About 30 minutes after we get there, Steve orders a glass of water. The waitress is all like, "You can't drink water, I'll get you more beer!" but after we explained it was for putting on temporary tattoos, she gave us this strange look, made a noise, and hurried away.

It kind of looks like I'm hitting him, but really I'm putting a unicorn tattoo on his face. Yes, it had to be on his face. HE insisted.

That's my boyfriend. I have relations with him. Seriously.


So, what did we learn from this experience, if anything? I think we learned that there is such a thing as a Murtaugh list, but I feel like I'm a bit young not to be able to play laser tag, go to a rave, pierce something, and avoid going to the doctor. I'm not ready to turn myself into an adult just yet. Something about this experience, though, made it abundantly clear that I'm not as physically capable to be "free spirited" as I once was. And that bugs the shit out of me. But this doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to act like a 16-year-old any time soon! I'm in my 20's so I can still get away with it. I guess I'll quit when it stops being endearing and starts making me look sad.

I think I also learned that alcohol can make any experience better.

But most of all, this lesson is the most important:

Beware of the snake sword.

Reliving Childhood Arcade Memories with Lauren: Part 1
cake or death
I was downloading pictures from my camera today and figured this was as good as a time as any to give you an update on what's been up the last few months.

Lauren, Paul, Steve and I went to Dave and Buster's. I had never been and I was super excited to check it out. My impression of it (based on what I'd seen in commercials) was that it would be this arcade mecca for adults that served food and liquor till the wee hours of the morning. I didn't think for a moment that there would be anybody below the age of 18 in the place.

I was so, so very wrong.

It was about midnight on a Saturday and there were still mothers with kids in strollers and teenage guidos getting REALLY excited about spinning a big wheel that spit out enough tickets to win a cheap toaster oven. Like, everywhere.

The biggest sin was they served really weak alcoholic beverages. If I'm going to be around herds of 8-year-olds, at least let me be able to numb myself to that fact by drinking heavily. Boo Dave and Buster's. BOO.

We managed to have an awesome time regardless, though :D I was introduced to this really addicting skeeball game where you get to race a horse by rolling the ball into a hole really, really fast:

I won. A lot. That's prolly why I look so happy in this next picture. Plus, I'm with Lauren and I'm drinking. Nothing can ever be wrong with that sentence.

Afterward, Lauren played a motion simulator game where she was flying a plane:

And Sir Swarthy Steven and I took down some pirates by shooting them with a large cannon!

Look at us go.

After a while we got bored with just playing the games (and the place was crowded so we couldn't get to a lot of them, anyway) so Steve decided his new goal was to win tickets. A lot of tickets. Enough to win a Hello Kitty backpack (which was like 1700 tickets, give or take a few).

...So OK, we really just wanted to use up the ridiculous amount of money we put on the Dave and Buster's cards that we had beacuse a repeat visit didn't seem to be in our future. Tomato, tomato.

...That looks the same typed out. Balls.


It was like Steve was on a mission. He jumped from games where the goal was to throw a fish as far as you can, to hitting a light when it came close to a point on a board. We wasted SO MUCH CASH, but we totally made our goal. Upon entering the ticket gift shop... thing (which was totally guarded btw), I immediately put this bit of stuffed polyester glory on:

Yes, she is wearing a pink poncho. Also, this is me attempting to look like a Japanese school girl. I totally fail.

We decided even though we had spent all that time getting enough tickets, we would not purchase the Hello Kitty masterpiece. Even I would not carry around a flammable backpack that is not big enough to hold my cell phone and my lip gloss around with me. I know, *shocker!*, but even I have standard :D We ended up getting a Dave and Buster's cup and one of those Simon key chains. You know Simon, right? The thing with the 4 different colored lights that you must hit in a specific sequence or it buzzes at you further magnifying your failure?

(...I was totally going to link Always Sunny's thing about Simon, but alas, the internet is failed me. Pretend I did and it was like super funny.)

Don't you just love that episode? That show is CLASSIC.

I think my neighbors were actually starting to get annoyed with the constant beeping. I kept the thing in my living room and every time me or Steve felt antsy, we would totally break into a game of Simon. I got pretty good at it.

While this night was slightly epic, it is only the tip of the iceberg compared to part two. That's right, it's going to get crazy. And dirrty.

Stay tuned for Reliving Childhood Arcade Memories with Lauren: Part Two. This time it's personal.

Not really. Whatever.

Another bitchy entry, but I feel like it's justified.
cake or death
OK, something has been bothering me, and I need to get it off of my chest.

These new abortion laws they're trying to pass? The most RETARDED things I've ever heard. Please reference below:

An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children.

The "Protect Life" Act

It is no secret that I am very pro-choice. What a women wants to do to her body, for any reason, is her OWN business and it is not up to the government to dictate whether or not a woman wants a parasite attached to her body for nine months. That being said, it is EXTREMELY bad form to let a woman die because she cannot get an abortion. OR kill people that provide abortions. Because and eye for an eye works every time, right?

Why is it that the government feels so comfortable passing laws dictating what a woman can do to her body, but none such laws exist against men? Shouldn't their be a law banning vasectomies? Isn't that preventing the potential of human life? ::sigh::

There are SO MANY PEOPLE who have children who are unfit to take care of them. I feel like people responsible enough to realize they may not be able to provide the life for their child that they want them to have should have the opportunity to abort, or give the baby up for adoption.

I have no plans on being a mother, and I don't see that changing any time soon. I could barely take care of a goldfish. I am selfish and would not have the emotional capacity to raise another human being. I don't knock people who decide to become parents (even if they are grossly unqualified for the job), but what I don't understand is the couples that spend thousands of dollars on In Vitro fertilization. There are 425,000 children in the US foster care system ALONE, and you want to bring more children onto this planet? WTF? Why don't we act like a community and take care of the children that we have already? What is so wrong with taking care of a child that isn't biologically yours? If you were a step parent you would be doing that as well, wouldn't you? Even adoptive parents bug me sometimes because they're so concerned with getting a baby right as it's popped out of the womb. Why not take care of a 8-year-old child who has a crack addict for a mother and no family responsible enough to take care of them? Don't you think they need a good home, too?

If I ever decided to be a parent, I would adopt, no question. I wouldn't want to have a child of my own - I have all kinds of hereditary health problems that I would feel guilty passing on to another person. I also don't think I would raise the child with another person. The pressure to stay together would be a lot so the kid could be happy, and I wouldn't want to stay with someone just for that reason.

I don't know, maybe I've got it all wrong. But I see people who have great families that they take complete advantage of and never appreciate what they are given. I wish I could give kids who don't have that in their lives the same opportunity to be loved and cared for.


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