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Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Cuckoo for Zombies!

YES! I'M cuckoo for zombies like a tiger digs frosted flakes. All zombie movies are excellent, but the ones with humor are the cream of the crop.

The best zombie movie ever is Shaun of the Dead. It's a British film and I love the snarky humor that the Brits do oh so well. In fact, I sell a lot of t-shirts and bumper stickers in that part of the world (insert shameless plug here >> www.cuckooforzombies.com. )

I'm not a fan of all horror movies. The slasher and senseless violence movies like My Bloody Valentine or Friday the 13th: number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...42 are just stupid and I have to say pretty formulaic. I've been looking for a chance to use the word formulaic without it looking like it was on my word of the day calendar and LOOK-here it is!

I think that's why I enjoyed Scary Movie so much. I mean, we all know what's going to happen in a slasher movie, right?
  • No! Don't go into the basement/woods/tool shed/serial-killer-rec-room-that's-clearly-marked all by yourself!
  • ACK! Look behind you! [they never never DO even when I try to warn them by screaming at the television.]
  • All minor characters get taken out one at a time to build the suspense of the final dual between the bad guy and the main character. However, the minor characters are always killed off one by one in order of importance, which generally means in order of minority/gender/ or funny but expandable sidekick. 
  • Flashlights NEVER work, or only work long enough to make you feel safe about going into the basement/woods/tool shed/serial-killer-rec-room-that's-clearly-marked!
So, that's why I prefer zombie movies. First of all zombies are the slowest villains ever! Basically, you're watching a geriatric-like monster travel at negative 7 mph towards an able-bodied hero who somehow, always JUST gets away. Suspense in slow motion! It's fabulous. And no matter what, I end up screaming and jumping off the couch in fright. I do this even when I've seen the movie on 6 previous occasions.  I've never actually watched a zombie movie with another human, I'd like to keep all my friends. I would like to watch one on the big screen, but I'm pretty sure they would bodily remove me from the theater in the first 10 minutes... and they may need duct tape.

And I hate shutting my eyes at the gory parts. Instead I will pause the movie, jump around for a while and sing a happy song until I'm calm enough to continue with the show. This means it took me three days to watch Zombieland... and I loved every minute of it. The best part was that every time I would scream and jump from the couch, my dog would run to the window barking, scaring me even more. So, if you can imagine me jumping up and down singing, my dog barking at the window, intermittently looking to me for some sign of sanity and then... me laughing my ass off when I realized how ridiculous it all was. It's the BEST!

Zombieland is actually my second favorite zombie movie. Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg are brilliant and Bill Murray has a cameo near the end. Let's just say... Bill Murray, always funny! The best part of the story--and a good zombie movie ALWAYS has a story and good character development-- is Woody Harrelson's epic quest for the last Twinkies in a post-apocalyptic-zombie-infested-world. The survival list is fabulous, the humor is pee-your-pants funny and the characters actually pretty endearing.

So, I'm not sure what you're going to dress up as this Halloween, but I can guarantee you I will be on the lookout for roving zombies, probably screaming my head off and then laughing like a loon! It should be a sight.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You Diane, Me Jane

Now, you may be saying to your screen, "I thought you're name was Lori?" or "Maybe we should call you Sybil!". Very funny, but actually I'm referring to more of a state of mind than a name.

I'm talking about Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey.

You probably know Jane Goodall as the species activist and anthropologist who lived with chimpanzees starting in the 1960's. She's advocated for environment and species protection ever since. I was lucky enough to attend one of her lectures about a decade ago and I was struck by how 'kindly' she was. In fact, she's downright 'grandmotherly' now. Her mannerisms and way of speaking were so gentle and wise that I was drawn in immediately and by the end of the speech, I was ready to follow her absolutely anywhere rescuing chimpanzees along the way.

In contrast, Diane Fossey was an outright warrior. Unfortunately she was murdered in her pursuit of species protection. Her cause: the Mountain Gorilla. If you don't know the story, watch Gorillas in the Mist starring Sigourney Weaver as Diane Fossey. It's an oldie but a goodie. Fossey's approach was the polar opposite of Jane Goodall even though they were really working on the same type of goal. Fossey was loud and violent and fierce in her attempt to protect mountain gorillas. I think the movie does a nice job of showing this. And when I watched it again, I was moved to do something fierce. Both approaches worked on me. But I'm fickle that way. If someone makes a good argument, the very least I'll do is respect them even if I don't ultimately agree with them. Even though she wasn't well liked (that's an understatement), like Jane Goodall, she was also deeply respected. And in the end, her work & murder have drawn a great deal of attention to a very dire situation, so ultimately she accomplished her goal.

I use these two women as examples because their approaches are so very different. Sometimes you need to be wise and grandmotherly and sometimes you need to be a raving bitch. Whichever is appropriate. I have raving bitch moments... but mostly I'm grandmotherly, or at least that's what people think. Hopefully they don't think I'm actually a grandmother and are just referring to my nature. I mean, for God's sake, I just barely turned 40!

I have friends who try to approach everything in a kindly diplomatic sort of way. This is nice and gentle and it's their way, and it can accomplish a lot. So there's no criticism here. But there are times that require fierceness! I think the trick is in knowing the difference. So for my gentile friends, the phrase "choosing your battles" really means "I'm walking away now." I think the phrase "choosing your battles" should mean "be fierce when you need to be."

You also have to know what kind of people you're dealing with. For instance, if you're trying to get a group of nuns to let you bathe in the church's fountain, then fierceness... probably not a good idea. If your upset with the TSA because they fondled your junk... let me just say... fierce = Guantanamo!

BUT, if you're doing a midnight rescue of an abused dog... well, fierceness is just the ticket. If you're defending someone against a bully, again... be fierce. Remember that by fierce I don't mean raise your hand to someone. I absolutely do not support violence. But defending yourself is an option at any time. And, there are ways to be fierce without being violent.

So, gauge the situation. Gauge the people you're dealing with. Take inventory of yourself and whether or not you're prepared or qualified to deal with the situation. Then breathe. Then GO JANE! Uh... or DIANE!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little Things Make Me Happy

So, I've been thinking... I do a lot of thinking while I'm driving and I'm sure it would be better if I was concentrating on driving, but there you go. Anyway, I was thinking about the measure of a life. What makes it special and worth living?

Of course the answer to this question is vast and depends a great deal on what's important to you. These are the things that are important to me.

Take a ride in a Jeep (or another less superior convertible): You knew this was coming right? But it really is an important one. I had the privilege of driving in scenic Glacier National Park this summer. It was in August and the days were warm and filled with sun, the nights colder than I like. But driving through sun-dappled trees, listening to birds and the breeze rustle through ancient pine trees was just short of an out-of-body experience. I would describe my faith as something other than Christian, but I do believe in spirit... in connectedness... in something larger than me. And if you ever doubt that Spirit or God or Goddess exist, take a convertible ride through Glacier. You'll feel it when the sun and shadows touch your face and run their fingers through your hair.

Visit one place that makes you feel insignificant:  Now, this sounds a little counter-intuitive, but it's a continuation of the theme above. Standing in a place that makes you feel insignificant gives you valuable perspective. It helps you to understand your place in the world and how miraculous your life is no matter how you think of it most days. For me a place that makes me feel insignificant could be any stretch of wilderness. A gigantic mountain, the middle of the woods, or sitting next to a wild stream. For you it may be standing at the foot of the Eiffel Tower or at the Vatican or even at Ground Zero. Find that place and just be.

Have a reliable "in case of emergency" contact: I recently started the paperwork for my very own passport, but in doing so, I realized that I didn't have anyone to name as my "in case of emergency". This was the case for a couple of reasons. First, I don't have much immediate family left and those who are, really don't know me well enough to effectively carry out my wishes. Either they will be unwilling or incapable. That sounded pretty snooty, but it's true. But then something amazing happened. I found out a few years ago that I have a 1/2 brother & a sister-in-law I didn't know about. I met them in person on my birthday which was also the memorial service for my beloved dog. They flew in to attend the service and my brother helped me plant a sturdy oak tree for the occasion. They are amazing people. And when I talked to them about my dilemma, they volunteered to be my emergency contacts! Having someone to play that role for you isn't just a matter of paperwork. It means that somewhere in the world, someone cares about one of the most fundamental needs a person can have... knowing that someone, somewhere, will notice if you were gone from the earth. No matter how independent we are, we all need this. We need someone to acknowledge that we lived, that we touched their life for good or for bad.

Achieve one big goal: Everyone deserves one big thing to be proud of. And when I say big, remember that it's a subjective term. For some people, making a friend is big. For some, selling 10 Cadillacs is big. Don't forget to take stock of what you've already accomplished because you might have already done it. If not, decide what your big thing is and go after it. If you get it done, pick something else. Life is short, live it.

Recognize a miracle: Real miracles happen around us everyday. Things that we take for granted. Most of them aren't biblical or epic, they're little things that make us happy or catch our attention. Remember that getting out of bed can be a miracle. So is the fact that your heart beats without you doing a thing to make it so. Look for miracles everyday. I will guarantee that you will find them. They are all around us in the little details of life.

Have one devoted friend: I've been lucky in this area. I've had lots of people that I could call to have fun or help me move or even cheer me up. And I hope that I have been this for others as well. Friends are important. They connect us to the world. The person that I counted on the most recently had to move to a different state. I didn't realize how much I would miss her, but it's a good thing to know it now. It means that she made a difference in my life and now I can truly appreciate her.

Have one day you can call "the best ever": Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had a day that was perfect. Like big, perfect is also subjective. Obviously, there are a lot of things that are not under our control. But the way we choose to react to them can make a world of difference. I'm not saying you should go through life with an artificial smile and pretend that nothing is getting you down, but even sad or frustrating times can be lessons. Learning what you need to and moving on is the gift. So start thinking about what your perfect day would look like. Imagine it with all your might and do this until it actually happens.

Have one epic love affair: I'm not talking about cheating. Not at all. But everyone deserves one big love, even if it's short-lived. I am not a conventional woman. I've never actually been able to picture myself married with the white picket fence. And I haven't actually had my epic love affair yet, but all good things take time. It's something I will never lose hope in, although I have to say my hope has been flickering lately. But here's the thing... it doesn't matter to me if it lasts a weekend, a summer or a lifetime. Of course I'd be lying if I said I didn't think a lifetime sounded like the best option. But really, I just want to have experienced that one connection. To meet someone who gets me and that I feel the same way about. Someone who I can talk to for hours about ideas and life and love. Someone who is passionate and kind, happy and affectionate... and maybe a little viking if you know what I mean.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Indiscriminate Peeing and Other Debacles

I haven’t been blogging in a while and I’ve really missed it. I have to apologize to my loyal readers, and by loyal readers, I mean those people I relentlessly hound until they read my blog. I’ve been out this summer living life in full mid-life crisis mode. In fact, I’ve been doing things that have flabbergasted my friends and thoroughly surprised even me.

Honestly, it’s really a summer that I should have had when I turned twenty. You know, when you’re young and naive and full of “I’m indestructible” narcissism. But my life has been a bit outside the norm as far as rebellious phases go. I’ve been falling down drunk only one time in my life. I’ve been to eight states in these states United and I’ve never been out of the country, even though Canada is just a few hours from my home town. Speaking of home town, I’ve lived in Billings my entire life, yep I was born here. In fact, I’ve been experiencing adulthood since I was about four years old. Without reliable parents, you learn a lot of things early, like how to get ready for school on your own, how to do your homework without asking for help, and how to make ramen noodles in order to keep yourself alive. It’s good practical experience, but you swap that “I’m an invincible rebel” stage for working four jobs to put yourself through college and make your life better. And I wouldn’t trade any of the ‘responsible Lori’ that experience bore... or so I thought.

It seems trading or not wasn’t really a conscious decision after all. Apparently, if you don’t experience crazy teenage impulses at the time you’re a teenager, you might come face to face with them during your mid-life crisis. For me, it happened in the summer of year 40. I’ve been saying things like “How bad could it be?” or “What’s the worst that could happen?” or “I can take care of myself, I’m freakishly strong.”, yeah right!

If you don’t know me in real life, you may not know that I’m a bit reserved, a bit cautious and also a bit unconventional. It’s an odd mix of personality traits and sometimes the opposing sides cause a full on war in my head. Honestly, I’ve spent most of my life just fitting in and trying not to be noticed. It turns out, this is not who I am at my core. Consequently, I haven’t lived as the real me quite yet. This summer, I think I finally met the real me and let’s face it, she’s a little nuts. She’s also kinda fun, adventurous, outspoken, artsy-fartsy, very emotional, a little irresponsible and... did I mention, nuts?

Let me try and nutshell my summer of indiscriminate peeing and debauchery.

May: Spent my 40th birthday alone, well actually with my dog. Spent the rest of the month working my conventional job, throwing pots and medicating my rain-depression with too much coffee and obsessive tv-watching.

June: More pot-throwing, it seems I don’t have a realistic sense of time, so consequently I was throwing and firing right up until four days before my big summer art show. EGADS! I would not recommend this although I seem to be fairly consistent about doing it. Got a couple of topless road trips in (the Jeep, not the girl!) and put in some hard labor trying to get my yard ready for the big show day. Started a life-altering diet. Had my show, which turned out fantastically! Also, met a fascinating, funny, beautiful man who played the guitar, got stuck in the rain with me and politely ignored my craziness. Met another interesting, bright, creative man who’s own craziness seemed to amplify mine. Watched some more TV.

July: Did some t-shirt designing and worked my conventional job. Had some more topless road trips. Piddled around on Facebook. Met some new people on Facebook and “face to face”. Took Hairy (my dog) to the park, a lot. Lost 38 pounds. Got Apple TV and used it to watch Netflix way way too much! Started a long distance relationship I was completely unprepared for. Finally figured out what sexting actually was... and suddenly July was over!

August: Got hit on by a cowboy & an artist, but didn’t realize they were actually talking to me until it was too late to do anything about it. Huh? Up to minus 50 pounds. Realized that not dating for 15 years has put me up a creek without a schema! Took a whirlwind trip to Glacier National Park with someone I’d never actually met, but thought I knew. This included camping and nearly freezing to death, but that’s an adventure for another blog entry. Let’s just say this person was comfortable peeing whenever AND wherever the mood hit him.

September to Present: I tried to kayak and it turns out, I LOVE IT! My long distance relationship returned home which completely surprised and scared the bejeesus out of me! To this, I reacted with even more craziness and completely and unintentionally found myself saying “Come here! No, wait, go away! No, wait, come back!” You get the picture. I may have to finally admit that women are a little nuts and I AM a woman! In fact, I don't really know what I want to this very second. To date I have also lost 72 pounds. This is something I didn’t think I would ever share, particularly on a blog, but it seems to factor into the summer madness. You see the more weight I lose, the crazier I get. My body is slowly returning to it’s normal un-lump-like state and with each change I feel more like a girl. A crazy girl, but still... My only conclusion: I got my boobs back and completely lost my mind!