Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stuff I Love: The Quest for Pockets

Co-worker: "I love your dress! It's so cute. Are you going on a date tonight?"
Me: "Thanks! It has pockets."
Co-worker: "Oh My God - pockets?! Are they functional pockets?"
Me: "Yes, it is the greatest thing ever. My phone fits in the pockets of this dress. It's magical."
Co-worker: "Pockets in dresses are the best. Are you going on a date tonight?"
Me: (Slowly backs away without answering the question, carried off in an awkward haze of not wanting to share about my dating life but also smug satisfaction that I have a dress with pockets and she doesn't.)

And scene.

I have some variation of this conversation every time I wear one of the two dresses I own that have pockets. Both dresses are awesome; one is a floral number I bought for my cousin's wedding last year but is, with the right level of accessories, appropriate to wear to work (it's called a day dress for a reason). The other is a black sheath dress I bought on a whim/sale at the Gap Outlet four years ago. Because it's black, I can make it truly magnificent by adding colorful sweaters, funky shoes, or tights for cold weather days. When I wear either dress, I'm immediately impressed that the pockets are larger than most of the pockets on any pants or jeans I own AND that they don't ruin any of the "sleek lines" of design of either garment. They're functional and fashionable. I'm also 100% serious when I say that I can fit my phone in the pockets and I have a Galaxy S6. It is not a small phone but it fits securely with room to spare in my dress pockets. Take that jeans!

What an attractive family! And look at that dress (it has pockets).
Why are pockets in women's clothes such a problem? Some would argue it's the inherent sexism that exists in the modern fashion industry. Most design houses that cater to mass market type fashion are dominated by men who focus more on production than thinking through function for the wearer. Another argument would be the focus on a specific type of woman when designing fashion: slender, sleek, and lithe. Adding a pocket to a pair of pants for that woman would ruin the beautiful line a designer is trying to make. Yet another argument: Hips are problem areas. Adding a pocket would add unnecessary bulk to an area most women want to mask or hide. Want another one? Women have to carry so many things all day, everyday. A pocket will never suffice; all women should carry a purse.

I remember some variation of at least two of these "arguments" coming up when I was taking costume design classes in college. One of the textbooks was a historical survey of design and I remember reading a passage about the evolution of pocket design (this is seriously a thing) in women's clothing and the impact on costume design. Costume design is different than fashion design on many levels, one of which is the level of functionality of a garment. With a costume, functionality is not about everyday wear; it's about conveying a character and ease of wear for an actor. You can actually design costumes to hide functional details like pockets if needed. I've done this for costumes before and it's can be easy to do. Need a pocket on a dress that can't actually have pockets? Build it into the bodice or inner breast area of a coat (like a man's suit jacket has). You can also hide them with decorative touches if you can't build into a the interior of a garment. Despite the ability to mask or hide in costuming, the persistent argument of "problem areas" was still a thing. No woman likes to think about her hips so don't call attention to them! Leave the pockets to the men! Give her a purse!!

It's interesting to think about the role of technology on the design of clothes. The development of the smartphone has caused a fair amount of disruption in the fashion industry especially when it comes to things like pockets. Now purses have to have pockets large enough to fit an iPhone or Android. There's an entire industry, cell phone accessories, that has been created to accommodate the rise of larger phones. However, most other fashion hasn't caught up, especially when dealing with women's fashion. Skinny jeans, the bane of most people's fashion existence, are probably some of the worst offenders when it comes to having to deal with pockets and phones. The Atlantic had a story about this in 2014, just as the iPhone6 was being released. I remember reading this article when it came out originally and was able to find it again for you (woohoo Google). The author, Tanya Basu, explored the slow pace of the fashion industry to acknowledge technology and the need for women to have freedom with their clothes in the way men typically do. Fake pockets don't solve the problem; in fact, they make most people (myself included) rage-ful. If designers aren't thinking about pockets for obvious items like pants and coats, why would they consider them for dresses and skirts?

There is hope but only if you enjoy spandex and athletic activities. Athletic wear is probably the one place where technology and fashion come together; the way pockets are integrated into athletic wear is pretty great. From hidden interior pockets to kangaroo pouches that don't add bulk to accessories that do the heavy lifting, this group has got it done. The rise of althleisure wear is a testament to the power of function and fashion. What Basu wrote in 2014 is still relevant in 2017: Just make a pocket that work. This shouldn't be that hard.

I hate shopping for jeans. Part of the challenge with jeans is that I find a style I like and when I go back a few months later to the same store, they've changed everything and no longer make that style or fit (I'm looking at you Old Navy and Gap and Michael Kors). I'm not a skinny jeans person but I don't want to wear "mom" jeans either. I like boot cut, curvy at the hips (since I have them and they should look nice in jeans), with functional pockets. If I can't fit my phone in the front pocket, I don't buy them. I call this the pocket test (in my head). I've acquiesced a few times over the years and have usually regretted it later. Recently, I discovered Simply Vera, Vera Wang's line at Kohl's. Her jeans are designed with the most magical front pockets ever. I can fit my phone and my keys in the pockets (not the same pocket). It's liberating and wonderful. I imagine this is how dudes feel when they put stuff in their pockets and leave the house. (Pro tip: she also includes pockets in some of her dress designs. Modcloth and Dress Barn are also excellent sources for dresses with pockets.)

Pockets in women's clothing isn't a frivolous issue. It's actually about agency and ownership. As I wrote last week and have written before, clothes are important even if you don't spend a lot of time thinking about what you wear. I like to feel comfortable and fashionable when I put any of my clothes on. I also want to feel effortless. When I buy clothes I don't want to spend time and money having to alter them (or do it myself since I can sew) because they were almost what I wanted but I couldn't find what I wanted so I had to settle. When it comes to clothes, jobs, or significant others, don't settle. We're all better than that.

Get out there and demand functional pockets in your clothes. You'll thank me for it later.

Next week: The final "Stuff I Love" post for 2017. I'm planning a very exciting discussion magazines from my childhood and the rise of Teen Vogue as the most hard-hitting news source out there.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Stuff I Love: How to Dress Like a Woman

Ladies, I don't know about you but I honestly don't remember the day in school where they taught us how to dress like a woman. I recall the incredibly awkward day where all of us girls got to learn about getting our periods and feminine hygiene products (but not about how much money we'd have to spend on said products). If my memory is serving me properly, there was definitely a terrible video about the joys of being a woman and how our periods make us special or some such nonsense. I definitely remember sex ed class in high school. My health teacher was really excited when two of us, me being one of the two, got perfect scores on the test about pregnancy. Her exclamation, "You got a perfect score on your pregnancy test," still haunts me.

But I can't recall dress like a woman class. I would think if something was this important, so important that our president has issued some nonsense "decree" about women visiting the White House needing to dress like women, I would have learned about it in school. Right? Isn't that how this works? We weren't as concerned about grizzly bears roaming the halls back then so I would think my public school could have added "dress like a woman" classes. Thanks for nothing high school.

Most of my fashion choices come from one of following sources of inspiration:
  • 80s and 90s teen movies (still even all this time later) and sometimes tv shows
  • Rock stars I like
  • Costume design reference books
  • The children's section at Old Navy. For the patterns - seriously why don't they make an adult version of the dragonfly shirt? Am I the only one that feels this way? Don't answer that.
I'm not joking or trying to be cute. Most of my fashion inspiration does come from the movies. I think I speak for many women out there who grew up in the 1990s that I still crave Cher's closet from Clueless despite the fact that none of those clothes are right for me. My mother occasionally reminds me what a willful child I was when it came to wearing dresses, pink, and changing clothes multiple times a day. Mom, I'm sorry. Figuring out your personal style and the sort of statement you want to make with clothing takes a long time to accomplish. It's takes a lot of trial and error. It takes a lot of embarrassing combinations of oversized sweaters and stirrup pants (it's was the late 1980s). And it takes a lot of inspiration.

Continuing with Stuff I Love, let's grab some popcorn and a glass of your favorite movie-watching wine and settle in for a little fashion inspiration with from some of my favorite movie ladies who, in their own unique ways, taught me how to dress like a woman.
  1. Andie in Pretty In Pink (1986): I have very strong opinions about the prom dress in this movie; most people who have seen this movie have very strong opinions on that dress. Even Ringwald hated it but it works in the context of the movie. What I love about Andie is her sense of self within her clothes. Her look was modern and retro at the same time; that's something I love to do myself. I can trace my love of thrift store sweaters to Andie. My favorite outfit was the gray one she wore on her first date with Blaine. I always thought she looked so sophisticated and very unlike any teenager I knew. She was who she was and her clothes helped tell that story...even that terrible prom dress. Pretty in Pink turned 30 last year and there was a great article about the costumes from the designer that I enjoyed very much. What's interesting about the movie is that if you look at it today, so many of the fashions are back. It's timeless in a way I don't think anyone ever thought it would be.
  2. Jo Stockton in Funny Face (1957): I love this movie so much! It's a fashion movie wrapped around a mildly awkward love story between Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire set in a very hazy/dreamy 1950s Paris. What could be better?! Hepburn plays Jo, a bookstore clerk who is "discovered" by fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire) and becomes the new face of Quality magazine. The magazine whisks her off to Paris to launch spring fashions and we are treated to a fantastic fashion photo montage in front of the sights in Paris. Jo wants nothing to do with fashion but wants to go to Paris to meet her favorite philosopher and wear cigarette pants and dance tables in a jazz club (as one does). My favorite moment of the movie is when she's helping Dick set up one of the shots on the steps of the opera. It's so good. Audrey teaches us all many things when it comes to fashion but for me, this movie is really about taking a risk. Jo could have stayed a bookstore clerk but she took a chance with fashion and found something new. You literally never know where you clothes might take you.
  3. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (2001): We can learn much from Elle Woods: that you can never wear enough pink, sparkly bikinis are the law school admissions applicant must-have, the rules of hair care, how to be a true friend. As I've discussed previously, Elle is the perfect heroine to have as you approach adulthood. She's smart (although no one thinks so), she's kind, she goes after what she wants (even if originally it's just a dude who doesn't deserve her), and she knows how to get stuff done. Fashion-wise, Elle Woods and I could not be further from one another but what we share is the idea that fashion should empower you. Your clothes shouldn't be a hindrance or an afterthought. Women in positions of power, whatever those positions might be, embrace this idea. Look at someone like Michelle Obama; she used fashion so well while First Lady. She conveyed elegance, power, femininity, strength, and killer arms over and over again. She curated her fashion smartly just as Elle does throughout the movie. You don't have to wear that much pink to learn from Elle.
  4. Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club (1985): Allison's transformation at the end of The Breakfast Club is the kind of movie moment that elicits very strong opinions from viewers years after watching the movie. Allison goes from the weird girl with "all that shit under your eyes" (eyeliner) to a mini-me version of Claire (Molly Ringwald) in what seems like only minutes. When I was younger, I was disappointed in Allison's makeover but I also understood why she did it. High school sucks, even if you enjoyed your experience. That's how I originally viewed Allison's makeover; a way to deal with the fact that high school sucks and she wanted it to suck a little less. I didn't love her motivation but I understood it. As I've gotten older and "wiser," I've re-watched the movie a few times and my opinion has changed again. I don't necessarily think Allison was dealing with the fact that high school sucks and she wanted to fit in a bit more. It was about trying on different personas as part of figuring out who she actually is. That's a huge part of growing up. Even if I didn't realize it when I originally watched the movie, Allison inspired me to do the same. I went through so many fashion phases in my youth: semi-goth, hippie flower child, trying too hard preppie, wearing too many floral patterns girl to get myself to where my fashion life resides today (a quirky librarian with mild punk undertones and a love of whimsical patterns). Maybe the following Monday, Allison reverts back to her original style of clothing. Maybe she figures out how to combine her style and Claire's style into one wonderful statement. Maybe she does something completely different. That is the best part of fashion: you can do whatever you want.
  5. Marcy in The Matchmaker (1997): I love Janeane Garofalo. She's hilarious and talented and feminist and awesome. She was the best part of Reality Bites and made Mystery Men the delight that it is. My favorite of her movies from the late 90s will always be The Matchmaker. Marcy was everything I aspired to be as an adult (I was 17 in 1997): independent, funny, adorable, fashionable, and she had super cool job. She also got to go to Ireland by herself. This was all very exciting to me. Also, she eventually falls in love with a handsome and sort of dorky Irish guy; basically my romantic life goal. But it's her clothes that I love. I will always love the fashion of the 1990s. I'd sing "I Will Always Love You" to the fashion of the 1990s if that was something I could do. I love chunky shoes, skirt or dress with tights combos, awesome coats and jackets, vintage/thrift store chic. I still dress with these elements in my wardrobe because true love never dies. Marcy epitomizes this entire decade in one movie. I wanted that brownish/reddish (is it burgundy?) coat she wears on the ferry with Sean. I craved the dress she wears when stomping on the rental car. She wears scarves like a champ. Marcy was adulthood and independence and occasional poor choices all rolled into one. Every time I put on my three favorite skirts (two are striped, one is black) with brightly colored or black tights and throw on some chunky heels, I feel like Marcy. I also feel so very Mary Tyler Moore. 
  6. Louise Bryant in Reds (1982): Valentine's Day is right around the corner. I'm not a huge fan of this holiday but my personal V-Day tradition is to watch Warren Beatty's sweeping epic, Reds. While it is a film about John Reed, the journalist who wrote Ten Days That Shook the World, it's also a movie about the love affair between Reed and Louise Bryant, also a journalist, that unfolds against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. The movie is gorgeous to watch; the sets, the costumes, the story. Every piece of it works to form the story. The cast is stellar and I can't help but fall into the world of Reed and Bryant each time I watch it. Diane Keaton is stunning as Louise Bryant; she takes up so much space in every scene she's in I'm surprised other actors could handle it (but it's because they're all so good). Bryant was not always well liked in the circles she and Reed ran in; some felt she was no one or attaching herself to his fame but she had her own career and her own successes as a journalist. I have zero desire to wear the fashions of early 1900s but I can appreciate how Keaton's Bryant does. What I gained from her in this film is that confidence; you wear that fur coat and you wear it like a boss. That's how a woman dresses.
  7. Dinky Bossetti in Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990): Everyone has their favorite Winona Ryder movie; mine is Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael. This movie is after Heathers and Beetlejuice but before Mermaids, Edward Scissorhands, and Reality Bites. Heathers is my second favorite but there's something about Dinky that wins over Veronica Sawyer every day of the week. Since I'm sure most people have forgotten this little gem, a quick summary: Dinky is your typical movie loner. She doesn't quite fit in her small town or her high school. She's adopted and she begins to believe that she's the secret child of a woman named Roxy Carmichael, who left town 15 years ago to become a movie star. Roxy announces she's coming back to town and Dinky sets out to prove Roxy is her mother. You can fill in the gaps with what happens next (or find it somewhere to watch; it's not on Netflix). Anyway, Dinky dresses exactly like I dressed in high school (for most of high school): oversized sweaters, weird shirts, and the same black shoes. Dinky didn't teach me to enjoy the comforts of baggy clothes. (PS: Baggy clothes are not the answer. They don't hide things, they make you look larger. Wear something form fitting but not tight that plays to your assets to truly feel comfortable. It took me a very long time to figure this one out.) She taught me about contrasts. Towards the end of the movie, Dinky dons a bubblegum pink dress and combat boots. It's so good. It's girly and feminine but also edgy and totally her. This where I learned to combine heavy boots with a whimsically patterned sweater or a breezy summer dress with a structured jacket (although I don't wear this anymore because I can't find a jacket I enjoy much). This is probably the fashion lesson I've carried with me the longest. All from a forgotten Winona Ryder movie. 
There is no one way to dress like a woman. One of the reasons I like fashion is because of its ability to push boundaries when it comes to personal expression. Clothes say a lot about a person whether they spend time thinking about it or now. I invest a lot of time into what I wear because I want to. It's not for anyone but me. If I spent time thinking about dressing for other people I'd never leave my house and most of my closet would be Spanx. I have zero for time for that. So whether it's my classic black skirt/purple tights combo, my unintentional Freddy Krueger sweater, or yoga pants, when I get dressed each day I know I'm dressing like me.

Pretty In Pink
Funny Face
Legally Blonde 
The Breakfast Club
The Matchmaker 
Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Stuff I Love: Using Your Power for Good

It's February! Before the world completely explodes, it's time to focus up and talk about stuff I love. This year, rather than focusing mostly on pop culture, I'm going to mix it up a bit. A little politics, a lazy movie weekend, a little fun. All stuff I love.

We've become a nation of people who genuinely believe only some people are allowed to have opinions. This isn't a recent thing; it's been a part of the fabric of our collective lives a very long time. What's also constant is resistance to this idea; civil rights, women's rights, gay rights - any modern social movement is built on the idea that opinions and beliefs need to be heard even if they are unpopular or challenging to the status quo. This is one of the things I love about being an American.

One group who always seem to be on the wrong side of this debate are celebrities and famous people. No matter what the political climate is here in the US, there's always one thing all Americans are able to agree on: celebrities and famous people should keep their opinions to themselves. We non-famous people seem to believe that because they're famous they can't be educated or have opinions or, I don't know, exercise their right to free speech just like we can. Famous people aren't real people; they are here simply for our entertainment and in many cases, derision.

Personally, I think this is bullshit. I don't always agree with the things that come out of celebrities' mouths and sometimes the stuff they say is bananas or downright hateful but I'm not going to stop them from saying it. What I do instead is stop paying attention to them or giving them my money. When Tom Cruise made all those comments about mental health a few years back, I stopped watching his movies. I haven't seen one since and don't plan to watch one in the near future. I boycott Tom Cruise. A more recent example is my feelings about Madonna at the Women's March. I've loved Madonna ever since I learned all the choreography to "Lucky Star" and I was super glad she was there just as I was glad to see many of the famous people who spoke or performed. She was being the feminist icon we all know and love BUT, I was disappointed in her comments about blowing up the White House. It was inappropriate and completely against the spirit of the event. I'm not boycotting Madonna but she gave people something completely ridiculous to point to as a "problem" with the Women's March.

That's where I believe celebrities and famous people (I'm using these phrases interchangeably although they're not the same thing) could improve. It's not that they're not allowed to have opinions, it's that they need to think about the way in which they share those opinions. We advise young people to think carefully about the way they portray themselves on social media and in public. Famous people need to remember this applies to them too. They have an audience regardless of what they're doing and whether they like it or not, everyone is listening all the time. That's what so many celebrities get wrong; it's not just about what they're saying, it's the power behind it. Beyonce announced she's pregnant with twins this week and 8 million people liked her photo. That's power. It's like Uncle Ben tells Peter Parker, "with great power comes great responsibility." Use your power for good, celebrities. Many celebrities do, getting behind great causes and things they believe in. From Audrey Hepburn to Bono to Emma Waston, there's great work being done out there by the famous people among us.

One of the reasons I enjoy Twitter despite it frequently devolving into a festering dumpster fire of human awfulness, is celebrities on Twitter. I'm picky about the celebrities I follow; they tend to all be artists I admire and enjoy not people I'm hoping will do or say something stupid. I can still remember the day Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy had a tweet exchange that made me long for the days of watching Pretty in Pink on repeat. This is why Twitter exists! I think George Takei may be one of my favorites; he's funny, political, smart, and stinging all at the same time. So good. Comedians on Twitter are also a delight; most of them have been training for the 140 character limit their whole professional lives. Patton Oswalt is among my favorites. He's a national treasure and I will fight anyone who wants to fight about this. Twitter also gives us all access to small nuggets of content in quick fashion. It's almost like it was designed to be a meaner, slightly more cat video filled version of the highlights reel style shows on ESPN; we get the things we need without having to watch an entire broadcast of anything.

Which brings me to the main point of today's post (I know, I've been rambling). But first a quick reminder:

It's no secret that I love Chief Jim Hopper from the Netflix series Stranger Things. He is the true hero of Hawkins. I am patiently waiting for season two. Where did he go in that car at the end? Why was he taking Eggos into the woods? Is he going to hook up with Joyce (please say no)? Does he ever go anywhere without his hat? Are mornings truly for coffee and contemplation? I need answers.

David Harbour, who portrays Hopper, is a phenomenal actor and another wonderful addition to the Twitterverse. He, like so many of the celebrities I follow, has a good handle on how to mix politics, commentary, and humor into his social media presence. I enjoy his exchanges with Patton Oswalt and his updates from the world of Stranger Things. He admits his privilege and appreciates when his fans call him out on this, something we can all appreciate. I don't watch award shows all that often anymore so I missed the Screen Actors Guild Awards broadcast last week. However, Twitter let me know that not only did Stranger Things win the award for outstanding ensemble drama series (an upset apparently), but that Mr. Harbour delivered an impassioned speech about the responsibility of actors to use their craft to change the world. If you haven't seen the speech, watch it now (try to ignore Winona Ryder's weird facial expressions):

This is my favorite part:

“We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters! And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized! And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility.”

How awesome is that? There's nothing overtly political, no selfish motivations, no crazy philosophy. It's a person, albeit a famous one, speaking eloquently about his work and the power that art has to change the world. This is the perfect example of a celebrity using his power for good. He could have gotten up there and said ridiculous things or hateful things but he didn't. He used the platform he has to make a powerful statement of inclusion and the power of art. Since the speech, Harbour has been lauded for his comments from the famous and not famous. Since I follow him on Twitter, I see some of this in my Twitter feed and it was remarkably pleasant. I'm sure there were critics but I haven't seen many. Harbour was able to use a very public platform in a very political way without being overtly political or divisive. This gives me hope.

If David Harbour isn't your style (and I'm questioning your life choices for that one), check out another very responsible celebrity, Sam Waterston, writing a piece for The Washington Post. I had no idea my second favorite person on the original Law & Order series was this involved in working with refugees. He comes very close to calling the President "a lying liar who lies" (one of my favorite phrases) but that would seem childish and we wouldn't want that.

Thank you David Harbour for using your power for good. Keep at it and please get season two here as quickly as possible (I realize this is not really within your control).

Next week: Stuff I Love continues with a look at fashion and how to dress like a woman, Lazy Movie Weekend style.

My Dream Man image

Saturday, January 28, 2017

You're Doing Everything Wrong: Procedural Drama Edition

I thought we'd end January on a pop culture note. What better way to mindlessly check out for a as long as it takes you to read this than to talk about procedural dramas? How many of you are settling in for a whole Saturday (or weekend) of watching Law & Order: SVU or NCIS reruns during a USA network marathon? You don't have to answer but always remember: I would never, ever judge you for that. Ever.

I was a huge procedural drama fan when I was younger (say 8th-11th grades, followed by right after college). Give me an episode of L.A. Law, the Mike Logan years of Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, or even old school Hill Street Blues and I will be a happy person. My early love of these shows came from the fact that in my early high school years I really wanted to be a criminologist. I thought that was a cool sounding job and I read everything I could about being one. I even got to interview an FBI criminologist who went to our church for a school project. Somewhere between developing my crush on Mike Logan and getting the high school theatre bug, I slowed down on my viewing and my career goal. Later on, when I was working as an admissions counselor at Loyola, I would realize that like every teenager who came to my table at a college fair asking about our forensic chemistry program because they wanted to be a "CSI," I really didn't have the heart for the science part of this world. I know I chose the right path.

Another quality of procedural dramas have that I admire is the structure of the show. Much like a Hallmark holiday movie, there's a certain formula to procedurals. Law & Order (the whole franchise except Conviction) is a perfect example of clear structure: the police detectives (Law) have approximately 22 minutes to track the clues, interview witnesses, and find a suspect, all while smirking a bit and talking unlike any police detective you might actually know. If we're lucky, a suspect will run so Logan has to chase him and we get a little extra drama. Then the district attorneys (Order) have another 22 minutes to criticize police work, question witnesses, deal with slimy (mostly) defense attorneys, and have perfect hair. I'm sold especially if it involves a young Chris Noth (pre-Mr. Big), Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston, and S. Epatha Merkerson.

If you move away from the highly structured universe of the Law & Order shows, procedural dramas are still structured in a way that most scripted television is not: bad guy/girl commits a crime, detectives/CSI/NCIS/FBI agents follow the clues, lawyers do lawyer-y things, and the case is solved. There can be completely shocking and awful and gruesome moments on these shows but even those moments fit within the very defined structure of the universe of whichever show you're watching. Key characters die (I'm looking at you, Lenny Briscoe), serial killers get away (the Miniature Killer on CSI is one of my favorite continuous plots), but there's nothing compared to many of the fantasy/sci-fi shows that are so popular now. No dragon swoops in and carries off Gil Grissom in any episode of CSI. No zombies chase the Criminal Minds agents through Mardi Gras while they track a killer. (Seriously, they tracked a killer in New Orleans once and it looked like it was Mardi Gras the entire episode and there was a New Orleans-y cop who really had more of a Cajun accent. I don't understand either.) Procedural dramas are completely grounded in reality regardless of the fact that a crime is solved (usually) in 44 minutes or less (an hour long tv show is actually only 44-45 minutes in length because of commercial breaks).

That's probably the other joy of a procedural drama: crime solving is super easy on these shows. We all know there is no way that any crime is going to be solved in 44 minutes or less UNLESS the criminal wrote a big "I did it" note for us to find. In theory, the episode is taking place over the course of a few days but it's always a little hard to tell since no one ever seems to go home and they all keep extra clothes in their lockers so how would you know the actual passage of time? On all of these shows, the very attractive cast finds the clues, uses really advanced technology and science, and occasionally they even have to do experiments to recreate conditions for things like decomposition or something else involving a fetal pig. It's almost always perfect; there's usually one episode a season where evidence is compromised and science is questioned but it always works out in the end. Grissom always figures something out to prove he's the best. I've never been able to figure out the wardrobe and styling on these shows; the women always look somewhere in the middle of casual Friday and business casual and the men are either completely suited up or look like they're heading to a club later. And everyone has perfect hair. Even when they're waist deep in a dumpster looking for clues, their hair is perfect and shiny.

I stopped watching procedural dramas in 2006 and it's all Tim Curry's fault. He started a two episode story arc on Criminal Minds at the end of the 2005 season. He played a serial killer who used a blackout to sneak into the homes of his victims and then kill them. Eventually, he would kidnap the daughter of one of the agents but it's in his first crimes that I completely could not deal with these shows anymore. He waited for his victims to do something like leave a window open a little bit or leave the front door open to go back to get something from the car to sneak into their home to kill them. He also hid in the shower in one part of the show. It was so simple: everyone closes their shower curtain when they leave the house. You wouldn't notice anything amiss because you closed the curtain. It creeped me out so much that I now leave the shower curtain open whenever I leave the house. This was the man who brought the most terrifying clown ever, Pennywise, to life. Now he's playing a serial killer who sneaks into someone's shower? I cannot do this anymore.

I didn't need procedural dramas. I had Gilmore Girls and RuPaul's Drag Race and Project Runway and Face/Off. Eventually I would start hate-watching Girls and Vinyl. Then Westworld would enter my life. And God bless Ryan Murphy and American Horror Story (except seasons 2 and 6). The only exception to this rule is NCIS reruns. My dad is a big fan so I tend to watch it with him when I'm over and I can't help but watch a marathon every now and then on USA. It's not the same level of creepy that the other shows fall into and who doesn't love Mark Harmon? I replaced procedurals with fast dialogue, pop culture references, and drag queens. If television watching is a game, I believe I'm winning.

Then I moved. Here's what happens when I move: I can't help myself with unpacking. I need to get as much done in the immediate 2-3 days after moving into a new place as I possibly can. I don't like boxes hanging around. I don't like not having my stuff where it belongs. I want to be settled in as quickly as possible. I used to listen to music while unpacking but with this move, for whatever reason, music wasn't helping with my unpacking. I didn't want to watch a new show in Netflix (of which I have many in my queue) and I've been slowly re-watching Gilmore Girls again but that's more of an after work "I need me time" kind of show. I happened to find a CSI marathon on the Esquire Network (yes, it's both a magazine and a tv network). The episodes were from the Grissom years (the only years that matter on this show) so I kept it on in the background as I unpacked my kitchen and my books and organized my closet. I remembered many of the episodes from when I originally watched the show and even some of the creepier ones didn't have the same effect on me now as they did when they originally aired. I didn't stop watching the mini-marathons on Esquire or WE Network (both show it during the week). Since moving into my new place, I come home from work and watch an episode or two while I make dinner and decompress from my day.

Then it dawned on me: I've been doing everything wrong when it comes to procedural dramas. The only way to watch them is to binge watch. On general principle, I don't binge watch television shows (Stranger Things and the Gilmore Girls revival being recent exceptions) because I like the idea of a show unfolding over time. That's the way I grew up watching tv shows since we didn't have DVRs or Netflix. I had to wait week after week to see what would happen next. Cliffhanger season finales were the best and worst thing to happen. Coming back to CSI and watching multiple episodes in one sitting has given me a new perspective on the procedural drama. I don't focus so much on the crimes occurring but the personalities and the interactions between the main cast. Sure, the crime they're investigating could be super gross (like the body soup in a bag in desert) or weird (the furry convention episode or the vampire/werewolf convention murder) or totally creepy (the Miniature Killer or the episode with the judge who might be planning to kill Grissom) or bizarre and a little funny (Lady Heather in the original few episodes she was in) but it all sort of blends together in one sitting.

I also know stuff about this show (like Sarah and Grissom are a thing or Warrick has a gambling problem that will eventually lead to his death) so I can watch for those plot lines in a way I didn't when I originally watched the show one episode at a time. Back then, it was about the grisly crime and the amped up science not so much about the characters. Now, I sit back and wait for a a joke about the case and some awkward interactions between at least two of the characters (because they're all so awkward) and I'm set. I count the number of times any of the women wear clothing that might be deemed inappropriate for the line of work they're in (mostly Catherine but it makes sense in the larger world of the show) and I wonder if poor Nick ever decided to get a dog because he always seemed so lonely. And the side characters? The police detectives and the lab techs; they're all so good. I still think there should be a Lady Heather/Gil Grissom spinoff show. I have no idea what it would be about but I'd watch it.

Thank you original CSI cast for your perfect hair, mildly inappropriate wardrobes, and awkward interactions. You've helped me see the error of my ways when it comes to procedural dramas. It's not about watching over time but watching in bulk. It's not really about the gruesome crime but the people solving said crime. Thank you for helping me to stop doing everything wrong.

Coming in February: Stuff I Love is coming back! This February, each weekend's post will focus on something I love in honor of the month of love.

Law & Order image
Catherine Willows
Tim Curry meme 
CSI cast

Sunday, January 22, 2017

This is what democracy looks like

This is what I know is true:
  • I am a patriot.
  • I will not "get over" the fact that Donald Trump is now the President. 
  • I can respect the Office of the President but not the President.
  • I will not be silenced because my beliefs are different from yours or unpopular (they're not by the way) or uncomfortable.
  • I will listen to those who I disagree with and who disagree with me. I will do so with respect.
  • I expect the same level of respect when I share my beliefs with them.
  • I will always question our leaders, at every level of government, on the policies and laws they make.
  • I will be an ally for those who need it.
  • I will not go quietly into the night.
  • I will protest and march and rally and organize and work and work some more. 
As I wrote during the election cycle and have written before, participation is a key element to being a citizen. We have both enormous privilege and responsibility in the way our government works. What often happens is that we forget this. We get wrapped up in the idea that our voice doesn't matter, that no one is listening, that we cannot make change. I disagree. It's not easy for any of those things to happen but they are happening everyday.

I marched in the Women's March on Washington yesterday with approximately 500,000 people who have to believe in the idea that our voice matter. There were 673 sister marches around the world (including all 50 states). An estimated 4 million people marched yesterday in these marches. That is not a small number. If none of us believed that our voices matter, no one would have shown up. Every person came to the march for a different reason; search the hashtag #whyimarch on any social media site and you'll get thousands of results. You might notice a theme after reading through these posts; I certainly did. People marched because they do not want to see their rights taken away. Healthcare, education, gun control, environmental policy, immigrant rights, religious freedom, gay rights, civil rights - all of these things are at risk in the new administration.

I planned on marching since I heard the event was being organized. I believe in affordable, accessible healthcare. I believe women have the right to decide what happens with their bodies. I believe abortion should be legal. I believe Planned Parenthood is an essential part of healthcare options, particularly for women in poverty, for things beyond birth control and abortions. I believe women and girls should not have to fear reporting rape or abuse. I believe men play an important role in feminism. I want the women and girls in my life to know that they can do anything they want. I believe women's rights are human rights. That is why I marched yesterday.

Yesterday was exhilarating, exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting (in a good way). I've participated in smaller protests before and I was a volunteer for the 2009 Inauguration but none of those events prepared me for yesterday. While there were more people in 2009, we didn't feel as closely packed in as yesterday. There was an energy of friendliness that I have never experienced at a march. Where people angry? Yes, but their anger was not towards one another. I saw everyone from little babies with their parents to grandmas with three generations of women from their family to college and high school age participants. There were 60s radicals who really never thought they'd have to be back in Washington again protesting for women's rights. There were people participating in their first march. There were men of all ages marching with the women in their lives or marching together to show solidarity and respect. People came from all over the country to join the march.

I planned to march whether I had a group or not. I lucked out in having an awesome group of ladies to march with: Jordana, her friend Jess, and Janice, a friend from high school who I haven't seen in twenty years. She lives in Ohio now and posted on Facebook last week that she needed a group to march with yesterday. I volunteered our group and away we went. Another friend, Emily, and two of her friends were supposed to meet us but given the logistics and enormity of the crowd, we never connected.

Our plan originally included using Metro but that quickly changed into taking Uber into the city and later a taxi home. The crowds and Metro's ability to not be able to get their shit together started early in the morning and would continue throughout the day. The lines to get into stations were crazy. Thank you to all the Metro workers and Uber and taxi drivers who worked yesterday. Y'all are heroes.

The first thing we saw as we got closer to the start of the rally was the people. It was a sea of pink hats and signs as far as the eye could see. By the midpoint of the rally, the crowd would stretch from 3rd Street SW to 14th Street SW. It would stretch further later and actually make it incredibly difficult to march. We abandoned trying to meet up with Emily and her group since navigating the crowd was becoming harder. We found a little patch of sidewalk near the Hirshhorn at 7th and Independence near one of the screens so we had a great view of the speakers and performers for the rally. Our immediate rally neighbors were super nice; one group was from Ohio. We also had a great view of some protest signs.

The rally began with this song. It was a beautiful start to the morning. From there, the march co-chairs and representatives from groups like Planned Parenthood, Rise, Mothers of the Movement,  and the NAACP spoke about the importance of the movement and the march. Activists, writers, and actors also made their way to the podium (including Michael Moore). My hero, Gloria Steinem, spoke and it was one of my favorite parts of the day. One of my favorite parts of her speech was this: "Pressing send does not allow us to empathize with other people. ... If you hold a baby you’re flooded with empathy. If you see somebody in an accident you want to help them. I love books, but doesn’t happen from a book. It doesn’t happen from a screen. It only happens when we’re together.” Michael Moore gave everyone a to-do list of things we need to do to continue the momentum of the march. He was cut off by Ashley Judd, in possibly the greatest performance of the march. She read Nina Donovan's poem "Nasty Woman" and it was more amazing than I can describe to you; just watch it.


There were an abundance of speakers at the rally. If I had one criticism of the march it would be that the rally was too long. I appreciated hearing different voices and perspectives but at some point, it felt like we were losing the momentum of the crowd. I wish organizers had listened to the crowd when we started chanting "March! March! March!" but I also understand why they continued. People started marching even before surprise guests Alicia Keys and Madonna began performing. I would have stopped at Alicia singing "Girl on Fire" and let us go but I get why they didn't. My second favorite moment of the rally was listening to Sophie Cruz address the crowd. Don't know Sophie Cruz? Sophie is the girl who wanted to talk to Pope Francis when he visited the US about her parents, both undocumented, and how she didn't want them to be taken away. She eventually spoke to him and has become an activist in the way that six year olds can be - amazing. Watching her brought tears to my eyes. She shared a message of hope and determination. We can learn from Sophie.

And then we marched...sort of. The crowd grew so large that the march route was blocked by marchers. It took a long time for us to get moving but eventually we did. We walked as far up Independence Avenue as we could, eventually cutting over to the Mall and walking to the Washington Monument. We weren't on the march route at that point but eventually caught up with it on Constitution Avenue and joined all the way to the Ellipse and the White House. We split off and rejoined the march on Pennsylvania Avenue before looping back to Constitution to head home. It was almost 5 pm by the time we did that and people were still marching and setting up protests outside of the White House. We could hear chants of "We will not go away/Welcome to your first day" and "What does democracy look like/This is what democracy looks like" even as we hopped in a taxi to go back to Virginia. It was in a word, amazing.


As I was driving Janice and Jordana home, we talked about what our favorite parts of the day were. For me, it was that people showed up. Months ago when Teresa Shook first posted on Facebook that this should happen, no one could predict that it actually would. Just because people say they're going to do something doesn't actually mean they will. But people showed up. They came from all over to be here yesterday. We marched peacefully. We used our voices. And now the work begins. So many of the speakers yesterday talked about that: getting to work. We can follow Michael Moore's to-do list or we can create our own. I know I've already created mine and will be sharing my to-dos in future posts. A march is not a movement. It is one step towards change. I hope that the people who marched yesterday here in DC and around the world continue forward to the next step and the next.

Thank you to the march organizers and volunteers. We would not have been able to be there without all of your hard work. Thank you to Teresa Shook for having this idea and being there yesterday to share in it with us. Thank you to the speakers and performers. Thank you to the police, first responders, and all others involved in keeping the march safe. You are amazing. Thank you to those who helped get us there - especially our Uber and taxi drivers.

A special thank you to Kirsten, a woman from New York, who made the pussyhat I wore yesterday. You were here yesterday too. And thank you to the three random ladies Jordana and I met in the parking lot at the Shirlington Harris Teeter who gave us the hats for our group.

I'm thankful I got to march with Jordana, Jess, and Janice and all of the other marchers yesterday here and around world. Many of my friends and family couldn't be there yesterday so I made little stickers with their names and wore them close to my heart while marching. Here's a little video of them on the march:

All photos and two videos by me

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Sixth Annual Answer Your Cat's Questions Day or Why I'm Still Single (probably)

There are fewer things truer than the fact that y'all love Pumpkin. I get it; she's adorable, she's equal parts cuddly and affectionate AND throws shade like she took a master class from RuPaul, and she's hilarious. As I've said before, if Pumpkin were a person she'd be Gretchen Wieners from Mean Girls.

So much cuteness. So much sass. Some days, it's overwhelming to live with such a creature. As has been the practice here on the Island for the past five years, I like to pause every January and let Pumpkin ask me whatever compelling questions she has in celebration of Answer Your Cat's Questions Day. I don't make up these holidays, I simply provide the information you need to move forward in your life and celebrate said holidays. Normally, we'd be celebrating next week but I'll be at the Women's March on Washington so I'm moving this up a week.With that, we begin this year's questions.
  1. Where is my heater? Why is it gone? I don't understand. Well, little one, we moved to a brand new apartment that was built after 1965 so we don't have an ancient heating/air conditioning system. I know you really enjoyed laying on the radiator but we don't have one anymore. What we do have is the cable box (your second favorite place for napping), two huge windows, and a brand new scratch post. The closet is also huge so have fun hiding in there when you're feeling antisocial.
  2. Why does everything smell so new? Where did our house smell go? We've only been in our new apartment for a week and it was renovated right before we moved in so it definitely smells like fresh paint, new appliances, and brand new carpet. I know you've been trying really hard to rub your little face on everything since you arrived last Saturday but it takes time to make everything I own yours again. In between napping for 18 hours, sitting on my lap, and eating, I'm sure you'll get to everything by the end of the month. Even the new stuff I had to buy because new apartment = obligatory trip to Ikea.
  3. What is that noise? Where the hell are we? Paris? When did you watch Spaceballs? Are you changing your sense of humor to align more closely with Mel Brooks? I always thought your sense of humor was more of a feline version of Daria. That sound is what humans call a fire alarm. I don't know if someone pulled the alarm or if it went off for a real reason, but sometimes fire alarms go off and our job is to bundle up, get you in the carrier, and evacuate. Hopefully, it's warmer than 20 degrees and the fire department shows up promptly. 
  4. So I "understand" that we moved so I'll move on to more pressing matters. Did you keep my box? I really liked that box. Which box would that be? I feel like you were attached to multiple boxes during the move. Was that the one you sat in on occasion or the one where you sort of looked like either Gmork from The Neverending Story or like a boss telling an employee some bad news? Also, when did you learn about air quotes? I don't remember teaching you about air quotes. Side eye, yes. Air quotes, no. I know you love boxes but we really can't have them around forever. Most have been recycled and the rest are waiting on our little balcony to be recycled when I feel less lazy and like I want to carry more boxes downstairs. Or we get our fancy concierge trash service recycling box. Yes, that's a thing.
  5. Current events question: Now that Joe Biden is no longer the Vice President, do you think he'll be friends with us? He's my favorite. That is a really great question! He is a national treasure and we need to do everything we can to become friends with him. I don't know that our favorite VP will be in DC much once he leaves office. I have it on good authority that he'll be setting up shop at the University of Pennsylvania doing good things and carrying on his work in cancer research and generally being awesome. Lucky for us, we have an in at Penn so we might just get a picture of him from time to time. If you need a Joe Biden fix, we can re-watch the surprise Medal of Freedom ceremony from earlier this week. We're not crying, not crying at all. 
  6. You realize when I said "us" in the above question, I really meant me? You fully embrace your status as an old lady cat by being just a little mean every day don't you? Here's the thing: You're a cat. It'll be much easier for me to meet Joe Biden than you. You should be nice to me and I'll consider putting in a good word for you.
  7. When are the flannel sheets coming back? You learned about flannel sheets last year during the blizzard. I agree we need to bust them back out this week as it's supposed to be cold again. You've been doing a pretty good job of worming your way under the covers at night so I think you'll be just fine until I do laundry and put the flannel sheets back on the bed.
  8. You bought me a mountain! This isn't so much a question as a statement on you finally realizing that I'm queen of all I see. You like the new scratch post! I admit I was holding out for one with a hammock on top but I couldn't find one of those that would fit in our new apartment without taking all of the space. This new one is pretty good; you do look like you're on a mountain when you sit on top of it. Let's make sure to remember how much you love your mountain when you need to scratch something; I really like our carpet and don't want to replace or repair it anytime soon.
  9. I'm sorry for having an "accident" in the kitchen the other day. Can you forgive me? Wait, are you apologizing for doing something you shouldn't have done? Someone mark this day down in the history books. All jokes aside, moving is stressful and you were simply telling me that you were upset since you can't talk and apparently like me enough not to use me as a scratching post. These things happen; it's why we invest in paper towels and cleaning products. Hopefully, you're feeling less stressed now and can start to enjoy our new place and find some new napping spots. I promise the rest of the boxes will be gone by the end of the weekend. 
  10. Last question: Why can't I go in that other room? Are you keeping secrets in there? Yes, I'm keeping secrets in the laundry room. That's where every human keeps secrets. We store them between the dryer sheets and the stain remover. That's exactly how secrets work. 
If you have more questions that you think Pumpkin would like to know the answers to, post them in the comments and I'll answer them as best as I can. Enjoy some additional photos of Pumpkin in her new home.

Next weekend on the Island: I'm participating in the Women's March on Washington so next week's post will be available on Sunday. I'll recap the march and talk about #WhyIMarch.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adios, Au Revoir, Aloha, Audi 5000

Is 2016 the worst year ever? Is it really the actual dumpster fire I've come to think of it as? A year that kicked off with the death of David Bowie, is ending with a series of sad celebrity deaths (Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Debbie Reynolds) in quick succession not to mention all the garbage things that happened in the middle. Even NPR chimed in on the argument this week. While I appreciate their use of a dumpster fire GIF in the article, it also ends up being a pretty solid discussion on whether it's the year or the way in which we consume news and information in the modern age. Twitter can suck it...apparently.

To  add a little more fuel to the dumpster fire, a friend of mine recently posted an article on Facebook (purveyor of all the news you need to survive 2016, fake or otherwise) that posited that 2016 is not killing people; their poor choices over the years are what is to blame. It goes on to say we need to get over blaming the actual year for things that would inevitably happen. That these deaths all happened in 2016 is just the way life and the aging process work. The recent deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher were pointed to as examples of people who abused drugs throughout or at some point in their lives so we shouldn't be surprised they suffered from heart attacks and died relatively young (53 and 60 respectively). I get where the writer was going but I also felt like it was a lazy argument. She could have gone further and started with David Bowie had she really wanted to make the argument stick. Bowie spent much of the 1970s in a coke-filled haze; I've always been surprised that he made it out of that decade alive. And then went on to make the most ridiculous video ever: a cover of "Dancing in the Streets" with Mick Jagger. Is he wearing a jumpsuit? I don't know.

Yes, people die all the time. Famous people, not famous people, infamous people - it literally happens everyday. I understand that; most people understand that. Celebrity deaths are different because we're not actually involved in their lives but we are at the same time. Celebrities are celebrities because fans exist so they need us for that whole being famous thing and we need them for that whole "being inspired by their art" thing. I didn't personally know David Bowie or Prince or Abe Vigoda or Carrie Fisher but I knew them. I cried when heard David Bowie died (as I did when Lou Reed died a few years ago). It wasn't because I knew him but because he was a part of my life. His music is the music of growing up and figuring out your life as I wrote right after his death. The same thing is true of Carrie Fisher. She inspired so many young women to be the fighter and the princess at the same time because you can. She also worked hard for mental health issues and was honest about her own struggles. She was inspiring, she was a warrior. Even if 2016 is not to blame for their deaths, we're still allowed to be sad about their passing whether their previous poor life choices contributed or not. Grief is grief; you don't get to control or to judge others while they experience it. And we can blame 2016 if we want to especially if it helps us grieve.

We've all been calling 2016 the worst year since it started. There's even a meme called "Me at the Beginning of 2016 vs. Me at the End of 2016" that's sad and funny all at the same time. It wasn't only the volume of celebrity deaths that made this year a true dumpster fire. There was the horrible election cycle, catastrophic storms and hurricanes, the horrors of Aleppo, the unnecessary deaths of so many by police around the US, mass shootings. I could go on but I won't. We've had to deal with some heavy shit this year and we all deal with it in our own ways. I have friends who are still walking around in a daze because the Trump is going to be our next president. I've had to tell them several times to snap out of it. It's time to do the work of making sure his hate-filled, crazy pants agenda doesn't actually happen. You can't do that if you look like you haven't slept in months. I'm sure my "snap out of it" attitude is not helping but seriously, it's time to snap out of it.

I admit I haven't wanted a year to end more since 2005 but I still don't know that I'd call this the worst year. We can sit here and discuss every terrible thing that happened but will that actually solve? What will we accomplish by doing that? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. What we do now is figure out how to make 2017 a better year. I want everyone to waltz (literally or figuratively) into 2017 feeling empowered, emboldened, and energized for what's coming next. It's time to figure out how you want to make your life and the world a better place. I don't make New Year's resolutions; I prefer to set some goals for myself. Goals are better.

This year, I have a slightly longer list than last year but I think it's totally manageable. Here's what I'm focusing on this time around:
  • Finishing Transient Suburbia - this was a goal in 2016 and I'm almost done but not quite. I don't consider this a failure because I made a ton of progress and have one more section to write. This novel will be done in 2017 and it will find a home somewhere in the world.
  • Participate in the Women's March on Washington - Let me know if you'll be there on January 21st!
  • Donate time/money to organizations that will need more help given the new administration. I'm focusing on Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and a local group that I'm still researching.
  • Get more involved in local and state politics. There are lots of ways to do this: writing my representatives, going to city/county meetings, voting (I always vote but you know what I mean). The saying "If you don't vote, you can't complain" should be expanded to "If you don't participate, you can't complain." 
  • Continue my gym going and make some decisions as to whether yoga is where I should spend my time. How should I celebrate hitting 10 million steps? It's going to happen very soon.
  • Complete at least two certifications or courses for work. Haven't decided what I'll focus on yet but I have time and lots of ideas.
  • Help my parents shift through the nightmare that is their basement - this will happen in 2017. Mark my words.
  • Get out there and enjoy 2017 - I've got a road trip planned, concerts to consider, and a new apartment to look forward to. Let's do this 2017. 
Did 2016 suck? Yes. Was it the worst year ever? I don't think so but it was certainly up there on the list of years that needed to end swiftly. Will 2017 be better? I hope so. Remember, dear Island readers, rebellions are built on hope.

I'll leave you with a little song from Green Day off their new album Revolution Radio. It's one of my favorite songs off this album and a fitting way to end a dumpster fire year. Enjoy!

Happy New Year from the Island of Misfit Toys! As I remind you every year, please enjoy your celebrations responsibly. I'll see you in 2017!!