Sunday, August 22

Getting to Know You, aka the most I'll ever quote The King and I

(I'm not a huge fan of that musical, though I love MANY THOUSANDS of others)

I’m not sure we’re really acquainted. Although, except for the monkey that follows my blog (seriously, I’m flattered, but WHO ARE YOU?), you DO know me. But to anyone who might stumble upon this site by accident or random Kevin-Bacon-game bunny trail from some person to me, and be indubitably struck by my quirky brilliance, I will describe myself to you a bit more. And perhaps you who know me will be enlightened further.

I’m an original copy-cat. But Ashlee, what does that mean? you undoubtedly ask. Answer: anything that you read on this blog that makes you laugh has probably been stolen—in format, not in content. I don’t plagiarize, everything on this site is really made up from my weird mind, but my humor is not my own. I have learned how to be funny from my CBFF Christi and a few funny people I read. Allie of Hyperbole and a Half fame is one of those funny people. Dave Barry is another. Self-deprecation and run-on sentences with too many adjectives come from these people. So, don’t stop reading me, but read them too. You probably won’t think I’m that funny anymore, but they’re hysterical.

I’m a NERD. Not even a geek, because geeks are cool and get to go to awesome stuff like Comic-Con and Star Wars conventions and gamer expos. Nope, I’m just a nerd. I graduated college Summa Cum Laude with a 3.95 GPA, I correct everyone’s grammar (if not out loud, in my head), I am the ONLY one in my family that finds my engineer father’s dry humor hilarious, and I think of puns all the time that I don’t actually say because, as a rule, all of my peers would look at me like their grandfather wouldn’t even make a joke that lame. I know this because on the few disastrous occasions when I have tested out one of these puns that seem oh-so-witty in my mind, this is the reaction I have gotten:
Hence, the whole stealing-other-styles-of-humor thing. My dad would have laughed hysterically…or at least understood the joke and chuckled to placate me. But no one else finds it truly funny. (Super-fun side note: if you take my advice and look at the blog I mentioned, you will see that even my style of artwork is stolen from Allie)

I have a very obsessive personality. It doesn’t take much for me to like something...and when I like something, I LOVE IT. Examples: 1) CBFF Christi told me she loves the show Dexter. I watched three seasons in about a month to be caught up with her. 2) Lost: I got sick of hearing all the hype without understanding what they were talking about, so I watched four seasons in a month and a half, even when it got unbelievably stupid and more than usually impossible. When I got like this in college, CBFF knew that if she walked into our room and I was there, I was going to be watching the show of the month, whatever it was. And she was going to hear synopses of the episodes because I’m also very expressive and can’t help but laugh or go “aw” or something when I’m watching a show with my headphones in. She was always very patient and pretended to be avidly interested in the nuances of shows she had never seen and characters she had never heard of. IMDB is my enabler in this obsession. It is far too easy to search for the movie I’ve just seen and figure out why that supporting actor looks so familiar. Then I have five movies he’s been in RIGHT on the tip of my tongue in case someone says, “I don’t think I remember who you’re talking about. What else has he done?” Which happens surprisingly often (I don’t have too many film-geeks for friends). When LOTR came out (and if you don’t know/can’t figure out what that stands for, just stop reading my blog right now), my dad and I went to a flea market and bought a replica of Sting (complete with “made in Pakistan” on the blade), my parents gave me the Evenstar necklace for Christmas, and I learned all the Elvish phrases in the (first) movie. Don’t bother telling me how pathetic I am, I already know. It’s totally another “dad” characteristic: my dad watched Phantom of the Opera and we all saw the musical together at Western Michigan University when I was 18 (four years ago) and he would STILL watch that movie every other night if my mom didn’t put her foot down. We also bought all three Extended Versions of LOTR and he tries to make it a tradition to watch all three over a Christmas vacation weekend. It’s pretty unsuccessful, but that’s not the point. The point is that he’s really obsessive, and so am I.

I do things specifically so people will think I’m cooler—usually guys. Example: guns are pretty cool, and I like shooting targets with my dad and learning how to make bullets because it’s an obscure skill that I will never use but that is fun to have in my arsenal (ha, arsenal…guns…see? That’s my natural humor: LAME). But I really like that I know just enough about guns to seem cool to a guy who has a small to moderate gun knowledge, i.e. every single American guy on the planet except those who know way too much about guns. I mean, even the pacifists I know who would never own a gun in real life play a crap-ton of video games equipped with armories that would make a trigger-happy 19 year old Marine go, “Umm, I think that might be a little overkill.” Also, I recently had WAY too much car trouble than should be allowed for a broke college grad living far from home with no job and an essentially brand-new car. So I did a lot of Googling about crankshaft position sensors, limit-home settings, camshafts, and spark plugs. To any mechanic trying to screw me over or tempted to think I was gullible and ignorant, I threw in JUST enough car lingo to make them think otherwise. A very useful tool. Also, I think Star Wars and Star Trek really are cool (see above weird fact #3 about me), but I want to know so much more random trivia about it JUST so I will be cooler in the eyes of fellow geeks of the male gender, which is invariably who I am always attracted to even though I desperately wish I would fall for the rugged, muscular, exotic guys who are well-read and well-traveled (side note: this is exactly like my male friend who wants to date a redhead—or just Amy Adams—more than anything in the world, but always dates girls of other hair color—usually with brown hair and glasses). And lastly, I like some video games, but my skill level is very much a typical girl skill level (very low) and I only like Mario kind of stuff, and only on the N64. It’s my favorite system, for sure. But I like movies a lot, and some video games like Oblivion and Assassin’s Creed are a lot like movies because there’s a good storyline, and Fallout 3 is pretty cool too. However, though I don’t play them and don’t get geeked out about graphics or awesome moves or anything, I will watch a guy play video games for a good two or three hours 1) to spend time with someone of the opposite sex, and 2) so he will think I like video games and therefore am cool. I will never attempt to pick up a controller, even if I am offered an opportunity, because without fail I will be outed as a less-than-devoted gamer. This has led to many a yawn-stifling evening watching a friend free the demon-warrior-ghost from his crypt only to slay him with rapid-fire thumb movements and save the medieval kingdom from inevitable destruction by genetically altered goblins.

So, that sums up the weird world of ME…for now. There is just so much more that I’m not willing to share with you…namely because I would be hesitant to share it with a therapist, let alone you crazies/future employers/possible lovers on the Internet. And…you…know who you are??

If I suddenly triple my follower count from this post I’ll add more wacky facts about myself, but I’m out of ideas at the moment so I’ll try to eat my Comedy Wheaties in the morning to keep up my humor-strength. Might take awhile. I know, I know…you’re ALL waiting with bated breath. Especially that monkey.

Thursday, August 12

Get some popcorn and a loved one to squeeze in terror...or a Snuggie if you're completely alone in the world.

Yesssss…something crazy finally happened to me. This is the most ridiculous thing to ever occur in my life. Weirder than two friends coming out to me, weirder than having a huge crush on my cousin when I was 8, weirder than bringing a dead bird to class in 2nd grade…they all pale in comparison. The bird thing is a close second, but really they can’t compare because this was straight out of a chainsaw slasher movie. I’m not even sure if those two horror genres are allowed to be in films together, but that’s how scary this was. OK, enough build-up. Grab some popcorn and a friend’s hand (or the hand of someone you’re interested in; more power to you) and get ready.

My office did an event one Saturday and needed a HUGE tent for it, but we had no budget to rent one. We called every contact we had on Thursday and had a woman at the WWII museum call us back and say they had a 30x60 tent we could use. The museum is about 40 minutes away, but it was the only option we had, so we were pretty excited about it. Once we made the trip to the museum, a woman came out and said, “Yeah, John’s going to come and talk to you about the tent. There’s a slight issue with it.” The issue? It was destroyed A YEAR AGO in a huge storm. How badly was it destroyed? Well, we had the lovely John to tell us that bit of news. The top probably had huge tears in it, but for some reason he didn’t know for sure. He DID know, however, that many of the supporting poles were broken. He also knew that even if they weren’t, there is no way our vehicles would have been able to fit the poles. So…they couldn’t inform us of any of this before we came all the way out to the middle of nowhere??? This was just pissing us off at this point, by the way. The chainsaw-slasher part is still to come. John asked us if we want to see the tent anyway, just in case it’s still usable somehow. Well, we DID drive THREE vehicles FORTY minutes out of our way. Contrary to what John may think, we do not actually take time out of our incredibly busy schedules to take three vehicles just to visit the WWII museum on a whim. So, yeah, we would like to see the tent. So, he told us to follow him. We crossed the street and drove into what was essentially a field with an overgrown gravel path…and a barn in the middle of the field. This barn is something out of “Deliverance.” Also, it was raining; as if this setting wasn’t creepy enough. So John let us all into this barn thing, and we walked into a semi-lit, fairly-empty garage area with Russian words spray-painted all over the walls and a random filing cabinet or two. One of the interns informs us that he’s fairly certain one of the sections of Russian graffiti says “murder.” Garbage and random junk littered the floor, which I’m sure also houses about a billion types of viral infection. But what we did NOT see is anything that could pass as a tent. So John escorted us to another room, which looked like it could be the basement of a creepy house where people do drugs and make pornos. That doesn’t happen in this room, though. Nope, this room gave subtle hints that the barn had been broken into and used as a party barn by teenagers. These subtle hints included, but were not limited to, the fifteen-odd empty handles of vodka, the two doors that had been lain out as beer pong tables, the fifty empty red Solo cups and the hundred or so Natty Light cans strewn on the floor, the counter, the sofa, and the stained and ratty carpet. Combine this with the low ceiling, the flickering fluorescent lighting and the feeling that any second I would find the pentagram and skulls where these kids had done animal sacrifices and I was just a little creeped out when John shut off the lights and I WAS STILL IN THE ROOM. Two other interns were just in front of me, and with no small amount of shame do I relate to you that in a life-threatening situation, there would be no gallantry from this girl. No, I shrieked and clawed the backs of the guys in front of me to make sure I was no longer the last person in the room. Huh-uh, I’ve seen scary movies; I know that the person in the back and the person in the front always get it. And the virgin is always the first to go, so DOUBLE WHAMMY. So, John moved a filing cabinet from in front of a different door and left us all in the creepy party-garage/date-rape house/E-is-for-ecstasy room. Then my boss (who is only two years older than me so we get along really well) saw the stairs leading up to a second level, and he goes, “I’m going to go check it out!” Of course, this is where in a REAL scary movie he would have been killed off because once you split up you are just begging for the ax-murderer with half a face and some serious mommy issues to come find you and peel off your epidermis in its entirety to complete his zoot-suit-o’-skin (femur-cane sold separately).

But the real version is infinitely creepier and potentially really sad too. He came back downstairs where we were all still waiting for John and said, “Umm, it’s really weird up there.” While this was not a shocker to any of us, we asked him to explain. Apparently the upstairs area was split into a bunch of teeny TEENY rooms with a bed and a bathroom each, and the words “Know why you live” were written on the staircase. First thought: we’re definitely going to be killed. Second thought: tell CBFF Christi and BFF Corrin where I am and what John looks like so they’ll know who to look for during the investigation into our mysterious disappearance. Third thought, less funny: this sounds a lot like a human trafficking scheme. That thought has bugged me ever since we left that underage-drinking Russian crackhouse with a chop shop on the side for a little extra revenue, actually. But it’s not funny to think or write about, so I’ll skip it and go back to the funny-creepiness.

The second my boss related to us the teeny rooms that I’m sure were just places for the wasted teens to hook up with a bit more privacy, John freaked us all out by pushing back through the tiny door with the filing cabinet in front of it and telling us he found a storage area outside that may contain the tent. Remember? We’re looking for a TENT. I know, it’s a little hard to remember why on EARTH we were putting ourselves in so much danger in the first place. To refresh your memory, it’s because we love our jobs so FREAKING much and take pride in our work and want to put forth the best DARN event possible. Yeah… Anyway, we all traipsed outside in the drizzling rain and see four storage-area-garages all sitting next to the barn building. Though we were now out of the dusty, ratty porn-barn and in the daylight, we were no longer visible from the road, i.e. no witnesses. FAAAAAN-tastic. As John opened up the first of the garages, we began to get an even stronger sense that we were in a bad Stephen King novel. I’m not even sure if there ARE any bad Stephen King novels, but you get the idea. Think that really crappy “Wrong Turn” movie and anything with clowns in it. We saw faded, once-brightly painted picnic tables stacked on top of each other, old carnival signs, clown faces peeking out at us from behind old holey tarps, and I THINK parts of a merry-go-round or carousel. TERR. IF. EYING. (I know that’s not how you spell terrifying, but it works better this way phonetically) As we were all half-heartedly looking for the tent that is supposedly buried under all these old horror-movie props, just wanting to make it out alive and not really caring about the tent anymore, all of a sudden one of us looked up and John was carrying around a spool of chain in one hand. YES, he ACTUALLY had a chain dangling from one of his hands. I’m not creative enough to make this crap up. Calm, rational, and realistic person that I am, I tugged on everyone’s sleeve that I could get a grip on and squeaked, “He’s got a chain, you guys! He’s definitely going to kill us!” My boss told me to get into his car and have 911 on speed dial. Now, I sincerely can’t tell you guys if we were all serious or not. He was half-joking like the rest of us. But I really can’t figure out if we were all scaring ourselves into hysteria and were laughing because we were all terrified, or just laughing it off because we knew it seemed horrifying but was really harmless. Anyway, partly to get out of the rain, and partly because I felt one of us should have a chance of survival in case John started swinging that chain around, I got into the car and just watched. John had mentioned that his “friend” (accomplice) might know where the tent was, but we didn’t see him call this friend; suddenly this other guy appeared out of NOWHERE and said, “So you guys didn’t find that tent yet, huh?” WHAT. THE. HECK. We didn’t know how he knew where we were, how he knew what we were looking for, and why his umbrella tip had a semi-sharpened look to it, but we were not about to stick around to find out. John (who at some point had put down the chain) and his friend opened up the second garage and we found TENTS! Remember tents? So we wouldn’t get rained out for our event? Barely, right? Tents by the score, poles in the upper thousands, of all different shapes and sizes. We were almost home free. But not quite. We quickly discovered that we couldn’t lift a tent out of the garage to see if it was undamaged, and even if we could somehow manage that impossible task, there was no way to know which poles went with it. And even if we could somehow manage THAT, neither the poles NOR the tent would fit into any of our vehicles. ALL of which John or one of his deranged cohorts COULD have learned for us with just a little bit of digging BEFORE we drove 40 minutes out there and spent the better part of a morning trying not to get axed, or herpes…herpes’ed? Anyway, the second we learned it was useless to try with these tents, we hightailed it out of that house of death and made our way safely back to the office…and it didn’t even rain the next day.

Point: I’M STILL ALIVE! End.