Femme Fatality

I always thought I’d be a vixen in my thirties. I’d be past my wide-eyed girlish gawkiness and into the self-assured, easy sensuality of a woman who knows what she wants, what she deserves and how to get it.

(I also thought that I would be 5’7 and living in an ancient English manor, married to minor nobility. I practiced signing “Lady Casey” in fancy cursive a lot.)

Instead, I am a dynamic combination of love handles, vitriol and crippling social anxiety. I am short, cranky, drinky and fighty. Hence I don’t get a lot of exposure to the outside world (and rightfully so.)

The other day, I was looking through the historical fiction aisle of my local used book store and as always, some asshole sidled up to the very same section after I got to browse for a whole three nanoseconds. I hunched my shoulders up Gollum-style and prepared to let out a warning hiss, but — oh ho ho, what have we here? There is a cutie browsing beside me, he’s wearing a Valve t-shirt, and he smells faintly of a sparkling Norwegian spring! As curiosity overrode my irritation, I side-eyed what book he flipped through and saw it was Alaska by James Michener.

I love James Michener.

I love Valve games.

love guys who have blonde hair and neatly-trimmed beards and smell like sparkling Norwegian springs.

I looked down at the books in my basket and decided then and there to put them up because I was obviously going to need to save up for my extravagant seaside wedding to Valve-Shirt-Blond-Beard Guy.

At that point (I had been staring blankly at him for roughly seventeen minutes by then) he looked over at me and smiled, blue eyes crinkling like people’s eyes crinkle when they smile in the movies. Nobody really looks like that when they smile, right? Wrong! BLUE EYES OH MY GOD BLUE EYES, BLOND HAIR, BEARD. I JUST FOUND MY FANTASY NERD VIKING YES THANK YOU LITTLE SWEET BABY JESUS OR KRISHNA OR JEHOVAH OR WHOEVER DID THIS.

He, of course, was praising whatever supernatural being brought us together too. (Or more likely, just staring at the bead of drool that had formed in the corner of my mouth and wondering if I had lost my handler but let me have my dream dammit)

Okay, like I said – and actually, it probably didn’t need to be said, but just in case you don’t pick up on context clues very well – I am extremely socially awkward. Especially around guys. ALWAYS around guys. It’s just that they’re so cute and scary and listen I just haven’t had a whole lot of male influence in my life so I am basically a twelve year old when it comes to men, alright? Anyway: I am Rainman-level socially awkward, but I knew this was probably the part where I was supposed to say something.

So what did I do? I didn’t say “Oh, I see you are also a fan of James Michener and his sweeping historical epics. I, being an astute and well-read woman, find his novels quite enjoyable and would like to discuss them over craft beer and/or sex with you.” I didn’t say “Brains and beauty? Sign me up, hottie!” I didn’t even say “hi.”

My inner monologue went thusly: Compliment him on his shirt compliment him on his shirt say something don’t just stare like some weirdo compliment him on his shirt you like Valve but oh god what if he’s wearing that shirt ironically and hates video games and video game culture then he’s just going to think you’re a dumbass okay so compliment him on his hair instead wait no that’s really fucking creepy just compliment him on his shirt and hope for the best and okay wait no ask him if he’s read James Michener before! Talk about how you love what great condition the books are in here! SMILE for chrissake oh god but not that wide you’re showing more gum than tooth he’s going to think you’re some sort of hill person!

“Buh,” is what finally came out. I don’t want to say that’s what I said, because saying implies that there were words, when this was really more of a guttural, cornered-animal whimper.

Buh. Christ.

Now listen, I have won awards for my writing. I can pull $10 words out of the air and string them up on a page and make it look like art. You make me speak though, and I come up with real gems like buh.

Fucking buh. Really? Use your words, Casey.

“I’m sorry?” he said, smile fading a little, eyes darting around the room. Oh yeah. Totally scanning the room for my handler.

“I, um–your shirt. It’s cool,” I squeaked out, immediately becoming fascinated with the tiled floor below my feet. I had made the transformation from 32-year-old woman to 14-year-old boy almost effortlessly. I’m basically Harry Potter. Give me my god damn wand, thank you.

“Oh,” he said after a minute, looking down at his shirt. “Thanks.”

“Haha yeah, no problem! Bye!”

I didn’t even look back as I fled the scene.

frank_n_furter_running (1)

So if you were accosted by a woman in a used book store this weekend, I’m sorry. I really did like your shirt and your choice of books, and I don’t really need a handler.

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Homemade Sea Salt Hair Spray!

Ever since I discovered sea salt hair spray, my life has been changed, guys. I always liked the texture of my hair after a day at the beach or the pool. It made me feel like a sexy, sexy pirate queen. And so when the commercial sea salt sprays got popular, I was excited – but it was hard to find one that worked well, and the ones that did basically cost as much as a trip to the beach anyway.

However, this is the age of Pinterest and DIY, and so of course it turns out there are plenty of recipes online to make your own salt spray. I’ve tried a few of them, and I came up with my own, adapted from this recipe by Wellness Mama.  She uses epsom salts, but I found they didn’t work as well for me as using pure sea salt. This is so much cheaper (and healthier!) than the store bought stuff. My hair is very curly and thin/fine, but this stuff bulks it up and gives it lots of texture. I don’t think that it will give you curls if your hair is not naturally curly, but it will definitely give you texture.

Behold, my magnificent jewfro!

Behold, my magnificent jewfro!

8 oz hot filtered water
1 tbs finely ground sea salt
1 tsp water soluble hair gel
A few drops jojoba oil (it depends on how dry/frizzy your hair is. I use 2 drops.)
A drop of rosemary essential oil for scent (you could use any essential oil, I’m sure)

Fill a spray bottle (I used an empty heat protectant spray bottle I had, but you can buy them anywhere) with the water, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake until salt is dissolved. Use the finest (as in texture, not quality, haha) sea salt you can find, so that the grains will dissolve easier. You can use this on damp or dry hair. In the picture, I used it on my hair both damp and then dry for a little pick me up, and that’s the only product in there.

 

Beer Me.

So this is what I’m doing this weekend: the Upland Sour Fest in Indianapolis. Yes, they do make sour beers on purpose and they are awesome. The first time I had one (in Asheville’s mind-blowingly awesome Thirsty Monk), I immediately hated it. And I kept thinking about how much I hated it, and kept taking sips of it to reaffirm my hatred of it.

“They make these on purpose?” I asked my beer-connoisseur friends S and G, as I stared incredulously into the murky, tart depths of my pint glass.

And soon it was my second pint glass. And then my third. And then. . .I don’t know, it’s kind of like Napoleon Dynamite. You absolutely hate it the first time you watch it, but it grows on you until you realize a couple of viewings later that you fucking love it. That is how sour beers are to me now. They’re an acquired taste, for sure, but I’m glad to have acquired said taste because it’s opened me up to a whole new world of beers – Belgian reds, gueuzes (I always have to look up how to spell that), and lambics (I’m not talking about Lindemans lambics – they’re delicious, but they’re not really good lambics, per se – they taste like boozy kool-aid instead of an authentic, mouth-puckering lambic.)

Anyway, we’re driving five hours for a beer festival. I have been on an extremely low-carb diet since late last year, so this weekend is obviously going to fuck all of that up. It’s worth it though. I’ll just live in the gym for the next two weeks.

Sweet dreams are most definitely not made of these.

I have not been getting enough sleep lately, even for me, and I didn’t manage to get to bed until 5 am this morning (again). I am naturally inclined toward having weird dreams, and when I don’t get sleep they end up being batshit insane. The first one I had was some sort of Disney World ride through this really awesome 80s space station. In the dream, this space station was one of my favorite rides growing up, and missed it terribly since it had closed. So my ‘cousin’ (I do not know anyone resembling this person) worked there and was able to open the ride back up for me. But I’d spent so long in there that I was afraid I was locked in and BECAUSE of that, I was certain she had died. Dream logic, right? I guess the thing is there was just such a menacing overtone to it, made all the more so because it’s juxtaposed against the innocence of revisiting happy childhood memories.

Then I woke up because my sleeping cat had juxtaposed his ass against my face.

After I swatted him away and went back to sleep I dreamed that I was dying of tuberculosis (I guess because my giant cat was smothering me with his butt) and all of my family had either died in an accident on a ride through an 80s space station in Disney World (What? Whoa! Cue the ominous music!) or had abandoned me (those jerks), but a guy friend stayed with me to take care of me in my last days AND I TOTALLY DIED IN THE MIDDLE OF GASPING AND COUGHING UP BLOOD AND WRITING THAT DUDE A LETTER ABOUT HOW MUCH HE MEANT TO ME! You can die in dreams! Eat it, Hollywood! And then the dream took a bizarre, fourth-wall breaking turn and I (not dream me who was younger and a little different looking – real, typing-this-right-now me) was hovering above my corpse, and I (Real Me) was like “whoa, I just died! I better wake up before he gets me!” and so I did.

I don’t know who “he” is but I was pretty terrified in the dream at the prospect of him catching me, so that is some Japanese horror film bullshit right there.

The parking lot at work was surprisingly empty and Silent Hillesque when I got here this morning. I could be in purgatory, I suppose. Blogging, even from the afterlife. That’s me.

Incidentally, now my neighbor’s kindly boyfriend thinks I’m a lunatic because he came across me this morning as I was getting toilet paper off the bottom of my shoe and muttering “whoaaa, glitch in the matrix, glitch in the matrix,” but joke’s on him because I wasn’t saying that because of the toilet paper, I was saying it because I wanted to remember to put it in this post but now I don’t even remember why, gosh.

30 Day Video Game Challenge Day 5 – Game Character You are Most Like

I found a 30 Day Video Game challenge on Tumblr, but I’m so wordy that it would be impractical to post my thoughts there.  So instead, it’s going to be a series of blog entries! Enjoy.


 So today, the topic is which game character I’m most like. Does my main in WoW count? Fighty, mouthy, drunk dwarf. Hilariously ineffectual. Sounds enough like me!

bjara

She’s cheering because she’s in a tavern, see.

Buuuuut I guess that’s because I created her. So she probably doesn’t count (sorry, Bj.)

There are not, to my knowledge, a lot of game characters that have personalities similar to my own. I’m not the type of person you put in a game. I’m the type of person you put in the back of a bar. Maybe a holding cell. I do feel empathetic toward Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite, dreaming about all these places all over the world but stuck in your own little tower. The similarities stop with the tearing rips through the space-time continuum, though. I’ve also never had a giant mechanical bird babysit me. I did have a babysitter who would let me eat all the Oreos I wanted, though, so I mean, you know. I feel like I came out on top, here.

But now if we’re talking about characters I would like to be like, lets go with Samus Aran. I haven’t played all eight hojillion Metroid games, but I’ve played a few, ever since the first one came out and I’ve got this picture of Samus as this tough, quiet, space-cowboy type. She fights space pirates, you guys. How awesome is that? I want to fight space pirates. She’s a bad-ass hero. She’d kick Master Chief’s spartan rear. I’m a little upset about this slinky Zero Suit thing they have her in these days, but that’s a post for another time.

30 Day Video Game Challenge Day 4 – Guilty Pleasure Game

Almost everybody hates Dragon Age II. I can understand why. It’s nowhere near as deep as Dragon Age Origins, the combat is simplistic and you run the same five damn dungeons OVER AND OVER again. However, I like it. No, it’s nowhere near as great as DA:O, but on it’s own, it’s a fun little game. I like the story.

But really, I like it because it is, as I call it, my angsty mage dating simulator.

Anders is an idiot (for reasons I won’t go into in case you haven’t played the game), but I am a sucker for angst-ridden romantic interests.

“For three years, I have lain awake every night, aching for you.” – I mean DAMN, Anders. You smooth devil. The most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me is “I’ll buy you anything under $20 at the liquor store.”

30 Day Video Game Challenge 3 – Most Underrated Game

Is Katamari Damacy underrated? I guess not, not by people who have played it. But it has attained something of a cult hit status. I first heard about it when I was a junior (okay, I had probably been a junior for two or three years at this point thanks to numerous changes in major and one school transfer) in college.

Look at that shit. And that’s just the intro. I sat there on my bed after I’d fired the game up on the PS2 for the first time watching this and just sort of. . .gaping at it, like what in the everloving fuck is this? And I’m pretty sure that’s a common reaction to the game.  I mean, listen. I don’t watch anime. I’m not an otaku. This was my first introduction to this kind of tomfoolery!

Katamari Damacy is awesome in particular because it’s got gameplay that’s extremely easy to learn (you use the controller to roll a ball around and that’s basically it), but still challenges you as you go through the levels. The premise, for those of you who haven’t played it, is that you are The Prince of All Cosmos, and you’re rolling up shit – like, ALL the shit – for your dad, the King, who is the giant purple-and-blue thing coming out of the sky in that video. You start out rolling up garbage, people, pets, animals, plants and then graduate to rolling up islands, countries, and eventually the moon. Or the sun. Some planetary body. I can’t remember. But you’ve got time limits and size limits and that can get real tricky in later levels.

And the music. The intro song, though particularly catchy, is just a taste. It’s all bizarre and awesome and you’ll find it getting stuck in your head at the worst times.

Katamari Damacy was followed by a bevy of sequels, but this one and We Love Katamari are definitely the most worthwhile (though to be fair, I haven’t played the PSP game.)

30 Day Video Game Challenge Day 2 – Favorite Character

I found a 30 Day Video Game challenge on Tumblr, but I’m so wordy that it would be impractical to post my thoughts there.  So instead, it’s going to be a series of blog entries! Enjoy.


I really did try to come up with a different answer for this one.  Ezio Auditore. Lara Croft. Arthas Menethil. The guy from Guilty Gear with the giant hand that bursts out of his chest. These are all great characters and they’re all on my list, but I can’t lie. I tried to come up with a different answer because I know mine is going to be the same as a lot of folks’:

Why is there a cross on your shield, li'l Hylian bro?

Why is there a cross on your shield, li’l Hylian bro?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link, from (of course) The Legend of Zelda series.

On my old blog, I wrote a bit about how much the Zelda series means to me and I imagine it’s the same for lots of gamers in their thirties. We were little when the first Zelda came out. It was the first game that truly captured my attention. I spent hours mapping out the dungeons on graph paper.

I think for many of us in our early thirties, we connected with Link because Zelda was the first RPG to hit the system I believe, even if it isn’t an rpg in the most traditional sense. In most of the games, Link was a kid, like us – nine or ten years old; he wasn’t some plumber or grizzled badass axe slayer. Just a little boy. He didn’t speak in the games, so his personality was a blank slate onto which we could write our own traits. We were Link.

When I was a lonely, weird kid, I would pretend to be Link. I’d run around in the woods behind our house slashing at trees with my plastic sword, pretending I was fighting moblins. Link was cool. He was a kid, but he could and did do something about the scary situations he found himself in. It was a little empowering.

(Okay, I’d also pretend to be Zelda too, when I did stuff I wasn’t supposed to. I was all “okay, Princess Zelda wouldn’t bite her nails” or “Princess Zelda wouldn’t draw on her desk and get Ms. Price mad at her.”Like I said, weird kid.)

I’ve grown less attached to the series over the years, partly because of the changes in the actual games, partly because I’ve moved on to Xbox and Playstation as my primary gaming platforms but man, basically the only reason I still have my Wii is the Virtual Console so I can go back and play those old Zelda games and be Link again, just for old time’s sake.

30 Day Video Game Challenge – Very First Video Game

I found a 30 Day Video Game challenge on Tumblr, but I’m so wordy that it would be impractical to post my thoughts there.  So instead, it’s going to be a series of blog entries! Enjoy.


momdadarcade_zps68b71cd6

Beauty and the Beast, 1981.

Listen, I may have mentioned this a few hundred times before (because it’s my favorite thing), but my parents owned an arcade when I was little, so when I say I grew up on video games, I mean I grew up on video games. My dad would put his big dad-like hands around my waist and hoist me up on top of one of the stools so I could stand there and play Donkey Kong or Centipede or Joust. I’m as bad at Donkey Kong now as I was when I was two, pretty sure – never can time those damn jumps right. Fuckin’ barrel-rolling monkey, I swear to God.

I feel a little sorry for the woman Mario is rescuing in that one, though. What’s her name? Priscilla? Talk about being left in the dust. I like to imagine her as Mario’s bitter ex girlfriend, seeing all these games featuring Mario and Princess Toadstool Peach and just. . .seething. Thinking maybe she should have gone off with Donkey Kong anyway because at least he was dedicated to her, unlike some tubby little assholes she knows.

(I’m not speaking from experience, I swear.)

But those are arcade games. My first video game? Surprisingly, we did not have an Atari. But in 1987, I got an NES for Christmas. It was the Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt pack with the bright orange zapper. I still very vividly remember taking the console out of the styrofoam packing with my mom’s help. We plugged up the RF switch (remember those?) to our huge, bulky tv and fired up the Nintendo and I was in love. The graphics amazed me – they were so much more detailed than the little colored blips and squares I was used to with arcade games. And I don’t have to tell you how catchy the music in Mario Bros. was. Everybody recognizes the theme, even these kids who have never actually played the game. Damn shame.

(I know. Shut up, grandma.)

Mario was amazing. Now, back in my day we didn’t even know what save features were, so I didn’t get frustrated when I died and had to start the whole game over again. That’s just how it was. Later, when I was introduced to the save features in Castlevania and my beloved Zelda, I was retroactively pissed off, but all the same – at the time, it was just how things were.

But Duck Hunt. Oh man, fuck Duck Hunt. Fuck Duck Hunt and fuck that snarky ass dog. I think that dog is at least partially responsible for turning me into the horrible person I am today. That dog is the reason I am a cat person. That dog is the reason I am an atheist. I wish I had known swears when I was little because I feel like letting out a good, strong “GOD DAMMIT” at the screen would have saved me a lot of internal anger.

As an aside, that reminds me of this video. NSFW toddler language ahoy!

I understand your pain all too well, little girl.

Standard Action: Episode One – The Barbarian.

This is fantastic. Maybe I’m just biased because my D&D character is a powerful barbarian lady, I don’t know. But whatever the case, this is hilarious. Many thanks to Andrea for sharing this.

(My barbarian lady would never do this much talking, though. She would throw her Cloak of Many Squirrels aside and just punch the outhouse into a smoking ruin.)