When Dean asked me if I would be interested in hosting one of his blog carnivals, I must admit that it was with some reservation that I accepted. Not because I wasn’t into the concept – I think it’s wonderful to create a forum for showcasing the work of a diverse group of bloggers – it’s just… well, the carnival thing.
I’m sure that for many people, the idea of a carnival conjures up happy Technicolor memories of cotton candy and roller coasters, corn dogs and stuffed animals. For me, when I think of carnivals, aside from flashing to scenes from this one really horrible B-movie [I think it was called The Funhouse] where a deformed man terrorized teenagers in a carnival, I am hurled into a series of painful childhood memories that I worked hard to repress:
Painful Memory #1:
I was probably five or six years old, and my parents brought my brother and me to a carnival. We spent the day happily riding the tilt-a-whirl, popping balloons, and throwing ping pong balls into goldfish bowls. As we were leaving, we walked past a sign that advertised all sorts of oddities of nature – a good old fashioned freakshow. My brother asked my mom if we could go in, and she inexplicably consented. My parents waited outside as my brother held my hand tightly and led me up the stairs.
I remember walking up to a booth with a window – it was like the ticket counter at a movie – where sitting quietly inside was a woman with what I now understand must have been a horrible skin disease. Her face, hands and arms were covered in scales, and she was billed as The Alligator Lady. I stood silently in front of her booth, and she smiled, then reached her hand toward me. I pulled back in horror, grabbed my brother’s arm, and ran outside. To this day, I still feel guilty about it.
Painful Memory #2:
I was about thirteen, and some friends and I decided to hang out at the local carnival that would miraculously appear overnight in the American Motors parking lot each summer. Somewhere halfway through that ride that spins you around really fast so you stick to the wall, I got my period. I’m not going to get into any graphic details, or discuss the mechanics of centrifugal force, but I will point out that I was wearing white shorts, and found out the hard way that carnival Port-o-Potties do not have sanitary napkin dispensers.
Painful Memory #3:
It was 1979. I was celebrating my 8th birthday. My aunt hired a clown. His name was Yummy Yummy.
So… yeah. Carnivals.
Okay – who’s ready for some Carnival of the Mundane?! Can I get a “WHOOP WHOOP?!”
[Dean is now cursing the day he ever invited me to host this…]
But really – this story has a point. And that point is this: I found it ironic that my own recollection of carnivals is one of fear and shame, and somehow, every single submission that people sent me revolved around those exact ideas. Apparently, these are the most mundane of emotions. And here, I always thought that was love.
If you don’t believe me, just read for yourself:
- First, a certain Mr. Faltenin from Dreamwalkers fills us all with the fear of letting love slip away.
- Then we have Leesepea from But Wait! There’s More… who now has a fear of sitting next to her grandmother in the hair salon.
- Next up is Tracy from Kaply, Inc. Based on this story, Tracy should actually work on developing a greater fear of neighbors. Hell… I’m scared to death of her neighbor now!
- At Time’s Fool, Mata H. helps us understand how to overcome our fear of loneliness.
- Ever the problem solver, Kevin from Kapgar.com proposes a few ideas to resolve our fear of missing the all-important season finales.
- Brandon at GT seems to have a fear of not being funny. Don’t we all?
- Over at Frugal Wisdom, Wenchypoo shares her fear of losing her star standing in the Clean Plate Club.
- What do I even say about Jillifer at egg in spoon? I mean, sometimes you think you know someone, until you find out they’re terrified of baby T’s. How am I supposed to deal with that?
- At Nature’s Aria, Sunny comes home with a vengeance as she shares a deep fear of mine: running out of ink. That’s why I bring no less than three pens to every meeting.
- I wasn’t aware that they had opened up a McDonald’s in The People’s Republic of Seabrook, but apparently they have, because Jack is really afraid of it.
- Recently-published famous author Cheryl Klein from Bread and Bread opens up about her fear of becoming a glamour girl.
- What’s this? Another person who’s afraid of the Golden Arches? Poor Sandra at Internal Monoblog – she’s got that Hamburglar Monkey on her back.
- I actually just diagnosed myself with the same phobia that Graig at Geekent has: fear of finishing a book.
- Wee little Shari from Eclectic. She’s so, so afraid of receiving toxic mail. Oh, and she’s also horrified at the thought of being called cruel, which is how I tricked her into submitting an entry.
- Aw, now come on, Ms. Sizzle. Your story just scared the shit out of me!
- Marisa from Apartment 2024 for some reason isn’t afraid of a Philly cheesesteak, but I tried one on my only visit to Philadelphia, and let me tell you, those things are nasty. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
- Rennratt of Rennratt, descended from the Mayflower Rennratts, discusses her fear of public name-calling.
- Over at Hyperion Chronicles, Hyperion is terrified by unexpected dinner guests.
- The gentle pirate, Lady Jane Scarlett, scares the bejeezus out of some peacock mantis shrimp, and tries to confuse me by saying things like, “proteomics” and “ligand-target interactions” and “egad.”
- Sween. Sweeney. The Sweenadian. He shares the horrific tale of when wild beasts attacked, leaving a trail of meat and mustard in their path.
- Dean Abbott, also known as “The Wizard,” makes us all wish that some people were more afraid of acting like complete asses in public.
- Ben from History Toaster explains why he has recurring nightmares about burnt toast. :::shudder:::
- Rick from Rick Sincere News and Thoughts has a dream of a world without the fear of bad plumbing.
- Oh, Fitèna of C’est La Vie! Life. Est-ce qu’elle a peur aussi? Mais bien sur! She is afraid, as we all should be, of deep frying a chicken too long.
- And then there’s Colorado Katie. Why is she so haunted by CornNuts? Is it the sound? The smell? We may never know.
- The proprietor of Sucky Blog, Jack, gets night terrors when he thinks of eating health bars. He also coins my new favorite phrase with, “ShitKat.”
- Oh, Postmodern Sass. Will she ever come to America? Maybe, but she’s terrified of having to give up her crusty buns.
- Josh at Multiple Mentality has my full support in his fear of censorship. Fight the power, my brother! If the government wants to censor what I have [edited for content] they can just [edited for content] my [edited for content].
- Beej over at Kiss My Sass lies awake at night, afraid of never finding true fortune.
- Muse from Me-ander worries that she may never satisfy her sweet tooth.
- Kim at Life in a Shoe tries desperately to cover up her fear of over-exposure. Apparently band-aids help.
- And last, but oh man, certainly not least, is Kevin. Kevin fears the ‘fro, yet embraces it all at once. But then he betrays us all.
Thanks for participating everyone!
“Wow! What a stud!”
“No kidding! I picked the right elevator to get trapped in.”
This afternoon, with brute force and unparalleled strength, I pried open the doors of an elevator, while the other five passengers stood around sighing heavily and pressing the “Door Open” button forty-five times in a row.
A river of testosterone is coursing through my veins.
A fifty year old woman called me a stud.
I’m gonna go smash some shit now.
So the torch has been passed. This Friday, May 26, at long last, I get my opportunity to host the Carnival of the Mundane!
Several months ago, Dean Abbott over at Inspired by a True Story came up with the idea to create a forum for the regular blogfolk to showcase what they do best – talk about the day-to-day stuff in an interesting and creative way. Hence, the Carnival of the Mundane.
To quote Mr. Abbott: “A blog carnival is a post published by a single blogger (whoever is hosting that edition) and consists of a collection of links to other posts that have been emailed to the host. The host then tries to present the links to those posts in single post of his or her own with a little context, maybe even some clever commentary. I’m thinking of a carnival for those of us whose material is everyday stuff, a showcase for those dedicated to drawing out the humor or insight from the humdrum.”
Writing about the humdrum? That’s right up my alley! I mean, let’s face it – no one’s asking me for reviews of the latest tech gadgets, or my political perspective, or snarky critiques of Hollywood fashion. It would appear that there are a couple of other blogs out there that do a pretty good job covering those areas. But Dean and Postmodern Sass have been doing their best to keep the dream alive for those of us who don’t really understand what Web 2.0 is, or who get confused by phrases like “electoral college”, or who think it’s still okay to wear pants whose waistband falls just slightly above the ribcage. (What? They were a gift – cut me some slack!)
The Call to Action:
If you would like to be a part of this week’s Carnival, just email your name and the link to your most exquisitely mundane post to email@example.com by this Thursday. And fear not – this doesn’t need to be a new entry. Feel free to sift through the archives.
Thanks, and hope to see you at the Carnival!
You know how on America’s Next Top Model, every season the judges say that, “This was our toughest decision ever,” right before they announce the final winner? Well, I really did think that this was the toughest mystery photo quiz ever, and once again, I was amazed that so many of you got them right! There was only one that no one guessed (#7), but if anyone had gotten it correct, I would have worried that you were spying on me, because it was just that impossible.
And now, all shall be revealed:
Based on the heated debate going on in the comments section of my last entry, I decided it was time to lighten the serious mood that has taken over here by posting another Mystery Photo Quiz. Plus, now that I’ve gotten you all completely hooked on Flickr Top 100 Photos, I’m sure you don’t even care about writing anymore. You don’t eat, you don’t sleep, you recoil from sunlight. All you think about now is where your next picture fix will come from. It’s just like Panic in Needle Park, but without all the veins.
And besides, it’s been a slow news week for me here in Chicago. I mean, after your teen idol comments on your site, is there really anything left to write about?
So effective immediately, this is becoming a photo-only blog. That is, of course, until I have taken pictures of everything located within arm’s length of my computer. Then I guess I’ll have no choice but to do some more stupid writing.
Anyway, if you’re new to the Mystery Photo Quiz, here’s how it works: I post a bunch of pictures, some of which I think will be easy to guess, and some I think will totally stump everyone. Then, within two minutes of posting this, at least four people will have accurately guessed 90% of the photos. Next, I will post the answers later in the week, which is pretty much pointless since everyone already guessed them two days earlier. And finally, I will once again swear that this will be my last photo quiz, because I apparently keep making them too easy.
Now that I’ve explained the rules, let the guessing begin:
[click to enlarge]
Bonus TequilaCon Photo!
I once knew someone who said that she didn’t believe in fate, only in synchronicity. Whatever the label, I absolutely believe that at times, seemingly random events converge for reasons greater than simple coincidence.
Case in point:
Important Event A:
As I was sorting through the box of memorabilia my mother gave me a few weeks ago, I came across a certificate from elementary school that acknowledged my outstanding achievement in the area of breakdancing.
It’s true, what they say, about never appreciating what we have until it’s gone. I mean, I went to a school that not only allowed breakdancing, but actually encouraged and rewarded it?! Did I also walk to school along a gumdrop path, past the chocolate river, shaded by the cotton candy clouds? How did I never realize my obscenely good fortune, scholastically speaking, until just now?
And on a bit of an aside, I remember now that elementary school was the last time I was able to do the worm, before puberty hit and I grew hips and boobs. [Okay, fine – hips.]
Important Event B:
Email exchange between Natasha and me this Monday afternoon.
Hey Nat –
I just missed the most recent sign-up for classes, but I think I’m going to take something fun next session. Any interest in one of these?
1. Blues harmonica
3. Hip hop/Funk dance
I’m leaning toward a dance class since that will also count as exercise. Let me know!
Subject: RE: Classes
You are not taking banjo or harmonica! Those are instruments of the hateful Jug Band! Resist! Haven’t you been hurt enough?
Hip hop/funk dance is your calling… look into your heart. Krump Jen Krump!
Insanely Important Event C:
Monday night, as I was taking my ritual stroll down the information superhighway, a curious email popped into my inbox. It was from someone called boogalooshrimp2001. I smiled and clicked on the email, which was actually a comment on an older entry where I referenced two of my all-time favorite dance movies – Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.
The comment was signed: Boogaloo Shrimp, aka Turbo.
I immediately grabbed the phone and called Natasha.
BRRRRIIING! (let’s pretend we all still have phones that make this sound)
Me: “OHMIGOD I THINK BOOGALOO SHRIMP JUST COMMENTED ON MY SITE! HOLY CRAP BOOGALOO FRICKIN’ SHRIMP FOUND MY SITE AND POSTED A COMMENT!”
Nat: “What the hell are you talking about?”
Me: [breathing] “Okay, I know you’ve never seen Breakin’ or Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo and HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE but he’s one of the main characters from that movie. Michael Chambers, aka Boogaloo Shrimp, aka Turbo. He left a comment on my site. At least I think he did. What if it was a joke? Who would do such a mean thing? Do you think it was a joke?”
Nat: “Well, I-“
Me: “I mean, that would be really cruel if someone pretended to be him, and left a comment to get me excited and then it turned out to be a trick. But it has to be him! I think it was him! FRICKIN’ BOOGALOO FRICKIN’ SHRIMP!”
Nat: “Yeah, I guess I should Netflix that movie at some point.”
Me: “Um, yeah you should! I just can’t believe you’ve made it this far in life without having seen either of those movies. I gotta go. I need to talk to someone who understands me. I’m calling Dr. Greene.”
Voicemail: “Hi, this is Dr. Greene. Leave a message and I’ll call you back. Thanks!”
Me: “Why isn’t anyone who understands me answering my calls? I need to talk to someone who can relate to this, and I think you have seen Breakin’ and Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. Well, if you’ve seen them, then you know that one of the main characters is Turbo aka Boogaloo Shrimp. So get this: HOLY CRAP BOOGALOO SHRIMP JUST LEFT A COMMENT ON MY SITE! Boogaloo Frickin’ Shrimp! Do you even understand how happy that makes me? Wait… you didn’t leave that comment on my site as a joke did you? Because if you did, that would be the cruelest thing ever, and you and I can no longer speak to each other. Except this Wednesday when we recap America’s Next Top Model. But never again after that. You didn’t trick me, did you? No, I think it was really the real Boogaloo Shri- “
Dee-Dee: “Hey Jen! What’s up?”
Me: “Hey – you’ve seen Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, right?”
Dee-Dee: “Of course. Why?”
Me: “THANK GOD! Okay, so remember when I wrote about how I was trying to download Din Da Da as my ringtone?”
Me: “Well, I did. Anyway, I think Turbo from Breakin’ just commented on that entry.”
Dee-Dee: “No way!”
Me: “Seriously! BOOGALOO FRICKIN’ SHRIMP!”
Dee-Dee: “Are you sure someone wasn’t playing a joke on you? It sounds like something Dr. Greene would do.”
Me: “NOOO!! Don’t even say that! I just left him a message, so we’ll see when he calls me back. Oh wait – hey, I gotta go! I’ve got another call coming in – this might be Dr. Greene.”
Vivian: “Hey, it’s me. I got your message – what the heck are you talking about?”
Me: “Okay, Viv. I know you’re anti-pop culture and all, but I think the coolest thing just happened. I think Boogaloo Shrimp from Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo just commented on my site. But Dee-Dee thinks it’s a joke.”
Vivian: “Hmm. Was it on an old post?”
Me: “Yeah, pretty old.”
Vivian: “All right, I say it’s totally him. No one would put a joke comment on a two-month old post. It’s him.”
Me: “You’re always the voice of reason. I’m emailing him back right now!”
An email response from one Mr. Michael Chambers confirmed that my commentator was not an imposter. Call it fate, call it synchronicity, call it happenstance – but the bottom line is that BOOGALOO FRICKIN’ SHRIMP COMMENTED ON MY SITE!
So what does it all mean, these apparently random events coming together at the same time? I once clung to the idea that I, too, could be just like Kelly from the movies Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo – a rich, white, classically trained dancer who ultimately became a competitive breakdancer. Sure, I was neither rich nor classically trained, but that never stopped me from hoping. Then later, I dreamed of becoming a Fly Girl, just like Jennifer Lopez before anyone knew who she was. So today, at 35, and sorely out of shape, is it too late to pursue a career as a hip-hop dancer? Perhaps. But now, thanks to an unexpected comment from a stranger, I get to hold onto that dream for just a while longer.
And for the unfortunate souls among you who have never experienced the sheer joy that is poppin’ and lockin’, I give you the often imitated but never duplicated BOOGALOO SHRIMP!
I must confess that I am prone to impulse purchases. I get this from my father, I think. He and I, when we decide we want something, we need to have it immediately. Sometimes this leaves me with a $400 camera, other times with a $15 Scott Baio t-shirt. This past weekend, upon returning from a little Greek fruit and vegetable stand, I found myself unpacking a small clear plastic box containing a honeycomb.
What does one do with a honeycomb, I wondered? I picked up the box which was wedged in between fancy jars of clover honey and apple butter. Seeing that it was $5.89, I set it down, then picked it back up again and turned it over. Perfect hexagons. I have never had a honeycomb. I need this honeycomb. I need it now. But what will I do with it?
It will sit on top of my microwave, until tonight. I have a craving for sweets, and yogurt covered raisins sound too much like vegetables, so I snap open the lid. I’m not sure how to get the honey out, so first I flip the box over, thinking the whole comb might plop out into my hand, and I can eat it like a bear. Of course, it doesn’t move.
I take a butter knife and press gently into one corner. The honey is thick, and the comb collapses a bit as I carefully try to pull out a small square. Checking the cube for bee parts (Don’t bees lay their eggs inside the comb? What if I find a bee leg? Why do they make honey, anyway? How come I don’t know anything?), I lick my fingers, testing it out before committing to a full bite. It tastes just like regular honey. But… better.
I bite off a corner and press it against the roof of my mouth with my tongue. The honey oozes out, leaving flattened cylinders of gummy wax, which I chew into a little ball. It reminds me of those wax candies with the sugary juice inside. Do bears just eat the wax? Probably.
I discover that I like this honeycomb. I like it a lot. And then it hits me: I want to meet a beekeeper. Now.