Better Living Through Voodoo. Science.

This Saturday morning, my doorbell rang. The children each ran to the door, assuming it was for them, because lord knows it wasn't going to be for me. #recluse I sauntered over to the door with morning hair, morning breath, morning face, and morning coffee, and it turns out it was for me. Well, it was for my eternal soul. I happened to be on the phone,  because I assumed it was one of the neighborhood kids and didn't bother setting the phone down, so the people at the door trying to teach me about the kindgom of some god went on their merry, albeit early, way. 

Of course, they don't know that I spent 17 years in the service of the same god as they are in now, so they don't know that I was totally rating their performance. 

My boyfriend giggle on the phone asked me how they did and I said, um, err, they just handed me some literature and left, weirdly considerate. He asked what my old spiel was for when people answered their doors on the phone, and I stammered. Because. Err. Well? What *was* my spiel, anyway? Am I really getting this old

No, I am not really getting this old. It's just that the last time I woke someone up on Saturday morning to save their hungover soul, the only people who had phones you could carry around with you and use anywhere you wanted to were Captain James T Kirk and his pals at Star Fleet. 

Like, yesterday, tvs inside of cars and phones without cords were dreams we had when we weren't busy joking about running out of water one day and stuff. And yet, here we are. Our cars will start themselves for us and our phones are used for killing cranky pigs and my trash can opens the freaking door for me everytime I need to throw something away. 

Really. I can't get my sons to open a door for me. Chivalry isn't dead, friends, it's just hiding in simplehuman garbage cans. Whom I am an ambassador for. #disclosure

On a good day, I can get my kids to put trash somewhere in the same zip code as our trash cans. The toilet paper rolls make it to the floor beside the bathroom trash, the recycling will defy the laws of gravity and decency in piles across from the recycle bin, and the tossbale trash from meals will delicately congeal on the counter between the sink and trash can. I have begged and pleaded and threatened and freaked out about this, but what I had never before done was add voodoo to the equation.

This is my black magic trash can. If you walk passed it, wave your hand, and say Allah, peanut butter sandwiches! IT WILL OPEN FOR YOU. I can't make my kids stop throwing things away now. It's *awesome* 

This is my soap pump. It is almost impossible to yank your hand out from under it before the soap squirts out, it's that fast. Don't think I haven't blown through a whole bag of soap trying. I am easily amused by shiny objects, shut up. 

Why do I love having a soap pump that magically dispenses soap for us faster than you can say child labor laws or soux chef, and a trash can that just opens when I need it to? Because turkey

I'm no germophobe but I am a turkeyophile and turkey guts, while delicious at 160 degrees and up, aren't so awesome smeared all over the kitchen counters, trash lids, and soap pumps. Smearing almost always = bad. Not sending your nephew home with a raging case of salmonilla poisoning almost always = good. 

Also, having two dogs who can't wave and a trash can full of turkey guts that opens by wave-sensing-voodoo? Yeah. 

So, I have this extra sensor soap pump. Anyone want one? It comes with lavendar hand soap (but I am a slave to the lemon dish soap, which is made specifically to work with these pumps. Just sayin.) Let me see the grossest, nastiest, dirtiest mess your kids have ever gotten into. (Because we all know you took a picture before you cleaned them up. BLOGGERS.) Leave a link in the comments to your picture, and the best-worst one gets it.

A Canadian, a former math teacher, a Chinese Harvard grad, and a blond girl walk into a book club...

The first book I ever read alone, front to cover, was the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I was four. I am not kidding.

Around age seven (my daughter's age as of yesterday, GO SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BABY) I discovered Erma Bombeck, and life became good. Gooder. The goodest.

When I was in junior high school, I was the official school reader. I read *every* new book that came into the library, and then wrote one 3X5 index card review on the book. The librarian kept those on file - sorted by genre, by me - for popular kids with a life who wanted a book but needed crutches suggestions. I got beat up a lot. 

All of that reading and getting beat up made me a very angsty young person indeed, who over time discovered the likes of Louis Carroll, Douglas Coupland, Chuck Palanuik, and John Irving. And I haven't really needed anything since. 

I tell you all of that to show you my in-case-of-fire book pile. 

There are a few books missing from that pile (my Alice is Wonderland books, to name more-than-one-but-less-than-734) but that is the actual 'separate-17-years-of-marital-pulp-assets' pile, photo taken while he was smoking so he wouldn't yell at me for taking pictures of fucking EVERYTHING, JESUS SHANNON.

(Audre Lorde said everything can be used except what is wasteful,  and she wasn't kidding.)

So I got stuck in a 20-year long book rut. I re-read the exact same books over and over and over again. I always thought it was bizarre that my mother could read you the entire introduction to the Hitchhiker's Guide without needing to be in the same room as the book, and now? Yeah. Ask me any line of any poem in UndersongWe all become our parents. 

It's really hard to get me to read something new. You pretty much have to sell me on really whacked storyline or whackeder presentation, or be the Cactus-Fish family. My books are some of the best friends I have, and I just this second realized that I'm not all that different than I was at 13. Wider, to be certain, but not too different. 

For me, it isn't even always so much the story as it is the book, which is why I always said you'd have to pay me to use an e-reader. You can't smell an e-reader and if you can, you're reading the wrong kinds of things on it, perv. You can't scribble notes in an e-reader that you hope your friends/kids will read one day, if your highlighter lasts that long. 

Except you can scribble notes in an e-reader that you hope your friends/kids will read one day. Except someone did offer to pay me to use an e-reader. And that leads me to the whole bunch of brand new books I'm reading on The Copia's social e-reader over the next few months with a few of my best friends - Doug, Jim, and Tanis. Because they're way more fun to drink with than Maslow's Principals of Abnormal Psychology, that's why. 

We have this little social group book club thing (see children? reading gets you into clubs with ridiculously hot, smart people, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise) and we've each chosen one book that all four of us have to read in a month's time. We have wildly varied tastes in books, to say the very least. This is going to be so much fun. 

We'll be reading together and leaving each other notes in the margins through the Copia app for iPad, Android, and desktop. Will I love it? Time will tell. Jim says it's like live-tweeting a book! but I hope it's more like having actual conversations with actual people. Which are probably the same thing now, huh? Get off my dewey decimal system. 

You can totally follow along with us. There's the main group of Copia Parents, but we have a sub-group called, of course, "Tanis, Doug, Jim, and Shannon Do Books," because I made the group and I am a 12 year old boy. You probably need a Copia account to join our group and follow along, but that's cool because A) accounts are free and B) each of us are giving away 10 books to our readers to help get you started. You could chose your own book, or you could chose the books we're reading and read with us.  

We're staring our book club with Doug's pick, Telegraph Avenue, because he said we were and we do what he says. I'm thinking about choosing Bastard Out of Carolina, because Lesbian Dad says I have to read it and she has impeccable taste in literature and wingtips. I also kind of want to read Brains, A Zombie Memoir, recommended by my boss' partner, but I also-also want to read Orphans of the Living, recommended to me by Ilina Das Ewan, who is wiser than she is beautiful, which is equally awesome and terrifying. 

This is why you never ask the Pisces to go first. 

What I want to know is what you'd like to read. Leave a comment telling me the book you can't stop reading, and then the title of a book you'd like to read that you never have before, and next week I'll randomly choose 10 winners of those books. My (rapidly growing) Copia library is right here, if you want to cherry-pick book ideas or mock me for being so incredibly lame. 

Real World Killed the Video Star

I'm sitting in the same bar I've sat in every night for the past 6 nights, somewhere in the middle of Los Angeles, all by myself. I always think that these work trips are going to be so totally amazingly awesome, that I'll get so much done and enjoy the peace and quiet I am constantly begging any deity who will still listen to me* for.

And then I get here and my daughter calls me to tell me she meeds me, momma, and my middle son has emoticon text wars with me and my oldest son tells me every single thing he's done for me to keep the house together while I'm gone, and I try to go to the gym to sweat out the fact that I undeniably miss them but what I really end up doing it eating all the cheesecake room service will bring me and watching MTV all night, which doesn't actually have music on it anymore. Yo Yo Yo, MTVdumbteenagers! It just doesn't have the same ring to it.

And so I fall asleep at one and I wake up at four because my ears are ringing from the silence which is okay because in three days, when I'm home, I'm going to be bitching about how my house is clearly an echo chamber and how, though I do little right in life, I can totally make a mean pair of lungs. Three times over, in fact.

Yes, there is a point, and it is that we're talking about getting enough rest at my little review blog and it's the very last post in a series that ends in $100 gift certificate going to one of the commenters, so get going already. I'll be sitting here trying to figure out what the point of this Bachlorette show is.

*Turns out, there aren't any. Not even that delicious Flying Spaghetti Monster.

She Really Needs to Get Out of the House More Often, That's All.

And still, she doesn't finish the cop story.

She still also doesn't have a wallet or her super crazy hot red glasses anymore. Which is totally the punchline of the story. Bygones.

This all means that she can't see out of 2/3 of her eyeballs, and she doesn't have the insurance card she'll need to replace her glasses.

None of this excuses the whole third person thing. She really can't explain that. What she can tell you is that she's been writing much more coherently for BlogHer and Crystal Light, talking about summer vacation and great auntie Babbas and stuff.

And that every comment on any one of these posts this month enters you for a $100 giveaway. Every comment on her regular blog enters you for a chance at an email. Which is worth it's weight in gold, of course.