You know how there are words out there for highly specific emotions? Like adronitis, the frustration over how long it takes to get to know someone. Or liberosis, the desire to care less about things. Is there a word for that feeling you get when you believe that there must be alternate realities that exist closely in space to your own reality, so close that they are ALMOST your reality, and that reality is that your real dad is cartoon buffoon Hong Kong Phooey? Does that even make sense? Great.

Well, since I was a very small child, I have had this feeling occasionally. And as I’ve aged, the feeling has lessened a bit, but it’s still there inside of me, shaping my personality to some extent.

Unlike other forms of insanity I probably have, this one can be traced directly to my mother. For as long as I’ve lived, my mother has always told this story about how she and some of the rest of my extended family took my older brother, then an only child, to see a Hanna-Barbera Icecapades show. While there, Hong Kong Phooey apparently took a liking to her and showed his ardor by sitting on her lap and dragging her from the audience to dance with her in front of everyone. She concludes this oft-told story by saying, “And then, nine months later, Amanda was born.”  Everyone laughs. Everyone always laughs. But once upon a time, I believed her. I was too young to understand that my mom might be kidding, but apparently old enough to catch the implication that Hong Kong Phooey was my real dad.

It turns out that if you start life thinking that you are half-cartoon, it kind of sticks with you, there in the middle, for all of the rest of your life. I mean, I know I am not actually a half-cartoon! Don’t send me to the asylum yet. Anyway, it would clearly have been an actor dressed up like Hong Kong Phooey, not the real poorly-animated dog. It would be like thinking that Santa and Mall Santas are the same thing. No! Regardless, in my idle time, I start to wonder what my alternate reality life must be like, the one where HKP was not an absentee father. Let’s look at my art therapy session.

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Have you heard of Neko Atsume? It is one of those app games that kids go crazy for these days and Dollissa and I are not immune to the hype, ourselves. Is there actually much hype over it? Not enough, I tell you. Not enough by a LONG shot! I will wait here while you immediately rush out to obtain it from your respective app store. It should only take a moment. Then, come back here to read the rest of this because you will be momentarily confused, giddy with possibilities and promises of round little cat drawings.

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Step 1: Don’t Care That You Can’t Read Japanese

I’m sure the Japanese words are full of impossibly cute descriptions. Maybe you can read it and tell me it is true? However I, and I will assume most of the rest of you, can’t read it at all but that’s okay. You aren’t there to read, you are there to gather cats to you with food and toys.

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What’s that you say? You wish you had a brand new paper doll to play with? And you wish it would reflect your interests… Or, dare I say, your unhealthy obsessions? Am I talking to you or talking into the mirror? It doesn’t matter because I just wanted to let you know that we have once again cooked up an entertainment doll that the whole world didn’t realize it needed until it clicked into this post! That’s right. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. We have brought you a Secretariat Paper Doll!

Traditionally, these sorts of dolls are fun because you, the child, get to experience the joy of dressing up a human form in fancy clothes. But we are renegades on this site, not bound by convention. We see the world through the clear, almost unsettling lens of the iconoclast. Secretariat is a STAR and you will be pleased to dress him in the fine styles that we have provided. On the page that you will need to print out, you can find such dazzling items as a matching bridle and racing saddle set. The blue checkered hood and blinker bridle makes an appearance, and is there anything that screams “trendsetter” more than a whole-jockey accessory? Included, you will find glamorous flower fashion shawls by such designers as K.Y. Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. Secretariat wore them all. And he looked STUNNING.

There are also a few miscellaneous items for use when you are feeling a little silly. Secretariat was not all business all the time. He retired when he was only four years old after all, so he had decades of goofing off. The giant horse head sized novelty Groucho Glasses represent his fun-loving side. He was often seen wearing them when he had a few too many sugar lumps. Also included are his sideways cap, outrageous necklace chains, and totally funky fresh sneaker shoes: his preferred style while trotting the streets. Finally, you’ll no doubt recognize the glorious angel wings (which you are to cut up along those little white lines and sort of slide onto his back, theoretically. If that doesn’t work, just use chewing gum or something) from And Here Comes Secretariat. These should class up your shrine very nicely, as angelic beings typically bring a taste of High Quality to any event.

Click on the image to go to the real size and print it on out.

Secretariat Paper Doll Fun Zone

From time to time, I lose my mind and become convinced that I drink too much coffee. I know people are always doing some sort of martyred brag-lamentation about the truly colossal amounts of coffee that they drink in a day, but I’m not one of those. I drink very small amounts of coffee, only two to four cups a day, but I drink it EVERY day. Sometimes I notice that if my coffeedrink routine gets messed up, my personality takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes when I notice that, I become indignant! How dare coffee treat me like that! So then I resolve to show it a thing or two about dependency and I quit it.

I have heard of people quitting all of caffeine, but I have never done that. I just sometimes quit drinking coffee but then switch off to heroic amounts of tea. As great as tea is, it never seems to be a good replacement for the coffee caffeine that my body apparently has grown to need. Tea is there for drinking after the coffee has been finished for the day. Therefore, I have probably not even experienced actual caffeine withdrawal to the fullest extent. Even so, once when I quit only-coffee for two weeks, I had a seven day long headache that did not respond to medication, as well as feelings of impending death that lasted for the same length of time.

Maybe you have been thinking that you could use a break from coffee? Perhaps you are like me, and resent that you are apparently HOOKED. Perhaps you would like to prove to yourself and your coffee that you can stop any time you want. As a seasoned veteran of quitting the bitter bean, I am here to help you. Quick! Take my tremoring hand as I take you down the dark and frightening path to potentially healthier living!

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In honor of the 141st Annual Kentucky Derby this Sunday, we are dedicating this post to one of our favorite heroes of all time: Secretariat. (You can find a Secretariat paper doll here.)

Secretariat is the greatest horse who ever lived. What an earnest and determined guy he was! Big Red, as he was sometimes known, was just about the fastest horse in the known universe (or wherever horses are!) and set records in 1973 that still stand today.

St. Secretariat by Amanda Wood

When Secretariat was born in 1970, just after midnight on March 30, nobody knew that little horse would be a household name.  He became so famous beyond the racetrack that he was on the covers of Time and Newsweek. Not bad for an equine athlete! He was given to Penny Chenery after birth as the result of a coin toss agreement between the stud owner and the owner of the gentle mother of Big Red. His name was chosen by the secretary of the stable.

Secretariat raced until he was 3 years old, per his contract. Most racehorses are itty bitty little children, runnin’ in their prime. He retired at age 3 with an acclaim that only 10 other horses can boast, winning the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in the United States.

After his death in 1989, during a necropsy (a normal procedure for a deceased horse), the veterinarian described his heart as a “huge engine.” It was estimated to be 2 ¾ times the size of an average thoroughbred racehorse’s heart. He was put down humanely after being afflicted with an often incurable disease. Unlike most racehorses, whose head, hooves, and heart are buried together, Secretariat was buried whole, an honor befitting the Saint that he is.

Should I really describe the races to you? Of course not. You should watch them, below, with very dramatic music included.

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