Archived Post: Ask a Husband #3: Bed Etiquette

This is the third and final post from the original Ask a Husband section of the site from back when I first launched in 2015 that I have been reposting to get them out of the digital graveyard. If you haven't seen the others number one is here and number two is here.


Ask a Husband #3: Bed Etiquette

Originally posted August 8th 2015

Got a few questions all along the same theme for this one:

“How can I get my man to stop farting atomic bomb level farts in his sleep.”

— Courtney W.

Well Courtney, I've got a couple of thoughts.

Solution 1: Go to the store and purchase industrial strength gasX or another similar product. Begin crumbling it up and sneaking it into his food daily. This is a great option for those fussy significant others who won't take their pills, and it's a lot less fattening for your man than rolling them up in slices of cheese.

Solution 2: A wine cork is probably just about the right diameter.


“Why do I have to share my feelings if she won’t share the blanket?”

— Dave M

You're right Dave. how can you be expected to open up emotionally when you're exhausted all the time from not getting a good night sleep because your partner is pulling a burrito on you every night?

This could be you.

This could be you.

I recommend investing in one of those  mummy sleeping bags. It will solve both your problems. In bed, you'll never have to worry about getting the covers yanked off you, as you'll be enveloped in a nylon and synthetic papoose of body heat trapping goodness. 

As for your issues with emotional vulnerability, just keep the sleeping bag on. It's swishy embrace will simulate the safe space of your mother's womb allowing you to get in touch with your emotions in a way you never thought possible. 

In fact, just keep it on all the time. Live your life as a gigantic manarpillar, inching around on the ground, constantly swaddled in your own personal security blanket. Flop through life as a limbless invertebrate until the day comes for you to encase yourself in a gargantuan human sized cocoon made from stitched together parts of other sleeping bags in order to undergo a glorious metamorphosis from which you will emerge reborn.

On second though, you'd scrape your face all up inching around all the time. Just buy a flat sheet and comforter for the next size up to the bed you have the extra width will make it so that there is plenty of extra on the sides to protect you from a severe covers hog.


“The snoring is KILLING me! What do I do to stop it?! I haven’t gotten a good night sleep in weeks!”

— Exhausted

  Well, Exhausted... You might think to yourself, "Hey, this is probably the sort of question that would have been better posed to some sort of medical professional."

It just so happens you are in luck. Seeing as this is the internet...

As you can see by my completely real medical license I am in fact 1,000% qualified to help you with your problem.

Anyone who knows anything about modern medicine knows that snoring is caused by what is known as T.A.G syndrome. T.A.G is an acronym for the three combined causes of snoring. Built up toxins in the body, an out of balance Aura, and excessive amounts of undigested gum.

In order to cure your partners snoring you should follow these medically proven steps:

  1. First you need to hard boil a dozen eggs and then leave them to soak in a pot full of vinegar and mayonnaise (actual mayo, not miracle whip. Don't be an asshole). Set that in your basement for two to three weeks depending on how severe the snoring is.
  2. Once the eggs have had time to properly soak, have your snoring partner eat two a day for six days in the morning and night. (The vomiting and diarrhea are normal that's the toxins leaving the body.)
  3. After the sixth night of the egg purge load up a pair of white tube socks with cinnamon applesauce. Have your loved one cram their feet on in there and get into bed.

If all of that fails, you can always resort to the cork method as proposed in the response to our first reader's question. (It is strongly recommended that you use a different cork.)


That's all for this installment of Ask a Husband, hopefully I've helped a few folks out there with some sleeping arrangement issues. It warms the heart to know there are some good folks out sharing a bed like champs thanks to my sage advice.

Until next time, my friends.

Archived Post: Ask a Husband #2: The No Spouse Rule

This post was originally put up on a portion of the site that no longer exists. The content that was on there has been archived for the past few years, but I decided to put it up rather than let it rot for eternity. This is the second of these archived reposts. You can start from the first one here.


Ask a Husband #2: The No Spouse Rule

Originally Posted July 20 2015

Spouseless writes:

“A few months ago, when planning a group event with about 6-7 people one member of the group laid down the “no spouses allowed” rule meaning it was a night for just us friends to get together. 
We all agreed although we noted that, at the time, he was one of the only single people in the group. Recently, however, at a similar group event where the rest of us had again followed the “no spouse” rule the same person who had been adamant about this rule for all get togethers brought his significant other along. 
How can we speak to our friend about being hypocritical and rude to our significant others without attacking him?
Sincerely,
Spouseless”

Inviting or excluding significant others is always a touchy subject. It starts when we are teenagers, waiting all day to hang out with our best friend after school, only to be devastated when he brings his new girlfriend along and you spend the whole day uncomfortably trying to play Halo as they dry hump each other two feet from you in your parents basement. It's like f&k you Steve, I wanted to beat The Maw on legendary today, not spend four hours avoiding eye contact with the boner lump in your sweatpants.

Even into adulthood you run into it from time to time. My wife gets invited to weddings without a plus one every once in a while even though we're married presumably because the couple to be is trying to keep head count under control. If we're being honest in this situation, this is fine with me as I have no interest in attending Janet the HR person's wedding so that I can spend three hours at the weird leftovers table with someones socially awkward work friend Peg, the bride's asthmatic cousin Barry with the lazy eye and sweating condition, and a suit jacket that sits by itself on an empty seat all night because whoever was assigned to that spot did the smart thing and got the hell out of there.

I guess what I'm saying is that in all stages of life, sometimes there is going to be friction over when you do or don't bring along significant others.

That being said, this seems like it is much more commonly going to be a dating conundrum than a married person one. Married couples tend to have integrated into each others respective groups of friends, so it becomes less of an issue as opposed to when you are just dating someone, especially if it is a new relationship. Even so, I get the appeal of the no spouse rule on occasion for everyday social situations. Sometimes you just need a night with your friends minus significant others, it's healthy.

SADNESS SPICE, OLD SPICE, TOKEN BLACK SPICE, BUBBLES SPICE, AND RED SPICE. (I DO NOT KNOW THE NAMES OF THE SPICE GIRLS)

SADNESS SPICE, OLD SPICE, TOKEN BLACK SPICE, BUBBLES SPICE, AND RED SPICE. (I DO NOT KNOW THE NAMES OF THE SPICE GIRLS)

Now, it seems in your particular situation we're looking more at boyfriends and girlfriends as opposed to spouses. When you throw significant others into the mix with a group of friends, especially a 'new' significant other where they don't know anyone besides the person they came with it changes the whole dynamic of the group. Sometimes that's fine. In the sage words given to us by the Spice Girls "If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends". If a significant other is going to be around for a while, they've got to become familiar with the group at some point, otherwise you end up with that friend nobody sees anymore because his new girlfriend or boyfriend is dominating all their time. Still, sometimes you just want to go bowling or something with the old gang.

I don't know any of the people involved in this situation, so I can only speak in the most general of terms and operate on some basic assumptions. 

 GREAT DEAL FOR 'DATE NIGHT' OR SOUL CRUSHING  REMINDER OF YOUR CRIPPLING LONELINESS. 

 GREAT DEAL FOR 'DATE NIGHT' OR SOUL CRUSHING  REMINDER OF YOUR CRIPPLING LONELINESS. 

The first basic assumption that I am making is that your friend is pretty much a good guy and not a raging self-centered douche scooter. With that assumption in mind, I don't see the request for the no spouse rule at the first gathering as totally out of the blue. As I mentioned, sometimes it's nice to just hang out with the old gang, and really nobody wants to be the only one at Applebee's who can't order the 2 for $20 because he's by himself. Is it maybe a little selfish to institute the no spouse rule if the rest of the group isn't really down for it? Sure, but I can sympathize with being socially uncomfortable as the odd man out. I feel for the guy, so I can't get too bent out of shape over it.

Now the second get-together is maybe a little harder to justify. To play devil's advocate, I guess I can understand after having been the only single guy in the group and now finally having a boyfriend or girlfriend to bring along he was excited to show them off to his group of friends. It's mildly annoying but really I guess it depends on the fit of this new significant other in to the group. If they turn out to be awesome and get along with everyone, no harm no foul for the most part. If they are an insufferable mule that makes everyone want to slam their hands in a car door so they have an excuse to leave early not so great.

As for how you proceed with this friend, I'd like to introduce you to a philosophy by which I try to live my life. A philosophy that I believe keeps me from being an insufferable piece of garbage in many situations where folks tend to take the aforementioned human garbage route. I always ask myself "Is the aggravation of pressing this issue worth the potential reward, versus just letting it go?" 

Let me give you a few examples from my own life of the application of this mantra:

      WORKS 0.5% OF THE TIME.

      WORKS 0.5% OF THE TIME.

I used one of those photo printing kiosks you see in drug stores or Walmart to print up a few pictures that my wife wanted to frame. On one of the pictures, the printer screwed something up and left a black ink smudge across the center of the photo. I could have gone back to the store, shown the incorrectly printed photo to them, asked for a refund and had the pictures redone. Or, I could eat the $2.14, not have to fight with anybody, and just reprint that picture. I did not consider the reward of maybe $2.14 and some sort of pointless moral justice for my screwed up picture worth the inevitably awful interaction I would have had to have with an employee. I just reprinted the picture.

An additional example: Once something malfunctioned with our cable and took out our TV and internet service. I spent an hour on the phone with customer service troubleshooting before it was determined that a technician was going to need to come out and replace hardware. When it was all said and done, by the time they were able to get someone out to us, we were without TV or internet for three days.

I love my wife dearly, but there is no reward too small for her not to go through any amount of headache in the pursuit of justice. She insisted that I call our service provider and demand a refund for the time we were without cable.

CALL TOLL FREE SO A HYPER PLEASANT ETHNICALLY  NONDESCRIPT LADYBOT CAN ASK YOU TO "TRY UNPLUGGING IT AND PLUGGING IT BACK IN"

CALL TOLL FREE SO A HYPER PLEASANT ETHNICALLY  NONDESCRIPT LADYBOT CAN ASK YOU TO "TRY UNPLUGGING IT AND PLUGGING IT BACK IN"

To break that scenario down, I would have started this process by spending a minimum of an hour on the phone, most of it likely listening to hold music as I resisted the urge not to bite through my tongue and bleed to death rather than listen to another second of a synthesizer rendition of "I'm sailing away". Once I finally reached someone I would then have to petulantly demand that I be reimbursed for my inconvenience. I would be making this demand to someone who has likely already had this conversation approximately eighty-seven times today and gives exactly zero fucks. After all of that, presuming that I don't walk away empty handed and get I my reimbursement what have I actually won? If I pay $140 bucks a month for cable, I'm paying roughly $4.60 a day which would come out to a whopping $14 reimbursement for the days we were without service. Thanks, but I'll take not ruining my evening for maybe getting fourteen dollars or maybe getting politely told to go fuck myself by Verizon's customer service associate and have the recording of it immortalized for quality assurance purposes.

Now, apply this principle to this trouble with your friend. You may have a different barometer for your hassle/reward ratio than I do, but were I faced with this situation, at least where it came to the two get-togethers already passed, I would just let it go.

At best it goes well and you have a decent conversation with them about it, but still ends up being a whole thing. You can't get away with just texting them "Hey Ur GF can't hang with us anymore LOL!" and be done with it.

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A "BOYS NIGHT" AT LASER TAG. PAUL NEVER FORGAVE JOHN FOR BRINGING HIS GF.

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A "BOYS NIGHT" AT LASER TAG. PAUL NEVER FORGAVE JOHN FOR BRINGING HIS GF.

At worst they get offended and defensive and everyone gets dragged into a fight about it. A poorly handled no spouses rule violation helped break up The Beatles, don't let it happen to you and your friends too.

In all reality probably the best thing you can do is let what is done be done and take a proactive approach for future outings. Knowing that this friend has a history not quite getting the memo just realize you've got to be extra clear with them on expectations going forward.

If you do find yourself in a situation where this person is the dissenting voice in the group on if significant others should or should not invited along, avoid terms like "hypocritical" or "rude" even if they may be fitting. If you put someone on the defensive, they often shut down and you get nowhere with them.

Demonstrate that you understand their point of view and offer them your alternative. Try to make your points focused around the group as a whole rather than singling this person out as a problem. If you can win them over to the rest of the group's way of thinking without making him feel like you lectured him or hate his partner's stupid face it'll make life a lot easier for everyone.

If the group is looking for a "no spouse night" let him know that you all still like his significant other and would love to plan something soon for everyone, but that tonight other folks have already worked it out with their own significant others and you'd like to keep to the plan this time.

If its the other way around and he's pouting about significant others tagging along, make it clear that there will be plenty of opportunity to have a "just the gang" night, but it's important to welcome the partners of members of the group into the fold as well. 

As I said before, this all operates under the assumption that your friend is not a rabid uppity twit and is capable of being reasonable like an actual person. I don't know him, so maybe he is in fact a giant bag of assholes. If that's the case my advice is the group just tells him to jog on.

Good luck, and may all your future outings be trouble free.

Archived Post: Ask a Husband #1: Joint Finances

So back when I first started this website, I did a few installments of this thing where I took some general relationship questions that people sent me and wrote a post in a mock Dear Abby sort of advice column. The few of them I did ranged in how serious the advice I gave was. This one despite being largely about cat sweaters and discontinued cereal (you'll see) I felt actually addressed the question that was posed. Others were far less helpful. 

I eventually stopped these as I didn't really enjoy doing them. I took that part of the site down and it's been buried ever since. I came across the posts while digging through some old stuff though and remembered I did actually think some of them were kind of funny, so I decided to re-post them on the main site. I'll put them up one at a time over the next few weeks, and possibly even post one that never saw the light of day in the first place. We'll see.

Here is the first ever Ask a Husband. Perhaps 'Ask an Idiot' would be a more apt title now.


Ask A Husband #1: Joint Finances

Originally posted July 19 2015

For the first ever installment of Ask a Husband, I'm going to discuss a question that I got a few times. That topic is "Joint Finances"

“A newlyweds guide to managing finances together.”

— Paula S.

“How to make his and her money “our” money while both still being able to spend as wanted!”

— Ashley M.

One of the big things that must be dealt with as a newly married couple is figuring out how to make the transition from maintaining separate bank accounts to managing your finances as a joint entity.

Before I begin dishing out advice on this topic, let me start with a disclaimer. On this matter, there really is no single correct way to do things. You and your significant other are going to have to talk things over, figure out what is going to work best for you and go with that. If you're having a tough time coming to a consensus you can always point them to this site and tell them "Hey, when that guy isn't writing stories about farts and giggling about unintentionally phallic objects he has a few thoughts on joint bank account management you should look into." That should pretty much seal the deal that I'm a totally credible source of information.

It's a whole new experience sharing your finances with someone

f*#&ing Scrumptious 

f*#&ing Scrumptious 

The prospect of someone else having access to all your financial information, as well as your purchasing habits once you get married can be unsettling at first. Who want's to face having to explain to their angry spouse why they bought a forty dollar box of Rice Krispies Treats Cereal on Amazon? Certainly not me. (Because they're goddamn delicious and you can't get them in stores anymore FYI) 

Going from having complete and total control over how and when you spend your own money to managing everything with another person can be stressful, especially if you end up feeling like your unable to have any 'fun money' to spend on the occasional frivolous item for yourself.

If this resonates with you, perhaps the same method of managing finances that works for my wife and I will fit you and your partner. We organize our finances so that we cover some things together, whilst still maintaining a portion of our incomes independently.

The Future is now!

99% Murder Efficiency

99% Murder Efficiency

First I'll say this. I love the continued progress we are making in the world towards not having to interact humans for basic services. When the inevitable robot apocalypse occurs and humans are overthrown as the dominant life form on the planet by the new master race of robo-murdertron 9000's and I'm hunted down and pulped to make some sort of battery recharging slurry my last words will be "At least for a while I was able to do my banking without having to talk to anyone".

Setting up multiple accounts with your bank and managing them from your computer or phone is awesome. In our household, we've got all our accounts at our fingertips and can move money around at will. It makes maintaining multiple checking and savings accounts which we've designated for different purposes a snap.

I highly recommend if you are not already doing so, get yourself set up to do mobile banking with accounts you both have access to. It will help massively with managing your budget and keeping you both on the same page with your finances. 

Getting your budget in order

Before we get to the part of managing your finances together where you get your own money to blow on headphones for your cat or something, you should make sure all of your other affairs are in order.

Headphones for your cat, not to be confused with cat headphones

Headphones for your cat, not to be confused with cat headphones

In other words, the order of importance of figuring out where your money is going looks something like this:

  • Bills and essentials
  • Savings
  • Cat Headphones

Seems simple but it's really easy to forget that you need to make sure you've got all your bills payed and you're putting something away for later before running out to buy a new gadget. Especially if you're younger and just starting out. Way too many times have I heard things like It's okay to be broke now, your just starting out, you're supposed to be broke. You've got time to save later. As justification for spending on things you really can't afford. A word of advice: It is okay to be broke, and it is okay treat yourself, but do so responsibly. Always be putting at least something away for later. Even if it's just a few bucks a month at first. Even if it just means going out to dinner one less time that month, that's twenty bucks more than you had before and it adds up over time. You may be glad you've got a few hundred or a few thousand bucks in reserve down the road in an emergency.

How We Do It

What we did for our money management was work out a system where all of our recurring bills are payed from a single joint checking account that we set up solely for that purpose. We each contribute 50% towards bills like rent, utilities, food, cable, ect, while putting in 100% of the cost towards any recurring bills we felt were individual responsibilities (things like student loans and individual car payments).

This works for us as it has all of our money going out from one account for easy tracking, and in a situation where my monthly expenses are much higher than her's due to my student loans and the fact that her car is payed off already, it doesn't put that financial burden on her. Everything is nice and even.

Once we had the bills covered we each took whatever was left from each of our monthly incomes and split it up in several ways. These boil down to: Long term savings, incidentals, and fun money.

Long term savings is money we put aside in addition to what we are each already contributing to our respective 401k and retirement funds. This is money that we don't touch, but have readily available in an emergency. (Like if one of our jerk dogs breaks through two secured gates, gets into the kitchen and eats seven ears of corn and needs emergency surgery, to provide you with a highly specific example).

Incidentals is for the various things you inevitably need to purchase that aren't  covered in the monthly budget. We move a certain amount of money to this account each month and use it for the random purchases we make throughout the month (like 95% of it being the twelve consecutive trips I end up making to Lowe's every time I try to fix something stupid around the house like the outside hoses.) As we are still in the process of furnishing our house we periodically try to let it build up over a while and then make a large purchase like a piece of furniture. (We never buy anything we can't afford to pay for then and there. Credit card debt is the writhing spawn of Satan's housekeeper Norma.)

Now onto my personal favorite: Fun money. We have together fun money, and we have individual fun money. Each month after we've moved the designated amount of money for our bills, incidentals and long term savings, we take whatever is left over and put it into the fun money accounts. We have one that we share, which we use primarily to save for vacations, and we each have a separate account that the other person doesn't have access to.

go hard.

go hard.

With the bills paid and some money being squirreled away for a rainy day, the money in this personal account is considered ours and ours alone to do with as we please. If I want to buy a 40 dollar box of cereal on the internet, I can do so entirely guilt free. She loves getting her nails done, if she wants to go do that, great! If I purchase a sick cat sweater, we have a talk about being embarrasing in public but hell if that's not my money to spend on cat sweaters if I want! Having that little bit of money set aside each month that is entirely yours to spend on whatever you want is, in my opinion, a healthy way to maintain that balance between "his and her" money and "our" money.

The other benefit to managing things this way is that it forces you to be more responsible and deliberate with your purchasing. If I want to blow all my money on Cat sweaters and Cereal, I'm free to do that, but I only put so much money in my fun money account each month. If I spend it all, there is no dipping into the other pools of cash, I've gotta wait. If I want to buy something more expensive, I've got to be happy with the sweaters I already own, and whatever bran flavored box of disappointing adult cereal we have in the house for a couple of months. Ultimately I find it makes purchasing that new laptop or expensive gadget all the more rewarding because the anticipation of saving up for it made it that much more sweet when I actually got my hands on it. 

Bottom Line, have boundaries set and stick to them   

Now before you run off and buy a purebred Welsh Corgi which is genetically proven to be a 99% genetic relative to the Queen of England's third favorite dog and name him Colonel Stuben Crumplebuttons, or roll out to the gentleman's club and make it rain singles on a dancer named Cinnamon who's "just working her way through nursing school", realize that while fun money is meant to be for you to spend on things that make you happy, you are still in a relationship. 

Don't go pointing the finger at me when your significant other is pissed that you got a dog without consulting them or come home smelling like glitter and broken dreams. "The cat sweater and cereal guy said I could spend this money on whatever I wanted!" is not going to fly, I promise you that.

Make sure if you are purchasing something that will affect the other person, you consult with them before doing it.

Like in all things in a marriage, you can usually avoid conflict by talking things out with one another and being on the same page with your plan. That goes not just for how you are spending your fun money, but for setting up your budget and establishing how any leftover money is being handled after the bills have been payed in the first place.

As I said before, the plan I outlined is just how my wife and I handle things. That's what works for us, but it might not be what is best for you. Figure out your plan for your finances and once it's in place, stick to it. Before you know it you'll be rolling in all the cat sweaters and cereal you could ever want.

My Patronus is a...

 
Harry Potter.jpg
 

Somebody sent me this quiz where you answer like, ten questions about what kind of ice cream you like, what picture of a beach most matches your personality and what character from Friends you think is the most dateable (Gunther, because he's eager to please and seems like he'd be a gentle lover) and it tells you what animal your patronus takes the shape of.

In case you are pop culture illiterate and don't know what a patronus is, it's more or less the Harry Potter metaphor for jerkin' it. It's basically where you close your eyes, squeeze your magic wand real hard and think happy thoughts till a milky white thing comes shooting out of the end.

You're welcome for the visual, internet.

Anyway. I took the quiz and got something like an Otter or a Fox or some other equally likable and/or adorable creature as my result. Just out of curiosity I took the quiz a bunch of times answering differently each time to see what kind of stuff you could get. Predictably, there was a small handful of different results based on your answers and they were all pretty much the kinds of animals you would expect; Stag, Wolf, Fox, Otter, Terrier, Doe, Eagle etc. etc.

Of course, it's an internet quiz designed to generate webpage clicks for ad revenue so they just threw a handful of animals people like or think are cool as possible results, job done. It got me thinking though; not everybody can possibly have a cool or interesting patronus, right? All I know is that there are 7 billion people on this planet and a finite number of cool, likable animals. I don't mean to burst anybody's bubble, but we're not all soaring eagles or majestic lions on the inside. 80% of us are like, a sea cucumber or something; most of us are getting screwed.

Sure, I'd love to take an internet quiz and be all like, "My patronus is a cool timber-wolf because I'm an aloof loner, but I'm also strong and loyal", but the realist in me is like, "Bitch, you a tubby beagle AT BEST and we both know it."

You know who is a guy I don't want to meet? The guy who has the worst patronus. Objectively he exists out there somewhere, right? Congratulations Greg, you got a Blobfish. Of all the people in the world, you're the one who's got a loogie with a face for a patronus. We all voted; you're officially the worst, now please leave because it's making us sad to look at you and if we're being honest, creeping us out a little.

Is there even a rule that says it has to be an animal? Can a patronus just be some random object? What if the thing that best represents my inner soul is like... a desk lamp? Or a half-eaten roast beef sandwich?

Maybe I ate a really delicious roast beef sandwich in 2004 and when I'm old and grey I'll cast my spell and that fucking sandwich appears and my wife will be next to me in our twin rocking chairs like, "Even after all this time?" and I'll be like "Always."

All I'm saying is the Harry Potter universe has not been clear on the intricacies of patronus forms. I think they've left room to speculate here and that could leave some of us in real trouble.

"No, Mrs. Stevenson, I swear I don't know why it looks like that." says the guy who's patronus takes the form of a dumpster full of prosthetic legs when the topic comes up at dinner with his significant other's parents.

Anyway. Here are some of my thoughts on real world Patronuses. Leave a comment on Facebook with your own ideas and maybe I'll draw some of the best ones.

 
Tensions run high in this relationship because Becca's Patronus is a beautiful hummingbird and Danny is stuck with this fat pigeon.

Tensions run high in this relationship because Becca's Patronus is a beautiful hummingbird and Danny is stuck with this fat pigeon.

 
 
It is common practice among sweet bros to double fist two wands at once so that they don't have to choose between their favorite things when casting the patronus charm.

It is common practice among sweet bros to double fist two wands at once so that they don't have to choose between their favorite things when casting the patronus charm.

 
 
any of those religious PROTESTERS who have ever held up a 'God Hates Fags' sign automatically get a patronus that is just like, 100 dicks slapping around on each other because the universe metes out its own ironic justice. People in the Klan get the same thing, except the dicks are black.

any of those religious PROTESTERS who have ever held up a 'God Hates Fags' sign automatically get a patronus that is just like, 100 dicks slapping around on each other because the universe metes out its own ironic justice. People in the Klan get the same thing, except the dicks are black.

 
 
I think my subconcious is probably telling me something...

I think my subconcious is probably telling me something...

 

The 14 Dollar Carrot

Ever wondered what a 14 dollar carrot would look like?

Wonder no more. here it is:

 
carrot.jpg
 

As it turns out, a 14 dollar carrot looks suspiciously like a regular carrot that somebody cut in half, heated up and put on a plate with a few artful mooshes of unidentifiable shit.

The 14 dollar carrot is what you get when you go to a very fancy vegan restaurant in Philadelphia.

Perhaps some backstory. 


My wife has been a vegetarian for almost a decade and while I support her lifestyle choice, I personally continue to eat meat. Partly because I like meat and partly because most vegetarian/vegan foods taste like what I assume getting a degree in Latin yodeling then being sad for the rest of your life because you're unemployable and in a mountain of debt would taste like if it were food. In other words: disappointing and unpalatable.

Despite the fact that I am not a vegetarian myself, I'll occasionally bite the bullet and try whatever form of weird grass-fed lettuce she wants me to eat for the sake of marital compromise. She tolerates me cooking meatloaf, which even as a person who likes meatloaf I can admit is fucking disgusting, so I figure I owe her one every now and again.

We happened to have a gift card to this fancy vegan restaurant in the city that she'd been talking about trying for ages. We'd never actually made the trip because the place has a reputation for being a bit pricey and I've got the pallet of a third grader, so it wasn't likely I was going to find anything on the menu appetizing. With the gift card though, I thought why not; if I'm going to subject myself to choking down some upper crusty vegan nonsense as a meal at least not having to pay for it makes me feel better.  

I made a reservation a few weeks in advance and surprised Emily with a dinner date in the city. 

 
 

I pretty much anticipated the place was going to be  an insufferable den of hipster bullshit and I was not disappointed. It was a veritable smorgasbord of flannel shirts, buddy holly glasses and wrist tattoos of anchors up in there. I felt out of place immediately upon entering the building in that I'm positive they could tell I was an outsider as if I had a visible aura around me that indicated to them that I don't own a fixed gear bike and think Cochella is stupid. The restaurant itself was very nice, but walking in the door was like a way more passive aggressive version of when a city-slicker walks into an old west saloon; If there had been a guy in suspenders and a bowler hat playing a piano he'd have hit a flat chord and come grinding to a halt while everyone in the room turned to glare at me.

I mean, there absolutely was a guy with suspenders and a bowler hat, but he was just there having drinks.

The dining experience was generally as expected; every single ingredient used in every single item on the menu came equipped with its own own resume of qualifications on how vegany it was. This equated to roughly a six hour seminar just to hear the specials. We get it Becky, the tofu is free range, cruelty free, contains no gluten, is organic and donates it's free time to underprivileged urban children on the weekends. We all get to claim moral superiority for the next twenty-four hours for having eaten here over anybody who had the audacity to eat a cheeseburger at a TGI Fridays tonight like a fucking plebeian; Can we please just move on with our lives?

On the bright side, all of the extra time it took to listen to the life story of every vegetable on the menu was offset by extremely fast service; It wasn't five minutes between when we ordered and when our food showed up at the table. I suppose when your entire menu only consists of three different ingredients, one of them is a carrot and the other two are soy paste it doesn't take all that long to prepare a dish so I guess that isn't a huge compliment but credit where credit is due. It may have been some warmed up vegetables, but goddamnit if those warmed up vegetables were not in front of my face pronto.

Here's the highlight reel of the experience from the time we sat down at the table until the time we left:

Ordering

 
 

Everything on the menu was weird stuff. Fancy Radishes? Fuck off. Unless you put little tophats and a monocles on those things and give them a trust fund they're still a shitty mostly tasteless tuberous root that you washed dirt off of six seconds before you fed it to me. Also, I saw someone order the Glazed Romanesco. I don't know what shit you people are trying to pull, but that was a piece of lettuce with some stuff drizzled on it.

I've got to hand it to them at least, looking through this menu, there is not a single item on here that can possibly cost this restaurant more then a dollar a plate. they are successfully charging people out the butthole for this stuff.

Before the Meal

 
 

This is the vegan restaurant version of bringing bread to the table. It's 'carrot soup'. It was warm-ish, served in a shot glass and tasted like spicy carrots strained through a tube sock. It had the consistancy of baby food and I did not care for it.

Entree 

 
 

For our meals Emily got the previously depicted 14 dollar carrot and I got this tofu because it enraged me the least out of everything on the menu. No, that is not a trick of perspective, that is in fact a 15 dollar meal consisting of a single piece of grilled tofu only slightly larger than the head of a fork. 

Also whatever this shit was that looked like what you pull out of the bottom of your lawnmower when it gets clogged up.

The one thing I will say is this: The outside of that piece of tofu was fucking delicious. It may have been the single best marinade on a grilled piece of food I have ever eaten. 

However.

No matter how mouthtacular the glaze was, there is a singularly detrimental issue with this dish, which I have depicted in a handy diagram below:

And again for further clarity: 

Not even all of the top hats could disguise what essentially boils down to eating a mostly tasteless lego brick of pressed bean milk. They can grill any flavor they want onto the outside of a piece of tofu but the entire interior is always going to taste like licking a kitchen sponge. I ate it though. So help me I ate it with nary a top hat or monocle to be seen to fancy it up.

Dessert

 
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If the rest of the meal up until this point was a parade of overpriced pretentious crap where they put a single vegetable on a plate and drizzled a sauce on it, dessert made up for it in spades.

I got this thing that was different toffee, caramel and peanut butter flavored stuff and it was good. Not even like, good for being vegan food. It was regular food good. I couldn't even tell that the dessert had been made of sadness and a sense of moral superiority (the only vegan ingredients left when you remove dairy from an ice cream based treat). I would come back to this restaurant just to eat that.

The thing that looks like a hockey puck of monochrome cat food in coffee grounds I understand was some sort of ice cream with chocolate dusty stuff that Emily got. It was also very good I am told despite perhaps less than stellar curb appeal.


All in all, my expectations were met regarding our dinner at the vegan restaurant. I went in assuming I was going to find the general demeanor of the establishment vaguely annoying, and that I was going to force feed myself something way too expensive that I found moderately appetizing at best. I was correct on both counts.

Emily seemed to enjoy the experience though, and I am not devoid of an ability to at least fake proper dining civility once in a while for her benefit. I doubt I'll be rushing back to any vegan restaurants any time soon, but if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or have an abnormally tiny stomach and some spare cash, you could do a lot worse. I can certainly see why people who, unlike myself, are not complete barbarians would very much like the place.

Robot Dinosaurs and the Sassiest Stegosaurus

 
 

I recently attended a sort of class trip to the Franklin Institute with my wife and a bunch of her vet school classmates. There is currently a Jurassic World themed exhibit on display and this anatomy professor who also happens to be a paleontologist organized this extracurricular trip to go see it for any students who might be interested.

First of all, anatomy professor at an ivy league university and an actual paleontologist at the same time? Awesome.  It's like how Indiana Jones is an archaeologist but also a whip wielding, adventure having  badass with a PhD in being fucking rad on the side. This guy is all like "Yeah I teach anatomy at one of the top veterinary institutions in the world and by the way I've discovered and named six dinosaurs. No big deal."

Thankfully, spouses/partners of students who would literally punch a toddler for a chance to see a twenty foot tall animatronic T-rex were invited to attend as well if they wanted. This explains how I got there. No toddler punching was required.

The actual exhibit was not what either Emily or I expected, but it was still pretty goddamn awesome. Emily thought it was going to be a lot of fossils, bones and skeletons, while I was expecting more of a behind the scenes look at the technical stuff that went into making the movies. In actuality it's more of a walkthrough thing that they have set up to make it seem like you are a tourist visiting actual Jurassic World. You follow a little narrative as if you are a VIP guest arriving on the island and visiting different exhibits all the way up until the finale where the giant murder dinosaur gets loose, surprising no one.

While I would have liked to learn more about what actually goes into the creation of the practical and digital effects from the various Jurassic Park Movies, I'm sure as shit not going to complain about a ceiling high fully articulated brachiosaurus head.

 
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I got this idea that it was really funny to take a bunch of selfies where my head is blocking most of the dinosaur, or it's out of focus or something.  It's like there is this enormous, lifelike hybrid marvel of engineering, science and art behind you and you just take a picture where your dumb head is blocking most of it.

 
 
 
 

Even Emily got in on this one. I kept taking all these crap selfies, until at one point one of her friends asked if we'd like her to take our picture, because she's a normal, polite person. She was all, "Oh, do you guys want me to take your picture in front of the dinosaur for you?" and I was like "Nah." She looked at me like I was kind of a crazy person so I elaborated that I was 'doing a thing' and that 'the pictures being bad is the point'. For some reason my clarification did not help.

In any event I did take at least a few pictures that weren't bad on purpose.

 
 

Emily wanted a picture of this baby dino here. This little guy and his mother who's giant legs you can see behind him are one of about 3524894734258 relatives of Triceratopsthat nobody give a shit about apparently because they don't have sick horns and aren't one of the four dinosaurs anyone knows the name of. It's a little sad, really that there are all these dinos floundering in obscurity while that limelight hogging hussy Triceratops takes all the glory. 

It's ok little guy, we know the feeling. We have the same problem with Jason Momoa

 
 

He's such a glorious piece of chiseled man-god that nobody gives a shit about most of us in comparison either.

Anyway, this guy was part of the exhibit too who I'm pretty sure is supposed to be the dinosaur they made up to be the uberdino that murders faces in the newest movie

 
 

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think this guy is a he. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a she because all the dinosaurs in the movie were female?... Or did it become a weird hermaphrodite... I don't know. To be honest a lot of the plot stuff they made up about the badguy dinosaur in Jurassic World was pretty shitty.

In any event, there was this whole sequence involving Murdersaurus Rex near the end of the tour, complete with machine gun sound effects and a bazooka where unseen park security presumably shoot it to death horribly in front everyone. Kind of a weird choice in my opinion seeing as it's an exhibit filled with small children but whatever I guess. If the kids don't learn about firing rocket launchers at rampaging dinosaurs now, how will they be prepared when they have to defend themselves against a real velociraptor attack?  

After the giant animations portion they had a bunch more kid friendly/ traditional museum-y displays. Naturally while all the graduate students who came as part of the class trip perused the informational plaques and chatted one on one or in small groups with the professor, I played with a bunch of shit like a child.

I made a 3-D dinosaur of my own creation at a station which let you email it to yourself when you finished. Here he is in all his glory:

 
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Look at that sassy motherfucker. Just struttin' around with his pink ass. God he is so sassy. That has got to be the sassiest stegosaurus ever to fake-walk the digital imaginary landscape of the pretend earth. 

Look at him

 
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JUST LOOK

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SO. SASSY.

That beautiful sassy son of a bitch aside, the last room before you left the exhibit had a bunch of touch exhibits including a station with paper and crayons were kids could make rubbings of some little dinosaur etched slabs they had.

By kids, of course I mean me.

 
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Not only did I make a dino-crayon rubbing at a station where I had to bend double to reach the table because it was sized appropriately for a 7 year old; I goddamn waited in line to do it. I also silently judged the creations of people ahead of me in the process. A yellow t-rex kid? Really? Take that amateur hour shit and get out of here.

 Mine of course is a masterpiece. You see that sweet illusion of perspective you get from that majestic ass foreground dino against the majestic mountain range in the back? It's truly majestic. Everything about this is Majestic. It's literally just shitting majesty all over your eyes right now.

Sassosaurus in my email inbox and crayon rubbing in hand we exited the Jurrassic World exhibit having learned basically fuckall about dinosaurs from the exhibit itself, a bunch of cool stuff from Indiana Professor the anatomy teacher, and having thoroughly enjoyed robot dino fun time.

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I'm Definitely Going to be Killed by a Soccer Mom

You know that paranoid feeling you get when someone is driving behind you for a little too long and you start to convince yourself they are following you? Obviously it's just some random person on their way home from work or something and they just happen to be going in the same general direction as you for a while, but that little voice in the back of your head is like: 

"This is it. We're about to be killed to death by rear-view mirror murderer. They're going to stab us in the neck with a sharpened tire iron then cut off all our skin and craft it into a pair of fashionable short shorts."

First of all brain, props on coming up with that sweet headline grabbing murderer name on the fly like that, Rear-View Murderer is dope as hell. But short shorts? That's pretty unrealistic. No self respecting serial killer/ amateur human leather enthusiast is going to be that wasteful. They'd at least get a decent sport coat out of us. Have some pride. 

Skin coats aside, I worry about murderers following my car so much you'd think I was the perky twenty-something female character in the opening scene of literally every shit horror movie ever made. At least three times a week I end up spending five to ten minutes of some car ride somewhere looking in my mirror every four seconds trying to memorize the license plate of the car behind me. Presumably the idea here is so I can scrawl it on ground in my blood with the last of my strength so that when Horatio Caine arrives on at the crime scene he can be like:

"Well, looks like this guy had.... 

a license to be killed..."

 

It's gotten to the point where I have driven directly past my house and pulled into the parking lot of the business down the street so the car behind me doesn't see me pulling in and know where I live. You know, in case they were just doing the preliminary stalking now and intend to come back later in the middle of the night and kill me then. 

Sometimes I'm afraid this is an escalating problem. Does it start with worrying about cars behind me and by the time I'm forty I have a weird Beautiful Mind conspiracy shed complete with a maniac wall of stings and push pins?  Sometimes I look at older people and see the weird conspiracy theories they come up with about how everyone is out to get them and somebody is stealing from their stash of hard candies and I get real worried about my own future.

Please tell me I'm not alone here and at least someone else out there is as worried about this as I am.

If in ten years any of you guys see me darting through the streets of your town trying to shake off invisible pursuers just call my family and tell them where I am. Or maybe just throw a coat over me to calm me down. I hear that works with rabbits.

 

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's day, and my wife decided she wanted to do a collaborative post in honor of the holiday.  She saw one of those cutesy couples quiz things on Facebook where you're supposed to fill in the answers and re-post it to your own wall and thought it would be fun for us to each fill it out to put out on the 14th.

I presume it was an understood given than I was not going to take the thing seriously, but we'll see how mad at me she gets  after it comes out.

As usual when we do these types of posts, both of us did our part independently of one another and I've compiled the answers, unedited into one post. Here you go:



In honor of Valentine's Day, all couples: Make this your status and answer honestly! 

 

Who's older? 

Emily: Matty

Matt: Chronologically or in a more broad sense? Because my wife is currently attending an Ivy League university to obtain her medical degree in Veterinary medicine while I average four puns an hour and didn't learn how to do taxes until last week.


Who was interested first?

Emily: Hmm. I’d say it was equal. But I always thought he was pretty gosh darn cute.

Matt: I find the wording of this question vague. Interested in what? Cake? If it's cake the answer is me. I was interested in cake first. I hope they meant cake.


How long have you been together?

Emily: 6 years in May.

Matt: Something like six years, but It feels like forever. Good forever though. The kind of forever where you can hardly remember the unbelievably shitty version of the universe that existed when you were alone.


Married?

Emily: You know it! Look at that face!

Matt: My wedding ring and tax return would indicate that yes, we are in fact married.


More sarcastic?

Emily: Hah! Definitely Matt!

Matt: Oh for suuuuure it's her. Shes toootally the more sarcastic one.*

* Is there an setting to italics even harder?


Who makes the most mess?

Emily: We contribute in our own ways. But I’d say in general, probably Matt contributes more but he also probably doesn’t recognize when he’s made a mess more.

Matt: I am positive she is going to say it's me, but the fact that one millisecond after she walks in the door every goddamn surface in the house somehow has coats, bags and books piled on them would seem to contradict her assertion.


Who has more tattoos?

Emily: Me

Matt: She does, 2 to 0. I keep getting close to getting one, but then I just think how often I buy a shirt and end up regretting the purchase after the first time I wear it and it stops me from permanently imprinting something on my body.

I'm lookin' at you 'wolf howling at an American Flag' shirt that I bought at Wal-Mart for 8 bucks because I thought it would be funny to wear ironically only to realize it's not ironic and I'm just an asshole.


Better singer?

Emily: It really depends on the genre. I mean normal singing, I’d say him but I have more of a calling for opera than he does.

Matt: You haven't lived until you've heard my wife sing the same two lines of a song at the top of her voice in a fake opera vibrato for two straight days.


Hogs the remotes?

Emily:OMG, MATT!

Matt:The remote is mine. I will fight anyone.


Better driver?

Emily: Me! But he would never admit that.

Matt: It must be Emily. I mean, she's so good at driving that she provides me with an incessant stream of pointers and corrections from the passenger seat of the car at all times. Including, but not limited to reminding me to make the turn into our own driveway.


Smarter?

Emily: We have our strengths. We definitely have the biological sciences covered between the two of us. He has the street smarts. I think it was his time spent in public schooling.

Matt: Again. Emily is in school to be come a doctor. I spent an hour drawing a t-rex dressed like Batman earlier today.


What are your middle names?

Emily: Rose and Douglas.

Matt: Karen and Ragnar the Soul Mangler. You may speculate on your own which name belongs to whom. Hint; mine is Karen.


Whose siblings do you see the most?

Emily: Matt's.

Matt: Mine.


Do you have any children together?

Emily: 3 beautiful babies- Olive Jane, Grifford Danger, and Crosby (AKA Mr. Bird) *

Matt: This is the part where literally every couple on the planet without kids names their pets, right?

* called it


Did you go to the same school?

Emily: The same college for undergrad.

Matt: College, yes


Who is the most sensitive?

Emily: I guess me…

Matt: I would like to abstain from answering this question on the grounds that certain involved parties might be a little sensitive about their sensitivity.


Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Emily:We don’t eat out very much but if I had to pick, I guess it would be Salad Works or Chipotle.

Matt: As a couple, Saladworks. My shame trips to Arby's I do on my own.


Where is the furthest you two have traveled? 

Emily: Grenada for our honeymoon

Matt: Sedona Arizona, where we got engaged.

*One would assume Grenada where we went for our honeymoon, but I google mapped that shit. Sedona is further from where we live by a few hundred miles.

 


Who has the worst temper?

Emily: Never me.

Matt: I am as a font of patience and unflappable calm whilst Emily is basically a towering inferno of rage at all times. She is not going to admit this. She is a liar and nobody will believe me.


Who does the cooking?

Emily: When I’m not in school, we split it but now, it’s definitely him!

Matt: It depends. In the instance of who has to wash lettuce for salads it is my responsibility 100% of the time because it is the literal worst thing on the planet and a certain somebody refuses to do it. That certain somebody also won't just eat the goddamned pre-washed kind that I like meaning not only do I have to buy two kinds of lettuce, but I have have to wash dry and chop the shitty romaine even though I hate it and don't want that kind in the first place and spring mix is way better and cant you see your unreasonable lettuce habits are tearing this family apart?!

Other than that we split it fairly evenly though.


Who is more social?

Emily: I’d say it depends on the situation. Probably him.

Matt: Seeing as on a scale of one to ten I'm a troll the lives under a bridge when it comes to social skills I'd say she wins this round.


Who is the neat freak?

Emily: We have different preferences for different things. He hates clutter, I hate dirt.

Matt: I will admit to a problem where I use about 23025 different cups and then leave them, half full of water, all over the house, but I claim innocence on most other tidiness infractions.


Who is the most stubborn? 

Emily: Never me. Even though he probably thinks it’s me.*

Matt: I'm not stubborn. YOU'RE stubborn.

* I do.


Who hogs the bed?

Emily: Griff (!), then him, then Olive. Leaving me with about a foot of bed space by morning! But I get the covers ☺

Matt: She calls it hogging the bed. I call it agressive cuddling.


Who wakes up earlier? 

Emily: Him. I hate mornings.

Matt: Lets just say one of us is regularly still in their pink heart flannel pajamas until two or three in the afternoon.


Where was your first date?

Emily: To a black-tie event with his parents. Where his parents proceeded to tell me embarrassing childhood stories of Matt growing up ☺

Matt: Some sort of banquet for something or other with my parents. Because few men are as smooth as taking a girl on a first date with their mom and dad.


Who has the bigger family? 

Emily: We are fairly equal I think.

Matt: Emily I presume. In actuality it could be fairly even, but my family is quite fond of making people 'dead to them'. So the number of people we are allowed to interact with on my side has dwindled over the years.


Do you get flowers often? 

Emily: Not in the traditional sense. I get a lot of leftover flowered shrubbery from his work added to my garden each spring…the joys of marrying a nurseryman.

Matt: Conventional gender roles dictate that I don't get to get flowers. F*#$ing patriarchy.


Who does the laundry?

Emily: Definitely me.

Matt: My technique for laundry is a highly complex two step process. Step one is wash and dry the laundry. Step two is never fold it ever and just live my life digging a outfits out of an enormous heap in the laundry room. Repeat until dead.


Who's better with computers? 

Emily: Definitely him!!!.

Matt: Me, but being 'better' with computers is not the same thing as being 'good' with computers. That distinction should be clearly noted. I am about one step above your befuddled step-father trying to figure out how to download a .pdf file.


Who drives when you are together?

Emily: We split it fairly evenly except that he does most of the longer trips.

Matt: Typically me.


Who picks where you go to dinner? 

Emily: I hate making decisions so I make him decide and then shoot him down a bunch until I finally decide that I don’t actually want to go out most of the time.

Matt: That's a tough call. Based on all empirical evidence gathered from every conversation about where to eat we've ever had, nobody actually has any preference of where to eat. Ever. Like, not even one time...


Who wears the pants in the relationship?

Emily: Seeing as how he prefers life pants-less most of the time and I’m always freezing, I guess me :P

Matt: I try to spend as little time wearing pants as possible. I have a strict 'pants off as soon as I walk in the door' policy..

Christmas Tree Update

If you're not familiar with the complete beast of a Christmas tree we had this year, you can read this and get up to speed.

Today I took the beast down and got rid of it. I thought I would immortalize it's passing.

 
 

Every year I take a piece of scrap plastic from work and use it to wrap my Christmas trees up so they don't shit needles all over my house on the way out the door. It saves me a bunch of cleanup time and keeps me from finding pine needles in my socks in August because as we all know, pine needles, glitter and that fake grass from Easter Baskets are the most adhesive objects in the known universe and can never be successfully removed from any surface.

Of course the thing is so huge it basically just looks like for some reason there was a full sized gorilla in my den and the only thing I could think of to deal with it was to throw a tarp on it. Don't see it? Here:

 
gorilla.jpg
 

If only all of life's problems could be dealt with by throwing a tarp over them and pretending they don't exist. Tree gorillas aside, I hauled it out of the house to get rid of it. This turned out to be a whole production in and of itself.

 
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I seriously don't understand how we got it in there in the first place. I had to put my feet on the wall and use my body weight to haul it through that doorway like a cartoon character just to get it out of the room. I'm sure I ruined at least half the branches jamming it through the doorframe as it apparently it got even bigger in diameter from when it went in. Logic would suggest that the branches had settled after we brought it in before Christmas, explaining the trouble i had getting it out. However, I suspect it grew two feet of it's own accord because it's an asshole.

Once it was outside it wasn't too bad at least. For a tree roughly the size of an adolescent rhino it was deceptively light; Possibly due to the fact that I put off dealing with it until almost a month after Christmas and it was so dry I'm surprised a slightly sunny day reflecting through the window didn't cause it to ignite. Or some other reason, maybe. Off it goes to the tree graveyard.


The tree graveyard is this spot in the woods behind our house I take the Christmas tree every year to dump. Apparently putting your tree out in the woods to decompose naturally is good for wildlife that can use it as shelter, but mostly it's just easier for me to huck it in the woods and not deal with it again, so I don't feel like I really get any merit badges on my sash for it. (Do boyscouts get sashes? That seems like it's probably more of a Girlscout thing. Boyscouts should start getting sashes because fuck off, boys can be fabulous too if they want.) 

I also like the tree graveyard because the particular spot I go to is sort of this lip that overlooks a steep hill into the little area where all the trees go. Its really fun to hurl the tree off the cliff and watch it tumble to it's fate. Because I'm nine apparently and get satisfaction from that sort of thing.

 
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You can see the tree from each year we've lived in this house down there, though the one from four Christmases ago is is hard to see at this point. If we ever move I might sneak back here in the middle of the night in January every year to keep throwing Christmas trees off this hill. I want it to be a barren wasteland of old Christmas trees someday, and also I like the though that whoever lives here after me has a little bit of a paranoid breakdown fifteen years from now trying to figure out why Christmas Trees keep appearing in the middle of the night.

Just for reference, if you look a little closer, that's last year's tree being suffocated by the malformed girth of this years tree.

Maybe next year I'll just come back down here and get this one to put up again. It will probably manage to still be green somehow. Out of sheer malice I suspect.