The world is quite mad right now, isn’t it? People are staying away from each other. Cooped up in our houses. Scared. Anxious. Some of us have lost work, or have been working from home. Too many people are ill and WAY too many have died. It’s all a surreal nightmare that we won’t wake up from for a while.
I am currently working at the house. My office is the library and my desk is the Ikea table we use for game nights. There’s a blanket next to my laptop so the cats have somewhere to plop down and not bother me. And lick their butts, apparently.
I’m trying not to freak out about everything, but it’s not an easy task. Focusing on the positive parts of it helps. For instance, no social anxiety! Pants are optional! Doing chores at lunch! So many movies and shows to watch! Factiming friends! Cat snuggles up the wazoo!
How are you doing? Let me know in the comments. Hang in there. Be safe. Reach out if you need to.
“Yes, it’s one of the basic truths of the universe,…Things don’t disappear. They just change, and change and change again.” – Jim Henson
Good afternoon, evening, morning, or witching hour to you. Things have gotten awfully WILD in 2020, huh? My last post was a recap of spending all day at a pop culture convention, with wall to wall strangers, shaking hands, touching, nudging, and who knows what else. Sounds extremely reckless and dangerous considering where we are now, eh? Yeah. To say humanity is a bit ON EDGE is mild at the least. We’re all dealing with this virus as best we can. We’re all suffering. In minor and major ways. If I could give everyone a giant, soft, comforting, socially distant hug I would. In the meantime, let me give you something to please your earholes and your ha-ha reflex. Go, subscribe to Belle and Dubs In the Morning!
How do I describe this immensely fun, silly, smart, pop culture appreciative scripted dose of episodic goodness? Well, let me ask you some questions:
- Do you enjoy laughing at things like butts and weiners?
- Are you a fan of Grand Theft Auto? Red Dead Redemption? College radio?
- Do you like music? Enough that you’d get references to songs and bands and lyrics and the like?
If you answered yes to any of those, this will be a hell of a ride for ya. My friends Justin and Jennie worked their asses off to create this amazing project. They recruited a bunch of hilarious people to take part too – including me! I suppose I can be hilarious. Right? RIGHT. I had a complete blast being a small part of it. Look how much fun we had!!
I admire people who can stay motivated to do creative things because I am lazy and have trouble doing more than consuming art (unless something gives me a super inspirational kick in the butt). Do yourself a favor and get in on the Belle & Dubs action. The second season has just started – Why are two college radio personalities from San Andreas, CA all of a sudden in a sleepy western spot called Strawberry? Tune in to find out.
I had a really great day last Saturday. Getting away from all of the terrible, anxiety-inducing current events was so incredibly necessary, and I had the best person to do it with – my friend since junior high school, Teri. She’d never attended a pop culture convention before, and it was so fun wandering the floor and gawking at the TONS of people, things, costumes, art, and insanity through her eyes. Eventually, we met up with Teri’s daughter Chelsi, and she assisted us in identifying all of the anime characters strolling past. It was Chelsi’s first time at one of these big-time cons as well; I adored how she plucked up the courage to walk up to so many celebs and tell them what they meant to her. Something I couldn’t bring myself to do! She chatted up Barry Bostwick, Gilbert Gottfried, Jason Mewes (who is a great selfie taker), and Sean Gunn. With a bonus appearance from Michael Rooker, who ended up giving us great hugs. Thank you for your bravery, Chelsi! By the way, go check out her art on Instagram – you might see her at a con selling her gorgeous prints soon! Here are some highlights of the day:
First off, this photo op with Neville Longbottom himself, Matthew Lewis!
Posing on a battle cat with Negan’s bat!
Meeting Sean Gunn and chatting about cats (and loving Elizabeth Warren).
Purchasing some lovely art from awesome creators! Cat postcards from Emi Lenox and Loki print from The Chalk Geek
Taking in the fresh air of RVA and having delicious sweet & sour tofu at K-Town Kitchen & Bar
Face-to-face hellos with two online friends, who are super nice and also had booths at the con! Go buy stuff from them! ArtOfTysthet and A Dog’s Life Comic
Having a geeky escape day rules. Especially with the best people.
Anatole France – The Revolt Of The Angels by Anatole France
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was the first book on the recommended reading list from The Satanic Temple, a religion I became a part of earlier this year. The title pretty much explains the plot, although the focus is Arcade, a guardian angel who begins devouring his human’s extensive library and realizes God needs to be overthrown. He joins a group of other revolters, but when they gather together and find Lucifer, he realizes the rational thing to do is NOT take the throne. He’d be just as bad as God.
I felt the pace was a little slow for my short attention span, especially since I was reading this before bed most of the time. However, I loved the premise and this was a good starting point into a world I can’t wait to learn more about.
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Eight years ago, we decided to do something previously unheard of- adopting a kitten. We’d always rescued adult cats but after our old guy Ferdinand passed away, we figured the girls (Isobel and Selina) would enjoy having a tiny guy to snuggle with and teach the ways of being a spoiled feline.
So, we went to the same Petsmart that we found Ferd, and sat in the adoption room with a whole mess of kittens. We didn’t care what they looked like. We just wanted to find the perfect fit. And the baby cat formerly known as Tosh became our sweet Ollivander Ferdinand! Also known as Ollie, Ollie Boy, Dummy Boy, Dummy Face, Dummy Feets, Silly Boy, Stinky Boy, and a million other monikers. Sadly I don’t have access to a lot of his baby photos, but enjoy spam of my precious son!
Ollie loves snuggling, wrestling with his sisters, playing fetch, and did I mention snuggling? He can be shy around other humans but comes around once things get quiet. As for his parents, he favors both of us. But I like to think he’s just a bit more of a mama’s boy.
“You want truffles? You gotta get in the dirt with the pigs”.
Three years ago, David Fincher, Charlize Theron, and some other producers put forth this series on Netflix and it was grand. We’re all fascinated with serial killers, so what’s cooler than watching a fictional version of the people who coined the phrase and learned how to stop them from interviewing some of the actual killers? Pure evil is a construct that is so unfathomable, but I think we’re transfixed by true crime because we all have evil in our hearts, but the majority of us don’t act on it. So peeping into the brains of the monsters who do, well, it’s cathartic in a way, isn’t it? Cathartic, and a reminder that humans are capable of really really really bad things so try to be good and stuff.
The first season was focused on the beginning of using criminal psychology and behavioral profiling to nab killers in the FBI. You meet the three main characters: Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff, my favorite King George), Bill Tench (played by Holt McCallany), and Wendy Carr (played by Anna Torv). They’re some kind of a behavioral science version of Harry, Ron, & Hermione. Without the BFF part.
Season two premiered on Netflix this year, and it was worth the wait.
Now, the team’s pursuit of the murderer’s mind is too legit to quit! They have more money and a lawman big wig in their corner! However, evil not only needs study in the field (Manson shows up! The same actor who plays him briefly in Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood!) but it’s incredibly close to home for Detective Tench. Detective Ford let the study of killers get to him, and is now dealing with panic attacks. Carr is trying to be herself in private, and it’s not easy. All of this, and they are tasked with nabbing the person responsible for killing a lot of children in Atlanta. All of these elements are dealt with so well. Each character is layered beautifully, the suspense is palpable, and there’s plenty of creepy, gripping drama. After binging this season, I was so excited to get season three in my brain. Because THEY NEED TO GET THAT BTK KILLER!!! So imagine my reaction to this news: Season three on hold indefinitely?!
Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have no recollection of how I found out about this book. Was it a free (or less expensive) deal on Amazon? Did I see a review while scrolling through Twitter? I honestly have no idea. I do know that I didn’t have any new books on my Kindle, and I needed one to help me snuggle down in bed and read in the dark. So here we are. I wasn’t familiar with Lee Goldberg before and didn’t realize this was a first in a new detective series. Cool beans! I love a good murder mystery/crime series, and this was nicely paced page-turning with interesting characters. Eve Ronin, the ambitious & determined newbie detective doesn’t let her YouTube fame deter her from getting the bad guy, and she knows how to deal with the sexist donut eating older chauvinistic veteran cops. She’ll make a great hero in future novels, I’m sure.
I definitely recommend this if you love crime novels. The author’s written tons of stuff for television along with plenty of other books, so go to town! I’m sure I’ll read more of his stuff in the future.
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Here’s the plot of After Life, courtesy of IMDB: “After Tony’s (Ricky Gervais’) wife dies unexpectedly, his nice-guy persona is altered into an impulsive, devil-may-care attitude taking his old world by storm.”
This particular synopsis is hilarious to me because “devil-may-care” is a pretty understated description of Tony’s mindset when the series starts. Plus, his wife had cancer. Not an unexpected thing. ANYWAY. Your favorite atheist, animal-loving, Twitter trolling actor/comedian/film-maker, Ricky Gervais, gives us another series, and it is a gorgeous roller coaster of emotions.
“Hell is other people” is the tagline for the show, and I get it. Tony has lost his wife. He works at a newspaper that’s distributed for free in his locale (not Pulitzer material). He’s grumpy by nature, but his horrific loss only magnifies the grump factor. Tony feels like it’s only a matter of time before he cashes it in, so why not just throw away all the fucks and say everything you feel deep down to the humans you’re forced to live on Earth with? It’s a premise that really appeals to me. We’ve all desired that instinct at some point, right? Tony does some reckless stuff in these six episodes because of the utter despair he feels, but there’s someone who seems to pull him from the brink every time: Brandy, the dog. Eventually, the coworkers at the paper, the sex worker he hires, his cemetery pal, the weirdo who keeps trying to get local fame in print, and his dementia suffering dad join Brandy in keeping Tony around and on the path to a new outlook.
I loved this show because laughing at the awful state of 90% of our humanity is one of the few things that keep me interested. I love stories that punch you in the gut while making you laugh at phrases like “I fingered Jackie Collins”. I love that there are so many Game of Thrones actors in it. The dog is adorable. Penelope Wilton makes anything she’s in a million times better. More importantly, Ricky Gervais shows he’s one of the best television creators ever. He keeps getting better and emotionally layered. I can’t wait for the second season.
Documentary Now! One of the zillion television shows I’ve wanted to watch. I finally got started last week, since we saw Fred Armisen’s show the other night (more on that later). Documentaries rule. Parodies rule. A series consisting of documentary parodies = genius. Great cast & expertly executed, regardless if it’s Bill Hader & Armisen taking the main roles, or if it’s the current star studded lineup. Favorites currently are “Sandy Passage”, “Gentle and Soft”, “Final Transmission”, and “Batshit Valley”. Have some champagne filled coconuts:
Grant, by Ron Chernow From the guy who brought you the book that inspired the musical Hamilton! Yep, our favorite Pulitzer winning author is back with another biography, and this time it’s Civil War general/Don Henley look alike Ulysses S. Grant! I’m not very far into the book, but so far it is a gripping tale of a very smart, awkward, prone to drinking man who is a surprisingly good military leader. Who also is really really bummed that he can’t be with his beloved lady Julia, because he keeps getting sent to far off places. And working with many fellows who’ll end up his enemies. I’m really enjoying this biography, because most knowledge I have of Grant was during the Civil War and told to me in Shelby Foote’s voice. I know close to nothing about his later days as a President.
John Mulaney This man is a comedy treasure. He hosted SNL last night, he’s been doing shows with sometimes-troubled Pete Davidson, appears on the aforementioned Documentary Now!, loves his wife and his dog, Petunia, and is a pleasure to have in the pop culture universe. Feast your eyes upon Bodega Bathroom:
I’m still on that Lady Gaga stanning. Nope, I can’t get over the fact that Gaga won an Oscar last weekend, and THAT SHALLOW PERFORMANCE. I watch it to remind me that I am a human being with stupid feelings.
Also, feel free to do your dishes or laundry, or get in your car and have fun with this playlist I made:
Back on Christmas, I posted this blog about some mysterious pictures that showed up at my mom’s house the day before. It was very odd, and it felt like something that needed resolution ASAP. You see, my family (meaning me and my parents) moved to Virginia back in 1983, thanks to the Navy. Everyone in my immediate family hails from the great state of Massachusetts. My paternal grandparents, uncle, and great grandmother moved down here in the late 1980s and stayed for a while, but all of them have passed away apart from my grandmother (who moved back to MA). They wouldn’t possess any old photos belonging to my mother’s father anyway. SO WHAT THE HELL?! If someone discovered my mom through the ancestry websites she’s been frequenting, why the heck wouldn’t they contact her directly? Or leave a hastily scribbled note along with the photos? Why wouldn’t this person want to connect with her? Why did they go through the trouble of delivering them personally instead of mailing them? Were they worried they’d be rejected or shunned? Was it done on behalf of another person? Ugh, there are a ton of questions that left unanswered, will haunt my mom (and me to a degree, since some rando knows where she lives and creeped these photos while she was at MY house).
My mom contacted the Virginian Pilot, our local newspaper, and it was covered on the front page.
I tweeted the Pilot article to some of my favorite journalists on our local television stations, and the very sweet Tom Schaad picked it up and did a story for WAVY 10:
Check it out here.
I honestly just want some closure on this whole issue. We’re a really chill family who wouldn’t mind some new relatives here in Virginia Beach. My mom and dad are retired, and could use some excitement. A newfound family member/friend would be welcome! No shame or judgement here! Personally I am totally down for it. Even if it wasn’t a direct sharer of DNA who sneaked the pictures between the door knob & deadbolt at my beloved parents’ home, I want the TEA! Spill it, stranger! Whatever the backstory is, us Dressers are okay with it.