Quick Book Review: Oona Out Of Order

Oona Out of Order: A NovelOona Out of Order: A Novel by Margarita Montimore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Time heals all. But what if time itself is the disease?”

That’s the quandary for Oona Lockhart, the title character of Margarita Montimore’s second novel. She’s not the average time traveler; on her 19th birthday, she begins leaping from year to year, not knowing if she’ll wake up as her 50-year-old self or her 25-year-old self. Oona must learn to enjoy life to its fullest and accept the ups and downs. Easier said than done, of course, and it’s quite a ride going through the leaps with her. I wanted more! Especially after the ending. No spoilers here. I do think this novel would be great as a series, and I would totally watch a television version! Not to take away from the book, however. I love Margarita’s writing style, her love of pop culture, and the way she peppers aspects of herself in her main characters (you need to read Asleep From Day, her debut!). I suppose I should say that I’ve known Margarita as an online friend since 2001. We’ve sadly never met in person (yet!), but let’s just say I’ve been a fan of her as a human (and fellow fangirl), and it’s been such fun reading her books and watching her dreams come true.

The only thing that bothered me about the story itself is WHY AND HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO HER?! Part of my brain understands that this is supposed to be a fictional event and getting into the technical bits are not the point whatsoever, but being a pop culture nerd, the other part of my brain is dying to figure out if Oona is a Time Lord or if she is some sort of “chosen one” with the power to save the world (like Bill & Ted). Who knows, perhaps these questions will be answered in the future. Or past?

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Quick Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh boy, I was starving for a good fantasy escape, with amazing world-building, interesting characters, and most importantly, a solid story. Thankfully this delivered. Zélie is a badass heroine from the get-go. Her journey isn’t unique in this genre (think Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen), but the way the author incorporates themes from the Black Lives Matter movement and African mythology give it an emotional, weighty punch. She aids the fugitive princess who escapes evil King Saran, and thanks to a mysterious scroll, Zélie unlocks her magical powers. This leads to a mission to return magic to the world and restore her oppressed fellow diviners to the Maji they were born to be. Really good stuff. The novel ends on a cliffhanger too, so I shall be diving into the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, very very soon.

P.S. The inhabitants of Orïsha ride big cats. BIG CATS!!!!

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Galaxycon – Richmond! That’s Amazing!

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! neville

Posing on a battle cat with Negan’s bat! IMG_0922

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 IMG_0935

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.

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A Magical Visit to New York City

We stayed at The Wellington Hotel again. 10 years ago, we booked a room there; don’t remember why exactly. I assume there was a good deal, and it’s located near all the cool stuff. After that trip, we discovered Borat stayed there in his movie. Nice!

We saw no reason to try another hotel on this trip, since it’s very much what I love about staying in the city: Confined spaces, cramped in a tall building. The shower almost boiled me alive, our Saturday night neighbors were partying hard, and I swear there was a rat colony building Barad-dur in our heater. What I mean to say is it was wonderful.

Our first meal happened on our way to “Middle-earth”. Fortunately, it was right next to Rockefeller Center, my favorite NYC locale. Always nice to gaze upon the source of all that NBC/SNL history.

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The restaurant in question was By Chloe. And holy moly, it was MOBBED. So unusual for us non-big city vegans to experience! We both got the Pesto Meatball sandwich and split some french fries. If we weren’t planning on a big fancy dinner later, we would have pigged out more here (their menu is chock full of tasty looking treats!), but our choice was delicious. The mix of veggies/mushrooms in the meatballs was perfect, and the condiments had heavenly flavor.

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We managed to snag a table in the packed dining area and enjoyed people watching as we nommed. Bliss. I hope we go back soon because I need to try their brunch menu.

Time to start our expected journey to the Morgan Library and Museum! I was delirious with excitement to see the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibit. To be in the same room as The Professor’s massive collection of poems, maps, photos, artwork, doodles, and memorabilia – I wanted to move in there.

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Tolkien’s hand drawn maps were so precise and detailed. Marvelous. His handwriting was too perfect to believe, no matter which language he was writing in. There were intricate shapes and symbols drawn on top of newspapers he was reading at the time. Stunning to look upon. Honestly, words fail to communicate what it felt like seeing such an assemblage of genius. If you appreciate J.R.R. Tolkien’s material like I do, be sure to check this out.

Dinner time! There were so many vegan places we wanted to experience in New York, but we decided to make Blossom our fancy meal destination. It’s in a cute townhouse, with a cozy atmosphere. The diners on both sides of us were very friendly; we ended up admiring and influencing each other’s meal choices! Our first course was the Chef’s Tasting Plate. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Quinoa sushi, deviled tofu (I didn’t know you could devil tofu! Brilliant!), fig bruschetta, seitan empanadas, and seaweed caviar canapes. Everything tasted so magical, I wanted to devour it quickly, but I made sure to take my time and savor the tastes.

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The nice woman to my right had the lasagna for an entreè so that’s what I had too, as it looked gorgeous. It didn’t disappoint. It’s intriguing how us humans (it also helps if you’re a gourmet chef) can create scrumptious dishes without a bit of animal flesh.

The next day was Cursed Child day! First time seeing a show ON BROADWAY! And it’s HARRY POTTER! I was filled with excitement for sure. We had some time to kill before heading to the theater, so we took a stroll around Central Park. There were SO MANY GOOD DOGGOS, most of them wearing snazzy coats. Because it was FREEZING. Well, to us anyway, due to not bringing the warmest of winter clothing. No doggos were photographed, but here are some pics of us and other things (mostly Strawberry Fields).

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We looked for the famous mandarin duck but it was nowhere to be found. *sad face*

Our next quest was FOOD. Sadly the restaurant we walked to was closed, but I did come across a hair salon named in my honor. I’m grateful, but please don’t ask me to do your hair.

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We ended up at Peacefood Cafe, which couldn’t have been more LOVELY. A nice and warm orange apple cider made all chilly perception vanish. I wolfed down the tofu scramble (best I’ve ever had no lie), greens, and potatoes. We also ordered some baked goods to snack on later. Fantastic.

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Feeling full and toasty back at the hotel, it was time to get fancy for Potter. Dress courtesy of Redbubble:

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It would have been silly to take a cab to the theater since it was a 15 minute walk, so yep, back out into the cold for us. My giddiness canceled out the wind chill, however. That and the Times Square sights (Fake Elmos and all – even the Naked Cowboy was doing his thing STILL). Oh snap, there’s the Lyric!

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Because the play itself is so special, I’m not going to say much about it. The only thing that does it justice is the experience, so GO. The story, music, acting, effects, choreography, production, costumes…. Just overwhelmingly breathtaking. So there’s that. I will share some stuff unrelated to the play that made the day so fun. First, we got to pose for photos with our house flags. Slytherin, represent! Oh, and Ravenclaw too.

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There was an usher who had the only job of herding ladies into a single file line for the bathroom during intermissions. He was both militant and fabulous. “Are you with someone? They need to be either in front of you or behind you.” Priceless.

I had a “frozè” in a Cursed Child souvenir cup. That’s frozen rosè, people. A wine slurpee. What a world.

What a world, indeed. But to be more precise, what a city. New York, you are so fantastical and magical on your own, but you’re so adept at surrounding me with the fictional environments I adore so much. I went to Middle-earth and Hogwarts along with Manhattan and Queens, and cherished every single second of it.

I Love A Playlist. Even Better When It’s Personal.

I challenge you to make a playlist based on these questions and share it with a blog or social media post of your own. I’m on Spotify, but if you have another platform, do it that way. Share in the comments. I love listening to personal playlists, yo. Here is mine, with the questionnaire/answers below. Oh, and if it looks weirdly alphabetic, you’re like Sherlock or some shit. I used my massive shuffled playlist as a reference. I need things to trigger my old and beleaguered brain.

 

1. A song you like with a color in the title:  Back in Black – AC/DC. Black has a lot of meaning for this song. Brian was introducing himself after Bon Scott’s death, and even though I’m not a huge fangirl of the band, I’m about to rock almost 90% of the time, so I know when to respect it, and be saluted for it. That and the iconic guitar riff.

 
2. A song you like with a number in the title4 Degrees – ANOHNI. Fuckin’ A, this song is POWERFUL. Climate change is real and depressing, and when I first heard this tune full of emotion and realness, I almost died of emotion. It’s so cinematic. And I don’t mean that in a Disney way, I mean montages of awful destruction. Like those slo mo shots of a dead animal decomposing.

 
3. A song that reminds you of summertime: Freeway of Love – Aretha Franklin. I was thinking this tune reminded me of the summer of ’84, but after doing research, it came out a year later, so there’s middle age for ya. It’s kind of silly, but also perfect for an 11 year old kid who really hadn’t acknowledged the power of Aretha yet. Plus American Idol’s own Randy Jackson played bass on it.

 
4. A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about: Good Time – Counting Crows. The last dude I hooked up with before I met my wonderful partner of 16 years liked Counting Crows, and Hard Candy was their latest one back then. He was a waiter at TGI Friday’s, and we had sex with a tarantula in the room. YIKES. Nothing really against him, but I’d rather not recall doing it with a large spider close by.

 
5. A song that needs to be played LOUD: I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys. COME ON. When this jam comes on I crank it and pretend I give a shit about boy bands. This is a good song and you can’t sing along unless it’s super loud.

 
6. A song that makes you want to dance: Hey Ladies – Beastie Boys.  Do I need to explain this?

 
7. A song to drive to: Mother Nature’s Son – The Beatles. In my cinematic mind, I picture myself in some sort of convertible vehicle, or a Volkswagen Bus, with my hand out of the window, making waves.

 
8. A song about drugs or alcohol: Gimme Some More – Busta Rhymes. Yo Spliff, where the weed at? Also, remember when Flip Mode was the greatest?

 
9. A song that makes you happy: Finally – Cece Peniston. There has NEVER been a time when I heard this song and didn’t smile, or pretend I was a drag queen, or remembered Cece’s adorable face in the video.

 

 
10. A song that makes you sad: I Just Shot John Lennon – The Cranberries. Why would you make this song, Cranberries? Shit, it made me sad for obvious reasons back in the day, but now that Dolores is gone, it makes me want to cry even more. Ugh.

 
11. A song that you never get tired of: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. A masterpiece of a song. Harmonies, catchiness, and did I mention HARMONIES?

 
12. A song from your preteen years: Victims – Culture Club. I kind of want to pat myself on the back for appreciating songs like this when I was 11 or 12.

 
13. One of your favorite 80’s songs: Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure. I caught on to Robert Smith and the gang in the late 80’s, thanks to some junior high pals and some weird Half Hour Comedy Hour skit on MTV (does anyone know what I’m talking about?).

 
14. A song that you would love played at your wedding: On My Mind – Damone. I was married once, and our wedding song was a good one. It sucks that it’s attached to something that didn’t work out. This gem would totally be in the wedding I have no intention of ever having. Because once is enough.

 
15. A song that is a cover by another artist: Street Spirit (Fade Out) – The Darkness. Do not even joke with me – this version FUCKING RULES.

 
16. Your favorite movie or TV theme: The Batman Theme – Danny Elfman. This needs no explanation. EPIC.

 
17. A song that would sing a duet with on karaoke: Dancing In The Street – David Bowie & Mick Jagger. Who wouldn’t want to recreate those… interesting dance moves? And hint that you’ve slept together? And wear those badass 80’s outfits (in your head at least)?

 
18. A song from the year that you were born: Waterloo – ABBA. One of the greatest pop songs to ever pop. And be a Eurovision WINNER!

 
19. A song that makes you think about life: People Are People – Depeche Mode. I remember dancing around to this song in my grandparents’ pool cabana as a kid, innocently thinking how silly it is that people are mean to each other.

 
20. A song that has many meanings to you: The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga. I belted out this jam for quite a while, thinking it had something to do with telling your haters to screw off & live like you’re dying. Then Gaga said this (from Wikipedia): “It was about how when my grandma was standing over my grandfather while he was dying. There was this moment where I felt like he had sort of looked at her and reckoned that he had won in life. Like, ‘I’m a champion. We won. Our love made us a winner.’ They were married 60 years. I thought about that idea, that the glorious moment of your life is when you decide that it’s okay to go, you don’t have any more words to say, more business, more mountains to climb. You’re on the cliff, you tip your hat to yourself and you go. That’s what it was for me in that moment when I witnessed it.” FUUUUUUUUCK.

 
21. A favorite song with a person’s name in the title: It’s A Shame About Ray – The Lemonheads. I saw Evan Dando sing this two feet in front of me. It was beautiful.

 
22. A song that makes you laugh: Jizz In My Pants – The Lonely Island. Anything Andy, Jorma, and Akiva do is fucking hysterical.

 
23. A song that you think everybody should listen to: Me & Magdalena – The Monkees. I cried tears of nostalgia and joy when I heard this. Nesmith & Dolenz have some beautiful harmonies.

 
24. A song by a band you wish were still together: Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle – Nirvana. I wonder what the hell Kurt would be doing musically if he was still around….

 
25. A song by an artist no longer living: Ten Crack Commandments – The Notorious B.I.G. I also wonder what stuff Biggie would be doing. Hopefully none of this Trap shit.

 
26. A song that makes you want to fall in love: Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney. He may be hokey at times, but dammit if this song doesn’t melt me.

 
27. A song that breaks your heart: Purple Rain – Prince. Always has, always will.

 
28. A song by an artist with a voice that you love: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen. The world was a better place with Freddie in it.

 
29. A song that you remember from your childhood: Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr. That infamous summer of ’84. I had a purple iron on tshirt with the famous “no ghosts” logo on it, but was not allowed to wear it when staying with my Jehovah’s Witness aunt and uncle that summer. *EYE ROLL*

 
30. A song that reminds you of yourself: White & Nerdy – Weird Al Yankovic. Because yeah, yeah, yeah. IT ME.

 

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End of 2017 Roundup

2017 in Review
  1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? I led a fundraiser for my company. We raised just over $1000 for the Virginia Beach SPCA. It was pretty darn great.
  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I gave up on resolutions ages ago. They’re honestly pointless to me. A great man once sang, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Unfortunately, yes. And I only say that because I’m a selfish person who sided with the bad guy in Dan Brown’s Inferno, not because I judge anyone’s life choices. giphy
  4. Did anyone close to you die? We had a close call with my mom in law, but no deaths this year. But a lot of folks I know lost very close loved ones.
  5. What countries did you visit? Didn’t leave the bedraggled USA, but I was in Washington, D.C. a lot, and got as far north as MA.
  6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? A decent President.
  7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Probably November 9th, because this happened:

    Some background: A person asked if you were to sing karaoke with you favorite celebrity, what song would you choose, and Lin stepped the fuck UP.

  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Being aware of the disgusting status of the US government, and doing my best to resist, march, protest, and help get the right people elected.
  9. What was your biggest failure? Not being able to travel to FL when I wanted to. Due to unforeseen financial issues, the trip to see my Orlando area friends (and visit the Harry Potter thing at Universal) wasn’t able to happen. That really bummed me out.
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing major, just gained weight and got an ear infection for the first time since being a toddler.
  11. What was the best thing you bought? Concert tickets. I saw Ringo Starr and the man said hello to me from the stage. 378b8d77ce5a64b408abdf6c24865039
  12. Whose behavior merited celebration? All of the folks who have fought the soon to be Fascist government in power. The Women’s March ladies, the #metoo movement, Jose Andres and what he’s doing to help hungry people in Puerto Rico, and the ordinary folks who have gotten off their butts and done SOMETHING.
  13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Our Voldemort President (daily), and the men I admired that ended up either being super creeps or minor creeps. I’m looking at you, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, and Al Franken.
  14. Where did most of your money go? Food, alcohol, donations to good causes, and the occasional geeky bit of clothing or thingie.
  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I was absolutely THRILLED to be at the Lady Gaga show. It was magical for me. And part of it was on TV! And then she won an award! Gaga on American Music Awards
  16. What song will always remind you of 2017? Do You Still Love Me?
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c ) richer or poorer? A. Sadder B. FATTER C. Poorer
  18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Definitely hiked more; gotten exercise, been more politically active.
  19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Staring at shit on the internet and wasting time.
  20. How did you spend Christmas? A brief visit with parents, followed by a Game of Thrones marathon.
  21. Did you fall in love in 2017? I fall in love with my dude every day. He’s the best. IMG_8595
  22. What was your favorite TV program? Just one? Nice try. Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Great News, Legion, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, & Big Little Lies come to mind.
  23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Hate is a strong word, but I have ended friendships. The state of our nation has made me realize who will be on the right side of history, and I prefer to be friends with those people.
  24. What was the best book you read? I really enjoyed The Devil’s West series by Laura Anne Gilman.
  25. What was your greatest musical discovery? LIZZO, y’all. Water Me
  26. What did you want and get? I got to stay alive?
  27. What did you want and not get? The impeachment of our jackass President.
  28. What was your favorite film of this year? There were a lot of badass films. Dunkirk, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, & It. But I have to go with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
  29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Ugh, thanks for reminding me that it’s my 43rd year on this blue marble. I didn’t really do anything on the actual day of my birth, but my favorite present was experiencing the music of Game of Thrones, live. It was lovely. A taste: Winds of Winter
  30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Seeing so many fun concerts with my dude, and being able to contribute to my favorite podcast, even if it was just a playlist. Check out The Hooray Show with Horatio Sanz.
  31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? Fashion is a concept that will forever allude me. My mom in law gifted me a sweet wrap/sweater thing, however, and I wore it to the Lady Gaga show and felt most fierce. gagaselfie
  32. What kept you sane? Animals. My three cats, the cat we rescued from the streets (who may belong to us in 2018 – stay tuned), the foxes behind my backyard, the critters we helped at the shelter, and the elephant fosters I gifted to family (and the foster I received – Check out the elephant babies!).
  33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Horatio SanzLin, and Ryan Adams were the boys who made me smile the most. 
  34. Who did you miss? I miss Carrie Fisher. Some funny Carrie moments
  35. Who was the best new person you met? I can’t recall meeting someone new, in person that is. But the guys who run the Crooked Media podcasts have been a welcome addition to my internet “pals”.
  36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017. Do not put up with anything you don’t want to put up with. This world is too short and fucked up for that. But be kind and good. And funny.
  37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 
    Are we crazy?
    Livin’ our lives through a lens
    Trapped in our white picket fence
    Like ornaments
    So comfortable, we’re livin’ in a bubble, bubble
    So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble
    Aren’t you lonely
    Up there in utopia
    Where nothing will ever be enough?
    Happily numb
    So comfortable, we’re livin’ in a bubble, bubble
    So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble
    Ah, so good
    Your rose-colored glasses on
    And party on (woo)
    Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
    Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
    Turn it up, keep it on repeat
    Stumblin’ around like a wasted zombie
    Yeah, we think we’re free
    Drink, this one’s on me
    We’re all chained to the rhythm
    To the rhythm, to the rhythm
    Turn it up, it’s your favorite song
    Are we tone deaf?
    Keep sweepin’ it under the mat
    Thought we could do better than that
    I hope we can
    So comfortable, we’re livin’ in a bubble, bubble
    So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, trouble
    Aha, so good (so good)
    Your rose-colored glasses on
    And party on (woo)
    Turn it up, it’s your favorite song (oh)
    Dance, dance, dance to the distortion
    Turn it up, keep it on repeat
    Stumblin’ around like a wasted zombie
    Yeah, we think we’re free
    Drink, this one’s on me
    We’re all chained to the rhythm
    To the rhythm, to the rhythm (woah)
    It is my desire
    Break down the walls to connect, inspire
    Ay, up inna your high place, liars
    Time is ticking for the empire
    The truth they feed is feeble
    As so many times before
    The greed over the people
    They stumblin’ and fumblin’ and we about to riot
    They woke up, they woke up the lions (woah)

Happy New Year + The Indian Rex

Welcome to 2017, folks. This year is going to be insane. Who knows what will happen. How many celebrities will die? Will our new asshat President start a thermonuclear war with a fucking Tweet? One can only wait and see. I’ll do my best to write more and keep this place free of cobwebs.

 

In the meantime, I’ll share what I did yesterday during the blizzard my area experienced. I got a T.Rex costume for my birthday last year (like most 42 year old ladies, right?) and have only used it twice. Once was for the sketch comedy writing class I took, and, well, here’s the second time, for your viewing pleasure.