Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Breathe

"You got up too much last night."
"I know. I just didn't want her to get into a bind."
"You don't give her enough time to work it out for herself."
And here's where I admit the truth. "I know it's just half the time I'm just checking to make sure she's still breathing."
"I know."

And then the floodgates opened up and I let out several gasping sobs. I was near uncontrollable for a good minute or two. My husband let me cry and my daughter felt the tears trickle into her hands.

I still, 9 months in, can't just let things be. Certain things I can, I've made my peace with. But with the delicate tightrope act that is breathing, there's just times I can't trust that it will happen as it should 100% of the time, because it never did before.

For the first three months of my daughter's life, it took every inch of self-discipline not to march into my pediatrician's office and demand, DEMAND that they find some medical condition that necessitated we have a pulse-ox machine at home. I didn't know how to sleep without glancing at a machine to tell me my child's oxygen saturation. I would stay awake just listening for one loud sigh that proved she was still breathing so I didn't have to get up and check.

Lately, she's taken to rolling onto her stomach to sleep. Despite all my attempts to roll her onto her back or side, she still rolls to her belly. There's this little inner voice that says "SIDS, SIDS, SIDS" but she wants what she wants and won't be swayed otherwise.

At night, we put her in the room by herself and turn on the monitor to listen and trust that she's fine and it freaks me out every time I do.

Solid foods are now the bane of my existence. When she coughs and splutters, I silently curse that I should've found a way to keep Ukiah's old suction machine.

The act of breathing, one of the many acts that alluded Ukiah a big chunk of the time comes effortlessly to our girl. But I don't care how effortlessly she manages that tightrope act, I'm still going to put my hand on her back and feel for that delicate little rise and fall, I'm still going to listen for a deep sigh before I fall asleep, I'm still going shudder every time I close the door behind me when I put her to sleep at night and turn on the monitor, hoping and praying for the best. I'm still going to have a moment where I overreact every time she coughs when she's eating. Because I still can't trust it, and it's still my right as her mother to know just how well she's walking the tightrope on her own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird Casting the Movie

So, thanks to the powers of the internet and Twitter’s general bad-assery I got into a discussion with the author of the book (@JesseJFreeman on twitter. You guys should follow him! He’s really awesome and personable and seems like a genuinely good guy.) and a few other people talking about who should be cast in the movie if ever there was one made based on the book. I… took this as a personal challenge to see if I could cast it. Below is my ideas and thoughts on casting the movie if it were to ever get made. And that  idea is simply:

Bruce Campbell as everyone in Bruce Campbell: I am the Bruce Campbell. (Thus endeth an inside joke I had with the author in which we both heartily concurred that Bruce Campbell should be cast as everyone. Yes, I know it’s not very funny on the outside looking in, but trust me, Its Hi-larious!)

Rib-ticklers aside, I’m dividing up the casting for each character in two different sections, when applicable. The first is the “In a perfect world, if only it could be done” dream-casting of the character and the second is a better real world option.

12 year-old Billy Purgatory

Dream-casting – All the best parts of Christian Slater from the 80’s. I’m talking I want Gleaming The Cube bad-ass skater boy rebel era Christian Slater with smart mouthed hell-raiser Heathes Christian Slater with just enough Legend of Billy Jean Christian Slater mixed in for good measure. Because that’s exactly who Billy Purgatory is, plain and simple.
Real world casting – I…. have no idea. I don’t know enough about up-and-coming twelve year-olds to say for sure. But if I was forced at gunpoint to pick somebody, I’d say the kid who had to play young Snape in those flashbacks in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2. But that’s mainly because he has an edgy look but I’m not sure he could pull off sullen and smart-mouthed the way Billy is in the book.

Adult (ish) Billy Purgatory

Dream-casting – See above. Grown up Billy Purgatory still needs to be all the best parts of Christian and I’d add in a little bit of Pump Up the Volume era Christian Slater with just a dash of Kuffs Christian Slater. Remember that scene in Pump Up the Volume where Christian Slater takes off his shirt and kind of dances with the girl? That’s the kind of attitude Billy Purgatory has and would be needed to pull him off on the big screen, period.

Real world casting – Again, I’m kind of tapped here to figure out a perfect match. My best stab in the dark would be J.B Ghumman Jr. and that’s mostly because of his punk bad-ass character in Dakota Skye. Based on his role in Bickford Schmeckler’s Big Ideas I never would’ve guessed him for the punk bad-ass type, but I think he grunged himself up good and proper for Dakota Skye and I think he’d be good in this, but it’s really hard for me to tell if he could embody that 80’s Christian Slater bravado the part is screaming for, so who knows. Also, I wouldn’t put it past Patrick Fugit to pull the character off. Just a thought.

12 year-old Anastasia

Dream-casting – All the best parts of Beetlejuice era Winona Ryder with “My teenage angst bullshit now has a body count” Heathers era Winona Ryder period. Because Anastasia? That bitch is fierce ya’ll. First of all, when I hear the character as described, Winona’s black hair from Beetlejuice flashes into my mind. I know Anastasia has striking green eyes and Winona doesn’t, but there’s so much Winona in Anastasia that I can’t help but picture her in the role.

Real world casting – Ok, she’s probably too old now, but Chloe Moretz. Ok, hear me out. First of all, she’s already got the chops to play a vampire, so there’s that. I also think she’s got the right amount of intensity and come on, she brought it in Kick-ass. Yes the movie sucked, but it wasn’t her fault, not totally, so yeah.

Adult (ish) Anastasia

Dream-casting – See above. If Winona was a little younger, tell me she wouldn’t knock it out of the park.

Real world casting – She also might be a little to old for this, but the chick who played Ruby in the fourth season of Supernatural. Anastasia’s got to be sultry, beautiful, and sexy, but she also needs to know when to bring the terrifying. I think this girl exemplifies that to the T.


I have no idea who could make this work, twelve year-old version or grown up version. She’s only sparsely described and I can’t get a good sense of her physically to determine who could play her. I know she’s got strawberry blond curls, so maybe Emma Stone could play the adult version? Maybe? I dunno.

Uly Purgatory

Billy’s dad is such an oddball that the author had mentioned Crispin Glover, and you know how I love Crispin Glover, so I kind of agree with this decision, although not totally. For the first part of the book, Crispin as the sad, kooky old drunk father makes sense, but for the later part of the book, with the flashbacks to his army days and his crazy jaunt into the forest? Crispin couldn’t pull that off I don’t think. But I really think Jeff Kober can. He’s equal parts menace and soulfulness. I think he could pull off the very hard-core action sequences as well as the heartbroken old man we know in the first half of the book. Also up for consideration, Brad Dourif, even though he gives me the heebie-jeebies. And a close third would be Clifton Collins Jr. (If he combined his role from Boondock Saints II  with his role in Sunshine Cleaning).


Uncle Priest

Dreamcasting – Blue-Velvet era Dennis Hopper (RIP) plain and simple. Both are shudder inducing and menacing to the max.

Real World casting – Brad Dourif, because of the heebie-jeebies essentially.



Strangely enough, Cybil Shepherd, but only if she looks like this again.



Ok, hear me out. Tilda Swinton. I don’t really have an argument as for why, but it’s Tinda Effing Swinton! I shouldn’t need one.


Emelia Purgatory

Strangely enough, Naomi Watts, but she has to channel her character in Mulholland Drive to pull it off.


Mudder Kilroy

Dreamcasting – Dozer from Mask. Full disclosure. I freaking loved me some Dozer. There are many moments in Mask that get the tears to flow, but when he stutters how proud he is of Rocky? I lose my shit every freaking time. I just think he would be a good fit for the role, plain and simple. (edited to add! He's still alive! My dream casting went to real world casting post haste! Let's make this happen!)

Real World casting – Don’t ask me why, but Norman Reedus, if he buffed himself up a bit. He’s already proved he’s a bad-ass. I mean Boondock Saints anyone? What? No? Then Boondock Saints II bitches.(Yes, I'm obsessed with the Boondock Saints franchise. Shuddup!)



The character as written sounds like he’s built like a brick shithouse, my brain can only conjure up images of brawny WWE wrestlers and The Rock. But I know there are better options. Actually, I totally changed my mind. This new, more craggy version of Dolph Lundgren would fit the bill nicely, methinks.


The Devil Bird

Jesse J Freeman came up with this idea and I can’t refute it in the tiniest. Tom Waits would narrate the hell out of this part. 

So there you go. Are you listening Hollywood? Make this into a movie! I've already done most of the casting groundwork for you! You're welcome!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird

Remember when I wrote about Tears of the Broken and I said that it felt like such work that they should pay me to read the book? This book, Billy Purgatory: I am the Devil Bird, is the direct opposite of that. In fact, because I got the book for free, I feel like I’ve gotten away with something. I feel almost guilty for not paying for the opportunity to read it (almost). This book is that good.

Where the last book I read was a chore, this one feels like Space Mountain, and I want to get on the ride again. I can’t see the twists and turns, but I know they are there and that they are coming fast and furious. There’s so much going on in so many different directions that I almost get whiplash trying to keep up with the action. And just when I’m starting to feel like things are about to slow down, the narrative does a complete 180 and I’m right back in the thick of it, trying to keep my head from falling off my neck. The Medusa Chapter was so brilliant I’m jealous and equally as brilliant was the second to last chapter culminating in one of the better action scenes I’ve ever read. I don’t want to give anything away, but that chapter in the hospital was incredible and left my mind blistered.

It’s not just the action that’s got more twists and turns than a Six Flags theme park. The characterization is just as much of a roller coaster. The book starts off by being narrated by a God (Artemis to be exact), then switches to the third person as the action follows the pro-antagonist (Yes, Billy is enough of a Hell raiser to be exactly both) Billy Purgatory around for a while, and then we get a few chapters here and there written from the perspective of the vampire girl who is connected to Billy Anastasia, then chapters from the perspective of Lisandre, another girl who is a feral gypsy trying to live in a forest who is also connected to Billy. And the perspective continues to switch pretty effortlessly throughout the entire book. These characters feel so lived in without being completely fleshed out in the mind of reader.Mysteries still abound for each and every character, but that's part of what makes them so interesting.

But the best part is the fun the author seems to be having with just crafting sentences that stick in your mind and don’t let go. I mean I highlighted so many fun and chewy passages that I don’t know where to begin. We’ll Start with this one:
“I’m Billy Purgatory, and buster, you’re about to find out what you get when you piss in a grizzly’s punchbowl.”
Freaking Brilliant! And so much fun to Read it’s ridiculous. I found myself cackling at certain passages like this:
“That night was not one of those nights. This wasn’t another thrilling episode of hobos with drinking problems.” 
I start getting a fit of church giggles just reading that again.

And it just gets better:
“Cherubs leave you and go flitting off in search of new lonely fools who’ll pretend angelic giggling glitter piss from above is really the warm rain before amore’s eternal sunbeam shines.”
 It’s as crazy and absurd as they come and absolutely perfect.

And let me also say that thanks to this book, I am trying create a scenario in my life in which I can yell “Lone Wolf” out into a crowd and start going apeshit on people, because that was brilliant!

I could go on and on in about a million different directions. This book was just all out fun. The only criticism I could lob is yeah it was a little all over the place, but that’s the same thing I loved about it, so it’s a very mild criticism. Consider me on pins and needles until I can get my grubby little hands on the second book. Do you Hear me Jesse J. Freeman? Get that sucker out! I neeeeeeeeeeed iiiiiiiittttttt! A-

(Stay tuned for a post in which i dreamcast the movie based on the book, you know, just for fun. Although, Hollywood, you should really get on that. )

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


You know what I just figured out about myself? I don't wait very well. In fact I'm as impatient as all get out. And the impatience makes me anxious which drives me nuts which means I'm going to drive every one else nuts with my anxiety.

Now, this is something I have known about myself for years but I'll forget about, or because I've got a thousand other neuroses that rear their ugly heads, it takes a back seat sometimes. But when I'm "in a fishbowl" so to speak, it becomes readily apparent. 

Right now, the first three chapters of my book are getting critiqued thanks to a package I bought from Indies Unite for Joshua. This isn't the first time my book has been in the hands of some sort of professional. I mean there was that book contest this year, and that literary agent that one time. But it's the first time I'll get any real feedback from a writing professional, to know that someone is finally paying the book more than a cursory glance and I'll get a real idea of the book's chances out there in the real world.

And I haven't exactly been patient about the process. With the person doing the critique (Who is completely awesome and you should give her books a gander) I've been nothing but polite and understanding. With my husband on the other hand? Based on our conversations that I'm forcing him to have with me pretty frequently, you'd be convinced I've gone to some sort of analysis school. I'm picking apart wording of emails, trying to figure out if a long critique time means anything, If there's something in our email back and forth's that I'm missing. Then I start analyzing myself. Maybe I should have revised the thing again for the millionth time before I sent it off, or spent more time explaining the concept or spent more time on the synopsis, or... and the list goes on from there. And then I bring it back to; Or maybe, just maybe she's really busy and these things take time.  (To that last statement I go Pffffhhhhhttttt. It's got to be about me, all MEEEEEE!)

Again, I don't wait well. Outwardly, I convey the very essence of patience, but inwardly? I'm swimming madly in my internal fishbowl like a Beta fish on meth. I ain't good at it. It doesn't look good on me.  And it doesn't do much for my husband's sanity either. Thankfully my daughter is of an age that she doesn't care what's going on with me as long as I feed her on time. And believe you me she takes that very seriously. Hell hath no fury like an 8 month old who has to wait for pureed carrots.

Now, if you all will excuse me, I think I'll get back into my internal fishbowl and swim furiously.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A disjointed, rambling review to the craptastical Red Riding Hood

Can we talk about Red Riding Hood you guys? Because I really need to talk about it. Because this movie? Was bad, awesomely bad in about a 100 ways, bad bad in just about as many ways and just a complete case of WTF. In order to explain the badness of this movie I’m probably going to be as all over the place and disjointed as the movie was (Heh.) but here it goes anyway.

And really, I don’t know where to start, Gary Oldman’s overacting maybe? Only, what’s a scenery chewer who doesn’t get enough scenery to chew? Because he shows up all dramatically and flaunts some bad-assery and then? Nothin’. Killed off unceremoniously before the getting’s good. If you’re gonna put Gary Oldman in a small ass part, at least let him unleash the Kraken and really work that small ass part, or else its worth not.

Also, on a related note. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT put Christine ‘Delores Herbig Brown Eyes’ Willes in a movie and not give her room to be the glorious bug eyed crazy I know she is capable of being. I watched the movie all, “Oh she’s got to be the big bad and she’s gonna unleash the crazy,” and she wasn’t the big bad and she didn’t go all apeshit and I didn’t get to see her unleash the Kraken I know she’s capable of unleashing and that was another utter disappointment. The woman who sent her poor dead cat Murray’s ashes intofreaking space deserves better!

And also on the same related note. Oh Lukas Haas, I don’t even know where to begin anymore. And it’s like he’s allowed himself to ride the bench only to pinch hit in the crappiest of games when the movie is down like 9-zip. I mean, obviously, Material Girls. And yes I watched it! And no I don’t have a good excuse, but you guys know the crap I’m capable of watching. Do I really need an excuse? And don’t give me, but what about Inception being his starring vehicle. He was barely in that freaking movie. Once you get to Tom Hardy flexing his stuff in the suit, his cameo is all but forgotten. He deserves and can do much better. This was beneath him and yet, apparently it wasn’t. So freaking sad. (I’m not even gonna talk about Virginia Madsen. Freaking Sad Ya’ll.)

Also freaking sad? The male leads set to be Amanda Seyfried’s romantic interests in this movie. If I had to choose between completely doughy and utterly soft Henry and completely wooden and sullen Peter, I would’ve Kelly Taylored the situation and chosen myself too (which OK, technically, she didn't do, but still). I mean, Yes Tweedle Dumb, er I mean Shiloh Hernandez is as sultry looking as they come but that’s as far as it goes. He’s about as deep as a Keeping Up the Kardashian’s rerun. The little I’ve seen of his work I feel like there’s no substance there. And Tweedle Dumber, I mean Max Irons? Whose idea of acting is to turn ‘Baby Pout and Doe Eyes’ to eleven and see what happens? Yeah, not feeling him either.

And this is where I switch gears completely and rant about Billy Burke for an eon, because Jesus. I’m glad to see that the caterpillar that afflicted his face for the Twilight movies was nowhere to be seen in this one, but I almost feel like maybe it would’ve helped make his thankless role more palatable because at least I’d be distracted by the porn-stache. Instead I’m stuck with the most boring end to a movie ever and Shiloh doing a bunch of lower eyelid acting to the camera as he realizes He’s Infected with The Werewolf! Dun Dun Duuuuuuuunnnnnn and their love can never be until he can control eeeeetttttt! Duuuuuunnnnn!

And god did some of the major plot points/major characterization feel just ripped wholesale from Twilight. And I get that Hardwicke directed both this and the first twilight but there were several places where I’m like “Are you directing a new movie or just copying moves from your old one?

It wasn’t all bad really. I mean I realized my girl crush on Amanda Seyfried is still intact, as if I needed validation, but it’s pretty much bad. Sorry Hardwicke et al, this was a steaming turd pile, but one in which I will watch every time it’s on cable from now to eternity. C-

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The New Normal

It shouldn’t be this easy. I sometimes complain about things that are perceived as hard, but really it’s pretty damn easy. And it shouldn’t be, you know? The easiness of it, the utter effortlessness in which things happen now makes me anxious. There should be a shoe. And it should be dropping, or it should’ve dropped some time ago. But it doesn’t drop, and so I don’t trust it, any of it, her, me, him, life. And yet somehow, I do, I have to.

Three years ago it was not this easy. Not even remotely. It was the most opposite of easy as anything has ever been. And I can never forget the heartbreak, and not just one heartbreak, a thousand heartbreaks that happened over and over again. It was the thing that never made me trust that anything could ever be considered normal ever again. I should try to block those mistrusting associations, but I can’t. I can never forget because in order to honor my son, I feel compelled to remember. In fact, the little things I can’t remember feel like little heartaches themselves. Certain medication names, surgery names have started to fade when I try to recall them. They come slow if they come at all. I still have all his records, I could look it up if I really wanted to, but that’s not the point. I feel haunted by memories of him and I feel haunted by the things I can’t remember about him. It all stays with me especially when it doesn’t stay with me.

I especially remember when I started to trust that things would be normal, and that’s exactly when normal disappeared from our lives forever, never to return again, replaced by uncertainty and heartache, and tears and exhaustion and everything that came after was definitely not normal.

But now? Now we’re in a new kind of normal, a normal where I’m finally trusting that if I fall asleep I’ll find that tiny body still in its crib, still breathing. I didn’t have this normal and I can’t trust this new normal. I’m starting to, but trust is hard-won. I still don’t trust myself to be the mother she needs me to be properly, because I still feel insecure in the mother I was with him. Was I enough for him? Was I really all that he needed me to be? He’s not around for me to ask him and get a proper answer.

So I don’t trust anything, not really. Given our history with car rides, it took me forever to relinquish my guard in the back seat next to her car seat. Chris had to coax me into switching seats. The anxiety I felt the day I finally sat in the front seat was crushing. It got easier. It’s still not simple though. Not really. Taking her anywhere by myself was terrifying, like anxiety attack terrifying. How on earth should I be expected to this on my own? I never could before, was never expected to before, and yet I did. Now it feels easy, not second-nature, not like breathing, but easy. At nights, I put her to sleep in the bedroom, alone. I listen to her via a baby monitor. This was not even in the realm of possibility once and now it’s commonplace in my life, it’s normal, it’s easy.

It sucks that it’s easy. I don’t want it to be easy. I don’t want it to be comfortable, because that’s when that other shoe will drop and our wonderful, incredible normal of now will become a new, much harder normal. I can’t trust easy. I can’t trust comfortable. I still worry that I can’t trust myself, although its getting easier to trust myself to enjoy it. That too was hard-won. But now, I see that smile, I hear that infectious giggle and I smile and giggle and feel alive and happy, and loving this normal, loving it so much. I just want to trust that it will be here to stay.