You know District 12 from the Hunger Games? Apparently it’s in Western Maryland. And it’s scary.

Be warned: this will come as a huge shock to everyone who knows me, but I hope that you will all still love and respect me for the person I am, despite what I am about to admit.

Brace yourselves.

I am not an outdoors person.

I know, I know, it seems like I would be between the high heels, manicured nails, twenty-three hours logged in the gym daily (which is tough to do when I also work full time, but I manage!), and general lack of survival skills. But alas, nature and I do not get along.

In fact, nature and I seem to be mortal enemies.

I am the victim of near constant animal attacks (particularly birds. I don’t know why they hate me so much, but they do. Maybe I was a chicken farmer in a past life? No. Definitely not.), would gladly do away with dirt if I could, and, according to YouTube, the quickest way to get rid of me is to present me with an insect.

And of course the boyfriend has a cabin in the woods out in the furthermost reaches of Western Maryland. So far, in fact, that it’s part of Appalachia. Or as it’s called today, Hunger Games District 12.

 
(But not District 11, which seems to be the only district that has black people and is ALSO the first district to start rioting and looting. Then they turn fire hoses on them. AND the dude from District 11 was the first one that the weird dog things went after. Did anyone else notice how insanely racist that was? No? Just me? Well it was.)

And out there, apparently Maryland might as well be West Virginia. Like they were excited when they got a Walmart. Now, I’m not a nature girl, but I’ll go camping Survivor-style before I’ll set foot in a Walmart.

I’ve been to peopleofwalmart.com and that’s as close to seeing the inside of one of those bad boys as I’m prepared to get. And that’s the Walmarts around HERE. I don’t even want to think about what a District 12 Walmart looks like. Oh wait, is that where Katniss goes to trade her squirrel? Probably. But as I neither have a dead squirrel to trade nor need a mockingjay pin, I’m fine with not going there.

But the boyfriend loves it out there. So like a good girlfriend, I too, must learn to love the cabin. Despite the fact that it snowed there two weeks ago. In May. Because District 12 is also the land that Global Warming forgot. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see a plesiosaurus swimming in the lake and have some local say, “Oh that? That’s just Creeky.** She’s a big ol’ fish ‘round these here parts. She won’t hurt ya none, lil missy.”*

*Note: I have no idea if District 12 people actually talk like that. The few locals I’ve met had such unidentifiable accents that “moonshine” was the only word I caught.

**The boyfriend would like you to know that out there, where people “warsh” their clothes, that’s pronounced “Cricky.”  And he claims she’s harmless.

So last weekend, he and I made the trek out to the mountains, crawled under the non-electrified electric fence, and ventured into District 12. The boyfriend got right to work enjoying himself by chopping some firewood.

(No really. His idea of a good time out there is chopping firewood. This is my life now.)

While I sat down, safely indoors, with my laptop to start work on my next book, currently titled “The Great American Novel.” (As I always say, go big or go home!)

Then realized I hadn’t brought my power cord.

Tech savvy genius that I am, I used my phone to search for the nearest place to get a Macbook charger. (Thankfully the cabin does have wifi, because 3G doesn’t exist out there. And 4G? Oh you’re funny!)

At which point, I discovered that the closest place where I could get a charger for a Macbook was LITERALLY MY OWN HOUSE. Seriously. The closest store that sold one was further from the cabin than my house is.  Because District 12 is not Mac friendly.  Maybe THAT’s why they have so much trouble getting a winning tribute.  Just saying.

Houston, we have a big freaking problem.

So working on the novel was out of the question because my handwriting looks like something Michael J. Fox wrote with a vibrating pen while riding a roller coaster. No seriously, it’s that bad. Ask my students. Even though they don’t know who Michael J. Fox is, so don’t ask them that part.  It’ll just confuse them.

And I definitely was NOT about to go help the boyfriend chop firewood. Not my scene.

But I’m adaptable, I can entertain myself. And by entertain myself, I mean read and then spend hours torturing Rosie. Who, like her mommy, thinks the cabin is filled with danger and comes from the Mad-Eye Moody school of protecting herself and me with CONSTANT VIGILANCE! So it’s really fun to jump around corners at her and watch her try unsuccessfully to escape because her little paws slide all over the wooden floors there.

Okay, I’m an evil mother. But Rosie loves it, I swear.

All that running around corners and scaring Rosie meant that I needed a shower though. Which was fine. The boyfriend swears the water up there is better anyway, so I got in the shower. All was well. I shaved my legs. Then the GIGANTIC FREAKING SPIDER that pulled back the shower curtain Psycho-style stuck his eight legs out and asked if I minded shaving those as well.

I, obliging the Psycho-style of the curtain pull, screamed my head off, then refused because I’m pretty sure that the spider’s legs were longer than mine and shaving all eight of them would completely dull my razor blade.

Taking my advice from iconic song lore, I decided to wash the spider down the drain. However, a minor tussle ensued because the water pressure was not quite sufficient enough to force this particular spider down the drain because this spider was not so itsy bitsy and was bigger than the actual drain. It took the boyfriend, his firewood chopping axe, six moonshine-muttering locals, and Creeky herself to sort the situation out because Spidey was not going quietly into that good night.

Apparently, when it comes to my boyfriend, it’s love him, love his cabin.

And that cabin comes with an unkillable shower spider.

But at least it doesn’t snore as loudly as he does, so I’ll learn to deal with it I suppose.

And who knows? Maybe the spider will be selected at the Reaping ceremony to represent District 12 next year. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Who says nuclear disasters can’t be funny? My friend Godzilla begs to differ…

So I know I’ve been slacking on the blog front lately, but for once it has NOTHING to do with my obsession with people from New Jersey.

No, really! Bruce isn’t touring, Gaslight Anthem isn’t touring in this country, and Jersey Shore tragically finished its third season last week. I’m so depressed I don’t know what to do with myself. Seriously. It’s reached the wearing yoga pants and sneakers to places other than the gym level. I mean, Don’t worry too much yet though; I’m still wearing makeup, but if you see me in yoga pants, sneakers and no mascara, it’s time to call the suicide hotline and get me some help…

The real answer is that I’ve been editing my next book so that you’ll have reading material this summer that, unlike this blog, I’ll actually make some money off of. Because while I appreciate my family clicking the ads on my blog, I get approximately 1/18th of a penny for every click I get. Which means that in seven months of blogging, I’ve earned ALMOST enough to buy a gallon of regular gasoline. As long as I go to the super cheap station where you have to pay cash. But it’s a start.

But I digress. That’s not what I came here to talk about (blog about?) today. I came to talk about the draft.

Kidding. Please tell me that someone other than my parents got the “Alice’s Restaurant” reference. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? (And if you didn’t get THAT one, it’s time for YOU to put on yoga pants and no mascara. Seriously. What are you doing with your life?)

In the week and a half that I’ve been ignoring my blog, a lot has happened in the world. I didn’t get the Charlie Sheen internship (which, let’s be honest, contributed to the yoga pants shame spiral. I really wanted that job. But it’s probably for the best. As I’m already COMPLETELY and utterly sick of Charlie Sheen and think he needs to go crawl back into his drug/alcohol induced crazy cave), and the situation in Libya has deteriorated to the point where my earlier blogs making gentle fun of Gaddafi are no longer funny. Which is the real reason why I personally hate Moammar Gaddafi. If you’re going to be enough of a psycho to make it NOT funny when I mock you, you also need to retire to Charlie Sheen’s crazy cave in yoga pants and no mascara.

Oh and there was that whole Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster situation.

Which, as I’ve been told repeatedly by the media, is not funny in ANY way. In fact, people have started pulling episodes of The Simpsons that deal with Homer Simpson-induced nuclear meltdowns from syndication because of the situation in Japan.

Yes. I’m serious. Episodes from 15 years ago in which Homer sets off a nuclear crisis by being a stupid, fat American are now “not funny” in light of the natural disasters that caused a nuclear crisis in Japan. Which has to be Gaddafi’s fault somehow. I don’t know how yet. But it is. No one else is evil enough to make people think classic Simpsons episodes aren’t funny. Damn you, Gaddafi!

But because of how serious everything in the news has been, the world seems to be ignoring the fact that two of the current biggest news stories aren’t really anything new. In fact, two of the biggest news stories of the moment seem to have come straight out of the movies.

I’ll give you a hint: they both involve reptiles.

For example, I hate to break it to you, but the cobra escape from the Bronx Zoo is NOT news. I saw that movie already when it was called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Worry less about finding the snake, worry MORE about finding the 11-year-old wizard who removed the glass keeping the snake contained with his mind. Seriously. The snake is gone. Get over the snake. The WIZARD WHO FREED THE SNAKE IS STILL OUT THERE. Want to get rid of Gaddafi? A simple “Avada Kedavra” curse would do it. But we muggles can’t perform those. FIND THE WIZARD.

(All the non-Harry Potter fans out there have no idea what that last paragraph was talking about. And all the obsessive Harry Potter fans out there are super pissed off at me because they’re sitting there saying, “Harry would NEVER perform the Avada Kedavra curse, even on Moammar Gaddafi,” and they’re planning to trick me with something from Fred and George Weasley’s shop that will seem like candy but will really cause horrible discomfort. Get over it guys. You’re not wizards. You never will be. And if somehow you ARE, I’m sorry. Please don’t hurt me.)

The second story, I’m pretty sure that I can’t be the only one who made this connection, but considering that people are pulling Simpsons episodes, I may be the only one brave enough to talk about it.

Yes. I mean the radiation levels in the water in Japan.

Because I saw that movie too. And I know what comes next.

Need another hint? Let’s act it out. Stand up. Point at the sky. Move your mouth in silent gibberish while someone else dubs over you, “Look, it is Godzilla! We must flee!”

I mean, this is how Godzilla was born. Radiation in the coastal waters of Japan. And I think people need to be prepared for the fact that a giant, martial-arts practicing, building-stepping-on lizard could be about to emerge and begin stomping on what’s left of Japan.

But, as usual, I have a plan. Lure Godzilla off with a blonde, King Kong-style, and deliver him to Libya. Because Gaddafi is JUST crazy enough to think he could beat Godzilla. And it might be a close fight. But my money is on the giant radioactive lizard. A young Gaddafi might have been able to give Godzilla a run for his money. Crazy old man Gadaffi? You’ve got this Godzilla.  This is your moment.  Shine on you crazy lizard, you.

It really is a win-win situation. Plus, unlike when the US gets involved in a situation like this (cough Iraq cough), when the problem is over, Godzilla doesn’t need a real exit strategy. He can just retire into the Mediterranean, or, if he wants to keep fighting, can go back to Japan and battle Mothra and whatever other giant mutants emerge from Japan’s radioactive waters.

And now I’m going to go donate some money to the Japanese relief efforts because I’m probably going to hell for mocking them in their time of need. And if you laughed at any part of this blog, you’re probably going to be there with me. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when Godzilla gets here. Because he’s coming. And we should flee.

Once Harry Potter, always Harry Potter. Unless you’re immortal.

I was watching the Pillars of the Earth miniseries (thanks to my parents, because I don’t get Starz… I object on principle to anything that should end in an “s” but ends in a “z” instead), and I realized something. Matthew McFayden, who plays Prior Phillip, is and will forever be Mr. Darcy.

Don’t get me wrong, Colin Firth ALSO is and forever will be Mr. Darcy.

But so is Matthew McFayden. I don’t care that he played an ugly guy in Frost/Nixon and now a monk in Pillars. He is Mr. Darcy.  And there’s nothing he can do about it.

Unfortunately for some actors, it doesn’t matter if they’re really great at their craft or not, because a truly amazing movie role can ruin an actor for any other roles.

Take Elijah Wood. He’s cute, young, and a pretty good actor. But he’s Frodo now. No one is ever going to be able to look at him in a movie and NOT start talking about “my precious.”

Same with Daniel Radcliffe. The poor kid became a superstar, but he is now Harry Potter. (How many of you just said “Harry Potter” in an English accent, entirely because I said it? That’s going to haunt him for the rest of his life. It’s just so fun to say. ‘Arry Pohtah. Love it.)

Matthew Broderick had the same problem, after becoming a household name as Ferris Bueller. And now he’s doing theatre. Because he has to. But I bet anyone who sees him in a play is still standing around at intermission going “Bueller… Bueller…” And that wasn’t even his line!

Some actors DID manage to escape this curse, however. The best example might just be Harrison Ford. In the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, it looked like he was going to be Han Solo forever.

Then BAM! He plays an even MORE awesome role! Melanie Griffith’s love interest from Working Girl.

Kidding.

But seriously, he played incredibly memorable roles repeatedly in multiple movie franchises, and that kept him from being strictly Indiana Jones OR Han Solo.

(No, I didn’t NEED to use all of those Harrison Ford pictures.  But he’s cute, even if he’s a million years old now.  So I did it anyway.)

Carrie Fisher wasn’t so lucky. She’s going to be Princess Leia even after she dies. And poor Yoda. He never got another job. (Although Miss Piggy and the Cookie Monster sound a lot like him. Hmmm…)

Tom Hanks, by all rights, should be known for all eternity as Forrest Gump. That was EASILY one of the best characters in any movie. Ever. Hands down.

But Tom Hanks is the exception to any acting curses. Because he’s just that good. Who would have ever seen that coming from the guy who was in Joe Versus the Volcano? (Although, I have to admit, I secretly love that movie and quote it all the time. No one except my dad ever knows what I’m talking about. But the brain cloud thing was awesome.  And wherever we go, whatever we do, we are taking this luggage!)

Then there’s my favorite category of actors: the ones who play themselves in every single movie. I don’t mean they’re doing cameos as themselves. I mean, they’re playing very different characters, who somehow all end up EXACTLY like the actor him or herself.

My personal favorite of these is Jack Nicholson.

I love him. I’d watch him in anything. But there’s not a whole lot of range there. And he’s won Oscars! Really, Academy Awards committee? Really? Were you just scared that if you DIDN’T give it to him, he’d come after you with an axe, Shining style? Because I get it if that’s the reason. (Check him out in Tommy though. 1975. He sang in that movie. Seriously. It’s nuts.) But when Jack smashed that person’s car with golf clubs back in the ‘90s, no one was surprised. Because that’s just how Jack is. And all of his characters reflect that. I guess when you’re that awesome/crazy, you can pull that off.

Samuel L. Jackson certainly manages it. And he plays the same psycho in most of his movies too. But he’s entertaining as hell, which might be because he manages to drop more F bombs per minute than anyone else in the world, except my dad. (Who I think looks up to Samuel L. Jackson as a personal hero for that reason. My family is weird.)

Then there are the actors who played memorable roles, but they’re just not good enough for it to ruin their career. Yes. I mean Keanu Reeves. I still look at him and think of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (and their Bogus Journey, aka every other movie Keanu Reeves has been in… Harsh? Maybe. But I can’t watch anything that wooden unless it’s growing leaves and has birds nesting in it).

But maybe it’s not that he’s a bad actor. Maybe there’s a supernatural reason that he avoided this curse. (The video is short, and totally worth watching!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEubt6HpGhs

So to sum up: “San Dimas High School football RULES!”
(Please tell me someone got that reference…)