Too Cool for Cinderella

Picture one giant 6 foot 4 blonde hulk wedged between a giggling tiny four year old and an entranced 20-something female. For two hours. Neither of these are his girlfriend. Everyone else in the theater is either under 10 or over 50. Only the most stupendous brothers let themselves get dragged to see Cinderella alongside their 20-something year old sister and a bunch of six year olds.

The most stupendous brothers go to the theater, heaven forbid that they actually enjoy it. Cracking even a smile would totally decimate any ‘man cred’ or something.

Which is stupendous.

Not the decimation of man cred, men should be allowed to feel manly if they so choose, but the battle between actually enjoying the movie vs making sure your sister doesn’t know that you enjoyed the movie is one of the most stupendous things you can ever witness. Let me break down the phases for you.

Phase 1: Accept that you are going to have to go see Cinderella tonight because:

  • Your sister is older than you and therefore always right
  • Mom and Dad will buy you dinner if you go and you’re a poor student
  • It’s your sister’s birthday so you’re not weaseling out of this one
  • you secretly liked that movie but no-one may know

Phase 2: Crack sarcastic comments while driving to theater and express general mocking. This can include fun phrases like “What? I didn’t realize you were actually turning 6 today.” or “I bet this movie will actually have lots of guns and explosions. Only good movies have guns and explosions”. Whew. Totally saved your man cred there.

Phase 3: Increase sarcastic comments as previews role and everything is for animated movies. Grudging express that Pixar’s new movie looks like it might be good. Secretly decide that your uncool, boyfriendless sister will need you to go with her to see movie. Thus saving your man cred and letting you look like a good brother.

Phase 4: Start movie. Smile indulgently at smile child giggling beside you. Also smile at unknown 6 year old girl crammed beside you because the theater is packed. Attempt to compress 6’4 frame into something a little smile.

Phase 5: Crack smile at stepsister antics. Immediately squelch smile with thoughts of manly swordfighting.

Phase 6: Stop making sarcastic comments. Offer sister smuggled in chocolate.

Phase 7: Realize your smiling only when sister looks at you like the cheshire cat who just got to eat all of the birds. Wipe away smile. Tell sister that you’re only smiling because you think her love of this is hilarious.

Phase 8: Just give up and enjoy the sappiness between Cinderella and the Prince. Bet that sister is too distracted to notice your enjoyment. *side note: sister totally noticed*

Phase 9: Exit movie theater smiling like a loon. Realize that man cred is still intact despite obvious enjoyment of the movie. Resolve that movie was fun.

Phase 10: Tell sister that movie wasn’t terrible. Inform that fireworks do not count as explosions and that the room of men fencing wasn’t enough swordfighting. Question sister’s desire to wear a princess dress for five minutes.

Repeat as necessary.

Stay Stupendous

Something Stupendous: Zombie Quarantine that was Actually a Hospital Fire

Trapped in the empty ‘teach mothers how to breast feed’ area of the hospital during a fire is not a situation that I’d particularly recommend to anyone, but it’s still stupendous. My Hedgehog and I were visiting our jaundiced mother in the hospital and the three of us got ourselves locked into an obscure corner of the obstetrics wing. During a fire. A hospital fire. The hospital was on freaking fire and we were literally trapped by ourselves with no nurses or other people.

Just me, a giant teenage boy, a stony gall bladder yellow-coloured mother, an IV with only 30 minutes of battery left, and the world’s loudest alarm right above our heads. Seriously, this thing went off exactly every 2.6 seconds with the ferocity of the ninth doctor yelling at a Dalek.

We’d left the cheerful, people-filled section of the hospital for this secluded wing because my mom had 3 elderly roommates with various bowel conditions and no-one really wants to be around that for an extended period of time. Also, her room had no chairs. It’s not like the young healthy kids could ask the nice old man for the one chair in the room. So we’re peacefully sitting in these extremely uncomfortable chairs that are probably covered in spots of breast milk or something and listening to The Hedgehog tells us all about *gently* hitting one of his students in the head with a dodgeball.

The future educator of your children folks. To be fair, apparently the kid really really really wanted him to, which makes me wonder just how many dodgeballs this kid has taken to the head over his lifetime.

Also the mother is wearing two hospital gowns, one normal and one on backwards, and keeps nearly tripping over her IV tube – just to give you a proper mental image.

Fun fact: when a fire breaks out somewhere in the hospital all of the giant doors swing shut and lock automatically in a nightmare, the-zombies-are-coming scenario. Literally. One second you can go anywhere. The next a giant siren starts going off above your head, someone crackles through the intercom about a code red, and all the doors swing shut like you will never again be allowed to leave because you are all infected with the plague, congratulations and welcome to quarantine.

But still stupendous. First of all, how often do you really get to pretend you’re in a zombie movie? Not often. So that’s a point of favour right there. I was also reassured that it there had been zombies or intruders or a terrible plague of death or purple poka-dots then the hospital could effectively contain that jazz. If the giant hedgehog wasn’t going anywhere neither was anyone else, undead or otherwise.

I should also point out that as far as I can tell, there wasn’t actually a fire. Or at least not a large fire. So that’s great. You’re not allowed to use the elevator even after the alarm stops and door unlock so everybody is forced to be ultra healthy and use the stairs. This is good, hospitals should be promoting health and exercise. That’s like their mandate or whatever.

But finally and most stupendously, the mother, the hedgehog, and I have never been so chatty. I mean there’s not a lot else to do when you’re trapped in an empty tiny wing staring at diagrams of how to properly breastfeed. What are we going to do, read the breast feeding material? The mother’s been there, done that, and survived. Not really an issue for the male Hedgehog. And as for me, dear parsnips, are you trying to make me very very afraid of the future? I’ve got married friends and I’m barely acclimatized to that. Don’t throw tiny womb nuggets into the mix.

So we chatted about anything and everything. Hedgehog’s school. The Mother’s bile duct. My inability to properly paint plates. My strange ability to write 10 pages on the importance of door jambs to society. The Mother’s rotating roommates. Hedgehog’s dinner schedule for the next week. Literally everything.

And isn’t that always something stupendous when families get together and talk?

Stay stupendous.

Something Stupendous: It’s Raining Bits of Ceiling, Hallelujah!

Ceiling keeps raining on my head. Thankfully not big hunks of ceiling a la action movies, although I’m being cautiously optimistic that it’s not about to turn into full-blown tiles falling on my head. This is also more than your standard dust. This is the dust chunks that are being dislodged by the slightly grungy man playing with the pipes in the ceiling.

Guess who’s right under where he’s working. This kid.

I’m covered in a fine layer of dust and bits of that orange insulation stuff that my dad forbade me from ever touching as a child because he said it would be the itchiest thing ever even though it looked like cotton candy. I’m sorry dad. The sweaty man made them fall on me.

He just fixed a pipe using nothing but duct tape. I’m not sure how I feel about sitting under this.

Also my dust allergy is flaring up like I’m being viciously attached by the sandman.

Still, this is stupendous. Why? Well sneezing is always fun. I’m the kind who sneezes with the force of a mighty North Wind so it’s great for clearing the sinuses. Not to mention that I can trace little designs in the sea of dust particles that have coated my desk and can make pictures.

But most importantly. The ceiling dust is a sign of heat. Forthcoming, beautiful, blissful heat. Does the building have heat? Yupp. Does the office have heat? Yupp. Does my room have heat? Yupp. Does my particular corner of the room have heat?

HAHA NO.

The tiny portable heater and I have gotten well acquainted over the past few weeks. And I love it. We’re on good terms. But I too would like to bask in the glow of the giant central heating. And the ceiling bits landing on my head indicate that it is coming. Grunge man is fixing the problem.

Provided this duct tape thing really works.

So when it comes down it, I’m willing to dive into a non-lethal pool of ceiling bits if that’s what it takes to feel warm.

So ceiling bits, Keep falling. Just stay tiny. I can’t handle another concussion at work. I mean I work in an office. Once was embarrassing enough.

Stay stupendous.

Something Stupendous: Layer Poultry

Layer Poultry. This is the phrase that took me down a peg and made me grin at my own silliness. I went a hundred different places as to what this phrase could possibly be referring to, going as far to google it. Before circling back around and going ‘well duh silly, it’s exactly what it sounds like – layer poultry’.

This is stupendous. The places your mind goes before arriving on the logical conclusion. The genuine confusion that bubbled in my soul. It’s an exacting, specific descriptive term that is exactly what it sounds like but still promotes imagination. STUPENDOUS ON BOTH COUNTS. I love things that explicitly say what they are and I love things that promote imagination.

I didn’t know you could put them together.

Please enjoy the two minute journey that my brain just went on when confronted with the term ‘layer poultry’:

Layer poultry. Right. Is that a food processor? No idea. Well, what is layer poultry? Chickens. Definitely a chicken farmer. Why layers? Layer chickens. No way. This is some fancy kind of layered chicken dish? As in layers of different kinds of chicken meat – like a chicken turducken. Turducken for the middle class. Yes. I like it.

Except they’re farmers. If they weren’t farmers they wouldn’t be on this list. Farmers seem unlikely to be serving fancy layered chicken. Maybe it’s a farming practice, like it’s a way of keeping the chickens. Or growing the chickens – no, raising chickens, come on no-one says growing chickens.

MAYBE THEY STACK THE CHICKENS ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. Like an epic Tower of Chickens, Chicken jenga. Yes, they take all the chickens and stack them in a pile with all their little scary chicken feet standing on the feathered back of other chickens. Very Yertle the Turtle. It’s layers of chickens. Wait no, that’s a really dumb idea. Live chickens don’t seem horribly stackable. And what would be the purpose?

I can’t believe I just proposed a tower of chickens. Embarrassing. Sometimes I wonder about my mental state. Maybe layers of caged chickens. That’s at least stackable and believable in terms of saving space. You know, I could just Google it. Then I’d know.

Oh good. Guidelines on layer poultry. Exactly what I wanted to read today. Skim. Skim. Ah wait. No. It cannot be that simple. Embarrassment increases. Why didn’t I think of that. They’re chickens. OF COURSE that’s what it means. Eggs silly. Layer poultry. As opposed to meat poultry. Not layers of chickens. I can’t believe you spent 30 seconds believing that some farm was creating the leaning tower of poultry and a farmer spent his days stacking his chickens for no discernible purpose.

END

Personally, even aside from the stupendousness of layer poultry, I think that little brain trip would make layer poultry stupendous all on its own.

And in case you’re like me, layer poultry means raising chickens who will grow up to be layers. As in the chickens who lay eggs. Layer poultry = egg laying chickens.

I wasn’t the only one who missed that. Right? RIGHT?

Something Stupendous: The Overthinking Cycle

I’ve been overthinking these posts. Which is exactly why they’ve stopped coming. I’ve started overanalyzing, over planning, over editing, and generally overthinking every word of every post of every single thing that could possibly be overthunk. This paralyzing overthinking has ground my post production to a halt.

This was brought to my realization by discovering that I could still write a post a day (see this blog) if I just turned the old analytical part of the brain off a tad and let the funtastic words fly. My thesis advisor would be brandishing fruit flies at me for saying such a thing. Sorry Doctor Drosophila but Something Stupendouses are less about my editing and statistic prowess and more about feeling it out.

Of course it’s not quite that easy to turn off the overthinking. However, this has become stupendous. Forget the negative connotations associated with overthinking and really start thinking about it.

That’s right. I want you to overthink overthinking.

Because that’s the point where it all gets stupendous. When the circle loops back around to the origin point and internally combusts in on itself. You realize that you’re overthinking. You start thinking about your overthinking. You overthink the overthinking. You then overthink the fact that you’re overthinking the overthinking. Finally there’s just so much overthinking that you stop overthinking entirely because it’s not possible for the human brain to maintain that level of meta-ness.

Maybe I just really wanted a Charizard on my blog…

And being able to write again? That’s stupendous.

Also anything that feedback loops on itself and then combusts in a sea of Charizard level firewheels is stupendous too. Those are enlightenment moments at their best. 

Something Stupendous: Running With the Microphone

Today I was one of the girls running around handing microphones to everyone who wanted to ask questions in big conference rooms. It was stupendous. Certainly the event itself was great and the fact that people can pose questions is even better, but the ‘mic running’ is the thing that I deem stupendous today.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced that awkward silence, the moment when someone asks for questions and no-one wants to raise their hand. When mic running this feeling of awkwardness has vanished into the night sky, you’re posed to act, determined to never let a question go unheard. Your eyes are ever watching the crowd, trying to catch that hesitant hand in the air and hoping that you won’t miss it and leave someone hanging. A hand goes up and you scoot over, praying that you don’t trip, knowing that the entire room is waiting for you to hurry up and move. You get there, hand over the mic, hoping against hope that you remembered to flick the switch to ‘on’. You try to appear invisible as you stand nearby the questioner, take the mic back, remember to switch it off for fear of everyone hearing you breath.

You fade back into the background until the question is answered and the silence starts all over again.

The whole experience is stupendous. For starters it keeps you engaged in the conversation before you, it makes you feel important (I’ve got the mic, I control the questions) and best of all, there’s a weird feeling of both adrenaline and connection.

The five second rush to get the mic to the correct person is equivalent to a baton-pass sprint and the payoff feels just as good. People appreciate you getting them the microphone, they all quietly thank you, give you a smile. You’ve successfully enabled interaction between employees; you’re ensuring that the issues are heard. Just the fact that we can freely converse with/criticize our government is amazing; the fact that I could facilitate it is stupendous.

Yes, it’s a little thing, but the little things are the most stupendous.

Plus exercise and adrenaline = bonus

Something Stupendous: And Suddenly… Beavers

Me: *bursts through the door into the house* MOM!

Mom [in another room probably having a heart attack because I am not a ‘burst through the door and shout’ kind of person but rather a ‘slink in the door and quietly traverse the two feet into my bedroom’ kind of person]: Archie?

~ As you may have noticed my name is not actually Archie. My mother is just fond of nicknames. As in she really never uses my real name even when friends are over which just gets mortifyingly embarrassing when she absently calls you Lulabell McFerdinand or something~

Me: Guess what I discovered at work today?

Mom: Something technical that you had to make sound pretty?

Me: *shouting across the house* BEAVERS!

Mom: *pauses then appears* There were beavers at work?

Me: No, not at work, in work. There were beavers in my work. Unexpectedly stupendous beavers. I got paid to write about dam-building, tail smacking, big toothed beavers. Do you know how often that happens? Someone just hands you beavers in the middle of your more technical mumbo jumbo and farm assessments?

Mom: *starts to mirror my enthusiasm* NOT OFTEN.

Me: NOT OFTEN! I genuinely lol’d. Big ol’ snort in the cubicle. Then I had to explain to my cubicle-mates the whole beaver situation. I can’t tell if they were chuckling at the beavers or my beaver enthusiasm or my weird snort noises.

Mom: *looks like ? *

Me: Laughed out loud, come on Mom. You keep telling me you’re hip. Be hip. Get with the lingo.

Mom: *subtle conversation change* It is almost Canada Day.

Me: Right! It’s a sign from the universe.

Mom: What sign?

Me: I don’t know, but it’s some kind of sign. Maybe the beaver overlords are coming. Maybe Canada will finally raise its beaver army, join its moose brethren and instill a state of politeness and maple syrup over the whole world. Look at that idea – we could achieve world peace with beavers.

Mom: Sometimes I worry about you.

Me: I know. But really the beavers weren’t even the best part – have you heard of beaver deceivers? Because I hadn’t. But they are essentially things that deceiver beavers. It RHYMES. Not only did I get unexpected beavers in the middle of a workday but I got rhyming beavers.

beaver deciever

Beaver deceivers are deceptively unbeaveresque

Mom: What are beaver deceivers?

Me: No clue. Some kind of beaver trap for when they annoy farmers. Apparently Manitoba hasn’t caught onto the beavers = world peace thing yet.

Mom: Sometimes I wonder how you got that job.

Me: Because I believe in my stupendousness! Also because they knew that I was the kind of girl who could a) handle both the tedious technical reports and the excitement of unexpected beavers and b) because I’m the kind of girl who actually gets excited by a spontaneous beaver interruption. That kind of enthusiasm is an immediate moral lift.

Mom: Unexpected beavers are stupendous?

Me: YOU BET! *pause* When’s dinner?

Mom: Guess.

Me: When Hedgehog gets home.

My life in a nutshell… I’m only slightly paraphrasing.