5 Antiques I Managed Not To Buy This Year

Antiques stores smell moldy and they activate my asthma, but I can’t get enough of them.

I want to buy everything inside them, the creepier/uglier the better. I want to surround myself with these hardscrabble discards. We would form an army that eventually overthrows the system.

When my husband vetoes my selections, I photograph them so I can always remember them.

Here are 2017’s top 5 did-not-buy antiques:

This little Gloomy Gus got left behind in the Rapture. Look into his cold eyes. He knows something we don’t — something unspeakable.

This fella has the distinction of being the Mayor of Jaunty Walks.

This is the first of two horse items upon this list. Take a moment and just admire the normalcy of this horse, constipated as it is.

WHAT THE EVERLOVING —

WHAT —

HOW —

WHY —

I deeply regret not buying this.

And finally, the boobie portion of our show.

This “plus-size” mannequin reminds me of the Venus of Willendorf, in the best way possible. I don’t know where I’d put her, but I definitely would never clothe her. She deserves to present her glory all the time.

At some point, I’ll have to inventory all the stuff I did buy, which is an equally long list full of almost-as-preposterous crap.

My impulse control only goes so far.

5 Pleasant Surprises of 2017

(this mural is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

When John Oliver released the “Fuck 2016” video, I whistled an amen. (Or, uh, tried to. I can’t whistle.)

I thought 2017 couldn’t possibly dehumanize the world more than 2016.

I thought Trump’s campaign was some sort of elaborate joke and, when elected, he’d be centrist.

I thought I’d get a ton of reading done.

It never occurred to me that anyone close to me would die.

I was wrong.

I could focus on the slow-motion crumbling of various pillars of my life, but instead, today, I’m going to focus on some wins, goddammit.

Trump’s been bad — like, really bad, like, astronomically, comically, epically bad — at getting things done. He really sucks at his job and it’s lovely.

I was ready for my life to turn into some sort of Handmaid’s Tale bullshit. If anything, his presidency is closer to the plot of Everyone Poops.

Plus, Cards Against Humanity is fucking with his wall plans, which is hilarious.

I didn’t have to lie to a friend about her talent.

We all know people who aspire to be something they’re horrible at.

My friend Carmen blew me out of the water with her skill — and everyone else, too. Her first book was shortlisted for the National Book Award. I am dizzy with relief.

Netflix.

Stranger Things 2 was destined to be bangin’. And it was.

But let’s talk Punisher. At first, I was like “ugh, this is some kind of military espionage conspiracy thing. I wish for the sweet release of death.” But the characters and plot, if you can stick with it, become really compelling.

I also recommend Glow and Mindhunter.

Weight Watchers.

I lost 28 pounds this year.

Conceptually, it’s strange to celebrate “there’s less of me!”

We could probably spend a lot of time unpacking society, and self-image, and the weight loss industry.

My success is about more than my appearance. I’m able to lift things more easily. I’m able to go farther, faster. I am able to make clear-headed choices about food (usually). I have a better handle on the endless craving cycles.

Dismantling the Patriarchy. 

The downfall of sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey is huge, not just for women, but for everyone. It’s a new world out there, full of harassment-free possibilities.

I wonder what 2018 will bring! My fingers are crossed.

5 Books I’m Looking Forward To In 2018

2017 was a shitshow; but I firmly believe that 2018 is going to be My Year.

I don’t have any compelling reasons to believe this, but I do have a TBR (to-be-read) list, which is close enough.

Florida by Lauren Groff (June 5, 2018)
Groff has an electric writing style, and she turns her attention in this story collection to Florida. I loved Monsters of Templeton and Delicate Edible Birds. I hope this book is somewhere between that and Swamplandia!, another book set in Florida that I adored.

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander (January 23, 2018)
An alternative history novel that integrates the Radium Girls and the death of Topsy the elephant at the hands of Edison? I’ll meet you there.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (January 9, 2018)
Four siblings meet a psychic that tells them the exact dates of their deaths. How does this influence their lives? Will they, in fact, die on those dates? The pre-reviews say this is a page-turner.

The Infinite Future by Tom Wirkus (January 16, 2018)
This story’s about an obsessive librarian, a down-at-heel author, and a disgraced historian who are trying to hunt down an elusive author and his final work. Apparently the second half of the book is the elusive work itself, which entwines with the main plot in clever ways.

The Sea Beast Takes A Lover: Stories by Michael Andreasen (February 27, 2018)
The title was enough for me. If you somehow require more, note that the stories allegedly include “mermaids, prophetic dancing bears, exploding children, and distraught time travelers.”

What’re you interested in reading in 2018?

5 Recent Disappointments

You know the old curse, “May you live in interesting times”?

I don’t live in interesting times. My life is a rutted out, comfortable road I can drive on autopilot most of the time. My life is, I daresay, savagely #blessed. I don’t have much to bitch about.

That said, I default to kvetching (complaining). I will find something to complain about. These 5, most recently.

Wendy’s has, once again, failed to bring back the Strawberry Fields salad. This year’s Summer Berry Salad doesn’t have bacon bits or onions in it. It is a lesser salad.

I had to dial back my caffeine intake.

My bladder was having these terrible spasms. I got tested for a UTI, and it came back negative. My doctor asked me how much caffeine I drank and was not pleased with my response. (I’m a tea reviewer, dammit.)

I cut most of the caffeine out, and I feel better. But I miss chugging tea all day. It really broke up the afternoon, especially.

The Lost City of Z was a great book. It was all about historical and contemporary quests for “Z,” a mysterious/mythical ancient civilization in the Amazon.

One of the main parts of the book focused on an explorer from the early 1900s who became obsessed with the concept. He kept going back to the murderous and gross jungle, and failing.

The movie Lost City of Z doesn’t incorporate any of the book except the story about the monomaniacal explorer. It’s two and a half hours of watching them pick their way through the jungle as their comrades die in different ways. They don’t find the damn city. How did it get 87% on Rotten Tomatoes?!

I was so hype to spot Disappearance at Devil’s Rock in the library. Tremblay’s previous novel, Head Full of Ghosts, was creepy as hell. Its ending was slightly open-ended, but intriguingly so. I was ready for something else from this author’s noggin.

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock was riveting, too. I churned through all several hundred pages of it in 24 hours flat.

The story is about a boy who disappears. The point of view moves from person to person involved with the case. You also get little nuggets of information from the disappeared boy’s diary, as pieces of it are found.

Each new bit of the puzzle was intriguing. There are hobo coins, rituals with Satan, spooky sightings, psychics, murders, mysteriously-appearing diary pages, and hints about doppelgangers and zombies.

Unfortunately, the bits of the puzzle never turned into a picture. They remained bits. There was nothing at the end of the story to tie it together. Some reviews online thought this was compelling. We, the readers, will never know what truly happened. But I’m the kind of person who wants to know what happened. I’m kind of pissed off.

I actually had trouble getting this list to 5. So this final item is a loser.

Nothing riveting came out of San Diego Comic Con this year. No huge revelations, jaw-dropping trailers, or promises of fascinating new projects.

It’s one of the first years I looked at the pictures/media coming out of it and thought “meh.”

Which, in a way, nice. The less FOMO the better.