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Mr. Jules Will See You Now

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Jules doing his best Christian Grey – also known as his WHY HAVEN’T YOU FED ME look.   You have one job!

Okay, I admit it.  I saw 50 Shades of Grey and it wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating.  I was expecting the low grade film making and horrible acting of the first Twilight (side note: I have terrible taste in movies) but, it was actually watchable. Which is kind of impressive because after reading the source material, I didn’t think that was possible.  The books, in my opinion, are groan worthy at best and poorly written (yes I read the first two, don’t judge).  Now, I KNOW there’s been a ton of controversy over whether or not women should see this movie, but keep in mind, this is a humor blog and I needed some material.

First off, the good things.  Dakota Johnson actually did a decent job in this film.  So did her boobs.  She was funny and likable and even though she was basically sort of agreeing to be a submissive in a pretty messed up relationship, she still seemed to keep some of her own spunk.  Eh, probably not the best use of words there.  As I mentioned, the screenwriters did a good job taking the cheese factor down a few notches, and Jamie Dornan is an objectively attractive male, though his performance was pretty goofy – he had a LOT of terrible dialogue.  The bad: STILL. SO. CHEESY. SOOOOOO CHEESY. LIKE AFTER YOU EAT CHEETOS AND YOU DON’T HAVE A NAPKIN AND SO EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH IS COVERED IN ORANGE POWDER CHEESY.  And of course, the subject matter still has the ick factor (control, abuse, etc., and he also kept taking her drink away which is just CROSSING THE LINE).

All in all I give it a 2 on the scale of 1 to 5 Twilights. But I suggest seeing it On Demand. The only thing worse than getting busted seeing it in the theater is accidentally locking eyes after the credits with the beer bellied 65 year man in the row ahead of you.  SIR- WHY ARE YOU HERE?  Never mind, don’t answer that.  Oh and I would also suggest not seeing this with anyone in your family. Or anyone you work with. Or really anyone besides your girlfriends after 5 mimosas.

But Seriously, What’s the Deal with Jay?

Fangirl Friday today is going to focus on Sarah Koenig and SERIAL.  SERIAL you guys.  If you haven’t listened to it, you’re missing out.  In fact, change all your plans this weekend (Valentine’s Schmalentine’s) and hook up your ear buds to your iPhone as soon as possible. You could even make it a couples activity!  Like, listen to it naked or something, whatever, I don’t care, just check it out.  SERIAL first premiered in October of 2014 and the final episode was posted on December 28, 2014.  I picked it up in January because I kept hearing about how amazing the story was, and by the time the weekend was over, I’d listened to it in its entirety.  It helped I had a long drive on Friday, because after the first episode, I was already hooked and I think I listened to 6 episodes that day alone.

SERIAL is a spin-off of This American Life on NPR and follows the story of Adnan Syed, who was charged with and later convicted of the murder of Hae Min Lee.  Adnan and Hae were high school sweethearts in Baltimore, Maryland in 1998. They broke up, as high school students often do, and on January 13, 1999, Hae went missing.  Her body was found in a city park on February 9. It was later determined that she died of strangulation by hand.  Yikes.  Now, we’ve all watched enough Law & Order to know that Adnan was going to be the #1 suspect in Hae’s murder.  Adnan of course said he didn’t do it, but he also can’t remember exactly what he was doing on that random afternoon in January, so he doesn’t have an alibi (and he admitted he was pretty high the whole afternoon – cautionary tale kids, don’t do drugs). He has this friend Jay who steps forward and tells the cops that Adnan told him he murdered Hae, and asked him to help bury the body, which Jay says he did (PS – Jay is dumb – if a friend asks you to help bury a body the answer is NO, and then you probably need to get new friends).  So, Jay goes to the police, tells them everything, and even takes them directly to Hae’s car.  Jay clearly know something, and things don’t look good for Adnan.  BUT Jay’s testimony is kind of sketchy and changes quite a bit.  As a side note – per the podcast, and testimony from the community, Adnan was a pretty good kid prior to being, you know, CHARGED WITH MURDER.  One of the things that Koening struggles with the entire podcast is whether she was talking to, and in some ways developing a friendship with an innocent guy or a sociopath.

Jay’s testimony, specifically the fact that he knew where Hae’s car was located, is obviously pretty damning, and Adnan is convicted on February 25, 2000.  He plead not guilty.  No plea deal.  He’s been serving a life sentence ever since.

Sarah Koening first hears about the case in 2013 because some friends of Adnan’s who believe he is innocent sent her an email asking her to take a look at the case.  Koenig used to be a reporter for the Baltimore Sun and covered a story about Adnan’s defense lawyer, specifically focusing on the fact that the lawyer was later disbarred for mishandling client money.   After reviewing the case, and most notably, the holes in the story, Koenig started investigating.  The 12 episodes of SERIAL are the result of her investigation.  I won’t spoil it for you and tell you what happens, but I will say that in each episode I was left with more questions than answers.  And the whole time you’re listening you’re thinking about the gravity of the situation, that this is a real story, not just a podcast based on a page-turning James Patterson thriller.  Adnan is in jail in Baltimore, and a 17 year old girl is dead.

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Here’s a shot of me before and after episode 12.  Just Keep Livin’

The character of “Jay” is the most confusing.  You’ll learn pretty quickly that there’s something sketchy about Jay.  And, even more interesting, there is a classmate of Adnan’s who claims she saw him at the library around the time Hae was murdered. The defense lawyer never talked with this witness, and she was not at the trial.

Koenig does a great job on the podcast and is in the works for a Season 2 sometime in 2015.  I liked her voice and her reporting style, and her assistant Dana is a total bitch, but good for some laughs here and there.  Last I checked the podcast had been downloaded over 68 million times. So after listening, who do you think did it and what are your theories?

Spoiler Alert:  After you finish listening, or if you just don’t want to listen, but are curious about the current status of the case, here’s an update.

Love sweet love

Since Valentine’s Day is lurking around the corner, I thought I would do a post this week about love and dating, two subjects that I know nothing about.  So you might want to read this with a grain of salt – or with a glass of wine, like me.

Ah, love.  Step on your toes, kick you in the stomach and punch you in the face sweet love.   Actually, let me start off by saying that being in love isn’t too terrible, in fact, sometimes it can be kind of nice.  The problem is, you have to go through the trials and tribulations of dating in order to get there.  Dating, in my experience, is horrible.  We don’t mesh well together.  Kind of like oil and vinegar or pizza and dieting.

Case in point:  I once got so frustrated with the dating scene that one night when I was out to dinner with friends, I had an epiphany and decided that I had been going about dating all wrong.  I was from a small town, and I liked country music, so who was I kidding, I should be dating…a cowboy.   A REAL cowboy, like a guy that worked the land and hauled hay in his truck.  We’d had just enough wine that this was a brilliant idea, so I signed myself up right then and there for something called countrymatch.com.  That’s the problem with smart phones, it is possible to have too much access to the internet.  I entered in all my information and came up with some horrifically embarrassing screen name that I  thankfully blocked from my memory, and sat back and waited for George Strait to come riding in on his big horse with his cowboy boots and Stetson hat and sweep me away from my humdrum city life.

Pretty soon thereafter, I realized that although the dating site gave the illusion of only allowing your profile to be seen by very specific areas of eligible men, once you signed up, you were thrown in the pot with everyone else. Most the men contacting me had profiles that alluded to death metal, video games, multiple children and arrest records.  BUT, despite the odds, I actually started talking to a guy who seemed pretty normal, and considered himself a cowboy. Turned out his parents even had a place up on the lake about an hour outside of my town. Lake house = SCORE.  We both had busy schedules, but we continued to communicate, first by email, then by texting and calling, and then finally he told me he was going to be at his parents lake house over the weekend, and he wanted to drive into town to take me to dinner.  We agreed to meet at a local restaurant (dating tip – NEVER let a stranger pick you up from your home on a blind or online date, stranger danger is real ya’ll), and when we got there I was starving, so I had a piece of bread – maybe two, I wasn’t counting – before we got our meals.  We were hitting it off and seemed to have a pretty good connection, but then about thirty minutes into the meal  he starts discussing his workouts (of which there were many) and his diet.  I personally refrain from these topics when dining, but I thought, okay, he’s cute, let’s see where he’s headed. Apparently, as I quickly discovered, the eating of the bread was his “that’s a deal breaker, ladies” and he couldn’t let it slide.  He was “paleo” before paleo was a thing.  He also told me about a website he went to every day that had great eating and workout tips, and he thought I would like it.

The next day I received an email from him with the website and nothing else. That was the last time I heard from him. The funny thing is, if I had to do it again, I’d still eat the bread.

Next time I’ll tell you guys about the church singles group I attended that was all married couples and a leader who told us that the Lord had cured him of his genital herpes.

Lazy Single Girl Tip #2

As promised, today we’re going to learn how to make eggs for dinner using a coffee mug and a microwave. You could even call it a scrambler, if you so choose. First, start with the coffee mug. You’ll want to use a sturdy cup with a wide a base, it works better that way (I learned this the hard way from a very unfortunate microwave incident that I prefer not to talk about). Have your ingredients ready to go, here I have cheese, mushrooms and eggs. Unlike Gwyneth over at GOOP, at Dammit Suzanne we recommend the liberal use of cheese in most dishes.

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Pour the eggs or egg whites into the cup and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how much of a bad ass your microwave is. Then add any “fixins” you fancy right into the cup and stir. I usually stick with cheese and mushrooms, and maybe scallions if I remembered to get them at the store (which is never). Tomatoes, peppers and onions also work.  Microwave for 30 second increments until the eggs look done. You’re an adult, you know what that looks like. Salt and pepper to taste, then sit on your couch and watch Dateline.  BOOM, dinner is served.*  Prep time = like, 3 minutes.  Plates to wash = 1.  Awesome level = 10.  If you want to really take it to the next level, don’t be afraid to eat using plastic utensils.

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*This recipe (I use that term lightly) can also be used for breakfast or lunch, or any time you want to cook eggs in the breakroom microwave at work and annoy your coworkers.

Fangirl Fridays

Fangirl – noun. a girl or woman who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something.

Second definition: me.

I have a tendency to get overly obsessed with things/people/books/food/pets, etc.  Some of them are deserving of obsession, like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and some are just weird, like the fact that I can’t stop thinking about the chicken chili ramen from my favorite sushi place.  Regardless, this will be a spot on the blog where I can share these topics with you and you can ignore them or fangirl with me.  I suggest the latter.  The subjects will probably most likely be female oriented, but if you haven’t noticed, women are doing some pretty great things right now.

First up, MINDY KALING.  I can’t even get over how much I love this woman.  Her book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)” is hilarious and poignant and perfect in every way and I’ve read it several times.  It also pretty much sums up my crippling case of FOMO.  I loved her as Kelly in The Office, a show where she was originally the only female writer on a staff of eight, and eventually also became a director and executive producer.  Her on-screen romance and off-screen friendship with BJ Novak haunts my dreams (in a good way).  Her show The Mindy Project is my current favorite, and about the only thing I DVR right now besides Friends reruns and Game of Thrones.  The show also has a great supporting cast including Chris Messina who plays the dreamy Dr. Danny Castellano, and Ike Barinholtz who kills it as Nurse Morgan Tookers.

If you haven’t started watching it, this weekend is a perfect time to start your free week of Hulu and knock out the first season. Yes, I know the weather is supposed to be beautiful for those of us in the Midwest, but you can’t stay outside all day, right?  I will leave you with a few of my favorite Mindy-isms to entice you. (Plus if you watch it then we can talk about it and since I am a fangirl I NEED to talk about it.)

Happy Friday!

Started from the bottom…

Good morning and happy Wednesday from 1985! As a reward for making it half way through the week, I wanted to post this picture to both entertain you and highlight the importance of plastic surgery.

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This is me at approximately age 7 or 8.  Ohhhh yeah, looks for DAYS.  I keep this picture around because every time I look at it, it makes me laugh.  It also reminds me that behind everyone you meet, there is most likely a really awful childhood picture just waiting to be posted on a blog. Anyway, I had some major orthodontic issues going on as a child (clearly), but the best part is, I didn’t even realize it. I had no clue. I  mean, I literally look like a combination of  Jay Leno and Drake in high school – all hair, teeth and CHIN – but it didn’t phase me at all. All I cared about at that time in my life was that damn yellow polo, and whichever stray cat I had picked up on the way home from school.  I actually LOVE this picture of myself, because how wonderful would it be to go back to a time when life was this uncomplicated?

Years later I ended up having massive reconstructive jaw surgery because my dental scenario consisted of an under-bite, a cross-bite, and an extra set of shark teeth. The picture above is one of several “before pictures” the surgeon took before he decided the only option was to break my jaw and reset it using chicken wire and my parents insurance money.

So let’s fast forward 6 years and then we get this little gem:

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The hair, the soft lighting…I die.  This is my glamour shot.  Oh sorry, I mean, this is my Glamour Shot.  Oklahomans really enjoy a good makeover, so we had places “down at the mall” that would doll you up like a 43 year old divorcee, then do you a solid and take a series of a-little-too-sexy photographs for the low low price of $29.95.  For the record, I was 14 here.  I don’t remember exactly why I decided to take these pictures, maybe I was super excited about my new jaw, maybe it was hot outside and the mall had air conditioning.  Your guess is as good as mine.  All I remember is later that day I had to go to basketball camp in Edmond, Oklahoma and the whole afternoon a disgusting combination of sweat, hairspray and mascara kept getting in my eyes during drills.  Was it worth it?  

Clearly.

Lazy Single Girl Tip #1

Part of what I want to do on this blog is give all my ladies out there some pro tips from a lazy single girl. If there’s a life hack that saves me time, trust me, I know about it. Sundays seem like a good time for it, right?

First up, the dryer:

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Jules doing his best Vanna White here, which really isn’t very good, but let’s press on. The dryer is known to most of you as a machine that takes wet clothes and makes them dry. Like magic. BUT, as you are probably aware, you can also use the dryer as an iron/steamer in a pinch. This works best when you’re late for work and the pants or skirt you want to wear are crumpled on the floor in the corner of your room. Pro tip- Throw them in the dryer on high with a wet washcloth or other piece of fabric. The steam generated from the washcloth coupled with the heat, eradicates the wrinkles. Working with stubborn material? After pulling the warm item out out the dryer, spread it tightly over a piece of furniture. The back of an armchair works best. As it’s cooling off, the fabric should finally start to straighten up and fly right. Before you judge me too harshly for my laziness, my own GRANDMOTHER taught me that last one. Stay tuned for next Sunday’s Lazy Single Girl Pro-Tip, where I teach everyone how to make eggs using a microwave and the crappy free coffee mug you got at a fundraiser.

Oklahomophobic

I think it’s safe to say that I’m a liberal, especially by Oklahoma standards. (But don’t worry, I intend to keep the political posts to a minimum over here on Dammit Suzanne). I believe people can marry whomever they want – slippery slope be damned, I believe a woman’s body is her own and therefore she can make whatever decisions she wants with it, and I believe in equal rights for all people, period. The universe has quite the sense of humor, however, and I was somehow born into the same surname as the most conservative State Representative Oklahoma has ever seen. And that’s saying something. The crazy part is, my last name isn’t abnormal, but it’s certainly not that common.

My father’s father disappeared on his family when he was a child, and I’m not 100% sure what ever really happened to him, except that one Christmas we got a call during dinner and my Dad came back to the table and announced that his father was dead. My mother never met him, and I’m not even sure he knew that my father went on to have kids of his own. My father was one of two boys and two girls. Therefore there’s really only one other family in the state that we are directly related to, so I assume if this lady had ever been at any family reunions we would know. Anyway, she literally says things that make me ask the questions, is it opposite day? Am I on camera? Is this real life? (Fun fact: we elect her). And yet, no matter how outspoken I am about my personal beliefs and no matter how many liberal organizations I belong to, I am still repeatedly asked if she is an aunt or cousin or God forbid, my mother. This representative is constantly coming up with some new harebrained bill to pass that limits the rights of homosexuals, yet Oklahoma ranks well below the national average when it comes to school spending and academic achievement. Don’t we have better things to worry about than keeping gay couples from getting hitched and having fabulous parties? One of her more recent bills she’s pushing would allow a restaurant to refuse service to a gay individual, otherwise known as the “Business Protection Act”. Another allows parents to “seek a cure” for their gay child. Is it 2015, or did I just wake up in 1955? And how does a restaurant determine if the individual is gay? Is it his skinny jeans and mesh top? Or her short hair and flannel shirt? Or is it just a hunch that people can use to discriminate against an entire faction of the human race? Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, after the astounding amount of backlash she received, Representative Homophobe pulled the Business Protection Act, but remains fully supportive of the other two, which are no less discriminatory. And we get to share a last name. Ah, the irony. I guess the upside is, she’s been covered so much in the news it’s literally impossible to google me and find the really awkward video I did a few years ago for a date auction. Silver linings people.

Meet the kids

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Jules on the left (yours not his – yes he’s a boy) and Gigi on the right.  Both technically rescues, but I usually explain that they are actually owner surrenders.  Cats are tough because people really do often have pretty severe allergies when it comes these furry guys, and sometimes you may have had a cat for 5 years and all of a sudden you have a baby and the baby’s like, no dice.  That’s what happened with both of mine.  I grew up with cats and dogs, and rabbits, and chicks, and goldfish, and grasshoppers (really tough to keep as pets, fyi) and basically anything that would let me name it, so I have been pretty lucky when it comes to allergies.  Boyfriends, not so much.  And that’s exactly how I got Jules.  I was dating a guy and things didn’t end particularly well.  And while we were doing the back and forth, “should we give it another chance” dance, one of my friends told me she was looking for a home for Jules because her daughter was allergic.  Well, my boyfriend was SEVERELY allergic, so I made the decision right then and there that getting a cat was a great idea.  In a way, making the decision to take Jules and care for something other than myself symbolizes the first time in my life I made a hard decision as an adult.  And I’ve never been happier about a single decision in my life.  Gigi came about a year later under similar circumstances (minus the boyfriend) and they fight and barely tolerate each other, but every now and then, when they think I’m not looking, I can tell they are sort of glad to have the other around.

“Dammit, SUZANNE!!!”

… Is a phrase I heard often growing up.  I was never in any real trouble, I was just a typical middle child, kind of precocious and into absolutely everything.  Like a walking accident waiting to happen.  As a smaller kid, if there was a lake, pool, or ocean anywhere near me, I would fall into it fully clothed.  My mother just got to the point where she packed an extra set of clothes for me.  I played in mud, rolled around with the dogs and one time wanted to hug a bunny so hard it scratched the living shit out of me.  I was just a lot to handle.  And then as I got older, I put a cherry on top and started talking back.   It’s almost like I became someone else when my mouth opened, and instead of the sweet little girl who was standing there moments before, I became this little monster and the snarkiest snippets of the English language would just come tumbling out. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s ingrained deep inside me.  Though I outgrew blatantly disrespecting my parents (after being grounded over and over again), I still, to this day, cannot stop myself if a good one-liner comes into my head.  So, as I was growing up, you could often hear my good Catholic mother yelling “Dammit, Suzanne!” from downstairs, or into the backyard, or sometimes even around the block, and then I knew whatever I’d done, I had really done it good. Sometimes the tone was exasperation, sometimes, especially when I was older, it was pure unadulterated anger, but it was always the same words ringing throughout our home.

I grew up in a small town in southern Oklahoma, and as such, my friends from about kindergarten on were always the same. As a result, these friends also grew up hearing the resounding chorus of “Dammit Suzanne” from my parents almost as much as I did.  Naturally, it became a nickname.  And it stuck, at least until high school when I moved to another town. So when I was trying to think of a name for this blog, one that encompassed me and all my personality traits and character flaws, I had a friend say to me, you should just go with “Dammit Suzanne,” and here we are.

My mother has since passed away, which is a story for another post, but when I think about the name of this blog, I am filled with memories of being a kid, and testing boundaries, and being lucky enough to have parents who were hard on you, but twenty seconds later reminded you how much you were loved.  And I like to think about all the little outfits I ruined having a blast, and how I still like to jump into a body of water with my clothes on, and I like to think about her, and how much I pushed and how much she stayed right there beside me through it all.  So, it’s funny, twenty years later Dammit Suzanne is starting to mean something a little different to me.  And it’s nice. Welcome to my blog.

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