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In-Person Appearance This Saturday!

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There will be an appearance Saturday, April 8th by Jennifer Friess!!!

That doesn’t seem very glamorous. Wait, that’s me.

But, heck, I’m announcing it anyway.

Tomorrow me, and several other even more fabulous authors, will be at the Lenawee District Library from 2:30PM-4:00PM. That is a short window of time, so if you snooze, you will lose.

The LDL, as they refer to themselves, can be found at 4459 W. US-223, Adrian, MI 49221.

This will be my first event where I will have copies of Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom to sell. I am so excited to be able to tell people about Ginny’s story in person!

To see other events, please click here: EVENTS PAGE

Don’t forget, if you sign up for my newsletter during the month of April you will have a chance to win TWO ROCK STAR PASSES to the Great Lakes Books Bash, October 27 & 28th! The two passes cover admission to the signing & panels Friday as well as early admission to the signing on Saturday and panels on Saturday.

Click here to sign up.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

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Who You Gonna Call?

My son has gone through many ideas in the last year of what he would be for Halloween 2016: Scooby-Doo, Gizmo, etc. Some would require more work than others on my part. And my heart is still kind of in love with his Marty McFly from last year, his obsession so perfectly timed with Back to the Future Day. You also can’t discount the reusability of that costume, which totally still fits him this year.

But about two months ago, he settled on being a Ghostbuster. We had received a Ghostbuster costume many months ago, just for playtime. So, that was already taken care of. But, well, my demanding son demanded a proton pack.

Oy.

So, I present to you, a step-by-step on how I made my son a proton pack.

I took the back panel and straps off of a holey old backpack and glued them to a piece of cardboard. I added on a bunch of crap from the recycling bin and glued or taped it on as best as I could.

Recycled crap. The partial backpack and straps and cardboard are under this stuff.

Recycled crap. The partial backpack and straps and cardboard are under this stuff.

NOTE: I tried to avoid using cardboard as much as possible, since it tends to precipitate around here on treat-seeking holidays.

I bought some black spray paint and sprayed it all because it seemed way faster than hand painting it all. And it was.

Melted styrofoam, which I had to substitute out at the last minute.

Melted styrofoam, which I had to substitute out at the last minute.

NOTE: Apparently some types of Styrofoam melt when they come in contact with spray paint. Before using a large quantity of it for this project, you should probably test it first and see if you will have this issue. I had to make a minor adjustment for my son’s costume.

Secured with hot glue and Gorilla Tape, prior to painting.

Secured with hot glue and Gorilla Tape, prior to painting.

 

Old clothes and the great outdoor made for good spray painting conditions.

Old clothes and the great outdoors made for good spray painting conditions.

I glued on some color elements I purchased from Dollar Tree, such as a sound tube and jump rope.

The painted pack with added color elements.

The painted pack with added color elements.

I got glow sticks from Dollar Tree as well. I taped them onto the gun to make it glow. I also make it so that I could slip them into the egg cartons and it would glow. It looks cool, was easy, and provides better visibility to a shorty on Halloween.

The finished product, bustin' ghosts! (Glow sticks not yet attached.)

The finished product, bustin’ ghosts! (Glow sticks not yet attached.)

Can you tell that I am just not quite as passionate about this project as I was last year about making a DeLorean time machine out of cardboard and duct tape? While not movie quality, the proton pack was relatively easy (except for my glue gun is a piece of shit), and size and weight appropriate for my almost six year old boy.

The finished proton pack in action.

The finished proton pack in action.

AND this is an AWARD WINNING costume!!! He WON Funniest Costume at the YMCA for his age group.

Me, well, I of course wanted to be Harley Quinn this Halloween. Ponytails with multi-colored hair? It is like she was the comic book character created just for me. But in practicality, ponytails do not a Harley Quinn costume make. And while it will not deter many others, I neither have the body nor the inclination to run around half-naked on a cold Halloween night in Michigan (anymore).

So, I went with my most recent obsession: WKRP. I present to you, Miss Bailey Quarters. For some fan fiction featuring Bailey and Johnny, please click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2016/10/12/wkrp-baby-if-you-ever-wondered-what-would-happen-if-johnny-bailey-got-together-part-1/

I just HAD to have the Black Death shirt.

I just HAD to have the Black Death shirt.

Now, I realize my glasses aren’t big enough, but I need to wear my regular glasses so that I can, you know, cross the street and see and stuff. This is from the episode Rumors. I ordered the Johnny Fever shirt from CafePress.com. I was really happy with it. I ordered a medium and it was a little big, but I kind of wanted it to be so that I could procure the illusion that I rolled out of bed in the morning and borrowed it from Johnny himself. You know, the same story Bailey gives the staff at WKRP.

My WKRP jacket I made. Attached with safety pins for easy removal.

My WKRP jacket I made. Attached with safety pins for easy removal.

And…

My favorite WKRP in Cincinnati meme. Because I made it.

My favorite WKRP in Cincinnati meme. Because I made it.

Just because I can.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

When Movies Were Magical

My mother took me to see the movie Gremlins in the theater. I was probably way too young to be seeing it. I think it was maybe the second time it came around in theaters. (Back in the olden days of my youth, if a movie was really, really popular, they used to send it around in theaters again after the initial run. There was still a demand for it, and people weren’t able to just go out and buy a VHS tape of it to watch in their home endlessly at their leisure. VHS—see, I dated myself again.) It wasn’t a giant multiplex like they have now. It was a small theater downtown with only two screens, one theater was not much bigger than the average living room. Somehow this made the viewing experience more intimate.

Okay, I may have shown my own son Gremlins too early as well.

Okay, I may have shown my own son Gremlins too early as well.

And I would not even have suspected walking out of the theater that the movie had affected me at all. But then we went to go eat at McDonald’s. We ate in our car, because my mom is weird like that, then she sent me over with the empty bag and wrappers to the garbage can, a duty I usually loved. But suddenly I didn’t want to push open the little brown swinging door and leave my hand so exposed like that. The scene from Gremlins flashed in my head where the guy is trying to mail a letter and a gremlin pops out of the mailbox and starts chewing on the guy’s hand. My overactive child’s imagination could picture that happening, and it scared me.

How many movies now a days do that for you? For any child, even? Do they believe that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will really pop up out of the manholes in the street?

I remember when my mom took me to the same theater to see The NeverEnding Story. I don’t even remember any marketing for it. I don’t think there were ads on television; I didn’t beg to go see it. She just took me because she thought I would like it. Or maybe because she wanted to see it, I don’t know.

"It's not real; it's only a story!"

“It’s not real; it’s only a story!”

Because the theater was downtown in our closest, but small local city, we had to walk down a block, through an alley, and back to the parking lot where our car was after the movie. The tallest buildings are probably only four stories, tops. But the alley and the tall buildings were enough to give me the impression of the city Bastian lived in in the movie. And so I looked up in the blue, sunny sky at the smattering of clouds, and I BELIEVED that Falkor could fly over us at any moment, as he had at the conclusion of the movie. It was thrilling. I felt it in my blood. I have NEVER forgotten that feeling.

And I am not sure that I have ever experienced it since.

Yaaaaaaaaa!

“Yaaaaaaaaa!”

Are children going to walk out of the theater and believe that Transformers can really fly through the sky over their heads?  Maybe. But they also can go home and play with plastic toy versions on the floor in their bedrooms.

Part of Falkor’s magic was that you could not go buy a stuffed one in the store then. (You probably can now. If so, buy me one and then call 555-GUN-GLOW for the address to ship it to.)

This weekend the Rave theater near us had special showings of The NeverEnding Story. It might be greedy or stupid, but I yearned to be in that theater again when the theme song blared through the speakers, blocking out all the other sounds of popcorn and candy wrappers and slurping straws as clouds churned on the screen. I wanted to walk out of that theater again and believe that Falkor could be flying in the sky. Really, I was hoping my son would have a similar experience to what I had in 1984*. It turned out he wasn’t as impressed by it as I was. There could be several factors to that, including that he has seen the movie before on DVD in his own living room.

But, seeing it again was AWESOME. Maybe, sometimes, movies can still be magic.

Ever wonder what happened to Bastian, played by Barret Oliver? So did I. So I found out and wrote a post about it. It angers the dreadlock community. You can read it here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2013/01/13/what-i-learned-this-week-1132013/

Just a reminder I have an event this Sunday: The Kerrytown BookFest in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For more details, click here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/events/

*All the awesome things came out in 1984: The NeverEnding Story, Punky Brewster, Night Court

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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Why Does Michael J. Fox Never Come to Our House?

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I’ll start by saying my son loves Back to the Future. He even dressed like Marty McFly for Halloween, to the delight of others of my generation. His generation? They were a little baffled. After all, BTTF has not been remade as everything else from the 1980s has been.

And thank God for that.

The McFly-est Marty

The McFly-est Marty

To be more specific, my son likes the last 40 minutes or so of Back to the Future III, because it contains a long sequence with trains: people stealing them, crawling on them, and eventually blowing them up. So, by now you understand that Michael J. Fox is pretty common in our household. We even celebrated Back to the Future day last October 21st. (The futuremost point in the trilogy, duh.) My son kept asking me why Michael J. Fox never comes over to our house.

How does a parent even begin to explain that one?

So, it wasn’t that strange that I should pick up Fox’s audiobook version of his book Always Looking Up from the library. It is read by the author himself, which was a big factor in getting it. I like him. I never had his picture hung on my bedroom walls, but he is highly likeable. Ashton Kutcher fills that void nowadays.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox

Fox explains right away that the title has a double meaning. First, he is short and has to look up at everyone. He is so short that I am actually a quarter of an inch taller than him! The second is that he is an optimist.

I must admit I picked up this book hoping it would be some sort of “how to” book on how to convert me into being an optimist. No such luck. He does talk about a stool with three legs. The legs are Optimism, Hope, and Faith. He says if you are missing any of them, then your stool will collapse. I am not sure I even have a half a leg. Maybe that is why I am always falling on my ass.

Not being a guide, he instead tells stories about how his optimism pulled him through. The book includes how when he realized there needed to be more funding for Parkinson’s research, he started his own foundation. Then as government regulations put up huge roadblocks to further research, he began to get involved politically for candidates who were pro-stem cell research.

I have learned way more about Parkinson’s than I ever thought I would and hopefully more than I will ever need to. The swaying, talkative Michael J. Fox we have seen for the last couple decades on camera is more of a side effect of his medication than his actual disease. Parkinson’s actually makes you freeze up. It makes it hard to have facial expressions, to walk, talking to slurred. Fox takes carbidopa/levodopa to ease these symptoms. He has to calculate when to take the medicine so that it will be in effect when he will be on camera. Sometimes he gets it right. Sometimes he gets it wrong.

Always Looking Up makes me wish I had read his previous book, Lucky Man, first. Listening to him talk I wish he was my next door neighbor and I could hang out with him and be his friend. He is both intelligent (which cannot always be said for the character of Marty McFly) and funny. He is so affable that while listening to the CD in the car, my son asked since Michael J. Fox was talking to us, if we could talk back to him.

Sadly, no. He might be a Lucky Man, but he is also a busy man with a very full plate of activism, acting, and family.

I am glad Fox took time out to share it all with the rest of us.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

I’m Not Stalking You’s 5th Anniversary!

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When I started writing on this blog, I barely knew what a blog was. I had been working for 12 years for the same company that was about to go out of business, leaving me jobless, and an infant that needed major surgery. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, although I was already well into my 30s.

Happy Birthday to INSY, Happy Birthday to INSY...

Happy Birthday to INSY, Happy Birthday to INSY…

In the intervening five years, I had a job for 21 months that I liked that progressed into one that I couldn’t stand to stay with. Now I have finally settled somewhere closer to home that I hope to stay at for a very long time. My young son actually had to have two surgeries to accomplish what one should have done, but today he is happy and healthy and annoying me on a consistent basis, as any growing child testing his boundaries should be. (Doesn’t make it any easier though.) My family lost a dog. We have struggled, but I think that glow up there might be the light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, and I wrote three books. And as I have said before, I don’t think I would have accomplished that if I hadn’t started emptying my chaotic brain out into this little blog first.

I welcome you to click on my comical categories or explore with the search bar my amassed collection of 520 posts. Don’t know where to start? Below are links to my most popular posts and some of my favorites.

And here is to the next five years. Make a five year plan, you say? I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Most Popular Posts

Boxelder Bugs Must Die

Homefront

MicroMagic [Fine] Frozen Foods

Kiddie City

The O.C.

__________

My Favorite Posts

Dead Dad Movies, Part 1

Dead Dad Movies, Part 2

My Favorite TV Shows

Punky Brewster

Matthew Perry

And, well, since I’m feeling like anyone who is reading this post deserves a little gift, here it is. I have talked about it for a while. This is as close as you are probably ever going to get to seeing me karaoke Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby.” Don’t ask me why I feel more comfortable releasing this on the Internet to a bunch of ruthless strangers than I do a roomful of drunks who would forget me tomorrow, but I do. It is a public speaking anxiety thing, which is rendered temporarily ineffective when confronted with audio or visual equipment, rather than a physical crowd being present. Hence, the Communications degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. Oh, and remind me to disable comments on this video.

This is a long time coming. Years ago, I bought the karaoke track of “Ice Ice Baby” off of iTunes to practice with. But I still had no words, and that version cut off the third verse, which is my favorite and the one I am best at. At some point in the intervening years I Googled the lyrics and saved them on my flash drive, where they have traveled around aimlessly since. I found a karaoke track with lyrics on YouTube and made a practice video one day. That seemed like only a few months ago, Christmas maybe? Nope. That was last APRIL! I had the idea that this may be a great stunt for INSY’s anniversary…then my mom brain took over and I forgot until like Monday.

So, I had to cram. I have been rapping the words to this song for 26 years—some of them being the WRONG words. Oy. It is hard to untrain myself. I will always say: “Falling on the concrete real fast” as “Fallin’ on the concrete grill fat.” Mmm…grill fat. Anyone hungry for McDonald’s?

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish ForAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a BugWHERE IT ALL BEGAN!

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