Friday, August 21, 2015

Driving Under the Influence

Hello all! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of Swan Lake performed by tu-tu clad mice!

 Well, they weren't kidding about the heat in Arizona. We had two consecutive days that were 115 degrees and I swear I could have grilled chicken on the pavement in front of our building.

They also were not joking about the dust storms. They have haboobs (it's another name for 'really intense dust storm, no really, go look it up and stop laughing) here too. I accidentally stepped outside during the most recent one and am still finding dust on me.

Overall, however, I seem to be surviving the heat and the weird weather.

When I moved away from Spokane people said to me, "Oh, now weird stuff will stop happening to you all the time."

I just shook my head, knowingly, at them. You see, my gravitational field that seems to pull in all of the bizarre parts of the universe is not restricted to a singular location. No, instead it follows me, orbiting the crazy around my head.

Point in case, let's take my trip to the grocery store the other night as proof. My roommate, Karen, and I dropped by to pick up a few necessities (aka ice cream). As we were leaving the store we noticed a rather large gentleman on one of those motorized scooters cutting a swerving path across the parking lot.

 As we watched, he steered one-handed, nearly hitting two parked cars. At least he was nice enough to apologize to each of the cars he nearly hit. I happened to look at what he was holding in his other hand. With just a little bit of the neck of a bottle poking out, it was obvious that the paper bag he gripped tightly in his hand was not full of candy.

I looked over at Karen, "Is he..." just as he took a giant swig from his cleverly hidden bottle.

"Yup!"

We both then watched as he tried to steer the cart into the cart barn, running smack into one of the end poles.

"Well, at least he's not driving a Hummer?"

What lessons can be drunk from the bottle of experience?

1. If you're too plastered to steer a motorized shopping cart, then a motor vehicle is not for you. Good job on your harm reduction, though.

2. Paper bags are the least sneaky way to hide booze, in fact, they are literally the most cliched way ever to disguise drinking. You're not going to fool anyone who has had access to television in the last fifty years.

As always come follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and check out my books here.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Eagle Has Landed, I Repeat The Eagle Has Landed

Hello everyone! I hope your weeks were more fabulous than the thought of Star Wars' Princess Leia as a "Disney Princess." (It's a thought that makes me chuckle every time.)

Well, I did it! After 1,400 miles, 26 hours on the road and an unfathomable amount of terrible gas station coffee, I made it to Arizona!

Of course, I was the genius who decided that the day after I competed all day in the Spokane Highland Games should be the day I pack all of my stuff into the back of a rental truck and move. So one day after doing this:

And this:


I was loading everything I own on this planet (shout out to the folks who came and helped) into the back of a truck and setting off for Arizona. To answer your question, no my muscles have still not forgiven me.

My View for 99% of the Trip

Then there came the three-day journey to my new home in Glendale, Arizona. My mother and grandmother were in charge of the moving van, I was in charge of the car containing the cats.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of trying to drive with two cats in the car, let me tell you, if you want the true horror movie experience without the chainsaws or ghosts then nothing will get you closer.

Not an Accurate Representation of This Trip
I had made a small area in the back of my car with the kitties' litter box, some towels for them to lay on and attached them to little harnesses and leashes so that they couldn't come to the front where I was driving... or so I thought.

What immediately happened was Santeria, who is agoraphobic beyond even Detective Monk levels, curled up in her litter box and screamed for two hours straight. She then moved to the comfort of her kitty crate, which was also in the back, and continued to scream from there.
 
Now when I say "screaming," I literally mean screaming. It sounded like I was murdering a woman in a Hitchcock-esque fashion as I was driving.

The few times she left the litter box or the crate to explore the car she would peer out the windows for just as long as it took for me to find the slightest curve or bump in the road and then she would skitter back to safety and start screaming again.

Voodoo, as it turns out, I named incorrectly. I should have named her Houdini as she figured out multiple ways to escape her little kitty harness and the leash. I would be driving along and suddenly Voodoo would be underneath my seat playing with my ankles or attempting to climb on the dashboard.

Adorable but Untrustworthy
Finally, after getting her back in her harness for the 27th time, Voodoo settled for creeping over my shoulder for a majority of the trip. It was from this position that she spent the rest of the drive hissing at anything that she deemed inappropriate and sometimes smacking me in the face because whatever it was was obviously my fault.

So basically my trip down to Phoenix wrangling cats could probably have been used as training for special operatives who are about to be sent in the field to disarm landmines. They would have nerves of steel after three days trapped in a car with the constant screaming, random bats to the head and ankles and playing the "where did that cat get to now!?" game while driving 70 miles an hour.

Well I'm here, I'm exhausted but I'm alive and excited to see what adventures Arizona will bring!

As always, I can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and my books can be found here!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Hello everyone! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a thousand free-range lemmings synchronized diving to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now!

Sadly, that could accurately describe my life right now, which is why this post is so late. My bad. But maybe you'll cut me a little slack. You see in the past two weeks I have accepted a position at a graduate school in Arizona, sold my truck, bought a car, quit my job, had to find a new place to live, begun the packing process and basically am about three seconds away from going utterly and completely insane.

The picture to the right is what my apartment currently looks like.

Yes indeed, that mass of boxes and a nearly buried bookcase basically sums up my earthly possessions. At this point I am truly sad that there is no incredible transporter room like on the Enterprise that can beam my belongings directly to Arizona. Nerd sigh.

I promise that when I move and get settled in, I will begin posting again with more regularity. I also swear I will get back to posting on Case (Un)Managed, but with life currently in it's unmanageable state, I'm afraid I have had to temporarily let that one sit for a second as well.

So the next time I post, if everything goes according to plan, I will be posting from Arizona. Of course for that to happen I need to get everything I own into the back of a truck and then somehow convince my two agoraphobic cats that spending a couple days cooped up in a vehicle listening to me belt 80's music isn't so bad.

Wish me luck.

In other news, Free the Shorts! has had a successful run so far! As I write this post it is sitting at #1 on Amazon Kindle's Humor and Entertainment Essays list! Here are what the reader reviews are saying thus far:

"...it's worth a Five-Star rating, hands down."

"It's hard to be grumpy or continue to have a bad day if you read anything Allison writes- she is an absolute laugh riot"

"Hahahahaha. So good I went right out and bought the next book."

"Hilarious! I loved the HULK SMASH chapter and the part about the raccoon. Allison Hawn is very funny." 

Thank you to everyone who has read a copy so far! If you haven't yet, go grab your free copy and give it a read! If you enjoy it, post a review! 

As always I can be found on Facebook and Twitter and my books can be found here!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Free the Shorts!

Hello all! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of the Chipmunks singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight!"

Well it is out! Free the Shorts! is, as the title would imply, free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!


This collection includes six stories, four brand new stories and two from my previous two books. It's a great deal considering the only thing it's going to cost you is a few KB's of memory on your phone, computer, e-reader! Heck, it would even fit on a floppy disk!

So go snatch up your copy! If you enjoy it, do a poor author a favor and leave a review!

In other news Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus received yet another five star review! Reader Sarodnap writes, "Lovely read."

To see what's so lovely about it check it out here!

As always, I am fairly easily found on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn)! Come say hello!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Deja Moo... The Feeling I've Heard This Bull Before

Hello all! I hope everyone has had a week that is better than the thought of wombats synchronized swimming to Ballroom Blitz!

Alright, so I am just going to get this out of the way. As a resident Spokanite I should probably say a few things about this whole Rachel Dolezal thing, mostly because non-Spokanites won't stop asking me about it.

I find it a little funny that right before this whole thing blew up I wrote a piece on this blog about cultural appropriation. No seriously, scroll down, it's the post right below this one.

Just in case you need a refresher however, here is that lovely definition of cultural appropriation again:


Keeping that in mind, here are the points I would like to make:

1. No one is denying that Rachel Dolezal did a lot of work in the area of equality. The conundrum is that she trampled equality and was deceitful in doing so. You can't claim to be "culturally appropriating for equality" anymore than you can claim to be "bombing for peace."

2. No one in Spokane is mistaking Dolezal's self labeled transracial, which is not really a viable thing actually, with Caitlyn Jenner's transgender transition (how many times can I fit "trans" into one sentence). That was a comparison ya'll outside of Spokane developed and ran with. For the record, no, they are not the same, and no one (outside of our news media, which is weird anyways) in Spokane believes they are the same.

3. Spokane is a weird city. No, seriously, the first headline on the Spokane local news that I read this morning was "Spokane pizza delivery killer denied early release." Honestly, there are so many things in Spokane that could make international news, we're just shocked that the Rachel Dolezal mess was what made it.

So if I've satisfied all the news scandal interest I do have a quick announcement to make. While I work on edits for my third book Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx, I have decided to release a little collection of stories called Free the Shorts!


This collection will feature four new stories and two stories, one each from my previous books. The best part, it's going to be free! That's right, zero dollars and zero cents!

If the internet deities smiled upon me it will up within the next week or so, watch for more announcements here, on my Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn).


Friday, June 5, 2015

Cultural Appropriation by Any Other Name Still Smells...

Hello all, I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of playing on a life size Monopoly board (come on, admit it, it would be fun).

Well, this past week I happened to post a video on my Facebook page addressing the issue of cultural appropriation, particularly focused around "theme" parties that tend to stereotype entire races and cultures in a detrimental light (i.e. themes like "Ghetto Fabulous," "Asian Parties" etc). 

For context, and because it is an excellent piece, here is the video:


While most of the response I received from posting this originally was fairly positive. There was one comment that I received, in person no less, from a Caucasian acquaintance who is nearly as pale as I am that made me want to go high five someone... in the face... with a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

The comment basically boiled down to (and I am paraphrasing), "I don't see why people of those cultures would be so offended. I mean, it's just a reason to party and it isn't like we're trying to be offensive."

Sadly, I have heard this exact sentiment echoed by many white people I have spoken to about a lot of different forms of cultural appropriation.


"Come on, what's the big deal?" asks the white frat-boy dressed at Halloween as a Muslim wearing a turban with bombs strapped to their chest.

"I don't think this is offensive," says the white girl who is dressed in a "Thug Life" t-shirt, with a fake grill who is addressing everyone at a party using the n-word.

The point that these comments miss is this: Not being of that culture means that you DO NOT have the right to decide what is offensive and what isn't. (I bolded and underlined that, is there some other way I can make the "do not" more noticeable?)

It's as simple as that, just because you don't find something offensive, doesn't give you a pass to use other peoples' cultures, history or race as you please.

My family, on both sides, is Scottish. How Scottish am I? I know Flower of Scotland by heart, am helping organize the Highland Games and I can quite happily tell you where to go and what to ride on to get there in Gaelic.

You know what I find annoying? The phrase, "Oh, but Ireland and Scotland are basically the same thing right?"

Absolutely, if you ignore two completely diverse cultures, histories and just mash ancient traditions together like the ingredients in a haggis, then the two are exactly the same.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Irish, but calling our heritages the same is just not correct.

If I am annoyed by just that phrase, I can only imagine what it is like to have your entire culture hijacked and mocked publicly just because someone else thinks it is "fun" to do so.

Remember, the outfit you're wearing as a "joke" is something that someone else wears on a daily basis as part of their everyday life. You take off the costume and you return to your daily life, but that person gets to deal with the nasty stereotypes or stigma perpetuated by your disregard for their culture.

So how about next time you think, "Is what I'm doing perpetuating harmful stereotypes? If I wore this in a insert culture neighborhood would I find a lot of people who were very offended?"

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then please rethink your plan.

As always I can be found on Facebook or Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and my books can be found here.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Mulan Effect

Hello everyone! I hope your weeks have been better than the thought of a party hosted by intelligent pelicans.

It is no mystery that I have worked a plethora of interesting jobs. From stable hand to Japanese language tutor, my jobs have not been in the sphere of 9 to 5 normality.

Quite a few of my jobs thus far have not only been a bit on the odd side, but have also been ones that have, in the past, been traditionally held by men. I've been a bouncer, head of security for a homeless shelter, lighting technician for a concert house and self defense instructor.

Now, before I get a ton of comments saying, "But women's equality has come so far! You can't seriously think your gender matters in modern jobs!" let me tell you how much bull pucky that is.

What It Feels Like Working In A Male Dominated Field
I have found that as a woman my credibility and my experience are constantly called into question.

I once literally had a customer when I was a lighting technician for a concert house say, "Move over sweetheart, I'll focus that light."

To which I promptly replied, "What is your profession?"

"I'm a salesman."

"Uh-huh. And how much experience with lighting has that afforded you?"

"Umm...None."

"Then no thanks, cupcake. As I'm the trained lighting technician I think I have the lights. If I need to sell something I will let you know."

The way that I have come to cope with this kind of behavior I like to call The Mulan Effect.

For those of you who never watched Mulan as a child, and therefore I assume had empty and sad childhoods, it is a film in which the protagonist, Mulan, takes her father's place in the army by pretending to be a man.

While I have never claimed to be a man during any of my jobs (and certainly never had a lucky cricket or talking Dragon to help out) I found that taking on certain masculine characteristics helped keep some of the sexism at bay.

It was during my lighting tech days that I started going by Al. Somehow when clients heard that their lighting tech was going to be Al instead of Allison there seemed to be fewer instances of, "Oh, do you have anyone else available that day?"

Of course it was always interesting when they found out "Al" was a 5' 2" blonde twirling a giant wrench, but since no one ever had anything negative to say about my lighting sets, being Al got me through the door to work with customers.

As a bouncer and security personnel, I always got a better and more professional response when I was wearing heavy steel toed boots, a more loose fitting t-shirt and black straight-cut pants than if I wore anything even slightly alluding to my femininity.

Even lowering my voice an octave or so dramatically shifted the level to which others perceived my level of competence, even if I was talking to the same person when I lowered my voice.

This Mulan Effect as I like to call it does have it's limitations of course. There have been times when despite my efforts to suppress my femininity while in the job, I have had people walk off because of my gender.

The fact of it is, that I find it incredibly sad that in 2015 I still have people shaking my hand while saying, "Wait, you can't be the head of security here. I mean, wouldn't he be better at it?" (And yes, I have had that happen multiple times.)

I find it even more depressing that to be taken seriously I have to suppress things as core as my sex and gender to be taken seriously at jobs simply because it has traditionally been worked by males.

So has anyone experienced the Mulan Effect? What about men, do you find that taking on more "traditionally feminine" roles you have to hide your masculinity at times?

I really would love to hear from everybody.

As always I can be found on Facebook and Twitter and my books can be found here.