Monday, May 27, 2013

Weighing In

Well greetings ya'll, I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend and that no one has lit themselves on fire with a barbecue yet (I only say these things because I care... and because if you did light yourself on fire I want pictures).

I want to remind all of you who will be in Spokane that I will be having a book signing for Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus at Monkeyboy Books from 1 to 3 pm on June 8th. So, if you are anywhere in the near vicinity, feel free to stop by and say hello!

I had someone recently ask me about my opinion on the comment that Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO, Mike Jeffries, made to the media. I decided that instead of going into a red-faced rant of little Scottish woman rage in their presence, I would alternatively sit down, have a cup of tea and put my thoughts here.

If you haven't heard the inflammatory remark made by Mike Jeffries that has lit up the internet like a 10,000 watt string of Christmas lights in the past couple of weeks, here it is again for you, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids…. A lot of people don’t belong in our clothes, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

However, if you look at Abercrombie and Fail's advertising it's apparent even the "cool kids" don't belong in their clothing either, because none of their models ever appear to be wearing any of it.

I mean, for a clothing and fashion store you'd think that you'd want at least one full article of clothing in the ad. If I were to guess, purely off of their advertisements, what Abercrombie and Fitch is selling, I would assume depression or constipated models (I'm pretty sure this guy's expression is, "What I wouldn't give for a pizza right now.").

The fact is, I am definitely not Abercrombie and Fitch material. I'm a weightlifter, boxer and cardio enthusiast, and I'm pretty sure that there is no way on this carbon laden planet that I could ever squeeze my shoulders into any of their women's shirts. I'm not entirely sure I'd even fit into their guys shirts without having this effect:

In a single weight lifting session I lift a combined weight of anywhere from a half to a full ton of weight, and because of that this man believes I am too ugly and unpopular to shop in his stores.

I'm going to let that sink in for a second, the living California Cabbage Patch Doll thinks I am too ugly to shop in his stores.

It greatly saddens me that we live in a time where "beauty" is not equatable to "health," and I'm not just talking about women. In our society there is such an expectation for both men and women to look like a certain kind of person. The fact is that aside for the .01% that do, most of us are incapable of looking like the models we so aspire to be.

The average female American model is over 5'8" tall and weighs somewhere between 108 and 125 pounds. I, personally, bench press more than that as a warm-up weight. Now, some women are naturally that thin and that is their version of healthy. The average American woman over 20 years of age, however, is between 5'4" and 5'6" and weighs around 165 pounds, and that doesn't take into account differences in genetic background whatsoever.

The average male American model is made entirely of steak, sunless tanner and hair gel (o.k. that might not be scientific, but I got tired of looking up statistics).

Do you want to know the trick to being permanently model thin? Have two equally thin parents, and don't eat your Wheaties (or any carbs, sugar or dense air for that matter).

The point I want to make is that allowing the fashion industry to railroad us into what we consider beautiful not only destroys our views of healthy body image, but it also limits us in who we find attractive.

I may not have long legs, perfect nails or the ability to squeeze myself into a dress that looks like it was made for a pipe-cleaner doll, but I have fantastic skin, dramatic curves and usable muscle that I have worked my butt off to get. I'm certain there are those who do not find me attractive, and that is fine by me, but I don't want to be limited by someone simply because they are comparing me to a A&F model.

Every person on this planet has things that make them uniquely attractive to someone else, and by setting the "gold and tan" standard we limit those we can find attractive and dull our abilities to find people we genuinely can build a relationship with.

Guys, really, it's ok if your abs don't look like you're smuggling pythons under your shirt.

Girls, really, you can be beautiful without living off of a diet of celery and water.

Healthy is far more attractive than steroid enhanced or skeletal any day of the week. Thin, big, short, tall, pale, dark, muscular, tattooed, freckled, scarred... doesn't matter, they are all beautiful and appealing to someone in some way. And if Ambercrombie and Flop can't see the beauty of each and every potential customer that walks through their doors, then they don't deserve even the "exclusive" clientele they wish to reach.

As always feel free to follow me on my daily adventures on TwitterGoodreadsFacebook!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Smorgasbord Post

Hello all! I hope everyone's day is going better than the thought of a thousand purple gorillas performing a rendition of "Hamlet" set to cabaret music!!!

So today's post is a bit of a conglomeration of things, a Franken-post if you will.

First, "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" has been released onto the Kindle! Check it out all you digital reading fans!

I also just planned my first ever book signing at Monkeyboy Books on Saturday, June 8th from 1 to 3 P.M. If you happen to be in Spokane, come say hi and get your copy of "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" signed!!! (If you're extra nice, I might even attempt to draw you a dinosaur, or a sheep, or something that may end up resembling both a dinosaur and a sheep.)

In any case, if you've never been to Monkeyboy Books, you should definitely take a gander at it. It has to be one of the most adorable, cozy, little bookshops I've wandered through for quite some time.

See, doesn't that just look cozy as all get out? Also, the shop owner, Marina, was gracious enough not to call for the Mental Health Professionals when I found a copy of "Robin Hood" in her shop and did a very excited, partially coffee induced, happy dance. 

So in my perusing of the literary world, I ran into a funny little book that I feel deserves some mention.

Edmund McCombs' book "Stuck at Seven (While Awkwardly Aiming for Ten)" not only has the best picture of an absolutely horrified little kid on the front of it, but is a very frank, unashamed collection of short stories that many people can relate to. Covering everything from schoolyard bullies to bad bosses, Edmund's stories will make you chuckle as he takes you from one awkward situation to the next.

In other news, I really, really, really want one of these:

 I know that has nothing to do with the price of pie, but I spent a lot of time thinking of all the places, things, people, I could run over in one of those.  Wouldn't it be fantastic to to go down a hill in one of these?

Anyways, this is probably a sign that Friday has officially eaten my brain and I should stop writing. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

As always feel free to follow my swashbuckling exploits on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Challenge Accepted!!!

Hello ladies, gentlemen and anyone from beyond the veil who has decided to drop in. I hope you are all having a splendiferous Monday (which I realize is an oxymoron, but come on people, let's not all be Garfields here).

I was asked a very interesting question this week about "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" that I felt I just had to answer. The question was, "Aside from being something to read, what other uses could your book serve?"

Immediately I ran to my secret laboratory (a.k.a. my living room) and began testing the book's usefulness in various aspects of daily life.

There were quite a few failures.

For instance, the book does not taste good and has very few nutritive properties.

Even with the addition of blackberry jam, which I adore, it was still practically flavorless, and I couldn't saute it in oil, because it kept bursting into flames.

It also fails to make a smashing hat for a cat (see Santeria the Destroyer modeling below).

Several Band-Aids later, and appointments made for both of us to see therapists, Santeria and I agreed that that was a poorly thought through venture.

Apparently, it doesn't make appropriate work attire either.


However, not all of my experiments were failures. For example, there are a few blank spots, like on the title page and publication page, in which one can draw Godzilla attacking a random city.

I know, my artistic abilities astound even myself some days (there's a reason I write instead of illustrate). 

You can also use it as your own private desk fort, from which you can glare at passersby that you don't wish to chat with.

I dare anyone to attack my personal fort with anything less than a catapult built from a spoon loaded with spit wads!

Then of course there is its ability to repel evil in all its forms. Sadly, I could not find any evil in my apartment that I could dramatically battle in front of the camera using my book (I didn't have any goblins, clowns or Justin Bieber fans handy). So, instead I give you this picture of She-Ra, and give you permission to use your imagination to make my dramatic point.

There, question answered! 

In other news "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" is getting some awesome reviews from readers (and I didn't even have to threaten them with large sticks to get them).  

One Amazon reader wrote: 

"I love the light hearted humor in this book. I picked it up to read a couple lines and couldnt put it down. The author has a witty and quirky way of writing that is refreshing and very creative. I am very glad I ordered this book!"

Edmund C. McCombs (Author of "Stuck at Seven (While Awkwardly Aiming for Ten)" (which is an awesome book in its own right, follow the link if you need extra material to add to your reading stack) wrote:

"This book is a whimsical riot. Allison tours you through some of her life's more interesting and exciting moments by revealing the inappropriateness that walks in and out of her life on, what appears to be, an all-too-often basis. Her writing style is engaging and she uses very descriptive and well thought out phrases. I recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh as you walk hand-in-hand with Allison through the awkward fields of her life. Well done!"

Aww shucks! *Looks down, blushes, kicks dirt with toe.* Thanks guys!

Well that's all I have for now. As always feel free to follow me on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest! Have a lovely evening everyone!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tweakers and Thank Ya'll!

Hello everyone (including, but not limited to, humans, animals, aliens, ghosts and/or extremely cognitive spaghetti)! I hope you are all having a lovely week!

"Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus" has been out on Amazon for five days now! Nab your copy today! Also, for more frequent updates, feel free to check out my Facebook Page (Facebook Me!), my Twitter (Tweet Me!), my Goodreads (Erm... Goodreads me?) and my Amazon author page (Look Shiny! )!

Before I get into today's topic of tweakers, which is near and dear to my heart, I have a few words of thanks that I feel are forthcoming.

First, thank you to editor Craig Hart and Sweatshoppe Publications for letting my book see the light of day. To Paul Brand and Anthony Carpenter as well for putting this fantastic piece of design and artwork together for the cover, thank you.

A big thank you to Robin Harmon, who sat down with me for a few hours and said, "No, honey, don't do that. This is how you publicize something," before hijacking my pages for a bit and showing me how to make things work as I sat there staring like a monkey stares at a math problem. And thanks also to Mary W. for editing the first manuscript for me, as I simultaneously edited her work by drawing little dinosaurs eating misplaced words.

I'd like to say thank you to all the friends and family who have supported me throughout the years. My book wouldn't exist without you (and some of your actions)!

Finally, a hearty, haggis-consuming, kilt-sporting Scottish thank you to all of my readers, reviewers, constructive criticizers and people who have popped in to say hello and who have shown interest in my book! You guys are the bee's knees (or maybe the elk's ankles if that's any better?)!

Now for something completely different.

So, before I dive into the topic of tweakers, I should probably explain why they are a big enough facet of my life to garner a mention in the title.

My day job, when I'm not battling crime or causing mischief involving kittens and espresso, is that I work as a mobile outreach worker with homeless and at-risk youth. Basically, I do everything a social worker would do in an office, but I do my job on the streets, in shelters, under bridges, in the mall... etc. Basically, I get to help kiddos and throw fruit snacks at gang bangers!

In my job you often have to choose between laughing and slamming your head in the microwave door. I choose to laugh. I have probably lost too many brain-cells already, so I had better reserve the microwave door option for more drastic times.

One area that I derive some enjoyment from is the conversations I have with tweakers. For those who don't know, tweakers are those on drugs that tend to "twitch" or "tweak" and often have some of the most fascinating theories/advice/philosophies on life. This week, has been full of fun little tweaker-isms, so I thought I would share a few here today.

However, before I start, I feel that this is totally apt and germane to the conversation.

This has been a special week for tweakers all over Spokane, Washington. I'm not sure what holiday they are all celebrating, but they have been coming out of the woodwork to provide me with everything from advice to theories of how my brain is going to be eaten by tiny gnomes. Also, one tried to present me with a balloon animal made from condoms. I declined, it wasn't a platypus.

For instance, I had one very high individual approach me two days ago and inform me that, "Tiny alligators are messing up my life."

I blinked a couple times and replied, "Well, I'm not sure if we can get an exterminator for that or not."

He looked really bummed out before saying, "Damn, oh well, at least they have some good jokes."

Then, as I was walking around trying to find some of my clients, I passed by a dumpster and looked over to see two eyes poking above the edge. "Hiya!" the dumpster said to me.

I did a little finger-wave hello, and moved on. When I came back ten minutes later the dumpster with eyes was musing to itself out loud, "Yes, well that other one looks much more comfortable."

I looked over, and right across the alley was another dumpster. I walked down to the end of the alleyway and waited.  Sure enough, a few minutes later the dumpster-dweller hopped out and scurried over to the other dumpster and began examining it like prime real-estate. He popped open the lid, looked inside before saying, "Nope!" and scuttling back to his original spot.

I'm not entirely sure what made that dumpster less desirable than the other one, but he rejected it like someone fed him burned kale on top of a can of expired sardines.

Probably my favorite tweaker moment of the week however, was this woman who I passed by on Monday. She was having a very animated conversation with herself. As I wandered her direction she made eye contact with me, so I said a simple, "Hello."

She turned, pointed, and in the voice of someone scolding a small child yelled, "Don't interrupt peoples' conversations! It's rude!"

I just smiled, "You're right, I should have read Miss Manners more growing up," and I made a hasty departure.

At least my life is never boring?

So what about all of you? Have you had any fun conversations with someone lately? I'd love to hear about them!

Well, that is all I have for now. Continue to check in because the clairvoyant part of my brain tells me there will be a contest coming up soon! Toodles!

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's Out!!!

Hello ladies, gentlemen and any possible resurrected dinosaurs that I'm hoping exist! I have exciting news! My book, "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus," was released early and is available now!

That's right, by clicking on this handy-dandy link (Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus) the internet (which is steered and controlled by gremlins) will whisk you away to the enchanted land of where, as of this morning, the book magically appeared!

Yes, I am just as surprised as all of you, as I thought I would have to continue giving you little fortune cookie-esque hints about the book until the printing presses could churn out the final copies. Apparently, however, the printing presses the publishing company uses were given the machine version of caffeine, and so the book is out now!

As always, I want to hear from you all. Feel free to leave me questions, comments, existential quandaries here, on my Facebook page (Facebook Me!) or via Twitter (Tweet Me!).

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sneak Peek (And You Don't Even Need Binoculars)

Why hello ladies and gentlemen and any random hallucinations that might be accompanying you today! I hope everyone has had an absolutely smashing Wednesday (as opposed to one that makes you want to smash things)!

All of you have been so lovely providing me with comments of support and interest in "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus," so my publisher and I agreed that we should indulge anyone who might be curious about its content.

What follows is a chapter plucked from the book itself, like the frosting flower on a child's birthday cake (though with less confectionery gore). 

As always, please let me know what you think and feel free to follow my exploits on Facebook ( and Twitter (


Uma Thurman has been credited with saying, “Boredom is the mother of invention.” 

We should not only listen to her because she is an incredible actress and can pull off a white, stretchy, dress phenomenally, but because she is right. However, I would like to add that not only
does boredom breed innovation, it can also be the harbinger of disaster.

I don’t sit still well. I’m kind of a ball of muscle bound energy, and even as I type this I am using my foot to tease a kitten. So putting me in one spot for long periods of time works about as
well as trying to contain a wolverine on Red Bull inside a cardboard box.

At one time, a job I had involved traveling around and giving short presentations on a service the group I worked for had to offer. These were presentations aimed at local businesses in the
hopes of getting them to jump on the bandwagon and support the community initiative my employers were putting forth.

This meant I got dressed up in a suit, did my little Vanna White shtick and then high-tailed it to the next place all the while praying that everyone was running on time.

The day in question had been a long day. I had given 6 or 7 of these presentations, and the last group I was supposed to speak to was a counseling firm with a staff of more than 30 people. The
head counselor there had requested I come in and speak during their staff meeting so that everyone could be present.

I showed up at my allotted time, and was told by the receptionist that things were running a little behind and that if I wanted to sit in the room right outside the conference room,
they’d call me in in a few minutes. I stood in the lobby, staring into nothing, because that was what this room was: A white little box of nothing.

An overhead speaker blared out some salsa music, and I started to tap my foot to the beat. The room literally had no decorations and one, very uncomfortable looking, chair. The minutes dragged by.

After 5 minutes, my foot tap turned into a hip wiggle.

After 10 minutes, the hip wiggle turned into some small dance steps.

After 20 minutes, I had given up at containing myself and was full-blown dancing in this tiny waiting area.

Now, I must explain, I don’t dance. I have a tendency to waltz like one of my legs is shorter than the other, turn a tango into a new sport that involves tackling and somehow make hip-hop look
like a full body dry heave.

I have had one salsa dancing lesson in which the instructor suggested, “I spend my time doing other things.” So, whatever I was doing in the waiting area, was probably not something graceful, rhythmic or even remotely artistic.

The door finally opened, and I immediately stopped, straightened my suit jacket and put on an air of sophistication and poise. I then stared confusedly at the man, who was red-faced with tears streaming down his cheeks as he half-said half-choked out, “We’re ready for you now.”

I entered the room to find the entire staff assembled, all looking quite a bit like the man who had come to retrieve me. The room had two TV’s mounted to the walls, and the content of the
screen looked very familiar.

Then it hit me, the tiny little waiting area had a security camera, and I had just done a one-man show for over 10 minutes set to crappy elevator salsa music. I looked at the screens for a beat, then looked back to the room full of strangers who had just gotten their own personal show, and bowed. The room erupted into applause.

So what slivers of knowledge can be tweezed from the finger of stupidity?

1. Never assume you’re alone. This may sound paranoid, but if paranoia saves you from utter embarrassment, then be as paranoid as you like. Wear a tin-foil hat if it helps.

2. If you’re going to fail, at least do so in a way that makes 30 other peoples’ meeting that much more entertaining.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Sweat on Me!

Hello all you lovely, splendid people! Just a quick update, it appears that “Life is a Circus Run 
by a Platypus,” is on track to be released on May 20 on (followed closely by 
several other venues)! As soon as I have an official link I will post it here faster than a 
greased bunny can be slid across a linoleum floor!
In other news, I have an author Facebook page set up now. Feel free to look me up under 
"Allison Hawn" and keep up to date on news about the book. 
That aside, here is another scribbling from my “Ooooh Squirrel!” brain.
I am a bit of a gym rat, mostly by necessity. I have a genetic make-up that means that if I 
even stare longingly at a piece of cheesecake for too long, I will suddenly pack on some 
extra curves. For this reason, I spend, at the very least, an hour in the gym every day. 
This means over a several year span I have gotten to witness some of the most bizarre/useless 
behavior ever perpetrated around a set of weights. Frankly I'd be willing to leave most of these 
things alone, but when you see them day after day, sometimes you just feel compelled to 
smack certain individuals with a starfish. 
Since I do not have easy access to a starfish and would probably be arrested for assault with 
deadly brainless sea creature, I will instead just write some of the things I have noticed here.  
These are my 10 Gym Commandments. If I could etch them in stone I would (but I learned I 
really should not be given a chisel and a hammer a long time ago).  
Note: I am not a doctor, personal trainer or coordinated tango instructor. I am currently a fitness 
instructor, though, if that counts for anything? As always you should talk to your doctor, 
significant other, best friend, Oprah and a therapist before starting any new exercise plan.  
1. Thou shalt not believe that sitting on gym equipment will magically slim thee. 
I realize that this is a disappointment to many (including myself). The gym has an aura of 
fitness and health to it; however, to contribute and partake in the aura one actually does have to 
This means that if someone sits on the cable row machine for 20 minutes and does only one 
five-pound repetition, that person is not in fact working out. What that individual is doing 
instead is blocking everyone else in the gym from using the thing that he or she has converted 
into the gym version of a home recliner. The gym, sadly, is not magic.  
2. Thou must not only move, thou must sweat, push and exert thyself. 
Just because one is sitting and bouncing on a yoga ball does not mean one is working out. 
Sadly, I see a lot of females do this.  Doing crunches, dumbbell presses and weighted mermaids 
on a yoga ball are all legitimate exercises. Having a conversation about your nails while doing 
the same movement a 3 year old does in their bouncy chair is not getting you anywhere, 
3. Thou shalt NEVER mock others in the gym based on their physical appearance.  
Yes, some of us are twigs, some of us are bulky, some of us are, dare I say this word, fat. It 
doesn't matter; everyone has a place in the gym. The fact is that no other person can ever know 
what someone else is capable of, and so verbally disparaging them is just plain dumb. 
I have seen tiny guys do sets of 30 weighted pull-ups, seen full-figured women run faster 
than I could ever imagine going, and I have seen a 300 pound man sustain yoga poses that 
make my limbs hurt just thinking about them. Don't judge, everyone has the right to 
work out just as much as everyone else does.  
4. Thou shalt not believe the weight area is only for males. 
More times than I can count at this point, I have had some hot-shot guy swagger up to me 
while I'm lifting and make some comment about how, "Women should not be in the weight 
I have no problem then, in front of each one of his friends and girlfriends, lifting twice as 
much as he does, turning and saying, "You're right, we should not be in the weight area, 
we might make you look bad." 
Women are tough, period.  
5. Thou shalt not be self-defeating at the gym. 
I bring up this example because, to my count, I have now seen it five times. I see a person 
on a treadmill (good), going at the slowest possible pace the machine can go (not as good), 
drinking a soda (*thunks head on desk* bad). 
If one consumes more calories while working out than one actually burns, then what purpose 
did going to the gym serve? 
These are the same people who talk on their cellphones, at decibels that could be felt in 
space, about how they are working out, but they never seem to lose any weight. Really, 
Sherlock, weight loss is being elusive?  Come on, let's examine the clues and maybe we can 
solve this mystery.  
6. Thou shalt be conscious of other gym patrons. 
This means one should not pick up weights and then just stand in front of the weight rack 
doing bicep curls. Believe it or not, other people would like to weight lift too, and standing 
there like one of the giant stone pillars of Stonehenge, creates a bit of a deterrent. 
This also means that one should not take eight sets of weights and claim that one is using them 
all.  The only one who can make that claim is an octopus. I realize that some people have things 
like ladder drills or circuits that they want to do and that is fine. But one really does not need to 
monopolize half the weight rack to accomplish one’s goal, I promise.  
7. Thou shalt put it back where thou found it. 
As much as I love scavenger hunts, spending 10 minutes hunting for the 40 pound dumbbells 
only to discover that someone has kindly hidden them behind the foam rollers is somewhat less 
charming than the childhood counterpart of that game. The gym staff are not mothers or 
magical weight fairies; everyone needs to pick up after himself or herself.  
8. Thou shalt wear clothing to the gym. 
I cannot describe the endless parade of things that I see at the gym that make me wonder, 
"Did your mommy forget to lay out your clothes for you this morning?" 
Sweatpants with holes in the crotch (sometimes with underwear underneath, sometimes 
without), shirts that have the sides cut out (so we can see the side of one's abs, as what is left 
of the shirt precariously slips towards getting caught in the machine), shorts that one has to 
stare at for a minute so one can verify they are not a belt and spandex that has been stretched 
so tight that it now has all the coverage ability of tinted saran wrap should probably only be 
worn in the privacy of one's own home. 
9. Thou shalt not hit on other gym patrons with dogged persistence. 
No, you can't buy me a drink. Why? Because this is a gym, not a bar, and I am working 
out, and this is not a date. 
It's fine to flirt, say hi or strike up a conversation with someone at the gym. However, I 
once had a guy sit and stare at me for 20 minutes on the rowing machine before asking 
if I, "Wanted to go out to see the back of his truck." 
Nope! Everyone, guys and girls, can agree, we like our gyms creeper free.  
10. Thou shalt not believe thou's sweat is magical. 
This means that if one leaves a giant puddle of sweat on the machine one just used, 
and then one decides not to use the handy-dandy free paper towels and sanitizer to wipe 
it up, I will look at that individual like she or he just barbequed a puppy. 
Do you want to sit in a puddle of a random stranger's sweat? No? Then why on the 
earth would anyone want to wade through a puddle of yours? No one’s sweat is exempt 
from the grossness factor, wipe it up! 

All that being said, what are the most ridiculous things all of you have seen at the gym?