Thursday, December 17, 2015

Just a Christmas Reminder

Hello everyone, I hope you're having a more splendid day than the thought of kittens dressed as the Avengers (come on, admit it, it would be adorable).

Speaking of kittens, remember for the rest of this month 50% of the proceeds from my books will be going to help the animals at the Sun Valley Animal Shelter, which is a no-kill animal shelter in the Phoenix area.

So buy a book and help a kitty, like Coral here, find a forever home (by the way she is up for adoption at the moment if anyone is looking for a friendly feline to add to their home)!

I'm sorry for the break in my posting, my first round of end of semester final projects for graduate school ambushed me. I spent much of the past few weeks sitting in the library looking like this:

But I survived! The books did not end up toppling on top of me and burying me alive!

Of course, as I emerged from my finals haze, I was suddenly reminded that Christmas was quickly approaching. As such, it is time for my yearly Christmas reminder.

You know that song "Santa Baby?" (If you don't, click the link and give it a listen.)

The entire song involves a woman basically seducing Santa Claus into bringing her a light blue '54 convertible, a yacht, the deed to a platinum mine, a Christmas tree trimmed with jewelry from Tiffany's and a duplex.

The Hairpin at one point calculated the cost of all of the items requested in Santa Baby and came up with a grand total of $1,167,854,838.80.

Apparently Santa has a massive hedge fund up there in the North Pole. The real importance of this song, however, is in who sang it; Eartha Kitt, who is pictured above during her role as Catwoman in the original Batman TV program.

Do you know what other role Eartha Kitt was famous for portraying?

That's right, she was also Yzma from "The Emperor's New Groove."

So the next time you are hear that seductive voice attempting to convince Santa to give her the net worth of several small countries, remember that this is what is trying to seduce him.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year!

Remember you can always follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and you can find my books here!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Seeing Red

Hello everyone! I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a Kiss cover band comprised of corgis!

Speaking of corgis, just a quick reminder, 50% of the profits from any of my books sold in November or December will be going to help the efforts of the Sun Valley Animal Shelter. This is a no-kill shelter in the Phoenix area that connects animals with their forever homes.

So buy a book and help Mumford here find a good home (he is also up for adoption if anyone is interested)!

In other news the holidays have descended upon us, rather like a beluga whale dropped from a bomber airplane. Halloween day, I happened to go to the store and found myself in a veritable winter wonderland of Christmas decorations and festoonery. Again, let me repeat that, on Halloween.

I let out a sad sigh over the Christmas invasion of my favorite holiday and went on my way, vowing to basically ignore it, as I do every year, until the day after Thanksgiving.

Then the first "War on Christmas" posts started. You know what I mean, the fear-mongering, imaginary persecution of those who like to celebrate Christmas. First, let me say this, if you think that there is an actual "War on Christmas" please, as a Christian myself, let me remind you of a few things:

1. No one in this country will tell you that you can't celebrate Christmas in your own way. If you want to honor Jesus, that is your right. If you want to spend all day Christmas wearing underwear on your head and yelling, "I'm a blueberry muffin!" that is also your right. No one is telling you you can't celebrate Christmas. Someone else celebrating Christmas in their own way is not an immediate attack on your rights.

2. Every school/work/organizational break is still centered around the Christmas holiday. No other religious holiday gets this kind of special treatment (unless they happen to fall sometime near Christmas), so if we're in a "war" it appears we still have the high ground.

3. Having a Menorah next to the Christmas tree at the mall really is not something to get upset about. Remember, we stole the traditional Christmas tree from pagans, whereas the Menorah was something the Jewish people came up with on their own thousands of years ago. Respecting others' religions does not constitute an attack on your own.

4. Someone saying "Happy Holidays" to you is not a challenge to a fight. I say Happy Holidays. I say Merry Christmas. When appropriate I say Happy Hanukkah as well! If someone says Happy Holidays, the correct response is, "Thank you! You too!" Everyone just calm down!

5. The fact that you can't go a single place, starting October 31st now, without running into a million and one Christmas trees, ornaments and little nativity sets, would imply that Christmas seems to be doing just fine.

I bring all of this up because the first "Christmas Scandal" splashed in my news feed on Facebook this week, causing an intense urge to attempt to stick my head in the microwave.

Apparently, Starbucks has managed to do something more offensive than misspell even the most simple of names. Apparently this year their holiday themed cups are... red!!! Yup, you read correctly, instead of opting for an entire nativity scene (which, I might add has NEVER been a part of their cups), they went for a solid red cup with their typical green and white logo for accent.

This has sparked absolute outrage, particularly from one individual who posted an entire Youtube video and Twitter rant (which I refuse to link here because he doesn't need any more attention).

Apparently by removing the snowflakes from their cups that they had last year, which I was unaware was a part of the Christmas cannon to begin with, Starbucks somehow managed to remove all of the Christmas-ness from their cups!

At first I thought it was a massive joke, but then I started seeing calls to boycott Starbucks. I'm sorry, if you're going to boycott Starbucks it should be because it doesn't matter which one you go to, they over-roast their coffee, not because they made a simple design change to a coffee cup.

And Christians, come on! We are better than this! This is petty at its best, and completely alienating at its worst! It's really hard to convince people that I have logical reasons for believing in my faith when I have people running around screaming that Starbucks is waging a War on Christmas because of a minimalist cup design!

Might I also point out that Starbucks, despite their obvious love for Satan with their all-red cup, still sells advent calendars, CD's with songs about Jesus' birth (although, does anyone still buy CD's?) and several Christmas Ornaments that... now be prepared to be shocked, say, "Merry Christmas" on them.

So before we blow up over perceived slights, can we as a community of Christians do something Christ-like and maybe not freak out over nothing? Can we stop painting ourselves as intolerant, insecure people who will overreact to any perceived slight?

We have two months left of this holiday spirit to go people, we can do it! Well, at least, I hope we can do it.

For those of you not putting me on your "naughty" list, you can always find me on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and you can find my books here.

Also this:

 I have imbibed in the red-cup devil's brew. Guess I need to go change my major now to Christmas Grinchery with a minor in Satanism.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Getting in the Spirit!

Hello everyone, I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a million skeletons tangoing to The Monster Mash.

Tomorrow is the best holiday of them all, Halloween!!!

In honor of this holiday here are some of the best books to read for Halloween!

Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales

If you want some classically creepy stories, then the Victorian horrors written by Gaskell are an excellent choice. The stories are haunting and memorable and just terrifying enough to leave you with some chills.

Stephen King's The Cell

A haunting tale and modern metaphor for what technology is doing to us, this lesser read book of Stephen King's prolific career will not only scare the living daylights out of you, but it will make you think.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

It's a classic, but if you haven't read it yet, it needs to be added to your reading list stat! You will sleep with the lights on for a while.

Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

If you saw the awful movie, then erase it from your mind with the original book. One of Alan Moore's less celebrated graphic novels, this Steampunk and sci-fi influenced book is a fabulous adventure. Fair warning: It may be a comic book, but it is definitely not for children.

Charissa Dufour's Sucked In

If you're looking for something a little more on the humor side and a less on the terrifying side, Charissa Dufour's Sucked In is for you. The first book of three in the series follows vampire author Ashley Hawn as she goes from writing about vampires to being one. It's a fun read perfect for this time of year.  

As the nights get chillier, grab a book, put your feet up and enjoy the goosebumps from both the cold and some creepy stories!

In other news, every year during the months of November and December, I choose a non-profit to donate half of my book proceeds to. This year, that non-profit is the Sun Valley Animal Shelter.

The Sun Valley Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter located in the Phoenix area and they treat their animals the best I have ever seen a shelter treat animals. I am happy to help them and their cause as they find animals their forever homes. So grab a book and help an animal!

As always, you can follow my adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn).

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Graduate School Experience

Hello everyone, I hope you're all having a wonderful day full of rainbows and cheer and coffee (which is what I am 99% powered by right now, the other 1% is coffee fumes).

Well I have now been a graduate student for a little over two months now. The number one question I have received during that time is, "What is it like?"

So here, to answer your questions, is what graduate school is like.

Imagine you're floating down a river on a log. Why you chose to put yourself in the middle of the river on a log is anyone's guess, but there you are.

Luckily, you have learned a little about how to stay balanced on a log in a previous water-bound adventure, but this time the river is flowing a bit faster and you're noticing a lot more rocks in your path.

As you float along you begin to realize that your simple log is going to be insufficient to transport you safely, which is what the river guides/professors walking along the banks are for. From the safe tenured banks of the body of water, the professors throw you tools while shouting helpful hints like, "Build a canoe, it will be easier to steer and stay on!"

"But I've never built a canoe!"

In response they lug a five hundred page canoe building manual at you and say, "I think if you pay really close attention to every single page you should be able to manage building a canoe just fine!"

So, while balanced on the log, rushing down a never slowing river, you read the manual. Only to find that the information you needed on how to build the canoe is on page 489 of 500. The first 488 pages were actually a history of canoes. With this new knowledge you start to carve out the inside of your canoe, a bit exhausted at this point from trying to stay balanced, continuing to avoid the rocks and reading and retaining information you did not actually need.

You somehow manage to dig out a little divot inside the log to sit in, and you start feeling more confident about your little river adventure. Then another voice from the banks says, "Oh no, that's not going to work, you need at least one paddle..."

More tools and another manual, this time 600 pages in length is lobbed at you as the water surrounding you becomes even more choppy.

"Is there a simpler manual or any hints you can give me!?"

"Nope, that is the only manual in existence that will teach you how to make a paddle the right way. As for advice, just don't let the alligators eat you!"

Now you not only have to make a paddle, but you have to keep your eyes open for a new threat to your existence that you, up until this moment, had no idea even existed.

You furiously read the manual, which spends approximately 500 pages talking about how many different uses for paddles exist in both the first and third worlds, and finally reach a chapter about making a paddle. Using some of the wood from your dugout canoe you start to make a paddle, only to nearly get hit in the head by a chunk of wood thrown at you from the bank.

Yet another voice calls, "You can't use THAT wood, use the stuff I threw you instead."

"But I only know how to carve this type of wood..." you say with a sigh, "Can't I just use the wood I've been using all along?"

"Nope! But don't worry, there's a manual on how to work with the wood I just tossed you, don't worry it's only 800 pages long. And the part about how many trees that wood is related to is really fascinating stuff, make sure you don't skip that! Hey, did you notice the leech on your arm? Don't worry, there's a manual for that too..."

This is pretty much what graduate school is like, folks.

Feel free to follow my continued adventures, and see if I fall off the log, on Facebook and Twitter and don't forget to check out my books!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Ban Illiteracy

Hello everyone, I hope your weeks have been more fantastic than the thought of a wombat version of the X-Men!

Well, in case you missed this tidbit of news in the world of books, this week is Banned Book Week!

This is a magical time of year when authors, readers, librarians and bibliophiles get together to promote a world free from book censorship. In honor of that I have collected a few of my favorite banned books for your perusal.

 Hop on Pop - Dr. Seuss

That's right, Dr. Seuss was banned.

The violent images of violence perpetuated by children against their long-suffering father prompted quite a few complaints up in Canada forcing several libraries to pull the book from their shelves.

Of course, we all know Dr. Seuss, that warped man, was really just promoting patricide, not literacy.

The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

Technically The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and the Silmarillion have all been banned at one time or another. Though, if anyone who recommended the Silmarillion be banned had actually read it I would eat my nonexistent hat.

All three of these were banned because they possessed an obvious connection to Satanism.  After all, who hasn't actually opened a portal to the underworld just by reading about Hobbits? Oh, did that just happen to me? Okay then.

Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

Yep, your favorite childhood poet was secretly poisoning your mind.

How? Well, obviously the book promoted cannibalism, naughty behavior by children and mass plate breaking.

No, seriously, there was a group that freaked out because this book displayed children breaking multiple plates instead of washing them, which obviously was encouraging child-based anarchy.

Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh

This spunky little girl was actually an insidious, clandestine plan to encourage children to spy!

Well, I guess it is in the title, so you know, it wasn't very secret...

As an author and bibliophile, I strongly encourage everyone to go out, find a "Banned Book" and read it! That's right, do something dangerous, buck the censorship system and read!

Let me know what your favorite banned book is in the comments below! 

As always you can find me in Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and find my books here!

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Fat, Skinny, Strong, Curvy... Truth

Hello all! I hope you are all having weeks that are more fabulous than the thought of a reenactment of Pride and Prejudice performed by snakes in top hats.

Well, it's fair to say that graduate school is not for the faint of heart. I am about a month and a half in and about ready to start gnawing on the corners of books.

Yes, I'm aware that just makes me sound like I'm turning into one of my cats, which you all probably feared already, but I swear there are no kitty transformations occurring.

This week I was walking through the parking lot to my car after buying groceries. Okay, honest confession, I was doing the "lug all of your groceries on your arms without hitting your legs with them because you're too proud to use the shopping cart" waddle, but that is neither here nor there.

 As I toiled under the unforgiving Arizona sun towards my car I happened to read a bumper sticker in the back of a Toyota that read, "Fit is Beautiful"  and advertised some local gym.

The car parked directly next to it had a hot pink bumper sticker that read, "Big girls are the sexiest!"

I would have taken a picture, but that would have required untangling myself from several grocery bags and then re-hefting them in the 109 degree heat.

Instead as I trudged back to my car a thought hit me, "Why did I move to a place where the pavement could actually melt my shoes!?"

After that thought came, "I wonder to whose advantage it is to have a body type beauty war?"

Sure, the media benefit when they cast skinny models as the "hot girls" in one film and then have "feel good" films where the heavier girl gets her man. Makeup companies make a killing off of making women compare with each other. Gyms exploit the comparison for memberships...

The long list of those who benefit from women comparing themselves to each other is mind boggling long.

You know who doesn't benefit, though? WOMEN

We as a sex and a gender don't benefit, not one little bumper sticker's worth of an iota, from constantly having to claim that our particular body type is somehow more "beautiful" or more "sexy" than the next girl's body type!

 The comparison of "who is more beautiful" based simply on our skin-sack full of organs, bones and other random tissues and juices (which is essentially what we all are) is a false one, and it's one that we continue to perpetuate to our own disadvantage.

So, are skinny women beautiful? YES

Are curvy women beautiful? YES

Are tall women beautiful? YES

What about <insert random descriptor here>? YES

All women are beautiful, and until we stop competing with each other for the imaginary body-type, beauty queen crown, then we will continue to waste our time and our energy dividing over something useless instead of directing our time and effort towards something actually productive.

You are beautiful, whether you are tall, short, thin, fat, purple (though, if you're purple, you might want to get that checked), trans, straight haired, or built like She-Hulk!

Now it's time, as women, that we all start acting like the beautiful bitches we are.

If you want to know where you can find more of this beautiful woman, come find me on Facebook and Twitter and my books can be found here!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

DMV - Demotivating Mandatory Victimization

Hello all, I hope you have all had weeks that were more fantastic than the thought of steampunk rap (which actually exists).

I'm sorry this post is late! Grad student life has me in its clutches and doesn't want to let go! Despite being buried in countless pages of reading and long papers, I do have this little adventure for all of you.

I have officially decided that the DMV is where dreams go to be crushed like a Hotwheels car under the foot of the Terminator. Florescent lights, long lines, chairs of questionable origin, the DMV is what I imagine dying and getting stuck in Limbo is probably like.

One thing that I've noticed is that every DMV in every county and every state has one thing in common; they all have at least one person waiting with you that will make you contemplate whether you actually need to drive or not. 

In varying DMV lines I've faced the man of incredible flatulence, the woman who brought not one, not two, but three yapping dogs and the guy who kept going outside to make sure his car hadn't caught fire, "I fixed it, but I ain't sure I fixed it right..."

The individual who takes the DMV gold straightjacket, though, graced those waiting with her presence at my most recent visit. The waiting room was crowded that day, twenty to thirty people were crammed in the narrow waiting area like that box of Crayola crayons that Jimmy decided to try and get one extra crayon into. Stupid Jimmy.

I had been sitting on a bench next to another lady who shared my "does not want to be here" expression for about three minutes when she walked in. Well, technically she more pushed her way through the door ramming into an elderly gentleman who was about to take a number so she could grab a number first.

With bits of her oozing from underneath a shirt that was a size or four too small, she wandered up to the bench. Guessing that she wanted to take a seat, I began to scoot over as did the girl next to me in the opposite direction. I only had a chance to scooch myself about a centimeter though before the woman said, "Well, it would be NICE if someone were willing to move over for me instead of just sitting there like dumb cows!"

The other girl and I looked at each other, I rolled my eyes and we continued our journey to make room for our vulgar new bench mate. When we had scooted far enough for her largess, which meant I was nearly sitting in the next person's lap, she thudded herself down and said, "SeeEee? That wasn't so hard now was it?"

Everyone on the long bench looked at her with a similar expression of confusion and disgust as she then scratched her armpit, very close to the other girl's face, and burped.

At this point I went back to counting how many dots were in the ceiling tiles and waiting for my number to be called. The woman next to me let out a series of exasperated sighs and kept saying things like, "I don't understand why this is taking so long!" as if she expected anyone to answer her.

After a couple of minutes, she suddenly started digging around in her purse, a monstrous Nascar Racing decorated affair with a giant Confederate flag pin on it. After elbowing me several times in her frantic search for whatever she was hunting for, she let out a triumphant little grunt and pulled out a toothbrush and toothpaste.

I then watched in horror as she put the toothpaste on the toothbrush, and with great angsty energy, shoved the toothbrush in her mouth. Now she hadn't just caught the attention of the others clustered on the bench, but a majority of those trapped in the lobby as well as the DMV employees. Everyone sat in abject horror for a second as she brushed and slurped her way along, obviously swallowing the toothpaste as she went.

After a few shocked seconds I decided that I did not want my front row seat to the 'Dental Hygiene Show' and got up to go lean against a wall as far away as possible. As I made my retreat the woman gurgled out, "Whore!" behind me.

Funny, she was number 47, but it seems while I was filling out my paperwork, the DMV counter attendants somehow managed to go from 46 directly on to 48. Whoopsie-doodle!

So what lessons from this can be printed on our experience registrations?

1. Peoples' definitions of the word "whore" seem to be vastly different. I always thought it was a derogatory term for someone who likes to sleep with a lot of people. Apparently I'm wrong, it is a term for someone who doesn't wish to be a up-close-and-personal participant in someone else's dental care.

2. You can in fact be so awful that not even DMV employees will want to talk to you. 

For more fun adventures don't forget to check out my stuff on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and check out my books here!

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.


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


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:

"'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?"


"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.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Putting All Your Chips On The Table

Well hello all! I hope everyone has had a more marvelous week than the thought of a thousand cacti arranged to form the Millennium Falcon.

This past week I had the awesome chance to go toodle around Arizona for a few days (which is why I have been a tad lax on updates, apologies).

Arizona is an wondrous place, full of sunshine, cacti and really odd street names (Bloody Basin Road and Bee King Road among them).
As a resident Spokanite, I haven't really seen sunlight since Tinkerbell was saying, "In color!" before the start of every Disney film. 

Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, but having just survived another bone-chilling winter, I was ready for some sun.

I was also exceedingly ready for a break from work. Don't get me wrong, I love my clients, but you can only say, "Stop licking the walls!" and, "Take those panties off of your head!" so many times before it begins to wear on your little grey cells.

I was finally getting away from it all... or so I thought.

Just because I'm on vacation does not mean that I wish to stop working out, so I was overjoyed to find that the hotel in Arizona my mother, grandmother and I were staying in had a workout area.

I was far less overjoyed when I opened the door to their mini-gym and was met by a wave of body odor and booze. No one was in there at that exact moment, but there was a super-classy box of chardonnay sitting on top of the weight bench with a myriad of potato chips surrounding it like some kind of shrine to gluttony.
Of Course I Took a Picture With A Dinosaur Head

I snagged the box of wine to take up to the front desk, but paused when, from an outside door that had been propped open, a schnockered looking man entered. 

When he saw me holding the box of wine he gave me a shocked look worthy of a daytime soap opera and quickly exited again.

I took the box of wine to the front desk who said they would take care of it. 

The next morning, in an insane rash of optimism, I decided to try the workout room again. I knew I should have just gone running when I opened the door and was slapped in the face by body odor, booze and the additional fragrance of urine.

I peered around the corner and found myself looking at the same individual I had previously spotted. Wolfing down chips with one hand and downing fowl smelling rum and cheap wine as his chasers, the man lounged on the weight equipment staring at the TV screen.

"Hey bud!" I said.

He slowly turned as I continued, "Are you supposed to be in here?"

His mouth full of chips and dank smelling rum he blearily looked at me, looked down at his chips, and then offered them to me.

I just shook my head and headed for the front desk to inform them that they had failed to get rid of their unregistered guest.

What lessons did I learn from my little Arizona adventure?

1. When you are caught breaking into a hotel's weight room to settle in to drink and pee, there is no amount of chips you can use to barter yourself out of that situation.

2. There is no taking a vacation from a bizarre life. 

Quick announcement: Due to the fact that I wish to focus more on my writing projects, this blog will be moving from a weekly format to a bi-weekly format. Of course if you want a more frequently updated way to follow my misadventures, come find me on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn)!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

There Is Such A Thing As Bad Publicity

Hello all! I hope you are all having a fantastic week tantamount to the thought of The Rocky Horror Picture Show reenacted by barn owls!

I received my bachelor's degree from a little university known as Northwest Nazarene University. 

It's in Nampa.

No, that's Napa, which is in California and there were no vineyards surrounding NNU's campus. Nampa, Idaho.

No, not Ohio. You know what, never mind I'm sure you have Google if you're really that curious.

The point is that NNU has been making some headlines! That's right, I can finally say what university I graduated from and no longer have people say, "What?"

Instead I can now hear people say, "Oh! You went to that school that fired that one tenured professor in a really public and awful way, causing a giant scandal and making the faculty nearly start a revolution, including pitchforks and torches?"

Yup, NNU, home of our new mascot 'The Administrative Scandal Machines.'

So for those of you who missed this story on the news here is a brief recap:

A tenured theology professor, Dr. Tom Oord, was informed via e-mail with no warning that he was being laid off (basically the campus president, one Dr. Alexander, sent a break-up text). Dr. Oord, who has not only been a senior member of faculty for a while now, but has some of the most respected publications, is one of the student body's most beloved instructors and just an all around swell guy, had no warning. He was simply given the boot.

The president claimed 'budget issues.' The staff and students claimed he was targeted for his beliefs, which are a bit more progressive than the current acting university president whom I'm not entirely sure has realized that the Spanish Inquisitions, which I'm sure were fun for him and his buddies, are over now.

As it turns out the 'budget issues' were in fact caused by the university president. Against all advice (even his Magic 8 Ball told him "no") he entered into several deals with outside companies that he then later had to use over a million dollars to buy the university out of.

Then, in the pretty much only salvageable moment of this entire debacle, the faculty joined together and called for a vote of 'no confidence' for the President Alexander.

Now both sides are in uneasy delegations, the layoffs of Dr. Oord and other staff have been put on hold, and the president himself is wanting to lead an investigation into "what went wrong."

As one of the alumni of this university who has managed to pay off the nearly crippling debt they left me with after obtaining my degree, I have every right to weigh in on this (plus it's my blog, so there you go).

First, Dr. Alexander is a bombastic twit. I know, I know, Christian charity calls for me to turn the other cheek and not say things bluntly.

But I'm the head of security for a homeless shelter, so my filter has holes big enough to drive a truck through and I have a low tolerance for the smoke and mirrors some are using to cover the giant pile of panda-poo they're trying to hide.

If you are the cause of the issue, you should not be the one to lead the investigation into your own mistakes (thank goodness the board of directors did not side with him on that). That's a little like having the murderer investigate the murder they committed, "The victim clearly stabbed himself... Yes I'm aware that the knife is the center of his back, but come on, he looks flexible, right!?"

Nope, Still Not Buying It
Second, when you send letters out to the alumni begging them to still believe in your ability to lead and make honest decisions, you shouldn't sound like the kid who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar that is still trying to salvage their innocence.

The entire letter basically boiled down to, "We're not saying we did anything wrong, but if we did something wrong, then we might be sorry. But we didn't do anything wrong! Sure, maybe some teeny-weenie mistakes were made, just maybe though..."

Third, when there is a one-million-plus dollar deficit that is all thanks to you making a decision that literally everyone else told you was a terrible idea, maybe you should consider that the wrong person was removed from their post.

Finally, there was a claim that 'floundering enrollment' was part of the reason for Dr. Oord's release from his position. Well, now you have the media's attention and so far that I've seen, none of it has been overly positive. How do you feel about your chances for increased enrollment now, bub?

As NNU pushes through this tough time, I would like to say that I back the faculty there one-hundred percent. You are all awesome and your vote of 'no-confidence' in a man that I had no confidence in ever since the day he told me being sexually harassed was, "Nothing I should be worried about," made me do a happy, if slightly vindictive, little dance.

I can only hope and pray that the school makes the right decision moving forward and decides to support it's faculty, before it's faculty decide to move on.

For my normally less critical and scathing wit, feel free to come find me on Facebook and Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and check out my books here.

Also, there will be one week without a new post from Normally Surreal as I am off on an adventure! Normally Surreal will return with a new post May 8, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel!