Miss Ashley Pants

19Sep/140

Lauren Morelli’s sapphic epiphany and why marriage is dumb.

So, Orange Is The New Black creator, Lauren Morelli, dumped her hubby.

After a sudden Sapphic epiphany.

And now she's dating an actress on the show.


(To be fair, even straight girls wanna date Poussey. It’s like when Katherine Moennig played “Shane” on Showtime. It’s not the sex – it’ s the X-factor.)

Ya know, this is the stupid thing about labels.

When I was queef deep in marathon sessions of that “L Word” show, my whole world was WEHO and falling in love with every woman who showed me the least bit of attention. I didn’t swear off dudes, because I learned that I didn't need to try and place myself somewhere on a sexual venn diagram. We like what we like. We fall in like or love or simpatico or whatever you wanna call it – with whoever we do. And that’s fantastic.

The drawback is how the first evil thing our brain does to us is demand a label.

As adults, sometimes it seems like the line between appreciating any of our dynamics – and sex – blurs. I suppose that that line blurs because of those labels that jump in and ask the question that ruins Christmas for any transcendent experience - be it spirituality or falling in love: "What does this mean? What does it mean I am?"

So what are these labels? And why do we need them? Who’s approval does love require?

I suppose what sits uncomfortably with me is the other "label" aspect to this tale:

The marriage bit.

I personally cringe at the thought of ever being married because it's a label that seems like a death sentence. Death of independence. Death of not being held accountable. Death of possibility. I'm human and my interests change. What if our interests diverge in a year or five? I've then made a vow to only ever be with you and our miniature me's. Maybe I just have yet to grow up and see the benefit and necessity of it. But apparently, so do most of the people who get lost in the hype and actually wrap that label 'round their finger - only to throw up the two neighboring it in no time.

I have to wonder what the marriage vows looked like.

For those who cross the marital event horizon threshold with their lover in arms, do they just take the promise lightly? Is it like making amphetamine induced plans to travel to Europe in the morning with someone you just met at a party - and then realizing when the sun rises and the high drops, how stupid you sounded? Or are those reservations there the whole time of a future-self being able to just say "sorry-not-sorry!"?

Regardless of what's between their legs, vow breaking for a new toy seems kinda crappy.



A topic also covered in “The L Word”. I loved the show, but they made every guy look like an asshole except for the manny (man nanny). After a while, the whole series feels like a very picturesque, sexy, well soundtracked campaign for misandry.

But I can’t judge this specific sitch because it’s not me.

Fortunately, I’ll never go through that “realize I’m a lesbian” crisis because my take has for a long while been and remains one of falling in love with the essence, not the genitals. I'm lucky. So, I suppose I’ve got to feel some sort of compassion for those who feel gypped of something their parents or religion (or whatever other things I never gave much credence to past the age of 15) told them was wrong and to feel guilty about - after they've made a binding decision based on a lie they believed about what they had to do.

Then again, this might all be a huge publicity stunt.

Especially since this season's Orange sucks worse than that orange Jersey kids show.

As for me, my vows are like Ronnie or Ricky or whoever he is here.

Go with the flow. Tao. Wu-wei. Whatever you wanna call it.

I promise to luff you all till this day do us part. We'll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

19Sep/140

Science kills people to study out of body experiences? Awesome.

Ever had an out of body experience?

No, not one'a those. I mean a legit, can't-blame-the-drugs-for-this-one style "is this real life?" moment. My first one came about a week or two ago while waking up. And my best non-dramatic description for a holy-fckk experience like that which you can't well put into words is this: It was brief, it was weird, and I wasn't a fan of it. The only way I can even come close to detailing it in words is that it's like when someone's falling off a cliff and you try to yank them back toward you. Except, ya know. The “someone” is your own soul.

Yes, yes. I’m just as surprised as any of you that I have a soul, too.

But was that a preview of death?

Falling into oblivion? Reuniting with the Holy Higgs field forever?

You'd think there was no way to "test" this, but apparently there is. Or at least science is trying its hardest. They have a name for the believability of outta body accounts called "veridic perception" (if you’re WTF-ing that, “veridic” comes from Latin “veridicus” AKA "true") The idea is to observe whether you can recall things that happened in the room when depart your flesh puppet. If you can, then you might have pulled some legit go-go gadget ghost action there in the OR.

Or mayhaps you just heard the nurses talking about it as you were waking up.
(#experimentalvariable). Or you ripped through space time upon carnal reentry. And retro-heard the convo that'd happened earlier. (#stillcool) Natch, other people who also aren't just patient enough to wait till they're dead to find out for themselves, tried running a similar experiment several years ago.

Because: curiosity.

And just like the curious cat who died and now watches you from the ceiling...

...they RIP'd the patients for their OBE investigation. #homicideforhumanity

Well, kind of. Temporarily. Some context: apparently doctors temporarily "kill" cardiac patients all the time – when they're getting ticker implants. They hafta see if their heart devices work (nice excuse, psycho) so they stop the heart to kickstart it again. So, obviously, science took advantage of this in an ethically questionable experiment by playing cartoons in the room. As mentioned above, the goal was to see if that "veridic perception" transpired. So the question asked after was - did they see the cartoons while croaked?

Nope. No one saw the cartoons.

But, to be fair - is it just me or do cartoons seem kind of like a trivial test for an OBE?

Or NDE? Or anything except a GRE?

I mean, I can't even be bothered to pay attention to TV now while I'm (technically) alive. So I'd like to think that if I was experiencing something as profound as my consciousness crossing the life-border like a terrified immigrant and remotely viewing the room, the lowest priority on my disembodied mind list for phantom note taking would be cartoons. Unless it's Aquateen hunger force.

Is it Aquateen Hunger Force?

Hand me my popcor-!

Oh. Right. Don't have a mouth anymore. #deadpeopleproblems

Plot twist sidebar – as this ATF episode educates us, technology like phones kill ghosts. (#facts) So maybe the cartoon playing T.V. itself killed the experiment and ghostly experience alike.

19Sep/140

Get your genius head out of your A.S.S.

Wanna head full of genius?

Why not get it out of your A.S.S., then?

That’s “Acquired Savant Syndrome”. And actually, no, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to obtain it because the requirements involve one freak accident head injury and one one-in-one-outlandish-figure chance of ending up with a crazy cash-inducing new skill like a few reported folks have in the past. For instance - remember that one dude who hit his cranium on the concrete of his pool? And then he recovered and developed this itch to play an instrument by ear that he’d known nada about before?

Yea, I thought that was as amazing as it gets at the time.

Until I heard about this Australian dude who woke from a coma – fluent in Mandarin.

As my own brain tries to wrap its head around how the eff this shiz happens, I wonder:

Is it like that lady born without her cerebellum? Like... all the other brain-employees at work compensate together to cover the missing role when one position hasn’t been filled at the office yet? Except in these acquired savant cases, they end up realizing that (in a way) they do even better in the face of sudden adversity when one quits in the middle of its life long career?

Kind of, sort of – says the doc at the 3:00 mark.

But for me, who luckily has all my faculties (really dragging that metaphor out, aren’t we?), this just raises more frustrating questions than it does offer answers. Having a fully functioning brain is never enough for me. Especially if we know that full function holds the capacity to express ourselves in music, art, and language alike. As human people, we’ve proven we can mind-over-matter our brains in so many different ways that screw us over and help us out alike. So is this superpower potential just bubbling under the surface of my brain? If so, why don't I and everyone else tap into it? Is it that we tell ourselves we just don’t have enough time? Energy? Self-belief?

Must be.

I mean, when I was a kid, I could kinda play the piano by ear – the more I played around with it, the more intuitive I got with the keys. Had I kept up with it, I might have been like Yanni (who wasn't born with - but developed perfect pitch through practice). My drawing and painting was also more innate and creative. And when I was learning Spanish, I was more confident about speaking it and willing to be corrected by native speakers. As I got older and more closed off, my Spanish sounded gringa, my music - sterile, and my sketches looked like suicide hesitation marks. I realized slowly that most of that potential had surreptitiously skulked off to die somewhere in a blanket of fear woven from a sudden need for applause and validation to do anything creative.

So, does it take an actual brain injury to undo an idea injury we make up in our brains?

Or could a fear-ectomy be sufficient to extract my head from outta my ass?

And drop some genius on the world?

17Sep/140

Grief to go: deadsy drive-throughs may be smartest thing ever.

We don’t hafta get off our asses to eat McDonald's, order Starbucks, or even do banking.

So why should we be bothered to do it while paying respects to the dead?

That’s what one Michigan dude wondered, too. And then he made a whole business out of the eternal question we’ve been asking ourselves since the dawn of obligatory post mortem ceremonies: Why should I push pause on my life just because god pushed the power button on yours?

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

"You may find people who are afraid of funeral homes, now they can view their loved ones from the convenience of their car," said Ivan Phillips, owner of Paradise Funeral Chapel before adding, "I wanted to bring something to Saginaw that we've never had here before.” Then another lady, added: “It would be good for people who have trouble getting out of their cars."

Ah, yes! You mean the people who spent too much time at the other drive-through down the street with the golden pitchfork and evil clown? Until they literally couldn’t exit the opening in their car? And now they just live with a steering wheel forever embedded into their ribs, gradually calcifying into their chest bones while adipose tissue envelops it and advances toward the dashboard?

Yeah, man. That’d be grrrreat for ‘em.

On the upside, deadsy drive-throughs could prevent drive-by’s too – when warring gangs go to pay their fallen homies their respect but don’t want the dudes who took him out to come finish off the rest of the crew, too.

#protectourvaliantgangmembers


(Oh, someone beat you to the bulletproof punch, homie. By like several years. Better hope there’s no Compton Copyright on that shiz.)

It’s also gonna be great for those of us who have to put Visine in our eyes and then giant Chanel sunnies over them, before heading into a communal gathering where we try and pretend to fit in with the rest of the sobbing people. And then spend the whole service trying to not look like the only sociopath who brought in a snack and is spending the entire time checking email, pursing our lips, trying not to sigh out of boredom, and bunching our fists to feign that familiar face of “I’m fighting off tears”. (Dudes are so much better at making that face.)

Now we don’t have to deal with any of that.

But I do wonder how many emotionally-induced traffic fatalities transpire nearby?

And more importantly – can you imagine how good that’ll be for his business?!

That’s like... only two stops before coming back to where they just were!


#VerySmartBusinessMan

Totally setting up my own funeral franchise.

Names I’m tossing around are:

“Feels on Wheels”, “Grieve 'n Go”, and (if I set one up in Compton), “Ride or Die Bitches”.

17Sep/140

Ancient pre-Jesus computer found: Was it aliens? Or was it aliens?

Funny, I don’t remember this being on any episodes of Ancient Aliens.

But a computer was yanked from the watery depths of a Roman ship that sunk in 60 B.C.

Yes, I said a computer.


(Oh, my dad has one of those in the basement.
Pretty sure it runs on MS Dos with a black screen and yellow font.)

The antikythera mechanism (called that because it was found inside a Roman shipwreck near the Greek island of Antikythera), is an ancient computer thought to be at least 2,000 years old. It’s believed that this complex clock-like device was used by ancient Greeks to calculate the movement of the stars and planets and the horoscopes they put in their papyrus printed version of Cosmo probably too (can't be too far fetched if there's computers around can it?) The mechanism was composed of at least 30 different bronze gears and the whole thing was housed in a wooden frame decorated with at least 2,000 characters.

It’s all part of this big ongoing journey into the Aegen Sea they’re doing called “Big Fat Greek Expedition”. And the badboy above runs on what you might expect a computer at that time to run on (assuming that you were expecting any computer of any kind for that time – which I certainly wasn’t): clockwork and grinding gears and probably a bit o’ witchcraft too. And - yes - this gadget was estimated to have been made around the time grandfather caveman started making year counting a thing.


(No religious anachronism to see here, folks).

The belief is that the 30 or so bronze gears encased in a wooden frame all cooperated to make this tinkering toy aid in sea travel. But I guess it didn’t work too well at navigating them to safety when they were transferring the chick on the ship that was getting married off. ‘cause that’s when this the ship crashed – computer, marble and bronze statues, gold jewelry, and other priceless riches from the Asia Minor. I started trying to unearth a video from the Youtube ocean halfway through this news piece to see how it works – but I read further and saw that there are “missing pieces” that they’ll hopefully recover during expedition next.

Then they can put it together and watch it morph into a hell portal before we all learn that someone sacrificed their lives and sunk the ship intentionally - in hopes that no one would ever recover this evil technology that’s actually an entrance to a demonic dimension.

But even when that happens, you can be sure of one thing:

It’ll still be a better love story than me and anything made by Apple.

#InAnUnhealthyControllingRelationship

17Sep/140

Urban Outfitters’ “Kent State” massacre shirts: not a political statement, but totally could’ve been.

Urban Outfitters’ “Kent State” blood-stained sweatshirt was recently yanked from shelves.

My initial gut reaction was that it was horrible and callous they even made this sort of thing, regardless of how long it’s been since protestors were murdered by the National Guard. That feeling hasn’t changed – but as someone damned with non-linear thinking, my devil’s advocate has a strong voice that also wanted to analyze all sides and be heard. And his voice says this:

From an artistic standpoint, I’ll concede - there is a potential statement to be made.

I purposely phrase it that way because U.O. was not making a statement – though the potential for one exists. Where they fall short is that they just want money (duh) and happened upon a cheeky idea that they thought might get them some. ‘cause I don’t know that many thirteen year olds who are going to explain, “It’s a reminder to myself and others how easily our liberties and rights can be taken away, as demonstrated by those who sacrificed their own lives peacefully assembling in a time of war," when asked why they'd wear something so grotesque. Do you? And I haven’t seen U.O. say that either.

What I did see was a sorry-not-sorry apology.

Ya know, the kind where you make implausible excuses given your case history?


(Come on, Kent. Let’s stand up and do a stadium style wave of facepalm together).

Were they smarter, they'd have sold it from a “make a statement” point to start with.

That way, they could’ve made some bank, covered their asses, and given kids the misguided feeling of being real rebels. It’s too bad they’re not a more revolutionary brand. Or better with their beat-them-to-the-punch marketing. Things like the “eat less” line could keep being sold to teens too with the disclaimer “Of course we’re selling to youth! They should learn early on about how our overfed country is ultimately leading to resource destruction just so we can maintain gluttony while humans elsewhere starve!” I mean, that’s not wrong. The girl wearing the shirt is telling you to eat less, not that she’s going to. But if you talk to ex workers of the company commenting online (or just read expanded tweets like the one above), U.O. had no such motive behind those shirts either. And why would they? You can’t simultaneously be part of the solution and part of the ravenous top micro-percent money owners who all jerk eachother off at Kubrikian illuminati parties on Friday night.


(Underneath the masks you know they're all pulling the Clint Eastwood standoff face.)

You know, I’m also trying to look at this from the “what if I were Kent state” standpoint.

It doesn’t take much. I lost a best friend in the Virginia Tech shootings. That day was a black hole into my chest that I’ll never get back. As a third party observer, however, should we remember the difference is that the man who massacred a fckk ton of students there was insane? Wait. There is a difference, right? It makes it less insane to massacre peaceful assemblers if you’re wearing a uniform and sent by the government? Acting psychotically is alright if you’re a large group in control of power, right? Like the military? Or a giant corporation?

If shirts like these were produced with the Tech insignia, it would indeed hit me in the gullet. I don’t like remembering painful things either – unless I feel like I can be part of the solution (making sure our rights aren’t being obliterated in the case of Kent, improving the mental health care system to prevent things like VT from happening again). Would I wear it? No. Not ever. Even if the manufacturers were marketing it as such – which they weren’t. I’d puke and probably punch whoever I saw wearing it, as a reflex. But – as a concept, shock value in fashion and art alike can be worth something if there’s a good positive motive for action behind that and you have a platform to share what that message is (“You SHOULD be shocked – now let’s do something about it!”). Otherwise it’s just the same anti-climactic misery we masturbate over on the news and do nothing about until we find some small violent outlet for it we can actually control.

U.O. wasn’t going for "shock into action" here.

Just the same thing a behemoth business ogre always does.

Speaking of our rights, I’d say that the Kent protestors of the 70’s were just trying to enact their free speech rights and that Urban Outfitters has that same right to do it on their tee shirts. But I unfortunately still don’t buy that corporations are people. So I can’t do that in good faith. Because if they were actually people, they would’ve been DSM analyzed and asylum bound for having the kind of tendencies that make you do things like, oh I dunno, shoot up a group of students.

And having sweatshop-made bloody sweatshirts probably wouldn’t help their cases.

But when a “person” is a power wielding synecdoche, you really don’t need my defense.

Maybe your next line of tee shirts should just read #toosoon?

And #KeepCalmOrBecomeCarrion

You're welcome for the ideas in advance.

15Sep/140

Boob ruminations and bras.

Riiight, ladies?

Maybe. You know, bra removal is only the “best part of the day” if you spend your other something-teen hours wearing padded, suspended, too-tight pedestals from Viccy’s secret. I myself got bored of wearing the rib crushing sponges that make my tits feel like reluctant window wipers, slung beside a human skyscraper, trying to scrub the soul from my body with every chafing ambulatory counter rotation. I’m almost 30. Ain’t nobody got time for underwire. Okay, that’s a lie. I still totally do it - just not as much. Because while I’m still not that old, I do realize something: I spend too much time working to keep my shiz perky on its own, to be letting some artificial lie be a yes-and to all my hard work. More like ain’t no body (who works out) got need fa dat. I’d say some argument-support for nixing uncomfortable support is the cancer thing (as studies have tried to show that our C-cup holders cause the Big C for ages now).

But the truth is, I can’t use that excuse here.

In fact, I’d probably sooner get cancer jogging with my phone inside my bra - dancing between my mammary mobiles as they tendril down from my clavicles. (Ya know, so I don't have to hold it while I run.) Even though I keep it switched off to prevent that. 'cause reports say there's no cancer causers in you titty slings. (And that’s your Sesame Street style anti-fear science lesson on lingerie for the day).

Even so, I’d rather just spend the hour or two every day making my shiz right and tight.

What I’ve noticed (even though it took me decades to see), is if you take care of the other 90 percent of your body enough (versus playing catch up on the weekends in the midst of a hangover or complaining about the life you wish you were willing to make for yourself), your tits become this really nice add on instead’a the central focus. Do people like them? Yes. But they at least start with my I’m-not-ashamed-to-be-alive-in-this-body eyes first before gazing downward. Got all my damned bases covered. Plus (another slow revelation for me), if you stop walking around like your 9 to 5 job is ringing the Notre Dame bell tower, then the girls stand out on their own. Posture means a lot more than we like to give it credit for. So, if you're uncomfy - maybe fix the shiz peripheral to your tits.

You might just be happier.

And people will care about what’s under your underwire and Under Armour alike.

Take that however you wanna.

15Sep/140

MRI’s on merlot: “Expensive taste” is a buncha bullshiz

It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a good glass of fermented grape.

Mostly because I have the whole Pringles problem when it comes to firewater.

Although that sort of thing isn’t for me anymore, I can’t help but be reminded of it – coming from a family of wine lovers. Especially now, as the weather gets chillier, I think, “Ah, I bet they’re all switching from chardonnay to cabernet sauvignon…” And when my family does wine, they don’t go cheap. So, I wondered – what’s in a name? Are these posh pinot bottles really coming straight outta Italy or France or the best California vineyards?

Is a cheap grape by any other price, still just a cheap grape?

More importantly, what about vino made from bougie berries marinating in oak?

Ready your dissonant cognition, my wino friends. ‘cause science sought out a slew of sloshed subjects to see if they could discern the diff between two buck chuck and the good stuff you break out the big dollars for. You know, the kind you let sit on a rack and wait to open till one night when you’re entertaining and wanna impress friends with the backstory of where you traveled to get it.

Then they tested how good their expensive perception was.


(Yes, but are you sure it was a nice chianti?)

The results might ruffle your feathers if you fancy yourself a real connoisseur. Because in a double blind (that means neither the test givers nor takers knew what was really in the bottle) experiment that was done a few years back, wines ranging from a few all the way to a few hundred dollars, were mistaken for one another more often than not.

What’s more – they even went so far as to brain-scan the drinkers.

Time and again on their MRI’s, the people who thought they were glugging luxury wines into their gullet, also had their brains light up to confirm what they already were expecting to be true. This happened even as they sipped libations with the quality of what you'd enjoy on a nice evening with friends.

From a toilet. In prison.

I love experiments like these. Because I can imagine someone reading it while frowning and questioning whether anything they’ve ever paid for in their lives (that didn’t even alter their consciousness or bring them closer to friends or get them through a family holiday without killing anyone) – could have been attained at a better price. The whole “what we achieve to easily we esteem too lightly” only contradicts the takeaway of this study if your life-accomplishments are reduced solely to the attaining, maintaining, and boasting of the digital dollars you smile upon when checking your bank account and stocks. Right before going and buying a boat and waiting for people to notice how cool you look on it? So there you go. Your own brain is stealing money from your wallet - in more than the wine section.

As for me? As a sober chick, I'll admit: I’ve been fantasizing with all this wine talk…

…how far those opulent prices would get me in Wegman’s not-fermented fruit section.

Not far - but my replacement addiction's far better - and worth the mental thievery.

Especially as I overpay for what I hope is genuinely non GMO organic.

#whoknowsforsure

15Sep/140

How to win the marshmallow challenge… for parents.

Anyone ever heard of the “marshmallow test”?

No, it’s not like the ice bucket challenge or the fire challenge (god help us, yes that’s a thing). Rather, it’s a decades-old study that tests the internal fortitude of your offspring by looking at their willpower to withhold indulging in a treat - as they hold out for getting a potential second treat - a reward for their patience. For instance, like, this painfully cute two and a half year old who almost-barely-maybe-but-not-quite pulls at my dormant ovary strings:

\

And this poor little guy who actually did great despite the shitty title of the video:


(Bless his heart.)

Or this commercial which appropriates this test and kid-cuteness alike for advertising:

I feel like the question isn’t whether the kids “pass” the marshmallow test, though.

And the parameters of the various experiments I’ve seen all over Youtube are too all-over-the-place to compare to one another. The ages, the way the parents give out the experimental parameters, and the fact that not all of them are happening “blind” (AKA, subject doesn’t know it’s a test being done) are all factors. But I feel like the biggest revealing element in how these kids would’ve faired at any age is that first parental/home thing: how shitty or fertile is the soil they’re growing out of? And what are their gardeners like?

Did the two and a half year old have nerves of steel? Was she adorably sitting in her seat making gleeful noises like a Pixar character because the good luck gods smiled upon her copulating parents as they conceived her? Or could it be because her mom issued the instructions in a sweet, motherly tone, and followed it up with celebrating how long she lasted? Unlike Trey’s sardonic mom? If you compare the two videos, Trey actually lasted longer than the little girl. But any success or lack thereof here is not about either child’s willpower. It’s solely to do with the instruction givers, how they’re raising them, and what kinda self-esteem they're building up.

I emphasize the present-tense versus past on purpose.

Because at this age, it’s not too late to change bad habits before your kid goes Columbine on a classroom. Had it been me hearing, “You don’t want just one marshmallow. You want two,” in that bored I’m-over-being-your-parent tone of the video above, I would have definitely not lasted as long as Trey did. I would’ve thought, “Eff the police! I’mma take one now and steal one later!”. Then I’d have eaten that mother fluffer out of pure spite as soon as she left while plotting my five year plan of a Shawshank escape. #justsayin’

The point of this test when it was designed was initially to observe at a distance how your kids deal with “hot impulses”. They started it back in the 60’s, and much like these kids do now, the ones back then also would cast distractive spells around the big red button of deliciousness in front of them - by waving their hands or toys around it, singing songs, and simulating the act of eating like the dinner scene from “Hook”. All the same stuff you see the kids do in these more modern vids. After that, researchers then went on to see what kind of adults these people became. As you’d expect, those who could wait to indulge tended to win at life later on, while those who could not, tended to fall into vices, criminal lifestyles, addiction, and so on.

Which begs the question – what’d you bring to the marshmallow plated table, mom ‘n dad?

Yes, that’s what I surmised.

You see, what a poorly carried out test like Trey’s does (especially since he knew he was taking the test and was mocked afterward) is teach kids to feel ashamed about the act of eating and enjoying food – not rewarded for the time they spent holding out. What’s the worse that would have happened if she’d said “You waited seven whole minutes! That’s so great! We’ll try to go longer next time so that you can have a second one” instead of shaming him for the eight minutes he missed? If you’re gonna kill the whole point of the experiment then at least make it positive.

Maybe associate that patience is good; not that non-patience is bad. I say non-patience versus “impatience” because I want to illustrate an important fact: it’s not possible to envisage a negative or a “lack of something”. When you’re four, that abstract concept is confusing. All you know is what you have. You have waited. And you have a marshmallow sitting there.

We all hope that the worst thing that cruel very-telling-about-her-parenting-style bit at the end will do is maybe land poor Trey a s’more-o-phobia later on. But, sadly, it’s more likely that it’ll plant the detrimental seeds for emotional feelings of powerlessness as he grows up and takes it out on other kids at school. Then he’ll get in trouble. And suffer the kind of punishment reinforcement from his parents that made him that way in the first place.

I don’t mean any offense to any moms or dads out there.

I mean, it must be really, really hard to be one if so many of you are so terribly bad at it. For that reason, you have my sympathy in full. But mayhaps it wouldn’t hurt to look at the tone of kid-interactions in general. Do you care more about parading your kid’s milestone accomplishments and celebratory character traits online in some broadcasted extension of your own ego? Or making them grow up to be something better than douchebags or career criminals?

-descends soapbox-

I invite all of my expecting-parent-friends to share a well done version of this in a few years - demonstrating patience and love and devoid of any shaming. And should you find yourself turning into one of those impatient parents, how about we play a game?

A challenge, if you will?

It's called the parental marshmallow test. Not too hard.

Basically the same we give to the kids.

But the rules are even simpler:

Don't have a second (sentient) marshmallow if you fail to be patient with your first.

15Sep/140

Holiday in hellfire – man adventures into Ring of Fire volcano

“If you gaze into the abyss…”

… the abyss suddenly looks like a really, really fun place to freefall into.


“You go first and tell me what it’s like…”

I’d ask if I’m the only person who gets the urge to jump from vertigo inducing heights or run towards a tornado, but I know I’m not. That’s just a rhetorical question I sometimes employ to hear , “No, Ashley. You’re not going through this strange lengthy event we call living and feeling weird about it alone.” But, I suppose, my question isn’t just “why” we feel this way. From what I’ve read and heard smarter people say, this kinda stuff makes us feel more alive because of the duality of it. Much like we enjoy summer better after a long winter or relief after a barrage of kidney stones, we enjoy life more after we’ve perched ourselves right on the precipice of death – and felt just how easily it can be taken away. For most of us, it’s not that we wanna die. Contrarily, it’s often to remember that we’re alive. But there’s also the genuine intrigue, too. Like:

“What would happen if this bridge broke?”

“How would I feel going through a black hole?"

or, as Bjork aptly asks in that one song:


“…and when I land – will my eyes be closed or open?”

Which is why today, we’re going to learn what’s inside an infernal mountain that vomits lava.

Because this dude Sam Cossman, who clearly does a nightly application of testicle fertilizer, did actually travel down into the flaming abyss of a volcano. Just like the death-wish Simba up above. Unlike what would happen if you threw a baby animal off a cliff, though, he emerged from Marum Crater alive to magnanimously share his magma experience with the rest of us.

Mostly because he wasn’t thrown in by a monkey.

And he was wearing a heat suit. With a poison filtering gas mask.

But none of those precautions made it any less awesome:

First: Is this real life? Or a scene from “Sunshine”?

Second: You know that whole suit was full of charred fecal matter by the end.

Moving on – but my Sunshine speculation isn’t too far off.

In a DNews interview he described it thusly:

“It’s really just unlike anything else… completely alien landscape. It’s kind of like what I would imagine being on the surface of Mars is or maybe even seeing the surface of the sun at close range.”

Then he went on to describe the two-football-field-long lava lakes that leap with flames, the campfire-strong heat you can feel even at 1,200 feet above, the fire coming from every direction, and (my fave) the “lava bombs":

“We were standing there on a couple occasions, and the lava burps and it goes into the air, it cools as it’s coming down, hits you on your helmet, burns your clothes… these lava bombs are about the size of your fist…” Keeping in mind that they recorded the projectile fire after it’d been cooled by an upward trajectory and returned to earth, the temperature of these things was still roughly 600 degrees.

He dded that grabbing them, “with leather gloves - it smells like a steak burning.”


(Anyone have a sudden hankering to watch Sunshine again?)

Not only did he share his experience, but since he’s an adventurer entrepreneur, he also wants to bring experiences like these to people who enjoy a bit of abyss gazing in their downtime, too. At least, that’s what he plans to accomplish with his company Xola that sends people like me on adrenaline junkie journeys of this nature. That's right. Soon we can all book a molten holiday in the inner circle of Hell to delightedly shit our pants in front of skyscraper high kajillion degree fountains that span twice the length of the field you just watched your football team lose in yesterday.

And make our "normal" friends stay up at night, wondering why they feel so jealous.