23 October 2010

Amazing Video from my Dad

My dad sent this video to me in an e-mail.  It's absolutely lovely, and you should really check it out if you have the time.  Be sure to press pause on the music that I have playing on the right-hand-side of my page so that you hear the David Crowder Band song in the video!  I always am bugged by that hassle of you guys having to stop the music from my blog to watch the videos...but I really love being able to share some of my favorite songs on my blog by having them play as people read.  Anyway, right now, as I write this, the music player looks like a cassette tape (I love this player so it will probably stay this way for a while) just find the pause button and pause it. :)

Mollie the Collector Orangutan Toddler

Just what you've always wanted...right?
Ladies and Gentleman, this is a very special post, as it is the first post in what may be a big selection of posts known as The Critical Corner.  Yes, I am actually aware that sometimes I am super critical.  When I'm just overreacting or being sensitive, I try to keep things to myself.  But every once in a right now for example, I know that I am being correctly critical (at least in my mind) and as such, should share my thoughts with the world.  So, World, you're welcome.

On to business...

WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?!  I'll tell you what it is, courtesy of this coupon...wait, what's that Lauren?  Did you say "coupon" or am I just seeing things? read me right...that's exactly what I said.  This coupon came with the other normal coupons in The Indianapolis Star on Thursday (at least I believe that it was Thursday [and that it was Indy Star...I suppose it could be Red Plum]).  Anyway, regardless of what publication it came from, the reverse side is a coupon for ADT Home Security.  Say it with me, folks...NORMAL COUPON!

But I digress, here is Mollie's description, in case you cannot read it from the scanned abnormal coupon.

She's so incredibly lifelike, you'll want to cuddle and nurture her the moment you see her!  Introducing Mollie, our very first orangutan toddler doll.  Created by master sculptor Simon Laurens in his Ashton-Drake debut, she is perfect in every detail.  She's realistically sculpted then hand-cast in our collector-quality vinyl, a material that re-creates every exceptional feature.  Little wisps of auburn hair applied by hand, and playful, blue eyes add to the adorable realism.  Pick her up and give her a hug, and she'll be yours forever!

A collector FIRST at an incredible value

Mollie is available for a limited time and high demand is expected.  Simon Laurens' one-of-a-kind creations sell for thousands of dollars, but Mollie can be yours for just $149.99*, payable in 5 interest-free installments of just $29.99.  Our 365-Day Guarantee assures your complete satisfaction.  Send no money now.  Just complete and mail the coupon today!

There are so many things that I could say...but possibly unlike the people that will be throwing away enough money to buy three microwaves (I know this because I just purchased one, myself...who needs three?) to get this creeptastic collectible, I have things to do with my life.

No offense to those of you out there in the world that are buying Mollie...okay no, a little bit of offense...but light-hearted offense...$150.00 can do a lot of good in this world...or it can get you Mollie (P.S. you have to pay $16.99 for shipping/service charges too) yeah...I'm trying to reason with you here, but if you're already set on purchasing this...thing...I feel as if we probably are not going to connect on any level, be it intellectual, emotional, or moral...and I'm pretty okay with that, I think.  I just wish I could convince you to not buy Mollie and support Invisible Children  or another worthy cause like that...instead of supporting this Simon Laurens who is apparently already making thousands of dollars making creepy things.

I mean seriously...look at it.  Have you noticed that SHE'S LOOKING AT YOU?!  I mean...she's got this look to her that seems to be saying "Hey, you.  Yeah, you.  Listen up.  Me and my crew from the collectibles zoo...we're coming for you.  We're heading to Walmart first to pick up some new Garanimals...but sleep with one eye open,'re next."

This has been the first edition of The Critical Corner.  All of us here at The Liminal State truly hope that you've enjoyed yourselves.

I'm out for now guys, stay classy.


20 October 2010

A Video to Brighten Your Day

Yesterday, I learned that not only do people read this blog, they actually react to it.  Case in point: my mother is, at this moment, on her way down to Indianapolis to help me out.  Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

You're the best.

Now, on to business.  I was checking my e-mail, got one (actually a million) from Facebook (yes I still have those pesky notifications turned on...because Heaven forbid I miss a comment about an event that I will never attend) from my friend who is running for Butler Homecoming Queen (GO STEPH!).  Anyway, it was telling me that I would receive a link for voting soon (I have never cared about homecoming court until now...but now I totally do) and she provided us all with a video to entertain us while we waited for the link (still waiting).

Anyway, it was the video of the otters holding hands.  If you haven't seen it, check it really is cute.  And be sure to watch until the end, after the otters separate.  That's what makes it amazing.

But, moving on, yet again.  The otters are not actually the video to brighten your day that I mentioned in the title...the video below is.  And before anyone gets concerned, don't be.  This is a rescue and release program that cares for marine animals in such a way that they can be released back into the wild.  This isn't abuse, this is assistance.  Kind of like my mom coming down to help me.  That corollary was not planned...but I like it...besides...I kinda looked like this seal when I was a baby.  My parents always said I resembled a dead bird, but I'll show this to my mom when she's here and we'll just see.

19 October 2010

Cranberry Oatmeal and the 56th Psalm

This morning, I have substituted 1/4 cup cranberry juice for 1/4 cup (out of 1 1/2 cups) water in making my oatmeal.  It definitely gives it a new taste.  I haven't decided yet if it's good or bad...but I am eating it.

Anyway, I'll level with you all.  Honesty is key, right?  My Congenital Myasthenia Gravis has really been beating me up lately.  It's just really frustrating...because I want to live!  But in all honesty, I feel guilty for being frustrated, because yes, while to say that IT SUCKS trying to get through college with this asinine disease would be a gross understatement, it also seems foolish to say so.  Why?  I'll tell you why.

Because the odds have always been against me.  This isn't a pity party...just a fact fiesta (wow...not gonna lie...that was clever).  I wasn't supposed to live.  Then I wasn't supposed to walk.  I wasn't supposed to make it through school or even be able to try to go to college, honestly.  But I'm here.  I'm doing it.  I'm doing it very slowly, yes, but I'm doing it.

Sometimes (okay, no...always) it is hard for me to remember that there is a line between doing my best and being the best.

And that's kind of where I am at right now, I think.  I don't know.  It's just disheartening to me that doing my best isn't always going to be the best.  It makes me feel even more behind everyone else than I really am, I think.

Sometimes I don't know who my worst enemy is.  You know the famous adage "I am my own worst enemy"?  Lots of times I think that I am that way.  But here's the thing.  My whole life I have been trying to live in the mindset that I am not my disease and my disease is not me.  So this genetic defect that is always trying to keep me down...that is not who I am....  So is the genetic defect my worst enemy?  Or is my mental/emotional/spiritual struggle with that defect my worst enemy?  And if that struggle me? Am I that struggle?  I don't think so.  I hope not.  I don't want to be defined by what's wrong with me.

I'm pretty blessed to not have armies or angry people swearing to kill me.  I'm not persecuted in that way.  (This is my attempt at a segue.)  But I've always been fighting against my body to do what I want.  And this shell that I live in has been doing its best to hold me back for 23 years.  So in a sense...I feel persecuted by myself...but involuntarily...if that makes any sense.  Anyway...when I was eating my oatmeal (actually I have yet to finish it) I read this Psalm which gave me some hope or insight or comfort or something like those things.

Psalm 56

Trust in God under Persecution

To the leader:  according to The Dove on far-off Terebinths.  Of David.
A Miktam, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;
all day long foes oppress me;
my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many fight against me.
O Most High, when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me?

All day long they seek to injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk,
they watch my steps.
As they hoped to have my life,
so repay them for their crime;
in wrath cast down the peoples,
O God!

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will retreat
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can a mere mortal do to me?

My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
in the light of life.

All that I can say is thank you Lord for Your Word, Your guidance, and Your Son...all of which take this life of mine and make it mean something, turning my burdens into opportunities to seek You further.

Well of course, that's not all I can say...but the following is not about Psalm...

I can also say that my cranberry oatmeal experiment was probably a one time only deal.  Not sure it's good.  Also, it is now cold.  I will finish it now, and continue on with my day as best as I can.  My plan is not to fight against my body (it is doing what it is doing for some reason) but to Stand with the Lord.

Peace and Blessings to you all on this Tuesday.

Stay Classy,

17 October 2010

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Photo from
"Happy is one of the many things I'm likely to be over the course of a day and certainly over the course of a lifetime. But I think if you have the expectation that you're going to be happy throughout your life--more to the point, if you have a need to be comfortable all the time--well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic." - Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking

Thanks to my friend Patrick's blog, Reading Under the Covers, I happened upon a read that was equal parts entertaining and eye-opening in Carrie Fisher's recent memoir, Wishful Drinking.  Check out Patrick's review of the same book here!  He's awesome so keep checking his blog.  You'll be glad you did.

For those of you that have happened upon this blog post during your first excursion out from under your rock (no offense at all...I find myself between a rock and a hard place all the time), Carrie Fisher played Princess Leia in the ORIGINAL Star Wars Trilogy.  Princess Leia, in her infinite wisdom and amazingness, takes the bull by the horns in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and famously puts Han Solo into his place by saying:

"Somebody has to save our skins.  Into the garbage chute, Flyboy!"

Now that's what I'm talking about.  Pure woman power!

Anyway, yes, I grew up watching Star Wars.  My brother and I know absolutely every word to the original trilogy, I think, and I'm pretty confident that we're pretty close with the prequels now too.  In fact, after finishing Wishful Drinking in the car (audiobook of course) on my way up North this past week, Kyle and I watched episodes 4 and 5 together this weekend.  Unfortunately we did not get to Return of the Jedi which has always been my favorite, but there will be other times.  But yes, it can be argued (it doesn't even need to be, as there really isn't much of a rebuttal) that I've always been a pretty huge dork.  I've never really been of the loud and proud persuasion of dorks...but at the same time, I've never succeeded when trying to hide it either, at least not to my knowledge.

So yes, onto business.  Aside from playing one of the biggest female science fiction icons of all time Carrie Fisher also became a rather iconic addict (oh, she was also in When Harry Met Sally...a personal favorite...check it out, for sure) among other things.  Wishful Drinking chronicles some of the deepest and darkest times in Fisher's life.  The memories that she has written about are ones that remain available to her after electroconvulsive therapy.  This being the case, this book acts not only as a window into an interesting life for the reader but also as a journey of rediscovery for the author.

The reclaimed fragments of Fisher's life are simultaneously hilarious and haunting...and I do not say this lightly.  Wishful Drinking is a fascinating read (or listen...the audiobook being read by Fisher herself) but it is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended.  God bless her, Carrie Fisher is a riot...a truly rowdy woman...and I mean this only in the best ways possible.

Mentions of her feelings toward George Lucas and of the frantic call about Carrie's use of LSD made to Cary Grant by Fisher's mother, Debbie Reynolds, are just two out of a myriad of highlights that make this tale both cautionary and comedic.

So to sum things up...the book was great and I'd definitely recommend it, with the minor caveat mentioned already.  Check out the video below, where Carrie herself promotes her one-woman-show by the same title.  If you see the video and think "my life may very well be incomplete until I read this book"...then I'd recommend picking it up and giving it a chance!

That's all for now, but more to come soon!  If you like reading my random rants and feel like clicking that "Follow" all means, go for it (but no pressure)!  (Quick shout-out to the newest follower among the ranks, anchorman0718!)

Peace out, all!  Stay Classy!

12 October 2010

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Photo from Elizabeth Gilbert's website.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
 The above quote from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, resonated with me so much that I pressed the skip-back button of my car's CD player simply to hear it again.

For anyone who doesn't yet know, Eat, Pray, Love is the true story of Elizabeth Gilbert's search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia, and that being the case, the book is quite properly subtitled.  Elizabeth Gilbert, an American author and journalist, having found herself unbearably unhappy in both her marriage and her life, fought her way through a devastating divorce (with a side order of an affair) and then traveled the world in search of...well...everything.  I want to sound well-versed and thoughtful here but honestly, there is no need to try to reword what Gilbert has already written so beautifully and succinctly.

The book is divided, conveniently into 108 chapters, reflecting the 180 beads of the Japa Mala used in a few different forms of meditation.  I was thrilled by this.  Not only in the everyday-Lauren-OCD way but also as I have been using my very own mala from Tibet in meditation for around a year now.  Anyway, it was just cool to read (hear) about Gilbert's personal experiences with various forms of meditation, both Indian and Balinese.  So, the 108 chapters were organized into 36 chapters for each country.

Gilbert uses her incredible skill as a writer to illuminate the characters that she met during her travels without overpowering them.  She successfully acts as a vessel for their individual personalities to come through.  It should be noted that the audiobook (the way that I have experienced this book) is read by the author.  I found that this gave the reading a nice touch.  No need to search for the correct interpretation when the words are one's own, right?

However...the chapter where Gilbert essentially tells Ketut Liyer's story (Liyer is the Balinese Medicine Man whose palm reading practically convinces Gilbert to go to Bali in the first place) is a little much.  I only say this because the author voices all of the individual characters in her book...and it was just kind of annoying when I was listening to her speak for this man for what seemed like forever.  It unfortunately got to the point where I stopped listening to the stories that Liyer was telling because of my personal aversion to the way that Gilbert was voicing them.  That's not to say that I literally stopped listening to the CD...I just kind of zoned out.

All in all this book is an absolutely fantastic read (or listen, as was my case).  I bought the book a couple of years ago for one of my parents for Christmas (I maintain that I bought it for my dad but he thinks that I got it for my mom).  Anyway, neither of them have read it yet.  I've told them both that they should do so.  It's simply a fascinating look at religion, spirituality, and life from the eyes of a woman who became confused, frustrated, and saddened by the whole rigamarole and then took it upon herself to search for the answers and meet God halfway.

If you have the time, check out the video below.  It's 20 minutes long but totally worth it.  It is Elizabeth Gilbert speaking about the creative process, the creative mind, and the cognitive rejection of that undying question that plagues artists once they have brought something really great to life..."What if everything else that I create never lives up to this?"

Alright guys, that's all for now.

Stay classy!

02 October 2010

Romeo and Juliet (Pop Culture)

A while back I was given the task of staging a 5 shot tableau of Romeo and Juliet using only objects.  I immediately knew what I wanted to do, and ended up doing just that.  This may have been the quickest decision I have ever made in my life.  It was more complicated originally.  The good Friar Lawrence was to be played by Dr. Pepper because, while Brittany from Glee assumed that Dr. Pepper was a dentist, I was going with the possibility that he was a doctor of theology.  However, I could not find anywhere to purchase just a single can of Dr. Pepper, and as Sister will tell you, I do not drink Dr. Pepper because it does not taste like Diet Dr. Pepper.  Also missing from the tableau is the Prince who could have been masterfully played by RC (Royal Crown) Cola, as pointed out by my pal Jacob back home, because I simply didn't have the time to find a can of RC Cola, and because I didn't really have a primo place to put him within the tableau.  Friar Lawrence was to be in Scene iii, marrying the lovers.

Anyway, there it is.  Have a great weekend, everybody.  Stay classy!

01 October 2010

"Taquitos Tonight" or "The Most Meaningful Blog Ever"

Today was a rather good day.

I fell asleep on the couch last night watching Food Network.  I am officially obsessed with both Iron Chef America and Chopped.  I first became obsessed with the former, not knowing about the latter, but now I don't even know which one I like more.  Someday when I have spare time (haha) I will go into some in depth analysis and compare the two.  Anyway, love them both.

So, this morning, Genevieve woke me up, wanting to go outside.  I didn't need breakfast, seeing as I woke up to a cake-crumb-covered plate, and discovered that in my sleep I ate the end of Melissa's "Congratulations on Quitting Your Job Cake."  That's not a joke.  None of it is.  I ate it in my sleep.  And I really did make her that cake.  Or I tried.  Anyway, I didn't need breakfast, clearly I had taken care of that already.  So I took my meds, yadda yadda yadda, then Genevieve and I went for our walk.  It was lovely and she was so well behaved was a pleasant and super-welcome surprise with the way that she's been acting this past week or so.

Anyway.  Good morning.  Good classes.  Good time at work (got some work done teaching myself how to use our new three dimensional animation software...and then watched The Office).  Got some groceries.  Came home.  Played with the dog.  This is way more in depth than I initially planned.  The point of the post is taquitos.

Okay, so I'm watching Iron Chef America and normally that makes me want what they are cooking (well sometimes anyway, when it's not fish and stuff) but today, I just want to chill.  Plus, the secret ingredient is barracuda.  Gross.  And I know what you're saying.  Don't judge a book by it's cover.  I'm not.  I'm judging a terrifying fish on the grounds that it is terrifying and that it is a fish.  Two strikes for the barracuda.  There's one more strike as well.  Strike three: it is a barracuda.

Anyway, instead of being inspired to make something fantastic, I was inspired to take some frozen taquitos out of a box and put them in the oven.

Anyway, that's what I did.  And they were good.

Both the pup and myself were much more interested in the
taquitos than the barracuda fondue.  Yes, you heard me right.  Anyway, only
I got to eat them because taquitos are not for dogs.
Chalk a point up on the board for me.
The end.

P.S.  To those of you who took me at my word when I entitled this (at least partially) "The Most Meaningful Blog Ever," I was lying.  I was lying, and doing so ever-so-intentionally.  I believe that's another point for me.