We can do this.

Today has been difficult -- and it's only weeks after some other really difficult days/weeks/months. I've been pendulum swinging between sadness and anger and wanting to just hug everyone. Normally this is the part when I tell you all that I truly do believe everything is going to be okay. And I do. I just don't think it's going to happen tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or the day after that.

I'm not losing my optimism. I'm still recklessly optimistic and I refuse to change that, but I do think that how we react to this - how we're already reacting to this terrible and tragic event - matters. It matters more than we can possibly fathom.

And this anger thing is the easy part. It's taking it to the next level that's going to make the difference. It's where we direct that anger that will alter the course we're on.

I wish I had better words than these. I wish I knew the right thing to say. I wish I had ideas of what to do next.

Let's make a list, for ourselves and for each other. I'll start with what I can think of, and then will you please add to it? Add organizations that we can donate to that can help, and whatever else you can think of to start pointing us in the right direction. I don't have a lot of money, so can't be one of those amazing bloggers who says that she will match a donation to something, but we can make this blog post a good source for people who have the cash to give. Also, though, we can do so much more than give money. We all have gifts and we all have love, so let's gather together and flood the world with kindness. Ready? Here we go:

  1. Love. Above all else, before you do anything or say anything, ask yourself if love is the driving force behind that action or those words.
  2. VOTE. Make calls, do all the crap that everyone is telling you to do all the time. Your voice matters and it is heard, and your odds of that being true only go up when you actually speak up.
  3. HAVE THE TOUGH CONVERSATIONS THAT YOU'RE ALWAYS AVOIDING.
  4. Laugh. Comedy is SO important right now. I know it seems like I'm telling you to make a joke out of this, but know that that is so not what I'm saying. I'm saying that we need to find comedy in other places. We need to allow ourselves to take a break from the crap of this world for bits of time and just laugh. For example, as I write this, I am currently watching the latest Seinfeld comedy special, and I'm enjoying it, because that is okay. Taking time to enjoy yourself while terrible things are happening does not make you a bad person. It keeps you human. Because it's all about balance.
  5. Ask people who are in the thick of it how you can help and what you can do. Don't just sit there and say "How terrible, I wish there was something I could do." We have the Internet. Find someone to help and help them.

Okay, that's all I can muster right now. What about you?

UPDATE: Thank you Grace Helbig.

 

And Then I Shook Rod Stewart's Hand and Almost Stole a Watch for the Sake of Being Memorable in Vegas - Part 2.

Hello Readers!! So yesterday you all read about my first night out in Vegas. Yes, a man nearly peed on me, but that was nothing compared to the insanity of Night #2.

So, let's dive in!

Saturday: 

Okay, so first of all, we learned from the night before, and wore flats. This already meant that Saturday was going to be better than Friday.

So, that morning I got an email from my dad that said something along these lines:

"Emelie,

Just talked to a friend of mine. Check out the attachment and enjoy the show!"

Attached were 4 complimentary VIP tickets to see ROD FREAKING STEWART. We were beyond excited!! If any of you have ever had the pleasure of seeing Rod Stewart live, you know what I'm talking about. So, already, we knew that our night was going to be absolutely awesome. Not only were we going out to a new club (remember George from the night before?), but we got to kick off our night with a rock star!!

Another thing that we learned that night was that alcohol is crazy expensive in the clubs. However, before we even headed to the strip, our generous host made us a round (or 2) of Cosmos. And then he and his amazing wife drove us to the strip, and when we got to Caesar's Palace, where Rod was playing, we went and found some little bottles of champagne to drink beforehand. Okay, well we didn't just find them. Jessica bought them. It wasn't like we just saw them sitting around and we took them. That is dishonest, and also dangerous in such a crazy city.

The problem was that when Jessica returned with those bottles, only one of them was open (apparently the woman she bought it from did that for us), and they were not corked or twist-offs. We had no bottle opener. That's when we started wandering the casino and bothering strangers.

Us: Excuse me, do you have a bottle opener?

Stranger: Oh... Um... You know, I usually do, but not in this city!

Me: I don't understand why it seems unnecessary to have one here... There's so much alcohol everywhere...

Finally, we found a group of 20-something guys to help us out.

Sara: Excuse me? Hi! Do you have a bottle opener?

Dude: Sure!

Sara: Oh thank you!

At this point the guy pulled out his iPhone. Now, I've seen people who have phone cases with built-in bottle openers. My dad has one. This guy did not. He literally just used his iPhone to open our champagne bottle.

Me: Wow. Impressive. Do you want some?

Dude: No thanks.

Us: Okay, well thanks! Bye!

Dude and his friends: K, bye....

And then we ran off with our alcohol, because we had a rock show to get to.

So, yes, obviously Rod Stewart was amazing. Especially when he came out into the crowd and shook our hands.

THAT'S RIGHT! I SHOOK ROD FRACKING STEWART'S HAND!!!

vegasrodstewart

So yeah, that was amazing.

After Rod Stewart, we went out and got Margaritas at Margaritaville before heading out to meet up with George at the club. In other words, we didn't trust George. He had promised us free drinks at this club, but we had a feeling that this was not happening, since the promotor at the club the night before had let us down. We were not to be fooled twice. As you can imagine, we were feeling pretty good at this point in the night. While at this bar, we saw an awesome cover band who played amazing rock, and we also watched a very old man grinding with two gender-neutral women. It was confusing, but it's also Vegas, so we shrugged and pretended like it was supposed to be happening.

By the time we started walking to the club, we were feeling awesome. And then we got there. Jessica's name was on the list, so we got in right away. As we entered, they handed us our drink tickets. So, it turns out that George was an honest man after all.

We immediately loved this club way more than the one from the night before. For one thing, it was all one floor. For another, it had this:

vegastryst

It turns out that in order to get this picture, we had to get into one of those little VIP couch sections that you always see in clubs (or on TV, in my life, because Ohio doesn't really have clubs), so we had to charm some nice guys into letting us use their spot for our picture. And then Jessica knocked over their vodka bottle. Thankfully it was empty, but of course this got us talking to the guys and we stuck around for a while. Turns out, I wasn't the only nerd in Vegas. I ended up talking to some dude and explaining to him why his taste in video games was absolutely lame. And then he fell in love with me so I ran away, muttering stuff about my friends needing me and me needing to call my boyfriend.

So back to the dance floor we went. We had all come up with physical codes to communicate with one another, so that if anyone was in an uncomfortable situation on the dance floor, the others could come and help. For example, if a guy started dancing with any of us and we didn't want that, we did T-Rex Arms. This accomplished 2 things: 1- It got the other girls to come and rescue you. 2 - It really weirded out the guy who was trying to dance with you, since he was suddenly trying to grope an awkward dinosaur. I found it to be very effective. (Affective? Effective? I never know which...)

So anyway, there was this one instance where I accidentally made eye contact with this very intense fellow. This was a mistake. He B-lined right for me and approached me from the side, where he started not only trying to dance with me, but he also kept his eyes glaringly open and pressed his forehead against my face. Before I could even think, my arms assumed the dinosaur position and I heard myself shouting "THIS IS NOT OKAY. YOU ARE VERY CLOSE TO MY FACE, SIR. PLEASE BACK AWAY NOW." And he did. Mission accomplished.

We then got asked by some guy if we would come dance with him and his friends for someone's birthday party. It turned out it was actually a bachelor party, and no, we were not those kinds of dancers. I did, however, find out that one of these lovely gentleman works for Wordpress.

Holy balls, people. I marketed my ass off, and lost my voice in the process. I was drunk enough at the time, that my confidence was soaring through the roof. I remember saying things to him like "Excuse me. You don't understand. I'm effing hilarious." Which he assured me that he was beginning to realize. When I accused him of lying to me about his job, he whipped out his phone and googled himself. Turns out, this dude was a pretty big deal in the blog world.

And then I accused him of stealing my watch.

Okay, it wasn't my watch. It was his friend's watch that I almost stole and really wanted, so I attempted to convince him that his was actually mine, which he knew better at this point than to believe. I even called him by his full name, which we'll say is Daniel.

Me: Daniel. That is my watch.

Daniel: First of all, only mother calls me Daniel, and even then, it's only when I'm in trouble.

Me: You are in trouble. Give me that watch.

Daniel: Look, I'll help you out with your blog, but this watch is not yours!

Me: ... Fine. Deal. But it is a really cool watch...

Daniel: I know, that's why I'm making sure you don't steal it!

Me: Oh, come on! I'm not actually going to steal your friend's watch. I'm too good of a person to steal anything. Plus, I need you to think I'm awesome.

The conversation went something like that, and I'm actually pretty confident that I succeeded. So, "Daniel", you best be hooking me up soon, because my voice was still a little husky yesterday after how much I talked business with you in the middle of a Vegas Nightclub, and while that husk is sort of sexy, I miss my more feminine charm...

And those, ladies and gentleman, were just some of the highlights of my trip to Vegas. A lot of other insane stuff happened, too, but that's the stuff that I won't be able to tell until I'm old. Maybe. Hey, what happens in Vegas...

Oh, and a serious thank you needs to be said to our hosts for that weekend. They were far too generous to us, and I can't thank them enough, so I'm going to do it on the internet, as well. Just to cover my bases.

THANK YOU!!!!

 

 

 

And Then a Man Almost Peed on Me From a Bridge in Vegas - Part 1.

It's true. But we'll get to that later.

So, as I tweeted and blogged this past weekend (more tweets than blogs, because I was hella busy being in Vegas and not in front of my laptop.) I met up with my three girlfriends in Vegas for a long reunion weekend. The four of us are all from different parts of this grand ol' country we call the U-S-of-A, but we met when we were randomly assigned to live together while studying for  a year in England.

So, we hadn't seen each other in the year-and-a-half since then. In other words, this was well overdue.

And let me tell you: We girls know how to party. It's actually somewhat frightening.

So, first of all, let me introduce you. We all had fake names for the weekend, so the psuedonyms worked themselves out perfectly for this blog...

Left to Right: "Sara", Me (I went by "Abby" for the weekend), "Holly", and "Jessica" - aka "Team America."

This was us on our first night out. See those heels? Those were a bad choice. We did not make that mistake twice. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let me go day by day, here.

Friday:

So, once we all got to Vegas, we wasted no time.

vegasslushy

As we walked around the strip, we were constantly being approached by club promotors, all generally saying this: "Hey ladies! You going out tonight? Why not get on the lists for free?" At first, this seemed awesome, but then we found out that all of these people just want your money, so we quickly learned to tell them "No, thank you!" before they even got the chance to finish the "Hey ladies!" portion of their speech.

And then we met George. Suave, attractive, British George. George worked as one of the head promotors for a club called Tryst. He sat down with us while we were all chatting and asked politely if he could bother us for a moment. Not gonna lie, the accent helped with our decision. He started in on his speech and then Jessica interrupted.

Jessica: Do you have a badge or something to prove that you are who you say you are? I mean, how do I know you're not just like, some dude in a nice shirt and slacks that's feeding us BS?

George: Uh...haha, yes! Wow, you are not easy to impress, are you?

George then handed over his business card to Jessica. He goes on to tell us that if we came to Tryst, he would get us in for free and we'd get free drinks. We told him that we were already on the list for another club for that night, but we would definitely consider it Saturday. He then gave Jessica his phone number so that we could stay in touch with him about our plans.

So, that night we went to a different club, aka "the club": Marquee.

Remember those heels we were wearing in the first picture? Remember how I said it was a big mistake? I wasn't lying. Marquee was a club on the fifth, sixth, and seventh floor of the Cosmopolitan hotel. With no elevator. In other words, it was a girl's worst nightmare when she was wearing four-inch heels.

I have to take a moment here and point something out: This is Las Vegas. What girl isn't wearing high heels when she goes out? How did this ankle-breaking death trap become the place to be? Also, let me tell you that the only place you were allowed to sit down for free was on the toilet. Every couch was bought and reserved by wealthy men (who, in this case, were actually a bunch of NFL players who didn't make it to the Superbowl, so they came to Vegas for the game), and then guarded by security to make sure people like us didn't try and sit down for free.

Also, when we got in there, the free drinks we were promised by our non-George promotor were not provided - and the drinks in this club were far from cheap. So, we left, knowing we could get back in with the stamps on our hands. Where did we go? The convenience store around the corner. We bought a bottle of cheap champagne and an assortment of shooters of vodka and whiskey. We sat outside, downed the champagne (it took 7 minutes), hid the shooters in our purses and headed back in to the club to buy some slightly overpriced Coke before sneaking into the bathroom to mix our drinks ourselves. Am I proud? Actually, yes. A little bit.

By the end of our night, our smiles were totally fake. We were all in so much pain that we wanted to die. There was one point where I literally thought my feet were going to fall off. We left the club and when we got outside, and we saw that we were at a portion of the street where we actually needed to take an elevator up to a bridge in order to get to the other side where we could catch a cab. Of course. Why would they allow us to hail a cab right away? That would just be so nice and easy... Make us work for it, Vegas. That's what we really needed. So, there we were waiting for the elevator, and then I heard the sound of water hitting the ground.

Jessica: Holy shit. That is not water.

Sara: ...That is definitely pee.

Me: Why is it so close to me? I need to move.

The elevator opened and we got inside, where a security guard told us that we actually needed to go back down and around the corner in order to catch a cab. So, we get to the bridge level, let the security guard out, and hit the down button. That's when three guys around our age turn and see us, and immediately start shouting. Now, don't lose this image. We are all supporting ourselves on the walls of the elevator. We can't even stand. We look tired and miserable. Why this was appealing, I have no idea. One of these guys, who looks likes some suave hipster, runs and catches the elevator doors.

Hipster Dude: Okay, hold on ladies. One of you has to think I'm hot, right?

Me: ...Sure. What do you want?

That was all he and his friends needed. They get in the elevator and proceed to ride it up and down with us while they do their best to entertain us and get us to go out with them. All of a sudden Jessica pulls out this question:

Jessica: Wait. Did one of you guys just pee off the bridge?

All of them were shocked and yelled different variations of "what? No!!"

Except one.

Guilt was written all over this guy's face.

All of us: IT WAS YOU!!!!

It took us maybe one or two more trips up and down this elevator to get out and stumble our way to the cab line, where a nice man hailed one down for us and we went back to the house where we were staying.

We thought that night was crazy... We had no idea what we were in for Saturday night, though.

This post has been long enough, though. I'll write about Saturday night tomorrow! Glad to be back, readers!

It's 8AM and I Want Airport Alcohol

So, this morning I woke up at 3:15 to get ready to go to the airport. I'm heading out to Vegas this weekend to hang out with the three girls I loved with in England. We haven't seen each other in 2 years and I could not be more excited. But more on that later. Right now I'm sitting in the Chicago Midway Airport writing this from my phone because they don't believe in free wifi here. My flight doesn't leave for another hour, so I thought I would take some time to write a post for today! Don't you feel lucky? I'm thinking about you all even when I'm sleep deprived and traveling! Pat yourselves on the back, Readers. You mean something to a crazy person.

Here are just a few things that have happened to me today:

I've had three cups of coffee before 8AM. That is about 60% of what I usually drink throughout the day so I'm a little wired.

While my plane was waiting I fly out of ohio, it - without warning - took a bath:

20130131-082540.jpg

A conversation I had with John Hamm:

Me: Is it sad if I have a beer at 8AM?

John Hamm: It's only weird if you make it weird.

And so far that has been my morning.

Don't forget to get your suggestions in for boom reviews! Today is the last day to submit books for the March 1st review! Just go to the Book Reviews page to submit! The Storm Front review will be up tomorrow!

Now, I must leave you! To Vegas I fly!!