Being chronically ill, I am used to being at home for days and even weeks on end. But I know most of my listeners are not. The only change for me right now is that my doctors’ appointments and physical therapy appointments are being canceled, which does also mean not writing at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble. My anxiety, of course, is heightened by everything that is going on, but the actual social distancing aspect is normal life for me. I know most of you are feeling cabin fever (which is a great movie, by the way, and about a virus–more about using horror to safely experience real-life fears in the next episode), coming right up. My love goes out to you guys. As I wrote on the Facebook page, in the Facebook group, and in the Goodreads group:
I have such empathy and love for all of you. Being forced to stay home and act like the world might make you sick…I know how scary and uncomfortable it is. Please take a moment and sit in empathy, as you struggle with your new reality of social distancing. This is how I have been living for the last six years. Not as strictly. But still the same. Some weeks I only go out of the house for my therapy appointment and a coffee afterwards. Know that when I say this, I am remembering my first days and weeks home from work, and the first days and weeks after each new diagnosis, and how very difficult they were. I am so sorry; I don’t want anyone else to feel this way. I promise the cabin fever goes away. Take very good care of yourself and each other, see this as an opportunity. That’s the lesson it has taken me years to learn.
So I am working on the above-mentioned episode, and other future episodes, and also working on intense self-care. This self-care includes distracting myself with creativity and fascinating media I have been meaning to consume. I thought I’d share some of that media with you, in order to inspire and encourage you. Share some of your own in the comments, or wherever you post your own thoughts. Feel free to promote those links in the comments as well for my listeners.
A horror movie I’ve never heard of! And it looks terrifying. The Mafu Cage (1978), directed by Karen Arthur. It stars Carol Kane and Lee Grant (The Omen), and I can’t wait to watch it. It looks like true 1970’s horror grittiness mixed with the likes of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and The Bad Seed: psychological horror movies where it really comes down to the interpersonal relationship between two people who may not be sane. And a la Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions, horror of horrors, there’s a simian involved. Those Illusions scenes, short as they are, nearly do me in.
A terrifying love story.
Two strange sisters live in a crumbling mansion, where they keep a pet ape, which belonged to their late father, locked in a cage. While one of the sisters seems to be keeping her head on straight, as it were, the other appears to be sinking further and further into barbarism and insanity.
For lighter fare, and a good laugh, here’s a horror spoof I found: Pandemonium (1982):
Tom Smothers (of the Smothers Brothers) stars as the brave mountie, who along with his trusty horse and bitter deputy Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman!) must track down a killer who is stalking coeds at a nearby cheerleader camp.
Also stars Carol Kane, Edie McClurg (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Carrie), Judge Reinhold (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Phil Hartman (Kiki’s Delivery’s Service, How I Got Into College), Eileen Brennan (Clue), Donald O’Connor (Singing in the Rain), and Tab Hunter (Damn Yankees, Grease 2). I am definitely going to seek this out, and will report back. I’m not normally a fan of horror comedy, but this looks so cute and funny. And Carol Kane! Letterboxd, Amazon (not currently available, but you can add it to your watchlist to let Amazon know you want to watch it). Just knowing this exists makes me feel better.
Then there’s Trees Lounge: Steve Buscemi, Carol Kane, Chloe Sevigny, Samuel L. Jackson, Debi Mazar, Io Tillet Wright. Directed by Steve Buscemi. What the what. How did this get past me?!
Tommy has lost his job, his love and his life. He lives in a small apartment above the Trees Lounge, a bar which he frequents along with a few other regulars without lives. He gets a job driving an ice cream truck and ends up getting involved with the seventeen-year-old niece of his ex-girlfriend. This gets him into serious trouble with her father.
One of my Letterboxd friends called this “Cheers without the happy”. I cannot wait to see this. Letterboxd, Amazon
These are the movies written by my friend Eric Garcia–I met Eric at Yale Summer School 1989, between our junior and senior years of high school–he was taking Drama, I was taking Psychology, and Gender and Political Science; we initially bonded over our similar sense of humors and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (oh oh whoa whoa whoa whoa): Letterboxd:
- Matchstick Men (2003): Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Jenny O’Hara:
A phobic con artist and his protege are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the con artist’s teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.(the novel: Matchstick Men: A Novel About Grifters with Issues)
- Repo Men (2010): Jude Law, Forest Whitaker:
In the future, medical technology has advanced to the point where people can buy artificial organs to extend their lives. But if they default on payments, an organization known as the Union sends agents to repossess the organs.(the novel)
- Strange But True (2019): Greg Kinnear, Blythe Danner:
A woman surprises the family of her deceased boyfriend by telling them she’s pregnant with his child.
Yes, “Matchstick Men”, if you are my age, that should induce a half-remembered earmworm…Spotify>
As always, to follow what I am watching, here’s my Letterboxd diary. Feel free to follow me on there, and I will follow you back.
- A Good Woman Is Hard to Find, 2019 - ★★★★
- The Blood on Satan's Claw, 1971 - ★★★ (contains spoilers)
- Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, 2021 - ★★★★½
- Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, 2021 - ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)
- El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, 2019 - ★★★★½ (contains spoilers)
- Natascha: The Girl in the Cellar, 2010 - ★½
- Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses, 2015 - ★★★½
- Shook, 2021 - ★★★ (contains spoilers)
- Halloween Cupcakes: 27
- 666: The Omen Revealed, 2000
- The Omen, 1976 - ★★★★★
- Session 9, 2001 - ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)
- Orphan, 2009 - ★★★★★
- It Follows, 2014 - ★★★★★
- The Fog, 1980 - ★★★★
As for books…I just finished Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. I will never give NBC any of my time nor money again. Also, excuse some brief vulgarity and anger, which is rare for me: fuck Matt Lauer, fuck Lester Holt for being an enabler and minimizer for Matt Lauer, fuck the legal team and highest management at NBC and MSNBC, and fuck Harvey Weinstein and everyone that helped, enabled and ignored him. I say all this as an aghast survivor and an aghast human. About Matt Lauer: that softpedal they gave us, with Savannah Guthrie crying that morning of his firing, reading a statement about “harassment” and “inappropriate work environment”, it was farthest from the truth. Matt Lauer is a violent rapist, and know that going into reading this book. It’s explicit, and much more that you will ever expect. Also, Weinstein is much, much worse than you even knew.
In better news, I posted about this book and how it helped me, and Rose McGowan posted a comment of solidarity on my Instagram post. I cried, and I cry every time I think about it, tears of happiness and healing.
So, while we’re at it: Letterboxd: Rose McGowan’s movies
Rose McGowan Arts: Instagram: her photography and videography art
If you are into true crime, and i know many of you are, here’s the list of recent 5-stars I finished, including those by my talented friend Caitlin Rother:
- Lost Girls * Caitlin Rother
- I’ll Take Care of You * Caitlin Rother
- My Daddy Is a Hero: How Chris Watts Went From Family Man to Family Killer * Lena Derhally (deep dive into this case by a therapist–the whole second half of the book is a thoughtful, intellectual examination of what might be wrong with Chris Watts)
- Scarred: The True Story of How I escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life * Sarah Edmondson with Kristine Gasbarre (narrated by Sarah, and the audiobook was directed by Kate Winslet)
- The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper * Hallie Rubenhold (more history than true crime, incredibly moving and marvelous detective work)
My long-suffering library hold for Madeline Miller‘s Circe finally came through, and I am beyond excited. I loved her gorgeous Song of Achilles so very much. It was so luscious in its imagery and relationship, and its retelling of myth.
Enhanced edition at Apple Books, with information about Greek myths:
I am also reading, on my Kindle, His Garden, Conversations with a Serial Killer, by Anne K. Howard, about William Devin Howell. I’m listening to The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks written and narrated by Rob Sheffield, the author of the thought-full and moving journal of essays Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song At a Time. It’s only two hours long but it’s taking me forever because I keep having to pause it to listen to her music.Spotify> Spotify
Crystal Visions: The Very Best of Stevie Nicks
I’m also knitting a blanket for Wil Wheaton. It all came about from an Instagram conversation about coziness and Muppets last year. There’s been a reboot of this blanket; I won’t bore you with the details and carnage…suffice it to say I won’t be using chenille yarn ever again. I’ll follow up here and on Instagram with new photos. The concept is a warm Muppet hug, and the base pattern is the Elm Avenue Throw Blanket by Lauren Scungio. (Feel free to follow me at Ravelry, my user name is CarlaYarn.)
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Rebooting @itswilwheaton’s Muppet hug blanket. Why? It’s a long story involving many struggles, ending with the strong resolution that I will never knit with chenille again. Stitches kept gapping and stretching; it was a crime scene. Anyway! Revamped, and the end result is going to be much more joyous and colorful, and durable. I chose colors of @knitpicks Brava that corresponded to 19079’s old-school Muppets, including overlooked intrepid reported Prairie Dawn. The Muppets are Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Cookie, Prairie, Kermit and Herry. The original yarn retained from the original plan is the fuzzy one—the Caron Latte Cakes—it adds the furry aspect as a carry-along. The pattern is the same: the Elm Avenue Throw Blanket by #laurenscungio and #loopsandthreads. I’ve making it on larger needles than called-for for extra squish. Wil, I hope this brings you and @annewheaton much coziness and comfort. Now that I have worked out the frustration (and my health is cooperating), this blanket should be “Movin’ Right Along”. If anyone wants to follow along or check it out. I made the project public on Ravelry at https://ravel.me/CarlaYarn/eatb. #knitpicks #knitpicksbrava #caronyarn #caronlattecakes #muppets #knitting #wip #ravelry #sesamestreet #prairiedawn #bertandernie #cookiemonster #bigbird #herrymonster #knittersofinstagram #knittersofravelry #knitstagram #knitting_is_love #knitlove
I shall return with, of course, the aforementioned podcast episode, and more links, more suggestions, and more photos, especially photos of the knitting. I hope this long collection has helped–I spent all afternoon aggregating it. As always, any of the books mentioned can be collected for free with a trial membership from Audible, which helps me out, through this link: http://audibletrial.com/mightbecupcakes. As well, using any of the links in this or any post on the site helps me out. Our family budget is on lockdown. You know I still do not receive disability, and now my husband cannot go out to work. So your clicks and purchases really help, thank you so much. I will also be uploading more scripts to the show’s Patreon, and updating the Patreon levels. Please consider joining, and thank you. If you are not a fan of Patreon, you can also leave me a tip at Flattr. Episode 59 is on its way. I love you, and I hope you find something in this post fun.
To leave this on the most possible fun note, puppies must be involved, right? Well, my parents have three dogs (to my two), and the youngest, still a puppy, is Olivia Benson, and she is a very rare full hermaphrodite. She is cute as as a button as well as fascinating (her vet is going to publish a paper on her). We (meaning me, prompted by my parents via text message as they send over pictures as well) have been chronicling her journey on Instagram at @oliviathespecialpug. Give her a follow. She’s cute and sassy and ridiculously smart. Her older brothers Spencer Reid the pug and Preston the long-haired dachshund show up occasionally as well, and they’re all just stinkin’ adorable. I’ll leave you with her most recent shots. This first one was from Sunday, I was watching 48 Meters Down: Unchanged (I know, I know, here’s my review), and she was falling asleep with her arm on my shoulder, like a human, then there were birdies! She pointed at the tv then looked at me with great confusion then pointed again. The next one was from her spaying + neutering–yes, she had to have both, in a compound, complicated surgery, and she is stoned out of her gourd. I laugh every time I look at these. To me, she looks like a furry toad. I hope they make you laugh, too.
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I heard birdies in @carlahaunted’s horror movie and pointed. #pugstagram #puglife #puglifechoseme #hermaphrodite #olivia #oliviabenson #detoliviabenson #svu #lawandordersvu #oliviathepug #oliviabensonthepug #oliviathehermaphroditepug #puppiesofinstagram #pugsofinstagram #pugpuppies #pugpuppiesofinstagram #pugs #pugchronicles #flatnosesociety 🐾♥️🌈
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Teething pug = sleepy pug. #pugstagram #puglife #puglifechoseme #hermaphrodite #olivia #oliviabenson #detoliviabenson #svu #lawandordersvu #oliviathepug #oliviabensonthepug #oliviathehermaphroditepug #puppiesofinstagram #pugsofinstagram #pugpuppies #pugpuppiesofinstagram #pugs #pugchronicles #flatnosesociety 🐾♥️🌈
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I am recovering from my complicated neutering/spaying surgery nicely, but my first experience with pain meds has me very confused and doing a really good Baby Yoda impression. @carlahaunted was dogsitting me, and I kept standing up stiff legged suddenly, like I had forgotten something (Carla said it was like I had remembered I had locked my keys in my car) and then standing up on my back legs like a meerkat. I finally slept with a good, juicy pain meds + pug flatnose snore. I figured out how to untie my stuffed cone of shame. I am one clever puppy, even on pain medication. My big brothers are worried about me, but being very gentle and very well behaved. I can’t wait to play with them again. #Pugstagram #puglife #puglifechoseme #hermaphrodite #olivia #oliviabenson #detoliviabenson #svu #lawandordersvu #oliviathepug #oliviabensonthepug #oliviathehermaphroditepug #puppiesofinstagram #pugsofinstagram #pugpuppies #pugpuppiesofinstagram #pugs #pugchronicles #flatnosesociety 🐾♥️🌈 #babyyoda #babyyodapug #coneofshame