Saturday, April 07, 2018

The Puptuals


Thank you, everyone. While I was stuck in the car driving through Tennessee & Kentucky feeling helpless as Maeve roamed a wild Fishers, you were out there searching for her. Phone calls were made, Facebook posts were shared and reshared, and friends drove from neighboring areas to help with the search. You were unrelenting in your seeking and your selflessness. My gratitude is unrelenting to you. Because of all of you, Maeve is sound asleep by my side. #thepuptuals #mbop

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Odinary


Miranda wasn't speaking to her mother, she was sure of that. Shut the door. Lock it, and stuff a blanket at the bottom so her mom's needley fingers couldn't wiggle through.

That thing she did when trying to apologize for any ostracization she committed. There was the sing-song voice, a bit of a coo-sound, and then the fingers started to stick through. Wiggle here, and then they would dance among the breadth of the door and wiggle over there.

"I'm sorry," was the song her mother sang. "I'm really trying. I'm a recovering fundamentalist..."

Embarrassed in front of a friend, and that worked. Overreacting when Miranda was caught making a good decision, and that worked. There was usually a trip to Whippie's Ice Cream for the expensive sundae, and that worked.

But not this time.

She knew her mother was working through years of living as an fundamentalist, trying to abolish her old frame of thinking -- one who was so quick to point out the sinners, that she didn't realize how much of a sinner she was herself. Her mother finally stopped going to that one church with all those women, those holy she-devils.

She voted Democratic at the last election, and she even stopped making such horrible, passing judgements on anyone she didn't know. She was growing, yes, and it was all because those she-devils ran out of women to attack, and they turned on Miranda's mother. It was the wake-up call she wished for her mother.

Deep down, Miranda knew her mother was more loving than that, more giving, and more forgiving.

The overdue, uncomfortable acceptance from her mother was finally bestowed upon Miranda her senior year of high school. The tattoo she got was no longer embarrassing. Her black-dyed hair was no longer witchy. The fishnets she wore under her torn jeans were no-longer something a prostitute would wear...especially with the giant sweater Miranda adored, the one that made her look like a black cloud.

It was shapeless.

"The jeans aren't even that torn!" she yelled that night, the night she finally felt the need to slip through her bedroom window without her mother knowing. "The sweater isn't even form-fitting!"

Before her mother's awakening, she often shouted through the door:

"The hate you give, Mom...the hate you give will be the hate you receive."

After finally coming around, of rinsing herself from the she-devils and that fundamentalist belief system, her mother just didn't realize the hate she was going to finally receive was going to come from her own daughter.

A daughter that had nowhere to go right now.

Bets, her best friend since mud pies, wouldn't understand.

Her father, the one that would console her in moments like this, could give her nothing but the epitaph on his marble grave marker.

She needed more than an in memory of, she needed the real thing, the only person who could subdue the overactive mind of her mother, who could pull her needley fingers away from the door, who could save her mother from herself -- the thing her father was so good at doing.

And the second best option was also gone, the other person who had the ability to subdue her mother.

Her brother Jack was at lacrosse practice and had to work and was going to spend the night at a friend's house to study for an upcoming test, a schedule rife with avoidance, a schedule Jack was apt at keeping lately, especially as their mother felt her way through these post-fundamentalist, widowed days.

It'd been over a year, and while the house had settled with just the three of them, the dust of her father's memory kicked up everywhere. She choked on it like an allergy.

Tonight her eyes were wet with that same reaction.

"Mom, you need to just let me make this decision and leave me alone."

The movement from behind the door stopped.

For the first time, her mother finally stopped and left her alone. She heard the carpeted footsteps walk away. Miranda stowed away on her bed, grabbed Overdramatic Teddy, the stuffed bear with the eyes so big, and pressed him against her face. She stood at the cusp of adulthood, and she knew the dumb bear was a child's way of coping, but if that's how her mother was going to treat her…

The letter had come that day. Her mother didn't even know she had applied. Miranda always knew it was the sorest of subjects, and although her mother never wanted to talk about it, the reaction...

A simple look at the emblem on front of the envelope sent her mother into such screams, Miranda could've sworn a banshee had just been born.

It was instantaneous. Her mother's claw hand grasped at the envelope, and lucky for Miranda, she still clutched the letter, because her mother's talons tore the envelope in pieces.

"NO!" she screamed. "Never!"

Miranda pressed the letter to her chest, and her mother saw she had missed what she was really hoping to tear up. She reached after Miranda, grabbed her shoulders, and clutched at the letter.

"Give. It. To. Me."

Her shoulders burned as those needley fingers dug their way in.

Then came the slap.

Miranda swung her open palm across her mother's face with such force, spit flew toward the refrigerator in slow motion.

Miranda's eyes grew as large as Overdramatic Teddy's, and as she backed away, she apologized meekly, and then turned, running up the stairs.

It was daylight when the altercation occurred.

She locked her door, shoved the blanket under the crack, and hoped her mother didn't try busting it down.

Now, the air outside was as black as Miranda's hair.

Her mother had left her alone for a couple of hours, and while she felt terrible for striking her mother, she was not sorry.

Stirring from, what seemed like, hours of sleep, Miranda drunkenly moved her eyes toward the red numbers on her old digital clock to see that she had only dozed for one.

That's when the soft rapping started again.

"Mom, stop --" she said.

But the locked door clicked open, and with force, no thanks to the blanket on the floor, the door opened and her mother slid inside. She held a wooden box in her hand.

"How did you?"

"Keys, silly."

A red cloud cast over her mother's face.

"My decision's been made," Miranda said.

Her mother closed her eyes, inhaled deep, exhaled, and then placed the wooden box on the bed.

"I know."

"It just feels like it's something I need to do."

"I blame myself," her mother said. "I didn't talk about it. I should've talked about it."

"Talk about what?" Miranda asked. "I thought you hated the idea of it because of your old church."

And then her mother broke.

At first it was just a piece here, and a piece there. Her mother closed her eyes and drew her arms up toward her so fierce, so hard, like she was trying to hold herself together, but all the pieces fell to the floor at once.

A sobbing Miranda hadn't seen since her father died erupted from her mother. She rocked back and forth, trying to keep it all in with the strength of her weak grip. Miranda reached forward and held her mother. The tears lasted mere seconds, but they were the wettest and deepest Miranda had ever seen her mother cry.

The sadness was way older than her father's death. This dark heartache was older than Miranda. The sorrow she laid out in front of Miranda was just as old as her mother.

"I had a brother," her mother whispered into Miranda's shoulder.

Those words released Miranda's grip. She recoiled.

"What?"

"I had a brother, Miranda," she said. "Your father was an only child, but I wasn't, not originally."

"Mom."

"His name was Alexander," she started. "We called him Xander because he was too sophisticated and intelligent to be an Alex."

Her mother smiled down at the box as these new memories started to bloom. As she started to tell the story, it was to the world, to the box, but not to Miranda.

Miranda felt like she was eavesdropping.

"He was just a year older than me. People thought we were twins. Your grandmother sure treated us as such, but unlike twins, we got along. We played together and shared friends in elementary school, and in high school, we would study together when our classes overlapped."

Then she looked at Miranda.

"Until I met your father, he was the only best friend I had ever known."

Her mother pulled out a cloth napkin, one of the good ones from the dining room, wiped her eyes and rubbed her nose. She put the napkin down, picked up the box and placed it in Miranda's lap.

"Xander applied to the Academy of Amusing."

And then everything made sense. This puzzle of her mother was still missing a ton of pieces, but an an overall picture began to show.

"He was like you," she said. "He was an Ordinary."

"It's something I just have a calling to do. I want to help people, creative people."

Her mother continued, not hearing a single word from Miranda.

"He went to that weird college, a place we could never visit -- it didn't even have a football team. He said that it never stayed in the same place, and at first we just thought he was crazy. We tried to visit him one weekend in the fall during his first year, and the address he gave my parents, you would never guess."

Miranda didn't try to.

"It was just a field. There was nothing there. It was like he lied to us, but that didn't make any sense. Never once did he seem like he wanted to just get away from home, to get away from me.

"We were never able to visit him, but the letters he typed me were on very real stationary. This Academy of Amusing was a very real place."

Miranda tried to interrupt her mother's reverie, but it was no use.

"That first year was hell for him," she said. "Pure hell, but he was determined to stick it out. I begged him letter after letter to come home, that this amusing thing wasn't for him, whatever amusing was…"

"Mom…I don't know what Xander went through, but I won't let it happen to me."

She looked up with an emptiness in her eyes Miranda had never seen.

"Honey, he killed himself."

Her mother popped open the lock of the box, and inside was a single piece of paper.

"Mom, you don't need to do this."

"I want to support you," she said. "I really do, but before you make your final decision, you have to read the letter he left. The Academy of Amusing isn't for people like us. People like us don't belong there."

Her mother pushed her weary self off the bed, and without looking at Miranda, she left the room, and with Miranda, the letter.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Puptuals


Since the Puptuals are all ladies, they want to wish all the wonderful women out there the best! #internationalwomensday #thepuptuals #shelties #sheltiesofinstsgram #illustration #mbop #blogpostathon #blogging #blog #amwriting #writing #creative #humor #humorist #read #amdesigning #design

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Creating after creating


This side hustle. This do-something-creative-after-you've-spent-the-whole-day-battling-with-creative. This create when you know you can't create but you know you need to create otherwise you won't create. This burn out.

Those that spend their work day battling the esoteric, the non-linear, the right brain, but then come home to work on their own right-brained creations might understand how the side hustle turns into tumbleweeds.

Yearly, I sit down to spew forth my dirge of yearbook complaints: the craze of deadlines, the search to name that one student who no one seems to know, trying to push desire and care into the hearts of eighth grade students who think their social lives will deliver them.

This year, it's not so much about the actual yearbook or students but what they take from me.

My want.

Because right now, I just don't want to.

Not now.

I feel like, right now, not ever.

Never again.

Find more agents to send queries to so I can, hopefully, get that book published? No. Get that away from me. It turns me green.

Squeeze out some iota of humor because, c'mon, look on the bright side? Have you read my attempts of late? I'm beginning to think how unfunny I am.

Write words? I'd rather design. Go away words. You beat me. You are Delphic.

Which brings me to the two words I feel in March (even though this is posted in February): burn out.

The match that has just snuffed out. The flame that has cooled and expired into a twirl of smoke. The passive voice that feels comfortable because active voice is too difficult. The blogpostathon that is over ten-days behind.

In college, one of my education professors said something along the lines of, "If you don't go home tired, you're not doing it right."

I must be doing it right.

But I don't want to be that tired, not to create. Not to not write.

I give up so much of the creative substance to my students that I forget to hold back a little for myself.

A seed.

To plant.

So, as I drive home, while I sit in silence or with music, it sticks its roots in my skull and begins to take hold.

And it could be a weed, but even weeds grow tall, wild and strong.

They search for the sun just like any iris, just like any lily.

Burn out means empty soil. At this point, I will take a plot filled with dandelions -- a badness that will later be weeded out -- over the rocks where my creative self is currently trying to sprout through.

I can go back and pull those weeds, hack them down, and showcase the lilies that deserve the light.

Rocks? Rocks just settle, and I don't want to settle.

Right now, it's all a blue flame that clings to the wood of the match, and it's light is dripping into the dark. It's hot teeth aren't sharp.

That's early March. It burns hot and blue and close to the wood of the match. The flame is small, to reserve the energy needed to finish out this part of the year.

Then, once extinguished, a new match is pulled from the book. It brims with life and potential energy.

I await the new match.

I crave it.

This current match's flame still dances. It's dim, almost bored, but continues to fight the dark. It wants to win with it's ambivalent energy.

But, it is burning out.

I am burning out.

And once completely out, the blackened remainder of this part of the year will be discarded once more to make room for a new match.

I need the energy of the dying match to last so I can finish out these following days, but once it burns out, I won't miss it.

I need the energy of the dying ember, but I yearn for the new match that will ignite a new conflagration, one that burns as crazed as a dumpster fire. 

Until then, I will sit peacefully and visit my creativity as it rests in the infirmary.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

It came from gerbils


FADE IN:

The scene opens on a bedroom. There is green carpeting. Each wall has a piece of furniture: bunk beds, a dresser with a mirror, and a dresser without a mirror. An animal cage is over by the window, and in the cage are a few gerbils.

The camera moves closer to a little boy getting into the bottom bunk. He wears pajamas that have red bottoms and a shirt with baseball paraphernalia. The little boy, when he is older, will hate baseball, and dislike most sports. He lays down down in bed and falls right to sleep, something he will never grow out of. His ability to fall asleep is the envy of most adult people.

CUT TO:
The boy's older brother quietly walks in, and then looks at the camera.

OLDER BROTHER
I believe I shall do something despicable to my little brother.

He tiptoes around the room, looking for his weapon of choice.

OLDER BROTHER
(Rubbing his hands together)
What shall I do? What shall I use?

He walks over to the gerbil cage, he lifts up the lid and turns around to face the camera. A glimmer of evil flashes in his eyes.

OLDER BROTHER
I found exactly what I'm looking for.

The older brother picks a few things out of the cage and then walks quietly over to the sleeping little brother. He lifts the lips of the sleeping brother, and places something in his mouth. It takes the little brother some time before he realizes something was just done to him. He stirs and wakes up, spitting out what was just placed in his lips.

LITTLE BROTHER
What did you just do to me?
(Spits into his hands)
What are these?

CUT TO:
Close-up shot of small brown nuggets in the palm of little brother's hands.

Older brother laughs maniacally.

OLDER BROTHER
Just gerbil turds.

LITTLE BROTHER
(Screams)
Mom!
CUT TO:
Mom comes into the bedroom to see little brother crying and older brother standing there looking annoyed.

MOM
What did you do?

OLDER BROTHER
Why do you think I did something?

LITTLE BROTHER
(Shows hand to mom)
He put gerbil turds in my mouth while I was asleep.

FADE OUT:

This actually happened, and while it has been 25 years or more, I still recall the sensation in my mouth. They were smaller than Tic Tacs, but just as hard. I felt something slip into my lips, and while I may not have been completely awake, I don't believe I was totally asleep either.

Spitting those things out was wretched.

To wake up and realize I had a rodent's turds stuffed in my mouth -- as a parent, how do you punish that?

I know: Force him to eat it on a cracker. Take a nice smear of pub cheese, sprinkle a few on top, plate it nicely, and have him stick a napkin in his shirt.

Bon appetit.

As a little brother, I'm not sure how I felt safe to fall asleep ever again. What was going to be shoved in my mouth next? A miniature poodle turd?

(We had miniature poodles.)

I was telling this story to a friend who is the big brother in his family. He admitted to being mean, but he laughed and said he was never that mean.

That mean?

Regardless of how my parents punished my brother, nothing was ever placed in my mouth again while I lay in bed.

I'm not saying other horrible things didn't happen to me as a little brother, but turds were not inserted between my lip and gum like a small pack of chew.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Puptuals: Masterpieces

Recreating the following painting has been on my radar for a while. At first, I wanted to put the Girls in the painting with all the people looking out onto the water, but I wasn't sure where they would fit. There were too many other animals already running around, and I was afraid they'd become too small to really stand out.

The whole point of these paintings is for them to stand out.

Once I realized I could spoof the paintings without actually using the paintings, it could become a realization.

"A Sunday on La Grande Puppe"

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Puptuals: Masterpieces

After creating cartoon versions of our Shelties, it occurred to me right before Thanksgiving how funny it would be if they found their way into Norman Rockwell's famous painting where the family is around the table.

With some finesse, I was able to position them at opposite sides of the table. To add to the humor, I decided the two of them would be reaching across the table -- something none of the other people in the painting are doing. 

I adds a brashness to the painting. 

By doing this, I stumbled upon something. "The Freedom From Want" was a gateway painting. 

Through November and December, I started adding Nigra and Maeve to other famous paintings. Nigra made an appearance in front of "The Girl With the Pearl Earring" sporting her own pearl earring. Then, she rested her arms and paws on a stool, much like Mona did. She stood right in front of the "Mona Lisa," and looks slightly amused, too. 

Maeve is a hot mess, and was placed in paintings that allowed for that to shine through. She hung from one of Vincent Van Gogh's cypress trees in "Starry, Starry Night," and it looks like she's singing -- one of her little arms is stretched out, her mouth open, and her eyes closed. In another suitable painting, I stood her in front of the hollering bald dude in Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Both of them have their hands/paws up next to their mouths, their jaws wide open. 

Not only did they both appear in the Norman Rockwell painting, but I also stood them in front of the solemn couple in "American Gothic" and made sure they held their own yard tools: a little shovel and a little rake. 

Lately, instead of putting the Girls in the famous paintings, I've decided to start creating parodies of them. It adds a fluffiness that I find lacking in art history.  

So, I shall hang those in my gallery here at MoMBoP, the Museum of My Bucket of Parts:


"American Dogthic" 




"Whistler's Raible" 


Sunday, February 18, 2018

The one with the King Cake and the plastic baby


The lights were dimmed, Hurricane Punch filled our glasses, and the eight of us were finishing up dinner with a round of homemade King Cake, the Mardis Gras staple.

This homemade, circular pastry was to die for. The flakiness of the dough, the perfection of the icing, the green, purple and yellow sprinkles emblazoned atop was the delicious grand finale of the night.

Our hostess, who made the cake, said there was, indeed, a plastic baby in the cake.

"Did you bake it in there?" I asked.

It was a stupid question. The peach little baby probably had toxic amounts of BPA in it and would've poisoned us all. The hostess said she ordered some off of Amazon.

They probably came from China, where it's not unusual for a toxicant to find themselves into deported goods.

Regardless of where the plastic baby comes from, when one finds it in the King Cake during Mardis Gras, that person will have luck and prosperity for the year -- and supposedly, they provide the King Cake at the next year's celebration.

I looked under my piece, and it was me!

I found the baby!

For the first time ever, I was finally going to have luck and prosperity bestowed upon me. And, yes, fine, I'll bake the King Cake for next year, too, if that's what you expect.

I'll just need my friend's recipe.

I placed the little babe off to the side, which I hadn't named yet, and finished off the cake. The eight of us sat around the table digesting and discussing, as our host began to pick up plates.

Lost in the ambiance of the party, I paid no mind to the missing Mardis Gras baby.

Out of sight, out of mind.

As the hostess remained with her guests, our host started cleaning up a few things.

That's when we heard the guttural sound of the garbage disposal eating something up that wasn't just food.

It sounded like a small plastic measuring spoon was caught in there.

The hostess and I looked at each other. "What was that?" I asked.

I looked down and realized something was missing.

"The baby!"

The host stopped cleaning up and stepped aside, while the hostess and I went out to kitchen to investigate. She started to stick her hand in the disposal, but I slapped it away. Mine barely fit through the hole, but once my fingers were down in there, my phalanges moved around and the rescue mission began.

My fingers skittered around, and as I felt for pieces of the baby, I pulled up what I could.

There wasn't much.

I found an arm, and what looked like, after Wifefriend investigated, part of the baby's face.

And that was it.

The rest of the Mardis Gras baby was gone. Chopped up. A Mardis Gras "Law and Order: SVU" episode.

We were in hysterics.

We asked what happens when you get the lucky baby all chopped up -- bad luck? Was I to have bad luck, now?

Probably.

But it was an accident. It's not like I did it on purpose.

The real question is, since the baby was destroyed, am I still in charge of the King Cake for next year?



Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Heartbreak of a Muncie Valentine's


Don't go to Muncie for Valentine's Day.

If you already live there, you need to leave -- like, single-file-line, "Deep Impact" exodus-style.
Get on that motorcycle like Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski and get the hell out of dodge.
If you've never seen "Deep Impact" and you're blind to this brilliant analogy, all you need to know is this:

Don't go to Muncie for Valentine's Day.

While I've only spoiled two Valentine's Days there...that's enough.

The first time Muncie opened it's jowls and swallowed Valentine's Day whole was when I took Wifefriend to a so-called fancy restaurant.

I wanted it to be a surprise.

I had gone to Vera Mae's a couple times in college, and it was a fanciness I had yet to afford. I made sure I didn't place my elbows on the table, I folded my napkin in my lap, and my parents were nowhere in sight. They weren't taking me out to a fancy restaurant.

Instead, I was out with my boss and other highfalutin people. This quaint, old restaurant was impressive. I was a real adult, on my own, out to dinner with non-family members.

And I could have a glass of wine.

This. Was. It!

My lavish memory of this place was filled with deep burgundies and candlelight.

For Valentine's Day, why wouldn't I want to share this with the woman I loved?

This decadent watering hole took reservations, and you know it's serious business when there are reservations on Valentine's Day, and I didn't have to slip the doorman any cash.

It should've been a clear warning when, even with a reservation, we had to wait for our table -- a table that was a part of twenty other tables, placed at a diagonal to allow more walk-room for the waiters. They were dressed with white table clothes, but they resembled a conveyor belts, pushing us through each course.

I can't remember all the details...oh, wait. There were no details. The high notes I remembered had become low notes.

At 21, this was a fancy establishment. At 30-something, it was pure depression. My taste buds have obviously matured.

The magic that struck me when I had visited a decade before vacated and left room for only old ladies.

What was once fancy was now an old lady's paradise.

And it started with the mushrooms.

They were stuffed, lackluster and very benign. They arrived on a plate all small and brown.
They looked offended.

These were not affordable stuffed mushrooms from Houlihan's that taste good and aren't meant to impress.

I mean, it's Houlihan's. Sure, it's nice, but I'm not expecting anything James Beard. At Vera's, it may not be James Beard, but it could be...with just a little creative gumption, these mushrooms could've been something.

Instead, they were none of the above. It's like the kitchen staff ripped the plastic off of a package of frozen stuffed mushrooms from Gordon's Food Service, popped them in the microwave, and brought them out to us.

"Is that freezer burn I taste?"

As amateur foodies, we base the talent of a restaurant based on whether or not we could recreate the dish in our own kitchen.

Sad stuffed mushrooms?

Please. I can do that with my eyes closed, with way less money, and way less talent.

Then the main course came, and what arrived was like a person at a party that lacked personality.

The waiter placed the thick breasted white-meat chicken of unseasoned proportions in front of us and it was so bored, I could hear the food sigh. IV fluids would've helped moisten the chicken, taking it from critical to stable. Sure there was melted brie all over it, but the raspberry sauce, which should've brightened each bite with divinity, was an after-thought.

They must've been running out of the reduction because the Chicken Brie Sadness was the cheapest dish on the menu. Everything else was around $30, and none of it seemed appealing. I didn't want to pay $30 on uncertainty.

So, I went with the chicken.

Let me save your taste buds from disappointment: just go to McDonald's and get some Chicken McNuggets, instead. They're way more satisfying. Or go someplace where you know the $30 meal will kick you in the face so hard, you land in a food coma.

Just don't go to Vera Mae's.

That was the first time Muncie stabbed our Valentine's Day in the heart.

Tonight was the second.

As the saying goes: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Well, I was fooled twice.

Blindsided.

I didn't see it coming.

For this year's Valentine's gift, I purchased tickets to "Rock of Ages" at the Civic Community theater. We went last year for "Into the Woods," and we were pleasantly surprised. The performance was well-done, and we enjoyed our Sunday afternoon there.

To see another show there was a no-brainer, so I bought tickets to a musical using 80's hair-band music that Wifefriend loves.

I got seats dead-center, and as the lights went down on a full house, I looked forward to some community theater entertainment. This was their closing performance, so hopefully they were going to give it all they had.

Well, as the performance began, they definitely gave it all they had, but what they had wasn't much.
First, right off the bat, they had sound issues. One of the main characters mic's wasn't working, and a hand microphone appeared in his hands. Instead of keeping it near his mouth, he moved his hands around. The microphone went this way and that, and it picked up mere words -- not the sentences one needs to hear to understand this thing called dialogue.

I shook off this cringe-worthy moment, and started to enjoy the performance. Was the set shaking as they danced and sang on it?

Of course it was.

Did they have the best voices ever?

Well, no, but I could recognize the songs.

After the cast finished off a big number, the audience applauded their talents, and while the performance wasn't going to win a regional Tony, I clapped out of pure politeness. Because that's what you do.

One of the cast members, whose role "dancing 80's stripper," was one of the more weird moments of the show. Her hair was big and frizzed out in total 80's style. She wore a gold glitzy top and little black dance bottoms that, sadly, when she turned around, showed off parts of her actual fleshy bottom. I couldn't stop watching her. She resembled a former high school friend, Erin. It was uncanny.  Wifefriend mentioned how the actress had embraced her stripper role a little too much. She obviously didn't get to act this way in real life. 

Then, after another song, the audience hoot and hollered. I applauded, and while this time it felt more like obligation, I looked back over at Wifefriend who still wasn't clapping.

During intermission, after we exchanged notes, I realized we were watching two completely different performances. I was enjoying the terrible that was presented to me. It was bad, and I watched with glee.

It's why I try to stay away from terrible reality TV -- I could watch it for days.

"Bachelor in Paradise" is trash. Absolute trash. We watched one episode, and I enjoyed every drunk-contestant moment.

That's what this "Rock of Ages" was -- "Bachelor in Paradise" put to song.

It was the equivalent of a middle school performance.

Awkward acting. Mic problems. Bad dancing.

I was in heaven. The schaudenfreude was coming out of my ears.

Not for Wifefriend. She just cringed, watching bad theater. 

I bought some popcorn and M&M's, hoping to enjoy another hour of terrible, but the minute the actors (if that's what you want to call them) took the stage...it was torture. The magic was gone. 

We should've left at intermission.

As we left the parking, it was decided, no more Valentine's Days in Muncie.