Danny modeling Mentality CTFU stamped with zombie brains in Mentality Smilegasm under a black light.
Take time out of each day to help someone learn something new. Be a mentor, a teacher, a person of encouragement for those that strive to be more. Each of us bear this responsibility, not only to guide, but to keep learning and trying to become better versions of ourselves than we we might have ever known possible.
Dark Neon are not like any other nail polish you own, but just like every Mentality they look different depending on the base coat, color of light, the time of day, inside, outside, you name it.
No one is stopping you from going after your dreams. All you have to do is take the first step. Your heart knows where your path can lead you, even if the possibilities are endless.
Zombies need brains!
You are worth more than you realize, loved more than you understand, needed more than you may ever know. Your life influences everyone around you. Be that person we all need in our life, that puts their arm around us when we are weak, and pushes us out the door when we are strong.
Hillary modeling Mentality Smilegasm stamped with Mentality Demand from the Jelly Metallics, accent nail topped with Mentality Sideshow. Love how the dark pink dries to blood red. Been singing Bon Jovi all day. ♪Blood red nails on her fingertips.
The strength you seek is already in you. Your will is stronger than the body that carries it. Do not underestimate your accomplishments and do not give up, because there is someone weaker or smaller than you are, that is watching you, trying to learn how to be as strong as you are in their eyes.
Hillary under the black light. Blood red shines a violent yellow-orange while in my head the drum and bass start going untz untz untz untz untz untz untz untz...
Believing in yourself is contagious. Share your enthusiasm with someone else by encouraging them to pursue their dreams. Show them how to keep getting back up after anytime you fall down. Be an example, a role model, a positive influence, because life is hard and at some point along the way someone held your hand and told you it would be okay, no matter how hard life had been. And it was okay. You just had to keep fighting.
So, picture this. There I was, fresh from new battles with the zombiest of zombies. I head over to appreciate one of my friends on how beautiful she always is, when I run across this new zombie trying to nom on her leg or something foolish like that. You know, pale gray sunken kind of dead-eye haphazard hair dragging the good leg and stinking up the place zombie trying to eat her third snack between fourth and fifth meal when she's not chewing on a pair of zombie shoes. Well, I ain't one to let a zombie roam free and spread zombie influenza L178, so I pulled out my trusty zombie-fied Mentality-painted Nerf gun and it was foam dart city. They were flying and zooming and zinging and bonking and we were laughing and just having a good old time dinking the computer monitor with darts when the bright idea came over me to release a new collection.
Anyways, returning just momentarily from the world of satire, introducing the stamping-grade Dark Neon Matte Collection. This collection is perfect for those shades of colors for your manicure artwork that you simply cannot find anywhere else. Plus, they glow under black lights. And, they're that velvety matte lushness that you expect from Mentality. They're the perfect color for middle-finger-held-high no-one-asked-your-opinion kind of attitude for when you need the right polish to accurately express just how much joy zombie hunting brings to your life. It's like I've found my calling. Zombies, I'm coming for you.
The Dark Neon Matte Collection are: Smilegasm, Giggles, Snickers, Nyuk, Snortles, LOLZ, Jaja, CTFU, Fall Out, ROFLMAO, Die Laughing.
And to celebrate the release of the Dark Matte Collection and successfully clearing another round of zombies, we're giving away a bottle of Dark Purple Neon Matte ROFLMAO every day for the next week. Stand up for yourself and refuse to let the zombies rule the world!
Happy all the Holidays! It's the perfect season to do another giveaway. This time it's for the Tetrachrome Holographic Collection. This is the ultimate holo for all the holo-bomb lovers out there. One winner each week for the next four weeks will win a complete Tetrachrome Holographic Collection. US shipping addresses only. Register daily for more chances to win.
Black Friday code: BLACK
Black Friday code good now until Cyber Monday.
Indoor swatch wheel under 40 W daylight fluorescent bulbs.
I snapped this one on the phone with flash on while standing in the closet with the lights off.
Here's a gif showing reflections color shifting under fluorescent lights. Like all of our polishes, they all look different depending on lighting. I was spinning in circles for 10 minutes trying to get this shot.
More pictures on the way!
You made it to the Giveaway blog! Yay!
It's giveaway time! To celebrate release of the Earth Tone Holographic Collection, we want to giveaway a complete Earth Tone Holographic Collection set to four very lucky fans. We'll give away one a week for the next month to a lucky set of fans, that everyone is going to be super jealous of, and they are just going to have to post pictures to show off how awesome their luck is so we can all go "Oooh and ahhh!"
U.S. shipping addresses only, no exceptions. If you're one of our international fans and want to register to gift a friend, that's fine, but we're absolutely not shipping out of the U.S. with these.
Comments are open on the bottom to score 5 entry points there. One firm rule: keep it classy. Don't know what to post? Just say, I entered!
Snickerdoodle cookies made for the kiddos by Danny Dannels.
(cue orchestral music)
- [Announcer] Lavish yourself in the luxuriousness of Mentality...
(Announcer starts rambling in French)
(record screeches to a halt)
Nope, we're not like that. If you want unique, we got that. If you want full palettes of amazing colors, we got that. If you want matte, holographic, stamping, color shifting, and more, we have all of that too.
Now, if you want standing on top of a stack of speakers screaming punk rock at the audience, we got a lot of that. We got that for days. Our Mentality is about standing up and facing the world. No one is perfect, and no one has to be. Just be the be best damned you ever. Be notorious.
(puts headphones on and goes outside for a skate)
Introducing: Adventure, Occasion, Holiday, Fortune, Promenade, Kismet, Journey, Exist, Happen, and Remember from the Earth Tone Holo collection. Set priced at $150 for all ten colors. Not available individually.
Mentality Pozzolana from the Mattes collection, a grey Earth tone, modeled by Danny Dannels.
Let's be honest. Cyberbully trolls are the weakest link in the internet food chain. Cyberbully attacks are hurtful, inappropriate, and the epitome of what social media gets wrong. For all the wonderful advances that technology has provided us, technology also provides an insular chasm that has removed the empathetic connections between people that happen in real life encounters, the interpersonal communication and contact that creates real understanding between human beings.
People say things online that they might never consider when talking face to face with someone. They forego netiquette, the application of consideration that the person you're shouting at in all capital letters, might not appreciate your interjection and respond, let's say, poorly.
Technology makes us numb to human suffering. It is either that, or cyberbullies do not realize that their belligerent online words live forever, and that we can continue to feel their attacks long into the future, or it is that they actually do want to inflict long-term pain, which is abhorrent. Infliction of pain, either corporeal or emotional in order to reach some perceived social order, is sadism. By the way, cruel people suck farts through straws underwater. There's a visual for you. (smiles and waves at the trolls)
Nutella &Go! is the perfect snack to keep in your pocket. Mentality Pozzolana modeled by Danny Dannels
We know a great many things about cyberbullies at Mentality. People armed with malicious intent and/or just flat out wrong information over the last few years continue to set out to attack us. Now, don't worry about us. We're okay. We can take the abuse because our personal identity doesn't rely on making sure that anyone with an over-inflated ego has to like us. We'd rather be friends with everyday normal people, like us. If the trolls don't like who we are, whatever. However, I refuse to allow people to attack our fans and friends. I simply don't have time for it. I have taken to permanently banning people with hostile words from being able to hang out with our fans. Seriously, if you were hanging out on our pages for the last six years to pontificate in drafted excremental format, you were actually a fan. Don't lie. Nah, you just wanted people to think you were cool so you could earn group cred in the hate forums. Look at how cool you are. (awards you the Smug Pepe meme)
Unfortunately, not everyone can be as confident as we are, or have sufficient support structures to express and cope with the types of misplaced hostilities that we faced over the last three years. Case in point, our children have not been allowed to visit our own web pages, because of the outpouring of resentment towards us over being the victims of Arminex's poisonous intents. Even our going through the herculean task of pursuing and taking out Arminex was not nearly enough for many of the trolls.
Double dipping is certainly a no-no, unless it's your own snack. Mentality Pozzolana modeled by Danny Dannels.
It was in fact only very recently that our children were invited to see our posts, because we had finally banned and reported all the cyberbullies from the online community that even three years later, were still taking the time to spew forth emanations of foulness from their face holes. Like, consider the rumor floating around that we were putting lead in our polishes. That is some real stupidity. No one in their right mind uses lead or refers to glazing as lead lighting, such as is from stained glass work. For real!!! Are you actually serious? Lead? GTFO of here with that complete idiocy.
The real and obvious problem is that there are people that cannot separate the ravings of the average troll, from the real life accomplishments and challenges of being a human being, the hardest hit being taken by children, and other people that suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, or any host of personal challenges. Kelly Marie Tran's disappearance from social media comes to mind, and her story, and ultimately her recent response to her bullies that went viral. It is all too easy to believe written words. They affect how we respond and even feel about ourselves. It happened to us during the Arminex poisoning fiasco, even leading up a point where I asked my wife not to be involved with social media anymore while we fought to restore our personal honor while chasing down Arminex via the FDA.
K12 Online Education and Programs is an amazing school to be able to actively participate in your children's education and be able to stay home, and away from the insanity of cyberbullies. Mentality Pozzolana dry brushed with Mentality Agere modeled by Danny Dannels.
So, I reach out to all our fans. Protect the people that you love from cyberbullies. Talk to your children. Tell them and show them that you are there for them in case anyone attacks them. Stand up for your loved ones and report cases of direct hostility to any of the platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter make it easy to ban and report people with offensive actions and hateful words. Just click on the thread and report it. No one will know it was you, but it's amazing how much better you will feel.
And for the love of all things dear, if you see an actual emergency, please report it to the police. The news of late is filled with posting of people that could not bear with the onslaught, such as the heartbreaking stories of children that have taken their lives in response to being bullied online, at school, or even at home. I lived through a horrible home life, which transferred over to school, and led ultimately to my being emancipated from that violent environment at age 15 through the graces of the Texas court system. Perhaps the single best thing that came of that personal horror story was my case worker set by the court, who was an older African-American woman who always wore her hair in big curls. I wish I could remember her name. I can only recall the name I referred to her as, Momma, in reference to the impact she had on my life. It is a miracle that I lived long enough to ever find my way through life. I know a few things about being bullied, but somehow I was able to stand up to my oppressors and find my moksha, my freedom from that cycle of abuse.
Beef Torta: jalapeno cheese bread with taco meat and mixed cheese. Those peppers were really hot. Made by Danny Dannels.
In the end, this is the message that I want to share with our fans. You are strong enough. You are good enough. You don't need people that hurt you. Life is so full of opportunities to grow, and thrive, and make new friends, or even new family. Surround yourself with people that actually support you being you, whoever you happens to be, not just with words, but with their actions. That is what we did, and it is how we continue to survive and thrive, living a fulfilling life with our children, which occupies our all day, every day. Our family is how we survived the cyberbullies. We owe them our everything.
You can find information on how to talk about bullies, or how to safely stand up for yourself at stopbullying.gov.
Learn about netiquette at https://www.auburn.edu/citizenship/netiquette.html
Hillary Dannels' thumbs modeling matte Mentality Hoopla with dotted flowers of Mentality Opaque White accented with Mentality Yellow Glaze.
Thumbs are like the most awkward part of us. They're like the socially inverted part of us that never goes out. They're the last ones chosen for the kickball. They're the part of us that we hope no one never finds out, that we're kinda nerdy on the inside, a little goofy, and maybe yeah, awkward. But when thumbs hold on, they never let go until they're ready.
Who knows, if maybe people took more pictures of their thumbs, Instagram would be a picture album of everyone geeking out with their thumbs out, and we'd remind each other daily how awkward we really are, on the inside.
Mentality Hoopla with dotted flowers of Mentality Opaque White accented with Mentality Yellow Glaze. Modeled by Hillary Dannels.
Taking a picture of yourself or something you've done, and then posting it is seriously like the scariest thing you can do. Here, judge me. Tell me that I'm imperfect. Tell me what I already know, that I am a thumb in a world of beautiful hands.
None of that matters. All that matters is that for a brief moment, something you did made you feel good inside. It should not be that you bought the ultimate pink nail polish, but that there is a moment that you want to remember, where you were happy.
Chicken Portobello stir fry in brown sauce served with jasmine and green onions, and sriracha. Cooked by Danny Dannels
Anyways, here's a photo of chicken and mushroom stir fry in brown sauce on jasmine rice. We realized recently that we have been giving Grandma, who has lived with us for the last decade, all of the plated food that we take pictures. She had an hemorrhagic stroke recently, and actually was unaware that this was a practice that we had been engaged in. She's a real fighter and is already walking regularly and working and has made an amazing recovery from something that many people go into disability over. Not her. She picked herself back up from the most debilitating of events possible and simply refused to give up. So, here's a bowl of food that I made for my mother-in-law from last year sometime. Thanks for being my hero and someone that my kiddos can look up to.
Short stack pancakes eaten one morning by the kiddos, one of many. Made by Danny Dannels.
Every morning is a brand new opportunity to start over, or pick up where you left off. Either way, you're awake. Go do something extraordinary, even if that's just surviving.
Your mentality sets the standard for the way you address your day. There are beautiful moments everywhere. It takes but a moment to appreciate those fleeting instances. Just stop, close your eyes if you can, or just smile to yourself. A meal, a touch, a laugh, a smile, these are the things that you have to stop and remember.
Hand kneaded and rolled baking powder biscuits, served with butter and jelly not pictured. Made by Danny Dannels.
So, where did you go?
A lot of the way we spend our time as a family is with food. It is the communal gathering of bowls that defines culture, creates roots, family. We eat as a family. We don't go out, ever. So, pretty much everything the kiddos have ever had is scratch cooking, because I love to cook. It satisfies a base need to nurture and provide. "You kiddos do not understand how well you eat." "I know you make yummy tacos", has been conversation with the littles here.
So, that's something else we've been doing, we cooked and cooked. And we ate with our family, and shared meals, and watched movies, and read books, and made every moment of being able to work from home with home schooled children. I could go on and on about the tragedy of what we went through, when in all actuality, we spent more time with our children and each other.
Pan scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage on croissants. Made by Danny Dannels.
And so, what were we to do with Mentality?
We decided there was a message in Mentality that was bigger than our own personal desires to be just go lead quiet little lives, grow old and fat and just generally be super happy until the end of time. It is because of them, the little people that we have chosen to bring into the world. They're watching us, demanding that we stand in the roles that we are trying to teach them. Mentality thus becomes an expression of who we are as people. Be smart. Learn things. Be vigilant and strong. Be notorious when you have to. Never quit. And love. You cannot do it without love. It is mandatory that heart and love be in everything you do.
But, you cannot quit. Never, ever. You have to get back up. If falling down hurts too much, go do something else, but you have to get back up. It separates out survivors. And leaders are survivors who just aren't afraid of falling down again. All of your coaches and leaders in life will tell you with great enthusiasm how to take a hit and keep going, because they know that lesson for themselves. You have to overcome. The least credible person in the room is the person who didn't struggle for anything.
Cast iron pan of drop biscuits. Favorite method for biscuits and gravy. Ain't no one got time to roll out a bunch of little circles when they're just gonna be broken up and smothered in country gravy. Made by Danny Dannels.
People also need to know to be stronger than they ever thought they could be. We forget how great we are, how resilient we are. Sometimes, it's easier to be sad. Plus, lots of nice people give you hugs when you're sad, and honestly that's pretty awesome if you like hugs. But, you can't lead a life like that, especially when little people are involved. So, you do what any parent or leader does, or should do, and you get up and go do every damn thing necessary to ensure that your pack doesn't falter. The kiddos simplify things to a great extent.
Drop biscuits broken up and smothered in gravy. Made by Danny Dannels
That line of thinking about the kiddos and what they require of us, cemented where Mentality was in our lives and how we would approach further investment of time on our ends into the business and what that time would look like. Because for us, it became very personal. At one point, we were within 72 hours of foreclosing on our house because of how much time and money going through the Arminex recall demanded of our resources. But, we still had each other. It was that support structure that helped us be strong and stay with the fight until we had prepared enough information to request the government step in.
When all is said and done, the nail polish business is still there. It begs of us as business owners to engage it. All of our recipes are legit and the FDA has a copy of them. California thinks we're legit and that passes muster for me and every other business out there. And I tell you, it also would be so completely simple to walk away and never pick up that mantle again, but, there's a message there buried that needs to be told. We know how to survive through the end of the world. We know how you need to prepare as a small business, and why you have to start now. Because you want the government, of any country, to listen to your complaints, to act promptly, to take your side in anything terrible, and to be there to help you find justice, but you damn sure better have your ducks in a row to begin with. It saved us and gave us all the credibility we needed to go toe to toe with giants.
White chrysanthemum. Surround yourself with beautiful moments. Photo by Hillary Dannels.
So, Mentality is, and will continue to be, because of the message. I still have little desire to make polish for the masses again, but I do intend to remake my wife's personal collection. Quite literally the most exclusive nail polish in the world. They are not for sale. Don't even ask. These are the, I made some soap and gave some to my mom variety. A couple of close friends and family will get the extras, but I can guarantee they aren't going to be giving them away or selling them. They are handmade expressions of art. It is at the heart, of what the indie scene was, crafts people, artists, people who could plan color, and people willing to make something special just for you, something unique. In this case, something you can't even buy. Specifically in this case, I am recreating my wife's nail polish set for her. You are cordially invited to watch.
Photo of Danny Dannels wearing Mentality Resolve topped with Mentality Carousel, by Hillary Dannels. Yes, I play Spanish Classical and read music. Also, I'm wearing swim trunks under the tuxedo jacket.
Hillary Dannels wearing Mentality Bon Bon holding a custom painted Nerf Gun in Tetrachromes.
Hey, everyone! Gosh we've been busy. It's been three full years since we stepped away to kick Arminex International, Inc. square in the balls for what they did to the nail polish community. It's been quite the adventure, but we are living proof that we, you, and anyone can stand up against an oversized bully, knock them flat on their sorry ass, and change the world. We are also proof that the average person can go toe to toe with millionaire socialites and be victorious, successful, and survive to tell the awesome story. Yes, we found justice in the end, but it took all of our focus, and an unbelievably monumental effort.
One of the things we're most proud of is having very recently paid off one of the credit cards associated with all the remakes that we did for our customers. I mean yikes, I hope none of you ever have to dump out the value of your business and extend all of your credit in order to remake products after another business pulls the bullshit Arminex did, but we are on our way to fully recovering. That's just who we are. We refuse to give up, even with all the nasty trolls that even unto today still continue to spew misguided and misinformed hatred. (Angry Monkey points at trolls and then laughs)
Hillary modeling Mentality Hard Candy, Top hat bezels in Mentality Sideshow and Mentality Carpe.
One of the most ridiculous rumors that we heard was that we were making our own base. That is one of those that actually makes my explode. It’s like, but, do you even understand how hard that is? The nitrocellulose required comes from Dow Wolff Cellulosics. They make Walsroder, mixed with your choice of plasticizer and wetting agent. Don’t worry, you can’t buy it. Pretty much no one can. They for certain won't sell it to you if this was the first time you read that product name, and for sure the government tracks all of it that is sold, and puts some serious transportation guidelines on it, effectively limiting its distribution patterns, because it’s ... wait for it, wait for it, an explosive. Like for real blows up. This is stuff that people don’t actually want to handle and the really big ugly reason why no one makes their own base. No one in their right minds wants to actually handle nitrocellulose outside of a light industrial setting, using anti-static equipment specially designed to process said explosive in stainless steel vessels without exploding all the things and the people.
That said, I encourage, no I implore you to go to school and learn this kind of information for yourself. If this kind of thing interests you, go get the kind of STEM field education and certifications that you think qualify you to mess around with nitrocellulose. Big deal. Huge. Huge deal.
Also, the hectorite, you can't have it. They're not gonna sell it to you. It's like the height line on rollercoasters. You have to be this level of actual legitimacy before the people that sell that stuff will sell it to you in the volumes you would need purchase to make it worth anyone's time to talk to you. That's just the realities of the business.
Danny wearing Mentality Verdegris on the sail boat.
So, how on Earth did we survive? The internet masses have come up with some really interesting versions, but the actual the truth of the matter is far more boring and yet infinitely satisfying to people that understand. We did it through accounting. We kept detailed and explicit records of everything. (CPAs across the land just stood up and started cheering)
They said, show us everything. Our lead investigator hand wrote a book in front me. He wrote a book. An actual large empty book, was filled with writing and just everything. In retrospect, a book was written about what we showed to the FDA. The second investigator kept another smaller book, but still. That's some epic level of bookkeeping on everyone's behalf. Stuff you don't think about while you're busy trying not to crap your pants. Like when I was trying to convince the EPA that I wouldn't throw paint away, because I just wouldn't. Meanwhile, I'm pulling down the bags packed with our soda bottle recycling that was being stored outside in the shed on top of empty mixing bottles that we saved. It is my observation that no one actually expects you to have kept the things from the regulations, much less to have even read them.
If stranded on an actual desert island and you could wish for one thing ... Danny modeling Mentality Loess.
So, when you say you kept samples, what do you mean?
Pour off a bottle, yes an entire bottle. Take notes and label it. It is your proof of work. Now, put it up and you don’t get to use it, ever, but you have to keep it. Oh, don’t lose it in case you need it. Because you might need it, and completely crazy end of the world stuff only happens in movies and to Mentality Nail Polish. Who else would ever need to prove where every single ounce of nail polish base came and went to? Seriously, save everything. It takes up space too, which is a real pain in the ass. Oh, and don't throw it away. The EPA is a real bummer unless you're doing it right. If you just so happen to be doing things correctly and can answer all their questions appropriately, then they turn out to be rather helpful and supportive and can offer real guidance. You just have to be doing things correctly. Seriously, the EPA was terrifying. They don't screw around about the environment out here in California. You have to be able to answer every single answer correctly to avoid fines, which means you have to look up disposal requirements as well. And, you have to know this information before anyone knocks on your door, and be actually adhering to it.
That said, we still have the original mixing bottles for Mentality. Our ability to reference our work goes all the way to the beginning. We have boxes full of mixing bottles all colored to the pigments used. They're actually quite beautiful. It's part of the art behind the scenes of our efforts to document our efforts. Work which although seemed meaningless at the time, turned out to be real life savers when isolating out specific complaints and then being able to cross reference with batches, bottles, and even the original barrel and purchase orders which allowed us to file a credible complaint with the FDA and stomp some serious butt.
I present unto you, Nutella, on Anna's Ginger Swedish Thins. Danny modeling Mentality Verdegris with Mentality Gregarious accent.
What to do when all ape shit breaks loose.
Do not let this happen to you. It is horrible. It feels like the end of the world. And, the only way to get clear of it is to engage in loads of hard work that you may never get back. It's when you question your own self worth and the justification to try even harder than before, because just surviving is gonna be the hardest thing you've ever done. You have to be strong. You are already stronger than you have to be. Just don't quit. The government won't let you, so just get up and keep going.
How prostrate should I be?
This is going to hurt.
What did Mentality actually go through?
We requested a federal review of our product via the MedWatch complaint mechanism at the FDA, after completing a voluntary recall with detailed records of customer complaints, and were able to isolate batches to injuries, convincingly by using the accounting and sample records we still maintain. Basically hell. Yes, it was hell.
Walker's Pure Butter Shortbread with Nutella, not for the faint of heart. Hillary modeling Mentality Hard Candy topped with Mentality Glitz.
Which brings us to other serious topics that newcomers to the cosmetics scene might not know. You have to ship correctly. I wish I could make it more clearer, but do not ever ship illegally. Do not ship out of the country unless you are IATA certified. It's expensive. I've had that certification before for international shipping. Every government in the world will know who you are if you make it that far. For domestic shipping, you have to declare your company to your local Post Office. We received clarification and approval on our shipping methods from no less than the Office of the Postmaster General, and were asked for it by no less than the FDA. The shipping records that you will create by shipping with the US Post Office, UPS, FedEx, will serve as permanent records of your business dealings and are the final answer if you are ever asked if you are shipping correctly. There is a right way to do this, and the wrong way, which is illegal. Don't risk it!
Danny modeling Mentality Verdigris topped with Mentality Harvest. Hillary modeling Mentality Bon Bon topped with Mentality Adorable.
When you face hard times though, you have to have a safety net, someone to turn to when it's just really hard and you want to give up, and the meany faces won't stop telling lies. The harshness of social media is not for the feint of heart. It is easy to become calloused, but ever so more important that we remember what it is like to have to look someone in the eyes to have a conversation. Human contact alters our conversations. Everyone I tell our story to in real life is always floored that we survived, but we have each other, and we have our family. That's where we we've been at since this all started. We've been at home, raising our family, teaching them to never quit, to learn everything they can, and to dream all the dreams.
In the end, we have each other. Ours was a romance before we ever stated Mentality. I have always told my wife that everything I have ever created has been for her. She always has been and remains to this day, my best friend.
Nutella should never be eaten alone. Always share your Nutella with people smaller than you.
Action packed drama! Suspense and thrills abound! Read the scintillating details! Eat hot soup and scald your mouth! The drama, the horror! Too crazy to actually be real! Stories out of a Hollywood screenplay! Front page headlines! (Danny Dannels modeling Pozzolana and Panorama.)
It was a dark and stormy night, not unlike the ones you read about in old black and white comic strips, like the kind that nickel pulp fiction writers have already written about since days long since past, cliche with a side of cheese, wine, and a violin. It was dreary and black like a cold cup of coffee you left in the microwave yesterday with the thin ring missing, so you can't just pretend that it was from today. And it was stygian black on a moonless night, except for the faint blue glow on the edges of the clouds from LED street lights that beat relentlessly in through the windows of people that refuse to give in, to the stormy blackness and it's long, heavy drops of water beating down on the city. It was the kind of rain that people in Portland, Oregon scoff at, and go grab a taco before heading out for a Mass Effect bicycle ride. Yeah, it was dark, but man was it ever cold.
And forbid the thought of anyone unlucky enough to be caught in its untoward sodden tragedy. She didn't care about the rain though. She paid it no mind, because she was above such petty affairs, as if she was on a different plane of existence. You conveniently forget about all sorts of things when you've been through torrents of salty encrusted downpours that she's seen, and the bagged trophies she's claimed. It makes you oblivious sometimes to the kind of personal pain one only understands when they have felt pain on the inside, the kind that ties all humans together.
She also wore polka dots well, except it was more like she owned polka dots, the way you own a look or a glance, or the way a woman owns a room. They were hers and you knew it. Oversized blank white circles starkly captioned against a blood red field, and the matching bow just slayed me. I was captivated from the moment I saw her, hook, line and sinker.
I said, "Who are you?"
She said, "I'm Betty."
I said, "Yes, you are. How can I help you?"
You got a smart mouth, pretty boy. I could hear you coming. (Hillary Dannels modeling Neon Blue Opaque with Funhouse.)
She said, "Help you? You're standing in my doorway dripping water on my tile. Stop being a moron and put up the groceries."
It appears she hadn't been listening to the story I was telling myself in my head. She never does, but she's learned to play along really well with her majestic broadside interjections into my imaginary life, or perhaps it's my meandering sideswipes into her reality that she finds amusing. Either way, it makes me lucky.
I find wandering around in the rain like a zombie to be the perfect opportunity for fanciful storytelling to yourself without someone to talk to. I like her, even after all these years with her sassy comebacks and so-called facts for her debates with me. Bah!
Like when I told her that we should become zombie hunters. She didn't even blink or look away from her Acer Chromebook. She flatly stated. "I want cosplay outfits."
"Steampunk. I want to build things."
She's always so much cooler than I try to be. I have to work at it. She calls bullshit on me with unerring accuracy. I usually end our so-called debates with "You're lucky I love you."
Yeah, okay, but you wait. I'm in making up new stories in my head and you're gonna laugh at me some more. Yeah, and I've got the groceries, so you just wait, for dinner. I'll have it ready when it's darn good and ready.
"You still talking crap to yourself in your head in there?"
"Yeah, so what?"
"I said shut up."
Better get the cannon, just in case. (Danny Dannels modeling Kaolin and Panorama)
The rain in Southern California is unnatural. It's cold, like the arid high desert at night, except the sun is out and everything is gray instead of being eye-glaringly washed out like over saturated eyes in the dusty wind-blown scape on the in-between decades. And then there is the humidity. It's just weird. When it's not like this, the colors on the mountains cling in layers of browns and reds of iron-stained granite. Instead, the slopes of the desert are clad in green, with vast swathes of brilliant orange and reds blooms painted solid from afar.
The rain is foreign here, like being a traveler in an unknown land without your Frommer's travel guide, but less so, actually far less so. It's more like it's Taco Tuesday and you pull your full on ninja skills to secretly go back for a small salad after dinner is over, only to find a surprise in your bottle of salad dressing.
"Who's been in the Haribo gummy bears?"
"Where did you find them?", she called from the next room.
"In the Hidden Valley Ranch."
"Ah, that was mine. I wondered where that went to."
"Well, as long as it wasn't one of the kiddos, I guess that makes it okay."
"It kinda was. The baby threw it in the fish tank. I thought I accidentally ate it."
"But, how did it get in the ranch?" (tosses bottle of dressing in trash)
"I had a salad before you got home while the kiddos were watching a video."
"You kiefed a salad without sharing with the kiddos?"
I don't know what her reply was, because my head was in the refrigerator looking for another bottle of salad dressing. The hum of the refrigerator and the din of children made for a perfect little storm of noise to leave me oblivious. I was, as usual off in my own little world, thinking about zombies and giggling to myself from the witty retorts in my head that she'll never hear. She tells me I should write these things down, because my words make her laugh at me. I giggled because I amuse myself to no end sometimes. The tapping on my shoulder shook me to reality.
"You should shut up."
You wouldn't shoot me, would you? Who's gonna bat their eyes at you while pointing this other second gun at you? (Hillary Dannels modeling Agent and Panorama)
The refrigerator freezer is a wondrous place to be when you wanna shove your head in a small box and escape the realities of life, like escaping to Wisconsin for the winter, or vacationing in Antarctica on a treasure expedition. Show shoes, a chisel, and just a little perseverance, and you just might recover that chili you put up last month, or run across an errant uneaten tamale. That's when I heard her small voice calling out like an angel, a fiery little angel with a raging demonic side befit her three foot stature, like some herald of noble truth.
"Daddy, Mommy gave us your Haribo gummy bears."
"I see that. Honey, where's the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?"
Betty chimed in, "You take too long at the store. You should tell yourself fewer stories and you'd be faster."
My keen sense of sarcasm detection kicked and I could see there was no use arguing with her. So, I sat down with my bowl of salad and closed my eyes to savor the textural contrasts between the crisp garden greens and the tangy aromatic creaminess of a new and freshly opened bottle Hidden Valley Ranch when I started to giggle again about becoming a zombie hunter.
Yeah, I was gonna be a dark reluctant hero in melodrama action comedy with a cool outfit, someone you could root for, even if you hate them just a little, or a lot, whatever. And steampunk, she'd see. I'd get a cool top hat and we'd make some really cool outfits to go shoot Nerf guns in. It was going to be so awesome.
"You know I can kick your ass at zombie hunting. I get to be the hero, so don't even start."
She always gets me. Damn! (Danny Dannels modeling Kaolin and Panorama)
So, that's how we got started. I mean not really, but who knows. I mean, in 20 years when we're telling grandkids about our adventures hunting zombies, does it really matter? We survived and went on to tell stories and share our brand with the world. We chose to be bold and be notorious, rather than fading away like some wilted wallflower. It's definitely a story about the underdog rising above goliath-sized opponents, and smashing them into bits. It's about being strong inside, in your heart and your mind and refusing to bow to the bullies. Never give up your dreams. Refuse to be a wallflower. Be notorious, and the world will never forget your story. Never quit, and you'll be the one to get to write it. We get to be steam punk zombie hunters in the next chapter of our story and we couldn't be more excited about it.