Category Archives: Reviews

Universal. Not So Universal. An Open Letter.

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Hillary Monahan. I’m a writer and, as of last week, a dissatisfied customer who might as well have lit $120 on fire in lieu of visiting your park. I recently attended Universal Studios Orlando (May 21st, 2013) and I wanted to express my disappointment with the experience and explain why — going forward — anyone asking me about Florida travel will be advised to avoid your theme park and to concentrate their energies on Disney instead, who I must presume is your most direct competition. The sole black mark on my recent vacation was visiting your resort. I want that day back, but unfortunately, time does not work that way.

I am a heavy person. I’m not quite so heavy you can launch me into orbit like Sputnik, but heavy enough that I am aware (and comfortable) with my chubby label. I also have large breasts. I don’t quite know at what point in your design you decided not to account for people having breasts, but I could not get on a single ride in your park that had over-the-shoulder constraints because it sandwiched my breasts into a tiny plastic window. On the Harry Potter ride, said window created a VERY EMBARRASSING experience for both me and your ride operator, a young man who couldn’t have been more than 25 and was desperately trying to get me in to experience the attraction because I fit in the seat itself rather comfortably. The only deterrent was the fact that I have ample curves.

At this point I should probably note that I was able to comfortably ride every single ride in Disney because they account for all body shapes. I am not “too large” for them in any way.  Also worth noting: my husband was larger than I was by at least twenty pounds and could ride everything without issue.

I am well aware that you have test seating outside of attractions so passengers can test their breasts ahead of time (and whatever elses they have that are too round for your seats), but this is an uninspiring feature for multiple reasons. The first is that the test seating outside of The Hulk roller coaster was covered in children resting their feet. No one shooed them away or made sure that it was open for people to use. As I’m on vacation and really don’t want to have to spend my time bullying other people’s children, I wasn’t comfortable berating them until they left. This same phenomenon occurred on no less than two attractions I passed. Normal benches were covered so test seats became a refuge for weary travelers.

The other issue I have is how very vulgar the positioning of these test seats are. Yes, I am heavy, and yes, the world around me knows it as well as I do. That doesn’t mean I want to flaunt my heaviness by wedging my huge boobs into your test seats in front of a hundred million strangers. I’m groping, squishing, and lifting assets that I had even before I gained any significant weight. Where and when do you account for my dignity? Why can’t there be an alcove to the side with a sign so I don’t have to feel like I’m putting myself on display? It’s humiliating enough to have to use the test seats in the first place to see if I fit into your modified seating. It’s worse when I have to do it in front of sneering strangers who will see me trying to flatten breasts that simply don’t flatten.

(Also, a note? Giving me a speed pass through the lines of other attractions so I don’t feel bad about the line I was bounced from after an hour wait does nothing to make me feel better. You know what might have? A refund on my ticket because Harry Potter attractions WERE NOT going to happen for me. But you don’t provide those.)

I think it goes without saying I left your park after a few hours feeling depressed and — for the first time in a long time — ashamed of my body, which was something I thought I’d abandoned a long time ago. I’ve never considered my size to be much of a setback before; I walked ten miles a day around Disney without too much issue, I kept up with my group and didn’t need special treatment because I have some extra pounds. I fit on bus seats without a problem, I wasn’t too ungainly for my flight. It wasn’t until I visited Universal that I felt strange or unwieldy in my own skin. I resent you and your attraction designers for that, Universal, and that’s why you’ll never see my money again.

I’m sure you’ve heard that spiel about one unhappy customer breeding at least ten non-buyers before. Well, I can assure you that as a writer, my reach goes a little further than that. One voice will become two, and if two become four, maybe you will pay attention then. Doubtful, but one can hope.


Hillary Monahan

Hillary Versus The Devil Box

Round One.

I am not a television watcher despite the fact that I’m employed by a cable provider.  Amusing, I know, since it means I don’t really take advantage of my employee benefits to their fullest (and couch potatoes everywhere would like to smear my face in a cow pie for that fact).  I do make the occasional exception, though, and one such exception would be the show Supernatural.  Let’s get the reason people will SAY I watch it out of the way, shall we?

Beef, It Does A Body Good

This does not hurt the show.   I’m not going to lie; the three guys are uhhh . . . distracting.  Especially when Misha does Batman Castiel voice (this is a tangent, by the way) . . . BUT.  BUT I’M NOT DISTRACTED BY THE HOT, AT ALL.  Ahem.

In all seriousness, let me show you the real reason I watch the show from week to week:

This is the introduction of the fourth horseman of the apocalypse in their horsemen story arc.  It is one of the coolest character intros I have ever seen anywhere.  It is not Stand Alone Awesome.  There are tons of moments like this in the series and the hope of a new one makes me DVR this puppy like a MoFo.

The thing that cracks me up about Supernatural (and what inspired me to write this blog post) is the evolution of the show in general.  Allow me to elaborate.  Sam and Dean Winchester are brothers (Hot 1 & 2 in picture strip above).  They were raised to hunt monsters by their father (who is played fantastically by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, also known as The Comedian in Watchmen).  In episode one of season one, we are given a little bit of family history, mainly what inspired John Winchester to teach his sons to hunt in the first place.  We are also given a glimpse of what turns out to be the main story arc – something is weird about Sam, something happened to him when he was just a baby, and it will forever change his world.  It seems relatively inconsequential at first; each episode of Supernatural season one really does seem to be “Winchester boys are looking for their missing father, but along their journey they hunt and murder whatever random spooky thing goes bump in the night.”  It plays out like a standard, formulaic action/adventure show that’s really got no soul behind it.

And then the demons show up.  The tail end of season one and into seasons two and three are laced with demonic story arcs, and that odd family history starts to come to the forefront as a main player.  The writers weave the formulaic monster hunting show in with this curious “who done it” mystery type thing, and eventually everything starts to revolve around “WHAT THE FUCK IS SAM WINCHESTER.”  I’m not sure when this mindless, brainless two-fisted-popcorn show became cerebral, but it did somewhere along the line and in a marvelously slow way, so you can’t really pinpoint a single place where things took a turn to Fantasy/Drama and OH MY GOD WHAT’S GOING ON HERE.

A couple other noteworthy things:  if any of our readers watch House, when I say “House’s patient of the week is usually one of THOSE actors”, you know what I mean.  House is great at hiring famous people on to do one shots (ie Amy Irving, Felicia Day, Jennifer Grey, James Earl Jones).  Somewhere around season three you start to see this phenomenon happening on Supernatural, too:  I spied a Six from BSG, Kurt Fuller, Mark Sheppard (Firefly fans rejoice, he’s awesome here too), and Linda Blair just to name a few.  As the show got more popular, so did the budget for awesome guest stars, so you get some amazing acting from people playing bit, temporary parts.  The music started kicking ass (Kansas, Metallica, other music you go HAY I KNOW THAT THAR), and they introduced some long-term player characters that somehow managed to improve an already solid cast (see:  Bobby Singer and Lucifer characters for reference).

At any rate, this show warrants checking out if you like the creepy-crawly urban fantasy type stuff.  It’s one of the few times I can honestly say a series starts off good and ends up great as the seasons go on, Season 5 coming to mind as particularly awesome.  There’s interesting stories, good writing, humor, great characters, and too many memorable scenes for me to list.  I don’t often recommend TV, but if you had to ask me for something, this show would be near the top of my list if not AT the top.

So yes, go forth and have a taste of beef.  I mean . . . give it a gander.  I bet you might like what you see.


Okay, let’s start here with a music video preview:

Readers, meet my latest OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS flick.  And you’ve probably never heard of it.  Suck is a vampire movie.  “But there’s tons of vampire movies out there” you say, and I would agree, but are there tons of vampire movies that you’d actually call good?  Probably not.  Maybe I’m a vampire snob; I’ve read a lot, seen a lot, and I’m sorta sick of the portrayal of vampires as emo Louis-From-Interview knock offs.  Twilight hits my gag reflex, and the last time a horror movie vamp actually scared me was 30 Days of Night from 2007.  I loved that movie because it spun the status quo into something different:  vampires were disgusting vermin, not pretty prancing playboys.  I like Suck for a similar reason in that they took the status quo and shook it up.  How you ask?  They made a rock/comedy/horror hybrid that works on so many levels.

The story is fairly simple:  there’s a struggling rock band on tour, and most of the band mates aren’t seeing eye to eye because the female bassist and male lead singer recently broke up.  Everyone’s broke, miserable, and stuck in a car together.  Long trips between gigs and constant in-fighting is not a path to greatness.  That is until Jennifer the bassist is turned into a vampire.  All of a sudden their audience appeal skyrockets, they’re pulling in fans left and right.  This shouldn’t be a bad thing, but the lead singer (Joey) is not used to playing second fiddle to anyone, and Jennifer is the new hot thing for their band.  As she isn’t really forthcoming about her new “condition” there are problems, some obvious (like what to do with the people she eats?  Oh right, make their roadie Hugo clean up after her), and some not so obvious, like Joey’s jealousy.  And did I mention she’s being followed by a vampire hunter who wants to use her to find her maker?   (Played by the wonderful Malcolm McDowell).

A bevy of situations arise from there, all based around the band, the music, the vampires, and the lingering sexual tension between Joey and Jennifer.  The movie is wrought with guest appearances (Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins and Moby just to name a few), and the soundtrack is unbelievable.  One of the biggest comedic highlights is the aforementioned Hugo, who’s a nerdier, bastardized version of Dracula’s Renfield.  The scriptwriter/director (incidentally the same guy that plays Joey) includes more than a few tips of the hat like that, and for vampy fans like me, it’s hugely appreciated.

I honestly didn’t expect to like this movie when it was put in front of me, but hearing a few friends absolutely rave about it (husband included), I gave it a try, and I’m so glad that I did.  The true litmus test of any vampire anything, though, is showing it to falconesse.  The girl did her /thesis/ on the vampire, and is better read on the genre than I am.  When she was smiling and laughing through the whole thing, I knew we had a winner.  So yes, go now. If you’re a horror fan, a music fan, a comedy fan, or just a movie buff in general?  Go find this movie.  Sit down with a tub of popcorn and a beer, and watch something totally refreshing and different.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Bring The Noise.

A couple weeks ago while driving from . . . somewhere (I have a mind like a sieve), Dave and I had the radio on.  It may have been August for all I know, and the presence of Christmas songs on at least two stations doesn’t really help identify the season anymore, now does it?  I heard next year they plan to just skip Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving and wind up the Bing Crosby around April.  You can have a White Christmas when it’s 112 and you’re sweating your mammaries off.

Before I find myself neck deep in a Christmas rant – and really, let’s save that for another post – back to the topic at hand!  The Beatles came on the radio, as they are wont to do fifty trillion times a day, and Dave and I started talking about “Yesterday” as the quintessential, perfect pop song.  Something to keep in mind:  David and I generally don’t agree on music.  We meet up here and there, but it doesn’t happen all that often.  In fact, usually when we start talking music a slap fight ensues with words like POTTY HEAD and DOODY FACE flung back and forth.  These hurtful things take days to overcome, as they tear our confidence down and make us hollow shells of the craptastic people we were before.

The Yesterday thing made us realize, though, that if two assholes like us could agree it’s perfect, other normal people might say so too.  Of course, from there we went on to talk about other perfect songs, and how genre effects what might be considered perfect.  We both said Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” would probably be a perfect rock song, for example (no, not hard rock or metal, but just old fashioned rock.  Put your horns away, Reuben).  It’s catchy, it’s got the essential rock guitar solo, and it’s stood the test of time.

The logical question is “What makes a perfect song?”  Before I get into identifying “the rules”, keep something in mind:  the topic is subjective, so the rules are subjective as well.  You may not LIKE my rules, but these are the rules David and I played by, and as such, they’re the rules I’m laying out for this post.  That said, onward.  I don’t want to cop out and say “you’ll know a perfect song when you hear it”, but you probably will.  It’s a combination of catchy melody, a great singer, a balance between vocals and music, and lyrics.  If a retarded squirrel wrote your lyrics, it probably isn’t perfect.  If it’s one of those songs where the band just spits out the same section of lyrics on repeat fifty times?  It probably isn’t perfect.  It’s a song that even if you’re not a fan of a genre, you can say “yeah, I can see why you’d say that’s perfect”.  It’s a song that will stand the test of time, and will be played fifty years from now when we’re all old and crumbly and pooping ourselves in the Old Folks Home (which sadly, negates obscure/Indie stuff because it didn’t get radio play in the first place).

Obviously, music is one of those things based on opinion, so I’m sure people won’t agree with my list.  Better yet, I’m sure they’ll think of songs that should be added that I didn’t think of.  If that’s the case, share in the comments.  What I’d ask is if you want to put a song up there as perfect, you tell me which genre and why it should be there.  If you feel that the damn thing warrants a perfect label, you should be able to say why.  Oh, and if you’re feeling crazy, link the song.

Without further ado:

Hillary’s Perfect Song List

* Added later as I remembered them

** Added after a recommendation by other people and I begrudgingly admit other humans have good ideas too

All right.  I know I’m missing things, so I may update as the list comes creeping back into my brain, but it’s a good starting cluster.  Now gimme more, folks.  Tell me those perfect songs.  Or, if you don’t agree with one of these songs as perfect, feel free to say why (reasons like RAP IS SHIT don’t count, btw).

Bring it!

How I Met Your Mother. Okay. WHY?

So I’d been told by nerds and non-nerds alike that the show How I Met Your Mother is the second coming of television Christ. Ted, the main character, has sat his children down in 2030 to relay how their parents met back in 2010. Each episode is done like a flashback of Ted’s exciting New York life. I recently watched five seasons of this crap, and I wanted to get my thoughts written down before my memories jumble together in my squash.

I have multiple issues with HIMYM, and 90 percent of them stem from incredibly shitty writing. HIMYM SHOULD – by the merits of some of its cast – knock it out of the park with the funnies. It doesn’t at least half the time, and most of it is the fault of the guys who write terrible plots and even worse jokes for their half awesome, half craptastic cast.

Let’s start with the main issue I have with the show. HIMYM is about Ted. Ted is a douchebag. He is the least likable character that’s supposed to be likable I’ve ever seen. He’s pretentious, regularly does things that will fuck his friends over, treats his girlfriends like shit, and does dumb overly romantic gestures when he’s into a girl . . . and promptly gets bored with her after he woos her (in some cases the chicks get bored with him – those episodes I cheer the chick). Because he’s “supposed to be a nice guy”, he always realizes at some point during a plot that he’s BEING pretentious, douchey, treating his friends or his girlfriend like shit, and goes about making amends for his shallow, stupid decisions. Except . . . as a viewer? I’ll forgive a character for doing that stuff occasionally. Being an asshole is like breathing air for Ted, though, so now I simply go into every episode expecting him to fist everyone in the bum. I’m actually MORE surprised when Ted does the decent thing right off the bat than I am that he’s making yet another dick move.

If your show is about a character, you should proooobably not make him a douchenozzle and give him more than two likable traits. (Here’s the kicker about that character – Ted is apparently based on one of the writers of the show. Sooo. I guess I would spend my active association with said writer wanting to kick him in the dingding for being such a tool. NOT COOL, GUYS. NOT COOL.)

Anyway, problem number two I have with the show: Alyson Hannigan can’t act. Happy Alyson Hannigan looks an awful lot like unhappy Alyson Hannigan who looks almost the same as angry Alyson Hannigan. And every line is delivered exactly the same way. IF YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT WANTING TO HAVE A BABY WITH YOUR HUSBAND, YOU SHOULD NOT BE DELIVERING THE LINE THE SAME WAY AS THE “ONE TIME AT BAND CAMP I STUCK A FLUTE IN MY PUSSY” LINE FROM AMERICAN PIE. Sorry. Had to shout that so I make it clear. This girl plays the same character over and over, delivers lines the same way over and over, and is supposedly an actress. My basset hound has more emotional depth in her barks than this woman has. When I first encountered Willow on Buffy? I thought she was cute and likable. And when Alyson Hannigan played an equally endearing version of Willow in American pie? I thought “hey, they’re type casting her”. Now I’ve watched HIMYM and . . . I realize it’s not typecasting, this woman is stuck on the repeating rinse cycle from hell. I want to shake her to see if she makes those same doe-eyed confused expressions she makes on the show whenever anyone does anything ever.

Problem number three: if the show isn’t riotously funny (which it can be sometimes, don’t get me wrong, but those are episodes about one of two characters – Barney or Marshall) it’s stupid. Period. Ted spends one episode doing a rain dance on a roof because he wants Robin’s camping trip ruined. He loves her and doesn’t want her camping with another guy, and this is his solution. Yeah, a supposedly smart architect does a rain dance. And the worst part? It works.

Oh hey, nice segue into problem number four: Robin! It’s not so much the actress, but more the plots centered around her and her characterization. The boys still love her after five seasons, they’re slap fighting over her. She’s still emotionally distant and generally not worth the time and they’re (Ted & Barney) too dim to take note. I’m still confused why they want her anymore beyond “she’s hot”; the character is written as an ice queen. I think the writers mistook independent, professional woman with “obnoxiously self centered twat”. What’s sad about Robin is at the beginning of the series she’s actually likable and sympathetic, but her shtick is getting old. She’s not progressing as a character at all, and the subplot of “Ted will never get over Robin” has zero dimensions left to explore.

So that’s a whole lot of negative there. I should probably put a couple positive spins on things too, as I didn’t hate the show, was just terribly disappointed with it because it could have been awesome. For starters? Neil Patrick Harris as the womanizing Barney is awesome. Like amazingly awesome. He didn’t start out that way, but he gets there quick. The first few episodes NPH seems to still be hashing Barney out in his head, and the delivery of his lines comes across as forced and awkward, but somewhere around halfway through season one NPH gets comfortable. And then he gets funny. REALLY funny. Love him, love plots to do with him, will consistently laugh when there’s a story or scene involving Barney in any way.

I also love Jason Segel’s portrayal of Marshall, Ted’s faithful best friend and corporate sell-out lawyer from Minnesota. He’s the right combination of goofy and smart, and it’s a pity he was pegged against the one dimensional Alyson Hannigan, because the Lily/Marshall dynamic would probably be so much more interesting with someone who can actually act filling the part of Lily. I can’t think of much to say about Jason Segel beyond “he’s really good”, but that doesn’t surprise me. I’ve liked everything Segel’s been in, from Knocked Up to Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

So there’s my thoughts on the show. I’m sure some HIMYM fan out there will find me, light my house on fire, and tell me I have no taste for finding most of the show trite and dumb. To them I say “Hey, I’m glad you like it! But I’m gonna be over here watching a better sitcom. You might have heard of it. It’s called Community”.

Girl Date.

So BFF and I went and caught a Saturday night showing of The Wolfman. Okay look, I have to confess that Bram Stoker’s Dracula, that shitty movie directed by Coppola from the 90’s, is one of my favorite movies. I know it shouldn’t be? But man, it’s Gary Oldman and he’s so awesometastic. Lemme say up front I wouldn’t lump The Wolfman in with Dracs, but it’s definitely taking a page from its book style-wise.

The long and short of it is it’s pretty to look at, the pacing’s a little meh, the special effects are great, Anthony Hopkins is great. It’s a 7 out of 10 for me. Dave’s been soured on a lot of the movie simply because the movie folks had originally planned on doing Del Toro’s makeup the old fashioned way, employing the guy that did the effects in An American Werewolf in London, but they nixed him in favor of CGI. I get why that cheeses him off, but hey, bright side? At least the CGI is decent.

Go see it.


So buried under eighteen inches of snow. What do I do? Finish watching Six Feet Under’s last season and wondering WHY IT TOOK ME FIVE YEARS TO GET TO IT. Amazing show, truly. I love witty banter and strong script writing, and this has skyrocketed to my top three Best TV Writers list (the others being West Wing and Californication).

Speaking of Californication, just got my grubby little hands on the soundtracks and of course, Warren Zevon’s track destroys me. If you’ve watched the show, most notably season two and its finale, you’ll know why.

Trying to get back to work, being blocked by doctors who want to poke and prod me like a science experiment. I feel better, get sick less than I was. Here’s to hoping things go well and I get the releases I need. It’d be nice to not feel like a flake, to go to work and to stay at work. I’ve never been so fragile before and I’m not sure I like it.

As an aside, here’s a small piece of my newest writing project. This is written for a young adult audience. The last, which we finally titled The Chronicles of Null: Awakenings, is in the hands of my capable co-pilot. It should be shipped out sometime this month for its grand debut to People Who Can Make Shit Happen.

In the meanwhile, enjoy a bit of Sara’s story.


I died on Tuesday, January 7th at four thirty-three in the afternoon. At least, that’s what people told me. I was clinically dead for nine minutes. Seven hundred chest compressions and a defibrillator got my heart going again. Some people say during that time, the twilight time one nurse called it, there’s a white light at the end of a tunnel with celestial choruses singing hallelujah. Other people claim to feel God’s grace beckoning them to the afterlife, or to see dead relatives. Not me. The operating table and the accident that got me there were patches of emptiness in my brain.

At the time I didn’t understand why I was so different from everyone else, why there was no great heaven for me. I was a fifteen year old girl. What could I have done to not deserve the last homecoming? Was I that bad of a kid? Did I steal or maim or kill or covet my neighbor’s property? I tried to wrap my mind around what type of person was denied God’s twilight time, but there were no answers. Incessant mulling became incessant frustration.

Because I remembered nothing before the accident.

Doctor Cole called it Dissociative Amnesia. I remembered how to talk, to eat, to use the bathroom. I could do math, I could even speak French pretty well, but I don’t remember how or why I could do those things. I had no recollection of family or friends. I didn’t know where I came from or how I got into the intersection between North Elm Street and West Center Street that Tuesday afternoon. The driver of the Dodge Ram that hit me said I must have darted out from the gas station on the corner, because one blink I wasn’t there and the next I was in the middle of the street. He didn’t have time to stop. I was thrown twenty feet and my head smacked off of the pavement. They had to cut into my skull to relieve the pressure, leaving a nasty scar that wound from the back of my head to just above my ear. The fractured ankle and ensuing bright red cast were negligible in comparison.

They didn’t say it, but the social workers thought I was a suicide kid, that I threw myself in front of the truck. It was my own fault they made that leap, with my talk about white lights and heaven, but the little voice inside of my head said they were wrong. It didn’t resonate. That’s the best way I could describe my associations – some stuff resonated as true and absolute and I knew it related to my life before the accident. The how of it was the difficulty. Things people said, certain sounds and smells triggered a gut reaction that I couldn’t connect memories to, but that didn’t mean the associative emotions weren’t there. An example was wind chimes. I loved the sound of them, to the point that my therapist Lynda gave me a set of brass and glass ones to hang in my hospital window. I watched the splash of prismatic colors dance across my walls for hours sometimes. I knew this pertained to the before, just not how. The same could be said about the smell of apples. They ‘seemed familiar’ – but again, that was as far as the recognition went. When I’d get one on my tray with lunch, I’d smell it for a while before biting into it, hoping something would click. One of the nurses went down to the gift shop and brought me a small Yankee candle jar to put beside my bed. I couldn’t light it in the hospital, but I’d sniff it sometimes and it made me happy.

Amnesiacs often get their memories back, and Doctor Cole said my “resonating triggers” were a good sign. Once the brain makes a connection, it’s easier for it to make others. He described it as a domino effect. He counseled patience, not trying too hard to force it, and I tried to listen, but it was difficult. One of my nurses had a “Rather Be Fishing!” coffee mug with a picture of a little man sitting in a boat holding a fishing rod. I felt like that guy. I was isolated in the middle of a pond. I’d cast a line into the vast blue, and there was nothing else for me to do but wait and hope the fish were biting. For the man, it was peaceful. For me, it was exhausting.

After I’d stabilized, the social workers went to the media with my information. There was instant buzz – my face was on the cover of newspapers with an 800 number for people to call with information. My parents were supposed to step up and claim me and the rest of those gaps would fill in. The town I got hit in, West Bridgewater, had only six thousand people or so and no one there had gone to the police. From what Lynda said, it was one of those places where everyone knew everyone else’s business, too, so it was unlikely I was from around there, but maybe someone had been passing through.

There was nothing. Not a peep. The girl with the “dark brown hair and cinnamon colored eyes” as one reporter put it was no one’s lost relation.

Local coverage quickly became national coverage. My picture went from newspapers to TV’s and the Internet. There was a similar incident with a girl my age who disappeared from Washington and showed up in New York some time back. Thanks to the news, her dad was able to bring her home. They figured I’d be like that girl. After a few weeks, it was evident I wasn’t going to be – no one spoke up. There were a few leads but none of them panned out. I was the unknown teenager that no one wanted, some reporter said. That single comment had the astounding effect of making me a media darling. Adoption offers started pouring in from all over the country. I got teddy bears and flowers from people I didn’t know; classes of kids sent me get well cards with hand drawn suns and over sized smiley faces.

Throughout the hubbub, Lynda kept trying to remind me of my worth as a person, that my real family simply hadn’t seen my picture yet but look at all the attention I was getting from complete strangers, like it was some attestation to how special I was. Maybe she thought I was depressed about being abandoned. The strange thing was, I wasn’t. Resigned, perhaps, but definitely not depressed. How can you miss a family you don’t remember? There was no point in mourning the faceless ghosts of my past. Pragmatic to a fault, that’s what Lynda said. Maybe she was right.

The doctors and therapists kept me in the hospital for two months, partially in hopes of my memories coming back, partially because I’d been dead for ten minutes and my memory loss was the only sign of brain damage. They wanted to make sure nothing else developed. My vitals continued to be fine, though, and it got to the point that they needed my hospital room and I needed to move on with life. As Lynda talked to me about foster parents, I realized how lucky I really was. It sucked to not know who my family and friends were, and I’d seen so many doctors and specialists that I’d lost count, but at least I was expected to recover and at least there were good people willing to help me out.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was something.