The Haunted Coconut

West Wing: The Complete Adventures of Goldfish Gail and Her Fishbowl

Ever wondered about the props in Goldfish Gail’s fishbowl? I have answers.

Fans of The West Wing know a little secret: C.J. Cregg’s pet goldfish, Gail, often has her bowl decorated with props that wink at episode themes. Panda bears, cash, flags, cabbages, flamingos, a love bed, a space shuttle, a telephone, and a fire engine. They are planted just for our delight (and hopefully Gail’s as well). The trick is to try and spot them. And this friends, became my obsession recently.

Below, for the first time, is a complete list of all of Goldfish Gail’s adventures alongside C.J., Danny, and the rest of the West Wing gang. Let’s get swimmin’!

And, hey, if you think you can identify one of the mystery props, please do comment. If you can convince me, I will happily give you full credit for the spot!


Season 1

Gail 1.9

Season 1, Episode 9

  • Prop: Nothing. Welcome, Gail!
  • Gravel: None? Oh, com’on, Danny.
  • Nod to Plot: It’s a new fish! (And Danny loves C.J.)

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Season 1, Episode 10

  • Prop: Christmas tree, with some festive poinsettias atop
  • Gravel: White, like snow. Snow with fish poop.
  • Nod to Plot: Christmas episode!

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Season 1, Episode 11

  • Prop: What appears to be a military vehicle or building
  • Gravel: Red, like blood
  • Nod to Plot: India-Pakistan conflict

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Season 1, Episode 12

  • Prop: A little wooden lectern and two American flags
  • Gravel: Red, white, and blue
  • Nod to Plot: It’s the State of the Union address!

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The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 7

Gail the Goldfish, friend and companion to C.J. Cregg and the rest of the gang at The West Wing, is back for an exciting and FINAL seventh season!

This is sad and exciting. It’s sexciting. Wait, no. Sorry, Gail. I didn’t mean it like that.

Truly, though, Gail experiences the frost of terrifying allegations against her mama, deep loss, and the anticipation of moving. It’s a traumatic season for her, but she handles it like a champ. Let’s do this one last time! Here are Gail’s appearances in Season 7.

(If you think that you can identify one of the mystery props, please do comment and if you can convince me, I will happily give you full credit for the spot!)


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Season 7, Episode 1

  • Prop: Gail’s opening the final season with a light bulb in her bowl
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: I’m not entirely certain. Perhaps it is Gail’s epiphany that C.J. is the focus of the intelligence leak investigation. Gail is hoping that everyone stops and listens to her horrified realization. Gail’s has a lightbulb, people! A lightbulb!

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Season 7, Episode 2

  • Prop: Some little things are stuck in her gravel. Could they be a bunch of little U.S. flags?
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: Well, maybe Gail is being supportive of candidate Santos’s military service. Plus, ya know, it’s America. So, flags.
    I, for one, am disappointed that Matt and Helen’s absolutely destroyed bed wasn’t in the bowl. Gail usually has more of a sense of humor.

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The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 6

Gail the Goldfish, friend and companion to C.J. Cregg and the rest of the gang at The West Wing, is back for an exciting sixth season.

Gail moves offices, hosts a visitor, gets snubbed for an invitation to an ice cream party, and ponders classic literature. She also explores a little nihilism. That is one deep fish.

Here it is, a list of Gail sightings from season 6.

If you think that you can identify one of the mystery props, please do comment and if you can convince me, I will happily give you full credit for the spot!


NoGailSeason 6, Episode 1

No Gail. She’s as appalled as we all are about the beginning of season 6. Since it looks like the gang is heading to Camp David, I fear we might be missing Gail for quite some time.

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And Now, My Cat Invades Star Trek: Voyager

From the recesses of the Delta Quadrant, comes Star Trek cat!

Very little needs to be written about the following images. My senior Tonkinese cat, Maisy, decided to assist (or sometimes surprise) the crew of Voyager.

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We don’t ask how she went from floating in space to sitting on the bridge.

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One thing is for sure though, Maisy doesn’t give a shit.

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She can’t even give a shit when the Doc is all worried.

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Okay, that’s a little alarming to her.

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Time for her to review procedures with Captain Janeway.

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Maisy also takes time to supervise underlings

….when she isn’t playing hide-n-seek with the Captain and Seven of Nine.

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Oop! They found her!

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Maisy also wants everyone to remember to never split infinitives. May you all go boldly where no cat has gone before.

Playhouse From Hell

Remember when Craig’s List was a legit thing?

There was a time not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away that Craig’s List was a legit and kinda safe place to find bargains in your community. It was, like, 2008. I remember it well. See, I had a toddler back then, so I was broke and jonesing for the hot new toy that every mom had to have or they were bad. BAAAAD. It was the good old days of driving 20 miles to pick up someone’s junk that they valued at just 5$ under retail, but then you half-load the shit in your car and are like “Naw, I have a ten. You want me to take your garbage or no? Sucker!”

Back in 2008 I was scoping out some giant plastic playhouses for my toddling daughter to hide in whenever mommy decided to sit down and eat a whole cake in one sitting like a snake unhinging its jaw. Because it was Craig’s List, most of the playhouse offerings were pretty ridiculous – tables are missing, phone receivers are missing, plastic faucets have been broken off, and water trapped in the walls was growing new cultures of black mold in at least half of the houses I scoped.

But that’s not the worst of it. Oh no. There was one listing that made me wet my pants a little when I read it, and lives in infamy to this day. This was an honest-to-Elvis Craig’s List listing in SE Michigan, word for word:

Little Tikes Playhouse – $15
White, pastel blue & pink playhouse/cottage w. pretend oven range inside. This had a yellow jacket’s nest in it over the summer. Husband plugged up the hole, but there is no way to really take the nest out unless you cut apart the plastic. You can’t really see it. We don’t believe in using pesticides so it has not been sprayed. Queen yellow jackets can survive in the nest over winter so you’d want to be sure to get rid of her if you can or if you don’t mind spraying chemicals, spray it. It’s only $15 due to the nest.

Yes, all you need to do is hire an exorcist, light a couple matches, and wear a gas mask, and you’re good to go! Fun for the kiddies!

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You see that yellowjacket above? It’s laughing. Laughing at the idea of eating your children right now. Laying in wait inside that playhouse. But at least – thank the gods – you can’t see her (as the ad graciously reminds us). And you can’t see her nest pulsating and growing inside your child’s cherished plaything. Because if you can’t see deadly insects, then they don’t exist.

Why – you might ask – why wouldn’t someone just banish this playhouse to the pits of landfill hell? The garbage man won’t object – because apparently the queen is overwintering right now!

And WHAT hole did the husband plug up exactly? And WHAT did he plug it with? A gasoline-soaked rag?? It better have been flames. If you have to say “due to the nest” in your ad, then any holes should be plugged with flames.

But no. They thought, “Another child should have this nest.” These people who walk among us in society, who are neighbors and family to somebody, who apparently spent time researching yellowjacket life cycles and cursing imaginary toxins, thought “I can get a Costco sheet cake out of this!” 

How to Complain Like a Pro

As a consumer, student, employee, and citizen, we all get a little screwed sometimes.

An important measure of any institution–be it a business, school, or whatever–is how they try to rectify a mishap or misdeed. In spite of that truism, the cold reality is that your reaction to getting screwed is the critical catalyst that determines how your complaint will be heard and processed. It is up to you.

Complain the wrong way, and you can look like a fool who gets nothing but high blood pressure and a wasted afternoon. I once complained the wrong way (let’s just say my temper got the best of me and I hulked out over a voicemail to a doctor’s office), and got a lovely letter inviting me to never come back to their office ever again. As if I was going to anyway. Shitkickers.

But if you play the complaint game the right way, not only do you stand to receive satisfaction over your complaint, but you can legitimately gauge the integrity of the institution against which you’re railing. Take an ugly situation and turn it into your moment of haughty, glorious victory.

This is a brief masterclass on the art of complaining. Read and follow the instructions below to learn how to badass your way into getting satisfaction from a complaint.

#1. Ask Yourself If You Have a Legitimate, Reasonable Complaint

Before you even turn to the keyboard or phone, you need to slow your roll and examine your situation thoughtfully. Are you actually in the right? Is your gripe reasonable given the circumstances? And is it worth your precious time and energy to get the complaint train chugging down the tracks?

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Chardee MacDennis Rules: A Playable Version of the Game

Brought to you by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia…and Boss Hog.

If you’re reading this, you probably are familiar with the notorious cure for boredom that was conceived by the assholes from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

That’s right, it’s Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games!

And I have (very painfully) put together a set of rules and cards for a version that is actually playable. Yes, that’s right, playable! Obviously the original Sunny version of Chardee MacDennis would certainly result in serious injury, jail time, and probably death. So I went a-hunting around the interwebs and pretty much every homegrown variant I saw online (when I decided to make a set for my husband for Christmas) was oddly focused around men having to do things to each others’ butts and balls …unpleasant things.

I don’t do frat boy.

So I developed a version of Chardee MacDennis that stayed as true to the original game as possible, but in our actual reality. My husband and I have play-tested this once and it worked beautifully. When we moved, my husband was adamant that we keep the “Chardee” set and bring it with us. Glad he did.

Disclaimer
This is an alcoholic drinking game. This is a dangerous game and should never be played by anyone for any reason. The drinking demands and various stunts are all potentially very dangerous, and other elements of the game are destructive, insulting, and degrading. HauntedCoconut.com takes no responsibility for harm to person or property.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol leads to impaired judgement and can lead to death. Always drink responsibly, never drive after drinking, and do not play this game. Look out for your family and friends and cease the game immediately if anyone is in distress or does not want to play.  Seek medical attention immediately as needed for you and your cohorts. If you do play Chardee MacDennis, someone could very easily get hurt and things will be broken. People will cry. Reputations will be ruined. Just don’t play this game. If you do, you accept responsibility for all harm, consequences, damages, and injury–physical, mental, and social. Don’t play this game.

Did you read that full disclaimer? Good. You should. Now that we’ve established you should never play this game, here is how one might hypothetically go about doing so.

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The Crap You Need to Play

First, you will need to gather a number of items. Here is a list of non-perishable items that I keep in a specially designed shoebox for this game:

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The West Wing: Inside Goldfish Gail’s Fishbowl – Season 5

Gail the Goldfish, friend and companion to C.J. Cregg and the rest of the gang at The West Wing, has a splashy season 5.

Gail plays Monopoly (to help Donna, of course), goes overboard for cabbages, and rightfully panics over C.J.’s new fishing hobby. It’s a rough season for the whole gang, since we start with Zoey missing and end with Donna being blowed up. So it’s anything but calm waters for our favorite little goldfish.

Here it is, a list of Gail sightings from season 5.

If you think that you can identify one of the mystery props, please do comment and if you can convince me, I will happily give you full credit for the spot!


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Season 5, Episode 1

  • Prop: Maybe…probably…a little elephant figure
  • Gravel: Blue
  • Nod to Plot: GOP President Walken is in charge and Gail might just be showing a nod of respect to the new Commander-in-Chief.

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LEGO Help Vouchers for Little ‘Uns: Free Download

Parental LEGO freedoms are vital part of our society.

It’s summer vacation right now and I couldn’t be more thrilled that my daughter is rifling through my old-school 1980s red plastic LEGO briefcase and assembling new sets. But she is a pain in the ass. I say this with love. I can spend my entire day by her side, chatting, assisting, bringing her food and beverage, and when the sun goes down, there she is again. She pops into the living room where my husband and I have a movie going asking for help finding a piece that, apparently, has fallen into some magical invisible abyss that can only be accessed by parents. It’s every 15-20 minutes. And us retiring to our bedroom doesn’t help. The LEGO neediness has had a severe impact on my marital happiness.

I’m not joking. This has become a mental health issue for both parents, here. The LEGO tyranny must end.

Before you go thinking I’m a monster for not being more supportive, check yourself. I give my daughter lots and lots of attention and support, but I need freedom of thought, quiet, and ability to listen to adult entertainment and conversations.

And she needs to wean herself. Any 1980s kid knows that half of the awful euphoria of LEGOing is hunting for the elusive brick piece until your eyeballs nearly fall out, and then suddenly spotting it. Or figuring out how to make it work some other way.

This is her time for that mania. Not mine. So I finally had to draw a line between “Hellscape Monster Who Yells at Her Kid to Bugger Off and Find Her Own Damn LEGOs” and enabling parental sap who does everything for her kid. I can’t be her bulldozer. Not with LEGOs, not anymore.

This is my solution. Vouchers. LEGO help vouchers. There are three of them, and she can hand one to us at any reasonable point during the day (maybe I should’ve put an evening time limit on them, hmmm), and we’ll give her a hand. The goal? I want some damn critical thinking on her part about whether or not it’s worth using up one of her daily vouchers. And when the three are done, she’s done with help for the day. Tough love, baby.

Maybe I should’ve only printed two. I don’t know.

In my case, I printed these puppies, attached them to cardboard backing (upcycling ftw!), cut them out, and then laminated them with packing tape. It was a bit much. You don’t need to get so elaborate. Especially since when I handed them to her, she responded with “gee, thanks”, and chucked them irritatedly into her nightstand drawer. Her eyerolls were monstrous. Eleven is just a peachy age.

Note that she is LEGOing right now, and she has not come out of her room to ask for help in over thirty minutes. I think she spitefully refuses to acknowledge the voucher existence for the time-being. But there will be a time soon when she’ll come a-knockin’ (probably just as my husband figures out how to get my bra off), and she had better have a damn voucher in-hand. LEGO freedom for all parents!

Anyway, I am sharing them here because share and share alike. Happy LEGOing.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 3.04.37 PM.pngDownload for free right here: LEGO vouchers