Monday, January 20, 2014

Pheaturing Lauren McCullough

Hello, and welcome to the Phile and Happy Martin Luther King Day. Is that something you should say today? Anyway, MLK worked his ass off, got stabbed in the chest, was jailed a ton of times, even died... for black rights. And this is what we get...

Alright, moving on...  The post-racial post-gender era of American history officially kicked off Saturday night after Sasheer Zamata made her debut as "Saturday Night Live's" first black female cast member since Maya Rudolph left the show in 2007. It's probably much easier for Sasheer Zamata to be funny on "SNL" while being saddled with the pressure of representing an entire race/gender. According to new studies, diabetes, liver cancer and erectile dysfunction are just a few of the newly-discovered dangers that you will be actively ignoring while standing outside in the cold trying inhale a cigarette about 20 minutes from now. Is smoking actually bad for you? COMING UP: A special report that fucks you around for a while before finally confirming that it still is...  In an effort to assuage foreigners that their gay athletes will face no dangers while in Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, Vladimir Putin revealed that he is so okay with homosexuals that he even allows a select few to penetrate his ears with their beautifully-crafted piano pop ballads. Haha. Putin revealed that he's totally cool with gay people named "Elton John".  A 77 year old Florida Walmart customer was arrested for beating a disabled 65 year old fellow customer for entering the "20 Items Or Less" express lane with 22 items, a clear betrayal of the social contract.  A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that your child's obesity problem might not be caused by fast food restaurants like McDonald's so much as all the other parenting decisions you made.  Did you hear the story of Madonna calling her son the N-word on Instagram? Well, it did not go well for her. So, this was a bad idea. I don't know exactly how Madonna thought this was a good idea, but I'm pretty sure any common sense she once had has been locked up in an English castle for 20 years now. I will say that when I first read the story, I was somehow relieved that it was one of her white children. Then, I was more confused, and wasn't sure if I should be more upset that it was one of her white children. Then I was mad at myself for not knowing the right answer. Not as mad as other people were, though. I have a feeling that Madonna will get off the hook on this one... not completely unscathed, but less damaged than most celebs would be... because many people are probably as confused as I am. Why did the use of the word enter her mind at all? Did she think that adopting children from Africa somehow gave her slang powers? That would make no sense, but I'm just trying to get inside the Kabbala-lined fortress of her mind. Did she somehow make that stupidest of Caucasian mistakes, thinking converting the -er into an -a would somehow make the word friendly and playful? All I know is that her first response was indignant and defensive...

That is, until her rep Liz Rosenberg woke up Saturday morning and presumably freaked the eff out over this. Madonna issued this statement through Rosenberg: "I am sorry if I offended anyone with my use of the N word on Instagram. It was not meant as a racial slur.. I am not a racist. There's no way to defend the use of the word. It was all about intention... it was used as a term of endearment toward my son who is white. I appreciate that it's a provocative word and I apologize if it game people the wrong impression. Forgive me." Well, that settles it, then. A little of the old "sorry if I offended anyone," a little of the old "there's no way to defend it" followed immediately by "it was all about intention." Ah, celebrity apologies. You just can't get stuff like that anywhere else. Except in Congress, every day. Don't use the N-Word, people. You are very unlikely to come up with a convincing excuse.  I love Jennifer Lawrence, that girl is everywhere. I was watching that Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" video again and I didn't know Jennifer was in it. Take a look...

So, NBC announced that the next musical on TV around Christmas time will be "Peter Pan". And they are gonna use another "American Idol" alum, and I have the exclusive who it's gonna be. No, not Kelly. I wish.

That's gonna be good. Haha. It looks like Stephen Colbert is gonna play John. That does look like him, right.  Today as I said is Martin Luther King Day and they released a special inspirational poster about him today.

Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Similarities And Differences Between The Benghazi Attack And The Egg Attack On Justin Bieber's Neighbor
5. Law enforcement officials reacted quickly to investigate the incident.
4. Its perpetrators have a minimal grasp on the English language.
3. It was strongly condemned by the American Egg Board.
2. Those responsible will ultimately get off scot-free.
And the number one similarity and difference between the Benghazi attack and the egg attack is...
1. It's getting waaaay too much media attention. 

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Okay, so last week and the last two days I have been telling you that over at they were running an Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame battle and the first round was Styx versue Foghat. Unfortunately Styx won. Thanks everybody who voted. Alright, it's MLK dDay, and a phriend of the Phile wanted to say something about him. He's a patriot and renaissance man and phriend of the Phile... please welcome back for a record three days in the row... Laird Jim in a pheature we call...

Good morning humans... I am overcome by this thought. I hope you remember why you are off today, why the schools and banks are closed today. I hope you take time out of your busy day off to go on the Internet and look up some quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. This was a man who tirelessly and peacefully fought for the idea that we are all equal regardless of our skin color, religeous beliefs or sexual orientation. That we should love and protect each other (no matter what) because WE are all we've got. This man had much to say... it's a pity he was silenced before he had a chance to see how far we've come... and to have helped us push even further. But you humans never listen to those who wish to better your world... Jesus Christ... JFK... MLK... John Lennon... and so on. You brand them as trouble makers and then you kill them. When will you ever learn?

Well said, Laird, well said. Okay, the 27th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Steven Thomas and this is one of his pieces...

Man, anybody who does a "Thunderbirds" piece is cool with me. Anyway, Steven will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's pheatured guest is someone really special. She is a cancer patient who writes an amazing blog called The Not-Dying Girl. Please welcome to the Phile... Lauren McCullough.

Me: Hello, Lauren, welcome to the Phile. I am so glad you are here. How are you?

Lauren: Hey! I am doing pretty well.

Me: Okay, I have to admit, this is slightly a different interview than I have done in the past. I have interviewed a lot of musicians, authors, artists, a talking rat, a talking gnu and a super hero... all true, but this is the first interview with someone as inspirational and amazing as you are. And I mean that. Anyway, I first learnt about you when someone on Facebook posted a news story on you on their page. Have you been doing a lot of interviews, Lauren?

Lauren: I have been doing a few interviews lately, mostly asking about how I manage to stay so positive throughout my second diagnosis of cancer.

Me: I started to read your blog The Not-Dying Girl, and let me tell you, a few times you made me cry. I have been doing this stupid little blog for eight years and I have no idea why. I am kinda addicted to it. When I started it was for shits and giggles. You, on the other hand, have a blog which will give a lot of people hope. For the readers that don't know, can you tell them what The Not-Dying Girl blog is about?

Lauren: Well, I guess I needed to get my feelings out about my situation one way or another! I am not the most vocal about my worries or pains, and my blog is the medium for it. The blog then kind of blossomed into speaking my mind (because I guess you kinda have to when you are given a horrible prognosis), trying to change people's perspectives on life, and raising childhood cancer awareness.

Me: When did you first start to write it, Lauren, and what was the reason you wanted to write it? 

Lauren: I started writing my blog in May or June of 2013, after my cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma, relapsed and was worse than ever. I felt the need to write about how I was feeling so I could kind of leave something behind and it was a way to relieve the stress about being told that I would not be living for too much longer.

Me: You put a lot of work into it, does it take you long to do one entry?

Lauren: Oh my goodness it takes forever to write each entry! Normally, it takes about three hours to write one entry. I always write my blog entries in one sitting and just let the words flow. I never look at what I have written and sometimes forget exactly what I had just written. Kind of like how some actors simply cannot watch their movies because they are their worst critics.

Me: You are VERY honest on what you write, which is amazing. Have you ever written anything, posted it and regret saying what you said?

Lauren: Um, I don't really regret what I say in any of my entries because everything comes from the heart and from spur-of-the-moment feelings. I think that is what makes everything so real.

Me: Does your family read it? What do they think?

Lauren: My family does read my blog! They really enjoy reading things from my perspective and sometimes get slightly embarrassed about how blunt I am, but they laugh about it.

Me: I was thinking all your entries should be put into a book and be sold. Did you ever think of that? Your book would sell, Lauren.

Lauren: I have thought about writing a book! I want to reach out to as many people as possible. Soon enough I am sure I will put a lot more effort into starting one, well I have a few pages right now. I write a whole lot more in the hospital because there aren't as many things for me to do!

Me: Lauren, where are you from?

Lauren: I am from Elk Grove, California! I have lived here basically my whole life!

Me: You're in college, right? Where do you go to school?

Lauren: I am not currently enrolled in college due to how unpredictable my health is, and that every month I have one week of chemotherapy. But I went to Diablo Valley College, a junior college in the Bay Area, for the swim team.

Me: Swimming...? Is that something you want to do professionally? Would you want to be a swimmer in the Olympics?

Lauren: I am a swimmer and I have been swimming since I was 12. I have been swimming almost all of the time since I started, minus the year of my first diagnosis and I have not been able to really compete since May 2013. I would definitely love to swim at a University, but it is not something that I would get any farther in than college. Oh, and I would be doing masters swimming after the college years are over (or now, just at my own pace). It is incredibly hard to get any money out of swim, but coaching is something I like to do! As for the Olympics, I will be honest, I would have to devote my entire life to swim and my body and mind cannot handle it. Even then, I would not be good enough for the Olympics, although I might make Olympic Trials given that I were to dedicate every waking hour to swimming, eating right, and sleeping. That just isn't going to happen!

Me: Do you have a favorite swimmer or inspiration?

Lauren: I would have to say the swimmers whom I look up to the most are Summer Sanders, Natalie Coughlin, and Missy Franklin.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your cancer, Lauren. Both of my parents passed away from cancer in 2000, so it has been a big part of my life. Not as big as yours though. Tell the readers what kind of cancer do you have?

Lauren: I have Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare pediatric bone/ soft tissue cancer. It is super aggressive and unpredictable, is not passed down through genetics, and only about 250 people are diagnosed each year. I am one of those unlucky few!

Me: You were just 18 when you found out you had cancer, am I right? You're 21 now, so you have been fighting for a few years. When you were first diagnosed, what was the first thing you thought? Do you remember?

Lauren: I have to say, when I was 18 and was still getting my tests done, my freakout moment was when I was told that my biopsy was going to be scheduled in a specialty center and that my original biopsy had been canceled (I did not have to go to the hospital that specialized in the leg surgery) and that I had "a long road ahead of me". Yeah, that did not sit well with me. I started crying and was then told by my mom that my tumor in the leg was 10 inches long instead of being the size of a walnut like she had originally told me. So after my biopsy, I kind of knew that I had cancer. I know my body well and this was no injury that I had caused. Something did not feel right, I did not cry when I was diagnosed officially because I was prepared for what I was going to feel.

Me: I am sure your family has been a big support. How are they, and how did they the news?

Lauren: My family has been so good to me! I think they are handling it the same way that I am... they aren't thinking about it. We just go with the flow and make the most of the time we get to spend together.

Me: Do you still swim, Lauren? I am guessing it's really hard to do now, am I right?

Lauren: I have not been in the pool recently, unfortunately. I am hoping that after my next chemo I will feel well enough to soak for a while!

Me: Before your hair fell out, you dyed it green. I have a picture of you with green hair I have to show.

Me: Did you always want green hair?

Lauren: I actually just dyed my hair teal just because I could! I knew it was going to fall out so I decided to have fun with it.

Me: You have a long bucket list, and have been going through it. On your bucket list you said you wanted tattoos, and now you have them. You have a giant scorpion on your back that looks 3D. I have to show a picture of that as well...

Me: You also have a lock on your ankle, right? Do those two mean anything?

Lauren: I got the scorpion on my back because it represents me. Tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. They survive in the harshest of conditions. Pretty to look at, but if you mess with me you will get "stung". They also glow in the dark, which is pretty cool. My mom got the locket and keys on her ankle to represent that my brother and I are the keys to her heart.

Me: I have four tattoos, and they didn't really hurt getting them. When you got yours, did they hurt? 

Lauren: My tattoo did not hurt too bad at first, but when you are like four hours in, your body gets a little tired of having the same spot opened up over and over again. I also have a high pain tolerance so I am sure that helped a little!

Me: Another thing you wanted to do that is on the list is fall in love... and eventually get married. Well, you did that and got married. I saw the wedding video and let me tell you I cried. Man, you did warn the reader they should have their Kleenex ready. And I have to say, you made a beautiful bride.

Me: What's your husband's name?

Lauren: Haha... well I haven't fallen in love but I had a beautiful ceremony! I feel so uncomfortable watching that video because I hate seeing myself so emotional! So many people have told me that they were moved by the video. And my "husband" is in the Navy and his name is Egor.

Me: Was it a big wedding?

Lauren: The wedding had over 200 people there, so I guess you could say it was fairly large! It was everything that I could have wanted, minus it being on the beach. Other than that it was perfect!

Me: Another thing on your list is learn bar tending. That's an usual one. You got to do that for your 21st birthday, am I right? Was that fun?

Lauren: Learning to bar-tend was so much fun! I think it is a cool skill to know and is fun to show off, it was the best way to spend my 21st!

Me: What other stuff do you have on your list, Lauren?

Lauren: I do have a lot of things on my bucket list that I still have to accomplish, I am just taking things in stride and when I can fit things in given my health. Most of my items on the list revolve around food somehow. I am still working on adding more random things to the list.

Me: Recently you hosted an UFC fight. How did that come about? Are you an UFC fan?

Lauren: I didn't host the UFC event, but I got awesome seats and a great experience! It just so happens that one of the vice-presidents of the UFC has a brother who reads my blog and read that I have taken a liking to MMA. That was that! I was able to present the championship belt for the world flyweight championship. That was unexpected and really amazing.

Me: That wasn't on your bucket list, was it? Haha.

Lauren: It was not on my bucket list! But it was so cool either way!

Me: Lauren, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? This is 100% random... what's the last thing you cried about? Man, that's a dumb one. You can answer it if you want, but here's another one... when did your family come to this country and from where? I wanna say Scotland for you. I'm from England and my family first came to this country in 1974.

Lauren: I will answer both questions! The last time I cried was actually on my birthday when my blood draw did not go well and I got poked four times before I finally left without the sample. No fun! Um, gosh... My grandma knows all about my ancestry! But my grandma on my dad's side is originally from Denmark, although my last name is indeed Scottish, from my dad's dad's side of the family. I THINK on my mom's side we had someone come over on one of the three original ships that came to America and that he owned a store.

Me: That's cool. Lauren, I know you're busy, and probably very tired. Thank you so much for being on the Phile. Your story is amazing, and everybody should read your blog. I'd rather them read your blog than this one. I have to say, I'm a pretty miserable person and complain and whine quite a bit, about the smallest things in my life. In your photos, with everything you've been through, you are always smiling and you are so positive. Have you always been this way, even before you got sick?

Lauren: Honestly, I have never been much of a complainer. But now I am even more critical of people who complain about aches and pains than ever. I think that when you get diagnosed with cancer you have to just go along with what life throws at you.

Me: I bet you were a happy girl growing up. Am I right?

Lauren: I was an extremely happy girl growing up! I realize now that I have grown up that I was super lucky to have the family that I have.

Me: Lauren, I know you have tons of websites and stuff to plug. Go ahead and mention them all, and anything else you wanna.

Lauren: Alright, here are some of the links to organizations that I like:,,,

Me: You're in my prayers, Lauren, good luck and please come back in a few months to give us an update on how you are doing. Will you do that?

Lauren: I would love to give you an update a few months from now to see what I have been up to and how I have been doing! Thank you for interviewing me! Let's spread childhood cancer awareness and spread around positive energy (although the two don't go together very well!)

Me: I agree, Lauren. Take care, and stay strong. You are truly an inspiration!

There. That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim and of course Lauren McCullough. Please go to her blog and grab a box of tissues. Okay, there's not gonna be an entry of the Phile next weekend as I'll be on vacation. So, the next entry will be on February 1st with the Howe Twins and then on the 2nd it's singer Carly Pearce and on the 3rd musician Jonathan Burks. That's the plan anyway. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever.

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