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Amanda's Got Her Groove
...taking care of a tortoise, a rescued spaniel/beagle mix named Cookie, and promoting Phoenix Comic Con...
“What do you prefer to be called, Mandy or Amanda?” I asked her to clarify this right off the bat. She was always “Mandy” in high school. We attended Burbank High School—not together exactly, but there was some overlap, since she graduated in the Class of 1998 and I graduated three years prior to that. “I love the name Amanda,” I said, “so if you don’t mind, I’d like to call you that.” She doesn’t mind; in fact she’s “Amanda” these days more often than not. We were off to the races: After high school, she enrolled at Pasadena City College and continued to work at the IKEA in Burbank. IKEA is where she met David Murphy. They’ve been married now for 19 years, together for 23. She offered two very interesting insights about that time of her life, one of which did not make the final cut. How could it have? We were not recording when she told it…. That also happened in the John Mese interview, so I’m resolved now to be vigilant about that in the future. Fool me twice, shame on me! Anyway, the unrecorded insight is simply this: as an employee at a law firm today, she looks back on her student days at PCC and can’t help feeling a bit like Penny on The Big Bang Theory—a fictional community college student among genius neighbors who study and teach at Cal Tech.
When she met “Dave,” she asked him out, and even though he turned her down on the first try—only because he had a prior commitment to a comic book convention—she did not back down. This anecdote was recorded, and made the final cut: She was shocked at his choosing to keep his monthly comic book meeting plans rather than go on a date with her. Some girls might have even been affronted by this. Not Amanda. It spurred her curiosity! What was so special about this comic book convention anyway? He was passionate about it, so much so that on one of their later dates, he brought with him his work-in-progress Boba Fett costume, needing her help to stitch together the “wookie braids” on the costume. Again, some girls might have been annoyed about such an unconventional “romantic” evening with a new boyfriend. Not Amanda! Nope, far from it. Amanda said, That’s my guy!
The Murphys moved to Arizona because they wanted to buy a house—something two IKEA employees could never do in Los Angeles County. After several years in Coolidge, AZ, they lived moved to Norristown, PA, where Dave continued to work for IKEA while Amanda worked at a bank. She says with a smirk that their neighborhood was “kinda shady,” and that even their dogs, Danny Boy and Cookie, were relieved to get back to Arizona.
Earlier this year, their 13-year-old fox terrier, Danny Boy, passed away from kidney failure. Danny Boy and Cookie are the Murphys’ beloved babies. Cookie is a Brittany Spaniel/Beagle mix rescued by the couple in 2013. (Cookie’s rescue anniversary happens to be July 5th, the day after Amanda and I recorded the episode.)
Then there is… Slowpoke_the_desert_tortoise—mentioned only last, but definitely not least, and not exactly a baby. Her age is not precisely known, but it falls somewhere between 60 and 90. Amanda believes her to be nearer to 90. Slowpoke is really her mother-in-law’s pet, but since her mother-in-law moved in with her and Dave, she has eagerly taken on the role of principal caretaker.
The two-part interview covers a wide range of topics: pets, fan culture, cosplay, favorite films and projects dear to both of us. Yes, Amanda did what I had no reason to expect. She turned the proverbial mic around and became inquisitor, quizzing me about my writing and why I began doing these interviews. The short answer to the latter question is that I want to platform all the creative people I come into contact with—just because I can, and just because it’s fun.
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