Thursday, December 07, 2006

i think "don guitar and the texas fan club" once opened for hank williams

My darling darling readers, (now I think the total might have busted right into the double-digits) I have forgotten you for so long. But I'm pretty sure you've filled that aching void with actually having a life, so I won't actually apologize.

Today I got a nice email from a guy in Texas. No, really. My friend Shirley (Mrs. Spag to my fellow Woodland Hills alumni, if you can really call us that) is from Texas, so I knew not everyone there is a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal. After all, a lot of them moved to DC.

Here's his note, which I am sharing here because, well, who's going to stop me?

"So, if you ever need a grandparent, please consider this an application, you need a resume let me know, the wife and I will tend to it. I love your blog. My wife occasionally mentions a funny lady whom she loves and I've never heard of (so I don't recall the name) who talked about being a "delicate flouwah" in a very Florida/Jewish sort of accent. I never heard of the woman but you and your mom remind me of her. You're such delicate flowers. Maybe she needs parents, we'll apply for that position too. I don't read blogs (that is so lame) but ok, I read yours once in a while when I need a little boost in my morale. I don't update my own, I seem never to feel inspired and I'm busy with other things, but I did log in so I could comment on yours. You're terrific, I couldn't be more proud of you if you really were my grandaughter and I wish my daughters and grandkids could meet you. "

Several reasons why I like this guy and his entire family. First, he began with "So," which I think might be actually encoded in my DNA. (That might be the most esoteric half-joke I've ever made, as it requires a working knowledge not only of the somewhat-recent translation of "Beowulf" by Seamus Heaney, but also of my Swedish ancestry.) Moving right along.

Second, he said nice things about me and he's funny. (Being funny counts twice, by the way.) Grandparents are in short supply these days. Especially cool ones. I have but one grandma -- but trust me, she's awesome. Which brings me to my next story.

I spent the weekend in Alexandria with my mom visiting relatives. Both my parents are from Alexandria, and my mother's family is still mostly in the area. (My father's family, in case you were wondering, is either dead or unfortunately still alive.)

My grandmother cracks me up, and not just because as matriarch, she could probably have me killed. If you're wondering what she's like, just imagine me but with a slightly cleaner vocabulary and thin. I know it's a stretch on both parts. But we're both hairy, so that counts for something in the "I probably wasn't adopted" column. As we were taking our bags down to the lobby of her building on Monday morning, a man passed by and they exchanged good mornings before he walked outside. The door had barely closed when she said, "I've been trying to flirt with that man for the past two months, but so far we haven't gotten past the weather." This reminded me of several of the "I can't believe my grandmother just said that" conversations we've had. Among those are her thoughts on why most men should be kept locked underground, why Viagra is bullshit, and why you should always have a pillow around when you have sex. (Just a very small sample there, as I'm sure you've already guessed.)

And on to why I should be careful when drinking Mai Tais. (I've amended this ruling from my earlier decision that I should never drink Mai Tais, because the further away from semi-drunken incidents you get, the more apt you are to remember just how good that drink was in the first place.) So after our celebratory dinner in Old Town (one of my aunts got a big fat promotion, so a good number of family members converged on an unsuspecting Thai restaurant that will probably never be the same) we were walking down the street to our cars. (No, I wasn't driving. You know me better than that. For shame.) I was talking with my cousin Ben, who is a couple years older than me, about our aunt Liz's boyfriend. Everyone really likes him, which is good, because the two of them just bought a house and will be moving in together in January. I suspect a Christmas proposal because I have a feeling he'll do it in front of the family. I said something to the effect of just wanting to meet someone who isn't psychotic, referring of course to the last couple of complete whack jobs I've dated. Ben said he'd like to meet a woman who doesn't talk much. Then he laughed and said, "No, not really."

I said, "Of course not. Except, exactly that." Then, not thinking, I said, "God, my last girlfriend..." and then I knew I'd just crossed a line I couldn't uncross. Not that I'm hiding anything from my family, and not that I think they'd be horrified. It's just not something I really wanted to do. So I said, "Oh, shit."

Ben looked at me and said, "We just sat at a table that was talking about three-legged dogs on rooves, clocks that turn on by themselves, and half-retarded people running down the street yelling 'Batman.' Do you really think a lesbian is going to suddenly become the exciting new topic? Compared to the average day on Hickory Street*, you're boring." I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'm actually bisexual. Not that it would have lessened his point, really.



*Hickory Street: The street where my mother and her five siblings grew up in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, where everyone, and I do mean everyone, was completely insane. From CaCa, the schizophrenic Alzheimer's patient who'd "get loose" down the street to the infamous three-legged dog that wouldn't come off the roof of a house to the rooster that just showed up one day and wouldn't leave my mother's house, you cannot make this shit up. It has to be genetic.

Friday, November 10, 2006

victory, well done, extra pickles, no mustard

What an awesome week for America. And an even awesomer week for Pennsylvania, who finally decided to throw their Santorum-stained sheets in the wash. On the "heavy" cycle. With bleach.

And yet I'm still amazed that anyone, even his mother, would vote for Satan-orum. A man who hates women so much that he wrote an entire book on why we shouldn't have jobs. (Seriously.)

I'm pretty sure that after the man has a beer or two, he starts talking about why we should not only overturn Roe v. Wade, but if we could revoke women's suffrage, the country -- nay, the world -- would be a better place.

Tuesday was my first experience with the electronic voting machines. I was a little worried about the elderly people around here voting with them and that they'd somehow accidentally all wind up voting a straight Whig ticket, but I can honestly say that it's more difficult to order a sandwich at Sheetz than to vote with one of those things.

But really, this is so much more delicious.

Friday, October 20, 2006

where no woman has gone before

From time to time, I find myself in a men's bathroom. Not for any illicit reason. Unless peeing is illicit. I'll have to consult my social conservatism handbook on that one. But sometimes, a girl has to go pee with the boys. This doesn't bother me at all, as I grew up in what I now realize was a rather bohemian household, but at the time seemed quite normal.

So last weekend, I went to see "After Mrs. Rochester" with my father. Interesting play -- stirred up thoughts on being a writer versus being a parent and the idea of perfection of the life versus perfection of the work. But that's a much more serious discussion to have somewhere far away from the salty-meets-sweet combination of silliness and near-constant political vitriol that is this blog.

So, at the play, there was a line for the ladies room just prior to the performance. I say it was a line, but it was really more of a collection of female persons in a hallway, all facing different directions as though they were posing for the cover of their CD. In an episode of "South Park."

I asked the woman I was closest to -- who was facing southwest, I believe -- if this was the line for the bathroom. Considering the way the other people were assembled and the habit women have of standing around a bathroom waiting for their friends, I did not think this was a silly question. She looked at me as if I'd just asked her if she were waiting for a bus. "Yes," she said, "it is." She said it so coldly and slowly that I had the time to narrate "she said" in the middle of her sentence.

I should mention that this play was being performed in the Braddock Carnegie Library, a building which, though it is a building, is my father's favorite child. Consequently, I know it fairly well. Not well enough to direct a tour, but well enough that I know where the other bathrooms are. It had occurred to me that I ought to take a collection of people downstairs if this modern-art assembly was actually a bathroom line, but because of the aforementioned exchange where I narrated a not-so-nice woman, I decided they could all fuck off. It only takes one to ruin it for the rest of the class. Or line.

So I turned around and was getting ready to walk downstairs when a man said, "No one's in the men's room." I heard the tiniest snort behind me and I decided that if it was going to bother that woman, I'd go pee in the men's room. I turned around and asked if anyone would rather go before me, because, after all, it was a line. Also, I wanted to get a look at that woman's face. It occurs to me now that she probably looks like that all the time.

So I went in, I peed, and I came out. There was a different guy standing outside and he said, "Wow! Going in the men's room!" Guys are usually surprised. Once, at a truck stop at about 3:00 AM, I walked out of a men's room (the women's room had been vandalized and was nauseating to the point that even I couldn't use it) and I made a guy nearly jump out of his skin. I think he got out three "Oh, miss, I am so sorry"-ies before I convinced him that it was in fact I who was in the "wrong" room. But never have I previously experienced what happened to me last Saturday night.

The same guy said, "All right!" and clapped me on the shoulder as I walked out the door. Women tend to chat with strangers, especially in a bathroom, and my understanding is that men generally do not. In fact, they go out of their way to avoid contact with men they don't know, especially in bathrooms, and carefully calculate buffer zones between themselves and their fellow urinators. (Tearooms would be a whole different category with a decidedly different code of conduct. Which I also know a little something about. Don't ask.) My point is, men don't high-five each other for peeing, so I have to conclude that he was applauding my apparent bravery for going pee in a room that has a picture of a person wearing pants painted on the door.

I guess next time I'll just use the bucket in the janitor's closet.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

i hope there's an afterlife because i want my slave-owning bastard relatives to be able to watch little scenes like this while they roast in hell

Sometimes, I really hate white people. And then immediately after that thought, I look down at my arm and say "God damn it!"

Over the weekend, Mom and I stopped at the grocery store after we'd done some shopping (by which I mean we made fun of things at Pier 1 -- what the hell is up with their latest stuff? Usually I love their things, but we saw silver and gold teddy bears. The fuck? We decided to leave during the brief window that comes between us both cracking up and the manager asking us to leave).

So we're at the home grocery store. Everyone in America knows what I mean -- there's the grocery store you go to that's close to your house, and then there's another one, maybe even in the same chain, that's farther away, but nicer in some respect. Maybe it's cleaner or better-lit or has a wider, fresher selection -- maybe all three.

Our home grocery store is the Giant Eagle in Braddock Hills. I don't want to give anyone the impression that I think this store is ghetto -- it's not. It doesn't have the huge variety of the Giant Eagle at the Waterfront, and sure, the bank branch in it has been robbed a couple times, but whatever. This is Pittsburgh. Every bank has been robbed a couple times. I've been going to this grocery store for over 20 years and some of the same people have been working there the entire time. Pretty much everyone who goes to this store has been going there for that long, if not much, much longer.

My point is this -- unless you're under the age of 2, this isn't gonna be your first time there.

So I'm standing at the deli counter waiting for my turn and talking to the lady in front of me and her kids. (Side note -- having one random little kid start talking to you out of the blue is awesome. Having her little sister grab your hand while you're talking is like a religious experience.)

Including the deli staff, the only other white woman around was an extremely sour-faced old bat with hairdresser hair. You know what I mean -- the short, blue-white hair done in ridiculous curls and then sprayed with some kind of sealant so it lasts until next week when she goes back to the hairdresser and "gets set."

So, Sour Face is before me. It's cool. The lady with the kids left, and I smiled at Sour Face. She gave me a weird look and then ordered the deli girl around like she thought we'd all been transported to a tobacco field in South Carolina around 1837. Part of her orders included "I don't want the slice on top." I have no idea why. Maybe she has OCD or schizophrenia and the voices in her head don't like their lunch meat exposed to too much air.

So, as the girl grabbed the entire stack of bologna and weighed it, Sour Face gave me another look. This one I understood immediately, because I've seen it on many an old white bitch in my life. It's the look that says, "Oh, these silly Negroes!" and it's usually followed by a giant spike in my blood pressure. I gave her a look of my own and I don't think it's the one she thought she'd be getting back, because she immediately started studying a stack of Ham Off The Bone.

"I didn't give you the one on top," said the deli girl as she flipped a decidedly flaccid- and anemic-looking slice of bologna back into the case, which I think showed a great deal of self-control, because the temptation to flip it into Sour Face's hair and say, "Don't worry, it's on the house," must have been absolutely overwhelming.

I exchanged a look with the deli girl, which sent Sour Face into some sort of palpitating state -- perhaps the vapors -- and that pleased me to such an extent that I nearly forgot what kind of turkey I wanted.

And just for the record, if the deli girl had whipped that bologna at that old bat, I would have told the manager that Sour Face did it to herself.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

stories like these are why this blog has a sub-title

So I was coming home from work yesterday, and when I scheduled myself to work till 5:00 PM, I made the mistake of forgetting there was a game. A home game.

So I was stuck in Squirrel Hill Tunnel traffic coming home around 6 PM and there was this big van full of boys...I'll be generous and say they were in college. Or perhaps some sort of institution. So they see me in the lane next to them, and one of them sends out the "check her out" signal and they all press themselves up against the glass like little monkeys. So they keep winding up just in front of me as the lanes seesaw back and forth, advancing toward the tunnel, and one of them presses this piece of paper up against the window that says "PLEASE CALL ME!!" with his phone number on it underneath and he starts gesturing at himself. I start laughing -- because honestly, what the hell -- and then my phone starts ringing. So I reach in my bag and pull out my phone, and he starts bouncing up and down and they're all going "NUH-AWW!!" at him or whatever it is little monkey boys say to each other, and meanwhile I'm talking to my brother. Just as well. It was probably an outing for America's Youngest Glaucoma Patients.

This happened last week. I was alone at home standing by the window, just enjoying the breeze. Now, our neighbor's house is close. Not so close that I could touch it just by leaning out the window, but if I were on the roof, I might be able to jump onto their house, assuming that I could get onto the roof, could get a running start, and wanted to wind up on a Vonage commercial.

Anyway, I saw this bottle of Spic N Span sitting on their window ledge. So I start yelling, "Don't do it! You have so much to live for! Formula 409 is on her way over, and I just know you two can work it out!" And I went on and on, because I'm always freaking like this, even when I'm alone. So I'm making myself crack up at my own sheer hilarity, and then I hear the neighbor's car start.

Good times.

And finally, the family across the street is moving. My brother used to fuck their daughter, and after that ended, they all decided they're afraid of us or something. They won't make eye contact with us. I pretend not to know what's going on an I have long conversations with them even as they fail to acknowledge that I am talking to them. After this latest episode, I'm going to start describing bowel movements at length. Mine, my family's, people at work, diapers I've changed, and just in general. Possibly while they're having an open house. Possibly inside it.

The bastards filed a complaint with the borough about the little patch of Queen Anne's Lace (which is a wildflower) growing next to our driveway. Now, I know what overgrown weeds look like. This was a little patch of flowers. And so the borough sends my mother a bunch of letters in the mail (actually, it was the same letter twice because apparently Forrest Gump runs the Forest Hills borough) telling her that if she didn't remove said "weeds on hillside" that were "in excess of 10 inches" then she would have charges filed against her with the possibility of a several-thousand-dollar fine, jail time, or both. Meanwhile, by the time the letter came in the mail, my mother had already pulled up everything that was growing there. The whole handful.

Now, what makes this extra-hilarious is that the fucking police had to come out and take notice of our little patch of renegade flowers before they could send us this bullshit in the mail. About three years ago, one of their fellow officers was shot by some drug dealer not a half a mile from our house. The guy hid in a patch of four trees and somehow got away even with every police officer in the greater Pittsburgh area on his ass. So until they find the guy who shot their buddy, I won't be taking them very seriously. They've gotten nowhere -- they just act really suspicious of normal people now, like when my brother got pulled over in the spring and the cop acted like he would have no possible reason to have a jack in his car. Apparently the Forest Hills police department uses the same amazing mental super-powers to change tires as they do to solve crime.

Someone had to report our terrorist wildflowers, and as mom said, "I'd bet a pint of my own blood that it was them, because who else but someone selling their house would give two shits about some fucking wildflowers in someone else's yard?" (Mom and I share the same delicate constitution.)

So far, our vengeance has been limited to having loud conversations in the front yard. Here's the one we had last night.

"HEY, AMANDA, DO YOU SEE ANYTHING OVER 10 INCHES IN THE YARD? I'D HATE TO GO TO JAIL, BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WEEK ON DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES."

"I CAN'T BE SURE, MOM. LET'S GET OUT THE TAPE MEASURER. OR PERHAPS SOME GIANT ASSHOLE COULD COME OVER AND LEND US THEIRS."

"THEY BETTER HAVE A TAPE MEASURER, 'CAUSE IT'S FOR DAMN SURE THAT NOTHING ELSE IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD IS OVER 10 INCHES."

(See what I mean about our delicate nature?)

I'm sure that this is going to turn into the Wildflower Chronicles. I'll keep you all posted, since not all of you live close enough to read about it in the paper.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

higher learning will never be the same

I'm going to look like one of the students and no one is going to know who I am until I start passing out papers and writing on the chalkboard. Then again, I thought Bob Day* was a farmer auditing my Chekhov class, so maybe there's something to be said for looking like an imposter.

What you might have guessed by now is that I'm finally doing it. I am applying to grad school.

Well, okay, not really. I've got a big list of possible places (I think about 14) and I'm looking through them and choosing where I want to apply, because I can't afford to apply everywhere with application fees running as high as $75 for some schools. But this is the price I guess I literally have to pay for the schools I have on my list. Warren Wilson. Goddard. Bennington. Fairleigh Dickinson.

Dear god, I'm going to go down in flames.

That's not true. Though it might amaze some of you to know, I do write serious things. Painfully serious things. They're not very long.

I like poetry for its economy of language. I think that's because concentrating on brevity means I only have to think seriously for a short time. (Know thyself and all that.)

After I get my MFA, I'll be all ready to teach. Or so the theory goes. Knowing me, I'll get a post-MFA teaching certificate. If I can overeducate myself, I will. After I've sufficiently stuffed my head full, I'll be moving...somewhere. New England, maybe. A lot of the schools I'm interested in are in New England, but since I'm doing a low-residency program, I'll still be here in Pittsburgh full-time and traveling there twice a year for about a week at the start of each semester. Even two weeks a year in New England is exciting to me. (Don't worry -- I will never, ever root for the Patriots. They could be playing the Cowboys and I wouldn't root for them. Hell, they could play the Browns and I wouldn't root for them. How could I? I'd already be so busy trying to light the stadium on fire.)

I think it's safe to say that my future students, who are probably freshmen or sophomores in high school right now (assuming it doesn't take me years and years to find some college somewhere that will hire me) should probably start drinking now. Some of the schools require that I teach a course -- not just a single class, mind you, but an actual course -- before I graduate. I'd say that everyone in Pittsburgh should start drinking now, but football season has already begun.



*Bob Day was a professor of mine in college. My goal in life is to be just like him, but with less Jack Daniels, as I prefer vodka.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

this is what i get for never streaking on may day

Almost 20 years. That's how long it lasted. 19 years and just shy of 8 months. And now it's gone. That was how long I went without ever having to say, "Today, my brother saw me naked."

I was getting ready to take a shower this afternoon. I started the water, took off my pajamas, and I was standing there cleaning my ears and waiting for the water to warm up when I heard a tiny clink in the dining room. I knew that sound -- it was keys on the table. A silhouette immediately appeared. I swung the door shut. "Sorry," I called, trying not to sound like I was wishing my head would just explode, "I didn't realize you were coming home so soon." I knew he was coming home to to laundry, but I didn't expect that it would be in the afternoon. Obviously, or I wouldn't have had my kibbles and bits on display.

The whole time I was in the shower, I tried to come up with various ways in which it didn't actually happen. I'd imagined him. It was really a robber who likes to drop keys on the table before he robs a place. He was struck hysterically blind. He was engaged in a tantric blink and his eyes had been closed the whole time. But eventually, I had to get out of the shower. He was in the basement when I came out, my robe knotted in several places.

"Dude. Sorry about that."
"I don't care. I've seen Papa naked."

Of course he has. Everyone has seen our father naked. People who don't even know him have seen him naked. (That is not hyperbole.) I used to have to remind him to put pants on when my friends would visit. And by used to, I mean in 2004. Interesting note -- I haven't lived with him since 2003.

So, that was that. Almost two decades -- it was a good run, but all good things have to come to an end eventually. I don't see why, but this is what I've been told, usually after some analagous catastrophe. Whatever, I've changed his diapers. Somewhat less recently than 2004, though.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

at least the pro-lifers are leaving me alone

MySpace would be fabulous if it were not for:

- PeoPLe wHo tyPE lIkE ThiS. Although it does make it extra-easy to spot idiots.
- The following pieces of punctuation did not exist: ~ and *
- Everyone was required to show proof of age before joining.
- People didn't believe hoax bulletins about a MySpace tax or getting your profile deleted or that 200 virgins will meet you in heaven if you -- wait, that last one is fundamental Islam.
- Random losers didn't message me every day. What the fuck -- I finally put up an actual picture of myself (not even a GOOD one) and now I get at least one message a day from a stranger. Stranger emails don't bother me. It's that none of them are even barely coherent. If I see "holla atcha boy" one more fucking time, I'm going to stab somebody.
- Couples didn't assume I want to be their chew toy simply because I am bisexual. Okay, so this isn't limited to MySpace, but I get more messages like "Hey my gurl and me was lookin 4 a bi chick to kick it wit an we saw ur pic check out our pics an holla back" on MySpace than anywhere else. In fact, that's the only place.
- No one put songs on their profile and Fred Phelps was in little bits in somebody's compost heap. That second one is just a general statement, though.

Friday, September 01, 2006

fuck the park service!

If you've seen "Grizzly Man," then you'll find this snort-worthy.

If you haven't seen "Grizzly Man," go turn on the Discovery Channel and wait for it to be on again in a 9-hour block.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

today's secret word is "insomnia"

I should be in bed, but I'm all fired up because I just wrote a letter to the editor about Plan B. Also, I appear to have sustained some sort of English injury. To my back. I think maybe there's a participle dangling between my shoulder blades. I hope I didn't split an infinitive back there. (Somewhere, someone's grandma just laughed at those horrible jokes.)

So I'm sitting here thinking about stuff and listening to the radio (good show, Dave, although through most of it I was in a writing haze and fantasizing about becoming a political speechwriter) and I remembered something I wanted to share with all (five) of you. Last night I watched a little bit of PeeWee's Playhouse. After about a minute and a half, the picture-phone rang and I started to wonder if I had somehow ingested peyote.

When I see part of a cartoon that kids today watch, I think, "No wonder they've all got ADHD." Having now watched PeeWee's Playhouse and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the same week as an adult, I have come to the conclusion that this is the reason we are all on drugs.

A lot of people try to return to their childhood as they begin adulthood. I think that because so many of us associate floating disembodied heads, talking furniture, screaming, and psychedelic colors with our childhood, we find hallucinogens to be a blast from the past and a half.

Friday, August 25, 2006

i can't believe this doesn't end with "and then i punched her in the face"

The other weekend, Mom and I went with our friend BA to a craft fair in Ohio. It's pretty nice stuff -- sure, there's the usual idiotic cutesy crap, but most of it was made by people with a remarkable amount of skill. I bought an antique end table handpainted with roses, among a few other things. Most of the jewelry I looked at would have cleaned out my checking account.

Mom and I were in one booth looking around, and I picked up a little cloth sheep and we both went "Baa-aa-aa!" Here I must explain to those of you who've never been around me or my mother. We're nuts. Also, we make sheep noises. Explanation over.

So we're baaing back and forth and from behind us comes the voice of insanity. "Oh, isn't that cute! I picked that up and it said baa!"

"Oh, that was us."
"Really? Oh, it sounded so real!"
"Nope. Just us."
"That's so funny! Are you sisters?" (Right there, we should have known the woman was insane. My mom is hot, but come on -- she still has 30 years on me.)
"Thank you, but no. She's my daughter."
"Oh, gee! Now, what do you call yourselves? Something like The Ba-aa-ad Girls?"
"Uh, no. It's just something we do...we don't really know why."
"That's great. I'm a freelance photographer and videographer..."

I shit you not. So this woman whips out a camera and starts directing her daughter to pick up one of the little sheep and for us to start baaing as soon as she touches it. Not yet realizing the depths of her lunacy, we complied.

When she was done humiliating her daughter, for whom I feel unending pity, she turned the camera on us and said "Those sound effects were brought to you by The Ba-aa-ad Girls..."

"Amanda..."
"...and Ellie."

She kept rolling. So we kept baaing. We baaed an entire conversation. That film should be subtitled as follows:

"Why is that fucking thing still on?"
"I have no idea. Do you think that if we knock her down and run, people would notice?"
"Who brings a videocamera to a craft fair?"
"I guess that's the thing to do if you've just been let out of the asylum."

By now, people were starting to mill around and watch. They probably just wanted to look at the sheep.

"So, how did you guys get started doing this stuff? Do you do any other animals or voices?"

And then my mother, in an attempt to save herself, turned on me.

"Oh, she can do any voice or impression of anything. She's so funny!"

Damn you, mother. Damn you.

"Really! What else can you do? Do something funny!" Blink, the camera goes on.

"Do that Shakespeare thing," my mother urged while at the same time trying to become semiaqueous and slip through the cracks in the wall. She was referring to the impression of a British narrator from a history film that I saw in high school and which is only funny after I've set it up and you're expecting something serious.

"I love Shakespeare," she said. Of course she does.

"Actually, it has nothing to do with Shakespeare. And it's not even funny, really, unless --"

"Do it!" Mom was still made of solid matter but had managed to slide out of the shot.

"Henry VIII..." and I launched into it with no setup. I kept going on autopilot as I backed up and a crowd gathered and pointed at me and whispered to each other, probably trying to figure out what sitcom they'd seen me on. Sorry, guys, that was Rosie O'Donnell.

Still, she was not satisfied. "What else do you do?"

"Uh...really, it's hard to think of a good example when I have this display of wooden sheep digging into my back."

We managed to get away. Temporarily. In a giant, crowded outdoor space, we managed to run into this woman about every 15 minutes. And of course, she'd see us and baa at us. After the third time, Mom said, "I can't believe this fucking place isn't big enough to lose her."

Every time we ran into her, her daughter looked like she'd lost a little more of her will to live. Also, our relationship seemed more and more significant each time. Normal people would have chuckled once and then politely ignored us. Because what else is there to say? We baaed, you taped us, we wished we were born mute. That's the extent of our relationship. Or so we thought.

I think we're on her Christmas-card list now. We had to leave before we wound up on vacation together.

It could be worse. I could be one of the people she's going to force to watch that tape.

Friday, August 18, 2006

a wise woman once wondered, "what the fuck?"

What's up with all the barely-legal little boys wanting to be my friend on MySpace? Not only do I feel weird for having a profile on there now that everyone and their chihuahua has their own profile, but seriously, what do I want with an 18-year-old? (Or a 15-year-old pretending to be 18.) Some of these children are in high school. High school!

Some kid wearing an Abercrombie shirt in his profile photo sent me a friend request. Apparently he works there, too. (I think they make you wear their clothes when you work there...of course, if you worked for that kind of company, you're probably not smart enough to realize that they're an evil empire or that their clothes are ugly.) In his interests, he listed his girlfriend's name. Also, he was looking at the camera as though he wanted to give it scabies. I smell a Nobel Prize in his future, don't you?

Come to think of it, what the hell does he want with me? I've compiled a possible list of his motivations.

- he wants to discuss Paul Auster
- he would like a recipe for a Key Lime pie that's so good it'll make you slap your own mouth
- he was wondering what the difference is between "it's" and "its"
- he has to learn how to drive a stick
- he needs a tutorial on cunnilingus
- he would like to fully understand why Rick Santorum should be set aflame
- he is an idiot

Definitely has to be one of the above.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

it's crazy...it's creepy...it's essentially really a useless ability

I have yet another weird vaguely psychic story about me and one of my co-workers. True story.

So, I guess it was Friday night (could have been earlier in the week because I have a habit of remembering dreams way fucking after they happen) that I had a dream about a friend of mine at work named Brendan. Actually, he's sort of like my boss, but I pretend not to notice. That seems to be something I do a lot, but those are other stories for other times with other parental advisories to go before them.

I dreamt that I was in the car with Brendan and he kept telling me that we had to get to Locust Drive. Locust Drive, Locust Drive, we had to get to Locust Drive. I thought this was a weird frigging dream, even for me. Probably because no one died. People tend to meet violent ends around me in my dreams. Sort of like in real life.

Brendan walked by me and said "I'm Batman." Did I mention that a while back I had a dream he was Batman? Yeah. True story.

So, that reminded me that I'd had another dream about him. I figured we would joke about Penguin being on Locust Drive or something and we'd have a good chuckle. Instead, as I repeated "Locust Drive" to him, his face shifted into an expression usually reserved for things like seeing the dead rise up from their graves or happening to catch part of the evening news.

He started at me. I've never seen eyes that wide. I thought maybe I had a booger. Or a french fry hanging from my lip like a half-forgotten Marlboro.

"Amanda," he said. I think maybe I blinked. I tried to make a joke.

"What? Did you..." I said the first thing that popped into my head. Living on Locust Drive would be too obvious. A slightly fresher quip would be funnier, and then I could check for boogers or fries on my face. "Did you grow up on Locust Drive?"

He nodded. Slowly. Still vaguely terrified of me, I think.

"Seriously?"

"Yes. And not on Locust Street or Locust Avenue, but Locust Drive."

This is crazy. This is creepy. I got out of the car and we did the only thing you can do in these situations. We told Dave.

"Holy shit," said Dave. (He says this sometimes. Usually when I've done something crazy and/or creepy. Which I do sometimes.)

"Let me get this straight," he said. Dave is not impressed by psychic ability. "So, you said Locust Drive first, and then you said you lived there?" Brendan nodded. "Wow. That's impressive." (But sometimes he is.) "You know," he said to Brendan, "she rescued me once when I ran out of gas." Oh, Dave. I've told everyone this story. Why? Because it was crazy and creepy and you already knew about it. "You should figure out a way to use your power for evil instead of good," he said.

Although really, who's to say that I'm not already?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

lust, grasshoppers, and rambling boredom (not necessarily in that order)

Have you ever been so bored and unable to sleep that you looked up an ex's blog and read it? If that's not hitting bottom, then I don't want to know what is. I was on some totally non-related website and thought "I wonder what [BLEEP] is up to." (That's not his real name, but it would be funny if it were. Brackets and all.)

I of course went to Livejournal and looked him up. Who the fuck still has a Livejournal? Better question -- who intentionally reads her loser ex's Livejournal? This is like a contest for who has become the most pathetic. Even though he has a better-paying job and a girlfriend, I still think he takes the Loser Crown for various reasons. Star Wars sheets is in the top 5. I hope he doesn't read this, because I don't really hate him and I wouldn't want him to feel bad. I'm just saying, though. Burn those.

So I glance through at the scattering of uninteresting posts -- most of which were links to stuff on CollegeHumor. If you're not familiar with CollegeHumor, congratulate yourself on not being a freshman in college. Freshmen are the only people on the planet who should not be punished by death for frequenting that site. Everyone else -- flamethrower.

I guess I'll continue this train wreck of a story. So I get to one post, and it's all the lyrics to a song that I once put on a CD I made for him and it's under the title "For [BLEEP]". (Once again, not her real name. That would be confusing.)

I don't know this girl, and I have absolutely nothing against her. Nor am I seething with some weird jealousy that he used "my" song. But seriously, out of all the love songs in the world, did you HAVE to choose that one? Then again, creativity was never one of his strengths. It just struck me as obnoxious. And also, if I were her, I'd be pissed if I found out my boyfriend used a song with which his ex had once had a Pavlovian sort of association in a cheesy blog love shout-out straight out of junior-high-style courtship. Could have been worse, though. At least the song wasn't "Amanda," because that most assuredly is not her name.

That's enough of thinking about him. I've been nauseated for three days as it is and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. I wish I had a specific person to blame this on. Then I would have someone to slaughter.

I filled up my tank tonight on my way home from work. I stopped at the same BP station I always go to. And for the second time in a row, there was a grasshopper on the roof of my car. And for the second time in a row, it did not want to leave. It sat there as I tried to coax it off with my debit card. Then it jumped onto me. At least it didn't go down my shirt like the moths at the work parking lot. They gravitate like, well, moths to the lights outside the doors, and then, I suppose, attracted by the glow of my pale, pale flesh, fly straight down my cleavage as I walk to my car. If there is security video of this happening, I'd love to see it. I could probably win a million dollars. It's a three-step process:

- I go outside.
- I am walking like a normal human being.
- I am possessed by Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance.

It's like some bizarre Riverdance-inspired mating dance. Because oh dear god, it's been way too goddamn long. This is cruel to the point that Amnesty International is going to have to intervene on my behalf. If you get a mailing from them, for the love of god, sign the petition and the little "hang in there" card, and if you really care, scribble a dirty limerick or something under your name. It is a dark, dark hour. And I'm out of batteries.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

things i don't like

You know what pisses me off? A lot of shit. But here's a small assortment of rants.

- People who say flippant shit like "make up your mind" referring to bisexuals. Don't you fucking think we would if we could? This is especially infuriating when it comes from gay people, who ought to fucking understand that it's not a goddamn choice. Why don't you go hang out with the 700 Club assholes, you fucking hypocrites?

- Mosquitoes and my deliciousness. I have more bites than I can count. I think I have one on my ovary. I'm not sure.

- Little helpful hint -- if you're calling someone to tell her whether or not she has a potentially deadly/life-altering illness, don't fucking chit-chat with her beforehand. No one wants a segue from the weather to "you're going to need a hysterectomy." Lead with "you don't have cancer" and then feel free to tell me whatever the hell you want.

- Russian lifeguards. Actually, it's just one specific Russian lifeguard, but he's ruined it for the rest of the class.

- People who for some reason "don't believe" in global warming. The current temperature trend notwithstanding, global warming is scientific fact. Just like evolution. It's not something for you to believe in. You can hold proof of evolution in your hand. And soon, you'll be able to reach out and touch a glacier, because everything is fucking melting.

- The AZN network.

- The Family Circus comic strip. Every once in a while I accidentally read it, because it's usually about 6 words and a stupid drawing, and it's possible to read it without even realizing what you're doing. There is no one left alive in the country who finds The Family Circus charming. No one has ever found it amusing.

- Anything remotely related to Mel Gibson.

- Rick Santorum's campaign ads. Nobody fucking cares that your grandpa was a steel worker for 147 years and he came from Not America and he had fourteen cents and half a cracker when he immigrated and then raised 93 children. We're not voting for your grandpa, you idiot. My grandpa grew up in Braddock and taught himself to read. He was also a racist who thought my mother was a whore. Note the subtle contrast between the generations.

- Joyce Carol Oates.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

next time, somebody tell me

I am slightly obsessive about my teeth for two reasons. One, I had braces for five years. Two, I hate the dentist. So I brush and floss and rinse and spit and cross my fingers and wonder if there's a dentist somewhere around here who will put me under the next time I need a filling, because the last time, we discovered that Novacaine doesn't work on me. And by "we," I mean I screamed and tried to get away and the dentist laughed and continued drilling into my head. There is something vaguely serial-killer about that, I think.

So usually after I eat, I check my teeth just to make sure there's nothing stuck. There almost never is, but I do it anyway. Yesterday, I was about to inspect my choppers when someone walked into the bathroom. Not wanting to look like a fool with my face all up in the mirror, I washed my hands and left. I probably smiled at whoever it was, too. She was the first person who should have said something.

I went on with my day, had a meeting of sorts with a supervisor (a particularly fun time in the day when you're pulled into a darkened room and told everything that you've done wrong, which is also printed out in list form for your personal enjoyment -- it seems like there should be spankings, too, but so far, no luck) and talked to various people. I'm sure I smiled at every one of them.

I got home and watched some tv with Mom. I had a couple drinks. I went to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror, and there, framing my two front teeth like two very tiny but precisely placed bookmarks, were the biggest fucking pieces of pepper I've ever seen in my life. I suspect they stowed away in my honey mustard dipping sauce I had with my Wendy's deliciousness for dinner. (By the way, that sauce should be included in the Bill of Rights. No American should be forced to eat fries without honey mustard.) Either that or they were in the salad dressing. Maybe it was a mix-and-match kind of thing, a United Nations of fast-food condiments joining forces in my mouth with the common goal of making me look like a goober.

Really, I should be proud.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

never go to planned parenthood without your camera and a zoom lens

Tonight Trina and I went to the Dixie Chicks concert because my Mother won tickets at work. The concert was fantastic -- when they first walked on stage, they played "Hail to the Chief." That's the first time in a long time I've heard that song and didn't feel suicidal.

Anyway, the concert, while excellent, isn't what I want to tell everyone (all 5 of you) about. Rather, it's the freaks who were lining the sidewalks in front of the Mellon Arena carrying pictures of "aborted" fetuses. It's hard to make anti-choice idiots funny, but I'll do my best.

One man tried to give me information about breast cancer. (One of their favorite myths is that abortion and breast cancer are linked. They also like to pretend that birth control is linked to breast cancer. If they were morally opposed to rutabagas, they would say that rutabagas cause breast cancer. It's a favorite threat that they cling to it even though there is no scientific evidence to back it up. Check with the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, a doctor, or anyone who can read above a 5th-grade level and they'll all tell you the same thing -- no correlation.)

I told Breast Cancer Man that I was on my way to get an abortion today, but his picture of a mangled fetus changed my whole outlook on life, and thank you ever so much. Trina told him to get a vasectomy. Good times.

Then we booed some other idiot with a fetus poster. On the other side, the thing said "Abortion kills babies and hurts women." I'm all about equality and I don't like men-bashing, but a sign like that really loses whatever impact it might have when it's held by a man.

Then we yelled at some stupid woman holding a sign. I think I may have called her a disgrace to women everywhere -- who can remember? I think the cunt actually started praying. That really sends me into a rage. Don't fucking pray for me. Me and my soul are just fine.

Then we talked -- rather civilly, in fact -- to another woman holding up one of these fetus-boards. First of all, let me tell you a little bit about this fucking fetus. Its intestines are all on the outside, it's got half a leg, and other assorted reasons why nature said "no." Is it sad? Of course. Especially since it was (allegedly) a 28-week fetus, which looks remarkably like an actual human being. (Unlike the fetuses that are actually aborted, which look like jello that got dropped in dirt.)

So this woman told us the story of this allegedly aborted fetus. She said it was found in a dumpster with "thousands" of fetuses. She told us it was so mangled because it was a chemical abortion. She also told us its name was Malachi.

How tragic for poor little Malachi. But anyone with slightly more intact faculties than a mangled fetus is capable of coming up with a few little handy bullet points to contradict every word she said.

- All aborted fetuses are required by law to be cremated. They don't throw a surgically removed tumor into the regular trash -- why the fuck would they toss out a fetus like that?

- In what city are there thousands of abortions performed in one clinic on one day? I'll even give them a week. Thousands? That would be Mt. Fetus. Also, whose job is it to go wading through this pile of goosh? There's an episode of "Dirty Jobs" you're not going to see anytime soon.

- A chemical abortion is only used in the first trimester, and this fetus was allegedly 28 weeks. And it's not like napalming your uterus -- it's a pill.

- Malachi is a stupid-ass name. Why not just name it New Testament?

I looked all this up here. (Among other places.) It has a copy of the photo we saw. Apparently there are two versions of this photo -- one where the color has been altered and another where it hasn't. The real photo shows the fetus with gray skin. That means that it died in utero.

We saw the doctored-up photo where it's all pink, because I guess they want their mangled fetuses to look as cute and cuddly as possible. The moral of the story is that the fetus was technically aborted, BUT that it was aborted because the fetus was already dead. It's removing dead matter from your body, not terminating the pregnancy.

(And that is what a late-term abortion typically is, not sucking the brain out of an otherwise healthy fetus. And if someone tells you otherwise, punch them in the fucking neck.)

Anti-choice groups are notorious for taking pictures of miscarriages from various places and using them as examples of abortions. They particularly like to use the third-trimester ones.

Once again, a conservative pet cause is masterminded by a small group of people who know what they're doing (in terms of propagandizing) in order to make a large group of well-meaning but intellectually weak people support something by relying on emotion and misinformation.

The debate is not over whether abortion is good or bad. I don't think anyone honestly thinks that abortion is some wonderful thing. The issue is whether it should be legal or not -- of course, the answer is yes. When abortion is criminalized, it doesn't stop. It just becomes more dangerous. If the anti-choice protestors like we saw today were really about helping babies, then they'd be lobbying for more readily available birth control, free condoms, and better sex education for kids and teens. They'd also give half a shit about these children after they're born and support programs like WIC.

Instead, these protestors are pawns in an emotional game meant to manipulate women and punish everyone for having sex without the desire to have a baby.

The men behind the curtain in this particular scheme are Santorum and his ilk. They want a society that is all the same -- because if we're all followers of his philosophy of life, then he can control us. He and other reptilian right-wingers want nothing but power and they will do anything to get it. They masquerade as pious men because piety is still revered by most. Then they take up causes that fit in with this false piety. Suddenly they're damn near holy. And what do idiots do?

They herd themselves to the polls.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

i lived the dream! and vicariously, so can you

We all have certain things we've always wanted to see. For Dane Cook, it was a guy getting hit by a car. Living in Pittsburgh, where it seems every year some poor fool gets creamed by a bus in Oakland, that one's not too high on my list. (Note -- this is only because it is a given that I will eventually witness this. Don't wish for what's already written in the stars.)

Being a lover of bad movies, (bad in a sense that the plot holes are so enormous that even GW Bush would notice them, not bad in the sense that it stars Richard Gere) I have always wanted to see a movie where a guy who's supposed to be dead blinks and no one notices. And I don't mean we're supposed to think he's dead but he's really alive -- I want this fucker's role to be "Corpse" when he blinks.

Just the other night, I lived that dream. I watched "Snakeeater." If you have On Demand, go order it right now. (It's free, obviously.) Stop reading this and then go watch it because nothing I have to say about the movie is any funnier than watching it. If possible, watch it WITH someone and occasionally say what you think is going to happen in the next scene. You will always be right.

Here are just a few hilarious highlights for those of you who don't have the time to watch it or are bereft of On Demand. I'd like to point out that this movie is NOT a comedy. It's just so bad that it's a masterpiece of suck.

- A woman runs out of a room into a hallway. She leaves out sight, we hear a loud noise, and then she swings by the doorway in a giant net.

- A guy gets gagged with a live fish by a band of yokels. Hilarious on several levels, because nothing is preventing this guy from spitting out said live fish. Also because the lead yokel had to go fishing with the intention of catching a fish to gag a guy with. (This takes place on a houseboat in a river.)

- A woman gets killed by having her head boiled. She doesn't attempt to get away, scream, or really even resist. The guy salts the water before boiling her head.

- Several times, people get knocked out by being hit on the back with something.

- A guy refers to his motorcycle as a "hog chopper." (I'm not sure about this because I don't know much about motorcycles, but that seems to be an oxymoron of sorts. Are these not two different kinds of motorcycle? If any one of you five readers out there know if this is an actual term, let me know. Although I maintain that it still sounds ridiculous.)

- The one guy looks just like Kenny Rogers.

- A motorcycle gets turned into a speedboat, but they had no reason to ruin the motorcycle at all -- basically, it's just turned into a giant steering wheel. Who needs a rudder?

- A woman is kidnapped and locked up in a shack in the woods that has several windows with no glass in them and a dirt floor. She's not tied up. She has tools inside the shack. If you can't escape from that, then you deserve to be raped by a band of rednecks.

- A woman who lives on a marina inexplicably has roller skates hanging on her wall. If this doesn't immediately strike you as pants-shittingly hilarious, just imagine someone roller-skating down a boardwalk.

- The main character, on the motorcycle boat, hits some sort of floating-log trap. His gun, on clearly visible fishing line, goes flying.

- The band of yokels has a semi-retarded member who has the most bizarre haircut ever. You know how monks have that weird band of hair and the rest of their head is shaved? It's kind of like that, but in relief. He has a tuft of hair, a ring of baldness, and then a ring of hair. This man actually did this to his real hair. He had to get up every morning and shave his bald ring before going in to shoot.

- The main character paints himself with dirt while setting up a handful of traps in the woods. This is mostly hilarious because immediately before he gets all dirt-painted, you see him crouching down, shirtless, and it is impossible not to say "I'm surprised he hasn't smeared dirt in war-paint designs all over himself by now."

- The band of yokels apparently kill people using a fake bear claw. While they maul people to death, they snarl and sound just like freaking bears. They must have gone to a zoo or into a den to get this audio. We are supposed to believe that the Head Yokel is making these noises himself. This is how Kenny Rogers gets killed.

- After being KILLED, one yokel is lying on the ground in his new role as Dead Body, and as his yokel brethren are gathered around him, he blinks. It's not even a twitch -- it's a blink that is so obvious, you can even see it during rewind. And you will, because as you see it, you will go "Did that fucker just blink?!" and then you will rewind it. Then you'll go "Holy shit, he blinked!" and then you will roll around in your seat for a while. (If you're planning on watching the movie, it's the guy with the hat. Watch for it. Do not eat or drink before or during watching the movie. You will either shit yourself or vomit.)

- A brand-new threesome of characters is introduced in the last five minutes. You have no idea where they came from or who they are or why they are all firing so many shotguns or why those shotguns apparently never need to be reloaded.

- One of these new guys takes several blasts to the chest and falls over dead. The camera cuts to something else for three seconds, then the nameless guy we just saw die is standing back up and gets off a few more shotgun blasts before he dies. Again.

- Lots of unnecessary rolling to avoid gunshots.

- Non-fatal kidney wound to the main character.

- A guy gets killed with a cow skull. (Almost Biblical when you consider the resurrections.)

- The Head Yokel talks with accents. Not with one accent, but with all of the different accents he could think of. He was vaguely southern, Appalachian, British, a New Yorker, a Bostonian, Irish, and, for a moment, Miss Cleo.

- There was someone in the credits with the title of "Continuity."

How could it get any better than that? I'll tell you -- there are sequels. Someone wrote and someone else financed not one, but two sequels. Comcast needs to get on this.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

adventures with stupid

I had a couple Cokes tonight, so I'm a little buzzy with caffeine. So I'm going to use this opportunity to talk to you all about a problem that I believe is destroying our world. That problem, my darling readers, is stupidity. I know you have witnessed stupidity in your own lives -- in those around you and maybe even occasionally in yourselves. I know I have.

Last night as I was about to go through the Ft. Pitt tunnel, I saw that the left lane was closed. Specifically, I noticed the first of several large orange signs conveniently placed by the shoulder of the road telling me about the lane closure. I also saw the road flares, line of giant orange-and-white barrels, the giant red X hanging over the lane, and the flashing yellow arrow that is the size of my (now normal-sized) car. So I changed lanes. I slowed down a little, put on my turn signal, looked to my right, and moved over. This is all standard car-operating procedure, right? I don't really recall a question on the driver's test that asks "what do you do when PennDOT has closed your lane?" or "what does a giant flashing arrow pointing to the right mean?"

Clearly, they have overestimated the intelligence of the average Pittsburgh driver.

Apparently somewhere in the possible answers for both of the imaginary questions I have just posed is the option of "slow down, swerve around as though drunk, then jam the accelerator while you have an average space of 3.8 inches between a) your front bumper and a giant orange-and-white barrel and b) your rear bumper and the car behind you."

See? I didn't know that, but that's what you do. Assuming, of course, that you are not only illiterate and color-blind, but also drunk. (Those are what we call "variables.")

They had out every warning system that is currently available. They just hired a guy to stand out there on stilts juggling more yellow arrows, but his drug test results won't be back until Monday. The sooner he gets out there on the job, the better. Lives depend on the PennDOT juggler.

There's all kinds of road morons. Like the people who think it's my job to let them into traffic. If I slow down and flash my lights at you, I'm doing you a fucking favor. It was not your excellent driving skills that hit my brake -- it was my right foot. Acknowledge this with a little wave. Just a flick of the wrist will say to me "Thank you, fellow human, for letting me in." Because otherwise, I will spend the rest of my drive wishing horrible, agonizing death upon you -- I will wish that you run over Ben Roethlisberger's foot and break his Big Toe. See what happens to you then.

Or the people who think they're going to drive over the edge of a cliff if they don't merge into the fast lane in wall-to-fucking-wall traffic. First of all, if you don't know how to merge correctly, then you do not get to drive over here on the left with the rest of us. Also, holding up the right lane for three miles while you try to somehow navigate your Chevy Behemoth into a space in the coveted left lane that is more fitted for a moped does not make life better for you, me, or the 9,000 people you just made late for work.

And if you are this jackass and I let you in to do the people BEHIND you a favor because you are clearly so stupid that you need help from those around you just in order to function on the road, and you don't so much as nod your head towards me...it's on, bitch.

The thing is, these might be otherwise-intelligent people. They live life perfectly fine except they should be forced to take the damn bus wherever they go so as to spare the rest of us a brain aneurysm someday as we are sitting next to the stupid goddamn sign on 376 that says "Maintain Speed Through Tunnel. Your Speed Is:" and the electronic display reads something like "12" because everyone who passes it is for some reason humbled and awed by a digital display.

Then there are the unforgivable kinds of stupid. I can forgive people who get to the front of the Cash-Only line and whip out a Visa. I can forgive people who randomly ask me if I'm a Christian, as though any answer but "yes" means that I sacrifice infants to Satan. I can even forgive people who think that seafood and marinara sauce is a good combination.

Unforgivable stupid is stuff like voting for Rick Santorum or still insisting that this war was a great idea or being racist. There are even degrees of racist. There are the two-faced racists, who smile at their black cashier at the Giant Eagle and then count their change in the car because they "don't trust those people." Or the ones who chat up a white person in the elevator and ignore the Indian person right next to them.

But then there's another level of racist. These aren't even the KKK members, who keep their identity secret because they know, deep inside themselves, that they should be ashamed of themselves. I'm talking about the people who are proud of their racism like the rest of us are proud of our own accomplishments.

"I graduated from college!"
"I threw a rock at a Navajo!"

I actually had a conversation with one of these Nazis once. He seemed normal, and I gave him my number when he asked for it. And then when he called me, he started dangling his "I'm a racist fucker" medals all around the conversation.

One of the first things he asked me was "Have you ever dated a black person?" (His phrasing was slightly different.)

I was hanging up laundry while we were talking and my mouth hung open for a minute while I formulated a response.

"Of course I have," I lied. I had started seeing a black man once, but it didn't work out.

"Really," he said.

"Yeah -- and I infer from your word choice that you have some sort of problem with that."

"Huh?"

If only I had a cave wall to paint something on for him so I could make him understand.

He went on to tell me why black people are all drug-dealing thugs because he got into a fight with a black guy once and the black guy's friends all joined in the fight and kicked the shit out of him. (I was glad we were on the phone so he couldn't see me celebrating when he got to that part of the story.) And that was it. One bar fight means every single person who is slightly more brown than alabaster is sub-human. Follow the logic from point A to...hey, where'd it go?

Isn't it amazing that I'm single when I have guys like this around to choose from? Not that the women are much more sane, but at least I've never met a racist lesbian. (Ah, but I am still young.)

Then there's the kinds of stupidity that you don't even realize exist until you start overthinking. Just today in the Post-Gazette, I read a little blurb about a serial killer who was charged with killing "11 prostitutes and another woman." The more I thought about this, the angrier I got. Do we have to specifically say that they were prostitutes? Yes, serial killers often target prostitutes because they're easy targets and because it's easy to forget their humanity. And when we refer to the victim of a horrible crime as a prostitute instead of a person, it helps reinforce that status. It didn't say "11 prostitutes and an investment banker," so why does it matter how those 11 other women paid their rent?

I'm not saying that I think prostitution is some wonderful institution. But let's not be so fucking Biblical, shall we? Leave the moralizing to Fox News. After all, there are a lot of worse jobs that pay a lot less. But at least you get health insurance if you work at the dump, and you don't get serial fucking killers trying to get you into the back of their van.

So there are some Adventures With Stupid for you.

Next time I'll tell you why the only thing more idiotic than the War on Drugs was the advice to crawl under a piece of furniture if an atomic bomb is dropped on your town.*

*This is tied with the Terror Alert system, which makes all Pennsylvanians wish for a whiskey IV drip because we remember Tom Ridge before his skull cracked open and vital parts of his brain died and frankly, this just makes us sad and wish for drunken oblivion.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

20,000 wolverines and my very own episode of psychic detectives (sort of)

On Sunday night, Trina, Peter, and I went to Flagstaff to watch the movie. Good times -- we even remembered a blanket. On our way back to the car, this homeless guy was yelling nonsense at all the people filing past. I'm going to break these few seconds down to give you all the full experience of walking past this guy.

He screamed to no one in particular, "I need 20..."

And I thought, "Is this guy really going to ask for $20? That's balls, even for a schizophrenic."

"I need 20 thousand..."

And then I thought, "$20,000? No kidding -- me too. That's more than I make in a year."

"I need 20,000 wolverines!"

And I thought, "How many Woodland Hills class reunions would that take, factoring in all the shooting deaths?"

Then as we walked by him, he leaned in to the three of us and addressed no one in particular in a sultry almost-whisper, "Baby..."

And I thought of that guy who told me I had "more stories than Storybook Forest," which I think is because that's the only time I've ever heard someone begin a sentence with "Baby."

"Baby," he said, "start the bath water."

The shenanigans don't stop there. Don't you know me by now?

So for several months, I've had this sort of notion in my head that one night on my way home from work, I'd find my friend Dave (a guy I work with who has a particularly amusing blog that, like this one, gets updated a couple times a month) broken down on the side of the road and I'd wind up helping him out in some way.

And since getting this new car, I've had this occasional image of him sitting in my passenger seat when it's dark. I didn't think much of this, as I love taking people for a ride in my new car. However, the feeling that I'd one day see Dave pulled over on the side of the road was incredibly strong, and I developed a habit of looking at every car I'd see on the side of the road to make sure it wasn't him.

I was behind Dave tonight as we were leaving work, and even though I had more than enough gas to get me home (about a quarter of a tank) I had the feeling I should go get gas. I hate getting gas on my way to work because it always makes me run late, no matter how early I go. So, as Dave turned left, I decided to switch my turn signal from left to right and go through Canonsburg, get gas, and be on my merry way. I wondered as I merged onto 79 if I'd wind up passing Dave anyway, which has happened before, oddly enough. I was almost to the 279 ramp when I saw a car on the side of the road. I slowed down, and of course, I saw it was Dave's car. I pulled over and rolled down the window.

What else could he say, really, other than "Holy shit!"

I wasn't expecting him to tell me that he had tripped over what appeared to be a body in a garbage bag on the side of the road at the strategically located emergency pull-off spot where he'd left his car.

"As I was walking down the road there my foot hit what felt like a skull."

I didn't want to ask him why he knew what a skull against his foot would feel like. Instead I told him that I'd help him investigate.

"Ever since all those episodes of Forensic Files," he said, referring to the countless hours we spent at work on Court TV shows, "I've been hoping I'd find a body somewhere. And what better place to dump a body than on a highway emergency pulloff?"

(Dream it, you fucking dreamers. We all need dreams.)

So we took off down to a gas station and did some figure-8s around 79 and we got back to his car. We all know I'm always up for a good adventure, so I did indeed climb out of my car on a highway shoulder and go scrambling over the gravel, grass, and bizarrely huge piece of cardboard that looked like it could conceivably be part of a body-dumping plan.

And then we saw the bag. Black, densely packed, tied several times with expert knots. Dave tried to move it. It just lay there. It seemed smaller than I expected. It couldn't be a kid, could it? My heart pounding, I felt the bag. It seemed oddly familiar. And then I knew.

"I think it's sand to keep this sign from moving." Next to the sign, a few feet away and concealed by the darkness, were several identical bags. I assumed these were bags of sand and not a family of obese midgets murdered by PennDOT.

"Damn," said Dave. And really, he was right.

Still, that would have made a kick-ass half-hour of television. "79 Northbound: Expect Delays."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

and now everyone at work knows why my mom calls me "wheezy"

Today at work I was assigned to a show with a really poor video. The color was all screwed up and thusly became the reason for today's mini-tale from officeland.

Caleb: Is that a penguin?
Amanda: ...That's Hulk Hogan.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

john gardner is spinning in his grave and somewhere, bob mooney is weeping

This had me laughing so hard that I started coughing. Then I drooled a little. Then I had to pee. I didn't laugh so hard I had to pee or anything. I just sort of had to pee when I started reading it and then I thought about having to pee but that thing was so funny that I kept reading and then the more aware I became of how I kind of had to pee, the more I felt like I had to pee, so by the end I was twisting in my chair and sort of bouncing.

My Wife will like the first one the most. It made me snort.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

"kefir" is russian for "always drink in a short glass"

Since I was a little girl in Sweden, I have had a love of all things dairy. I remember being about 8 and being the only person brave enough (or perhaps just too young to know better) to sample some fresh goat cheese off some woman's finger. I don't remember why -- I hope this was something she was supposed to be doing and not just some crazy person walking around with a bowl of cheese and sticking her finger in people's faces.

A month or so ago, I first tried goat's milk. It has good flavor, but wasn't smooth enough. Also, the goat on the label was really creepy. I also tried water buffalo yogurt, which I highly recommend. It's so thick, it has an attitude. You dig in a spoon and it hangs on like regular yogurt wishes it could -- it dares you to try to fling it off. Instead, you just slurp it up and go "Mmm." This is not yogurt for the timid. It will sense your weakness and suckerpunch you when you try to open it. And then it will laugh at you. Don't fuck with the water buffalo.

Today, I tried kefir, which is a Russian yogurt-smoothie-milk-drink-thing. You just have to call it "kefir." I don't think there's an adequate English word to describe it. Besides, its friend the water buffalo yogurt might slap you around a little if you call it a smoothie.

It's thick, but not sludgy the way those smoothie drinks tend to be. The flavor is subtle, but more than adequate. You can taste the sharp plain-yogurt flavor, but it's complemented by the strawberry (or blueberry, or pomegranate -- whatever you were lucky enough to grab). You get the sense that you are consuming dairy, not just some mushed-up strawberries with some yogurt splashed in for a creamy texture. It's also good for you. The packaging has all these little facts about kefir, like the people who originally thought it up about 2,000 years ago consistently live to be over 100. And it's probiotic. And it's all-natural. And it knows how to calm down some renegade yogurt. Well, I made up that last one, but I have a feeling I could count on kefir to have my back.

So what if you have terrible cheese-breath afterward? It's delicious. I could have consumed the entire bottle, which is allegedly four servings, in one sitting. I grabbed a spoon to scrape out my glass when holding it upside down over my mouth stopped producing little drops of creamy heaven. Then when I couldn't spoon out any more, I licked the glass. I lament that I do not have a freakishly long giraffe tongue. It would have been worth 23 years of mockery just to know that I'd always be able to get all the kefir out of a glass.

After you try this stuff, you'll wish you were a mutant, too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

manda the couch and the slushie chronicles

I'm not dead, just boring.

So boring, in fact, that I have become furniture:

Manda the Couch

Tonight, Alicia (a friend of mine at work) told me she had a craving for a Slushie. Being the impressionable food-lover that I am, I also started craving a Slushie. Just saying the word is satisfying; it conjures images of blue tongues and those waxy paper cups with the puppy on the side. It rolls off the tongue as easily as the product itself. Slushie. I could feel the side of my hand getting sticky already as we hopped in our cars and took off for the BP station, purported purveyor of all things icy and vaguely berry-flavored, down the road.

On the way there, I kept thinking about the trip that Cindy (my Wife) and I took to Royal Farms during my senior year of college. How four miles and a couple hours could be so memorable, I don't really know.

We talked about bad sex, the crazy guys who fished off the bridge at midnight, and poetry. We drank milk from a dairy case that mooed. We looked at porn. We analyzed the poetic merits of greeting cards. We watched the Krispy Kreme being delivered. Then we ate it.

It was because of these fond memories that my hopes were so high that they were destined to be dashed cruelly against the rocks of Broken Slushie Machines. No vague berry flavor! No numb tongue! No waxy stuff that somehow always gets under your fingernails! No puppy cup! No sticky hands! Woe, woe unto he who wishes for Slushies at 11 PM.

And so it was bereft of icy treats that I had to leave the BP lot. And it was bereft of sanity and possibly night vision that some old man in his Buick Landmasse decided that he needed to not only drive into the lot at that moment as I was exiting, but that he needed to occupy the same space in time that I happened to be using. I'm quite familiar with these people; they all live in the general East End area with me. They think that by driving directly at my car -- but doing so extremely slowly -- will cause my car to shrink, or to become vaporous, or not exist entirely. I'm actually not sure what these people think, but I do know that they don't think about moving over onto their own side of the road, or -- horror of horrors -- yielding to someone else for three seconds.

Because this particular BP lot was designed by a remedial geometry class at the School for the Cross-Eyed, I had to get the nose of my car further over to the left than would ordinarily be desirable. I wasn't blocking access entirely (and cars could certainly drive to the right of my car) but there really wasn't enough room for someone to get through that hole. Strike that. Someone in a LaDouche wasn't going to get through. There was, however, more than enough room for me to pull out. But who yields? Instead, I got to do the Dance of the Indecisive Yet Aggressive Nitwit, where I rock back and forth in first gear, and every time I move forward, he inches toward me, blocking my path. Eventually, he forced me to swing out and go around him as he forced his Coupe De Old Manne into a space more suited for a Barbie Ferrari. And he had the nerve to glare at me -- not angrily, but with a mild look of disapproval.

Watch it, old man. I've threatened more than my share of crossing guards for a lot less. (That condescending "the children are our future; please don't turn them into speedbumps" look makes my blood pressure skyrocket every fucking time.) The only reason I didn't jump out and scream at that jackass is because my coworker was still there. Maybe he'll die in his sleep. On a Manda couch. While I'm having a Slushie.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

magic-eye jesus

Tonight as I was going through the day's mail, I came across an envelope that looked alarmingly hilarious. The front has some garbage about blessing homes and the back has an incorrectly punctuated, badly written, arbitrarily highlighted prayer to Jesus. So of course I had to open it. What sort of hilarity would be on the inside? It's hard to get more idiotic than "bless the one who's hands open this letter," but I had a feeling they'd find a way to make it happen.

I was not disappointed.

Inside was a letter addressed to "someone connected with this address." They don't care who -- obviously, if I am the one to receive it -- but they do have a detailed set of instructions for "someone."

In one of those obnoxious pseudo-handwriting fonts in the middle of the page is written "God's holy blessing power is in the enclosed anointed prayer rug we are loaning you to use!!!"


Just in case you don't get your own miraculous Jesus prayer rug via the USPS, I will explain it to you all.

First, they want me to know that this isn't a scam. They reassure me that they are a "very old church" -- in fact, they're at the ripe old age of 55. They want me to take the enclosed "prayer rug" (which is actually a drawing of a white guy -- so right there, it can't be Jesus) and sit in a room ALONE, which is something they define as "just me and God." I guess they don't know what "alone" means. I'm supposed to focus on whatever I need -- health, joy, peace, "a new car, a new house...or whatever." They tell me I am to lay the prayer rug across my knees as I focus on whatever it is I need. And I will notice as I first look at the prayer rug, Jesus's eyes are closed -- but through what I can only assume is some sort of divine magic, I will see his eyes open! Oh, how lucky I will be to be able to see such a thing. For then I will truly know that Jesus sees my needs. And somehow, the good people at St. Matthew's Churches (they insist on the plural -- I have a feeling this is just some guy named Matt, but I digress) know that because I have been chosen to receive this miraculous gift, I might want to donate to them a significant portion of my IRA. I don't know how they knew this, but I suppose the lord truly does work in mysterious ways. After all, it's not like I'm just anyone -- I'm someone. And I am connected with this address.

They also included an expanded checklist of things to pray for -- just in case I might not be immediately aware of how much my life sucks and how much better it would be if I stopped working and saving my money and instead prayed to a piece of paper and gave them my PIN.

Some of the things on that list are, as I've mentioned, a new car and "a money blessing." And that's when I stopped being amused and started being kind of pissed.

I'm not a religious person, but I do believe in certain things. I don't know if I believe in god as an entity, but if such an entity does exist, it isn't going to start handing out cars or blank checks. If god could bestow money onto mortals, then why wouldn't it deliver an armored car to good old St. Matthew's? Logic trumps religion every time.

Yeah, they're not getting this prayer rug back -- which they do ask for. I'm supposed to return Magic-Eye Jesus (it really does look like one of those Magic Eye drawings from the '90s that would morph from a bunch of spots into some picture as your eye muscles relaxed) along with my completed checklist, and while I'm at it, how about a nice little "seed gift" to help tip the scales in my favor.

On a less significant scale, it irritates me that they'd bill themselves as a "very old" church. 55 years? My dad is older than that. Furthermore, there are churches less than a mile from my house that are more than twice that old. Have these guys ever heard of Europe? Asia? There are some old churches, you fuckers. Go hang out in China and then come tell me how amazing your wouldn't-even-qualify-for-an-early-bird-special church is.

Also, if god wants to contact me, I doubt he's going to go through the mail. Burning bushes would attract a hell of a lot more attention and, I assume, would not be able to accept a monetary donation.

There's also a third page with a bunch of excerpts from letters from people who probably have Pat Robertson on speed dial. And NONE of the letters are actually addressed to St. Matthew's. It's all bracketed in. All but one letter talks about getting money. I guess they know the true spiritual desires of Americans. This lone letter is from a woman who was healed of hip pain by the magical prayer rug. It couldn't possibly be that her body healed or anything -- no, no. She was going to eventually die of hip pain and there was nothing anyone could do. But a piece of paper in the mail from some lunatic made it all better. Take that, medical science.

The other letters all say things like "God blessed us with $10,700." And no one asks where this money came from. As though thousands of dollars materialize all the time. When your unemployed husband comes home to you and your thirteen children with a bag full of money and you say, "Gee, honey, where did that come from?" and he says, "God blessed us. Now where's dinner?" you might want to watch the news that night. Somewhere, there is a store that won't be making its nightly deposit.

All cynicism aside, I'm going to try it. There is something I would very much like to manifest in my life at this time. I'm not sure if it's going to work, though, because it's not on the checklist. But I've written it in -- right between "My Soul" and "A New Car." And I will light a candle, say a prayer, kneel on the prayer rug, and slowly stare into the face of Jesus until his eyes open, and I will keep one glorious image in my mind -- the one thing my heart truly desires above all else. And, hands clasped in prayer at my lips, I will chant one word over and over.

"Taco. Taco. Taco."

delicious, delicious outrage

http://www.fucksouthdakota.com/

Many thanks to Miss Jessica for sharing the joy that is this article.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

killing all kinds of darlings since 1982

A few weeks back, some friends dubbed me the "karate abortionist" because of some joke I made about punching pregnant women in the stomach or something. I actually don't remember why I got the title, but I totally want that on business cards.

Amanda K. Hempel:
Poet, Karate Abortionist

And I have another title I'd like to add to my card: Chair Deconstructionist.

Ok. I am not petite. Nothing about me is small. (Well, except for my car, but through the magic of bumper stickers, it pisses off jackasses in a big way.) Still, I never thought I'd say this--today at work, I broke my chair.

And I don't just mean I bent a wheel or I put it on some goofy setting. Fucker is dead. There is no coming back from this. One of the little starfish-like limbs at the bottom completely snapped off of the chair. I have no idea how it happened. All I was doing was sitting down. I didn't body slam it or jump in--in fact, I wasn't even sitting all the way down yet. I think the wheel got caught in a groove in the little plastic sheet thingy (those things are so annoying--it's easier to roll a chair on carpet than on dented plastic) and then... I don't even know. Maybe it was because I'd just emailed a friend at work and referred to the chair as the Devil because it was so uncomfortable. It just lost its will to live.

So after the snap heard round the office (plastic makes loud noises when it commits suicide--did you know that?) I had to roll my now-gimpy chair into the training room. I suppose I didn't have to roll the chair down the hall, but the alternative was sitting there with the broken chair next to me. And frankly, I was afraid it would be like "Christine 2: Office Chair" and start regenerating its little starfish arm and then exact revenge by breaking my ankle or wheeling me down a flight of stairs. Then I rolled another chair--this one made of genuine pleather--out to my cubicle.

But no, it's not over yet. Then I had to compose an email to my boss explaining what just happened. I didn't hear any guffawing coming from his office (damn) but I'm sure he drooled just a little when he read it. I know I had fun.

It definitely livened up the day before I had to spend 8 hours working on one of the absolute worst shows on television--"Derek Acorah's Ghost Towns." I know, I say that about pretty much all the shows I work on, but I have proof--here's an outline of why it sucks.

A) Everyone sounds like the narrator from the "Henry VIII" film. Some of you know what I'm talking about. The rest of you should give me a call and ask about it. But so you have some kind of a context, I'm talking about horrible quasi-Cockney accents. It's the auditory equivalent of bad breath.

B) I don't know if this particular episode has aired yet, so I will spare you the specifics while sparing myself from getting fired, but the general premise of the show is that this supposed psychic/medium, Derek, runs around the UK with his sidekicks--a "paranormal believer" and an "open-minded skeptic." (They use those phrases in a stock opening as though they are actual credentials. Fuck it, if they can do that, I WILL get those business cards printed.) A ghost-hunting show has to be pretty fucking terrible for me to not like it, and I hope I never again have to suffer through an entire day of trying to decipher what these morons are trying to say. Maybe I just hate the British in general. ...Nah, I could never hate a group of people who drink that much tea.

C) One of the sidekicks is named "Angus."

D) I had to look up stuff on websites that use the word "magick." Kill yourself now if you have ever used that word in anything but an ironic context.

E) They turn off all the lights and record themselves in the dark for absolutely no reason. If I were the spirit of someone who died hundreds of years ago and I were angered by the presence of people in whatever building I was haunting to the point that I was trying to scare them away, then I would not be put off by a lamp.

F) Angus. Seriously.

G) Mumbling and talking over each other.

H) They tool around in a vehicle called the "Ghost Truck."

I) Complete lack of attractive people and wit.

J) British men shrieking because something touched them in the dark.

K) Was his mother craving a hamburger when she named him?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

i'm ok, you're going to hell

So here's a question. Why is it that judgmental people always take offense at being told that they are being judgmental? How can someone literally be in the process of judging someone else's life and then become irate at being told that they are being judgmental?

When some beauty-queen bitch in college thought I was out of earshot, she called me a dyke. Ok, so it's not 100% accurate, but I like the ladies and I really don't care what anyone else has to say about it. When I walked around the corner, I told her that if she was going to try to mock me, she might want to pick something that's actually an insult. The look on her face was priceless. I'd get it printed on Christmas cards if I could, because it gives me a warm feeling in my heart even just to think about how she must have felt at that moment--exactly the way she HOPED it'd make me feel.

If I'm known as a carpet-munching poet for all the rest of my life, then that's fine. I AM a carpet-munching poet. My point is that if you don't want to be known as a judgmental asshole, then don't act like one.

I don't judge, but I can't listen to people who want to dictate how anyone else lives. Whether it's homophobia, anti-choice nonsense, or preachy zealots who want everyone to convert to their religion, I just can't listen to that garbage. That's the general problem I have with this alarming new breed of conservatives--they aren't content just to have an opinion. They want to make sure that everyone else adheres to it.

They can't just not have an abortion--they want me to have the baby, even if I were raped. They can't just go marry a woman--they have to make sure I don't. And I better put down that fucking Koran right this second.

(I apologize to my conservative friends, none of whom have ever bombed a clinic or beat up someone for wearing a turban.)

I am sick of people saying things that are extremely bigoted and then accusing others of being racist. I'm sick of being forced into an argument and then being mocked for sticking up for myself. I'm sick of assholes accusing me of being stupid and naive simply for having a view of the world that doesn't label everything as either Bad or Good.

And you know what? I am not obligated to listen to anyone's bullshit. If you want to go live your life as a nasty, closed-minded person obsessed with meaningless societal norms, then go ahead. I'll be over there with the boys in the dresses.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

amanda tells you what to do (not that you have to listen)

So here's a list of things that have been or are in the process of being phased in or out. So far, this just applies to me, (and some overlap with friends like Trina, though she's probably not with me on the Spaghettios thing) but all six of my loyal readers are invited to adopt these ideas, food items, and snarky comments as tenets in your own lives. It's like Scientology, but without the endorsement of celebrities who have done far too much cocaine. Also, I won't charge you anything to read this.

IN:

Renewed friendships
Body hair
Brunettes
"Campus Ladies"
Spaghettios with Sliced Franks
E85 (ethanol/gasoline hybrid)
Live comedy
Folk singers
Tivo
Long hair
Bohemian-style clothes
Peach-flavored everything
Tea
Early Sunday dinners out
Writing by hand
Gardening
Socialism
Scrambled eggs with ketchup
Same-sex marriage

OUT:

MTV
Foreign-oil dependence
Sitcoms
The guy at work who is my ex's doppelganger
Sleeping until 1 PM
Illiterate pop divas
Pantyhose
Starbucks
Writer's block
CSI
Getting drunk in bars
Intelligent Design
Rick Santorum's political career
Pseudo-reality tv
Engagement rings
South Dakota
High-maintenance relationships
Back pain

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

finish your sentences or no dessert

What is with the subject lines in my spam lately? It wants to be Chekhov, but it's just insane.

"It was a thousand times worse than the taste/smell of the dust rag."

Also, not quite as good but somewhat perplexing... "! --- Geoffrey felt a"

And right up there with "Oprah Winfrey why not?" from last week, "Paul looked at the calendar. Honda Wallpapers She could have gone out the"

Spammers...finish your sentences and I might consider getting my pen!s enlarged. Or perhaps I'll purchase the C!al!s. Or V!agra. Are limp dicks really deserving of all these exclamation points?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

the lackwit epistles--a sporadic series

I attract mail from various idiots, lackwits, and goobers on a nearly daily basis. They seek me out after I've done nothing to provoke them. Well, except for daring to possess both a vagina and an opinion.

Today's idiot emailed me on myspace, a site and cultural phenomenon which I am beginning to think is one of the signs of the Apocalypse. His letter--unnecessary editing and incorrect usage intact--is as follows.

Subject: your a sick bitc+ to kill a kid

how can you kill something inside of you or give it up it is you dumb a++

So many questions immediately arise--is English his first language? Why has he edited himself--does his mom read all of his outgoing email? (To quote my friend Patrick, "You know you're dealing with a zealot when they swear at you and censor it.") Why is he so concerned about the comings and goings of my uterus? Why does he not live in South Dakota, land of Biblical Law? Furthermore, can one engage in a battle of wits if one party is completely unarmed?

Upon reading his profile, one only becomes more confused and ultimately depressed. He is 22 and has a high school education--and two children. I suppose he's angry that my life doesn't suck as much as his. Not that I feel sorry for him. Condoms are cheap, and I didn't make those particular choices for him. I would lament the name "Shiz," however. That's almost as unfortunate as calling yourself "Silver Blue."

I thought for a few minutes (three) and then sent him off a message promoting peace, tolerance, and leaving me the fuck alone.

I resent the implication that I would abort or give away my child.

I've given birth to three lovely children--all of whom were immediately tossed into a wood chipper with extreme love, care, and jump-shot precision.


You may want to begin your betting now--how long until the cops show up at my house to search the back yard for baby slurry? Either that or he'll start leaving me illiterately irate comments here...which will only give me access to his email address, which I will promptly sign up for NARAL action alerts.

Monday, February 27, 2006

phase two: dinner boogaloo

Saturday night I went out with Trina and Peter to Outback for dinner. We discovered that it is indeed difficult to consume two large cocktails, three loaves of freshly killed bread, (does anyone know why they serve it by impaling it with a machete? although if the McDonald's commercials are to be believed, impaling something with a steel object instantly transforms said object into an hors d'oeuvre...I should try that with several Republican senators) a giant fried onion, a plate of salad, and a hamburger the size of your face in a single sitting. Fries don't count.

I made it to about halfway through the burger and so did Peter... and Trina made it about halfway through her steak. Then all of our eyes sort of glazed over and we started moaning and sweating. We continued to hold the food in front of our faces, as though it would speed up our digestive process. I grabbed the waitress and begged her to take the food away from us before we injured ourselves. We of course had it wrapped up, which she brought to us in so much packaging that it looked as though we were going to load it onto our sherpas and take a trek into the Andes.

But we were honest as we slung the giant sacks over our shoulders and lugged our doggiebags out to Peter's car. We knew that as soon as we'd added Time into the equation of our evening, we'd be having Phase Two of dinner. I even stole a fork so we'd be prepared.

We went to the liquor store on our way back to my house for Phase Two and we saw these little half-size bottles. They were eerily small, as though designed for alcoholic midgets or perhaps children. Or an evening with me. They also had tiny bottles like the ones you see on airplanes. And that is how Trina came up with the best idea ever for how to be charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Some of my loyal (read: five) readers may remember a photograph taken of me at Trina's high school graduation party. Her male relatives (actually, I think it was just her brothers and dad) went through about two cases of beer and the empty cans were strewn about the lawn. So we assembled them into a pile and then put me in with the cans and took a photograph that will live in infamy forever.

I think you might see where I am going with this.

Picture it. My son, whom I have given the name "Mortimer" because I was in labor for 37 hours, is lying in his crib, wearing the "Busted Condom" tshirt that his Uncle John purchased for him upon hearing of my pregnancy. I have a lovely cocktail in one hand and a bottle of formula in the other and I have sprinkled the tiny empty bottles all around him. Won't someone bring me my camera? This is one for the album...the one they'll use in court.