[miso pun]

Hello, Thanksgiving break! I spent mine exploring fascinating new culinary experiences, such as in this…

FREEZE-DRIED INSTANT MISO SOUP PACKET TASTE TEST OF DOOOOMM!!!

Wakame Soup
Package design: 9/10
Deliciousness: 4/10
Weirdly sweet. Un-weirdly fishy. I liked the sesame seeds! Totally edible.

Aka Miso
Package design: 9/10
Deliciousness: 4/10
Huh! Like, tangy? Sour-ish? Surprising? Why wasn’t it red? I wanted it to be red. Totally edible.

um another kind of miso soup
Package design: 0.5/10
Deliciousness: 5/10
Pretty generic miso-y broth, but obviously the best of the three. And the green sheety things were nice and toothsome and flavorful and abundant. The loops kind of creeped me out. What were they? I think they were supposed to be…onions? But they…weren’t. Best of the three! TWO SEPARATE PACKETS OF INGREDIENTS INDICATES LUXURIOUSNESS AND HIGH CLASSINESS.

Mysterious jar of super-old chicken bouillon in the office mini-fridge probably left behind by the girl who quit like a semester ago

Package design: 2/10
Deliciousness: 5/10
I ain’t even give a shit; this was okay.

PS But no really though these are fucking GORGEOUS, right??

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Ummmmm…so, motherfucking TRIGGER WARNING here for a couple quotes from a favorite classic book for 8-12 year olds, taken slightly out of context and made HORRIFYING.

I just re-read Judy Blume’s Blubber for the first time since…I dunno, elementary school, presumably, right?

Holy motherfucking shit, that book is fucking brutal.

Blubber is as fucking brutal as Lord of the Flies, and the lessons that it imparts about humanity and about childhood vs adulthood and about the innate human tendencies toward evil are exactly the same. Jesus Christ, there’s even similarly over-wrought, horrifying symbolism in Blubber. This scene happens immediately during/following one of the big escalations of bullying toward the character Blubber, when the other children up the ante in their cruelty toward her. This takes place when the narrator (one of the bullies) is on a stage at school in front of an audience:

All of the sudden [my loose tooth] wasn’t there anymore. It didn’t fall out of my mouth but I could feel it rolling around on my tongue. I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid if I let it stay in my mouth I would swallow it, so I spit it into my hand and stuck my tongue in the space where my tooth used to be. I tasted blood.

Holy shit! “I tasted blood!” Childish things are falling away! She is becoming an adult! Adulthood is violence and the attempt to hide the violence that happens to you, so as to present to the watching world a calm smooth unharmed facade!

Yeah.

(Incidentally: That night, when her parents remind her to leave it under her pillow, and say that they hope the Tooth Fairy comes, she says: “Do you think she could leave me a check this time, instead of cash? … Made out to the Winthrop Stamp Company for $2.87.” What more adult request could she possibly have made, except a check, so that she could buy stamps??)

(Her mother is a particular master of this art of the adult veneer, of pretending that things are okay and hiding one’s own pain to present a pleasant image to the world. The mother smokes. Throughout the book, the narrator needles her mother to quit. She tries, but ultimately fails: we find her hiding at one point, “crouched in the corner of the bathroom” with the water running full-blast, smoking. Later in the book, after walking up what the narrator’s brother points out is a set of 37 stairs, she says: “Whew… No wonder I’m winded.” When the narrator complains that a dress she’s wearing itches, the mother tells her: “It can’t. … It’s acrylic, not wool.” When the narrator insists that her pain is real, her mother waves it away: “There’s probably a scratchy tag inside. I’ll take it out later.” She also gives her daughter the advice that one student’s blatant racism should be handled by laughing it off.)

(In the end, her parents do indeed reward her for her display of adult behavior – the way she managed to hide her physical pain and disfigurement onstage, and the economic transaction she performed using her body: She wakes up with the check for $2.87 underneath her pillow.)

Okay okay so hold on, super-briefly, for those of you who haven’t ever read Blubber (and I assume what that means is: “For those of you who are boys,” right?): Blubber is about a group of 10-11-12-ish year old children who begin bullying a chubby girl in their class, who they start to call “Blubber,” inspired by a report she gives on the whale. It’s narrated by one of the bullies – not the head bully, but absolutely in that group: the #2 best friend of the head bully. Eventually, the narrator stands up to the head bully, challenges her on something, and the head bully turns on her: the next day suddenly the head bully is best friends with Blubber, and has convinced all of the other kids to also ostracize and bully the narrator. The book ends with the narrator sort of pointing out the head bully’s bullying ways to the rest of the class, who kind of re-form into new friendship groups. The final scene is of both the head bully and the narrator now eating lunch with someone brand new, and Blubber once again eating all by herself, ostracized, but at least ignored. It’s a happy ending.

The first thing that really struck me with this reading of the book is how BAD the bullying is.

(Also: it is never ever once referred to as “bullying.” I know the particular modern connotations of that word are relatively recent – that “bullying” used to just be an annoying thing that happened all the time, not a massive social problem that needed to be addressed and rectified – but it’s actually never even really named as a problem at all in this book. Whatever it is that’s going on is not named, and therefore isn’t even a THING at all, somehow. People are acting jerkishly, but it’s just a bunch of individuals, individually acting like assholes in individual incidents – rather than a system or a set or a singular THING which can be addressed and therefore changed. Um. Words are powerful? Naming things is useful? I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this.)

The bullying is so bad in this book that it very genuinely verges on sexual assault more than once. I mean…maybe “verges on” isn’t even correct. Certainly if I saw this scene happening between students in a bathroom at Columbia, it would absolutely 100% be sexual assault:

“I wonder what’s under her cape?” Wendy asked.
“Probably nothing,” Caroline said.
“Oh, there’s got to be something,” Wendy said. “There’s got to be her blubber…at least.”

“Stay away from me!” Linda told her, walking backwards.
“I’m not going to hurt you, stupid,” Wendy said. “I just want to see what’s under your cape.”
“Don’t touch me!”
“Oh, don’t worry…that’s not my job…Jill’s the flenser.”
“That’s true,” I said. “I am.”
“And the flenser’s the one who strips the blubber,” Wendy said.
I wasn’t exactly sure what Wendy had in mind.
Linda tried to run but Caroline and Wendy blocked her.
“Strip her, flenser!”

“No!” Linda said. “Don’t you dare strip me!”
Caroline and Wendy grabbed hold of Linda’s arms and held her still.
“Do your job,” Wendy said. “Prove what a good flenser you are.”
“Okay,” I said, pulling of Linda’s cape. She had on a regular skirt and shirt under it.
“Strip her some more!” Wendy said, yanking up Linda’s skirt. “Hey…Blubber wears flowered underpants.”
“Let go of me!” Linda squirmed and tried to kick but Caroline grabbed her shirt and tugged until two buttons popped off.

Or the super-fucking-creepy threat in this scene, which echoes that one, but happens later in the book, after the narrator is the one being bullied:

When we went to the Girls’ Room Wendy blocked the toilets and wouldn’t let me use one until I said, I am Baby Brenner. I’m not toilet trained yet. That’s why I stink.
I shook my head at her.
“You have to say it!” Wendy told me.
“No way,” I said. “I won’t.”
“Then I’ll have to check your diapers myself.”

Or this:

On Thursday we made Linda show the boys her underpants. She wasn’t anxious to do that so Caroline had to hold her hands behind her back while Wendy lifted her skirt.

When Blubber does something that pleases the head bully, her “reward” is to be made to kiss one of the boys in class, after which the narrator observes: “If you ask me she enjoyed it.”

GAHH.

It is around this point in the story that she says: “It was easy to get her to do it. I think she would have done anything we said. There are some people who just make you want to see how far you can go.” This shit is fucking CHILLING.

(Imagine watching THIS GUY say that in, like, an interview with Steve Kroft.)

The second thing that struck me was how smart and complicated the narration of this story was. The writing is really really really brilliant here. It’s not JUST that the story is told from the bully’s point of view. It’s that the bully’s point of view is so genuinely disturbing. It is disturbing in two different ways: I will argue that the bully never really “learns her lesson,” or, at least, that the lesson she learns is not the one you would expect her to or WANT her to learn, but I will get to that later. But first, because it’s more interesting and more shocking and also because it’s fucking GREAT WRITING on Judy Blume’s part: the narrator’s point of view is so disturbing because she is genuinely a BAD PERSON. (There’s presumably some sort of case for arguing that she’s actually “evil,” even, but – I think narrating a children’s book from a genuinely BAD PERSON’s point of view is radical and shocking enough.) In fact, she’s…kind of a sociopath. Literally.

Over and over and over again, the narrator recounts performing some horrifying act of physical or psychological cruelty and then immediately follows it up with a blithe retelling of the rest of her day’s activities – seeing dyed blue daisies for the first time, explaining why she doesn’t like to eat pineapple in public, the problems with the remodeling of the school gym – in the exact same chatty, fifth-grade voice. Her lack of appropriate affect is a classic symptom of sociopathy. She claims to have emotions; she talks about emotions and uses emotion-words and she knows logically what emotions probably ought to happen when, but she does not react to most situations in the way that you would expect (or hope) a healthy normal human person to react. She’s too cold, too distanced, too uncaring. I want to say “too observant,” but that implies some sort of particular intelligence that I don’t want to ascribe to her. She’s socially intelligent, maybe – she does observe people so that she can maintain her social position among them, and knows pretty well how THAT works. She manipulates people, she observes people manipulating and being manipulated and she dissects and analyzes THAT, and files THAT away for later use. But she feels no particular horror at it. She feels no horror at any of the cruelty she inflicts on Blubber. Actually – that’s worth repeating. That’s worth a new paragraph:

The narrator never feels remorse at what she’s done to Blubber. She never feels guilt. She never even reflects on it at all. That’s fucking crazy for a kids’ book, right? Even when the tables have turned and she becomes the victim of exactly the same kind of bullying she had been inflicting on Blubber, she never once thinks: This must be how Blubber felt. She only thinks: This is Blubber’s revenge on me. Blubber got back at me. How can I make this stop? How can I plot another turnaround? (Among her avenues of recourse suggested and/or tried: Laughing at people. Spitting on people. Biting people. Wearing pants instead of skirts [you know, to prevent sexual assault]. The one that eventually works is bullying all of the rest of her classmates for allowing themselves to be bullied, until finally everyone turns against one another.)

She’s also very very bad at associating punishment with wrongdoing. She doesn’t learn lessons from things like punishment. Or, rather, the lesson she learns is not that she was punished because she did something bad, but that she was punished because she was caught doing something bad. (Which, again, is a trait associated with sociopaths, right? They learn to do things not because of believed, internalized rules or morality, but only to avoid or attain the reactions they want from the people around them.) One example:

On Halloween, the narrator and her best friend Tracy (an innocent outsider and the moral compass of the story [FAR more so than the narrator's parents, especially her mother, as you might expect, since she does TALK about this with her mother a few times, and she gives her advice about it] who is NOT in the narrator’s class, has nothing to do with the bullying, and who in fact prompts the narrator’s eventual confrontation of the head bully) break rotten eggs inside a mean neighbor’s mailbox. (All we know of the meanness of the neighbor is: “He deserves it. He won’t give to Unicef and if ever there was a person who’d put razor blades in apples, it’s him,” and again, later: “We only did it because he’s so mean…he hates kids…he won’t even give to Unicef…” We do eventually see that he turns his garden hose on trick-or-treaters who fuck with his house on Halloween, and takes photos of them fucking with his house so he can identify them later, but of course these are effects, rather than causes, of the neighborhood kids fucking with him.) When they are caught, the narrator’s father asks: “You know you did wrong, don’t you?” Tracy nods, but the narrator says: “In one way I know we did wrong, but in another way, he really deserved it.” Neither of her parents replies to or discusses or reacts in any way to this statement. They settle, with the neighbor, on the punishment of having to rake the leaves in his yard. “Maybe this way you’ll both learn that it’s not up to you to decide who deserves what in this world,” the father says. Not: “Maybe this way you’ll learn not to commit acts of vandalism, destroy other people’s property, act cruelly toward another human being – no matter who they are or what they’ve done or whether you like them.” He’s implying that it IS okay to punish people, perhaps even in exactly the way they punished this neighbor. It’s just not up to THEM to have judged the punishment of THIS particular person, an adult. Stick to bullying your own age group, girls. On the day of the leaf-raking, the narrator pees behind a tree in the neighbor’s yard. “‘Oh, Mr. Machinist…’ I sang softly. ‘This time you’re really getting what you deserve!’” And when her father picks her up at the end of the day, and the neighbor is rude to him:

“Damn it,” Dad muttered. “He really is a -”
“I told you, didn’t I? I told you he deserved to get eggs in his mailbox.”
“Hmph…” was all my father answered.

So whatever skewed small lesson her parents were even TRYING to teach her was #1. Not learned by her in the first place, and #2. Later actively rescinded by her parents, anyway.

Parents and adults in general are just the fucking WORST in this book, though, anyway. Teachers and principals believe outlandish lies covering up acts of cruelty, since it’s so much easier than going to the bother of protecting those being abused. When punishment is finally meted out, it is undermined: three different times during the day of leaf-raking, various parents stopped by to deliver cookies and lemonade, commiserate, and speak poorly of the mean neighbor. They are often bullies themselves as well, but their bullying comes almost entirely through neglect: When Blubber gets tripped and falls, a teacher tells her to try to pay more attention where she’s going. When an apple is stolen from her lunch and thrown against a wall, a teacher asks her if food belongs on the floor, and makes her pick it up and throw it away. Later, when the narrator is the one being picked on and the other students throw her school books out into the street in front of the moving school bus so that she has to run out in front of it to retrieve them so they’re not run over, the bus driver yells at her for taking too long.

Though adults’ bullying doesn’t come ENTIRELY through neglect. Sometimes it is active. The children’s specific act of body-shaming is shown to have been a learned act:

Right after group science Mrs. Minish told the girls to line up alphabetically. “We’re going to the nurse’s office to get weighed.”
Everybody groaned. We get weighed every fall and again every spring.

“Hmmmm…Sixty-seven and a half.”
I smiled at her to show I was pleased.
She checked the chart. “That’s not much of a gain…only half a pound since last spring. … You should try to build yourself up. I’d like to see you weigh about seventy-two. Why don’t you start drinking a malted every day?”

“Now, let’s see…oh my, ninety-one pounds…that’s too much for your height.”
“I have big bones,” Linda siad.
“Even so, according to my chart you should lose some weight.”
“But I’m on a diet.”
“Well, that’s a step in the right direction. Remember, no sweets.”
“I know it.”

(Did that shit actually happen in the 70s? I remember those mortifying scoliosis tests [when everybody wore a swimsuit under their clothes to school that day!], but I don’t think I remember ever having been WEIGHED in school.)

The terrible moral and social lessons that the adults around the narrator are teaching her, and her terrible inability to learn the socially desirable lessons that life and general consequences would otherwise hopefully teach her even without proper adult instruction or interference, become, in the end, the final hilarious joke of the book. The lesson the narrator learns in this book is: “Blame the victim.” The lesson she learns is not “Don’t bully,” but “Don’t allow yourself to be bullied.”

In the last pages of the book, as the classroom’s social circles have been upended and rearranged and the narrator scans the classroom, looking for someone to eat lunch with, she contemplates approaching a new girl and thinks to herself: “You sometimes have to make the first move or else you might wind up like Linda – letting other people decide what’s going to happen to you.”

Jesus fucking christ.

Remember when Sesame Street re-released a bunch of old episodes from the 70s on DVD, but packaged with a warning that the shows were intended for adult viewing only? The actual warning on the package read: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” I feel like Blubber needs such a warning. This book was harrowing and exhausting. The scenes of assault were nerve-wracking. (The words Blume uses in those! “Holding her hands behind her back,” and “If you ask me she enjoyed it,” and Blubber’s cries of “Don’t touch me!” and “No!” Good lord.)

This brings me back to the claim that Judy Blume is doing some high-level writerly shit in this book. I claimed earlier that making the first-person narrator – the person inside whose head we live and the person with whom we are therefore forced to identify – making this person a possibly-literal sociopath is a bold choice and a very effective one. Maybe especially because it’s not completely clear whether or not she actually IS a sociopath, or actually IS a bad person. We IDENTIFY with her. We UNDERSTAND her. After all, everybody says, “children are cruel!” We were cruel, and people were cruel to us. So perhaps all this – the sexual assault, this brutal programming and manipulation, this creation of Stockholm Syndrome or PTSD or whatever (Because remember: Blubber does IMMEDIATELY – overnight! – accept the head bully’s offer of friendship and become her #1 bestie as soon as the head bully decides to turn the tables and put the narrator in the bullied position. And consider also this line from a little earlier on than that: “Two days later she was saying I am Blubber, the smelly whale of class 206 without anyone forcing her to. She said it before she got a drink at the fountain, before she went to the toilet, before she got on and off the bus, and during lunch, she said it before she started eating.” She’s doing it automatically, without being forced, without even being asked. That’s some bad fucking brainwashing shit right there. That girl is no longer emotionally or psychologically well, and those children are the ones who made her that way.) – perhaps, this book forces us to think, perhaps even all that is just children being children.

But the fact that we are forced to identify with this bad person – that’s a very cool writerly trick. Joyce Carol Oates did cool things with the same trick in Zombie, and Breat Easton Ellis did cool things with it in American Psycho. But…maybe it shouldn’t be so easy to compare Blubber to Zombie and American Psycho. Maybe that’s a problem. Maybe the 8-year-olds that Blubber is aimed at are not literate enough, are not sophisticated enough readers, to understand that this is a literary trick and that they maybe should NOT identify with the sociopathic trauma-inflicter.

On the same Halloween night that the rotten eggs are smashed inside the mean neighbor’s mailbox, the narrator also visits Blubber’s house:

We ran up and down the front walk, squirting pink Silly String on all the bushes. I was having the best time. I wished Halloween came more than once a year. I shook the can and aimed it at the hedge right next to the house. “A person gets what she deserves,” I sang. But when I pushed the button nothing came out of the can. “It’s empty,” I told Tracy.

Yes. It’s empty. Just like you are, Jill Brenner. Empty inside.

Just like we all are, perhaps.

You cruel fifth-grade motherfuckers, you.

So, uh. Anywho. What I’m trying to say is, this is what I did at the library today:

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I gathered a bunch of pictures of Kevin Garnett looking confused the other day and the people I sent them to didn’t appreciate them enough so I decided to post them here, so they would not be wasted.

I APPRECIATE YOU APPRECIATING MY PHOTOS OF KEVIN GARNETT LOOKING CONFUSED.

This morning, Chris announced: “I downloaded a bunch of terrible horror movies.”

Happy Chris’s birthday to meeeeee!!

So we watched “Terror on Tour” first.

The director of this one is also the person who directed “Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS” (which…to be honest, I had kind of been under the impression was a fake joke film title that did not actually exist? Like The Necronomicon or something?) and “Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks.”

Victims tended to say things like: “Oh my god,” and: “Ow.” There was a “secret blood room” (as opposed, apparently, to the public blood room). Girls thought these boys were attractive, and definitely wanted to have sex with them:

This is one of the IMDB officially listed quotes:

Screaming Girl: The cocaine really made me horny.

That link, by the way, is original to the IMDB quote page. Go ahead and click it.

Speaking of Serlet Lamay, this is the cast list of every single female character in the movie:

Mod Girl

Freebase Chick

Stoned Girl

Carol

Next Girl

Well Endowed Lady

Young Girl

Nancy

Jane

Screaming Girl

Operating Woman

Food Girl

Scantily Clad Girl #1

Scantily Clad Girl #2

Knife Lady

Silent Girl

Bleeding Woman

Girl with Pigtails

Girl in the Alley

Dead Victim

Anyway, this was a really good movie and you should definitely watch it because of how it was good and stuff.

THE END OF MY MOVIE REVIEW, BY JESSICA.

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So, speaking of photos of me in the 6th grade, I just got mailed a 137-pound box full of ancient-ass STUFF that’s been in storage for like…a decade-ish? (If anyone whose basement my 137 pounds of stuff has been in still ever reads this – thank youuuu!!) I’m still sort of slowly sorting through it. I was not at all sure what all I would find in there. So far, it’s about 60% horrifying, 39% mortifying, 1% charming. Lots of photos (lots of those are ones that I shot on b&w film and developed myself), LOTS of my old writing, which was the big big big thing I most hoped would be there (MORTIFYING MORTIFYING MORTIFYING), including old school newspapers and yearbooks and the school literary magazine (and a photocopy of the very first check I ever got from writing, from winning a contest for said literary magazine – that photocopy makes up most of that 1% charming right there), some books, an iron pen-holder shaped like a monkey, my award for Customer Service All-Star from Kohl’s, a fork (?), a floppy disk labeled “poems” (!), the issue of Playboy that my freshman-year college boyfriend’s subsequent girlfriend was in, a signed photo of Joe Scruggs. Lots of treasures.

Also: Diaries.

Oh my god. So many diaries.

So many horrible, horrible diaries.

One has N’Sync on the cover. One is covered in leopard-print faux fur. One of them says “LOG” on the front of it in sticker-letters. One is the “daily question” thing I had to write in every day in class for A.T. Two of them are literally not even MINE. The oldest one has two distinctly labeled sections: “Unicorns, mermaids, and horses” and “Anything.” (This is true.)

That one is less diary-y exactly – mostly it’s drawings (of unicorns, mermaids, and horses) and lists and quotes and a single short story and some fashion design sketches. (“Fashion” design sketches.)

I think my favorite thing about the ones above is the very specific note that the purple ruff on the back of those shoes needs to be clip-on. Though I guess I also appreciate the “died satan” shoes. Scary AND fashionable!

I bet once we get to see Alexander McQueen’s original papers and notebooks and everything, we will find that he, too, often noted that some of his fashion sketches appeared to be picking their butts. (Or maybe I meant that not as an observation, but as a dictate?)

That’s kind of exactly what all of my notebooks still consist of. Fewer horses, usually. But still: drawings, and clothes to sew, and stories, and lists, and quotes. (And exactly as much butt-picking.) That was the biggest lesson to be learned in this 137-pound box: that I am exactly the same as I always was. My habits are embarrassingly consistent. My cartoon-drawing style is still the same. My handwriting is still the same. I still write stories and edit stories and dislike my stories in exactly the same ways. I still keep notes of “the good lines” from books I’m reading. I still make the exact same kind of to-do lists, I swear to god. I just found one that consisted of: “write, clean newt tank, shower, food?, cross stitch.” I am NOT making a funny joke when I saw that if you change “newt” to “turtle,” I might have written that exactly same list last Thursday. Actually, it would totally save me some time if I just went ahead and put that in my jacket pocket now so I can use it again next Thursday.

Another observation: About half of my notebooks begin with the line: “I know I said I’d stop with the whole diary thing, but…” The “but” part is often a denial that this particular notebook will BE a diary. “…but this is for POETRY” is a particularly horrifying one, since it implies that I thought that was in some way BETTER.

I talked about boys a lot. I went to the skating rink a lot. I was a terrible, boring, horrible, embarrassing person a lot.

But so anyway here’s the conundrum: What the fuck am I supposed to DO with these fucking things? I mean, BURN THEM IMMEDIATELY, right??? Because honestly, my current #1 best reason ever to NOT die is just because of how much I don’t want anyone to find them and read them after I’m dead.

Blerg. I cannot think of a single reason NOT to burn them. But I kind of suspect I definitely won’t.

    A few choice excerpts:

June 24, 1993:
Yesterday I spent the night at Joanna’s house, and late that evening, I got my piriod. I hate this dumb thing! I hate having my piriod! I hate ragging!

[Hey, look, I learned the word "ragging!" I did not yet learn the word "period," I guess.]

June 1994 [in a "P.P.P.S."]:
On MTV News they said that there was a rumor (note that I did say “rumor!!!”) going around that Eddie Vedder (the lead singer from one of my favorite groups, Pearl Jam) had gotten married over the weekend to his long-time girlfriend. I can’t remember what her name is, but I think it’s Beth or something. Anyway if it’s true, I won’t be all that sad, because it was to this girlfriend that he’s had forever, and it’s not like I could have married him, anyway.

[Which I think was very reasonable of me.]

July 24, 1994:
I haven’t heard anything else about Eddie Vedder, so I guess he’s not married.

[Also reasonable. Why WASN'T Kurt Loder doing daily updates? "Eddie Vedder: Still married.")

December 13, 1994:
Sorry I haven't written in so long. A lot has happened (school dance, trip to the mall, much much else) but right now I'm just going to talk about two things - Tyler D* & Christmas.
Tyler is this guy that two of my best friends (Wanna & Courtney) like a lot, plus about 10 other girls in this school. This includes me, but I consider him pretty much off-limits because Wanna & Courtney like him. ... Well, at the dance he asked me to dance, but I said no (because of Wanna & Courtney). But then that night I spent the night at Wanna's and we (read: ME!) called him & we talked to him for like 4 hours. He was so funny! And at school, when he walks past me or catches my eye in class he'll wink and stuff and he'll say, "See you next hour, baby," or something like that. So now I'm getting to like him a lot more. Oh, well!!!
Now, second of all, Christmas is almost here!!! This Christmas is going to be really groovy for a few reasons #1 - I'm getting a totally fantastic present! A stereo with 2 tape players a CD player, a remote control, & everything, plus 8 CDs!

*[Yes, THAT Tyler. I don't know why he and I never ended up getting together.]

October 1, 1998:
We stopped for breakfast in Salina, KS this morning. … Dad told me something neat. He said there’s a Salina in California, too, but they pronounce it “Saleena.” He said that John Steinbeck wrote in Salina, CA, and that the town is known for its artichokes. Personally, if I was Steinbeck, I’d be pissed.

["Personally, if I was Steinbeck..."]

November 25, 1998:
When I read my poems to BK’s class, she said, “You’ve been reading too much Sylvia Plath.” I had heard of her before, but never read any of her stuff, so I got a couple of her books, and I really dig her. I’ve discovered Sylvia Plath. :)

[APPARENTLY I READ SYLVIA-PLATH-Y POEMS OUT LOUD TO A CLASS. WHY WOULD YOU LET ME DO THIS, BK? I THOUGHT WE WERE BUDDIES.]

August 7, 2000:
I just re-read (since, like, 4th grade) There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, by Louis Sacher. Great fucking book.

[This is fair. I have no problems with this entry.]

March 21, 2001 [maybe?]:
I chipped another tooth. I need a lucite ball [tongue ring]. Have you ever seen “Heathers?” I’m drunk.

[Sigh.]

Anyway. Prepare yourself for a coming deluge of scans of ridiculous things….

weenie

Soooooo yeah fine maaaayybe I somehow managed to blow the two FANTASTIC fucking ideas I had for a Halloween costume this year (I’m not saying what they were, because I totally might do either or both next year, anyway). And Maaaaayybe I skipped the parade again for like the third stupid-head year in a row. Maybe I’m very old and boring.

Or.

MAYBE I’m the best Halloween dresser-upper EVER, and ACTUALLY, I wore SIX different costumes this year, but they were all SO GOOD that you totally got confused and accidentally somehow thought they were, like, old costumes that I wore a long time ago when I was a kid or something? But THEY WEREN’T.

(Okay, this was a very laborious and confusing little intro, but so work has been really busy and I’ve been lazy and I’m very old and boring, so, yeah, I missed Halloween. But here’s some photos of me dressed up as like a pilgrim and stuff instead.)

Why, yes, I am playing the clarinet here, and no, I had no idea who Carmen Miranda was.

I guess I also had no idea what a flapper was, either. (…or how to use make-up?)

I…am pretty sorry about this one. This one is pretty gross.

I do kind of like this one. This was a good fucking Alice costume. The pumpkin, I acknowledge, is absolutely awful. (I sewed it. I’m sorry, Kid Who Had to Wear My Shitty Early Attempts at Sewing. If I ever sew you another costume, I swear, this time it will be better.)

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mm hmmm.

I have had an extremely successful day today!

The last couple weeks have been suuuuuper busy at work, especially the last two days. So today, I decided to sleep in a little: I set my alarm for 9:30. At 9:30, I woke up, had some grape juice, and read a little from The Hot Zone (which yes it is a good idea for me to have checked out The Hot Zone from the library, mmhm).

Then I took a nap!

When I woke up from my nap, I had a few mini Snickers, then fell asleep.

After a while, I woke up, ate some of the leftover sandwiches that I brought home from the conference yesterday, had a mini Snickers, and then fell asleep reading The Hot Zone.

Then, later on, I woke up and made a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, before deciding to take a brief nap.

Later that afternoon, I woke up briefly to pee.

After another nap, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich (with the crusts cut off!) and ate it. I also opened a beer!

Then I fell asleep. When I woke up, I ate a couple mini Snickers and the crusts from my sandwich, and drank my beer.

Maybe later this evening, I will take a nap.

SATURDAY.

Pictured here: Sandwich, Bed, Co-Napper.

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CAT.

Look, I know this is kind of a lazy post. But it’s just that MY CAT SITS ON SO MANY BOOKS, you guys. And it’s basically never not worth sharing.

So. Welcome back to Digby’s Book Club!! (“A Zillion Photos” edition!)

Ugh, Kate Millett. UGH.

(Also this book TOOOOTALLY makes me act like an asshole to dudes who try to take up more space than they should be allotted on the subway, which is its only redeeming quality, quite frankly. This books makes me a fucking ASSHOLE. A fucking asshole who power poses like Wonder Woman and consists of about 74% elbows [and 26% scowls] and takes NOOO SHIT from some fucking dudes who let’s face it probably also tortured a 16 year old to death in a basement once in 1965 in Indiana.)

Also, Digby didn’t like sitting on it, either.

And fucking Summer House with Swimming Pool was so vaguely disappointing that Digby didn’t even deign to sit on it, only NEXT to it.

Room with a View, though, was fucking BALL-OUT FANTASTIC, and makes up for two other shittier books Digby sat on first.

This might also be Room with a View?* I’m not totally sure.**

Look, Digby’s kind of fucking fat, right? She takes up a lot of book, is what I’m saying. And sometimes it’s hard to remember what book it was that she was sitting on, when you can’t actually read the title there, you know?

Like, for instance, I’m not POSITIVE that this is One More Thing, by B J Novak. But oh hey speaking of One More Thing, by B J Novak! That book was…fine? But man, I fucking HATED reading it. That asshole’s smirky little author photo, with his Harvard education and his book deal and his being a fancy actor and his being rich probably and his stealing my boyfriend and his telling me that he bets lots of boys LIKE fat girls like me and his easy way with children and wild animals and his perfect size-six foot and his extensive knowledge of fancy scotch and his twelve trophies for Best Costume Ever on Halloween and Stuff (1991, 92, 93, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, and then he didn’t stop entering, but he started giving his trophies away to the no-kill animal shelter, but, like, not because he’s afraid of the number thirteen or anything – just because he’s super-generous is all).

Digby didn’t mind sitting on it, though. (If that’s what this is.)

This is DEFINITELY Tales of the Unexpected, by Roald Dahl. (Which was great, obviously.)

This…might also be?

This is Full Dark, No Stars! It’s recognizable!

This is Full Dark, No Stars with a jerk in front of it!

Jerk.

* Also, you know what? That’s totally not Room with a View. It’s way too thick, right? I have no idea what that book was.

** (Also, I would like to point out that that’s definitely not my nipple; that shirt is just wrinkled funny. THIS PICTURE IS NOT DIRTY, she said, while drawing attention to the place where her nipple is, though you DEFINITELY CANNOT SEE IT, and I know that sounds sarcastic or something but I swear it’s not, that bra just has a weird thing on it!!!)

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​Omg hashtag: NotToBeABreederOrNuthin, but that 3-year-old kid who got off the N just now, who was waving and cheerfully shouting: “Bye! Byyyee!” to a bunch of jaded, blank-faced, disinterested old Chinese men, so distracted by the excitement of going and of yalping his farewells, that he walked his goddamned face straight smack into the pole (and then looked startled for a half-second up at the pole, and then looked absolutely delighted for a half-second up at his mother [at, perhaps, his fantastic good fortune for having smacked his tiny face into a pole??], and then began again, as his egress continued: “Byyye!”)?

Well, that kid was fucking cute.

​​And since that’s not enough for a whole blog post, here’s a second FREE BONUS tiny rant:

“… Has anybody ever told you that?” is a really really stupid fucking compliment-part. Because, for one thing, What the fuck are we supposed to REPLY to that? “Yes” sounds sort of conceited and rude (and also like a dare, as though we want you to continue, which: we don’t), but “No” would indicate that either the complimenter must be sadly mistaken and that our legs AREN’T sexy (which is – snort – OBVIOUSLY not true), or else he, the drunk IT guy sitting at the bar drinking Sam Adams and holding a one-sided conversation about ISIS with the oblivious bartender, is indeed the very first person in whole fucking world to have ever paid enough attention to ME, really really the REAL ME and to have looked DEEP WITHIN MY SOUL and told me that I HAVE A PRETTY SMILE, and I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU, DRUNK IT GUY.

Like, fuuuuuuuuck you, dude. What I hear when you say: “… Has anyone ever told you that before?” is: “I bet they haven’t.” It makes me think that maybe you don’t REALLY think that my eyes (which are the notable and oft-coveted shade known by the poets of old as “brown,” and which I guess you must have seen, behind my glasses, from across this dark bar) are actually all that “nice.” It makes me think that you think that I’ve NOT ever heard it before, but that, upon hearing it NOW, from YOU, for the VERY FIRST TIME EVER, that I’m going to be SO GRATEFUL that I’m just going to fall aaaallll over myself in my haste to shove your clammy, flabby little wang in my gob.

(Two – TWO! – different boys on OkCupid have told me, in their opening salvos, that they like my nose. Look, assholes, I LIKE MY NOSE, TOO, but I do NOT like thinking that motherfucking Mystery told you to compliment what YOU think is my least-complimented feature.)

(Well. One of those two boys did tell me that he thought I looked “dangerous.” That was…weird enough that I accept is as a thing he might have actually believed. He might have been genuine there. Unfortunately, he also listed his Meyers-Brigg type in his profile, which is an absolute 100% dealbreaker.)

(Also, goddamnit, men of Brooklyn: YOU’RE NOT A FUCKING INTJ. NO ONE IS A FUCKING INTJ. STOP CLAIMING YOU’RE A FUCKING INTJ.)

Anyway: The answer to “What the fuck are we supposed to reply?” is indeed: “Yes.” Because that’s the answer, and because fuck you.

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I went to the “Beyond the Cube” Rubik’s exhibit at the New Jersey Science Museum last weekend and it was almost as awesome as Ernő Rubik in 1979.  (PLEASE NOTE: NOTHING IS ACTUALLY AS AWESOME AS ERNŐ RUBIK IN 1979.)

I dunno…I want to avoid making this really long and detailed and boring, like my first instinct to make it will be?  (Because there were SO MANY THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW JERSEY SCIENCE MUSEUM.) So maybe instead of actually describing everything, here’s just some…bullet points?

(But okay here’s ONE long and rambly thing first, because it was STRIKING and I don’t know how to say it in bullet points: this thing was incredibly fucking well presented.  So, okay, admittedly, I’ve never been to ANY science museum before, and obviously I’ve never been to THIS science museum before, so maybe they’re ALL this rad?  But this was so well-planned and well-thought-out and engaging and blah blah.  The epitome of this is that they had a zillion cubes, just sort of lying around the space, on all the tables and by the front entrance, for you to just pick up and play with while you wandered around, and carry around with you, and use at the different stations, if you were so inclined. No directed instructions. Just: hey! Here’s a cube. Have a cube! If you want!  THIS IS SO SMART.  I’m sure they lost, like, 100 of them, maybe.  

But they sold SO MANY MORE than that in the gift shop.  That was a loss that was WORTH IT. Not to mention that obviously this was heavily supported by Rubik’s, so…it was all a very impressive immersive commercial experience? So. Anywho.)

I brought my own cube with me, OF COURSE.  

HAHA NO NOT THIS ONE THIS ONE IS CHEATY.

My original one – my Rubik’s-brand Rubik’s cube, with the filthy peeling stickers and the one missing orange middle piece, and the horrible sticky slow sliding movement.  Because it’s sentimental!  The person I went with brought his fancy Japanese stickerless Dayan speed cube, which was BUUUUUUULL. I put my cube down on the table next to me at one point while I was playing with one of the wooden pentomino puzzles.  I hadn’t really thought about the fact that there were a zillion random other cubes just laying around all over the place, and that mine might be mistaken for one of those, despite the fact that mine is…let’s say…”well-loved-looking.”  In fact, this only occurred to me at all when I happened to turn my head and notice the seven-year-old girl holding it and testing whether she could actually see inside it to find out how the inner mechanisms worked if she stuck her evil little fingers down inside it and pulled the layers straight out apart from each other, hard.  I…didn’t know how to request that someone else’s young child stop destroying my sentimental object?  So I just sort of gasped and looked away, as though I’d accidentally caught sight of a bloody accident, and shook my two tiny little fists at the sky until she got distracted and dropped it (ARG) and left.  (If she’d taken it with her…I guess I probably would have just lost it forever, so unable was I to kindly butt in and ask her to return it.)

All of the docents were REALLY young.  Not just for this one Rubik’s exhibit, though – across the whole museum.  They were all 14 year old boys.  It was weird and adorable and either a great idea or a terrible one?  The one trying to teach six-year-olds how to program robots was…not great with six-year-olds.  The one guarding the giant American flag made out of cubes, who kept having to re-solve the bottom 3 rows after people messed them up was very patient and down-trodden and sympathetic. The one working the “robot doctor” exhibit downstairs was SO BORED.

The Masterpiece Cube – the “most expensive cube in the world” – was there. It looked exactly like a goddamn grill. It was made by a jeweler whose name I didn’t recognize, from Houston, Texas. I suspect he also makes grills, frankly.

A ROBOT TRIED TO SOLVE MY CUBE, AND FAILED.

(THAT’S MY CUBE HE’S GOT THERE!!!!)

(Or: A robot was offered the opportunity to solve my cube, and turned it down, because my cube was not good enough. Either way.) Oh my god you guys, Denso the Robot. My heart was ALL AFLUTTER when I handed Denso the Robot my cube. I almost didn’t do it. My poor fucking cube…so handicapped already, so wonky, so off-balance and sticky…I was afraid it would be broken by THE MASSIVE STRENGTH OF DENSO THE ROBOT!! But there was this 13 year old boy who kept flirting with me and egging me on until I did it. So. I did. Who am I to turn down flirty 13 year old boys?

[NOTE: Please pretend I was not too lazy to illegally download "Humans Are Dead" and then download a program to allow me to get rid of the audio on the video, where, like, you can hear me giggling shriekingly in ecstatic horror, and you can hear the 13 year old boy flirting, and you can hear some lady sort of disappointedly mocking me at the end there for having gotten totally DENIED by a robot ("Why did it reject your thiiing?"), and instead I would have set the video to "Humans Are Dead," probably starting about about 40 seconds. Perhaps you can just play both videos at the same time, for full and discombobulating effect???]

The rest of the museum was also insane. LETS FIND OUT TOGETHER:

There was goo!

There was a pitch-black maze that you had to navigate by touch alone and it was AMAZING and the person behind me totally touched my boob, totally on accident (probably)!

There was a fake hurricane and I wore a poncho!

I walked on a super-scary too-tall thing! (I look like I’m laughing here. I am actually sobbing from sheer terror. It was NOT FUN or good or exciting. I hated it. Quite a bit.)

There was something called the “Infection Section,” which taught you all about AIDS and Dengue Fever, and featured small children touching things with their filthy clammy little fingers, which was just terribly ironic, and also had a life-size model of a subway train, which showed video of a doctor telling you that you had West Nile Virus and announced: “Next stop: tuberculosis!” just before I said: “Nope!” and disembarked.

THERE WAS THIS THING!!!

They had, like, some kind of crazy mini-zoo?? It was oddly inappropriate and uncool – the tanks and cages were all WAY TOO SMALL and not I felt pretty bad for most of the animals. (Though there was a two-year old baby tortoise named Tortellini who was WONDERFUL and I can only imagine he’s very happy.) They had these tiny little old-man-faced monkeys, and one of them did not have a tail (I learned, from the woman standing next to me, that “cola” means “tail” in Spanish – when she said to me: “No cola!” all super-excited), and THEY WERE SO FUCKING INTRIGUED BY MY GODDAMNED CUBE.

They WATCHED it. They were INTERESTED. They watched it for a LONG TIME. It was FANTASTIC. One of them in PARTICULAR was interested, but I got an audience of up to four at one time. They were CONFUSED, but they WANTED TO KNOW MORE.

[OKAY AND NOTE: Please pretend here that I wasn't too lazy to turn this into a gif where one of the monkeys says, in neon pink text: "You see this fucking thing?" and then the other monkey says, in neon yellow text: "The fuck even is this thing?" It would have been way better that way, I know. But it's like 1:00am, you guys.]

Remember how I was basically super disappointed in the Mutter Museum’s gift shop? This gift shop inspired me to dizzying heights of consumerist desire, but…also, I was basically still totally disappointed and there was so much stuff they SHOULD have had that they didn’t. I wanted to buy the little cube man. I wanted to buy a space helmet. I wanted to buy dino earrings. I wanted to buy that awesome tiny great little wooden puzzle that was like a tetris chessboard thing. I want to buy a secret hidden treasure box version of a cube. I want to buy a custom-made cube with like photos on each side. I wanted to buy an astronaut monkey backpack. I wanted to buy an astronaut penguin in a removable hood helmet.

I did not buy anything.

OMG EDIT, THOUGH: Over the course of the next few days, writing this and fucking around, I figured out what that “awesome tiny great little wooden puzzle like a tetris chessboard thing” was!

It’s a pentomino puzzle! And while I was trying to find it, I found one called a soma cube accidentally first, which was also neat (and I bet was also at the exhibit but I didn’t pay as much attention to it I guess) (and um now that I’m looking at that photo, actually I’m realizing that that other thing right fucking there is indeed a soma cube, so, yeah). (All of the websites about soma cubes are these adorable super-old-school-looking homemade German math nerd sites, for some reason. [Apparently "wurfell" means "puzzle!" I'm learning so many new things. "Wurfell." "Cola." This whole experience has been TERRIBLY educational.] …With a few super-kawaii Pinteresty how-to-make-your-own-for-Father’s-Day!-type sites thrown in for good measure, I guess.) Also this massive 56-piece thing which seems to be just a super-big soma cube? Probably you can still call it that when it’s got this many pieces? I…am totally going to make all of them?? (Whoa. Especially this amazing origami version??) (Maybe I can also make my own “cube for the blind,” since they’re AWESOME and weirdly hard to find for sale? Or make it an art object, semi-unusable: spikes of different colors/sizes/lengths/sharpnesses. That’s not at all unusable, I guess, just…like, careful, or whatever? I could just remove all the stickers from an all-black one to do this? Or just buy a cheap one and paint it all one color before I add the tactile stuff? Omg rad I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT A ZILLION PROJECTS YOU GUYS.)

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