I wrote this a million years ago. BUT IT STILL RESONATES TODAY.

Today I bought a $16 bottle of beer. “Well, I guess I’d better save this for when somebody’s around who I want to share it with!” I thought to myself. Then I remembered: “Oh, wait! Why!?” And then I drank it aaaaaaalll by myself!

It was fine.

What the fuck is brett? Why is all the fancy beer suddenly being brewed with it?

I also had a massive fucking rare-ass steak-ass steak. I almost bought a rabbit, too! But it was like $30 and I’d already spent a million dollars on steak and brett-ass beer? And it wasn’t like I had any particular PLANS for the rabbit. I just have sort of vaguely wanted to make rabbit lately, and when I asked the super-nice young excited dude at the meat counter if they had any rabbit and he said yes, I kind of didn’t want to, like, let him down? By not buying it?

Anyway. Beer!

That’s all.

“Certainly many of the immigrants to Park Slope were rather dull. Hitherto, she had accepted their ideals without questioning – their kindly affluence, their inexplosive religion, their dislike of paper bags, orange-peel, and broken bottles. A Radical out and out, she learned to speak with horror of Suburbia. Life, so far as she troubled to conceive it, was a circle of rich, pleasant people, with identical interests and identical foes. In this circle one thought, married, and died. Outside it were poverty and vulgarity, forever trying to enter, just as the Queens smog tries to enter Prospect Park, pouring through the gaps in the northern hills of Bushwick.”

- E. M. Forster (basically)

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I recently had one of the most satisfying relationships I’ve had with a boy in many moons. We read “The Rat Man” together, and discussed it. Well – not so much “together” as “consecutively.” I respect his mind. I appreciate his sense of humor. We had so much in common. And he really gets me, you know? I mean, it wasn’t all roses and unicorns: his handwriting is kind of hard to read sometimes. And I don’t know what his name is.

I bought Freud’s Three Case Histories at the Book Culture on 112th and Broadway back in July or August. (I’m being specific because, yes, I genuinely am kind of throwing this out into the universe, okay? CALL ME, GUY WHO WROTE NOTES IN THIS BOOK.) (I just realized…I also maybe don’t know this person’s gender. Well LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS, OKAY??) I think all I’ve ever read before by Freud was Dora, which was wooooonderful. I sure do love/hate this guy! He’s SO FUCKING FUNNY and I think a lot of the time (though not all of the time!) that’s on purpose, and he’s SUCH a jerk and his theories are SO FUCKING WACKADOO and so lovely and pretty and literary and poetic and destructive and offensive and terrible and I feel like a lot of it is really ironic, too, right? Like…Freud be projectin’.

Anyway. This person’s notes (and I just realized that’s going to be annoying to type a million times, so I’m going to come up with a nickname for him [and a gender: male!] instead, and it is going to be the Note Man, so there) seemed to focus mostly on comparing “The Rat Man” to a mystery story, a la Sherlock Holmes.

(Erm…just to be clear: He’s always in pen; I’m always in pencil.)

Book Culture is where people sell back their used textbooks, so presumably he was taking a class. I hope I don’t offend him by assuming that – that his academic pursuits weren’t just for fun.

My own more academic-type notes tended to focus on Frued as narrator/author, and the meta-ish aspects of the thing?

So, you know…we were mostly concentrating on our own interests, but we certainly conversed. We respected and supported each other’s work, and were interested in each other’s ideas, and our interactions strengthened both of us separately. (That last bit up there – my note that talks about “insulting the reader” – that was MY note, but that was HIS underlining of the line I was referencing! *Siiigh.*)

But to be honest…the majority of my notes were things like “Ha ha, you dick, Freud,” and “Ha! What?!” and “Arg, dick,” and “Ha.”

Making fun of Freud was where we found our truest connection.

Page 47 was when I…fell in love.

“Ha,” indeed, Note Man.

Note Man thought that Freud was a dick, too! He thought he was ridiculous, too! WE HAD SO MUCH IN COMMON! (Those caps below in pen are his, not mine…we were even taking on each other’s handwriting habits!!) (And in that bottom photo, the underline was his, but the heart was mine.)

Which is not to say that we did not have our disagreements, of course:

Anyway. Eventually, it had to end. A brief summer romance was all we were fated to have. He apparently didn’t read the other two case histories in the book. I was left alone suddenly, left to fend for myself with the Wolf Man and the charming, fanciful, hilarious, creative, brilliant, psychotic Doctor Schreber. (Doctor Schreber may have been my rebound guy after the Note Man, I admit.)

Perhaps this is the way it was meant to be. Perhaps all the best love stories must, in order to be classified as such, end. Perhaps it is the grand finale which we always most desire, for, though we know it be the end of our beautiful journey, our deep human need to see it through to the final expression must be satisfied. Or, as the Rat Man himself so eloquently put it: “She had abscesses on her buttocks which she was in the habit of expressing at night. I used to wait eagerly for that moment, to appease my curiosity.”

Wouldn’t we all, though? Wouldn’t we all?

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You guyz, Philadelphia is basically the WEIRDEST. Or at least, those were the places I went to when I went there just now.

You know what the best thing about travelling alone is? (Not: What is the best thing about THIS PARTICULAR trip travelling alone, because the answer to that is SCRAPPLE OMG, but just, like, in general.) It’s getting to do whatever the fuck you fucking want. You know what I DIDN’T do while I was in Philadelphia? I DIDN’T tour Independence Hall, or see where Benjamin Franklin was buried, or go to the Freedom Center. (I did see the Liberty Bell, but only accidentally: I was caught in the rain at one point while on my way between two other, far cooler, tourist attractions and happened to realize, as I was standing near a window under an overhang trying to protect every goddamn piece of electronic equipment I own in my stupid purse, that the Liberty Bell was in the room behind me. I took this picture:

And then 16 pictures of this mouse that I saw in the Liberty Bell room:

YES THAT’S RIGHT: YOUR SYMBOL OF PRECIOUS AMERICAN FREEDOM IS HOME TO VERMIN, PEOPLE. VERMINNNNN!!!)

But you know what I saw instead of those things? I saw Edgar Allen Poe’s scary-ass cellar, and I saw not one, but FOUR ovarian cysts bigger than my torso, and I saw a really, really shitty ghost tour, and I saw a very pretty green beetle, and I saw Charles Dickens’s stuffed pet raven Grip, and well yes fiiiiiiine, I also stood where JFK stood – so I DID do something patriotic-ish. (And actually I also stood where Lincoln stood, though I hadn’t realized THAT plaque was even there – a bemused security guard had to point it out to me – and somehow that one seemed less funny. Though honestly, I’m not sure WHY. I’m maybe not sure why the first one IS funny? But it IS, though, right?)

(Right?)

I also ate something called “scrapple,” you guys.

I LOVE SCRAPPLE SO MUCH, YOU GUYS.

I need a t-shirt that says that. I need a tiny plastic scrapple keychain. I need to send scrapple postcards to all of my loved ones. (My list of loved ones now includes “scrapple.”) I love scrapple so much I’m going to marry it. If world peace was a chopped-and-seasoned-and-deep-fried pork dish, then world peace would be scrapple. (Maybe world peace already IS scrapple.) I guess I’m going to convert to Quakerism now, because scrapple is a Quaker dish, and THEY OBVIOUSLY KNOW WHAT’S UP. I go where the scrapple goes. I am scrapple and scrapple is me. Where scrapple goes I will go, and where scrapple lodges I will lodge. Scrapple’s people shall be my people, and scrapple’s God my God. Where scrapple dies I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from scrapple. I even love the WORD scrapple, and that’s not a hilarious joke: that’s true. All of this is true, though. I really, really, really love scrapple. Look at its shape! It’s got some kind of idealized golden ratio thing going on, right? It’s like this perfectly constructed, solid-but-graceful FORM, in the very strictest most artistic or philosophical possible definition of the word “form.” It is a buildable, trustworthy object, and yet…light. Lovely. Sexy? It is clean and NEAT and oh my god you guys have you ever TASTED scrapple? Scrapple tastes like…well, frankly, scrapple tastes like chopped-and-seasoned-and-deep-fried pork, so. There’s that. That’s scrapple. Scrapple, man.

(Scrapple is that gorgeous thing on the left there. The massive pile on the right was chipped cream beef. That’s right. I ordered chipped creamed beef WITH A SIDE OF SCRAPPLE. Because: vacation.)

Anyway, I drew some stuff while I was in Philadelphia. Here’s some of it! (Eh…I guess it’s kind of tiny, but if you fuck around with it and click on it and stuff I think it’ll get bigger. Because it’s NECESSARY TO SEE ALL THE DETAILS OF MY NOTES ON SCRAPPLE.)

Oh man. Scrapple.

While I was also there, that first morning at Reading Market, I saw this stuff called suelze and desperately wanted to try it.

But I was already full of SO MUCH SCRAPPLE and I wanted to get to the Mutter, so I put it off. I promised myself I would go back the next day and try it! (This, incidentally, is ALSO the kind of thing you would somehow never actually manage to get around to, were you travelling with another person. WILL I MANAGE IT, THOUGH??? STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!) (Hint: I do. But it comes later in my little cartoon book, so hold on a second is all.)

Anyway, obviously the main reason for the trip to Philadelphia was the Mutter Museum, because, hi, my name is Jessica and I like things like human skulls presented in fake-intellectual nerdy ways that are also kind of Pinteresty:

The only thing that disappointed me about the Mutter museum was the gift shop. There were SO MANY THINGS in that damn museum I wanted to own a little plastic key chain versions of, or at a least postcard photo of! (Especially since no photography was allowed!) They were definitely doing that giftshop wrong. I bought a book there. That’s all. (And it’s…fine.) I would have given you so much fucking money, Mutter! All I wanted was a postcard of those two Best Friends of the Floating Heart dudes, and a children’s wooden shapes puzzle of the tiny exploded bones of unborn fetuses on black velvet, and a little tiny collapsible wooden toy model of the single-headed-double-bodied baby skeleton (You know what I’m talking about. Like…one of these, you know?), and maybe a choice between a whole bunch of piggy banks that are modeled after a bunch of the different skulls, and fuck I mean come on: how about actually a necklace modeled after that string of papilloma, and obviously this would be wildly disrespectful and you should NOT do this, but…come on, man. Why on EARTH weren’t you selling bars of soap shaped like the soap lady? That’s just common sense, yo. And I am totally going to fucking LEARN CARPENTRY in order to make myself a goddamned little wooden jewelry box – slash – Civil-War-era field doctor’s surgery kit, I wanted one so bad. And…I obviously don’t have a photo of it. It looked sort of like one of these? It was badass.

Incidentally, that thing about how I photographed roughly every single cell in the prison? It’s…kind of true. Here’s a nearly-five-minute-long slideshow of a mere fifty of the eight hundred seventy-two thousand photos I took of nearly-identical prison cells:

This is another reason it’s good to go on vacation alone. So that you can do shit like THAT and not have to feel like you’re putting anybody out. (Also: so you can read EVERY SINGLE ID CARD below each skull in the collection of 300, and write down the good quotes from half of them or so.) (Also: so you can walk into the coffee shop / lending library / tattoo parlor at 10am on a weekday and very sincerely think to yourself: “Huh…what if I get a tattoo here?” The tattooist was already with somebody else, though.) (Also: so you can walk 10 blocks out of your way – TWICE, since it rained the first time – and wait in a security-check line, and get teased by a security guard, just to stand where JFK stood.) (Though: it DOES mean that you have to wait for 5 minutes before some other random stranger/tourist happens to walk into Poe’s cellar in order to be brave enough to go over to the “creepy part” to take a picture, because it was TOO FUCKING SCARY to do it when you were in there all alone.) I really only STOPPED taking photos because my camera’s battery died. (And then I took a bunch on my phone, too.) I very sincerely believe that that prison was the most physically beautiful place I’ve ever been in my entire life. (Yeah, fuck you, every national park I’ve ever been to; fuck you, St Paul’s Cathedral; fuck you, the Lourve; fuck you, Bahama Islands; fuck you, Podatso National Park. I said it. You heard me.) (Also, it occurs to me that I have not been to enough fancy places. I need to go on more vacations, yo.)

And if anybody does know (or even have any good ideas about how to find out?) the name of the person who…set-designed or art-directed or curated or assembled or whatever…all those rooms: fill a girl in. I am SO FUCKING CURIOUS.

Also, maybe the thing that I will learn carpentry in order to build will be more of a turn-of-the-century-era creepy peeling sorting box of unidentified purpose to hang on a wall?

And you know, to be honest, I KNOW that part of the reason I loved that goddamn place so much was just because everything was painted in that really wonderful Pinterest-y 1960s-kitchen stand-mixer pastel-mint-green-y color.

Yayyyy! Told ya!

It was…not…awful. It was beautiful. It looked like stained glass windows, or Czec glass jewelry, or…other pretty, colorful, see-through type things? (And I totally think the handsome dude who gave it to me was flirting with me.)

Also, here’s that beetle I mentioned earlier, too. Just to…you know. Not keep you hanging and all.

So. You know. Philadelphia and all.

Woot or whatever.

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Come Along With Me, by Shirley Jackson

Man, Digby ALWAYS loves sitting on Shirley Jackson. The title story was…I mean, not great, but it was unfinished in multiple ways, I think (literally no ending, but also…unpolished-seeming), so it gets some slack. The other stories were pretty rad to sit on, though.

…Um. I don’t know what this is, actually. Digby seems to be having a pleasant sit on it, though, so that’s nice.

Fearful Symmetries, edited by Ellen Datlow

Digby enjoyed sitting on this book quite a lot. There was only one story in that was really terrible – but it was NOTICEABLY terrible. It was SO terrible that it was just confusing. Why was it THERE? What had HAPPENED?? It was mostly pretty solid. You know. A totally decent book upon which to sit.

First Love, Last Rites, by Ian McEwan

Always a fan of sitting on McEwan, Digby was excited to sit on this, his first book of short stories. They really DID read like a first book, too: very good, but very crafted. Like, he was WRITING when he wrote these. And the styles, though always noticeably McEwan-ish, are, even so, just wildly all over the place. He’s got a Faulkner story in there, he’s got a sci-fi in there, he’s got some goofy fucking Tom Wolfe or some shit in there? I dunno. But of course somehow they all still manage to mostly just be about middle-aged white British dudes thinking really hard about their penises and murdering ladies.

Though you know what else? How come all of his fucking books sort of look/sound like goddamn period-piece romance novels? I mean, that title: First Love, Last Rites. And look at the cover (when not covered with a cat)!

It looks like some earnest teenage romance. And he does this a LOT. Fucking Enduring Love? On Chesil Beach? Sweet Tooth? Ugh. Come on, dude. For a bunch of books about, like, murder and madness and British penises and accidentally ejaculating on ladies thereby DESTROYING BOTH OF YOUR LIVES FOREVER, those sure are some pretty-pretty titles. And covers. It makes it kind of embarrassing to do that super-casual “silently wave the cover at them” thing in answer to somebody asking you what book you’re reading.

Well. You know. If you’re the kind of person who cares about how people judge you based on your reading habits.

Anyway, a pretty decent book to sit on, overall.

…Fucking Erwin, though, man. He is THAT GUY at the book club. (Look how annoyed she is in that second photo omg come on.)

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pretty

Hey, look, here’s some things!

(SORRY FOR THAT ONE!!!)

I cannot verify this one for sure, but it seems believable, right? Like, I wouldn’t be SURPRISED.

This one is a fucking TEASE:

This is a new tag I’ve seen in a bunch of different stations recently. (The thing on the bottom, not the thing on the top.) Whose is it! Why! What does it mean! Is she (or he??) ACTUALLY a mom??? (I lurve it so much.)

Hello, Wendy! Nice to meet you. Welcome to the neighborhood! Let me know if you need a recommendation for a good laundry or a nice taco joint or whatever! Love your blouse. Where did you get it? Oh, Seattle? Oooh!

Wendy, have you met Melissa? Melissa, this is Wendy. She’s new to the neighborhood.

White people’s terribleness has been noted here and there around my neighborhood recently:

(Well…maybe not exactly RECENTLY.)

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I went to Shakespeare in the Park! It was…fine. Everybody keeps saying how great John Lithgow is in it, and he is (though he DID do that thing he does, where his super-serious acting is so dramatic and wackadoo that it kind of reminds you of his comedic acting? Which I like, actually – it’s super-nutso and fun – but I was kind of on the verge of giggling over his soul-wrenching misery once or twice there), but I also really liked the kid who played Edmund, and the Fool was pretty good, and the one mean bastard son guy was pretty good. And of the three daughters, I liked Reagan even better than Cordelia. (Cordelia = Annette Benning, Reagan = the chick from Grey Matter that Water White was in love with in grad school or whatever.)

The set was mega mega mega bare-bones: just a big stage made out of what looked like actual logs, and a textured back wall that was lit to look like stone sometimes and forest other times. Every once in a while they’d bring out a table. That was…it. And Chris described the costumes as looking like “costumes for a Shakespeare play,” rather than anything historically accurate, or even historically particular, really. The reason I sound sort of bored and disappointed was because I, you know…was. Like…I’m sure it’s mostly just suffering in comparison to the two big fancy lavish Shakespeare-in-the-Park things I’ve seen there before (Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, both of which were GREAT – particularly Macbeth, which was just mind-bogglingly rad), but I kind of didn’t get the POINT of all that austerity. I’m not sure that it helped, or that it particularly did whatever they wanted it to do. (Though…I’m not sure what it was supposed to do, so….) Like, the lighting (and the sound) evoked the storm very competently and all. But…it didn’t blow my mind. And I wanted it to. It COULD have, you know? And it didn’t try hard enough to. It tried to make me think of a big storm, and I did think of a big storm, so that was…you know, good.

The sound design was basically the best part of the show. A bunch of it was recorded I guess, but there were also these two drummers who sort of hung out on stage almost the whole time, and had these big mallets, and played these massive sheets of metal stuck to the wall on each side of the stage that made the most amazing ringing, booming ruckus (which was sort of echoed/foreshadowed, just wonderfully, in the ringing of a golden bowl in the middle of the stage to open the play, sort of, like, blessing it, or something?). They were there the whole time, doing this ominous rumbling thing, but they were particularly great during the storm, the war, stuff like that. Actually, maybe I liked them even BETTER just doing the ominous rumbling thing. (I also rather enjoyed just STARING at them: they were definitely drummers, not actors, and they didn’t have any lines or parts or anything, but they were in sort-of-costumes, and were on stage most of the time. It was kind of interesting watching them trying to be inconspicuous. One of them sat down more often than the other one did. That one had better posture, too. I bet they get BOOOOOOORRED night after night. They were fun to observe. Shrug.)

And actually: Chris and I had heard them practicing one pre-recorded part of the play back in July, when we were at ArteCluB! (…Which…I realize I have not blogged about yet, so…okay, but look, so there’s this thing called ArteCluB; it is awesome; I will tell you more later.) Anyway, July’s meeting was in Central Park, and it sounded like this:

Anywho. The real fun of Shakespeare in the Park, as everyone knows, is waiting in line for tickets! They apparently don’t give them away up at Joe’s Pub near Astor Place anymore, which annoyed me for some reason (because… I’d rather sit on a sidewalk at Astor Place than in Central Park?). Since I went on a Wednesday, and relatively early in the run, I didn’t have to get there madman-early. I got there at like 7:30, and could have easily just rolled in at 9:30 if I’d really wanted to. The only bad thing was that it was raaaaaiiining pretty consistently (if not too heavily) until like 11ish (they give the tickets out at 12). Cecelia wasn’t there, unfortunately. My line-mates were all actually very quiet and respectful and introverted, which was nice, but did make for a more boring blog post, I guess. I mostly just documented the dogs I saw walking past the line. Dogs are nice.

(The friendly one was my favorite, I guess, though I did also really love the large shaggy slow one. The saxiphone player was NOT my favorite. He berated us for not paying him, and told us that his professional time and training deserved payment. I wanted to inform him that no one had hired him, and he was in fact bothering us, but I did not. I gave him minor stink-eye and then continued collecting acorns. I collected a lot of acorns. I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure I’m going to start by spray-painting them gold, though. That seems like the correct first step, right?)

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Ugh, fewer, MTA, fewer.

Um. And since that’s too short for a blog post all by itself…here’s this, too: How come nobody ever talks about how the ENTIRETY of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was actually, literally, honestly, seriously a single long hallucination produced by a crazy-bananas Buffy in a mental institution?

Season 6, Episode 17? So some demon stabs her (with a hypodermic-ish needle appendage) and then she starts having these flashes of herself in the institution, and then there’s this big whole internal battle where in the one world, her doctors and parents are trying to convince her that THAT’S the real world, and in Sunnydale, her buddies are trying to convince her that THAT’S the real world. And in the end she chooses Sunnydale, which, like, SHOULD be the correct answer, as far as the world of Buffy goes, but also as far as television shows go and as far as stories like this just generally sort of WORK.

But the thing is!! At the very very end of the episode, AFTER Buffy is back to her regular life in Sunnydale, “cured” of this thing that the demon did to her, we see another tiny little flash of the other world: We see THAT world’s Buffy, catatonic again, and sitting in a corner in the mental hospital, and her parents are all sad that she slipped back into the delusion again, and the doctor says that this time it’s probably going to be permanent, and then the door to her room closes on the camera.

WHO SAW THIS? Buffy didn’t! Only we did! So…how could it possibly exist in the world of Sunnydale? The world that Buffy just chose? It doesn’t! It exists in OUR world! It exists in the REAL world, which is NOT Buffy’s world! OMG BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER IS NOT REAL, THE WHOLE THING IS A DELUSION, SHE’S A CRAZY LADY, WHY ISN’T THIS A BIGGER DEAL? Why does no one talk about this! This is a THIIIIINNNGG!

I’m just saying.

Look at these motherfucking carrots, will you?

These are some beautiful goddamned carrots. They got all that green shit on the top, and they’re just perfectly fucking proportioned. Looking like Bugs Bunny is about to eat them or whatever. These are some fucking amazing-ass carrots.

Don’t even ask me about the goddamned round-ass zucchini.

Fuck.

Arrrg, I love/hate these nytimes articles so much!  No, “hate.”  Just “hate;” I’m going with that.

I love Maggie Gyllenhaal! But I HATE THE PERSON IN THIS ARTICLE SO MUCH!! And there was one a couple weeks ago or whatever about that chick from Marcell the Shell and Obvious Child, and I like her, too, but they managed to make her sound exactly as lothesome in her article, too. Exactly as rich and Hollywoody and vacant vacant vacant and all hand-waving and designer dresses and casual elitism and fancy cocktails and bone marrow and “transgendered individuals”* and pot deliveries and young fashion designers in the corner making PRONOUNCEMENTS and I don’t even know what all. And the line at the end of Maggie’s about Peter Sarsgaard running to hide under an awning and shouting something blasé back over his shoulder to wife, as you do, but since they ended the whole article with it it somehow becomes like MEANINGFUL – like what even is that!!  Like the whole thing reminds me of Less Than Zero if we were meant to like the characters, maybe?  Also here’s one about Natasha Lyonne, and I have little-enough pre-conceived opinion of her that after I read that article I was just like, “OH FUCK THAT BITCH,” or whatever, and I hadn’t even realized that the nytimes just makes young actresses look like hideous, hateful wounds in these articles and it’s not her fault!

Also, there’s one about a party that Martha Stewart threw or something, which has a slideshow, which includes this photo and this caption, and I’M JUST DONE IS ALL YOU GUYS; I’M DONE.

Scarlett Johansson, center, sat next to her fiancé, Romain Dauriac, who wore a mint green jacket.

* And PS but is calling trans people “transgendered individuals” kind of like when white people call a black dude a “black gentleman?” Like if you use this slightly old-fashioned term of respect all casual everybody’s gonna be all: “Oh, THAT dude is down, for SURE. I TRUST HIM.”

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