Where I Write

I write at the kitchen table. This is cleaner than it usually is. That's my favorite iPad app, SimpleMind on the left.

I write at the kitchen table. This is cleaner than it usually is. That’s my favorite iPad app, SimpleMind on the left.

Where do I write?

I don’t have a desk. I bought a desk last year and tried to make a writing station for myself, but my apartment has a serious lack of space. I got rid of it because there was no real place for it, and it was too small to fit my laptop and wireless  ergonomic keyboard, which I need, because I can’t stand typing on a laptop. Instead I write at the proverbial kitchen table. It’s not my ideal writing space, but it’s what I have room for unless I want to buy another desk and try to squish it where it doesn’t fit again.

It’s not bad, the kitchen table is near the window. I only wish I could find a way to keep Oliver from attacking me every few minutes when I’m sitting there. He has a specific routine. He stares at me for awhile, then if I don’t pay attention to him, he growls. Then he sneezes. Then he growls again. Then he barks. Then he jumps up and bites my sleeve. It’s a bit distracting.

So sometimes it takes forever to, say, write about the dream I had last night because the dog won’t stop attacking me. Last night, I dreamed that as I was driving my car, I dumped a bottle of balsamic vinegar all over the interior of it. This was, (And now Oliver has started violently attacking me, probably because he has to poop. I took him out. Indeed, he pooped. Also, now he’s mad at me because I made him spit out the grody piece of bread he picked up near the dumpster and was intent on carrying around with him until the end of Time.), strange because I don’t really like balsamic vinegar.

I even said, “but I don’t even like balsamic vinegar.” And then I couldn’t clean it up because I couldn’t find a place to park. I don’t know why I even had it in the first place. A whole bunch of boring stuff happened, and then I found myself eating a really messy burger and was dripping mayonnaisey sauce all over me.

So actually, I tried an experiment and typed this in front of the TV while watching episodes of Red Dwarf that I’ve seen several times, and it’s taken me all afternoon because I keep getting distracted. So I guess writing in front of the TV is not a good idea.

I eat on my coffee table in front of the TV, surrounded by books I'm not currently reading, a box I should have thrown away weeks ago, and Oliver's favorite hump toy, the snake.

I eat on my coffee table in front of the TV, surrounded by books I’m not currently reading, a box I should have thrown away weeks ago, and Oliver’s favorite hump toy, the snake.

Oliver steak

Sometimes this happens.

I Guesstimate the Devastation to Your Staycation Will be So Stinkin’ Stunning!


What verbal tic drives me crazy? I’m so glad you asked!

Some people hate the word moist, but it really doesn’t bother me. What bothers me are made up compound words like staycation. Guesstimate. I notice professional people using this in place of estimate all the time.

Orientated. I’m not sure this is actually a real word, but I’ve seen more than one job posting seeking someone who is detail orientated. Indeed.

Devastation. Any time there’s any kind of damage to property or things non-human, media types refer to it as the devastation: “We can see from this footage that the devastation is extensive.” “Tell us Bill, what does the devastation look like?” “We interviewed an eyewitness to the devastation.” “The devastation is hard to believe.” Yawn. Devastation has ceased to have any meaning.

Stunning. Go to any website that features art, photography, fashion, architecture, or design of any kind. 9 out of 10 things will be described as stunning. Also valid for jaw-dropping.

Stinkin’. People use this as an emphasis word, frequently in conjunction with so and cute. How many Facebook babies have you seen that are “So stinkin’ cute?” All of them? You are so stinkin’ right.

I hate this word. It dumbs down any statement it’s part of. How about, instead of padding statements with two weak adjectives + the nothing word so, we strengthen them by using one strong adjective alone? Adorable, beautiful, awesome are all overused but still better than so stinkin’ anything.

Oh, and speaking of padding, Paul Feig once pointed out on Twitter that “nobody has ever padded across a floor.” Damn straight.

Posted from my iPhone, just to see what it’s like.

I Am a Photo

Old Hungaria
I was taken some time in the early 1940s. I feature Jenny’s grandmother (right) and her two sisters. I forget the sisters’ names.

They were in Budapest, I believe, in front of a statue that may no longer exist. It may have had to do with World War I. I wouldn’t know. I’m old enough I’ve forgotten my native language.

I was carried out of Hungary in 1956 during the Revolution, along with a handful of other photos and  a cutting of a Christmas cactus that had to be smuggled in the lining of a purse because the species was not allowed to cross international borders.

I’ve lived in boxes and bags on closet shelves, and that is where I remain, brittle and photosensitive, a reminder of both youth and age.

(daily post) 

Peasant Wedding: Are You a Boy or a Girl?

Peasant Wedding Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s interesting this prompt came today, because just Saturday I was bouncing around the question of what is my favorite painting? I’m reading The Gardner Heist, about the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, and it’s probably one of the most infuriating things I’ve ever read. I challenge anyone to read it and not find it infuriating.

Anyway, it made me think about what painting I would be heartbroken/murderously enraged if anything were to happen to it, and it’s the first work I ever think of when I even think the word painting: Bruegel’s Peasant Wedding.

I love this painting. I think it’s partly because of the colors and partly because everything in it is so…round. I don’t know why but I really like round things.

And look how much roundness there is here: the bowls of stuff that kind of look like pumpkin pies at first glance, being carried by people wearing round hats, the round stripey thing hanging on the back wall, the pitchers at the bottom left, the child with the hat licking something off a plate, the guy with round knees playing the bagpipe-like instrument. Everything is round.

Even the door that the pumpkin pie-like things are being carried on has rounded edges.

So yeah, lots and lots of roundy goodness. And pitchers. I like pitchers too, for some reason, and I love the fact that the perspective on the beer the guy at left is pouring seems to be a bit off—flattened or something. In fact, the liquid is about the only thing in the picture that doesn’t look round!

All the prompt said was “what if your favorite painting came to life?” so I had to think, would it come alive simply where it is, which would be far far away from me in Vienna and I’d hear about via the interwebs; or would it come alive whilst I was standing in front of it? Obvious answer.

So if I were standing in front of this painting at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (yes, please) and it came alive, here is what I would do:

I would take advantage of the opportunity to find out what the pumpkin-pie things are: stew? porridge? cakes? pumpkin pie? What do they taste like?

But more importantly, my most burning question could finally be answered: to the central figure in this painting, the person in blue with the sweet red hat: are you a boy or a girl?

I know you’re a dude, based on your clothes, your manly hands, and the fact that you’re carrying that huge heavy-looking door laden with pumpkin pie-colored liquid that you’re being careful not to tip and spill.

But the reason I was first ever drawn to this painting is that for a very long time I thought you were a burly teenage girl with short hair, and this stirred feelings of feminist pride within me: “Hey look! A teenage girl as the subject of an important painting from 1567! And doing a man’s job, no less!”

I don’t know why I thought this, since all the women in the picture are wearing those drapey white hair-covering bonnets, except for the the bride, who sits with flowing hair under the festive round stripey thing hanging on the wall.

But still, I really want to know what you look like. And to borrow your hat for a few—dare I say it?—selfies.

Also, can I have some of that beer?

Wellentyme’s Day


This is part of the weekly challenge.

I used to be one of those people who just absolutely hates Valentine’s Day. This was when I was in my early 20s and thought the world owed me things—things like a perfect boyfriend, perfect friends, and parents who were perfectly understanding like so many sitcom parents.

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day anymore, and watching people get all worked up over it kind of baffles me. The only thing I ever really get worked up over regarding Valentine’s Day is the fact that it’s Easter Candy Eve. And Easter Candy is the best candy.

When I reflect on Valentine’s Days past, the overwhelming feeling I get is awkwardness. Read More

Why is It So Embarrassing to Admit that I Love Joy Division?


We all have those moments that make us feel like a dope. Mine came two weeks ago when I learned that I had maxed out my cellular data a week and a half before the billing cycle ended, meaning that for ten days, my phone was kind of useless when not around wi-fi. Well, unless I actually wanted to make calls on it, but nobody wants that.

At some point I turned off my wi-fi for who knows why, forgot to turn it back on, and then spent all of December listening to the subscription music website rdio in my car and in my house, all the time eating up my cellular data.

And all this because I, in 2013, discovered Joy Division.

Read More

Best Tweets of 2013

@lilivonshtupp Mr. VonShtupp acquired this and left me on table. So caring. Oct 25.

@senorpaco They put a new coffee machine in the break room. The coffee not only tastes bad, but now it has no soul. Jan 2.

@revoltpuppy “See what they did to make the most of their tiny kitchens!” Motherfucker, come back to me when you’ve got something without counter space. Jan 6.

@TwittsMcGee I don’t get the whole Ryan Gosling thing. Jan 8.

@senorwinces They say living well is the best revenge but I prefer bludgeoning. Jan 10.

@BF_Giant Oh look, basketball! Yay! #SaidNoOneEver Jan 19.

@JoanOfSnark9 Lord, no matter what maladies befall me, I ask only that I never become a person that refers to awesome things as “dope.” Jan 21.

@MikeyPullman Do you enjoy relaxing AND sitting in your own filth? Maybe baths are for you. Jan 22.

@GotTheShakes Remember how Prince changed his name to that symbol? I'm changing my name to this painting. Jan 29.

@GotTheShakes Remember how Prince changed his name to that symbol? I’m changing my name to this painting. Jan 29.

@yoyoha OMG just remembered the last time I got drunk I totally endorsed the shit out of a bunch of people on LinkedIn :( Jan 29.

@rilaws To hear Page Six tell it, the opening of Barry Manilow’s Broadway show is the most fraught, complex thing since the Manhattan Project. Jan 31.

@sucittaM Missed Connection: I said potato, you said potahto. Feb 6.

@caitlinmoran No-one would ever believe the amount of heavy, self-pitying sighing that writing involves. Feb 7.

@JohnRossBowie Kim Jong Il was bad news, sure, but guy never tweeted his exercise regimen. Feb 7.

@jeffparker Bro is a Killing Word. Feb 8.

@repressd Regretting having the dog’s balls removed. He could be licking them instead of demanding all of my attention all the time. Feb 8.

@SeinfeldToday George insists he could out-eat Adam Richman of Man Vs. Food. GEORGE: “I’d like to see Man vs. Costanza!” JERRY: “So, you’re not a man too?” Mar 3.

@bazecraze “What’s in YOUR wallet?” Is it a better script for this commercial? Mar 21.

@albear Power outage while sitting on the toilet. So this is going to be a pooping in the dark kind of day. Mar 27.

@tiffanill Drunk neighbors are having an argument about who is the most boring. Resisting the urge to solve this for them. Mar 29.

@SarahThyre People who walk around in public whistling are all murderers. Apr 2.

@fart Brand advocate. Social media rockstar. Foodie. Microbrewer. Door-open pooper. Same jeans as yesterday wearer. Reality TV opinion haver. Apr 3.

@yoyoha “I know the difference between you’re and your” – future resume. Apr 4.

@lafix Turns out the super shy steampunk guy in my building was a propane tank. Apr 4.

@canningclams I named my breasts Bill and Ted a long time ago, after Bill Maher and Ted Koppell. Or was it Bill Nye and Ted Turner? Either way, I was nine. Apr 10.

@MrsCBorah Had to show my boss how to read a recipe today. That’s why I get paid the little bucks. Apr 17.

@JimGaffigan If you’re going to be outgoing and happy in the morning at least have the decency to kill yourself. Apr 18.

@HJBenjamin To the person who left their used condom in the north stairwell of the west 4th St station in NYC, I gave it to lost and found. Apr 18.

@lilivonshtupp Flash Bangs is my stripper name. Apr 19.

@kellyoxford The meaning of life is definitely going to be something we all hate. Apr 29.

@michaelianblack Sean Penn just said, “You know the drill,” and then his goons killed a guy with a drill. So, that’s where we are with “Gangster Squad.” Apr 30.

@BambamVictoria Just so you know, if somebody asks you if you’d like to play Words With Friends, they don’t mean *a* game, they mean until one of you dies. May 1.

@DrasticJo I like minge. The word, I mean. May 2.

@SDFurs I think golden labs might be rabid anti-Semites. May 2.

@SnarkOnTap Actual Headline / Man Outraged After Receiving Threatening Dildo in the Mail from Tractor Supply Company. May 8.

@robhuebel Just saw a guy beating the crap out of a palm tree with his fists. To be fair, the tree did look like an asshole. May 8.

@albear Contractors putting in new carpet at my apartment. It’s like being on house arrest while I’m forced to listen to Rob Zombie. May 10.

@revoltpuppy First sentence on the rec center homepage: “The rec center was remodeled in 1990 to add a gymnasium , exercise rooms, offices, et cetera.” May 10.

@KenJennings I ordered a red ottoman online yesterday and now all my self-aware sidebar ads are a never-ending David Lynch fever dream of red ottomans. May 30.

@hanatess I woke up next to a bag of burritos; I will not be leaving my room today. Jun 7.

@BoobsRadley I bet it’s annoying to be a bisexual ghost because people don’t believe you are real and also, you’re a ghost. Jun 7.

@MentholCabbage “It’s weird how Christianity is based on roofies.” Brennan on Mary and her immaculate conception. Jun 11.

@senorpaco There’s something about the Indigo Girls that makes me want to listen to something else. Jun 15.

@hbp Having managed to avoid Star Wars all her life, the unfamiliar gurgling from his office made her hopeful that he was dying of rabies. Jun 20.

@LizHackett Women have been in a couple of other movies besides Bridesmaids. Jun 30.

@m3mo Can armpits be haunted? Asking for a friend. Jul 2.

@hbp Though she was afraid to confirm it, the smell of his lunch infecting the office indicated he was eating shit, and this made her happy. Jul 3.

@johnONeil “@AdaCoSheriff: Fire crews are battling a grass fire near Firebird Raceway. Avoid area if possible.” That applies when there is no fire too. Jul 16.

@andrewcrisp Netflix’s “Popular on Facebook:” more reasons to hate your friends. Aug 22.

@JohnFugelsang Most people’s concept of God comes from a painting that was Michelangelo’s idea of a Bearded Daddy-Top. Aug 29.

@MikeyPullman If I had it all to do over again, I’d spend a lot more time stabbing people in the face. Aug 30.

@LizHackett Free boob sweat. DM me. Sep 3.

@not_levi Group texting: Not Even Once. Sep 5.

@LizHackett The more they unearth about Richard III, the sexier he sounds. Sep 5.

@robdelaney Maybe Salinger went into hiding because he was ashamed of having written the Whiner’s Bible. Sep 6.

@BillMurray Jack the Ripper and Winnie the Pooh have the same middle name. Coincidence? I think not… Sep 6.

@daveredford Whoa. I just received an email from a dude w/ a pic of himself in the email signature and he’s not even a real estate agent. Sep 12.

@52stations Wait, water has a new PR campaign? Do people not know you can drink it? Sep 12.

@AndyRichter Carla always felt self-conschious around the other girls. Sep 13.

@AndyRichter Carla always felt self-conschious around the other girls. Sep 13.

@jedikermit The time I was checking my phone and fell down the stairs of a junior high. Sep 16.

@johnONeil Did a used buy of normal people CDs today. I wonder if it’s worth it to be happy if you have to own and enjoy Dave Matthews Band music. Sep 16.

@kellyoxford “Hey everybody, look at me!! I’m Terry and I love dicks! Mmmm, wait a second. Guys, these are really good.” – Man who discovered bananas. Sep 17.

@ohshitcait My mom is walking around Jackpot with a steak knife in her purse. That she brought from home. #LiveFromVacation Sep 18.

@lilnatebigworld “It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a lion. It’s a ketchup bottle. It’s a toaster. It’s Gandalf. It’s-” Don’t invite Ray Charles to charades. Sep 18.

@tomtomorrow Yes, Google Maps, I want to know the driving time from Connecticut to LaGuardia, Spain. Sep 19.

@not_levi Free startup idea: somebody should create a website that hand-curates other curated sites that hand-pick content for you. Sep 19.

@drewtoothpaste The doctor snipped my umbilical cord and held me aloft. “I’m not here to make friends!” I yelled. Sep 20.

@serafinowicz “What’s not to love?” – That phrase. Sep 25.

@ChadFu Ignorant Twat. Sep 26.

@ScienceMMA Stopped in traffic and pushed a man’s broke down car to the closest parking lot. But wait, I’m an atheist! Then I ate his baby. Sep 26.

@SoVeryBritish Sounding sarcastic no matter how many ways you say “that sounds great.” Sep 26.

@Malacodae QOTD: “It’s like a Van Gogh painted with dumb instead of oil!” Oct 1.

@MarkDuplass Is “barf” an onomatopoeia? Oct 1.

@mywildheartpdx Poor flat droopy old lady butts in locker rooms of community centers  Oct 3.

@nickjfrost If it’s hard enough to be fired through the hull of a container vessel it’s probably not “perfectly ripe” is it supermarkets. Oct 4.

@SarahThyre The only thing keeping me from getting sober is the fear of descending into sports and video games. Oct 4.

@repressd Buncha Bible quotes. This is the worst fucking bathroom graffiti I’ve ever seen. Oct 5.

@canningclams You hate second person narrative so much. Oct 8.

@bazecraze If you play jazz backwards, you get slightly better jazz. Oct 8.

@PaulFeig Definition of stupid: the guy on my plane who keeps putting his shoes in the overhead & one keeps falling out and hitting him on the head. Oct 8.

@Sherman_Alexie At hotel front desk, dude just asked about his lost Ed Hardy t-shirt. Sadness on many levels. Oct 10.

@TweetsofOld Two women have scissored their way out of the second story of the Ballston Jail. NJ1866 Oct 11.

@robdelaney I bet if you put a dog’s paw in a Dyson air blade hand dryer, the dog would go insane and kill 500 people. Oct 11.

@Walton_Emily Dear people protesting on the overpasses in Canyon County: I can’t read your little signs so I suggest you have a debrief and re-evaluate. Oct 11.

@jedikermit I’m not entirely sure, but I think Chunk in GOONIES is played by Bette Midler. I’ll be checking IMDB in a second. Oct 11.

@lilyofspades This is the creepiest. I love the things adults come up with to help kids.

@lilyofspades This is the creepiest. I love the things adults come up with to help kids.


@senorpaco My kids are trained to run in and turn off the radio once Democracy Now comes on. Oct 17.

@AndyRichter “Here comes coffee. Let’s get outta here.” – poop. Oct 18.

@joshgroban Remember, when diving head first into an impromptu scat solo, always safe to start with “ski boot kabob.” Oct 18.

@KenJennings “Fight the real enemy!!” and I defiantly rip up a picture of a box of raisins. Oct 21.

@SarahThyre This Halloween I’m going as a sexy baby. Oct 22.

@heatherpruess Locked out of house. Trapped next to a couple who are cheating on their spouses. He says: “I know every side of you. You’re a decagon.” Oct 24.

@brandiglam My perfect date tonight would be lubing my boob with ointment and wrapping it with Saran Wrap. Oct 25.

@lilivonshtupp Mr. VonShtupp acquired this and left me on table. So caring. Oct 25.

@lilivonshtupp Mr. VonShtupp acquired this and left me on table. So caring. Oct 25.

@JillianWould Men. Oct 28.

@bylertrewington Much love & tenderness to the programmers at Google+ who ensure I get emails about what I “may have missed” over there. Oct 29.

@M3mo I’d watch a show called “Klingons Making Pancakes.” Oct 30.

@mywildheartpdx Why do cats, cats who never pay any mind to you all day, seek you out when they need to barf? Why do they need an audience?! Fucking cats. Oct 30.

@thesulk Headline on CNN.com: “Mac and cheese to be less yellow.” Way to nail it, guys. Nov 1.

@porlob Amazon is informing me of new albums by Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam, and that I should buy Buffalo 66 on DVD. #tweetsfrom2013. Nov 6.

@caitlinmoran Just changed a tampon in the men’s toilets. Take THAT, the patriarchy. Nov 8.

@TweetsofOld The increase of the size of muffs, which was prophesied, is not realized. TX1881 Nov 8.

@drewtoothpaste Any time I see 2 people that share a facebook account I like to imagine that when 1 takes a shit the other has to sit in midair next to them. Nov 8.

@calicoisfashion I wish brain washing technology could be used for cases where you need to forget about Billy Ocean. Nov 13.

@not_levi “It’s like, French is a great idea, but nobody is going to invent French if they’re constantly being attacked by bears.” Nov 14.

@tcarmody Fucking dinosaurs w/a Napoleon complex. RT @j_zimms: See what did I say about geese RT @jbenton Sign of the day. Nov 15.

@tcarmody Fucking dinosaurs w/a Napoleon complex. RT @j_zimms: See what did I say about geese RT @jbenton Sign of the day. Nov 15.


@pattonoswalt GodDAMMIT, I hate salad. Fuck you, salad. #salad Nov 16.

@lilivonshtupp “Well, I don’t know if the black guy is lesbian… But, you know how things were in the 50s.” – my mom. Nov 28.

@julierose78 If you start a FB post with “Wake up. Get out of bed,” I’m going to assume the next 37 sentences are First World Problems. Dec 5.

@juliussharpe The closest I’ll ever come to time travel is meeting someone who’s still offended by swearing. Dec 5.

@shariv67 Trade your immortal soul for a lifetime supply of unlimited cheddar biscuits at LOBSTERFAUST. Dec 5.

@anthonyrstevens Also, my phone wants to autocorrect “LaBoeuf” to “labia.” Apropos of nothing. Dec 17.

@revoltpuppy A man is humming along atonally to the instrumental light contemporary piano in-flight music. Dec 23.

@AthertonMe “Who,” she said, glaring at us each in turn, “has broken this jam cubpoard?” “It was I,” spoke a voice from the doorway beyond. Dec 30.

@AndyRichter “Fuck me? No, fuck YOU!” – dog barking into the darkness. Dec 31.


Appena tornato a casa dall’ #assembleapd 

Lessons on The River of Life, Part 2

River map

“Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you.” – The Stranger, The Big Lebowski

“What could possibly go wrong?” – Idiots everywhere

I used to work with a girl who said that every time she tried to float the Boise River she would get caught in a thunderstorm. For some reason, she had bad river-floating karma. Sometimes I wonder what Leigh Ann and I ever did to the Boise River, because we seem to have some bad river-floating karma too. We had a good four years of floating without incident, but this year the bad luck returned to smite us out of our river-floating safety bubble. Maybe it’s because this year ends in 13, I don’t know.

To begin with, our raft was too small, owing to the fact that Leigh Ann’s husband foisted on her one that he had purchased to transport his mountain bike down the river whilst he floated in the comfortable, durable raft that is currently sitting in Leigh Ann’s carport, serving as a hobo spider hotel. Read More


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