Monday, August 27, 2007

class discussion

The context: an entirely student generated discussion about some writing basics. I'm just sitting in the corner taking note of how much they "get" and at what level.

Guy in Corner: Is "stance" always about persuasion? What if you're trying to persuade someone who completely disagrees with you?

Guy with giant eyeballs: I think that maybe you can write a paper and hope that you can convince one person who will convince another person who will eventually convince someone who will convince someone important?

Girl with long ponytail: Like Clinton!


Girl with ponytail: Like Clinton! If we could just convince Clinton! Everybody listens to him! (sneer)


that one time with the dead body...

Dearest P-stank,
My one attempt as an undergraduate to have a hip, groovy party was on Valentine's Day (1995?). My roommate, Alexa, and I made cute little invitations and made sure to insist that our friends wear "festive love duds." It was the dorkiest premise considering how extremely dorky the two of us were (we grew out of it, for sure).

We lived in an old, shifty apartment building in the North Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Across the street from our building was a Dairy Queen that was open year round. Despite the regular winter customers, I never saw a DQ cone being passed over the counter during the winter, if you know what I mean. We lived on the sixth floor and sometimes had to walk the steps when the elevator was down. Sucked.

So when party time came 'round, we were pretty desperate about the elevator working. Which didn't happen. Lex's boyfriend hauled the keg up six flights and we were mortified that our cool, hip friends would have to climb the steps to get to our shindig. It was completely embarrassing, given that we (maybe it was just me) so very much wanted to be adored via this cool soiree. Additionally, there was an odor. It was definitely strongest on the first floor and it was miserable. It smelled a lot like rotten poopy baby diapers. Not only did our guests have to schlep up the steps, but the first thing they mentioned when entering our apartment was something about the horrifying stench.

No, our combined cuteness, delightful decorations, and delicious snacks were not the subject of the evening. It was the gut-wrenching fragrance of death on the first floor. I have a great picture of me dancing with my boyfriend and his twin brother. It's sweet and funny and what I remember most about that party. I wish I could insert it here.

Unfortunately, I can't; but I can recall that about three or four evenings later I came home to TV news reporters filming from our front door. Alexa hounded them about what the hell was going on and they wouldn't say. Finally, while watching the late news, we found out that the reporters were there to deliver the story of a man who died of "natural causes" in his apartment. (a question: why wouldn't the reporters just tell us? seriously? were they afraid they'd lose us as viewers if we already knew the news?)

Yup. That's all. No foul play, no suicidal drama. He was just old and didn't have anybody keeping track of him and he happened to live on the first floor of our building. All of this is to say that I know what a dead body smells like and damn, it's grody. Also, I guess I'm sharing a little nostalgia for 1995 when I had a bob and thick bangs and Alexa had a bob with a perma-curl-under (you know what I mean? the thing where the hair is always perfectly curled under?). It was also the year that I called 911 twice while watching someone beat the shit out of someone else in front of our apartment building. Same year and neighborhood where I was chased down the street by a delirious woman WITH A BRICK THAT SHE TOSSED AT ME (she accused me of giving her the evil eye). It was a good year. It was the second year of my writing life.

How's the stink?
with much sighing and remembering,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eau de CRAP

Dearest Fragrant Pea,

Some time in the middle of the day yesterday, my apartment developed a smell. A deeply unpleasant death-like odor. A nostril-splitting, stomach-turning, crazy-making sort of stench. On hands and knees with a flashlight, on a ladder with a screwdriver, on a maddened rampage, I tore the place apart. I looked over, under, and in everything I could lay hands on. The odd thing is that the smell is strongest right in the middle of the room; when I get near any surface, cabinet, wall, or piece of furniture, the smell fades, only to return when I move to the open air.

WHERE IS IT COMING FROM??????????????????????

As you can imagine, I'm slightly at the end of my rope about this...

Yours craving congestion,


Saturday, August 18, 2007

no, I can't stop...

...posting stupid shit in lieu of saying anything interesting myself.

verrrrrrry tiny paintings.

Made by me. No, made by Susie Ghahremani. Would that I could spend my time making tiny tiny art... gawd, when will I get to do what I want to do?!


Friday, August 17, 2007

cure for all ills

If there is any sorrow in your heart, any at all, watch this. Your pain shall disappear. And I know you can spare 7 minutes. It's worth it. Perhaps watch without sound.

much loves,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

McSweeney's is only a little funnier than me.

from internet tendencies:

No. 86:Novelty Items—Some Novelty ItemsThat Never Caught On.
by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren
- - - -
Itchy milk
Exploding eye patch
Shit gum
Gassy nun's habit
"You're Dead, Cocksucker" inscribed pencils
Syphilis ink pen
"Stinky" drink coasters
Placebo suntan lotion
"Squirting" glass eye
Hobo negligee
Leaky-mercury anal thermometer
Farting brick
Measles underwear
Asbestos wig
Bendy turd
Weewee toothpicks
Bouncing ice cubes
Indestructible ice cream
Pills that make you vomit boxing gloves
Prancing foot-odor mustache
Lice beer
Faux insulin
Jumbo eyelash
"My Other Car Has Cancer" bumper sticker
Poo-poo eye drops
Sexy edible shoe insoles
Shrinky toilet paper
Invisible-ink "Missing Child" poster
President Anne Frank dollar bill
Halitosis adult board game
Vomit bikini
"Keep On Truckin'" inscribed on the head of a pin
Glow-in-the-dark elephantiasis glitter
"World's Greatest Grampa" coffin comforter
Pet fingernail

think of the lists we could make if we put our minds to it...
love you and miss you,

Sunday, August 12, 2007

having fallen headfirst into every stereotype about gender roles and marriage...

...I hid a pair of jeans and three shirts from my husband after shopping with a girlfriend. Additionally, I created stories about where they came from should he notice that they're new. I'd like to welcome you to the land of the money struggle in which every purchase is scrutinized for its benefit to the household. I can make a damn fine case for the jeans, but TD is going to have to come up with something pretty damn creative to explain the $42 Lowe's purchase. Don't worry, spying on bank statements is another way in which we have decided to plunge headfirst into deception. When did this happen? I was never this woman. Bullocks.

Your pea who needs a vacation from a world where this is a FUNNY joke--"Alllllll women do this, right? Tee hee! Let's go scrapbook!"...


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Totally Not an Epic Battle

Dearest P,

As you know, I'm a supremely confident person who never worries about all the ways in which everyone most assuredly hates me. Please allow me to share a recent example of this.

The successful execution of my job means that I need and have access to a lot of information, including my boss's email inbox. Everyone knows this, and we have systems in place to make sure that messages intended for his eyes only are routed to folders that I'm unable to see.

Occasionally, however, people don't follow the proper flagging procedures, so things show up that aren't intended for my review. I recognize these items immediately and have never looked at them, which has always made me feel really grown up and responsible.

Yesterday, one of these types of messages arrived. Its subject line had one simple word: my name.

I did not look at it. It has been approximately 18 hours since it arrived.

Don't worry, though, because I ABSOLUTELY am NOT freaking out. I'm not replaying every interaction I've had with this person over the past few weeks. I'm not worrying about what I may have said or done. I'm not nervous every time I get called into anyone's office or whenever my phone rings. I'm not failing to remember all the ways in which I'm clearly competent at my job and appreciated by my colleagues and supervisors. I'm certainly realizing that the message could be about anything, and could even say nice things about me, and is not necessarily some kind of scathing condemnation of my very being. And, most importantly, I'm not straining with every fiber of my being against the temptation to look at the message while simultaneously kicking myself for begin absurdly ethical and trustworthy.

Just thought you might like to have a reminder of how very together I am.

Maturely yours,


Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Comment made to me as casually as, "I like your knitted panties":

"The Relief Society knows where you are. They always know when someone moves into their ward"

Might this explain my terror?

Dear Abby,

I am a moderately crazy woman who, at work and in most social situations, seems well-adjusted and friendly. I have a lovely life with a very tall man and two delightful little dogs. I love our home, my jobs, and my computer. Here's my problem, Abby: I am terrified at the idea of making friends with my neighbors. Or even seeing them. Or having them see me. Yes, this begs the question, "Why the piss would someone so dysfunctional move into a cozy neighborhood full of dog-walking conversationalists?" and even more to the point, "Why in the name of the holy of holies would you marry a man who will strike up a conversation with a pigeon and in the first 24 hours made friends with the drug-dealing, dying, drunk next door who sweeps the street at midnight?"

Help me, Abby. I am so desperate that I will wait until my neighbors go inside to run out and drive away in my car. Why? They seem pleasant enough. Maybe they're just waiting for the chance to bring me chocolate chip cookies and who am I to stand in the way of their dreams? In therapy speak, "What's the worst that could happen?" Tell me, what?

-quivering behind drawn blinds