Yesterday we celebrated the holiday built around parents actively encouraging young children to seek out strangers and accept candy from them. For my part, I celebrated by dressing my dog up in a superhero costume and hanging out with her at my own Halloween party. I dressed as a lumberjack, but told everyone who was too drunk to get it that I’d dressed up as a lesbian.

I wanted to dress as sexy Judith Butler, but costume parties are more fun when I don’t go as myself.

Which reminds me! I’m going to see Judy B speak in NYC in April at a conference on homonationalism. I hear she talks like she writes so I expect it to be about 1,000 miles over my head. Her thinking is leagues out of my league.

It may be too early to call but I think grad school is making me angrier. Or, if not angrier, more radical. The dual Master’s I’m working toward is a Jekyll/Hyde environment. Communications management is training me to work better in a corporate world, it’s teaching me to play the game. Gender and Cultural Studies is goading me to flip the game board and yell “fuck this shit.”

Stop here if you don’t want to read a partially incoherent rant on marriage equality. Spoiler alert: I think there are better goals.

For years I’ve supported marriage equality uncritically. But, you gays, once you start questioning it, you can’t stop. I can’t stop. The argument flounders. I know I’m late to the party on this one, even by queer time, but I think marriage is the wrong goal.

I think marriage equality is a misnomer. I think efforts that seek access to a fucked up institution (and really, what institution isn’t?) just strengthen that legacy of privilege. If it’s the benefits of marriage (legal, monetary, etc.) that are the goal maybe we should put some money and effort toward divorcing those benefits from the institution itself. Maybe we could make an actual effort to recognize more kinds of “families” not just ones that are working to fit into the heteronormative mold.

I think we’re forgetting to look at who this new “equality” would still exclude. Who really benefits? I think one of the things I like most about me is that I’m not exactly like everyone else. I don’t have the same goals. And if I have to fit some idea of what I should be to “deserve” rights, I’m not sure I have any interest in doing that.

I know it’s obnoxious to get into such things on the internet, so I apologize.

This is all just to say that some days I wake up and I’m not sure I know where I stand anymore.

Grad school is a mind fuck.

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Of Mountains and Hills

The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, if a whirlwind was made of math workbooks and statements of purpose.

This past weekend Helen and I went hiking in the Blue Hills. Though I pretty strongly feel like the “Hills” is  a bit of a misnomer. The Blue Hills are actually what you would expect if a mountain and a hill had a baby. A baby that really took after the mountain. There were points at which “hiking” was traversing shifting rocks on a steep enough incline that I needed my arms to not make my descent by rockslide. Other than that I think I finally understand what hiking is. I brought water and wore appropriate clothing and completely avoided an asthma attack.

View from a hill?

We hiked the skyline trail which is a series of “hills” that give awesome panoramic views of the not-so-distant Boston. The skyline trail culminates with an observation tower on the last of six hills. Helen and I reached it after about three hours of hiking. We reached the tower around 2:30, slightly winded and looking a little less than our absolute best. Only to spot a mutual friend who also happened to be hiking that day. You know what they say, you can take the gays out of the city but they’ll just meet up at a scenic overlook instead.


desk zen

On Monday, Boston celebrated a holiday known as Patriot’s Day, something I’d never heard of before moving here. This day also happens to be the day of the Boston Marathon, which, interestingly enough, is kind of a big drinking holiday. This particular Marathon Monday, I’d been asked to read at a reading series in Cambridge called Literary Firsts. Because my function at the series was that of essayist, I chose to rework a piece originally posted here.

Reading at Literary First was a huge honor; the other participants humbled me with their literary accomplishments. The other readers’ bios mentioned myriad publications, while mine stated I liked to write about things I love for free on the internet. That was a shout out to you gays. The piece I read was about food troubles in Providence. With all of my experiences involving Providence, I should have known better than to go out to eat after the reading.

Alas, after the reading a few friends and I went to Veggie Galaxy to get takeout for the train ride home. We placed our order for three sandwiches around 9. Thirty minutes later the first report of trouble came. Though the real first sign of trouble was waiting 30 minutes for a sandwich. Turns out the printer broke and our orders never went through.

A broken printer is kind of like an act of god, you should quit while you’re ahead. Ten minutes after that the apologetic restaurant representative appeared once again and not, as you might expect, bearing sandwiches. She had come to see if I wanted the sandwich I had ordered on gluten free bread to be gluten free. I did indeed. Little known fact: No one orders gluten free bread because it tastes better. It does not.

After a fifty minute saga of delayed sandwich gratification we were headed to the train at last. We set about eating as soon as we caught a train. It turns out the surprise champagne for the readers had gone to my head (along with my other pre-reading nerve-calming drink[s]). We got a few bites into our sandwiches before they began to fall apart. It was only when we were in desperate need of napkins and forks that we realized we were never given any.

Luckily, a man sitting across from us, who it would seem spoke almost no English, took pity on us. Pulling out a pack or f travel tissue from his bag and rising to pass them to us. We thanked him profusely while he laughed and nodded. With his superior understanding of the fundamental need for napkins to accompany take out, I think he has what it takes to open up his own restaurant.

My friends elected me to write a letter of complaint to the restaurant the next day. Which I did happily, as I actually really enjoy writing such letter. I often find myself wishing I had known how effective a strongly worded letter could before I turned 25.

No sooner had I finished my letter to Veggie Galaxy then did I receive an email from Spirit Airlines. The email promotion was called “More Bang for Your Buck” and featured scantily clad women (hot pink bikinis) gathered around a man in a suit hushing them/the reader. This timely play on the secret service scandal was thought to be oh so clever. It’s a good thing (foreign) women aren’t people too. Oh wait.

Spirit is no stranger to degrading ads, like their Vegas promotion featuring strippermobiles, Trucks with images of, well, strippers, with the line “I’ll go both ways for $18.”

Here’s what I wrote:

“I received a Spirit promotional email this afternoon called “More Bang for Your Buck”. I was horrified by the advertising in this email. The image of scantily clad women gathered around a man in a suit with the line “More Bang for Your Buck”. Not only are you displaying women as a commodity, and a man as the purchaser/owner of that commodity, but it also implies women are cheap. Is this really the message your company wants to send? You might want to consider that women buy tickets too. And this particular woman will no longer be buying them through your airline.”

It’s like they forgot women are an interest group.

I received a more or less form apology in return, sorry for offending your delicate sensibilities, etc. But here’s the thing, I don’t want you to apologize for offending me. That’s like saying I’m sorry you feel that way when you did something you’re NOT sorry for. I’m almost never looking for an apology, I’m looking for change.

Capitalizing on the horny adolescent in “every” consumer only works when the consumer is a twelve year old boy (Mountain Dew take note). And last time I checked preteens couldn’t book their own flights.

Is anyone else a fan of strongly-worded letters?

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Inconvenient Truths

I think it’s pretty clear by now that keeping up with this blog did not make it onto my New Year’s resolutions list. If it had, you’d likely have heard from me long before now, then again, perhaps not.  You never call, you never write.

I’d like to blame the absence on being busy, which I am, but then again we’re all busy all the time. I think that actually, I’ve been too stressed to write to you. I gave up my main stress vice in December and I’m just getting back to being fine without it. Also, I was hesitant to make this blog a bitchfest, I have work drinks and phone calls with my mom for that.
Today I’ve sequestered myself in the library to write not one, but TWO, statements of purpose, or SOP stories, for the dual Master’s I’m applying for this fall. So naturally, here I am, writing this instead.

I’m reading at a series in Cambridge in two weeks, and I’m reworking a post from this site, which is the real reason I’m here. Nostalgia.

I’ve worked on a post or two this year for you, but not to completion.

For now I’ll stick to a tried-and-true work story. This week was intense. My offsite manager was in town for performance reviews, and I got to give her my grad school song and dance. Also, my editor who has been on unexpected leave for months is returning suddenly in a few days. But the real gem happened bright and early this past Thursday. I had been at my desk for about fifteen minutes, ingesting coffee, only opening emails I knew didn’t contain questions, when I heard a little knock on my door.

A woman I’ve worked with since I started my job was stopping by to congratulate me on my recent promotion. (Hey, you guys, I got promoted! One of those miraculous promotions with a title change and compensation and exactly no one responsibilities. Bliss.) She also needed to borrow a notebook for the meeting she was headed to. Showing up to a morning meeting without a notebook is kind of like showing up to work in yoga pants. Sure, you’re there, but nothing’s going to get done.

Anyway, I was marginally ignoring a very loud conversation about too many men on the ice and the Washington coach having a “nutty”, which the guys who sit near me were having when I heard the knock. And by “heard the knock,” I means she said, “knock, knock” and then opened my door before I responded. A few congratulations and thank yous later, she paused to read an Onion calendar article I had posted on my door, which happened to feature fake quotes and a photo of one of my authors (who she henceforth referred to  as “our boy”). After I explained the satirical nature of the Onion (the article was on the nation crumbling after realizing money is just a mutually shared illusion), she laughed hesitantly. A kind of forced chuckle, that makes you wonder if further explanation would even help. And then she noticed the horoscope.

I warned her that the horoscopes, too, were jokes and perhaps, maybe, potentially, sometimes a little harsh. I got one yesterday about my destiny to finally giving up my dream of ever accomplishing anything and instead reveling in the freedom of failure. I think Judith Halberstam just wrote a book about this, actually.

And so, she read it to herself slowly, deliberately, before looking at me wide-eyed and appalled. Within the next thirty seconds she had used the word racist three times. The article makes sense to have posted, she said, but that horoscope is really racist. I mean it’s just horribly racist. So, so racist, she said.

As she backed away from my desk muttering about the racist horoscope and our boy, I was horrified and felt oddly free. I don’t think she’ll be dropping by to steal office supplies again anytime soon. I can’t wait until she finally realizes I’m gay, and how inappropriate all of her comments about Tom Brady in his “football pants” have been.

Just because a truth is uncomfortable doesn’t make it racist. Maybe being uncomfortable is one of the things that make us question and evolve. I don’t think check your privilege is anyone’s favorite game, but it is a necessary one. Then again, maybe ignoring the truths we don’t like is the best way to get through the day undefeated.

With that, I’ll leave you with the horoscope. Until next time, be it next week or next season, stay cute out there.

“Being white and wealthy and privileged does have its share of advantages. That’s it.”

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Santa Becomes an HR Concern

A few days ago, my office threw it’s annual holiday party. IN the office. Sadly, no one came dressed as a cat.

Without the usual protective barrier of alcohol, the holiday party can be better seen for what it is, an awkward extension of the family Christmas. You spend hours surrounded by people you’d do anything not to spend hours with. It’s about obligation and uncomfortable life discussions. If you’re not out at work, it’s probably EVEN MORE like a big family party.

This year my office, in a fit of Scrooge inspiration, had people donate gifts that they then asked us to buy raffle tickets to bid on and “win” back. This is essentially inviting someone over for dinner, asking them to bring wine, then charging them by the glass. Except in that scenario alcohol muffles the complete absurdity.

Everyone's favorite ruiner of xmas (if you don't count Santa)

We were also asked to bring in snacks for the party. Because the holiday season is sponsored by flour, a product with designs on killing me, I usually just assume the only goodies I get can be found on the veggie tray. I’ve learned to tolerate carrots for this very reason.

Sitting at tables in the cafeteria we all enjoyed our small talk and snacks (except for those of us who were eating carrots). The major challenge of killing time at work parties is not talking about work, the ONE thing you all have in common. It leads to a lot of very specific discussions of holiday travel plans.

Words with friends. 4eva.

This party was pretty much just a lot of talk about Newark air port and out mutual distaste for everyone on every single flight we’ve ever been on. And then Santa arrived.

Every year one of the two men in the ENTIRE world of publishing dresses up as Santa to give out gifts, or this year to re-gift our donated gifts back to us for a small fee. I’m just going to say it, Santa was drunk as shit.

He kept yelling for more punch (it turns out our dry-for-legal-reasons party had apple cider laced with a gallon of rum). While he was pulling raffle tickets, he’d sometimes grab more than one, and then say “I wonder why Santa has such sticky fingers, ho ho ho”.

Santa was rapidly becoming an HR concern.

Every gift recipient was met with a quip with a sexual undertone. The “lucky” winner of the Kindle Fire was met with “You light Santa on fire”. Did I mention that Santa established sitting on his lap and having a photo taken as a prerequisite to receiving your gift?


All I want for Christmas is for this to end

The rest of the afternoon was riddled with lines about us needing to “trust Santa”, who claimed two prizes for himself. It turned out that my real gift at this holiday party was not winning one from Santa.

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The New Seven

If you’ve ever turned 25, like I did last week, you probably already know that it’s the first getting old mile-marker your body declares. It might not come with more rights like driving, voting, or paying too much to get drunk in public, but it does come with a kind of pervasive general back pain. A friend from work swears the day she turned 25 she put on 5 pounds that she’s never been able to lose. NEVER.

The best part about turning 21 is finding your favorite bar

This week I went to the eye doctor and for the first time EVER didn’t need a new prescription. Like a mack truck on a steep decline my descent to legal blindness has been a saga my mom has been worrying over since I graduated the second grade. As a way of compensating, for what is actually a strikingly depressing yearly ritual of logging my deteriorating eyesight, I’ve come to really look forward to the increasingly nerdy-chic frames I pick out each year.

Will I ever be cool enough to pull off blue glasses?

When the doctor said no change, I had to confirm he was talking about MY eyes. How old are you? he asked. When I said 25, he just nodded.
Suddenly everyone I know is in a Master’s program. I could reasonably list farmers’ markets and herbal tea among my interests in a non-ironic way. On this particular evening (a Saturday) my friends and I are sitting around the kitchen table writing various things on various Macs and drinking tea as smooth Christmas-y jazz tunes undulate in the background not unlike a gently falling snow.

Perhaps surprisingly, we were NOT listening to this.

It’s not that getting older makes you boring (though it might), but I think it makes you appreciate things you didn’t always. Like the way that the Sunday New York Times gives you a week’s worth of intelligent things to talk about at the multiple dinner parties and trivia nights you attend.

In a possibly related twist I’ve gotten back into interests my father and I share, like records. Helen is guilty of fostering this by buying me the coolest portable-record-player-that-looks-like-a-suitcase ever. I also have a new found love for slippers, and things with ducks on them.


As soon as they cure cancer and everyone lives to be 98, 25 will be the new 7. But it’s never a bad idea to invest in Advil and Icy Hot.

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A Cartoon Life (or, Ghost Cat)

I’ve been pretty bad about writing to you, cuties. As it turns out, I am sometimes lazy. And even sometimes when I’m not particularly lazy I have a hard time coming home from my glamorous job which includes unlimited spreadsheets and looking at a computer for a second longer. Truth: I have not even been keeping up on tv on the internet OR facebook, which my OKCupid profile lists me as being really good at.

I’m settling into my new-new place. My books have shelves. I mostly put my socks away. I put art on the walls with nails, like a freaking adult.

This is definitely not my room. Like a normal person, I view under my bed as additional storage space.

All of this makes sense as I round the corner on a quarter century this Thursday. For the record, despite what certain family members senses of humor might dictate, all cards containing an age-related insult will be SHREDDEDUPONRECEIPT.

Other than art being up and dishes being folded and what not, the new place is not much of an adjustment. Things were pretty uneventful at first, painting the kitchen walls barn red, having a Kelsey-of-the-Real-L-Word themed birthday party and poetry reading for a housemate, and then the ghost cat incident.

Because I know you all know who Kelsey is, I’m not going to get into the thing I mentioned after painting. Just know that it was amazing and it made someone awesome very happy.

No silly, not vampires.

A few Fridays ago, Helen and I went to bed early as we had big plans to go to Haymarket the next morning. Feel free to make fun of us and our yuppie love of open-air produce markets, but it’s a really nice way to spend a morning. And also, a dirt cheap way to eat veggies. Anyway, everyone else in the house had turned in early as well, whether due to an early morning flight to California or as a result of enthusiastic whisky consumption.

Around 1:30 in the morning Helen and I awoke to a cat crying loudly in the hallway. Assuming it was Lilly (one of Helen’s two cats), who has been known to cry when she wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t find anyone (not unlike a small child), Helen called to the cat. As the crying continued (and I may or may not have grown irritable) Helen went to collect Lilly. A minute later she came back into the room and said, “There’s a cat in the house.”

Right, there should be at least two.

“It’s a strange cat,” Helen said, in a bit of a panic.

Somehow a rogue cat had stumbling into the house sometime between 11:30 and 1 am like a drunk college student wandering into the wrong dorm room. It then roamed the hall searching for water, aspirin, and the bathroom all the while making an incredible racket.

Helen sequestered the cat in the bathroom while I kept track of Abigail, which sounds easy but WAS NOT. Lilly’s taken to sleeping in another housemate’s room, with seemingly no regard for her feline allergies. We assumed she was safe and more or less blacked out along with her bedmate.

After determining that the cat was not feral (she liked sitting in laps) and not an outdoor cat (thin coat) Helen did the morally defensible thing and took the cat to the shelter. At 2am.

In the days to come we puzzled over how the cat had gotten in. Perhaps it sneaked in as someone came home? The front hallway is dark, and cats are not unlike ninjas. Perhaps there was a portal in the coat closet that let cats in and out of the house? I spent a while dissuading Helen of the second theory, though it’s possible she still suspects it. The real danger of the portal is that it would also let her cats out, and they are much closer to delicate flowers than alley cats.

A Google image search for ghost cat turned out to be a really disturbing choice.

If it weren’t from the receipt the shelter gave Helen, and the echo of a cat crying in my ears I might be convinced that the episode was a dream. The entire episode reminds me of the premise of every episode of Scooby Doo, in which some dude pretends to be a ghost just to ruin things for everyone.

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Move On, Stay Cute

Hey Queerios,

No blog this week because I’m spending tomorrow packing my spices  and mugs and sneakers and moving them again. I think I might be most excited about getting to drink out of my own coffee mugs again. One day I’ll write about the last two months of my life, but until then, I got you this.

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Pièce de Résistance

When Halloween falls on a Monday the forces of the weekend and the universe combine to drag it out in a way no other holiday except Christmas is gone down on. You gays, today was the fourth day of Halloween and it’s only the 31st. This needs to end. Parts of Massachusetts, like a lot of the east coast, were buried in snow by the freak nor’easter that swept the seaboard on Saturday. Some towns without power and two feet of snow on the ground have POSTPONED Halloween until Thursday. Gays, I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed.

The show must go on.

I was Halloweened out before the holiday got here. If only CVS would play Werewolf Bar Mitzvah on a loop, we could stretch this celebration from July through November, making the holiday “season” last half a year.

Like some other holidays I’d rather not relive (ahem Christmas), this year Halloween also came with the strange obligation of a work party. I pretty sure two scheduled hours of mandatory fun just cancel themselves out. Mostly this part made me long for the day of Columbus, which I had off and did not have to play excruciating games in front of a large conglomeration of the media department. It’s hard to walk with your head up after getting your ass handed to you during the mummy wrap by Snooki.

I went to the party dressed as the head of production. Helen calls her my BFG (best friend grandma). When we go to the bar after work she orders a glass of wine, because she’s straight classy. I openly discuss my wish for her to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner. The costume was pretty simple: jeans, down vest and shirt of the same color, hiking shoes, a necklace of beaded stones. Girl scouts, it was way better than a slutty dress and mouse ears. Turns out she is 100% comfortable 100% of the time.

While the party came with little games like bobbing for apples, a candy toss, and the aforementioned MUMMY WRAP OF SHAME, the real centerpiece was the costume contest. It was won by one of the three women there dressed as cats, but that’s just the tip of the really disturbing iceberg.

All black, leather vest, a VERY intense leather collar with bells, AND a full-face cat mask. This was a costume built on commitment. I think there are other interpretations, like what that kind of dedication and amount of leather hints at, but I won’t speculate wildly on a family publication.

Google turned up an alarming number of images of this woman sexy climbing a snowy tree in a cat suit.

The first hint that things were about to get weird was when the door to the party swung open with seemingly no one there, and then, like a strange morphine trip, a small woman in all black crawled into the room and sat next to the table with the HALLOWEEN CAKE on it. I know what you’re thinking, I call this Saturday.

The party was an hour and a half long. Not once did she break character. She sat with her legs tucked under her by that table, mewing occasionally, for 90 minutes. Mind you, this is a woman I know to be of early bird special age.

When she won best costume she crawled to the prize table, pulled herself up with her hands, until her chin was level with the table’s edge and nodded at the prize she wanted. She then crawled back to the table next to the cake.

Like all good decisions, she chose the one on the left.

Later I overheard her telling someone that she didn’t have to buy a single item for the party. “These are my street clothes”, she said. And I believe her.

I like to think of this day as her great and brilliant protest to mandated fun at a party with an attempted theme of Jersey Shore (before it was made clear you can’t mandate a theme of sluts, AND that the theme of Halloween parties is HALLOWEEN). While dressing up makes me self conscious, she made me wish I were a little bit braver. If only I could get off my high horse and just. crawl.

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The summer after fifth grade I drove from Detroit to Daytona Beach, FL with my aunt, uncle and two male cousins. My younger sister, Hessie, and I are roughly the same age as our cousins, they have been our built in life-long best dude friends. It was an era when lime green ADIDAS t-shirts, bowl cuts (thankfully not for me), and baggy (wide in leg only) jeans were the height of fashion. It was also an era in which I believed that my cousin, who named every car model we passed, knew everything there was to know about cars (that he’s now a mechanic is not relevant to this story).

When my cousin told me that if you get in a car crash with your legs braced on the dashboard, the bones in them would shatter. Naturally, I believed him. Not could, mind you, but would. They WOULD shatter. It wasn’t until embarrassingly recently that I actually questioned his warning. I’ve never put both legs on the dashboard (or seat in front of me) for fear of immobilization by shattered tibia.

My blind faith in “experts”, or general gullibility in believing unsupported facts, is not something I’m particularly proud of. Every once in a while I’ll catch myself repeating something I heard as though it were a fact, and I’m doing my best to call bullshit on my bullshit.

So, recently, while trying to explain to an (unenlightened) acquaintance what band I was going to see that night, ahem WILD FLAG, I said “it’s Carrie Brownstein’s new band, you know, from Sleater-Kinney”. When they looked at me blankly, I swallowed my disappointment AND judgement, and replied with “she’s consistently named the best female guitarist of all time”. And then I thought, is this true? Is it something I read? I know she’s an amazing musician, and that my massive crush on her doesn’t inform my opinion of her skill level at all, but has she officially been called the greatest by a revered source?

It's just that when you touch me I. can. not. stand. up.

Sort of, at least on fashion magazine for women backs me up on this.

Seeing Carrie Brownstein preform live has long been on my list of things I havetodoimmediately unlessIwanttodiesad. I really don’t want to die sad, girl scouts, so a few weeks ago my friends and I went to Paradise Rock Club, tickets in hand.The opener was largely forgettable, save for her incredibly high-waisted jeans.It seems likely that I will remember the moment Carrie Brownstein walked on stage until I die (happy). The drum set was lit from the inside with string lights and the bands name glowed like a jack-o-lantern.




Mary Timony danced around the stage the entire show in awesome tights and flats. She also played guitar and sang, doing an all around attractive job.


It's just that when you touch me, I can. not. stand. up.


Janet Weiss, also of Sleater-Kinney, produces a beat I would march to any time.



While Rebecca Cole, pretty impossible to photograph from my angle,  gave me a reason to appreciate keyboardists.

But it was Brownstein and her windmill guitaring that captured my heart (no surprises there). This is who Outkast was talking about when he inquired repeatedly “What’s cooler than being cool?”



And, if you’ll remember, I’ve rhapsodized before on the joy of concerts with a queer/lesbian majority.

Another benefit to this concert demographic is the height ratio, which overwhelmingly swings in favor of the shorties. Helen was one of the tallest people there, and as girlfriend rule #27 clearly states, if you’re shorter than your girlfriend you get to stand in front of her at concerts until the end of time. Near the end of the show we were standing at the stage, watching Brownstein play out a song with her back flat on the stage, feet in the air, wooden heeled boots kick so much metaphorical ass.



For those of you who still don’t see where I’m coming from with my massive crush, Brownstein also created, starred in, and wrote for the IFC’s Portlandia with Fred Armisen. Creating such gems as


Did you read the fortune cookie from last night? Yeah? There were two of them.

and dumpster dive chic.

Smart, funny, talented, and nerdy in all the right ways. What’s not to love?

Although I’m assuming most of you are already familiar with her greatness, I’m going to go ahead and direct y’all to your new favorite sites:Fuck yeah, Carrie Brownstein and Fuck yeah, Wild Flag just to be safe.

You’re welcome. And allow me to be the first non-women’s fashion magazine to say Carrie Brownstein, the best female electric guitarist. Evah.


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Escape from Upper-Middle Life

Helen and I crossed a street of mildly dangerous traffic and located the car after our near brush with upper-middle class, upper-middle life, hetero, gluten-loving foodies. Once safely inside, I began searching for other dinner options while Helen did a funny little dance while claiming that she didn’t have to pee that badly. We’d be at the next restaurant soon enough. I mean, everything’s less than five miles away–how long could it take?

We settled on a Mexican place back in the exact direction from which we had just come. As we drove the two expressway stops to the current disappointment of dinner option 1, we may or may not have smugly scoffed at the suckers stuck in gridlock traffic heading into downtown Providence. As we neared the entrance ramp I had the sneaking suspicion karma was about to bite me in the ass.

From here to eternity. (Luce!)

Twenty minutes later we were idling on an exit ramp, watching the light at the end of it rotate from red to green to yellow with seemingly no impact on the cars around us. Helen, is a clever, brave, and (some might say) impatient driver (she’s from New York). It is these very qualities that led her to devise a plan in which we would drive on the shoulder, fake a left turn, and then cut everyone off. The bad karma we were racking up was getting out of control.

The traffic continued to crawl under a stone monument that arched over the street, in its center, suspended, was either a stone pineapple OR a pine cone. It was unclear to me, and neither makes a whole lot of sense. In just under 15 minutes we went 0.2 miles. The solitary green light in the city of Providence was letting through roughly .03 cars per rotation and also requiring a shrubbery.

Cone or apple? Too close to call. Also, clearly taken on a reasonable day to drive in RI.

Six years later, we arrived at our burrito-promising destination, so sayeth the gps, the Mexican place with multiple stars on Yelp. Only the Mexican place looked a lot like an auto body shop on a street of auto body shops.

Helen 9increasingly wishing she hadn’t tempted the traffic gods by not stopping before we stepped into the ring with the formidable opponent that is driving in Providence) and I decided on Indian. We were sure this place existed because we had SEEN IT WITH OUR OWN EYES earlier that day. No longer trusting the gps further than it could throw us.

Hello, gorgeous.

The place was across town. More or less in the direction we had just. come. from. For once, I was the rational one–not a tear was shed or a tantrum thrown. As we waited in a sea of taillights I called the restaurant and placed an order for takeout.

Getting there took more time than my pride will let me admit, but it was longer than an episode of Modern Family and shorter than the film Titanic.

We arrived at our hotel and proceeded to check in only AFTER I’d dropped our tikka masala on the asphalt next to the car. Soon enough, key card in hand, we entered our lovely, non-smoking room (as indicated by a sign on the door) with a view of the highway to find…ashtrays. Two ashtrays. Helen immediately developed a headache and called the front desk, while I threw open the balcony door and turned on the ac.

Unless you feel like it, that is.

True to mediocre hotel form, the front desk, invoking the classic “the customer is never right” policy, informed us we had not selected a smoking preference when booking the room. Helen kindly informed the queen of the front desk that therewasnosuchfuckingoption available when booking the room.

After briefly discussing driving home, vetoed by me, we ended up drafting a strongly worded letter to the hotel while eating our dinner seated on a hideous floral bedspread with the exact. same. muted-orange tones of our tikka masala. The food, having mostly survived its brush with the parking lot, was delicious, or perhaps we were just really fucking hungry. Either way, we ate it all with torn-plastic-cups-turned-spoons as we had failed to indicate when ordering a preference for plastic silverware.

Made from 100% recycled housecoats.

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