In Her Shell
Things I Will Do To Avoid Doing What I Am Supposed To Be Doing*
1. Clean out my closets
2. Watch First Daughter
on HBO again
3. Laugh maniacally at Katie Holmes, again
*preparing a 75-minute presentation for class
Wonderturtle and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Hair
I have never left the hair salon pleased with the way I look.
The cut is usually fine. Since I've given up the belief that a bargain is worth it in all
aspects of my life, it's rare to get an actual bad haircut.
But why must they tease and poof me out until I look like a middle-aged woman from the 1980s? I smile weakly, pay quickly, tip grudgingly, and scoot out to the car where I can pull down that rearview mirror, flip my head upside down and run my fingers through my hair until it looks semi-me.
At least today she asked
if I wanted hairspray.
Unprovoked Top Five
There are some bloggers I've been reading lately, notably Melinda June
, who have been listing significant songs, and then I heard "Son of a Preacher Man" on the radio, and realized, again, that it is a great
I always thought that a song was great if, no matter how much time went by, I wouldn't fast forward through it on a mix tape. My ultimate goal in this arena was to create a mix that I would never fast forward through at all. I don't know if that is even possible.
The technologies have changed, but the sentiment is the same. These are songs that have not outworn their welcome.
1. "Son of a Preacher Man," Dusty Springfield
2. "Take on Me," A-Ha
3. "I Want You Back," The Jackson 5
4. "On Every Street," Dire Straits
5. "There There," Radiohead
*** Unprovoked, Unnecessary, and probably Unscrutinized Update: I am knocking Dire Straits off the list, because I forgot about "Bittersweet" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. I'm also adding a #6: Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself."
Perhaps you've miss taken me
People I don't know that well, when they want to be affectionate with me, add "Miss" to my first name. So, imagine that Wonder is my first name and Turtle is my last name.
Coy Person: OK, Miss Wonder...
I've never heard anyone else's name used this way. Is it because my actual first name is only one syllable? Do they think of me as a Southern lady and themselves as somehow subordinate? Are they trying to be formal but have forgotten my last name?
That is the word to use for your new ad campaign. Not even a little bit "toasty," which may have had some charm as a catchphrase, even though the talking baby was absolutely terrible. This is worse.
With a naughty wink to the viewer, you present actors who play the owners of small, family-owned BBQ joints. They are a colorful bunch, full of local charm! They hold up their wares, then take turns reading from a formal "cease and desist" letter to you, asking you to please stop making your new barbeque sandwich, because it is just so darn good, it is taking away their business!
This is followed by the obligatory closeup of some dripping, meat-laden sandwich that looks nothing like anything I've ever been served at a small, family-owned barbeque joint. But that is beside the point, Quiznos!
More nauseating than that slow pan over the greasy sandwich is your presumption that it is charming to blatantly mock the people whose livelihoods you have been slowly draining of their lifeblood since you entered the market. It's not charming, Quiznos.
McDonalds and Wendy's have big penises, but they do not take them out and wave them around to attract business. That's what makes them so evil. You cannot hope to aspire to evildom with creepy talking babies and sad local business owners.
Take a page from their book and go more subtle, maybe with the kid-friendly angle. Apparently that makes everything easier to swallow.
You Were With Me All The While
The search is over, quoth Survivor
. I've found the love of my life, and it is: food.
M. and I went to a museum the other day and then out for sushi. It's about a 20 minute drive from the museum to the restaurant. From the time we walked out the museum doors to the time we actually ordered, we talked about nothing but food, in graphic detail:
Good sushi places in the area, what we like and don't like about them, what kinds of sushi we like and don't like, social events we've been to that offered sushi and other food that was offered, and other notable food experiences in recent weeks. The source material was seemingly endless.
When T. first started dating her husband and came out to visit me in New York, we sat in a little Indian restaurant in Alphabet City and she told me, plate for plate and glass for glass, about the places he had taken her in their first weeks of wooing. I was riveted.
In high school, my mother was reading aloud to Roni
and me from the Events section of the local paper, trying to get us to do something other than loll around and bemoan our boy status. About one event, she read, "Music, Free Food....Free food, [wonderturtle], you should go!" A comment that Roni has yet to forget about.
Last week, at physical therapy for the ankle
, I overheard one of the doctors talking about a Thai restaurant in town, and I could not resist turning around from my painful stretches to chime in about its fabulousness. When he began describing one of their best entrees, my face must have contorted into a noticeable expression of bliss, because he turned to the woman getting hand therapy and said appreciatively, "Look at her--she loves food."
And there it is. WT + Food 4EVA
I Heart You, James Baldwin
Doing some research I stumbled across his "A Talk to Teachers," which had a profound influence on me and still does. Some of his brilliance:
"The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. But no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around."
"...the popular culture--as represented, for example, on television and in comic books and in movies--is based on fantasies created by very ill people."
"Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person."
I Feel You, Nancy Kerrigan
I have been pulled over by a cop four times now, and I always get a ticket. Always! This time it was for rolling through a Stop sign, and the cop's cuteness and his choice of "Careless Driving" instead of "Failure to stop" on the ticket and his babbling about how I could appear in court and plea down the points and his apologetic justifications about how it is a dangerous corner and a lot of people get hit there so I should really be more careful did little to mollify me because I always
get a ticket!
I am very polite but I do not cry on cue. I can't even bring myself to look scared. My roommate managed to get stopped in the same spot for speeding
and rolled away without a ticket. Who are all of these people who get so-called "warnings" and how do they do it?
Why God. Why.
So good things (books) have been coming in threes lately.
Last weekend, my mom let me paw through the publisher's proofs and other discards that she gets to paw through at her local bookstore's book club. I chose:Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee
, Charles J. ShieldsTheir Eyes Were Watching God,
Zora Neale HurstonBook by Book: Notes on Reading and Life,
Then at the library doing research for class this week, I picked out three more books:Insurrections: Approaches to Resistance in Compositional Studies,
Andrea Greenbaum, ed.Opening Spaces: Critical Pedagogy and Resistance Theory in Composition,
Joe Marshall HardinAudience Expectations and Teacher Demands,
Robert Brooke and John Hendricks
And yesterday, at my favorite used book store (the one nestled on the same road as the strip club, the body shop, and the bail bonds place), I chose three more:Herself Surprised,
Joyce CaryThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter,
Carson McCullersAmusing Short Stories of...Death,
I suppose I am leaning toward the triumverate.
More Ways to Waste Your Time
From the Tell Me More About Me Files*:
via Casual Slack
: Who was I in a past life?
: With which celebrities do I share facial structure
: What do these total strangers think of me
?* see also: Why I Don't Get Shit Done
Today in class someone shared some very personal writing that clenched my toes and socked my gut. It was the kind of thing that you cannot really respond to, if you don't know the person well enough to give him a hug. So I thought I'd post a poem here instead.
It's by Emily Dickinson, who was also awkward and sad.
We grow accustomed to the Dark--
When Light is put away--
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye--
A Moment--We uncertain step
For newness of the night--
Then--fit our Vision to the Dark--
And meet the Road--erect--
And so of larger--Darknesses--
Those Evenings of the Brain--
When not a Moon disclose a sign--
Or Star--come out--within--
The Bravest--grope a little--
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead--
But as they learn to see--
Either the Darkness alters--
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight--
And Life steps almost straight.
This week I got one of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten.
We were out with L. & H., talking about their recent new car purchase. L. says, "Tell her what you said to me."
Apparently the negotiation process was arduous. Midway through, L. was at her breaking point, cranky and ready to just give in. When the salesman stepped away from the table, H. said to her:
"What would [wonderturtle] do?" And then, answering his own question,
"If [wonderturtle] were here, she'd smack you upside the head right now."
Wow! If only they had been witness to my own passive and pathetic car-buying experience, in which I played a recent turnaway from a methadone clinic, and the smarmy used car salesman played himself.
But still. That felt nice.
Another Theory To Help You With Your Life
You can add the suffix -bian to anything in order to indicate a person's degree of love for that thing.
Originating from the term "les-bian," (From the putative homosexuality of Sappho, lyric poet of Lesbos
), I first heard the suffix elsewhere employed in the word "horsebian," to describe those girls (like Donia from my bus
) whose obsession with horses veers into an uncomfortably intense passion.Hapabukbuk
and I created some new words using the -bian suffix:
I heart books, so I am a bookbian
Her friend A. is consumed by fashion, hence he is a clothesbian
Try it, it's fun!
Pride and Prejujealousy
Taking a moment to praise Wendy Spero
, former fellow corporate TV drudge, adorable sprite, and apparently very funny comic I've never seen perform who has made good
with the release of her new book, Microthrills: True Stories from a Life of Small Highs.
It has garnered good press from none other than Sarah Silverman, Ed Helms, and Bust Magazine. Wendy is a darling, charming, true person who brought light into our drab office back in the day and deserves every success in the world. I cannot wait to buy her book.
And I am so f*ing jealous.
More Next Blog Poetry
As per usual, each line comes from a different random blog. You'll see the brilliance of this eventually...
Shouting and Rejoicing in His Victory
out here in Los Angeles
I came across the biggest slug I'd ever seen
this little sea otter giving thanks
con ésta distancia...
I'm still unemployed, scratching my balls here and there
I paid $10 for one ticket
The food was amazingly delicious again
I think it's unclear
So, who really did start?
Even a spastic kitten
she wasn't nearly as strong as the other girls
and she's holding her own
no more lies just the big fat dis
you guys saw him as a maniacal chimp
beautiful hair extensions, and trendy haircuts
n'est pas mal quand même
Most of the games that adults play in social situations culminate in yelling. The arc of the yelling depends on the personalities of the players, but it is, in my experience, inevitable. Yelling can mar anything from Wiffle Ball or Trivial Pursuit to even, apparently, Scrabble.
Some people are cool with the yelling. It's part of their regular communication style and doesn't equal anger.
I prefer games that dissolve into giggling. It's much better for my blood pressure. Therefore I propose a return to some childhood games that never seemed to provoke yelling.
One of my favorites was a modification on Hide and Seek in which one person hides and everyone else looks for her. When you find the person, you join her in her hiding place, until everyone is crammed into some tiny spot trying to be quiet so the last person doesn't find them. Cue giggling. The other is the Sock Game, in which everyone pulls their socks halfway off, and then crawls around the room trying to remove other people's socks while maintaining their own.
If all else fails, bring out Twister. That's always good for a grope.
Whipped Cream Is For Daddies, Or, Everything I Need To Know I Learned At Starbucks
Precocious Child in charmingly unnecessary cherry-red rain boots, ogling some guy's whipped cream topped beverage: That's mine!
(She had made similar questionable declarations regarding a juice box, a bright pink water bottle, and the Connect Four game.)
Mom: You know what? That drink is only for daddies. That's a daddy drink.
PC: But... I want it.
Mom: You can have some the next time Daddy is here.
PC: My youthful exuberance and uninhibited spirit have just been a little bit deflated, an experience I anticipate repeating well into adolescence as you continue to pass the buck with pat gender excuses, Mommy. (Indicated in baffled facial expression only.)
Wonderturtle (inwardly): I feel you, sister.
I Am An Arrogant Brat, and My Mom Is Hilarious
I just read your recent blog entries. What happens to the old ones? What is that im chat at the bottom supposed to mean? What does pour sugar all over me mean? Why do I have to start my own blog to comment on yours and if I do, how do I make mine hidden from other people like you did? Are you sure no one except those you designate can access your blog?
i actually made it publicly available. im chat at the bottom? i don't know what you are talking about. pour sugar? i'm not sure what you are referring to...now you need to be careful what you write about other people, especially your boss. the internet is basically forever.
i'm keenly aware of that, as i always have been of packing things like underwear and socks. which will never stop you from reminding me to pack them anyway.actually, I once went on a business trip to Atlanta and when I unpacked at the hotel realized I forgot to bring a change of underwear. Luckily the hotel and meeting were in the middle of downtown. I had to run out to the nearest department store and buy some underwear. :-)
Another Theory To Help You With Your Life
The length of response to the question, "What's his/her name?" can be used to determine smittenness.
If your friend is seeing someone and it's in that beginning stage, and you ask, "What's his/her name?" and your friend says, "Bob," it doesn't look so good for Bob. Sorry Bob.
But if your friend says, "His name is Bob," he or she is smitten. The extra three words reveal a desire to spend more time talking about Bob, even if your friend is not ready to admit to that yet. Right on, Bob.
(See also: Self-smittenness, i.e., "The Real Slim Shady.")
This is a new theory, as yet not field-tested. I'd be pleased to hear your research results.
In response to the following prompt in a graduate class I am taking: "What is writing, and what do writers do?"
Writing is taking pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, spray can to wall, making a mark. Writing captures ideas in flight, otherwise ephemeral, and gives them solid form. Writing leaves a trail, whether in iambic pentameter or in fragments, that says "I WUZ HERE." It communicates without sound, resonates through symbols. Writers scratch out these symbols in order to be heard. There is a desperation to this scratching, a plea: "You too?" It is a reaching out to graze the fingertips of gods.
Everybody Needs a Catchphrase
When someone says an interesting phrase, I like to respond with either:
1) That's the name of my next album! or
2) That's what they used to call me down at the clinic!
In Costa Rica, the crew adopted my "next album" catchphrase and created an entire playlist of songs from our exploits. They prevailed upon me to keep the master list of titles, and as I am still processing the whole experience, I post it here in hopes that it will be somewhat evocative of said exploits, along with being just ambiguous enough to rival the "down at the clinic" comment for speculation potential.
The Leafcutters (aka The Aquatic Scorpions) announce the release of their latest album, Dirty Wet Things!
Featuring such hits as:
Mosquito In My Ear
Dirty Wet Things
Where Is My Bat?
Some Things I Learned In Costa Rica
A brochure and a glass are an effective combination for capturing a scorpion
You don't have to speak the same language to speak the same language
Rice and beans are muy rico with any meal of the day
Howler monkeys at 4 in the morning sound pretty f*ing otherworldly
Scarlet macaws are messy eaters
Lack of electricity ---> more sparks (of cameraderie)
Cocoa bean juice, after two years, may be better than champagne
Who needs clocks, phones, or to know what day it is?
The difference between a danger and a threat
It is OK to ask for help
Real British accents are always charming
Silly British accents aren't always annoying
Sweating all the time feels really good
What clean air smells like