Monday, October 29, 2012


I was hit by a truck today. On my bicycle. The cliche is true. Time does slow down. One second expands to a million decisions. One minute my biggest concern was wondering if I would have enough down time at work to grade. Next, I see the driver only look one way as he's turning out of the parking lot. I was already in front of his grill. I knew it was about to happen. I screamed with everything I had. My brakes couldn't save me. The vehicle plowed into me. I flew. The tires moved forward, and I thought I was going to die. But, no, it was a lurch from being put in park. A man in construction garb ran around to me asking, "Can I call 9-1-1? I'll call 9-1-1." I had burst into tears. It was as if someone had injected me with a triple shot of espresso. My adrenaline was so high. Busy time of day on a busy street--people stopped traffic, ran from their cars, "I saw what happened!" they yelled. I was partially blind by my nerves. I stood up and all I could think about was how scared I would be if I had hit me. I kept assuring the man I was okay. I was okay. I was really okay. I wanted him to know. I wasn't thinking straight, but I knew I needed to make the man feel like he hadn't done anything wrong. That it was going to be okay.

I wanted to walk. A voice in the back of my head said, "You have to get to school still. You're subbing today. You'll be late." I honed in on that need and started walking. I couldn't stop crying. It was instinctual--surely chemical. My bike chain was screwed up, I walked. I felt like I should call someone, but I knew it would sound much more dramatic between sobs. I put my phone away. I got to the class late, really fine, but still crying. I couldn't stop for about an hour. I held up my bloodied, bike-greased hands and excused myself to the bathroom. I taught. I let them out a little early. I got hit by a truck, you know? I also had two pieces of cheesecake for dinner. I got hit by a truck today. I think it's okay.

EDIT: After to waking up to concerned texts I want to say I AM TOTALLY FINE. I have some scratches and bruises, but I really am fine! I actually had a pretty good day. I was let out of work early and baked and saw some friends and had a rehearsal. I even got my bike in decent working condition at the school co-op for free.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How People Communicate

Real live text I received from Mia on December 14th, 2009:

“Hey I texted big gay. So we’ll see but I’m down to go after 7 just let me know when you’re done at mac. I will pick yo a$$ up. (good grammar?) hahahaha”

Mia at our fave Mexi place in STL. May 2012.
I practice all my lines to a telephone while you were sleeping.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


It is my sister's birthday. It's been a grand year for the Pookie. As a close outside observer, I would postulate that this has been the happiest year of her life. It's hard to exactly say why, but I do believe it to be so.

Pookie probably has her own accomplishments and memories on this date of reflection, but this is MY dang blog, so here are some of MY dang thought on her last year:

It's been difficult being so far away from my sister--location, time zone, and also her limited understanding of my life out here. But, we've managed to stay in touch a pretty good amount--not Grey Gardens level like I prefer, but probs Leslie and Anne level. Most importantly, she is "there" for me if I need anything.

One weekend this summer I was suddenly in the grips of a very scary physical problem involving extreme nausea, pain, and itchiness. I called Pooks for a general morale boost and support the morning the symptoms began, and immediately she asked if she should make the drive from STL to Chicago. I didn't think it was necessary, but by afternoon she decided to hunker up anyway. It was a miracle she had that intuition because by the time she arrived (with pints of ice cream as I had texted her in last-ditch despair), I was completely immobile. I could not even walk ten feet to the bathroom. So my sister walked in the door after a five hour car trip, and before even sitting down, carried me to the toilet.

It was a torturous experience--and she did not complain when I spent the whole night screaming, bawling, and whining for backrubs. She cracked jokes, she fetched water, and she stayed until I was able to hobble.

This is my sister. A person who can make what should be the worst moments of my life somehow not.
Takin' pics at Buckingham Fountain. September 2012.
Happy Birthday to my favorite person past, present, and future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Disability Momma

Last spring I wrote about a girl I saw at work (the disability center) who was nervous about a math test to the point of tears and pregnant and very young. I was worried for this girl.

A few weeks after I wrote that post, I saw her again. She was outside a building, waiting for a ride. She looked miserable and was very ripe with babe. It's against policy to approach a student I know from work outside of the center, so I had to just walk on by. I've considered that gal a few times a week spring.

This year, the girl showed up again! She had dark dyed hair now and seemed very happy. She wore a wedding band and carried a cute cartoony backpack. She made small talk with me and showed no signs of anxiety at all. I was so happy. I have no idea if she has the baby or not. I am just glad she is okay.

You never know who is rooting for you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Person Who Birthed Me's Birth

Yesterday was my mom's birthday.

This summer when we were both in Chicago, we were on our way home when she peeled into a Jewel Osco parking lot. "We'll just pick up the staples," she said. Five minutes later, this is what we were buying. I made her pose for a picture. This is how I know I wasn't adopted. These are my genes:

And this. This is one of my favorite pictures of her I've ever taken:
The Chicago Diner, waiting on a veggie burger.
Happy birthday, Momma!

Monday, October 22, 2012


A staged reading of my newest play goes up in three weeks. This weekend I sent a draft as done as it could be out to potential actors, and pressing send was terrifying.

When artists talk about terror, it often sounds over-dramatic. And, it is. To an extent. But fear is fear, and, no, whether people hate or love my writing doesn't put me in life and death peril...the results of sharing art with someone who dislikes it is, in my opinion, often worse. I know because people I love have shared art with me I don't like before, and now, I don't care because I digest asteroids-worth of colleague/sketch partner/fellow comedian work, so it's same jokes different day, some good, some not. But, when I was more immature? There was a little grain of judgement I got to keep in my pocket about kids in class who wrote crappy short stories, the students in the Acting I showcase. Oh, dear God, please do not let me fall to that fate! Do not let people I respect see me as I brattily saw that dummy freshmen doing a subpar scene from Barefoot in the Park! It's childish, but I can't help it. TERROR.

It was luck that I brought Anne Bogart to work to read on downtime today. I fittingly decided to read her essay on terror, and I so needed to read this quote by Martha Graham (bolding is mine):

"There is a vitality, a life-force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unque. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you."

Read: I can do eet!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekend Productivity

This weekend's productivity has been a complete joke. In the very tiny time period I had between my five hour Saturday rehearsal and going to see Rye's new play, I scheduled in an hour long break to make and eat a pumpkin pizookie. I regret nothing. But my grading pile is roughly the exact same as it was when I left school Friday.

I have not set myself up for success in this upcoming week of a million hours of rehearsal, but I can't imagine any other way I could have lived. I needed each foray into the unnecessary. Using my Sweet Tomatoes coupon with Kale and Shells. TINY CORNBREADS FOR ALL. Talk of ghosts. The monster bar and haunted basement. My castmate's house party themed Robots and Sluts (for the record, I was a robot). Cuddling up on Kale's pull-out couch, falling asleep to Adventureland and Ru's soft snores. Riding my scooter towards mountains at sunrise. Six hours of improv rehearsal today. A subpar horror film with mucho above par people at the cute arty cinema on the main strip of town. Writing this dumb post instead of grading one more screenwriting presentation.

Some nuggets. Bug is holding white cheddar popcorn seasoning.
True or false: sometimes you have to sabotage yourself, just for a commercial break, in your otherwise "put-together" life. Ex: Ice cream for breakfast--indulgent, kinda nice, and reminds you how good oatmeal feels in your bod? Or, indulgent, dumb, you-should-know-better-don't-waste-your-time-being-a loser? Ditto watching YouTube clips of Cheaters. Procrastinating your dang work for three whole days. Three things I did this weekend that I can't tell how to feel about.

No other road. No other way.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ghoul's Night

(LIGHTS UP on FIVE GIRLS--RO, SHELLS, ALICE, KALE, AND PAKE in a CAR, en route to an abandoned motel in Phoenix.)

RO: You guys, I'm looking up skin walkers right now on Wikipedia.
SHELLS: How is that scary?
ALICE: ...because Wikipedia is hAuNtEd! OoOoO!
PAKE: Wicked-pedia.
       (KALE laughs.)
RO: Well, that wasn't scary. I'm redoing my Google search.
ALICE:...You mean...hAuNtEd Google? (Beat.) Boo-gle!
       (KALE laugh.)
RO: ...Is Ya-ghoul good? I can't tell.
ALICE: Hey, guys, what's a ghost's favorite board game?
PAKE: Scattergories?
KALE: Boo-gle? As in Boggle?
ALICE: (Bitter someone got her Boggle joke.) Ouija Board, idiots!
PAKE: I dunno. I thought mine was pretty good.
ALICE: What's haunted about Scattergories?
PAKE: I dunno! It's just a fun-ass game!

(GIRLS drive off into the distance. FADE TO BLACK.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Graham Crackers

So, this blog has become a makeshift center for reviewing specialty noms. When I saw vanilla cupcake goldfish at the store there was like a 1% chance I would leave without them. Today:
Goldfish in the AM.

Om nom.
They're not goldfish consistency--just shape. They are a heavy graham cracker texture/taste, and there's nothing cupcake about them. They are graham crackers with some pinkish sprinkles on them.

I mean, I had a good time, but they were not what they advertised to be.

Taste: A
Honesty: D
My Apparent Health Lately As This Was Breakfast: F+

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pizza Monster

This one time this summer I freaked out so intensely at one of my improv classmates for not knowing the way to the pizza place we were going to when she said she did that she likened it to the scene in The Blair Witch Project where the teenagers lose the map.

My female improv classmates.
"I am a pizzatarian."--Yatchface, 2010

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Bad Poem from the Heart

I think of you when I pass the Game Stop
the one on Harlem next to the store with the picture of the Egg.
I think of you when I pass the Game Stop--
which used to be fairly often when I lived in Chicago,
and even when I lived in St. Louis,
because it's south of suburbia and on the way.
It was a sign of good things to come--
getting home. I didn't like it in that half-lived in house
(my room, freshly painted with the new carpet I had picked out,
gutted besides one creaky twin)
but getting out of a car is getting out a car,
and I always did like our driveway. No,
I liked the rusted lamppost with our last name stuck on.
Anyway, it was the homestretch when I passed your old work.
I know I visited you there once. Why? Why?
I can't remember.
Chicago. September 2012.

I haven't been on that forever road headed north in three years.
So instead I think of the Game Stop when I think of you.
I love you and I miss you,
and if there was a time to believe in heaven
it is now.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Four Einstein Quotes

"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."

"Love is a better teacher than duty."

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."

"We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ze Hungare Games

Boy, do I flip my lid when it comes to The Hunger Games. I just enjoyed the books so much. They were a great distraction during finals last year, and I do, I have a major crush on Peeta. There's a poster on my wall.

So, imagine my extreme freak-out when during our improv show Thursday I heard someone yell out "Gamemakers!" when Skars asked the audience for a suggestion of a relationship for the two actors on stage. It had been Kale Jr. I jumped out from behind the flat and pointed to her! OMG GAME MAKERS! I yelped! Skars went with "Grocery  store employees." WHATEVER, CRUSH MY DREAMS.

I texted Kale Jr. today--
ME: Lol at you suggesting Gamemakers Thursday.
ME: Best part of [the season] so far.
KJ: The best part is that I actually said "gay neighbors."

I hate my ears. And my thorough knowledge of all things Katniss.

(SVC gets me though.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why I Love My iPad Even Though I Thought They Were Stupid at First

WARNING: If you don't care about iPads, this post is not interesting!

"I can't believe you have an's just so mainstream consumerist of you!:)"--E-mail from Dunt, October 10th, 6:53 PM in response to my "Sent from my iPad" sign-off

She's not wrong. I myself thought iPads were flat-out dumb when they first came out. "So, it's a computer...but worse that's 'easier to hold'?" I was not impressed. But, then, something big happened in my life: I started grad school. More specifically: I started biking a couple miles to grad school every day. In college I almost never brought my computer to class. I like to take notes by hand, and I like to be present (not on Facebook, which, as a TA in giant lecture classes, I am hugely aware is actually what every undergrad student is actually minoring in). But, in grad school, I need my computer. Like...all the time. Lots of PDFs for classes, peer plays I have to  read, student e-mails that flood my school inbox like stoner freshmen at the 24-hour Taco Bell.

Carrying my computer on my back to school every day was heavy, sure, but it was also scary. I haven't fallen off my bike once since I moved here (which is actually pretty dang amazing considering it's my main form of transportation and I'm not, like, the most graceful person in the Milky Way Galaxy), but I could any day. I could wobble and lose my bearings and fall onto the sidewalk...and my backpack could drop off my shoulders...right under a car tire. Crunch. Buh-bye, MacBook. The idea concerned me. If I lost my computer, it would be a nightmare for me to continue with school. I'd have the library computers--often crowded and questionable working environment...and that'd be it. MAYBE I could do SOME research (if I needed to) on my phone. As long as I was researching, like, Twitter and Instagram.

Anyway, I recognized last year I needed to start protecting my computer more. It should stay at home as often as humanly possible...I needed something else to allow me to read scripts from for playwrights' workshop, something that would allow me easy access to the internet, I grimaced and recognized I am the perfect candidate for an iPad.

My whole family pooled together to give it me for Christmas.I didn't even open the dang box for weeks. I wasn't excited about the toy. I hate electronics. On the first day of school, I sliced open the plastic wrap. And then I downloaded all my textbooks into the Kindle app. And then I biked to school NOT hunched over, NOT fearing for my computer's life. I biked to school with a tiny little screen in my backpack, a notebook, and that's IT. Cue "Freedom 90" by George Michael.

Here's What Else I Love about My iPad:

1. E-books are easy to buy (no trip to the store--handy if you don't have a car).
2. They are also supes eco-friendly.
3. I watch Netflix while running on the treadmill at the gym. This is amazing. I knock out my "relax veg out" time and work-out time at the same time.
4. I prop it up in the kitchen and easily read recipes off of it.
5. I prop it up like a boombox anywhere I go and play Pandora on it.
6. When it's slow at work, I am able to get up and help students much quicker with an iPad on my lap than a computer on my lap.
7.  Okay. This is a bit ridiculous...but whatever, I do it: I set up my laptop and my iPad side by side in my bedroom and watch One Tree Hill on my iPad while simultaneously doing Jillian work-out DVDs on my computer. I have the power, I might as well wield it!
8. I can walk around my condo and FaceTime.

This summer, I wasn't in school, and I didn't touch the dang pad for three months. But, now, it's again the love of my life. No, really, I spent more time with my iPad than any human. HAHAHA IT'S FINE JUST DYING ALONE WHATEVER.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sandusky & Kiddie Creeps

Well, well, well Sandusky has be sentenced. Heard the official news from Maf and Tax Ant when we went to Yogurtland Tuesday. We all reflected on the Penn State man, the one who claimed innocence until the very end. How could he do that? I think I know. I think he thought he was--either delusionally or on some technical self-made plane.

That's the thing about secrets we keep to ourselves--they almost don't truly exist. The societal lines versus an imagined moral world blur. Secrets are poison. Morality, sensitivity, community are based on honesty, communication, discussion.

Don't get me wrong--I obviously don't support pedophilia. But, the problem is no one does. It should never be condoned, but we need to support our local pedophiles. Sid has this bit in his stand-up (paraphrasing) like, "There are unsung heroes out there who are...incredible people, more heroic than 9/11 firefighters...and those are the pedophiles who don't do anything about it." Then, of course, the punchline is, "Would you please stand and be recognized?"

But, he's right. I can't imagine how difficult and taxing and awful it would be to want something so much and know the rest of the world thought it was disgusting. I have trouble enough not eating the entire tupperware of cookies Maf gives me in one sitting...and everyone can understand that. Over my pumpkin froyo, Maf explained working in a hospital once for a man who castrated himself because he was a pedophile, and he was afraid one day the temptation would be too strong.

I don't know what kind of issues or cerebral malfuction one has to have to be into kids, but it's a disease, and I'll tell you what--chastising those who've been caught as the scum of the earth is not supporting the teenager out there already fighting the scary urges he has developed. That teenager is growing up in a world that tells him, "You tell anyone this and you will be a monster." How is he going to get help? He's not. He's going to bottle up his problem until he absolutely can't handle it anymore, and he is going to abuse a kid he thinks is a safe bet, and the kid will be so messed up and detached from the situation, he might never tell anybody. And that teen now adult will think, "I did it, and I didn't get caught, and, so I think it's going to be okay." And his secret moral compass will re-align.

Basically everyone in America is happy Sandusky is going behind bars, and most of us are making jokes at his expense--it's easy--pedophiles are one of the only factions of people that no one gets offended at being the butt of jokes. (Ha. Butt. See?) But, let us take a moment of gratitude that we have not been born with or developed a terrible desire in our hearts. That we get to stand from the sidelines and judge. And we should take a moment to love these "sickos" in the world--these sickos who have undergone much more struggle than any of us, much more pain and sadness than I will probably ever feel, much more abandonment by society in a time of secret need. Let us be those listening ears, let us love.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More Dang Wed-Dang

During this:

The ladies looked like this:

This moment is history in the making, but it is also just another moment before the moment we all hit the dance flo'--another moment after the DJ said, "For their first dance as Mr. and Mrs.--", a moment after many moments of meeting Trelly my first day of summer camp. She wore braided pigtails. That moment after many moments when she was born...after many moments when her parents had their first dance at their wedding. This moment before the moment Dizz and I fell alseep in our hotel bed reading our respective novels, like it was an ordinary night. It would have been if we had not been in Milwaukee. It's history in the making, but it's also just a moment.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Inadvertent Racism

Ro and I were talking about a largely hispanic neighborhood in Phoenix--let's call it "Guad"--that is often a hotbed of crime, grit, general sketchiness. I backed up the stereotype with a fact:

ME: Yeah, the other second-year playwright lived there last year, and his house was broken into.
RO: Okay, maybe this will make me sound racist, but I didn't even know any white people lived in Guad.

Get it? The joke is that Ro, self-awarely, made a comment about racial communal borders, but, in the process, insinuated that playwrights are all white*. Hilarious, hilarious.

Ro, Ru, & me. Pore strips while watching Sister Act. 2012.
*To be fair, Rye is white. But! Ermo (head of the program) is Chilean. Burrito** (last year's grad) is Mexican.

**I really shouldn't talk. I am aware that I gave my Mexican classmate the pseudonym Burrito. I deserve to burn in racist hell.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sugar Tongs: Trelly's Wedding

"Love is not something to put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices, and grand achievements at its results…..Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door, the little feet tripping along the sidewalk, the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth.--MBE

The bwide.
Shirley, dance-break cheese-filled pretzels.

Oh, but Heaven knows those years without you
were shaping my heart for the that day I found you.
If you're the reason for all that I've been through
then I'm thankful for the day before you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sleepy Writers

Thought I had been doing pretty well keeping on top of my work and grading, but dutifully grading forty papers throughout the week still left me forty to finish when I got home yesterday. I drank a buttload of pumpkin latte and buzzed away into the night. At midnight I got the tumble grumbles and ordered takeout chips and queso. I didn't want the delivery guys to ring and wake up my roomsters, so I sat on our front porch typing manically "You need a clear topic sentence" and "Avoid the use of vague summary" onto my laptop.

It was a silent night, holy night. The dark reflection of palm trees on the pool, breeze. I stayed on my stoop until 3 AM snacking and reading and feedbacking. I took a photo because it occurred to me "Man, I'm young. It's the middle of the night and I'm eating nachos outside on a weekday."

It's been a pleasure and a treat to have the playwright of Drones with us in this first week of rehearsal. He's a great dude, and I'm learning so much about the production process from a writer's perspective. Tonight he wandered out of the theatre, and when I was released I opened the door to this very accomplished and talented guy slumped across the maroon-splashed mini sofa in the foyer of the building--legs wide open and propped on a footrest. 

"Are you sick of your play already?" I asked.
"I came out here to make a phone call," he said with half-closed eyes, "and then I couldn't get up."

Consequently, excuse me as I crash into my pillow.

(Edit: I fell asleep on this entry as I was posting it last night.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Read it when I was 15 in one sitting cozied into a chair at my grandparents' on Christmas. I learned a lot from that book. It got to me at the right time.

I saw it on Sunday night with Chelle. I didn't expect to love it, but I really did. The film definitely did justice to the original story, and it made me reflect just like the pages do, and it made me appreciate teen years just like I was reminded to do that bitter December years and years ago.

Today during our break from playwright's workshop, Boulder and I wandered out of our classroom and into the hall where the lockers for acting students are. Cobra saw us and said, "You guys look like you're in high school." We assessed our locker-leaning and realized we did. We improvised a short scene in which we were hiding cigarettes and dishing about letterman jackets.

Something I'm Grateful About: I sincerely loved my high school experience. In hindsight, yes (nostalgia!) but also at the time. I had some rough patches, but I was super into the whole shebang--the frenzy of classes, the passing notes, the crushes, the plays, the busrides to tournaments, the proms. I realized on Sunday that some people will watch Perks and feel like they're on a voyage to a memory they never lived. But I have those memories for real, which is something to be grateful for.

High School speech tournament my junior year. I don't talk to any of these people, but they were important to me at the time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Where Does Being Nice Get You?

"Nice" is basically an insult these days. I mean, I think so. I take it as "in lieu of a real compliment:" It's the backside of a silver spoon or a perfectly triangle slice of yellow cake.

And most of us at one point (or many) times in our lives have asked "Where will being nice get me for real?" Indeed, there are times we feel we cannot be heard if we're nice, successful if we're nice, loved if we're nice.

When you're an educator, and a student meets with you, and the student is nice, it's really hard not to help her succeed in the class. I wouldn't act immorally and pass a failing kid or offer extra help to some and not all, but I am hard-pressed to find flaw in a nice student.

When I worked at at Marble Slab, I remember it was literally as simple as Please and Thank You if I was going to help a customer out of a credit card jam, getting a discount, putting a cherry on top. Just being nice, the whole world opened up for those people.

In rehearsal this evening we discussed the US involvement with Pakistan. Complicated to say the least. And Jersey said, "It's so stupid. It's like paying a schoolyard bully not to beat you up, but, meanwhile, you're a six-foot juicehead!" Point taken. But, part of it is about...niceness. There's a niceness.

Nice flowers at a nice wedding in 2010.

Seriously consider what could have been avoided in the history of crime, violence, and hatred if everyone were nice. The immediate reaction is to say, "No, no. The nice guys would just get taken advantage of." But would they? If EVERYONE was nice. If everyone were nice, wouldn't domination seem a hassle?