Weekly Shocks' Blog


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the My Life as a Pretend Writer category.

Miracle drugs

Something about living in New York makes me sick. I mean that literally, by the way, not in my usual spoiled, vocal fry “Like, ohmigod, this place is SO GROSS,” kind of sick. I always have a cold or the flu or the plague or some body part disintegrating and it’s all very bothersome and distracting, but we still must persevere. My preferred method of persevering is whining and bitching for about a week until I haul ass to the doctor who demands I offer up a gallon or so of blood before giving me drugs. I should probably check his credentials at some point.

Unfortunately, because I am sick all the damn time, the drugs no longer work the way they’re supposed to. I am single-handedly defeating years of scientific research with the germs in my own body. Amazing! I’m putting that shit on my resume.

Anyway, my latest bout of sickness (strep throat this time, because I am, apparently, seven years old) easily defeated the pathetic penicillin offered up to combat it. So after another visit to my doctor/bleeder, I was given a super, special miracle drug. Almost immediately,  I felt weirdly better. Almost tingly with power. It was kind of incredible. I felt like I could shoot laser beams from my eyes and eat glass bottles for breakfast.

The new drug is called Ceclor. Seriously? Ceclor? That’s not an antibiotic, that’s a monster from Greek mythology.

I drew a picture of Ceclor. His eyes are black because he has no soul. Also, he has a tail. Because why not.
Whatever. He works. I just hope he doesn’t eat me when he’s done with the strep.

Image

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Weekly Schlocks

You wanna know how Weekly Shocks got started? Guess. No, go on. Guess.

No, I did not lose a bet. Cheeky git.

Give up? It was a New Year’s Resolution. I know, right?

I write. A lot. It’s what I do, it makes me happy, and I think I’m sort of good at it. But, if you’ve been reading this blog over the past year, you’ve probably become very familiar with my inconsistency and laziness, hallmark traits of a budding humorist or a petty criminal or one of those unfortunate people who is so overweight they require a a crowbar and heavy machinery to get themselves out of the house. I’m not quite at the point where I require a sponge at the end of a stick to bathe myself, but I am absurdly lazy and I thought forced, regular writing might help in curing some of that. So I made a resolution: start a blog. Write some funny stuff, or at least try to, you goober. Publish it, at least weekly. Come up with a clever name. And see what happens.

Did it work? Well, sort of.

There was a rather insane period where I wrote everyday, sometimes more than once. That, frankly, was freaking awesome. Of course, that was also when I was procrastinating my Real Life Writing Project, the Oxford Dissertation from Hell. But that bitch got finished (bloody thing got absurdly high marks, too, goddamn), so my need to write other junk subsided for a bit, and so did my posts. Oops.

But overall, I’m pretty pleased with how this site turned out. And it seems like lots of you people did, too. I never in a gajillion years thought I’d get so many readers, many of whom left me very kind comments, and only some of whom required restraining orders and a few dozen shocks with tasers. I didn’t name this site Weekly Shocks for nuthin, after all.

So thank you all. Really, really, thank you. You’re lovely. Thanks for sticking with me through this whole thing and I hope you’re looking forward to the new site – coming in about a week or so. It’s about me, obviously. And writing. And who the hell a girl has to smack on this earth to get some of her dribble published. It’ll be fun. It’ll be epic. It’ll CHANGE THE FREAKING WORLD.

Or at least it won’t suck. Too much, anyway.

I’ll still play with this site for a bit, because I like not having rules holding me down, man. So don’t go away. But visit the new site, too. OR ELSE. 🙂

Have a safe, wonderful, and prosperous 2010, people. And always find something to laugh at.

To close out 2009, how about a little trip down memory lane? Seems to be the thing to do on this last day of this weirdo decade. So, hot dog: some of the weirdest, quirkiest, and (hopefully) funniest bits, month by month, of Weekly Shocks.

January: Now, I fully admit to being a Facebook whore, mostly because it means I don’t have to interact with real people in real time and the steady hum of my laptop drowns out the voice of the Devil in my head.

February: Nationalized health care is a strange, bizarre world to someone who grew up in the Newt Gingrich Nineties and believed that the biggest threats to American national security were welfare moms and that stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

March: Never, ever, ever use your turn signal to actually signal turns. It’s a sign of weakness and it gives lesser people information on where you’re going. The only time your turn signal should be on are during sixteen-mile stretches down highways with multiple exit options you have no intention on taking.

April: “Like, so we went to, like, this totally sketch store near Newbury Street? And I’m, like, ‘Why don’t we just f*cking go to Newbury Street, because the stores there are, like, way better and I need new shoes anyway,’ and then that bitch called me a ‘f*cking stuck up c*nt,’ and I’m like, ‘F*ck YOU, sl*t,’ and like…”

May: In the meantime, I’m utterly traumatized and am switching to Adult Pampers until I can circle my toilet at a radius of ten feet without sobbing and wretching, which, I imagine, is also the radius you’ll need to keep from me before my bodily stench causes you to do the same.

June: Do you think Pluto has gotten over the whole planet-demotion thing yet? Or do you think he’s just out there in the cold, dark, vacuum, slowly circling the distant Sun, and he could really use a hug right now? Do you think  he cries himself to sleep at night, his self-esteem in tatters? More importantly, do you think I should stop attributing deeply depressing and mildly disturbing human emotions to erstwhile planets? Me too.

July: I also plan on getting there via train, because every plane that leaves the ground these days seems to end up crashing in a fiery blaze into an ocean or a farmer’s house or a napping cow, and, well, I’m just not up for that. So, my peripatetic journey will be England to Deutschland via train. Hot dog. I am crazy like a fox.

August: I’m very forceful and independent and will chain you to my radiator after our first date and beat you repeatedly with a lead pipe.

September: I’ve realized that I would be in far less debt right now if I had developed a heroin addiction instead of succumbing to the far more expensive habit of formalized education. The federal government of these glorious United States pretty much owns my soul, my ass, and the souls and asses of any and all future children I might bear. I can’t decide if this fact is ridiculously funny or just ridiculous. Probably both. Hooray!

October: I got a job offer from a car dealership in Manhattan, having never applied for it. I have never sold a car. I have never owned a car. I don’t even have a license. And who the hell buys cars in Manhattan? Perplexed. Intrigued. Convinced it’s a cover for a prostitution/drug ring.

November:

I love you all. Really, I do. But, for f*ck’s sake, people.

Search Engine Terms

These are terms people used to find your blog.

Today

Search                             Views

puggle penis size               1

No. A thousand times, no.

December: I spent five minutes pacing the hallway of my house wondering why there was blood all over the floor and who the unfortunate, erstwhile owner of said blood could possibly be. Then I realized it was mine. I suppose you have to expect these things every now and then, right? Right? Hello?

Indeed. Happy New Year, folks.


Starting the preparations

So it’s December. You know what that means! The preparations for National Bicarbonate Of Soda Day are stepping into high gear! I’m just so grateful that this deeply important, solemn holiday falls on the 30th, giving me a whole month to prepare by purifying myself and begging the Soda Gods for forgiveness for my innumerable, degrading and disgusting sins.

Speaking of preparations, the new year will bring big changes to Weekly Shocks World in the form of new underwear from my mom and a new blog for you good folks. The new blog will actually have, you know, some sort of focus. I haven’t really figured that part out yet, but in between my Soda Day self-flagellations, I’m pretty sure I’ll come up with something.

Good God, this month is gonna be hell!

For the three of you who might be a bit worried about the future of this wee bit of intrawebs-floating bunny turd, fear not: I promise I’ll still update Weekly Shocks with the same kind of regularity and hard-hitting profundity that I currently do. Or not. Who knows.

Also! I caved. I joined Twitter. Follow me if you like. Bonus Charlie Brown photo included.


Some scary thoughts on this spookiest of days!

1. In Florida, some kid got her wildlife officer-dad to bring a five-foot alligator to school for show and tell. The ‘gator escaped. It’s still on the loose. Oops. Trick or Treat!

2. I got a job offer from a car dealership in Manhattan, having never applied for it. I have never sold a car. I have never owned a car. I don’t even have a license. And who the hell buys cars in Manhattan? Perplexed. Intrigued. Convinced it’s a cover for a prostitution/drug ring.

3. Along a similar line, I took a freebie ‘what-career-best-suits-your-personality’ test, because the whole witty blogger thing just doesn’t seem to be raking in the dough the way it should these days. I blame the Obama administration. Where’s my bailout, damn it? Anyway, my test results are in. Apparently, I have all the skills and interests necessary to be a coroner. Seriously: it’s my Number One Career Choice, according to this test. And my first thought was, “Well, yeah, that makes sense.”

4. Someone is systematically going through this blog and reading every single post I have ever made. And he/she/it is reading these posts more than once. Um, hi! Thanks for stopping by. You’re lovely. I don’t know whether to cheer or grovel and plead and beg for mercy, but still. Thanks again, please wipe your feet on the way out.

Keep it real, homedawgs. I’ll catch you in November!


“Well, it’s not the worst blog I’ve ever read.”

Behold! An actual critique of Weekly Shocks! From an actual sort-of famous literary/blogging guru person who refused to let me use his real name in connection with this site! So I’m calling him Stinky! Stinky thinks my blog isn’t the worst he’s ever read! HOORAY!

I am so totally moving up in the world.


On the dangers of bragging in one’s goofy blog

If you’ve been committing my blog to memory (and if you really have been, please: seek help), you may remember a gratuitously self-congratulatory remark I made in the wee hours of the morning when I triumphantly finished my dissertation. Drunk on lack of sleep, Diet Coke, and the impossibly sweet knowledge that I would never have to write the word “problematized” with a straight face ever again, I shamelessly broadcasted my ability to write over a thousand words an hour. To be honest, up until yesterday, I was still pretty chuffed about that. I mean, 1000 words/hour. Sweet as, right? Hell, until I pulled that off, I didn’t even think I could read that many words in an hour, let alone come up with ’em. Shit, son. I’m amazing.

So I was rather pleased with and proud of myself and then I had the sparkling bright idea to read Christopher Buckley’s Losing Mum and Pup, his poignant and surprisingly witty memoir about the deaths of both of his parents in the space of a year. I’ve since speedily returned, tail tucked and ears flattened, to my previous self-perception as a half-wit, blubbering hack with three, maybe four brain cells floating around in her skull. You wanna know why? Here’s why: William Buckley, according to his deeply impressed (and impressive) son Christopher, could dash off his seven hundred word columns in five minutes.

Well, then.

Now, comparing one’s writing ability to Bill Buckley’s is never a good idea, unless you’re a self-hating masochist contemplating suicide or Gore Vidal, but I mean, crikey. 700 words in five bloody minutes?! And we’re not talking about just any words here. We’re talking about the words – whether you liked them or not – of the unequivocal intellectual champion of the American Right. And in his free time – you know, when not writing his reams and reams of prize-winning non-fiction or running for mayor of New York or serving as ambassador to the UN – he wrote best-selling spy novels. Just ’cause. Jesus Christ. And here I am, bragging about my 1000 words/hour, virtually unread and unreadable master’s thesis! Pathetic. Don’t I suck a pack of AA batteries. Also, one more thing: “problematized” isn’t even a real word, you ninny! What were you thinking?! Sheesh.

So, I’ve learned my lesson. No more bragging about my mad word-producing skillz in Weekly Shocks. Instead, I’ll brag about the fact that I have now possessed a cell phone for longer than two weeks without losing it, although I have to admit that I can’t remember my own phone number or find the email that contains said number, making the phone not especially effective as a communications device, but still! I haven’t lost the buggery thing, now have I? Oh yeah, baby. Bow down before me. I’m gonna make such a great mom.


Weekly Shocks’ ADD strikes again!

A few shots of liquid rubbish that I simply must share with you fine people when I really should be writing something else:

1) Every time I take a vitamin pill, I vomit. Sometimes, for good measure, I vomit twice. I bet you’re super psyched to find that out, right? Bitchin’! Anyway. Aren’t vitamins supposed to be good for you, though?  Or something? What the hell, body? You suck.

2) This blog has received more than 80,000 hits since I started it back in January. Thank you. Really. Thank you. And I’m so sorry.

3) I got my first American cell phone today. I had a mobile in England. It was blue, shaped like a brick, the texting function didn’t work, I had no calling plan, and I really only turned it on when one of my undergrads got so drunk he was puking up several key organs and needed to be carted off to the hospital for new ones. I loved that phone. I named him Gunter. My new mobile is sleek and stylish and way too hip for me. I’d name him, but I need to figure out how to turn him on first. I’m giving myself three weeks to complete that task before I get so frustrated with the damn thing, I throw it against the wall.

4) You know, I’m only on Point 4 of this blog post, and I’ve already mentioned puking twice. Three times if you include this current bit. Sigh. I need to diversify.

5) The Patriots lost on Sunday. Who cares?

6) True story for you:

Sometime last year-ish, my flatmates and I came across a devastatingly heartbreaking tale in our otherwise laughably terrible university newspaper. It was a story of an undergraduate at our inflated, pompous, but really quite excellent Oxford. The student had developed a nasty addiction to heroin in his second year. His College, like most Oxford colleges, was extremely supportive of him while he sought treatment, but his addiction, like most addictions, pretty much took over his life and kicked his ass. So the kid dropped out and was now homeless in the city, selling the Big Issue to his former academic colleagues on the streets.

Now, not to belittle this poor kid’s miserable fortune, but this is my blog, after all, so the punch line is as follows: I’ve realized that I would be in far less debt right now if I had developed a heroin addiction instead of succumbing to the far more expensive habit of formalized education. The federal government of these glorious United States pretty much owns my soul, my ass, and the souls and asses of any and all future children I might bear. I can’t decide if this fact is ridiculously funny or just ridiculous. Probably both. Hooray!

7) Bill Corbett of MST3K and Rifftrax fame just responded to some goofy comment I made on his Facebook page. He pretty much ordered me never to leave the country ever again. That totally made my year.

8 ) Speaking of, those Rifftrax geniuses are at it again. Encore Presentation of the RiffTrax Live Event of Plan 9 From Outer Space on October 8. I’m seeing it, because God loves me. Does God love you? Then you had better be there.

9 ) I may have sold a story to a legitimate magazine. May have. Oh my.

And on that mysterious note, back to the grindstone. Hoo hah!


The state of my inbox

Number of six-figure salaried job offers this week: 0

Number of prestigious magazine publication acceptances: 0

Number of agents salivating over the possibility of representing me to the dying breed of publishing houses: 0

Number of cut-rate discounted Viagra offers with obscene titles that made me giggle: too many to count.

This week’s overall assessment: amusing. And encouraging. Seriously. Excellent fodder for my writing.

Have a good weekend, folks.


‘Cause living in Manhattan isn’t bizarre enough.

I’m currently working on a story about a guy who gets abducted by aliens while on a fishing trip with his brother. It’s very dramatic and serious. No, really. Stop laughing. It’s totally serious.

OK, I lied: it’s a goofy mess. But I promise: no anal probes. Unless you guys insist. Then anal probes for everyone!

I probably need to be medicated.

Anyway, the story opens up with my adorable protagonist in the Manhattan Hooters with his somewhat less than adorable brother who bullies him into going there. I discovered there was a Hooters in Manhattan a few years ago while on a trip with friends. One member of our ‘we’re-obviously-not-from-’round-these-parts-so-please-don’t-steal-our-shoes’ gang spotted the Hooters as if it were some beacon of light in a swirling darkness of cacophony and confusion. And it sort of was, I guess. I mean, Hooters. In Manhattan. This quintessential, middle America, vaguely offensive yet comforting symbol of bland food, tasteless beer, and stereotypical, giggling gender roles in perhaps the most modern, cynical, hard, and shiny city on earth. It’s so typically not New York and therefore so typically New York. Severe cognitive dissonance. What the hell, man.

Our friend with the Hooters’ radar meekly suggested we have lunch there that afternoon. He was subsequently shouted down and beaten with sticks. I mean, this is New York, and it was summer, so you can see all the jiggly things you like for free on the street. Why pay for it and subject yourself to crappy wings and watery beer in the bargain? Stupid boy. But the incident stuck in my brain like a lot of other inconsequential incidents, and every once in a while, I drain my skull of all this crap and put the incidents in the weirdo junk I write. Again, I probably need to be medicated, but this is cheaper.

There is a point to this whole thing, sort of. I was telling a friend about the story I was writing, because, really, there’s nothing cooler than saying, “Yeah, I’m working on my story,” unless it’s “Yeah, I’m working on my novel.” I’ve received so many grins of slack-jawed wonder from cute guys this way. It’s totally awesome; I ain’t gonna lie. Anyway. I was chatting away in that insufferably nonchalant, self-important manner that I imagine all unpublished humorists have, and then my friend told me something that knocked the breath right out of my unnecessarily inflated lungs:

Me: “Yeah, my story, you know, it’s so trendy, so relevant, so now, you know? It’s wicked. The opening takes place in the NYC Hooters.”

Friend: “I know a guy who used to live in the apartment complex above that place.”

Me: “There’s an apartment complex above Hooters?”

Friend: “Yup.”

Me: “You’re shitting me, right?”

Friend: “Nope.”

Me: “…”

Friend: “I believe the phrase you’re looking for is ‘What the f*ck?!'”

Really. What the f*ck.

Imagine telling people you live above a Hooters. Imagine the variety of responses you’d get. Holy cow. Holy COW.

But, see, this is New York. So, it makes perfect sense. Sort of, not really? Yes? No? What the hell do I know, anyway?

In a callback to a previous post, bugger me sideways.


Well, bugger me sideways.

Here’s your “No shit, Sherlock!” fact o’ the day:

If you live in another country for three years, you’re bound to pick up some of that country’s charming, distinctive speaking patterns.

I didn’t fully realize this until I came back from England for my first long holiday. The British-isms kept popping out of my mouth like teeth from a hockey player. I said vaguely unacceptable things like ‘trousers’ for ‘pants,’ because ‘pants’ on my side of the metaphorical pond meant underoos. I said ‘queue’ for ‘line,’ because, let’s face it, the euphony of ‘queue’ is delicious. I said ‘cheers’ for everything, because, well, cheers. Why the heck not. Worse, my already somewhat pretentious northeastern American accent had warped ever-so-slightly into fake British. My family and friends just loved this. I had become one of THOSE Americans who bugger off to the motherland for a bit, then come home too good for their own accent.

Speaking of bugger, I love that bloody word. I do. If you haven’t poked around the archives here at Weekly Shocks (and if you actually haven’t done so, you’ve broken my heart), get busy and count how many times I use it. Then report back to me, because I’m too lazy to do it myself. But I’ll bet I use bugger, on average, at least once a post. It’s a great word, even if I didn’t know what it actually meant, in all its naughty glory, until long after it started making its sparkly guest appearances in my daily utterances.

(Oh, so you want to know what bugger means, too, do you? I could direct you to UrbanDictionary.com, but if I did, I’m afraid you wouldn’t come back, so I’ll summarize briefly: when a man and another man love each other very much, sometimes they turn the lights down low and engage in an activity Thomas Jefferson once decided was punishable by castration. I betcha UrbanDictionary doesn’t tell you that, now, does it? You’re welcome.)

It’s not just the British-isms that plague my speech, though, bugger it all to hell. I lived in Germany for a year before I ever saw England. Germans have a rather disconcerting-yet-quaint habit of speaking German instead of English (silly, isn’t it?), so I pulled a ‘when-in-Rome’ while I was there and I spoke German, too. For the most part, anyway. When I came back to the States, I discovered, with an appropriate mixture of amusement and terror, that I had forgotten large swaths of my native tongue, the language I had been babbling fairly comprehensively for nearly two decades. Giggle if you like, but just remember: it’s all fun and games until you find yourself tripping over your words like a 4am drunk, struggling to remember the English for ‘Bahnhof’ and ‘Löffel,’ and your parents subsequently suspect you’ve picked up a nasty little drug habit during your peripatetic year in Europe.

Now, this is just excellent fodder to write about in my epic blog of the ages, but the sad fact is that I’m going on professional job interviews and the good, kind, lovely folks who might read this blog so I better say nice things interview me inevitably pick up on my distinctive and uneven speech patterns. Not that I’m bellowing out ‘bugger’ and ‘schnitzel’ during interviews, mind you. But I have had a few folks ask where I grew up, then pause, obviously perplexed when I tell them, quite simply, Boston. People from Boston don’t sound like me. They sure as hell don’t sound like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting or JFK asking not what your country can do for you, etc., etc., either, but that’s not the point. I’m not famous and am therefore not allowed to sound as if I’ve been punched repeatedly in the mouth by a boxing midget on speed. (Now, there’s a fun image to contemplate, isn’t it?)  So sometimes I try and give the whole ‘I’ve-been-in-Europe-a-long-time’ speech, but really, that kind of makes me sound like a pretentious ass. The fact that I sort of am a pretentious ass doesn’t matter. “Pretentious ass” is not exactly high up on a potential employee’s list of desirable qualities, now, is it.

So! I’d really like my old accent back. I asked Oxford to return it months ago, and Oxford being Oxford laughed in my face, then sent a batshit crazy person dressed in a tutu and wielding a bow-saw after me. So we won’t ask Oxford for anything anymore. Safer that way. That leaves you kind folks: if any of you has a spare, normal accent lying around – really, any regional variety is just fine, as long as it’s consistent – please send it my way. We can discuss payment later, or not, because I’m broke, but maybe I’ll write a blog post thanking you. Then you’ll be famous. Sort of. Well, not really. But still. I’d appreciate it. Ask not what Weekly Shocks can do for you, damn it, but what you can do for Weekly Shocks.


A thought: how I can make the Twilight Craze work for ME, damn it.

I’ll be the first to admit that, when it comes to pop culture trends, I don’t know my ass from my elbow. But even a drooling, toothless half-wit like me can see that vampires are hot right now. Like, totally wicked hot, to borrow a popular phrase from my fellow Bostonians. Duh. I don’t really get why they’re hot, but I’m gonna guess it has something to do with the whole sucking the blood of the innocent thing. Right? Right. So, let’s milk that trend for all its worth, shall we? Here’s my pitch:

Leech University

Leech

Hot young co-ed leeches explore the ins and outs of life and love in their freshman year at a prestigious private college in the sultry swampland of the Deep South. There will be the rich, handsome young leech, trying to escape the vice-like grip of his overbearing parents. The underprivileged, orphaned leech, trying to escape her poverty-stricken life in a trash can. The shy, sweet leech-next-door trying to escape an abusive relationship with her jerk-leech-boyfriend, a sociopath who pours salt on her and steals her money. A tough-yet-supportive leech professor trying to escape his loveless marriage.  (Perhaps with the abused leech student? Too risque?) A comic-relief leech whose charming, goofball ways are nearly destroyed when he tries to escape from his addiction to prescription blood-thinners.

Holy shit. This could sell. It totally could. Right? Hello?


Simpler Times

First, permit me a small rant:

A few months ago, I developed a proverbial (and strictly metaphorical, may I add) set of testicles and subsequently began sending out pieces of my writing to various magazines. Now, most of these bits of drivel were summarily rejected, and quite rightly, too, because they sucked. Not to put too fine a point on it, but they did. Regardless. I’m ok with rejection. Some editors were actually very sweet and offered kind words of encouragement, even some helpful criticism. However, a few were vicious sadists who delivered the sharpest blow of them all: hope. “Rewrite this piece with our intensely limited specifications in mind, and we’d love to see it again,” they’d tell me.  And because I am a whore with apparently no respect for her own creative merit, I’d jumped through their narrow hoops and tortured my work to fit their inane visions. And it hurt a whole lot. And then I’d resend it. And then they’d reject it. Bastards. I could almost hear the malicious giggle in the tersely-worded emails I’d get. “Haha! Like you ever had a chance here! Looooooser!”

Oh, the things a writer will do for publication. Still, we must persevere.

Moving on. Who here has read Bill Bryson? If you haven’t, spank yourself a few times for your gross neglect, then get hoppin’. I’m currently working my way through his witty and engaging autobiography The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid for the second time. Each of his chapters opens with a wry newsy bit from the 1950s. Dumb News and a slice of simpler times? Perfection. This one is my favorite:

EAST HAMPTON, CONN. (AP) – A search of Lake Pocotopaug for a reported drowning victim was called off here Tuesday when it was realized that one of the volunteers helping the search, Robert Hausman, 23, of East Hampton, was the person being sought.

– Des Moines Register, 20 September 1957

There’s a brilliantly witty story to be written here. Let’s see what I can do with it before some mindless editor tempts me to hack it to pieces.


Ganked from Amazon.com:

This is my current Facebook status. So far, only one of my friends “likes” it, which I find sad, because it is one of the most brilliantly hysterical Amazon.com product descriptions I have ever read. The item is a 8GB Ipod Nano, used, selling for $60:

“The actual iPod is in great condition, but it fell in a pool and doesn’t work.”

In other news, I have a couple of interviews lined up for real-world, adult jobs. “Adult” as in bill-paying, slipper-wearing, crossword-completing employment, not filthy pornographic naughtiness. You people. Dirty, dirty, dirty.

Then again, both jobs are in New York City, so who knows?

I love Boston. I will miss this beautiful, messy city if I move south.


The Answer To Your Burning Question

Some poor, frustrated soul is currently trawling the Internet looking for an answer to the following question:

“Can a dissertation be done in two weeks?”

I know this because, not surprisingly, in his search engine journey, he landed right here in Weekly Shocks World where dissertations go to die slow, painful deaths. And then they get resurrected and kill their creators with machetes. It’s all very Frankenstein-esque. Someone should make a movie about it. I’ll get going on the screenplay.

Anyway, poor, sad, reader, if you’re still out there and not dead yet, I can happily assure you that, yes, you can write a dissertation in less than two weeks, although it will hurt a whole lot and you better not have anything else going on in your life while you slop through it. Also, an intravenous caffeine drip will help matters. And, if you can find one, get a willing friend, family member, or hired goon to smack you in the head whenever you start drifting into the slurry land of unconsciousness. This person can also remind you with his cheerful slaps that leaving a dissertation until the last minute is really not the brightest thing you’ve ever done, so try not to do it again, ‘k? You poor, sad fool. You remind me of myself when I was your age. (One month ago.)

Anyway, go kick some ass. I wish you luck. Please report back when you’re finished. And you will finish. I believe in you! You read my blog which proves you’re a smart lad (or lass) with excellent taste and just a hint of a commitment problem. Nothing to be ashamed of, my dear. Wave your lazy bum flag high.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Limbering Up The Old Appendages

Man, where has the time gone? It seems like only hours have passed since I handed in my dissertation, then staggered back to my bedroom to spend some quality time examining the inside of my eyelids. But it’s actually been two weeks and now I have to do the whole ‘maddened-with-primal-terror’ thing again in preparation for my final (yay!) exam on Monday. I’ve actually managed to trick my progressively stupider brain into doing some revision over the past couple of days before he wised up and shut down to go off drinking, so I may actually be in decent shape for this weekend’s last mad dash of cramming. But a big part of exam preparation also includes coaxing my hands back into the nineteenth century in anticipation of three solid hours of hand-writing. I can’t type worth a tin shit, but at least what comes out of my sorry technological efforts is legible, which is a helluva lot more than what I can say about my penmanship, especially after I hit the two hour panic mark in Oxford exams. Give me a laptop, and I can manage. Give me a pen, and I might as well be scrawling Arabic on a scrap of toilet paper using chicken shit as ink.  And furthermore, because I don’t hand-write very often anymore, it really, really hurts when I’m forced to do so in exams. My hands are weak and pathetic atrophied messes and I may as well saw them off and replace them with hooks.

I don’t, of course, because I’m not a caricature pirate or a total freaking lunatic, but also because I like my hands. I like one hand more than the other, sure, but that’s to be expected: it does more of the work and is more likely to sustain injury because I am a complete klutz and incapable of dressing myself in the morning without an ambulance and emergency room on standby should something go horribly wrong. And it often does. I’ve done some serious damage to my hands over the years. Both of my index fingers have either been broken or badly sprained. I honestly can’t tell you which, because I never really figured it out myself. All I know is that at some point I did something unbelievably stupid (don’t know what), and they were very upset with me, and so they have healed themselves into horrific, crooked zigzags and I’m now incapable of laying either of them flat on any surface. ‘Sokay: I deserved it. I broke the middle finger of my right hand (don’t know how) and the tip has an absurdly squashed and lumpy look, as if the bones in it have been replaced with mashed potatoes. The bones in the rest of my fingers have thus far escaped serious calamity (don’t know why). However, because my skin is translucent and pasty, the bizarre number of scars I have collected over the years (don’t know when) are patently visible and I look as if I once had a job serving baby lions finger foods. My circulation is terrible: as a result my hands are always cold and, inexplicably, clammy. I bite my nails. Occasionally one of my sisters will observe that my cuticles are a mess. I’m still not entirely sure what a cuticle is and if I can or should do something about this. So, to sum up: my hands are weak, crooked, pallid, scarred, frigid, sweaty, cracked, and occasionally bleeding.

My hands are heroin addicts.

And I love ’em. I mean, they are mine, after all, not anyone else’s. (I’m coming dangerously close to quoting Jewel here, Lord save me.) And it’s not as if I can pop down to the Hand Store and pick up a new set, although in my more disloyal moments, I sort of wish I could. I definitely wish I could on Monday. I’d pick out a sweet, supersonic pair of steel-gray POWER HANDS that could legibly keep up with the pathetic drivel my brain is trying to vomit out at a million miles a second. But because the scientific community is all obsessed with curing cancer and AIDS and ending world hunger and all that other rot, no one seems to have created POWER HANDS yet. Fools. This is why I’m in the SOCIAL sciences, where all the real work gets done. Real work, like revising for exams. And figuring out how my pathetic, sweaty, wimpy hands are going to last through three hours of pressure-cooker scrawling. Oh boy. This will be fun. Wish me luck.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Pointless Queries Guaranteed NOT To Be On My Exam

Let’s kick it, shall we? Yes. Put your safety gear on.

1) Anyone check out Garfield lately? No? *sigh* Slackers. Do I have to do everything around here? Fine. Let me provide a visual for you lazy bums:

Garfield June 8

Notice anything weird? Yeah! What’s up with the color scheme, Mr Davis? I’m happy he’s mixing things up a bit, but I’m not sure I’m liking this whole Garfield-on-an-acid-trip feel. It reminds me of the Pink Elephants scene in Dumbo, which is still one of the most terrifying montages in all film history, I think. Have you been re-watching Dumbo, Mr Davis?  I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Still, good work, as always. Carry on.

2) Do you think Pluto has gotten over the whole planet-demotion thing yet? Or do you think he’s just out there in the cold, dark, vacuum, slowly circling the distant Sun, and he could really use a hug right now? Do you think  he cries himself to sleep at night, his self-esteem in tatters? More importantly, do you think I should stop attributing deeply depressing and mildly disturbing human emotions to erstwhile planets? Me too.

3) How come the cord to my headphones is literally three feet long? It’s a nice feature in theory, I suppose, but it’s actually a giant pain-in-the-ass. The cord is constantly tangled and gets caught on everything. And I can never think of a scenario that would really require such a long cord anyway. I suppose it’s nice that I could conceivably listen to my iPod when it’s all the way across the room, but it never actually is. Who designed this? Why? And who’s it for, anyway? Giants? Am baffled and mildly annoyed.

4) Who was the first person who looked at a lobster and thought it would make a tasty delicacy you could dip in butter and charge fools an arm, leg, and spleen for the privilege of eating? That took some serious ingenuity and prescience and a level of insanity that borders on genius, man. Big ups to you, dude (or dudette, if that happens to be your preference). I want to shake your hand.

5) Why do I keep saying “big ups” so much lately? Where the hell did that come from? Must stop. It’s weird and annoying.

6) Did you know that the guy who created Pet Rocks is now a millionaire? Seriously. Apparently the things were only sold for about six months during 1975, too, and they cost an unbelievable $3.95. For a freaking rock. I wasn’t around in 1975, so I have to ask: what the hell were you people thinking? Weirdos.

7) Did you know that there have been over seventy million Tamagotchis sold since their debut in 1996? Seriously. Did you have a Tamagotchi back in its heyday? Or a Pet Rock for that matter? Do you feel a little ashamed of yourself because of that? You should.

8 ) How come every musician in the world has written a song using the same chord progression as Pachelbel’s Canon? Don’t believe me? Check this out:

It’s a beautiful piece of music, sure, and its accessibility is obvious. But aren’t song-writers just a little embarrassed by their unoriginality? Or is it unintentional? Or are they too busy cashing their multi-billion dollar checks to much care either way? Do I sound bitter? OK.

9) How come every humorist in the world has created a list of ten quasi-amusing random thoughts and thinks everyone will be ever-so-excited to read them? And how come these lists all make some sort of self-referential, self-deprecating slam against the author, as if anyone really believes that she is that modestly unaware of her own extraordinarily limited talents? Don’t you hate it when humorists do that and don’t you really think they should just get on with it already? Damn straight.

10) Did I really just do that? Lame. Moving on.


And SCENE.

I’ve been waiting to say this for seven months.

My dissertation is done. Finished. Complete. And hopefully good enough to pass unscathed under the hyper-critical, laser eyes of Oxford examiners, although, frankly, at this point, I don’t much care. Ding dong, the witch is dead. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Celebrate good times. Come on.

A few, brief, self-indulgent comments on the process:

Final word count: 27,654. Yes, I am crazy like a fox, and, yes, I stayed up all night manipulating this bitch up to that number. Don’t judge me.

Microsoft Word 2007 is not quite as crappy as I first thought it was. Clearly, it was designed by an insane person high on crack, but I originally thought it was designed by a barely animate doorknob. So, progress. Hooray.

My typing and spelling skills, never particularly good to begin with, become almost amusingly wretched after 4am when I am high on aspartame,  caffeine, and lack of sleep. Not only do I misspell every other word, but I often misspell the same word over and over again in exactly the same way. This suggests that I’m either stubborn or delusional, perhaps both.

When in panic-writing mode, I can produce over a thousand words an hour. I find that impressive. And the writing,while not  especially good, at least doesn’t suck eyeballs. Then again, I haven’t slept in a while, so we’ll see what I think of my writing after a few hours days of sleep.

Aw, who am I trying to kid? You couldn’t pay me all the money in the world to re-read this matted and rancid piece of horse hair. If I didn’t still have to submit it, I’d burn it, then spit in its cinders.

Still, it’s done. And I am a happy girl.

Off to print, bind, submit, and sleep. Better blog postings to come, I promise, once the sleep thing has been taken care of. Keep it real, homedawgs.


A Moment of Dissertation Panic

I tend to underwrite when it comes to academic work, because I usually can’t be bothered to bullshit more than I have to when making a point. This wasn’t a problem when I was an undergrad back in the States, and page limits were enforced rather than word counts. A little hint to any college students who read this blog and are having difficulty padding their papers to the required page-length minimum: Courier New, 12 point font. It’s your last hope and the Holy Grail. It looks (barely) professional and it’ll add about 25% more space to your papers than Times New Roman. Most professors are probably aware of  this cheap little padding trick but are probably too embittered to care. I got away with it more than I’d like to admit. It saved my ass on many, many occasions.

Sadly, I’m in grad school now, and I’m supposed to be too mature for these kinds of games. Yeah, right. Worse, though, my dissertation length is measured in words, not pages (damn those sneaky Oxford dons for screwing me out of my safety net!) , so Courier New, 12 point (God bless him) is no longer an option. Worst of all, my dissertation is supposed to be 30,000 words in length. Or so I thought.

I’ve got about 24,000 words right now. And I really, really don’t want to write anymore, partly because I’m lazy and sick of the whole damn topic, but mostly because I’m already starting to repeat myself, and when that happens, I panic. The last dissertation I had was a comparatively easy-peasy 15,000 word-er, but I freaked right the freak out the night before it was due and, literally, rewrote the entire thing in one caffeine-crazed, barking-at-the-moon sitting. I panicked because I made the colossal mistake of talking to my course mates about their work and listened to them bitch about how difficult it had been to get their dissertations completed under the word count. (15,000 is actually the worst length to write for, I think: it’s just enough space to say nothing at all.) My piece of crap, on the other hand, was already completed and pathetically repetitious and, even worse, it only clocked in at about 13,500 words. I quickly forgot all of my previous academic training and immediately decided,  the night before it was due, that it was way too short. THE NIGHT BEFORE IT WAS DUE. So I added crap. And erased it. And added more crap. And erased that, too. Finally, at about 9am, when I could no longer see straight and I was sweating like a pig and my bloodstream was flushed with 75% caffeine and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking, I gave up. The bitch was done. I must have managed to pad another 1500 words into the thing by then, and, hell, I didn’t even care anymore if it was legible, let alone good. So I finished up the bibliography, mopped the sweat and Diet Coke stains off my keyboard, and ran the word count.

13,475.

What. the. f*ck.

So to hell with adding more to my current dissertation. I won’t go through that crap again, especially when I know I’ll probably end up cutting anyway and making the final product even shittier than it was before I took my hacksaw to it.

But is 24,000 really justifiable when your limit is 30,000? Cue the panic. I know it’s just a word count and substance is far more important, but damn it, I’m the same person who obsessively checks her blog stats everyday for no other reason than to see the numbers. Numbers matter. Or they do to me, anyway. But what do I do? I’ll be damned if I talk to any of my course mates about their dissertation lengths, though, because I already know what their answers are going to be and what it will do to my fragile sense of sanity and self-control. So I emailed the most calm and easy-going person in the whole damn world who also happens to have passed this course last year with flying colors. He thinks I’m insane and is probably right, but when people think you’re insane, you can email them – without fear of punitive measures –  the following inanity:

“Word count: 24,598. Too short? Please don’t say it’s too short.”

His response:

“Read your student handbook: 30,000 is the LIMIT not the TARGET. It’s fine. Stop worrying and go have a beer.

Well, son of a bitch.

I’m not a beer person, but I may very well take that suggestion. Not ’til Friday, though. That’s when this bitch is due. Sheer morbid curiosity demands that I pluck away at the thing until then. I bet I can hit the 25,000 mark, easy. Damn it.

I really am insane.


More Rubbish

Yes, yes, I am well aware of the fact that I’ve been a bit remiss on the substantive posts lately (and yes, I know that “substantive” is not a word one should ever use to accurately describe the contents of this blog).  However, I’ve been so gosh darn busy with my real life that I’m too exhausted to go back and fix the obvious and disgusting split infinitive in that last parenthetical phrase, let alone post something that isn’t complete crap. Oh, the weary life of a grad student with deadlines! Pity me.

OK, enough work-related caterwauling. Enjoy some random thoughts on recent rubbish. Hopefully it’ll hold you whiny bastards until King Dissertation is submitted (please don’t hit, only kidding, I love you all):

1) The last quasi-decent post I wrote vaguely referenced my return to the UK. Coming through EU immigration is always a treat for dirty foreigners like me. I always, always seem to end up in the queue filled with every petty criminal in the whole damn world along with their falsified passports, their forged visas, and their cocaine-filled anal balloons, and every single one of them is indignant and outraged when they’re denied entrance into the UK. It never fails. It’s either the Bellowing and Bellicose Criminal Queue or the March of the Idiots, in which every person is drunk/half-asleep/recovering from a lobotomy/huffing paint thinners. I generally don’t like policing people’s behavior too stridently, but seeing some of the idiocy that occurs while people are waiting in line for passport inspection kind of makes me wish the government would issue an IQ test before allowing passengers on planes. My favorite idiot in the sky story actually comes from a friend of mine who swears that, while at Heathrow patiently awaiting his criminal inspection and anal probe, a very annoyed, braincell-deficient young lady flounced into the queue and whined to her friend, “Oh my god. That other lady was such a bitch! Like, how was I supposed to know that the US isn’t in the EU?”

Oh, help.

2) I, of course, should not snicker too loudly at the moronic behavior of others, because yesterday, in a fit of rage and impatience (two emotions I generally don’t experience all that often, I must say, which I’m gonna go ahead and use as the sole excuse for the following mind-boggling inanity), I tore apart my room in a futile search for my keys before giving up, frustrated and sweaty, then slumped to the floor muttering a series of rather interesting and colorful curses I shan’t repeat here. A sharp pain in my bottom region reminded me that I had stored the keys in my back pocket fifteen minutes earlier. I deserved that pain-in-the-ass, quite frankly.

3) Speaking of pain-in-the-ass, King Dissertation is reaching his final stages. I’ve come up with all kinds of creative ways to avoid finishing him, mostly because he’s starting to send me into a series of nervous twitches every time I open up Microsoft Word and he stares up at me with his toothy, shit-eating grin. Bastard. Anyway, two days ago, I decided it would be a good time to rearrange my bedroom. Why not? I didn’t get very far, though, because my bed is heavier than a dead cow on a pogo stick, and I couldn’t move the damn thing more than two feet before my back decided to go on vacation and give out, leaving only a knife-like spasm in its stead. The spasm refused to help move the bed and he didn’t like the idea of going back to King Dissertation either, so we took a nap instead. I probably should have started out with that activity and avoided the whole mess to begin with. Oh well: live and learn.

Also, I only added that third little random item because I really, really like the phrase “heavier than a dead cow on a pogo stick.” And I think I actually made it up all by myself, too. Hooray! Wonder if I can somehow work that into King Dissertation. Hmmm….

And, finally, because I really do love you all, a present: chocolate-flavored puggle. Awww.

ChocPuggle


Brilliant

As someone who appreciates good, witty writing from all ends of political, religious, and social spectra, I highly recommend Christopher Buckley’s tribute to his recently-passed parents in today’s New York Times Magazine.