Weekly Shocks' Blog


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Pointless Bitching 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


A Query:

What does it say about a person if her response to a six-foot (quite literally) pile of garbage on the elite Upper West Side of Manhattan is a giggle and a quick blog post? Oh, and a link to an article in The Times about how most other people are pretty effin’ pissed at this bullshit, and Bloomberg better get his ass in gear, that bitch.

Please note in the article that the trash also saved a potential suicide victim. And you think all NYC public works officials are hopeless, heartless incompetents. Hah!


Um, ew?

The Yankees won. Congratulations to them, their fans, and their Lord and Master, the Dark Prince Satan the Steinbrenners.

Now. Let us never speak of this horror ever, ever again.


That time of year

Look out, folks! Halloween is sneaking up on you, and he’s on a massive sugar high and wielding a butcher’s knife! Uh oh! My family is celebrating by going on one of those absurdly luxurious Disney Cruises in the Bahamas and leaving me here unsupervised, so I’m planning on getting into all sorts of mischief, assuming, of course, I can tear myself away from the steady stream of crappy horror movies playing on AMC.

Now before you get your undies in a twist and stuff them down my throat, I will admit that AMC does play good movies now and then. They showed the Stanley Kubrick classic The Shining not too long ago, a fine film featuring Olive Oil as a twitchy, shriek-y wife and a drooling kid with a 70s-styling bowl cut and a totally bitchin’ Big Wheels bike. Jack Nicholson (Nicklaus?) is in it too, playing some minor, insignificant role. Nothing you’d recognize. It was a fun bit of psychosis, like all Kubrick films, but it doesn’t compensate for the rest of AMC’s Halloween lineup which is mostly B-rated gross-out flicks and, occasionally, the completely gratuitous and invariably awful remake of some Hollywood classic.

For example: I got tricked into watching Psycho yesterday. No, not that Psycho. The other one. The Gus Van Sant-directed train wreck made in 1998. I didn’t even know Gus Van Sant was involved with this movie, and, judging by how terrible it was, neither did he. Vince Vaughn was particularly laughable, with his fey, puffy-lipped, giggly and wiggly performance. I loved it. That’s the problem with train wreck remakes – they’re so abysmally goofy, so bottomlessly stupid, so inexplicably pointless  – I mean, Van Sant created a shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s original, fer cryin’ out loud – you can’t help but waste two hours of your life wondering what the hell these people were thinking. It’s terrible, but really, watch it and you’ll feel better about your own life. You will. Whatever failures you may be experiencing at the moment, at least you’re not ripping off someone else’s work and falling flat on your face to the tune of millions and millions of dollars and some anonymous blogger’s sarcastic, floppy scorn.

Speaking of falling flat on one’s face to the tunes of millions and floppy scorn, Facebook updated again. And the inevitable bitching begins! I can’t be bothered to come up with something new, witty, and appropriately cutting to write about yet another stupid Facebook design, so poke around the archives if you must; everything I’ve said in the past about Facebook updates is most likely still applicable. Timeless material, that Weekly Shocks blog is! It must be written by a silly goobernugget devastatingly attractive genius.

Carry on, my lovelies.


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.


Fore (play?)!

I’ve spent most of the last hour watching golf on TV. It’s been that kind of day.

I’m not really a golf person. I regularly confuse Jack Nicholson with Jack Nicklaus – truth be told, I’m still not a hundred percent sure which one is the golfer and which one likes to smash through bathroom doors with a pickax. Beautifully manicured lawns give me the chills – I always imagine pitching forward onto one of them, scuffing up the grass, and being summarily shot. I’ve had exactly one golf lesson in my life and it ended with my instructor in the hospital with a concussion. She was clobbered by an eight-year old’s rogue, hyperactive golf swing. Or, more accurately, she was clobbered by my rogue, hyperactive golf swing. She was nice, though, and didn’t press charges. Still. Golf suggests violent, terrible things, and really goofy-looking shoes as well. So it’s best that I avoid it.

Every once in a while, though, I need a reminder of why golf and I should stay far, far away from each other, and this morning’s festivities were quite helpful, thank you very much. The first young man who teed off saw his opening shot end up in the sand. His second shot ended up in the sand, too. His third shot ricocheted off the sand and landed somewhere in the woods. I have a feeling he snapped his club over his kneecap after that third shot and punched his caddie in the face with the business end of his golf shoe, but I could be making that up. I was too busy giggling over this poor sap’s miserable plays to notice much of anything by that point.

I’ve heard people say that they play golf because it relaxes them, which generally makes me wonder what kind of lives these folks are leading that make hacking away at a tiny ball with a skinny club and ultimately guiding the damn thing into an even tinier hole relaxing. Then the dirty part of my Freudian-soaked brain whispers all kinds of naughty things about sexual frustration and masculine inadequacy and I get the giggles again. But, really, people: I am a grown up and am quite mature and dignified. Seriously. I swear. Stop looking at me.

Speaking of frustration, I admit that the only reason I’m watching golf at the moment is because the Sox are down to their last playoff hope this season at dear old Fenway, and watching them play through the last six weeks is enough to make any lifelong fan reach for her blood pressure medication. In the not-too-distant past, I was pleasantly hopeful about the Sox and their strong opening half of the baseball season, but really, it’s been a limping, downhill mess since the All Star Break. I’m almost kind of hoping that they get slaughtered today so we can finally put this season out of its premature, peaked-too-soon misery. It’s ok, honey, we can just cuddle. No need to be embarrassed; it happens to everyone.

I bet all of the Red Sox will be spending a lot of time on a golf course real soon.

And I am a dirty, dirty girl.


Please explain the following bit of societal nonsense:

Why is it entirely acceptable (albeit ill-advised) to eat a chocolate doughnut at 7am, yet scarfing down a chocolate Klondike bar at the same time is considered puerile and sickening?

First person to explain this to me in small, easily understood words gets a cookie. The cookie will be freshly baked, filled with gooey chocolate, and served at 7am with a side of ice cold soda.

On a completely unrelated note, guess what I had for breakfast this morning? It was good, too.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Subfusc

During my glorious post-dissertation celebrations (coma-like sleep, long, lazy strolls throughout the city, scratching my belly button, etc.), a few well-meaning friends and family members emailed me asking how it feels to be done with Master’s Degree Numero Dos. It was very sweet of them to do so, but the reality is, I’m not finished yet. I’ve still got an exam left, which is worth a hefty twenty percent of my overall degree. I think this is Oxford’s way of kicking all of us in our teeth after we’ve slopped through ten months of a giant piece of written brilliance (or, in my case, crap) and done so successfully and without going completely mental. “Ahahahaha! Not so fast, my pretty little things,” Oxford shrieks, “Time to don your fancy dress and spit out everything you’ve learned in your option papers (Remember those?! HAHAHAHA!) in three hours or less! And make sure you do so in comprehensive, elegant essay form as well!”

Cheeky git.

I actually don’t mind exams. They’re a quick punch in the gut, then you’re done. Kind of like tearing the Band-Aid off in one, merciless, bloody swoop. However, because we’re in Oxford, the Freak Show Capital of the World, we actually have to wear special clothes to take exams. They call it ‘subfusc.’ My mom calls it ‘the penguin suit.’ It consists of black trousers (or a skirt if you’re so inclined), a white dress shirt, a black jacket, a white bow tie for the gents, and a black ribbon for the ladies, black socks and shoes, and the Harry Potter gown and mortar board. It looks really, really stupid. Actually, that’s not entirely true: on men, it looks distinguished and handsome and elegant. Men look pretty damn hot in subfusc, let me tell you. If you’re not lucky enough to be a man, however, it looks really, really, really stupid. I’ve yet to see a girl, no matter how otherwise lovely, pull off subfusc without looking like a puritanical schoolmarm with a red-hot poker shoved so far up her bottom it’s now making conversation with her uvula. I would call this unfair and sexist and indicative of the horrific gender divide that still persists in elite universities, but because I have to revise for my exam, I just can’t be bothered to give a flying toss. Besides, I have to find my stupid ribbon.

Furthermore, I need to remind everyone that it’s June, and June in Oxford can occasionally mean boiling lava steaming hot, complete with no air conditioning. Not always, but it does sometimes happen that you end up taking your exams in rooms that would be more appropriately used as saunas, except there’s no sign of balding, potbellied men in towels discussing stock figures and football scores. Thankfully.  Also, you don’t have to keep your subfusc on fully throughout the exam, although this is occasionally even worse than the stupid-looking subfusc itself. Exams often become a bizarre game of striptease essay-writing as you trawl through your questions while sweating and cramping and groaning and removing as much of your clothes as you’re legally allowed, and everyone else around you is doing the exact same thing. It’s all very distracting and bothersome, especially at Oxford where you just know no one is getting any at all and this really isn’t the best time to be, well, inappropriately attired. Right? Right. Yeah. OK. Ahem.

Anyway! My exam is in two weeks. And in those two weeks, I think I’m going to devote much of my blog writing to bizarre bits of random observations that have nothing to do with my option paper.  Which is pretty much how my blog is set up already, but now I’m going to be a bit more honest and open about it. What’s that saying again? Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery? Or something? I’m not sure I have a problem or am in need of recovery, but it seems like a nice cheerful way to end an otherwise whiny post, so there you have it. Enjoy!


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.


Another Facebook Rant

Oh, Facebook, you conniving man-whore. Will you never cease shaming  me to tears? This is an abusive relationship, my love. I’d leave you, but we both know I’m not strong enough. So you’ll continue to use and abuse me with all your salty, bitchslapping bitterness and, God help me, I’ll continue to love every minute of it.

We all know Facebook, drunk on his ever-growing popularity and meteoric rise to world domination, fell in with a bad crowd about a year ago and started smoking crack and shooting heroin. In order to pay for his various addictions, he first allowed high school students to partake in his naughty goodies (oh, bad, Facebook, bad, bad) and then began adding hundreds and hundreds of hopelessly inane “Applications” to his daily menu, “Applications” he bought from disreputable foreign sources. These goddamned “Applications” make me want to peel my own skin off and eat it. 99.9% of them are so pathetically pointless, you can’t help but add them just to waste even more of the precious little time you have remaining before your dissertation is due. (Have I mentioned my dissertation before? It’s due Friday. It’s not done yet. I’m dead.)

Every once in a while, though, I summon every ounce of self-control I have left in my fragile, beaten body and I ignore a friend’s invitation to partake in some silly application. These rare and precious moments are major triumphs for me, testaments to my unfailing good sense and taste, or at least evidence of my basic apathy toward discovering which is more badass, a pirate or a ninja (bunnies could kick either of them to shreds, so it’s a moot point anyway), or giving a flying rat’s ass which of my Facebook friends supposedly has a crush on me (all of them do, obviously, if they have any sense at all). One friend, in a supreme moment of post-existential angst-y irony, sent me an invitation to partake in “The Most Useless Application of All” which does, as you might expect, absolutely nothing. This might have been modestly clever had I not already received an invitation, just moments earlier, from another friend to join a group enquiring, ever so politely of me, “Which Useless Facebook Application Are You?” It’s enough to make me sob, but that’s ok, because I’m sure Facebook probably has a “Shoulder to Cry On” application, too.

Regardless. I’m getting better at saying no to my Facebook friends and their incessant demands for me to try their hot new life-wasting addictions. Facebook is on to me, though, and every time I hit that glorious, self-actualizing, empowering IGNORE button, a little message pops up, damning me to hell:

“You have just ignored a request from one of your dearest, loveliest friends, a friend who was simply thinking of you fondly and wanted only to amuse and please you. You are a heartless bitch. God just murdered a kitten because of your selfishness. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.”

OK, it might not say exactly that, but it’s pretty damn close. I have thus been shamed by a faceless cooparate entity, a freaking website, fer cryin’ out loud. Bugger. I’ll have to add this to my ever-increasing list of reasons of Why I’m Going To Hell. I better start packing, for I hear sweet Satan’s dulcet tones. Bet he has tons of applications on Facebook.


Whatever! Whatever! I do what I want!

Enough bitching about my dissertation. Let’s bitch about something else, shall we?

Actually, to hell with that, too. Bitching stops being fun after a while, especially when I find myself so gosh darn amusing. Amusing and odd, actually, in a non-threatening, no-serial-killer-here  kind of way. Also, I smell good. Oh yeah. I rock. Big ups to me.

OK, my daily affirmations aside. I was looking over my Facebook page this morning because I hadn’t updated it in ages and when you’re as cool as I am, that’s just a sin. Surely something new and interesting could be said about my life, right? I trawled through my various lists. Favorite music: only the best, of course. My man, Van, leading the way. Simon and Garfunkel. The Beatles, natch. Some ole Blue Eyes. Beethoven, Mozart. A little REM for when I’m feeling saucy. Good choices, indeed. How about books? Jane Austen, she’s always a good choice. PG Wodehouse. Dickens. Orwell. Twain. OK, sensing a theme here…moving on. Movies? It’s a Wonderful Life, my all-time favorite. Casablanca is close on its heels, though. Oh, Bogart, you sneaky scamp. A healthy dose of Pixar flicks. To Kill a Mockingbird. Mr Smith Goes to Washington. You can never have too much Jimmy Stewart in your life, right? Right. Huh. Huh.

Crap.

I really have the most pedestrian taste on earth, don’t I? Gimme the classics, nothing but, screw the rest. If it was made after I was born and it’s not a witty cartoon, it’s probably rubbish. Wow. I mean, even the quirky stuff on my list is utterly safe and sane in clever, life-affirming ways (Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Puppini Sisters). I have good taste, sure, and I’m damn proud of it. But where’s the wild streak, the seedy underbelly, the embarrassing and crazy interests and desires, the gigantic and stupid tattoo you got when you were drunk in Cancun and decided to prove your devotions to the Smurfs by having a vision of the Almighty Papa engraved on your bottom? I seem to be missing this. (Actually, I do have a Smurf bum tattoo. Long story.) Given how bizarre my personality can occasionally be, you’d think I’d have a penchant for some seriously messed-up stuff, like anime tentacle porn, or a burning desire to have a threesome with Eminem and Marilyn Manson, or even just a fondness for Hello Kitty. Yet I don’t. And I don’t want to. Because that would be gross and soul-destroying. No, really: it would.

Is this a problem? I can’t quite figure that part out. On the one hand, when you know something is good, when it’s got the critical reviews and the years and years of durability and, infinitely more important, the artistry and the grace to take your breath away, why screw with the principle of it and entertain lesser art? On the other hand, I can’t help but think that my rather mainstream, safe, middle-of-the-road tastes are setting me up for the grandest midlife crisis of all. No one can be good all of the time. I just know I’ll wake up one day twenty years from now with a raging desire to shave my head, dye my eyebrows magenta, pierce my eyeballs, snort some lines off the toilet bowl, and rock out to some Limp Bizkit.  (No offense to the multitudes of Limp Bizkit devotees out there, but, to put it diplomatically, they suck deep-fried, urine-coated, rotting, steaming cheese curds.)

So what’s a girl to do? Trash my classical music collection, throw away my collected works of Shakespeare, burn my Monty Python DVDs and slowly gorge myself on an unrelenting diet of pop culture trash? Hell no. If I’m going to sell out, it had better be for a massive amounts of cash or a pony. Preferably a pony. But perhaps I may want to consider injecting some less conventional, more controversial substances into my artistic interests. Suggestions are always welcome, provided they aren’t completely disgusting. Let’s not get crazy here.


Arising Like a Phoenix From My Inbox:

From: (deleted to protect the insane)
Sent: 22 May 2009 14:47:30
To: Weekly Shocks (weeklyshocks@hotmail.com)

Yo Weekly Shocks or whatever your name really is,

You ever planning on updating your blog? Seriously, what the [naughty curse word deleted), man?
Hurry up.

An Insane Fan

I have a fan! Yay!

Blog will be updated soon-ish. I think. “Soon-ish” means whenever the hell I feel like it, i.e., when I’m not being smothered in the oozing puddle of dog poo that my dissertation has become.

A million apologies for disappointing you, Insane Fan. I love you. I will give birth to dozens of your babies as recompense. Call me.

Love,

Weekly Shocks (not a man, has uterus to prove it)


A Quick Question

WHY THE HELL DID I DECIDE TO GO TO GRADUATE SCHOOL??!!! ^&%^(%)*o&^)(*^&)*(^_(*^*(_*&)*&_*(^!!!

All for now, I’m afraid. My dissertation is continuously trying to smother me with a pillow while I sleep, that insidious, nasty bastard. Damn him. I’m going to have to start sleeping with one eye open and a knife under my pillow, it seems. Bugger. On the upside, I am starting to discover just how resilient an Oxford University graduate program can make a person. I feel ever-so-mighty, dangerously invigorated, almost tingly with power. Maybe I should move to New Zealand and castrate sheep for a living.


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