Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Sadly, the bathing in virgin's blood thing probably never happened.

All morning I've been looking for just one tale of true terror to talk about for Halloween, but I've accidentally debunked everything I've come across. I kind of remembered something about a Hungarian countess who murdered virgins for their blood, which she believed would keep her young and beautiful when used a la Calgon, but it seems like that same band of vague academics who ruin all of my fun all of the time have proven she never bathed in any kind of blood at all. Not even pig blood. It's true that the Countess Bathory was a mass murderer who probably did torture a few servant girls at her castles, but come on, who hasn't? It's also true that she was bricked into one room in her castle to live out the rest of her life after she was convicted but even that won't rescue the story from suckitude.

Okay, so that's out.

How about the Winchester Mystery House? This one should've been really good. Sarah Winchester refused to stop construction on her home on the advice of a spiritualist medium who believed the Winchesters were cursed by the many victims of their repeating rifles. As long as she kept building, he claimed, she would be safe from the vengeful spirits. The house is truly bizarre, full of doors that go nowhere and blind chimneys. Not to mention that Sarah, obsessed with the number thirteen, included 13 panes on nearly every window and 13 steps on nearly every staircase. And she died in the house. But then the Academic Historians of Fun Killing point out that it's said she was "never the same" after her child died and that the spiritualist stuff started right after tuburculosis got her husband. And then you get to wondering whether she was just kind of sad, a little manic, and very rich.

And then you're stuck with the Winchester Depression Shack.

Also, EVP is a bad tape recorder and vampirism is porphyria.

I am seriously considering organizing some kind of petition, or like, some Metaphysical Landmarks Association that will rope off our ghost stories and keep them safe from the meddling hands of the Academic Historians Who Want to Ruin Halloween Like Some Frigging Grinch Assholes. Why, why do you want to leave us with nothing but gourds and slutty cats to mark the end of October?

I'm willing to offer Santa as P.O.W. if you give me back the Salem Witch Trials. Just don't make any sudden moves or I'll debunk Rudolph myself.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Scary Stories to Tell with a Swiffer

My house is haunted.

I live across from one of the largest graveyards in Brooklyn, so most of my neighbors are the haunty type. But that’s not the kind of haunting I’m talking about.

Brad and I had a giant Halloween/Birthday party on Saturday night and my house is haunted with party ghosts. There are black footprints across every walkable surface (and some unwalkable ones) and orange wax down the wall, one less dollar store candle holder than I woke up owning on Saturday morning, and an Everest of recycling, and candy stuck in the most bizarre places (in the holes of my fence, in the decorative espresso cups), and there are trampled weeds in the backyard and a chipped Christmas light, and there are plates and pots and a coffeemaker all in the wrong place and a bathroom full of tootsie roll wrappers, and the detergent is in the tub, the ironing board is in the boiler room, the toilet paper is nearly out, and there are fun size Snickers trampled into the grout between the tiles on the floor that need to be removed with serious paper towel work, or else a quick and disgusting fingernail intervention.

Also, I found a single elbow-length black latex glove in the backyard next to a pirate hook wearing a candy necklace. I can’t be sure, but all signs point to my house being the scene for a dominatrix proctological exam on skittish, raver Captain Hook.

The party ghosts are crafty. They disappear in the dark, which is different than your garden (basement? attic?) variety ghost, but appear with a vengeance again under overhead light. The bathroom, in the dark, seems completely unhaunted but then flip, scream, terror, there are wrapped tootsie rolls hidden in the rug fringe.

The party ghosts are also kind of Dickensian. Like, the Ghost of High School Past, except the kind of past I did not lead. I never went to a real John Huges style house party in high school, though I'm not entirely sure they existed in my town.

Although it could just be a mark of my supreme adolescent uncoolness that to this day no one has filled me in on where the party was happening, like, eight years ago.

But watching peple cram into my basement and wait for a beer served from behind my kitchen table and complain about the line for the bathroom where I brush my teeth and shampoo my hair is an eerie experience. The party was haunted with the ghosts of my boring regular life, the house is haunted with the ghosts of the party, and my life is haunted with the vengeful little demons of teenhood.

Let's eat some candy corn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Personally Speaking

Considering what little faith I put in them, I spend a lot of time reading personal ads for JUNK. Specifically Craigslist ads, which I believe to be some of the most deranged pieces of literature ever set loose onto an unsuspecting and lonely public. Newspaper personals limit you to fifty characters and guides you with a set of very specific questions. Craigslist's limitless white field, however, leaves room for an entire daddy/daughter sex scenario without the writer having to resort to acronyms (SWM ISO 5thGRDR) or liberal interpretation of the "Interests and Hobbies" question.

With no limit on length, Craigslist ads often cross the line from personal information to personal manifesto. You find these endless lists of wants pretty frequently considering how much time they must take to enumerate.

Even more surprising is that they all boil down to basically the same set of requirements. The type of men who post on Craigslist want a thin, beautiful woman who does nothing to stay thin and does not know she is beautiful, often who is "nerdy" (in the way that Clark Kent is nerdy but obviously still Superman), who is smart but not smarter than the poster, who does not expect anything to be bought for her, who not only accepts but loves the poster's sexual deviancy/personal foibles, and, most frequently mentioned, who is classy on the street but a freak in da bed.

Craigslist women, on the other hand, seem to want a tall man who wants children (right now is fine!), and who loves them for them, but is willing to prove that love in karats.

Ah, love.

The list ads always strike me as far more disturbing than the short ads that explode like a tiny and disgusting land mine on your screen. Take, for example, the perennially present man in search of a young lady who will pee on him in the bathroom of a Starbucks. That's desire laid bare. It may distill human romantic relationships to a single (mildly repulsive) interaction, but it's a fair and forthright emotional transaction.

Just wash your hands afterwards.

But the lists, the lists really get me. There's always some preamble about how the lister is so normal and can't believe they're doing this and just looking for someone sane and fun. And thin. And rich. And flexible. With red hair. And no cats. Who owns a home. Who doesn't mind dating someone married. With four children. Two of which he is also married to. Who all pee on each other. No fatties. That downhill journey from the beginning of a list of demands to the end is depressing, especially when you consider my extravagant list of demands from my dream boyfriend:

1. Be funny.
2. Wear tight pants and plaid shirts.

I really don't feel like that's ALL that much to ask. Although maybe I should add a number 3, which will probably knock a solid two-thirds of the Craigslist guys off the list:

3. Please keep your pee away from me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Dream Is a Threat...Your Brain Makes

I've done this very grown-up thing.

I have finally learned to sleep without the TV on. It's taken about a year (minus a few bump-in-the-night setbacks), but I can finally go to sleep with just an old This American Life story playing in the background for a little bit. I've slept with the TV since I first got one in my room when I was thirteen years old, so this is a little bit like breaking up with a boyfriend I dated for twelve years. My room is eerily silent when I roll over in the middle of the night, but it's okay.

The one drawback is that my dreams have become much more memorable without WPIX late-night infomercials to interrupt them or dissipate them immediately upon waking. They are getting out of hand, actually. Two nights ago I dreamed I was in an endless, shitty apartment complex with skinny white tiled halls, bare fluorescent bulbs blinking in the ceiling, and piles of dirty laundry outside every door.

Of course, I wasn't supposed to be there. That's always the way. Even in a building I have created, brick by brick, from my own imagination, I have to be invited inside. There were women in threadbare robes and curlers to avoid, and shadowy pursuers doing their required shadowy pursuing down dark staircases lined with paint cans and brooms.

I was there searching for a dog. There were lots of imposter dogs outside many of the apartment doors, playing on dirty blue towels. These dogs were either full-size golden retrievers who were difficult to get around in the narrow corridor, or else tiny miniature dogs that would've fit in a dollhouse. Like, a pitbull that you could pick up and put in your pocket, or take for a walk along your desk with just a length of dental floss as a leash.

I never found my dog.

Then, last night, I had this dream that Takashi Murakami was making a line of patterened toilets with his signature mushrooms and daisies all over them. This is already such a jackass dream I can't even handle it, but it gets better: I was some, like, art world nihilist ninja whose goal was to smash every Murakami crapper.

I think the reason I slept with the TV on for so many years was that I'm still not entirely comfortable with the idea of dreaming. I mean, think about it. You feel sleepy, you're lying down and happy, and all of a sudden you can feel your brain being all, "Sssh, just go to sleep already, I've got shit to do that you don't even understand." I can feel myself cede control to a bundle of nerves that craps out things like pop art toilets, but is also supposed to be trusted to handle my breathing and make sure my heart beats regularly.

That's right, kiddos, the moral of the story today is that your brain is out to get you while you're not looking. Sweet dreams!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Things Britney Could've Done That Are Way Worse Than Get Big Fake Lips and Run Over a Photographer's Foot

1. Decide the way to win back her ex is to turn herself into their pet, a la Jocelyn Wildenstein. Because Britney and Kevin had a chihuahua.

2. The Time Warp.

3. Donald Trump.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Got All My Assistants With Me

I guess the good thing about feeling comfortable in the office where you work is that there's no one to impress. That's not to say that you don't work to the best of your abilities. It's just that it's a relief to know that your best is all anyone is looking for.

And that your dirty flannel shirt will be kindly overlooked.

The downside is that We the Comfortable tend to forget that we are not actually in our living rooms. Every once in a while the static of keyboards and the sighing ventilation system is interrupted by an audible phone fight with an idiot boyfriend, or a post-lunch burp ringing out of an office door with all the urgency of a guard dog's bark, or loud farts in the bathroom. Farts antithetical to the shy, apologetic farts of a public restroom, those oh-pardon-me-for-disturbing-you-with-my-base-behavior farts of strangers in the company of strangers.

A few days ago, I took the elevator from my floor down to the mailroom to check for a package I was expecting. It was after four in the afternoon, which is the precise time of day I want to do things like check the mail, eat chips, or sit at my desk and examine the pattern of my cube upholstery until it's time to go home. It's not that I even want to do these things; it's as though my very survival depends on doing them when there's less than an hour of work to go.

Anyway, so, I took the elevator down. There was no package. I got back in the elevator to go up. I leaned against the wall because, come on, there's no way I'm standing unaided after four in the afternoon. The stupid elevator doors wouldn't close, so, without moving from the wall, I stuck my foot out completely across the elevator and hit the door close button with my big toe.

Like a very graceful chimpanzee.

This was the point at which I remembered that there was a dude in the elevator with me, a guy whose presence I had apparently deleted immediately from whatever lobe of my brain controls functioning in human society. At least he laughed (the good natured laugh of someone who cannot get a friend's dog to stop sniffing their genital region). I wasn't even particularly embarrassed. I was just caught. Like having to answer the door for the delivery guy in your pajamas at five in the afternoon.

It's times like that the surreality of working in an office hits me. I will spend far more time at my desk than I ever will at my kitchen table. I will pass way more hours with the loud talker and the cackler and the enigmatic sociopath and gross chewer and the boy who wears a blue shirt every single day than I will with my parents. This is why the co-worker relationship must be rigid--given the amount of time we spend together, if we all feel comfortable picking our noses in front of each other and never brush our hair, we wouldn't be co-workers.

We would be a family.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rubber Duckie, I'm Awfully Fond of You

And just when you thought I was gone forever, I come running back like this is a Lifetime movie and you're the abusive husband with the blonde flip and blue eyes and high-waisted jeans I simply cannot resist. Blogging at JUNK will still take place, but I think what I'll do is use this as sort of the incubator/dumping ground/pre-blog tailgate party area for all of the things I want to write about but don't really belong on JUNK. Then if anything's good I'll move it over. Like anyone cares about this but me. Anyway.

Because my liquid assets are usually puddle-deep, I got this freelance job rewriting product descriptions for an adult toy website. It's easy, I make a dollar per description, and best of all, it has yet to stop being really funny. I mean, there's virtually no aspect of this job that isn't funny. Mathematically, there must be some kind of humor equation you could derive from the whole situation and apply liberally to unfunny comedians, funerals, endless work meetings, doing your taxes, and subway rides during which everyone is disappointingly lucid. Seriously, look:

1. You put these things up your butt. Classic comedy gold.
2. The DVD section of my assignment appears to have been written the first time by a fourteen year old boy. It may be true that "Tera Patrick's titsare so awsome," but seriously, cowboy, use two hands and it's way easier to type.
3. Running out of ways to say "stimulates the prostate" is a problem I never thought anyone would have, let alone me personally.
4. The word "dong." Just that.

Take all that into account, and then multiply it by the fact that I am supposed to make these product descriptions cute and punny. This leaves me on the couch after work every night, laptop in hand, snorting at my own genius for coming up with prose like You know what they say about rubber duckie--he makes bathtime lots of fun! This discreet duck-shaped massager requires one AA battery...

As funny as sex toys are, and as astounding as their variety may be, there's only one thing that's actually taken me by surprise so far. After some extensive research, I'm pleased to report that the customer reviews section of an adult website appears to be the closest we as a society have come to utopian tolerance and peaceful co-existence with all our fellow man. I have never encounted another place where single women, married heterosexuals, straight men who like to take it up the butt, and single gay men all come together to have such an open conversation, much less congenially reach an agreement that yes, the Dick Rambone dildo is probably too big to fit up your ass if you haven't had much practice otherwise.

I expected to make a few bucks off of this project, but the newfound confidence in America was an unplanned bonus. Perversion is the great equalizer! Take arms, my freaky breathren, and pursue life! Pursue liberty! Pursue the perfect double-ended dildo!
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