Tag Archives: humor blogging

My life through the songs I’ve screamed

Chapter 1: Edmond, Oklahoma-“Under Pressure” by Queen

I was concurrently enrolled at the local community college my last year of high school. This was not, as most people assume, because of my insatiable love for learning. I took college classes because it  gave me a shortened school day that I could use to work on my television-watching hobbies.

My house was roughly a four minute drive from the high school and yes I drove every day. I’m from Oklahoma–unnecessary wheeled transit is what we do best.

On the way home from school my last semester in Oklahoma, as soon as I got in the car I would blast “Under Pressure” by Queen. I had to get the timing just right, in order to match the song with the drive. I loved nothing more than getting in every little “Umm ba da” or “Dee dee dee dee” right along with Freddie and then screaming at the very end, right as I was entering my neighborhood “WHY CAN’T WE GIVE OURSELVES ONE MORE CHANCE.”

As I was pulling into the driveway, “This is our last chance, this is ourselves, under pressure…….” And then I would switch off the ignition and run inside and make a cup of noodles for lunch and watch an episode of one of my hobbies.

Chapter 2: Boston, Massachusetts- “Endless Rope” by Patty Griffin

I went to college at Boston University with no time to transition out of a crush with a German man 5 years older than me or my ongoing crush on Conan O’Brien. I was also unprepared to be lonely and uncertain of where my best friends were. This led to me to identify with songs by Patty Griffin with lyrics like, “Say goodbye to the old streets that never cared much for you anyway…different colored doorways you thought would let you in one day” or “Sometimes all I can do is weep weep weep with all the rain coming down.”

I often found myself walking back to my dorm late at night. The street would be mostly deserted and the night city felt like a secret. One of my favorite things to do while I was walking alone beneath the street lights and watching the stoplights turn green and crossing in the middle of the road was belt out the song “Nobody’s Crying.”

I would scream the end of the chorus, “Just have this secret hope, sometimes all we do is cope, somewhere on the steepest slope, there’s an endless rope, and nobody’s crying.” Note: I was never crying when I sang this song. Note: that’s probably not true.

Chapter 3: Cairo, Egypt-“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

My second apartment in Cairo was located about a 20 minute walk from the nearest metro stop, a 20 minute walk along a highway that I would take every morning and evening.

In order to pass the time and forget my unfortunate location in an exhaust cloud on the freeway, I memorized songs, one of which was Rolling in the Deep. I would sing it at the top of my lungs while weaving through traffic, and go somewhere else in my head. I believed no one could hear me from the noise of the traffic, and I never felt more free than when the sun was setting and I could hear myself above the chaos screaming “YOU HAD MY HEART INSIDE OF YOUR HANDS” against the honks and the vrooms and the noise of a revolution settling.

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Crucial Information for the Midwesterner’s First Time in San Francisco

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on making it out to this heathen city. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time and have some interesting stories to avoid telling your parents when you get back.

As you may have noticed already, San Francisco is not like the place you are from. Not only is it anywhere from 8-20x more expensive, but there is a very palpable cultural difference that reflects itself in everything from who people cheer for on Election Night to the kinds of music you won’t find on the radio station to the way people conceive the vast expanse in the middle of the United States.

Let’s begin with a few tidbits of information that will help make your time here as pleasant as possible.

1. Geography: Many San Franciscans have forgotten about the Midwest entirely, and are only reminded of it every four years when they watch most of it turn an accusing color of red and they boo. This is not a positive connotation. The red, for them, will stand for anger, ignorance, and obesity, three words that start with vowels. Some may even express fear at visiting the place you call home, as if the moment they stepped there, they would be accosted and forced to listen to country music  and believe in Jesus. Do not tell them that this is true. Avoid getting defensive, and merely laugh along with their bigotry. Then, make a note and send it back to your prayer circle to get something moving on the cosmic justice front.

2. Coffee: Be very careful of where you purchase your brown brew. Learn to identify the words “hand-crafted” or “hand-made” with “expensive” and “slow” and sometimes “too strong.” Be prepared to pay up to $4 for a brewed coffee that would have cost $1 at McDonald’s. If you’re not a true aficionado, it won’t be worth the money or the wait. Don’t feel bad about it. Just embrace who you really are and look up the nearest fast food restaurant on your smartphone. Do not ask a stranger.

3. Naked Flesh: Many/Most San Franciscans are horrifyingly more sex-positive than the average Midwesterner and lack a natural and healthy body shame. To make the matter more interesting, public nudity is lawful in some areas of the city (maybe all of it). It is possible, depending on your luck and the weather, that you will see nude flesh of varying quality as you mind your own business in the city, especially in an area known as the Castro. If this happens, don’t stare, don’t gawk, and don’t take pictures, weirdo. Just walk on by. If you’re with someone else who doesn’t see the nude flesh, do them a favor and don’t tell them about it. Let them live in peaceful oblivion and innocence.

4. Dogs:  San Franciscans love their animals. In many cases, the animals are their children and they are treated as such. You will see an astounding array of fresh pet food stores, dogs wearing various clothing items and political buttons, and  people taking their dogs out to eat with them at restaurants that encourage this sort of behavior. You can use this to your advantage by making it a conversation starter, “Do you have a pet? How much money do you spend on it, per year? Is that more than the money you give to charity?” And so on.

I hope this was a good introduction to the subject of Midwesterner travel in San Francisco. The topic may or may not be continued. It’s not really any of your business.

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The Mask’s Inside, Dummy


Sitting at a café on Geary and 6th Avenue. I’m in San Francisco, dummy. This is the part of San Francisco that tourists don’t come to because Geary looks like a highway and is lined by things like lamp shops, which are uninteresting to the visitor but for people who like to read a little bit in bed before they go to sleep and also sleep nightly in the city, lamps are of a certain kind of appeal and necessity and knowing where to purchase one is even more crucial.

Last Saturday, I want to a masquerade-themed party in Oakland, at my friend’s house where there are trees outside every window and spiders weave webs wherever they can, and there are tubs of things like spelt flour in the basement. Freaking hippies. I made a mask by smearing glue all over a pre-made plastic mask from Michael’s and sprinkling sequins on it. It took about 5 minutes. My primary goal in every craft project is to finish it. I’m not great at crafts.

The party was fun, but it was surprisingly hard to talk to people wearing masks, not being able to see their faces or mouths moving, to calculate if they’re joking or if I went over the line with my last comment. We depend so much on everything besides words, so don’t you forget it. That’s why I thought I wouldn’t get the job at an interview because I was blinking too much. Did I seem nervous? Unprepared? Bizarre and/or inhuman, like the algorithm that controls my blinking was out of whack?

And then at the party I was talking to a girl/woman/lady/chick/gal about why I’d left the field of International Relations. She’s in law school, trying to decide between international law and intellectual property, and she wants to have a career she finds meaningful and help people. And she asked me “what’s Oklahoma like” and I droned on about obesity and chain restaurants before she got bored and wanted to take pictures with everyone else. I was bored of the subject too so I was glad to leave it but I was left with a taste in my mouth like doubt. She seemed so smart and passionate and should I go to law school and do something sexy like maritime law and defend the lives of refugees? Is that even what they do?

She was dressed as what she imagined to be a woodland elf and I got the impression she wanted to be that free-spirited-pixie girl, the one who is brilliant but also fun and spontaneous. Did she even know what it takes to be a woodland elf? Would a woodland elf go to law school and try to figure out what kind of legislation helps the most people? Would a woodland elf even care? Depending on how nerdy you want to go, it’s possible to theorize that because elves are immortal, they would view the suffering of others as so temporary as to not be worth their time. So there.

And my facebook status hasn’t been getting as much traction as I would have liked.

Is it about the journey? Is it possible to get to what you think you want to be, even when it’s proven that most people know nothing until they’ve turned 50 and it seems like it’s too late?

Join me over the next decades and we’ll find out!

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Television Shows I’ve Regretted Watching with My Parents

This proved too much for mother.

My parents, who read this blog regularly, are wonderful. They truly are. They only desire to see me wearing shoes without holes in them and have a coat during the winter. On that note, parents, please send both of those things to area code 94122.

They are, for the most part, wonderful people who raised me on the firm belief that television was a treat, and that in general, the shows the children watched should keep sex and witchcraft to a minimum. In my many years of television watching, I’ve undergone some awkward moments with the parents that came from a surfeit of one or both of these elements.

1. The Bachelor/Bachelorette (with Dad): Something about women in tight gold dresses slinking around one bare chested man in a quest for true love just doesn’t scream good father-daughter watching material. On the other hand, 20 men puffing their chests out and wrestling each other to win the heart of a woman is probably more terrifying for a father.

2. Lady Gaga on American Idol (with Mom): Let’s just say she’s more comfortable with clothing made out of textiles.

3. Charmed: I can’t remember what put this on the banned list, but I bet someone was making out with a warlock and it was just too weird for my parents to imagine any of it could be wholesome. “Change it,” Dad said.

4. Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Maybe the talking cat pissed off my parents? Harvey and Sabrina held hands too closely? I’m really not sure about this one, but I do know it was a show we weren’t technically allowed to watch.

5. The Office: This is a family friendly, funny show, right? WRONG. You’d never notice it unless Mom is sitting right there, but every other sentence is about sex, which is evil.

6. Family Guy: See above.

7. Late Night with Conan O’Brien: Lucky for me, my parents went to bed before 12:30 and never got to see how soul-rotting this show was. All I can say is that if they’d ever witnessed the masturbating bear, they would have thought twice about letting me stay up so late by myself.

8. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Sometimes Jay was just a little too racy to watch with the whole family. Also, he was/is depressingly unfunny.

9. The Office, British Version: One episode featured a dildo. Need I say more?

10. Dancing with the Stars: The dancing is beautiful and the grinding can be horrific.

Safe bets:

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

The 5 o’clock news

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Please Love Me

I’m looking for housing. Unfortunately, I live in San Francisco, where housing prices operate on some sort of looped scheme from the future so everything’s too expensive. In other words: it’s a long, pricey journey to find a place to rest my head.

Take a look at the first couple craigslist postings and you’ll see what I mean. One person asked me to write three paragraphs on myself just so they could consider whether or not they want me. And I did it knowing I’ll probably never hear from them. I’d have written a short story, composed a poem, or emailed them a video of me dancing. I would do whatever it takes. We all would. We are the housing seekers, and we are something less than human.

It’s not enough to have friends in the city. You need to have 800 friends in the city, and not so they can let you know if anything’s opening up in their apartment building, because there isn’t. And if there is, it’s too expensive or there’s a drug lord that lives downstairs or it’s a 20 minute walk to the nearest pharmacy and you don’t like the idea that one day you’ll have to debate letting that infection fester or walking a mile in the dark to pick up the prescription, your mind addled with fever. You need the friends so you can stay with them indefinitely, so that when one friend tires of your presence, you can move onto the next who will welcome you with open arms and a warm place for your head.

If I could say anything to the people with an empty room in their apartment out there in this city, especially if they’re closer to downtown, the Mission, or Alamo Square, I would say: please love me. I’m out here trying to make it, just like you. If it pleases you I’ll be quiet and clean, and if not I’ll be loud and messy. If you want, I’ll chat with you in the kitchen after you get home from work, maybe make you a cup of tea or offer you a cold one or a wet one if you’d prefer that. I might kiss you on the cheek, if you really need that kind of support, and I’d certainly offer to tuck you into bed at night and turn the lights out and say I love you even if I don’t mean it. I’d do that for you.

And one day, when I’m a famous author, I’ll mention you to the crowd as I accept the Pulitzer Prize for best work in science fiction humor journalism, and say that it was Cynthia Crabblestick after all who helped me be who I was today, because she let me into her home and let me pay rent and wash my dishes (and hers sometimes), and didn’t complain when I woke up early or when I was laughing by myself in my bedroom.

Thank you, Cynthia. This is for you. Let me take you out to coffee with my millions of dollars of winnings.

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