Thursday, May 25, 2006

It Makes the World Go Round

I am pleased to report that the Formerly SuperSecret Double Probation Project has now cracked the 100,000 mark on the Amazon Bestseller List. That's right: At 90,497, we're a mere ninety thousand spots away from number one. I hope I remember the little people.

Speaking of, please do remember me whenever you by anything on Amazon. If you click on my link above and from there navigate to whatever old thing you want to buy, I get a cut with no additional cost to you. It's all about hurting The Man, not my peeps.

One more crass commercial announcement: New wares in the Tasting Room. This is the much asked for, long-awaited "Mightier Than The Sword" Collection. Once again, many thanks to Lisa The Reader of Chumney Visual Designs. Still open to your design if you wanna poof up your resume. Go forth, my people.

troughing at:

Social Notes From a Bygone Era

I was cleaning out my closet and found one of the remaining pieces of college clothing that no longer humiliate me. Tank top with a sparkly rocket on it. ('Cause I like space, you see.) I wore it to a party exactly like this...

Friday last, Messieurs Matt Langrish and Mike Warmsby, of 217 Stanford Hall, University of Notre Dame, hosted a most delightful four-hour soiree featuring loud recorded music and large quantities of cheapass beer. Exclusively invited to the intimate gathering were a bunch of guys from Warmsby's 20th Century American Literature class and the entire north wing of South Hall.

Preparations for the evening began as early as 7 p.m. on the day of the soiree, when Mr. Langrish took stock of his posh bachelor digs, enhanced this semester by a fresh coat of beige paint, liberally applied over the summer holiday by the renowned design firm University of Notre Dame Facilities Department. He took a most daring redecorative plunge, concerned that the room did not present exactly the welcoming atmosphere he desired ("It smells like Jabba the Hutt died in here, Warmsby!" were his precise words, this reporter has learned) An open, airy effect was achieved by removing the four sweatshirts, twelve pairs of cotton briefs, and 18 Papa John's boxes that formerly adorned the floor and cramming them into the nearest available closet.

A dashing avant-garde theme was chosen to accent the festivities. Messieurs Langrish and Warmsby installed black-light bulbs and a magenta lava lamp, purchased the previous afternoon at the University Park Mall branch of Spencer's Gifts. These additions lent an enchanting accent to the gentlemen's antique furnishings, a magnificent 1978-circa orange and brown nappy couch with several unidentified stains on the left arm, and a highbrow minimalist table fashioned from an ironing board balanced across two plastic crates.

Among the guests was Miss Amy Townsend, fetching in a completely unoriginal Abercrombie & Fitch mock turtleneck. Her roommate, Miss Lisa Whittier, opted for an earthier look, consisting of jeans and a t-shirt whimsically emblazoned, "THE ONLY 4.0 I EARNED AT COLLEGE WAS MY BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL." Accompanying them was a member of their biology lab group, Miss Brittney Martalis. No one remembers for certain what Miss Martalis wearing, although Miss Townsend feels certain that The Gap was somehow involved.

As the fire safety capacity of 217 Stanford Hall was exceeded by approximately 4098 people, the temperature hovered around an enchanting 128 degrees Fahrenheit. An excellent vintage of Natural Light was served, along with a delicately mixed libation consisting of Watermelon Schnapps and lime green Jell-O.

"A shockingly bold taste, with a marvelous, plummy bouquet," evaluated a party-goer who gained entry to the sparkling assembly by assuring the student standing guard at the door that he kind of knows Mike from freshman orientation. "Beats the crap out of the Meister Brew the guys upstairs have."

"You can't even taste the alcohol! It's like I haven't been drinking at all!" loudly added Miss Whittier, who then asked the fourteen people nearest to her if they thought it was really hot in here, too.

The guests were serenaded by, among other notables, Dave Matthews and his Band, Miss Donna Summers, Messieurs D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, and Dexy's Midnight Runners. Horribly misguided attempts to move about in time to the music with some semblance of rhythm was ventured for a time and enjoyed by all.

The evening was brought to a glorious denouement when everybody got out after the last Natural Lite disappeared and "Tubthumpin'" was played for the 54th time. Mr. Langrish judged the gala an unmitigated smash.

"Next time," he said, "we'll have a strobe light."

on reflection, I... don't miss this part of it at:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Rainbow

Their identities have been revealed to me slowly. First, names on the press release from Random House. Then, grey and wispy titles on the chapter headings when the galleys for my essay came in. Now, the bound galley proofs are in my hands, and I have the biographies of my fellow authors, which was by far the most difficult part for me ("This wench was published already! With a publicity tour!"). It's like looking at a sonogram; the titles are blurry, there are no page numbers on the table of contents, and the cover is a dorktastic repeating pattern of the Random House logo rather than what the actual cover will look like. (Current Amazon rank: 708,454, down just a tic from yesterday's 689,262. AWESOME.)

I read each chapter with one fingernail in the "About The Authors" section, flipping from my essay to their essay to their bio to my bio and then to my essay again. I did this for hours. I've been terrified for months and months, ever since I found out there would be twenty-eight other authors, that every single one of them would be untouchably awesome and that they would all be the same age as my students. Then, of course, there would be nothing for it but a nice warm bath for me and the toaster, for, as we all know, no one is allowed to ding the literary success bell before the Princess Insecurity does.

I read the whole book, all 290 pages, while the next article went unwritten and the eggs overboiled on the stove. I read when I should have been attending to my lower abdominal fat and I read while Katherine sang, (Who. Designed. That dress? Whoever's responsible for it was clearly listening to her jank-side "single" as mood music. "What does this say to me? Hmmmmm, let's pull the color from some moldy drapes... make her hips look like they could pass quadruplets shoulder to shoulder... annnnnd.... a RUFFLE. There!") more as a studied diss to Katherine than anything else. I had to find out, you see, whether or not I am a good writer. I would discern this in the most healthy fashion available: By comparing myself to every single other author tapped by Random House's sparkly non-royalty-paying wand. Is he going to get a book deal? Will The Atlantic Monthy offer a column to her? What if I never figure out how to fold a bedsheet properly so that it doesn't wind up a sad pathetic ball of cotton and elastic? I won't ever pay the rent as a writer, will I? This person will get the call from Oprah, not me, and I'll be grading term papers entitled "I Like Breathing" forever and ever, world without end amen.

"The Waltz" holds its own. It's not the best essay in the book. It's also not, God willing, the worst. It's definitely the only one to reference psoriasis, though, so I've got that going for me.

If you want to know what happens next, read the book! Not for me-- you've had enough of me, I imagine--but for the others. Their words are quite remarkable.

check me out, i'm in a BOOK!!!! at:

Monday, May 22, 2006


It seems that I am a-- directly quoting one of my students here-- " ****ing Psycho ****!!!" who will "never let you out of class early and wont budge in trying to change a grade." Further, the student left me "a voicemail, email, and i went to her door and it took her a week to get back to me."

My deepest apologies, O Student, for the horrific practices of using the entire class time, lying prostrate for several days under finals paperwork, and shipping you off to certain death in a rice paddy with a B instead of an A. See, this is why I had to go to eBay for this year's Mother's Day present. The last time my parents came to see me at The Swamp, we visited The World's Largest Disney Shop, which is a combination of Wal-Mart and Microsoft and the Toll Road Authority, which is like unto Satan on roids. One of my mother's favorite Disney characters is Jiminy Cricket, but there was no Jiminy-related crap to be found in all fourteen miles of Disney crap, so I had to hit eBay to find a Cricket-bearing coffee mug. (Note: It was not purchased used, because ew. I'm po', but I draw the line at presenting my mother with some stranger's Folger's stains.)

Why the Jiminy diss? The markedly lame Aristocats get more merchandise. I mean, from what I remember correctly, Jiminy seems overly concerned with pedestrian safety, but considering that his past career was keeping an obnoxious uppity puppet out of trouble, his remarkable insistence, via filmstrip, that he is, in fact, no fool is permissible.
I imagine Mr. T would beg to differ, but Jiminy is charmingly convinced that he is Methuselah Cricket. He's gonna live to be a hundred and three! I would like to see Jiminy's life insurance policy. I bet he eats a lot of bran.

I think what we have here is a blatantly self-indulgent culture (and bear in mind, I'm typing this in my nightgown with piles of untouched dust at my right elbow... and knee... and ankle) uncomfortable with getting called on lapses of responsibility, particularly by an insect. Student doesn't get an A? Teacher's fault; she's a
****ing Psycho ****!!! I weigh eight thousand pounds, so I'm suing McDonald's and its fry-based mind control. No horrible licensed cell phone holders for you, Mr. Cricket. Jiminy was stuck instead with Environmentality Patrol; the only place you see him at Disney World is, fittingly, on the sides of garbage cans.

When did we get here? It's not Clinton's fault, but the moment was dragged into clarity when "is" no longer had any meaning. (You kind of get the feeling that if Clinton were assigned a Jiminy of his own, he would 1) hit on the Blue Fairy 2) send Jiminy to scout the local talent of Tuscany.)
We fear conscience, even when it comes with a wee top hat and adorable little vest.


Items of Business

Chin up, kiddies... Barbaro is out of surgery and cruisn' for ladies. He's not out of danger yet, but it's encouraging that he's acting as a fine strapping young colt should.

This week on BustedHalo: Kneel! KNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL!

Last clear chance for this round of ChampagneWear. I'm changing it out in a couple days.

tcb at:

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