Thursday, June 14, 2007

On the Rocks

Here we see Friendboy Andy showing off our delightful parting gift from the College Board in exchange for the irreparable emotional harm inflicted by 56 hours of essays which often started as follows: "In Johnny Got His Gun, Donald Trump uses many literary devices."

We were also given a Kentucky Convention Center water bottle which was manufactured by a world majority child for eight cents, and were sternly told that we were to put our names on it in Sharpie. The College Board wouldn't check us in before we did so. Andy and I looked at each other, markered our names on the bottom, and immediately sent them sailing into the nearest recycling bin, so that all who rifled through might see that we label our cut-rate imported plastics. Throughout the week we cringingly identified fellow readers who wore the backpack and their nametag and toted the water bottle; Andy said that if I did any of these things, he would not be my friendboy anymore. So if you saw a pasty person ordering Maker's Mark at 2 AM with a tiny plastic pouch around her neck, that... wasn't me.

Best New Country Song Title Award: "I'd Like To Check You For Ticks" at

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


There's still brooding to be done over TrumboFest. You can't undergo Trumbonization like that and forgo weeks and weeks of post-traumatic stress disorder posts.

Although I came out of the reading session feeling quite good about the state of American education (for every mouth-breather I've quoted below, there were two essays that made me clasp my hands and go, "This one understands about semicolons!"), it threw our national geographical idiocy in high relief. I myself hardly qualify as map expert; there were many lolling afternoons of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, yes, but I spent much of my Carmen time reflecting deeply upon the sunny hotness of the fedora-wearing host. I had little use for the longest river in Bulgaria.

But I do have at least some concept of sea level. The essays I was grading discussed a mountain setting which the author specified as nine thousand feet. And when the students got to writing about use of details in the selection, this rarely failed to assume categorization as hyperbole: "Clearly, the narrator is childishly reflecting upon such an exaggerated height."

One did a whole paragraph about it. This kid was pissed: "That's ridiculous. No place on Earth is nine thousand feet high, especially with lakes." Water anywhere but in those... big... blue parts on the globe, pfffft!

latitudes and attitudes at:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not To Worry

I'm at that point in wedding planning when I spend most of my time wincing and rubbing the fingers of my right hand against my forehead, a habit I did not own at all until pretty much the second I got engaged. The ring went on, the hand went to the forehead, one of the bridesmaid's dresses came back from the Hong Kong-based seamstress six inches shorter than the other two, and the hand went to the forehead again.

Today was Veil Practice. I went to the hairdresser, and totally hated the result, including the psychotherapy that is supposed to come with a hair appointment. Stylists are like bartenders for women. Part of their job is to soak up all the crap of life in their big plastic capes, and send you back out into the world a little better better volumized, a little happier.

I left with large chunks of degenerated, spray-chunked hair and an even more creased forehead than when I went in. My stylist missed Psych 101 Day in hair school.

Most hairdressers try to sustain conversation during the session; since I, as you all know, hate people, I tend to arrive at these events fully loaded with pre-recorded snippets of polite conversation to keep things moving between the conditioner rinse and the hair dryer. So I got in the chair, and it went like this:

STYLIST: Now are you from Florida?

ME: OMGbridesmaidsdressbuyingahouseI'veneverseengroominATCtrainingDaltonTrumbo.

STYLIST: (Forty-second pause)'s okay.

It is most assuredly not okay. You're not okay, I'm not okay. Suck it up, Frenchy. I want my 15% tip back.

back to the forehead at: mbe@drinktothelasses

Monday, June 11, 2007

Acorn Awards

Plenty of "I'm A Winner!" buttons to go around now that TrumboFest is through. First, the Writing Awards:

"Dude... dude!" Award: "This has nothing to do with the exam but during the last section I watched a paramecium swim in my water bottle."

Fatalism Award: "If we're lucky, most of us grow up."

Forgotten Luggage, and Also Basic Comprehension, Award: "A sense of ignorance or the unavailable comma key on a typewriter can relay to the reader that this narrative was written while still in the rural woods as this story happened."

I Am Automatically Giving You the Lowest Grade Possible Award: "Greetings from TEXAS!!!!!"

Pamper's Pull-Ups Award: "The father is hurt by his son's defecation."

Pamper's Pull-Ups Award Runner Up: "Like the saying goes, every party has its pooper."

Not Very Understated Award: "This essay is not very long, nor very good."

I'm Not Even Touching This One Award: "Trumbo is using syntax that goes around the bush instead of beating around the bush."

Congratulations On Showing Up to Class The Day Alliteration Was Discussed Award: "Trumbo's simple syntax stuns readers, for the simplicity of the snippet mirrors the somewhat childish simplicity of the son's mindset."

And in the Spoken Word category:

I Don't Want To Know Why This Announcement Had To Be Made Award: "Please do not take the exam books into the bathroom."

I Had a Bowl of Rainbows and Denial For Breakfast Award: "I don't think it's very nice to laugh at the students."

still sleeping it off at:

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