Category Archives: what the heck

how to exist when a giant is sitting on your chest

  1. wake up weary and coughing
  2. fan biscuit flames away from the smoke detector
  3. inexplicably cause Keurig to explode all over the kitchen
  4. drink mediocre coffee remnants
  5. chain-smoke How I Met Your Mother
  6. don hoodie and purchase supplies for nachos
  7. eat said nachos
  8. try to comprehend scholarly journal articles
  9. give up
  10. eat more nachos
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“Well, that was terrifying,” she cried.

On the night of March 30, two hours after I fell asleep, I woke up and suddenly realized Several Key Facts about my circumstances.

  1. I was at work at Payne’s.
  2. My name was Arthur Conan Doyle.
  3. Mark Gatiss and Mycroft Holmes were sitting in booth number 13, and I need to bring them their coffee immediately.

I set out from my bed to do so.

And then I stepped on Jessie’s neck.

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In Which Skiles and Hannah Assess England’s Psychological Health through Dancing

In doing research on the Kinetic Family Drawing for my Psychological Assessment class, the world’s largest library catalog sprung this glorious surprise on me:

Dear Skiles Howard, I want to meet you

The Politics of Courtly Dancing in Early Modern England by Skiles Howard.

Hey, thanks.

I have a multitude of thoughts on this.

  1. [the obvious] WHAT EVEN THE HECK. How does this relate to my search for psychological assessments? (I also got results for a book about Mickey Mantle and one about Gas Service Technology.)
  2. I need to inter-library loan this book and find some obscure way to incorporate it into my paper.
  3. This is an extremely specific tome.
    • Courtly dancing does not seem to be an expansive field for research. Oh, but you are much mistaken. Sorry, then. So not only must we deal with courtly dancing, but the interpersonal intricacies found therein.
    • Can this courtly dancing and its politics have occurred anywhere in the world? No, I dare say, most emphatically notPerhaps we shall narrow our scope to the European front? Never. This is heresy you speak. Let’s pick England, then.
    • Surely one book would suffice for an exhaustive history of such elite dancing wars. I can’t believe you and your simple mind. Know you nothing of the politics of courtly dancing? Apparently not. Shall we then restrict this treatise to the modern period in England? No. There is too much to say. How about the middle of said modern period? Ah, you jest. I don’t even know what’s going on anymore. What do you think of Early Modern England? All 222 pages support this final thesis of yours. And to whom am I speaking? Hello?
  4. What the heck I don’t even understand.

I just have to include the Amazon summary.

Scholar Skiles Howard examines the social and semiotic complexities of dance in Renaissance England as it changed over time and performed different work in court, city, and playhouse. Interdisciplinary in its approach, this well-researched study explores issues of power and the body, gender and rank, popular culture and European expansion.

Dearest scholar Skiles Howard of the University of Massachusetts, how narrow and impractical are your erudite pursuits.

However, do congratulate your parents on the brilliant first name with which they endowed you.

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I am the Keeper of Much Useless Information

That is, useless to many other people. I find my stockpile of knowledge quite useful for myself, but there are two areas in which I seem to have just too much information. I will share these with you in case anyone besides myself can be benefited. Or, in the least, that these tidbits can reside other places than my cranium.

1. I have been window shopping used cars on Craigslist recently, so it is now fairly easy for me to look at a sedan’s tail lights and be able to tell you the car’s make, model, and generation.

2. I present for you the normal weekday schedule for KERA, 90.1 (Your source for NPR news and the BBC world service!). This comes from much attentive listening (and is all from memory, so pardon the misspellings).

5am – 9am: Morning edition
9am – 11am: The Diane Ream Show
11am: Fresh Air (with Terri Gross)
12pm – 2pm: Think (with Chris Boyd)
2pm: Tell Me More (with Michelle Norris)
3pm – 5pm: PRI’s The World
5pm: All Things Considered
6pm: Marketplace (with Kai Risdall)

Fridays: 12pm: A Way With Words, 1pm: Anything You Ever Wanted to Know, 8 or 9pm: Radiolab

Saturday mornings feature  Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Saturday afternoons A Prairie Home Companion, and Sunday mornings CarTalk.

Phew. I love me some NPR.


I’m feeling weird … I’m nostalgic over things that have never happened.

I sit in a comfy chair writing a paper as the rain whips against the windows, and I think, If only I could go back to that cabin and be writing that novel again. I was so productive then.

Never mind the fact that there never was that “then” for me.

And I thought back to that same cabin when my grandchildren used to gather around me and I would tell them stories and we would snuggle and drink cocoa. The blankets, the warmth, the solidarity. The good old days.

Except for the small part in which this never happened.

I don’t understand! Am I going crazy?

Freud would have a heyday with this.

Nightmare in Zanzibar

On Sunday night I went to sleep thinking about my apartment for next semester (which is named Zanzibar, by the way), and planning out how I was going to arrange my room. Later I woke up from the following dream …

I was in Zanzibar, and all my apartmentmates were there, and we were unpacking and arranging and generally having a blast. Rachel DeMeo and I went into our room and started to organize things. To our surprise, we found that Lindsay and Guisselle had left things for us. As we kept searching, we found skittles hidden in every closet, behind everything. In addition, Lindsay had left me 25 identical pairs of teal pumps, and an orange plastic dress. Guisselle had left Rachel a fur coat. How thoughtful!

We came out to the living room, where Becca and Rachel Jonker were unpacking kitchen supplies. Suddenly, my entire family was there, along with my Uncle Jim. We discovered that we had also been left massive bookshelves that reached the ceiling and took up the entire wall, and were filled with books – classics and atlases. In addition, there were three tvs already set up.

We were wondering where to put DeMeo’s tv, because it was quite large, and we thought maybe we could shift one of the bookcases down into the hallway, and put the tv on the wall in front of the kitchen. Then we could have all our couches and the table in the living room area.

“Here’s an apartment-warming gift for you,” said Uncle Jim. I opened the envelope and inside was a gift certificate for $6.37 to Lettie Loo’s ice cream parlor. As I looked at the certificate, I could see before my eyes the scene when Uncle Jim purchased the gift…

“Well…” said Lettie Loo, “we don’t normally do gift certificates. We don’t normally bring presents round to the house. Why should I make an exception this time?”

“It’s her first apartment!” said Uncle Jim.

“Well, all right!” Lettie Loo steamed, furiously signing her name on the gift certificate.

I knew then that things were not all right. I knew that Lettie Loo was plotting, and might very well come storming in the door of Zanzibar. So I ran outside, where it was night and pouring rain. Campbell was suddenly an old church building and the domed top (instead of a steeple) peered over at me. And then (of all the nerve!) it peed on me.

Then I woke up.


I’m not sure why my brain made this little sense when I woke up.

My alarm began to pester me, and I sat up slowly, reassured by a voice that told me, “Don’t worry, this will be a small shot. All it has is a cameo of Tim Allen.”


On four hours of sleep, one’s brain tends to act up. Sometimes it decides to write a story without telling you why or what it’s about. Like this one.

She chewed on her lip.
It felt like putty between her teeth.
It felt good.

The pain was searing now,
but what use was pain
when the world was crashing down?

When he found her,
alone between the walls of brick and bone,
smeared with dust and debris,
he kissed the sobbing, bleeding flesh she had gnawed so viciously.

“I love you,” he said.