Archive | August, 2011

Dear Professors

29 Aug

Dear Professors,

I understand that you want us to look over the syllabus before the semester starts. I even understand that you want us to read some things, sometimes, before the semester starts— and look, two very very short stories is a totally acceptable amount of reading to do before class on Monday. 

And I get that you want us to have a hard copy of the syllabus! I do! Even in this technophile world, it’s nice to all sit there and stare at the same thing together on the first day, our little fingers following along as you read the whole thing out loud to us even though we are in the process of earning what might be considered, seen in a certain light, a very very advanced reading degree. We are extremely, totally literate people.

BUT GUYS. What’s this “find the syllabus online and print it out and bring it to class” business? The syllabus is the LAST thing you are responsible for providing for us (books: no, stories: online, each other’s work: we photocopy). Did the department put a ban on FACULTY using the photocopier? 

This is going to be a grim year, folks. When my professors ask us to bring potluck now, I’m going to wonder if the university has slashed their salaries so badly they’re trying to get themselves fed before they go home. 



PS– It’s the first day of my supposedly last year of school ever! WAH re: first day. Summer is cool. I like it. It is mayor of my heartsville. I am totally that graduate student who is like, “But I get so much work done when I don’t have classes!” …I read a lot of books this summer. 

PPS– I say “supposedly last year” because let’s be honest. If I last two years without the academic calendar, we’ll all be shocked. I’m casting about for things to apply for now out of sheer fear of being released into the wild. Would you like to see my GRE scores? Can I get you a letter of recommendation with that muffin? Just please let me print my own syllabus and eat it for dinner.


Dear I Do Love Some Facebook Status Updates

17 Aug

Dear I Do Love Some Facebook Status Updates,

I thought I would quit being such a misanthropic hater and tell you some of the things I like on Facebook. I am, after all, on the damn thing.

1. Anything that implies (but does not demonstrate) nudity. Unless you are really, really attractive. But I’m not FB friends with Joshua Jackson, so keep it to yourself.

2. Anything that’s scandalous, particularly if it’s of an interpersonal nature and I know the parties involved.

3. Wedding pictures. Especially if you have 14 bridesmaids. I will look at all of them.

4. Pictures of your baby dressed up as things that are not babies.

5. Relationship status changes. Especially if I went to high school with you. Especially if you’re now dating someone else we went to high school with.

6. Jokes. I will read them. Points for quote substitutions, puns, double entendres. Basically, any sort of wordplay. I am a nerd.

7. Super interesting articles from around the internet. The likelihood that I will click on them is inversely proportional to how serious they are. The likelihood that I will read them once I open them directly correlates with whether someone starts talking to me on gchat. I am apparently not actually interested in the world.

I did really like the 30 harshest filmmaker-on-filmmaker insults. I am a sucker for a list.

And I will look at any sort of infographic there is. Or Venn diagram. That shizz is instantaneously comprehended, you guys! The implications for education are amazing. Someone should look into this. Like, to teach kids how to write, we could teach them how to diagram sentences…. oh wait.

Ok, most of those links I didn’t get from Facebook. You guys basically only post about politics and sports and how much you hate your jobs. YAWN. You can go back to being drunk and having existential crises and taking pictures of food now.



Dear Aggressive Facebook Status Updates

15 Aug

Dear Aggressive Facebook Status Updates,

1. To the people who are yelling about shoes: “STOP buying BOBS! They’re UGLY! And they’re not Toms!

Oooooookay. First of all, Bobs shoes look exactly like Toms. I mean, that’s part of the complaint, right? So if you think Toms aren’t ugly, then Bobs are also not ugly. Second of all, brand loyalty is fine, but everyone does understand that it’s a personal preference, right? As in, should not be imposed on others?

Look, I get that Tom’s is a small, independent company and Skecher’s is the evil corporation, etc, etc. But any business/corporation supporting a cause you agree with is great and sure, maybe Skecher’s could have been more original about this whole thing, but isn’t part of what’s great about a competitive market system that little companies put pressure on bigger companies to behave in better ways and we as consumers get to decide before, during, and after?

And no, I don’t think the “ugly” question has been settled. But whether you think Toms are ugly or not, whether they fit your feet perfectly or not, whether you own any pairs or not, whether you support social marketing and socially conscious businesses or not….I mean, can’t we all agree that they’re LITTLE PAIRS OF SHOES MADE OF FABRIC.

They’re not as divinely mind-boggling as, say, sex or Kate Middleton’s hair or fig and carmel gelato or Ryan Gosling’s beguiling bone structure or guacamole and beer on a hot summer day.

2. To the people who post irrationally defiant “I’m complex and unique” updates, ie: “I like cooking AND baking. WHAT ABOUT IT?” or “My fantasy football team is losing. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a poet AND I watch football! So shove it.” or “Beatles or Stones while I write? Yeah, I like them both. Deal.”

You guys know none of these things are mutually exclusive, right? And that we’re all not actually cardboard mannequins and we don’t expect you to be either? And it’s rude to tell mass groups of people to “shove it” or “deal” when none of us has challenged you? We really don’t care. We really, really aren’t shocked to hear that you like hiking and knitting. And none of your “complexities” are actually that complicated. I mean, ok, hiking takes place outside, and generally knitting is an indoor activity, so I guess that is pretty wild.

3. To the cat video lovers:

Sigh. I’m not going to ask you to stop posting the videos. I’m pretty sure it’s a disorder at this point and you can’t help yourselves. And sometimes, it totally pays off to click that stupid little triangle that means “play,” aka “I’m going to devote the next x number of minutes in my life to this stupid piece of crap that will probably improve my day in a way that is completely out of proportion to what is healthy.”

But really— really— I do not have to watch that video. It is not an imperative. Telling me that I have to makes me hate you and the video and the person who posted the video and their parents for conceiving them and whatever vet did not fix that effing cat’s parents.

This video really is quite charming, though. But you don’t have to watch it! Only if you want to! Only if it makes you happy. If it helps— as far as I know, Skechers had nothing to do with this, it has a Beluga whale AND a Mariachi band and I like them both so you can DEAL with it, and I will admit that it makes me irrationally pleased.



Dear Doing Touristy Things

4 Aug

Dear Doing Touristy Things,

My family has something against doing tourist things. I haven’t identified what it is, but I offer the following evidence:

a) I’ve been to Hawaii almost every year of my life. Usually for about a ten day stretch. For the first 17 years, we went to Oahu almost every time. I didn’t see Pearl Harbor until I was 16.

b) I went to Paris with my mom. Instead of going up the Eiffel Tower, we took a nap under it.

c) I’ve been to about 4 US National/State Parks and most of those were by accident. Or school field trips. On one such trip I petted a tarantula. An odd amount of our science curriculum was devoted to arachnids.*

d) I don’t know what state the Grand Canyon is in. I keep looking it up and forgetting. Arizona? Utah? Montana? That state between Utah and Montana? (Ok, so this has more to do with my sketchy inability to retain geography.)

e) I’ve never been to Seafair. Well, ok, when I was 22 I went on my sister’s friend’s boat to watch the Blue Angels show. I spent the whole time feeling vaguely like I was going to throw up– there is an insane amount of boat traffic during Seafair– which wasn’t helped by the 3 people who were so hungover they were puking off the side.

f) I had to take myself to see the nation’s Capitol this year. We went once before and my parents swear that we saw the memorials and the reflecting pool and the mall— by saying No really, I remember it very clearly. We drove by them. But it was too hard to find parking so we didn’t get out of the car.”

Anyway, the first time I can really remember touring was in Rome when I was eleven and the morning after we got off the plane, this very sweet woman named Francesca took us on a tour of the ruins. I hated her on sight. It only got worse as the day went on. She probably had a very slight accent but in my memory she sounds like a trash compactor with a retainer. I had no idea what she was saying, and that b**tch dragged us through the entire city to stare at piles of rocks while traffic whizzed by. Just when I thought we were going to get some relief she started in on the museums.

I was pretty sure that we’d been touring for about fifteen hours at that point, and I distinctly remember lying down on a bench in a museum that claimed to be air-conditioned and feeling my bones melt into a gelatinous heap. I was convinced my parents could not possibly have paid someone to torture us in such a way— although I’m not sure what alternative explanation I thought existed. She clearly hadn’t kidnapped us, and my mom and dad kept talking about how fantastic she was– so maybe I just thought the heat had brainwashed everyone.

Clearly I was the only one responding in a rational manner by wilting dramatically and demanding more gelato. (I stand by this stance. Whenever it’s over 90 degrees the only sensible thing to do is lie on the floor in front of a fan. I don’t care if you’re in Italy. And that faint push of warm air they call air conditioning? Yeah. And they say Mussolini was a bad era. It’s shocking to me that the oils don’t melt right off the canvases.)

Ok, now it sounds like my family doesn’t do tourist things because I’m a whiny pain in the ass. I assure you that isn’t true. I mean, the part about that being why we don’t do tourist things. I can’t really dispute the whiny pain in the ass status after that story. Although I have gotten comparatively better at not dripping gelato on my shirt. Comparatively being the key word.

In other news, Pearl Harbor was a really moving experience.

Hope your summer touring is all sunny-side-up. And free of throw-up.


*Edit: that was Discovery Park. That’s part of the Seattle Parks and Recreation system. Huh.

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