Wednesday, September 27, 2006

No Neighbors Make Good Neighbors

I am pretty sure I stole that title from Dale, though I can't find the specific post where he says that.

Monday my next-door neighbor, who always listens to country music, which I generally loathe, turned her radio up REALLY LOUD, set a ladder against her house, climbed up to her roof, lay down on it, and started yelling at the guy across the street about how cool it was to be up there.

Sometimes I really hate living within a mile of anyone else.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Why It's Cool to Have Friends Who Used to Tend Bar

I used to think I liked tequila.

Then I met someone who convinced me that I should spend the outrageous sum of eleven bucks for a single shot of something called herradura.

And that's when I realized that I REALLY like tequila.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Difference a Couple of Commas Make

A student recently turned in an exercise containing the following bit of inadequately punctuated dialogue:

"Why fuck guys, it's so cold my nipples are never gonna unharden."

It is a very different statement from the one she intended to make, which was this:

"Why, fuck, guys, it's so cold my nipples are never gonna unharden."

For that matter, you also get a different effect when you write "Why, fuck guys" or "Why fuck, guys."

A good many students arrive in my class already knowing how to use commas, which is what you hope for college students majoring in creative writing or English. For the ones who don't, I sometimes despair of persuading them that they must develop the ability to make what they intend to write match what they actually do write. But examples like this, which are funny and potentially embarrassing, help.

And I don't remember what part of speech the "guys" is there, but when you say someone's name, you need to offset it with a comma as well. There's a big difference between "I don't know Bored Dominatrix" and "I don't know, Bored Dominatrix," or "Let's eat, Grandma" and "Let's eat Grandma."

It's a constant struggle to convince some of them that this matters in the first place, or convince them that once they learn the rules, they need to proofread their work before they give it to me to read. I do what I can to explain the concepts, like I singing what I remember of the Interjection song from School House Rock to help them understand why "fuck" should be off-set by commas. I also have an extended analogy I came up with in which I compare typos to boogers--like commas, they're just little things, those slimy bits of nose mucus, not nearly as offensive as turds! Nonetheless, you're supposed to keep your own out of other people's sight as much as possible. It's not OK to sneeze and let the contents of your nose go any and everywhere, and it's not OK to fail to proofread your work.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Emily Dickinson's First (Discarded) Draft

This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me--
and it goes,
"Fuck you, World!"

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Once, long ago, I promised a picture of my freshly pedicured toes. Here they are, though not wearing the fore-mentioned shade Grass Stain.