Monthly Archives: December 2008

every mother’s child is gonna spy


Okay, another short holiday week, but for those who crave a little company, mind sharing with us your favorite holiday gift this year? No matter how large or small, what was simply delightful?

[working out the kinks in the comments section – please keep writin’ em! -ed]

elbow room


Relationships that are going to end badly, Case Study #887g

Part of our ongoing Public Service series from the editors at XTCIAN™

1. Sexy Bohemian Chick With Secrets – It begins with a lost weekend, a 36-hour falling-into-each-other that convinces you that there surely can be nobody else on Earth. Talking in bed three millimeters from each other, you reveal everything, and so does she, except for a few stories that trail off into vagueness. It ends with screams, invocations of the crazy thing that you never found out about, and she slips away to have the same lost weekend with someone else. Don’t worry, you will too.

2. Overly-Excited Prospective Boss – Years and years ago, after submitting my resumé over and over, I was called into the main office of the biggest movie trailer maker in Hollywood. The ads for their summer blockbuster were sucking, and the multi-billion head of the company was at wit’s end: “Fix this fucking thing,” he said to me.

I took home the movie, came back with twenty ideas for ads, and sat in the room while the studio heads read them silently. Finally, the main honcho looked up, peered into my eyes and said “we’re going to make you very, very rich.” I knew then and there it was time to look for another job.

We call this The Law of Inverse Enthusiasm: when you meet the person who fawns irrationally over your talents, you can either leave right then, or wait for it to fall apart on its own.

3. Honest Would-Be Boyfriend With Disclaimers – He says he is incapable of something real; he says he might be a little warped emotionally; he has never felt true love. Oh, but you’re the one who’s going to teach him, right? Certainly if he’s this honest, he’s capable of infinite change!

The next time a guy tells you he’s incapable of something real, that he’s warped emotionally, and has never felt true love – MOTHERFUCKING BELIEVE HIM!

4. Drummers

5. The Brazen, Materialistic, Unapologetically Shallow Lady – Their chutzpah alone counts for a lot of sex appeal, and their “yeah I said it” brassiness may make sense for a world in which there’s a lot to want, but they long ago traded their good humor for some bad notions. On the internet dating sites, they specify an absolute minimum that potential boyfriends need to earn yearly, which might explain why they’re still on internet dating sites.

Once landed, it’s all cool as long as you remain exciting, but god forbid you hit a rough patch, because you won’t get home in time to see her bolt out the fuckin’ door.

6. Has to Be Funnier Than Anyone Else Guy – Starts off great, especially when you’re alone with him. He’s got a few good stories and at least he tries, but he always gets into a cockfight of anecdotal horseshit when placed in company with other people, especially those who are effortlessly humorous. His unnecessary rejoinders sink in quality as they become more desperate, and after a few weeks, you’re wondering why his momma didn’t pay more attention to him.

7. The One-Issue Assassin – Found a woman who’s perfect except for lockstep veganism? Found a guy who’s smart, but loses his fucking mind when he talks about Israel? Sure, tell yourself you can avoid the subject indefinitely, but there will come a night, perhaps after an offhand comment, when they will scream at you in the kitchen, telling you “YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND” and “HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY SEE THINGS FROM MY PERSPECTIVE” and then they’ll tell you to “GO FUCK OFF”. Which is precisely when you will feel the need to begin fucking off.

8. The Big Partz Haver – Somehow, it always comes back to the subject of her huge tits. No matter what happens, it’s back to the Big Cock. The Big Partz Haver has a bizarre confidence that exudes from within, an ace in the hole that rarely be beaten. She knows you’ll come back; they always do. He knows the stories about his genitalia will overshadow any acts of callousness; in fact, it might enhance them. Their partz hypnotize, they lull you into thinking you’re NOT thinking about them, but you know you are. You’re thinking about it right now. STOP IT!

conjunction junction


Sentences that are going to end badly, Case Study #413B:

1. Not to quibble, but… [I’m now going to quibble}

2. That’s so cool – you know, I… [didn’t really listen, I was just waiting for you to finish talking]

3. This drug is generally well-tolerated… [so have fun on the toilet all night]

4. I’m not racist, but… [I’m a fucking racist]

5. It really accomplishes what it sets out to do… [which, apparently, is to bore me to fucking tears]

6. It’s not you, it’s me… [and on behalf of me, I don’t like you anymore]

7. Maybe it’s a cultural thing… [because I’m a fucking racist]

8. Literally… [I don’t know what “literally” means]

9. I was wondering… [what’s the best way to make you do something you don’t want to do?]

10. I know there’s a lot of Duke-haters out there, but… [I’m a lobotomized ass-monkey with no moral compass]

my cellulæ ethmoidales hurt


I simply must apologize for my subpar output of late, and I realize I’m breaking a pretty good rule even by mentioning it (“no talking about the blog on the blog”) but I was felled by two sinus infections in a row, which as you sufferers all know, means one thing: steroids!

You get a blister pack of little white pills and take them in tapering doses over the course of a week, and they never fail to bring on Effervescent Head-Zap Purple Weirdnessland. Some odd gland pushes against the bottom of my voice box, which would temporarily give me a high B-flat if the actual sinus infection itself would allow singing. As it is, I talk like I’m in middle school, and occasionally feel like it too.

I thought I’d broken this cycle – every year, when we come back to New York, I’d get fucking sick – not just sick, but sick – and spend 75% of my precious East Coast time in motherfucking bed. Last year, thanks to a good regimen, losing weight and being a smartypants, I sailed right through it, but this time, something godawful got into my otolaryngology.

The weather here is my least favorite: windy, 35 and pouring rain. Fortunately, Tessa and Lucy are having a fantastic time, so I can live vicariously through their shenanigans. Today, I stumbled Lucy over to the local Kiddie Playspace FluCatcher AdventureZone, and even though there was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING INTERESTING in there (not even books or games!) we did find an odd plastic tinkertoy-esque bin and started making letters.

Lucy has about 75% of the alphabet down, and knows how to spell all our family’s names, partly thanks to a song I started singing to her years ago (tune vaguely based on “Three Little Maids” from The Mikado):

L-U-C-Y, that spells Lu-cy

D-A-D-D-O, that spells Dad-do

M-O-M-M-Y, that spells Mom-my

I like cheese!

She always has a hard time with “M-O-M-M-Y”, however, getting stuck on the M’s in an infinite loop like “M-O-M-M-M-M-M-Y”. When she started spelling out Tessa’s name on the floor, she stuck to her guns. That’s my girl!


hic sunt dracones



Look! Behold, family, for here are your memories. The hopes, dreams, treatises and random doodles of your last twenty-seven years lies in these boxes, now stacked gently in the main part of our barn. It took three days of labor to extract all this flotsam from its various resting places, but here it lies consolidated for the first time.

O! The journey these boxes had! Bedrooms in Virginia, flats in Hell’s Kitchen, storage units in Durham! From the bottomless dank basement of Beachwood Canyon to the George Michael summer of ’87 in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. And having no other homestead, they came to rest here at the farm some years ago, and like all flora, they became a part of the ecosystem itself, the occasional box drifting in to join the others.

‘Tis true, most of the boxes are mine own. Part of the blessing of archivism is the curse of clutter. But I’ve resolved to do my part, to save or scan what is still emotionally extant, and let the rest finally go. And so I ask the same of you.

Sean: Do you seek your musings of yesteryear, poetry written in math classes, band lyrics festooned with flowers, notes passed to girls who dug The Cramps? It can be found here.

Michelle – hiking narratives carried over the Rocky Mountains, yearbooks with pics of asymmetrical shaved heads, books of theology, boots with mud from the 1990s.

Mom? Oh mom… sadly, no blenders (or two blenders, for that matter), but the usual reams and reams and reams of paper, the cassette tapes of shows loved, the songbooks, the analog tapes that no longer have a master, nor a slave to play them.

Steve, I see pictures of an old girlfriend, pictures of ducks, pictures of pictures; Kent, apparently your ducks have long since been in a row.

Yes, family, you will be given plastic boxes for your keepsakes, and you will always have some shelf space in my barn. As Tessa once remarked about a mutual friend (but she could have been talking about me): “His problem is that he always likes to talk about his own poo-poo, but his saving grace is that he always likes to talk about your poo-poo too.”

method in’t


Okay, so we’re upgrading your xtcian experience to a new server, new software, and pretty soon, a new look. Wanna help me test the comments section by tellin’ me exactly what you want for Christmas?

crisp and sweet, every one


One benefit of growing up in flyover country: we were all totally aware of where food came from. In Iowa, the ads during the nightly local news are dominated by pesticides, and the weather is delivered with the proper urgency required for viewers whose livelihoods depend on it.

My mom always had a vegetable garden, as did her mom, and hers, and on up the Mormon survival food chain. Mom let me grow radishes, which were excellent dipped in late-summer salt (with a touch of dirt). I’ve waxed turmeric about my growin’ skillz on these pages for years. Needless to yammer, I’ve been pretty vigilant about Lucy knowing her way around a tuber, as it were. Let’s see how we did this year, shall we?

First, California:


in April we started seedlings: tomato, carrots, basil and chives


her pinkies were exceptionally suited to the task; those seeds are TINY


we left them in her playroom window in Venice for six weeks


just before transplanting


even a good soil mix can’t fix the problems of growing on a desert beach


however, by August, the Brandywines were yummy…


…as were the carrots

Verdict? Next year, we’re using raised gardens in planter boxes. The soil by the beach in LA is only suitable for lemon trees and bananas.

Next up, the farm in upstate NY:


in June, Lucy picked the spot…


…and I mulched, knowing we’d be gone for four months


summer renters, like this playwriting group from NYC, sent pictures…


…until Lucy literally saw the fruit of our labor – albeit beleaguered by frost – over Thanksgiving

Wait, did I just write one of those blogs that grandmothers write?

women are from venus, men are from uranus


I hope you folks don’t mind that I’m just posting pictures for a few days – I’m in the process of:

– building a woodshed

– renovating a horse stable into a tiny ballet studio and kiddie fun hut (Lucy’s Xmas present)

– building a flue system 30 feet out the top of the barn

– mentally organizing a movie script by chapters in my head

…and you’d be surprised how those things render you opinionless to all else in the world. However, due to the conjunction of the Moon, Jupiter and Venus on Monday night, I thought you might like to see how it looked on top of our hill at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.


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