Monday, 30 June 2008

Hello, Collective.

heather This week here at the Collective we'll be interviewing some of our favorite people from around the blogosphere. Scott over at Caveat Emptor was nice enough to agree to let me interrogate him. He was, as usual, a delight.

So, Scott, did you know here at the Collective we think you're a genius? I'm serious. Here is an actual text messaged conversation between the four of us:

"On Scott's blog today he said 'concept palindrome' and I thought it was so clever."

"Me too!"

"I think Scott is kind of a genius."

"You guys, I'm gonna get me a hedgehog. And maybe a baby bear. Polar."

"I want a giraffe!"

"Are we still playing Scrabulous?"

"It's Abigail's turn. She's procrastinating."


"Multi-tasking makes you dumber. Science says so."

So my question is: how do you feel about labels — specifically the label 'genius,' as applied to you?

I hate labels in T-Shirts. They bug my neck. Labels applied to people? Well, I guess the motive for labeling people is more important than the actual label. The label "Genius?" Hmmm... I think of myself as clever and talented. A genius, it seems to me, should have some accomplishment or contribution to society to which she or he can point. I'm just a little good at a handful of things, that's all. A lot of people are.

Also, how do you feel about multi-tasking?

I'm terrible with multi-tasking. I find it unfulfilling and fitful.

Additionally, how do you feel about science?

I'm not a fan of science. I feel as though science lacks a healthy skepticism about itself. Science is a pursuit for those who need to know, and those who need to know are easily tempted to believe. I'm perfectly comfortable with mystery.

How about science fiction?

I've read a lot of speculative fiction in my life, sci-fi and fantasy, though I've never been fannish about it. Speculative fiction is free to explore grand, sweeping ideas. More mundane fiction has to explain itself if it gets too lofty.

You really like Lord of the Rings, right?


Do you like the LOTR movies?

I loved the movies. Nevertheless, I felt they had one disappointing flaw. When Sam, Frodo and Gollum are at Mount Doom, the movie makers hacked up a bit of cheap heroism in place of the original story. In the book, Bilbo's compassion for Gollum many years earlier is justified by Gollum's accidental role in destroying the Ring after Frodo succumbs to it and fails to destroy it. It's a moment foreshadowed by Gandalf's words to Frodo in Moria when Frodo says, (this is from memory, not a quote) "It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill Gollum when he had the chance" and Gandalf replies, "Pity? It was pity stayed his hand. Before the end, the pity of Bilbo could be the salvation of us all." Or something like that.

Is it 'elvish' or 'elfish'? I can never remember.

Tolkien used "Elvish." Elfish is not unheard of in other works.

Now, I've been wanting to ask you this for a long time: If you like fantasy, how come you've never read Harry Potter?

First of all, I'm stodgy. I love Tolkien and Dostoevsky and Umberto Eco, ponderous writers. I cannot read C. S. Lewis because the pace is too swift for me. The story feels thin and, I don't know, shallow to me. I enjoy a dense, slow story. So, I usually avoid youth-targeted books, however popular. The popularity is another issue for me. I have issues with doing what everyone else is doing. I have issues.

You gave a really awesome definition of "writer" one time in the comments section of your blog. You said that it's not about getting paid or published or whatever. It's about if you write and you love it. (Of course, you said it more articulately and with a better vocabulary.) Do you remember what I am talking about?

Not per se, but I remember the thoughts and I have them still.

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I spend the majority of my time imagining things. The world in my head is great. Let me show you it.

When you went on hiatus from your blog it was sad. I'm glad you're back. Are you glad you're back?

I am glad to be back, and I did not enjoy the break at all. I love writing, however nonsensical and pointless the result.

Let's play desert island. If you were trapped on a desert island and could only have one of the following, which would you choose:


Ah. Gee. That's tough. I'm not much of a fan guy. I'm afraid no one book would satisfy me for long. It would have to be something relatively long and really, really hard to understand so I could enjoy it for a long, long time. Hmmm... Sartre's "Being and Nothingness" maybe?



Fruit? (Unlimited supply.)

Watermelon. It's just do damned refreshing.

Drink? (Unlimited supply. Water is provided on the island.)

Easy: Coffee.

CD? (CD player provided.)

Just one? You're killing me. Let's see. I guess it would have to be Paul Simon's "Graceland."

Comfort item? (Like a pillow or a fan.)

A good, dense, firm pillow.

Restaurant? (It's a posh desert island.)

None comes to mind. Some place I've never been. Some place with good, simple, real food. Food you could point to in nature. Not a lot of bread or pasta. Proteins, vegetables, fruits. Simple things.

Magazine? (New ones would come as published.)

National Geographic.

And finally, if you were trapped on a desert island, and Harry Potters 1-7 floated ashore, would you then finally read them?

I can't imagine that I wouldn't.

Will you tell us one thing we don't know about you?

When I was about seventeen I went through a "monk" phase during which I got rid of everything I owned, books, music, writings, artwork, everything. It was a part of who I am, so I don't regret it, but I do wish I had some of those things back.

Do you have a dream vacation imagined? What's it like?

I never imagine things that could actually happen. I only imagine things that will never happen. My dream vacation, though, would be in a cabin - not too rustic, mind you - in a temperate, wooded place within walking distance of mountains, rivers and lakes. From the cabin you wouldn't see even a blip of any human life except for those staying with you.

You're a programmer, right? What does that mean?

It means I design and write software. Specifically I write software for emergency physicians and nurses to track patients and document patient care in emergency departments. I've been in the emergency medical software field for fifteen years or so.

Can you list your top 5 favorite books?

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco

The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson

You've talked a little bit about being a Baptist minister when you were younger, which I completely identify with because I lived in a bunker in a Baptist church for a long, long time. Is there some good stuff you've taken away from that experience?

Actually, I was a minister with the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Assemblies of God University and part of a Master's of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. I hardly think of it as an experience I had. I think if it as a person I was. I'm a very different person now. I'm not sure I even feel like I'm the person that experienced those things, but, of course, I am. Good stuff I've taken away from the experience? I've learned from it, or from coming out of it, that we can disagree about things - important things - and still both be good people. One of us might be right, and one wrong, but who cares? It's not a reflection of our value as people. Probably we're both wrong anyway.

You've been married to Susan for many a year, and she seems very awesome. Tell us, how cool is your wife?

Susan is amazing. She's beautiful and simple and smart and silly and sexy and innocent and kind and stubborn and severe and gentle and independent and dependent and naughty and nice and perfect. She is far more than I deserve and more than I expected to get from life and I spend much of my time lying low lest fate realize that I'm getting more than my fair share.

Which of your kids do you love the most?

The one at hand.

That was a joke, did you know?

I did.

Lastly, and bookend-ly, I am going to test the powers of your genius with words. I am going to give you six sets of three words. Make a six-sentence story out of them, using the three-word groupings (one grouping per sentence.) You can, of course, add other words to the three-word groupings. And you can order the sentences however you'd like. (Does that make sense?)

1) Tree, snatch, loudly.

2) Hobo, star, with.

3) Eiffel Tower, over, tiny.

4) Purpose, and, smart.

5) Lego, monster, have.

6) Bellow, because, hello.

Never mind smart, my newly grown son, and never mind higher purpose. Success is a fanciful monster, like those you have beneath your bed with your forgotten harmonica and your dusty Lego bins. Ambition for your future is like that tree, you remember, that cast shadows across your room and clawed loudly at your screen like evil come to snatch you away. You're blessed with everything it takes to be a hobo or a star. Scale the Eiffel Tower or trim the garden hedge or take over the big world or slip, tiny and quiet, away into the peaceful night. No need to join in the doom of those weep and bellow, "Goodbye to Yesterday!" because tomorrow is here to say, "Hello."

Friday, 27 June 2008

Phone It In Friday: Take One Down, Pass It Around.

It's Friday, Internets, and you know what that means: it's five o'clock somewhere. So grab a mimosa, bloody Mary, or Spanish coffee and tell us why you think alcohol is SO BEST.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

The deal is, this is my last hurrah, cause I made a New Year’s resolution that I’m not going to drink anymore. During the week.

JennieI keep everything. EVERYTHING. Which is why, when I got this week's assignment (I say assignment, because I am worthless and just wait for someone else to tell me what to write here), I knew what I had to do. I had to go through my box of college crap and find the drunk emails I printed after that night my friend Amy and I polished off all the alcohol on campus. And while I was looking for those, I found a bunch of quotes. For, you see, when my friends and I drank in college, if a pen and paper were nearby, we wrote down everything funny ("funny") that we said. If it hadn't been for the Great Basement Sewage Flood (true story) senior year, I'd still have the giant Quote Boards that hung on the walls of our house. There was some good stuff written on there, but by far the best was this: "Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Love, Bill Clinton," written in 72 point font (you know, drunken handwriting font) across the bottom of the paper.

In any case, I bring you excerpts from my drunken exploits:

From drinking on a Sunday: "We are drunk on the Lord's Day."

In regard to Incubus: "I will ink their bus,"

Email 5/3/01 - 12:47 AM

I'm not really that drunk, I just had lots of Mountain Dew and Corono, and USA (mountain dew) and Mexico (Corono) do not mix goodly. It's true. Ask Julio Iglesias. This was my bestest email every. I can tell right now.

Email 5/3/01 - 12:50 AM

I just wanted to tell you that I"m not drunk cause I can still catch 1 out of three pieces of popcorn in my mouth when thrown all haphazardly into the oxygenated airs above said mouth. Goodbye. And thank you. And goodbye. And have fun at CLAAAAAss, while I'm watching a MOOOOOvie in the THeeeater.


5/3/01 - 1:44 AM

He lost his nuts

Knock the cocks off.

Email dated 5/3/01 - 3:13 AM

this is fucking amyu and jennie and we're are fucking drunk cause we derank a fucking bottel fo fvoadaka and amy fell in teh crevise and we're gonna g seeb ridget joneswe and mr darcry (the harthrap) cause he' is hit of my pants . . . goodbye i9iiiiiiasn good ye 9iiiiiiian gooooooodye iaaannnnnn we're gooin g to see you sooon sung o the tun of "goodnight ladiesy's"

Goood. yeee. I.. annnn. Amu jjust burnped and dranekd all her h2o Jennnie and amyyyy

Email: 5/3/01 - 3:18 AM

me and amy are the fritos badnditos and wer are drunk and we drank all the vodlakas and you missed it. Anyway.

love Jennie I'll explain later thanks for conan the o'brian. he's funny.

I still send drunk emails every now and then, but only when Abigail asks:

I am emailing you. See? This is me. Emailing you. I am not drunk but I think I'm on the cups. Wow, I mean cusp. Maybe I'm closer to the cusp than I thought. Anyway, my point is, a couple of weeks ago, my mom gave me this leftover box of wine from this family function thingie and I have made it my life's goal to finish it tonight. There can't be that much left, because I have to like . . . tip it forward for the wine to come out. If all of my life's goals were this easily accomplished, then I'd be a best-selling author living in an Italian villa with John Krasinski. Drinking wine. But not out of a box. Also, I'd have either a pet duck or a pet penguin.

Or I send emails I don't remember the next day:

Subject: you

are an idiot

the end.

But to be honest, I'm much more likely to send drunken text messages. Luckily, I don't have any of these saved. Thank god.

Once I sent an email to someone with the message, "it's not a mineshaft, it's a wishing well," and attached a picture of Stuart. In a wishing well.

Also, a couple months ago, I wrote a How To article after several (or so) drinks. It was about collecting cowboy hats. I made a lot of Brokeback Mountain jokes. I'm not proud*

And last, but not least, The Philadelphia Chronicles:

The Douchebag Letters

Fun with MASH

I don't even know

I'm not ashamed. But I probably should be.


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

I'm feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic.

On Saturday night I played an epic game of flip cup with FOUR GENERATIONS of my boyfriend's family.

I frickin' LOVE alcohol.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Tips for avoiding a hangover

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It doesn't count if it's not water, and you better start early. Get in your eight glasses before you even start drinking. Then, when you start to feel like maybe you can't cross a room without assistance, pause your drinking to hydrate again. I've found that making yourself drink another glass of water before drinking anything else prolongs the buzz and prevents the hangover. Really.

Don't pass out.Try to keep yourself awake as long as possible. This is challenging sometimes, but the pay off is worth it. The less inebriated you are when you go to bed, the less inebriated you'll be when you wake up. And the less your body will punish you.

When do you pass out take ibuprofen and drink another glass of water. If I know I'm going to get drunk, I like to be prepared and put a water bottle and a small bottle of vitamin I in my purse. Then, when I feel myself slipping into sleep, I find my bag, take my drugs, and find a nice corner to sleep it off.

When you wake up to pee take more ibuprofen and drink more water.

Or: drink during the day. This really limits the chances of passing out. In fact, you can even get wasted, take a short nap, and be showered and changed before five o'clock. Now THAT is efficiency.

When you groggily wake up because the daylight IS TOO BRIGHT drink some water, take some ibuprofen, and get your car keys back so you can

Buy greasy hangover food.

That said: I broke ALL of these rules at TCQ. I didn't drink enough water throughout the night; instead, I drank jack&coke (to chase the tequila shots). I crawled into bed, did a little bit of drunk texting, and passed out, fully dressed. I did manage to find some ibuprofen in the middle of the night, but it was too late. The next morning was AWFUL. I couldn't move, until I finally found myself steering the porcelin motor boat. It wasn't until I bread in me that I could even put back together the pieces of a detour in the hotel lobby the night before regarding three smarmy British men. Then Jennie and I had to get ourselves to the airport and onto airplanes which was.. excruciating. Going through security doesn't usually bother me, but OHMIGOD standing in a line for twenty minutes when I couldn't even stand up straight? The worst. Eventually, I made it to my gate where there was lots of open space and free internet so I literally camped out under my jacket and relaxed. Then I ate some more bread. Oh yeah.

Never stop eating bread.

too early for shots

Monday, 23 June 2008

That must be our alcohol and beers.


I don't really drink a lot, which is just as well because I have a pretty obsessive personality and am already unable to separate reality from fantasy. (See: television couples, Harry Potter.) When I do drink, however, I always have The Collective there to cheer me on. Well, Kat! and Jennie! mostly cheer me on. Abigail! just texts asking me to send her an email. For some reason she loves getting incoherent emails from her friends. Seriously, any time any of us drinks too much and informs the rest of us via text, Abigail! texts right back saying, "Write me some emails!" I'll be she has a pretty stellar collection.

The last 5 times that I have been inebriated I have engaged in the following activities:

1) Folding origami cranes — or, rather letting Abigail! fold my cranes because my fingers weren't working properly.

2) Trolling the Internet for L Word spoilers and correcting grammar in the forums.

3) Writing poetry.
To wit:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
A shoe

A shoe

A shoe


4) Writing more poetry.
To wit:
Fame, I'm gonna live forever
Actually, that's kind of lame
Dancing won't get you to heaven
I know because I saw it on Footloose

5) Playing Super Mario World and madly texting Abigail! to say things like: "Effing Yoshi!"

You should also know that when I drink I become the politest person in the world, more polite even than I am on a normal day, which is saying something. I talk really softly to overcompensate so I don't yell like regular drunks. I apologize profusely for events I didn't even cause. And even when standing alone, I form an orderly queue of one.

Yes, alcohol practically makes me English.

Maybe I should drink more.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Phone it in Friday: Share, dammit.

We have given and given until we can give no more. Now it's your turn to share. What's in your Google Reader? And if you're not using Google Reader (ahem: Sir. Shari.) why the heck not? Point us to the best of the Internet, Internets.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Trash talk is all hypothetical like, your momma's so fat she could eat the internet.

JennieI tend to share a lot of the same kinds of things on Google Reader, and those things are articles from The Onion, Overheard Quotes (usually from a child of some sort) and Calvin & Hobbes cartoons. Every now and then I'll branch out into an animal review. Or a discussion about the greatest childhood books ever (if you want your child to write demented stories called The Evil Summer). OR, best of all, every LOST flash forward EVER IN ORDER. That was more helpful before the finale, but whatever.

Actually, I think best of all might be this story by Michael Ian Black's daughter.

Actually actually, I think best of all might be the SOUNDTRACK T-SHIRT. (Thanks, Vahid!)

Oh, who am I kidding? My go-to best of all link is this right here:

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Hotline, wanted ad, crazy what you could have had.

I'm not very smart, so it is with great frequency (namely, always) that I forget my Google Reader shared items can be seen by pretty much anyone I've ever emailed. And so it is with great frequency (namely, always) that I end up sharing something incredibly embarrassing and contrary to this whole "brooding and mysterious writer" persona thing I've been (not) so carefully cultivating since 'aught four. You know, stuff like pictures of a shirtless Justin Timberlake. Videos of adorable and precocious four-year-olds being adorable and precocious. The pink sparkly shoes that I really really really want.

So in preparing for today's post I weeded the list down to five websites I've shared in Google Reader which also say "Hello Internets! I'm a brooding and mysterious writer type person! These are the kinds of things I like!"

1. I guess the most badass people by Kevin Fanning.

This is pretty much my favorite thing ever written. It's the kind of thing that makes me stop trying to write whenever I read it, because I know I could never ever in a million billion years write anything that would mean as much to me as this does.

2. Story #1835 from the always entertaining One Sentence.

Despite the fact that it says Cupcake wrote this, I did not, in fact, write this. Though I wish I had thought of it first. (As a matter of fact I've come to realize that I'm not so much a bridge burner as I am a bridge burning instigator.)

3. Sad Kermit singing Elliot Smith's "Needle in the Hay," via

Two things you probably already know about me are (a) I LOVE Kermit the Frog, and (b) I LOVE Wes Anderson. One thing you probably don't know about me is that I LOVE this song. This video is everything that is right with the Internets.

4. Apologies are like monsters from Blank is Like Blank.

This is the truest thing on the Internets.

5. The Girl Effect.

Studies show that when women are educated, healthy, and allowed to marry when and if they choose the standard of living in the entire community rises. This is the amazing organization spreading the word.

So there you have it. My appropriately abridged Google Reader shares. And now, I return to my brooding.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

all about my google reader

Google Reader is an RSS reader. I feel like everyone probably already knows that, but, on the other hand, my mom reads this blog. If you want more information you can watch this awesome how to video hosted by a very earnest user.

I am addicted to my reader. Someone once described Google Reader as a refrigerator. A refrigerator that you open twenty times a day because you're bored, but the contents never change so you're crazy. Except with Reader every time you open the door, there is something new. This was supposed to be a negative description (so negative that I can't even link to the source because the blog has been deleted) on the pratfalls of the internet, but I disagree. Obvs.

Google Reader has a fantastic Big Brother option called Trends. It's like Google Web History where you're so enamored with the stats that you don't notice the way Google is stalking you. And since I have nothing else to do with these trends, how about I share them with you? I like sharing, see:

Over the last 30 days,
from your 140 subscriptions,
you read 4,734 items,
starred 37 items,
shared 25 items, and
emailed 68 items.

I have apparently emailed 68 items. SIXTY EIGHT. I would apologize to my friends, family, loved ones, coworkers, former roommates, pets, neighbors, and everyone else I have apparently emailed posts to, but I have a feeling you liked whatever I emailed you. Because who doesn't want the latest pictures of Heidi and Spencer? That's what I thought.

Sharing is caring. I don't read 4,734 posts just so I can keep them to myself. I love passing something on. For example, Trends tells me I read 285 posts from the David Cook LJ Community in the last 30 days. Yes, I do have a unreasonable crush on him. But trust me, I am not reading this community so I can get closer to him. I started reading it because they'd post his TV appearances. I've continued to read it because the crazy fans make me and Heather LOL. For example:

I wanna know the little moments in David's performances that really amaze you. Whether it's a specific line that he sings beautifully, or a facial expression, or a movement he does with his body -- just the little nuances he adds to a performance that give you the chills.

I do have quite a few, but the one that gets me the most is during his live performance of "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing". It's when he's belting the "Yeah-yeah-yeaaaah!" line and he clutches the mic and extends his left arm out to the side and just
throws himself into the chorus of the song. It's a tiny little thing, but it completely makes the performance for me.


My favorite thing I've recently shared on Reader was Clueless: Where are They Now? Did you guys know that Dionne is 42?! FORTY TWO. I thought we were the same age!

I emailed this post about a toilet mug to my friend Jon because it reminded me of him (and not just because of the name). He replied and said: "We totally had this when I was a kid!" I emailed this faux screenshot of a LinkedIn friend request between two characters from two different TV shows because it's clever and because TV is real life.

I've starred this post about laser engraving your Moleskine or computer or iPod. I've starred MightyGirl's photos of a fab store in Canada. I've starred this Ikea hack to inspire me to redesign my room. I've been working my way through the USA hostel directory planning my next trips.

If you want to follow me around the internet, God help you, you can see all my Shared items here.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Outgoing clicks!

heather This week on The Collective we're going to be sharing the love. And by love, I mean links, of course. And by links, I mean we'll be trolling through our Google Readers looking for the things we've Shared and Starred and Emailed. I believe that if, for some inexplicable reason, we at the Collective got cut off from all other forms of communication, we could still share our lives with each other just through the magic of Google Reader. It is that important.

Here are some of my favorites:

Caveat Emptor: Dried Wallflower Pressed Between the Pages
" There is a song, sung often, that I cannot sing. I cannot make out the words..."

Harvard Magazine: JK Rowling speaks at Harvard Commencement
"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

Daily Intelligencer: Hey, Europe, you want to get Barack Obama elected? Then shut up
"Yo, Western Europe! Holla! How are you? Isn't it great how frequently we get to see one another these days, because the dollar is so weak and you keep coming to visit? It's so helpful that you're here to buy up all of those luxury things we can't afford. Someone has to wear those Armani bathing suits, right? And we're certainly not fitting into them these days. Ha-ha!

Can we borrow some oil? Just kidding. Did we just make things awkward?"

Best Week Ever: 10 NKOTB Pictures You Should Never Forget 28 Castmates with Perfect Chemistry
(Jennie and Abigail both say EW stole this from me, but that's okay. Spread the chemistry, I say.)

If you are not on Google Reader, you must get on it immediately. They even have a Ninja Theme!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Phone It In Friday: Fake iPods for Fake People

Someone once described Kat's favorite band, The National, as the kind of music that would be on Mr. Darcy's iPod. And you know what? That person was absolutely right.

So what else would be on Mr. Darcy's iPod? In fact, what would be on any fictional character's iPod? We need to know. No really, we NEED TO KNOW. Like, seriously. TELL US ALREADY!

(Also, if anyone has anything they'd like us to pontificate upon (did I use that word right? Do I care?) please let us know. We aim to please.)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

say I'm the only bee in your bonnet

JennieI got an email from Kat a couple days ago telling me that my fictional character for the week was the Dread Pirate Roberts. And when I got this email, I was so excited I peed a little.

Confession: I did not pee a little. I did not pee at all.

When I read "dread pirate roberts," squealed and clapped my hands.

Confession: I did not squeal. I did not clap my hands. Because when I squeal and clap my hands in my office, people wonder what I'm doing. And then they come ask and then I have to talk to people and I try to avoid that if at all possible.

I was excited, though, and NOT just because I'm more than a little bit in love with the Dread Pirate Roberts. Although, seriously? He should totally ditch Buttercup and hang out with me instead. She's so useless. If there's one thing that pisses me off about that movie, it's her. She's so whiny and STUPID. She doesn't realize the Dread Pirate Roberts is Westley until AFTER she pushes him down a giant hill? His mask wasn't even that big! Also, she's all, "wah wah, we couldn't POSSIBLY live in the fire swamp, we'll surely die," like . . . your boyfriend just came back from the dead (so you thought, and JUST WAIT, soon he'll be mostly dead), HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.

Ahem. Anyway. No, the main reason I was excited was because I secretly think that I would make an excellent Dread Pirate Roberts. Dread Pirate Roberta. Whatever. Sure, I need to work on my swordplay and build up a resistance to iocane powder, but we can work all that out on the boat.


1. A Well Respected Man - The Kinks

2. Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi

3. Karma Police - Radiohead

4. Falling Slowly - Once

5. I Will Survive - Cake

6. Somebody to Love - Queen

7. Handlebars - Flobots

No embedding? Boooooooo!

8. Crazy - The Kooks

9. Istanbul (not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants

10. Yo Ho Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me (I mean, DUH)


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

I will never kiss anyone who doesn't burn me like the sun.

When Abigail M. Schilling assigned me the task of filling up Myrtle (Wilson, not Moaning)'s iPod, my first thought was Oh! How fortuitous! I'm currently reading Gatsby for the billionth time! My second thought was Oh shit! What the hell goes on Myrtle (Wilson, not Moaning)'s iPod? So, like any big nerd, I turned to the text.

Of Mrs. Wilson, Fitzgerald writes, "She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering."

Myrtle herself says, "All I kept thinking about over and over was 'You can't live forever, you can't live forever.'"

And then, when she proves that you cannot in fact live forever, Fitzgerald writes, "The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long."

So how do you honor such a woman? What songs can possibly do her justice? Internets, I made Myrtle Wilson a Muxtape. And it's quite possibly the oddest mix I've ever made.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Luke Danes

In an episode of Gilmore Girls Luke Danes says he likes the old music. In another episode, when him and Lorelai finally get down to business he says, "alright, what CDs do I need to buy?" I don't know very much old music, and I don't know very much of Lorelai's music. I really don't know much music at all which makes me really bad at this assignment. But I do love Luke Danes (and Heather knows that). So this is what Luke Danes would listen to if he had my music knowledge and my lack of time (I'm still dealing with that family thing, kill me now).

Ben Lee, Catch My Disease
OneRepublic, Apologize
John Cougar Mellencamp, Jack and Diane
Ben Gibbard, Home (all the videos were super poor quality)
REO Speedwagon, Can't Fight This Feeling
Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars
The Killers, Smile Like You Mean It
Goo Goo Dolls, Slide
Oasis, Don't Look Back in Anger
Sondre Lerche, Stupid Memory
The Weepies, The World Spins Madly On

Monday, 9 June 2008

Fictional Playlists: Neville Longbottom

heather This week we are asking each other the age old question: if our favorite fictional characters were real, what would be on their iPods? Jennie! has assigned me Neville Longbottom, which means: a) I get to introduce you to my favorite book character ever. And b) I get to link you to some awesome 80s tunes, because everyone knows the best underdog fight songs come from 80s movies!

Internet, meet Neville Longbottom.

'Gran, I've lost my toad again.'

'And you should have seen their faces when I got in here – they thought I might not be magical enough to come, you see.'

'I'm worth twelve of you, Malfoy.'

'They went for Filch first, and everyone knows I'm almost a Squib.'

'I expect gran'd want me to try, though, she's always going on about how I should be upholding the family honour. I'll just have to – oops…'

Luna: 'And I don't know who you are.'

'I'm nobody,' said Neville hurriedly.
'No, you're not,' said Ginny sharply.
'Neville Longbottom – Luna Lovegood…'

'Mimbulus mimbletonia,' he said proudly.

'Expelliarmus!' said Neville, and Harry, caught unawares, felt his wand fly out of his hand.
'I DID IT!' said Neville gleefully. 'I've never done it before – I DID IT!'

But Neville had already stretched out his hand, into which his mother dropped an empty Droobles Blowing Gum wrapper.
'Very nice, dear,' said Neville's grandmother in a falsely cheery voice, patting his mother on the shoulder. But Neville said quietly, 'Thanks, Mum.'

'We're coming with you, Harry."

'My gran's going do kill be,' said Neville thickly, blood spattering from his nose as he spoke, 'dat was by dad's old wand....'

'He's dot alone!' shouted a voice from above them. 'He's still god be!

'STUBEFY!' shouted Neville, wheeling around and waving Hermione's wand at the oncoming Death Eaters. 'STUBEFY, STUBEFY!'

'The odd thing is, Harry,' he said softly, 'that it may not have meant you at all. Sybil's prophecy could have applied to two wizard boys, born at the end of July that year, both of whom had parents in the Order of the Phoenix, both sets of parents having narrowly escaped Voldemort three times. One, of course was you. The other was Neville Longbottom.'

"It's high time your grandmother learned to be proud of the grandson she's got, rather than the one she thinks she ought to have."

In one swift, fluid motion, Neville broke free of the Body-Bind Curse upon him; the flaming hat fell off him and he drew from its depths something silver, with a glittering rubied handle—

The slash of the silver blade could not be heard over the roar of the oncoming crowd or the sound of the clashing giants or of the stampeding centaurs, and yet it seemed to draw every eye. With a single stroke Neville sliced off the great snake's head, which spun high into the air, gleaming in the light flooding from the entrance hall, and Voldemort's mouth was open in a scream of fury no one could hear, and the snake's body thudded to the ground at his feet—

Internet, meet the Top 11 songs on Neville Longbottom's iPod.

My Father's Gun, Elton John

Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

Highway to the Danger Zone, Kenny Loggins

Don't Stop Believin', Journey

I Predict a Riot, Kaiser Chiefs

It Ain't Over 'Til it's Over, Lenny Kravitz

Hit Me With Your Best Shot*, Pat Benatar

Happiness, The Weepies

What a Feeling** Irene Cara

Ruby***, Kaiser Chiefs

The Beginning After the End, Stars

What do you think? Did I miss any of Neville's songs?

*I own! this song on Guitar Hero.

**If it weirds you out to watch Bette Porter gyrating around like that, I apologize. Of course, if it weirds you out to watch Bette Porter gyrating around you probably don't watch The L Word and therefore have no idea who Bette Porter is.

***Also an appropriate song for Ron Weasley.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Phone It In Friday: Back to the Future

Bonjour canards! I decided to use the Collective Time Machine one more time, to hop back two weeks ago and finally deliver the video I promised. I am a woman of my word, but I also love procrastination. (I mean, who doesn't?) Also I am suffering from a bad case of The Block, which I'm hoping will explain why I ended up not using anyone's suggestion.


Now that THAT is out of the way, I've discussed it with my partners in crime and we've decided to share our time machine with you lot. And if one of you inadvertently blows up the universe? Eh, we've had a good run.

So, Internets, tell me: are you going to the past or the future?

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Time Travel: a play (or whatever) in two parts (or whatever)


SCENE: A young woman sits alone in her apartment, twirling her hair and reading a book. A large, green dinosaur covered in purple polka dots crashes though the wall. She glances at him and then goes back to her book.

Figment: Excuse me, Jennie?

Jennie: Shh.

Figment: Jennie!

Jennie: Reading.

Figment: Well, stop.

Jennie: Do you know me at all? Hey wait. Didn't you used to be purple with green spots?

Figment: Yes. I've been going through some changes.

Jennie: What kind of changes?

Figment: It's not important.

Jennie: But --

Figment: Seriously, stop. I've got good news.

Jennie: Oh?

Figment: Yeah. I've got the rocketship (duh) outside and I've made some improvements.

Jennie: What kinds of improvements?

Figment: I put in a home theater system . . .

Jennie: Nice.

Figment: And I installed a frozen margarita maker . . .

Jennie: Even better.

Figment: Oh, and also, I turned the rocketship into a time machine.

Jennie: Well, that's awfully convenient since this week's Collective topic is time travel.

Figment: Isn't it?

Jennie: How did you do it?

Figment: It's not important. What IS important is that you drop your book, put something other than pajamas on, and come time traveling with me.

Jennie: Why can't I time travel in my pajamas?

Figment: . . . I don't know. What if we meet Shakespeare? Do you want to meet Shakespeare wearing penguin pajama pants?

Jennie: Do you really think that's going to matter if a giant dinosaur is standing right next to me?

Figment: Touche.

Jennie: Besides, I don't want to meet Shakespeare.

Figment: You don't?

Jennie: I'm skeptical that he really looked like Joseph Fiennes. And anyway, I have other ideas.

Figment: Such as?

Jennie: I'd like to find Young!Jennie and fill her in on a couple things.

Figment: You can't do that.

Jennie: Why not?

Figment: You can't go talk to yourself . . . you'll change your entire life.

Jennie: Your point?

Figment: NO.

Jennie: Fine. I suppose going to the future and bringing Heather Anne a hoverboard is out of the question?

Figment: Yes.

Jennie: And going to the past and bringing Fitzgerald to the future for Kat isn't going to happen?

Figment: You got it.

Jennie: Can we at least go to Zach Braff's house circa, I don't know, last year, so I can program Abigail's number into his phone?

Figment: NO.

Jennie: FINE.

Figment: Stop sulking.

Jennie: I will on one condition.

Figment: What's that?

Jennie: Can we go see the dinosaurs?

Figment: I'm not sure that's a good idea.

Jennie: Why not?

Figment: The time machine doesn't offer a lot of protection from, I don't know, a giant carnivore hell bent on devouring us.

Jennie: You mean you didn't install a clear titanium bubble around the rocketship?

Figment: . . . no?

Jennie: What kind half-assed time machine is this?

Figment: Watch it.

Jennie: OK, but what if we just pop to the Jurassic era or whatever for a couple minutes? The dinosaurs won't even know we're there.

Figment: I don't know . . .

Jennie: Please? I just want to see a baby brontosaurus and then we can come back.

Figment: Well . . . OK.

Jennie: Yay! Also, I'm going to try to ride a pterodactyl, OK?

Figment: No. No, that is NOT OK.

Jennie: Fine. Can we go?

Figment: Are you going to change?

Jennie: No.

Jennie and Figment head outside and climb inside the rocketship/time machine (duh). The rocketship shoots into the air and then disappears. Not two minutes later, the rocketship comes crashing back down to the ground, with what looks suspiciously like a T-Rex bite taken out of the side. Jennie and Figment run out of the rocketship, fall down, and lie panting on the ground.

Figment: That? Was a bad idea.

Jennie: I know.

Figment: Seriously, seriously bad.

Jennie: I KNOW.

Figment: What were you thinking?

Jennie: How was I supposed to know we'd land RIGHT NEXT to a T-Rex?

Figment: Perhaps you should have taken it into consideration.

Jennie: Perhaps YOU should have covered the rocketship with a clear titanium bubble.

Figment: OK, OK, I'll install one.

Jennie: Good. Because next time I AM riding a pterodactyl.

Figment: Next time?

time traveling Figment


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. . . .

Because I ain't going to the future. I'm a-scared of robots.

I think my hatred for robots stems from the psychological trauma I suffered in my childhood at the hands of the creepiest movie ever made. I wasn't more than four years old when I first saw The Electric Grandmother, but I still vividly remember my horror as milk and orange juice shot out of the tips of the robot-granny's shriveled little fake human fingers. Gross, dude.

But as hard to believe as it is, I am no longer four-years-old. Yet, over the years, this mingled fear and repulsion has only been reinforced. Let's look at the evidence, shall we?

2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Alien, The Terminator, I, Robot, Transformers, (presumably) Iron Man, and all of their big-screen permutations each feature one thing: killer robots.

Let me reiterate that, people--KILLER ROBOTS. KILLER ROBOTS!

I can barely open a bottle of vodka without whining at my boyfriend for help; there is no effing way I'm surviving a Kat! vs. Droid Battle Royale.

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Awww, Kat - but what about the i-Dog? It may not be cuddly, but it sure is cute!" My only response to you is that killer robots have to start somewhere, and my guess is that the i-Dog is about two generations from ripping your throat out in your sleep. Seriously, I don't even trust my iPod. Have you seen the stats that thing keeps on you? Creeeeeeeeepy.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

So are you saying that they could be stuck back there forever?


I say:
The year 2000 when some marketing team didn't realize what they had in their hands and didn't spend the appropriate amount of money on marketing a little film about dancing. As a result, the film was a box office flop and relegated to the $5 DVD section at Target. For such a phenomenally entertaining movie, Center Stage ranks only 24 in the box office genre of Dance being beaten out by movies like You Got Served and Roll Bounce(what?). In revised history, the movie would have been a smash. It'd be a cult classic for reals, not just in my head, and Cooper Nielson would star in the sequel. Maybe I'm in charge of convincing Peter Gallagher to reprise his role as Jonathan and all is right with the world.

I think:
Way too much about the implications of time travel and the heavy choices and challenges presented therein. I conjure up research from books and movies I've seen. I get frustrated when they don't work right and breathless when they do. I promise to continue to make good decisions, but I can't stop regretting the bad ones.

I wish I had a metal detector so I could comb my room for my house key. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back 10 days ago when I decided to leave my key, all alone, on my bed. I would not do that and instead put it in safe place, or at least put it on a key chain. But if I'm asking for wishes, I'm inclined to go back to 1984 when my DNA aligned in such a way that I am the kind of girl who throws a key into a sea of clothes and blankets never to be seen again.

This just in:
In my nightly internet dwelving, I discovered a IMDb profile for Center Stage 2! Talk about feeling breathless! I did a bit of research and it sounds like it's different, new students and one of them (standard) is a ballerina with a secret passion for hip hop (c'mere, boo). That seems way more lame than the first and according to one source this is a straight-to-DVD flick, BUT Cooper AND Peter Gallagher are listed as returning characters. BOTH OF THEM. MY WISHES CAME TRUE. I TOTALLY HAVE A TIME MACHINE.

Monday, 2 June 2008

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit.

heather Dear Miss Hogan,

Congratulations once again on your recent graduation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Timeflight School. It is the standard practice of the Timeflight School to review your first week of solo Time Travel so that we may address any potential actions that could jeopardize our current Space-Time Continuum (STC 6.4). While we are pleased that you did not make the mistake of trying to thwart either World War (after every graduating class, we are usually forced to reset the STC beginning in 1914), there was a pattern to your Travel, and some issues caused therein, that must be addressed. For the sake of expediency we have categorized your Travel as follows: Literature, Entertainment, Ex-Lovers, Accent, Personal Favors, Geography.


This week you registered your first of many stops in England in 1796. Your Travel log shows observation of Miss Jane Austen. You do not mention any interaction with the author; however, in the course of your visits, the entire text of Mansfield Park was erased from libraries, and replaced with a novel called Happily Ever After with the Darcys, which appears to be a sequel to Pride and Prejudice.

Your next stop was to Massachusetts in 1865. You noted in your log that this trip was to "observe the primary effects of the American Civil War on the northeastern United States." However, after your visit, Louisa May Alcott's classic, Little Women, was altered nearly beyond recognition. Jo March marries Laurie, Beth March lives, and Amy March and Mr. Fritz are eaten by a bear.

Additionally, the following literary changes were noted by our staff scholars after your first week of solo Time Travel: 1) In C.S. Lewis's Narnia masterpieces, Susan Pevinse is never restricted from Narnia; instead she embraces her sexuality and is allowed to fight alongside the men, eventually marrying Prince Caspian. 2) In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Professor Lupin does not die. 3) All of the Baby-Sitters Club books that were ghost written disappear. 4) Charlotte of Charlotte's Web lives to a nice, old age of 79.

Miss Hogan, you should know that to change literature is to change the course of human events. These intrusions have been corrected to reflect STC 6.4, and we trust that you will not interfere with any authors in your future Travel.


After your first week of Travel, all collective consciousness of reality television disappeared beginning with MTV's The Real World in 1992. The second and third seasons of The L Word were completely rewritten, as well as the entire West Wing series after season 4. ABC's series Lois and Clark has now been on the air for 12 years. The 2008 Writer's Strike appears to never have taken place, resulting in 47% more screen time for Pam and Jim in the American sitcom The Office, as well as a nine-episode Gossip Girl story arc featuring the character of Georgina Sparks, according to our entertainment statisticians. In addition, the character of Aidan Shaw at first disappeared from the Sex and the City canon, but was then repeatedly added back into the story and written off the show in all manner ways, including: bear attack, drowning, choking on his own turquoise jewelry (thrice), taxi incident (accidental), taxi incident (purposefully killed by driver), tossed from roof (Samantha), tossed from roof (Charlotte), tossed from room (Miranda), tossed from roof (Mr. Big), tossed from roof (Steve), impaled by a variety of wood-working furniture, assaulted with a candlestick in Billiard Room, beaten with a lead pipe in Conservatory, and tossed from roof (Carrie).

Again, these errors have been corrected. If you have a personal issue with modern STC 6.4 entertainment, we suggest you use fan fiction as an outlet.


Miss Hogan, please: Timeflight 101: Do not interfere with your exes in any capacity. Do not drop paint buckets on their heads or the heads of their significant others. Do not set fire to bags of poop on their front porches. Do not toilet paper their houses. Do not put on Halloween masks and pop out of their closets in the middle of the night. In addition, do not practice any of these things on your friends' ex-lovers.


Perhaps the strangest incident in your first week of Travel is that you returned to 2008 with a perfect British accent. We cannot pinpoint the exact cause of this as it appears you tried several methods to ensure your English lilt in STC 6.4. Whether you moved your family to London for the first eight years of your life, or allowed only British grade school teachers to educate you, or hired a voice coach, please correct this on your own. It is absurd.

Personal Favors

We have corrected the following issues in STC 6.4: Your friend Abigail is no longer president of movies. Your friend Kat is no longer president of books. Your friend Jennie is no longer president of television. Neither are they married to David Cook, Ryan Adams, or Jim Halpert, respectively. Please refrain from "pulling strings" or "threatening with a blow torch" in the past to secure favors for your friends in the present/future.


The autonomy of the United States has been returned. It is no longer referred to as South Canada.

It has been a busy week for you, Miss Hogan, and while I commend your ingenuity, I must ask you to refrain from breaking any more NASA Timeflight rules in the future. Or, as it were, in the past.

Thank you for your time.


Dr. Emmett Brown

P.S. We are missing a dozen hoverboards from our testing facility in Washington D.C. If you know anything about this, please inform us immediately.