The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year’s winners:
1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate’s disease.
11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
13. Glibido: All talk and no action.
14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.
16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.
18. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.
I had this Moment a few days ago.
I was on the #7 bus. The best part of taking the bus near my aparment is that the bus drivers announce the stops, and when the bus approaches Aloha St., the driver calls out “ALOHA!” And if you’re coming back up the hill and leaving the University District, the driver yells, “Aloha! Welcome to Capitol Hill!” It kills me every time. When I was looking at the map of Seattle before visiting, I said I thought it was really funny that there was a street named “Aloha” — it’s not like it’s even in a Hawaiian district, or near anything other than streets named after dead politicians and 12th, 13th, 14th Ave. etc., so why Aloha? I didn’t know where exactly it was, but I said I wanted to live on Aloha essentially because it made no sense.
I told Mon Frere this as we were apartment hunting, and he said, “Well let’s look at places on Aloha,” and I said, “Isn’t that totally ridiculous?” And he said, “It’s as valid a reason as any.” But it seemed too much, so I signed my lease on the banal 12th Ave E and was on my way. Leaving my new apartment in the opposite direction, I looked up and saw the Aloha St. sign. So I live on 12th at Aloha. By accident.
So when I was coming home the other night, and got off the bus at Aloha, I thought back to how I wanted to live there, and how I had this whole plan. I wanted to move to Seattle and get a little studio with a porch on Aloha near Volunteer Park, write for threeimaginarygirls.com, quit smoking, work at the University of Washington and meet a cute boy to go to tons of rock shows with, take yoga classes, get a volunteer job at P.A.W.S., go running in the rain and adopt bunny buddy for Kobie. Then I would climb the water tower at Volunteer Park, taking pictures of the sunset and the Space Needle, saying to myself: “I did this. I did this.”
The moment was anticlimactic. And it wasn’t at Volunteer Park. It was crossing 10th by Aloha, almost getting killed by a powder blue VW bug with one headlight. I had accomplished my laundry list of goals, large and small. Check, check, check. I was done.
I hadn’t thought about the “now what?” part. I guess I figured it would take longer than 7 months to get to that point.
So today the Goddess of Excel Spreadsheets, the Mother of All To-do Lists, the Obsessive Planner with my clipboard and visor, walkie talkie and stop watch, is left without a docket. And it’s really uncomfortable.
I’ve been doing the crazy career thing. The what do I want to do with my life?! thing. I’m in it for the Big Questions, now, boys and girls. The ones you’re supposed to talk about at parties in college after a handful of philosophy classes. The ones you write bad poetry about, wide eyed and optimistic.
I’ll be twenty-nine tomorrow. Shouldn’t I know the meaning of life by now?
The only reason I’m posting right now is because I’m procrastinating. I’m procrastinating the writing of a review of a freakin fantastic show I went to Friday. Luna is on their final tour ever, and after 11 years of making music, they’re flushing the toilet on the band. Friday’s show was wonderful and like sunflowers on the beach, and yet the thought of actually having to tell an audience why, has me chawing frozen Australian licorice with nervousness usually reserved only for finger-crossing over my debit card in line at the grocery.
I’m hurtin for a few things out here, and VVB has taken the job as procurer of all things New England quite seriously. When she was visiting here in the fall, she dragged five bottles of meticulously wrapped Ken’s Raspberry & Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing to my kitchen. I can’t live without the stuff. Seriously. I don’t know how it survived the flight, but my vegetable intake is at an all-time high.
So I just received a hefty shipment of Devil Dogs from her. Two boxes, one for eatin and one for display. People doubt the existence of Devil Dogs! But I’ve got proof. And while in search of them online, I came across a site called Hometown Favorites that caters to folks far from their Drakes Cakes and other comforts of home. They even have Foxon Park Soda, bottled in beautiful downtown East Haven, CT. Luckily I’ve got my own importer, but should things get dire…
If you do have access to Devil Dogs, I highly recommend them in the freezer.
Oh and so Nevadelia Lotus Blossom got catnip grass from her Dad for Christmas. Here’s a time-lapse photo documentary of her attempt to enjoy it.
About that Luna review…
Diamonds don’t actually last forever, but ironically, cubic zirconia does.
Screw flowers and chocolate, the Boy knows me better than that. His true sign of love? How It Ends, the album by DeVotchKa I’ve been coveting for quite some time — lush, cinematic falling-to-your-knees music that makes you want to do something dramatic and deep. (The first track is “You Love Me”, issued as a demand.) And the brand spankin’ new Frames release Burn the Maps. In-depth reviews are forth-coming.
On Valentine’s Day, music is a girl’s best friend.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s to having someone to eat grass with.
Capitol Hill, Seattle. A few blocks from my house.
I remember you there
It was Florida
It was April
You were sprawled on the hard floor in your underwear
you were squealing in pain
like the rabbits my cat used to drag home, injured but still fighting
and in the enormous pools of your frightened eyes
I saw my own fear reflected
as you kicked the wall with bare feet and pleaded with me
“What am I going to do?”
That question was bigger than the both of us
It required more answer than those blue saucers of your eyes
could ever hold
I didn’t know what I was going to do, either
Sitting on the balcony of that shitty hotel in Ft. Lauderdale
listening to Beautiful “7 Years” on my duct-taped headphones over and over
trying to pull myself in on the thread of Jon’s song
and tired is a man
You looked at me with hatred and anger
deeper than anyone had ever looked at me before
And I still loved you.
Years later you told me how that night was the beginning of an aching hole
that years of forgiveness could never fill
I remember us on the velvet couch at Venus De Milo
It was January midnight red, and the music and the laughter
Everyone smiled at us — we were ridiculously beautiful
Our legs were not our own but we made it home —
you and I made it home.
We always have.
The ice sometimes is longer, deeper, more slippery
but always, eventually, we find our feet
even after our bottoms are bruised from repeated flops on the pavement.
The perfect berry falls.
You send me your mix tapes and you send me flowers
you send me your humble wisdom
And now you send me your pictures of the ocean
Where I found my land legs
and that pavement we both called home
If I said “Beinecke, naked” you’d know the weight of that statement
And just as easily as we could recall the flawless acoustics of that square,
I can remember the commercial carpet of that cheap hotel
the rugburn from pained flailing
your frightened eyes too much like mine
more blue, less self-important
You tell me now how I’ve shaped you
how my stars have made you
my wrist, your back
and I see you looking over my Bay
with shadows curling across your impossibly beautiful face
and I know we have survived that hotel room
you on foot, and me on horseback
We’ve gotten to the place
where you give me your combat boots
and I give you my bootlegs
(did I tell you when you wore my boots, well it makes me cry…)
and between the two of us we could light this night on fire
our candles are always lit at both ends.
We could speak of survival
that no one else could understand
and you know why my sentences all begin with “and”
and you know sometimes why I can’t sleep at night
because summer fades
and there’s a tiny black weight on a rope round my leg
so throw me into the water
Your pictures of the ocean
and handprints in sand
handprints on history
and our songs we can sing together
knowing the words by heart
You’ve always said that I inspired you
that somehow my sinkful of dirty dishes and a half-read novel
well, now I watch the block that has held me dissolve,
the more postcards you send
the more photographs you take
of the sand, your pen, our history
I give you my music and you give me your words
Suddenly you’re holding the rope for me
leaning against that heavy line
salvaging my mind
lifting me, sodden, from the storm
You are once again saving my life
by living your own
We can plant these seeds
and everything will come up daisies
because we have a house made of cards
in our inverted world.
You on that carpet in pain
and me on that balcony, un-beautiful
is further away from us
than D.C. and Virginia could ever be
These are only words
but they are all I’ve got tonight
These words, and those stars.
And those stars.
Six more weeks of this? Sign me up.
Happy Goundhog Day. Now go back in your burrow, liar.