I hope nobody tries to trip me in the cafeteria

When I started this site I was considered a diarist, and when I added a weblog I started to get readers who called me a blogger. I think what I have now is enough of a hybrid that I’m fine with both definitions. I’ve been friends with some diarists for awhile now, but I’ll probably also go to this bloggy shindig on Friday. Only there are some people who keep asking me what the difference is between bloggers and diarists, and well, the more people use Movable Type the harder it’s going to be to explain this shit. But I think there is a difference, and since I can’t seem to stop coming up with dippy high school analogies I’ll do my best to clarify.

Okay. Online diarists are the drama club at your high school. They feel that what they’re doing is either art or therapy, although generally the really fucked-up ones are artsier. They sit in little groups on the floor in the Student Center and there’s one group that likes to give each other backrubs. They only look like they are all having sex with each other. After a while you figure out some of them hate each other even though they still inexplicably exchange backrubs.

A few are into alternate religions. One is rumored to have been in a coma once. A couple always seem to get the good parts but they’re really fucking funny so it’s okay. The ones in the Ushers Club are the friendliest but occasionally a pain in the ass because they’re always trying to get you to wear some goddamn button that says: “THE FANTASTIKS FLY ON FRIDAY!” and you can’t talk smack around them at all.

Webloggers, on the other hand, are the yearbook staff. They feel that what they’re doing is really important and also might get them into a better college. They keep way too many CDs in the staff room. A couple of them sometimes pretend that all the CDs are theirs, and they know you know they’re bullshitting, but whatever. One of them will come up to you with a notebook and ask you what you think of the new computer kiosks in the library, and don’t roll your eyes, because, you know, it’s a serious question.

Some of them are in the A/V Club. Oh, don’t even get them started.

Others are on the debate team and loudly make fun of the theatre kids even though they would totally bone that one girl. There’s one kid who keeps changing the stupid display font in the Activities section, like anyone cares. And a couple of them are angry as all hell but get swell grades.

There’s always some crossover, of course–a drama kid padding his college application; a yearbook staffer scoring a lead role in Our Town–but otherwise I’m convinced that this is how it is.

Just don’t ask me what I did in high school.

What my grandma said yesterday

“I really hate this George W. Bush. I hope he dies and goes to hell. Really, I hope he’s tortured before he dies and goes to hell, so that he has to suffer. I would like for him to have his fingernails ripped out. And his toenails. And his eyelids torn off! Really!”

Just one more piece of kid-culture retro whimsy crap & then I'm done

It came in the mail here at work today. The address didn’t include my work title or even the name of my company; the sender had handwritten only my name and the street address. It was a small padded envelope, and inside was a CD with the words THE LETTER PEOPLE scrawled on it. I’d emailed a stranger asking for this CD two years ago, and when it never showed up I wasn’t too surprised. But here it is.

The Letter People was the kindergarten phonics program at my school, and two years ago I was obsessed with finding out everything I could about it. Now I know there was a freaky psychedelic-puppet Letter People TV show based on the program, but I don’t think any of the local stations carried it; my only experience was with the funky artist’s renderings of the Letter People, the “huggable” (and totally kickable) inflatable Letter People, and the songs. Especially the songs: they were all in different musical styles–country, 60s ballad, dixieland, sousa march–and the hands-down favorite in our kindergarten was the hard rockin’ Mr. M song. For years, little pieces of the songs stuck in my head, along with weird synaesthetic notions about letter sex roles. I mean, the Letter People were not an equal opportunity alphabet. The consonants were male and vowels were female. I sort of sensed that the English alphabet was like a large corporation and the vowel ladies were the secretarial pool, because you couldn’t make a word without them, but they didn’t get to start words as often as the male counterparts. I understood this completely.

Anyway, two years ago I began to look up the Letter People and came across a bulletin board where someone had offered to send free CDs of the songs. I’d responded, waited a few weeks, and then wound up buying a cassette of the songs on eBay (where you should look for Letter People stuff instead of asking me, okay? Thanks).

There’s nothing trippier than hearing songs that you know you haven’t heard in over twenty-five years. It turns out the Mr. M song is not the rock anthem we kindergarteners thought it was. It’s pretty lame. The Mr. S song, however, is a fucking masterpiece. And Miss A is exactly like Petula Clark, except, well, completely demented and sneezing. The other day I was thinking about how Letter People songs could be a part of every mix CD I’d ever make–if only I had a CD version. AND NOW I DO!

Journal entry: the problem

Sometimes I don’t think I have the sharing instinct that other online journalers and bloggers have. I wonder if this is the problem. Yesterday I wanted to write an entry but I couldn’t get myself to sit down and write anything. I go through this a lot. My brain doesn’t suffer from writer’s block but instead a sort of stinginess; I hoard the thoughts and don�t want to spend them. Sometimes my mind is a stuck-up bitch with the good cookies, and she sits by herself at lunch.

Now this is not me; in real life I will make all kinds of jokes and do jigs and give grinning, jovial handjobs in order to get people to sit with me. But when I think about posting something, I’m frequently struck with a kind of shyness, a tricky shyness that’s really stubborn and judgmental at the core. I’ll decide, for instance, that I can’t be the funny gal everyone can relate to; I don’t want to be all HA HA, MY BOOBS! or otherwise go on and on about the lovably awkward hilarity of my girly parts. Or else I don’t want to tell you about the charming restaurant I went to; I don’t want treat you to a taste of my life here in the big city where it’s all so fabulous my life unfolds like a novel every day; I don’t want you to appreciate how petulantly sexy and/or adorable I am in all my photos, or at the very least the one where I’m looking off to the side and have my head tilted just so. (And memo to all you cybercuties out there: we know what you’re up to with cranking up the contrast. Everyone looks better when they look like a Nagel print, toots.)



It’s true that in high school we used to pronounce Kiddieland over on North Avenue Kid-DIE-land, because it’s such an old amusement park, and some of the rides date back to at least the 40s, and the place is inevitably a little seedy even though it tries really really hard not to be. But really, you should go. Go for the mini train, stay for the unsettling clown decor.

I’ll confess that I have never been to Santa’s Village; my parents never took me and I never asked them to, because something about seeing Santa in the summer time just seemed very, very wrong to me. Secretly I thought that kids who went there were retards who couldn’t wait until Christmas. Shh.