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this duck again… plus passion, rage, self-indulgence and pepperoni

So I thought I was overdue in posting photos, in fact this post was going to begin with, “I’m overdue in posting photos” however I just went and looked and unless I want to upload all the shots I took yesterday which I put on twitpic, which I don’t, I’m really not that overdue. Hence my reliance on Plan B. The Morning After Duckling.

By the way, that’s not my hand holding the duck. It’s not even my duck. How I wish it were!

Also, last night Dustin and I tried to do a livestream from his iPhone. This is what it sounded like: Lasht night Dushtin and I tried do do a liveshtream from his iPhone. We sounded drunk! But we weren’t! It was the audio! I shwear!

Also I have a couple little trips coming up and I couldn’t be more excited. Could I be more excited? I just said I couldn’t. Must I repeat everything?

Must I repeat everything?

Last week Tom Rapp played live on the show and it was amazing. I have all the footage sitting in my iMovie event pane and yet I can’t bring myself to begin editing. My ass is revolting. “Don’t sit on me!” it’s saying. Incidentally that was originally the slogan for the Continental Navy until a very early marketer came along and adjusted his powdered wig, had an affair with scullery maid, got drunk on moonshine and then belched something about synergy and call to action.

In other news, there is no other news. Actually, there may be but I don’t know if I feel like sharing.

Well I will tell you that two things are on my mind. One of them is that maybe I need to make some kind of special website for the show however what’s a good website that would have the video window and also the chat window? I’ve been looking at wordpress and tumblr themes and haven’t found anything that looks perfect or near perfect yet.

Also, I miss writing. This happens to me often. I bounce back and forth between missing performing and  missing writing. When I miss writing it’s because a part of me looks at everything I’m doing and thinks, “What the hell are you doing?” and longs to feel like I’m actually adding something meaningful to discourse/culture. When I miss performing it’s because part of me looks at what I’m writing and thinks, “This is about hair.”

Ok that’s not true. I only wrote one story about hair, titled “The Braid Bunch” and it was pretty good if I do say so myself, which I just did.

There’s a lot of talk in this new media world about “passion.” I imagine there’s a lot of talk about it on couples’ retreats as well. But inasmuch as it applies to branding and point of view and labeling and stuff which fundamentally makes me feel icky and yet is so necessary in this world it’s shorthand for “what do you stand for in a couple words.” So I’ve been thinking about what my passion is. By the way, you can’t say your passion is being entertaining. Or being funny. Or being liked. So I’ve been thinking about the inverse: what really pisses me off. Granted that’s not really the inverse of passion but you know. Things which piss me off? Stupidity, rigidity, lack of self-awareness, people who think they can outsmart you, bullshit, lack of ducklings.

Actually, I’m cutting myself off because I was just reminded of a different direction I wanted to go: there is something which has been pissing me off lately. Growing up I was a quiet conscientious overweight nerd. The nicest quiet conscientious overweight nerd you’d want to meet, but you get my drift. And then I was a professional writer for years and years. And now all of a sudden I’m on TV and I’m pretty and people react to me as an attractive person and while part of me accepts it, there’s a part of me that doesn’t connect at all with the person who people are reacting to. Does that make sense? It doesn’t really need to. So for awhile being treated as just a pretty face or as an object, if you will, which you will, was sort of thrilling in this very novel sense. Because the vulnerable part of me was the looks part, not the brains part. I’ve never questioned my intellingence and what I’ve accomplished, those parts of my identity are ironclad and for that reason I also don’t really ram them down people’s throats. I just figure that people will google search my name and see I’ve published thousands of articles or maybe I never thought it through enough to really realize that’s what they would need to do.

So fast forward to now-ish when occasionally I get treated like one of those talking heads on TV whose title is made up to give them a reason to go on TV and who is fundamentally an insubstantial person who happens to look good and instead of it being a novel or amusing thing it just fills me with rage. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I’ve been treated as stupid and each time stands out to me because it was so jarring. Like being called the wrong name. And I recognize that writing about it here is really just writing for myself because if anyone is reading this they likely already know who I am and etc. But anyway, I know it’s dumb for me to waste my breath on people who didn’t take the time to google anything and who jump to conclusions and whatnot but it’s also a lesson in the fact that I need to somehow get my credentials a little closer to my amazing hair. In fact, I’m going to stuff them into my hair probably. Both for volume and convenience.

What else was I saying? I don’t know, I think I smelled pepperoni in the course of writing this and was distracted.

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About the scriptwriting

As many of you know, I am trying to write a screenplay. A screenplay for television. No one says teleplay anymore according to a book I read called Read This Book If You Want To Feel Like You’re Actually Doing Something Productive on the Screenwriting Front However You Still Haven’t Written Shit, Asshole. When I saw it on the shelf I was like, “Now that’s a saucy title I can really get behind!” Then I gave myself a high five and tightened my side pony (it’s a side ponytail, not some other kind of adjunct equine creature or appliance or dance move. Although actually you could work on tightening your side pony and mean the dance move, I suppose. Maybe I’ll put that into one of my scripts!)

So but how is the script writing going, you ask, because you care. I’ll tell you, I respond, because I’m procrastinating.


Turns out I’m experiencing all those things that amateur writers—ones I scoff and roll my eyes at and look down upon and use to mop my brow from the sweat that builds up while I toil away on real writing assignments and whose fingers I often borrow to open the envelopes containing checks I receive from actual published magazine articles—experience. Or at least I think they experience it since it seems there’s a lot of literature out there about the fear of the blank page and blah blah blah writer’s room blah blah retreat blah discipline blah get up early blah I havent’ showered in three weeks.

I showered today actually, but spiritually I have dreadlocks.

Um, so where was I? Oh yes. Granted I’ve felt writer’s block before and there’s always a point when I’m facing a deadline where I want to cry and feel that life is unfair and feel that I’m probably the only soul who is awake on the planet and feel lonely and woe is me-ish and stuff, but I’m used to that. And it sucks. And if you happen to be a professional writer I’m wondering if you also go through that? I exchanged a couple emails with Louis Menand of The New Yorker once because he went to my college many years before I and he wrote something in The New Yorker about having to reread old articles he’d written before starting a new one to remind himself that he knows how to do that. I related, since I often do the same thing. Anyway, what was my point? Oh yes. I once exchanged emails with someone from The New Yorker.

But the discomfort I’m feeling trying to write a script is something new and horrendous. And the self-doubt is beyond description. Yesterday I ate my hand just for fun, that’s how nervous I was. I’m typing this whole thing with one hand. Just tapping away at the keys, one by one, embarrassed that I ate my whole hand in one sitting. Not only impractical but SO unladylike!

So now I have myriad first pages of scripts sitting on my computer and I’m thinking I should just write a book instead since that’s something I’m more comfortable with. But who knows. But I thought I might regale you with the first line of each of my scripts. Won’t that be fun? I THINK SO! Here we go. No context or character names. Just first lines. And please note, these are all separate scripts:

Coochie coochie coo. Coochie coo.

Welcome back to Omyra.

How was the audition?

Hi, I’m Amanda.

You know what we need?

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This is why I'm angry at my eye

Crossing one eye used to be one of the things I did for fun. Other things in my fun repertoire? Raising one eyebrow, blowing spit bubbles off the end of my tongue, wiggling my ears, squishing my nose to demonstrate how squishy it is, making myself burp and for a very short time I juggled. Also there was the whole thing with the fancy card shuffling. Now in telling you all this I’m not trying to brag, though I imagine a certain amount of respect is flowing from you to me right now, I’m just stating the facts. The facts are that I’m fairly amazing. Or at least I was. You see, these days when I try to cross one eye I’m noticing something alarming.


My eye is lazy in terms of not being lazy. It’s like I have a lazy eye, that’s how normal it is. You know? Instead of very clearly heading one way while the other one looks straight, I just have a vaguely crazed look going on. I’m kind of beside myself.


Here I am at Paltalk yet again not effectively crossing one eye. Hope springs eternal I guess.


Still, it was depressing enough that I grew pensive….


And felt the need to hide under multiple hats…

11And then I took some calls.

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I had an argument with an egg

Being freelance affords you plenty of time to be sure you’re going nuts. I devote a small portion of each day to said endeavor, but sometimes the realization creeps up on you unannounced, such as when you find yourself having an argument with an egg.


See, what happened is I was making my famous meringues which I’ve written about before. To make these you must separate the egg whites from the yolks and I recently started using an egg separator which is amazing and I recommend you all head out and buy one or just steal one from your sister which is what I did.

Egg Separator

So I crack the egg—one handed because I’m fancy—into the egg separator and then jiggle it to let all the egg white drip into the bowl. Big blobs of egg white are clinging to the yolk though and just hanging there despite my incessant jiggling. At this point I actually say, with a lot of anger behind it: “Oh come on you viscous piece of shit!”

It was strange and came out of nowhere, though, I mean, the egg totally had it coming.

Yeah that’s right. You go back to your egg house and think about what you’ve done.
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How I end up with stuff I don't want

A cup of something I didn’t want

I have a problem where I go along with stuff I don’t want which I think is why occasionally I have the recurring dream that I’m about to get married when I suddenly come to my senses and think, “Wait! I never wanted to marry this person! I was just going along with it as a joke and also because I wanted to experience what it would feel like to act as if I was going to get married!” And then in the dream I wonder how I let it go that far without realizing that this was the trial run, not the real deal. Then I realize I’m not wearing any pants and I have to take a test that day but the test is in Portuguese and I’m having a conversation with a puppy. Not really on those last three things. Remind me sometime to tell you about the other recurring dream I used to have which I had for years and years.

But ANYWAY, sometimes I not only go along with things I don’t want but actually select them. This morning I was going to get coffee at the little store I go to. I have an off and on relationship with flavored coffee and I’m currently in the heady throes of on. I sidled up to the French Vanilla spigot and lo and behold they didn’t have French Vanilla they had Hazelnut which was definitely not what I wanted. Could I get behind the filbert invasion?

Here to ruin your morning

Hm… I thought to myself, holding up the line. Hm… I thought some more. HM… I kept thinking while people loudly cursed me. Then I whipped out my cell phone to call a friend to get another opinion. Not about coffee but just about stuff. Then I made a list of pros and cons. Then I meditated. Then night fell and I dozed off. Then I woke up and went for the Hazelnut and only a splash came out. “It’s a sign!” I didn’t think to myself. The only other coffee was decaf. Did I want decaf? No! I specifically wanted caffeine and plus I could kind of tell that this was decaf that was going to taste weirdly syrupy. It was a headache in a cup. A headache with a splash of hazelnut dregs. A hazelnutache. (Not to be confused with what that word kind of looks like which is hazelnutstache which would be a mustache made of hazelnuts. God how I wish there was a picture of that.) And really, I could easily have just tossed the cup in the trash and been on my way but instead I poured the cup of decaf and then drank it and it was everything I expected it to be.

“Why did I do this to myself?” I wondered, while sipping the gross coffee and thinking about the various things in life I’ve selected for myself that I knew weren’t what I really wanted. To wit:

My last car
The gray-brown couch which thankfully I no longer own
My amp except that doesn’t quite count because I didn’t really know what I was buying at the time and needed an amp and etc.
The last apartment I lived in but also I’m not sure that counts
I feel like there are more.

Answer? I don’t really know.

Oh! Also at one point I was choosing between a job I really wanted and which I had good reason to think I would get versus one that had been offered to me and I chose the one that was offered to me because I was afraid to roll the dice and end up with nothing. I don’t know that that counts though because I could have ended up with nothing and then I’d be sitting here writing about how that was a mistake and etc. Plus the less desired job ultimately led to television, so perhaps this tangent doesn’t belong here. You are unwanted, tangent! Oh wait, now I’m thinking of another job type situation that would maybe fall in this category. But again, I think jobs don’t count because mostly you just work because you have to and because you need money and because it’s better to be working than not. To really love what you do is an amazing luxury. Also, it’s precious. But not precious like pretentious. Just precious like rare and valuable. Like every word that falls from my lips.

In other grocery store-related news, I bought some fresh herbs even though I don’t quite know what to do with them. Do I keep them refrigerated? Or not? See, the meringue experiment has taken a drastic turn and I probably should have kept you all abreast of the situation but for whatever reason I’ve chosen to shut you out. Don’t take it personally, it’s just that you can’t be trusted. I mean, I’ve given you ample opportunity to prove me wrong and you’ve failed every time. Every thyme! (Get it? No? Okay nevermind.)

Basil, Rosemary

I decided the Splenda was getting out of control and so I’m not longer sweetening the meringues but instead thinking of them as savory cracker puffs. So long as I don’t overcook them and they get so dry and flaky I choke on the dust when I eat them and then gasp for air while coughing out a cloud of aspirated meringue, they’re semi-edible. I’ve been seasoning them with rosemary and sometimes basil. Could I be any more fancy?

Also, I have a headache.

I have other things to write about. I’ll make a list and then never write about them:

The Doug Benson Interruption
Throwing Muses
Will Ferrell on Broadway

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Endangered words and creepy girls

Gawker put up this post about endangered words and the scary thing is that I frequently use most of the words people are worried about losing and/or saying should be brought back. Why, just the other day I remarked to a friend, “Zounds! I’m headed to a hootenanny where I shall squeeze my guts with a stick! Then I shall tweet about any terrific frippery I encounter after said gut squeezing.” Which begs the question: Am I that person out there in the linguistic forest chained to a big tree? Because no one cares about that person. I mean, you don’t want them to get chopped down because that’s gross, but in general it’s like, “you should have thought about that before chaining yourself to a tree.” It also begs the question, does anyone chain themselves to trees or is that just a plot device from Family Ties?

It also begs the question if my references are anachronistic in the extreme so pretend instead of Family Ties I’d said One Tree Hill.

The other day Anna and I were talking and I told her a story where I’d worried I’d come off as a creepy goober and she stopped me and said nothing I could have done would be worse than having used the word goober. “But I like goober!” I weedled asthmatically. It was attractive. She relented a bit, perhaps I am more in touch with slang zeitgeist was the thinking, however I’ve since embargoed goober.

Goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober, goober…

Oops, embargo repealed!

So, want to hear the story where I was worried I came off as a creepy goober? I think you do!

I had potential plans to hang out with someone I don’t know well however we’re both incredibly famous and exceedingly wonderful. He invited me to a thing and I couldn’t go to the thing so then maybe we were going to meet up the following day. He texted, “I’ll touch base with you tomorrow.” I quickly typed into my phone: “Not if I touch your base first.” And, here is the thing, I was sitting there staring at my own text thinking, “Don’t send this, it’s sending a message you aren’t intending to send.” And then I watched myself hit send, knowing this was quite possibly going to make things weird, because ultimately I was more in love with my dumb wordplay than anything else. Hence the question which I discussed with The 404, can girls be creepy?

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Well, on the upside, I had to turn in fifteen jokes by tomorrow and I just turned them in. On the downside, I stole them all from Truly Tasteless Jokes. Hope these people enjoy Helen Keller and dead baby jokes! Also on the upside, the grocery store near my apartment got a shipment of the milk I like! On the downside, the fact that the grocery store near my apartment got a shipment of the milk I like is an upside. On the upside, I bought more Brussels sprouts. On the downside, I accidentally put them in the freezer. On the upside, I had a baby. On the downside, I accidentally put it in the freezer too. On the upside, I can joke about such things. On the downside, now you all are afraid of me because what kind of monster makes those jokes? On the upside, I started walking down the wrong street thinking it was the one I lived on tonight but realized it about halfway down the block. On the downside, the block’s half empty. On the upside, I don’t have any major assignments hanging over my head. On the downside, I don’t have any major assignments hanging over my head. On the upside, my hair is very lovely. On the downside, do you people only love me for my lovely hair? On the upside, lovely hair, I said. On the downside, but I totally need a haircut and there’s all sorts of split ends and flyaways and it’s time to get it straightened again except I’m sort of maybe thinking of letting the curls come back. Thoughts? On the upside, I’m kind of in love with the vlogs I’ve/we’ve been doing lately. On the downside, there is no downside on that one. On the upside, I’m a little bored and antsy. Not presently, because I’m tired, but just in general and in my life. On the downside, yeah bitch, who the fuck isn’t? On the upside, in the olden days, men would turn to the sea at times like this. On the downside, I get seasick.

Sorry about the language, Todd!

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Last night I went grocery shopping

Think I’m not the kind of person who buys Brussels sprouts? Well I just want you to know you’re wrong. Feast your eyes on the below and then simmer in a pot of your own wrongness.

Yeah that’s right. I bought Brussels sprouts. And I’ll do it again. In fact, I like to pretend I’m in Belgium and just call them sprouts. As in, first I’m going to have, um, waffles, and then, um, chocolate, and then, um, sprouts, and then… and then I run out of things that have Belgian or Brussels in front of them. Anyone? Moving on…

I also am the kind of person who buys broccoli which, as you can see above, is thoughtfully wrapped in saran wrap by the grocery store. And not just any saran wrap, but blue tinted saran wrap. I make sure to request it.

“Hey, could I get the Saran Wrap that makes the food look toxic?” I say. Oh yeah, I also buy mushrooms, seen above. But sometimes I feel like something that tastes more like a jar so…

I opt for these. According to the label they’re “America’s Favorite Mushroom since 1928.” On the top it says “Sell by 1929.”

Oh and I also buy milk.

But this is the milk I prefer however the store only has it never to sometimes. It’s half the calories of nonfat milk but tastes more like regular milk if you took that regular milk and divided it in half and then replaced half with water and half with paste and then thinned it out with magical polymers and silicon. It’s delicious!

So but you’re probably wondering what I do with the Brussels sprouts? I’m reminded of my friend the epicurean who claims microwaves are only for heating and reheating. Not so, guy. (Just searched in vain for a link to anything aforementioned friend has written but all I’m coming up with are douchey wireimage shots, so I’m going to just leave it alone. You get the gist.)

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I'm on Red Eye on Monday–wait, no I'm not.

Remember how I was going to be on Red Eye tonight? Well shit happens, things change, people disappoint you. I mean, grow up, you babies. What, you think I can spoon feed you air dates forever? I have to go to France to find myself! Maybe I’ll grow my hair out and burn my bra and burn the turnips I’ve been making for supper every single night since the great turnip famine. Maybe I don’t even know HOW I like my turnips. Maybe I never stopped to think IF I like turnips. Maybe I’ll get my ears pierced and not just one hole in each ear but two! I’m telling you, I’m CRAYZEE like that and I might just do it. I would need to pass it by your father and my pastor first, but then I totally might get genuine diamanelle studs in each ear, twice. But what will the women at the auxiliary club think? They just know me as Helen. Trusty ol‘ Helen who makes turnips and fudge and doesn’t have extramarital affairs or pierced ears.

Who said anything about an extramarital affair? Is it getting hot in here? I have to go check on my turnips before Ned and the kids get home. Ned’s indigestion has been pretty bad lately and Lewis entered his solar system in the science fair and I do hope he got at least a ribbon. I stayed up half the night painting Uranus.

Oh, just out of plaster of Paris and acrylic tempura paints.

At the start of this email I was going to tell you how I was rescheduled for Monday but in the course of writing it I found out there was a bit of booking confusion and so I’m not on Monday but will be on next week. I feel the not Monday thing isn’t certain though. So we’ll see.

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Not my best vlog but I answered some questions! (and my mom called)

Did I just stop breathing for a second? I feel lightheaded and out of it/retarded. And if you happen to be my one friend who doesn’t like the word retarded… I’m sorry. I’m offensive right now. Offensively slow. In fact, if I cared at all about only coming off as fantastically entertaining I would take this vlog out back and shoot it. But no, I’m too lazy to do another one so up this one goes. Consider yourself warned.

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