Monday, April 15, 2013

MapQuest to Hipsterville

Online at McSweeney's

1. Start out going all Nostalgic for Something You Never Experienced and go straight into your Grandparents’ Closetand find something to wear, ironically. 0.01 mi
  • If you’ve reached for your grandma’s diabetic socks or your grandpa’s squirrel gun, you’ve gone a little too far.
2. Take the 3rd look at yourself in the mirror. 0.001 mi
  • The ukulele you have no idea how to play is still in your right hand.
  • The vintage Remington typewriter you tell everyone you’re writing your book on has never even come close to your right hand.
3. Merge onto your Fixed Gear Bike via Pushing Off Your Compost Bin. 0.01 mi
  • Your single-origin, fair-trade coffee grounds are now on the flimsy sole of the shoes you bought thinking you were helping a third world country.
  • Your liberal arts degree is in a sweater box under your bed.
4. Take the first right into The Most Independently Owned Retailer. 0.5 mi
  • Air plants are on your right, your left, above you and behind you.
  • There is a sale on three pinecones arranged by a local artist.
  • If you reach for a $75 piece of driftwood, make sure it is whimsical or also a box
5. Do a u-turn on Liking Gourmet Cupcakes cuz they’re soLast Block. 0.2 mi

6. Keep straight on Superhot a Second Ago, then merge intoAn Ethnic Neighborhood. 3.8 mi
  • Your rooftop organic garden is above people living below the poverty line.
  • The high-concept taco truck influenced by one trip to Oaxaca is parked in front of the family-owned taqueria.
7. Turn left onto Do It Yourself Way. 0.7 mi
  • That is not a reclaimed bookcase, it is just a chicken coop.
  • That cannot be up-cycled into a lamp because it is actually a cool-looking jug full of urine.
8. Do It Yourself Way becomes Do It Yourself at Ikea. 11.4 mi
  • Discover that your parents’ check has cleared at the ATM to your right.
  • Buy an Öppen Bowl and repurpose it into an Öppen Dome.
  • Move the umlaut in Flärdfull from the “a” to the “r” because no one is doing that.
  • Carefully arrange some antlers on top of the Bjursta Extendable table, then crawl beneath it and hug your knees and believe that you’re so intelligent that you’re depressed and below the poverty line, when, in fact, you’re middle-class and have nothing better to do but get depressed by buying a mass-produced table. Instagram it. Pin it. Hashtag it. Caster it. Farm-to-table it. Put a mustache on it. Thank your parents for it.
9. Make a slight right into The 1800s and start distilling your own whiskey and pickling things. 10^10 mi
  • If you introduce your black friend as your “black friend,” you’ve almost gone too far.
10. Artisanal Butcher Party becomes Too Aware of Where Meat Actually Comes From. 0.3 mi

11. Turn Slightly Pale and continue on Eating It and Tweeting It. 0.001 mi

12. Enter the Are You a Boy or a Girl Round-A-Bout, exitDoesn’t Matter But Your Hair is Super Confusing. 0.8 mi

13. Stay straight to go on to Standing in a Meadow Looking Dreamy and Wearing a Headband. 5 mi

14. Standing In a Meadow Looking Dreamy and Wearing a Headband becomes Mainstream. 0.3 mi

15. Keep right on Insisting You Always Stood in a Meadow Looking Dreamy and Wearing a Headband to take the Been There, Done That Attitude to A Whole New Level. 10 mi

16. Continue on Refusing Everything to enter Complete Authenticity. 0.0 mi

17. You have arrived at Nothing.
  • If you reach for anything, you’re not making it look effortless.


online at McSweeney's











Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Uncle George (by way of Richard Brautigan)

Your hat
Gone now these
Twenty one years

Your addictions
Gone now

Your hat
It's in a drawer

For your birthday
I take it out
Wear it around

Tipping it
At all the pretty ladies

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How To Prevent Asexual Assault

1. If someone is invading your space with a complete lack of sexuality, remember your elbow is the strongest point on your body. Use it!

2. Trust your gut. If you cannot imagine someone doing unspeakable things to you, NEVER let them into your car.

3. If someone who is happiest alone comes along and makes you feel uncomfortable, hold your hand in a stop position, scream “NO!” and back away.

4. When someone asks to borrow your pen, and you cannot place them on the sexual continuum, DO NOT hand them your pen. Instead, throw it on the ground and ask them to pick it up.

5. AVOID HANGING OUT IN BUSHES where individuals who reproduce by cell division, spore formation, fission and budding are likely to hide.

6. If you think you are being followed by someone who has no desire to have sex with you,WALK BRISKLY TO A THRIFT STORE, buy a sheer crop top, then step out and confront your assailant head on by turning your cheek and biting your lower lip.

7. Before leaving a party with someone you just met or don’t know well, make certain they are not an amoeba.

8. Never drink from an open container or punch bowl held by someone wearing an “Asexuals Party Hardest” T-shirt.

9. Understand that agreeing to go back to someone’s place can indicate a willingness to play Bananagrams so have the forethought to DRINK HEAVILY AND DRESS PROVOCATIVELY.

10. When a person attempts to tell you they are living happily and sexlessly ever after, force yourself to vomit on them. Remember you are the victim. You have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stuff I Overheard and Jotted Down With a Giant Pencil

Tranny At Lucy's Laundry Mart, Sunset Blvd.:

"I’m going to stop by West Hollywood for a little while, maybe make some money, then stop by a bar and have a drink, then maybe go home and make some dinner.”

Sales Woman at a Chevron Station, Redding, CA:

" 'K, I'm gonna go smoke, an after that, I'm gonna cut meat, an after that, I'm gonna go home."

In My Own Head, Cuckoo's Nest Roundabout, CA:

"...Oh, god. Seeing chipped nail polish on a corpse is so sad because it makes them a real person who had pride in how they looked, or who didn’t--who let their polish chip and didn’t wipe it off or repaint it. That's it. I'm never getting on another plane. Well, if I do, I'm painting my toenails perfectly. But, are my toes still going to be on me after my plane nose dives 30,000 feet and bursts into a fireball? What's the point, what's the point, what's the point. Fuck."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If somebody would please let ME write the elevator warning sign.

If elevator doors fail to open, do not become alarmed. It's pretty unlikely that you will run out of air or are stuck in here with a someone who's never had the opportunity to act out their bloodlust. Chances are also slim that this elevator will start dropping uncontrollably. Simply keep ignoring the other person (or persons) in here with you and frantically press the button. Then say "Shit! Fuck!" when you realize you've been pressing the 4 button, not the Alarm button. Calmly begin repeatedly pressing the Alarm button. Now, look over your shoulder and exchange frantic expressions with the others--your shared trauma now makes it socially acceptable to acknowledge their existence. Next, step away from the Alarm button and allow someone else to violently stab at it since they can probably do it better. If you are pregnant, now would be a good time for your water to break. If you're a complete asshole with anger issues, and your monster only stays bound by societal constraints if your excursions into the world are brief and unruffled, then start coming undone in an alarming way that no one else can relate to (even though they are also trapped in an elevator). See that woman in the corner crying and hugging herself? Tell her she's making everything a thousand times worse. When she starts to cry even harder, shriek that no man could ever love her. Next, notice that everyone is now staring at you in various states of petrification and raise your arms above your head and begin thrashing them around as if you are grabbing invisible things and really trashing the place. Once you tire, retreat to a corner, slowly slide down it until you hit the floor of the elevator you are trapped in with a limited amount of oxygen, splay your legs straight out in front of you, and stare at everyone with an eery tranquility. If you are everyone else, pack yourselves like sardines in the opposite corner and direct your gaze at your shoes. Help is on the way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

An Open Letter To The Inanimate Objects In My Apartment That Just Sat There While I Was Heartbroken

Dear Inanimate Objects In My Apartment,

As you all have been completely unaware of, I fell in love, and she didn’t love me back. I spent four years trying to make the right kind of face for her only to realize she had been looking over my shoulder the whole time. Leaving her felt like disowning a vision of myself. But I did leave. And I went straight home to my parents and got in their RV and traveled around the country passing thousands of cows and people until I realized the world is a big place and I might as well try again. So, here I am—a smidge gin-besotted—trying.

Did you even notice that, Recycle Bin? No, you didn’t, just like you didn’t notice or care that you’ve been so overflowing with empty beer bottles for the last month that I’ve started lining them up around you. This could’ve made your neighbor, Galvanized Metal Trash Can, feel cramped or at least inadequate if it was filled with anything more sensitive than yesterday’s congealed beans. But, it’s not just you two. All of my inanimate “friends” are guilty of doing the same thing: nothing.

Websters II New College Dictionary, did it ever occur to you that I kept desperately trying to redefine love? Bag Of Frozen Peas, I know you heard me when I got off the phone with her, and shouted “I want to hang up and not give a shit about you! To forget you like frozen peas in the back of my freezer!” Extra-Long Body Pillow, don’t tell me you didn’t feel a little used and abused. Same with you Porcelain Shower Tile, but you did a great impersonation of her, remaining cold and unmoved even when kissed passionately.

Ceramic Coffee Mug That Some Lesbians In Santa Fe Sold Us Cheaply Because They Thought She And I Were A Cute Couple, how can you even stand yourself when you know you stood for nothing at all? Pair Of Seven Jeans, Various T-shirts and Toothbrush, every morning I woke up at her place, I found you all stacked neatly on top of each other by the door. Did you honestly think she was just organized, or did it occur to you that you were all a part of the great pyramid of how much she didn’t want me getting comfortable in her life?

Allow me to give you all a brief lesson in the human condition. Humans are about 70% water, and the rest is guts, bone and minerals. But, because we are highly evolved animals, we tend to think of ourselves as fat, dull, empty and stupid. We are such a successful species that there are currently 6,792,256,639 of us on the planet—all of us frightened of being alone. We cannot be left on a shelf to sit, like you Wide Slot Toaster. When I leave you way up high on a shelf and forget about you and reach up and dust all around you but never touch you (not even once!!) you still have a purpose: making toast. When this happens to a human, that person forgets their purpose and goes around letting all the wrong people touch them.

I’m sorry, I’m getting off track. If it isn’t plainly obvious, I’m jealous. Inanimate Objects, you never have to worry that you weren’t given the proper parts to make it through life. You were. They’re factory installed, and if not, they’re sold separately, possibly with free shipping. And, one of the greatest things about you is when someone decides they no longer want you and sets you on a curb, you could still be someone else’s treasure. Best of all, when your machinery stops, it just stops. Have you ever seen an old man who can’t tell you what a shoe is but his legs carry him aimlessly around his neighborhood searching for his childhood farmhouse?

I just reread this, and I’m getting the idea that this is probably one of those letters people advise you to write for yourself and never show anyone. Oh well, it’s been therapeutic. Of course, I know reprimanding you guys for the intolerable pain in my chest is even more idiotic than stubbing my toe on your cords and screaming “fuckface!” at your little switch noses and your red blinking eyes. It’s just that these days I feel like a grandmother’s old leather suitcase, so sad and heavy and filled with things that are no longer useful in the world.

I’ll get better. I guess all you inanimate thingies can really do is be there for me. Be there or be square. Be there and be square. Just be there, because the world’s platter of hope and despair can be a bit much, especially when you don’t know which one you’re reaching for. And, trust me, sometimes it’s just comforting to clock out and stare at the platter.


Stef Willen (I bought you)

P.S. Pinecones, my apologies for keeping you slightly off center on top of the TV for so long. Similar apologies to Cow Vertebrae, for making you into cool candlestick holders. Please understand, when people need a big break from love, they start doing all kinds of things for artistic reasons.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sex On The Beach, A Haiku (except for one line)

You're about to lose your
virginity to a guy
named Sven--then lights dance

across your legs, in a
flashlight way, accusatory.
There's sand in your face,

his dick retreats from
inside you, from Spring Break, all
the way to his room

where he'll brag about you,
surrounded by plastic stuff;

baseball cups caked with
dried beer foam, and you're alone.
A gun's at your head.

Two Mexican cops
want money so you give it,
and you don't loose your

go straight to being a whore,
your sandal's slipping.

You don't hate men, you
just walk back like your world's suddenly
half off to one side.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Man Who Is Not Old Or Young Watches TV

After his wife has gone to bed, the man who is not old or young pours himself a shot of the good stuff and tracks a little bit of mud into the living room, but he’ll hear about that tomorrow morning. Before then, he decides to see if there's anything about dinosaurs on TV. Of course there’s something about dinosaurs on TV! And when some long-haired paleontologist is talking about how a giant asteroid crashed into the Yucatan 65 million years ago creating a globe-spanning debris cloud that killed off the dinosaurs but started life as we know it, the man who is not old or young can’t help but think about how all the cataclysmic events in his own life never really changed anything too much. Getting a degree, getting an advanced degree, getting married, having children, having children leave home, having an RV and being mostly retired; none of this ever started his “life” as he knew it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Online Dating, A Brief Synopsis

I sit on my couch
and wink at you.
The wink goes into space
then back to your computer,
balanced on your fat stomach,
which you've cropped out
of all your photos.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Mom and I Have a Dinner Conversation, Dec 30th

Background: The table has been cleared and my mom and I are drinking a nice syrah from somewhere in California. My dad is doing the dishes, and my brother is at the table listening to us. Somehow, we are talking about the chef Cat Cora. I am attracted to Cat Cora, so what follows is a bit confusing and has a very weak plot. Here, I'll start in the middle of the action:

Me: Mom! You really don't think I'm more beautiful than Cat Cora?!

My Mom: Cat Cora is beautiful. Haven't you seen her?

Me: Yes! I'm attracted to her!

My Mom: She is so naturally pretty, she is just beautiful.

Me: People tell me all the time I'm beautiful, Mom! They ask if I'm French or Swedish. Cat Cora is really cute, but she's Disneyland! I look royal! I'm almost like a greek goddess!!!

I think my brother agrees with me here, as he raises his eyebrows and nods.

My Mom: What do you want me to say? You have some royalty in you, but Cat Cora is really cute.

Me: So, you think she's cuter than me.

My Mom: But, it's partly how she acts.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Stockings: An Objective Compare and Contrast

Stocking Appearance and Contents at Age 10:

Overflowing, mutilated, misshapen due to heavy volume of presents of a variety of shapes and sizes. Contents: a large candy cane-shaped tube filled with flavored lip balms, a bag of Swedish Fish, two GameBoy games, a New Kids On The Block T-shirt, four neon slap bracelets, a bag of gummy colas, a six inch chocolate Santa, a Venus fly trap, a bouncy ball with glitter snowflakes, three packs of Bubble Yum, a crystal growing kit, a pencil with a Koosh ball on top, a tube of green lipstick that turns pink when you put it on, and a piece of paper with a hand-written clue to where the "big present" is hidden.

Stocking Appearance and Contents at Age 30:

Languid, enervated, misshapen due to a lack of inner volume of presents and the gravitational pull on several small solid gifts in the toe. Contents: two Mac eyeliner pencils, a pocket-sized digital recording device to help you remember things, 8 black uni-ball pens, and a twenty dollar bill stapled to a piece of computer paper with the typed message: "Since you refuse to go to Starbucks, consider this your coffee card to use at an independently owned store of your choice."

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21st Observations

My dad stepped on the dog's squeak toy today and said "Oh, jeez-US!"
He is now officially old. 
The other day, he waved to me from down the street.
He was wearing a flannel shirt tucked into his jeans, and he was trying to tell me 'Over here 
is where I'm parked. Come get in the car.'
I looked at him standing there under a tree, one hand in the air, and I got sad thinking about how 
one day this stupid scenario will be impossible. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Polite Thank You Letter For Twelve Days Of Christmas And A Pragmatic One

My Darling, 

What a lovely and interesting twelve days it has been! I had to take the partridge out of the pear tree because I thought he looked a little silly there, but that was before I had seven swans a'swimming in my bathtub. But, the pear tree is beautiful, and it should grow nicely where all those geese are a'laying and a'pooping! The UPS guy has tried three times to drop off two turtle doves and three french hens. Hopefully, I will be here next time as I don't think he will be able to just leave them on the porch. And those pipers piping and drummers drumming, I wasn't sure where to put them, but the drummers refused to share a room with the pipers, who they called "those queer faggots in tights," and left. Well, first they stole the five gold rings you gave me. I would've called the police, but one of the ten lords a'leaping landed on my cell phone and broke it. And did you mean to bring me nine ladies from Lansing? Lansing, Michigan? I'd check your receipt because these are all octogenarians who were on a tour of the Great Lakes when they were given $100 and told to get in a van. Anyway, their invoice says "nine ladies dancing" but they all assure me their fox-trotting days are over, and five of them even said it hurts just to stand. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but please get them out of here. It breaks my heart to see them come downstairs everyday confused and dressed in layers and carrying cameras. I hope you understand. Your gifts were certainly extravagant, and I don't deserve anything as romantic as all this. Also, I'm not really sure I'm completely set up for eight maids a'milking. 

Yours Truly, 



Thanks for the 23 birds. They flew off when the drummers arrived, but they'll probably be back because the milking maids brought all these cows, and I know birds like to sit on those. I've arranged for the 30 other folks you gave me as gifts to stay at the youth hostel until I can figure something else out. I had to sell the five gold rings to make this happen, but I'm sure you'll understand. The pear tree won't grow in this climate, so I tossed it, but kept the plastic potter it came in because it can be used to store tennis balls or turned upside down and made into a stool. Thanks again. 





Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Historical Romance

You are so cool toward me,
I try and melt you, 
but you are so cold,
it's like you were born
in a different century.

At least be Annie Oakley.
I'll be on my couch in jeans and Chuck Taylors
looking at a black and white photo of you.
I'll kiss my fingertip,
put it as close as I can to your lips,
drag it to your rifle and say "Bang!"

This way, I won't mind so much 
when you stare back at me 
all grainy and from a long time ago.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stuff I Wrote On The Back Of Southwest Airlines' Drink Coupons

Today sucked. I accidentally killed a lizard and I lost my prescription glasses. You don't know any of this because you have a girlfriend and it's not me.


Nothing makes you feel less vital to the world than flying above it at 33,000 feet and staring down at the intricate geometry of thousands of lives. It's the kind of thing that makes you order a scotch "neat." And when the stewardess pauses and says, "So... with or without ice?" it makes you just stare back and say "neat."


Great, if this plane crashes, there is no one here I want to hug while crying hysterically. Since when did trying to fall in love have so much in common with falling out of the sky? 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eating Alone, a Funeral

What no one tells you in home ec or anyplace else, is that when you're an adult, you're going to have  a lot of trouble making dinner for yourself and eating it. Tonight, I opened the fridge. Could’ve had a salad, could’ve made my own dressing, could’ve put soup in a pot, stirred it up and got it hot. But, I couldn’t find it in me to cut a cucumber, let alone peel it (in stripes, like Mom did). It’s unbelievably hard to eat by yourself. Sure, there’s the trick of turning on the TV, loading CDs in the 5 Disc CD changer, and catching a glimpse of yourself in the microwave and saying "Hey, you..." But nothing ever escapes the feeling of eating alone. It's the black hole of your kitchen, stretching you until you snap apart at your weakest point. Just getting out one fork is like being at a funeral—but at the beginning, when you still won’t admit you’ll end up crying, but can feel it coming on.



Monday, October 26, 2009

Los Angeles Observations, Oct 26th

A 12 story apartment building
is getting a bath, and a homeless man
shuffles past without having showered in weeks.
Life is full of bad decisions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Advanced Problems

1) If A = B, and B = C, then A = C

I think of you, 
and you don't think of me at all, 
it's getting creepy on my end. 

2) Sharon has exactly 6 quarters, 5 dimes, and 10 nickels in her pocket. She pulls out a coin at random and puts it aside since the coin is not a quarter. If she pulls out a second coin at random from her pocket, what is the probability that her childhood dreams are worth less than ten cents?

3) If Jim's penis is four inches long, and he leaves the train station at exactly 4:30 p.m., how many marbles does it take?

Every Time You Lick A Stamp, You Consume 1/10 Of A Calorie

And this was her excuse 
for never writing me. 

And to think, 
I drink beer
so I can write 
and put them into bottles 
and throw them into the Pacific.

That's how many calories I'd consume
on the off chance
of reaching her.