mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

sleeping on the balcony


So: dreary Monday in November. Odd backache from the weekend that will not go away (could I have really thrown my back out just being a late-night drunk on Twitter?) The piss-flavored icing on this filthy gutter cake would of course be CTA drama. My fancy transit card did not work this morning, and the attendant told me that “code 57” meant that it had been reported lost or stolen. Huh? Last week I did ask a question of the CTA, using their “contact us” web form, but in no way did I report the card lost or stolen. How good to know that the CTA’s default option for any inquiry is ARMAGEDDON BLOW IT UP RUIN EVERYTHING. If the CTA were a married human, and its spouse asked where it wanted to go for dinner, the CTA would probably file for divorce and burn the house down.

I paid for a non-smart card like a common prole, got on the damn train, and called the CTA. The customer service agent was one of those incredibly touchy types who seemed to mistake my businesslike inquiries for “attitude,” and she called me “ma’am” with a lot of special emphasis, as if I were highly unreasonable for not wanting my transportation card randomly cancelled without my knowledge. They are sending me a new card (even though I did not NEED ONE), they assure me that this will not change the way I pay (pre-tax payroll deductions) although I am not sure I believe that, and in the meantime I get to be annoyed by the extra half-second it takes to stick the ordinary card into the turnstile. MY TIME IS PRECIOUS, YO.

Immediately after I hung up with the CTA a man sat down next to me. I guess his penis must have been about four feet long and two feet wide, because I can think of no other reason why he felt the need to spread his knees apart like he was visiting the gynecologist. He also reeked of cigarettes to the point that I was involuntarily coughing and crafting a gas mask out of my scarf, and I swear my left pant leg still smells of smoke in the place where his disgusting knee was touching it. I nearly had a full CTA bingo card today, man: administrative hassle, inconsiderate bastards, and inexplicable “waiting for signals” delay. Too bad it was the Brown Line so I could not fill in the “ranting alcoholic” or “rapping homeless dude” squares.


1. If you are a masochist like me and need more things to worry about, you should read Everything Is Going To Kill Everybody. It is written by a Cracked.com contributor, and the jokey swear-word-filled commentary can get a little wearying in book form, but it is full of interesting facts about ways you (and the rest of humanity) can die horribly. Now doesn’t that sound nice? Very relaxing.

2. I read The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker. It was okay. When I started to read it I grabbed a bookmark out of my bookmark bowl, but it had a naked lady on it so I switched it for another one. Notorious literary perv Nicholson Baker does not need a naked-lady bookmark in his book.

3. Do you like neuroscience and feminism and snarky feminist neuroscientists? You must read Delusions of Gender. It is awesome. Particularly (a) the stuff about how our implicit sexism is so often at odds with our conscious attitudes and (b) the absolute evisceration of John Gray (the “men/Mars, women/Venus” dude).

4. Now I am reading this creepy noir thing called Before I Go to Sleep and it is not so good for sleeping.

5. Leave Pedro and Buddy alone, man! Is there a way to protest this?

6. I prefer Linguist Lioness to the Linguist Llama. Can’t explain why, I just do.

7. I am watching Breaking Bad on Netflix and have quickly become obsessed, to the point of fangirl shit like listening to the “insider” podcast. But if you are a Breaking Bad dork like me, I do recommend it—each podcast is about a half-hour and always has Vince Gilligan plus various other crew or cast members who tell little stories about how the episode was written/edited/shot, whatever. It is good for the treadmill and I dig it.


I was waiting at an intersection near my office for the light to change, and a lot of other pedestrians were just looking both ways and crossing the street since there was not much traffic yet. A random guy, business-casual, small goatee, was waiting with me as we watched all those jaywalkers get where they were going. Suddenly he said, “Law-abiding citizens! Yeah!” and held out his fist for a bump. I said, “Fuck yeah” and hooked a brother up, the light changed and we legally crossed the street, and I felt better about the world for a few hours. Thanks, dude.


Nora got glasses! She had complained about not seeing very well and the eye doctor said yup, about a -1 in each eye. Which sounded like crazy happy eyeball news to nearly-legally-blind me, but I guess it’s enough to warrant correction. In fact, for the first few days I got a little sick of hearing endless rhapsodies from Nora about how CLEAR everything is and OH MY GOODNESS I CAN SEE _____ FROM HERE and I CAN READ THIS LICENSE PLATE NOW I WILL BE A BETTER CRIMEFIGHTER.

Also, this weekend she covered one forearm with temporary tattoos—this particular set was sports-related, with a football, basketball, baseball, and soccer ball. We were reading our separate books in my bed and Nora suddenly exclaims, “Look at these wrinkly balls!” I managed not to swallow my tongue and mildly replied that yes, those temporary tattoos had gotten a bit scrunched up, sometimes that happens, but Nora had several more sentences about the balls being wrinkled while I made noncommittal noises with my eyes on my book and my fist shoved in my mouth. Oh my word.

—mimi smartypants knows full well they’re wrinkled.