mimi smartypants http://mimismartypants.com Seriously, though: what's with the penguins? Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:42:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 conservative backlash against breakdancing http://mimismartypants.com/2014/10/22/conservative-backlash-against-breakdancing/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/10/22/conservative-backlash-against-breakdancing/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 20:42:35 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1864 I am breaking all no-delete typing records today because when you don’t write in your diary in a while, but you want to, but you don’t, but you do—sometimes that can make a lady rather crazy with OH NO WHAT DO I WRITE. The only thing to do then is just go BLARRRRRRGGGG and type up some shit. Trying to gently craft that impulse into something lovely will never ever work, at least not if you’re me. Lovely can wait.


Documentary: Rich Hill

Books: California, by Edan Lepucki

Afterparty, by Daryl Gregory

Friendswood, by Rene Steinke

Birds: the burrowing owl

Kids: this one, who spoke to me at great length recently about what if all objects reproduced sexually, so if (for instance) you wanted a new toothbrush you had to find two sexually mature toothbrushes and get them to mate. The implications of this world were really rather horrifying.



Rocko has been especially troubled lately, the gabapentin really only keeping his twitches and anxiety down to a dull roar, and one of my very literary coping mechanisms is to think of him as a Victorian madman. It all fits: he needs drugs for his nerves, he paces, he shakes, he has dread. He needs to be with people and yet he hates people, and only a select few are allowed to touch him. He self-harms, he simultaneously thinks he’s the king of the world and a lowly piece of shit, and if he had been a fictional Russian in 1866 I can easily see him killing his landlady and then trembling and fainting all over town. Oh Mr. Rocko, you are the most complicated cat.


I like to picture snakes going to restaurants. It just makes me really happy for some reason and helps me fall asleep. Snakes wouldn’t need silverware but they also couldn’t point to things on the menu (which comes in handy when a restaurant has used a stupid name for an entree and you just don’t feel like buying into that). Snakes might want to curl up around the table’s votive candle because ahhhh nice and warm.

I imagine the busboy coming by to take a plate when a snake is dislocating its jaws around a whole roast chicken. “Are you finished, ma’am? Oh, I’ll come back later, no problem.” And the waiter: “How was everything?” But the snake does not answer. Call the snake a cab, it ate too much and now it can’t get home on its own.


It seems like the new thing in online news headlines is telling you why you should care. “200 Nigerian Schoolgirls Kidnapped! Here’s Why It Matters.” Here’s why it MATTERS? That makes my head all rage-explodey. Maybe I should go back to thinking about restaurants for snakes.

—mimi smartypants, half-price wine on snake nights.

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soak it up http://mimismartypants.com/2014/09/17/soak-it-up/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/09/17/soak-it-up/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:53:11 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1858 This morning I went to Starbucks for my semi-weekly unsweetened iced coffee with soy milk. Yes, iced coffee is easy enough to make at home but I don’t want it at home, I want it at work, I want it handed to me by a sleepy-looking indie-rock boy with terrible scruffy facial hair, and I want it in my special straw mug that gets me a whole ten cents off. (By the way, if you buy coffee-shop coffee with any regularity and don’t bring your own cup, I judge you. I see the same people every time I stop in, getting their disposable cups probably on the daily, and it really brings out the finger-wagging Green-Party-grandma in me. FOR SHAME.)

So anyway, sometimes I give the ‘Bucks some of my cash and I’m not going to defend it. Except I just did.

One of the main sleepy-looking bad-beard boys is starting to recognize me, and as he filled my cup with iced coffee and added the soy he gave me a quick hey-baby nod and said, “Fellow vegan?”

“No!” I said. Probably too quickly. As if he had said, “Dogfucker?” Or “Phish fan?” I didn’t mean to imply that being vegan was wrong or anything. I’m just not vegan. I like the soy milk because it’s vaguely sweet, and I need some kind of bitter-reducer but Starbucks syrup is disgusting. I guess what I’m saying is that we shouldn’t ASSUME things about people. OKAY?

For instance. If you had been following me on the rest of my Starbucks-to-office walk (get away from me, creep!), you might ASSUME that I am a crazy person who likes to loudly remark on things. But sometimes I can’t help it! On Kinzie, by a defunct steakhouse, a big fat rat ran right across the outdoor patio and around the corner! Big fat rat! In the daytime! So of course I have to yell, “It’s a rat! HELLO RAT!” I mean what else are you going to do.

A woman walking behind me said, “Ugh! So disgusting!” after I yelled my happy yell about the rat, and I didn’t beat her up or anything but I was sort of offended on the rat’s behalf. He doesn’t know he’s vermin. It is kind of uncool to call any animal disgusting. They are just doing their thing, man.

Even post-rat, I apparently was not done walking around exclaiming about things, because just one block later a car went screaming by with lights and sirens. It was a sedan marked POSTAL POLICE.  Which led me to exclaim, “HURRY! Postal emergency!” The rat-insulting woman had nothing disparaging to say about the postal police, though. She may have been afraid of me by that point. Or maybe she knows that it’s a bad idea to go around dissing the postal police. I bet they are real touchy about their job not being taken seriously, and will shoot a motherfucker for making jokes about it. They do carry guns. And maybe really sharp letter openers, or poison stamps.

Once I got to work I went to go put my lunch away and noticed that someone had brought a gallon ziploc bag nearly half-full of chicken salad. Not a container. A bag. What kind of depressing hobo glops a huge amount of mayonnaisey salad into a bag and then doesn’t even have the proper shame-response to at least hide it inside another bag? I did not exclaim aloud about the bag of chicken salad, but I am eyeing all my coworkers with suspicion, and the memory of its squishy presence has been haunting me all day.


Next week marks fifteen years of this online diary thing, and I have been toying with the idea that maybe that is quite enough, thank you. In fact, I had not updated in so long that I sat down to type a mic-drop “thanks for the memories”-style entry, but then this crap came out instead. So maybe I’m not quite done yet? I don’t know.

—mimi smartypants is to blame.


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another plastic bag http://mimismartypants.com/2014/08/18/another-plastic-bag/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/08/18/another-plastic-bag/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:32:19 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1852 TWO OF MY FAVES

On Twitter, I follow both Snoop Dogg, who posts a photo approximately every five seconds (the man likes his Instagram), and the National Maritime Museum. Both avatars are somewhat dark and swirly. When they end up right next to each other and I am reading the feed quickly, it is easy to imagine Snoop wishing a happy birthday to Matthew Flinders, 19th-century British cartographer, or the National Maritime Museum participating in #puffpasstuesday.


1. Nora attended a week-long Chicago Blackhawks-sponsored hockey camp, one of three girls there and about fifty boys, and each day entailed more exercise than you and I probably do in a week. Morning skate skate skate, tons of drills, get undressed and go to dryland training (burpees, running, pushups, agility things), eat lunch, get dressed again for more skating, get your sweaty little butt home and in the shower, do it again the next day.

2. She got to hold Kendall Coyne’s silver Olympic medal. On the last day’s scrimmage, a giant bird was their referee. He dropped the puck out of his beak.

3. I took a week “off” (meaning I still answered email and worked on projects) to drive her back and forth to this thing, and ended up very glad I do not have to commute by car, because driving every day SUCKS.

4. As I trekked around the stupid north shore suburbs, I noticed that Niles has two different numbers on their population signs, depending on your direction. Get your shit together, Niles.

5. The only reason I went to Niles in the first place was to restock Nora’s miso and udon at Super H Mart (she has odd breakfast requirements). It is dangerous to shop at Super H Mart in the middle of the day, as the place is full of tiny mean Korean ladies who will body-check you in front of the seafood counter lest you get all the good squid before they do. (I was just looking! I didn’t even want any squid! I did want those small puffed-rice snacks that are shaped like chicken drumsticks and claim to be “fried-chicken flavor,” and maybe some of that totally inoffensive Korean beer, but the store was out of both items. DAMN IT.)

6. The last day of camp was the most strenuous of all, as the night before Nora had been up until after midnight at the Katy Perry show. Yes. I survived. It was her big birthday present and I had been worried about my ears and my psyche and the possibility of blindness from getting glitter in my eyeball, but I am okay. Two full hours of Katy Perry is rather more than you need (that woman works hard), and two opening bands was complete overkill, especially the first guy who was nigh-intolerable. All you need to know about him is that he played the keyboards and wore fishnet on his arms. PLEASE NO I WILL DO ANYTHING JUST MAKE IT STOP.

7. Katy Perry as a person alternately makes me think “I would so hit that—I might not want to hang out later, but I would definitely hit that” and “Damn, I need to get to the gym right now.” Musically? Whatever. It is what it is, catchy and annoying and annoyingly catchy.


As I moaned about on Twitter, I recently had a sad time at the gym. I was at my normal weightlifting class and toward the end I started feeling kind of woozy. After sitting out a few reps it was not getting better, so I started stumbling to the door, with my vision all blackspotted, and crumpled up outside the studio. An overly excited person shouted, “Someone’s down!” This was mortifying but, given that my gym doubles as a cardiac rehab facility, understandable. A beefy trainer crouched down to talk to me, and tried to get me to sit on a chair, but the floor was serving me just fine as I did not yet have the blood pressure necessary for any type of verticality. Eventually it passed, and he put a cold towel on my neck which was lovely, and I apologized about eight million times, and he told me all his own embarrassing over-workout stories, one of which involved vomiting into his own gym towel, and I felt better. Not better enough to go back to weightlifting class, but enough to walk around the track and head home under my own power.

Movies and soap operas and Victorian novels would have you believe that fainting is a passive, calm thing, like just fading away into unconsciousness, but as a fainter I can tell you it’s actually awful. That buzzy head, that black-spot-vision, that thing with the heartbeat, it all feels like a goddamn panicky DEATH EMERGENCY and is nothing like falling asleep. No thank you.


So I guess about four months ago a mentally ill rapper cut off his penis and then jumped off a building. I come here not to make fun of him, because it sounds like what led up to that was no fun at all, but the story really is a goldmine of lovely quotes. For instance: “I’m still alive, penis or no penis.” (No penis, in this case.) And Fox News, bless their hearts, decided to unnecessarily elaborate on the story and get sound bites from an assistant professor of urology, who had this to say:

The best way to transport the amputated penis is to put it in a plastic bag and put that plastic bag in another plastic bag with ice and slush, which cools it, and then get into the operating room as quickly as possible.

I don’t know, something about the putting it in a plastic bag and putting that plastic bag in another plastic bag really gladdens my heart. Put that plastic bag in another plastic bag and that plastic bag in another plastic bag and it’s plastic bags all the way down, with a tiny shriveled-up amputated penis at the center. A METAPHOR FOR AMERICA.

—mimi smartypants: U don’t have 2 be rich 2 be her girl.

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gathering of neuro-nerds http://mimismartypants.com/2014/07/31/gathering-of-neuro-nerds/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/07/31/gathering-of-neuro-nerds/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:11:06 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1848 ENLIGHTENED SELF-INTEREST


Recently I remembered this deeply weird clip from Sesame Street about the geefle and the gonk. From the planet Snoo. Oh come on, you remember too.

They end up cooperating OF COURSE, that’s the message of like 85% of vintage Sesame Street sketches, although it amuses me to think of some alternate-universe Ayn Rand-ian children’s program where the geefle picks the nectarines and the gonk runs away with all of them. Because he is a superior ubermensch with firm strong arms and an aloof manner who lights his cigarette in silhouette at a picture window overlooking the nighttime cityscape.

Also, this clip makes me wonder what kind of twisted natural selection is at work on the planet Snoo. There is an upright-walking creature that is unable to bend its arms? And its preferred food grows on trees, but it doesn’t have a long or extendable neck? Cruel, cruel universe.


1. When I am naked and waiting for the shower to heat up, sometimes I pluck out a few random nipple hairs. I always mentally congratulate the nipple hairs for getting so long and silky in such a short time. How do they do that?

(By the way, I’m not trying to nipple-hair-shame you. I don’t think worthwhile sex partners care one way or the other about nipple hair, since mostly they are just like HEY WOW NIPPLES. So pluck or don’t pluck, whatever, I just get bored sometimes and the tweezers are right there.)

2. A pushy security lady kept referring to my “son” while I was signing Nora in to my office building, and normally we don’t really respond to that because who cares, we will probably never see that person again. But for some reason it got to me so I said, “Actually, this is my daughter,” and she immediately made it worse:

Pushy Security Lady: OH! I didn’t know! So sorry!

Me: Don’t worry about it.

PSL [to Nora]: You really kind of look like a boy!

Me [gritted teeth, fake smile]: Mmmmm. [WTF?]

PSL [to Nora]: Don’t you want to get your ears pierced? Would your mama let you? That would make you look more like a girl.

Nora: Um, I don’t really want my ears pierced.

Me [finally done signing in, which is good because I’m about to SLAP A BITCH]: Okay, let’s go upstairs!

Are you serious? You’re asking a kid to get body piercings for your mental convenience?

I think we need t-shirts that say PLEASE DON’T FRET ABOUT MY GENDER PRESENTATION.

3. File under “stuff I didn’t know about the plague.”  Including how pretty it is under the microscope.

—mimi smartypants, gleefle gleefle gonk gonk.

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w.a.s.t.e. http://mimismartypants.com/2014/07/23/w-a-s-t-e/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/07/23/w-a-s-t-e/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:18:13 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1845 TOO MUCH DRUGS, PART 1

I went to San Francisco for work. Again. First I hung out with a bunch of surgeons and had dinner, and then I sat with the same surgeons while they argued about stuff. I attempted to take action-item-style notes on the arguing but sometimes it ended up looking like this: “Dr WeirdlyTinyHead suggested that readership survey create plug-and-play leadership skills appropriately utilize performance-based infrastructure arglebargle foofaraw watermelon canteloupe alkdjfsdfjsldfksjdfsa; alsdkfjwp.” There. Type that up on letterhead and I’ll see all y’all next year. Peace out.

The rest of the weekend was way better because I stayed with @baconmeteor and yeah it amuses me to refer to actual real people with Twitter handles so get over it. We watched World Cup games (verdict: soccer is still baffling), went hiking (normal people would call it an “outdoor walk,” but elevation is exciting to this Midwestern girl), and ate all manner of delicious things while yammering to each other pretty much nonstop. We think we are so goddamn interesting. (And we ARE.)

At one point I enjoyed a portion of a marijuana beverage, courtesy of someone with a generous heart and a dispensary card, and it was one of the more unusual highs I’ve had. Edibles (or, in this case, potables) are always more of a ton-of-bricks experience than is ordinary old-school smoking, but this was particularly special. When it was time for me to retreat to my sleeping quarters I had a weird urge to creep around and safety-proof everything. I unplugged a lamp I didn’t like the looks of (electrical fires!) I rolled a small rolling file cabinet in front of the door that opened to the outside (you know, so rapists and murderers would be…mildly inconvenienced). I took my chill-out-and-go-to-sleep pill very slowly and carefully, with lots of water, and tried to remember how to self-Heimlich (just in case). Eventually I got into bed and coaxed myself into slumber by imagining different things my skeleton could be made of and how that would feel. My skeleton is bamboo, so light and environmentally responsible. My skeleton is neon tubes, and the femur’s on the fritz. My skeleton is those yogurt tubes that kids like, squishy and nutritious.


Speaking of edible marijuana treats, maybe that would be a good way to use up all this damn zucchini.


That’s one of many, people. We’re up all night to get squashy. From Wikipedia:

In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable; it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, zucchini is a fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.

There’s homemade chocolate-chip swollen-ovary bread in the break room, everyone! Actually a lot of the healthier things we eat are swollen ovaries. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly swollen ovaries.


Also, I went to a Michigan beach for a weekend. I am way too Mediterranean to acquire sunburn, but I did end up with a mysterious bumpy, itchy rash all over my arms and hands. Attractive! In an effort to quell the maddening itch and get some sleep, I took a total of four Benadryl that night, which is really a Sid Vicious-level dose if you ask me, and had an evening of dozing and drooling. I dreamed that I was a personal assistant to a fancy fashion-person in a dream version of Manhattan, and I had a chihuahua named Rakim or Akil (it was unclear).

(If you had a chihuahua named Rakim, would you also need to get one named Eric B? If you had a chihuahua named Akil, should you also adopt dogs named Chali 2na, Mark 7even, and Zaakir? Probably.)


At the beach we saw a bachelorette party, whooping it up with go-cups of what was probably some terrifying sugar-free-Redbull-based “cocktail.” Out of the eight women in the group, only one did not have a bellybutton piercing. What made me saddest was the novelty inflatable beachball they were tossing around, which had an inflatable pink cock-and-balls trapped inside it. The inflatable wang threw off the balance so the ball had a weird trajectory, and the thought of one of those bridesmaids putting that thing in her basket at the card-and-party store depressed me beyond words.


I saw my shrink at Whole Foods but did not speak to her. She was getting something out of the bulk bins. Lady, you are a medical doctor, is that a germ-free way to get brown rice? No it is not.

—mimi smartypants, $1.99 per pound.

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stigma pistil stamen http://mimismartypants.com/2014/06/24/stigma-pistil-stamen/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/06/24/stigma-pistil-stamen/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 20:50:49 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1839 FIVE-OH TYPESETTING

I cannot stop listening to the Chicago police scanner. Be warned, you may be reading highlights here every so often. Here is today’s best exchange from Chicago’s finest. I’ll let you do the accents in your head.

Voice 1: Suspect is a male white, about five-nine, wearing gray sweatpants and a black shirt with Stewie from The Family Guy.

Voice 2: That ain’t helping me much.

Voice 1: Stewie’s the dog.

Voice 3: What? Stewie’s the kid! With the big head!

Voice 2: Whatever, 10-4.

Also in Chicago news: WTF is going on with the sudden cap/lowercase street signs? Street signs have always been all-caps here. Except now it seems that when street signs are replaced the new ones are cap/lowercase (Ardmore at Western and Foster at Kimball being 2 northside examples). With the result being that everything is all MIXED UP, type-wise. And INCONSISTENT. It troubles me greatly.


My slightly terrifying gynecologist found “something” the last time she was poking around my business, so she referred me for an ultrasound. I guess slightly terrifying gynecologists and slightly terrifying ultrasound techs run in the same circles and give each other business, because the ultrasound lady was basically a carbon copy of the girl-parts doctor: loud, sporty, alarmingly enthusiastic about delving into people’s private parts.

Both kinds of ultrasound were ordered, and if you don’t know what “both kinds” means, stick around because you are about to. First I had to be chastised for not drinking enough water, although it certainly felt like enough if you ask me, and I got left alone in the room with all the expensive computerized things with several more bottles to chug. Then I had the standard pregnant-woman-style ultrasound that you see in the movies, blah blah blah. Then I got to go pee (YAY) and took my pants off for the other type of ultrasound, where the wand goes on the inside. In the loud, soccer-coach-ish words of the tech: “I’LL LUBE IT UP AND YOU STICK IT IN!” Whoa whoa whoa okay ultrasound lady. Nice to meet you too.

(Report came back with the news that I have two small fibroidy things, but they can probably just stay there as long as they are quiet and well-behaved.)


Ditched my iPhone over the weekend—LT wanted a Google phone, because he definitely welcomes our Google overlords, and after some reflection I realized that I did not regularly use even one Apple-specific thing on my phone. I stream music (and NOT from crappy old iTunes radio), I don’t particularly care how I text, and just about all my favorite apps are available in Android versions. So we both swapped out our phones, and the deal even allowed us to get Nora the cutest little smartphone ever, so she is in screen-obsessed pre-teen heaven. And I have all kinds of parental controls and find-your-ass GPS options that are not quite necessary yet, but may become so in a few years, so ha ha ha joke’s on her.

Other new things include the look of our front yard. There was an evergreen bush that I never liked so a few weekends ago we hacked it down. We planted ground cover and replacement bushes, but of course they are still small so right now it just looks like a dirt patch with a few salads randomly dropped in. I am sure the neighbors think we ruined everything. GIVE IT TIME!

I am sick of giving the tomato plants in the back yard time, however. They grow and grow, spilling jungle foliage everywhere, and they flower and flower, but the flowers are not turning into tomatoes.

A gardener friend suggested that sometimes the pollen gets too sticky to fall and that I could hand-pollinate, using a cotton swab to carefully rub the pollen directly onto the female part of the flower. That is a bit more involved in tomato sex than I wish to be. Maybe I could ask the ultrasound tech. She’d probably be into it.

—mimi smartypants is waiting for sync.

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ORDSFO SFOORD http://mimismartypants.com/2014/06/19/ordsfo-sfoord/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/06/19/ordsfo-sfoord/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 16:08:50 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1836 This week I went to San Francisco for about 28 hours, not counting travel time. Here’s how short this work trip was: the television in my hotel room didn’t work and I did not even tell anyone. (I actually meant to say something at checkout but forgot.) Spent an hour in a terrible hotel bar,* eating a terrible grilled cheese** and watching a terrible sport,*** went back to the room, paid a king’s ransom for wi-fi, watched more Deadwood on the iPad, took an Ativan and went to sleep. The next day I went to a meeting where I think I said about 50 out-loud words, and then I went to the airport and got back on a plane.

I should not complain, as I actually like going to these things, and if I am going to tell editorial boards and chief editors what to do all day I suppose they should actually see my face once in a while. It was a disorienting couple of days, though.

*The bartenders seemed to consider it a terrible imposition to serve me, although the bar was not busy. I think that filling a pint glass with beer might actually be more interesting than staring into space, examining one’s fingernails, or straightening stacks of bar napkins, but judging from the sighs and eyerolls when I asked for another I guess not. That amount of attitude almost made throw exact change on the bar and just fucking leave, but my contrary streak made me think no, I will stay in your gross bar and drink more beer specifically because you seem to hate it so much.

**This trend of thick bread has got to go. I think the menu called it “Texas Toast,” which is a term I have never heard before but whatever. A grilled cheese is mostly about the CHEESE, don’t make me bite through a quarter-mile of BREAD to get there.

***Sorry World Cup fans but all the flopping really got to me in whatever game was on during my bar experience. Oh please you are NOT HURT. Tape an aspirin to it, you whiner.

Overheard in SFO: “It was baller. Massively baller. Massively, massively baller.”

(This guy was on the phone and eating some kind of kale salad out of a box.)

Overheard in ORD: “Sorry. I be tweakin’ on doughnuts.”

(This was a female maintenance worker who stumbled into me while cleaning one of the bathrooms.)

The weirdest thing about my trip was how I was stalked by ambient music. The place I waited for the shuttle from hotel to meeting was piping in a creepy whale song-ish piece. The airport security line area played a bouncy hurry-up-let’s-go medley of peppy beats that seemed designed to increase people’s anticipatory anxiety. (Is that what you want? Is it a strategy to make terrorists or drug smugglers reconsider?) And strangest of all, there was a rhythmic Brian Eno-esque whooshing/sighing sound from deep in the building that I could hear all night in my hotel room. I tried several times to record it on my phone but a more standard electronic hum from the minibar kept getting in the way. But it haunted my Ativan dreams, just like the crap grilled cheese and the lyrical profanities from Al Swearengen.

—mimi smartypants ain’t no hooplehead.

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panorama of breads http://mimismartypants.com/2014/06/13/panorama-of-breads/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/06/13/panorama-of-breads/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 17:32:46 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1833 WHATEVER THIS IS

A video that may not be safe for work, since it begins with a disembodied nutsack. But don’t worry, it’s not a main feature!


I saw the greatest mess yesterday. A cab hit another cab, not seriously, just sort of rear-ended/clipped it a bit. At-fault cab then passed the blameless cab, crossed the intersection, and pulled over at the curb, presumably to sort the whole thing out. Blameless cab must have thought that the other cab was fleeing the scene, because it hit the gas and tried to dash across the street, where the light was now red. So now blameless cab has run a red light and is stuck in the middle of the street, pedestrians and cross-traffic everywhere, and the air is full of honking and shouting and obscenities. Blameless cab tried to extricate itself, hit the gas again, and slammed into the side of another car. Not so blameless anymore! I kept walking as the cops arrived—good luck officers, this one’s going to be fun.


I’ve been married for 19 years! We had a kid-free evening over the weekend that featured Peruvian food and a 10 pm bedtime (but for GOOD REASON, if you know what I mean and I think you do). Jeez, I was such a baby noob nobody when I got married. It has worked out very nicely so far but don’t do it, kids!


A while ago I went to the psychiatrist for “medication management,” which sounds like she is going to give me a pill container and help me count things out, but which really means just showing up in person every six months to see if anything new has happened. Nothing ever has. I am still on my teeny little Lexapro dose, I am still wondering if I really had medication-worthy levels of anxiety and panic or if I was just disproportionately affected by the modern condition, and I’m still not sure if things are better because of the medicine, because of the placebo effect, or because of things actually being better. I haven’t gained or lost weight or become more or less interested in sex. I haven’t stopped making strange numerological lists or being a big weirdo, but I am not a panicky weirdo anymore, so…there.

Psychiatrist is mostly a good egg, although she has a sharp little half-smirking rat face and a tendency to “hmmm” after you speak as if she doesn’t quite believe you. She has repeatedly bugged me to go to therapy and I have repeatedly declined. I did make one effort that ended in disaster, and I just don’t have any urge to explain myself in a therapeutic way to another person. Shit is generally good, there’s nothing to say that I couldn’t say to someone who actually cares about me, and whatever. The only sticking point is that the psychiatrist brings it up at every single medication meeting, and it’s getting boring.

This last time I was making my usual demurrals about therapy, I finally said, only half-jokingly, “Hey, you’re an MD. Believe in your chemicals, dude!” She gave me her smirk and her “hmm” and answered, “You know how the State Department always wants diplomacy and the Pentagon always wants to go to war?” Which I took to mean, “I don’t really think you need therapy either, but I’m being polite to my colleagues on the psychology side of things.” Well. At least we all understand each other now. Maybe she won’t ask me again.


Neither Nora nor I will be sorry to see fifth grade go. It was fine, no icky social stuff or bad teachers, but it was not super-exciting either. You know what is super-exciting? Holding a baby chihuahua at a street fair.


I cropped out most of it in this photo, but the hippie volunteer in the background was wearing a shirt that said BE KIND TO ANIMALS OR I’LL KILL YOU. It had me wondering exactly how unkind I can be before I get murdered by a hippie. Can I make fun of animals a little bit? Can I not RSVP to an animal party and show up anyway? The shirt was unclear, but you don’t question a person with a threatening shirt.

—mimi smartypants G-A-N-G-S-T-A, that’s all you got to say.

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battle of the male strippers http://mimismartypants.com/2014/05/28/battle-of-the-male-stripp/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/05/28/battle-of-the-male-stripp/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 21:41:27 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1829 Well isn’t technology fucking marvelous, aren’t we just balls-deep in the future, isn’t it all so bloody awesome you could die. I am typing this from up in the air, having paid five American dollars for the privilege. I am on my way to Boston for the annual meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, and if that doesn’t sound like a goddamned party to you than I don’t even know you anymore. I’ll scholarly your publishing, sweetheart. All night long.

First, though, I had to be delayed at the airport, then a fat Chinese woman had to scream at me that I took “her” empty seat at the gate waiting area (I am sorry, but that is not how it works) (to deal with this I went Full Catatonic with my face and merely blinked at her while sipping my iced coffee until she stomped off), and then we got to sit on the runway for almost an hour! They announced that lovely fact even before we boarded and a nearby fellow passenger asked me, “Did you hear why?” and I answered, “I don’t know, just so we can all have panic attacks?” Man, there is something about being in a non-moving vehicle that really sets me off. Like, I can forget that we are all crammed together in a metal box or tube with NOT REALLY ENOUGH AIR as long as we are hurtling along at speed, but when the plane just sits or the subway comes to a dead-silence powered-down stop in the tunnel I will start to freak a bit. Hello Ativan! HELLO!


1. I have been worrying a bit about the phrase “physical plant.” It is such an odd combination of words.

2. One of the skanky clothing stores on Lawrence Ave. is having a summer sale on “SHORTS AND CAPRICES.” A sale on whimsy! Get it while you can! Or maybe a sale on sprightly lively music, who knows.

3. Over the long weekend we went for a family bike ride, Nora on the trail-a-bike attachment to LT’s ride, where she provides much pedaling power from behind, and me on my ten-thousand-pound but newly refurbished mountain bike. We biked up to the forest preserve trails and saw lots of nature, lots of picnics, lots of happy holiday-weekend dogs. Is there anything better for dogs than Memorial Day? The people are home all weekend, there are barbecues, there are Frisbees, there are little kids who have trouble holding on to their hamburgers and ice creams. We saw a deer right next to the trail, who didn’t seem to care about us and our bikes at all. (I am certain there will eventually be news reports of a fatal bike/deer collision.) We saw a bunch of people who had pulled off the trail to look in the direction that some hippie-type lady was pointing, down on the riverbank. She claimed it was an enormous snapping turtle. I looked and looked, but honestly couldn’t see it, and Nora looked and looked for even longer. When we pedaled off, Nora said, “I’m totally serious—that was just a rock.” I tend to believe her because she’s got great eyes. I hope hippie lady was trolling tons of bikers and it really was just a rock.

More later! Assuming this plane doesn’t crash.

—mimi smartypants, not seated in an exit row.


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exactly what http://mimismartypants.com/2014/04/24/exactly-what/ http://mimismartypants.com/2014/04/24/exactly-what/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:43:42 +0000 http://mimismartypants.com/?p=1823 1. I was walking near my office and there was a dead bird on the sidewalk, the mysterious kind of dead songbird that is dead for no discernible reason, but before I could even notice it properly a huge crow swooped down, grabbed the dead bird in its beak, and flew away. LUNCH!

2. If you can’t get enough of dead things, you should come to the corner of Argyle and Kimball, where there is an enormous dead possum! It’s not even very squished or decomposed, and it is quite interesting to look at. Hurry, supplies are limited!

3. As long as you don’t count the seemingly-interminable “8000 Unfunny Jokes and Riddles With Which To Torture Your Parents” phase (who publishes those books? they should be killed), Nora has always had a well-developed sense of humor. Examples include this joke and this joke,  and especially the joke at the beginning of this otherwise-tedious (unless you’re her parent) video:

Not even two and a half and she was making song parodies! Love that kid.

Recently we had another great leap forward in being hilarious. (Those are two phrases that you will rarely see together. Why did Mao Zedong cross the road? To kill 40 million people! Ha ha ha ha okay comrade time for your self-criticism.) We were walking to school and there was debris in our path, and I said, “What’s that? Oh…it’s a corn husk. And a piece of newspaper.” (Which it was.) Nora stopped walking, rolled her eyes heavenward, and dramatically intoned, “OH GOD! AN OMEN! WHAT COULD IT MEAN?” Okay, maybe you had to be there.

(I am sure it was just littering happenstance, but I do like to imagine a guy walking along eating a tamale and reading the paper, coming across a surprising story, and dropping both corn husk and entertainment section in shock.)

4. If you have access to HBO, you have to find this documentary called “Trophy Kids,” about bad sports parents. It is amazingly cringeworthy. I wanted to punch Golf Dad in the throat, in particular. (None of the profiled parents are great, but he was the worst. I have never seen anyone so relentlessly negative in all my life.)

5. You’re…not serious, right? (I think they are.)

6. Look at my shameless self-promotion!



There are funny people reading. I will not be nearly as funny, but I try hard and you should come by and pat me on the head and lie about how it was totally fine. And then we can have a beer.

7. I was scooping out one of the litterboxes and trying to get as many clumps as possible onto the scooper thing, because really, who wants to spend more time doing this than necessary, and as I was going into a corner for just…one…more…clump the balance shifted and I lost half the biosolids I had already scooped. And the thought that immediately flashed through my brain was, “Whoops, I got greedy.” Thanks for the pointless morality tale, brain! Thanks for getting all Aesop’s fables up in there. The Girl, The Scoop, and The Cat Shit.

—mimi smartypants, slow but not steady.

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