The Desk Of Holding


I have always been the type of person who likes a good desk, and could sit at a good desk for hours without even being productive. Drawers, cubbies, shelves, a nice hutch, a place for everything and everything on my desk. My desk has been my hub, my sanctuary, my clubhouse. Growing up in our Queens apartment, I shared a room with my 9 years younger sister, and as she and I grew our identities, mine was solidly showcased in the corner where my desk sat, adorned with all of the trappings that told you most of what you needed to know about me. The most precious of my books lined the small hutch shelf, with selected action figures mingling amongst the titles- my mascots and guardians, all. A drawer filled with just the right kinds of pens, another brimming with the notebooks that held all of my Very Deep Thoughts and lists of Important Things. My sacred stereo system on the shelves to my right provided both the integral soundtrack of my life and just the right amount of enclosure. It was a type of womb that nurtured and protected me from my external anxieties.
Even as an adult I have craved that crowded nook, despite having all of my own (mostly) space. I don’t need to resign myself to a corner and contain my self-expression- ridiculous as it might be- but sometimes I feel like I haven’t yet learned how to function outside of that space.
Deep, right?
So, here I sit, at my Adult Desk, now with fewer mascots and more pieces of paper telling me all the things that I’m responsible for. In place of a carefully assembled stereo system, a satellite radio boom box sits on the ledge to my right, providing an erratic soundtrack as I flip through the stations, madly trying to find that one goddamned song that will properly outfit the moment and let me slip into some kind of symbiotic relationship with myself, my desk, and this world.

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Raiders of the Lost Pants


I have dreams of being an adventurer- someone who knows their way around maps and mountains and villages hidden by time. Someone who not only appreciates the dark corners of the world, but navigates them with ease and style. Someone who walks around a lot and never says things like “I can’t go adventuring today because I don’t have the right kind of pants.” I want to be the person who can adventure in any kind of pants. Indiana Jones never complained about his pants, he just up and adventure’d in the same trousers that he wore on the plane from the States all the way to Nepal, and he didn’t think “Oh, I’m going to see Marion for the first time in, like, ten years, maybe I should change my pants,” he just walked through a mountain blizzard and into the tavern, flashed his wooly smile at her, in those pants, and then he fought a bunch of Nazis AND fire and still got the girl. In those pants. Granted, at that point, they’re kind of lucky pants. I wouldn’t take them off, either. Those pants are obviously something special. But what I’m saying is, I should just put down all the books and articles about adventure and ancient paths and wilderness living, and take this gift card to the sporting goods store and buy a pair of pants that I can go tramping around the mountains in and just be done with it already. Those pants that I used to have- those perfect pants with all the pockets- are gone, and so is the waistline that fit into them, so it’s time to just buck up and get some fat pants and go climb a freaking mountain before the Summer comes along and you’re back in shorts, 20 pounds heavier and wondering what you did all Winter.


Indy never had this conversation with himself, I’ll bet you anything.

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I experienced The House of Mouse for the first time in my life just last year, and, while it was exciting, it didn’t take my breath away. This is almost definitely because I went there mainly to stay in a Disney resort for free and see some friends while spending most of the time at Universal Studios’ Magiktastical Realm of Ohmystars It’s Harry Potter Landworld. Truth be told, I never even made it into the Magic Kingdom proper; we dove right into the Star Wars side of things and only left to head over to Epcot for their food and wine festival. “Disney” was really more of a general address, a place to leave our luggage, and I wasn’t very bothered by not having had the true Disney experience.

When we ventured down again this summer I was ready to let the Disney in; I had picked up a more than casual interest in The Haunted Mansion, and while that was going to be my focal point, my cynical suit of armor that had repelled the Disney brand for most of my adult life was worn thin, and I was ready to try going it unarmed. I was not prepared to be so completely consumed by the experience that a near-impenetrable bubble of joy would envelop and carry me through the many hours of standing and walking and riding and walking some more. Not only did the joy-bubble keep me in a state of bliss after my wallet was stolen within our first few minutes there (well, that was actually Bear, but I reserve the right to call her a joy-bubble), it allowed me to become Kind Of Okay With Amusement Parks for a time. Most importantly, I allowed the joy-bubble to lift me up to the hungry, smiling maw of the great merchandising beast and present me as a willing, fat snack. Down the technicolor gullet I went, beaming like an idiot while thinking if all of the splendiferous bits and bobs I would buy if I ever had a wallet and money again. A ten-dollar pen with a small metal Pooh bangle? CUTEST THING EVER! A hand towel featuring the likeness of Maleficent? GIVE ME TWELVE OF THEM. A packet of tissues featuring Jack Skellington on the disposable cover? I WILL PROBABLY DIE IF I DON’T OWN THIS VERY SOON. Mickey Mouse this, that and everything in between?



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Just Another Maniac Monday

Sometimes you just have to wallow in misery for three or four years before your department finally hires someone you can relate to. No, really, you have to stick it out. It’s not for the money or the security, and it’s certainly not for the job satisfaction, it’s because you have to know if this place really is only slightly less toxic than a Fukushima fish dinner or if it’s just you not being able to cut it.
I’ve been told that it’s definitely not me, but those good souls don’t work there, they can’t understand the daily battle between the minute-by-minute micromanaging, the unyielding workload and my fragile psyche, or fathom the jarring idiosyncrasies of the living alien specimens who dwell within our cube farm.
But sometimes they hire someone who speaks with a Scottish accent all day and can run lines from Doctor Who and Murder By Death and who wears leg warmers on her hands and stops by your desk to do this:


-and you think: “Maybe this will work out.” At the least, you know you’ll finally have someone to drink with.

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Walking With Tinysaurs

On Day 2 of Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself And Fucking Do Something, the challenge was to buy a piece of crap jewelry from the thrift store, venture afterwards to Michael’s Craft Emporium & Milkshake Palace and purchase whatever accessories I deem necessary to turn said piece of crap into Something Awesome. Scanning the mess of castaways beneath a scratched glass  countertop, I selected a slightly tarnished gold pillbox with tiny rhinestones embedded into the waffle-print lid. I don’t think I was immediately struck by inspiration, but I felt good about my choice. It was…not attractive, but I do love a hinged lid.


We later ambled into Michael’s where I started perusing the aisles until an idea presented itself. I picked up some Scene-A-Rama moss, a bag of miniature rubber dinosaurs, and some midnight blue enamel paint with the idea of creating a a miniature scene inside of the pillbox.

With the enire “Walking With Dinosaurs” series playing in the background, I dug into my stash of collected natural ephemera, deciding on some dried flowers from Bear’s childhood home in Boulder, and some tree bark from our hike in the Rocky Mountains. I had wanted to use some of the stones and wood collected in the desert north of Phoenix, Arizona, but…PILLBOX. I’ll save those for another day.

The Supplies

And then I made this thing:

Project 2End Product2

I botched the paint job, so I’m going to try and strip it down and reapply, letting the rhinestones shine through; I was going for a midnight sky full of stars, but I’ll take Paint Job Not Done By Blind Girl. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the end results.

And now I have to take it to work and keep it on my desk all week, as per the terms and conditions of this project.


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Speak up.

This is part one of an assignment I’ve been given by Bear to take a photo each day this week and write something about it for no more than 15 minutes. We’ll see how it goes.


I used to have a pin: it was a small green pickle pin, and in worn, embossed lettering, it read “Heinz.” I’m not sure where it came from, anymore. I think my grandfather used to work for Heinz. Well, I know he worked for Hertz, not sure about Heinz. Maybe someone at Hertz gave him a pin from Heinz. None can tell.

I loved that pin, it’s miniature shape having the bumpy texture of a fine deli jewel, and I wore it proudly on my denim jacket, which was covered in an armor made of pins. Exodus, Bon Jovi, Slayer, Anthrax, Saxon, Helloween, AC/DC, Metallica, Queensryche, Heinz. It worked for me. I love metal, I love pickles. Both have played important roles in my life.

I spent many weekends at the flea market with my grandmother, pouring through racks of comic books, buying ninja stars and knives, t-shirts with iron-on designs…but one of my favorite stops was the first vendor inside the main entrance: Julie, the Pickle Man. Julie had big wooden barrels filled with different kinds of pickles, floating in pungent, garlic clove studded brine. He always had a smile and a pickle for me to nosh upon while my grandmother tried in vain to interest me in the girls’ clothing in the booth next door. The pickles were crisp, sour, tart, salty, dill, and delicious.

When my family would eat at the deli, the waiter would first bring a bucket of pickles for the table, along with small dishes of coleslaw. This, for me, was fine dining, and it was not uncommon for me to gorge myself on these delectables to the point of being unable to order any actual food.

I have bought pickles from tall jars on countertops at convenience stores, pickles in one-serving bags filled with oddly colored juice from supermarket deli counters, and, as a kid, excitedly ordered cups of pickle slices from the register jockey in McDonalds; pickle spears with my sub, pickle chips with my grilled cheese, pickle bits in my egg salad. A platter of gherkins, a stack of bread and butter slices, a basket of fried sour pickles with a nice horseradish sauce. Give them unto me, and I shall eat them with aplomb.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a Heinz pickle, though.

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Review of New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole (New Holland Brewing Company)
Poured from the tap at The Marlay House, 2.27.2013

Beer was also handed out free of charge to weary travellers when the Wayfarer Dole was established in England. A Pilgrim’s Dole of ale and bread can still be claimed by all wayfarers at the Hospital of St Cross, Winchester, England. This is said to have been founded by William of Wykeham, (1367-1404), and was claimed by Emerson, the American essayist, when visiting Winchester.

Frey, Scheetz, Sheidy. 2008. The History of Beer [webpage]:

A day of utter office bollocks has ended with me feeling so sore as to ignore my usual social anxiety and retreat, alone, to the pub. Don’t get me wrong- I’m at pubs all the time, and I would be at pubs with even greater frequency if not for the usual demands of adult society, but through a combination of having excellent friends who also like pubs, living in an area ripe with pubs, and an almost paralyzing inability to hang out with myself, I don’t usually opt for a table for one. But work strife generally makes for boring conversation, and I didn’t feel like reliving any of the details anyway; it would all boil down to the same dull and pitiless conclusion (update yer resume! look for something else! job hunting can’t be as bad as dealing with this bullshit every damn day!) that would leave me momentarily energized before abandoning me to inertia. But I just couldn’t go home yet, not without bringing it all with me, so I pulled into one of my favorite public houses for respite.

I tend toward ales more than lagers, and most days I prefer the darker end of the spectrum. Guinness was my gateway drug, my escape to the rich world beyond the rule of insipid advertising that led to the El Dorado of taste (-Ice!, -Ultra!, -Extra Gold!, -Light!, -Lite!, -Ice Light!, and possibly the most vile of them all: -Lime!) In my youth, this seemingly endless plague of mediocre descriptors kept my friends and I contented and amused as we senselessly debated the merits of one over the other. Our tastes slowly evolved (Grolsch! St. Pauli Girl! LaBatts! LaBatts BLUE! Molson? Killian’s RED!)- within the limits of our distribution area and wallets. Good times, all, but friends change, tastes change, and most fortunately, the industry has changed, allowing a steady growth in the production of quality brews mostly devoid of empty promises. Which is how I find myself now sitting at a cozy wee table staring curiously into a glass of barleywine.

The seasoned palates over at BeerAdvocate review this as a wheatwine, as does New Holland themselves, though they do also refer to it as a “barleywine-style ale” so as to confuse us folks who tend to flunk the written. Barleywine is a sweet, malty ale that came about in 19th century England and has a high gravity akin to actual wine, which pisses wine off no end. According to, wheatwine is a more recent American invention that adds wheat malt to the barleywine recipe, thus making it “Similar to American barley wine, but with a grainy, bready flavor and a distinctive fluffy mouthfeel.”

This is a lovely looking drink, deep ruby in color with a modest but pillowy looking head. It smells sweet, but a bit naughty; maybe molasses, raisins and HOOCH. It’s velvety and pleasantly viscous, and those malty tones ring throughout. The full body of this ale is comforting. I’m not getting any bitterness, just a complex aroma and the gently lingering aftertaste of caramel and…uh…fruit leather? Shut up. At 11.4%, it’s easily helping me forget that my job sucks donkey balls. The head has evaporated somewhat, but a light, lacy blanket remains present… and looks a bit like Iron Maiden’s Eddie. Like, Powerslave Eddie. I’m going to try to get a picture.

I might take this opportunity to remind you about the 11.4% alcohol and the I Haven’t Had More Than A Cup Of Weight Watchers Zero Points Soup Today. I’m going to need the pub pretzel and mustard. The cheese plate would be a better pairing with the ale, but with the day I’ve had, I might end up hopelessly trying to cut my wrists with the cheese spreader.

During most of the drive to the pub, I debated whether or not I could muster the nerve to sit at the bar with the Real Players, but I’m glad I chose to sit at this table with the bar ahead of me and a panoramic view of the rest. Off to my right, on the other side of an open mahogany wood divide sits The Businesswoman, tapping away on her laptop. I can’t see what she’s drinking, but she seems both focused and happy. I’d be happy too if I could do my job from the comfort of a bar, safely away from the ceaseless misery that my office breeds.

It’s getting harder to type. I think the keypad on my iPhone is getting smaller. The letters may actually be moving away from my thumbs.

Two middle-aged gents sit at the bar across from me; one is drinking a very nice-looking amber and lamenting that his son acts out whenever his girlfriend stays over. His denim-jacketed mate has offered what I’m sure is sound advice, but I’m distracted by his beautiful pint of Guinness. All I heard was “point and shoot,” which I can only hope refers to a Nikon and the threat of an embarrassing Facebook post.

Next to them reside another pair of middle-aged men -motorcycle men- discussing lawyers, girlfriends and home life, and one’s apparent distress that “you can’t get to the attic for the teddy bears.” I can’t tell what they’re drinking and I don’t really care, because that quote has sent my Dole-addled brain into Imagination Land.

I’ve got a blissful buzz; this delicious, silly beer-wine-wheat-thing with the great name has momentarily succeeded in making me forget that my job is irrelevant, my co-irkers miserable, pouty, oblivious, conniving, spelling-deprived cogs in a reward-less, ungrateful, cannibalistic corporate machine who probably still love to drink things ending in -Lite.

Beer gone, now. Some of The Marlay players have changed, and so too, I hope, shall I. But for now, my greatest challenge is the drive home and the prospect of having to somehow cook dinner when my fingers are made of boiled spaghetti.

Overall, and with nothing to compare it to, I give New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole 4 out of five Foamies, both for the beer’s character and it’s effectiveness in helping me overcome my day. Recommended, friends and wayfarers.

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