I know today is officially Chris' day to have custody, but...

RE: This blog post:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! It's 3:30 in the morning and I'm currently rolling around my bed laughing-out-loud. But like deep belly laughs. Because:

1.) Mom and Dad really did tell you to keep the clay model the class made because it was "almost just as good". I was three-years-old when this happened, yet I can still see you standing in the kitchen, jabbing pieces of grass at its clay mouth until you eventually gave up and hung your little head in disappointment all, "...........Damnit."

2.) I really was the living Samantha doll in an American Girl Doll & Me fashion show at Tyson's Corner. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Peaked young.

3.) Speaking of Chicago, the tables have turned, my friend. You just spent the entire weekend with Mark Stein, aka author of How The States Got Their Shapes, aka my favorite television show in the entire world, aka the thing I introduced to you. Would I trade my time with Abu if it meant I could hang out in Chi-town eating deep-dish pizza with Mark Stein, rappin' about border rivers, acts of Congress, pioneers, Mormons and the coulda-woulda-shoulda state of Deseret?..................................................................................................................................Maybe. It's a Sophie's Choice if there ever was one.

4.) Dude, it sounds like there's an all-out fucking frat party going on outside my window on 20th street and it's ungodly obnoxious. I realize it's Thursday night, Kids Will Be Kids, and I could simply close my window, but it's unseasonably warm out and you know I can't fall asleep without the gentle reassurance of a light breeze. You're my landlord, so please consider this my official complaint. And yes, I realize you have virtually no control over this situation and at this moment I'm watching illegally downloaded episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras and laughing about your childhood and in no way actively trying to fall asleep, but I expected some sort of dozing off to eventually happen. 

In the time it took me to write that last paragraph, the party seems to have dispersed. So thank you for solving that problem.

Oh! I have another complaint for you! (Sorry guys. This has pretty much just turned into an email to my sister and if you skip ahead to today's Chris post, I would totally understand.) OK, so I came home from running errands yesterday morning and Ruta buzzed me in, right? So I stop, say hi, ask how she is and ask if I have any packages, and she says in a completely judgmental tone: "Oh. Hi Meg. There are no packages for you today, but you certainly had a ton yesterday," and rolls her eyes like, "Oh that fucking baller Meg Rowland. She just sits in her apartment and Internet shops all day and stuffs more money into her mattress made of cash and diamond-encrusted lobsters. Must be nice." And it's like, dude, it's the fucking middle of December. Obviously those were Christmas presents and not for me. And I didn't know if I should say something like "Ha ha, 'tis the season!" to drive that point home, but then it's like, why should I have to justify my purchases to you, asshole? But at the same time, I know mom's present and my Hanukkah present from Chris are coming tomorrow and I'm completely anxious about it. My plan is obviously to go down later in the day when Henry's working because the only conversation he ever engages in is his soothing little Helllloooooooo!, but I'll still know in my heart of hearts that Ruta checked them in and it's going to affect me all weekend. 

So what I'm really asking is: What Would Mark Stein Do?


As Meg and I mentioned during our Elephant in the Room fit of honesty last month, we’ve been invited to speak at Yale. Let me set the scene: we were working on the most recent book, which was, hands down, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I can’t speak for Meg, but for her sake I hope it was the most difficult thing she’s ever done. As of Friday, I’m too old to be drafted unless the homeland is invaded, and barring unwelcome advances in technology I’m unlikely to give birth, so I think writing It Seemed Like A Good Idea… will stand for a while as the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
You know how when you have something unpleasant or draining ahead of you, you start doing everything in your power to avoid it? Well, unfortunately, I’d already done all the niggling little tasks I had to do while postponing writing my graduate thesis “Laughing at Hitler: Nancy Mitford in an Age of Extremism.” Actual title, and I got a good grade on it. Not only did I get a good grade, I’d been so reluctant to sit my ass down and finish it that I also had a clean refrigerator, resumes uploaded to multiple job websites, an organized recipe file, and my Christmas card list made. So with all that done, all I had to do to distract myself during the tearful orgy of obscure pop culture references that was the writing of It Seemed Like a Good Idea… was obsessively check my email and the Amazon sales rank of The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life, back and forth, over and over, like an epileptic terrier. I’d gotten no email in six hours and Misanthrope’s was persistently hanging out at a “respectable” level and so I was more or less doomed to start working when we got an email with the subject line “Possible Reading/Book Signing at Yale?” If you can imagine, this managed to distract us for a solid hour, for which I’m almost as grateful as I am for the invitation itself.
This started me thinking. Before I was officially the Other Bird and was just an occasionally recurring character, Meg, Ex-Co-Blogger Eddie, and I got together in Philadelphia and I may or may not have (but definitely did) streak a dorm at Penn. It was empty for the summer, so I’m fairly sure the only people who saw me were Meg and Ex-Co-Blogger Eddie, both out of the corners of their eyes, but still. With this head start, what if I just did a hijink, one single hijink, at each Ivy? I liked this idea so much I made myself a scorecard, with the seal of each Ivy, a check box, and a blank spot to write in a summary of the hijink. I couldn’t figure out how to do it in Paint or Photoshop, so presented here is your VERY OWN WORD DOCUMENT Ivy League Hijinx Checklist, so you can play along at home.

On the off chance I run through all the Ivies before I outgrow this idea, there’s always the Seven Sisters. If, in six years or so, you pass a hitchhiker in Massachusetts carrying a crate of whoopee cushions and a cardboard sign reading “Mount Holyoke or Bust,” pick me up. We’ll have some fun.


7 Things You Didn't Know About Me: 6-7

6.) I had a pet chameleon when I was in eight. His name was Abu and he was so noble and adorable that I want to vomit everywhere just thinking about him. 

My family had mixed emotions about old Abu. Becca was a straight-up hater (speaking of our shitty relationship growing up) because I had adopted him from Olney Elementary's third grade this-is-how-you-take-care-of-a-lizard unit...that apparently happened. Five years prior to this adoption, Becca asked if she could adopt her class' lizard and our parents wouldn't even entertain the thought. Five years later I asked and our family gained a new beloved pet. Similarly, Becca wasn't allowed to have an American Girl doll because our parents thought that they were laughably expensive and frankly, you've got some stones for even asking, missy. But me? Proud owner of both Samantha and Kirsten. Is this evidence that our parents love me more? One could certainly make that argument.

My father, on the other hand, was a big Abu fan. I might even go as far as to say that he was Abu's best friend...? In the whole world...? When I first got Abu, it was very much a FINE, BUT HE'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, YOUNG LADY situation, but somewhere down the line he stole Richard's heart and my dad spoiled that damn lizard rotten. Every Friday he'd go into the pet store he passed on his way home from work and buy Abu some new top of the line lizard accessory or gourmet bag of crickets the store clerk promised you couldn't find anywhere else. To give you an idea, Abu came to us in a small plastic fish aquarium and left in a giant glass habitat with mahogany detail, deluxe electric heat rock, and his choice of five high-res images of the Grand Canyon to serve as a backdrop, depending on his mood. (Although he didn't have an American Girl doll, so: Abu: 1, Meg: 1, Becca:...it's questionable.)

As far as pet's deaths go, Abu's was pretty traumatic. (Not as bad as the time Rachel killed my cat when we were in Hawaii and I missed the luau because I couldn't stop crying, but hey—we all make mistakes.) Like any other morning, I woke up, spritzed some water onto the side of his habitat and waited for him to scamper over and PFFFT! PFFT! PFFFT! it up with his little missile tongue. Instead, Abu, who was noticeably struggling to breathe, could only manage to turn his little lizard head towards the water and stick out a tiny portion of his pink little tongue before he collapsed completely. This image is scorched into my memory. This happened 18 years ago and I can still remember what pajamas I was wearing and what was on that bookshelf. It was almost as bad as the Christmas morning my family sat down at the kitchen table for breakfast and our neighborhood fox walked up to the deck and dropped dead. Almost

Back in 1993, I freeeeeeaked the fuck out, burst into tears, ran to get my mom and made her call pretty much every veterinarian in the state of Maryland until she found one who'd be like, "A one-year-old shitty little class chameleon? THAT'S AN EASY FIX! Bring 'em on in!!!" But she never found one. SHE NEVER. FOUND ONE. Instead, my mom sat me down on the living room couch and very sweetly explained to me that all the vets she talked to agreed that one year is an impressive amount of time for a chameleon like Abu to live and maybe this was just his time to go. Holy shit. It was horrible.

I blamed myself for Abu's death for months afterward because I was also babysitting Teresa's chameleon at the time, and instead of putting hers in a separate room, I put him on the table across from Abu so they could see each other. I thought he died of jealousy. How tragic is that??

Oh my God. Why did I choose to tell this to you this story? I feel like I'm about to cry and all I want to do is call my mom, but it's 5 o'clock in the morning and I feel like she'd disinvite me to Hanukkah dinner and Lord knows she only makes those sweet, sweet latkes once a year. I am completely miserable, San Diego.

7.) This last one isn't so much a piece of trivia as an anecdote Dan's been trying to get me to tell on the blog for a year now but I've been resisting because it makes me seem...well, racist.

Growing up, I lived a few streets over from an African American girl named Amber who's father was a police officer. A few years ago I somehow found myself having a conversation with a co-worker about how cops are assholes. My co-worker made the point that although yes, most police officers are assholes, it's also a really mentally and emotionally draining job that in the long run can have damaging effects. 

"So many of these cops," she said, "are put in a position where they have to shoot someone on the scene because it's a matter of public safety, but afterwards, it really fucks with their head and they're never the same. Nobody really thinks about that."

"Oh my God, I know exactly what you're talking about," I told her, "My friend Amber's dad was a cop and he had to pull a gun on someone one day and it totally fucked with him. He came home and got his hand stuck in a pickle jar and I remember he lashed out at Amber's mom and she was like, 'It's not about the pickles, is it? You had to pull a gun on the job again today, didn't you?' It really does affects family's lives."

After I said that my co-worker continued on with our conversation, but in my head I stopped and was like, "Huh...I wasn't really that good of friends with Amber. How do I know all of that? Specifically the pickle jar thing. Why can I see that happening so vividly...?" And that's when I realized that that in no way happened to my friend Amber's dad—I was thinking of a plot line from Family Matters. I had just confused the black family in our neighborhood with a cop for a dad with THE WINSLOWS.

I immediately turned beet red and all I wanted to do was acknowledge what had just happened, but I didn't really know this girl well enough to be like LOL RACE LOL!, so I had to just stand there like an asshole and finish having this conversation about my "friend" who's "dad" got his "hand stuck in a pickle jar" and then he and his neighbor got in the "Sexy Urkel Machine" and "Laura" was suddenly "interested" and it was an important "life lesson" about how it's what's on the "inside" that counts.

A year has passed since I told this story to Dan, who has since moved halfway around the world, but I still regularly get text messages from him being like, "I just thought about how you told someone your friend Carl Winslow got his hand stuck in a pickle jar and laughed-out-loud in a meeting," and all I want to do is melt into a puddle and slither out of the room Alex Mack style because it's so fucking mortifying.

So, 7.) I am a racist asshole.



7 Things You Didn't Know About Me: #5

5.) I only became friends with my sister a few years ago. Which sounds weird because now she’s one of my best friends and I was just her maid of honor, but it’s true. I think five years is a hard age gap between siblings. You get stuck in these roles where one of you is the obnoxious little sister who desperately wants to hang all the time, and the other is the bitchy older sister who doesn’t want to hang because you’re nine and hi, I’m in high school. It’s hard to shake that mindset.

This is going to make both of us sound like raging alcoholics, but I think the catalyst for us becoming friends was my turning 21. Being able to go out to bars and drink together changed things because suddenly we weren’t being forced to interact with each other in a family setting anymore—we were electing to hang out in a bar. With our friends. Like normal people. It was kind of the push we needed to realize that “HEY, IDIOTS—you guys aren’t five and 10 anymore. You’re grown-ass adults. Get to know each other.” And we did. Specifically on our family vacation to Napa Valley the summer after my Junior year. There was this extremely important moment between us in a hot tub (emotions were involved—where else?) one night when I was like, “You know what, guy? I like you,” and she was like, “Shit—I like you right back!” and we’ve been friends ever since. Mind you this was also the vacation when we shared “The Most Naked Experience of Our Lives.” That may have had something to do with our bonding. Allow me to explain…
So, a few days into our vacation in Napa, my sister found a write-up for the Calistoga Day Spa in my dad’s travel book. Intrigued by the spa’s hot springs and mud bath treatment, she suggested we take a drive up and treat ourselves to a little spa day. Considering the last time we had a spa day together it ended up being the Gift of the Magi explosive diarrhea/sun poisoning spa treatment swap debacle that was Scottsdale, Arizona, I was in. This spa had large, farcical shoes to fill…and fill them they did.

Now, I don’t think of either Becca or myself as prudes. Because nudity? Fine by me. I, personally, hate to wear clothes. Pants and I specifically have had a long, tumultuous history together. As I’ve mentioned, at any given moment I’m typically wearing a white wife beater with no bra and booty shorts and accidentally flashing my bits to whoever happens to be in the room. And am I embarrassed? No. It’s your fault for being in the room. But as we drove up to Calistoga that day, I started to get a little nervous about just how naked I would have to be in front of my sister. Because remember, we weren’t really friends at this point. She was my big sister whom I both adored and feared. God forbid see my big ‘ole hooters.

“So…I get the concept of a mud bath,” I said to her, “But how exactly is this going to work? Like, will we be in separate rooms? Are you completely naked in the bath? Should I wear my bathing suite?”

“I’m sure it’s up to you. Just do whatever you feel more comfortable with. And we may be in the same room, but I’m sure there’s a little divider or a sheet or something.” OK. I could handle that.

We got to the spa, checked in and were told to go to the locker room and change into the sheets waiting for us. Once we saw how big the sheets were, we decided to skip the bathing suites figuring this would be like any other spa treatment where the masseuse/technician (?) works with you to discreetly move the sheet to continually cover what needs to be covered. We wrapped up and headed for the door marked “Spa Room”.

As I pushed open the door, I expected to walk into another dimly lit, zen room with private little alcoves where we’d individually receive our treatments. Instead, I opened the door to reveal what was essentially a large, sterile garage with two mud-filled tubs manned by what can only be described as a pair of sturdy-looking Eastern European women. Moreover, the tubs were situated directly next to each other. And when I say directly next to each other, I do mean directly next to each other:
In fact, as I looked around the room, it occurred to me that everything was set up in two's and located just a romantic handhold away from each other. And spoiler alert: that is because we had accidentally scheduled the romantic “Golden Haven Baths for Couples” treatment, which according to the spa’s website allows you to “share this wonderful Napa Valley spa experience in privacy with your companion only a few inches away.” We had no idea that’s what had happened, mind you. At this point, all I could think was, “This feels oddly………….intimate.” Suddenly, one of the spa technicians barreled towards us.

“TAKE SHEETS OFF,” she barked at us. We, in turn, stood frozen.

Seconds passed.

“Wait…………like off off?”


It took me a few seconds, but I finally realized that this woman wasn’t going to discreetly move our sheets around anything; she was going to take them and discard them. Like, for the rest of the day. I was going to spend the rest of the day naked, getting in and out of a series of tubs in a small room missing a fourth wall with my sister and two large, and to the best of my knowledge, Hungarian women who very thought we were lesbian lovers.

My sister and I then turned to each other and exchanged this look that so beautifully conveyed, “SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET REAL NAKED—LET’S GO WITH IT,” without either of us having to say anything. And thank god for that because just then the spa technician, sensing our hesitation, reached out, grabbed both of our sheets and yanked them off for us. Again, up until that point I hadn’t really considered myself to be that big of a prude, but there I was clutching my pearls all, “WELL, I NEVER!”  My hands briefly floundered north and south in a desperate attempt to give myself some coverage, but I ultimately decided to fuck it, suck in, stand up straight and walk over to the damn mud.

The hot mud treatment was actually pretty cool. You basically just float in hot, heavy mud up to your neck while the Hungarian women apply a steady flow of fresh, cold washcloths to your forehead. It was incredibly relaxing and probably would have been sensual had I not been a pubic hair away from an equally naked relative at the time.

As the bath went on, however, my relaxation slowly turned into anxiety as I became increasingly more concerned about how we were going to get the mud off of ourselves. Or out of us, frankly. Because the mud was heavy. And the mud was hot. And the mud was settling. Everywhere.

My concerns were quickly addressed when the Hungarian women reached into our tubs and pulled us out. After they got done removing some of the excess mud by giving us one helluva standing rubdown (which, again, probably would have been sensual had it been done by anyone other than a well-rooted Hungarian woman convinced I was gayer than a chestnut), they motioned towards the wall behind us and said, “SHOWER.”

The so-called “shower” area in question was actually just a tiled wall with two hoses dangling from the ceiling and nary a piece of nylon to separate as far as the eye could see. And let me tell you people something: you haven’t experienced pure embarrassment until you’ve stood an elbow jab away from your sister and shot hose water up your ass while the Lucy and Ethel of the Eastern Bloc leer on disapprovingly. That is embarrassment. That is something that can never be undone. That is something that can one-up any story about tripping up a few stairs at the bank, thank you.

After The Traumatic Showering it was time for our mineral water baths, so Tweedle Dee and Tweedle OOF led us to a pair of old timey Victorian bathtubs separated by the distance of a sweet whispered secret. It was at this point that Becca finally acknowledged the elephant in the room and was like, “Dude. Your boobs are really big.” “Yeah, I know. But your boobs are really nice. Big, but not unmanageable. I think if I ever got a breast reduction, I’d want to make ‘em your size.” I mention this conversation because I love imagining what the spa technicians must have been thinking about the state of our relationship if that was our romantic tub conversation. Talking about each other’s breast size in the most clinical way possible and referring to each other as dude.

Finally, it was time for our last treatment: a schvitz in the steam room. I hate steam rooms. Primarily because I hate heat, sweating, and small spaces. So, pretty much everything about a steam room. This steam room, however, was like a steam room on crack. First of all, they handed us each a meager washcloth when we walked in which was laughably unhelpful. I sat down and held mine up in front of me for a long time trying to decide which direction I should go in until Becca finally said, “Dude. Lower.” Even worse, the steam came in from the sulfur springs so it smelled overwhelmingly like rotten eggs, and it was hot in a way that would make Hades ask for a Dasani. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I have never been so uncomfortable in my entire life. After a few minutes I couldn’t take it anymore, so I stuck my head out the little porthole in the glass door, turned my head to the left, and started gasping for air. Which is exactly when I locked eyes with the incredibly nude woman standing across the room, waiting to start her spa treatment.  “SHIT!” I ducked my head back into the steam room. “BECCA, I JUST LOCKED EYES WITH A NAKED WOMAN ACROSS THE ROOM WHILE I WAS GASPING FOR AIR AND I THINK SHE THINKS I’M A PERVERT SO WE CAN’T LEAVE UNTIL SHE’S IN THE MUD BUT I THINK I’M GOING TO DIE IF I HAVE TO STAY IN HERE ANY LONGER AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.”

“…Want my washcloth?”

After we got back into the car, we drove in silence for a bit as we both tried to process the sheer absurdity of what just happened. Becca finally broke the silence with one of the most astute observations I think I’ve ever heard: “That……………was the most naked experience of my entire life.” Because it was. It was the most naked experience of my entire life. It made getting a full-body mole check at the dermatologist’s feel like standing in an empty cornfield in a three-piece suit and a chastity belt. I’ve had sex with strangers and felt more modest than that. It was just really, really…naked. But also really bonding, in a weird way. I think all great friendships should start out with a wacky misadventure. I just don’t think they should all be so…naked.

(Sidenote: Every time I write that it was just so…naked, I can’t not automatically say it in my head in the “I THINK THEY WERE…ASIAN” voice from Cable Guy.
So goddamn underrated.)


7 Things You Didn't Know About Me: 1-4

From an email I received last week:

Hi Meg! Longtime reader, first time emailer.


There’s this “7 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” thing going around on some of my favorite tumblr accounts and although you don’t have a tumblr (to my knowledge), I totally think you should do one! Maybe as a blog post? It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. I feel like yours would be especially interesting because of how incredibly open and candid you are with your readers. I can’t imagine what we don’t know!


- Sara

Well bless your heart for thinking seven random facts about me would be interesting. And no, I do not have a Tumblr account. I made one over the summer when I was bored, posted five pictures, and immediately deleted my account because I felt really self-conscious and wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. That being said, I will list seven facts that you may not know about me. I can’t promise they’ll be interesting, but here you go:

[OK, I’m going to stop myself right there. So, I wrote this post on Saturday night because I didn’t feel well enough to go out and wanted to get some work done. I took an Adderall and it…complicated things. Because apparently I either don’t take my Adderall and never finish a blog post because I write a little, get distracted by something shiny, write a little, PLASTIC BAG! PLASTIC BAG! PLASTIC BAG!, write a little, I NEED TO KNOW WHAT EVERY MEMBER OF THE WU TANG CLAN IS DOING RIGHT NOW! and end up with this huge archive of half-finished blog posts I hate, OR I take my Adderall and write a fucking college thesis about something inane like my favorite soup. This post ended up being the latter, so I’ve decided to break it up into three days. I’m going to post facts 1-4 today, 5 tomorrow, and 6-7 on Wednesday. The exciting thing is it’s already written (and 30 pages…What? I don’t know. I can’t stop grinding my teeth.), so you know I’m good for it.

The other thing I want to mention is that for this week and this week only, as part of an Adams Media holiday promotion, our first book, The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life, is available as a free Kindle download! Pretty sweet, right? If you lucked out because you already planned on buying it, you should totally use the money you would have spent on it to download our second book, Brainwashing for Beginners. Two books for the price of one! HO HO (w)HO (loves you? Adams Media. Not me. This makes me extremely nervous because I’m afraid we’re going to take massive royalty hits and even though our royalties are only like 85 cents between us, that’s almost an apple pie on the Dollar Menu. We’re losing pies upon pies upon pies here, people. But then again, as of Saturday night we were #25 in free downloads and A Tale of Two Cities was #26. I feel like it’s a genuine accomplishment to be able to say that you’ve fragged Charles Dickens' ass. Especially in December.)

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Me (1-4):

1.) Dan and I got tattoos together while he was here visiting last month! It was kind of crazy and spontaneous, as most things I end up doing with Dan are. (Getting tattoos, walking around New York Avenue at 2 o’clock in the morning asking hookers if they know where we can get ecstasy, LaTe NigHt PizZa PaRtieS!!1…) A few nights before Dan had to go back to Dubai, we were chitchatting and/or watching Sister Wives (obviously) before bed and out of nowhere he was like, “I want to get a tattoo.” I’d been trying to find someone to go get a tattoo with me for over a year so I was like, “YES. TOMORROW. LET’S DO IT.” and it was decided. The next morning, I completely expected him to be like, “Remember when we decided we were going to get tattoos last night? LOL!!!1!” because one night while he was living with me last Fall, we decided (under the influence of about a baker’s dozen La Playas) that we were going to wake up, rent a Zip Car, drive to a mall two hours away in eastern Maryland and buy a pug. Because LIKE, LET’S JUST DO IT, YOU KNOW?! LET’S JUST FUCKING DO IT. WHAT’S STOPPING US? YOU KNOW? NOTHING. OURSELVES! THAT’S WHAT’S STOPPING US. SO LET’S JUST FUCKING DO IT. LET’S JUST BUY A PUG. OMG—WE’RE TOTALLY GOING TO BUY A PUG TOMORROW!!! …….We didn’t. If I remember correctly, we woke up, ordered wings at 10 o’clock in the morning, watched a documentary on Mt. Everest, and catnapped.

This time, however, Dan and I were true to our word. We ended up going to Embassy Tattoo in Adams Morgan, which I cannot recommend highly enough. I’ve gotten other tattoos in DC at Jinx Proof and Fatty’s, and my best experience hands-down was at Embassy. Fairly priced, friendly, accommodating, and incredibly well done. I just sent College Roommate Rachel there last night. My artist’s name was Fernando Gonzalez and I can’t remember the name of Dan’s guy, but he was really hot, just moved here, and has shoulder length blonde hair. I kept trying to make small talk and flirt with him, but it was hard because I was also concentrating on keeping my leg muscles from involuntarily twitching and/or not vomiting everywhere. It was a delicate dance.Dan ended up getting a tattoo of a tree on his right shoulder blade because he’s a hip kid from Portland and I got this little ditty on my right foot in honor of the fightingest squad in the fightingest company in the third-fightingest battalion in the army—The Flying Hellfish.
(Such a shitty picture. And yes, this is my second Simpsons tattoo. And no, despite Chris’ constant mocking, I am not embarrassed.)
If you’re reading this and are my mom’s friend, hair colorist, or a neighbor (and I know you all are), please don’t tell her. If you’re reading this and are my aunt’s assistant (Kaitlin…), please don’t tell my aunt, who will obviously tell my mom. And if you’re reading this and are my sister, please don’t tell your husband who will yell at me and/or make fun of me (probably and) in front of mom at Hanukkah dinner, thereby ruining this year’s Festival of Lights. Because do you really want that on your shoulders? It burned for eight days and eight nights, Rebecca. It was a miracle.

2.) I’m applying to grad school. But I’m only applying to three. And all three are in the top 10 non-fiction writing MFA programs in the country. So I’m applying to grad school, but will probably not be going to grad school.

3.) I want red hair again so badly, but I can’t afford the upkeep. (Pot, yogurt, eyebrow threading. Tattoos. Replacement phones. Diamonds are a Meg’s best friend.)
Sidenote: While searching through my Facebook photos for pictures of me with red hair, I stumbled upon this vintage ’06 picture of Talia and me at a party at Anna’s house over summer break. We both had (and very much have) a crush on Anna’s dad, so we snuck up to her parent’s bedroom and…well, I’ll let it to you:
I’m still not sorry.

I also found a picture from that party where I’m rapping and using a box of Franzia as my beatbox. I’d like to say I’ve moved on from that phase of my life, but then I remember that less than two months ago, I pulled a stomach muscle vomiting old school Four Loko and broke my hand drunkenly stumbling around Ren Fest within a week of each other. I haven’t really “grown as a person” in the past five years, per se.

4.) In 2003, I accidentally and successfully rushed a sorority at a school I didn’t go to.  Even though I went to college essentially five feet away from my hometown, it was still a really hard transition for me. Being the wacky MiSaNtHrOpE!~ that I am, I was really anxious about having to make all new friends, and I chose to deal with that anxiety by driving up to Frostburg (a small state school in Western Maryland where Talia and Teresa went) every weekend instead of staying and trying to make it work at AU. As an older and wiser Meggles with slightly more social skills, I acknowledge what a poor decision that was. Thankfully I had friends at AU like Helena, Ex-Co Blogger Eddie and Ashleigh who sat me down one night in November and were like, “HEY ASPIES—MAYBE STAY A WEEKEND?” and I was like, “Ooo. Yes. Good call.” My college experience obviously improved significantly after I started staying there on weekends, but I still wouldn’t trade my honorary semester (or other weekend visits) at Frostburg for anything in the world. Because that shit was fun. Frostburg State knows how to party in a way that makes me wonder how anyone graduates from there at all. I’d arrive on Friday nights and leave Sunday morning with a hoarse voice, sore throat, bloodshot eyes, and a new absurd story. My favorite being when I rushed a sorority.
I got into Frostburg pretty late on the Friday night in question and went straight to Talia’s dorm to pregame. She gave me the rundown for the night’s plans and said that at some point, she had promised that we’d make a courtesy stop at a friend’s sorority’s rush party. “Uh, can I get in even though I don’t go here?” I asked. “Meh. Just put down my dorm number when you sign it. It won’t matter.” (I also said my major was mathematics with a minor in geography, because if you’re going to go for a lie, I say go hard.) We got to the party an hour later and as I started to pour myself a tall glass of trashcan jungle juice (because that’s how a Frostburg rush party rolls. As the owner of Hat, does it really surprise that I felt at home there?), Talia had to run out and tend to some drama that I can’t remember the details of, perhaps because I was drinking alcohol out of a trash receptacle by the ladleful at the time.

“Are you going to be OK here alone?” she asked. Knowing me well.

“PSH. I’ll be fine. You do what you have to do,” I responded, Zelko, Sunny Delight, and Rubbermaid particles filling my veins with the kind of courage you only wished you had in the light of day.

Now, truth be told, I’m actually pretty OK at parties where I don’t know anybody. I’m pretty OK at parties in general. Breaking the ice and being charming in a large crowd scenario isn’t my problem; it’s one-on-one conversations that get me. I have absolutely no problem going up to a huge group of people I don’t know and being like, “Hey, I’m Meg! What’s up?”, but put me on a first date in an intimate setting and suddenly I’m talking too much about my uncomfortably thought out “Theory on Ex-Fatties” or how I’m starting a letter writing campaign to have sex with Steve Buscemi and two weeks later I wonder why nobody ever fucking calls me back. But…yes. I’m normally pretty good at parties where I don’t know anybody, but on this particular night? I was on fucking fire.

 Knowing that I didn’t actually go to school there, would never see any of these people again, and in no way cared about getting into their sorority gave me a freedom to be myself that I have yet to experience again, frankly. After Talia left, I walked up to a blond “sister” standing nearby and struck up a conversation.

“I gotta say,” I said as I held up and tapped my solo cup, “good call going with the Sunny D. I feel like most sororities would put on airs and go with something like a Fruitopia or frozen Minute Maid, but not you. And you know what? I like it.”
“Thanks!” she said. “What’s your name?”

“My name is Meghan, nice to meet you.”

 “I’m Brittney. So, what dorm do you live in, Meghan?”
“Ugh, Frost.” [Frost was the community service dorm that both Talia and Teresa were placed in, I’m fairly sure because they turned their housing forms in late.]

 “Oh my gawd, seriously?? How can you stand it?”
“Dude, you’re telling me. Everyone pretty much just stays in on the weekend to play with their Bunsen burners and beakers, but then again it’s also close to the dining hall and I’m borderline sexually attracted to waffles, so I can’t complain.” [I don't even know if that's true.] [The dorm's proximity to the dining hall, that is. I am absolutely borderline sexually attracted to waffles.]“Have you met anyone in your dorm you like?”

“Oh, totally. I feel really lucky that I found a small group of girls on my floor that I instantly clicked with. But I guess that’s why I also want to join a sorority—I want to to make that small group grow, you know?” [I may have been, and frankly might be, a sociopath.]

“Absolutely! That’s what being in a sorority is all about! Kristen!” she shouted at another sister, “Come over here, I want you to meet someone!” Kristen came over and we were introduced.

“Oh my gawd, I love your jacket,” she said to me. “Where did you get it?”

“Thanks! It’s from North Face,” I responded.
“Oh my gawd, I’m obsessed with my North Face!” she said. “My boyfriend got it for me as an early Christmas present, but we just broke up.”


High fives. High fives all around. And it went on like that for quite some time. It was startling. Finally, Talia came back to retrieve me, I said goodbye to my new friends, and we went on our way.

 Later that night as Talia, Teresa and I hunt out in Talia’s room recapping the night, her friend from the sorority walked in looking extremely tired and pointed at me.

“Well done, Meg,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, I just came back from a two-hour long post-rush party meeting, and at least a half an hour of that was spent with girls arguing over who would get to be your Big.”

“WOW! Seriously??” I asked, genuinely flattered.

“Yes. Seriously. It seriously took a half an hour of arguing over ‘Meg with the black hair from Frost Hall’ before I realized that that was you and had to tell them you don’t go to school here.”

“Aw, man. Brittney’s gonna be so disappointed in me…” And I meant it.

So, while I felt kind of shitty because I blatantly wasted those peoples’ time, the experience also ended up being a really good life lesson for me about what happens you stop giving a shit about what other people think of you. I wish I were joking when I say that one of my social mantras is still: “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and rush like you don’t go to school there.”

You’re welcome.



1.) It's currently 5:30 in the morning and I'm laying in bed eating special holiday shaped pretzels and watching Hulu, and in the past hour I've cried at not one, but two episodes of Community. In unrelated news, I am very much on my period.

2.) I was obsessively cleaning/re-organizing my apartment the other night, as you do when you feel like a big fat failure but are trying not to eat your emotions and/or the internet is being wonky, and I stumbled upon three Sorr About the Bag bags that I had no idea I had. If you'd like to buy one, shoot me an email and we'll make the arrangements. First come first serve. meg@2birds1blog.com.

3.) I believe I owe you this photograph:

Soak it in. Take your time. It's not a race.



NeIgHbOr LoLs

I feel guilty writing this post, but not guilty enough to not do it.
Apparently my apartment building has a fairly high tenant turnover rate. I don’t know if this is due to the guy who walks his pit bull off-leash, the overactive heater in winter that makes every day “hang out in your underpants despite freezing temperatures outside” day, or the generally suicide-inducing effect of industrial grey carpet, but there it is. When I moved in, out floor “roster” was as follows:
Indian Family
White Guy
Lanky African-American Homosexual
Korean Guy with Trombone
Girl Who Slams Her Door All The Time And Has Loud Phone Conversations About Being in a Band and How Her Bandmate Wrote a Song Superficially About Ducks but Is Actually an Allegory About Sexual Abuse  and is Named Maggie Fineman and If You Google Yourself Please Stop Slamming the Door
Russian Girl
Me, later joined by Giant Camel

A year and a half later, the roster is now:

Indian Family Hispanic Family
White Guy
Lanky African-American Homosexual Hipster Girl Who Thinks Having Someone Hold the Elevator Door for Her Is a Right, Not a Privilege
Korean Guy with Trombone WACKY WANDA
Girl Who Slams Her Door All The Time And Has Loud Phone Conversations About Being in a Band and How Her Bandmate Wrote a Song Superficially About Ducks but Is Actually an Allegory About Sexual Abuse  and is Named Maggie Fineman and If You Google Yourself Please Stop Slamming the Door
Russian Girl Southern Girl
Me and Giant Camel

Now… Wacky Wanda. While I was out of town, Giant Camel met her as she was moving in and introduced himself. I have told him a hundred times not to do this, because if you introduce yourself people know who you are. Anyway, Wacky Wanda started coming over to the apartment to talk. All the time. Once, while I was still out of town, she knocked, then waited, crouched by the door so she would be out of sight from the peephole, until he opened the door. She still comes by every few days and knocks a really, really long time in an irregular pattern: tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap TAP TAP TAP TAP tap tap tap pause pause tap tap tap TAP TAP TAP tap. I do not feel compelled to answer the door because I am almost never wearing pants because of aforementioned heater issue.
Wacky Wanda leaves her keys in the door… every few days. Wacky Wanda takes naps in her living room with the door wide open. Wacky Wanda borrows Giant Camel’s cell phone to call her parents and have screaming fights with them. Wacky Wanda leaves scissors in the hall. Wacky Wanda leaves laundry in the hall. Wacky Wanda leaves her apartment door wide open and plays the Cranberries at top volume (Yes, “Zombie.” What else?), which is why I’ve started using the fire escape to go out for errands.
Now… I have a thick skin when it comes to bizarre behavior. I could chalk most, if not all, of the above up to being a free spirit or good old-fashioned alcoholism. But:
I don’t think Wacky Wanda believes in me. Having been raised polite if not exactly right, I smile at her in the hall and am ignored. Not shrugged off, ignored, each time. I’ve run into her with Giant Camel a few times, and she greets him warmly and does not so much as rest her eyes on me. The other day he mentioned his roommate to her and she said “You have a roommate? I’ve never seen him.” Apparently my recent weight gain and Aryan complexion now allow me to pass as a pink elephant.
Wacky Wanda has started leaving a series of notes on the front door of the building. It started with this:
Well, shit. I took a picture of it but it didn’t come out. It read, more or less:
“My keys went down the elevator. If you have time, could you get them?”
There’s a lot going on here. Her keys – I know what they look like because they’re always in her door lock – are on a gigantic ring. As in, I would have bet they couldn’t fall down the crack between the elevator car and the floor. As in she either dropped them exactly right or was somehow playing with them in the elevator crack. I also like “went down.” It’s that same passive voice everyone uses when they fuck up. “Mistakes were made.” Note also the lack of identifying details on the note: two months, and it’s already assumed that Wacky Wanda’s handwriting and unique antics are recognized by the staff.
Then, of course, there’s the simple elegance of this one:
“Please fix the toilet in my apartment immediately.”
It was stuck to the glass with a Band-Aid.


Fun with Technology!

"During my birthday celebration, Meg bribed the guy at the piano bar to play “Colors of the Wind” just for me. A woman near us immediately closed her eyes and began to sway and feel it, which pissed me off because it was MY SONG."
Oh, that totally happened. Here's a picture of Chris, the second drunkest I've ever seen him, belting "Colors of the Wind" into the extra microphone at the piano bar. I apologize it's so blurry. The bar was crowded and I was obviously a-cackling as I took this. Although, you could argue that the motion blur is also a visual representation of the struggle between The White Man and Chris' people for land and freedom. (That's the second time in my life my art history minor has come in handy. The first time was in December 2008 when I overheard someone at a house party trying to remember the name of the artist who did "those paintings with the people and the squiggles," and I completely abandoned the conversation I was in, ran in from the other room, pushing people out of my way to be like, "KEITH HARING, UNTITLED, ACRYLIC AND DAY-GLO ON METAL, 1982. DIED OF AIDS-RELATED COMPLICATIONS IN 1990. IT WAS A LOSS. FOR US ALL." Nobody was impressed and I felt like an asshole. So, in many ways, it was like most of house parties I go to.)


OH, GODDAMNIT. So, my plan for today was to blog about my two most recent obsessions, but I'm going to have to scrap that idea because I'm now completely distracted by how my iPhone is making a sizzling noise. Per my most recent tweet, like an honest-to-god, fajitas being delivered to your table, sizzling noise. Aaaaaaand now it won't turn on, despite being fully charged. Shit. This might be the end of the line for my phone. Which makes sense because it's been dying forever. I lovingly nicknamed it Beth, after Beth March from Little Women because much like Beth March, my phone just lays around all day with a quilt over its fragile little legs playing the piano and waiting for Father to return from the war, making everyone incredibly anxious and sad because it's obviously going to die any day now. That's my phone. My poor, poor phone. Although, to be fair, I've put it through so much in its short little life:

1.) It's over two years old. Which isn't really anyone's fault, but it needed to be said nonetheless.

2.) I drop it. Constantly. As I blogged in '09, I blame this partially on its old school slippery little frame, but also on myself. Because sometimes I just hand to god forget I'm holding it and drop it. Like, I'll be standing there, hear it bang on the floor, look down and be like, "Oh shit, was I holding you, guy? I'm sorry about that." Like it's news to me that I was even holding it in the first place. It's incredibly unnerving. It's like when you drive home from work and all of a sudden you're at your house and have no recollection of getting there and you weird yourself out to the point where you don't tell anyone because you're either having a small stroke or are just incredibly bored with life.

3.) This is technically an extension of dropping it, but I also accidentally fling it across the room a lot. Both my iPhone and my sheets are black, so sometimes I won't realize that my phone is somewhere in my sheets and then I'll pull them up quickly or throw them back and it sends my phone flying across the room. I also lose bottles of Coke Zero, black underwear, and scissors incredibly easily in my bed. But when I take my sheets off to wash them and find all of these things at once, it feels juuuuuust a little bit like my birthday.

4.) Laura accidentally kicked it into the pool a few summers ago. I'm hesitant to even bring this up because she felt so badly about it. She sent me an apology card and a blank check a few days later, which was completely unnecessary because despite being submerged in five feet of chlorine water for thirty seconds, it was fine. It may have even performed better than before it had fallen into the pool. But this was back in my phone's younger, healthier days. Because...

5.) Last April it had another run-in with being submerged in water and it did not fair well. To be fair, I had had "one too many Chardonnays," if you will, came home and ever the diligent Acne sufferer, immediately went into the bathroom to wash my face before passing out. I put my phone on the edge of the sink, turned on the faucet, obviously knocked it in, couldn't wrap my head around how to solve this problem and continued to wash my face with my phone bobbing up and down in the Clearasil micro-scrubber filled waters. As a result, it still worked (shockingly), but for months I couldn't control the ringer or headphone volume, and it insisted on going back and forth between vibrate and ringer mode for no reason. Which was sometimes irritating and sometimes delightful.

6.) One night a few months later, I got drunk again, got mad about something and threw my phone at the wall, and I swear to god, it fixed both of those problems. It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. It was like witnessing a self-sustaining economy.

(I swear I'm not just saying this because I mentioned it earlier, but I'm writing this in bed and I just patted around my sheets trying to find my tweezers and instead found a black sweatband I had been looking for forever. Black sheets: as it turns out, tacky and impractical.)

7.) I'm fairly certain I know what tipped my phone over from "rickety" to "barely functioning" status. As you may or may not remember, I house/Evie-sat for my parents while they were in Napa a few months ago. In a desperate attempt to lose some weight before our book release party (HAHA!), I made use of the treadmill and bike in their basement a lot. Now, normally when I go to the gym, I rest my iPhone on the tiny, tiny ledge the front of the elliptical machine provides you with and spend the entire workout being incredibly anxious that I'm going to whap the headphone cord with my hand and send my phone flying. And as we've established, I don't necessarily care about sending my phone flying, but I do care about having to stop, get off my machine, and retrieve my phone from under someone's treadmill like a jackass.

When I was at my parent's house, however, I was in a judgment-free zone and had the incredible luxury of being able to shove my phone in my sports bra and work out anxiety-free. I didn't think this was a big deal because my phone is no stranger to being stored in my cleavage. Rare is the time that I don't have either my phone, a pen, or both shoved in there. When you have boobs as big as mine, it almost makes less sense not to use them for storage considering how much goddamn space they take up. (Sidenote: one time in high school, Teresa and I tried to see how many things in my parent's basement we could shove into my cleavage. We fit 32 things, including a power strip and a VHS copy of Turner and Hooch. You'd think I'd be embarrassed, but it's very much a point of pride.)

What I didn't factor in, however, was that because I was working out, I was sweating. "Profusely", some might say. And I found out the hard way that although my phone can handle falling into a pool and a sink full of soapy water, it can not handle boob sweat. Yes, I believe boob sweat broke my phone. Because ever since then, the home button barely works, it's always putting itself on airplane mode, and every three minutes a window pops up being like, "WOAHHH WHAT'S HAPPENING?! THIS DEVICE WASN'T MADE TO WORK WITH THIS THIS PHONE!!!" and I'm like, you're not doing anything. You're just quietly sitting next to me while we watch an episode of Wings. Stop telling me that.

Update: OK, so it stopped sizzling and I somehow got it to turn back on, but now the home button doesn't work at all. And it's stuck on that goddamn picture of Chris singing "Colors of the Effing Wind" that won't email itself to me for some reason. Fuck. This is so unbelievably annoying. I know the obvious answer is go get a new phone, because I'm clearly eligible for an upgrade, but eh. It's still $99. And I know I'm going to get shit in the comments section for saying that because I'm always frivolously spending my money on things like yogurt and drugs and eyebrow threading (each one slightly more important than the last), whereas this is an actual necessary expense, but again, eh. $99 just feels like a lot of money to spend at once. When I'm buying pot and yogurt, it's like 15 bucks here, $4 there. This is throwing down $99 once and getting one thing in return. So I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather get high and have meticulously groomed eyebrows than communicate with friends and family. I mean, I suppose I don't have to get an iPhone. They're just incredibly useful. I could always get a "burner" until Hanukkah/Christmas and hope my parents help a sister out. This blog post has now completely unraveled into me essentially live-blogging my decision making process about what phone to get, so I'm going to stop now before this gets any worse.

R.I.P. Beth March. 2009-2011. "And it seemed to me you lived your life like an iPhone in my cleave..."


Colors of the Wind

Exchange during the last editing session:
Meg: We’re the two most insufferable people in the world.
Me: Why, did something happen to Zooey Deschanel?
Meg: No, but ever since I delivered copies of our books to Occupy DC’s “People’s Library” and wrote that letter to the Texas Parole Board you asked me to, I’ve been saying “I do my fighting with my writing,” like, all the time. And you won’t shut up about finding out you’re related to Pocahontas.
Meg: Yes, exactly that.
During my trip to Texas, my aunt casually mentioned we were descended from Pocahontas. Like, just kind of threw it in there: “And so turn left up here to get to the place with the dinosaur tracks. Yeah, so, your great-great grandmother was an Allen, but her mother was a Lee – I said LEFT – and her mother was descended from Pocahontas.”
“Wait. So I’m descended from Pocahontas.”
“Yeah, apparently. I mean, so are about 150,000 other people, I don’t think we’re getting a casino anytime soon.”
I learned this at the worst possible time. Being “less than employed” has been hard on me, so I’ve been doing those Oprah-style “list your accomplishments” exercises to stave off a fried chicken, Cybill, and tears 2008-style meltdown. “I have co-written three books” and “I have a master’s degree” weren’t cutting it anymore and I was ready to try “compared to the average of EVERYONE who EVER lived, I’m really tall,” but then I found out I was descended from Pocahontas, which makes me, in the vaguest, most tenuous, most not-holding-up-to-scrutiny way, royalty.
I think about “Grandma Pokey” all the time, as evidenced in the infographic below:
My Pocahontal frenzy has manifested itself in the following ways:
-    I’ve been humming “Colors of the Wind” to myself for weeks, which of course means that everyone who’s been around me recently has started humming it. Last week’s catchphrase around here was “How high does the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, GODDAMMIT, CHRIS.”

-    During my birthday celebration, Meg bribed the guy at the piano bar to play “Colors of the Wind” just for me. A woman near us immediately closed her eyes and began to sway and feel it, which pissed me off because it was MY SONG.

 -   I tried to Netflix Pocahontas to watch over Thanksgiving (you know, because it’s an accurate historical epic with well-developed characters), but it wasn’t available, so I had to settle for “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World,” which arrived late. I watched it by myself yesterday and communed with my ancestors.

-    I saw in the news that archaeologists think they’ve found the remains of the church where Pocahontas married John Rolfe. I told Giant Camel, who accused me of setting up a Google alert for her. I hadn’t, but I have now. More than one person called to tell me.

-    I wrote to my congressman about how it pissed me off that Virginia Native Americans get treated especially badly. According to internet, they don’t get land grants literally because their paperwork got fucked up during segregation in the ‘20s and they’re not registered right. I used the same good stationery I used to write the Texas Parole Board. It’s gold-edged and makes me look rich, so maybe they’ll take me seriously.

Get back to me on this in a few weeks, by which point I intend to have found out from the grinning bobcat what’s so damn funny.
Clicky Web Analytics