First and foremost, I have no idea why the last star isn't filled in all the way. Why don't you tell me? Second and secondmost, I wrote this really unnecessarily long introduction about how I discovered this on Netflix and how it was obviously a very emotional find for me, and it just kind of went on and on from there and somehow and my five-year plan came up, but you know what? Fuck it. Because sometimes a gif is worth a thousand words:


That is how I felt. And that is how I hope you feel when you play...

The Up in Smoke Tour Drinking Game!


I suppose you could switch things up and take a hit from your preferred smoking device instead of taking a drink, but I feel like that would lead to an award-winning panic attack or eating 10,000 calories in under 30-seconds. If you're me, probably both. So, please proceed with caution.

Pour one out for:
- Easy E
- Big Pun
- Roger Troutman
- Biggie
- Tupac
- Nate Dogg
- Chevy Chase Bank

Drink when: 
- There's an uncomfortable shot of a frat bro who clearly has alcohol poisoning being hauled away by security down a nondescript hallway during the opening montage...
- Pot leaf
- Hood rats
- Your eyes well up with tears because you'll never be able to turn back time and see this concert live
- Ice Cube has a farcically elaborate stage intro
- Ice Cube asks, "What the fuck is up, Massachusetts?"
- Ice Cube pronounces "Massachusetts" as "Mass-a-two-cents", which, if I were from Boston, would abso-fucking-lutely be my stage name and I would just go around rapping my opinions on various topics, whether you asked for it or not
- White girl in a halter top
- Ice Cube plugs Next Friday, and frankly, you don't mind
- Blue bandana (drink twice if it's being worn as, or incorporated in a shirt)
- UH, Ice Cube introduces you to the phrase "crazy as cat shit" and you feel like you owe him a steak dinner for such alliterative gold
- Crip Walking
- You watch a youtube tutorial on Crip Walking, try it because it looks like a good core work out, and then immediately feel like an asshole
- 2001 Eminmen makes you sad. Just really, really sad. Because 2012 Eminem exists and he looks like a heavily photoshopped/untalented cat.
- You wish Eminem would have a yard sale so his 10-foot inflatable stage middle fingers could flank your bed
- HA HA HA HA HA. "Stan".
- You feel conflicted:
- The thought of Dr. Dre getting his dick sucked makes you incredibly uncomfortable because you view him as a sort of father-figure. But you'd totally have sex with him. It's just a very confusing situation with a lot of gray areas.
- "The Next Episode"
- It's just so good
- Call and response
- Tricycles
- Basketball
- You could deal with about 60% more Xzibit in your life
- Snoop Dogg demonstrates a very PETA-friendly attitude towards insects
- Conversely, you claw your own flesh off because watching Snoop Dogg feed a cockroach a french fry on a restaurant wall makes you feel like you just smoked an entire salad bowl of meth
- The stoner skull is honest-to-god terrifying
- Eminem really didn't like boy bands. It comes up a lot. Like more than it should.
- TRL reference
- Unfortunate flashback to eighth grade
- No disrespect to Snoop, but you kind of wish a little more of the behind the scenes action was devoted to Dre
- Again, Xzibit seems like the best friend you've never had
- Vag...
- Because yes, there's straight-up vag...
- You weep because it's over
- THE SHOW, that is. Not the vag. The vag being over felt like a win. A big, unkempt, unfortunate win.

Have a great weekend, son! <--- Love, Meghan "Incapable of Leaving on a High Note" Rowland


The Turner-Neal Awkwardness Index

In all the talk about Wikipedia’s effects on academia, how people consume information, and the internet at large, I feel like one point gets consistently left out: it makes weird people weirder. I have obsessions I could never have imagined without Wikipedia. I wouldn’t have read a book about the Burgess Shale, and if you asked me what it was I would have said, “oh, wasn’t Burgess Shale a fixture on the Borscht Belt? Why, did he just die?” Actually, it’s a Canadian fossil bed that preserved what are politely referred to as “the weirdest fossils hell-damn-ass ever.” I could talk about how fascinating I find this for hours – which would be a mistake, since no one would be listening, largely because they’d want to tell me about the Nestorian Schism or myxomatosis, which they had just learned about on Wikipedia.

One of my favorite obsessions – and what previous generation even had the capacity to have enough obsessions to pick favorites? – is the Schmitt Sting Pain Index. An entomologist named Justin Schmidt had dozens of venomous insects sting him, ranked and ordered the level of pain on a scale, and added zesty descriptions. The sweat bee, at 1.0, has a sting that is “light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.” The yellowjacket, doubling down at 2.0, is described as “hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.” The tarantula hawk is doubly disturbing, since not only does it eat tarantulas but has a sting that is “blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.” I can’t find the full index online, sadly. I don’t have the words for why I think it’s wonderful. It just is. It’s so aggressively weird and one of the most genuinely creative things I’ve ever seen.
So, of course, I decided to ape it, tailored for my area of expertise.

The Turner-Neal Awkwardness Index

0.0 – You are alone at home, with the door locked, asleep, fully clothed, in a dignified position on the bed.

0.5 – You can’t open a jar of pickles manually and have to pry open the edge with a butter knife that’s already bent from doing this yesterday on the jam. The cat sees everything.

1.0 – During a visit home, you’re watching a Very Special Episode of Roseanne and start to cry. Your father makes an excuse to leave the room, and your mother leans over to you and stage-whispers, “Are you still sad about Todd? You’ll find someone!”

1.5 – You trip and fall in front of several strangers who do nothing to help.

2.0 – You trip and fall in front of several strangers, all of whom rush over to help pick you up and dust you off, and one of whom insists that you take some ointment and a Life Saver from her purse.

2.5 – You forget to wear deodorant to a job interview and spend the whole time with your upper arms rigidly locked to your sides. The heat and pressure exacerbate the problem, so at the end, instead of shaking the interviewer’s hand, you wink.

3.0 – The same wave that tore off the ironic loose neon Jams you wore to the beach flings you several feet ashore. The next wave delivers a dead gull onto your head. As you hop about trying to get all the dead bird parts off, you overhear a discussion of why your pubic hair distribution is so markedly asymmetrical.

3.5 – Midway down the aisle, your body gives the signal, and you have to about-face and RUN to the ladies’ room. A bridesmaid and a washroom attendant have to hold your dress up as your wedding-jitters Taco Bell binge exits gracelessly. Since your dress has no pockets, you cannot tip the attendant. As you reenter the sanctuary, you realize that the odd marriage between the Lutheran Synod and particle-board construction means that everyone heard.

4.0 – Having mistimed the contractions, you give birth in a subway. Fortunately, your husband is by your side; unfortunately, the child is very apparently not his. Everyone on the subway feels free to comment on this, and two debating sides emerge as you try to rescue the situation by delivering the placenta into your purse. Too late, you remember your passport and keys are in there.
I thought of writing a 4+ to match the bullet and (“Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail grinding into your heel”), but awkwardness is finite. Eventually it either develops into a genuine crisis or you die, although at that point you may not care which.


A Complete List of Things That Make Me Nauseous, by Meghan Rowland

- Riding in cars backwards
- Riding on trains backwards
- Not riding on the metro backwards (it can’t be explained it)
- My dad’s “city driving”
- My “I’m late driving”
- Driving on winding roads
- Driving on hilly roads
- Boats, slow-moving
- Boats, speed, driving over another boat’s wake
- Standing on a dock for 20-minutes+
- Bicycling over cobblestones
- Watching moves in the first 10 rows of a movie theater
- Watching movies in 3D
- Watching movies in RealD
- 99.9% of all amusement park rides and attractions
- Airplane turbulence
- Cars with plastic interior
- Cars with velvet interior
- Gym, arc trainer, 60-minutes+
- Gym, ERG machines, 0-minutes+
- Gym, elliptical machine, if not looking at the horizon
- Gym, elliptical machine, watching mounted TV screen
- Gym, reading
- Gym, writing
- Heights
- First dates
- Lobster rolls
- Crab Rangoon
- Burritos
- DiGiorno pizza
- Jelly beans
- Maple syrup
- Flavored lattes
- Raspberry Zinger tea
- Bubble Tea
- MiO Liquid Water Enhancer
- Splenda
- Percocet
- Blood
- Images or video footage of surgery
- Highlighters in any color other than yellow
- Waterbeds
- Swings, sets
- Swings, tire
- Swings, seesaw
- Slides, twisting
- Slides, 45-degree angle+
- Slides, water
- Men with long fingernails
- Alcohol, vodka
- Alcohol, gin
- Alcohol, whiskey
- Alcohol, Jagermeister (it was inevitable)
- Alcohol, mimosas (my new campaign: Mimosas—there should be a bottom)
- Alcohol, Disaronno (I discovered one night in college that it tastes like a liquid almond croissant and there was an incident)
- Beer, Blue Moon
- Beer, Chimay
- Reading while moving. Period.
- Loud patterns
- The scrolling feature on Netflix’s homepage
- Watching The Deadliest Catch on a TV screen larger than 20”
- Vanilla-scented perfumes
- The major motion picture The Killing Fields
- Snorkeling
- Trampolines
- Magic Eye posters (1994 was a long year)
- Ski lifts
- Dairy
- When the metro stops and you look out the window and think you’ve started moving again, but it’s just the train adjacent to you moving and you realize you’re still stopped
- Heat
- Confrontation
- The smell of Bumble & Bumble thickening shampoo and conditioner
- Pogo sticks
- Moon shoes (Seriously, eff 1994)
- Certain anti-inflammatory medication
- Planetariums
- The Guggenheim
- Dance, Dance Revolution
- Taylor Gourmet’s website
- Ferris wheels
- Corn mazes
- Doing a swimmer’s turn
- Peanuts
- Making this list


2 Birds Investigates: An Evening of the Occult

So, I’m looking for a job. We’ve had this conversation. It’s miserable, I’m miserable, we’re all miserable. I’ve tried being myself, a la ex-co-blogger Eddie (“I wore a see-through camisole and talked about Kreayshawn! They’re giving me a raise!”), I tried not being myself, I’ve tried long resumes, I’ve tried short resumes, I’ve tried bursting into tears in a temp agency – zip.

So, I tried magic.
I don’t not believe in voodoo. I have a little grisgris bag or mojo I always have with me that I got from an actual voodoo lady in Louisiana. I lost the first one, so I had to send a check with $35, a note of apology, and some hair and nails for a replacement – and THE DAY it got here Meg and I found out the sample for Misanthrope’s got accepted. Frankly, I’ve believed in weirder things with less reason (chupacabra, etc.), so I’m willing to throw in for voodoo. And if I’m going to ask the supernatural for help, it’s either voodoo or the Episcopal Church, and going to an ornate, mostly empty sanctuary and politely asking God for help if he’s not terribly busy makes a weak blog.

Originally, Meg and I had a bigger idea. We were going to try to break our bad luck with a self-designed voodoo ritual, but after a short heart-to-heart about Meg’s condo board (“I’m on thin ice after Evie as it is, and if they find all that blood in the drain…”) we decided to lowball it and order a prefab spell from the internet.

St. Expedite is the patron of doing things quickly, which explains why we’ve never met. He likes red things and, apparently, candles with herbs sprinkled in the wax.
Before performing a spell, it’s considered wise to “cast a circle” of protection around yourself. According to wiccanonline.com (or similar), this is done by:

-       Giving the room a good cleansing smudge with sage. We did this by lighting sage incense and walking around the room chanting “Smudging… smudging…smudging…”
-       Getting in the north corner of the room, facing north, bowing, and saying “I cast this circle in the name of love and light, and ask that it protect me from all malevolent and unwanted spirits.”

-       Repeating the bow and love-and-light bit while facing east, south, and west.

-       Pointing at the earth and turning around three times, counterclockwise (if you do it backward the dead will absolutely rise)

-       Adding any other words you feel appropriate. I elected to add the spell Angela Lansbury used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks to make suits of armor fight the Nazis: “Treguna mekoides tricorum satis dee!”

Either from Hocus Pocus or an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? I have the idea that you’re also supposed to also make an actual circle of actual salt. Meg offered me my choice of garlic salt or sea salt in a grinder. I chose the grinder because I like the sound it makes.

Now that we were protected, we were ready to do the spell. It had an odd, Oprah vibe: we had to visualize what we wanted and then write it down in detail, including desired starting salary. Essentially, it was a cover letter to the beyond. I don’t actually know what rules govern this situation, so in case it falls under the birthday-wish rules, I won’t say exactly what I wrote. I bet you can guess – I relied heavily on the phrase “shit, anything at this point.”

Well, we visualized and we wrote, then lit the candle and put it on top of our papers. The spell goes like this:
"St. Expedite, I call upon you,
I ask for your powerful support.
You know what is necesary and what is urgently needed.
Please help me remedy economic problems.
That I may obtain ufficient money for necessities.

Please help me find gainful employment very soon,
so that this heavy burden of concern
will be lifted from my heart
and I will soon be able to provide
for those whom God has entrusted to my care.
By your grace, Blesed Saint"


When you're done Say:
"Expedite now what I ask of you.
Expedite now what I want of you.
Do this for me, Saint Expedite,
And when it is accomplished,
I will as rapidly reply for my part
With an offering to you.
So Mote It Be! Blesed Be!"

Afterward, I banged my fist on the table to make it official, then poured some of the melted wax on my paper. It seemed like the magic thing to do. The paper with the spell on it has a very strict warning at the bottom – apparently St. Expedite is touchy, and if he does you a favor and you don’t give a thanksgiving offering, he’ll pull the whole thing down around your ears. So be warned.

We already had candles lit and the circle laid, so we decided to have a séance. That previous sentence says more about my life than I wish it did.

The internet was less helpful than usual on séances. It seems like the kind of thing that would have a specific, involved ritual around it, but no: you just light a candle, hold hands, and wait for the ghosts. You’re supposed to give them an easy way to contact you: set out a glass of water to jiggle a la Jurassic Park, or just ask them to tap. (With what?) We had a hard time choosing someone to contact. I wanted to try to contact my recently deceased grandfather, but somehow waking him up so I could blog about it seemed disrespectful, so we settled on Nancy Mitford, the not-incredibly-famous British humorist I wrote my graduate thesis on. She wasn’t home, or whatever, so we moved on to Gerald Ford – I thought it might help to try someone with a tie to the Washington area. Well, Gerald apparently only contacts registered Republicans, despite our argument that after the Reagan realignment it’s really a different party than he remembers, and Betty wasn’t communicative either. So we did what you’d expect us to do and went after Bea Arthur. So much for not being predictable.

Meg: Bea? Calling Bea Arthur. Paging Beatrice Arthur.

Me: Bernice? Bernice Frankel? We know your birth name! We’re true fans!

Meg: Bea, if you’re listening, we want to thank you for being a friend.

Me: “Lady Godiva was a freedom rider, she didn’t care if…”

Meg: Shut up, or we won’t hear if she taps.

Me: Bernice?

Meg: We’d appreciate a quick hello, we know you’re probably busy with Estelle and Rue…


Me: RUE?!

Meg: Did you see that we dedicated our third book to you?

Rue: Tap.

Me: Were you pleased:

[Long pause]

Rue (playfully): Tap.

Meg: We weren’t kidding! We cherished you!

Me: We still do!

Meg: Feel free to drop back in anytime.

Me: We’ll make cheesecake! Presumably you can enjoy the smell, or something!

This is a dramatization, but I. Swear. To. God. We heard three distinct taps in answer to our questions. Either we contacted Rue McClanahan from beyond the grave or the air conditioner was on. I know what I’ve chosen to believe.

Also: Rue McClanahan can back from the grave to acknowledge that we dedicated a book to her before the book was released. Garry Shandling has had since November to acknowledge that Brainwashing was dedicated to him, and I mailed him a free copy. AND HE’S ALIVE.

All this happened Friday night. Today, Monday:

-       Got an ACTUAL JOB INTERVIEW for an ACTUAL JOB in ACTUAL NEW ORLEANS. 99% sure it’s not a prank.

-       Got called about working a polling station during the primaries, which will allow me to fulfill my lifelong dream of looking a first-time voter dead in the eye and saying “there is a wrong answer – you know that, right?” AND is a day’s work

-       Got the author copies of It Seemed Like A Good Idea…, which means Amazon will be shipping soon. It has an attractive cover and is filled to the BRIM with laughs. You should buy two copies and keep one in your panic room, just in case.

-       Got a free banana from the corner bodega, just because it was going bad!

St. Expedite and Rue McClanahan – fixing my terrible life for over three days.


State of the Tulane Chris: Part II

Tulane Chris is Relieved: Wacky Wanda is gone! We thought she left a while ago, but then she kept knocking on the door. We never saw her move out, but she hasn’t been seen in weeks. There’s no sight quite like two grown men crouched on the floor, taking shallow breaths through their mouths, gauging the distance to the knife drawer as the door goes tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap. She had a long, emotional hallway goodbye with Girl-Who-Slams-Doors, thanking GWSD for all the “positive energy.” On the free table, Wacky Wanda left some tea, one small box of Sun-Maid raisins, one shoe, and about fifty CDs. They were all what I think of as 90s lesbian music (confirmed by Giant Camel, whose mother was a lesbian in the 90s): the Cranberries, Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls, Sinead O’Connor… This raises so many questions. She was so weird in big, huge ways that the thought of her being weird in an everyday way like being a lesbian just blows my mind.

Tulane Chris is Underslept: The other day, the fire alarm in our building went off for three hours. “The wiring” had gone wrong and no one could get it to turn off. The super lives an hour away and the alarm company’s 24-hour helpline is an answering machine. You know what Philadelphia’s like in the middle of the night? We tried to take a walk, but turned around when we saw a man literally fighting his reflection in a store window. Later, an extremely drunk African-American lady showed up and started making small talk. She asked if we were standing outside for some kind of protest. The woman she was talking to didn’t feel like dealing with a drunk just then so she left, causing the drunk lady to open up to Giant Camel and me about her experiences with racism. She was sure we’d had them too, because “you know how white people are…” Now, Giant Camel is technically white but ambiguously brown in appearance, but Pocahontas aside, you cannot look whiter than I do. If I were an X-Man, my superpowers would be getting sunburned, avoiding racial profiling, and getting good service at restaurants. I didn’t know how to answer this so I just said, “Oh, I think we’ve all had a bad night,” to which Giant Camel helpfully added “HE’S PRETTY WHITE, THEY CAN DO AN X-RAY ON HIM WITH A HUNDRED WATT BULB.” Later, when the alarm finally got shut off and we all went to bed, the drunk lady just went right on upstairs, but I’ve never seen her again, so I don’t know if she lives in our building or was incredibly confused in the morning.

Tulane Chris is Meta: I wrote a whole post about how it’s uncomfortable to blog about looking for jobs when you know prospective employers might read it, and then didn’t post it because I didn’t want prospective employers to read that. Then I got a job interview. So… good call?

Tulane Chris is Reflective: I started writing a memoir. My goal is to avoid being described as “the poor man’s Augusten Burroughs at risk for diabetes.” The first chapter is about my mother’s obsession with her reproductive organs and is called “Female Trouble.” There is also, apparently, a performance art piece about endometriosis called “Female Trouble,” which you can see a preview of at www.femaletrouble.org. I feel no need to see it because, as you will read in my memoir, most of my childhood was a performance art piece about endometriosis.

Tulane Chris Has Vague Opinions about Prominent Women: The night of the horny goat weed, I wrote “MICHELLE OBAMA JANE LYNCH” on the page of blog ideas in my notebook. I think my point about Michelle Obama is that she’s one of the very rare people who look better in still photographs than when actually moving and speaking – she moves her face a lot when she talks and I find it distracting. I don’t know what I wanted to say about Jane Lynch, but I like her.

Tulane Chris Learned Something Amazing: Roseanne made a kids’ sing-along video called Peanut Butter and Jellyfish. It’s enough to make me have children.

Tulane Chris is Judgmental: I saw two people at Starbucks who had taken chairs away from another table so they each had a chair just for their coats. The one was yammering about real estate on the phone, and the other was doing something on a Mac with a “Nightmare Before Christmas” sticker placed on it so that Jack and Sorry-Don’t-Remember-Her-Name were silhouetted in from of the apple. Don’t you feel like you already know way, way enough about them?

Tulane Chris Likes Labored Jokes: I want to start a band that sings about skin cancer awareness and immigration reform. It will be called “Irregular Borders.”

Tulane Chris Likes Social Commentary: You know what I realized the absolute defining activity of our generation is? Our Woodstock? Using food stamps at Trader Joe’s. We will absolutely reminisce about that in decades to come. (Guess what I was doing when I realized this.)

Tulane Chris has Body Issues: I have exactly the wrong amount of chest hair. If I had more or less I could manage, but as it is it looks like my torso was just now sodded. It’s also asymmetrical. This makes me feel like a freak.

Tulane Chris Remembers Childhood Summers: What the hell was that Tiger Blood flavor? Just grenadine? I got it because little boys like tigers and blood, but it didn’t taste good.

Tulane Chris Remembers High School: Do you agree that there’s such a thing as a High School Name? For example, I went to high school with someone named Amber Pajeski. Doesn’t that just sound like the name of someone you would have gone to high school with? Nathan Langford. Chase Hawn. Katharine Cunningham. Bill Schaffer. Sarah Brinsley. (I tweaked the spelling of these for obvious reasons.) I could name a dozen more. And these aren’t just people I happen to remember – I barely knew a couple of them, and am not in touch with any of them now – but they have such High School Names. They fit so well into the sentence “______ let ______ get to third base in his car and ______ told everyone.” I tried to generate fake ones as examples, but I couldn’t – you just know when you hear one.

Overall State of the Tulane Chris: C+
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