Monthly Archives: January 2013

Negative Feedback

You submitted in Comic Sans.

You submitted in Franklin Gothic.

You submitted in single-space.

You submitted in size 8.

You submitted in size 16.

You said, I think you’ll find this interesting, I’m really proud of [this]or You’ll love this, in your cover letter.

You didn’t bother to write a cover letter.


You fail to exhibit a mastery of English Grammar.

You fail to exhibit a working knowledge of the English Language.

You use ampersands.

You use and/or three or four times.

You use too many…dot-dot-dots…

You say like, like way too many times.


Your self-congratulatory essay about being an Ivy Leaguer is very self-congratulatory.

Your feminist essay about your terrible ex-boyfriend is pretty feminist.

Half the story is narrated in French.

There are lots of clichés.

It is offensive.

It is offensive on multiple levels.


The first sentence takes up the entire first paragraph.

The first sentence takes up the entire first page.

The first page is all dialogue.

You say, she says, happily.

You say, she says, peevishly and inappropriately.

You say, she says, like a falcon floating on a warm weather wind.


You describe the misty landscape a lot.

You describe a glint in someone’s eye more than once.

You(r characters) are prejudice.

You(r characters) are misogynistic.

You(r characters) are phony.


The characters are animals.

The characters are plants and animals.

The characters are drunk the entire time.

The characters are named Bruce, Beverly, Bert, and Benny.

The characters are named Ping, Ling, Wing, Singh, and Geraldo.


Your characters have a habit of saying, “Cool-beans,” “Giddy-up,” “Right-e-o,” “Aw Jeez,” “For sure,” “You go, girl,” “YOLO,” or “LOL.”

Your southern-accented first-person narrator reckons everything.

Your characters are bored.

I’m bored.


The title is named after a movie.

The title is “Adventure to Nowhere”

The title is “Choas and Beautiful”

The title is “My Father’s Secret Garden”

The title is “A Bad Idea”

The title is “Politics: A Manifesto”


The character in the story is really You.

The character is really Me.

The character is really Us.

The character is a symbol of a man’s transcendence of gender identity. Actually, that was cool.

The character is a caricature.


You have multiple paragraphs that start: And then…

It ends: And then he died, suddenly.

It ends: And then he became someone different.

In the end it was all just a dream.



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Fly Fishing on Hawthorne

Keep your eyes on the corners at all times. They’ll catch you in an eddy of strolling weekenders, singling you out, because you’re the one who looks people in the eyes.

They pop up out of nowhere. Once they’ve got your attention, you won’t escape without severely disappointing them or feeling guilty to the point of rethinking your reasons for denying them your attention and sympathy.

Some of them ask for your sympathy, or just a minute of your time. Some beg you to rethink, to care, to make judgment about their causes, their problems, their artistic talent.

You’re walking across the street to buy some pens and paper in “Presents of Mind,” a fancy card store next to Starbucks. There aren’t any stationary stores on Hawthorne, just artisanal card stores. They have ballpoint pens with trees and woodpecker designs, and the only plain paper they sell is Mole Skine. Halfway across, you see one standing on the corner outside Starbucks.

The problem is catching their eye. Try not to make eye contact. Make eye contact no more than once. The second glance is the baiter. Third glance, you’re already reeled in and flopping on the deck as they jab at your ears and pound your head to death with their gimmicks and guilt spears. At that point, you have to fight or wait until it’s all over. You’ve listened to their rap CD, signed their petition, written them a check, and put an angry grin on your face.


This guy is good. He has such strong hooking skills, he has himself a fish flopping on his deck as soon as an unassuming loner like you walks by. He catches your eye with a wave.

Excuse me!

Sorry! You shake your head.

I just want to ask you a quick question.


Can you count to 30 while listening to my rap CD and tell me—

No. I’m really in a rush.

Where are you headed?

I’m sorry, that’s my business. You look him in the eyes like, don’t make me say it out loud because it’s embarrassing, which is true. No one is ever in a rush to shop at “Presents of Mind.”

So you’re not going to give me the time of day?


You walk three steps away and decide not to go into “Presents of Mind” for obvious reasons.

No one is ever in a rush on Hawthorne. That’s why they’re here. It’s a solicitors spawning ground—a canvasser, busker, artisanal card store swamp. You walk around the corner and loop back around to your car or your bike. Your head wades through a muddy puddle of maybe-I-should-have-said and who-does-he-think-he-is and maybe-he-was-right.

You forget to buy a pen, which you still need, which is why you remember this guy from last weekend when you went to Hawthorne to shop for stationary supplies and now you’re back on Hawthorne on a weekday and there aren’t enough people around to get sucked into their nets, so I’m just saying: keep your eyes on the corners. If you see one, let’s cross the street quickly or both receive important phone calls at the same time or start crying.

No second glances. Look away.

cat busker


Filed under Opinions, Stories

Home for the Holidays Checklist


• Arrive between 12-5pm

• Do not expect to be picked up at airport / train station / harbor

• Do not surprise parents (Dad’s heart condition)

• Bring arrival gifts

• Prepare to cook (daily)

• Prepare to clean (daily)

• Prepare conversations, no awkward silences

• If failing classes: talk about job

• If unemployed: lie about job

• No books: conversation killers

• Do not bring unexpected guest

obama arrival


• No friends at home without adult present

• No visit to friend’s without parental supervision

• If parents don’t know friend, they need name, address, phone number (A/S/L)

• If parents feel excluded from social life, parents will demand compensation

• Parents are allowed in bedroom at any time. It’s parents’ exercise room now.

hippie parents


• Keep all personal items in bedroom and keep neat

• Pick up after self: school supplies, clothes, chargers

• No food in bedroom

• Bed must be made by 9 am.

• Do homework in bedroom

• Do homework before any TV



• Ten minutes allowed in bathroom in morning

• If need more time, wake up earlier

• Put toilet seat back down (Dad pees sitting down)

• If finish toilet paper, buy more

• Make sure toilet flushes

• If toilet clogged, deal with it and don’t tell Mom

• If plunger missing, lock self in bathroom, go out bathroom window, buy new plunger

• If can’t unclog, lock self in bathroom until figure it out

• Bring own bath towel

• Use own bath towel

• Keep towel on hook in bedroom



• Breakfast before leaving house

• Do own laundry

• Laundry: Whites (Mon/Wed/Fri) Darks (Tues/Thurs/Sat)

• Do laundry between 9am – 5pm.

• Vacuum (Mon/Tues/Fri)

• Mop (Tues/Thurs/Sat)

• Vac + Mop (Sunday)

• Refresh George’s litter box (twice daily)

• Dishwasher load (daily)

• Dishwasher unload (daily)

• Take out trash and recycling (daily)

• Trash and recycling (Friday mornings)




• Plow driveway

• Shovel sidewalk

• If heavy snow, buy snow blower


• Mow, trim, weed lawn (daily)

• Vacuum Pool (twice daily)


• Rake leaves

• Carve (2+) pumpkins

• Buy Candy for trick-or-treaters



• If need ride, pay for gas

• If use car, fill gas after drive

• Wash car (carwash on 3rd street)

• If going somewhere, bring parents

• If need to leave and not come back, just go

• Don’t come back


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