Hither and Thither #24

pipeAs I write this, a helicopter is still hovering over Capitol Hill to capture the magic. I added a few pictures to the Deviation Obligatoire Flickr that I took tonight. I considered doing a separate post about it, but it’ll be covered amply by the rest of the world. I will just tell you that I saw these things:

  • Two flung beer cans
  • At least ten bottles of champagne, shaken and sprayed
  • One small Christmas tree, brandished overhead like an undecipherable symbol
  • One small Christmas tree, four hands with lighters at its base as the bearers tried unsuccessfully to light it on fire
  • One small Christmas tree, confiscated by four cops
  • Bottle rockets shot from a traffic cone
  • Bottle rocket sparks, sprayed on nearby onlookers
  • Professional-grade fireworks, launched from the very densest center of the crowd

The band emerged after I went home. Alas.

Now, let’s get to the rest of the internet.

division squiggleI love this essay so fucking much. Her 20s were not quite like my 20s were – there is something about me that seems to tell strange men DO NOT BOTHER THE LADY (something which surprises people who know me), so I’m mostly spared certain things. But the beauty of coming into your own… Ah, I love Molly Crabapple. I love that someone with such a finely tuned blend of fine art and cartooning is also such a sharp, unsparing writer.

division squiggleThere is peril to being an overthinker. I’m inclined to think kindly of us, because I am one, and because I do think a certain kind of uncontrollable introspection has its benefits. You’re more likely to learn from your mistakes, and your raging empathy makes you treat other people better. If you channel it right, it makes it easier to lead a considered, more extraordinary life.

However, unchecked, it can also leave you with a distorted view of how much other people think about life and about you, and that can be incredibly toxic to both being a happy person and being a person who gets much of substance done. The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck over at Medium outlines the fallacies that can arise from being like this – and ways to defang them.

division squiggleA guide to how the New York Times discusses pubes. Because.

division squiggleMale bowerbirds, native to New Guinea and Australia, woo their ladies by creating elaborate tableaux. If the ladybirds approve, humping doth commence, followed immediately after by male desertion.

The petals sure are pretty, though.

division squiggleNihalani_CourtyardI want this here. And I mean both the art and the delightful nerds who gleefully interact with it.

division squiggleSlog takes us on a photo tour of the Fremont Antique Mall.

Related: we need to go back to the Fremont Antique Mall.


Like, a trip may happen just to ensure I see this. I do things like this sometimes. For instance, when I finally go to LA, it will be for some time-critical reason, but the real reason I’ll go will be to take a dance class with Richard Simmons, make no mistake.

division squigglePeely abandoned rooms at a YMCA in my hometown.

Related question: which is spookier?

  • Abandoned childcare rooms festooned with off-model renditions of cartoon characters
  • Shared bathroom spaces in abandoned institutions

Answer: they are both spooky as shit, and you should get out of there.

division squiggleAnd, finally, podcasts for your listening pleasure this week.

  • Despite having the words “writing” and “literature” in my college degree, I have read very very little Joyce Carol Oates. This is, I was reminded this week, an incredibly stupid thing. The November edition of the New Yorker Fiction podcast has Louise Erdrich reading “Mastiff” by Oates, and I just had to pause and close my eyes sometimes to let her finely observed and created characters just wash over me. It’s everything I try for in some of my stories, and if I’m ever a quarter as insightful and true as what’s in this story, I will be doing very well indeed.
  • Yes, I get behind on podcasts. This Yakov Smirnoff interview from WTF is from December, and so worth it. From Marc Maron’s introduction where he admonishes people to speculate in extemporaneous conversation rather than diving immediately into smartphone investigation (facetious, yes, but also true – try it sometime!) to his usual acidity being completely neutralized by Smirnoff’s sincere gratitude and enthusiasm, it’s a very worthwhile way to spend an hour-plus. Fun fact: Yakov Smirnoff is a professor at two colleges. Learning!

division squiggleAnd, in closing, I will leave you with this.

I ended up going out for a second round of evening fun at about midnight last night. I walked through the park, and as I crossed the ball field, I saw three men coming my way. Two were wearing sombreros.

When I got within earshot, two of them greeted me. “Ciao!” said one. “Ni hao!” crowed another.

I had just enough beer and surprise in me that I fumbled, finally managing a chipper “Hola!”

Capitol Hill.

Later, I saw two more men in sombreros. They were carrying a Christmas tree across Broadway. I tried to get them to give it to me, but they would not.

This morning, I was grateful for that. Sometimes things do work out exactly as they should.