Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Facial Hair Dysmorphia

My name is Drew, and I feel insecure about my facial hair.


Let me describe for you a cycle that’s been going on for most of my post-pubescent life. Facial hair grows in, and stubble approaches beard status. About a week in, however, I begin to notice imperfections. “Oh, these few hairs don’t lie flat, and it looks patchy over yonder, and hey — have these two sides always been so asymmetrical?” I trim in an attempt to even it out. This maybe lasts a day or so, because when I’m next standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I realize that my attempts to fix the problem only made it worse. Of course, this only prompts me to try again to fix it, and in the end I end up buzzing it all away, back down to stubble, whereupon the cycle begins again.

(And no, clean-shaven is not an option for me. When I shave it off, I think I look like a kid play-acting as a grown-up. It creeps me out.)

Based on that description, you might think I’m critical of facial hair in general, but here’s the thing: I can’t remember the last time I saw some else’s stubble, beard, near-beard or whatever and had anything other than a positive reaction to it. Goatees excepted, I think facial hair better looks better than no facial hair, and I give everyone else a pass that I don’t give myself. At 32 years old, I’m basically good with the way I look and the way my body goes about its processes, but this one in particular I cannot accept. That’s maybe just how most people operate, saving their harshest judgment for themselves, but I’ve gradually become aware of the fact that I focus this harshness specifically on my facial hair.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

With “It” Being Gray Skin and Vision-Obscuring Hair

Gwen Stefani has a new album coming out. This is news that some people will receive enthusiastically, I’d guess. Available data sets lead me to believe it will not significantly affect my life, but I can offer you the following side-by-side.


Am I the only one to see this? It’s the first thing I thought of. And as I keep seeing Stefani’s album cover on social media, it continues to be my only reaction to it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Foul Horror of the Zombie Sandy Duncan

Presented below is the middle third of the Hogan Family episode “Nightmare on Oak Street,” which horrified me and other unknowing youths who had tuned in expecting to see anything other than the zombie Sandy Duncan.


Yes, Jason Bateman also becomes a zombie, but that’s not what lingered with me: It’s the shot of Sandy Duncan’s ghoul face when she lowers the newspaper.


Looking at it now, it’s hardly scarier than any background alien on Star Trek: The Next Generation, or that show that I resented because it meant the end of weekday cartoons and therefore refused to watch. But at the time this episode aired, I was five years old and had never seen anything actually scary. Zombie Sandy Duncan was, at the time, the scariest thing I’d ever seen, and her horrible face became the thing I would absolutely try not to think about when I was in bed, in the dark, all alone. But I would. To this day, I’ve never been able to hear Sandy Duncan’s name without immediately jumping to this mental image.

All this got dredged up for a piece I did for People on the inexplicably scary episodes that classic sitcoms would sometimes do. As an adult, I get it: Writers like to experiment, to meddle in other genres. But I can still remember the stress of being a child, watching Hogan’s Family and wondering why it wasn’t the experience I wanted. I wonder if current family sitcoms are screwing with kids’ heads in a similar fashion.

And then there’s an awkwardness. This episode aired on November 23, 1987. On September 21, 1987, the show introduced Sandy Duncan’s character, who moved in to care for the boys after their mom, Valerie Harper’s character, died in a car accident. That’s what motivated the name change from Valerie to The Hogan Family. Even considering the behind-the-scenes scuffle that prompted Harper to leave a show that was literally named after her, doesn’t it seem odd that they’d follow up the mom’s death so soon after with an episode with walking corpses?

In conclusion and in summary, the theme song to this show is awesome and I never get tired of it and it pops into my head probably once a week, completely unprovoked and I just today found it that it was sung by Roberta Flack.


And to that point, I add only this: the image of “dippity-dooed” serial killer Blair, from the equally confounding slasher movie episode of The Facts of Life.

facts of life slasher movie blair serial killer

Just in case you never revisited it after its original broadcast and need assurance that yes, this is another strange thing that actually happened, and no, you did not make this up.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pinker Than Shepherd’s Delight

I’d barely been speeding. Here is a selection from the conversation that I had with the CHP officer who pulled me over.
Officer: So what were you listening to?

Me: I… excuse me?

Officer: When you sped past, you looked like you were listening to your jam. I was wondering what that jam was.

Me: Oh, it was just some dumb song.

Officer: Whose song was it?

Me: It… was a band that calls itself Marina and the Diamonds.

Officer: They sound pretty hardcore.

Me: They’re really not. Just a dumb pop band.

Officer: What was the song called?

Me: “Froot.” It was called “Froot.”

Officer: So if I were to look up Marina and the Diamonds and this song “Froot,” I would be able to listen to whatever you were listening to.

Me: Yes. But it’s not “Fruit.” It’s “Froot.” F-R-O-O-T.

Officer: That’s not how you spell “fruit.”

Me: Yeah, but that’s how she spells it.

Officer: She being Marina?

Me: Yes, sir.
In the end, I was allowed to proceed without a ticket, since my unblemished record and immaculately clean car made me seem like the kind of guy who only needs a warning to correct his bad behavior. Or maybe he just pitied me. Or maybe I just seemed especially harmless.

This, by the way, is the song that led me into a criminal lifestyle. It looks like Pac-Man at a gay rave.



Yes, I did learn all the lyrics. No, that will not get me anywhere. But hey — no ticket.

Previous stories which I allege to be funny:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Let’s Go Ride a Bike

Hey. I’ve made a new mix of the music I’m listening to this month. Album art below. It’s mostly newer stuff. I hope you enjoy.


If you’d like to listen or download — just right-click any song you like to save — you’ll need the password. I’m happy to give it. Just email me or tweet me or whatever and I’ll hook you up.

And here’s the September mix, in case you want to further take in my own personal soundtrack. The same password will get you into both.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Murder, She Wrote Conspiracy Theory [Developing]

Without realizing it, I started powering through Netflix’s entire series run of Murder, She Wrote in conjunction with the series’ thirtieth anniversary. I watch an episode or two whenever I have work that doesn’t require too much attention, and as I move ahead through the series, I’ve begun to develop a theory that, much like the theories of evolution or gravity, is impossible for any rational mind to dispute. And no, this is nothing as simple as the trite “What if Jessica Fletcher is actually the killer?” theory. No, this is much deeper than that.


Jessica Fletcher has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of nieces and nephews, all spread across the country and working in every industry imaginable.


Each of these young relatives are, per Jessica Fletcher, incapable of murder but nonetheless associated with murders.


It’s possible that each of these supposed nieces and nephews are actually just Jessica Fletcher’s murder operatives that she's manipulating under the guise of being their kindly, childless aunt.


She used to be an English teacher — so better to brainwash young people into becoming murder drones, obviously.


Jessica Fletcher’s brothers and sisters are seen rarely. I assume she has killed them all in order to raise their children as her murder drones.


People probably suspect Jessica Fletcher of being a murderous mastermind, but they still invite her places because they’re scared of angering her.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Time I Hit a Cat in the Butt With an Orange

I recently finished building a raised wooden planter, and the kale and other leafy greens are just beginning to sprout. To me, it represents the promise of fresh vegetables during the winter months. To the neighborhood stray cats, however, it’s simply fresh, soft dirt that’s not yet cluttered by plants. In other words, it’s a free shitter that I made just for them.

artisanal cat toilet, made from reclaimed wood
I’m trying various deterrents, but the bolder cats don’t care. And while I was in the yard yesterday afternoon, I saw one pawing at the dirt. This rotten dick of cat, who’s the color of rainclouds and who saunters around like a goddamn mafia don, I knew he was not digging for treasure. I yelled at him, but that only prompted him to raise his tail and squat while looking directly at me. Enraged by this willful act of defiance, I did the only thing I could think to do: I grabbed a mostly decomposed orange that had fallen into the yard and slung it in the cat’s general direction.

To cat-lovers, this probably makes me sound like some sort of feline-stomping monster, but I swear to you that my only goal was to hit the wall nearby and scare the intruder away. This did not happen. For one, I have terrible aim. And for another, the cat saw the citric missile coming and turned around to run away. In doing so, he aligned his little kitty asshole right into the orange’s path, and with a spectacular splatter in impacted right on target — squarely onto his asterisk.

He flipped onto his back and then just lied there, with a “what the fuck?” expression on his face in place of the usual “fuck you” one. I felt weirdly embarrassed. Later, I saw him cleaning pulp off his feline... person.

I’d just like to acknowledge that mistakes were made all around.

It’s neither here nor there, but I’d also acknowledge that I built the planter with my own two man-hands. Well, and a saw. And nails. If you have to pick between the two feats, please only credit me for making the planter.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Melanie Griffith Had a Lion

A 1971 photo essay documented Melanie Griffith’s life at home with her unusual pet: Neil, an African lion that Griffith’s family adopted from famed Satanist Anton Lavey. The pictures went viral today, and while my first reaction was to give Melanie Griffith a hug — “Oh, you never had a chance at being normal, did you?” — my second reaction was to improve upon a photo of the family maid attempting to do her job around this considerable obstacle of an animal.


You’re welcome, internet!

“Here, look at this image,” previously: