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January 18th, 2008 · 5 Comments

This is the Gossip Column of Snore & Guzzle, running sporadically since 2003. It is published monthly, and released on the first of the month.



The Society Page

October 2nd, 2010 · No Comments


This is the Society page of Snore & Guzzle, also commonly referred to as
The Gossip Column. Society has been active since 2002. This is a real gossip column and all the characters you will find herein are real people, and the things they do are things that have really happened. Go ahead, just ask someone.

“Every day or two I strolled to the village to hear some of the gossip which is incessantly going on there, circulating either from mouth to mouth, or from newspaper to newspaper, and which, taken in homeopathic doses, was really as refreshing in its way as the rustle of leaves and the peeping of frogs.”

~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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Society # 41

October 1st, 2010 · No Comments

When Matt gets bored on the subway, he tends to sketch people’s faces, and when he gets bored with sketching profiles, he draws Victorian costumes on the people, and when he gets bored with that, he makes them into civil war generals. Sarah Eastman saw a santa clause riding a unicycle down burnside ave, playing bagpipes. Jacques is making a lascivious movie where the main character is a beanbag with a libido.

Heather’s father has a collection of funny glasses. Marcus has a hamper in the shape of a penguin. Sara told me she doesn’t really like talking on the phone; she just likes email and texting. It even says so in her bio.

Andrea and Tim only had one album to listen to on their trip from Ann Arbor, MI to Seattle, WA: Philip Glass’ Eistein on the Beach. That’s at least 3 days of driving. Tie’s boyfriend John reports that at one stretch of his life, estimated at two full years, he listened to exclusively (exclusively) Stereolab albums. That’s 730 days.

When Andrew’s parents came to town, they witnessed a gang of kids swimming in the Willamette River. But you’re not really supposed to swim in that river. At about the same time they noticed the swimmers, they spotted an enormous barge rumbling down the river. The barge saw the kids and blew its horn and the horn was so loud, all the glass windows shuddered in their casing.

Eva and Marlena have a word for a particular type of cheese in Austria that they had a very challenging time in translating. It’s sweet, and used for baking. But it’s not marscapone, it’s not cream cheese, it’s not fresh curd. It’s quark cheese. Which, as it happens, is not readily available in the united states.

Alyssa has been taking her dog, whose name is Walter Pancakes, for a training class for “shy dogs.” Let’s rephrase that. Walter Pancakes, Alyssa’s new dog, is engaged in a shy dog class. Walter is learning to be more assertive. Rachel and Zach have been using leeches in a stage performance. Thing is, to ensure their survival leading up to the performance, one must feed them. And Rachel has been feeding them her own blood. She said she got really high from it.

Amy told us over breakfast that she managed to persuade one of her coworker’s Jewish mother’s to divulge a secret – and smashing – pickling recipe, for the nominal charge of ten US dollars. She is on her way to Krueger farms to get some cukes. Kate said, “Did Donny move his seat?” And when someone confirmed, she said, “Shoot, now I don’t get to hear him sneeze anymore.”

I enjoyed this line in a book:

The Burgess-Maclean affair has raised issues of great” – he pauses – “delicacy.”

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Society #40

October 1st, 2009 · 1 Comment

September 2009

When I arrived on the train in Seattle, I was supposed to be picked up by two people I had never met. Their names were Kari and Abby, and they met me holding a sign with my name on it. However, the only paper they had was a post-it note, and my name was written on the diminutive page. Two bashful girls holding a miniature piece of paper caught my attention more so than the fact my name was written on it.

While sitting around a bonfire on Orcas Island, in Washington, Justin Dechow (who has two different colored eyes) told us that one time, his friend Ben was supposed to hang out with him and the guys, but had simultaneously made arrangements with his girlfriend at the time. When Ben arrived at their house, he announced that he had to take a shower real quick. Half an hour later they noticed that Ben was still in the shower. They knocked on the door and peaked in, only to find that the shower was still running, the window was open, and Ben was gone.

One of Jenny’s housemates told me that Jenny told her that at the veterinarian’s clinic, there was a woman who brought in a dying animal in a shoebox, placed it on the counter and said, “I think this kitten is about to die, can you help?” At which point, the vet opened the box, inspected the animal, informed the woman that it was a squirrel, and said that, sadly, there was nothing they could do. Later, I made Jenny tell me the story again.

Maggie was a bridesmaid in a wedding last weekend and she fainted right before the “I Do’s.” Next summer, Olga is going to the Ukraine to research christian themed doom metal. Once, Sarah Hudson attempted to bring a full stalk of brussel sprouts on an airplane from Oregon to Michigan. They were a Thanksgiving gift for her mother, but apparently the vegetables were eyeballed suspiciously from airport security all along the way. Recently, at an airport security checkpoint, I was subjected to a frisking…of my hair. I thought it was a joke at first, but it wasn’t. Have you ever felt latex gloves frisking your scalp? It’s not pleasant.

There is this girl who works at the sandwich shop and she went to this party with her boyfriend but she ended up making out with Vinh instead. Mid-kiss she decided there was something uncomfortable, so she interrupted the frenching and extracted a pair of scissors from her valise. She then proceeded to cut off a bit of his moustache. After surveying her handiwork, she then resumed kissing.

Heather was slated to perform at the backyard comedy night, but she had butterflies, and in an effort to quiet the butterflies, she had a few nips of tequila. The drinks made her so sleepy that she fell asleep on the porch and then later when she went home she fell asleep in her dog’s bed and stayed there; All Night Long. She said it was pretty comfortable.

I met Nell Newman (the woman on all the Newman’s Own labels) at an organic conference in Stevenson, Washington and I learned that she was a Falconer.

While I was at a concert a real stranger offered me candy and I had to decline.

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Society #39

September 1st, 2009 · 1 Comment

August 2009

Get this:

I recently learned about the rarest botanical gem in the world. It’s called a coconut pearl. And it grows inside a coconut, like a pearl grows inside a clam. Can you believe that?

David attended a philately conference in Washington, DC. He said that considering the size of this particularly collectible (the postage stamp), it was the largest conference hall he had ever experienced. Also, he related that he heard two stamp collecting jokes on the premises. Neither one was particularly funny.

While at a pizza place on Stark Ave, I heard the pizza chef say that he had made just over 13,000 pizzas in his 5 year, 2 month career. Recently, I met The Luckiest Girl Ever. She won a car and a lifetime’s supply of kangaroo shoes and once stayed at a place called a treesort, which is a resort where people stay in treehouses. Her name is Heather and I think she’s from San Francisco.

Maggie was late for her flight to depart from NYC and the cabbie was also late to pick her up and on the way to the airport the cabbie got a call from his wife, who informed him that she was about to give birth. At that point, the cabbie pulled over, paged another cab and made Maggie get out and wait for the next cabbie. He then u-turned and sped off.

Down the street from me, there is a Unitarian church that will bless your pet on wednesday evenings. There is another church in town (presbyterian) that is hosting a mariokart tournament this weekend. On the way to work, I pass a place of worship called, Little Church of Chimes.

Sarah Hudson’s parents once found a turtle in the engine of their car. Here are two seemingly contradictory facts about Carolyn: 1.) She has never once in her adult life made a burp. 2.) When she was in Montreal, she ate poutine every single day for a week.

When Celeste was a teenager she wrote a script for the television show Home Improvement, and submitted it to the studio for consideration. The script was subsequently rejected, and the rejection effectively altered her life for all time. This was an experience that took her a very long time to share with other people, and it was only recently revealed during an intense game of The UnGame, a fun party game that teaches skills like, “listening, communicating, respect, understanding, and self reflection.”

Kelli’s friend Kyle, who lives in Nashville, is obsessed with christmas and snowflakes. I really have no idea why this is so, but I would very much like to know someday. Marcus still has Halloween decor around his house: mugs, dish towels, bathroom rugs. They’ve been out so long that they’re almost back in season. For this past summer, Gerry was creative director for the laser light show, which is staged around the waterfall in downtown Rochester. Abby has been riding horses…a lot.

I saw this posting on craigslist:

“I am looking for a Tandem bike for me and my sister this Friday and Saturday (or one or the other) in exchange for my perfectly good foos ball table.”

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Society #38

July 29th, 2009 · 1 Comment

rotary dial phone courtesy of craphound

July 2009

On Bastaille day, for the first time ever, Celeste Flick hula-hooped. Shawn Creeden is unusually good at hula-hooping for a 6 ft 2 man. Every Christmas, Kevin’s family buys him another novelty nutcracker. He’s up to about 29 nutcrackers. Justin assembled a tin-can telephone with his neighbors across the street but to use it they have to first text-notify one another on a cell phone.

For a gallery show in portland, Peter bought thirty dvd players from Wal-Mart. Eight days later he returned them all. It took the employee two hours to reprocess all the DVD players back into the system. Peter said it made him feel a little guilty. Both Christopher and Dominic love Sherlock Holmes stories

Whenever Vinh plays ping-pong out at the bar, he brings his own paddle. Vinh met this girl at the bar who was playing ping-pong, and she had also brought her own paddle. She beat him. Or so the story goes. Sarah jogs in a park where there is a statue of a man with an outstretched hand and every-time she runs by him, she gives him a high five.

Rich, the biologist, once explained to me that he prefers single-ply tooth floss to multi-ply. The reason for this is that he uses single-ply as a tiny noose to catch lizards and it is much more effective than multi-ply. There was a seed stuck in a hole in the sole of my shoe. This wasn’t particularly notable other than the fact that another seed, of the same variety, was stuck in a hole in the sole of my other shoe. I met the luckiest girl ever. Not only did she win a car, she won a lifetime’s supply of kangaroo shoes. Rajesh won a pink scooter. Marcus traded an XBOX 360 for a sandwich maker.

I saw a full grown man flying a kite the size of a business card. There was a full grown woman at the coffee shop called Tinys who was sitting on a phone book. Abby saw that and told me about it.

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Society # 37

June 29th, 2009 · No Comments

amy, me

June 2009

Andrea, who is from Romania, has had education in more fields than anyone I know: accounting, nutrition, architecture, massage therapy and chemistry (I think there are even more than that, but that’s all I can recall). This is something that I discovered while having sushi with her and Marcus. Marcus told us that over the past 16 years, he has owned 37 different vehicles. Andrea says that you can tell a lot about what a guy subconsciously likes in a girl based on his car.

On the bus I saw a chubby young lady with a very serious demeanor, wearing a yellow rain slicker cap (like fishermen wear) and carrying an enormous blue, stuffed wooly mammoth. There was not a cloud in the sky.

Meredith knows how to tie a tie better than most men. My dad only ties his ties once and then leaves them tied. I have a tie that I borrowed from my dad and never gave back that has probably been knotted for 30 years. Meredith knows how to tie ties because she used to wear them at school. She says that she really wanted to attend private school, but her parents would not let her. Therefore, she decided to start wearing private school uniforms to public school as a compromise. My Aunt Chris told me that one of the only items she still owns from her father is a pair of red suspenders. Gloria Kim once made a not so subtle suggestion to her father by purchasing him a pair of nose hair clippers for christmas.

Marcus and Sarah Hudson’s dryer broke on exactly the same day and neither can figure out what the problem is. I’d been idling for months on the idea of purchasing a red bicycle from Shaw Flick. And then one day I had a dream about the bike and decided it was time to make a move. That very next day, I learned that Shaw had just sold the bicycle. For the fourth time, and at complete random, I have coincidentally run into a girl named Austine, each time in a different region of the United States. Austine is from Naples, New York, well-known for their concord grape pies and says she knows Bleu Cease, who is also from Naples. We met originally in San Francisco, and then ran into each other at a bar in Rocheser, NY and then on a street in Brooklyn (where she was about to depart on a red-eye for Mexico City to visit a man named Raoul), and then once again on a public bus in Portland, Oregon where we were both headed downtown. Each time we have run into each other she has said, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

In the Tabor district, I saw a lost dog sign with a picture of a red pekinese dog. Above the photograph it said, LOST, and beneath it, the text read, “Not actual photo, Princess has more smooshed features.” In the Concordia district I saw a sign that said, FOUND, and beneath the text, there was a picture of a chicken.

Sarah Eastman says that all the boys in portland are babies and she would be impressed if a boy had curtains on his windows.

Olga told me that her friend Molly was living in a hyperminiature apartment in brooklyn with five other girls and that her bed was on the top of a shelf. Later, when I met Molly, I noticed that she had freckles, was wearing a striped dress and had duct tape holding her right shoe together. Olga and Molly told me that there was a mechanical frog on their block that croaked every time someone walked by. In my neighborhood there are a host of real frogs that croak vociferously in the evening. My neighbor is disturbed by the noise and says that it was driving her to drink. In order to dampen the sound she installed a water fountain that gurgles all night long. Joel has a phobia of frogs and one time Abby and I accidentally took him to a diner with frog-themed decor. The wallpaper was a repeating frog-motif.

I was at a convenience store and I bought a one dollar bottle of water so that I could get cash-back. As I was swiping my ATM card and punching in my pin-code I noticed that the buttons on the keypad were very very squishy.


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Society #36

May 30th, 2009 · No Comments

I interviewed a man named Norman Greenbaum, and recorded the conversation on two 45 minute micro-cassettes, which, after I was done, I gave to Olga, who was going to help me transcribe them. We met up, had croissant sandwiches and talked. After we split, Olga left with the tapes and went off to her Hymn writing class with her friend Mickey. At the class, the instructor spoke about the song, “Spirit in the Sky,” and the ambiguity of the song, and Olga was sitting there thinking, “Gee, I have a 90 minute interview sitting in my bag from the man that my teacher is talking about.” After meeting with Olga I went to go see old-timey music and met Suzanne there, who is from Kentucky, but living in Oregon. Chad from New York introduced me to Suzanne, who knew her from Kentucky. She introduced me to Scott and Scott offered to loan me his mandolin. Suzanne left early to go see a puppet show but reported that prior to the puppet show there was a stand-up comedian who was so not funny that she left early, before the puppet show even started. Eric Jones told me there was a former classmate of ours who also lived in Portland. I looked her up and she was doing professional shadow puppets as well. Her shadow puppets were illuminated by a variety of big flashlights. Shawn Creeden built a cave out of paper-mache and hung up silver ink cave-dwelling animal prints inside and made gallery goers examine the artwork with tiny pen-sized flashlights. This past christmas my Dad got me a self-generating flashlight that doesn’t required batteries or electricity. I lost the flashlight but then I found it. Sarah told me that Jenny’s dog Gwen had an x-ray the other day to evaluate the dog’s lopsided gait. According the resulting film, the dog had an undiscovered 9mm bullet buried in its posterior leg. Jenny says that 6 years ago the dog was wandering around in the woods near their country home and when she returned, she had a limp and a bloodied hind leg. The dog was taken to a vet but the wound was diagnosed as a puncture from a branch. Kate told me that one time when Allen was running in Rochester, he was grazed by a bullet, but still finished his running routine.

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Society #36

April 30th, 2009 · No Comments

Nadya gave up gummy bears and alcohol and meat for lent. Ashley saw a little girl at the farmer’s market whose dress was tucked into her underpants and she was also holding an ice cream in her hand. Both Zach and Celeste had a similar experience with a mango in India. They said they ate a mango that was so good and juicy and tasty, that they had to sit down for a moment. Sarah Hudson got a bloody mary in Portland that she reports was the best bloody mary she’s ever had. The only thing was, the bloody mary was so good and spicy, it gave her a bloody nose. Nick and Jon have an avocado plant growing in their apartment that they have been growing from a seed that Albert started for them. When Marcus puts out a call for new hires, he insists that applicants bring pies. I found an earthworm crawling along the floor in a restaurant.

Abby got a new striped hammock and Travis asked, how does this thing work anyways?

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Society #35

March 27th, 2009 · No Comments

March 2009

Sarah from California, but who I encountered in Santa Fe, met this guy, who is currently in Georgia (the country), and she really wants to travel with him on a roadtrip to Panama. Well, that was yesterday, but today she is not so sure. I heard a week later that she decided to go to SXSW instead of Panama. Not sure about the guy.

While Bill was giving me a tour of his New Mexico property in a rickety old golf cart, he told me that the river has never – in his time – dried up. And the old-timers he says, have never seen it dry up either. His wife, Claudia asked me if I played ping-pong. Apparently, her father, who is about 80, is training for the senior olympics and needs a sparring partner. Claudia also told me that she once bought a crane, site-unseen, from a man in Colorado, for her brother Nick, who collects these type of things. The crane was a utility crane, which means that it had hundreds of built-in drawers for tools and parts and such. When the two of them picked up the machine, they discovered the drawers were filled with cannabis. And the seller was nowhere to be found. They had to vacuum out every single drawer before they could transport it over the border.

Kristina, who lives in rural Italy, told me that the garlic and onion and raddichio are already coming up in her garden even though it’s only early March. Eli and Amanda are growing 330 different types of garlic in Albuquerque. Severine was carrying fresh eggs in her pocket and they broke. Unfortunately, her cell phone was also in her pocket and the two intermingled. This, I learned from Severine’s answering machine, which reported the damage. While I was speaking on the phone with Sue, who lives in Holly, NY, her granddaughter Amelia, brought in a carton-full of fresh eggs from the barn.

For Kyle’s birthday, celebrated in his hometown of Nashville, Kelli bought him the two biggest chocolate bars she could find, accompanied by the largest wheel of cheese she could find.

Cassie hitched 3 different rides from young men in Flagstaff, dated each one consecutively, and then remained with the third. His name is Kevin and he once found himself stranded for nine days while hitchhiking. During that time he attempted to shoot squirrels with a slingshot to survive. Lori has two dogs – one named Gable and the other named Tatum – and they were both born on St. Patrick’s Day, 7 years apart from one another.

On her first day as a videographer in Albuquerque, Moira was asked by the director to, “Take the van, go to the nearest carwash, and get the most expensive option. Then shoot it.” Moira’s husband Tom told me that he stayed at a B&B in Elk, California (which is right on the coast), where the windows of the room were designed like those on an old wooden ship; that is, they could open three ways: propped up, sliding left/sliding right and a third way….But I can’t for the life of me remember what that could be. The two of them made liqeur from wild Alaskan blueberries and I tasted a sip of it and it was pretty good, sweet, but tasty.

David and Jason rode a tandem bicycle around the great wall of China.

Maggie asked me: “Did you know that Captain Kangaroo came to Eastman Theater when I was a little girl?” And then she said, “I went backstage to get his autograph and when I did that I cried out of joy.”

Abby McCarthy can get a toothpaste tube flatter and emptier than anyone I know.

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Society #34

March 1st, 2009 · 1 Comment

February 2009

Recently I was watching Antonella tying her shoes, and she appeared to be having issues. Then she said, “I seem to have tied my shoelaces into my scarf by accident.” While driving to her home in Nashville, Kelli Shay encountered a porta-potty in the middle of the road. The door was wide open. Her friend Kyle now works at Sony and says that he gets free root beer at work.

After an office bet, Emily’s husband counted his own sneezes over the course of a year and chronicled each sneeze in a little pocket notebook. Guess how many times he sneezed? 4,211 times. Emily’s daughter accidentally prank phoned her own house at 3 in the morning. Kate knows this guy from around town and said that she once saw him at an Alice Cooper concert, and that he was sporting a live snake around his neck for the show.

Nate went to the Navajo Farmer’s market in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1991 and there, he bought his first pair of Zubaz. Jennifer and Phil made a bus-driver in Transylvania pull over to the side of the road in order to purchase farm-stand raspberries. When it snows outside in Sweden, Anja likes to drink hot chocolate and look out the window.

Craig spent time working on a goat farm in New Mexico and worked with this lady named Nancy who drove trucks until she realized her true calling was goats. I have tried some of her goat cheese, and it is very tasty. Sarah Bay has a business she likes to call the Pinata Lab where she makes fancy pinatas. She has made pinatas in the shape of owls, turkeys, deer and devils…which are then systematically demolished by whiffle ball bats.

Abby fell asleep while I was talking to her on the phone. Three times in a row.

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Society #33

January 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

January 2009

Travis always eats a brand of pickles called, Bubbies. Jack, the guy who works at the loading dock, calls everybody he likes Bubby. Leroy, the janitor, calls everyone Johnny.

Leann wanted to make champagne-truffle risotta for a meal, and needed a small quantity of authentic truffles for the recipe. When she went to grocery store to retrieve them, she had to ask a clerk for assistance, who then brought the truffles out in a box guarded under lock and key. They were $399 a lb. Rich was once with a group of people on a camping trip who had a serious hankering for coffee, but no coffee filters. Someone decided to use a tube sock as an improvised filter in order to brew a few cups.

Albert saw the movie American Psycho with his grandmother. Ron’s license plate says RONDERTAKER. Dinah once convinced someone that sea monkeys were the astrological sign for aries. Wei loves caves, marshes, deserts and salt flats…but especially caves.

Karen knows someone that has won national awards in penmanship (not calligraphy, but penmanship). One time, this woman received a parking ticket, and sent a letter to the judge attempting to excuse herself. The judge was so impressed with her penmanship that he let her off the hook.

When I was washing my hands in the bathroom, someone approached the sinks and said, “They all have different personalities, don’t they?” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, and then I realized he was referring to the automatic water faucets.

Jim watched 483 films this past year, new films that is, he rewatched 116 films he has already seen. Me and Abby and Antonella watched 3 episodes of a television show…in a row…on a school night.

Rachel Bone said that she is seriously thinking about investing in an American flag.

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Society #32

January 1st, 2009 · No Comments

December 2008

Rose puts a shot of Bailey’s in her coffee every morning before work. She says she likes the taste. Alexis tried to bring cookies to the party, but she ate them all before arriving. Tim thinks the idea of sucking beans out of a pod – as in edamame – is gross.

I witnessed David and Kabir applying beeswax at exactly the same time. Sam made a key-lime pie and left it on the counter, thinking that her cats would not be interested in key-lime pie. She was wrong. The cats were interested, and they devoured the pie. Somehow, Abby smeared chocolate on her left eye lid. It is still unclear how it got there.

The Christmas tree in New Haven is lit almost entirely with blue lights. After having a shot in his knee, Ted had the hiccups for more than 3 days straight. In New Canaan, Connecticut, I saw a man wearing corduroys where the wales were horizontal. It made me feel disoriented.

Dave and Kate went to a new year’s eve party at a house where 17 turtles lived. There was a kiddie pool in the living room filled with turtles, and a smaller tank in an adjacent room filled with more turtles. There is a single scuba flipper sitting in Rich’s bathroom. The scuba flipper has a story, but I’m not sure I understand it. You can ask Rich about it.

Olga has a necklace with a tiny harmonica on it. Barb has a necklace ornamented by a miniature metal sword with a plastic rose stuck on it. Maggie sent me a picture of Jonah’s dad (who is a Rabbi) playing with a hula-hoop in the middle of the street. As a present, Alicia bought Kenny a long, red night-shirt.

Kate counted all the lamps in her one-bedroom apartment, and it turns out that she has sixty nine lamps all told. Megha set off her smoke alarm with her incense. Emily’s dog, Martha, who is a rhodesian ridgeback, pooed in the backyard, the next day she returned to the backyard and ate the poo, then came back inside the house and yakked on the kitchen floor, and then she ate that back up too, all while wearing a turquoise American Apparel tank top.

Jon Moses forgot that he had to come to work early, and so I called and reminded him, and he came in, but he had been painting and didn’t have time to change, and had white paint all over his blue pants, so in order to look more professional, he turned his pants inside out so no one could see the stains.

I passed two kids in a hallway in the museum, who were messing with some loose bricks on the floor, and one said to the other, “I think there’s something secret under there, don’t you?”

I’ve noticed that on most people, if you look at them in profile when they’re talking, the tip of their nose will minutely bob up and down.


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Society #31

November 30th, 2008 · 1 Comment

November 2008

Here’s how Tony got his cat back after it ran away. Using a bowl of milk as bait, Tony monitored the back-steps of his house with a video camera. Night after night, the milk was drunk, and Tony confirmed that it was his cat lapping it up. After a couple weeks of leaving milk on the door-step, the cat was finally persuaded to return.

Antonella was with Jeff in the courtyard of an old hotel in Savannah, Georgia, when a praying mantis landed on the lapel of his suit-coat. She flicked off the insect, but it landed on his pant leg and put up its mandibles in consternation.

I overheard the following conversation at the check-out counter:
Cashier: “You need new glasses, don’t you? You only got one lens.”
Customer: “Well, I only got one eye.”

Lindsay knows this girl in Norway that hosts bands and has a room with so many single-beds lining the floor that you can jump from one side of the room to the other without touching the wood floor beneath. Ashley went on a 4-week tour with her band across the country, and she only brought one outfit of clothing… But she brought 3 pairs of gloves: 1 for the cold, 1 for style, and 1 for driving. On this same tour, Andrew learned to knit in order to pass the time. When I saw him, he was knitting a two-tone block scarf that almost matched exactly to the colors he was wearing: brown on the top, and greyish-blue on the bottom.

Kelli’s friend Kyle attended her panel at the film conference, and he stood at the back of the room with a bloody mary in his hand. I noticed that Olga was wearing a familiar perfume, and when I inquired, she reported that it was actually a man’s cologne. I think my friend Jon wore the same exact brand in high school, and Olga noted that the cologne was a discontinued Armani line. Sabrina likes the cold weather, but she says it makes her sleepy.

Fredrik and Anja are living together in the same house in Sweden, and they get along very well except for one thing. Anja likes to put fruit on her salad while Fredrik disapproves of putting fruit on the salad. Shawn is friend’s with this guy in Japan who appears to only eat chocolate bars for nutrition. Caitlyn really likes tater-tots as a late-night snack. Travis saw a really “righteous” bird the other day, but he could not identify the type of bird. Abby and I have a scab in exactly the same place, smack-dab in the center of the back of the neck. Both Leeann and I were returning netflix video rentals, and we noticed that we were returning the same exact movie: Badlands. I had watched it, Leeann had not.

The other day I was tidying about the house when I noticed a finger-nail-sized scrap of white paper near my feet. I was about to sweep it with my foot into the air-vent, when it occurred to me that I should probably look at the other side of the paper. And here is what was on the other side…


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Society #30

November 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment

October 2009

For Halloween, I dressed up as a character who required large, fake eyebrows. Near the end of the evening I lost one of the eyebrows when re-adjusting them. Barb once asked me to draw a bird holding a tuba and flying over a waterfall. Alexis had a fear of peanut butter, but one day she tried almond butter, and her original fear of peanut butter disappeared. The day after Halloween, Antonella found something attached to her shoe which she thought was a caterpillar, but it was actually my eyebrow.

Pietro built bedposts for his lofted bed out of shipmasts. Kristina Foley really wants to visit the straw hat museum in Florence.

Dinah really likes that first 2pac album. Abby really really likes film trailers, in fact, she has watched every single one on the website. Olga used a night-light until she was 17 years old. Travis does not like moths, not one bit.

Rajesh won a scooter from a raffle. I saw a green parrot riding on the roof rack of a moving black car. Patti does not own a single pair of shorts.

Nick received a check in the mail for 13 cents. Rich wants to hang out with a ballerina just to see if they’re as graceful during a normal day as they are on stage. Jon’s Grandfather ran a factory in Haiti that made sweaters.

On my block, all the trees are turning red, brown, golden, yellow and orange – except for one, which is turning pink.


gossip girl

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Society #29

September 29th, 2008 · 3 Comments

September 2008

Brent and Sanders have taken up hacky-sacing on tour to pass the time. Emily & Kevin & Ian & Annie hosted a Beatles-themed brunch at noon on Sunday, and Nate & Julia came over, and didn’t leave until 11 p.m. Gregory Paul showed up 1 day early for Olga’s Bruce Springsteen birthday party. He promised to come back, but never showed up the next day.

Ken White built an orgone energy accumulator using plans he bought at the Wilhem Reich museum for $8.75 in Maine. He says it works pretty well. Thomas is currently painting Mardi Gras floats with Mike Lewis in New Orleans. I saw a green parrot riding on the roof rack of a moving black car.

Leeann always dials the phone numbers of her friends. She does not rely on memory dial. She said that Ian & Annie’s digits have an especially melodious tone when dialed.

Shawn has taken to wearing a bird whistle around his neck. Walter was wearing a Micky Sweatshirt…and a Micky t-shirt underneath. Travis spilled maple syrup on himself at work.

Charlie found a secret bar in New York City that was located in a hot dog shop. Once inside, you had to step into a phone booth that was the entrance to the bar. Emily told me that she doesn’t mind dog breath – in fact, she likes it.

There are two interconnected kitchen sinks in the kitchen where I live. Sometimes, when I’m washing dishes in one sink, it gets so sudsy that soap suds start to bubble out of the dish drain in the other sink.

Annie thought that a rascal was a real animal, or maybe a small monster.



Society #28

August 30th, 2008 · 2 Comments

August 2008

For his birthday, Ian received a bullet in a box from Caroline, which she gave to him because it was a civil war bullet. When Ian touched the bullet it started to flake apart so he decided to leave it in the box for now. Charlie and Matt and Leeann went to a demolition derby. Charlie said there was a game that was giving away knives as a prize and resultantly there was a gang of kids running around with sharp knives.

Liz L. has 2 tarantulas and 1 snake and 100 mice in her freezer, but she wants another snake so she can have baby snakes. She wants to start a zoo. Troy, Neil and his girlfriend all have rat-tail haircuts. I’m not sure if this is on purpose or not.

Jon worked for a day on a film production in a certain upstate New York city that will remain unnamed where they were reportedly spending over a million dollars on fake snow. This unnamed city happens to have one of the highest rates of this specific type of precipitation in the country. He quit the next day and soon thereafter started working at the library.

Both Sanjeev and I are member’s of the Cloud Appreciation Society. Because of the humidity in the house, none of the doors fit properly in their jambs. I saw at least 37 maroon and mustard colored marching band suits at the dry cleaners. At Shaw and Celeste’s wedding, they handed out friendship bracelets.

Marcus has taken to watching Scooby doo in the evenings, just before he goes to sleep. Molly always carries a sac of pumpkin seeds around with her. She once posted an offer on craigslist for someone to philanthropically contribute to her debt load on the grounds that she was a good person. Although the latter is true, no one came forth for the former.

Robert bought a Japanese toy that makes sound recordings on plastic cups, not unlike Edison cylinders. In the company of Missy, some Southern guy used the phrase, “Cuter than a spotted pup under a lil red wagon.”

Alexis told me, “It’s not that I don’t believe you, I just don’t trust you.”

Nick and Ilya taught me how to light something on fire using a magnifying glass. Mrs. Hurd taught me that there are many names for blackberries, among them: “Thimbleberry,” “Titan” and “Lauren.” Not “Laurenberry,” just “Lauren.”

Olga went on a date to the dollar theatre with a boy, and he made her pay. There’s a man who comes to movie theater where I work and always pays in 2 dollar bills. For the first time in about 17 years, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I was talking with Antonella about the movie, Down By Law and after she watched it she said, “I felt like I was falling in love against my better judgment.”




Society #27

July 27th, 2008 · No Comments

July 2008

I saw a man wearing a thermometer on his hat. It was 79 degrees. Lita had a party where people threw pies at her and she bought three cans of whipped cream to make the pies, but she confided in me after the party that she should have really bought at least six cans. I told Alicia that she should be in a silent movie because she has such good facial expressions and because she never says much, and she said that she had already been in one. I know someone named Uli who went to Slapsticon, which is an international conference for slapstick movie enthusiasts.

I found a centipede curled up in the cup where I keep my toothbrush.

Jeremy was encouraged to play basketball when he was in high school because he was really tall and he played for a couple years, but he was the worst person on the team and he never scored a single point. Patti’s oven broke when she was in the middle of baking cookies. So, rather than giving up, she continued baking the cookies in the toaster oven…three at a time. I saw Jenn Libby and she was sporting three things that were royal blue: her bag, her skirt and her toe-nail polish.

Jana knows a girl that found a dead owl in the woods and picked out all the feathers and stuck them all over her clothes. Sharon knows someone who legally changed their name to, The Mayor of Featherstown. These were not the same people. Shawn Creeden was almost attacked by thugs, but luckily he had his musical saw on him. When he pulled it out of its sheath, they thought it was a sword and ran away.

Leslie ate at a restaurant in the Phillipines that was stationed at the base of a waterfall in such a way that the tables were partially immersed in its run-off. Doug once took 30 Taiwanese children to see the movie Fantastic Four. Megha’s new favorite thing is tubing. Barb found a deer tooth in the bottom of a creek and she asked if I would hold it in my pocket until later. Barb and Nick overheard someone shouting, “I hate you, Grandma!” Jon Moses saw someone in public with a long piece of dental floss hanging out of their teeth.

Recently I tried to close my eyes as slowly as a cat does. But I could not seem to do it.

Guest Society #2: from The Appalachian Trail

~Abby McCarthy

Preface: It is a long standing tradition on the Appalacian Trail that people go by nicknames, called your “trail name,” rather than their given names. You can give yourself a name, come to the trail having been named by family, friends or a collegue, or you can be named on the trail. The ones earned are often the most fitting.

Sunset never made it to camp before dusk. Fireman always built a fire. DangerSnake yelled just that. Tim became Jim because someone misheard him and Just Dave was how he had introduced himself. Briar had insisted on setting up his tent, no matter the conditions. He almost become Flame Thrower for other reasons. I carried a stuffed chicken for a thousand miles and became Lady Cluck. Other things get named too. Sampson’s hiking poles are Sampsonite and Goldielocks. Timecop’s tent is named The Treasure Chest and Grey Ghost calls his pack Reba.

Summer 2008

Red Glasses remembers the first time he roasted a marshmallow, it was a complete mess. Skylight and Tailbone eat their dinners out of matching plastic yellow mugs. Butters wears almost solely the color blue.

Beatbox offered Rocksteady the strongest hand hold he knew – the Sailors Grip. Genkin bulids a fire for his wife each night to keep the
bugs away. His wife calls herself No Eyed Deer. Freestyle likes to catch snakes but I am afraid of them. But I’m not afraid of wasps though one stung me on the foot. Sampson is afraid of butterflys.

A pizza shop sign asked if anyone could eat a whole large stromboli so Bondi did. Freebird broke his spoon on his second bite of a half gallon of ice cream. He ate the rest with the stub. Tree is the tallest man on the trail.

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Society #26

June 27th, 2008 · 2 Comments

June 2008

Abby told me she knows this guy (whose name I think is Ben) who has a grandmother named Justina, but she insisted that everyone call her Jake. Emily started to read The Adventures of Augie March, but then someone put on Die Hard, so she decided to watch that instead.

I saw Jon Moses, Nick and Maton all riding a bicycle. The same one. Nick was steering, Jon sat on the back, and Maton was on the handlebars. I saw John K. drinking Jolt Cola and he told me two surprising things. # 1) It’s his favorite drink. # 2) The soft drink is produced in the town where I live.

Alexis was hanging out with Doug and she made a sound like a quail to impress him. But it didn’t sound like a quail and she was embarrassed. Alaina ate so many tic-tacs that her tongue turned orange. Cristina hurt her shoulder scooping gelato.

Kevin & Emily just went to this wedding and they said that the groom became so inebriated that he tried to pour beer into the saxophone of a musician in the wedding band. For lack of an alternative vessel, Dave took shots from a glass candlestick. Keith has a secret sauna in his house that is so small you have to duck to get inside.

I was listening to music with someone once and they said, All this music sounds like water. Now I can’t remember who it was. There was this guy who I would run into, and he would always give me his card. I never kept it and now I can’t recall his name. All I can remember is that he has a big fuzzy dog and he’s an Ezra Pound scholar.

Nate got an email sent from Newt Gingrich. It said, “unsubscribe.” Leann didn’t know the recipe for sangria, so she made one up. Travis was annoyed because the word croquet was not available in T9 when he was texting. After many (many) years of not having one, Patti got a bicycle. And she’s determined to learn to ride it. It’s an old cruiser and Jenn Libby found it for her.

Rachel visited Brian on the farm in Massachusetts, where he lives in a tent, in a barn. He said that a lot of the lettuce died because of the early heat wave. Ian’s mom was a fruitatarian for a couple years. That means she only eats fruit. Abby had a dream that there was two tubby cats sitting on the dresser and that I had bought them each ice creams with rainbow sprinkles.

Christopher has a cousin who moved to Vermont and married someone who is a shepherd. Molly went to a party in Washington state in a town called Humptulips. While driving, I saw signs for Grumpy Mountain. Earlier, I saw a legal firm named Crabb’s and Crabb’s.

I was watching Andy the gardener blowtorch weeds in the cracks in the parking lot when he stepped in pink bubblegum.



Society #25

May 30th, 2008 · No Comments

May 2008

Stephen went to Minneapolis for holiday and tried to find Prince’s house. He couldn’t find it. Rajesh and Erica were engaged just before a Prince concert. (or was it right afterward?) Jessy was once escorted by a boy to the ocean at night while blindfolded.

Arrington is named after his Grandfather, who – although he died when he was three years old – he can still remember because he had a raspy voice. Amber collected stamps as a child. She thinks she might pick it up again someday.

Cale and his girlfriend have a secret fashion blog and they won’t tell anyone the address. Abby found an upright piano outside of a motel. Stephen’s girlfriend Jenny bought an ice cream cone from the ice cream man. I changed my phone plan.

Alaina really likes (a very specific brand of) toothpicks. Travis cut Bud’s hair at 3 in the morning. Seymour threw a beer coaster a Megha, and she threw two back at him. Rich is planning on painting his front steps four different colors, in imitation of decoration on his favorite lizard.

I saw an obituary for a man I didn’t know, and among his interests, it stated that, “He enjoyed parades.”


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Society #24

May 1st, 2008 · 3 Comments

April 2008

I ran into Jenny at the grocery store and she was wearing her jeans inside out (she had been painting), and while I was talking to her Doug and Adam walked by and waved. Nick bought a new bicycle with a corduroy seat. I saw a man riding a bicycle and carrying a black lab in the front basket, and it was standing up.

Brigid started her own line of pyjamas. Tony has quit the same job as least 6 times, and has had at least 2 going away functions, from the same department. Kate once bought me a pair of pyjamas. Much later, the knee ripped and now there is a patch on the knee.

Albert copied Jana’s handwriting and used it in some of his music videos. Jana doesn’t know Albert, but she saw the video and she said that it was weird to see her own handwriting saying things she herself had not thought. Charlie handwrites the character “g” the old-fashioned way, with two ovals, a connector, and a little stem on the top oval.

Mary the volunteer empties the pencil sharpener in my office every week. She told me that some pencil sharpeners can explode, if too full of shavings.

I found a contact lens under the couch.

Shaw is having a batchelor’s party, but he didn’t know anything about planning one, so he had to look it up on wikipedia. Ryan played me a version of Bohemian Rhapsody, as interpreted by Mario Paint. Tom is on tour and he stayed at a house in the south where the tenants had adopted a red fox. Mike has a coatamundi for a pet, which is a South American raccoon.

I hit the wrong button on my printer and now the display reads in a language that I don’t even recognize. Emily did something to her phone and now when you call her, it plays classical music instead of ringing. She doesn’t know how to fix it. Nick once again signed off an email with a musical note, but he doesn’t know how he does it. It just mysteriously appears.

When Fritz was younger, he attended 12 summer camps in one summer. Patti’s friend is pretending he is gay with his tennis partner so that he can get “life partner” benefits at the gym.

I saw a chair nailed to the side of a house, 15 feet off the ground. I tried to take a photograph, but the sun was in an unfortunate position, and then the person inside the house started staring at me. Leeann is plotting an indoor garden with 6 kinds of peppers.

Molly sent me a picture of a goat’s pupil (which is rectangular, in case you were unaware). Megha is arranging for an interview of a guy who lives in New Mexico and runs a museum dedicated to Black Holes. Jim has a thing for scenes in movies where the characters in that movie are actually watching a movie themselves.

There is something beeping in the house, but I cannot find it.



Society #23

March 28th, 2008 · No Comments

March 2008

Somebody in Virginia requested clearance for putting an illustration I made of a record player as a tattoo on his chest. He promised to send me a photograph of the end result. He has yet to make good on his promise. I went horse-back riding and I dropped my black notebook in the snow. Somebody found it in the woods two days later. I have yet to retrieve it.

Marissa dreamed that she made a fort out of pillows. She thinks that when she drinks orange juice before bed, that it gives her nightmares. Sometimes, I will get out of bed in the middle of the night to gorge myself on big slugs of orange juice straight from the bottle.

Eric couldn’t subscribe to Netflix because his mailbox at work was too small. But then, they re-constructed the mailboxes and they were the perfect size. And then two days later he was laid off. Gloria once fell asleep in a sauna and it gave her hives. Shawn & Yoshimi are trying to get their own children’s television show in Japan.

My Dad used an electric meat knife to cut a big piece of foam for a couch cushion. He used this same knife to cut ham for Easter dinner. When Barb was in Missoula, Montana, she made some recordings with her sister where she would make rhymes, and her sister would play beats on a piano or cello.

Nate had an episode of sleepwalking in his underpants. Thing was, there was a friend staying over at the house, and he accidentally climbed into the bed where his friend was sleeping. The friend gently notified Nate of the mistake. There was also something about the underpants, I think they were green and new, or something like that.

I was at a diner and I witnessed a young waitress wiping egg off the face of an old single man sitting at the counter. An attempt was made to make a joke about “egg on the face,” but it didn’t really work.

Charlie Apple gave a lecture entitled, “The lesser known waterfalls of Western, NY.” I ate persian rosewater ice cream from Mashti Malones ice cream parlor in Los Angeles. Kelli hosted a house-party in Nashville where – as a party-trick – a man put his hand in a raccoon trap.

Meredith sent me a picture of a some 19th century French automata earrings; one was a bunny that rapped on a snare drum, and the other was a skull whose eyes rolled in its sockets. I know someone who feasted on a goat’s head in Iceland, but I can’t remember for sure who it was. Was it Brian M?

Otto has 50,000 mp3s on his computer. Alex has over 800 children’s books. I own 3 lenticular pictures. I bought a lenticular postcard of an astronaut in space, hanging by a hose to the spaceship. Joel brought us a lenticular tableaux of a Hansel and Gretel in the woods. Ola gave me a small lenticular card with a hula dancer whose hips go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.

Rich was the subject of a “missed connection,” posting on craigslist. He was identified by his old flannel jacket (which he inherited from his grandfather). Leeann was also called out by a missed connection post. The person on the other end identified himself by his “funny hat.” Annika was twice the subject of an “I saw you” snipe in the classified section of the weekly newspaper. None of them contacted the postees.

Rachel H moved to Providence to enroll in motorcycle mechanic school. Her goldfish died, and at the funeral, she attached the fish to a bottle-rocket, and sent him off into the sky.

I saw Tate walking his bulldog near Park and Oxford Street.


chattering teeth

chattering teeth

Photographs by Wei Hwu

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Society #22

February 29th, 2008 · No Comments

February 2008

Dr. Owens hurt his elbow playing Wii tennis. I saw a bike seat covered with a wool sock. I guess it helps in the winter-time. Otto, Leann and Missie all watched a documentary on slugs.

Jessica didn’t like her haircut, so she got extensions, but when she was in Texas, she got too close to a bonfire and they melted. When she was little, Asia put her finger too close to the sea lion cage at the zoo, and the sea lion bit her hand. There is a tiny scar on her finger.

Patti went on a weekend trip to Ohio for an antique show. Rich has lizards in his freezer, and barn owls carved into the posts on his stairs. Marcus is going to buy a table just to write letters on. Apparently there are no surfaces in his house upon which to write.

Robert went to North Korea to play clarinet. In the late 90s, David traded in an out of print VHS of Eraserhead for a Queen box set. Alex got a job. He’s going to play the Easter bunny at the Eastview mall.

I saw a lunar eclipse from an airplane and just before it happened, I found a yellow matchbox taxi in the seat pouch. Maggie tried on a ring in a store and it got stuck on her finger. She was forced to buy it.

Brian made a list of all his former addresses and jotted it down in his notebook. I don’t think there was any motivation for him to do this. Kelsey called me back in February, after I left a message on her home telephone in August. I guess they don’t check it so often.

Missie iced Alicia Keyes cell phone. That is to say, she covered it in miniature Swarovski crystals. Mark saw Werner Herzog in the parking lot of Ralph’s grocery store. Lynn wore a red dress two years ago when she saw Mark Kozelek play and hasn’t worn it since. She’s thinking of bringing it out again for his show this summer.

Alexis said, “I like when the internet is slow. It’s the only time I have to daydream anymore.”



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Society #21

February 12th, 2008 · 1 Comment

January 2008

Doug said someone fell asleep with their arm around a turtle at Rich’s house. Rich is planning a birthday for Charles Darwin. Even though Emily’s dog ate her boots, she bought brand new ones. This time, she sprayed them with pepper spray so the dog wouldn’t eat them again. She tested the taste of pepper spray for effectiveness. She confirms that it tastes “yucky.”

Nate found a case of beer in front of his house at 3am and thought it was magic. A squirrel left a piece of bread in the mailbox at Abby’s house. Jessica Lee found a slice of pizza stuck on her window this summer. Megha has been eating wolf berries. Gabriel’s favorite type of music is cartoon music.

Kelli Hicks has legally changed her last name to Hix. It’s a long story. Ola wrote Nick a myspace message offering him her old yellow curtains. That was five months ago, and Nick only checked this month. This is regrettable because he really wants curtains. Not to keep the sun out, but to keep the cold out.

Someone borrowed my Michael Chapman record and never returned it, but I can’t remember who I loaned it to. I still have John’s Jordan Belson DVD, but I’ll return it soon. Did you know that Snuffleupagus has a first name? It’s Aloysius.

Otto wore a fur cap and a yellow sweatshirt . Herman lost his hat. Apparently there is a feather in it. Maggie went to spain with her mom. Marcus is learning to play poker.


society gossip

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Society #20

January 19th, 2008 · 1 Comment

December 2007

Kate cleaned her bathtub. Jim is living in an old funeral home. I got a new pair of corduroys. Asia wore green velvet pajamas to bed (they had foot stirrups). Joel is still receiving the Library Supply Catalog at his former residence. Roger puts vinegar on everything, including soup.

Maggie saw a man reading a dirty magazine on the bus. I saw a cat stuck in a tree. Its owner was encouraging it to descend. Once, when Susan’s Mom was tickling her, she accidentally swung and broke her Mom’s nose.

Charlie painted his room “sweatshirt grey.” Katy wants to see the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles. When she was little, Leeann tried to tap a Maple tree for syrup using a twig. There was a yellow telephone at the train station. It said complimentary, but had no numbers for dialing.

My socks fell apart in the wash. Emily’s dog ate her new boots. She hadn’t even worn them yet. Abby had a New Year’s Party and a full brick fell out of her house.


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Society #19

January 19th, 2008 · No Comments

November 2007

There was a man who came to the theatre, and he pulled out one wallet, but didn’t have enough money, so he pulled out another wallet. He had one wallet in each back pocket. I was served a breakfast sandwich at the diner and there were two bottom buns. Rebecca bought a pig’s head at the public market.

Over Thanksgiving, Trevor and his extended family had a singalong and everyone had kazoos. They just happened to have a bag of kazoos in the attic. Nadya loves tunnels. Cale has a wikipedia page, and he insists that he did not make it.

Jon was hired at a gunshop to do woodworking, and found out that there is a famous gunsmith with the same exact name as him. This may have given him an advantage over other applicants. The same month, he was let go for not making the hourly quota.

I sat with a girl on the train who collected the stickers off fruits: “apples, bananas, whatever.” Her name was Sam. She also told me that she wants a calculator watch. Susan’s Grandmother is a painter and lives in Alabama; she lived with her for a summer when she was a teenager. These facts might be wrong: it could be her aunt, and it might be Arkansas.

Nate and I have the same taste in dish towels. Grant and Eva got into a pillowfight the other day. Eva won. But Grant says he wasn’t even trying. Nick and Jon have 5 different transistor radios throughout their house all tuned to the classical station. There is even one in the bathroom.

Somebody came to the movies on cross-country skis. Rose ate a scorpion when she was in China. Molly Wheeler eats kiwis with the skin still on them and says it makes her tongue feel wild.

Lynn keeps werthers candies on the coffee table in her house at all times. When Patti makes stuffing, she soaks the bread in milk first. Rachel found a stylish vintage 70s coffee-maker at the thrift store. And it works. Kyle is reading a book on Slash. Did you know Slash was half black? When Eric was born, his Uncle made a homemade cannon, and shot it off in the woods.

Nick signed off a letter with a single musical note. Maggie has a teacher who asked her (rhetorically), Have you ever emptied a room of furniture on New Year’s Eve, and opened the window, just to listen to the snow fall outside? Julia is trying to break the guinness record for World’s Largest Book.

Kristina Foley is still no where to be found.



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Society #17

January 17th, 2008 · No Comments

October 2007

I saw a leather bike saddle protected by a shower cap. Abby called Tony for a stir-fry recipe, and he never called back. Jon stole a pop-tart from me. Alex has eaten a live squid before.

Charlie found a 2 headed quarter . Megha owns two body suits; one in velvet, and one in wool. One time, after a big party, Alice found a plant in her washing machine. Nadya found a plastic record player with accompanying multi colored records from her youth in storage.

Jon has seen the film Leprechaun in Space, and reports there are scenes in this film that one will never forget. Patti likes sharks so much that clears her schedule for shark week. Someone is lending Rajesh a machete so that he can cut a shortcut for his bike through a wheat field.


(this Society may be missing information – 1/19)

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Society #15

January 15th, 2008 · No Comments

August 2007

Mary Lou has a book full of scissor tracings. Abby ate a wild apple in the country so sour it made her teeth hum. Charlie went swimming in the creek and got a leech on his leg. A Mexican boy from Texas visited Danielle and confessed that he wore women’s jeans. They were size 4.

The country music hall of fame just acquired Willie Nelson’s white sneakers, embroidered with the name, “Willie,” on the toe. He wears New Balances. I saw them. In Nashville, they sell baby pit bulls in abandoned car lots. Jon is going to mortician school somewhere in a state that is located in the mid-west of the United States.

Maggie’s niece Ella was swimming naked in the backyard and she got bit by a bee. It stung her right between the butt cheeks. When Reema met the love of her life, he had two clementines in his pocket. He gave her one of them.

My mom sent me a newspaper article about a man who tried to fly from Oregon to Idaho, by riding in a lounge chair attached to a lot of colorful helium balloons. Ola found $40 on the ground. Yoshimi bowled her best game ever in Buffalo at the alley where Buffalo 66 was filmed. She bowled a 46.

Andrea & Charlie ate at a diner in Penn Yan where there were 2 different sandwiches on the menu that had jello as a topping. Wendy intercepted a pizza at a hotel that was definitely not hers for the taking.

I saw a man wearing a newspaper hat at the post-office. It fit him really well. I saw a police-man carrying a bouquet of red roses to someone’s doorstep. I saw a golf-cart with about 12 twenty-somethings packed into the ride. I saw 6 toddlers in one stroller.

Chad’s wife’s mother has a garden. In that garden there is a bird bath constructed with the dental molds from her children’s youth. Bailey hit a croquet mallet so hard in Maine, that it went flying over a cliff. Shawn made over 21 milkshakes for his band’s promo photo.

Angel gave Jona a haircut on the porch. As a creative writing assignment, Josh wrote “The life story of Kelli Hicks.” He received a B+. When Rajesh was little, he said, “How does God make strawberries? I know how he makes them red, but how does he put the dots on them?” Nico, the Chilean classical guitarist, was once in a Pink Floyd fan club. Rachel from Syracuse, would only refer to the band as Floyd.

People have phobias. I’m afraid of armadillos. Barb is afraid of zombies. Danielle is afraid of clowns. Abby is afraid of snakes, even little ones. Joel is afraid of frogs. Maggie is afraid of creamy substances. Rachel is afraid of melons and needles.

Did you know there is a website called


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Society #14

January 14th, 2008 · No Comments

July 2007

Julia found a carom board in the back of a truck. She now owns two. Her and Jenny have a table in their backyard garden that has morning glory vines growing all over it. Wait’ll you see it at the end of summer. Jon was late to work and running so quickly that his socks broke.

Danielle visited Jacques Torres chocolates in New York City and tasted every single truffle available. It amounted to 30 different chocolates. She said she had a headache the next day. Julia’s Father makes homemade apple cider with an antique cider press. Joel made a soup with 25 plums.

Bud wore a space-themed t-shirt with cut off sleeves that was actually the top half from a pair of children’s pajamas. Abby and her mother took trapeze lessons in New York City. Paul and Matt finally finished their 10,000 piece puzzle. It took them a long time.

Ryan has ways of entertaining himself during lunch. Recently, he entered all the items in his brown bag lunch into wikipedia to research their origins. Those items were bologna, polly-o string cheese and animal crackers.


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Society #13

January 13th, 2008 · No Comments

June 2007

Josh Kaufmann has a turtle named “showboat,” which he treats like royalty. I saw a lady walking a turtle in the street while simultaneously reading a newspaper. No lie. Did you know Trevor once worked in a gun factory? Joel told me that.

Brett’s drum kit fell on his toe and then it turned green and the doctor had to drill a hole in the nail. Matt cut his finger on the blender and Abby sewed it up. Nate’s brother sprained his ankle while dancing, but still didn’t stop until closing time.

Nate said, “I like when you wear the party home.” Paul sent me a text message that said, “I found glitter in my pocket.” Paul calls Rich “Buzz.” Rich calls Paul “Duke.” Tony has at least 3 pictures of his cat on his cell phone.

Siue has been asking me to take the picture of the secret door in the public library for more than three years. Wei asked me to cut the leg off the body of a dead seagull. Maggie’s Mom spilled an entire jar of beet juice all over the kitchen floor.

Barb sent someone a plastic lamp in the shape of a pig wearing a tuxedo. The entire thing lights up a peachy color. Kate still has her sticker collection from childhood. Marcus has a client who believes he is a wizard. There’s a man who frequents the downtown coffee shop who believes in miracles.

There was a beanbag out to the trash on the street. There was a split on the side and the foam filling was spilling out over the street like snow. Brian trashpicked a 2001 calendar with pictures of the universe and supernovas.

Wei said, “Sometimes I’m surprised at what floats,” as she watched an entire spider web float up over a field.


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Society #12

January 12th, 2008 · No Comments

May 2007

Someone left a message on my telephone and all I could hear was the sound of that person eating potato chips. Shawn got a free cd of “sounds from the jungle,” and he listened to it as he went to sleep. Maggie slow-danced to Stevie Wonder with a boy. Joel made a mix CD with 50 songs, one for each state.

Jason has been wearing the same cardigan so frequently that a bartender noticed. Rajesh helped a man carry an ironing board down the street. Megha wants a guru.

Matt and Ola had a baby squirrel for a day. Rich found a red salamander in the woods and taught us how to catch frogs. Abby gave Ola a perfectly preserved white moth in a dental floss container. Nate and Julia went to go see a parade…of dachsunds. In a text message, he reported to someone, “This dog thing is awesome.”

Rachel played discus in high school. Tony and Brooke own a tandem bicycle. It’s called the “Schwinn Twinn.” Alyssa and Kenny had a party, and the theme was biscuits. They made many different plates that involved biscuits. They own a very tiny rocking chair.

Chad and his father went to see the film Billy Liar, which his Dad saw when it was released, and he told us about how he remembered Julie Christie’s entrance. I wrote to Brigid after 3 years and said, “What are you doing?” She replied: “I am getting hitched. What are you doing?”

Barb found a marble buried in a crack in the sidewalk. Maggie left me an envelope on my porch with a single marble in it. I knocked into a jar full of marbles and they spilled all over the floor. This was in the middle of a dance party. It made the loudest crash I’ve ever heard.

Guest Society from Rachel Bone, Baltimore

Jeudi was sick one week but it was during finals at the college, and she had to teach chemistry class. She got dressed, walked the dog, and armed herself with tissues and cough drops. She went to her 9am lecture. Mid-class, she lost her voice and popped what she thought was a lozenge into her mouth from her sweater pocket. Had it been a lozenge, her throat would have cleared. Since it was a snausage (dog treat), she instead fought nervously with her puckering lips and gag reflexes. Fearing the nicknames and stories that might follow if her class found her out…Jeudi chewed, and swallowed.

Neil and Aaron went to Mexico and in a bar outside Mexico City, they encountered a group of men sitting around a barrel of fermented liquor. There was a ladle handed in their direction. They ladled. They drank. Aaron yakked.

We drove to NH to pat the pregnant belly of Phil’s sister, Amber, and pat the 60 year old back of Phil’s dad, Harry. They’re naming the baby Annalies, which is funny to me because their last name is Hanna, and an inevitable nickname will be Anna Hanna.

Krister put Hedgie in the sled-bag for the last 5 miles of the dogsled race for what appeared to him to be an ankle sprain. Upon veteranary inspection, Hedgie was discovered to be free of injury. It was noted that Hedgie is Krister’s favorite dog, and it was suggested by many that he was merely giving his queen a ride in her sleigh.

~Rachel Bone, Red Prairie Press

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Society #11

January 11th, 2008 · No Comments

January & February 2006

Diana found a series of small, mysterious cuts on her fingers. She could not find a reason for these cuts. It was not until she scraped her digits on the crystallized sugar formed around the mouth of a maple syrup jar that she realized what was going on. Shawn Creeden has an ice-cream maker, and he carries it around in his backpack.

It has been a little cold in the northeast. A boy with a bandana around his neck peed Ola’s name in the snow. Matt wears little plastic baggies between his boots and his socks, to keep his toes dry. At the bus-stop, I saw two people hugging. And they wouldn’t let go of one another. And then I realized it was because they were keeping each other warm. On the morning of one of the coldest days, just after a
light snow, Abby saw a rainbow.

Because he works concessions at a movie theatre, where this product is free and plentiful, and too easily exploited, Albert made a new year’s resolution to not eat any more popcorn. It lasted 61 days. I caught him with his hand deep in the bottom of a box – he said, “I couldn’t help it. I’ve been thinking about it all day.” For dinner on Sunday (which didn’t happen until midnight), Kelli had an order of onion rings, 2 bags of chips and a martini.

Maggie went on date with a boy who – according to Time Out NY, is one of “the top 5 most eligible bachelors in NYC.” Rajesh was going to blindfold Erica and take her on a secret journey… to Miami, for a Prince concert. He decided against the blindfold. Jason attended a bar mitzvah in a penthouse in NYC and Lenny Kravitz was present. Barb sent Dave a mix with nothing but Phil Collins on it. I found an
eyelash in the sugar bowl. In a drawer, I found 25 miniature rubric cubes. Anne has over 100 pairs of tights.


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Society #10

January 10th, 2008 · No Comments

New Year’s Eve, December 2006

I was getting ready for New Year’s Eve and I was running late, so I ironed my shirt while it was still on my body (I just put a board under my shirt and went at it). When Kelli and Charlie first arrived at the party, Charlie came bearing a full load of firewood (apparently Charlie’s whole family contributed to chopping wood), and Kelli came in with a dark chocolate rum cake and a box of pink sherbet.

Everything was illuminated by candles, which were placed in jars filled with marbles. The dance floor was illuminated by a blazing fire. Ola removed the window seat cushion in order to dance on the window seat. She very politely asked first. Abby joined her.

Partygoers were dressed to the nicely. Travis wore a v-neck velour vest with a tie underneath; Tony was wearing some slick pants and a vintage tie; Brooke was wearing something nice too, but I can’t recall what it was; Ryan was wearing a fedora; and Christine was wearing a homemade dress with a sash. A young gentlemen showed up with a mannequins’ head, named Tessa. (who was that guy?) Someone overheard Doug giving fashion tips to Leann.

There were many musical requests. Kate wanted to hear Earth, Wind & Fire, Reilly wanted to hear Le Tigre, Amber wanted Justin Timberlake, Paul wanted to hear Pantera (it didn’t happen) and Benoit wanted to hear a cd of Japanese schoolchildren that he handed to me and said, “Trust me.” Stevie Wonder ushered in the New Year and Lust for Life played twice. Kelli requested a piñata filled with blood. That didn’t happen either.

Charlie drew a picture on Garret’s belly. I don’t know what the picture was. This girl who works at Oasis (I don’t remember her name) found a nice gold ring in the grass outside and she handed it to me and she said, “You know people here, and this is a nice ring, so you should find who owns it.” I put it in my pocket and I promptly forgot. But, then I was dancing with Caitlin with the curly hair and I gave her the ring as a present. It was actually her ring, and her mother had given it to her 10 years ago.

When Betsy arrived, I gave her a big hug and a big kiss. But it wasn’t actually Betsy. It was her twin sister Bridget. I only realized this several hours later.


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Society #9

January 9th, 2008 · No Comments

December 2006

There was a big yellow feather lying in the middle of the road. There was no immediate reason for such a big yellow feather to be in the middle of the road. Dave and Rich were riding on a trolley in Chicago when they saw a guy in a gorilla suit. They invited the gorilla on the train and shared a drink with him.

When Dan cleaned out his mother’s basement, he found 8 vacuum cleaners, all in disrepair. Abby’s sister Kate broke the motor in her vacuum cleaner when she sucked up a pair of underpants. Ola and her friend once tied down large artwork canvasses to the top of their car, with soccer socks tied together. (Her friend was a soccer coach).

My Father baked me a grape pie, and delivered it to me in a brown grocery bag, wrapped in saran wrap, but without any pie plate. When I finally made it home, the pie was flat as a puddle. Maggie touched the real Emancipation Proclamation.

Red from Austin (Texas) had an allergy attack and tried to fix himself with multiple hot toddies. Victor from Toledo (Spain), likes pancakes, a lot. Diana from Savannah (Georgia) likes to drink maple syrup right out of the bottle.

Kelli likes Linda Ronstadt. Tony likes Phil Collins. Leann and Brian like Bob Seger. (all their early stuff, of course) There is a prep-cook at Flower City Diner named Michael Jackson.

~ M.N.

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Society #8

January 8th, 2008 · No Comments

November 2006

Wei sent me a cat-faced spider in the mail. It was in a box within a box. The note inside said, “I hope it’s dead.” Ben got punched in the face in Boston, by a stranger talking on a cellphone. It was unprovoked and for no apparent reason. Nageeshak ran into a black bear in Pennsylvania. No one was hurt, except for the bear. When Mike Kim was still doing his residency, his girlfriend allowed him to practice inserting an IV on her. Ola said, “That’s love.”

Rachel Bone’s dad sold one of his spoons on ebay. But he only set the price at $5. Doug spilled a glass of wine on the floor. And then another. And another. Albert loves bowling balls. Nick was a lightning bolt for Halloween. Abby clipped an entire yard of grass with scissors. She did it to impress a boy.

Mary Lou told me something that she heard from Ian who heard from Brian Blatt that Andrea said that Mike Neault has his “fingers in every pie on the block.” I’m not sure what she means by that. Kelli Shay bought an 11lb loaf of bread from Swan’s market and brought it over for dinner. When Kelli said she wanted it, Charlie said, “Are you really going to buy that?” We’re still eating it.

~ M.N.

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Society #7

January 7th, 2008 · No Comments

October 2006

Nadya received an antique men’s vest in the US post, from someone she barely knew. Todd wants to start a creperie called THE CREPES OF WRATH. Julia went mushroom hunting with her Father at Keuka Lake. Meredith’s grandfather is named Zdzislaw, and so is her grandfather’s brother.

Maggie lost all the arm-wrestling contests. Megha is wearing a seashell around her neck, which crumbles a little bit every time she hugs someone. As a birthday present, Joel was given a green ukulele. The ukulele, like the girl that gave it to him, was from Scotland.
Shaw quit the band and moved out west. Milo stayed up really late playing Nintendo. There was a bear that walked down the street in Naples. That was in 2004, and they’re still talking about it. Clark bought a pizza in Naples, and there was pepperoni on the bottom-side of the slice, not the top.

Doug cut his own hair. Benoit wore 3 variety of stripes in the same outfit: striped belt, striped top, striped undershirt. Tony says you can get cheap white slip-on shoes at the thrift store north of ridge road.

I fell asleep with a pen in my hand. Albert tickled Vanessa’s foot, in his sleep. Patti adopted a slug in Amsterdam she named Calliope. Tone took a long walk in Norway. Abby was bit by a swan in Paris.

~ M.N.

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Society #6

January 6th, 2008 · No Comments

September 2006

Raymie wants to move to Montreal and eat chocolate croissants every morning and get chubby. My grandfather Bob is such a regular at the ice cream stand that all he has to do is show up, say nothing, and they serve him a medium sized chocolate milkshake.

Justin Torez wrote the theme song of our elementary school, I never knew that. Eva played scattergories with an Icelandic boy and they made up the rules as they went along, but the Icelandic didn’t think it was fair because English isn’t his first language and meanwhile, Ted fell asleep. He was tired.

Wei acquired a sunflower big as a baby. She wore shiny pink shorts that cost a dollar from the market. On days when it is sunny and Doug is outside, he always feels like it is noon all day long. Evinn hates the garbage bags at Taco Jon’s.

Jeffrey used to hide in the dryer when he was little. Abby’s family hung their clothes to dry outside on the line and once, a bird tried to build a nest in one of her pockets. Joel got a piece of driftwood in the mail. Scott won the corn on the cob eating contest.

Rachel Lee grew the tiniest tomatoes I’ve ever seen in my life; they were no bigger than a cat’s pupil and super-brite red with an itty-bitty green cap. Albert arranged 13 of them in a circle on my desk. Patti ate 5 spring rolls (in one sitting).


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Society #5

January 5th, 2008 · No Comments

August 2006

Charlie stepped in the shell of an empty watermelon. In his barefeet. At the farmer’s market, Abby accidentally kicked a scoop of pink ice cream that was still solid. It stained her foot. Barb applied to be a foot-model for a foot fetish website. And she got the job (but she didn’t take it).

Peter fell asleep playing Sega Genesis. Just as he was about to refresh his energy with a power heart. Rachel had an ex-boyfriend who woke her up in the middle of the night and said, “How can you sleep not believing in Heaven or Hell?” Rachel told me that Peter told her that Paul once went to a children’s museum just to try and pick up hot moms.

Andy and Karen’s friend bought a batjak (translation: bike-taxi) from Indonesia with Indonesian designs on the exterior and plush fabric on the interior and now they are escorted on the contraption to their shows and play music all along the way. A lady-bug, a moth and a small yellow leaf have all alighted, independently and momentarily, on my body within the past 3 weeks.

Nick and Jon went running in the morning and Nick said, “What are we running from?” and Jon answered, “It’s not what we’re running from but where we’re going.” Patti found a sunken ship off the coast of South Carolina, while navigating in a sea kayak. She swam down and touched the mast.

At the diner, I saw a woman take a bottle of spray-butter out of her coat pocket and then spritz each slice of toast on her plate. Then she put it back in her pocket. You know who is really good at finding four-leaf clovers? Rachel Bone.


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Society #4

January 4th, 2008 · No Comments

July 2006

Maggie once persuaded a boy to eat dirt. He was in 3rd grade. She said, “You’ll
like it.” Shaw Flick is currently teaching boys how to play badminton at a private
summer camp. I went 4 days without eating solids. And then I ate 3 donuts in row.

Alex met a girl in Hawaii to run a marathon with her. He lives in New York State.
She lives in Japan. I guess it was a case of meeting halfway. Barb shot a real gun
in Hawaii. She said, “It was kinda neat.”

Ola sent a bird’s nest and a turtle shell in a box through the United States
Postal Service. Harmony’s friend bought an AK47 in the Congo and shipped it to the
USA, via USPS wrapped in tin-foil. It made it to the destination safe and sound.
Abby’s sister called her just to tell her about a novelty license plate she saw. I
don’t remember what it said.

Matt’s friend went down a slide at 2 am. He was naked as the day he was born. And
he went belly down. You know what Albert did? He cut his toenails on Vanessa’s
side of the bed. And it was 90 degrees outside and the toe-clippings stuck to her
skin when she accidentally rolled in them.

One night, Charlie shimmied up a 30 ft lightpost so that he could fall asleep on a
roof. There were already 2 bums up there. Kelli has an uncle tamed Teeny and he
claims to have co-written the lyrics to “Take Me to the River.”

Marcus has a client who has a million dollar marble collection. Lesley is in
all-girl Slayer cover band. Their name is Slay-whore. Gawain’s Mom had a long
complicated dream that he was bi.


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Society #3

January 3rd, 2008 · No Comments

June 2006

Maggie has recently discovered a diary from when she was age 12 years old and just on the brink of becoming a young lady. The entries are filled with Maggie’s 6th grade cursive and statements such as the following: “I don’t know if I want to grow up, but there must be good things about it like… dating and having fun.” She has taken to reading it in public and I hear it makes people smile.

Alex ate cereal for breakfast. And for dinner. And that was it.

Albert was invited over to Nick’s parents house for a slumber party. At one point in the evening, he ducked into the den and caught Nick’s Dad in his underpants browsing the web. He said something like, “Jeez. As soon as I came down here in my drawers I knew I’d be caught.” He was looking at a website of collectible, antiquarian coins from the civil-war era. Oh, and Albert just bought new socks like a week ago, and they already split at the heel.

Richy put on short shorts, did yoga, turned on the 78 rpm record player and realized that he knew the women singing on the record. They live out west and they’re mean. I once ironed a girl’s small light pink underpants until they were flat as paper and hot as a fresh crepe. It wasn’t until much later did I see that the tag read, “Do not iron.” In Slovenia, Kelli Shay Hicks and her traveling partner were at a castle when they saw a glass coffin with the body of a girl from the 19th century. The girl in the coffin looked just like Kelli.

Abby received a phone call from Ian on the cell-phone. But she pressed ignore. But Ian was across the street, watching her from the bakery where he works. Sarah Eastman’s old boss told her, “You can do anything you want! You have it in you. Punch a hole in the world!”

I heard Tony owns six pairs of the same pants. I heard Kari owns 70 bathing suits. But her husband made her trim back the wardrobe to 40 pairs of bathing suits. Peter and Paul and Matt are working on a 10,000 piece puzzle. I was over there twice and I told them I put in a piece each time but that was a lie. I just got frustrated and gave up.

~ M.N.

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Society #2

December 26th, 2007 · No Comments

July 2003

Phil is a member of the “French Toast Club” at the Quik Cup Diner. Rachel’s Aunt Beth tried to teach me the tango. Nadya gave up candy for lent. Tom lost the pull up contest (I forgot who he was challenged). Zack shaved his head. So did Adam.

Asia kissed a boy on the quad. He was almost precisely the same height as she. Kristina Foley was sitting in the grass on the quad, and she balanced all the weight on her palms. When she released the weight and show me her palms, there were delicate impressions from the grass.

Me and Martin and Ryan were riding in Ryan’s car and we heard someone playing fiddle on the radio. Barb’s sister once dated a guy just because he smelled like laundry. I saw Josh and Meghan at the barbeque restaurant.

Liat’s goldfish jumped right out of its bowl. Liat screamed very loudly. She didn’t make a peep when she ran her head into the freezer. Amy never understood the meaning of an “e-brake” until she was 20 years old. My brother once dated a girl because she smelled like pipe smoke (the good kind).

The battery from Jason’s cellular phone was mysteriously removed. He had to buy a whole new phone. Amy drove down the street and the car was making a very loud sound. Finally, she realized the e-brake was on. (Don’t tell Brenna. It was her car)

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Society #1

September 2nd, 2002 · No Comments

Tom and Liat cleaned the old yellow porch room out when it was warm and then they sat in it. Some of the windows don’t have any screens. Tom saw Jason Ferraro walking to town the other day. He never waved back. Liat quit smoking, and then started again.

Jeremy owes 500 dollars in parking tickets. Jessica said he’s not too happy about it. Mike Seraldi broke his wrist skateboarding. He has a green cast and it looks like a snake eating his arm. Chris Miller saw someone’s little brother picking his nose in the dining hall.

Joanna Smith is traveling to Australia in two weeks. I heard she has a crush there. Joanna has a good recipe for Koogle (Kugel), which is a tasty Jewish desert. But she won’t share it with anyone.

Sarah Watson’s cat, named Growlcat has returned from being lost. Her pawprints are allover the stationwagon again. Brian Belovorac slammed his thumb in the door and blacked out. That’s why he didn’t go to the film screening. Martin said something sweet and Ryan said you have a blister on your face.

Natasha Bonugli wore galoshes Tuesday because it was raining. They looked like white chocolate. We sat together in geography class. They turned out all the lights and it was dark and we watched slides of weather and faults. Natasha wrote boom on her notebook and pointed because it was thundering outside.

Nadya gave me an advil the other day and I choked on it. She accompanied me to the hospital. Thanks Nadya. Rachel Henderson thinks the Sullivan brothers are neglecting their dish-cleaning duty at the house. There are many plates missing. She thinks maybe they just throw them in the dumpster instead.

Yesterday I had a dream that I swam through the wooden floors. They are deeper than you would expect. Asia Furmanska still eats the peels on her oranges.

~Michael Neault

This column is dedicated to Laura Decker.

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