And safety comes first.

Friday, November 30

Welcome to my newly formatted blog, FRIEND.

Mediocrity is Safe now features a refreshing modern look, delivering the same mediocre content you’ve come to expect. Notice the addition of “A Few of my Favorite Things” in the right column and navigate with relative order the disorder of my brain. Yes, that’s right: the disorder of my brain!

Now that the blog/brain correlation has been made known, any reader might ask why a person like myself would have no friends to categorize. To be quite frank, the thought of a “Friends” category would suit this blog well, and I suspect I would categorize my friends mercilessly, but alas I admit I have no friends to speak of.

Shall I make them up? Would it be a crime? Yes, a crime to mental health, for how healthy is it to submit to the mental indolence of simply drumming up a couple of bland folk to label as comrades each time I require a new “Friends” essay? The only true and honorable approach to making friends is to come face to face with real individuals and then strategically lower your own standards so that 9 out of 10 people you meet can qualify favorably in your endeavor.

We're friends, right?

Tuesday, November 27

Jab! Jab! Jab! (Gardening Advice)

A little research on lead me to this nifty tip:
I use plastic forks inserted upside down into the dirt around my flowers. It stops the cats walking through the flowers because the little fork prongs jab their paws.
Little plastic fork prongs, eh? I prefer gentle explosives myself.

Thursday, November 8

CHOSEN: The Lindsay Lohan Pumpkin of Well-Being Restoration

Thank you, Winona Public Library (now with wireless Internet access!!), for choosing my pumpkin-carving idea submission! (Also see pumpkin cousin 2,000 miles away in California.)

Saturday, October 27

Apple Jacked

Last night I was once again an Outsider. Back at home in the Los Angeles area, you couldn't miss the four Apple logo stickers on my vehicle, but here I was in Minneapolis, driving my rental car by an Apple store packed with celebratory Apple folk who had put on nice shoes and glossed their locks with organic salon product in order to say, "Yeah, I was there at the Leopard OS release party in Uptown. Yeah, I was there..." I, however, was there only in spirit, creeping by from the outside in my Chevy Cobalt, feeling uncool, uncreative, underachieving (but not in the cool sense).

With the new Leopard, apparently, one would possess a much more talented version of iChat, one that could display files in addition to plain old video conferencing. Says a close friend who has given me permission to quote him based on the rationale that no one reads this blog anyway, "Ooooooh, I can also put a porn movie as my background so it looks like there are people screwing behind me..."

I'm feeling a little screwed myself.

Monday, October 1

Gone Fishing

Visit About to Snap this month for photo updates on my carefree adventures on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

Friday, September 7

More on the U of MN Strike

Read more about the strike from an AFSCME worker:

University of Minnesota Workers on Strike

From discussion pages of

I'm a little confused. If the head of a company I worked for budgeted a raise of
3.25% for the employees as a cost of living increase, and my immediate
supervisor only gave me 2.5% I would be mad. I would also want to know where the
rest of the money was going. Since in the U workers case my taxes are paying for
this budgeted raise and the workers aren't getting it I am concerned. Shouldn't
all of you "get another job" people be concerned about where the money is really
going as well? It would seem this strike is about accountability.
Posted by:
Steve 9/5/2007 9:50 AM

Wednesday, August 22

Recent Exchanges with Two Friends I Made in Minneapolis

My friend Susan decided to have a birthday last week. I told her to have a happy birthday, but she knew I was lying because I'm the jealous type. It's not fair that she gets to have a birthday and I don't. To celebrate the lovely occasion, I went to the mall and got a really stylish dress and sent Susan digital pictures of me looking fabulous, hoping she would be jealous. She wrote back, complimenting me on the new threads. Of course, this incited even more animosity, so I went out and bought a new Corvette and sent her digital pictures of me in my dress inside my new Corvette. She wrote back asking me if I was okay. I said, "Yeah, I'm fine. Did you get the Chris Daughtry CD I sent you for your BIRTHDAY?" She said, "Not yet. Who's Chris Daughtry?" I said, "I don't know...some American Idol contestant! Happy birthday, you bitch!"

My friend Jonathan and his hot wife (whose name I won't say) had a baby last month. Normally, babies don't increase my life enjoyment levels, but this one is very Cabbage Patch Kid-like. I knew what had to be done, so I FedEx'ed some papers to Jonathan and the missus. He e-mailed me back almost immediately. Truly, my heart was beating with anticipation as I waited for my $5.95 dial-up ISP to take me to the next page in my e-mail box! Jonathan said, "I got your adoption papers! What is this? A joke?" I had resourcefully dug up the Cabbage Patch Kid adoption papers for my 1982 acquisition of Timothy Alastair and made a photocopy of it, whiting out Mr. Alastair's name and inserting the name of my friends' new child. I e-mailed Jonathan back saying that yes, it was indeed a joke, but it wasn't a funny one, no.

Tuesday, August 21

Latin Lover

Mediocria Firma!

(Thanks for contributing to Mediocrity, SSR!)

What Would Ramona Do?

Wedged between volumes of Ramona books was the very first diary I ever kept, and I found it this weekend while digging through my old closet. Paging through those early days, I noted what weird and wobbly handwriting I had a penchant for, but I was only 7 or 8 years old, trying, with limited skill, to detail my life before details eventually became too mundane to record. For instance, I wrote about the day I nearly succumbed to a powerful flash of capitalist desire, rescued only by my fortunate undiagnosed bi-polarism: "Mom went to the shopping mall to buy the coat. I went with her. I saw a Cabbage Patch Kid that I wanted to buy. But we didn't buy it because I said I didn't want it."

What's in your closet?

Cleaning Lady

Knock, knock!

Who's there?



Sylvia, your daughter!

What do you want?

Didn't you ask me to come home and clean out the closet in my old bedroom?

Oh, yeah, come in. But make it quick. Did the neighbors notice you? Where did you park? You still driving that thing? You're not staying for dinner, are you?

Tuesday, August 7

Free Verse

Before my high school graduation, my classmate Angie, who had purchased a half-page "look at me and my friends so cute and loyal" ad in the yearbook, said to me, "You write poems, right, Sylvia? Would you write a poem about friendship and graduation for our ad?" I'd never before been commissioned to write a piece, and I was not going to let this opportunity slip through my prematurely writing-cramped hand. After about six or seven sleepless nights, I realized I knew nothing about friendship, nor graduation (because it hadn't happened yet), and that I was no one's friend--just a lot of people's poet. I was the People's Friendless Poet. And I said to dear, sweet Angie, "Wha? You weren't going to pay me?"

Monday, April 30

Sound Aborning

(Thanks, Mark.)

"I'll probably never produce a masterpiece, but so what? I feel I have a Sound aborning, which is my own, and that Sound if erratic is still my greatest pride, because I would rather write like a dancer shaking my ass to boogaloo inside my head, and perhaps reach only readers who like to use books to shake their asses, than to be or write for the man cloistered in a closet somewhere reading Aeschylus while this stupefying world careens crazily past his waxy windows toward its last raving sooty feedback pirouette." (Lester Bangs, "A Quick Trip Through My Adolescence," 1968)

Tuesday, March 6

Sylvia's Girl

I can take or leave a lot of people, but boy did I love this dog. A week to make myself conscious of her absence, its permanence, I note the now deadened impulse to consider her in the ordinary context of my days.

Friday, February 23

Hi, my name is Alfredo.

Patrick called me last night in the middle of the night where he was. He sounded pretty sober, even as he told me otherwise. I asked if he was about to tell me he loved me because it would be a pretty funny joke. Just then we both went silent. Moments later I realized the awkward silence was the direct result of my dead cell phone battery. The next day I thought it would be funny to send him an email that read, “You are dead to me. Ha! Ha! Also, I don’t like your cigarette habit and you drink too much. Ha! Ha!” I can’t wait to see his response.

Monday, February 19

This Blog (and its Author) Talks

Really, no need to thank me for the amusement you get out of this blog. You'll notice I can go a long time without writing anything amusing. When you're amused, I'm probably unhappy, in between jobs, misguided in life (again). When you're not amused, I'm still unhappy, between jobs, and misguided, but I keep posting so as to declare, "I'm enjoying life, I am! I'm enjoying life just enough to keep up with a blog!" When I stop posting altogether, you can be assured I'm busy getting fitted for new pants to wear at my ultra-conservative new job which will boost blog amusement as my own soul deflates, so stay tuned! Same time, same place! Just like work.

Sunday, February 18

Saturday, February 17

Celebrate with Administrators!

There was, at one of the largest research institutions in North America, an academic library that dangled decrepit elevators in rotting shafts. The top floor housed me and a bunch of old books and maps and a coffee maker whose on/off switch a co-worker of mine claimed she was too weak to traverse a reading room to turn on, therefore causing both of us to settle bitterly for bitter Folgers crystals at our desks most of our embittered days at work. A year after I decided I'd had my last drop of Folgers and quit my job to move back to this shithole Los Angeles, I learned from another library denizen that he was hastened out of his real estate on the basement level to make way for a new barista-equipped coffee house. Hardly expressing much sympathy for him, I was eager to brainstorm with the best and offered these potential names for the new addition: Coffee Rings, Ye Olde Wilson Coffee Shoppe, Basement Beverages, Sober N' Safe Buzz, Hangover Headquarters (or just HQ to save money on signage), Dregs Not Unlike Yourselves, Don't Spill or We'll Charge You Processing Fees to Replace those Periodicals, and Magazines Ain't Coasters. My bitter former co-worker on the top floor came up with the brilliant Undergrounds. Even my basement buddy, who had every reason to resent this coffee house, offered The Incunabula ("The Ink" for short, he adds) to the administrative minds who would ultimately dub the long-awaited coffee palace: Academic Blend. At last! Pour me a sloshing cup of that Academic Blend and let its utterly inspired genius flow over my blunted nerves!

Oh My Kosh!

When the waitress told me I could sit at any table I wanted, I chose the one farthest away from the one with the most children. As I scanned over the menu, I became sad. I noticed that my favorite entree--Tastee Liver N' Chips Platter, Piggy Eater Sized--was discontinued after a mere 2 month appearance on the menu. But I also became sad because I knew that no matter what I did in life, there will always, always, always be children around me.

This is not to say I disdain children. I find it impossible, however, not to turn my nose up at the ones who think howling will draw food closer to their mouths--and the ones who morph into Osh Kosh Cantankerous trolls when strangers, how dare they!, accidentally make eye contact with them. Strangers such as myself prefer much more meaningful experiences like listening for their names to be called by restaurant hostesses than to establish some dull exchange with a self-muting child. Yet these children always seem to think that all adults are interested in cajoling them into smiling or saying something innocently clever (the chances of which are exasperatingly low). Such childish presumption, I stress, should never be rewarded by parental attention! Parents should simply inform their children that the adult has little interest in anything but herself. A cheerful pat on the child's back may follow to ease the child's deserved embarassment.

I was a bit of a troll myself, as you may have guessed. I was also one of these children who did not enjoy children-lovers. I hated answering questions about my teacher's name, what grade I was in, if I did well in school, and if I could tie my shoes all by myself. Even at the tender age of 6, I recognized a lame question when it was posed to me. It was worse when I answered factually, and the children-lovers patronized me further. How unbearable! I couldn't wait to grow up!

As an adult now, I make a conscious effort not to betray Trollish Sylvia by being a silly-toned, dumb-talker-to'er of children. Recently I watched a woman my age ask little Hannah who her teacher was and then lie to the little Hannah by saying that so-and-so was the best teacher around. That day young Hannah equated "best teacher around" with "giver of Ds and Fs on dictation tests". If only Trollish Sylvia fought off Liar Liar Woman-My-Age's Pants on Fire in time. Hannah says your love is whack, lady!

Wednesday, February 14

Be Mine Forever and Ever, Will You?

I shrieked when I opened up the envelope you set on my adjustable office chair with the stained lumbar support. I wish you would have given me the entire perforated sheet of Leonardo DiCapprio valentine cards, but I can't be so greedy. I get greedy only when it comes to you. My name's Sylvia, not Slyvia, but you lost only a few minor points from that. Can you get me a job at the student ID kiosk at school?

Fantastical Deer Dream

Last night I dreamt of tiny white tailed deer that sprouted from the ground. My dog, the brave husky, pounced on them. I got nervous. I almost barfed. Actually, I did, and all the deer scattered. My dog turned into a deer and ran off as well. I am the lonely barfer with nothing to write about today.

Sunday, February 4

Superbowl Sunday

My dog tapped me on the shoulder to wake me this morning, alerting me to her desire to piss in the leafy ground covering that separates my apartment complex from my neighbors'. I got out of bed and my dog led me to the back door. She escaped outside on a short leash, looking for a spot to piss on. I stayed behind. I was unfit for public presentation and half awake. Someone said hi to me, I think. I don't find it appropriate for neighbors to acknowledge folks when they're trying to hide, so I ignored her and hoped she'd learned her lesson. When I was fully awake and my dog content, I decided to wash a couple of loads of stinky clothes. These clothes are made stinky from the damn skunk that lives under the building. But that's another story. I fell asleep while folding the first load of clean clothes. I woke two hours later and found another lady in the laundry room. She had taken my clothes out of the dryer. I apologized. I knew it would be a bit much to explain that I'm usually extraordinarily conscious of these things. She said she wanted to get her stuff clean and get out of there. Later I remembered it was Superbowl Sunday and that she was probably off to a party to get happy. Football makes me lose my appetite.

Sunday, January 21

Fake as they come!

The titles for my last two posts are so desperate sounding. Those exclamation marks, they're so telling! Not only am I without emotion, but I am without wit. I rely on exclamation marks to feign feeling, which, upon this third offense, makes me a feigner of feeling. It's like when you're at a poetry reading and some acclaimed somebody is reading a lot of her poetic words--more than she needs to, if you ask me--and you are saying these other words in your head: hackneyed, cliched, trite, pedestrian, tedious, uninspired, and toilet paper. In these situations I become a regular feigner of feeling, an shameless exclamation-mark-abuser, one who applauds and nods in a yes, yes, this imagery is so fresh! fashion. Liars stink, but at least I shower every day and use deodorant.

Whazzzup, Cottage Grove, MN!!

This season of American Idol kicked off with the Minneapolis auditions (whazzzzup, Minneapoluss!) to show the world that that part of the country is only successful at breeding Red Bull and Vodka drinking Saturn drivers and HOT vegan burger flippin' hippies. Take for instance Jewel Minor from Cottage Grove who thought talent by osmosis was really possible. I think she needed to sneeze.

Wednesday, January 17

Stars will never hurt me!

I, for one, won't be discouraged by one-star reviews on Amazon dot com! Then again, I may receive them posthumously, and I'd be okay with that, I guess.

(Thanks to L.N. for the link.)

Wednesday, January 10

Dark Side of L.A.

Visit me here today:

(Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour)

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say.

Wednesday, January 3

Going Out

My last post revealed a very angry side of me: Angry Sylvia. Angry Sylvia doesn't want to die during her daily commute because that would be going out with a whimper (totally weak!). Angry Sylvia does not want to be the reason traffic builds up when people slow down to look at accidents. Angry Sylvia is starting a petition to get this Toonces into prison.

  1. Sylvia

Hey, I didn't catch your name!

To the person who cut me off and slammed on her brake to make a U-turn ALL IN SAME SPLIT SECOND on Jefferson Blvd. at 4:35pm today, please meet me for lunch at the S&W Diner in Culver City tomorrow so we can maybe spot a celebrity while sharing a patty melt and milkshake. I can make a few lighthearted jokes, flag down the waitress to refill your Coca-Cola, and ask you if you'd like to order a slice of pie unless you don't have room for dessert because you sure as hell don't have room in your brain to drive safely, you patty melt and milkshake fucker!

At the Automatic Teller Machine Machine (ATM Machine)

I tapped this dude on the shoulder with my cigarette and told him I wanted to fight. We were in front of the ATM. He was ahead of me in line, waiting for some other dude to get his cash and split. Instead of agreeing to fight me, he asked me to stay where I was and said he'd be quick when it was his turn at the ATM. I said, "Look, man, I don't care about that. I want to fight you." He was busy counting his cash. I noticed he was low on 20s and that this was the right place and right time for him to use the ATM, but I wasn't there to sympathize. I was there to fight. Well, to use the ATM and fight. I needed to fight him, but he didn't understand. All he could think about was how to get more money. Greedy bastard.

Tuesday, January 2

Lovely Poetry

Thank you, friend who expressed appreciation for me with attempt at lovely poetry:

So I came up with parody lyrics for you to Fergalicious (it's totally stuck
in my head and completely over-played on my iPod

I'm Fergalicious
But, I ain't

I'm Sylvilicious
But, I ain't a

Baby baby baby
If you really want me
have some patience
Maybe then you'll have a taste

I'll be tasty
I'll be laced in lacey
It's so tasty tasty
It'll make you

Baby baby baby
If you really want me
Baby don't
be pretty
You don't even have to shave

Oh, be
And have money money
If you're just a smarty
Please don't
be so nerdy

White or Wheat?

Everything depends upon white
or wheat bread, waiting
to be buttered on your cold restaurant dish.
Red wheelbarrow! Red wheelbarrow!

(There. My moronic moment of the morning.)

More than a Headache

When a group of words get together for one big mindless party, you get something called "More than a Feeling" by Boston. I have to apologize for this one, friends. I was overconfidently ambitious when I announced I was going to produce another one of my insightful "English Major" essays on these lyrics. Therefore, I invite my intelligent readers to offer some of their insight into this troublesome rant about non-feelings. My unintelligent readers can stay tuned for an upcoming Yes-or-No "quiz" about whether they prefer white bread or wheat. (I choose rye!)

More than a Feeling

I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

It's more than a feeling (more than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
'till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
as clear as the sun in the summer sky

It's more than a feeling (more than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
'till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

When I'm tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
and dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped away

It's more than a feeling (more than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play (more than a feeling)
I begin dreaming (more than a feeling)
'till I see Marianne walk away