Saturday, December 29, 2007


In another post that isn't actually about Winifred's gospel...

I went to Favorite Bar this week with my friends to see a semi-local band's reunion. They broke up two summers ago after years of touring, a record or two, and an endless stream of grange halls. It was a group I saw almost ever Friday my junior and year of high school in the tiny town next to mine; the grange hall had a small capacity and was jam-packed with crusty punks, cheerleaders, hipsters, parents of bands, and curious tweens. And with any local band's reunion, the venue was merrily filled with frat brothers, family, best friends, former promoters, other local bands, casual drinkers, and a few girls who willingly cried during the encore.
Between songs my friend leaned in and told our small group of four that her little sister, fourteenish, had confessed over the holiday that she "loved" this band. Oh! she had cried, I love them! My friend was aghast as her little sister then professed to love my friend's other favorite bands: Dashboard Confessional, Jamison Parker, and various pseudo-indie rock bands who had hit the pinnacle of their critical and underground stardom wallowing angst when we were seventeen. She's almost fourteen, my friend hollered as the next raucous jam began, and we giggled at her sister's tenacity.
I turned back a few minutes later and confessed, I do that all the time! It was in fact, the force that pushed me into several subgenres before my peers and bands I would find I loved. What, Charlotte? Yeah I totally love Belle and Sebastian, too!
I do like them, but it's possible that I may have overstated my preference for the sake that my sister would think I'm Really Cool.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quote, Unquote

Winifred, in an e-mail this month, in regards to GWAR:

Hope you have a good time tonight [Captain]. It would seem that the throwing of blood at a concert might not be the best way to evoke musical feelings for a tune.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lest I Find Another Feminist Harangue

It's Christmas in my parents' house, and I know this because there are oodles of cookies--some from Winifred, many from Charlotte--caramel rolls have been baked, and most notably, I am schlepping through the house in the King's oversized slippers. Luckily, he has several pairs, and thusly, we all have toasty feet.
But there are also rolls of wrapping paper in the living room, because as important as it is to "Keep Christ In Christmas,"we are Present People. I have looked high and low in this house for a puppy but haven't found one yet, but my sorrow is overwhelmed by The Washington Post writers who were given gender specific gifts and used white dolls ("You Call That a Gift?!").
The most heartbreaking of these stories is the the woman who didn't get the set of race cars:
Was Santa Sexist?
It was the 1970s. I was around 8, and what I really wanted that year was a race car set. I had my eye on a fleet of tiny, dazzling cars that came with their own looping, twisting track. You pushed them along the track by hand, and if you used just the right amount of force you could get them to spin through a full corkscrew without flying off-course. My cousin, three years older than I and the coolest person I knew, had some.
But he was a boy. And I was a girl.
I never got the cars, even though I spoke to Santa several times about them. I started to think Santa was a chauvinist.
A few years later, I finally got a toy car: a Barbie camper. It wound up in a terrible wreck. Barbie kept trying to pop wheelies.-- Robin Givhan
Under our tree were both dolls and trucks, hand held video game toys featuring Ariel and tool sets, stuffed bears, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, and for several years running, K'NEX sets. (Ultimately the K'NEX building was left to the efficient Emily, who was able to complete roller construction in one evening.)
And I inherited two serious sets of race cars--I got Charlotte and Emily's cars, their sets and ramps; The Parents were so gung ho when they were young that ever car was marked with a splash of pink nail polish on its underside, lest one of the neighborhood boys try to swipe one (and those little rats did). Of course I have a speed/force problem--my cars were incapable of making tight turns because I'm more interesting the the clattering catastrophe of metal cars on bare floors.

I could go on, but I just found a Tori Spelling holiday movie on Hallmark; I think it's one of the ones wherein she finds the holiday of the season as the result of a Good Man. Awesome. I should probably find my own shoes because slippers to C and E Mass is probably inappropriate...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Don't Call Me Baby (1595)

Winifred has an assortment of male admirers. There is a married man in Texas sending her grapefruit (what she considers to be the state’s only positive contribution to the country is its fruit); there is a daily customer belonging to The King who sends her flowers, through my father. It is grapefruit season and Winifred has a taste for fruit this year more than ever before—and a man asked her today what The King Thinks of a Man in Texas Sending Her Fruit.
This man, though joking, is kind of old. But his implication was that it is not prudent for a married woman to accept fruit, even when it’s Texas Grapefruit in the dead of winter after weeks of endless rain and daily phone calls from your crankiest daughter. Winifred told her friend that The Grapefruit Man is Happily Married.
I don’t think it matters what Dad says or thinks. It doesn’t matter to him. These are friendly gestures—and even if they weren’t how much business is it of The King?—W inifred likes fruit, end of story. That’s how it is for The King. And that’s one of the qualities about my father that I like best: that he’s a feminist. That he’s comfortable in his relationship with Winifred.
Of course, his lackadaisical approach is only my illustration; Homer Simpson wouldn’t be bothered if Marge was receiving gifts, and I’m hesitant to tack that label to him. But I know The King, and you don’t, and I know that he thinks women are equal.

At some point in my teens I started to date a boy who took to calling me an endless string of pet names. “Baby,” “Sweetie,” “Pet,” were tossed across instant messenger and I was immediately revolted. It wasn’t that he seemed to genuinely think I was sweet, but that he was expected to say these things, and more appalling, that I was now “his.” When “Babe” and “Mine” followed, I wasn’t going to have that. I set him straight, I dumped him.
Friends, boyfriends, roommates, and co-workers have adopted their own network of nicknames. My roommate, whom I lovingly call Biscuit, started to call me “Boo” as a term of endearment when we were 19; my co-worker in high school called me Captain because he misheard our boss calling me by my actual name (and then recited Whitman); Emily and I use “dude” as a most extreme form of endearment.
Yet I find “Baby” revolting. So is cooing, or the deliberate use of “simple” words. “Baby” makes my blood curdle—my jaw clenches, my fists curly, and my eyes narrow. Good Lord, use any term of endearment so long as it is genuine, has some sort of foundation (I held the door open for you, I gave up my seat on the bus, I paid for your bus fare, I gave you directions to the courthouse downtown), and isn’t “Baby.” I feel the same way when I’m at the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and after briskly passing a man hear him chuckle, “Whoa ho, there, Little Lady!” I’m sorry, but how is the speed and determination of this trip offensive to you, Oldy McMoldy?
There seem to be few exceptions to my utter outrage. One holds a double standard and the others is my father.

The King’s birthday was a week after my own and fell on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are inexplicably my busiest day finds me on various forms of public transportation between classes. As such, I waited until 5 p.m. in hopes I’d reach The King by phone “in person” but left him a voicemail. He called me back but because of the limitations of public transportation was force to leave me a voicemail. “Hello, Baby, I got your message…” and I smiled when I heard his rare term of endearment, because I could tell I might have brought even a marginal positive difference to The Kings otherwise craptastic workday.
The King is not averse to sweet nothings. “Sweetie,” “honey,” compliments, and encouragement is his strong suit. He is fond of “shug” which may easily be Washington, DC’s “hon.” Short for sugar, he and Winifred throw it around the house on each other and their daughters just as The King’s parents may have. They do it with great fondness.

As I bounced through the bus route to campus, I realized the only man I’ll allow the courtesy of “Baby” is my father. He’s the only person who will leave me unbothered because I am the baby of the Quimby household. Yet, while Winifred may regularly say, “You’ll always be my baby,” this affirmation is rare from The King. At Thanksgiving we swore solidarity as the Youngests in our families. With his two older brothers, and my two older sisters we braced for the impact of Too Much Family During the Holidays while Winifred read internet-advice about Thanksgiving (“Remember that though the youngest is easiest to pick on, and will always be the youngest, they are probably adults now…”) and I swore again, my allegiance. I know I will always be the last to pass through significant life milestones, and this is okay with me.
The following Saturday found me careening through an intersection with two 18x24 frames under my arms. I had a walk sign at the crosswalk and bolted across six lanes of traffic as a car prepared to run the red light. We both skidded to a halt, and I hoisted my arm in a gesture to indicate that my framed artwork, recently picked up from the gallery at the end of the upper level art student show, would cause significant damage at the point of impact. An older man ran behind me. “You gotta watch where you’re going Baby,” he laughed, and jogged across the last three lanes.
Our strides eventually met and as we traversed the narrow sidewalk near my apartment he began to ask me a series of questions. Where are these frames from? Are you a framer? Are those your
photographs? His condescension—that I was unable to cross on my own accord, that I was incompetent with crosswalks, that I was beneath him to the point of pet names given our unfamiliarity as a result of age and/or gender, put us at an unfortunate disposition. Inarguably, the cross-examination if the artwork was mine didn’t help his case either. I politely delivered monosyllabic answers before darting past cracks in the sidewalk and hastily hurried home, where I stewed over the general condescension through our entire exchange. While we walked he made a point to walk on the sidewalk to face traffic, and seemed to loom over me even though we were close to the same height.

The double standard, however, seems to be the same treatment from women. Old ladies seem to love me, and I have stricken camaraderie with the baristas on-campus. Despite my guilt in contributing to Starbucks, I found myself next door to my job every Tuesday before class (Tuesdays wherein I was not in the city), plunking $5 on the counter in exchange for the caffeinated promise that I would remain awake for the next six hours while I wilted through class. The women are older than Winifred, they are harried, and they too, are tired. We share knowing glances while spoiled eighteen year-olds hem and haw over the myriad of options, and then we share tired smiles while my drink is prepared. One night I’d had it with the stereotypical spoiled student and inadvertently took it out on the barista. I was mean and when she handed me my drink she said, “Have a nice evening, Baby.” I was overcome with guilt that I’d been rude and that my barista had been so nice that I called Winifred in an attempt to atone for my sins.
Yet I convinced myself that it is our shared agony that these women insist on calling me Baby. It is not that they think I am so gosh darn adorable when I am flustered, or that they have some shared ownership over me, but that they have found an affection in my hard work—a fondness through shared attributes. There was an implication that they understood I was snotty because I was tired and frustrated, not because I am predisposed to finding people beneath me and had secretly taken me as their own.
My gender discrimination in this issue is unfair except that I am bothered more by the meaning than who says it. It’s almost in my favor that my friend calls a group of guys “baby” and “her babies” when they roll into town on tour. However, it’s almost justifiable in its gross meaning because she tends to supply them with food, lodging, and cold medicine. It still makes me squirm a little whenever she coos over their ability to exist in the same space that she is currently habituating.
I expect I will feel this way the rest of my life. I expect that if I married, my husband would have other terms of endearment. I hope they will be unique, or vaguely ironic, but it makes me nauseous to think it would be Baby. I’ll let The King and Winifred keep that one, always.

When Winifred squared her fruit at home, The King remarked that everywhere near the kitchen smelled like grapefruit. Winifred says the fruit tastes good. And, she wrote in an e-mail tonight, “People are generally so very nice.”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Knew You Before You Were Born

Winifred has been lovingly nagging me for two weeks to bundle up against the cold weather in preparation for my birthday. I turned 2X today, and am on day two of nasty cold and day four of "Oh my God, I shouldn't feel that woozy when I stand up." Because the worst thing you want to happen at your local dive bar when seeing your friends, who you haven't seen in more than two years because they have real jobs and live in a van that tours the country, is passing out from exhaustion and Mysterious Illness. (And now you know what to avoid!) I heeded this advice--and I was chided by my roommates before leaving my apartment too--in multiple layers of clothes, hates, mittens, scarves, and "long johns." But pre-finals won out, and here I am, a snotty mess on Winifred's hands. Still, I'd like to iterate that I went to two "concerts" wherein I was not only the only person undefined as a "crusty punk" but also the only one wearing more than long sleeves. I also wasn't leather, and that's what the dirty looks were for, but that is not the point.

I am sorry, Winifred and The King. I promise to keep myself properly hydrated tomorrow on Our Grand Adventure with Coca-Cola, quietness, and naps. I also promise to self-administer cold medicine as needed so that when we hit the many pinnacles and penultimates of tomorrow that I am properly irreverent, witty, and engaged. Given tonight's irreverence over ER while eating cake, I think you can believe me when I say my promises are true. I cannot promise I will be quiet for any extended period of time, even when I am sleeping, as sleeping under the influence of germs provides some strange dreams, but I will promise to do my best to behave. Which is more than I'll give anyone else, that's for durned sure.

I feel weird about birthdays. I love other people's--for my roommate's, I decorated the apartments, bought party decorations in a central theme, and baked cupcakes from scratch. I love giving gifts more than I like getting them, and I think going to the bar for one beer in celebration post-21 is mandatory. But I don't like celebrating with anyone who isn't my family (and incidentally, my roommate, but she doesn't really count, right?) I like celebrating with The Quimbys--which includes the brothers-in-law--because I like them. And birthdays it seems, are a good reminder of why we like each other.

For this birthday I was mandated to drive straight home from school. Which I did, when I finished my homework, and when I pulled into The Quimby Drive an hour later, was greeted with a car that looked suspiciously like Emily's. I knew that Emily and The King both have the same type of car. Yet for a fleeting moment I wondered, is this the surprise? But I knew, no, that Emily could not drive from across the country to our small hometown just as I knew that the tags were in-state, and not the Great Pacific Wonderland from where she now hails. And my heart sank for several moments, because the downside of liking your family is the immense loneliness you share when you are apart for birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and mandatory Catholic holiday mass. (Who else will share my irreverent church giggling? I am already in trouble with Winifred for wearing red Chucks to Christmas Eve mass last year. And not because they clashed with the green polo and navy blue pants.)

Emily's Thing every November 15 has been usurped, it seems, by Winifred. The thing about my birthday, that will always make it special, no matter how curmudgeonly or apathetic I become to my birthday is that The Quimbys will re-tell the story of my birth. The TLC Channel version is not a part of the story. You will not find us watching A Baby Story but you will find everyone giving their own account of how I Changed Everyone's Life Forever and how I was (according to Emily at least), "The Best Thing that ever happened to me."

The story, in short, was this: Emily and Charlotte were pulled into the kitchen for a pre-arranged meeting, in which they were told they would have a sister. According to the two hooligans, this was something they'd been hoping for (why is beyond me), and they were immediately "over the moon." From then until November, there was agony for only Winifred, and delight, for Emily and Charlotte, who insisted on my name (which is after our great aunt), and several other characteristics: I would be smart, tall, fun, charming, and special. There are surely more, but smart and tall was definitely in their priorities, which is well known as I've managed to live up to those.
They knew what day I would be born. Winifred packed lunches that morning with notes that said, "When you read this your sister will be born." There were pretty pencils with pencil toppers, Hershey bars wrapped with pink ribbons, and assorted toys. The sort of toys you look at now and wish were still available in bubble gum dispensers. There is an 80% chance that if I snooped in Emily's childhood bedroom that I would find a small wooden box with the note, the trinkets, the pencil topper. There's probably an equal chance that it is in her underwear drawer in the Pacific Northwest. I'd snoop, but I'm afraid she'd know as soon as I crossed the threshold that I was not looking for a University of X State sweater but seeking something more private.
That night they had McDonald's for dinner, something oddly special as we aren't much of a Shut-Them-Up-with-a-Happy-Meal family. We're a meat and potatoes around the nightly news as a family group. And not what Lindsey Lohan has done family, what's going on in the Middle East family. We're those people.

Winifred's excitement to tomorrow's grand adventure has included a countdown. As an example, she sent on Tuesday:

Good Morning!

Only ONE more day to the big birthday! Twenty [X] years ago today Charlotte and Emily were too excited to sit still. Hershey bars were beribboned in pink. The next day was a glorious day!

Love, MOM

I think most people wait their entire life to meet one person who might think, even marginally, that much of him or her. Maybe the reason I've never being concerned with finding a guy that would think that of me is that four people already think the world of me, so why bother rushing now?

In their style, the Quimby Parents have packed a pink knapsack with bite-size Mr. Goodbars and an invisible ink coloring book (among other things) for the three hour drive to tomorrow's Destination. Some things never change, and I like it that way.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Snooze Song

My roommate and I have long wondered what the appeal is in leaving an evening class and joining one's classmates at the bar. You've just endured three hours together, is it necessary to continue post-lesson with a Miller Lite? ...Then we began our final year and found the comraderie in alcohol and a joined sense of despair.
And that's how I ended up around the corner from my apartment with one of my best friends, Miller Lite in one hand and a Nintendo DS Lite in another while we ildly watched a handful of bands. During this time I received the following sage wisdom from Winifred:

Hi Honey,
You take yourself home and tuck yourself into that bed. Dress warmly tomorrow!
Love, MOM

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More More More, on Sunday Sunday Sunday.

I drove Charlotte’s car to my “childhood home” a few weekend ago to spend a Sunday overnight in hopes of accomplishing Very Important work in their town the next morning. For me, it meant free laundry and a family dinner with my parents. It also meant a quiet slumber before an early morning.

The silence at home is nearly deafening. Still, in the fall evening, I could hear crickets and insects in a late summer chorus, 18-wheelers on the other side of the farmers’ meadows that back into their backyard, and silence accompanied by a quiet slumber.

At school, there is a consistent chorus of late night schlepping; at 3 a.m. someone is coming home to his or her apartment from the library, the bar, the club, or the boyfriend/girlfriend’s house. There is a steady stream of ambulances on the highway, our street, or the busy roads that run parallel to mine. There are cars that thump in the night, there are desperate knocks on apartment doors, there are cats howling at the moon, and there are dogs that bark at them. The previous Tuesday night’s activities began around 10 p.m. when the girls next door held a raging party with red Solo cups and jumped from our roof to the worn wooden planks that connect our residencies. Minus the roof jumping, all of this is normal. It is what we expect in my apartment, whether or not we respect and accept it.

The drive home was not planned from the beginning, but it was welcome. I didn’t expect to find a new comfort in home when I drove home, but I’m glad I did.

An acquaintance I am not especially fond of blogged about her own anticipated trip home that weekend. She wrote: “I miss seeing the stars. In [Collegetown] you can’t see stars...but back at home you can see everything.”

I thought she was ridiculous. Our hometowns are similar—mine is slightly more metropolitan, but holds the same elements of country life. I thought of the summer evenings I spent on the deck in my apartment and admired the constellations while on the phone with my best friend. I wouldn’t deny that the street lights and pink haze from civilization is a slight hindrance, but I can’t help but silently dismiss the dramatic claims. When I take open my front door the first thing I see is a dark blue open sky, dotted with tiny points of light. Even in the City, I can see the same pattern of stars, galaxies, an open expanse of Elsewhere. When the August meteoroid shower occurred, it was overcast skies that kept the roommate and I from stargazing, not the traffic or lights. Later when the sky cleared for a few minutes, I saw the wisps of light.

That Sunday night was set for a flurry of comets. Winifred asked that I check the sky at midnight and wake her up if I saw anything. In the basement, engrossed in homework, midnight arrived and left, giving way to 1 a.m., and finally 2 a.m., when I pulled myself away from the glowing screen and into the driveway. Activities in the sky is Winifred's Thing. She knows which planets are in the sky and when to see them.

Only the newest neighbors had left their yardlight on. The neighborhood was silent, and the only activity was a stray cat that briefly crossed my path before darting into the backyard, en route to the meadow which is filled with all sorts of wild cat food.

And when I looked up, I realized how wrong I’d been. My front door still opens to a starfield by night (and bright Simpsons-blue sky by day), but Winifred and The King’s sky is a different atmosphere. They had constellations that I didn’t, darker and more vibrant hues, and the pink hue of civilization was only found in the backyard—and only because their neighborhood is near a Sheetz. I waited for my eyes to adjust so that I could see more—as I do at school—and was disappointed to find out that I was presented with More when I stepped outside.

There was no adjusting for more stars at home, because there is always More of everything. More time and space for laundry, More free dinner, More parental advice, More understanding, More of Everything.

I saw only one flash of light outside; I had missed the comet shower—if we’d been able to see it at all—by doing homework. I stayed outside until I was too cold to remain outdoors and went inside, to finish my homework.

I know that Home with Winifred and The King will always offer More; their laundry is always free, their hugs are always available, and the dinner is always accompanied by conversation. I’m only sorry I’d taken their skies, and these past years of Free More, for granted.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Always Get Chili on Your Nachos Bel Grande"

In keeping with legitimate blogging, The Gospel has its own feed through FeedBurner. To be honest, my web publishing experience is in personal webpages, pages handcoded and managed on its own server, so I am learning how to work the Feed. Real bloggers and blog readers, however, know feeds, so this is to serve you, the reader.
So much adieu. The feed:

And, thanks to my friend, you can syndicate The Gospel to LiveJournal. Go to this website to add it to your friends list:

Many, many thanks!

We used to order the #10 at Taco Bell after concerts. I'd eat the taco and my friends would eat the nachos. I think it's a college thing because now we're too old for Fourth Meal and the nachos sound gross. I am abstaining from ground beef as a New Year's Resolution but if you're going to get nachos go all out.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Other Winifred, Round II

I had my own personal adventure this week, traveling from My Fair City, to Charlotte’s Fair City, where I was scheduled to interview my favorite indie rock band. It took a local bus, local train, Marc train, and another local train to get there, but it was worth it. There was thai food, peanut sauce, thai beer, time with Charlotte, and music.
The interview was cancelled before the date of the show, and with Charlotte’s birthday the day before, I set out for dinner.
And before I could get there, I was hurled the dreaded family comment. Talking to Emily before boarding the Marc she asked, “Are you going to blog about this?” It wasn’t a pleasant tone, per se, and it wasn’t the kind of disgust Heather Armstrong weathers on a regular basis, but there was a thread of regret. Which is unfortunate, because I haven’t even begun to drag the family through the mud in my literary quests. And, I think Emily is the only one reading, anyway.
After that Emily asked me why Charlotte hadn’t been mentioned much, and beside, what was her name going to be, anyway? Sophie? No, that was unfair, I argued, I’ve used it too much at Starbucks as an alias, and Charlotte likes that name for children. I thought Charlotte might be nice, but feared it was too Sex in the City.
After we talked, I boarded my train, Emily ate lunch on the opposite side of the country, and hours later, I met Charlotte for book browsing. Then I declared, irrelevant to dinner options, that a life without peanut sauce is a life not worth living. Moreover, I can not marry a man who can not revel and appreciate peanut sauce as I do. (Or, I can, but he’d better be liberal and never mention nary a negative word about the glory that is peanut sauce.) Oh, my goodness, I am salivating. How unbecoming.
Hungry for peanut sauce, Charlotte suggested we try a new restaurant. A restaurant that uses white table linens. A restaurant, not a diner, where you are served, there is not a counter, or white Styrofoam cups, that doesn’t serve soda, that has gone out of its way to design a clean, modern, and trendy atmosphere. I was wearing nice jeans, so it did save me in some ways. Not that Charlotte would have minded; she never has.
Charlotte is ten years older than I am, and in those ten years, has gone out of her ways to spoil me rotten. Birthdays have been spent in the metropolitan city she used to inhabit (and in some ways, still does). She has taken me to museums, silent films, exposed me to epicurean delights, and let me stay in her guest bedroom multiple times. Her currently un-aliased husband has participated in these spoil-fests, so I have two sisters and two brothers-in-law who provide endless fun.
We went to the National Book Festival two weeks ago with Winifred to see Joyce Carol Oates speak; she said everyone has one person who loves you unconditionally—no matter how bratty you are—and she was given her grandmother. I, on the other hand, have gotten two sisters. Which is almost unfair because I am a little shit sometimes.
But moving along, over dinner, we discussed [Queen] Winifred and The King, and concluded and deliberated the following points (whilst I shoveled chicken pad thai into my mouth):

1) Winifred’s constant and seeming unverifiable claims that what we did at ten through seventeen (and present) would come back to haunt us. Police blotters, political campaigns, and court records aside, security clearances, Google, and tattle tales really do come back to haunt you. Luckily for us, only eye rolling followed these admonishments, and none of Winifred’s daughters have participated in any activities unbecoming of a Quimby. Winifred’s standards are high, which certainly helps.
2) I wonder (mused, with head nods and commentary from Charlotte) what careers Winifred and The King would have chosen if they were in college now. Charlotte and I are hell-bent on making a contribution to society sans children. My arbitrary marriage age is 28 (minimum) and child-bearing age is 35 (but adoption sounds painless). But I (we) aren’t criticizing our parents and more than anything, are glad Winifred is not demanding children, or marriage (though I am now the only unmarried daughter).
3) Our parents are not only good people, but good to us…especially in public. I share a night class with an adult mother, with two teenage daughters and one son. She complained last week, and twice this week, that her daughters are interested in posing for photography homework for no more than fifteen minutes. (Truth be told, I can’t even participate for that long, either.) Then she added, “She’s a little shit. I hate my kids.” The comment received a few giggles, but I was horrified. I’m sure Winifred hasn’t told anyone she hated her kids before, I thought. I’m sure—I even hope—she’s complained in other ways. To her sister, maybe close friends, that her youngest is kind of a pain in the neck sometimes. Her music is too loud, her politics are a little weird, she hates math, but I don’t think Winifred ever said she hated me. That the woman said she hated her kids wasn’t necessarily horrifying because she was a mother—neither Charlotte or I think a parent is bound to loving their kid unconditionally, and we’re both grossed out by Helicopter Parents—but it was scary because her kids probably don’t know thirty twenty-one year olds are privy to this information. Charlotte agreed we were safe in knowing that neither Winifred or The King would share that with strangers. First, both are private people (surprised! you’ve been blog’d!); second, they like their kids, which works out well because we like them too. Third, they wouldn’t share information with a group of kids. It’s weird how college makes you realize how much more awesome your parents seem than they did before.
4) It’s probably weird that I check the court records database before I date a boy long-term. Probably true.
5) Winifred is a smart, engaging, charming, and fiery woman who should contribute by writing her own posts to The Gospel. I have never seen Charlotte agree with such fervency than when she began to laugh, “Mom should blog!” She has a lot on her mind! And a lot to say! Agreed, Charlotte. Now that we’re older, other inhabitants of Planet Earth need to be harangued about proper footwear, politics, women’s rights, current events, historical accuracies, and the secrets to successful baking. Probably not the last one, actually, because I like being the only twenty-one year old in town that can make baked goods from scratch.

After all of this we discussed aliases and Charlotte listed names she likes. Most of them were French and for hypothetical children. I only mentioned Henry, but not Rocket. She said that if our sister was Emily, then she should be literary too. I said Jane didn’t fit—even if I loved Jane Lane for being outspoken and a little weird—it was too common. We didn’t commit, but for now, Charlotte Bronte is appropriate.
Then Charlotte paid the bill, I went to rock out, and we spent the next morning procuring Coca-Cola imported from Mexico.

Henry, Henry, Henry!

As mentioned previously, Winifred and I went to see Henry Rollins on his Provoked tour. It is worth discussing, even briefly, because Winifred is not a typical Henry fan.
...But I am. I regard Henry, or as my friends have taken to calling him, "Hank", with the utmost reverence. The only pedestals higher than Henry's and Joe Strummer's, are Lisa Simpson's and, finally, my family. Oh, but my love, for Henry! First, there is his career in music--he left his job at Haagen Daaz to sing for Black Flag, a band that pioneered hardcore punk with an unmatched ferocity. Musically, Black Flag took jazz and played it really fast. I'd like to see My Chemical Romance give that a shot. (Actually, I'd prefer they don't; I'm not fond of MCR and their ultimate failure would probably give way to frustration.) Henry didn't write the music, but he took copious notes in the form of journals, which turned into his book Get in the Van. After Black Flag, he started his own publishing company. He hosts/ed his own TV show on IFC, radio show, and tours tirelessly with stand up and The Rollins Band. I saw the band last summer in DC, and lost my mind in the excitment when Provoked was announced. The man never stops, and I think it's cool. I find a solace in his anger; like Jeffrey Rowland, he Takes One for the Team and watches Fox News so I don't have to. He's angry with the State of Things. I'm surrounded by apathy and I need to see someone riled up; Henry is the man for me. He also let me interview him in what is my biggest journalistic accomplishment to date, if only because I find it so incredibly exciting.
Winifred decided the night before that she might like to go too, so I bought her a ticket. I warned her, Henry is an angry man. Henry yells, and he uses profanity. Henry is angry with President Bush, furious with Ann Coulter (where to now, my sweet fascist? will learn the meaning of respect and learn every word of Caddy Shack!), and aggressive. He is The Biggest Neck in Rock 'n' Roll, I say. But The King nods enthusiastically and says, "Your mother hates Bush, too!"
So onward we went, though I was hesitant. We secured the last two seats at the venue after a delicious lunch down the street. A life altering lunch in which Winifred discovered that she loves chimichangas.
...And...nothing bad happened. Henry yelled, he used profanities, but he encited laughter from Winifred. Winifred nudged me as she agreed with Henry, and she nudged often.
She said the following in an e-mail to the family, cementing her approval of Hank:

Henry Rollins was very entertaining. He talked non-stop from 7:30 pm to 10:10pm. No intermission and not a sip of water from the bottle he brought on stage with him. There was a story about his singing at a benefit with the Ruts, an English band that, in my mind, did not need to go on for 40 minutes or so, but KMH enjoyed every one of those words. My most enjoyable moment was his take on Condoleeza Rice.

Questions followed. CondRo? What could he have said about CondRo? It must have been revolutionary, they agreed. (You can read a review from DCist here.)
The biggest accomplishment, however, was not that she agreed, but that the drive home was filled with questions. Who were The Ruts? I didn't need to know so much, but... and Tell me more about Henry.
And because I am obsessed, I did. I was able to answer questions about his upbringing (mother, DC), college (American University, but it was short-lived), music (Black Flag, The Rollins band), friends (Ian MacKayeww, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Discord Records people, Bad Brains), bands he mentioned (The U.K. Subs, Iggy Pop, The Stooges, The Damned), DC's then-burgeoning hardcore scene. How he walks through his old neighborhood, pays regular visits to his mother and MacKaye's family, etc.
I am always over-the-moon when Winifred wants to know about a topic she thinks I am well-versed in. But this time, she wasn't asking about current events, she was asking about hardcore, and it was the coolest thing I'd told her about in a long time.

A Message from the King

In an e-mail today, sent around 10:15 a.m., EST

Hi Honey,

This is what Dad said about
Doris Lessing winning the Nobel prize for literature: "She was the first feminist author. The winner wasn't [Capt.], but at least it was a woman."

Love, MOM

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Few Technical Things

1.) I changed the comment settings so unregistered (people without Blogger and/or a account) "users" can critique, criticize, and discuss The Gospel.

2.) The comments will be sent to my email, captaincaptaincaptain [at] gmail [dot] com. That's three captains (my alias) sent to google's mail, dot com. One dot.

I have to go--Winifred needs outfit assistance for tonight's Main Event, Henry Rollins' spoken word tour. The irony of this will be discussed in a future update. As will her feelings on Dancing with the Stars.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Other Winifred, Round One

I received the following e-mail from Emily:
(some of it has been edited to complete her person private; I hope it's okay her response is "published"...if not I trust she will immediately contact me and let me know that 1) she is not amused 2) she doesn't want to be talked about on Winifred and 3) her feelings are hurt)

Subject: I wanted to leave a comment on the Winifred blog

Body: But, it would not let me without signing up for a Google account...I will just e-mail the comment and you can guess to which blog it belongs:

I did not know that you freak out about bugs. I thought I had taught you to smash them, just like I always did. I suppose I should get you a can of Raid and then you can just spray them with the lethal killer until they die, like my husband does. Then, take a tissue and flush them! Hahaha

Emily is seven and a half years older than I am. When we hung up she made a special point to tell me "not to do anything stupid tonight." This is worth mentioning not because I invited her out for a drink (from the other side of the country) but because my idea of a rip-roaring Thursday night is to watch The Simpsons for an hours. There was a time when The O.C. was the highlight of my week, and it's taken some time to adjust to a life without Seth Cohen. Sometimes on a wild night my roommate and I go to Chipotle before 8 p.m. and we get burritos. With pork and guacomole.

Emily's childhood was filled with various exciting activities, many relating to science (and some to Tonka trucks). An especially significant highlight was her bug observation tools, which included a bug chart and a device for observing and examining bugs. I inherited these tools and brought caterpillars into the kitchen when Winifred made dinner. Emily went out of her way--as did Winifred, obviously--to make sure I wasn't one of those whiny girls who can't stand bugs.
I like bugs. For example, I really like spiders, caterpillars, butterflies, and roly poly bugs. I like them when they aren't creeping through my living room en route to my cabinet, where the cookies are. I also don't like it when they are filled with goo and won't smush against the bottom of my sneakers when I have raised my arm over my head to bring it down with a quick smack.
I just had the floor cleaned. I can't get guts out of this carpet! Also, I tried to flush a bug once and it jumped out of the toilet and into my face.
The bugs in this city are tough.
Still, she must be devastated. The kind of way I would feel if she called me tomorrow before 9 a.m. and told me that she was Republican. (Two horrors at once: communicating before 9 a.m. with anyone and finding out I am closely related to...a Conservative.)

I am of course incredibly fortunate to have Winifred II, all sarcasm aside. Emily is reliable in all tough situations. And it's good to be reminded not to do anything that might be stupid. Because goodness knows, I come up with some stupid ideas...

Saturday, September 15, 2007


As promised, I have the shoes. They were ordered Wednesday around 1 p.m. EST and were in my fair state by 5 a.m. Friday. I picked them up in the leasing office at 5 p.m. yesterday before going to the greatest diner in the city, further cementing how spoiled I am. (Except it was my money so it's...nevermind.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It was a mutated monstrosity, you'd have been scared too.

I was going to revoke Winifred's rights (temporarily) as the cool mom who took her daughter to concerts. The cool mom who encouraged her three daughters to become independent thinkers. I was going to regale you with a tale, a story in which she took her college daughter to lunch (thanks!) before the bookstore, wherein she said, "Yeah, didn't some woman die from CBGB?"
I was then going to remind the reader how important CBGB was as an institution, that the founder, who fought tirelessly for his institution and was a humanitarian!, died of lung cancer last week, and how while in New York City my roommates and a merry band of friends paid our respect.
But Winifred put me in my place last night, so I won't.

I called Winifred last night around 10 p.m., interrupting her during a movie, to ask a question. She didn't mind of course, and as we discussed whatever it was I had called her about, I spied a brown spot in my living room near the couch. Usually a brown spot is an indication of a cupcake crumb, but this spot moved, and I sprang into action.
"Wait, there's a bug, don't leave me!" I cried.
"There's a what?"
"A bug! A big one!" I flew threw the air with a POM glass in one hand and a flexible cutting board in the other, landing inches from where the bug was blissfully crawling across my very clean white carpet. "Oh! It's so big, ew ew ew, please don't hang up," I begged.
"It's a bug? Squish it," she said, without pity or sympathy for her final heir.
"I can't squish it, it will ooze. It's big." I slowly and decisively attempted to cover the bug with the glass but it jumped into the air in the general direction of my face.
I also jumped into the air, in the opposite direction, and flailed my limbs.
"It's just a bug," Winifred "reasoned."
I went after the bug again, just as it began to head under the couch, a haven for bugs. (The three of us that cohabitate here refuse to move the couch to kill a bug.)
"No, it's a big bug," I said, because ranting about how it was spotted, strange, large, menacing, and squishy. I then explained how gross this breed is when my roommate picks up her sneaker and thwack!s it against the carpet or bathroom wall, and how I can't stand to look at its milky interior. Moreover, that I can't wipe off the guts from my shoes. I love my shoes that much.
I caught the bug through all of this, and squealed with delight when I had captured it between the glass and cutting board, and promptly began to shrief when it bounced from top to bottom of the glass, leaving behind part of a leg that was trapped under the glass.
"It's just a bug. Stop being such a baby," Winifred reprimanded me.
And in that moment I knew I wasn't allowed to reverse her long-standing cred.
Because she was right.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In an e-mail last night:

Does anyone believe a sentence that begins with "Let me be clear", and ends with "I am not gay and have never been gay."?? Sigh.
Love, MOM

Winifred followed up this topic--notably with her heir of disbelief--by directing me to page A2 of The Washington Post. "Men all over America are going to be watching their wide steps."

And it was good. The Gospel Acoording to Winifred.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Representative Squawk was an Echo

Hello Girls,
I just heard three squawks from 3 different directions when you all heard that Michael Vick said he "needs to grow up and find God." Perhaps he ought to be seeking out St. Francis of Asissi.

Love, MOM

But only because I had turned off the news to go to bed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


From an e-mail sent tonight:

Hello Sweet Girls,
The following is a conversation I had with your sweet Aunt Renee this evening.
Renee: "You simply must rent The Ultimate Gift. I am watching it right now."
LaVonne: "Oh my, Ray and I watched it Tuesday night. I loved everything about the movie except
when the girl died at the end. I kept hoping...."
Renee: "EXCUSE ME-----I said I was WATCHING the movie. Now I guess I go watch her die."
Trust me, this was hilarious!! I am still laughing aloud. I did her a favor really--I made her laugh.
Love, MOM

I have been banned from watching the movie because I am "too jaded." Since I know how it ends (Thanks Wikipedia!) I'm not particularly interested in a movie wherein a dead guy leaves his money to someone when he could have just left that money to build a children's hospital in the first place. And what kind of town doesn't have a children's hospital nearby? And what, they build a hospital and don't save Abigail Breslin (who wasn't in the book anyway)? This is like that damn shoes movie. What a load of crap.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Luckiest Girl in All the World

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t enthralled with the sounds and internal emotions of punk rock. There was a time—before I read about small New York clubs and facial body piercing devised solely from safety pins—when I yearned to hear “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Rock the Kasbah” to its very end. These dire needs to please, don’t change the pop station, were backed by constant pleas to pop the Bobby McFerrin cassette in, once more, please, and the optimistic yet disillusioned attitude soon followed.
I imagine Winifred must have been annoyed when, stomping my little white sneakers, I asked to explain why peace treaties exist if wars continue. This was the mid-eighties and I’m certain I was carried off to my bedroom for a nap soon after Winifred promised the President would try to make sure the treaty worked.
Running tandem to my inability to remember a time without Joe Strummer’s presence is clear evidence that indicates my sisters were ever bribed into doing anything. The Quimby daughters were never permitted an allowance (“your payment is living under my roof,” was a common and fervent response); good grades, good behavior, chores, and compliance was expected without a complaint. Mind you, our parents met in the Army. Winifred joined voluntarily and The King was drafted, and though neither are especially conservative and had moments in which they gleefully eschewed the rules, both raised their children as Army members.
Or they did until I was born, when they threw their hands in the air and with the help of my sisters, spoiled me to my very core. It is with some regret that I divulge that I was the first, and only, to receive bribery as form as an incentive and motivation. It started in fourth grade, wherein I entered a deal to receive music and rugby shirts (all the rage with the high school sophomores) if I did well in math.
The plan backfired, of course, because I didn’t think I was good in math and only pulled out a B as an end grade.
I was bribed again by Winifred and The King, who said I could dye my hair if I got an A as my final grade in Honors Algebra II. Despite voluntarily signing up for after school study sessions, kissing some major ass, and achieving an A on the final, I only had a B at the end of the semester, and did not get to dye my hair a fiery shade of red. By now I was totally into the punk thing and desperate to convey my internal politics with how I imagine I should look on the outside.
To Winifred’s credit, she only encouraged this path (minus the hair, obviously, and body piercing, which she is still very disgusted by) and went as far as to purchase a baby doll style black tee shirt with a silver Anarchist symbol emblazoned across the front. She even called it “cute” in the Hot Topic fitting room, sending me into the throes of joy for months to come.
Though most of the ploys to apply myself in math never resulted in prizes for me, The Sisters were never particularly pleased with the underhanded tactics of Winifred and The King. I managed to graduate without one free compact disc or a red head of hair.
In between the shifts at my “office job” and my “summer job” I scoured the internet for a knock off pair of Chucks to replace my rapidly decaying eight year-old pair of shoes. Purchased before the factory was closed in the United States, and even longer before the company was purchased by Nike, the shoes became a point of pride. Even my roommate, who is politically apathetic, takes a great deal of pride in her dirty black hi-tops. So much, that she makes a point to wear them to her job at American Eagle. My shoes have crept into the office since the summer began, only to join the ranks of my bosses who own them in black.
Unfortunately however, the day is slowly approaching when I will no longer be able to wear my shoes. The disillusionment from the mid-eighties remains, and I refuse to compromise my principles (the stubbornness is mostly genetic, by the way). Imagine my joy when I found not only an alternative, but an alternative to the alternative!
Financially, I can’t afford the Black Spot Sneaker. Ultimately, I’m not comfortable with aligning myself with another corporation, no matter how strongly AdBusters proclaims its liberalism, supporting the group feels less like an alternative and more like buying into a culture. Since my efforts to appear on the exterior as I though I should, I’ve realized futility (and irony) of following the cookie-cutter form. Hipsters, your day will come.
No Sweat isn’t inexpensive either but the price is less than Nike and if I save, I’ll sleep at night, I reasoned.
Winifred called me during the scouring and was met with the penultimate joy. Then she made a daring proposition: she would front the $42 if I would clean the closet in my bedroom in her home.
Really, you’ll buy me a forty-two dollar pair of sneakers if I just clean a closet? In a room I don’t live in anymore? You’ll buy me shoes if I throw some old pairs away?
I cleaned the closet in less than two hours. I filled two kitchen-size Hefty bags with clothing for Purple Heart and two similarly sized bags of trash. Tennis shoes from ninth grade gym class and old math homework (the irony was astounding).
Winifred was given a formal tour after Family Dinner. She would have fainted if she hadn’t acknowledged six months ago that my apartment is also impeccably clean. To Winifred’s dismay, I did not sift through the sweater pile at the top of the closet. The sweaters sit conveniently next to the Top Shelf Rummage, the designated area where Stuff You Don’t Want to Organize But Can’t Throw Away goes. It’s unreachable and not necessary, yet too important to, you know, get rid of. As an indication, my roommate took The Top Shelf Stuff from her bedroom in her parent’s house and moved it to The Top Shelf in the apartment.
She asked for an explanation, of course, and I justified this decision because 1) I will wear every sweater there really! and 2) I refuse to part with those beloved concert tees. Buried between tank tops I wasn’t supposed to wear to the Legendary and Defunct HFStival is the Anarchy tee, Winifred. I’ll turn it into a quilt, one day or something.

Friday, August 17, 2007

She's That Kind of Mother

Hello Girls,

This is how an article in the [local paper] begins: "Whenever my mother starts out a conversation with "Did you know so and so?" it can only mean three things. The person is either in jail, pregnant or dead."
I admit it--I am also that mother.
Love, MOM

Maybe it's because of my age, but so far all of the names have been former peers who have received scholarships or awards.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Luckily I Bought An Extra Box

Winifred sent this almost an hour ago in reference of this week's events. The two of us have been communicating most of the evening: first I called her to ask advice on melting chocolate without a double boiler, then she called some hours later to advise how to melt the chocolate because my attention for the slowly melting chocolate in the microwave faltered and I severely obliterated two of the ten ounces. I started over and succeeded, marking the third call. All of the melting was to construct Magnolia's Chocolate Buttercream. At the end of the day I've made two types of icing, 30+ cupcakes and defeated level five in The New Super Mario Bros.

Winifred's fellow chocolatiers range in age; this one is a recent high school graduate. He

Hi Honey,
[Co-worker] went to Warp Tour as well with friends. They then "followed" , to use Ann's word, the band to Hard Times Cafe in DC. The band is Amber Lynn. I asked him today what the band is--I may not be spelling it correctly. I had planned to inquire about the following, but it got so busy and then I forgot. Are you familiar with the band?
Love, MOM

It turns out that this is my seventh year at the Vans Warped Tour. I've almost come full circle; the theme during my first year was Lucha Libre; this year's theme was "Lucky 13" but the main attraction were three one-hour lucha wrestling demos. In the frenzy of interviewing bands and photographing the thirty minute sets for my self-published magazine I accidentally managed to miss all three.

The band that Winifred's co-worker followed was Anberlin, a Christian rock band from Florida. I'm somewhat apathetic to the group in general; I'm not specifially engaged by the group's album, which isn't to say that it isn't good, I'm just sort of bored. Still, the band has some hype and an avid--almost psychotically devoted--fanbase (which includes one of my three roommates) which is what drew me to the interview with Stephen Christian. He was friendly, soft-spoken, and insightful.
The after-party Wednesday's show was held in Washington, DC--I left my last interview around 4 p.m. and dragged my weary body to the parking lot. My other roommate drove us home and we both fell asleep before 9 p.m., before the after-party was scheduled to begin. We would have never survived an after-party to work Thursday morning at our respective jobs.
However, Winifred's e-mail implied a variety of things, so I called her. First, I said, Anberlin played the SmartPunk stage after my friends immediately left the adjoining stage, meaning it was 1) possible that her co-worker and I rubbed elbows 2) as a result of sharing the floor pit, watched my friends together 3) 88% of the crowd didn't know my friends but after three songs were actively engaged, meaning he could be one of the people who picked up their CD for $5.
I told Winifred this on the phone. She was quiet for a pause before she said, "He could have bought it. That would be cool."
I agree.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Insert Poop Joke Here

Winifred sent the following at 11:58 p.m., well after her standard "bed time." What's really worth noting, outside the hilarious content, are the ads/links provided by Google in the sidebar...

Just tell me why in god's name is Bush having his colonoscopy at the medical facility at Camp David? Shouldn't he be at a state of the art facity--such as the type the rest of us go to for such a procedure--and if the medical facility at Camp David is such that the top of the line colonoscopy machines are there--why is that?? Why is he not having it at, say, Walter Reed?? Someone needs to have some sense shaken.
Love, MOM

Google, I'm not sure that's what you meant.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Brew Gate

Winifred sent me this e-mail yesterday. It would have been funnier to post then, when I wasn't in class.

Hello Girls,
I have just received a call from Debbie at the post office inquiring as to the contents of a package I mailed earlier today. Apparently there is a smell emanating from it that is suspiciously beer flavored. How did this happen you might ask? I decided to send Yuengling to my son in law in Oregon. I carefully wrapped 7 bottles individually in bubble wrap, managing to fit 7 bottles plus a bottle of cherry blossom bubble bath into a flat rate box. I was very pleased at this feat as the box weighed 9.7 lbs and would have cost $25.20 to mail at a regular rate. I did this feeling I was in FULL compliance of the law, having been so advised by my other son in law---aka, [Bert]-- that while it is illegal to ship alcohol INTO Maryland, it is NOT illegal to ship alcohol OUT of Maryland. They currently have the unopened package in a bin in the back office and are trying to ascertain whether the contents leaked onto any other packages i n the facility while they await my arrival for pickup. Those packages would include one sent to you [Emily], filled with miscellaneous items--lots of them--and a smaller package to you Captain, containing the elusive purple tank top and Marvelous Market brownies, prepared in this very kitchen. I apologize in advance for any errant smells or tastes in said package. If you do not hear from me by close of business at 5pm, send my attorney and a bail bondsman. While Dad initially said that the P.O. ought not to cavalierly toss packages about so as to preclude breakage, he is at heart, a Catholic school boy and is opposed to breaking the law for any reason. He is rinsing his hands of this operation and has gone off to work. He did stop to point out that my attorney is several states away and not licensed in Maryland. I have high hopes for my local attorney, [name of family friend omitted].
Love, MOM