Poem: I Met a Reptile Man.

january 27th, 2014.

Here's the poem I read at the Green Mill last night:

Music: Ego Grinding by Megatroid

I met a reptile man in an age of oblivion
snug smug amongst the fathers
and the fathers' fathers
a dinosaur with a human face
he had recently gone paleo

He said, I'm the only millionaire who
shits on a compost toilet
I said, citation needed

He said, I'm a poet too
but I will never sing my poems the way
I once screamed at secretaries
I will never do it like my life is at stake

I met a reptile man!

At Thanksgiving with twenty something twenty-somethings
hey let's all say something we give thanks for
there was uncomfortable laughter
like that was a joke, no one spoke
they ate the bird ingraciously
the media is right
Bill Cosby is right
Aaron Sorkin is right
this is indeed the worst generation

The reptile man says,
the thing about the worst generation
I keep getting older
and they stay the same age
I met a reptile man!

Conversation turned to Cuba
Cuba who we called an enemy state
put a gun to their face
said we're putting a prison here
and it will be built like a barbed wire Costco
and these are the three square feet
and from here on a clear day they might glimpse
the Caribbean Sea
and this is where we'll put the barracks for children

Did you know? They put children in Guantanamo
Musta been the most dangerous teens
the world has ever seen
They put children in Guantanamo!
This is not a metaphor!
They put children in Guantanamo
There are no children in Guantanamo Bay today
They grew up
They're in the big boy barracks now

The reptile man says,
if they didn't do anything wrong
they have nothing to fear

I met a reptile man!
He had an erection
He was not happy see me
He said playing with your phone
is an acceptable form of public masturbation
I have an iPad, he hisssssssed

The reptile man says
I like to do sudoku
filling in numbers at random
does that horrify you
yesssssssss I whisper
afraid at the fork newly perforating my tongue

Horror is in vogue
like self-hatred is in vogue
like contempt is in vogue
But all contempt is self-contempt
All hatred is self-hatred
All destruction, self-destruction
All fish, selfish
Every week, shark week
Every ha, Buddha
Every to do list, a bucket list, ultimately
Every day hard, like just to live, is hard
like my dick is hard
It's not on me, it's at home
It's eternally hard

The reptile man says,
I can tell a lot about a woman, hard or soft
by the way she draws a dragon
Where she draws the wings
Where are your wings dear
Sing with me now
I met a reptile man.

Midnight Bunny, Midnight Artists.

january 25th, 2014.

Spent my Friday night with poets in Logan Square. Saw this guy in the snow on my way home:

Bunny

Lotta good things this week. Finished Portfolio 3.0 (secret early preview here, but going live on ericadreisbach.com, like any second now). Had a job interview. Wrote some Mystery/Style slash fan fiction (Nikki's idea), and if you don't know what those things are: fan fiction is when you're a fan and you LOVE a show or a movie or a series or something SO MUCH that there just ISN'T ENOUGH you need to write MORE. Slash fiction is when fan fiction includes homoerotic storylines, generally off-canon. The prototypical example is Kirk/Spock or K/S, pronounced “K slash S,” hence “slash.”*

*and THAT's the factoid that everyone who ever tells you about slash will repeat. By reading, you become one who will recite the telling of this factoid as well. Welcome :)

Mystery and Style are the two protagonists of the autobiographical-ish 2005 bestseller The Game, in which author Neil Strauss (Style) falls in with the pickup artist community in Los Angeles. Pickup artists are dudes who use techniques to seduce women.

Style is a self-identified classic writer-nerd, clocking in at about 5'6" and like 130 lbs. Mystery is a 6'5" magician from Toronto. According to The Game, the two of them tore up Los Angeles in the early 2000s, scoring babes left and right. So many babes. Babes all the time. Contemptible babes, both targets and enemies. Gee, if only babes could be hot, sane, fun, easy ... kinda like, well. Kinda like YOU, Mystery! Style, what are you saying? And why is your hand there???

I read The Game in 2007 and it ruined my ability to feel animal attraction for a couple months. “If it's all just a series of hacks, what's the point???1!” So it was healing to write this. If you want to read the current draft, just email me.

Mystery and Style: Friends and Lovers

Pictured: Real Style, Real Mystery

Draws: Dr. Sketchy's

january 21st, 2014.

Have wanted to go to Dr. Sketchy's for years, finally went last Sunday. What is it, it's an alt-figure drawing session. So think like: Suicide Girls, plus drawing. Below are my favorites from the afternoon.

Dr Sketchy's Chicago - butt Dr Sketchy's Chicago - zombie

Video: This Erican Life: Apartment Sauna

january 20th, 2014.

Winter gets me every year with the chapped lips, and nosebleeds, and the dry feelings. Not this year. I've got an APARTMENT SAUNA.

More Winter.

january 18th, 2014.

Stepped outside to this this morning. “Snow no!” I said, out loud, to myself. I love the snow. I just love puns more.

Snow No

Last night it snowed some real fluffy-crystal-styrene stuff. Some real high production value snow, the kind where the AD yells, “we need another take!” and all the production assistants sweep it back up again.

Marketing Pt 2.

january 14th, 2014.

Marketing copy from a Trader Joe's pineapple juice carton. Vlad reads this and hears a person having fun. I hear someone screaming into the darkness. Because when *I* wrote this copy, I was screaming.

O symbolic mystery | Trader Joe's Pineapple Juice

O SYMBOLIC MYSTERY

But then, it really depends who you're writing the bombastic low-information copy for. I've only written it for horrible people. If indeed Trader Joe's is an excellent place to work, if this pineapple juice carton could be written over giggles in an open plan office with great coffee, then the screams die away. The pineapple fun rises like pineapple pulp. All is well.

Related: Randy Coffee and Firehorse. Pinapple juice carton wishes it could be this grandiloquent. It wishes.

Self and Selfy.

january 13th, 2014.

Every time we tell people that we were in Portland (Oregon) for the holidays, people ask what we did there. Wish I could offer a litany of Standard Issue Portland Fun like brunch, books, beards, whole foods, holistic medicine, or a ride on the MAX train which always inspires baffle-rage from me, for reasons of language (“The trains say, 'doors open on MY left' ... whose left??!? Who is 'YOU'? And which way are 'YOU' facing???”) (I have been to Portland before). But that flu knocked me out and we didn't do much more than go to the zoo and hang out with dogs and family, living on to brunch a future day.

The dogs, though! Three of them. Vlad has oft spoke of Chevy the dog and his friendly spirit. Deep into the onset of influenza, I thought it might be nice to have Chevy sleep with us (animal therapy) and brought him into the guest room. But shortly after I shut the door a massive fart escaped me. Chevy turned back to the door, waited patiently, and when I opened the door again he trotted the heck out of there.

“Don't worry, he'll be back,” said Vlad. Chevy did not return.

Pictured: Vlad + Chevy

Vlad + Chevy

Storm Cycle.

january 5th, 2014.

“Trader Joe's was robbed!” said Vlad.

Trader Joe's bread aisle, ransacked.

Negative fifty, they're saying. The temperature will be negative fifty? Negative fifty. Like for a scientific experiment in closed conditions at Northwestern, haha no, like, outdoors. Just stay inside, they're saying.

Granville Ave, 9am.

Granville - pre-hercules Granville selfie

Cartoons: from the Plane.

december 29th, 2013.

What I get for all my Bah Humbuggery: Santa gave me influenza for Christmas. It hit with nausea on the planeride to Portland on Christmas Eve, and really let loose the day after Christmas.

On the fourth day Vlad insisted I go see a doctor. Aside from women's health issues, I have not been to the doctor because I was sick since getting strep in college. (Do you hear the stubborn pride? Do you hear that she is her father's daughter, her father, the doctor who loathes going to the doctor?)

The PA at the urgent care pop-up confirmed it was the flu, and prescribed a decongestant, some throat pills, and codeine. My excitement over the codeine set me at dis-ease. Poured it down the drain before the return trip to Chicago.

me:'My pants are loose! Woot!' Vlad:'I'd like to discourage that thinking.' me:'Aw c'mon! Can't I have /one/ upaside to the flu?'

Favorite from below is the Big Mama Quail.

Plane cartoons

In Honor of All the Snow in Chicago: a Bill Clinton Joke.

december 20th, 2013.

Yesterday Vlad mentioned peeing in the snow, and I remembered a hilarious joke from middle school:

Bill Clinton (while in office) gets word from the Secret Service: “Mr. President, we have terrible news. Someone wrote 'Bill Clinton sucks' in urine, outside the White House. We're analyzing the urine, we'll get back to you as soon as possible.”

“Thank you,” said Bill Clinton.

The next day, the Secret Service came back. “Mr. President, we have bad news and bad news.”

“Well give me the bad news,” said Bill Clinton.

“The bad news is, we've identified the source of the urine. It's Al Gore sir.”

“That rascal! What's the other bad news?”

“It's Hillary's handwriting.”

The Clintons and Gores on the campaign trail during the '92 election season.

Pictured: a simpler time. The Clintons and Gores on the campaign trail in the '92 election season.

Faceplum.

december 18th, 2013.

Vlad came up with this one. I was just the engineer.

Captian Jean-Plum Picard | Faceplum. When your best is pi-tiful.

Pictured: Faceplum. When your best is pit-iful.

Review: GE AM/FM Alarm Clock

december 17th, 2013.

GE AM/FM Alarm Clock

Pictured: GE AM/FM Alarm Clock

I had this GE alarm clock when I was ten. I remember my dad telling me that it was very high quality. Not because it was pretty, but because it would last forever. Function over form. #dreisbach

It served me well for 16 years. I listened to Lyndon State college radio in middle school to study up on coolness. I listened to the oldies station in high school when I made friends with my future first boyfriends, both 1960s fetishists. I listened to late night jazz to fall asleep. I read course packets through hours stacked on hours of BBC America in college. And when I lived alone for the first time in The Cottage in San Francisco, non-stop NPR streamed through that tiny speaker to keep me company.

I fled San Francisco in 2009 with four boxes and my instruments. Shipped the boxes via USPS, as is my style for cross-country moves. One of the big boxes, which, if memory serves, had been used in two prior moves, and had all the good stuff, burst apart in transit. A zip-tied, half-empty box arrived with all the good stuff missing. Both cameras. The copy of Moby Dick from the antique book store.

And! And and! My GE alarm clock! Gone.

A couple weeks ago I impulse-cruised eBay and b[r]ought it [back into my life] for $25. A more delightful $25 never twere spent by the likes of me! Every day it's like coming home to an old friend, like waking up to an even better friend.

Photo: Happy Birthday, Vlad!

december 13th, 2013.

Happy birthday, pițicutzi mea! Our ages are now twin primes, which makes me happy. Numbers :)

Pictured: an outtake for our holiday card photoshoot. We did a re-shoot shortly after this was taken due to the prominence of V's crotch in most of the shots. This one is among the most discreet.

Vlad and Erica

Audio: I Don't Like Christmas.

december 9th, 2013.

I don't like Christmas. Mostly.

I don't like the religious chauvinism. I don't like when people say it's not a religious holiday. It's the Christ mass.

I don't like it when people make a convincing case that, no, no no, no no, it really ISN'T a religious holiday anymore, it's a festival of consuming ... buh! That's even WORSE!

I don't like Christmas music blasted everywhere. I like Christmas music! But there are places for it, and those places are: the home, and the church.

I don't like the movie Love, Actually. I've seen it several times. I don't like its portrayal of love as an internal chemical reaction, something that just happens to you, without meaningful input or even interaction with the other person. And then you present your love object with your raging 7th-grade-style love, and then in the movie it either just works or it just doesn't. There's no patience for all the work of love. The acceptance. The compromise. As opposed to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is all about true love being full of good jokes, and fights, and complexity, and it's occasionally fucked up, and that's AT BEST. I like that.

Ok! Some things I do like about Christmas:

I like that business schedules get all wonky, and for many of us there's a lovely break between Christmas and New Year's when work is just not possible because bosses or clients tell us to put things off until “after the holidays.”

I like the lights. Even when they're done tastelessly, and at a risk to the power grid. In the night, maybe even against the snow, they're beautiful.

I like being with family. I have a great family :)

I'm excited to watch the direct-to-video movie Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas with my friend Jesse. It takes place during Belle's winter at the castle while the enchantment is still in effect. Tim Curry plays a crazed pipe organ actively working to keep the enchantment going. He likes being an organ. Sounds great!

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Bah humbug, everybody.

Bah humbug everybody

Scene: Five Unreasonable Things.

december 6th, 2013.

INT. VLAD'S CAR - DAY
VLAD drives south on Sheridan, ERICA in the passenger seat.

ERICA

I was reading my friend's blog about her experience with a life coach, and she said that he'd asked her to name 'five unreasonable things you can ask of others.'

VLAD

I don't understand the question. If you ask, then you have a reason.

ERICA

It's maybe more like, 'name five things that you need from other people that you don't like about yourself.'

VLAD

Ahhhhh! Ok. I don't like that I ask everyone to be ok with me being late to things, all the time.

ERICA

I don't like that I ask people to listen to the stories I repeat over and over.

VLAD

I love your stories!

ERICA

I feel bad that I monopolize conversation.

SMASH CUT TO: INT. DINER - DAY
Vlad, Erica, MARCEL, COLLEEN, BARBARA eating breakfast in Oshkosh.

MARCEL

Sure, but other people do that with stories like 'blah blah and then I ... ' And an Erica story will be like, 'so I met a satanist the other day.'

Review: HealthCare.Gov

december 5th, 2013.

To my brothers and sisters out there qualifying for subsidized health care and-or must deal with a HealthCare.gov application,

IF you can get through all the initial application pages without server errors and

IF you click on the correct sequence of links such that you're not summarily logged out and kicked back to the homepage and

IF you are undeterred by the giant red CORRECT PROBLEMS WITH YOUR APPLICATION message which, later, when you call customer service you find out “isn't supposed to be there” and

IF you at last get to the Compare Health Plans screen then

YES, HealthCare.Gov is as simple to use as Kayak, and fun. And an awesome, intuitive interface. If you get there.

Also, having called many customer service centers in the last month—and a review of my epic experience with GAP customer service and their insistence on sending me maternity clothes, still to come—the HealthCare.gov customer service center was awesome. I was on hold for less than a minute, and I spoke with someone smart, patient, and friendly.

Weirdly, I didn't realize until yesterday reading a brochure in my therapist's waiting room JUST HOW MUCH coverage is now required. It's like the series of revelations I've had about my one employment experience at an organization that really invested in its employees: “man ... remembering working at a place that paid for snacks? Like, really good snacks? Fresh berries, and fancy cheeses, and great bread? And a fitness plan? And retirement? And dental? And no meeting was allowed to go over one hour? It was like a socialist worker's paradise up in!”

Robot punching | how i used to work

Former quality of life indicator: workplace shenanigans.

My Dark Secret.

december 4th, 2013.

Here is how it goes:

The video is usually titled "MOST EMOTIONAL AUDITION EVR!!!" The contestant on The X-Factor or America's Got Talent or Britain's Got Talent is nervous, and talks to the camera about having poor self-image. Sitting on the edge of a metal folding chair, looking down at hands. Presenting as ordinary, if with a shy gentleness that shines out (gentleness its own beauty). And then the contestant comes out on stage, still nervous, lacking in confidence. If the judges are hard or cruel, or present as hard or cruel, the camera cuts to the judges sneering.

And then the contestant begins to sing, and the song is so beautiful, and the audience rises to its feet and ROARS, and the contestant is SINGING now, singing! This extraordinary person is singing a gift to humanity! And the room is filled with true love, and the cruelest judge wipes a tear from a watery eye.

Susan Boyle did it first, but she's had many successors. And if you watch one of these videos on YouTube, then the right sidebar instantly populates with, like, fifteen more. And the other week I was just chain-watching these and weeping. “It's-it's-soooo beautiful! Oh! ... ... ooh, another one [click]” Yes, I was pre-menstrual. Yes, you cracked the code.

Ok let's watch one now! Here's Jonathan, whose parents disowned him because he's gay. What the judges say at the end, and how they refrain from saying anything mean to Jonathan's parents, who are clearly shitty shitty people, and instead offer a national invitation to them to love their son: it's the most graceful television I've ever seen.

My dark secret is that I love these videos. I love this story. Every manifestation. I love every single one. Not just at certain monthly times. All the times. You can know this about me.

Photos: Dad + Harrison Ford.

december 2nd, 2013.

Harrison Ford on the Jimmy Fallon show, piercing Jimmy's ear. Harrison Ford in labcoat, so like my doctor father in aspect, in how he holds his mouth, in the jokes he makes. As they age, they approximate the same entity.

Here, see for yourself! At left, my parents at my little brother's graduation. At right, my mom with a wax statue of Harrison Ford at Madame Toussaud's in New York. When my father saw this photo, he said, “wow, I look good!”

“That's not you, Craig,” said my mom. The likeness is such that it spoofs even my father.

My Dad | Harrison Ford
December 2013 February 2014