Poem: This Is What We Talk about When We Talk about the Zombie Apocalypse.

september 30th, 2013.

Link to Soundcloud

this is what we talk about
when we talk about the zombie apocalypse

the zombie apocalypse:
the streets crowded, thronging, throbbing
drop your briefcase, hang up on your ex-wife
and run, you fool! run
not to the airport, or the interstate
run to the woods, to the wild
run wild

a car explodes behind you
it's very exciting

but before you get far
you feel the blunt bite
of white-capped teeth on your arm
it's some suit, from the Loop
now transformed into one of the night horde

the effect is instantaneous, intoxicating
you feel something dark take hold
and in that moment think,

“thank god.
“thank god I will never
“have to pay off my student loans
“my credit card debt
“i will never have to tell my friend
“that her first novel was terrible
“and her second one is even worse

“i will never have to worry about
“my goal weight, updating my blog
“my tumblr feed, my carbon footprint
“my acne meds, my loneliness
“death
“because i am already undead

“thank god i'll never have to think again
“about the hole in my gums
“between my back right molars
“that gets bigger every year
“it doesn't hurt yet but i know one day
“there'll be hell to pay
“hell is three month's salary
“a handsome ransome
“handed to an orthodontic surgeon

“yeah dentists. those bloodsuckers.

“if my consciousness remains intact for long
“I'm going to try and get a dentist
“and i'll be thinking, thank god
“thank god i can finally live a life that matters
“thank god i can finally contribute to humanity
“as a zombie.”

you see we don't dream of the fight
we dream of the bite

that's what we talk about
when we talk aout the zombie apocalypse
the robot apocalypse
the Christian apocalypse
the singularity event, machine consciousness
nanobots, gray slurry, peak oil, collapse of nations

we are talking about something
we are afraid to call by its true name
we're talking about freedom

a freedom we can only let ourselves believe in as
violent, supernatural
all good fairytales

tonight i look to the moon
to the woods
i tell myself this bedtime story
and dream of freedom.

Music: Portrait for Toy Piano and Electronics by Jeff Morris

Night Lion: Pt 2.

september 26th, 2013.

Night Lion | ericaricardo.com

Pee Yoga.

september 25th, 2013.

Vlad's roommate Barbara asked to borrow his yoga mat. “Don't worry, I'll be sure to disinfect it afterward,” she said. (Barbara is German)

“That's ok, you don't have to,” said Vlad. “It's not like you're going to pee on it.”

“Ha ha, except that what if she's not doing hot yoga, she's doing pee yoga!” I said.

“Yah, it's great. We just do yoga for an hour, and then at the end we hold hands and pee. It's very relaxing,” said Barbara.

You guys, this conversation happened maybe two weeks ago, and I'm still laughing about it. Pee Yoga is so close to real yoga. Bodies, humility, indignity. Every yoga class I've ever been in has been, by default, Fart Yoga.

You walk into class. There are no windows. In the corner is a discreet drain. You're nervous. It's your first time. The instructor greets you, asks if you have your mat and your towel. She glows with a beauty that's daily kale vibrant. She could be 30, could be 50, hard to say. This is one of the draws of hippies and hippie practice: everyone is hot. And you want to be a hot 50-year-old.

The instructor lights a candle and passes a huge communal jug of water. Everyone takes a healthy gulp. When the jug is empty the instructor smiles. “We begin,” she says. You do the yoga. It's pretty regular.

At five minutes to the hour, she says quietly, “it is time.” Everyone gathers in a circle and chants an ancient Sanskrit prayer. The instructor pees first, joyfully, horsefully, and everyone else relaxes and pees with her. You pee, too. You weren't sure if you would. You've heard that potty training is some of the most difficult conditioning to overcome, but you're doing it. You are proud of yourself.

“Pee Yoga, you've got to try it!” you tell your friend over chocolate malts, later. “It's amazing ... ” you trail off.

Pee Yoga

Original image from Public Domain Pictures, recommended for all your public domain picture needs.

Photo: Toilet Face

september 24th, 2013.

As seen in a Minneapolis pizzeria bathroom:

Minneapolis Toilet Face

Photo courtesy Sweet Vlad.

Draw: Night Lion

september 20th, 2013.

Drawn during the open mic at Metropolis Coffee:

Night Lion

How Did Therapy Go Yesterday?

september 19th, 2013.

How did therapy go yesterday? Like this:

I love therarpy | Peep Show

It started with her asking if she should watch The Wire and what's so good about The Wire, please, explain to her in detail, what is it that makes the show so good?

Above gif skimmed offa Peep Show.

Audio: Things I Do Not Wanna Deal with Today.

september 18th, 2013.

Hear it on SoundCloud

Today is Wednesday, September 18th. Here are some things that I do not want to deal with today.

On the stove is a pot full of chickpeas that I left to soak overnight, maybe make some hummus. That was four nights ago. I just pulled the lid off the pot. The chickpeas are covered in maybe five or six inches of white foam. I did not smell the fermented chickpeas. I'm gonna have to clean them up at some point. I do not wanna deal with that.

Right now I'm wearing yesterday's shirt and a pair of men's long underwear. I look over at the bathroom, think about a shower. I do not want to deal with that today.

I'm auditioning a new therapist at 5:30, her office is in Evanston, and I'm not exactly sure how to bike there. Biking to Evanston confuses me. I always feel like I'm traveling inside tesseract space and the path makes an odd number of 90 degree left turns and yet it is always running north. I could take the train, but I want to bike, because I was due to take a long run today, but a long run is another thing that I do not want to deal with today.

And, going to therapy. I kinda don't want to deal with that today, either.

A corporate client wants me to make an animated gif. 1998 is calling. They want their web strategy back. Making an animated gif to sell credit cards, or maybe legal services this time. I do not want to deal with that today.

I'm stuck at home right now waiting for FedEx to deliver something. So. I don't want to be dealing with that either. What are they delivering, it's some toner. I need it to print out color photos that I'm attaching to a letter I wrote to Vlad's grandfather, the poet Mihai Doroftei. Vlad translated the letter. Vlad is awesome. Sending international mail: now THAT. That is something I want to deal with today. So.

Just thinking about that perked me right up! Hope you all are well, and, dealing with things that you like. Hope you all are well! Hope-ho ... I think I'm gonna include ... yes! Alright, bye.

Music: Imagine for Image by Milch of Source.

Photos: Goons out there.

september 17th, 2013.

Various Goons.

From top left, clockwise: a Goon from Popeye, a proboscis monkey, a blobfish, “Kilroy was here” inscription circa WWII

Photos: Birthday 2013.

september 16th, 2013.

For my birthday Saturday, Vlad + I went to an estate sale in Orland Park. Check out the Ham Dogger! Makes hot dog-shaped patties out of your hamburger meat! Only $6 that's not a deal that's a steal!

“I love thinking that this was an invention that started out as just the name, and then the person made it happen,” V said.

On the drive down, we passed by Hackney's Horses in Palos Park. “Hey, later I need to pick up some hackne medication, for my hace,” I said.

“I don't get it,” said V.

Hackney's Horses in Palos Park, IL | Photo courtesy: Hackney's

V got me flowers from Steven's flower shop in Hyde Park. So pretty-pretty. Impress and delight your girlfriend today! cornellflorist.com

Flowers from Cornell Florist

My brother Chris sent me the STYLOPHONE! You play it with a stylus, kinda like how you made notes on your Palm Pilot® in 1998. The Stylophone sounds a lot like the instrument in the American The Office© theme song. It is awesome.

Mame made a glorious chocolate cake.

Barbara made a cake, too! “Zoopah yum!” as she and her fellow Germans say! Party like your metabolism isn't slowing down!!!

Mail: The Economist

september 13th, 2013.

Tomorrow is my birthday, everyone! You can wish me happy birthday @ericaricardo.

I love physical mail, but most of the mail I get is junk. For the last couple years I've made a habit of using the enclosed self-addressed envelopes (often conveniently postage-paid) to write back to the junkers.

Below is the letter I wrote today. It's typical, altho the ones to credit card solicitors are more out-of-control bombastic/wildly emotional.

Dear The Economist,

Please remove me from your print solicitation list. When/if I wanna get in touch, I'll get in touch. I have access to the world's information, you see.

Where'd you get my address, anyway? Harper's? Is that where? Those bastards.

Anyway. You see this return address sticker? That was also junkmail, from the Red Cross. They also bought my address from somewhere (Harper's!) (those bastards!) and then sent the stickers along with a donation form like I wouldn't notice that I'm just a commodity, just a number in their direct mail numbers game.

It's not like I don't get it, The Economist. You're hustling the way you've always hustled. Because it works. Even if only like 4% of us mopes respond, it works. Because paper, and by extension water, is cheap. But they won't be cheap for much longer. And then you'll have to get creative. Not “you”: The Economist, “you”: the person reading this. Get creative just to survive. Jobs like you have right now, answering mail? They won't exist anymore. And my job, freelance web designer? Forget it!!!

Anyway. I enjoyed subscribing to you in 2008, but with all the projects I've got goin' on I can barely make sure I read Harper's every month (love Harper's). What I'm sain' is I've got all the Old Media I can handle these days. And until The Economist starts printing a killer puzzle (crossword, cryptic crossword, something really juicy and tender like that) (or even like one of the Car Talk puzzlers! Free form) I'm not interested, and I don't want to receive your junkmail.

Thank you for reading. Your cool [sic].

Love,
erica

Real Talk: Fake Nerd Girls

september 11th, 2013.

So being called a “fake nerd” girl is a thing now. As like an insult. Oh, identity politics! Where WON'T you tread?

I'd love it if you called me a fake nerd. That means you think I'm one of the cools, masquerading. Fantastic!

Just kidding. If you called me a fake nerd I'd probably flip the table with my dick. Your apple juice would spill all over. You would be so sorry.

That said, this is awesome, and accurate (but that tattoo severely misspells “currency manufacturers”):

@thedavesherrill: I've noticed girls like to wear shirts that say 'I Love Nerds' but never want to hear all 45 ways I would have improved the Watchmen movie.

Scene: Pillow talk.

september 10th, 2013.

INT. VLAD'S ROOM - NIGHT
It's late. VLAD (28) and ERICA (30) in bed. Arc sodium light yellow across their faces. Erica's eyes WIDE AWAKE.

ERICA

I've been feeling like an alien, lately.

VLAD

That's what I like about you. It's ok, I'm an alien too.

ERICA

Is that why your butt is out of this world?

VLAD

Yes. Devilish to some. Angelic to others. Sometimes both to the same person.

Vlad: draw me like your French girls.

Photos: Cycle camping.

september 9th, 2013.

The paintball factory by the sketchy overpass on the Robert McClory bike path.

Paintball factory.

Waiting out a gnarly storm that threatened and black cloud bullied but never got to us.

Waiting out the storm. Bugging Vlad.

Camp dress at Illinois Beach State Park.

Wearing my camp dress.

Vlad said starting the fire stressed him out so I volunteered to do it. Was pretty sure my enthusiasm and basic teenage pyromania would carry the day, but our raw materials were a little damp and also it turns out I am Not Good at making fire and after a few minutes of my fizzled flailing Vlad took over. But I stuck around to help like for instance when I dropped some paper towel on a baby flame, smothering it.

Vlad: “What is the rule?”
Me: “Vlad is in charge of the fire.”
Vlad: “Vlad is in charge of the fire.”

Marcel's lungs were also a key ingredient.

El Drogo.

Breakfast.

Smoked herring breakfast.

I was staring off into the distance and Colleen asked what I was thinking about.

“It's gross. So if you want me to tell you, just know: it's gross.” She didn't stop me, so I told her. “I was thinking about being a little kid and having some white bread and then rolling it up in your hand until it's a little ball black with dirt and oil. And then you eat the bread ball.”

This photo is either Colleen showing Marcel a burnt bean, or she made him a bread ball.

Marcel + Colleen

Pedaled through the Chicago Botanic Garden on the way back, where botanic tourism was in full effect.

Vlad: “I know this place is supposed to be about plants, but it really triggers my misanthropy.”

Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Unsolicited Advise.

september 6th, 2013.

10pm on the bike path, dude rolled up next to me and Vlad in stealth mode. “You guys need to get real batteries for your lights,” he said.

He was a classic middle aged cyclist: older man's pregnancy, tricked out in pure Spandex, riding a recumbent.

He passed and just to make sure he got through to us dunderheads added, “tomorrow! Tomorrow you get real batteries!”

If I'd been thinking fast I woulda said, “you need to get a real bike! Tomorrow!”

If I'd been thinking really fast I woulda said, “divorce not going well?”

Dude riding recumbent.

Photoshop: Rough maids.

september 5th, 2013.

Sign on the doorknob at Clara + Jesse's. How my brain read it.

Relax! It's done!

Rough maids

Review: Ten Sexy Ladies.

september 4th, 2013.

“Review” is a strong word. Here and henceforth all my “reviews” will be love letters to things I love or “like” “that way.”

I am in the back patio Cafe 53 snorting coffee through my nose onto my Kindle Fire reading Ten Sexy Ladies.

Ten Sexy Ladies

And then, because I'm in a weird mood (SPOILER ALERT: I'm always in a weird mood) I lick the coffee off of the Kindle screen, which causes the browser to scroll UP and UP and UP. Then I remove my sweaty black lycra cotton blend shirt and wipe my face then armpits and pull out an identical black lycra cotton blend shirt from my Ortlieb bike pannier. I don the clean shirt. My nostrils burn like Kindle Fire. I tremble in the aftershocks of continued maniac lone woman laughter.

I am reborn.

Later I will recount this entire exciting episode to Vlad and Marcel and Colleen, and Marcel will ask what post did it with the coffee, what line? and I will crack open that Kindo again and scroll to this post to read it out loud. But I can't finish a single paragraph. I can't even inhale. So Vlad takes the device away and reads it to us instead. He gives me some water but before I can safely drink I have to ask him to stop reading and then clear my mind like the Ghostbusters when Gozar tells them to choose the form of The Destructor.

Ten Sexy Ladies is a gift to humanity from its author Joshua Allen, the genius of Denver, Colorado, city of the Nightmare Airport Horsey.

Bronco outside Denver Internataional Airport

Naming (Pt 1).

september 3rd, 2013.

How much you wanna bet Anderson Cooper loves being called “Coop.”

It's gotta be a lot, right?

Anderson Cooper

A miserable little pile of secrets.

september 2nd, 2013.

I have a friend who says that marketing is one of the most worthy challenges in the current era of fractured platforms (platforms calving from platforms like icebergs). Another friend says that the word “marketing” is unfairly maligned.

I think marketing is bad! It makes me mad! And sad.

Every once in a while I'll hear someone say: “personal brand.” Like during a TED talk or something. Or on like Merlin Mann's Twitter. It makes me ill. I'm complex and various as fuck, and so is everyone I know. The watermark for my personal brand is my entire life. Those new to the party have thirty years of catching up to do.

“But don't you see, that iconoclastic/shitty attitude IS your personal brand!” oh no, oh no you don't. So tricksy are the ways of marketing.

Theoretically I had a five-year career in nonprofit marketing, but I didn't do any branding or messaging or anything like that except when they forced me to. Mostly I coded the most tight and beautiful HTML that I could and managed some print projects.

Today those skills are the basis for my freelance web design work, including the lucrative corporate gig I had last month coding spam emails (marketing). In the office kitchen there's some handsoap that brands itself as “Wowerful.”

Across time and space, in another office, I hear the laughter of the human who came up with “Wowerful.” Insisting on making pun right to the soap's face, to the company's face, to all of our faces.

“I love my job!” she says.

Wowerful
October 2013