what sex ed is like when you’re six.

I had just stopped at yet another destination in the Wisconsin Classic Tour* and I still didn’t have any friends except my sister and myself so the world was pretty much alright still. We were casually checking out the sophisticated downtown culture, and we noticed a black sign with a silhouetted girl in a tutu frock and stylish high heels kicking up one of her legs at an arabesque.

Golddiggers. Lakeshore’s Finest Adult Entertainment.

I was six-and-a-half years old.

“Look mommy, it’s a ballet studio!” I screamed. Maybe I could finally make up for that one horrible recital last year when I couldn’t find my place on the stage with the other girls and spent the whole time trying not to cry as I shuffled around helplessly. I could perfect the art of dancing and be like the photos of Russian ballerinas in the book–

“That’s not a ballet studio sweetie,” mommy said, laughing a little.

I pondered that word. Golddiggers. People digging gold. I thought about the stories I’d heard of Alaskan settlers in the eighteen-hundreds looking to try their luck panning tirelessly day after day in pitiful streams looking for little nuggets of gold, far and few though they appeared. Prizing it, hoarding it, lusting after it.

I pondered that word. Adult. I hadn’t really noticed it before. Grown-ups, doing grown-up things. What did grown-ups really do anyway? There were things I felt were in the dark hidden from me, things like the way mommy laughed when she told me nicely that it wasn’t a ballet studio, things like “when you’re older,” things like the scary-looking signs of bars and even the Golddiggers sign after a few more trips past it that scared me a little inside wondering why it exuded suspicion. People at church always told me I was so “grown-up” the way I walked down the hallways with arms folded taking tiny steps raising my hand before speaking in Sunday School. Being grown-up was cute. But being an adult was big. Too big. 

I pondered that word. Entertainment. My exposure to that word came in the form of commercials on Disney VHS tapes before the movies started, promising “entertainment” and the way the man said it pronouncing the t’s hard with his teeth made me think of watching those very movies, playing loud board games, my family sitting on the couch and smiling with their teeth showing while we watched a funny video together. But this time, the very word itself was suspiciously lurking in the corner of the sign, hiding itself almost like it was ashamed of being there. I wondered if I should feel ashamed.

Golddiggers. Adult. Entertainment.

Brain cells clicked together and somehow they knew they should file the information away immediately so as to not trouble my little mind just then.

In the meantime though, I decided it was okay if I didn’t go to ballet studios anymore.


*aka the circuit of Wisconsinite dwellings I have taken up in the past two decades. Compare to: the Wisconsin Pro Tour, which consists of a careful all-hands-inside-the-vehicle ride through the Slums of Miller Walk Lee and/or driving endlessly through amber waves of grain and rundown barns with JESUS SAVES painted on in white lettering and saying “at least it’s not Illinois.”


on “real blogging.”

Blogging platform logos

What is a real blog?

Literally, it’s the shorthand for a web log. Your computer writes logs all the time: crash report logs, cookie logs. Sometimes these involve the web. Ergo, web logs. Ergo, blogs. Your computer writes blogs? Really?

I’m just being silly there. In fact, a real blog is a series of entries plastered on a virtual wall. This is something most people believe, and it is the reason they have so much trouble “keeping up” with writing “the blog.”

It starts with something like this… “Hey guys, I have a new blog! Come check it out!”

5 months later… “hey guys, I wrote a new blog post! Come check it out!”

7 months later… “hey guys, I have a new blog! I got sick of my old one and this one is gonna be updated multiple times a week with what’s up in my boring, pretentious life!”

And so forth.

In fact, if I’m not mistaken, The Oatmeal did a great comic on this that I can’t recall off the top of my head that basically makes fun of everyone who has ever done a “blog” in the past, as in the kind of blog that is really just an excuse for being a digitalized and completely public version of your very, very private journal. Most people don’t keep journals anymore, whether on a Word document they can spew all their l33sp34k into or just in a random spiral wide-ruled notebook–but who cares about a wide-ruled notebook when YOU COULD HAVE SPLASHY LAYOUT COLORS AND WIDGETS AND YOUR OWN DOMAIN (dot hosting service dot com). It makes you look like the hippest nerd ever and apparently looking like something is all that matters.

Thankfully, micro-blogging has come to the rescue in the form of social media, catering visual needs with Pinterest and Tumblr to text-only spews on Twitter to combinations of both written and visual “blog posts” on Facebook. People want to contribute content to the great World Wide of Web, but not all of them can blog “for reals.” So should they ever feel like venting about how stupid their crush is or how awesome the party was, heaven forbid they should feel confined to keeping these thoughts to themselves in a notebook! Why, all you need to do is find a couple of appropriate Ke$ha lyrics and bam, post! Publish! SCREAM so everyone can see how you feel right now!

Of course, if you were a REAL blogger, you would write a far more eloquent and lengthy discourse on the nature of infatuation as it relates to your current crush problems. Granted, nobody would read this, or post a comment unless they were already registered on your same hosting service. But at least it would make you look more intellectual.

Or would it? Is micro-blogging “real blogging”? If you wrote a post of the aforementioned description, assuming that it’s only for your own satisfaction of recording yourself, would you really feel any more satisfied than if you copied a few Ke$ha lyrics and made that your entry for the day? If you blogged nothing but animated GIFs of political debates on Tumblr, are you a blogger? Is that something you can list on your resume–that much-sought-after quality of “blogging” if you’re going for a white-collar creative-type position and all you have is a history of getting “likes” on Facebook every time you post a status? Or should that only be reserved for those elite with the self-owned domains who get at least thousands of hits every day and not because you’re posting slutty smutty stuff that always gets page hits anyway no matter who you are? 

I’m really tempted to make this post a long wall of philosophical musings on blogging-ception, but frankly, nobody likes reading those. Or writing those.

on life in the plushest part of campus.

Devon the penguin in my dorm

Seriously. My suite is extraordinarily plush. You can tell it is because it’s called a “suite.” I would rather call it a dorm, because that’s what’s in my vocabulary from my economic status, but the university calls it a suite and I’m not complaining if they want to be elitist about it.

This is 42 Heritage Halls, room #4242. See all those 42s in there? That’s me taking my poetic liberties to inform you that my quarters are the literal answer to life, the universe, and everything else that matters to a college student. More often than not though, we simply call it one of “the new Heritage Halls.” To distinguish it from the old-school ones that resemble shoe-boxes re-purposed as stash troves of miscellany, they’re built in L-shaped townhouses around a miniature quad green, traditional yet bluntly tall. The L-shapes always make me think of knights’ moves in chess. To distinguish it from the lovingly dedicated names of  “A. Respected Benefactor Hall,” they’re labelled consecutive numbers. They roll off the tongue quicker, and further reinforces their contemporary apartment-style moods. The old Heritage Halls also have apartments that might even be referred to as a suite similarly. Both old and new halls have six people to a suite, two people to a bedroom, a kitchen and living area, and suite-exclusive bathrooms.

That said, new Heritage has two (2) bathrooms to a suite. And has elevators. Which gives it rights to plushness.

And forget about hoping to find better housing outside Heritage and thereby one-up me. No can do. Helaman Halls typifies what most people think of as a dorm–you open the door and there’s just enough space for two extra-long twins. (Funny how mattress sizes can sound like cannibalism out of context.) Wyview Park has always been apartment complexes, so the living space is still ideal for transitioning into out of home comforts, but as it’s cemented to the far north part of campus where it takes about 20 minutes just to walk to the student center much less your classes, it really doesn’t compete with the easy 5 minutes you get with Heritage. The Foreign Language Residence? I can’t argue with you if you want to return home from the stresses of classes and on top of homework have to learn a new language just to communicate with your roommates. Wymount Terrace? It’s married housing. If you wanna live on-campus, that’s where you go after you’ve tied the knot. Just another example of why [insert snide remark about how all your single friends are living in New Heritage without a care].

And anything off-campus–this is still a fuzzy area for me as I currently don’t have to worry about it and haven’t researched it heavily, but this is my understanding of it as it applies to my school: unless you’re lucky enough to snatch one of the apartments right across the street, and preferably on the south side of campus, you’re going to have worry about little things like getting a car and feeding it and taking care of it and obliging to everyone else’s demands for carpools when you say you want to go shopping and immediately everyone else has to go shopping too or they “just want to borrow it” for this “one little thing” they have to go do and while your baby is gone from you you’re constantly worrying that it’s never, ever going to come back to you. Or if you’re like me and adverse to cars, you have to figure out bus schedules and still pay money for that and ride with strangers (I’m not adverse to strangers particularly so, but perhaps you are) and being unable to control your own transportation you might miss a class or get home later than you wanted. Or perhaps  you have a bike but you’re not used to riding it in the thin, mountainous Utah air when you are from the Midwest and quite used to spoiling your bloodstream with oxygen like you would spoil a child and so when you get to Utah immediately your body wants to know “WHERE IS IT? I WANT IT!” and you must admit that you can’t give it what it wants and it throws a tantrum and leaves you exhausted far sooner than you would like while everyone stares at you wondering how you can be so unfit when you don’t even look fat.

TL;DR A little known natural habitat of penguins is a pillow that is as plush as them.