Why Do The Idiots on “Grimm” Keep Asking “Whose”?!?

Today is one of those days where I pinch myself, because my life is a goddamned dream, and not just because I only got 2.5 hours’ sleep last night and thus my waking/sleeping distinction is a little fuzzy (mystery solved, by the way–I’m anemic, and it’s going to take a little while of me pounding iron supplements to get all this shit back to semi-normal, or whatever the mammoth-pregnant-lady-who-is-always-uncomfortable version of normal is). I have been wanting to write about the terrible German on the NBC show “Grimm” for years, literal years, since the first time I heard the word Wesen pronounced like wessen and I was like, “Why does Det. Nick Burkhardt keep asking ‘whose,’ ‘whose,’ ‘whose'”? And NOW I GET TO. Complete with a digression about the idiocy of American monolingualism, sure to make me a big hit with the YOUR IN AMERICA NOW SPEAK ENGLISH crowd. Ein Zitat für euch:

You might counter that since Grimm is a fantasy show, it shouldn’t have to have any “real” German on it whatsoever, that, indeed, as someone else has put it, “never once … has NBC claimed that watching Grimm would help you learn proper or conversational German.” That writer then compares the errors made by Grimm—errors pertaining to one of the world’s major languages, a language that actually exists—to nerds complaining about Yoda’s verb conjugations or the proper plural of “Muggle.” Here’s a new German word for you: Faustschlag, which means fist punch, as in what I am doing to my own face right now so as to cope with reading that.

My only regret with this piece is that it was already running a tad long for a BrowBeat post, so I had to cut out a paragraph about Dominic West and Idris Elba doing American accents (it was a tad digressive), and what should have been my second Ali G reference in as many days, something to the tune of: “Funkyzeit mit Brüno is the least-realistic entity ever to grace my television, and yet Sascha Baron Cohen still managed to start each sketch with a very convincing Also jetzt bin ich hier...” (complete with link to what might arguably be called the best Brüno sketch of all time).

Anyway, for some reason I have been really nostalgic for Ali G, so I’ll end today’s semi-coherent self-promotion rambling with: Booyakasha!

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And this wasn’t even supposed to be my only Ali G reference of the week!

Today in Slate, I ponder the eternal questions, like the true intellectual I am.

Science: What’s it all about?

Techmology: Is it good, or is it wack?*

Does you got a com-poo-ter, what can mul-iply 99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999

[wait, I'm not done] 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10……


Ever since a certain unnamed hypothetical Ereignis I can’t mention in public without fear of litigation, I have been addicted to the Daily Northwestern, one of the best student newspapers in the country (also, as an ed journalist, reading student newspapers is kind of my job). This week an op-ed about teaching techmology–sorry, technology–caught my eye, and its author, Lucas Matney, was nice enough to email back and forth with me about it (although he did call me “Jessica” repeatedly, I guess because all names of middle aged Jewesses sound alike?). He has some great ideas, but I also thought he could use some tough love: Many of us don’t use all the teaching tech we can because we’ve thought long and hard about its cost-to-benefit ratio. This is an article where I thought even longer and harder about it. Here’s a taste:

Also, come on. There are innumerableproblemswithhighereducationtoday, but one of them is not that college students don’t use technology enough. I’d even venture to say that they already use it too much. So much, in fact, that their brains are now wired differently—some might even say worse. It is not the professor’s job to acquiesce to a dystopian techno-future that, frankly, is downright frightening to anyone who can wrest their behemoth iPhone 6 from their gnarled talons long enough to think about it.

Check out the whole thing here--now I have to get back to the “important” matter at hand, which is putting together furniture (aka my SINGLE FAVORITE THING TO DO EVER, I’m being totally serious, it is the best, and if I weren’t such a massive, nearly-immobile hippo I would be volunteering to put together all of your furniture too. When I lived in Ohio I basically bought an insta-apartment from IKEA and put together the whole damn thing–including a huge couch–all by myself).

*I have another piece coming out tomorrow whose first draft had an excellent reference to Funkyzeit mit Brüno, but it had to be cut for space. Perhaps I’ll revive it tomorrow, along with my yearly posting of “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.”

What does ‘Assistant Professor’ Mean? Beats the Everloving Shit Out of Me…

Today’s article on Vitae is about a total outlier phenomenon that is still really annoying: the “assistant professor” job listing that isn’t one. I would like this NOT to become a trend. Here’s a taste:

So can I play, too? Can we do the same thing with the higher ranks? Like, can we just advertise two-year, 5/5 contract jobs as “Eminent Scholars” now? Ooh, what about “tenure”? Can we just decide that the word “tenure” actually means, “to put in six years of service to the university, at which point the employee’s body will be donated to the medical school for experiments, dead or alive”?

Last-Minute SEXY Halloween Costumes

You’d think that Halloween falling on a Friday would preclude the “need” that has arisen in recent years for “Halloweek,” in which the actual All Hallow’s Eve is reserved for little kids (apparently being driven into the neighborhoods of rich assholes to beg for social services, because as we all know a Fun Sized Snickers is indeed an important social service), and the weekend before the big day is when all of the ragers occur.

You’d think that most frats and bars would recognize that Friday is, indeed, a weekend night, but you’d be wrong — last night, the 25th, was the big Douche Bag Conflagration in my neighborhood, in which all the douchey bars on Maryland and Euclid got together to make one big Douche-a-palooza costume bash. And given that this week has been unseasonably warm, last night was every sexy costumer’s dream. You didn’t even have to pre-game on Midori and Malibu to get “warm” enough to leave the house in your Sexy Princess Elsa getup. Spectacular.

Now, Halloween — actual Halloween, the kids’ version of Halloween — has long been my favorite holiday; when I was little I would spend the entire month of October concocting elaborate cardboard-box-and-spraypaint-based costumes (my best was definitely Max Headroom in 1988, though it resulted in what was already the fairly common occurrence of me being mistaken for a boy or mocked for looking like one), and for weeks upon weeks after the big night, my brother and I would spend a good hour after dinner turning our living room floor into a candy stock exchange (as a five year old he had yet to develop his superior finance acumen, and I would often weasel him out of seven Fun Size Milky Ways for a sole pack of LifeSavers, which for some reason were his weakness).

I am having a kid largely so that I have an excuse to go back to Disney World, and to celebrate real Halloween again. I already have some costumes planned out for next year, even though my killjoy mom thinks that dressing a baby up in a costume is not fair to the baby (to which I say, that kid keeping me up all night long and making me eat a goddamned STEAK to boost my iron levels is not fair to me; last night I ate a fucking steak for dinner, and while most of you might be like, “Wow, you’re lucky,” as someone who eats 98% vegan I did not find it particularly enjoyable, and would very much not like to do it again).

I realize, though, that for a lot of you repressed young adults out there, All Hallow’s Eve is your only chance to express the sexuality that is otherwise forbidden in whatever dumbass household you grew up in, to release the inhibitions whose roots are probably psychologically and socioculturally fascinating, but which you have no desire to explore in any way that doesn’t involve overconsumption of Goldschläger and a poor approximation of Traumnovelle (aka Eyes Wide Shut).

And you know, great. Who am I to crap all over your expression of sexuality, even if it is only for one night weekend entire goddamned week week a year?

I am all for the expression of sexuality in Halloween costumes — I just wish it didn’t have to be so sexist. So, as a public service announcement, here are some excellent ideas I have for last-minute sexy Halloween costumes, sure to make you the hit of your douchey block party, kegger, mild-mannered house gathering, or even trick-or-treat night with your kids (because you shouldn’t just take the rich people’s candy, you should scandalize them too).

1. Sexy Darth Vader. This works equally well for a man or a woman, though opinion is divided in my house (along predictable lines) as to which one is better. Vader mask, black bikini/speedo, light saber. The end!

2. Sexy Grandma. And no, not just a grandma — your actual grandma. In my case, this would involve carrying around a bottle of gin in one hand and a needlepoint in another, and then swearing at and criticizing everyone. My grandmother was kind of mean.

3. Sexy Food Processor. Just wear your underwear and a sash with the word Cuisinart (or a higher-end brand, if you’re a snob).

4. Sexy Bill DeBlasio.

There, you’re welcome! Now don’t say I never did anything for you, and go forth unto your week of stupid parties. I’ll be here to shoo the poor kids off my lawn.

Oh Don’t Mind Me, Just Chilling at 3am Eating a Sandwich

For the past week or two (my husband insists “it’s only been five days!” I insist it’s been for as long as I can remember), I have not slept much. A lot of people have joked at me that after the baby comes I’ll never sleep again — but these people are invariably individuals who themselves have never been pregnant, because pregnant people stop sleeping from about the fourth month on.

I guess it will be good to have had so much practice by the time the baby does emerge and start fucking things up from the outside. Anyway, usually it’s just the standard pregnancy bullshit: bad dreams, being unable to get comfortable due to both the logistics of having a big fat belly and being forced to sleep on one’s side, and thus endure excruciating hip pain all the live long day and night — the usual.

But for the past week (or two) I’ve been really ramping it up a notch, waking up at 1, 3 and then 5 (or just 3 and then staying awake) with full-blown panic attacks, like deep, body-shaking terror that can not and will not go away no matter what I do. This is not my first panic-attack rodeo — far from it; I’ve experienced anxiety for my whole adult life — so I have plenty of tricks in the arsenal, from progressive muscular relaxation to walking around to reading an unrelated book to just crying it out. None of this shit worked. Yesterday I hit the “something’s got to give” moment where I just didn’t feel like I could function anymore, knowing that the one thing I needed most was the one thing that would elude me at night, to be replaced with the world’s greatest feeling of believing very sincerely that you are about to die for two to four hours.

This felt physiological, as panic attacks sometimes are (well, they’re always physiological, but sometimes they have psychological triggers; these didn’t). There was nothing to trigger them. Yes, I have mild anxieties about healthy pregnancy, labor, delivery and parenthood, but I work very hard to talk them through and get to a good place about them on as many levels as possible, and I’ve made some excellent changes, such as not reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth before bed (turns out all the “empowering” natural birth stories cause nightmares), and not reading the Natural Pregnancy Handbook at all anymore, which basically amounts to “If you have any complications it’s because you fucked up as a person and ate too much sugar and the shrine to your baby you created wasn’t sincere enough, and the inner women’s wisdom of your body could tell.” All right, so, I’ve minimized the influence of both the woo-woo pregnancy books and the medical pregnancy books before bed, and although I do have some fears about this next stage of life, these anxiety attacks were different, because no matter what I did or said to myself I could not make them stop. (Also complicating matters is the fact that my debilitating hip joint pain — thanks ligaments! Kinda needed you for the next three months but go ahead and go AWOL now, it’s no problem, really! — prevents me from working out as much as I should be.)

Yesterday out of desperation I finally Googled “sleep aids safe for pregnancy,” and although doctors aren’t thrilled by it, pregnant women can take Benadryl off label for the drowsiness. It felt sort of better to know I had a worst-case scenario survival plan, but I also don’t want to hop this poor babby up on Benadryl if I don’t have to (that might change if we ever take an international flight before she turns five, JUST KIDDING, sort of), so with plenty of hours in the day I consulted both my Mayo Clinic book and my woo-woo spiritual midwifery texts, and both of them had the same advice: If you have sleep disturbances, eat.

Whu? It turns out that some sleep disturbances in pregnancy are the result of low blood sugar, something that my dad can tell you all about (all tween and teen angst moments, and quite a few adult angst moments, have been punctuated by him saying: “EAT SOMETHING and then we’ll talk about it”), and I can usually spot the signs in myself (not always soon enough to stop me from going into a Sugar Meltdown, which sounds like an excellent dessert but is really what my brother calls how I act if I haven’t eaten recently enough), so that is why it was odd to me that when I would wake up in the middle of the night, I wasn’t like “EVERYONE HATES ME I HATE EVERYTHING,” which is the usual sign that I need to eat.

In my pre-pregnancy waking life I have never had the onset of a blood sugar attack be me sitting bolt upright and going I AM GONNA DIE. So I was pretty skeptical, but at this point I would have tried anything. So last night/this morning, when I did my first bolt-upright wake at 0:42, I tottered to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of cashews. And I conked right the fuck back out. Then at 3:30 when it happened again (like, as they say, clockwork), this time with a worse pounding heart, I shuffled back in there and ate a honeycrisp apple. This time I didn’t conk right back out, but I also didn’t sit there in bed afraid in crippling terror; I was just kind of bored, and eventually, once again, I did drift back off. I woke up this morning with more or less whatever a third-trimester pregnant behemoth of an individual can call a “good night’s rest” and I cannot emphasize how amazing this feels.

Plus, even better, I got nothing on the agenda today save for pitching some new articles (and thus thinking of them, which I can do whilst sitting on ass watching Nashville, which is the current plan), so my big day’s agenda involves doing my various hip exercises, maxing, relaxing and chilling. [UPDATE: Never mind, I just got a radio request for this article. So, Seattleites, I'm going to be on KIRO this morning to talk about the 13th grade, hooray.]

So, any pregnant people out there with debilitating middle-of-the-night panic attacks: It might just be your body angrily demanding to eat, but for some reason expressing that in sheer, unadulterated terror. Go figure.