Monthly Archives: January 2006

January 31, 2006

It’s lucky that I killed the Messiah; otherwise I might feel guilty about posting a link to Jesus Christ: The Musical.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

January 26, 2006

From The Essential Guide to Becoming a Flight Attendant, by Kiki Ward:

“Some airline interviews will involve role playing scenarios. . . . Following are some common scenarios you may hear in your airline interview along with an appropriate response.

“Scenario: A passenger is holding very tightly to an urn containing her mothers ashes and will not fit into the overhead, she is quite protective of it and fearful it could get broken. How would you handle the situation?

“Response: With great compassion relate to the passenger that safety regulations prohibit her from holding the urn for takeoff and landing. Explain that you will carefully place the urn in a safe, secure area for flight. Once you are in the air and the Captain has turned off the seatbelt sign and it is safe to move about the cabin, the passenger may then check on the urn if possible, and you will also continue to monitor the safety of the urn throughout the flight.”

See, I knew there was a reason I could never be a flight attendant. It’s that whole “with great compassion” thing.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 16 Comments

January 25, 2006

To be clear: the production of Electra at which my friend N.E. was laughing featured such staging innovations as Orestes’ killing Clytemnestra by shooting her in the vagina with an invisible gun. Apparently the director wanted Clytemnestra to have an orgasm as she died, but the actress playing her refused.

I guess she had never seen When Harry Met Sally.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 9 Comments

January 24, 2006

Last night my friend N.E. and I had the following conversation:

N.E.: I got yelled at by a stage manager once in college for laughing during a student production of a play. She actually cornered me in the lobby during intermission and yelled at me. I was like, I’m sorry I thought your show was funny.
FAUSTUS: Oh, my God. I can’t believe how awful people are. What play was it?
N.E.: Electra.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 7 Comments

January 20, 2006

After teaching a class last night I went to join E.S. at the winter party thrown for the psychiatric residents at his hospital. When I got there, he was roaring drunk, a state in which I have seen him precisely once before. Ordinarily a very laid-back, jolly fellow, he was now so filled with bliss and contentment that I almost punched him in the nose. I did push him slightly with my finger to see if he would fall over; he managed, disappointingly, to remain upright, although it did require some effort on his part. We stayed at the party a little longer and then went back to his apartment.

On the way we started talking about the party we wanted to plan for when we move into our new house. I proposed one idea; he proposed an alternate idea. Then we had the following conversation:

E.S.: So what do you think?
FAUSTUS: I like my idea better.
E.S.: Why?
FAUSTUS: Because your idea is bad and mine is good.
E.S.: You know, it’s funny. I’m very intoxicated, but I can still tell you’re wrong.
FAUSTUS: You can never drink again.
E.S.: Why is everything so blurry?

When we got back to his place he wanted to stay up all night and talk but was, thank God, too drunk to do so. We fell asleep in short order and he woke up this morning in terrible agony, for which I gave him almost no sympathy.

Of course, the one time he has seen me drunk, I slammed my hand down next to my plate and slurred, “I’m smarter than everyone at this table put together!”, so I’m really in no position to throw stones.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 17 Comments

January 19, 2006

When I was in tenth grade I did a project in geometry class about geometric string art. Like my Latin project a few years earlier, the geometry project inspired me to new creative heights. It featured a character named Wally the Math Nerd, who had a crush on another character named Hester Hexagon. He saw Hester across a swimming pool and started walking towards her, but she saw him and started walking away from him, and if you drew lines in between the points at which they found themselves at any given moment, you’d end up with some sort of curve the name of which I’m sure I knew then but have long since forgotten. I presented the project in character as Wally, with my hair slicked back, my pants hiked up above my waist, my eyes squinched together behind my glasses, and my voice as nasal as I could make it. I demonstrated the phenomenon not only with a piece of poster board with string sewn onto it (labeled “W” and “H” at the appropriate points) but also with a computer program I wrote myself, in BASIC. I got an A+ and had no friends.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 13 Comments

January 12, 2006

Today I am 33 years old.

Thanks, everybody, for your birthday wishes.

In honor of the occasion, here is a poem, by someone named Dan Skwire.

Voice Mail Villanelle

We’re grateful that you called today
And sorry that we’re occupied.
We will be with you right away.

Press one if you would like to stay,
Press two if you cannot decide.
We’re grateful that you called today.

Press three to end this brief delay,
Press four if you believe we’ve lied.
We will be with you right away.

Press five to hear some music play,
Press six to speak with someone snide.
We’re grateful that you called today.

Press seven if your hair’s turned gray,
Press eight if you’ve already died.
We will be with you right away.

Press nine to hear recordings say
That service is our greatest pride.
We’re grateful that you called today.
We will be with you right away.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 23 Comments

January 10, 2006

My thesis advisor from college, author of this poem, just sent me his favorite cartoon:


It’s a good thing he’s straight; otherwise I would have to leave E.S. for him.

Also, I turn 33 on Thursday.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 17 Comments

January 8, 2006

So when I woke up from the dream (see my two most recent posts if you don’t know what I’m talking about), I instantly realized that the thing to do to give my life meaning would be to knit a brain.

Out of curiosity, I googled “knitted brain,” not really expecting to find anything.

And what came up was–I am not making this up–the Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art. O world, I thought, I cannot hold thee close enough!

I emailed the curator at once, asking him for the contact information of the creator of the knitted brain so that I could get the pattern from her.

Within hours I got an email from her, saying that, alas, she hadn’t written a pattern, but she was beginning to wish she had, because I was the second person to ask about this in the past week.

The mind boggles.

I was consumed with both an intense desire to meet the person to whom I had been so synchroniously connected and a deep and abiding hatred of my rival. And then I started wondering, how many more of us are there?

But mostly I just wanted somehow to acquire suddenly a complete understanding of writing knitting patterns, because she sent me more photographs, and this is what the knitted brain looks like (click on the images to see a larger view):

Note the zipper in the corpus callosum above.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 31 Comments

January 7, 2006

Okay, I have been eaten up with guilt ever since I made yesterday’s post.

Because I lied.

I did not in fact name all the parts of the knitted brain correctly.

I got many of them right, but some of them I faked, and I got away with it because nobody else at the table knew any better. In my defense, the dream brain was anatomically different from an actual human brain, so there were structures it would have been impossible for me to name correctly, because they don’t exist in real life.

Though I suppose that, since they did exist in the dream brain, they also had correct names in the dream, and I still didn’t know them.

So basically I’m a total failure.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments