Actually, it IS Rocket Science

You say potato, I say shut your goddam mouth

We love to give elaborate names to amazingly simplistic things, you ever notice that?  It’s like we know that if you said that someone changed the oil on your car, you’d get cricket noises, but if you told them you checked the gauge and found you were two centimeters off and so you preferred an English mechanic to do the job, you’d be met with looks of introspection and admiration.  Guess what, you guys?  Those looks are just people feeling insecure about their own intellect since you worded it in such a way that makes them feel like this is something they should have known about by 1st grade, and they’re simultaneously embarrassed and irritated that you just threw them a whammy when they were just having a pleasant conversation about what happened over the week, or who recommended a decent book here and there.

For example, before I got really into cooking, I encountered a lot of the same thing from people.  If there’s any department of daily life more stuffy in their verbiage than in their actual execution, it’s food.  Below are some examples:


“I just used some scallions,” she said.

scallions?  I thought?

“Oh, you know, scallions.  Like, green onions?”  She said.

oh.  I feel like a dummy.


“It’s the pimentos that make it really pop,”  she said.

what the hell is a pimento, and how is it possible to make anything “pop” as a small rectangular piece of nothing more than what I would describe as “tasteless red square”?

“Pimentos.  They’re just marinated red bell pepper that’s been chopped up.”

oh.  You know, you could have just said “red bell pepper” and I’d have been cool with it.


“I made aubergine parmesan.  It went fast,” she said.

The HELL are you talking about, lady?

“I decided to slice the eggplant lengthwise instead of the normal circles.”

Yeah.  Because aubergine totally sounds like eggplant.


“Do you like them?  They’re caramel with fleur de sel.”

internal thought process: ohhkaaayyyy, sounds like french for flower.  Dude, did you ruin a decent candy with flowers?  That shit is way bitter; I know because I got yelled at in Kindergarten for trying to eat dandilions.

“…I just love salted caramel.”



“I decided to spruce it up by adding a bit of croxetti into it.”

“Croxetti…  the pasta?”

You know what? Just say pasta next time.  You could’ve even said “fancy pasta” and I would have gotten the point even more quickly.


“I think it was the farro that really brought out the consistency of the casserole,” she said.

I know you’re talking about some food object right now, but all I can think of is the move “Fargo” I saw the other day and now your casserole is making me think of murder and being extremely cold.

“Farro is just a grain, like rice.”

Rice would have sufficed.  You dick.


And lastly, just for fun, in a different direction…

“Would you like to try some sweetbreads?”

sweet bread?  Like those awesome hawaiian rolls we had at the barbeque last week? “YES PLEASE.”

… … …

What. The shit. Is this.

“It’s the thymus gland of a pig!”  😀

You are amazingly banal.  Which is surprising, given that you have just proven to be the most accurate description of a garish human shit stain on America’s white dress.


Matter of opinion

Another thrilling installment of a conversation with The Most Brilliant Person Alive:


MBPA:  Which is the best?  High gloss paper or matte resumé stock?

Ashlin:  Trick question:  The answer to the question “Which is the best” will always be “brownies.”  I also would have accepted “Super Mario Kart.”

MBPA:  …

Ashlin:  Because brownies and Super Mario Kart are the best things in the world?

MBPA:  …

Ashlin:  It’s a joke.



Ashlin:  I give up.  I give the fuck up.

How I lost my vir-sin-ity

So here’s something:

I had to take remedial Christianity lessons.

Because I was stuuuuuupiiiiiid.

No.  Not really.  …Well. That’s still up for debate.

When we lived in Pennsylvania I went to a public school, and the separation of church and state has never been so strong in any other state than the Amish farm-raised land of Penn.  So for the first several years of my educational memory I spent my time coloring in pictures of founding fathers rather than the mother Mary (which probably saved a lot on Cerulean Blue on Crayola’s stock, but if we’re being honest, probably depleted a LOT of Tumbleweed and Burnt Umber).  We lived very puritanical lives, filled with red-meat Fridays and guilt-free Sundays.

Then we moved to Louisiana.

To their credit, my parents gave me the opportunity to choose my own school, and I landed on the space between Community Chest and Free Parking, which put me directly in the crossfire of:

“Go to Jail Catholic School”

I entered in somewhere around 3rd grade, and if you’ve never enjoyed the pleasure of the shell shock that comes from moving across the Mason-Dixon while also getting a crash course in Christianity, then god bless you (you had to have known that was coming at some point).  And if you are opposed to self-deprecating jokes centered around the re-education of an otherwise smarmy 3rd grade asshole, then you might prrrrooooooobabaly want to just pay the majority of your attention to the picture below.

Here’s a picture of a child dragging a dog on a wheelbarrow.  There is no correlation, although I’m sure I could make one because that’s one of the things you learn in grad school; to distract from the uncomfortable and bullshit your way through the rest of it:

Upon entering a southern school, I encountered many new things that I had not previously anticipated.  Things like the fact that crayons were never, under any circumstance, to be known as crayons again, but rather “colors.”  As in:

“Do you have a red color?”

(What the shit??)  “Like, am I wearing red?”

Noooo, do you have a red color???”


And I was no longer allowed to refer to my cohort as “guys” because:

“Hey, you guys!  Look at this!”

“Um… We’re GIRLS.”


Alright, you jerkoffs.  Let’s play ball.


When I came out of my bitchslap of an indoctrination to life outside of my comfort level, I got thrown an entirely new curveball.  Because I hadn’t met the requirements of the previous level of education asked by my sainted educational palace, I then had to go to the grade below my level so that I could properly handle the task that was…

The Holy Act of Reconciliation

Eeeesh.  Even writing that now sends me into drug-withdrawal sweats.  Who’s great idea was it for us to just tell each other’s secrets to one another and expect a full repentance to come from four hail mary’s and maaayyyybe an our father here and there.

By the way, if you’re plotting out your hate mail, I would just like you to know that I welcome it and I’ll be glad to post it on here at any point.  And any holier-than-thou-shit is just going to get above the fold.  Might even get me more visitors, so I thank you in advance.

Judge not lest what? What was that?

Even in the 3rd grade, I was somewhat aware that I was being sent into a remedial setting because children are acutely aware when they are being thrown back a grade.  In fact, that’s the same thing as shitting on someone’s new grave.  Not pissing, mind you, flat out wipe-your-ass-on-the-three-day-old grass shitting.  It tells them that they are not performing well enough to move forward.  I’d say it’s humbling, but in my case, it was a slap in the face.  I was a goddam A student, and you can kindly fuckoff if you’re going to send me back.

But I abided, because I have been and will always be non-confrontational, although I hated the fact that I seemed to be so behind the times that I couldn’t even keep up with my own grade, since they were sooooo advanced to have already performed the Catholic rite of passage.  While still calling crayons colors.

You know what’s funny is that I actually love those people now.  We grew up together and most of them have turned into some of my greatest friends and confidants.  … Most of them.

When I got into the program, I was informed that by the end of the semester I’d be partaking in

The Holy Act of Reconciliation

And that I would need to come up with some errors, misgivings, impure thoughts, and whatnot that I had had prior so that I might be cleansed in the name of the lord.

When you’re a straight A student who has no intent on pissing anyone off, or impinging upon His holy graces, by the 3rd grade, you really don’t have that much to go off of.  You could talk about the fact that you discovered yourself accidentally or ate the extra doughnut hole, but really, who’s going to admit that in front of a priest who watches you sing in the choir every week?  Brings a new meaning to “rounding your ‘O’s” if you catch my drift.

But without conjuring up some repugnant or lascivious act that I hadn’t performed, I’d be doomed for all eternity.  Because I had to admit my sins.  My terrible, awful, 7-year-old sins.  Or else I wouldn’t get any candy  into heaven.  And I had to do it face to face with the priest.  No doors or obscured windows.  Mano-e-mano.  That’s fun, yeah??

So I sat there.  Thinking.  Trying to draw up any repressed or submersed memories of when I was a horrible person.  Surely I was.  I remembered asking my parents if I could go outside when they were on the phone and had already asked me not to interrupt.  I remembered eating my gummy worms before my “real food” at lunch a couple of times.  But those didn’t seem like the types of sins my teachers were talking about.

They wanted dirt.

They wanted me to talk about the time I performed spousal abuse, or when I knocked over that 7-11.  Every example they gave was another horrific look into sad adult life, and it upset me.  But, being the striving-for-success child that I was at the time, I took it as a message.  A message that I needed to up the ante on my confession.  Which is why…

I lied on my reconciliation.

Wow.  Impressive, right?  Performing my first real sinful act while simultaneously being absolved of the previous miniscule ones?

It went something like this:  I walked in to the room where there were two chairs sitting directly under an overhead light, and they faced each other.  One was already occupied by Father Bill, the priest who we saw for class mass every. single. Wednesday.  And even though he was trying to feign a welcoming smile, his patience had worn thin (as I would imagine having to sit through 60 previous kids’ confessions might make anyone weary), and his smile was bordering on plastered on/muscle twitches.  The set up was not unlike a warm-lensed interrogation room one might see on a criminal investigation show your mom always loves to watch, and I was the suspect perp.  Oh holy shit.  I’ve seen how those things end.  It’s not looking good for me right now.

I sat down and tried to pull my early 90’s ugly-ass-flowery-with-unecessary-lace-in-weird-places dress from under me as I did, like my mom had taught me.  Father Bill offered a somewhat genuine smile and addressed me by name, which only made me that much more anxiety ridden; this guy knew who I was.  Before I thought I had just blended into the background and could therefore never be picked out of a line up.  Negating the fact that I had already done a number of solos in the choir at his own concerts masses.  I turned to him and began:

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  This is my first confession…”

And what spewed after that was nothing short of complete drivel.  I think I talked about things that are the utmost of worst behavior a 7-year-old can come up with; things that will put you in Dante’s worst circle.  I talked about cursing, I mentioned stealing a candy bar off of a girl’s desk (which was an actual act I watched another student do), I even went as far as offering a story about how I pushed a girl down (even though it was during a game of Red Rover, and she didn’t even fall down.  I left those out for story’s sake).  I felt like I was no longer in confession, but that I was one of those people my mom talked about who called in to police stations after Kennedy had been shot and offered a false confession.  Those actions weren’t me.  They simply weren’t. … Yet.

Bill gave me a weird look that was sort of a symphonic WTF-Are-you-shitting-me-kid-you-seemed-like-such-a-nice-girl-and-holy-crap-now-we’ve-got-an-up-and-coming-criminal-and-I-am-NOT-putting-my-name-on-her-8th-grade-graduation-diploma-I-can-tell-you-that-RIGHT-now and did one of those super small head-shakey things that make you think only one thing:  uh. oh.

This, in retrospect, was nothing of what I assumed it was. It was probably more like, why-is-this-little-girl-telling-me-things-she-CLEARLY-has-not-done face.

Then he turned and grabbed something from his side desk and brought it back out- it looked like a combination between a simple ring and a torture device:

This was the best I could find under my time budget, but it’s still essentially the same.  This is a rosary ring, and what I gathered was that I was to wear it and say a Hail Mary for each one of those dots on that link of medieval torture that pressed into my knuckles and soft tissue of my surrounding fingers until I knew the pain that Christ felt when he died for our sins.  Because being slightly uncomfortable from a ring is exactly the same as dying from asphyxiation and blood loss while suspended by iron rods through your extremeties.  I get it.  I do.

I left the church that night mentally and emotionally exhausted.  My parents (unbeknownst of my vile behavior) saw my endurance and strength through those hard times and thought the best way to handle it was to bring me to Baskin Robbins.  And somehow, that smell of antifreeze or whatever it is that is synonymous with all ice cream/frozen yogurt places and several scoops of mint chocolate chip and milk chocolate ice cream made me feel more absolved than anything else in the world.  I had at once expelled my sins and performed my first actual one.  And I was being rewarded with ice cream.

And you guys wonder why I’m like this.

Up and down. And up again.

Sometimes you encounter shitty situations.

Sometimes the hero doesn’t make it to the nuclear reactor in time.

Sometimes it doesn’t go into remission.

Sometimes the movie is better than the (99,000 page) book you read.

Sometimes the peaches are mealy.

Sometimes you realize your problems are actually ridiculously minute in comparison to others, and you feel shitty about having griped about a goddam peach being fucking mealy.

Sometimes you spend way-hay-hay too much time worrying about things you cannot control.

Sometimes you wake up at 3 am and your body refuses to go back to sleep, no matter how much you will it to, because you’re encountering new situations which bring your childish groans into a glaring new focus and you realize there are bigger, much larger demons in the world that exist.  They definitely, definitely exist.

And sometimes, when you’re not ready for it at all, you find something that offers the most brilliant respite to it all at the perfect time… Even if it turns out to be a dinky-ass commercial for some diddly-doo TV set.  Because sometimes brilliant people are willing to compromise and turn their brilliant ideas into a commercial just so that they can share their ideas with more people.  Or, you know, for the money.  Whichever comes first.  I’m in no position to judge; these guys helped in keeping my sanity in line this week.

Thankfully we have the capability of bouncing, too.  I love each and every one of you.  You know, in a totally non-creepy way.

Things I’ve learned (Little Kid ed.)

Being a little kid means you can essentially get away with practically anything under the guise of the fact that “you’re still learning.”  But don’t abuse that shit, for real.  Makes the rest of the kids look bad.

If your parents tell you not to follow them into the branches of briar thistles while they try to find the family cat, for godsake, LISTEN TO THEM.

Don’t eat the oatmeal your mom poured on your body when you got the chicken pox.

Little kids hate it when you call them “little kid.” (this was learned firsthand around 4 years old.)

They also hate it when you call them “Lady Dorkus.”

They especially loathe when you call them “Her Majesty, the Queen of Dork.”

Kids don’t forget when an adult has been an utter douchebag to them.  Even into their twenties.  Dick.

Don’t be angry with your mom because she never got you that trampoline that you asked for REPEATEDLY throughout your adolescence. Because you found a lot of other, more dangerous things to get into.  Just to show her.

The kids that are dicks in Kindergarten are likely to remain dicks for a while.  But they do grow out of it.  …Sometimes.

Get ready for anything that happens after 8pm to be the utmost frightening situation you have ever been subjected to.

Never sneeze with food in your mouth.

There is always a Dracula on the next aisle over in the grocery store contingent upon where you are located at any point in time.  There just is.  And it’s a Dracula.  Not a vampire.  No.  An honest-to-christ Dracula.  And that’s why you can’t just go grab the Cheerios nextdoor, MOM.

Your birthday is THE. SHIT.  You are THE. SHIT.  No excuses.

What’s that?  Jenny’s birthday?  Whatever.  As long as I get a twinkie out of it.  Got some news for you, Jenny.  Ever’body’s got a birthday.  Don’t think your shit don’t stink.

If approached with a grassy hill, do not think twice of rolling down said motherfucker.

Kraft mac n cheese is the shit, has always been the shit, and will forever remain the shit.

Splinters are god’s ultimate fungu to you and yours.

You may really want to go down that aluminum slide. in the middle of the day. in the summer. when the heat index reaches triple digits.  But don’t!  It’s a trap!!

You cannot poop standing up yet.  You simply don’t have the motor faculties to do so.  You also don’t understand general physics between standing up and squatting. PLEASE get an assistant, preferably one that you can trust with holding you up as well as wiping your bottom efficiently.

Strawberries are the best natural creation on the entire goddam planet.

Lima beans, however, suck.

Farts.  Are.  Funny.

If your teacher tells you to drink both your orange juice and your milk before the end of lunch, (and I cannot impress upon this enough) Just.  Fucking.  Do it.  Otherwise you are about to encounter the crazy-terrible hybrid of an acid and a base, in one cup.  And the results are revolting.

There are very few times in life when wiping a booger on someone else will be overlooked, even in some cases chuckled at.

Go. Crazy.


I really wanted to post something yesterday that was based around the anniversary of a truly sad event.  But every time I began to do so, I felt utterly dumb and in some weird way as if I didn’t deserve to contribute anything.  I was fortunate enough not to lose anyone that day or even have anyone in my life that I had to remotely question their location.  Not to mention the fact that there are countless other, much better writers that were handling the written memorials, much better than myself.  And then I even began to think that given the event that day, we should consider the fact that although we encountered our first real tragic event of our generation, there are other situations drizzled around the rest of the globe which have had larger numbers of fatalities and holdover trauma, and in a way we are all so incredibly lucky to live in a place where events like the those that occurred that day are able to remain so unbelievable to us.

And then I saw something that took my frustration and inability to come up with words and placed it lovingly in the hands of someone who could do it so much better than myself.  Or a group, I should say.

Which is why if you haven’t heard of StoryCorps yet, the very least that I could do would be to introduce it to you now.  Taken from real interviews with very real people and animated, what better way to allow yourself to mourn respectively?  Everything’s better animated, right?  (Just say “right” for me right now.  It took a lot for me to talk about this.)

Dude.  StoryCorps.  You my buddy.  I buy you a Choco Taco any time.  Any. Time.

Pid-ass phone

I think I mentioned before that my phone is going through its final stages of a terminal disease known as planned obsolescence.  It’s lived a good life, though.  Six years!  Including multiple drops from daring heights without a net and several circumstances involving full saturation.  I’ve had pet snails who lived shorter, less effected and impactful lives than this phone.

Which is why it’s not hard to see that we bonded.  And why I have been so opposed to getting it changed out.

In addition to the crappiness that is witnessing a best friend waste away before you, my phone has been equally confounded by the fact that apparently I have lost any and all cell reception in my area.  That’s just pouring salt on the snail wound.

According to my provider, this is due to an apparent obstruction in my area.  How descriptive.  An “obstruction.”  That’s so helpful.

Can’t wait to see how they describe my physical assault on them when they don’t fix the problem.

So for the past several weeks, my phone conversations have gone from coherent to absolute batshit in a matter of minutes, due to the comedic timing my reception seems to have at any given moment.  Funny enough, in fact, that I thought I’d share with you a result of said receptive temperament, as described below:

What was actually said:

Friend:  I got one of those ab rollers.

Ashlin:  You did? No shit?  How is it?

Friend:  Huh?  Dude.  Really hard.

Ashlin:  You think it will work?

Friend:  What??  Oh. I don’t know.  My knees are killing me right now.

Ashlin:  Ohhhh.  I didn’t even think of that.

Friend:  Ashlin, I can barely hear you.

Ashlin:  Shit, sorry.  Stupid ass phone.

Friend:  But yeah.  But I used some Aspercreme on them and that seemed to help afterward.

Ashlin:  … Whut?


What it came out as (I have confirmed this with the other speaker via chat log later)

Friend:  I got… ab roller…

Ashlin:  You… Shit?

Friend:  Huh?  Dude… ‘ard.

Ashlin:  You thin… … will work?

Friend:  I don’t kn… My knees are… ‘illing me…

Ashlin:  Ohh… think of…

Friend:  Ashli- … can barely… ‘ear you.

Ashlin:  Shit.  Sorry… Pid-ass phone.

Friend:  … Yeah… I used…. Ass… creme… on them… help afterward.

Ashlin:  … … Whut?


When I first moved here I fell immediately in love with my new neighborhood.  I live at the pinnacle of a hill that dips down on either side of my apartment which allows for an amazing view no matter which way you turn.  And my morning routine included walking down said mile-long dip from where I lived to the bottom, where I would grab a cup of coffee and make my way back up, which allowed (apart from a wonderful glut exercise) a great opportunity to look around and see my new surroundings without having to keep an eye on the wheel and watch out for aggressive drivers (which are many.  I am still confounded by the fact that there is so much road rage around here.  People will literally do that honk that makes you think they accidently passed out on the steering wheel before you realize they’re just being a total dick with the person in front of them the second a light turns green, even if that person is stuck behind someone else).

These walks were pretty enjoyable, for the most part, as they offered a little break from the monotony of the time I spent indoors and with other people, trying to make nice and act like I hadn’t just moved here by myself from Chicago, where I would ultimately get the look of “Ohhhh!  I no longer have anything to relate to you with.”  I could be alone with my thoughts (which were few, I’m glad to admit) and I got to take in the scenery around my new neighborhood.

One morning I set out like I normally did and noticed the area was particularly devoid of traffic.  Actually, it was devoid of anything; school children, speed walkers, UPS trucks, freaky dogs without any apparent owners.  Hey, you guys, have you ever encountered something like that when you feel like you’ve entered some twilight region of existence or maybe you missed the memo that everyone should stay indoors that morning? Something which made you feel like maybe you should have invested in a little more religious insurance because your previous Catholic upbringing suddenly snuck up behind you and shouted “RAPTURE!” ?  Yeah?  Anybody?

And then you remember it’s Labor Day and you immediately replace any and all worries with thoughts of what kind of sales there are going on over at Anthropologie?

Dude.  Totally.

So I immediately thought: Sweet!  No traffic= No having to wait to cross the streets, which ultimately tacked on another 15-20 minutes of my time, at least, since there are 5… five… FIVE traffic lights on that one-mile drag down to the epicenter of coffee heaven.  And none of them are synced up.  Which equates to somewhere around the most sarcastic “awesome” you can get.

About half-way down, I passed two specific buildings:  A) The public library and ♣) The local fire response station.  I came across another four-way stop light, which was nearly deserted.  Which is where my logic previously mentioned in the aforementioned paragraph came into play.  IN MY DEFENSE, I looked both ways, saw absolutely NO ONE approaching, apart from one vehicle stuck in a red light whose cross-walk countdown sign indicated would be there for another 20 seconds, at least, and thought I’d take advantage of the lack of cars on the streets for once and clear a cross-way without losing momentum.

As soon as I made it to the other side, I was bombarded with not only the most annoying flashing lights, but the idiot had the audacity to turn on the siren… AT 6 A.M.  Right outside a number of apartments.

Do you know how hard it is to turn off the anger and resentment that comes from realizing someone is knowingly abusing their officially-granted priviledges just to prove a very ridiculous point?

Do you know how hard it is to turn off the anger from a girl predisposed to Irish belligerance?

I’ll give you a hint:  the answer to both of those questions is the same.

But  by the grace of something… graceful, I stuffed that full-on rage down faster than a Nathan’s Coney-dog annual and turned on the best doe-eyed “Wha… wha-happened?” look I could muster.  AT 6 A.M.   Which proooobably looked something like this:

It’s extremely difficult for me to turn off my eyebrows.  If I ever decided to get into professional poker I’d have to sacrifice them, otherwise they’d be my tell every time.  I used to get away with it before I started “enhancing” them, the term a lady who once gave me a makeover referred to it as, due to the fact that I have virtually transparent body hair.  That would have been the only let-on to the fact that I wanted to pull this cop’s badge and stuff him like a Thanksgiving turkey with it.

The guy did one of those things where he eeeeeeaaaaases out of the car and peers over at me like he’s trying to build up anticipation.  Being that I’m obviously busy trying to restrain my eyebrows from letting on to the fact that I would like nothing more than to send this guy down a slip n slide of the type of embarrassment he’s apparently trying to use against me, I stand like a moron waiting for him to make the first move.

“Don’t you know what kind of ticket you can get from jay-walkin’?”

Hold on.  Jay-Walkin’?  Where are you from, Officer?  Obvs not from around here.  Do I detect a little South Mason-Dix?

“No sir.”

“Don’t you know there’s a FAHR-Station around here?”

YESSSSS.  We have detected and confirmed an Officer and a Gentleman.

“Yes, sir.  I understand…  I apologize.”

“Not to mention, There’s a LIE-Brary.  You know you’re gonna have traffic at a LIE-BRARY.”

Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.

“I don’t know where you come from, MA’AM, but around here we pay attention to the road signs. ”


Now, I’d just like to stop and make mention of the particular article of clothing I was donning that morning.  You know what?  I’d rather show you:

Yes, I realize it’s backwards, but you get the idea.  If that’s not a dead-ringer for the Chicago Cubs, then you can just crawl into a hole and live the rest of your life as a pariah, since you’ve already been doing so this whole time.  I’m THE most unversed sports fan in the nation, and even I know that symbolic bear.  I’m even willing to gratefully point to my boobs to make that point.

I waited for his tongue lashing to be over when he finally sent me on my way, which he did, I am sure, only to make sure that he had enough time to ensure that any and all drivers in our vicinity had the opportunity to gawk and stare at the terrible jay-walker that was placed in the stocks for all to throw tomatoes and various sneers at.

Fujit.  I couldn’t have cared less.  The guy was finally going to let me off for my heinous act.  Until I was walking off and he mentioned,

“And don’t think I won’t recognize you again in the future.  I’ll see that hair, Red.”

Right.  Not like I won’t see you coming either, Officer butt-cut.