Actually, it IS Rocket Science

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Chicago category.

Come with me if you want to live

(ED. NOTE!!  It was just brought to my recollection that this IS, in fact, bad Sitcom Gold!  And holy shit if it’s not a perfect example of MBPA and mine’s friendship, neatly rolled into a one minute clip.  You know, without the chipped tooth. See below original post)

With the news that’s circulating the pop culture drag race right now, I’m reminded of another priceless conversation a few years ago with The Most Brilliant Person Alive.

You need to trust that I am not, nor have I ever fabricated or elaborated any of these conversations.  I say that because what I’m about to explain to you, by most other standards, would be considered the stuff of bad sitcom gold.

We came across a young woman who introduced herself to us and explained she was on temporary exchange from her job in Austria.  We all exchanged niceties, and the girl moved along to do other things.  The Most Brilliant Person Alive and I then went back to our convseration:

MBPA:  Wow, she doesn’t even really have an accent.

Ashlin:  Hehe, what, were you expecting her to sound like AH-nold?

MBPA:  Huh??

Ashlin:  You know… “Eeet’s naht a tumahhh.”

MBPA:  …

Ashlin: “Ahl bee bach.”  You know.  “Hasta la veesta, bebeh.”

MBPA:  …Nnno.  I was thinking more like… “G’Day, MATE!”

Ashlin:  …

MBPA:  You know!  …”Crikey!”…??

Ashlin:  (oooooohhhhhnononono)

UPDATE!:  I have a new found respect for Dumb & Dumber.  Although it is a bit eerie the similarities.  (Thanks, Jason!)


Hands on, pt 2

Whether you have or have not kept up with my previous rejected experiences as a relaxation recipient, you can catch up here.

A few years went by and I had decided that massages, just like clown college or opting to be an egg donor, aren’t for everyone, until my mom and a friend visited me while I was living in Chicago.  We had an absolutely great time wandering around the downtown loop and enjoying all the great restaurants and events that the area brings, when her friend mentioned wanting to get a massage at the spa next door to their hotel.  I was invited to partake and was happy to oblige, since I had filed the previous experience as just a rookie mistake; surely lightning couldn’t strike twice.  As I looked through the spa menu, I recalled that one of my best friends had recently raved about a reflexology massage she had undergone and its long-lasting effects on her health.  I opted for this, while ruling out my inability for people to touch my feet out of sheer ticklishness, plus I knew I wouldn’t be tickled if my feet were handled with the authority of a massage therapist’s hands and not by a featherweight.  Plus I really just didn’t want any other part of my body touched by strange hands after the previous encounter.

The young man came in and introduced himself timidly, and it took maybe about a half minute to tell that he was a recovering stutterer.  I smiled and explained I had never had a reflexology massage before and he replied that he was well received by all of his previous clients.  I was actually happy to enter into this brief relationship as he seemed very modest and wanting to do his job well, all while being acutely self-aware of his minor speech impediment, because he’d present an almost unnoticable tic when he began to do so.  At the time, I approached scenarios like these with the graces of a 60-year-old WASP, where I was perfectly happy to not discuss the obvious and sweep any personal issues under the heaviest rug one can find and pretend there’s no issue no matter how bad it gets (if the Hindenburg was going down, I was asking about the New Jersey dining establishments the survivors frequented upon their escape), and certainly not to do or say anything that might spark an uncomfortable feeling that may ignite past inflictions.  I basically smiled and nodded like a grinning idiot and let him go about massaging my feet.

It took about 10 minutes into the hour-long process for me to notice a significant issue at hand, because as he pressed his thumbs into the softest underside of my feet, I felt a slight sharpness on one foot.  Well, I say sharpness, but it was more like jumping full weight on one foot onto broken glass.  It wasn’t long before I had  come to the conclusion that the gentleman had an extremely ragged thumbnail that had not been shaped and was now dragging it along my sole in the same fashion one would use to scale a fish.

You know how they tell you that people put through torture will often give away tightly-knit information just so they can get out of it?  I was fully ready to disclose to this guy of how I wore underwear beneath my bathing suit one time because I thought that was what you’re supposed to do since you do it in the dressing rooms.  I was 4.  The hosts were forgiving. Moving on.

The next 50 minutes turned into a test of behavioral science and endurance as with every twist and turn of what should have been a very therapeutic and stress-releasing turn of the thumbs on his part became a tribulation of how not to cringe or cry out in agony as he pressed harder and deeper throughout, and my initial reaction was to cry out in panic and pain.  At one point my entire right leg gave up on me and pulled up in an almost knee-jerk reaction, to which the guy laughed and pulled my foot back to proceed to jab his jagged thumb-sword into my feet again and say, “Are we a little bit ticklish?”

I don’t know.  Are we a little bit sadistic?

I laid there like William Wallace in his final moments getting my right foot completely eviscerated and finished with my heart beating faster than someone who I would imagine had just gotten their first bone marrow tattoo.  The guy ended his reign of terror and stood up, explaining, “I’m going to leave you here now, and you take all the time you need to come back down and you can exit through here whenever you’re ready.  Take your time.”



I guess I could take my time to come back down from an hour of torture, but judging by what I’ve seen per Texas Chainsaw viewings and the like, a victim usually tears off like an Olympic track athlete when they see their chance.

Which is exactly what I did.


In between writing papers for class and installing a truly offensive-sounding motion sensor in my apartment because I may or may not be losing my everloving mind and could be fast approaching becoming one of those hyper paranoid aficionado’s simply because I found my washer open without opening it myself, I fall back on past conversations with The Most Brilliant Person Alive, and bask in the glow of the ridiculous outcomes of our discussions.

MBPA:  So I went to the store this weekend and d’you know what’s in season right now?!

Ashlin:  No, what?


Ashlin:  Ha.  Yeah, I love it when you can get fresh corn for cheap.

MBPA:  YEAH!  I bought a half dozen of it for a buck!

Ashlin:  That’s pretty nice!  You should make a salsa or a chowder out of them.

MBPA:  Oh no, that won’t be happening…  Do you want to know something?

Ashlin:  …what?…

MBPA:  …I ate 5 ears of them last night.

Ashlin:  …

MBPA:  They were just THAT good!

Ashlin:  You ate…

MBPA: … 😀

Ashlin:  You ate FIVE ears of corn… …  In one sitting?

MBPA:  Yeah, well, I had some steak along with it.

Ashlin:  DUDE.

MBPA:  Well, I had to balance it out.  Protein, you know?

Ashlin:  Uh…

MBPA:  They were just so good!  I couldn’t stop myself.

Ashlin:  Really.

MBPA:  Uh… Yeah.

Ashlin:  Well why didn’t you just go for broke?!   Why’d you leave one off??

MBPA:  Well… I mean… …I have to moderate.

Ashlin:  … (I can’t even… what?)

The once and future McQueen

In lieu of doing backflips in discussion of  The Royal Wedding, I guess I’ll throw a bone in its general direction by addressing an instance that plays into the 6 degrees of separation from it.  Follow me, if you will:  Some wedding went down recently that got more publicity than the inauguration; the bride’s dress got more publicity than the Oscars; the dress’ designer, Sarah Burton, got more publicity than the Fukushima Reactor; Sarah Burton works for the late Alexander McQueen line; The Most Brilliant Person Alive, mentioned before here, once addressed Alexander McQueen’s passing with me; I fully intend on having a marriage one day which garners more publicity than the inauguration, the Oscars, and the Fukushima reactor combined (totally do-able).  AND WE’VE COME FULL CIRCLE.

MBPA:  Did you hear?  Alexander McQueen died!

Ashlin:  Yeah, I heard.  Pretty crummy.

MBPA:  Do you know how it happened?

Ashlin:  He killed himself, didn’t he?


Ashlin:  Yeah.  Makes it even worse, doesn’t it?  I can’t imagine how depressed he must have been to have done that.

MBPA:  That’s sad.

Ashlin:  I know.

MBPA:  I mean …If you kill yourself, it means you don’t like yourself. … …Very much.

Ashlin: … … …(oh holy henry)

Things that make you go fffuuu

I had the opportunity to meet the most brilliant person alive about three years ago (ed. note: and dealt with him for the continuing three years until I finally moved out to California, so think about THAT while reading).

Most Brilliant Person Alive:  You know what I’m worried about?  North Korea.  Why isn’t anyone talking about THEM on the news?

Ashlin:  But they are.  They’re talking the crap out of North Korea on the news.

MBPA:  But not enough.  I think we should all be informed on the nucular threat North Korea has.

Ashlin:  … Wait. … Say that again?

MBPA:  What?  North Korea?

Ashlin:  No. What threat?

MBPA:  Nucular threat?

Ashlin: …

MBPA:  See what I’m talking about?  You don’t even KNOW about it!

Ashlin:  No… No. I’m very aware.  Just do something really fast for me.  Say “nuclear threat” again.

MBPA:  Nucular threat.

Ashlin:  NOPE.  Say it again.

MBPA: … Nuc-u-lar threat.

Ashlin:  You know you’re saying it wrong, yeah?

MBPA:  What?

Ashlin:  Nuclear.  You’re putting an extra “u” in the middle of it.  You’re saying it like a hill person out of “Deliverance.”  You’re saying it like George Dubya.

MBPA:  Nuc-u-lar.

Ashlin:  Say “New”

MBPA:  New.

Ashlin:  Say “Clear”

MBPA:  Clear.

Ashlin: Say “New” “Clear”

MBPA:  Nuc-u-lar.

Just realized I referenced cats twice in this post. That’s kinda lame.

Before I moved to California I lived in Chicago for several years and worked for an A/V company at a site located downtown only steps away from Lake Michigan in the largest installment of a certain hotel chain in America (but you can probably guess it wasn’t at all glamourous).  Because our site was in a hotel, we were required to man our offices every day of the year, even at our slowest seasons.  That means my weekends went a little like this:

Saturday:  Play around, cook a really nice dinner, maybe drink a bit too much wine, pretend like everything’s fine.

Sunday:  Alarm goes off at 4:30am.  Struggle to get out of bed and stumble to get dressed in the dark so as not to wake the boyfriend, stub my goddam toe on that motherfucking goddam bed frame one more friggin time and I swear I’m gonna break  something in this apartment, for real.  Create some semblance of professional attire (though I’m really not kidding anyone- I look and act like Michelle Pfeiffer just before her transition into Catwoman.  Yeah, THAT on top of things).  Walk a mile to the train stop because it’s too early for any of the busses to get off their asses and make a proper bus stop.  Get off my train and walk an ADDITIONAL half mile to my site in a commute that took over an hour to travel less than 4 miles away (not an exaggeration; I clocked it on several occasions).  Open the office and proceed to sit by myself from 7am to 6pm with little-to-no interaction from anyone or anything.  Go home hating the world.  Set alarm for 4am the next day.  Plot my revenge against the bed frame.

Of course it wasn’t always as terrible as I make it out to be.  There were times when I dropped a sock on the ground the night before and it cushioned the blow the next morning to my cracked toe knuckles.

I learned to keep myself occupied during my weekly 11 hour shift doing various activities once my jobligations were performed.  I fell in love with a website that allowed me to watch bootlegged movies (which has since been removed otherwise I TOTALLY would have shared with you guys, it was marvelous), got involved in several online discussions about topics that I never would have given two shits about before, and doodled.  Doodling, more than likely, was the most productive thing I was ever able to report from those crappy Sundays, but I recently discovered a couple that I had been smart enough to save during that very hazy time in my life.

And now I’d like to share them.  Here’s one:


*I would like to express that my cartoons are in no way attempting to reach a level of humor than that of, say, Randall Munroe (sigh) or his counterparts, so don’t think you’re walking into The Oatmeal or Toothpaste for Dinner archives of lost treasures.  Those guys have way too much talent on their hands.  I just have hands.