Actually, it IS Rocket Science

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the I’m a mess category.

Screaming, crying, ‘rithmetic

Would you like to talk about recurring nightmares?


Mind if I do?

Before beginning college, I never had them.  At all.  Which is surprising, because I was an inherently anxious kid.  I mean, really anxious kid.  My mom used to tell me my breath smelled like bad milk in the mornings because I had so much stomach acid built up (that’s really gross, I know, sorry).  I mean, I’d have bad dreams and all, but none that made more than a one night performance, and I didn’t have them that often.  I know this because as a little kid I was obsessed with dreams and I had researched how to retain them after waking up.  Which ended up backfiring because I just wound up remembering the bad dreams all day.

For the past several days I’ve been on a lot of antihistamines, and they’ve been doing a number on me, both physically and mentally.  I take one and within 30 minutes I’m both jittery as well as extremely exhausted, and for the first two nights I’d start to drift off to sleep when something, god-if-I-know-what, would jolt me awake, as if you just heard someone trying to break into your house, and I’d spend the next hour trying to coax myself back to sleep.

Now, when I finally do manage to sleep for several hours, I ultimately have these uberweird dreams.  I mean, yeah, I know, dreams are already weird, but I mean hyper realistic dreams that I’m awake and I’m getting ready for company, and I have to make sure they don’t try to beat me up like they did last time because I really want to get along with them.  But I’m also getting this one recurring nightmare that has plagued me since I was in college, which I usually only get when I’m super stressed out.  Now it’s like this dream is on permanent repeat and man, I wake up literally sweating and my heart beating out of my chest.  But here’s the thing. My nightmares aren’t like something’s chasing you or that you’re falling to your death or your teeth are falling out or drowning or something that would indeed be very tragic to actually have happen.  No.

My recurring nightmare is that I am enrolled in a class, and it’s ALWAYS a math class (because I am the world’s worst mathematician), and I have completely forgotten that I was enrolled and now it’s too late to drop it, and I have to shove an entire semester’s worth of work into one week and pray that I get out of there with a D, and the teacher is the scariest woman I’ve ever encountered as a teacher; this used to be Mrs. Hearn, my senior high school physics teacher, but after a horrible encounter with a third level French instructor in college, she has since made Mrs. Hearn look like a kitten falling asleep on a fluffy cloud of baby ducks while a handsome stranger makes you brownies in the background.  And this woman would like nothing more than to watch me flounder and crumble at her feet while watching my GPA plummet.  So I then spend a great deal of the dream trying to remember algorithms- and I literally do.  In my head, I spin out of control attempting to legitimately remember the correct method of how to do partial sums functions or F=Subs equations from my Psyc Stats class.  I ultimately cannot recollect them and the dream always ends with me slumping into the final with defeat and my teacher looking at me with judgment and complete disdain for my lack of intelligence and effort.

That’s right.  I have nerdTASTIC nightmares.  I mentioned this dream to my dad recently (whom I love and who is a brilliant man and whose teaching rhetoric and expectations of his students has probably offered at least some cannon fodder to these dreams) and was received with a simple, “…One of those things, I guess.  Well, do you want to say ‘hey’ to Mom?”

Even my academically inclined dad noticed that my nightmare was… ehh… KINDA LAME.


Whine and dine

Sorry to make this so short, and sorry to make this post about something kind of negative and at the same time gross, but I’m currently recovering from a nasty allergy attack after spending an absolutely wonderful weekend with some friends that included a banjo and 4 pounds of freshly boiled crawfish, and staring at a computer screen for too long is proving to be a bit tricky.

You know that scene in that one movie where the girl gets so frustrated with the amount of pain behind her eyes that she performs self-surgery eye-ectomy?  No?  No one’s written that one yet?

Someone should really get on that.  Cause the drama that’s going on in my sinus cavities could win me an Oscar right now.

I should be back soon; just gotta do some ash-maintenance first.  Toodles!


I’ll leave you with this, though, on a day of memorial for fallen soldiers everywhere- a girl who apparently has never doubted where her allegiance lies:


Sunday Comics (pt 6)

I have a weird ear.

No, I don’t mean like an ear that’s been disfigured by so many boxing gloves that it bears the title “cauliflower ear” and if that upset your brain then you’re a lightweight.  My dad boxed so much in his youth he broke his nose and lost the majority of his sense of smell and taste.  For life. THAT’S something to consider.

What I mean is that I hear things differently, and not always in a good way.  One time a guy told me innocently enough, “I like your book sack” and I thought he said, “I like your big sags,” which yes, makes no sense, but I assumed referred to my boobs, which were in the process of swiftly gaining realty over my upper body and which I was very sensitive to at the time.  I gave him the international “letsjustbefriends” face and realized about two minutes later what he actually said.  Then I proceeded to dig the biggest hole in the ground and bury my head in it.  That’s right.  I celebrate my embarrassment ostrich style.

So I went to a party in college with a few friends.  And a college party inevitably means that you will inevitably be offered an inevitable shot of some inevitable alcohol that will inevtiably mean that you will inevitably not be driving home that evening.

“Do you want to do a shot?”

“Eh. I don’t really do shots.  What is it?”


“…Wait, what?”

“Hornitos.  Well, tequila, but Hornitos tequila.”

And I waited for him to correct himself, because what I heard was:

Yes. I heard and fully believed he had said:



You guys are going to think I’m bat-shit after reading this

Seriously, you really will.  Because I’m even considering the possibility.

This morning I woke up and before I went down to the fitness center, I began a load of wash in my laundry room.  All right, you need to follow me now:  my washer and dryer are located in my apartment itself in a small room attached to my kitchen.  There are no windows and the only entrance and exit is the door that you use to access it through my kitchen.  What I’m saying is: it’s my own laundry room and no one else has access to it but me.  It’s very important you realize that before I continue.

Got it?  Okay.  We can move on now.

I loaded up the washer, flipped the “on” switch, and left the laundry room like a normal person who has fulfilled their duties of beginning a wash cycle would do.  I then put my shoes on, exited my apartment, locked my door, and went down to the fitness center for an hour, keys in my pocket.

UPON MY RETURN from the fitness center, I unlocked my apartment, took my shoes off, filled my water bottle, and re-entered the laundry room to move my clothes into the dryer.

The clothes were clean and had obviously completed their washing journey.  They were moist and knotted together without any detergent residue, indicating they had gone on spin cycle accordingly.

But the washer was open.

The washer.

It was open.

Have you checked the children?

Like many washing machines, mine will not complete a cycle past filling up the cylinder with water if the top is left open.  It will sit there like an anxious dog waiting for you to pleaseohpleaseohplease say that magic “WALK” word, only in this case “WALK” is substituted with “CLOSE TOP!”  Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease close my top so I can wash these clothes.

So my brain goes into super science mode.  There is no chance I’m going to blame it on something supernatural if I can at all help it.  Which means someone either opened it or I neglected to close it and some weird glitch in the machine allowed it to run its course without the top closed.

So the first thing I do is begin a new cycle, purposefully leaving the top open to see if that were the case for test/re-test purposes.

The machine filled with water, clicked into its next cycle, and stopped dead.  “Close top??  CLOSE TOP??  Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!!”


Then I continued, irritated now because I just wasted water by running a brand new cycle, inspecting the contents itself.  I thought maybe the previous time I ran it, the machine was on a timer where if it doesn’t move on to the next step within a certain amount of time it just drained of its water.  So I waited.  I waited a full hour to see if perhaps my clothes wouldn’t sit in a full tank of water.  And guess what?

The clothes sat there steeping for a full. hour. in a full tank of soapy water. Like a bunch of soapy, soggy-ass dead fish floating around in there.


What do we know now?  I couldn’t have left the washer open accidently before I left because they were clearly done with their cycle once I got home.

Someone opened my washing machine.  Someone other than myself.

Guys, I live alone.  And up until recently, I lived alone happily. The only other people who have a copy of my keys are the apartment’s main office.


I tackled the phone and dialed my complex’s office admin.  Spoke with two ladies and asked each if they had been doing any inspections recently to my apartment that I wasn’t aware of.  Usually they leave a notice one week in advance if they need to do anything in your apartment, but who knows, could have been a random thing.

Lady: And you’re a resident?

Ashlin: Yes.  In apartment #bleepblorp.

Lady:  Let me check my records.  Have you received any notice from us recently as to needing to enter your residence?

Ashlin:  No, I was just curious.  I’m trying to figure out who opened my washer when I wasn’t here.

Lady:  Okaaayyy… Let me seeeeee heeeeeerrrrrrre…No, I’m not seeing anything.  And we are required by law to offer an official notice of entrance unless we have reason to believe that you are partaking in illegal or unlawful behavior, and even then we would have records of that.  And I’m still not seeing anything that indicates we have entered your residence at all recently.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Ashlin:  Yes.  How do I go about changing my locks?

I hung up and only then realized how flipping crazy I must have sounded to her.

Then I realized how flipping crazy I’m starting to sound to myself.

In our law and ethics course, we learned that there are eight steps to making logical and ethical decisions in the workplace (you all who know about my dislike for the course take solace that even though I had a hard time with the class, I actually retained something from it).  It all boils down to the fact that when you have exercised all of the rational thoughts in your noodle as to what the hell is going on and what to do about it, you consult with a valued co-worker.

I don’t really work right now, per se. But I do have a best friend and confidant who has talked me down from the ledge more times than I would rationally like to admit.

Ashlin:  So what do you think?

BF&C:  I think, have you checked your panty drawer?

Ashlin:  Nothing else is out of the ordinary.  I’ve got a bra laying out in the living room that hasn’t moved. (don’t ask.  Sometimes things get thrown around)

BF&C:  Go get a home alarm system, stat.

Ashlin:  Wait, you don’t have any rational explanation that I’m not considering?

BF&C:  No, dude, sorry, I wish.  That’s just creepy.  My rational explanation is to get a home alarm system.  Now.


And then a thought finally crept into my head that I think I had been avoiding all morning.  A thought that my brain has been putting up an iron shield to for so long because the idea of it makes me cringe more than I can stand, and because I don’t want to admit it as even a possibility- because it’s just so damn far-fetched.  And it is a long shot, I mean it really is.  But I’m so completely stumped by the whole situation that apart from legitimately considering that I’m losing my marbles, has been a valid and proven experience for a not-so-lucky person before.

A few years ago, I stumbled on a video that made the viral circuit and did a pretty good job of giving me the heebs in the extreme sense.  It’s not a fabrication (follow the link to the guy’s page where he explains more about it), and I really can’t put into words what happened that the guy explains well enough in the video.  So here it is:

Now.  I still find it an extremely Pluto-distanced possiblity.  And I’m not exactly banking on it as my no. 1 explanation.  But you’d better believe I checked every single vent, attic entrance, and exhaust hatch once I thought of it and haven’t noticed anything too helter skelter (although I did retrieve someone’s hair tie that was lodged behind my dryer from what appears to be the dawn of existence of this complex.  If you still want it, lemme know.  It’s kinda disgusting, though.  May or may not have carried a family of spiders through the cold season).

I will be submitting this to the Unsolved Mysteries series this afternoon.  If you or anyone you know has information on this truly deviant case, call crime stoppers or contact Robert Stack.  What’s that?  He’s not the host anymore?  Oh well forget it then.  That guy was the only one who got anything done on that show.

Pretty sure my dad’s loading up his aluminum bat and gassing up his car right now.

Izzo’s Smuggling

There is a magical place that only exists in Southern Louisiana where tortilla shells grow larger than your entire upper torso and carnitas are slow roasted with a lemon-red-pepper garlic rub until they fall apart with the touch of a feather.  That place is known as Izzo’s Illegal Burrito by its birthrite, but Val Hala by any other.

It’s hard to describe the level of satisfaction that comes with eating an Izzo’s burrito, but if I tried to do so, I’d say it’s as if your tongue were capable of achieving its own carnal peak (in the most platonic sense, of course), this would be the outcome.   Originating in Louisiana’s state capital, Baton Rouge, I came to know and love Izzo’s throughout my duration as an undergraduate at LSU, and would still be a willing advocate for the place to branch out nationally, if not globally.   The place makes Chipotle look like that nasty meat truck that gave you the shits last week; five different kinds of salsa as well as pico de gallo made daily, three different types of lettuce, a variation of cheeses, and a cilantro dressing that makes you want to drink it out of an 84 oz. water bottle in chugs.

Izzo’s had a sign on their exit door that simply read:  ”See You Tomorrow.”  Cocky bastards.  They knew they had you.

Which is why, when I went to visit my parents about a year ago in Lake Charles, a small town over two hours from Baton Rouge, I was beyond ecstatic to find that the heavens looked down on my parent’s small city and had generously placed an Izzo’s within a mile from their residence.  You guys, I about did a triple spit-take when I was riding with my mom to make a last minute run to the mall to see those yellow green and orange letters pop up when we turned the corner, and I wasn’t even drinking anything at the time.  It put me in such delirium to see the installment that I made this weird sort of guttural noise followed by an exclamation that made my mom pump the brakes and me lucky that nothing happened that would make me pay for the damage to the rear of her car if the person behind her hadn’t noticed and smashed into her bumper.


“Oh my god.  Mom.  You guys got an IZZO’S??!!!”


“You guys GOT AN IZZO’S!  LOOK!!”


“Do you REALIZE what this MEANS??!”



“Oh, geez, Ashlin. Should I worry about you?”

And thus began my evening excursions to Izzo’s in Lake Charles.  Since then, without question, every. time. I go home to visit family and friends, I inevitably make the pilgrimage to Izzo’s the night before I leave to go back home.  I enter their fine establishment and order the largest installment on their culinary map:  ”The Illegal” which estimates out to (get ready) TWO THIRTEEN-INCH-TORTILLAS rolled into one, and then STUFFED with as much Mexican fare as you can hold in your pretty little mind.

How do I know this?  I called Izzo’s as I was writing this just to confirm and the guy on the phone casually explained, “Sure.  I mean, it’s just two THIRTEEN-INCH-TORTILLAS that we roll into one.”  Like, NO BIG DEAL.  Just a meal for your entire five person family in one neatly rolled up package.  I do this so that I can partake in its glory for the next few days (don’t think that shit doesn’t stay fresh- I have the technology. I have the capability to make it even better than it was before.  Better.  Stronger.  Fresher. Ice packs).

Anyway.  I order one of these badasses every time I go home, which they carefully wrap in aluminum foil and place delicately in a plastic bag, where I then nurture it, unopened, during its overnight stay in my parents refrigerator and then gingerly tuck it into my carry-on the next morning.

The Lake Charles airport is exceedingly generous in their TSA restrictions, which I’m certain is the only reason I’ve gotten away with such ridiculous behavior over the past several trips.  Do you guys know what it’s like to bring a GIANT ambiguous item wrapped in FOIL through the x-ray machine??  No?  Am I the only idiot willing to take that risk?

Probably so.

But the first time I did it, I kid you not, I explained to the TSA commander-in-chief that I was packing a lunch item with me, and offered to show it to him.  He was gracious enough to explain that he might need to see the item, especially if it were covered with foil, and I obliged, exposing the honking burrito that was larger than my upper body.  Dude took one look at it, inspected within its wrapper, and pulled it out of my backpack.

F&%#ing shit.  So long, Izzo’s.  I hardly knew ye.

The man then proceeded to poke and prod the item in question with such intensity and stealth that I broke out of my Izzo’s-induced derangement and legitimately began to worry that I was going to be taken aside very soon for personal inquisition.

You know that moment in Sophie’s Choice where she’s making The Big Decision?  I was considering the same thing between my burrito and my plane tickets.  No jokes.

And then the guy, I’m not even kidding, places the massive burrito back in my bag and looks up at me and says,

“First of all, how are you going to fit all of that in there?”  pointing to my stomach.

“And next, where’d you get that?  I gotta get my hands on one of those.”

I nursed that burrito for the next several days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with extreme happiness and contentment of a human-and-tortilla-rolled-vehicle-of-bliss match made in heaven , and I can’t wait to do it again.

Bourbon makes the heart grow fonder

When you get to the point in your life when you save having a drink for celebratory matters (LIKE finishing another school semester, or finding the matching pair to your sock) and you couple it with lack of sleep, and you’re already feeling its effects after one glass, you take a couple of things into consideration (in the safety and comfort of your own home so you don’t have to drive home-  Mom- please stop worrying- it’s all in fun).

1.  Maybe less than 10 hours of sleep in 72 makes a difference on intake effects on imbibing.  I’m talking to YOU, loopy loo, doody-doo.  HA! ..Rhymes.

2.  Man.  NBC Thursday night line up is actually really funny.  I mean REALLY FUNNY.  Have you seen that Paul Reiser show yet??  No?  No, actually I’m watching it for the first time myself.  Wait. Hang on.  Okay, no. Don’t.  No, don’t watch it.  I don’t care how much any one of you drink- I’m fairly sure that show will never be even remotely humorous.

3. Why the CRAP don’t I have anything good to eat in the fridge?  It’s all “CELERY” and “WHOLE GRAIN” and  “FAT FREE SOUR CREAM.”  Man, adult Ashlin, you really blew it when it comes to hosting tipsy Ash.


5.  Should I get online?  Nah, I shouldn’t get online… … …


7.  Hey wait-I completely forgot- what’s in the pantry?  Any beef jerky?  No??  shart.

8. Maybe I should go to bed.

9. WAIT. I DID buy beef jerky earlier.  Oh.  But it’s in the car.  fuck it, i’m not THAT hungry.

10.  Oh shit.  That shit I just saw on tv was unintentionally hysterical.  Maybe I could write about that sometime.  Let me make a note:

“some guy on Iron Chef America just dubbed over Morimoto’s directions of “Murry Murry Murry” with “Hurry Hurry Hurry” as if we wouldnt understand his accent”

(this is actually what I wrote last night- and it made me laugh for about an entire minute after writing it)

11. Pilgrimage to car- I want that beef jerky.  I need that jerky. Long as jerky got me he won’t need nobody. He want it I buy go get it I’ll buy it tell other broke brothers be quiet.  STACKS ON DECK- PATRON ON ICE…”

11.  What if that dude that interpreted Murry Murry were to interpret “Louie Lou-ay?”  I’d actually be interested to hear that.

12.  Brush sweaters off teeth while humming to T.I..  dump into bed.  I love everyone.

-Wake up at 10am feeling like a new person.  Life kicks some fleeting ass.  AMERICA.

And so on and so forth.

Hair of the dog may be closer than they appear in icy conditions

Best advice I’ve ever been given in my life.

Ashlin:  Ugh.

Aimee:  I know.  Me too.

Ashlin:  It’s been a rough morning.

Aimee:  Yeah.  We’re moving slow over here, too.  Are you gonna come meet us at the festival later?

Ashlin:  Oh god, Aimee, I don’t know. My equilibrium is on a full-on slant right now.

Aimee:  Oh, it’s okay.  Just drink a beer and you’ll be fine.

My life has never been the same since. And hangovers, as exceptionally rare as they come these days, have lost their iron vice grip on me for eternity.

Sunday Comics (pt 3)

You guys, I only have two weeks left in this semester.  Which means I have two weeks left before I’ve officially finished my first year of graduate school!  Which means that I’m technically only halfway into the swandive of debt that comes with earning my Master’s degree!  Which means that I’m only 1/3 of the way into the nosedive into debt I’ll be if I decide to go for my Doctorate! Which means that I’m only 1/4 of the way if I decide to sit for my license and accreditation certificate! !!  !!!!

Which means that by now if you haven’t already figured out that I’ve lost my everloving mind, then here’s a little nugget of joy from the mind of a madwoman.