Saturday, August 26, 2006


A couple of months ago, I heard a radio program on sibling relationships, with a psychoanalyst (they still get on the air in the US?) and a clinical psychologist (who supposed that self-reported sibling relationships were data). Both of them came from the position that sibling-relationships were understudied and poorly understood.

To which I say: hurry up. My older sister (I was 3 of 3, she 2 of 3) was for a very long time the absolutely most important person in my life, able to elevate or devastate me with a single word. To this day, I worry more about what she might say to me more than I do about my parents' opinion.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Jackmormon: So, I think I may be able to rent this place from a friend.

F.: Where do you know her from?

Jackmormon: Well, it's a little embarrassing, but okay, I know her from this online community we both participate in. It's, well, it's a blog, but we've met a number of times, and it's a really nice group of people there, full of young academic types, shooting the shit. Well, sometimes we discuss politics or philosophy or serious stuff, but, you know, it's a lighthearted kind of place.

F.: So where is this place?

Jackmormon: Um. Well. Alright, it's

F.: No, where's the apartment?

Jackmormon: Oh! Queens.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Last Post from the Middle School Records Series

In the first post from this series, which is now ending, I promise, there was a reference to "G"--the "nice guy who ways a bit to much" who I didn't go with.

Well, here's a note from G. (grammar, punctuation, and spelling from the original)
Dear [Jackmormon],
I like you a lot I should have gone with you the first time instead of going with at slut B.. I don't blame you for hating me I was a fool. I liked dancing with you at the dance. What I'm trying to say is will you go with me.

P.S. Write back My locker number is [xxxx]
Now, I remember this episode, or somewhat. My diaries from the period, back at my parents' house, have a number of angry entries about it, which I reread with great embarrassment about eight years ago.

See, while I was at the time unimpressed that G. had called B. a slut, I was also mad that G. had gone with B. because I thought she was kind of a slut. She french-kissed him! In front of everyone! And she was wearing another boy's Starter jacket at the same time!

So, no, I didn't go with him. What I can't remember is whether I had the courage to tell him so myself.


Google Bought Blogger, and Now It Sucks

There are many things that suck in my life right now--job searching and apartment searching would be at the top of that list--but the sheer lousiness of the Blogger Beta interface is the most needlessly annoying.

Far be it from my to claim that the old Blogger was bug-free, but here's how it's working, ever since I got a gmail invite. The Blogger log-in page instantly de-recognized my Yahoo!mail address, even before I set up my new gmail account. After I set up my gmail account--in my real name, which was the whole point of getting the new email address--the Blogger account automatically set the login name to this real name. Annoying enough, but since the displayed username and email were still pseudonymous, I figured that "only" Google would have total control over my internet activities.

Here's the extra-annoying part: since I have this new sort of Google-tagged Blogger account, every single time I try to get into Blogger, I get shunted over to the Blogger Beta login page, am forced to try to "switch over" into a Google-supported Blogger account, have to sign their bloody "Terms and Conditions," am told that "they are unable to fulfill my request to switch over at this time," and THEN I can get into my old Blogger account.

I think I've agreed to their terms and conditions about four times by now; the more I have to agree to them, the less willing I'm getting to abide by them. Way to chase customers away, Google-owned Blogger Beta.


Monday, August 14, 2006

More Middle School: Girls to Girls

Having discovered this amazing resource of primary documents, I can't just immediately refile them. This time, I'm interested in some of the notes girls passed to me in middle school--which represents by far the majority of the archive. And what interests me here is how my female friends pressured me into manufacturing crushes on boys so that we could talk about something, anything, as we were dabbling in primitive methods of social organization.

My recollection of the time is that I liked being around boys, but that I really didn't want to do anything more with any of them. After all, I wasn't supposed to date until I was 16. I clearly wasn't very good at expressing and explaining this prohibition because I ended up conducting weird flirtations with boys I didn't really like, which resulted in awkward kisses I didn't really enjoy and then "breakups" I felt guilty about after--and then, in eighth grade, I started hanging out more with the less popular crowd who liked to read and write stories about dragons and robots, and everything got a lot better.

So, two notes from girls below the fold, spelling and grammar carefully preserved.

1. From a childhood friend who at the time of this note, in 6th grade, was pretty and popular.

Dear [Jackmormon],

Hi, I'm in a big mess. I ♥ F., but he's mean to me, writes notes to other people saying bad things about me (I saw one) + he goes on dates with other girls! He blew up when I wore S.'s starter.* He said wearing a starter symbolizes true ♥ then I find out 1) He won't let me wear his 2) He let B. and Y. wear it!

But after all this, I still ♥ him! What should I do? Well enough about me let talk about you! You don't really ♥ C., you ♥ M. But you just don't want me to embarras you...right!? OK well if that's the case I'll try not to embarass you! I'm just trying to help you flirt!! Sorry for being a friend! Well as you can see I need mental help.... HELP!
P.S. I actually wrote you!

2. From the ur-pretty-and-popular girl in 7th grade, the girl everybody else's notes talked about. This might be the only note I ever got from her.

Dear [Jackmormon],

Hi Sweetie! What's New? What's up? What's down? Holly shit everything in the world is down with me!! I mean seriously there are knew guys at this stupid fucking school!

I mean I guess some guys are cute but really there are either total nerds or your two close of friends to do anything with them! But I guess we'll just have to wait!!!! So who do you like? About the slambook** your not exactly a Prude! You'll just have to do something with someone, soon, REAL soon! Well sorry this note is so stupid & boring But Hey I'm a stupid & Boring Kinda gal!

Love Ya Lots,

Marginalia: "Life is 2 short" "[Middle School X] sucks" "A teenage love!" "I ♥ ?" "[Middle School Y] rules" "Guess products -4-ever!!" "Keep it cool" "Keds" "Fila" "Troop" "N.W.A" "Eazy-E" "Esprit"

*Starter jackets were an important commodity in 6th and 7th grade. They were lightly insulated bomber jacket-style windbreakers with various sports teams insignias. Maybe the boys cared about who wore which team's jacket, but the girls looked for 1) does he have one, 2) is it a hideous color, and 3) will he let me wear it. It would have been unthinkable for a girl to buy her own because the whole point of wearing a Starter jacket was that some boy loant it to you.

**There was a bit about a slambook in the note I typed up last post (which I mislabelled as being a sixth grade note), and, fortunately, I found a barely completed slambook in my files, so I can explain what the hell this was. Basically, it was a bound notebook, each page of which had a quiz question, like "which girl is pretty?" or "what do you think about A.?" Each person was supposed to sign in on the first page, and then, as the slambook circulated, everyone got to guessing about who wrote which response. I'm guessing, from the pseudo-solicitous notes and from the slambook that abruptly stopped circulating and landed into my files, that I didn't enjoy this practice.


Sunday, August 13, 2006


I've been going through my filing cabinets in preparation for a move, and, my God, I had kept all these years the notes that everyone passed me in middle school! I've deleted most of my email messages in the past few years, aside from those few messages I recognized as worth keeping on the hard drive, but the mail file contains long, involved letters from people whose names I barely remember. People, I expect, whose emails would have been deleted within a week. Going through these old letters, I've had to face the history of other people's fantasies of myself: not very comforting.

Below the fold, an actual 6th grade letter, from a boy to me, in my files. (I've obscured identities, even though I don't exactly remember who was who.)
What's up? The sky! Ha, Ha. You really are a great dancer. Probably the best in the whole school. I envy that. I also envy you for not going with G. But...why didn't you go with him? (please answer.) a nice guy but he ways a but too much. Say, Do you like W.? [arrow to margin: or P?] cause I've heard from other people that you do. P. wrote in a slambook that you're a "bitch." He really said some bad things. I hope we can be friends.
P.S. Don't show this to anyone except your best friends (if you want too)