formal family, the squeakuel

from: LB
to: frank

subject: hello father!

dearest sir,

i am writing today to inquire if any events or galas will occur this weekend, when carolyn elizabeth farrington benson will be having the anniversary of the day of her birth. 

warm regards,

laura anne benson


From: Frank
to: LB

subject: Re: hello father!

dearest mademoiselle benson,
I am responding to your inquiry of 30 December regarding your mother's birthday celebration.  I am anticipating a small intimate gathering (you, me, pepper and the guest of honor).  If you would like to bring a birthday dessert of some kind (store bought would be wonderful, I'm sure -carrot cake, cherry pie, cupcakes bombe surprise-whatever floateth thy boat).
As far as the day goes, I'm guessing Saturday would be appropriate, considering that is her birthday.
warmest felicitations,


i have a masters degree

taking a work break this afternoon, i was reading an article on gawker about flu vaccine myths.

one of them was:

Myth #11: Flu vaccines cause narcolepsy

...for the BRIEFEST OF SECONDS i confused narcolepsy with necrophilia.

...I KNOW.

...which, other than my stupidity, is actually kind of hilarious as its own myth.

...you guys, flu vaccines cause necrophilia. pass it on. someone tell the cdc.


so formal...

this email exchange is ridiculous and i love everything about it:

from: LB
to: dad
subject: oh, hello, frank

"HI! it's me, your daughter! just thought i'd send a note to see if you guys were going to be around on saturday? thought i might come by and visit for a bit :)

laura anne benson"
from: dad
to: LB
subject: RE: oh, hello, frank
oh, hello daughter unit, also known as laura anne benson (the magnificent)
it's me your father! responding to your electronic communication (using my personal google machine, as it happens).
yes, we will be home on Saturday and we would love to see you :) how about that fancy sideways smiley face?
frank tipton benson jr
from: mom
to: LB
subject: RE: oh, hello, frank
Dear daughter
I too am excited by your upcoming visit!!! It will be delightful to see you again!
Your loving mother,
Carolyn Elizabeth Farrington Benson
from: LB
to: mom; dad
subject: RE: oh, hello, frank
Well my goodness gracious, aren't we the Formal Family!
Consider this my official RSVP to attend a Benson familial gathering at Twenty-One-Ninety Pond View Court on Saturday, August Third, Two Thousand and Thirteen in the Year of Our Lord.
I am really looking forward to the response.


procrastination, thy name is spotify.

i think at this point, everyone knows i'm obsessed with spotify premium. who knew losing my ipod on a plane two years ago would beget such a wonderful relationship. i've made a christmas rap playlist, because, yuletide greetings, bitches.  i've made kk and dan's wedding playlist. i love how easy it is to create weird, spontaneous playlists and not feel guilty b/c of that beautiful flat fee.

everyone ALSO knows i procrastinate something fierce. that's what i'm doing here today. avoiding doing work i don't want to do...and giving you a glimpse into what i'm listening to on spotify these days:*

1. blurred lines (robin thicke ft. ti and pharrell) - i know, "rapey". but also, DANCE-Y. sorry I'm not sorry.

2. cassiopeia (sara bareilles) - when i first heard this song, i was sort of confused. the intro was weird. and then like 653467 plays later, i realized i sort of love it. it's a bit odd, but the right kind of odd, plus i could listen to her sing forever. FOREVER.

3. shake senora (pitbull, t-pain sean paul) - i made a playlist for missy of rap/hip-hop songs from that 1996-2004 spot, and this is one of the songs i included. full disclosure: this song is from 2011, i don't really remember listening to this song, but oh, the ass-shaking possibilities. full disclosure part two: I'VE NEVER SEEN BEETLEJUICE.

4. caravan (van morrison) - the only reason i'm listening to this song or know of it at all is because i was going through a west wing kick, and in one scene, amy and josh are in her apt and she is dancing around to this song. i liked it, so some googl-ing later, and it's made the cut.

5. i want you back (tyler ward) - i'm on a kick of indie covers of pop/rock/80s songs. tyler ward comes up a lot. i like this particular cover a lot.

6. anything from the lonely island's new album (the wack album) - protip: don't listen to it on public transportation or at the gym. you'll try to stifle laughter and look a bit bonkers.

welp, turns out my coworkers want to get froyo, so i'mma go do that and continue to not do the work i really should be doing but don't want to. because, work ethic.

*you could probably follow me on spotify too, but then you'd find out about that nate dogg playlist i have, so, maybe for the sake of you continuing to respect me as a person....don't.


don't quit your day job, brain.

so, i dreamt an SNL sketch last night. spoiler alert: it was terrible.

i should start by saying - you know when you're having a dream, and in your dream-brain, something is understood but never actually explained? so, in my dream-brain, justin timberlake does a year-end SNL sketch that covers the year in tv/pop culture. so this was that sketch.

the cast:

harriet winslow
carl winslow
some white woman i can't remember (SWWICR)
alec baldwin as jack donaghy
tina fey as liz lemon
chris parnell as leo spaceman
tracey morgan as tracey jordan
judge reinhold as apparently some other doctor? i'm not clear on who he was.
janel moloney as donna moss
billy crystal as....harry? god only knows. i'm not clear on who he was either.
tim robbins as...tim robbins? possibly his character from anchorman.

the scene: jack's office

liz/tina: "wow jack, i can't believe the year is over, and i had no overview of this sketch and cannot approve anything i say to you."

alec/jack - says something i don't remember, but something like "i'm really gonna miss this office, kind of like how no one watches this show anymore"

this is where things really went off the rails....

judge reinhold comes in with tracey and chris parnell and they greet liz/tina and alec/jack -

it's now somehow turned into judge reinhold's office (in my dream-brain, it's an ongoing gag in 30 rock that he has an office but they only show the door, never the office)

judge reinhold: says something like "i'm excited to have an office!!"


leo spaceman/chris parnell: says something about spaceman says now he only gets two doors that open in on each other but no office (...i have no fucking clue)

somehow, then, the following join the room:

harriet winslow
billy crystal
carl winslow
tim robbins

tim robbins: "someone's been having an affair!"

everyone gasps

carl winslow steps forward and looks at SWWICR: "we've been having a chocolate and vanilla thing going on, it happened the night after the election"

harriet: "well, we've also got a chocolate and vanilla-"

billy crystal interrupts: "no, we've got a vanilla and hershey kiss thing going on here..."

*everyone looks uncomfortable*

donna/janel walks in and lays down on a couch that is now in this office, set in front of everyone, and sighs: "we've got a josh and donna thing going on too, and it's like the additive they put in bacon, it makes you sexy, smart, good at math and you can't get enough"


.....yeah. so, there's that. my brain wrote a terrible comedy sketch. or, more accurately, my brain ghost-wrote a comedy sketch for justin timberlake, because it was technically his. blame him.

the pop culture round-up that apparently is my subconscious:

*family matters
*west wing
*arrested development (judge reinhold reference)
*30 rock
*when harry met sally? city slickers? billy crystal in general? no idea how he got in there.
*anchorman (tim robbins was basically his public news team persona from anchorman, i think, the way he delivered his line)


oh, frank. part 23495

car commercial voiceover: "what do you want to leave behind for your children?"

mom: "a million dollars!"
dad: "a mountain of debt!"


"she must exercise to keep up her level of attractiveness"

(TL:DR (too long didn't read) aka this post could be summed up by: people are dicks, inner confidence is awesome, i can't wait for my letterpress class, and dove blue fig & orange blossom deoderant SMELLS AMAZING.)


"she must exercise to keep up her level of attractiveness"

someone had that on their okcupid profile recently. a small part of me wanted to write to him "you want her to exercise to keep up YOUR level of attractiveness, not hers." but internet feuds are stupid. okcupid is generally pretty stupid. i didn't read further than that sentence.

it's characteristic of online dating that people mostly look at superficial qualities over substance; hell, it's like that in the normal, real life world too. i do it. it's easy to do, and aren't our brains programmed to sort and label based on what we see first? yes. i mean, probably. meghan (and like, everyone) knows more about this than i do.

i don't know if i can properly explain how simultaneously rage-y and disappointed this sentence makes me. it's one thing to like a certain type of body, but it's quite another to expect that the *woman* only consider herself objectively attractive with a certain type of body. this article comes pretty close, and is just damn good in general.

is exercise great for you, and can give you a sense of accomplishment, and keep you healthy and strong and happy and allows you to achieve goals and feel confident? YES. does it dictate how attractive you are? NO. while i'll give him that i do think inner confidence contributes to attraction, attractiveness is one of the most subjective things in the world. because if you're attractive to one person you're inevitably unattractive to another. it's a mixed bag, so fuck that noise - find yourself attractive, that's who matters.


i've been thinking a lot about hobbies lately, since i've signed up for a letterpress class in july. MAKING MY OWN STATIONERY, WHAT THE WHAT!? i'm so excited i can't even tell you.

sometimes i also think about starting some sort of body image SOMETHING for kids, and hell, for adults too. that article i linked to above, coupled with reading things like that okcupid profile sentence above, really makes me want to pursue it. i wish i had female figures when i was younger telling me these things. or even for adults too...like dove beauty campaigns but not actually selling soap* and also maybe not implying that real beauty is still dependent on looks.

putting image (related: weight) first and foremost is something that i've been struggling with since i was about 10 from all sorts of sources, some you'd expect and some i still am rather bothered by...and my reaction to those vulnerabilities isn't always the right one, but i wish i had a way of channeling it. i wish i had a way of explaining it that makes sense, even. people write articles, give talks, launch campaigns, but with a single "well, that's just the way we are"  it's so easily dismissed. i feel defeated even before i start.

i don't know where i'm going with this. my thoughts are unfinished. it's amazing when you see and hear people that shout the way you want to think, the way you think everyone should feel about themselves and each other, and then it's frustrating for all of it to be so easily knocked down.

for now i'll leave you with this: http://fuckyeahbodyimage.tumblr.com/


 *i do use dove deoderant sometimes. ARE MY ARMPITS BEAUTIFUL NOW?! god i hope so. i'm worthless if they aren't.


way harsh, tai.

well excuse me for trying to make something of myself, spotify! (not related to the actual music on the screen, mind you, just thought the sentiment was a bit rude!)

ps that message comes up when you hover over the forward arrow when you haven't gone to a further page yet.


twice now

meghan and i ran the crystal city Friday 5K tonight. or, most of it. the storm came in and they shut down the course.

but as i was jogging (and then walking....and then more walking) along the streets of arlington, i realized...

how many times have i been out driving and a road is blocked off because of a race? i used to get annoyed. now i'm the person on the course.

i'm still SO slow and don't really even run that much of the 3.1 miles, but the fact that i'm the person ON the course now instead of driving by it....i'm proud of that.



considering it's my career field, i do not go to enough live performing arts events. i'm that person that comes into my office in the morning raving (er, or ranting, usually) about a redskins or a nationals game...to blank stares, of course. i would say you could consider it being well-rounded, but that would mean i have to demonstrate equal participation in the arts.

some of my arts experiences haven't been great. sitting in a dark theater for like, four hours watching tamburlaine, wishing my legs would fall off to spare me the misery and maybe provide some excitement. and then pretend to like it afterwards. or that crazy ass attempt at a modern rock opera of the tempest that was so awful, i escaped at intermission...the only event i've ever bailed on. i'm just not a classics person.

but i've always loved woolly mammoth theater company. their plays are quirky, funny, sometimes incredibly weird and inappropriate - and their messaging and branding is just the same. i feel like you can be a normal person in their space. i don't go there enough.

because i found myself really excited about almost all of the plays for their 34th season, i bought a flex pass subscription this morning! this is the first time i've purchased a season subscription/tickets to anything, much less the performing arts.

i'm really really excited. and now i don't have to feel guilty about continuing to talk about the nationals and redskins*.

(*lorenzo alexander...sad face.)


this is what 22 years of friendship gets you

TJ: i should have known you were in a good mood b/c your status went from a link to a collapsing silo to a puppy in footy pajamas


oh, frank

so, backstory, for this to make sense: we have this thing in my family, where we use too much tape  on EVERYTHING. My dad more so than my mom, and apparently I picked up this habit. you should see the way our christmas presents are wrapped.

Before conference, a few of us were working late, and I was packing a couple of boxes while the others were in a meeting. As I was going about my business, packing, taping, packing, taping...I noticed they had stopped talking. I look over and see them staring back and me quizzically. they say "how much tape are you going to use on those things?!!?!" and i just laughed.

i thought this was funny, given that clearly i come by it honestly. so i emailed my parents to tell them. this was frank's email response:

"YES ! ! !

Most excellent young lady !  You can NEVER use too much tape - I'm so proud I'm crying on the keyboard - zzzzzzzzzzzzzztttttttt = ooops, I I I th ththink iiii mmmmssstt haaaveee jjjusttt sssshoorrrtttrfed itttt oooouuutttt
love - Papa"

at least this typing craziness was intentional. he's really come a long way in that respect. oh, frank.