Thirst Aid Kit!

Thirst Buckets, gather 'round.

I cannot myself attend, which is killing me, but my friends and now Slate colleagues Bim and Nichole are doing a free, live show with DANIEL DAE KIM in Park City on Saturday, and if you live nearby, you should GO. You should RSVP and GO! Also, you should listen to my episode which was maybe the most fun thing I have ever done. (I’m sorry the transcript is so janky, if you need to read the transcript instead.)

A Spoilery John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch Open Thread Which Is a Thread Purely So Unpaid Subscribers Can Engage

I had worried I was entering John Mulaney’s 1980s-style children’s variety show special with overly-high expectations. I am a John Mulaney Stan. He is the greatest working comedian. I saw it the day it came out and then I saw it again this morning and was finally ready to discuss it with you, my close personal friends.

best things, not ranked:

my grandma’s boyfriend Paul (you’ll solve them, Paul!)

PAY ATTENTION TO ME (and then I would also do a cartwheel)

girl talk w richard kind GIRL TALK

when the turn hits on “I wanna play Restaurant” it just fucking ended my LIFE and I already knew it was coming bc a rehearsal of it was in that GQ profile of John Mulaney

the girl who is afraid of home invasions bc I am so afraid of home invasions and now I will try not to pass that to my kids but WHAT IF THERE’S A HOME INVASION

ALGEBRA SONG, esp bc I saw André De Shields in Hadestown and he is the exact same person here and I suspect in real life as well

the crying white lady, also while watching it I was like “I COULD HAVE PLAYED THE CRYING WHITE LADY, it’s the part I was born to play, baby!” and then it turns out she can sing really well bc it’s ANNALEIGH ASHFORD so, no, I could not

MR MUSIC, like FUCK ME UP, JAKE GYLLENHAAL, you COMMITTED and I love to see it, also:

(Later, when Gyllenhaal asked Mulaney who else they wanted to ask, Mulaney assured him that he was their “first choice in a world where we couldn’t have Harry Belafonte.”)

okay pls discuss your fav line readings (all of them)

View 176 comments →

A Little Bit Autistic, A Little Bit Rock and Roll


I answered a question in the column yesterday from a woman with a very sweet and empathetic daughter who reflexively apologizes, and after reading it nineteen times, thought “…oh, I think your daughter might be autistic” (silently, to self, “also, you might be autistic too, letter writer”.)

But I was also thinking about me. I’m a weird adult, like all interesting people I know, but the process of getting myself to just this amount of weird and no more has been a long journey. I am also married to a (probably, but not quite enough to be noticed as a kid in the 1970s) autistic man and have an autistic kid. Who make a lot of sense to me. We make sense to each other.

I don’t spend a lot of time remembering or thinking about how hard childhood was for me. I had such wonderful parents, and everything I needed, if not everything I wanted (which is the correct way to raise children regardless of your resources).

Childhood was a nightmare. I did so much masking, which I didn’t know was masking until…a few years ago? I am hyperlexic, which has been a tremendous gift to me for my entire life, but as a kid it both brought me joy and a way to filter out the constant fucking hell of peer interactions I was unable to navigate and excessive sensory input. I still destroy my fingers (cuticles, nails), but as a child I would do it until my fingers got literally infected. I chewed and tore at my feet. I ate reams of paper torn from the bottoms of books. I ate skin. I had a hairless doll I kept pressed to my face for years because having a familiar scent to focus on filtered out other things. I tapped patterns on my fingertips to self-regulate, which has remained my little secret stim. I had significant fine motor deficits, but people just thought it was being left-handed and clumsy.

In third grade I had a teacher, Mrs. Robinson, who (after and before years of nothing but perfect report cards and glowing reports) noticed (!) that I couldn’t seem to hear her, or wasn’t listening, if I was doing something else, and flagged me for a hearing test, which I passed. I found not pleasing her to be intensely traumatic, I can still feel this absolute gaping pit of terror at the memory of not doing what she wanted me to do. Trying to explain that I just could not hear her if I was focused on something else. She had to clap loudly next to me to snap me out of focus. I have been mad at her for so many years, and yet, in retrospect, it was because she saw something about me that other people didn’t, because I was so good at being so good all the time. She saw me. She saw something was different.

Another gift of hyperlexia is that it gave me the information I desperately needed: how to look normal to other people. How people are. How they communicate to each other. I remember reading The Left Hand of Darkness and as Genly Ai struggled to make sense of this alien culture’s concept of “shifgrethor”, described in the book as “prestige, face, place, the pride-relationship, the untranslatable and all-important principle of social authority in Karhide and all civilizations of Gethen” thinking “Jesus, that’s exactly what it’s like for me to be alive all the time.”

I was a normal amount of bitch as a teen to my parents. No more, no less. Life got easier for me. I had so much information. I was so much better at navigating Gethen. I still ravaged my fingers but not my feet. I didn’t need the doll pressed to my face. My high school got the International Baccalaureate program and it was so hard that I was able to dissolve into it like salt and it was logical that I didn’t have time to hang out with peers. I was like a beam of pure light pointed towards university. Purpose, flow. I got into Harvard. I negotiated a full financial aid package. I got there.

I came unglued. I still got good grades, but I had to have friends and be normal with them and I had to have romantic relationships because I had so much desire and I was bad both at being normal enough to get friends and romantic relationships (finally, memorizing Monty Python and Blackadder paid off, nerds unite!) but not to keep them, in either case. And then I was about to graduate, white-knuckling through to the end, and didn’t know what came after. I got a job and was good at it. I still struggled to be with other people correctly.

Every year since has been easier, money is a tremendous social lubricant. I am told I overshare, I probably do. I am told I can be very obnoxious, I probably am. I don’t know what’s normal to share or always how to say it. I am very happy (when not Seasonally Affected) because I am in a very happy marriage with a person who makes more sense to me than other people do, and because of my children, and because I have found many wonderful friends with whom I can be essentially myself. And many, many online friends who have been a source of joy.

Twitter is like Snood, for me, which was how I self-regulated in college. The dopamine hits. I’m larger than life. The feedback loop is so satisfying. It’s like the game the Romulans smuggled onto the Enterprise. I cannot use it moderately. It’s been very good to pull back.

Life is very good. Life is very hard. Be safe on our nation’s roads. I am probably autistic.

I love you very much.



oh my GAWD


I cried for the ENTIRE MOVIE when I wasn’t laughing hysterically at Every Single Florence Pugh Line Reading.

I have heard so many actresses say “your one beauty!” and there is NO COMPARISON. Her little frowns! Her little scrunches! Her beautiful face and eyebrows and genius!!!!

I cried so hard I couldn’t eat my popcorn so I only ate the top inch and there had been no attempt made to circulate the butter so I just had an inch of oil in my stomach and nearly puked in the cab going back to my hotel.

I cried so much that when Mr. March walked in I SCREAM-LAUGH-CRIED “BOB ODENKIRK!!!” in a small indie theater

Aunt March telling Baby Florence she had to save her family! AND SHE WAS CORRECT.

John Brooke has always been a problem, bc WHY Meg? Why did you marry John Brooke? (LOVED how much Greta pulled from Good Wives so we could see the natural consequences of her disastrous match and also him being extremely passive aggressive about the dress) but the minute I saw Sexy Vicar was John Brooke I turned to Danny and was like “The Problem of John Brooke has been solved.” Such a clear-cut case of dickmatization. Which is not to shit on Eric Stoltz, but Sexy Vicar ACTUALLY sold me on John Brooke.

Amy is a Queen. Florence Pugh transformed Amy. Amy is a hero.

I have never cared about Beth before and I care SO MUCH now. And the BEAUTIFUL scenes with Mr. Laurence!!!!!!! Oh my GOD, I cried SO MUCH. I had to lie down.

I loved the timeline. I loved THE DIRECTING. it’s almost like she should have been NOMINATED for an ACADEMY AWARD.

all the mr dashwood scenes? perfect

the sand blowing at the beach

I have never gotten Timmy Chalamet because he looks like a child but I enjoyed him so much more than I expected, especially when he was like “who is this fucking dude?” when Prof. Bhaer (HOT!) showed up at the house.





okay, your thoughts

View 368 comments →

The Doldrums


The outdoor pictures here are all from a local Jeep trail, which has been my salvation over the last month. My house does not get natural sunlight from about November through March, due to the steepness of the canyon walls, and I have not been handling it very well. I never handle it well, to be honest, but this year I have found myself just swamped by seasonal affective disorder, especially since the beginning of the New Year, and I was starting to really struggle, so decided to throw the book at it and see what stuck.

The first piece of the puzzle has, of course, been throwing back Vitamin D supplements like water. I’m not taking a disturbing amount, but enough to make a difference. I have also been watching my B vitamins, pounding back water, etc. This was helpful, but not enough. So I got the newest generation of the French-made Luminette light therapy glasses, which are supposed to work better than the traditional light therapy lamps, because they do a better job at mimicking the angle sunlight hits your face. I have been wearing them for 20 minutes a day, first thing in the morning, as recommended. They also make me look like this (very chic, very French, very Geordi La Forge):

This was all helpful, but I knew that, for me, exercise was going to be really important. I had, largely due to my friend Amanda Mull, purchased myself a Peleton for Christmas (acting as my own Peleton Husband, as per the ill-advised ad campaign) and, two weeks ago, finally figured out how to clip in and out of the pedals. I regret to say that I am now a Peleton Bitch, and it has been the single biggest factor in making me feel less like I live in a dungeon waiting for death. If you are also a Peleton Person, my handle is nicoleec10, and I will follow you back and give you the virtual high-fives the system is very good at facilitating. You do not have to buy a $2500 bike, you can instead pay $30 a month and take your app to the gym and be cheered at and supported through a truly remarkable number of exercise options on a normal stationary bike, or treadmill, or yoga class in your bedroom, or meditation class, or a nice power walk outside. This is not sponcon, it’s just been very good for me. There is a very handsome gay man named Cody who used to be one of Katy Perry’s backup dancers (not Left Shark), and I love all the instructors, but he is the one who got me to break my previous very low-grade personal best on the bike on Thursday, a day I really needed it.

Taking Sansa on Power Walks has been hilarious. I tried a 40 minute Power Walk and she was totally onboard for half an hour and then repeatedly tried to trip me and finally lay directly down on my feet until I said we could go back to the car. She thinks the 20 minute to 30 minute options are more civilized.

The final step in my journey to not feeling extraordinarily sad for no reason for much of the day turned out to be musical in nature. Here are the songs which have helped most, some of which were old to me, many of which are new (no one told me about Frank Turner until recently). If you are finding winter unendurable, give some of these a whirl.

I love you so much. I missed you. I’m feeling better, and I am looking forward to talking with you more frequently.

xoxoxxo n

Loading more posts…