Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Profile: Barry Baxter Birney

Hello there --
Knowing Mr. Swindle deeply and long-like, I have agreed to share my own experiences with the batshit. This is not a profile mind you, as the complete record is too scattershot and loving to fully summarize here, and it’s possible that this isn’t over quite yet. I do feel some commitmentalisms to those reading this, though, so I suppose I’m just gonna be on retainer here so as to not short-change you all (like that midget toll booth attendant did to me)…that is if you find this funny and if Jack and Sophia aren’t too lazy to object.

Oh, me? My name’s Barry Baxter Birney. I hang my hat on my ring-to-index-finger-ratio.

Not so long ago I started having intense, debilitating anxiety attacks. I’d dealt with some anxiety the couple years prior, but was more comfortable and familiar with the vague malaise of depression. The unnerving feeling of panic was manageable at first. It made me mad though. That doesn’t help to ease the nerves.

Then I went bananas. I had four or five episodes in about a six week period where I lost touch with reality. I guess I wasn’t eating or sleeping due to this fucking anxiety and often drank to try and combat it. My brain didn’t much like it. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know how to read street signs. I tried to drink a glass of water from my girl’s empty hand. And much more.

My friends came through for me and took care of me when I called them confused, mixed shoes on my feet and full of headwraps. They tore the drinking fountain off its foundation, threw it through the window, and told me when it was safe to make a run for it. One was caring and thorough enough to write down the following so I could show it to my doctor.

His name is Gary Mathews III (disowned).


Here's a rundown of events Sat-Sun night.

--You called around 11:30 thinking I was Jack and that I had called you -- you
seemed more upset than anything.
--When I got there ~12 I thought you were just really upset, but it became clear
as we talked that you were highly anxious and confused.
--We were up from 12 to ~ 7 AM. We didn't drink anything but water, you didn't
eat anything.
--You were talking most of the time, but NOT in a manic or hyper way.
--Mostly you asked questions, generally about where something was, whether we
had enough of something, how many of something we had, when we would go do
--You were focused intensely on 'phones' and talked mostly in terms of numbers.
How many phones do I have? How many minutes/hours before we left and went to
your house,  Did we have 3 or 4 (of what, ??) and would that be enough? This is
where you were least coherent -- numbers rarely correlated to actual amounts or
quantities, and phones included television remotes, car keys, belt buckles,
--When you asked for your phone and I gave it to you or pointed it out, however,
it would appear foreign to you, or broken, or incomplete. At times, it was
almost invisible to you, though it would be right in front of your face, or your
hand would be on it.
--Your perception of time seemed non-existent, and was further distorted by your
focus on numbers/quantity over units.
--Your motor skills were intact, and you were very tactile -- constantly picking
things up and asking me to put things in your hand. You would occasionally drop
things, but I believe that was because you forgot you were holding them. When
you were looking for something (which was often) you would pat down the table,
floor, etc.
--Though you were not generally wearing your glasses,it also seemed like you had
trouble seeing things or recognizing things that were in your sight without
touching them.
--Tried to leave numerous times, putting on multiple jackets/hoodies each time
as well as shoes. You were not happy when I physically prevented you from doing
so, but I was never afraid you would get violent. You understood that we were in
your house, but also insisted that we had to go to your house. In terms of where
you wanted to go, it ranged from getting food, ann’s house, your house, and
just to walk around the block.
--While in general, I could speak to you and be understood, there were occasions
where you were incredibly frustrated and confused at what I was saying, claiming
it made no sense.
--You kept calling me Jack or Donald, but understood that that was incorrect and
would generally correct yourself.
--Your understanding of yourself, as well as your memories, and your
understanding of our relationship (which I successfully appealed to in an effort
to stop you from trying to leave) were intact. You got jokes, references, knew
your cats, and were generally 'you'. Just an incoherent, anxious version of
--You kept complaining that your arms felt weird, pins and needles, tingly, etc.
--Eventually, you began having moments of clarity, and improved, and finally
went to sleep.
--You woke up around 1 PM when Donald came over, and seemed to have recovered

I'll regale you with further tales at your leisure.

I just read that too. A friend, patient for hours, dealing with true psychoses. Gary Mathews III (disowned) represented.

I tried to make phone calls with my shoe for fuck’s sake.

After The Madness I pushed aside the alcohol, drank a lot of Earl Grey and got a bad haircut, just as my doctor suggested. I made sure to eat and sleep. My mom came and helped. While I drink alcohol again, I still hit up the tea and I talk to my mom regularly and meaningfully.

My hair still stinks though. Hit me up if you have a hairdresser restitution guy.


Diagnosis –
Acute Anxiety Disorder
Insomnia Induced Pyschosis
Bad at Things Syndrome      

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Being Normal

I'm not really in favor of stability or normal-ness, so when I found myself the other day talking to Jack about my life I realized I was using the word "NORMAL" and was maybe a little shocked.  I may have achieved, thought he magic of pharmaceuticals and therapy, to NOT be an Fabulous Fucking Mess anymore.

For starters: I have a boyfriend.  He's a chemist with a house and two dogs.  He says "I love you" to me and everything.  This is an upgrade over what I had before: numerous nebulous relationships with interesting people who neither have achieved what is thought of as financial stability nor do they want to achieve anything resembling stability of any sort.  It is easy to see why I was single and confused. 

For seconds:  I am gainfully employed.  This is also an exciting prospect for me after living from hand-to-mouth in the Non-Profit Sector.  I sold out and went Corporate, something that not many Artistic Types have the chance to do.  It's hasn't had a negative effect on me and I view it to be quite an accomplishment.

There was something to be said for short spurts of insanity.  However, for those of us who have a special talent for absurd situations, the longer the situation extends itself the further we are pulled from our moorings because WE ARE SO GOOD AT BEING ABSURD!  I guess my point to Jack was that: it's sometimes nice to have moorings.  Moorings go with ALL of my shoes. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Locationator

I have a friend on Facebook that I am about to block because he posts stuff about every 15 minutes.  He'd be extra easy to stalk, if I was so inclined, because he updates his location every time he moves to a new location.  He even "checks in" to work in the morning. 

This is only batshit because no one cares.  He hasn't had a comment on any of his posts for well over a week now.  There IS such thing as oversharing on Facebook, and this is one of the many ways that it can happen.  Someone needs to introduce him to Yelp.  Just not me.

Who is your least favorite Batshit Facebook Overshare person... and what do they do? 


Diagnosis: friendless alcoholic trying to impress us with his "social life" ...such as it is. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


When not drinking, he was a nerd.  A nerd who is getting his MA in Military History.  He collected portraits of Wellington and was painting a portrait of Nelson.  He claimed to be a portraitist and had a BA in fine art.  Anyway, Admiral Nelson appeared to have been carved from that deli meat where cheese bits are worked into a bologna.  His other portraits appeared to be of half-flounderpeople whose eyes were slowly migrating to one side of their head or the other.  He only talked with one side of his mouth, which I have never seen a man of 33 accomplish.  Most of his media horde consisted of post-punk, opera, historical nonfiction movies about war, and 19th C. costume dramas. He hated porn and strip clubs. He was an eccentric trust fund baby... and a super-nerd.

When drunk, he became Baltimore's Most Racist Person.  There was nothing that a person of color or a non-Protestant could do that would escape the rubber/iron trap of is mind. Also when drunk, he told me in detail about how he ogled waitresses and the chick that cut his hair.  I guess it's a good thing that he hated strip clubs because he brought a strip club mentality into all of his tipping arrangements with women.  He told me these things because I was not really a woman.  I was more than that.  He'd never DATE any of those girls.  Check.  Add misogynist to the racist.  Ever see someone drunk rant about things?  Well, up the volume and make it everything that you've ever wanted to punch someone in the mouth about.  Bad drunk.

Let me explain: 2pm on a Sunday.  He was down a 1.75 liter "big" bottle of white wine.  Then he opened a regular sized red wine, and we finished that.  Then he opened A 2 LITER of cheap scotch.   He couldn't walk and was running into things when he decided that it was time to grill some steaks.  He put some coals in and squirted them liberally with lighter fluid (yes, he WAS smoking a cigarette while doing this) and then put the steaks on and closed the lid.  In five minutes, the fire was running low (he hadn't put enough coals in) so he picked up one of the steaks and then squirted more lighter fluid on them.   Then he put the steak down and squirted more lighter fluid IN BETWEEN THE STEAKS.   I didn't have steak that night.  He passed out in his living room and when I walked him up to bed he apologized for getting drunk.  Then got all frustrated because he couldn't get it up.  That was the last night I saw him.

He wasn't on anti-depressants because you "can't drink and be on anti-depressants."  As to the upswings: One weekend I stood by and watched him spend about two thousand dollars.  Over five hundred of it was on food and drinks... and four hundred of it was on jeans and music.  Three hundred on a hotel.  Two hundred on our train tickets.  This was planned the day before because he suddenly felt like going to NYC.

Diagnosis: Mollycoddle. Bipolar and impotent co-morbid with alcoholism.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Profile: Jack Swindle, Ladies' Man

This is from an old, pre-diagnosis dating profile I put up on some site somewhere. Strange how accurate it all was; equally strange is that I never got a response from anyone. Huh.--JS

I drink too much. I have high blood pressure, probably from drinking too much. Sometimes I talk so much I annoy myself. I’m terrible with money, and I have anger problems that I think are finally resolved but only through a precarious balance of prescription drugs, an attractive therapist and a campaign of aggressive honesty against my own BS.

Meeting women is not a problem I have. The reason I’m here is that my last few girlfriends have been smart, interesting women who don’t know sh*t about literature, science or history. So, if that describes you, you can still message me but you should be exceptionally attractive.

If you’re still with me, let me tell you the good stuff: I’m Hilarious (capital H intended), extremely witty, very well read and culturally ambitious. And even though I probably come off like a complete prick here, I’m actually a respectful person who will listen to your Russian novel-esque tales of family intrigue with sincere interest. I have an insane amount of energy, a natural tendency to organize people and things around me, and a genuine appetite for life and people.

Oh and you should know: sex is important to me. You should be an open-mouthed kisser and a sensualist at heart; otherwise we’ll just be good friends who drink together, which is fine in its own right.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Krysztof Cuzmeerski (names changed to protect my blog)

I think I might have trained him, and I definitely worked with him.  One day I noticed he was hanging around a lot.  The next day he walked up to me and stood with his face a foot and a half away from me and kept me in eyelock until I told him to go away that he was bothering me.  I reported him.  He was reprimanded.  He cornered me in an elevator.  I reported him.  He was reprimanded.  He continued to follow me around outside of and inside of work.  I reported him.  He was reprimanded.  I quite literally saw him every time I turned around at work... he was always sliding off just out of eyesight like a cockroach.  This went on for two months.  He was fired.  I quit.  He returned every day in a three piece suit looking for me.  He harassed my work friends for four months until one mentioned that he had been in bothering my ex for my phone number using "because we were going to get married, he just had to find me" as his reason.  Then I ask around and he'd been bothering a bunch of my friends there but they hadn't said anything.  I went to Middle Park Precinct and filed a stalking order.  They said that it would take a little bit for the temporary one to go into effect because he had to be served with the papers.  I told them that he'd be at the Cosmopolitan Museum of Art at 5:30 when the staff leaves.  They went out of curiosity the next day and served him the papers.  Of course he was there, with the three piece suit.

I do not lie.  He thought he was going to marry me.  If you google his (real) name and my (real) name you'll find that he has filed a Federal civil rights case against me, the management of the Cosmopolitan Museum, and the City of New Amsterdam.  I hope he gets deported.

Diagnosis: Decidedly THREE FLAVORS BATSHIT.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Profile: A Noni Miss

Still infuriated that her 21st birthday, like all holidays, was uneventful; friends say she left the basement dance club in a swinging hysteria, insisting that they had changed its architecture at last call (adding new walls and eliminating the back entrance) AND that “they” had stolen her identity. Feels trapped when wearing socks to bed. Quite certain she is exceptionally easy to get along with, yet she has frequently been on the receiving end of flying objects…once after deflowering a nice young man. Apologies accepted. Sat on a hot electric stove (still safer than gas) to impress said young man. Bought a ringtone and assigned it to a person who hasn’t (and probably never will) call her. Thinks money was well-spent, regardless.
Bored. Anxious. Crushes like a tween. Texts like a teen (more addictive than her favorite drugs, as good as some sex). Gets lost in mind-numbing activities, like cleaning. Has a creepy passion for food, especially things that are gummy, gooey, or hard. Hates to cook. Loves to cook; hates to clean. Judges others for what they eat. Swears that frozen pot pies are the best whole meal value in any supermarket. Finds this consistent with watching reality tv. She’s “above it [all],” but allows herself the base pleasures of watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians” by justifying it as an academic pursuit.
Geography teacher. Gets lost easily. Doesn't believe in weather. Adamant that all plants should grow without fertilizer (or consistent watering). Has killed many. Convinced that medication will make her “go postal.” Father: letter carrier.
Now a mom, she can be found gaping in awe and crying at the miracle of child development, especially language-learning. Potentially channels a higher power. Hates the term righteous, but secretly knows it’s an apt self-descriptor. Evidence suggests she is very charismatic; is often invited to social events but convinces herself that people think she is either dull, ugly, or embarrassing to them. Backs out on nearly all plans made too far in advance. The same night, may be seen headed to a bar alone. Wants a simple life: a garden and a nice, clean companion. Feverishly attracted to everything but, as her level of interest roughly approximates her company’s degree of psychotic or revolutionary thought. Develops elaborate potential dialogues and endpoints for relationships; sometimes intentionally mis-remembers which of these actually occurred. Surprisingly, knows her limits: no tequila and no role play. Everything else is fair game.  
Diagnosis: Libra. OCD. Egomania. Undiagnosed cyclothymia. Mild academia.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Profile: This Moses Guy

Openly defies Egyptian authority. Just walks right into large bodies of water. Pretends to read things on rocks. Crotchety. Gets all murderous when people dance around false idols. Leads us around the desert for forty years. Tells us to get our food from the sky. Talks to burning plants and whirlwinds. Gives coveted high-priest job to his brother. Yells a lot. Founds monotheism.

Diagnosis: Ancient, Batshit

Monday, January 31, 2011

Profile: Froman

Guest post from "Froman".  Enjoy.

General Anxiety Disorder, bordering on panic disorder with just a touch of OCD.  Unable to control racing thoughts (mostly concerns and fears). Spends a lot of time at home hiding in the confines of his apartment. Has trouble keeping in touch with friends because of being uncomfortable with phone conversations and inability to travel in winter without a driver because of fear of car accidents.
Has been in 8 car accidents in his life as a passenger or driver, resulting in 2 concussions, three totaled cars and one white trash lawsuit.  Racing thoughts and lack of concentration have led to numerous unfinished projects and severely undermined confidence in the chances of any of them ever seeing the light of day. Cannot even complete a blog on a regular basis and finds his ability to focus akin to that of a Justin Bieber fan on Oxycontin.  Regularly finds flashes of insight buried in a sea of fucktardian theatrics and immediately forgets it if he doesn’t write it down. Promptly loses it in a pile of papers that he generally loses or throws away amidst a pocket full of receipts, headphones, ink pens and paraphernalia.  Keeps coat pockets so full of said items he has broken two hooks off his coat rack.
Finds himself regularly insensitive to things others are going through until it’s too late. Often insults strangers without meaning to due to lack of insight into others.   Over-analyzes everything he encounters until he is so tied in knots about it that he just leaps brashly into it and generally fucks it up.  Spends money like a hooker with a government check.  Has quit taking both medications he has been prescribed in the past due to complications like unquenchable sexual urges or coma but is again looking for a new one.  No end in sight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dear Ex-Boyfriend on the West Coast,

You and I date for nine months and you're still pissed off... even after you've said that you love me... that I refer to you as my ex-boyfriend.  You don't call for weeks, then when I'm out on a date with someone else because I assumed that we weren't together anymore you come to my house at 2 a.m. drunk and pound on all of the doors and windows because you're CERTAIN that I'm there and that I'm just ignoring you... the voicemails were precious.  All eight of them.  I'm sorry that I slapped you with my crutch when you were belittling me in front of all of your friends at your birthday party.  The quiche the next morning was excellent.  I'm also sorry that you were too blacked out drunk to remember me crutchslapping you, but I'm glad you made the quiche before you logged into Facebook and found your friends posting on your wall and making fun of you for being crutchslapped.  You always made quiche in the morning at your mother's (and your) house... and we had Spam sandwiches in the morning when you were at mine.  You made lovely quiche with that blender.  You left me to move to L.A. and then you gave me a lecture on how I was supposed to have moved to PORTLAND not CHICAGO because you and I were going to get married in two years.  I hadn't heard from you for two months, that was news to me.  I wish that your hypomanic personality liked me even if that meant that I had to put up with ManicMan's Outrageous French or Standard British accent, which were dead giveaways as to which pole you were swinging from.  Apparently, you only love me when you're speaking like a normal American boy-man and are depressed.  I miss your Apology Quiche and your Spam sandwiches.  I hope you get treatment.

Diagnosis: Bipolar I, unmedicated (you told me this yourself).

Profile: Your Ex-Girlfriends*

Judged you. Made a mess in your kitchen. Owned more stuff than you. Expected things. Preferred you not be that way. Believed differently. Took issue. Creative in finding ways to make normal situations unreasonable. Ate very little. Spatially challenged. Cryptic. Felt ways about things. Unbearable. Sometimes careless. Solicitous. Employed. Confusingly banal. Sentimental about shit. Drove weird. Winsome in public. Quasi-political. Predictable then totally not predictable. Hormonally typical. Asymmetrically opinionated. Simultaneously quiet and mouthy. Spiritually materialistic. Contradictory. Sweet, then callous, then distant. Cried.

Diagnosis: Best and Worst Thing You Ever Had in Your Life

*Sofia has generously agreed to compose a riposte, lest ye get all prematurely hatey...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011


He worked in the kitchen, I was the impressionable young hostess.  He asked me out and I went with him to a bar.  He purchased drinks for everyone in the bar (it was nearly empty) and we played pool as he told me about all of the famous chefs he had worked with when he had lived in New York.  He told me about his French cooking education.  One of the girls at the bar pulled me over and told me "that he was a really bad scene" and red flags started to pop up all over.  He was the prep cook in a pizza place... he HAD to be lying about... everything.  Talking a mile a minute.  He proceeded to get roaring drunk and then told me that  he wanted a blowjob in the alley out back.  I left, convinced that he was completely insane and I wasn't ever going to go out with him again.

He showed up the next day that we both worked together... with a yellow backpack.  He comes over to me and tells me "You're the only person here that would understand how fucking cool these are" and he opens the backpack to reveal... three wet hairy things wrapped up in plastic newspaper baggies.  I ask him what they were and he said "they're cat heads, I found them on my way to work.  I'm going to put them in the backyard with the rest of the skulls.  You see, if you dig a shallow hole and put a rock over the top of them then the bigger critters can't steal them, but the smaller critters will clean them for you".  They were parked in the yellow backpack under the pasta station for the rest of the night.

He called me ...yes, I had given him my phone number before the first date... he called me crying, telling me that he was in love with me.  The he told me that he even goes out at night and watches my house to make sure I am safe.  He stands up bottles of whatever he has been drinking around my trash can so that I know how long he's out there.  I told him to get a puppy or something.  A week later, he shows up at my front door with two Mickey's Wide Mouths at 2 a.m. to show me his puppy.  I have reason to believe that he broke into my house and stole my roommate's computer.  He told me that he had broken into my car and sat in it because he wanted to be able to smell me.  He raped another hostess and then told her not to tell me that they had slept together because I would get jealous and have her fired.

He lived with his uncle, who was confined to a wheelchair.  This needs to be a movie some day.

Diagnosis: Bipolar or Antisocial Personality Disorder (Sociopath)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Profile: Some guy named Mike or Joey


Comes into the bar with a bottle of “$80 wine” under his coat (later revealed to be worth exactly $7.99). Claims to be the singer of the Dropkick Murphys. “Hey Neil I like you, really I don’t like you, you’re an asshole, I like you a lot.” Harasses trivia players. Says his tour bus is waiting around the corner. Says he just played Congress Theater that afternoon (further investigation will reveal that no such show took place). Licks me. Says his dead wife called him Joey. “Do you understand what I’m saying to you? I’m asking you for a cigarette.” “I beat every game I’ve ever played. I beat Dungeons and Dragons.” Claims to have paid a bartender’s rent for saving him from a heroin overdose 10 years ago. Everyone with long hair is a member of Local H, apparently. Tells racist jokes. Orders several rounds of redheaded sluts. Skips out on his tab. Refused re-entry.
Diagnosis: Bipolar I, Cheapskate, Batfuck, The Most Interesting Guy I Never Want to See Again

Some Light Reading

From the Don't Talk to Anyone or Leave Your House, Ever Department:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Aaron Burr, 3rd Vice President of the United States

Aaron Burr, Third Vice President of the United States

During the Revolutionary War, left a political appointment by George Washington to return to the battlefield. Claimed to be an abolitionist while owning his own slaves. Shot Alexander Hamilton through the liver and spine (result: death) during a duel over honor. Indicted for murder. Hid out in the Southeast for a while. Conspired with a US Army officer in the employ of the Spanish government. Made plans to raise a private army and start his own kingdom in Mexico. Solicited help from Napoleon to invade Florida. Terrified Thomas Jefferson. Tried for treason. Fled to Europe. Hung out with Jeremy Bentham (designer of the "panopticon", an institution in which inmates do not know when they are being watched). Returned to America and changed his name to Edwards to avoid having to pay his debts. Lost a good deal of his last wife’s money on land speculation. Died broke, controversial, disgraced.

Diagnosis: Bipolar I, possible PTSD, Batshit