Hiatus: PPOP takes advantage of FMLA, retains rights to domain name with their own money

Our dear, dear Readers,


How we adore you so for trudging along both sides of the line we call addiction and mental illness with us through these last few years; for these last few months, we have been absent but not absent-minded and think of you often.

Because this is a blog we host for free on WordPress under a domain we pay for out of own pauper-like, debt-heavy millennial pockets, we are entitled both to stop posting at random, and to claim to be taking advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. We are simply acting on the former, but doesn’t it sound more professional, more “legit”, more pathos-inducing (hey, Bryan. . . we don’t feel good and need some cuddles!) to claim the latter?

We have grown and evolved. Thus, our mental illnesses have followed. Our trusty shadows, yet we can trust them no longer as they bedim past the point of self-deprecative humor and what they adumbrate requires real world attention. Though we tame different tigers, a period of darkness has befallen both sisters of the honoured House of the Pen Pals. We pray (to a god that does not exist) that you will wait a few more weeks for us as our abilities to transmute darkness into sensual, silly, stirring satire return.

We are okay, and we will be back. We will be mostly benzo free; we will be immersed in CBT, sexual trauma therapy, group therapy, and responsible psychiatric care; we will talk about meditation; we will push supplements named things like “lion’s mane extract” on you; we will look into orgasmic running and other types of Portland poppycock; and we will, assuredly, still be on an opulent amount of adderall.

Until then,

Warmly and forever yours in spellbinding existential fear,

We are:

Pen Pals On Pills



No Dentist Required: A Poem





Why does this stick of butter smell queer?

Oh, because I’m attempting to smell it through my ears.

Drugs are good, drugs are weird,

I took a tab and now I’m drinking a beer.

Hold up:

I have a made a discovery,

That’s kind of silly and kind of whacky,

That alters my perception of this stick’s genre of creamery.


This isn’t butter at all, at all:

It’s a block of cheddar, huzzah!

It might be Welsh, it might be goat’s milk,

Either way, here’s what I think:

The walls are spinning,

Charlie Sheen stopped winning,

I hate Instagrams with the caption, “Twinning!!”—


A second revelation has just made me feel- chagrining.

(And I know that’s not the right tense of the word,

But here yee, here yee, my senses have taken yet another turn.)

I thought that block of cheese tasted odd,

But now I know my eyes deceived me into this fraud.

It was never cheese, but alas: a bar of soap;

Now I’m just some doped-up-soap-eating-dope.


Crabtree & Evelyn:

Triple Milled,

Twenty-Six big ones billed.

My stomach:

Less than thrilled,

But my high, never killed.

Peeing On a Blanket (And Myself) (In My Car) Like A Dog: An Anecdote


Recently, I have become engrossed in Lindy West’s gripping, giggle-inducing, excessively relatable memoir Shrill. In it, she so graciously admits to the reader that she once urinated on herself in first grade; it ends up being third grade, which is much worse, but still okay. Unknowingly, I preemptively took a page from this book and applied it to my own life one week before I checked it out of the West Hollywood County Library, with its grandiose wooden staircase and plethora of homeless people getting plush and cozy on the couches throughout. Also recently, I obtained a part-time job that was contingent on the results of a medical exam. If you’ve ever had a medical test for a job before, you know perfectly well that that’s just Newspeak for “drug test”. If you’ve read this blog before, you know perfectly well that I could never pass such a test on a mere two weeks notice—an excellent amount of time for a budding romance betwixt Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, but bad pour moi.

I live in a constant state of heightened anxiety, which I both abhor and embrace: without it, the self-deprecating humor that is my actual spinal fluid would dry up and leave me sans personality. My unceasing pontification on the mortality of those around me and the impending end of my existence has allowed me one lifeline: jokes. In an unrelated bodily sense, I possess a bladder that possesses many of the same characteristics as the trope of the hysterical woman: it is sensitive, irrational, and prone to overreaction (i.e. four pees to one beer). So with that in mind, I present to you my most recent rock bottom moment, in which I peed on a blanket and a pile of tissues in the drivers seat of my car, in broad daylight, in downtown Los Angeles.

After being notified about the test, I forced my boyfriend to call the office and inquire about it, so that even if they figured out that someone in my position was calling to see if it was a drug test, they would never know it was me because they would think it was one of the guys they hired calling. I am James Bond, international spy, mastermind, and sensual sensation. Unfortunately, the office would give no details, so I began to spiral into catastrophic projections regarding the rest of my life in the event that I failed the test and was no longer hired: homelessness and unhappiness were inevitable.

Because I wrote a thesis, I am a superior researcher. (Read: I have an Adderall prescription). To quote directly from my cover letter, this is because: “the work entailed by the thesis writing process demonstrated my ability to produce high-quality work under pressure in a timely manner, to conduct and synthesize mass amounts of research effectively, to clearly present complex arguments, and to work independently with the upmost efficiency and effectiveness. This process also illustrated my acute attention to detail, as well as my exceptional organizational skills.” And so, I figured out a foolproof way to pass the drug test. It was a product called Toxin Rid, and it cost $129.95 for a seven-day detox kit. There was just one snag: I did not have $129.95 to spend on Toxin Rid. So, I spiraled again, bought a more-price-friendly-but-less-reliable day-of cleanse, obtained a guest pass to LA Fitness where I spent a lot of time in the sauna, and talked about my fear of not passing incessantly, to anyone who would listen.

The cleanse I decided on was Mega Clean: a 32-ounce bottle of chalky, faux fruit punch liquid to be ingested in full a few hours before the test. You then wait 15 minutes, fill the 32 ounce bottle back up with water, and drink that quickly. Then you continue drinking water throughout the day until your test, to prolong its detoxifying effects. Once you have peed 3-4 times, you’re good to go and your pee is as clear as Lake Pukaki. Lake Pukaki is an alpine lake in New Zealand, ah-doy. However, because of my research (shout out to thcclean.net), I opted to take some supplements to saturate my urine just in case the tech found it too clear and decided I needed to re-test. Add pop to your pee: I am the Andy Warhol of urine. Sidenote: am I failing the blog-Bechdel test right now? Three out of four of my character references are men, my bad. The future is female, both in the remainder of this post and in our democracy. Which, by the way, democracy: why you out here drug testing us fools? LET US LIVE. STOP CRIMINALIZING THE DISENFRANCHISED FOR A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY THEY CREATED FOR US, YOU MONSTERS.

I drank the liquid, started peeing like there was a fetus bumping and grinding in my uterus, and then a new fear set in: I was not going straight to the test, but first to get fingerprinted in a different building. I then had a small break of time before the medical exam appointment, but not enough time to drive to a fast food restaurant, pee, drive back, and re-park my car. The appointments were in an industrial area of downtown LA, with no open to the public businesses and limited parking spaces. Without shame, I asked my boyfriend if I could borrow one of his beach towels to sit on just in case I had an accident.

I made it downtown by shimmying in my seat and biting my tongue as hard as I could. In high school, my mom’s friend told her that if you bite your tongue, you can hold your pee for longer. I think this might not be completely true.

I parked, sprinted into the building, got a name-tag from the security guard and asked where the bathroom was: upstairs. I endured an elevator ride with two city workers, continuing my shimmy. But alas, I made it, got my fingerprints taken, and was ushered out of the building.

This is when things took a turn for the worse, for the wetter. I walked back to my car to wait for the medical exam, feeling confident that I could hold it until then. Ten minutes passed, and this confidence evaporated. I began frantically searching Google Maps for the nearest restroom, but it was an eight-minute drive away. A far-away haven in a Dunkin’ Donuts. I scanned the street for a large truck I could stealthily squat behind; foot traffic was at a minimum, but there were too many cars driving through. I had waited too long; I couldn’t make it back to the fingerprinting building. A 20-something, wildly dressed black dude donning a Viking helmet biked passed my window, flipping off each car as he passed, singing, “fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.” I knew what must be done.

Hastily, I unbuttoned my pants and pulled them halfway down; grabbed the beach towel, appropriately bright yellow with embroidered suns, and placed it under me along with a pile of tissues; I haphazardly shielded my vagina with a hand as a semi drove by, and I am pretty sure the driver saw something; I waited for the semi to pass, and then expelled a small stream, which was such a relief it was vaguely sexual. There was not much I had to clean up because of my preparation, so I threw the towel into the backseat, pulled up my jeans, and waited the remaining minutes inside of the car, listening to Call Your Girlfriend.

It should be said that at this time my mental health was hanging by a much finer string than normal, and that because of my level of panic and paranoia, I had begun to fear that I was possibly schizophrenic while at the same time admitting my hypochondria was the worst it had ever been. I was feeling socially paralyzed, and had it in mind that I would be barred from entering the building early for my test to use their bathroom, because they would know WHY I had to pee and then I would FAIL and then I would DIE. I also got it in my head that they had no public bathroom, that they knew what was up, and you got one shot to go. This, of course, was untrue.

With only a little shame, I got out of the car and started to walk over to the Medical Services building. Looking back at my car while pressing the lock button about 12 times (I have many neuroses about being stolen from), I noticed something on the building behind it. A security camera. At the angle it was pointing, there was no way it had caught me. I had to be clear. But when I walked up to Medical Services, I saw two cops cars parked out front, the cops conversing with each other. My stomach dropped. What if the camera had captured me, and the owner of the eastern medicine office with the camera had called them to report me? Would I have to register as a sex offender? Had someone seen me while driving by, had I not been as quick and inconspicuous as I thought? How would I explain this to my boyfriend, to my parents, to my lawyers I would inevitably have to hire? “I’m so sorry, I was anxious and have a hypertonic bladder . . . please, please don’t! I want to live near a park!”

I entered the building short of breath to the waiting room, where it was obvious to me they were trying to act casual. A lone security guard greeted me from behind a desk. Don’t cause a scene, wait for her to check in and tap her on the shoulder and ask her to come answer some questions outside. That’s how they’d do it. I asked if there was a restroom I could use, and the security guard replied with a jolly “right around this corner”, and rounding it, I came to meet a friend and a foe: irony. This bathroom certainly had no parameters for its use, no screening process; I felt my world collapsing as I peed, Raskolnikov regret for my crime. It all could’ve been avoided. I shouldn’t have killed that pawnbroker. Oh, sorry, shouldn’t have peed on a towel in my Jetta. Oops.

Now, to make a long story somewhat shorter: I checked in at the desk with no hassle, sat down and kept an unmoving eye on the patrol car outside the window, peed again, was called back, did a hearing and eye test, rattled off my list of current medications to a whacky, hyperactive doctor who told me that everyone who works in the library is on psych meds because they read too much, and furtively drank water from the sink when he briefly left me alone in the room, so my pee would be even a wee bit cleaner. Upon his return, he reviewed his notes, and told me I was good to go. “What, I don’t need to stay and give a urine sample or anything?”

“Nope, we only drug test if there’s a suspicion of use.”

“Oh, okay cool. Thanks.”

I departed in a daze, but not before using their bathroom one more time. The 1992 LA Times article I had read about mandatory drug testing in the city had lied to me, how dare it! And now I was going to be arrested for something that could have been completely avoided? Or I wouldn’t be in some lucky chance, and I had the job, and everything would be fine and a-okay? Bullshit. I walked back to my car with one eye over my shoulder, but no one stopped me. There was no ticket on my windshield, no indication that anyone had obtained a search warrant for the car and removed the blanket to DNA test the urine to use it against me in court as evidence. Everything was okay. There was no drug test, I wasn’t a sex offender, and I even had a new job. Go figure.

Mortified before eventually becoming amused with these events (and starting a new mental health regime), I told my boyfriend I hadn’t had to use the towel. If you’re reading this now, as I’m sure you are because I will have sent you the link, I’m sorry for this presentation of an alternative fact. Though it is timely, no? I’m usually such a bad liar, which I don’t think will bode well for me in our burgeoning dystopia. But my knack for public urination and desecration of linens? Now that’s something that will.

I guess I really put the P’s in Pen Pals on Pills.

Are you getting coal in your stocking this Christmas?

Since the simple days of Socrates, the lines between right and wrong have become increasingly blurred. What’s manipulative and what’s resourceful? How dark can a white lie be?

Be prepared for the likelihood that you’ve been deemed “naughty” due to unsavory behavior this year. Here’s a quick, easy evaluation to determine your ranking:

  • You consistently feel one of these emotions, even if you can’t pinpoint the cause:




  • You don’t remember most of this year besides the blowout sale on bourbon at Total Wine, and that was in February.
  • You didn’t know who David Bowie was until you heard he died.
  • You’re getting everyone snowflake-patterned shot glasses this year because Marshall’s was selling a 12-pack for just $4!
  • You lied about your income to get free Plan B at Planned Parenthood. Then you sold it at retail price to a 15-year-old.
  • You posted more than 30 selfies to a single social media channel (not including Snapchat, obviously)
  • You live in rural Florida.
  • You showed up at Emma’s 26th birthday party with a case of Coors Light.

If any of these pertain to you, or bring to mind similar transgressions, you have a 90% chance of receiving a stocking full of coal.

Of course, several unknowable factors persist:

  • Is this character judgement cumulative or just based on this year?
  • Is owning 2 vibrators considered adultery?
  • What if I don’t have a chimney?

So you’re a cold-hearted snake and it’s too late to rectify the damage you’ve wrought–but aren’t the holidays about joy, and doesn’t joy come from being yourself? Isn’t rewarding kindness with material goods a bit contradictory? How come The North Pole owns both Exxon Mobil and the National Iranian Oil Company and they still pass out coal?

Society has it all wrong, not you. Go ahead, be a reckless bitch all year round. You have nothing to lose.

Trading with Joe: Bacon Pizza


In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the waters. Then God said, Let there be light; and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the Light, Day, and the darkness he called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. On the second day, God created Joe, and saw that he was more than good; in fact, he was so great, God traded with him. And so here we are, many millennia later, to share the divinity that is: Trader Joe’s, our own little slice of Eden right here in the years of AD.

This is the first installment of our newest creation, our food and recipe blog—in time, be it today, tomorrow, or the day that you make the bacon pizza we are about to describe, you too will see that it is good.

While the intention is for this to be a recipe blog, please understand that on our pitiable postgrad budgets, it is often hard to gather the funds and motivation for real gourmet meals. However, we never allow those obstacles to hinder our creativity!

We’d like to start off by sharing with you the result of one spontaneous evening and entirely legal substance abuse:

Pizza á Baconné


1 lb bag of TJ’s Fresh Pizza Dough, which tastes like one thousand Arabian horses galloping on your tongue

1 jar TJ’s Three Cheese Pomodoro Pasta Sauce, with a flavor akin to a lumberjack felling an entire redwood forest on top of your taste buds

1 bag of TJ’s blend of Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Cheddar, which will leave your lips feeling as though you have just kissed the succulence of original sin intermixed with the passion of the cult of Dionysus

1 red onion, 1 tomato & 1 handful of spinach, a combo that presents to your palate an Aztec god rubbing your salty skin down with the finest of rattlesnake venom infused oils

And, finally -nay- crucially:

4 strips of TJ’s Applewood smoked bacon, which will have you squealing with as much delight as the pig from whom it was made squealed when he found out that his legacy was secured in becoming this delectable form


Flour the crust and roll into whatever shape you so desire. Spread the sauce and sprinkle the cheese. Cook bacon as directed, then crumble and disperse onto pizza. Chop onion, tomato, and spinach, then sauté in the bacon grease—then put it on the pizza as well. Place the pizza in the oven, heated to 450 Fahrenheit, and cook for twelve minutes; or, until the crust is as golden as a Trojan sunset before its civilization met its demise, and the cheese bubbles like the cauldron of the Weird Sisters.

PPOP Tip #1: Use an oven mitt (or two if you’re apprehensive) to remove pizza from oven. It will be hot.

PPOP Tip #2: Remember to turn the oven off!

PPOP Tip #3: Eat your pizza before someone else does.


That is all for now, and as we like to say,

“If you put enough guacamole on it, you won’t even notice how bad it tastes!”

Ode to Cheese

You know that cozy feeling of a thick woolen sweater?

I find the same warmth in a big block of cheddar


For fancy occasions though, I choose gruyere

Nothing like strong odors at a black tie affair


If you were to offer me some gorgonzola

I’d be so overjoyed that I’d accidentally pull a


Hamstring while throwing a one-man dance party

Don’t even get me started on a slice of havarti


If it’s just a few of us hangin’ at a low-key kickback

I wouldn’t say no to some Monterey Jack


As for lonely nights, I just sprinkle on shaved parmesan

And suddenly find all my worries are gone


When my attempts to extort information fall short

I bolster my words with a mouthful of Roquefort


Mozzarrella, was it you who lost your glass slipper at the ball?

Or was that another Ella, I cannot recall


Provolone and swiss make for turkey sandwich bliss

And it would be rude-a to not include-a gouda

But cottage cheese, fuck you

Quiz: Which autumnal squash are you?

Pick a color:

Sky blue

Royal purple

Depression black

Pick a number:




Pick a seed:




Close your eyes and point to at the screen. Wherever your finger lands, that is your spirit squash.

Butternut–You’re just the absolute cutest. You’re the type of person who gets 200 likes on a photo of you wearing a fun hat. On the surface you appear a bit naive, but you’re in fact quite polished and sophisticated when you need to be. Wherever you are, you make people around you feel warm and comforted, even though you couldn’t protect them from harm even a little bit.

Spaghetti–You’re a free spirit. You don’t conform to labels because you can’t be defined by just one proper noun. According to your philosophy, you can be whatever you want to be as long as it’s on Pinterest. You don’t believe in “bad”, it’s all just “different”. People are hesitant the first time they hang out with you, but once you win them over they can’t stop telling everyone how they feel “better than ever” since your friendship began.

Zucchini–You’re a no-nonsense straight-shooter. You’d love it if all of life could be converted to an Excel document. You know that you’re better at being a squash than any of the others because you’re both approachable and versatile. You don’t take anyone’s shit because you just don’t have time for it–you’re too busy alphabetizing a long list of your positive character traits while watching TED talks.

Delicata–You’re a trophy wife. Beneath the fluorescent lights of the Trader Joe’s produce section, you’re an eye-catching mystery. You’re a master at flirtatious comments, sexy hair flips, and sounding like you know what you’re talking about. However, after your enticing seduction tactics, no one can actually hold a conversation with you. You’re never a real part of dinner party discussions, you’re just there to make your husband look adventurous and studly. You know this and don’t care, because after years of digging you’ve finally struck gold.

Pumpkin–You’re a total pushover and a shameless sellout. You let children viciously carve faces on you because you want that front porch fame. You don’t do well on your own the way your squash peers do–people can only tolerate you with spices, condensed milk and that buttery, flaky crust. No one knows who you truly are yet somehow everyone still loves you–so keep up the act.

Terrifying Things to Think of When You’re Lying Next to Him in the Dark



My favorite part of my General Anxiety Disorder has got to be the helping hand it lends to my imagination, especially in the sheath of darkness and night. One moment I’m counting friendly, fluffy sheep, and the next I’m frozen in fear, horrified by hallucinations and scenarios that appear vividly in my visual cortex. Sometimes though, the ordinary image of my family being ripped to shreds by zombies after watching too much of The Walking Dead begins to bore me- made mundane in its nightly repetition. Even if I’m lying in bed next to a partner, I don’t reach out to wake them to comfort me; unconsolable, it is easier to let your reveries run wild. Besides, spiraling into a wormhole of fear is best felt alone, in the fetal position. Because, dear reader, we know you empathize, we have compiled a list of terrifying thoughts to mull over while you lie down in bed next to a lover, in a temporary paralysis, waiting for your xanax to kick in and a morning that seems shall never come.


  1. When will this thing end or-gasp!-will you stay together forever, get married, and stretch your precious vagina to the point of no return popping out his spawn? Either option is terrifying, as you realized months back when you finished the final episode of Master of None, stunned by its brilliance but scared shitless of its realism in relation to your young life. There are only two ways any relationship can go, to end or be eternal. Do you want to marry him? Do you even want to get married at all, ever? But if you did stay with him that long, wouldn’t you want to be married for your kids’ sakes? For tax purposes? What if this it it? Are you happy with that? Yes, yes you are… or do you only think you feel happy? How do you know if you’re truly happy or just on the cusp of some sweet delusion? Will you marry him and lead a seemingly satisfying life only to meet another man 20 years in who shows you what real love is? What if this isn’t it? When will it end, sooner or later? Which one is better- are you just waiting it out? Will you crumble into a thousand tiny pieces, never able to love again? Who will end it- him or you? If you, will you regret it, beg him to take you back because you’re a stupid, silly woman who doesn’t know what she wants? Will you thrive? No, no optimism here in the cold, raw clutches of the pitfall betwixt sunset and rise.
  2. If he died right now, what would you say at his funeral? Would the family let you speak? If you succumbed to the sly hands of the god in which you no longer believe, would he speak at your funeral? Would he keep in touch with your family, tell his future children about you, warn them of the morose, ephemeral, rapturous nothingness that is this human life? Or, would he expunge all memories of you from his mind like a misdemeanor from a minor’s rap sheet, free and unscathed in his pursuit of happiness, prosperity, and longevity?
  3. Imagine you’re pregnant right now. If you’re just days away from an oncoming flow fest, even better. Have you been feeling sick in the mornings, or are those just hangovers? Is your skin looking unusually clear for this week of your cycle, or is it just your newly implemented honey and cinnamon face mask routine? Of course you’re pro choice- but could you do it? How would you pay for it- would he, would you split it? Is this kind of thing covered by insurance? Would you tell your parents- just your mom, just your dad, both? Where would you have the procedure done- here, in this city, or would you want to go home, by way forcing you to tell at least one parent? Would you want him to drive you, or your best friend in town, or would your childhood best friend need to drive down for a Friday appointment? How far along are you- exactly what procedure would be done- can you choose, is there anesthesia involved? Of course you’d never keep it, but what if you did- would he be the parent to make the major decisions, or would it be a united front? Psych yourself up- of course you’d do it, you have a career to think about, not to mention the damage that would already be done by your heavy drug and alcohol intake in the last few weeks (read: years). Olivia Pope did it, Clare Underwood did it, The Obvious Child is one of your favorite movies, you’re a strong, powerful female with the mental wherewithal to go ahead and-but wait! No, you tell yourself, hush, you’re not pregnant, it’s fine… but are you?
  4. Naturally, both sets of your parents will someday perish. Will it be his or yours first, and when? Soon, in a shock that reverberates so strongly through your body that  it stupefies you, liquifies you into a lukewarm cup of primordial soup, just a heap of proteins? Or, later, a sluggish sojourn to the end- painstaking, but bringing relief at its conclusion? How will he comfort you, will you be inconsolable? How will you comfort him, are you capable of that kind of support? Will he retreat into depression, will your suicidal fantasies return? You do just love the ending of The Awakening. Will you be waving from the sea, or will you be drowning?
  5. If you’ve forgone your nightly bar and have instead opted for the nonbenzodiazepine equivalent of fleece, ambien, these subjects may be too profound; you need something more succinct before you are lulled into a chemical respite. And so, I leave you with some simpler questions: should you be investing in the stock market? How do you even buy stocks, from who, and where? How many spiders have you swallowed in your lifetime, will there be oral arachnid intruders tonight?  Are you going to develop dementia, have you already? Can that be latent? When will it begin to affect you? Has it already, but you just don’t remember? Do you have a drinking problem, or are you just an aspiring screenwriter and stand-up comic with a satire focused WordPress account?


What a sensual, cruel mistress this life is. Sweet dreams!