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Everything you ever wanted to know about DwanollahÖ and then some!

I've received all sorts of e-mail since starting this siteÖ most of 'em have been totally groovy, but a couple've been stupid. So let me attempt to answer some of the basicsÖ and a few of the specifics, as well. 

Tell us more about yourself, Dwanollah!

Why, sure! Iím a Cancer with Virgo rising, so that means I'm an emotional basket-case, and I'm very anal-retentive about it, too. I majored in English, and got my M.A. in Literature from Penn a few years back, and a second M.A. in Children's Lit, just because. After a time working as an editorial assistant at Addison, Wesley, Longman in NYC, I Professed English at a crummy little college in Los Angeles. Now I'm getting my PhD, writing, finishing The Book, and doing conferences when I can. Obviously I read a whole hell of a lot. I have an unhealthy fascination with Hemingway. Other favorite authors are Fitzgerald, O’Connor, Joyce, Faulkner, Stein, and Wharton. (Yes, I'm an American Modernist. What gave it away?) My favorite poets are Dickinson, Milay, Eliot, cummings and Joy Harjo. My all-time favorite kiddie books are The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and the Little House and Betsy-Tacy serieseses… and I’ve done extensive graduate work on all of them, so not only will I gush about how much I love Dickon Sowerby and Betsy Ray, I will also split hairs with you on issues of Imperialism or the use of the Gothic in them as well, just for sheer fun!

I’m still a die-hard Durannie, and’ve had a crush on Simon LeBon for more than half my lifetime. I love to cook and have people over. My Beloved and I used to live in a big old house we called The Mansion, but had to pick up and move around a bit before recently returning to Los Angeles. I loved living in New York City, and hate LA with the blazing white-hot fire of a thousand suns. Iím opinionated, judgmental, hypercritical and I overanalyze everythingÖ and if you think Iím hard on others, Iím ten times more so on myself. Iím also narcissistic and self-involved; I mean, if I wasnít, would I be writing this FAQ in the first place...? My favorite foods are cheese, ice cream, anything chocolate, good Italian, good deli (especially chopped liver... mmmmm...), prime rib, mashed potatoes, malossol caviar, and arugula. I like people whoíre intelligent, interesting and sarcastic but not mean. I enjoy good museums, fresh flowers, the ocean and crowded old bookstores. Pierre Bonnard rules. My idea of a good time is a mind-expanding debate, an afternoon antiquing, or a road trip blasting good music. I groove on synth-pop, hippie music, scratcy old recordings from the 1910s and 20s, and Chopin. I love the blues and swing, and I like my jazz hot… like my men. My evil twin is Adam Carolla. I like wonky shit, and I enjoy seeing the absurdity in everyday things. I dig Stuff. Cats rule, dogs drool. I'm a list-maker. The best things in the wholewideworld are Thanksgiving with the whole family, The Husband-Type Man's grin, making my mom laugh, the Chixes, blooming hydrangea, Billie Holliday, having a fire in the fireplace with the door wide open on cool weekend mornings, oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, falling asleep every night with my arms wrapped tight around The Husband-Type Man, and waking up every morning with THTM's arms wrapped tight around me.

I hate teddy bears, public restrooms, flame wars, dogs, commercial fragrances, 'netspeak (esp. "LOL") and obnoxious/loud people. I dislike most opera, rap, c(o)untry music, "smooth jazz" and shlocky love songs. I canít stand sexist generalizations, petty word games, and dishonest/unethical behavior. I hate childrenÖ I mean, one or two are okay, but large crowds of them make me break out in hives. I loathe the suburbs and anything related to them. I hate flying, airports, airplanes, takeoffs, landings, and all the stuff in between. I hate TV (despite my 90210 habit). And I hate movies, especially the Typical Hollywood Blockbusters. I can't stand hot weather, Frank Gehry, crowds, smokers, small talk, jingoism, and semiotic criticism. Obnoxious asshole drivers suck. So does Reality TV. And bell peppers.

I make my own perfume. I drive fast. I sing loud, off-key harmonies to Beatles songs and do all the teen pop dances to my BSB and Britney and Kylie Minogue CDs. I take long baths. I collect -- nay, horde -- free postcards... you know, the kind in those display slots outside public restrooms? Yeah, those. I think that the best music in the world came from the 80s, and by "the 80s," I mean '81-'86. I have a Taser gun. Iíve long professed a deep hatred of Romantic literature, but recently had to confess to Goddess Caroline that Browning and Tennyson and even that blowhard druggie Coleridge ainít bad. I play with Barbies and grow herbs in my backyard. I'm fiercely loyal, stubborn, a grind, a weirdo, and prolly only one crucial degree from obsessive-compulsive.

And like the old song says, "If you donít know me by nowÖ."

So, why do you have this dumb website? Howíd dwanollah.com come about?

Obviously, i tís purely gratuitous. Iíd been doing the 90210 Rants over at Mediarama for a couple years, and, when the end of the show was in sight, I wanted another writing outlet. The Husband-Type Man asked me if Iíd ever considered a website. In fact, I had. So for my birthday, he registered dwanollah.com and installed FrontPage on my computer and I was on my way.

One of my two career goals (the other one being "English Professor") is to earn money as a writer. This site is, ostensibly, a means to that end. Or it's practice, at the very least. So despite what it looks like on the surface, it's more "blurg" than blog. And, somewhere in there, it's kinda an attempt at a regular training course in critical writing.

How often do you update? Other sites update once a week or once a month, so what's wrong with you?!

Yeah, but other sites don't have to deal with The Slacker Hacker, aka Robert/Bobby/R0b0rt/whatever his latest incarnation is. Ideally, I'd have a new Blather or Foof posted promptly every month -- since I actually have them written that often -- but it takes about 6 months of Bobby twittering, fussing, whining, procrastinating, having "real work" emergencies, calling me a housewife who writes children's books, complaining about saving the world's bandwidth, demanding beer, and at least 4 "me" days before I can get him to actually put anything up here. Sometimes I just go ahead and post stuff in all its Ugliness, hoping that will motivate him to fix shit up, but usually that doesn't work as well as I'd like. So really, assume for the time being that everything published here was written 6 months to a year ago, because ROBERT GARGLES DONKEY BALLS!

But every month or couple of months, he manages to find time for one of our Bad Movie Dates and allows me to cook/order him dinner, and will spend a quality 10 minutes poking around here before he whines that it's just too much work to format those three pictures AND fix the front page in one whole night, and only a Dark Angel at O-Bar can help him bear the burdens that I place on his nimble yet manly shoulders.

So! Anyone want a job here?

And by the way, Bobby LOVES to hear from readers who are looking for new stuff here to read, so feel free to contact him with incessant demands.

Cíest Cheese? Whatís that all about?

I have scrnwrt (of the now-defunct Naked Sometimes) to thank for that. I was looking for a name for my site, and wanted something tongue-in-cheek and cheesy. So I had a contest, and thatís the one that stuck. If you still donít get it, phonetically itís "say cheese," and kinda means "It is cheese!" in French, okay?

Frankly, I have some fairly cheesy interests. I mean, teen pop? Over-the-top theme parties? Kiddie books? Duran Duran? This is a place where it can all live and thrive in harmony.

What does "Dwanollah" mean, anyway?

Itís my nickname, dating back almost fifteen years now. See, when I was a kid, I never had a cool nickname, and always envied people who had, like, Nicole/Nicki or Cassandra/Cassie/Cass.... I mean, they called me "Dog" instead of Dawn in grade school, but that's not the same. My brother was "Sugarbear" growing up, and I was... well, occasionally I was "Sis"Ö not a spectacularly unique handle.

When I was in my early 20s, working at a museum with a groovy couple of folks, we used to (amongst other things) get together and watch Saturday Night Live. This was back in the days of Opera Man, Sprockets and... CawfeeTawk, with Linda Richmond. Comes the episode when Madonna and Roseanne guest star. Madonna is "Liz Rosenberg," Linda's best friend. Roseanne is Liz's mother... or "Momallah!" as Madonna calls her. And during the skit, "Liz" would exclaim "Momallah, ach! You're makin' me CRAZY!"

And my friend Liz turned to me and said "Dwanollah, ach! You're makin' me CRAZY!"

So from then on, my Museum Friends called me Dwanollah.

A few months later, I went to work at the bookstore. Someone mentioned SNL/Coffee Talk, and I said "Oh, when I worked at the museum, they used to call me Dwanollah-" 

And since I worked there for almost 5 years, all and sundry knew me as Dwanollah. Iíd get notes on my locker addressed to Dwanollah. I got paged over the store intercom as Dwanollah. I even had a nametag that said Dwanollah. And when I got my first e-mail account and had to register a 9-character handle, well....

FYI: itís pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: DWAN-oh-lah. Although Iíll answer to "Dwan-OH-lah," it just ainít the same.

Why do you call your husband The Husband-Type Man?

We're totally big dorks. It all started on our honeymoonÖ.

Iíve never been fond of the terms "husband" and "wife"Ö. It sounds soÖ soooÖ so proprietary. So when we got hitched, I wasnít sure how we were going to handle being called "husband" and "wife." Ah, naturally, it turned into a joke. While we traipsed around England, we kept taking really dorky pictures of each other and captioning them. "Look! Itís The Wife Putting on Her Shoes!" "Smile! I call this one The Husband Making Faces." And so on. It reached its climax at Kensington Palace when I captured "Luscious Husband-Type Man Lunching in Kensington Park." So yeah, his nickname is Luscious Husband-Type ManÖ LHTM for short. But I figured Iíd spare yíall that much Smoofiness. So here, heís just The Husband-Type Man. And yes, in fact, he does call me The Woman-Type Wife sometimes.

Did you and your husband really meet in a Duran Duran fan club?

Believe it or not, we did. We both belonged to a online Duran fan club, and met when a bunch of the folks in Southern California set up a Gathering back in '95. We started gabbing a bit about Duran... and music... and LA and San Diego... and Chinese food... and books... and- And by the end of the afternoon, THTM, still shy, asked for my phone number. And I gave him my e-mail address instead, because I certainly wasn't looking for, you know, any kind of involvement! He had to ask me again, pointedly. (You know how there are some people who just ping your "uh oh!" radar...? When I first met THTM, it was a weird experience of the exact opposite thing. He was so... not an asshole or a creep!) And I, uncharacteristically, gave him my phone number.

A few phone conversations and emails, and we discovered that we had a hell of a lot more in common than Duran Duran. Plus I found out that under his seemigly-staid exterior lurks a truly spectacularly weird, twisted and brilliant human being! A year or so after that first meeting, ah, we combined our two Duran Duran collections into one....

So when we got married, a friend of ours sent all the (then) members of Duran our wedding invitations and told them how we met, and they all signed them and wrote notes on them, and THTM framed them beautifully, and we displayed them at our wedding (where our processional was "This is How a Road Gets Made" and our first dance was a bootleg of "Thank You" from the Warren/Simon show, and we world premiered "Electric Barbarella" because one of our Durannie friends sent us a bootleg of Medazzaland before it was released)! KICK ASS!

YOU KNOW DURAN DURAN?!?! CAN YOU GET ME BACKSTAGE?!?! I LVOE THEM!!!! CAN YOU GET MY WEDDING INVITATIONS SIGNED, TOO?!?!?!

No, I don't know Duran Duran! We barely blip their radar; if someone says "those two Durannies in Los Angeles who got married," they SORTA remember us.But our friend worked in the studio with them in London. Thanks to her, me and THTM have had more Amazing Duran Experiences than 14-year-old Dwanollah LeBonollah (or the dorky 14-year-old boy in Orange County playing air guitar to The Reflex) could've imagined.

At the time, we were the only known Durannies (in America) to actually get hitched, so the wedding invites was a special thing for both of us, not a "THAT WOULD BE SO COOL I SHULD DO THAT TOO!!" dealie.

I love John so much! What is he like? Are they hot in person? Was Simon nice? Did you meet Roger!? Is Warren a perv?

Yes, they are hot in person! It's Duran Duran... what else would they be?!

Simon's totally nice... as long as you are the only Simon fan in the room! My Boyfriend runs hot and cold; he's flirted and charmed me like mad, and he's ignored me to go talk to someone hotter. He's easily the bestest-smelling Duran, though.... *dreamy sigh* Warren is scary in the macho-Italian-Brooklyn-musician way, but if you look past that, he is delightful and was always great to the fans. But yes, he's a perv, and we've been lucky enough to see him drop trou, but that's not really anything rare. John is the most consistantly nice one, and is actually very shy and insecure (at least, that's the vibe I always get from him). But he's adorable and kind and just plain sweet! (Gela was very reserved, and I couldn't tell if it was because she was shy, intimidated by a small herd of Durannies, or bitchy.) Roger is darling and talkative and funny; all that early-80s stuff about "the shy one" pales in comparison to his current loquaciousness; whatever meds they've got him on, it's working! I've always had good Nick moments, too, but, then again, it's usually because he's drinking. (His ex-girlfriend, Maddy, was AWESOME, though! I miss her!) With Nick, I get the feeling that half of him is someplace else, but he's always been groovy to us. I've only met Andy once briefly, and he was very nice and friendly.

What is a Sugarbear? What are The Chix? Who is O Nancy My Nancy? Who is Number One? Who is Boy Wonder? 

I generally use sobriquets for everyone on this site. You know, "names changed to protect the innocent" and all that. So here’s a glossary of names that pop up most often.

In the 90210 Rants, why do you spell Brenda's name "Brinda"? Who are the Overt Penis Boys? Who is LawyerBoy?

Most of these nicknames and terms of non-endearment started many, many years back at Mediarama, and I couldn't begin to give you a history of each!

What is "foof"?

Foof is a technical term that developed when I was working at the bookstore and decorating all the windows. It means to decorate/fix up all ker-nifty like. It can be used as a noun ("Oooh, lookit all the kewl-rad foof in that store!") or as a verb ("We need to foof The Mansion more."), or with the addition of a y ("That outfit is all foofy!") it becomes an adjective. I was dubbed the Goddess of Foof back at the bookstore, and have proudly lived up to my role as such ever since. Amen.

What about "wonky?"

Wonky is a rather effective adjective with a variety of definitions and uses. It means odd, out of place, messed up, unusual, unique, strange, slightly askew.... Lounge furniture is wonky. So is some of my favorite synth-pop music. THTM's hair when he first wakes up in the morning is way wonky. You can make wonky a verb ("Let me wonk with this a little more... it's still not right") meaning re-arrange, play with, or adjust. In rarer occasions, it can be used as a noun ("That painting has this weird wonk to it"). 

Are you hot? Can you send me pictures? 

No, no Iím not. Iím fat and ugly and surly. But I like to think that my sparkling personality, quick wit and delightful charm make up for my physical deficiencies. And I donít do pictures. So shut up and go away.

Why r u such a bitch???!!!???!!!!!

I dunno... harsh toilet training?

I think it's because I was such a spineless marshmallow for the first 20-odd years of my life. I had convinced myself that I had to be friendly and cheerful and happy all the time; even my friends of years had never seen me angry or upset or crying. I was the Class Asswipe for the whole of elementary and junior high school. I got pushed around by The Stepfathers. I had my tentative opinions smacked down. And I took it. Even my own friends would get pissed if I expressed the tiniest bit of "Hey, you know, it makes me feel kinda bad when you ___" and give me the "We're JUST JOKING! Why do you have to be SO SENSITIVE?! You're SO SELFISH!" And I'd hang my head and apologize for being such a horrible human being-

After the whole Boy Wonder debacle, after I'd been knifed in the back by both my long-time boyfriend and my best friend, after repeated Dumb Dad antics, after a whole bunch of therapy, I finally got the hint and stopped being such a fucking doormat. And as a result, I also cannot abide stupidity, and have no patience for dishonest, immature, unethical, or just plain moronic behavior.

But believe it or not, I'm actually fairly nice in real life. Sometimes.

Now. Why can't you use proper punctuation?

Why do you think you're so great? Why do you act so superior? Why do you think you're really all that?

Dear, if you don't get that I'm being facetious about stuff, then there's no help for you.

I'll bet you think your [sic] so special because your [sic] rich and live in a mansion!!!

*sigh* Calling our old house The Mansion is a JOKE! It's because it was BIG compared to the TINY apartment we moved from! It wasn't really a mansion, we don't live in Beverly Hills, we don't have maids and a butler, we don't drive fancy cars, we don't give swanky parties every weekend.

Or because you had rich parents who could afford to send you to a fancy Ivy League school!!!

*hysterical laughter*

Actually, I put myself through school, with the help of ten million loans and grants. I got into Penn based on my grades and my abilities. Both my parents are low-income, never went to college, and never understood why I wanted to go, either. And I'm pretty proud of the fact that I'm still the only woman in my family (and one of two people) to actually have completed undergrad. I worked my ass off for those degrees, and yeah, you bet I'm proud of 'em!

If youíre such a super-smart hot shit English major/professor, how come you say "ainít" and "prolly" and "I gots" and "like" and stuff like that? Donít you know thatís really bad grammar?

Okay. SeeÖ.

in∑for∑mal
Function: adjective
Date: 1585
1 : marked by the absence of formality or ceremony <an informal meeting> <an informal group>
2 : characteristic of or appropriate to ordinary, casual, or familiar use <informal English> <informal clothes>

slang
Function: noun
Etymology: origin unknown
Date: 1756
1 : language peculiar to a particular group
2 : an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech

col∑lo∑qui∑al
Function: adjective
Date: 1751
1 : of or relating to conversation
2 a : used in or characteristic of familiar and informal conversation; also : unacceptably informal b : using conversational style

ver∑nac∑u∑lar
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin vernaculus native, from verna slave born in the master's house, native
Date: 1601
1 a : using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language b : of, relating to, or being a nonstandard language or dialect of a place, region, or country c : of, relating to, or being the normal spoken form of a language
2 : applied to a plant or animal in the common native speech as distinguished from the Latin nomenclature of scientific classification
3 : of, relating to, or characteristic of a period, place, or group; especially : of, relating to, or being the common building style of a period or place

Which all boils down to this: because I know (generally) what I'm doing with the English language, I can therefore take some liberties, play with it, make up words, and have fun. It's the equivalent of learning the five basic positions in ballet as a foundation to later breaking those same rules with modern dance. So donít send me stupid asshole fuckwit e-mails correcting my grammar and informing me that "maybe you didn't know, but 'rilly' is spelled r-e-a-l-l-y. Being an english [sic] teacher you should know this." Yes, dim bulb, I know grammar. I know "ker-nifty" and "prolly" aren't "correct" English. I know proper grammar would be "THTM and I" and not "me an' THTM." But for pity's sake, I donít say "ain't" and "I gots" in formal writing! Bug off. 

I will admit, though... I am the worst speller in the world.

Why do you use all those dots? Why do you capitalize stuff?

Yes, the ellipses and Semi-Random Capitalization of Words borders on gimmicky... but I've been doing it since the early, early days on the Duran boards. It's characteristic. It works for me. It's Quintessentially Dwanollah. You wanna make somethin' of it?

Do you REALLY give away "fabo-keen prize packages" when people write responses to your Blathers?

Not anymore, dammit. And it's the Slacker Hacker's fault, because he was too selfish and lazy to put up the prize-winning responses once a month. Maybe someday I'll reinstate the prize packages/response page thingie... but that doesn't mean I don't love hearing from y'all, so go ahead and respond anyway.

Who designed this site?

The Slacker Hacker did!

Other websites sell t-shirts. Do you have t-shirts? Mugs? Bumper stickers?

Sadly, no. It would involve getting the Slacker Hacker to actually DO WORK, so it's futile. But perhaps someday....

Have a question that wasn't answered here? E-mail me (dwanollah @ dwanollah.com), and I'll do my best to answer....


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