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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 


Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: February 2013

I love making lists. I find them helpful, especially with how scattered my mind becomes during each semester. They also help quell the near-constant, soul-crushing anxiety I feel whenever I’m outside the safety of the pillow fort in my room. This week in class I’ve been working on a new list; an amalgamation of things I dislike. The caveat is none of the entries can be things everyone hates, like the DMV, or seeing Kristen Stewart’s been cast in another movie. Here’s a small segment of my list:

– Whistling (unless you’re calling a dog or hailing a cab… don’t).

– Scallions (it’s a texture thing).

– White chocolate (I just realized how much of my list is food).

– Hair extensions (creepy).

– Celtic music (it’s one step above Ska and a half step below Christmas music).

– Made up words (including “adorkable” and “herstory”).

– Roller Derby (a sport that you wear fishnets for is not a sport).

– Bumper stickers (do you have a Calvin praying/urinating sticker? Fuck you).

– Anything bedazzled (unless you’re under the age of 12, then you get a pass).

– Refried beans in burritos (Dammit! Another food one!)

A cursory glance around the web helped fill out my list, as well as get a jump on my “favorite things” list. (Disclaimer: I will most likely never actually make that list).

Like: A company in Illinois is broadening the ever-burgeoning market of neat stuff to do with your body after you die. The good folks at LifeGem will take a scoop of your ashes, and repurpose the carbon into a diamond. This wins a place on my “like” list because it seems less creepy than having your body rot in the ground, and less expensive than shooting your ashes into space. If anyone is wondering, when I die (after being smothered in a giant pile of puppies), I want my ashes to be blown into the unsuspecting eyes of my vanquished enemies.

Dislike: If there’s anything that we know for sure about cats, it’s that they have terrible grammar, and also that they’re awful, and now science proves it. A recent article published in Nature Communications explains that cats have decimated the population of birds in the US, killing around 3.7 billion native birds annually. “Our estimate of bird mortality far exceeds any previously estimated US figure for cats, as well as estimates for any other direct source of anthropogenic mortality, including collisions with windows, buildings, communication towers, vehicles, and pesticide poisoning.” Cats banned from being inside were the biggest killers, with feral cats responsible for 33 bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions.

New Zealand has a campaign circulating currently to ban cats as pets, and I think maybe we should follow their example. (Note: my allergy to cats has nothing to do with my opinion of them. Nothing, I say!) That’s all I’ve got. Stay tuned for next week when I forget to write my column until the last minute so I submit a list of things in my refrigerator. Cheers.

Arielle Mullen