The things I never meant to learn.

It’s been a bad week for writing.

It happens. Other stuff requires attention.
Dogs need walking, kitchens need to be cleaned before the roaches find them, jobs expect you to punch in and punch out, mothers need calling, and students expect you to answer their questions.

That’s life. But still, it’s been a bad week for writing. All the prose I’ve managed to crank out this week looks like it was written by the same person who authored the spam caught by my bulk email folder:

“We are desirous of your good advices. Peoples shall pay numerous moneys for this exhibition. Glory!”

Luckily there are a lot of things for a writer to do when you’re not writing that still allow you to work on a project without actually creating anything:

You can network with other writers.
You can revise.
You can write the synopsis that you will someday hand to an agent.
You can beg a friend to read a piece and give you feedback.

b-52, beehive

This is a B-52 beehive. From the ’80s. Because there wasn’t enough bad hair then.

Or you can do my favorite thing ever: research.

I’m not talking about real research, either. I’ve done that. In fact, I’m doing a series of interviews for my book right now. It’s great, but it’s also hard work and requires a time commitment that I can’t always make during a busy week. What I’m talking about is my best virtual friend: Google.

I Google countless things when I’m writing a manuscript, and I Google even more when I can’t write. And often I learn plenty, but not what I set out to learn, thanks to the way that Google guesses, Mad-Libs style, what I mean to type.

I’ve been chronicling some of my weirder searches on my Facebook page, but why not share the wealth of unintended knowledge with everyone?

So here, for your own personal enrichment, are some of the things I didn’t mean to learn during my research this week:

90s lips

Eyeliner and lip gloss. Who thought this was a good idea in ’94?

• No two chemotherapy regimens are the same.
• A really big bottle of wine (15 liters) is called a Nebuchadnezzar.
• A really little bottle of wine (half a liter) is called a Jennie.
• Those big bottles of Yellow Tail though? Probably just called a Magnum. (But no one seems to know for certain.)
• Someone tried to revive those awful ’90s lined lips in 2011. Because black eyeliner goes with everything.
Lindsay Lohan’s Twitter feed is depressing, and occasionally, mystifying. At any rate she uses punctuation in exactly the way I’d expected.
• Gwen Stefani swears a lot in Hollaback Girl. Somehow I never noticed. I always wondered what those blank spots were in the radio edit. This is like when I heard the non-edited version of The Humpty Dance and realized that “Burger King” had been bleeped out. It’s bananas.
• A B-52 is a kind of beehive hairstyle (for which the band was named.) Think Marge Simpson.
• Medical cannibalism is a thing. It still happens. And it’s just as gross as you think it is.

That’s everything in my search history for now. May you have sweet dreams of cannibals with beehives and the lined lips of Chilli in TLC’s Waterfalls music video.