I have never been a guest blogger before, a status I find both exciting and mildly daunting. It is one thing to hack out a lame piece of crap writing on one's own blog, but quite another to piss all over someone else's creation, painstakingly maintained and nurtured virtually 365 days a year. You may know a few things about me already if you check in here with any regularity, all filtered through the lens of Marianne. I can assure you now that anything she might have said that was flattering is 100% true. I am indeed a world-class thrifter, Supremely Excellent Judge, and fellow Kinks fan, although not as dedicated a follower as I used to be. These days I will only get on a plane for Rufus Wainwright, who is playing at Benaroya Hall tonight and whose presence in town explains my presence in Seattle-ish and on this blog. If you have any complaints about that state of affairs, I suggest you register them with him.

I am guessing many of you have pieced together what you know about Marianne exclusively from what she has revealed here, but I have known her for approximately 1000 years now (i.e. 30) and can hence provide some insights as to what she is like as a friend. It is quite one thing to read about a person, quite another to share living spaces, travel long-distance on Greyhound buses and laugh hysterically over pork rinds in Indiana. Being altogether human, we have both made mistakes and hurt each other and we've both forgiven and remembered just how lucky we both are to have a friend who really understands and accepts us as we are, because this is a rare and precious thing. As a classic introvert who in most cases finds my own company vastly more entertaining than that of other people, I cannot be bothered if you don't have something downright fascinating to bring to the party. As you know if you come here regularly, Marianne delivers.

There are so many stories I could tell here, but for some reason I have been remembering one night in the early '80s when I lived near Midway Airport in Chicago with my ex. I am socially awkward by nature, but this quality was much more evident in those days, separated by a relatively slender margin of time from the ordeals of high school. I had not had a female friend in years, much less one close enough to come from out of town and stay over, but by gosh, there she was. Marianne and I were sitting on my balcony relaxing and talking, and I felt so grateful for her presence that I did what everyone does in that situation: I threw a glass of milk at her and completely drenched her head. That is, I threw the milk. The glass stayed in my hand, but this was still a completely ridiculous thing to do to someone I really liked.

I knew right away this had been a dumb thing to do, and I felt terribly embarrassed. I'm sure I nervously apologized, feeling I had probably blown it and alienated the first good friend I had made in years, and for no reason whatsoever. What did Marianne do? She rinsed off, and it was like it never happened. I have always marveled at this, because how many people would have just written me off as a complete loser at that point? Somehow Marianne knew there was more to me than my social tics, for which I am infinitely grateful. If you are ever fortunate enough to have a friend who will put up with such nonsense without cutting you off cold, by no means should you take this for granted. I did not, I do not, and I never will.

One more story, then I have to get my beauty rest for Rufus. You already know that Marianne made a pilgrimage to Archie McPhee yesterday, but what you don't know is that she and her family arranged this as a surprise for yours truly. I knew only that we were headed to a mystery spot, which was good enough for me. We all piled in the car and headed into Seattle, where we drove through a college neighborhood. I like to visit new places and was hence entertained by this, pointing out the erotic bakery and anything that had to do with goats. Then I looked to the left and my head exploded--ARCHIE MCPHEE!!?? WTF!!??

I was excited just to see it, then we pulled into the parking lot and my head exploded. You know the rest from reading yesterday's post, but the pictures really say it all. Of course this was fun for all of us, but the part that matters here is that my friend Marianne understood this was arguably the most exciting thing she could have done for me. Thanks to her I now have a livestrong bracelet that says"misanthrope" and a plastic platypus to join the squeaky puffer fish and windup scorpion on my desk at home. More important, I have pal.

We should all be so lucky, I tell you. If by some chance you are, I suggest you find a better way to express it than by drenching them in milk.