America's Smartest Girl

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portland, oregon
America's Smartest Girl, Nicole Georges, channels her powers for good as she drums up answers to the world's most complicated questions.

Romance, Career, Health, Pets, Finance. Send questions to Nicole via twitter (@nicolejgeorges) or addressed to her via No suicidal inquiries. Please limit all questions to 150 words or less.


Monday, November 16, 2009

I was an asked to do an advice table at the library's Keep Portland Weird Fest last weekend. I may do a comic about it in the future, but for now, here is a list of questions I received, as well as a comic by one of them, which I found online the next day.

Please note that children were apt to ask me questions not related to advice, but to facts like "What is the longest word in the dictionary?", and adults often mistook me for a psychic. Men tried to challenge my "America's Smartest Girl" title, and/or told me I looked pretty before assuring me they weren't being creepy, just telling me.

*******Here they are, 37 quandaries from Portland, Oregon:***********************

Will I find love in the next 3 months?

My hampster died, should I get a new one?

Why did Abraham Lincoln try to save America?

How do I meed Conservative women, as an Atheist?

Does this guy at school like me?

How many days are in a year, because I forget.

Should I leave my job in late December or early January?

My roommate's cat has pneumonia, what can we do to make her comfortable while she finished her antibiotics?

Should I get another dog?

Should we get a new car?

What is the meaning of life?

What should I give my wife for Christmas?

Should I go to Cuba to go to medical school for free?

Should I join the military to pay for school?

My baby waked up 10-15 times per night, what can we do?

Should I meet a guy that I've been talking to on the internet?

My friend keeps meeting guys who just use her. She wants a boyfriend. How can I help her?

What kind of birthday party should I have?

(getting mistaken for a psychic): Should I do the move I've been thinking of?

Is it more important to do something or to have people approve of what you do?

What's the meaning of life (x2)?

How to know yourself?

What's the longest word in the dictionary?

What do you do after you squash a bug?

How many seconds are in 5 weeks?

Should I go to California for my birthday?

What hairstyle should I have?

How do I get women to like me?

How do I make friends in Portland ? (x3)

What can I do for my mentally ill neice?

What makes Portland Weird?

Where is the best place for candy?

How do I find investors for my children's book project?

My girlfriend likes to stare at me. How do I handle this?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Super Mega Advice with special guest TJO

After months of hoarding questions I bring you a jam packed edition of Ask Nicole. An advice round table with special guest Tara Jane Oneil. Tara Jane Oneil is a musician ,but wants me to say "Tara Jane is a friend with really great ideas who is looking for work in Portland this winter." Find her here.

Please come and visit me this Saturday at the Central Library. I'll be doing a free advice table from 12-4 p.m. at Keep Portland Weird Fest. Please please ask me questions because I fear this fest will draw many hackey sacking dudes in jester hats. Thank you.

ALSO, Tonight is the Invincible Summer Calendar Release Party & Squashluck at Reading Frenzy. 7p.m. with special musical guests Key Losers. Bring a squash dish to share! I'm making zucchini bread. Reading Frenzy is providing pine cones to make bird feeders out of. Big Fun!

Now, your questions.

(p.s. thanks to whomever referred to me as a "lazy bitch" in a comment for not answering their question right away. very cool. )

Hi nicole,
So i know lesbian relationships are prone to linger on and on... First girlfriends, exs, then friends, then not friends, etc.

I've had a girlfriend for about a year, but I find myself thinking about my Ex who just stopped talking to me (we left it as "friends")
I only assume she did this because she is happily dating someone else, but I'm left guessing. She wasn't right for me as a gf, and we had a plethora of drama and problems. But I liked her as a friend and person.
Do I just try to overcome my hurt and move on (again?)
When I invest in people in my life, I find it hard to just accept they aren't going to be there in the future.

Lezzie lovelorn

NG: I am going to harp on the Open Hand Concept this week.
The Open Hand Concept is this: It is better to have an open hand and have someone (picture a bird) land there and stay there because they want to and you're providing a pleasant environment , rather than you closing your fist around them to make them stay.

Please keep this image in mind as you let your ex girlfriend fly away to do other things. If you were meant to be friends, she will return some day.

As for you Finding It Hard to Accept that the people you "Invest In" aren't going to be there forever, you need to understand that this person was not a retirement account that you were socking money away in.
They were a human being with the freedom to be around you or not based on how the relationship went. If you had lots of problems during the intimate relationship then the idea of you bouncing back into a lasting friendship right away is pretty unrealistic.

TJ: Sounds like she's pretty focused on the future. She's got to reign it in. Be patient. Be in the now. Outcome, blah la la la la. Reign it in lady, reign it in.

Dear Nicole,
Okay, I'm 17 and started to date my ex's best friend, who is 21.
Things started off well, as in he would usually answer my calls/texts and we would hang out almost everyday.
Oh, keep in mind he's a dj and trying to get his name out there.
Now, about a month and a half into the relationship, he stopped calling me back and stopped responding to my texts. He also would say he wanted to see me, but then never call.
So I was getting hurt every weekend and then he would apologize, blah blah blah. He also told me he loved me, even though we didn't sleep together or anything like that yet.
I'm so head over heels for him it's not even funny.
But last weekend, he suggested that we try the whole relationship thing in a couple months, once he gets everything settled with his music.
And then he tried to make plans with me but never called.
So I left him a message saying we shouldnt talk, he should do his thing and when he's ready, I'll be here.
I also told him I wasn't confident that he was coming back...did I do the right thing?
And do you think that he's legit in saying that he's going to come back to me and that he loves me?


TJO: Oh no he's not! Dear Underage Drinker, you did the right thing. it's very good of you to say "we should talk in a couple of months". You have to exhume your soul and pride from this dude who's givin' you nothing. What a chump! He's out blowin' records every night and she can't even get into the club! He knows this.

NG: Dear Confused, Please don't sleep with this guy.I have dated some performers in my time, even some DJs, and their career had little to do with whether they answered my calls or not. This guy is a dork and you need to move on. Make other plans on the weekend with friends who will nourish your soul and make you feel awesome.

You are a valuable commodity. Don't let someone treat you like less than that.
Right now, DJ Douche Bag is stringing you along with only scraps. You don't deserve his scraps, you deserve the whole dinner, and if you treat yourself with respect and ask for what you want, you will get it! Maybe not from him. Ask the universe. You will get what you deserve.

Reference the open hand policy (see above).

NG: Tara, would you say , as a musician, that "getting your name out there" has nothing to do with...

TJO: with having a relationship? yeah. It's a convenient excuse to ditch her because she can't participate in him "getting his name out there at all". He's full of shit.

TJO: ask her if he has a pony tail.

Hello Nicole,

How do I meet women? I'm a queer woman in her mid-twenties living outside Philadelphia. I've tried (participants all too old or taken), OKCupid (women seem to post profiles but never actually date anyone), going to lesbian bars (this is a terrible idea), and roller derby (everyone was straight?!). All of my friends through college were straight and had mainly straight friends, and I never took the initiative to get involved with the campus GLBT group so now I'm feeling left adrift in the real world. It doesn't help that I have terrible lesbian-dar and flirting skills.

What can you recommend to someone in my situation?

Thanks very much,
Q and A (queer and adrift)

TJO: I don't know . i haven't figured it out either. you're gonna have to start this one Nicole because you know how to do it.
Tell her to host a squash fest. Dear Squash Fest, come put your finger in my pie.

NG:Your first step is to befriend some lesbians, because befriending straight people isn't going to get you anywhere.

TJO: She's going to have to go to some unfortunate lesbian music shows.

NG: She should table at a show or something. (Note to reader: By this i mean setting up a table with pamphlets to give away or zines to sell or baked goods to sell for a cause. Then people will come and talk to you. )

TJO: Skip it and have a kissing booth. Kissing Booth at unfortunate lesbian music shows.

NG: Look on facebook and try to befriend some local lesbos, but not in a creepy way. Don't be pushy. Go to the events that they post.

TJO: Oh yea.

NG : Start organizing or getting involved in things that a lesbian might like to go to.
Click on the picture of the lesbian at the top of your question. Follow the link to Philadelphia's resource center for GLBT youth and volunteer for them.
Oh! Duh.
Find the local Rock n Roll Camp for Girls. Volunteer there. That place is teeming with feminists and lesbians.

Dear Nicole,
A few components to understand before deciphering my question(s).

1) I dated a cocaine addict whom I successfully helped off of cocaine for the 4 months we dated. Then she cheated on me.

2) I had never been cheated on.

3) I broke up with her and pledged to never speak again after bloody my fists on multiple inanimate objects.

4) I was successful at silence for a month until last Saturday night when she freaked out on me to my dismay as she was coked out and punched me in the face repeatedly, which turned me on (I'm sadomasochistic) so she proceeded to drive me back to my house, punch me yet again, then we kissed, and she left.

Now I am haunted with how small this city is and the nightmares of this beautiful fucked up girl. As I keep running into her and there is the awkward adrenaline and I have to flee! I have two questions,

#1 How do I avoid feeling awkward when I see her and remain without saying a word?¿

#2 How come there are no real screamo babes in Portland?¿

An Overly Sensitive Dumb Wit

Bonus Question
Why is it the people that actually care that get fucked over the most!?¿


NG: If I found a feral dog with rabies on the street, walked it around on a leash for a day, and then got bit in the face by said rabid feral dog, would I have any right to complain that I just cared too much and got fucked over? No! I wasn't using common sense.

It is not the people who care that get fucked over the most. Amma the hugging saint has not, to my knowledge, been punched in the face by a coke head.

If someone has a substance abuse problem, you are not going to be the one to help them. They need to help themselves, which means getting into treatment. The power of love ain't gonna do it. Don't be foolish.
It was good of you to make a boundary with this person after you broke up. Keep it.

Isn't there some BDSM club here that she could join and learn to do things right?
Safe and sane, isn't that the slogan? She isnt' doin any of that. She needs to go to some meetings.

NG: Two meetings for you: ALANON and Bad Girls PDX (which I attended once and met everyone from people into getting spanked by a leatherclad Angelina Jolie all the way to a 24/7 SM person wearing a collar whose master controlled every aspect of their life).
Getting punched in the face by a coke head isn't BDSM, necessarily.
It is low self esteem mixed with domestic violence.

TJO: well said.

TJO: She was also punching inaminate objects. she bloodied herself. ALANON is a good place to start. Therapy, ALANON. for those things. for the punching and the lady, go to a BDSM club and do it right. Safe and Sane. That little slogan is so good. Sane.

Dear Nicole,

My partner dumped of 5 months me the day before yesterday. It was
quite out of the blue for me, pretty shocking. I thought we just
needed a little time apart to get back to our separate lives a little
more, and as we sat down to have a Serious Talk and I began to mention
this, he blurted,
"I don't want to be in a relationship with you. I think it's run its course."
When I tried to press him for reasons he sort of shrugged,
and when I tried to ask him about how long he's felt this way he said:
"i dunno, a while."
I was "warned" that he was super fickle and not good at committing when my friend hooked us up, but still, it sucks.
so, ok. I live right around the corner from him, and
the quickest (and safest) way for me to bike to work is passing by his
house. we also frequent the same neighborhood spots around where we
live. on top of that, my roommate announced he's moving out and I am
desperately trying to find another roommate, which has not been
successful. I do have the option of moving into a house that's
beautiful and vegan (which I am), but it would be pushing it to afford
it, its kind of out of the way from things, and it's also a
straightedge house, which I am not. ok ok, down to my question: I
really like my current spot, but the emotions and stress are making me
feel that i should just get the hell out of there, but i sort of feel
like i'd be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.
any tips on how to evaluate the situation without bursting into tears?
what do you think would be the best option?

Thank you!!!

Sandy Eggo (San Diego) Stresspot

TJO: stay where you live and quit riding your bike past his house all the fuckin' time. done.

NG: Truly, the burden of keeping yourself emotionally well in this situation is up to you. Maybe it's not the quickest route, but if you want to live less drama and heart-ache, take the long route. Stay out of the way of his house.

Don't go the places you know he's going to go. Hang back a little bit and take care of yourself with good friends.

Personally, I think you need to move and get a fresh start.

TJO: Whatever. That's just her runnin' around. Remember when i lived...... oh nevermind.

Dear Nicole,
Can you help explain Julian Schwinger's method of quantum renormalization???

No. That's not advice; but here is the wikipedia article:

Dear Nicole,
I have a problem that the only people who want to hang out with me on a regular basis are people who like me in a romantic way. I am new to town and have been dating to avoid loneliness but it doesn't feel right. I could really use a nice crew of friends. Can you suggest ways that I can make more friends?
Lonely Casanova

NG: I say hang out with some people of the opposite gender of those you want to date.

TJO: yeah.

NG: Friendships based on crushes are no good. The "friend" sees you in a weird, candy-coated light and when you don't give them what they want, a surge of resentment will ensue. Yuck! What a waste of time.
Get rid of that sexual tension right away.

TJO: See if you can grow some kind of unattractive, spongey thing on your face. ... just see if you can.

NG: You can usually tell (on some level) when someone wants to fuck you. Do not hang out with people who want to fuck you. Find someone who isn't nervous and twitchy when you're giving them your phone number. Call them "Dude". Give them a hearty pat on the back or refer to them as bro right off the bat. Fart sometimes. Scratch yourself.

TJO : Yeah, that's good. Call 'em Dude. Grow a dumplin' on your face.

Dear Nicole,

My beloved 2-year-old dachshund/beagle mix is gaining a lot of weight, and I'm worried about her back health. She doesn't really over-eat, I think she's not getting enough exercise. I take her on lots of walks and she plays with her doggie friends, but she's not really into chasing balls or toys. How can I get her more interested in exercising? Especially when the weather is so crappy and walks are unpleasant for her. Rainy days=wet & dirty wiener tummy (and she doesn't like to wear clothes, much less a raincoat)!

xo b.

Dear B,
You know I've had several wiener dogs before, and so I come to you with some tough love advice from a place of deep love and dachshund respect. Here it is.

The person controlling your dog's intake of food is..... You.
The person telling your dog whether or not she's going on a walk is.... You.

Take charge, my pack leader friend. Taper Fido's food down a bit (say, by 1/4 cup or so) and don't give in to her wiener whining for snacks in between meals.

Take that girl on a walk every single day.
Don't project your fickleness onto her. I'll bet you one million dollars that to your dog, the excitement of the smells outdoors (whether it's rainy or not) far outweigh the discomfort of a wet wiener tummy. She is still a dog, no matter how small or soulful you think she is.

Keep a towel by the door to dry off her weiner tummy and get her toasty.

It's for her health! You're the boss, in charge of keeping her well, and for a tiny dachshund, that includes saving her back by keeping her fit. Good luck!

Dear Nicole,

How does one go about owning chickens?

I am not at a place in my life where I can do this yet, but I will be
soon, and I want to. I like to think of having chickens and a garden,
because the two go so well together (they eat bugs; they shit out the
bugs and make compost). Also I could become filthy rich selling eggs.

I recently read a New Yorker article about owning chickens that
terrified me, for in it Susan Orleans spends like $10,000 on her
chickens and on a fancy imported chicken house and then her chickens
all die and get eaten by dogs. It seemed very stressful.
Yet when you
write of your chickens it seems peaceful and nice.
How did you get started?
Where did you get your chickens?
How are they housed?
What do
you feed them and how do you give them a water supply?
How do you keep
dogs from killing them?
Don't they peck you when you take their eggs
away and is that scary?
Are they mean?
Do they have names? A
re they
What if you have to go on a trip?
How much time on
an average day do you spend tending to them?
What if I live in a very
cold place, do I need a special heated henhouse (that one's probably
How long have you had your chickens?

Chicken Challenger

Dear Chicken Challenger,

I am here to answer your questions!
Let me tackle them one at a time.

How did you get started?

I first got chickens after interning at Farm Sanctuary. I wanted to bring the farm experience back home to Portland, and chickens are the most compact and low-maintenance of all farm creatures (besides bunnies, but I didn't want a rabbit).

Where did you get your chickens?

I considered getting chicks, but the Pistils (the nearest nursery who sold chicks) gets theirs from a giant hatchery, which is just as good a way to support factory farming as eating a bucket of wings. Since I don't eat eggs, I didn't really need a youngster, and so took on some older (3 year old) chickens from a friend.
In later years, I found spent hens by posting on craigslist and trolling for free birds.

How are they housed?

In a coop! Coops can be fun to build. There are many many books and resources for the backyard birder. I like a book called "Keep Chickens!".

What do you feed them and how do you give them a water supply?
You buy sacks of chicken feed from the feed store or nursery. It's usually $10-15 for a 50# bag. You also buy special chicken waterers. It's like a gerbil bottle, but for a chicken's beak.

How do you keep dogs from killing them?

You mostly have to watch out for raccoons and possums. They love to eat chickens. Build yourself a high security coop. You bury the wire and some metal sheeting so the predators can't dig their way in. Remember that chicken wire is good for keeping chickens in, but not for keeping predators out. Get some heavy duty wire. Don't cheap out when constructing your coop. When you let the ladies out to graze, keep them in an enclosed space or a fenced yard. Otherwise, you are inviting trouble.

Don't they peck you when you take their eggs
away and is that scary?

Usually you let the chickens out to graze every morning and snatch their eggs while they're gone. There is something called "going broody", which is when a chicken is under the delusion that she's going to hatch a nest of eggs, and goes sort of psycho when you try to get her out of the nest box. I used a 2x4 to gently push my chicken out of the nest box, locked her out and made her walk around with the other chickens when she was this way. Then i stole her eggs!
Chickens don't usually peck you.
They will even eat out of your hand sometimes.
A chicken peck doesn't hurt. At least not bad enough to be afraid.
A rooster, though? Stay away from a rooster. They've got spurs!

Are they mean?
Only if they're broody or have a mental disorder.

Do they have names?
Usually people give them old lady names.
Once i had a chicken who was very sick. To lift her spirits I changed her name from Bea Arthur to Champion . It worked! She stayed fit as a fiddle for years.

Are they "high-maintenance?"

You have to wake up early in the morning to feed and them, and you have to give the coop a cleaning once or twice a week. You keep a watchful ear out for danger in case of predators (they'll cluck and bawk wildly when scared).
That's it, basically. A Chicken is a pretty easy pet to take care of.

What if you have to go on a trip?

Get a friend to feed them and make sure they are super secure and don't succumb to predators while you're gone.

How much time on
an average day do you spend tending to them?

Twenty minutes to an hour? It depends on whether you clean their box every day or if you let it get super grody (which is bad. it can get rats or insects and it smells just awful. keep it clean!).

What if I live in a very
cold place, do I need a special heated henhouse?

You get a heating lamp for winter. When we had awful ice storms here, some friends brought their chickens in to their basements so they wouldn't get frost bite!

How long have you had your chickens?

I had chickens for about five years before passing them on to a friend who is chicken obsessed. Now they live in the lap of luxury in a fenced in yard full of fruit trees!