To send in your burning question just email me at Ask Sister Autumn
Since you are a world traveler, I thought you might know the answer to this puzzling question. On a recent episode of The X-Files titled Within, Agent Dana Scully and Assistant Director Walter Skinner were shown at a gasoline station in Arizona. In the background a sign was visible that indicated the prices of the various grades of gasoline. I have noticed that gasoline prices are displayed in the United States to the tenth of a cent, for example, 149.9 cents, when everything else's price is displayed in dollars and whole cents (such as $19.95). Why are gasoline prices displayed in tenths of a cent? Is this some kind of conspiracy to confuse American vehicle operators? What if you only wanted to buy one gallon of gasoline? The cost would be something like one dollar, forty-nine cents, and nine-tenths of a cent. How are we supposed to pay someone nine-tenths of a cent? Or on the other hand if we give them a whole cent, how are they supposed to give us one-tenth of a cent in change? I know they could give us Canadian dollars as change, which I think are worth about one-tenth of a cent, but technically, Canadian money is not legal tender in the U.S.
How is gasoline sold in foreign countries, such as Canada, Australia, Germany, or South Carolina? Is it priced in tenths of their smallest denomination of currency, or is this some sort of American thing?
You know, I've been waiting years for someone to ask me this very question about gas as it is so important to the X-Files universe. So I will devote the tenth of a second to it that it so richly deserves. The simple answer is that they sell gas by the litre so there is no issue and they pay with special metric money which included centicents and millicents for precise payment.
Dear Autumn who I look to in awe as all people should and whose demurity I try to emulate in the face of a non-focused and unsympathetic roommate,
Um, this is my first letter to you. I figured that in all your wisdom and stuff, though, you'd have an answer for me. See, I've become an insomniac since I've come to college. That would be ok, since it is college and all. But it's not like I even do anything productive in the wee small hours. I just check my e-mail or read a book or try to rearrange furniture without waking up my roommate. I just can't sleep. I thought I could live with this affliction until I realized that the Punk also has insomnia, reportedly. As much as I miss his presence on the show, I don't care to possess such a Mulderist trait. What should I do? Count sheep? Cut down on the Pepsi and sugar? (That's not likely.) I can't think what Scully would do, since the poor girl seems to have no problem falling asleep at the drop of a hat. I figured that if anyone could tell me what our saint would do, it would be you, Autumn. Thanks for your help.
Sincerely (and tremblingly for I am not worthy),
Here's a sure fire way to nod off right away - turn the lights down low, make yourself a nice glass of warm milk, and then pop Travelers into the VCR. You'll be snoring before the first giant spider is puked. If you're lucky before the first wedding ring flash. If that doesn't work you can do what Scully does - stay up for about 72 straight hours running around. I think that may be why she has no trouble sleeping when she finally gets the chance.
Dear Sister Autumn,
I have sinned. As a result of this, I'm finding myself in a truly hideous moral quandary. Hopefully you can inspire me with your infinite wisdom and far-reaching knowledge, etc. etc. If not, I'll ask my Magic 8-Ball, but you are my first choice.
The other day, upon finishing uni in the city, I checked my bus
There were orange Tic-Tacs next to the cash register.
Well. Even though our orange Tic-Tacs are not actually orange, they taste pretty damn good, and besides, they're an OBSSE icon. So I picked up a packet and clutched it in my hot little hand as I rummaged through my purse in search of my wallet. Finally I had reached the front of the queue, so I hurriedly told the cashier what ticket I wanted, plonked down my money, grabbed the ticket and ran out of the store. It was then I realised that the Tic-Tacs were still in my hand - I had not paid for them. Hesitating, I looked at my watch again and concluded that I did not have time to return to the newsagent and confess my theft. So I kept walking.
Sister Autumn, I stole a packet of Tic-Tacs.
I'm sure you see my dilemma. The Icons of the OBSSE are supposed to represent TBO in all her saintly glory (or something). Have I broken a sacred moral code by appropriating one of these items? What would Scully think of me? I bet she never stole fake orange candy.
Please favour me with your omniscient guidance, Sister Autumn. I need to know - am I going straight to hell? If so, I'll have to purchase some sunscreen and I'd like to know this in advance.
Yours in quaking reverence,
Straight to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect 2,000,000 millicents. Or you could just go back and give the person their faux-foreign Tic-Tac money. Whatever's easiest for you.
Dearest All knowing Autumn,
I have been having problems with my WWSD bracelet. Several people have seen it and have asked what would satan do??? Then when I say no it's what would Scully do. They say who is Scully? Then I say she is on the X-Files. Then the shocking thing happens, they have not even heard of the X-Files. Imagine that we live in a world where people don't even know who Scully is??? Or have never heard of the X-Files. So my question to you is this. How should I respond to people like that?
Where the hell do you live? And who are these people who live under such a pop culture rock that they've never heard of The X-Files? I'd tell them that gosh darn it they are right. You made the whole X-Files thing up. It is what would satan do. And then look at them with squinty eyes and a twitch and tell them in a raspy voice that right now you are being directed to tell them something and that something is FOR GOD'S SAKE TRY PICKING UP A MAGAZINE OR A NEWSPAPER ONCE EVERY TEN YEARS YOU CLUELESS TWIT. You might want to also inform them that the "new" Star Wars movie came out and that Johnny Carson retired while you have their attention.
Demurest Autumn, who, like the season after which you are named, elicits feelings of awe in the presence of your majestic grandeur,**
My sister finally decided on an approximate date for her wedding (June 2001). I was so very happy for her until she told me the color she REALLY liked for her wedding, what she has her heart set on for all of us bridesmaids to wear.
That's right, beige. But not just any old beige. Oh, no. A "kind of frosted beige".
I'm sure you can see my dilemma.
My question is, how do I campaign for her to change her mind to that "purplish blue that <fiance's name omitted by author>'s friends wear in their department when they're dealing with hazardous materials" (how Scully that would be!) that she let slip out that she also liked? And how do I do so without making it seem like I am taking over her place in the wedding planning?
This other color could be positively horrendous (I guess I'll find out at Christmas.), but even if beige were not a Frank's Fashion Don't, I would want to rescue my sister's special day from such blandness by any means necessary.
I prostate myself before thee as I await your sage words, upon which I shall meditate endlessly.
Ever your minion,
**We'll just not mention bellydancing at Fest.
Hmm, that is a problem. Have you reminded her that beige is really just "off-white" and we all know what that means at a wedding? Have you explained just how much blood, dirt, and green goo shows up on those lighter colors? Have you used the words "unfortunate beige period" around her with a sad little shake of the head? Have you mentioned that the only other time you heard the words frosted and beige together was from an old lady on the bus describing her latest hair style? Good luck.
Dear Sister "I may not be a mycologist but I'm pretty darn smart" Autumn,
Can I have a Jesus!Slug for Christmas? I want to be just like Scully.
Well, technically Scully doesn't have her little friend anymore. If you want to be just like Scully this year I could get you a real good plastic surgeon adept at covering up tattoos, bullet holes and the like so you look fabulous when your too small tank top rides up. Another thing you might ask for is an expensive watch that doesn't work right and a week off to enjoy it. You may also want to consider getting yourself knocked up before Christmas Eve and then you could start playing all your Christmas tapes backwards for no reason just to try to hear hidden pony messages. Isn't that a lot more fun than sitting around and singing "Oh Little Slug of Bethlehem"? Happy Holidays!
Dear Sister Autumn, carrier of the Trout of Penitence,
I have a burning question that only you can answer. Now that TBO is, um, expecting, what shall we who revere her offer to the Holy Spawn-to-Be? Will there be an OBSSE-sponsored shower? Will any of the sibliren begin knitting? Will a collection be taken up?
Now, you don't really think the OBSSE would pass up the opportunity to throw a baby shower of some sort for a fictional character that we worship who is pregnant by unknown means do you? Of course not. Stay tuned.
Dear Autumn, Whom I Must Ask:
As we've been told many times by now, Scully's new partner, Agent Doggett, played by Robert Patrick, is a manly man. The manliest of men. A real man's man. And for the most part, I've liked what I've seen thus far--especially when he pulled that giant wriggling slug out of the raggedy incision he made in her back with a rusty machete he had lying around from the time he was undercover catching members of the Cuban child-smuggling underground while posing as a sugar caner, and then shot it with a ball-peen hammer. I didn't know you could do that.
So I've been a little inspired, shall we say, to follow in his footsteps. In short, I've resolved to be more manly, just like Agent Doggett. At first, it was just a matter of sewing little Sears Craftsman patches on all my clothes, hanging out at the airport to pick up pilot lingo, and spending hours in front of a full-length mirror attempting a proper crotch-scratch. Then I knew it was time to do some research. The closest "recipe" I could come up with was one from humorist/author Joe Queenan in his book, If You're Talking to Me, Your Career Must Be in Trouble: Movies, Mayhem, and Malice, in which he sets out to *be* "Mickey Rourke for a Day." Basically, he refuses to bathe for about a week, wears nothing but black Levi's and t-shirts, smokes copious amounts of Marlboros, and tries to insert the word "motherf**ker" into his vocabulary whenever, and as frequently as, possible. His wife and small children blithely cooperate.
My question is, what revisions to Queenan's methodology would you recommend so that I could become more Doggettacious? I'm having, in particular, trouble forming my mouth around his pronunciation of "Mowlder." Or am I simply, again, on the wrong path? I appreciate your time and advice.
Sister Nancy FF
Now far be it for me to question someone's choices, but perhaps the path of manliness is not exactly the right one for every Tom, Dick, or Nancy. While I too am enjoying getting to know John Doggett, I think it may be a little easier for you to continue to admire Scully. It involves no crotch-scratching which I think is really the best for all involved.
Dear Sister Autumn, who is as rare and precious as a shiny new ruby -
I'm having some loyalty issues. It's very strange. When the season began, I was so excited; it was all about Scully for me. All Scully, all the time. And this was even before I knew that she would spend each episode half-naked. Lately, though, I dunno... I seem to have developed an untoward interest in TBO's partner. You might even call it an addicktion. It's very strange. For some reason, Agent Doggett commands my attention; he walks onscreen, and suddenly I forget all about his red-haired lady partner.
I can't exsacktly figure out what it is about him that I find so intriguing... believe me, know there is no excuse, and I have struggled against this. I have prayed as hard as is humanly possibly, demanding answers of myself, St. Scully and the world at large. Since I have no answers for myself, the world at large is tired of hearing me talk about TXF and Scully hasn't yet started talking to me through the TV, I thought I'd ask you. Can you enlighten me as to why I find Doggett so distracting? What can I do to restore my faith and appreciation for St. Scully? This isn't some sort of spiritual test, es it? I await your wisdom with bated breath.
Sheesh, this is how it's going to be eh? A few weeks with the new boy and we've got one sister grabbing herself in front of a mirror and another distracted to the point of bad puns over his manliness. People. SNAP OUT OF IT.
To worship Doggett is just a big ball of wrong. You're nuts to even consider it. What, you think we should just change our minds and give Scully the shaft? This has become a very prickly subject with me, and I'd like for us to all just leave it behind.
Dearest Autumn, wielder of Sparky the Wonder Trout (btw I'm pretty sure Sparky has had it in for me ever since I started watching that kid's show that I'm not allowed to mention at chat)
I have some issues with 1013.
I know, I know...when don't I? But this time it's about more than just smoochy kissy stuff. It's about...the manly factor...
Now you know that I watch the show for Scully, but you may have heard that I'm also rather fond of AD Skinner. So imagine my excitement when I learned he was going to be in Within/Without. I snuggled down on the buttery soft leather covered chaise lounge in the Abbey TV room to watch, giggling girlishly with delight. Finally the AD appeared, clad in a lovely yellow shirt (which is macho and very manly regardless of what certain Brothers think) and I was all... delighted. By the time Without came around, well, even I had to admit, Skinner was a leetle hmmmmm prancy. He was posing. He might as well skipped, cause it was that bad. I was afraid.
So, here's my concern. Do you think the Manly Man Doggett has sucked all of the testosterone out of the show? Do you think that 1013, in a desperate attempt to make Doggett look super manly, is turning Skinner into a Girly!Man? Will I ever get my gruff AD back, or am I destined to watch him get all soft and tender (and if he's Scully's Lamaze partner I will scream).
Thanks for taking the time from your busy duties to read my letter,
PS That's not my real name, I had to cleverly write it in code so the other Abbey members wouldn't sense my doubts about Skinner...
I hate to break this to you, but Skinner was having prancy issues long before Doggett arrived on the scene. Did you see him try to run in Sein Und Zeit?
Last Month's Poll Results
Last month we asked what tests you thought the aliens would or should perform first on Mulder. A few of you answered:
Reade: First I would like to see Mulder draped in only a thin johnny shirt, reclining on a cold steel table. Lots of metal pointy hooked thingies should be laying around. And maybe some bright lights. Then, I would like to see them slooooowly shave his head (which would also likely fix his hair)...find that hole drilled in it during Demons and check to see if the man had a clue left in there.
loa: You know, I'm really liking the whole "drill and hooks" motif that I see in the trailers. I'm sticking with that one.
Dr. Nick Reticula: Because we've reached the limits of what anal probing can teach us, I suggest we begin with Man Pain removal. Isn't that what caused the voices?
Sister Teri: Naturally, the first test Mulder should have performed on him is a test of his endurance, stamina, and pain threshold. In short, he should be asked to run around in three-inch heels until he collapses. Ha ha! See how it feels? C'mon, Mulder! Get those little legs moving!
Sis Vivien: A frontal lobotomy... Oh wait, already been done.
Paul Wartenberg (aka Rogue Librarian): A frontal triadinal approach through the left outer nasal passage to check for ingrown nose hairs.
POLL: Don't You Touch That Dial!
You've just been given the ultimate power over your TV set. You can now change the face of television by making any show besides the X-Files star Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully. What show would you put Scully in and what would she be doing?
"Wherever you are, Mulder, I hope you're smiling."