The Jessie Withrow
Frequently Asked Questions File
Version 1.5

Section One: The Basics

Who is Jessie Withrow?

Jessie Withrow is a female human being, approximately 20 years old, currently a sophomore at Bates College in Lewiston, ME, majoring in Rhetoric with a minor in Computer Science. Also, the author of this page.

Where are you from?

I grew up and am registered to vote in Anchorage, Alaska.

Is it cold there?

In the winter, yes.

If you had a band of mercenaries, what would you do with them?

Have them camp out in the hallway outside my dorm room, dicing, cooking greasy stew over smoky cooking fires, singing battle songs, brandishing  their spiky maces and leering at all the girls passing by. They would all speak orcish. So would I. They would be big, burly, and male, with myriad  scars, and a few missing eyes, ears, and limbs among them. They would be unshaven and bristly, wear brown leather and dirty furs, and smell          slightly odd.

They could follow me to all my classes, sit awkwardly in the little, uncomfortable desk-chairs, and make my professors really nervous. I wouldn't bring them into Rhetoric, since the Filene Room is already full enough, but they would definitely come with me to Japanese. I would make them be quiet through class, but I don't think they'd be very good at it. Wender-Sensei would politely ask them if they'd like to try answering a question or two, like she does when pre-froshes visit, but they wouldn't fare any better with Japanese than they do with English, I think. Every morning, I would pull myself grudgingly out of bed, throw on some clothes, grab my notebook and my Nakama text and workbook, and speed-walk down the stairs and across the walkway to Pettengil, cramming the day's lesson, just as I do every day, except now I would have a small horde of surly mercenaries trooping along behind me. I would send one or two to Commons to fetch me a chocolate doughnut if I didn't have time to go myself. When I was late to class, I would blame it on them.

To keep them in shape, I would send them on forced marches to Walmart to do my shopping for me. I'd declare myself feudal lord of one or two of the dormitories, and send my horde around from dorm room to dorm room to collect tribute for me. If my friends also had bands of mercenaries, we could stage turf wars over various dorms and dorm floors.

When I went to ballroom class, I would make my barbarians come with me and dance. We would never lack for men again.

Section Two: Repulsive Personal Habits

Are you involved in any cults, secret societies, or world domination leagues?

I am a High Priestess of GATODI, co-editor of The Garnet (Bates' literary magazine), the Bates Discordians' Minister of Deviant Standardization, and one of the Brooks Quimby Debate Council's many vice presidents. I also knit.

What is that black-grey dust coating your fingers?

Aluminum dust from winding links for chain mail.

What are you doing in that darkened basement laboratory at midnight?

*Melodramatic crash of thunder*
Grading Computer Science projects.
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!

Section Three: Amazing Factoids

What percent of your body mass is composed of water?

Approximately 60%.

Do you know how to ride a unicycle?


If you were a character in a silly super-hero role-playing game, what would some of your special abilities be?

  • Spontaneous Grandiose Verbosity
  • Concoct Ridiculously Contrived Explanation
  • Super Turbo-Knitting (allows the speedy creation of useful items out of yarn, such as booties, tea cozies and hand grenades)
  • Produce Vaguely Relevant Song Lyric (no matter how dire the situation, allows the recall of a vitally unimportant song whose words bear some relation to what's currently going on)

How many titanium screws are currently fastened into your lower jaw?


Section Four: Media Consumption

Do you find it slightly disturbing how difficult it is to present oneself to the world without making reference to the media products one consumes? Do you half wish that we were more defined by what we do and what we are than by what we watch, listen to and read?


That said, who are some musicians you like?

There's this song by Dan Bern called "Chick Singers," the chorus of which is a list of female musicians that typifies about 60% of my CD collection. The other 4/10s is a mix of Cole Porter, Counting Crows, Garbage, Violent Femmes, Sting, Peter Gabriel, They Might Be Giants, The Incredible String Band . . .

What do you read?

A little bit of most everything. I have a long-standing penchant for SF and fantasy, particularly anything cyberpunk or swashbuckling. I also enjoy straight fiction, history, political science, poetry, popular science, and trashy magazines. I buy every issue of the comic books Books of Magic, Strangers in Paradise, and Knights of the Dinner Table, and subscribe to the excellent, excellent feminist magazine, Bitch.

Where do you spend time online?

I edit for the Open Directory Project at, a web directory somewhat like Y*hoo! (only much better). To check out the categories I edit, click here. (I also created the Arts: Literature: Fiction: Horror: Cthulhu Mythos: Humor category. Don't ask.) I am also a sometime contributor to the Internet Oracle, and can claim four digested Oracularities to my name.

When I have time to kill, I lurk about the Slashdot bulletin boards and the newsgroup I actuallly *post* to the Books of Magic listserv.

Anything else?

When I'm in Anchorage, I listen to Native public radio station KNBA 90.3, the very best radio station in the known universe. When at Bates, I listen to WCYY 93, which is pretty good too.

I watch Fox from 8 to 10 every Sunday night*, but little other TV besides. I love "Daria" and "Square One," though.

Section Five: Pointless Quotes, In-Jokes and Non Sequitors

Was someone asking about Mother Goose?

I don't think so. Look, if somebody asks where Mother Goose is, tell them . . . tell them . . . Tell them I don't know.

What should one say after putting down a seven?

Nothing. Unless it's a club, in which case you don't say anything.

What does apotropaic mean?

Intended to ward away evil.

Do you believe in interspecies dating?

Well, I've gone out with a few rats, if that's what you mean.

Section Final: Miscellaneous

Jessie Withrow sounds like a really keen person. How may I meet her?

Contact for an appointment. You are advised to make your reservation at least a week in advance. Be aware that a cancellation fee applies unless 24 hours' notice is given.

Jessie Withrow sounds like a horrible demon. How may I destroy her?

Jessie is generally believed to be invincible.

However, in half-whispered rumors it is said that atop Mount Kailash, battered by icy winds and guarded by rabid dire wolves, perches a tiny hut, within which dwells an aged hermit. Cursed to a life of solitude for some hideous crime, his face remains ever hooded to prevent any mortal from seeing the sorrow his eyes reflect. He, and he alone, knows the location of a certain crevasse, no more than a small cleft in the rock, through which you may travel, down through winding, treacherous corridors filled with choking dust and invertebrate horrors, into the bowels of the earth, where the mountain people forge a weapon of untold power. . .

Of course, everyone knows you're not supposed to listen to rumors.

How frequently have these questions been asked?

This is the first time, as far as I know.

How does it all end?

At that moment Mdme. Davenport let out a high-pitched squeal and sank to the floor. The shrill reverberations still resonated in Captain L'Ampre's ears when Adrienne turned her face to him, a look of desperation in her crystal blue eyes, and shaped her mouth into an urgent, silent plea. The Captain was still trying to resolve what she had said into intelligibility when Adrienne turned and fled through the open French doors and out onto the manor's rolling lawn. Every head in the room turned to watch her flight. The billowing white skirts of her tea gown moved farther and farther away until she was no more than a white fly-mote on the green landscape.

"It's the hysteria," the doctor said. "It's taken her brain the way it did her mother's." He waved his hand towards Mdme. Davenport's limp form. "Such sights can be troubling to delicate young female minds. Let her go. The air may do some good for her."

"But don't you find it at all suspicious . . ." Mrs. Juilesepe interjected.

"I, for one, can certainly vouch for Miss Hurn," said Mr. Scarsdale authoritatively. He cast a sly glance at Captain L'Ampre. "And I am certain that the Captain would do the same."

Captain L'Ampre nodded. His hearing had cleared, but his mind had not. What had Adrienne said? In his mind's eye, he could see her rosebud lips move. The shapes they made, though -- he could no more make sense of them than he could make sense of Adrienne herself.

On the parquet, Mdme. Davenport began to rouse. Mrs. Juilesepe and the doctor rushed to her side. Mrs. Juilesepe ran a hand over her friend's brow. "Connie, my dear, are you all right?"

The Captain thrust his hands into his jacket pockets. His right fingers brushed against the packet the maid had slipped onto his breakfast tray that morning. Between the day's excitements, he had not had time to examine it, or even to open it. He wrapped his hand around the odd shape, prodding it with a gentle touch. The paper had torn in one place -- he slipped a finger under the wrapping, and felt a texture chilling, yet comfortingly familiar. He slid his finger back and forth across its surface, loosening the wrapping. Suddenly, something inside him clicked, and he knew in an instant who had sent the package and what Adrienne's last words to him had been. The three syllables sounded in his brain as clear as a gunshot, and they seemed to him an exaltation, a promise of love everlasting. Overwhelmed by the rosy feeling swelling within his heart, he had no thought but to obey them.

Captain L'Ampre pulled his hand from his pocket still clenched around the grenade's cool metallic shell. He raised his arm up towards the heavens, and, with trembling fingers, pulled the pin.

This page was last updated February 17, 2000.


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