Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fashionable Lateness

Party - 084Embarrassingly, but not surprisingly considering how rarely I post, most of my blog visitors are searching for something random I happened to post about. Since I posted about Catholic funeral etiquette, I've been getting visitors who want to know about that subject. I'm glad to help, but I doubt any of those people have stuck around for the profanity-laced jocularity.

Awesomely, two people came here in the past month by searching "do frenchwomen do crafts". They do have yarn stores in France, so I'm guessing yes. (I may have never mentioned this, but when I was in Paris for my honeymoon 4 years ago, I bought a Phildar knitting pattern booklet for some adorable children's knits. None of which I've made yet, but maybe someday.)

Also, as long as I'm digressing, what is up with all the adverbs today? Probably a side effect of trying to avoid them in my novel.

Anyhoodle, I also get some people trying to find out if it's OK to be fashionably late to a party, or how fashionably late they should be, or some variation of that. Since I've thrown a few parties in my day, opinions? I has them.

First, let me say that when you should arrive at a party varies by culture and even by your group of friends (and possibly their age). Marian Keyes wrote in one of her books that in England, you show up exactly on time, while in Ireland, it's tremendously rude to show up less than an hour late.

In my 20s (in the boondocks of Brooklyn), I threw a Halloween party and the first guests arrived an hour after I said the party started. It was an old friend and she made a joke about how I could stop worrying that no one was coming. Which I had totally been doing. Even though it wasn't the first Halloween party I'd thrown for that group of friends.

A couple of years before that, I was invited to a party a college friend's place in a more fashionable section of Brooklyn. I showed up at 8 like the invite said. The host told me that he said 8 because that way everyone would show up at 9. He then ignored me for an hour while he talked long distance to a friend. He was always ducking out of things to call friends in crisis, so it wasn't out of character, but still. Dude.

Now when I throw parties, people tend to show up early. Partially, this is because I live somewhere easily accessible by public transportation and you can never be sure how long it's going to take to get anywhere. Another part is that we're in our 30s now, and don't end our evenings in the wee hours of the morning, so we all start our evenings earlier. I think part of it might be because I've met several of my current friends through DWNY (a Doctor Who fan group--HA is a founding member--how's that for geek cred?) and we used to host video meet ups and people didn't want to be late and miss any of the show.

Of course, this meant that some people would show up an hour early while we were still cleaning, and then corner us into a conversation that kept us from cleaning. One time, a planned subway diversion didn't happen, so everyone was early. The first person to apologize for being early was the third person to arrive.

So when you find yourself wondering "should I be fashionably late to this party?", ask yourself how well you know the hosts. Would they be comfortable chatting with you while they're still chopping the crudités? Then arrive on time, and if you find yourself arriving a little early, they come on in and help them set up.

If you don't know them that well and you're early, go for a walk, go for a cocoa, anything to keep from turning up before they're ready for you. If you don't relish the thought of having a few minutes to chat with the hosts before everyone arrives, show up 15-30 minutes after the starting time.

That's for regular parties. For sit down dinner parties where everyone is going to eat at the same time, 15 minutes late should be the max. Do not get between people and their dinner if you can avoid it. This is the one occasion when the start time really means something.

The whole concept of being fashionably late in theory feels like you want to make an entrance, when in practice, people want to be fashionably late because they're afraid to be the first guests to arrive, which gets in the way of standing around with a drink in your hand, not talking to anyone because you're too shy to mingle. So suck it up, and be considerate of your host when planning when to arrive at a party.

Speaking of mingling, I was once disgusted by co-workers who went into a work cocktail hour with no intention of mingling with anyone, when their mission should've been working the room to convince everyone that we deserved the contract we'd won, and that they should like us. (Most of the guests were clients.) So I read a book on mingling so I'd never be like that. The one tip from the book that I still use is to have a few conversation openers planned. That way, you can fall back on those sentences when the whole talking to human beings thing gets scary. For example, if you're at a birthday party, you can start all conversations with "How to do you know the birthday girl?" At DWNY meet ups, I often ask people who their favorite Doctor is and the conversation flows quite nicely from that.

What do you guys think about it?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How To Write a Novel

Silver Spoon
Step 1: Goof off online for a bit. This is to distract you from how much your writing sucks, so that you are able to pick up a pen.

Step 2: Clear desk in preparation for typing in the handwritten stuff from the last writing session. (I can type faster than I can think, but handwrite & think at the same pace, so I write my fiction by hand.)

Step 3: While moving breakfast dishes from desk, drop spoon on the floor.

Step 4: Listen to spoon slide under desk.

Step 5: Feel under desk with foot for spoon. Fail.

Step 6. Decide to leave spoon there until it's time to move the desk.

Step 7: Realize that the soon is from this morning's cottage cheese and said acquaintance with dairy will give rise to a mighty stank if left in place.

Step 8: Reach under desk with the business end of a swifter broom.

Step 9: Retrieve an Advil liquigel, emery board, one cheerio and an unhealthy amount of dust. (When you're done judging me, go check under your desk. I'll wait. Yeah, that's what I thought.)

Step 10: Realize that the swiffer has pushed the spoon against the wall behind the desk.

Step 11: Make 5-10 failed attempts to retrieve the spoon with the business end of the swiffer, while composing a blog post about the escapade in your head.

Step 12: Retrieve the spoon with the handle end of the swiffer.

Step 13: Feel unjustifiably clever while tossing spoon into the kitchen sink.

Step 14: Write blog post, calling it "a writing warm up".

Step 15. Fix all the autocorrects of "swiffer".

Step 16: Post blog post and make a nice cup of tea.

Step 17: Type up that stuff from the other day. No, really.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bullet Time

  • My Facebook Account is down temporarily, which means that I haven't checked my News Feed this morning and...and...and it's just messing with my mojo, OK? It's totally thrown off my morning routine. Which could make for a good FB status, except that I can't post to Facebook right now.
  • This should bother me so much less than it does.
  • I got my second round of Botox shots last week. They hurt less than the first time. I'm still waiting to see if they do the trick.
  • I've got some sort of autocomplete going on as I'm typing this. I don't know whether to thank/blame Blogger or my shiny new iMac.
  • Have you heard about this campaign to use the pre-paid reply envelopes that come with pre-approved credit cards to send messages to banks? It's enough to make me sort through the giant stack of unsorted mail looking for envelopes I can send back.
  • Christmas shopping? Seriously? I am so not feeling it yet.
  • I may skip making handmade gifts for the eleventy-one kids in my extended family. The migraines have really decreased my knitting output this year.
  • Or I may decide to start whipping up cork elves for everyone. After making 150 for my brother's wedding (I have pix of all 150 lined up, but haven't gotten around to posting them a year and a half later), it takes me less than 45 minutes to do each one.
  • We'll see.
  • I've checked Facebook 10 times since I started writing this. Because I wants it.
  • Huzzah! It worked the 11th time. To the Facebook!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Power Watching

Thanks to the modern miracle that is Netflix, I've power watched several TV series. There are some definite advantages to watching the episodes all at once. No waiting until next week or next season for things to get resolved, for example. (I imagine that watching Lost this way will be somewhat less painful than watching it while it was still on. I decided to wait for the DVDs when I saw the at first pleasant, and then not so pleasant agonies fans were going through in the first season. I still haven't gotten around to it.)

It was comforting watching The Dick Van Dyke Show at the rate of an episode or two a day. For a few weeks, my before-bed ritual was watching some wacky adventures.

But too many episodes too watched too close together and it can get on my nerves. There was a few episodes in one of the later seasons where Mary Tyler Moore got into wacky misunderstandings with barely an episode in between. It struck me as lazy writing, especially on a show that featured writers sitting around saying, "no, we can't do that premise. We did it 2 weeks ago."

Unlike some people, I can't watch an entire season in a weekend. Which would be a handy skill considering the migraine situation. (My plans for last weekend: haircut & clothes shopping. My actual weekend: PJs and couch with migraines. Yes, plural. I had a few hours pain free Sunday morning and then my fucking head started up again. I feel like I should name my migraines, like a friend of mine named her tumor. Suggestions welcome.)

Another downside is that no one else is watching the show at the same time as me. I have no one to discuss it with!

(Side note: I was once on a e-mail list of acquaintances that, among other things, rehashed and discussed TV shows. The list started to die when the list owner got a Tivo, didn't watch America's Next Top Model the night it aired, then got pissed off when people discussed it the next day anyway. Because she couldn't be expected to ignore those emails and then come back to them later. Or something.)

I finished Dick Van Dyke and now I'm into Monarch of the Glen, which is not a period drama, even though the name makes it sound that way. Present time, scottish manor that the young laird is trying to turn into a money making (instead of money-losing) business. Quirky characters, hilarity ensues amongst nature's beauty. I gave it 5 stars out of 5 while watching the first season, but now that I'm on the 4th, it's lost a star in my estimation. From what I've read online, it may lose another by the end of the 7th season.

The most frustrating part is that I have no one (even online, apparently) to turn to and say, "What the hell were the writers thinking?" or "Did they write out that character, thereby screwing up a season-ending happy ending because they can't write a show without the will they or won't they thing going on? Or did that actress just want to leave the show?".

Still, it's comforting to watch an episode a day. Even though it sometimes involves bagpipes, which my head doesn't appreciate. But that's what remote controls are for. (I dream of a remote control with a headache button. It would lower or raise the volume by 5 so I wouldn't have to press the volume buttons 5 times to adjust it every time something got too loud.)

Anybody else have a show they wish they could discuss with people? But can't because no one else on the planet cares about it anymore?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Past Life Thing

When I was, I dunno, let's say 4 years old, I walked into the kitchen and saw my mother washing drinking glasses and setting them upside down on a towel to dry. My response to this?
"When I was your grandmother, I told you not to do that."
And then I walked away.

At the time, my mother had one living grandmother (called Big Grandma because my oldest cousin couldn't say "great", which is awesome because she was a wee tiny lady), and one deceased one. Who had told her not to do that. I guess because the glasses fog up or something.

A few days or weeks later, we were at my grandparents' house and my mother told her father (the son of the deceased grandmother) that she had something to show him. Then she washed some glasses, put them upside down on a towel and I came along and said the same exact thing.

My extremely Catholic grandfather's reaction?
"There are things in Heaven and Earth that we're not meant to understand."
And that was that. My mother has since has no doubt that I used to be her grandmother and has even come to find it not freaky or terrifying at all.

You know what is freaky?

My cousin/godson was once driving around the neighborhood with his parents, spotted a house and said, "I remember when we used to live there." He had never stepped foot in that house. To this day, he has lived in only one house. The house he pointed out is the one where our grandfather and his 3 brothers used to live. With their mom, who I used to be.

I keep thinking I'll do some sort of writing project inspired by all this. Nothing as ambitious as The Years of Rice and Salt (which is a great book that you should totally read), but something.

And for the record, I do sometimes wash glasses and put them upside down on a towel to dry. So apparently, people can change. Even if it takes a reincarnation or two.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oh, Dear Lord!

This past Saturday was my family's annual September Birthdays Bash. Ostensibly, this event is to celebrate the 5 September birthdays in my extended family, but really it's an excuse for Aunt Bea and Uncle Brian to make a big turkey dinner and for the rest of us to stuff ourselves with stuffing and consume an unholy amount of gravy.

All without the sucktasticness of Thanksgiving, so it may actually be the happiest day of the year.

Before dinner, we were looking at photos of my grandparents' and great-grandparents generation. One great-grandfather was a rum-runner during Prohibition who had his boat shot out from under him by the police during a rum run, and played piano for Jimmy Durante. As is the case with interested ancestors, I gather he was a bit of a jerk. In fact, in my past life, I divorced his sorry ass and became a single mother to 3 sons in the 1930s rather than stay married to him.

More on that later this week, because I have something even more interesting to share.

After the pictures, my mother sorted through a plastic bag of greeting cards my grandmother had saved. Some went back to the 1950s. Some may have been earlier, but it's the ones from 50s that you will not believe.

Allow me to remind you that this branch of my family tree is Catholic. My grandfather was so into it that during one blizzard, he walked to church and helped the priest say mass since no one else showed up, but it was Sunday and these things had to be done. At one point, there was also a nun (possibly also the school principal) who would call the house, say "Tom, I'll be at JFK at 4" and hang up and he'd drop everything and pick her up at the airport.

This history makes it unsurprising that there were greeting cards with wording similar to this:
Father, I am giving you this Blessing, including:
___ Masses
___ Prayers
___ Rosaries
___ Ejaculations

You read that last one right.

As you can imagine, there were many jokes along the lines of "no wonder this is such a big family."

About.com has the real definition (mini-prayers) and examples. I'm a little sad that I looked that up. I thought it was more borderline taking the Lord's name in vain or maybe church lady Hallelujahs.

The blanks above were so the kid in question could write a number. A couple of the cards had 5 of everything, but one had 10 and I have to wonder what my Uncle Richie had gotten up to that made him feel it was necessary to double down on the ejaculations.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Book collectionI love fiction, but rarely tear through a book. Years of reading on the subway while commuting to work has affected my brain, training me to read in 45-60 minutes bursts. When I get to read at home, I often find myself deciding that I've had enough and need to go do something else. I'll even have to renew library books that I haven't started yet (after 3 weeks).

Once I had to return a book that I hadn’t begun reading because it was new and had a waiting list (no renewals allowed). I got the book about a month later and loved it, btw. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. Even if you want to pop Shopaholic in the face, you'll enjoy Twenties Girl. Or at least that's where I stand on things. I've enjoyed all her non-shopaholic books, including those written under her real name (Madeleine Wickham).

(I know quite a few people who can't stand Shopaholic, including some people who probably blow all their money at restaurants and bars instead of clothes, so y'know, we're all big, fat hypocrites. Just think how boring the world would be if we all had our heads on straight. I don't loathe Shopaholic, but I do want to smack her. Because I possess self control and am still fat (because self control isn't the only factor in weight), yet I spent years listening to co-workers about half my width going on and on about how they'd weigh a ton if they had those chocolate truffles in their house. Because a box of 20 chocolate truffles are going to turn you into a complete lardass. Eat them, or don't and shut the fuck up about it. I brought in a box of truffles from The Chocolate Show to be nice, so stop acting like I've wounded you in some way.)

(You do get the connection there, right?)

Anyhoodle, I recently got What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty from the library and knew I'd need to actually read the thing in 3 weeks to get it back on time. I think it ended up taking me 3 days. Maybe 4. Because the whole "I've had enough for now" thing didn't happen.

You see, Alice wakes up after falling and hitting her head, convinced that she's 29 and pregnant with her 1st child. In fact, she's 39, has 3 kids and is getting a divorce. Which freaked me the fuck out because loving your husband while everyone (including him) tells you that you hate him is just terrifying. Her ex-to-be even bets her money that she'll go back to wanting a divorce as soon as she gets her memory back. And of course she doesn't get her memory back until the end and I just had to find out what would happen then.

Excellent read.

What have you read lately that you couldn't get enough of?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Let's be Random, Shall We?

I wish I could google things like "where the hell did I put the pencil sharpener?"

The other night, I dreamed I was in France and my attempts to speak French actually woke me up.

This makes me feel like I should finally get proficient in French. I only lived there, for fuck's sake.

Because I'm not busy enough. Apparently.

Remember the old "You must pay the rent" bit from, I want to say Electric Company, so let's go with that, though it could've been Ville Allegre? What kills me about that bit (which I repeat on the first of every month), and what most people forget is that they started the sketch by saying that you can make up games with just one prop and your imagination. The whole point was to teach kids to make up their own games. The actual result was teaching kids to recite the "You must pay the rent" bit verbatim, proving that we of Generation X will not do what we're told.

The original sketch doesn't seem to be on You Tube. But you know what is? Dozens of videos of people re-enacting the bit.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Fall TV Season Approacheth

This past week, I've been even more psyched than usual to read the latest Entertainment Weekly (aka EW, pronounced "E.W." by some and "ew" by me). They have a big fall TV preview issue, complete with a list of the shows sorted by premiere date. I've even gone so far as to circle all the shows I want to check out on that list, so I can set the Tivo accordingly.

But I'm not equally interested in every new or returning series. I've realized that there are several categories of TV show.
  • Returning, and I'll definitely be watching the whole season.
  • New, and I may stop watching after a few episodes/when it's cancelled after a few episodes.
  • New, and maybe I'll make it through the first episode without throwing anything at the television set.
  • New, and I hope it doesn't suck, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • New, and please don't let it suck.
  • New or Returning and I don't care. I don't care how good it is, you can't make me watch another crime drama/police procedural/soap/reality show.
I won't name specific shows, since it's all subjective and I don't expect you to share my tastes. (Though if you're not watching Fringe, I just don't know you anymore. Just don't watch it while eating. Just trust me on this.) And it's enough work to read the issue and circle all the show names for eventual DVRing. I'm not going to categorize each and every show because that would be almost as boring for you as it would be for me.

What are you looking forward to watching?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Migraine Movie Marathon

I spent my Labor Day Weekend in pain, so I got better acquainted with the couch and watched many movies. Some pretty high falutin' flicks in the mix because we have IFC now. Release the mini-reviews!

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly--A very slow moving film by necessity--it's about a guy with locked-in syndrome. How fast can it go? Perfect pacing for when you're laid up yourself.

The Last King of Scotland--Gee that movie got brutally violent at the end. I actually covered my eyes with both hands. And I saw some pretty disgusting stuff when I was a volunteer EMT. But damn, Idi Amin was fucked up. Like Frank Miller fucked up. (I saw Sin City a couple of weeks ago and I'm still suffering flashbacks. I think the mind of Frank Miller is a very scary place and we're all lucky he channelled all that fucked-upness into comic books rather than enacting any of the horrific acts of violence he makes up. He may be a delightful and well adjusted individual in real life, but I don't think I'll be getting close enough to him to find out.)

The Canterville Ghost, 1990s Patrick Stewart/Neve Campbell incarnation. We watched this as a follow up to the WW2-era version, which was much better, even though it included jaunty American GIs teaching the locals how to swing dance. Because only Americans really know how to party. Or something.

The Namesake. Man, I could go for some samosas. This film had as many close-ups of food as Julie & Julia. Probably would've enjoyed it more if I'd watched it straight through instead of stopping to watch something else with HA several times. There are some huge jumps in time between some scenes. I suspect the book is less disorienting.

The Sweet Smell of Success. Sounds like a jaunty showbiz romp, right? Not so much. More like the Acrid Stench of Failure and Unhappiness. Also, I can't look at vintage Tony Curtis without picturing him in drag. Also, also, they didn't care too much about cigarette continuity--at one point, Burt Lancaster took out a cigarette and lit it, and I was like "you were less than halfway through a cigarette 5 seconds ago. What did you do with that one? Are you just wasting cigarettes to show off?"

The Searchers. Good movie. Whole lotta racism. Yes, the movie is supposed to make us think about racism and conclude that it's wrong, but damn, when you've already reached that conclusion, it's hard not to dismiss certain characters as assholes.

So what did you did with your Labor Day weekend?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodnight Irene

I live in a part of Brooklyn that doesn't have to evacuate in any severity hurricane, so we just dug out the flashlight, put a couple of candles and a lighter on the kitchen counter, filled a couple of pitchers with water and called ourselves prepared. We also cleared off the bathroom floor and put towels around the base of the toilet, because sometimes when it rains, the water coming out of the washing machines in the laundry room (one floor down) comes up out of our toilet. This didn't happen, so we came through the storm completely unscathed.

Things I thought I'd be able to get done while we were stuck in the house during the hurricane:
  • do the mending
  • start sewing myself a bathrobe (Now that I've learned to sew in a straight line with my sewing machine, I want to move on to clothes. I figure I can wear a bathrobe even if it turns out like ass. Also, the only robes Macy's has in my size are in synthetic fabric, which is exactly what you don't want next to your skin in a steamy bathroom on a humid day. Macy's also has housedresses in my size, of the style my grandma wore. This is just not a look I'm willing to embrace at this point in my life.)
  • clean the apartment
  • make a loaf of bread with the bread maker
  • watch a bunch of TV and movies with His Awesomeness
What I actually did during the hurricane thanks to the migraine that started Thursday night when the storm was nowhere near NYC and is still lingering (in a greatly lessened state) today:
  • Cleaned out the fridge to make room for the pitchers of water.
  • Found the jar of clotted cream I bought in June so I could make scones for my birthday. (It's a small jar and I've looked for it without finding it enough times that I thought it was the jar that HA dropped and broke. Now I have no idea what was in the broken jar.)
  • Checked the expiration date, which is December, so it's still good.
  • Considered making scones
  • Realized that I was in too much pain to stand up for that long.
  • Continued my campaign to mold the couch cushions to fit my body perfectly.
  • Moaned and whimpered a bit to break up the monotony.
  • Watched massive amounts of TV and movies, both through Netflix streaming and Tivo.
  • Did some reading for my writing group (during the worst of the storm, when my migraine was at a low pain point--go figure)
Some of the specific programs and movies that filled my weekend:
  • Tangled. I dozed through what I think was the comic relief bit in the middle, so I would like to see it again when I'm feeling better. When Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore sang the oscar-nominated song from this movie at the Oscars (You Tube link), their age difference made the whole thing a bit creepy. OK, distractingly creepy. Their animated versions are much more age appropriate, so that was fine, except that I can’t un-see the Oscars performance no matter how much I pop open my skull and rinse my brain out with water.
  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Spoiler alert--it doesn't. It was made in 1957 and makes fun of ad men, as well as TV and radio. They actually stop the movie about an hour in so that Tony Randall can come out and explain that they're taking a break for the TV fans who are used to having their stories interrupted for commercials. Then he goes into a radio soap opera-type spiel (Will this happen? Will that happen? Will success spoil Rock Hunter?). Very meta.
  • The new episode of Doctor Who. Loved. One of these days, I'm going to watch all the River Song episodes in reverse order to see the story arc from her point of view. (She & The Doctor are both time travelers and they're going in opposite directions. So when they first meet, she knows all about him and each time we see her is actually an earlier point in her life from the last one. Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey. It's actually less confusing than I'm making it sound, because 4-day migraine.)
  • Passover Fever, which, well, it's no When Do We Eat? which, by its title alone, is the perfect Passover movie. I enjoyed it, and I'm just glad to have it off my Netflix queue because every time I see the name, I think of this clip from The Soup:

And now that song is stuck in your head too. You're welcome.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weird Dreams

So the pill I've been taking to prevent migraines (moderately effective at best) has strange nightmares as one of the side effects.

Weird dreams I've had so far:
  • I was hanging out with some people, went into Staples to get something and then the whole place was full of zombies.
  • I was hunting down a serial killer. At one point in the dream, he was sentenced to jail, but not for afternoons, so he was still holding someone prisoner and was feeding them every afternoon. Why no one just followed the guy to his lair so they could free the person, I dunno.
  • The Project Runway dream.
Weird dreams I expect to have soon:
  • Zombies on pogo sticks.
  • Kangaroos on pogo sticks.
  • Singing houseplants.
  • All my unread books chasing me, calling "Read me! Read me!"
  • The one where I become Empress of Canada.
  • Poutine, and lots of it.
  • The one where I'm on Hair Battle Spectacular and have to design and execute a fantasy hairdo.
  • The one where I'm an Angry Bird.
  • Angry Birds on pogo sticks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Over It

I've been stumped for a blog post the past few days because the one in my head is about stuff I'm over and I don't want to be too mean or anything. People *can* hear you on the Internets.

It's not that shocking to say that I'm over Kate Plus 8. It's nice to see the older kids a little less unhappy over the little ones grabbing all the parental attention. But I can't manage to care about watching the kids play or go on product placement adventures. Since the show's been cancelled I'm clearly no the only one who's over it.

I hope that I'll manage to stop watching the Duggars when the next season rolls around. I disagree with most of their values (I don't say all just because both I and the Duggars are anti-murder and pro-charity, for example. It's so easy to forget that about people we disagree with)

But I'm feeling a little headdesky over a certain podcast that I've decided not to name, but if you're a knitter, you'll know which one I'm talking about. I've listened to all 100 episodes so far even though I came in after she'd been doing it for a year or so and I still let them pile up like the rest of my podcasts. Regular listeners know that our podcaster has been trying to make a living from the podcast for years. She certainly has a large enough audience to make it theoretically possible. She tried corporate sponsors, took donations and even did a public tv style drive where she said that if people donated x amount of money then she'd be able to podcast monthly or maybe it was even more frequently. The thinking was that if she didn't have to spend time on other paying gigs she'd be able to devote more time to the podcast. Almost immediately after making this pact with her listeners, she stopped podcasting for a chunk of time because life just got in the way (as it does) and probably also because she's an admitted perfectionist which kept her from starting any podcasts before she was 6000% ready.

She's that self sabotaging friend you want to shake some sense into but it never works.

My headdesky moment came in her second to last podcast where she announced that she's finally realized that she can't make a living at podcasting so she's dropping the advertising and removing the donate button from her site. Because if she can't make a living at it she won't accept any money for it at all. Because of the perfectionist thing I imagine. If she can’t make tens of thousands of dollars at it, she won't take any money, even though doing the podcast costs her money (travel to interview people, visit notable locations, etc.).


I haven't cancelled my iTunes subscription yet, though I would t be the first listener I know that she's lost. Because that self sabotaging friend who never learns? Is still a friend. Which I supposed our podcaster would consider success. She started the podcast to reach out to other knitters and as much as she drives me crazy, I'm not sure I've completely had it with her yet.

But the only way to keep up that friendship is to vent to someone. When will she ever learn? Why does she keep doing this to herself? Because otherwise you can't keep watching them shoot themselves in the foot.

Yet, I have ended real life friendships for similar reasons. One time in particular, I remember thinking "I can't keep having a front row seat to this relationship". The couple is married now and although he treats her much better than her 1st husband, I have no doubt that he's still rude to her and selfish and I'm relieved not to have to witness that.

I know you've all had friends like that, so feel free to vent/dish in the comments.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sewing Dreams and Fantasy Hair

Sewing Machine HKLast night I dreamed that I was on Project Runway (automatic video warning) and the challenge was to make outfits for one of the other designers. (They actually did that one in whatever season Santino was in.) I had to make a dress for Becky (again with the automatic video), who is one of this season's contestants.

My dress ideas were all over the place, and when we finally got to Mood to shop for fabric, the store had been remodeled and there was hardly any fabric. At least that I could find. Everyone else found fabric just fine. But everything I touched turned out to be a ready made skirt, or table runner or whatever.

I finally decided to make her a bright red dress and found some bolts of red fabric. I got 2 yards of it, which was probably not enough. When I went to pay, all the other designers were waiting. Tim Gunn had taken pity on me and was letting me shop longer. He'd even left some of his own money to pay for my fabric.

Even more unrealistic than Tim bending the rules was the price the cashier rang up--$6. Not that I know the going cost of fabric, but most weeks, the Project Runway designers have a budget of over $100 for fabric & notions. (Oh, and in the dream, I realized too late that I hadn’t bought any notions--thread to match the fabric, a zipper, etc. Good luck making a dress without that stuff.) Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll once said in an interview that he once paid $15 just to fart in Mood. I visited Mood looking for fabric for my wedding dress. It was cheaper to order fabric online from St. Louis.

I'm just glad I woke up before I had to try to make the dress.

Before I had the dream, I was planning to blog about the return of so-ridiculous-it's-awesome reality show Hair Battle Spectacular (automatic video warning--what is *wrong* with these people?!). In season one, all the hair stylists had ridiculous nicknames like Cajmonet (pronounced like "cas" in "casual" and "monet" like the painter, and meaning "cash money"), Fingaz (because she has just fast fingers) and Minista (because she's an internet minister, or something, mostly for the purpose of performing gay marriages).

Minista uttered the best sentence ever spoken on any reality show ever: If Sexy Lexi wins Hair Battle Spectacular, it will be a slap in the face to fantasy hairstylists all over the world.

Sweet, sweet hyperbole, I love it so.

It's hard to tell if anything that awesome will happen in season 2, but I can dream.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What it's Like

There are a lot of Muppet events coming up (a tribute to muppeteer Richard Hunt at Bluestockings bookstore, the "Being Elmo" movie) and I've been trying to make plans to go to these things with one of my muppety friends. She suggested that we get advance tickets for the movie and I said that I can't buy advanced tickets for anything right now thanks to the migraines. (I'll never know if I'll have to cancel at the last minute.)

And that's when it hit me. Suffering from migraines is like dating a commitment-phobic jerk who's seeing 3 other people on the side. All plans are tentative until about an hour before and when your plans don't get cancelled, they could still get ruined. You never know when he's going to leave you miserable on the couch, watching Downton Abbey on Netflix streaming because you're in no condition to watch anything you haven't already seen.

What I haven’t figured out is that if I'm the one dating the jerk, or if my husband is.

Speaking of Downton Abbey, it contains a good lesson in creating dramatic tension for me and all my other writer friends. In an early scene, the kitchen maid end up with a bowl of poison in one hand a bowl of chopped eggs in the other. She goes to the footman to give him the eggs and tell him to sprinkle them over the chicken that he's just taken up. He grabs the wrong bowl, she realizes after he's gone upstairs and she can't just go up after him because kitchen maids don't go into the dining room. As she's begging a housemaid to go stop him before someone eats the poison and she gets hung for murder, the footman comes down to ask which chicken dish he's supposed to sprinkle the stuff over. She takes the poison, gives him the eggs and disaster is averted.

The whole incident lasts only a minute or so and never comes up again. But it makes you care so much about what's happening on screen that it spills over to the less frantic scenes. Kind of like the mad rush to get to the first wedding in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Now if I can only stop being in pain* long enough to edit my novel, I can see about adding a poison chicken scene.

*The doctor warned me that the Botox shots might give me a headache. I had a forehead ache for a day and a half, but not an actual headache. Then I woke up Saturday with the biggest sumbitch I've had in a while. I'm still not 100%, which is why I watched all 7 hours of Downton Abbey this weekend.**

**Best line Maggie Smith (as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey) has ever delivered: "What is a 'week-end'?"

Friday, August 12, 2011

ZOMG, The 'tox

Syringe 3 With Drops

I finally got my migraine Botox shots yesterday. And well, that hurt more than expected. I always tell doctors that I have a high pain threshold since I'm a migraine sufferer, but wow a big needle in the forehead hurts. I thought I'd be getting them at the hinge of my jaw (at the base of the trigeminal nerve which has tentacles spreading across the face to everywhere migraines hurt), but no. Forehead, and several spots on my head. 4 syringes-worth of Botox coursing through my melon. One on my forehead bled, and still hurt hours later. I got a little woozy which I treated with a Ginger ale and grilled cheese at a nearby diner, plus another ginger ale and a nap at home. Highly recommended for whatever ails you. (Heh, at first I typed "whatever ales you". At least the Botox hasn't paralyzed my rapier wit.)

The effects don't start for a week, so I still have a few days to wrinkle my brow at HA. We've been saying that I should take a bunch of pix of me making different faces so I can just hold up the applicable picture if I'm no longer able to make cranky faces at him. The doc says I just won't be able raise my eyebrows as much, so no more Spock eyebrow raises for me.

And here's the other thing I forgot to mention on Wednesday. On my way home on Tuesday, the subway lines I needed to take were so messed up, that I finally gave up and went shopping until things cleared up. My purchases?
  • A soldering iron & solder
  • Purple nail polish
I'm feeling pretty awesome about that. I've applied the nail polish, but haven't used the soldering iron yet. I'm hoping to use it while still wearing this nail polish. Because I have to amuse myself somehow.

What's the weirdest combination of items you've ever bought on the same trip? Anyone who can beat the Radio Shack/Sephora combination gets major bragging rights.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jen is Random

If you haven't seen this segment from Monday night's Daily Show, do yourself a favor and watch it. I already knew about the news story, but it's so hilarious, I couldn't stop laughing.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Forecloser
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

I swear there were at least 2 more things I wanted to write about, but it would appear that my brain has ejected the information.

Hmm...let me try to free associate and maybe it'll come back. Something political, motherfucker, douchebag...

OMG, this wasn't one of the things, but have you seen those horrendous Summer's Eve talking vagina ads? Think twice before clicking that link. You can't un-see that shit. Senor Wences has been ruined for me forever. I've acted the ads out for His Awesomeness (ay yi yi, I'm not feeling fresh down here) and he may never recover.

Speaking of HA, one of the things I wanted to share was that he told me that whenever I say "Rick Steves" he thinks of Rick Dees and the Disco Duck. See how I love you so much that I'm not linking to the song?

Monday, August 8, 2011

What I've Been Up To

  • Revising my novel
  • Having anxiety attacks related to revising my novel. I suspect part of the problem is that in my current office I have no room for the sign that says "You do not suck. Now shut up and go back to work." When we rearrange the desks later this year, I'll fix that.
  • Listening to His Awesomeness telling me that I don't suck, but what the hell does he know?
  • Actually, he's pretty talented himself, so I guess he does know, but still.
  • Discovering how bad it smells when you leave the compost container on the counter during the hot summer months.
  • Washing my hands 3 times after washing the compost container and still not removing all the stink.
  • Recommitting to not volunteering for the community compost group because those bins must be introducing new smells every moment.
  • Trying to keep up with our CSA half share. At least the Kale onslaught seems to be over. Do you know what Kale Chips smell like? They smell like green. Aggressively so. Do you know what they taste like? They taste like green.
  • Discovering that I can stand eggplant if I slice it so thin (<1/4 inch) before breading and frying that it's more breading than eggplant.
  • Admitting that making eggplant parmesan would be less exhausting if I sliced it more thickly so there'd be less pieces to fry.
  • Rejoicing that this year's giant cabbage was actually smaller than my head this time.
  • Watching The Dick van Dyke show on Netflix Streaming. That sure is one catchy theme song.
  • Enduring His Awesomeness' suggestions that we throw a Dick van Dyke Show style party, where everyone gets up and performs.
  • Knowing that if we did that, our friends would either be afraid to perform, or come up with something mildly disturbing and/or dull as all get out.
  • Looking forward to getting Botox shots for my migraines because I have had it with these motherfucking migraines in my motherfucking head. 70 out of 90 days with a migraine is too many. (And yes, I know about the giving up gluten thing. I may try it if the Botox doesn't work, or when the first shots wear off. But doing it at the same time won't tell me which thing is making me feel better.)
  • Reading a book about treating migraines, which took months since it hurts to read when I have a migraine, and the whole 70/90 thing.
  • Playing games on Facebook.
  • Ignoring my invites to Google+ because I just can't be bothered.
  • Realizing this damages my techie cred.
  • Not caring.
  • Playing Angry Birds.
  • Watching Angry Birds tutorials on You Tube when I've failed a level 30+ times.
  • Buying a carnivorous plant to deal with the housefly situation. (That's not mine in the picture up top, but it's the same kind.)
  • Naming it Audrey 3 because sometimes you can't fight the obvious.
  • Peeking at it to see if it's doing anything.
  • Realizing that it doesn't work that way.
  • Peeking again.
  • And again.
  • Imagining the plant saying "Mo-om, she's looking at me!"
  • Realizing that it doesn't work that way, either.
  • Leaving it alone anyway.
  • Listening to the Travel with Rick Steves podcasts I downloaded 3 years ago when the economy turned bad and I thought I'd do some vicarious traveling, then realized that I couldn't keep up with one more weekly podcast and unsubscribed, but kept the ones I already had because they sounded interesting.
  • Being astounded that Rick Steves had to be told by his guest that you don't call French waiters "garcon".
  • I mean, honestly.
  • Rediscovering the joy of wearing nail polish.
  • Staring at my fingernails, because silver shatter is hypnotic. It's like crackle paint, which I've seen plenty of times, yet I can't look away.
What have you been up to?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's a Good Thing I Don't Own a Voodoo Doll

Construction site Masshouse Lane / Albert Street - JCB Covertron<--This is what it sounds like in my apartment.

I've been ready to storm upstairs to have a polite word with my upstairs neighbor all week before the intermittent hammering drove me completely insane. Hell, I was even prepared to help him finish whatever he was trying to build just to end the misery. Unless he had taken up sculpture or carpentry IN AN APARTMENT BUILDING* in which case, I was going to strongly suggest that he get a studio space since I shouldn't have to spend my money on cafes or a rented workspace to carry out my job that doesn't bother anyone in the building.

*(Seriously, years ago, I advertised for a roommate and a guy called asking if he could rent the room for less than I was asking just to use the space to practice his drums. Because he'd rather piss off my neighbors than his own, apparently. People.)**

**Total pet peeve of mine? People who use footnotes in their blogposts and put them at the end so you have to scroll up and down to read them. Footnotes and endnotes are convenient with physical books, to so much with blogs.***

***The publishers of Tina Fey's book pulled that shit with the Kindle edition. Since she used asterisks, not numbers, I assume in the print version, they're footnotes that you can look at right away so that the joke is actually funny. Putting all the punchlines at the end of the book? Someone needs a kick in the shins.

OK, so back to the guy upstairs. It turns out that the hammering has to do with the construction that's going on in the hallways. I'll have to wait for them to get to my floor to find out what the hell they’re doing that requires hammering. I thought they were just redoing the floors, ripping up the old vinyl flooring and replacing it with new stuff.

So then I felt bad about being mad at the guy upstairs completely unbeknownst to him. Though, seriously? The walls in this building are so thick I hear nothing from the people on my floor. By the floors are so unsoundproof that I can hear his phone vibrate. Let alone the loud conversations, parties until 1 am and loud movies he watches in the middle of the afternoon.****

****I tried to convince myself that he's a homebound film critic and HAS TO watch movies during the day while recreating the full THX experience. But I doubt it.

But then he started up with the loud music and I stopped feeling bad and started feeling like a nervous breakdown was sneaking up behind me.

And have I mentioned that wearing earplugs gives me vertigo?

I'm really looking forward to trying out the new space bags I ordered from Amazon to take the edge off.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stuff That's Pissing Me Off

Queen of HeartsBecause I'm still in a lot of pain from a slip & fall last weekend and so I'm cranky and I've got to bitch somewhere.

Power saws. Not the tool, but the screeching whine they make that bores into my head like a nail. It's raining, so the construction guys next door aren't there, but the neighbor across the street is using one on the porch. I cannot catch a fucking break here.

Whatever the hell my upstairs neighbor is doing that's making so much noise. Again.

Royal wedding backlash--Jesus H people, The prince is a freaking tourist attraction, of course there's going to be a lot of media attention. I just want to look at pretty dresses. It's not like I complain about other people's interest in stuff I'm not into. I loathe sports, but you don't hear me whining about all the sports coverage on TV when there are more important things happening. If I can ignore sports, you can ignore the royal wedding for another day.

The growing list of foods I have to avoid because of migraines. Seriously, at this rate, the only food I'll be able to eat is Velveeta.

Any mention of food that I can't eat because of migraines. I just scowled at a series of recipes in a magazine that include miso. I don't even like miso. Yet it vexes me anyway.

The 10 days I'll have to wait to see my orthopedist to find out exactly how much damage I did when I fell.

My glasses, which I've been stuck wearing for weeks now as I recover from eyelid surgery. And no, I didn't have them done. I had a weird thing-ectomy. The surgeon even said, "I've never seen one just like that and I've seen a LOT of those."

OK, I've run out of stuff. What's pissing you off?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


As I've discussed before the lack of posting is due to migraines. As much as some of you have missed reading my writing more often, I've missed not being in agonizing pain even more.

So to make the lack of pain happen, I went to a doctor who does a biofeedback-based treatment that identifies and treats food sensitivities (which can lead to all sorts of feeling unwell, including migraines). I'm feeling much better and more energetic, so if you've been feeling at all run down or less than awesome and live in the area, give them a try.

We also did a scan for migraine triggers. I may be also been cured of those triggers, but it's hard to say since I screwed up my medications and have had 3 migraines since them because I'm a dumbass and not because I ate anything specific.

But the triggers. There were many, many, many foods on the list of things that can give me migraines. Including lettuce and apples and Jeebus H, my body has got to be kidding me. I've decided to cut out foods that I scored over 40 (out of 200) on to be extra safe. Even trimming the list down, that means 40 foods.


Judas priest.

  • Artichokes--feh, well OK, I can deal.
  • Bacon and hot dogs--I've been rocking the nitrate-free kind for a while, so OK.
  • Black walnut--the fuck? I have to pay attention to walnut varieties now?
  • Buttermilk--sigh. Anyone know of a reasonable substitute for marinating fried chicken?
  • Cashews, Pecans, pistachios, Peanuts and Peanut butter--I already knew about the cashews. Pass the almond butter.
  • Chestnuts--finally, one I don't care about!
  • Cod fish, red snapper, salmon, scallops, sole--Salmon? Seriously? Oh fer fuck's sake.
  • Coffee--oh, go fuck yourselves migraines. I've already switched to all tea this week, but this so blows.
  • Dried fruits--because heaven for-fucking-fend I should have a healthy snack.
  • Endive, fava beans, feta, figs, swiss cheese--fine, whatevs.
  • Grapefruit--Son of a Bitch!!!!!!
  • Green olive--seriously?
  • Hazelnut--harumph--looks like someone's husband gets to eat all the Nutella.
  • Honeydew melon--oh, fine.
  • Hops and Juniper berries--No beer or gin?! GIN?! I mean, I've stopped drinking because of the migraines anyway, but I've been dreaming of a gin an pomegranate juice. Pass the vodka.
  • Horseradish--which I actually really like, so--GAH!
  • Lemon--I already knew about this one too. This summer will be all limeade, all the time.
  • Lentils--By Shatner's toupee, what I am supposed to eat?
  • Miso, Soy sauce and teriyaki sauce--again, suggested substitutes for soy sauce would be awesome.
  • Snow peas--the hell?
  • Sour cream--OK, that's it. There is a line and I am drawing it. Sometimes a gal just needs some onion dip. I may attempt a cream creese/mayo substitute, but my hopes, they are not high.
  • White grape--which, what? Does that include green grapes which can grow up to be white wine? Has anyone ever seen a white grape in the supermarket?
  • Yogurt--again with the you have to be fucking kidding me. Yogurt? That stuff I'm supposed to eat everyday and do? Fine. I can only stand greek yogurt and that shizz ain't cheap, so fine.
You notice what's not on the list? Sugar. Milk. Pass the ice cream.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Have You Ever Really?

HA and I watched Don Juan de Marco the other night. The second the end credits started, accompanied by the strains of the Bryan Adams theme song (btw, laziest song-writing ever. Really, really.), he leaped up and turned off the DVD and took it out of the player. It turns out he hates Bryan Adams. This information inspired me to sing the song to him until he's ready to divorce me.

I'm still not sure if this is because I suck, or because he was totally asking for it by leaping into action like that.

I keep getting the song stuck in my head, so I'm suffering more than he is.

Plus, he keeps serenading me with the song from the stupid Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie that I liked when it first came out. (The movie more than the song.)

Shut up. Christian Slater was in it.

And Alan Rickman, so shut up some more.

I also keep getting the Robin Hood song stuck in my head, so clearly karma things I'm the jerk in this situation.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Everything is Random

  1. I had a dream the other night that was my typical trying to get something accomplished and not managing dream. This time it was a quest to find some cake icing. (I have no idea. Just go with it.) At the end of the dream, the shopping complex I was in was invaded by commandos. And now I want to end every anecdote with "And then there were commandos."
  2. I seem to be feeling better, partly due to the mild exercise I've been getting with Wii Fit. Which kinda pisses me off since the idiot thing has told me twice to take it easy on holiday treats. In January. This is annoying on so many levels that I don't know how I'm going to stick to my resolution to stop ranting at the damn thing.
  3. Or is it referring to all those MLK Jr. birthday cakes you see everywhere this time of year?
  4. I wonder what it's going to say about my President's Day cherry pie.
  5. I totally stink at the ping pong game on Wii Sports Resort. I've lost against the least capable computer-generated opponent. The one that you're supposed to be able to beat easily. Multiple times. I've realized that if I'm going to get better at this game, I'm going to have to care about ping pong for the length of a 6 point game instead of zoning out about 1/3 of the way through. I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge.
  6. After a year in this neighborhood, I've discovered a place to buy Kerrygold Irish butter, and I am exceedingly happy about this. I started using it years ago when Cooking Light magazine recommended it because when you use only a small amount of butter, using the best butter makes up for it. And damn, this stuff is good. It has something to do with the grass the cows eat. Regular butter seems like a waste of food in comparison.
  7. Eating butter from across the Atlantic isn't locavore/good for the environment/whatevs, but eating whatever veggies my CSA farmer comes up with for 20 weeks of the year probably makes up for that.
  8. Besides, I'm so smug from not owning a car that I need to be taken down a peg anyway.
  9. And then there were commandos.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Random Stuff

No apologies for not posting since...OMG September? Really? Aw jeez. Not apologizing anyway since that would be the most boring way to start a blog post ever.

No excuses either. I live with chronic migraine pain and have to spend the good days I have writing stuff that I get paid for. Plus blogging about being in pain? Boring for both of us.

I blog for Skirt! more often than I do here because I figure if they're kind enough to invite me to write for them, I should actually do it occasionally. My latest post is about Resolutions that I'm totally gonna be able to keep.

But Skirt! doesn't want me swearing, so I'm not leaving here any time soon.

Random things that are in my head:
  1. Months after seeing Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, I still think that Marquis de Carabas is the best name ever.
  2. Having a migraine (as I do right now) makes me cranky. Today it makes me want to stab the patriarchy with a mechanical pencil. This has been brought on by an article in the NY Times about how men are turned off by women crying. I refuse to read the article, so the study may not actual prove that, but just once I'd like to have something like this spun from the perspective that women are the ones whose opinion matters. As in "women are turned off by men reacting badly to their crying".
  3. Could we just stop worrying about attracting members of the opposite sex so much and just enjoy life for five fucking minutes?
  4. I'd also like to stab the next advertiser that pushes the whole "all women are insane in the face of chocolate" thing. Besides the obvious reasons, I prefer vanilla. Or a nice pie.
  5. For some reason I can't find Hostess Fruit Pies anywhere in NYC anymore. Not that I've been looking that hard. They contain as much fat as a Big Mac and don't taste as good a real pie anyway. But when I found some in the drug store in Missouri, I bought them all up. Because it's been a long time, my friend.
  6. Mmm...pie.
  7. After revisiting the Midwest, I can report that not everything in restaurants is slathered in cheese, covered in bacon and deep fried, but a significant number of things are.