Sunday, June 28, 2009

Crazy Sore Throat Cure

So yesterday I woke up with an insanely sore throat. I could feel this one coming on, as I always do, the night before and I was the third beer in of the evening. Of course I figured, by the time I felt it, there was no going back, so I ended up finishing the pitcher and getting cheese tator tots (hey I work out too much not to eat like a jerk, right? If I had to work out AND eat well all the time, I don't know if there'd be any joy in life at all. Today at brunch I ordered an appetizer. An appetizer. For brunch. I'll let that sink in).

So being a freelance writer has some incredible perks--several bosses, teams and jobs so each one feels fresh and interesting; the work always has to be turned around quickly and I work best under pressure, and the hours are flexible--I do work hard, but if I have to run to an appointment or go to my parents' home in Connecticut, I can take the computer with me or make up the work at 4 in the morning if I like. There are also drawbacks--you can feel lonely, you drink too much coffee, I've stopped wearing heels and makeup, nothing's secure and the pay is lowish, depending on the job. Another one? Health insurance.

Back to the sore throat. It was really bad. And mayhaps the beer aggravated it, but it was there, I swear. I woke up foolishly hoping it wouldn't be there, but it was. Much, much worse than before. I lied around in my bed trying not to swallow and watching old 30 Rock episodes and sipped tea to no avail. My mom's always sworn by warm saltwater gurgles, but it's never really worked for me. I just don't feel it. So I looked around on the internet in a furious rage that can only belong to an underinsured freelance writer on a Saturday afternoon having cancelled two sets of plans because of the damn throat, and found something.

Cayenne pepper.

I know! I was in so much pain I would try anything. I gargled with a teaspoon of the stuff, several shakes of salt and almost-hot glass of water. I gurgled a big cayenne bubble that popped and then flew up and hit me in the eye. I don't recommend this--do it with your eyes closed! Online they said do it every 15 minutes until the pain subsided. And it DID!

I'm not saying it worked completely and it wasn't nasty. It was. I gargled, I combined it with honey and lemon and ate the stuff, I made the worst hot chocolate known to man (about a quarter inch of cayenne on the bottom-ick), I covered the Pad Thai we ordered in because I ruined our plans by being sickly. But it kind of felt better.

And this morning I woke up with no sore throat--and that NEVER happens! Of course, the cold has now moved to my sinuses and I can't really breathe and I'm hacking a lung and almost ruined brunch. But the point is, I went to brunch! I felt well enough to go and though it was too expensive and I couldn't taste anything, I could swallow. And that was a victory.

I can't believe I didn't know about this before! Now to get rid of this nasty cold. Anyone out there have any surefire ways to get rid of a sore throat/cough/head cold without resorting to pharmaceuticals? And I promise, if I'm still bad by Tuesday, I'll go to the doctor...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The first public death that affected me was Kurt Cobain, when I was 13. I cried for days, Then I was unaffected, an affectation where I was consumed in teenaged angst where nothing bothered me and nothing was considered by me unless it was my own selfish little bubble, who I loved, who didn't love me back, where I was going, why I wasn't there yet.

And now I think with last year's death of Heath Ledger, I felt oddly strange, upset, for a man I did not know, whose apartment I passed daily and did not realize, who if I saw while alive, would not care. And this week, there was Ed McMahon, who while important was old, Farrah Fawcett, who was the same to me, some abstract creature that did not relate to me in any way, I knew she meant something, I just didn't know to whom. I knew her death was sad, but for me, for cancer, there is time to reflect.

Michael Jackson, a man I grew up watching descend, his brilliance matched only by the swiftness in which he fell--much of it perhaps in his own creation, he was the first of us to overshare to nearly blog when there was no reason to blog, he was the first celebrity I knew of to melt down over and over, and why I knew this I cannot say. At the time I was too young for even grunge, even though I thought I was just old enough really, and I didn't care to understand disco, and thought pop was garbage (though grunge WAS pop, I see that now). I wasn't even a year old when Thriller came out, my mother told me that when I did, it terrified me, and again, far before anything else I mourned, I cried for him then, because I thought he was coming to kill me. The video, long-since considered a masterpiece, gave me nightmares, I hear. I saw it later, saw something which was mystifying and amazing and only scary in its complete awesomeness, but by the time I saw it--and saw that in him--he was not that man any more.

He was something else, a fabulous disaster to us, the grabbing masses, something that they called Sid Vicious thirty years ago when he self-destructed, and now I can't help but feel in impenetrable sadness as I watch hours of videos of imitators and news coverage feeling like this man, this poor man, was a joke to us in his twilight years. Today, at least we remember him well. I must be getting old or things are just different in the world, but now I see death and it comes very often, perhaps more than anything else.

Tonight I'm saying WTF. This is horribly sad to me, and I do know why, because it is death, and he was a man who must have felt an inordinate amount of pain for the past fifteen years, and part of me wonders why he couldn't have died before he was tarnished, as awful as that seems, because today we care about him more than we had for decades. Today we remember him more fondly, there are no Walmart boys' pants half off jokes, today we remember his genius, and we should have, we should have before.

And yet. If he did what he did...who can say. The man is dead and I for one, hope he can finally rest in peace.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Your advice is needed!

I haven't been here because I have a new gig writing at a music site and long story short I spend about all my free time doing that, and going to my brother's high school graduation (which has the startling capacity to make me feel SO OLD that he's graduating the same year I had my reunion) and wrapping up three classes and enrolling in a new one and sending the novel off to the editor and really getting on writing the second novel and talking with my writing sample--arguing with it really--for school and organizing all of my lists of where I'd move to school to.

All this in the rain.

It's exhausting! I need a staycation (can't afford a vacation) where I just don't use the internet after a certain hour or I turn into a gremlin. I want to stay at Mogwai. My boyfriend's feeling neglected.

So I'm spending the time I should be scouring for new artists, looking up my favorite music videos of all time. So far I've come up with this, but I want to post some more on the site. So any more suggestions?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Advice, Etc.

Rant Alert!

Boy am I glad this blog is pretty much anonymous because my God do I feel shafted by a group of designers right now. Why is it that every time I work with them they shirk their work so that they're doing the absolute minimum (and not one iota beyond their job description, even though they ask that of me) and they refuse to take a phone call and instead insist that any changes I have, no matter how small, no matter how much they screw them up unless I walk them through them, that I EMAIL THE CHANGES TO THEM.

Actually this is a rant about emailing versus calling people. I have spend an hour and a half writing a document which spelled out changes that a designer needs to make in layout and STILL they get it wrong? They do it even though I ask about 10 times can we just talk on the phone? But NO. They want to talk by email.

The 40 email chains that go back and forth instead of a 30 second phone call. And because of this, we are all working TWICE as hard, because I have to spend the time typing out the changes, they incorporate them and make mistakes all over the place incorporating them (because let's face it, making changes is hard when you are looking at two different documents and trying to keep your place, I get that, I've been there) when we could both BE ON THE PHONE, looking at the same document and MAKING THE CHANGES TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME. Then when it comes back to me, I don't have to freak out that everything will be all screwed up.

BTW, they still make me email the same document back and forth, even when they change things in layout that AREN'T IN THE DOCUMENT. AND CHANGE THEM WRONG (I'm editing text and some of it is in word form, some of it they use later for titles and stuff and even though I ask them to change it by email, they don't do it right, because they are ONLY LOOKING AT THE DOCUMENT WITHOUT THE EMAIL). AH! People just pick up the phone! Once you hear my voice you will know I sound like a child and am not scary and am actually trying to do this as efficiently as you!

And they all think I'm an annoying biatch because I demand that they do it right--I just know I'm known over there as the person that's difficult to work with because I have to keep saying over and over and over again, we are not to have "www" in front of a website, the magazine doesn't like it that way!

And yet, I still have and love this freelancing gig and apparently they do too and we have to work together and it blows because without them picking up the phone, they think every email I send is bitchy, and truthfully, I think the same of them.

Why Lord, why? And they always start every conversation with: I think there's been some confusion. Or why don't you go ahead and do that--when I have sent a request to them to do it? I get no respect there and I know they are nice people (why else would they keep getting hired) and good at what they do (except they don't seem to want to be working on the same team with me and somehow think my changes are negotiable even if something is spelled wrong because I have to tell them ten times it's wrong). Frustrating! What am I doing wrong? Anyone?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gawker Says It Best: Like a Staycation, But at Work, For No Pay

I'll admit I used to be a big fan of Gawker. Now, eh, not so much. It's recently become more recaps of shows (God Bless that Richard Lawson, he's the only funny one left) and blatant and not-so-great ripoffs of DListed (that website is so, very good. If you are still reading Perez Hilton or the Superficial, I implore you, DListed is the gold standard). But this article caught my eye, and I'm hoping the tide is turning over there so they can get back to what made them great, what continues to make, say, Jezebel great (except when they are just recapping shows and ripping off DListed as well...sigh).

Today's article is about the Union Square Virgin Megastore closing. Have you seen this? Another nail in the coffin for those of us who are praying that there will be some sort of divine intervention to come down and pull us out of this mess. I was a permalancer. Now? Prolancer. I'm a professional lancer of sorts. I freelance as a profession in a world where nothing is certain and anything can be taken away with a drop of a hat (sounds like a great movie line, right?) Anyway, on with the story.

From Gawker:

"The Way We Live Now: Eking out a hard living in cubicle hell while beauty dies, duh. We work without music. We work without pay. We work without jobs, just to say "Hey, one day."

Virgin Megastore is officially dead. Dead along with it is one of your top five theoretical backup jobs in the event of your layoff; the idea that selling music in a store could be a profitable endeavor; your own whimsical daydream about one day maybe opening up a little record shop, just the really cool shit, and just living that life; and the music industry as a whole.

Hell, Joan Kroc gave the Salvation Army $1.8 billion and it still can't scrape together enough to build a new swimming pool in Detroit. Argentina's not crying for you, buddy. At least you have a job. You better hold onto like the precious diamond that it is—a valuable gem made out of dirt that you squeeze really tight. You do what you must. You do what the boss says. You do what the boss doesn't say, just to scrape and give yourself that tiny edge that just might cause them to lay off Doris, the receptionist, instead of you, when the time comes. "Furloughs," they said. "Ten percent less in the check, but you get a few more days off each month," they said. What happened? You work right through those furlough days. Because there's too much work. It's kind of like a staycation, but at work, and minus the "-cation." Just a "stay."

Of execution? One might say that. Yes one might. Because your Stay could be a staycation—of poorness:

"The real problem is that long-term unemployment is going up dramatically," said Franklin Allen, finance professor at the Wharton School. "Unfortunately, many people in their late 40s and 50s may never get jobs again."

How do you like them apples? I hope you like them enough to sell, for nickels, for the next 30 years."

Ugh. Wretched. And how much do we hate Franklin Allen? What a jerk! I mean, yes we're looking at the coffin in the store, but could you at least wait until someone dies before you decide to bury it? That metaphor worked in my mind, at least. But come on! Let's hope Professor Allen doesn't get laid off in his 40s and then decide his life is over and just give up and buy ten cats and stare at a wall for the rest of his natural-born life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Items for the Weekend

Dinner with Emily at DGBG, Daniel Boulud's foray into downtown dining (I hear sixteen kinds of sausages and an ice cream sundae cart!)*

Look out the window and pray for sunshine

Anxiously await the edits from my first personal essay ever, slated to be published, in a brand-spanking new literary magazine (if it happens, you'll be the first to know)

Take a nap

Finish Stanford class and breathe a huge sigh of relief, then, slow-witted as I am, sign up for a new class to tackle the 2nd book (yes I'm still working on the first!)

Go to Torrington, Connecticut for a clambake reunion of high school friends

Drink a little too much wine somewhere and barefoot

Hunker down and get those music blogs in for that new job, edit an article on Hawaii for an old job, and be very thankful for working at all, even if freelance and part-time translates into weekend full-time

Gather new obsessions: mint green tea, Stephen King movies and a new motorcycle helmet

Don't look at my paltry bank statement, don't, don't, look

Clandestinely watch all the episodes of So You Think You Can Dance that the boy refuses to watch with me

Find the four inches of scarf I knitted in winter, my cell phone charger, time for the gym

Have a wonderful weekend!

*and very excited to see DB's takeover of the branding of famed Sid Vicious vomitorium CBGB's.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ten Things I've Done That Lead Me To Believe I am Old

1. Think the phone on the T.V. show is my cell phone getting a new text. See also: listen to the T.V. way too loudly and watch a WHOLE lot of "Dateline on ID". You know you love it, too. Oh, also "Snapped" where there are harrowing tales of women killing their cheating husbands.

2 Find dogs and children adorable and take every opportunity to have a staring contest with them when their owners/parents aren't looking. See also: name the pets I do not have yet.

3. Let a boy get up and give his seat on the subway to me (I wasn't even wearing heels! They were flats, still kind of uncomfortable, but still).

4. Sort of enjoy prunes (Have you noticed they now call them pitted plums? We know what prunes are! Old people food that looks like doodie and tastes delish!)

5. Be hot and cold and the same time--so wear a sweater and no socks and solve nothing.

6. Can't remember what I ate yesterday. Maybe it involved prunes. It also involved dried figs, also old people food. As if Fig Newton constitutes a cookie! God I was so mad when my parents passed those off as cookies to me. Now Raspberry Newtons, that was something I could get my grubby little fingers around.

7. Buy a foot massager so I can stop asking my boyfriend to massage my feet. Ask him about three times a day to do it anyway. Then complain that he's "doing it too hard" and "no, in the arch, I said the arch!"

8. Use the phrase, "I'm too old to be suckling from the indie teat, so find someone else" during a music job interview, and get the job anyway. Being crotchety is so hot right now! (PS Why do people always give you the jobs you tell them you don't want?) See also: saying I don't want jobs online and sort of not caring who sees because I'm too old to be caring about people who care about what in tarnation I do online.

9. Talk about the way New York used to be and sigh. (So what if I'm only referring to last summer? Everything's closed down, it's so depressing!)

10. Have a sexual dream about Tom Jones. See, let me explain this one. I was JOKING about it and then it happened. That is such an old person's thing to do. Also, I had a dream where I made out with Conan O'Brien. Or maybe it was Tilda Swinton. I can't remember. Wake up feeling both too hot and too cold.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Mean Girls: Yoga Edition

I'm trying to get back into yoga. Used to love it. But ever since I got a trainer that left me sore for days after running suicides, I let the yoga classes fall by the wayside. Plus they were always so damn full, every time someone did Warrior 2, I'd nearly loose my head by some errant jerk who wasn't watching their elbow.

But still, I have gone three times this week--I need the flexibility, like the deep breaths, and even get some sort of sick thrill from the yoga instructor adjusting my poses. It feels like a mini-massage, but painful. And it makes me feel like we're friends. I get it, I'm lonely for friends now that I don't go into an office. Don't judge me, a yoga instructor counts as a friend! Even though she doesn't know my name! Right? *Sigh*

So anyway, today. I finished up working out exactly at 11:30. Yoga class starts at 11:30, but people usually mill around for at least 45 seconds so I figure if I can grab a mat and head to the back quietly, I'm golden. Except the clock in the yoga room is FAST. Five minutes fast to be exact. How do I know this? I'm in the gym five days a week and know which clocks are right and which aren't. No one ever said I wasn't a loser.

So I come in and people are sitting in lotus, ready to begin. There is a girl who looks to have not have eaten or gotten laid in about four years taking up two spaces with her mat, sweatshirt, shoes, etc. I make eye contact with her, all she has to do is move six inches to the left and we're good to go. I walk around her. I smile. I say, "Thanks so much, sorry to make you move." Keep in mind this is a FREE CLASS AND NOTHING HAS HAPPENED YET.

She doesn't say anything. Let me also tell you that I am sandwiched between her and the wall. I can't move. She must. There is about two feet to her left that she can move and still give the girl on the other side plenty of room. Me, I just want six inches. The girl moves from sitting position to standing--a perfect opportunity to scoot her mat. Does she? I think you know the answer.

Instead she begins stretching her arms in sun pose (is that what it's called). And looks at me with daggers in her eyes as I stand there patiently waiting for her to move. And says "Watch it, my arms are coming out." I stand, mouth agape. "Okay, I say. Maybe if we both moved..." I trail off.

I do nothing, I can't start any of the poses, I can't start anything, because it's apparently more important in this life for this girl to push me out of the way. After she moves through several exercises and I've been able to do nothing, I say "I'm so sorry, could you move a little?"

She doesn't respond.

After a few more, I ask again. Now I've wasted a good four minutes of workout waiting for her to do the right thing. "I'm sorry, can you move over just a little?"

Nothing. Finally I say, "Are you even going to move at all?"

To which she hisses "YOU CAN WAIT GOD DAMNIT!" Other people look.

The instructor looks at us, confused, as if she can't understand why this girl won't move to the side. I want to say "I know, right!" Instead I say nothing.

Girl continues hissing at me. "You're just going to have to wait, got it? And by the way, YOU WERE LATE!"

And then, here's the kicker. She proceeds to loudly breathe the entire time, as if my 10 seconds forcing her to move have entirely unbalanced her chakra, and goes on to restart everything she did before, and even though the instructor gives her extra time, makes a huge deal of not doing the rest of the moves everyone else does. Can I catch up with them even though this girl robbed me of a good five minutes? Of course I can! It's a free yoga class people! Not the army! She thought she was so much better than everyone else that she took all these long breathing breaks and make a big deal of doing the poses really slowly (and might I mention, badly as the instructor comes over to her more than once and moves her around). I'm not saying the instructor didn't come to me, she did (and you know I loved it! Free touching equals mini-massage!), but if this chick was soooo much better than everyone else and I set her off so badly by forcing her to be a human being and treat other people in her FREE YOGA CLASS like other human beings, then she better be doing the Lotus upside down.

I remember why I stopped yoga in the first place. I want to offer her a cheeseburger, but it would have done no good. Fine, I'll go get one myself.