Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Life Edition

It started small, they always do. Turn the T.V. off a half hour before sleeping. Insist boy that buying a rug will indeed make his pad more homey. Just say no, a thousand times to Vegas, only to be bamboozled into it, and watch as boy unceremoniously takes it out on the rug.

Work on Children's Book until I get back my oldie but goodie (that's Saturday). Listen to new music (Handsome Furs, that new Eminem song--I'm not kidding it's just great). Make a lot of wine dates with various factions of still-employed girls. Write a really bold email proposing a job to a place that's not hiring (that's how I roll). Spend the weekend eating sushi and playing Wii. Hooray for Super Smash Bros. No longer wonder why I want to write Children's Books.

Talk my parents to taking the family out to lunch at Chanterelle (you have not lived until you've tried the grilled Seafood Sausage) now that the economy has made it, for the first time in the restaurant's 30 year history, possible to order a la carte.

Get asked to buy a dirt bike for my interview subject. Promise him it can be so, only if he picks up his other bandmate in NY and drives back to their home, cross country, with snot streaming on their cheeks a la Dumb and Dumber style. Do not hear about dirt bike again.

Try to want to see any of the Oscar award movies. Say to myself that's selling out to see them just because they're recognized even though I'm not as interested as I should be. Listen to Lady GaGa instead and hang my head in shame.

Keep browsing overstock.com. The wishlist on there is as long as a wedding registry. Consume inordinate amounts of White Tea. Decide honey can be used as a condiment for anything.

Buy a new pen. That's the reality here, people. This is revelatory.

Email about an apartment in Paris, because, why not?

Think about new recipes. Knit two inches of a scarf while letting laundry building into a teetering tower of Pisa.

Watch a whole lot of Anthony Bourdain. Make new outfits from purple tights, a black and white dress and a green sweatshirt, even if I'm called Punky Brewster by more than one person.

Ride on a Ducati a lot. Realize that it's the motorcycle equivalent of the thong.

Sing for no reason when someone scares me on the street. Realize this, in turn, scares them.

Got a long way to go...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yellow Cucumber Pie

That was the name of the book my team wrote in class last night. Two guys are fantastic illustrators. Note to self: steal them once the class is over.

And now to cull the best of my childhood memories: when my father engaged in an explosive mailbox war with the teens in the neighborhood, when I punched Sonny Lubin in the nose when he had his pants around his ankles because he was a jerk and otherwise engaged as he was learning to pee standing up, when my brother was a turkey on Thanksgiving and threw ours away, when I had two cats named Peaches and Cream and though Peaches got run over, I had Cream until I was big, the fact that my father stayed home with us kids during the 80s and when I cried that I couldn't be in the girl scouts because there were no mothers available to us to run it, he became the state's only male leader, and hot glue gun and stapled on my badges on my sash, and for my birthday made brownies with mayonnaise in them (because we were out of eggs and what was mayonnaise but trussed up eggs, god damnit?), when my parents told me the Golden Mosquito would leave me a present if I was good for the babysitter and I thought he looked just like C-3pio, when my parents thought my fourth grade class should see the pictures of my brother's birth with a post-it positioned over the naughty parts as an educational aid, when they told me he was coming and I had hoped it was a kitten instead so dressed him up while he was asleep with feathers and sequins, when I won the summer reading award four years in a row...yeah I think I've got some Judy Blume in there, some David Sedaris for kids...I hope.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To Do

My to-do list, in no particular order:

Find the orange juice I just poured, then put down.

Pick up the lemongrass soy candle that looks exactly like a glass of juice and sigh.

Print out materials for Children's Book Writing Course, my scheme to turn some past blog entries into some sort of Judy Blume-inspired series (that's cause I figure, does anyone want to read a literary novel about rich kids having a quarterlife crisis? I think, even if there wasn't a big ole freeze on buying new writers at all the publishing houses, that would be a resounding no. Let's save selling that for 2010).

Listen to a band I'm writing about. Read the only article written about them before. By BUTT magazine. I am not joking, people. (NSFW, obviously).

Formulate my proposal for a magazine I've had every other job for, to create a position they haven't thought of before, when they have no money to fund it. (Great ideas can't wait for the economy! At least mine can't, I have too many of them to stop myself, it's a problem really).

Spend a few hours reading my writing partner's novel and editing it with a light and overarching touch, repeating over and over "Do not make her write the book you want to write," because in the past that's happened to every writer on the face of the earth.

Book a ticket to Vegas and wonder how I got involved in such a mess. The bright side? It could help the proposal! Anyone know any good nightlife that isn't cheesy there? Yes, I know I'm asking about Vegas.

Figure out a restaurant for tomorrow's dinner with the girls. I have had girl-brunch there this weekend, took dessert out from there after our meal on V-day, and had dinner there last week, but I cannot stop suggesting Hundred Acres. (Monday's poached eggs, spicy grits, country sausage and warm cream biscuits with golden honey are a no-brainer for my addiction.)

Go to the gym, even though I think I pulled my ass yesterday doing some terrible military style workout devised for me by a madman. Can you pull your ass?

Take a very long walk because tomorrow I have to be at the office at 7 am, and I don't know how to be in an office anymore...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Is Why You're Fat







Have you been here?You don't know what you're missing if you haven't! Hooray for America, even in times of recession, we can dream up new ways to be even fatter. (That second picture would be Krispy Kreme Donut Bacon Cheeseburgers, oh yes, you heard me).

Friday, February 13, 2009

File this under WTF

Dear Lord.

His girlfriend...is twice his size. He's four feet tall. He's 13 and she's 15. They had a BABY! At least the British press writes it hilariously, though it is a sad, sad tale. I'm glad the baby is healthy and there are two sets of involved grandparents but who the hell thought this was a good idea? Starting with the fact that they were dating in the first place!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Avert your eyes

Buttermilk fried chicken, sour cream and ricotta chocolate cake. The fridge is full for my imaginary ten child family.

The cooking continues, the descent into madness deepens. The hurry up and wait game, that's not under my control either. There are promises of jobs, but no jobs, there are hands extended with glittering assignments that would be perfect if only that restaurant didn't just close, that band just didn't break up over depleted funds, that boutique design startup with the cute pleating whose parents' just cut their talented but precious children off.*

And while all that happens, the government cheese is drying up (some issue at the unemployment office because of...what's the word, oh yeah recession) and my traveling tendencies start kicking in. It's an addiction, and it's not pretty. Especially when there is no no no no money at all to take it!

So, don't think about it, keep making cake, keep watching videos of kittens falling asleep, keep ordering Vietnamese hot and sour soup, keep scrubbing the floors, pick lint from cushions, refold quilts, neatly write and rewrite to-do lists and scratch through tasks done with a satisfying stab of a red pen.

Catch up on movies, Aliens, Body Heat, King of New York, Dressed to Kill, classics and eighties thrillers, melodramatics, period pieces, arthouse pleasers (do not see "Nightmare" even though it was on the IFC circuit and On Demand with a really great trailer), see Coraline 3-D and then go all the way back beyond rentals to the Free Movie Channel on Demand (Friday the 13th 2 anyone?)

Read. Read until I feel like writing. Conversely, write. Write until I feel like reading.

Stack magazines. Cancel magazine subscriptions. Stare longingly at old issues of Oprah, Real Simple, Time Out. Rinse and repeat.

Make green tea like it's going out of style. Try peppermint to mix it up.

Lose iPod. Try not to freak out. Find it, realize all the music is at least a year old and bemoan lost status as the go-to friend for music.

Tape every show I used to miss, without abandon. Sleep until 11 AM without abandon. Start flossing on a regular basis.

Avoid haircuts, nibble nails and put on woolen socks to cover three month old pedicures, knit badly, take lots of hot showers and keep going to the gym, wear a scarf because it's very very windy outside and try to ignore the texts of people I really want to go play with who have warm weather dreams, the South, the West, my pregnant friends in pretty places, and all the rest. It's winter in the city, it's deep in the recession and I'm a cheery person, so to save my sanity and my dreams, I'll bury myself in busying myself, or else we all know where that leads: Nicaragua and beyond...

*Damn you parents! Take care of us until we're forty!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Go Hang a Salami, I'm a Lasagna Hog

Read: the above title. There was a time when I was little and I loved palindromes. Insert thrown rotten tomato/nerd alert comment/anything else. Yes I loved reading! And words! And reading words! And I had pink glasses with smurfettes at the corners and bangs that were cut by my mom and I wrote my first book when I was in second grade and wrote it about two poodles who solved crimes and drew pictures of them with big fluffy heads and enormous black noses and purple trees. It was a big hit in Mrs. Tropiano's class, other kids even checked it out of our homegrown library.

Anyway, back in those days I had a book, titled "Go Hang a Salami, I'm a Lasagna Hog" (I know, it makes no sense, but had a cartoon of someone eating a lot of lasagna when someone is offering them a big salami) and at that time it was the longest palindrome that I could find. The others were "Llama Mall" or "Boob". And today, I'm thinking about words, and well, lasagna. Because I just made one, yes I have become that domesticated. I went out, bought a tub of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, strips of pasta, sweet sausage, a big yellow onion and garlic, and parmesan cheese. Combining those with a faulty oven, a too small dish, an uneven stovetop and a a stolen jar tomato and basil sauce from my parents' house, I made lasagna. For no reason. I'm even going out to dinner tonight with my uncle, and my roommates are vegetarian, weekday salad eaters and working late nights at school (in that order).

So what, I'm unemployed, and now a lasagna hog too. Hey, as I said yesterday, all the good restaurants in New York are closing. I've got to make my own. Speaking of that, now back to knitting...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Don't Let That Stop You

There was a time when I was paid to eat. And not just eat, but eat too much, pork belly, duck eggs, french fare, little chorizo tapas plates, spicy pickles, juicy turkey burgers and pad thais till the cows came home.

It sounds easy, it was actually hard: ordering things I didn't want to, clandestinely jotting down notes in a little pink moleskin, sizing up the hostess, assessing the crowd, casually asking about the materials used in a wrap-around bar, a banquette, a lush gathering of drapes. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat--I've asserted more than once I'm a fat person in a fairly skinny person's body (that's thanks to my trainer, and I can't imagine this body will last past 35 even if I go macrobiotic, so why not go bacon now?). But the work around eating, the assignments, the scoping out, that's not just a leisurely meal. That's work. Cool work, but work, I promise. There was calling of chefs, checking up with purveyors, grilling the manager on the wine list choice, demanding why the paella wasn't as crispy as advertised once I revealed myself behind the curtain I'd drawn. And then there was the new way to say tables, seating, booths and cubes. Figuring out how to describe ten mediocre bistros in a way that would give you, dear reader (of another place, not here, a place far more legit, where I had a great editor who would make me tear up because I wanted to do right by her so badly, this is a mark of a good editor--one that brings you to tears, I'm sure of it) is not easy.

Eating until I need to be rolled out of a restaurant is. Not ordering the cocktails (which are not covered, of course), until I have fully assessed the joint to my powers, that was another story.

Well in such economic times, sadly the restaurant writing has temporarily (I hope!) dried up. They've slashed and burned across the boards, all the great food mags, all the great food sites, they need to keep their high paid talent and cut the lowly staffers and permalancers (that's me). I get it. In times like these, people can't eat out as much. Great places are shuttering left and right: the unbelievable fried green tomato, southern fried classics and Jamaican jerk chicken restaurant in Chelsea will go this week. The neverending (we had wistfully said once over lattes with rock candy stirrers) gastropub brunch spot where they didn't shove you out the door and still had market fresh ingredients every damn day has already closed its doors.

And when the work dries up, the solace is found in meeting in dimly lit places, cocktails and small plates and commiserating. Except we have no money, we have no new places and our old favorites are gone, and yet, we've become addicted to the rich life that we led. It's a spoiled brat problem. And my friends and I are suffering from it. We're back to our first few months in the city, canned soup and skipped meals, which isn't bad, in fact it's a damn decent way to live. It's proud. If only we hadn't eaten to near gout proportions before. If only it hadn't been my job to see every new place and go in, and eat every damn thing there. If only I hadn't been lucky enough to taste it all, in New York, in the first place. I'd feel less addicted now, and far less foolish, drooling over the fancy people and their fancy meals, just like I had when I was twenty...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Oh my God, this is the funniest thing I've read in months. I can't stop laughing.

I totally have an Ex that fits into this category

A choice letter from my favorite new website, Psychotic Letters from Men:

(This is to GET HER BACK! These are the words he uses??)

"Hello

You should reconsider not being with me, Im sure you can understand, that the longer this goes on, the less likely I am to believe that this is all a terrible nightmare that I will wake up from, in a cold sweat rubbing my tear streaked cheeks praying for the nightmare never ever to become a reality.

I am aware that, in cutting off our noses to spite our faces, we have said some horrible things to each other, and our egos have forced us to up the anti so to speak, and make the things we say even more horrible each step in order to provoke as much hurt on the other as possible.

This is something that we are both guilty of, and I am sure that you would agree. Let the records show that, while I’ve said some very nasty things, but it was nothing that’s not true. I did it to make you a better person.

You are making a big mistake not being with me, you will see. You will fall down the slippery trail of scumbag ex’s, I know being the slut you are….

I am sorry that I have been mean lately. I am sorry that I have let the pressures of running a small business in an ailing economy get to me so much that I take my despair out on you. I am sorry that I can't be the perfect wonderful every second is a dream boyfriend that you read about in story books.

I mean, it’s not like you are perfect. I mean, my friends give you a 5/ 10 and that’s because you’re with me. I mean, you aren’t going to get anyone better than me are you, you’re not exactly a size 2 anymore.

We both must take a step back, take a deep breath, take a good hard look at our actions, then think

What would the magical leopluriton do?

Why, he'd whisk you away into a magical dreamland and make everything better, of course.

And that is what, to the best of my ability, I intend to do.

Please, don’t throw us away, I know things can be perfect, if you just try not stuffing your face all the time, and I will be more accommodating of your rapid mood swings.

I suggest you think about it. Hard.

Paul"

Read them, and weep for humanity here.

Lost in Lost

Now that I am a lady of leisure (and how!) I find I have become once again addicted to the following shows with diminishing returns: Gossip Girl, The Office and Lost.

Let's start with Lost (though I'd like to quickly say that if Blair and Chuck don't make it soon or if Pam and Jim don't break up in the foreseeable future--come on they're so dumpy, it's like watching grits congeal with the two of those sadsacks, and what's with them trying to make her hot? She was way better as the underappreciated frump. Also, fire Kevin after the Hilary Swank argument. That was awful. I demand more Creed. The Creed and Stanley Hour, perhaps).

So, I get it. Time travel. Hey, if the island is just magic then any rules apply! You jerk writers. You expect me to forget everything that happened before then? As if time travel is the catch-all that makes everything else make sense? I mean I like it as a plot line but where does that fit in with drug smuggling, psychological experiments, Whitmore's bloodlust to turn the place into some sort of themepark and all the rest?

Okay so let's just discount the four-toed statue (is anyone going to explain this??), the smoke monster, the polar bears, the people that lived on the island first (the other others?) and everything else. Unfair, but okay. Clearly the writers were just given carte blanche and mushroom tea for the first four years of this. But now, that we are back on ground, can we please address where Walt is, why Jack can't make it with Kate and how unfair it is for him to say that she's not Aaron's mom (um dude, birthing and abandoning a kid does not a mother make, how about the woman who saved him at his mother's behest and raised him for three years?? What a jerk! I want to like him but sheeesh) and why Hurley still hasn't lost any weight? I mean, we laughed about it a while but come on. And do you even know that that dude is dating some hottie in real life? Ugly dudes and hot women go together like peanut butter and jelly. So unfair.

Also why is it that I am attracted to Sayid? He is gross and I love it. Oooh all that assassin stuff. And also why is Desmond always dressed like a foppish dandy in rose-colored glasses and silk scarves? So many questions, so few answers. Lost. You bastard. Why can't I quit you.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Idiocy

In times like these, blogs, links. books and communication are more important than they ever were before (plus I've got a lot more time to read them!).

I always loved the rejection letters given to now long dead and famous actors ("'Lolita' is nothing more than an exercise in perversion, and not even a very good one at that' comes to mind). And today, as we're all feeling like we're not good enough, smart enough, adept enough to handle the economic downturn*, I give you those smarter than us, who also act like idiots sometimes.

Inept literaries. Love them.


*I have a friend who upon learning his job was gone, immediately got drunk and then decided he would leave the apartment he's already paid the month's rent for, move in with his mother-in-law in LA as his wife stays behind in the apartment, left to clean up everything and find a job in LA all by herself, and she's a newlywed. Oh and did I mention that the gentleman in question has no prospects at all in LA, and could instead stay with his wife as she tries to pick up their lives together instead of insisting that she do it alone, while he goes and will of course, hate LA, having no resources and staying with HER mother without his wife, thereby forgoing any chance of a lasting relationship because they already don't get along and now there is no buffer. Oh and PS, they aren't hiring in LA either--it's not a magical world where jobs exist, there's no gold mines anymore.