Wednesday, December 24, 2008

cabin fever

Except for dog walks and trips Blockbuster, Trader Joe's, and Fred Meyer (the Pacific Northwest's more upscale version of Super Walmart), I have not left my parents' house since Friday. Perhaps it's just too much time spent in their massaging recliner and consuming baked goods, but I've found the following fascinating:

1. Did you know that you can play the word "oxyphenbutazone" in Scrabble for up to 1785 points?

2. I've always been intrigued by the creative naming of portable restrooms. Do portable restroom manufacturers copyright their names and inadvertently force such whimsical variation? Or are we as a nation simply trying to mask our shame of bodily functions with as much humor as possible? I tried to find out through extensive internet research, but I came up empty (no pun intended). I did, however, find, "a nationwide company committed to providing high quality portable restrooms trailers and portable shower trailers ... to accommodate any outdoor restroom facility need." At my next event, whether it be "an intimate outdoor wedding, private party, building remodel, large festival, or a national event," I will settle for nothing less than the Platinum Edition Executive Restrooms, "the elite choice for events hosting the most discernable of guests."

3. The Learning Channel. In two days, I learned about Primordial Dwarfism, face-eating tumors, and a woman who has half a body (and a sex life, they'll have you know). I am looking forward to meeting Tree Man. Congratulations, TLC, on wrapping this neverending freakshow in a stories-of-human-triumph package so that we can all indulge our sick curiosity and still feel good about ourselves.

4. Yes, the song "Twelve Days of Christmas" CAN get any more annoying, courtesy of one Burl Ives:

I recommend listening until at least nine maids a-milking to get the full effect. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

snow my god!

So here I am in Portland, Oregon, in the midst of the area's worst snow storm in decades. It's laughable compared to what I saw in Wisconsin, but heavy snow's so rare here that no one is equipped to deal with it and everything basically shuts down and it's all anyone talks about, especially my dad who has a newfound and inexplicable obsession with The Weather. So I've been sleeping, watching the entire first season of Mad Men, shoveling the driveway futilely in between snowfalls because it's the only way I can trick myself into exercising, enjoying classic Via Gina family dinners in which everyone sits at his or her spot at the table reading his or her chosen periodical in silence, and winning real-life Scrabble. Not quite the frolicking-through-the-city-and-surrounding-wilderness vacation I had in mind, but probably for the best since my imagined trip included boutique clothes shopping, gourmet food buying, restaurant dining, and bunny hill skiing, and I don't actually have any money. At all. But I probably would've done all that stuff anyway and then felt bad about it. Anyway! Here's a video of a local baby elephant's first snow experience.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

tater tot casserole!

That's it. I know what I want to do with my life. After years of soul searching, paper shuffling, wine pouring, and cheese cutting, I have decided that I will settle for nothing less than emulating the career path of whatever person is responsible for creating the Name That Duggar Game. I am mostly not kidding.

Friday, December 12, 2008

videos i enjoyed on the internet yesterday in lieu of accomplishing much of anything

Well I did almost finish my Christmas shopping. Suppose I shouldn't sell myself short...

Cat hair handbags.

At least my cat's fur is black, so if I ever go full-on crazy cat lady I'm glad I'll still be stylish.

A dancing cockatoo.

Although I wonder what rock my head's been under when I'm first hearing about an internet sensation from the New York Times.

Allison "Sunny" Sattinger who makes it seem like all my little totally non-lucrative dreams might actually be possible even in this time of world economic crisis. Bless her leather-lovin' soul.

Allen Iverson. What's he talkin' about?

Oh, practice. [thanks, Dad]

super sexy beauty secrets of the girl on the go . . . REVEALED

In this day and age, time is of the essence. With board meetings, hot dates, and Facebook Scrabble, you can't afford not to be efficient. Follow these tips and tricks and you'll be looking your best from day to evening and back to day, with almost NO effort.

The Face-Washing Myth
When you wash your face in the morning, you're setting yourself back at least ten minutes. So don't do it. Whatever eyeliner and eyeshadow shimmer that didn't get washed off the night before will diffuse up your lids, giving you an instant smoky eye. And no need to curl those lashes. They'll have a natural lift from being smooshed against the pillow all night, so mascara is all you need. If that's not enough convincing, your skin will be extra glowy. Just make sure to have a little concealer on hand for any resulting blemishes.

It's All in the Shoes
Carrie Bradshaw wasn't just a squealy drama queen with completely unrealistic relationships. She knew that shoes are the most important items in your closet. According to Licensed Footwear Expert Helen Aller, "With the right shoes on, you can wear jeans and a pit-stained tee and no one will know you haven't showered in three days." A pair of sweet flats is the simplest way to make any outfit really pop. Even sweatpants.

Make It Last
A professional pedicure is the most bang-for-your-buck beauty treatment out there. Trust us, that polish is not going anywhere. Depending on your toenail size, you can expect your pedi to look decent for at least four weeks. And, if left un-acetoned, you'll have a splash of color on your big toe for up to six months. Now that's what we call an investment.

two weeks and counting!

Hold and Shine
Did you know that your very own scalp has built-in hair product? Resist buying that $30 bottle of Kerastase and let nature do its thing! Your hair will be at its peak the day after a shower--piecey, smooth, and frizz-free. Let it down and you'll be channeling MK and Ash. On Day 3, what you've gained in shine you'll have lost in volume. Now's the time to go for distraction and break out a little braid or a headband. We don't know why, but guys love that shit.

No Diet, No Exercise . . . Finally!
And the moment we've all been waiting for. Yes, there IS a way to lose weight without depriving OR exerting yourself. It's called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, a functional bowel disorder in which you're either plugged up (IBS-C), racing to the john (IBS-D), or a mix of both (IBS-A). Nearly anyone can get it. If you're leaning towards C, ruminate over all the negative aspects of your life until you become depressed, and seal the deal with excessive cheese consumption. You'll be so bloated and sluggish you won't want to eat anything solid for a week! If D's your bag, date uncommunicative and emotionally unavailable men so that you're in a heightened state of anxiety, and have lots of coffee and cigarettes. Whatever food you put in will come straight out! Enjoy that trim new bod, ladies.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


There wasn't much to do at work this afternoon so I went down to the basement and folded t-shirts for three hours. In addition to the calming effects of repetitive activity, increased precious storage space, and the fact that it will no longer take 30 minutes to find the right size/color shirt when someone wants one, this was a fruitful endeavor because I am pretty sure I've figured out the most perfect t-shirt folding method. It minimizes wrinkling and effort, and maximizes store-ability and efficiency. You don't even need a folding surface!

I've been such a terrible folder for as long as I've been folding. Life will never be quite the same.

Monday, December 08, 2008

to the rescue

The weirdest aspect of my disorder, whatever you want to call it, is how quickly the moods come and go. (Maybe because nothing right now is that good or that bad and I'm just kinda bored in general my brain is trying to entertain itself? I don't know.) In the morning I can be ecstatic because my iPod shuffled three good songs in a row, in the afternoon sitting in the basement on a case of imported Italian sparkling water sobbing because I can't stop thinking I have nothing to live for, and then I'm normal at night, wondering how any of that just happened. Sometimes it goes away as inexplicably and suddenly as it comes on, and sometimes I need a little assistance. A few hours with a dear friend, a bottle of curious Ligurian red, half a bag of movie popcorn, a few squares of "bean-to-bar" Madagascarian chocolate, a Joe Strummer documentary, and a good night's sleep later, and it is back to our regularly scheduled programming. Hooray! For now.

Here is a recipe for the best drink in the history of the universe. And this is neither drunkenness nor the mood disorder talking.

Amber Colored and Bubbly
half a bottle of ginger beer (good sharp ginger beer, not Schwepps--this is important)
whiskey of some sort (I like rye. Because that's what's always on hand at work.)

Pour whiskey into ginger beer. Heaven in a glass. Or plastic 8-ounce food service container.

And here is a bad baby name in uncharted badness territory.


Take a moment to think about how one might pronounce that.

The answer?


As the birth mother said to the OBGYN, "the dash is silent." [via my friend Susie's friend's friend]

And I think now would be a good time to repost one of my favorite pre-Blog Era websites: Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

what did you do today?

Today was my day to be productive and apply for part-time jobs and stuff. So I went to my favorite neighborhood cafe and sat with the other laptop-having non-9-5ers to get shit done. The good news is I've found two things that I want to apply for. The bad news is I'm telling myself I will do so tomorrow. Or Friday. Might as well take advantage of my four-day work week while I have it, right? It's only been a year, afterall. Ahem, anyway. But I still consider my cafe time a success, and here is why:

1. A really good curry chicken salad sandwich--warm, crusty-but-not-so-crusty-the-sandwich-contents-squirt-out baguette, a high curry mayo to chicken ratio, walnuts for textural contrast, and lots of balsamic on the side of greens. Deeelish.

2. The boy barrista's playlist that included Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, and Journey.

3. This "Vintage Hungarian Sausage Commercial" courtesy of my friend Dan:

4. This live Broken Social Scene + Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse + Emily Haines video courtesy of Prefix Mag:

Emily Haines is totally my Angelina Jolie, in the I'm-so-comfortable-with-the-grey-areas-of-my-sexuality-that-I-will- say-I'd-go-gay-for-a-celebrity-I'll-never-have-a-chance-to-go-gay-with kind of way. I did meet her a few times when I worked at The Restaurant. The first time I was so nervous my face turned red and I had to stick my head in the wine fridge behind the bar but we managed to have a nice conversation about the economy and apartment hunting and she put me on the list for a Metric show, but I'm pretty sure she didn't want to sleep with me. Not so sure I'd actually want to sleep with her either though I'd love to go clothes shopping some time, just the two of us. But I digress.

5. A three-way Gchat discussion of the validity of this Craigslist personal ad. I contend, and would wager money, that it was written by a stoned male Univeristy of British Columbia sophomore. My male friend, of course, believes it to be real. Wishful thinking, dude.

who's with me?

I know David Chang doesn't need any more blog attention, but this is the most exciting food porn I've seen in a while...

I'll have a Volcano to start, then a Pork & Egg Bun, and salty pistachio soft serve ice cream with a side of Crack Pie for dessert, please.

so ready

You know it, Orbitz!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

infinite jest: page 37

I read the foreword in the bathtub. Dave Eggers makes me feel like I need to be reading this book, right now. He says the average age of Infinite Jest readers is probably about 25. I am somewhat slow in my crawl to adulthood, so I'd say that's about right!
It's long, but there are pleasures everywhere. There is humor everywhere. There is also a very quiet but very sturdy and constant tragic undercurrent that concerns a people who are completely lost, who are lost within their families and lost within their nation, and lost within their time, and who only want some sort of direction or purpose or sense of community or love. Which is, after all and conveniently enough for the end of this introduction, what an author is seeking when he sets out to write a book--any book, but particularly a book like this, a book that gives so much, that required such sacrifice and dedication. Who would do such a thing if not for want of connection and thus of love?

The water's still warm enough but I end my bath early. I am so excited to read this book.

I definitely can't get away with my usual reading style of spacing out every few pages and I have to check back constantly to find out which abbreviation is for which person and who's talking when. I still can't always figure it out, but I think I'm getting it. As much as it could be gotten. Well, by me, anyway.

What's an Erdedy? Oh, it's a name.

What the hell does "lapidary" mean? In this context, I'm going to go with the sixth entry in Unabridged (v. 1.1): "characterized by an exactitude and extreme refinement that suggests gem cutting: a lapidary style; lapidary verse." Mmkay. That works.

The chapters I've read so far are titled:


I have no idea what any of this is supposed to mean, but I like it.

In looking for a picture, I found this impassioned review of Tucks Medicated Pads. God bless the internet.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

too much information

I have 35 books on my Amazon wish list, eighty bajillion movies queued up on Netflix, and 13 albums saved for later on eMusic when I've been downloading five per month since last February. Plus a bunch more on mental or Moleskine lists. And I've never even seen Mad Men or Bones or Always Sunny in Philadelphia (okay, one episode, because it was based on America's Next Top Model) and have only watched one season each of The Wire and Weeds! And let's just not talk about the pile of partially-read books on the floor next to my bed that's reaching my pillow, the fact that I haven't returned a DVD since August, and how I don't even know a quarter of the music on my iPod. (Or that I AM fully caught up on Gossip Girl and The Hills.) It's too much! I am culturally overwhelmed. For some reason starting Infinite Jest seemed like a good solution to this problem.

It's an 1100-something page book that meanders all over the place and makes allusions like crazy and doesn't make much sense and has really tiny letters in lines that are really close together. Which means that, given my attention span, I will have something to focus on for a good two years or so! I will try to share my thoughts here periodically. I doubt they will be remotely profound, but I think this might help me actually finish the thing. Okay, off to read! When I can tear myself away from this new music website Lala that my friend Alexa just told me about on which you can listen to basically any song you want. It's like freshman year of college all over again (ooooh, the original Napster...), only Alexa and I are discussing our finds via the internet from the comfort of our Brooklyn apartments and not with our backs to each other from opposite sides of our eight-foot-wide dorm room. I am suddenly craving pita and hummus procured from a mini-fridge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

nubbin but love for you, honey

When we cut cheese for customers, we're often left with little pieces. These can be hard to sell, because they don't look as impressive as a half-wheel, say, and it's easier to give a taste from a bigger hunk than a little nub. I always get a (probably unreasonably large) rush of satisfaction when I sell one of these. Does this size piece look okay to you? Yes? Okaygreat. Today the idea of a $5 and under section was tossed around and eventually turned into the "Nub Bin." The nubs go in, and, hopefully, go out with customers in a hurry or unwilling to engage in riveting cheesemonger dialogue. While we have no room in the fridge for this whatsoever and I can already envision untrimmably moldy nubs languishing in the bottom of the bin, the play on words makes me so happy that I support the idea 100% (for whatever that's worth, which is actually not that much, until I have my own cheese store, which I would never in a million years have the patience for. Anyway.) Not to mention it's such a no-bullshit idea. None of this "it's our daily special!" crap. These are our nubs. Take 'em or leave 'em.

This is the first Google Image result for the word "nub:"

Monday, November 24, 2008


I should probably take this off my wish list before sending it to my mom. But look at those stellar reviews!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

whatever floats your boat

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the different ways people find fulfillment in life. Work, family, hobbies, opiate and anxiolytic cocktails . . . the list goes on. This dog groomer proves that you can do anything you want if you just put your mind to it. She is nothing less than an inspiration.

analyze this

I feel pretty much normal with the medicine I'm taking. Me, but less moodswingy. Except that I've been having some of the weirdest, most vivid dreams I've ever had. Last night, Jon Stewart murdered Ben Gibbard with his bare hands while riding on the outside of a rocketship.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

gina's top ten albums of 2008 that were not necessarily released in 2008 and are presented here in no particular order

With the help of music nerd coworkers,*, a job that lets us play our own portable electronic mp3 devices, and the realization that long brisk walks with headphones on keep me sane (except when the stupid ear buds keep falling out), I have listened to a ton of music this year. If you like catchy songs that are complex, quirky, and/or pull at the ol' heartstrings, I recommend the following.

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

With Byrne's familiar voice and Eno's lush composing, this is the musical equivalent of a brand new sweatshirt that just came out of the dryer.

Broken Social Scene Presents: Brendan Canning - Something for All of Us
Brendan Canning is officially my favorite member of the Broken Social Scene scene. His solo album is better than Kevin Drew's (nothing against Kevin Drew, bless his crazy soul), he's responsible for my favorite song of theirs, and he's friendly to geeked out waitresses.

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

The Beach Boys moved to the Appalachians and joined the church choir. Beauty ensued.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
This album makes me want to move back to rural Wisconsin, lock myself in a cabin with a sweet and scruffy mountain man, and wear nothing but my (long) underwear.

Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country

Music for riding on a train, sitting in one of the backwards-facing seats and staring out the window longingly, watching the countryside (or industrial suburban Connecticut) roll by.

Shout Out Louds - Our Ill Wills

Like the Cure during a manic episode, and Swedish (i.e., totally weird, yet adorable).

Billy Bragg and Wilco - Mermaid Avenue

I feel like having a good cry when I listen to this and can't figure out why. I was at a bar in Boston recently where the bartender played it two times in a row. It was great. (But I didn't cry. I was drinking whiskey so that would've just been sad.)

The National - Boxer
If I had a Gina's Top Ten Albums Ever list, this would be on it. Like the rest of its imaginary cohort, it took a while to grow on me and then kept growing and growing until I'd listened to it a million times and the music became so wired into my brain I could barely hear it anymore.

Forro in the Dark - Bonfires of Sao Joao
Me: [feeling smart and insightful] This sounds like Latin Talking Heads!
Coworker: It's David Byrne singing with a Brazilian band.
Me: Well, that explains it then!

Music For Animals - Music For Animals

Every single song from this contemporary San Francisco rock band sounds like something you heard on Top 40 radio in the 90's. And I mean that in the best possible way.

*This post is not sponsored by Unfortunately. But if you want to get an subscription, which I wholeheartedly recommend (it's cheaper than iTunes, the user reviews and social networking aspect make it easy to discover new things, the site saves what you've downloaded so if you lose your files you can download them again, and you can make copies and distribute them so when you make mixes for your sister you don't have to remind her of your iTunes password), let me know so I can send you the referral email and get free songs. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

moments of life at the cheese store

Coworker: The one thing I don't like about our holiday display is that I want to take everything home right now and eat it.
Me: That's why I hope I have a lot of parties to go to this year. So I can bring stuff, and it's a nice gift, but I'm also satisfying my own desires.
Coworker: I think in one sentence you've just summed up western philosophy.

Coworker: I love opening the Neal's Yard boxes.
Me: I'll always remember the first time I opened up a Keen's box. It was like doing a face plant on a farm after it's just been mowed.
Coworker: I'm stealing that.

Coworker: Did we already finish that bottle of wine (a 15.6% alcohol by volume California Zinfandel)?
Me: Uh, I believe so.
Coworker: Ah, that would explain my general sense of well being.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

simple pleasures

I just bought these kind of ridiculous bright blue suede shoes after consulting with two friends. The first one said they were awesome but not $110 awesome. Of course, she is correct and I agreed with her assessment and advice to put them out of my mind. So then I asked the one with the shoe obsession and got the moral support I required. Thanks, guys!

I received them in the mail the other day. Are they practical? No. Was this a sound financial decision in this time of personal and international financial crisis? Hells no. Did they make me feel like a, uh, a girl wearing awesome bright blue suede shoes when I was out and about in them for the first time today? Yes! Did I stare at my feet the whole time I was riding the subway? Totally!

I think it's safe to say that I am pleased with my purchase.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

party at my house?

My job has a lot of food-related perks. We can eat anything we sell when we're there as long as we take it out of inventory and select the "Merchandise Destroyed" option in the computer (which I always do while saying "merchandise . . . destrooooyed" in a deep, sinister voice), we order in lunch every day, and we can buy everything at wholesale cost--about 40% off. Somehow I still get excited when there's expired stuff and we can take it home for free. My latest haul:

*Pimenton de la Vera--Picante, aka spicy paprika
*Caper berries in extra virgin olive oil
*Hard-boiled eggs pickled in vinegar brine from Wisconsin
*The same company's pickled Hot Polish Sausage (first ingredient--beef heart meat)
*Mojo Verde, aka some kind of green pepper/oil/garlic spread
*Smoked trout fillets
*English chocolate-covered biscuits with candied ginger

I think the above could somehow be marketed as the next miracle hangover cure. Truly amazing these things didn't sell.


Celebrity TV MD's aren't the only doctors seeking a little help on Craigslist. I just came across this ad for an assistant to Dr. James D. Watson. As in Watson and fucking Crick.

Special Assistant to Dr. James D. Watson (Long Island)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-10-27, 3:58PM EDT

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is seeking a creative special assistant to Chancellor Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Dr. James D. Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. The position requires strong writing and interpersonal skills. This writing is targeted to general interest audiences as well as the scientific community. Prior experience in writing about science subjects is essential. A background in Biology or Life Sciences is a plus. The candidate will be primarily involved in editing, proofreading and assisting with writing, and research projects.

Responsibilities and duties:
• Serves as editor and researcher for JDW’s writings and books
• Creates presentations on different scientific topics for a broad public audience and for the scientific community.
• Handles photo permissions for upcoming book projects

. . .

Cool! But back to the TV doctors. It's kind of fun guessing which of your Dr. 90210 favorites (it's sure as hell not my beloved Dr. Drew) is lookin' for love. I hope it's not "Designer Laser Vaginoplasty" Guy. Also, someone please buy me this t-shirt.

And speaking of science, I'm coming to realize that antidepressants, while effective in their stated purpose, make me stupid and clumsy (like, more so than usual). Yesterday I put cornichon labels on a whole batch of olives and drew blood on two separate occasions--slicing ham and operating the treacherous roll of food-service-strength plastic wrap--and today I spilled beer on myself before 10:30 a.m. (I love my job). But I haven't thought about fleeing to Portland (except to celebrate the birth of Our Lord with my family), or, you know, dying, in four whole weeks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

european? i'm a'peein'!

The best thing I read on the internet today by far:

The European advantage was most evident when the Molicare got wet. Orders of magnitude more absorbent than Depends, Attends, or Kroger, the Super Plus never leaked, not even after two rewettings. My legs were never clammy while wearing it wet; indeed, I felt as comfortable as one can probably feel after having urinated in one's pants. When my bladder finally starts down the road to unreliability, I'm going European.

Given the frequency with which I currently pee, I think, someday, I'll owe Justin Peters a great deal of thanks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

and the pretentious customer of the day award goes to...

it's a tie!

Dude: What's that?
Coworker: It's called Mettowee. It's a fresh goat cheese from Vermont that we've been aging here in our cheese-aging room.
Dude: [tastes cheese] You should take it out sooner. It's a little too salt forward.

Lady: Vermont Smoke & Cure...what is your slab bacon cured with?
Me: Coworker, what is our slab bacon cured with?
Coworker: It's a salt and sugar cure.
Lady: And what kind of smoke?
Me: Coworker, what kind of smoke?
Coworker: It's corn cob.
Lady: I'll pass. I like corn cob, but I can do that at home.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


So glad I brought my flute back last time I went to my parents' house. My Halloween costume is decided.

Until yesterday I hadn't touched the thing in nine years, but I think my skill level is at least equal to this performance. Anyone have a large white doily I can borrow?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

crap job posting from a dude

Craigslist ain't so great for jobs, but it's awesome for tricking yourself into thinking you're making an effort. Also there's the entertainment value:
Amanuensis/personal assistant (Upper East Side)

Reply to:
Date: 2008-09-29, 9:10PM EDT

Full-time amanuensis and personal assistant to a professor and writer of fiction and nonfiction. Requirements: excellent background in English literature, strong knowledge of grammar, sharp eye for accuracy, internet competence, and congenial personality. Send c.v. with complete educational details to

This is an ideal job for a recent top graduate in English with interests in writing and editorial work. (For your information, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, John Milton, and other immortal writers all employed an amanuensis.)

Geez, dude, don't sell yourself short!

P.S. I suppose the fact that I had to look up "amanuensis" on would probably disqualify me from this position. Dang.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

diagnosis: mood swings

The medicinal choices offered to me by the psychiatrist yesterday, and my gut reaction to them as illustrated by fonts available in Adobe Illustrator CS3 for Mac OSX (plus my own little bits of flair):

Based on these mental pictures (and Big Pharma marketing), I chose the latter. A good call, I think. Here is an excerpt on Lamictal from my new favorite book to hide the cover of when reading in public, The Feeling Good Handbook:

Lamotrigine [Lamictal] causes many other side effects [in addition to a severe and life-threatening skin reaction and liver or multi-organ failure] such as headache and neck pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, loss of coordination, sleepiness, trouble sleeping, tremor, depression, anxiety, irritability, seizures, speech problems, memory difficulties, runny nose, rashes, itching, double vision, blurred vision, vaginal infections, and others.

To name a few.


I am in my pajamas eating pancetta-and-herb-stuffed rabbit with a side of sauteed cauliflower, sipping white wine out of a coffee mug. I have concluded that this is pretty much the most perfect dining experience in the world ever. Thank you, Culinary School Graduate Roommate Danielle.

Monday, September 29, 2008

what a day

Whether you're upset by economic disaster and stunningly unqualified Alaskans or you're finally willing to concede that you're clinically depressed and too wrapped up in your own ennui to really truly care and then you feel guilty about that because there are things happening in the world that are more important than your inability to keep yourself happy for more than a six-month stretch and you'll actually take the medication for more than two weeks this time to see if it actually helps, doesn't it look like it'd be nice to be a Bighorn Sheep in Jasper?

Thanks, Dad.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Behold, my crowning achievement in 1.5 years at my job:

Lady, you'd be amazed... Is one day of not having to hear "Ooooooh, it's a CHEESE store" 25 times too much to ask?

not moving to portland...

but my parents are! Very happy for them. And for me. And for whomever made this musical montage of their new house.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Just sat across from a guy on the subway who fell asleep while eating a Twix. Dropped the Twix on the floor. Kept chewing though.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

is YOUR inner aspect nourished?

Hey guys. So in case you didn't know, this is GOOP. AKA Gwyneth Paltrow's new website. GOOP. You're welcome.


Monday, September 15, 2008

what are we waiting for, exactly?

On a lighter note, here are some things the guy I dated this summer said to me not long before, and/or interspersed with, "I'm totally fucked up," "I'm emotionally unavailable," and "I'm not able to commit myself to anything serious right now."

*"Wow, good things really do come along when you least expect it."

*"It's better to wait [to have The Sex], right?"

*"You give me something to be happy about."

*"I dreamed about you and I never remember my dreams. Clearly you've left an impression."

*"You should come to Paris with me next time."

*"We just get along so well."

*"Do you believe in fate?"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

depression sucks

This morning when I got to work I checked the New York Times online and learned that David Foster Wallace hanged himself on Friday. I never met him or read any of his writing other than his emails to my sister and critiques of her stories, but the news affected me hugely. Here's his Wikipedia bio, but, in a nutshell, he was a literary genius who achieved great fame and success with his novels, short stories, and essays. (The story of his death was the only one not about the election, war, or natural disaster in the "front page" of the Times online.) He was also a college professor. Not the typical famous college professor who gives obligatory lectures and then does his own thing, but a college professor who wrote three-page responses (with footnotes) to his students' two-page stories. For every student, every week.

At work today I read the commencement speech he gave at Kenyon College in 2005, and in it he told the graduates that the most important thing they should get out of their education is not knowledge, but the ability to think. To not be a slave to their automatic thought processes--there is a choice in how they think about themselves and the things that happen to them--and to learn how to get out of their heads and care about other people. This is pretty much the basic theory behind Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which I've been studying a lot lately. David Foster Wallace understood all of this, clearly tried to live his life this way, and was able to reach out to so many people on both an indirect and a personal level. And he still couldn't deal.

Shortly after I read this, I was helping a customer at the register. As he was halfway out the door, he turned to me and said all-knowingly, "Just be happy. It's not that hard." We hadn't discussed anything other than which items on the counter were his, and as the door closed my first thought was that I hoped he'd step out into the street and get hit by a bus. But then I just had to laugh at the absurdity of his timing. For a lot of people, it just IS that hard. And that's the very sad, capital-T Truth.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the fat lady sings

I've always been pretty vocal about my dislike for poetry. Too much seriousness and froofy language and hidden meaning. So I was a little surprised when my sister got me two poetry books for my birthday. But when I opened one of them to the first poem she'd bookmarked (she knows me and my stubbornness all too well) and saw that it was titled "Dickhead" I knew I could trust her. Tony Hoagland's poems are funny, observant, thought-provoking, down-to-earth, and, best of all, succinct enough for those with an inability to read anything longer than a blog post in one sitting. Here's "Dickhead" and another favorite that deserves to be in its entirety on the internet.

Here in Berkeley
the jogger with the Rastafarian sweats
runs past the mechanic reading Marx on lunch break
with a sprout sandwich for a bookmark
as the sunlight through a bottle of Perrier
wobbles little rainbows on his knee.

On the corner, someone wearing I Ching earrings
is talking about personal space,
how she just can't take it anymore,
the way that Marcia's codependency
defeats her own empowerment.
"The whole seminar is out of whack," she says,
slapping a bouquet of daisies on her knee.

Close your eyes,
swing a baguette horizontally,
you'll hit someone with a Ph.D.
in sensitivity,
someone who,
if not a therapist himself,
will offer you the number of his therapist,

which--it may take you years
to figure out--is a hostile act on his part
designed to send you on a wild-goose chase
through the orchard of your childhood
to fetch the tarnished apple of your mother's love.

And if you don't like it,
there might be something
wrong with you. You might be so
reincarnationally headed
in the wrong direction,
that you can't hear the music hovering
above this zone of crystal vendors
and karmic mountaineers.

Now the traffic lights harmonically converge:
the traffic flows
past the bakeries and bookstores,
past the cappuccino depot and the acupuncture center.

No matter how you feel, you have to act
like you are very popular with yourself;
very relaxed and purposeful,
very unconfused
and not
like you are walking through the sunshine
in chains.

Monday, September 08, 2008

and the "idiot customer of the day" award goes to

Scene: 6pm at the Cheese Store. The phone rings.

Coworker: Good evening. Cheese Store.
Customer: What time do you close?
Coworker: We close at 8.
Customer: PM?

This customer did make it in before 8pm and did proceed to be kind of an idiot. Although he also did plant a seed in my head . . . I wonder how many food blogs we could prank with a fake press release saying we'll be switching to overnight hours. In New York, probably a lot.

Friday, September 05, 2008

one, she's a beautiful lady

Now, I am not the most politically active/aware young Brooklynite out there (ahem...). However, I will encourage you to watch this video via Jezebel. I will also be voting for Samantha Bee as a write-in. Assuming I get around to, like, registering and stuff.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

separated at birth

ANTM Cycle 11's Marjorie:

And Bastian, the boy from The Neverending Story:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

simple pleasures

How is it that high-waisted pants are an across-the-board atrocity, but high-waisted skirts are the best style of clothing ever invented? Hoping to do double duty in Manhattan after a life-altering appointment with a counselor (more on that later), I stopped in an H&M to find a new white tank top and walked out with three of the latter, never having tried one on before.

I just played dress up for an hour and discovered a whole new wardrobe. All my t-shirts, wife beaters, and what I thought were now-too-juvenile college-era tank tops suddenly look actually kind of stylish. For someone as lazy as I am when it comes to dressing myself (and, ok, pretty much everything else), this is nothing short of revolutionary.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

something about old dogs and tricks

Things I Gave Up (or Seriously Cut Back on) This Summer to Be Kinder to My Irritable Digestive System and More Healthy Overall:

*red meat
*sparkling water
*fried stuff
*raw vegetables

For a couple months, I felt amazing. High on health, if you will. Now the summer has come to a close. And here are the sacrifices that have stuck:

*sparking water
*raw vegetables

Saturday, August 30, 2008

it wasn't . . . it wasn't . . .

So I was just skimming through my old posts (I'm trying to reconnect with my sense of self, okay?), and came across the longest comment ever posted on the internet. I'd repost it here but it is too long. No, I don't think you don't understand. It is really, really, really long. Like, longer than . . . other really long things. I will, however, repost this:

Friday, August 29, 2008


Feeling blue? Here are some . . . ok, two . . . recently tested and Gina-approved methods to get you back on the right track.

1. A Guide to Rational Living
As I mentioned once before, Albert Ellis is one of my personal heroes. Well I finally got one of his eighty thousand books . . . err, ok, I got the book like two years ago, and now I'm finally reading it. Whatever. It's my first and probably last self-help book, and I've been reading it every day like those Jewish ladies who read the Torah on the subway and freak me out by moving their lips so fast, only not on the subway, and without moving my lips. An excerpt:
If you only overwhelm yourself with dire love needs, you will create enough misery to last you a lifetime. If you wish to make yourself even more miserable, you can easily add one more idiotic notion--namely, Irrational Belief No. 2: The idea that you absolutely must be thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving. Or a saner but still foolish variation: The idea that you at least must be competent or talented in some important area.
Woops. Oh, and don't be fooled by the numbering of Irrational Beliefs. There is no actual list, although there are many numbers mentioned, along with some mathematical equations, and the book has no structure or logical order whatsoever and keeps repeating the exact same thing over and over. I imagine Ellis' (yeah, no "s" after the apostrophe, like Jesus) other books are basically the same. Bless him. Crackpotness aside, his "stop feeling sorry for yourself and deal with your shit and yes that's very hard to do and it takes lots of time and practice but just fucking start doing it" philosophy is exactly what I need to prevent me from dropping everything and running away like I've done, oh, four or five times before. Although, seriously, for $1200 a month (i.e., the absolute rent ceiling for me for the forseeable future in that I could theoretically pay that amount and have no money left for anything else, not that moving will take care of my problems, or that I have enough money to do so, although it can't hurt to just look around on Craigslist, right?) I could get this typical place in the heart of Bed Stuy:

Mmm . . . beige . . .

Or a four-bedroom house with a huge yard and a hot tub overlooking the Columbia River just outside of Portland.

Being mature and patient blows. Being an adult, however does not . . .

2. The Raleigh Hotel
. . . because, yes, some days CAN begin with a pina colada by the pool.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

speaking of psychology...

FAB just alerted me to this gem about the ol' DSM IV.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines a delusion, considered still to be little understood in psychiatry, as, essentially, a false belief that is not grounded in reality and that is held with absolute conviction despite proof to the contrary. The manual lists a caveat that a belief is not delusional if it is something widely accepted by other members of a person's culture or subculture--for example, religious faith.
Yep, pretty much.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

moments of life

* "Sometimes reality works better than what we think we want." I am convinced that Carolyn Hax holds all the secrets of the universe.

* My abundant eyebrow hair has long been a minor bane of my existence. Plucking, making sure nothing's sticking up in weird directions, trimming... The latter I learned how to do from Cindy Crawford on Oprah, though, tragically, not until after much unibrow-related suffering in junior high. But now that I've had an excuse to buy this awesome stork scissors, I'm no longer complaining.

* The quickest way to make me want to bash my head against a wall? The phrase "go green." It's fucking everywhere. Even underwear email lists, apparently. Thanks, Eberjey.

* The longest music review I will ever write: Fleet Foxes = My Morning Jacket x The Beach Boys. Awesome.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

better than a 401k

I'm late to the party with this one, so I've spent way too much time this week on PhotoshopDisasters. As scantily-clad women are a frequent recipient of bad Photoshopping, much of it, including my favorite post, is NSFW. Unless, of course, you work in a little cheese store and call over your manager and the nearest customer to share in your tears of joy.

Monday, August 04, 2008

eeyah eeyah eeyaheeyah...

I can't believe it's that time again. I can't remember who won last season--or anything about it, really--even though I watched every single episode. They all look like shiny robot-aliens. I can't wait.

Oh yeah it was the fat one.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

monkeys, elephants, etc.

One of the things I miss most about Marshfield is the local paper. I need to remind myself to check the online version more regularly, because it's still the same old bundle of joy. In this month's "Moments of Life" (the special events "keepsake"), we have some tips for grooms! All very obvious duh-type things such as "make a list of people you'd like to invite" and "work on a wedding budget." Until my personal favorite, number 16:

Speaking of event-planning, at my next party I want to get one of those photography studio backdrops and take pictures of my friends, Sears-style, and give everyone a plastic comb first. There's a ton on Ebay (ooooh, Ebay....) and I couldn't begin to pick one, but this scenic cityscape, in particular, caught my eye. Something tells me it'll be up there for a while.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

more DMV adventures

My conversation with the lady processing my license-transfer application at the DMV this morning.

DMV Lady:
One week till August. I can't believe it's almost August. I don't like summer in New York, it's too HOT, better in October and November, winter doesn't really start till January. It's just too HOT. I got heat stroke in my HOUSE, I didn't know you could get heat stroke inside, only thought you could get it outside.

Me: Oh. Wow.

DMV Lady: My friend tries to keep calling me but she's one of those people who'll just talk for three hours straight. She just keep talking and talking and talking. Doesn't stop! I don't got TIME for that, you know?

Me: Mmm.

DMV Lady: Obama's birthday is August 4th! Forty seven. He won't be the youngest president. The youngest president was Theodore Roosevelt. Forty two. Next there's gonna be a woman president. People don't think a woman can be president, think they're the weaker sex. But behind every great man is a great WOMAN.

Me: Yes.

DMV Lady: Men, they just think with their private parts. Women, they don't DO that so much. No they don't.

. . .

Here, take this and wait for your number to come up on the board again.

Me: Okay thanks!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

some things never change

I am currently sitting in my last computer class, waiting for it to start and for the air conditioning to turn my fingernails purple. Looking around the room, I think it's safe to say that I am the only person who has yet to begin the final project.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Clearly, I need to start watching more Daily Show. Take the quiz, let me know how you did, and make me feel even worse about myself! [via Jezebel]

Friday, July 18, 2008

i sure know how to pick 'em!

Places to live, that is . . .

First up, we have South Williamsburg, where I lived from Summer 06 to Winter 07. And where people were and still are stabbed on a regular basis. And where groups of thugs will shoot a young guy they don't know in the face. I actually feel lucky that the worst that happened to me was forced-entry burglary.

And now, my current nabe, Clinton Hill. I haven't been mugged yet (yeah I'm a bit of a pessimist), but a couple months ago I witnessed some kids chase a guy riding his bicycle and chuck a basketball at him to knock him off and presumably steal his shit.

Aaaaand, now I'm going to put a large wad of cash in my wallet and head up to Williamsburg for a haircut. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today I went to the DMV in an attempt to procure my very first New York State driver's license. (Thank you, Wisconsin, for your infrequent renewal requirements and enabling of my laziness.) In what should not come to you as a surprise, I was unsuccessful. Per Ellen's request, here is the email I sent to her upon my return:
i waited in line for an hour in front of a family of retards (seriously, mom, dad, and two young boys, all retarded--total trainwreck) only to be told i needed a copy of my driver record from wisconsin. was this information anywhere to be found in the dmv literature? no.
Some people were laughing at them. All I could think was "this is how serial killers happen." Or perhaps I've just watched too much Dateline NBC.

Friday, July 11, 2008


It's official--I do not understand people. There is no amount of psychological study I can undertake that will ever enable me to wrap my head around this. WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY. It's not "free" if you have to wait in line for two hours in the summer heat. And for what? A quarter of a sandwich that you will be able to purchase a whole one of, in a matter of days probably, without waiting more than five minutes? I don't see the payoff here.

Also, I am about to wage war with the letter "Y".

Monday, June 30, 2008

not quitting my day job

Behold, my first homework assignment from the very basic computer art class I'm taking this summer. We were told to draw a bug and give it an environment, and I was inspired by an incident at work that would've been disastrous had I not spotted the "situation" before the customer did and done a quick little switch-a-roo.

I kinda phoned in the background, but I'm pretty proud of my maggots.

I guess I just could've told him it was a Vermont farmstead raw milk artisanal version of Casu marzu.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

local color

After spending a few days last month in Ashland, Oregon, I was not at all surprised to read about this crazy naked lady on Jezebel. I didn't have the fortune of seeing her while I was there, but here are some other characters I encountered:

First, we have Crawdad Nelson and his nature poetry featured in a local arts magazine.

My favorite line: Something turns, either sun or moon, inside gymnosperms in spring and I sort through outcast belongings there's Jessica's panties again, soiled and unspeakably crusted together with a set of polyester socks and some torn jeans . . . And pretty much all the other ones. 

While we're on a dirty note, there was this contraption at the local dive bar (which of course I sniffed out on my first pass through downtown Ashland.) I desperately wanted a sexy surprise, but we'd spent all our quarters on Ms. Pacman. Why don't they have these in New York anymore? Don't these sorts of things, uh, expire? Where do they come from? So many questions, it's like opening up a . . . 


So my friend Sasha and I had planned on visiting nearby Central Point, aka the home of Rogue Creamery, aka cheese nerd paradise. Unfortunately, our planning didn't evolve beyond that and we were shocked to learn that we couldn't get a last minute rental car on Memorial Day Weekend. So we took the bus. The Southern Oregon bus. The Southern Oregon bus that looked like it hadn't been serviced since 1972. But the trip proved fruitful in more ways than cheese. 

First, there was this guy.

Standing out in the rain all day on a street corner in a dinky town playing a cardboard pizza guitar. Though you can't tell from this particular photo, his enthusiasm and commitment to his enterprise are to be admired.

And then, while looking out the front window of the bus and fearing for my life, something caught my eye.

No, not the strangely attractive youth with what appeared to be freckles tattooed all over his face (seriously, they were blue) but the woman up front. What is that she's reading?

It's the Kirk Cameron autobiography! You keep growing, Kirk!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

my blood is boiling, my brain ibm

According to the relatively brief amount of time I've spent reading stuff on the internet in the past two days, I've learned the following:

1. Women do not enjoy and consume wine like men do and should not be served equally at a restaurant. (I could go on another rant about how Christopher Hitchens and every other First World Dweller should be required to spend a year working in a restaurant before they go to college, much less get paid to write an essay about workers in a restaurant, but I have more fish to fry, and a very good book to read.) [via Midwestgrrl]

2. Women do not know the deliciousness of pork and won't buy it unless it's likened to clear nail polish and its infinite usefulness. (I don't even own clear nail polish, but I choose the pork at every opportunity.) [via Jezebel]

3. Women do not have the right to find humor in the sometimes uncontrollable bodily functions that every single person who has ever taken a breath on this earth has experienced. [via Jezebel] Also, here is John Sellers' blog. I particularly enjoyed the post from May 23rd, and I've taken a mental picture of him and cannot wait to fart loudly in his presence should we ever cross paths in Brooklyn.

I have nothing more to say about all of this other than that I find it really sad that some men (notice I sad "some" and didn't try to squeeze half the world's population into one generalization) can't handle the fact that women are human beings, with interests and needs and wants and problems just like them, and do not exist merely to stroke their fragile egos. Also, I think my nails look just fucking fine.

Monday, May 26, 2008

oregon vacation, leg one: things to do in the minneapolis airport when you're stranded there for seven hours (and trying not to spend too much money)

1. Read Jezebel! Or not.

Forbidden Keyword Sex!
Time Killed: 15 minutes
Cost: $5

2. Contemplate "The Many Moods of Loons."

Time Killed: 15 seconds
Cost: Free

3. Play with indelible eye makeup at The Body Shop, recall that time in The Basement when you were painting the vanity with silver paint and tried cleaning the brush with your hands and water and you looked like the Tin Man until you found some paint thinner.

Time Killed: 5 minutes
Cost: Eyelid cancer

4. Walk the entire length of the airport and back without using any moving walkways or escalators.

From A...

To G...
Time Killed: 2 hours, allowing for a Starbucks break and a couple phone calls
Cost: $2.79 (for an iced coffee--jesus f'ing christ)

5. Postpone your third and last flight and plan an impromptu trip to Portland!

Time Killed: The rest of it
Cost: Priceless! Or, $10 for more internet time, $129 for a deluxe double queen room, $60 to and from the airport, $85 for dinner, $10 for pre- and post-dinner drinks, $60 for a haircut. However you want to look at it. (I choose the former.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"album cover"

That's my friend Dan on the bottom (who took this with the self-timer), and I've hung out with two of the others. I've never been so proud to be associated with someone.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


As someone who received check minuses in the "displays self-control" category on many a grade school report card, I've learned that the only way to, well, control myself is by establishing strict rules, all of which have come about through years of trial and error. For example, I will not buy any clothing item--except those from Ebay, H&M, a thrift store, or Target--that isn't drastically on sale. (I actually prefer the restriction of options, and the challenge to not buy crap.) I will not smoke cigarettes "just this one time when I'm out with friends." (Still working on that one, but doing pretty good!) And I will not use the computer while drunk unless I can still spell. This one, so far, I am rocking.

Last Saturday, I went to a Kentucky Derby party with Ellen. It was sponsored by Maker's Mark, and hence totally in line with my new drinking rule--don't spend a lot of money on drinking. But apparently I need a new rule--don't drink mint juleps that are more liquid than crushed ice. My only memory between crying in the bar and falling asleep is trying to write an email to my sister. I couldn't type to save my life, and, somehow, from a force deep within, I managed to shut my computer.

Then on Friday I was feeling antsy after staying in with a nasty cold all week, and went to Terroir (verdict: ridiculous, over-the-top, expensive, and awesome wine list; food that sounds a lot more awesome than it is) after some work stuff in Manhattan. Had a few glasses of wine and two beers, got home and felt the need to eat some cake and make myself a cocktail. Also, to talk to an ex-boyfriend (not the most recent one--don't even need a rule to avoid that) on the internet. The next day I found I'd acquired some new Facebook friends, felt a fleeting sense of shame, and had the following conversation with the ex:

Ex: You again
Me: Heh, um, sorry I had a bit to drink last night. Hope I didn't say anything majorly retarded.
Ex: Really? You didn't seem drunk at all. Your grammar and spelling were impeccable.

I have no recollection of anything I said, but by golly at least I spelled it correctly.