Wednesday, January 28, 2009

promenading with lunatics

Yesterday, while emailing myself links to jobs so that I could apply for them later (or not, as it for the most part turned out,) I came across the work of Nellie Bly via a link in a New York Times book review. (Perhaps they're not so behind the, uh, times anymore?) This intrepid young journalist reported on her travels to Mexico, her 72-day trip around the world, and, most famously, her experiences inside a New York insane asylum after faking her way in. In the 1880s. At about age 24. In other words, the girl pretty much ruled.

I read all 120 pages of Ten Days in a Mad-House yesterday (mostly because it was online and I didn't realize how long it was), and I recommend it highly for those interested in how far we've come in the treatment of the mentally ill, how brutal people can be to each other and still often are, and seeing how horrified you can make yourself before redirecting your browser to pictures of fluffy bunnies. The Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island) Insane Asylum housed around 1,600 women, many whose only demonstration of insanity was an inability to speak English or not enough money to afford hospital care. The lack of proper food, clothing, physical activity, and mental stimulation plus evil, evil nurses would be enough to drive any sane person to madness, though. For those who are employed and/or have better things to do than read a 120-page book right now, I'll post my favorite illustrations that go along with the story.

Stay tuned for Nellie's experience at the 1880's version of a temp agency! On which front, I can report firsthand, things haven't really changed that much.

Monday, January 26, 2009


And here's one for the Sound Financial Decision Files (right up there with spending a sub-letter's security deposit and taking the last of my money, $7 in quarters, to the bodega for a six-pack): buying a fake stuffed moose head when I'm unemployed and living on oatmeal and pasta and frozen produce. But the store is going out of business, and who knows when else this opportunity is going to come along. Yeah I feel pretty good about this.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

fade to flowers

Via Chris Leavins:

I think I'm in love.

another reason to love canada

Because I'm neither a misfit teen girl, crazy cat lady, or hairy gay bear, I had never heard of internet sensation and Canadian comedian Chris Leavins. Fortunately, I do read Gawker. Home alone in my pajamas on Saturday evenings. Anyway, he makes this weekly internet show called Cute With Chris in which he simultaneously mocks and celebrates the joy to be found in other people's pet pictures. It's kind of hard to figure out where to start, so here's a sample video:

I also recommend easing yourself into the cult with the Formal Cat Portrait archive, followed by the Classic Episodes thing (widget? gadget?) in the sidebar (it's called a sidebar, right?), and finally the store to buy me a t-shirt so that I can wear it in public and meet misfit teen girls, crazy cat ladies, hairy gay bears, and Saturday evening Gawker readers to develop a greater sense of community which I learned from my latest self-help book is something I value highly right now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

thank you, tyra

[photo by Elyse Sewell]
"When I want to feel sexy, I slip into a pair of fishnet stockings, a pair of tu-tone polyester lace bloomers, a tee with some seductive lace screenprinting, a mesh vest, a superfluous belt, half a can of blue eyeshadow, a lipstick mustache and two wigs. Mmm. Then I go land a husband."

Anybody else ever read Elyse Sewell's Livejournal? I think she is a freakin' genius--a cultural observer, photographer, and writer extraordinaire. After becoming second runner up on the very first season, er, cycle of America's Next Top Model, she put aside her medical school plans and went ladyposing around the world, primarily in China. Her posts appear erratically, but every one's a winner so I will check her site regularly for months without a reinforcing food pellet. My jealousy of her adventuresome modeling life is immense, but it is surpassed by my gratitude for her finding the time to share it with the reading-about-other-people-on-the-internet world. Thank you, Elyse.

[photo by Elyse Sewell]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

and that is why i love ebay

When the mood is right (e.g., it's my first free Saturday in the city in three years and I walked around for hours with a dear friend despite the Wisconsin-esque cold and happened upon a great thrift/vintage store and found a blazer that fits like it was made for me and had BRUNCH!!!--I'd been saying I hated brunch but apparently it's because I was working weekends and could never have it--with Eggs Florentine and a Bloody Mary and then took a bath and a nap) I can easily spend hours looking at stuff on Ebay. Today's searches for gold buttons (for the aforementioned blazer) and then wool hats (I have a hat somewhere in the depths of my closet but figure it'd be easier to just buy a new one) led me to "3 Vintage Possibly Celluloid Amish Dolls Sleepy Eyes."

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I was going to write some sarcastic post about how I just got let go from my job (it was a mutual breakup, for the record) and have nothing to offer the world beyond grammar-correcting, dog breed identifying, and cheese plate assembly, but then good ol' Cary Tennis (and his loyal letter-writing followers) came along and sucked that sarcasm right out of me. And then I made myself a tuna melt.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

new marketing campaign?

Coworker 1: Try this gum--it tastes like Grandma and Grandpa going out to dinner.
Coworker 2: [chews] Well it'll certainly blow all the other flavors right out of your mouth. [chews] This really does taste like fucking Grandma ... well, not FUCKING Grandma ... oh god ...

For the record, I had to eat (garlic lemon pretzels), smoke (Marlboro Light), AND drink (rye whiskey and ginger beer) after sampling this gum to get the flavor out of my mouth. Love the classic packaging though!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

the four b's of a happy life

And I'm already failing at my quasi-resolution. Better late than never, right?

The Best Thing That Happened at Work on Monday
We were closed.

The Best Thing That Happened at Work on Tuesday
My slow but eventual complete recovery from the staff party on Monday that included:

Nothing like starting your day with a couple of screwdrivers. Coffee schmoffee. And with cheddar grits, heavy-cream-heavy quiche, and maple sausage, I more than satisfied my RDA of animal protein in one sitting!

I am kicking myself that I've lived in Brooklyn for three and a half years and just now went to Melody Lanes in Sunset Park. None of that overpriced Manhattan bowling bullshit. As soon as the onion rings came out, I got in the zone and bowled the highest score of the day. I don't think that's a coincidence, because my score trajectory is usually inversely proportional to my beer consumption, and it was my third game.

This is Bossman's time to shine, when he whips out fancy wines we're all too sloshed to appreciate and that come in bottle sizes named after Biblical kings and men of prominence like Methuselah and Melchior. (I'm pretty sure we had a Jeroboam.)

There were two along for the ride, and neither of the little champs cried once! Working a customer service job in Brownstone Brooklyn is enough to make a girl consider tubal ligation, but these two were so cute I almost think I might want one some day.