Sunday, December 26, 2010

Apartment Ideas

In my anticipation of a new living space, I have been a pretty close reader of Apartment Thearapy, Design Vagabond, & Begin Being. I realize that I won't be able to afford hundred-dollar lamps, or have the knowledge to build my own desk (unless I can hand-sew it together!), but there are a few common themes between the spaces I like: they have high ceilings, they are stark, & they are clean. The bright white floors & shelves full of neat little doodads? Probably obsessively mopped & dusted. Am I ready for that kind of challenge? Well, on less than 2K/month, I'm going to have to be.

That being said, it hasn't stopped me from imagining my dream apartment (very different from my dream house, you see). Let's start in the living room, shall we?

Full of bright windows and succulent plants, what it lacks in width it makes up for in length. A few fainting couches are illuminated by a groovy chandelier which gives plentiful light to read by. Schmemma & I cram our bookcases in cheek by jowl, both to save space in our bedrooms & to make the sharing of reading materials easier. Some groovy art on the walls offsets the impromptu drawing salons, semi-staged readings, & Banjo concerts we hold on drunken weekends. The dog loves everybody, especially the neighbors.

The bathroom is another narrow space. Capitalizing on the black & white tile we have inherited from the previous owner we try to keep the accents to a solitary color scheme, down to the soap. I utilize the Urban Outfitters gift card my Aunt gave me to make the dark space seem less like a funny farm washroom.

Putting my desk in the closet helps create the illusion of open space in my bedroom, where a warm color scheme on the bed and a few snuggly stuffed animals contrast the blue walls. The collection of cacti spilling over from the living room allows me to imagine my air is cleaner. I use my dress form to prepare outfits for the next day, & my hats and scarves are prominently displayed so I do not forget to wear them. Lots of floor space helps me keep this a bedroom, & stops it from being the general flop room it was in college.


Though my real spaces will probably be much more cluttered looking, I'm hoping the process of moving will force me to weed out all of the things I don't really need.

I know it has been sparse around here lately, but I'm sorry to say that you probably won't be hearing too much from me until I am moved in to wherever it is I'm going. I have a few posts queued up, but don't raise your expectations too high. I hope you all had a pleasant holiday, & that the New Year finds you somewhere you want to be, full of inspiring dreams.

Hérouard - LVP cover - 1922 - La Cle Des Champs - key of field

Friday, December 17, 2010

What has the Recession Done to You?

the kraken wakes

Admittedly, I watched most of the recession from behind the safety of my computer screen: I was a sophomore at BU, & it provided some entertainment to me to watch the Management students walk around, stupefied, realizing that they weren't guaranteed jobs either.

However, now I'm out of school & feeling the effects, & while they aren't huge, they certainly exist.

Health Insurance: Since the healthcare system is being restructured, my parent's plan has dumped me & I won't be able to rejoin until next year. In the interim, my parents have guilted me into buying insurance of my own, from New York Cares, which gets rid of $207/month out of my already pathetic bank account. And don't even get me started on that guy who wants to take away funding for any plan that provides support for abortions (if I accidentally have a baby, will he adopt it? Nope. He'll probably get mad at it for being a welfare burden).

Credit: Oh credit cards. I have resisted acquiring one of you, because you are mystical and scary. You seemed to get a lot of people in trouble, but now I'm being told I need you.

Earlier this year, when I tried to switch service providers from Verizon to AT&T (hello iPhone!), AT&T told me I needed to pay them a $500 deposit because I am a credit risk. Thus began my quest to acquire a credit card, & after 5 months & a dozen rejections, I finally have one: Wal-Mart are so far the only people who will approve me. Is there a WallE-World near me? Do I approve of their business practices? Was their fruit harvested within the last year? None of that is allowed to matter now in the name of Good Credit. In case I ever want to, you know, buy a house.

Jobs: Oh jobs. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, where are you? All of my friends are looking for you. You are a very popular character. Restaurants will always need servers, but the customers won't always tip well.


Anybody else care to weigh in on the economic crapper recent graduates have been put in?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: 2010.12.16

Hérouard - LVP cover - 1922 - La Cle Des Champs - key of field

Caramel Popcorn: We had some of this at work for the little kids at the holiday party to decorate their gingerbread houses with, & I wound up buying a container of it for myself. It's really tasty, & very cheap! If only it weren't so bad for my teeth.

Mail: I made some shoes for my friend Holly's new baby (!!!!), & sent out an amusing Christmas card to some of my friends from London. I also sent a letter to one of my favorite bloggers, thanking her for being such a positive influence on me. People like to get things in the mail, I think.

Christmas Anticipation: I have once again bought the perfect present for everybody on my list, with little or no assistance. I LOVE giving presents: I love thinking about what to get/make, how to wrap them, & when to give them. It's also the time of year when I don't let myself buy anything, in case somebody is going to give me what I was hoping for!

My Sister: Tori comes home today! My parents are in Oswego, picking her up. She'll be amusing to have around, & I'm looking forward to helping her get organized for next semester.

Honorable Mentions: ♥ Fake Plants (they don't die!) ♥ Helpful Customer Support ♥ Knitting patterns from the mathematically inclined ♥ Mad Men DVDs ♥ Discovery Channel's Planet Earth ♥ Checking out new Apartments in the city! Yes I am a bit of a busybody! ♥

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What is my dream?

When I was in second grade, I was in a play written by my teacher Mr.Crasson. It was about Dinosaurs: there was a Paleontologist from each era who would put a dinosaur bone into a magical box, & out would pop that dinosaur to tell us a little about themselves. I was the Cretaceous Paleontologist, & Matt Stein was the T. Rex.

This, for a while, had me convinced that I wanted to be a Paleontologist. I memorized the complicated names, I got small Fossils as gifts for Christmas, I watched the Land Before Time over & over.

In 6th grade, a trip to Los Angeles was planned to visit my cousins & see Disneyland, & I of course demanded that we take a day to see the La Brea tar pits. I had visions of bubbling tar & dinosaur fossils laying about, waiting to be inspected & classified. You know what I got instead? A bunch of cement holes in the ground.

La Brea tar pits mammoths

It was, far & away, the most disappointing experience of my entire life up to that point. Though they had a great museum on the site, I learned from looking through the windows of the lab that Paleontology was dull & tedious: the scientists were using toothbrushes to clean off what looked like mouse femurs. To my 6th grade mind, it was like going to school to learn how to clean your room, & prehistory got written off my list.

Later on in 6th grade, I was Mrs. Hannigan in Annie at the Westchester Arts Center (a place that is now sadly gone & is sincerely missed), and I perked up again. THIS was what I was meant to do. It was fun, it was easy, people thought I was good at it.

So on I went, through High School Drama & into a BA program at SUNY Binghamton, where I re-learned how to breathe & how to tear apart text. I learned how to get along with people & how to run a dressing room. I even pretended to learn how to design costumes when they ran out of people who knew how to drive a sewing machine.

Which brings me to where I am today: entirely uncertain as to whether this is actually what I want. The audition process over the summer was grueling & discouraging. I'm sure that has relatively little to do with the economy: I know that it's always been tough to get a job in acting, that I have tons of competition, & that networking is key. But I am beginning to resent that my getting paid is an ethical decision for myself, not my employers.

There are other things I love to do: I love to draw, I love to read, I love to organize things. I think I have about an equal chance of getting paid to do any of those things as I do to act.

Maybe one day when I freak out and give up on my 6th-grade dream &; realize there are already lots of tall blondes who want to be actresses, I can move to the twin cities & take up a common-law marriage with my easel (this is not a slight: I have been dying to visit St.Paul for a long time).

Then I'll cut my hair however I want, get an MA in graphic design or illustration & spend my time bringing the worlds inside my head to the one outside. Or maybe I'll get a degree in library science & spend my time in a gloriously specific section of the Library of Congress, telling Masters Students that if they want a book about such-and-such, perhaps they ought to write it themselves.

But for now, I think I have to focus on having one dream at a time. I think I do want to be an actor, & being in the thick of things will help me sort out whether I am willing to put up with constant rejection for the little moments of dizzying exultation & glory.  I'll move to the big-and-bad, & I'll let my life guide me to where I belong next. I can wait tables pretty well, & that will be enough to support me as I figure it out.

2010-10-14--Claire Leia (2)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video Dump

I'm just getting back into the swing of writing things, so here are a few videos to entertain you while you avoid doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing.

The theme of this week? Dancing.

To start us off, some Russians who are way more entertaining than the original video for this song:

Next, what is a dance list without a little bit of Fosse?

A ballet of Romeo & Juliet, set to Radiohead (by the way, I would kick a puppy for tickets to this):

These cats totally kill it with style:

And finally, in honor of the season, the Rockettes, who always somehow manage to reduce me to tears:

Monday, December 13, 2010

And now for a whiny little bitch moment:

Nobody told me that his was going to be the hard part.

It was all hope & expectation, it was all get an education to equip you for the real world.

It wasn't how to write a resume, or keep your cool, or which areas of New York you can walk home through at night without getting mugged.

Some of it was how to keep a budget, a little bit of it was how not to get pregnant & why drugs aren't the best idea. None of that was taught to me by my esteemed institute of higher learning: I saw all of that in my fellow students.

None of it was marketing your knowledge to people who want it. None of it was dealing with the crushing, pants-wetting terror which comes over you in the middle of the night when you can't sleep and you are starting to realize you can't afford to live the life you were promised.

None of it was deciphering what the hell the Democrats are so pissy about, or why the Republicans don't want me to have health insurance.

The best lessons were free. The best lessons were perseverance, were the real value of friends, were finishing projects early. Maybe they all weren't free, but they didn't cost me any money.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Year, New Mantra- old things.

"Let's spend Christmas and New Year's this way! And not in a hospital!", 1941 - 1945

I'm one of those people. You know, one of the ones who makes resolutions & actually tries to stick with them. Who will remind people in June of what they said they were going to do in January.


Last year, I resolved to spend less money & to have moved out of my parents' house by the end of August. The first one was far too vague to actually stick to, & I'm still working on the second one (as some of you know).

This year is going to be a wild one for me- I'm going to move to the city, get at least one job, try to actually support myself for the first time ever while also being a functional adult & maybe even having some fun once in a while; so I'm thinking it will be better for me to set a new mantra rather than "goals."
I think I'll have enough on my plate without also deciding to read 30 books or make sure I learn a new monologue every month.

My mantra, as previously mentioned, is "I can do it with what I already have."

How many times have I looked in my closet, & thought "oh, I could make the perfect outfit if I only had x."
Or cast about for a new knitting project to involve myself in & said "Well, this would be a great time to buy that silk blend I really wanted."
Or even just gotten bored with what I was reading & thought "If I go to the libraray, I can find lots of fun things I will want to read!", checked out 20 new books, & let them languish on the shelf.

Enough is enough. Or, as my clown teacher would say, "I am enough."

In 2011, I will gently remind myself that I already have the talents I need to begin to live my life. I am only doing a disservice to my creativity if I feel the need to fill an outfit with things I don't have. Instead of this pizza shop right here, I have many fresh vegetables in my house to fill my belly with.

Are you the kind of person that sets goals & resolutions for a New Year (calendar or religious)? Or do you set new goals on your birthday, perhaps? Or do you think goals are for big fattie stupids?

day 42 bonus - baby possum again

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Manual Labor

2.1.09- Chinese New Year

It's that time of year again: the time to sit back, page through my planner from last year & decide if I want the same sort again for next year.

in 2010, I used an at-a-glance my father gave me for Christmas. The size of a beach novel, it had the date at the top of the page with lots of lines underneath for writing whatever I wanted. I liked it because it wasn't trying to control what I was doing with the space: I was free to write the details of assignments, to-do lists, & my schedule for the day in whatever order I pleased.

At A Glance

However, I stopped using it soon after graduation. Since I no longer carried my backpack, I didn't have the space in my purse to devote to a glorified list-keeper, & it became an item I would use to plan out my day when I wouldn't be leaving the house.

Which makes me wonder if I have a planner problem, or a purse problem. At any given moment, I am trying to carry my
-NYC Moleskine
-Novel to read addition to my wallet/phone/headshots/detritus that I "need" to live my city-centric life.

I have been considering converting to a filofax, since it's essentially a glorified binder. I can keep my lists, some drawing paper, & my pages of addresses/things to visit all in one place if I just buy the hole punch.

The problem I see with the Filofax is... that it's a glorified binder. Why should I pay $55 for some cardboard wrapped in fake leather when I'm not going to use ANY of the papers they provide?

Which leaves me with the new mantra I've decided to live by in the coming year: "I can do it with what I already have." I can organize myself, I can put together an outfit, I can make somebody a card with all of the crap I have already accumulated.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things I am Thankful for Thursday

Tori's Birthday

Well hello there! Have you watched the parade? Are you getting hungry smelling dinner? Or are you in the car, on your way to a feast somebody else is preparing?

Since I make a list of things I love every Thursday, today I'll make a brief list  the things I am thankful for before I get back to cleaning the kitchen.

Music: Music brings us together, music stirs the soul, music communicates across cultural & language barriers.

Chloe in a box
Sleeping: Sleeping is the second most important part of my health after water (& before yoga). I am thankful I have a soft, quiet, safe place to sleep, & it is the same place every night I want it to be.

Pensive Dani and Rachel
Always: ♥ Family ♥ My own Bedroom ♥ Health Insurance ♥ My Phone ♥ Friends who Let me Visit ♥ State College ♥ FOOD!!! ♥


It will be back to loving drippy things like cell phone charms & the internet next week, but for now sit back & enjoy the simple things.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daily Outfit: 2010.11.21

Daily Outfit: 2010.11.21

I started reading the Harry Potter books when I was nine- which means I was pretty convinced for a while that there was a letter from Hogwarts arriving any day (I'm still waiting). My mother made me the scarf, & I bought a sweater & sewed a crest on it. The movies and book parties started to happen around the time when it was still socially acceptable for me to dress up at those events, & sometimes I put on the sweater as comfort food.

So as you can see, old habits die hard. While this isn't necessarily a book outfit, it is a little bit more than I would usually wear out & about in my little town. 

Daily Outfit: 2010.11.21

My favorite ladies in the book were always Luna & Bellatrix, so I decided to dress to honor them.

Black sleeves: Discount I really really love these, & don't wear them as often as I might like to. Partially because they're buried at the side of my sweater trunk, & partially because I don't have anywhere to go that deserves them.

Striped Shirt: Forever 21 by way of Thrift This shirt, along with a few others, was in the bottom drawer of my desk when I moved in at school. I donated the things I couldn't use, & washed/kept this.

Skirt: All Saints This is a dress whose top I frequently fold inside itself to wear as a skirt, because it makes a perfect poofy black skirt & why buy something twice? Does anybody else do this? This dress was one of the first articles of clothing I bought in London, & I wore it there all.the.time. It has stood the test of multiple washings, & is just as soft & flattering as ever.

Socks: Sock I think? I'm not sure. I bet you could find something just like it there, though.

Shoes: Clarks I bought these to skip around the city in & slip off when I got to auditions. Their grandma/schoolgirl appeal was just too strong to leave out of a Harry Potter outfit, however.


When was the last time you dressed up for a theme? Do you have a secret Harry Potter outfit you wear to scare the neighborhood children? Do you want one?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Unforgivable Blogging Sins

Screenshot- how I write a paper.

As of late, I have begun to take this blogging thing a little more seriously; when I realized this afternoon that I didn't have any posts in the queue &; the blog would therefore lie silent for at least four days, I spent the time (before going to the theater I would normally use to select an outfit) writing content for you guys. I am committed to you, whomever you are. It probably has something to do with the fact that 73% of the pageviews this thing has had in its life have come in the past month.

Since I am taking it more seriously, I am beginning to abide by certain rules. These rules are ones that I have always applied unconsciously to content that I read, but until lately haven't been able to face following myself. In order of importance, here they are:

Cristina - Sits M Style with a Nascar Bong on a Peacock Throne Under a Vintage HiFi Behind a Huge Bag of Weed & Mis-Mascotted Crunch Berries Between 3 Masks, a Wooden Owl, Maps of Arkanas & Kansas & Portraits of Isaac Newton as a Stoner &...

Poor Grammar. If I have to read a sentence more than once for clarity, & it happens more than once inside a document, I am going to close this window & go somewhere else. There are many, many other things on the internet for me to read, & to be perfectly frank there are at least six other people out there saying the exact same thing. So make it concise, as what you are telling me is probably a waste of the time I should have been spending on something else.

Uinteresting/Unfunny/Unengaging Content. Pictures of your dog? Reflections on just how 'like, totally deep it is to take photos of snow'? Mini poems about how much you love your Boyfriend? Unless you are fiercely articulate and/or hilarious (or are already wildly famous), nobody gives a shit. Anybody can wax poetic about the changing of the seasons, or how nice it is to drink tea in your friends living room. Write that shit down in your journal, where somebody who actually cares will read it & remember.

Blogging Inconsistently You know what I resent more than an interesting, well-written blog that is updated once a month? NOTHING. There is nothing more irritating on the entire Internet than interesting content which just... stops appearing (& I'm including comments on YouTube videos here, this is how serious I am). If your content stops appearing I am going to stop visiting your website- not just because I hate you, but because I will have forgotten about you.

Autoplay: Autoplay? Are you fucking serious? I thought everybody realized how uncool that was when Geocities exploded. If I am surfing the internet idly, there is a good chance I am also listening to my own music. Even if I wasn't, your midi rendition of Spanish Flea earns your website an immediate window close. Anybody who displays such an active disinterest in my auditory space is probably also going to commit sins numbers one and two.

LOGO2.0 part I

Too Much Shit in the Sidebar: I get it, some of us are trying to make a quick buck off of this thing, but I'm not really interested in your Amazon wishlist, your flickr uploads, AND your Twitter, as well as Flixin, Digg News, & Skype. After a certain point, all those words in the sidebar are confusing & distracting, & make me want to leave. Because I am stupid.

No accredidation to Original Artists: This I do not fucking understand. This is absolutely unforgivable. Do you write this blog anonymously (maybe you do)? Do you care if people can find your work again? I find Tumblr morally repellent because it is impossible to find out more information about a piece of art I like. If you don't link back to the place you found the artwork you are using, then you are obviously a thief & a liar, & do not care to support artists. 

No Outside Links This one is last because I can sometimes let it slide, but how difficult is it to open a new tab as you write & provide links to cross-reference what you are saying? I know that my very favorite blog always provides links inside the article to other relevant pieces, allowing me to do what the internet is really for: Falling down a digital wormhole & sitting up at 2 AM knowing much more about when Mr. Rogers takes his nap than when I started out.

Jessica Joslin’s Hybrids at La Luz De Jesus

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Monday: An Emergency Late Night Post

[Explored FP] Please add notes your favourite movie title name

I come to you with a pressing update: I received notice in my email this evening that since Netflix is releasing a streaming-only option for $8/month, my streaming & 1 dvd at a time plan is going to increase to $10/month.

I realize they are trying to compete with Hulu (what does Hulu have, anyway? TV shows?), but I don't watch many instant movies on Netflix; if anything, my sister uses streaming more than I do. At first I used Netflix to watch all of Mad Men, & now I use it to watch movies that I would otherwise have to buy.  Wait Until Dark? Not a shot in hell I'm gonna find that in my local Blockbuster (& Netflix has already forced my other local Video store to close). The Grass Harp? $2 from I don't generally buy movies.

So my options are:
1. Suck it up & pay the extra dollar
2. Go down to the $5, DVD-only plan, where I max out after 2 DVDs/month ($2.50/movie, Netflix? Come on)
3.  Quit Netflix all together & watch instant movies on Boyfriend's Queue, feel bitter against the world.

I know you're probably thinking 'Come on Beth, it's only $1!' But it's the principle of the thing. Why should they be allowed to price-gouge me because everybody else is happy watching only what's readily available? Not to make this sound like an issue of whose taste is better, but seriously. I want to watch movies from studios that didn't work out distribution deals, too.

I'll probably choose the cut-off-my-nose-to-spite-my-face & be happy about it option. Any way I go, Netflix is going to be losing my money.

netflix envelope art - robot

Actors helping actors

three ballerinas

I've been thinking lately about how young people in the theater relate to each other. For instance, in the Haunted House, everybody was very pleasant to each other & about our work. However, in outside discussions I gathered that some people felt similarly about the less socially adept members of our cast. But instead of being all Middle School (or let's face it, Binghamton Theater Department) about it, we were pleasant & professional to one another. I like that.

I have been sending along casting calls from  to my fellow graduates, & only hope they might do the same for me (& they already have!). Yes, we are all in competition, but we're really not going to help ourselves by generating animosity. Besides, maybe if I send them a listing for a casting call today, then when I have a question about a certain company or director, they'll enthusiastically answer.

I think it's important for us to stick together & help each other out as much as possible, especially during the first few years. You make your own world- so if you want to spend the rest of your life a sniping, hyper-competitive bitch, then go right ahead & start out that way.... because once you're known for something, it's hard to change opinions (Patti LuPone, anybody? & she wasn't even really a diva!).

Maybe this is all coming from listening to the White Album on repeat recently, but can't we all just get along? The TV reminds us constantly that the economy is crap, that there's no work for young people, & we can't find anywhere to live. So instead of despairing whenever I hear about the success of others & putting them down, I'm going to make my best effort to stay positive, & surround myself with people who do the same. I hope you'll join me.

Pauline Chase (LOC)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Etymology Journeys: Bricolage

The Main Reading Room
Photo by Paul Lowry

As you may have guessed from some of my recent posts, I am pretty good at working myself into a rage coma.

I used to subscribe to's word of the day in the interest of bettering myself, & acquiring a little knowledge easily.

However, I soon unsubscribed because they don't provide etymology. Ever. Why is this? What dictionary doesn't tell you where words come from? Oh that's right, an online Dictionary that prides itself on  being "the world's largest and most authoritative online dictionary [that] helps people get smarter any time, any place." ( 'about' page)

Recently, my father announced to me that the word of the day was bricolage. I began to wonder if it was related to the phrase 'bric a brac', but of course they couldn't provide an etymology. I checked, but they didn't know either (most other etymology websites are pay-to-play, oddly enough).


And so it was that I found myself in the reading room at the NYPL, killing time between auditions at the shelf of dictionaries as long as a city block (!!!), trying to decode the "Dictionaire Etymologique & Historique do Francais" (DuBois/Larousse).

In case you care, bricolage and bric a brac are in fact related: the word Bricole originated in 1360 as 'un machine de guerre', and comes up again in 1633 in the form of Bric, Brac, Broc meaning 'en bloc et en blic.' So I can only assume that the Bricole must have been an object which hurled bric, brac, & broc, which we would think of as shrapnel.

Amusingly enough, in 1650 the 'Bric' prefix comes up again as Bricoler, meaning 'ricocher, aller en zigzag,' & I find it delightful that the French say zigzag! Let's all just say zigzag with a French accent for a moment. Zigzag. Zigzag. Zigzag.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daily Outfit: 2010.11.11


11/11 is Corduroy day, since the parallel "1"s look like the lines in corduroy. Interesting aside, people think the word comes from "Corde du Roi," meaning Cloth of the King, as the fabric was originally made for everybody's favorite French nutjob Louis XIV, as an 'exclusive' cloth for him. Through the years the fabric has become more of a poor man's fiber, figuring prominently in the garments of Dust-Bowl transients & Liberal Arts Professors' jackets. Wikipedia tries to tell me this is not true, but my costume history teacher who was a Linguistics major in undergrad told me all of this, so I believe her.

Anywhoodle, I wore my brown cords to dig out the garden (& remember that I hate gardening), & then wore these grey ones to go see Brian Regan (!!!) at night.


It was their first time out of storage since April, & I forgot how much I like them. Wide-leg trousers were something I wanted as a child, but I think it was probably because all of the cool kids were wearing the ones from Hot Topic. These are a bit less... zitty.

They also really emphasize how thin I am, & sometimes I am having a day where I say screw it. I am skinnier than all of the rest of you, & I am going to show it off. After all, how many more years of doing that un-apologetically do I get?


An aside- do you guys hate daily outfit posts? Think they are lazy & self-indulgent? Really really like them? I know I haven't been wearing anything all that radical lately, because who do I have to dress up for as I lounge around the house? But it's good to stay in practice, since soon I'll be doing the midtown stomp every day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Regretsy Fodder: Or, what I made in pottery class.

Fish, being made.

In the middle of August, I was feeling a little sorry for myself. My best friend had just moved to California, I hadn't met my goals of moving out of the house & my sister was going off to College. So I decided to take a pottery class at the local art center to cheer myself up & give myself something to do on weeknights other than hanging out in front of the computer.

The instructor was really sweet, the other people in the class were pretty normal, & I was allowed to do basically whatever I wanted with the clay- after the first few weeks.

But y'all, those first few weeks? We learned how to use big tools, specifically the slab roller.

It would have been nice if I could have made a gingerbread house, or a little boat, or even a damn spoon rest, but no. We made sushi dishes. What are sushi dishes, you ask?

Crap I made in pottery class

I'm not really sure, my friends. They look an awful lot like glorified crap collectors to me. You know the little cups & dishes that sit around on your bookshelves & you realize one day have become filled with marbles and quarters and little plastic animals? That's what these are. Crap collectors.

It's the kind of thing one makes in elementary school & your mother nails it to the wall & never gives up on. But now that I'm old enough to buy beer they're just a source of embarrassment. The thing is, I kind of like the colors on the underside of the brown one, so I'm reluctant to get rid of it. The green one, though, deserves to be hurled on to my driveway from the roof.

So I leave it up to you, dear readers- throw it in the woods for some little kid to find & think is an archaeological find? Hurl it out the car window at somebody who cuts me off? Is there a recycling program for this kind of stuff? Let me know.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spider Jokes

I used to more or less agree with what Hyperbole and a Half has to say about spiders: they are scary, they want to get in my mouth while I sleep & they want to ruin my birthday party and push my dog into traffic.

However, this girl took up residence next to the rear door of the house this summer, & my father & I enjoyed watching her eat (read: threw bumblebees into the web) & build her little home every evening. Every time I watched her do something I would get a little closer, until by the end of the summer I more or less put my face down on her. So I quite like spiders now.

I think my favorite feature of spiders is that in order to build their perfectly geometric webs, they do all kinds of wonderful acrobatics, dropping off the top line & sailing along on the breeze. And when their homes have too many holes? They EAT THEIR HOUSES & REBUILD THEM. That's commitment.

But it's also convenient. Can you image how nice it would be, when you were staring into the fridge lamenting that there was nothing to eat, if you could just rip its doors off & eat them? Or if your roommate kept leaving her books all over the floor you could cram them into your mouth & turn them into something else you wanted?

Why didn't spider man have that talent? He could've made himself a new Uncle Ben!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


New Orleans

I tried to participate in NaNoWriMo in 9th grade, and quickly failed. No commitment, no ideas, and no formal idea of how to structure a plot left me with one of the most embarrassing pieces of dreck to ever come out of my IP address not confined to the pages of LiveJournal.

The idea has languished in the corner of my mind since then, until every November when some news source shares it as though we haven't all already heard of it.


So this year, I have decided to make it my own personal National Novel Reading Month.

*That copy of 'The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana' that's been languishing on my shelf since August? Gonna either read the last 100 pages it or give it up by the end of the weekend.

*'The Master and Margarita' that I tried to start back in July? Gonna finish it or set it on fire by the 27th.

*That Carson McCullers Novel I rescued from the dollar bin? Gonna have it half read by the beginning of december.

Now I realize those are a lot of threats, but I have written them all down both in my phone calendar & on the calendar hanging on my wall, & words are the first step on the road to actions! If James Strickland & Simon Hayes can write a publish-worthy novel in a month (& 13,000 other people can complete the task, as happened in 2006), certainly I can read two.


I used to be a voracious reader: every Friday my mother took us to the library to pick out the reading for next week, & I was the kind of kid who had to be told to stop reading & go to sleep almost every night. I think I stopped reading novels around the beginning of college, when I was faced with about 300 pages of soul-witheringly dry reading (Women's history since the Civil War! History of Social Anthropology!) per week.

I would find a good novel & consume it every once in a while, but that was usually over winter breaks when I felt the need to keep my quick reading skills up to snuff.

So I'm going to start reading novels again, because I like them, because they're good for me, because interpreting text makes me a better actor, and because opening myself to new experiences makes me a better human.

Right after I finish re-reading The Walking Dead Compendium 1.

Dogs like it too!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Website Week in Review

Parc Güell - Barcelona

So, what have I been reading this week while I probably should have been doing something else? Let's find out...

Sarah Von tells us about the wedding traditions in India, where she has been living in a home for unmarried young women for the last few weeks. FASCINATING.

This review of the new Facebook browser, which makes me super-paranoid that Mark Zuckerberg knows everything I am doing.

♥ Our Valued Customers, a webcomic about the dumb shit customers say in the Comic Book Store, which makes my stories about the haunted house sound almost joyful.

This Post from my friend Roger's blog, where he posts all kinds of interesting art-things. He's one of those people whose opinions I hold in disproportionately high regard. Maybe because all of the smart kids (who I desperately wanted to be... how lame is that?) in High School thought he was cool.

Roderigo y Gabriella, who will Flamenco-Guitar the shit out of Led Zepplin.

♥ THIS BIRD. This bird is amazing. This bird makes this song almost bearable:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: 2010.11.11

Blogger Draft

Blogger Draft: It allows me to write everything for the week on Wednesday, & then just forget about it. Unless I get comments in my in-box. :)

The Walking Dead: Have I talked enough about this on here yet? No? Good.

Even dogs like it!

Gold Eye Makeup: I saw this stuff in Sephora & knew I had to play with it. My inner Leo practically peed herself. I plan on wearing it out to Bklyn tomorrow when I go to see Druid Penelope. Because nothing says existential angst like precious metals smeared on your eyes.

Sweaters: They keep me warm, they are durable, they are like wearing a hug. They have better texture than a sweatshirt, & make me look like I actually gave a crap when I got dressed. Which I do.

♥ Drawing/Doodling ♥ People who offer to send out my resume!!! ♥ The end of things I dislike ♥ Going to the theater ♥ Drinking with friends after the theater ♥ Alt performance ♥ Lattes ♥ my iPhone (it was sent to save me, I swear!) ♥ Running in to old friends who are doing things & give me hope for my life adventure. ♥

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Daily Outfit: Coilhouse FTW!

Dear reader, allow me to speak for a moment on a website I use to warm my cold, cold heart. Coilhouse is a blog which also publishes a quarterly magazine & they describe their mission as "A Love Letter to Alternative Culture."


Through them I have discovered many new performance experiences, new music, and of course, visual art. They're like my ultra-cool best friend who always has their ear to the ground & rather than being superior & withholding about their new favorite band, gushes effusively & buys me a ticket to the show.

Needless to say, when I got their new hoodie in the mail, I was pretty excited to style it every which way from Thursday.

Daily Outfit- 2010.11.9

Wearing sweaters over sweaters isn't a new activity for me, & since November has begun to assert itself as the month of shit precipitation, I have decided layer them on.

Inform. Inspire. Infect.

Eyes: Makeup Forever
Ears: H &M
Torso: Coilhouse hoodie, handknit sweater
Legs: J.Crew
Feet: Steve Madden

I also sent an e-mail to Coilhouse, asking them if they would call for reader submissions with styling ideas for this shirt. Y'all probably know that I can't just wear some big shapeless thing without being really self conscious, right? A sweatshirt has to be for me (& I suspect for some others) a small element in an overall outfit.

Botched Book Review: 'The Walking Dead'

After watching the first episode of 'The Walking Dead' on AMC & deciding I liked the story better than the show itself, I went to Midtown Comics to pick up the first compendium.


Allow me to have an aside here for a moment: I love Midtown Comics.  The place is well-organized, bright, & well stocked. Their staff are friendly & helpful (& also I kind of have a thing for nerds). When I was trying to decide whether to buy the individual 4-episode volumes or the 48-episode compendium, a cute staffer helped me do some simple math to figure it out, & when he found out I had never read it before, his praise bordered on the obsessive.

"It's the greatest comic book series of all time. I bet you couldn't find anything better within a ten-foot radius in this store."

 I pointed to the Alan Moore display we were standing right next to:
"Is it even better than Watchmen?"

"Erm... no. Nothing is better than Watchmen. It's the second greatest comic book series of all time.

So, yes. The staff is knowledgeable & friendly. Also, their customer rewards program is brilliant: $20 free after each $100 spent in-store. That's like a 20% discount all the time.


But back to the series. I read a lot of Manga as a little girl, including getting Smile magazine delivered to my house  just before it entered its death throes. So I'm not totally unfamiliar with "how" to read & absorb the visual information, & the lack of color really doesn't bother me- in fact color comics always seemed kind of overwhelmingly gaudy.

I am only a little ways in, but the story is clear & suspenseful. It's not really a story about zombies, it's about humanity & what it does under stress. I feel not uncomfortable comparing it to the Sci-Fi version of August: Osage County or The Grapes of Wrath (but maybe a little faster-paced).

It has also inspired me to add a little more comic book - schlock style back into my drawing. Sure it may be cheesy looking, but it's clear & communicative as anything.

So far I would recommend the series, although if you can manage to borrow it from somebody do that instead of sinking all of your drinking money for the next two weekends in to the Compendium.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movie Monday: The Walking Dead (Episode 1)

"The Walking Dead" has taken over the "Mad Men" slot on Sundays. Since I was thirsty for a new story to obsess over, I became, for an hour, one of the mindless slaves their advertising wanted me to be.

The story is great, but it would be difficult to make a bad story out of what has been argued as the second greatest comic book of all time (nothing is better than Watchmen, y'all). The effects are great, the visual imagery is strong, and I have relatively few problems with the dialogue.

My biggest problem with this series is, of course, the acting. Andrew Lincoln, the man playing the protagonist Rick Grimes, is just not an interesting actor. Remember how in I Am Legend Will Smith was by himself on screen for the first 45 minutes of the movie & you barely noticed that nothing was happening? Yeah, that wasn't the case here. Lincoln lacks subtext & the ability to tell us what he is thinking without mugging. The brief moment we had with Shane (Jon Bernthal) & the rest of the van camp was spent with Bernthal more or less screaming at the camera "I AM THE BAD GUY. I WILL BE BAD. LOOK AT MY EYES! THEY SAY BAD GUY."

I suppose my other problem with the show is the pacing. It seemed over-anxious to get Shane into the city & around some grisly creatures to blow up. I could have used a few more traveling scenes, or some more  of the normal-life-backstory-lead-up. The first episode came off as rushed & almost forced, in a way that said "Look horror movie fans! Zombies! Please watch our show!" I supposed elapsed time is easier in comic books, when the author can write "later..." & the reader is free to imagine what happened in the interim.

And that's my problem overall with the TV version of "The Walking Dead"; it's not a book.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Overhead in the Haunted House (Charming Customer Awards)

My creation

This past October, I worked in a Haunted House as a living statue. I was dressed as an angel standing next to a mausoleum, & whenever somebody would walk by I would jump at them.

For the most part, the customers were fun to scare and ladeled on enthusiastic praise. Everybody was having a good time, until the line started to stall. At that point, the name-calling and stupid jokes began.

To be sure, I felt badly for the customers: they paid their $20 & they were standing in line, bored. However, true cowardice is taunting somebody who cannot respond. Here are just a few of the observational gems I recieved over the course of the weeks:

-"You can tell it's cold, man!!! Check her out."
(I wear at least 3 shirts on any given day.)

-"Haha, you should go out in the sun a little more! You're looking pretty pale."
(Yes, okay. Let's have a conersation right now about my white makeup, you clever fuckwit.)

-"Don't hang yourself!"
(I am standing in a graveyard. I am not near any rope of any kind.)

-"Don't you have anything better to do?"

-"You are doing a very good imitation of a person who could be scary, but isn't."

-"Hey Angel, go to hell!"


However, all of my coworkers were fabulously polite and interesting people, and the director and his wife were the kinds of people I wanted to have as my new best friends. The actors would all talk and joke for the hours we had before going outside, and some of us even got a little silly.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Ideal Schedule

Ideal Schedule

At the beginning of the summer, I asked Boss if I could be the weekend help only, so that I would have time free during the week to audition. Being a nice boss (and also my Dad), he said yes.

I dreamed of going to the city every day! Auditioning constantly, meeting people!  Going to museums! Reading long, impressive books! Using my free time wisely, to work on my monologues and exercise and generally improve myself!

And a day at home? Well obviously it looked exactly like what you see up above.

I was going to continue to be the ruthless hard worker I had been in College, but I was going to be able to do it without an adult standing over me. I was going to be the toughest, fiercest, most self-motivated Graduate the world had ever seen. I was also going to have moved out of the house by the end of August.

Have you guessed yet that none of this has happened? I do have an evacuation plan (which begins in December), but my motivation is... well...

Actual Schedule

You guys? It's hard to keep practicing monologues when there's no specific use for them in the future. I get all hopped up and excited at auditions because it's the one chance I've had all week to PLAY.

Turns out it's harder to get cast in things in real life than in College. I try not to let it discourage me too much, but blogging and drawing pictures for nobody is a whole lot more satisfying than memorizing plays for nobody.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: 2010.11.4

Things I Love Thursday: Midtown Comics Edition

Midtown Comics: The staff is charming, it's well-organized, & there are all kinds of inspiring art books to ogle. I will have a post up next week about my stellar experience there & what I acquired. However, I totally want to go back for a few Chris Ware books & the Vargas collection.

Seeing My Professor's Show with a bunch of my friends I took his class with! And we're all going to go out for drinks like grown-ups afterward. I'm excited to see the Prof practice what he preaches, & excited that experimental theater like this is taken so seriously, so easily.

Blogging! Since I started writing a few amusing articles a few weeks ago to amuse myself, it has been an almost constant compulsion. I've even written a few things I am proud of. I don't really know where any of it is going to go, but I'm glad my writing skills gained in school won't simply languish.

Leaves out my window

Autumn: Have I said this already? Every week? Because the temperature is finally something rational, & I love it. Too many people at the audition on Tuesday were bitching about how cold it was. We have 7 million people in this city, we don't need one more. If you don't like it, move to Florida, or California. Free country & all.

Cee-Lo Green's New Album Avaliable to listen to for free in its entirety on NPR until the day it's released!

Reading the Night Away ♥ Boyfriend ♥ Shopping with Grandma ♥ Lapsang Souchong Tea ♥ Cookies my Mom Makes me ♥ Texting my Sister ♥ Planning Adventures to see the Thanksgiving Parade! ♥ 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dynamite (What I Hear Wednesday)

Before we begin, allow me to say that I spent a good half an hour trying to edit a hilariously bad poetry-style reading of this song that I made for YOU in iMovie, but was eventually outmaneuvered by Steve Jobs. I guess he really really hates fun.


I have a physiological tic that causes me to fling my arms into the sky & not put them down.
I yell "ayo, gotta let go!" as though I were on a roller coaster.
I wanna celebrate and live my life
While saying only "ayo, gotta let go!"

That will assist me in vibrating the sides of this beverage establishment
Throughout the night
It will be bright
As though we had set off explosives
Becuse I've already threatened you once
Now I'll tell you twice
We're going to blow it up
As though it were an explosive.


Does anybody else hear this song as a threatening note from a terrorist who also happens to have a shoulder spasm?

Dynamite Pressure- Dj Tripp mashes David Bowie & Queen vs. Taio Cruz

Monday, November 1, 2010

Movie Monday: Body Double

I was pretty busy this Monday with auditions, so my Dad & I had to do our Monday Movie watching at home. We wanted something scary, & while I had 'Titus' out from Netflix, it was already 10:30, so we had to stick to something short.

Our cable provider (no I won't tell you which one, but I'll give you a hint: I can't watch the world series) has a delightfully wonky On Demand section where I have occasionally been able to find something to watch in the past. For the month of Halloween they have a scary movies section, & we settled on Body Double, which was described to us as "What happens when a peeping tom witnesses a murder!"

Do you know what 1984 thinks happens to peeping toms? Apparently it thinks that they turn in to softcore porn actors.

I am not fucking kidding.


Aside from the obvious tawdry-ness of this clip, the movie is full of all kinds of other offensive views on women. When our main character finds out something bad is going to happen to the girl he is spying on, he takes on a creepily paternalistic attitude towards her, obviously concluding that he is the only man who can "save her." And saving is just what this princess in a glass tower needs, since she unashamedly dances naked in front of a window, that stupid whore. We therefore cannot be surprised when she dies of being penetrated to death:


To be truthful, the murder scene was pretty funny, but once it got around to the porn we turned it off & went to sleep. It was midnight my time & there was still half an hour of movie remaining, time that I was simply unwilling to give to this piece of dreck. However, if I ever go to grad school for Gender Studies, you can bet I'll write part of my dissertation based on this movie.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On Giving to NPR

It's that time again: the only good radio station in my area, WNYC, is doing their pledge drive. I must say that their advertisements have improved recently. Many feature Alec Baldwin saying vaguely menacing things about Ira Glass, or Soterios Johnson. They've also gotten Jad Abumrad to make some interesting & amusing points about why public radio is important. Overall this drive, I have felt the desire to give them money more strongly than I ever have in the past. I've even visited the donate page 3 separate times.

One of my two problems with the drive is that the smallest amount I can give right now is $60. They have plans to make me a monthly supporter, but as a recent college graduate, I have no idea what my bank balance is going to be from one month to the next. I would love to give them $20 now, & maybe $20 during the next drive, but Brian Lehrer gave me a guilt trip about $60 being the smallest suggested donation, & the radio doesn't respond to me when I yell at it. It's shockingly similar to the TV in that regard.

My other problem with the drive? It means I'm not listening to wonderful WNYC programming on my drive to work.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Website Week in Review

Interesting Crap I have found around the internet this week:
♥ The secret to a long life seems to be in the subtext of this article: be happy, do things that interest you.

♥ If you aren't reading Hyperbole and a Half, then there is no joy in your life.

♥ You've heard of a murphy bed? Well this is a Murphy Desk, which feeds all of my organizational joys. I want to run out & buy one right now, because I know I will eventually need one in my cramped days of city-living. Sure the computer would have to live somewhere else, but this would be great even to hang on the wall next to one's bed, or for an extra work surface in the kitchen.

♥ A short film about a man who does glass embossing the old-fashioned way. It isn't quite as informative as I might have liked it to be, but just sit back & let the pretty wash over you. It inspired me to go back in for some art deco opulence in my art for a moment.

♥ These fuckin' guys! Makes me want to watch the Matrix again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: 2010.10.28

Bunny love

Oh my, is it Thursday again already? Thank goodness for auto-post, or it would be a ghost town around here.

This week I love....

♥ This spot on NPR about words which exist in other languages that should be adopted by English. Reading through the comments section makes me want to expand my vocabulary to include Shil-shom (Hebrew for 'the day before yesterday').

The New York Public Library where I went to kill some time between auditions on Monday. I got to utilize their city-block-long wall of dictionaries to satisfy an etymological question I had been pondering for a few days. They also apparently have a phone line where you can call up & ask them almost anything, & they'll tell you! What a nutty city. :)

Sunlight throught the trees

Fall Leaves. I mean really, how could you not?

Halloween Halloween Halloween! It is my favorite holiday, & I am super-excited to be able to go to a party this year. I am also excited to hand out candy to cute little kids for the first time since I graduated High School! Winning bonus points is "The Walking Dead", a Zombie TV show premiering in the Mad Men slot on the 31st.

Honorable Mentions: ♥ Whiskey Sour Pickles ♥ Tickets to see Brian Regan!!! ♥ Meeting up with Friends at the Theater ♥ Shakespeare Auditions ♥ Intelligent, friendly people at work ♥

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Country Club Charming Customer Awards

Yes Ladies and gentlemen, it's time once again for the charming customer awards! This edition is coming to you live from the Rich and White Country Club, where there are surprisingly few competitors for the awards. Let's take a look at the competition.

First up we have Mrs. ZhouZhou, ordering a Chicken Paillard. She doesn't want her chicken too overdone, but doesn't want it too underdone, either. When asked if that meant she wanted a regular Chicken Paillard, she countered with an attack on the quality of salads previously tendered.
A close competitor in the inane orders category was Mrs. VonSchmaltz who ordered an omlette "not too runny, but not too hard", but was disqualified for actually enjoying her food once it arrived.

In the Just-Order-Something-Else-Category, it looks like Mr. Dividends is going to take the prize this year. His order of a Cobb Salad "with no red onions, avocadoes or bacon,  and with cucumbers, beets and cheese" puts him in the forefront of the competitors trying to turn any salad into a Chef salad.

Lastly, we have the in a hurry competition. Though Mr. Warty marked himself as a stiff competitor when he ordered a grilled cheese to be made now and picked up two hours later after his golf game, the crowd favorite underdog Mrs. Ice will probably take the prize this year in a similar golf situation: in a hurry to meet her friends and go out to the course, she ordered a well done burger and stared accusingly until it arrived.

Stay tuned for more news from Rich and White Country Club, where the competitors in this year's Charming Customer Awards are looking forward to seeing their names on the leader board.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Graduate School

Dear Graduate School Admissions Person-

Well, I guess I'm writing to you because I've heard a lot about you. Some of my friends have already joined you, but I'm not sure yet- you seem too similar to that tiring nemesis Undergrad, from my last boxing match,  to take on right away. My mother tells me not to wait too long to take you on, which makes you sound like a baby. Are you like a baby? Are you going to scream all night so I can't sleep and shit in your pants? Because that's pretty unacceptable.

Anyway, I want to be an artist. I like to draw stuff, but sometimes I like to make stuff too. Will you teach me how to do that? I don't really want an open studio where I am allowed to create. I need a teacher. I guess I'm not that smart.

I also need you to force me to buy photoshop and teach me how to use it, so I can write a webcomic and become internet famous.

Can I also earn a degree in library science in my spare time? I mentioned it to my mother once, and she printed out an application to **** Uni and left it on my desk, and I really don't want to go there, but if I don't apply to you she's probably going to disown me as lazy and stupid.

Oh, and can you guarantee I will have a job as soon as I graduate? Ideally, I want to have my school paid off in the same amout of time it took me to get my diploma, meaning I need my starting salarly to be twice as much as my yearly tuition.

Anyway, those are my requirements. In exchange, I can offer myself as a good worker when I care about the subject, and a law abiding, book ruining citizen of your supposedly esteemed institution.


Bef with an F