12.26.2005

i am the antichrist. or whatever.

So in honor of, I don't know, Christmas or something, I've decided to abandon my quest for hipsterdom and be goth instead. I've already taken the first step, which is to paint my nails black, as illustrated to the right. Further plans include wearing mostly black clothing, which I sort of do anyway, but now I do it because it is Black Like My Soul instead of being slimming and sophisticated and easy to mix & match on a hectic morning.

I've also visited one of the internet's many goth name generators and am excited to inform the world of the death of Helen (yippee! death! [see, i am totally good at being goth]), and the birth of Ethereal Ravyn.

further adventures in gothicness forthcoming no doubt. Um. satanbye?

12.23.2005

too good for mcsweeney's

If Classic Plot-Twist Movies Took Their Cues From The Multiple-Tony-Winning Broadway Hit "The Light In The Piazza," In Which It Turns Out That The Mysterious Daughter Is Not Tubercular or Already Married or Anything Even Remotely Expected; Rather, She Is Mentally Retarded

The Sixth Sense
Bruce Willis' character has been mentally retarded all along.

The Empire Strikes Back
While Luke is dangling over the abyss, Darth Vader reveals to him that he is actually mentally retarded.

The Crying Game
It turns out the "girlfriend" was no girlfriend at all - instead, "she" was mentally retarded.

Fight Club
Brad Pitt is just a manifestation of Edward Norton's mental retardation.

The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy wakes up in her own bed, surrounded by loved ones, and discovers that she is mentally retarded.

The Usual Suspects
The fax comes in with the suspect sketch, and reveals that Kaiser Soze is mentally retarded.

Citizen Kane
It's revealed that Charlie Kane was driven his whole life by the thought of his lost childhood mental retardation

Soylent Green
Charlton Heston discovers that soylent green is made of mentally retarded people.

Wild Things
Even though it appears that Kevin Bacon or even Denise Richards is mentally retarded, Neve Campbell and Matt Dillon are the real mentally retarded ones, and they have been been mentally retarded from the very beginning. But then out of nowhere, Bill Murray is mentally retarded.

Memento
It turns out the whole movie is told mentally retardedly.



with help from david. thanks, david!

12.21.2005

or one sixth of a pair of jimmy choos

For those of you who are not living under a rock, you know that the New York Transit Worker's Union is gettin' its strike on right now. For those of you who are stalking me, you know that I live on 112th street, and work on 4th street. For those of you who can do math, you know that that's a 108-block walk (closer to 115 if you include the east-west aspect). For those of you who have been paying attention to the wacky-ass zone system that has been imposed on the city's cabs, you'll note that that's a theoretical $25, which in reality, when you realize that the vast majority of cab drivers are capitalist opportunists who are gouging like motherfuck, is about $35.

All of this is preface to the fact that I'm staying with friends who live closer to work than I do, but I need clothing to wear to work tomorrow. There's a Gap a block away from my office. For less than $70 - the cost of a cab ride home and back - I can acquire two pairs of underwear, two tshirts, a cardigan sweater, and two pairs of socks. For good measure, I can even get a clearance belt, and even a whimsical flowery pin or two. If I were to do this shopping at the K-Mart around the corner from the Gap, I could even throw in a toaster.

In other news, if you are bored or concerned that you are growing stonehearted in the face of painfully selfish Transit Union bosses or in need of some kittens to look at, please visit Cute Overload. Greater minds than mine have compared its potency to that of a nuclear weapon. It gets everybody. Everybody.

12.19.2005

Snark Ye Herald Angels

Inspired by the witty Banterist, my own Interwebs Edition of Grammar Cop.

Defendant: The New York Daily News

Charge 1: Flagrant misuse of apostrophe in pluralization of "greeting," a word which is not in any way confusing or difficult or unusual to pluralize (i.e. "moose," "jones," "addendum")

Charge 2: Demonstrating an unacceptable lack of proofreading, considering the offending party is a newspaper, and thus in theory employs people whose sole job function is to look out for and correct this type of error.

Charge 3: Displaying the offending structure in a connected script text, making the break between the G and the S exponentially more obvious than it would be had it been in a normal font.

Charge 4: Making the damn thing flash red and green.

Report: Officer Helen was reading about out-and-about actor Nathan Lane's sarcastic take on Brokeback Mountain, a movie with which Officer Helen is obsessed, and noticed this atrocity flashing on the screen. Capturing it for eternity was a simple matter of left-clicking.

Fine: $31.50, the cost of a six-line Kwanzaa message*

*a side note of social commentary: a Kwanzaa message is the abovementioned $31.50. A Christmas message is $42 even. A Hanukkah message is $52.50. What can we learn from this? Black people are poor, and Jews are rich. Thanks, New York Daily News!

I could so hit that.

Words and phrases meaning women of easy virtue (i.e. sluts) in the slang of Georgette Heyer's regency-era romance novels:

  • barques of frailty
  • birds of paradise
  • bits of muslin
  • convenients
  • lady-birds
  • light-skirts
  • Paphians
  • peculiars
  • prime articles
  • trollops
  • wantons

12.18.2005

stop the presses

A brief detour to the serious. Sorry, I will return to usual sarcastic form when I get over my total seething anger at the following.

There is a staggering, extraordinary article in the New York Times today. It's a profile of real-life gay cowboys in Wyoming, a la Brokeback Mountain, and in it various men who are alternately accepting of and struggling with the contradictions of their hypermasculine lifestyle and their attraction towards men are candid about what goes on inside their heads. Two admit to having been on the brink of suicide. One claims that a Matthew Shepard-esque hate-killing will happen again. We learn that Brokeback Mountain has yet to find a distributor in Wyoming - between the lines it's clear that it might never find a distributor, that this movie is too devastating for an entire state hyperaware of the lines between the rugged cowboy lifestyle and, as one ranch hand puts it, "getting involved with being hairdressers."

This article is killer. It's important. Everyone should read it, the same way everyone should go see the movie it's inspired by the movie which is starting this whole conversation about how you don't have to be a mincing stereotype like Sean Hayes on Will & Grace or Nathan Lane in virtually his entire performing career in order to be a gay man. The movie is stone-facedly upfront about violence - particularly of the gruesome, punishment-fits-the-crime variety. Whether or not you agree with the lifestyle choices of the characters whose lives it follows - in fact, particularly if you don't - you can't help but relate to one of them. Are you a Jack Twist - trying to change the world to fit yourself? Or an Ennis Del Mar - trying to change yourself to fit the world? So you watch the movie, you relate to a character (or both, or an inevitably described as "long-suffering" wife, or a ranch foreman, or a grasping daughter) and all of a sudden you realize that you are psychologically putting yourself in the same space as someone who if you met him in a bar or on the street you wouldn't think twice about - rugged and cowboy manly - and then you realize this is a man who falls in love with men and in that one second your mind is turned in a way that any number of GLAAD outreach campaigns have failed to do.

This is an important movie, because it does that. This is an important article, because it shows us that the story of the movie isn't restricted to just the movie. So why isn't it on the front page?

Because here's the thing. The article is in Fashion and Style. Fashion and fucking Style. Which is Timesspeak for "women and gay men." So sure, the Times wants Wyoming to open their minds, but their readers? Not worth the hassle.

12.12.2005

this week in ideas: the debate van is not a patent office

We all know how I feel about abortion and about a gal's right to choose. I realize of course that there are some philosophical inconsistencies when it comes to the question of abortion, and that most of us on the side of civil rights and feminism have atendency to gloss over the gnarlier issues and to just assert in a loud voice IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO until anti-choicers feel bad about themselves and go cry in the corner that nobody understands me like You do, Jesus, why can't you be my date to the Spring Fling since none of the boys really see my inner beauty that my momma says I have like You do.

But having been a debater in college, and thus being an argumentative and aggressive type when it comes to telling people what to do about things, I have at various points along the way tried to come up with ways to reconcile my bone-deep belief that Abortion Is Not Evil with my concerns over the unresolved role of the conceiving father in all this, or "but where do we draw the line?!" For drawing that line I will say See: Peter Singer and then amend it a bit to basically say that let's give something the right to life if it is either sentient or viable and leave it at that. But the question of daddy rights... this is, as the trailer says, a little bit of a pickle, Dick.

It seems like most problems can be solved - at least on paper - if we treat people like robots and assume optimal rationality in their behavior. So here's what those of us in the van on the way home from the Princeton tournament came up with that fateful night: Before a guy and a girl have sex, they sign a contract. In this contract the guy agrees that if he is unwilling to financially support prenatal care and the subsequent child to such a degree that the mother could live an otherwise totally normal and struggle-free life, then he gives up his right to have a say in whether or not she aborts any conceived zygote. Thus the time commitment of motherhood inherent in being female is somewhat offset by the dude’s monetary commitment. We also added in some provision that tied the compensation to minimum wage, but a) I don’t really remember that part and b) it was probably retarded.

So then Dalton Conley, a New York Times editorialist who was apparently named after a C-list law firm, goes and steals my idea, asshole. But the thing is I am sort of okay with that, because he has been getting lots of shit for it and also it turns out the idea was really really horrible. So, I give up any claim I might have had to the Sex Contract. You go, Dalton Conley. Run with it, baby. Run all the way to the bank.

12.09.2005

beating the system, part two

A while back, I enlightened penny-pinching poverts like myself in the ways of ripping off Au Bon Pain for a tomato/pesto/mozzarella sandwich for significantly less than their suggested $6.99 sale price. No, let's not say "ripping off" - so fraught with judgment. I prefer to think of the sandwich as being, let's say, liberated.

Well in the time since that post I have become both more poor and, correspondingly, more interested in ways to spend less money to acquire more goods & services. I was reminded this afternoon when I stopped into McDonald's to get some coffee that if it's a good deed to take down the faceless behemoth corporations, it must be doubly so to spread the word to others. So my good deed for the day: two new ways you can (insert theme music here) beat! the! system!

McDonald's
Yeah, I know. McD's is gross, it's evil, whatever. But here is the amazing thing, that will sort of make you want to eat there even if you're not hungry, just so you can send the golden arches a big ol' bronx cheer. The amazing thing is: the dollar menu. On this dollar menu, at least at the McDonald's near my office, there is your usual complement of crapola such as the chicken fajita (wtf, man. wtf), and then there is the shining beacon of heavenly poultry goodness: four chicken mcnuggets for $1.00.

Intrepid diners will have looked elsewhere on the menu and noticed that SIX chicken mcnuggets are a whopping $2.89. And the math geniuses among us will note that you can buy THREE four-piece chicken nuggets for a scant $0.11 more, pre-tax. That, ladies and gentlemen, is twice the nugget for (rounding up) 4% more of the cheddar. Throw in the free dipping sauce, and you are blasting holes in the pockets of corporate america. And/or supplying yourself with some delicious - albeit horrifically unhealthy - fried bits of bird.

Starbucks
This one is old news. A Starbucks cafe mocha is, like, a million dollars. But a Starbucks hot chocolate is only HALF a million dollars. Add a shot of espresso (less than a dollar) to your hot chocolate, and you've got - functionally - a cafe mocha. Mia used to work at Starbucks and swears you in fact receiving an identical drink. Plus, the whipped cream is free.

Another fun trick, courtesy of Amanda:

  1. 1. order two shots of espresso over ice for a grand total of maybe two bucks.
  2. At the accoutrements counter, fill your li'l plastic cup the rest of the way up with whatever combination of milk, cream, sugar, and powdery toppings your heart desires.
  3. Brag loudly about your cheap-as-shit Iced Americano.

Like I have just now decided to always say, it's not stealing if you're paying for something.* Bon appetit!



*but of course, illegal behavior is not endorsed either by this depressingly low-traffic blog or the perhaps horribly underpaid girl who writes it. stealing is wrong, my friends. don't do it.