this is just taking things too far

You know what? This is NOT OKAY:

I am willing to accept the leggings trend as more than just a blip on the retro-fashion radar. I admit it - I think black capri-length leggings kind of actually have the ability to look good every so often. My grudging but inevitable surrender to the black leggings trend is well-documented and something I am totally willing to own up to. But HELLS TO THE N-O on lace-trimmed bike shorts (because, kids, that's what these are: these are above the knee and therefore they are bike shorts). This is just taking it too goddamn far.

Here is what urbanoutfitters.com has to say about this monstrosity:

A lacey addition to the classic spin on leggings. They go great with skirts, short dresses, or hey, make up your own rules!
No. There is not a single concept in this product description that is not a lie:
  • A lacey addition to the classic spin on leggings.
Well first of all, UA copy department, it's "lacy," not "lacey," which does not mean "intentional flower-shaped holes," but rather is a really horrible name for an untrendy mother with aspirations of sur-trailer glory to burden her child with. But second of all: NO. This sentence implies first of all that there is an existing "classic spin on leggings," which there is not, and second of all assumes that if there were such a classic spin that this spandex-and-lace sartorial golgoroth would belong to it. THAT IS NOT TRUE.
  • They go great with skirts, short dresses
As evidenced by the above picture: lie. They do not "go great." They do not even go mediocre. They go retina-searing. Maybe they could go good with a floor-length, fully opaque skirt or dress which has been stapled to the ground so that not even an errant gust of wind can reveal the Bike Shorts Of Vomit. Maybe.
  • or hey, make up your own rules!
Again, lies. No one who purchases this product should be given agency in any capacity. Especially in the arena of what to do with the clothing once she is in possession of it. Do not make up your own rules, purchasers of this hideous waste of the hours of the Filipino women who poured sweat and blood into their creation for $0.31 an hour. Do not. You are not creative. You are not fashion forward. All you are - all you are - is in possession of a really ugly pair of lace-trimmed knee-length bicycle shorts.

where crooklyn at?

Intrepid readers of RSGo know that I just moved to Brooklyn. "How are you going to move?" asked my mom. I told her we were going to get movers - cheap ones - from craigslist. "You're going to get taken for a ride," she said.

"Don't you have a friend whose dad can help you out?" asked my dad, who doesn't seem to understand that in Mannhattan, there are no dads to be found of the type to help their kids' friends move from a third-floor walkup into a third-floor walkup. All the dads in Manhattan are busy listening to ipods and bringing their cutely-attired toddler children to the Museum of Natural History.

So we got our cheap movers from craiglist. "Fifty five dollars an hour," said Lana, the nice Russian woman I talked to on the phone. "Two men, 14-foot truck, everything included." Awesome.

The day of the move showed up, and so did Vladimir and Sergei, and a cargo van. No 14-foot-truck. As a result not everything fit in the van. As a result Vladimir and Sergei (who told me: "Helen is not a Russian name. I will call you Ilyona.") had to take two trips. As a result a move that was quoted to us at 3 hours, and for which we had budgeted for six hours, took twelve hours. Plus they charged us for tape, boxes, and blankets, even though we'd provided our own.

I called Lana.
"You sent the wrong truck, we shouldn't have to pay for all this time."
"Fine," said Lana. "Pay or don't pay. Do what you want."

Easy as that? We paid Vladimir and Sergei for their time ("Lana is - pardon my language - a bitch," Vladimir said), which was a few hundred under what they had tallied, and went inside to collapse into bed.

Then Vladimir came back to the door.
"They're sending people over, they said."
"If people come here, you dial three numbers."
"You know the three numbers? 9-1-1. You dial that if they come. Otherwise you get hurt."


We paid, of course. I went to the ATM and took out a giant pile of cash from my savings account, gave it to Vladimir, and went inside to call my mom. Who said: "I told you so. You fought the Russian mafia, and they won."


I checked my SiteMeter after my most recent post (it's an addiction, what can I say?) and sitting there staring at me was a hit from a Harvard IP address, who found my page by doing a blogger search for the word "Kaavya."

I'm going to ignore that there are like 8,000 individuals affiliated with that institution and instead choose to believe that our novelista is doing some self-googling. So in the same spirit that I step outside my building each day and wave for the GoogleMaps satellite*:

Hi Kaavya! Keep up the (good?) work!

*i don't really do that.

on schadenfreude

I think I'm in love with Kaavya Viswanathan.

This is mostly because, if I met her, I would hate her. A lot. Even not having met her I hate her. A lot. For a variety of reasons, all of which feed precisely into the areas of my greatest insecurity: she goes to Harvard (prestige), she wrote a novel (work ethic), she sold that novel in a two-book deal to a major publisher (success), she sold those two books for $500,000 (wealth).

These are all very very good reasons for someone like me, who secretly thinks she's a writer and who went to a very good but not quite awesome college and who currently struggles to pay the rent each month, hate someone. They're the reasons I hate people like the youngest Foer brother (Joshua? Jeremy? suffice to say the name is jewy and the person to whom it's appended is nebbishy in an attractive way), who went to (goes to still?) Yale, writes for Slate, and whose mini-bio pronounces him "working on" a book on something Malcolm-Gladwell-meets-Jonathan-Safran, like the nature of memory or similar. Add to this the fact that both Kaavya and the Foer are young and spry, whereas I am a decrepit and outdated 24, and I begin to feel as if I'm a Salieri to their Mozarts.

I can distance myself from my hate for the Foer, of course, because he's a boy. The jealousy and hatred can be sublimated, for what it's worth, into something resembling love - if one sleeps with the literary wunderkind, one takes on some of his sheen. I can only imagine what tremendous sheeniness awaits if one actually marries the Foer (or Benjamin Kunkel or similar), but I imagine it's enough to run a slip-n-slide on. But Kaavya - she's a girl. I can't engage in lifestyle-jealousy transference and decide to love her (even though the good-but-not-awesome college in question was Smith). So I hate her.

But I said that I love her. Here's why I love her: She is, as lots of friends of mine would say, a lying sack of shit.

Turns out our dear Harvard-educated half-mil-packing oh-the-Indian-immigrant-experience-touting novelista has a suspiciously steely version of the steel trap memory. Turns out, friends & neighbors, that she ripped off her novel - ingratiatingly titled "How Opal Mehta got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life"* - in more than 40 easy-to-identify ways, from the novels “Sloppy Firsts” and “Second Helpings” by Megan McCafferty.

I am LOVING this. This is hitting every. single. one. of my schadenfreude receptors. I get to watch someone who is: younger, more academically accomplished, more writerly-ly accomplished, and insufferably self-absorbed in interviews fail miserably. In her first public statement she admitted to copying! And then she retracted it and did that whole plagiarism sidestep of “I read the book my book rips off and loved it, and must not have realized how much of it stuck with me.” As if. This whole idea that she’s fallen prey to the less-probable side of the monkeys-with-typewriters theory is just laughable. Also, check this out:

Bridget is my age and lives across the street. For the first twelve years of my life, these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend. But that was before Bridget's braces came off and her boyfriend, Burke, got on, and before Hope and I met in our seventh-grade honors class.
''Sloppy Firsts," page 7
Priscilla was my age and lived two blocks away. For the first fifteen years of my life, those were the only qualifications I needed in a best friend. We had first bonded over our mutual fascination with the abacus in a playgroup for gifted kids. But that was before freshman year, when Priscilla's glasses came off, and the first in a long string of boyfriends got on.
”Opal Mehta,” page 14.

You can’t make that up, kids. Feel the burn, Kaavya. You know, I’d probably actually like you if I met you in real life. I’d secretly hate you, but I’d really like you. But now – thanks, for this one – I love you. I really, really love you.

*let us count the trendy titling tropes:
1. self-reference and appropriation of other genres, viz. "how." (see also: The Girls' Guide to Hunting & Fishing; How Stella Got Her Groove Back; How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents)
2. inclusion of an offbeat proper name, viz. "Opal Mehta." (see also: Jemima J; Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married)
3. excessively long list of what happens in the book, “got kissed, got wild, and got a life.” (see also: What She Saw in [giant list of names I’m not going to type out]; The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who was born in Newgate, and during a life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest and died a Penitent.)

let us now vomit.


the truth about the truth about diamonds

Amanda, who is awesome, gave me a copy of Nicole Ritchie's "novel" for hanukkah/christmas/whatever this past December. This was a fabulous present. It immediately went in pride of place in my home, which is: the back of the toilet. Because the truth is that no one checks out the books in the bookcase unless they are standing around being bored and feel like developing a crick in their neck, and most people don't make it close enough to my bedside table to read the spines of the titles piled thereupon, but pretty much everyone who comes chez moi has to, at some point, pee. So the back of the toilet has become, unexpectedly but perhaps also unsurprisingly, the place to show off my personality via a carefully edited collection of reading material.

The catch, of course, is that the bathroom reading material really does have to be bathroom reading material. An ex boyfriend of mine who shall remain nameless once made a point, early in our relationship, of bringing the collected works of the B-level British empiricists into the bathroom with him, as if to say "you are so lucky to date me, I am smart and deep even whilst taking a crap." I should have fled, but instead I simply took away this lesson: bathroom reading material is and only is that material on which no one outside of an avant-garde sociology department would ever consider writing a master's thesis.

Nicole Ritchie's book falls into this category. Here's how I know: It's been about 4 months since Amanda gave me this gift (I just had to count off months on my fingers, and I feel the need to admit that fact), and I am still only on page 10. This is in no way meant to reflect on an infrequency of peeing on my part; rather, it reflects on the fact that this book. is. awful. I don't understand how it could actually be this bad. It takes a palpable act of will for me to pick it up and turn the pages. More often than not I just look at the color insert of really weird glamour photos of Nicole, and marvel at the bone structure around her eyes. But i just cannot deal with the actual text. I don't know how else to put it. And I had to share my amazement, which surfaced this evening when my roommate, Mia, said "how much longer is it going to take you to finish that book?" and I realized that it was entirely possible that I would never finish it ever.

For the record, the pile of reading material on the back of my toilet currently contains:
- The Truth About Diamonds
- the Vogue with Keira Knightley on the cover (the wizard of oz editorial shoot is mindblowing, i'm in love with it)
- the latest Design Within Reach catalog
- last month's Food & Wine magazine (I can't deal with this month's, since Bobby Flay is featured in large letters on the covere)

What this all says about me is open to interpretation, but whatever it is it's better than Alasdair MacIntyre.


giving in

You know how I kind of hate Brooklyn? I do, kind of, because it's, like, full of young people who are hip and idealistic. And being a young person myself, and appropriately cynical considering the amount of black clothing i wear, and (I might as well admit it) having aspirations of hipness, and at least idealizing idealism, I find Brooklyn to be sort of the epitome of giving in to exactly what's expected of me. So it's with some pride that I tell people, "oh, yes, well, I live in Harlem," because it is just never what they're expecting. Because what they're expecting is "yeah, I live in Brooklyn," and then we'll have a conversation on the relative merits of brunch places in Park Slope or how totally annoying the G train is. Barf.

Right. So. I am moving to Brooklyn.

But, and here is the important thing, it is THE MOST AWESOME APARTMENT IN THE WORLD. Here are the floor plans, so that you can be consumed with jealousy/plan your ninja attack on me while I sleep:

Come on. Admit it. You totally just had to change your underwear.