adornment exceptions

I'm not, by nature, much of a jewelry wearer. But I am, by nature, a giant design snob and a tremendous lover of the nerdy. And I'd argue that the combined nature-ness of those latter two seriously outweigh the non-nature of the former one, and so I say with confidence that I would totally wear both of these necklaces for, like, maybe 20 minutes before clawing at the clasp to get them off because holy shit I hate wearing necklaces.

The first, by cultish Brit jewelry label Tatty Devine, is a freaking Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in necklace form. Nothing, but nothing, classes up a little black dress like a gold-colored dinosaur silhouette around your neck. Ideal for a night at the theater, or seducing your paleontologist of choice.

And the second marvelous drive-me-to-exception necklace is by kickass design team mike and maaike, who have printed pixelated images of famous stolen jewels onto die-cut leather, creating a marvelous effect that will make your geek friends jubilant and your friends who forgot to wear their glasses second guess their vision. Bonus points if you can convince your gentleman caller du jour to accompany you wearing ThinkGeek's marvelous, quasimatching 8-bit tie.

So, FYI, unrelatedly, my birthday is January 6.


hi mom

An old friend found me via facebook a few weeks ago and we excitedly agreed to get drinks and catch up on approximately the past twenty years. We're now locked in the familiar cycle of "oh this week doesn't work for me, how about next week," which will probably go on for another year or so until we accidentally run into one another at a bar or party and consider that sufficient to meet our obligation.

My mom and I were on the phone last night, and she mentioned that this friend's mom, with whom my mom remains in touch, reads my blog and finds it "interesting." So my mom asked how she could read my blog, in order that she might assess its level of interestingness. She is now in possession of the tools with which to do this.

My mom is quite a marvelous mom and I don't feel much reason to edit myself in case she stumbles upon anything. But if she were the sort of mom who might blush at mentions of lesbianism or nonvaginal sex, this (oddly cut-off but worth clicking on nonetheless) Achewood strip would pretty much encapsulate how I felt about the matter:

basse cuisine

Haute cuisine generally concerns itself with truffles and seafood preceded by the word "dayboat" and -ottos made with non ris- grains like farro and whatnot and sauces made via tincture and microvegetables that cost $23 per 3 ounces. And I like haute cuisine very much, and eat it whenever the budget and disposition allow, but there are times when one must cry "enough already with the sage-encrusted trumpet mushrooms!" and fall headfirst into a pot of Kraft Cheese-and-Macaroni.

Boxed mac and cheese is notable because it requires only four ingredients - noodles, cheese powder, butter, milk - to create extraordinary happiness. But what if I told you that you could achieve comparable happiness with only three ingredients? What then?

Enter My Dad's (Or Maybe My Grandma's) Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs.

You need:
- ground beef
- ketchup
- ginger ale

These meatballs are astonishingly delicious and I will not accept criticism until you have made and tasted them yourself.

Pour 1 part ketchup and 1.5 parts ginger ale into a pot. I go for a whole 14-ounce bottle of Heinz and then a 20-ounce bottle of Canada Dry, which is a decent enough approximation. Stir them together. Put them over heat. Spend the time that the ketchup and ginger ale are heating up turning about a pound of ground beef into small meatballs, about one inch in diameter. Add the meatballs to the pot.

Soon the pot will resemble the surface of Mars:

Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot, and let it hang out there for an hour. Then it is done, and you can either remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon and eat them with toothpicks, dipping them in the remaining sauce, or you can spoon the meatballs and sauce over some sort of starch such as noodles, rice, or potatoes.

They are delicious, and - thanks to the "food closeup" setting on my camera (not a joke), quite beautiful.

even closer, you say?

Look at that glistening sphere of meat. The glisten means the deliciousness is working. You can thank me later.

nb to cookie-recipients: your baked goods have entered the jurisdiction of the US Postal Service. the matter is now out of my hands.


Dr. Prada will see you now

I use Mint.com to manage my (extremely basic) finances, in large part because I like graphs and the nice software at Mint automatically separates all of my expenditures into categories that I can look at in pie, column, or scatter form.

I went to the ladyparts doctor last week, because that is what you do when you have ladyparts and also when you realize your insurance will cover you getting the HPV vaccine and you are not really into the idea of getting cervical cancer. I paid for my visit with my debit card, which means the transaction goes onto my Mint file.

Mint has categorized it for me.

Under "Shopping: Clothes & Accessories."

There is a joke about girls and shopping and ladyparts and cervix-as-accessory here but it is Friday and I am too tired to make it.


vignette: the voice

me: i know! it is basically the highlight of my life right now.
Emily: it can't get better.
Emily: all that's left is to be a guest on Wait Wait Don't Tell me, and then you have to die.
Emily: it would be illegal to have a better life.
Emily: think of the children.

cintra wilson: a love story

I worked at the world's most wonderful bookstore many many summers ago, just about coincidental with my discovery of those aspects of the internet beyond hotmail, diaryland, and ICQ. Notable as a point of internet-obsession was salon.com, which at the time was headlined by these marvelous and totally bonkers women like Camille Paglia and Cintra Wilson.

This is relevant to my bookstore employment because the same summer I became aware of Cintra Wilson, she came out with the book A Massive Swelling, which I read in one sitting during a register shift and, as far as I can remember, was basically about how she lived on the same block as Shalom Harlow and Shalom Harlow's incredibly pretty boyfriend, and thereby cultivated resentment towards them for their prettiness.

(I totally, completely found that to be a sympathetic angle, by the way. In fact, it is entirely possible that the idea that someone would pay you to write an entire book about being bitter about being less pretty than professionally-pretty people has been the driving force behind my life so far, and the opportunity to be physically more proximate to the pretty people in order to cultivate a more legitimate articulate bitterness might have been a major motivation behind my postcollege move to New York.)

I define others' fame via a rubric comprised entirely of my own awareness of them and my own perception of their media saturation. Therefore the summer of whatever that was, which saw not only the Cintra Wilson book at my place of employment but also a collection of Salon.com's greatest essays, and also (if I am remembering correctly) a Cintra Wilson article in Bust or Bitch or Jane or one of those monosyllable neogirlyfeminist magazines, was - to me - the apex of Cintra's celebrity. And then she disappeared from my awareness, and all that remained for me was a vague false memory of seeing Shalom Harlow standing by a fire hydrant, pouting.

Then she showed up out of the blue in the place I was least expecting to see her: The Critical Shopper column in the New York Times.

Here's a confession: Critical Shopper is, one hundred percent, my favorite aspect of the New York Times. It is awesome. In it, an individual goes to a store and interacts with salespeople and buys things, and then presumably goes home and writes about it in a voice that is by and large naive, overeducated, and vaguely indicative of social phobia. A not-out-of-place passage might be something like "The saleswoman suggested I try a sweater. A sweater? Me? I stood there, feeling how I can only imagine it must feel to be a fourth grader in the Republican vision of Gomorrah, with the school nurse asking with trepidation if there was any chance I might be pregnant."

This is quite a circumloquacious way of getting to my point. Which is that in today's Critical Shopper column, Cintra Wilson visits Balenciaga and apparently enters a fugue state, inspiring the wrath of the sales associates and eventually revealing to one of them her identity as a Times reporter with a gravity that she compares with that normally reserved for Batman.

I find this awesome. Basically what this all comes down to is that I would like to be Cintra Wilson. Now, the last time I suggested that I would like to adopt the identity of a New York Times writer (it is astonishing that I have done this more than once in my life), he discovered me via some self-googling and we had a lovely email correspondence and I just the other day got an invitation to his book party.

Cintra Wilson, you crazy wonderful person, I bet you can one-up that. Let's be friends. You know where to reach me.


happy national coming out day!

i am ready to tell you all that i am straight.*

*even though i went to smith, and briefly thought i might not be.

hunger management

your dashing blogeuse is all busy with workstuff right now, but for those of you receiving cookies, start pouring the milk! the baking has commenced, and the mailing begins early next week.


vignette: on the flipside

warning: swear words! sexual imagery! children should not use the internet.

Neil: meeting these people is kind of like getting fucked in the ass. it hurts like hell at first, and you think your eyebrows are on fire, but gradually you realize, "hey, i could do this 1, maybe 2 times a week."
me: that analogy is only really helpful if one does, in fact, enjoy getting fucked in the ass.
me: hmm. what is the universal analogy to assfucking?
Neil: working out -- it's kind of painful, but it eventually feels good, and gay men do it more than anybody else.


My last two posts here have been about cookies and fetuses.

As if in anticipation of this event, last December Meredith made...

(you guessed it!)

a fetus cookie!

View it, in all its glory, by hitting this link right here. That one. The one two sentences before this sentence. Now three before.


fetuses are a type-2 recyclable plastic

Mr. B and I were up until about 2am last night arguing having a civilized conversation about abortion and sex ed and what is the appropriate age at which to put a hypothetical daughter on birth control. (Me: when she starts going to alcohol-present parties or on dates with people. Mr B: "there is no way my daughter will ever have sex ever because I will violently remove the manparts of all non-me males within ten miles of her for the entirety of her life."*)

So while I was already in the right mindset when I arrived at work this morning and read that the Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois has finally opened (hurrah!), I'm not sure that there's anything in the world that could have prepared me for the inanity of this quote:

But Lucie Groleske of Aurora said she wanted to remind women there are alternatives to abortion.

“In this age when people are trying to ‘go green’ and recycle, recycle, recycle, yet people are throwing away the most valuable resource on this planet — a human being,” said the 37-year-old stay-at-home mother of four.

Can anyone help me figure out what in the Sam Hill this woman is talking about? Marcin suggested that "One can recycle foetuses into a variety of valuable products, including gourmet soup!" So basically my takeaway from that is that I will not be having him cook for me.

I will not even get started on the scoffability of a woman with the financial and social luxury of being a stay-at-home mother of four making a case about abortion being somehow environmentally harmful. Additionally, google has revealed to me that this man is her husband. And, um. Wow.

*This is a paraphrase.


i love fall. bonus: free cookie!

[note] The gist of this post is: If you leave a comment, I will mail you a cookie. There is no catch. That is all. You don't really have to read the rest if you don't want to. [end note]

I like fall because I can turn on my oven and not want to die. Not in, like, a Sylvia Plath oven-death kind of way; rather in an I Do Not Like It When My Kitchen Is 130 Degrees And I Am Hyperbolic way.

Anyway today's temperature high was 71, and 71 is only TWO DEGREES AWAY from being "in the sixties," and the sixties, temperature-wise, means fall. Fall means ovens turn on, on-ovens mean baking things, and the best and most wonderful things to bake are, obviously, cookies.

I would like to bake some cookies, but I have the eternal problem of who to make them for. Mr. B likes Nutter Butters a lot, so I once made him a batch of from-scratch nutter butters (lowercased because they are not actually the brand-name store-bought variety, because I made them myself from scratch and included in the recipe my [metaphorical] blood sweat and love) and they were met with a judgment of "these are almost as good as the real thing," so basically I will never make cookies for Mr. B again.

My friends and roommates are also obvious cookie targets, but they have finite consumption abilities and I have a near-infinite baking ability, so basically here is the point: post a comment and I will mail you a cookie. It would also help if you gave me your address, but that's up to you. It will probably be oatmeal chocolate-chip, because that is the best cookie in the world.

i'm sick of rumors starting*

Regarding the potential truth of the Philip-Roth-steals-Ben-Kunkel's- girlfriend-and-writes-a-book-about-it scandal that I know you are losing sleep over? Angela has done a bang-up job investigating the issue. Please to be checking out it.

*no, actually, I'm totally not.


this is only a test

Today is 38 days before a Big Day. Specifically, my official first anniversary with Mr. Boyfriend, which we randomly count from November 7 because it was the first date we went on in which the following criteria were met:

  1. neither of us was technically still involved with another person.
  2. people with whom we still socialize were witness to our romantic proximity.
  3. the date did not end with a disastrous run-in that I, in retrospect, find hilarious but which he, in retrospect, finds still to be grounds for twenty minutes of sulkiness.
But today is its own Sort-Of-Big Day, because this day in 2006 was the first day we went on a date in which the following criteria were met:
  1. it was a date.
I am sort of an obsessive chronicler of anniversaries, because I like to be reminded of the passage of time, so I have been mentioning to Mr. B that today is one solar year after a particular event in our relationship history, and he has been all "I do not care about this fact," which is okay because it is not something I really need him to care about.

So a few minutes ago my coworker said "hey, there are some flowers for you up at reception" and I went to check and lo and behold they are from Mr. B, and the card reads Happy Not-A-Versary Helen! and I am pretty sure Mr. B signed it "love" but I got all misty at the supercuteness of it all and how wonderful he is and general overwhelming happy-sappy-etc.

Instead of immediately calling or emailing to say thank you, though, I decided to play it a bit coy (because why not?), and send him flowers in return, with instructions that the card read Ditto. Love, Helen.

Now I wait. Which will he see first - the flowers, or this entry? Stay Tuned!

To fully add dimension to the matter, I earlier today sent Mr. B an email that I will charitably describe as "aggressive," in which I compiled a list of the reasons why something he said last night made me annoyed, and he has not yet replied to that email. It is unclear whether this is because he is furiously angry at me, or unable to email without revealing that he sent me flowers. Also I am so amazed at my capacity to ruin wonderful romantic surprises by sending pissy emails, but that is perhaps a matter for my therapist.

update, 4:53pm: he got the flowers, and has not yet found this blog entry. awww.

helen desires a literary tabloid

I finally got around today to looking at last week's issue of the New Yorker, but all I really got to glance at before arriving at work this morning was that there is a piece by Philip Roth called "Age Makes a Difference."

I got really psyched because I thought it might be a meditation on life with his much-younger girlfriend, who I heard somewhere (I have no idea where I heard this, but be assured I perpetuate this rumor like it's my job) he poached from wonder-filled (and wunderkind) writer Benjamin Kunkel, author of one of my Least Favorite Books Of 2005, Indecision.

Instead it is basically about how his characters all have prostate issues and erectile dysfunction. So, letdown.

women are just not funny

The decline and fall of western civilization can largely be traced by New York Times articles that attempt to distill the ephemera of youth culture into an easy-to-comprehend article that, more often than not, will capitalize "internet," mention Brooklyn, and use the phrase "blogosphere."

One such article showed up this weekend, and it was about how people who comment on famous blogs become themselves famous. And it mentioned in particular the real identity of a commenter on Gawker named LolCait who, as it turns out, is friends with my friend Leila, thus proving that the internet is a giant ball of incest.

It also proved that, yet again, I am the most sexist person I know. Because when I thought LolCait was a pun-inclined female named Caitlin, I thought she was smug and obnoxious and generally I disliked her. But now I know that she is actually a 24-year-old named Richard, who is a boy, and I think that he is witty and awesome.