Soul Mates

In this dreamy Saturday evening pre-going-out downtime I am browsing Etsy for the perfect dress and oh my god I basically have a serious covet going for every single thing that Emily Ryan makes. I mean come on - ten billion unique variations on dark gray and black dresses? Artsy-architectural details? APPLIQUED PUFFY BIRDS? Get out of my head, designer lady, you're creeping me out. (PS. Send me your dresses!)



Two back-to-back user reviews that I couldn't approve, for different restaurants:

I'm no longer going to this place due to the fact that while walking to work one night I pass by the restaraunt to find the cook having sex with the girl at the front counter, right in the kitchen. Huge store window and they were right there. Thats nasty and i wouldnt recommend this place to anyone.
I have been to [redacted]. since 1977. I was a teenage locksmith working across the street and now a Doctor in Alabama. I knew Harold personally who came into our lockshop often and recall his White Cadillac with the chicken on top. Ironically, his younger brother is a patient of mine here in Mobile, Alabama of all things. What a small world we live. I should have been killed there many-a-times (being a white kid in a tough black neighborhood). They were some of the best days of my life and enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard was my ticket out of there and the beginning of my educational foundation to where I am at today. Go White Sox and Go President Barack Obama!!
I love my job.

Oh My God Slashfood, Shut Up

This is very Inside Baseball, but evs. Over on the blog I get paid to write, we don't have what one might generously call a photography budget. In lieu of logging into Getty Images or sending my on-call staff photog off on assignment, I click on the advanced search button on Flickr and scroll through the Creative Commons-licensed images that are okay for commercial use.

There's often not a ton to choose from, so I'll have to get a little creative in my keywording to try to find something that's both attractive and relevant, but the one thing I try very very hard not to do (and it's not flawless, but it's a habit) is to choose a picture that isn't, like, one of the very first freaking pictures that come up for a presumably common-among-foodbloggers search like, oh I don't know, oysters. Or wine. I will use, oh gosh, the sixth picture. Or go to the third or fourth page and pick an image from there. Or something.

Anyway, maybe I am the only person in the entire world who looked at this Slashfood post from last week and thought "oh hey, they picked that very first picture of oysters that's okay for commercial use on Flickr!" Why do I know that? Because when I put up this post a few weeks ago, I passed right over that image because I was all "nah, it's the very first clean image in the queue, everyone is gonna use that one."


I mean, fuck it all, you're already twelve days behind the meme cycle and entirely devoid of original content that doesn't involve your head being up your ass and the few original photos you do upload look exactly like vomit but whatever. Don't bother clicking over to page 2 of your Flickr search results. Do it the lazy way. You think no one notices? I AM NOTICING. And the six people who read my blog? Now they know about it too. That's right. A grand total of SEVEN ENTIRE PEOPLE now know that you are complete Flickr weaksauce. Suck on it.


New York Guilt

I've written before about the particular breed of angst and guilt that is engendered by one's awareness of the growing backlog of New Yorker issues that one has not yet gotten around to reading. Cartoons-only doesn't count. Though to be fair, I think I'm ready to modify the rules to allow for cartoons only plus a read of Shouts & Murmurs, because now that the back page is taken up by the Cartoon Caption Contest, getting to Shouts & Murmurs requires actually flipping through the magazine in such a way that you might osmose some highbrow content and have a dinner party anecdote.

It's also probably worth noting that my relaxing of that rule really drives home to me that even though the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest is, like, multiple years old, old enough to have a book even, I still think of it as this seriously jarring, upstarty whippersnapper element of change that is going to go away if I close my eyes and wish it hard enough. If you don't think it's problematic that I feel that way, may I remind you that I was born in the eighties, and that the aforementioned opinion is one of an old lady with arthritic elbows and a hearing trumpet.

Anyway this is all a very roundabout way of getting to the point that I just realized, just this second, that I haven't been getting my weekly bound volume of guilt New Yorker delivery for a while. And it turns out my subscription lapsed about two months ago. AND IT TOOK ME THAT LONG TO NOTICE.


That Time of the Month

When I get PMSy I crave meaty flavors like nobody's business. I have actually considered, with excitement, the notion of pureeing a steak and drinking it down.

Given that, here is what I had for dinner tonight:

Green beans.
Sauteed in olive oil with 6 cloves of garlic.
Then steamed in a half-cup of demi-glace.
With some truffle salt.
Finished, at the end, with a quarter-cup of freshly grated parmigiano.
Let's play Spot The Umami! I inhaled the entire thing within the time it took my phone to email this picture to my computer.

I know it looks gross but YOU DO NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND how that was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life. I actually licked the bowl once I was done, and then I felt embarrassed about that, and then I wrote about it on the internet.

Thanks, Julie

I try to be responsible. Really I do. So when I got the W2s for both of the jobs I held in 2008, I fired up my web browser and went to TurboTax and clicked "Free File" and BAM, the site was down. KHAAAAAAAAAAN! So, as I do with my rage these days, I channeled it into Twitter:

What happened next literally made all my anger and frustration magically melt away. Here is what it was:

All is forgiven. Literally. All of it. That's all it took — give one employee clearance to run a Twitter account and send out cut-n-paste mollification jobs, and you save yourself a rageful blog post (raaarrr everyone boycott TurboTax rarrrr) and instead you will get this: TurboTax, I love you. Right now, right here, I love you.


Economies of Scale

Mr. B and I are thinking about going to a very foreign country for a week or so this spring, so we can watch one of his friends get married. This is very exciting.

Also exciting is that one of the perks of one of Mr. B's credit cards is that if you buy a full-price business or first-class ticket, you get a free companion fare. Score! 17-hour flight in a fully horizontal position!

Except, keyword: "Full-price." While my wizardly cheap-fare-finding skills found a roundtrip business class ticket for $3600 (only $800 more than the cost of two coach tickets), apparently the only options for a full price ticket is a heart-stopping $9391. Plus an additional $379 for the companion, so it comes to $9,770. THAT IS ALMOST TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. It is three times the cost of the business-class ticket I found on Kayak. It is FREAKING RIDICULOUS.*

Anyway we're going to fly coach.

*it is also, admittedly, fully refundable, cancelable, and changeable. and unlike the coach flight, it is a non-stop.


Sandwich Gestalt

Call it an ego, but I am really into this paragraph I just wrote. It's proof that my undergrad major in philosophy wasn't a total waste.

The banh mi is truly an exercise in gestalt. Its collection of individual components are all delicious on their own — thin slices of ham or roast pork, a generous layer of pork pate, a veritable salad of carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, and pickled radish, all topped with a healthy smear of (preferably kewpie) mayo and a shot of hot sauce — but they come together on a warm, crusty baguette in such harmonious concord that your very Platonic notion of "sandwich" is altered forever.


'Twilight': A Textural Analysis of the Sub-Altern

My brother is in college. One of the courses his school is offering this semester? On Vampires and Violent Vixens: Making the Monster through Discourses of Gender and Sexuality.

It is my understanding that there is no prerequisite of having a purple-and-glitter themed livejournal account, though extra credit might be offered. One of the required readings is Twilight, which makes me keel over with laughter and an absence of hope for the youth of tomorrow.

On the other hand, the main textbook is City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London, which I kind of want to be reading right this second.


The Blogger at her Toilette

Why do I wake up early each morning in order to spend an hour blow-drying my hair, painting on makeup, agonizing over what to wear, tottering around my bedroom to test out whether my heels are too high — only to sit down at a desk in a cubicle in a corner and stare at a monitor all day, only getting up to pee?

Answer: It is because I want to look pretty for you.


Betsy, Tacy, and Me

I really don't mean to be getting all Dooce on you people, throwing up pictures of stuff I own rather than actually providing you with the brilliant insight into food math and grammatical tidbits and supermodel breasts that you're used to getting from me. I blame Twitter, it's been getting all my really A+ passing thoughts lately.

But anyway, not the point. For the past few years I've been doing this very lovely ritual wherein I buy myself a birthday present, because while I do buy myself nice things fairly regularly, they fit to a particular inscrutable code of nice-but-not-too-nice, because after all I am (in the words of an ex-boyfriend) a povert.

So anyway this year, my birthday present to myself was a complete set of some of my favorite books as a child: the Betsy-Tacy series. This is an ongoing gift, though, because I have further declared that I must only have them with the exact covers as the copies I owned back in the late 80s. They're illustrated by Lois Lenski, and they are just the perfect vehicle for a 6-year-old girl to declare that she needs to wear a giant bow in her hair.

Anyway because I have declared that I can only have the ones with the right covers, this is kind of an arduous self-gift. Thus far the first one has come in the mail, and I'm adding it to my rapidly-growing library of Books I Owned As A Kid That I Am Now Spending A Lot Of Energy To Track Down The Original Copies Of, Because Goddamnit I Got Rid Of All Of Them Like An Idiot Back When I Was A Teenager. (Anyone else out there ever read Amy's Eyes? Shoutout!) And anyway blah blah blah I am very psyched about all of it.

[kudos due to owl and the glass cat for the image and info. hurrah!]


New Media Douchebags

Here's what I do for a living the essence of who I am, succinctly expressed in video form!

Particularly jarring, in that run-into-yourself-coming-the-opposite-direction-down-the-corridor way, was this bit:

1. My parents would probably agree with this point.

2. Hey, check out my Twitter! Also my Flickr! Also any of my many many blogs!

3. See here.


[via the brilliant Our Man in Chicago]


Your Mother and I Are Gay, Too

I can't for the life of me remember where I found this cartoon — I thought it was the New Yorker but Cartoonbank doesn't have it online, so who knows. What I do know is that when I saw it I nearly fell over with joy, I cut it out, and I taped it to my wall where I could see it every day as I left for the morning. It's kind of my equivalent of Lincoln's "this too shall pass."

Over the years it's yellowed and torn, and I finally got myself together enough to scan it in to preserve for posterity. I hope it affects your parenting plans as much as it's affected my own.



There is a reason I am happy to live in the internet age, and that reason is: Facebook on my birthday.

click to enlarge and bask in the glory of my facebook-heavy inbox.

There is also a reason I am happy to live in the floral-delivery age, and that reason is: Mr. B on my birthday.


A Birthday Present

Today is my birthday! As my gift to you (I'm a giver, not a taker), I've started yet another blog.

In the words of Mr. B: "I think IHateZapfino is the essence of Helen. It is on the internet, it is about fonts, and it is hating something."


vignette: the price of eggs

me: should I sell my eggs? I can make, like, $8,000.
mr.B: Your eggs are worth way more than eight thousand.
me: Would you write my eggs a testimonial?
mr.B: Dear everyone, You can't have Helen's eggs unless you give us ten million
me: yes!
mr.B: ... of other people's eggs.
me: NO!
mr.B: Oh yes. I think it sets a very clear market valuation.


Claudia Schiffer's Boobs

Happy New Year!

Okay, that formality's out of the way, so I can now turn to the critically important meat of this post: Claudia Schiffer's breast has been turned into a bowl.

This is news in and of itself — Karl Lagerfeld has designed the bowl for Dom Pérignon as an homage to Ms. Schiffer's ladybits, oh my god! — but I'm posting about it also because the design is additionally an homage to Marie Antoinette's milk bowl, which was discussed in this space a scant five months ago. So it is internally relevant! Also, while the Marie Antoinette breast costs $3,700, the Schiffer breast is a mere $3,150 — plus a bottle of Dom.

marie antoinette on the left, the schiffer knockoff knocker on the right

That said, the Lagerfeld-Dom Pérignon-Schiffer boob bowl raised two questions in my mind:

The first is that, while Claudia Schiffer is admittedly completely super-hot, and I realize that she is Karl's re-obsession du jour, it was my understanding that it was not specifically her breasts that were the source of her fame. For a more famously be-boobed model, I'd have gone with Lara Stone or Sophie Dahl.

The second was really good, and allowed me to put my Wine Snob Hat on (it's a very ugly hat), and was something along the lines of "But really, isn't a breast the wrong shape glass out of which to drink Champagne?"

Except then I did some googling, and you know what, people? The coupe Champagne glass was modeled on the Marie Antoinette breast bowl! Zomg!

Unfortunately, "the bubbles dissipated quickly due to the large surface area exposed to air and spillage was a constant problem." So while it is not perhaps bubblishly efficient, it is nevertheless completely historically appropriate to drink Champagne out of Claudia Schiffer's boob!


Object d'WTF
Ride the Pony