Saturday, December 13, 2008

Britney Spears adds to cultural dialogue

If I want to talk about hook-up culture, do I want this effing lame article from the New York Times, complete with line graphs?

Or do I want the song "Blur" by Britney Spears, which sexily recounts getting blackout drunk and waking up the next morning unsure if you've fucked the guy sleeping next to you. Of course, the song adds vague date rape/personal responsibility through the chorus:
"Can't remember what I did last night
Maybe I shouldn't have given in
But I just couldn't fight
Hope I didn't but I think I might've
Everything, everything is still a blur"

In case the idea of a girl giving drunken consent to sex (...and how to we distinguish this from sheepish shame?) isn't enough, her song "Trouble" has this gem:

"You and I, left alone cannot be trusted
There's a lust we can't control
Slowly undress, chest to chest
And unless I say goodnight,
I know we're only gonna go too far
Please, I'm not quite ready for that next level
One kiss and that spells trouble (Trouble)

But you could talk me in, talk me into it
If you wanted to
You could talk me in, talk me into it
If you only knew"

I hate to horse shit in your parade, but this idea of coy refusal of sex when you really-kinda want it is effed up, and why people get date raped. Seriously, Britney, it's okay to want sex and ask for it, you shouldn't have to hold out until the last moment, get talked into it, or be so wasted you can justify your forwardness by how drunk you are.

I hate to proscribe behavior; Britney's songs reflect reality. There is something hot about being submissive and conforming to the stereotypically feminine role. In each of these songs, there are moments that frame the faux-submission and let us know she's somewhat complicit ("You and I, we can't be trusted" in "Trouble; the irreverent "Turn the lights out/This shit is way too fucking bright /Wanna poke my eyes out/Just let me get my head right /Where the hell am I?" in "Blur")

There's a lot going on in these songs, they're speaking to a lot of discourses going on about female-male relations. Britney gets my credit for lyrics like "I''m into phonography" (What? seriously? Okay, whatever...) and "Touch of My Hand" on her last album or so, her response to the Divinyl's "I Touch Myself."

So I am going to backtrack a bit: I think the songs are shocking, and I think they talk about some pretty effed up stuff, but let's face it, many of us have been there, done that, many of us have also been sexually assaulted (fun fact!), the world is messy, and I think it would be worse for songs to all conform to IDEALS, not REALITY.

This last idea comes courtesy of Miles Forman, who hosted a Q and A yesterday after a screening of his 1960's Czech New Wave film, Fireman's Ball, a comedy banned in the communist country for portraying REAL people, not socialist ideals of how the world will work out. Presenting facts, impressions, etc., leads to discussion (my blog post!) and I'm not going to force Britney into saying something more positive about women.

However, as far as subversive songs go, I still LOVE The Trucks (who I saw a couple years ago at Capitol Hill Block Party) and their song "T*****s" (your guess, this is the song's name from when I got it off iTunes). Oooo, and Peaches!!! Both of these chanteuses have these songs about using men, and the androgyny is soooo refreshing! I heart them so much.

I've had a couple glasses of Cab, so forgive me if this post is a bit crazy. Off to a party (and coming home alone, esp. after getting fired up about this post!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A collection of random thoughts

1. I was at a party last night where I ran into three of my college Freshman dormmates, all of whom are in stable, living together, one-arm-around-significant-other-while-I-talk-to-you-type relationships. Rather bizarre, given that I am more used to large (crazier?) gatherings of singletons. A flash: "so THIS is what it's like" or: "so this is what it's GOING to be like" (when I am old and still single...) Also, the party petered out kind of early, so at least that is one strike against being a couple.
2. However, the times when I most want to be in a couple is during weekend mornings, when I read the paper online, make veggie bacon egg and cheese sandwiches, and drink lots of tea while trying to recover from the night before and work up the energy to DO something, to GO somewhere. I think I would be more at peace with my lazy, leisurely mornings if I had someone to share it with. Or, I might be more motivated to do something. At least some sexy time, no?
3. I skipped yoga this morning (recovering!) but I can do headstands, as long as I have wall support. I am working on balancing away from the wall, which I can do for a few seconds, but then I usually end up supporting a bit against the wall again. What is so crazy about headstands is how natural and balanced it feels to be standing on your head. I probably have been physicalla able to do headstands for months, but since I had crashed and flipped over before trying I had a lot of fear. Having an instructor spot me my first couple of times really helped, so I knew that even if I kicked up slightly sideways he/she would be able to catch me. Plus, it established muscle memory. Once I knew what it felt like to be in that alignment, it was really easy to find it. Going to do a headstand right after this post...
4. I've been reading a lot of good books lately, along with all the usual movies. I joined goodreads to keep track of what I (and my friends) are reading, so if you read this blog you should join too and friend me.
5. With all the books and movies and ABSORPTION--CONSUMPTION--I do I feel so overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like I'm not properly digesting all of the works I'm consuming, so eager am I to check it off a list or have that accomplished feeling of having finished. I end up being lackluster, abandoning movies and books quite recklessly.
6. At the same time, I have so much more time now with my new job. Less social engagements after work. Yet I don't really have much to show for it in terms of original writing or even, as of this week, increased gym-going. Ugh, discipline
7. But, bragging time: at a Monday screening of Revolutionary Road, I was privy to a Q and A afterward with Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio (matinee idols!), Kathy Bates, Sam Mendes, Zoe Kazan, and a couple more male actors that supported. Amazing. Also, I sat next to the New Yorker film critic, though I didn't know it was him at the time--but his age, notepad, and toroiseshell glasses suggested my proximity to an established reviewer. I also had to be pushy in front of my boss, which I felt conflicted about: I arrived slightly after twenty minutes before the show (let's say 17) and then felt bad when we were herded into a line outside the theatre. I investigated, saw a few seats left in the reserved section (ours) and went out and told my boss and the other reviewer that we probably could get in, we would just need to be a bit assertive (as I put it). I got my boss and the reviewer into two seats, then waited in the aisle for a few minutes, before some Paramount Vantage people had to give up their seats in order to let the New Yorker critic David Denby sit down. Since two people got up, I was able to snag a seat. The next day my boss commended me for being assertive (he was ready to leave rather than fight the crowds), and I said "well, I felt obligated to get you guys in since I was the last to arrive." I feel like being pushy can be seen negatively but I am glad that it seems this situation worked in my favor.

Monday, December 1, 2008

NY Times strikes again! Dinner party for under $30...per person, with potatoes!!!

Okay, so I'm not the only one who hates the New York Times (see: earlier post, "I had almost forgotten how much I hate the New York Times") for making assumptions that the world round, uniformly wealthy, is v. concerned about incurring excessive dinner party expenses.

Here' Jezebel commenting on a rather ridiculous "budget dinner party" article.

One of many gems:
"Perhaps the most annoying thing to come out of the economic crises are the stupid articles that keep appearing in publications like The New York Times, wherein a fairly well-off person marvels at the deals he or she can find when they shop like the poors at the dollar stores and Kmarts of the world. Even more infuriating is the idea that $238.40 for one dumb party is some sort of economic success, considering that many families in this country can barely afford to put food on the table."

the poors! sound like a lolcat. but it's true!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Four Thoughts

1. Lyrics to Britney Spears “Circus.” No lines in particular hit hard, but the jist:
"There’s only two types of people in the world
The ones that entertain, and the ones that observe..

All the eyes on me in the center of the ring
Just like a circus"
And the song itself. Kindamazing.

2. From the Manohla Dargis review of Baz Luhrman’s Australia:
"The usual line about kitsch is that it’s an affront, a cheapening of the culture, a danger. “Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession,” Milan Kundera wrote. “The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.”"
3. My new vision of a hipster: children playing with a stick and a hoop, looking constantly to see if anyone (their parents?) is watching, and having more fun from their reaction than playing with the hoop and stick. A tweak on Kundera's dual level explanation of kitsch. Not what's going on in the picture, but cute right? And anachronistic, another hipster specialty.

4. Ongoing: the relationship between postmodernism, hipster culture, and high/low culture, i.e. writing intellectual pieces about Britney Spears’ “Circus.” When I find one (and there will be one) I will post. Submissions accepted.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obama now noun, not proper noun

When this happens, and it inevitably will, I just wanted to say I was there first. As a post-teen girl, and a writer, I think I lay claim to a demographic that frequently invents new terms.

Yesterday, describing my gyno to a friend over dinner (she is extremely loud and funny, and favors allusions like "your vagina is a neighborhood"), I wanted to commend her in some way for overcoming a hurdle, as well as give a nod to her race.

"She's an Obama."

File this in your head and let me know if you hear it again. I thought it seemed nice and unoffensive--from Wesleyan I hate mentioning people's race, since it implies that "white" is unmarked (whoever heard of someone referring to their white doctor? from the reverse, of course, Eminem was always referred to as a white rapper). In this case, the woman was a person presumably of white/black descent, and an underrepresented demographic in her profession.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Where I've been in New York

So I posted an earlier version of this map awhile back, but I am still relentlessly google mapping every place I visit. I no longer need the map for a sense of geography (those 'wait, I'm around the block from X moments') but it appeals to my "1001 places to go before you die" desire to see and catalog my experiences. It also shows where I spend most of my time...

View Larger Map

Friday, October 10, 2008

Another Solitary Friday

Right now my internet connection is being lame (interrupting my Netflix WatchNow of Across the Universe, damn you!) so I decided to, gasp, type in Word and post later.

Random Thing #1:

As a follow-up to my bipolar post two items ago, Jezebel had an post about bipolar people being more creative than normal people, often because they have obsessive thought patterns.

I have obsessive thought patterns too! (I'm not bipolar) Who would have thought this would ever be an asset? Can’t say I have been in a mood like that lately, but I remember lap swimming both relieving and exacerbating my condition. Like, I would be thinking about something and break out the syllables in time to my swimming, mulling over thoughts in a very non-content way, only focusing on their structure.("To-o-day I kissed a bo-y-y" times 200, with different stresses and emphases) Or I would randomly count up on times table and multiples.

The whole week after my first kiss, I would think about it constantly while lap swimming, being alternately embarrassed and so pleased. I would relive the moment again, and again, and again, it was crazy. And then all of a sudden I would have a fresh sense of giddiness and sprint through a flip turn or something crazy like that. Over the past few years I have gotten better at not obsessing over things; you can really train your brain by positively and negatively reinforcing it. I don't know that I would recommend obsessing over every little thing, I used to hate that I overthought events while the other person involved could just casually brush the thought aside. As with everything, though, and in line with the article's message, pulling apart events by looking at them over and over again can have a couple of effects. One, you notice things that you missed before, and can come up with a fuller sense of motivation and implication. Two, this "finding more out" can run wild, as you start to come up with more and more remote possibilities for people's actions, or what else could happen.

Oh, I wish I could think like that...sometimes...this makes me want to crack out my old diaries (currently in Seattle) and re-read my adolescent angst
Commenters: does this happen to you? Normal, or not normal?

Random Thing #2:
If I were a writer for SNL, I would make a skit about the pun on Microsoft Word and its slang cousin “Woooord” (that would be in a deep voice, often with a knuckle slap accompanied). People using the term in humorous ways would be the theme, and the variation[1] would involve the thugs being like “power point!” or “excel” after shooting someone down on Xbox or something like that. Or, they could be nerdy white gangsters with one black friend using all that slang, who brings it to his homies where they either roll their eyes or adopt it themselves. Obvs I am not explaining this well.

Random Thing #3:

Arianna Huffington is writing a guide to blogging. It’s pretty damn silly. You heard it from me first, it is still in bound form. I love sitting by Kirkus Reviews. I have also seen all of January’s diet books. They are not any good either.

[1] Notice I am using “theme” and “variation.” Musical terms! I have been metaphorically inspired by This is Your Brain on Music

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

AdAge Mention!

My lovely intern mentioned me in the blog she's contributing to for AdAge, "Gen>Next."

I am the "junior-level boss." Who would have thought I would ever be referred to as boss? Seriously, working with her was an absolute pleasure. I love teaching, especially when the person is my peer. I would describe things to her and realize how much I knew (or didn't know). I have a fairly verbal thought process (which annoyed my last boss to no end), but with an intern all that chatter and ruminating was helpful, instructive.

Also, went to my first screening today. It was in the Sony Screening room in Midtown East. I was late and managed to arrive just as the Sony Pictures Classics logo flashed on the screen. Score!

I want to talk about it later, but, rest assured, Waltz with Bashir was a perfect film to initiate me into the world of press screenings. I got a little teary-eyed at the end...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thoughts about Bipolar disorder, Addiction, and Tucker Max

The NYTimes Sunday Magazine article covers the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children.

Much of it is terrible and awful: kids breaking down in Walmart, holding weapons over parents and siblings asleep in bed, banging into walls and hurting themselves in bouts of mania. I feel sick thinking of a person's lack of control over mood and behavior. I have seen this type of behavior before, not necessarily from someone that was bipolar, and watching a "self" perform in ways contrary to its personality and dignity is miserable and frightening.

At the same time, I find the personality of people with bipolar disorder or bipolar tendencies (those N.O.S. or "not otherwise specified" folks) absolutely compelling. These are people who violate social boundaries with confidence, unaware that they are crossing lines. Their uninhibited behavior would take other people mountains of alcohol and drugs to achieve. I love being the sidekick while a friend makes someone else totally uncomfortable with their audacity and boundary-pushing. Then there's the oversharing. With lives more dramatic than a soap opera, their lack of inhibition gives them a roster of compelling, play-by-play stories: willing to do anything, willing to tell anything.

Obviously I am making generalizations, I am one-sided, and reporting only on mania, but I truly feel that bipolar disorder actually benefits society at a whole: it concentrates feelings and creativity and makes others questions the norms they so willingly follow. Van Gogh always gets cited as bipolar, but what about Mary Kay LeTourneau? Not only has her life inspired Lifetime movies, she's also, seriously, become a lightning rod in the debate over age differences in relationships. I also suspect that people like "Slut Machine" over at Jezebel have bipolar tendencies, particularly when she wrote about a crazy April several years ago in which she went out every single night, slept with twenty men, and never missed a day of work. Purely gleaning from the writing (isn't that what the historians did with Van Gogh?) this type of behavior deviates from normal. Similarly, I am convinced that Tucker Max is bipolar. He's narcissistic slash overconfident, oversteps boundaries without realizing they have been crossed, cannot exercise restraint in sex or alcohol, overshares, is terribly mean towards women...the list goes on. While I find his life compelling, it is in a train wreck kind of way--I would not want to be anywhere near it, feel powerless to stop it, but nevertheless am swept up in watching such an extreme malfunction with catastrophic consequences. ARGH, he really riles me up. His behavior is just beyond offensive.

When you are dealing with psychiatric problems, how do you tell what is personality and what is a 'disorder'? I guess what I am really asking is that biology/environment question: to what extent are these disorders caused by hormonal imbalances in the brain, to what extent is it the result of environmental factors, and to what extent are these people culpable and responsibly for the poor choices they make? These are difficult questions, and I know the die-hard left position on this issue would omit the third one altogether. In defense of my inclusion of personal choice, I cite an essay I read recently in the NYTimes:

"Imagine two people trying cocaine, just to see what it is like. Both are 32-year-old men with jobs and families. One snorts a line, loves it and asks for more. The other also loves it but pushes it away, leaves the party and never touches it again. Different values? Different tolerance for risk? Many factors may distinguish the two cocaine lovers, but only one is at risk for a problem.

Asking for more drug is no guarantee of being seduced into routine use. But what if it happens? Jacob Sullum, a senior editor at Reason magazine, has interviewed many users who became aware that they were sliding down the path to addiction.

“It undermined their sense of themselves as individuals in control of their own destinies,” Mr. Sullum wrote in his 2003 book, “Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use.” “And so they stopped.”

Personally, I can totally identify with the bold statement, and think it is entirely true. I think one attribute this article leaves out, however, is that an individual's desire to gain or lose control is not only dictated by their genes, but also their situation. People who find themselves depressed or not caring enough about themselves to think that they are worth more than pursuit of transient, chemical-induced happiness could say "yes" in those situations where years before the same situation would have elicited a "no." Even week-to-week, it's considered within the realm of normal to medicate a rough week with a rough night of drinking/drugs. Then, at some point, the behavior crosses a line.

So a rather heady post for a Friday night, but I stayed in (no way I am taking a train to New Jersey to see a boy! I only do Manhattan :). I guess that might also mean "she's just not that into you")

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Whole-Grain Morning Glory Muffins

WhyOWhy did I have coffee at 6pm tonight, especially when I have been having sleeping problems!? I am so mad at myself--I was exhausted and just said fuck it, I am getting coffee, whatever the time. Now my body is all messed up and over the course of the evening I have eaten my way through a whole batch of hummus that I made yesterday (use lemon zest! so delicious!). I felt sick all day because I overate the Whole Grain Morning Glory Muffins I made. They were filling but maybe not high in some kind of nutrient I needed so I still felt hungry after eating them but also full. Know that feeling?

I used a recipe from WholeFood's website that I have been wanting to try forever. For sugar, I used 1/2 cup brown sugar + 5 splenda packets instead of 1/4 cup brown sugar + 1/2 cup white sugar. I would have substituted some applesauce for oil too, but my applesauce had green mold growing in it. The muffins were a bit on the greasy side, so I don't think they would have hurt to have a bit of oil removed. I think the next time I make them I will experiment with adding some bran or wheat germ. With all the fruits and veggies (...and nuts and coconuts) in these muffins there definitely is some nutrient potential. I still have half the batter in the fridge (I know myself too well to cook the whole thing at once, as evidenced by my overeating of the first part of the muffins) so I think I will add some more chopped carrots and a bit of bran to the batter and see how the second half tastes. The only other muffins I have made at this apartment in New York, the "real" bran muffins, have also benefited from this technique. In the second batch, I mix-up the add-ins, add more sugar/fat if necessary, another egg, etc., to see how the recipe responds. I am a little Jr. Alton Brown (if only). (Also, what the eff is with my parenthesis. I seriously cannot write without parentheses. I think it is because I am always simultaneously thinking an unrelated but tangentially relevant thought that I want to include but cannot sequence into my writing before or after what I am currently writing. I need to think about this. Thoughts about using parentheses in writing?)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tofu Salad + Hummus Perfection + Effing Celebs

So today I got home from work after a long meander down West 4th, up through the Meatpacking and over to Western Beef, my place of choice for cheap produce (RIP Stiles Farmer Market, now too far for me to travel). There was one place in particular along West 4th where everyone was hanging out and drinking--methinks Happy Hour.

I had half a block of this amazing tofu from The Bridge left over from when I made Soba Noodle Salad earlier this week. The tofu is made in Middletown, CT, and used to be sold at weshop, so I am a bit nostalgic. I wish I knew where the factory or whatever was, I would have begged for a tour.

Anyway, I food processed a few cloves of garlic, 1/4 green bell pepper, 1/3 carrot together. Then I added 1 and 1/2tbsp of tahini, about, a packet of soy sauce (I reeeally need to buy some, thank god for leftover takeout packets), and sea salt, since I was so low on soy sauce. And a little pepper. It was amazingly delicious. I stuffed the whole thing into a toasted pita and voila dinner. Later on I find a missed text about a happy hour--Julia and Anna saw Natalie Portman at the Magician while I pureed tofu. Fabulous. I am forever receiving texts about celeb sightings (Lindsay Lohan once from Jess! who also saw Tina Fey at the ATM around the corner when I neglected to go with her, argh!) but I NEVER see celebrities. I think I walked past a few famous/up-and-coming models today and yesterday, since they are all out and about with Fashion Week. I only knew because they were wearing shorts and had legs not normally found in nature. Most of them are about as tall as me. Just, um, about fifty pounds thinner. For sers. Who have I seen? Bobby Flay. At his restaurant, so that only kinda-sorta counts. Another famous person being chased by paparazzi on Bleeker that I didn't recognize. I am lame...

So then I made hummus.

And now I will possibly go to sleep. I have been terribly exhausted this week, possibly after last week's shenanigans, so of course now I am paying the consequences. I also might kinda-sorta be avoiding this boy who wants to "meet up" later. He was so hairy! I had to vacuum my bed after he left. On that little Sex and the City tidbit, I am out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chicken Quesadilla and Labor Day Wanderings

Chicken Quesadilla Salad

Prep and Mix together in large bowl:
One large can black beans (drained, rinsed)
One normal can pinto beans (drained, rinsed)
½ package frozen corn (defrosted – rinse under cool water)
Two tomatoes (chopped)
3-4 green onions (minced)
3+ cloves garlic (minced)
Handful of sunflower seeds (this makes the whole thing richer – avocado would work too)

Poach, then shred and marinate while still hot. When cool, incorporate into mix:
Two boneless skinless chicken breasts
Chipotles in adobo sauce (3+ chiles)

1 tbsp Cumin
Juice of two limes
½ bunch Cilantro
Sea salt
Few tablespoons Olive oil
Few tablespoonsRed wine vinegar
Shredded cheese (optional, again to lend richness)

Serve with corn tortillas (optional). Also, while delicious right away, it becomes even more amazing after marinating a few hours, or even an hour.

Pay-per-pound salad bars frequently serve as a source of inspiration for me. This particular salad comes from the Chicken Quesadilla Salad at Whole Foods Market. I make a similar salad to this already, but the other salad omits chicken and chipotles and uses a grain base of corn/black-eyed peas. I had this salad for dinner last night and lunch today, and I think I have another meal and a half left – and I seriously won’t be sick of it, it’s that amazing. For those of you who live within walking distance, come over and I will feed you!

Today I was ambling through Greenwich Village (Commerce St! Barrow St! – these streets are so incredibly old and quiet, just three-story red brick and trees. I can’t think of any comparison but a picture of colonial Williamsburg comes to mind). It occurred to me that this year I can go to the Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. AND Halloween is a Friday. I am incredibly psyched. I once saw a MTV Diaries where Julia Stiles walked in the parade and it seemed SO cool. Because I am a reality television addict and only know of things from watching celebrities experience them, I occasionally try to follow up and derive pleasure from doing these things myself.

I ended up in Barnes and Nobles where I read part of Tucker Max’s book They Serve Beer in Hell after reading a Gawker post about how much Gawker hates him. I agree. His stories are funny, but I actually had to stop reading at times because it was so offensive. I feel like if I read more of him, I might actually become more twisted myself, because he normalizes misogyny and problem drinking and being a narcissistic asshole to an insane extent. Engendering sympathy is not the most difficult task when writing from the first-person, even if he justifies everything he does because the girl was a "dumb bitch" or a "stupid whore." He is so beyond.

To swing back around to food again, I stopped by this Yoga slash health food store that has the best bulk bins. I love bulk bins.

They have a physicality to them, as you pick exactly what you want, perhaps pilfer a taste of an oddly-seasoned nut, and weigh the bag. It feels a little quaint and old-school. Also, it gives you a chance to sample weird ingredients and buy exactly what you need, a single girl’s dream. I bought curry cashews, which I have yet to see at another store, unlike other items like granola, where I see the same “Save the Rainforest” and “Vanilla Crunch” at different places. I also bought tamari almonds, another favorite. Lastly, I bought some brown rice (72 cents worth, love it!) as I have some tofu and veggies and am contemplating a stir-fry later this week. I don’t know how to cook rice, so any advice would be helpful. I understand brown rice is tricky and needs a ton of time. There were also six varieties of brown rice there (I told you this place has amazing bulk bins) so I hope I got the right kind.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sex Diaries becomes one iota less anonymous

My two favorite online NYMag features are "The New York Diet" and "Sex Diaries," which feature a week in the consumption of each. This week's "Sex Diaries: The Musican With Lots of Ones, but no One-and-Only," include a Wesleyan nod:

10:30 p.m.: My buddy starts a conversation with two girls sitting near us by saying something incoherent about the space program. It turns out that they've both just graduated from Wesleyan.

3:45 a.m.: The girls leave. One of them allegedly has a shoot for some documentary film house internship she’s doing. My buddy and I eat hummus and play songs on my iPod until six in the morning.

My question is, who are these girls? I would say 90% on each of these: Class of 2008, live in Fort Greene/Brooklyn, one of them a film major. I could do some facebook detective work but maybe I'll just ask around and see who has a a documentary film house internship...

Friday, August 15, 2008

When it rains, it pours

Two weeks ago: received email about job offer. applied. scheduled interview.

Monday: "dentist appointment" aka interview

Thursday, 4pm: email saying, "I can't let you know until HR makes an offer" (do I have the job?)

Friday, 5pm: I have the job!!!

Monday: I need a formal offer letter! Go home during lunch to fill out recruiting forms.
Monday, 5pm: offer letter received!
Monday, 5:15pm: letter of resignation. Can I leave in two days?

Tuesday: filing and forwarding documents like crazy. checkout and signatures. exit interview.
Tuesday, 6pm: training for new job

Wednesday: more filing, emailing. write good-bye and thank you emails. print plane ticket, job packet for new job. reading of internet publications unrelated to job. gchats relaying awkwardness of entire situation.
Wednesday, 5pm: Sayanora!
Wednesday, 5:15pm: pick up steaming bagels from Murray's to bring home to parents, stinking up new sportsac to the point where it will need to be washed
Wednesday, 8:10pm: wheels up!
Wednesday, 10:45PST: wheels down!
Wednesday, 10:55PST: discover parents have not yet left for the airport.
Wednesday, 11:40: Daddy!
Thursday, 12:20amPST: HOME! ye olde manse. nary a cockroach to be found!! sleep.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Buzzin + Cisco Adler

So I caught part of the new show "Buzzin" featuring Cisco Adler and found myself really intrigued by it. He's such a minor celebrity, but somehow has been connected to a lot of top stars. Case in point: Mischa Barton, who dumped him after a picture Paris Hilton took of him and his misformed, swollen testicles showed up on the internet. He's also dated Kimberly Stewart and possibly this other girl Lisa, who was the cross-eyed one on ANTM the same cycle as Kim Stolz.

Seeing the lives of people who dip in and out of tabloid culture is really fascinating to me. Unlike major stars, who seem to beat to their own drummer, as the world bends to meet them, clinging to the bottom has a unique set of challenges. The structure of Hollywood is more visible in these types of shows - the "Nos" they encounter reflect the standards of the industry, not the constant exceptions awarded to A-List stars.

One scene in Buzzin involves the benevolently irresponsibly Shwayze needing to appear in court at 8am on a Monday morning. Unfortunately, he has a show in Phoenix after the Superbowl he needs to appear in, and shmooze with the sponsors afterward. After receiving a quote of $10,000 for a Gulfstream (all the commercial flights are booked), Cisco says "Can't we make that $1700?" He knows it's out of their price range. I appreciate scenes like this, that give these reality shows verisimilitude.

Irrefutable piece of evidence that I am totally obsessed with celebrity reality shows:
This weekend I also caught part of "Ashley Paige: Bikini or Bust." I only knew who Ashley Paige was from her appearance in ANOTHER reality show, "Janice Dickinson's Modeling Agency," where some of the models did a photo shoot for her collection. Bad. So very bad.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Crisis in Voice

"To thine own self be true"

Easier said than done, Shakespeare. Define: self. Define: true.

I would love to be true to myself, but I simply do not know who I am. I have been thinking a lot about this lately in the context of my writing, and what voice and tone I should adopt in my blog and any future writings I should pursue. Even in the conversational tone I take on my blog, I pull out and heighten certain emotions or perspectives, becoming meaner/more vulgar/more reserved/indecisive, etc., than I am in real life.

Take the post on my waxing disaster. I was inspired both by the detailed vulgarity of Tracie Egan and this other book I read so fast and furious I can't remember the title or the author (it was written by a USC film school alum, about him sitting around masturbating and cheating on his girlfriend and in general being an asshole all the time. one of the most deadpan vulgar things I have ever read, compelling in its oddity). I CAN write like that - I can write even grosser and weirder stuff, but I don't tend to finish or share such things because I don't want my name attached and it makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I am just experimenting in my style, dabbling in the growing trend of writing in grotesque detail about sex and hygiene . However, there's something very disorienting about being able to produce a work that falls so far outside how you normally write and think. It's even more disturbing if you like it. (Along this vein, apply last two sentences to the weirdest shit you ever had).

So, as usual, I am the worst taxonomist in history. I find myself utterly unable to classify myself and my ideas, when I am sure all of this is crystal clear to outsiders. (deprecation of self: this is a standard theme of my work). I am hopeless. I would also like to point out that as soon as I wrote that parenthetical statement, I also wanted to write another sentence saying that this is complemented by an underlying faith in my self. Which I then wanted to amend to "overall concern in the self-confidence arena" or some mumbo-jumbo like that.

So I am writing circles around myself, and feeling a general lack of confidence in...everything. Perhaps I will resume with another post once this crisis has been averted. Or just post another recipe.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cilantro-Jalapeno Hummus

Trader Joe's has some amazing food, and for the second time I was inspired to re-create one of their recipes that features chickpeas. Beans are incredibly easy to make and incredibly cheap, so I figure if I can get the seasoning right, I might as well do it myself. Unfortunately, my food processor does not whip the beans into the creaminess of store-bought hummus, and instead yields a slightly more watery, gritty texture. While I am still working out the kinks (more water? more oil?), this third batch of hummus has been my most successful yet. Adding the jalapeno and cilantro flavors makes this hummus more appropriate with corn chips than pita chips. I have a ripening avocado in my fridge so I have a feeling that I might make some guacamole to for a drinks 'n dip night.

Cilantro and Chickpea Hummus
1 and 1/2 cans chickpeas
1 and 1/2 limes + equal amount water to make the beans whirr in the food processor
1 jalapeno (I removed half the seeds - remove none or all to adjust the heat)
2 big handfuls cilantro
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 + cloves garlic
sea salt
pinch cumin (this is the secret ingredient. all hummus needs a little of this)

Mince the garlic in the food processor. Add the beans, lime juice, and enough water to thin it out, and whirr away. It also is fine to add a tbsp or so of oil at this point. I have a small food processor so this alone takes a couple batches, and involves me transferring ingredients into a bowl as soon as they are pureed.

Chop up the jalapeno and the cilantro in the food processor. I add some water and oil to make it whip up better. I also think it's good for these spices to have oil incorporated into them.

In a bowl, stir up all of the pureed ingredients and season to taste, adding a generous amount of sea salt and a few cranks of pepper (use pepper from a grinder. it's the only way). Add the dash of cumin and notice how it changes the flavor. At this point I usually go back and add more of something. This time I added that extra half can of garbanzos, more lime, and more cilantro, because it was a bit too spicy, then added salt/pepper/cumin on top of that. If the flavors taste a little off, or you're still not sure if it needs an extra something, it's great to just pop it in the fridge and let it rest for awhile. There has to be time for the flavors to meld. I made my hummus an hour ago and just ate some of it with some yellow corn chips. Perfection. I'm excited to make this dish again - I can't say I've ever seen anything like it before, and the green speckling throughout the off-white puree looks gorgeous and maybe a bit mysterious. What I wouldn't give for this dip with a mojito right now!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hygiene Hypothesis

The Times Magazine had two good articles this weekend about health.

Here's one supporting the "hygiene hypothesis," reintroducing intestinal worms into the body to cure Crohn's, hay fever, and M.S.:
"The Worm Turns"

Another one talking about the illusion that we can have control over our health by controlling "stress," and how cultural ideas of what makes a person "well" or "unwell" are used to explain cancer:
"Stress Test" by Peggy Orenstein (I've read one of her books in a sociology class before, so I'm rather biased towards her work)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pensive - Pensieve

In high school, I remember emerging from intense sport seasons and having FREE time after months of school, practice, meet, dinner, homework, sleep. repeat. I would suddenly start thinking again, having random and creative thoughts. Only then would I realize how busy I had been.

Anyway, I guess I have been less busy (and/or there is no good television on...) and I've been inspired by a few things.

In my research on Epstein-Barr, and many accompanying fatigue illnesses (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, thyroid problems, etc.) I got really interested in the subjectivity of illness. The ability of the mind to articulate its state is limited. When we do express our illness, it lives in the context of our understanding of how illness works and the notions of the society around us. What is "well"? What is "sick"?

Take the state of "blackout drunk," for example. This state is particularly complicated because it pulls in ideas of memory, and also self-presentation. If I go in and out, but have moments where I don't remember what happened, is that blackout? What if I remember when someone reminds me? Perhaps there is one extreme that everyone agrees on, but the point is that we don't live in extremes, but the moment someone puts their behavior into a yes/no category they are assigning qualities to their behavior that may or may not have actually occurred. Furthermore, people have plenty of motivation to underplay or highlight their state of drunkeness, making reporting of this information even less reliable. "I was soo blackout" is such a cliche - an excuse for bad behavior, a way to show off. Denial of a blackout state comes with its own line of reasoning. So it seems if I were to order these things:
1) Sensory experience
2)Interpretation of experience: Where does my experience fit within the categories/experiences I know? Do I want to exaggerate/deny my state for any reason?
3) Articulation of experience
4) Understanding of experience by others and self - symptoms change based on categorization and feedback. i.e. "not that bad" for a blackout. Experience can be validated/negated by peers

Anyway. I decided I want to learn more about societal understanding of illness. Epidemiology was one of my surprise favorite classes (I wrote my final paper on childhood obesity and it was sooo much fun! and proffy liked it!). I had read a little bit about medical anthropology in some random course packets ( parts of Emily Martin's Flexible Bodies and Susan Sontag's AIDS and its Metaphors) so I checked them out of the NY Public Library and started a skim through.

Martin's work will be the most interesting, I think. I already looked through all the pictures :). Without having read more than the abstract/intro and the random chapter I read a few years ago, it seems her idea is that we used to think of immunity as castle/fortress model, with the body as a closed space with open orifices that germs could pass through and must be defended. As we understand the body through new technology and new cultural ideas about "flexibility" these exterior and interior changes emphasize immunity in terms of flexibility. Right now I haven't seen enough examples to make the word "flexibility" resonate in my mind but I'm curious to read more.

Right now, I personally have been very interested in the role of viruses. Traditionally, I think of viruses as infecting, and then leaving. Now, I think of them as being able to permanently alter mental states (lyme disease, that disease you get from cats) and physical states (rheumatic fever, chronic fatigue syndrome, EPV, that virus that makes you obese).

I also never thought of viruses as an environmental factor. EPV and HPV cause cancer, something I associate with too much sun (skin cancer) or not eating a healthy diet (colon cancer). Viruses can also be catalysts for people with genetic predispositions to certain illnesses, initiating Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Crazy! Viruses are not just COLDS. I feel I have changed my perception so much since that day in biology we had to write a two-sided persuasive on whether or not viruses were alive. Back then, the idea that something not an organism could infect you was something we were conditioned to feel was novel, the same way a prion (what causes Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy aka Mad Cow Disease) causing a disease seemed crazy, since a prion is just a protein.

All of these ideas about viruses freak me out and make me feel like I have no control - so the view that emerges from that for me is that there is no "one size fits all" way to defend the body against contagion - everyone has different weaknesses in their castle wall, so to speak, and every body has soldiers that are quick to recognize one attack and oblivious to another. Moreover, attacks can change immune structure and response, causing even more unpredictability with regards to response. So there's really nothing you can do but feed your little soldiers and keep healthy and not worry too much about it.

...and let me take back what I just said: I also find autoimmunity absolutely fascinating, especially because scientists have founds ways to manipulate the body's immune response in the case of certain allergies, such as peanut allergies. This is where I get really excited about the other book I just read, The Dirt on Clean, which talked about how these opposites
healthy vs. sick
dirty vs. clean
moral vs. immoral

have at times been aligned in every single configuration. Dirt used to be seen as protective; cleanliness a sign of moral suspicion. The polio epidemic, in fact, was so bad in the 1950s because people were too damn clean. The disease is passed by fecal-oral contamination, so sanitation had progressed to the point that everyone was too clean to be adequately exposed as a child, but not clean enough that they would never ever be exposed to that disease. Similarly, many children on farms do not have allergies, so many dust/seasonal allergies are associated with environments that are too clean and give the immune system nothing to do, making it over-react to benign substances. Thus, recently, the idea of dirt as 'exercise' for the immune system, enabling it to learn to react appropriately, has been repopularized. So fascinating!

Anyway, enough about diseases, time to go off and have some Saturday night fun.
(Although I must admit, I am quite tired, and have been all day. Is it me? Is it the Epstein-Barr? What would my lab results say? If they said I was well would I still be 'sick'?)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Thrill is Gone

Chicago's neighborhoods are known for their block parties. Police come and block off the streets with saw horses, everyone drags out their grills, coolers full of pop and beer, and folding tables that heap with barbecue and pot luck favorites. There are balloon tosses, dizzy lizzy games, the whole gamut.

Before our block parties (I lived in Chicago until I was eight) I would wake up early and sit on the curb, waiting, waiting... I would run in and ask my Mom when she thought it would start. I had the most amazing sense of anticipation and excitement. The sitting-on-the-curb was really only the last leg of a long week where every day I would think about how amazing this block party would be.

I don't really have that sense of anticipation and excitement anymore. I also don't have the same level of disappointment. When events are canceled, the stars do not align, or something just doesn't work out, I don't care like I used to. On one hand, the anticipation for those events was kind of annoying - almost paralyzing. I was so impatient and antsy I couldn't do anything else while I waited for that block party or that event. I also worried a lot more about events, sometimes to the point where I couldn't enjoy them. Several years ago my Mom took me to the Nutcracker. We had amazing seats, dressed to the nines. I had seen the Nutcracker before, but this time we made it extra special. I saw a thing in the program about how people who left their seats would not be allowed to return, so of course I got the nervous pees and had to leave and miss part of an act in the play. I hated CARING so much about things - I couldn't do anything else because of all the anticipation and worry, and even then I was a bundle of nerves. It was a freaking play, come on!

Now, though, I wonder if I could gain back just a little of that wonder I used to have from events I now think of as routine - an event or a party. I just don't have that childlike joy or anticipation anymore; I'm totally blase about everything, and it's sad.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Obligatory SATC Post

Friday I saw Sex and the City: The Movie. One of our publishers, WashingtonPost/Newsweek, rented out a theater for the occasion. All week I had been IMing Rita from work talking about how excited I was for the premiere, but when we arrived, slightly late, everyone was outside. Apparently the theater didn't know about the reservation. All shows were sold out until 2am.

Several minutes later, we found out that because there was a contract, the company made the movie theater cancel two screenings of other movies in order to honor the contract. The show must go on! Saved! (I was a little curious about this because this meant they had to scrounge up two extra prints - were they backup prints? I asked my reps about this and they said the theater also had said they couldn't do it because they didn't have enough prints but then they 'mysteriously' showed up)

I adored the movie. Since the movie was so hyped up, reviews were coming in fairly mediocre, which I expected. No movie can live up to THAT much hype. There was such a media shitstorm of coverage of that movie. Lord. After watching the SATC Oprah I had had enough and just wanted to see the actual movie. I was entertained the whole time. The movie was more drama than the TV series, but that was fine. It had a different story to tell. Film student comment: Michael Patrick King is a fairly competent director, but sometimes his shot composition drove me nuts. I don't think he knows how to compose long shots (perhaps from shooting so much television?) and they just seemed so darn awkward to me. Like the scene of Carrie coming down the stairs after the 'wedding' and even sometimes just walking down the street. Ok enough.

The movie actually shocked me a few times with its vulgarity - since I've mainly been catching random TBS reruns lately, I forgot about the sex scenes. As a fellow redhead, I appreciated seeing Miranda's redhead areolas (swear to god, all redheads have them. except she's a fake redhead. so maybe it's a pale skin thing) and got a good laugh about the bikini wax comment. Seriously, though, close-ups of pubic hair? I thought I was watching She's All That for a second.

Carrie's rehearsal dinner takes place at Buddhakan, and there's one scene outside where over Miranda's shoulder is MY STREET. I couldn't help but whisper "My apartment is right around the corner! Sex and the City filmed around my corner!".

I was also excited to see the scene on New Year's Eve were Carrie comes over to Miranda's apartment. A few months ago, I was looking for an apartment on the Lower East Side (in an area way yet to be gentrified, just like in the movie) and happened upon a film crew setting up a winter night scene. As I walked through the scene one technician asked "How should we light Sarah?" and got all flustered before/as I realized they were referring to Ms. SJP herself.

On the way home, I decided to walk from 34th to 15th along 9th avenue, since I wanted to walk past Buddhakan. EIGHT tour buses were parked out front and around the corner. EIGHT. I don't even think eight tour buses of people could fit in that restaurant (? right ?). All night, I kept on seeing girls in SATC-esque dresses. Yes, it was warm, and one of the first days of summer - but having seen so many girls going into the film dressed like that, I just "couldn't help but wonder" if they were all channeling the same SATC message.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Epstein-Barr me from fun before the three-day weekend

So on Friday I had my third doctor's appointment in three weeks over this nasty sinus infection/alllergies/eight-week cold that's been dragging me down. The doctor ordered full bloodwork and I came up positive for Epstein-Barr. The first thing I thought was "that House disease!" since on that show they ALWAYS test for Epstein-Barr whenever someone is incurable. According to my doctor, Epstein-Barr is a virus that causes three months (minimum) of fatigue, and the only thing you can do for it is good nutrition, hydration (including avoidance of alcoholic beverages), and lots of rest. It was kind of a relief to finally figure out what the problem was. I have been very tired lately, but it's only affected my ability to go to the gym. The few times I have gone in the past month or so I had to down caffeine just to get up the energy to go. So all this time I thought I was just being incredibly lazy, but really it was this virus. Of course, now that I have this diagnosis, eeeeverytime I've been tired I think it's the E-P-V. Yesterday I went Brooklyn thrift shopping with Rita from work, and as we made one of our final stops and walked farther and farther away from the subway station I got more and more tired. Then my cough started acting up and I felt close to that part at the end of the cartoons where the characters are dragging themselves from the desert, unable to go on. I had to turn back eventually. I felt so lame though.

Saturday was a little better. I went up to Macy's on my own, since I desperately needed shoes and I was enticed to enter by a coupon I found in amNewYork (which turned out to be invalid for the brand I wanted to purchase. boo.) On the way there and back I took the subway for literally one stop, which I wouldn't have done ordinarily, and in general walked slowly. I was fine. Today I'm feeling so incredibly tired, but also antsy because I really want to leave the house since it's so nice out. If only I had a good book to read, argh! Someone please lend me a good book. I have burned myself out of tv. I got to the point where I DVR'ed The Real World. Which is really, really, really bad this season

[Aside: I WILL be watching The Real World: Brooklyn. I also want to make it my mission to run into them in a bar. But no hooking up; they always look like TV-whore skeezes when outsiders infiltrate the group through sex.]

Since I feel such an obligation to 'take it easy' (in addition to a genuine fatigue, argh.) I am so stir crazy. I've been cooking a lot, but often without regards for what I actually want/need. This morning I wanted cereal, but I also needed to take up time, which meant I should make eggs or my breakfast fruit crisp. I ended up eating my cereal and making my breakfast fruit crisp, just because I felt like I had nothing else to do. Toooo much time. I'm just so sick of television and really want to get into a good book. I might need to make an emergency trip to Barnes and Noble today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Update

So this week started ouut with two exciting concerts: Tegan and Sara and The Glow in the Dark Tour (Lupe, N.E.R.D., Rihanna, then Kanye West).

Monday I met Anna after work and walked over to Terminal 5, munching my beet salad with asparagus and goat cheese and walnuts that I picked up from Thalia to Go (my faaaaavorite lunch spot) along the way. We listened to the opening band, An Horse, a bit, but they did not compare to Tegan and Sara. Only one of their songs seemed unfamiliar - at every opening chord I had that "ooo" of recognition and anticipation. Compared to their recordings, their concert voices and instrumentation was right on par. Occasionally in the few opening lines their voices would fumble a bit, and once Sara started off-key a bit, but overall they were quite strong. They also changed the tempo and added extra lines, bridges, etc., of some of their songs which I appreciated. I expected to be able to see above the crowd, given my 5'9'' height, 1 and 1/2'' heels on my boots, and female demographic of the Tegan and Sara audience, but alas, this one 6'6'' boy kept moving around and obstructing my view. Then I would move, then he would move. It was annoying. Although I think Williamsburg Music Hall is my favorite venue, I still liked Terminal 5 more than the next venue I would go to, Madison Square Garden.

We got the Kanye tickets through work. One of our vendors offered to take us, and even dangled backstage tickets in front of us, since one of her friends works on Kanye's legal team. Although she got two, since she couldn't get enough for the whole group so she had to give them back. We still had pretty good seats - I was actually happy not to stand on the floor, since I was (am) still feeling a bit sick and didn't want to stand after the concert the previous night. A lot of teenagers from New Jersey were at the concert. Some of them created matching neon graffiti t-shirts, and ALL were wearing those plastic slatted neon aviators popularized by Kanye. I actually planned on procuring a pair for myself before the concert, but I was kind of happy my plans fell through since everyone else had the same idea. A lot of these teenagers were from New Jersey - "New Jersey in the house?" got an embarrassingly loud response.

I didn't really get into the concert. Much of the music seemed pre-recorded, I felt so far away from the artists, and I also felt like I was part of an audience selected not by fandom but by dollar signs and subscription to mass popular culture. With a lot of concerts, I get a sense of kinship - I like bands hyped on the internet, etc., but not on the radio, so it's like a big mass of people who all have the same artist playing on their iPod, and you can finally figure out exactly who the audience is for the band's music. So m Not so for this concert. It was all, whoever saw Kanye on TRL and spend $150 bucks on ticket kind of audience, picked not because of their unique interest but their willingness to spend money to consecrate their radio-induced fandom. I think my disinterest also stemmed from the people I was with - you can't really get crazy with managers and directors, your boss and your vendor's boss. I was chatting with the head of sales, who was sitting next to me, and when I mentioned how much I liked the Peter Bjorn and Paul song "Young Folks" playing in between sets, even though it was kind of over, he whipped out his Blackberry, imputing the bands I mentioned (I also had to correct his spelling, saying no, it's spelled B-J...) While his eagerness to get hip with the times was cute, I felt like I was at a moment where indie culture was being commodified. The people I was sharing this music with, this experience with, were just noootttt the people Kanye raps to - we were all pretenders. The whole experience felt so fake and hollow. Rihanna also did a remix where she covered a few songs, including M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" and Lauryn Hill's "That Thing". Her cover of "Paper Planes" bothered me much more than the Lauryn Hill cover. To me, much of M.I.A.'s music is subversive and political - just as she has publicly displayed outrage for having her gunshots removed from the tracks on her David Letterman performance and MTV viedo, I worry that her political message gets lost when it's transferred into popular culture. I feel rather rusty on this, though cultural hegemony/imperialism, etc., come to mind when I think of this experience. I need to brush up...

Kanye's performance itself was such ego - he had his songs tell of story of him being stranded on a planet and needing some force to bring him back to Earth. He sang a song about shooting stars. Sadly, these were not enough to bring Kanye back to earth. His fem-robot eventually revealed to him:

"We need the brightest star in the universe to bring your spaceship back to Earth. We need YOU, Kanye. You're the brightest star."

For sers?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Doctor, my sinuses are infected!!!

So literally a month ago, at the beginning of April, I had a bad ten-day cold. After about ten days, my symptoms changed, leading me to believe I had either pink eye or stubborn allergies. I suffered through for another two and a half weeks of not being able to sleep and feeling stuffed-up, red-eyed, and generally shit-eating in the morning, occasionally getting to the "fuck it" point where I would either drink, smoke, break celibacy, or leave a message for a doctor who would not call me back. Earlier this week, I talked to my Dad, who finally convinced me that I had a sinus infection. Duh! I've had these numerous times before, and they require antibiotics to fix, meaning I would have to see a doctor.

With renewed determination, I called numerous doctors' offices until I actually spoke to someone. (Press random digits on the phone; they will not call you back). The visit itself involved a forty-five minute wait before I went up to reception only to be informed that there were still TWO people in front of me. Luckily, they let me go ahead of them. My doctor was actually amazing, a bubbly woman who made me feel "aaallllll better" just by commenting on how awful my nose and ears looked and validating the fact that I've been feeling like crap for the past month. She even was kind enough to ask about my insurance situation. Although I should have good insurance through work, I stupidly chose the HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) for my medical needs, which so far has seemed to be the 'pay full price until you have thousands of dollars of expenses' plan. She gave me drug samples and we both gave a collective f-u to Big Pharma. I love this woman. So now I'm halfway through my antibiotics, although still not feeling 100% due to the most clogged up ears ever, as well as an inability to taste which is driving me NUTS. I really hope these antibiotics work because I didn't read the whole pamphlet and it turns out you aren't supposed to take multivitamins while taking these antibiotics because the calcium makes the antibiotic ineffective. Anyway, enough medical talk. I am going to be the worst old person ever, the kind of person who's always talking about their hemorrhoids. I apologize in advance.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Cat in the Hat gets a Wax

I just had the most gruesome experience in my entire hair-removal career.

This Saturday afternoon, I decided to forestall my Bed, Bath & Beyond exchanges and take care of some serious hair growth. I hadn't shaved my legs for a week, so I thought it would be a prime time to whip out that SurgiWax I bought on clearance for $3.19 a few months ago at the end of bikini season. I'm no stranger to the waxing world. Usually in the summer I'll wax a few random strips off my legs until I get bored or the pain overwhelms me, and it helps cut down on how much hair grows back and gives me a somewhat smoother shave. With at-home wax, it's kind of hard to do a thorough job, but it's a really good complement to shaving.

I open the box, skim over the instructions, and crack open the lid. The foil cover that's under the lid has peeled off and curled up in a smile, but the wax looks ok so I heat it up for the suggested minute. It's still as hard as a rock, so I give it another minute. It's kind of clumpy but I stir it up and it seems to dissolve into the same consistency.

I look at the instructions - hmm, it seems like I just use this mini wooden paddle (the kind you eat ice cream with when you're a kid) to smooth on the wax, let it get hard a bit, and peel it off with my fingertips. I can do that!

I try a bit on my leg first. It gets some hair off, although it does seem like there's lots of mini tacky bits (kind of like chewing gum, but taffier) left on my leg. No matter. I do a bit on my high upper left leg. Again, it doesn't really seem to come off. Man, I just did my nails this morning. There's green gunk all over my hands. I do one strip on my hamstring. Yuck. This doesn't work either. I think I only got three hair follicles, and there's green gunk stuck all over my leg. Oh well - this all dissolves off in the shower. Thank God.

I'm not one to give up easily, so I decide to do one last strip, the quote unquote bikini line, where if someone looks straight at you they'll see hair unless you're shaved. This does not work at all. The wax is a little colder now, and it hurts, and is already starting to look red. Shit, maybe I'll just go return my sheets to Bed Bath & Beyond now and deal with this later. But no - I don't want to get my jeans and underwear sticky. And I pulled my back two days ago, and I'm literally walking like Quasimodal and FUCK I need more advil RIGHT NOW. Ok. Hot water will help my back pain, and the wax will wash right off in the shower.

I get in the shower, and discover that is not the case. It's only melting this green salt water taffy substance even more. I have green gook all over my hands, and this green gook is in turn covered in hair. I'm like the Edward Scissorhands of waxing. Wait, don't you use ice cubes to get sticky stuff out? Yes! I get out of the shower, and hear a squishing noise. I flooded the bathroom. I keep on doing that with our new shower liner. Alex is going to kill me. I hobble to the refrigerator, clutching my back, and get an ice cube, attempting to harden the wax and get it off the various places it's stuck all over my body. This works slightly, but I still have green wax all over me. I also realize I broke my blood vessels, as the instruction pamphlet warned. I have a giant hickey next to my pubes. I have a date tonight. If it gets that far, I'm now going to have to explain my waxing disaster, as well as the green plasticine clumps clinging to my remaining hair, lest he think I have sores or another relationship with a bikini line biter. Oh God. Why did I do this!?

Shaving! Shaving is the answer. I've already tried to run a pumice stone all over the stuck-on wax, but maybe I can just shave everything off. Hmm, this seems to be working well. Look at all the hair stuck to my razor. Wait. Now nothing is shaving off. The gunky hair has clogged my razor. I try using a scissors to get rid of the hair, I try using the showerhead. I go over my legs again, then feel them. Hair. A week's worth. Shit. I hop out of the shower again, wade through the flooded bathroom that has my male roommate's black pubes and chest hair floating everywhere, and search for another razor. I get back in. I try again. At some point I shampoo my hair and condition. I rub more and more soap over my body in vain. I get out of the shower again. I certainly hope my roommates aren't home because I'm dripping water everywhere and one hundred percent naked. I grab another razor (#3). I try shaving my legs. Ok, hair coming off. Avoiding green gunky areas. I've been in the shower for a good half hour now. Ow, my back. my back. There's green gunk stuck all over the tub. I have green peas of wax all over the ledge. My hair, my roommate's hair, is stuck everywhere. Like the cat in the hat, I have turned everything and everything, everywhere, pink with my mess. Oh lord. And my date. Well, I shouldn't hook up with him anyway. It's a sign. But maybe if he accepted a girl with green wax all over her and red inflamed hairs and hickey-sores? No, that just means he's desperate. Argh.

So now I'm laying on my back, barely able to move because of the back pain, with random green sticky spots all over my body. And four random patches of red bumps where I attempted to wax. And one giant clump of broken blood vessels in a hickey-like formation. I'm SUCH a lucky girl. I'm never buying wax on clearance again. In fact, I think I may bite the bullet and let a stranger get down there and outsource my genital grooming. Because oh my lord, there is absolutely no way anything can be worse than this.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I had almost forgotten why I hate the New York Times

The New York Times' article "Finding Your First Apartment" epitomizes all I hate about the Times. It gives advice for an incredibly small slice of privileged New Yorkers, while ignorantly assuming that 'everyone' has the same problem finding the "elusive $2,000 apartment". Why not just re-title the article "Ivy League Finance Majors move to city and discover New York apartments are hard to find and must live in Upper East Side instead of Murray Hill'. Moreover, the article isn't even right - most Wesleyan people, even those in finance, live all over the place, at all kinds of different price points. It's totally stupid and New York-centric. In anthropology we dealt with similar questions ("ethnocentrism") and the way out was through post-modernism: acknowledge you are coming from a certain perspective, insert yourself into the story, and let the audience make the judgment about how your personal point of view affects the story you tell.

If this author talked about writing his article from his cushy apartment, mentioned his son's search for a two-grand apartment fresh from school, etc., etc., I wouldn't fault him for it. I also love reading magazines like New York Magazine, which by their brand name assert a specific point of view. Yes, I know the Times is left-leaning (Republicans love to mention this), but aren't papers supposed to at least pretend to be papers of the people? I'll have to think about this more...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

IM Logging and other Waves of the Future

A familiar scene in movies and books goes like this: an old woman unwraps stacks of letters tied with string, triggering a flashback. Variations have intruders upon an expired person's estate coming upon these brief snippets of someone's life and piecing them together.

Tonight I did a Google desktop search for a paper I wrote in college, wanting to recall its title ("The suburbs as a site for deviance and criminality" for my television class Junior year, Laura that is for you). That was the fourth hit. Before that, I discovered thirteen months of IMs logged between an old 'lovah' (do I want to call him that? only in this context.) and myself.

To read through months of contact in minutes was odd. I could barely recognize myself in the words I wrote - could not remember the reasons I apologized for being away from the computer for so long; did not recall the ennui I described experiencing over my winter break. At times I seem posturing, other times I revel in my biting wit or astonished with my ability to be mean and nonchalant.

What put me in that ambivalently sentimental mood even more was not reading between the lines in the conversations, but trying to fill in the gaps between the conversations. Unanchored by text, I have only wispy recollections of what occurred between these conversations, and a sense that what happened was both worth remembering and much too painful (in that shallow, angsty way) to bother. At times our attitudes toward each other change in tandem, as we both respond to some particular event, but other times our conversation remains the same, even as I remember a marked change in our standing with each other. College was an intense blur - parties then studying then parties, so much fun yet so stressful at the same time.

I find it interesting that after centuries (millenniums!) of letters being the primary personal record left behind, AIMs are coming into the equation - I personally started logging my AIMs so I could remember what it would be like at X age, in case I ever wanted to write something about this time period. There's definitely some incriminating content on those logs. I'm sure should I ever get famous or some nonsense like that, what I wrote would quite possibly be the downfall of my career (full disclosure: I have never hired a prostitute a la Spitzer), but I think that would be the result of whatever I've written getting miscontrued and blown out of proportion, not because I would have done something truly reprehensible. So I can sleep at night. In fact, that's what I'll do right now, sore throat and post-nasal drip notwithstanding...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chinese Celebrity Birth Control Crisis!!!

With yet another young star getting knocked up, I have but one thing to say: our nation's birth control pills are filled with sawdust! This is going to be another Chinese toothpaste scandal!

As much as I like films like Knocked Up and Juno, my laughs of choice regarding pregnancy are more in line with Onion articles. With teen pregnancy rates tentatively rising, and pop culture acolytes leading the way with their celebuspawn, I just don't know what to do with myself. It's too much of a mindfuck to be seeing all these people my age having children (celebrity and non-celebrity).

I remember once hearing a professor say children and pregnant people were like aliens on college campuses, since you live in a place with such age homogeneity. I definitely was more than a little freaked out this summer when I was unemployed in Seattle and the Upper East Side, when during the day all you see are BABIESBABIESBABIES. When going through a major life transition like that, it's enough to make you want to "opt-out" before you even opt-in, just have a baby and avoid the real world. At least that's the way it sounded to my unemployed self.

As for my own buns in the oven - with a few seconds in the microwave, you can barely even tell when they're a little stale...

Friday, April 11, 2008

La De Da Dee

Last weekend was underwhelming - a date on Friday night with a mere glass of wine, and then more wine on Saturday with Jess and her work friend LeeAnn (we talked about making homemade granola! I tried this week but kinda sorta burned it but then ate it anyway..) but not mustering up the energy to leave the apt.

Anyway, I did have a good time at the show, which took place at Mercury Lounge and featured Mahogany as an open, which played poppy, fun music. They're based in Brookyln so I'm sure I'll hear them again. The main act was Dirty on Purpose. The highlight of the show was the wasted guitarist, George. He was very cute, especially when he presented the bottle of Jack Daniels with a plastic nipple on the rim to the band member celebrating his birthday. Not so cute when he basically disappeared, because he was sitting on the floor playing his guitar and stumbling around wasted, and drinking whiskey like I drink water after a long run. At one point someone in the audience tried to feed him a hot dog and/or a piece of cake. His band members were like "What is that!? He has a nut allergy. Are there nuts in that?" Funny juxtaposition of the rock star lifestyle and reality.

This week I haven't done much - I've been feeling under the weather so I've been sitting in the recliner chair with my blue puffy down blanket and watching loads of TV, and feeling like a huge couch potato when my roommates return home after exciting evenings. In my fitful sleep, I was awakened to one roommmate coming home at 2am two nights ago. The life. Instead I've been sleeping for ten hours. Yesterday morning I pressed my snooze button and had a seven minute dream about taking a shower before my alarm went off again and I realized I still had to take my shower. I hate this level of sickness - where you're not that sick but feel compelled to 'take it easy' lest you delve into a deep sickness and inability to do anything.

Yeasayer and Man Man are tonight, at Brooklyn Masonic Hall. I'm nervous to go out in Brooklyn...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sweet Sixteen Suspicions Finally Validated

I always suspected that the families on My Super Sweet Sixteen were money launderers. As far as I could tell, there are only two reasons people throw parties like that:
1. This is the lifestyle in which they're accustomed. Strike that. Even when the royals arrive in helicopter, they don't make everyone come out and scream, nor do they make showy displays of their assets.
The new #1:

1. Pathological need to show off
2. Excess of funds due to shady business practices.

The answer is #2. ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. Some guy sold oil securities to oil wells that had no oil in them, then used the investment money to buy cars, purses, etc., for his daughter whose hicksville friends probably didn't even realize they weren't looking at canal street knockoffs.

Gawker wrote about it here.
The video to watch "how many Vuitton purses would this oil well buy, Daddy?" here.
NYTimes article here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Drillbit Taylor and Jeanine Basinger

I really enjoy Dana Stevens’ movie reviews on Slate. She manages to reference old classics (like Preston Sturges films) in meaningful ways without sounding pretentious, nor alienating the large portion of her readership that presumably has no knowledge of Sturges’ work.

Today, in her review of Drillbit Taylor, she completely contradicted the ‘thesis’ of Jeanine Basinger’s comedy class: she said the topics Drillbit Taylor chose for humor were inappropriate, and that they were treated with too much levity. Jeanine would have fallen over.

Jeanine opened her first class with a comedy about Nazis and this introduction to the film:

“Hitler is not funny! Hitler killed millions of people! He is NOT FUNNY!”

After seeing To Be or Not to Be, and subsequent comedies featuring the Nazis and various war atrocities, she would put us in the seat of the filmmaker, asking us, “How do we make Hitler funny?”

For Jeanine, comedy was about taking serious, unfunny subjects, and creating margins of safety for the viewer where humor could be inserted and make these grave, unsuitable topics into comedy. The examples are infinite: a cheating spouse turns into a million screwball comedies, nuclear annihilation becomes Dr. Strangelove, teenage pregnancy becomes Juno, a war hero imposter becomes Hail, the Conquering Hero!. Compare this to Dana Stevens’ next comment about Drillbit Taylor:

“Homeless Army vet, living alone in tent, conspires to deceive and steal from children. This is a comedy?”

Of course.

The rest of Stevens’ negative commentary proves that, for her, the margins of safety were not set at a level where she felt comfortable laughing at the ‘marginalized social status that passed for a character quirk’. She indicts Apatow’s films for letting the characters go to the edge and back without getting hurt enough: “The seriousness of his characters' mistakes often seems to exceed the penance they pay.” She says these films invite her specific criticism by billing themselves as moral fables.

I can’t speak to this specific film, since I haven’t seen it (and probably won’t until it reruns on TBS a few years from now) but I do think she has something with the (frustrating) open-endedness of some comedy films—the omission of abortion as a subject of humor in Knocked Up, for example. I love dead baby jokes as much as the next guy; these were left out. Wisely, I think, yet Apatow also received criticism for not making a stand on this subject.

Omission has a long history in comedy. Lubitsch was the “director of closed doors,” the complicit audience giggling over what they assumed happened next. The Sturges film Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1940), in which a girl gets drunk, married, and knocked up in one night, similarly dances around a touchy subject—not about abortion, but about her unwed state. She doesn’t know who her husband is, and must go through a whole set of screwball setups to engineer another marriage to make sure her babies (septuplets) don’t bear the bastard stain. Her character never actually meditates on how horrid this possibility would be, instead getting all caught up on how to get a real husband (the original husband there as a margin of safety for the prurient 1940 censors and audience).

I admire Apatow’s films for their freshness: the aw-shucks, apologetic adherence to moral values in Forty-Year Old Virgin and Superbad is a welcome pendulum swing away from the graphic humor of American Pie. I’m sure this iteration of the genre will eventually tire and lead to a new wave of gross-out comedies. I hope I get a few more 40-Year Old Virgins and Knocked Ups before this wave is over.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reality Shows: 2; Hipsters w/Headbands: 0

So Wednesday night I caught both ANTM and Top Chef. Both shows kicked off girls rocking the hipster headband look. Coincidence? I think not.

While I couldn't find screenshots (internet! you failed me!),

Amis and Nimma were the girls that got kicked off.

ANTM made a big deal about the fact that this girl slept until the last minute before panel, then came in a hoodie and a headband.

While Nimma was actually a conservative Muslim who went to bed early before the first challenge, I get the impression maybe the judges throught she was someone else based on the purple sweatband she sported during the challenge. I thought she looked cool, and was sad to see her kicked off so early.

In other news, Jess just sent me a text message saying
"I have my date tomorrow with the confederate soldier"

I won't explain the circumstances around this for those not in the know, but I think this boy-nickname ties with my other favorite text message (also in the Top 10 TMIs, as long as I'm being all Vh1 about it):

"I just had sex with Dracula in my parents house"

So Verdict:
-Hipster style leads to elimination in the reality TV world

-In real life we girls have SO much more creative names than "Mr. Big"

Saturday, March 1, 2008


This is my mood right now: that feeling when you look at an old picture and remember the time fondly, but also notice you're wearing a painfully awkward outfit, or were really secretly unhappy at that moment, or kind of fat-looking. I believe wistful/regretful/nostalgic sums up my brooding. A second metaphor, which makes more sense as I get into my wesceleb section of the post: here.

What led to this evening in by myself brooding all started with staying up until 6am yesterday. I went out to a familiar bar (Fat Black..) and had some oddly normal conversations with people with whom awkwardness is more the norm. I had some Mamoun's falafel, a bad idea, with too much hot sauce, and ended up kind of awake and hyper and watching random Food Network shows and eating Ben and Jerry's way past when the content had transitioned into paid programming. I woke up at 2pm, had some caffeine and chocolate soy milk, and went for a swim at the NYSC in Times Square.

Turns out it's in a decently nice hotel, and you have to walk through the lobby and up an escalator, past a restaurant, bar, and conference room before you can even get to the right elevator bank. Or at least that's what I did since I was kind of lost.

Since I was hungover and unshowered, I had worked it by throwing on some hipster casj (head scarf, dollar sunglasses, buffalo plaid) and felt a bit out of place. I told my Mom this and she said people would think I was a star. This made me think of my Steve-O sighting at the Dream Hotel. He walked into the elevator, shirtless save the flannel shirt tied around his neck like a prep, flanked by his linebacker of a bodyguard. I need me one of those.

After a swim, steam room detox, and a trip to TJ's, Anna texted me back to say she was feeling depressed and not leaving her apartment. I kind of took on that mood myself, and spent some internet time trolling personals websites. Actually I am thinking of joining-joining This cute boy who is a medical resident (anesthesiology !) emailed me after I winked at him, but I can't read the email unless I pay. BOO!

Then I decided to catch up on Wesleying, which had a post about a MGMT article in Nylon. I remembed listening to their song "Kids" a lot a couple years ago, but I've stumbled across quite a few times in the past few months. First their song "Time to Pretend" was the free download of the week on iTunes, then I noticed that song was in the Top 100 Songs of 2007 on Pitchfork, then this. I checked out their site,, their myspace (added them as one of my friends), and then finally got around to watching the insanely-long-to-download music video. Directed by Ray Tintori. It's absolutely fabulous: the visual effects, the costuming, and, importantly for a music video, the relation between the diegeis of the lyrics and its visual and narative mimesis in the video. While the lyrics ironically call to the singers' desire to live rock star lives (even weirder since now they kind of are rock stars), the music video follows another fantasy, with people wearing hipster-shaman going on a cross of a 60's psychedelic/Native American mescaline spirit quest. I liked that it culminated in a hunt; the archery shots were well-composed, and reminded me of Ray's Sight and Sound film, which had quite possibly the best low-angle shot of cardboard sword fighting I have ever seen. I think this might be a directorial motif :). Also, a lot of the extras are people I recognize - I'm like, isn't that one guy the quiet person from my epidemiology class?

Seeing this tremendous talent, much of it still raw, only exacerbated this wistful feeling I've been having. Then, of course, the following lyrics made it worse:

"Yeah it's overwhelming, but what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices and wake up for the morning commute?"

I have a job in an office. I wake up for the morning commute.

This makes me feel sad.

I also stumbled across this article, In AdAge (back into my current profession!). Turns out this music video was so good, now Ray's being repped by the same people who represent Michel Gondry. Ridiculous. Also, two other Wesleyan senior thesis films were on NYMag, including Egg, which I saw my Freshman year and have been dying to see again ever since. (note: youtube-sized screen does not do the 16mm justice)

So all this, and other random stuff, like seeing the Stone twins in a Dell computer commercial during the Oscars (kind of a big deal, people know us..) and finding out some other Wes guy won Beauty and the Geek, and seeing ANTM alum Kim Stolz doing random stuff for the election on MTV - hey, I want to be famous too! Seriously, though, I will never be as cool as those peeps. I'll have to think about this one...maybe it's Time to Pretend?


I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sarah's Lentil Feta Salad

I had this really amazing Lentil Feta Salad from Food Emporium a few months ago. I ripped off the plastic ingredients list in the hope to replicate it at some point.
I made it tonight for lunch tomorrow. I ended up changing about half the ingredients, but I liked the use of feta and olives, as well as the use of Italian seasoning, so I used that as the basis of my creation. I replicated the recipes below, but before that, I must have a spirited discussion about salads:

Salads without lettuce are by far the most underrated and underseen culinary delights. I remember the first time I had a non-lettuce based salad. I was sixteen, in France, at a homestay. The family served a tomato salad. I couldn't believe it: a salad made ENTIRELY OF MY FAVORITE VEGETABlE, with cheese and oil and herbs!?

Since then I've experimented with vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, cucumber), beans (chickpeas, black beans, corn), bread (panzanella!) and now grains. One of my standbys, cowboy caviar, is a riff on salsa and actually supposed to be a dip for tortilla chips, but I prefer to eat it plain. That salad is a mix of black beans and corn, with tomato, avocado, green onion, and a cilantro and cumin viniagrette.

Here's the Lentil Feta Salad

2 cups green lentils, rinsed and cooked al dente
4 green onions
1/4 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
15 or so olives
2 oz feta cheese (more if you want it richer)
Juice of one lemon

The vegetables should be finely diced so they match the size of the lentils.

a few pinches each of oregano and basil
a couple pinches each of paprika and thyme
3+ cloves roasted garlic, finely diced
salt and pepper to taste. Sea salt recommended.
Several shakes of red pepper flakes. Turn up the heat!
Obviously, this is kind of a "season to taste" thing.

I can't wait to have this for lunch - it looks so colorful and beautiful and really elegant and sophisticated. I have always favored chunky dices in the past, because I like to be able to pick out the individual flavors of a dish, but there's something to be said for how the flavors meld with a fine dice and make the eating experience mysteriously complete: you see the different colors and taste slightly different textures, but each bite blends together, perhaps (trite line here) creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Ok - Project Runway time...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cooking for One

Inspired by a recent conversation with Anna, I thought I'd share some of the cooking tricks I've learned that help when you're only cooking for yourself.

When I'm at home with my family, I love to help with our big, elaborate meals. I think nothing of hanging out for an hour chopping and cooking for the night's dinner, and I bake ALL THE TIME. We have all the spices and ingredients you ever need, and when I make that batch of cookies or muffins I know my family will help me eat them. It's just about as hard to make a meal for one or four people, and therein lies the problem.

By yourself, it's too complicated and tiring to cook long things. Food goes bad, and even if I did want to invest tons of money accumulating every spice, vinegar, and canned good I would need, I don't have room in my tiny NYC apartment.

Problem #1
I can't eat a whole loaf of bread before it gets stale.

Traditional Solutions:
A. Eat sandwiches every day for a week
B. Freeze half a loaf of bread
C. Toast it when it starts to get a little off
D. Eat moldy bread by accident and spit it out

Sarah Solutions:
A. Turns out peasants back in Europe didn't like to waste bread either! There are gobs of recipes that actually CALL for stale bread. It's kind of amazing.

-French Toast: A real baguette gets stale the next day anyway, and it sops up the egg and milk and spices and tastes absolutely mind-blowing. Try it with Apricot or Peach sauce from Trader Joe's instead of maple syrup.
-Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad): One of my favorite salads, so simple to make and so satisfying
Italian or French Bread
-Mozzarella (fresh a bonus!)
-Drizzles of balsamic vineager, good olive oil, S&P, and fresh parsley.

Instructions: Cube everything into equal sizes, using the proportion of bread:vegetable:cheese you see fit, and enjoy.

Pita Bread
-Make Pita Chips in the oven. I just stick the pocket on the oven rack and break it apart into chips when it gets hard. If you're feeling less lazy, you can also do that beforehand on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle salt and spices and a bit of olive oil on it to make it more tasty.

C. Don't eat bread. Legumes and beans make terrific grain salads, are good for the last remaining carb-o-phobes, and keep you on the clock.

D. Forget about what I said about freezing bread. I keep a slice or two in the freezer in case I need breadcrumbs - I'm planning on making a casserole or eggplant parmesgan sometime in the next few months, and this is way easier than storing a jar of breadcrumbs in my too-small aparetment. This also works for stale-ish bread that you know would make terrific french toast.

Problem #2
I get really excited and buy tons of produce in the market, and then it goes bad.
This is kind of Sarah-specific, as I am terrible at planning meals and always buy random food that doesn't go together and then, on top of that, miss one or two ingredients I need to make a meal.

Bananas: I hate overripe bananas, so I'll slice one that's getting a little brown and stick it in the freezer. I either add the frozen banana to oatmeal later or eat them out of the freezer. They taste creamy, like sorbet, and also go well with peanut butter (in fact I am eating frozen banana and peanut butter right now...)

Try to keep frozen and canned food around that will go with the random stuff you bought, so at least you can get creative when you try to use the stuff up

When produce starts to go bad, COOK IT IMMEDIATELY.
I just learned how to roast vegetables this week, and it's kind of amazing. Chop stuff up, add some olive oil and spices, and bake it at 400 degrees until it's soft. Great warm or cold.

Make soup! Soup is kind of a single girl's dream food. You can freeze it in containers and have a healthy meal later, bring it to work. If you make chili you can use it in other dishes like nachos. Also, many soups are based on beans and tomatoes, which are two of my favorite foods, so I may be a little biased for this one.

Ok, another day, another Sarah "Cooking for One" blog post...