Monday, October 27, 2014


The radiators in the new apartment were all cool to the touch, despite the nip of autumn in the air, so I called our super and asked him when the heat would be on. He came over this evening, turned the heat on, and our ceiling started to leak.

That huge woman upstairs needs to sort her life out.
I think the events are unrelated. The apartment upstairs got its water shut off, and the super assured me that the leaking would stop soon. It hasn't yet, though. I can hear it in the bedroom, tap-tap-tapping into the pot I put on my dresser to catch the water.

The water is the same color as tea, but I know without asking that the BF won't let me taste it to be sure.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


In the build up to Halloween, I like to get into the mood of the season with changes to my wardrobe and my media consumption. Being a New Yorker, I already have plenty of black in my closet.

Did I mention I went to the New Yorker Festival last week?
But the other stuff gets a little trickier the older that I get. I'm easily scared and susceptible to nightmares, so "scary" movies and television outside of children's specials have to be carefully screened. Slasher flicks simultaneously bore and aggravate me with their flat characters and backwards sexual politics. (I don't feel catharsis seeing women in peril, I just feel frustrated.) Vampires have come and gone through my life--many middle school wages wasted on the diminishing returns of Anne Rice novels. And while zombies are having a moment in pop culture that doesn't seem to be ending anytime soon, I hate them and everything they stand for.

Modern fears of overpopulation and scarcity of resources.
While this would usually be the point in the conversation where I say something pretentious like, "I enjoy more high-brow meditations on death and mortality," the truth is, I don't like that stuff either. The BF has been re-watching old episodes of "The Twilight Zone" to enrich his Halloween experience, and it's one of the finest television shows ever made, but he likes it with only one light on instead of ALL the light on, so I make him put on headphones and turn the laptop away from me.

*panicked sobbing*
My friend R had this same problem when she was looking for books for a community story time event she leads on Sundays. She wanted at least half of the books she presented during October to have female protagonists, and she wanted the books to be genuinely creepy while still being appropriate for children as young as nine. It was a nearly impossible task. All the texts she found were either about boys--there's LOTS of spooky tween-ish stuff out there for boys--or were too sexually explicit because of some romance triangle between the girl and a ghost pirate and a zombie.

Young adult literature is getting out of hand.
It's frustrating because I LOVE Halloween. I dress up every year (usually as Catwoman). I've been in the Village Halloween Parade twice. I used to do a Ghost Walk in Honolulu Chinatown every October for my college's creative writing club. I'm into all this weird shit, not because I wanted to be scared by it but because I'm enchanted with it. It doesn't repel me--it attracts me.

In a fit of pique, with the knowledge that October was almost half over and all I'd done was watch a mediocre Roman Polanski movie called "The Ninth Gate," I found myself online, asking the Internet to recommend stuff that was scary, but not too scary, maybe feminist, and wasn't about zombies or vampires or werewolves or romance (I hate romance books, but that's a post for another time). And you know what you get with those search criteria?

My other middle school obsession!
Witches! It's one of the few horror genres where the female characters are empowered, not in peril. Perfect Halloween subject matter for a feminist who's also kind of a weenie. I'm currently reading a non-fiction book called "Caliban and the Witch," which discusses the historical phenom of witch-burning as it related to the rise of capitalism and the subjugation of the New World (BF says, "Of course you are."), and a fiction book called "The Night Circus," about dueling magicians and the magic circus they use as their battleground. I'm reading as fast as I can, because as I said, fit of pique, and I've got seventeen books reserved in my hold queue at the Brooklyn Public Library. Plus I still need to do stuff like go to work and shower.

"I only wish I had more time to seek out the Dark Forces and join their hellish crusade."
But it's not just books about witches and satirical re-watchings of Nicolas Cage in "The Wicker Man." I'm doing Halloweeny stuff outside my apartment, too. I attended an event last week called "All Them Witches," which was a series of short lectures on witches in television and movies: "Bewitched," "Excalibur," "Haxan," "The Devil Rides Out," "The Craft" (naturally),"Lords of Salem," and others. I even won the raffle! Here is my winning ticket, a drawing of a stick figure witch with skulls on her broom, riding triumphantly over a burning church and terrified peasants weeping for their puny god.

Thank goodness it was a random lottery and not based on something like skill or talent.
There's a kitty on the broom, too, but I don't think you can see it in this picture. I won perfume samples from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and a poster from the event signed by all the performers.

Last Friday, I was a different kind of witch altogether. My school held a Harry Potter-themed fall festival for the students, and I got to dress up to work one of the tables. Or rather, the BF dressed me. I don't know how to tie a Windsor knot, though I may have to learn, because I got a lot of compliments on my outfit at work that day.

My beard was also especially luxurious.
What do the next two weeks of October hold? Pumpkin carving? Apple picking? Visits to cat sanctuaries?

Probably just lots and lots of reading. Seventeen books, what was I thinking? "The Craft" is on Netflix Instant, for heaven's sake!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

No ComicCon, just comics

I didn't go to New York Comic Con this year.

It's said that you aren't a true New Yorker unless you have a visceral memory of the way something in the city USED to be. I remember when I could get my ticket to the New York Anime Festival a week before the event and show up with a reasonable expectation of being able to walk like a normal person down the aisles of Artists Alley. Then, NYCC consumed NYAF like an amoeba, and suddenly tickets are selling out 20 minutes after they go on sale. It's like New York looked at San Diego and said, "NO, WE MUST BE THE BIGGEST CON."

Pun intended. They make you pay them to stand in this line.
I've also heard it said that you aren't a true hipster until you can say something was better before it became mainstream, so here I go: New York Comic Con was awesome but now it's too mainstream for me. I'm going to have to make plans for Baltimore Comic Con or ConnectiCon in 2015, because I can't deal with a fan event that's gotten so big that it's a competition just to get tickets.

So where does a New York hipster with an interest in trashy pop culture go when she can't get tickets to Comic Con?

The New Yorker Festival!

Is it a coincidence that the high browiest of the all the high brows that ever browed has its festival the same weekend as Comic Con? Of course the answer is yes. I don't think there's a lot of overlap between New Yorker subscribers and people who stand in line for three hours to play the beta version of Ubisoft's latest first person shooter.

"I enjoy Talk of the Town!"
For me, it was an opportunity to exchange my nerd glasses for my--well, my OTHER nerd glasses. But just so I didn't feel like I was getting too grown-up, I got us tickets to the New Yorker's stand-up comedy showcase. Why spend an hour at the 92nd Street Y listening to Lena Dunham be more successful than me (even though I've got more symmetrical breasts, so take THAT, Golden Globe-winning cultural phenom) when I can listen to misanthropes make jokes about abortion?

I'm kidding, of course. They joked about Ebola.

I adore stand-up comedy. I don't know if you know that about me. (Considering that it's mostly my mom and the BF's mom that read this blog, I'm going to assume you do.)

Here's a yearbook picture of me from the fourth grade. Moms love this sort of thing. Know your demographic!
I jumped at the chance to attend this event because I saw that one of my favorite comics, Patton Oswalt, was going to perform. The BF and I have wanted to see him for a very long time. He did the voice of the lead in "Ratatouille, " which we saw in the theater on our first date. And also he does jokes about food and orgies and he hates New York, so really there's a lot to enjoy.

There were other great comics there, too. I like Marc Maron, though I know his intense self-hatred isn't for everyone. Todd Barry was a real professional, which isn't a back-handed compliment. He had a great sense for audience reactions and knew how to get the most out of negative space (what Japanese musicians refer to as "ma") (in case this review of the New Yorker festival wasn't pretentious enough). I discovered one of my new favorite comedians, Baron Vaughn, who was a last-minute addition to the line-up. You should check him out.

I was disappointed in the female comics they had, I'm sorry to say. I like Morgan Murphy well enough, but there was a producer from the Daily Show who had zero stage presence--she may have actually had negative stage presence, she was laughing at her own jokes and interrupted a joke about Ebola to plead for the audience to donate money for Ebola.

How can I has laugh if I has a sad?
And the other one, oh boy. I didn't mind the standard I'm-a-Jew-and-I-married-a-goy bit--they're classics for a reason--but if I hear one more aging baby boomer talk about how lame my generation is because we wore seat belts and bike helmets and got a trophy every time we took a shit, I'm going to make a Kickstarter to get those jewels from "Logan's Run" implanted in everyone so we'll die before we reach the age of smug hindsight.

But I have so many New Yorkers left to read!

 Where does the generation that destroyed the environment, the economy, and the social safety net get off telling my generation that we're "too careful"? How is receiving a reward for mere participation in a group activity more damaging than raising children to believe they only have worth if they grind the weaker and less talented into the dust?

We're lame? Well, you blew it up!

You maniacs!
Young person rant over. I'm almost 30 anyway, that red jewel would be pulsing like Elmer Fudd's cartoon heart when he see's Bugs Bunny in drag.

I googled "Elmer Fudd in love" and thank GOD it wasn't porn.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Triumphant Return

This year, for my birthday, I'm going to Honolulu!
I googled "honolulu city" and was no disappointed. That's right. FEAR MY COMING.
I haven't been back to Honolulu in six years, not since I moved to New York City. Honolulu was the first place I pulled on my big-girl panties and did Womanly things, like vote, perform slam poetry, get tattooed, and decline to sleep with a man because there was sand in his bed and all his towels were being used to block the light from the marijuana-growing operation in his closet.

Good times.

Most people don't think of Hawaii in very "urban" terms, but Honolulu is a proper city, with culture and strife and a homeless problem exacerbated by gentrification and an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.
What does that remind me of?
My current city better hope my ex-city got fat or something. I may be tempted to stray and drink cheap beer in some other dark hole with a hot dog cart outside.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My braid, my shoes, my hole

I was feeling particularly jaunty on Friday because I had my new shoes on.
There's an entry in my journal from college about how fine I felt tripping around downtown Honolulu in high heels--shoes that I now wear once every two years or so, because seventeen-year-olds can destroy their feet wearing heels in a city, but twenty-eight-year-olds get shin splits and will be taking fashion tips from drag kings from now on, thanks very much.

So, me on Friday, new shoes, going to the subway. A woman with a dog walks up behind me and says, "You did your braid perfectly this morning!"

Then she continued on with her day.

A couple of things about this: her hair was kind of short. I think she could get a braid of three, maybe four over-unders before she had to tie it off. Why would someone with shortish hair have an awareness of the struggles and triumphs of the Rapunzel'd? And yes, my braid was looking especially good that morning, but what of it? Does my braid not look good other mornings? Had this woman been tracking me and my braid progress since I've moved into the neighborhood? "Frizzy around the collar today." "Crooked and bumpy at the top, she must've been in a hurry." "Smooth, nice shine, she must be letting the grease build up."

Or is she just an aficionado of braids? A braid-spotter, if you will. Maybe my braid is the equivalent of a puffin for bird-watchers.

This doesn't have anything to do with my shoes or my braid, but when I got to work, I saw that one of the courtyards on campus had a great gaping hole in it. I peered over the scaffolding and looked down into the depths of the engine room.

Another staff member saw me peering and called out, "Is there a kitty down there?"

"No," I called back, "it's a very fine hole!"

I happen to be an aficionado of holes in cities. A hole-spotter, if you--

No, that sounds dirty. Never mind.