03.31.09: uncle karl

101 in 1001 {II}: make a linoleum block print [completed 03.30.09]

karl lagerfeld linocut (first attempt)

linoleum is a very savage medium. one must have a very steady hand and make delicate little cutter-swoops from time to time, sure, but most of it seems to be big warlike gouges and blocky, folk art-ish images. you could argue that karl lagerfeld brought an element of that to chanel - that he draped cartoonish ropes of gumball-sized pearls over coco's sophisticated suits, and i wanted to make a linocut of him as some sort of comment on that - but really i just like smashing things together when i craft. i'm still terribly impatient, which is why the kaiser is marching across an old envelope on the refrigerator* (we still have almost no paper in the apartment, as we had to throw away all of our magazines and a lot of my old collage materials as part of bed bug fest '09) and why i won't be cooking with lemon juice for the next few days (i stabbed myself with my mean little v-gouge eleventy-four times). i had great fun, though, and my first linocut amuses me; if i can get the hang of printing evenly (and find some fancier ink), i think he could make a lovely pillow case border. fashion!

*i also stamped a bunch of our cereal boxes, but they wouldn't sit flat enough to take the ink and ended up looking even wonkier than the envelope. joe is going to be sketched out when he gets back from washington and goes to pour himself some cheerios.

03.26.09: inner-goth-is-levitating-with-morrissey-happiness haiku

tiny morrissey (2 of 2)

"how soon is now?" live
at carnegie bloody hall
with a gong. the end.

03.25.09: bed bugs, fin (?)

we have a rather curious thursday ahead of us: the exterminators will be giving whatever bed bug-related nonsense remains in our apartment a second walloping sometime between 10 and 2 (i'm hoping for something in the middle, since we have to spirit the cats to the vet for boarding and perform a few operations on the bed to be sure we don't rip our costly new encasements), my mother and her boyfriend will be coming in from california to run around with us for the weekend, and morrissey will be joining us at carnegie hall to...do whatever he does when he's not canceling performances. what would that be, exactly? i've spent the majority of my life wanting to see it, and am still processing the fact that i will. i haven't got a stitch to wear.

the world became a better place when i stopped worrying about infesting my books and started reading again (i seal each one back up in a ziploc bag before i go to sleep, which - listen, i want these bugs gone). i'm glad i managed to read watchmen before i saw the movie, as said movie was thus a little less ridiculous. i'm extra-glad i then started brideshead revisited, which has been a marvelous and much-needed virtual tour of oxford,* where joe and i met and were married (our tenth anniversary** is in less than a month, and since there's pretty much no way we can afford to get there in person, i've been feeling extra-nostalgic). unfortunately, this particular order of things has pretty much ruined the eventual viewing of last year's brideshead revisited movie, for the english actor matthew goode (extra-foppy ozymandias in watchmen) is charles ryder, too. how am i supposed to take that seriously? charles ryder is a pretty foppy character as well, mind you, but man.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

what did you think of watchmen (book or movie)? what got you through the dan and laurie love scenes (textual or onscreen, really)?

02 what does one wear to see morrissey?

03 is the brideshead movie any good?

04 how do you celebrate (dating, wedding, civic, fill-in-the-blank) anniversaries?

*per evelyn waugh, "the turf in hell passage knew [charles and sebastian] well." that's right, y'all: we not only made everyone go to a bar after we got hitched, we sent them down hell passage (eventually renamed st. helens) to do it.

**dating, not wedding: we've only been married for two years and change. not yet that old.


101 in 1001 {II}: 022 walk across the brooklyn bridge [completed 03.22.09]

someone somewhere loves you

someone somewhere loves you! pink ladies! the fail snail! click the photo above for the whole set (now available in sporadically moody german pinhole camera mode).

03.20.09: chez us*

champ HQ

the first day of spring, and new york serves up snow: internets, this is why i left california. what's the new season looking like where you are?

*a cookie for you if you can guess which windows (two of 'em) are ours.

03.16.09: secret shame no. 355

just before christmas last year, one of my two sisters confessed to a sketchy fondness for taylor swift's "teardrops on my guitar" and promptly lost consciousness under a heap of sibling disdain (i think i countered at the time with hamster on a piano). about a month ago, our gym added miz swift's "love story" to its in-house audio/video rotation. last week i started noticing that i actually prance when i hear it while working out. listen, the tune is very catchy, and she has (cough) a very pretty princess dress. i texted the sisters:

L: Another sister has fallen: i too like a taylor swift song.
E: Gross and hilarious. whatsit calld?
J: Wait, has em already fallen? cuz i know my sorry ass is down.
J: shit did i unnecessarily out myself right now??

apparently this is going around. in this month's esquire, chris jones describes his initial exposure (in "who the f#@& is taylor swift?"):
Somewhere there's an African tribesman perfecting his dance to "Teardrops on My Guitar"; a heartsick Thai fisherman floats on his skiff somewhere off Phuket humming "Love Story." Me? I didn't even know whether Taylor Swift was a boy or a girl.


I went on YouTube and saw that there had been no mistake: More than twenty-six million people had listened to "Teardrops." I clicked on it, about to break my Taylor Swift cherry, ready to be taken to the moon. Instead, I watched a moderately attractive girl — her teeth are admittedly spectacular — with a moderately good voice singing a new country funeral dirge. What's the matter with people? But then came "Love Story" — and with that song, I could see what was happening here. No one ever went broke catering to the hurt feelings of wounded teenage girls or Thai fishermen.

But what about me? Who's to say that thirty-five-year-old chubby Canadian men don't occasionally get their feelings hurt, too? Why did no one deliver Taylor Swift unto me? No e-mails, no TV commercials, no billboards. It's as though I'd been purposefully neglected, ignored, cut out of the clique. I was suddenly back in high school, trying to pretend that my spot on the cross-country ski team was just as cool as being quarterback, even when the quarterback banged my Juliet in the weight room after a dance.

I'm going to go listen to "Love Story" again.
has this taylor swift thing happened to you, too? how about unconscious prancing related to other songs? do share, you're in a safe space.

03.13.09: curiouser and curiouser

have you read "in the blood," the feature in this week's new yorker on why vampires "still thrill" (A: because they are, as strong bad would say, still awesome)? read it immediately, for it's studded with exotic vampire factoids (as opposed to the generic and now fairly discredited vlad-the-impaler stuff) like this:
Matthew Beresford, in his recent book “From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth” (University of Chicago; $24.95), records a Serbian Gypsy belief that pumpkins, if kept for more than ten days, may cross over: “The gathered pumpkins stir all by themselves and make a sound like ‘brrl, brrl, brrl!’ and begin to shake themselves.” Then they become vampires.
this has absolutely happened in our apartment, and also explains those ghostly white pumpkins you see every now and again.

got a blog post roundup from bust yesterday that mentioned the 1985 made-for-tv alice in wonderland:
This was one of my favorite movies growing up, I even remember the soft white light bulb commercials that came on when she was falling down the hole. Ringo Starr and Sammy Davis Jr kill it, plus Scott Baio* is adorbs! Does anyone else remember this?
i hadn't until that very moment, but damn if i didn't remember right then that natalie gregory (alice) was in my french class when i was a freshman in high school. for reasons still buried in the sands of time, i believe we ended up watching part of that crazy movie in class, to see ol' natalie in action (alas, we did not get to screen her episode of magnum, p.i.). she was better at being alice than she was at speaking french, as i recall - but who hasn't felt that way at one time or another? man, growing up in southern california was weird.

if the lovely weekend weather we're promised shows up on schedule, we plan to photo-safari across the brooklyn bridge for pizza at grimaldi's (which would knock down two 101 in 1001 {II} list items in one fell swoop - hey hey progress!). and you?

*as "pat the pig."

03.12.09: apocalypse chow

thanks to a leftover feeling from last week's bed bug drama, or a mood i caught from barreling through watchmen this week (a strange, strange thing to read before falling asleep each night), or the announcement that lindsay lohan has created a self-tanner, i've got apocalypse on the brain. it's in the air, i think,* and has been driving everyone toward comfort food: joe made his mom's tuna casserole (and a tuna-less version for me) on sunday, so we've been rocking the cold war leftovers (with peas and mushrooms) all week. rachel just whipped up an awesome-looking batch of mac and cheese with wild mushrooms and sage over at heart of light. even the office has been getting into the act: there's a mac and cheese bar (so those exist, apparently) in the cafeteria this week. i have no problem with that.***

in other news, while i have had no luck finding a majestic wizard comforter (my web searches end on slanket pages and/or meditations on gandalf's death), the internet has lots of dragon comforters for me. it's just as well that we can't actually buy bedding for another month or so - cuts down on the stunt purchases.

*my inbox this morning, from joe:

Some of the "latest news" on CNN.com:

Baby covered in blood taken off death porch**
Man strips naked in 7.31 seconds
3 deer make beer run, exit back door
**really, cnn? "death porch"?

*** when we've recovered from this week's casserole, i'm so making cornbread topped apple macaroni and cheese - i'm a sucker for random savory recipes with apples.

03.09.09: bed bugs, the stimulus package

we turned a corner on bug-related angst this weekend, i think. our (twice-encased and cheaply temp-blanketed) bed is back on the floor, we are back on the bed, and the cats are back to bullying me from my pillow. i celebrated by spending all of yesterday either asleep or reading watchmen (my copy had been quarantined with the rest of the books from our bedroom - sorry, evelyn waugh and tom pynchon - but i decided it could come out of its baggie for supervised visits, since there's no way i'm waiting six weeks to see the movie).

as i lounged, it occurred to me that we've finally gotten to the pleasant part of our pestilence-related spending. new bedding: we needs it (and our management company will probably spring for it). i am very fond of shopping for blankets, sheets, and so on - unsurprising, really, considering how very fond i am of sleeping - but have had no occasion to buy anything for quite some time. here in the wake of verminpalooza (starting from scratch, more or less), it's like my job. i know a few of you are bedding-lookers as well - what's caught your eye lately? what colors or patterns do you guys use in your bedrooms?

03.06.09: bed bugs, XOXO

i am back at the office! i forgot to replace my possibly-bug-tainted brush after tossing it the other night and had to comb my hair with a fork this morning, but: back at the office. i feel infinitely more human, and like falling asleep at my desk.

to make up for having confused you in my last post with a paper suit picture from days and days ago, let me tell you something more recent: the exterminators finally arrived late yesterday afternoon, and we were kicked out of the apartment and into hell's kitchen for the rest of the evening. then the dry cleaners called to say that they needed our vacuum to suck the air from the space bags we gave them;* alors, we took big gulps of air, dashed back into our place to dump our last load of laundered clothes and grab the vac, and took off down the street (we'd already been banished for three hours at that point and really needed to pee, so we were running to finish the errand and get to a restaurant).

celebrities v. giant inflatable rats:** little j edition

when we turned up ninth avenue, joe almost clotheslined taylor momsen and her posse with the vacuum as they came out of a restaurant. that would actually have been horrible, of course, and i can certainly differentiate between actors and their roles, but jenny humphrey might be the gossip girl character most in need of a good clocking with a major appliance. the world is a mysterious place, no?

rats: 4.5
star: 12

*debugging the apartment and killing a 101 in 1001 {II} list item (085 buy and start using vacuum storage bags) at the same time: an eerie coincidence (i ordered the bags a few weeks ago and they arrived just before our sanguivorous little friends did), but convenient.

**an ongoing tally of the famous people and union-displeasure-indicating balloons i see in the city.

03.05.09: bed bugs, day 4

day 1

03.03.09: bed bugs, days 1-2

oh, internets. we are hoboes in our own home. we got our homework assignments* from the exterminator late sunday; after a magical evening on the floor in our living room (naturally, the pump for our air mattress broke), we started turning our apartment into garbage. two full suitcases and a duffel bag of clothing came out from under the bed and ended up on the curb (in sealed plastic bags); almost all of the bedding from our wedding registry is now gone. our management company agreed to foot our dry cleaning bill,** so the clothing and bedding that wasn't too infested to save was hauled up the street to the cleaners last night (we won't get it back until after the exterminators come, and then it has to stay in sealed plastic until retreatment; last night we slept under our coats, and i've been wearing the same black tank top since sunday morning).

ironically, the mattress and box spring are staying with us after all: trying to get them out of the apartment would have inflicted critters on all of our neighbors, and the exterminator tells us they'll be fine after reconditioning and encasement. that is my first takeaway message for you, internets: buy a bugproof encasement for your mattress and box spring. in our case, it will seal in and starve any stragglers; in yours, it'll prevent infestation completely. seriously: buy one online right now. best hundred bucks you'll ever spend.

my second takeaway message is that disposable tyvek suits are more translucent that one would imagine; don't get so distracted by looking like a beastie boy as you douse your apartment with pesticide that you forget to put on extra pants before dashing outside with the vacuum bag.

still waiting for the exterminator to call (they were snowed in yesterday and no one showed up to work). think good thoughts for us.

30-gallon trash bags filled: 25
today's cost: $200

*an eleven-item tale of property loss. here's #4:

Empty all closets, dressers, bookshelves, wall units, hutches, breakfronts, etc. throughout the residence, including platform bed drawers (if any). All items that have been removed from these areas should be inspected, cleaned and put into plastic bags and sealed tightly. All of the above mentioned items must be vacuumed once they have been emptied to eliminate any live bedbugs or eggs that may be present. Also, remove all framed pictures and decorative items from walls and vacuum. Place vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and discard outside for garbage removal.

**just the dry cleaning, mind you. special treatment for the laundry will be another $300-$400.

03.01.09: bed bugs, day 0

hey, look at that! i was starting to tire of posts about food preparation, and the universe did me a solid by making me part of a new saga. we have bed bugs.

joe has been arguing this for a week or two now, and i've been calling him a hypochondriac. sure, he was covered with little red bumps - but i wasn't, and anyway, they were much smaller and lighter than the bite pictures we found online. besides, i'd just finished that book about bed bugs and knew what i was talking about. i peeled up our sheets and mattress pad, looked for the telltale fecal stains (like little black pin pricks), and found nothing. then the bumps turned up on me, too; this morning, i pushed the bed back from the wall to give the far corner a look. there i found...

L: hey, what should we name that first bed bug i caught and put in a jar?

J: benjamin.

L: because...?

J: because of all the benjamins it's going to take to get rid of him.

...benjamin. no photophobia for this motherfucker: he was lounging on our box spring like he was waiting for a mai tai. then i discovered a ton of fecal stains, just about a foot under where my head is when i'm asleep.

i called 311 and learned that i'm supposed to report a bed bug infestation after my management company fails to do something about it. i called our super and got no response; i then called our property manager, and ditto. we agreed that we would throw our mattress and box spring away (they're almost ten years old anyway, and the cost of reconditioning them would, i reasoned, be comparable to a new set on super-sale), so i made a run to the hardware store for painters' suits, plastic for the doomed mattress, and trash bags.

when the super called back an hour ago, he told us that an exterminator came around the building to inspect for bed bugs just yesterday, and did he come to our apartment? (he didn't.) i googled our management company and learned that several of the buildings on our block have been infested for years - and that some tenants have been to court about it. you guys, i smell big fun.

30-gallon trash bags filled: 3
today's cost: $30 (so far)