Archive for July, 2012

Who’s got two thumbs and a birthday today? J.K. Rowling! (And me.)

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Howdy! I’m thirty-five today! Thirty-five. It feels like only yesterday I was thirty-four.  My co-workers and I are going to go out tonight and, since we work in Koreatown, yell classic songs into microphones. I anticipate Olympic-quality loudness. If you notice that the seagulls in Atlantic City are missing, it is probably because they are being called like the sailors in The Odyssey to the siren-like sounds of our voices. I will try to take pictures.

In the meantime, a war has been going on at my office. It has been tense and filled with drama. It is… The Post-It War.

Here’s how it started. The people one floor below us put this up in their window.

And then this appeared on the windows directly beneath us.

My co-worker was like, “You think you’re better than us? Well, check this out.” So now our window looks like this.

The others weakly retaliated with this, but they knew who had won.

The Great Post-It War of 2012 has cooled for now, but at any time Donkey Kong or Q-Bert or one of the cool pipe Venus Flytrap thingies might make an appearance, and then it’s right back on again. Blood again shall be spilled! (In the form of papercuts)

Finally, it occurred to me that this month is also the fifth anniversary of this blog. I want to say thank you to whoever comes here and I look forward to another five years. It’s been delightful. I never knew I liked writing, but I really do. I hope you like reading it.

Addendum: Also happening at work this week, the prop closet was cleaned out. That’s where stuff goes after photo shoots and commercial shoots. Wigs and mustaches were found. Therefore, several women on the 11th floor rocked this look all day:

Burning Man Costume, Part 9.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Because I’ve working on this costume since November and Burning Man is a little over a month away, I started assembling the seastars / crabs / other ocean whatnots onto the jacket and the skirt. And because I don’t want to screw this up, I invited my mother over to look at it. She really hadn’t seen the outfit before and I wanted a fresh set of eyes with fresh opinions. In addition, she’s an art-historian and has a very good eye, so I knew her comments would be worthwhile listening to. What I didn’t anticipate was how distressing they would be.

Comment #1: “Lose the lapels on the jacket. They’re unnecessary and distracting.”

Comment #2: “You have too many dangly crystal-type things on that. You should only have one or two. Cut the rest off.”

Comment #3: “You know what? The sleeves on the jacket make you look monolithic, like a football player. I would cut those off too, just have a couple of strips of kelp hanging down.”

Comment #4: “And that beaded necklace you spent a million hours making? Lose that entirely. It takes the focus away from the other, more important, elements.”

Here’s the problem: SHE’S RIGHT. SHE’S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ABOUT ALL THE THINGS. All her comments would improve my costume immensely, streamline it, remove unnecessary excess, etc. So I was forced to swallow that big lump of ego wedged in my throat and really examine my costume through her eyes. And except for the sleeves (which we reached a compromise on), I’m doing all the things she recommended. The lapels are gone. The extra crystals are gone. The necklace is gone. And the sleeves I will be cutting windows out of. Here is a picture of the sleeves as they stand right now.

She wanted me to cut off everything, but I truly love the detail work on there, so I will be cutting windows to remove excess fabric and bulk. I made a pic where the orange part is what’s going.

I’ll sew in some ribbons to support that now free-floating bottom bit (which will most likely droop under the weight of all that beading and decoration). The only thing I’m worried about is all this extra work and will I be able to finish it in time. I bet it’s going to be down to the wire, but I am determined to make this happen.

Activitays with Cricket!

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I found two deals on LivingSocial that Cricket was okay with doing, and since they were both in the city we did them on the same day. One was a nice experience, but the other one… that was an interesting experience. First, we went on a boat. Like, a real boat, with sails and stuff. Me, Cricket and 150 20- and 30-somethings piled onto this boat which took us up and down the East River and gave us beer tastings. I do not like beer, so Cricket got all my beer tasting samples. He was happy, and once I took sea-sickness meds, I was happy too. Here is a picture of the boat called Clipper City.

After about two hours of boating, we hopped off the boat and went to The Russian and Turkish Bathhouse (opened in 1892). Now, the only bathhouse I have ever been to was in Budapest, and it looked like this:

So I (unwisely) assumed that this bathhouse would be similar in style and layout. And I was WRONG. Right outside is a flight of stairs and a sign.

The first thing I noticed when I went in was it was dark and tight. Very dark. Very tight. There’s a series of chairs and tables on the left with a TV mounted to the wall, identical to what would be in a senior citizen’s home located in a rundown area of a major metropolitan city. Then there’s a tiny deli booth with a variety of shmears in a case. On the right is a series of wall lockers where they keep your wallet, keys, iPod, etc. Everything is dim, except where there is harsh fluorescent lighting. Oh, and because it’s so small, everyone is gently shimmying past each other to get around. And many of these people are just wearing towels. It is an inevitability that you will be brushed by a man-boob. My immediate reaction was fear. I was like, “Fantastic. I will go inside, where they will take my kidney and leave me in a tub of ice. I probably won’t even get the massage included on the coupon.” As we handed over our valuables and got our key, our path was blocked by a large, strong, shaved man wearing only shorts and flip-flops. He said in a heavy Eastern-European accent, “You came with voucher?” I nodded yes. He said, “Good. I am Gene. You go to locker room to change, I meet you here. ” Now, I had no idea who this man was. He never gave me any inclination that he worked there. But I didn’t want to be a noobie, so I went to the locker room (small, hot, grim) where I changed into my bathing suit and met Cricket outside the door. Gene then said, “Follow me,” and we went down a tight flight of stairs into the actual bathhouse.

Oh dear God.

Hot. Dim. Tiled walls. Exposed pipes. Giant drains in the middle of the floor. Water on every surface. Very rape-y. Very organ-steal-y. Gene gestured towards shower-stall-sized room completely filled with steam. “You go sit there. I come and get you in five minutes.” I followed Cricket into the steam room where I realized a very important thing: I am not a fish. I cannot inhale water, specifically hot water, when it’s mixed in with my air. I turned to Cricket, gasping. “I… can’t… breathe.” I threw the towel over my head in an attempt to filter the water out of my air and discovered that the towel smelled exactly like fried wontons. I suppose wherever they do their laundry is near a vent for a Chinese restaurant, so all their towels smelled exactly like fried wontons. Finally, after a million years, Gene came back. “You want massage?” I nodded. He took me into a tiny dark room off to the side and put Cricket in the one next to me. Good, I thought. At least I can be near the one I love when I die. He gestured to a massage table covered with towels. Gene looked at me. “You wearing anything under that?” he said, pointing to my bathing suit. I said no, and he told me to strip to my waist and lay face-down on the table. I lay down and he brought in a cup of mud. At least, I assumed it was mud. It wasn’t marked or anything. It could have been camel poop mixed with apple juice for all I knew. I tried desperately to relax and buried my face in the fried-wonton-infused-towel my head was resting on. He then rubbed me all over with this mud, covered me with towels and told me to relax and let it bake onto me. He then did the same to Cricket. When Gene came back, he had me flip over. Now, I’m not shy about my boobage, but I was interested to see how he would attempt to protect my modesty. I rolled over, where Gene looked at my boobs quietly, as if pondering their purpose, then gently covered them with a towel. He rubbed the mud into all my exposed front-parts, covered me with towels and left me to bake. When he came back, he had me sit up, took all the towels off of me, and hosed me down exactly how someone would wash a car. With my breasts pretty much in his face. So weird. And, as it always happens when you mix me and mud and gravity, all the mud on my torso washed into my butt and collected there, packing itself so I resembled a one-year-old with a full diaper. I pulled the top part of my bathing suit up, thanked Gene for his lovely job (he really did do a nice job) and he said, “Thank you. Now go to sauna.” I toddled off to the sauna which was HAWT. I found out later it was 190 degrees in there. Hooah. I quickly popped out, jumped into a shower, washed out the sediment from my rump, and soaked a towel in cold water. Holding it over my face, I went back into the sauna where there was a man, no joke, doing 150 pushups in the corner of the room, I assumed because his mother didn’t love him or something. In the middle of the sauna is constantly flowing ice water, and at any time you can pick up a bucket and dump it over your head, which I saw people do quite often. I lasted as long as I could in there and then I came out, took another quick shower and headed up to the locker rooms to change back into my regular clothes. On my way up I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I looked exactly like a shiny pink pig. It was really cute. Here’s a photo I found of the actual bathhouse area.

And here’s an article I found on it. Notice how even the sexy models in the picture cannot temper the terrifying horror-movie-vibe of the place.–turkish-baths-new-yorks-craziest-spa-experience-since-1892/

Here’s the best part: I accidentally clicked “2” when I bought the coupon, so I have to go back. Now that I know what to expect I’m not nearly as scared, but I don’t think I’ll become a regular by any means. I think I’ll take Neenernator if she’s interested. Every time she goes back to Germany (where she’s from) she goes to a spa and tells me stories with sentences in them like, “…After they covered us with hot soapy foam, they blasted us with ice water!” I think this will be right up her alley. Apparently they have an aromatherapy room with lavender and eucalyptus oils. I will try that one out next time.

Burning Man Costume, Part 8.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

I for the life of me cannot make my damned camera take a sparkly picture. I think maybe my camera has some weird sparkle reduction built in and while that’s super-great if you’re taking someone’s photograph and they have a shiny top on, it is not even remotely helpful when I am taking shots of my twinkle-magic costume. For example, I made two… well, they look like boob pasties. They’re just additional sea-foliage. They are made with rocaille beads which have mirrored insides (sparkly!) and iridescent brown/green sequins (sparkly!) and plastic breads infused with glitter (sparkly!) and would you look at this picture? So very drab. I haz a forlorn.

I realized that my bottom hoop was sagging on my hoop skirt and was visible below the edge of my painted skirt, so when God gives you lemons (saggy hoops) you make lemonade (attach additional kelp fringe). There’s a place near my job called Trims de Carnival and it has some crazy bright snazzy trims and sequins and whatnot. I picked up some yellow and brick-colored hairy ribbon trim, dyed them so they had green tones in them, and sewed them along the bottom. Problem solved. No more visible hoop. Booyah.

I also sewed that lace beaded kelp on the back of the jacket and sequined both the back of the jacket and the base of the skirt. WHICH YOU COULD APPRECIATE IF MY CAMERA UNDERSTOOD SPARKLY MATERIALS… oh, I just give up.

And I finished the hat! If you remember, the last time you saw the hat the bottoms of the tube worms were visible and you could see all the stitching and glue. Now it is all covered with frilly ribbon and more of that lace kelp (tying the whole costume together, very important) and some gold beaded thingies that were on sale at one of the fabric stores. It looks like I’m wearing a demented doily on my head when I put this on. It’s kind of fantastic.

Even though I have seastars and a big ole crab and barnacles and anemones and some other things to attach to the costume, I still have a great deal of surface area to cover. To assist with that, I made some felt cup shapes that can fit in anywhere and add dimension.

And in my travels around the trim-n-bead shops of Midtown I discovered a few stores selling these acrylic gems with crinkled tinsel in them. They add a lot of visual interest to my costume, so I’m going to sew them in a few areas to make it more exciting.

Now I’m working on my lobster face-mask which at this point looks like head-gear from a parallel universe. I need to find ways to make it more lobster-y. I went to three pet stores before I found a specific kind of cat toy that totally resembles antennae. Once I attach that, I’m hoping it will be more crustacean-like. We’ll see.

Facing my fears. (That was a dumb idea.) And spiders!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

I lived in Rye for the first eighteen years of my life, a mere mile or so from Playland Amusement Park. I haaaaaaaate amusement park rides because I feel no need, really, none whatsoever, to be exhilarated by speed, jarring movements, or the perception of imminent death. I was thinking the other day how amazing it was to come home to an air-conditioned room, strip down to your nethergarments, plop down on cool, clean sheets and watch something on cable. I felt like that was truly bliss. What is NOT truly bliss is to drive to a giant parking lot on a crazy-hot day, pay a bucketload of money, stand in long lines, and have a ride smack you around like you’re a battered wife. However, Playland has an iconic ride called the Dragon Coaster that has been there since 1929 and since I grew up in its large skeletal wooden shadow I felt I was somewhat obligated to ride it. Once. So this past Saturday Cricket and I went on down to Playland at noon, right when it opened for the day so the lines were short, bought a few individual rides, and got in line for the Dragon Coaster. We watched the people in front of us go on the ride while my heart pounded. Did I forget to mention that I did this without the assistance of any (doctor-prescribed or otherwise) anxiety-inhibiting drugs? I did it Civil-War-surgery-style, just bite down on this stick, rrrrrrrr. Then it was our turn. We got the last seats in the last car where Cricket gave me the comforting comment, “You can puke all you want, it’ll just go behind us!” And we were off. Here’s a video someone took so you too can live the dream.

Here’s my feelings on it: The first big fall, I was fine. The first sharp turn, I was fine. Wheee! And then the ride actively tried to make me sick (up, down, up, down – at the :37 mark) which, frankly, hurt my feelings. Why, Dragon Coaster? We were having a nice time together, why did you have to try and make me barf? That was mean. Right after we exited the dark inside-the-dragon part and the ride tried to make me quease again, I turned to Cricket and said OKAY, I’M DONE NOW. DONE NOW. I’M DONE. Cricket realized we were on the threshold of me freakin’ the eff out, so he tried to be all soothing and whatnot and he said something akin to, “Great job honey, I’m very proud of you – but the ride isn’t over yet. See? More ride.” I continued with my loud, emphatic BUT I’M DONE. DONE NOW. I suppose I thought that if I kept repeating that phrase the ride would stop, grinding to a halt from the sheer power of my intense, bone-crushing desire to get off. Cricket kept having to say things like, “Look how low we are! We’re almost finished, honey! So very proud of you! etc.” The second we pulled into the disembarkation bay I changed my mantra to GET OUT RIGHT NOW. OUT. GET OUT. Cricket had to pull me out and, no exaggeration, my whole body was violently shaking so bad I could barely stand. We left the ride area with me looking like a newborn foal and I promptly draped myself over a fence to die. Cricket took pictures.

Please note I am wearing one of the only white t-shirts I own because I knew it would be in the 90s that day. There it is, like seeing the Loch Ness Monster. Jess in a white t-shirt. Enjoy.

So I faced one of my fears. I’m thinking I don’t have to go on another amusement park ride for another 34-and-three-quarters years. Everyone okay with that?

You know what I am not afraid of? Spiders! I was out of the country for the Super Bowl this year, so I missed all the commercials. When I returned, Snorth sent me this one which I adore and watch periodically just for funsies.

Fantastic. Snorth pointed out to me that her favorite bug was the jumping spider that says, “Hello, lunch.” I informed her that I was unfamiliar with jumping spiders. And then the deluge began. Long story short: it has been four months since the Super Bowl, I now have a jumping spider as my background image on my phone, I belong to the Spider Fan Page on Facebook, and I’m already thinking about drawings I’m going to make incorporating jumping spiders in them. I also have a favorite group of jumping spider called the salticids. I like them bestest for a variety of reasons. One is that their heads are square-shaped and they appear to have eyeballs in all four corners. Another reason is the feather-duster-arms they use to clean all these eyeballs. But the primary reason I love them is because the males have big ole fangy-fangs that are iridescent and that totally resemble enormous buck teeth. Whenever I see one I automatically say “MIRFF!” with my front teeth pushed all the way forward because that’s what I think they would sound like. Here’s the picture on my phone.

Here’s one of my favorite animated gifs.

And here’s a sexay leggy mating dance.

I highly recommend that you go to Google, type “jumping spider” in and hit Images. It’s like a treasure trove of tiny adorable little spiderypoo goodnesss.