Wednesday May 30, 2007

More travel recap:  I warned the airline that my luggage would raise all sorts of suspicion, with the unidentified baggies of powder (green tea powder, almond flour, sugar, etc.) and the odd pastry implements.  The bag-check went fine, but then my little carry-on messenger bag was thoroughly searched on each flight.  My makeup, it seems, is a threat to national security.  I personally believe that forcing me to live without lip balm is the greater threat to my security, but the TSA did not agree.  Fuckers.  The pointy whisk they'll toss back into the bag without a second glance, but they'll dig through the bottom of my makeup bag to find the .33 oz tube of lip balm that means TERRORIST.
While I had access to an oven that works (a shocking luxury), I decided to make this recipe for apricot bear claws from the NYT magazine a few weeks back.  Ignore the twitty name, and focus on the fact that the dough involves both mascarpone and butter.  These were ungodly easy to make, and I think they'll very soon supplant any healthy breakfasts in my future.  Pass the heavy-cream and jam-laden pastries, and don't stint on the sugar topping!
One of those odd domestic skills I've never quite mastered, along with ironing and scaling a fillet, is hard-boiling eggs.  I know exactly how I prefer my hard-boiled eggs:  slightly underdone yolk so it's creamy and not clumpy, and a firmly set white.  Unfortunately, my mom's method of hard-boiling was 1) put eggs in boiling water  2) keep on a high boil for 15 minutes.  Therefore, this is how I made eggs until too recently.  I'd modified that method over time to 1) placing eggs in cold water and bringing to a boil  2) covering and turning off the heat, letting them sit for about 10-15 minutes.  This was better, but still unsatisfactory.  Last week, I thought:  hell, I have an incredible cooking resource sitting next to me (hi, Tim!) - why do I put up with imperfect eggs?  His method is much the same, but once the water boils and you turn the heat off and cover, only let the eggs sit for 4 minutes.  Yes, this will not seem like enough time.  You will hedge this a bit and make it more like 5 minutes.  But then, after putting the eggs in ice water to cool (my GOD, does this make peeling them easier!  how have I gone 25 years without knowing this trick and putting my thumb through the white every damn time?), you will tentatively peel one, expecting a runny icky white, and inside, there will be eggy perfection.  I might even take the cooking time down to 3 minutes to get a runny yolk for euro-style indulgence.  (Which would necessitate the purchase of egg cups, I think.)
(And oooooh, do I want this
Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook!  I flipped through it at the bookstore this weekend, and they may have to discount that copy due to the drool stains I left on every page.  Her blog is
chocolateandzucchini.com, which you should go to every day and marvel at the lovely treats while staring longingly at the computer.) 


Tuesday May 29, 2007

Oh, friends, if you want to hear a three-hour story of apartment-hunting drama, I have a heartbreaking tale for you.  It's got a crazy paranoid cat lady, a rotted-through bathroom floor, two (!) manipulative Chinese exchange students, an elevator that reeks of death, approximately five hours spent on craigslist hitting "refresh" on the Temporary/Sublet page, countless free cups of coffee from Sendiks, a very loose definition of "through the summer" (hint:  that phrase DOES NOT MEAN THROUGH AUGUST 1st, fuckwads!) and three up-to-the-signing-of-the-papers apartments that fell through.
But, inexplicably, somehow Noah is not homeless as of this Friday morning.  Today, two days before his lease ends, he was able to pin down a sublet on his block, in his current lovely neighborhood, that will allow my cat, me, and all my stuff to live with Noah for two months over the summer.  Hallelujah.  This miraculous turn of events will let me stop playing one of my favorite games, the Freak Out Incessantly and Worry game. 
Noah describes this place as having both a front and back porch, flowers, and assorted nice things, which all beats the apartment I'm living in currently.  What's this?
This abomination is the "front door" of my apartment building.  No, that's not plywood braced against the top- that's PAPER.
Note the total fucking lack of anything that might be considered a "door" or a "lock"; remind me again why I bothered paying my last month's rent?
This weekend, I got to meet Noah's best friend, Pauli.  Pauli was in from San Diego for the weekend, so we finally got to meet up and consume insane quantities of cheesecake and mimosas and green tea ice cream.  I really enjoy her, but I did have a massively stupid moment when she and Noah were talking foreign policy (Israel?  In the 70's?  I think?) and she tried to include me.  I'm sure my face made some Cletus-the-slack-jawed-yokel look as I tried to form a coherent sentence.  I was aghast at my inability to put forth any sort of contribution to the conversation.  I, um, work in a restaurant and in the arts... and I like popsicles... and am totally not going to leave her with any accurate impression of my intelligence.  Fuck.

Sadly, it was a cannoli-free weekend.  If there's one pastry that Milwaukee does right, it's the cannoli, but everyone left down for Memorial Day, taking with them my chance to scarf down cups of sweetened mascarpone studded with pistachios.  Next time, Milwaukee, you'd better be meeting me at the city limits with pastry treats.


Thursday May 24, 2007

Acrylic nails?  Disgusting.

Long, hot-pink acrylic toenails worn by an AARP-age event planner I had to meet with yesterday?  Retch-inducing.
(have NONE OF HER FRIENDS taken her aside to say "look, honey, 2" toenail fills are no way to fake youth.  Eye lifts fake youth, good dye jobs fake youth... but your claw-feet, not so much."?)


Wednesday May 23, 2007

just for comparison's sake, here's a badly scanned photo of my last car, taken on Jan 15, 1998.
This 1992 Mercury Sable quickly went from "modest sedan" to "location of a My Little Pony farm on the dashboard".

Dana's car

(yes, that is the jacket of a leisure suit, and Doc Martens)


Tuesday May 22, 2007


I think I'll just go outside again to make sure it's still there.  And then I'll check again in another 15 minutes.


Saturday May 19, 2007

Today I:

bought a car* (omgwtf).

ate a steak.

*freaked the hell out at the fact that I just bought a car.
photos of said vehicle forthcoming, after closing papers get signed on Tues night.


Wednesday May 16, 2007

A friendly little reminder for my co-workers and the other random people who come into the office:  If I'm on the phone, clearly having an involved conversation with someone about, say, booking an event, stop fucking trying to talk to me while I'm on the phone.  I cannot pay attention to you with my right ear while doing my job with my left ear.
Shut the hell up and wait for me to finish the conversation, and don't get that annoyed/pouty/impatient look on your face while standing at my elbow.  And don't glare at me and stomp off like a spoiled toddler when you're unwilling to wait for my attentions. 
My Job:  booking parties that bring in lots of money. 
Not My Goddamn Job:  looking at whatever you're trying to wave into my line of vision.


Tuesday May 15, 2007

The online calc class that I'm taking to fulfill my math requirement at UC is making my brain weep.  Not because I'm doing any actual learning, of course- it's rather hard for me to learn calculus in any way without a scientific or graphing calculator.  No, it's driving me insane because I can't be bothered to do my 36 or so calc problems in advance each week, so I wait until 10:30 on Sunday night to sit down and write down a whole bunch of mostly wrong answers to email in by midnight.  It seems like such a pathetic ruse:  this online college is taking my money and giving me credit that I need, but they're asking me to pretend that I'm learning something and making an effort towards Math.  Which is bullshit.  Productive bullshit in the end, because it will lead to a master's, but it seems so barely worth the effort.  All the odd-numbered problems have the answers listed in the back, so I'm getting at least 50% correct, but I do wonder if I can get away with just writing "3" as the answer for everything else.  And maybe, when it asks me to draw a graph, I can just write in "it looks like a bunch of lines".  And in lieu of my supposed final project, I could just attach a bunch of photos of my cat.  Hypothesis:  my cat is obese and furry.  Constants:  she lies on the couch all day.  Variables: does she get treats?  Outcome:  two hairballs and a garbage bag full of cat hair.
You know what math is good for, though?  Helping me decide which (completely unnecessary) pretty things to purchase: 
American Apparel dress ($36)
vs. C&C dress ($84)
vs. a long, goddessy-cut* dress at Heartbreaker ($32). 
Oh lord, I'm shallow.  Let's set a cap of $225 for all this girlish nonsense- including the raging debate in my head about the necessity of buying both a Matt & Nat bag  and a wristlet (thank god for my private-event bonuses this month!) and then strongly consider the idea of never, ever going online shopping again.  At least til fall. 
*not the end of my unceasing vapidity!  I do have to wonder why, now that I'm more on the "kinda svelte" side of things rather than the "are you pregnant?" side of things, suddenly all summer's dresses are bubbles, trapeze cuts, and empire waists.  Now, I do love an empire waist (more boobage!), but I'm not about to take the Times' hint and starve myself to get a razorlike clavicle just to announce: “Don’t let this tent dress fool you: Underneath it all, this girl can fit into a sample size.”
yes, that is an ACTUAL QUOTE from the article.
(And just how sick is that sentiment, anyway?  Considering that the idea of "sample sizes" is directly linked to post-war, post-rationing women's weights and bodies in Europe, I don't think that the idea of sample sizes really has any place in 21st century fashion.  How did Audrey Hepburn get an 18" waist?  Living on radishes and water due to the bombings, not by going to Pilates 5x a week.)  Fashion karma:  when an empire waist and bubble hem would be most appreciated with the 15 extra lbs. or so hanging on, the trendy shape that year will be Alaia-tight. 

Tuesday May 15, 2007

it's hard working with a group of aggressively fabulous boxies at the Southern, because we feed eachother's habits (more brie!  more shoes!  more scotch!  more dancing like fools!) with unbelievable effectiveness.  For example, the lovely and talented K-A was at the show on Sunday night, sporting a rather gorgeous bag.  Of course, this sparks a discussion of the origins of said bag, and some obsessive googling, and oh no! I have a new lust object.  Or objects, rather:  Matt & Nat bags.  I'd seen one of these on my boss' wife's arm this winter, but figured that if she was carrying it, I could not afford it.  Well, they're expensive enough that I can't impulse-buy one, but not quite so expensive that I'd feel guilty.  Enough telling, here's showing: 

The big, burgundy "Turkish" bag- think how many pairs of emergency flats I could stow in this!

The Bond Street bag- totally impractical in white, but sooooo pretty....

and the Jorja bag, which I covet in this dark blue, but is also available on ebay in bright kelly green.  Oh, decisions.

And then, as if I weren't already imagining the steadily decreasing numbers of my checking account, I had to have an irrational need for a wristlet (well, it is slightly practical, as far as going-out bags go- I'm forever being paranoid about leaving my highly visible bag unattended on a table/bar/counter, because I don't want to lug around a giant, 10-lb purse while also holding sloshy martini and gesturing wildly).  So Banana Republic, of all places, makes a wristlet in a subdued but slightly splashy python print:
which I am totally not going to buy, unless ebay comes through for me on this one.
And then there's Etsy, giving me ideas like this gorgeous, handmade, pick-your-design and pick-your-color wristlet (which makes me feel better than buying a big chain store clutch, I suppose):
Or I could just stop buying things, already.

I have a work thing (by "work" I mean "opportunity for free booze that I jumped at the chance to attend") on Wed, which promises free cocktails for 4 hours and hors d'oeuvres, which can be seen as a justification to buy a bag- because I'm not spending money on liquor that could otherwise be put to bags, right?- but I'm a little skittish, because it's at Chambers redwhite&fuckingblue bar.  The last time I was there, I drank two bottles of wine and kicked my boss in the kidney in the middle of Hennepin Avenue and then was punished with the hangover to end all hangovers.  That cannot be repeated, if only for the sake of my dignity and my liver (and my precious few brain cells left after spending most of this past Saturday in a haze of cocktails and cava).

Unrelated to twitty accessories:  my building is becoming more like a lawless zone every day.  This weekend, someone managed to shatter the top of the building's front door, leaving poky plasticine bits all over the entryway to stab unsuspecting feet.  Also, someone stole the only functioning dryer.  Why someone would bother removing a large, bulky, coin-operated Harvest Gold dryer is beyond me, but it was clearly ripped from the wall, and the slumlord swears that he didn't take away the single functioning appliance out of spite.  Will he replace the missing dryer?  Probably not.


Sunday May 13, 2007

What are you doing now?  Whatever, it's not that important.
Go to Trader Joes and buy a couple packages of the chili-spiced dried mangoes.  Trust me, you'll want several packages.

Have you eaten them yet?  GET ON THAT.  You'll never want to eat anything else.


Thursday May 10, 2007

Sadly enough, the following story is probably the shining example of my wit:
About seven years ago, I was working my last shift at the shitty Italian buffet.  I'd waitressed over lunch, then was covering the afternoon in the kitchen.  We kept a pot of boiling water on the stove at all times for pasta, and for some reason, it was set up on the front burner that afternoon.  An order for pasta came in, and when I went to dump the spaghetti into the pot, I didn't think, and dumped the pasta towards myself instead of away from my torso.  Oh, the boiling water!  On my stomach!  Melting my uniform shirt onto my abdomen!  I screamed and plucked the synthetic fibers from the wound, and hyperventilated my way over to the (alcoholic, wastoid) manager.  He mentions that the first aid kit is "lost", and then asks if I can stay and close for him that night.  I said fuck you no, got in my car, and left- not before pulling what was left of my uniform shirt off my body and tossing it onto his desk and strutting out to the parking lot in my bra.  (Well, I had another shirt in the car.)
I was in a hurry to leave, get home, and self-medicate/bandage the wound, because I was to attend My First House Party that evening in Hastings, and I did not want to miss an official opportunity to get drunk.  I slapped a big wad o' gauze onto my stomach, taped it into place, and got dressed in my homage to Joan Jett.  I slipped out without the family noticing my oozing sore, and drove to help pre-party.  As I was the only non-Hastings guest, I was elected the Liquor Store Helper.  I accompanied and the older-brother-of-a-friend-of-a-friend "adult" into the liquor store, where we loaded up a giant shopping cart with booze.  At the checkout, I'm trying my best to look surly and of legal age when the checkout girl notices my protruding bandages over the top of my jeans.  She points at the mass of gauze and says "ohmygod, what happened to your stomach?  Are you ok?"... at which point, I shrugged, affected a grizzled look, and said "c-section".

Best plan not to get carded ever.


Tuesday May 8, 2007

Photos from last night's Vogue/Costume Institute party are up on nymag.com and style.com/vogue and oh my. 

Julianne Moore, I love the white tux idea, but this is not acceptable.  You look like a chubby Annie Hall, and given your normal untouchable style, I have no idea how you managed that.  Please step aside so Iman can demonstrate how to rock a lady-tux to the class.

Ashley Olson looks shockingly awesome.  More of this, and less of the homeless look, please.

Christina Ricci looks middle-aged and like Liza Minnelli in a bad way.  Also, full-on velvet should be reserved for the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's, and no further out.  No white after Labor Day?  Then no velvet after MLK day.

Renee Zelwegger should be imprisoned and force-fed triple cream brie.  Topped with butter.

Oh, Cameron.  You could've rocked the fuschia, had it not been for the attack of Pop-Beads to your neck and ears.  I don't care how much they cost, they're damn tacky.

Jessica Simpson looks like a highly plasticized hybrid of Elvira Princess of Darkness and a fiftysomething Vegas showgirl.  Now, I know that that describes Cavalli's target audience, but it doesn't make this dress right. 
Who's been reading The Fug Girls at work?  Pick me!
(aaaaand, the Beard Awards.  I'm shocked and disappointed that Tim didn't win, of course.  Whereas our sous chefs went the shocked-and-hungover route today.  However, woohoo for David Chang and the Ssam Bus- if stripper poles were actually involved on said bus, this only makes me want to eat at the Momofukus more.)

Ooh!  New shoes: 
because I am a sucker for coupons.  If Macy's mails me a 20% off coupon, you're damn right I'm going to shop their sale.
I also fell hard for these flats-
:  a direct knockoff of the Stuart Weitzmans (below) I saw in lipstick-red patent.  Other than the hardware color, I see no difference.  Yay, cheap designer copies!

Fortunately for my bank balance, they only had a size 6 left, so the patent leather was left behind.
When out with Tara on Friday night (Latin dancing at the Loring), I had planned on buying one round of drinks to start the evening off, and then letting men take care of the rest of the booze for the evening.  I even titted up for this purpose in a scandalously low-cut halter dress.  However, $50 out of my own wad o' bills later, not a single man had taken my hint ("thank you for the dance- but oh, I'm so thirsty!") and scampered to the bar to wet my whistle.
Then, to add to the insult to my womanliness/boozehoundiness, I received, um, attentions of a less-than-welcome sort.  I was dancing with a friend-of-a-friend, who had seemed like a chatty, affable dude earlier in the evening.  He was chatty, yes, but had crossed the line from "friendly" to "gropey" after a few rounds of booze. While bachaca-ing, he went from hands-on-waist to hands-on-hips-and-ass to jesus-christ-you're-going-for-my-clit.  Hands were very firmly removed to North of the Border, and I excused myself at that point.  But did I get a drink out of it?  Hell no.  Sir, if you're going to start feeling around the vag, at least counter-offer a dinner or something.  I'll turn you down and maybe even throw a drink at you if necessary, but at least to make a fair trade.


Sunday May 6, 2007

Things I want to get Noah for his graduation this summer:
a new laptop
a week in Mexico

What I will probably get him:  a wedge of brie and some crackers.  Unless you have a better idea?


Saturday May 5, 2007

Things I learned on Friday:

my cat really, really hates dogs. There goes any plan of getting an Australian Shepherd puppy in the near future.

Four bourbon + ginger? Good idea. That fifth bourbon + ginger? Not so much.

Even when drunk, I still don't like green peppers or black olives- especially when the quesedilla was meant to be full of meat, not of shitty canned vegetables.

I heart Tara.


Thursday May 3, 2007

On a whim, I stopped into Booksmart last night, and came out with four new books.  I was really tempted to add Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" to the stack, but I think I'll shell out for the hardcover version.  (btw, Booksmart has kick-ass sale prices:  30% off bestselling hardcovers, 20% off new paperback releases!  As much as I love Magers & Quinn down the street, it's always full-price there.)  The sale means that I'm finally going to get to read "Remainder", "Black Swan Green", and "What is the What" without incurring (more) massive library fines.  I think I'll have to go back and pick up another big stack soon- being open 'til midnight means I'll probably come in half-drunk from the Independent some night for impulse book-buying.
About five (?) years ago, Booksmart was on the corner of Hennepin & Lagoon, and one night while walking by, I freaked out at all the papered-over walls and plywood.  You can't take away the Booksmart!  It's too wonderful!  Thank god they were only moving 1/2 block down the street, not depriving me of post-cocktails booksluttery. 

As I was a dorky, uncoordinated, socially awkward child*, I spent most of my time sprawled across our dining room floor reading, or up in my treehouse with a giant stack of Vogue back issues from the library (they had a generous one-month checkout term).  I remember being transfixed by the photos of Kate Moss- she was my beauty idol while growing up. 
(Perhaps because I was gangly and bug-eyed?  I wasn't quite old enough to get the full societal implications of "heroin chic", but I knew that it looked different and awesome.) 
At the same time I was consumed by fashion magazines, I was also reading some of the things I consider formative:  "Dykes to Watch Out For", "In Stitches", the PETA magazine.... my rather conservative parents were horrified, I'm sure, but knew better than to let on.  Between the Edgar Allen Poe obsession and my adolescent poetry and the womyn-power pamphlets lying around my bed, I'm sure they went to sleep each night chanting "it's just a phase!  it's just a phase!".
*and everyone says "oh, I was such an lonely, awkward kid!", but c'mon, I remember elementary school:  the socially-skilled set definitely existed.  The ones with good hair and nice shoes, the ones who were smart but not obnoxious, the ones who won the 100-yard dash at Track & Field Day- if I ever see those (grown-up) kids and hear them claim all this childhood angst and awkwardness, I'm going to kick them in the shins.  You were not awkward, Buddy & Becky & Quinn & Nathan & Mindy:  you were the Third Grade Gods.  Don't co-opt my geekiness, goddamn it!

Unrelated to nerdiness, I made an amazing salad last night.  I had a leftover roasted beet, so I chopped it up with an apple, a head of endive, and a smattering of feta cheese.  That's like a week's worth of fruits and veggies in one meal!  And despite my occasional disagreement with Israel's foreign policy, I can wholeheartedly support the Israeli feta I found at the Wedge.  Israeli feta, Belgian endive, Wisconsin beets, Chilean apples:  I chowed down on a mini United Nations last night.