Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My best friend is visiting me for a few days, starting tomorrow. I can't wait! I haven't seen her in months and this way we can do all sorts of fun touristy things that I alone just never do. Like drink, for example. Kidding. Not really.  However this does mean I have to majorly clean tomorrow and try to get a bunch more unpacking done.  Small price to pay.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No News is Good News, Which Means...

...that, conversely, all news is bad news.  At least today it seems that way. I've been reading the headlines (and the stories connected to them if they interest me) and they are doing nothing but pissing me off.

There's this gem :

Filmmakers demand Polanski's release  

I guess if you're a talented enough film maker/singer/artist you're allowed to drug and rape children. Huh. I didn't realize that.  I mean, people even have "Free Polanski" buttons! Are you kidding me? He is in jail because he committed, and pled guilty to, a very serious awful crime against a child.  Then again, I guess Woody Allen got away with having an affair with his underage step-daughter, Chris Brown got away with beating a woman (community service is getting away with it), and R.Kelly got away with (allegedly) peeing on some girl. And Michael Jackson may or may not have gotten away with molesting some kids, but I bet being famous didn't hurt him in the trial.  Because entertainers are our gods I guess, and while we like to see them fall, we don't want them to fall so far that we can't get to them.

And then of course the health care overhaul is just going swimmingly:

Senate panel rejects gov't-run insurance option

This makes me wish we lived in a dictatorship run by me, so I could just PASS THE DAMN PUBLIC OPTION ALREADY and then hand back power to the people afterwards. Like, come on! An option for health care run by the government, just like we have an option for education, postal service, and probably a bunch of other stuff that they run that make it possible for middle class people to, you know, live decent lives. Imagine if there was only private schools? Do you really think everyone would send their kids? UGH. Where would our country be then?  I do not get the fear of having a cheaper health care option offered by the government! We already give it to the elderly, to government workers, to the very very poor, to the army - they're all managing to avoid the ravenous death squads lurking in the bushes. It may not be perfect, but it definitely beats not being able to have any, or having to have pointless repetitive arguments with a ridiculous "customer service" rep at the wonderful private insurances about how that ambulance you had to take, that the 911 rep sent, is not covered by them because it's not "in network" and you owe hundreds of dollars for a five minute uneventful ride (TRUE. STORY.).  By the way, apparently most ambulances are not "in network." Good to know. Thanks expensive private insurance.

Oh, and P.P.S., the private health care system is so so so so much more likely to have "death squads" and to cut off coverage to those not deemed worthy than any government plan ever is.  

Those are actually probably the main stories that are offending my sense of what is right.  No doctors for the poor and child rapists treated as heroes. Yep. 

Edited to add: And here is a link to a story about a missing, pregnant, 12 year old girl that is on the front page of CNN. Too sad for words. 

It Has A Name!

Melasma!  The random square of dark skin on my forehead that I regularly complain about, which is caused by birth control and sun damage, is called Melasma.  There. We've all learned something today.

The main suggestion I found for treating it is just bleaching the area, which I don't really want to do. I'm not good at coloring within the lines. I'll end up with a frame of lighter skin around the original darker skin, knowing me. Hopefully, next time I see my doctor she'll have a solution for me, but in the meantime, has anyone out there dealt with this?

(I took a close up picture of my forehead to show you guys, but seriously, my forehead looks like 90 years old in it, square aside.  Maybe I need to start applying creams and potions. Yikes.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Settling in

I've now cooked a couple meals in my new place, taken several showers, watched a couple movies and even received a package here. In short, I'm starting to feel at home and settle in. I still have a bunch of boxes to unpack, including about four large trashbags of clothes that I don't know WHERE I will put, since I've already filled up both of my chests of drawers - both I'm getting there.

Also, I may have a project lined up for October (I never count on them until I'm actually filming) and I am working on my first production board. I've been through the script several times now, doing all the preliminary work, and hopefully will be done in the next couple of days.  It's interesting and I'm glad I'm picking up a new skill.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Into the Universe

I'm sending love out to my lovely lovely best friend, knowing this is just a bump in the road.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

So I sold my hair. Really.  Weird, I know, but you know what? Totally worth it. I mentioned selling hair on my little How To Save Money list from a few weeks ago, and as I knew I'd be moving soon I decided to go for it. I was ready for a change anyway. So I did it! I got a couple hundred for it and it will definitely come in handy, and I nice new haircut on top of it.  I've added some pics below for your viewing pleasure, and as a bonus you get a little glimpse of the corner of my new studio. Exciting huh?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home at Last

So I'm in my new apartment, as you all may have deduced from the protracted silence on my part.  I just got internet about an hour ago, from the absolute rudest cable guy ever.  (Apparently in exchange for free installation from Cable Vision, you have to run a gauntlet of suspicious questions, veiled insults and misinformation [he said there was no way to get any free channels with an antenna, and basically called me stupid for asking].)   HOWEVER! I have internet now, and that's what matters.  I'll post some pictures of the new place once I'm settled in.  I'm trying out furniture configurations now and it's not going all that well yet.  It's kind of just bed in the middle with furniture lining the walls right now, which hopefully will change when inspiration strikes.  My main goal is just getting unpacked however.  Now, lest you think it went smoothly, I have written out a moving day schedule for you.


8:30 am : Skipping over to the car rental place across the street to sign for my cargo van. Ladida! They agree to hold it there a couple hours for me, for parking convenience, while I finish getting my stuff together.

9:30 am : Not much progress. One of the cats in a carrier, the other hissing and causing major havoc.

10:30 am : We are sporting battle wounds. The cat is still free.

11:00 am : Van has been retrieved and parked in the closest spot, two blocks away. My bf and I start to haul heavy furniture down two flights of stairs and then cart it, pack mule style, to the van.  The local population of crack heads watches curiously.

12:00 am : Starving. Break for lunch.

1:00 pm : Cat is in the carrier! Whohoo!! Yes!  And a parking spot right in front of my building opens up! Life is good.

1:30 pm : Cat got out of the carrier. What the hell? Bf and I have minor emotional breakdown.

2:00 pm : Packing, packing, packing. It becomes clear at this point that one trip is not going to do it.

3:00 pm : We buy a big plastic storage big, drill a few holes in it, and plunk the cat in. Lest she harbors any ideas of further escape, we wrap the entire thing in electrician tape. The offending cat carrier is left on the curb, there to remain in cat free shame until garbage pick up.

4:30 pm : Everything that can fit is packed. However van now hemmed in by neighbor's car. After brief negotiation all is resolved, we pile in (cats and all), and set off on our way.

5:30 pm : Get lost on way to tunnel.

6:00 pm : Can't go through Hudson tunnel to NY because we're driving a "commercial" vehicle. Reroute.

6:30 pm : Where the fuck is the Lincoln Tunnel oh my god this sucks. I start glancing over at boyfriend, prepared to head off breakup/escape attempts.

7:30 pm : All right, we're doing it, almost there. This would be better if traffic were moving, but not complaining.

8:15 pm : Arrive in front of apartment, having briefly detoured to pick up helpful friend, with first load of stuff.

8:30 pm : Bedframe is hopelessly lodged in stairwell.  Neighbors climb over and around it to reach their apartment. Take half hour to extricate it, and then somehow it slides seamlessly down the stairs to easily fit into new basement apartment. Figures.

11:00 pm : Heading out for second trip.  Helpful friend is along for the ride.

12:00 am : Lost, still in Brooklyn. Helpful friend has work in the morning and bails.  We reconvene at bf's place to re-mapquest.

1:00 am : Back in NJ. Ok. Start loading up second load.  Spend half hour cleaning the apartment and room for next room mate.

3:00 am : Back in Brooklyn, unloading again. Tired.

6:15 am : Back in NJ, dropping off rental van.  Exhausted. Bf heads off to work, to try to grab an hour or two of sleep in the break room, and I head off to work a 14 hour Get Out The Vote campaign.

10:00 pm : Arrive in new apartment, cram some salad in my mouth (easiest thing to make) and collapse besides bf in exhausted sleep. Home sweet home!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Oh my god people. My cats, who are usually pretty laid back, have been hissing and spitting at each other all afternoon.  It's really irritating.

For a little bit of backstory: The only times my cats are grouchy are when they are put in their carriers and for a few days after. I think this stems from A) getting spayed and B) the two day long marathon car ride from Florida to NY when I moved, when they were in there all day except for potty and drink breaks.

They are horrible and hissy then, around cat carrier times.  Like, I would not be a cat person if that was the kind of cats they were all the time.  Therefore the carriers generally get hidden in the closet, because even seeing it will set them off.  Now, they are getting put in on Monday for the move, but I haven't pulled out the carriers yet because I'm not crazy and I don't want to spend a minute more than I have to dealing with this behavior.

On the other hand, the cats love breaking into the closet, the one holding the hated carriers, and exploring it since they're not normally allowed in. One of them got in today and knocked down the carriers from the shelf and it has set them both off.

They are so retarded!!! THEY knocked the carriers down, I didn't take them out, and yet they are still acting like I am about to throw them in at any moment.  Which, to be fair, I am in a couple of days, but they can't know that! Ugh. I love them but they are driving me crazy today.

On the up side, tons of boxes packed. Well over half done. Now I'm just hoping my entire room and my kitchen table and kitchen ware fits into the 10" van.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Italian Polenta

It's been a while since I did a cooking post, so here goes. This is one of my favorite dishes and it's healthy and simple to make. I was born in Italy, and this is a very traditional dish.

What you need is:
Polenta, 2 cups (rough ground corn meal, basically. They charge more by calling it polenta. Don't buy the fine ground stuff though! Must be the bigger kernels.)
A splash of milk
A pinch of salt
6 cups boiling water

For the sauce:
1/2 a chicken, or various pieces (you could probably make it with other meat, but I always do chicken)
Large can of tomato sauce
Half an onion, chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic, more or less. You can always adjust this to your tastes
Basil to taste
Thyme to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Olive Oil to taste, but don't be too stingy
I also sometimes add some pepper flakes for extra flavor

Throw all the sauce ingredients together first. I like to cook the sauce at least an hour, usually more, until the meat is falling off the bones. The sauce should be just simmering, usually a low to medium heat.  You want it to be really tender and cooked down. If the actual sauce starts boiling down too fast add a little more olive oil or water to keep it from drying out.  Or add more tomato sauce if you have it, but a can will usually do it.

When the sauce looks to be about ready, put the six cups of water on to boil. When it boils throw some salt in and lower to a simmer.  Then start to slowly pour the polenta in, stirring the whole time. This is crucial because it will get lumpy very easily if you stop stirring!  When all the polenta is in, just keep stirring as it thickens. Be careful, because it will spit hot polenta at you as it boils, so a long handled spoon is good.  Once it starts getting pretty thick, slowly pour a little bit of milk in (maybe 1/4 cup? I never measured).  Some people but butter or cheese instead, but my mother always put milk.  Keep stirring. When it is thick enough that it's kind of hard to stir, turn off the heat and let it sit.  It will harden into a solid cake of polenta, which you can slice and serve.

Serve it sliced with the sauce poured over it.  You can also serve it when it is still a bit soft and hot, which is how my boyfriend likes it.  Also good for the impatient among us.

It is great left over sliced and fried in some butter with a little cheese melted on it too.

Enjoy! I forgot to take a picture of it on the plate because I was too busy eating, which trust me, means it's good.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thoughts on Obama's Health Care Speech

I'm watching Obama's speech now and just hoping, hoping so much, that it will make the difference.

8:24 - I like that he went for emotions first, then went on to state the numbers and the facts.

8:26 - Now addressing the fears of radical change and shift - radical left or right would cause that (though I feel the right's "plan" would just result in way more without healthcare)... We are only 20% away from some kind of compromise. Our leaders need to get it together!

8:28 - It seems like he's really throwing the gauntlet here. The time for games has indeed passed.  Now to debunk some myths.

8:35 - I'm nervous about the requirement to carry health insurance...unless it is really really affordable, there are some people who just can't afford it.  He just got a laugh when he said there are still difference to iron out - and I don't think he meant to.

8:45 - Family emergency. Missed a few minutes of speech.

8:46 - Hmmm. I don't know how this is going to happen without adding "one dime to the deficit."

8:52 - Wow, the malpractice insurance reform point really got people riled up.

8:53 - Sad that health care costs less than tax cuts for the wealthy passed by Bush, and yet people don't want to pay it.

8:57 - Kennedy's widow looks about to cry. I'm glad Obama is referencing him. He's been fighting this battle far longer than any of us.  I'm also glad he's calling out Republicans who have worked with him, reminding them of what Kennedy was fighting for and why.

9:02 - I hope he's not getting too touchy feely. I think people want facts, as many as possible.

9:03 - And it's over. Let's see what happens.

Moving Day, T - 5 days

What does that mean anyway? T-whatever?

Regardless, there are five days until I move the packing is going really well.  I've got two boxes packed.  Only about a thousand to go.  Going really well.  Reeeeeaaaalllly well.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grocery challenge

In my continuous quest to not go over budget, I am going to try to make it through the whole week on the $11.86 cents of food I bought today.  I was originally going for $10, but chicken was on sale so I bought one and a dollar and a half is not going to break the bank.  I'm also cheating a little since I'm going to have to make a separate trip to buy kitty litter, but that would be half my budget so it just wasn't happening. BUT! Of actual food cost, if I can keep to under $12, I will be happy.

What I bought:
A whole chicken
A dozen eggs (with a dollar coupon)
2 bananas
2 packages pasta
1 large can tomatoes
Close to a pound of rice
Quart milk

I got $.40 credit for bringing my own bags, which put me just under $12.

I can make at least two meals with the chicken, at least four from the pasta (with butter/canned tomatoes/cheese toppings) and at least three with the rice and some frozen veggies I already have. That plus the eggs and eating leftovers and I should be good for the week.

I made my first pasta dish with 1/2 a can of peas I had left over and half a bag of pasta, and there is enough left for lunch tomorrow. It's not a pretty dish, so no pics, but it is good.  If anyone has any other cheap food suggestions, throw them out there - I'm happy to take advice.  Wish me luck staying in budget!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Go Canes!!

The Miami Hurricanes (my college team) are playing.  We were winning when I switched to the game, and we are now losing. Coincidence? Perhaps the kindest thing I can do is change channels.

Update: We're winning!! Only 2 minutes left...


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Beer, beer, beer

Ugh my head.

I had the best time yesterday, and am paying for it today (worth it!).  My bf took me to brewtopia, which basically is a big room full of free beer. Now, I'm not a big drinker, but I am all about anything free.  It is my downfall. In fact, one of the highlights of the evening for me was getting a free meat pie at the end of the night, though my bf's shirt suffered for it (I was trying to hand it to him! To share!).  We finished the evening in true New York fashion, by smoking cigars in Central Park.

The rest of my weekend is probably going to be less fun, though hopefully more productive. I've got some girls checking out my room, which I hope to get rented out before the week is out. I'm also pursuing more job prospects, and if I'm really good I'll even start packing.  I can't wait to post pictures of my new little studio online.  Maybe I'll even paint, if the landlords are ok with it.  I hope everyone else had as good a start to their labor day weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Global Humor

This hilarious, and sadly kind of apt, graphic was up at the lovely Tertia's website.  I believe that there are actually quite a few Americans out there who would view this as a legitimate and official map.  I am stealing it (with permission) because it's too funny not to share.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It's been a little crazy this week - I went from nothing happening for the past couple weeks to tons this week. I've had several job nibbles - hopefully one bites!  I'm still looking for a replacement roomie, and I need to start packing for my Brooklyn move.  It feels good to have possibilities again.  Hopefully something works out, but even having those nibbles is heartening. Send good vibes my way!

Duggars and the Quiverfull movement

I recently read that Michelle Duggar, of "18 Kid And Counting," is pregnant with number 19.  She didn't even realize at first that she was pregnant (did she think she was going through menopause?) but is reported to be excited about it. I wonder if deep down there was just a bit of regret when she found out, if she was maybe in a little denial, since she more than anyone should recognize the signs of pregnancy.

I don't say that to judge her, or the Duggars in general. If she is truly happy then that's wonderful.  I admire her patience.  Their show is certainly a guilty pleasure of mine, and I love how organized, frugal and polite the family is.  I disagree with them in just about every possible way in terms of ideology, but I do like them.  They seem like great parents, but the more I read about their beliefs, the more worried I am.  And that's where the "guilty" part of the guilty pleasure comes in for me - because as sweet as they may be individually, the values they are trying to peddle scare me.

I worry about any family that raises daughters to be "submissive." I worry about this is ultra conservative countries, such as Iraq, and I worry about them in in ultra conservative families.   This comparison might seem inflammatory, but in terms of what they expect of women - modesty, obedience, fertility - they aren't all that different.  The Quiverful followers and the Taliban would probably agree on what a woman's place is, even if they disagree on many or all others points.

I worry because if these girls decide that maybe their husbands' decisions are really stupid and they can make better ones, well too bad. He's the boss, whether or not he's really more capable.  God apparently says so.  Even though God did not actually write the bible, men who lived in very different, very conservative times did, apparently everything in it must be straight from "his" mouth.

I worry because if their parents counsel them to behave a certain way, after they reach the age of 18, and they refuse, will they be cast out entirely? Is there room for dissent?  If the girls decide to wear pants and use birth control, will they still be welcome in the family? Will they still be allowed contact with their siblings and will they still receive the financial support that a non-dissenter would?  If they decide that they do want to kiss boys, and put off marriage and child birth for a career, even a serving one such as a doctor, will their parents have "failed?"

I ask because I believe in choice. I believe that if a woman chooses to stay at home and raise kids, great. If she chooses to be a working mom, great. If she decides to limit the number of kids she has, or if she doesn't, fine, that's up to her.  I'm on the liberal end of the spectrum when it comes to family planning. I believe if you don't find Mr. Right and you can financially and emotionally support a child yourself, go for it.  I believe in choices.  And that's why I worry about the Duggar girls. Because I wonder if those choices are there.

Every parent tries to raise their kids to share their values. I don't fault the Duggars for that, though I DO believe in evolution, birth control, the rights of women to choose whether to keep a pregnancy and so forth.  I disagree with them, but hey, they disagree with me.  The thing is, if I had a daughter who decided to get married young and have twenty kids, and who always "obeyed" her husband I would still love and support her.  She would still be in my life.  I would be very disappointed in myself for not raising her to feel that it is ok to be equal to her husband, and wonder how she had turned out that way, but if that was her choice, so be it.

Do the Duggar girls have that choice? Do they understand that they can do everything their brothers can, that their judgement is just as good, they are just as capable, and that there is no reason they should "submit" to a man?  That they don't need marriage and children to be worthy? That men and women might be different physically, and maybe even mentally and emotionally, but not in any kind of way that makes women subservient, submissive, or sub anything else either.

And that is the crux of my dilemma with the Duggars, and watching them.  There is a lot to be admired in their lifestyle, but the only reason they can have 19 kids is because some families out there are having 1. They can live the way they live precisely because other people choose to live differently.  If everyone had 19 we would in just a few generations be bursting at seams. China didn't institute its one child policies because it hates babies.  Who hates babies? It had to, because they ran out of room and resources. And I think it's awful and there is nothing more contrary to democracy than having the government tell you how many kids you can have, but if everyone was having 19 they probably would eventually have to step in here too.

There is a yin and yang here, a balance, and it is important for it to be maintained. Conservative religious people who want to have large families, who believe in accepting what life throws at you as a challenge and blessing from god, who want to keep things as they are or revert things to how they were, well good for them. But good for us liberals too.  Good for us for civil liberties,  for religious freedom, for embracing the rainbow, for seeing that different is not lesser and for always pursuing change.  This valuing of the past and the future are complementary in a way.  If everyone was super conservative or super liberal the world would be a worse place.  None of us are right all the time.

That's kind of where I'm willing to fight though.  I'm not telling them what to do. But they, namely the Quiverful movement and other ultra conservatives, are trying to tell ME what to do, and that's where I have a problem. Don't tell me to be submissive. Don't tell me that birth control is a sin. Don't tell me how I should live my life if I want to get to heaven, because that's both a bribe and a threat, and I don't appreciate that.  I'm not a donkey - I don't need a carrot on one end and a whip on the other.  You live your life, I'll live mine.

I'll even watch your show and grow to like you.  But I truly hope, that when these children get old enough to choose, that they have a choice to make.  I hope that Anna Duggar is as happy as a second generation Quiverful follower as Michelle is as a first generation one, who got to wear short skirts and go to public school and choose.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Foot warmer

This is why I needed two cats.