chickarina: the melissa kirsch blog

Archive for February, 2008

In The Middle of the Night It Occurs to Me I Am Not Asleep

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Let me just be frank with you. I am a late-in-life addict of Gilmore Girls. There’s not even anything quietly subversive about that show that would make this a fake confession. I did whisper that I had been watching it to my lunch date the other day and was informed that that was not something I had to hide and everyone watches it. I don’t think anyone should admit to liking this show so freely. It’s got this “Hey I’m kind of edgy what with my whippersnapper banter and teenage mom gone mild” affect, but then it turns out that the show is about white people (and one token Korean friend) in a fake Connecticut village (and I know from Connecticut villages) who are so obsessed with coffee! And they have a lot of town pageants! And people dress up like soldiers and got to DAR meetings and when the weird daughter misses her mom’s community college graduation she apologizes so profusely that you would think she knifed someone. But I digress.

I spent Saturday afternoon to last night completely indoors working. (I know that’s horrible. It was indeed horrible. What can I say? What can I say besides: flow. Just kidding. I’ve been to Stars Hollow more times than I’ve been in a flow state.) It was important. I had to get about ten things done and it was the culmination of a week of worrying about deadlines and avoiding them and even having Leigh come over to sit with me while I worked which helped a little but not enough. I missed Amichai’s Oscar party. I missed the two days of sunlight. I was inside typing and so I decided it would be a good idea to watch Across the Universe, that Julie Taymor Beatles movie, which it was not. Then I decided I could not go wrong with some GG. I dozed off immediately. I am sure the plot had something to do with the town green and a fair or a pageant or a snowman-making contest.

I didn’t sleep well. You know when you think you’re sleeping and then you realize you are not asleep and you are kind of using all your energy to try to be asleep and you toss and turn in the dark and realize you are so very awake? That is what happened. And of course it was then impossible to wake up this morning. Even though the hoist thing on the construction site has developed a totally superfluous creaky wheel so it makes extra, non-essential noise now on top of its groaning and rumbling and the saw noise that you feel in your brain, you hear it but it also hits your brain metalically.

All work and no play makes me a dull boy. Seriously. I’m a boy now. No one warned me.

So I’ve had time to discover that I don’t hate celery anymore! I cannot brook one chunk of it in my tuna salad, but I’m cool with it by itself raw or cooked in a melange of steamed vegetables. I used to not be able to eat anything that had been in the same room with celery. Now I can tolerate it. All work and no play makes me ridiculous.

Did I mention my skin is still shit? Also that I am strangely fascinated by Diablo Cody? Even though I know I’m supposed to hate her and be jealous of her and feel somehow like she’s treading on my turf because she’s a wiseass and is working this rockabilly thing (that I am so decidedly not working, but girls tend to hate on other girls, and girl writers–forget it.). Anyway, I don’t hate her. I liked Juno. As I said, I’d walk a mile in the snow in uninsulated boots to see Michael Cera sneeze. And I think her blog is kind of amazing and certainly entertaining. I don’t suppose it really makes one whit of difference what I think of a famous screenwriter. But I’d just like to say that I am not interested in taking part in the Diablo Cody Backlash. Not that anyone’s tapped me to join in any convincing way.

Oh and make no mistake: I am jealous of her. Where did “make no mistake” come from? I think it was George Bush. Presidential candidates say that. They also refer to all people as “folks” and Ben says it’s a Bush cowboy thing and Catherine says it’s an effort to be folksy but I say what the hell, what’s wrong with people? What is wrong with you people? That packs a much harder punch than “What is wrong with you folks?” I see. If I say “folks” you think I like you. It’s gentler. What I hate is when they say “There’s folks.” As in “there’s folks in Ohio who don’t have a pot to piss in.” Yeah, they say “pot to piss in” too. Presidential candidates.

It may interest you to know that I am multitasking, i.e. waiting for the Chelsea Clinton Nightline interview to happen which means I have the TV on and I have twice seen this repulsive NYC Health commercial about smoking that shows disgusting rotten teeth among other disgusting things. Probably a black lung in a jar. They always show that. I cannot see anything gross involving teeth. I can see a lot of gross stuff like people eating grubs but I cannot see teeth getting ripped out. Like how they keep showing Joanie getting her teeth ripped out on America’s Next Top Model? Or the moment at which I stopped watching that horrid Ashley Judd movie Bug when the paranoid boyfriend starts pulling his teeth out with pliers. Ugh. I’m sick. I will watch someone vomit his/her guts out but I will not watch you pull your teeth out. Please. Stop making me watch you pull your teeth out. I beg you, folks.

If you were to assume I have been shut inside my apartment for the entire season watching bad TV and bad movies, you would be mistaken. I go out a lot and I hate every second of it. Because it’s cold and rainy and I take this personally, folks. Oh! If I address you as folks, I’m breaking some bad news. If I refer to others in the third person as folks “There’s folks in Afghanistan…” or “Folks just want someone to be a a uniter, not a divider,” I seem gentle.

It now seems that the Chelsea Clinton interview is on and I have never heard Chelsea Clinton speak before. Have you? Chelsea’s in Lubbock, Texas. She’s got a folksy way about her! She just said “Forgive my voice, I’ve been workin’ hard.” Droppin’ your Gs is very folksy. Chelsea’s boyfriend is very good looking. Gossip columnist Lloyd Grove is awful. I think Chelsea’s long layers must take a lot of blowing out and flat-ironing. And then sometimes a curling iron.

Okay. I am not going to live-blog Nightline. That would be terribly depressing. I’d like to announce that things are happening. The work has not been for naught and I’m making progress. Someday I’ll emerge, like a Chelsea Clinton from an Applebee’s in Lubbock.

PS I am actually going to Texas!!! This weekend! A light (literally) on the horizon!

PPS I made a dermatologist appointment. Of course she can’t see me until the end of March. At which point I will probably have magically flawless skin.

PPPS That Chelsea Clinton interview was lame. And not an interview.

Czech It Out

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Did I just type that? What kind of lame punster am I? I can’t seem to not make that the headline.


The Běžná cena was 499,-Kč, but you can get it for the klubová cena of 399,- Kč How weird and great.

The Daily Special

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

So Conde Nast has this very fun online TV show called The Daily Special and today I am a guest on it. If you go to their site and leave your favorite bit of advice, you can win a signed copy (this time a real book included!) of TGGTAE.

In other news: It’s wet, winter continues, MoDo irks, acne resurfaces, deadlines are met only to be replaced by new ones, blogging frustrates, Pilates offers some relief, or at least connects mind & body, so oft at odds these days. These days.

Oh, Barf.

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I missed this in the Times on January 20th.

Not all holdouts need to be skirted; some can actually be incorporated. That’s the approach being taken by the 21-story 145-room Cooper Square Hotel at East Fifth Street. A four-story brick tenement adjacent to the hotel — unlike three other buildings on the lot — is not being razed, because its tenants wouldn’t relocate.

Those longtime residents will remain on the building’s top two floors, said Matthew Moss, a principal of the New York-based Peck Moss Hotel Group, the developer. But hotel offices will occupy its second floor and basement, while a library complete with fireplace will take up the 775-square-foot ground-floor space. Hotel guests will be able to reach it via the lobby.
Mr. Moss says he considers it an asset that guests in the $100 million hotel, which opens this summer, may peer down on a tenement roof where laundry is being hung out to dry.

“That’s the kind of thing people want to see,” he said.

You know what I like to see? I like to see slobbering construction workers loafing around on scaffolding smoking cigars and grunting, one inch from my window. Especially when I get out of the shower. I love seeing that. It’s so adorable.

I Never Listen to Myself

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

If you delve into the archival folders of your computer, you (if you’re me), find the darndest things.

In a Word document, all by itself on the page, just this sentence:

Avoid reference to an adult female as girl; to women collectively as the distaff side; or the fair sex; to a wife as the little woman; to a female college student as a coed; to an unmarried woman as bachelor girl; spinster; or old maid.

In a folder labeled FRAGMENTARY which is housed in a folder labeled CANADA SEPTEMBER 2002. What was I trying to tell myself? It’s like sifting through someone else’s subconscious.

Overnight Miracles: Suggestions and Plea for Help

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

I have recently been recommended two very fine, very affordable health and beauty aids that have turned me out like no others. Please forgive the Allure magazine content of this post and help me out.

My skin has been a total itchy blotchy mess. Attempts to fix it with every righteously labeled product I could find at Kiehl’s were futile and maybe made it worse. (Tinted Ultra-Moisturizer: Not a good idea, Big K.) I was recommended these two drugstore-available products by friends. No one is secretly slipping me shopping bags full of swag. I am not on Lancome’s secret sample list. YET. (Are you listening, Lancome?)

1. RoC Age Diminishing Moisturizing Night Cream My skin had gotten all red and bumpy and scaly and gross. I thought it was the beginning of the end. Or certainly the beginning of leprosy. This stuff is addictive. It's not too heavy, it actually sloughs of dead skin so you have this (not altogether unpleasant) sensation of molting as you apply it. It gets rid of your red bumpy face that reminds one of the time Ramona and Beezus were served meat with a rough surface that turned out to be tongue. It's turned my life around. I'd be tempted to wear it during the day if I hadn't also acquired RoC SPF 15 Soy Complex daily moisturizer. So far, no new zits. The day moisturizer is thicker and not as fun as the night cream but the red, contour map situation is gone.

Price: $12-$15 at Rite Aid
, a drugstore that has four products on the shelf and this was one of them, so you shouldn’t have a problem. If you have an Amazon Prime situation going on, I’m sure you can get like four for $1 or something.

2. Aveeno Overnight Itch Relief Cream

Did I mention my skin is itchy? Did I mention that I have been known to have trouble falling asleep because it’s so ridiculous? Anne sent me after this Aveeno stuff that is comforting because it’s not even in the regular moisturizer section of the Duane Reade, but the serious medical ointment section, like by the cortisone. The package is a little small for the amount of moisturizing I like to do, but a little goes a long way. No more itching. I can still feel it moisturizing the next day.

Price: $8.99 or was it $10.99?
I think at Duane Reade or your local chain. Worth every penny.

Oh, here’s a bonus tip: The only deodorant that works for me these days is (don’t laugh) Adidas. Yes, Adidas makes deodorant. You don’t want the ladies’ version, you don’t want the spray version (or so I’m told). You want the one that comes in a black or dark grey package that has like treads on the side of the package and is trying to look like the deodorant version of David Beckham. It works. It smells strongly of soap, which I don’t have a problem with. It says it works for 48 hours, which is way too long to go without a shower if you’re me, but it’s kind of like an 18-hour bra, I guess. Who wears a bra for 18 hours straight? Has anyone every actually tried an 18-hour bra? What happens at 18:30? Anyway, Adidas deodorant. I stand buy it. It’s getting hard to find (the Times Square Duane Reade seems to have dropped it from its planogram, which I find absurd). If you see it, buy a case. If it stops working, you can give it out to strangers on the bus.

Now is the time when you help me because I am desperado.

I direct your attention to August 4, 2006 when I originally blogged about the terrible and indestructible Subterranean Homesick Zit:

I don’t get normal acne. I get these weird underground burrowing zits that never come to the surface in any reasonable zittish fashion but stay under the skin and form little planets, little meteorites that never really go away and always hurt. They are sometimes invisible to the naked eye or sometimes they make themselves known as large welts on my face. I never had zits as a teenager and only now in the twilight of my life do I find myself with a recurring situation that is only receptive to cortisone shots from the dermatologist.

1.5 years on, I still get these horrendous welts and I haven’t found anything that cures them or even speeds them on their way. I’m talking deep down in there. These zits are burrowed deep in my musculoskeletal system. I am in search of something extreme I can do to them (can I inject myself with cortisone? I don’t think that’s legal), maybe some overnight unguent that I can apply and at least wake up with them lessened if not eradicated. People, help me. I’ve tried:

  • Ole Henriksen Roll-On Blemish Attack
  • Proactiv Refining Mask
  • Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (that pink stuff)

and countless others.

Hot compress? Done. Benzoyl peroxide? Tried it. Salicylic Acid? Nailed that one shut. Tea tree oil and its byproducts? Please. Help.

Wee Mousie Ensnared

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

This morning, I awoke to find the score had finally been settled: Me: 1, Recent Wee Mousie: 0. As in dead. I caught the dreadful little chump. He’s been tormenting me and avoiding my carefully rigged traps (peanut butter AND cheese!) for weeks. I got him. But something a little disturbing just happened.

Lying in the dark, I swear I just heard something determined and rampaging gallop across my apartment.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a jackrabbit. This was like a crazed herd of buffalo. Or at the very least an angry rodent out for blood. Mine. My blood. Why must I bunk with uninvited guests? Why must the dark be an actually scary place? How is it possible for a mouse to stampede? Was it a horse? Do you think it was a pony? And in the dark, why would it run so fast and loud? I thought they scampered on little mousie feet and made nary a sound! O Wee Mousie, just get the hell out of here already I’m so sick of your crap.

New Year’s Resolution #4

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

I’ve given in to Amazon’s pleas and signed up for my free one-month trial of Amazon Prime, which will give me free 2-day shipping for one month. Hey, Amazon: You scratch my back, I ‘ll scratch yours.

As a gesture of good faith, since I did take you up on your offer, you take me up on mine: You sell 1,000 copies of my book each day in February and I will consider paying the $79/month to continue this 2-day shipping racket you’re running. Sound fair? Okay, fine, 500 copies. That’s nothing. You could sell those in your sleep, Amazon.

In the meantime, I plan to buy everything I would normally buy in a store online for the next month. I’m looking for suggestions. I’ve already decided to order face cleanser, and maybe a microwave. (As much as I try to convince myself I enjoy defrosting stuff on the stove, let’s face it, I hate it.)

How else can I maximize this one precious month of free shipping? What bargains are there to be had for which I would otherwise be overpaying in some brick-and-mortar store in New York where everything is approximately one million times more expensive to begin with? How do I make sure I don’t go off the rails and start profligately buying luxury items or cases of Hamburger Helper just because the shipping is free?

Undecided on Super Tuesday

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

“Here are some comments that I make, every four years or so, when the television networks cut from the end of a presidential debate to a living room full of mysteriously undecided voters: ‘Where do they get these people?” “Who is dumb enough to be undecided this close to an election?” “Do they not read newspapers?’”

— Rebecca Traister, Salon [thx to Lynn for pointing out this smart article]

clinton and obama

One year ago #1:
I asked you who you were voting for. See what you said.

Longtime Chickarina readers won’t be surprised to read that I woke briskly at the [to this night owl] ridiculous hour of 5am today. I defy you to find a civic-duty-lover who can sleep one wink when it is time to vote. If loving voting is wrong I don’t want to be right! If trying to be the first person at the polls to increase my chances of fulfilling a lifelong dream of being in an exit poll is wrong, then you people are crazy. I have been dreaming of this day since my last aborted attempt to participate in a civic duty, which many will recall wistfully as The Terrible Jury Duty Debacle of ‘07.

But here I stew, watching the sun rise over that bullshit slag heap, the Cooper Square Hotel Hostel, which, as every good downtown agitator knows, is but a stone’s throw from the home for the elderly which is also my spiritual home, my Jerusalem-on-the-Bowery: the polling site in the all-linoleum rec room on the first floor. I want so badly to skate over there right now and start a long, gratifying day of voting, but I have been struck with a case of vote fright.

Listen: I tried to volunteer for the Clinton campaign. After some promising telephone conversations that led me to believe that I was needed at any of the 8 campaign HQs in the city and would be called over the weekend to find out where to report to get out the vote on Monday, and if it wouldn’t be too much trouble Tuesday too, not a word. Not a word, Clinton campaign. Yet still you send me emails asking for money. You want my money and my vote, but you can’t get your ground campaign together to press a volunteer into service?

How can I not be moved by that Obama video? How can I not enjoy that the Obama campaign just sent me a handy lookup guide to find my polling spot (as if I didn’t know that already! as if I’m not up here on the balcony playing Juliet to the poetic pleas of the JASA Home for the Elderly’s irresistible Romeo??).

I don’t know. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.

And then it occurs to me: I secretly do know. This could be my last chance. I’m going with my brain. I’m going to vote with my addled, but still reasonable, intellect. Because I’ve had my heart broken too many times on election day. (See: Presidential elections 2000, 2004; mayoral elections 2001, &c.)

One year ago #2: I was in Chicago, starting that book tour. One year later, third printing. And so we continue.