Category Archives: distractions

Grande Dames

Being that today is one in a series of drearily cold, wet days, and everyone could use some cheering up, please accept this gift of Helen Mirren on a motorcycle:

Made a crack, did it? But you’re still glum? How about calling in sick and kicking back on the couch with the DVD version of the sublimely soapy UK costume drama Downton Abbey? I mean, let’s face it, with all this icy mist seeping into your bones, you probably are sick, whether you realize it or not. And Maggie Smith in a swivel chair does wonders for the constitution.

A similar marathon viewing of the BBC’s Cranford did the trick for me. Friends crowded into my living room to feast on ricotta-and-bulgur pancakes and cheer for the lovelorn, careworn citizens of Victorian small-town England. For one day, at least, we could avoid thinking about the clouds scything through Manhattan, chopping off the heads of buildings left and right.

If you’ve missed it up to now, by the way, check out my piece on The headline and subhead made the essay seem much more sensationalist — and anti-gun — than it is, which inflamed some readers. My point, as a commenter late in the game said for me, was to investigate the end-of-life choices made by two men I loved very much. What I realized writing the piece was that, when you watch someone die, you find yourself knowing way too much; and when someone kills himself, you find yourself questioning whether you ever knew him at all.

Anyway, read on, if you dare, and enter the Comments section at your own risk.

The Author According to Her Browser

Me in an alphabetical nutshell, according to my browser:

A is for AstrologyZone. I’m still a Cancer, thank god, since I’m told Geminis are “confusing.”

B is for Babblebook (RIP!), and then, less narcissistic-ally, Brooklyn Public Library

E is myself again.

F is for Facebook, then Flickr. Also “Fake.” How apropos.

G is for Gallup. Obama broke 50% approval again yesterday! Today he was back down to 49%. Still, we’re doing better, guys. Doing better.

H is for Huffington Post. Really? I guess not a lot of sites begin with H.

I is for IMDB

K is for Kickstarter, where Tara Leigh showed us all how it’s done.

M is for Modcloth, where I go to “love” items of clothing I will never buy: 107 of them so far! I can’t help it. How could you not “love” this dress? You’d have to be inhuman, or perhaps allergic to polka dots.

N is for the NYT

O is for OpenSalon, where I had a blog for about five minutes.

P is Pandora and Pajiba, two sites that I think could be friends if they hung out.

Q and R are for nothing and nothing, respectively (fascinating!).

S is for Slate & Salon. Slate is the daddy and Salon is the mommy. Their child would be some kind of hipster who reads The Awl.

T is for Twitter. U and V are disappointments.

W is for Washington Post and Wikipedia, the past and the future.

X takes me to Pajiba again for some reason.

Y is for Yelp. No, there are no good restaurants where I work, but I keep looking anyway.

And Z is for Zappos! Of course it is.

Early Attempts at Conversation

… G-chat style. It’s like watching the first amphibious being crawl out of the muck onto land, look around, sniff the air, and realize that oxygen is AWESOME. Here it is a catalog, inspired by this piece of radical honesty, of Early Gchats.

There is:

The early gchat where you rave about gchat

me: [Friend]?
[Friend]: oh weird. is this the chat function thing? hi!!
me: hi!!
i love gmail
[Friend]: yeah, this is fabulous. what are you up to?
me: i’m watching Gilmore Girls on dvd while lying in bed


The early gchat with the best greeting ever

[Friend 2]: hi hi
bad day
i mean good morning


The early gchat that falls on deaf ears

me: hey, how you doing?
or do you not believe in google chat?


The early gchat that is all about emoticons and not being able to gchat

[Friend 3] watch this: 🙂
me: hey! why didn’t mine do that?
the heart is super cute too: <3
[Friend 3]: the nose! OMG! the heart! i didn’t know that.
me: isn’t it great? i love gmail
so how you doing?
[Friend 3]: i’m a doing ok. you?
i actually was on my way out the door to grocery shop b/4 i missed too much proj. runway–can i call you?
me: oh, sure 🙂


The super-romantic early gchat


me: sorry, were you asking whether I would like to make popcorn?

[boy]: i think so.

me: ah. a misunderstanding
also, what’s this nervousness about the bar? you’re 1.5 years away from having to take it

[boy]: you’re pretty hot.

me: does this count as cyber … ?

[boy]: ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

don’t use that word!

me: why not?

[boy]: groooooooooss

me: doesn’t it turn you on?


[boy]: eeew ew ew ew

me: come cyyyyyyyyyber with me, honeypie

[boy]: ok, FINE, let’s CYBER

me: okay FINE! take off your pants

[boy]: NO!

me: fine!

[boy]: heh

[boy]: so would you like to make popcorn?


My DVD player / VCR conked out while I was cooking. It gagged on and then tried to spit out a video of the Apartment. One thread of film got stuck in its teeth while the rest lolled out like a great black tongue. I guess I should snip the thread and try to extricate the carcass, but what’s the point? For now the movie continues to hang there, suspended from the broken mouth of the VCR, and serve as a fabulous metaphor for life these days.

Over and over again, I pick up a book only to discover it’s about death and have to put it down. Finally, in frustration, I decided to reread the first Harry Potter. HEY, GUESS WHAT THAT’S ABOUT?

I can’t win. Authors, weren’t either of your parents ever seriously ill? Didn’t you ever need solace, comfort, humor, diversion? There are only so many Jane Austen books to reread.

Can anyone recommend something cheerful but still intelligent, please? I was hitting myself in my sleep last night; I woke up sore and sad. And this is just the beginning of what looks like a very difficult fall. My friends have been wonderful, as has Mr. Ben. Now I just need some support from art.

To Distract Us All from the Debate & the Market

What Hipsters Name Their Precious Things

In Prospect Park on Sunday, an adorable little terrier puppy named Zoe kept running over to where my friends and I were sitting and rolling around in our laps and play-biting us and generally giving us acute cases of Cute Overload. Its hipster parents lounged uphill, smoking.

Further away, another pair of hipster parents released their unsteady daughter onto the grass, blowing bubbles at her to encourage her to chase them. In doing so, she toddled over towards us. “Zoe!” I called, just to see what would happen. Surprised, she looked straight at me.

What One Beauty-School Student Said to the Other in the Elevator

“Is our education in waxing going to be theoretical or practical?”

What One Blond Said to the Other in the Deli

“No, lettuce doesn’t have carbs. No, I swear.”

The Most Amazing Coming-Out Scene on Television Ever

Mad Men, Season 2, episode 11. Also, I will continue to love Don Draper no matter how loose his morals, as long as he keeps slapping around Pete Campbell. (Apparently, I am not alone in this.)

What My Co-Worker Made

It only gets funnier as it goes on.