ms. frizzle and the magic school bus halloween costumes.

I love Halloween so much.

So, SO MUCH.

It’s always “a thing” to decide what to be and this year I overheard the friends I went to the finger lakes with a few weeks ago talking about Ms. Frizzle when I was in the bathroom and I was like “Dammit! They’re talking about being Ms. Frizzle for Halloween that’s a great idea WHY DIDNT I THINK OF IT?!” So later I causally brought it up like “what are you guys being for Halloween?” And no one even knew so I guess they were talking about Ms. Frizzle for unrelated reasons so THE COSTUME IDEA WAS MINE.

If you are my age (34) or a little older or a little younger you may recall ms. Frizzle but I also consulted some much younger co-workers and they knew about her so I guess she firmly has her tentacles in our shared cultural consciousness AS SHE SHOULD.

Anyway her whole “thing” was that she had a magic school bus and a pet lizard and she took her class of grade school students on this magic bus and they learned about science and shit. Every adventure was a different scientific lesson. I always loved science but also her outfits so we’re going to talk about how I put this costume together.

Hard at work last night.

I also happily convinced my boyfriend to be the magic school bus (I think he just wants to make jokes all day about me “riding the magic school bus” harharrrr) so we’ll go through his process too.

Ms. Frizzle

I first felt I had to choose a theme for her outfit. I googled some images and I saw a weather one and a magnets one and I think like a zoo one but I was like what do I already HAVE that could apply to this outfit? And then I was like omg yeah those random ass dinosaur earrings I bought at the Jersey City All About Downtown festival for no apparent reason a few weeks ago. I mean I love them and have worn them on normal days don’t get me wrong but they can ALSO be applied to this costume.

These are them.

So I was like okay I will do dinosaurs! And I can make them out of felt and attach them somehow to a plain dress! Woo!

I got a plain gray dress from ASOS for like $9. Boom.

But I’m not artistic so I was like I really can probably only make a Brontosaurus and MAYBE a TRex on my own without just buying premade dinosaur shapes and smacking them on there so I thought about ways I could EXPAND THE THEME and then I thought of that part in Fantasia when it’s the dinosaurs hanging out but then all that shitty stuff that happened to the dinosaurs starts to happen and then they die and I was like OMG THE SHITTY STUFF! I WILL INCLUDE THE SHITTY STUFF!

So into my head comes like volcanoes, meteors, etc, but then I’m thinking I’ll also make some prehistoric plants to add more color. Lovin’ it.

Volcanoes!

Okok so then I go to Michael’s on 6th Ave one day during my lunch break and this place is yet another black hole of shit I want to buy and I really can’t control myself but there are so many colors and fun things and I can’t control myself.

So I’m looking for the aisle with the felt and I find the aisle with the felt and there is SO MUCH FELT and also an employee VERY DELIBERATELY SORTING THE FELT but I don’t care because my brain wheels are spinning with all these colors and inspirations.

FELT!

There is felt and there is also foamy stuff I don’t know what it’s called but it’s foamy maybe it’s called foam. Or “foam board” would make sense. So the foam board they have in regs colors but also in GLITTER COLORS, what?!

Then there are pipe cleaners, googly eyes, little pouf ball things of various shapes and sizes, all kinds of shit. I mean like GET ME OUT OF HERE.

I don’t even know what I would use this for but I can’t wait to find out.

I selected some glitter and non glitter red, yellow, brown, green, and orange foam, and some green felt. I also got red and orange pipe cleaners to be meteor tails, and green pipe cleaners to be part of the plants.

Glittery stuff I didn’t get but wish I did.

Googly eyes also ended up in my bag because I am obsessed with them and like to see them on inanimate objects and will giggle for hours about it but that’s a story for another day.

GOOGLIES!

So I brought this haul home and got to work! I cut out the foam and felt into shapes that I made into meteors, volcanoes, plants, and dinosaurs. I glued some of the different shapes together with a hot glue gun, then I ran out of hot glue and my boyfriend’s roomie was kind enough to give me super glue she had laying around so I could glue the rest, then I pinned them to the dress. Then I added the pipe cleaners and googly eyes for flair. Then I didn’t like the pipe cleaners sticking out so I took them away and added more sparkle foam instead.

Supplies ready to go.

Here’s a time lapse of me just CRAFTING IT OUT.

Then the crafty part was done and it was time to go to bed.

The Magic School Bus

For the magic school bus he took a large box and a small box. He spray painted the boxes white first to hide the writing on them (they were leftover boxes that packages came in), then spray painted them yellow and added school bus accents with black paint.

Spray painting boxes under cover of darkness.

He also got black letters at Target to spell out “School Bus” on the smaller box. Actually I’m not going to lie for the sake of storytelling, I got the letters. And the spray paint. Do you know they keep spray paint in a cage at Home Depot?! It’s trapped! You need assistance to get it out. But they left the cage unlocked this time so I just grabbed it but then the lady at self checkout still asked me for my birthday.

School bus supplies.

So the bus was a bit simpler but he’ll be wearing the larger box over his body and the small box on his head and black clothes underneath and that’s that.

Almost finished boxes.

So that’s how we made them but I’m not going to show the final results until later today and/or tomorrow. Hope we see you at Ghost of Uncle Joe’s WE ARE SO PUMPED.

day off touristing.

Yesterday I had a day off and I went touristing in NYC.

Those in the know, know that touristing on the weekends in NYC is a nightmare because everyone else in the LITERAL WORLD is touristing in NYC on the weekends so you have to be responsible and efficient and tourist when you have a random weekday off it’s the only way.

There are still tourists from the rest of the world crawling all over the place and they’re annoying as hell and they all have like SUPER EXPENSIVE sneakers and bags and it’s like WTF where do these people get this money to tourist in NYC and wear expensive shit and get in my way? But I digress.

Yesterday I was on the island of Manhattan to get my nails done and I was like “oh I’m gonna tourist! I’m gonna go to a museum!” And my first thought was to go look at the Basquiat stuff at the Guggenheim because I didn’t know about Basquiat before, but a few months ago I watched that movie where Bernard from Westworld was Basquiat and David Bowie played Warhol and I was like “OMG THE COLORS!” And then I became an instant Basquiat head. It was that fast. The colors!

Also the last time I went to the Guggenheim I was with my college boyfriend and just like everyone’s college boyfriend he was a total emotionally abusive dick the whole time and made me cry. Your college boyfriend DIDN’T do that? Oh. Weird.

But I really wanted to go to the Guggenheim and have fun memories with myself and bask in Basquiat’s brilliance and I was really looking forward to it but while I was getting my nails done on the Lower East Side I was like well shit the Guggenheim is like, ABOVE 23rd Street (I rarely go above 23rd St) and it is like, not just north, but BY CENTRAL PARK north so maybe I can’t go there.

So opened up the map and I was like what museums are by here and I saw the Tenement Museum and the New Museum and I was like oh I haven’t been to the new museum in a while and that was fun last time New Museum it is!

I should have gone to the Tenement Museum but I’ll tell you about the New Museum since we’re here and I went.

First of all they only had two floors open. And I willingly accepted this, they were very up front and told me as I arrived that only two floors were open. And I was like “well I’m here! Let’s NEW this!”

So the dude and gal at the counter, as is tradition in NYC and at 95% of art establishments, were not very friendly. Not very friendly at all. They kind of just started at me as I asked questions, or asked what the heck I was supposed to do. I didn’t know how much to pay because they said it was by donation and I was like I don’t know how much to pay for this shit you tell me. And then they just stared. Then stared a bit more. Then finally told me $5. Thanks for nothing. Then I tried to walk into the thing and the security gatekeeper man was like “no backpacks you have to check it” and I was like okay but there is no one at the coat check and I just stood there for like 5 minutes and people working here but not currently working at the coat check just stared at me smugly without alerting anyone and tumbleweeds blew through the door of the coat check because no one has been assisted in checking their belongings in decades and I don’t know what to tell you. I was that annoyed. I don’t know why but I was really wound up. So then I went BACK to the desk with the unhelpful gal and dude and the dude slowlyyyy meanderrrrred overrrr to the coat check and I was like okay I’m trying to look at some freakin art over here let’s get a move on you guys. I mean maybe they were just exhausted by the tourists wearing the expensive shit. I know I was.

So finally I got in the elevator and rode up and looked at art and what follows is the first person account of what I saw.

Hans Haacke

The elevator door opened and there was a lot of wind and white noise because there were a bunch of fans involved in this exhibit.

The first thing I noticed that I liked was a piece called “Blue Sail” which was like a weighted blue sheet hanging over a single oscillating fan and as the fan moved around it blew the sheet and I looked like a wave. Visually I really liked this and the sound of fans calms me (I sleep with one on every night) so this was enjoyable. Thank you, Hans Haacke.

Next fav thing was this mound of dirt with grass growing on it called “Grass Grows.” Grass does, in fact, grow, because apparently this dude got the dirt and put it somewhere and put grass seed in it and then it grew. I don’t really know but it was a pretty pop of nature in the gallery and I was into it.

I then walked into a room that had a bunch of pictures of addresses in NYC and pictures of the homes at those addresses and they were organized in a kind of timeline around the room.

I walked around a little and tried to figure out what it meant. Or like…the why. I noticed that the addresses traveled from north to south down Manhattan as I walked from left to right and I was like ok still but why?

Then I was like I can’t wait til these numbers get to 23rd st and below so I can see if I recognize anything please play the one we know.

And finally I came across some art guidance! I don’t know about you but I always need art guidance to really appreciate art. Like someone always has to tell me what it means. I’m not always able to figure out what it means to ME.

So this guidance said that one day the artist had a thing and he asked all the people that came to the thing to put a blue dot on where they lived currently and a red dot on where they were born on a map of Manhattan and also the other boroughs. Not the 6th borough of Jersey City though that was offensively not included and I almost burned the place down.

So after they marked out their current homes and birthplaces he went to around those places and took pics of each, then spread them out from north to south along this timeline, and it showed where most of the people that came to his art thing lived. And it was cool/weird/funny because not many of those people lived above 23rd St! It was a thing! I felt seen!

JK there were quite a few on the Upper West Side but besides that it wasn’t that plentiful. It was interesting. And I was glad I solved what it was about with some art guidance and I enjoyed it.

Next I came across “Ice Stick” which I found odd and didn’t really get. NEXT!

Uh…cool.

Last was “Wide White Flow” and it was more sheets and fans and blowing and I thought it was cool but I liked the blue one better BECAUSE COLORS.

Carmen Argote

Then I went back downstairs to see work by Carmen Argote and came across THE most important takeaway from this museum visit. There is an app called “gesso” that has art guidance and other types of museum guidance ON IT. You just get the app and tell it your location and it’s like oh cool you’re in so and so museum here is some GUIDANCE. So as I looked at Carmen Argote’s art I listened to her talking on the app about how she made the art and it was very cool supplemental info.

Brown and…brown.

The supplemental info actually MADE the whole thing because I was bored by the art. I’m sorry, it wasn’t enough colors. It was like browns and more muted reds. Not really my style but that’s okay. In the art guidance she spoke about how she painted it on the floor and then hung it up so that made it seem cooler. Then I eavesdropped on a tour and the tour guide pointed out how the artist had used her feet to make something and I was like whoa! That part was cool. Other than that I needed more colors so I realized it was time to move on.

This one was almost colorful.

Pretty often when I go to museums I realize that I really like the gift shop/bookstore/merch booth better than most of the stuff in the museum itself and this was true here as well. Again…COLORS! And also books. Love books.

Stuff to buy!

Anyway, that was my day of tourism. Slightly underwhelming. Actually very underwhelming I’m sorry I’ll do better next time.

Do you like the New Museum? When was the last time you’ve been? Is viewing art in NYC less fun because the people are more smug? Yes. It is. Do you like touristing on your days off? Can you tell me better places to go? Thx bye.

jersey city oddities market.

If you’re a fan of the odd and a fan of those that are fans of the odd and also odd themselves you will love the Jersey City Oddities Market. I never met a skeleton of any species I didn’t like and this market takes it to the next level with taxidermy and old creepy biology charts and other fun things that glow in the dark and/or go bump in the night.

Full disclosure I would say I’m probably just odd in the normal way that most people are a little odd, I wouldn’t consider myself goth or a horror movie buff or anything like that so I just want you to know that I’m not posing as one or trying to be one here and I will leave that to the professionals of which I encountered many yesterday and which I admire and respect especially during this season of spooky. I salute you.

We attended this exhibition of oddities last year in October when it was held at the Harsimus Cemetery, hallowed home of grass eating goats, Pushing Up the Daisies, and most famously Ghost of Uncle Joe’s (can you tell I’m getting PUMPED AF for Ghost of Uncle Joe’s this coming weekend?! BE THERE). This year it was held at Harborside and there were so many vendors! I don’t know how they did it at the cemetery last year but there wouldn’t have been room this year which was pretty cool, to have so many spooky creepy scary vendors ready to get spooky, creepy and scary.

Ceiling so high you’ll lose a balloon 😦

They had a bar and everything set up thanks to The Lutze, and most of the business at Harborside are closed on Sunday but Modcup was open and saved my boyfriend’s life because I would have murdered him and the market would have had a 6’4” human male skeleton to add to their collection if he continued to exist in my presence while not caffeinated. Thank you Modcup.

My biggest goal while attending this market was to get some early Xmas gifts for my nephew. This is my second year of gradually collecting Xmas gifts as the months go by instead of saving it all for December and stressing myself the F out and turning into a terrifying Scrooge/Grinch/Abominable Snow Monster with a toothache hybrid and I feel like it’s really paying off and working well and I’m glad.

I got him a cement baby doll head from Reimagined Empire because he already loves removing his sister’s baby dolls’ heads (don’t worry he very considerately asks permission first) and putting them out in his mom’s garden (as ART, OBVI) but this cute but creepy little cement baby doll head has an open top so he could feasibly plant a garden INSIDE of it or out whatever else he wants inside of it and I think he’ll love it. Oh man maybe I should have gotten two.

I also got him a cool glow in the dark magnet of a skeleton face from Glowmania. This guy had all kinds of cool glow in the dark magnets and other kinds of glow in the dark stuff like paintings of creepy characters like the ghost dog from Nightmare Before Christmas and other creepy friends we know and love. How many times can I say “creepy” in one post?

I really like the concept of old medical stuff being kind of spooky but in addition to being spooky also being artistic because it is. The whole idea that medicine wasn’t really figured out not very long ago and they did all kinds of freaky experiments that would probably not be approved by today’s standards and they made drawings of it all and people were probably alive and not numbed enough and screaming but they figured some shit out is really cool. A few vendors had a lot of old autopsy drawings and pages from old anatomy books that I was super into.

Two headed duckling?! Scorpion?! Haunted camera?!

The prettiest thing I saw there were these headbands made from rabbit ears by Lonely Bones Jewelry. They were creepy pretty and I’m not big on taxidermy so I don’t know that I would wear them BUT they were made from ears from rabbits that were already killed and being used for food so as not to allow the ears to go to waste and I thought that was great. And I like the flowers that accompany the ears so they’re like you’re a rabbit wearing a flower crown. I don’t know why I feel like I have to justify this but I really liked them so that’s it.

I also really enjoyed this table of delights from Mutantland, Hissy Fit, and Midge Blitz.

Weird NJ had a table there, and I always love checking out their stuff and reading their stories because it SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF ME to think about all of the things in NJ that are weird and/or haunted but in a GOOD WAY.

Inexplicably, this toad trick or treating.

Also inexplicably, these casual Tupperware containers filled with bones of small animals.

As always I found some clothes to try on and that happened at ADHD Driven’s table/booth. Would we call this a table or a booth? Or something else? I’m confused. Anyway she had some very super cool hand dyed vintage denim and I was ON BOARD.

She graciously allowed me to traverse the full distance of the Harborside space with her merchandise to go to the bathroom and try some jeans on, but sadly neither fit. AND I WAS SO SAD. But then she let me know if I follow her on Instagram and tell her my most loved size/fit of jeans she will look for them when she is looking for jeans to dye and then those can be mine! SO I WILL.

I’ve seen her stuff around the Internet from other folks that like to shop for clothes in Jersey City and I had never seen it in person and this weekend I saw her in person out there in the JC world selling cool shit two days in a row and it was badass.

Lastly…I ATE BUGS! I already wasn’t really feeling well yesterday so I figured WHY NOT I AM ALREADY HERE LET’S EAT SOME BUGS. Liberty Science Center, one of my most fav locations in JC, had a booth about eating bugs and all of the food made of bugs was just laid out.

I ate some of these bugs.

So I picked based on flavor (duh) and chose the Coconut Brittle Bugitos and as I was chewing I asked the lady what bug they were and she was like “Maggots!” And I almost barfed right there but then I asked to look at the bag at the ingredients and it listed the more refined than maggots ingredient of “mealworms” (which are the larvae of a certain kind of beetle and therefore I guess at the same phase of life as maggots) and then I felt okay about it. Semantics are important, people! I do think she may have just been trying to creep me out, in the spirit of the market. And I appreciate that, her giving me the full experience. So then I told her how my chickens love mealworms (they seriously lose their minds when they see a bag of them, and they have VERY GOOD EYESIGHT so they know EXACTLY what is inside that bag) and I was glad to share this culinary experience with them because I love them (I love them so much). And then she said “Bugs are the protein of the future!” And that was that.

What do you think of the Jersey City Oddities Market? Have you been? It’s cool! They’re doing it again on 12/8/19! Check it out…IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU MWAHAHAHAHA SPOOOOOKYYYY.

leXX has a bday, celebrate leXX.

61 years ago TODAY leXX was born somewhere outside of Baltimore and just like crabs and ravens (the birds NOT the football team DO NOT EVEN TELL LEXX that you thought for a SECOND that I meant the football team), and John Waters he should be RESPECTED as a native son of the Charm City or at the very least the Chesapeake Bay State. “Isn’t leXX from Flemington, NJ?!” you may ask. Well yes he moved there when he was 12 or something and we have home movies of him on a European Tourrrr around that same time but his Maryland accent survives to this day when he says words like “wash,” “drawer,” or even the very word “Baltimore.” Go ahead, ask him to say it. NO I cannot do an impression for you, I’m terrible at accents.

LeXX most enjoys chocolate and other foods of a very sweet variety and can be seen frequently ordering “ten pumps of mocha and a turbo shot” added to any beverage he purchases at Dunkin Donuts. LeXX had never eaten a vegetable until Joy made him when he was like 32 years old. I respect his commitment to eating M&M’s by the handful at any and all times of day and his ability to pass this habit along to at least two of his children and both of his grandchildren.

LeXX never wears pants. DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO ANYONE? SOME OF US DON’T LIKE PANTS OKAY. LeXX wears shorts during all seasons and all weather except for in the summer when he has to go to work and “crawl around in attics” and “work with insulation materials,” which I think have LITERAL GLASS IN THEM, and it would be foolish to not wear long pants to protect his leg skin. LeXX shovels snow in shorts and the people stop to stare. Joy says LeXX wears shorts for attention but MAYBE HIS LEGS ARE HOT.

Also for attention LeXX used to have long wild hair. There is 100% a photograph of LeXX getting said hair permed in a friend’s living room in Lambertville at some point in the late 80s. I may also have a memory of being there but it could have been one I invented just from studying the photograph as a kid. I think I have a lot of memories I simply invented. I wasn’t home to find this photograph for this post. Anyway once LeXX fell victim to the steady march of time and lost his hair he started wearing and collecting what I will refer to as statement hats. And now in a post statement hat era he has started to become very interested in funny patterned socks. Joy supports both the statement hats and funny patterned socks more than she ever supported the long hair.

Halloween!

As kids we thought of LeXX as Joy’s 4th child, because she would always joke to people “I have 4 children.” LeXX would ride our bikes into the resort pool while we were on vacation and stand up dangerously on roller coasters and waterslides and jump around and yell excitedly and jump into the ocean and always get very tan. He would throw us around but in a fun way because little kids like to get thrown around.

Hangin.

I hate sports and games and I was born hating sports and games but LeXX made me play sports as a kid and I’m glad he did because it wasn’t THAT bad and if I wasn’t forced to try at least some sport I would have just stayed inside and read books all day and never spoken to anyone. LeXX often coached us in the sports so I didn’t have to worry about dealing with someone else’s dad telling me how to do the sports and I just had to hear it from LeXX who I had already heard it from so that made me feel better about the whole thing. I enjoyed gymnastics which I chose on my own but that was also more solitary and I had to learn team bullshit somehow. I also went through a period of a couple of years where I was super into running/track and field and I don’t know where the heck that came from but LeXX would run beside me and cheer me on when I did races and a few times I won and it was badass. Don’t ask me to play sports now though. I paid my dues.

A LeXX bday of the last. Please note pumpkin w/ scary eyebrows.

LeXX always told me and continues to tell me that I can do things on my own and I shouldn’t ask other people to do them for me. This is why I do things on my own and don’t ask other people to do them for me. As a princess-y girly kind of little girl I once said “I don’t have to know how to do this, when I grow up my husband will do it for me,” and LeXX said “I wouldn’t count on it.” And I think LeXX had a crystal ball because I am 34 years old and I do not have a husband to do things for me but I CAN do all of those things on my very own or with the help of a YouTube video or with the help of a step by step text message written by LeXX. Personally I think a lot of people need to be more self sufficient and I get super annoyed when I see anyone acting helpless but maybe that’s my own issue i need to work on.

Disney World

LeXX doesn’t like to stop. LeXX will continue to do shit and go to work even if he is very sick and he will never rest until he falls over. LeXX gets pneumonia all the time, in my mind he gets it every year, because what starts as a cold turns into pneumonia because LeXX thinks self care is for pussies. I swear he said that. Sometimes I think LeXX needs to calm down and take a little break already.

The long hair!

LeXX really, REALLY likes classic rock and he likes to listen to it and to quiz those around him regarding the artists, song titles, album, names, and meaning of certain lyrics. You can try to know as much as him but you won’t. You can try to know as much as me but you won’t be able to do that either. I’ve had a full lifetime under his tutelage. He loves ZZ Top and Elton John and will watch ZZ Top YouTube videos or listen to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and sing and explain every song for literal hours. Sometimes he does both of these in one evening and I like to think of that as “LeXX’s Greatest Hits.”

Worked too hard.

Recently I had really bad heartburn for the first time and thought I was having a heart attack so started to have a panic attack and then I ate 10 tums but then I couldn’t catch my breath and got more panicked and ran downstairs and said “PARENTS!” luckily I was at their house and not my own house and then I projectile vomited and LeXX was like “WHAT DID YOU TAKE?!” like the part in Almost Famous where Penny Lane takes the quaaludes at the hotel in NYC and I was like “TEN TUMS” and he was like “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?! ARE YOU INSANE?!” But then I calmed down and it was okay.

LeXX works very, very hard but he also has fun and I think he has pride in his ability to work hard and play hard. I would be proud if I was him.

Today is a day to celebrate LeXX! Let it be so! Send him birthday wishes if you know him. If you don’t know him, it’s time you do. I wish him a happy day of chocolate and sports and hanging out with his new best chicken friends. Love you LeXX!

JaneDO Flatiron opening.

Hello good day, happy Friday. I’m tired AF so I’m going to do a quick little one today but it’s about something very fun so I hope you’re on board.

As you know JaneDO is one of my top 5 fav workouts as mentioned here, and last night JaneDO had their Flatiron location opening celebraish and it was certainly wonderful. The Truly flowed freely, Fields Good Chicken gave out delish dinner foods AND $15 coupons, Dough donuts were presented beautifully, and I think maybe people also took some fitness classes but I had already taken mine in the morning so I was there for fun only. JK the classes are also very fun but you know what I mean.

Truly. TRULY.
Fields Good Chicken – was good!
Doughnuts.
Doughnuts and wishes. JK doughnuts ARE wishes.

The people taking class looked like they were having a great time as I creepily watched in my street clothes. I observed a Dance Your A$$ Off class which is not my fav because I don’t like cardio much but it looked like there were some new fun dances since the last time I took it (probably like a year ago) so maybe I should go back and try again just for kicks. I do like when there are kicks in the dances, I have an okay kick that I feel proud of. And that has value.

Their new Flatiron studio is great, it has big windows that look out over 23rd street and I love how the light comes in during class in the morning. That sounds corny as hell but I’m pretty much 100% reptile when it comes to the sun so a sunlit room is everything I’ve ever wanted. It also has an awesome locker room with wall paper of the great and notorious SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBERG, PLZ HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE. JK PLZ APPLAUD AS MUCH AS YOU SEE FIT WHICH SHOULD BE A LOT.

Me w/RBG
Sunlight, yissssssss (like how a snake would hiss, GET IT?!)

Anyway, it was fun to celebrate their opening and I’m very proud of them and I had some time to catch up with my good pal Kitty and then randomly someone from my high school was in the locker room and works out there too so that was weird but weird in a good way like “why is the world so small I don’t know but I like it because there is comfort in that.”

Me w/ Kitty

That’s all I got for today as I said I’m tired. You should check out JaneDO if you ever find yourself in NYC’s Flatiron neighborhood though! I have guest passes LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO TRY YOU GUYS.

flu shot season is here, rejoice.

Medicine is my god.

I love all medicines. I will take any medicine that is given to me and I will follow the instructions and maybe I’ll take like a LITTLE BIT more if my symptoms are really bad because I’m also a doctor so I feel okay prescribing myself a little extra medicine. JK I’m not a doctor but I should be. My point is I will never refuse a medicine. I feel fully confident that it will heal me and any side effects it may cause will never be worse than the actual ailment.

I have a very intense aversion to people that are like, “look at me, I’m so tough but also holistic and I don’t need medicine to feel better I just need to take deep breaths and drink water and look at unicorns to cure this cold.” It’s like, get over yourself. Just like with anything else you can do what you want with your body and I will allow it but I will NOT stand by silently while you act smug AF about not taking Advil. I’m sorry. You don’t get a trophy. Bye. Still drink the water though. Hydration nation.

Have you heard of Vioxx? You probably haven’t. This was a miracle drug. It was a pain killer but it was pre doctors throwing opiates at you for everything so I’m not even sure how it even worked and I guess I’ll google it right now but it was prescribed to me in high school because I would get The Worst Cramps of All Time (TM) (these cramps were MENSTRUAL, gentlemen) and it was the only thing that would help out of all the things. I used to miss like, full days of school (I still had to go to cheerleading practice though, holler if ya hear me) because I was in a great deal of pain. I would pace around my room and just scream. The more I live life the more I understand how in olden times before modern medicines women were throwing themselves off cliffs into the sea all the time. There was literally nothing that could help them feel better besides the deep dark deathly depths of the sea and that is frightening to imagine.

Anyway they cancelled Vioxx because it gave people heart attacks or some shit and I was like well it never gave ME a heart attack so what’s the problem here? And this was before the golden age of finding shit you need on the internet and maybe that was a good thing because I would have found that Vioxx and taken that Vioxx until my heart failed because it was just too good.

Anyway again, my mind started on this path because I went to get a flu shot today. Woo! Flu shot! Oh you don’t get a flu shot? Well that’s okay that’s your decish, let’s talk about this other thing then- oh, oh okay you’re going to ELABORATE ON WHY YOU DON’T get a flu shot because it’s some GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY and it’s also going to GIVE YOU THE FULL ON FLU and like WHY ARE ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES MAKING IT FREE, SOMETHING MUST BE UP?! PANIC!

Okay. Everyone calm down. As usual I can only speak from personal experience and I have done zero peer reviewed studies about this but I think the flu shot is fine. It’s just fine. I’ve been getting them for 10 years. Because 11 years ago in the winter I got the flu and I was delirious and half dead for at least a week and I didn’t even know what day it was and I built a blanket fort in my living room in some kind of fevered hallucinogenic state and I don’t even REMEMBER DOING THAT and my dad found me there. I thought I was going to die. I have never been so close to death. I cannot handle the flu again. I CANNOT RISK IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

In the New York metro area everyone is constantly coughing on you, sneezing on you, BREATHING on you, and doing disgusting bullshit like spitting on the ground. We need to defend ourselves.

I started getting flu shots when I worked at MTV and they were like $5 and you KNOW none of us freelance folks had health insurance so THAT line was out the door of the conference room and down the hall, and now I get them at Duane Reade because they are free with my insurance. And free is beautiful. If I haven’t mentioned that already.

Duane Reade and its big sister Walgreens and CVS and RiteAid have all been repping the flu shot HARD since the end of August. Is the end of August too soon? It might be but I don’t know. When I asked they said “no” so I’m gonna go with that.

NOW MEANS RIGHT NOW!

So this morning I went and everyone was friendly and I filled out a form and it moved along quickly AND IT WAS FREE SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

I also mentioned to the shot giver that my doctor keeps telling me to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and I keep meaning to. The last time I told a shot giver at Duane Reade I wanted a Hepatitis A shot she said “you don’t need a Hep A shot unless you’re having sex with Europeans” and I was like BITCH YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE. But this young male shot giver was much kinder and asked if I was traveling and was that why I was getting it now? To which I replied, “no I’m getting this now because I want to write about it in my blog today!” Because I thought he was talking about the flu shot. So after he shot me up I awkwardly found my way out while sweating in shame.

Private health room? SEXY.

But now I am FULLY vaccinated for whatever flu they have estimated to be the main flu this year. And that’s a good feeling. I’m a flu fighter y’all.

Fighting the good fight.

I haven’t gotten the flu for 10 years. 10 full years of a flu free lifestyle. Sure I’ve gotten colds, I’ve gotten things where I barfed, maybe had some “flu like symptoms” but none of them were the straight up DEATH I experienced in 2009. If this living death can be avoided why not avoid it?

Of course my arm is sore. That’s what happens when you get shots. It’s a thing. Deal with it. Have any of you gotten Gardasil, the “HPV shot” the shot that protects against ACTUAL LITERAL CANCER. THIS IS A SHOT THAT PREVENTS STRAIGHT UP CANCER YOU BETTER BE EXCITED. Have some RESPECT in Gardasil’s presence, dammit! My point is that particular shot hurt REAL BAD and it was a series of 3. But I RAN to Hurtado Health Center for each of the 3 rounds of this shot and asked no questions because it PREVENTS CANCER. I felt that receiving this beautiful medicine ordained by science into my body was an honor and a privilege. Maybe I should have asked questions, you should always ask questions, but luckily this time it worked out.

This whole anti vaccine movement thing is super terrifying to me. I can see how, from their side, a comparison could be made to something like abortion, their bodies their choice, right? Or like, their kids’ bodies but their choice until the kids are old enough to make a choice. Which seems like a good argument in theory (you almost got me with that one!) but vaccines work so well and so many diseases have (had?) been eradicated because of a little something called herd immunity. The majority of us need to get vaccinated for this scientific concept to work and if more and more people are starting to cop out it’s eventually going to STOP WORKING. I know a big argument against me is like “you don’t have kids so you don’t know” but I do have kids that are related to me that I care a lot about and I worry about them when they’re sick and I’m relieved their parents aren’t anti vaxxers is all I’m saying. That shit is ridiculous.

In conclusion, stay healthy in the best ways you know how. I think that’s fine. Stay happy too.

Do you get a flu shot? Why do you think they’re important? When do you usually get it? When is too late? When is too early? If you don’t get one I don’t want to hear about it. That’s not what this is about.

JCAST 2019

I’d like to begin by saying I know nothing about art. I’m not an artist, I didn’t take that Art History 101 class that everyone else took freshmen year at Rutgers, I don’t have it in my budget to be a collector of art at this point beyond some prints and stickers of said art, etc. But I do love to be around some art and look at it and maybe talk to some random super stoned guy with long hair next to me about it and also to support galleries of folks I think are great with my presence and my social media. If that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.

There’s a word I first heard/thought about/pondered just a few months ago and that word is “democratize.” I went to a writing “salon” (Novella plz come back I miss you I’m begging you) and the speaker Harling Ross, of Man Repeller fame, was praising Instagram and saying that it has “democratized fashion” and my head exploded right there and I had to scrape pieces of my brain off the ceiling at the Lively underwear store because yes that is exactly what Instagram has done and I am fully pumped and fully on board.

I think that Instagram has also democratized art, but I think that art is pretty democratized on its own in Jersey City. Maybe Instagram helps but it seems like the Jersey City art world was pretty open/fun/friendly even before that. Like, these people are pumped AF about art but also they’re not dicks about it. People are welcoming, inviting, friendly, excited to share their thoughts/stories/ideas/motivations but they’re definitely not condescending “art people” as I would have understood “art people” to be before I started to check this stuff out around the town.

You may or may not know that I am a very awkward and anxious person and sometimes I’m good at hiding it but always in my head I struggle with feeling “cool” or like “worthy of peoples time/consideration” so going to art shows has always caused me a lot of stress because everyone is going to have something insightful to say and I’m just gonna be like “I love the bright colors! And the textures!” Because, in fact, I DO love the bright colors and the textures, but in the past that was sometimes lame/not okay or at least I was made to feel that way but MY POINT IS I have never been made to feel that way in Jersey City and there’s another reason to add to the top of the huge pile of reasons I am in love/obsessed/forever grateful for this land I call home.

ANYWAY this past weekend was the Jersey City Art and Studio Tour and it was super great and I’m going to tell you a little bit about my personal experience with it and I took a lot of notes so I’ll try to get my facts straight but again I am no expert and this is just personal reflection (please find me worthy of your time and consideration I am begging you).

Opening night

First up was opening night! Woo! It was held in a large cement looking space at 2 Shore Lane in the Newport neighborhood of JC, the “Shorehouse.” WTF is the Shorehouse you may ask? Well that’s funny because we were all asking that too and everyone got lost on the way there and there was mass confusion and maybe a few almost breakups of friends and lovers happened because of it. I’m saying just maybe that happened.

Opening night lewk.

I’m not sure why they chose this location and I’m sure there is a good reason, but when we saw it was (vaguely) in what we would affectionately call the “nerdy part of town” we were like why the heck?

Once we found the place and walked in and wiped the sweat from our brows and eventually found each other, it was good times! They had drinks for sale at reasonable prices and free snackies (I’m going to keep using “snackies” and can’t be stopped. I’m sorry). I personally saw some very good looking cupcakes but was steered away out of my boyfriend’s own self interest. <glares at boyfriend>

The art I liked best were these flamingos by Britt Ford because I am 100% obsessed with flamingos and I know they’re like a “thing” right now but I have always been obsessed with them. Just like owls when they became a “thing,” I had already proven my allegiance to owls for many years. I just need you to know that. If it’s a bird I have been obsessed with it and it has been a “thing” to me since birth. Birds are mine. Bye.

Also I AM a flamingo.

Also bird related, I loved this pigeon with a spray paint can head by Will Power. Pigeons need more respect and that will be explored fully someday in another post. Get excited.

#respectpigeons

There was a spaceman thing by Erin Ko Studios that had a cool interactive thing that if you looked at it with their app a FREAKIN WHALE SWAM OUT OF IT and it was badass. Art and technology together make beautiful art-technology babies, it’s true. I didn’t get to take a pic or a vid with their app but I still really liked the space…people. Sorry I said man up there. Ugh I’m terrible.

There was a ton of great art there but I came across this child’s drawing below in a guest book and I was really excited about it, specifically the alligator and giraffe. A budding artistic genius! GET IT, BRENDAN.

GET IT, BRENDAN.

I went home early and didn’t drink because I’m living a new lifestyle where I try not to feel like shit during the week and it’s really working out for me thanks for asking.

Deep Space

When Friday night came we went first to Deep Space.

Deep Space is my fav and I have gone there the most often in regular life, not just for this studio tour, and I will continue going in perpetuity as long as they will have me. They have fun new openings every few weeks and also closings and also you can go there any time (I’m pretty sure) and shop their art and vintage clothes and records and other trinkets and treasures. They also have a roof you can stand on and look at the world and now there’s a light sculpture on it by Sunil Garg so that takes it to an even higher plane of excellence.

Rooftop light sculpture!

I went on Friday night for the opening of RU8ICON1, and Scott Free was DJing, and later on Ian Kenselaar played some music and it was a full on artistic experience and I loved every minute.

My fav piece of art by RU8ICON1 was this and if you know me you know that I don’t need to explain WHY but after I stood and looked at it for a minute I had to stoop down and mop up the puddle of drool I left on the floor…

I’d never say “see ya later”…boy. (heart eyes emoji)

One of the things I really like that they do there is keep around the art from past shows and put it on display and for sale in the shop part and when I see it there it gives me happy memories from shows past and someday when it’s in my budge to buy arts it may even be soon enough from now that I can buy one of these arts from a show I enjoyed so much, a girl can dream.

Overall Deep Space is a fun, relaxed, welcoming place and they’re excited to see anyone and everyone there, even if you just come to hang and commune with art and artists. The folks in charge there are in the most recent issue of Eighty Mag and I think they just look so damn cool and like badass art bosses on the cover and I couldn’t be more proud.

Go to Deep Space if you know what’s good for you.

Six Columns

Six Columns is home base of Norm Kirby and if you like to casually peek at art in Jersey City you may know it’s him I’m referring to if I tell you “he’s the fence art guy.” All around the town, seriously all around, not just in the expected places, and Jersey City is huge, there is like a silk tape material, I think that’s what it is, woven into fences to make different designs, people, animals, buildings, quotes and song lyrics, all kinds of stuff. I love it.

From last fall, yet seasonally appropriate.

There wasn’t much of that at this particular show because it was inside and not on fences around the town but I did see a photo or two of the fence things and I was like, “Hey! The fence things!”

He also makes drawings of places around the town and I love those but I didn’t see any at this one. But here are some from the last show I went to.

Drawings of Storm King and Ghost of Uncle Joe’s…two of the BEST THINGS IN THE WORLD.

Finally, he makes these wire figures in frames that are super cool and I saw some in the bathroom but I didn’t take a pic but here’s a pic from another of his shows.

Miss New Booty. JK that’s not what it’s called.

In addition to Norm’s work there were some photos by the gal known as @queenmary_no_no on Instagram, her debut! She was proud/amused to recall that one of the photos was a picture she had taken that got zero likes on Instagram when she posted it long ago. It was a nice lush green summery picture and I was appalled no one noticed it on social media but now it is ART and hangs in a GALLERY. SO THERE

Blaze has some art there too and I didn’t get a good pic but I always like his stuff because anything made with a 3D printer blows my mind because it’s like there was nothing filling that space in the world and then you just make it on a computer and PRINT IT OUT and then it fully exists as a three dimensional object and that is INSANE and I’m still making my peace with it but in a positive way if that makes sense.

I apologize for not taking any photos at this gallery and instead posting photos from old shows but I was talking to people and having fun EVER HEARD OF IT?

Blue House aka The Lighter Side of Darkness Metal Sculpture Garden

I’m going to call this Backyard Sculpture Garden by Jerome China, featuring Jerry Gant, Patricia Talbot, and Saffell Gardner, “Blue House” because it took place in the backyard of a beautiful blue house off of Bergen (alliteration!) I arrived and no one else was there and there were signs to go to the back and also a sign to NOT OPEN one of the doors into the house so I followed the rules because I fear authority and I went to the backyard and OMG THIS BACKYARD.

I’m already a sucker for a backyard because I grew up feral and free in the forest and now I have to compete for space with literal cockroaches all day but I was even more pumped about this one because it was just so nice and peaceful and had great sculpture art by Jerome China. Some of the sculptures even had plants just casually, naturally, growing around and on to them and it was beautiful.

I sat on a bench and stared and took deep breaths and really just felt great for like 20 minutes. I liked these pieces that were made out of discarded parts of tools best.

Unrelated to art but there was also a skunk trap in this yard! I’ve never seen a skunk trap and found it interesting. I wonder if he’ll catch the skunk or if it will coyly evade him forever.

As I was leaving the dude in charge (China himself!) called to me from the porch – “there’s more inside!” Whoaaaa. Don’t mind if I do, sir. I went inside and his house was awesome. I’m talking BAD. ASS. I was barely looking at the art at this point (sorry). There were like, lamps with fringe, old wood, rich colors, posed portraits of ancestors, carpets with cool patterns…the whole thing. I didn’t get any pics because this wasn’t a HOUSE TOUR it was an ART TOUR but I do wish it was both.

While I was talking with him he let me know there is a Newark Arts Tour that many of the JC artists will be participating in next weekend. I think I may try to go Sunday! Saturday is Double Parked Fest, can’t miss that y’all. SRSLY I BETTER SEE YOU THERE.

Snapdragon

After Blue House I headed down the street to Snapdragon. I have followed this place on Instagram for a while but have never made it there as a customer. I still technically have not made it as a customer because I wanted iced tea and they were out but I guess that just means I have to go back!

They had arts by Kelsey Reilly displayed upstairs and…I really did love the bright colors of these. Sue me.

They also had super cool chairs and tables and rugs and it just looked like they collected a bunch of random furniture and housewares and threw them all together and it was perfect. It was also nice and quiet upstairs. I really prize quiet in my old age.

Additionally there were some treats on a table but none of the other 3 people up there were consuming the treats and there weren’t napkins or utensils by the treats so I worked myself up into an awkward personal crisis over whether or not I should consume the treats so I didn’t try any and I regretted it later but just know they looked delish. I believe they make treats there but don’t quote me on that. Like I said I need to go back for a better look, okay???!

This table also was a piano…like what?!

CB I Hate Perfume

After Snapdragon I tried to find an exhibit on the St. Peter’s campus but it looked like it was in a large student center type building and the door was locked and I tried to open it and a security guard started to walk over to open to door from somewhere on the inside but I didn’t feel like interacting with anyone so I scurried away. And I’m sure I missed out due to being a weirdo but it was just not a good time to talk to strangers. I just didn’t feel like it. Leave me alone.

So I hopped on a Citibike in McGinley Square and cruised down Montgomery to Downtown JC. I had read on the map that there was an “olfactory exhibit” and I was like holy shit if it’s smells I need to go. Super into smells. It’s how I judge everything. Every place, every food, every person, every single situation I judge by smell. I could have gotten this from my best pals, which are all the dogs that have ever existed. Anyway I was very interested to see how smells could be presented as an art exhibit so I rushed right on over.

As I approached CB I Hate Perfume there was a tour crowd outside. I didn’t realize they did tours for this! Actually I lied…I knew but I forgot. Sorry.

Inside I was having a little trouble finding where the smelling was supposed to happen and I’m awkward as hell as previously mentioned so I was standing there feeling like a total weirdo and finally a nice gal with very excited blue eyes came over and was like “has anyone spoken to you about what you’re experiencing here?” And I was like “um no thanks just browsing heheh” and she was like “um cool” and then started telling me more about the smells and the exhibit and I was like oh, she’s in charge here, this is valuable.

This jacket literally said what the artist likes best about perfume and what he likes least about perfume and I felt seen.

So she told me all about the artist Christopher Brosius and the Aesthesia project which involved breaking down smells from nature into vibrations that come from the plants that make the smells and then using those vibrations to make music, which was also part of the exhibit. So it was like sounds from vibrations that lavender plants made at some point playing next to smells of lavender plants and also a lavender plant image, for example. It was super cool and I don’t know if I’m explaining it well so maybe you should just go look for yourselves.

In the back they had more smells! All kinds of smells you could test out and smell and think about what kind of place they took you to. I was just smelling and smelling and smelling. There was a dude back there that assists in making the smells and I was like “what are these smells even made of?!” And then I felt dumb because like, duh, chemicals, and then I was like “oh yeah, chemicals!” And then I felt guilty for referring to the smells as “chemicals” because that seemed rude and potentially implied they were healthy and unnatural in some way so then I felt hot with shame and regret and then he was like “yes! Organic chemistry!” and then I was like “science!” And all was well.

SCIENCE!

In the back they also had an exhibit/art piece/environment that was felt balls that were made to look like snow balls and they smelled like snow! It was one of the smells the artist had created and I swear IT SMELLED LIKE SNOW. So much so that it made my nose and the back of my throat feel kind of cold when I smelled it, in a psychosomatic way. Not like a menthol way. As I was smelling the snow and lost in my thoughts I overhead the artist talking to someone and I only heard parts but it seemed to be about trying to get this piece set up at a gallery and the powers that be at said gallery were like “okay what is this going to smell like because we don’t want it to take over the whole gallery and we def don’t want people to barf.” And it was cracking me up.

SNOW!

As I was leaving the tour group came in and it was a CROWD so I dove out of there and speed walked down Newark Ave to the next place.

Village West

I came across Village West gallery by surprise as I didn’t have it circled on my map for whatever reason, but it’s up a staircase I have walked by one million times on the way to shows at White Eagle Hall and I’m always like I wonder what that staircase is and now I know. Full circle.

Staircase.

It was cool in here, I liked the look of it overall and all of the art was nicely displayed. Honestly there was a tuxedo gallery cat there and I’m such a sucker for a tuxedo cat I basically just took pics of him the entire time (they’re all “him,” even though I googled it and I was disappointed to find tuxedos are 50/50 male/female, they are still all “him” in this blog and for all other purposes in which I’m involved)

Dress code is black tie.

They also had those kinda supermarket brand bakery sugar cookies that are so moist and delicious that you’re like how did a straight up basic-ass supermarket make this? But you’re glad they did.

Oh and one more thing was this really cool couch that instead of reupholstering with new fabric an artist painted over some parts of it with fun colorful paints (BRIGHT COLORS) and I think the little info box next to it said the artist got it for like $27 or something and I was into that.

Painted!

Piersanti

Last on my journey was Piersanti studios. There were other works/studios there in the Merseles Studios at Jersey City Theater Center building (that’s a mouthful and I’m still unsure what to really call this place) but I particularly wanted to see this one. I really like the work of his that I have seen around the town and I think it’s super cool/fun/very Jersey City that it’s a cast of characters of people he has come across. At least that’s what I was led to believe…I could have made that up. Anyway it’s great and bright and portraits of people and I love it forever. He had a lot of stuff on display in the studio and every corner had pops of color and faces looking at you and it was a lovely experience.

He was in there working on a painting (of one of those hairless cats! Cool!) and I didn’t want to disrupt the artistic process, duh (JK I was crippled by awkwardness and tiptoed around so as not to make a sound lest he hear me and then say hi to me and then I would have to think of something to say. He seems perfectly nice this is my issue not his), but I was grateful that I was allowed to lurk in his studio and check things out for these few moments. Thank you!

So as you’ve read and seen above, if you’ve made it this far, it was a great great time. I enjoyed exploring a couple of different neighborhoods before heading downtown. I moved to “The Hill” in May after living downtown for 8 years so it’s been a huge adjustment finding different places to hang out but it’s also been hugely fun and eye opening and I don’t know why I never ventured far from downtown before and I AM SO SORRY FOR BEING SO BASIC.

JCAST 4 life! Did you go? What did you see? What did you like best about it? What did you like least about it? Didn’t it seem like there were so many places on the map and you couldn’t possibly visit them all?! Do you feel that art is democratized in JC or do you think they’re a bunch of snobs? Well, they’re not. Go out and enjoy the arts in our awesome town! Woooo!

to ride the rails, and to be glad.

Riding the rails is my most favorite form of transportation. Hands down. There is nothing I like better. I’m speaking mostly of a longer distance rail ride like Amtrak, but I’ll take an NJTransit (if it’s on time), a SEPTA, and even a PATH train (again if it is ON TIME) over a car any day.

Riding the rails, and glad.

Cars make me nauseous and they are also terrifying death traps. Tons of people die in cars every year. I’ll look up the actual number at some point but it is EXCESSIVE DEATH. These are huge, dangerous machines left in the hands of barely trained human beings who are all inherently and statistically accident prone and things are going to go wrong at some point. Things are going to go very wrong.

I think the whole “we built trains to go across the country but we’re over trains and obsessed with cars now” had something to do with like, Eisenhower being super into building an interstate highway system and also capitalism. And cars made things rocking for Detroit for a while and I love some Detroit so I’ll give them that one thing but now cars left Detroit and totally screwed them over so I guess they won a battle but lost the war. The war our planet is also currently losing because cars cause so much pollution. I mean my opinion doesn’t count because I’m not the czar of US transportation bullshit but I’m just saying. Seriously though go visit Detroit you won’t be sorry.

The other problem with cars is their motion. As a passenger it makes me have to barf unless I have the window down and focus on the horizon the entire time. Cars do have some good qualities too. Not gonna talk about those now because I’m talking about riding the rails, gang.

As mentioned above I’m going to keep this riding the rails tribute Amtrak/long distance specific. They have the most perks and the best ride. Of the rails.

The seats are HUGE. You have so much room and they are soft and comfy and you can stretch your legs out and you still get a little tray table for drinks and snackies or to put your laptop or a magazine or book on and it’s delightful.

Look, it’s leg room!!!

Speaking of laptops they have free WiFi. It’s not like the GREATEST WiFi or as fast as the custom fios pipeline you had installed in your office and the installer guys probably killed some roof dwelling birds in the installation process, but it’s good enough to get a little work done or a little surf on or to help you not completely use your whole data plan on your phone during one train ride. It works. And it’s fine.

When you’re not monopolizing the whole train’s bandwidth you can also go to the foods car to get foods and drinks AT ANY TIME. I mean sometimes they close it to clean it or if it’s 4am or something but that puppy is back within the hour. The snacks aren’t bad and they have those premade sandwiches that would be questionable at a gas station but they’re fine here. Trust me okay I’ve eaten them.

It’s also the best place to nap of all time ever. The gentle rocking of the train and the soft sounds of it moving along the track are the sweetest lullaby. I can’t even stay awake right now thinking about it. And then you awake and feel comfortable and refreshed and warm and your neck and actually ENTIRE BODY doesn’t hurt like when you sleep on a plane and also you didn’t wake up dead from a fiery automobile accident.

I began writing this a day before my last Amtrak trip and when I boarded the train at Newark Penn there were NO SEATS AVAILABLE. This has never happened! The tickets are so expensive and they clearly say “Reserved Coach Seat”! That means there is a seat that is reserved for you. Just felt I needed to explain that clearly to you since that isn’t what happened.

This screenshot shows that the proof is in the proverbial pudding, Amtrak.

I expressed my outrage to Amtrak in an Instagram story and we all KNOW that is the most efficient way to receive customer service and in my case a phone call is completely out of the question. I told them I still love them but I was just “disappointed” and I hope they felt shamed like a little kid that got in trouble at school or a dog that ate your shoes but then they give you that dog face like they know they screwed up and they hate themselves for it. That’s how I want Amtrak to feel. They better feel it.

After I finally got a seat things improved. I got some “work” done for this blog and for some other shit and I have to say I didn’t realize writing a blog would be so much work but it now sucks up all of my free time. It’s fun and it gets me pumped up but it’s like whoa. I was so naive about this whole thing. As per usual.

“Doing work.”

Anyway enough about me. Do you like to ride the rails? Do you hate the rails? Do you have children and do they get excited to see people arriving via the rails like my niece and nephew do? Do you even care about the rails or are they not even on your radar because you were brainwashed by automobile-centric Eisenhower era propaganda?

when you have to cut and dye and style your own hair.

I’ll start by saying I respect and admire hair stylists. I really do. Also if I’m using the wrong word for that let me know. I’m not sure, there could be a new word for it. As in the profession, the vocation, the trade, the career of hair stylist.

I wouldn’t be aware if there IS a new word for this profession because I haven’t been to one in a few years. And the reason I haven’t been is that my hair is my least favorite part of my body to spend money on. I think we all deserve that, right? The ONE PART of ourselves we don’t want to make the effort on or the financial commitment to? I mean give me clothes (oh gosh give me clothes), give me jewelry, makeup, household wares, shoes (actually shoes I’m not super into because I live within the confines of a walking culture and most cool shoes hurt your feet) and I will pay any price! But give me highlights and a haircut and I’m like “EXCUSE ME HOW MUCH?!” This doesn’t apply to laser hair removal which will be explored separately and enthusiastically at a later date.

I’ve always struggled with this. As a kid I was like “mom I wanna go to the NICE place for a haircut” (foot stomp) and she was like “um no you’re 11.” And she was right. The nice place wasn’t going to do any better than Supercuts at that point (shoutout to Supercuts). As I got older I experimented with a “nice place” or two but never found the drive in my wallet or my soul to return as often as I needed to. Not only was it SO EXPENSIVE but it took SO LONG and I LOST AN ENTIRE DAY SITTING THERE

Once Groupon and Living Social and “buy expensive shit for cheap” stuff came on the scene I would get vouchers for cuts and highlights and it was fine price wise I guess but the experience of getting a haircut, which in my opinion should be the epitome of self care and relaxation, turned into an anxiety ridden sprint through a gauntlet of pushy up-sell opportunities blaring from the mouths of the stylists at every point in the process. It was a nightmare. I am already anxious about spending money and I’m trying to relax and I don’t feel like haggling, as haggling is one of my top 3 LEAST FAVORITE SOCIAL EXPERIENCES, and I will be tipping you in cash (as commanded by the front desk gods) for the full price of the service. Please calm down and leave me alone. Seriously please I just want to sit and read this year old magazine.

I realize there is probably some kind of “social contract” where when you buy a Groupon your punishment for getting it so cheap is that you have to go through this incessant up-selling but I was DONE after like the 4th appointment. They also would go off on a tangent about how I shouldn’t switch hair stylists and should stick to one and there’s probably merit in that but that wasn’t what I was doing and I made my choice and I was already there and they had a service to perform and I didn’t want to hear it.

I think I’m someone that needs a close friend that is a hair stylist and will do it in their kitchen for a reduced rate and maybe even just be paid in wine and my friendship and I’m currently accepting applications but for now I am that friend because I use a little product called Madison Reed and also am not afraid to use scissors on my own hair because again I care about it but not enough to spend money on it so do with that what you will.

The dye and highlight materials come every six weeks or something and I know when it arrives it’s time for hair doing. Then I wait a few weeks after that so I have to delay the next delivery but by then I am ready for the box that has already collected dust. I block out a few hours. It takes a while but this is in my own house so I can do whatever kinda junk I want and I can also just wear my underwear. And I do.

You can do laundry, read a book, read a NEW magazine, balance a checkbook (haha does anyone do that?), literally bake a cake, install a questionably constructed closet system all by yourself, the opportunities are endless.

I swear I’m not sponsored by Madison Reed (YET.) but they make it easy AF to figure out something quite complicated by breaking it down into steps and also having a full library of videos AND a live chat support person and/or robot. You can probably also call but I would NEVER. I’ve recently been told they started advertising on podcasts and that says to me that they’re reaching out to those of us that 1. Are smart 2. Think for ourselves 3. Are self sufficient. And that makes me proud you guys.

The hair CUTTING isn’t part of their suggested process and I’ve added that on my own but please see a time lapse below of my hair cut and first round of dyeing skills.

And here is me in the cap.

And then magically I have this hair I had at lunch today!

I mean not magically. It took a few hours and I made sugar cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread. It was that much time.

I realize my hair doesn’t look perfect but the fact is that I do not care. I gave up on caring too much about my hair a while ago, when I stopped straightening it every day and then stopped straightening it ever at all. I’ve found products I really like that smell nice and I feel good about them so screw it. I’ve got all I need.

Anyway, I cut and dye my own hair and you can too, if you want. Or not. Whatever. I have coupons for Madison Reed for first timers, just ask. Again not sponsored (YET).

How often do you get your hair cut and/or dyed? How much is too much to pay for this service? Do you think I’m a bad person for taking business from hair stylists?

chili.

Last summer I aquired a roommate that had been married at some point and so she brought along with her all of the “I was married and therefore had a bridal shower at some point” appliances and one of those appliances was a Crock Pot and I was like “OMG CHILI.”

The last time I had been involved in chili making, and only as a bored witness, was in 2008 or 2009 when I had a very bossy know it all boyfriend and he made the chili as he mansplained the whole process to me and then I was forced to watch football while the chili was consumed and I wanted to jump out the window but the chili was still very good.

Me in 2008. In the process of looking for this photo I went through many other old photos and I wish I knew how much fun I would have in the entire decade following this so I wouldn’t have been so sad when bossy chili mansplainer and I broke up a few months later. Hindsight.

THIS TIME it was my turn to commandeer the chili construction and I was so pleased with how it turned out that I Crock Potted my pants off all of last winter. Now that I live in my own apartment I have been provided with my own Crock Pot and now that it is finally maybe going to be chilly I made some chili.

I got some vegetables to use in the chili at the Grove St Farmer’s Market on Monday and they were quite beautiful so let’s take a moment to reflect on the pristine and unaltered beauty of produce…

Thank you.

That’s pretty much it. I made some chili. I loosely used this recipe but Target in JC was out of ground turkey because that place is always picked clean. I don’t know who goes in there but they lose their minds and stock up on everything until the shelves are empty and it’s like there’s a hurricane coming I wasn’t aware of. I used turkey burgers instead and just mashed them up. It was fine. Everything is fine.

I also say “loosely” because I pretty much just throw a bunch of stuff in the Crock Pot and turn it on for 6 hours and hope for the best. I think this is the true beauty of the Crock Pot, the ability/freedom/poetic license to just throw stuff in it and see what happens and it more often than not comes out okay and you didn’t even have to do that much work. It’s a beautiful life.

I made a timelapse of the chili making to fully capture the fun. I’m wearing a sports bra because it wasn’t chilly in my house or in the world at this point. So maybe we can call this Sports Bra Chili and start a revolution.

Additionally here are some fun screenshots of the video to really break down the process because I’m very into the whole timelapse thing right now, it’s almost as if I only just realized I can make them on my phone, but they do move very fast.

And here is how the Sports Bra Chili turned out:

Again I’m not a food photographer or any kind of photographer this is just supposed to act as a VISUAL AID because we are a VISUAL CULTURE and SEX SELLS.

Do you like to make chili? Do you like to eat chili? Do you like to boss people around and mansplain how to make chili while you’re making chili? Or are you a better person than that?