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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I can't decide if this many ties makes one underdressed or overdressed

This is me at the La Croix fashion show on December 22nd at the K Lounge. Yes, that is a halter top made of neckties. Supposedly Sarah Jessica Parker has one.

at home writing. need dark chocolate.

Back from Virginia ... although maybe I shouldn't admit it, and then no one would expect me to show up to anything.

My family doesn't really sacrifice goats, but we did watch some really bad movies, including Legally Blonde II, Liar Liar, and some inane Brendan Fraser movie with Looney Tunes in it. I remember when Brendan Fraser used to be cute, and a real actor.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I've always wanted to be the coolest girl at Springfield-Franconia

On my way home for Christmas, my brother picked me up at the train station in his bright green Ford Mustang with firefighter plates. I didn't even know firefighters had special license plates, but they do. I was definitely the coolest girl at the Springfield-Franconia Metro stop.

I forget what model of Mustang my brother has, but he explained that he had to get that one because he didn't fit in the others. (My brother weighs approximately 2.5 times my weight, which is kind of a genetic freakshow. I mean, we're definitely related, but what the hell?)

On an unrelated note, my mother actually remarked, out of nowhere:

"The problem with potpourri is there's just no way to dust it."

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

best and worst deals in the vicinity of W 51st St.

The vendors around W 51st street are selling shish kabobs for four dollars. This is a travesty that can only be pulled over on the tourists. I am a great connoisseur of meat on sticks, and four dollars is not the normal price for a shish kabob.

Furthermore, the particular shish kabob which ended up in my possession contained sizable chunks of perilously undercooked chicken.

On a brighter note, the Godiva store's $2.75 dark chocolate with raspberry bar was extremely worthwhile.

Incidentally, the shish kabob carts are now selling "Times Square chestnuts." I didn't see anyone actually buy any.

If I die of salmonella, blame the guys at 51st and 5th.

this fashion show featured halter tops made of neckties. i am so not kidding.

While it sounds glamorous to have your hair colorist make a housecall, it is not glamorous when your hair is full of pungeant, viscous dye, and your shower refuses to produce any hot water whatsoever.

It is also not especially glamorous to have to pile your dye-imbued hair atop your head in a Bride of Frankenstein-like formation and take a cab to your hair colorist's apartment across town, after stopping at the bakery because your hair colorist wants a cupcake.

Fortunately, his shower worked fine, and he gave me a nice haircut before the fashion show this evening.

They say that thirty is the new twenty, but I don't think I like those people.

The current Village Voice is running another "Generation Debt" story, about how our parents were generally married with kids and houses by our age, whereas we won't be paying off our student loans and credit card debts until our forties, if ever.

When I was in my senior year of high school, I applied to approximately one hundred and twenty-five scholarship competitions. This was before anyone did this stuff online, so that was one hundred and twenty-five mailed manila envelopes full of applications that had been painstakingly fed through a typewriter in the high school library or, in cases of excruciating time-crunch, meticulously hand-written.

I received, I think, fourteen of the one hundred twenty-five scholarships I applied for, including one from the local Vietnam Veterans' assocation. I was only vaguely qualified for that particular scholarship; my Dad had joined the Navy just at the tail end of Vietnam and hadn't had to go. Plus, I wrote the essay late at night in the face of a looming deadline, and the essay topic, about "the legacy of Vietnam", somewhat failed to inspire me. So I wrote an essay about the legacy of protest movements that sprung from the Vietnam conflict and how Vietnam had created a noble tradition of civil disobedience. I didn't expect to win. But, apparently, the scholarship committee was headed up by the wife of one of the members, she picked my essay, and eventually I found myself holding a microphone at the local veterans' lodge reading this essay aloud.

Other than one crack about my being allied with the Viet Cong, it went fine. Nice guys, lots of beer and pretzels.

While at Dartmouth, when I occasionally thought about these scholarships, my general opinion was that I had spent a huge amount of time applying -- one hundred twenty-five applications over about six months was essentially a full-time job -- and my efforts "hadn't helped me at all." Dartmouth itself had given me a huge grant, as it does to all of its students who can't pay the $34,000 per year sticker price, so the scholarships "only" went to replace the loan portion of my award. That is, the scholarships made no difference to me during my actual four years of college.

Now, however, I can only imagine what kind of quandary I'd be in if sixteen-year-old Jen hadn't been such a dork with the scholarships and monopolizing the library typewriter. I'd almost certainly owe hundreds of dollars a month that I currently do not. Not that I have a house and kids now, either. But I suppose I can look back at myself a decade ago, Jen with her glasses and braces (at the same time, poor girl) and box of vocabulary flashcards and fifty-pound backpack and her little baggies of Chex cereal because she didn't have a lunch period, and be grateful for what I have sometimes thought of as my misspent youth.

Perhaps I could become a motivational speaker in high schools about how it really pays off to be a big nerd, and how there will be time to perform in bars and be in fashion shows later, once you've got your test scores and academic finances in order.

Excuse me, I'd like to deposit some cookware in my safety-deposit box, just in case

Yesterday I went out to run some errands in my neighborhood. I bought a beautiful new frying pan, all red and shiny on the outside and, unlike my current frying pans, replete with nonstick coating on the inside.

And then I continued the rest of my errands, taking my frying pan with me to the bank.

On the way to the bank, I kind of hoped someone would accost me, just so I would have the once-in-a-lifetime cartoon-style experience of hitting someone over the head with a frying pan.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

let's not forget that "improvise" is the opposite of "practice until you get it right"

I saw a stultifyingly unimpressive improv show tonight, which reminded me just how bad improv really is.

I mean, if you go to a regular comedy club and someone isn't funny, you might sympathize with the comedian, or you might just dislike him. But when improv is bad, it's embarassing just to be there. I really just don't enjoy the bottom 99th percentile of celebrity impressions. It pains me, deep in my left ventricle.

I'm a liberal who believes in investment banking

In college, I once attended a panel presentation, sponsored by the Women's Studies department, on women in the working world. By the time we got to the discussion portion (at these things, there's always a "discussion", lest anyone's "voice" go unheard), I was finding the panelists and participants generally obnoxious, and I proceeded to tell everyone that feminism will finally achieve its goals when we all stop waving signs in front of people in power and otherwise romanticizing the activist lifestyle, and instead use our Ivy League educations to make a lot of money and BE those people in power so no one can push us the fuck around.

My comments didn't go over well; academic feminists have nearly fetishized the idea of protest action. And I said, "Look, bitches, the Civil Rights movement used sit-ins and marches because that's all they had. If African-Americans prior to the '60s had had the opportunity to attend Ivy League universities, become investment bankers, and make shitloads of money so they could leverage their economic power instead of getting hit with police hoses, they sure as fuck would have done so, and for you to throw away your privilege now because you like sitting on the Mall in Washington in your Birkenstocks with your girlfriend singing folk songs about oppression is an insult to the Civil Rights movement and all those women you supposedly want to help."

Imagine if Bill Gates went to, say, the slums of Calcutta, and said "Hey, I want to help!" And everyone was excited, imagining all the schools and hospitals that would be built. And then Bill said, no, actually, I'm going to take my shoes off and walk barefoot like Gandhi, holding a sign that says "Hell, no, we won't die of leprosy!" because it gets me off to think of myself as being like Gandhi.

I recently recounted this story to some friends of mine on a listserv, and one friend replied:

"Jen, with more people like you telling those liberals what's up, Evil will have more and more trouble contending with my JUSTICE FIST."

measles mumps and rubella

As it turns out, in order to attend graduate school, the law requires me to first prove I was immunized as an infant.

Submitting my immunization records is actually a precondition for registering for classes.

You know, I think we should just collectively decide as a culture that as long as we're all eating solid food and tying our shoes, we can let pediatric exams fade into those forgotten realms of the past.

In kindergarten, my brother received a failing grade in "cutting." But we've moved on, and his present-day scissor skills are exemplary.

i always liked that brautigan poem about baudelaire and the flower eaters

The neighbor whose cat I'm taking care of for the next few days has brought me flowers!

When I first moved into this apartment, I bought some flowers at the shop on the way home from the subway and put them in a bowl on my dining room table and said, yes, this is a thing I shall do all the time! I will always have fresh cut flowers. And then I forgot about it for the last five months or so.

When I moved to New York, I was surprised at how inexpensive and omnipresent the flowers are; who, exactly, is buying all these flowers? You'd think, just from looking at any city block, that New Yorkers must exchange flower bouqets like so many casual compliments tossed off upon meeting. Oh, your sweater is lovely. Is that argyle? Have some peonies.

Friday, December 17, 2004

if only the girls were hiding GUNS in the purses!

I've been selected to appear in a fashion show for La Croix handbags. (I mean, obviously, the models will also be wearing clothes). But ... handbag modeling.

You'd think maybe they could just relax the rules and let really short models have a chance on the runway with this one. A 5'0 girl might look just great with a crocodile skin clutch.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

and now, your entire new social life, courtesy of Jenisfamous!

A plethora of sublime eventfulness! Click here to print it all out.

Friday: My best-friend-from-high-school Maureen Thorson, now a lawyer-poet (not at the same time), is releasing a chapbook on her birthday. Come if you like poetry; Maureen is phenomenal. Also see her poetry blog.

Chapbook Release Party
(tomorrow!) Friday, December 17, 2004 @ 8 PM (readings at 9)
at Drink Me (620 E. 6th street, between Avenues B & C)

This Saturday, 10pm: Girdle Factory fashion show
I will be modeling in the show as well as, for the first time, directing!

Click for full-size invite.

Sunday: A guy I met while he was performing on a subway platform is performing with his band The Hystrionics. I'm mostly sharing this because the email announcement said that the band's bame "derives from the 4th century early Christian sect, the Histrioni, who believed that the end of the world, and the salvation of the righteous, would come only when every possible action had been carried out. To this end, the faithful made it their sacramental task to perform bizarre and often immoral acts so as to hasten the coming of the redemption."

    The Hystrionics: New York Underground Post-Pop
    Sunday December 19th
    7:00 PM
    Barbes, 376 Ninth St., Park Slope  

Monday: Bobby Blue, my co-emcee of the Spelling Bee, is performing as a singer/songwriter/general paragon of fabulousness at this event:

    Daniel Cartiers Christmas Spectacular
    Monday, December 20
    The Starlight, Ave A bet. 10th & 11th

Click here to listen to "El Sol Que Tu Eres". Dammit, that's some beautiful stuff.

Tuesday: My friend John Cutler, who graciously recorded my monologue performances for my CD, is performing with his band The Greek Embassy.

    The Greek Embassy
    Tuesday, December 21
    Mercury Lounge (corner Ave A & Houston)

Check out some of their tracks on MySpace.

as stunning as you were, you didn’t make a pretty corpse

I don't really read poetry for enjoyment, but I just happened to come across a poem that hit me. Here.

las ropas blancas para Blanquita

Today on the train I saw a woman (speaking in a foreign language with a bunch of generally Eurotrashy looking companions) in a hooded winter coat wearing her purse around her neck. The strap was fairly short, and was looped around the hood, so the purse hung on her upper chest, making her look something like an Alaskan sled dog.

Also on a garment-related note, the people I drop off my laundry to seem to sort of take offense at any item that is "natural" colored. Upon being confronted with such an item, they'll bleach the fuck out of it. Now, they certainly don't bleach all my laundry -- a pink shirt stays pink, no problem -- but if anything is beige, tan, taupe, hemp, camel, etc., they will progressively bleach it white and threadbare.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Girdle Factory fashion show this Saturday

I'll be in a fashion show in Williamsburg. Invite is here. My little brother will likely be in attendance! He's driving up from DC.

Apropos to sibling talk ... once, I was dating a guy who's a twin, and I had the thought that, if you were dating such a man exclusively, you'd run the danger that if you saw him out with another girl, he could always pretend to be his twin. It's just too easy.

I think the appropriate solution would be to leave really distinctive bite marks on the guy.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Steve Almond wrote me back!

Steve Almond is one of my favorite contemporary authors. At one point, I had this personal ad, and in answer to the question about what I've been reading, I answered:

- Diderot's Jaques the Fatalist
- The Corrections
- My Life in Heavy Metal (by Steve Almond)

And then this guy who I wasn't really very attracted to wrote to me and said the things you're supposed to say, that I looked nice or something, and then the kicker -- he knows Steve Almond! So ... if I went on a date with him ... presumably ... I might meet Steve Almond.

That was enticing for about five seconds, until it just kind of pissed me off. You shouldn't have to use your friends as bait to get girls to go out with you. So I figured I'd write to Steve Almond on my own. And he wrote back!


The manual to my new cell phone contains a warning not to put the cell phone on top of the part of your car that contains an airbag, because if the airbag inflated, it could propel the phone at you "with great force, causing serious bodily injury or death."

It seems like maybe the airbag company should warn you of this sort of thing. I mean, if the phone manufacturers are required to warn me that if I put a hard object on top of an airbag and the airbag inflates, I'll get hit with the hard object, the phone manufacturers might thereby make themselves liable for warning me about things like "Do not place this phone in the end of a tube sock, because someone might swing it at you, causing serious bodily injury or death."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

anyplace where drag queens introduce you as a "biological woman!" is going to be a tough crowd

It turns out my S&M poetry reading doesn't go over as well in a gay bar as I might have thought. Ah, well.

On an unrelated note, a friend of mine saw a guy in the subway the other day begging for change while wearing an iPod.

Just today, I saw a guy outside Grand Central playing the guitar while selling Bing Crosby 8-track tapes.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

yet more frivolity before I return to my regularly scheduled life of reading Russian novels and the news

My brother sent me a birthday gift wrapped entirely in duct tape. It looked like this:

In case you can't read this, it says "Wrapping paper is just too easy. EARN IT!"

Incidentally, a six-in-one bit set and a magnetic torpedo level are cool, but who mails a hammer?

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

it's a cold and rainy day, but my heart is coated in toasted coconut and powdered sugar

My birthday was great; thanks, everyone, for all the emails and general pleasantness.

Totally unrelatedly, on a recent trip to Chinatown, I noticed that the "Mall of Great Wall" had been renamed "Great Wall City." You can see that the "City" part of the sign is new; it's a slightly different shade of red.

I laughed rather delightfully when I first spied the "Mall of Great Wall," and then came to love the rather charming name of the place, although an Asian friend of mine found it generally embarassing on behalf of all Asians everywhere.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Whatever happened to Monrovia van Hoose?

When I was in high school, I was, to put it mildly, something of a high-profile individual. I was the "teen columnist" in the newspaper, so everybody's parents knew who I was. I was class president one year, and I was just kind of known for various campaigns of smug, vociferous, geeky mayhem.

One day in high school, the principal called me to his office. He wanted to question me about a letter I had written pseudonymously to the administration. I had no idea what he was talking about. He showed me the letter, which was a well-written complaint that the school wasn't doing anything for Women's History Month.

I read the letter. "I wish I had written this!" I told the principal. "But I didn't." The letter was signed "Monrovia van Hoose." The principal had seen this somewhat ridiculous name and assumed it was a pen name I had adopted for protest purposes.

Turns out, Monvoria van Hoose was a real girl at our school. She had red dredlocks with pop-tops embedded into them, and she and her girlfriend were the only out lesbians in the whole school (they were both rather physically intimidating, and the girlfriend was kind of a scary goth, so I think they did okay).

Apparently I had such a reputation that, upon receiving this letter, the principal immediately thought of me instead of bothering to look up the name on the roster of students.

I remembered this story today and thought to Google Monrovia and see what she was up to. Turns out she likes Le Tigre, has read letters from her death row pen pal at an anti-death penalty rally, and is selling an unwanted cemetary plot.

It's my birthday!

I just had some birthday French toast.

Directly prior to my birthday, I saw House of Flying Daggers. I adored the movie, but was annoyed at the rest of the audience for laughing at inappropriate moments. I think you have to be accustomed to epic Asian melodrama. The fight scenes were stunning. This movie kicked the ass of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

My mom writes, "I'm sending you a check for your birthday. You can pick out something that you would like, that I couldn't pick up for you. Like bras, jeans or g-strings. These all need to fit just right."

And finally, concordant with my birthday, my CD is now available on iTunes! It has little sample sound clips!

Saturday, December 4, 2004

that banjo guy was freaky flexible

Schaffer the Dark Lord has reviewed me:
Jen returned this month to deliver the goods to a very hungry crowd. Jen reads her written works over slinky, jazzy musical numbers. One of her pieces this month revolved around a phony ad she had placed on Craig’s List. In her ad, Jen claimed to be an ugly woman seeking no-strings sex. Her piece was a reading of some of the responses she received from NY area men, stepping up to her challenge. Oh the humanity! Although not a bit surprised by the content of these pathetic, often graphic emails, I am surprised that I share a common chromosome with these would-be suitors.
Adira Amram is my new girlfriend. I really wish she would put up some MP3s so I can listen to them while I eat Pixie sticks.

Oh Jen, it's so ... discular!

Just in time for my birthday which is coming up on the very important day of Monday, December 6 (!!!!), I have produced a CD! Sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus!

It will be available on the site in the next couple days. Isn't it beautiful and red and ... round?

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, scroll down a couple of posts and you can download an MP3.

Friday, December 3, 2004

Les croissants américains sont les pâtisseries du diable

America has a serious problem with undercooked croissants. Croissants should be browned and a bit crispy at the edges so they flake properly. A croissant is not an excuse to make a buttery, crescent shaped donut.

p.s. - My cat is totally mammating on the living room armchair.

and by blogging ... MY WILL IS DONE! Muhahahaha.

This morning, I made up a new word IN MY SLEEP.

Drifting somewhere in between snooze alarms, I decided that "mammating" needed to be a word. As in, "doing absolutely nothing except being a mammal."

As in "You're wasting your life mammating in front of the television!"

Or, more germanely: "Cat! Why can't you sit still and mammate so I don't have to get out of bed and let you in and out of my bedroom all morning!"

While sleeping, it seemed VERY URGENT that this word pass into common parlance. Now, it seems kind of lame, but I'm telling you anyway.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Download my new MP3! Audiojen!

Last night I performed in Schaffer the Dark Lord's variety show at Apocalypse Lounge. I did a 15 minute reading, over a jazz track, about a fake ad on the Craigslist personals.

I might post a recording of that later, but for now, here is a short piece of mine, called "Milk."

Download "Milk" (4.1 MB)

Expertly and graciously recorded by John Cutler of The Greek Embassy, with music by Christopherini of The=Equation.

p.s. - My brother downloaded this track and wrote back "Interesting. That totally happened here last this morning. Oh wait... nevermind... that was just regular rain."
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