August 31, 2008

Obsessed with my new Incase slim backpack

I am obsessed with my new Incase slim backpack. I bought it because I'm determined to pack carry-on only for Milan-Paris this season. Plus, I've always had a thing for backpacks even though my New York friends make fun of me for using them. Anyway, it arrived in the mail this week and I'm totally in love with it -- it's super-substantial, with a padded back and really thick straps. and these are all these smart pocket designs, like a secret pocket for passports and tickets (that's actually big enough to hold passports and tickets), inside mesh pockets for a wallet and stuff, and a really serious furry laptop sleeve. Ooh, plus these cute little zip pouches on the waist strap. And the slim profile is ace because I've always had this pervasive fear that wearing a backpack would make me look even bigger than I already am, but this one is so slick, I'm sure it will fit perfectly right under the seat in front of me in, sigh, coach class on the plane.

Mosaic of my flickr set - pictures of places, mostly helsinki, vasteras, tallinn, and stockholm


August 30, 2008

Playing around on Mosaic Maker and watching CNN

Here are some of my old pictures from Miami.

Don't burgle your own house

Okay, so I'm sure that somewhere, silently, Republicans are whinging about McCain's bizarre choice of running mate, but I haven't read or heard a peep from Republican bloggers or pundits yet. They're standing by their man.

And this is one of the huge problems I have with Democrats this election. So many Democrats I know spend a huge amount of time dissecting and criticizing Obama's mannerisms, his turns of speech. This race is too close, and with the situation our country is in now there's neither the time nor a place for sanctimonious snark. It's time to unite the party -- Democrats desperately need solidarity -- and stop being such mean dorks about the only great political hope the party has had in the past 10 years. Every stabby, persnickety thing that comes out of your mouth about Obama-Biden, no matter how much you secretly root for them in your most hopeful of hearts, every negative politically-irrelevant snipe that rolls off your tongue can be ingested by someone else, who may in turn choose not to vote Democrat. Every too-cool-for-school thing you say could have real-life implications, lasting reverberations.

This particular election we're coming up on has serious, real-life, every-day impacts for me and you (unless you're in, say, the top one percent of the country's rich, in which case, I probably don't know you personally), the well-being of this nation, and the lives of thousands of troops overseas. Don't f*** it up for Obama-Biden just because you think you're the smart-ass-pundit of the century.

Don't burgle your own house, kids.

It's not just me

There are a lot of people out there Googling "Palin joke".

She's been governor of a sparsely populated state for a paltry year and a half -- and her last greatest political experience was being the mayor of a town with fewer people living there than the office building I work in.

I'd like to see a debate amongst the vice-presidential candidates please.

August 29, 2008

Excerpt from Glenn O'Brien's interview with Kate Moss

GO: In all your experiences, what you have you learned about men?
KM: They are not to be trusted.
GO: What have you learned about women?
KM: They are fabulous. I love my girlfriends.
GO: What have you learned about rockstars?
KM: They like to stay up late.
GO: And artists?
KM: They're twisted.
GO: What have you learned about the English?
KM: They like to drink.
GO: Americans?
KM: They're a bit square.
GO: The French?
KM: They're rude.
GO: The Russians?
KM: They're sexy.
GO: Italians?
KM: Bisexual.
GO: What have you learned about money?
KM: I like it.
GO: Do blondes have more fun?
KM: Definitely.
GO: And why are all the hot chicks over 30?
KM: Oh, you're sweet. Well, really, I think it's because we know. We have experience.
GO: Older women can talk.
KM: I could talk when I was 20. I'm a lot better in the sack now.

"All the great magazines were made by people who made something they wanted to read and look at." - Glenn O'Brien

"In a time of throwaway everything, reality TV, point-and-shoot, everything changing every second, what's lacking is a real point of view.

There are so few really crafted images. Even in art. It's time people made an effort again." - Fabien Baron

"I agree. It's the same with the word. Let's use the right words. I think the intelligent conversation takes things to a higher level. Anybody can write a glib, snarky blog, but to say something that a peer can instantly rebut is more difficult and it takes you to another level. An intelligent conversation can live forever." - Glenn O'Brien

I am a huge fan of both new Editorial Directors of Interview.

Look, I'm even packing my own lunches.

Grilled marinated shiitake mushrooms, organic baby carrots, and a ham and maché sandwich with mustard on organic whole grain bread.

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"You need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney." - Barney Smith, guy in a red shirt who used to be a Republican.

August 28, 2008

AUC moving campuses

My first job after college was a Presidential Internship in the journalism department at the American University in Cairo -- I was an arrogant self-entitled little monster coming out of an ivy league school and I didn't know anything about anything outside of my insular little northeastern American world. When I got the job in Egypt, I thought I'd be embarking on some kind of Indiana-Jones-slash-ultra-glamorous adventure, and I really didn't do much research on life in the Middle East. Seriously, I think my preparation entailed watching The English Patient five times the week before my flight.

So it's hardly a surprise that, in retrospect, I wasted a lot of time in Cairo not fully appreciating what I was lucky enough to experience. I was surrounded by all this beauty, but I was so caught up in minutiae of cultural solipsism and spent so much time complaining about things I can't even remember that I missed out on a lot of the great things I could have experienced. But the year wasn't completely wasted on me -- going to Egypt after college was precisely the baptism-into-the-world-by-fire (aka swift kick in my spoiled-American pants) that I really needed at the time and the year out changed my life. I can honestly say I wouldn't be nearly as happy as I am now, nor would I have ever been able to achieve half the things I have in the last ten years if I hadn't spent that year in Cairo.

This month the AUC downtown campus is moving to the new campus in Heliopolis (which they were in the process of building when I was working on the Greek Campus downtown). It makes me wistful and nostalgic that these physical buildings that were so important to a pivotal time in my life aren't going to be AUC anymore come September. Looking at these photos now, years after the fact, I can't believe that I was once lucky enough to work in such a marvelous place.

I've been going to bed really late, working a lot, and have gained some weight. And it's really starting to show.

My goal is to get back on the talk show circuit next spring -- that gives me time to get my act together and really improve my well-being. In the last few weeks I've made a real effort to eat a protein-plus-fiber diet and eat at home instead of ordering out. At least that way I'll know what's going in my food. Next step is to wake up 30 minutes earlier and get my motivation going in the morning to walk to work. And I ought to be walking home too. My subway-taking has been pure laziness. The weather's perfect for walking. Between that and eating at home and drinking a lot less, I should be comfortable enough with myself to get to the gym for the first time in years at the end of about six to eight weeks, god willing. Then it's fingers crossed from there. When autumn turns cold into winter all I ever want to do is hole up and eat macaroni and cheese.

Ah, who am I kidding. Doesn't matter what the weather's like outside, all I ever want to do is hole up and eat macaroni and cheese.

Happy Goodbye Shane!

Perfect night

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Susan is a flatbread monster

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August 27, 2008

Everyone who reads I Can Has Cheezburger must have their own reasons. Some people might be cat-owners, some people might just like funny animals.

Me? I love that site because I strongly identify with the feeling of really really really wanting a cheesburger.

I really like Ron Mueck's hyper-realistic sculptures.

It's like anti-airbrush.

My downstairs neighbor and noise code

Time again for my every-few-months unscheduled complaining about my downstairs neighbor, the crazy lawyer (who's actually younger than me!) with several dogs in a <400 sq ft studio. You know, she's the one who was fired from her job in a District Attorney's office last year for BITING ONE OF HER CO-WORKERS -- yes, that's why I just complain about her and don't actually do anything about it. I mean, the lawsuit-happy lawyer once threatened to sue me and sue the building because I had five people in my apartment once past midnight having a glass of wine -- and not even playing any music -- I still have her absurd letters from that incident. And now I'm scared to contact her about her dogs because I'm afraid she'll bite me. Seriously, this woman should consider anger-management therapy. Anyway, for the past four months I've been keeping a daily log of what time her dogs wake me up in the morning, how long they bark (usually all morning and sometimes between midnight and 3 a.m.). This morning? Bright and early at 7:20 a.m. -- then basically non-stop from 8:20 to 9:15.

The thing is, you know, obviously I live in a dog-friendly building. And some dog owners would say that barking just comes with the territory because, "That's what dogs do," yes I've actually heard that excuse verbatim. But I think that if several dogs are sequestered in a tiny apartment all day long and are barking barking barking all day, that, to me, is a clear sign of neglect. It's just not fair to buy a bunch of animals and coop them up while you're away all day. No wonder they're manic and restless.

Side effect of animal neglect? I get no sleep.

Cute doggy sweater dress!

The One-Sleeve Wonder, Autumn-Winter 2008

I went through this phase back in 2004 where I became obsessed with finding one-sleeve tops (I wasn't really into dresses then, I guess -- more separates). See, I have this huge scar on my left arm that's a relic of burning myself with hot water as a child. Had plastic surgery and the whole bit and now it looks like a shark bite, so it's pretty cool -- when I used to work with kids during my college summers, I'd tell them if they were naughty I'd toss them into a shark tank and I'd show them my arm. Ha, evil, I know.

Anyway, I'm kind of intrigued by all the one-arm wonders on the racks this fall. Margiela up top and Roksanda Illincic below.

AdSense put a John McCain ad on Susan's blog

What a shocker! I wonder what keywords triggered the McCain campaign ad -- Susan did a blog entry about Obama and how she's planning on wearing at least one piece of pro-Obama-themed merchandise everyday from September 1 through Election Day. Maybe McCain's people asked for any mention of Obama to trigger a McCain ad placement? That is sneaky stuff.

This is the song that popped into my head while I was shopping for Frosted Mini-Wheats tonight.

It's hard to believe this song came out 17 years ago. I think I listened to my Voice of the Beehive "Honey Lingers" album non-stop for months. I remember being really psyched when "Auto-Reverse" was invented for cassette Walkmen.

August 26, 2008

August 25, 2008

Today on pages 32-33 of the NY Post

I'm smack dab in the crease of the paper.

Hello new Blackberry Javelin, come to momma.

Image from

Also, what is Michael Phelps doing in London?

At least he's not dressed like a douche today.

Who wore it better?

Matt Lucas (left) of Little Britain? Or Boris Johnson (right), Mayor of London.

Jackie Chan! I love him

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Okay, it's not just me. What is the matter with Boris Johnson?

From UK Labour MEP Richard Corbett's blog:

"Am I the only one to think that Boris Johnson's performance at the closing ceremony for the Olympics was an embarrassment? In a solemn part of the ceremony - the handing over of the Olympic flag from the Mayor of Beijing to the Mayor of London, where all the other dignatories involved were, at that point, solemnly walking in a line with their hands by their sides - Boris, uniquely, was periodically waving to the crowd (without much response) as if he was the star of the show. Unlike the other representatives, he (alone) did not even button up his jacket. He never knew what to do with his hands (hence his periodic incongruous waving), and altogether gave the appearance of a buffoon."

Yes, buffoon is precisely the word I was searching for.

China sure knows how to put on a show.

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I am flabbergasted that Leona Lewis is representing the UK for the Olympic handover

If I was the UK decision-maker and was FORCED to send a pop star to represent at the Beijing handover, here are some other ideas I would've floated: David Bowie, George Michael, The Spice Girls reunited, Coldplay, Boy George and the Culture Club, The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger all by himself, Rod Stewart even, I don't know, Oasis? The Pet Shop Boys? Depeche Mode? Anybody else but Leona Lewis. Is this part of her package deal for winning X Factor? Is Simon Cowell really that powerful?

What's with the mayor of London at the closing ceremonies?

Is that really the new mayor of London or is Matt Lucas impersonating him?

Is he on something? He can't stop gesticulating, chatting as he walks down the red carpet. Can't he button his jacket? And then he gets up to the main platform and is all fidgety, putting his hands in his pockets, putting his hands behind him, swinging his hands, waving. Fidget much? Mangle and tangle the Olympic flag much? Gordon Brown is chuckling, chatting to his wife, and flipping through a brochure in the stands. HELLO folks, you are on international television live broadcast!

Seriously, the London Olympics is going to be super funny in a way that only the British can pull off. It'll be more than enough material to last British sketch comedy writers a lifetime.

A taste of things to come in London 2012 -- performing in the closing ceremonies for the handover: Leona Lewis.

I love the British. They seriously sent Leona Lewis to Beijing for the Olympic handover? Seriously? After the Zhang Yimou opening ceremonies, the Bird's Nest by de Herzog and Meuron, the pageantry, the $40 billion the Chinese spent on the event, the British send Leona Lewis?

I hope Girls Aloud host the 2012 London opening ceremonies and Boy George is the emcee.

August 24, 2008

"Twinkle twinkle little ants, you do look strange without your pants." - The March Hare in Alice in Wonderland

I'm watching "Notebook on Cities & Clothes" - the film by Wim Wenders and Yohji Yamamoto.

"My first encounter with Yohji Yamamoto was in a way an experience of identity -- I bought a shirt and a jacket. You know the feeling, you put on new clothes, you look at yourself in the mirror, you're content, excited about your new skin. But with this shirt and this jacket it was different. From the beginning they were new and old at the same time. In the mirror I saw me, of course, only better, more me than before. And I had the strangest sensation. I was wearing -- yes, I had no other words for it -- I was wearing the shirt itself and the jacket itself, and in it i was myself." - Wenders on Yamamoto.

Aaaurgh, spiders in my grapes?

I was just about to order grapes from FreshDirect when I read this warning label at the bottom of the description there -- cobwebs in my grapes? Where are the spiders? I'm sure I'd order the grapes and find a spider inside. Then what? Panic panic panic. Once at Dartmouth a spider bit me on the back of my neck. The bite swelled up and I ended up going to the doctor who put me on a course of antibiotics because he was concerned that the "dirty spider bite" (his words) would spread and become a brain or a spinal infection. I still have a scar/bump/chunk of flesh missing from the back of my neck.

That's a story for all those people who are all, "La la la spiders are our friends! They don't bite! We love spiders."

Confession: I haven't done my own laundry in over two years.

Ever since I moved into my apartment nearly three years ago, I haven't used a washing machine. Why would I? The concierge downstairs had a reliable and good laundry service and about three years ago was when I started getting really busy with book stuff and television.

It was all going great, and I justified the cost to myself by figuring out how many hours it'd take me to do laundry and how much my time was worth per hour. Good deal at the time.

But then the concierge company downstairs switched -- and I started to notice that my expensive sweats, brands like Kritik, Juicy, and Primp, started disappearing from my deliveries. I switched to Slate NYC, that eco laundry service, and ended up paying them $136 for a whole lot of headache -- they had some serious customer service problems and issues with scheduling, and initially refused to refund half the month's fee since, you know, they never showed up after the first time (which, itself, took about five days to schedule), so I ended up having to call the publicist and identify myself as press and beg to please get my $68 back (yes, one load of laundry at Slate cost me $68 and a whole lot of trouble), and finally that's how that worked out. So I went back to using the concierge downstairs -- I dropped off one large bag of black shirts with them and my special-order big-girls shirts from England came back with chewing gum embedded in it. Great.

So right now, as I type, I have three loads of laundry going downstairs in the laundry room -- it's the first time I've done my own laundry in years and it's an oddly satisfying feeling. I mean, instead of waiting two days for my laundry to come back, I only have to wait about 20 minutes for the wash cycle.

Best part? I won't steal my own clothes and throw chewing gum in the dryer.

Yak yak yak, nothing productive here.

Woke up late, watched Across the Universe on demand, went to the movies to see Tropic Thunder with my brother and his girlfriend, came home and watched Emma on demand, and now watching diving on the Olympics. I'm such a sloth today! Love days like this. Brain rotting, I can hear it.

August 23, 2008

I don't know why I waited to so long to watch Across the Universe, the movie

I need to come out of the closet as a musicals-lover.

Had all these good intentions of getting up early to do laundry, but just woke up at 1pm. Guess it's been a long week.

Anyway, this is funny.

Now, some fashion LOLs, and goodnight.

Milan to The Mall outlets, I give up.

By the way, I totally give up on this trip from Milan to The Mall outlets near Florence. It's way too expensive and time consuming. Also, I just realized we only have four days in Milan altogether, including the show, so best not be hauling cross-country for some discount YSL and Yohji Yamamoto, no matter how nice. And also, I think this is a very grown-up decision. Really, right now, in this economy, gallavanting around Europe with my wallet full of sad little US Dollars, I don't need to be spending any more money on luxury items. Nah. Instead, Chris and I plan on spending our money eating ourselves silly in Milan.

Time to grow up

So last night I went to this Comfort-themed O Magazine event at the Hearst building where Thom Filicia talked about interiors, Jean Chatsky talked about finances, and one of my new most favorite people in the world Chef Art Smith talked about biscuits and macaroni & cheese -- the man cooked macaroni & cheese for Beyonce Knowles a few weeks ago, his mac & cheese is GOOD.

One of the items the audience got to take away was Jean Chatzky's bestselling book "Make Money, Not Excuses", which I'm currently reading and enthralled with. It's just the most brilliant step-by-step guide to sorting yourself out financially and thinking forward to your future. When I first started working after grad school, the most important book I bought back then was Suze Orman's "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke" which really helped answer a lot of the basic questions about money (aka life) -- like, what's a credit score, why is it important to pay bills ontime, etc.

Now that I'm a little older, I turned 30 last year, it's time to grow up and do something serious and responsible. I've kind of decided that the latter part of 2008 is, for me, going to be all about behaving like a grown-up. I need to start managing my time, managing my money. I need to start reorganizing my apartment, my life. Sooner rather than later I'm going to have to start thinking about what it is I'm going to be doing in the long term. For me, 30 means not being a kid anymore.

So this is step 1, doing right by my bank account.

August 22, 2008

New Rasmus Single + Video: Living in a World Without You

"Looking outside at a sky that had never been blue."

I likes it.

So you know I got this fancy new 12.1 mpx camera

And I want to take more pictures. Actually, I got the camera now because fashion weeks are coming up -- this season I'm doing New York, Milan (obviously, because I keep harping on going there and how complex the planning has been), and Paris (usually just once a year, this will be the second time this year). And I thought it would be nice for once to have lots of nice pictures from fashion week, since I get pretty good access backstage, at least in New York.

But then I was talking to someone and he said that he was confused by my blog because sometimes it's just pictures of stuff.

But sometimes I like just pictures of stuff.

So anyway, that's the idea. I do mean to just have pictures of stuff sometimes. Stuff like marshmallow plants. See below. And I don't have an explanation. There it is.


I think my new camera sees more than I do: Grapes


August 21, 2008

Big Thom Filicia, Little Thom Filicia

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Welcome to Oprah Magazine land

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Susan + Respect = Right on the money

I really love Susan's blog entry about this Southern-Justin guy because I know exactly what she's talking about. In fact, I met Justin on Saturday and was actually blown away -- this is how blown away I was: Previously, I didn't even know that guys like this existed.

Let me explain: I grew up in New York, then I went to a jock liberal arts college, then I went to England (fashion school), and now I'm back in New York.

I have loads of guy friends -- and 95 percent of them are gay. In my entire life, I've never met a straight man who, right off the bat, was really easy and pleasant to talk to. It was weird talking to Justin over brunch -- when either Susan or I said something, he'd actually listen to what we'd said then craft an interesting and thoughtful response which propelled the conversation forward. I was floored that not once did he (1) go out of his way to make either one of us feel stupid, (2) name-drop, (3) salary-drop, (4) talk about himself, (5) talk smack about other guys, or (6) talk smack about girls.

The best part? When he greeted, held the door for, and made friendly small-talk with an elderly woman who was coming in as we were leaving.

Seriously, thinking about it totally changes my social worldview. And while it makes me want to move somewhere where straight men are taught to be gentlemen, I'm not convinced that I could live anywhere else in America outside of New York.

Where did this year go?

Just going through my calendar planning everything running up to fashion week, fashion week itself, and the few days of normalcy between the day NY ends and the day I need to be in Milan for the Laitinen show. Then onto Paris. And then we're well into October. Where did this year go? In four months will it really be 2009?

For the rest of the year I'm planning some reorganization -- going to get rid of all the clothes I don't wear, all the clothes I shouldn't be allowed wear, get a new bed (my current one is too big and I'd really rather have room for a clothing rail instead), throw out as much stuff as possible, organize my bookshelf, purge products I don't use, and really, seriously, actually become more minimalist. I always joke that all my good intentions of minimalism get thwarted by my uncontrollable maximalism. The truth is, I have way too much stuff and it bothers me that if, say, I wanted to pick up and move one day, it would take me a thousand trucks, a hundred suitcases, and (probably) forty camels or something to get out of here.

Call it a three-quarter-year resolution.

August 19, 2008

Whoa. All sorts of worlds colliding here.

The Mall

Up waaaay too late trying to figure out the logistics of how to get from Milan to The Mall (a.k.a. the Gucci Group outlet center) outside of Florence and back in one day. Unfortunately, none of us can drive, which is really starting to cramp our style. First, we had to scrap all our hopes and dreams of going to Dollywood, now this. The return train ticket from Milan to Florence is $148 and then we'd have to hop on a bus. Worth it? Probably yes. But it's 1:15 a.m. and I'm not thinking straight so I'm going to go to bed and hopefully wake up in time for my 9 a.m. breakfast meeting.

Auuurrrgh! Freaky. Giant Isopods.

August 18, 2008

Whenever I go walking, even if it's just for a couple of blocks, there's always a song in my head. I don't know how it gets there...

Today, when I went to the supermarket, it was Erasure's "Star."

I want to do my eye makeup like this

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Little things you never forget

A few months ago Chris mentioned something he remembered me offhandedly saying that kind of stuck with him for a long time. And we talked about how someone can say something casually -- something they'll never think of again in that way -- but that one sentence or turn of phrase will stick with you for years.

Lately, thanks to Facebook, I've been virtually reunited with a lot of the people I spent the summer of 1994 with at the Boston Univ summer program for high school students. My roommate that summer, Amie, even made a Facebook group for us -- it's crazy, I'm convinced now, 14 years down the line, most of us still look exactly the same. Anyway, that summer, the room Amie & I shared opened up to the common area lounge and I remember one day lying in bed reading a book with the door open and hearing this boy, Rob S., who was sitting in the common area with a couple of the girls in our program, talking and going on and on about how fat I was. He called me fat, he called me "broad," he laughed a lot. The girls who were there seemed to be defending me a little, telling him he was being mean and stuff. And eventually I just didn't want to hear anymore of it and shut the door.

I'll never forget that and I'll never forget his name.

It's crazy, but I also have a distinct memory of something that happened in fourth grade, where this girl, who recently requested me as a friend on Facebook and I accepted, who knows why, wrote a note that she passed around class about how she didn't like me because she thought I was smelly. I remember being in the playground with my friend during recess and the note-writer coming up to us and saying something mean to me about being smelly and Chinese.

Maybe it's crazy, and it's not like I dwell on this stuff, but these memories flit cross my consciousness every now and again. I've never actually told anyone about these incidents, so maybe writing them down here will be a purge of some sort.

August 17, 2008

"Dharna: A method of collecting a debt in which the person who is owed money sits on the debtor's doorstep until payment is made...

or the debtor starves to death." - Grandiloquent Dictionary

I can't believe I've never heard of JibJab before.

Playing around with my new Canon G9

I think I may need a few more bookshelves.

Okay, I just ordered an 8GB sdhc card + reader because, let's be honest Canon, I'm not going through the 92 minute installation of your imaging software.

This is weird, but here's a handsoap rave: Tone Almond Milk

I'm not really in the business of beauty blogging -- I mean, sure, I cover beauty at my day job but it's really rare that I come across a product that really blows me away AND is affordable. But I just finished my Molton Brown handsoap (which I love love love) and pulled out a bottle of Tone Almond Milk handsoap, which is, like, beyond affordable at drugstores everywhere -- and it smells so good I can't stop sniffing my hands. It's so beyond beyond -- like almond milk mixed with vanilla. And the smell really lingers on your skin. It's totally delicious!

August 16, 2008

Le Pain

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