Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Meet my couch:


What couch? Look closer. It's disguised as a bed. OK, it is technically a bed, but I use it as a couch. It seemed convenient for size and storage when I first moved into my co-op in April 2009.

I don't get a lot of time to lounge on it anymore. I'm more likely to eat dinner at my kitchen island or my computer table. When I unfold the drying rack for laundry it sits between Bedcouch and the TV, leaving no more space in the living "room" for things like exercise or people.

Living "Room"

Yesterday I read a horoscope that reminded me a lot of my Discardian lifestyle. Lately I've run out of things to toss. Already had a big purge of stuff over the summer. For the most part, my home is pretty neat except for the computer/work table, where the beads and junk mail live.

If I've run out of things to Discard, and my home is pretty consistently neat, why does it feel so cramped?

*Gasp* BEDCOUCH!!!

I chose Bedcouch this from the island of unused family furniture for my new apartment because:

  1. It was my childhood bed (plus a newer mattress).
  2. Offered crash/cuddle space for visitors.
  3. Storage underneath.
  4. Free!

Now we are reevaluating our relationship.
  1. Childhood was not so much fun akshally. And a decade ago.
  2. Not a lot of people come to visit me in Central Queens. Nobody comes to my house for cuddles.
  3. Stored inside is extra bedding for Bedcouch, and a ton of photos that I could scan. The drawer closest to the wall is blocked by my end table.
  4. It is taking up a lot of space that I pay to live in (mortgage, maintenance), and gets in the way of exercise and other fun stuff.

At first I was looking to replace it with a big puffy easy chair or recliner, but those are expensive. I am also pathologically afraid of getting bedbugs from new purchases of anything made of fabric. And stationary furniture may still get in the way of swordy fun time. But it is nice to have a seating area across from the TV, or diagonal from my computer screen, for the rare night I have off for watching DVDs. Usually all that sits on Bedcouch is laundry baskets & craft supplies.

Now I'm leaning towards an inflatable couch like this one. Comes with gadgets!! It can be folded up and put away when there are parties, swords*, or both. Or construction. Even better, I can take it to conventions and use it as a bed! No more having to fight for bed space at the con!

This weekend I'm planning to stay home and relax, a LOT. (Life = crazy, hence delays in blogness.) This will give me plenty of time to figure out the fate of Bedcouch. And all the extra pillows and bed linens that would go with it. Hail Discardia!

*The swords I practice with are not actually sharp, so not a threat to inflatable furniture.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Not looking, not bothered.

Sleep deprivation has not helped with sussing out a new standard for the next few weeks. But the sleep debt didn't come from backsliding into my bad social habits, to do with my haphazard mating attempts, so that's something. Partying and having long involved chats with friends are what I actually want to do with my life.

Halloween night marked the end of my celibate period and was a lot of fun. At least until I asked a stranger at my theater's party what his costume was, and apparently that gave him the right to paw at me on the dance floor. Furthermore, his pick-up line was "You have really nice skin, I like your skin..." Um, eeek. Nothnxkbye. He was also pretending to be a kinkster, which got on my nerves big time.

On the upside, it drives home the point that I hate dealing with these things. On the downside, I didn't think it could get worse than "Hi I'm rebounding, can I use you?" It definitely gets worse. I think its time for this low-hanging fruit to stop acting like a tart.

I'm still not ready to adopt celibacy as my official lifestyle. But I HATE the Mating Game. So my new mantra will be "Not looking, not bothered," as inspired by a British book about singleness (with mixed reviews). If someone wants to chase me I will figure out what to do about it then. But it is doubtful that will happen around the social groups I'm currently involved in. Otherwise I will continue to focus on things that really make me happy.

I'm going to do this from now until Yule (ie, Winter Solstice) and see how it works out. Yay for more social experimentation :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.

—Albert Camus.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hair Today

Why Can't Middle-Aged Women Have Long Hair?

To some extent I know this pain (in the butt). Spent many years with hair at/past my shoulder blades. Sometimes I had to put my hair up to use the ladies room, it was crazy. Many friends who thought they were helping me with peer pressure to look more like them cut my hair, but it ended up being less kind and more obnoxious.

This spring I got my hair cut and layered out of hairstyle based boredom. Why not? It was still a longer mane, but shoulder length rather than butt length, and it was fun. Of course, a whole other group of friends freaked out about me cutting my epic mane. Some days you just can't win.

Srsly? This is a cosmetic feature. I understand these things can have a sneaky psychological effect on others. But if someone is going to ignore me or look down on me because I have luxuriously long locks, or some other superficial difference from the average person, I think it's more their loss than mine.

Not sure if I'm going back to get another layered haircut. It was cute, but difficult to braid and ended up in my eyes a lot.

A quick tip- putting long hair in a pony tail causes more breaks in the middle of the hair, braiding is better if you want to grow it long. At night, during the day, all the time.

Assuming your hair lets you. Some of my friends have super curly hair that will not concede to be braided. A person's relationship with their hair can be hard enough without outside interference, please keep this in mind if you like to interfere with other people's lives help others.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nearing the End

The end point of my social experiment with Seven Weeks of Celibacy ends on Halloween this Sunday.


I am still mulling over where to go next. Not sure if I'm ready to adopt this as my official lifestyle, but the last few weeks have been unusually clear-minded for me. Aside from a week in September when everyone in NYC seemed to have SAD (or PMS?), the only bad weeks I've had corresponded with backslides into being boy crazy.

Taking this time to refocus, by taking a slash-and-burn approach to my (lack of a) sex life, gave me lots of time and energy to look back on the summer and identify individual aspects of my experience and filter out the ones I truly hated.

For example, hanging around at public events waiting to be noticed, by strangers or known entities? Yuck. I'm not sure what part of my brain fell dormant to think that was a good idea for me (although other people have fun with that, more power to 'em).

Doing unsolicited favors to ingratiate myself to attractive people? Double yuck. One day I'll wax long upon doormat syndrome, to help others avoid my dumb mistakes.

Staying out late in bars trying to be cute or impressive to people, and then being too tired to do things that were actually fun later in the week? Also super dumb. Maybe I temporarily became a pod person.

But not all of my reflections were negative! I seem to have fallen out of interest with fancy clothes and makeup (or just been lazy), but it's fun to dress up when going out with my lady friends to a ritzy place. Reading tarot and listening to people's romantic stories in bars can be fun! Focusing on the actually fun things I wanted to do gave me lots of time and energy to do them, as well as my daily routines. I'm still not against coupling, most apparent when I attended my friends' lovely (nerd!) wedding and was very happy for them :-)

Bottom line, I am not against mating, but I despise the Mating Game. Or a strange self-taught version of the Mating Game that makes me tired and sad. From these observations, I will make a new resolution for the rest of the year.

Now I need to find a new clever catchphrase for the next six to seven weeks of social experimentation :-)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having a stronger effect on the less informed.

I almost titled this "Having a stronger effect on the weak minded," but I'm of the opinion that mindfulness can be learned, even if it doesn't seem to be someone's natural groove. And it just sounds mean.

Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain.

A TON of this relates to what I've studied with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and NLP. Unhappiness, anger, and anxiety can be contagious. A person can change the quality of emotions in a room/conversation by expressing more positive emotions in their own behavior. If they can accomplish that, their listener(s) respond more positively to arguments or suggestions.

I haven't read about mirror neurons before, but it fits my NLP studies. It also relates to another post I'm working on about creative projects and related social scenes (write, Sassy! WRITE!), will post later.

Furthermore, another possible view on sympathetic magic: "Be the change you want to see in the world." Yay, Ghandi!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take Back Halloween!

Not a store, but a page of fun costume ideas and suggestions for people who are bored with pre-packaged spandex "sexy" costumes. Or those who miss the days of building a fun costume out of flannel bedsheets ;-)

OK, I'm actually wearing spandex for my Shadowcat costume this year, but it is normal everyday durable dancer spandex + some Salvation Army finds. And it goes with my boots!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Monstrous Manifesto

Latest magic just in from Strowlercon (et al), which I hope to attend next year. Sorry guys, my best friend called 10/10/10 for his wedding day long before this came up ;-)

If you are in the Strowlers path, I implore you to attend! Great music, literature, performance, art, and company await you there!

A Monstrous Manifesto
by Catherynne Valente

If you are a monster, stand up.
If you are a monster, a trickster, a fiend,
If you’ve built a steam-powered wishing machine
If you have a secret, a dark past, a scheme,
If you kidnap maidens or dabble in dreams
Come stand by me.

If you have been broken, stand up.
If you have been broken, abandoned, alone
If you have been starving, a creature of bone
If you live in a tower, a dungeon, a throne
If you weep for wanting, to be held, to be known,
Come stand by me.

If you are a savage, stand up.
If you are a witch, a dark queen, a black knight,
If you are a mummer, a pixie, a sprite,
If you are a pirate, a tomcat, a wright,
If you swear by the moon and you fight the hard fight,
Come stand by me.

If you are a devil, stand up.
If you are a villain, a madman, a beast,
If you are a strowler, a prowler, a priest,
If you are a dragon come sit at our feast,
For we all have stripes, and we all have horns,
We all have scales, tails, manes, claws and thorns
And here in the dark is where new worlds are born.
Come stand by me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happily Ever After!

Speaking of fairy tales, here's a favorite of mine...

Happily Ever After (The Paperbag Princess)
music by Marc Gunn, words by Marc Gunn & Nancy e. Pearsall

In days that have long since passed,
There lived a fair mahogany lass.
An unmarried and virtuous princess, alas,
She was brave, strong and bold.

Tra la di di hidey ho
Di hidey hey, di hidey ho
Tra la di di hidey ho
Happily ever after.

One morning while riding no guard around,
Armed with sword should trouble abound,
She heard the most horrible sound,
And her nose burned of sulfur.

The sky it darkened, gave her horse a fright.
A dragon swooped as black as night,
Grabbed the princess then out of sight.
Her horse ran frightened home.

The king cried, "All knights be sworn!
Kill the dragon with your swords.
Return me daughter for this reward,
That you may marry her."

The bravest knight in all the realm,
Young, handsome and vain as well
Declared the maid his holy grail
And rode off to rescue her.

The knight he climbed up rugged heights
Snagged a run in his pristine tights
At cavern's shaft, he saw no lights
And heard no sound inside.

The knight called the dragon out.
But only a lady's voice came back.
"I killed the dragon!," the lady shout.
And stepped into the sun.

The princess dressed in scraps of cloth,
Her mahogany hair was all burned off.
A muddy face, the vain knight scoffed,
"Can you clean be for we go?"

The princess still in clothes undone,
Told the knight, "I work alone."
The knight rode lone into the setting sun.
And the princess was happy thereafter.

Tra la di di hidey ho
Di hidey hey, di hidey ho
Tra la di di hidey ho
Happily ever after!

Here's a link to download the song, huzzah!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week Five: Whups, Wrong Fairytale.

Things go well on Planet Spinster. Cutting back on sugar, packing more home made to-go meals, getting up earlier to arrive at work on time, daily life is made of win. The weather still has me a bit run down but it should pass.

Several improv-seeds that I gradually planted over the last few months sprouted all at once. It looked like too much for one Spinster to juggle. But then I realized, now that I'm going out less I have a lot more time for shows, practices, and planning sessions. I've decided to experiment with making this my social life, rather than the aimless cycle of putting on lipstick and hanging around in bars.

I've stopped using makeup due to sheer laziness. And my skin is a lot clearer than usual. But when I used to put it on before every outing, it was just mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick, no foundation. Maybe this is just a coincidence. I'll be wearing some makeup for a show I'm in next Friday (so I don't look like a zombie under those dreadful lights), so I can double check that weekend.

A few friends have worried that they have made me uncomfortable in the past with their own boy-chasing habits and chat sessions. Certainly not! I tried it, and I'm glad my friends have fun with it, but it's just not for me. I'm a big supporter of "And it harm none, do what is fun ;-)"

Others have noted, "Once you stop looking for romance, it finds you." In my case this seems to not be true, and that is what keeps my experiment so happily uncomplicated.

The more cynical part of my brain tells me that this is merely a fairy tale. And then the more fanciful mythpunk side retorts that fairy tales are still the templates through which we live our lives. I just want to live in a different story than most other people, even if I'm not sure what that story is yet. Maybe I'm just making it up as I go along, in which case improv is a good skill to work on ;-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Luv the video! However, not all of us geek and gamer girls look/dress like this. And yet we are all still awesome. The More You Know...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What would Jerry do?

“Don’t be the best in the world at what you do; be the only one in the world who does what you do.”

-Jerry Garcia

I think this is my new mantra :-)

via Gaping Void

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Webcomic inspired question.

I like webcomics. I don't read as many as I used to, but Girls With Slingshots keeps bringing me back ;-)

This strip recently stood out to me:

Do guys actually talk about girls with other guys? Men have talked to me about their issues or experiences with women, but I am a woman. It would be interesting if men had similar kinds of gossipy, lovelorn scab picking sessions to women. Gay or straight.*

*Since moving to NYC, one of the biggest misconceptions I was shaken from is that gay men always act like women. This is really, REALLY not the case and I don't assume so anymore. Not that I'm a typical woman to begin with.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Bolivia, by Havi Brooks [link].

I am thirty three years old and have not once seriously considered moving to Bolivia.

It’s weird, because normally I wouldn’t even mention that.

But here we are. Most women do end up moving to Bolivia.

And by my age, you’re pretty much expected to have already moved there or at least you’re supposed to be trying really hard to get there.

To be clear: I have nothing against Bolivia. It seems like a lovely place. Just not one that pulls me. It has never called my name.

And even though I don’t talk about my relationship (or non-relationship) to Bolivia, we will talk about it today.

Because I have words that need to be said about loneliness, power and the extremely problematic word: “choice”.

To be honest, I have wondered about moving to Bolivia, but I have plenty of things to do here and now. There are plenty of remarkable and rewarding things I can do in my lifetime without going there.

Also, this metaph0r works for more than one "women's issue" subject to societal pressure. I'll bet it works on some for the menfolk as well :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

October is Depression Awareness Month

Thanx to Scrangie for reminding me. She also has a very helpful blog post up, and if you want to fly the colors (green) she has a truckload of nail polishes to match ;-)

This is something I've wrestled with all my life, regardless of external circumstances, with varying degrees of success. There are good days and bad days and it's worth holding out for the good ones.

From the National Institute of Mental Health website (check them out for more info):

What Is Depression?

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most who experience it need treatment to get better.

Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Intensive research into the illness has resulted in the development of medications, psychotherapies, and other methods to treat people with this disabling disorder.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

What causes depression?

There is no single known cause of depression. Rather, it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.

Research indicates that depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. Brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, important neurotransmitters–chemicals that brain cells use to communicate–appear to be out of balance. But these images do not reveal why the depression has occurred.

Some types of depression tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression as well.9 Genetics research indicates that risk for depression results from the influence of multiple genes acting together with environmental or other factors.10

In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Subsequent depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.

How can I help a friend or relative who is depressed?

If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do to help a friend or relative who has depression is to help him or her get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment on behalf of your friend or relative and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if no improvement occurs after six to eight weeks.

To help a friend or relative:
  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement.
  • Engage your friend or relative in conversation, and listen carefully.
  • Never disparage feelings your friend or relative expresses, but point out realities and offer hope.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your friend's or relative's therapist or doctor.
  • Invite your friend or relative out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don't push him or her to take on too much too soon. Although diversions and company are needed, too many demands may increase feelings of failure.
  • Remind your friend or relative that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

How can I help myself if I am depressed?

If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But it is important to realize that these feelings are part of the depression and do not accurately reflect actual circumstances. As you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, negative thinking will fade.

To help yourself:
  • Engage in mild activity or exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed. Participate in religious, social or other activities.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly "snap out of" your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
  • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sugar, oh Honey, Honey...

Last month I payed closer attention to what I eat at lunchtime and how I feel after. It looks like sugary deserts cause my energy level and mood to crash like an X-wing on Dagobah. Most of the time I skip the fun sugar-rush part :-(

I'm pretty good at buying fewer processed foods at the grocery store, so my kitchen is already a bit less sugary. I usually don't bother with honey in my tea. Most of the sweet stuff I eat at home is the stuff I bake/freeze myself.

This season I also rediscovered apples, which I hadn't picked up in a while because they tend to go bad on me. Actually, they'd go bad while I was nomming other snacks, so with fewer sugary distractions its easier to remember I have them in the fridge. Also, super cheap in the autumn.

There is a social-trend building up to replace white sugar and HFCS with "healthy" alternatives, but I fall into the "sugar is sugar" camp. has info on a variety of sweeteners that are not necessarily as healthy as other sources believe. It is also tricky to replace processed sugar with substitutes in baking and frozen deserts because it adds a structural component. So why not just eat LESS of it?

Lunchtime is where I mess up. At work and far from home, if I don't remember to carry homemade snacks to work I will be tempted by the Crumbs of Starbucks up the block. Also, real world sad, need cupcake.

Now I keep a stash of dark chocolate in my desk for dessert. It has a stronger flavor than pastries and is easier to ration out. Chocolate used to be my go-to for a shock out of my sugar crashes, but then I ended up overcaffienating myself. (I cut all other forms of caffiene out of my diet almost six years ago, restructuring my dietary habits is not a new thing for me.)

When I go out for lunch, I stick to water instead of soda. I still drink de-caff sodas at bars, but late-night is when I can afford to crash. And I've been hanging out in bars a lot less since I began my latest social experiment.

Things seem to be working out thus far. No sudden sugar crashes during my afternoon. I still have sugar cravings, but I don't feel as exhausted as I would during a regular sugar crash. Yay, I'm awake!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The beast I used to be, WEEK FOUR!

This was definitely a good idea for me.

The first few weeks were rough due to mind-reprogramming. Plus allergies and SAD smacked me upside the head so I wasn't feeling so great about anything. But last week, despite continuing seasonal problems, things really stared coming together:

In the last month I've organized an improv practice group, joined and helped with another, and there is one other new improv project still in the "maybe" phase. WIN!

My new improv class is served with a side of EPICsauce.

Last week, I managed to pack a lunch for every day of the week. That is a LOT more focus than I can usually muster.

Mostly catching up with my sleep but the new work schedule is getting in my way.

Decreased libido, because clumsy attempts to satisfy it are no longer the central focus of my life.

This year's crop of grad students at the library are adorable, but I don't care as much as I used to.

I'm OK being home alone for many evenings, and don't feel like I'm missing out on some enormous social opportunity. Instead I catch up on Britcoms and Pandora.

More time for jewelry work, which I've finally pulled back out of the closet! Huzzah!

Makeup? What's that?

I did take strides to de-frump my wardrobe this summer, so I still look mostly presentable without trying very hard.

The physical trend towards hibernation is still a problem, so I might keep this going from Samhain until Yule to see what happens when I'm not so sleepy.

Working on more conventional romance-seeking methods really did make me stressed and unhappy (YMMV). Comedy practices and classes with my friends are generally more fun for me than bar hopping, so I will focus on that as my social outlets.

I'm really not missing out on anything due to this shift of focus. The only offers I've had all year have been "Hi, I'm rebounding! Can I use you?" back in the spring and, um, no thanks. I did make the dumb mistake on one of those cases but the rest were no problem to deflect. I like my self-respect a lot more, and now I'm getting it back :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


From the LJ community "Daily Rumi"

Be with those who help your being.
Don't sit with indifferent people, whose breath
comes cold out of their mouths.
Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.
If you don't try to fly,
and so break yourself apart,
you will be broken open by death,
when it's too late for all you could become.

Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots
and makes them green.
Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

- Rumi; adapted by Coleman Barks

Monday, October 4, 2010


Yay, gardening. My co-op finished renovating my balcony and gave it back to me in late May. I brought my pots back, there was much rejoicing.

This summer's new project was adopting two tomato plants, in addition to my herbs.


July (plus basil)!


Sadly, it's October and I've only had a couple tomatoes reach the edible stage. When they started flowering it was too hot, and when they set fruit it got too cold, and the post summer hot flash was so rainy they started to split. Argh! Next year I need to start them much earlier in the season and prune those extra branches.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Perfection, and Its Cure

The Disease Called Perfection,


The CURE for "Perfection"

by Single Dad Laughing.

I don't think there's anything I can really say better, or to make it better, except "It's always OK to be you."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Making Space

Possibilities & The Divine Law of The Ugly Chair

Letting go makes way for something closer to your truth…which is always more beautiful. Always.

Making space signals the universe that you’re ready for ideal…or at the very least, much improved.

Making space expands your being and clarifies (and dare I say, actually minimizes) your needs.

This a good parable for why I'm giving up boy-chasing for seven weeks. Just giving myself more space to be awesome!

Danielle Laporte also co-wrote the book Style Statement, which was fun and helpful for me at that time in my life. Both with my internal quests and looking for paint colors for my new place ;-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


My views of the world are somewhat non-mainstream. I majored in mysticism at NYU. And I identify as a mythpunk, so gimme some of that post-modern myth making pls.

As such I see elements of sympathetic magic in putting together an improv practice group.

Over the years I've seen lots of projects start up or fall to pieces all over the four corners of fandom and geek culture. I've had successes and failures of my own, and I think I can pin down at least one important factor of making things happen:

If you want to organize a number of people into a reliable, committed working group, you have to BE organized, reliable, and committed.

Take the responsibility to invite people, communicate with them, and remind them to show up for practice. Be consistent with delivering information. Act like the responsible person you want to see in others, even if you're not the one in charge, because it will inspire others to do likewise.

Welcome to sympathetic magic, which can sometimes be paraphrased as "Fake it until you make it." Eventually, it won't have to be faked, and the world will respond in kind.

But you have to emulate and become the qualities you want to see reflected around you, waiting for someone else to take the initiative will not work. "Flake it until you make it," is not an adequate alternative.

On a related note I met a Voodou priestess last weekend. After giving a lovely talk on her religion and the practices of her House, she offered readings. I asked about my place in the improv scene, and she read that I could bring the scene creativity, fire, inspiration, and ... virtue? She was just as confused at that as I was.

I don't consider celibacy or singledom to be a virtue unto itself. But getting things done and holding up your end of agreements is most virtuous in my mind. Plenty of people already do that in improv, and I hope to live up to their examples and add one more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Looking for Group?

It looks like September is for shifting all kinds of perspectives.

I hung around on the improv comedy scene as audience-only for many months before I got up the nerve to take classes. At that point I had a group of friends on the indie-scene (ie, improv teams/performers/shows not part of a particular teaching theater) who convinced me that improv was fun rather than terrifying in the first place.

Early on I figured that indie-improv peeps are super busy with their indie projects, and there would be a big experience gap between them and myself, so I would find people at the Theater where I took classes to play at improv with. Maybe someday in the far off future I'd get to play with my indie friends.

Things haven't really turned out as expected. I'm about to start Level 4 at the Theater (Adept Level Improv?) but still having trouble finding things to do outside of class. Leveling up doesn't mean much if you don't have an adventuring party.

The Theater doesn't have a lot of room for n00b-shows (which totally makes sense if they want to sell tickets, basic theater ecology ;-}), so I don't really get to play there except for improv-jams and my class performances. I've almost been involved in a couple of Theater projects, but last minute rule-changes and cancellations left me out of the loop. Not many in-class contacts have led to new practice groups.

On the other hand I've had a few invitations to improvise, mostly at practice groups and one-time shows, from indie-scene friends. It's not a huge number of invites but any score vs. zero is a solid win for the independants. Despite my being absent from indie events for a long time because I was hanging around the Theater, so I'm surprised to even be invited.

The Theater is fun to hang out in and has great shows and classes, but maybe it's time to get back to the indie scene. That's where the work/play seems to be for me. I miss my indie friends and feel bad for having being away.

I am also trying to start my own practice group, because "If you want something done, do it yourself." I have a mix of people from different sides of the improv scene interested and I hope I can get it to work out :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do you have my size in black?

For years I have skirted the fringes of alt-cultures. I rarely had the focus or energy to commit to any one in particular. It took me years to finally pick up the big black boots I adore. Two years ago I made an effort to buy clothes in colors other than black, but it turned out to be a hassle.

This month I stopped worrying about balancing a wardrobe that is at least 75% dark colors. I'm still being super lazy about makeup, if I wear any at all. Clothing takes a bit less time to deal with in the morning with a narrower color palette.

One problem is that black clothing blends together in a dresser drawer, and its easy to forget what you've got left before laundry day. And one black t-shirt looks much like another, in the dresser or on the body. So I will play with the subtle differences between garments and my jewelry skillz.

And I rediscovered Pandora. My Sisters of Mercy station is great so far. Its a wonderful service if you're too shy to ask club DJs what it is they're playing, although I don't know how far Pandora will deviate from the mainstream. There are also online radio stations for good goth music, although my wonky home internet connection makes them less fun.

It definitely helps that I'm experimenting with a celibate lifestyle, so the phrase "dress to impress" is suspended for now. Focusing on appearance is superficial as transformations go, but still a helpful step towards rediscovering old lifestyles and interests. Although I'm still not sure where the divide is between "Person that likes wearing black" and "Goth," I plan to investigate. Maybe I'm a subculture of one, and that is OK with me.

Big comfy boots are clearly the source of my power.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seven Weeks - End of Week Two

What I have learned thus far:

-I live almost entirely within my own head.

-Reprogramming your brain and being mindful of thoughts and actions is HARD and EXHAUSTING.

-Not whoring myself out to anyone who shows up to a given event saves a lot of energy.

All of last week I was exhausted. Although there were a lot of external circumstances that could have caused it as well, like my "moon time" and the NYC change of seasons making me sleepy. And the testing of fire alarms at work.

It was really nice to go straight home after work after spending my day as a library zombie, skip my usual weekly comedy shows, and not feel like I was missing an important opportunity to go out and meet people. I also saved my energy for an improv class show on Friday that I rocked out on.

Now I have more presence of mind to plan my weeks ahead of time, making space to rest for the plans and projects I really want to be awake for. Instead of chasing half-formed notions and daydreams at all hours of the night.

Back in my nicely decluttered home, I felt no loss at sitting back at my neat desk and watching Britcoms until I felt better, or just more ready for bed.

This weekend there was a lot of family problems that left me even more exhausted, so I have not been up for much blogging. Or anything, really. But once again being home to recuperate was not a big deal.

So far a life of celibacy means having less interest or desire in being out late with people. Or out at all. That means catching up on me time. And sleep, glorious sleep!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So "Man Hater" isn't necessarily accurate...

Feminism and Romance Go Hand In Hand.

Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships, according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University in the US. Their study* also shows that unflattering feminist stereotypes, that tend to stigmatize feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing, are unsupported.

Not quite what I go for on this blog, but good to know if you like that sort of thing ;-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seven Weeks of Celibacy

Vow of Celibacy! Yes!

For the last few weeks I've poked at my brain. Most parts of my life and outlook don't add up anymore. I have so many fun projects to work on that aren't getting done. Something unrecognized is making me mopey and unfocused and insecure.

It culminated during a nighttime girl-talk session at one of the comedian bars last weekend. We were talking about chasing boys, and the earnest scab-picking session that always goes along with these conversations.

And I was not having fun.

I looked back over the last few months, and years, and then as far back as I could remember. For one period of my life it was fun having a boyfriend, but I have never actually enjoyed chasing boys.

To my shock, I realized that most of my thoughts and activities for the last few months have been geared towards chasing, attracting, or ingratiating myself to prospective mates. Every time I made myself up to look cute, or stayed out late with friends, or went to new events, it was often in the hopes of getting matched or picked up. This never actually happened, and I was frequently dissatisfied about my life.

After years of being (as one friend described me) fiercely independent I'm not sure where this switch to codependency happened in light of not having an actual person to be codependent with. And these new behaviors coincided with a loss of focus, increasing problems with sleep and time management, and several personal projects falling apart or not getting started. Especially this blog, because the thought of being a Neo-Spinster became less alluring than... what? Being picked up in a bar by a slimy alcoholic? WTF!

What happens if I start living singly on purpose, again? In NLP terms I'm not giving anything up or making sacrifices, but re-framing my outlook on life. Like I said, boy-chasing has never been a pleasurable activity for me, so why not replace it with things that will be fun?

From now until Samhain (aka Halloween), I will be celibate. Roughly seven weeks. Like a mental/emotional detox to try and get back to the way I was when I started this blog, but without the Zoloft. And I hope to figure out why this happened in the first place so I can prevent it from derailing my life again ;-)

As always, Your Mileage May Vary.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sass Is Back, All Right!

The NYC summer is drifting away! Temperatures have dipped back below 80 degrees! The think-y cells in my head work again!

Just in time for my standard allergy season. Pow. Whups. Think-y brain juice halted by an equal and opposite force of goo from my sinuses.

So I'm here, and typing, and ready to sass again. But I'm going to work on some of these posts for a few more days as the medicines wear off. Just to make sure I'm not proofreading under the influence :-)

Luv Sassy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sassy Needs a Recharge

I am a bad blogger this summer. Internet self promotion is all about consistency, and in that respect I am totally made of fail. Although I put up an invitation to send me blog topics a few weeks ago and nobody responded, so I'm sure my quiet is unnoticed by the world at large.

What I've been doing instead of blogging:
Coming to terms with an illness in the family.

Decluttering and cleaning my house. Like, a lot.

Working on my budget skillz.

Developing a sleep budget.

Cooking things without heat. So... more like mixing, I guess.

Taking improv comedy classes.

Seeing lots of shows.

Taking lots of comedy show photos.

Sometimes posting those photos on the internet. Argh, backlog.


Studying Neuro Linguistic Programming.

Studying astrology.

Performing tons of tarot readings.

Taking the Pill.

Abstaining from use of makeup and contact lenses, because my eyes hurt!

Wearing sun dresses.

Wearing old slips/negligee as sun dresses.

Boggling at how much money people spend on overpriced brand name gadgets.

Preparing for DRAGONCON!!!!!

So... this was going to be a "I'm on a blogger break," announcement, but of course listing these things out gives me ideas for new posts. Posts that might be out of season by after Labor Day weekend. In that case, if your Sass reception may seem spotty and inconsistent until early September, do not adjust your set. I'm just taking a sass-nap ;-)

How is your summer vacation/staycation/wageslavery going this year?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spinster Has Run Out of Sassy

Maybe it is the summer doldrums (or the Summer Soul Flu), but I am exhausted. Thus, lack of blogging.

But it is Friday! Here, have some links. I've been trying to psych myself up to do some de-cluttering by looking at home improvement type blogs ;-)

Tiny-Ass Apartment
. Like Apartment Therapy, only this blog is actually about APARTMENTS and not expensive houses with tons of space. Why do you do that, AT?

Lovely Undergrad
. Like the aforementioned TAA, but with a college life spin. Adorbs!

Ikea Hacker. Almost handmade, always much fun.

Happy Weekend! Stay cool!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spinster Links!

On Interpersonal Badness - You Are Worthless, Lets Be Friends. Reminds me of a crazy social group I got out of a few years ago. But I wonder how often we all act like this without realizing?

Panic, Meditation, and the Dilettante. I also don't get around to meditating every day, but that is mostly due to bad time management skills. Maybe I need a Pagan life coach.

Best Friend Rape Prevention. Trigger warnings. I agree with the author, "Random goons on the street and invading homes have nothing statistically on friends, dates, and partners." So how does a person apply stranger-rape prevention advice in a familiar environment?

Why 'Female' Science Professor?
"Why the extra adjective? Does it matter in my work as a scientist and a professor that I am female? Many times it does."

Of girls and geeks: Environment may be why women don't like computer science. But ... I like Star Trek posters? Still an interesting experiment.

Sign of the Times: Barbie's a Tech Geek. I'm still not sure how to respond to this. Tho I'm surprised she's not a Mac user.

How My Little Pony Turned a Little Girl Into a Computer Scientist
. So Matel was off by one franchise ;-)

Fashion and the Female Geek, First Steps. "...I can address not only how to be taken seriously as a ‘front-line geek feminist’ – but also how to maintain a standard of comfort that is (quite frankly) essential to a woman who has plenty of ‘geeky’ passions that occupy her time and keep her on her biologically-accurate toes."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life-Upgrade Update!

Last month's budget numbers were a little weird, due to my birthday celebrations and putting cash down on an improv class. But still hopeful.

My weekly discretionary budget is staring to work out, my habits need more tweeking than the budget itself does.

Cutting back on junk at the grocery store has significantly lowered my grocery bills. Fruit is a lot cheaper than cookies.

Pina Colada Sorbet was a wonderful idea for homemade. I don't feel the need to keep eating it until its gone like super rich homemade ice cream. Am trying to hack the recipe so I don't have to add any extra sugar.

I may try to kick my daily chocolate habit all together. I can't have just one piece, and too much makes me feel super yucky. This is freaking out my friends more than quitting alcohol *and* caffeinated drinks.


Still trying to figure out when I have time for making jewelry. That's super important, both for potential extra income and occupied alone-time.

Also trying to streamline my online presences to make it easier to promote all the weird stuff I do. May have to trade jewelry for another website, but this one will be super simple.

Allergy shots seem to be working *crosses fingers* along with all my new prescriptions.

After reading some of the blogs I posted about last week, am trying to talk to more new people. Not total strangers, but other people at the theaters I frequent whom I have not met yet. Seems good so far.

Figured out how to watermark/tag my improv show photos. I don't mind other people using them, but I like my credits.

Also figured out how to wire my Tumblr feed in advance to post improv photos. Back to obsessively photographing shows :-D

Monday, June 28, 2010

Money On the Side

So cash is tight right now, as I try to slay the credit card monster. I could take a second part-time job but I'm not sure I have enough energy. And my many-faceted social life would suffer. And EVERYBODY is looking for jobs right now, whereas I have a nice library job already.

But there are some extra things I'm doing on the side for extra money. I run a small jewelry business (on Etsy) and I do fortune telling with tarot cards (around NYC). I also take photos of a lot of local improv shows, and for that I sometimes get free drinks and/or my cover charge waived.

I'm learning that to get recognition for any sort of skill you need to promote the hell out of yourself. And never underestimate the power of Twitter to get more hits on Etsy, ZOMG.

Potential roadblock: I've heard it said that to really promote your skills you have to focus on only one to pimp out like crazy. But I don't want to be any less than a jewelry designer, fortune teller, photographer, blogger, AND improv performer. Trying to figure out if people would want to subscribe to a Twitter that inundates you with all of the above.

What do you do for extra money on the side? I'll probably describe each of my experiences at length sometime soon ;-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taking Requests!

It is summer in my world and things are slowing down. There is more time for blogging and reading, but my brain is slowly turning to mush thanks to an NYC heat wave.

So, any requests? What would you like to see me blog about? Is there a topic you expected to see related to Spinster-ism that I have not yet satisfied for you?

Or something more off topic, maybe suggested in a previous post but not really fleshed out. Perhaps a specific question about the world we/I live in? I'm not infallible, but I am a professional librarian with fantastic Googling skills.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Camp Magnet 2010!

The weekend-before-last (I set up a lot of blog posts ahead of time, can you tell?) I went to


And it was good.

The Great Kayak Race!

Um, except for the panic attack I had when I couldn't sleep because it was too cold, but that wasn't the camp's fault. And it didn't seem to effect my performance that much...

Playing pretend.

Otherwise it was a really fun mixture of camp activities, improv workshops with some of the Magnet's best teachers, and people being drunk over 4 days. It was weird being at a camp where we were allowed and encouraged to drink.

Red Team, Go!

Would very much like to go again next year, hopefully with a much warmer sleeping bag or much stronger sleeping pills. I feel a lot less frustrated about my improv-ness after spending the weekend there :-)

Welcome to the Freakshow!

Pictures of Camp Magnet 2010!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Yaaaaaay! Less than 100 days away! DragonCon!!!

Fandom! Science! Cosplay! Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen! Music! Singing tesla coils! Celebrities!

The greatest Geek Bacchanalia of North America!

The Snuggie Cult, with Griff McGerbil.

To Do Before:
  • Figure out who is staying in my room. Its coming together.
  • Room is booked at the Hilton, back in October. Yeah, it's like that.
  • Change my room reservation, can't stay the extra night in Atlanta as planned this year.
  • Costumes? I may be lazy this year.
  • Dusk's first DragonCon :-D She's a fuzzygoth, the Cruxshadows booth will be thrilled.
  • Budget. No dealers room this year. Maybe no art room or music either, those always get me.
  • Get my plane tickets!
  • Don't break my camera two days before the event.
  • Set up the txt list for "I'm here! Where are you?" messages.
  • Closely deconstruct and highlight the programming once they put it online.
  • Pack!

Mad Scientists League Bake Sale, with Griff again!

Why Spinsters have an awesome time:
  • Flirting with all the Earth Force and Narn cosplayers.
  • 24 hour parties, maybe this year I'll find the orgies too?
  • Can wear whatever I want, as little or as much.
  • Not keeping track of someone else's purse/badge/program.
  • Don't have to bring back anybody a present.
  • Not getting called long distance in the middle of panels.
  • No weird conversations about who's staying in the room.
  • Staying out as late as I want without having to check in.
  • Smaller ratio of persons stuck in the Cult of Pairs.

Everybody's got somethin' to hide, 'cept for me and my gerbil!

Pictures of DragonCon 2007

Pictures of DragonCon 2009

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Links!

Things I found on teh interwebs recently:

Succeed Socialy dot Com : Free social skills advice for adults. What a great idea :-D I like a lot of these articles.

30 Sleeps : Open source personal development. "I’m a 31-year-old, Vancouver-based adventure capitalist on a mission to help others grow." Thanks, dude :-). I really like the Social Skydiving series :-)

Welcome! To the Menaissance Festival! Yikes. I don't watch Mad Men, I'm starting to think that show would frustrate me somethin' awful.

Marriage, kids, adulthood, but why? Interesting look at the changing values of family life and independence in American culture. However, it also smacks of middle-to-upper class privilege.

Where the Smart People At? Calculating the "smartest" concentration of people in the U.S., by measuring college degree holders per square mile in several cities.

How to keep someone with you forever. This article disturbs me on many levels. In that "Awesome, I'll never fall for that ever again," way.

How to a roast chicken, fast! Because roasting chicken is f'ing easy. I got my 90 minute recipe from The Pink of Perfection, and I usually use the long cooking time to make other dishes. Or stare blankly at Facebook.

The Pink of Perfection, a thrifty girl's guide to the good life. Perfectly awesome in every way.

20 things I wish I'd known at 20. I don't think anybody's ever photographed me almost-topless, does that mean I come out ahead?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Building a Comedic Mystery

I am now a member of the Cult of Improv.

It's hard to pinpoint when that actually happens. Some say it's when you start classes, some say its when you perform regularly in groups or at jams.

Another friend explained that improv comedy is 90% attendance, so it may go back further than the seven months of classes to when I started going to shows all the time. The improv scene is like a Pez dispenser of entertainment. Or a a bag of nachos - crunch all you like, we'll make more!

Responsibilities of the Improv Cultist:
  • Perform long form improv comedy. With a team or at mixers and jams.
  • See lots of other people's improv shows.
  • Send out lots of Facebook invites to improv shows.
  • Start lots of teams and practice groups that don't work out.
  • Start a few teams and practice groups that do work out.
  • Name drop all of your teachers.
  • Start a Tumblr blog.
  • Hang out at the bar whenever you're not on a stage.
  • Smoke like a chimney.*
  • Drink like a fish.*
  • Live in Astoria, Morningside Heights, Harlem, or the trendier parts of Brooklyn.**

*I am a bad cultists for not participating here, but I think I make up for it by taking tons of show photos and telling fortunes for other cultists. Or maybe you can't be a real improviser until you get cirrhosis or a respiratory disease? Does asthma count?

**I bought property in Queens before I knew the Cult of Improv existed. They have not yet told me to sell it and give all the profits to the cult, but I'm sure that talk is coming...

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Like Big Boots and I Cannot Lie


I'm not much of a shoe girl, nor am I much concerned with fashion. I've been on a lifelong quest to find one set of footwear that can be worn with anything, so I never have to go shoe shopping ever again. These are the best I've ever had!

Last June I finally ordered the pair of Doc Martens I've wanted for years, with an online discount code from a friend. Both friend and boots are awesome.

I skirt the edges of the Goth and other alt scenes, so these boots go with almost everything I own. And I wear them with everything I can. Skirts, dresses, ballgowns, jeans, slacks, business and casual. They zip up the side so I don't spend hours lacing them. And as my friend with the discount recommended, they are great to wear under boot cut jeans when it's rainy out. My ankles are warm and dry, winter and summer.

Friends thought I was crazy to break them in during the peak of NYC summer, but they were ready to go by the time fall and winter kicked in. I wear them all year round anyway ;-)

Early this year one of the zippers wore out and cost $30 to repair. But I love these boots and that is a lot less than buying a new pair. Worth it! And a general rule of thumb for clothing repair - why buy something new when you can fix what something you already love?

As the last girl in my social networks to get a pair of awesome Docs I had plenty of advice to go on:

-Pre-buying of boots, if you are buying them online with a discount code, first go to a shoe store and try on the same style in your size.

-Upon obtaining your boots, stock up on sturdy band-aids in a wide variety of sizes. Breakin' in is hard to do.

-Second, put the squishy insoles inside. Worth the extra $$!

-Third, wear them every day with socks for a week or so. Boot socks are good if it's not too hot outside, but even plain white crew socks work fine. They will give you extra protection from getting your feet and ankles roughed up. (Actually, I still usually wear ankle high socks with my Docs, its not like anybody can see. Best tip ever, wear socks *under* fishnets with your boots!)

-Fourth, pick up some sticky-backed moleskin pads from the drug store and cover any sharp/rough bits inside the shoe. It may take a couple of days to pinpoint where they all are.

-Fifth, don't take any s#$% from anybody, because you could kick their faces in with your awesome boots.

Happy anniversary, boots!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Um, thanks?

To: Sassy
From: OkCupid! Summer Interns

Subject: We have data on your attractiveness!

We are very pleased to report that you are in the top half of OkCupid's most attractive users. The scales recently tipped in your favor, and we thought you'd like to know.

How can we say this with confidence? We've tracked click-thrus on your photo and analyzed other people's reactions to you in QuickMatch and Quiver.
. . .

Your new elite status comes with one important privilege:
You will now see more attractive people in your match results.

This new status won't affect your actual match percentages, which are still based purely on your answers and desired match's answers. But the people we recommend will be more attractive. Also! You'll be shown to more attractive people in their match results.
. . .

Suddenly, the world is your oyster. Login now and reap the rewards. And, no, we didn't just send this email to everyone on OkCupid. Go ask an ugly friend and see.

OKCupid, you never fail to remind me about why I started this blog. *cringe*

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Space is Limited. Home is Infinite.

Yay, Apartment Therapy's Small Cool 2010 Contest is completed!

It's got lots of pretty home design pics, if that's what you're into. I am, and it went into crazy overdrive when I was home shopping in late 2008. Apartment Therapy is a good overall blog for that, although when I was reading it a year ago it was drifting from "apartment" to "general home things that don't fit in apartments." Maybe they're better now.

This contest was the awesome exception, a celebration of tiny spaces that people make livable and gorgeous.

My co-op apartment is less than 400 square feet, including the balcony and closets. Now that I'm settled in, maybe I will submit to this contest next year :-D Which gives me about 10 months to finish the kitchen reno (CRINGE), de-clutter, clean, and borrow a tripod to take some bitchin' photos.

So far, no matter how I angle the camera my home still looks way more cluttered than it is.

Lol, j/k ;-) This was moving week.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Things I've learned about food lately:

*Peanut butter is awesome. I have greatly underestimated pb sammiches.

*Refridgerating store bought bread helps it last longer.

*After years of hating fried eggs, I tried it myself using bacon fat instead of butter, and they were wonderful. Tried again with butter, yuck.

*Still haven't mastered bacon, luckily I like it slightly burnt too. Bacon-stix!

*Its really hard keeping non-stick kitchen equipment non-greasy :-P

*I don't like baking cookies, muffins, or anything else that has to be shaped or portioned before baking. I like breads and brownies, things you bake all together and cut later.

*Most improv people don't like brownies. They whinge about having to keep their weight down for acting, and then wander over to the bar for their customary five beers.

*Cupcakes are supposed to look better than they taste. Not that they can't taste good, but they have become more of a visual artform.

*Celery sticks squeak uncomfortably against my teeth. Eeeek.

*I hate washing dishes more than I hate myself for using paper plates at home all the time.

*I love honey, but baking with it can cause interesting and unexpected moisture-absorbing results.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Linkages!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Credit Card Monster

I think most Americans have one. And like the monsters we used to have under the bed or in the closet, it has the power to keep us from sleeping peacefully at night.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I have a pretty good idea where mine came from:
  • Ooooo, stuff is on sale!
  • Buying jewelry supplies is no problem! I'll just resell it later, right? And high vendor fees are totally worth all of the press if I only break even!
  • I'm going to put EVERYTHING on my cards for now, to stockpile extra cash for the co-op purchase! Then I can just pay it all back later.
The first habit I mostly squished a few years ago, as I became Discardian. The second was trickier, but I've put a moratorium on all my business related spending. I still have plenty of unused supplies, and this is forcing me to finally use all of them in unexpected ways.

The third was the worst in the long run, because I didn't notice for a long time what a terrible habit I'd developed. And it's not just what you're spending on the cards, its also what the bank is charging you in interest on purchases. One of my cards doesn't even come with any extra customer benefits due to a SNAFU with the bank. No matter how aggressively I tried to pay them down, they kept building up with new expenses and interest.

My live is fairly uncomplicated, financially speaking, so its a good time to go monster hunting ;-)

Rule one, stop feeding the monster. I haven't frozen my cards into a block of ice, but I have stopped using them all together. Its either cash or debit, and I don't like using my debit card.

Rule two, begin the hack'n'slash! I already have some savings, so I'm devoting everything that would go to debt reduction and savings to just debt reduction. The interest on my credit cards is a lot higher than the interest on my savings account (thanx BoA).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fixing Finances

I hate the stereotype that women are incompetent at tracking their finances. Based on the state of the national economy, *everybody* is bad with finance. It looks like part of the latest incarnation of the American dream is to live outside one's means.

But I've been doing my own taxes for years, both business and personal. I didn't need to be rescued from numbers, and I like to know where my results come from in case I'm audited. It's tedious but people blow the difficulties out of proportion. Managing my personal finances holds about the same amount of tedium, but smaller bits spread out over the year.

First I just tracked my spending for four months, starting in January. I was almost always in the red, but always for different reasons (medical, business trip, week of parties, etc). For that reason I put off making a proper budget because I wanted to see what a "normal" month was like. Until the *headdesk* moment when I realized there is no such thing. At the beginning of May I worked something out that I think affords me some room for errors, as I slowly learn to stop making them.

I also realized that I can't keep track of a personal budget on a once-a-month budget. My bills can be tracked that way, usually all paid on the first of the month, but not my groceries or discretionary spending habits. So its once-a-week checks for food and random stuff.

Like the grocery changes, I think this will be OK. Breaking habits is difficult, but some sources indicate that its better to exchange one habit for another.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Internet Bounty

How To Clean Stuff dot Net. Thank goodness, because I am a spaz.

5 Minute Chocolate Cake. Baked in a coffee mug, in a microwave. This is a dangerous thing for me to find, so I'm sharing the peril.

Six Months of Rules. From "Premise," For the last six months of my twenties, I am going to follow "the Rules" of dating (or my best interpretation of them) and write about it.

Just reading the first few pages... Madam, you have way more patience for this than I would. Good luck with your project :-)

Are You Eating Yourself Into Debt? From Man Vs. Debt.

I definitely was.

Welcome to the Institute for Beyonce-related Cultural Studies. . . A despicable charade where so much is demanded of women, so much compliance and poking and prodding, so much effort to make ourselves beautiful and radiant and perfect, so much forcing of square pegs into round holes, just so we could meet it all, do it all, get close to the apex of perfection and still be worth nothing.

The Beyonce song reminds me of some back-foot humor. "How is a girl like you still single?" How are you dumb enough to ask me that question?

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Was out with some people, one in particular, a few months ago when the word "dating" came up. Looking around the bar at all of the different types of interactions going on, I started comparing and analyzing until I came up with some defining characteristics. It seems to be a vague and hazy concept for most people. But here I go...

Date: An agreement to engage in a social activity with one other person, and give each other your undivided attention.

In my mind dates can be romantic, or not (that's my own skewed point of view and sense of phrasing). But it does constitute an interest to be in the presence of that person in particular, to set them apart and treat them differently than you would treat other people. Which are good tactics when trying to put something romantic together.

One point I can't quite figure out is "movie date" but I suppose after the movie is over the undivided attention starts up again. "Double date" is also tricky.

In this case, hanging out with a big group of people is not a date. Going to see a person's show is also not a date, at least not with that person. A passing kiss on its own doesn't make a date, although it is often a nice ending for one.

Dating seems to be about effort and attention, which in some cases may lead to commitment. In other cases, ideally, "I don't feel like making an effort with you anymore. We should pay attention to other people." "O.K."

This comes up because the person I was having that conversation with a few months ago seemed to think we were dating. Possibly? It was hard to tell, he wasn't the sort of person to communicate things clearly. Likewise he never put any clear effort or attention to me, so I was confused. I cannot be dating someone if they have never actually asked me out on a date. And "Lets just see what happens..." does not count.

I like things to be defined. I like it when people are clear about what they want, even if its a brief snuggle in the back of a bar before moving on to the next girl. But I wonder if this is really me, or my reaction to lots of people giving minimum effort and expecting maximum attention? I've been jerked around a lot over the last few years, and don't have the energy for that game anymore.

Just defining things takes effort. And if I'm not worth that much effort to another person, they are clearly not worthy of me ;-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuna Overload

My preferred cooking style is to have a food-prep marathon for a few hours every weekend. I make a ton of stuff that can be packaged into lunch boxes ahead of time. Leftovers from that can be nibbled on whenever I'm at home. Usually it's a meatloaf or roast chicken, but now that the weather is warmer I'm leaning towards things that don't require so much heat.

Packing lunches ahead of time saves me money and time. Mostly I lose the time wandering around the Village looking for somewhere to eat, because I have trouble making decisions when I'm hungry :-/ These days my brain tends to star shutting down on its own before I even start feeling hungry. The people at Cosi's know my first name and my usual order, so that's probably where most of my income has been going this month.

This week's lunch: Tuna salad (with mayo, celery, a little bacon, and spices), celery and carrot sticks, a suggested serving size of triscuts, 1 oz of dark chocolate.

Yikes, that was a lot of tuna. But I had a full package of celery to use up, so why not make five cans worth? I sometimes wonder how much variation factors into a person's diet. There's plenty left over in the fridge to pack more lunches, or have on toast for dinner.

The blog has finally become "What I had for lunch." I'm not sure if this is good or bad. It's a lot harder to misinterpret lunches than lifestyles.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The "No Buy" List

For the most part, my lifestyle improvements are about planning ahead rather than outright denying myself. But I'm going to try something slightly more difficult with grocery shopping. Or easier?

There is a list of things I'm no longer buying at the grocery store, which includes almost all of the snack foods I can think of. I still buy crackers, because sometimes my stomach can't handle more than saltines, and Triscuits are an OK substitute for bread when I don't want to make sandwiches. Its fine so long as I don't eat the whole box. They make rosemary flavored Triscuits now, ZOMG.

BUT I am OK with eating desserts if I make them myself. I can usually make it better ;-) I even have an ice cream maker, but am sticking to sorbet for the time being.

Also on the list are most dairy products. I've had a LOT of chest colds this spring, and dairy makes them worse, so I'm staying away from cheese and ice cream for a while. I used to buy corn chips primarily as a vehicle for eating as much sour cream as possible, so both of those are gone. Butter survived the purge because I bake with it.

I'm trying to stick to products with ingredients that I understand. Crackers are an exception, but WOW bread is hard to shop for now. Its like I can only have ingredients I recognize *or* high fiber content. WTH. Canned soups are also annoying as I work through the backlog of items purchased before I made this list. Mayonnaise is mostly recognizable except for the preservatives.

I cut out most sodas when I went caffeine free 5+ years ago (this freaks people out WAY more than my teetotaler habits). I really only drink water in my house, or fresh brewed tea, or sometimes I have a bottle of V8 in the fridge. Liquid products are super heavy to carry home from the grocery store anyway.

I like my food products like I like my people: able to clearly communicate what they're about.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Noms Begin

As previously stated, I'm re-evaluating my relationship with food, because I would never be able to break up with it. *sigh*

I don't really like the term "diet" because it brings up too many images of obsessive compulsively counting calories, owning a scale, and being miserable. I am cutting back on buying and eating certain things with other intentions in mind than my weight, namely to feel less tired and save some money.

First goal: I want to cook more and eat out less. This satisfies so many things I'm trying to fix.

I'm lactose intolerant and have other similar whiny-stomach issues, so cooking for myself is a great way to avoid these conditions. I'll know exactly what I'm eating because I made it, and it's all exactly the way I like it.

And it can save lots of cash, depending on where you buy your groceries. But I'm not allowed to go back to Whole Foods until I scale back some more credit card debt.

It is annoying to wash all of those extra plastic containers from bringing my own lunches to work, but I'll just grit my teeth and deal.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Building a Better Spinster

Yesterday was my birthday (YAY!), and that tends to get people all introspective about their lives and choices.

There are things I don't like about my lifestyle. Because my enormous wealth of friends, and the abundance of information and guidance available on the internet, I'm starting to focus more on fixing them. May as well blog about it ;-)

1) I'm in credit card debt. Not to the point of declaring bankruptcy or eating pb&j for every meal (which actually wouldn't be so bad...). But after four months of carefully tracking my $$ habits I've come to the conclusion that my relationship with money is not healthy.

2) I'm a bit overweight. I am 26 on the BMI* which is not the end of the world. But weird cholesterol problems and diabetis run in my family, and i miss wearing some of the clothes I had when I was 24 on the BMI.

3) I have mood swings, depression, and insomnia, which I think are related. I am in therapy for clinical depression, and doing A LOT better than when I started 2 years ago, but I'd like to do more tinkering between sessions. I am "tired" much of the time, sometimes its emotional, sometimes physical, often both. The ties between mind and body are very interesting.

4) I keep getting sick! I get frequent "chest colds" which eat into a lot of my social and work life. I've missed many cons/parties/shows/classes/goodbyes to this over the past few months, grrr.

5) I am bad at keeping up with my part time business. I'm making an effort to spend less $$ on the jewelry business this year, and use the materials/resources I already have. But it's super hard to keep focused between illness and social life.

My goals are not super exact at this point. In part because I'm tired and have trouble focusing. But if the interwebs are watching, I hope to have more motivation to get it together. Right now I'm doing some major tinkering with the financial, and more minor tinkering with everything else until I find things that fit. I'm also taking advantage of having a job with health care benefits, and getting all of my check-ups and tests sorted out. ESPECIALLY the allergist/immunologist.

Many of the ideas and plans I'm coming up with interrelate these problems, the best example being a change in my diet that is going to work with all of the first four points, I hope. Regular exercise is something I miss, but item four keeps getting in the way of me going back to tai chi and yoga classes. Grrrr.

This may evolve into regular posts about how I'm doing, maybe with numbers and statistics. It will definitely include links to other blogs where I've found a lot of food-for-thought on these subjects. Just remember that my own advice is not infallible ;-)

Luv, Spinster One.

*The BMI, by most accounts I've seen lately, is really not the best health/weight/fat guide. The height/weight ratio does nothing to differentiate between the different materials that make up the human body, which all have different densities. But I'm shy about recording my actual weight, so its good enough for this purpose.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Latest Links

Despite my extended break from blogging, I have found things both awe and ire inspiring all over the interwebs :-)

Imaginary Bitches on Youtube
! A woman who is the last single girl in her group of friends suddenly develops a pair of imaginary friends. Friends who are total bitches. Awesome hijinks ensue. Totally free to watch this online tv show, but I wish they'd get on with season 2.

The Technique of the Love Affair. A romance self-help book penned in the 1920s, reprinted with commentary. It's a super interesting read if you are a student of history and feminism, or have a Machiavellian view on relationships. And the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same...

Rape Culture and Road Rage, on Livejournal. A conversation about rape culture, and how baby steps can go a long way towards dismantling it.

Contrary to the Myth, Abortion is NOT the Most Controversial "Choice" Issue: Words of Caution for Elena Kagan
Yet another double standard. Western culture still doesn't know how to deal with women (single or otherwise) who don't want to have children.

No More Sex in the City: NYC women are going celibate - and they feel happier than ever. Um... This article has some interesting points, but is annoying overall. I don't like the NY Post's point of view that all women in their 20s will eagerly hook up with someone they met on the subway. And how two weeks without sex is some enormous personal achievement. And the last line, “But I think it’s harder to not have sex than to have sex.” Speak for yourself.

For the record, I'm not celibate, I just have standards. And so do most women in NYC. Like a friend of mine replied on Facebook, "Not having sex or a relationship is not some horrible fate that bad sex and bad relationships will somehow improve upon." Srsly.

And because 'tis the season, Doctor Who - Tenth Doctor: The Musical. No time for boys right now, it's Doctor Who season!! I'm loving Doc 11, but I am still not impressed with Moffat's ability to write female characters.