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.