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What a difference 5,000 years make. The rise and frankly humiliating decline of the Mewmans

January 10, 2011

Ancient Egypt

















will you get off my cat’s dick already?

January 6, 2011

I’ve liked cats for a long time.  I mean like way before cats blew up on the internet I was in cat 4H, taking Ms. Victoria my purebreed Ragdoll to cat shows and dressing her up as a cheerleader for the Island County Fair.  Then Ms. Victoria was eaten by a coyote we buried a bloody clump of her pale gray fur in a satin box in the yard.   Ms. Victoria, was a real cat’s cat, whiny, solitary, cranky as hell, and she was sorely missed until Blacky came along three weeks later.

In those days, you didn’t want to tell many people you were in Cat 4H for fear of ridicule and never having a boyfriend even though you were eight, and seeming more like Mallory from The Baby Sitter’s Club than Dawn from The Baby Sitter’s Club.  YouTube didn’t exist, but if it had no one would have thought you were funny if you posted a video of your cat trying to climb into an envelope and mail itself to Malaysia.  They would have thought you were a witch.  These days, it seems like you can’t throw-up without getting it all over a self-proclaimed cat lover, and where did all these cat lovers come from?  Where were they 15 years ago, when I was stuffing my snarling kitty into a harness and showing a table of scowling meter maids just how clean its ears were?  I’ll tell you where they were, with their dogs.

Skype Conversation From Hell

December 27, 2010

My parents are always trying to get me to Skype with them.  This is why I don’t:

Parent: “Hi!!!!  This is so cool!  It’s like a miracle!”
Adult Child (just woke up): “Hi, mom.”
Parent: “I can see you!”
Adult Child: “Yeah.  How are you guys?”
Parent: “Did you just wake up?  You look a little haggard.  Look at Tim you guys.  He had a big night!”
Adult Child: “Whose over there?”
Parent: “Just grandma and grandpa and a few other people.”
Adult Child: “Uh huh.” (puts on a hat)
Parent: “He put on a hat.  Worried his hair was sticking out.”
Someone in the background: “Well, it was!”  (everyone laughs)
Parent: “Is that your apartment?  The walls look pretty bare.  Can we have a look around?”
Adult Child: “Around my apartment?”
Parent: “Yeah, just pick up the computer and walk around with it a little.”
Adult Child: “Alright.” (girlfriend hits the deck)
Parent: “Who was that?  Is someone there?”
Adult Child: “I don’t think so.”
Parent: “We want to see a window. Come on show us a window!”
Adult Child carries laptop to the window and shows them a view of Tokyo in the wintertime.
Parent: “Huh. Okay, now hold the computer out the window I wanna see outside.  Okay, that’s enough.”
Parent: “Do you want to say something to Brent?”
Adult Child: “Whose Brent?”
Parent: “Ramona’s boyfriend.  You haven’t met him.”
Adult Child: “Not right now, okay?”
Parent: “Shhh he can hear you.”
Adult Child: “Let me say hi to grandma.”
Parent: “He wants to talk to his grandmother.  Come on up mom.  Come on up.”  (ushers grandmother up like an emcee at an awards show.)
Grandparent: “Hi, Tim.  You look good.  Don’t listen to what they all say.”
Adult Child: “Thanks grandma.  I love you.”
Grandparent: “I love you too Tim.”
Parent (in the background): “Okay we gotta get dinner going.”

Adult Child: “Talk to you guys later.”

Parent: “We’ll definitely do this again.  This is fun!”


Google + Knows What to Wear Before You Do

December 23, 2010

An article I wrote about shopping for

I may not have found my Little Mermaid dress, but after some refining, has the potential to combine the fun of offline shopping with the efficiency of not having to put on pants to do it.

With its large images and simple, logical design, Boutiques is great for browsing and stumbling into unexplored lands like Bohemian or Carey Mulligan. From cheap Forever 21 dresses to $3,000 McQueen gowns, all clothes get the same visual treatment. And in this context it’s fun to see how arbitrary pricing can seem.  More…

stop bitching and start a club

December 22, 2010

Can we just say that photos make people look fat?  Who does it really hurt to say that? No one could have said it better than Anna Wintour when, after a 2-hour juice fast she turned to Hamish Bowles and said, “Looking at a photo of yourself is like looking in the mirror and seeing a hyena in a $4,000 Carolina Herrera gown.”

Everything people do in photos is an attempt to not be horrified when it finally goes up on Facebook.  It’s not that people love to detag themselves from photos.  I think I can speak for humans in general sous-chefs specifically when I say that we would love to have exactly 199 pictures of us looking like Kristen Bell in Lucky magazine, but we’re finding it awfully hard to get there when our “friends” keep posting photos taken from below our chins.  Are our friends really that short?  And if not, then why do they do this?  Do they think they need to balance out all the ridiculously beautiful pictures we post of ourselves so that the universe can maintain equilibrium?  Do they see those horrible pictures of us, and think, “Stars! they’re just like us!”  Whatever the reason, it’s time to fight back. Here are a few things we can do to try to beat our “friends” at their own game:

1.    The Pull Back w/optional Mystery Cheek – if you’re involved in a cheek to cheek shot act like you’re totally into it (nuzzle, flirt) and then, at the last moment, pull your face back about 2 inches.  The other person’s head will look huge while you will look demure and camera shy.  Bonus points for actually tucking your cheek behind the other person’s cheek making their cheek look puffy and yours look mysterious.

The Pull-Back-And-Tuck

2.    The Sminde – Smiling with your mouth is for infants.  Smiling with your mind is what grownups do.   You know the face you make when you look in the mirror?  The one where you pull your features into perfect alignment and squint your eyes like you’re Steve McQueen on a sunny day?  The face you never quite get to in pictures, because you’re worried you might look drunk or vulnerable or date-rapey?  Well now is the time to embrace that look.  So shut your mouth, close your eyes (just for a second, then open them again) and let your smile shine right through your thalamus.

the father of The Sminde


3.    The Growler w/optional sunglasses – I don’t know why but this really works.  Partly because when you open your mouth really wide your cheeks look skinny.

the growler w/sunglasses


5.    The Kidman –  Think of the last time you wanted to kill someone.  Now think about your most amazing night on angel dust.  Where those two thoughts converge is The Kidman.

The Kidman


too peurile for the payoff

December 1, 2010

He will ask, “So we might miss a boat?”  You will look at him in disbelief, “We will miss a boat.  We will miss many boats.”  Trying to make him understand how bad it could be, and how lucky he is that you ever made it on a ferry enough times to go to college, move to San Francisco, and meet him.  You are mad at him for even thinking that you would make this ferry.


If you’ve never lived on an island where riding a ferry was the only way off then you’ve never lived on an island.  If there is one thing islanders know about it’s the agony and the ecstasy of making the boat.  For many people, and I’ve never experienced this but it must be true, the trip home from the airport or the mall or the concert is just that, a half hour drive, and you’re there, but for the vague possibility of traffic or an accident.  For an islander it is these things, but in the background always waiting in the wings is the ferry.

First and foremost will you make it?  “It” of course is a basically arbitrary half-hour increment that means nothing until suddenly it means everything, and you’ll hear people saying things like, “We need to be on the ten,” or “Do you think we can make the 2:30?” With the kind of gravity usually reserved for questions about asteroids passing near the Earth.

There are two things that stand in the way of ‘making it’ the first being time itself.  Sometimes you simply miss it, the light was red, the car in front of you was driven by that universally hated creature ‘the tourist’, you couldn’t find your good black skirt or whatever.  The second possibility is that there are many many other people trying to make it, and even though you were there in plenty of time and would have made it under normal circumstances you have missed it, and that is it.  Either way, the gate is down and you’re depressed.

Of course, once you have not made it, like anytime the thing you fear most has come to pass, you feel that weight of dread lift from your chest.  At least now you know.  You have missed it.  You’ll be on the next one.  You better be on the next one.  How many cars do they take again?  Where’s the cut-off?  The totem pole right?  You might make it.  You definitely might make it.  You will not make it.  You will never make it on the ferry.  You will miss many many boats, and will occasionally find yourself shivering in the lot at 5am, feeling silly, looking for the boat.

When I was in high school L and I were driving home from a concert in Seattle.  The midnight boat, we had to make it.  We did 90 the whole way back.  Ignoring a car stopped at a red light in the ferry lane we swerved around went through the green, and were the last car on the boat.  As it pulled away from the dock we started laughing and then inextricably burst into tears.  We had made it.  We had made it.  It hardly makes sense then that upon disembarking we drove straight to the salon where she worked, let ourselves in with her key, and each did 20 minutes in the tanning bed.  Except that it was our time, and except for the ferry, we would do with it as we pleased.

she’s so literal her heart is probably heart-shaped

November 14, 2010


hachiya and fuyu

You can always tell when persimmon season is upon us again, because the produce section starts to get really lively, “What kind of  tomato is THAT?” you hear people scream in grocery stores around the city.  Well, actually you never hear people scream that, or really say anything about persimmons, but what I’m saying is they should.  Persimmons are pretty much the fruit world’s best-kept secret.

I was first acquainted with persimmons when I lived in southern Spain for the worst 4 months of my life.  This was a time period when if I had been able to speak Spanish, and my host family had deigned to speak to me and we had gone around the dinner table saying the highs and lows of our days, my high would have been a piece of fruit and my low would have been, “Everything else.  You.” Which should tell you something about how little I understood the point of studying abroad.

There are two varieties, the small tomato-shaped Fuyu, and the larger fat-bullet shaped Hachiya.  In Spain, I ate the Hachiya exclusively, to absolutely no deleterious effect.  However, whenever I have eaten the Hachiya in the United States, it has always been a mistake.  This type of persimmon is very astringent due high levels of soluble tannins, and if eaten before it is ripe (and from what I can tell it is never ripe) will turn your mouth inside out.  It’s a very strange feeling and worth a try, if you want to experience what can only be described as your delicate cheek tissue rapidly sloughing off and going down your throat.

The Fuyu, while not completely free of tannins, has never caused my mouth to shed a layer of skin, and has become my go-to persimmon.  I am often asked while eating my daily persimmon, what it tastes like, and to that I can only say that a good persimmon tastes like something the gods would eat.  The flesh, and I do not use that word lightly, is subtly sweet, with a texture somewhere between a pear and something way better, and it’s the color of a sunset.  In other words don’t ask me what a persimmon tastes like.  Taste your own persimmon today.

all ghosts are interior decorators

October 30, 2010

Last night, on a whim and because S invited me, I went to a ghost tour of City Hall.  I was kind of imagining an intimate group as I figured there would just not be that many people interested in this sort of thing.  I was wrong.  Even when you took into account that half of them were attending the Filipino heritage ceremony in the rotunda, there were still a ton of people there.  Probably 2 tons.  While we were milling around waiting for kickoff, we glanced at the program and noticed that there was a whole page of medical disclaimers saying that you weren’t allowed to be there if you had hypertension, vapors, PTSD, ADD, or Extra-Sensory Perception.  At that point S had to leave.  No, not really.  Although it was a pretty comprehensive list, and I was surprised that no one with ESP walked out.

The tour itself was interesting not least because I had never explored City Hall, which is sort of mysterious and beautiful.  The guide regaled us with stories of assassinations (Harvey Milk, George Moscone) and how 1-2 tons of guards had heard footsteps and their names being whispered in their ears, which if it happened to you I’m sure would be pretty terrifying, but when you hear about someone else hearing footsteps it’s just not that creepy.  This is probably why movies like Saw X, are more commonly made than movies like An Ambiguous Noise at City Hall.  The more I heard about these ghosts the more I started to wonder why ghosts are so, well, lame.  I mean ghost stories are always about going into the living room and finding three CDs laid out in a straight line and the throw pillows rearranged.  Is rearranging someone’s living room in almost imperceptible ways really the only thing ghosts can think of to do?  Are all ghosts wanna be contestants on Design Star?  Ghosts these days lack imagination.  Must be all the TV.

the future of…

October 21, 2010

WIRED yourself.

WIRED interns/staffers/freelancers pose with their new favorite things.

on beauty

September 13, 2010

Celebrities and photo retouching have caused people to lose all perspective in terms of what good looking is. Have you noticed how you finally meet your friend’s “hot” boyfriend, and literally I have a friend who said her boyfriend was so hot that I would actually be too nervous to speak to him, and then you meet him, and he’s fine looking, he’s cute, but he doesn’t look anything like Penn Badgely. Which is shocking to you because that’s the MINIMUM of what you were expecting when you heard the word “hot.” Like that’s a normal standard to have.

Or you meet your friend’s “gorgeous” friend who she is always describing wistfully as like the “hot” one who is getting friended by strangers on Facebook, and she gets there, and you find yourself feeling so let down (and just overjoyed at the same time) because you were expecting Penelope Cruz, and why are you always expecting Penelope Cruz? Very few people are Penelope Cruz, but all these celebrity pictures that take really good looking people and then shave off half their faces and their elbows, to somehow make them more attractive is causing us to completely undervalue normal beauty.

Except that this phenomenon of being set up for hot and instead getting human, only exists because we think our friends and boyfriends are better looking than they actually are, which is very sweet in a way.