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More links for the otherwise occupied…

new office ceiling

This might not look like much, but to those of you who have been following my saga, this is the current state of my office ceiling. Woo hoo!! No more giant hole! Paint! Cute red paint, even. And later, after I fix that smudge (I am the world’s messiest painter) I’ll put the rest of the fixture up and begin to reckon with moving all of my stuff back into the office. Oh happy day…

It is far from from my usual Monday post. In fact, it will be Wednesday by the time this gets uploaded. Been busy priming the various ceilings in our apartment now that the giant hole is my office (and the various other bumps and cracks around the place) has been repaired. Allah Akbar, which means God is great… a statement I will happily stand behind, now that I see a light at the end of the tunnel of my life-amidst-piles-and-tarps.

But in the meantime, here are some things that I have noticed in the vast procrastinatory abyss that is the internet.

Listen to (and watch, and be blown away by) my friend’s 13 year old daughter Ruby Karp give a TED talk about feminist activism and what it means to her.

I mentioned this on facebook already, but you guys should all read Rebecca Carroll’s conversation with Jezebel.com founding editor Anna Holmes on The Aesthete. Two very intelligent women telling it like it is… almost makes you want to actually pick up a book and read again.

Artisinal gummmies from Portland, OR. What’s not to love?

Oh lord, did I really just read about an app called Saga that helps you create a “lifelog” by automatically recording everything you do (got coffee at El Beit, took L train to Union Square, bought lettuce, etc) and then lets you share aforementioned (and thrilling) lifelog with your friends? Please say it ain’t so…

Oh and Dear God, while I have you on the horn, please let the near-future version of my daughter be like Amanda Soule’s son Ezra in Maine, whipping up concoctions for his family and dancing around the kitchen while he does it. It’s moments like these that make all the other bullshit worthwhile…

People have all sorts of things to say about Malcolm Gladwell. I say listen to the man himself and then decide if you’re going to be one of the 10 or 15 people on Earth who choose not to read his latest book…

And while we’re on the topic of professorial men of african descent, PBS has just aired the first of Henry Louis Gates’ six part series called The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross. It is a comprehensive look at the crazy, multilayered, intense and often inspirational history of African Americans. Required viewing, as far as I am concerned.

Tuesday is the new Monday, so be afraid.


Nothing like a vampire creeping up your stairs to get you in the mood for Hallowe’en. That and living with a little girl dying to transform herself into a witch. Photo courtesy of Flavorwire.

Yesterday was my father’s 76th birthday, so I took the day off to roast a fresh ham and bake him red velvet cake. More on the ham later, which was delicious. But I’m back on track now, and for your web-surfing pleasure this week I hope to provide you all with some motivation to bring your best game to Halloween this year. Or at least to remind you that it’s coming up, so those of you with kids better get on it. Enjoy.

Leave it to the listmakers at Flavorwire to provide us with 20 “essential” vampire movies to get us in the mood this season.

Speaking of a little girl and her costume, this is the witch getup we’ve finally settled on this year. Thank you, Chasing Fireflies, for having the best selection of pre-made-but-not-totally-horrible costumes out there.

Here’s a great book by Lemony Snicket about a little boy who gets over his fear of the dark.

Leave it to Kim France to point us towards this crazy Cinderella/Carrie video mashup that turns our favorite princess fairytale into a bone chilling nightmare.

Perhaps this guy in Mustang, Oklahoma has taken his Halloween decorating a bit too far this year…

Do you guys think I could justify buying these Isabel Marant boots by claiming that they are going to be part of my witch costume?

Lastly, this video below might not be actually frightening, but it does feature our favorite wizard, one Harry Potter. Well, not Harry, but the man who brought him to life, British actor Daniel Radcliffe, in a more current role singing and dancing his a** off in a Broadway musical. And to my shock and surprise, he is GREAT.

Monday, monday, or enough is enough.

barbie movie

When asked what could possibly be worse that a government shutdown, I must admit that the words “Barbie Movie” come immediately to mind…

I am over just abut everything right about now because my landlord postponed (AGAIN!) the repair of my damaged and collapsed ceilings in our apartment for another 2 days.

Here are a few other things I am finished with:

How can anybody really think that the Affordable Healthcare Act is worse for our republic than shutting down the government? Maybe they are afraid that Obamacare will actually work.

Really North Carolina? You guys are still trying to make it hard-if-not-impossible for those citizens you deem undesirable to vote? Like we don’t see what you’re doing with your new voting law?

Why does anybody ever let their kids watch Barbie movies?

I’m sorry, did you say Placenta Art Prints?

I’m over everybody pretty much just getting guns whenever, no matter how insane or violent they might be. I am not, however, over Jon Stewart agreeing with me:

WHAT???? An iPod stand for a toddler training potty? Is nothing sacred?

And then, finally, on a more positive note, when I ran accross this letter from a grandfather scolding his daughter for disowning her gay son, I thought, perhaps, there is hope for us yet…

Monday, monday: Some random links to get you going

Cute kitten, or international spy?

Cute kitten, or international spy?

No rhyme or reason with the links this week. Sort of like my life.

Turns out that some of our most effective spies aren’t human at all.

It also turns out the best thing we can do for our kids at school is to talk to them at home.

Learn how to say no. And then when you get good at it, please teach me.

Joanna Goddard shares a friend’s recipe for homemade masala chai… perfect for the change in season.

You can see all sorts of sculptures by world class artists for free in NYC if you know where to look.

Evidently, memory and fiction are more akin than we might think.

I do not have a harding problem compared to these people.

Monday, monday, or is less really more?

collyer brothers living room

I am not the Collyer Brothers. My office doesn’t look anywhere near as bad as this place looked. My problem is not insurmountable… right?

This past week, I have been forced to come to terms with a less-than-beautiful reality abut myself. I am a hoarder. There. I’ve said it. I’m sure my minimalist husband (if he ever even bothers to read these posts) will be laughing out loud at his desk, or shaking his head in disbelief at my admission. Maybe this will convince him to believe in God. Who knows? But here it is, in black and white.

Now, I am no Collyer Brother (see photo above for the extremes to which those Harlem based brothers took the fine art of hoarding) but I do have a problem. I realized this because it took me an entire week to clear out my office so that my landlord can come in and fix my ceiling (see last week’s post for details.) A whole week.

I have vinyl records that have not been touched for half a decade, magazine tear sheets from the 90′s (some of them were actually kind of good though– stay tuned for a future post featuring a few great things I forgot I’d noticed from back in the day) manuals for every piece of electronic equipment I have ever owned (plus the cords, attachments and accessories to go with them) and I could go on and on. In fact, I swore, back in January, that I was going to clear out the chaos. Clearly I haven’t gotten very far.

Someday, this (fill in the blank) might be useful, I say to myself. But I fear I may be wrong. In fact, I know I’m wrong, and now the fact that I’ve had to move so many of my piles of junk (did I say that?) into various other locations in my apt has forced me to see my situation clearly.

I am facing a challenge: I must not restore the office to it’s previous state of inglorious excess once the ceiling is repaired.

And so the battle begins with me looking on the internet for some kind of solace and inspiration to aid me in the struggle I am about to face.

FIrst off, evidence that I’m not so bad. A video documentary about the Collyer Brothers, who’s living room is pictured above. I am nowhere near this bad.

E. L. Doctorow, one of my favorite authors, wrote a beautiful sad poetic novel from the point of view of these two characters that is well worth reading. But if you don’t have time to read long form books, this NY Times review will do in a pinch.

Sometimes I find myself wishing that my place would just burn down, forcing me to start from scratch. Until I remember what happened to Q-Tip and how many records , recordings, digital files, equipment etc he lost.

There are countless online venues that claim they will help me. There is actually a website called: be more with less.

There’s also one called minimally minimal, which takes forever to load, but has nice stuff on it. Though maybe I like it because it’s all about getting more stuff, albeit minimally designed…

Brooklyn designer Jessi Arrington mitigates her love for acquiring clothes by only buying (and wearing) secondhand. I think she makes an exception for underwear.

But at the end of the day, I love homes that are all full of color and personality and look like my friend Lili’s place. Far from minimal, I know. Perhaps I’m a lost cause…

Monday, Monday, or looking on the bright side.

ceiling has fallen in

Look what I found this morning when I turned on the lights in my office!

The long (lovely, but still long) summer vacation is finally over. School has started again, hallelujah. Routines have settled back into play. All is good with the world.

Oh no wait…

When we woke up on Saturday morning, we discovered that our tenants (we rented our place while we were in San Francisco this summer) left us a little goodbye gift. In the form of fleas. So much for renting to people with dogs ever again. Sorry dog lovers.

So instead of a relaxing weekend getting settled back into our place after being away for so long, we went on full offensive to get rid of the fleas. Plus we called the pros, who will be taking the fight to the next level over the next few days.

Then, this morning, I turned on the light in my office only to discover that a good part of the ceiling has fallen in. Yep. So fun. A good part of today, therefore, will be spent clearing rubble, relocating my piles of belongings, and cleaning. I did a little research and found this article full of good dusting tips.

But I must maintain a positive attitude. I must. No matter how much I want to cry, or how covered with dust my record collection is at this moment. According to the Huffington Post, my good attitude may even reduce my chances of heart problems. (Though there are times when I wonder if it might not just be easier to have a heart attack and get it all over with quickly.)

So now I will look at things that make me feel good about the world…

Like Tess Giberson’s new collection for Spring 2014.

Pretty much any post on the Ace Hotel’s blog. I mean, it’s called Everything Will Be OK, for crying out loud.

Making yummy pink lemonade popsicles.

Just the fact that Stripes exists is proof that the world isn’t all bad…

Today, I’d rather just watch a video

Does anybody else remember this cartoon? I found myself singing it to my daughter yesterday, which led us to the internet, so that I could show her what I was talking about. Which is what I have been doing a lot lately (the internet, that is) because, while I am beyond happy that school is back in session and that the endless (childcare-less) summer of ’13 has finally been laid to rest, I suddenly find myself overwhelmed with all of the things that need doing now that we’ve returned home.

It’s fun to be away for 2 1/2 months. Until you get back and realize that those piles of unfinished business haven’t magically evaporated into nothingness. Or better yet, been transformed into crossed off items on a monumental to do list. Yesterday, I avoided reality by getting a pedicure and going to a yoga class, but today with a sore body and my feet presentable again, I feel like I need to start tackling the to do list. (Which I can’t even bear to write.)

Or, I could just watch videos.

So in honor of one last day of procrastination, here are a few links to some moving images I’ve found online that will help keep you away from doing whatever it is you are supposed to be doing. For a little while, at least.

Here’s a TED talk that’s right up my alley, about why digital communication, the internet and social media are sort of evil and make us more isolated.

Oh but here’s another talk about why the collaborations that are now available to us because of the internet are making incredible things possible.

Jon Stewart doesn’t understand why Fox (and CNN for that matter) seem all bent out of shape about the the new Syria peace plan. He’s confused about why avoiding a war is suddenly a bad thing. And so am I.

Check out this video of Paul Friedlander’s kinetic light sculptures. Maybe there are such things as wizards in England after all.

Despite it’s YouTube URL, this is not a video. It’s really great song called Some Place by a band called Nick Waterhouse and the Turn-Keys. They sound like they’re from the 60′s, but really they are from now, bless them.

Have you guys all seen the genius PSA Sarah Silverman and some friends made for “The Black NRA?”

Monday, monday: a celebration of labor

wwII riveters

Two women at work during World War II. Photo © Emmanuel Joseph.

In my life, Labor Day is generally a bittersweet day marking the end of summer. Bitter because the lazy afternoons on the beach or by somebody’s pool are pretty much done for a year. Sweet because school is about to start, meaning my days as sole care provider for my daughter are rapidly coming to an end.

Not that I don’t love hanging out with her, but, as anyone with a young kid can tell you, keeping up with them is a full time job in itself, let alone feeding them and preventing them from killing themselves by doing things like skateboarding across the street with their eyes closed or jumping into the deep end when they can’t swim.

I am exhausted, and am looking forward to a September full of more sleep, solo trips to the market and not having to squeeze my own work in between 6 and 8 am or 10 pm till midnight.

But I digress.

In reality, Labor Day is actually a celebration of, well, labor. And I am lucky lucky lucky to find myself surrounded by a bunch of women whose work is truly inspiring. So in honor of this auspicious holiday, please allow me to share some of the amazing things my friends are getting up to these days. — Read more

Monday, monday

ET Williams at the March on Washington, 50 years ago

Ok see the guy in the sunglasses a little up and to the right of Dr King in this photo? That’s my dad, fifty years ago, being part of history at the March on Washington.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the original March on Washington, a few links to get our minds moving…

Danny Glover does a beautiful reading of Langston Hughes’ poem “Montage of a Dream Deferred.”

Ever spend time actually thinking about what happens to a dream deferred? In the case of one of our most famous collective dreams, Gary Younge believes that Martin Luther King’s most famous speech has been misremebered.

Check out these 10 slogans that helped to turn dreams into reality and changed the world (not always for the better)

But then sometimes, those dreams start to fall apart. Like that silly fantasy about all Americans having equal rights to vote. Seems the Supreme Court doesn’t feel it’s a right worth protecting. Read a little about what that decision means in the real world.

When do we dream? Often while asleep. Neuroscientist Russell Foster lays out what happens when we sleep and why we need it so much.

Learn how to interpret your own dreams online! (could be total bunk, but hey, you never know…)

And then get Sheri Clyde’s book A Child’s Library of Dreams and help your kids learn how to cope with, learn from and be empowered by their own dreams.

Monday, monday

Listen to gardener/activist Ron Finley talk about planting food in South Central LA and then go grow your own food.

Who knew that fermented food is amazing for supporting your digestive system? Turns out, fresh isn’t the only thing to look for when it comes to eating right.

I am totally going to try this recipe for braised pork loin. No for real. It looks delicious and evidently it can’t be messed up…

My favorite kids cookbook these days.

Just think about how much cuter my grains would look if they were stored in these jars

We all know that drinking soda is bad for us, and worse for our kids, right? (Please say yes…) But did you know that soda is actually making our kids more violent?

And, for no good reason, I am including this article I just read a few minutes ago listing the 20 cities most vulnerable to flooding given the current state of the world. Which scared the bejeezus out of me, by the way, and made me wonder why oh why am I so attached to NYC?