I saw Junot Diaz talkin’ about stuff a couple nights ago! He curses a lot and I think he was super neat. Like, I want to apply all sorts of embarrassing adjectives to him, like: “inspiring” or (oh god) “wise.” Also, he used the word “shit” (or “bullshit”) at least 14 times, and the word “fuck” at least 52 times. I say “at least” because I only started keeping track like 15 minutes into the event, and also because there were a bunch of times when I got distracted trying to write down quotes and wasn’t keeping track well enough. Here are some of my notes, only cleaned up/edited a very tiny amount. (A lot of them included things like “BOOM, DUDE,” written in bubble letters, and little hearts and stars and stuff. I mostly edited those things out. Mostly.)

  • “It’s a miserable night.” – Got a laugh. “No, serious – it’s miserable.” – Got a bigger one. Turns out when you’re famous, you get funny
  • Re: arts education in New Jersey public schools: “I had access to teachers who wanted to be artists.” – but then quickly corrected himself: “…to teachers who were artists.” But <3 the idea of the utility of H.S. teachers who are failed or failing or struggling artists – that somehow that’s a necessary and needed role model, as well – weekend warriors or Sunday painters or whatever. Bowling leagues.
  • Biothegmatic?  [As in: he used this word.  I did not know what it meant.  I wrote down a good number of those words, honestly.]
  • “My mom is like a Fremen from Doom.  Waste words, waste water.”  [I don't really know what that means exactly?  But I know it's nerdy.]
  • “Any time Dominicans clap about being Dominican, I’m like: ‘Here comes fucking trouble.’”
  • “Realism is an artifact that disciplines reality in various ways.”  &  ”Realism is really great for some old simplistic bourgeois shit.”  [That second one was boxed, with a bunch of hearts drawn all around it.]
  • “We need multiple lenses to see our complex realities.”  [This still commenting on the need for sci-fi, comic books, etc other genre forms of writing.]  [He also made this FANTASTIC point about how all big sci-fi stories have a storyline where people are bred.  "[If you only ever read realistic fiction, you'll never understand] the reality of what it’s like to be descended from a project of people who were bred.”  What a great fucking observation, right??]
  • [On the embededness and entrenchedness of white supremacy:] “If it was like five white people hanging out, we would have fucking shot them already.”  [Also: I loved that he kept calling it "white supremacy" instead of "racism" or something.  That old-fashioned word sounds so much worse.  Sounds more obvious and ridiculous.  Kind of makes it more powerful?  Like calling it "misogyny" instead of "sexism" or something?  Or "sexism" instead of "chauvinism?"]  [Also, more on white supremacy:]  ”It’s not a person.  It’s not going to like you just because you leave it alone.”  &  ”It’s not something that can be appeased.  It’s not a volcano god that will leave you alone if you don’t mention it.”
  • [On the sudden increase in the number of creative writing MFAs being obtained:] “You would think we’re having a literary war with an alien planet: if we don’t produce four million short stories every year, we are fucking fucked.”
  • [His time up there  basically ended with a really long, really touching, really heart-wrenching comparison of racism and sexism to the story of Lord of the Rings.  "It has no sympathy and it asks you to have no sympathy.  Isn't that the entire story of Lord of the Rings?"
  • [And then at one point he couldn't remember how to pronounce the name of some Anarchist?  And he was trying to remember and he was sort of asking the room about it and they were shouting names of, like, philosophers or whatever at him, and he was like, "No no, that one dude..." and it was just like 20 seconds of a roomful of Ivy League students and professors and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author trying to remember the name of some person who I THINK ended up being Mikhail Bakunin.  It was...great.]

Anyway.  That’s all.  He was neat.  I want to grow up to be a famous badass someday.  The end.

Oh hello there. Once again, I happen to have a few



Dear SPECIALIST IN A CERTAIN SPECIFIC PROFESSION: I always request books online. I mean, like, if I’m THERE and I’m just wandering around, I get things like that, too, I guess. But mostly, if I WANT a book, I just go online, search for it, and then immediately request it. I don’t even bother to check and SEE if it’s somewhere in stock, on the shelves, at any of my local libraries, where I could go get it myself. (And I have a FEW local libraries! There is definitely more than one Brooklyn Public Library I could very easily visit, totally hassle-free, like just on my way home, to pick up a book! I don’t even have to CHECK AND SEE if it’s there – I can CHECK online, and then, once that’s confirmed, just pick it up myself off the shelf! And if for some reason it’s not actually there after all, it would not actually be that big a deal, because it was just on my way home, anyway!) I’m sure that very often, the book I requested be sent to me at, say, the Pacific Library branch was literally already IN the Pacific Library branch. Or heck – even if it ISN’T at this library, is that even WORSE? Like, at that point am I wasting valuable public library resources by making them spend manpower and gas money driving books around from branch to branch just to satisfy my every decadent whim?? So my question is this, SPECIALIST IN A CERTAIN SPECIFIC PROFESSION: Am I a lazy jerk? Like, should this service be reserved for old people or handicapped people or something? Or at least for times when there’s only a very few copies of a book and it’s new so I want to get on the waiting list? As opposed to just: “Oh, right, Barbara Ehrenreich exists. I guess I should probably flip through every single book she’s published ever. DELIVER THEM UNTO ME, LIBRARIANS.”

Do librarians JUST FUCKING HATE IT when I do this? (Do you notice? I’m sure you notice.)

P.S. – Also, do you know that I dog-ear the good lines in all my books? Like, have you caught on that I, Jessica, in particular, am the one patron who always returns her books with crease-marks all over them? Even new and nice ones? Because I’m an asshole who doesn’t respect other people’s property? Are you…ever going to say anything to me about it? Like, am I going to get fined for it someday, or something? Do I have a little notation next to my name in a database somewhere? I am going to be SO EMBARRASSED. (But also: I am never, ever going to stop doing it unless you say something to me about it. Sorry.)

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So, as my many* twitter followers are already aware, I recently discovered that my bed is a child-size bed. Or, at least, children’s sheets will fit my bed.

I feel like this is going to open up a whole new world for me, you guys.

A whole new world of having sex on cartoon-character-printed sheets.

This particular style, for instance, is called, I shit you not, the “Roar ‘n Stomp Collection.” (I like imagining that to be the cutesy nickname for a group of artistically-inclined ex-pats, like the “jet set” or the “Rat Pack” or the “lost generation” or whatever.)

 photo IMG_0061_zps94cbfb1a.jpg

*18, if you count the apparently defunct Claire’s-level little kid jewelry website I bought something from once and the fake porno girls.

Is there a word for “swept,” but like when water does it? Like if the waves swept a party hat up onto the beach, is there a way to say that that makes it sound more watery and less dry? Like they, um, tide-ed a party hat up onto the beach? Or wave-ed a party hat up onto the beach? (The important thing is: it is DEFINITELY a party hat.)

Hey! Remember that time I entered a quilting contest for some reason?!? Remember, ah, what my quilt looked like?

 photo gahquilt_zps7b36893a.jpg

Maybe I should call it a “quilt.” It was…you know, fine.* Look, it just doesn’t PHOTOGRAPH that well, is all!

Anyway. I don’t know if these are the officially-announced top-three winners or whatever or not, but, uh…these are apparently three examples of what it looks like when you make a quilt and you’re not a stoned four-year-old with two broken arms. Like…me. Is what I’m saying.

 photo a_grand_centennial_-_teresa_barkley_2013_courtesy_of_the_city_quilter_0_zps4558dc1a.jpeg

 photo mercurys_concourse_-_fran_vaneron_2013_courtesy_of_the_city_quilter_zpsbdaa729f.jpg

 photo time_flies_but_we_take_the_train_-_amy_krasnansky_2013_courtesy_of_the_city_quilter_zpsbdec14a3.jpg


You know.

You can compare those to mine if you want to.

I feel like I should do something INTERESTING with it at this point. It’s so small it’s not useful for, oh, say, anything, ever. It’s not WARM, or anything. But it’s too big to keep shoved into a ball at the bottom of my closet forever out of, just, like, nostalgia. What do I DO with it?? Seriously – suggestions? Like…can I make it into something else? Can I destroy it in a fun way? Can I donate it to…an animal shelter, or something? (I probably have to remove the beads first, right? Sigh. They took…so long…to apply.)

Send me suggestions! Winner gets…I dunno, probably nuthin, frankly. Whatever is left over after it’s destroyed, I guess? Send me ideas!

Sewing is hard, you guys.

* PLEASE NOTE: It was not actually fine.


taste test!!

EDIT: I wrote this post a million years ago, and was trying to find it because I wanted to make dumplings again tonight and I needed the recipe, and I couldn’t find it, because I guess I never posted it maybe? So…here’s an old post about, um, dumplings, just because. WHEEEEEE!!! TIME TRAVEL!

I told Shena the other day that I was going to go buy frozen potstickers, and she scoffed heartily, as she is wont to do. “Why not just make your own!” she scoffed, scoffily! Once I ceased sobbing from her scorn, I followed her advice.

Well – actually, I got to the good Chinese grocery store JUST as it was closing, which means I did get there in time to get wonton wrappers (though, actually, I wasn’t sure whether I should get “dumpling wrappers” or “dumpling skins,” so…I ended up getting both?), but they had already closed down the meat section, and I was unable to buy ground pork for the filling. So…I just went ahead and also got the frozen ones I’d been threatening to make, anyway.

 photo 20131229_205022_zpsaaa18744.jpg

But you know what that means!! TASTE TEST!!

So okay, first of all, here’s my recipe, from Shena’s scoffy directions over gchat (but minus ginger, because, GROSS), and minorly altered with a couple of own private “Why on earth isn’t there garlic in this??? I’m putting garlic in this!!!”-type innovations:

you are kind of making me want some of those frozen pan-fried dumplings, though
I never get those!
because i can make those!
they’re easy.
I *don’t* make them
just for me
but I *could*
what dough do you use!
I get gyoza wrappers from the asian grocery store.
very easy.
and the filling’s just ground pork with chopped up mushrooms, ginger, sesame oil, shredded spinach sometimes
super easy.
you can put them together and then freeze them.
and then cook them later.
you basically just put them on trays to freeze them
then when they’re solid, you can transfer them to a ziploc bag.
and then you can either steam or panfry them later.
or boil them and put them in soup.
aw, what
homemade frozen dumplings!
you make a big batch!
aw man
that’s what i do when i make too many waffles, which i ALWAYS do. frozen waffles!
frozen waffles!
waffles are so fast, though!
I …
just eat them.
even when I make too many.
I eat ALL the waffles.

Actually, re-reading that now, I also left out the mushrooms because I forgot about them, and the sesame oil, because I forgot about it, and I replaced the spinach with cabbage because that’s what I vaguely remembered when I was in the store. I also added scallions and garlic and some hot peppers.

At first I tried to make them look sort of uniform and pretty? And then I…stopped trying to do that.

 photo 20131229_2113361_zps01491425.jpg

Shena helpfully informed me, much later, that I should try making them look like this:

 photo Steamy-Shrimp-Pork-Dumplings_zps69d008c8.jpg


And the cooking instructions are:

i have dumpling questions!!
i don’t want to use raw filling and then steam them and THEN do the “pan-fry in oil for one minute then add water and cover and steam or wahtever that is for like 8 minutes” method
i think i can pre-cook the filling
and then skip straight to that second cooking thing

is that true?
just use raw filling and then pan fry them.
you don’t have to steam them before.
i don
i don’t have to pre-cook the raw pork?
I have never ever done that.
you’re cooking it when you pan fry and then steam it!
and you freeze them raw, and then when you cook the frozen ones, you just do that method with frozen ones, right?
but i can also do this with some non-frozen ones tonight?

So. SUPER EASY! And super good! It totally worked, man!


In this photo:
Upper left: Store-bought frozen potstickers
Upper right: Homemade potstickers with “dumpling wrapper,” cooked from frozen
Lower left: Homemade potstickers with “dumpling skin,” cooked from frozen
Lower right: Tostino’s Pizza Rolls (Combo flavor)

 photo DSCN5272_zps3b76b71b.jpg

Chris: “The pizza rolls had the advantage of being the only ones that were the pizza way to snack, but that’s a little unfair. The frozen ones had the advantage of being mechanically folded, so there was even distribution.”
Jessica: [SAD FACE!!!]
Chris: “But the taste trade-off was not worth it!”
Jessica: [Happy face.]
Chris: “Though you, in time, may become better at folding dumplings.”
Jessica: [Slightly offended face?]
Chris: “But they will never get any better at making a flavorful filling!”
Jessica: [Happy face.]

Homemade was way better! Like they taste more like things that have taste than do the store-bought ones. And between the homemade ones, the yellower ones (“wrappers,” not “skins”) were the mega-winner! The whiter ones were sort of too fluffy or doughy or something, more like the kind you get via delivery. They were okay, too, but just slightly less awesome. I think the final official ranking is probably something like: yellowish ones, whitish ones, pizza rolls, store-bought ones. Or maybe yellowish ones, pizza rolls, whitish ones, store-bought ones. Pizza rolls are pretty fucking good.


ALMOST forgiven

The nytimes is apparently trying to make it up to me today, with an article titled:

Haters Going to Hate, Research Suggests

No explanation of the origins of that phrase as a meme, for anyone not in the know, and no reason for the story to be titled as a meme – it’s…sort of about the internet, I guess, but…it’s not much of an excuse, anyway. It’s just sort of thrown in there, all hilariously correctly and formally spelled out. I like it. It’s not enough, but you’re getting there, nytimes. This was a good start.


The nytimes review of MFA vs NYC begins with a line about how there are four newish big influential lit journals out there: n + 1, McSweeney’s, The Believer, and Tin House, and then says: ”Tell me which you prefer, and I will, more or less, tell you who you are.”

“Oooooh!”  I said.  ”I like pretension and also fortune-telling!  Do me!  Do me!  I pick Tin House!”

Tin House,” the nytimes says, “somehow resembles your beautiful ex-girlfriend who lucked her way into the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and is doing surprisingly well there.”


why won’t anyone make me any fooooooooooodd???  i’m too lazy to even put on pants and answer the door if i just order it.

someone bring me a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and some fried-up chicken gizzards and hearts and mashed potatoes and a glass of chocolate milk and some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (the little ones, not the big ones) and an apple and a green machine naked juice and some asparagus or brussels sprouts or something.

Oh man part threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Because my cat looks so abashed!

Because this is amazing, though, right!?  How long could these have possibly been up, you think?  Like, eight minutes, maybe?  Tops?  I mean, jeezus, I wanted to graffiti the heck out of these myself, and I am an old-ass  lady.

Yeah, because I was a little bit drunk.  Apparently I LOVE graphic design found in bar bathrooms when slightly drunk.

Oh!  This is a good one!  Okay, so: Because there was this van parked outside of where I work?  And they were doing this thing where they would give you a surprise grab-bag of…stuff?…if you took a photo in front of the van and hashtagged it #broadcity and posted it to facebook or twitter.  So I took this photo and tried really hard to tweet it but I think my phone was actually boning it up and it never really posted?  But anyway, I got a flask and a roll of toilet paper, and then later that night tweeted: “That previous tweet got me a flask and a roll of toilet paper!”  But like the “previous tweet” was from 3 days ago and was about, like, whatever, popcorn or something, you know?  So.  That’s, uh.  What this is.

Because Chris cut off his finger with his brand-new mandolin and then he typed funny, like a fancy lady drinking fancy tea, and I thought it was very fancy.  He put those half-sliced zuchinni away in the fridge and then let them rot.  As far as I know, he has not used the mandolin again.

Because it deserved a second picture.

I dunno, because, subway?

Oh!  And I took this photo because I wanted to remember to tell Chris that Fort Reno barbecue closed!!  But it looks like it got replaced by a nice-looking taco joint?  So, uh.  Hey, Chris!  Fort Reno barbecue closed!  But it looks like it got replaced by a nice-looking taco joint!

That’s all.

Actually…that is all.  That’s all my phone photos.  Well…that’s not anywhere near true.  But I just turned on Mr. Deeds, so I have to concentrate now.

I think I might buy a speed cube.

I think I might buy this stuff.  (The questions and answers are very sassy.)

I think I might not actually finish watching Mr. Deeds.

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