Archive for November, 2015

A Visit to the Foundling Museum

November 26, 2015

Some of you know that I am obsessed with handwriting.  I am the acting President of the Graphophiles’ Association of Her Majesty’s Kingdom and Current and Former Colonies (my friend and erstwhile editor HS-D is the VP; we’re currently accepting applications for membership) and also the first writer to be represented by Handwriting for Hire, an agency service that provides distinctive handwriting for use in films, for cards, etc.  In addition to liking my own handwriting, I very much enjoy deciphering the writing of others.  Remember this book I have?  Well, the woman who edited it had to figure out how to read each letter writer’s strange scrawl.  I don’t remember where I learned that, but after I did, I immediately her and asked her how she got such a plum gig.  Sadly, no response.

Well, two weeks ago or so, my friend LH and I decided to visit the Foundling Museum, which is housed in the old Foundling Hospital in Bloomsbury.  We were interested in seeing the museum itself (did you know that on Sundays, average London residents could observe the orphans eating their lunch in silence?!) but mostly in checking out an exhibit called “The Fallen Woman,” on unwed Victorian mothers who applied to have their babies sent to the Hospital.  The exhibition included, along with a number of fantastic prints of women throwing themselves off bridges, a few of the original applications made by said women, and it occurred to me that someone probably would have had to do that same job for this project.  Why am I never around when these little jobs are being offered?!  If you need your great-great-grandmother’s love letters to her lesbian mistress transcribed, by all means, reach out.


November 23, 2015

I was looking around Etsy (fucking sue me) for a gift the other day, and on the page that details the art categories, I noticed…

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 6.05.46 PM

That’s a bowl, right?  For weed?  Is Etsy based in Portland, or is this the world we live in now?  To be clear, I’m not upset about that, I just want to know so I am aware of what’s acceptable.

Dear Eleanor Catton

November 19, 2015

Last year, Eleanor Catton announced that she would set up a grant that would pay to let writers read.  Unfortunately, you’re only eligible for this grant if you live in New Zealand.  Not to lean on a colonialist crutch, but I live in Great Britain now, and we have the same queen, so am I eligible?  I actually am going to go so far as to say nobody in the entire world would make better use of this time and money than I would.  According to the website, applicants don’t need to fill out a form, but rather just “contact the grant administrators via email and explain who they are, what they would like to read, and why.”  So here’s my application: I’m working on a book about religious conversion, right?  So I started to read some Tolstoy.  I thought, “I should read A Confession, and then move on my merry little way.”  Three months later, and I’ve set up shop at the British Library with a stack of Tolstoy-related tomes next to me, including but not limited to J. C. Kenworthy’s A Pilgrimage to Tolstoy and a history of the Tolstoyan movement in Britain by Charlotte Allston.  And this is only for one chapter of the project––imagine all the books I’ll need to write about, among other things, Karaite Judaism, Mirabehn, Jerusalem Syndrome, the digital caliphate, “inter-generational religious perpetuity,” the philo-Semitic yearnings of confessional poets, hipsid-ism, scientific studies based on the theories of William James, and so on.  I JUST DON’T HAVE THESE KINDS OF FUNDS, ELEANOR!

What Exactly Do You Mean by That?

November 18, 2015

I normally don’t get in a tizzy about things like this, but what the fuck is a MANSIZE tissue?

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.48.36 PM

My sneezes are just as important and deserve just as money as a man’s, thankyouverymuch.

Dear Julia

November 16, 2015

I think I might have seen you before, but we only really met on Friday night.  Your mom was visiting, and you two got gently bullied into staying for shabbat dinner at the house where my husband and I were dining.  I disliked you for a second for being stereotypically French––tall, cool, casually beautiful––and perhaps you disliked me, too, for being any number of negative things I am.  My opinion changed quickly, as it became clear you are very sweet.  We played with the host’s kids, ate some really tender beef and chatted about the differences between Brits, Americans, and French people.  You said in France, there is no such thing as casual dating; we told you in America, all dating is casual.  You made a joke about being French and not drinking, and how all the golden boys at the financial institution where you work were always getting plastered; we took shots of vodka.  We were in that lovely shabbat bubble in which no one checks his or her phone, so we had no idea that back in your city, chaos was ensuing.  It probably started right as we finished singing grace after meals.  The next morning, when we learned what happened, I felt instantly sad that I didn’t know how to reach you.  I wanted to say I was so sorry, that I hoped everyone you loved was safe, that I wanted to help if you needed it.  But I don’t even know your last name.  I used to think it was gross to invoke the name of a tragedy that isn’t yours afterward, that it was more about bringing yourself closer to the blue heat of the flame than comforting anyone else.  Finding the most distant of acquaintances and checking up on them, re-tweeting pictures of the victims in memoriam, crying for the dead you don’t know.  Now I am older and kinder, and I know that people are good, really, and they just have to do something when their hearts are broken, even if that something seems like not so much at all.

So Many Conspiracy Theories

November 13, 2015

And you know what’s at the center of them all?  L. Ron.

So my husband suggested I read a Gawker/Jezebel article on a fancy Silver Lake, Los Angeles preschool’s insane drama (full text here.)  Naturally I Google the direct link so as to avoid scrolling through the depressingly vacuous stories on both sites, but that’s neither here nor there.  The Silver Lake preschool thing wasn’t exactly hard hitting––like, these aren’t problems, exactly––but was fascinating in a horrible sort of way.  Apparently the school is run by an egomaniacal do-gooder (they exist) who also has her own IMDB page (it is LA, after all.)  The past few years, she has lorded over Camelot Preschool (too easy) wearing Lululemon pants and a crown made of children’s tears (something like that.)  She also has her own line of maternity clothing, which she advertises as having been worn by “Jenna Elfman, Matt Damon’s wife Luciana Barroso, John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston, Gillian Anderson…”  Notice anything fishy here?  That’s right––Scientology.  Nobody in Hollywood brings up Jenna Elfman and the Travolta family unless they’re prepared to be associated with everyone’s favorite thetan clearers.  And if I may say so, her inflated self image seems like it would really fit well with the whole OT Supreme Being thing.  As my husband said, “I almost want to comment and bring that up, but… I don’t care.”  All I care about is going on the record, so that when it comes out that this bitch is a Scientologist, I can say, “We told you so.”*

*The “we” because this is really all thanks to my husband, who first pointed out the Scientology connection.

Terrible Game Tuesday

November 10, 2015

Time for a new game: of these portraits of Victorian ladies, which ones were taken on psych wards and which ones are just, well, your average Victorian lady?

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.52.35 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.57.37 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.58.13 PM


Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.59.48 PM

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.55.38 PM

(I could have kept going for ages, for the record.)

Email Siobhan for the answers!

Portable Padded Room!

November 8, 2015

LET IT BE KNOWN THAT ID NEVER ABANDONS A PROJECT!  NOT EVEN IN THE FACE OF PUBLIC RIDICULE, LEGAL THREATS OR CERTAIN DEATH!  (Okay, so maybe not that last one…)  For nearly four years now, I’ve pitched to everyone who would listen (my husband, my former boss, Jeff Stark of Nonsense NYC) my idea for a portable padded room, constructed of an old trailer of some kind.  On the side could be a big sign that reads, “For all your public nervous breakdown needs!” and the artist (that’d be me) could drive it around the city and invite the marching suits inside to have a good old fashioned freak out.

One minor problem with this plan: I have zero experience in construction.  Or design.  And I’m just an okay driver, but we’ll put that on the back burner for now.  As for the first two problems, I think my problem is solved, because I’ve recently discovered Danish creative director Jonas Hallberg’s genius tiny office.



Dear Jonas,

Will you please collaborate with me?  This project haunts my dreams; I shall not rest until the portable padded room is a reality.



Is it just me

November 2, 2015

or does this immediately strike you as gross?

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 9.00.46 AMVia the Guardian, which I really didn’t think was porn, but maybe I’m wrong?

PS In my dream last night, a book reviewer called me “chubby” and then I was so upset that they (reviewer and whatever publication they were attached to, I guess?) offered me $1.1 million.  I was still upset, which should have been the clue that I was dreaming, because in real life I’d like be, “SO worth it!”