Saturday, July 26, 2008

Comments Temporarily Disabled

Unfortunately, due to someone trolling our site on a Saturday night looking to get a rise out of us, Josh and I have decided to temporarily disable comments. Congratulations whoever you are!

If you want to call us stupid or self-absorbed or pseudo-intellectual or any of those things, that's perfectly fine; you are welcome to your opinion, and we encourage open dialog here, even if it contradicts our personal beliefs.

However, when you create fake Blogger IDs to make anonymous and slanderous remarks based on Josh's sexual orientation, or decide to sexually harass me on my own blog - a blog I use to broadcast a fair amount of feminist ideals - I really have to draw the line: not even for myself, but for our readers, too.

-Jess

Friday, July 25, 2008

Field Trip

Josh and I went to Battery Park yesterday because um, we're unemployed, so every day is like Saturday! Woo! We made a little video for you folks but it won't make it to Youtube because I look even more awful than usual and I'm not trying to start an internet riot or anything. Anyway, though we've lived here for two years, it was our first time at Battery Park and if you could get past the fact that those damn British used to hang slaves from the trees near the pier, it was almost, well, beautiful. (Goddamn, doesn't a sense of history ruin EVERYTHING?)

Below are some pictures from our adventures. For inquiring minds, the rest can be caught on Josh Shots:

This guy was stationed on the corner of Broadway and Prince outside the NRW stop yelling at people in the street for "going out too far" and warning that "there are sharks out there, folks! It's shark week!" Genius advertising, IMO.



Me blinded by sunlight


Tourists admiring the Statue of Liberty in the distance


Recording the pointless video


Josh is hot

-Jess

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Megan wrote this really touching piece on Jezebel about the first time she realized she was a lot like her mother, and as I'm sitting inside on a gorgeous New York summer day battling an oncoming fever, I'm just like, UGH MY PARENTS AND I ARE SO THE SAME.

It goes beyond facial expressions, but they are what cause me to become the most painfully conscious of the fact that probably I will be on antidepressants my entire life and get married young and divorced young and become an artist for a year and then throw away all of my water colors and buy a house in Mount Airy with a patio where I can smoke Salems and read dusty library books. Sometimes the way I laugh or use my hands while I'm talking triggers an out of body experience that causes me to look down on myself as if I am watching my mother participate in the same conversation. Once in middle school, I got so angry at my mother that I wrote a list of qualities I disliked about her and it basically read like my personality map now: strong-willed, prone to oversharing, insomnia and depression, queen of the annoying habit of turning every conversation into a soul shattering epiphany. I'm a lot like my Dad, too: when things in my life grow difficult I'm wont to hide until they get better, I'm anxious and silly and a tiny bit of a control freak. I have freckles.

The thought of growing into my parents used to terrify me, but now instead of shying away from the similarities we harbor, it's sometimes nice to revel in them. My Dad doesn't really know what my life in New York is like or how new media functions (though really, who does?), but I can call him and talk to him about politics and school and the fact that they're talking shit on me on some blog over at The New Republic. My Mom and I talk about everything from feminism to boyfriends to Gawker to music. Instead of freaking out about how my worst nightmare of even minorly resembling them continues to grow increasingly realistic, I've decided to just let things pan out. I'm still very much on my own path, carving a way for myself that is highly different from anyone else in my family. But if we have the same blood then it makes sense we would have similar - if not the same - characteristics, even if they are the annoying ones or the cruel ones or the ones we feverishly swore off in the heat of angry teenaged fights with door slamming and illicit cigarettes on the roof.

We're all a little like our parents, no matter how hard we wish we weren't. But god forbid I ever share in my Mom's affinity for menthols.

-Jess

The Great Catcalling Experiment: A Guy's Point of View

I met Bill at a party at Brian's last night, and he was kind enough to do a post about my catcalling series on his own blog. Check it out. It's interesting to hear a guy's take on the whole situation.

-Jess

This is Sad


Recommended videos for me on my Youtube homepage. I am apparently a 13 year old girl who wears Claire's bangles and Strawberry Shortcake chapstick. The saddest part, however, is simply that I consider these great recommendations...

-Jess

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Also

Dee Snider is still hilarious, obviously, but in case you were wondering, we've moved on.

Behold.

-Josh

In Russia, Emo Joins YOU


We, the people of Russia, hereby submit the below articles for passage in the Russian Parliament to curtail the transmission of the eyeliner-laden disease known as Emo:

Article 1.A - All persons caught with Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance on their iPod are subject to criminal prosecution in the form of:
1. The forced listening of Britney Spears' Greatest Hits
2. Forced smiling for up to two (2) hours

Article 2.A - All persons caught crying with black eyeliner streaking their pale, pockmarked cheeks shall be pointed at, laughed at, and subsequently imprisoned in their Grandmother's home while she plays Chopin, changes the linens and cooks borscht.

Article 3.A- All persons wearing Nightmare Before Christmas hoodies, UFO pants, or shoelaces shall be condemned to one (1) forfeited Warped Tour ticket and an hour in the nearest Old Navy.

It is with these actions we hope to minimize the spread of the vicious Emo disease that seeks to strike introspective narcissism and sadness into the hearts of all young children who would otherwise be goldenly overjoyed at the opportunity to live in a country where the average temperature hovers around 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Before DMB Meant Asshats Drinking Natty Light and Screaming For "Crash"

15 year old Me Meeting Boyd Tinsley: You can't tell, but I was crying

In times of hardship (like, um, getting fired from the job you've held for two years over something absolutely fucking absurd) I'm wont to resort to familiarity. I have a handful of things that make me feel comfortable despite the turmoil of this world: Law and Order: SVU, Marlboro Lights, videochatting with my little sister, after dinner coffee and "Goodbye to All That" by Joan Didion-- a new addition to the list. There's another thing, too, which at this point I'm kind of embarrassed to admit, but five years ago it may have been a noun that developed into the number one descriptor of my personality: Dave Matthews Band.

Just before my parents divorced, when I was around 12 years old, my Mom bought Listener Supported, a live compilation of Dave Matthews Band songs. It was the first time I ever listened to them, and at first I was completely turned off: "Eww! A rock band with a violin!" I proclaimed, and then switched the CD player back to "Never Ever" by All Saints. (Which, btw, I just rediscovered, and it is a fantastic song to belt out while smoking a cigarette alone in your room... ahem... anyway)

After my parents divorced I was like, "Look! I'm alternative!" and bought things from Hot Topic and started listening to Something Corporate and then somehow that transitioned into me wearing flowy skirts and listening to Dave Matthews Band. I don't know. There's not enough time in the world to explicate the random and bizarre personality changes I endured during the end of middle school and beginning of high school, but I'm guessing we were all kind of like that. My parents' divorce allowed me to behave in outrageous and unexplained ways, which of course meant I became obsessed with Beat literature, and then somehow, Dave Matthews Band.

And when I say obsessed, I do quite literally mean obsessed. Owning every single CD - live or studio - that they ever put out was only the very beginning. I became a human Dave Matthews Band encyclopedia. I had on catalog every single lyric, song and notorious tour date. I could provide you with extensive bios for all band members. I had a piece published on their fan website (one that I paid $100/a year to belong to) about sharing a DMB concert experience with my Dad. I knew their inside jokes and traded bootlegs with fans I met on the message boards I spent most of my time on, like Nancies, which I think actually still exists. I even met people I'm still friends with through Nancies or at DMB shows. Every single dollar I earned at the paint your own pottery store went to CDs, merchandise, but above all: concert tickets. To this day I have seen Dave Matthews Band more than 25 times live. I can't believe I'm admitting it, but it's true. In high school I was basically a DMB roadie. I've seen them in several states including PA, NY, NJ, MA and CA. The list goes on, really. While watching them live, a band member would strike one chord and I could immediately name the song. I imagine it's how old people whose children are grown up dote over their dogs: DMB was my baby, and sometimes, when Dave did that little dance where he clicked his heels like a goddamn Wizard of Oz character, I teared up.

Somewhere between the end of high school and college my obsession began to wane. I think it was a mixture of no longer having money to spend on concert tickets (since they are now about $60 a pop) and the realization that DMB just isn't that cool. The other problem is that the caliber of fans seriously devolved during my obsession. In the beginning it was mostly hippies and ex-Deadheads and hardcore jam band fans. But if you've been to a DMB concert recently, you know that it's all really wasted 15 year olds making out on the lawn and screaming out for him to play "Everyday." God, I used to hate when they did that. Everyone knows it's lame when the band plays their radio hits-- it's almost as lame as immediately switching out your t-shirt for one you bought at the concert venue.

But it's times like these when I look fondly back on my intimate obsession with that South African hunk with a sideways smile and perpetual 5 o'clock shadow. There were times when his voice made me feel gooey like a 5th grade crush, but now I turn on his CDs when I'm looking for a little comfort: they manage to curb a certain breed of homesickness in a way nothing else can.

-Jess

This Is What Jess Would Look Like In A Missy Elliott Video


This is totally not a plug for my, um, photo site. (Oops, how did that link get there?) I just thought I'd share with you what Jess would look like all crazy-inverted-colors and purple-grass, D12 style.

By the way, whatever happened to them? Or Eminem, for that matter?

-Josh

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Craigslist Superstars

Apparently there's a hipster flame war going on in the land of Craigslist! And apparently Nina and I are poster children for the hipster supporters. Because nothing says "hipster" like a button-down Lucky Brand western shirt and, um....black hair.

What's funny about this--okay, one of the funny things about this--is that if the OP had actually wanted to find a picture of me looking like a hipster douchetard, he or she would not have had to look much harder to find one.

-Josh, one of those gosh-darn "modern day hipsters"

Monday, July 21, 2008

How a Girl Becomes a Feminist

My Sister and I
My mom cried a lot when I was little, sometimes in embarrassingly inconvenient places like in the car on the way home from school or in department store dressing rooms. She smoked cigarettes in the laundry room where she thought my sister and I wouldn’t notice. I didn’t, until I was 8 and went to get money for the ice cream man from her purse, and found a pack of Merits stored in the torn lining. I rang up my best friend, Lydia, and told her. Sometimes her mom snuck cigarettes, too, she told me. Sometimes our moms smoked them together, in the backyard of my tiny row home or behind the shed where we kept broken tricycles and plastic baby pools with cracks in them that allowed the garden hose water to slowly seep out. Finding out my mom smoked cigarettes seemed like the end of the world, and that day I had quietly added it to the long list of offenses that I subconsciously built up against her.

Walking home from the French Consulate today, we started talking about the time I got in trouble with my friend Lydia for buying a copy of Vogue because the Spice Girls were on the cover. My mom decided it was inappropriate and ripped out various pages before we could look through the magazine. At the time, I was absolutely appalled that she would deface such a gloriously glossy and beautiful book by tearing out pages of thin, bronzed models with perfectly painted faces. It was the 90’s, a time of heroin chic and ripped denim and Kate Moss, and I found the pictures on the covers of the magazines I passed at the local market absolutely mesmerizing. My mother did not share this sentiment. The day Lydia and I brought the Spice Girls Vogue home she stared at me like I had become possessed. It hadn’t occurred to me then – or even until just today, when she explicitly told me – that she was protecting me from the messages implicit in those shiny pages. “Part of the reason you are the way you are now is because I made sure you didn’t internalize any of the sexist shit they put in women’s magazines,” she said today, as I smoked a cigarette, my 8 year old disgust for them clearly dissipated. “Hm,” I respond. This made sense.

I began to think of other things I held against her when I was younger in light of this new discovery. “It’s another reason I refused to let you become a cheerleader,” she mentioned. I could hear on the other end that she, too, was sucking on a cigarette. The cheerleader dilemma had been a point of contention in our relationship years ago. I would hike up my Gap Kids skort and tie an oxford up like a bra and shout cheers barefoot in our yellow linoleum kitchen shaking pompoms bought at a football game of the high school where my Dad was principal. There’s a home video somewhere of me getting a cheerleader doll for my birthday from my Grandmother that shouted things like “Rah rah, go team!” and kind of had a slutty looking mouth. I remember my Mom being less than overjoyed that I had received such a gift, and I couldn’t understand why; then, I thought she wanted me to be as unhappy as her, crying in the half-light on our moldy deck beneath the tree that knocked up against my bedroom window during thunderstorms. Now, I realize, it’s because that cheerleader doll was a symbol of everything she was intent on not teaching me: that girls are simply sex symbols or decorative sideline candy. She didn’t want me growing up thinking they were, and so I wasn’t allowed to be a cheerleader. She signed me up for softball instead. She cropped my hair and wouldn’t let me play with makeup and bought me Barbies who were made to have careers.

There were some things that were out of her control, particularly as I grew older and more wayward. Once I turned 11, I plastered my walls with pictures of teen heartthrobs that lived in the pages of J-17 and Tiger Beat. I had a major crush on Leonardo DiCaprio and his blonde locks and baby blues stared down at me from my crushingly not-canopied bed. I read Louis Sachar books instead of Babysitter’s Club until I become intellectually obsessed with the Holocaust and read The Diary of Anne Frank approximately fifteen million times. I wore cropped pants that I called “pedal pushers” and yearned for a retainer so badly that sometimes I would bend a paper clip to fit across my teeth and wear it in class. I read books in trees at lunch and was the 5th grade hopscotch champion. Despite these embarrassing idiosyncrasies, I did not believe I was ugly or fat or dumb or any of those other things ladymags subtly convince you that you are in order to curb self-confidence. I was not the most confident girl in the world, but when it came to the things that mattered, I believed in myself. Once my Mom remarked to me in a dressing room at the South Mall, “I don’t get how you do it. You never blame your body if something looks bad on you, you always blame the clothes.”


It was true, but it was all thanks to her. I think she knew that she didn’t want to instill the kind of negative image she had of herself into me and my sister. My mom battled an eating disorder and depression while my sister and I were learning that it was fun to be a girl, and if she would let us try on her mascara, it was maybe even awesome.

I don’t think that if my mother had let me become a cheerleader or allowed me to read Vogue or own a hoard of naked Barbie dolls that I would be all that different than I am today. I think my interest in feminism, however, stems from her careful and nuanced controlling of the kind of images that came into my life as a child. And though, with all the recent shit going on, my self-confidence could use a major shot in the arm, I think beneath it all I have a solid core because of her. Now that I can understand where she was coming from then, a lot of those old offenses accrued as a child have been swept under the rug.

Except for the bowl haircut. That shit was just awful.


-Jess

The Great Catcalling Experiment: Day Three, Uptown Version

Welcome to an extra special installment of The Great Catcalling Experiment! Sorry to keep you folks waiting, we've been a little... overwhelmed around these parts. This morning the experiment took place around 77th and Park, because I had to go up there at 9 fucking a.m. to go to the French Consulate (again) to finalize visa paperwork. But I got my visa! FLEEING THE COUNTRY IN DISGUST FTW.

Anyway, there are a few observations I had that made uptown catcalling different than downtown. Firstly, the pool of men is a lot less diverse uptown. Above 14th street they tend to be straitlaced, suit-wearing, cell phone-swearing, espresso-swilling white collar d-bags. Which is fine, but they generally don't catcall. Today I got hit on by one businessman with a briefcase and one without. Also, question of the day: if you get hit on by a man with a cane, does it count as 1 person or .5 of a person? KIDDING. But really, I did get hit on by a man with a cane. Be jealous. So out of the five guys who deigned to hit on me while I was running, sweating and smoking my way to 74th and 5th, two ignored me, two asked for my number and one just stared at me up and down like by doing that somehow I would magically transport to his bed. Below we have the graph, in pie form, as suggested by a J&J commenter - hopefully it is easier to read than the bar graph.

I guess the conclusion is that it's much more difficult to get hit on uptown, because I'd be willing to bet there are more married men, more businessmen, and actually a smaller population in general since most of the stores were closed and it is primarily residential. So, if you want to get catcalled or nab a boyfriend, hang around below 14th street. Also, be a gay man.


-Jess

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Little J Sips Frap on Steps That Aren't at the Met

JK about the Tenement Museum. When my Dad realized they wouldn't have air conditioning and that it's 93 degrees with 60% humidity, we scrapped that idea and just got ice cream at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and then hung out in Columbus Park. But something exciting did happen. Spotted, en route to Chinatown: Taylor Momsen sitting outside Necessary Clothing on Broadway between Broome and Grand sipping Starbucks. My Dad had no idea who she was and didn't seem to understand why I was freaking out and trying to take her picture. Which, I did, while she was looking away:

Girl is SO SKINNY. But very pretty.

xoxo
Jess

LES Tenement Museum

I'm kind of a New York City history geek: scratch that, I'm a major NYC history geek. Sometimes I zone out in the middle of conversations because I'm examining architecture or thinking about what things were like in the 1890's. It's kind of weird. My apartment building used to be a CSI crime lab, and did you know there was a slave trade market on the corner of Lafayette and Houston where the BP gas station is?

Anyway, my Dad is coming into the city today and we are going to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which is a place I've been dying to go for ages now. Since I have just over a week left in New York, I'm starting to get this niggling desire to experience everything I've been putting off for the past two years. So we're going to see this tour:

For any fellow NYC history buffs (there have to be a few of you out there, right?), expect a full report later this evening on the Irish-American immigration experience. Woo! Exciting stuff!

-Jess