Sunday, December 19, 2010


The 2010-2011 Anna Karenina Off!

The Contestants: Charlotte and Sally
The Book: Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
The Parameters: 817 pages, 36 days. Whoever gets the furthest in the book wins.
The Dates: December 19 to January 24
The Prize: A dinner at the winner’s restaurant of choice.
What People are Saying:  "It's gonna be a long trek in the arid Tolstoy desert"; "Well, really there are no winners, just a couple of well-read losers".
Note: If a contestant miraculously finishes the whole book before January 24, they are to inform Mediator Maya, who will officially end the contest and announce the victor. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Two Illustrated Questions:

What is happening to the world?

Why are the Germans the only one with an exclamation point?

To venture an answer to either, try the comments.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with a Linguistics major with a passion for ceramics? I knew you did. Well, today's your lucky day: I'm going to share my experience with you.

This is Sally:

Sally's an expert at ceramic glazes and when I say expert, I mean the girl's a pro. So much so, in fact, that she helps some people with their ceramic thesis projects, which results in conversations such as these:

Charlotte: What did you do today?
Sally: Well, I was helping this girl with her thesis project.
Charlotte: Yeah?
Sally: Yeah, she's making cups shaped like breasts and we spent hours finding the perfect areolar color.

Sally also does things like x-bar theory, which is when you take a sentence and put it in some sort of tree diagram and sometimes it takes her hours to do one sentence and she gets really frustrated and will go slightly crazy. And sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I find things like this on the kitchen counter:

When I asked her about this, she answered that she didn't even remember writing it; she was on an x-bar high.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

As I checked my Facebook the other day, this appeared:

No, Facebook, I do not want a fake-taned, army-bandana-wearing, long-sideburned "Cute Boyfriend".

I have never been more disappointed that there isn't an "all of the above" option.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's a Small Thing

If you’ve diligently read the description of this blog, you’ll notice that there were promises made to our vast audience. Namely, that Isabel and I “celebrate the small things in life”. This post is about one of those small things.

I feel like there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a tube of toothpaste. It’s an affirmation that you have done your job, kept your teeth clean. It takes a while to finish a tube of toothpaste, it takes hard work and discipline. Recently, I finished one, and it was pretty great. I always squeeze out every last remaining drop (?) because I don’t want to feel like I’m cheating, so I finish it until there’s nothing left, and then have a grand, dramatic moment where I chuck it in the garbage can. I have had no noteworthy athletic achievements, so this is the closest thing I have to a touchdown, a basket, a goal or a home-run.
Logically, it should be a huge disappointment when I have to buy a new tube: the start of a yet another long, exhaustive journey. But no. It’s not disappointing. In fact, starting the new tube may be even more thrilling than ending one. Why? Because look at that tube!

So deliciously plump! And then it’s time to apply the toothpaste: all the colors are in a straight line, they lay side-by-side on the tips of brush. I make sure of this: I slowly apply the toothpaste so that it looks just like the commercial. And sometimes, I even manage to get that playful swirl. You know exactly which one I’m talking about:

That’s when I know it was all worth it. Going through that arduous process of finishing the tube. It was all worth it because of how straight the lines are and because of that swirl. And now I just have to be a trooper until the end; the day of a new tube will come again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Commitment Issues

Even though I can confidently say that I'm in a (currently) functional, loving relationship, on rare occasions I wish this would actually happen. Although it might undermine population growth, imagine the look of surprise...

Let me know if it's too small/crappy. I have no idea how best to upload drawings, if anyone has any ideas/suggestions, please feel free (I'm currently just taking pictures of them seeing as I don't have a scanner, then playing around with exposure and contrast).
I'm also not a fan of boxes, which you may or may not be able to tell.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The tale of the dirty kastrull and the cleaning of the kitchen

None of these things were in the saucepan. And it was blue, not white. 

So, I've written before about the passive-agressiveness that accompanies the cleaning of public space. The conflicts, as previously mentioned, usually stay at the "passive" level - some occasional, inconspicuous hints about SOME people, annoyed sighs when emptying the dishwasher for what feels like the 54783974th time, and so on.

The only person that takes the passive out of aggressive is one of the french men. (Let's call him ponyboy for reasons I might explain at another time) I recently experienced this phenomenon, and I feel that I must record this injustice. First, let me clarify that when it was MY kitchen week, I cleaned the kitchen and the sink - including the things in it. In other words, there was a dirty sauce pan or two, and I cleaned them because it literally takes 20 seconds.

Ponyboy does not support this approach. Instead, he spent the first fifteen minutes of his cleaning day examining every dirty dish, and then proceeded to ask around until someone admitted to the crime of leaving it unattended in his presence. My claim to fame? A dirty saucepan. Actually, it was barely even dirty, it just had some rice stuck to the bottom. To deal with this issue, I had left it on the counter with some water in it to loosen up said rice, which I think is a perfectly acceptable way of postponing the washing up. This was not acceptable to Ponyboy. After some hectic arm movements and irritated mutterings from his part, I took the hint and cleaned said pan (albeit with a slightly bitter demeanor) and left it to dry.

But this was not the end of it. As I'm sitting there, watching TV in the living room (another public space), Ponyboy comes running up to me and shakes the sauce pan in my face. It was not clean enough. After hastily muttering sorry, I resumed my TV-watching, under the impression that me squeezing up next to him to use the sink at the same time that he was would be an awkward and uncomfortable experience.

Again, I was mistaken (everyone who thinks differently than Ponyboy is always mistaken). The whole ordeal culminated in him angrily slamming the pan down on the table nearest to me and rapid conversations in french with the other french dude in the corridor.

Obviously it all came to a definitive end once I resolutely got up off the couch and bashed his head in with the infamous sauce-pan - rice remains flying through the air and all. (Alternative ending: I remain in the couch for a few minutes, terrified of angry, long-haired french man and ashamed at my own cowardice, to then slowly proceed to the kitchen to clean the pan.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tales from the East Village Continued

I’ve spoken a lot about Sally and Marissa in previous posts but I would be remised if I left out one very, very important element of our apartment: my roommate Maya. 
This is Maya:

Maya bakes things for me. In fact she has a baking blog that you should probably check out. Maya likes to laugh and do crafty things and go to shows and be Jewish and eventually aspires to save the world, hopefully with baked good. But there is another side of Maya, a side that comes out usually when she is very tired. During this time, I like to picture that the holes in the filter between Maya’s brain and mouth slowly but surely expand until they let comments slip through - comments that never should’ve been uttered.
At 1 a.m. the other day, one of these moments happened.
Maya: You know what I was thinking about today? That it would really suck if I broke both my legs.
Charlotte: ......
Maya: Don’t you think?
Charlotte: ......
Maya: Don’t you think?
Charlotte: Don’t I think what?
Maya: Don’t you think it would suck if I broke both my legs?
Charlotte: ...... (note: usually when I don’t justify these questions with an answer, she just laughs and lets it go.)
Maya: You would have to bathe me, you know?
Charlotte: I probably wouldn’t.
Maya: And feed me.
Charlotte: I’m pretty sure handicapped people feed themselves.
Maya: No, you’d have to bathe me and feed me and do everything for me.
Charlotte: No, I’m not doing any of this because you’re not breaking your legs.
Maya: Would you rather break both your arms or both your legs?
Charlotte: What IS this conversation?
Maya: Blind or deaf?
Charlotte: We’ve had this discussion before.
Maya: I don’t remember. So, blind or deaf?
Charlotte: Blind.
Maya: I would rather be deaf.
Charlotte: I know you would, because we’ve had this discussion before. 
Maya: Right-handed or left-handed?
Charlotte: ..........
Maya: ...........
Charlotte: Go to sleep.