I created a couple new products for my souvenir shop.
Here's a little something for the youngest member of the household.
And, what everyone needs: Forget about your mouse pad. Invest in a snazzy, new dead rat pad!
The AWP conference starts tomorrow. Here in NYC.
But I was too dumb to buy my ticket in a timely fashion, and now they're sold out. Oh well.
The other day, some coworkers and I visited a 99 cent store in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville area of Brooklyn. We had a good time, and I took some pictures. Here they are:
"Everything 99 Cents. Or Less. Or More."
I think that covers just about everything. Except maybe imaginary numbers.
Brian (aka Mr. Deb) just sent me a New York Post Article.
Uncle Ira's primary address is in the news:
I wonder if this means that after more than a decade of being committed, Uncle Ira will be released sooner than later....
My break is over.
I read one short book, and now I'm knitting again. I'm making a hat (for Brian), but right now, it looks like a green rectangle. When people ask me what I'm knitting, I like to hold up my green rectangle and say, "It's a hat! Can't you tell?" Then I cackle wildly. Because beholding an object in the early stages of knitting can be like comparing the embryos of a cat, a cow, a horse, and a human.
My "I (pizza) PIZZA" shirt came today. I was a little disappointed in the fabric. And, though the image I uploaded of the pizza was very clear, the printed image on the shirt is kind of murky. Still, I'm proud. I'm wearing it now to show my support. For pizza.
Some pictures I took with my new and expensive lens appear on the Brooklyn Eagle website. This also makes me feel proud. Though I sent them crisp, clean jpegs which were about 4 megabytes each, but the images appearing on the page are about 2 kilobytes and the size around of a flea.
There's a new product on the block.
This catchy saying was born as a result of a gmail chatting sessions with Bob. Never underestimate Bob's tact. Once, during a chat session, he referred to the hole on the bottom of a frozen turkey as its "man pussy"
So far, I've sold two t-shirts. And they were both to me. But shouldn't one be one's own best audience?
My webhost said they could migrate my service to a new system.
Everything has looked about the same since I started using my webhost in 2001. And I was fine with it. But now they were now promising me a sexier interface, better webmail (with a much needed spam blocker), and more disk space. So why the hell not?
I checked my site this morning from home. Everything was still as it had always been. When I got to work, I checked again ... and wow! ... there it was.
I hate to sound like an old fogey, but the new interface is very confusing. As is the webmail. But my disk space is now 5 times higher. I was happy. Until I realized that my last post had disappeared.
Anyway, it's back up now. Sorry about that.
My "I (pizza) NY" shirt is still flagged. Reading over the email we had composed and sent to cafepress's trademark people, Brian found one instance where we had used the word "t-shits" instead of "t-shirts". He said, "Dear, there's a cuss in our email."
I fear this may poison them against me. We shall see.
I have three items on the docket today:
Item 1: Killin's as easy as breathin'
In breathless anticipation of the coming Rambo movie, Bob looks at the first three films in a larger historical context. Bob writes, "There is no better measure for how the Collective American Penis is doing than Rambo." Read the whole essay here.
Item 2: Baby Sean and the Blanky
Another image has surfaced revealing Baby Sean's growing affection for a certain green blanky.
Item 3: I (pizza) PIZZA"
Get 'em while they're hot! Or before cafepress pulls it from it's site.
That's all for now. Thank you.
About three hours after my much anticipated (by me) "I (pizza) NY" shirt went up, the good people at Cafepress flagged my account for trademark infringement."
I was completely baffled by this. "I (heart) NY" paraphernalia is ubiquitous. As are spoofs of it, like "I (shamrock) NY", I (magen david) SHIKSAS", "I DYSLEXIA (heart)", and if you search on cafepress.com's own website, you will come up with many other variations (like the ever-classy "I heart Big Dumps").
So what's so wrong with pizza-ing NY?
I did some research, and discovered that the original "I (heart) NY" was developed by graphic designer Milton Glaser in 1976, at a time when few people were feeling much love for NY. In the late mid-to-late 70s, the city was leaking money. Government was corrupt. Crime was rampant. Buildings were burning. A serial killer was on the lose and killing women at a dog's command. Mr. Glaser (who also designed the logo for the Brooklyn Brewery) gave his design of love for free to the Empire State. And the state has protected it vehemently ever since.
The state has sued the cities of San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Las Vegas, as well as the state of North Carolina for trademark infringement. It engages in lengthy and costly litigation to protect its trademark, licensing for which brings in upwards of a million dollars in revenue a year.
I found a number of message boards in which poor dopes like myself claimed that they were trying to sell such benign merchandise as "I (heart) DIRT" t-shirts, only to get letters for the Empire State Department of Economic Development threatening suit if the outfit did not cease and desist in selling such merchandise.
Still, I was angry. "I (pizza) NY" is not the same as "I (heart) Dirt" or "I (heart) SF".
I was so angry, I called my lawyer. Who is also my husband.
Apparently, allegations of trademark infringement are seen as valid when the infringer's use may be seen to lead to "confusion or mistake or to confuse the public into believing the applicant's goods are associated with the opposer." So someone might see an "I (heart) SF" shirt, get confused, and love (and thereby visit, because it is tourism dollars which are apparently at stake) San Francisco instead of New York, causing New York to lose tourism revenue.
By the way, it appears the Empire State has won every suit against another city/state, except for North Carolina. After a four-year-long law suit, a judge ruled this past April in favor of NC on the grounds that because the font face was different, the heart was a slightly more florid shape, and was blue in color, no one would accidentally mistake NC for NY and love and visit NC instead.
Still, what was an issue for me was not love, but pizza. Why can't you (pizza) NY? How might (pizza)ing NY end in confusion which would cause NY to lose tourism dollars? Brian found a number of law suits that he felt proved I was free and clear. But the problem was still the state's trigger-happy litigiousness. If sued, I might very well win. However, getting sued is an expensive business. If the Empire State were to file suit, it would do so against me and cafepress.com, and cafepress.com's main concern is to not be sued at all.
So I attempted to change the design. The shirt that once read "I (pizza) NY" now reads "I (pizza) PIZZA". For me, these statements are almost synonymous, as the slice pictured is a nice big greasy slice of New York (style) pizza. I believe this new design will cause absolutely no confusion, as the wearer will be pizza-ing pizza, which is too convoluted a concept to be conceived of as diverting tourism dollars away from the state of New York.
In order to cover all bases, my lawyer/husband also helped me to compose the following email to cafepress.com's trademark division:
Dear Ms. Carr:So "I (pizza) PIZZA" is presently for sale at the debschwartz cafepress store. Enjoy!
Okay. I done it.
My cafepress store is open for business.
At least, I think it is. I am still a little baffled. But my "I PIZZA NY" shirt is up for sale.
At least, I think it is.
I am still taking t-shirt suggestions....
Bob submitted one. And it involved a picture of him with a beard. He wrote:
here's a picture of me w a giant beard that i grew sometime last year, i guess, when i was 'going through something.' marcia pointed out that men don't generally grow beards that big unless they're 'going through something.' in retrospect, i suppose i was, though what it was, i do not know.I kind of like the idea of walking around in a t-shirt with a picture of Bob in a great big beard on it. And maybe the words "going through something" running along the bottom.
I have a few ideas myself. But I need some time to assemble to graphics. All the t-shirts I've wanted to make, but Brian thought they were too dumb. Like my "Unironic Mustache" shirt. And my "I PIZZA NEW YORK" shirt. I can't wait.
Feel free to send me your ideas. Together, we will become rich and be-shirted!
I'm a little jealous.
I'm trying to think what t-shirts I would carry if I had my own store. Any ideas?
I'm not coming into this blog post empty-handed. I do have something. I have before and after pictures of a dead rat on the tracks of the 7th Avenue F train.
The first picture was taken on December 7, and the second was taken this past Sunday.
To think of all the things I missed growing up in the suburbs!
I though 45 minutes on the elliptical machine was pretty okay for someone as inactive as me.
When I turned around to get off the machine, I saw a woman standing behind me. She wore a strained smile to veil her impatience. And she had practically moved in. She had her towel and house keys on the floor at the foot of the machine. I was kind of shocked she had picked me, as there were about 8 other people around me, and Brian finished at the same time I did.
She stood there and almost didn't make room for me to leave. I apologized reflexively and said, "Let me get out of your way," but was still taken aback by her aggressiveness. She looked to be in her later thirties, fit, hair tied back in a tight ponytail, wearing what looked like designer gym wear (which is odd for the "Y"), and that same strained/angry smile. If I had to bet, I would say she was the mother of two young kids, and that her husband does something very lucrative. Though why she would then be at the "Y" is beyond me.
I walked across the room to the water fountain. Brian met me there. I started to say how there was this weirdly aggressive woman standing behind me at the elliptical machine, when I turned around to find that the same aggressive woman was again standing behind me. She announced loudly (with that same strained, fakey smile), "I THOUGHT YOU WERE COMING OVER HERE TO GET A PAPER TOWEL TO WIPE DOWN YOUR MACHINE. BUT I GUESS I WAS WRONG."
I was very much taken aback. I could feel that what she really wanted to communicate to the whole of the Prospect Park YMCA was, "NOT ONLY ARE YOU SLOW, BUT YOU ARE ALSO FILTHY."
In years past I might have been mortified, I might have wanted to cry. But now, though embarrassed, what I felt most was anger. I said, "You seemed so eager to get on the machine, I figured I should just get out of your way."
She just stood there. And I just stood there. Then I added, "Would you like me to wipe down the machine?"
"NO. I'LL DO IT," she said. And she gathered together mounds of paper towels and antibacterial stuff and began wiping the machine furiously as if I had revealed I had leprosy.
It was an embarrassing thing. But she was a horrible person. I said to Brian, "That woman was looking for a fight. It could have been you. She was ready to do that to anyone on an elliptical machine. But she chose me."
It should be noted that I had not sweated all of the machine.
When I worked at the Museum, I would get it all the time, people whose souls were rotting. Or whose lives were falling apart. Something was wrong in their universe. But they would talk to you like you were the cause of their problems. Like you were something repugnant. They would come to the desk to complain about the lighting in the galleries or the price of tickets, but they would talk to me or my staff as if we were not fit to lick the bottoms of their shoes.
It is a certain type of person who does this kind of thing.
On Saturday morning, on my subway ride to get a haircut, there was a young man sitting across from me. And he was picking his nose. And he wasn't shy about it. He was really sticking his fingers in his nose, reaching for something still unattainable. And I was horrified by this. So I turned away. He conducted his business for the entirely of our ride together. I was certainly not a fan of his flagrant nose-picking. But it's none of my business what he does. Which is why I said nothing and just turned away (in horror).
If Rude Gym Lady had been there, she probably would have said something. Because loudly correcting someone else's behavior might help to quiet the fracas in her soul.
Maybe if I see her at the gym again, I'll flick a booger at her.
This politics thing has already got me feeling tense.
As anxious as I am to see change come to the White House, I began to panic last night as I listened to the returns coming in from New Hampshire. I was reliving the election of 2000. And 2004. I started feeling that I couldn't stand another heartbreak.
Brian is more of an Obama fan. And really, I am fine with anything with a heartbeat that runs as a Democrat. But Jenny's got a good point. The pile-on that occurs every time Hillary blinks an eye or opens her mouth. It just doesn't seem right. There's something so mean in it.
Men have had so many chances to run this country, and look what a terrible mess we're in. Don't you think it's about time someone gave a woman a chance?
I am taking a break from knitting for a while, but I wanted to show you pictures of my last two projects. The first is a scarf I knitted for Brian, which you might have seen already:
The second is a blanky I made for Baby Sobush:
The blanky was a big deal. It took me two and a half months to make, and was by far my most complicated knitting project. I'm just going to take it easy for a while and read some obscure Chilan surrealist fiction.
The antibiotics took care of my cough and my sinus headach, which is good.
But for the last couple of days, my head has been completely stopped up with snot. I haven't been able to breathe through my nose. Food has no taste, only texture. And I look like a horse when I'm eating, mouth open so I don't suffocate while chewing my food.
Desperate for some relief, I ran out on Saturday and bought a neti pot, which is something that looks like a small tea pot which you fill with warm water and salt and shove up your nose. You're supposed to pour the warm saline solution into one nostril, and it's supposed to filter out the other. Maybe because my septum is partially deviated (from falling on my nose at prom and during yoga), or maybe because I am hopelessly uncoordinated, I couldn't get the neti pot to work right. If it went anywhere, the warm water either streamed down my throat, making me feel like I was reverse vomiting, or shot up into my sinus cavity, giving me a gross headache.
I still couldn't breathe on Sunday, and ran out to stock up on Sudafed. I also purchased a bottle that shoots saline solution into your nose. I had less trouble with this than I did the neti pot.
Brian woke me up this morning. It was already after 7. I had been dreaming I was very thirsty. I was in my apartment, which looked nothing like my apartment, and I was carrying around my cousin's two-year-old for some reason. I finally found a glass and filled it with water. But I figured I should let the baby drink first. I put the glass to her face, and she started lapping up the water, almost like a dog. I kept thinking, "Hurry up, baby. I'm very thirsty," But the baby wouldn't stop drinking my water.
When I woke up, my mouth was so dry that my lips were stuck to my teeth. I had been sleeping with my mouth agape. My nasal passage was completely obstructed. I tried the saline bottle thing and experienced mild success. I took another Sudafed. Now one half of one nostril is clear — enough to taste a little, but not enough to breathe, or to eat with my mouth closed.
I feel like a caveperson.
Remember when I got sick?
Well, I got better relatively quickly. Except I was still coughing. Especially at night. I was coughing so much, I was waking Brian up. I'd taken to leaving the room for several hours to cough in quiet desperation until I felt I was all coughed out.
I've been awfully tired lately.
Oh, and I was getting these weird sinus headaches during the day. I would take a sinus pill, and the headache would go away for a few hours, but then it would come back again. This had been happening for over a week.
So I went to the doctor. Who thankfully didn't mention anything about backfat. She did, however, write me two prescriptions: one for cough medicine and one for an antibiotic. She said I should take the antibiotic for 10 days. I said, "Alcohol?" She said, "No. No alcohol." I said, "For real? Ten days without alcohol?" But she shot me a look like I was a roving wino asking for percocets. So I smiled and said I was just kidding.
I brought the prescription into the Duane Reade below my office. When I came back to pick it up, I discovered that, even with insurance, the antibiotic was going to set me back $75. When I saw this, I screamed, "HOLY F*CK!" I scared both the pharmacist and the woman in line behind me.
When I got back to my office, I took a long hard look at my antibiotics. I read all the warnings on the bottle. I was to avoid prolonged exposure to excessive sunlight (not a problem). I was not to take iron products or antacids within two hours of taking this medication (okay). That was it. I could see that the last label was covering another label. Was this a mistake? Was it here that they mentioned about the no alcohol for ten days? I pulled back the top label. Underneath was another label that purported that this drug might make me dizzy.
So looked online for more information about my antibiotic. Levaquin. My fancy, brand name friend. This is what I found:
Possible side effects:
And even with all this, nothing was mentioned about alcohol. After reading that laundry list of physical woe, I felt I needed a good stiff drink.
We spent New Year's Eve in Brooklyn Heights at a bar called Floyd.
Before we went to the bar, we stopped off at Susan's and ordered in Indian food. Susan surprised me with an old polariod she had found. She said it had fallen out of one of her books. The picture was taken in college, though neither of us can remember where or why. If one looks closely, one can make out a copying machine in the background. Curious.
Wow. Our hair was a little awkward back then. At least mine was. That's when I was cutting my own hair. I'm not sure why I ever thought that was a good idea.
After dinner, Lauren came over, then we walked to Floyd and met up with Karen and Rich and Peter and Jen and Joey. We had a rather nice evening, which ended around 1:30, and without anyone vomiting or getting into a beer brawl. Brian and I took the subway home. All and all, it was a successful New Year's, as we did indeed make it into 2008.
I made a little picture page of our evening. It can be found by clicking the image below:
Happy advancing of time!