Monday, September 9, 2013

Anti-Top Knot

How apolitical, to take a position on a hair style, but I keep seeing it everywhere in Philly, these girls with their hair on top of their heads in a purposefully messy top knot. I know it's purposeful, because achieving the top knot isn't easy--it's not like you just put it in a ponytail and then go; there's actually hardware required to make it look right. You need to use these doughnut shaped, sponge-like spheres to execute properly.


To me, unless you are a ballerina and required to wear this style because you're in The Nutcracker (the one ballet I can name easily), I feel like the top-knot is a waste of time, in part because I think it's hard to pull off. Like, unless you have sharp cheekbones and a delicate nose and big eyes, you end up looking like you've just rolled off a covered wagon. Only Ma Ingalls can pull this off.

Or you might wear it another way, this super whimsical top knot where you look as though your IQ has plummeted, as if all of your brain cells have been pulled out in creating this style:

Also reminds me of this:

 Or there is the version where you make a super fat top knot, and people who see you can't stop thinking of bundt cakes or wondering if a bird or two might actually fly out at any moment.

But perhaps my main dislike of the top knot is that I can't personally pull it off at all. I've tried, and it makes me look old and school marmish, and not in a fun way. More like this: 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Never in New York

Even though I live in Philadelphia and New York is a 90 minute, cheap Bolt bus ride away (meaning that technically, I could do a day trip to Manhattan, returning in the evening), I've only been to the city maybe a little more than a handful of times in the nine-ish years that I've lived here. And I never seriously considered living in NY, even though I'm envious of people who do. Whenever I make a visit, I imagine a different life for myself, how I could have been more adventurous and moved there and lived in a roach infested studio apartment above Korean grocery store for $600 a month (or more now), but how that might have been braver or riskier and a more interesting choice. But then I remind myself that I lived in Chicago for five years. Chicago is like the country-bumpkin half sister of Manhattan--it barely counts by comparison, but it was an anonymous place and had a much more sophisticated El system than Philly does. New York just seems light years more cosmopolitan. You go into any corner grocery store and they have to have everything. They have to have bagels and lox and green grapes and orange soda in a glass bottle and bedroom slippers. In Philadelphia, you got into a bodega and can get maybe a milk that's going to expire in four hours. And the people are more interesting--they are super beautiful and possibly famous and/or they are impoverished and wearing a full suit made out of garbage bags with the twist ties in their hair. I could have moved to New York, but I thought I might end up in one of those ugly, huge, crumbling high rises whose windows don't open so you can't even jump out of them.  So, let's just make it a goal to visit more often.

Dan and I went last weekend, and here are some photos.

Bad logo by our hotel. Looks like the dog has swallowed the cat.

Dan in our hotel room at Pod. You could see the bathroom from the bed. He's in the shower in this photo.

Steps of some famous building or other.

Times Square around 6 PM.

Times Square two hours later.
In Bryan Park, people-watching. 
What happens to your bike if you leave it abandoned for more than 24 hours.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Devoured another Sara Gran book last night in one fell swoop--Come Closer. It feels almost rude to the author to read her book in one evening--really in the span of maybe 90 minutes. It was obviously a page turner and the writing was crisp and fast-paced, but still--the writer labors over her work for months and months and then the reader eats it up like a Butterfinger candy bar in one sitting. This one was about a woman becoming possessed by a demon, all set in modern day, the tone very matter of fact, but again, dark, dark, dark, and again, it didn't end well. I didn't find it to be particularly scary, but it was upsetting overall and I will never trust this writer to give me a hopeful ending. It did kind of make sense on another level; like if you watch as much Dateline with Lesley Stahl as I do--in those shows, you always have this seemingly ordinary family (and they always have these Sears-generated family portrait photos of everyone hanging out by a fake tree in matching denim to prove how suburban and normal they are), and then you'll discover that the dad who works at Best Buy is accused of murdering his wife and their three children, or that the wife hired a thug to shoot her husband in the parking garage, or that the middle child supposedly set fire to the house in the middle of the night. Then you wonder, how did this happen? How can these regular people who walk around and do regular things suddenly become murderers and arsonists? Gran's book has an answer for that in a way. Near the end, Amanda, the character who is slowly becoming possessed, starts to see that all around her are other people who have similarly been taken over by a demon--every once in a while, one of them will reveal its true face, eyes peeling back in the head, mouth become an unhinged black hole, and she'll realize that they are other ordinary people around her who are vessels for these evil spirits.

I think I'm done with her for a while, unless I can get my hands on her newest Claire de Witt detective novel. Apparently, I am possessed with the desire to read everything she writes, even though it leaves a slightly ashy taste in my mouth.