out of office.

3 04 2011

apologies for the interruption in service! i am taking a brief jaunt to boston this weekend (so that i won’t be so sad about chorus line being over), and my hotel CHARGES FOR WIRELESS.

i’m outraged. so outraged in fact that instead of writing a real post yesterday as planned, i am now tapping this apology out on my iphone. $9.95 my ass.

although i did commit one financial infraction (so far). i stupidly wore inappropriate she’s and had to buy flats about 4 hours into my adventure. they were on sale for $15.99, but i should really have preplanned a little better. i burn with shame.

also on the shame tip, i learned that i am completely incapable of reading a map. we easily spent 1/3 of our “out and about” time horribly horribly lost. today, it has be demanded that i relinquish the iphone and navigation duties.

well, it’s checkout time. and i need to go prepare my mangled feet for yet another adventure. more tonight (there is free wifi on the amtrak).

 





the chopping block.

19 11 2010

so after spending some time rolling around with tuesday’s therapy musings, i got to thinking about how i use shopping to ease my anxiety. any time i’m about to make a life change, or do something that is stressful to me, i make myself more comfortable by assuring that i am wearing an impeccable outfit. new job= new wardrobe every time, assuring that even if i do make more money at said job, i won’t actually ever get to see any of it.

as many of you know, i’m about to embark on yet another crazy performance opportunity in the form of the burlesque nutcracker.  generally, this would mean several hundred dollars in new lingerie and dancewear, but i’ve decided to try and fight the power. for the snowflake number, instead of getting this (which i really really want to the point where i’ve convinced myself that i NEED it), i will borrow something completely cute and serviceable from someone who was in the number last year. not mine, not perfect, but so far more painless than spending $68+ shipping on something that may or may not actually contain my boobs, and that i will likely never wear again.

well, as i’m thinking about the HUGE (and potentially) lingerie sacrifices that i’m about to make, it made me start thinking about what would happen if i lost my job or got sick and had to make some real sacrifices- what would  be the first to go?

1. as much as i hate to say it out loud, my $100 a month cell phone bill is LUDICROUS. goodbye iphone, hello virgin mobile pay as you go… could i get by with no phone at all?

2. goodybe dr. shrinkage. $300 a months for therapy is a lot. i find it hugely beneficial, but i could survive without it if it meant being able to make my mortgage payment.

3. my student loans are steadily shrinking, and i get to write off the interest every year on my taxes. but if i had to make some cuts, these guys speak the language of need based deferment, which is a blessing indeed.

4. those are the big ones (and we all know that i can’t stop paying my credit card bills- as much as i would like to), but then there’s all the little bits and pieces like neftlix ($17), my gym membership ($10), and non-specific spending money in general ($75). i don’t have cable, and i would have to be in pretty dire straits before i let anyone pry this internet connection out of my little clenched fists.

5. i can’t weed out things like medication, but i do think that if i was really proactive about it, i could axe my food budget down to $15 a week. although i might have to get over the ick factor of shopping at the save-a-lot or the dollar store. hey, at least i don’t eat meat.

still, as it turns out, i need at least $1,200 a month to get by. it’s a lot. it’s scary. it’s exactly why suze orman recommends 6 months worth of expenses in the bank for everyone.

is there anything you wouldn’t be willing to cut?





weekend pickthrough- secret hot pockets edition.

15 08 2010

i just wanted to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement  (as well as general hoots and “take it all offs”) regarding my big burlesque debut on thursday. the cliff’s notes update is that no, i didn’t win. but, i did rock my piece as hard as i could, and there were no broken legs or embarrassing urinary mishaps. you will however have to wait at least another day or two until my full write up is finished for the maine observer (assuming i write something that they actually want to publish). however, in my travels, i did come across an extremely interesting bit of noteworthy information. it all went down like this:

FRIEND: (re: me needing a post titty-shakin snack) man, geno’s should serve food.

ALLIE: um, why would you want to eat there? it’s a dive bar that used to be a porno theater? (*for those of you who weren’t around portland 15 years ago, it used to be the “fine art cinema”- classy!).

of course i thought it was hilarious, and immediately posted it to twitter. along with a lot of discussions about other places in portland too dirty for food consumption, this little tidbit popped up:

from @sukisusan: Rumor is that by law they must serve food. So they have a freezer full of Hot Pockets.

i brushed it off a brilliant joke, and then the next morning, this comment surfaced:

from @seanwilk: they have Hot Pockets. #true

could it be? on my lunch break friday, i decided to call geno’s and get the lowdown. in the most awkward phone conversation that i’ve probably ever had in my life- IT WAS CONFIRMED. some sort of weird licensing regulation requires them to be able to serve hot food. the answer- A FREEZER FULL OF HOT POCKETS. and they’re not just for show, you can order and consume those bitches (although i did forget to ask how much the cost- damn!). get to it!

i’m proud of my state for a lot of reasons, but this isn’t one of them.

two events worth putting on your calendar RIGHT NOW: WMPG electronica booze cruise, and goodwill of northern new england halloween ball bitches!

all my sexiest cheese fantasies are finally coming true (and for only $4).

once i get the ikea bus going, this is my next portland improvement venture.

so i entered this writing contest… could somebody else please enter so that mine isn’t the only crazy silly one. for some reason, people seem to think that good writing has to be SAD writing. i don’t get it…

there’s nothing you can say that will ever make me think that ebooks are better than paper books.  NEVER!

thanks to a tip from the amazing tina at scrawled in a corner, i now know that there are FULL EPISODES OF DARIA on mtv.com. solid.

just what i always suspected, iphone users are kind of sluts.

first lebron, and now grimace? this free agency thing is getting out of hand.

why can’t i own a canadian?! (via younger cougar)





and the cupboard was bare.

16 07 2010

this week was really going better budget-wise than last week- um, for a while. by wednesday, i still had $40 in my wallet and no huge plans to spend it. i think it gave me a false sense of security though, because as of this afternoon, i have about $15 left to get me through saturday. i’m not entirely sure where it all went, but somewhere in there i managed to wander into 2 candy bars, a bag of potato chips, and a bunch of other crap food that i definitely didn’t need (especially considering that i can’t afford to buy new pants). which brings me to my current point:

i can’t afford to buy new pants. the good news is that i don’t need new pants right now (luckily i went on a pants buying spree just before i started this crazy financial diet), but i am swiftly building a laundry list of other things that i do need, and can’t really afford on my new budget:

stupid expensive shampoo
even stupider expensive candy cane body wash
pair of headphones with 2 working earphones (i have 3 pairs with only one)
saucy costume for burlesque performance
tickets to upcoming red hot and ladylike booze cruise

ok, so most of those things don’t really count as necessities… and i could get by for a while by condescending to downgrade my personal hygiene back to the bargain bin if i had to… but i feel like i shouldn’t have to. am i just being selfish? have i learned nothing about needless spending? in a way, if i really didn’t have any money, things would be easier. i would just go without because i had to. i would probably whine a lot in the process, but at least the decision would be made. so how exactly do i establish some artificial parameters that will save me from blowing out of my budget, without having to deprive myself of the things that make life life comfortable and fun?

over the last two weeks, i’ve actually kind of enjoyed living on an all cash diet (however meager). i’ve had to scale back a little, but i’ve also stared to learn to pause for a minute before i get spendy, and really evaluate how much i really need/want something before i hand over my precious precious cash. $50 is fine and all for beers and snacks and goodwill runs, but sometimes things break, or run out, or crop up. sometimes it’s reasonable to take just a little bit more. in fact, it may be time to institute a secondary budget.

i actually genuinely can’t afford to stuff my budgetary bra this month. it’s $50 a week and lots of sucking it up and using cheap shampoo. but in august, i will thankfully be able to go back to a slightly more solvent lifestyle- but i’m not interested in undoing everything i’ve learned so far. my master plan is to stick with the $50, but add a 2nd tier budget of $200 a month for fun extras and emergency stuff. it’s messy and dirty and easy to lose… but i’m starting to think that cash is the answer.  why am i just figuring this out now? or is there an even better plan that i’m just too dense to figure out?





holy shit it’s father’s day.

16 06 2010

i’m really good at remembering things. childhood phone number? check. all US presidents in order in under 30 seconds (thanks mr. hickey!)? check. philip j. fry’s secret pin number (1077)? double check. although there do appear to be couple of serious leaks in my otherwise structurally sound memory including and especially: things i learned in high school history class (war of 18what?), where i put my keys, and holidays/special occasions. if you’re lucky i’ll probably remember christmas, but if you’re that guy that gets angry when people don’t celebrate you on your “special day”, maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate our friendship. birthdays are a blur, anniversaries are imaginary, and if you think i’m going to remember your kid’s 8th grad graduation… you’re fucking delusional. a few years ago, my mom called me up in early may and sweetly asked “honey, are you mad at me?”. apparently, i had zoomed past mother’s day without stopping to take a breath. i’m so sorry mom! i’m a terrible daughter!

i did manage to remember mother’s day this year (and am definitely making some headway with the addition of an iphone calendar into my life), but imagine my surprise when somebody told me that father’s day is sunday. THIS SUNDAY. um, i thought that shit was in august? in hopes that i might find some solidarity out there, i’ve decided to assume that at least all you still have yet to pick out the perfect father’s day gift (that is, if you’re a father’s day celebrator).  so without any further screwing around, i present to you: top 5 cheap & easy father’s day gifts that don’t look like you picked it up at the gas station on your way over.

1.  a project. booze is a father’s day staple for many (and frankly how many survive family holidays in the first place),  and it’s hard to go wrong with a bottle of great scotch or a case of a really good local microwbrew (this guy can make you a recommendation if you’re lost on the beer front).  but what about soliciting your dad for help in brewing your own hooch? the combination of bonding & booze is irresistible to many men, but if you choose to go the non-alcoholic route, it could be a beat up moped your found on craigslist, or a pasta maker,  or a build your own gazebo kit. it could be anything. the point is that for father’s day, you’re telling your dad that you want to spend time with him doing something awesome.

2. something from your childhood. don’t be fooled. men can be just as sentimental as the ladies, just in different ways. get a guy talking about his kids or his best friend, or the minute he fell in love with his wife… he’ll mist up mistier than misty dawn singing misty on the maid of the mist while playing myst and drinking a mr. misty from dairy queen. if you want to give your dad the gift of a hallmark moment this father’s day, consider giving him a sweet reminder of something wonderful you remember from your childhood along with a little note about how he was a really good dad. it could be a copy of the first movie he ever took you to, a book he used to read you at bedtime, or a framed photo of the best camping trip ever (*regift opportunity– repurpose a photo frame that contains a picture of an evil ex, and insert a really nice print of you & your dad on archival paper. i promise that dad doesn’t give a shit where you got the fame, plus you can release some of the bad breakup mojo still circulating in your life.)

3. something from his childhood. every child has their white whale- the toy that got away. the thing they wanted to for every birthday, christmas, bar mitzvah and never got. or maybe they got it- and tragically lost it through and unfortunate rough housing or little brother related accident. whatever the case, chances are your dad has been talking about it since 1956. use the power of ebay or local flea markets to try and track one down. ok, this one is a little short notice for sunday… but if you can harness your chi or whatever and make it happen, the payoff will be huge. dad will well up like a little girl, and you’ll be the hero that wiped out every failed holiday since 1956. (*bargain basement version– if you can’t find it or can’t afford it, find a picture of it and make your dad a card telling him how hard you tried to get it for him and that he’ll just have to accept your undying love instead. he’ll be so touched that you even considered getting it for him, he’ll probably slip your broke ass a $20 on the way out).

4. an event. i’m particularly partial to stubhub, but you can also score last minute/sold out event tickets on ebay and craigslist. the best part is that you don’t even have to have the tickets by father’s day, they just have to be “in the mail”. at this very moment, you can get tix to take your daddy-o to see some hardcore UFC action, or maybe some dirty dirty  chelsea handler stand up, or even to shake it with justin bieber. wait. strike that last part. as we get older and start our own families, one on one time with our parents starts to get scarce. it’s time to leave the kids, spouse, girlfriend, dog at home for the night and take your dad out on the date of a lifetime (*broke alert– no cash? try to score some free/cheap tix to a local sports or music event and cap it off with some late night pizza at otto).

5. an education. the boyfriend recently took his dad to a motorcycle permit class, and now they have matching bikes and have been terrorizing the suburbs on the weekends. cooking class, welding course, japanese lessons (*cheapster tip– buy him a how-to book, and try to learn something new together)… whatever you’re learning about, dad is going to be psyched to do it with you.

as i sad before, father’s day isn’t about stuffing your pop’s life with pointless gadgets from brookstone or sharper image (i mean, who really wants to chat with their meat thermometer anyway?). it’s about showing your dad that you actually care about him/ want to spend time with him/ remember and appreciate the time/thought/energy he spent raising you. so step away from the discount necktie section at the tj maxx. it doesn’t need to be pricey or elaborate, but give something with thought and with love, and give your dad a reason to brag to his buddies about how much better you are than their kids. after all, isn’t that what every dad wants for father’s day?





vacation all i ever wanted.

4 06 2010

when i was a little girl, my dad would take two weeks off of work every summer, stuff all of the kids (4 girls, all roughly 1 year apart in age) into the station wagon, and go camping all up and down this great state. did i mention that it was an un-air conditioned vehicle? with burgundy leather interior? and wood paneled sides? oh, and then there’s that part about my extreme predisposition to car sickness… yeah, it was a LOOOOONG drive to acadia every summer. but once we finally arrived, it was all sorts of magic. i’m pretty surprised that the blackwoods campground never blacklisted my boisterous/insane family, because we tore that place up from echo lake to thunder hole. not in a vandalism kind of way, but we experienced the crap out of that national park.

well, it’s time to put on my exploring pants again, because i just booked myself a real life vacation on long pond for later this summer (view exhibit a- tiny charming cabin at left). thankfully this time around, i have a vehicle with AC, a good supply of dramamine, and the aid of a little sexy modern technology. the chimani company contacted me a few weeks ago with an offer to review their acadia national park informational/navigational app for the iphone. so just in case there was any question: no, i’m not getting paid to write this, but yes, chimani did give me the product for free (a $9.99 value on itunes). but don’t worry, i’m a merciless reviewer not swayed by swag. i promise.

now i won’t be able to really see what it’s made of until it’s time for summer vacation fun, but i figured i could screw with it for a while and see what i could learn. here’s what shook out during my first poke around:

1. it’s pretty intuitive. the navigation screen has a series of big buttons that say nice and obvious things like “map”, “hiking”, & “auto tour”. which is good, because there is no big button that says “directions”. (the app info button was shockingly less informational than i would have preferred).

2. it’s crazy full of information. (well, except for how to use it) take the auto tour and learn everything you ever wanted to know about acadia but it never occurred to you to ask. who knew that the bubble rock parking lot had such a fascinating history?  if it’s vaguely notable and inside the confines of the park, chimani can tell you about it. looking for the only fjord on the east coast? CHECK.  need to get your hands on a copy of the beaver log newspaper? DOUBLE CHECK. um, did i mention that there are AUDIO CLIPS?

3. it knows i have a tiny bladder. the auto tour makes heavy (and specific!) mention of restroom locations, all are well marked on the map, AND there’s even a big  happy button devoted entirely to the subject. chimani even takes this function to the next level by providing DESCRIPTIONS of said restrooms. “restroom oasis” anyone?  it’s comforting to know that i can spend my vacation confident that i won’t have to be squatting behind any nationally recognized boulders or shrubs. which is good, because i always end up peeing on my shoes.

4. it makes sure i don’t miss the bus. i actually had no idea there even was an acadia shuttle. this program not only shows all of the designated island explorer pick-up points on the map (although it also taught me that you can just flag them down wherever), but tells you exactly when the next shuttle will arrive at each stop, and how much longer you have to wait.

5. it doesn’t discriminate against the chronically out of shape. all hiking trails are listed by length and graded by difficulty. this assures that asthmatic fatties like me don’t end up way over their heads when they just want to go for a brief mountain jaunt. sorry perpendicular trail, i’ll be sticking to the wonderland path. although the bike trails are not similarly color coded by how much they’ll kick your ass, they are described in enough detail that you can easily avoid anything involving the words “steep” or “recommended only for experienced cyclists”.

6. it knows where i am even when i don’t. it took me slightly too long to figure out how to do it, but when you hit the little bullseye icon on the map… BAM there’s that comforting little blue GPS dot telling your exact location. knowing my proximity to the restrooms at all times is tantamount; as is knowing exactly how much longer the slightly too hard hike i picked out is going to last, or if i’m about to wander into some sort of tragic gorge accident.

7. it makes sure i’m never bored. fishing, swimming, biking, hiking, birding, boating, camping, picnicking, and even HORSES all have their own big shiny buttons on the chimani app. considering that it costs $36 bucks to get into funtown for one day- the $20 7-day pass (per vehicle) to acadia is a way better value, and there’s just as much stuff to do- all of it better for you/more fun than eating too much funnel cake and puking on the thunder bolt (not that i know from experience or anything).

in short, it’s a pretty incredible app (more incredible than i could reasonably cover in one review). it’s economical, information packed, extremely efficient, and takes up a lot less space in my backpack than a map and/or guidebook. however, despite the general coolness/utility/awesome informational factor, i can’t give it my total 100% thumbs up. there were a few minor quirks and missing pieces that i feel could be improved over time:

1.i can’t figure out how to un-favorite things, and it’s filling me with rage.

2. maybe it’s just my older version iphone, but the program crashed 3 times while i was using it. not a huge deal, but inconvenient none the less.

3. i ran an update and it took FOREVER to load. and then the program crashed again.

4. does anyone know what the cell coverage is like in acadia? how much  functionality do i lose if a wander into an area with no bars (which seems likely the further downeast you go)?





i’m iphone famous!

20 01 2010

prepare for some serious horn tooting! i’ve done little bits and pieces of graphic design for the totally awesome local vegetarian cooking show delicious tv for about a year now, so how cool was it when they wanted me to help them design  their first iphone app! well, it’s on the market, and it was actually featured in the portland press herald this morning. woot!

veg-ez is packed full 50 great recipes & 32 videos from the show (all nicely sorted by category). what i love about the delicious tv approach, is that they’re not militant about vegetarianism/veganism. they’re not trying to convert anyone, they just want to make the concept of meatlessness more accessible to everyone. they make beautiful comfort food, accept the existence of dairy products (though they always give vegan alternatives), and are presenting their recipes in a way that can be appealing to everyone (not just the veggies).

anyway, i’m total small-time freelance non-professional graphic design dabbler, so this is kind of a huge deal for me.  i’m pretty freakin proud to be associated with something so cool.