Archive for the ‘people’ Category

Small side note: this week someone searched “I don’t want to work today” and got to this site.  This fills me with glee. I’m with you, anonymous internet searcher.  I don’t want to work today either.

Which is why I’m going to talk about The Antique Road Show.

I’m not sure how up on current events you guys are, but I really am (by current events I mean whatever pops up on Google News, People.com, and Gawker.  Don’t ask me about the debt ceiling because you’ll get nothing but a blank stare in response).  And recently, this story has been everywhere: A guy takes some junk he had sitting around his attic to the awesome Antiques Roadshow television program, and it just so happens his junk is worth A MILLION DOLLARS.

You’ve read this, right?  Or seen it?  The junk in question is a collection of 5 rhino horn chinese tea-cups, and the guy is some dude who lives in Oklahoma.  He says he bought the cups in the 1970s “for cheap” and they’ve just been hanging out in his attic since then. When Antiques Roadshow rolled into town, he took them over on a whim.  Which then turned him into a millionaire.  Here’s a picture of the magical cups in question (that crazy looking person is not the owner, but the ‘Asian Art” expert from the show).

I am officially obsessed with this story, on a variety of levels.   First of all, I adore Antique Roadshow.  It’s an awesome show for people who like old things (me), low-budget public access television (also me), and average Americans acting silly on TV (me, duh).

On another level, people who hang on to inordinate amounts of worthless (or maybe not!) crap are very close to my heart.  See, some people in my family has a slight slight problem with not throwing things away.

No no, they aren’t hoarders. How dare you even suggest that.  They don’t belong on that awful TLC show with the seriously mentally ill people who have dead cats mummifying in their homes, oh no.  Sentimental, fine. Nostalgic, sure!  But mentally ill?  Well…no comment?

I kid.  I kid because I love.  Certain family members who will remain unnamed can’t really help themselves.  I’m convinced it’s a gene, passed down from one generation to another. For whatever reason, science has instill in them the DNA code that says “I CAN’T GET RID OF THAT HOW DARE YOU TRY TO THROW IT AWAY WHEN I’M NOT LOOKING PLEASE STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF I’M SAVING THAT FOR (INSERT INSANE REASON HERE).”

I’m now going to start the campaign for “let’s find some valuable stuff amongst your piles of “important items” that we can sell for a huge profit.”  Does anyone know when the Antique Roadshow comes to New York?


PS: Never seen Antique Roadshow?  Brian Regan has it down pat, below.  Advanced apologies for the terrible quality…it’s worth it though.


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Oh hey guys.  How’s it going?

I know it’s been six months since I went on “hiatus” (sorry for not warning you.  My bad. Things got a lil busy.), but guess what? Now that summer has rolled around and I have a little more free time, I think I can pick this business back up.

Also, and this has NOTHING to do with it, but my little sister C. stared a blog too–not only because she wants to emulate me in every way possible but also because she’s in Hawaii for her post-grad summer. Just hanging out on the beach. Meanwhile, I got a JOB after I graduated college…but that’s neither here nor there.  I’m ecstatic for her and not even the slightest bit smug that she can’t figure out the Hawaiian public transit system.  Look, I’m so un-bitter about this whole thing that I’ll even link to it: http://summerinhawaii.wordpress.com/

She’s a doll and she’s pretty witty so you should go visit.  Also, she gets really tan and I’m sure she’ll document that heavily as I sit wasting away in pale misery in my cube.

Now, you would think that as my blog was lying dormant (it was hibernating!  There you go, that’s my excuse) it would slip through the cracks of the vast internetz.  However.  That was not so.  You see, WordPress has a handy and very entertaining feature called “Top Searches” that shows you how people found Better Off Red. And to my utter surprise, not only did my busiest day come mid-hiatus, but people stumbled onto this site in the strangest of ways even sans-updates.

So, for my grand return to blogging, I give you the list of search phrases that led people to my humble corner of the web:

Search Views
hipster glasses 44
snowpocalypse 16
ironic mustache 9
dirty hipster 9
creep stache 5
better off red wordpress 5
hipster goatee 4
wordpress better off red 4
people with mustaches 3
george leier 3
snowpocalypse new york 2010 3
beard hipster glasses 3
new york snowpocalypse 3
moustache 3
betteroffred 3
you’re doing it wrong stache 3
+”synthesize ddt” 2
ironic mustaches 2
шнауцер 2
better off red blog 2
snowpocalypse.jpg 2
turbot dill 2
tom selleck mustache eyes 2
awesome moustaches 2
snowpocalypse gizmodo 2
hipster with glasses 2
cop with mustache 2
hipster fashion 2
the ironic mustache 2
scraggly beard “angry” 2
novel red led alarm clock sports cool cubby hole design 1
winter squash canelloni 1
noodles for breakfast 1
winter squash manicotti filling 1
turbot fillets en papillote 1
turbot en papillote 1
щенки морки 1
worldpress “better off red” 1
ragey glasses 1
betteroffred.com 1
jamie oliver stuffed cannelloni 1
maryewood 1
julia child’s cookbook 1
betteroffred.wordpress.com 1
fashion disaster exercise clothes 1
your doing it wrong 1
hipsters glasses men 1
the ironic stach 1
turbot en papillot 1
dead fish apocalypse 1
red mustaches that look good 1
snopacalyspe 1
snowacalypse sanitation workers strike 1
david tutera 1
ironic moustache 1
dirty hipster glasses 1
hipster facial hair glasses 1
ferris beuler’s day off 1
snowpocalypse new york 1
snowpocalypse nyc 2010 1
tom selleck black and white 1
ironic stache 1
no no no don’t lie 1
dill papillote sauce 1
better off red 1
hipster beard hat glasses 1
subway snowpocalypse 1
dirty hipster pics 1
hipster in glasses 1
unwonderful 1
ugly hipster 1
“must grow a mustache” 1
pedophilia your doing it wrong 1
“better off red” blog 1
porn stache selleck 1
cop stache 1
mens hipster eyeglasses 1
turbot wine sauce 1
evil genius moustache 1
ironic hipster glasses 1
http://www.betteroffred.fantake 1
tribecataco 1
duxbury croakies 1
turbot en papillote recipes 1
wonderful mustache 1
tom selleck porn stache 1
ultimate hipster glasses 1
alone again naturally flip side 1
hipsters mustaches 1
squash manicotti 1


Let me first say that it is so stupidly ironic that the phrase “mustache” and “hipster” bring the most people to my site.  Because, as you know, both things are the bane of my existence.  Funny how life turns out, isn’t it.

A few of my favorites off this list:

– “george leier”: either my dad’s BFF is googling himself a lot OR someone has a stalker!  Sorry George.

– “щенки морки”: I am dying to know A. what language that is and B. what it means.

– “no no no don’t lie”: Okay okay…I won’t.

– “scraggly beard “angry””: Which is how I described H throughout much of college.

– “tom selleck mustache eyes”: Only because the idea of “mustache eyes” kinda freaks me out

– and finally, “red mustaches that look good” : I can answer that one for you.  Those don’t exist.






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Hell on Heels

I consider myself a grown-up, for the most part.  I pay bills and dutifully save money and buy healthy food even though what I really want to eat is Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on an onion bagel all day, every day.

There is one thing, though, that I have a hard time accepting.  And that is the notion that sophisticated grown-up city gals wear high heels.  And not just for special occasions.  All. The freaking. Time.

Just your typical everday footwear

Sex and the City was not lying when it depicted NYC as the land of the platform stiletto monster heel.  Women here march around in the most ridiculous shoes I have ever seen.  And I’m not sure it’s a case of “look at my heels, I’m so fashionable,” or just because they truly enjoy mangling their feet.  Who knows.  This place is full of weirdo masochists.

I just can’t wrap my head around it.  You would think in this city, where walking is generally the standard for getting around, people would wear shoes which facilitate actual walking. But no.  Instead they (and by ‘they’ I mean women) teeter around in shoes that defy all reason, logic, and physics.

Alexander McQueen heels...the pinacle of insanity.

Don’t get me wrong: I admire these ladies.  I am downright jealous of them.  Because I am physically incapable of wearing high heels.  Wait, correction.  I am physically incapable of functioning in high heels.  Putting them on my feet: fine.  Attempting to then move around and live life after they have been put on: not so fine.  I struggle with high heels.  To say the least.

It’s not because I’m one of those silly girls who ‘can’t walk in heels.’  I know how to walk in heels.  I know you have to revise the way you move and work it.  Which, let’s be honest, is kind of awesome and fun and all I am woman hear me roar, biatch.  The problem is my feet.   H calls them my ‘clubbies.’  As in they are club-shaped.  Small and squared-off and really really inappropriate for any sort of shoe other than maybe a ballet flat, which is what I live in.  I put on heels, admire how nice they make my legs look and how adorable they are, and the minute I start walking around my feet and toes begin to protest.  Hang on a minute girlfriend.  You really think we’re going to stand being shoved in this shoe and forced into a different shape?  Hells to the no.  We’re going to blister and bleed and ache until you come to your senses and realize this is NOT working.  It’s science.

Thanks, oddly shaped feet and toes…Thanks a ton for working with me here.  Really making my life easier.

However, regardless of this genetic predisposition, I still try.  You know how there’s that saying that goes: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

That is my relationship with heels, in a nut shell.

It still hasn’t occurred to me that I should probably stop buying heels.  My closet is a virtual graveyard of shoes I loved in the store, bought, wore for a night, and then swore off because it took two weeks for my feet to heal afterwards. That’s probably part of the problem: I get so incensed at the pain these stupid shoes put me though that I swear I will banish them forever after a single wear.  Thus effectively stopping the ever important ‘breaking-in’ process cold.  Really, before it even began.

I am a huge baby.  Have I mentioned that?  High heels have made me cry.  Sure, it might have been after a martini or 4, but still.  Tears.

I do try to make them comfortable.  I try to buy higher-end heels with the notion that if they are better made they will hurt less (they don’t).  I buy tons of little accessories to try to protect my precious tootsies: heel pads and gel inserts and moleskin…you name it, I’ve bought it.  But nothing, and I mean nothing, saves me from feet covered in band aids, begging to be put out of their misery.  It probably goes without saying that I am also that girl who will give up on wearing heels at the end of the night and wanders barefoot through questionable terrain just to be free of those damn shoes.  How I do not have tetanus or rabies is beyond me.

If I was smart I would carry around a secondary pair of non-heels for the days when I brave the stiletto.  Of course I don’t do that.  Because it defeats the whole purpose of wearing a high heel. And anyway, I am stubborn.

I will continue to gape at purdy heels in store windows.  I will continue to spend pointless dollars on them.  I will continue to force H to carry me around at the end of evenings when my be-heeled feet have had too much.  I will continue this all, damn it, until my feet get the memo and submit.  So help me god.

A girl can dream, right?

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I am a big fan of holidays (I mean, who isn’t?).  Give me a nice T-giving, a cozy snowed in Christmas…even the bush league holidays make me smile.  Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, President’s Day, I love you all!

It’s not just because these days occasionally coincide with days off (but that certainly is a big big part of it).  I just like how happy everyone gets, how festive the atmosphere becomes, how suddenly special a random Tuesday is.

But there is a flip side.  The dreaded over-hyped holiday.  Example A: July 4th.

Listen, I love the ole U S of A  as much as the next person.  Apple pie and baseball and corn fields and Bruce Springsteen, hooray!  It’s not what this holiday is celebrating, necessarily (Freedom! Patriots!  AMERICA!).  It’s the way people treat it.

I don’t mean to sound like a 4th of July Grinch, but the stupid day hasn’t even gotten here yet and I’m already Independence-day’d OUT…beacuse people have been talking about it for the last MONTH.  What to do for the 4th?  What are the plans?  Where are you going?  Shore? Mountains? City?  How are you getting there? What are you doing?  Who are you hanging out with? Where are you seeing fireworks? Who’s BBQ’ing? What are you wearing?

AND ON. AND ON.  AND ON.  FOOOREVVVVVERRRRRR (instead Sandlot slo-mo voice here).

It’s the same with Halloween and New Years.  So much hype. So much planning and agonizing over what to do and what would make this the most EPIC TIME EVER.  Argh.  It makes me want to puke red, white, and blue.  Because you know what’s going to happen (or at least, I know).  You’ll do exactly what you did last year because that’s ‘tradition.’  You’ll hang out with the same friends you hang out with all the time…cause they’re your friends, duh.  You’ll get a retarded sunburn and drink lots of beer and eat lots of meat and set things on fire and watch them explode, cause what’s more American than all that?

Me personally, I’ll be going to Duxbury, Massachusetts, virtually the cradle of patriotism.  It rates off the charts on pure American-ness, according to my personal mathematically derived rating scale.

– Historical buildings and homes (+1)

– picturesque beach on the majestic Atlantic (+3.5)

– LOTS of trees and even a Cranberry bog or two (+4 for the bogs)

– Permission to drive your giant gas-guzzling SUV onto said beach for tailgating purposes (+6)

– Statue of Myles Standish benevolently overlooking the entire town (+50) (Miles Standish is like the patron saint of Duxbury.  Everyone loves him.  Not sure why.)

– Home of the Island Creek Oyster Company, purveyors of the finest bivalves on the East Coast (and quintessential American snack). (+65 because I LOVE oysters)

– Quite possibly the most intense concentration of Croakies, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Madras, and boat shoes I’ve ever seen. (+25)

– Annual 4th of July parade that involves vintage vehicles, girl scout troops, firemen, people dressed up in various past war regalia, candy throwing, and, once upon a magical time, my boyfriend’s band (he was the lead singer obviously.  Two words: stage. presence.)  (+100)

It is so classic New England Americana.  H brought a friend who’d grown up partly in the Ukraine and partly in NYC last year for the 4th, and he was flabbergasted.  He simply could not believe that people actually do live like this.  But that’s just how they roll in Duxbury, MA.

*Disclaimer for all my Duxbarian readers: I love Dux.  I love the parade.  Please don’t hate me.  I would very much like to return to your town in the future without being ostracized.

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Confession time: I worry a lot.  About everything.

That’s probably an understatement.  I worry a TON.  It’s my favorite activity, other than sleeping, or eating.  It’s exhausting and I can’t help it and I don’t even notice I do it, most of the time.

I went to Boston this weekend and since I don’t have a car (hint hint, mom & dad…25th b-day present!) I took a bus.  That’s right.  A BUS.  It was my first bus ride EVER, which is pretty impressive since apparently the Northeast Corridor is primo bus-traveling territory.

It wasn’t the dreaded Chinatown bus that I took, but rather the very nice and clean and harmless Megabus.  Nevertheless, my worry over getting myself on said bus kicked in approximately 6 days before I even had to leave.  Example phone conversation with H, on Monday (bus departure time: Friday, 4:50pm).

Me: But I don’t know where it departs.

H: so look at the website.  It will tell you.

Me: BUT I don’t know what time I should leave my office or how early I have to get there or what I have to do once I get there or if I have to print my ticket or an electronic ticket is okay.

H: …


H: (can’t even get a word in edgewise)


I won’t go on, cause I think you get the point.  I didn’t even get any comfort from my stupid boyfriend.  All I got was an “are you serious right now?” and a prompt adios.  He’s experienced my worrying before…he knows there’s nothing he can do to stop it, and it probably doesn’t matter what he says anyway.  I’ll still worry.

So Friday rolled around, and by this point my worry had climbed up to about an 11 on a scale of 1-10.  It didn’t help that a quick last-minute internet search brought up frightening reviews and horror stories having to do with no A/C, an incompetent driver, a broken-down bus, and pee smells.  It was official: my worry had turned into anxiety.

Anxiety is a fun word that I’ve started to throw around with abandon lately.  Don’t know what to make for my office summer picnic? ANXIETY.  Sad that H travels and I am left home alone? ANXIETY.  Hear a scary noise in the middle of the night? ANXIETY.  ANXIETY.  ANXIETY.

It’s awesome.  H, I think, especially enjoys that I’ve gained a new interest in psychiatric self-diagnosis (thank you, WebMD!).

Anyway: the bus.  I arrive with plenty of time to spare.  Time enough, in fact, to make a last-minute Starbucks trip (why I thought caffeine would help my mindset at that point I have no idea.  Hello, jittery!).  Momentarily distracted by my iced chai-tea latte, I start wandering around the vicinity of Penn Station.  And suddenly I realize that the departure point, which I so meticulously noted on a post-it, is sitting not in my bag, but back on my desk, 35 minutes downtown.


Disclaimer: Penn station is where every single bus on the face of the planet departs.  It is a bus orgy.  There are buses on every corner.

As my anxiety-hives start to appear and my heart stats to pound I arbitrarily pick a corner and a bus that looks promising.  I linger near it, trying to look casual.  It is now 4:35.  I see no sign for Megabus, no lines, no nothing.  I am terrified.

Suddenly by God’s grace I spy a woman reading a piece of paper that has the Megabus logo emblazoned on the top.  It takes all my willpower not to hug her.  Instead, I surreptitiously run-walk after her and follow this stranger approximately 3 blocks away to where I am actually supposed to be.  Joy!  The giant two-decker mega bus is sitting waiting for me….

And 100,000 other people.

Here’s the thing.  Megabus departs not IN Penn Station, but on a random sidewalk adjacent to Penn Station.  There are buses going to not only Boston, but to Philly, to DC, to Baltimore…pretty much every city on the East Coast.  There is no organization to speak of.  A destination is announced and there is a mad rush towards the bus door.  Luggage flying.  Sweat-droplets dropping.  Children crying.  Oh, and it was 800 degrees out.

Needless to say my anxiety didn’t dissipate, but instead grew.  After checking with some conveniently non-English speaking fellow passengers I found myself at the very tail end of an extremely ridiculously long line for the bus to Boston (maybe.  I wasn’t positive.  It was an educated guess).  My thought process went something like this as I made my way down to the end:


I am not exaggerating.  Thoughts of this nature actually go through my head.  And apparently, it’s not normal.  Who knew.

Anyway to cut this story short (because who wants to read about my psychotic bus worries) I made it on the bus, it didn’t crash, and I didn’t get brutally murdered by a fellow passenger.  It also didn’t smell like pee.  I made it Boston and had a great weekend with my dear sister.  The end.

…until July 4th rolls around.  And I brave the bus again.

Now who wants to write me a prescription for some Prozac?

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There are a few things that I really, really, really love in life.  Chocolate & peanut butter, sushi, noodles, party dresses, sleeping…and most pertinent to this post: BABIES.

I really love babies.  I like watching them do funny things on YouTube (type in ‘funny baby’ and you’ll be occupied for 165 hours, at least).  I like it when they try to sell me stuff on the TV (especially those E-Trade toddlers), and when I see them on the subway/on the street/in a restaurant/really, anywhere, I will blatantly stare at them and make faces until I garner some kind of reaction. I love them.  I really do.

So when I saw a trailer for the documentary “Babies.I knew I had to see it.  Someone described it as “March of the Penguins, except with babies.”  Considering I had cried like a (appropriate!) baby at that movie, I was sold.

It’s a pretty basic concept.  A film crew followed 4 babies from vastly different environments (San Francisco, Mongolia, Tokyo, and Namibia) during their first year of life. There is little talking, but LOTS of fun baby noises.  Also featured: exceeding cute facial expressions, fat chipmunk cheeks, and drunken-sailor walking attempts.

Now lest I start a rumor within my own gossip-friendly family, there is a very specific difference between loving babies and wanting to have a baby.  I DO NOT want to have a baby.  God no, not now.  When I do, you can bet I’ll be pumped to the gills with any and all drugs I can weasel out of the attending docs.

I think my baby-affinity stems from being presented with those drooly little life-forms at very young age.  My hey-day at being the ‘baby of the family’ lasted an extremely brief 3 years.   Throughout my formative years it was always “take care of your brother!” “brush your sisters hair!” “hold their hand when crossing the street!” “stop hitting them! Go play in traffic! (just kidding on that last one, mom)”

I mean, there were 5 of us.  So God forgive my mother for pawning some care-taking off on us older ones.  It made us better people, I think, even when the end result was occasionally stitches, concussions, and hospital visits.

So anyway, back to the movie.  Not only was it squeal-inducing cuteness overload, but it was interesting.  You don’t realize how much babies actually see/understand until you really leave them alone and watch them just do their thing.  The movie also ended up being pretty eye-opening in terms of how different cultures raise their children.  To no one’s surprise, the USA-born Hattie (hello, hipster name) seems to have parents who were determined to have her read by age 2 and grow her own organic veggies by 4.  Meanwhile, in Mongolia, little Bayar’s mom thought it was totally cool to leave him to wander around the yurt or whatever it’s called and defend himself against cows, goats, chickens, cats, and a big brother whose sole joy in life seemed to be making him cry.  My friends and I kept asking why this little guy was alone so much.  He was so happy, though, even when he was getting semi-trampled by baby cows.  Here he is saying his first words.

Sigh.  I could literally watch this movie on a never-ending loop for the rest of my life.  OKAY FINE, here’s another adorable clip:

That adorable little muffin was another poster-child for the ‘leave your children the hell alone’ camp.  She liked to eat dirt.  Not exaggerating.

So if this movie is playing in your general vicinity I would say RUN, don’t walk, to go see it.  And then buy it on DVD.  And then send it to me as a gift so I can watch it whenever I am feeling sad or baby-deprived.  Thank you in advance.

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True Life: I went to the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day weekend.

Long Branch, NJ, to be precise.  Which is a nice little town, in case you’ve never heard of it.  It’s about 1.5 hours by train from NYC, and that, combined with a free beach-front condo to stay in (thanks, friend of H!) is why I, a girl pretty much the opposite of anything remotely ‘Jersey’, found myself amidst guidos and guidettes.

Going “down the shore” isn’t exactly a new thing for me.  My family (aunts, uncles, cousins, assorted hanger-ons) has been renting a house on Long Beach Island for years and years.  You should see peoples’ faces when I say that I go to the Jersey Shore every summer.  They are terrified and suddenly suspicious:  Wait…she’s a guidette in disguise!  The red hair is meant to distract!  I see her belly button piercing and tramp stamp tattoo from here!  RUN AWAY! (note: I have neither of those things)

What they don’t realize is that LBI is not what is depicted on MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”  It’s low-key and laid back and more surfer-brah than Ed Hardy-bro.  More of a visual learner?  No problem!

LBI, these people:

my mom & bro, enjoying LBI

Other Jersey Shore, these people:

the cast of Jersey Shore

I have never actually been to the “other” Jersey Shore.  I’ve only, luckily, seen it on TV. UNTIL THIS WEEKEND.

Now is this just me, or is it hard to envision what you see on TV in real life? Especially when that TV is something so ridiculous as Jersey Shore.  Do people like that actually exist? Apparently, yes.

As a disclaimer, Long Branch isn’t even all that bad, in terms of pure dirty jerzzz-ness.  It’s no Seaside (where the idiots above reside).  But it gave me a little taste nevertheless of true Jerseyfied beachgoing.

There were orangey tans.  There were speedos.  There were thong bikinis.  There were more fake boobs than I could shake a stick at.  There was full make-up, full jewelry, fully styled hair.  Needless to say, my pale, make-up free, haven’t showered in 3 days stylings stuck out like a sore thumb.

Strolling down the beach was my favorite activity of the weekend because the people watching was just insanity.  Old people who resembled shoe-leather? CHECK.  Roided out meatheads covered in sweet tribal tattoos? CHECK.  Little girls in disturbingly age-inappropriate bikinis? CHECK AND CHECK.

I wish that I had surreptitiously photographed these people, because some of them you simply have to see to believe.  I had so much fun blatantly staring at them that I went and got myself a nice lil sunburn. Ouch.

Our host D. wanted to take us down to Seaside to get “the real Jersey Shore experience.” Sadly, we never made it.  But I like to think journeying to the JS is a bit like getting into a hot tub.  One toe at a time, or else it’s just too much.

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