The Unsolved Mystery of A Hair’s Castle

Blogon November 19th, 20091 Comment

A Hair's Castle and a cab

There is a children’s hair salon on the corner near my apartment, where kids can throw makeover parties or get their hair cut while sitting in fun chairs shaped like race cars. It seems like a great place to go if you’re young and twitchy and desperately in need of a haircut.

I’ve become sort of obsessed with this salon — for one reason: Its name has puzzled me for a year and a half. It’s called “A Hair’s Castle.” The logo features, as you’d expect, a castle, but offers no hint as to what this ridiculous name means.

I’m assuming it’s a pun. It has to be a pun. But what the hell is it punning? I’ve narrowed it down to two things: It’s either a play on the story of Rapunzel, where the maiden lets down her hair to allow the prince to climb into her tower, or it’s a play on the word “heir.” Both of them feel like a stretch, but it’s the best I’ve come up with.

Maybe it doesn’t meant anything at all, which, frankly, would make it the most brilliant advertising scheme ever. I mean, a perplexed blogger is writing about it from her bed on a Wednesday night. If it had a simple, cheesy name like Kidz ‘N’ Curlz, it might have gone unnoticed.

Os Gêmeos mural at Houston and Bowery

Blogon November 17th, 20093 Comments

The entire time I’ve lived in New York, there’s been a dancing-people mural at the corner of Houston and Bowery to commemorate Keith Haring (probably best known for his “Crack is Wack” mural).

Recently, it was painted over. I don’t deal well with change, and passing it was a bit of a shock to me at first. Then I realized that the new mural is 100 times cooler, and now I make a point to walk by it whenever I’m downtown. Seriously — it’s amazing.

The mural was painted by Brazilian graffiti artists Os Gêmeos, and it truly gives merit to the concept of street art as a true art form. Look at the detail and colors. I want to marry one of these guys just so they’ll do a mural like this on my wall.

This reminds me — I have yet to finish my New Year’s resolution to tag a building. I still have a month!

Mural at Houston and Bowery

Os Gêmeos mural

Mural at Houston and Bowery

Even though I don’t look it, I’m very excited that my dress sort of matches.

Mural at Houston and Bowery

Detail shot

Mural at Houston and Bowery

Another detail shot

Four Score and Seven Years Ago

Blog, Uncategorizedon September 28th, 2009No Comments


It’s been about that long since I posted on here, and I’m feeling a bit rusty. Nothing a quick stretch and a few cracks of my knuckles can’t cure, I assure you. *Craaaack.*

There, that’s better.

Life’s been busy. I’ve been working like a fiend, and in my “free time,” I’ve taken on a bunch of side projects, including a book-editing venture and some writing projects. I’ve also recently switched positions at my job, and now I work relatively normal hours. I come in at 9 and leave at dinnertime. It’s the first time in my professional life that I haven’t had a vampire’s schedule, and I’m still blinking a bit every time I step into the sunlight. I actually went to bed at 10:30 p.m. yesterday, which I don’t think I’ve done since junior high.

I got a new camera recently that I love like it’s my child, and I’ve been playing with it as much as I can. I missed my film SLR more than I realized, and it’s a blast to be able to take beautiful photos again, especially since I don’t have to pay to have these developed. I also realize that I’m about 10 years late in my excitement over digital, but I never realized that digital images could look as artistic as film. I have hundreds of photos on my laptop that need to be edited and uploaded, and I’m sure I’ll be posting many of them here. (Above is one of them, which I pulled into Poladroid, a really fun program that turns digital photos into Polaroids. You even can shake them while they’re “developing.” I can’t stop playing with it.)

Coming up soon — a slew of Digital Wall of Shame errors that have been sitting in a pile in my apartment waiting to be scanned. And I’m always looking for more, so send your embarrassing grammar goofs my way!

Photo: Tom Moran’s sheet-metal statue of Abraham Lincoln, Onaway, Mich., taken July 26, 2009

Taxicab Interventions

Blogon July 1st, 20083 Comments

I broke up an almost-fight at 6 this morning.

I had just gotten out of work after 13 long hours and was starting to nod off as I sat in the cab on my way home.

Moments after the driver turned onto my street, he slammed on his brakes and laid on the horn, startling me into alertness as my computer bag and purse flew to the floor. He had nearly missed clipping a driver in a white sedan, who was trying to parallel park into one of the coveted spots on my block.

The driver, who was wearing a ton of gold chains and a ridiculous amount of hair gel, started screaming at him and got out of the car. The cabbie started screaming back. They exchanged swear words and blame for a few seconds before Hair Gel flopped back onto his seat and crossed his arms.

“I ain’t moving, man. So screw you.”

Hair Gel just sat there, his car idling sideways on the street. The cabbie started to get out of his car, making threats at Hair Gel.

I’d had enough. I was tired and frustrated from a hard night, and I wasn’t about to be held up by an asshole driver and an idiot cabbie while I sat here — still on the meter — and watched.

I stepped out of the car. “Get back in the cab,” I barked at the cabbie.

“And you,” I said, turning to Hair Gel. “Move your car — NOW.”

To my surprise, they both jumped to follow my orders.

“Yes, ma’am,” said Hair Gel sheepishly. “Sorry.”

He quickly parked his car, and the cab driver sped down the rest of the block in silence.

The Crisis of Kitty Litter

Blogon June 30th, 2008No Comments

There are a lot of things I imagined I’d worry about as a New York resident.

Kitty litter wasn’t one of them.

It’s always been a given — one of those things you pick up at the grocery store, lug to your car and bring into your apartment. Sure, the 21-pound boxes can get a little heavy, but what’s a few steps?

I never realized how heavy 21 pounds gets when you’re lugging it from the grocery store four blocks away. And I never thought about the fact that my favorite kind of litter — you know, the stuff that’s scoopable and odor-free and actually does its job — wouldn’t be available at my local grocery store. If I wanted that version, I’d have to trek about 14 blocks to the good pet-supply store.

I guess some New Yorkers have their litter and other pet supplies delivered, and I can see myself going in that direction eventually, but I’m still non-native enough that getting kitty litter delivered seems just plain wrong.

So for now, I guess I’ll deal with the flower-scented junk and consider my trips to buy litter my daily dose of weight training.

Settling in

Blog, Uncategorizedon February 9th, 20082 Comments

Living room

I interrupt the snarky grammar errors once more to give you another update … with pictures!

I just finished my first week of work. The job is interesting, and my co-workers are so good at their jobs it’s intimidating. It’s really exciting to have so many people to look up to and learn from, even if it makes me feel a little dumber in the process. But I like having mentors!

I’m totally moved into my apartment (see pics here), and all I’m waiting for is Time Warner to come tomorrow and set me up with cable, Internet and phone, and it will finally feel like home.

For the most part, I really like living here. I love not having to drive anywhere. I love walking the 45 minutes home after work. I love getting small amounts of groceries several times a week. I love the feeling of activity, of constant movement. I love how fast people talk and how they always seem to be rushing. I love my little apartment, and the fact that I was forced to get rid of so much and live with only what I need. I even like having to walk up six flights of stairs — most of the time. Hey, it’s good for me!

I don’t love, however, the mass of people practically sitting on my lap in the subway. I’m not a huge fan of having two strangers grab my butt in the same day (true story!) on said subway rides. I don’t love having to brave the elements — sideways rain, for example — just to get to work. And lugging my baskets of laundry up the street, washing them and hauling them back up the six flights of stairs? I could do without that. And don’t even get me started on the cost of living.

But in general, I think I’ll grow to love it here.

At the least, I’ll develop some really strong leg muscles.

Movin' to NYC

Blogon January 17th, 20082 Comments

View from bedroom window

This month has been crazy so far, and I feel like I’ve done nothing but run around since I got back from spending Christmas in Michigan.

In short?

I accepted a new job and I’m moving to Manhattan at the end of the month. My last day of work at the newspaper is Monday.

In long?

The job is with a litigation consulting company that helps law firms prepare for trial through mock trials, witness preparation, research and a bunch of other things. The department I’ll work in makes the graphics, posters and visual aids lawyers use during trials. I’ll be managing the graphics workflow and editing them when they’re done.

Whew. I think I might miss the answer to the "What do you do?" question simply being "I work for a newspaper." It saves a lot of words.

Anyway, I got a tiny apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The neighborhood is really nice, the building is historic and pretty and I’m really close to the East River, a great running trail, tons of restaurants and a few blocks from Central Park. (See too-detailed pictures of the apartment and the neighborhood here, if you’re curious.)

My building

So far, everything has fallen into place. I came by the apartment relatively easily (if you don’t count paying a ridiculous amount to hire a real estate agent), I sold my car to my friend Mala, who is buying it for her daughter, and I’ve already booked movers. Now I just have to get rid of 90 percent of my belongings and, um, pack.

Yeah. About that.

Those Naughty Alpena Girls!

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon December 18th, 20072 Comments

My dad sent this to me the other day, and I seriously laughed so loudly I scared my friend Sue in the other room.

Apparently, he said, this headline — published on Dec. 7 — was the talk of the town.

Meet Holly

Blogon November 28th, 20073 Comments

Pictures 089

About a week and a half ago, this little lady showed up on my front porch, shivering, hungry and trying to sneak into my warm apartment. I happened to have some cat food left over from when I raised Roger the starling, whose dietary needs required me to make the world’s most disgusting sludge, so I dumped some in a bowl and fed her.

She kept showing up. And on Saturday, I decided to let her come in. I’ve called the Humane Society and checked the paper’s "lost" ads, but it doesn’t appear that her family is looking for her, despite the fact that she’s really healthy and came to me with a flea collar.

Let me begin by saying that I’m not a cat person. I have never owned a cat and I’m actually really allergic to them. I don’t know the slightest thing about cats. But there was no way I was going to let her stay outside in the cold without taking care of her. It’s not in my nature.

In the past four days, this fiesty feline has taken over. She follows me around mewing if I don’t pay enough attention to her. She demands I clean her litter box the second she finishes using it. She takes over my bed, my couch and my apartment in general.

And she’s loving, sweet and appreciative of everything. She makes me smile, and I love having someone to talk to, even though she can only mew back and pretend to understand.

But, to be honest, she’s also making me nuts. She doesn’t sleep when I sleep but prefers to stay up breaking things, scattering my papers and trying to get me to wake up and play with her. When she finally falls asleep, she insists on sleeping on my chest, prompting an instant allergic reaction and sometimes an asthma attack. And for being such a tidy little girl, she eats like a pig, throwing food across the room and knocking over every water bowl I’ve tried — no matter how heavy.

I’ve wanted another pet for a while, but I didn’t realize that she would be so much like a new, loud roommate. Rats just aren’t so invasive. But I’ve also noticed that I look forward to going home and having someone waiting for me. And I love how much she likes to cuddle. And she keeps me entertained. And, as my friend Mala pointed out, it’s obvious that she’s chosen me to be her owner, and she trusts me and likes me already.

So if I don’t hear back from her owners, I’m going to keep her — even if that means I give up perfect lung function and a good night’s sleep.

When I look at her cute, squished-looking face, I know it’s worth it.

Dying of Embarrassment

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon November 25th, 20073 Comments

Poor Mom. She was “alway’s” there, and this is what her family gives her in return.

The idea of the traditional American burial creeps me out enough. You spend thousands of dollars on a comfortable coffin you won’t enjoy. Your family members have to endure a funeral service where they surround your stone-cold body in its open casket and make awkward small talk while publicizing their grief. And, really, worst of all, there’s a chance your headstone could be messed up, eternally marking you as an idiot.

You better believe that if someone screws up my headstone after I die, there will be a haunting.

(This horrific photo from the afterlife — which made me laugh out loud at work — is stolen from a blog I really love to read, Apostrophe Abuse. You should definitely check it out.)

Needlepoint Oversight

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon November 23rd, 2007No Comments

In April, my sister and I bought a sweet little embroidered wall hanging for my mom that had the Lord’s Prayer on it. We all thought it was so nice, and my mom proudly displayed it in the living room for all to see.

Today, she sent me an e-mail. As she was rearranging furniture, she noticed one thing — a typo. Whoever stitched this obviously took a long time staring at this sampler, but he or she never noticed that the word “will” was spelled “wil.”

And neither did I after staring at it for so long. And I call myself a copy editor.

Cheap Shots and Merucry

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon October 15th, 20071 Comment

Since this is a grammar blog, not a typo blog, I feel a bit cheap for posting so many spelling errors on the Digital Wall of Shame. I mean, it’s almost too easy of a snark, and it’s one that anybody would recognize (I hope) as an error. At the same time, it’s so. damn. funny. It’s mostly funny because it’s so fixable; all you have to do is click one little button, and errors like this can be corrected.

So while I might be taking cheap shots, they’re also well deserved. Even an idiot can use spell check.

Brought to You by the Letter M

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon October 8th, 20072 Comments

Today’s Digital Wall of Shame comes, once again, from my hometown paper, whose publisher doesn’t find it necessary to hire copy editors.

Or use spell check.

World’s Largest Finger Painting

Blogon October 4th, 2007No Comments

A few weeks ago, Mala, Mike and I went to the college in New Paltz to take part in the world’s largest finger painting. It was disgusting, sticky and slippery. I loved it, although I finally got the last of the paint out of my hair a few days ago.

Here are some of the finger painters:


Here are Mala and Mike at work:

malamike fingerpaint

And our completed section:

our square

Fugitive Infestation

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon September 25th, 2007No Comments

This is one of my all-time DWS favorites. It’s been taped on my wall for about a year now, and every time I look at it, I start to laugh. And itch.

The Best Holiday Ever

Blogon September 24th, 20072 Comments

Happy National Punctuation Day!

Today is the day you give love, not to mothers or fathers or to your boss or secretary, but to the incredibly useful and horribly unappreciated semicolon, apostrophe, comma and hyphen.

So take that ellipsis out for a drink and let her know how special she really is.

; – ( ) : … < > ! ? , ‘ .

Get It “Togehter”

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon September 18th, 2007No Comments

Sometimes, there’s really just no excuse for a mistake, especially a big typo on the main story that a simple spell-check would have caught.

Come on, people, get your act “togehter”! Actually, please don’t, or I’d run out of things to snark.

Book Festival

Blogon September 16th, 20071 Comment

While it was still disgustingly dark out this morning, Mike and I hopped on the bus down to Brooklyn to check out the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Originally, I was a bit miffed that I had to come back early for work because I had to miss a few presentations I was really excited about, including one of my favorite writers, Dave Eggers, who spoke at 5. But it ended up being really fun anyway, and I walked around all day with a book high and a silly grin.

Here are a few highlights:

Three minorities and a microphone
One session, titled “Culture Crash,” featured Ana Castillo, whom I studied — and liked a lot — in a Chicano literature class in college, and two writers I’d never heard of but really enjoyed, Amitov Ghosh and Colin Channer. They each read some of their works (note to self: buy all of them), and answered a few questions after the reading.

My favorite part was the (white) moderator, who apparently felt a duty to remind these three (minority) writers of the theme of the forum. He posed questions focusing on the “cultural,” but the questions were really awkward and none of the writers seemed to be able to answer them. I love awkwardness over a microphone.

Two out of three ain’t bad
I heard another much-liked writer, George Saunders (so funny!), read nonfiction, which was a nice surprise, since I’ve only read his fiction. I also fell in love with a new writer, Joshua Ferris, and cajoled Mike into buying his book so I could steal it. It appears to be written in the first-person plural (“We did this, we did that”), which is so weird and seems like something an English teacher would assign just to challenge her

But another woman who read with them — Lynne Tillman — was terrible. I felt sort of bad for her; she read after Ferris, who was kinda hot and charmed the crowd, and before Saunders, who was clearly the person everyone wanted to see. She was boring, droning and, worst of all, ridiculously pretentious. The best part of her reading was the snarky commentary Mike and I wrote back and forth in a notebook. Good thing she didn’t go last, or nobody would have stuck around.

Word jealousy
The first event was a poetry slam featuring young (under 20) poets from Urban Word NYC, which seems like a really interesting program and one I would have thoroughly enjoyed as a teen. Too bad I first heard about it today. Some of the poets were incredible, to the point where I’d buy their books. And this, of course, made me ask myself WHAT, at 24, have I accomplished compared with the 19-year-old with a book deal?

Attack of the clones
I don’t think I would find as many hipsters with plastic glasses and front-swept hair at a Tegan and Sara concert as there were at the book fest. It was as if every coffeehouse, Apple store and thrift shop in the city emptied out and poured onto one city block.

In addition, there apparently was a woman walking around the crowd who looked identical to me, although, as Mike put it, “a little more generic.” Take that, less-hipster-looking-than-me girl!

“Your baby is DELICIOUS!”
My friend Steve ordered me to eat at the Original California Taqueria on Court Street in Brooklyn, and I was extremely grateful for the recommendation. The vegetarian burrito was delicious, although it was also the most awkwardly large thing I’d ever seen. If I had wrapped a blanket around it, people would have thought I was carrying a newborn with a crispy, flaky, delicious tortilla face.

To New Your, From Aunt Coll

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon September 12th, 2007No Comments

My aunt Colleen sends me a “care package” every few weeks. When I see the manila envelope in the mail, I’m instantly excited. She loves browsing for errors that will make me laugh, and every envelope is stuffed with mistakes she found (mostly in the local paper, The Alpena News) and her snarky comments.

Here’s one she sent a while ago that I finally got to scan in. Yay technology! I especially liked it because I happen to live in “New Your.” I left Coll’s sticky note on there for added flavor.

New Scanner Wrecks Havoc

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon September 11th, 2007No Comments

I am proud to announce that I am the owner of a brand-new HP scanner! (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) This means that you’ll have more freshly cut newspaper mistakes to giggle over every week. To start off, I figured I’d share a hard-copy version of an error I’ve already posted here, because it’s so much funnier when it’s styled in headline format.

So, without further ado, I give you:

Not only is “wrecks havoc” ridiculous, as I stated here, “area” is NOT an adjective. “Area” is only a noun, and if you wanted to use it as an adjective, the correct word is “areal.” Or just use “local,” and you won’t look like a bonehead.