Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Poetry and Finance on A1 of Today's WSJ

I wrote a story about people writing poems about the markets for today's paper. It's at the bottom of page one, so does that mean I HAVE THE LAST WSJ COVER STORY OF 2008???

Also, some of the reader email I received was hilarious, so I did a follow-up Wallet blog post.

Lots of New Year's hugs to all!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays! Dick Fuld: Champion BrickBreaker Player

Feliz Navidad!

While clip searching for something somewhat unrelated, I stumbled across this WSJ story from Feb. 17th, 2007, that was just too much not to mention, considering all that's happened since then.

It's an ahed about BrickBreaker game addiction -- you know, that irresistible little game that comes pre-installed on BlackBerrys. Time has turned the story from quirky to oddly profound:

When Richard Fuld, chief executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., couldn't control his addiction, he took drastic measures. In October, he had the game BrickBreaker taken off his BlackBerry.

"I was playing so much," says Mr. Fuld, who had used it to relax on the plane or in the car. He missed it so much he had it reinstalled, but it's no longer on the main menu. That removes the temptation, he says, "for the most part."

In this era of startlingly realistic video games, BrickBreaker is straight out of the Stone Age. Yet it has developed a cult following, not among the young Gameboy set, but with executives chained to their email. Players swap strategies in chat rooms, brag about their prowess and pay homage to BrickBreaker superstars -- a few with top scores of over one million.

Read the whole thing here. And rethink they way you've been reading financial news for the last few months.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two PF nuggets in today's WSJ

A tale of higher credit card fees and a review of bill-paying websites. Both in section D of the print version.

Just got back yesterday from a biz trip to St. Louis, Mo. Twas my Missouri experience and I had a lovely time! Everyone talked so slowly and was so damn nice!

My first night there, I dashed downstairs to the hotel bar for some nosh, ravenous and tired. A polite gentleman sitting next to me struck up a conversation that went something like this:

"What are you in town for?"

"Work, I'm a reporter working on a story."

"Oh. I'm in town for a conference. I work with troubled youth."

"Oh, that's interesting. Where are you visiting from."

"This tiny town far away. Eugene, Oregon. Have you heard of it?"

It doesn't matter where I go in the world, I can never escape my Northwest roots. (Or the slugs.)

PS - I finally caved and joined Twitter. And I like it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hypnotists in Today's WSJ

I wrote a story and made a video about people seeking hypnosis because of anxiety related to the market.

And alas, I did not get hypnotized for the story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crises and coffee

Jeepers, it's been a while since I've posted here. The economy is in the crapper! I've become a coffee drinker! Yes, those are directly related. In fact, I looked up Starbucks share price (because that's what I do for fun now) to see if I made it jump. Shockingly, I didn't, which just makes this economic crisis even more confusing.

Regarding work, I've written stuff about booze and soups as investments, the tumbling Dow, rate cuts, shifty credit limits, cell phones, the Euro trip I want to take but probably won't, robo-pandas on layaway, how you're not totally screwed if you're a homeowner, the still-drunk Dow and how ARMs remind me of Disney movies.

I made an embarrassing video about mattresses. Chased that with a video interview on the NYSE floor where I'm rocking my Sarah Palin jacket and post-gym, makeupless, haggard face.

Regarding life beyond lower Manhattan, I had a great time at Aidan's BYO Teddy Bear fiesta in Connecticut and congratulate him on turning three and becoming a media sensation. Recent foliage in Massachusettes was also lovely.

I'm going to be anchored to NYC for the next few weeks. They say there's some news going on here and I wouldn't dare miss that first Gotham snowfall.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

From the Wikipedia Entry for "Recession"

Recessions are the result of falling demand and may be associated with falling prices (deflation), or, alternatively, sharply rising prices (inflation) in a process known as stagflation. A severe or long recession is referred to as a BITCH. Although the distinction between a recession and a depression is not clearly defined, it is often said that a decline in GDP of more than 10% constitutes a depression.[3]

Heh.

PS - Today I learned that Gray's Papaya is the ultimate recession indicator.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's okay. I hear there's protein in melamine!

You see this picture? It ran in Saturday's A section of the WSJ in a story about tainted milk products from China making their way into the U.S. Scary stuff. White Rabbit (xiao bai!) candy and Mr. Brown coffee products are on the FDAs warning list.

So, I took that photo. At the bodega around the corner from my apartment. I eat White Rabbit candy all the time and practically lived off of them for four months when I was in Shanghai. When my editor asked if I knew what they were, I could feel my stomach clench. When I was trotting around interviewing people on Friday, no one had any idea that they were selling anything potentially dangerous.

This isn't the first time I've experienced sketchy China. I brushed my teeth with fun for months before realizing there could be lead in there. I survived!

But if tomorrow I curl up in a fetal position and start twitching, you'll know why.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Young People Sucking at Investing

"I don't even have one K, let alone 401 Ks."

When a source for this D1 WSJ story about investing told me that, my first reaction was to laugh. But then when I went home that night, it kind of made me sad. I crunched some numbers in my head and realized that someday, I'll be a millionaire. Anyone my age needs to be if they want to offset the lack of social security, increasing health costs, inflation, and so on and so on.

Everyone, start investing. At the risk of sounding overly maternal, you can now with 15 minutes and $50, so no excuses!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Front page makes front page

Okay, so this is kind of meta, but whatever.

My front page WSJ story about slug queens in Oregon made the front page of my hometown's paper, the Register-Guard, where my journalism career began. (Is this the circle of media life???)

I will send chocolate to the first person who emails me, promising to send me a print copy. Most likely, it will be my grandma, who, in spite of all this publicity is still my biggest fan. (Even though she's previously referred to the WSJ as "that conservative rag." Love ya, Grams!)

UPDATE: It was on local teevee, too! Ha!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Slug Queens on A1 of today's WSJ

The idea of a feature about slug queens came about when in casual conversation, I mentioned to someone that in my hometown, little girls grow up dreaming of becoming a different kind of pageant royalty. I thought that was normal to aspire for a slimy title. I soon learned otherwise.

Getting this story involved heading back to my hometown in Oregon after a one-year hiatus and seeing it through the eyes of a reporter rather than a former townie. I completed most of the reporting right before the collapse of Freddie and Fannie and look back on those days fondly. (It's been a financial news crapstorm ever since.) And getting factchecking calls from editors on Friday about wig colors, heel heights and how to spell "Bananita" was a nice change of pace. I even dabbled in photography and video! (Wee album of extra shots on Flickr, too.)

It's nestled on page one right below a rather sobering story about the collapse of Wall Street as we know it. Today, we needed a story about a queen.

PS - Notes: a roundup of more strange pageants I came across.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In which I investigate your pockets!

The Wallet has launched!

It's a long-overdue personal finance blog from the WSJ. Now you can know my thoughts on personal finance all the time. God help us all.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Take that glass ceiling and shove it

My profile of Muriel Siebert just went live on wsj.com. Siebert was the first woman to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. And to be perfectly frank, she's a total badass. Enjoy.

And video, complete with my stressed out narration, too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

UPDATE: The Bicycle Wheel Fairy (BWF)

When last we left Days of Our Lives, my bike wheel had been stolen for a second time.

This week, not only has a new wheel appeared, but someone has attached it to the bike! It's ready to go! The wheel fits.

Bless ya, BWF, wherever you are!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Chapter in the Ripoff Story

Prepaid debit cards have lots of fees. Gross. (It's in D1 of today's print WSJ, too.)

Also, back in NYC from a shockingly sunny stay in Oregon. Took in the 3.1 Phillip Lim show yesterday during fashion week. Farms! Finance! Fashion! All in 24 hours!

I dug Lim's collection. He's really into that whole hot-librarian-chic thing. Side note: totally had a great view of Anna Wintour. I looked into her eyes and saw her soul. I think there was a silk-poly blend involved.

This morning I had a really hard time getting to my desk at the World Financial Center. THE FREEDOM IS BURNING MY EYES!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Dispatch from the Northwest

I'm in Eugene, Ore., my hometown for the first time in about a year. Here, in no particular order, are some notes thus far.

-If you fly into the Eugene airport, you will be greeted by a skanky duck (see left). I was nervous getting off the plane because there was nowhere to see which baggage claim carousel would have my luggage. Then I remembered that there is only one baggage claim.

-Yesterday, outside of Wandering Goat coffee, I parked the family minivan on a nearby street (free parking!) and slowly exited, in search of java. While walking out, I heard a soft crunch. I turned around and saw an old, bearded man behind the wheel of an ancient 70s van (God only KNOWS what he had in back) looking perplexed as the rear of his mystery machine crumpled the minivan's license plate. His window was unrolled, so I walked over. "Hey, you hit my license plate." He took a whiff of a "rolled cigarette" that smelled like earth muffin and craned his neck. "Dude, bummer. I didn't see it, man." I surveyed the damage and realized that it wasn't worth it to get hippie man's insurance info (if he had insurance) and the crinkle was minor. "Be careful," I told him. "Bummer," his Moses beard shook back and forth. "Bummer." He took a drag, puffed a cloud of magic smoke and sputtered off to the West.

-My father, Myron, has a debit card, but still writes checks. It clogs lines at the grocery store, is annoying and crushes my personal-finance-reporter soul. If he needs cash, he enters the bank, and writes a check to "CASH" rather than just asking the teller for money or popping his card into the ATM outside. When I politely asked him about the batshit lunacy of this system, he replied "That's just the way I do it." The iPod Nano I gave him for Christmas a few years back is collecting dust, too. Oh, The Olds.

-I'm trying to scan and organize my family photos a la David Pogue. There's some AMAZING stuff in the Morse-Pilon garage. More on that, later.

-As if the video store of my childhood morphing into a pet store wasn't depressing enough, Ferrel's (later called Pearl Street) ice cream parlor is no more. Some trendy, NoCal pizza bistro garbage has replaced it. Goodbye, childhood.

-If you google "monroe park eugene oregon," the top result is this scary blog. I couldn't finish my organic bagel.

-When walking toward my car from a store in the mall parking lot, I reached into my purse and pulled out a Metro Card. It didn't fit into the keyhole.

Oh, and there's sooo much more. Savin' it for the memoirs!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On Sending Money and Paying-for-College Angst

I tried out five different ways of sending money internationally so you don't have to! And now I have to figure out how to file the most complicated expense report ever.

I also publicly admit to crying about the cost of college. Turns out I wasn't the only one soggy-eyed in the financial aid office. Yeah for blogger-commenter commiseration!

A perfect-world hybrid of these stories would involve poor students receiving cash from the sky to pay for school. My work here is never done.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

For those of us who are still asked about prom...

Thots on aging after watching the Olympics the other night.

But more importantly, while researching for this post, I found out that scrunchies.com actually exists.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'll be in Oregon...

September 3rd-9th. I'll be doing work some of the time, but let me know if you're going to be around.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I'm Cranky. And I Consume.

The best part about being really cheap is you stumble find ways to get ordinary things (like books) for next to nothing. In today's WSJ, I review four different sites that allow users to swap paperbacks for free. You don't get burned with fines or sales tax, just a few bucks for media rate shipping. Caters to both monetary woes and inherent laziness.

Read it online here or find it on D2 of today's print edition.

Now if only I could find the spare time to read the books.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Money Camp Story on ABC News

I chatted with ABC News about my WSJ money camp story. Click here to watch the video (sorry, no embed code!) and there's a little article, too. Behold, my furrowed brow!

And the real lesson here is that if you hit the gym the same morning that you're interviewed for national TV, make sure that you're hair isn't all goofy.

[ABC News]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bicycles and Fairies: The Magic and Mystery of the LES

Once upon a time (May 30th) I emerged from the East Broadway F train station, fresh from a red-eye flight from Peru. Laden with baggage, I lumbered toward my apartment, knowing that a stack of to-do post its awaited.

Before I hit the entrance, horror struck.

Someone attacked my precious bike. The seat was gone, as was the front wheel. It's red frame, still locked, sat tilted from the trauma. I was too cracked out from my flight to process the immense suckiness of my favorite mode of transportation being destroyed. I hated my landlord for not having an indoor bike haven and hated myself for not using extra locks.

One of my roommates reported that his front wheel, but not seat, was also stolen. People suck.

A couple of weeks pass and I was too busy and downtrodden to deal with my bike. I waited in hot subway trains and got blisters walking. Seeing the two-wheeled delivery boys horneting around made me bitter.

One morning, I saw a bike wheel leaning against my bike frame. Another wheel rested next to my roommate's bike. I reasoned that he bought two wheels and handed me the second.

I entered the apartment. "Hey, Mary. Thanks for the wheel."

"I thought you bought the wheel."

"I thought you did."

"No..."

"Then where did it come from?"

I believe in the Bicycle Wheel Fairy (BWF) of the Lower East Side - a tender soul who runs around righting the wrongs of thieves.

The next day, I headed out to try and attach the new miracle wheel.

But it was nowhere to be found.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NYCers, tune into NPR today!

Check out Brian Lehrer's WNYC show this afternoon (starts at 10 a.m.) because I'm going to be on air talking about my WSJ staycation story.

And let's face it. New York is an awesome place to lounge.

UPDATE: Here's the clip and link to comments. I haven't had the bravery to examine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Staycation: 2nd Article in Today's WSJ

Buy a paper and get two Mary articles for one! In addition to a cover story about comic books, I wrote a piece about staycations - vacations you take at home when the economy sucks - for the WSJ. We made a video about it yesterday, too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Page One Comics Story in Today's WSJ

My profile of Mort Walker and the National Cartoon Museum just went live on WSJ.com. Be sure to check out the slideshow and TWO videos. We really had a multimedia blast on this one. Here's the video I helped out with. (Behold! my creepy narration!)



If you're print-school, look for it on A1 of Wednesday's paper.

UPDATE: A WSJ blogpost about the history of women in cartoons is up, too!

And I can revel in one of my greatest accomplishments - getting cartoons on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Camp Season = Talk of Retirement Planning?

They're letting me have way too much fun at The WSJ. In addition to sending me to the stock exchange, I also got to research summer camp. Click here to read all about it. Yes, money camps are real and they're not as nerdy as I thought. In fact, I'm a little mad that I didn't learn all this econ stuff at a younger age.

They better start building more finance camps. I think we're going to need a very financially savvy generation to dig us out of this garbage.

Some other time, I can write the moving personal essay about how the horse camp I went to as a child burned down and my mom accidentally sent me to Jesus camp instead. The brochures looked so lovely...

If you're interested in a more female take, I scribed a spinoff post for the WSJ Front Lines blog about all-girls finance camps.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Young and Uninsured in WSJ

My first story in The Wall Street Journal is about a hugely important topic - the uninsured. This piece was hugely inspired by the stories I've heard in the last few months about people who graduate from college and live without health insurance. For anyone who has spent time uninsured (I've been in those trenches before), or anyone who hasn't, this story might be worth reading. Scary stuff.

Read it soon! In a couple of weeks I think it goes behind the pay wall.

UPDATE: I've shrunk and climbed into your iPod. Whee! I was interviewed for the WSJ Your Money Matters podcast. Also on radio stations, but I have no idea where. Oh, the magic of technology!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Things that Look Like Ron Paul in Argentina

One would think that leaving the country for two weeks would offer some respite from the 2008 campaign blitzkrieg. But observe. In Buenos Aires, not one, but two striking likenesses to Ron Paul. Porrr queee?

At a flea market:

At the farmacia:

Ummm...Speaking of roommates

My former ones have hijacked my Wikipedia page.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Peru y Argentina en mi Corazon






Weeks after returning from a week in Argentina and a week in Peru, I finally got around to making some Flickr sets. Too lazy to write/organize any more. Above, some highlights from Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ends, Beginnings

My Amish lifestyle will come to a close today - we're getting internet at the new apartment! I might even hang things on the wall and cook things.

May 11th - CAS commencement at MSG
May 13th - I hand in my last academic essay EVER
May 14th - I wake up at a godawful hour and schlep to Yankee Stadium where J-Sex will formally announce that I'm receiving a 200K piece of paper. I'm bringing a book.
May 15-30th - I'll be traveling in Buenos Aires and Peru. Send me any travel suggestions!

And the rumors are true. I'm leaving FiLife and my two-years of masquerading as Gawker Intern Mary will come to a close. On June 2nd, I start at the Wall Street Journal's Personal Journal desk.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I cooked panda, then ate it


This is from over a month ago, but I'm still proud of the Anna-Mary teamwork. And it was vegan!

(But I'm still a carnivore.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Send me your insane roommate stories!

I'm starting a site, WeShareAToilet.com, a collection of roommate stories. (Don't look! there's not much there yet!) I need some inaugural submissions!

Tales that come to mind - the girl with an arsenal of Robert Redford photos under her bed, the dude who randomly meditates mid-sentence, the skank who was VERY vocal with her boyfriend, the pimpletard who listened to Tool and didn't flush down his turds. Every one of those examples is a true story and amazing and worth sharing. So share!

Send dem roommate stories to weshareatoilet (at) gmail.com. Names and specs will be redacted, as will bylines, so no fame/revenge, just good holycrapthisisreal storytelling. Any questions can also be sent to the weshareatoilet email address.

Commence pillow fighting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

You had me at "dishwasher included" - an odyssey


For the last two weeks, I've been completely engrossed in Craigslist.

No, not missed connections*, but the equally skeezetastic world of apartment listings. And good LORD. I feel like I've just emerged from Satan's armpit.

Considering that I'm moving out of a tiny place I share with five other girls, my roommate Adam is schlepping it in from Jersey and my other roommate just fought off a bedbug infestation in Queens, we thought our housing demands were pretty simple. We totally acknowledged that we were bound to get screwed somehow, we were just trying to minimize it.

So here's what we wanted:
-Three bedrooms. We're friendly, but not that friendly.
-Location over space (so Manhattan/nearby Brooklyn rather than having a boccie ball court in New Jersey)
-No more than $3000 total rent after any fees, etc.
-Move in May 1st

First we learned that the Internet lies. You search Craigslist for "landlord only" and not a single one of those listings that we looked at was void of a middleman. They suck you in and waste your time showing you a place with walls that look like the surface of the moon and scabies in the bath tub and then say, oh, PS I want 15% of that noise. And it costs 4K a month and even though we're on Avenue D I hear that the bums are really friendly over here and the raping is only seasonal. Fair enough, you've got chilluns to feed, but how am I supposed to feel about doing business with such a blatant liar? It's not so much the lying, it's the fact that they think I'd buy into it. Bad acting, whatever the context, is always offensive.

Second, we learned that brokers might be nice people, but in general, they suck. Stating the obvi, I realize, but we had one broker who showed us "something in our price range" with a scenic view of a brick wall and one bedroom for the three of us. My roommates are great, but not great enough to have a pig pile with every night. Some of my favorite broker quotes:

"This is below market. I mean, you're lucky I showed it to you."

"You're NEVER going to find anything in that price range."

"Oh, you guys met in college. That's so cute. What's your credit like?"

"Really, Ave. D isn't any cheaper than Second Avenue anymore. I mean, people LOVE it here. It's ALL East Village now."

"I know the market. I can tell that you don't know the market."

"Yeah, I had to move in with my boyfriend. I kind of like him, but even I can't afford this market. Ha!"

Phew. One afternoon after looking at a "soon-to-be-renovated" job on Ave. B, my roomies and I sulked over slices of Two Boots Pizza. We might as well have been talking about angsty twentysomething relationships - the right one will come along, it just wasn't right, change is scary, I didn't trust it, I just smelled too much like patchouli, and so on. We were a bunch of sad pandas.

We looked at dozens of places, then my roomie stumbled upon a GEM in the Lower East Side. We wondered; could it be The One? It's under our budget, even after fees, spacious (a walk-in closet! my shoes rejoice!) and in Manhattan. Okay, so I have a view of the FDR, but I also have a view of the Manhattan Bridge. We pounced. Our lease-signing is on Monday and my obsession with Ikea seems slightly more rational now that I have somewhere to put that bookshelf.

We sucked it up and ended up paying a modest broker's fee. But soon it felt justified. When googling for her fax number, we learned that she moonlights as a stand-up comedian. They say that it's not necessarily wise to be choosey, but I want some jokes with my keys, dammit.


*I've always secretly wanted to BE someone's missed connection. It doesn't have to be anything John Cusack-worthy, but just a "hey, you seem rad" shout-out would make my day. In high school, my friends and I would write cryptic free personal ads to each other in the pages of Eugene Weekly. Does that count?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Stuff like this always makes me feel like a failure



Where is my electric, climate-adjusting belt?

Meanwhile, the poets out there will meditate on the idea of the bride-of-the-future donning a glass dress.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Why I Don't Like Bon Jovi: The Official Statement

Last weekend at an East Village dive bar, "Living on a Prayer" came on full blast and everyone started belting at the top of their lungs. I sat, politely sulking and sipping my too-sweet fruity concoction and thought why, God, why?

I find myself in this situation all too often. I love fun. I love freedom. I love music. Hell, I even love some conspicuously bad music. But when I tell people I don't like Bon Jovi, they react like I've confessed to being an Osama Bin Laden groupie or something.

Just take a good look at Jon Bon. Some people see An American Icon. I see lame agony.

I fully acknowledge that it's really cliche to use the online space of a blog to rumble about disliking a pop culture phenomena, but bear with me. I'm not merely being a contrarian, I'm just confused about what everyone sees in him that I don't (see also "Titanic," Coke, Scarlet Johansson).

It's not his life, he's not living on a prayer and I'm totally going to pull the Oregon card here and say that he's NOT a cowboy, let alone one riding on a steel horse. And you know, he wasn't wanted dead or alive, now or in 1984. The only thing about Bon Jovi that is timeless is the moral that people will eat up crappy pop music, even if it's from a poser.

But that's the thing. I like pop music and the 80s gave us great jams from U2, Madonna, Tina Turner and Michael effin Jackson - just to name a few. They sold records and became icons, and although we can giggle at their crimped hair and neon-influenced music videos, no one can deny that in addition to being easy on the ears, they were ridiculously talented artists and promoters. What they were singing about resonated with people at a certain time and place.

Let's say that Bon Jovi is a competent musician/performer/songwriter. His whole career still hinges on cheap ploys to capitalize on densely populated, bored America - the stereotypical Jersey trash comes to mind. This is smart on BJ's part because they have money and feel disenfranchised from hip hop and country, but yearn for ballads to drive their Datsun pickups to. Bon Jovi tries to make the Jersey Turnpike feel like a country road. It's not a country road, it's the Jersey Turnpike. He should take a lesson from John Malkovich and embrace it. And then there's that whole issue of his changing his name and denying his Italian roots, but I'm not going to even go there.

And he has a ton of kitch value in the tri-state area, which shocks me. It's not cool to be into Bon Jovi on the West Coast, regardless of the reason. But in the northeast, it's retro to like him because he's sooo 80s. Yeah, I get it frat boy, but thinking that Bon Jovi is "retro" is like claiming that Lynn Spears is sane.

Free speech is great and for that reason, let Bon Jovi crank out his ballads. He gives to charities and probably isn't a bad person on an individual level. But after years of being the minority when it comes to his music, I thought it was past time to make my official Bon Jovi stance clear. I mean, it's an election year after all.

And the next time you're at a bar shouting about how you just wanna live forevah, think of the person in the corner looking bored...and quietly judging you.

A Debut on Amazon


A Google alert for my name (it's not narcissism, it's staying informed of one's web presence) reveals that for the price of $5.95, you can buy on Amazon an early gem from my journalism career: my 2002 feature story on mullets, originally published in Eugene's Register-Guard.

I didn't know that archive news stories were Amazon fodder these days. I also didn't know that my use of short sentences in ledes was so out of control:

THE KENTUCKY waterfall. The Missouri compromise. The Canadian passport. The Tennessee top hat. Here in the Northwest, it's simply known as the mullet.

You've seen them. Business in front, party in back. Short on top, long on bottom. The hair makes the shape of the No. 7 when seen as a profile. It seems as if a third of the high school students in the late 1970s and early '80s sported one.

What's worse - having a mullet or having documented evidence that you were obsessed with them?

This is too easy

They found rotten feces in Oregon.

Thanks Jenny!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Nick-at-Nite/Jamie Lynn Conspiracy

Growing up, Nick-at-Nite was a beacon of hope in the lagoon of cable TV madness. They ran "I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners," "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." My baby-boomer parents relived the idealized suburban life that they never had and I learned that Cuban racismo can be really silly.

Ah, yes. The insane Pilon family not clawing over each other to the television set and peacefully crossing the generation gap.

In the last few years, Nick-at-Nite has dramatically shifted programming gears. The line-up includes "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "The Cosby Show" and "Full House" - in other words, the shows that I grew up with.

And therein lies the theory. People of my generation who are cranking out kids now have something to watch with their own spawn. The execs at Viacom know that us GenY, Nicktoons-bred children of the 80s yearn to teach the youngins about life before the iPhone. The babies Spears will know the power of John Stamos!

Depending on what you think about teen pregnancy, this marketing strategy is either progressive or trailer trash. Either way, I miss Lucy and Ethel.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My relatives have discovered blogging

And it's really cute :-)

I'm totes participating in the family March Madness for the first time evar. Come on, North Carolina and UCLA! Mary needs a new...apartment.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Adventures in Googling

Innocent tourists looking for a toy store in New York, beware:
(sorry about the schmutz on the pic - too cheap to upgrade photoshop right now)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gossip via Direct Deposit

There's been a lot of talk lately about the demise of Gawker and for the most part, I've kept mum. But (as always) my checking account statement has a story to tell.

How it's been the last couple of years:

Today's morsel:
I guess I should shut my snark hole and be thankful that I'm getting paid.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

SPRINGBREAK!!!

I'm heading to Chicago March 12-28 to hang with lifemate Alex and spend time with my super cool extended family (check out the Bookworks in Wrigleyville - shameless plug). Not quite Cancun, but holycrapihaven'tleftTheCityinforever.

I just finished a draft of my first short fiction story ever. It's 9 pages of unedited glory that took several days of masticating my thoughts and way too many cliched hours in fabled Village coffee shops. And I don't even know if it counts as fiction because it's loosely inspired by something my father told me about. Disclaimer - it doesn't involve cigarettes, young love on Avenue B, media-induced eating disorders, drinking PBR or listening to the Velvet Underground while crying. So, you know, it's totally not relevant to my generation. I'm not dancing - I'm trying to get the narcissism and angst out of my eyes.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Circle of Life also applies to Macs

Two text messages received from two different people on one morning:

11:27 a.m. "my computer lost the will to life. Incidentally, this occurred less than a month after my Apple Care expired."

12:30 p.m. "I got my mac!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

China, Money, Corporate Online Stalking

Find here a shortened version of my Chinamoneyfesto, the basic concept behind it being that people in China talk about money freely, yet we're still squirmish here in the U.S.

I also posted this week (here) about this really insane lawsuit going on in New Jersey involving a health insurance company wanting to use online communications (e-mail, Facebook, blogs, etc.) to determine whether or not to provide health coverage to teenagers with eating disorders.

My China photos for the most part are completely flickred, but still are untagged and poorly organized.

And it's snowing here in New York :-)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why working out in the winter might be worth it

Because the idea of wearing one of these seems beyond terrifying.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Mary's Natal Chart


IMAGE0023.JPG
Originally uploaded by marymarymarymary
When I was born, some hippie friend of my mom (no offense if you're out there!) did this crazy ass chart on the day I was born that supposedly spells out my entire future. But she forgot the interpretation part, so I've been living under a cloud of mystery for the last couple of decades.

Does anyone know how to read this thing? Am I totally screwed? Help!

Fun Fact (?): The story is that I was born at lunchtime on my due date in a two-hour natural birth with no drugs and no c-section. And my family claims that my mom went back to her office later that same day. DAMN.

It's About Flickin time (sorry, that was shameless)


Hazel Morse.JPG
Originally uploaded by marymarymarymary
You know that personal to do list that sits in your mind for YEARS and never really goes anywhere? Well, getting my crap together with Flickr has been on mine for a while and I'm pleased to report that I've made some progress and spent the best $24.95 I've spent in a while. I know, this is all really 2002 of me, but the fear of my fatty external hard drive crashing has really set in lately. We don't know who is going to be the democratic nominee! Our strong economy is packed with subprime garbage! The NY Giants won the Super Bowl! Egads!

Anywho, enjoy this shot of my grandma Hazel (who would go on to wed my grandfather, Almond - no joke) and keep tabs on my stream and hound me if I don't keep up with it. Friend me (marymarymarymary) if you're dying to see the super unflattering middle school shots. Just know that you might be in some of them.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What I've been up to lately

Honestly, not a whole lot. But since people have asked...

No, not all of FiLife has launched yet and yes I still work there.
-Things "Saved By the Bell" taught me about money (it involves youtube links...you know you wanna)
-I'm still searching for unpaid interns
-Getting ditched by your checking account can be like getting dumped
-I'm meekly trying to get my life together
-Thanks to global warming, no snow in NYC, but you can freeze your credit report
-And Fi-ku is really happening, satiating the love of poetry and finance

I'm still with Gawker and up to the usual shenanigans: -How Paris, Lindsay and Britney conquered media
-Brit meltdown a million and one
-Jamie Lynn is preggers

NYU starts back next week (last effin semester!) and I'm still doing the thesis thing.

Looking for an apartment in the city for May (any leads are appreciated) and trying to figure out how to pay for tuition this spring. The solution to both of those problems might involve Craigslist. Humph.