The Double Helix

Posted by Lizzie on 10/14/07

I am sorry it has been so long. Actually, for most of the summer, I was walking around former colonial superpowers and didn’t have a computer. Then I downloaded–there’s no reason, I just did–something from AOL called Helix, which, as AOL promised, let me “multitask in fewer clicks and with fewer hassles”, mainly by crippling Windows* so absolutely that two baffled computer scientists, after two or three hours of tinkering, looked up and asked, “You backed up your data, right?”

Anyway, I have also, for various reasons, been thinking of finally officially closing down the blog, since several print publications with subdomains of their own have stepped into the whole “clever dinner party guest at a vast, faceless table” with great dispatch and enthusiasm (look above for VQR giveaway) and will probably trundle along for at least a few years before post-aperitif fatigue hits. If I did read blogs, I would read those, but lately I’ve been disentangling myself from the grid, since marching around my old daily online reading circuit seems to crescendo into a Nickelodeon-viewing level of overstimulation for me. Maybe it’s because after your twenties, when your thoughts are a crucial part of the public discourse, you’re supposed to descend into a period of hiberation until you’ve saved up enough opinions to be a blowhard through most of your dotage? Maybe it’s because I’ve finally had a karaoke breakthrough? (With Joni Mitchell, yet.) I don’t know.

That said, the decision to close down occurred at exactly the same time a bunch of strangers, unprompted, came forward to say they liked it and not to Helix the whole thing**. So I’m going to leave it up for the archives if you want them, and do mostly what I have been doing lately, which is to give you giveaways, slap up some Speedreaders, and let you know what I am doing in the world of print. (This is today’s review, and my debut, in the LAT, and I have some other things coming along soon, god willing.) If I want to tell you something or you want to tell me something, give me a call or messenger me a cuneiform tablet and I’ll see what I can do.

(But, if I were going to have a last personal side note, I would probably say something about, oh, I don’t know, a nonevent this morning’s at a farmer’s market [or Baltimore’s version a farmers’ market, which is located in an underpass, with an assemblage of rutebagas and used condoms and the aroma of crab cakes and urine]. So I am standing at the smoked-things stall when I heard this grating voice to my left. The voice happens to belong to a former boss, but believe me, it would be grating on anyone, even on someone I loved, and it’s unfair to bring it up but I just did. I didn’t realize it was said boss until I saw they were running out of sourdough to my left and I had to dash and could put grate to face. But here’s note on ignoring former employees whom you know very well are people you know when they are standing next to you and you are being too slow with the smoked-things guy: I’m not sure you should pointedly ignore anyone you know after the age of 13, but ignoring former employees, unless they stole from you or urinated on something, is fired–not least because the best way to torture a former employee is by being the bigger person. Seriously, I have had umpteenth teachable moments with this boss that have yet to take root in any action that I can see. Step it up, lady; I’m not made of patience. As anyone knows, taking it upon yourself to mortify a former boss with a huge hug and sparkling small talk gets old.

Anyway, I’m already the bigger person.

Okay, one last time:

YouTube Preview Image

* Please, Mac people, do not tell me to get a Mac. I don’t care.

** Before you tell me to get a Mac again because you haven’t been paying attention, I don’t care.

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You’re past caring, we know, but…

Posted by Lizzie on 04/12/07


Some Speedreaders coming soon. MAYBE EVEN TODAY.

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Teaser and still again Teaser: Margo Rabb

Posted by Lizzie on 03/20/07

hearbreak.jpgOne of the things we have always loved about other writers is that often when they write, we don’t have to. But that is only a small teeny reason we
are delighted to welcome our friend Margo Rabb and an excerpt from her new novel, Cures for Heartbreak, to Old Hag. But before we begin–things you should know about Margo:

1. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, Zoetrope: All Story, Seventeen, Best New American Voices, New Stories from the South, New England Review, One Story, and elsewhere, and have been broadcast on National Public Radio (more here)

2. She is the author of a lovely series of mystery novels for young readers (more here)

3. She lives around the corner (more here)

4. She is, unlike some people, able to unselfishly share a freaking cupcake (more here)

Margo has generously offered three signed copies of her new book to three lucky winners. BUT THERE IS, OF COURSE, A CHALLENGE. Margo has posted her own cures for heartbreak on the Random House site. At Miss Rabb’s suggestion, we would like to now solicit yours. The Old Hag, for instance, leans towards sitting on the couch and whimpering, then getting momentarily distracted by the fact that her gmail’s adaptive filter is now filtering spam correctly. This probably shouldn’t fall under “cure”, but whatever.

Excerpt below, as well as Margo’s blog tour dates. Winners for Heartbreak and this will be posted Friday; feel free to strike anywhere in the meantime. Please enjoy!

World History

Four days after our mother’s funeral, my father decided that my sister Alex and I should go back to school. I was reading in bed when he knocked on my door, peered into my room and repeated, as he’d been doing at regular intervals, like a public service announcement, that we needed to go back to the way things were before. On Monday he’d re-open his shoe repair shop, I’d return to the ninth grade, and Alex to the twelfth. Things had to go back to normal.


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Also, many cute earrings

Posted by Lizzie on 01/16/07

neda.jpgIf you are not a) a New Yorker, b) a girl, c) someone who cares about jeans, or d) someone who cares about jeans, New York, girls, or caring, simply skip this post. But if you ARE, we must take one moment to sub-blog and inform you of the wonders of this Court Street store, where we witnessed not one but FIVE miracles today, FIVE, viz. our trying on five pairs of jeans–yes, ladies, five pairs–all of which not only fit, but were also two sizes too small, and LOOKED GOOD. It’s like a goddamned bizarro-world J. Crew flagship store. We kept thinking of the scene in The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe wherein Edmund, seduced by the White Witch, keeps eating Turkish delight and never gets full, not realizing his actions are complicit in imposing a permanent winter over the land. We are totally okay if Aslan or Atlantic Yards or the world or whatever has to get sacrificed over this.

Go ye forth, try on some jeans, and witness the wonders for yourself. Just don’t buy that red dress; we can’t decide if we want it.

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You Searched, We Answered

Posted by Lizzie on 12/02/06

We are usually irritated by those search keyword roundups–“Someone got here by searching for ETHICAL DATIVE; can you BELIEVE it?” but December has brought a wave of plaintive entreaties we find we can actually answer. We will omit all of the search phrases you can imagine our name brings–except “pointed tits”, which we take as a directive–but, rest assured, we will tire of our mastery of site stats very soon.

lizzie skurnick
Yes! Well done.

macfayden knightley

what are some sites that get past pesky website blockers
It’s like you’re searching for porn with an English accent. Carry on.

im loving memory of an employee poems
We’re assuming, Boss Jekyll, YOU didn’t kill said employee with the file-hurling rage that is the corollary to this wave of regret and despair, right? What’s that you say? It won’t happen again? Not for the three months’ salary it’s going to take to pay the temp and conduct the statewide job search caused by your mid-level manager lack of impulse control, it won’t. But to get back to the question, the standard text for disposing of an employee in the parking lot is Hopkins’ “Spring and Fall.”

baltimore oh girls
Of course, now that we’re GONE.

sorche fairbank
Can you call us this from now on? Oh, you’re too busy trying to hold off on law school.

what do we know about the narrators name reaching dustin
Oh my god, we don’t know! How much are you going to NEED us to know? Is it like, his name is Dust– , and we’re hoping he’ll get there? Or does Dustin NEED TO KNOW who the narrator’s name is? What do you mean by REACH? We don’t know–AND WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE DON’T KNOW!!! Jesus. We’re going to the next one.

eye elisions
We don’t know; eye is pretty short, champ–what are you going for, e’e? Did you have something to do with this Dustin thing?

ethical dative
We have pretended to know what this is in the past; we have no idea. Did our commenter help?

what do hag worms eat
God, is there something called a HAG WORM? It’s like, being a hag isn’t bad enough? Ahhhh…Google would like to know if you meant hagworm. Chump.

# of pages in mona simpson s paperback version of the lost father
558. And sucks for you, because it’s not the one where she has sex in the pool.

harold dieterle girlfriend


Seriously, we have no idea. But one of the few benefits of the bugaboo-wielding gauntlet we negotiate on our way to the F train is the occasional sighting of Mr. “I don’t understand why you did dessert. This is an amuse bouche challenge” himself. And, while we feel it is craven and inappropriate to actually report on semi-semi-celebrities’ real-world activities, we think Mr. Dieterle will not mind if we inform readers that, even before he LEAPT up to give his seat to one such Bugaboo-wielder the other day, HE WAS THE HOTTNESS.
Hold on a sec.


lindsay lohan problematic prose
Yeah. Cause THAT’S the problem.

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