How to Power Lunch When You Have No Power

The power lunch for modern knowledge workers, who can no longer escape the confines of their cubicle for more than fifteen minutes before someone might notice that they are potentially not being productive—but who do not spend enough time on Reddit or Hacker News to seriously entertain the notion of drinking Soylent (yet)—is the chopped salad.

Broke With Bad Skin, UNTIL …

is this a noxzema commercial or wutBack in December I saw a dermatologist who was listed on my insurance’s site as an in-network provider. I was feeling terrible and gross about the sudden, constant angry breakouts on my cheeks and I also had a weird tan on my stomach from the summer that had never quite faded. The tan didn’t bother me, but I felt like had to go in there with a somewhat serious concern; I was sure the the doctor would size me up and down and make a snide remark about how there are people dealing with melanoma out there and couldn’t I just drink more water and moisturize?

The doc came in for a full body check, told me the tan would fade slowly and that yes I did indeed have acne. When she asked her next question—”What products do you use?”—I was ready. I knew she was expecting me to list a string of cheap makeup products and bad hygiene habits, but no.

For more than a year I’d been experimenting with different skin health regimens, giving each a few weeks’ chance to prove itself. I was loyal to LUSH for awhile: I used their tea tree toner water ($10) religiously, and a spot on treatment for blemishes ($13). I used their moisturizer ($42) that was way too thick and I quickly abandoned, and an herbal facial paste ($13+) as a wash. It worked well, but it was too expensive.

Then I read about the magical benefits of the Oil Cleansing Method and began rubbing combinations of different oils (castor, almond, jojoba, tamanu; $40 total) into my face every night, then gently wiping it off  (with the rest of the dirt and makeup) with a warm, damp microfiber washcloth. It worked, but without a proper scrub I now had a minefield of blackheads to deal with. Plus, it added 10 minutes to my nightly routine and mixing oils was the last thing I wanted to do after a night out, so I often resorted to makeup removing wipes ($6), which left me feeling greasy and unclean.

Two men around the age of forty sit at a bar. It’s October and late-afternoon sunrays shine through a big plate glass behind them, playing in the glass of their green beer bottles.

One of them takes a sip of beer and asks, “You wanna hear the funniest thing I ever heard anyone say?”

“Yes I do,” says the other. “That’s exactly what I want to hear.”

“Okay,” the man sets his bottle on the bar and begins. “This was when I was in college. Me and my friends Carter and Will and Matt went to D’angelo’s sub shop. We’d been watching football in Carter’s room and at the end of one of the games, it was getting to be dinner time, Carter said he was hungry for a sandwich. He liked the steak sandwiches at the D’angelo, so we went out to Cohen’s car, Matt’s car, and he drove us there. We were totally stoned.”

The bartender, a woman with red hair in a ponytail, looks up from where she’s standing at the other end of the bar, typing on her cellphone.

The man continued.

“So we get the place, and we go inside, and I’m standing there like a dipshit, staring at the menus, trying to remember how to read, when the lady walks in from the kitchen to the counter and asks us whether we were ready to order.

Carter says, ‘Yes, please. I’d like a number 14, grilled steak. Sans pickles, please.’

And the lady scrunches up her face, all quizzical-like and says, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t think we have those kind. We just have, like, normal sandwich pickles.’

I burst out a cough of a laugh before covering my mouth with my hands.

But Carter totally played it cool. Without missing a beat, he says, ‘Oh, you know what, then? I just won’t have any.’”

The man shakes his head, still in disbelief, and lets out a little chuckle.

The other man doesn’t respond at all. He takes a sip of beer and remains staring straight ahead. Then he says, “That’s not that funny.”#

A Poem by John Ashbery

A New Desire

Not so good anymore,
post avant-garde. How’s that?
Find anybody still puzzled up.
Your marcelled feet were on the stage:

If you could save our container
in Pennsylvania in October…
The fire broke out / declared itself.
We drank the grass, drunken fish,
in servile mode. An antique something about it.

You’ll have to pay for brunch—I’m too excited.
Milk and carrots from the editor at
my beloved Sierras!
It passed inspection,
or they’ll have found that too:
Fully understand
(gonna close some time,
pudgy rules, hyper airlines,
lifter-upper—a boomlet, so he said).

There goes another one belies
any significant pores,
and everyone at home, officials stressed.

Don’t slide down the ones John says they still aren’t using—
the worst driveway in
western Connecticut.
He’s right—it shouldn’t do anything,
culprit shoes. Why many have passed on to the sun.

What is it like to be a startup that venture capitalists have determined is worth at least a billion dollars?

Jyoti Bansal, CEO, AppDynamics: “It’s not like winning the lottery. There’s not a phone call you get and suddenly you’re a billion-dollar company. It was a process that took several months.”

And one might mistakenly expect that these billion-dollar valuations just happen overnight!#

Where Your Favorite Gawker Writer Sits Now

Here is Gawker’s new seating chart, put forward this week, and then promptly and blatantly leaked to us in a very passive fit of nostalgia and reflexive defiance.

Don’t get too attached to it—the company is finally moving out of its oddball, stair-intensive Soho loft building this year.

Toro Y Moi, "Empty Nesters"

A sunny preview of an album that should arrive just in time for the thaw. (Via Dan.)

The Best Time I Fainted While Posing Nude

Twenty-two was my worst year. I was broke, deeply depressed, and wrapped up in an emotionally destructive relationship. The one nice thing I had going was the semi-successful band we’d started when we first got together; but between that, our shared living situation, and the overwhelming sadness which had rendered me inert, I felt trapped.

Thanks to our band’s increasingly ambitious touring schedule, and my seeming inability to do anything other than cry, my retail job was in jeopardy. My boss didn’t support me doing anything that involved running away with that particular boyfriend; she cared for me, and she’d watched my mental health wane over the year I’d worked for her, and was reasonably fed up with me coming in every day with eyes swollen from crying. Indignant, I put in my two weeks.

We started to book more and more shows, but it was never really enough. We’d be home for weeks at a time, trapped together in a one-bedroom apartment. He worked day and night to convince me that our relationship would be fine if I wasn’t damaged goods. Anyone in his situation—stuck with me—would do the same. At the height of his abuse, when I, not wanting to set him off, would simply stay in bed for days, he gave me an ultimatum: get psychiatric drugs, or be abandoned. I would have no band, no job, and nowhere to live, and because I was crazy, I would be alone.

Drugs had frightened me ever since junior high, when I’d been bounced around between different SSRIs, bringing on a predictable onslaught of Alice In Wonderland-like side effects: one pill made me grow bigger and another, smaller. One made me sharply happy but kept me up all night, one made me fall asleep at Thanksgiving dinner. After that year, I never tried them again.

With no health insurance and knowing almost nothing about psychiatric healthcare, I was soon paying out of pocket to switch medications every two or three weeks. A healthy dose of Prozac first thing in the morning was the only constant. I didn’t mind that; it felt like cheap speed and got me out of bed long before my boyfriend, which meant I could work for a few hours, buzzing quietly, undisturbed. The second medication was an ever-changing X factor: one pill brought on a few hours of unsustainable bliss followed by a sharp crash in the afternoon. The next made me lactate. The dictator who shared my bed didn’t care about the toll these pills took on my body, only that I was taking them.

Between my uninsured office visits and the gas to get there, to say nothing of the prescriptions themselves, my savings were dwindling. I needed money bad, but we had tours booked. My paper-thin nerves made even temping impossible. Every day I looked on Craigslist under ‘Gigs’ but couldn’t envision myself as a mover, voiceover actress, or sexy housecleaner.

Then a local art gallery posted, looking for models for a life-drawing benefit meant to raise money for youth arts programs in our community. I emailed them, and heard back almost immediately. I was in: a hundred bucks for two hours of work.

Top Ten Oscar-Worthy Sigourney Weaver Performances, In Order

10. Alien 3
9. Dave
8. Gorillas in the Mist
7. Cabin in the Woods
6. Alien
5. The Ice Storm
4. Aliens
3. Death and the Maiden
2. Working Girl
1. Copycat

New York City, January 20, 2015

weather review sky 012015★★★★ The brightness of the morning overflowed the edges of the blinds. A loose sheet of high clouds came apart into individual cloudlets, and those bits of clouds went to blue. The polished metal of the pen cast triple rings on the notebook page. Everything was clean and articulated, the daylight wide-open and generous. In the slow-moving crowd up the subway stairs on Grand, there was time to take in the texture of the zigzag metalwork and the pale ashlike flecks of debris blowing by. Outside a bakery a man down on his luck was asking passersby, quite reasonably, for a cup of coffee. And a bun, or two, why not. A brassy eagle gleamed on the door of the bank. The afternoon clouded over, but even in the night the air was still clear, the stoplights receding, apartment balconies catching the light of the street on their undersides all the way up.