Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Rent

Re-posted from New York Shitty:

Calling All Disgruntled North Brooklyn Renters!
May 28th, 2009

Rental Hell
Your golden silver parachute has come!

Jenny wrote: I’m trying to forward you a cool email that I got from the Working Families party about a video contest to tell stories of “renters’ hell,” but it keeps being labeled “spam.” Any workaround?

We worked it out and here’s the deal. Per the Working Families Party website:

We’re holding our first ever video contest, where you have a chance to win a month’s free rent just by telling your rental hell story on camera. You’ll also be raising awareness about an important issue that affects millions of New Yorkers: the need for stronger rent laws.

Everyone who has ever rented has a story: rent increases, broken heating and cold showers, new owners trying to break your lease, that one bedroom next door rented to four budget conscious students, or waking up to discover that you(r) building is turning into an illegal hotel.

We know it was awful, and we’re sorry. But guess what? There could be a silver-lining! The Working Families Party is teaming up with millions of renters across New York City for the first ever video contest highlighting Rental Hell.

Entering the contest is easy:

1. Tell your story on camera.
2. Upload it to Youtube and tag it with “Rental Hell”.
3. Fill out our entry form.

What’s more, you can win one month’s free rent up to $1,999— or whatever your monthly rent is! Be advised your video must be between 30 seconds and five minutes. You can peruse the complete rules and regulations for this contest by clicking here. The deadline is June 6th— so start grousing!

To close on a distinctly Greenpoint note, I would strongly advise anyone who resided at 156 India Street (or resided at 95 Clay Street for that matter) to enter this contest.

Miss Heather

Gentle readers, I received the same e-mail from the Working Families party in my inbox, as well. And, while I thought about entering (a month's rent sure would help out the unemployed MatchGirl), I'm just not sure. And, to be honest, as lame as my landlady may be, I know there are a lot of people in the area, North Brooklyn to be sure, who are a lot worse off than me. Sure, I've only seen my landlord three times in five years. Sure, every time it rains I have to put three buckets down to catch the water. Sure, it took me 8 months to get the moldy ceiling tiles replaced. Sure, I lose hot water every month or so for a couple of days because my landlady doesn't pay the bills. And, all that said, I know that there are a ton of people who have it so much worse.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pony Up

What better way to raise a little money for charity than by betting on the ponies?

Check out Brooklyn Based for all the information about this fun fundraiser, with money going to Just Food.

Sexy Pasta

Everyone loves a good plate of pasta. And it's one of the indulgences in which we poor, unemployed people can still partake. Pasta is cheap. You can put anything on it. It's really hard to mess it up.

Many years ago, a lifetime really, a former roommate of MatchGirl found a recipe for a post-coital pasta sauce in Cosmo and passed it along. To the best of my recollection (it was a lifetime ago to be fair), it involved a salsa-like mix of ingredients and a splash of vodka - a cream-less, cook-less vodka sauce.

Arriving home from what turned out to be an amazing weekend on Sunday night, I was starving - craving real sustenance. It was also about 80 degrees once the sun went down, so I wasn't really feeling like cooking. After a careful inspection of the cupboards and after thinking about this Cosmo pasta from long long ago, I decided to try my hand at it. I Googled, but found nothing but that thick and creamy Vodka sauce that is so very all-American and so very not what I wanted on a hot night in May.

So I made it up as I went along (which is half the fun of cooking, anyway!).

Here's what I came up with:
1 can of diced tomatoes (use fresh if you have them, halved grape tomatoes would be super tasty in this)
1 very small red onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic (use less if you do not <3 garlic as I do)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
a little fresh basil
scant 1/4 cup vodka
1/2 box of ridged ziti (or other pasta that takes a hearty sauce well), cooked

Make the salsa-y sauce in a big bowl, make the pasta and toss it all together
So simple
So filling

And while I ate this particular batch by myself, it certainly would be simple and yummy as post-coital summertime meal on one of those long, lazy afternoons ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Volunteer Brooklyn

This info came to my from my college friend Miriam today:
Hi Y'all,
Thought you might be interested in this.

WHO: YOU! We are sounding the call for volunteers!

WHAT: Brooklyn Food Summer ’09: Empower Brooklyn residents by supporting them in overcoming challenges to food access and affordability!

WHEN: Ongoing, beginning June 1

WHERE: Brooklyn neighborhoods where residents lack access to healthy food.

WHY: Brooklyn faces a health crisis of rising obesity and diabetes among children and adults. These diet-related diseases disproportionately affect certain neighborhoods where residents lack access to healthy food. Though there is sufficient healthy, culturally appropriate food available to serve all Brooklyn residents, this food in not getting onto the tables and into the bellies of many Brooklynites.

HOW: Sign up to volunteer at
or read on for more details…


Brooklyn Food Summer ‘09 is an all-volunteer initiative of the Brooklyn Healthy Food Campaign (BHFC). The BHFC is a partnership of City and State governments, citywide service providers, grassroots organizations, and concerned citizens. We are committed to improving community health and food security, and to supporting neighborhood economies through locally spent food dollars, in the Borough of Brooklyn. This summer, these groups are joining forces to apply technical expertise, agency resources, and grassroots community organizing to make strides towards this vision.

Goals and Activities

The 8-week Brooklyn Food Summer ‘09 campaign will help Brooklyn residents overcome challenges to food access and affordability, and empower them to speak with both their voices and dollars to demand healthy food options in their neighborhoods. "


Community Food Ambassadors

The Brooklyn Healthy Food Campaign seeks volunteers to participate in its Community Food Ambassadors Training Program. The Community Food Ambassador Program trains community volunteers to talk with their neighbors about the overall connections between our local food system and the health of our communities; how to help our neighbors get public benefits through programs that support employment, boost the City’s economy, and improve food and economic security; and how we can work together to increase access borough-wide to fresh, affordable nutrient-dense food.

Complete 1.5 hours of outreach and education training.
Attend 3 to 5 events in targeted communities between the months of July and August (Approximate time commitment is 15-20 hours.).
Conduct surveys to measure knowledge of healthy food options in targeted communities.
Be responsible for maintaining and reproducing neighborhood specific educational outreach materials.
Maintain contact information of community members interested in working with the campaign.

Food Stamps/Food Cards Benefits Pre-Screening Specialists

The Brooklyn Healthy Food Campaign seeks volunteers to participate in its Food Stamps/Food Card (EBT) Benefits Pre-Screening Specialists Training Program. Currently somewhere between 300,000 to 600,000 Brooklyn residents are eligible to receive Food Stamp/Food Card (EBT) benefits, but are not yet enrolled. The Food Stamp/Food Card (EBT) Benefits Pre-Screening Specialists Training Program will train 60 community volunteers to support and increase the capacity of 10 sites actively conducting pre-screenings in Brooklyn in an effort to raise enrollment rates of eligible neighbors and improve their access to fresh, affordable nutrient-dense food.


- Complete a 1- Day training in conducting pre-screenings for enrollment to receive Food Stamps/Food Card (EBT) Benefits. Choose from the following dates: June 8, 9 or 10
- Volunteer 1 to 2 days a week at one of the 10 pre-screening sites from July through August.

Food Summer Behind the Scenes Support

For volunteers excited to be a part of the Brooklyn Food Summer Campaign, who are unable to make the commitment to being a Community Food Ambassador or a Pre-Screening Specialist, we invite you to join our Behind the Scenes Support team. We are looking for folks with a wide range of skills and interest to support the campaign from researchers, writers, editors, graphic and website designers, photographers to you fill-in-the-blank. Let us know how you would like to help and we’ll find a role for you.


- Attend monthly planning meetings
- Serve as a member of a sub-committee
- Minimum of 10-15 hours

Apply online now at:

Cheap Stuff

Everyone is all about the "recession" specials.
I myself, being an unemployed girl, have been keeping a close eye on all of these deals.
Today, in MatchGirl's inbox, gentle readers, Daily Candy had a few prime deals. Below are those specific to New York, but if you check out their website, there are deals everywhere.

NEW YORK | May 22, 2009

Ten-der Is the Night
Good Stuff Under Ten Bucks

Hear ye, gather round the old town crier
Village idiots, antics, and sages.
Unwaged locals, bankers under fire
Ye may be broke, but ’tis not Dark Ages.

See ye not where ten golden coins suffice?
Recession’s lease hath all too short a date
Petraske’s perfect cocktails over ice.
Thou art now seven bucks and temperate.¹

Here are the treasures of thy lusty days
Bring round with you fun party elements
Kiosk’s yo-yo balloons earn thrifty praise
Staches to go for seven hundred cents.²

Sit prince-like on the rooftops of Fort Greene
Nine-dollar docs under the starry sky
On Sundays, half past six, you’re free to screen
Surf flicks at Tribeca Grand come July.³

Fine feasting doth come cheap on city streets
Tight gourmands chase the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck
Hark! Messenger birds update via Tweets
Feed thine own self on dumplings for nine bucks.

Music, culture, art go on a diet
So once again you can be filled with life
New Museum’s Button Retard Riot
Costs two bucks — not bad if thou hath strife.

¹ Recession Cocktail Hour, daily, 6-9 p.m., at White Star (21 Essex Street; 212-995-5464); daily, 7-10 p.m., at East Side Company Bar (49 Essex Street; 212-614-7408).
² Facial hair is more fun with friends at Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store (365 State Street; 718-522-9848).
³ Popcorn included for all complimentary Sunday-night screenings at Tribeca Grand (2 Sixth Avenue; 212-519-6600).

People always talk about how expensive New York is ... and it is. But suddenly everything costs less. Due to the economic downturn, everyone says, even the most luxury of brands has to fight for the consumer. Even the wealthy are tightening purse strings. But, New York still has one of the greatest disparities amongst the classes. While these deals are great for the formerly comfortable and the formerly well-to-do, who are now a little less than comfortable (MatchGirl, herself is in the less than comfortable category, as she was barely comfortable to begin with) and still well-to-do but pulling the kiddies out of Brearley, let's all remember to take a step back an remember that New York, especially the outer burroughs, has a lot of people living below the poverty line. Or barely scraping by.

I'm not saying I am against consumerism. I'm not. I worked high end retail for most of my adult life and I love beautiful things. There is no denying that. But I am entirely against spending above and beyond one's means. Who one is is not about what they own.

Real status is in who you are. Not what you can buy.
(And maybe if people remembered that, we wouldn't have gotten into this mess in the first place).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sign Of The Times

Apts and Lofts (dot) Com Real Estate Office
Bedford Avenue, between N 8 and 9 (I think), Williamsburg

It's for rent - you could probably get a great deal on it

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recession Stories

Some journalism students at Columbia have put together a website about how the recession (ahem, depression) is affecting a variety of New Yorkers. Interesting interview on the Leonard Lopate Show.

Their website, video interviews with lots of affected New Yorkers, here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How You Doin'?

I had a Sunday afternoon cocktail with my fellow un-employee S this afternoon. We were talking about a party that we'd both recently attended and she was telling me how she didn't really know how to answer the question "How are you doing?" When people ask that question, normally, they don't really want to know the answer. And, as someone who has been unemployed for a couple of months longer than dear S, I have come to terms with the fact that people really don't care.

"I'm fine. How are you?"
Nah. It doesn't cut it.

But you can't say, "Well, I'm still looking for a job and it's been months so I'm really frustrated and living on a little under $400 a week in NYC is totally the hardest thing in the world, so I spend most evening sitting on my couch farting around on the internet and, yes, thanks for asking, but I am still single, so that's wonderful as well."

You just can't say that!

Here's the thing. The party that we recently attended, we knew most of the people there. Some of them are also unemployed. And some of them are about to leave graduate school and join the world of the unemployed. And some have lived through serious cuts in their companies and are working a crazy amount of extra hours because their ten person department is now down to just them. And they know that we are unemployed. But what they want to hear when they ask how we are doing ...

"I'm doing ok. Job hunt's still fruitless, but I'm hopeful. I've enrolled for another class for fall, so that's good. How are you?"

S and I were talking about, besides the parties with the people we know well, what to say at say, a reunion, where you're catching up with people you haven't seen in 10 years. Or, perhaps, a wedding where there are family members you will need to catch up with.

I say, just gloss it over. You were laid off due to the economy. You're freelancing. You're looking. New York is great and it will all come around.

Because, no matter what the real answer is, most people you run into at an event like that, don't actually care what the answer is anyway.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

I am pretty sure that this post (pointed out to me by my friend A) speaks for itself.
Oh. My.

Creative Personal Assistant (TriBeCa)
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-05-14, 12:41PM EDT



Picking up calls
cold calling businesses like Fortune 500
company me to meetings (I meet up with STARS and big companies on the regular)
Creative ideas
create small design packages to send out.
If you think something is wrong let me know.
Pick up documents
Company my artist

You Must:
Well Groomed
have Swagger
A Rainmaker
A person who think outside the box
A happy person
A team player

Experience or Knowledge Pluses:
great ears for music
great eyes for films
Music Business
Film Business
Latin Music
American Music

I rather work with students and college graduates but everyone can apply.

Part Time or Full time


$75 or more a week depending on the hours plus bonuses of 100 and more

Email me:

if any resume

if any student status

A MUST your website or myspace link.

Why this job interest you.

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: $75 or more a week depending on the hours plus bonuses of 100 and more

PostingID: 1170610422

Just A Thought

There have been times, in my employed past, where I hated my job. I wanted to leave. But I didn't know where to go. And, much as I am not a "self-help-book" kind of gal. And, much as I scoff those who talk about the power of positive thinking. I saw this picture on the interweb this afternoon and thought to myself "Hm. How very true."

The first step to getting to somewhere better is to figure out where that better place is.

Robert Reich on The Economy

Very interesting interview with Robert Reich on the state of the American economy on today's Leonard Lopate show on WNYC.

Not necessarily uplifting for the unemployed amongst us, but very interesting, nonetheless.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

For real?
Volunteer/Intern Retail Specialist-Personal Assistant ((Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn))
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-05-14, 5:46PM EDT

Wanted a self-starter able to complete tasks, with ambition. Must know how to use a Mac. Knowledge of QuickBooks a plus. Volunteer/Internship to salary possible for the right person. Is this you ???

* Location: (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* it's OK to distribute this charitable volunteerism opportunity for inclusion in 3rd party web sites that have been approved by craigslist

This person is looking for an intern, maybe. Definitely free labor. But there is nothing in this posting even referring to a charity.

I know the economy sucks. And believe, I have a lot of familiarity with employers who wanted to get a lot for very little (like free), because they don't place any worth on their employees - only seeing the immediate profit. But ... really? To put that in the volunteer section? Lame.

Cupcake Cookoff Images and Links

As promised, here are some photos from Monday night's cookoff at Union Pool.

cupcakes near mine - the s'mores won honorable mention in the decoration part of the competition

more competition

my entry in the foreground

pre-competition in my kitchen

And a link from Not Eating Out In New York with her recipe and some photos of cakes she found appealing - the second one down is mine!

The winner's boyfriend donated $200 (bought 200 votes) to the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen - which, as stated previously is a really good cause! Good for him!

I would post the recipe if there was any interest, but perhaps I should keep it to myself and just keep wowing the crowds?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Full Time?

While baking cupcakes on Monday afternoon, for the cupcake competition (another blog to follow on that), I was listening to NPR and was interested in this segment on Tell Me More.

The gist is that one should treat job hunting as a full time job in itself. And there was a time that I believed that. A pre-internet, pre-Facebook, pre-laptops and cell phones time. When I was in high school, looking for a summer job, I looked in the papers. I printed out a resume on a dot matrix printer. I put a nice outfit on and I went in and out of nearly every store in the Fox Run Mall looking for a job. It took leg-work. It was a lot of work When I was in college and looking for an off campus job, I put on an OK outfit and went in and out of stores I might want to work at (read: I might want a discount at). It was a lot of work. When I had a job I was bored by and needed a more interesting one, circa 2001, I just sent my resume via the fax at the boring job, to stores I thought would be a better career move. I went home and stayed up late looking on Monster. It was work.

But it wasn't a lot of work. The simple addition of the internet in the search made it somehow a little less daunting.

And when I moved to NY, jobless and near broke in 2004, Craigslist was how I got every interview - before and after the actual move. It was work. And, as I had no income to speak of, it was furious and fast-paced work. But it wasn't a lot of work. It wasn't even full time work. There are only so many jobs posted a day. And you can only apply to so many of them. Especially when you are looking to build a career, not just have a job.

The economy sucks. It's in the freakin' toilet. Everyone knows that. And pretending that if you spend 8 hours a day looking online for a job you will get one any faster is just ridiculous. There are only so many jobs out there. There are only so many people looking to hire. Of course, the lay offs have slowed down, but those jobs aren't being filled. And with the amount of people who have been laid off from any given field, the competition is that much higher.

I'm not saying we should all sit around in our jammies watching reruns of 90210 on SoapNet all morning. No. Of course not. Wake up. Splash some water on your face. And sit down and look at those job boards. Look for something you want to do. But, if you are collecting unemployment, look for something you want to do long term. Don't get desperate until desperation sets in!!!

It's spring time, gentle readers. So. Go outside and sit under a tree to eat your lunch. Go for a bike ride. Take a walk. By all means, look for a job. Get on Facebook (and whatever other social networking tools you use) and remind your friends that you are looking - those long lost high school and college friends might have a lead for you! Hop on Craigslist and Monster and whatever other job boards are good for your industry and update your resume and send out those resumes. But, I'm not going to lie to you - in the current economy, if you spend eight hours a day doing that, you will just be spinning your wheels. And you will be frustrated. And you will feel bad about yourself.

And we all know that the laid off person already feels bad enough about themselves!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cupcake Cookoff

After reading about the Brooklyn Kitchen sponsored Cupcake Cookoff on Greenpointers (and I think I saw it on Not Eating Out In New York as well) ... I decided to send an e-mail and see if they were still accepting entries ...and somehow signed myself up!

Um... Shit!
I guess I better get cooking! My cupcake recipe is top notch - really perfected. But I think I need to work on my frosting ... To frost? To ice? OH MY!

All the proceeds benefit the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen (where I am thinking of volunteering, at least for the summer, once my classes are complete) so come out for a good time and loads and loads of sugar!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


West Street and ... Green, I think
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kissing Frogs

This is a dating post.

In catching up, via email with an old friend yesterday afternoon, I told her that I was job hunting and man hunting. I'm not sure if the latter is the case, but I have definitely been kissing a lot of frogs of late.

When I was first laid off from my job, I was reading all these "You're unemployed, Now what?" blogs on the web. And while they all spoke of how to make good use of your time while on the dole, I was surprised to see how many of them talked of dating. Apparently, since dating is basically a full time job (and gee whiz, recent experiences prove that it is!) while you are unemployed is the best time to really concentrate on it. Here's the thing - you're unemployed. You're sitting at home all day - sure, maybe you are being productive in some way or another. You are caught up with what's happening in the world since you have so much time to read blogs/news/etc ... You are caught up on all the "water-cooler worthy" tv viewing, since you're not working. If you live in a city that has matinee pricing, you have seen all the new movies at these low priced matinees. You'd think you have a lot to talk about on a date. Maybe you do.

But you're not living in the world. You're whole day is leading up to this date. It encompasses your brain. You don't have deadlines or conference calls or meetings to think of. All you have to think of is which shoes to wear and what time to leave your house so you are there on time, but not too early. Just because you are desperate for human contact, doesn't mean you should be too eager on this date!

I went on a bunch of dates with a fellow unemployee a while back - he was trying to get published however, and put himself on a pretty strict schedule, almost like he was going to work. Of course, that simply meant that he plopped himself down in front of his computer the whole day long to write. And while, I was (am) interested in what he was writing about, it definitely gave us limited conversations. More recently, I went on a few dates with a gainfully employed fella - and our conversations revolved almost entirely around his work.

There must be some happy medium, no?

I am sick of kissing frogs.

Monday, May 4, 2009


In this morning's job hunt, I have been thinking of the major differences in having a job and having a career. I went to a top, New England, liberal arts university. I studied art. I was involved in campus activities. I had a near-full time job to support this education. But it was just supposed to be a job. Four years after graduation, I was still working there - managing, sure - but still working at this job that was just supposed to be what I was doing to pay the rent and buy supplies during my senior and post-bacc years. It was never supposed to be a career. It's just something I fell into.

And, when that job ended, I found another retail job and another and another - always at nicer and nicer shops, as a manager and then an assistant manager with the move to New York. But it wasn't supposed to be a career. And, to be very honest, my gentle readers, I hated it. Especially once I got to New York - it's a different world, and everyone knows you have to know the right people to get the right job. In lots of other places in the world, a retail career is honorable. The people who do it are smart and talented and generally well-informed. And, while that is often the case in America, it's not the way you are treated while working in a retail shop - especially, in my opinion, in New York City. In New York City, the people who come into the shops, especially the high-end shops, are, in general condescending and rude. Of course, I had some amazing clients. I wouldn't want to lump everyone together. But, in general, the ladies that came in, black AmExes flashing, were not the most respectful people in the world. Though many of them were less educated than me, they had married well and somehow that made them better. Their career was shopping, looking pulled together and popping out good looking heirs to the black AmEx card ...

So, I had this retail career. I fell into it. I never imagined it. It was physically and mentally exhausting. It gave me a crazy schedule and seriously cut into my social life. And when things fell apart (a long story for a different time) at my last retail position, I was done. I took a deep, scary breath. I signed up with a temp agency. I re-wrote my resume to emphasize education and the office skills that being a manager in a boutique can give you. And I temped a little and I got a job - a job that I thought would be my new career, as Operations Manager of a start-up cosmetics company and photo studio. And, though the hours were crazy and there were many things to complain about, I truly loved that job. I felt like, finally, I had found what could be a career.

And then they laid everyone off.

So I am looking for a job. And when I open up my browser in the morning and find postings, that's all they are. They are jobs. There is nothing out there that could be a career. Not for me, not right now. And I know these are hard times. And I know a lot of the big companies have hiring freezes. But, in my mid-30s, should I just be looking for a job? No. I don't think so.

So what's a girl to do in these times? I'm not desperate, not yet. I am collecting unemployment, I am crafting, I am looking, daily, for a job that will at least fit for now. And I am about to finish my first college class in twelve years. And I have fingers crossed that the fall semester will bring me at least one more class. And then? Perhaps, in my mid-30s, I will have found a career?