V Mc B

An Open Letter to T.J. Maxx

Dear T.J. Maxx,

For your consideration, I submit this evidentiary photo of a (formerly) lovely handbag that I purchased at your (formerly) beloved establishment on Friday, April 2, 2010.

Infamous Blue Handbag

You’re probably wondering what happened to it. Did I break a pen on it? Fingerpaint with it? Or use it to clean up a makeup accident backstage at Blue Man Group?

Amazingly, T.J. Maxx, all I did was wear it. Twice. First with a two-year-old leather jacket, and then with a pair of jeans that have been washed several times (and at this point I’m sorry that I haven’t kept track of how often). Oh, and I also used leather cleaner on it, but you probably can’t see that.

Because I have never had this happen to any of the ten bajillion other handbags I own, I deemed it a flaw with your merchandise. I know, I know, silly me. My stupidity was made plain by one “Mr. Butler” when I attempted to exchange the bag—receipt in hand—at your 350 Washington St. location in Boston. (6 p.m., Tuesday, April 6. Give him a raise.) He advised me that the problem was not with the bag, but with my clothing. And then he turned his back on me and walked away.

I am sorry to have wasted his time.

Now, I suppose I could see his point if the bag had come with a warning of some sort: “ATTENTION: Do not purchase this item if you are prone to wearing jeans, dark leather, or any other clothing with pigment. Suitable for angelic hippie types ONLY.” And, to be fair, my wardrobe could be at fault. I’m sure I’m the only idiot who fell for that whole dark denim legging craze a few months back. Most people would probably be fine.

I, on the other hand, am stuck with a non-returnable, non-cleanable $60 mistake.

What do I want from you? Well, short of getting my $60 back (which is obviously what I really want), I would like you to know that I will think long and hard before purchasing anything at T.J. Maxx ever again. And, with that in mind, I’d like you to tell me how important my $60 is to you in the long run. If you are that concerned about your bottom line, then please accept my condolences. Even after this fiasco, I’ll be sad to see you go. My mother (who, by the way, saw the evidence and swore you’d take it back) will be absolutely devastated.

If, however, this small sum is nothing more than a flash in the pan for you, please consider empowering your associates to do the right thing for an honest, unhappy customer.

(Not that Mr. Butler would have exercised this power had it been given to him—so I hope he sees that $60 profit reflected in his next paycheck. You are lucky to have him on your side!)

Thank you for listening.

All the best,

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For Val

I usually (okay, I occasionally) use this blog to write about food and other silly shit that amuses me from day to day. And that’s about it, because I’m not an outwardly serious person. And even in writing about this, I don’t intend to be overly serious … but I want to write about it regardless. Because while it was the first time there’s been a premature death in my family, it won’t be the last time — unless I’m unnaturally lucky, which I don’t think I am.


I won’t dwell too much on the hospital here, even though my brain has been dwelling on it ever since Sunday, when I unexpectedly had to go say goodbye to my Aunt Val. My whole family was there — her sisters, her son, and her twin (my father). I will mention, though, that I was having an uncharacteristically FANTASTIC hair day, and my aunts (characteristically) complimented me. My first instinct was to apologize. After all, who focuses on hair at a time like this? But we were striving for normalcy … and honestly, Val would’ve appreciated my haircut, too. She always did. So there was that.

And there was also the slack, lifeless look on her face — a face that has always looked a little bit like mine — that told me: run, leave, I’m not me anymore and you shouldn’t remember me like this.

And so I left. They pulled the plug the next day, but I wasn’t there. The wake was, well, a wake. Totally Catholic. I snuck out to eat a roast beef sandwich and told an old neighborhood girl that the first thing I remembered about her was her idolization of She-Ra. The funeral was the most uplifting I’ve ever been to — partially because the priest and the whole congregation knew her, but mostly because of this:

Val was the most unabashedly odd person I have ever known.

She wrote silly songs about holidays that didn’t have songs of their own. She had an amazing way of personifying inanimate objects. She was loud, brash, and had an infectious laugh — which anyone who didn’t understand her would probably find obnoxious. She had an unusually expressive face — which at rest could have been pretty, but couldn’t be harnessed when she was feeling any sort of emotion (which was basically all the time). She loved shopping, and even though she never had much money, she’d pride herself on the bargains she’d find at the consignment shop. She loved to sing. And while she wasn’t able to move very well for most of her adult life, she loved to dance … and did so, in her own way, whenever she had the chance. It didn’t matter whether or not she was good at it.

To those who know me, I hope this sounds a little familiar.

When I was little — intelligent beyond my years, though hopelessly, irreparably weird — there were few people who understood me. Val was one of them. In fact, she was the best. “My favorite aunt,” I would call her, before I was old enough to understand that such distinctions among family were inappropriate. I’d look forward to her coming over with her pile of instruments and silly little songs … and when she did, I had a kindred spirit (while my mom rolled her eyes in the background).

This is what I remembered as soon as I left the hospital that Sunday, and it’s what I remember now.

Val, wherever you are, I want you to know I’ll miss you. And I’ll keep writing silly songs and laughing a little too loud … because I know that’s how you’d want it.

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Steak Sandwich Night!

I made some kick-ass steak sandwiches tonight! I can’t really post an honest recipe because I measured nothing, but I feel I should at least document the gist of it … basically because I’m proud of myself.

The Steak:

I have trouble with the concept of using premium cuts in a sandwich — if I’m spending the money, I’d rather appreciate rib eye cooked simply on its own, thank you very much. So I bought plain old sirloin. I marinated it for a couple of hours in:

Olive oil
Crushed garlic
Lemon juice
Fresh basil
Fresh oregano
Mustard seed

Then Rob pounded the crap out of it with a meat mallet. We seasoned it and cooked it in olive oil in a screaming hot skillet for about a minute on each side. After resting, I cut it on the bias as thinly as possible.

The Cheese:

This is so atypically evil of me I can barely stand it. I wanted to smear the bread with cheesy goodness, and Rob recently got a steak sandwich with Asiago at a restaurant. I liked how it worked, so I threw the following into the food processor:

A decent sized wedge of Asiago, cubed
A handful of grated parmesan
A clove of garlic
A couple scallions (white and green parts)
Black pepper
A few globs of light mayo
A few good glugs of olive oil

I told you it was evil, but YUM. Probably too intense for me to eat on its own with crostini (maybe if I added some sour cream?), but it served my purposes well.

The Construction:

I smeared the cheese spread on both sides of a fresh baguette (thanks, Iggy’s!). Six to eight slices of beautiful rare steak per sammich. A handful of baby arugula. Then we toasted them in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes; the steak was medium-rare by the time they came out.

Done and DONE. The sirloin was so tender and the marinade so flavorful, I would’ve been happy with the steak alone — but these sandwiches really did elevate it, without overpowering it. (In my opinion, anyway.) I served them with a very simple tomato salad.

Tomorrow, back to eating healthy. I have to admit, though, that it’s fun to throw caloric caution to the wind sometimes and just make something unabashedly evil and awesome. It’s so liberating! (Note to self: Do NOT get used to it. You just ordered new jeans and they are rather wee.)

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A Bunch of Crap About Me: Part the second

It’s Friday! I don’t think I deserve to think anymore today than I already have … so therefore I bring you:

100 Things About Me: #21-40

(Which might be amusing, because I’m drinking prosecco!)

  1. I’m seriously double-jointed. (Yes, that is a medical term!) You can bend my fingers as if they had no bones — though maybe a little cartilage. In our country, we call them Salad Fingers!
  2. The real Salad Fingers scares the bejeezus out of me. (Just wait till the episode with the oven. JUST. YOU. WAIT.)
  3. I used to play violin for money.
  4. And briefly in a goth band.
  5. I also used to draw.
  6. And sing.
  7. And act.
  8. I abandoned many talents out of boredom, laziness, and/or sheer lack of discipline.
  9. I have a wonderful habit of leaving my clothes in the dryer … for days!
  10. My boyfriend loves me very much!
  11. I’m a good cook. That’s probably why.
  12. I also have a phenomenal rack!
  13. I have been to Europe, Asia, and Africa, but I’ve never seen California.
  14. Sometimes I accidentally write emo lyrics without even noticing. A blessing and a curse!
  15. I like my meat raw and bloody.
  17. I can’t touch my toes.
  18. But I do NOT have seasonal allergies!
  19. I have a very malleable personality. I can comfortably converse with The Dude at the Party who Everyone Hates for an hour … but so help me god I won’t like it.
  20. I’m the only artsy freak I know who thinks she looks better blonde … and tanned.

Oh, getting to know myself. Such a long, crazy journey. May we never reach the end, my friend!

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Where the birds go to die

Women have interesting relationships with their hairdressers. Once you’ve gone to someone for a few years or so, they tend to know more about your life than many people who see you every day — like coworkers, for instance. My history with my hairdresser has outlived my relationships with plenty of people who have worked at my company. And she’s known me longer than most who work there now. Hell, she’s known me longer than my boyfriend.

So, having known this woman for almost ten years now, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised by conversations like this. (I’ll spare you the excitement surrounding my new “Aviarium” birdfeeder, though. Just know that’s where it started.)

ME (re: the Aviarium): It sucks that the cardinals are afraid to come in.
HD (razoring away): Yeah, they’re skittish.
ME: But the blue jays are skittish, too, though! And they come in all the time!

[snip, snip, snip!]

HD: Oh! So, a duck laid some eggs in my boyfriend’s yard.
ME: Does he have water?!
HD: Yeah! He has a little pond.
ME (dreaming): That’s awesome.
HD: So I’ve been watching the eggs for a few days, and something got a couple of them. A raccoon, probably. But there are still a couple there, and I don’t think the duck’s coming back.
ME: Really? Can you do anything!? I’d call Audubon!

[And I would call Audubon — even though they never gave me my windbreaker.]

HD: No, I looked online, and I know you’re not supposed to touch the eggs. I guess the ducks lay a couple of eggs a day, and they’ll only stay with the final batch.

[I think about this for a moment.]

ME: You know, birds can’t live for very long.
HD: Ducks’ll sit on their eggs for a while, though! They’ll sit there for like, a month!
ME: But still! Think of how many birds you see all over the place. They can’t live for very long … so why don’t you ever see dead birds all over the place? Where do you think birds go to die?

[At this point, HD is halfway across the room in search of product, and she whips around to look at me.]

HD: I know where seagulls go to die.

[I had honestly considered this a hypothetical question.]

HD: YES. On Block Island. There’s a marsh where I was walking once. I just happened to find it. And on one side, I saw a graveyard of dead ones, just lying there —
HD: YES! But on the other side of the marsh, I saw the old ones …
ME: … No …
HD: … and the old ones just stand in the water, looking toward the sea.

[I think of them for a moment. Old seagulls, wizened warriors on the wing, pondering the most memorable meals they stole. My Cape Cod chips, perhaps? On Good Harbor Beach in 1999? I should certainly hope so.]

ME: That? Is unbelievable.
HD: I know. It’s really eerie.
ME: It’s eerie … but also incredibly cool.
HD: Oh, it’s totally cool.
ME: Clearly I have to do some research on this. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

I have, in fact, done some limited research, and it indicates that birds do what most wild animals do when they die: When they’re feeling “not right,” they go to a remote place to either wait it out or succumb to it. They won’t be in their usual haunts.

If I ever stumble upon the place where cardinals go when they die, I’ll be devastated.

But I wish it could be so simple for us.

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A Bunch of Crap About Me: Part the first

A little more than halfway through April, and BEDA is totally pissing me off. I don’t like coming up with stuff for the sake of coming up with stuff, especially when I already spend 40+ hours a week coming up with words on cue for people who get paid way more than me. Hence, I skipped a couple of days. I’m trying not to feel bad about it … but I kinda do.

So, to maximize what little momentum I have left, I’m employing a relatively mindless yet potentially enjoyable (for me, at least) way to fill a few posts. And I don’t care if y’all did this on Facebook six months ago. I didn’t!

So I bring you …

100 Things About Me: #1-20

(Which Might Be Amusing, Because I’m Strange!)

  1. I have a freakishly short torso. Low-rise jeans are a godsend to me.
  2. For a creative person, I’m oddly good at math.
  3. I have a betta fish named The Chief who lives in my cube. He’s over a year old, and when he dies I’ll be devastated.
  4. The Chief and I get paid to write for a living. I’m damn good at it; he needs improvement.
  5. I have an uncanny ability to project personalities onto animals and inanimate objects — and I commit to them 100%.
  7. I like to know the endings of stressful movies before I watch them. Otherwise I get nervous and hide behind my Slanket.
  8. I slept in my contacts once and couldn’t open or close my eyes for three hours.
  9. I’m afraid of heights for no good reason.
  10. I’m also afraid of balloons — for good reason.
  11. I find CSI Miami incredibly entertaining.
  12. I look stupid in collared shirts.
  13. My head is stupid small. Maybe that’s why.
  14. I’ve never had a driver’s license.
  15. I like the smell of fresh paint.
  16. There’s a little nub at the base of my spine that looks as though it could’ve been a tail at one time. I suspect my parents had one surgically removed when I was born.
  17. I think wolves are awesome.
  18. And the people who are really into wolves? Even more awesome.
  19. I’ve dressed up as a shark and head-banged to live metal on multiple occasions.
  20. I enjoy gluing eyeballs to doorknobs and appliances.

Man, I am strange. Let’s see what I come up with next time I have nothing to blog about! In other words, tomorrow!

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ZipWhip: Coming soon to a parking lot near you!

Yo, homies! Lookin’ for a dope whip but not lookin’ to commit? Don’t go to this guy’s website. Look no further than ZipWhip … because you don’t want no Jetta or Prius from ZipCar when you’re cruisin’ some strip tryin’ to scope some honeys.

All ZipWhip rides are tricked out thusly:

Souped Up Bass
Sweet Rims
Neon Undercarriage
Illegal Tints

And we offer the following dope ass models!

Chevy Impala
Monte Carlo
Chevy Caprice
Chevy Impala
Pontiac Bonneville
Chevy Impala
Chevy Impala

ZipWhip offers the most competitive rates in the industry: Dime bags, bling, and bottles of ‘Tron are accepted (and encouraged) as currency!

So the next time you’re looking for a dope ride and you’re not going to Whole Foods, Ikea, or Rockport, consider ZipWhip for your temporary vehicular needs. Your reputation and/or rap career will thank you!

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MC Lorcasaur on the mic!

I am so nervous about performing my Cherry Blossom Rap this evening! Especially now that Rob has told me that I have no flow.

He thinks he has flow.


Anyway, since not everyone will be privileged enough to attend my exclusive debut this evening, I feel it’s only fair that I share my lyrical genius here. After all, the lyrics are the best part due to my unfortunate lack of flow.

Please to enjoy:

My 2009 Cherry Blossom Rapstravaganza!

I was walkin’ through the ‘hood and my feets were cold
Thought we said goodbye to winter; that shit’s gettin’ old
I turned onto Putnam wishin’ I had a drink
When out the corner of my eye I see a splash of pink

A scrawny little tree, full of cherry blossoms
Though I was pissed I said, “This shit is awesome.”
‘Cause everybody knows it’s a sure sign of spring
when even crappy trees are decked out in bling.

Them blossoms may be pretty, but they also mean stuff
They can make you philosophical when times get rough
I think of all my homies who went down the wrong path
Hangin’ out with gangs or gettin’ too into math

They had beautiful lives and they shoulda been cool
But they turned into dicks by hangin’ out with tools
I thought we were friends until they dissed my ass
They said our time was done, I was livin’ in the past


Life is short on the Cambridge streets
Cherish every moment that you’re on your feet
‘Cause in an instant you could be on your knees
Lost on the wind like a blossom from a tree

Life is short and the blossoms die
You miss your homies, and the cold makes you cry
In the springtime you feel you’re alive
Cherish the promise when the blossoms arrive


I said “screw ‘em” but I didn’t mean dead
Brought down by equations or a shot to the head
But that’s how it went down, and I miss ‘em like flowers
Closing down their petals in their very final hours.

Springtime comes, and it’s fleeting at best
So enjoy the pretty weather ‘till it’s time to rest
Before you know it you’ll be freezing and sad
You shoulda drank outside before that shit got bad

So when winter’s over and the trees turn pink
Go to Putnam Ave and take a moment to think
Don’t start to suck – just let life be awesome
Don’t become compost like the cherry blossoms.


2008’s Cherry Blossom Anthem: The One to Beat

Okay, so my rap must somehow be better than this. I’m just not sure it’s possible.

The Official Putnam Avenue Cherry Blossom Anthem
Lyrics and music (sorry you can’t hear it) by Lorcasaur

– verse 1 –

They’re the special little flowers that come once a year
Hangin’ in the trees and spreadin’ good cheer
Everybody get your cameras ‘cause it’s

They fall into your hair and put a smile on your face
Drippin’ happy goodness all over the place
You might wanna put a hat on ‘cause it’s


They’re okay in San Francisco
And Japan has nice ones, too
D.C. might have a couple
Even Boston has a few

But still you can’t compare them to …

– verse 2 –

So do your happy dance and wear your best pink shirt
Before the pretty flowers turn to paste in the dirt
Put on your silk kimono ‘cause it’s

If you blink and you miss them there’s always next year
And for now it’s an excuse to hang out and drink beer
Everybody raise your glasses ‘cause it’s


They’re dead in San Francisco
In Japan they’re worm food
In D.C. we tried to see them
But the trees were butt-nude

But it looks like a fairy pooed ….

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Cherry Blossoms in the Hizzy, Yo!

It’s hard to replicate genius. Believe me! I know! This Friday marks the second annual Cherry Blossom Festival of Cambridge’s legendary Putnam Avenue — which shall be celebrated with a gala event on my friend Sarah’s porch. Last year, I commemorated the festival with a hit song entitled “Cherry Blossom Time” (lyrics to follow, possibly to satisfy tomorrow’s BEDA requirement).

Oh, what a song it was. Because I was kind enough to provide lyric sheets for everyone, it actually degenerated into a full-blown sing-along … which we don’t see enough of at parties these days.

The way I see it, I have two choices this year: either reprise my instant classic, cementing it into the annals of Cherry Blossom History … or live on the edge and try to top it.

I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking: Clearly, I must compose a rap.

I KNOW, right??!

I’m willing to bet that a fusion of the delicate, symbolic beauty of cherry blossoms with the gritty realism of hip-hop culture has never been attempted before! (Not in English, anyway.) I will be breaking some serious ground here. The parallels, once illuminated, will be difficult to ignore: if you’re a wayward youth seeking acceptance by joining a violent street gang, might your life become just as fleeting as a cherry blossom set free by the wind? A blossom whose time on earth, though undeniably beautiful, is destined to be heartbreakingly brief?

The answer to that question is YES!

I’ll be sure to report back on my lyrical progress. Until then, please take time to contemplate the fleeting nature of life — and don’t fucking take it for granted because you could get capped at any moment.

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