Thursday, June 29, 2006

viva la babar!

loveandcyanide loves the French. we were totally mortified during that whole bullshit 'freedom fry' nonsense, and when people think they're being hip and funny by mocking our amis francais, we smile politely at them and then go home and play Charles Trenet while making voodoo dolls of those small-minded fools.

we seem to especially like french cartoons. as per the usual, this quirk of ours most likely stemmed from something bizarre in our childhood. it was a sweatshirt, actually.

a light pink sweatshirt, emblazoned with a cartoon cat wearing a beret. the cat's name was Coco. how do we know that? why there was a word bubble coming out of the cat's mouth with the phrase "je'mappelle Coco" inside of it. thinking about it now, it was totally weird - but i loved that damn sweatshirt and wore it all the time during the 2nd grade. i don't know why, and i don't know where the hell my mother found it, and i don't know what on earth my classmates must have made of it. but i wish we still had it, since it was always big on me so it could possibly still fit and missy would certainly be sporting it everywhere if it was still in our possession today. (thankfully i've managed to track down another shirt with a french animal on it. this time a tshirt, on it is Jacques Hippoe, a debonair little mustachioed hippo. it doesn't get much better than that, and giant kudos to Spasmodica for keeping my closet francophiliarized.)

so while Coco the cat and her pink sweatshirt have gone up to that giant closet in the sky, other slightly (just slightly) more popular characters have managed to continue everyone's favorite french pachyderm, who i just discovered is turning 75 this year. happy birthday, Babar!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

check out my nifty headgear!

there's a good number of things i've come across out there that i feel are not just unnecessary, but Ridiculously Unnecessary. wearing socks with sandals (if you want your feet completely covered JUST WEAR SHOES). the Dixie Chicks version of "Landslide". the 400 varieties of celeb tabloid magazines that all contain the same articles/photos. cell phone charms. fake press-on toenails (they do really exist outside of Pee-Wee's Christmas Special.). Star Jones. etcetc.

so i randomly came across something else to add to the list. and this one is moving straight to the top...Swapsets.

oh, so you've never heard of them either? let me enlighten. a Swapset is for those who want "wearable technology". those tired of catching a glimpse of themselves in the mirror with an ugly pair of headphones on. (or as the website states, those who do not want "to be forced to choose between looking like a secret service agent and a fast food worker".) those who would instead prefer to see, oh let's say a herringbone headband, color-coordinated head piece/earphones attached into said headband, and a sparkly dangly charm hanging off the entire contraption. this kids, is a swapset:

why would you want all that atop your head? i get the whole 'hands free' appeal, but i think this is a strange and cluttered way to go about it. as an avid headband-wearer, i believe it would be rather uncomfortable to have my headband attached to my headphones. and what's with the patterns? this set costs over $60...can i only use it when i'm sporting my powder blue & brown jumper? and we know my feelings on dangly accoutrements, so i won't get started on the serves-no-purpose-at-all charm that comes with it. and is this really supposed to be stylish? if this is my only alternative to looking like a secret service agent/Burger King employee, get me some dark glasses and a hairnet, pronto.

Monday, June 26, 2006

idol of the week: Manfred Woelfl

has anyone else noticed that there's been an awful lot of bear stories in the news recently? basically once or twice a week for the past month or so i've spied headlines about bears. in trees in NJ, fugitive Italian bears in Germany, pizzly bears in Canada, etcetc. not that bears aren't newsworthy - if there was a paper that only reported bear stories you know loveandcyanide would subscribe - but it's interesting how much attention the media is suddenly paying to our ursine friends. could it have something to do with the fact that one stuffed polar bear started blogging? we're just saying.

so the highlight of this most recent bear story - the only actual good part of the article, as it is otherwise quite sad - is a quote from a Hr. Manfred Woelfl, the Bavarian state government's bear specialist.

what a spectacular sounding title. how does one become the government's bear specialist?! sign us up!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

familial psychosis indeed!

in addition to the rampant hysteria that has been plaguing both my aunt and sister, our father, never one to be picked last on the playground, has taken a running leap onto the slightly unbalanced bandwagon, commandeering it into the depths of dysfunction. ever since our neighbor (missy's bff-disco's protege-adopted&adoredbrother) taught disco how to play beerpong (prompting him to heckle boys half his age and cheer his daughter on from the sidelines, bringing back those wonderful days of CYO softball... 'come on little dude, you can't throw better than that?!') he has been unstoppable in the quest to bond with his two pride&joys. for father's day we got him to wear matching t-shirts with us and even do shots of limoncello in honor of missy's birth (nothing says italian american bonding quite like shots of alcoholic citrus fruit with coffee and sfogliatelli). this weekend, however, he has surpassed our quality time expectations.

after rebuilding the apartment that caught fire a few months ago in our family's building my dad has become quite close with the young tenant. he was explaining to me that her housewarming party is this weekend and that she invited he and our mother. i innocently asked, 'so what did mommy say?'

disco's response?

'your mother? pleaseeeee, she said no. i told her i don't care. my daughters will come with me! free wine?! you're there!'

after a quarter of a century of him worrying about corrupting our impressionable young minds, sissy and i have managed to do the opposite and turn our father into jim belushi.

Friday, June 23, 2006

through the peephole, continued.

so the shenanigans continued in our building last night, courtesy of the old loon across the hall. this time the authorities were involved, so we know she meant business. unfortunately it wasn't the police to haul away the junkie downstairs. just the fire department. i didn't catch exactly what was going on (there is only so much you can see through the peephole...even though Bear could even take this one, we're still too afraid to open the door while she's on the loose), but i heard her repeatedly shouting about "the fumes" (these fumes, whatever they may be, since we live a mere 7 ft. away from her and don't smell anything suspect, are apparently a constant issue for her, as i came home one night a month ago and she appeared in the hall shushing me and babbling about fumes. i'd take things more seriously if we didnt have a carbon monoxide detector in our apt).

anyways, there she was shouting about the fumes and furiously pointing into her apartment. the firemen said they would go in and take a look. at this point i left my post by the door to a. mute the tv - i didn't want them to know i was there, and b. call missy, since it's not fair for one of us to experience the bizarre without the other. a short time later the truck pulled away (sirens blaring. was there a need to blare the sirens while driving AWAY from the fake emergency??), so i'm guessing everything checked out ok. of course 20 minutes later her door was still open and she was still yelling about the fumes. i could also hear the melodious sounds of her favorite lysol can, shooshing around her apt. in retrospect, i suppose it would have been neighborly of me to go over there and suggest that the constant lysol spraying might be contributing to the phantom fumes that plague her apartment. oh well.

so i'm imagining it's only a matter of time before there is some sort of totally ridiculous missy/chrissy/nutty old lady run-in, as she's growing battier by the day. my guess is the melee will involve someone getting maced with lysol. can't wait. stay tuned. and if you don't hear from us for a few days, call the polizia over to our apt. thanks kids.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

well, i DO enjoy a good bundt cake.. .

the thing about families is like, i get it, everyone's family is soooo special and quirky and (oH, teehee) your crazy old aunt says inappropriate things at thanksgiving dinner, but like, our family actually is. okay. the thing about our family is that we're the tiniest. there's only 7 of us so we're this bizarre little clan that knows way too much about each other and doesn't welcome outsiders. we also have (if i do say so myself) great senses of humor which provides hours of entertainment during our weekly jaunts at the casa di nana and hours of fierce scrabble competition. that is, of course, with the obvious exception of my mother who is notorious for having no funny bone in her body which just makes it all the more exciting when she attempts to be funny. one time she casually walked into the living room and said to our father, 'Vic guess what!' unenthusiastic father asks what and the mother says, 'i just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to geico.' this cracked her up for about three months, i kid you not. anyway, the deranged comedy gene was most likely inherited by sissy and i from our aunt dee-dee who, like us, goes into fits of hysterics (often prompted by creating stories in her head) and occasionally needs to leave the dinner table. we feel our aunt helped cultivate our creative imaginations by doing things with us when we were little such as signing our coloring books with pseudonyms (Candy, Danielle, Bambi... it's like we colored with pornstars) and inventing stories about seeing the little mermaid shopping on fifth avenue. now that we're older and she feels that she has securely molded our great minds into the kinds that will appreciate her antics, we have become her favorite conspirators/confessors.

the most recent bout of hysteria has been brought on by her return to her mother's house. after being the first to move out when she was 19 (we actually are in possession of her first blender, proof of how long ago that really was) she has also been the first to move back to keep things 'under control.'

the other day upon returning to nana's house, aunt dee-dee discovered that the garage door appeared to be stuck about 36 inches or so from the ground. not having brought her keys to the front door, said aunt pondered what to do, and,confusing emergency situation procedures, literally stopped. dropped. and rolled. (it's not that far fetched, our uncle is a fireman, he drills this into our heads) after standing up, now inside the garage, and finding herself covered in grease(lightning!) she decided she should probably share the story with her favorite nieces.

although our family is (unfortunately) all about sharing, our aunt should have realized that this would be one of those stories that she would probably never here the end of as it is only June and already the line of the summer seems to be.. did you roll under there too? this is quite similar to the time she thoughtfully remarked, 'i do enjoy a good burger' which we both now repeat anytime the word burger is mentioned.

all new levels of dementia seem to have swept the family this week, however. yesterday we discovered an email from our aunt detailing her new email, telephone number and address. this would have been really helpful if A. she sent it to anyone other than her sister and two nieces or B. we all did not grow up in the house she sent the address for. staring at us from the bottom of this non-sensical email was a smiley face flipping burgers!

a bbq-ing smiley! who knew! and when did they grow arms anyway? aren't they technically 'smiley-faces'? my face cannot flip burgers. if it could i wouldn't have to freelance.

back to the story.
sissy and i chalked the bizarro smiley up to annoying msn's inclusion of icons and figured they were being cutesy for the summer. c then proceeded to write our aunt back, detailing the exciting discovery (high seas adventures indeed, Bear) of the Super Stop & Shop near us. to anyone else this is not exciting, in fact you are probably wondering what is with all the grocery shopping, but our family is gaga over groceries. and in the world that is our family's grocery heaven, stop&shop is the messiah. so after sending this innocent bit of news sissy and i receive the world's most amusing email. transcript is as follows:

what did you think about my bbq smiley face?

as far as SS&S
(ed. note: Super Stop & Shop, i told you they take this seriously) please bring a circular so nana will give you a shopping list (why should i have all the fun).

The pool is all cleaned & ready. We even cleaned the sliding pond and super waxed it. I'm going to have U.Sal
(ed. note: Uncle Sal, giant younger brother of aunt and mother, acts like an overgrown eight-year old, fireman of monstrous proportions) try it and hopefully it will throw him into the porch screen.

Obviously, just one of the many highlights of this email is that we are possibly the only people still referring to a slide as a 'sliding pond.' this no doubt showcases our family's Kennedy-era glamour with our flashy sixties slang and pool dubbed the 'esther williams' (seriously, it says it around the edges).

sissy, clearly still delusional from all the familial internet interaction im'd me to see if our mother has a bundt pan because we will be staying there this weekend and she would like 'to bake a chocolate and pistachio bundt cake.' chrissy has actually only baked a cake once. this is not a knock on her skills, she literally has only done it one time.

for a boy.

who broke up with her the following weekend.

now, i'm not blaming the cake. i'm just saying, it's a bit suspicious. and now she's on this baking kick again. just the other day she was talking about making one for my mother's fifty-first birthday. i can't help but think, the woman's over fifty, she has enough stress, don't make her eat your cake, chrissy!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

we're SO nice.

i was quite happy to read this report today. i've always thought NYC was a pretty polite town, and its always bothered me when people say things to the effect of "new yorkers are assholes" and "oh, new york scares me." especially when they've never even been here, and are just envisioning a movie scene where an irate cabbie is angrily gesturing and screaming at someone who stepped in front of his vehicle, since what that person doesn't realize is that the pedestrian didn't have the right-of-way and wasn't supposed to be walking in front of the cab anyways and the cab driver isn't really a mean person, he's just frustrated because at times it takes a good 20 minutes to simply get across a few blocks because people like the said pedestrian just take it upon themselves to mosey into the street when they aren't supposed to. lawbreakers.

so yea, we're not assholes. we just walk fast and don't like to look each other in the eye. that's not being impolite -it's just being efficient.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

things are getting a little david lee roth around here.

so the past few days have been filled with happiness and excitement for loveandcyanide. we bought our first appliance on our own today - an air conditioner - and even managed to get it into the car all by ourselves. a friend gave me a pin that proclaimed i was "the world's best pirate" (i am.), which made my month. we discovered fake grill marks on boca burgers, thereby officially making them the grossest but funniest food we've ever dealt with. and a friend of ours was so pleased with the salad bar at Charlie Brown's that he made three trips up to it, and told us with glee about the freshness of the veggies. joy abounds.

since the universe has to keep things balanced, its clear that somewhere an angry little yang had to exist to counteract our happy yin. little did we know all the unhappiness and unrest would practically land on our doorstep. our guess is that people are getting a little crazy from the heat. Case in point:

At approximately 20:00 a disturbance was heard from the hallway in the pleasant abode we (and anyone who can read the sign above our door) like to call Purdy Court. As any sort of sound in the hall instills great fear/curiosity in both missy&chrissy's heads (a result of the overactive imaginations + the desire to find out who actually lives in this building), i rushed to the peephole. The elderly woman across the hall (notorious for her commotions involving loud shushing and attacking perpetrators with lysol) appeared to be leaning precariously over the railing shouting at someone on the lower level. What was she screaming, you ask? Well what else would a ninety-two year old woman be shouting but, 'Shut up you stupid junkie. You a junkie, shut your mouth.' The woman downstairs, clearly a class act, was retaliating at the frail, elderly woman by repeatedly shouting phrases such as, 'Your daughter is a junkie.' and the ever popular playground taunt of, 'Cuckoo, Cuckoooo.' I watched entranced at the peephole as this went on for a good fifteen minutes. Somewhere in this time span both parties decided to threaten the other with suggestions of calling in the authorities. This tactic, although not effective for scaring each other away, did manage to get me away from the peephole as sissies and the NYPD don't mesh well.

How much excitement can two girls have in one week! In addition to the pirate-being-electronic-buying-giant-salad-eating ying and the elderly-lady-junkie-screaming yang there was also a debacle at the psychoPathMark (kudo's to the big sissy for the ingenious name). Who knew that there was such fun to be had grocery shopping on a weekday morn?! Little did i know that my whole life has been spent being in the right grocery store at the wrong time ( Bump that shopping trip up a few hours earlier and whoa, it's a whole new ball game, kids. While taking a break from my exciting freelancing work (i.e. unemployment) sissy and i figured why not take advantage of the fact that she played hookie from work and beat the crowd at the local PM. After discovering that we had packed our 23 items onto the Express 12itemorless lane (tres rebellious.. it's the pirate in us!) we heard some sort of disturbance at the next checkout. Guiltily worrying that someone had spotted our overload at the Quickcheck, the two of us perk up our ears to hear a menopausal female whining about packing her own groceries (maybe she should have gotten on the express because they pack them for you. ha). The checkout lady was ignoring the old hag until she started complaining about buying more than she needed as a result of the store being so big:

"I spend more here because i buy things I don't need. I'm never coming back here again."

Excuse me, ma'am? Is it any one's fault but your own that you obviously have a problem saying no to frozen vegetables and individually wrapped packages of snack cakes? Hearing this woman drone on about her inability to turn down a 2-for-1 at the BigP was like listening to a sorority girl cry about sleeping with THATguy on the first date and never hearing from him again. Oh you can't turn down a buy3get1free Ben&Jerry's so you spend more? Oh you sleep with people to make them like you so they think you're a whore? Guess what, you did it to yourself.

But I digress. The major importance of this story was the shocking display of loyalty the cashiers at the Pathmark mustered up. Everyone let this aged thing drone on about not coming back until she specifically called bigP a rip-off. To this her own cashier said, "Excuse me? We have great prices." I was impressed. Does Pathmark even know they have such loyal workers for a mere $6.75 an hour? This woman's sense of right thawed my heart more than when someone discards their unwanted eggo's in the cereal aisle. The argument was starting to get a little loud when our cashier chimed in, shouting from across two registers, "You a cheapskate! We have good prices! You cheap! Pathmark not expensive, you just cheap." This was far too much for the sissies to handle as we paid and hustled out snickering and trying to avoid having an accident on the floor of the grocerystore..

Thursday, June 15, 2006

best thing ever. again.

so we just got back in from taking a stroll around the park during lunch. a school band was set up, and getting ready to play when we arrived. interesting, but nothing too exciting - we've all been band geeks before. well, guess what their first song was? THE YMCA! the song is 25x more fun when there's a brass section.

these boots were not made for walking.

i'm currently padding around the office in fuzzy leopard slippers as the shoes i wore to work today utterly destroyed my feet. now, before you dismiss this posting as stupid girl whining (for a brief second while starting this topic i did feel like Carrie Bradshaw, which made me want to vomit.), i will admit it - i AM a stupid girl (when it comes to shoes) who loves her shoes more than anything and keeping her feet at their maximum cuteness level is 100% more important than comfort. HOWEVER, the current problem, and major problem here, is that today i was wearing flats. There were no 3-inch stilettos keeping my legs in a unnatural stilt-walkeresque position that i can blame for the pain. No pointy fronts where my toes would have to practically overlap each other to squeeze in the narrow opening. No crazy straps or ribbons cutting off circulation in my ankles. these are plain old leather flats, and yet they are brutally uncomfortable. whyyy???

upon inspection of the (evil!!) back of the shoe, i felt the material on the inside of it seemed somewhat like cardboard, hence the destruction of my innocent heels. why couldn't the company use a different material as the liner? would it be asking too much to make the backs of shoes a little more plushy? (as i'm not a shoemaker, this may be as ludicrous as me requesting booties made of clouds, i know.) do they use unpleasant materials since they're cheaper and keep the cost down? hell, i'd have paid an extra $20 for this pair if it meant no bloodshed.

sigh. no pain, no gain i guess. but i do have faith that some happy-shoe-medium has to exist (no offense, aerosoles. valid attempt though), and one day when missy and i get off our asses and form some sort of company, it looks like we're going to have to be the ones to make it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

be a major in manthropology

the eldest third of loveandcyanide first kissed a boy more than 20 years ago, at the tender age of three. of course it was totally innocent and most likely unwanted, as Charlie - who was my little partner in crime at the time - and I were playing with his he-man toys, and I doubt he was thrilled that I interrupted a battle with skeletor with my premature discovery of romance.

So one would think with a full two decades of experience with the opposite sex under my belt I'd at least be able to minorly figure out the male mind by this point in life. negative. i probably had more of a clue when I was wily three-year-old trying to seduce a fellow toddler in front of castle grayskull.

thankfully, some very cool guys that I know have gone and created from terminology to male-stuff anecdotes, which they will have up shortly, i can finally attempt to decipher the male brain. or at least have some fun new nomenclature (love that word) to use for the strange things that you boys do.

Monday, June 12, 2006


last night i was thrilled to pieces to learn that starting july 10th adult swim will be airing episodes of Pee-wee's Playhouse. joy! the show will air mon-thurs, at 11pm, so it looks like i am going to have to abandon my elderly person bedtime.

upon reading the press release that adult swim put out, i was surprised to read this sentence: airing all 45 original half-hour episodes of the series and the rarely-seen Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. rarely seen?! where the hell have you people been? pee-wee's christmas special is awesome -- it's one of loveandcyanide's favorites, and we've been watching it forever. so come on kids - start tuning in on july 10th. let's show pee-wee some love, so he doesn't have to sit in the back of some movie theater and show himself.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

ring ring, whoreface.

the title has nothing to do with the rest of this posting, but missy just addressed me with it, and it was too good not to document somewhere. now on to more important matters.

one of the best things about leaving the country is the diversity that you find beyond our borders. now i'm not talking about people or vegetation - you can watch the discovery channel for a discourse on that. i'm referring to the massive selection of Nestle ice cream products that are found in other parts of the world.

when you think of nestle ice cream products - well, if you think of them. but really, why wouldn't you?? - i'm assuming you envision your supermarket's freezer dept and the blue boxes of drumsticks and crunch pops. pretty standard. pretty dull. those new tollhouse cookie ice cream sandwiches are rather good, but not enough to compensate for the lack of excitement in the rest of the line. however, step foot off US soil and suddenly nestle is the creme de la creme (how does one use accent marks on this thing?) of the ice cream world. from the exotic variety of flavors to the fun characters on their signs to the ridiculously snazzy and adorable toy containers some of the ice creams are held in, it's apparent that nestle is king.

while having a most serious and intellectual conversation over the abundance of nestle products in the foreign ice cream market, we came to the conclusion that it's due to their lack of ice cream chains. europe (or at least the decent amount of countries we've been to within europe) is devoid of the carvels and dairy queens that plague our streets and shopping malls, beckoning to us fat americans with promises of 400 flavors, copious amounts of candy toppings and giant sized portions. poor little nestle is squeezed out of the ice cream game. totally unfair. i'd take plain vanilla ice cream in a plastic astronaut monkey over the singing freaks at coldstone or baskin and his 31 flavors any old day.

now some of you may be sitting there saying "what can be so damn special about these products?" and "why am i bothering to read this long essay on ice cream?" well, here is some photographic evidence to persuade you/make all this reading worthwhile (everyone loves pictures).

exhibit A:

who wouldn't want to buy an ice pop from one of those adorable little cows?

exhibit B:

this is friky fresa. he is a little plastic dinosaur/mouse/monster that comes filled with strawberry ice cream. what fun!

exhibit C:

Vachy contains vanilla and chocolate ice cream. because missy is a withholder, she opted to not inform me of vachy's existence after checking out the contents of a freezer, even though she knows the cow is one of my favorite animals. typical. however, she did buy me...

exhibit D:

PUNKY!! (pronounce poon-ky by the man selling the ice cream) he actually said "you likey punky? me likey punky too". and i'm sure he knows his stuff.

so punky may have been filled with plain old vanilla ice cream, but his awesome yellow plastic eyebrows, rubber red spiky hair and odd little hole in his mouth (which i take as his ability to become a sippy-cup for alcohol, now that he's been depleted of his duty as an ice cream container) more than made him one of the best ice cream experiences of my life. me likey punky indeed. bear likes punky too. (a little too much, one might say)

One Ticket for the Bitter Express, Please.

an important thing that all of our readers must know is how love&cyanide got it's name. what some of you, okay most of you besides g-money, are completely unaware of is a simple fact about missy. similar to a beloved green seuss-ian character, there happens to be a hole where the girl's heart should be. this has always been a major source of entertainment for friends and family allowing for a slew of mean nicknames which are deemed unoffensive to me, because of the aforementioned lack of warmth in my upper left torso. contrary to popular belief, one does not need this organ to survive and can actually find a more meaningful and enjoyable existence without it. due to my handicap i am exempt from numerous activities required of the average twenty-two year old female such as picking out affectionate birthday cards and crying over frat boys.

so why should you care?

well, this is my apology for neglecting the little blog that could for the past month or so. i never knew how detrimental it could be to my humor or biting wit if someone turned all who-ville on me and made the heart grow ten sizes in one day. and so someone stole the bitter from my bus. boo hissssss.

so why am i back?

in classic m.r. style the hole has returned to its normal dormant state. what? how so? actually the story isn't that bizarre. which makes it more bizarre really. oh how i long for the good old days of having a bowl of pretzels thrown at my face, abandoned on a national holiday, left in the woods, or even my standard tossing of electronic equipment at the offenders head. but alas, being a functional human being means it's not okay to throw tantrums. [cue lyrics from coming of age blink182 song here.] i don't really find that at all appealing though, especially since it leaves me with no interesting tales for vous, so to right the situation an overdue newyearsresolution is in order.

dear loveandcyanide,

i solemnly swear to only date people with drug dependencies, anger management or multiple personalities. i promise to always write about the shenanigans of said disasters and to never let them stay the whole night or hold my hand. i will try my best to meet really unintelligent men in public places and record what they say to me before i vomit on them and ignore them. more importantly, i vow to never become overly optimistic and abandon you, my snarky little bastard child.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

you know you were in useless knowledge withdrawal.

We're baaa-aack...

and quite happy to report that your favorite three amigas were neither arrested, deported, nor attacked by monkeys during their exciting little overseas adventure. We have some stories for you all, but will save them for another time, as our hands are lazy from spending so much time laying idly at our sides whilst we tanned all week.

But since you kids have so patiently awaited our return, we can't go to bed leaving you empty handed. errr, minded. (vacations make us so benevolent). so here is some v. important information on how to tell the difference between cozies and hardboiled mystery novels, courtesy of when you find yourself at an agatha christie convention and are quizzed on this stuff, remember to thank loveandcyanide.

If the book has an elderly character that solves crimes in her spare time, it is a cozy.
If the book has an elderly character that gets shot seven times in the face and is then raped, it is hardboiled.

If a cat, dog, or other cute domestic animal helps solve the crime, it is a cozy.
If a cat, dog, or other cute domestic animal is set on fire, it is hardboiled.

If the murder weapon is a fast-acting poison, it is a cozy.

If the murder weapon is a blowtorch, it is hardboiled.