Saturday, February 26, 2005

"Bon Jovi called. He wants his jacket back."

To cab or not to cab. That is the question.

It was rather late when I stumbled into the cold of Union Square -- 12:30 am to be exact. Jess and I finally had made good on our plan to do our gin tasting and after sampling seven different varieties and watching a few reruns of Sex and the City, it was time to roll back to Brooklyn. I had every intention of taking a cab back home, but since I soon discovered that every taxi in a four mile radius was occupied, I took the L home anyway.

For those thinking that I'm setting a story up where I tell of some frightful subway encounter, you can rest easy. The worst I had to deal with was some woman's fashion faux pas of silver leather trousers and orange suede Nike's. In case of further trouble, at least I was armed with two bottles of gin -- all I needed to do was decide which bottle to sacrifice in order to preserve my safety.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

"I'm so bored with the USA."

"Ow!" I wanted to cry out as a particularly big flake of snow hit me square in the eye.

It was snowing in New York. Again.

Jane left me the keys to her sister's truck so that I could move it for the street sweepers (they sweep the streets in my trash strewn neighborhood?!) since her and her sister had to go to Iowa for a funeral. And with my luck, I had to move the truck . . . in the snow.

Anyone else sick of winter? I am. This like the 48th time or something it's snowed since I've moved to NY and I am rather tired of it. I think they are calling for 4-7 inches. Christ almighty.

So now that I am nestled in at home, watching my industrial paradise grow frostier and frostier, nursing a margarita, and listing to the Clash rather loudly, I can't help but reflect upon this week. Mainly I've been wound pretty tight -- so tight that a reoccurring pain in my upper left shoulder is more pronounced. Remember that lunch with my bosses that I mentioned last week? Well the lunch was today and naturally I had managed to work myself up into a lather, utterly convinced I was heading for a sack. Naturally I had nothing to worry about. Never mind I practically gave myself an ulcer with worry!

Coming off that rather anti-climax, I felt that it was definitely margarita time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"I just want something . . . something for nothing."

I wish salad bars came with an automatic cut off limit. Some scale or electronic device that sat nearby where I can put my plastic container on and it will say, "Hey, what you got there is way over your $3 limit. Put the tofu back because it's mostly water anyway." And I would go, "I want the tofu. How about I put a few of the asparagus back?"

What I really wanted today was some vegetables, an antidote to the parade of crap I ate and drank this weekend. The good thing about salad bars, is that there are so many vegetable options to gorge on. The bad thing is that before you know it, you've slogged over a pound of food into your ample plastic container. And the thing is that I didn't realize I'd just bought more food than I really needed. That epiphany came after I paid the $5.64 and was sitting at my desk wondering how the hell I thought I could eat six stalks of asparagus, two sushi rolls, a wedge of tofu, and a mess of cold greens and bamboo shoots? Needless to say I am very full right now.

Next time I will get the smaller container.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"Finish your story before I shoot myself."

Is it possible? Did I have the best pizza of my life on Friday night?

It's not very often that one strikes culinary gold; the discovery of a restaurant so good that it defies the odds. Yet as Kathleen, Signe, and I entered into the crowded doorway of Lombardi's Pizza, nothing hinted that we had stumbled upon a real gem other than the line at the bar. I was aware that we were eating at the first licensed pizzeria in the United States, but the red check table cloths and the bright, chain restaurant style decor seemed rather ordinary. When we were finally seated, we ordered the pepperoni and sausage pizza.


Pizza aside, I had another guest filled weekend which meant I had more excuses to explore the city. After dinner on Friday night, we went for drinks at Dark Room (happy hour till 9pm?!) and then Central Park on Saturday to see the Gates. What did I think of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude installation? It was nice, though an overheard British tourist summed it up best with, "It's a lovely idea, but I'm really cold."

And since everyone enjoys a good parody, I had a chuckle at the Somerville Gates.

Friday, February 18, 2005

"Morning's at my window and she's sending me to bed again."

When did I start liking dogs? I've never liked dogs! Especially since I live in an dog crap infested section of Williamsburg. And there I've been -- on multiple occasions lately -- being all "Ooo, I want to pet the doggie!" What happened to my cold, cat loving heart?

I rode up in the elevator today with a rather adorable (!) poodle and later noticed someone's terrier romping around my floor. Apparently it's take-your-dog-to-work day . . . otherwise known as Friday.

Speaking of Friday, today Signe and Kathleen fly up for a fun filled New York weekend. I'm a little knackered from last night's impromptu tequila drinking with the bosses and the drunken subway ride up to Harlem while some guy yelled, "Kill all the motherfuckin' white people!" repeatedly. I was there to watch The Cherry Orchard, which meant that I didn't get back to Brooklyn (after a late dinner at Florent) till after midnight. No rest for the wicked I guess.

And seeing how it's the start of a holiday weekend, here's a little Friday News Roundup

Gothamist pointed out that body parts were found near the Nostrand Avenue stop on the A C line (Eek!). And then there was The New York Times article noting England's backlash to the upcoming Charles and Camilla marriage. I think one of the British tabloids had "Boring Old Gits to Wed" as their headline. Ouch! All this vitriol reminds me of my cousin's marriage to Edward VIII. Oh and I should also point out Dan Savage's excellent op-ed in Times about the poignant coming out of Alan Keyes's daughter.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

". . . sorry for annoying the crap out of you . . ."

I'm absolutely speechless . . . shaking with anger. Why? Because my ex-girlfriend emailed me again! This after I blocked her work address. And she had the cheek to email me with another address! She's an absolute nut case! Here's a sampling from the latest email:

I'm coming back to NYC, but you clearly want nothing to do with me. If you change your mind or ever want to chat you know how to get a hold of me (more ways then you really should).

I really don't want to loose you, but I need to learn that you don't feel the same way and want nothing to do with me.

Can't even fucking spell the word lose!!


"Bohemian like you."

It's been three months since my last hair cut and the mane was starting to get a little long and unruly. One of the things that sucks about moving is having to find a new stylist -- one that is good and that you can trust with a pair of scissors. So I finally bit the bullet and went to get my hair cut at the Beehive, having pulled the name off of Citysearch's list of NY's "top salons."

Holy hipster hairdo!

It looks good, but there's not much left of now that it's gone from a little bit past my shoulders to chin length. As for the Beehive, I definitely enjoyed the kitschy decor and the Manic Panic/tattooed hair dressers. Strangely enough, they only take cash or check.

And for those readers (all four of you) who are still in DC, I really recommend Axis salon in Dupont Circle. Ask for Billy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"Is it loneliness that brought you here?"

Sunday marked my three month anniversary in the city, an anniversary that almost went unnoticed had my boss not emailed me this morning to see if the 24th was a good date to do a three month lunch to talk about my job. I couldn't help but feel panicked -- perhaps I shouldn't -- but the thought of having to sit down and examine my faults and goals has filled me with dread.

Let us all take a long, deep breath.

Now that I am hyper aware of my actions at work (including some lengthy blog time -- tsk) and hyper aware of my time here in Gotham over the last three months, I couldn't help but examined how the city has made me change.

I've adopted new customs such as buying produce from a shack on the side of Houston Street, walk everywhere in a permanent hurry, and sigh impatiently at neophytes who slow the queue for coffee. I've learned to read standing up on a speeding L train, made my fourth floor walk-up my own personal Stairmaster, and ordered out food far more than I ought to. My sense of distance has changed -- a mile no longer feels so far and 20 stories so tall. New York also exposes you to some distinctly urban misadventures such as getting my iPod head phones caught on someone's backpack as we both try to clamber up a crowded stairway.

. . . .

In other news, I've gone ahead and blocked my ex-girlfriend's email address. It was really starting to get out of hand.

Monday, February 14, 2005

"What's so good about goodbye?"

In light the recent stalkerish emails from my ex-girlfriend, this e-card pretty much sums up how I feel about today.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

"I must of had fun 'cause now I'm broke."

There were five email messages in my mailbox this morning, all from the same unknown sender. The first one, received at 12:48 AM, was without a subject line. My mouse hovered over the delete button ready to dispense with the supposed junk mail . . . until my eyes locked onto the subject line of the second email.

Oh crap.

I cautiously clicked on the link to be greeted with:

So, im in manhattan gettin fuckin drunk and ur not here! Wtf is ur problem? I just dont get it.

Cue stunned disbelief followed by me blurting out, "Because you are a fucking lunatic!" Susan, who was sitting next to me and flipping through an old copy of Bon Appetit, looked up for an explanation.

Yes my ex-girlfriend -- the one that I broke up with back in 1999 and didn't speak to for four years -- drunk emailed me from her cell phone five times last night. The last and rather touching email arrived at 5:06 AM:

Look its late and all night ppl tried 2 tell me why u wont talk 2 me, and i just dont undersunders

. . . .

I hate that my ex-girlfriend's stalkerish fixation on me has overshadowed a lovely weekend. Susan and Michelle came up from Washington on Friday for an anti-Valentine's weekend. We had a great night out bar hopping in the Lower East Side. Our route took us from Local 138 to the Luna Lounge and Dark Room, dinner at Inoteca, and dancing to 80s music at Girlsroom. Saturday night we kept things closer to home in Brooklyn -- Spanish tapas at Zipi Zape, a couple drinks at the Greenpoint Tavern, and more drinks at Kings County.

With an alarmingly depleted wallet, I sent Susan and Michelle off to the Port Authority to catch their bus back to DC. Like I said in a previous blog entry, it's always a little sad when I send my friends off for home. Good thing Signe and Kathleen are coming next weekend, but can my bank account handle it?

Friday, February 11, 2005

"Is this place any good?"

A couple weeks ago my hairdryer broke -- bad news. And this wasn't any old death, it was an acrid, dark gray smoke pouring out of unknown orifices kind of death. Suffice to say, I needed a new one and I took temporary measures by using Fala's hairdryer . . . until hers broke this morning. Thankfully it was a death devoid of scary smoke, but this left the loft with a grand total of zero hairdryers -- really bad news.

Since Susan and Michelle are visiting me this weekend and opted to use extra suitcase space for towels, I had to bite the bullet and buy a hairdryer. After a lunch time visit to Ricky's which made me $60 poorer (hairdryer, conditioner, and Burt's Bees lip balm), I headed towards Lahore for some cheap lunch. For those who've never heard of/been to Lahore, it's a miniscule place on Crosby Street that serves take-out Pakistani food. The place is such a claustrophobic hole in the wall that one could easily be entering a magic portal to the real Lahore, Pakistan . . . but I digress.

I didn't even make it Lahore. With the wind kicking down Houston Street, I was blown towards the nondescript lunch cart outside the F and V station, perhaps lured in by the smell of chicken curry.

Lunch Man: "Step under here. No wind," he said, motioning me under the small lunch cart awning. A small crowd was forming, no doubt steered by the wind and the smell of curry.

When I wasn't hypnotized by the sight of food cooking, I was keeping a weary eye out for my stalker ex-girlfriend. Oh have I mentioned that I have become paranoid since yesterday's email saying she was going to be in town?

Lunch Man: "Hot sauce or white sauce, miss?"

Me: "White sauce," I stammered, trying not to think of Crazy Email Girl.

Mmmmmmm. Chicken curry. Too bad the pita it came with was a little on the nasty side. But then again, what should I expect for $3.50.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

"I'll be surprised if you get this, or even bother reading it."


I have to admit it's my fault. I shouldn't have mentioned Crazy Email Girl. Like an evil spirit, only gaining strength when you mention her name aloud . . . or in a blog, she has returned. In short, she emailed me again (that makes seven emails, folks) with a self deprecating plea to meet up for coffee or a drink when she is in town this Saturday/Sunday. Why, why, and why? I haven't answered the email and chances are I won't, but I am toying with the urge to give her another dose of "please fuck off." And then there is part of me who wants to show up at her hotel just to yell at her in person. Because it would feel good.

Now I have a headache.

Speaking of electronic bombshells, I opened the New York Times online to read that North Korea admitted to having nuclear weapons, a story that has been eclipsed by . . . . drum roll please . . . Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles getting married come April. Nice to see the media has its priorities. And then there is the near riot at the opening of an Ikea store in London and the economist on fire story.

Time for a long vacation far, far away.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"You put the 'broke' in broken hearted. You put the 'r' in retarded."

Now and again I am reminded of my ex-girlfriends in rather unexpected ways. Seeing how the sum total of time spent in these relationships was about four years, they've made an indelible impression despite my attempts to block them out. For instance, I'll never be able to listen to Fleetwood Mac without thinking of Ann (also known as Crazy Email Girl). Then there is Hope who only had the very best intentions when she bought me a set of four silk dupioni placemats and napkins. If you've ever owned dupioni silk, you only have to look at funny before it needs to be dragged off to the cleaners. Nevertheless, I brought them out at small dinner parties to show her I appreciated her gift -- they really did look lovely -- but I would silently cringe every time a wayward piece of dinner or splatter of oil would careen into the placemat's delicate surface. I knew that one day they would need to be cleaned and the cost would not be pretty.

Well I decided that there was no use in owning nice things if I wasn't going to take care of them and the reckoning came today when I finally brought the napkins and placemats to the cleaners on Mercer Street. With Fleetwood Mac playing in the background (!), I watched as the clerk itemized my deposit, quizzing me on the nature of a particularly large smudge.

Clerk: "That's not red wine, is it?"

Me: "I'm not sure," I meekly replied.

I didn't have the heart to confess that the smudge could be any number of things since it probably dated to about 2002 or 2003 when the placemats were last used. Forensics could better tell you the exact date and origin of the smudge, I wanted to say. Then he handed me the yellow carbon copy bill.

Four placemats: $16.00
Four napkins: $14.00

I really need to get a cheaper dry cleaner and better girlfriends.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"Thread to transform the banalities of your day into tabloid headlines, part 6."

Today is moving at an alarmingly slow speed. Is the USNO, "America's official timekeeper," aware of this? Even such work day excitements as "There's a mouse in my office!" and "Let's go walking in Soho during lunch!" have failed to produce more than a temporal crawl. In fact this is the first time I've felt such rampant boredom at my job, which might correspond with the recent epiphany that I am uninspired by it -- a bad, bad sign.

I could even being perusing my mental rolodex of new friends looking for post-work diversions if I weren't piss broke (pay day is Thursday!). I think the New York Times wants to rub it in.

Ways in which I've pissed away my day:

- Watched a mouse scurry across a coworker's desk.
- Read and posted on Guardian Talk.
- Read the New York Times online.
- Wondered why Quicken doesn't want to work on my home computer.
- Thought of self pitying ways to spend my Valentine's Day.
- Expressed mental dissatisfaction over the current selection of songs in my iTunes library.
- Struggled to figure out Adobe GoLive when I would much rather be using Dreamweaver.
- Downloaded songs via MP3 blogs.
- Tooled through Citysearch looking for ways to entertain two friends of mine when they visit on Friday.
- Pretended to work.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

"And that's when Jon Stewart stepped over me."

Craigslist is starting to pay off.

After posting two simultaneous ads for new friends (this is not as pathetic as it sounds), I have spent the last two days reaping the benefits of my proactiveness. I've luckily found someone who I can drag to all the NY lesbian bars and someone else who shares an equal passion for gourmet food and good gin.

Saturday was a truly gorgeous day in New York -- finally free of the bitterly cold temperatures that marked the the past few weeks. It was sunny and even though temps hovered in the high 40s, you would have thought the city was gripped by a heat wave. Union Square bustled with people, some walking dogs, some reading on park benches, and others shopping in the open air market.

I met J there in the early afternoon and we headed down to Soho for a look through a "young designers" sale. Afterwards, we sampled top shelf tequila at Dos Caminos before perusing gin varieties in Union Square and dinner with her friends in the East Village. Also, any outing in Manhattan isn't complete without a pseudo celebrity sighting. I can now tell my grandchildren (or somesuch) that I saw Kwame from the Apprentice.

Oh and speaking of Craigslist, I really enjoyed this post/rant.

Friday, February 04, 2005

"I'm the only gay in the village."

Five words that should strike fear into the heart of any nascent New Yorker: I'm a new cab driver.

For those who haven't been paying attention, I have been in the Big Apple for two and a half months. I'm lucky if I can get myself back to Brooklyn without getting lost in Queens. So there I was in the car, doing laps around the Lower East Side, and trying to give my cab driver directions off the crumpled remains of a Map Quest printout.

Me: "No we want 210 Rivington Street."

Cabbie: "Is that near Delancy?"

Christ, I don't know, I muttered and stared out the window looking for a street sign. Aren't cab drivers supposed to know where they are going?

Nearly avoiding an unintended trip over the Williamsburg Bridge, I was this close to telling him to pull over and that I would be driving for the rest of the journey. When we finally did find Rivington, I decided to give up and walk the rest of the way. It was my first visit to the up and coming Lower East Side and the long walk towards Avenue C brought me unfortunately past the grim memorial for the recently slain actress, Nicole Dufresne.

The whole reason I was tooling around the Lower East Side in the first place was to meet someone for a drink at 7:30 pm. No, it wasn't a date, but I did get stood up. Yes, she didn't show. Instead I spent my evening (including dinner) with a lovely woman from London. It made getting stood up not so bad after all.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

"Queen of the mingers."

As I lay in bed unable to sleep, my digital clock inching its way towards 5am, my things were running through my head. I should really clean my room. Got to go to Office Depot sometime and buy file folders. Do I really want to see Interpol alone? Can't forget to roll over my 401K!

It also occurred to me that this blog is in danger of being a chronicle of whining (or whinging as the British say) instead of a chronicle of the banal. So let's focus on some positive developments in my life.

Er . . . well at least I'm not a waiter.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"iPod Therefore iAm"

In an attempt to join the hipster masses, I bought an iPod for myself back in November. Call it a, "Hey, congratulations on moving to New York!" gift. Not the smartest thing to buy prior to a big, expensive move, but whatever. I have no idea how I lived before my iPod.

Songs currently in heavy rotation:

"Honest Mistake" by the Bravery
"Black and White Town" by Doves
"Winter in the Hamptons" by Josh Rouse
"Filthy/Gorgeous" by the Scissor Sisters
"Killamangiro" by Babyshambles

"The color of your bag makes me happy."

Why is there a stigma attached to going to the movies alone? It defies logic! Yet there I was, wanting to see a movie, having no one to go with, and trying to convince myself that I was not a loser for going alone. Even as I shakily paid for my 4pm ticket to Sideways, I still had to give myself a mental pep talk.

I skulked into the theater just as the previews were beginning, found my seat (one at the end of a very full row), and tried to look inconspicuous. But I couldn't help but feel the opposite, as if there were a flashing neon sign hanging over my head.

"Oooo. Look at that girl. She came alone. Does she not have any friends?"

"I thought only middle aged men go to the movies alone to watch porn?"

Or so I imagined the audience saying.

No matter. I was there to see Sideways, which I enjoyed . . . by myself. I skulked back out of the theater when it was over and onto a damp E 13th street. I was barely to the corner when I saw that Beth had called me while I was in the movie. Better news, she was in New York with Neils! And they were staying in the Village only a few blocks away!

I had friends after all, even if only for an evening.

Now that Beth and Neils are back in DC, I am left with my original problem: a severe dearth of New York based activity partners. Being the proactive person that I am, I placed an ad on Craigslist for new friends. Hopefully that doesn't smack of desperation.