Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Where the fuck's my fucking train?!"

It's irritating when you take the time to compose a blog entry and the damn thing disappears into the ether of lost postings. I think I was trying to explain how utterly exhausting this week has been and how I feel a little guilty yet relieved for getting an extension on my freelance project. That said, I had a good time playing hooky with Holly on Wednesday so I shouldn't complain too much.

I also was trying to link to this wonderful piece of Flash -- a tune for anyone who's ever cursed the Red Line for single tracking for no damn good reason or muttered four lettered words at a slow moving L train. Blog reading boys and girls, I present you with The London Underground.

(Make sure your speakers are turned up or headphones on.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"I'm disappointed that the infamous 'cockroach incident' has yet to make it onto your blog . . ."

Oh yes, the infamous cockroach incident. There will be two outcomes of this story: you'll either never patronize a certain Mexican restaurant in Cleveland Park or you'll secretly bring a cockroach to your next restaurnt meal.

Picture it, Cleveland Park, March 25, 2005. Four friends and I had just managed to polish off enchiladas, a pitcher and a half of raspberry margarita, and many chips and salsa. Quite full and not able to eat the rest of my chicken enchilada, I set my fork down and contemplated the impending food/alcohol coma. Something must have caught my eye because I looked down at my plate at the very moment a cockroach started to nibble at the remains of my guacamole.

I tried not to scream.

I think I managed to get Beth's attention by pointing at the cockroach or looking like I was going to vomit. Perhaps both. The whole table soon saw it and made more of a commotion then I could muster, including summoning the waiter over. Thankfully the waiter saw the cockroach before it scurried off the table and you could tell that he look genuinely embarrassed as he took my plate away.

I'm not sure what I expected from the restaurant -- at least have my meal free of charge. When the waiter came back and apologized profusely, he asked me if I wanted anything to drink on the house. I went straight for the expensive tequila and wondered if this was the best the restaurant was going to do. Then the waiter said that he talked to the manager and the whole bill would be free of charge (easily a $70 dinner since the pitchers of frozen margarita don't come cheap). It was nice to see the restaurant did the right thing seeing how I could have made a nasty call to the health department.

Oh and speaking of gross stuff, I dare you to google the word "scotsman" and click on the Images tab.*

* Probably best not to do this at work.

"I want a perfect body. I want a perfect soul."

Finally. Spring in New York!

Though it was good to see the old hood and my friends this past weekend, I am very much glad to be back in New York. The weather now is a sprightly 61 degrees, the sun is out, the windows of my office are open, and someone is playing a saxophone down on the corner below.

I have a freelance project due on Friday, but I was majorly bad last night and went out with Holly instead. Bad bad bad. So while I wasn't staying at home and slaving over InDesign, I was drinking lychee martinis poured by an Australian bartender, discussing forensic anthropology, and trying to sell the merits of Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah." Later Holly and I went to Snapshot and stayed out till midnight.

I'm so bad.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

"You can't go home again."

Interesting Conversations No. 2: Flashback Style

One Christmas Eve party a few years ago, after grazing over a platter of shrimp cocktail at my cousin's townhome, I noticed a rather interesting painting hanging over the blue striped sofa. Seeing how I was an art major with plenty of classes under my belt, there was something familiar about the painting style.

Me: "That reminds me of a Pissaro painting."

My Cousin: "That' s because it is."

I started to choke on my shrimp cocktail.

Me: "Excuse me??"

How a $40k French Impressionist painting came to hang in the living room of a suburban Maryland townhome, was beyond me. It was later explained that my cousin's boyfriend (later fiance, later ex-fiance) was an art collector. And as I finished the rest of my shrimp cocktail and wine, I realized that this was a close as I would come to a painting like this outside of a museum.

Much like the shrimp cocktail, the boyfriend and the painting are long gone (the big diamond he gave her stayed), but I couldn't help remember my suburban brush with a real deal Impressionist painting this past Friday. That afternoon, having arrived in DC a day earlier than planned, I wandered the rooms of the National Gallery of Art in order to kill some time. In fact this was the first time I had been back to the National Gallery since my last day in DC on cold and rainy November day. Though it was March, the weather was very much the same.

I've been to the National Gallery so many times over the course of my life (yay for free museums!) that I have come to know it like the back of my hand. I know instantly when a painting has been removed or added and become rather sad when a much beloved painting goes inexplicably missing. The Pissaros were still there. So was Whistler's "Symphony in White No. 1."

Somehow wandering through the West Wing and later through a photography exhibit containing many images of New York, I realized that Washington was no longer my home.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

"Do your giggle again."

When I came out of the shower, Beth was sitting on the sofa wrapped in the Swedish flag. I have to admit it wasn't a look I was expecting and it was an odd accessory for Tivo watching. From the other room Nils suddenly roared over the din of the webcasted football game. Both Beth and I exchanged rather alarmed looks.

Beth: "Was that a good yell or a bad yell?"

Me: "Dunno."

Beth: "Oh wait. He's giggling."

From the sound of it, Sweden had just scored against Bulgaria. We stuck our heads into the other room to find Nils in his Sweden football shirt looking rather pleased. Earlier we thought we were going to have a very grouchy Scandinavian on our hands since there was no place in Washington to watch a footy match -- this was until he realized he could listen to the game over the internet.

Nils raise his arms excitedly over his head. "One nil. Sweden's winning!"

Unfortunately I couldn't stick around to see if they won the match.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

"Wonder Woman—the re-make—will suck more than a universe sized Black Hole you realise."

Interesting Conversations No. 1

I called my mom last night to tell her that there was a small change in plans regarding my trip down to DC tomorrow. Instead of taking the train to BWI, I'm going to continue on to Union Station and spend the night with Beth and Neils.

Me: "I'll be arriving in DC around 9."

Mom: "Is that safe?"

Me: "Is what safe?"

Mom: "Taking the train down to Union Station so late."

For a brief moment I take in her comment with a degree of disbelief. And as I do so, the last four years flash before my eyes -- all the late night Metro rides alone, the times I fell down drunk on 14th Street outside the Black Cat, walking home from the subway in Bushwick alone, meeting people off the internet . . . . Apparently my mom is unaware of the frequency in which I risk my safety and is concerned that Union Station of all places will be my Achilles Heel.

Me: "I do live in New York, you know."

Mom: "I know, but it's my duty to worry about these things."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"I'll be the one . . . "

I met Holly outside of the new Whole Foods on 14th Street. And not surprising, the new and gleaming temple of yuppiedom was doing a brisk trade with the post work crowd. I had wanted to pick up some English muffins and some peanut butter, but the check out line was a bit daunting.

Holly: "Are you sure you don't need to get anything?"

I took a second look at the mob of people and shook my head no.

Instead I dragged her over to Irving Plaza since we had some time to kill before heading back to my hood for movie night at Life Cafe. There was a Josh Rouse concert coming up and I was going to get tickets come hell or high water. Or come screaming Backstreet Boy fans.

Lucky for me, the Backstreet Boys (!) were doing two nights at Irving Plaza (for a whopping $60 per ticket). I was a little amazed that they still had a fan base after all these years, if a fan base includes a couple dozen of overly excited gay boys and Latinas. Feeling a bit sullied for even being within a quarter mile radius of a boy band let alone a pop concert, I skulked into the foyer, lip curled in disgust as I summoned all the music snobbery I could. Waiting in line at the box office, I noticed a familiar tune playing. In fact it sounded like a band rehearsing and singing.

Not just any band . . .

Yes, blog reading boys and girls, I can go to my grave (or cremation urn) knowing that I have heard the Backstreet Boys rehearsing.

Holly turned to me and said, "I didn't know these guys were still alive."

Monday, March 21, 2005

"The fishing hat means leave me alone."

Ah. Nothing says Monday in New York like seeing someone get arrested.

I'm not sure what the offense was, but I saw a couple of cops, both uniformed and plain clothed, sticking a man into the back of a police cruiser. Lovely.

Speaking of legalities, does anyone know what I need to do to make sure that in the event I am reduced to a vegetative state and my cerebral cortex is nothing but mushy grey matter, that I am NOT kept in that vegetative state? This whole Terri Schiavo thing is disgusting and I can tell you that I definitely do not want congress and the president deciding whether I live or die. So I repeat, no feeding tube for me.

Oh and I would like to be cremated. Thanks.

Hmmm. Sorry for the bleak blog entry, but it had to be said.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

"East End boys and West End girls."

I had managed to work myself into an odd mood. Never mind that I had just had a fantastically long, hot shower -- one of the highlights of the weekend ritual. I should have been on the verge of nirvana.

Perhaps it was the two rather large cups of coffee I had earlier or the lingering effects of the wild turkey shots I did at the Continental the night previous. But there I was, staring into the depths of a quiet Saturday alone and trying to stave off the pangs of depression.

I've never been one of those people who can sit still. Stir craziness comes easily on days where my time isn't focused on a central activity. And on this day I was trying to divert my attention on some DVDs of Dead Like Me.

One of the thoughts running around in my head was my new yet tenuous cache of friends. I was trying to think of excuses to call Holly -- trying to think up a casual activity that we could take part in that didn't involve a bar or dinner. Instead I wimped out and emailed her. Pathetic. (For those who haven't been keeping up, Holly is cute, not single, and dating a guy -- everything my life needs to complicate itself. Oh but wait, I have another date with Amy after I get back from DC.)

Meanwhile my motherfucking next door neighbors are listening to the Pet Shop Boys and the walls are so thin that I can not only distinguish the lyrics, but I can tell that one of my neighbors has decided to sing along. Badly.

Oh christ. Now he's trying to hit the high notes. Arrrrrrrrrrrgh.

Why isn't the L running this weekend? The MTA is sequestering me again!

Friday, March 18, 2005

"This is getting very intriguing."

So I had a muffin this morning. Not just any muffin, I had an apple bran muffin.

The bran bit wasn't part of my plan.

In fact when I pushed my way into Hans Deli this morning and walked straight back to the shelf with the muffins, I found that my usual offering was not in sight.

I stood there staring, not quite knowing what to do. A quick inventory of the shelf revealed that something was amis. Where was the swirly chocolately-not-chocolately-not-too-sweet muffin? Normally I can spot its crumbly top and bag it in like five seconds flat. My morning has a routine, you know.

For a tired girl, having to make alternate muffin plans at 8:52 am could very well be rocket science. Precious brain cells are just not available to weigh the options of blueberry against cranberry. And people were impatiently pushing past me to make their own muffin choices (or get to the plantains which were on the hot bar behind me).

In a panic, I scooped up the first innocuous looking muffin and shoved it into my white paper bag. But alas, it was apple bran.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

"Do you smell french fries?"

Wow. I've been quite the social butterfly lately. Last night I met Amy at La Lanterna for wine and dessert and the night previous I went to the movies with Holly. And the night before was movie night at Life Cafe where I watched the ever craptastic Pump Up the Volume. Oh wait. I even went out Sunday night to watch the L Word.

Tonight I'm going to Girlsroom on the auspices of meeting up with Game Night Girl from a couple of weeks ago and some of her friends/acquaintances. This may suck or not suck depending on weather I'm totally sitting by myself at the bar since there is the distinct chance that everyone will know everyone else. But to be honest, I'm not fussed about it even though I am worn out from four consecutive nights out.

My cleverer readers will remember that it was Girlsroom where I got stood up once only to end up meeting a nice girl from London. Will my luck hold out tonight?

I'm still dismayed by the lack of email recently. Not sure what has wrought this downturn, but it must be stopped! Even GUT is quiet. This is not right.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

"And then she pledges her allegiance to the United States of Me."

Five lessons learned this morning.

1. The N train runs express from Union Square to Canal during peak hours.
2. The N train does not stop at Prince Street during peak hours.
3. My little map doesn't feel the need to inform me of no. 1 and 2.
4. Canal Street is quite a hike from my office.
5. It's even more of a hike when I walk the wrong way down Lafayette.

Sigh. A small tour of Chinatown and $5 cab ride later, I was only marginally late for work. I don't normally take the N R W, but since the 6 was fucked this morning (thanks, MTA) I had to work on a Plan B.

* * *
I saw Millions last night. Very cute, but nothing you'd expect from Danny Boyle, the director best known for Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, and Shallow Grave. I kept expecting the movie to degenerate into one of the following plot devices: a heroin overdose, a body and a suitcase of money, or zombies. Instead it was about two kids grieving over the death of their mother and the duffle bag of money they find. Cue tears.

Monday, March 14, 2005

"Oh my god I can't believe it . . ."

I just wanted a smoothie. I wanted a smoothie because I was hungover and tired. Jamba Juice wasn't making this easy.

Caribbean Passion®? Blueberry Balance™? Tropical Awakening™? I just wanted a freakin' banana and orange smoothie. Every one listed on the menu had like 16 different ingredients, none of which came close the the blessed simplicity of the orange/banana/frozen yogurt combo.

I went for the Caribbean Passion®.

VA, VA, VA, VOOM… Taste the passionate flavors of the Caribbean and set your cares free! Thank the goodness of Jamba-kissed tropical fruits for giving you more than 100% RDI of vitamin C along with natural fiber for digestion and weight maintenance, as well as vitamin B2 which is essential for the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.

Ingredients: passionfruit-mango juice blend, orange sherbet, frozen strawberries, frozen peaches, ice.

Clerk: "Do you want a free boost?"

A what? Obviously I wasn't part of the smoothie drinking cognoscenti. Will this "boost" make me not hungover? I wanted to ask but didn't. I passed on the "free boost."

Four dollars poorer and 440 calories fatter, I regretted my smoothie choice. My cares were not set free as they promised. In fact today has been rather boring and tedious since I've had no email in my inbox.


Anyone else sensing some injustice? How must I entertain myself today? Clearly by writing crap blog entries about smoothies and hangovers.

"I need a round two."

Here's a lovely recap of my weekend for the readers at home.

Total bars visited: Three.
Gay bars visited: One.
Gin consumed: Too much. Ignorance is bliss you know.
Harry Potter movies watched: All three, baby. I was nerd-tastic and proud.
L Word episodes watched: Two.
Beef consumed: Ravenously picked over the remains of my Peter Lugar's doggy bag.
Potential dates set up: Two. Look at me go.
Purchases: "Jade" eye shadow by Stilla, tonic water, limes, eggs, toilet paper, and paper towels.
Ants killed: Twelve +. We're having a little problem in the loft.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

"More schlag!"

Managed to get a before and after shot of the dessert at Peter Lugar's. Note the bowl of whipped cream, hot fudge, and the gold coins used to scoop it all up.

Also note the carnage after five individuals attacked the dessert. How we managed to eat it after appetizers of bacon and lamb followed by steak, frites, and spinach is beyond me.

Friday, March 11, 2005

"Serbians stole my fingers!"

God, I'm tired. But that's what I get for staying out late on a school night.

Guess I've been a bit lax in my blog updates, but I've been busily working on a freelance project so I can get some much needed extra money in my bank account. Now that it's off, I can ease into the weekend. In fact, today I getting wined and dined at Peter Lugar's Steakhouse courtesy of the bosses -- bosses who drink more than I do and will ensure that I'll be drunk by 3pm.

Good times.

Speaking of good times, I finally got to meet up with my Craigslist "missed connections" girl. Rewind to January. While out of a date back on a very very cold January night, I met Holly and we seemed to get on very well (probably to the chagrin of my date). Unfortunately Holly departed before I got to slip her my number.

On a whim last month, I put a "missed connections" ad in Craigslist. It was an absolute shot in the dark with probably a 99.99999% rate of failure especially since I only had a smattering of info to go on: her name, physical description, and that she was wearing a Gryffindor scarf. Much to my shock, she saw the ad (or rather her roommate did). Bad news was that she was in a relationship, but we arranged to meet anyway, which was last night. Beverages were had, Middle Eastern food consumed, and I didn't get home till midnight.

The point of the story is that the system works. If you meet someone by happenstance and you think they're cute, give Craigslist a try. It might surprise you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Please do not sit on me."

Today is just damn near depressing. Faster than you can say "ohmygodit'sgorgeousoutside!" the weather does a u-turn back into the clutches of winter. In fact all I can see from my window overlooking Soho right now, is great sideways gusts of white. So in honor of this depressing day, I've uploaded the fruits of my Photoshop labors.

Behold the new blog banner!

Yesterday I think I used up all my bitching credits with my rant about my neighborhood (ie: slum). I couldn't help it. And later as I sat with Jane for happy hour drinks at the Dead Poet, she confessed that she was feeling the same way about the place. We both chalked it up to the yo-yo weather.

A few gin and tonics later, Jane and I headed back to our blighted corner of Brooklyn. I still harbored the same resentment I did that morning, but a walk past the abandoned mini-van showed that some bitching can actually produces results.

Last week I made a call to 311 about the obviously stolen-crashed-stripped-and-abandoned green mini-van. After getting through to the Department of Sanitation, I alerted them to the vehicle and they promised to have it removed. Yeah right, I thought. Not expecting much from New York City bureaucracy, I patted myself on the back for at least being a good citizen.

Oh but wait. The mini-van had a big orange "Condemned Property" sticker on it last night courtesy of the Department of Sanitation. Hurrah! The system works!

Now will they take it upon themselves to clean up the heaps of garbage elsewhere or do I have to call 311 again?

Monday, March 07, 2005

"I don't know . . . it's awfully close to Bedford-Stuyvesant."

I'm starting to think living in my neighborhood blows.

For those who have visited me, I can already hear your laughter piercing through the distance of three states. I don't know why today was the day when I started to hate even more the trash piles and dog shit and the laundromat that is smack in the middle of the projects and the abandoned mini-van on the street next to my building. But I could no longer convince myself that it was a small inconvenience in return for cheap rent.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, "East" Williamsburg is on the edge of hipsterdom -- an edge that is slowly pushing into Bushwick. Perhaps my hood is like what Williamsburg proper used to be like 10 years ago . . . if Williamsburg consisted only of old textile factories. But I'm tired of being a pioneer. I'm tired of telling myself I'm one of the cool kids and that living in a demilitarized zone is a badge of honor.

Sure there's the Archive, Kings County, and Life Cafe -- two bright spots in my urban blight of a neighborhood. And make no mistake, I still love New York . . . but oh to be infinitely wealthy so I could live somewhere else with a lower trash to people ratio.

Who knows. Maybe the neighborhood will surprise me before the lease runs out in September.

Friday, March 04, 2005

"This magnificent feast represents the last of the petty cash."

Jane was late. Very late.

Already on my second $3 drink, I was running out of ideas of how to entertain myself at Botanica. I had been there for nearly an hour, which was long enough to hear the entire Arcade Fire album and long enough to start compulsively checking my watch at five minute intervals. With time inching towards 7pm and the end of happy hour, I contemplated another vodka tonic -- a final drink for my already alcohol soaked annoyance.

At ten to seven, Jane finally showed up flustered and blaming a wayward N train. In light of my recent annoyances with the MTA and my conviction that they are trying to squelch my burgeoning social life, I could sympathize. Jane slumped down on the barstool for a round of drinks.

With nine dollars counted out on the Botanica bar (not including tips), Jane and I headed to Union Square to meet Jess for sushi. With more money flittered away on a good time, prostitution was starting to sound like a good way to get extra money.

I kid, I kid.

I'm going out tonight . . . and tomorrow. And since the L is not an option, I'll probably be taking more cabs than I care to.

Stupid MTA. Why is payday so far away?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

"Don't let a train take you from what you want."

The MTA is on my shit list.

Having sold my car, I rely solely on the subway. So when it's delayed (like the 6 was on Tuesday) or when it's not working at all (like the L this weekend), I get cranky. Very cranky. Not to mention that my indignation is further stoked by the fare hike on unlimited cards and that a New York Times article says that a quarter of subway pay phones don't work (unlike DC, the subway isn't wired for cell phone usage).

Back to the issue of the L not working.

Periodically the MTA shuts down parts of the L so that they can work on automating the line (trains run by computers, not drivers). Mostly the work is done after 12 am on weeknights, but sometimes they do this on the weekends . . . which cuts into my burgeoning social life, marooning me in my loft. And I'm supposed to go to the Upper West Side on Saturday for game night with a girl I met off of Craigslist.


Now for a long deep relaxing breath.

I was intrigued by another Times article on the new crop of spas that are popping up on 14th Street around Union Square. Maybe that's what this cranky girl needs . . . some pampering. There's always the $12 "quickie" manicure at Aqua Beauty Bar.

Oh and speaking of the Times, how freaking cute is this??

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

"Are you REALLY going to return the boots just because those around you don't know what sensible snow shoes look like?"

Shoe shopping: an addendum

The boots went back. They were not made for walking. But they were made for snow . . . which was the reason I bought them in the first place. Though I was mocked for their lack of style, another reason they went back was because I bought one size that was rather tight and since Columbia doesn't make half sizes and the next size up was too big. I thought, Well at least I'm taking them back and not wasting $100 on something I wasn't going to be comfortable wearing.

So after trying on a bazillon pairs of boots, including another variety of clunky Columbia boots and a pair of boots that looked like they were out of Ronald McDonald's closet, I finally settled on a $40 pair of black, half calf boots. And I thought, I'll be getting $50 back since I returned the more expensive pair!

Wrong. This place only gives store credits. Total scam.

Screw the boots. What I really should have bought were those cute red flats! And I still can since I apparently have $54.31 to spend.

"I'm to carry on making fun of you in his stead."

This reoccurring snow is taxing my patience. And since I'm PMSing, I have about a nanosecond worth of patience to begin with. That said, I tried to be proactive yesterday and buy snow boots since the Weather Channel was forecasting 6-10 inches for New York.

I probably last owned snow boots sometime around mid 1990s, boots that have been long discarded for being a) unstylish and b) covered in sheep poop from a freshman year trip to a farm. I managed to survive nearly the entirety of college sans snow boots and even the four years post college. Perhaps I am overdue for a pair, but one of the chief reasons I have been ambivalent about their purchase was that they are a) unstylish and b) only used about four times a year.

One thing I've learned since moving to New York is that it snows more than DC -- a lot more. Perhaps I shouldn't judge New York's snowfall based three months of residency, but we've had four major snows since I moved here in November -- more than what DC probably gets in a year.

So I went out at lunch yesterday and bought a sensible pair of Columbia lined/waterproof brown suede boots. When I showed them off to my friends on GU, I was mocked and told that they were "pensioner boots." And Lex said, "Big zip up the middle is so convenient, and the big ring helps with my arthritis."

The boots are going back. I have a reputation to uphold.