Friday, July 29, 2005

"No one knows where the night is going."

I'm wearing the skirt today. You know, the one that has a mind of its own and causes me to flash the New York City populace? If previous skirt wearing is any indication, I should expect a little old lady pulling on it by noon. Look at me flirting with potential embarrassment.

* * *

Last night DK (aka Mr. Bad Apologies), some friends, and I went to see Antony and the Johnsons at Town Hall -- an event that would surely act as a magnet for every gay man and woman in a 10 mile radius. And sure enough, I followed the trail of gay men from Times Square to the venue.

Before Monday, I had never heard of anything by Antony and the Johnsons and DK wanted to know why I even agreed to go. Sometimes it's fun to try new things, which is one of the many reasons I decided to move to New York. That said, I am very glad that I decided to go. Antony's voice is achingly beautiful. (Side note: a big WTF to the people sitting in front of me. If you didn't want to be there, you could have gone down and hung out at the bar instead of talking and getting out of your seats every 10 fucking minutes.)

After the concert, I persuaded DK and the boys to get a nightcap. This is when I regale everyone with my celebrity sighting of Timothy Hutton, who left the restaurant shortly before us. Though I should say that if DK is reading this, he will point out that I didn't even notice Timothy Hutton leaving the restaurant. I was too busy finishing off my thirdish glass of wine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"I hope you have your reciept."

I was absolutely gobsmacked yesterday when I opened the gift certificate that my bosses had given me. $150 to be spent at a posh Soho spa?? $150 to use to my heart's content? "Oh my god," I found myself saying aloud as stared dumbly at the gift certificate while waiting for the elevator. Of course every time I start to hate my job, something like this happens, something to mollify my loathing. A few months ago it was the impromptu $100 to be spent on dinner and drinks with friends. Sometimes I really have no room to complain and I shall not complain while getting my 75 minute massage.

On the other hand, my stupid MTA monthly subway pass, which costs $76, decided to not work anymore. And I only bought the bloody thing on the 18th! Oh cruel cruel fate, why must you mock me?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Dude, where's my gym lock?"

As I walked to the gym after work on Monday, silently congratulating myself on starting the week off right, I was reminded that my gym isn't exactly convenient -- well the price is, not the location. This probably explains why I don't go more often. But there I was, trying to make a good effort. I even congratulated myself for shlepping out to Chelsea in the miserable heat and humidity. New York and the subway gets especially rank when temps rise above 90. Well done me; I didn't retreat back to Brooklyn.

Except this is the part of the story where the New York City Parks and Recreation foil my good effort.

Turns out you're not supposed to leave belongings in the lockers overnight. This must be a new policy because I've had a lock on my locker since May and with no problem. Entering the women's locker room, I was presented with a bank of empty lockers and flyers taped up everywhere stating that locks had been clipped and warning that we're not allowed leave belongings in them. Sure enough my stuff was gone.

I could feel a scowl forming tightly across my face. If they threw away my stuff, especially my black Doves t-shirt from their Lost Souls tour, I was going to be very very grumpy. I stomped down to the front desk.

Me: "What happened to the stuff in the lockers before the locks were cut?"

Manager: "We have it in trash bags."

He looked apologetic. I think he saw my very grumpy looking face. He then began rummaging for my lost tennis shoes, t-shirt, and pants. After a few minutes I was reunited with my grungy workout clothes. Thanks, pal.

Me: "So basically we're not allowed to leave things in the lockers overnight?"

Manager: "Yes. Unfortunately they've been used to store illegal items in the past."

As I pondered what this could entail, I felt a little less grumpy. The manager can't help it if people abuse their privileges, but at the same time Jesus Christ! How inconvenient are you trying to make this for me? I guess this is what I should expect for only paying $75 a year.

Friday, July 22, 2005

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space."

One of these days Google is going to take over all of our lives and start issuing bar codes to be tattooed on our foreheads so that we'll fit better into their integrated biometric searching system. Until then my love affair with Google is still in the blissful stage, especially after they introduced Google Maps with the satellite feature that covers not only the US, but an assortment of other countries. Hours. Of. Fun.

Want to see your childhood home in suburban Maryland? Google Maps!

Want to see your crappy ass neighborhood from space? Google Maps!

Want to see the Houses of Parliament from thousands of feet above? Google Maps!

Want to roam around the surface of the moon from the comfort of your office chair? Google Moon Maps!

Oh yes. Google has just expanded coverage to the moon. Ladies and gentlemen, the barcodes will be coming shortly. Before we all get too excited, the images of the moon are limited to the area around the Apollo landing site, and if you zoom in too closely, you see cheese. So there you go.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"For exercise we drank sloe gin and smoked Lucky Strikes."

New York is kicking my bank account's ass. How do people live in this city??

To be fair (and I can hear J-Wo's stern, financially disciplined voice in my head as I type), I could radically cut down on my cost of living by subsisting on carrot sicks, coffee, and staying home all the time. It would be a fabulous diet (the equivalent of going nuclear on the Ass Crisis), but I'm pretty sure I'd get scurvy or something rather quickly. And I didn't move to New York to sit at home like a nun and twiddling my thumbs. Obviously part of the problem is that the lifestyle I was used to in DC is far more expensive to maintain in New York.

So how do I cope? Barely. Even regular groceries (eg, not from Whole Foods) are significantly more expensive than their counterparts in DC. Now I know why everyone eats out -- in the end it's only marginally cheaper to cook your own food and thus providing little financial incentive to go grocery shopping. And what really pisses me off is that it's more expensive to eat healthily. Does. Not. Make. Sense.

$1.50 for iced coffee, $76 for a monthly subway pass, $20 here, $20 there. It all adds up and I can barely cope on my current salary.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"Being—forgive me—rather cleverer than most men, my mistakes tend to be correspondingly huger."

Things I saw on the way to work this morning:

- A dead rat, belly up on the subway platform, blood around its head.
- Guy passing out pamphlets hyping "Jews for Jesus."
- Three people reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on the 6 train.

Dude, I so finished that book on Saturday. Okay it took me 11 hours (it took Jane 4.5 hours!) and some of the details are a bit of a blur. Has anyone else finished it? I know I'm not the only dork amongst my friends. In fact I'm such a dork that I went to Scholastic's recreation of Diagon Alley on Mercer Street, though it was packed with kiddies and you had to queue up to see stuff like Eyelops Owl Emporium etc. Anyway, Holly and I went onto Botanica afterwards (our second bar of the evening), drank some ill advised Wild Turkey, gave fake names to some guy trying to chat us up, and then went to a book store on Prince Street for an adult Harry Potter party. Oh yes, I drank something called Hufflepuff Hooch, also ill advised since I was hungover Saturday morning.

Amazon delivered copies of Harry Potter at 1 pm and Jane and I immediately began reading. After coffee, pee, and sushi breaks, I was finally done after midnight. Now I am suffering from Harry Potter withdrawal . . .

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"How did you cope?

I've become a surrogate mother to a very large and fluffy black cat named Figaro. Most times he's well behaved, but sometimes, like the prima donna he is, Figaro likes to make sure everyone is up in the loft to pet him and attend to his every need.

Even when it is 3 am.

It's hard to ignore his very deep yowling, a particular timbre that is his special way of meaning business. And usually it means, "Hey lady, get your fat ass up and feed me." Actually last night I think it was, "Hey lady, get your fat ass up and move the bathroom door. It's blocking my litter box and I've gotta pee something fierce." But then the yowling continued. I spied the clock; it read 3:21 am. I think he was trying to say, "Oh and while you're at it, I could use a refresh on the cat chow. Ta."

Before you think this cat is all innocent and everything, he will start clawing at MY couch or MY rug just in case I didn't get his original point. The little fucker knows what he's doing and he fights dirty!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"CGI-limits reached, please try again later!"

There was a television ad for the Washington Post job section that I remember quite fondly. It begins with a caged parrot in an apartment doing what parrots do best -- repeating some dumb phrase over and over again. In this case, the parrot is repeating, "Not another day. Not another day." In comes the parrot's owner, clearly just back from work, briefcase in hand.

"Not another day," he says, dropping the briefcase and clutching his head in misery. "Not another day." Then the parrot pipes in for added effect. The point of the ad is to check the Post's job section. Point taken.

I am that man. Except I don't have a parrot.

The "must get the fuck outta here" job searching machine is slowing emerging from its nine month slumber. Evidenced not only by covert coverletter writing on the work computer, but by my obsessive checking of Craigslist, Media Bistro, and the Creative Hotlist. Since every day a smidge of soul dies from misery, I've got to put the smack down. My eyes have been zeroing in on any job with the title "graphic designer" or "junior art director." (And yes, J-Wo, it must be in New York.)

Why oh why is it summer? It's the worst time to look since most people are busy planning their vacations. If only they would realize that there is a very talented young designer out there who just wants the chance to dazzle a prospective employer with her print skills.

Oh and speaking of obsessions, this blogger is might die of excitement since there is only a few days left till the next Harry Potter comes out. So many competing priorities in my life! I know what I'll be doing on Saturday . . .

Monday, July 11, 2005

"It's functional extension of yourself."

So anyway. Back to me making an ass of myself.

Actually I've been rather well behaved, well except for the "Sake Bombs" I did with Holly at Planet Thailand on Saturday. It's really the kind of thing a frat boy does, but there I was, sake glass balanced on two chopsticks over my glass of Sapporo. The aim is to bang on the table so the sake falls into the glass of beer.

I broke my glass. Ooops. Thankfully I wasn't asked to leave.

Earlier I had convinced Holly that she wanted to go on the Brooklyn Brewery tour with me. Usually any mention of beer is a guarantee that Holly will be game. So we had traveled to Williamsburg, tasted the brews, played pool, and then went in search of more beer and dinner.

* * *

Ever since I realized that I was quickly becoming Norm from Cheers, I've tried to put the breaks on my bar residency at my local pub. So on Sunday, bored out of my mind and having exhausting all entertaining DVD options, I broke down and went to my local, grabbing a book to read on the way. Not a bad way to pass the time -- reading a book and sipping on Brooklyn Brown Ale. I've made peace with my Normness since it's nice walking into a place and everyone says hey and asks how I am doing. Chatting with one bartender, I told her I've been in New York since November.

Cali: "You've only been here 8 months? You look like you've been here forever."

Now does this mean that I now exude a certain New Yorkerness? That I have fully shed whatever made me a Washingtonian for so long? Or does it mean that it seems like I've been in the pub since the dawn of time? Probably not that.

What makes it so that a person seems as though they were always part of the urban fabric?

". . . and I can show you why you will fail."

I don't particularly like to get political on my blog since, and let's face it, my life is heinous enough. However I'd like to at least highlight London Mayor Ken Livingstone's speech from last Thursday only because it is passionate and eloquent -- the right words at the right time.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

[Full Text]

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"The presidential bike suffered some damage . . ."

I traveled to work this morning in a daze. Just after waking up, Jane had told me about the terror attacks in London and we spent some time trying to track down all our friends there to make sure they were alright. Everyone is accounted for, but it's never fun to have to contemplate that one's friends might be seriously hurt.

I've had the BBC on download all morning, feeding my news addiction for any news regardless of its relevance to my daily life. Generally I have been calm -- just worried about my friends -- but when Fala called me in a panic to find out if everyone we knew was okay, it brought back nasty flash backs of 9/11 and making frantic phone calls myself.

Well it's nice to be safe and alive, especially since I found out that one of the custodians at work has died. Maybe I'll have some gin after work. My friend in London mentioned that a friend's sister was on one of the bombed trains. Thankfully she's okay.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"People will see him the way he was.''

I read an AP story about a recently deceased Pittsburgh Steelers fan who's family opted to have his viewing with the body on a recliner and clothed in PJs with the team's colors. Not to mention the handy pack of cigs on the table next to the recliner and a remote in his cold dead hand. Christ on a bike.

So this got me thinking. If a Steelers-esque send off was appropriate for Mr. Pittsburgh here, what would be appropriate for me? My propped up body on a bar stool with a gin and tonic in my hand? Or something equally embarrassing in death as in life? Now before all of you get any ideas, I do want to be cremated. Maybe you can add water to my ashes and make a lovely sculpture? Something to ponder.

"Clean up after your god or else . . ."

Well good for London. They got the Olympic bid for 2012. Yes this means New York lost out (much to Mayor Bloomberg's chagrin) but really I was apathetic about the whole thing anyway. Lord knows where I am going to be in 2012 anyway -- probably taking up refugee status in Canada. As for my London friends, their reactions range from ecstatic to grumbling.

So I returned the new phone to the Verizon store and now am back to my good ol' one. Holly asked me if it had a name when I showed her George, my circa 2000 phone that I carried in my purse in case I need to look up a phone number. I've decided to name its replacement Lucky for obvious reasons.

And since we're coursing along on my mental tangents, you know your hood is no longer cool when Old Navy puts its name (Williamsburg) on a t-shirt. Good thing I kind of sort of live in Bushwick. Won't see that on a t-shirt anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"I didn't want to call your dad."

When I woke up on Saturday morning I discovered, much to my horror, that my cell phone was missing. After the whole panicked purse dump and futilely having Jane call it just in case it was in the loft, I came to the reality that it must have either been stolen or it fell out of my bag the night previous.

Fuck, fuck, FUCK!

On Friday, I had spent the afternoon and evening with Holly. We had started off watching the movie Saving Face (when did movies get to $10.75 a pop?!) and happy hour bar hopping around the East Village. So on Saturday as I dumbly searched my purse for the third time, I mentally retraced my steps -- Telephone Bar to Thirsty Scholar to McSorley's to Mitali East to the Boiler Room to KGB to Lychee Bar. Where the hell was my phone? I was pretty sure that it wasn't stolen and I remembered that I had checked my messages on the way to Mitali East around 8pm, so that was the last time I could definitely remember my phone last.

I tried to figure out what my plan would be. I even called KGB Bar, the likely of culprits since I remember my bag falling over, to see if anyone had turned a phone in. No luck.

Pissed off at myself for being careless, I came to the realization that the phone was gone and I had to go to the Verizon store to get a new one. For those who have cell phones, pay heed to my cautionary tale: unless you have optional insurance, you have to pay full retail price for a replacement phone. Even the chintzy phones are at least $150. To replace my phone with the same model, I would have to cough up $230.

Fuck, fuck, FUCK!

And cough up I did. The only consolation I had was that if I managed to find my old phone, I had 15 days to return the new one. Leaving the Verizon store, I took my new phone and sat in Union Square sulking. Jess met me later and we went up to her roof to enjoy the afternoon sun. It put me in a slightly better mood.

The epilogue to this tale is that I went out with Holly on Sunday. We walked to Chinatown all the way from Union Square, explored all the little shops, had vegetarian dim sum, and walked over to the Lower East Side to drink a few beers at Local 138, getting sucked into a few episodes of the "Surreal Life." Since we seemed to be slowly meandering northwards towards the East Village, I suggested (for the sake of my own sanity) that we stop by KGB and Lychee Bar just in case my phone had been turned in.

I figured it was a lost cause, but I told Holly I'd be quick as we approached KGB. Up the steep flight of narrow stairs and to the second floor bar I went. I think the bartender thought I wanted a drink, but I asked him if anyone had turned in a cell phone. He immediately went for a cabinet behind the bar and returned with my phone. I couldn't believe it. I never get that lucky. Utterly gobsmacked, I thanked him profusely though my words were closer to a stutter.