Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"Movin' on up now, gettin' out of the darkness."

You know what I have? Keys to the new place! Come Monday I will be a resident of Prospect-Lefferts Garden. I'll be able to walk to the park, the Botanical Gardens, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and two subway stops from Park Slope. My morning commute will be 25 35 minutes and the train will take me over the Manhattan Bridge, giving me views of the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. The image to the left will be my bedroom. Screw the Bushwick place I was supposed to live in. The Squatter can have it.

But there's things I'll miss about my old neighborhood and building:

- The fourth floor walk up. Those four flights of stairs were my poor man's gym. I'll have to buy a bike so I can go biking in Prospect Park otherwise there will be a continual Ass Crisis.

- The roof. The views of Manhattan were breathtaking.

- Life Cafe. Only a three minute walk from my loft. I made lots of friends, drank lots of beer, and ate some of the best pub food.

- L Train. It was a fickle mistress, but it took me to some great restaurants and bars along Bedford Avenue.

Things I won't miss:

- The dog shit.

- The thin walls.

- The hot summers.

- The industrial vibe.

Au revoir East Williamsburg Industrial Park.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"But Ohio, I remind them, is a four-letter word."

Please baby jebus. Can I please have a new apartment?

And behold, my prayers were answered. I got a phone call this afternoon from the landlord of the apartment I wrote about previously. Jane and I are supposed to go down there tomorrow to fork over money and sign paperwork. Thank you baby jebus.

It's been a stressful month for obvious reasons. My doctor tells me I'm perfectly healthy so we're going to assume that my stomach issues were merely food poisoning. And food poisoning equals the Worst Pain Ever after childbirth and dismemberment I suppose.

Speaking of childbirth, this brings me round to this weeks installment of the webring courtesy of I'd Rather Be Traveling. "I ask you to tell me about your actual Birth Day. Talk to your mothers, find out what actually transpired on your day of birth. I'm feeling flexible, so feel free to write a short piece of fiction from her perspective if your prefer."

Here's my story: nearly 27 years ago on the morning of November 17th, I was born by cesarean to my mother in a hospital outside of Detroit. I was her first child and her only girl. I'm not sure how long her labor was, but I do know that I was an emergency cesarean owing to a dangerous drop in my mother's blood pressure. I should also note that I was due on November 1st and boy did I take my dear sweet time coming out.

This was the story that I was told growing up and there is possibly more information to be had, but I save asking until I call my mom tomorrow. Hopefully I can get her to spill the beans without telling her that I have a blog . . .

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | Lugnochro

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Choose the face that describes your pain?"

Here's a grab bag of things that are going on:

- Wallace, my L Train stalker, is back. I thought the whole avoiding him thing would work, but I made the mistake of checking to see if he was on the platform this morning. Big mistake. He saw me, and this is the best part, he must have booked it to my end of the platform because the train came right away. Just as I was about to get on, I saw Wallace lurking over my shoulder. Sneaky bastard! And he purposely followed me down the train car. As Dennise would say, now I have to move.

- Speaking of moving, I saw a shitty basement apartment on Tuesday. Nice that it was only a few blocks from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, but it was still a shitty basement apartment with a broken glass filled "garden." However . . . drum roll please . . . I think we may have found a place in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. I probably shouldn't say anything till we fax in our financial info and get approved, but this apartment is a) not a shit hole b) two blocks from Prospect Park and c) the huge second floor of an old brownstone that still has all the old details (club foot bathtub, parquet floors, stained glass doors). Skill!

- My weird stomach pains came back. I finally gave in and went to the doctor today to hear what I expected -- nothing. $20, a collapsed vein, two needle holes, and a vial of blood later, I still wasn't any wiser as to why I was violently sick on Tuesday after eating sushi and thusly experienced the Worst Pain Of My Life. Yes it could have been food poisoning, but why did I have stomach pains last week? My unscientific hypothesis is that I got mild food poisoning last week from undercooked salmon. With my system weakened and more susceptible to bacteria/toxins, it probably freaked out when I tried to eat lots of sashimi. The best advice the doctor could give me was to not eat fish for a couple of weeks. Okay then.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Ode to a Lost Umbrella

I originally wrote this back in October 2005 and noticed that it has been in draft status ever since. While I have been doing some blog house cleaning as I approach Great Post Number 400, I felt that this little guy deserved his time in the spotlight.

Umbrella: An Eulogy

Was it only last Friday that you were sheltering me through the Great Rain? You were all I could hope for in a $20 umbrella -- sleek, snappy, and always ready to keep me dry. There was even that great sense of satisfaction I got when I pressed the big button on your handle and watched you unfurl.

Umbrella, you were a faithful companion during last week's 8 days of rain. When the soggy streets of New York were littered with the shredded carcasses of cheaper umbrellas, I knew I had made a good purchase. Except now you have gone missing.

Did I leave you on the subway? In the back of a car? At Holly's? $20 umbrella, please come back to me. You were a champion in a town saturated with cheap knockoffs.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"Do you smell gas?"

This weekend -- what an unmitigated disaster. Apart from hanging out at Holly's on Friday watching movies and then having her over for dinner on Saturday night, the theme of this weekend was disaster. I should have taken pictures.

Let us cast our sights back to Sunday's apartment searching . . .

Apartment 1: Nevermind that the address for this place is 666 Flushing Avenue -- too much temptation for fate. Though not far from where I live now, it's in a part of town that borders Bed Stuy. Jane and I noticed one of the bedrooms has a window that faces a brick wall. Second bedroom has a twin bed in it courtesy of the last tenants. On this bed is a bottle of lighter fluid and a pack of cigarettes. Great. The whole place was swarming with flies.

Apartment 2: Also in the same building, but on another floor. Bigger than the first place, this apartment was a wreck -- fridge has been pushed into one of the bedrooms, there were holes in the wall, cabinets askew, water damage in the hall outside, and more flies.

Apartment 3: Two words -- shit hole. Railroad style, you had to go through one windowless "bedroom" to get to the main bedroom. The previous tenants must of been frat boys or a family of sixteen with a penchant for Pabst Blue Ribbon. The kitchen was filthy as was the bathroom. When Jane went to open the bathroom door, it came off its hinges. The toilet had vomit on it (or worse) and the century old floors sagged and looked ready to collapse. The suspicious hole in the bedroom window looked like it was made by a bullet. "That will be fixed," the hassidic man showing us the apartment said to each egregious problem we pointed out. "Can you gut renovate this place in a week??" I wanted to ask. I should have swiped the lighter fluid from the pervious place and struck a match.

Apartment 4: Right on Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick, I was really hoping this place would work out. Not so. The building was a shit hole and the apartment was a shit hole. Also railroad style, someone had kindly scratched the word "sex" into the wall of the main bedroom. The place also looked like a family of sixteen had lived there for many years. Jane and I didn't stay long, especially after the guy showing the apartment remarked, "Do you smell gas?"

Apartment 5: Gorgeous. I'd never been that far up into Greenpoint, but the neighborhood was tree lined and filled with old brick buildings and brownstones from the nineteenth century. Albeit on the bastard G train, this place looked like a palace compared with apartments 1-4. Unfortunately the Polish guy showing the recently renovated apartment said as we entered, "You'll see what the problem is." Well yes. The bathroom is only accessible from one of the bedrooms. Not good for two roommates, so back to the drawing board.

Apartment 6: What to say? It smelled of cat piss and none of the lights worked, which made it difficult to view the apartment at night. Also a railroad apartment, neither Jane or I fancied going through one bedroom to get to the other. Fuck that.

Apartment 7: The guy wasn't there and we waited around to see if he'd show up. The building was dingy and the apartment door looked as though it had just been installed -- there was wet plaster everywhere. After waiting for 10 minutes, we gave up and went home, beaten and exhausted.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

"I hope you are doing well in this gloomy weather."

So I heard back from interview lady after I sent a follow up email yesterday. It was as I feared -- they went ahead with another candidate. At least it's nice to be nominated and all that.

Actually, fuck that. Time for a good ol' fashioned rant.

I'm beginning to feel like Job here. Seriously. This rash of thwartings and danglings of good fortune is starting to get old. I keep getting presented with all these really great opportunities only to have them come to naught. I've been recruited by three different big deal companies just on the strength of my portfolio. Instead I'm languishing in anal pouch failure hell. And don't get me started again on apartment situation, which reminds me -- I have to call the landlord again tomorrow. Damnit damnit damnit.

All this is starting to stoke my burgeoning nihilism.

"Captured a taxi despite of the rain."

Reasons not to be in a good mood: it's day 5 of an 8 day stretch of rain, wind, and no sun.

Reasons to be in a good mood: I finally screwed up the courage and got on the scale this morning. I weigh the same as I did on August 29, 2003, the last time I was at today's number. This is a good thing, though I was probably more toned from going to the gym. 15 pounds is 15 pounds. Never mind my beer paunch . . .

Ass Crisis is still a cautionary yellow.

Speaking of Ass Crises, I drunkenly remember having a conversation with Ms. Maryment when I was in DC two weeks ago. She informed me about "apple bottoms" -- jeans and clothing (Warning: Obnoxious Flash Use Alert!) for women endowed in the J-Lo area of things. For some reaons the conversation came back to me during lunch today. What Maryment may or may have failed to mention that the line of clothes is designed by Nelly, aka Mr. "It's gettin' hot in here so take off all your clothes."

The things I miss out on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Are the birds going to eat us, Mommy?"

I have the plague. Or something. First manifestation of the plague? Odd and plentiful bug bites on my hands, arms, and thigh -- the kind where you can't stop itching them. Benadryl, take me away! Second manifestation of the plague? A persistent burning sensation in the stomach that is exacerbated by eating and drinking. Thus, I've barely had anything to eat or drink in the last two days.

Woe. Is. Me.
* * *

It's webring assignment time again.

In whatever writing style you feel moved to use (poetry, prose, list ...) I want you to detail 5 thing you are (traits, titles, or descriptions), 5 things you aren't, and 5 things you want to be.

I wanted to put more thought into this, but seeing how every fifth word out of my brain is "Ow!" we're going to go with a simple list.

Things I am:
1. Creative
2. Reliable
3. Kooky
4. Optimistic
5. Ow!

Things I am not:
1. Flakey
2. Dishonest
3. Good at communicating
4. Good at multitasking
5. Good at paying for music online

Things I want to be:
1. Better with money
2. Braver
3. Happier with my job
4. Paid more
5. Surrounded by a strong social network

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment | Lugnochro

Monday, October 10, 2005

"How's the Ass Crisis?"

Hark. A miracle.

No, I didn't get my Bushwick apartment or a new job, but a pair of pants that I know did not fit last winter now miraculously fit. Couple this recent revelation with the "interview pants" that fit and we can downgrade the Ass Crisis to Yellow on the terror alert level.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

"Barn barn."

I tried again to look at the Craigslist apartments. It used to be my routine for about three weeks solid -- open up Craigslist and search through the same recycled five apartments pretending to be in Williamsburg or Clinton Hill that were actually located in Bed-Stuy. But I didn't want to have to go through the Craigslist real estate for the umpteenth time. I had an apartment, but some asshole was doing a good job at fucking up a well crafted plan.

I could feel my jaw tightening and anger rising. "Slight Taste of Suburbia Delight," one link said before I noticed another apartment that upon further inspection was once listed back in September. Same misspellings, same place prentending to be in Williamsburg. I clicked on some more links looking for a suitable Plan B. After a long frustrated exhale, I fantasized about marching down to the new apartment on Jefferson Street and telling the squatter to fuck off and get out. I imagined him in his electricity free cave bewildered at my appearance and my creative use of obscenity. I imagined him quickly leaving.

There's still a chance that the Jefferson Street apartment will work out. Maybe he will get out before the 14th. At least that's what I tell myself.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"I've never had problems like this with my other properties."

Son of a whore!

If you remember, say back in halcyon days of September, Jane and I signed a lease for an apartment in Bushwick. It seemed perfect -- three bedrooms, hardwood floors, good location, and in my price range. While I was in DC this past weekend, Jane was in charge of getting the keys to the new place.

Except there was a snag.

One of the guys was still living there and refusing to leave . . . or rather he's going to move out, just not sure when and who knows if it will be in October. Great. Thanks, asshole.

I called the landlord today to try and get an update of which there was none. Guy still in apartment. Guy thinks he'll be out of there by the end of the month. Landlord has even shut off the electricity. Fantastic. I told the landlord that if he isn't out by the 14th, we'll have to get our money back and find another place to live.


In other news, I'm playing the wait game on that interview I had. The one where I got the "We'll be back in touch shortly regarding additional steps." Hopefully I'm not getting jerked around here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Wallace looked harmless anyway."

Time for another webring post and this week is my topic.

"Open up the nearest book or publication. Go to the middle of the book and select the sentence that comes at the top of the page. From this sentence, draft a very short bit of fiction, the zanier the better. I'm thinking no more than 100 words, but closer to 50."

I've decided to write about a creepy man who's taken a liking to me during my morning commutes.

* * *

Wallace looked harmless anyway.* That's what I told myself.

Unassuming and cleanly dressed, Wallace was a five foot nine, skinny man haunting the periphery of my mornings. He appeared as an unfocused shape of dark and light on the Morgan Avenue subway platform, the same business casual uniform day in and day out -- black Members Only-esque jacket over a white dress shirt, dark trousers, and generic black lace-up shoes. Everything about him looked generic. No tie. No briefcase. He always stood ten or fifteen feet away from me on the platform, far enough that I could only observe the most basic of physical details. Maybe that was his way of staying inconspicuous.

Wallace could have been a ghost, but instead he was my L train stalker. Lately he has been getting bold, slowly weaving his way through the crowded train car so that he hovered mere inches away from me. This morning I felt him pressed up against from behind, his warm exhale punctuating against my exposed neck. Our near equal height had us spooning. And as I shifted away, he matchced my movements like a tenacious suitor.

* From, "Motherless Brooklyn" by Jonathan Letham. P. 144.

For other takes on this topic see:

A Prize In Every Box | Write Again Soon | Wish to See | Bad Apologies | A Little Maryment | Lugnochro

"I'm the mayor of taco town. What do you want?"

Dupont Circle
Oh DC, how I missed you.

The weather was wonderful -- sunny and clear -- the company excellent. I love New York, but I forgot that cities can smell clean and the vegetation lush. Holly and I had that "Wow, I can smell the trees" moment as we walked up to Beth's Woodley Park apartment late Friday night.

My whirlwind tour included the National Zoo (early enough to beat the throngs of mulleted tourists and their screaming children) to see cheetahs and pandas, a run through the National Gallery of Art, and a walking tour of Embassy Row. Beth (ie, Ms. I'd Rather Be Traveling) was the ever wonderful hostess, even going so far as to bake ziti for Saturday night's dinner party. Much drunken ass slappin' and hilarity ensued. Holly was a good sport seeing how she was in the presence of four people who have known each other for 10 years plus. There was even hangover brunch at Signe's place in Forest Glen (I mean Wheaton) and a visit to Mr. Bad Apologies's new apartment.


Back in Brooklyn amongst the trash and dog crap, I guiltily called in sick on Monday. Why? So I could go leisurely attend my 12:30 interview and not feel rushed and thusly doubly nervous. I do hope it went well, but the softball questions threw me for a loop (eg, What do you like to do for fun?).

Please hire me. I'm tired of reading articles about anal pouch failure.