Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Steam on the sidewalks

I have no sense of humor today. It's been sucked up by the heat.

It's 86 degrees right now in New York City. Right now meaning 11:15 at night. The A/C hasn't been turned on in the building and the fan in the unit isn't working properly. So when someone told me an hour ago that it would cool off during the night, I asked her, "When?"

I actually like heat. I'm not a fan of air conditioning and try to switch it off behind C's back whenever he's not looking. Dose of irony for ya: he's the English one and I'm the American one. Enough said.

Now it's getting to be a little too much, given that I live in a box of still air with the windows facing the wrong way. Last night's flight home was kicked off by a plane with no A/C. That I took in stride. Combined with tonight though, I'm starting to think it's not a coincidence. It's like the Berlitz school of "Welcome to summer" or something.

Sweat - the right kind of sweat - is kind of sexy. It's kind of tropical and kind of makes your skin dewy, like J. Lo. It can even smell nice in its own organic way, without being too organic.

Let's just say I'm not having the right kind of sweat right now.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Blogging in paradise

I'm stealing a moment with the tablet, as C has gone up to Fort Lauderdale to see a friend. Another Brit expat living in the States, natch. I'm quite happy to stay behind for reasons too obvious, as you will see from the photo I took from our balcony.

All the lemmings, including myself, are out in full force today

I came inside because while it's gorgeous out, I suffered a nasty bout of dehydration in Target yesterday. I got all shaky and light-headed, while my fingers started going tingly and numb. Instead of trying to alleviate the problem, I did what any self-respecting woman would do and kept shopping. I was going to keep on shopping in Tar-jhay until it killed me.

"Clean-up in Aisle 7. Passed out shopper on the floor."

So we've been all over the place recently. We went to the Bahamas, because C had to meet one of the planes there for his company. Since they were footing half of his expenses, it made sense that I would tag along. And part of the bargain was that aforementioned snorkeling/feed me to the sharks excursion.

I must say I came out the winner. As someone with an inordinate fear of sharks, and consequently deep water, I was feeling a bit uneasy about this. I've never had an encounter with a shark, but I've seen Jaws. So this, combined with taking advantage of the Senor Frog's next to our hotel the night before, made for a very shaky and nervous M the day of the trip. Just like the girl who went from vertically sitting on a bar stool to horizontally splayed on the dance floor in three seconds flat, I was sure I was going to suffer humiliation in front of my fellow visitors to the beautiful Bahamas.

But no. Initially, I was sure I wasn't going to last. The boat ferried us to at least several miles offshore, until we got to the first snorkel stop. I got into the water with C next to me, put on my mask, then the tube in my mouth, and stuck my head in the water. I immediately panicked after two seconds and came up, telling C, "I cant do this."

I had snuck quite a few cigarettes in the night before, despite having pretty much quit, and this didn't help my breathing matters. Also, I simply wasn't prepared to see everything so clearly as I did. Unlike being just off the shoreline, you really see everything at a point this far out. So when I stuck my head in and saw a fishie staring right back at me...


I all of a sudden understood what "swimming with the fishes" really meant.

But C was the man of the moment. He got me to calm down and start over, never leaving my side. By the second stop, I was swimming this way and that a way, making him suffer the wake of my fins flip-flapping all over the place. What I saw, I can't describe. Simply put, it was beautiful. As someone who never cared that much about aquariums or ocean life, I all of a sudden got it.

We had fish food we bought at the store and once we opened them up, it was like being caught in a rainbow swirl of hungry fish. Colors and markings like I'd never seen before. There was one black and white spotted guy, with orange stripes running down his sides - he looked so badass, you could tell he was the Axl Rose of the sea. Despite a close encounter with a baby barracuda and a bluefish who I just know was hell bent on pursuing me, it was awesome and I'm so ready to do it again.

By the time we got to the shark part, I was substantially less nervous. Not because I was one with the ocean, but because I figured if the snorkeling company has done this with countless people before me, then I'm not the first and I'm not the last. They made us all hold onto a rope and float, while they lowered a cage of food about 15 feet below us. Then we watched about 6 or 8 of them swim around the cage, sniffing out the goods.

Was I nervous? Hell, yeah! Sometimes they came sometimes within 8 feet below us, making my stomach do several flips. I kept hoping that asshole, who insisted on kicking his fins in my face even though we were supposed to be completely still, would look more tempting to the sharks than I would. But at least I kept calm and lasted about five minutes, before I decided my time was up. Then I slowly moved myself to the boat to get back on. When I got there, there was another girl with her head between her knees, sobbing from fear. Add to that a couple where the big, beefy blond guy had apparently freaked and was the first person back on before you could say boo.

I don't feel that I'm better than them because I somehow managed to keep my cool (how I don't know). I just feel better about myself. I conquered something - but still not all of it - that was both mental and physical for me.

So having said all that, there's still so much more, but that's another day. In the meantime, my skin is flaking off from all the flying back and forth, and I remembered what Donatella Versace said about flying on planes -moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Though judging from the state of her, I don't know if I should be following her advice...

Donatella Versace and Janice from "The Muppets" - not a coincidence

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Look what I found!

Landed in Florida last night, and since the flight was delayed, I couldn't make my Publix run. And I lurrvvveee Publix. My devotion to Publix, especially their sub sandwiches, necessitates a whole, separate post of its own.

However, since the laptop here died since our last visit, I had to wait for C to arrive this AM with his teeny, tiny tablet of a laptop. As I sit here, tip-tapping away on this thing, I have no idea how I'm going to meet the deadline for my next piece on Tuesday with this.

But anyway, I made it to Publix this morning to stock up the kitchen for C's arrival. The first thing I did was order that sub and then moved onto the rest of the store, cursing why it has to be only a Southeast thing. As I went down one aisle, I was stopped in my tracks. There, stood something that made me forget all about my sub sandwich and want to fall to the floor in sheer, utter elation. There stood can after can of Campbell's Creamy Ranchero Tomato Soup. If you recall, they were supposed to be discontinuing it, so it was my birthday and New Year's all rolled into one.

I bought every single last one they had in the store. The checkout clerk looked at me, looked at the cans, and you could almost see the words forming over her head. "Crrrazy gringa sure likes the soup!"

And don't think I'm not taking those suckers back with me to New York.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Last night killed me. Then I spent all afternoon putting together a last minute presentation to be overnighted to Vegas, where Nose Digger is. I worked late, was the last one in the office. I put it all together and burned it onto a CD. Then I proceed to go home in relief and anticipation of lying down. Take the train home, envisioning a turkey and avocado sandwich. Half an hour later, I step off the train.


I left the farking presentation on my desk in a FedEx box. There was such deja vu that, I swear, I think I dreamt about this before. So what do I do?

I considered weeping for about five minutes, before turning around, grabbing a plastic container of chix salad from the nearest deli, and eating it standing up on the train, all the way back down to Herald Square. Go upstairs, get the package, give it to the FedEx guy - all of which only takes five minutes as I can see from the clock above Penn Station. Then I proceed to make another 30 minute trip back home.

We leave for Florida tomorrow and I've still got to pack. Not that I'm complaining, but now I'm too tired to post about anything else except for what I just wrote. At least this weekend, I have access to a laptop and I plan to make up for lost time. But right now I can barely rub two brain cells together.

Note to self

Never assume if you're going to interview the manager of a soccer bar, for a piece covering the World Cup, that you'll come away from it sober.

More on that - and my trip - later.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Who's bitching now?

I have been dying to post about this, but haven't had the time until now.

So in continuation of the previous post, let me tell you what finally happened. As my colleague's computer stopped working, all the cooks in this broth finally gave up and Gerard, the IT guy, was called in that afternoon. Whiner takes off on her fourth Starbucks run of the day ("If I don't have a computer, what else am I supposed to do?"). He fiddles around it with for ten minutes, puts his hands on his hips, then walks over to the other side of the floor and confers with Nose Digger.

Whiner comes back, sees her computer screen is still dark, and slams her coffee down on her desk:

"Wree, wree! My computer still hasn't been fixed!"

Nose Digger comes over and before she can start her next onslaught of words, he holds his hand up. "Gerard thinks he found the problem."

"Yeah? What?" She huffs and crosses her arms.

"It seems your hard drive is full up to capacity. Because there's 30 gigs of music on it."

You could have heard a pin drop. And I'm loving it, grinning like a kindergartner because I have no shame.

She squeaks, "Really?"

"Really." And he walks over to his desk and starts typing away. The beauty of it was that she stopped complaining about it, for the rest of the day. That's a miracle in itself. But the pathetic thing about it was that's the only thing Nose Digger said to her about it. Backbone and Nose Digger do not go in the same sentence.

30 gigs of music - that's a whole iPod in itself. In some companies, that would kind of, you know, get you fired? But not the company I work for! Hell, no!

Tell me, Whiner. How does your gifted skill of musical research entail pulling your weight? Was that KC and the Sunshine Band song going to be the golden ticket? No, no, no...Pussycat Dolls! Of course! The secret to our success lies in the lyrics of "Beep"!

Hairspray + hard abs = the company goes public

I'll never understand.


In other news, I got a nice size tax rebate check. Yay.

It all went to my Visa card. Boo.

"M, I am the owner of your soul - mwaahahahahahahha!"


And finally, C and I leave for a long weekend in the Bahamas tomorrow morning. Four days of sun, fun, and for me - lots of reading by the sea. Because he just can't possibly imagine what I'm like when relaxed, he booked us a snorkeling excursion around different parts of the island on Sunday. Part of this trip includes snorkeling above sharks. "Friendly" ones, they say.

This is the stuff of my nightmares.

"Harry, wait! Wait! You gotta leave some room for the 1 o'clock!"

"Yeah? Why's that?"

"They got a real live one. We're talking fresh meat. Jewish girl...real neurotic...from New York City!"

"Oooooh, I can taste it already! Gimme a high flipper!"

(High flippers all around)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Computers, comshmuters - A rant by M

All morning, my co-worker has been freaking out that her computer isn't working. That's a problem. Of all people, I can relate. What I don't understand is why the entire office has to hear about it constantly throughout the day. It's like she's the Hedda Hopper of Computerville, making sure everyone knows her computer is broken.

Her computer started with a blue screen and lots of mumbo jumbo written on it. There was a line saying, "If this if your first time seeing this screen, re-start your computer." She does that. The blue screen is still there. She re-starts the computer again, even though it's not her first time anymore. No go. The Idiot Prince - her boyfriend - and Nose Digger come over. They start poking around on the keyboard. They shut it down and restart it again, because even though that's already been done, it's their first time seeing the screen. So that negates all previous attempts.

"Call Gerard", I keep saying, in reference to the freelance IT guy we use. But no. Idiot Prince insists on trying to run the thing in Safe Mode. He's doing this because a) his dad owns the business, so he needs to save a few rubles for the company and b) that all the years floating on boats - in pursuit of his oceanography degree - was for the ultimate good of the office IT systems.

Because Duran Duran filmed "Rio" on a yacht, we now have the Internet.

As I type, it's like watching the Keystone Kops. They have no idea what they're doing, but they still insist on trying to solve the problem themselves. If it could, that PC would be turning a sharp right and jumping out the window at the first opportunity.

And somebody better give the girl a computer soon, because Whiner (as I call her) now has way too much time on her hands. Instead of picking up the phone and making a few cold calls, she decides she needs to be entertained and insists on chattering away at me. I give her a British tabloid that I have on hand, but she starts reading it out loud and dissecting the articles to me. Since I'm busy, it's one of the rare days I could care less about:

1> Britney and the baby's car seat

2> How skinny Nicole Richie is or

3> Brangel... shit, I still can't say it!

Throughout the entire morning straight into the afternoon, they're still at it - fiddling with the computer and refusing to call the IT guy. If I walk out of here this afternoon with my eyebrows burned off, looking like an extra from Mad Max, you'll know why.

Is your village missing a few idiots? Because I've got them right here and they want to come home.

Monday, May 15, 2006

No Deal

Unfortunately, I never made it to the casting call for Deal or No Deal, as I wasn't feeling well and wound up spending the whole weekend taking it easy. But there's still hope, as I can send a video in before June 2. I know it's not like doing it in person, but I had no choice. So keep your fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I've been super, super busy trying to earn some shekels writing for another website. And when I'm not tapping away at the keyboard, I'm busy laughing at Zoe who just got back from the groomers. She's had her spring cleaning with a full shave of her coat, and C says she looks like a freshly shorn lamb.

If Damien from The Omen were a dog...

Friday, May 12, 2006

This means war

When it comes to snacking, I'm a grazer. As I am also a multi-tasking grazer, it is very possible for me to inhale half a can of C's Pringles, while surfing the Web, and not even notice it.

I've told C, "Let's not even entertain the concept that I have willpower, because I don't. Out of my sight, out of my mind." He agreed, only to have me find a Cadbury bar winking at me when I opened the fridge door today.

So that little directive didn't work. What to do next? I think I have the answer and I will find out its effectiveness, only after he comes home to find this on our apartment door:

As for the neighbors, pfffftttt.

Dribs and drabs

Just a few weeks ago, I was busily comparing people to cheese, not realizing today they would announce a new perfume called "Stilton". No, I'm serious. So I guess I got it all wrong, because people do want to smell like cheese.

He likes the smell while the girls dig the look - everybody wins!

Couldn't it be, like, the smell of mozzarella? No, wait, that wouldn't be good. Because if you came within ten feet of me, you'd have to fight me off with a stick. Or what about Brie? Brie's good. Everyone loves Brie. Who wouldn't want to around smelling like the rind of Brie? Count me in!

In other news, I'm a dork. Oh, you knew that already? Well, let's just re-affirm that I'm a dork by me telling you that I'm going to the Deal Or No Deal open casting tomorrow morning. Can't you just picture it? I know I can.

"Howie, Howie, Howie, how many times I have to tell you? The Trump Man keeps following me!"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

You spell with your bad self!

Even though it's Wednesday, I will post this as Thursday in the hopes that I get work done tomorrow. But if I have something to say tomorrow, stop me.

So...have you seen the previews for that movie out in the theaters, Akeelah and the Bee? No? Allow me. You just really need to watch the first 45 seconds before you go into insulin shock.

Did you see that? Did you see that?!? I mean, that little girl got right up there, stared him down, and spelled! Those letters came flying out of her mouth rapid-fire, like boom boom boom a-rat-a-tat-tat. Look out you all - she's a spelling bandit!

And all those crazy camera angles too, where they're just rendered speechless by her spelling. Goes right up in their faces and their eyes go all big, just in case you hadn't figured out this is the big moment. This is the gratuitous Oscar nomination clip. It's bigger than when E.T. gets to go home. Bigger than when Bruce Willis saves the world because he sacrifices himself in Armageddon. Because that girl can spell and she spells like the wind!

Fast forward to the 2006 Oscars... "I'd like to thank my mom, my dad, and the letters A, B, and C. Oh, and let's not forget D and E. I couldn't have done it with you all. Oh...let's just make it the whole alphabet! Thank you, the alphabet!"

Although, I do have to say that in the midst of this thought-provoking, awareness-raising preachiness...you do realize that "Booger" from Revenge of the Nerds plays the part of the principal?

You know you can't fool me. That movie may be over 20 years old and he's been in countless other things, including the much beloved Moonlighting. But I know who he is! You can't pass off Booger as a respectable member of society - like a school principal. He was, is, and always will be Booger.

This film will reek Mr. Holland's Opus style, because Starbucks is behind it. They probably pumped that little girl full of Mocha Frappucinos and Lemon Bundt Cakes to get her to spell like that. That one little flash of their logo right before the trailer starts? That's a sign. They're hell bent on world domination and she's their pint-sized leader. Meet Starbucksaballahtology.

You're still not convinced? Look at Laurence Fishburne. What happened to Morpheus?

Enough said.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How do you like them apples?

This morning, I had two shoulder bags with me, as the plan was to go to the gym after work. I need to do penance for my dumpling overload last night. Followed up by the new comedy "An American Haunting" and a popcorn with "topping", I felt like a dumpling myself.

So the trains are running late, creating people pile-ups on the platform. We're all waiting with baited breath to see what the next trains brings and I'm close up to the front, dangerously close. Weighted down with bags and people pushing up behind me to check out the tracks, I'm feeling like an ass.

"I should have taken the bus"

Finally the next train pulls up and there's this wee bit of space where, if I shifted my bags down and contorted myself, maybe I'd get in. Then I hear this guy say, "Step in honey, I'll make room for you."

A guy is standing face to face with me, except he's on the train. He's a little heavy-set, with a florid face, and he's younger than me. Who does he think he is calling me "honey"! Although that's marginally better than "Ma'am". I just shake my head silently and make a show of looking down the tracks for the next train. "There's plenty of room right here, you just have to lean in close to me."

Oh dear.

I look to my left and right to see if anyone else heard that and do I take that the wrong way? I'm not getting the feeling they did. I step back slightly from his leer, but given the circumstances, he gets right to the point. "What's your number?"

Why aren't the train doors closing? I snap at him. "What's the matter with you?"

"Whatever's wrong with me, I'm sure you can fix." He was a wolf in Banana Republic chinos.

The train announcement comes on. "This train is temporarily being held by the train dispatcher. We apologize for the unavoidable delay."

Shit! I don't want to walk away now because of a) my stupid pride and b) I'll get relegated to the back of another crowd if I switch car entrances, where I'd lose another ten minutes. Why do some men have to automatically assume all women are single and ready to throw themselves at their feet? Even when they look like a post-Camelot Kennedy.

Patrick Kennedy models the Kennedy family ascot

The guy keeps trying to make eye contact with me, even as I'm looking away from him. "You're cute, you know that?"

I was not amused. I'm never really amused in the morning, but this morning I was less amused than usual. Then I heard, "Steven?"

I then found out he was the spokesman for Sears' special "Deer in Headlights" photo package - backdrop included

The cocky, smarmy look was wiped off in an instant and he turned into a stammering, beet-red mess. "Sweetie! Here! There's room for you!"

And this girl pushes through the crowd and squeezes onto the train, wearing a wedding ring as I couldn't help but notice. She gives him a peck on the lips, before facing outwards and shooting me the dirtiest, nastiest look ev-er while he squirms and sweats behind her.

Then the ding-ding of the train goes off, signalling the doors were about to close. She's still staring me down like I was some coffee-deprived Lolita, so I couldn't resist. Really, what are the chances of this scenario being turned on its head like it did?

"Don't look at me, girl. Look at that slimy husband of yours."

As the doors closed in, her expression went self-righteous to....hmmm, I'd like to say shock with just a smidge of a wife about to give her man a verbal beatdown.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Saturday night was my mom's birthday. It was a banner year, so we went to the Central Park Boat House for dinner. Family and some close friends all got together, making it really special for my mother, who got a bit farklempt at one point. That was monumental. She wasn't even that bad at my wedding. The last time she was that farklempt was in 1984. Mix "The Way We Were" with the mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy and you've got a puddle on your hands.

Warning: With this double barrel of Farklempt, no Jewish Mother is safe

So the dinner was a success and a group of us went out afterwards to a bar and a roof party with my brother. It's a nice night out and we're enjoying the warm weather and open sky, replete with a makeshift bar in the middle.

C and I are introduced to this girl - let's call her I. - who my brother met a few weeks ago. It turns out she lives in our neighborhood, hence a discussion of our shared love of Agata and Valentina, the neighborhood gourmet shop. But for very different reasons.

I. - "Do you know Agata & Valentina?"

C and I smile at each other knowingly, like Do we know Aggy & Valley? Phsaw! I turn to her, laughing: "Of course!"

I. - "Ohmygod, their produce is just fabulous! I live almost 10 blocks away and I will walk there for my produce. They just have the best produce in the area!"

Reeling from the 'produce' overuse, I look over at C. We buy our fruit and veg at Gristedes.

I. - "I would never buy my produce at Gristedes! Ick, no! It's poison!"

Yes, I shrank about two sizes right there and then in front of the Cucumber Snob.

Buying your pro-doosh at Gristede's = pre-makeover Carrot Top

Getting it from Agata & Valentina = Carrot Top on steroids

C and I, we get our "treats" at Aggy & Valley. Like the homemade mozzarella that melts in your mouth. Or the the spicy shrimp salad C adores. But, neither of us see the point in buying organic and paying through the nose just to ostensibly eat "healthy". If our zucchini comes from Gristedes, does that make it fast food?

Seriously, how is one head of lettuce going to negate the damage done by breathing in bus fumes, and all those other airborne toxins, every day? I openly accept that while I blade along with the Hudson River sparkling in the sun on my right, there is also a packed West Side Highway there on my left.

See, you can't win. So I get my pro-doosh at Gristedes.

"But Mom, all the cool cauliflowers who hang out at Agata & Valentina have an LV Speedy!"

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blading photos

I finally put my blades on yesterday, then went for a blade from the UES to Battery Park and back. I can't tell you how good it felt. Some muscles that had been sleeping all winter were creaking, groaning, and making deals with me.

Blading along the Hudson River is like visiting an old friend. Each year, I see some familiar sights along with evidence of change. Gone is the burger shack that provided a dietary, and mental, respite after a long blade down along the river. I don't know if it's coming back, but sitting at one of their picnic tables in the sun, while chowing down a burger, was a bit of summer I liked to keep in my pocket. Oh, well.

As always, I like to take pictures as I go along. This is one of the rare occasions when I feel my mind actually calm down. I actually pause to enjoy what's going on around me, instead of hurrying through my life. So hopefully for the next four months, C will have a much more chilled out M to come home to.

On my way down....

A skeleton of Old New York - the burned-out South Anderson rail yard on W. 70th

The Sanitation Department, a source of endless amusement for me. When it's all lit up at night, it looks like a nightclub. "Yeah, Club Sanitation. Over on the water. You've got to go."

Straight out of The Jetsons - a view of Jersey City from a pier in the mid-30's

I could easily lose an hour just watching the dog run on Leroy Street

New Yorkers will get their tan on wherever they can - (Battery Park, with the Empire State Building in the background)

There was a feeling of being transported back in time while taking this picture...maybe because it was the last time the French were nice to us


And then on my way back up again...for the safety of all pedestrians, bikers, and bladers...

But some people didn't get the memo...


I love finding old ads for long-defunct businesses on the sides of buildings - proving that relics from the past haven't all been glossed over in the name of Progress (near Barrow and West Streets)

One of the city's most expensive gyms - Chelsea Piers - on the right.

One of the city's best free gyms - The Hudson River Bike Path - on the left.

Big Boat - U.S.S. Intrepid with a retired Concorde on the right

(38th and the river)

A band performing in Central Park

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, with lake in the background

Yeah, it was a good day and my head felt so clear. Hurtling myself down the length of the city, with four wheels strapped to bottom of each foot, is apparently my kind of yoga.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I have such a buzz this morning and it's got nothing to do with coffee. I got tickets to see Def Leppard and Journey perform at Jones Beach! Am I embarassed by this admission? No, I am shameless in my love of 70's hair bands.

Tickets went on sale this morning at 9 am and there I was, at my computer, positioned like a race car driver. My hand on the mouse, I was staring at the screen with such a ferocity that neither C or Zoe were safe.

Just like REO Speedwagon, I have a very special place in my heart for Journey - probably even more so. Journey was my personal camp band. And when I got my driver's license, I blasted the CD in my car, feeling my heart soar, and knew I could sing like Steve Perry does in "Faithfully". Despite cracking the windows when I got to the "I'm Foreeeeeeeeeee- Verrrrrrrr Yourssssssss!".

Somewhere over the Atlantic in 1993...

Is that M singing Journey again?

I've missed many an opportunity to score tickets to some of the hottest shows around. But this one, this one I sniffed out and hunted down like fresh meat. "Hot tickets" being in the eye of the beholder.

In my attempt to get tickets, it was crazy. My heart was racing and my breathing was shallow. I was hopped up like I had just had ten cups of coffee and a packet of No-Doz. I kept maniacally refreshing the screen until I would see the "Buy Tickets" symbol come up. In the olden days (we're talking horse and buggy here) you used to have to hit "redial" on the phone over and over again. You'd constantly get a busy signal, until you finally got through and they were all sold out. God, I love the Internet.

C: I may have to work that-

Me (eyes never leaving the screen): You're coming.

C: What time is it?

Me: Start calling in some favors - you're leaving work early to be there.

Don't get me wrong; there's something in it for him too. He gets to see Def Leppard. Not that they were as big in the UK as they were here, but still.

Def Leppard sounding the siren call for all the British expats in the land

And now I've got the tickets, in a great location near the stage. I am so excited, I can once more sing from the hilltops in that falsetto, bleeding the ears of a new generation. Even though Steve Perry was the heart and soul of the group, beggars can't be choosers. So he got kicked out and they've got some other guy fronting the band, but I don't care! I just wanna hear some Journey!

The force behind the Great Hair Product and Lycra Drought of 1980

Friday, May 05, 2006

The freaks come out at night

I live in a part of the Upper East Side that is heavily populated by restaurants and bars. Still, it's a part of town where you're lucky if you have a Tara Reid sighting at the local dive bar.

Taken from the Wall of Shame at Brother Jimmy's

Now that the warm weather is back, so is the outdoor seating and consequently, the sidewalk soap operas. Thus, a nice segue from the season finales of my favorite TV shows - which occupied me all through the winter - to the entertainment that is my fellow New Yorkers. Walking Zoe has never been so much fun.

Just last night, I passed by American Trash. This bar has a long history of living up to its name. It's a biker bar planted right smack in the middle of the Upper East Side, of all places. Hence the Wall Street Cowboys and Jewish American Princesses who decide to "slum it", wearing their Diesel jeans and "vintage" rock t-shirts from Urban Outfitters. Nothing sends them scurrying faster than two Hell's Angels who decide for that one beer-addled minute - they really don't like each other. And they're going do something about it. Now.

When they start re-aligning each other's noses...it's like buttah

For more highbrow entertainment, there's Baraonda, a favorite haunt of the New York Yankees, snooty Eurotrash, and the women who love them. If you wait long enough, eventually an alcohol-fueled argument will start between a couple right alongside the sidewalk cafe. And usually it's of such drunken proportions, where the mascara is streaming down her face in rivers and the boyfriend can't console her to save his life. It's like the opera - very dramatic and no one can understand what's going on.

Girlfriend: Iateeeeeyouyyy! (Sob)

Nearby diner: What did she say? She ate him?

Boyfriend: Baby, I'm sorry! What can I do to make it up to you?

Girlfriend: Zhammmbardsss!

Boyfriend: You wanna go to St. Bart's? I'll take you to St. Bart's!

And it's only the beginning of the season.

Should an intrepid visitor decide to venture past 3rd Avenue and brave this part of town; they will have to decide for themselves just how safe they really are. Especially be wary of the frat packs from Long Island standing outside of any bar on Second Avenue, wearing the Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts and flip flops. They may look like they're having a lot of fun with the pretty co-eds on either arm, but consider yourself warned: Tom Cruise is their leader and they're recruiting for new members.

I shall not rest until I have all the Kappa Beta Gammas in the land!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

God Save The Queen - Part 2

C is back from England and he did not disappoint, toting along the Trash for Cash i.e. British tabloid weeklies.

Since my original discussion regarding these magazines, I have done my part to enlighten others. I give them to friends and even co-workers, just to keep me in their good graces while I admire the zoo that is my office. (Recent developments include the firing of the person who was meant to be my replacement, only after two weeks. It's been fun and games ever since.)

Originally, I'd mentioned the prolific human interest stories featured within these magazines. Now, I've been given a copy of an entire magazine devoted to the trials and tribulations of my fellow mankind.

Jerry Springer, eat your heart out

Upon seeing the cover, my overactive imagination took over and I envisioned a pair of boobs hovering over that poor girl while she slept. "Bwoooaaaahhaaaa, we have come over from The Other Side to haunt you in your dreamssss!"

She'd wake up screaming and her flatmate would run in, like "What? What happened?" And the girl would sob into her friend's shoulder, "These boobs keep haunting me! They just won't leave me alone!"

And as for the Evil Ex story - where to begin? I just hope the pigs don't see this, find out the truth, and sue for emotional distress.

Moving onto the more celebrity-oriented tabloids, you've got to love this cover:

Kristin Davis: "Help! I have lost control of my hands and they're forcing me to eat this fry!"

So now the truth comes out! After years of reports of drug binges, shoplifting arrests, and extra-marital affairs, The Dark Side of Showbiz is revealed in (Dun dun dunnnnn!) Binge Eating! Oh, horrors! And judging from the cover, this obviously affects only women. Men don't have this problem - nahhhh.

No wonder why Nicole Richie is so skinny! All the Binge Eaters in Hollywood are clearing out the supermarket shelves before she can even get there! When she orders a sandwich, Sharon Osbourne walks by and stuffs it into her mouth! Poor Nicole - we need to start a drive to send care packages from other parts of the country that aren't yet afflicted! Quick - before Britney finds her way to your local Burger King!

And this brings me back to the media fascination with morphing celebrity babies. Only days after discussing it, I come upon an imagined playdate between Suri Cruise and the future spawn of Bran...Brangel...no, I can't say it!

The astute celebrity psychics over at Heat magazine have so far determined that:

A) In spite of her own fashion sense, Angelina will subject the poor child to the butchest haircut I have ever seen in my life!

B) The spawn of Brad and Angelina will bear a strange resemblance to Kirstie Alley.

C) This child will scare the bejeezus out of every other kid it comes across, sending them running out of the local playground in Namibia.

Strangely, Suri's future looks are relatively pretty; as the daughter of Tom Cruise and his backhanded mechanisms to bring down South Park, is this a coincidence? I think not.

Ah yes, I do love my British magazines! And as I will continue to be fed a steady diet of them, thanks to the passengers who continue to leave them behind, therein lies fodder for future observations.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hair's a to a beautiful Tuesday

This morning, I got on the subway and immediately homed in on a empty spot between two people. On the 6 train at 8:45 am, this is pure gold.

So I dove for it, then screeched to a halt and nearly broke my nose trying to stop myself from landing my tush down in the seat. WOAH! There was hair all over that seat! And it was still attached to the head of its owner.

Crystal, honey, put that away

What do you do then? Do you brush the hair aside so you can sit down? Do you ask them to move their hair? I felt a giggle working its way up my throat when I decided to do that latter.

"Um, excuse me?" She looked up from her book. "Do you mind moving your...hair? AAAHAHAHAAAA!"

Oh dear.

I couldn't help it. It just seemed so ridiculous, so FUNNY. I was asking someone to move their hair. Imagine yourself doing the same and try not to smile. Then when I heard someone else snickering behind me...well, that didn't help either. It just pushed me further until I had tears coming out of my eyes. Oh boy. I imagined Cousin Itt was not happy, but I couldn't tell underneath all that hair.

A voice came out from the follicular deeps. "I don't think that's a good idea now. You may think it's funny, but my hair holds a lot of memories for me."

Oh, I'm sure it did - when hair gets long like that, we're talking vintage. Sure enough, I start laughing again. What was wrong with me? Then I heard the voice behind me say, "You know the Skittles ad?"

(Sir, if you're out there reading this, you so owe me big time.)

So now I'm picturing the hair rising up and dusting the seat off, before gesturing for me to sit down. I could feel my face burning as I turned away, trying to prevent another paroxysm of laughter. At this point, I was going to give myself an aneurysm. I heard another voice say, "So rude!"

And it was. I was disgusted with myself. Completely appalled! But that didn't mean I could make it stop. So I avoided looking into those disapproving eyes staring me down and mercifully jumped out at the 5th Avenue stop. There, I held onto a column and just tried to make it Go...Away.

At that moment, I was the safest person in all of New York City, because nobody would have dared to come within twenty feet of my maniacally laughing self.

But finally, it did go away. And I got back onto the next train and couldn't stop myself smiling. The Long Hair Gods will strike lightning upon me, but I felt so much lighter. Even though I had probably ruined someone else's day.

It must be either be stress or there's a full moon out. Now I have to go sort out my karma by saving a kitten from a tree or something.

I'm such an asshole.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Super is not so super

Is there some kind of a school for building superintendents, where they learn to be complete and total asshats? Think about it. There's a reason why the word 'superintendent' comes with a whole lot of baggage. He's either 1) extorting you for repairs 2) a lech 3) useless or 4) all of the above.

A superintendent on Spring Break

When you live in the same building for as long as I have, you start to have quite the laundry list of complaints about your super. When I first moved in at the age of 21, he was all over my shet. Everything got fixed so fast, I was like "Damn! This is the greatest building in the world! Whoever says building supers are lech-ey, useless, extorting asshats...well, they got it all wrong!"

I did say I had just moved in.

I now have a long history with John, my super. From the time he tried to pick me up in the elevator to battling it out with him for a space heater, while we had no heat and it was below 0 degrees outside, it's been fun and games throughout. Usually at my expense.

Close. Verrrrrry close.

What kills me is that inducing a straight answer from the man is dreaming the Impossible Dream. One could have a near nervous breakdown trying to get some semblance of affirmative or negative. Behind that blank stare and filthy Yankee baseball hat, there is a man trained with military precision to always stick to the greys.

I present to you this morning. They are painting each apartment door in our building. Since they need the edges painted, we all have to confirm the date they requested so we can leave them open while they do it.

The letter we received says next Wednesday, a notice in our hallway says next Thursday. So, like any person would do, I tell the doorman. He tells me to talk to John. I already know where this is going to go with The Master of Evasion. He's not worried about giving you the right or wrong answer, he just doesn't want to tell you.

This morning, I spy him in the lobby. I watch him go back and forth with another neighbor who plays the "How soon is soon?" game with him over repairs in her apartment.

Her - "How soon is soon?"

John - "Soon."

Her - "Soon, like one day, or soon as in one week?"

John - "I don't know. Soon."

She walks away while throwing her hands up in the air in disgust. Damn, he's good.

But I was ready for him. I was gonna get an answer!

I approach him.

"John, theletterwegotsaysthedoorsarebeingpaintednextWednesday... (GASP)andthenoticeinthehallwaysaystheyarebeingpainted... (GASP) nextThursday,whichisit? WednesdayorThursday? ThursdayorWednesday?"


He looked at me, shook his shoulders, and adjusted his baseball hat. Uh oh.

"Which came first, the letter or the notice?" Oh no, the superintendent version of 'The Chicken or the Egg'!

"The letter."

"Then use that then."

"But if the notice went up after, does that override the letter?"

"I don't know."

"Who am I supposed to ask about this, if not you?"

"You are supposed to ask me."

"But you're not giving me an answer."

"I just told you."

He then repeats back to me my story about what the letter says versus the notice. I wait for an answer at the end. I don't get one, just him saying he has to go unclog a toilet on 12.

"John! I need to know this. C will be home only one of those days."

"If it's on the other day, I can watch the place for you."

Oh no, unh unh. I can totally see him like, nicking one of my bras or sniffing my shoes or something. I back down, stunned. I think he's won. "I'll figure it out."

So there you go. And I still have no idea when they're painting the doors.

Why can't my super be like Schneider? He rocked bell-bottoms and looked like the missing 7th member of the Village People.