Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Going off the Rails on the Crazy Train (part 298)

The trains get crowded at rush hour.

It's always fun to spend your commute home from a hard day of work pressed up against an unwashed construction worker.

This morning, I laughed as I saw the MTA's new ad campaign, which reads "A crowded train is not an excuse for inappropriate touching." Gee whiz, not only does the MTA provide shoddy, unreliable service, they're also a crusader against sexual harassment. Awesome.

Ironically, this evening, as I entered a very crowded F train, I was inappropriately touched.

By an old lady.

You see, the train was so crowded that I couldn't even reach a pole or a bar to hold onto, so I did the thing where you shoot your arm straight up and hold onto the ceiling of the car for support. Unfortunately, if : you're not tall enough to do this, you become what I like to call an F train bullet: falling forwards and backwards with the train's every movement.

So there's an elderly woman standing next to me, and she is vertically challenged. Of course, I'm not paying attention. That is, until I feel A HAND REACH AROUND AND HOLD ME BY THE WAIST.

I thought I was getting mugged, so I sprayed her with my mase.


Once I feel the arm around my waist, I yank out my headphones and realize that a.) it's a harmless old lady trying to explain to me that she just wants to hold onto something b.) the subway car is laughing at the situation.

Look lady, I understand that you don't want to become an F train bullet, but it's New York. Don't grab someone by the waist unless you want to run the risk of getting stabbed.

As I relayed this story to my roommate, I said the following:

Putting your arm around my waist
Like a lover's embrace
Is a good way to get punched in the face

When she pointed out that my explanation of the incident rhymes, so began my rap career.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apparently douchebaggery is hereditary

Roommate: Awww, Paul Newman died.
Me: OMG what about the salad dressing!


Me: Hey, did you hear Paul Newman died?
Dad: What's gonna happen to the salad dressing?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yes I would like-a to advertise ina your newspaper?

Part of my job is to answer the general advertising phone line we give out to the public and direct them to the correct sales rep.

Usually, these people can barely speak English, and have no idea what the magazine is about. A usual phone call goes like this (about 30 of these occur every day):

Me: [company name] advertising.
Crazy person: (picture a voice not unlike Borat) Uh, yes. I would like-a to advertise ina your uh newspaper.
Me: It's actually a magazine.
Crazy person: Oh! Magazine! How much it come out? How mucha you charge?

It goes on like this. Usually when they find out that it costs upwards of $5,000 for a one-page ad, they hang up on me. It's enough to drive me to drink (more). I mean, call me crazy, but when when you call a business's ad line and I ask you where you're calling from, "New York City" is NOT A GOOD RESPONSE.




Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Reasons Why I Love My Neighborhood

Summer is over and I'm thrilled that the weather is starting to cool down. Any time you've ever heard someone complain about New York City's sweltering summers and thought they were exaggerating, let me tell you- they're NOT exaggerating. There's a billboard outside of my office that tells time and temperature and I have to say that when it is 91 degrees at 9am, there's something terribly wrong. Do I live in Arizona or New York? It's Hell's Kitchen, not Satan's armpit.

I digress.

For me, there's a direct correlation between the outside temperature and my inclination to do things on the weekend during the day. I've done my fair share of exploring my neighborhood in the four months I've lived in Brooklyn, but when it's 389 degrees outside, more often than not, I've spent my Saturday and Sunday afternoons locked in my air conditioned room.

My friend Tim came up for the weekend, and the weather was beautiful and sunny, but it was cool enough out that we spent the entire day walking around Brooklyn without breaking a sweat.
I intend to explore more of the nabe on my own since I can go outside for more than 20 minutes without fear of dying of heat stroke.

So here's another installment of Reasons Why I Love My Neighborhood:

Miracle Grill: This Mexican/Spanish bistro is just a block up from my apartment, and I've always wanted to go there but I've passed it up to go to Barrio, one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood. While Barrio has to-die-for guacamole and mojitos, I'm ready to try something new since it's been my mainstay restaurant all summer. Miracle Grill has comparable guacamole (Barrio's is better), excellent entrees, and a great outdoor patio with a stained glass rooftop.

Prospect Park: Generally regarded as only second to Central Park as far as New York's premier parks go, Prospect Park is just two blocks up from my apartment, and while it's served as a setting for a free concert and a half-assed picnic or two, I've never really spent any time exploring it (here's whe
re the weather inhibits me and my adventurous side). Here's what I discovered this weekend: it's fucking huge. There's a lake? A zoo? Botanical Gardens? Seriously? Who knew? Not me.

Sette: Sette may be my new favorite restaurant. Again, a great outdoor patio (I don't know what I'm going to do when winter rolls around) and excellent, excellent food. Tim and I split a bottle of wine, each got appetizer salads, and entrees and it only ended up being $80- a damage that isn't too bad considering the quality of the food and the ambience. I'll definitely go there again.

The Dram Shop: After a bottle of wine at dinner and pre-gaming at my house before we went out, it's no wonder that Tim kept calling The Dram Shop the "Drama Shop." Close, but no cigar. Regardless, this is a very cool bar, it's highlight being its SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE. Dram Shop, are
you fo real? Cozy but spacious booths and reasonably priced drinks = excellent.

We also left the neighborhood and went to Dumbo after Tim suggested it- he saw it on The Travel Channel, it seems. Dumbo is a part of Brooklyn that is essentially right under the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. It's right on the water, but I had never been there and the only thing I know about it is that my boss lives there. It's only 5 subway stops from my house, so I figured, why not? So glad we went down there. Brooklyn Bridge Park offers an absolutely gorgeous view of the city. It's like two very different worlds diverging. My parents are coming to visit in a few weeks and I can't wait to take them down there and see it at night.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

An Open Letter to The Times Square Subway Station

Dear Times Square Subway Station,

I suppose it's my own fault for choosing a job at an office that's in the middle of nowhere (read: Hell's Kitchen), leaving only two terrible options for public transit: Penn Station and Times Square Station.

Normally, I take the A train to and from Penn Station, but if I need to take any other train when I'm leaving work, it's almost always guaranteed that Hop Stop will tell me that I have to schlep all the way to you, Times Square Station.

Times Square Station, I realized that you're crowded because a.) Times Square is such a heavily trafficked area of midtown and b.) you have every train there is in NYC in this station.

But I'm not here to complain about how crowded you tend to be. I'm not even going to complain about how you let that crazy religious man sell scary religious placards in the station that scream Biblespeak at you in all caps (ie: REPENT, SINNERS OR FEEL THE FIERY CAULDRON OF HELL). What I'm going to complain about is how poorly designed you are and how completely confusing it is to navigate you.

Perhaps it's not your fault that the MTA decided that in order to prevent ride-sharing or passing back your unlimited metro cards, once you swipe your card into a subway station, you cannot use it again for 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, Times Square Station, whenever I'm trying to get to a train in your maze-like corridors, I get confused, and end up exiting the station by accident. I need to get back into the station, of course, but I can't, because my metro card is frozen for 20 minutes.

I end up having to waste $2 buying a single ride just because your station looks like it was laid out by Ray Charles.

Don't you know I have to pay my bills? And a beer in a bar in the city costs upwards of $5! Stop playing me like this, Times Square Station.

I hate you.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From a Distance: This Movie Still Sucks

I'm not really sure how it started, but I believe it was a stupid article in the NY Post about Bette Midler.

You see, at lunch every day, one of my co-workers reads funny stories from the NY Post
to us as an aside to regular lunchtime conversation.

A few weeks ago, there was an article about Bette Midler which prompted me to launch into my pitch-perfect rendition of "From a Distance" and tell everyone that my mother, back in 1979 was an extra in Bette's first-ever movie role, The Rose.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Rose, it's a movie about a female rock star whose drug and alcohol addictions threaten her stardom and ultimately lead to her untimely demise. Loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin, the movie was the vehicle that launched the Divine Miss M into stardom, going on to give us many cinematic treasures like Beaches and Hocus Pocus.

My co-workers, unfortunately, had never heard of The Rose (outside of the title song from the movie that was sung at various Take Back the Night rallies and high school choir concerts), so one of them put it on their NetFlix queue and announced that when it arrived, we would all watch the movie at "The Rose Party" she was throwing. We would drink alcohol and look for my mother during the concert scenes.

The day of the party had come and while I had planned to bring in a dozen roses and distribute them around the office to get everyone pumped, I decided the more cost effective way was to send these images to my co-workers via email, to build the suspense for the viewing throughout the day:

After a few beers, seven million concert scenes, bad acting, and an impromptu sing along to "You Don't Own Me" from Bette's best film, The First Wives Club, we came up with one conclusion:

The Rose sucks.

What a terrible way for my mother to start (and end) her acting career.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

My crush on Tina Fey has reached a new level

Could I love these two women any more?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Talk About Redundant

During my morning commute, I saw a woman with this bag:

I know that Marc Jacobs is one of the hottest designers out there nowadays, but is it really THAT crucial to have a bag that says "Marc Jacobs" about 847 times?

Great, you have a Marc Jacobs bag. You're awesome. Now please fucking stand clear of the closing doors.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mama Said Knock You Out

LL Cool J is a beautiful man, but his gift bags are ridiculous.

I was sent to LL Cool J's rooftop party last night as a part of our magazine's Fashion Week coverage. The "Mama Said Knock You Out" e
mpresario is launching is own clothing line, to be sold (GET READY) exclusively at Sears.

I'm not sure where "exclusive" and "Sears" come together, but you know, someone's making a lot of money, so whatever.

The best part about going to a Fashion Week event for Sears is that they feed you. It makes sen
se, since when I was 10-years-old my mother could only buy pants for me at Sears because they were the only store that sold a size "husky" for girls. Horribly embarrassing? Yes. Hysterical? DOUBLE YES.

Anyway, at the other shows, you're expected to drink, smoke, snort coke, and then cry yourself to sleep later because you're so painfully hungry. Not so at a Sears party. A curiously Asian-themed buffet was served, as well as sushi and other va
rious crudites passed around on trays by Asian waiters.

After two glasses of wine and mingling with some Sears executives wo wanted to know how old I am ("I'm almost 40- how old are you?" "You don't want to know"), the only thing there to entertain myself was the old school rap being played by the respectable DJ Funkmaster Flex that was helping to prove the age-old theory that white people can't dance. No really. White people, stop dancing.

As I spied Dr. 90210 and his bad 1990's haircut (Both Dr. and bad haircut were WITHOUT his wife), there was a clamoring toward the entrance. LL had arrived.
As a not-straight person, I've got to say, LL Cool J is a beautiful, beautiful man. And what a smile. DAM

This was all I needed to see, as I made my exit and scooped up my gift bag.

The contents:

-Poorly manufactured demo CD featuring his new single titled "Baby"
-Bedazzled hat (My roommate tried it on, I told her she looked like a cancer patient. I tried it on, she said that I looked like a train conductor)

-Bedazzled t-shirt covered in fleur-de-lis and the phrase "Ladies Love LL"

-Glossy 8x10 of LL
-Sears Brand Coffee Grinder

-Travel Sewing Kit

-XXL maroon Sears Brand Turtleneck

Yes, that was me on the F train, laughing hysterically as I surveyed the contents of my swag bag.

I cannot deal with my life.


Such a Towelhead

Last night, I went to an advance screening of Towelhead, a new indie movie adapted from an award-winning novel and directed by Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under and American Beauty. The movie follows 13-year-old Arab-American Jasira as she tries copes with her budding sexuality while growing up in an American world with a strict, traditional Lebanese father.

The film boasts stars such as Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette, and Maria Bello, but who really shines is newcomer Summer Bishil as Jasira and Peter Macdissi as her father. As Jasira tries to cope with her sexuality and her race in a prodominantly conservative Caucasian Texas suburb, she finds herself afloat in a virtual sea of hypocrisy, racism, and confused morals as she begins an affair with her neighbor, a married man 20 years her senior.

The dark subject matter is handled well– the film is punctuated with hilariously awkward moments characteristic in dark comedy, but the emotional undertones make it compelling and serious.
The result is an expertly executed film about race, the sexualization of children, and the ridiculous ways adults try to deal with the issues

Just seriously go see it.

The after party was at Mansion in Chelsea, a bar frequented by celebrities, apparently, as told to me by Abi, my date for all of these events. As Abi, me, and a few co-workers were walking from the theatre to the club, we passed a show for fashion week.

Here's the situation:

Me: [complaining about something, as always]
Co-Worker: Oh, hey, Heidi Klum.

Yeah, we passed Heidi Klum on the street, walking into an event. She is OLDDD

When we get to the club, I was impressed at how swank it was. I was also amazed that Roberto Cavalli has a brand of vodka. LUXURY ON THE ROCKS, is what it promises. I don't know if luxury on the rocks was what I got, but I do know that the more expensive the vodka is, the less of a hang over I have. HUGE PLUS.

Here is the private room we were in:

Open bar was from 10 to midnight, so of course we chugged like we were freshmen in college. Hey, I can barely pay my rent but I will get drunk for free with celebrities. Well, not WITH them as much as in the general proximity of them. Same difference. Not really. Whatever.

Because it's often the case that the older you get, the more likely it is that you can buy your own drinks, the words "open bar" don't yield the same excitement that it once did. The day I'm no longer excited about the prospect of an open bar is the day that I will mark the death of my youth. It won't be a sad day, necessarily, though— it will also mean that I can support myself financially and buy my own drinks rather than relying on my job as a way to get free stuff. Ah, the road to success is a bumpy (drunken) one. This was the long way of saying that the private room pretty much cleared out by 11:30.

We stayed until midnight and headed into the main room, which was tricked out with strobe lights, techno music, and circus performers doing flips in the air, suspended from the ceiling by large pieces of fabric.

As I'm watching sequined circus freaks dangle from the ceiling with strobe lights freaking me out, I decided that maybe it was time to pack it in.

Total ridiculousness. As always.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Subway Narcolepsy

I am repeatedly amazed by the amount of people who are able to sleep while riding on the subway.

I myself used to sleep for about an hour each morning while I rode the Metro North, but that was an hour and a half ride on a commuter train that boasted pricey tickets (ie: not frequented by too many skeezeballs, as they couldn’t afford the tickets). I also had an hour and a half ride before I reached my stop,
Grand Central, which was the last stop on the line. Thus, I was in no danger of nodding off and missing my stop.

On the subway, even if you have to go numerous stops before you get off, you’re going so fast that if you fell asleep, you’re very likely to miss your stop.
Of course, it’s important to note the distinction between people who are catnapping and those who are full-on, dead-to-the-world sleeping.

For example, this morning, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Narcoleptic Nancy, an Asian woman clutching an anime comic, swaying back and forth with the subway’s every movement because she had gone completely limp in her state of REM.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if I can’t tell whether you’re sleeping or whether you’re dead– you’re too fucking comfortable.
Yes, I know the A train is not the classiest place in the world, but you’re still in public, and I’d prefer that a stranger’s head was not resting on my shoulder.

How she could even possibly be sleeping was beyond me, since my driver this morning was the kind that feels the need to go 750mph, causing the car to shake back and forth rapidly, before coming to an abrupt stop that throws everyone in the car forward.

I think it would also be a good idea to remain at least semi-alert while you’re using
public transportation, considering there’s usually at least one volatile homeless person who thinks everyone in the car is out to steal his garbage bag full of empty bottles. This crazy man could potentially go off at any moment, and I personally would like to be aware of the situation enough so that when he starts stabbing people with an old, rusty piece of scrap metal he picked out of a dumpster that I could make a run for it.

Moral of the story: My life’s not all swanky parties and open bars. There’s a good share of homeless people in it, too.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Trying to Eat Healthier

Pretty much.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Letter to My Little Brother

Dear Andrew,

As you start your first year of high school, I have one thing to say to you.

I am really, really sorry.

Love always,

Your asshole sister

I was so obnoxious in high school that I can't believe that I wasn't diagnosed with ADD by the school psychologist. This is probably because she was too busy handling angry teachers mad at me for a.) disrupting their classes b.) hanging up flyers around the building that listed a certain teacher's address with a headline reading, "Party at Mrs. ______'s House! BYOB" and defending myself by saying that it was a study party and that BYOB stood for "bring your own book." c.) various other similar situations.

Honestly, if you think I'm obnoxious now, you should have seen me in high school. About a million times worse.

As it is with most people with a strong [read: loud] personality, you find yourself a polarizing figure. People either love you or hate you (just like Lady Sovereign. Anyone? No one? MAKE WAY FOR THE S-O-VVVVVVVVVV).

When my brother got his teacher assignments for his first year of high school, 4 out of the 5 teachers had been my teachers back in the day.

We have Mr. Gallagher, the math teacher who moved me to the front of the room in front of the projector because I was disruptive.

We have Mrs. Bax, the Spanish teacher who I accused of not being able to speak Spanish (it's true, people, her response to every question was either "look it up in the dictionary" or tell us the incorrect word, in Italian rather than Spanish).

The other two teachers he has I actually got along with. Very well, in fact, so well that I still keep in contact with one of them. She's the one who announced to the class that she could "eat alphabet soup and crap out better essays," and when I told her that I had gone to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, her response was "Hey, I think I left my shoes there."

Basically, my hero.

But really, sorry, buddy.

Have fun in high school (?)