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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Making Moves



So after essentially a five month odyssey, I am sitting in my new apartment.

I hired movers (Clean Cut Movers NYC—who were, although not clean shaven, excellent movers for a really reasonable price), but my father decided to come down so he could attempt to put things together, fuck them up, swear a lot, and then take me out to a nice dinner.

I moved out of my old apartment on Friday, but went back on Saturday to clean up and give my keys to my landlor
d. I came back to a note from Irv saying that he may not be home when I come back, so to leave the keys on the kitchen counter. Also, "good luck, young lady, it was such a pleasure having you live in our home."

I WANTED TO CRY.

I did knock on his door, and he was at home, wearing his WWII veteran hat and looking al
l grandfatherly. He gave me a hug and a kiss goodbye and said that he was sorry that he had to raise the rent and that I couldn't stay.

I WANTED TO CRY EVEN MORE.

A lot of people leave their apartments in NYC and say, "Thank God I'm leaving for xyz reasons." I left because I couldn't find a roommate and I couldn't afford to pay $2,700 a month by myself.


So that's the end of that.

While it was disappointing to have to leave what I thought was the perfect apartment in the perfect location, I'm really fucking excited to be living on my own and not have to deal with roommate/Craigslist bullshit. I'm looking forward to the fridge being filled with just my stuff. I'm looking forward to not having to worry about someone other than me spilling things on my expensive couch. I'm looking forward to being able to monopolize the TV and the bathroom. I'm looking forward to the internet actually working for once, and I'm definitely looking forward to being able to watch The Notebook on TNT and cry my eyes out which I did this afternoon.


When you live with a roommate, they know way too much about you. Frankly, I don't need someone to know that I DVR 700 episodes of Wife Swap or that I drink about 200 gallons of soda a day. I'm looking forward to privacy and piece and quiet.

I think this will be good.

Check out the photos:




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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reason #753 Why I'm Secretly a Republican




Fuck Safe Link cell phones.

Honestly? I get it. Give poor people food and shelter. Education, condoms, whatever.

But Jesus Christ, a free cell phone with a credit for monthly minutes?

Here's some crap from the Safe Link website:

"Through our Lifeline Service you will receive FREE cellular service, a FREE cell phone, and FREE Minutes every month! SafeLink Wireless Service does not cost anything – there are no contracts, no recurring fees and no monthly charges. Any Minutes you do not use will roll-over. Features such as caller ID, call waiting and voicemail are all also included with your service."

What's next? Free gas for low-income cars? Free cable for people with non-flat screen TVs?

Of course, we all think of our cell phones as necessities, but if shit got really tough for me and I couldn't pay my bills, you bet your sweet ass my phone would be gone, just behind cable TV and my gym membership.

Government assistance is slowly blurring the line between WANTS and NEEDS and it's ridiculous.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Painting the Town (not red)



Security deposits.

Traditionally, you put down first month's rent as a security deposit. You get it back upon the building owner/landlord's inspection of the place. So if you put a giant hole through the wall, smashed all of the windows, painted swear words onto all of the mouldings, you won't get your money back.

My landlord gave me my security deposit back a month before I was going to move out (I'm not complaining), but then suddenly realized that I painted a wall in the living room red and a wall in my bedroom navy blue.


He said, "You got some funky colors in there, dollface."

I wanted to say, "Yeah, and I've also got my security deposit, so who cares?"

But, despite how I usually act, I'm not that big of an asshole.

He has been a great landlord and considering the fact that he let me stay for an extra month without having a lease just so I could figure out my shit, I decided it'd be fucked up to screw him over.


So, I painted the apartment back to white.

Well, to be honest, I busted into the hardware store and screamed "WHERE IS YOUR CHEAPEST WHITE PAINT?" at the nearest employee. I mean, I was one step away from buying a bunch of White Out pens and calling it a day.

Scott, by virtue of proximity, was required to help me paint. Friday night, him and I, gallons of ceiling paint, and a 30 rack of Bud Light. We ended up writing expletives on the wall and drawing curly Q moustaches on each other's faces while talking in cockney British accents (ie: "Good sir, could you point me in the direction of a fine ale haus?")


Let's just say that the walls don't look that awesome. But they're white! And that was his only request.

Can't wait for my father to come and help me move and yell at me for "doing a half-assed job."

As Homer Simpson once said, "...but I was using my whole ass."

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I need a miracle




So I've talked incessantly about trying to find a roommate, but I never really covered the most stressful week of my life that involved me giving about 10 million dollars to a shady broker for a down payment on an apartment, accidentally signing a fake lease (!), getting my money back, almost accepting the craziest girl I have ever met as my roommate, and then finally sucking it up and putting a deposit down on the original one bedroom.

Let me enlighten you.


1. I had been simultaneously looking for a roommate/looking for a one bedroom apartment. I really didn't want to move, but I knew that I needed to keep my bases/ass covered with a plan B. Because I am a fucking idiot, I bought an 8 foot long couch a few months ago which fits perfectly in my abnormally huge living room, but not so much in the typical tiny NYC apartments I was finding in my price range.

2. After looking at shoebox after shoebox that always seemed to be conveniently sandwiched between a Mexican restaurant and a 99 cent store, I was getting desperate. Rather than downgrade, I decided to up my rent in my current apartment—I would be paying more, and the new roommate would be paying less to sit on my couch, watch my TV, use my microwave, and probably break my precious Venetian glass vase that I bought when abroad in Italy back in college when money meant nothing and I felt comfortable with spending 300 euro on some glass.


3. I interviewed more people, and went to see an apartment that I could actually see myself living in. One major problem: the hallway in the apartment smelled like piss. I told the broker that the apartment smelled like piss, and he said it was just an old building smell. I said, no, really, this apartment building smells like the F train station (ie: LIKE PISS) and he said, "Okay, maybe it smells like piss. The landlord's brother lives here and he's kind of slow." Great. Add that on top of the fact that it looked like goddamned Ray Charles had painted the place. I'm not going to pay $1,600 to live with Leonardo DiCaprio's character in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? who has a penchant for peeing in the corners of the hallways.


4. I meet with another broker. His name is Lawrence and he doesn't "ask" me questions, he "axes" me questions. He wears a diamond encrusted watch and wears a vest filled with pens and measuring tape. Abi immediately dubs him "Lawrence of Arabia," and as we exchange multiple emails throughout the week, he becomes simply, LOA (as in, "I can't believe LOA took all of your money and isn't returning your phone calls!") I will meet with him 6 times after our first meeting and he will have this vest on each time. Although, I have to admit that he's the first broker that can actually tell me the measurements of the apartment rather than pretending to me a human measuring tape ("uhhhh my foot equals one foot so...."). He shows me an apartment on Prospect Park West that I really like. All of my furniture will fit, it has an exposed brick wall, and brand new kitchen and bathroom. The one catch is that the hallway looks dirtier than the Jay Street subway station.


5. I choose to ignore this fact and give Lawrence a cashier's check for $1,600. I then stupidly sign a "fake lease" which draws a lot of drama over the next few days because I was pretty sure that it would be binding because I signed it like an asshole. Lawrence finds out that I make no money and says that I should have my father sign the lease with me as a Guarantor.


6. Meanwhile, I have
Crazy McPyscho (a potential roommate I had, waiting in the wings in case I didn't get the apartment) emailing me every day asking me if we can put a bed in our railroaded office, or a giant TV in our small kitchen. I try to put her off as long as possible.

7. Lawrence (LOA) calls me and tells me that I was denied for the apartment. He gives me my deposit back but will not give me a voided copy of the fake lease. I panic, because I picture LOA and the Management Company sitting in a room, twisting their moustaches and laughing. LAUGHING AT HOW STUPID I AM. I email Lawrence about 700 times asking me to send me the voided lease.


8. Lawrence calls me back up and says that there was a mistake at the office and that I'm approved for the apartment. This all sounds sketchy, so I tell him no, I don't want the apartment.


9. Crazy McPyscho comes over to the apartment to give me deposits and acts so completely crazy that I call drink a handle of mango vodka and then Lawrence back up the next morning to ask him if the apartment is still available.


10. The apartment was still available and I left work early to go sign the lease. I gave him first month's rent, double security (because they were concerned about me making no money and not being able to pay my rent. FUNNY STORY—I'M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO PAY MY RENT IF YOU TAKE ALL OF MY MONEY), and his broker's fee, totaling about $6,000, which frankly made me want to cry a million tears (bye, bye, bank account).


11. Everything is all set and they give me my keys. I go over the apartment to realize that the hallway is even dirtier than I remembered. Also, the mailboxes had been ripped out and there was an angry tenant letter about how the Management Company sucks and how every tenant should call and complain. There is a near riot in my new building and no one is getting their mail.


12. I lay low for a few weeks, hoping that the mailboxes will be replaced and the hallway will be redone, as I was promised.

13. Scott and I go over to move some things in and my 60 year old next door neighbor (the one with the photo of Jesus taped to her front door) is sitting on the front step. Her name is Milagra, which means "Miracle" in Spanish. She calls me "Mami" about 700 times and tells me that they are redoing the stairs. The mailboxes have been replaced.


14. My father has decided to come down and help me move, and I am struggling to prepare him for the hallway situation. The deal is that I live on Prospect Park West, which is an insanely great location. The apartment inside is beautiful, but the hallway looks like a slum you'd find war-torn Kosovo. I'm thinking a blindfold would be best.


As my new next door neighbor would say, "yo tengo una milagra (mami)."
Luckily, one is living next door. If only I could get her from throwing her garbage out onto our shared fire escape...

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Why I Want to Blow Up the MTA




Oh, great. Thanks for the head's up that this subway line is going to be available SIX YEARS FROM NOW.


Maybe you should focus on not making me wait upwards of 45 minutes for a train on the weekend, so much so that going into Manhattan on Saturdays and Sundays is all but banned from my social calendar.

Part of it is because I'm a Brooklyn snob, the other part is because I HATE YOU MTA YOU RUIN MY LIFE.

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People are So Sick Of Me




If you pick up the September issue of Every Day With Rachael Ray, you'll see that she is not only holding a giant sandwich (which is TOTALLY FAKE, BTW), but that my article on how to fake your way through helping your kids with their homework is in there. I interviewed the Executive Producers of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? and they gave some hilarious tips (many of them that didn't make it into the article—they were very funny and raunchy).

If you read the Letters section, you'll also see that my article in the August issue stirred up some controversy. It was an article on how to fake sick from work and go to the beach. A million angry ladies who just want a good smashed potato recipe wrote in and said that they were completely offended by my article.

I agree with their point, that aiding and abedding faking sick is wrong, especially in this economy where people should count their lucky stars that they have jobs. But that's what pisses me off the most about this economy. Not because I took a pay cut. Not because I can't afford anything, but because you are forced into grinning and bearing everything thrown your way because YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO BE EMPLOYED. I get it. Of course, you're lucky to have a job. But that doesn't mean you should have to eat shit for the rest of your career until some dbag pundit on TV declares that the economy is stable enough for you to make a move.

Basically, the recession has severely crippled my ability to complain, and I am not cool with that.

Anyway, they got so many letters, that they needed to address it, saying that they stand by the story and that taking a sick day every once and awhile is healthy. For the record, I've been employed for a year and a half and I've never taken a sick day.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

I have a million things I don't need



I'm moving one week from tomorrow, and despite how minimalist I think I am, I still have a TON of shit.

My main issue is that I moved to NYC and I did not move into an apartment the size of a closet. Rather, I moved into an apartment with an abnormal amount of storage space. We're talking bookshelves built into the walls, four giant closets, 10 million cabinets in the kitchen, and perhaps the most ridiculous of all, an extra room that we used just for storage (the room could fit a double bed in there comfortably).

With the abundance of storage, I felt like I didn't really have that much stuff. But as I'm packing up my fifteenth box, I'm re-adjusting my evaluation. I've got a lot of shit.

Things I don't need:
  • Four 20" sautee pans: I like to cook. A lot. But I don't need four of these, unless I was cooking a dinner party for 30 people, and let's face it: I don't have that many friends.
  • Six umbrellas: If I have so many umbrellas, why am I always without one the day I actually woke up early to straighten my hair?
  • Glass reminders of my Grandparents' Alcohol Issues: When I moved out, I inherited a lot of my grandparents' housewares. They owned a restaurant and threw legendary parties at home. So, now I have a set of 8 giant shooters, 12 Long Island Iced Tea glasses, 4 metal jigggers, four beer mugs, and 6 rocks glasses. They're all really nice, but I literally have about 30 different glasses when all is said and done.
There's so much more to list, such as clothes that don't fit anymore, shoes with broken heels, and more, but it's time to continue packing.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When in Rome: Shot in My Office



When in Rome looks like a terrible new romantic comedy starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel.

On the :36 mark, that's my office. Check out the old radiator! Check out the frosted plastic glass dividers! We scream class all the way.






Hitch was also shot in my office, where Eva Mendes works as a tabloid reporter. Starztruckkkkk.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Drunken Apologies



Why I haven't been updating regularly:


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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Goodbye Forever, Craigslist



After a long, dramatic couple of weeks, I have decided to suck it up and move.

It was a difficult decision to move because I really, really like my apartment. I painted it. All my stuff is here. It's a great location. I'm comfortable. My landlord calls me "dollface." All of those things make it difficult for me to pack up and move.

Here's what happened:

You all know that I've been looking for a roommate since, like, JUNE. It's a great apartment, but it is pretty expensive and the available room is admittedly small. So, when August rolled around (and I was living in my apartment with no lease because my landlord was doing me a favor), I decided that if I didn't have a roommate by August 5 that I would stop searching and focus on finding an apartment.

Enter Miss Crazy from Craigslist. Now, despite all of the warnings from my parents about the Craigslist Killer, the majority of the people from Craigslist who came by to look at the apartment seemed at least relatively normal. But none of these people wanted to make a move. In fact, the only person who wanted to give me a check was a complete psychopath.

Here are just a few of the things she wanted to know:

1. What TV shows do you watch? I want to make sure we don't conflict.
2. How long are you usually in the bathroom?
3. Can we put an extra bed in the living room?
4. I'M CONCERNED ABOUT MY PRIVACY... Can we put up a curtain in the living room?
5. Can we sign a year and a half lease, because I hate moving in the summer and it'd be much better to move out in, say, February.
6. Can we put a 20" TV in the kitchen?
7. CAN I HAVE A HOUSEWARMING PARTY IMMEDIATELY??!?

This was on the heels of her telling me that she has a drinking problem and that her mother is a psychopath. Concerned about privacy? Get a one bedroom, or, here's a crazy idea: go in your bedroom and close your fucking door.

Even though I have an uneasy feeling about all of this, I take her check for $2,500.

After she left, Scott promptly said, "I'm gonna make you a drink."

Trying to play the devil's advocate, he told me that I have lived with my share of crazy bitches before. This is true, but this girl was a whole new level of crazy. Most of my former crazy roommates could at least make lucid, semi-sane decisions.

Then I get a phone call. She is demanding to know whether or not this is a scam.

Hmmm, well, a). if this is a scam, I wouldn't tell you. b). I'm pretty sure I don't look like a grifter. c). In one week, we have exchanged 25 emails and 6 phone calls. You've been to the apartment twice. This whole scenario is too legit to quit.

I told her to stop payment on the check. I cannot deal with living with crazies, looking for roommates every 6 months, etc.

The good news is that I found a one bedroom apartment on Prospect Park West (Oh, what's up, Sarah Jessica Parker). I'll be moving at the end of this month and I'm looking forward to the remainder of the year(s) being Craigslist free.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Emoticrazy



I remember back in the day when I first got my Packard Bell computer. Remember Packard Bell? Anyone? That was back in the day when the internet was new, so much so that people actually bought PCs that didn't have the internet installed on them.

I had my computer for 2 years and I begged my father nearly every day to get the internet but he wouldn't. What the hell can you do on a computer without the internet? Type up a story? Play Minesweeper? Sounds great, when you're 8 years old and that's all you know. But when you're an adult and you know all of the wonders the
World Wide Web holds for you (funny YouTube clips, Netflix Instant View, blogs written by people you hate, email that you can check every minute even though you're probably not going to get anything but junk e-mail from Ann Taylor because you bought a sensible striped shirt from there once), an internet-less computer functions primarily as nothing but a drink coaster.

Once we did get the internet (dial-up, of course), I had fun trolling the chat rooms and familiarizing myself with internet jargon. BRB, LOL, :), >:O—this was a new frontier and I was an emoticon pioneer (that was clever AND it rhymed).

But that was back when everything was new and also back when I was in middle school. Internet etiquette has changed, just as my general anger and bitterness has expanded.

So here it is: I cannot stand it when people use emoticons, especially in professional emails.

When people ask me what my job is, I say my title, and then they're even more confused. When I was an assistant, they were like, okay, I get it. You file shit and answer phones. NOT TRUE, and exactly why I asked for a promotion and title change (newz flash: just because you're an assistant doesn't mean you're not doing anything of value aside from making sure your boss is hydrated and on schedule).

The best way I can describe it is that I'm a Project Manager. I spearhead each special project we have—managing editorial, design, production, the client's expectations, etc. To put it very simply, I'm the nag that sends emails like WHY AREN'T WE ON SCHEDULE? WE NEED THIS BY EOD TODAY etc etc.

Because these people are my clients and they're paying the company lots of money, there's a fine line to walk between being stern and being bitchy while still demanding they give us what we need and stay on track.

Here's an example email that I sent out from work:

Dear client:

It would be great if you could get us those materials by EOD today, considering that we're already two days off schedule and any more delays could result in a delay in printing and delivery.

Thanks!

Amanda

And here's one that I get back from the client:

Amanda,

We'll try our best but can't make any promises! :)

Best,

Client

Why are you smiling at me? You just told me you're not going to give me what I want/need. Also, now that you're smiling at me on the internet, I feel obligated to smile at you via the internet so I have to respond with "Okay, but there are causes and effects here—if we don't have the materials by EOD, I can't promise you'll have the guides delivered to you on time! :)"

Basically, I think what we've all learned here is that emoticons are most often used as a virtual GIANT MIDDLE FINGER.

Be Still My Paper Heart




Last night I went to an advance screening of Paper Heart, a new movie starring Michael Cera and his real-life (ex?) girlfriend Charlyne Yi.

The film is essentially a documentary about love. See, poor Charlyne doesn't really believe in love and she's made it her mission to interview various people from across the country about what they think is love. Cue Elvis impersonators in Vegas, adorable old couples in Topeka, Kansas, and hilarious children on the playground (with one child proclaiming that she is in fact in love...with Chris Brown).

What complicates matters is that the cynic meets Michael Cera, the real-life equivalent of a Ken doll in the fact that he's cute, non-threatening, and probably doesn't have much of anything south of the beltline. I mean, really. Can you imagine Michael Cera having sex? I mean, I know he knocked up Juno, but come on.

Anyway, all of a sudden Yi has met her akward match in Cera, and they have—you guessed it—awkward dates throughout the documentary. It becomes semi-clear that they are acting out this relationship for the cameras while the stories and interviews from the random people are real.

The movie was cute, funny, endearing, and about 20 minutes too long.

It's in selected theatres August 14—go see it.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

My Mother the Pyschic

My mother called me the other day and told me she had a dream that someone broke into my apartment so maybe I should back up my files on my computer. You might think this is stupid to act according to a random dream your mother has, but this is the woman who declared that Luther Vandross was dead the night before it was announced that he had actually died. My mother killed Luther Vandross. You don't mess with that.

1. I think it's kind of ridiculous that after having a premonition dream of anonymous hoodlums breaking into my apartment that her first advice would be to back up my old Word documents, rather than barricading my windows and doors with whatever I could find and hiding my jewels in pieces of bread and then swallowing them like the Jews did in Schindler's List when the Nazis liquidated the ghetto (too soon?)

2. I have literally nothing on my computer anymore. You see, I bought my beautiful MacBook this past winter, when my old Dell Inspiron laptop that I had all throughout college finally gave out after surviving 8 traumatizing move ins and move outs, numerous falls, and countless beers spilled on it. You would think that after so much history together that I'd be sad to see it go, but really—it weighed about 10lbs, ran like an overweight kid with asthma (ie: SLOWLY), and constantly sounded like a jet engine preparing for take off. Now, I have my MacBook and I treat it well—no photos are saved on it because I stopped needing to take 90 pictures of me and my friends out at an Irish pub. No word documents are on it because any work I do is on my work computer. I mainly use my computer as a hub for iTunes, surfing the internet, and checking my email. Would it be catastrophic if my laptop was stolen? Yes, of course. But would any precious data be lost? Nope. No need to back up files.

Note: to give further weight to my mother's premonition dreams, the day after she told me her break in dream, my father's car was broken into. She's like a regular Miss Cleo.