Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Does a body good

Day three of Memorial Day Weekend…
Like the previous day, I spent the day off taking in the sights of Manhattan and surrounding areas. My first stop was the South Street Seaport Museum. The current exhibit was “Bodies”. Basically it is a bunch of real cadavers that were injected with plastic (or some preservation chemical of sorts) and therefore frozen in time. They pealed away the skin and exposed the organs, muscles, bone structure, etc. Each room within the exhibit specialized in a certain system of the body. I recommend the circulatory system room where they injected bright red plastic into the veins, arteries, capillaries and then stripped away the entire body. All you were left were the blood vessels suspended in a clear liquid solution. Very neat! The majority of the bodies were male (I saw so much penis and ball it is unreal) and the rumor is that they all are Asian prisoners. Anyway, the one thing I learned was that the penis is composed of three distinct sets of tissue. True, they had many cross-sections to prove it. Okay I am immature but I was not like some people who would point and giggle at the numerous genital displays. At the end, they let you hold a real brain, liver, and heart. The fun part was watching the lab guys freak out when a 10 year old kid pretended to spike the brain like a football. Ah ha ha ha.

After the museum, I roamed out to Pier 17 which is similar to Navy Pier of Chicago just not as long….or fun. Here are some sights from the pier.

I continued to make my way up Manhattan’s lower tip by stopping by the City Hall. Here are some pictures of important buildings in the federal triangle area.
City Hall park

City Hall

Tweed Courthouse

Municipal Building (or what I like to think as the New Amsterdam building next to the Brooklyn Bridge)

NY Supreme Court

Federal Courthouse

Police Headquarters

Interesting fact…all of these buildings associated with the law are located in the part of town formerly known as the Five Points Neighborhood. Those who have seen the movie “Gangs of New York” know the five points neighborhood was a big Irish immigrant area of crime (basically the 19th century version of the hood). According to Wikipedia, five points is the area between the street intersections of Worth, Park Row (E. Broadway), and Baxter/Pearl.

On my way to my next tourist destination, I accidentally (one wrong turn) came across a street fair/food festival in Little Italy. I guess they often close off Mulberry street to traffic and open it up to various food and goods venders. I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of it because it was so quaint.
My final tourist activity of the day was visiting the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Basically there is a stretch of Orchard street in the lower east side that they are trying keep as a representation of what turn of the century immigrants experienced. They give tours of tenement houses where a family of seven would live in two rooms and share the floor with another immigrant family. Interesting but I learned pretty much the same thing at Ellis Island. I did meander around the lower east side though and thought it was a quiet but hip place to hide out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Why else would they hold it in Queens

Day two of the Memorial Day weekend…which should be dubbed Lindsay explores New York City weekend. I hopped on the 7 train and headed out east….way east deep into Queens. I exited at the second to last stop. I had previously been intrigued by the area when I ventured out to the Mets game. The area was called the Flushing Meadows Queen’s park, but I will call it the World’s Fair Park. Basically it was a huge green park where the World’s Fair was held in the 1930’s and again in the 1960’s. You may have seen it from the first Men in Black movie (you know with the space ships and Tommy Lee Jones saying why else would they hold it in Queens). Among the dozens of soccer and baseball fields were remits of the glamour of the Worlds Fair. The Tennis US Open Stadium and the Queens Art Museum are also along the grounds of the park. I paid a $1 visit to the Queens Art Museum. My review….it is basically a shrine to the park district with photos of their various parks, pools, and roads. The only worthwhile part was a huge scale model of NYC (all five boroughs). From that exhibit, I learned that 2/3 of the people who live in Queens were not born in the USA. Interesting…I guess that is why the call Queens one of the most ethically diverse areas. Anyway, the art museum was totally devoid of art and I don’t think I would pay the dollar again unless I really needed to use the restroom. Overall the park (and weather) was gorgeous and sunny. I couldn’t help stroll around the gardens while eating an ice cream cone.

On my way back into the city, I decided to stop by the UN building and Peace Garden. Granted it is only about a mile from my apartment, but I can never seem to find an excuse to venture to the other side of the island. Sadly being a Sunday, there was no protestors or excitement. Anyway, here are pics from in front of the building, etc.

On my way home across town, I played the part of a tourist and snapped a pic of the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Ahh how the other half lives.

I finished off the sight-seeing day with a bike ride along the West side river front bike path. Wow was it gorgeous. Okay I have used gorgeous probably fifty times, but it was perfect weather and just so relaxing to spend the day without an agenda. Anyway, the bike path made me miss Chicago (again, the mere smell of the water makes me want to dive in and start swimming around…I think I am destined to live in the Caribbean some day). Riding on the quiet bike path made you think you were no longer in the city full of noise and deadlines. All along the path were parks and restaurants that looked like hidden gems. Once I got to the tip of the island (and would have to venture into the Bronx), I turned around for a ride back. It was only then when I could tell the progression of neighborhoods from Harlem, to Columbia University, to Upper West side, to Midtown by basically counting the number of people looking like they make their homes along the riverfront (i.e. transients). Well at least it was scenic enough.

Walk away before we eat you alive!

I returned from Atlantic City just in time to greet my Chicago friend (and identical twin separated at birth) Rachel who flew in for the night. Seriously, she and I both have the same hair type (brown and curly) and length, the same body build and height, and the sacme facial bone structure (except I have the trademark Lindsay upturned pig nose). She is a leader of a tour group for Jewish kids going to Israel for 10 days. She had to be at the airport the next morning at 9:30am the organize the kids, so she decided to fly in the night before to A) get a better nights rest, and B) come visit me like she had promised. Well her flight was delayed so the evening started later than anticipated. Actually, she was running late in Chicago and needed to print off some logistical information for the trip. Well the internet café around the corner from me had an all idiot staff. Seriously, the computer kept kicking us out of the system even though we had paid for 15 minutes of internet. Then it did not print her items or attempted to eat the pages that went through. We kept asking the guys working questions and they were both computer illiterate and English illiterate. Okay I know that is horrible, but these guys did not understand what we were saying and understood even less about the computers in their internet café. They should just advertise as coffee shop since they thought a computer was a television set. Anyway, after getting nowhere fast at the crappy internet café, we started hitting local hotels. The young guys at the Times Square Hilton were ready to let us use their front desk computer (after a generous about of flirting on our end) before the appearance of their manager made them reconsider. They were sympathetic enough to let us into their business center even though it was after hours and we were not guests of their hotel. Awwwhhh, they get two gold stars for being nice and helpful.

After the internet/printer ordeal, we were in need of a good beer. At Rachel’s request, I took her to the local haunt Rudy’s. Not only can you get $9 domestic pitchers, but you can get hot dogs (well I have yet to try them, but I have seen plenty of drunk people happily eating them). While catching up over a beer, we were approached by a short fast talking guy. He quickly asked us “well I need your expert girl opinion on this, see my guy friend talks to his girl friend, no wait he still talks to his ex girl friend but his current girl friend is upset and he thinks, no wait she thinks he should stop, and…” Okay I had enough of the verbal vomit he was trying to pass off as conversation. I interrupted his aimless question with “you happen to read the Neil Strauss book?” Yep, that stopped him dead in his tracks. He was butchering one of the classic pick up lines in the book “The Game”. He admitted that he was trying to engage us in conversation, and I felt quite proud in being able to totally catch him in the act (especially since he was mucking up his approach). He was pretty awe struck but did not get the hint. He kept going on about how he saw us and decided that we were going to be his target and he could just tell we were great girls. He even told his friends he was going to pick us up. We asked him to point out his friends in hopes that he would take his crashing and burning self back to them. It was not until Rachel stopped him to say “well it was nice meeting you” and we both turned out backs on him before he realized we no longer wanted to talk to him. Give him points for courage because he still had the balls to ask us for our names (to which I said “you don’t actually think you are going to get them that easily”). Later Rachel and I discussed creating fake names and occupations. I would be Nikki (said Nikki with an ‘I’) who is a hair dresser.

Atlantic City here we come!

Saturday marked the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. A group of us Chicago folk from the Javits office decided to head down to Atlantic City for the day. We took the casino bus for the two hour ride. The casino bus thing is awesome. For $31 you get a round trip ticket to AC. They drop you off at one of the boardwalk casinos. The host/sponsor casino wants your business, so they hand you a certificate for $20. You can either spend the money in their casino or cash it out immediately (like we did) and pocket the $20. Therefore the roundtrip only cost us $11. Not bad.

Well each of us had our agenda items. I wanted to walk along the boardwalk and beach. It was a sunny 80 degree day. Ordinarily a perfect day to be on the beach…too bad the un-groomed sand was lava hot! The sand was also peppered with broken sea shells which felt like crushed glass when you hopped across them in route to the cool water. I was taken aback by the waves crashing and the endless horizon of the Atlantic Ocean. Oddly, I missed the smell of sand, seaweed, fish, etc I associate with Chicago’s summertime. Sigh.

Okay we did our fair amount of walking on the boardwalk. I took a picture of pastille colored old west buildings that Tony dubbed “the gay old west”. Ah ha ha ha. We even watched a mini Memorial Day parade as it rolled down the boardwalk. It was mini because it consisted of one band and two floats. Most people just walked on by on route to their next casino. We partook in some must do festivities like sampling salt water taffy, eating a funnel cake, and playing carnival games. One game advertised “shoot a live target…$2”. Huh? We followed the signs to see a paintball game. For $2 you got ten shots at a guy in a padded suit. The guy was standing there sweating in his protective gear asking us to “yeah, shoot me, I won’t go out that far”. Okay I know this totally sounds morally wrong since the bait is encouraging you….but I did it anyway. Okay I know I’m going to burn in hell for it, but it is not like I was a saint or anything before. The guy put on his helmet, grabbed his shield, and walked about 15 feet from me. He just stood there and then would take one or two steps side to side. Now if I am going to morally corrupt myself, I want some real live bait and flailing! Then again what can you expect from a guy who is willing to get dressed up in 40 lbs of padding on a hot sunny day only to get shot at.

After the “I can’t believe Lindsay paid money to shoot some guy” moment, we split off to cover several different interests. The gamblers left to loose their money at the casinos, and the tourists went to the nearby outlet mall. Unlike most outlet malls I have seen, this one was packed with all the big names (Banana, Gap, H&M, Polo, CK, Brooks Brothers, Bill Blass, Nike, Addias…and the Dress Barn). When I have more time, I will have to check it out more thoroughly. Anyway after miles of walking in the sun, the group was ready to head back to the City (and civilization as we know it) that evening.

Fleet Week = surge in STD spread

Ships Ahoy! So starts another weekend. Actually it was only Thursday night, but it was the official start of Fleet Week! For those who don’t watch the show Sex in the City, Fleet Week is when a bunch of naval ships dock in NYC for a weekend furlong and consequently, the city is flooded with thousands of sailors who have been stuck on a ship for weeks or months. Unlike what is portrayed in the show, the sailors are not gorgeous rippling muscle manly male specimens. They are more like juvenile 22 year old country boys. Seriously, I am sure many of them have never been to NYC (let alone any big city) ever before. They were beside themselves because the city has so many things to do (my street alone has eight peep shows and two strip clubs) and the city nights never end. Plus all the tourist girls were enamored by many men in a uniform (no matter how short, awkward, or immature the guys were) and proceeded to throw themselves on them.

Okay the night started off with cursing the tourists. Farrell had a super nice best girl friend coming into town with her friends. She currently lives in Kansas City, but is from Minnesota. Her three girl friends were equally as cute, nice and awestruck by the city. Farrell and I decided to meet them in Times Square because they wanted to see the neon lights at night. Well we showed up at the appropriate corner on time. They were nowhere to be seen. He called them and they said they were under the AMC theater. Farrell and I then pushed through a few blocks of clogged sidewalks of night-time Times Square to the AMC theater. They were not there. Another call, and it turns out they were at the Hard Rock Café. A few blocks more, we arrive at Hard Rock. Guess what, they are not there either. What? They really suck at locating themselves. Turns out they were across the street and up the block looking at the Hard Rock. Okay imagine the frustration of trying to meet up with someone who says, I’m at a corner and I can see blank. Well that does not help especially in Times Square where you can see several blocks from one corner.

Anyway, after playing Marco Polo in a crowded Times Square, we headed off to meet up with Bree & Ali and catch dinner on 8th Ave. Of course all of the girls got exotic martini-esc drinks with names like “purple passion fruit”, “mango-tini”, and “perfect tropical storm”. Farrell scanned the list and commented on their take of the long island ice tea (mostly how it was talking all sorts of crappy liquor like so-co and mixing it into one toxic drink). I figured why not and ordered it to make him proud. Plus the cosmos the girls ordered were not cosmos but more like cranberry with a splash of liquor. Seriously they were reminiscent of Porter’s $5 cosmos in college that were nearly all juice and no kick. I felt bad for the girls who slurped up their $9 cranberry cocktail. Of course the buzz off of the weak drinks and the thought of going wild in the city made the girls get second and third rounds (you can see how this is going to turn out). On a side tangent, the crazy girls out on the town are always the married out-of-towners. Seriously, on bachorlette parties, the girls that want to flirt and grind with random guys and stay out all night are the married girls from the suburbs. My theory is that the single city girls can have that any night, so it is not so novel. However, the married SUV driving soccer moms are looking at the night out as a way of shedding her boring, small town, PTA life. Okay don’t hate me if you fit that description, but I have seen it multiple times. Then again I could just be a judgmental bitch.

Okay back to the evening. Well the Minnesota girls, Farrell, Bree, Ali, and myself headed off to visit a few bars on 8th ave (between 45th and 50th streets). We saw all sorts of displays with the sailors. Girls would run up to the guys and paw all over them. Okay they deserve a little attention but these girls were almost lewd. Well girls were grabbing the boys sailor caps and popping them on their heads. I think there was an unspoken contest to see how many sailors you could get into one picture. Seriously, there would be three girls surrounded by twenty boys in white. The sailors also had many roaming hands so the girls will have picture proof of a goosing or tit grab. Our group of Minnesota girls were tame at first, but then the booze kicked in. They started getting boy crazy and calling over all sorts of sailor men. Then came pictures and making out (only two of them made out with willing sailors). Later they ran across the street so they could take pictures with the firemen. Okay my neighborhood firehouse has a lot of hot firemen, but they were all out fighting a fire or in bed because the guys in the picture were Magnum PI mustached old men. I later bailed around 3am and let the Farrell tend to the flock of hormone driven girls.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not my problem anymore

Okay, normally you would not expect any more posts involving the ex since he is no longer in my life, but this was too funny not to post. Bree and I headed home after our glorious bar trivia defeat to the smart people. Farrell was still in the mood to drink and started calling up all of his buddies to come join him. The only one to pick up the phone was Marshall. Now their relationship was on the rocks since Farrell is the one who told me about Marshall’s cheating ways. Anyway the met up and buried the hatchet. To celebrate their enduring friendship, they split a bottle of Jim Bean between them. After closing time, they went back to Marshall’s apartment. Marshall was showing off his new clippers and decided he needed a hair cut. Unfortunately when you take one super drunk guy and add a pair of clippers, you get a really f-ed up hair cut. Evidently he took a big chunk out of his faux-hawk hair by mistake. Ah ha ha ha, soooo not my problem anymore.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We could drink Mensa stupid.

For those who know me, I am a trivia nut. Heck one of my favorite television shows of all time is Jeopardy. Sadly I may like trivia but it doesn’t mean I am good at it. Back in high school, a group of three girl friends and I were on a Quiz Bowl team. Basically it is Jeopardy between two teams. At the end of the season, they would tally up who had the most individual points and they would be the official school Quiz Bowl team. Sadly I never made the official team (or even the “B” team of alternates). Looking back I was bummed that I never was smart enough to make the team, but now I realize what a bigger dork I would had been. Thank you small brain…you steered me away from being a social retard.

Okay we are spending Farrell’s final NYC days doing stuff where he calls the shots. He has the highest IQ of all the people I know (well of all the people who I know their IQ scores). Anyway, he is a trivia nut as well, so we headed down to a NYU/Village bar hosting a Tuesday night trivia contest. I figured a team of Farrell, Bree, and myself would fair well since we all have our areas of expertise (Farrell sports and history, Bree religion and pop culture, Me literature and mathematics). Plus we are not dummies (okay I don’t want that to sound conceited but hey we all graduated college….some taking longer than others). Anyway, we had no idea how serious people would take it. We showed up and grabbed a few beers and a table. Well the other teams filtering in all looked academic (i.e. like they have never touched a women before) and brain-tastic. The waitress told us they usually have a team from Mensa stop in. Some of the teams were eight people strong (as opposed to our three) and we were totally unprepared for the pending slaughter. The first round we scored 9th out of 14 teams. The second round we slipped to 11th (we beat a team that left after the first round…yeah…win by forefeit). To get an idea of the caliber of questions they asked: “What is the post Napoleonic French restoration period called?” “How many rooms are in the White House?” “Name the former Yankee who gave the commencement address at Iona College this year?” “Name three of the seven 2004 countries inducted into NATO.” What!!!! My only contribution…knowing the World Bank headquarters is in DC. Whoo-hoo! One thing we did win was a free round of drinks since we were the first team to finish their first two rounds of beers. Yep…stick with your strengths.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Things you want to see and things that scar you for life

After catching a post work nap (Bree and I both agree that they are delicious), Farrell came over for night two (Friday) of Farrell-pol-looza. We decided it was going to be 40 night and we proceeded to load up on various 40oz beverages. Later Bree and Ali came over to enjoy in the festival. For lack of a better activity, we watched the Friday night movie on my limited channel selection. For a while there I got Cinemax, the History Channel, and VH1, but the cable guy got wise and fixed the glitch. No worries since I still get Bravo and the Food Network channels. Around 2am and a few 40’s later, we decided to head out to the bars…better late than never. We hit the street and couldn’t decide whether to hit our usual haunt Rudy’s or try a new place. Bree decided it was time for a change so we headed cross town to the Gingerman which has over 60 brews on tap. Yummy. Actually I had been there before with Phil and a coworker who shared an interesting story about the holiday party. Well after last call, we all parted our separate ways. I got an interesting call the next morning from Bree. She passed Rudy’s on the way home and saw the place was crawling with cops and police cars. Something major happened because the place wall all taped off with yellow caution tape! I guess we missed out but I am not disappointed if it was a shooting or stabbing or something bad. I’m telling you, crazy stuff follows me!

Saturday night started out the same way with Farrell and I watching movies and drinking 40’s at my place (I have officially become boring). After waiting for people to get ready, we met Dave down at the White Horse Tavern in the West Village. Evidently the place is quite old and is where the poet Dylan Thomas (rage rage against the dying of the light) drank himself to death. True story, they even had an article about it. The guy had like a dozen or two shots of whiskey, walked out the front door, and died right there on the front steps. I guess the brooding artist was a raging alcoholic….hmmm sounds like someone I used to know.

After enduring the sausage-fest that was the White Horse, we moved on to Tortilla Flats found a few blocks away in the Meat Packing District. This place smelled of chips and salsa. Now when you smell one of your favorite foods, even if you are not hungry, your mouth still starts watering. Well Dave and I were ready to tackle a waiter. The place was colorful and had a margarita machine that was the color of urine. They may be known to have a mean margarita, but I could not help gagging when I saw the concoction. We did see how the make it with four random bottles of cheap tequila poured into the vat. Um…pass.

Our next bar selection was also from the “famous” bars of NYC list…..Coyote Ugly. Well actually it is Hogs and Honeys, but it is owned by the same guy as Coyote Ugly and it was where they actually shot the Coyote Ugly movie. Plus it was only a few blocks away in the meat packing district. We walked right into an even worse sausage-fest (well what do you expect if you knew the place would have hot scantily clad female bartenders). Seriously it was like sailors at port. There were maybe five girls in the entire place. Well yes the bartenders had little more than tiny bikini tops, tight cut off shorts, and cowboy boots, but they were total bitches! Seriously, the ring leader queen of the bitches had a bull horn and kept yelling at the men. Not coy I am flirting with you yelling but bitch you out spit in your face yelling. If a guy didn’t tip her enough, she would chew him a new one…over the bull horn. If a couple was talking near the bar, she would accuse them of humping and tell them where the nearest hotel was…over the bull horn. If a guy was buying himself a drink, she would demand he buy her or him a shot…you guessed it, over the bull horn. I was annoyed and hid out in the back because she was yelling at girls to get on the bar and dance. Ummm…no. After one drink, we high tailed it out of there before the guys lost any more money or got singled out by the evil bartender.

Now it was hard to find another place to visit since it was near closing time (that is 4am to my Chicago and Nebraska folk). Don’t get me wrong, the meat packing area is full of clubs and bars, it just was too late. Luckily there was a place called “the diner” still open. Yes you guessed it, it was a diner. The exception was how cool it was. It served the standard greasy spoon dishes along with club lights and a techno DJ. It was like still being at the club, but eating! Mmmmm..nothing beats onion rings at 4am!

Okay this is not part of the weekend, but I have to include it in the post. On my way to work this morning, I saw some young guy pacing in front of the crew entrance for the musical “Curtains”. It is not uncommon to see guys hanging out there either catching some sun or a smoke between rehearsals/shows. The guy looked mid 20’s bike messenger so he fit the part well enough. Well as I got closer, I saw that the back of his pants were soaked. When he turned around, I saw the front was also wet and in the “I just pissed myself pattern”. The area around him was all wet like a water balloon exploded. A black guy walking next to me saw the same thing and said “damn nigga, that shit is gross”. Ahhh could not have said it any better!

Ahh...that explains it...not really

The weekend started early when I met Phil and Dave out in the Flat Iron Bldg area. Phil scored us an open tab party with a bunch of bankers or guys with some association to the finance business. I was the only girl in the group of suits…wait I am not complaining, that is how I like it. Plus you get to eaves drop on conversations between men about how they wanted to do roids back in college. What? Okay I didn’t realize college guys cared that much about their body. The form of exercise most of my friends participated in was foosball, flip cup, and channel surfing. Oh well, they were engineering nerds so they had no shot with the ladies anyway.

The threesome headed over to another bar for a birthday (or graduation…I cannot remember) party. There I met the Kevins. Yes two of them and it was hard to decide which one was more witty and likeable. Maybe they could host a Kevin-off with only one survivor so we don’t have to do that tip toe conversation dance of “well Kevin, no, the other one, blah blah blah.” The bar was pretty cool but it was a mix of professionals (you know people winding down after a hard day of work) and college fratty tourists (you know boys winding down after a hard day of drinking since noon). Dave found a “secret” bathroom. He said it was down this staff only hallway. It was a tiny room with mops and cleaning supplies. It did not have a light, so Dave used the light from his cell phone. I’m still convinced Dave peed in a janitor’s closet! Ah ha ha ha.

Phil, Dave, Kevin, and Kevin headed off to yet another bar, but I headed back to Hell’s Kitchen to meet up with Farrell and Bree. Well I really wanted to go home, eat, and pass out, but we are counting down the days until Farrell leaves NYC for the green pastures of KC. Oh story rewind…I should explain the latest events in Farrell’s life since he has been a major player (and one of my best friends) in my NYC experience. Farrell and Bethany broke up. They were talking about marriage (he even went ring shopping) and living together. Then she doesn’t come home two out of three consecutive days. The fourth day she says she is breaking up with him and that she never loved him, blah blah blah (basically ripped out his heart and stomped on it with stiletto heels). Well he made her move out since he pays the rent to which she objected because she didn’t want to fend for herself in the real world (yeah he was her meal ticket…how do you like them apples now). Anyway when she moved out, she took all of the gifts he gave her, all of the gifts she gave him, all of her stuff and even some of his (like the sheets on the bed). Yeah, none of his friends are fond of her. Well Farrell went home to KC to recharge his batteries and check up on a sweet job prospect. Now he decided to move back home at the end of the month, so Bree and I are hosting a Farrell-pol-loza on his final days. The funny thing is that he met a girl while at home and now Bethany is jealous. I guess she thought they could get back together when he is back on his feet (i.e. when he is able to spoil and provide for her lifestyle). She even yelled at Farrell for taking her off his top MySpace friends list (and replacing her with the new girl). Juvenile….yes, fitting…hell yes.

Okay back to my life…I met Bree and Farrell at our local haunt Rudy’s. This place is the dive that defined all other dive bars. While there I got to hear Farrell’s story about moving, new girl, and MySpace (what is up with this MySpace thing? I need to check it out and move into the 21st century….along with the stalkers and sexually active pre teens…what is our world coming to?). Bree was in the same mindset (you know, drunk and starving) so we dropped Farrell off at the subway and jetted over to an all night pizza place. Mmmmm, garlic rolls.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Breaking up but not breaking down.

Although this post may start as a downer, it does have some humor in the end. If you have been a faithful reader of the blog, then you would know that I had been dating Marshall for the last 6months (well total elapsed time is 6 months and 10 days). Sadly, we broke up on May 5th. It was roller coaster relationship with plenty of ups and downs. Interestingly enough, the end all fight occurred after watching the movie “the breakup”. My only advice is to never say something with the sole purpose to hurt someone else because that may be the last thing you ever say to them. Talk about regret. No, I don’t regret breaking up with him, I regret how mean and spiteful I was (evil evil girl).

Anyway, we had not spoken since the breakup even though I still have his electric guitar and leather jacket at my apartment. I left messages apologizing and letting him know that we needed to talk and resolve everything (you know get some closure and return each other’s stuff) since we last spoke/saw each other as I was storming out the door. Anyway he was either being immature or was not ready to see me yet and therefore did not return my phone calls. I was getting anxious because I really wanted to see his show on the 12th but I didn’t want it to be awkward. On the day of the show I decided just to go anyway because even though we are no longer together doesn’t mean I cannot still like his music. Look at it this way…..if he was an artist, who is to stop me from enjoying his paintings….if he was a writer, who is to tell me I cannot read his books anymore. Seriously I sound obsessed but he has awesome music and I am still a huge fan. That is the reason I fell for him in the first place. Darn my soft spot for singer/song writers.

Anyway I brought our mutual friend (well now just my friend) Bree. Our plan was to show up and hide in the back so that he would not know we were there. Immediately following the set, we would make a dash for the door. Very sneaky and covert of us huh. I frankly did not want to make things awkward because that could mess up his performance. If the performance sucked then I would not enjoy the music and hence negate the reason I went to the show in the first place. You see the catch-22 here right?

Well Bree had her own agenda as well (note this is the part of the post that starts to get funny). Evidently a girl we will call “Sa” left a my-space message for Bree’s boyfriend. The message was like “hey I am in town for the weekend, lets hook up”. I am sure it was all innocent but it certainly raised eyebrows. When asked who this Sa was, Bree’s boyfriend said “oh she is Marshall’s old girlfriend from Kansas”. Okay now you can foresee the drama that could develop at the show if Marshall shows up with his old girlfriend while another ex was in the crowd. I do not know this girl because Marshall never mentioned her but then again I didn’t care who he is there with because we are OVER (seriously, I have no desire to get back together).

The most unfortunate thing about the venue was the bathroom location. The bathrooms are literally right next to the stage, so every time you make a trip to the can you pass right in front of the band (ah ha ha, I made a rhyme). Bree and I had to make sure to relieve ourselves plenty of times before Marshall’s band went on so….well you get the picture. Anyway, Bree returned from the restroom all excited. She couldn’t contain herself and was all too eager to spill the beans. Evidently, she while washing her hands in the bathroom, she offhandly commented to the girl next to her “doesn’t it suck that the bathroom is right here next to the stage?” The girl dreamily said “yeah I know, Marshall warned me about it”. Bree did a double take at this girl. Turns out she was the infamous Sa! The great thing is that she didn’t realize who Bree was. Well Bree confessed to me “yeah I didn’t recognize her at first because she has put on a lot of weight since her my-space picture. Girl you are totally cuter than her!” Bree asked if I had saw her and I said no because I do not have the faintest idea of what she looks like. Bree said “well she totally is the chubby Midwestern looking girl…seriously I cannot describe her as anything else but Midwestern”. I scanned the crowd and picked her out immediately! Ah ha ha ha! It was a huge ego boost that I was cuter than her! He peaked when he got me and now it is all downhill! Okay that is downright nasty mean, but I am still smiling about that now.

Now since he is the lead singer, he gets a lot of groupies. Don’t get me wrong, I am in the “fan” category but I was still considered a girlfriend and not a groupie. Well this Midwestern gal would be in the groupie category. Why else would she fly to NYC for the weekend when he was playing a show and was newly single? She kept popping up during the show to take pictures of him singing and even video taped a whole song. Bree and I got tipsy and watching her bob and weave was our amusement. Okay okay okay, we are evil catty girls but it was soooo much fun! The band previewed two new songs. I previously heard one of them (self medicate) off of his my-space page (five stars…excellent showing of his vocal and song writing ability). The other was a surprise. The lyrics were all about being lonely then you came along blah blah blah. Bree leaned over and said “okay hun I am going to pretend that this song is not totally about you two”. Who knows if he wrote it in the last 6 months, but that would be soooo cool if I got a song (and a good one at that)! Hurrah score two points for Lindsay!

After the show, Bree and I were in the middle of downing our beers in order to make a quick getaway when Marshall bee-lined to our table. Eeeeck! I had hoped our table in the waaaaaay back would offer up good concealment but I guess he spotted us anyway. He was surprised to see us (well mostly me) and I think even more surprised since I was totally calm and mature even though we went through a very rough breakup just a week ago. When he asked if I was here to “talk” or “confront him” I just told him that I was strictly there for the music. Again stunned. We agreed to talk this week in order to exchange stuff and hopefully stay friends (goodness knows since all of our mutual friends took my side….he did something crappy to solidify the break but that is in the past now). Ahhhh, being a mature adult is soooo much better than high school drama. So ends that chapter in my life. Till next time…..mothers hide your sons!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Worlds Crossing in Queens

Thanks to a work friend who was suddenly called back to Chicago, I scored two tickets to the Mets/Brewers game on Sunday. Granted I am not a baseball fan by any means (most of the time I just get drunk and play mounds or cups) but going to a Mets game and a Yankees game are on my “NYC to do” check list. I took my former college roommate Jordan Steele (yes that is his real name) to the game. We timed the long train ride perfectly and arrived at the stadium just as the National Anthem was being sung. We stopped to wait out the song (USA, USA, USA all the way!) before heading over to our seats. While waiting I checked out the person standing next to me. Turns out it was Emily Emerson! She was a good friend back in college who moved to London after graduating. I had not seen her in six years! Turns out she still lives in London but was visiting NYC that weekend. Although her seat was near ours, I doubt we would have made the connection. She is super nice and even had her own radio show in college called crazy naked redheads or something. How random was that!

We tried to sit next to Emily’s group just to catch up blah blah blah, but the ticket Nazis stopped by and kicked us out of the section. When Jordan and I returned to our actual seats, we found a pair of shady characters sitting in them. We told them to move over since they were in our seats. Boozy Bob (the nickname I christened him with) was annoying and trying to pick fights with the opposing team even though we were no way within ear shot of the players. I told Jordan I would cough up the bail money if he wanted to pound the two wankers. Luckily for us, a group of long island guys showed up at the 3rd inning to kick them out. Turns out the annoying guys’ tickets were for a completely different section and they were trying to upgrade or something. He kept saying, “naw man, this is section N, these are our f-ing seats”. To which the Long Island boys replied “dude, can’t you read, see that, that is a B, get our of mother f-ing seats”. Ah ha ha ha! The two long island men (think blue collar ‘king of queens’ sort) were hilarious. Turns out they had so much fun drinking in the parking lot that they were late. Lenny the Locksmith (yes, his name was Lenny…and I had never met a Lenny before…and he was a locksmith) confessed that he is really a Yankee’s fan but would never turn down cheap tickets and an excuse to drink in public. He shared stories about accidentally letting ex-wives into the husband’s house and then the scorned woman would clean the place out. Oops! He was such a good time that he got peanuts just so the group of us could throw them at people who annoyed us. Jordan told about a misfortunate bag of peanut toss that happened the previous week at Yankee Stadium. Evidently the peanut vender guy was short on his throw and the bag ended up smacking an unsuspecting woman whole in the face!

Not being a baseball fan, I spent most of the time listening to Lenny’s crazy stories and scanning the crowd. One guy a few rows in front of us must have thought he was the official Mets cheerleader! Seriously, the guy would jump up and down, rip off his Mets jersey and wave it in the air, and try to start chants or the wave. He was yelling at the top of his lungs and even repeatedly flipped off the opposing team. Making fun of this guy was verbal catnip for Lenny. First off, the cheerleader was bald with a chin patch facial hair thing. Lenny said “hey you know he reminds me of that American idol guy, yeah he is Chris Daughtry”. From there on, when ever the cheer leader would do something warranting ridicule, Lenny would stand up and yell/sing “it’s not oooooover”. The guy would turn around and look at us and Lenny would be like “Daughtry…you were robbed…F Talyor Hicks!”. Ah ha ha ha, I never laughed so hard at a ball game before.

Although we parted ways with Lenny after the game, the amusement did not stop on the long train ride home. A Queen’s type family (man, wife, two small children) were sitting across from us. The two kids had souvenir mini baseball bats. They kept waking each other and their parents with them. One random guy kept getting the back swing from one of the kids. I thought he was going to snatch the bat and bend the kid over his knee and see if he likes getting smacked. Finally the mom took the bats away. With nothing to hold their attention, the kids tried to sleep on the bench. I guess this was annoying the mom because she took the bats and gave them a few good smacks with them. She made them sit properly and corrected any of the slouching or tucking the feet to the side with sharp whacks (like a nun or school teacher) to the back and knees. Jordan and I kept raising our eyebrows at it but decided it wasn’t our problem.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The bike ride that would not end

So the movie was midnight Saturday night (or technically Sunday morning whatever). I did not get much sleep because I had to be up by 6am the next morning for a very very very long bike ride. Again with the theme of trying to explore the city and all it has to offer, I participated in the 30th Annual Bike the Five Boroughs Ride. The recreational bike ride starts in Manhattan and continues through the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn before ending in Staten Island. In total (counting the ride to and from the starting point) I put in 50miles. Now do not be impressed because anyone could do 50miles as long as the pace was slow enough, and boy was the pace slooooow. My average was 8mph! You could almost push a bike faster than that! We lined up at 7:30am for the 8am start at ground zero. The bad thing is we did not move from that position until 9:30am! Yeah it was that congested. Even then, we barely moved at a crawl pace with numerous stops and waits. In total (if you count all of the time we were standing still or walking our bikes on the route and the 2 hour wait for a ferry back to Manhattan) I was on or near by bike for a total of 10 hours! Yep 7:30am to 5:30pm….ten very long hours! Normally a slow pace 50 mile ride would take between 3 and 4 hours only. Imagine my frustration. The great thing was my friendly and humorous riding companions Paul, his fiancée, and her friend (I am horrible with names). Those three had signed up in advance. By the time I found out about the ride, registration was closed. No worries since I have ghost road or run in many Chicago races. Plus with a crowd of 40,000+ people, I figured I could blend in. Well I guessed wrong. Everyone was required to wear this red riding vest so it was easy to tell who was trying to sneak in. Shoot! Plus everyone had a matching sticker number on their helmet so could tell even if they were wearing a jacket. Luckily I hit the wardrobe jackpot. I wore a short sleeved jersey and two pairs of padded bike shorts (trust me if you have not built up the riding callous, you will need extra padding in the rear since the bike seats are unforgiving over a long period of time….frankly I am surprised Lance Armstrong can walk straight)….and a red long sleeve jersey. I would have normally have worn just a short sleeve jersey and shorts due to the weather and length of ride, but last minute I decided to throw on the long sleeve shirt because the early morning was chilly. Thankfully my only clean long sleeve was red and thus making it easier to blend with the other red vests. We came up with the plan to have Paul’s fiancée give me the helmet sticker so I could claim that my vest was under the shirt if they looked closely at my vest free shirt. The plan worked (well the plan and me hiding in a pack of riders while riding fast past the ride marshals) thru the three scary check points where they would literally pull non registered riders off the path. These guys looked like bouncers or ex NFL linebackers.

Speaking of Paul’s fiancée, she had the most unfortunate ride. She had just gotten clip pedals for her bike. This enabled her to “clip in” to her bike pedal with special shoes for a smoother ride. Well getting used to the pedals takes a while and I would have never recommended trying them out for the first time on a very long start/stop ride. Every time you stop, you have to unlock your feet from the pedal before you fall over. It is really hard at first because you are not used to being fully attached to the bike. Poor girl would stop and tip over while frantically trying to release her foot to break the fall. Needless to say she went down several times. She had a great sense of humor (and a high tolerance of pain since her knees were all open wounds) and laughed them all off. The best wipeout was in front of a cop. We decided to get out of the grid lock that was 6th Ave by sidestepping one street over to 5th Ave thus bypassing a very long standstill. The cops on 5th Ave had seen plenty of bikers attempting to do the same thing as use so they let us stay on the sidewalk (as opposed to riding on the street against oncoming traffic) as long as we just walked our bikes. Well when the cop stopped her to have her dismount, she stopped and in slow motion tipped to the side in a glorious mass of bike and woman carnage. The cop immediately bent down to help her and all sorts of other cops came over to help. Poor guy he kept apologizing to her thinking he was the one who caused her to fall over. The highlights were me visiting the Bronx and Staten Island for the first time ever. The parks in Queens were fantastic and even the part of Harlem we rode through was full of old money brownstones. Oh and riding on the FDR (which is equivalent to riding on the main hwy or interstate in Chicago) was fun and exciting. All sorts of people (see picture of the guy in the Mexican wrestler mask) were riding making it truly a tour of what all NYC is composed of.

How sheep will no longer help you sleep.

For the past few years, New York City has been hosting the Tribecca Film Festival. I guess it originated in lower Manhattan (the edgy artist Wicker-park-ish area of Tribecca) to enhance tourism and revitalize a scarred city after the 9/11 tragedy. Now I am trying to do and see everything in and around the city that I can during my short tenure. I really have tried to hit every major parade, festival, or tourist attraction (even when the locals tell me it is crap….ie the St. Pat’s parade) just so I can see with my own eyes that it really is crap. Naturally I wanted to see a film in the festival just to cross another item off the list. Some co-workers and I started looking thru the long list of films. We debated about what type of movie to see (romantic comedy, drama, documentary, etc). I was hesitant about some of the movies because indie comedies or dramas can be a hit or a miss (many of them I have seen are not funny or just down right boring). Finally we decided on the one type of movie that is never a disappointment…..a horror movie! Think about it, you go in expecting to be frightened and/or grossed out…..well there may be a plot to save the world from vampires or to warn idiot college kids about premarital sex, but those are not what people buy tickets for. Even it if is a badly done horror movie (think Freddie vs Jason) you will find it utterly hilarious. Okay my point is made. One of the co-workers was from New Zealand, so that inspired us to select the movie “Black Sheep”. The style is horror/comedy (think Shaun of the Dead). In a summary, the plot is:
Extreme environmentalists accidentally release (free) some genetically engineered sheep into the wild. These zombie sheep have a taste for humans and therefore start attacking all the people. Now it is based in New Zealand, and it is a fact that sheep outnumber people in that country (the New Zealand co-worker shook her head and as said “yes it is sad but true, we have a lot of sheep”. Well a small group of people battle the sheep before they devour the entire population. Oh and in addition to zombie sheep, the mauling victims of the sheep turn into strange zombie hybrid human/sheep (trust me I cannot fully explain how they looked, but I laughed my ass off). Just like the cute little white rabbit in Mighty Python’s Holy Grail, the “evil monsters” could not look less imposing. Come on…they are white fluffy sheep! It was awesome! You would see a frightened human shaking there in front of five sheep (yeah real sheep and just had that blank dumb animal look on their faces). All of a sudden a giant ball of white wool would blindside the guy in one glorious side tackle. Don’t get me wrong, it had plenty of gore with the sheep pulling out intestines from screaming victims or open bleeding throats. It had all of the classic horror moments (like the sheep coming back to life to bite you after you just shot it in the head at close range) plus genius comedy. Okay don’t read this if you want to avoid the spoiler of a great scene. A group of people jump into a truck while trying to escape from a heard of sheep. Everyone but the driver pile into the bed of the truck. When the driver starts up the car, he looks over and a killer sheep is in the passenger seat. He manages to drive at a high speed while defending himself from the sheep. Okay imagine a guy punching a sheep in the head and then grabbing the sheep’s head and banging it against the steering wheel (complete with horn sound effects). Finally he escapes from the sheep by crawling out the side window into the bed of the still moving truck. The other people ask “oh are you okay….wait who is driving”. Now cut to the sheep driving! Ah ha ha ha. I (and most of the audience) almost fell out of their chair laughing so hard. There were also moments where you can tell the film makers wanted to savor it. For example when they gloriously destroyed the truck, they kept filming it because you know they were thinking “wow I’ve always wanted to do that….this stunt alone cost us 75% of our production budget….now we cannot afford robotic sheep”. To make it even better, the movie was shown only at Midnight (or close to) each night. Oh and I am shameless enough to dig out my old college ID to get the student discount (hey these film festival prices were $18 a ticket, can you blame me!). Okay enough free publicity. I give it two mauled thumbs up.