Monday, June 30, 2008

I heart NY's attitude

I spent the weekend back in Chicago for a wedding (more on that in a later post). On my way to work this morning, I passed a very angry man standing outside the New Yorker Hotel. He yelled “Fuck you, fuck you….I hate my mother, so kiss my fat black ass!!!!” Man I missed New York.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Governor's Island

In an effort to avoid the mass hsyteria associated with the Puerto Rican day parade (remember Ricky Marteeeen), Marathon Man and I decided to spend a few hours exploring Governor's Island. It is located just off the coast of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Everything about it is free, which basically is a go for my cheap ass. The island was originally used to house the British "Governor" of the area. Basically it was his own personal island. Since it is nicely situated at the tip of Manhattan, they also put a huge fort there to protect both the East and Hudson Rivers. After the revolution, the island's fort was still used and the head of the army or navy would have a summer house there. Eventually they built a prison on the island (think alcatrez but with more attitude), and it was the place to do time since the standard hard labor issued to all prisoners was simple gardening. Other prison's hard labor was like rock quaries, construction, etc, so mowing the lawn was a cake walk. Evidently convicts would commit crimes and then surrender on the island just to ensure they could go to the club med of jails.

We were able to freely tour the fort, old Governor's house, old Admiral's house, gardens and festival grounds. The freedom was awesome but they also had park rangers around to give you a complimentary tour of the sights if you wanted a more structured tour. I think we would have liked it more if it wasn't hot as balls outside.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Looking back

I wonder if everyone's life had a soundtrack, what would it be. I have a feeling mine would be loaded with 90's dance rock. You know, C&C Music Factory, Snap!, and Young MC. I've recently downloaded a bunch of CD's on to my computer. As I was flipping through my vast collection, I came across all the CD's I purchased in High School. Yeah, Jock Rock volumes 1-6. I guess that was the precursor to "NOW music" compilation CD's. I used to sample them in my dance routines. Yeah, laugh all you want, but I will be rocking out to 'Jump everybody jump!' all week.

Now that I have brought up high school, here is a quiz I came across that tests to see if I have already forgotten how mean I used to be.

So think back to those days when you were in high school and answer as best as you can you old geezers:

What years did you attend high school:
mid/late 90’s

What job did you have:
I started off at McDonalds with Shannon and Tina, then moved on to the Paper Factory in the outlet mall. I still am amazed people actually bought that shit.

Do you remember what your pay rate for your first job was:
Probably minimum wage but I had perks like a free snazzy McDonalds uniform that consisted of high-waist, tapered poly blend slacks and a baseball cap (that I still have).

What car did you drive:
2-door Geo metro. I don’t know the year, but it was probably the year they decided it was the worst car ever made!

Did you go to the prom:
Junior and Senior year….stag. I was all arms and legs then. Come to think of it, I am still, but in a better way.

Did you play sports:
Volleyball, Basketball, & Track. Our team was soooo bad that in my Senior year, the volleyball team won one game (against a JV team none-the-less) and the basketball team was shut out all season. Ah ha ha.

What was your favorite sport to play:
I don’t know if you can call it playing, I really sucked, so the question should be phrased “what was the sport that you were least embarrassed to play”

Were you a cheerleader:
hell to the no, I was a dancer, and our main purpose was to dance during halftime, bitch about each other, and comment on how lame the cheerleaders were.

What clubs were you in:
Well one club I always wanted to be in but never was a part of was ‘Quiz Bowl Team’. I tried so hard each year to out dork myself, and yet I never made the team. I was so jealous at the time. Now I thank my lucky stars for not being smart enough to make the team and therefore commit social suicide.

First thing you did when you got to school:
I went to dance team practice. Yeah, my day was pretty packed with dance team 6:00am-7:30am, class from 7:45am-4:30pm, and some sport practice from 4:30pm-7:00pm. I wonder why I didn’t turn to drugs to get through the day.

3 Favorite classes:
Pre-Calculus, Chemistry, and Art. I did mention that I was a total dork and went stag to my prom….twice, right.

What were your favorite pair of shoes:
That is the stupidest question ever. Although silk shirts, Eastland leather slippers, and Birkenstocks (with socks) were all the rage in school.

Did you work on the yearbook:
No, and that would explain why I don’t show up often in there. Then again my close friends were on the yearbook staff and they used to tell me all sorts of dumb things Amanda (my nemesis) used to say/do.

What was your average grade:
Straight A’s. I shared the valedictorian title with six other people. The average GPA for the grade as a whole was something like 2.1. If you have seven people with 4.0, then there needs to be a shit load of people to drag that average down to a ‘C’. Oh, yeah, that was my entire class!

Were you popular, in the middle or were you a total loser:
Yeah, I was pretty popular I guess. I was just really nice to people’s faces and active in everything that counted.

Any high school trips:
I went to Washington DC as an 8th grader and made Melanie something cry. I’m sorry. She got all gothic in high school. I wonder if I pushed her over the edge?

4 best friends:
Shannon, Tina, Jacque, and Jessica G. (because you know there were a shit load of Jessica’s and Jenny’s)

Favorite cafeteria food:
Errrr, I brown bagged every day with almost the exact same meal….peanut butter sandwich, chips, and fruit roll-up.

Get in any fights:
Of course not, I weighted 95 pounds, but I did see some really great ones in the lunch room (we had a lot of white trash girls with men issues, boy would the press on nails fly)

Were you homecoming king or queen:

Nope, nice girls finish last in high school, but first in life. Seriously, most (not all) of the Homecoming/Prom court are now overweight, jobless and have several bastard children and/or divorces. Wow, that was harsh, but the truth hurts.

Any bullies:
None that I think of, but then again I was probably a bully and didn’t realize it.

School colors:
Kelly Green, Gold, & White, or what I like to call the ugliest color combination EVER!

Anyone famous you went to school with:
None that I know of, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about classmates on the 10 o’clock news.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Best Deals ever!

Friends know that I am a frugal person. A serious tightwad. I’m not poor, I just am hesitant to spend money when a better deal may be sought out…..and by better deal, I mean free! Here is a list of things that I have found both enjoyable and FREE in the city:

 A free ticket to the Friday premier of the Sex in the City Movie. Yeah, not joking about this one. I was supposed to go with a group of girlfriends, but I didn’t preorder a ticket in time and it was subsequently sold out. Well in the “free” section of Craig’s List, I found a posting for a free ticket to the Imax screen. Evidently the girl’s plans changed so she just gave me her ticket.

 Free hair cut and dye job. Back in October, I got a professional haircut from a very top end salon for free. I basically showed a picture of the cut I wanted and the girl tried to mimic it. She had several years of experience, but she wanted to get some tips from this master stylist and she could only do that by actually cutting someone’s hair. He ended up doing a lot of the cutting himself since I have curly hair which ups the difficulty level. Well on Tuesday, I went to another high end salon and had my hair dyed/highlighted for free. I was the model for the class and basically the instructor threw out some ideas that I could choose from (all reasonable, no drastic changes or anything, like low lights or high lights or all over color, etc). Then he dyed my hair for the entire class to watch. Granted I was at the salon for 2-1/2 hours, but my hair looks and feels absolutely luxurious. Plus he gave me a huge bag filled with their products to thank me for my time.

 Free pass to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The first Saturday of every month, the BAM opens its doors to the public. You can tour the museum or listen to any of the guest speakers or DJ’s that they have lined up for the evening. M-Man and I spent 4 hours touring the fascinating museum exhibits and I felt a tiny bit guilty for not paying a thing. All of the other museums have a free day or afternoon, so this is not a new thing. Some of the state/city funded museums also only have a “suggested” admission, so they are basically free. I’ve seen the Cloister Museum, the City of New York Museum, The MET, and the Museum of Natural History all for a total of $5 (basically a $1 here or there, whatever change I had on me).

 Governor’s Island. I’ll write a detailed post later with pictures, but this historic island is full of old estate houses, forts, carnival grounds, and even a prison. Plus everything (except food) is absolutely free, even the ferry ride.

 Free furniture. Again another search through the ‘free’ Craig’s list category scored me two free dressers….I just had to hire a guy with a truck to pick them up.

 Free comedy show tickets. I should write a thank you letter to Craig’s list because I just realized how much free stuff I have gotten from them. One time I was searching for date ideas for M-Man and I when I came across two free tickets to a comedy show. It was in a tiny performance space in the Lower East Side, and we were entertained 90% of the time. I mean, the fire eater from Coney Island was their opening act and that performance is worth at least $10 alone.

 Cringe Readings. I absolutely love attending the Cringe readings every month. Basically people read from their childhood/teenage diary’s, school projects, love letters, etc. It is pee your pants hilarious. I want to dig out my old yearbook and see if there is any material there. The readings are held the first Wednesday of each month out in Brooklyn. The only cost you incur is the $2 subway trip out there.

I am sure I have left out a lot of free activities like movies in the park, GMA concert series, etc. More to come when I have time to sit down and write them all out.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wizzard of OZ jokes still not appropriate.

A tornado ripped through the Midwest yesterday, and although lives were lost, I am sad to hear my alma mater was severly damaged. Yeah, I was (am) one of those engineering nerds who spent most of her days in Cardwall, Ward, Fielder, Durland halls (aka all of those that were damaged). In fact, for three years, I lived directly across the street from the engineering complex because it was such a sweet apartment (and also allowed me to go from my bed to class in under 7 minutes). That apartment is across the street from the SAE frat which took what looks to be a direct hit and lost its roof entirely. FOX news has a good google map that lays out the tornado's route. Sure I grew up hearing tornado sirens in the middle of night, but you always think "oh yeah, it never affects me, just some guy in a trailer" and go back to bed. Sick sick sick.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Up up and away!

This may be old news, but two men climbed the New York Times building on the same day! The first one was the self proclaimed “spider man” or “human spider” whatever, basically a professional climber / French man. He pulls these kinds of stunts on super tall buildings all over the world for some cause or another. Secretly I think he picks the tall buildings to overcompensate for something. Well while a news crew was at the building getting stock footage for the 6pm news, ANOTHER man started climbing the building. I was watching the news and all of the sudden they cut to a breaking story. The camera guy was so excited to actually have a scoop that the camera was shaking. I jumped off my couch and stuck my head out the window and watched the 2nd guy climb the building while listening to the news report in the background. The building is over 50 stories tall which puts it over 500 feet. The news people were freaking out and kept asking for a time delay on the footage so that they could cut out if he suddenly fell to his death. They repeated over and over that he was not a professional climber (some guy from Brooklyn) and that it was impossible to rescue him so high up. The guy obviously was worn out because he kept stopping at each floor to catch his breath and you could see the ceramic rungs bending under his weight as he climbed. Call me a sadist, but it was exciting watching him tiptoe the line between fame and catastrophic death. Thankfully both men ascended the building fine. My favorite part is that the 2nd guy was protesting Malaria. Malaria….really. Okay, how do you suggest we fight Malaria? Kill off the mosquitoes….distribute repellent to all people….import bullfrogs. Nice move ass-hat but maybe next time before you decided to make a spectacle of yourself, you can pick a less ridiculous cause.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Do you have Debbie Does the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders?

Yet another reason why I have no desire to visit Staten Island:

FREE GAY PORN MAGS and DVD'S (Staten Island)
Reply to: see below
Date: 2008-06-09, 3:12PM EDT
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Friday, June 06, 2008

Rhythm is a dancer....obviously just not a white one.

Although all the reviewers said to skip it, I went with the masses and saw the Indiana Jones 4 movie. Stop calling it a snake, call it a rope! I didn’t find it all that bad, but then again I am a sucker for massive punch-on-punch fight scenes. Oh and the whole greasers versus socs’ fight (and homage to my favorite childhood book ‘The Outsiders’) was pretty neat too.

Anyway, this post is not about the movie, it is about culture differences. I was raised in an exclusively white middle class quite suburban area. Therefore, when someone annoys me in an airplane, at a musical, or during a movie, I react by shooting them a menacing “I hate what you are doing” look and formulate all sorts of nasty things to say to them in my head (oh no, not out loud of course….I mean that would be just rude). Well, things would play out A LOT differently if I was say raised in a city/urban area. During the middle third of the Indy movie, a black man jumped up and started shouting at the person behind him. He was yelling “either you or your kid has been kicking my fucking seat this entire time, you better fucking start or I’m going to fuck you up, fuck fuck fuck blah blah blah”. Yeah he was really laying into the other guy. Of course the rest of us in the theater were all booing and shushing him because we couldn’t hear the movie.

I had another lesson in urban culture when I visited Marathon Man’s school for their Spring Choir Showcase. It was actually a showcase of the band, choir groups, dance class, cheerleaders, and stomp team. I was happy to finally see M-Man at work as an authority figure. Something about my man in charge…..mmmmnnnnn. I tried before to get into his parent teacher conference (you know pretending to be a concerned parent so I could see him find new ways to tell the parents their kids are assholes). Well that scheme was shut down because he pointed out to me there where no white kids at his school. Anyway, one highlight of the night was watching Steve (the 6’-6” black music teacher) jump on stage with his choir kids and dance & sing along with them… a suit. Awesome!

The crowd seemed like a group of typical disinterested teenagers and bored chaperones until the Stomp Team took the stage. I swear, it went ape shit ballistic in there! To accurately describe the Stomp Team would be to say a group of angry large black women. They started by saying to eachother “giiiiirrrrlllll, you know what I be see’in, oh a fiiiiieeeeeennnnnee black man, he be talking to Sha-nay-nay, and I was all like tripp’in man, blah blah blah”. Seriously, they had this two minute conversation among themselves and half of it I didn’t understand because of the slang. And then when I thought they were going to bitch about something else, they broke into the most captivating awesome stomp routine. I’m talking perfect synchronization, hops, kicks, slaps, etc. That lasted all of a minute before they started the whole sassy conversation follow with another stomp routine repeat. One “story line” revolved around hearing a girl spread a rumor about them and the solution is to “punch tha bitch”! Seriously, the stomp actions all involved punches into their hands, mimic pulling hair, or slapping their ample asses. Violent as hell, but so incredibly AWESOME! I wanted to start clapping and stomping in the aisles, but being that I am white, I had absolutely no rhythm. In fact I was such a dancing travesty while we were walking out that M-Man was teased the next day by his students saying “Mista….I saw you with that white girl….what she do’in…..ya know she CAN’T dance”

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't go there

So my office shares the floor bathroom with another downright ghetto company. They have a revoloving door of personnel, so needless to say, they have no respect for the bathroom. It is not uncommon to walk in and find wads of paper towels or toilet paper scattered on the floor. Sometimes I like to amuse myself by playing the "which stall is clogged up" game. Well today I found in my stall a VIAL OF BLOOD! Yes, you read correctly. Seriously, why the hell would you have a vial of blood with you, let a lone put it on the toilet tank? It makes me glad that I pulled the hover maneuver because the previous occupant obviously has something. I'm posed with the conundrum, do I post a "lost and found" sign in the bathroom (you know, 'FOUND, VIAL OF BLOOD') or wait till the owner realizes they have left a test tube filled with their blood in the ladies room.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Left in the dark

Over memorial day, Marathon Man and I headed back over to the Six Flags theme park in New Jersey. Yes I willingly went to Jersey. I rarely make the trip across the Hudson for such pleasures as roller coasters and Swedish meatballs. Yeah, the Ikea there rocks. Frankly, Ikea rocks in general. M-Man and I toured it a few weekends ago and I could not believe fun and cheap the furniture was. Plus the food there is beyond cheap. My meatball plate with potatoes set me back $1.99! It was like walking through a magical frugal paradise, or otherwise known as my heaven.

Back to roller coasters….The park was busier than last time, so we took to squeezing in some “alternative” rides between awesome roller coasters. Yeah, we rode the teacup ride. Don’t laugh, it was a lot of fun. We got ours spinning soooo fast that I almost threw up. Once we exited, the next batch of riders (little children) scrambled to our teacup because it looked the most fun. We also hit the raft ride (?) where you transverse rapids in a giant inner tube made for 8 people. I swear that son of a bitch always turned just in time to soak me. Seriously, I would be on the opposite side of the rapid, then 5 feet from the drop (and subsequent flood of water and spray), the tube would suddenly turn and stick it to me. I spent almost the entire day with soaking wet jean shorts and sneakers that expelled water every step I took.

One ride we were really looking forward to was the new “Dark Knight” Batman roller coaster. Its name is a play on the new movie (added publicity) and the fact the ride is inside a giant building. It opened that day and the line was estimated to be 3-hours! Thank Goodness that we had chipped in the extra $20 for the speed pas which cut out the majority of the wait. The ride basically takes you into a room where you watch a sad 10 minute movie (filled with a lot of plugging for the movie) before you load into “subway cars”. You are plunged into the darkness where the track is nothing more than a couple of jarring turns (no big drops or loops or anything remotely resembling a trick) and a few flashes of posed mannequins (which you saw coming since it flashed for the car in front of you only 10seconds prior). Essentially, the other “dark” coaster, Skull Mountain, which is also a children’s coaster beat the pants off this new ride. As we left, I was tempted to run over and tell the hordes of people in the 3 hour long line that it was sooooo not worth it.