Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Return of the....package

Just thought I would share this "only in New York" snap shot. If only it made R2-D2 noises when you inserted a stamped first class letter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wash your mouth out with soap...and antiboitics

The night started off low key enough, but it took a wild tangent later on. Bree and Ali came over to my place for some drinks and NCAA basketball. During a commercial break, we flipped channels and were surprised to see the Miss USA (or America, does it really matter anyway) pageant. Being outnumbered by girls, Ali had to put up with our brief critiques of the contestants. A key rule is always rooting for your home state (or at least one that is nearby). Well two Midwest girls (Missouri and Kansas) were both in the top ten. Hurrah for state pride! If you don’t know already, girls are critical of each other and can be quite bitchy/catty. We ripped into Missouri because she had on a whore’s evening gown. Seriously, what is with excessive cleavage in a “scholarship” program? Bree commented that they only win $10,000 scholarship money, and they probably paid more than that for dresses, training, and diet pills/plastic surgery. Anyway, Kansas (and her soooo five years ago hair do) was third place.

After the games and pageant, I headed over to Marshall’s to meet up with him and Farrell. Bree couldn’t go because she was sick, and Ali was too drunk to go. Actually, he only had two pounders of beer, but he is a super lightweight. He doesn’t like drinking with Marshall and Farrell because he cannot keep up with their alcoholic behavior (oh and they make fun of him for being such a lightweight). All together now…..sigh (on behalf of poor little Ali). The boys rehashed basketball games and tried to get a hold of Ali (only to call him a lightweight) while I surfed Marshall’s vast cable TV selection. Around 1:30am, Farrell received a call from his friend Josh. Josh and a friend/co-worker of his were in the area. We planned on meeting them at Doc Holidays at 2am. Something was not right about Josh’s friend/co-worker. He was on the prowl and had no shame. His opening line to a pair of girls was “hey are you Jewish?” What! I was appalled, but he said that since he was Jewish that it was okay. He added that Jewish girls love that. Ummm, I’ll have to confirm that with other sources. Anyway, later two girls were making out hard core in a booth. Actually, to call it making out is an understatement. They were full on sucking face with plenty of grabbing, stroking, and groping. Even if it was a guy/girl couple, you would have felt embarrassed because it was so carnal. Well all the guys at the bar were watching them because A) they were two girls making out, and B) they were two cute girls making out. One was a cute Asian while the other was cute in a New York way. I asked what “cute in a NY way” meant and Josh’s friend said “you know….a girl with an edgy look who will kiss you then spit in your face”. Huh…oh well. Well being the ladies man Josh’s friend was, he strolled up to the two girls and said “can I get in on this?” To my amazement, they let him join in. A minute or two later, he strutted back to brag. The sad thing is that Josh, Marshall, and Farrell were all way into the “big buck hunter” game and didn’t see his score. When Josh’s friend said “yo I just got in the middle of those two making out chicks over there.” The boys said “what, two chicks making out, where”. When Josh’s friend pointed out the girls, another guy was making out with them. Strike two for Josh’s friend! The boys didn’t believe him, so the idiot went back over and got some more kisses from the girls. Ewe! Did he not just see the other guy kissing that not more than a minute ago? The bouncer standing next to me said “I hope your friend has all his hep C shot…..does he know he is at Doc Holidays….seriously, he is going to be covered in cold sores.” Ah ha ha ha! The friend later bragged about he could have taken home both the Jew girls and the making out pair, but he didn’t because had to work early the next morning….yeah right player!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Even the Irish get drunk

Now holidays are created to celebrate a religion, to show appreciation to someone, or to just plain get the day off of work. Each one has its traditions and rituals. Well I think some people got together and said “I feel like drinking myself silly, isn’t there a holiday for that, well there should”. Hence the glorious holiday of St. Patrick’s Day.

In Chicago, there is a famed South Side Irish Parade which basically is a bunch of drunken people and coolers with wheels. The City of Chicago parade is in the loop and they dye the Chicago River green every year. Now I have a funny story about some guy jumping into the green river, but I’ll save that for another post (plus it happened in the past). New York City of course has a huge parade marching down 5th avenue in midtown. Wanting to experience everything in New York before I leave, I headed over to watch. Big mistake. Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, the crowd was at least 10 deep. It took me ten minutes to wade myself through the crowd and advance one block up 5th Ave. I viewed the parade from between people’s heads or large obnoxious hats while on my tippy toes. Well I did not miss much. The parade could be summarized with: group of bagpipers and drummers, another group of bagpipers and drums, city councilman group, group of bagpipers and pipe players, high school marching band, group of Irish dancers (who were just walking in their costumes), and another group of bagpipers. No floats, no balloons, no candy…..soooooo not worth the effort. After an hour of thinking “okay maybe the next one will be good” I headed home. The most interesting part of the parade was the spectators. The people were wearing everything from shamrock glitter antlers, big green leprecan hats, green blinking buttons, green shamrock & beer mug glasses, etc. I was bored enough to take pictures of anyone in the crowd who either had the tackiest sense of fashion or must have seriously been intoxicated before leaving home. Case in point, a group of high school girls were wearing shamrock boxer shorts, knee socks, and green sweatshirts. Huh? It was barely 40 degrees outside. Oh well. Here is a bad shot of a woman who I thought was Tammy Fae Baker. She had the glorious eye makeup, overdrawn lips, and fake eyebrows.

Marshall met me at my apartment that afternoon to “get drunk” in honor of the holiday. Due to his next to none cash flow, we had to pre drink store booze at my place before going out. Not bad when you figure you can get over a dozen beers for less than $15. Plus we got green bottles to make it all more celebratory. While tipsy, Marshall had me take head shots of him with my digital camera. Okay that seems like a tangent, but it started with him trying to see if he has lost any weight. I have a picture of him at his chubbiest (only because it is a really good picture of me). I took a picture of him in the same pose so we could compare the two on the playback screen. One thing led to another and I had him posed on the couch with my desk lamp angling his head just right. It seemed like a good idea at the time (because he needed head shots), but I guess we should have done that while sober (or at least slightly sober). I counted them the next day, and I took close to 30 pictures….just of his head! Only 5 or 6 were in focus, and the rest were blurs. Ha ha ha.

Well, several beers later (six for me, eight for him), we met Anna and Jeremy out. They went to parade as well, and decided to just head out to the bars since the drunken people were more entertaining. Just to mock the tourists, they both had green glitter frame and green tinted lens sunglasses. Plus, Jeremy had a fuzzy green beret hat that was actually Anna’s! Ah ha ha ha.

The four of us stopped off at the House of Brews on 50th in Hell’s Kitchen. The part I remember is the random kilted bagpiper who came into the bar, played a ditty, and left. Anna had a full day by then and headed home while she still knew her address. Now that the wife was gone, Marshall and I dragged Jeremy to an absolute dive Rudys on 9th. This place makes you want to wash your hands after leaving. After a pitcher or two of PBR, the group dissolved. On the way home, Marshall confessed that he couldn’t want anything more besides me…..well me holding a quarter pounder with cheese. Lucky for him, there was a McDonalds on the way home.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What do you do nine months later?

Funny story of the weekend. I had a girlfriend stay over for the weekend (names withheld to protect her identity). She was taking a refresher course in the city on Saturday and Sunday. Now the course was required to maintain an aspect of her job. However, to receive credit, you only needed to physically be there (the entire time). Evidently people commonly show up and either play video games, watch movies, read the paper, or even nap during the lecture because you just needed to be there. Being the astute scholar that she was, she actually planned on taking notes and learning something since she did have to pay for the class. Well we had a very good (and late) night on Saturday. Unfortunately, she started getting the urge to puke while sitting in the Sunday class. She would excuse herself to the restroom and wait for the sensation to pass. Unfortunately, just when she would return to her seat, she would get another urge. Those of us who have been cursed by the phantom puking feeling know how miserable it is. She was worried that she would not get credit because she was spending so much time in the bathroom. Being the genius that she is, she approached the woman in charge of the seminar. She then told the lady “I’m sorry, but I am suffering from morning sickness, I really want to get credit, but could I have a private room so that I do not disturb the others”. Pure genius I swear! The poor woman couldn’t say no because it was such a beautiful thing (plus she even offered her crackers). Not only does she get credit, but now she gets a private room (so she can suffer alone). Sorry boys, look like you will have to find a different brilliant excuse to cover a hangover.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Star Sighting

Okay the celebrity star sighting of the week is...
Molly Shannon! You may know her from Saturday Night Live or supporting roles in Serendipity and Never Been Kissed.

Monday, I was waiting for my running friends in the lobby of the Columbus Circle shopping mall (no we are not mall walkers….the mall is across the street from the park). Anyway, I was standing next to the information pedestal. A determined woman in a dress with jeans was walking up towards me. I was thinking about her outfit, because seriously, who wears a dress with jeans. She asked me if I knew where the Omni Hotel was. I guess someone dressed in running clothes stretching against the information pedestal must know where the hotel was. I just shrugged my shoulders, said I had never heard of it before and told her to check the info board. Only when she was examining the board did it dawn on me…wait this is Molly Shannon! I didn’t react and she was gone in another ten seconds. Now I have seen celebrities before (and basked in the glory that is Alan Rickman), but never spoken to one before. Mark that off on the NY experience checklist.

Disney & Drinking (perfect pairing to the modern celebrity baby)

As a way to nurse our ailing legs and vicious hangover, I took my sister to my favorite NYC brunch place….Vinyl. Now the previous two days, we had taken in all of the Midtown and Lower Manhattan tourist sites. Frankly we were almost out of ideas and locations. We decided to head down to Canal Street and try to score some imitation purses and sunglasses. If you have never been to Canal Street, then you have never been properly assaulted with illegal merchandise. Seriously, the street is lined with little venders and Chinese (assuming since you are near Chinatown) people just randomly approach you whispering “Gucci Gucci, prada, coach”. I got some fake Chanel glasses at a vender when she asked if I wanted some real looking purses. I said sure. She then pointed to a shady looking old woman on the street and said “follow her”. I guess the as good as real stuff has be done in secret manner. My sister and I decided not to bother with it (and plus we were too tired from walking to follow a random stranger to a “secret” spot). On our way back to the train, we saw a ghetto girl fighting with a Chinese woman. The ghetto girl was screaming “I said two purses you **swear** **derogatory term**!” She then started swinging a black garbage bag (most likely the purses since they have to hide them) at the Chinese woman who was probably shouting back in Chinese “if this was Hong Kong, you would be dead by now!” Okay, that was a racial stereotype, but I called it as I see it. Poor Tiffany doesn’t see much of that in Nebraska where we are polite and marry our cousins.

After taking a tour by Madison Square Garden and the fashion district, we headed back home to nap, eat, and change for the evening. I scored us tickets to the Disney Broadway Musical ‘Beauty and the Beast’. One note about Disney musicals, they are totally for children (seriously, I mean groaner obvious cheap humor and over the top cheesy acting) but the sets, costumes, dances, and songs are A++. Although Tiffany is only a few years younger than I, she totally favors those types of shows over whit and charm of adult shows (she hated the Producers).

After the show, we met Ali, Bree, and Dave at a Hell’s Kitchen bar “the snug”. This place had a special from 11-midnight, $2 off all drinks. Not bad since most of the drinks were not priced over $6. Tiffany is used to paying Nebraska prices, so she snatched up drinks double time before our power hour was over. Amarillo sour - $4…..watching your baby sister get bombed – priceless. Ah ha ha.

After midnight, we headed down to a club in Soho. It was Fadel’s (Ali’s friend) birthday and we all were on the list. Sadly, we had to stand behind the velvet rope for a few minutes because our group didn’t have enough girls in it (or too many guys, whatever). Finally when they decided there were at least eight girls to one guy, they let us in. I don’t understand that theory. It must be flawed because us ladies hate to pay for over priced drinks. In fact, the ones who go to swanky clubs expect not to pay for anything. Plus if you have to buy a drink, you make sure to nurse the hell out of it until you can find some dumb guy to buy you another. So if this place is full of high end girls, who is buying drinks?

Anyway, we head up to the VIP room, and with a little name dropping, we walked right in. We were enjoying the last of Fadel’s bottle service when I hear “oh my, I know you” shouted out behind me. I turn around and see Kristy Shoemaker. She was the little sister (four years my junior) of a good college friend. I should note that her older brother was infamous for being the only mega hot guy in the engineering college. Anyway, I got to know her thru her brother when she would join us at the bars (yep, we were 22 year old seniors drinking with an 18-year old who somehow always got into bars).

The night ended around 3am or what I would like to call “can we go pleeeeease, I’m tired”. Ali had a much more interesting end to the night (or greeting to the morning), but I cannot blog post it due to sensitive material.

The next day (Saturday), Tiffany and I only had a few hours to kill before sending her off to the airport. Being the big movie buff that she is (she kept wanting to go to places where they have filmed major motion pictures, etc), we took a ride on the Roosevelt Island cable car/gondola. If you have seen Spiderman 1, then it is the gondola at the end of the movie where Spiderman has to choose between saving MJ or the people on the gondola. For a cheap $2 each way, you can get great views of the river and east side. Here are some pics (I caught the other cable car coming back the other way and a cool shot of the cable car’s shadow on the road).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lower Manhattan in one day

Thursday was dubbed by my sister as “the day we didn’t stop walking”. In the morning, we took the subway (her first NY subway ride) down to the southern most tip of the island. From there you could hop on a ferry to Stanton, Liberty, or Ellis Island. The lines convinced us to just look at Lady Liberty from the main land. With the zoom on cameras nowadays, we really didn’t need to waste the 4+ hours. After breathing in the sight of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island we headed up into the financial district. Well first we came across a guy selling imitation prada purses from a garbage bag. We made the mistake of hesitating in front of him, and he proceeded to follow us for five block shouting “I’ve got more purses, come with me for a purse”. Finally we lost him at a red light (to which I made my sister dash across the street in order to flee from the crazy guy).

A few blocks later, we stood at the immense canyon that is ground zero. You really don’t realize how big the site is until you stand there. They offer free tours of the site and we were lucky to be standing near one for a little bit. Evidently, the towers normally house 50,000 working people plus many more thousands outside (tourist, commuters, etc). Due to the early time of the attack (since I’ve seen that most New Yorkers don’t stroll into work until after 9am), the towers only had about 14,000 people inside. Thank goodness for sleeping in.

Just a couple short blocks away was Trinity church. Now this church is really old and famous I guess, but Tiffany and I didn’t know about it until we saw the movie National Treasure. We literally were like “wait, wasn’t’ that National Treasure church on Wall Street, wait I think that is it!” Yes, we are silly tourists. Anyway, the graveyard had headstones (and therefore graves) dated to before the revolutionary war. Evidently, Alexander Hamilton is buried there, but we didn’t know that at the time and therefore didn’t search out his final resting spot.

Trinity church is the beginning (or end, whichever way you look at it) of Wall Street. We walked down the infamous street and snapped pictures of places like the stock exchange and Federal Hall (where George Washington was sworn in as president). Tiffany insisted on taking pictures of every Trump building we walked by because her mother-in-law is obsessed with the show “the apprentice”. Hope you have a lot of memory in you digital card because he has buildings all over the place (at last check, I counted seven).

Wall Street was also the place I introduced Tiffany to street vender food. We picked up giant soft pretzels from a cart guy. Mmmmn, love soft pretzels. As we munched on the soft goodness, we did a turn around the South side seaport district before turning up to the Brooklyn Bridge. The best view from the Brooklyn Bridge is walking into Manhattan. Therefore, we decided to walk halfway across and back to get picturesque shots. At the halfway point, I stopped my sister and told her to turn back (so essentially we only walk one length of the bridge). Either it was the excitement of being in New York City or the calorie rush of the pretzel, but she said “no, lets keep going”. We ended up walking nearly all of the bridge before I forced my sister to turn back (she would regret wanting to walk so much later).

We headed past the old city hall building on our way up Broadway to the SoHo district. We hit a few choice shops and called it a day at 5pm (note we had basically been walking non stop since 10am). Tourist check list: statue of lib, world trade center, trinity church, wall street, south side seaport, brooklyn bridge......check, check, check, well you get the point.

A quick change at my apartment, and we headed back down to SoHo/Lower East Side for Marshall’s second rock show. Okay the venue, Arleen’s Grocery, was a combination of dive bar and 80’s punk rock scene. Some guys had colored Mohawks and tight black pants with chains. Of course the odd ones in the room were my sister and I who looked more like a GAP commercial. When we got to the stage annex, we had to fight for a good spot. Nah, just kidding. There were sadly only six people there (and three of us were either dating or related to a band member). Sooooo sad! Well what do you expect for a 7pm show on a Thursday! I felt bad for the guys who kept cracking jokes at the lack of audience. At least they got paid to essentially practice. And for those who have read my past posts, Marshall looked much better in a snug t-shirt instead of the horrid plaid number.

After the show, Tiffany and I met my Chicago friend Dave for dinner and drinks in the St. Marks / East village area. Dave has been talking about moving to NYC for years, and Thursday was his official first day as a New Yorker. Yep, he finally quit talking about it and made the big move up here. I remember listening to him talk about moving to the city back in Chicago, and then the look on his face when I told him I would beat him to the city by six months. Whoa, I’ve been here six months already. Anyway, we introduced Tiffany “I don’t drink beer” to McSorelys where they only serve light or dark beer and they throw you out if you are not drinking. Ah ha ha ha, love corrupting my baby sister and forcing her to drink.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tulle funny

I picked up my baby sister, Tiffany, at the airport Tuesday night. She had never been to the big apple before, so I intended to so her as much as possible in three short days.

Wednesday was deemed the shopping day. Our other sister (the eldest) is getting married this Fall. Tiffany and I needed to find matching sundresses. That was the criteria (no other mention of color, cut, print, etc). So you can see we basically told to find something. We started the day with the famed 5th ave. Of course the majority of stores were out of our price range, but we were able to get a picture of Tiffany in front of the Tiffany store (yes we are that corny).

After a quick walk by central park, we went to the Empire State building observation deck. It was my first time at that landmark. Yes I know, how could I have lived in NYC for almost half a year and not go to the top of the Empire State building! Anyway, Tiffany was instructed by her husband to “take a lot” of pictures. She must have been a good girl and said her prayers because the day was sunny and mid 40’s (much warmer than the previous few weeks). Granted it was beautiful outside, but at 500+ feet in the air, it gets windy/chilly. After a while, our fingers were frozen and both of our hands were needed to steady her picture taking arm. I got a couple of good pictures including the one with the Crytsler building with a shadow of the Empire State building. Now Tiff lives in the vast metropolis of Lincoln, Nebraska where the tallest building is the state capital (fun fact, the Nebraska state capital building is the only skyscraper among all other US capitals). Fowl like seagulls and pigeons are new to her. Due to tourists feeding the damn pigeons, they become quite domesticated. All you have to do is hold out your hand, and they will literally waddle up to it in search of a treat. Here is a picture of the curious pigeon perched high up on the Empire state building (note, I am not zooming in, it was literally a few inches from me).

To continue with the shopping theme, we hit the stores in Herald square. Most importantly, we went searching for a pho-bridesmaid dress at Macy’s. Okay the dress department was huge, and of course all of the prom dresses were out on display. Seriously, the prom in New York must be waaaaaay different than the proms back in Nebraska. The dresses were giant tulle creations in bright yellow, orange, blue, green, or hot pink! The gowns were 5’ in diameter and 50lbs of tulle netting and sequins. To top it off, they were around $500 each! One of them looked like a mermaid (complete with fish scales and shell bra) and another could pass as big bird’s cousin at the next sesame street reunion. Here are pictures of Tiff and I playing in the fluorescent tulle forest (note this is a very very small fraction of the dresses they had there). Luckily we found two candidate dresses in the grown up section.

After a busy day of mindless shopping, we decided to educate ourselves with a trip to the museum…..that is the wax museum. A word of advice, if you want to avoid the crowds, just show up a couple of hours before closing time. Anyway, pictures in this case are better than words. Some of the likenesses were way off, but others were so real it was eerie. What am I saying, I haven’t seen these people in person anyway.

To round out her first day in the big city, we had giant slices of New York style pizza and roamed around Times Square in the evening.