Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wait where are we now

I spent yet another Friday night at the club Libation…but it was against my wishes. I can only take so much clubbing. Granted our hook up Fidel gets us past the cover and into the bottle service, so I cannot complain. But you know sometimes you just want to hang out in jeans and drink a PBR and pineapple. I went because an after party for the skid row documentary was being held there. The documentary follows Pras from the fugees around LA for a week while he pretended to be a beggar. Pras evidently showed up, but I could not pick him out of a line up, so maybe I talked to him, maybe I did not. Well he was supposed to bring his friend Edward Norton along, but didn’t. Call me strange, but Ed is in my top five to bang along with John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Rodrigo Santoro, and Paul Walker (gotta have one beefcake).

While I don’t know if I talked to Pras or not, I do remember talking to a chatty LA agent and a Canadian musician. The LA guy was all “like we are so in, I’m off to London to hang with my crew and set up the deals, yo I was in LA last weekend and it was hoping, blah blah blah”. I did a lot of nodding and sipping my drink. I shared my ode de Canada adventures with the musician. He did not think Allison’s comment “well if you are all here, who is running Canada” funny. He later whipped out his Canadian passport and smacked me across the face with it.

Since the conversation was going nowhere, I proceeded to watch the action occurring down below (I was up in the VIP balcony, don’t be impressed, drop any name and they let you in). I was rewarded with a big bar brawl! Yeah two beefy guys started pushing each other, then punching, then shirts started flying off and they rolled around the ground wrestling. If only I had lots and lots of jello! I was sad when the bouncers threw them out because seeing two half naked boys all over each other was my gay fantasy of the night.

At 2am, I received a call from Rob. He was in the area (lower east side) with a bunch of college friends. Sure enough, I was walking out of the club and practically ran into them. He went to Marquette which is located in Wisconsin. Therefore these Midwestern boys were in city shock. Rob forgot to tell them that when you go out in the lower east side, you cannot wear shorts, cargo pants, jeans, basically anything normal or comfortable for August. Therefore, they were in the mood for something a little more down home.

We trekked up a few blocks up to Doc Holidays where the bartenders all dress slutty (like cut too short jean shorts not posh slutty where it takes a lot of money to look that cheap) and the beer is cheap (and nasty). We sipped on PBR pounders and played pool. Sadly the big buck hunter game was being monopolized by a group of preppies. After two of the boys were soundly defeated by some randoms, it was time to move on. In my drunken haze, I was still able to give correct directions to McSorely’s. Too bad when we showed up, it was already closed. No worries since it was past 4am and a pizza parlor around the corner diverted our attention.

I never knew breaded/fried chicken and bacon slices could taste sooooo good on a bed of cheese pizza. Random I know, but so were the people. I snapped a picture of some girl in a full sequin cowgirl costume. Hurrah for St. Mark’s neighborhood!

Because the guys dropped most of their money on overpriced drinks at the clubs, they decided on taking the subway home. I figured why not save $10 and get escorted back home by the Wisconsin boys (okay that came off the wrong way, I mean there could be there to keep me company and safe in case there is a rival gang of hipster girls or something). Anyway, while we walking over to the station, I had to pee like a mother. I ducked into some all night diner to use the facilities. When I rejoined the group outside, they were all shouting and clapping each other on the back. Turns out the diner was the same one feature in the movie Big Daddy. Go figure, NYC, where the ordinary is extraordinary. I’m waiting for them to shoot in my building or block so I can have a claim to fame other than the largest adult section etc.

Okay this is the second time I’ve had to experience drunk tourists on the subway, and I can tell you it is tiptoeing the line between extremely funny and extremely annoying. My Chicago friends may remember the time I babysat a bunch of Kansas girls on the L once. Anyway, the Wisconsin boys were all about shouting out “what would happen if I peed on the third rail, what is that…a rat, dude look a rat on the tracks, why are all these people here, it is like 5am are they lost or something”. Yeah I found a seat and watched the scene like watching monkeys in their cage.

Fortunately I got to my neighborhood safely and was dropped off one block away from my apartment. Sadly, the strip clubs were closing at the same time (around 5:30-6am). I had to weave along 8th ave surrounded by strippers and pathetic men who wanted to pick up the strippers. I got a few, “just coming off work honey, I’ve been waiting for you”. All together now….ewwww! Although, now I have to reevaluate how I club dress.

Hunting down Craig's list in a pick up truck

I am amazed at the wonders on Craig’s List. I was in need of a dresser (or several) since I have lived in my apartment almost a year and have left stuff still in boxes. My search for a dresser turned out to be quite amusing. I found a great huge dresser on the upper upper west side for free. The only hitch was getting it down 5 flights of stairs. Obviously, I couldn’t strap it on a dolly and it on the subway (like I did with all the other stuff I bought), so I hired a guy with a truck. His ad in Craig’s list was “guy with pick-up truck”. Enough said. He offered to drive me all around town and help me move furniture for a flat fee of $50. Game on.

I met the guy in the LES/little Italy. Unfortunately, the first stop was a bust because the girl put the wrong picture in the add and the real dresser (for $15) was crap. I hoped in his truck cab, and before people start lecturing me about hopping into stranger’s cars let me say his wife was also there. Her job was to watch the truck while we moved stuff because she had never passed a drivers test….in 30 years! Driving with them was a hoot because he finished off two packs of cigarettes in two hours! My favorite line of the night was “well the seat belt hasn’t worked in a while, so can you just drape it over you so I don’t get a ticket”. No worries since he was a relatively calm driver (considering I have ridden in too many crazy cabs).

Our second stop was in Soho where a girl was selling a set of six bookshelves for $25. The pictured showed one and it was tall and thin. However pushing six of them together would make for excellent storage. I was disappointed once again when the girl only had one bookshelf. I got the “wow, I should reword the ad”. You think douche bag hag!

No worries because we still had the money shot up in the UWS. Sure enough, the drawers in the massive dresser (sooo nice but sooo heavy) could not be removed. We therefore had to take the entire thing down 5 flights of narrow stairs. The guy who was moving across country was quite cute (otherwise I would have played it up) and sympathetic. He basically saw that I was in no shape to carry a big ass dresser (hey I am not one to encourage more work for me), so he and the truck guy moved it for me. Hurrah! Considering I did no lifting, made several stops, got a nice huge dresser, and an amusing story to boot, I would say it was the best $50 I’ve ever spent.

On Wednesday, Bree and I had a date. Yep a dinner and a movie, friends style. To start out, we took the 6 train down to the end of the line. Then it makes a big U-turn and ends up on the northbound side. When it is making the U-turn, it passes through the old City Hall subway station. Evidently in the 1920-50’s it was considered the Jewel of the city. I saw it featured on the NY1 network and have been looking forward to checking it out since. Unfortunately, the station uses a lot of natural daylight (from its wrought iron decorative skylights), so our night-time visit did not reveal much. I included pictures of what it looks like all lit up. The one interesting thing was that our subway car was all decorated in a jungle theme. Seriously it was like I was in a freaking bag of grass clippings. I felt like any minute a lion, tiger, or Tyranasaurs Rex would jump out.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wish you were here

Saturday morning came much too quickly. I grabbed the bike off the wall, and peddled down to Rob’s apartment in the West Village. The great thing about where I live (Midtown, or any area north of 14th street) is that the streets make sense. You know the further you go uptown, the larger the streets become, 51 is after 50, streets run W-E and avenues run N-S. Okay in the village, soho, tribecca, LES, financial district, basically the lower tip of the island, etc it is laid out like the city planners went on a huge coke bender (actually, the lower part is the oldest, so settlers just made roads where they needed them, but I like my theory better). Of course, I got lost at the quadruple intersection. Yes, 4 streets all meeting at different angles. It blew my mind when I was riding on Waverly Place and it intersected with….Waverly Place. Yeah, a street that crosses itself! One street down is “Gay St.”. Not kidding, that is the actual street name. Yes the area surrounding it is quite the boystown, but I wonder what came first…you know the chicken or the egg.

I eventually met up with Rob and we set off for the Hudson for kayaking. On our way, we passed the infamous Magnolia Bakery (as featured in SNL Chronic of Narnia). Usually there is hella line there, but at 10am I guess no one was in the mood for cupcakes. We therefore decided to head in and see what all the fuss was about. Okay the cupcakes were so messy! Seriously, they layer on a pound of frosting. My was chocolate colored, and the way they swirled it on top made it look like dog doo. The frosting was super soft so it got on everything! I eventually just wiped it off and tossed the surplus (much to Rob’s disappointment). All being said, the cupcakes were moist and decent but I still do not know the allure of the place.

We eventually got to the harbor and tried out the free kayaking. There are several sites along the Hudson that offer free kayaking. I wonder if it is part of a giant PR move to make New Yorkers more trusting of the toxic waterways, or a way for NYPD to get more people out on the water looking for bodies. The wind certainly made for fun waves, and the spray was surprisingly salty. Okay yeah I ingested some river water because it was flying in my face, so I probably should get my Hep A & B shots again. The harbor did offer a really nice view of the Statue of Liberty (too bad we were prohibited to go beyond the piers).

On my ride back, I passed a Frank Gehry building in Chelsea. I included the picture so my non architecture friends will understand who this guy is. Actually, most of his work has been with metal looking sides, so it was interesting to see this frosted glass display.

On Sunday, I met up with Rob and Dana for a new show down in the village. It was called “Williamsburg, the musical”. For the non NYC readers, Williamsburg is the neighborhood in Brooklyn that is at the end of the Williamsburg Bridge. It is considered the new village (ie where all the starving artists and hipsters who cannot afford the rising cost of living in Manhattan are flocking towards). The plot was centered around the Romeo/Juliet, Maria/Tony, Sandy/Danny relationship between a hipster trust fund girl (who recently was cut off by her wealthy parents) and a devout Hasidic Jew man. He had a beautiful voice and spoke with the very stereotypical (but true) Jewish cadence. In the mean time, a wealthy evil real estate developer was buying up the aging buildings to erect new condos. The evil real estate developer brought the local hipsters under her control by turning them into zombies via chi tea lattes and skinny jeans. The musical had some funny songs that you only could get if you lived in the city (a song about “just one stop to civilization” since Williamsburg is the first stop out of Manhattan on the L train). I also learned that a Hasidic man cannot look at a woman (except his wife) in the face and cannot touch a woman (except his wife). I’m almost tempted to walk down the street and stare down one of the curly-Q’s just to fuck with them. In the end (in true Grease fashion), the Jew dressed as a hipster (among flaming zombie bodies…nice) and the princess dawned a full body coverage dress and they realized they could make it work.

Yet another reason to wash your hands

Friday night I attended the going away party for my friend Sturgis. He was one of the first familiar faces I discovered when I moved to the city. He and his girlfriend, well now his fiancée, are moving the Oregon because she has the sweetest job with Nike. He met Morgan (future wife) at the gym because she was wearing a KU shirt. Small world. Anyway, he proposed the previous week in central park. Basically it was pouring outside but the sky cleared up for 15 minutes. This was enough time for him to take her to one of the magnificently stunning bridges (yeah I’m an engineer dork) and pop the question. He even had a friend hiding in the bushes to take pictures of the whole thing. Awwww. Sure enough, after they had enough pictures and kisses, the rain came back down with a vengeance. Talk about it being written in the stars….or sky, or forecast, whatever, I’m happy for them.

The party was at East Midtown pub called “Galloway Hooker”. Ah ha ha ha. Too bad it means something else in European or something. The bathrooms did not have floor-to-ceiling walls, so basically anything you did in the stalls could be broadcasted to the entire bar. Of course being a girl, I do not have to worry about things like farts or number twos…because girls don’t do that. The one point of amusement was the super high powered hand air dryer. Seriously, it was like jet engine was taking off in you hands. Bree and I discussed catching people not washing their hands if you see them leave without hearing the earth shaking dryer.

Ali was in the mood to party hard (ie with Fidel), so he left around 11. Bree and I were in a torturous conversation with some guy who also went to KSU. He and I had a mutual friend (Ted) and he evidently recognized me from Ted’s cruise pictures. Yap yap yap, tried the whole move to another part of the bar trick but did not work. I thought about making faces (jem of a story involving Chicago Emily and I at bungalow a few years back) but decided not to be an obvious evil bitch. Therefore, at 11:30, Bree and I headed out.

We hopped in a cab and would rendezvous with Ali and Fidel at Libation down in the lower east side. Well on our way down, Bree called Ali. Turns out he took the subway down and was lost in the village. We made a detour and picked him up. Turns out Fidel (aka our “in”) would not be arriving until midnight, so we had about 15 minutes of fame to kill. Taking a cue from the previous weekend, we headed a block down to Spitzer’s Corner. I was looking forward to a delicious delirium beer (seriously, it must be laced with nicotine or crack to cause instant addiction). I ordered three at the bar and the bartender got all anal on me. He asked to see my id, and then the id’s of whomever I would be giving the extra beers to. I had to fight the crowd and gather Bree and Ali’s ids. Yeah, he was such a douche that he asked me to point them out in the crowd to really check the faces. Okay buddy, we are not 21, we are 27-28! If you are going to be such a hard ass serving me, then we can take our totally legal selves to some other overpriced bar. I was half tempted to distribute flyers to the minors at NYU telling them to screw with this guy.

After our one beer, we met up with Fidel. Okay one of the many advantages of rolling with Fidel is the “special entrance”. Yeah we get the VIP door and everything. Okay, I can pretend to be all that every once in a while. As soon as we hit the VIP lounge, Fidel cracked open the first bottle service of the night. In attendance were a bunch of people I do not know and Ali’s roommate Max. Max is an actor and just finished shooting a movie, documentary, short, whatever where he had to portray a skin head. Yep off came the hair. He brought along his actor friends and they too were in the early stages of Chia head. Now given the wide demographic of the club, I was tentative to acknowledge I was with the “skin heads”. Ahh, PC world.

I was sitting on a bench playing with the curtains (yeah combination of alcohol and shiny things). One of the skin head guys was getting frisky and kept resting his hand on my knee. I would give him a confused look because I was drunk not stupid. He took it as an invitation to slide his hand up my dress. Oh no he didn’t! I deflected the blow faster than Heather Graham. Okay I did not want to leave my prime spot of people watching next to the liquor, but I could not shoo this punk away. He kept trying to do it until I finally gave him another glass to hold so his hands were occupied.

Well it was someone’s birthday. Whose I do not know (Fidel knows seriously everyone). Anyway, they brought out cupcakes. I am not one to turn down a sweet confection, so I grabbed an extra chocolate one. Call me strange, but I eat the frosting separate from the cupcake. You know, like eating the filling of an Oreo before the black cookie (I have a theory that the dental association teamed up with Oreo because you always end up with a black cookie bit explosion stuck in your teeth and must therefore brush afterwards). As I was enjoying my cupcake, thick skull skin head guy asked to taste it. I pointed to the tray of cupcakes and told him to enjoy. He then said “no I want to taste yours”. Ummm, okay, so I broke him off a cake chunk and handed it to him. He then said “no I want some frosting”. Since I had tackled that part first, there was not much left. I scooped up the remnants on my finger and thought “oh shit, how am I supposed to get it off my finger”. Well he quickly answered my question by sticking my finger in his mouth….and then sucked it with this look in his eyes. Yeah I don’t know if he was trying to look sexy or imitate how well he sucks dick, but it did not fly with me. I pulled out my finger and wiped it tactlessly on the bench.

Several drinks later, I had enough. I pulled a Rick Houdini and slipped out of the club discreetly. On my adventure of fighting the drunk masses for an open cab, I found myself on Rivington St. Hmmm, why not stop into Hotel Rivington to seduce the potential hook up bartender. Okay, my friend Rob wants to set me up with his friend Billy the Bartender and I am stoked about it. Good thing he was not working that night, because some of you know how my “sexy look” really comes across when I am trashed (something like I have an eyelash stuck in one eye and a half smirk half grimace smile).

Friday, August 17, 2007

G-spa did not hit the G-spot

How do you spell false grandiose…T R U M P. Okay Ali, Dave, and I met up with Fidel for one of his promotions at the Gansevoort hotel. This place is in the very swanky meat packing district and houses two equally posh clubs. The ‘Plunge’ is the roof top deck club (similar to the ghost bar at the Las Vegas Palms). ‘G-spa’ is the spa by day, club by night in the basement.

We had VIP bottle service down in G-spa. For all the hype surrounding the place it really was not great. Yes, it did have three Jacuzzis and private bungalows but when you boil it down, it was small, dark and smelled of chlorine. The Jacuzzis are just for show I guess because they had big signs above them saying they were for “aesthetic” purposes only. Talk about kill joy. I guess when the joint opened, Lindsay Lohan was down there and they hired a bunch of models to swim naked in the tubs.

Thanks to Fidel’s fine connections, we had a nice bungalow off to the side. He also ordered a bottle service for his guests. Guess what bottle they brought out….Trump Vodka! Ah ha ha ha. Will that man not stop until he has branded everything with his name? Anyway, the bottle was quite long and skinny (wonder if the design indented to overcompensate for any lacking in the manhood…giant phallic symbol)! Don’t get me wrong, the vodka was quality, I just cannot get over the logo.

From our vantage point, we were able to people watch. I noticed there were twice as many guys as girls there which is unusual because as a rule, a guy cannot get in without at least two girls on his arms. Well all the guys either looked sleazy or out of place. Yeah there were guys wandering around in print t-shirts and jeans. Granted I am sure it was $100 jeans and Armani Exchange t-shirt, but it felt like they just got lost on their way to their hotel room. Hey, if I had to wear a dress sans bra, then they better class it up. Dag.

After about two hours, I had my fill and was tired (some of us have to work in the morning). I jumped in a cab and headed uptown. When the cabbie dropped me off, he confessed he did not have any ones for change (he claims he has been breaking 20’s all night). I heard that the law requires cabbies to have change for 20’s at all times, but I have yet to enforce it. Luckily he offered to pay me back in quarters. Yeah quarters! I figured why not since I need to do laundry anyway. It is amazing how $4 worth of change can weigh down a purse. The little stinker snuck in a Canadian quarter though. Bastard, doesn’t he know it is worthless here…worthless! Maybe I’ll try it out in my washing machine anyway.

On a side note, I just read an article about the origins of my neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen. Evidently in the 1860’s it was the home of the “Westies” gang made up of civil war veterans. They were known for so much violence that they play a major mark in the book “Gangs of New York” (later to become a movie). It was mostly inhabited by Irish and German immigrants until the 1950’s when the Puerto Ricans started to move in. I guess the rents were cheap there (same as today) and there was a mass influx of our favorite red-white-and-blue sporting friends. Tension and fighting (like daily knifing) was so prevalent, that they based the musical “West Side Story” on the neighborhood. Neat…not all the killing and stuff, but you know…

Evidently, with the addition of the Lincoln tunnel, they tore down a lot of the original buildings in the neighborhood. Bree actually lived in the last tenement building row left (east side of 9th Ave between 45 & 46). In the 1970’s and 1980’s the place was know for being run by the mob and again gangs. I guess one joint proudly displayed all the severed fingers from enemies behind the bar. The mob set up all sorts of prostitution and drug houses in the area but they were all closed down (said but not proven) when Giuliani moved in as mayor. Now they have toned it down with porn shops and peep shows. Maybe in another ten year, it will just be cinimax.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yankee stadium, that is up in the Bronx...by Norway

Although I am not a baseball fan, I sure have seen a lot of games in NY. Last night, I went to the Yankees-Baltimore game with Bree. She originally bought the tickets for Ali since he is a huge Orioles fan, but he had to work. The people watching alone is totally worth feigning interest in baseball. There were several moments during the game when the crowd erupted in cheer and bolted up, and we looked at each other and said “wait, what just happened…never mind, I’ll just watch the instant replay”.

Our next seat neighbors were quite the specimens. On our right was a 50ish upstate couple complete with elastic band shorts and khaki ball caps with a fishing company logo. They did not stop eating the entire game! Seriously, these people put down a bag of cracker jacks, a hotdog, two frozen lemonades cups, and a giant pretzel. Every time a vender would come by, they would call up an order. Bree estimated they spent at least $30 just on food alone.

Now our neighbors on the left also had quite the food passion, they were just smart and brought snacks in with them. Oh who am I kidding, they had freaking meals! They kept pulling out little aluminum foil packages with various goodies. Our favorites (at least for mocking them) were the homemade egg McMuffins. We eventually moved up a row of seats because the woman to our left (muffin girl) was spilling over her seat into Bree’s. Okay sorry to rant but I hate it when the person next to you is overflowing and you have that uncomfortable upper arm or thigh touching. From a row up, we were able to inspect our indulgent neighbors. They were both Puerto Rican (big give away was the giant PR flag jewelry hanging on the guy’s chest) and loving it. Speaking of jewelry, I don’t understand people’s need to wear chain over chain over chain of necklaces or bracelets. They guy had four rings, six bracelets (on one hand), and five necklaces. The woman was no different except her wedding ring was not a giant Yankee’s logo like the guy’s.

Although out new seats left us free on either side, we were put right under a group of children. I kept getting hit in the head with a giant foam finger. Plus one kid had such the speech impediment that I had to turn around and verify he was not physically deformed! Seriously, these kids would not stop talking, shouting, or replaying the last play (look, he hit the ball or look, they just got an out…Daaaaad got an out!). I soon thought of a good place to shove that foam finger.

One of the chaperones to the tornado kids was a scrawny, tattooed, t-shirt (with the sleeves cut off…classy) wearing middle aged man. He bragged to the other adults that he was single and liked to mingle…at the game. Well at least give him credit for rhyming, unless he heard some other sleaze-ball say that outside. He also bragged that the bottled water he was drinking was imported from Norway and it cost $8 a bottle. Ummm, yeah, riiiiight. He said to the group, come on you know it is expensive to get stuff from Norway, it is all up next to Finland and stuff. I hope the “stuff” he was referring to was uh Sweden. Idiot1

Enough of the kids, time to get a beer, just one problem…..When Bree called over a beer vender, he said to us “no I can’t sell to you, you are in the no drinking section”. Huh? Does that even exist? I guess that would explain why the tickets were cheap and we were surrounded by children. He did let her buy a beer as long as she bought it in the next section over. She was supposed to drink it over there, but I called her back over to sit with me and share my children filled misery. Luckily she finished it before the security guard (and his apprentice) showed up and scanned the crowd (with arms folded) for banned drinkers. I don’t know what came over me, but I blurted out (quietly) “excuse me sir, I believe that is an unauthorized egg McMuffin”. Yeah we thought it was hilarious.

By the sixth inning, we moved one section over (a drinking section). Our main amusement was immaturely giggling at cheers for Wang the pitcher. He he he, Wang. The real treat came in the 7th inning. The field groomers have a tradition of dancing to YMCA! Yeah choreographed and everything! It was so awesome, and the pictures don’t do it justice.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What is with New Yorkers and keeping the blinds open?

The weekend started early with happy hour drinks on Thursday. Bree and I headed down to Phebe’s in the bowery to meet up with Rob, Dana, and five of their friends (three guys and two girls). I of course don’t remember their names, but I think one was a Mike. Anyway, the point of catching drinks was so that Dana could set up two of the mutual friends. Well I don’t know if the couple got a chance to talk privately because the conversation was in full swing. We started off with frat and sorority stories, walks of shame, and then slipped into odd places people have urinated while drunk (not us, just people we know or have seen). I still do not understand how a guy can think a closet is a bathroom. Poor Bree admitted that she was once peed on by a freshman frat guy. The guy was literally standing over her (and her boy at the time sleeping on the futon) and spraying them back and forth like a lawn sprinkler. The boy victim unknowingly went to class without changing (typical college behavior where you wake up five minutes before class starts) covered in dried piss. Bree later got a bouquet of flowers from the freshman saying “it is better to be pissed on than to be pissed off”. Ah ha ha.

Later, the gang headed across the street to the famed Bowery Bar (B-bar). The place has the lour of old Hollywood, etc. Surprisingly the girls started talking about their love for big buck hunter (the new golden tee). I know first hand the addiction people have with that game. I remember one time Farrell was playing the game and his drunk and annoying ex girlfriend kept shouting at him “you can’t provide for me”. Bitch.

Anyway, later we were standing by the bar when a girl stepped on Bree’s foot….with a high heel! Yeah, the girl basically punctured Bree’s foot. Okay, who puts weight down when stepping if you feel something squishy under your heel? Poor girl, it still hurt a few days later.

Eventually the group called it a night (like at 2am) since we all had to work the next day. I do admit that I was sad to part since I have officially formed a girl crush on Dana (you know harmless like when guys have guy crushes on Derrick Jeter and stuff).

I skipped out on swimming on Saturday morning. Mark, the “swim boy” told me I missed out on some real drama at the pool. I guess a jerk guy was weaving in a lane and ran into a woman. He then yelled at her to stay in her “lane” (ie swim straight) even though he was the culprit. The lifeguards saw the whole thing and dragged the guy out kicking and screaming.

So when I was supposed to be at the pool, I went down to Union Square instead. I had some errands to run and to my surprise ran into a street festival. Okay, I looove street fairs. They have all sorts of yummy food and cheap goods (400 thread count sheets for $10, inde jewelry for $2, 6 for $10 NYC t-shirts, etc). I took a picture to convey what it looks like (typically they are on larger avenues so it is more spread out). Any good fair is full of psychics and massage enthusiasts. One old Asian woman grabbed me by the arm and tried to pull me towards her massage bed saying “you come now, I give free sample massage, you like…” I just pulled away and ran. Yeah, living in the city makes you numb to human emotion. You just learn to avoid eye contact and glaze over any suffering on the streets.

Off the main street was a quaint gated street with lots of old world charm. The street was cobblestone and the houses were all historic. I guess it houses the NYU grad department of language arts (the French department building was the neatest). The end of the block dropped me off at Washington Square Park. Now this park is in the center of NYU and considered the epicenter of the village. I know it as the park where everything goes. Seriously, you cannot walk thru there without smelling weed, seeing street performers and artist with their easels out, oh and of course the most unusual hobos (yeah, I’m talking like weirdest of the ultra weird there). I spent thirty minutes of the gorgeous day hanging out in the fountain (there are steps in it that you can sun lounge in while dipping your feet in the water).

Once I got my fill of the good life (and plenty of people watching), I made my way down to SoHo to pick up a pair of $5 imitation designer sunglasses. Yeah I have a habit of breaking them by either sitting or stepping on them. Good thing I only pay $5 for my Diors.

That night I met up with Bree, Rob, Chris and his girlfriend to watch a sketch comedy show called “Kidnapped by Craig’s List” that was getting good word on the streets. Basically it was a group of four who acted out two minute sketches based on odd Craig’s list postings (yes they were all real). One of the opening acts was a song titled “I don’t like it when you stick things in my ass-hole”. Yeah, they went there. It was made even more awesome by they way the actors sang (they tried to mimic the a-hole with their mouths…you had to be there). Some other highlights were “hey cute naked guy from across the street, please close the blinds because gay men like me who live across the street have to work in the morning and cannot spend all night watching you, and if you start to stroke it, for goodness sake, finish it so we are not left wondering what you were thinking;” “hey all men of brown color out there, use it to your advantage, freak out white people on the train by acting suspicious and keep opening and checking in your large bag;” “for sale, seven Jesus plates that give me bad luck, please only serious buyers who will display them like they should be;” “if you are a girl and want to go to Atlantic City for the weekend, please call me, I will even pay for your hotel room since you will be sleeping with me to pay for the ride;” “missed connection, you: the girl throwing up repeatedly into a trash can at grand central, me: one of the men in the crowd watching you, I know you saw be between the heaves and I know we had an instant connection, call me;” and my favorite “I know the subway is crowded, but sir you don’t need to be rubbing your hard-on on my butt, I know you are doing it on purpose since the hip thrusting is obvious, I hope a gay man with a hard-on presses it up against your backside at the next stop”.

The playhouse was this hole in the wall theatre (the PIT) in Chelsea. Although the place was tiny and dark, they handed out suckers to all the audience members. Score! At first, the group was hesitant to eat them in case the actors would emerge laughing at us because the candy was laced with mouth dye or LSD. Also the front row held a lady with the most annoying laugh…ever! Seriously, I kept doubling over at the begging of the play, laughing at her laugh. It was like “HA! AH AH AH! HA! EH EH EH!” Yeah, we all thought she was a plant or something and the actors were a little caught off guard by it. Every time she would laugh, everyone would look at her (in an obvious way) and then start dry-heave laughing. I had tears running down my cheeks I was laughing so hard. I also took a picture of the flyer advertising next show coming to the theatre “why is this man naked?” Bree and I decided to put that on the schedule because we have never seen a fat man naked….wait does that make us some weird fetish perverts?

After the play, we headed down to the lower east side. We attended the opening of a bar called Spitzer’s Corner on Ludlow and Rivington. It had these long wooden tables (that Bree and Rob were intoxicated with) and a large Belgium import list. The beer of the night was “delirium” which was 8% and super smooth, plus it promised to make you see pink elephants after consuming it…yeah we got drunk but alas no pink elephants. Now Bree and I have a habit of getting all judgmental and evil when we drink. Case in point, the rhinestone pocket girl. A group of Jersey girls walked in with their one shoulder tank tops and jeans. Well one had accessorized her back jeans pockets with all sorts of jewels. Bree said “it is like she is advertising that she owns a be-dazzler”! Ah ha ha ha.

We headed down the street to Hotel Rivington because Rob new the bartender there. Yeah we totally bypassed the “list” by dropping the name. Hurrah for pretending to be swanky. Rob wanted me to meet Billy the Bartender because he hopes to set us up. Well the guy is cute and kept handing us fresh drinks when ours still had a third left in them. Oh did I mention he comped all of our drinks….yeah, sweet sweet sweet deal. We kept tucking money into his breast pocket…okay me so I could feel what he had under his shirt. Hey anyway to cop a feel.

Well to thank Rob for hooking us up with such a sweet deal, Bree and I decided to find him a woman. He is shy and has problems starting a conversation with women. We tried to talk loud about subject matter near a group of girls and then turn to them and ask them what they thought. Granted we were pretty drunk so we may have come off as more the annoying drunk people next to them. Bree left early to head back to Spanish Harlem, so when Rob went to get refills, I was left to fend for myself. Soon some Aussies came over and tried to make conversation. I was not in the mood and wanted to scare them off (so that Rob and I could get back to women hunting), so I used the “I am into girls” lie. I was tempted to start making faces at them, but I didn’t want to come off as the lunatic. Wrong. Aussies I guess are really into the lezzies. I pretended to go to the bathroom, hid behind a corner, and caught Rob as he was returning.

After plenty of drinking and predator like behavior, we stopped by a local pizza joint (okay where in New York can you not walk two blocks and stumble into half a dozen late night pizza places). My new favorite (or at least when I am finely intoxicated) is tomato, basil, and mozzarella. Mmmmmn! I hoped in a cab and headed uptown. While in the cab, I called Bree to make sure she got home okay (she left about an hour before us) and a man with an Indian accent said hello. I quickly said wrong number and hung up. I thought that was odd, but sure enough, it was her number. I called it again, and timidly asked if Brean was around (okay my heart is racing and I’m thinking she was abducted and is being forced to empty her bank account or something). He said “oh she left phone in cab”. Phew! I offered to pay the fair necessary to have him swing by my apartment and drop off the phone. Before he agreed he asked “how do I know you are her friend and that you will give her the phone” to which I thought “okay buddy, who else but a friend would be calling at 4am to make sure she got home alright”. While waiting in the lobby for the cabbie to stop by, I chatted with the graveyard shift doorman. He informed me that back in the 1970’s, 45th street (my street) was know as drug alley. I guess this was the place to be for drugs and prostitutes. My building (the Camelot) was called the “cum-a-lot”! Thankfully times have changed and we keep hooking corralled on the 14th floor.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Weekend running warrior

Okay, usually my funny stories come about due to alcohol consumption and juvenile (but loving it) attitudes. However, this story is completely sober (and I’m not talking sober as in celebrity fake rehab, but clean as a nun sober). Anyway, I had a quiet Friday and Saturday night in preparation for the half marathon on Sunday. When I say Sunday, I mean before dawn! Seriously this was one of my earliest races ever, 7am! The only other race that started this early was the 2006 Chicago Triathlon and I was in wave 1! Actually being wave 1 was pretty cool since someone in our group would break the tape….nope was not me, I was number 5. Anyway, the organizers were being organizational Nazis and had ridiculous deadlines like bags must be checked by 6am and you must be in your appropriate running corral by 6:15am. Okay for a race that starts at 7am, getting there over an hour early seems a bit much but we had no other choice. Aimee, Patty, and I decided to meet on the west side of the park at 5:30am. This would give us plenty of time to walk across the park (the race started on the east side) and check our gear.

Being anal retentive, I had my whole morning planned out. Seriously, I had my subway route planned even with arrival schedules and everything. I entered the subway station at 5am, and heard the distinct sound of a train arriving. This was a shock to me since the schedule said the train would not arrive until 5:12 (the previous one should have arrived at 4:42…yeah I am a dork for knowing that). Fearing waiting another 20-30 minutes for the next train, I sprinted down the station stairs and up to the train doors. I was about to take my first step into the car when I realized this was the ‘downtown’ train. Out of habit, I went down the wrong set of stairs. Thankfully I realized my mistake before hopping on a train going the opposite direction! I switched to the ‘uptown’ platform and waited for the correct train.

When my uptown train arrived (two minutes late might I add), I planned on taking it up to 96th street. Due to construction, they said there was no uptown local service (my stop is on the local line) so the train would run express to 125th street (aka Martin Luther King Drive in Harlem). Ugh, I cannot win! At 125th street, we could switch to the downtown train for local service. I figured I would still be alright since the express would take very little time getting up to 125th street since it would be making no stops. Wrong! Because of construction, the trains were running uber sloooow. I did not arrive at 125th until 4:40am. I had two choices, hit the street and grab a cab or wait for the downtown service. Those of you living in a city with a Martin Luther King Drive know (as Chris Rock said it best) it is always in the worst neighborhood of the city! There was no way in hell I would find a cab at 5:40am in Harlem! I therefore had to stick it out and wait for the downtown train. Already I am worried about the other two girls not making the race on time because of me. I could not even call them because, hey, the subway is underground = no cell service. I finally made it to the meeting point at 5:50am!

We had no time for explanations, and took off in a dead sprint across the park. Yeah, running like mad with a water bottle and backpack prior to a half marathon is not a smart idea. We made it just in time (well a few minutes late, but they were not the time a-holes that I thought they would be) and I explained my lateness saga while we waited in the corral. I guess it was a bizarre-o morning since Patty (usually the habitual late one) was the first to arrive, and me being the typical early one (thanks to Mrs. Tucker) showed up 20 minutes late. Okay quick tangent story….Mrs. Tucker. She was our androgynous, butch hair, tuxedo wearing band teacher in high school. Note I never was in band (I even suck at the recorder), but I was in the dance team. Basically the dance team would march in front of the band in our short skirts and try to perform choreographed pom-pom shakes to Louie Louie. Yeah we had no point other than to balance out the male-female ratio. Anyway, because we marched with the band and performed during the half-time shows, we had to be there for all the band practices. Mrs. Tucker was militant and had a policy that you had to run a cymbal lap for every minute you were late. Five minutes late = five cymbal laps. Okay a cymbal lap consisted of you running around the soccer field with a pair of cymbals. While running, you would shout “I’ll never be late again sir” (and crash the cymbals on sir)! Now add the fact that you are publicly humiliated in front of the boy’s soccer team since they were practicing while you circled their field. Girl if you were late once, you were NEVER late again. Lesson learned.

The race kicked off on time, but since we were towards the back (they sorted by anticipated pace) we did not arrive at the starting line until 7 minutes later. People actually started jogging towards the starting line. I’m thinking this is the stupidest idea ever. Okay people, you want to add another half mile to your already 13.1 mile run? Idiots! Like any race, the first few miles are super slow due to the crowd. Many people (not us) lie about their pace and therefore clog up the faster runners behind them. Basically if you are not going to run a sub 7-minute mile, why worry about what other people think (you are slow like the rest of us…accept it).

At mile 2, there was a water station. Aimee asked if I wanted to stop, and I pointed at it and said something like “lets get around this crowd and stop at the next one”. I turn my back and keep running (and in the process get jostled by hordes of people swarming towards the water). When I next look to my side, I realize Aimee is gone! Yikes! I start to panic since we planned on running the whole thing together. Now I’ve lost her at mile 2! Damn! I scan the crowd and do not see her. Granted she was wearing a white shirt like most of the runners (including me), but hers had her name across the top and a lightning bolt down the back. I hung back for a minute or two and still didn’t see her. I then sprinted up to mile 3 thinking she must have kept running while I was searching. I even went as far as shouting her name into the masses. Finally at the mile 4 water stop (also our first gel intake point), I turned around and started walking backwards (so I would see the oncoming runners). Thankfully, I eventually heard a “Lindsay…thank God!” and we rejoined each other. Evidently, when I pointed at the water, she thought I wanted to stop. She pulled over to the side and waited for me (as I took off). After a few minutes she realized I did not stop and started sprinting/searching the next two miles. Yeah, great way to start off a long ass run.

Okay no Lindsay story is complete without some unusual occurrences. Aimee and I were haunted by the “Jingle Man”. It was this really old (like world’s longest beard old) Japanese guy who carried a radio (playing Japanese folk music) and was covered in little bells. Yeah running next to him was like some strange sleigh ride experience. Anyway we would occasionally loose him at water stops, but I still saw him around at mile 11. Talk about homicide on the race…Aimee was about to slice him. Another funny experience (well funny for me, not for Aimee) was when Aimee accidentally stepped on a gel packet. Basically these gel packets are like ketchup packets. Well you can imagine what happened when she stepped on it. It exploded all over her leg. She was definitely grossed out at the sticky, clear, gooey gel slowly running down her leg and said “okay we have got to stop so I can clean this cum off my leg”. Ah ha ha ha!

We spent the first 7 miles circling the park. We emerged at mile 8 in Times Square. Okay I know I complain about how annoying Times Square is, but it was kind of cool running in the midst of it. Plus the crowds were lining the sides and cheering us on. I had to keep a handle on Aimee because every time someone would shout out her name (remember on her shirt), she would burst off. I had to keep reeling her in warning her about collapsing towards the end.

In the end, we had enough energy to sprint out the last 400 meters (riddle me this, the race is measured in miles, but they had all sorts of metric signs like 5k, 10k, 800m, etc). Our finishing time was 2 hours, 10 minutes, or a 9:55 minute per mile pace. Not bad for a pair of girls who didn’t start training (or if you could call our half hearted long runs of gossip and jamba juice training) till three weeks ago. In your face team in training! Okay don’t know where that came from.

We met up with some of her friends and headed over to a sweet Tribecca apartment for a post race party. This place was like out of urban myth. The front door was down a cobblestone alley (yeah the one alley in all of Manhattan) and opened directly to an elevator. The hosts served the runners (two girls and three guys) salmon bagels, scrambled eggs and mimosas! Yummy. Actually I asked what she added to the scrambled eggs because they were so good. Turns out they were just plain scrambled eggs cooked properly as opposed to the crispy burnt ones I typically produce. Ah ha ha ha, mental note, marry a guy who can cook or is rich enough to order take out.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

How do you measure a year?

“How do you measure a year?” I figure that lyric is fitting since I am approaching my one year anniversary of moving to NYC. Faithful blog readers know that I have been having quite the adventures here and it looks like they will continue since I just resigned my lease for another year. Another fitting Rent lyric “no day like today” basically explains my lifestyle in the city.

Yes this will be a post dedicated to the Broadway show Rent. I first saw (and fell in love with) the show back in November. I heard a month or two ago that the original Roger and Mark (Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp) would be reprising their roles for a limited time, so I immediately snatched up a ticket. I used my fake AAA membership and my KSU student ID (hey no expiration date, may as well) to score front row balcony discount seats! I seriously rested my chin on the railing and watched the entire performance in utter awe.

Not only are Anthony and Adam incredible performers, but they inspired the rest of the cast. This being their second performance with the regular cast, you can tell they were still being shocked/surprised at what the others pulled out. I caught many sidelong glances between the two followed by a smile or a slight chuckle. The best was during Maureen’s cow over the moon interpretive speech. She pulled out all the stops and was a complete riot. The boys had to cover their mouths to hide their laughter. At one point, she mooned the crowd! Okay the last time I saw the show, the Maureen was not as funny or over the top, so I thoroughly enjoyed the new one’s antics.

The chemistry between Adam and Anthony was incredible. During their duet you can tell that they just fed off each other and were having a blast up there. Seriously, I can only describe their interaction as fun! Adam embodied the anguishing rock star. It took my breath away when he first stepped on to the empty stage clutching his guitar. Plus, even for his age, his voice was powerful and true. Anthony brought the quirkily loyally of the eccentric Mark. His funky dancing and incredibility passionate acting fit the character. Plus how can you not love a guy who played the teenage pervert in "Adventures in Babysitting"....rent it, love it!

I have never enjoyed a song like La Vie Boheme as much before. With the Angel strutting and Mark swinging on the tables, the cast in sync with coordinated seated choreography, yeah you can tell I was impressed. The “did I just see that moment” came when Roger jumped up on a table and took a bottle of beer, shook it up, and let it erupt out of his groin like some massive ejaculation. Yeah, shocked but hey it worked.

The second act opener, Seasons of Love, brought tears to my eyes (again) and chills down my arms. I remember mouthing along to their beautiful performance of, “one song, glory”, “I should tell you”, “I’ll cover you” while being on the verge of emotional spillage. Okay call me a sap, but you would cry too if you only had one year to live. Relax, I am not dying, just thinking of the circumstances around the play.

During the final notes, the audience could not contain their appreciation and gave the performers an immediate standing ovation. I sneaked out the side door and luckily snagged a spot near the front of the barricade. Okay they set up this barricade in front of the theatre so that the stars could sign autographs without being crushed by the mob. At the end of the barricade was a get-away car.

Well I was surrounded by teenage girls. Seriously, these girls were all 14 or 15 years old and they just went ape shit at the drop of a hat. One was proclaiming seeing Anthony Rapp was the highlight of her life and I thought “well, yeah makes sense seeing that you have not even experienced puberty yet”. Some girls from Jersey had made t-shirts with “I heart Adam Pascal” or “I heart Anthony Rapp” on them. Some girls screamed out “I love you, marry me Anthony” and some nearby guy said “you know he likes dudes right”. Ah ha ha ha.

Okay being covered by screaming teenage girls may be the fantasy of some dungeons and dragons boy or seriously disturbed creepy uncle, but I was having no picnic. Especially when Adam and Anthony came out, the girls erupted into a vocal level only heard by dogs. The girls rushed the barricade and essentially pinned my arms to my side. When the boys were within reach, I pried one arm out and outstretched my playbill to them. I swear they gave me a sympathetic look since A) I was obviously a lot older than the rest of the crowd, and B) had the most, “my God this is insane” look on my face.

I was surprised that they fulfilled some requests from the crowd. One girl asked for a high five? Okay, laaaaame. Others asked for hugs to which Adam lunged into the crowd (two away from me) and was grabbed at like the last package of ketchup in a hot dog feed. Yeah, I touched him…gently. Another girl three down from me asked for a kiss, and Adam gave her one smack on the cheek! Yeah I totally aimed way too low asking just for a simple autograph. Mental note, next time ask for tongue.

Anyway, only the first few rows of people were able to get stuff signed (t-shirts, posters, playbills, books, candles, etc). Therefore the rest of the crowd started launching stuff into the void. I saw playbills with pens flying by the guys (in fact Anthony was beamed by one UFP….unidentified flying playbill). I also saw a dozen roses chucked into the mass. Now call me crazy, but if you throw you item at them, how are you supposed to get it back? I’m sure people probably pocketed the stuff before it reached its owner ten rows back.

I had gotten Adam and Anthony’s signatures when the crowd went nuts again. I look to the stage door and the original Tom Collins (Jesse Martin) walked out. I guess he came by to watch his friends. Luckily the youngsters did not realize who he was and I was able to have a chat with him as he signed my playbill. We joked about how insane the girls were and the antics people were pulling then and there. He said “man, I don’t know how they are going to get the car out of here” since the car was completely surrounded by dozens of girls. I replied “well they are young, I’m sure they would bounce”. Ah ha ha, made him laugh. The next star to emerge was Mimi. I guess it was some American Idol girl and American Idol is like catnip to Midwestern teens. She was alright, but the Mimi I had previously seen was more convincing, athletic, and sympathetic. I discreetly slipped my playbill back into my purse so that she would not sign it. Yes I am that bad, but I don’t think she saw me retract.

After the stars had done a generous amount of signing, they all jumped into their get-away car. The problem is that the car is surrounded by a crowd no less than four deep. The crowd went crazy and started banging on the windows and hood. I thought “get a hold of yourself; these are people not piles of gold bullion!” Eventually the security staff and police pulled people out of the way, and they sped off.

While leaving I chatted with some of the crowd. One middle aged woman said to me “whew, that was sooo much more exciting than Hairspray”. I asked her who was in hairspray that would warrant a mob. She said “Well Ashley is currently in it and soon Lance Bass will be staring”. FYI I later found out Ashley is some boy band MTV person. I looked at her shocked and said “you waited for a boybander?”. She got all huffy with me and said she always tries to get autographs from all the really great performers…you know Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, Adam, Anthony, etc. I walked off because how could I listen to someone who would compare talented performers with ex members of N-Sync, whatever. Okay call me a snob but seriously, how is she older than me? She shouted out at me “one time I went backstage with Alabama, and I have Brooks and Dunn tickets in October”. Rock on strange old lady, rock on.