02 December 2008

How Tim Gunn Saved My Life

Well, maybe he hasn't exactly saved my life - YET. But with his classic "Don't bore Nina!" nugget of wisdom a-joggin' through my head (it's too full right now for anything to run through), he'll at least be saving me from writing (and hopefully by extension, my professors from reading) some godawfully boring philosophy papers. Thanks, Tim! I think.

28 October 2008

Vindication for the Haters

Pretty much everyone I've shared my packing woes with has said to me "You're getting rid of stuff, right?" Another version of that would be "Your wardrobe could use a culling." I like my stuff, dammit. Every last worthless bit of it. But especially my pretty dresses.

Nevertheless, I did some wardrobe culling about a month ago in anticipation of the big day, the day of moving. Some stuff I hadn't worn in a while, some stuff I'd never worn, some stuff was too well worn. I thought I was done with the wardrobe culling. But as Doomsday approaches and I start to pull bags and boxes out from under/behind/within/on top of things, I find items that make me say "What the fuck was I thinking?" Not in the sense that these items could never have had any fashion value for me (or others), but in the sense of, why the fuck have I toted this thing around from Tampa to Philly back to Tampa then to Brighton Beach to the LES? WHY?

Maybe it's because of the late hour. Maybe it's because I'm starving. Maybe it's because all these boxes seem to be closing in on me. Or maybe the heady cocktail of these ingredients has lead me to a mystical epiphany that these items MUST GO. So go they will. There will be no regrets.

Civil Disobedience?

I usually avoid newspapers and gossip rags like the Post and the Daily News, as I prefer to avoid the sensationalistic "news" contained therein, but I had a copy of the Post in my apartment purely for box stuffing purposes, and the headline "Gotham-to-Ohio Vote Scam Eyed" caught my attention. It seems that several New York City livin' Democrats rented a house in Ohio and registered to vote there. Some would call this illegal. I call it brilliant! We all know New York is gonna go Obama, and fools in Ohio don't know what they're doing, as they've given evidence for in the past, so why not go help them out a bit, y'know, give them a push in the right direction? And with the potential disenfranchisement of recently registered Ohio voters, they may really NEED those extra voters.

23 October 2008

See You Next Tuesday

"C" is a great letter. It's situated at the beginning of many important and fun words: Cassandra, Complex, Carina; and here's a classic:

Look at the way Cindy cocks her head. There's another "c" word!

19 October 2008


I made up a new word just now; I was inspired by what I was eating. It's not brand spanking new; technically it's already in the lexicon (according to a google search), but it's new to ME. It's like when scientists independently but concurrently discover amazing new things - that's like me and this word: DISGUSTINGLICIOUS. I thought of it as I ate my American cheese (of the orange, pasteurized process variety), mustard, and ketchup sandwich. It was sooooo goooood. Yet, the concept repulsed me even as my taste buds were savoring.

Recently I had a memory of a "sandwich" I used to eat for dinner regularly (when I wasn't trading heaping ice cream cones for pizza) when I worked at an ice cream shop on the beach in 11th grade. We also sold hot dogs and little bags of chips (and Beanie Babies??). Being a vegetarian, I had to improvise (and I know in this I am not original; I'm sure nearly any vegetarian can vouch for this "desperation sandwich"). Hot dog bun + doritos + ketchup + mustard = disgustinglicious. I've found myself reliving this sandwich of my youth even now; sometimes at a BBQ, though in New York, in this day and age, there are always veggie burgers to be had, I will opt to have a disgustinglicious chip sandwich. If I'm feeling adventurous, I might throw a pickle on there (though the pickle/american cheese/mustard sandwich on wonder bread is another matter entirely).

When I walked by the refrigerated goods section of my local supermarket, I could not resist the soft cry of the 12oz. package of Kraft cheese singles (on sale for only $2.99!). I now feel shame. A disgustinglicious shame.

16 October 2008

I'm a Single Lady

My friend Amy, who lives in an apartment three blocks from where my shiny new apartment is situated, suggested that after I move there, me and her and her sis should start doing a workout routine together. She suggested dance routines. She suggested THIS dance routine. I suggested we do this in McCarren Park, in bodysuits. Consider yourselves warned!

14 October 2008

Litter Lament

Wouldn't it be nice if shopkeepers, rather than sweeping refuse from the sidewalk in front of their establishments onto the street, instead swept it into a trash container? I mean, if they're going to the trouble to take out a broom and actively sweep? Couldn't they sweep it into the trash?

This can be filed in a category alongside "why do shopkeepers waste water by hosing down the sidewalk?" and "why do residents of Little Diomede throw their trash bags directly into the ocean?"; that category being a very wide umbrella encompassing items of the "why do people hate the environment/earth?" variety.

I'm no saint; I sometimes take long, hot showers. I don't bring a reusable mug to the cafe every day. Occasionally I forget to bring my own shopping bag to the grocery store. But come on now, sweeping trash into the street?? Hosing the sidewalk down every day (maybe twice a day, or more if you're Congee Village and have a very greasy, filthy sidewalk)?? For shame!

10 October 2008

Pretty Please With Sugar on Top?

My half birthday was nearly a month ago and everyone forgot!! In order to make it up to me, I recommend you all chip in the get me this item from Topco Sales:

New Item
0231-7 - Now Available For Order
This Is not Sarah Palin Inflatable Love Doll

• Sarah Palin makes sexism sexy
• Cross party lines with your own inflatable running mate
• Three ways to do this doll: mouth, pussy or ass
• Give her a mouthful
• Blow her up and show her how you’re going to vote
• Let her pound your gavel over and over
• Bypass the Bush and have some MILF
• It’s time some male interns caused a scandal in the Capitol
• She’s the hottest thing to come out of Alaska in years

09 October 2008

Loud Sex Guy: Bringing Loud Sex to a Whole New Level (decibel level, that is)

A few weeks ago, I walked by LSG's apartment and heard him being Loud Break-up Guy. A girl crying, asking "But why?", LSG, presumably, telling her why (perhaps she wasn't loud enough or worse - competed with his loudness). I wondered if the crying lady was LSG's LSPIC (loud sex partner in crime). Not long after that I saw him cozied up with some gal pal at 88, but as I'd never seen him with a chick before I had no idea if she was new.

I just came home from seeing a play with Merlo. As soon as I entered the building I heard panting and wailing. The other day I'd heard a dog barking from inside one of the apartments (we aren't allowed pets here), so I thought it might be the dog. I was hearing this, mind you, on the ground level. When I got up to the second floor, where the actual apartments begin, I realized the sounds were emanating from LSG's apartment. Now, obviously he's loud if I'm calling him LSG, but this was OFF THE CHAIN. There was definitely spanking, wailing, panting, groaning, oh godding, the "lady" may have been gagged or otherwise had her mouth covered as some of her cries seemed muffled. I paused on the landing for a moment to take it in, wondering if it was the old loud sex lady or a new one, wondering what the poor neighbors were doing, wondering if it was all a show. The noises followed me all the way up, I kid you not, to my fifth floor apartment, echoing through the hallways. I will miss you, LSG, when I move to a building occupied only by an elderly Italian couple who, I believe, sleep on separate floors.

07 October 2008

Notes on a Town Hall Meeting

Coupla things. First: I can't be the only one who noticed that Michelle Obama wore red (a tastefully bedazzled number) and Cindy McCain wore blue (an electric blue suit to match the intensity, though not necessarily the hideosity, of the red pant suit atrocity she wore to the first debate). Of course, Barack wore a blue tie and John wore a red one. Did the ladies' stylists coordinate on this one? They obviously didn't last time, when Michelle wore a gorgeous floral print dress and Cindy, as I mentioned, the hot red mess.

Phew, now that that pesky detail is out of the way. Did anyone else notice how most of the questions seemed to go to McCain first? I wonder if that had anything to do with the fact that in the last debate, when following Obama's response to a question, all McCain would do would be to attack Obama's response without giving much of his own response. But then tonight, when he was given first crack at question after question (after question), he was stumbling over his lack of words; shock! He really infuses the tired old phrase "blowing hot air" with new life. Not once but TWICE he filled up space saying that he would solve the social security problem by doing what Ronald Reagan (his hero! Not to mention the mastermind of "trickle down economics" also lovingly referred to as "Reaganomics"; this is what I remember from my 11th grade US government class) and Tip O'Neil did in the 80s: sit at a table and talk. I've sat at a table and talked for much of my life, beginning in kindergarten (well if you want to count the dining table then - as soon as I could sit and speak), and I've yet to solve any major political issues. Perhaps my lack of monochromatic, ill fitting pantsuits is to blame.

The thing that makes me feel real pity for McCain, though, that makes me think, aw you poor, sad sap, as I watch him feebly attempt to engage in a lively political discussion, which is what these debates should be (I guess this is where some pity, ok it's sympathy, for Obama comes in - because he's obligated to engage in a debate with someone who is incapable of intelligent political discourse), is that he is just chock FULL of rhetoric, yet he has no clue as to the art of rhetoric. Not only is he a bombastic megalomaniac, spouting off (or rather, spitting out?) misinformation by the ton while patting himself on the back for some great "accomplishment" or another that he's cobbled together from little initiatives, programs, laws here and there that he may have, by some twist of fate (probably they directly benefited him) supported, but he is a TERRIBLE orator with NO TALENT for sharing his delusions of grandeur! What's sadder than a psychopath who can't even articulate his own delusions? Probably nothing, but maybe puppies in the window at the pet store who just want to be taken home and cuddled forever. Awwwww.

30 September 2008

Abandonment Issues

Another sad LES good-bye on the horizon: Johnson, a ladies' clothing boutique:
I don't love it the way I loved the Gemstore (nothing could really compare to the Gemstore), but I often stopped in to ogle the lovely clothes, and I don't stop in to just any boutique to ogle just anyone's designs. This note made me sad.

Tomorrow I'm signing a lease on an apartment in Williamsburg; increasing rent has driven me, too, from my Orchard Street home (ok, that, and the ever diminishing size of my studio apartment as it continues to be filled with things). When I see that good little shops, restaurants, bars are closing down (RIP Ronald's pizza cafe, former Orchard St. resident serving some tasty Italian, and soon to be RIP Good World, to make way for a hotel on Orchard south of Canal), I find myself wondering if I'm getting out of the sinking ship just in time, or if my abandoning the nabe (well, me and others like me) is contributing to the blandification of it. Then again, maybe it will go on with out me, just as interesting and full of vitality as before. As long as Sugar Sweet Sunshine survives, the neighborhood is safe.

29 September 2008

Waxing Philosophic

This isn't really the place for philosophy, and this isn't really on philosophy, but rather on the translators of philosophy, more specifically those who translate works by or about Baruch Spinoza. Shirley's translated the Ethics and other works brilliantly from the Latin, but Curley supposedly has a superior translation as far as the actual philosophy goes. Stirling's translation isn't much on the radar. Hurley translated Deleuze's Practical Philosophy - a Spinoza dictionary of sorts - from the French (Hurley relied on Curley's translation, but mentions Shirley's as an inexpensive alternative). Moe's translation is slated to come out next spring.

23 September 2008

Do Not Abuse the Magic 8 Ball

Oh seductive magic 8 ball, how cruelly you wield your power! One could lose hours, days, WEEKS of ones life in the grip of this omniscient mistress - the roller coaster ride of instantaneous fortune telling.

I was told once, warned, really, that one should only use the 8 ball in very particular circumstances: those being times when one is divided equally in half about a decision. This decision should not be of great import, but rather of the "should I wear this super slutty outfit?" variety.

One should not interrogate the 8 ball. "Is he gay?" (My sources say no - YES!) "Does he have a girlfriend?" (Very doubtful - Ok looking good) "Does he have a boyfriend?" (Signs point to yes - What?!?) "Does he have a crush on me?" (Don't count on it - Drat!) "Will he ask me out on a date?" (My reply is no - Shit two negatories in a row!). Things start to go downhill, fast. Before you know it, you're curled up in a fetal position on the floor wondering where your relationship with the he in question went awry - when all you really wanted to know was which way he swings.

18 September 2008

A typical morning on the LES

This morning, in the intersection of Broome and Orchard, a yellow (school) bus driver and a (delivery?) van driver nearly got into a brawl. I say "in" the intersection rather than "at" because they were, in fact, in the intersection. Which is why they almost served each other knuckle breakfast sandwiches.

Some of those streets on the LES are so confusing. Most of them have 4-way stop signs, but some tricky intersections only have a stop on one street, and the traffic on the other side just plows on through. Kind of dangerous for those tipsy UES ladies teetering around on their stilettos, not stopping before crossing because they assume a stop sign. As they should! There should be stop signs on all of those corners. But this is not the time to get into the nitty gritty of the many mis-steps of the NYCDOT with regard to the LES, no, not now.

I was in the midst of my coffee order when I heard yelling outside; I turned around and at first I thought the van was actually lodged in the bus, but nay, the front of the van was fully 16-24 inches from the side of the bus. Well, it was far enough away that the bus driver was able to open the doors and come out in a rage. Obscenities were tossed around like so many sailors on a stormy sea - there was pointing, there was yelling, there was raw male aggression. There was no brawl. I think Mr. Van backed down once he realized that, on top of him not coming to an appropriate stop at his stop sign, there was also NO stop sign for the bus driver. I bet he gobbled up those curse words and accusations in no time flat.

20 August 2008

Boys and Their Sticks

What is it about sticks, especially of the five to six foot long variety, that makes dudes pick them up and treat them as play things? It's like, "Look at this long stick I found. It's a bo!" They must have picked that one up from TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for those too old or young or outdoorsy as in not staying inside to watch cartoons, to be in the know). The bo was Donatello's weapon of choice.

"Hey guys, watch me flip this thing around like a very long baton, except way more manly, oops I dropped it!!"
"Let me try so I can out man you!"

Well, that's how it seemed to be going down this morning on my slightly less smelly (now that Bobo has closed down) commute along Broome. Those delivery guys hardly ever seem to be working when I'm walking by.

On an unrelated note, last night I burned the top of my mouth on melted cheese from my matzoh pizza (I was desperately starving), and now I'm experiencing a very distracting pain.

12 August 2008

You'll Be a Woman Soon

There's an article in last week's New Yorker about the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida. Apparently Plant City, a close neighbor of Tampa, is a pretty major national supplier of strawberries in the winter. I'm always surprised when people know of Tampa when I tell them where I'm from; know of it, have been there, and/or have family there. The mind boggles. I guess it's a bit narrow minded of me to think that the paces I've found somehow or other displeasing to my person, might actually be pleasing to other persons. I'm just as shocked when I'm told about exciting adventures in Brighton Beach, where I served time for about a year when I first moved to New York (and it did have a prison like atmosphere), and heck, a few years ago I read an article in one of those in flight magazines about how Springfield, MA (my true motherland) was all up and coming. Last time I went for a visit it seemed just as dingy and soulless as before, but apparently Departures thinks otherwise, as does everyone who's been to or driven past the Basketball Hall of Fame in that glorious city.

I never made it to the Strawberry Festival while I lived in Florida. We tried once: me, my younger sister, and my mother. It's a massive festival with bands and all that nonsense, and draws quite a crowd. I think that's why we ended up turning around at the gate. No parking, was it? Maybe we got there late and it was ending soon? The point is, we ended up going to the movies instead; I suppose because my mother wanted to spend time with us somehow. I'm not sure how or why we came to pick Pulp Fiction, or by whom it was selected. Was it 14 year old me, my 13 year old sis, or my pious (when she wants to be) Catholic mother? Something inside of me is whispering that I was the likely culprit. The soundtrack was all the rage back then, that and the soundtrack to The Crow, man that was a good one, NIN, Joy Division, Stone Temple Pilots. 9th grade was a good time for soundtracks, it seems. I couldn't have realized what, exactly, we were in for when I undoubtedly took the reins in convincing mom that the R rated Pulp Fiction was a good quality family film. The violence wasn't so bad, I guess, but the part where they compare a foot massage to eating a pussy? Now there's a squirmworthy moment.

10 August 2008

On the Subject of Pain

Today, for the first time in maybe like, ever, I willingly engaged in team sports. I don't think the basketball team fiasco in first grade really counts; all the other girls were in second grade, and I'm pretty darn sure it wasn't my idea at all. Just because I was tall for my age didn't mean I would be good at basketball! I'm a flying solo kind of gal; I much preferred dance and violin lessons to running around on a field/court, passing and hustling and scoring. But today, despite my lack of skillz on the field/total lack of experience in regards to the game of soccer, and on top of having a slight hangover, I quite enjoyed myself.

Nevertheless, all I could think about as I walked up the stairs to my fifth floor apartment was: how will I ever find the strength to climb these stairs tomorrow, the dreaded day after?? My leg muscles are already sending frantic signals to my brain, signals that are saying things like "what's all this activity down here" and "mayday, mayday!" and "going offline in t-minus..." I need to get me one'a those big walking sticks to prop myself up as I make the ascent. Something like what Moses had when he climbed that mountain to talk to the God bush about blind obedience to a higher power. Yeah, that was a good stick.

28 July 2008

Another one about dog poop

Ok, I know I complain a lot about the variety of filth and stench in the city, but I swear I really do love it here (mostly).

There are a lot of people with dogs here. Dogs that need to be cleaned up after, if you know what I mean. There's Poop Row in Chelsea, and I think it can get pretty nasty on some side streets in Williamsburg, but I usually don't find myself having to dodge major piles on the average downtown street. Piles, no; smears, yes. Even those dog owners that abide by the laws of New York (and the laws of common courtesy) and pick up the poop, even they are committing a crime against the sidewalks and sidewalkers. The smears, people, the SMEARS! There is good reason for those signs that say "curb your dog", and that reason, I believe, is the smears. And maybe the puddles too, a bit. If you can train your dog to not pee on your apartment floor, can't you also train them to not pee on a public sidewalk, where the public walks? It doesn't seem so much of a stretch. No one wants to step on a poo smear or wade through a pee puddle, not even the owners, I'd wager. I'd like to see some ticketing and fining going on. Drugs aren't the problem in this city, dog poop and horn honking are!

22 July 2008

BoBo Poultry is closing, Carina's NOT sad

BoBo Poultry, known affectionately by me as the Scourge of Broome St., is closing down. Or rather, moving to Brooklyn (beware, Linden Hill!). Final day of business at 287 Broome is 25 July, and I couldn't be happier! See, I believe BoBo, where they slaughter and sell chickens (they like to refer to the chickens as "freshly killed" on the website), is the main source of the stench on Broome St. Blood running into the street, rotting flesh, etc. Mmmm, I can smell it now, in my mind's nose! 

I can't imagine what might go in that space after BoBo vacates. A club, a la Meatpacking District? There's no way they could ever scrub the filth from that place. Anywho, if you live near 1131 Grand St, I suggest giving that address a wide berth if you find yourself traveling the heel-toe express in that 'hood.  

17 July 2008

Queen Bitch

"You're beautiful, bitch"

He sort of whispered it as I walked by. He had been meandering along in front of me on Spring Street. I had noticed him, in fact, just as I imagine he must have noticed me when he turned around. I thought "there's a nice looking boy, but he's got those horrible low crotch jeans on" (they're tight, but worn low, so the boys waddle around like penguins; you should see them try to walk up stairs!). He kept his eye on me as I was approaching and as I passed, this nice looking boy cooed very close to my ear, "You're beautiful, bitch". I was confused, since he didn't give off the skeezy vibe that those scummy cat-callers usually give. It was the "bitch" part that threw me; if he'd stopped at "You're beautiful", I might have actually smiled at him. But he dropped the B-bomb, in this very sneaky, slipping in through the backdoor kind of way. I think I prefer the front door guys who let me know I have a sexy tattoo as I rush past so that they don't see my tattoo. 

03 July 2008

The Hidden Dangers of a Tote

Totes are simple things: lightweight, pocketless, lacking in most/all of the bells and whistles associated with other baggages. Yet the tote is a dangerous bag. Well, dangerous to a girl like me who's been following an unwritten, unspoken rule of strict skirt and dress wearing for several months running, and has been a tote devotee for at least twice as long.

See, it's the tote fabric (canvas, linen, cotton, etc.) coupled with the tote length (slung over the shoulder, it hangs at the hip to thigh area), multiplied by the physics of friction that's dangerous. The chafing of the tote fabric against the clothing fabric (equally chafey materials) can only add up to trouble, in the manner of a skirt bunching it's way up your side. And voila! Your ass is on display.

I'm usually quite aware of this problem. I had a similar problem with my winter coat last year; I would unbutton it only to find my skirt up around my waist. Thank god for tights! The point is, it was a hard lesson in bunching. I try to carry my tote so as to avoid the bunching, or pull at my skirt every seven to ten seconds to keep my behind covered. On a recent hot day, though, when wearing a particularly naughty skirt (one that just seems so much higher in the back than in the front), I totally dropped the anti-bunching ball. I was walking home from work when a woman materialized out of nowhere, it seemed, and tried to get my attention several times before I realized that I was the "Miss" she was speaking to. You'd think I might have felt a breeze, but it must have been one of those stagnant air days. I've been much more attentive to my skirts' needs, since then, but I know that one day, I'll reach down and feel naked leg where clothing was just a moment ago. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.

29 June 2008


Sometimes I think maybe we really are living in a Matrix-like fantasy/reality. The weird coincidences that pop up and seem to defy the laws of probability (though maybe they conform absolutely to the chaos theory) sometimes truly astound me. Last weekend I met a friend of a friend, named Amir. The name reminded me of a boy I knew, very casually, in ninth grade. He was one of a set of twins, last name Amir, first names with-held. We had no classes together, but somehow he became interested in me. A few times I'd seen him speaking with a girl in my Latin class, whose identity I only knew in Latin, Vesta.

Vesta (Hestia in the Greek version of the myth) was Goddess of the home and hearth, and in Rome Vestal Virgins tended to a fire that was never allowed to go out. She was an odd girl, Vesta, and I think a sophomore or even junior. So Amir twin #1 (also older than me) started talking to me in the hall. My friends called him my "Latin Lover", though I wondered then, as I do now, if it was because they thought he was Latin (Amir doesn't sound so Latin American to me, but looks-wise he could have passed), or because it was outside of Latin class that he attempted to woo me.

Vesta, I suppose, must have seen the wooing. She and I chatted, occasionally, and I remember distinctly one day standing outside of our classroom before class began. She had a purple button up shirt on, and a paisley patterned vest over it. She was very mid 90s Winona Ryder chic, down to the short black hair and pouty lips (this was 1994, mind you). We were chatting about the twin, I think she asked me about him (or maybe I asked her?), and she told me that she'd lost her virginity to him. I wasn't really interested in boys at the time, and especially not interested in this particular boy, but I was struck by her confession which I didn't take to be insincere or manipulative; just a statement of fact. Also, I was so far from any kind of physical interaction with a boy that I was in complete awe of her being sexually active. I don't really remember how things shook down with me and the Amir boy; maybe I gave him my number but never took the call, maybe I just started to avoid him in the hall. But Vesta disappeared mid-semester. I wondered about her, whether she moved or maybe dropped out. Like I said, she was an odd girl.

But I came here to tell you about coincidences, not my awkward high school non-love affairs. Yesterday I finished Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins (brilliant, by the by). It's chock full of references to various mythologies, cultures, arts sciences, etc. Mind blowing. But I digress. There was mention, in the course of a chapter I was reading a couple of days ago, of Hestia. Of course I was struck by this coincidence, but moved on.

Today, though, came the real sock in the gut, knock the wind out of you, head over heels, ok now who the hell's pulling the strings here kind of coincidence. (Forgive me in advance for discussing a social networking site, but I must; it's a fact of life: mine, yours, and everyone we know.) Today I signed into Facebook to play a scrabble move. Facebook, for any who are unfamiliar, has a "newsfeed" that updates you with your friends' updates: relationship status, events they will attend or did attend, new friends they've added, etc.. Friends added, such as: Amir brother #2. Yes indeed, one of my old pals from high school connected with him via Facebook (it seems they may have gone to the same college), and I was there to witness the whole thing! Has your heart ever gotten stuck in your throat? Your stomach dropped to your feet? Ever felt a little bit of vertigo out of the blue? I dunno, maybe I was just hungry.

18 June 2008

Drnk txtrs

Why is this so crazy funny??

13 June 2008

Modern Love

Ok so in the NY Times Style section there's this weekly essay called "Modern Love" that's written by someone different every week, someone who's had some particular experience with modern love. I don't read it often, but this essay basically blew my mind so I'm going to put it everywhere so that everyone reads it. Here's the link to the story if you wanna go to that place: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/fashion/08love.html?_r=2&sq=modern%20love&st=cse&oref=slogin&scp=1&pagewanted=print

June 8, 2008
Modern Love
Let’s Not Get to Know Each Other Better

A FEW months ago I liked a girl — a fairly common occurrence. But being slightly ambitious and drunk, I decided to ask her out on a date.

This was a weird choice, as I’m not sure I know anyone who has ever had a real date. Most elect to hang out, hook up, or Skype long-distance relations. The idea of a date (asking in advance, spending rent money on dinner and dealing with the initial awkwardness) is far too concrete and unnecessary. As the adage goes: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Why pay for dinner if you can sit around watching TV? If you stay at home, you hardly even need to stand up, let alone put on a nice shirt.

Despite misgivings, this particular foray felt legitimate, a coming-of-age moment straight out of a John Hughes movie. I had always wanted to go on a real date: flowers, dinner and all that. I thought that maybe in doing so I would feel more like an adult and less like a dumb little boy.

So I called this girl, feeling a little sleazy as I searched for the right words: “Hey, um, this is Joel. Do you want to, like, go out? On a date?”

“O.K.,” she said uncertainly, no doubt suspicious the whole thing was a joke.

Her positive response did nothing to calm my jitters. Give me a party, a front porch gathering, or a random encounter, and I’m comfortable talking to anyone. But this kind of formal planning unnerved me. Riding my bike home, I realized I didn’t even know what a real date was, beyond some vague Hollywood notion.

In my 21 years, I have had my share of trysts and one-night stands. I’ve been in love. I know it was love because I shamelessly clung to her. I have had my share of ups and downs but have no idea if I’m doing the whole love thing right or wrong. We don’t tend to define it that way.

In this age of cyberselves, with hookups just a Craigslist ad away, the game has evolved to the point of no rules. It’s not the ’50s where I can ask some lucky girl to wear my pin and take a ride in daddy’s car. This change probably benefits me in the end, as I’m sure an offer of a ride in my dad’s Sable would be swiftly rejected.

For my generation, friendship often morphs into a sexual encounter and then reverts to friendship the next day. And it’s easy as long as you don’t put yourself on the line or try too hard. Don’t have a prospect? Check Facebook. Afraid to call? Text.

With so many avenues for communication, one might expect an onslaught of romantic soliloquies, but that isn’t the case. Casual is sexy. Caring is creepy. You don’t want to show your hand, and you certainly don’t want to fall in love. At least until you do, and by then it’s too late.

Planned romance is viewed as nothing more than ambition, so it’s important that things be allowed to happen naturally. Sex is great, and so are some relationships, but not to the point that they should be actively pursued.

It’s hard to even flirt with a girl without feeling obvious and embarrassed, since the greatest displays of cheesiness come from the pursuit, making it disgusting: “Oh, you drive a Volvo? What’s that like?” Realizing I’m flirting, I cringe and do my best to restrain myself. An encounter is best when unsullied by intentions, leaving lust or boredom to take over.

The typical sequence goes like this: Friends meet up at some sort of bonfire or impromptu game of night volleyball. Maybe that girl from your history class is there, and you start to talk. Neither of you has expectations. But just hanging out and swapping stories, laughing a little, creates a spark and the attraction builds, eventually leading to the big wet kiss that changes everything and nothing.

This is the perfect hookup, a pressure-free surprise. With a stranger, everything is new and acceptable. Her quirks are automatically endearing. This first encounter is the perfect place, but where does it lead?

In the best case, nowhere at all. The next time you see her in class, you act the same as you did before, and so does she, except for the knowledge you share that what happened last week might happen again.

If it continues, you have an understanding, physical chemistry and great conversations. You meet two or three times a week for no-strings sex and long-winded philosophical talks.

Most importantly, you aren’t lonely. Maybe deep in the recesses of your mind you think about possibly loving this person. What’s the standard response? Nothing. If she asks, “How do you feel about me?” you answer from the heart: “I see you as an unexpected treat from the heavens. I don’t know how I deserve this.”

Your relationship is good. Your relationship is strong. But it isn’t a relationship, and that’s the key. You aren’t hoping she will become your girlfriend, and ideally she is not looking for anything more, either.

A friend of mine, a normal girl who is neither especially social nor aloof, engages in hookups unabashedly — she’s just doing what she wants and doesn’t regret or overthink it. Except for one time when she woke up in some guy’s embrace, got out of bed and noticed his bookshelf.

I’m not sure what it was about the contents that impressed or moved her; maybe the books suggested a gentle soul. All I know is what she told me: “I only felt bad after seeing his books.” The books had made him a real person, I guess, one she liked. Or pitied. Because then it was on to the next.

I might not be a typical youth, and maybe my friends aren’t typical, either, but hardly anyone I know aspires to be “that guy” or “that girl,” those once-dynamic individuals who “found someone” and suddenly weren’t so cool. On some level, we envy the scope of their feelings, but we certainly don’t want to become them.

But staying out of relationships can be just as much work as maintaining one. After hooking up with the same person several times I’m sometimes haunted by the “Relationship Status” question on Facebook, and I’ll linger over the button, wondering whether to make the leap from fun to obligation. I envision holding hands, meeting her parents and getting matching ankle tattoos.

Then I come to my senses and close the window.

Sometimes, though, it’s not up to me. I work at one of the campus libraries, and for some obscure reason my bosses, who are mostly middle-aged and female, decided to hold a Library Prom. I had to take someone, so I asked a girl, one of the truly rare fish worth catching (or being caught by).

That didn’t stop me from introducing her as “my friend.”

Which didn’t stop one of my bosses from asking, “Are you two dating?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Um, we are?”

“Well, this is a date, isn’t it?”

She had me trapped. I nodded blankly. With one word, she had changed everything. Now I’m asked about her at work, even though she is currently hooking up with a friend of mine.

I wish I could explain this to the librarians. They’re sympathetic to my other complaints: about studying, about having my license suspended, about taking care of my pet chicken, and so on. “I was there once,” they tell me. “You’ll be fine.”

But when it comes to love, all they can say is, “How’s that girlfriend of yours?”

Maybe this disconnect has always existed. As one of my classmates, a genteel 60-year-old, said to me, “Every generation thinks they discovered sex.” Which might be true, but I’m not sure any previous generation has our plethora of options and utter lack of protocol. This may reflect how our media obsession has desensitized and hypersexualized us.

But I think it goes beyond that. Our short attention spans tend to be measured in nanoseconds. We float from room to room watching TV, surfing the Internet, playing Frisbee and finding satisfaction around every corner, if only for a moment.

Out of fear, we shrink ourselves. There have been many times I should have cried but stifled the tears. Instances where I should have said, “I love you” but made a joke instead. Once, a girl dumped me and it nearly ruined me. How bad was it? I ate nothing but Wendy’s for an entire week.

I’m fairly certain I could have saved the entire endeavor with a soul-baring soliloquy of what was true and what mattered to me, but I couldn’t muster the courage. I don’t know many who can.

We’ve grown up in an age of rampant divorce and the accompanying tumult. The idea that two people can be happy together, maturing alongside each other, seems as false as a fairy tale. So when a relationship ends, it isn’t seen as bad. It’s held as evidence that the relationship was never any good to begin with.

MAYBE it’s just that we have learned nothing can compare to the perfect moment of the unexpected hookup — wet lips on the beach, lying in the sand — and so we aim to accumulate as many as possible. Or maybe we’re simply too immature to commit. That has been the rap against guys forever, but now women think the same way. With the world (and the world of sex) at our fingertips, it’s difficult to choose, to settle, to compromise.

But I do occasionally wonder: If we can’t get past ourselves and learn to sacrifice to be with another, then what is in store? A generation of selfish go-getters fueled by nothing more than our own egos, forever seeking that rare dose of self-esteem? An era of loneliness filled with commercial wants and mate selection based on the shallowest of criteria?

As a staunch proponent of my generation, I believe that, despite what it may seem, we appreciate the ways of love and affection but are simply waiting for them to take over. We might dally in the land of easy sex and stilted text-message flirtation, but deep down we crave the warm embrace of all-consuming love.

I do, anyway. What else could have been behind my crazy idea to ask a girl out on a date? Alas, she and I ended up going to Chili’s and never went out again. Welcome to adulthood.

Joel Walkowski, a runner-up in the Modern Love College Essay Contest, is a senior at the University of Southern California.

08 June 2008

God's Sick Sense of Humor

Whoa, an unprecedented THREE blogs posts in ONE twenty four hour period! Yes, I do have better things to do, but I have to tell you about the things I already did. Or that were done to me, by fate, or perhaps the chaos theory in action.

I suppose I get exactly what's coming to me, after dating via the interweb for years. At this point, it seems that no corner in the city is safe from a run-in with an awkward first/last/only date, no restaurant, no store; it's all game now. Today at the grocery store I had my second encounter with a fellow who I ran into on Spring Street yesterday on my way home from the Housing Works outdoor book fair. His friend was barbecuing on the sidewalk; he'd rolled out a patch of astro turf and everything! I declined his offer of a veggie sausage and swam home through the murky pre-thunderstorm air. He's a nice enough guy, but there was just something...off about our interaction.

On my way home from the grocery store I scuttled quickly past a man sitting on a bench outside of the American Apparel on Houston. Thank God for my superhuman power to recognize anyone from any angle even after not seeing them for over two years, or else I wouldn't have noticed creepy depressed guy, the one who spoke only in self deprecating comments, who accosted me with his tongue in the middle of the sidewalk at around 8 pm on a weekday after meeting for coffee at, get this, the Housing Works bookstore cafe (yes, the very same), who didn't leave me alone even after I very nicely explained that the chemistry just wasn't there, who contacted me months later to tell me he bought a building in Williamsburg and needed someone to design a deck. Well, that is who I rushed past on Houston. I have a feeling this is only the beginning.


I ran into LSG again this morning; he on his way from 88, I on my way in. Over two years in the same building and I barely ever see the guy, and then twice in one week (after overhearing the sex, natch)? I sense a Tank Top Tom situation coming on again. Is it my lot in life to have some strikingly attractive but totally not my type not to mention out of my league man living in my building and taunting me with his charms at random moments, reducing me to an awkward, giggling school girl?

I've had this song in my head since I downloaded it for MemJam:

Marshmallow Fluff

On my way home from the Ear Inn tonight I decided to stop by Rosarios for a posh mushroom slice. I was quite famished after a long night of mingling and imbibing on a merely quarter full tummy. I was basically ravenous when I started the long trek from Spring and Greenwich and mentally drooled over the thought of Rosarios' mushroom pizza the whole way there. It was prime pizza time by the time I hobbled in around 3:30 am and of course the mushroom pie tray was empty as could be. I asked anyway, hoping against all hope, but it was a no go. I went with the spinach ricotta slice instead. The one with big dollops of fluffy ricotta on top. It was crowded at Rosarios so I decided to munch a bit as I walked home with pizza in hand. As I walked down Orchard toward Rivington, I spotted a girl who autmoatically made me think "prostitute". As in, what's a prostitute like that doing on Orchard Street right now? There was just something so Pretty Woman style prostitute about her look, what she wore, how she walked, all in an unironic way, that I couldn't help but think street walker. As I approached and passed her she took note of me was well. "Wha? Oh it's pizza." I sort of half smiled in acknowledgment, though with my face buried in a slice she probably didn't notice. When I was a few feet past her, and just a moment after she'd realized what I was nibbling on, she called out "I thought it was marshmallows", with the last syllable ascending, as if to imply, duh, it looked like marshmallows. And to be fair, it probably kind of did.

06 June 2008

Buttercream Dreams (or rather, nightmares)

Tonight I made my first buttercream ever. The real kind, made with real butter. I'm kind of a big deal, in the kitchen, so when I offered to make it for my boss' birthday cake I was thinking "No sweat!". But oh, the sweat! Mostly the sweating was done when I had added half the butter to the egg/sugar water mix and it was looking, shall we say, less than firm, and more on the curdled side. With one hand on the mixer (plop a couple butter cubes), willing it to fluff as hard as I could, I texted my cohort the cake maker (plop a couple of butter cubes) to warn her of potential disaster. As the butter continued to look like it had melted and separated from the rest of the mix (plop a couple of butter cubes), I scrambled to look for another recipe online and racked my brain for ways to fix the mess in my mixing bowl. My savior, I believe, came in the form of frozen fruit. I set the bowl on top of a bag of blueberries and a bag of mixed berries to appropriately chill, and therefore, solidify, the butter part (i.e. the namesake of) the buttercream. Ta-da! Either it just takes that long for to solidify and is supposed to look like death halfway through, or my smoothie obsession really did come to the rescue.

But that's not really my point. My point is: nightmares. Throughout the buttercreaming process, I found myself tasting the egg (raw, three of them), sugar, and butter mixture. Delicious! But my poor little tummy. Ow.

05 June 2008

Ain't Nobody Humpin' Around

I live on the Lower East Side in what was formerly (or some might argue, currently) a tenement building. The apartments are small, the walls thin, the doors thinner, and the hallways echoey. I've been lucky, on the top floor, to have no one above me, a relatively quiet dude next to me (except for a couple of late night loud music moments which I assumed were to cover up the sexers), and a very quiet and way too large for the size of the apartment Chinese family below me. A couple of times I've heard the sound of "relations" emanating from the apartment of a girl on my floor. Nothing terribly scandalous, but pretty obvious panting.

There's a guy that lives on the first floor, though, that might drive me to murder if my apartment was anywhere near his. One night quite a while back, as I was leaving to go out for the night around 11 or 12, he was playing crazy loud music, and I mean crazy loud. It would be hard to imagine your ears not being damaged if you were inside of the apartment listening at that level. When I came home around 4 am, a couple of police officers followed me into the building. "Uh, hi guys...". They were there about a noise complaint. As far as I know it hasn't been quite so offensively loud since then, though there's definitely some partying going on in there still.

A few nights ago I was coming home around 11, and I could almost hear it from the street level. It was porn level noises; I had to stop and listen for a moment. I thought man, someone's having some FUN in there. The girl on my floor wasn't similarly engaged that night when I passed her apartment.

Today when I got home from work, I saw a nice looking man on his cell phone rushing to my front door as I was unlocking it, beckoning me to hold the door; I sort of recognized him so I didn't blow him off as I did Tank Top Tom from apartment 1 just last summer. He finished his phone conversation while I checked my mail. He asked to see my tattoo and I showed him. We chatted walking up the stairs: about how long we've been in the building, about the many large families in the tiny apartments, about which apartment each of us occupied. It was him. He of the loud music/porn sex noise. As soon as he told me his apartment number, eye contact was out of the question. We shook hands, exchanged names; I was so distracted I've already forgotten his. I will just have to call him Loud Sex Guy (for now)

31 May 2008

Discarded Mattresses

This time of month, i.e. the 31st (or 30th, or even 28th or 29th if it's February and/or a leap year), one might encounter many mattresses on the sidewalk. I'm a nervous type. I try to avoid the mattresses, in case they have bedbugs. Some of my friends occasionally think it's funny to hump on the mattresses, for kicks. I stay away. At least four feet, which seems to have been emblazoned in my mind as the maximum jumping limit for lice. That's right, lice, not bedbugs; apparently in my mind the limit applies to all parasitic bugs. Whatever. Anyway. People are moving. There are people that are leaving New York, and there are boyfriends and girlfriends that are moving in together, and who needs two mattresses? I think the latter is the more likely reason for these poor, abandoned mattresses that get humped on by random passing drunkards. There's a lot of that going on in this city; the moving in together. The premature moving in together. The death sentence for a young, fun, blossoming relationship. Did I type that out loud?

30 May 2008

I Ran Out of Ketchup

I just finished off a "family size" bottle of Nature's Best Organic Tomato Ketchup. Ketchup is one of those refrigerated condiment staples that you (I) never think you'll (I'll) run out of, least of all the family size for god's sake, when you're the only one using it, and mostly just for scrambled eggs, and not even that much on them. Lord knows when I even picked this bottle up, though, which probably means that it's time was [over]due. But did it have to come at the beginning of fake hot dog season?

28 May 2008

Fucking Jesus, and a banking douchebag

As I was waiting to cross Canal Street to go to the bank, an older fellow walked by in front of me and the few others who were also waiting to cross. He seemed calm enough, but as he passed in front of us he said quite clearly, "Fucking Jesus". He sort of stated it rather than exclaiming or groaning it. As if to remark on the act of fucking Jesus, not on the fact that referring to Jesus requires such a strongly negative expletive in front of it. The man beside me was obviously shocked, and I couldn't help but giggle like a little girl in church.

I stood, bored, in the bank line, waiting for one of the two tellers to free up so I could make the deposit and shuffle back to the office. In walked douchebag cell phone guy. He was talking loudly when he came in, and asked his partner in cell phone douchebaggery to speak to the bank manager about some deposit issue. As he spoke, he was motioning to a man in a suit standing behind one of the tellers. The man finally came over to a window near the douchebag, who immediately launched into a confusing and annoying tale of his inability to make a deposit. The man in the suit replied, "I'm in training." HA! HAHAHA!! Stupid douchebag man! That'll teach you to be a rude asshole. Was everyone around here raised in a barn??

26 May 2008

Poetry v. Music

I've always said I hate poetry. Aside from Richard Brautigan, but he's in a category of his own as far as I'm concerned. Maybe it was the Spoon River Anthology in high school that bred this scorn in me. But the thing is, lyrics are essentially poetry. And I'm very forgiving of lyrics when good music is there to back it up. There are song writers and poets who would argue that the two are unrelated as far as the creative process goes, but I say, screw them. Poetry is lyrical, and lyrics are poetic. Song lyrics happen to be set to music, but they weave the same types of tales as poems. Tales of love and woe and happiness and life in general; composed with rhyme and without, with metaphor and without, but always with a rhythm and harmony. There are songs that I love that, if read or heard as a poem, I would scoff at. And there are likely poems that I would love if set to a tune I enjoy. To be quite honest, I'm appalled at some of the music I'll listen to in spite of ridiculous lyrics. I suppose I take them as a part of the music; the voice as an instrument whose sounds are random words that don't quite register beyond being a part of the greater harmony of the song. Is that forgivable? Jury's still out.

13 May 2008

Voyeuristic Tendencies

Eight hours of my Sunday were spent traveling. Tampa Airport to Newark Airport, airtrain to NJ transit station, NJ transit station to New York Penn Station, A train from Penn Station to West 4th, F train from West 4th to Delancey. Ahhh, Delancey. Anyway, it's West 4th that I'm concerned with at this particular moment. It's the only subway station I've been in that has cameras trained on the tracks and the people at the edge. Why West 4th? Why not, I guess. At 10 on a Sunday night, waiting sort of impatiently for the F, they certainly provided some entertaining visual stimulus. People get so anxious and fidgety waiting for the train. It's hilarious to watch them! Especially when they don't realize they're being watched. But hey, the cameras are hardly hidden so no guilt here.

My favorite was a man standing about twenty feet away from me. He had on a baseball hat that either had the intertwined letters "LA" or "UK"; I really couldn't distinguish and he really didn't look like either an LA or UK type guy. He was a normal/geeky looking man, wearing a white t-shirt and khakis. He REALLY wanted that train to come. There were a bajillion people craning their necks every five seconds to see if it was coming yet, but UK/LA guy seemed to be the only one talking to himself about it. It reminded me of an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is stuck on a subway en route to a wedding. You see the anguish in her face as her voice over speaks her pissed off thoughts. That's what this guy was doing. And he just kept doing it; I couldn't really make out the words he was mouthing, but imagine the dialogue went something like this: "Fucking bullshit. Where the fuck is this fucking goddamn train. Shit! Where the fuck is it?!? How long have we been here???? It's been two HOURS!! Goddammit! Fuckkkk!"

He walked out of the shot, and then got on the D train when it arrived before the F. I was thinking about posting in Missed Connections to find him. Angry Subway Guy.

10 May 2008

How Do You Spell Moist? T A M P A

As soon as I walked out of the terminal, it felt like I was stepping into a swamp. That's what Florida is, really, a swamp, but I didn't quite expect to be slapped in the face with Tampa's sweaty palm. At 8:30 pm, when it should be breezy and delightful out, it was miserably muggy. I haven't been here in the spring or summer since I moved to New York in 2004. January in Florida is gorgeous. May is...wet. Not refreshingly, rainy wet. More like moist wet. Like, you walk out and are instantly moist all over, in an unpleasant way.

I do admit, though, that there are things I miss about living here. I miss having a car. I would never want to have one in New York, but I miss driving it around in Tampa. It's like your own private, traveling karaoke room. My car was the only place I could really belt out the tunes, and doing that makes me really feel the song, like the way it's meant to be felt. I've been listening to Arcade Fire and TV on the Radio. Playing them in the car and singing along, it's almost like they're completely new! I also miss being close to water. Rather, CLEAN water. Beautiful, clean water that the sun shines on and nearly blinds you as you drive over the low bridge.

Today when I was walking on Central Ave in downtown St. Pete, I saw an old woman riding side saddle on her scooter. She was carrying a fan on it, so she had to hold her legs to the side. It was amusing to watch. Downtown is pretty quiet. Not dead quiet, just quiet quiet. It's not like the financial district type of downtown, it's like shopping, dining, strolling downtown. But there wasn't a whole lot of that going on.

07 May 2008

Babbling Brook

The season of some blossoming tree seems to have come to an abrupt end; when I was standing outside a second hand store on Delancey this afternoon, thumbing through their used books (I got a bedazzled dress there), I heard a sound that made me half expect to find a little stream or waterfall behind me when I turned to look for the source. But it was millions of dried petals brushing against each other and the sidewalk.

In other news, and on a completely unrelated note, May is a month of national celebrations! Not only is it Bike Month (go bikers!), but it's also Masturbation Month! I would be remiss if I let a May go by without sharing the good news, and you'd be foolish to think I might forget (though the last couple of years have been near misses!). So if the fun of it wasn't reason enough, now you have an official endorsement.

02 May 2008

Welcome to Your Day!

I haven't met Tank Top Tom's replacement in apartment 1, but I did notice the "Welcome" mat when my new neighbor moved in a couple of months ago. What I didn't notice until this morning, though, was the orientation of said mat, which I'm certain I would have noticed had it been oriented in such a manner before, as that's just the kind of thing I tend to pick up on. See, the mat is facing toward the apartment door, rather than away. Instead of welcoming guests, it welcomes whoever emerges from the apartment. Welcome to the world! What a great way to start the day. Like being born every day; emerging to a welcoming audience, or at least a welcoming apartment building. All I have at my door is a super faded welcome mat that I got at the Gemstore three years ago. It used to have a Mallard duck on it. But now that the Gemstore closed down, I can't part with it.

28 April 2008

The Itch You Just Can't Scratch

When I think "the itch you just can't scratch", I tend to think of that unreachable part in the middle of your back, or, y'know, in the metaphorical sense of satisfaction being juuuust out of reach, like maybe not quite getting to orgasm. But Vagisil has commandeered the phrase for a delightful television commercial. "You know that itch you just can't scratch?" the voice over says, as we see a shame faced woman looking at herself in the mirror. Poor, itchy woman. Men scratch and adjust themselves all day long, and will look you right in the eye while doing so, completely shame free. But itchy lady, no, she must suffer in itchiful silence, until she can get her hands on some relief in the form of Vagisil. By the by, this commercial was shown during a break in the movie "Must Love Dogs". A more appropriate commercial/movie pairing there could not be.

30 March 2008

Foolish Mortal

I wonder if there's a full moon. I could just look outside, but it's too cold by the window. I would have noticed just now when I was outside; a full moon is so bright, and hard to miss. It was an odd day, slightly, or at least one full of odd things. Things that deserved to be photographed, had I been carrying my camera.

It began this morning when I stopped into Duane Reade on the way to brunch. There was a sloppily hand written sign taped to one of the pharmacy cash registers that read "Sorry ladies we are out of Plan B". I guess those ladies that are getting busy will have to move on to plan C. Seriously, was there really such a run on Plan B? WTF?

The second thing was on my way to the laundromat. There was a sign on the ground, the kind a cheesy store might have to advertise a sale. It was small, the size of an index card, and it was neon orange outlined in a zig zaggy black border. Pre-printed at the top, it said "Special". Written into the orange part was "Need man". I'll say!

Tonight I went to meet my friend Jerm for a drink on the UWS at a place called the Dublin House. They have a neon sign with a big ol' harp. There was no music playing when I walked in, just the sound of the few patrons inside, so I loaded up the jukebox with Rolling Stones and some other assorted tunes. When Jerm arrived we went to sit in the back, which looked like it serves as the dining area in busier hours. It was cleared out though, save for a couple who left almost as soon as we walked in. They left a mess at their table. And at the table next to theirs was a brown bag, of the lunch variety. Jerm called my attention to it so I went to check it out, thinking it was just more garbage. But no! There was food contained within. A banana, for starters. What I assume was a sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil. A little container with, perhaps, some kind of dressing or other condiment; being white I would say ranch dressing or mayo. And a fork. I was scared that it was the barkeep's lunch, so I quickly and stealthily put it back.

Finally, as I was walking up the first flight of stairs in my building, I noticed a vitamin bottle on the fourth or fifth step up. I picked it up, naturally, I mean who could resist? It was called "PC Extends". There's only one thing I can think of that people want to extend, but PC? I can't figure it out. I put it back on the stairs. It was unopened, so someone will make good use of it, I hope.

26 March 2008

Leave neon where it belongs - in the grave!

I hate nu-rave style; the word style, in this context, is to be taken in the sense of "type" or "mode", rather than fashionable style. That's my basic problem with it, is that it's not fashionable whatsoever. It's pretty hideous, and not in an interesting, complex, and/or ironic way. Now I don't mean to brag, but I could probably wear nu rave style clothes and look damn hot doing it, but my point remains, and that is: nu rave is retarded. But what's worse is (oh yes, there is a worse!) when people ATTEMPT to pull off the look and FAIL MISERABLY! They are failures at a failed attempt at style. It's very disturbing to see people throwing these mid thigh length black cut off shorts with shiny purple leggings and crazy colored kicks and animal print (?!?) jackets together, and think they look cool. They wouldn't even look cool to nu ravers! I'd rather see lame attempts at punk, or goth, or ANYTHING BUT NU RAVE. Please god, make the pain go away from my eyes.

14 March 2008

Window Shopping

Sitting right next to the huge windows in my office on Broadway does have some perks. Mostly I freeze in the winter and am blinded by the sun when it gets to a certain level in the sky, but I get to peek into the huge windowed places across the street, and also I get to laugh at the people sitting on top of those double decker tourist buses. The three buildings in my line of vision have all been renovated recently-ish, so I see the progress of change and of people moving in. I think most are design kinda places, graphics, marketing, architecture, whatever, but one directly across the street on the same level as my office is residential. They have little kids there and around Christmas they stuck Christmas tree drawings in the windows. Very adorable, and sweet to look at on those two days that it actually snowed this winter.

But now, right at this moment, there are three little hipster boys scrub scrub scrubbing away on some windows. I mean, they're really putting some elbow grease into this, they've been cleaning these three big windows for like thirty minutes now! They're even getting the outside, those bravey braversons! I wonder what their office will be. Magazine? Fashion house? Restaurant group? Maybe we should get one of those string and cup "phone" lines going, dang that would be awesome. Anyone know how to get one of those up and running?


I didn't see any special signs on the street, but I think the stretch of 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues is aka "Avenue of the Abandoned Dog Poo" (ok so it's a street not an avenue, but work with me people, "avenue" has a ring to it!). I was dodging a pile of it every five feet; it was sort of like a Double Dare obstacle course except here the obstacle is very very real poo and not fake snot. Come now, if you get a dog, you have to know that's part of the deal. YOU PICK UP THEIR POOP.

13 March 2008

One Step Beyond

Today, my day of birth, all of my co-workers are wearing fake tattoos, including my boss. Fake tattoos for "old folks" that say things like "Grand Mom" and "Retirement Homeboy" and such. Just for me, for little old me! Well not OLD me. Not that old, at least. I welcome, embrace, and LOVE my birthday. Maybe it's because I expect pampering on that day, to be spoiled rotten the way I was as a child. Another year, another birthday, another step closer to 30. But who are we kidding, I'll just be 28 forever! Henceforward, we'll be celebrating the anniversary of my 28th birthday. 29 would be too obvious, and you know how I hate being obvious. When I got out of bed this morning, this is the song I put on first thing:

P.S. If you can get me those earrings for my birthday I will be your BFF.

12 March 2008


Now, I'm not one of those bag ladies. I'm hardly even obsessed with shoes. I like a nice bag and sure, I like a nice shoe, but my real fashion obsession would be for clothing, particularly dresses, more particularly, couture dresses. Which I can look at and love though I will never wear them. But like I says, I'm not a bag lady. Until I saw this Marc Jacobs Evening Rana Pouch:


OMG, it has a frog on it. With GEMS for eyes! It's a lovely little bag, frog or no, but the frog is what really seizes hold of my little heart. While searching for a photo of this thing, I came across a few blogs talking about this very recently debuted $795 pouch. And you know what? None of them like the frog! WTF? Tasteless fools.

11 March 2008

Chirp Chirp STAB

Monday morning, the day following the "spring forward" daylight saving, I awoke naturally at 8 am. And then I heard them. The birds. The chirping birds. Not just any chirping birds, the really annoying chirping birds that have this long, drawn out, ascending chirp that drives me INSANE. They like to sit on the fire escape and CHIRP. All the time. Forever. I happened to wake up on my own Monday morning, but hereafter, until next winter or until I move to somewhere those birds aren't, whichever comes first, those goddamn birds will wake me up. And you know what? Winter isn't even a safe haven. They don't disappear completely during the winter. I've heard them here and there, chirping away. They won't let me escape, the birds. They'll always be there.

10 March 2008

I Heart Christian Siriano

Some people may think he's a bitch, but I think he's a child GENIUS. And Amy Poehler is uh-MAY-zing.

29 February 2008

Clink clank STAB

Ok so we’ve established my unhappy existence as a very light sleeper/sometime insomniac. This we know. I’m fully aware of the trade-off I’ve made between living in the deliciously dark, quiet country and living in the big city with all its awesomeness, in addition to noise and bright lights. The garbage trucks, the street lamps, the late night carousers; I’ve bitched and moaned about them until the cows came home. Well, until they were supposed to come home; they’re probably smoking outside a bar disturbing the peace of some other poor bastard on the LES.

For some reason, since the new year began, the insomnia has pretty mcuh seized complete control of my nights. I lay in bed, deliriously tired. At some point in the middle of the night I fall asleep. I have vivid, mentally exhausting dreams. I wake up to some noise or another early in the morning, usually around 7. Except on Thursdays. On Thursdays, of late, I’ve been waking up to the clinkity clank of glass bottles being harvested at 5-5:30 am. Or so the sound would lead me to believe. Imagine reaching into a refrigerator to grab a few brewskis. The glass kind that have nice long necks. You’re grabbing a few for friends, so you curl your fingers around the necks of two or three. The glass bottles clink together in a very distinct way. Now imagine doing that over and over for about twenty minutes. This is my Thursday morning life. This morning, I was quite close to tears. I was closer still to getting dressed, going outside, and stabbing whoever is doing the bottle harvesting, with a butter knife. Next week, I will get dressed, go downstairs, and tell them I will call the police if I ever hear clinking glass bottles at 5:30 am ever again. EVER AGAIN. Unless it’s my super, in which case, no prob, carry on Angelo!

27 February 2008

Going postal, straight up with a twist

The Online Etymology Dictionary has this to say regarding the phrase "going postal":

Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
"pertaining to the mail system," 1843, on model of Fr. postale (1836), from post (3). Noun meaning "state of irrational and violent anger" (usually in phrase going postal) attested by 1997, in ref. to a cluster of news-making workplace shootings in U.S. by what were commonly described as "disgruntled postal workers" (the cliche itself, though not the phrase, goes back to at least 1994).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

I propose a slightly different interpretation, one dedicated to disgruntled postal customers rather than employees. The ones who, for example, stood in a long line to pick up a package, waiting patiently, ok that's a lie, waiting impatiently while the ONE postal worker poked around in the back trying to figure out someones package mix-up (shocking). The ones who, when they FINALLY get to the front of the line because FINALLY some other postal worker came over to help, are told, "Sorry, can't find your package. Are you sure you didn't already pick it up?" Pretty sure, yup. "Have you come in recently to pick up a package?" Is that a trick question? No, I haven't. "You haven't already picked this package up?" Ok let me think about that again. Had I already picked it up, I wouldn't be at the post office now, and don't you guys takes these little mail notices when the packages are picked up? Uh, yeah. So like I said, you have the package. "Ok we have to ask your mail carrier. We'll call you." That sounds like the kiss of death. We'll call you. As in "Don't call us, we'll call you." What is this mysterious package?? Who sent it to me? What does it contain? I wasn't expecting anything, and now I'm dying to know what it is I stood in line thirty minutes for, and then another twenty while they "looked" for it.

They seem to have it pretty cush, these postal workers. They go about their business nice and slowwww, they don't care if there's a line a mile long, they're going on break when they damn well please! It's we, the poor customers, who are angry. We deserve vengeance!

19 February 2008

Fortune Telling Chocolates Keepin' it Real

When I woke up this morning my alarm clock said 9:26. Taking into account the 10 minute pad I stick on, as if it will make any difference, I was supposed to be at work 16 minutes before I woke up. I may have continued to snooze longer still, if not for the disturbing dream I was having. I'm just gonna come right out and say it because there's no way to prepare you for it: I was dreaming that I was Britney Spears, and I was in bed with K-Fed. Now, it's not as racy as it sounds. "Bed" is not code for "sex". It really was just bed. The dream felt soooo loooong, and it was all about the sordid demise of Britney and Kevin's "relationship". What was happening at the very end is that Kevin was fake trying to seduce Britney, (fake because he doesn't love her and he knows it and she knows it and he knows she knows and she knows he knows she knows) and Britney is all, whatever. He's all feeling up on her leg and she (I) don't even care. But she keeps laying there in bed.

I don't think I started the dream as Britney. I think in the beginning I was the observer, as I most often am in dreams. But then my perspective shifted. But really, it just made me think of my parents' relationship. How annoying my father thought my mother was, probably married her for citizenship, my mother really being quite annoying, but my father also being a bit of a prick. Just like Britney and Kevin!

So on my lunch break I got this one little piece of chocolate, that thing that comes in a silver wrapper and has a hazelnut on top and a fortune in the wrapper. Like a fortune cookie, but much more delicious and in four languages. Mine said something along the lines of "Last night you dreamed about love, but then morning came and you woke up." I laughed and laughed! Those fortunes are so smart!

14 February 2008

Jane Fonda=My Hero

Fonda Drops the C-Word on Today

Like, whoa!

And just about a month ago, Diane Keaton Drops the F-Bomb on Good Morning America

A Very Special Valentine Serenade

When I think romantic serenade, I think Flight of the Conchords. I have a feeling I'm not alone. Ladies? Gents?

I know it's "old news", but as you may have realized, I have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon after the bandwagon has already been completely deconstructed and its parts sent off for scrap. So enjoy it again, dammit!

09 February 2008

Vigo's Taken Over

There's this rage thing going on in New York right now. Well maybe everywhere, but New York is all I can see; out my window and on the news. This violent, physical rage perpetrated on one human being by another, for what probably amounts to be no real reason whatsoever. I mean, it's New York, New Yorkers are famous for being mean right? But this feels like more. Like there's something in the water making it happen. Perhaps evil slime flowing underground, a la Ghostbusters 2? Maybe it's been like this all along and I just never noticed, or it was never around me on the formerly quiet streets south of Delancey. Just now, tonight, outside my window, I heard yelling. It didn't escalate into a fight within my line of vision, but that fight in midtown last weekend that was on the news tonight sure did escalate. The one that someone recorded from their hotel room. The one where a bunch of guys beat another one who was on the ground, and then got into a white Escalade and ran someone over. With an Escalade. The fight that had apparently been going on for a while before the recording started, and where were the police? And where were the police that night that I was apartment sitting in Little Italy and heard a fight outside, and looked to see a very similar incident to the midtown one, right before my eyes. Screaming women in the background while a bunch of guys kicked a guy on the ground. It seemed like it went on forever, and the police that I called didn't arrive until long after the beaters and their women had driven off in their white SUV limo. Maybe it's something about being in enormous white SUVs?

So here's what we need to do: we need to infuse the Statue of Liberty with good slime, and good music, so she can bring goodwill and compassion back to the city, as we seem to be desperately lacking.

05 February 2008


Looks like I'm goin' to hell in a handbasket.

Rock Music: Straight From the pits of Hell!

04 February 2008

Anti Peter Pan Syndrome

2008 is turning out to be a very interesting year indeed. A seminal one, it seems, in the life of Cars. It's almost as if an outside force is acting on me to squeeze out every last drop of Never Never land. Literally, like a physical force. I just got this wild hair up my ass to like, grow up and like, do stuff. Grown up stuff. Like get a Master's degree. And register to vote. And maybe get a job that's slightly more challenging and fulfilling. And possibly stop dating emotionally unavailable lads.

A few weeks ago my lip ejected my lip ring. Ejected! Like "Get out of here, ring, you are unwanted!" I've had it for eight years! Gone now. And guess what's next? The tongue bar. Obtained at the ripe, young, immature age of fifteen, before I'd even Frenched a boy (long before, in fact). A few weeks ago one of my teeth started to hurt, the one that tends to bear the brunt of the force when I gnaw on the barbell. I didn't really make the connection, I sort of just thought it might be a cavity from all the delicious cupcakes and cookies, I guess it was a denial thing. But my dentist, she's got no reason to deny nothin'. Take it out for a couple of weeks, she said today. See how your tooth feels. And maybe...keep it out. Keep it out. If my tongue hole (man that sounds gross) closes as fast as my lip hole did then I won't really have an option. And then I'll be all growed up.

30 January 2008

Last night I dreamt...about bowling??

Here's what Dream Moods has to say about that:

"To dream that you are bowling, refers to the strikes, hits, and misses in your life. Perhaps you are expressing some regrets if you are bowling a bad game. And if you are bowling strike after strike, then it suggests that you are on your way toward a successful future. It may also be a pun on your striking performance and/or stellar ability.

To dream that you bowl a gutter ball, suggests that you are stuck in a rut and need to make some changes of where your life is headed.

Alternatively, bowling and bowling alleys may also be a metaphor for sexual conquest. Consider all the sexual innuendos that are at play in the bowling alley. The pin deck is symbolic of the womb or vagina (as is with with any dark receptacle like caves, bowls, containers, etc.) The pins and bowling balls, can be viewed as masculine symbols."

All I can remember is that at first the balls were made of foam, like Nerf balls. There were finger holes and different sized balls and everything, just like real bowling balls, except they were Nerfy. I bowled with them for a while, probably not doing very well, before I decided I needed a real, shiny, heavy bowling ball. I think the one I chose was yellow. Very shiny. Very heavy. Very real.

Little known fact: I was on the bowling team in 11th grade. Very briefly. Just long enough to learn that there's a method to bowling, but not quite long enough to "get" the method.

29 January 2008

I do not want your cheap jewelry or fake handbags

Maybe it's my fault for working in Soho, so-ho close to Canal Street and it's fakies. Those guys just wanna sell their wares. Their cheaply made, trashy looking, sometimes illegal wares.

Do I look like I want your fake gold chains? Do I look like I want to buy a knock-off Coach bag for $50 when the the real ones are only $250?? Do I look like those orange complexioned, badly highlighted Jersey broads that come to the city strictly to hit Canal Street? Like, that's all New York has to offer, fake hand bags? I admit I have champagne taste and a beer budget, but I'm not going to use my beer budget to buy street refuse. I'll let the Jersey girls do that so they can save their money for the "tanning" salon and Fantastic Sam's "salon".

28 January 2008

#1 Crush

I hated Garbage when I was in high school. They were too trendy for my tastes. But I just couldn't resist "#1 Crush". They played it at the Castle, Tampa's finest goth club, every weekend. I was out there with the rest of the goths, prancing and flitting about the dance floor while Shirley Manson cooed about her obsession. I still pretty much love the song, though I'm less likely to be found prancing to it in a goth club. Just less likely, mind you, not entirely impossible.

A lot of the goth girls at the Castle look like this one:

25 January 2008

In some ways I do pity tourists

I usually hate them. They are the slow walkers that I must elbow through to walk at even a normal human pace, or to get into my apartment building, or into a store. Never mind trying my usual breakneck speed on Broadway. People'd be getting whiplash left and right. There are some moments that I feel for them, a bit. Such as when they try so hard to do things that only regular New Yorkers can pull off successfully, like public transportation. Cabs, particularly. They don't know how to hail cabs. They can't tell which ones are open, and even if they could they wouldn't know how to get it to pick them up.

I walk by a couple of hotels on my work walk. There's one on Broome at the corner of Bowery where I constantly see tourists coming and going. Many seem to be European, though there are the odd Midwesterners here and there. Such as the ones I saw last night, standing on the corner, trying in vain to hail a cab. There was about eight of them, all adults. The first I noticed of them as I approached the crossing at Bowery was the bearded one with his hand out in the air yelling "Taxayyyy!". Ah, bless. He was trying so hard. But honest to god, when have you ever been in a moving car, probably with the radio on, not to mention the sounds of the road outside, and heard someone outside yelling? Where does this ever work? And the whistling? Do they get this from television? That's the only place I've ever seen it work. Why do they do this on television and mis-lead the poor tourists?

Every cab that drove by they were sure it was "the one", or "ones", rather, as they were a large group that would require splitting up. "You guys take that one", they said to each other, as if anyone was going to get into the cab with the off duty lights on, or no lights on at all. They had so much faith that each of these off duty or full cabs would stop for them, and seemed so surprised and hurt when they just kept driving by.

I wanted to help them, but knew it would never stick. In their few days in the big city they would never get that "Off Duty" lights mean that the cab is off duty, that no lights mean the cab has a fare in it, that the numbered lights mean the cab is available. How did I learn these things? Trial and error? Watching friends do it? Sometimes I feel bad when I successfully, easily hail a cab when I see someone else struggling, but then I feel like a superior, evil New Yorker. Hey, someone's gotta embody the stereotype, might as well be me.

24 January 2008

Soulja Boy vs. Church Boy

Godtube is my new favorite website.

22 January 2008

Killer Klown v. Marcia Wallace

Does anyone else see the resemblance? My advice: Don't accept candy from Marcia Wallace.

21 January 2008


I'd like to think that people can change for the better. That they want to change. Not just little self improvement things like, oh I'm going to take a class to learn Chinese and become more cultured, or hey I'm going to try not to elbow slow walkers on the sidewalk so much, or, ya know, maybe I'll try not to snap at my mother all the time. Those are like, small potato resolutions. They're not nothing, but they aren't such a stretch for basically decent people.

It's the stretch I'm interested in. The ones that need to make a massive change in lifestyle in order to even touch the bottom rung of the healthy social interaction ladder. I would like to have faith in the stretchy kind of change. Conscious, effortful, meaningful change. The kind where you realize, gee, I'm a shitty person, I treat people pretty badly, even the ones that care about me! And then you decide you don't want to be a shit anymore. And you don't just say, yeah I know I'm an asshole. You actually STOP BEING AN ASSHOLE. You stop manipulating and threatening and generally torturing those around you. Simply saying you're a better person, well those words certainly sound pretty, but it doesn't really mean anything when your actions are speaking the opposite loud and clear.

It's so hard for me to believe in the stretchy change. There's just so much ugly in the world. Domestic violence, gangs, world wars. Those people need to stretch themselves. And those assholes, the ones who say they've changed while they sharpen their talons behind their backs (yet still in plain sight), well, they don't so much bolster my faith.

19 January 2008

Obvious, but oh so apt

I took down my previous post in an act of basic human kindness. Here is something good to entertain you in its place.

If you, like me, can't listen, then please enjoy these lyrics:

You walked into the party
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf it was apricot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they'd be your partner
They'd be your partner, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

You had me several years ago
When I was still quite naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

Well, I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you're where you should be all the time
And when you're not, you're with
Some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend
Wife of a close friend, and

You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?

14 January 2008

Nomadic Homebody

I've just spent two weeks cat sitting for Josh and Andrea while they embarked on a cross country trip to deposit their car with Andrea's parents in Pasadena. They have a splendid two bedroom(ish) apartment in Little Italy, deliciously decorated by Andrea. It gets completely dark in the bedroom at night that way that I love; well not country dark, but damn dark for New York, and certainly darker than my room, into which shines the resplendence of various street lamps and decorations. On top of that, there's a delightful generator of some kind outside the bedroom window which provides the best white noise that money can't buy. I've been known to run my air conditioner and/or space heater specifically for the white noise. AND their apartment is that much closer to my office, so I got to sleep later!

Nevertheless, I got homesick. I always get homesick when I'm away from my home. My home, with my bed and my rug and my books and my loud noises and bright lights intruding on my sleep. Not just my city of residence, or country. I've been in New York this whole time, but I was still homesick. I even get homesick at sleepovers. Always have, and I guess always will. Not just like, man I wish I was in my own cozy bed, but more like, man I feel like an alien when I don't rest my head on my own pillow. I remember sometimes calling my mother to pick me up early from sleepovers when I was a kid, occasionally I made something up to refuse the sleepover invite altogether, I hated spending the weekend at my father's house in a foreign bed.

I stopped by my apartment a few times over the past couple of weeks to say hello, sit on my bed, look around and be comforted by it all. I came over to the LES on the weekend just to have coffee at my cafe. Little Italy is close in proximity, but a far cry from the LES that I've come to quite love.

At the same time, though, I feel like a bit of a nomad. I like living in different places, setting up shop and making new friends and seeing what's out there; visiting is fun, but there's always that heart tugging feeling after a few days. The beginning of a new place is always painful, that newness of a new city or apartment, but that place, eventually, becomes my home. Home is where the heart is, and I carry my heart with me wherever I go. Silly to leave it behind somewhere.

11 January 2008

Same Day Hangover

Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon? Getting a hangover the very same day, rather than the next day? This would assume that you had been drinking rather early in the day, say, starting at 3:30 or so, having cocktails at Soho Grand. Not that this is something I do often. But I did it today, and my god almighty do I ever have a splitting goddamn headache. And I've gotten same day hangovers before, days when we have a happy hour of sorts at work. Fuck I think I am even nauseous. Fucking hangovers. Demon alcohol. And I only had three drinks!

10 January 2008

Nietzsche's Will to Power - Who'da thought?

This is the song that we practiced to in my ballet class, to do our little ballet girl stretches and things. Plies, arabesques, positions one through five. I think that's pretty much it. I never made it to the en pointe level. Our instructor's name was Dina, a frightfully skinny girl, and the Mayor's daughter, Moira I think her name was, was in our class. She wasn't very good, as I recall. Nor was my younger sister, who, during the recital, kept her eyes on me because she didn't remember the moves. There's still a recital video somewhere in the world.

I wanna tell that lady singer I lover her white onesie.

09 January 2008

I'm a Selfish Bitch

The weather is pretty lovely, isn't it? I think it is. A bit windy right now, gusty in fact; I was nearly blown over just now when I went for coffee (last night when I checked accuweather.com it had this little swirly graphic and I wasn't sure what it was, but now I certainly know). If it was cold out, as cold as it should be in mid January during which the average high is 38 degrees, my little nose and mouth and ears and fingertips would be like little popsicles. Instead, I carried an iced latte in each hand, no prob.

So as I was saying, it's pretty lovely out. And I'm enjoying it. It makes me smile for no reason in particular. I only realize how depressed harsh winter weather makes me when spring rolls around and I turn into Miss Happy Pants, totally out of character for my usually surly self. The selfish part is, I'm enjoying this lovely spring weather in the winter, even though I know it spells doom for the environment. Such drastic changes in the weather seriously screw with local ecosystems (e.g., birds and their migration patterns), and the ripple effect is worldwide. This NASA
article complete with map of the meltation, paints a pretty scary picture, though this National Geographic article on climate change on Mars implies it's not just humanity's nasty habits causing the warm-up.