Monday, August 29, 2005

Yo. So here I am, back in my country home! Weird. It's like NYC was just a craaaazzzy dream. A hot, sweaty, stinky dream.

Only a few things have changed here in N-town: State Street was repaved. Something horrible happened to Good Thyme and it has tipped from borderline gross to really, don't eat here if you can possibly afford it gross. The askew block of sidewalk that tripped many people in front of 10,000 Villages has been gnawed down to a gentle slope by some insane machine. Cafe Casablanca became something I'm not interested in. Um... They just replaced the pinball game (it's always been pinball) inside of Hugo's with the exact same Buck Hunting game that, for some reason, is in 90% of the bars in the city. So of course I played it, and used my previous urban experience to bag me a Triple Buck Bonus. Onlookers pretended to share my excitement.

Things I kind of forgot about this town: The concentration of homeless people here is WAY higher here than in the city. There's no place to get a good lunch to go here, unless you want to pay $8 for sushi, or get Quizno's. I got very depressed today at lunch, walking through town looking for a nice pasta salad or something semi-fresh and semi-healthy, missing the Whole Foods' food bar like crazy. It might be time to actually start bringing my lunch to work! The horror...

p.s. to clarify my post below and the ensuing comments: In reality, symbols do not actually, physically embody what they symbolize. That means I can, say, criticize a WWII memorial, and also believe that it was very sad that there was a war where a lot of people died.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's my last few days as a NYC resident and I am sick (with a cold, currently in the 'coughing up chunks of lung' phase). Thus the no posting. Tragically, I have been beset by various ailments since I posted last Monday. I still managed to cross one more thing off my must-do-in-NY list, riding the Staten Island Ferry. I kind of can't understand why the Ferry is free, but it is. It was a hazy day so all my photos will suck. But it was still pretty neato. I like all the crazy wheels and chains that raise and lower the gangplanks and the contraption that locks the ferry into place against the dock.

Then all of the subway stations in lower Manhattan were closed for one reason or another, so I got to walk past the WTC site, which is, well, just a big hole. A giant gap. I was almost four years too late. But I don't mind. It's a stupid thing to visit, if you ask me. If you haven't seen the original buildings in person - and I hadn't, except at a distance - then looking at the space where they once were is not going to add any sense of scope to the event, anyway.

Sorry dudes. I'm a little down. I had plans! And my body is failing me. Crap.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I am fucking EXHAUSTED. Man, I wish I could tell you about my weekend, but I don't want to get all live-journally on you. Instead, I will tell you that my 3-hour drive to Brooklyn yesterday afternoon turned into a 6-hour drive. Actually, calling it a "drive" is misleading, because for a good half-hour I was parked on the BQE.

You see, sometimes in the summer, when cold air and warm air love each other very much, they get together and make a thunderstorm. This can bring a lot of rain in a very short period of time. Apparently, it has never rained ever in NYC, because the main highways flooded as though sewer grates hadn't yet been invented. My drive was already very trafficky and slow when I hit the Triboro bridge, but that's where it actually became stop and go - the kind of stop and go where you stop for a full minute and then go forward two or three feet. Normally, since I am now in the iPod era, this wouldn't be a problem. But I was tired and hungry, and my bag of peanut m&ms was almost empty, and I had just an inch of water left in my plastic bottle. I did have a small bag of heart-shaped sweet-tarts that I had gotten on the street as part of a promo for a reality show called "Hooking Up," but that can hardly be considered food. Anyway, I had only eaten some french toast and the aforementioned m&ms all day, had gotten not enough sleep, and was now sitting in a car in the pouring rain, in traffic that was essentially stopped.

Finally, finally, I inched forward into Queens and the BQE, but once I managed to reach an extended underpass - more of a tunnel, almost - the "stop" part of "stop and go" won the battle against "go." As the minutes stretched on with no movement whatsoever, people started leaving their cars - the universal sign of "the laws of traffic have been overthrown by forces we do not understand. Anarchy reigns!" A guy in an Audi to my right got out of the driver's seat and changed his toddler daughter's diaper in the back seat. The Honda to my left had a cute white dog inside, so the teens in the car took it out for a walk, to try to get it to pee. I think the dog had a hard time deciding if we were outside at all, since we were essentially in a huge asphalt and concrete room with two big doors. Essentially. I put my car in park and got out and met the dog, who licked my face, and talked to some other people, who said they thought the road was closed because of flooding. My away team, reachable via cell phone, confirmed that for me. There was a bus behind me, and several people got off with their bags and started trekking forward. Godspeed, you fearless adventurers.

Eventually I saw, off in the distance, the glowing red taillights that meant that people were restarting their cars. Hooray! I hopped in and slowly rolled forward, leaving the protective underpass and hitting the heavy rain again, and slowly slowly merging and passing through the single lane that had been cleared as a two-lane lake was getting pumped away by a road crew. Then I was in the clear! for about ten seconds, and then the traffic stopped again. This time, however, I was close enough to an exit to take it, and I made it off the BQE and got back on just after the flooded section.

So I got to my sister's by 9:30 or so, and they were all "hey, welcome, we got stuff to make mojitos! Whee!" and even though I was half-dead from lack of nourishment I cannot resist a refreshing mojito, and my bro-in-law had made guacamole, and we ordered thai food, and by the time I should really have left to go to my apartment in Manhattan it was raining. I gave in to what the universe was telling me and I splurged on a $19 car service.

And last night my cat kept waking me up. This is why I am so tired today. So be nice to me, please.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Look at me, belting out some crazy shape-note tune! Look at how hard I bring the ROCK.
(Second row, middle one.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My hair is completely out of my control. I've always kind of felt this way, but after cutting it myself a few days ago, I am realizing just how little power I wield over it. It's getting to the point where I have to put it in a ponytail or a bun nearly all of the time unless I want to look like an 80s-style headgear-wearing nerd. The hair trimming just made my triangle-head problem get even worse. I had to do it, though, because the hair was getting so long that I was getting ringlets - though I also get ringlets when my hair is short. I'd like to blame the humidity, but I'm not outside in un-conditioned air all that often.

You straight-haired people don't know what you're missing. Sigh.

No good Eye on Manhattans lately, though I did watch a guy feed a potato chip to a squirrel in Madison Square Park. It came right up and took it from his hand. Neat. I wonder if it's the same squirrel that tried to kill me with an acorn bullet a couple of months ago?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Currently listening to: Sufjan Stevens, Come On Feel the Illinoise

Current mood: Hanging in there, baby

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Currently wishing: That my office had a window, and that it was fucking 6 o'clock already

Currently playing (when I'm at my sister's house): The Simpsons: Road Rage

The Found Film fest was awesome. There were some amazing things in it, including some horrible things that now, having seen, I cannot un-see. Most of it was simply hilarious.

I see things every day that could be put here under the stolen title of Eye on NYC. And I should. So now I will try to do so. Here are some things from the past weekend:

There's a homeless twentysomething white lady (with one of those cardboard signs that explain that she's going through a rough patch) who sits on the sidewalk on Park Ave between 16 and 17th Streets. Yesterday she was in front of the bodega on that block, and when I walked past her towards the subway, she was sitting cross-legged as usual, but she was leaning to the right so far that her head was almost touching the sidewalk, and she was fast asleep. It was pretty impressive, if only because that's a difficult position to get into even when one is fully awake. Three hours later I walked past her again on my way home. She was still cross-legged, still asleep, but now her head was touching the ground directly in front of her - a tricky yoga move. This time, I noticed she had set out some nail polish and a bottle of polish remover next to her. I guess she was huffing or something, but I'd rather imagine she was waiting for her nails to dry when she nodded off.

Last night when I was alone on the Seventh Ave. (Bklyn) subway platform, a mouse kept checking me out. He would run out a few inches from underneath the metal trash can (which was rusted out), pause and stare at me, and then run back. It was actually pretty cute, though he was extra skinny and dirty. I often see rats running on the actual tracks, but mice are rare.

I also finally saw my next-door neighbor. We didn't "meet," but we shared the elevator. Though only the two of us were in it, she faced away from me, possibly to prop up a large Duane Reade bag against the wall. I hear her sometimes, talking loudly on the phone, or watching TV. She can probably hear me singing along to my music and talking to myself. Once I heard her having a phone fight with a boyfriend that was clearly on his way to becoming an ex-boyfriend. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, I swear! When I was walking to my door, it sounded as clear as if she was standing in the hallway with me.

My sister got a good Overheard inside the H&M Saturday but she's worried it's not good enough. But it totally is.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Thank you all (cough, cough) for voting. Here's what I hope to be doing tonight, though I've seen it touted all over the web today, and it might be sold out:

NYC it is! The country will have to be patient.
I have a bit of a weekend dilemma. Should I:

Stay here? The heat wave breaks tonight. There's a showing of found film and home movies somewhere in Williamsburg tonight. And tomorrow my parents are taking care of Lula for my sister, so there could be some family fun sans-infant. And it is my third-to-last weekend here as a resident, so maybe I should take advantage.

Go to my country home? I was just there, but for a rushed one-nighter. And it is so hot here in the city. So very, very hot. When one is in the sun, one can feel one's flesh actually cooking and turning into meat. Even when the heat wave "breaks" it's still going to be in the mid-80s, and of course down in the subway stations it'll be in the 100s until, oh, November. And in the country I can go swimming and look at stars and pick my teeth with bits of straw go "hee-yuk!" a lot.

Go on a last-minute, unplanned drive up to Maine? This one is fairly impossible, because the friend who came up with the idea is car-less, and my car is currently in CT with my sister and fam until tomorrow. But the idea is fairly tempting. Maine! Rugged ocean coast! Cheap lobster! Maine! Who cares how we get there!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Things I learned today, already:

They're coming out with a new Furby, which is much more technologically advanced (i.e. creepy) than the last Furby.

The word "shitload" is in the dictionary.

Although Gary is a snail, he acts and sounds like a cat.

I eat a container of Stonyfield Farms yogurt every work day. At this rate, by the end of the month I will have enough lids to send in to get a free plush squirrel monkey.

See, kids? Even after you grow up, you never stop learning.

Monday, August 01, 2005

I am here! I was at the lake for a week. I went swimming a bunch, and also kayaked, hiked up to a place called "Inspiration Point" (beautiful view, but no Fonzie), did some archery (arched?), made an enamel (copper and glass) pendant, rocked in rocking chairs on the porch, laid in the grass, looked at millions of stars, ate five ice cream cones, finished reading a book and most of a second, and completed both Monday and Tuesday's NYT crosswords by myself. I did Weds's with a friend but we had her smarty-pants boyfriend get the last three answers we could not get.

And here I am back in the city, where bums shit on the sidewalk and air conditioning units piss on your head. Not that I hate it here. It is still exciting. I guess I just wish I was back at Inspiration Point.

Have I mentioned lately how adorable my niece is? She was also at the lake. She's very, very cute. She now will count to ten: One, too, fee, foe, fie, sis, sehmen, aie, nie, ten. And she will ask for a hug (99% of the time, she's asking her mom) by holding out her arms and saying "hut? hut?" because she can't yet do a "g" sound. Man, she slays me.