Monday, July 31, 2006

The Paper Covered Them Both

This morning on SportCenter, they did a piece on the US Rock Paper Scissors Championships, held in Las Vegas. There were some amazing highlights, including the self-proclaimed Mensa member being beat by the self-proclaimed "professional human being", a job which seems to involve wearing mouse ears and a Catholic schoolgirl outfit even though you're 35. My favorite was the winner, who said something like this, "I feel like Swayze after he finished filming Roadhouse." His preparation? "I shotgunned a ton of beer. I listened to a ton of Stevie Wonder." Most refreshing was his perspective, "I can't write a thesis or something like that. I am not very good at intense math or something like that. But rock, paper, scissors is something I am good at."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Brain

Did you people know that there was a show called World Series of Pop Culture on VH1 this summer, and that the grand prize was $250K? I was just informed by a school friend who invited me onto her team for next year. But clearly anyone who knew that this show existed and didn't tell me owes me $250K. Because there's little in my brain besides pop culture trivia, and the idea I could've made money with it is making me a little sad.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nuevo York

I just overheard a conversation in the hallway between two women about Mexican food.  Between the two of them, they had tried Mexican food a total of three times.  They spoke about it the way most people I know would discuss eating the local dishes of outer Mongolia.  One said, "I know tacos, I think I've had those."  The other replied, "I think the thing I had was called a tostada.  It had meat in it.  I don't think I like tacos, if I'm thinking of the right thing."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Working Sans Underwear

There are a lot of people who work while wearing no underwear.  Many fashion models.  Lifeguards, and they save lives!  Certain strippers.  As I have had none of these professions, I have never experienced this condition.  Until today.  I've been going to the gym in the morning, which requires me to pack the day's outfit the night before and shower and change at work to start my day.  I always forget at least one thing.  Once it was deodorant.  Once it was my makeup.  Thankfully, there is a drugstore in my building, and they have been able to supply me with whatever I need.
Today it was something even better.  I opened to find my white flowy skit (knee-length), my black v neck cotton sweater, my shoes, a bra, and all my toiletries.  Only one thing was missing!  I have to say I could've probably gone with the flow if I was wearing pants.  It would not be preferred, but it certainly wouldn't be something I'd be thinking about every second. 
The skirt I'm wearing today already requires me to hold the hem when I go up and down stairs, wait for the subway, or in any other way may experience a draft.  This is my normal modesty at work, but it was at a new high today.  I had to wait until 10am (I walked into my office at 8:30am) until the GAP and BR in my building open.  Funny thing, neither carries women's underwear.  They carry boxers, sure.  I even considered buying those.  But they'd be pretty obvious under my skirt.  It turns out, Eckerds was once again the right answer.  I got a two-pack of some hideous flesh-colored things that have me breathing easy once more.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ruthie in my Kitchen

Tour Guide a Go Go

NOTE: This is a post from guest blogger, Ruthie.

So I find myself in New York this weekend, monopolizing Julie's summer dwelling closet, and I have to point out that Miss Delphia is one fabulous tour guide. Considering a trip to the tri-state area? Julie will trade her soul (and a spot on her floor) for a bag of Central Market tortillas. Just FYI.

The Julie/Ruthie combination (Julthie? Rulie?) is flat out lethal for reasons that are manyfold, and we have spent the better part of our weekend engaging in both culinary and potable delights. Now I don't know if you guys have MET Julie, but one of her most admirable qualities is her utter love of food, and our weekend in the 2-1-2 prominently featured much of it. Life is decidedly better with a venti beer and a cupcake. And the cheese, my Lord, the cheese.

A few random highlights...

Best Cheeses of the Weekend: Fromage de Meaux and Pont Leveque

Julie's Favorite Word of the Weekend: Actually

Most Anticipated Dish of the Weekend: Lardo Pizza (aka: Back fat pizza)

Most Inappropriate Lusting of the Weekend: Ruthie after one of Julie's exceptionally beautiful classmates. Looking at him is like taking a bite of cheesecake... pure sweetness. His arms should be in the Louvre.

Most Inappropriate Activity of the Weekend: Creating Julie's MySpace page, telling her about all the boys in their tribal tattoos and boutique jeans that will now message her, and teaching her the ways of the time suck... Go make her your friend! And Ruthie, too.

Best Save of the Weekend: Famous Original Ray's Pizza.

(Julie is taking back over)

Fastest Turnaround of the Weekend: Ruthie's switch from "I can't shop right now" to "Let's hit that sale I just heard about," which took all of about five minutes.

Most Awesome Moment of the Weekend: During our exceptional dinner at Craft, we received an amuse bouche from the pastry chef before dessert (pain perdu with pistachio ice cream and caramel sauce YUM). The amuse bouche was two little glasses of strawberry ginger soda. Ruthie looked at hers and said, "Oh, it's like a jello shot!" Our waitress actually had to flee our table she was laughing so hard.

Freaky Psychic Connection of the Weekend: For reasons I can't explain, during our second cupcake outing of the weekend, I felt compelled to tell Ruthie about this deranged store Sasha and I shopped at back in 2000. It was this insane woman who made up a fantasy world about kitty cat characters, made drawings of them, glued them to things like popsicle sticks, and sold them. She would follow shoppers around the store telling you things about the characters as if they were real people. As I described this store, I realized I could not remember its name, which it shared with the main character kitty cat. I immediately called Sasha and described my predicament. He paused. He said, "Are you really having this conversation with someone right now? Because I'm in a car on my way to the beach, and I just spent the past half hour describing this store to people. And I can't remember the name either." Note: Sasha and I have not discussed this store in at least five years, and I haven't described it to anyone else in at least as long a time.

Come visit everyone! You can guest post too!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Nancy McKeon

I was trying to get back into the habit of writing more frequently. However, I've failed miserably this week. That's partially because my old company was in town this week, and brought with it a nearly endless stream of free meals and cocktails. It felt as if no time had passed and as if I worked there a million years ago. I ate what can only be described as an obscene meal at Megu, where I was seated next to a giant ice-sculpture Buddha whose face melted off in a Michael Jackson through the decades like display thanks to a candle burning in its lap. I'm not sure if the macabre nature of this was intentional, but it was stunning. The Buddha was melting on a pedastal in a fountain filled with floating red rose petals. Oh, and the food was astounding as well. Kobe beef is a bit overhyped (go to Argentina), but it's also really good. And free kobe beef borders on transcendent.

I think I also forgot to post about an extremely New York experience I had last week. I was trying to get into an office building (airport security is less strict than the skyscrapers in this city), and was standing in line behind Karen Duffy, aka Duff the former MTV veejay. Now I know a lot of trivia (did you guys know she had some weird brain disease? I remember this from when it made the news like ten years ago. Because of this I don't remember something really important.), and I recognize really obscure celebrities. So I (unlike a normal person) was a little excited about standing in line before her. She got up to the woman running the security desk and said she was there to see Candace Bushnell! It's like NY-focused D-list celeb coming to see NY-focused C-list celeb. I got really excited. But then it got even better. The security woman was not letting her in. She couldn't reach Candace (after asking her to spell it like ten times), and seemed to think Duff was making it up. I got through no problem after they made Duff stand to the side, and she was still not resolved when I went up.

OK Ruthie's here. She'll guest post later.

The title is my way of letting you know I have bangs.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A bad breakup and a rebound

Yeah, I'm going for cheap sensationalism with that headline.

My NY sublet came with a window air conditioning unit that was last serviced by Fred Flinstone. Not only was it extremely old and very ineffective, the knob which performed the somewhat critical task of turning it on and off had gone missing in the decade when the Fonz first jumped over a shark (not the second time). This meant to turn on my air conditioner, I need to get out my handy wrench, calibrate it to just the right width, and then grasp this nubbin (for lack of a better word) to which the knob should be attached and twist it until the air comes on. I can never tell if I'm on "high cool" or "low cool", though "off" and "fan only" are pretty clear settings.

Last night, I came home at the senior citizen-like hour of 1am, and decided that it was warm enough that I should wrench the air on for a pleasant night's sleep. I calibrated, nubbin-grasped, and twisted. The air came rushing on. The nubbin snapped cleanly off the unit. What I was left with was no way to turn the level any more. The nubbin stump (which basically means 'nothing', since a nubbin already is a stump) was flush with the unit itself so unwrenchable. And unfortunately it's been left wrenched 'on' in the "fan only" position, which so inadequately cools my apartment that I consider the flapping wings of my pigeon-fan a better alternative for climate control.

Most of the rest of the night was spent swearing, sweating, and pricing new window units on the internet. I went to Home Depot today, found that air conditioners are on sale because who in their right mind waits until mid-July to buy one of these things. I line up a friend, whoI can only call Saint Air Conditioner because it was an ugly job and he was so nice about it, to come install it. And together we wrest the ugly fifty year old air conditoner whose filter has never been cleaned and the gunk coming off of it is disgusting out of the window and to the curb below, where no doubt the NY sanitation authorities will find it and fine me some ridiculous amount. We (well, he) install the new air conditioner.

Maybe this is just the rebound after a bad air conditioner, but I am head over heels in love with this thing. It has a remote. You can set it on a timer. You can tell it what temperature you want it to be, and it will try its best to get you there. You can put it in power save mode. And for the first time, I can actually feel some cooling effect all the way (six feet away) over at my desk.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Apparently, my sunset observation was something special. Loyal reader Adam sent me the link below from NASA of all places talking about how special it was:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

New York Talks Back!

OK, that's a lame title for what I want to write about today.  The first is an update on my 'roommate' situation.  I've mentioned this to two New Yorkers, and they've both advised the same thing: if that pigeon gets any closer, shoot it with a squirt gun.  It's funny that a requirement to have a NY apartment is a squirt gun for pigeon patrol.  It's funnier that two separate people had the same response.  And it's not like they thought about it at all.  They just said, "Oh yeah.  You should shoot it with a squirt gun."


Second, I had an experience yesterday that exactly mirrors an early experience I had in San Francisco.  Back in 1999 when I first started living and working in San Francisco, I witnessed a woman cleaning her ears out with a q-tip on the J Church line.  For those of you who don't know the full minutiae of my neuroses, I have a thing about ears and things in them.  I don't like experiencing it, I don't like watching it.  I actually have q-tip phobia.  Well yesterday took it to a whole new level, and possibly freed the q-tips from the equation.  I was standing on the subway (I can't remember if it was a C or E train), and the woman sitting beneath me was cleaning out her ears with the pointy part of a ballpoint pen cap.  This was obviously revolting, but in a packed subway car when you're holding the bar right above this monstrosity, it's not exactly a possibility to move.  And just like in the J-Church incident, no one else seemed to notice.  I wonder how long I have to be an urban girl before I actually am unfazed by these things.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weekend Planner

I am a planner.  It's just my nature.  When I'm friends with people who don't like to plan, and something comes up in conversation like, "Hey!  Maybe we should grab dinner on Friday!" I can be counted on to have five options researched and two tentative reservations made because (1) I know they won't and (2) I fear uncertainty.  This may be geeky and even a bit loserish (if you don't understand the nuance between those, I can't help you.  I just know it when I see it.), but it's who I am. 
New York is therefore proving to be a bit of a challenge.  New York has the finest restaurants in the country (sheer quantity, anyhow), and yet you make your reservations the day of or day before.  I'm not saying I can get you into Per Se tonight, but the natural inclination of people not looking to spend $300/person on an entree seems to be to make all plans the day of.  People call me at 7pm on Saturday night to see what I'm up to.  It's a very strange adjustment for me.  This weekend it worked beautifully. 
Friday night:
Dinner with Amy at a ridiculously affordable charming and tiny French bistro in the East Village called 26 seats.  Reservation made for prime time at a well reviewed too small restaurant day of at about 7pm.
Drinks out with b-school friends in the East Village, where I parade around Amy to prove that I have non-Wharton friends.  With the exception of Glotz's too-brief visit in the winter, none of my school friends had met any of my other friends.  I began to fear that they suspected that when I wasn't with them, I sat home in my apartment counting the 'e's in the New York Times editorial section while peeing into jars.
Brunch with Suds in the Village.  We decide to go to a movie.  We wander to the one movie theater I know in my neighborhood, and the Devil Wears Prada starts in five minutes . Perfection.
Movie (which is lovely) ends, I put Suds in a cab, and my friend Clay calls to say (1) he's in the city (2) he's four blocks from me (3) would I like to sit in the sun and have a margarita or three?  We catch up on two months of gossip.
As we are saying our goodbyes for now and debating meeting up later, I get a text message from Suds insisting I come to a fabulous restaurant for dinner.  Who am I to say no?
Delicious dinner.
We attempt to meet up with friends barhopping, are dissuaded by a line, have a beer at a dive bar, call it a night.
On my walk home, I get invited to yet another bar.  I've had enough, but appreciate that my string of uninterrupted social opportunities continues well into the evening.
Sunday I ran errands, went to the Guggenheim (for free!) and then did dinner and playtime in Brooklyn.
Not a bad weekend for one where I had next to nothing planned as of Friday morning.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Potential Roommate?

The weather here has been warm but cooler at night and occasionally breezy. Since I'm both a miser and believe Al Gore that the world is going to end soon, I try to run my air conditioner as little as possible. This means I leave my window open quite a bit, cracked about 12-18 inches to let in the aromas of New York and the honking of the cabs. I may also be inviting in another guest. There is a pigeon who is enamored with my windowsill, and I fear that he is getting bolder. I hear him out there cooing and flapping and I loom menacingly over the window and he flies off. However he returns more and more frequently now. I can't even imagine what I'll do if he crosses the threshold and comes in. I picture a disaster.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I am neither Good, nor a Housekeeper

And yet I've been receiving Good Housekeeping magazine for the past two months.  What's truly mortifying about this is I'm forwarding my mail to my friends' apartment in Brooklyn, and they are mighty suspicious of my reading habits.  I subscribe to Gourmet.  I subscribe to Bon Appetit.  Neither has arrived since I left Philadelphia.  But somehow the USPS feels fit to forward a magazine to which I don't even subscribe.  It's a truly horrible magazine.  The headlines actually look like maybe they'd be interesting, but the magazine is chock full of cheap ads that blend seamlessly with the editorial content so you can't tell if the spread of Lee Jeans is GH suggesting that they might be back in again or a paid suggestion that they might be back in again (as it turns out, both forms of Lee Jeans messaging exist in this issue).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Marji Turned Sixty

And doesn't she look beautiful?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Coming in Second

Is there a worse fate than coming in second at a hot dog eating contest? 52 hot dogs swallowed nearly whole to achieve zero glory?

Happy 4th of July!