Wednesday, September 27, 2006


…that’s how I feel and that’s why I haven’t blogged. Despite the MoMA, the past week ended up filled with little more than indolence, procrastination and wallowing. I am behind on my readings as a result, and as all students know, there is no greater disincentive to work.

There were some highlights, though. I found a dumpling place on Mulberry (I think) that serves up 6 potstickers for a dollar – one dollar! – and sells you frozen bags of 50 for $7. That was on the way home from the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, which despite being 10 blocks long consists of only three things: sausage and pepper stands, carnie-type prize booths, and stalls selling Godfather and Scarface merchandise. I loved it anyway – strolling through on a calm fall day with my fancy new fall jacket on.

Some old stuff I forgot to post about: I went down to Ground Zero on September 11, and stood in the crowds for a while. (A mere block away it was chaos and open construction pits and suits scarfing down lunch.) I also caught that 9/11 documentary on t.v. again and recognized my neighbourhood in it – not just in a casual “Hey I know that place!” way, but in that way where you can feel the camera lens right on you.

I’ve very much settled in, and my own house and street and stomping grounds have all become mundane very fast. But the wonderful thing about cities like this is that all it takes is venturing one block over, and you find yourself immersed again in fascinatingly unfamiliar sights and sounds. Like yesterday on Sixth, with the autumn sunlight hitting the old brick buildings - including a 150-year-old apothecary - I hated going down into the subway. You can mix it up and do your shopping in Chinatown and swear you’re in Beijing. Or you can always venture way uptown and gawk at the stinking rich people in the windows of Versace.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Where we live

Our building:

Our kitchen:

My space:

The view:

The street:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Post 4: A very good night

Very good night last night. Went to a talk in the philosophy department which they followed up with wine and pizza – those giant, floppy slices of pizza that are stereotypically New York. (The trick to eating them is folding them in half.) Then went uptown to Murray Hill/Grammercy to meet the lovely Karen near her hotel, and drank margaritas at a place called Dos Caminos. Real, limey margaritas like you get in Mexico. The best part of that place though was the guacamole truck. There is a guy whose job it is to wheel a tea trolley around with ripe, fatty avocados, fresh tomato, cilantro, garlic, etc., and make guacamole for you to your liking. We devoured two bowls and what must have been 6 avocados, because let’s face it, no indulgence – not cake, not wine, not chocolate – is better than avocado.

Then we went crosstown a little to a rooftop party at someone’s walkup (see how I can just drop those New York words right in there?), where there was all manner of substance abuse and fun and frivolity with the other philosophers. Actually, we have been socializing a little, but this party really congealed the scene quite a bit, which was good. There had to have been 80 bedroom windows in the immediate vicinity and I don’t know how or why the neighbours let us get away with that crap: a raucous chorus of “Happy Birthday” for a guy who, upon closer inspection of his driver’s license, was born in March. Accidentally smashed glasses. A naked guy. We split a cab home with that guy, since he lives in our building. As we were walking towards where we hailed the cab, we chided him to get naked again, and before we could even turn around he had done it. And then did a naked backflip. And the guy nearby loading baked goods into his street vendor stall at 3 am was so delighted with our antics that he gave us doughnuts and pound cake.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Post 3: I like the hyphen

Yes, it’s a scandal. I haven’t posted in ages. Most of that has to do with Mom being here, and spending a lot of time haggling for my cargo shipment, which I have finally got a hold of. Apparently it was at Laguardia all along. Hmm.

So last weekend I went to the “Bodies” exhibition at the South Street Seaport ( Even more interesting than the genuine human bits was peoples’ reactions to them. Teenaged boys were fascinated by how small a two-month-old fetus is. Women crowded in silent reverence around the cross-section of the female pelvis. Kids started out wide-eyed and grossed out and ended up as bored after half an hour as they are with anything else.

Sunday the gals on our floor of the dorm all went for Dim Sum. We had invited the boys too, but they had assumed that “meet in the lobby at 9:50” meant 9:50 pm – since who in their right mind gets up before noon on a Sunday?

Mom’s visit was great – I got to eat in real restaurants and shop at Bed Bath & Beyond! (And, in a real Manhattan first, got my stuff delivered!) She may or may not be back, since she had to do the entire trip sans luggage (toiletries, change of clothes, pills) – the entire time she was here, her bag was in L.A., presumably having a GREAT time – and I think that may have soured her a bit on the experience.

I finally have a cell phone. I shopped all over town – way more providers here than up North, of course – and couldn’t seem to get around paying an enormous security deposit, seeing as I don’t have a US social security number. I eventually avoided all that by buying a phone and doing the pay-as-you-go thing, which everybody thinks is really weird, seeing as, like, I’m totally going to run out of minutes – NOBODY uses a land line anymore, that is so 90s. Sometimes, especially around quitting time, you find yourself walking through a forest of people talking loudly into the air while wandering down the avenue, each figuring out exactly where their interlocutor is, and what restaurant or watering hole they will be meeting at post-work.

I also now have all of my philosophy books – prices are pretty reasonable when you’re paying the publisher’s set price and not some exhorbitant Canadian markup. It feels good to read grown-up philosophy after a year of teaching 100-level material.

Tomorrow is the big day – the five-year anniversary of 9/11, which happened very nearby to where I now live. Bush was even rumoured to be there at noon today, so I went down to see. Besides the usual crowd of tourists/gawkers/rememberers, there was one lone protester – a guy with a huge banner, screaming about how Bush *planned* the WTC attacks. With a dozen news cameras trained on him, of course. (No sign of Bush - he was inside somewhere.)

The rest of the past week has been filled with bureaucratic misadventures, attending my first classes, visiting Brooklyn (on purpose) and Queens (not) for the first time and getting very, very drunk in the East Village once again – this time with a bunch of lawyers willing to compensate for mine and Grace’s inability to afford drinks. And the drinks – they’re a little pricey, but I tell you, you get your money’s worth. Every one is made with a very long free-pour of premium (and decidedly not watered down) spirits. I had to change my drink from gin & soda because I can’t stomach the taste of several ounces of gin with a thin slice of lime.

And on that note, I will talk to you all later.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


The Edmonton Anarchist Bookfair is taking place this weekend, as this week's cover of Vue will tell you. Those in town should go, and everyone else can visit this link for some interview bits with yours truly.

Post 2: Vowels and smells

Just got back from drinking in Chelsea – across the street from where Sid stabbed Nancy – and the East Village, where many other interesting things have happened as well. And I am safe at home.

Went to see the Stock Exchange for the first time today, since it is just around the corner. It is adorned right now with the biggest American flag I do believe I have ever seen.

Not much else to report, so I will do so in short form:

1. Doors and gates that open onto busy sidewalks will often emphatically say “NO MENUS” – which actually means exactly what you think it does. And, showcasing the efficacy of the city government, many streets and intersections now have signs warning “no honking”.

2. Grace and I have taken to pointing out smells to each other. Raw fish. Coffee. Men’s cologne. Poo. On Wednesday, everything in the city, from the bowels of the subway to the 4th floor of the school, smells deep-fried. Don’t know why.

3. My vowels are already getting longer. Swear to Gaaad. And I’ve only been here 6 days.

Miss you all.