Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Can't get enough of that strikethrough thing

Well, I didn't get much any reading done today, but I did manage to fill out a bunch of grant forms.

"I've produced nothing, give me more money." Harharhahrarhahrhahr.

I went to the Museum of Natural History yesterday, though. Tick.

There was more to this post. I was going to do a Baconian table of presences and absences to determine whether, after six months, I'm a New Yorker (gym membership, Duane Reade fob, therapist, favourite vitaminWater flavour). But I don't know how to do tables in html. Also: not that funny.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

For driving buying cigarettes, fitting in

How cool is this?

Also, pace a decade's worth of stand-up jokes, the DMV is a much smoother bureaucracy than the New School or my stupid, stupid bank, or t-mobile. See, when I say I hate bureaucracy, what I really mean is that I am a bureaucracy conoisseur. It's an anarchist thing (read: organized, just not hierarchical).

Monday, February 26, 2007

So Long, annoying party-goers

Went to a friend's birthday drink in Chinatown tonight. It was at some dive on Orchard St with a blank awning and no heat and a lone 20-something bartender playing tunes from his iPod. But okay, decidedly cosy when fat snowflakes are falling outside and So Long, Marianne comes on and I am eating the spare ribs and dumplings I just had delivered and talking with Friend (capital F) about that girl thing of needing to be good and needing to be kind and what ensues from that.

And then something happened that doesn't often anymore: we all came back to mine. Well, not my own dorm room but another in the building, with the very same floor plan but whose occupants were masochistic and charitable enough to mash the two beds into a corner and make one wing of the ell into a very congenial living room. Partying at home can of course turn a sober boredom into a willingness to socialize into the wee hours, except that friend and friend got into a REALLY ANNOYING whiny is your half bigger than mine? logistical dispute about drug and I and went to bed.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Give me an unlimited food allowance, I may never leave

Now, readers of this blog, you only score minimal NY-savoir points if you know that you can order all of your groceries online from Fresh Direct and have them delivered to your house at a time that is convenient for you. But guess what else? Oh my god, I can hardly say it, it's so cool. You can go to their site, browse recipes - including vegan, or kosher, or home-schooled-Park-Slope-celiac-child-friendly recipes - and then, like, click "buy", and it has already put all of the ingredients in your virtual shopping cart, except that it's so smart that it didn't put "olive oil" or "salt" in there because it figures you already have those things in your house, but they're also listed right there at the bottom of the page in case you are out, such that all you have to do is tick them off.

So last night I took advantage of all this and cooked dinner at a friend's house, who has a blender and a stove and a food processor what I don't have. Lamb and Lentil soup with Walnut and Rocquefort Butter. Says friend: "You know the recipe's fancy when it's asking for the outside of the lemon." Hee.


You know, you bring a blog into this world, and you love it and care for it and nurture it, and worry about whether it's getting enough pictures and how it's doing in the internet, and then one day you realize that it's not really yours anymore. It has its very own personality and independence, and you can no longer control it, and you just have to step back and allow it to be free. There will be surprises - things you never expected it to do or say or become. Some of these will be bad, others good. But the bottom line is, you have to allow it to find its own way.

That is the difference between "it's" and "its".

Still Big in China

Shout out to Shuangyashan!
Shout out to Harbin!
Shout out to Caijia!
Shout out to Shenyang!
Shout out to Zhangye!
Shout out to Beijing!
Shout out to Jimo!
Shout out to Xiaozhaozhuang!
Shout out to Quzhou!
Shout out to Ningbo!
Shout out to Wenzhou!
Shout out to Shandong!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

131 Rivington

K: This place sort of reminds me of a prison.

M: Yeah, I can see that: white tile, iron bars...

K: ..fluorescent lighting. It's really nice. I can see how a lot of prison romances get started.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Grades are in. The winning streak continues.

Who says I'll ever get my come-uppance for spending my life in dissipation?

P.S. Was this post annoying?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ash whatnow?

Apparently, Catholics in New York really represent, cuz yesterday was an ashcrossstravaganza. And of course, it took me a dozen or so foreheads before I put two and two together. Two being the postcard I got from Kate about Carnivale, and the other two being the fact that I was raised Catholic.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

That's the sound of scrupulous honesty

Since getting a portable mp3-playing device for Christmas, circulating about the city has been a whole "nother" affair. The long subway rides are enjoyable, I have the ability to tweak my mood, and I have a soundtrack to accompany steamrolling over people on the sidewalk. Thanks, Christian.

So then imagine my despondence when I realized today that I had lost said portable mp3-playing device. Checked everywhere twice, then realized the only place it could be was the Y. Pallots. Yesterday. Couches across from the pool area.

I dug out my membership, called the number, and sure as shit they had it for me in an envelope at the front desk. Just like that.

This is why a month ago I created a post label called "lost and found". This city gives and it gives.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

SMS highlight reel

"Do you have valentine's day in canada?"
"North side of the street, closer to 6th than 7th"
"Pouting verboten"
"You're my favourite Edmontonian."
"The 28th. Damn!"
"Yea that's my fault I guess. Are you having a good time?"
"God Bless America"
"Hey, sorry I missed your call yesterday. Pork WHAT?"
"Of course. It's very abstract"
"Writing is not happening."
"Have major debriefing to do with you!"
"I did have fun. Thanks for throwing that shindig. Now, what is it you want to know?"
"Done. FUCK people there suck. Where u @?"
"Were in the corner. enter and turn left and left again"
"Lol. Actually, imma gonna make it riiiight now."
"At the Rockerfeller Centre. I'll be at Will Call, picking up the tickets"
"Hey I heard a nasty rumour there is something going on @ your place tonight. Care to comment?"
"Macy's. woot!"
"Haha I remember now hearing last night how your car got stolen and thinking that was no excuse for not coming out."
"OMFG. How long does this Kierkegor paper have to be again?"
"That's perfect. [Redacted] has analysis until 1. Then we can all do lunch."
"107 row 6"
"On our way to the housewarming in a car service, as soon as we can get one"
"Same. WTF?"
"wrong girl!"
"Yeah i need a shower anyway"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Two New York things I did this weekend

And it's still the weekend, cuz it's President's Day. (Buy a mattress.)

1) Went to PS1, which is a branch of the MoMA out in Long Island City, Queens. It's in an old public school, obviously, and a bit edgier than the MoMA, a bit less ikea. My faves were an installation piece where you and another person climbed up tall ladders and poked your head through a just-big-enough hole in the ceiling (I won't tell you what you saw), and a blurry, foggy b&w photograph of a house that seemed to come in and out of focus as you looked at it.

2) Finally had an egg cream. It was seltzer and chocolate and something dairy. This was at Eisenberg's, which is a very old, long and narrow Noo Yawk diner. Food was great. Stools and bar were great. Cheeky Mexican cooks were great.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

PoMo in SoHo

Last night I went to a reading of a play - Jean Anouilh's verson of the Greek tragedy Antigone - by a small group of young actors in the very early stages of putting together a production. It took place after hours at a place called Manhattan Bistro in SoHo, what neighbourhood I rarely venture to since I'm more of an Anarchist Forum Meeting on the Lower East Side New Yorker than a shoe-shopping between cocktails one.

The reading was green, enjoyable, overwrought, endearing, uncomfortable, all of the above.

a) Antigone being paged on the intercom/phone from the kitchen mid-scene.*
b) A young woman in the audience periodically leaving her barstool to sob loudly outside the restroom.*
c) Creon competing to be heard over the owner and a manager, who are arguing heatedly about unexplained suppliers' bills.
d) Another woman in the audience snickering, heckling, guffawing, suggesting throughout much of the second act.*

So here's the question. Which one was the real play, people? Oooooooo....

*Note: everyone in New York is an actor.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine

Must have been Valentine's Day yesterday, cuz the guy who cat-called me in the subway was carrying flowers for his girlfriend.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I won a $100 gift certificate for Williams Sonoma through a contest on Gawker. Cool, right?

Now the only question is whether to get the Lobster Stew, shipped overnight from Presque Isle, Maine, or a monogrammed steak brand.

[joke about being a poor grad student]

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Excuse me

Hey, I've finally put my finger on that what I've been trying to describe to all of you about how people relate to each other in New York. Here it is: in most places, if you were to ask a person a question or talk to them for whatever reason, you would need to preface that with an "excuse me" - you would need to break into their little personal privacy sphere, and apologize for doing so, before getting to the point. Here, if someone wants to say something (e.g. "Are they allowed to jackhammer like that at one in the fucking morning?" or "Is this train running local?"), they just come right out with it. Because we all already know that each other is there.

Exception: hobos still deferentially use the "excuse me" before asking you for money. Like the guy who solicited some change from me in the subway station the other day, and when I turned him down, looked directly at my Dragonfruit vitaminWater.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Le weekend

Friday was a dinner party with real grown-ups, Saturday was a couple of houseparties, Sunday was a potluck on the Upper West Side - first time I've been to that particular part of town. It was in a fabulous apartment: high ceilings with curved mouldings, hardwood floors, big dining room, doorman, rooftop view of the midtown skyline across the park (the picture is of another view from the roof)... How do you get an apartment like that? Someone dies. No really - this was inherited. Har har. The crowd was slightly more diverse than I usually hang around with: a chef, a few DJs, a clothing designer. I am moving up.

P.S. You know how when you grow up in Calgary you know, like, one Jew? It's the reverse here. And it's me.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Staten Island

Friend and I went to Staten Island on Saturday, since that is a borough we hadn't yet seen, and because we both appreciate the need for random adventuring, and because we heard you can get $2 beers on the (free) ferry. It was windy and cold and hilly and very suburban but scummy at the same time. We stopped locals on the street to ask them where we should go if we wanted to see or eat something, and they all said, "Back to Manhattan." Friend says that we should give Staten Island to New Jersey, in exchange for the Nets.

We did find a great thrift store - the kind with items that you will clutch as you fall to the floor, laughing so hard you're trying not to pee. For example, friend found a tie-dyed, zodiac-themed Long Beach shirt - wider than it was long - to wear to the two houseparties in Brooklyn that night.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


By the way, New York is always and everywhere under construction - underground, above ground, inside of buildings, outside; the streets are torn up, there is scaffolding everywhere, the subway is being rerouted, jackhammers are sounding off, there is heavy machinery parked on the corner, etc etc etc. This makes sense - it's a big city, it was built 5000 years ago, and it has 10 million people in it, flushing the toilet and such.

But for god's sake, let's make our priority closing up the ceiling in Fulton station so that I don't have to get those fat drops of foetid condensation in my hair anymore while waiting for the 4/5.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Katherine is here!

And we are too busy yakking and drinking vinho verde for me to stop and describe it all to you so here is a hobo story:

Today I saw a guy in Union Square station lighting a cigarette, kind of in that surreptitious "I know this is verboten" but "Fuck it, I'm a hobo - the rules don't apply to me" kind of way. But the funny part was, he had this exact folding grocery cart, and in it all he had, way down there at the bottom, was a slice of pizza.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Feng Shui

My daily routine for an interminably long time has been:

Wake up to roommates making oatmeal, sleep, wake up to roommates doing dishes, sleep, wake up again, drag laptop onto bed, read email and celebrity gossip, shower, scrounge for food, watch a few minutes of y&r, train it to school, drink coffee, chat with friends, cig, read philosophy (repeat), train it home, scrounge for dinner, read email, go out, get back, watch movie, sleep.

And every day a fresh layer of philosophy readings, borrowed CDs, coffee napkins, dirty laundry, and metrocards settles on my living space.

But today was different, because Katherine is coming tomorrow. I tidied and dusted and swept and bought groceries, and now it's actually really nice and homey in here. Katherine is going to *love* eating pizza pops and sleeping on my exercize mat under a pile of jackets.

OMG, I am so excited.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Day one of many

I am trying a new thing. I am going to try to post every day. This is not so much because fantastic and interesting things are happening to me all the time, and not even because I am always looking for another reason to blow off work, but because there's just something about this format that lends itself to daily upkeep. Set your homepages!!!

Today it was fuh-reezing. Like, kind of fun at first when the sun is shining and you just step outside, but after dark, with the wind blowing, it's all WHERETF IS AMSTERDAM? I HATE YOU UPPER WEST SIDE WHY AREN'T YOUR AVENUES JUST NUMBERED.

And I bought some $5 gloves on the street last week, but left them at a party the very next day. That was pair number 3, and I refuse to continue the vicious, consumeristic cycle of buying cheap gloves and leaving them places because who cares they were so cheap. Also, I am broke.

Speaking of which, today between running errands uptown (buying Katherine train tickets at Grand Central, and a Hegel reading group at Juliard), a friend and I drank champagne in the hotel bar at the Waldorf Astoria. Now Mom, before you start criticizing, you should know that

a) I had packed a lunch that day
b) I've been letting other people buy me a lot of stuff lately
c) it was actually house label sparkling wine.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Apparently I'm the only decent cook around here

Went to Little Italy with some girlfriends on Friday and had dinner in one of the many restaurants on Mulberry, then went up the street for cannoli and coffee. Conversation was great but gastronomically the evening sucked, sucked, sucked. Thanks a lot I only have so many meals in my life, jerks! The funny thing is, the neighbourhood and restaurant seem to be full of Italians. The server was old-country Italian, and halfway through our meal an Italian wandering brass band came in and serenaded us all. But the sauce on my ravioli was a can of tomatoes nuked with provolone, and the cannoli, and my friend put it, was "grocery store quality."

This afternoon I went to Trader Joe's, like a non-day-of-the-week-minding fool. The lineup wended (went?) its way around the entire store - you couldn't even get to the items on the shelves for the wall of iPod listening, cell phone texting, puffy jacket wearing hipsters waiting to check out. Haha I am one of them. Anyway, Trader Joe's is wonderfully indulgent, like most Manhattan grocery stores (there's sushi and frozen hors d'oeuvres and fresh pasta, but no like, flour or vegetable oil or sugar. Substitute: white truffle oil and a small shaker of organic cane sugar) - except it's cheap. (Incidentally, helped some neighbours polish off 5 bottles of Trader Joe's wine on Saturday night - aka $16 dollars worth.)

This evening I went to my first ever Superbowl party. I brought crab cakes. People made fun of me - THROUGH THEIR REALLY FULL MOUTHS. And I don't know whether the same commercials are shown in Canada, but did you see the one with the GM robot that gets laid off and then can only find menial non-unionized service jobs and feels so dejected that he decides to jump off a bridge? Man, was that funny! Bwhahahahaahahaha!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Last night's audition

Just as the Village and the Lower East Side lie below Midtown, a class of waifish twentysomething New York hipsters lies below the fashionable fortysomething Manhattan gentry. These hipsters go out any night of the week - but not until after midnight - get spectacularly drunk, and do freaky New York things, all in the hopes of being seen. It's just like that FLL or Tijuana spring break crap, except the kids are much paler and better dressed, and instead of screaming and lifting their tank tops for Girls Gone Wild, they stare sultrily into the camera and have a nipple slip for blogs like Last Night's Party and the Cobrasnake.

Now, you know that my underfunded friends and I usually opt for a houseparty in Brooklyn or dollar PBRs in dive bars. But believe me that is not representative of the (white, middle-class) New York scene. It is all one big society page entry waiting to happen. And last night, I found myself in the midst of it.

It was for a friend's birthday party, and it took place in a former full-service massage parlour that had been shut down, only to reopen a week later (with minimal renos) as a club. There was a DJ, there was bubble wrap, and there was supposed to be an open bar from 11:30 until midnight. I ordered a G&T, you know because I was really thirsty and wanted something refreshing, and the guy charged me. Said the open bar only applied to vodka. I snorted.

Now, this wasn't the most happening party in the city, and I did have fun with my friends, but I realized, as we drank in a white-tiled sauna and listened to recycled New Order and watched people make out and occasionally had our picture snapped unrequitedly by a blog photographer, what this scene looks like live. When I was your age we had a word for this: tryhard. Wait, maybe it was two words.