Monday, April 30, 2007


Last night the building next to the building I was in burnt down. So that was interesting.

All the neighbourhood kids came by to watch, eatin popsicles and lazily stepping around the firehose as it would get shifted during the fire-fight. The hipsters documented the action with their digital SLRs. The veteran neighbourhood Poles supervised. It was cool how close the firefighters let us get. The owner of the impound lot ATCO trailer that was utterly consumed by the flames was there, kinda agitated. The firefighters handled him quite well, just telling him to keep his distance from the fire, which he had trouble doing. Finally, one of them - huge, mid-thirties, moustache, Brooklyn accent - stood there with his arms folded across his chest and stared him down.

Singsong it with me Katherine: soooo hottt.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Complete effing mystery solved

There are grates everywhere in the sidewalk here, mostly to vent the subways, and for some reason this is one city that doesn't bother putting those oversized cartoon shoe prints on them so that women in heels have something to step on. And yet: I have seen stiletto-heeled New York women glide over them without skipping a damn beat. I have seen this over and over: without looking even looking down they will walk right over these one-inch-wide grates in a spike with the surface area of a Q-tip. So the other day, I'm standing on the street having a cig and it happens yet again, and friend notices my complete mystification and explains, "They just put all their weight on their toes."


Thursday, April 26, 2007

More subway stories

Today I got on the train and a few stops later a white woman my age got on and sat across from me and she was crying and without saying anything the middle-aged East Indian woman next to me handed her a pack of kleenex. And another time I was on the train and a middle-aged black man was coughing and a middle-aged black woman said "You want a cough drop, daddy?" And another time, friend was on a full train and felt really faint all of a sudden and fell onto some people sitting on the bench when the train jerked out of the station and they immediately made room for her to sit down and a middle-aged black business man gave her his not-even-open one litre bottle of cranberry juice and a middle-aged white woman fanned her with her newspaper.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


On the C train as it pulls into Chambers station. Train is pretty full - lots of people standing. We sit there with the doors open: a cop, with an attack dog, is standing on the platform and trying to call some guy off the train. "Step off the train please." Guy is black, in his 40s, somewhat disheveled maybe but not a hobo. He says "Why? I didn't do anything." Cop tells him again to get off the train, he can catch the next one. Guy again says he didn't do anything, moves through the subway car down to where I am. Cop comes down the platform to my door. Again tells the guy to get off the train; guy repeats his protest. Etc. Now the cop is pissed. He steps into the train and the crowd instantly retreats from the doorway area. Except me - I am up stuck against the end of the bench, and in front of me is a rollerboard suitcase. Cop yells at the guy, then lunges at him and grabs his collar. Guy reacts, pulls away, again says he didn't do anything.

Cop commands the dog to attack.

Guy shows terror as the dog grabs for his pants cuff. Cop is yelling at the guy to get off the train. Crowd is stiff and silent in response to the tension having suddenly been ratcheted up 1000 fucking notches by this effing cop. Guy, scared of the dog, shocked at the cop, as stunned as the rest of us by the sudden violence, realizes that the only thing to do is get off the train. So he does. They're on the platform. Cop is screaming at him why didn't he get off the fucking train? Dog has his teeth around guy's ankle. Guy chills out and the cop and dog heel a bit. The doors close and we are pulling away.

I was on that fucking train car before it pulled into Chambers: Nothing was going down. Everyone was chitty chatting all casj, a guy was playing bongos for spare change, no static at all. Nothing that warranted the explosion of Napoleon/cop-complex bullshit violence. As the train continued on one black man light, some white woman said, "That was bullshit. That guy put all of us at risk," meaning the cop. Everyone agreed.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Done. Now get back to work.

You know when you sign on to write a book review so that you can pad your cv with an itty bitty publication? And how you are all optimistic at first and excited when the crisp cloth-cover arrives in the mail? And how you read through it and think about what you're going to say and about seeing your name in print? And then you get a bout of feelings of inadequacy and decide to set it aside for awhile? And how "awhile" turns into a few months, while you're busy procrastinating on all the other work you have to do, and then you find that you are hiding from the publisher? And then one dreaded day they finally do email you and ask you nicely where the hell it is? And so you agonize for a few days and then email them back promising it will be done soon? And then you buckle down and actually produce the thing and feel a great sense of accomplishment, cuz after all the one God-given, unpractised talent you have is the ability to write?

I know, right!

Monday, April 23, 2007

SMS highlight reel, vol. 2

Whoa, wait a minute. What is becoming of that pie?

This place is the bomb bomb bomb Holy shitness

Yo, that sucks. Btw, G train is running screwy

I just got out of jail.

Ew. I think I just finished my Gadamer paper...

Oddly mesmerizing, sleep inducing

Omg im drunk in long island.

Wanna do easter?!

Well, it's a very hip hipster queer bar in wilsbrg.

Drop that deuce yet?!

Hey babe. Drunk. Miss u. How u doin? Prob asleep.

I don't have any memory of like the last hour of the party AND i threw up IN BED (also dont remember that).

Shit girl lets ride.

Look left

I think i'm straight-up gay. Blink 3 times if you can hear me.

Give me 5 mins to finish this cereal

Sunday, April 22, 2007


So, winter didn't start until January, right? And pretty much ever since it's been shitty and cold. Sometimes freezing, sometimes just chilly with a brisk wind, sometimes pissing rain. Well this weekend it was in the high 20s. And I took a long walk in the warm sun without a jacket, down streets I didn't know, and ended up at a restaurant I've never been to, and then friend put a camera down on the table and inside my brain a switched flipped. Suddenly I wasn't in Brooklyn. I was in another city, on vacation, with that Spanish music drifting over from next door and a cocktail at dinner and the sun setting really lazily and I had absolutely nowhere else to be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Today like yesterday, like many days, I confine myself to bed to get reading done. And the combination of Levinas, Spinoza, Gadamer, and the greasy internet machine makes every hour identical, and makes them tick past like minutes. What happens with a total lack of structure, I think.

My neighbourhood, like all neighbourhoods, has a soundtrack. And there is a high degree of temporal organization to it. Trinity Church sounds out the quarter turns; the guts of the building being renovated next door are hauled away at both 6 am and pm; the 2/3 passes underground every couple of minutes. You'd think that the subway noise especially would have become invisible to my consciousness by now, but the opposite is happening. Because I can picture what it's like to stand on the local platform and recoil to an express train screeching and shuddering by, every time I hear the train below me now my brain magnifies the sound to that level. I stop reading. I stop typing. I wait for it to pass.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hey! he lived in New York too!

Cat's Cradle was the first serious book I ever read. On recommendation from my Dad, I think. I remember, "Oh my god, he actually is going to end it that way." I thought the book was near perfect. Still in hindsight, though I wondered whether that was some sort of juvenalia. I can't read about global warming anymore. This is Kurt Vonnegut in a recent interview: "There is nothing they can do," he bleakly answered. "It's over, my friend. The game is lost." This is Kurt Vonngut in a recent poem:

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
“It is done.”
People did not like it here.

OMG, internet. Let's be best friends

Your Brain is Purple

Of all the brain types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.

You May Be a Bit Borderline...

Your mood swings make a roller coaster look tame!
When you're up, you're a little bit crazy...
And when you're down, your whole world is crashing
Scary thing is, these moods can change by the minute!

Your Celebrity Boob Twin:

Angelina Jolie

Sunday, April 15, 2007

End of Weak

Poured rain all day and all night, got no reading done, but I picked up and went to the potluck on the Upper West Side anyway and Grace was her hilarious best and I brought a $20 fruit salad and that woman was outrageously endearing. My situation is dire, but there is always something more and always something next in this city and right now it's all better. I love to you, New York. Good night.

my future ex-husbands The Slackers

There aren't really any words for this past Saturday night in Red Hook, as friend and I discovered while we were there. We barely even know each other, but a coincidence of hometowns and teenage years spent at ska shows allowed for a moment - nostalgia but not repetition, happiness but non self-aware. We exited the cab, waltzed past the line up with our pre-paid tickets, bought a draft, commandeered the men's restroom with two other gals when we realized the line for the women's wasn't moving, then sidled up to stage left just in time for a clear view of the perfect two-hour set. We communicated only in raised eyebrows, every half hour or so, the in-betweens spent dancing? drinking? watching? Must have been, but all I remember is Glen Pine having his way with that trombone, and Marcus Geard beaming because he loves what he does, and Vic Ruggiero talking in that unapologetic Brooklyn accent about the scene "in heah", and about spending the last ten years angry over what we're doing to each other and the planet... then accepting that we'll go out in some kind of blaze of glory, but here is this. He'll be playing. And hopefully, Glen Pine will be smashing my headboard.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

J train, 1 AM, Marcy Av station, Manhattan-bound platform

Also, if you can figure out a way to rotate this video, I will give you one million dollars, because neither I, iMovie, VLC, Kodak EasyShare, Quicktime Pro, YouTube, Google Video, nor my film student roommate can.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Look at me

What with Kate & Mike in Africa and Nicole Kidman (?) back in Australia, as of this week I've finally been hit by all five continents.

(Disclaimer: that's a six weeks' worth of hits in that chart, not one. I had to do that because I didn't receive a hit from every continent in a single one-week span. So I had to expand the date range. So basically, my blog's not as popular as it looks here. I didn't mean to imply that I got all these hits in a week. If you look closely, it's not actually implied by what I said. But still, not bad, right? That's kind of a lot of hits. Although I think a lot of that is random one-time visits from the blogger homepage, when I update my blog. It's still exciting, though. Of course, if I really wanted lots of people to read my blog I would give the url to people in New York. Like, besides Suz. Or I could put my webpage on my commenter profile on Gawker. But you know, it's hard enough to find a voice you're willing to exercise to the broad spectrum of people you know back home, including your mother; adding people here to the mix - people who are with me when I have the experiences I blog about - just seems like it would make me feel hemmed in. I mean, those people could call me out on all the subtle massaging of the truth that one does in order to turn out good copy. Mind you, it's not any more than most people do in a casual retelling of a story to a friend, but still - I've become more and more of a Kantian with regards to lying.)

You know who you are, vol. 2

A propos of that conversation we were having, I present my compilation of


Monday, April 09, 2007


I ate Easter twice yesterday, first brunch at Ulysses in the Financial District, where your $20 includes a bloody mary or mimosa, coffee, and as many trips to the bacon, french toast, custom omelette, croissants, cakes, fresh fruit and cream, smoked salmon and raw oysters as you can fit in.

Then we kicked it in Bushwick, which I have mentioned many times before is the hispanic neighbourhood where they hate you white people, and with good reason because your presence means their rent is about to triple, and had ham and scalloped potatoes and salad and hard boiled eggs. Now, when a pulsing blast of Spanish music goes driving by on the street outside, guess what kind of car that is. Nova? Souped-up Civic? No, fool it's an Astro minivan. You know, cuz you can fit your whole crew in there. And you can get them at auction for like, $800.

Then we sat around and used Google Maps to show each other where we lost our respective virginities. New party game!

Thus slept moi

Went to a play at a little East Village venue called Kraine Theater. It was a play production of Thus Spoke Zarathustra (a philosophy classic) and was very D&D/Lord of the Rings. Okay, it was not bad for a tiny theatre company, but in a tiny venue like that there is no audience anonymity, and so the actors can totally see when you are dozing off in the middle of their, like, big emotional scene.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Suck it

Four girly heads of hair, showering at least once a day. This happens. The city throws its angriest muck back at you, up seventeen stories (probably more than twenty, once the pipes make room for the 2/3 train). This is not nearly as bad as the other time, when we had to buy a new shower curtain.

P.S. This always happens on a Friday after 5pm.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Yesterday I was in Greenpoint, which is a neighbourhood that is 75% Polish and 60% Hispanic, so it makes sense that I got cat-called in Polish by a Hispanic guy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

F as in fruitcake

People in New York can be eccentric, obviously. And it's no much hobos setting the bar as the crazy ladies on the Upper East Side with big fur coats and orange lipstick way outside the corners of their mouths. In fact, a lot of what would be considered eccentric elsewhere (Saskatchewan, say) doesn't even qualify here, what with all the actors and the gays and the Hasidic women with the mandatorily fake-looking wigs. But there's, I don't know, a containment to it. Like a courtesy or something.

What got me thinking about this was a conversation I had with a person from LA who, having lived both here and there, is a regular eccentricity connoisseur by now, and he said that the LA brand has this insufferable obnoxiousness to it, like every eccentric thinks he or she invented personality. And we chalked the city difference up to the fact that whereas people in LA drive e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e, people here have to take their Me roadshow on the subway. And there's only so much shit your fellow F train passengers are going to tolerate.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You know who you are, vol. 1

Well guess what came up in conversation yesterday? Bandolier. Or as you called it, "bullet sash."

I still laugh out loud.

Empire State Building

So, the Empire State Building is (once again, post-9/11) the tallest building in New York. Which makes it useful as a reference point when you come out of the subway and want to know which way is north - or, when you're north of 34th street, which way is south (confused the fuck out of me the time I went to the DMV west of it, on 34th. I literally had to force myself to put one foot in front of the other down 34th to get crosstown, in defiance of my internal compass screaming that I was walking north-south).

The Empire State Building was my first object of recognition during the cab ride from the airport to the dorm, the night I first arrived in the city, and it is also in clear view up Fifth avenue from the entrance to the New School.

Every night, the top portion of the building is lit up in three tiers. Each tier is lit up with one of several colours (blue, red, green, yellow, white, or orange). The lighting schematic varies every day or two, so the building looks different all the time. The night I arrived it was all green. At Christmas it was red and green. My favourites are all white, and blue-white-blue. I just learned that the lighting schedule has some significance, which you can look up here. In fact, you can request a certain lighting schematic to commemorate an event (nothing corporate or purely personal, though). I'm thinking May 1 red-white-red. You know, for the workers.

Anyway, if ever you want to look at something that I have probably looked at too that day, log onto this webcam. Eventually, its view will be obstructed by the high-rise that is being built in between, but for now it's a great shot. Also note that the lights on the Empire State Building are switched off in fog, as tonight.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Next year in Jerusalem, kids

It's Passover, so I just had seder, obvs. I don't know whether that needs an article or not. A seder? Wait - did seder?

My friend was feeling homesick and nostalgic (oh, and Jewish), so invited a couple of us non-Jews over, and really went all out. I helped with the Charoset and washed the parsley for the Karpas. Look it up, Catholics. She walked us through the Cliff notes version of the holiday - reciting the Hebrew phrases and telling us when to drink our Manischewitz. We were delightfully irreverent, I am sure. Actually, there was blasphemy all around: at one point someone asked an obvious question, and she totally ingenuously said "Does the pope shit in the woods?" We all burst out laughing, and then other friend said that would actually make a great New Yorker cartoon - the pope shitting in the woods, and a bear walks up to him wearing a funny hat. Write your own caption.