Tuesday, April 29, 2008


If you live in New York - and you're me - you regularly have this conversation with friends:

"We should go to Letterman/Conan/The Daily Show/Colbert/The View/SNL"
"How do you get tickets?"
"I don't know. But we should go."

Well, today I went. And the theatre is smaller IRL, and it takes an army of 20-year-old interns to process the crowd, and Rupert G is wonderfully boring IRL, and the bass player was exceptionally twitchingly coked out and messed around with his blackberry throughout Robert Downey Jr's entire interview, and the coolest part was when they were setting up the stage for Alicia Keys' performance and all the backdrops were raised and you got a peek into the Late Show garage: plain pine shelves with a hundred forgotten props, an office chair, a tricyle, a wheelbarrow...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I actually eat pizza every day (sometimes from freezer)

"I'm starving too. What's cheap? Let's get a slice."
"Okay where?"
"What's that famous place a block from here. West Village. We went there once."
"Two Boots? Or Ray's?"
"I don't know - the really famous place on the corner."
"They're both on a corner. Did it have huge, floppy slices or fancy, complicated ones?"
"Huge, floppy ones."
"Wait, fancy, complicated slices?"
"Yeah, Two Boots. It's good."
"K, let's go there.

The Bayou Beast: BBQ Shrimp, Crawfish, Andouille, Jalapenos, Mozarella

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pearl River Mart

It's warm now, so I've taken to walking home from school, restaurants, wherever I find myself below 14th street. Which gives me the opportunity to mentally catalogue new places I want to try out, and to finally happen upon places I have been hearing I should go to for months now. Like Pearl River Mart, which is fulla cheap stuff, like lamps and bronze stock market bulls and crepe paper and a tiny mortar and pestle, which I bought.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


My street has a number of business and office buildings on it, each and every one of which uses a different carting company to take away their trash and their renovation detritus (another reason why privatization is such a good idea). So every evening, beginning at around ten or eleven, I get to hear a noisy trash pickup reverberate around the concrete canyon every 45 minutes.

The other night, add to this the demolition of an entire fucking building between midnight and whenever (attached). The only two things I don't really like about this city: noise and wind.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your name in lights

Grace runs, and I participate in, a philosophy graduate student group called People in Support of Women in Philosophy (anagram pronounced: pussywhip), basically in response to the underrepresentation of chicks in the field. The group (ok, it's actually pronounced P-SWIP) decided to host a public talk by some well-known female academic, so as to raise our profile and whatnot, and we got a rather big deal from Yale to come down and speak about human rights. And we had decided to have two members of PSWIP deliver responses, prepared beforehand. This ended up being Grace and me (swear to god, there are actually other members of this thing). Anyhow, this resulted in my name being on a poster alongside Big-Deal-from-Yale's for about a week around campus, and then me actually saying some cool shit to her in front of an pretty big audience. Bully for women in philosophy everywhere (but mostly for me and Grace).

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Friend and I like to cook, and having just been to costco, had a marinated pork roast on our hands. I threw in a grilled onion and canelli bean salad, roasted potaoes with herbs and olive oil, and garlic dill cheese bread (thanks, mom). Then we sat around and got drunk (with several late night trips to the 24 wine store) and played word games and charades. I think the evening peaked when someone mimed "Moby Dick reading Moby Dick" and we got it in less than a minute.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Another blue job: carrying the heavy shit

Friend has a Costco membership, so we jumped on the subway and went. And then schlepped our hundred and ten pounds of loot home on the subway (up and down the stairs, transfer at Atlantic). Costco here
a) is double-decker
b) has booze!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Like an open circuit or something

When I was a kid, I had a fairly decent memory, but for one thing: places and scenes would always reverse. The details were all there, but upon returning I would always find everything in mirror-image from what I expected.

There's some version of this in New York. I enter and exit the same subway stations every day. In the morning I get on and off at the uptown platforms, and in the evening, the downtown platforms. And in my mind there is absolutely no connection between the two. Meaning that when I stand there and gaze across the tracks at the opposite platform while waiting for the train, it has nothing to do with the platform I will use at another time of day. So for example today when a friend and I parted company and each got on a different platform, I never thought to look across and see him there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Other things

Friend works out and dresses well, and we cut a rather attractive figure in combination, so when went for dinner in Tribeca I wasn't impressed with how the maitre d' sat us at a mediocre table (yeah, you should probably just stop humouring me now). It was early, so the place was mostly filled with the after work crowd, and I watched them from across our wine and tapas.

I am using debt to pay rent, I can't afford the clothes I would like to wear, I am ten years away from an actual career, I still have to make ends meet with multiple jobs, some of which are menial and ridiculous, I wash and reuse ziploc bags, I eat a lot of sanwiches and I will never have time to have children... but all I can do is shake my head (and have another scallop) and thank sweet christ that I am not - NOT - standing over there amongst my age cohort in a fug polyester skirt and pinstriped blouse, lubricating the banal office chitty chat with crantinis.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SMS Highlight Reel, vol. 13

you are going to rock this bitch of a day.

Sorry. I was cooking dinner and playing Leonard Cohen's "So Long Marianne" full blast on repeat. I suck.

this oprah shit is crazy. they are just one big crazy pie. this cant even be real. it is too fucking funny. and crazy...

I've had my picture in the Times, but to be deemed blog-worthy by you? Well, now i've arrived.

Holy christ... That is my analysts' building!

Fool. Correct me if i'm wrong, but is it narcissism that makes you think he'll look at it? Though i did talk it up. Hmmm, your Fucked.

So I just put my dick in her a little bit.

I didn't know it was possible to have a shame-over while still drunk; OR: disregard last text.

Cool beans. Have fun and I'll give you shit about your hangover in the morning. [wink]

text messaging with a keyboard is like butta

by the way all the people in the cracker barrell were way too damned friendly. almost cultish. cracker barrell cult!

If you don't absolutely LOVE New York on a day like this, then i'm afraid you can't love at all. Am I right or am I right?

Wondering if that will make the sms highlights reel... :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Guest post

The Royal Barbershop, or
These Places Exist, or,
When Only Booze and a Straight Razor Will Do

If you were you to go about choosing a barbershop using employees haircuts as your criterion, you would never choose the Royal Barbershop. These aren't the kind of guys that pay much attention to appearance, or hygiene for that matter. Admittedly, it is a bit superfluous, considering the place is housed in the depths of the Fulton St. subway station. But for certain types of people (men), there is something reassuring about walking into a joint where for reading material the offerings are limited to the latest in pornography; where sharing space with the literature on the table next to the folding chair where you wait while a man named Elvis finishes his sandwich are bottles of Johnny Walker Red and Sambuca; where the walls are adorned with posters exhibiting the wide range of haircuts achievable using only clippers, pictures of deceased Yankees, and, in the privileged place directly behind the barber chairs so that the customer can see its reflection in the mirror while getting a trim, a picture of the man I believe played 'Stan' in 'Revenge of the Nerds' (great hair). This is a place where men cut hair, not because of a certain 'fruitiness', but because their father, and their father's father cut hair back in the old country; gay is not in their vocabulary. Elvis is from Montenegro, and he wants to know what it's like out west. Phillip is old, very bald, and very Italian; his daughter just had twins and his station is adorned with photos of his grandchildren. Joseph is small and Jewish with cartoon-like features; he seems compelled to please. This is not the kind of place you go if you are in a hurry. Or, if you are in a hurry, just keep your mouth shut, because these guys are LEGIT, and they will talk to you like people probably used to talk to each other, namely, like they give a shit. Sometimes they'll stop in mid-clip and offer you an espresso ("we got the machine for the customers, but most people turn it down," says Phillip with a frown). It was in the Royal Barbershop that I first saw, and first enjoyed the experience of, the straight razor (absolutely thrilling, though there will be blood). It was also at the Royal Barbershop that I first enjoyed the treat that is the hot towel face massage. Who the fuck does this anymore? It's as if there exist under the streets of Lower Manhattan a taste of what New York used to be. How much for this shit? Fourteen dollars.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

There's always a cache. HI-O!

Yesterday I had the best bagel and lox evah at La Bagel Delight in Brooklyn Heights, then went to the Anarchist Book Fair on Washington Square Park in Manhattan, then to a gallery opening in Buchwick, Brooklyn for graffiti artist Judith Supine (good but it's more fun to find his stuff on the street) and then back to Manhattan for dinner at a fabulous Thai place with my friends in the East Village, where got so full I had to skip out on the loft party at the sculptor's brownstone in Chelsea and the late night drinks back in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

One day I will read this blog and look back wistfully upon all the "freedom" I used to have before I took a reasonably paid tenure-track position with a lot of committee work in Bloomington, Indiana and had a baby with my swain.

No. God, no.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fine, but I'm only doing this so I can blog about it later

Girl, go buy me a water.
Uh, are you talking to me?
[chats on cell phone... chats on cell phone... finishes cell phone conversation] Will you go buy me a water? I'm thirsty and tired.
Heh, do you have any money?
Of course I have money. You think I'ma make you buy me a water with your own money?
I don't know - you asked me to "buy" you a water.
Go and I'll give you money when you get back.
I don't even have any money on me. I think I have like 50 cents.
Girl like you walking around like that and you only have 50 cents?
[reaches down]
Oh great - I get the money from the sock?
You better be bringin me my change.
This is a single. Where do you want your water from?
The stand - right over there.
[buy water, bring it back, push it through the chain-link fence]
Thanks, baby.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fair trades (2)

Bring the clothes you no longer wear; a bottle of wine.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fair trades (1)

Steve, --

Sorry for being so tardy with the book exchange. I tried more than once to send my end of the bargain. It ended up costing an hour of standing in line (as I knew it would) in a crowded and humid post office, and $25, and my decorum in my Wednesday lecture as I had to run from East Village to West to get to my students in time, arriving red-faced, etc.

I've only glanced through Bear. "A fat, freckled, pink and black tongue. It licked. It rasped, to a degree. It probed. It felt very warm and good and strange. What the hell did Byron do with his bear? she wondered." No dissuading the Americans of any stereotypes now. I didn't realize it was a "real" book. Did you know that it won a Governor General's award?

Anyhow, as you have already said you will, I desperately need this book returned to me, for reasons my blog has earlier explained.

Your internet fast friend,

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

James Field, #5 134 West Broadway, New York NY 10013

Walking down a certain street in the Village, and I see friend (I don't know why I am anonymizing him, since he gets regular publicity in major news media on account of what he does to with dogs) in the window of his work, surrounded by obeisant dogs and reading Sade. The dog in his lap he brought to Connecticut with us, and I feel in love with him (dog). I asked him (friend) if I could adopt him (dog) and he (friend) politely insinuated that I would be a terrible dog owner.

I visited him at his work one other time. It looked like this:

He will be writing a guest post on here soon. He has his own blog but he doesn't want you to know about it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

NY people, look up: the trees!

Since this is year two, things are repeating. Two Hallowe'ens. Two Ash Wednesdays. Two Presidents' Days. Two Spring Breaks. That's very odd - having New York memories. Having a New York history. "April in New York is like..."

Today was the first day over 20/70, and instantly I remembered last summer. I mean, things that haven't crossed my mind for eight months and suddenly I can taste them. Iced coffee. Greenpoint. It's complicated.

Photo source

Monday, April 07, 2008

Feminist reading group for the week of April 7

“Finally the critic asks for this minimal explanation, ‘Do you use these letter types [commercial stencils] because you like them or because that’s how the stencils come?’ – to which Johns replies, ‘But that’s what I like about them, that they come that way.’…
There could not be a better description of drive/sublimation: it so wills what occurs that the object it finds is indistinguishable from the one it chooses. Construction and discovery, thinking and being, as well as drive and object are soldered together. The drive’s creation, ex nihilo, of an object, a thing in the very place where unified jouissance, das Ding, is absent, is evoked in this description but without calling up along with it the Romantic image of the artist-creator.” (Joan Coapjec, Imagine There's No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation)

Yes, yes! What made me fall in love with New York are all those little things I discovered about it – the 4/5 train on a weekday morning, my coffee cart, fresh flowers at the bodega, interventions from strangers, wine bistros in the Village – and I love those things precisely because they are New York.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Paranoia and a hotdog

Went to the doctor! Tried out the private health insurance! I could barely swallow, and after three days I took my throat perdition to the clinic. Turns out I once again have something that will simply fix itself (although I got a prescription on spec, ha). Most importantly I triumphed over my inertia about using the medical system here - no small feat, since it involves agency upon agency vetting your problem and/or insurance coverage. Getting to see the doctor was maybe the 6th step, and as I left the clinic the front desk nurse stopped me and asked if I had a co-pay ("Huh?").

And the best part: I had to sign a certain Patient's Bill of Rights. Now, I worked in health policy long enough (yes) to figure out that that in fact enumerates all of the things they are allowed to do to you. And apparently, in New York state, your doctor's office "may disclose your health information to authorized federal officials who are conducting national security and intelligence activities or providing protective services to the President or other important officials." The President, you say!

I celebrated my prognosis with a chili cheese dog and buying some ramekins at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Clothes shopping on Fifth; stop for iced tea

1. Man wearing cook's clothing waking up from nap on window sill.
2. Man toweling off in a locker-lined hallway, very naked (and cut).
3. Open window, with a bird feeder, attracting pigeons.
4. Woman cooking in a narrow, country kitchen.
5. Fiberglass insulation.
6. Miss Sixty store.
7. Woman shiftily looking up and down street, carrying trash out to curb.
8. Guys waiting for cars to park.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Brothers and sisters,

It's too bad I don't union- organize anymore, because I think in New York it would be fun. Fun as in giant inflatable rats which stand outside every action. This one's been at the New School for a long time - lobbying students to put pressure on the school to put pressure on a contractor it hired who is not paying his workers. If there's ever an actual picket line outside of school I will be so fuct because MOMMA DOESN'T CROSS PICKET LINES AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Stay tuned

As part of vibrating on a much higher frequency than others, moving a million miles an hour so as not to fall asleep (friend can't watch me cook because I work so fast it nauseates her), I have a certain ambient level of scatter: fog in the head: distraction. Which manifests itself in things like trying to use my metrocard to exit the subway, sending an sms to the wrong person, etc. But this week takes the cake. I think I have a brain tumor. I went to pay rent - for the 13th time - and lefted down the wrong street. I went to study at my usual spot, and got off, quite deliberately, at 33rd instead of 28th. I told my friend I wanted my coffee with "lots of half & half, and no cream." I bought my usual lunch today at my usual deli, ended up 28 cents short. They told me to get them tomorrow.