Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Club seats

Oooh, we went to the corporate VIP version of the hockey game. This means parking about ten feet from the door and dining on prime rib and crab legs and cabernet in the Avison Young club and then taking your front row seats where waiters come by and crouch on the steps and ask you for your drink order. And then skipping back to the Avison Young club between periods where you have another, pre-ordered drink waiting (they're really efficient about the whole drinking thing). From seats that close you can definitely tell which players are good-looking. Great vantage on the rhubarb, too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I got an article accepted for publication!

It's a "postgraduate" journal (which I think means mostly student papers), but it is affiliated with Oxford! Yaaaay!

Actually, it's that paper.

Thanks to PSWIP, who helped me edit it!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So what did you do during the crazy snowstorm of '09?

I tried flying home early, which meant spending two full days at LaGuardia (and then one night in Toronto), and subsisting for two days on terrible coffee and sandwiches, and finding a nice corner of the departure lounge with an outlet, where I could drag out all my notes and articles on Freud and Derrida and write my Psychoanalysis and Deconstruction paper.

And in between those two days at the airport (with cab rides to and from) some friends came over with wine so I really didn't have to leave the house at all. I heard it was a mess out there, though.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It finally happened!

You know those shitty ATMs that litter Manhattan and as a result of which, if you live here, your identity gets stolen from time to time (because you do use them, against your better judgement, because you are lazy)? You know, the ones chained to the outside of the bodega, because god knows the bodega isn't going to accept your credit/debit card, except for purchases over twenty dollars or some nonsense, but how much would you have to hate yourself to spend twenty dollars at a bodega? The ones covered in stickers and dog shit, that charge a two dollar withdrawal fee on top of your own bank's own $3 fee (I've never understood that - what, is the bank pouting that you took money out somewhere else just because you happened to be drunk in Alphabet City and really needed cigarettes and it was close and convenient)? So those ATMs always include the helpful security tip to wait until all your cash is dispensed before taking it, because the bills might get stuck coming out of their cheap dispensing device. And on account of that I always throw a glance at the one outside my building to see if someone forgot a twenty. And today somebody did! Free money.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do I have to not fix everything around here?

After sleeping for 15 hours (man, was I tired and sick), I dragged myself out of bed and through the shower to my appointment at the Genius Bar, i.e. the tech support at the fancy Apple Store in Chelsea. You see, my computer had died the night before - in that most enviable way of simply going to sleep and never waking back up. And all of my grades were trapped inside. And let me tell you, babies, this was one of those times - probably the only time - that the problem was solved with a simple ctrl+alt+caps lock+power button. Boom, back to life. Grades saved.
"You should probably back up, though."
"Yes. Yes, I will."

Then I went home, only to smell gas in the hallway of my decrepit apartment building. I called the landlord and he was only mildly interested.
"We took care of that this morning."
"Well, apparently not, because the smell is back, and it's really strong."
"Ok, I'll send the super around again."
"Look, I don't know how to say this, but I've met the super, and... I'm just gonna call ConEd."
Which I did, and of course they asked me to wait outside the building for 45 minutes to let them in, and then I had to walk around with the guy while he used his EKG meter to detect dangerous fumes (oh by the way, at this point of course the smell is completely gone), and then after the shift change let a second ConEd guy in to do the same, at which point I snapped and said "Look, I have a paper to write. Here's my landlord's number. He's really the one who should be dealing with this. I don't know whether there was a fuel delivery today, or whether something has been done to the boiler. I don't know if the businesses downstairs use gas, or where the meters are, and I can't let you in to anyone's suite. Can you please just call him?"
"Whoa, okay lady, alright."


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cockroach update

So the cockroach is gone. Like I said, I was just gonna wait until a male friend came over. Well, one such friend locked himself out of his house and called me for refuge at 5:30 am on Sunday when none of his roommates would answer. I told him he had to get the cockroach.

"That's still there?"
"I read that post!"
"Well, now you have to take care of it for me."
"Sure, okay. I don't even mind - it kind of feels like meeting a reality tv star."
"And take out the garbage bag you put it in."

Friday, December 11, 2009

I passed my oral comprehensive exams

That's another hoop you have to jump through in the marathon on the way to the PhD (oops, mixed my metaphors). I went last that day, and my examiners said it was a "perfect way to end the day"; in fact, that it was "a model of how oral exams should be done" and that I had even "restored their faith in this institution's academics." I then went and got drunk for 9.5 hours. Wine is to the philosopher as soap is to the working man.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

What we talk about when we talk about philosophy

The ladies and I went to SPEP to find our future ex-husbands. We took the train, we brought six bottles of wine, we stayed in the conference hotel (I love staying in the conference hotel), we brought aerosol cheese and saltines, we attended some of the talks, we skipped some of the talks, we attended all of the wine and cheese receptions, we refilled our glasses in our hotel room, we passed notes (2009 version: writing a draft of an SMS and showing it to the person), we checked out our prospects, we turned down our prospects, we walked across the Potomac and ate an amazing brunch (Eggs Chesapeake: an eggs benedict with crab cakes instead of back bacon), we took the train home. We took pictures.

Friday, December 04, 2009

About that

Sometimes I will read pages and pages of my own blog (aka my internet diary). I'll skip to two years ago, and read a whole series of posts, and I'll get a vivid sense of what was happening then, what I was going through, who I was. Not that I ever publish the significant stuff, but what I do put down works well as a mnemonic device. It's like when you watch a movie adaptation after having read the book. If someone just asked you to rattle off the book, you wouldn't remember half of it. But if you watch the movie, even if you read the book years ago, you notice every little change, and remember everything that was left out.

So we broke up recently. It's difficult. But it wasn't right, and we knew it. And one of the reasons I knew, for my part, was because he never read my blog. He didn't read it, and that always bothered me. Sure we talked about it, and he had his reasons, and he would even read some bits if I asked him to, but it wasn't something he wanted to do. And that was something I could never come to terms with.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Omen Omener Omenest

The night that I got back, it was after midnight when I finally got home and I hadn't eaten all day while travelling so I grabbed the nearly-empty bag of avocado oil potato chips from the top of the fridge and crawled into bed and fell asleep watching tv on the internet. In the morning I woke up and walked over to my suitcase and flipped open the lid... and found the bag of chips, the stay-fresh clip reattached to it, sitting there amongst my clothes and toiletries.

The mom from the Sixth Sense knows what I am talking about.

The second day I got back I was blowdrying my hair and saw something approaching from the corner of my eye and screamed (that's reason enough) and then realized that it was a cockroach - one of those big brown fuck-you New York cockroaches, what I have never had in my apartment, and immediately (screamed again and) grabbed the National Geographic sitting on top of the laundry hamper and whacked the fucking cockroach to pieces (screaming and screaming), and then could not - could not - bring myself to get near it again to pick it up and dispose of it so I just slid the magazine over (still screaming a bit) to cover the corpse and that's where both are still. It will just have to wait until the next time I have a male friend over. I almost asked the FreshDirect guy to take care of it for me this morning.

And today, my third day back, I was walking up the stairs and encountered my across-the-hall neighbour talking to my downstairs neighbour because the latter had just been broken into and robbed. Cleaned out. And apparently it's not the first time that has happened in this building.

So that's great. Does that mean I'm done, because things happen in threes? Or does that mean that my home is warning me, sending omen after omen about some impending doom?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The most disgusting thing in New York

You will need to sit down.

I was waiting for the subway, and I notice some movement on the tracks. It's a rat (bing: that's grossness level 1), and it's dragging something, struggling to hoist it over the next tie, onto the rail; the haul periodically falls back into the gutter, the rat pauses, stuggles and drags it up again (2). The haul, as it turns out, is another rat (3). A dead rat (4), flopping lifelessly up and over and down the obstacles as the live rat drags it along. In fact, the dead rat itself looks oddly like two dead rats intertwined at the tail or at the rump - but that, it turns out, is because it is really a single rat that has at some point been split by a passing subway wheel, its two halves attached now only by a few bits of flesh, like some open-faced rat sandwich, like a butterflied rat, flopping open and closed and open and closed as his friend drags him along the rails (um, 5?). By now of course I am absolutely horrified, and also mesmerized, and horrified, and mesmerized, and also wondering why the live rat is doing this - is this some kind of comrade in arms thing? Soldier down, have to drag him back to the rat's nest and give him a proper burial? What is the evolutionary adaptiveness of that, exactly? This rat risking his life on the same rails that felled his brother? I soon get an answer, though: the reason live rat is pausing periodically is not just to gather his strength, but to lean down and nibble on the splayed entrails of dead rat, nom nom nom, drag a bit further, pause and eat, repeat.

And (6).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random people who recognize me

One is the rasta at the Trader Joe's wine store - not that I even go in there that often (honestly). I used to think he just liked to flirt; I (meaning my hair) get a certain reaction from Caribbean men, but sure enough he would single me out even when I wasn't his customer, maintain a certain continuity of conversation, remark on when he hadn't seen me in a while.

Another is the guy in the booth at the downtown/Brooklyn R/W stop. He always waves or smiles or something. Again, I wasn't sure for a long time whether he was really recognizing me or just being outgoing, until he acknowleged me on street level one day when I saw him on his break, grabbing something from a deli. Now, this guy is oddly (for the MTA) young and somewhat hip and something about him screams creepy/pathological. One time, I was getting on the train late at night to go to Brooklyn, I swipe my card in the turnstile and let myself in, kind of deliberately ignoring the booth, and from behind me I hear him lean over, press the microphone button and softly intone "Have a good night..."

And finally, we have the guy who mans the newspaper stand facing the doors of building I come out of when taking a certain shortcut. This guy I actually did think recognized me, as he would always instantly acknowledge me when he saw me, and it does only take about five seconds for me to pass by his stand. Sometimes he would even call out a "How are you?" and so one day I decided to stop and chitty chat for sec. He asked if I worked around here and I said no but I lived nearby. After a few seconds I said goodbye and the next week when I saw him I stopped again, only to have exactly the same conversation ("Do you work around here?"). Annoyed, I started walking away, to which he said "Wait, how can I see you again?"
"I'll walk by again."

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Me [having just grabbed a 6-pack from the cooler]: "Could you exchange two of these for the ones you have on ice? They're not very cold."
Random customer: "Exchange em all! Exchange em all."
Me: "Well, I'm not going to drink them all right now."
Random customer: "Imma drink em with you. Imma get two more six-packs and meet you outside."

Woman in elevator with me, to man in elevator with me: "I was hoping to catch up with you! I want to yell at you."
Man: "Oh?"
Woman: "I saw you walk across 15th street on your cell phone without even looking! There was a cab coming, you know. You're lucky you didn't get hit!"
Man: "S'alright."
Woman: "No it's not alright! You have to be more careful."
Man: "S'alright."
Woman: "Tsk. You're too young!"
Man: "My sister gave her life for this country, so if I go... I don't mind."
Woman: "You have to be more careful."
Man: [getting off elevator] "You take care, ma'am."
Woman: "No, you take care! Hahaha."

Me: "Could I get a chicken kabob?"
Vendor: "You want it on a pita?"
Me: "Yes, please."
Vendor: "You want onions? tomatoes? lettuce?"
Me: "All of that. And do you have, like, white sauce?"
Vendor: "I don't have like white sauce, I have white sauce."
Me: "Uh, heh, okay then. Could I have some?"
Vendor: "Those other guys, who have white sauce in a bottle like this? [grabs squeeze bottle of hot sauce]. That's just mayonnaise."
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Vendor: "They don't have real white sauce. They don't know how to make it. They're not Greek like me. See? Look at this [opens metal cover]."
Me: "That looks great. Lots of cucumber."

The World Series

When we arrived at Eric's to watch the game (actually to eat nachos and watch youtube videos and giggle), there were several fire trucks - and news trucks - outside the building across from his on 104th street. Later, during the game, we googled what had happened, and found out that a woman had died in a fire on the third floor. And hours later when we left, and walked back down 104th street towards the 1 train, at that very moment the M.E. wheeled the body bag out on a stretcher right in front of us, opened the back of the M.E. van, and loaded it in. Lemme tell you, the M.E.'s van is no hearse, and it's no ambulence - the body goes on a shelf beneath a bunch of chemicals and next to a bunch of instruments.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

SMS Highlight Reel, vol. 25: Dating

On my way to my dinner date and i feel like fucking puking

I told my friend at suny that im going to spep for sex and he said all the conferences are unhandsome sausage fests!

secretly, I want to sing to you and make you cry

Apparently they are clueless! One does not wear a skin tight dress or pass out in a guys bed for naught

just went on the WORST 45 min date. mf tried 2 kiss me 4 times! he wasn't ugly but c'mon. i don't know if i can stomach anymore serial dating*

Well, me too. Dinner was delicious, and, well, I really like being around you.

Yes. Dress sexy. If it changes anything I'm high too.

I asked my ethics class. They say tell the truth. I say make excuses why u can't hang until he gets the hint

Somehow, the filthy things you say make you a big sweetheart

I'll wear the shoes

Nothing should be more important to you than last minute movie plans initiated by me.

I was put into a position. didn't want to seem like leaving WITH you. I'll call if your still up

He just ate my fucking face in a cab*

Oh nothing. Just what's a guy like me without false pretenses?

donde? una bebida?

I've been enjoying this long courtship.

Go to dinner with me tomorrow night.

home now whenever you're ready to roll up. proseco waiting if so desired

Come. Just a plain ticket. You have no reason to be devastated. You're amazing. I'm a boy who knows it. Just come.

Glad you made me stay, but I wish you were here.

Say no more. I LIVE for words like those! Besides, midnight rendez(s)-vous with hot ladies is kinda my thing.

I want you to be my date tonight. You won't regret it.

exactly. well it just says, "I love you"

*This must be stopped.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Continuing with the theme of having everything delivered to your door, another New York must-have is NetFlix. For you Canadians, NetFlix is a movie rental delivery service. Depending on your subsription level, you can have one, two, or five movies delivered to your mailbox at a time, an unlimited number of times per month. They come with postage paid return envelopes. You rate movies and it recommends others you might like. I'm basically using it as a romantic comedy generator. It is SO great.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brooklyn Psychosis

is the name of your next band.

No, listen. On the corner of Nevins and Schemerhorn in Brooklyn, there is a boarded up empty lot. Someone with a jiffy marker (no, three jiffy markers: one blue and one black and one red) is slowly filling up that blank plywood with a perfect illustration of psychosis. Words. Numbers. Places. Names of organizations. Simple equations. Ten equals eight. No, ten equals ten. Fischer (with a "c"). The telephone number for the New York Times. Canada. North Korea. Albany. 489841. 3 stars athens. The book of Corinthians. The book of genesis. UBS Fian Service. 8897889. 89996. Sex. 986659. Michelle Jackson. Toys - food - sneakers. Do not move. Wrong way. We want in.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday night in NYC

Going out on a Saturday night feels like punishment - surrounded by NYU students, the bridge and tunnel crew, fratboy traders and other nine-to-fivers, bad dates, etc. Who wants to share the bar/restaurant/sidewalk with that? Plus, the subway only runs once an hour (and it's skipping your stop).

On the other hand, staying in on a Saturday night feels like punishment. Like you're the last human on earth without friends, like you're under house arrest, like you're fifteen and grounded. Four hours of watching bad tv and reading failblog (cuz god knows you're not going to get any work done - it's Saturday, ffs!).

The only solution is to go to someone else's house and drink their booze and eat their food. And perhaps settle the Kant vs. Hegel debate with finger puppets.

Why is there a tupperware container full of homemade meatballs on 13th street?

You mean you don't know?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I hate that chick

That chick on her iPhone, blithely unaware of her surroundings. The one with the heavy bangs, wearing rubber boots and a kaffiya (nailed it, congratulations, that is exactly what you are supposed to wear "this season"*). She's at most twenty years old, but I'm sure she has some fabulous connected internship somewhere, which she either gets paid obscenely well for, or not at all (whatever, at any rate she lives off her parents' dole). That chick doesn't even need to have disdain for you - whence would anything of the sort arise in her financially lubricated glide through the city and through life. There are WAY too many of that chick in New York. Ugh, and why is she always in line at Starbucks in front of me?

*I think I got that right. Did I get that right?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

SMS Highlight Reel, vol. 24: Interrupted text messages saved to drafts folder

Something about the crying and the a

Lol. Seriously are you just sitting

Cuz I'm not there. If I were there, they'd be about someone else.

Well I'd let you but you've gotta

And even though you said that I will meet you for a glass of wine somewhere in the proximity of Union Square

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A bathtub and a fireplace

A bathtub and a fireplace are the holy grails of New York apartment living. Ironically, my apartment used to have both, which I found out when I went to the Tenement Museum, since it gives tours of an old, derelict tenement on the Lower East Side, which happens to be identical in blueprint to mine. The apartments used to be railroad style (one room is reached through the other, without a hallway), with a fireplace in the front bedroom, a bathtub and a fireplace in the kitchen, followed by a back bedroom with no window. There were two shared toilets per floor. That my apartment used to be set up in this way was confirmed for me by a neighbour on the first floor who has lived here for ages; she knew the "nice old Polish lady" who used to live in my place when it was rent-controlled at $95.86 a month, and still had the bathtub in the kitchen. "I remember when your apartment was being renovated," she says. I can still see the remnants for myself - the two drywalled outcroppings on my wall hiding fireplaces, the window onto nothing where the hall toilet used to be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now he'll just need more therapy

Roy: So I was talking to my therapist, and she said that -
Me: Wait, your therapist is a woman?
Caroline: Haha
Roy: Yeah. Why?
Caroline: That's pretty Freudian, Roy.
Me: Yeah, Roy.
Roy: What do you mean?
Me: Well it makes the whole transference thing a little easier I guess.
Caroline: Haha
Roy: And you know what?
Caroline: What?
Roy: My therapist's name is Linda. And my mom's name is Linda.
Caroline: HAHAHAHA!
Roy: I didn't realize that at first.
Me: Hahahaha
Caroline: hahaha
Random Guy: haha!...... Oh, sorry, I couldn't help but overhearing. That's funny.
Me: Is your shrink a man or a woman?*
Random Guy: A man.
Me: See, Roy?

*It's New York, so you don't have to ask whether someone sees a therapist.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh, hi

Hey, when you've been in a long-term relationship with someone, especially if it has spanned most of the time you have lived in a city, the city begins to resonate with them; they are written all over it. But now imagine having that in New York, where the city's frequencies are already so intense, so impressioning, now what? Especially given the New York geography that dictates that places endlessly be accidentally rediscovered.
Me: "Where is this shindig tonight?"
Friend: "Art bar, in the West Village. Have you been?"
Me: "Pff, I don't know."
Friend: "What do you mean, you don't know?"
Me: "I mean, I'd say no, but then I'll get there and be like, 'Hey, I've been here before!'"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sexy, this is your hangover cure

You're never smoking or drinking again, right? Right. Well in the meantime, this will fix you. I am so nice I pick it up and bring it over in a cab.

Stage one: Blueberries or strawberries to antioxidize all your broken cells and reintroduce the idea of eating as innocuously as possible.

Stage two: Grease to stifle the churning in your stomach and soak up any remaining alcohol.

Stage three: one of those really spicy Nong Shim noodle bowls from the bodega to schvitz out all those toxins.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm working it out

So, as I've mentioned, my relationship with the city has evolved into a kind of dialectical arrangement where I both need to be here and need to be away enough to want to be here. One of those "aways" is the beach, and my friends and I have taken to going a couple of times a week. Another is the driving range at Chelsea Piers. Driving them into the sunset from the third or fourth floor, now that's nice. As soon as you hit one, the tee drops and sets up another shot automatically. On and on for a couple hundred balls.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's left

As soon as I moved to New York, my mother started clipping every New York article she came across and saving them for me in the top dresser drawer of the room I sleep in during my visits back home. I find that now, when I read "things to do in New York" or "hidden gems" or "must-sees" or "best brunches" or "off the beaten tracks" or "best deals," half of them I have already discovered (visited, seen, eaten) for myself, and half of them I have never heard of. And I get equal delight in both: being in the know, and realizing that the city is infinitely discoverable, that it will always outpace me no matter how fast I chase it.

photo source

Monday, August 10, 2009

SMS Highlight Reel, vol. 23

was there at least a sexy part!? * Ah. Shit. I left my credit card at the bar. * do it. I'll have a cold gazela waiting * Why do nyu students dress so horribly? theres a woman here in jogging shorts and stilettos. wtf. * i want you back. the russians cant keep you. * I'm walking up broadway, on the west side of the road. Where you at? * Jim Jarmusch. St Mark's. * Ok it's a cave. * heat + meat = eat tomorrow at hewes and harrison. * RIP Ed McMahon. Bye-ooooo! * I.m driving i'll be there it twenty, thirty, dep level, last doors. my glasses dogged, I.m hurrying so much * o my god i just licked the phone. * We just got back from the ER. Multiple fractures. She got some morphine, so we're going to try and go out for a bite. * You're early, so i might be late. * would you eat bad chinese take out? * went to loup last night despite myself. the guy who wrote blade runner tried to alpha male me. * You are a bad influence. The rayanne to my angela.It could take me years to get out there! You would be long gone! I know you already have one foot out the door * We're coming! We're coming on june 11! * correction: a bench on 105th * Oh man! I took the train w the lady w the kitten in a bag! Too cute. * Nap that ass and text later. * No. Place your bets at park place. Go for the filly. * If you bring tomato juice and tobasco, We'll be set. * Stars are beautiful and plentiful here. * Did you forget that you're the prettiest girl in all of New York? * something else. not sure what. get here soon i need to get outta here. * sweeeeeeet! beeees! * Did you ever get those socks I sent you last year? * it didnt turn into a russian porno i hope * Some tarps caught on fire in a bin somewhere and set off the site alarm so we're having to gather outside at the muster point. * Bottom half of my head: tomato. Top half: white kidney beam. * just peed In a coffee cup in the back of a staten islan bus. long ass ride! * Add me to face book and invite me to your party. * you look sexy walkin away in those shoes

Saturday, August 08, 2009

My New York Resolutions

Every time I leave New York, I realize how exhausted I am. This summer I made some resolutions for saving my sanity (I do have eight years left on my degree, after all). Here, I will share them with you.

1. Peel off early. Come on, you know how this ends. Twenty more dollars down the drain and then a subway ride home drunk, ugh. Just leave the party. Better yet, sometimes don't go out at all. Just stay in and indulge in your guiltiest pleasures (your guiltiest pleasures are Y&R, jigsaw puzzles and vinho verde).

2. Always Be Doing shit on the train. Like watching movies on your iPod. (Amazing. It's like going to the cinosh every time you get on the subway.) Or reading Winter's Tale and other absorbing, transporting fiction. Or sudoku and ken ken in the free dailies (Metro and AM New York).

3. Take a car service to the airport. Forget trying to drag your luggage to the right street corner and hail a cab going the right direction because chances are there suddenly won't be any, or they'll all be going off shift or whatever. And taking public transport is admirable, but come on. (Note: even with a car service, Newark is completely out of the question. Fuck Newark.)

4. Order Fresh Direct. It's cheaper than other grocery stores and someone else carries it up the stairs for you. Besides, there is nothing cozier than having provisions (extra TP, breakfast food, food for entertaining, meat in the freezer).

5. Slow the fuck down. Switching from the local to the express and back again just to skip those twelve stops doesn't save that much time, and the waiting in between kills. Besides, the local train always has seats. Also important is just walking with the flow of traffic when you're not in a hurry. Incidentally, the way to make people get out of your way on the sidewalk is to walk in a straight line but look like you're not paying attention to where you're going - either by keeping your head down, or looking up at the sky or whatnot.

6. Leave town. Always take those invites to suburban New Jersey or Long Island or Westchester County. Go to where it smells good and people barbecue in a yard instead of on a rooftop. Especially in summer.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wrote something

for my friend Shaun's new website. You can read it here.