Sunday, January 31, 2010

Universe, what?

Today I went for brunch at a friend's place. Really, really good brunch - she says she's a little bit country and a little bit Columbian, so there was hot chocolate with cinnamon, vegetable fritata, biscuits and gravy, and cheese grits. When I was leaving, I had to wait for her to finish saying goodbye to some other people first. One of those other people looked at me and said, "You look familiar." It turns out we went to junior high together. Like, we were in the same class and everything, way back in YYC.

Later on I was on a date with this guy. We started talking about both having gone to the ticker tape parade for the Giants, me because I am a social anthropologist, and he because he worked in the Financial District at the time. I asked him where he watched it from. He said, "You know that big red cube in front of Zuccoti Park?" It turns out we were standing right next to each other. (He was not one of the guys I was quoting in my blog post.)

Home by midnight Saturday night = voicemail hilarity Sunday morning

"marianne! it's max, the show's over, gimme a call. what are you, asleep? it's 2010, man. figure it out. fine. gimme a call. bye."

"you're trying to act like you're all out and shit? lemme tell you something, man. i got some kind of fucking international party going on in here. russians, columbians, texans, all kinds of fucking like, congas and shakers and shit. anyways. all that's, you know, incidental. i gotta fucking get up in the morning. i'm brushing my teeth and going to bed."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things that happened a million years ago

Time passes slowly in New York. Don't get me wrong: the weeks and months fly by with the same nauseating speed as they do anywhere else, but somehow the things that happened a mere year ago here seem light years away. I guess this is the fractal thing again (New York's infinite expansion inward). A lot happens in 24 hours, and it's all different. You change and the city changes even faster (no more CBGB, no more Tavern on the Green). Heraclitus knows what I'm talking about.

Of course, that is why I am here. I'm not opposed to husbands and houses and babies. But I can't handle knowing where I am going to be in five years.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The sky is falling

There are flash flood warnings and 70 mph winds in New York right now. Several blocks of my neighbourhood were closed (not affecting me) because construction debris was blowing off the Frank Gehry skyscraper they're building on Beekman street and smashing through cars. Both cars and pedestrians were prevented from leaving or entering the area.

And hey guess what? My ceiling is leaking again. Meh, that's okay - they still haven't repaired it from the last time, and this will just make that a bit more urgent. (Says the super: "Oh shit. You have bucket?")

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The nicest compliment I have ever received

Spacey guy I work with: "Hey, do you like Dorothy Parker?"
Me: "Yeah sure, I think she's hilarious."
Guy: "Well you remind me of Dorothy Parker."
Me: "I do?"
Guy: "Yeah, one time I saw you at that place on 6th Avenue and 12th or 13th or whatever."
Me: "Bar 6?"
Guy: "Yeah, maybe. I don't know. You were sitting outside. And you were waving this cigarette around and holding court, just surrounded by this whole group of guys. Just like Dorothy Parker."
Me: "Wow. I mean, I take that as a huge compliment."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Working my way onto that list

On MLK day I went to a protest - a vigil actually, outside of the Municipal Correctional Center (right there in my nabe) because that is where a U.S. citizen has been held in solitary confinement for two and a half years without trial. Hell, even the protests in New York are high profile. Cindy Sheehan turned up, as did Dar Williams and Chris Hedges.

I have a lot of time for Cindy Sheehan, both for being nothing like the distraught mother the media portrays her to be, and for providing some of the most relevant testimony about the Iraq war in the last nine years:

"This is a picture of Casey when he was 7 months old. It's an enlargement of a picture he carried in his wallet until the day he was killed. He loved this picture of himself. It was returned to us with his personal effects from Iraq. He always sucked on those two fingers. When he was born, he had a flat face from passing through the birth canal and we called him ‘Edward G' short for Edward G. Robinson. How many of you have seen your child in his/her premature coffin? It is a shocking and very painful sight. The most heartbreaking aspect of seeing Casey lying in his casket for me, was that his face was flat again because he had no muscle tone. He looked like he did when he was a baby laying in his bassinette. The most tragic irony is that if the Downing Street Memo proves to be true, Casey and thousands of people should still be alive."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Girls interrupted

My girlfriend and I went on a "study date" on the LES. We spent most of the time doing work, but every once in a while you have to come up for air and complain or gossip about boys. Apparently this is irresistible to guys within earshot, as we were interrupted not once but twice.

Friend: "Ugh, this stack of Kant papers is killing me."
Me: "Yeah? Give some to me."
Random guy: "Hey, sorry to interrupt - are you guys in philosophy?"
Me: "Yes."
Random guy: "Okay, I have a question. I'm reading Caesar's Commentary on the Gallic Wars, and - what's it called when someone draws some conclusion about something, like based on past evidence?"
Me: "An inference. Or an inductive generalization."
[I won't bore you with the logic lecture that followed.]

Friend: "So the Russian texted me again. What do I do? Do I text the guy back? Not text him? What do I say?"
Random guy: "How many times did you go out with him?"
Friend: "Once. But then we texted a few times afterwards."
Random guy: "Yeah, you don't have to text him back."
Friend: "Really?"
Random guy: "If you've gone out fewer than three times, you don't have to return his calls or texts. On the other hand, if you've gone out with a guy three or more times, and then you just disappear, that's a problem, because at that point he's made an investment and now he's left wondering what happened."
Me: "This sounds right. Write this down."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fuel oil delivery

You see this fuel oil caps embedded in the sidewalks all over the place here. Most of the time they look ancient, and no longer serviceable, having been ground into the concrete by 100 years of passing boots and dog paws. Besides, is that even a thing anymore? Fuel oil delivery? To what, a big tank in the basement? Is there a coal chute too? Haha.

Well apparently it is still a thing:

UPDATE: Apparently I was sort of right (about it being antiquated).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Midnight screening of Showgirls at IFC

Why has no one told me about this movie? I mean, I've heard of it, but why has no one grabbed me by the shoulders and shaken me and yelled "Go see this movie!"? This may be the best movie I have ever seen. It was totally worth paying $12.50 for despite its being fifteen years old (none of this is sarcasm, by the way - I know it's hard to tell sometimes on a blog). I mean, just when you thought a line wasn't going to be crossed, it was crossed. "It must be weird not having people--" haha, I can't repeat that! My parents read this thing!

IFC, by the way, is an indie cinema house in the West Village. As we stood in line, it looked like the screening was going to be a total sausage fest, which would be understandable given all the full frontal nudity, but it turned out to be that other kind of sausage fest, namely a gay and tranny fest, and lemme tell you their screen talkback was priceless. In fact, I want to make midnight screenings of it with (gay) audience participation an annual tradition. This is some Rocky Horror Picture Show -calibre shit. (Wine pairing: a screwcap bottle of five dollar vinho verde.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Supporting the tiny New York art scene

Gallery opening! On the LES, and it was so small that it felt perfunctory actually walking over to a piece. And then taking one step to your right and looking at the next piece. And then rotating 90 degrees and looking at the next piece. Etc.

Movie premiere! At some theatre in Midtown. A black & white Polish film noir, the kind of thing I would never have gone to of my own accord, but really enjoyed. Not enough to stay for the Q&A with the director (instead: drinks at the St. Rege!), but still.

Book launch! Also on the LES, in a great little performance space. A friend had just published her first book of poetry, and read an excerpt (along with two other new authors). I even caught a reference to something that happened when the two of us were hanging out together.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"Gotta go - I'm meeting [friend] and [friend] for science and drinks"

Winter break was great. I mean, possibly the best Christmas I have had as an adult. It was all steak and crantinis and mimosas and crab legs and fried perogies and card games and hockey tickets. And the best gifts ever.* And it was great seeing my friends, and finding out I can still drive (150 km/hour), and being remembered by the salacious old bartenders at the Garneau. So I was reluctant to get back, where it's all argue-with-the-landlord this and shove-people-on-the-subway that. But tonight my friend reminded me of why we live in New York. First Wednesdays of the month at the Natural History Museum, admission is free in the evening, drinks are only five dollars, and a hip scientist-in-residence will tell you interesting stories about the fish in the Congo river. And the cute DJ will give you his card and the cute party photog will take your picture more than once. Haha.

*Absinthe. A $100 bar tab at both of my haunts. Caviar. New luggage. And something so funny I can only show/tell you in person.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Putting the super in...

When I got back to New York it was as cold outside as it had been in Calgary, and in that kind of weather my apartment is fuh-reezing. So I called the landlord and asked him to turn up the boiler and he ended up sending the super to my apartment. Actually, two supers - they often show up in pairs, and always Russian. I was in a bad mood because I had been putting out fires since I had arrived back in town (work, school, banks, credit cards, the Department of Housing, etc. etc.), and when they rang my doorbell I was literally on the phone with visa and unpacking and had the shower running (it takes a few minutes to warm up) trying to get ready for work. So I was kind of short with them. And they tinkered around with my radiators (which I had already told the landlord work perfectly fine) and spoke Russian, of which I could glean just enough to know that they weren't complaining about me. And then they wandered over to my sink and I rolled my eyes and shut off the shower and sat down and started catching up on emails. It turns out they were fixing my sink (again), just because they remembered that it breaks all the time. And they told me that the boiler in this building can't be turned up anymore, but they knew of an electric heater lying around somewhere and would bring it by this week. That kind of gratuitous niceness kills me every time.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Starting the new year off right! My friend and I got smashed up at an intersection right by where I used to live, in Edmonton (while on a drive down memory lane). Because the streets were slippery with snow, we got carried sideways rather than absorbing the impact and so weren't ultimatley hurt. See if you can tell by our accident reports which one of us is a millwright and which one of us fancies herelf a philosopher and writer.

"Driving east bound on 100 ave. When driving through inter- section 103 st we were hit by a SUV that ran a red light. The vehicle was driving south."

"9:04 pm - we were driving east on 100th ave. As we entered the intersection of 100th ave and 103rd street, a jeep coming southbound crashed into us on the driver's side. We had the green light so he must have had a red light. Our light had been green for a while because shortly after he hit us I remember it turned yellow. He did not slow down or veer or react at all - just ploughed into us. I recall another car being stopped at the light, facing south on 103rd, in the right lane. This guy was in the left lane and breezed on by that stopped car. When the other driver got out of his car, he accused us of running a red light, but quickly retracted when he saw that we had a witness (a cab driver). We exchanged insurance info and he left before police arrived."