Sunday, December 14, 2008


So I've been getting my read on a lot more since moving to the city, thanks to the whole subway commute thing. I even just finished reading a book on the history of cannibalism, Flesh and Blood: A History of the Cannibal Complex, that I got as a sort of oddball/gag gift in college... though I did go through that cannibalism phase for a bit there, hmm...

The first chapter conveniently reminds the reader that, according to the snooty and judgmental author, eating people is wrong. I think she's British.

I've read most all the books I had brought from home. I even bought a book (it was a really cool financial history of the world). Hell... I've even been reading from the library! The next book I'll read is call "Black and Tans." I bought it a long time ago for real cheap... I'm not sure why I bought it, it's not actually about booze.

Oh wait, it's about the British Special police in Ireland, so it's presumably about abusing Irish folk - Micks and Paddies and such. Now it all makes sense.

Now that I'm starting to get the reading thing down I think I'm going to try to incorporate all the life lessons in this video my buddy Emacy Gay, we just shorten it to Emacy, in Florida told me to check out. (NSFW... and apparently some people found this video made by BET to be shown on BET offensive :( some people are just no fun)

Oh man, some guy on the train last night obviously missed the part about deodorant. I think he was Eastern European or something. Holy crap, he smelled so bad my roommate and I actually got up and moved to the end of the train. We could only go one direction though because on the other side of the train was a ranting crazy hobo yelling gibberish and I think yelling that someone needed to be arrested, I'm not sure, but he pretty much cleared out his half of the train. As a fun bonus, he would yell out the doors to all people waiting on the platforms.

As for the whole reading thing... I even read a whole biography of Jack Daniel, which was pretty interesting - and leads nicely into my next point... apparently I can do shots again, which is probably not a good thing. The other night I went to Revival and learned that I could indeed down Jack Daniel's shots if the cute girls next me at the bar challenged me to do one with them. All down hill from there... then I took my roommate the wrong way on the subway and we ended up in Brooklyn.

Fast forward to Friday night where the shots were flowing all night (my roommate reminded me Saturday that it had been one of the bartenders' birthdays...)

I ended up staying longer than the roomie and ended up going the wrong way on the L train again... basically all night. I woke up in Canarsie at least twice. I kept falling asleep on the train and ending up in kind of the far east side of Brooklyn. Then I would say to myself I need to stay awake this time, then I'd wake up again at Canarsie (the last stop). It's a bad sign on the subway to wake up and see open space and trees out the window instead of subway walls (which tends to be indicative of being far from Manhattan) and an even worse sign to wake up and see sunlight out the train window...

I eventually got home around 9:30 Saturday morning. I found out later, that it was my luck that the train was under construction that night and wasn't even going my direction from Revival at all, so the whole thing was a measure in futility. Luckily, by the morning when I did stay awake enough to get all the way home, the late night construction messing up the L train was done for the night and they were back on the day schedule. So it was just all part of my plan.

I told Emacy about it and he was kind of enough to wonder aloud the next day that he bets hobos and other folks teabagged my sleeping self. :( I hadn't thought of that...

Also, I've been watching a lot of Hulu lately. It's pretty much like my new favorite site. I can watch all the Simpsons, Galactica 1980 (the awesome but short-lived sequel to Battlestar Galactica after they've found Earth, word), Charlie's Angels, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and whatever else I want!

They also have random clips, and I came across this random old Simpsons clip which is one of my all-time favorites...

And of course (especially for Crazy Carl), some Overheard, L train style...

Homey #1: Yo, hold up...Jesus was a virgin?! He went from 12 to 33 with nothing?
Homey #2: Fuck that shit. He definitely got his dick sucked or buttfucked some bitches.

--L Train, 8th Avenue

Black guy opening engineer's door after 15 minutes of standstill: Yo, move this shit, or I'll drive it myself!

--Canarsie-bound L train
Who knows, maybe a few weeks from now they'll be one looking like this:

Drunk guy wakes up: Canarsie, again!? Shit!

-- L Train

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Kennedyless Senate in the near future? Not if my state has anything to say about it.

I hadn't imagined that moving to New York might put me on the cusp of being indirectly part of the Kennedy dynasty. Exciting stuff.

With all the talk of war and the economy, sometimes the most dire situation facing our nation gets overlooked. As Sen. Ted Kennedy gets older and his health wanes, the U.S. faces the grim spectre of a Kennedyless Senate.

You heard right, a Kennedyless Senate. It's been 56 years since America suffered such grim, grim days (except a brief period when JFK was pres and Teddy was too young to claim his hand-me-down spot, yet).

Luckily, it looks like New York's favorite celebrity carpetbagger legislator, Hillary Clinton, is heading back to Washington. Maybe her and Bill can now save a little money by not paying for their fake residence here in the Empire State that kept her eligible for the position.

With that free spot, Gov. David Paterson has the unique opportunity to rescue the country from the impending Senatorial quandary. All signs seem to be pointing to Caroline Kennedy. (At least she's a New Yorker, so she's got Hillary beaten on that front.)

Unfortunately, there are some troublemakers out there who feel that Senate seats should be given based on qualifications rather than famous last names... thankfully though, those naysayers will likely be overruled.

Oddly enough, Caroline Kennedy hasn't really shown much interest in holding any public office until now. Maybe she accidentally killed someone like her Uncle Teddy (and chose not to seek out aid) and needs to have that Senate immunity that helped him out back then...

On the bright side, at least our Senate replacement process here is just plain stupid (but not surprising), whereas Illinois' process is stupid, corrupt, dirty and just plain illegal (but alas, also not surprising).

I do love American politics.

Side note on the Illinois Senator issues... recent news of Gov. Blagojevich's wife and her potential involvement spawned one of my new favorite Post headlines... "She's One Nasty Blagoje-Bitch" Stay classy Post, stay classy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Watch a football game at the Meadowlands... check.

In a random turn of events, I ended up scoring a ticket to Sunday's Sheagles vs. Giants game at the Meadowlands.

All I had to do was be the designated driver, which suited me fine since a bottle of beer went for $7.75 in the stadium, which is insane. I just drank during the tailgate and not during the game and the post-game tailgate. The first tailgate was lunch, and the second one was dinner.

The folks I was with take their tailgating seriously.

We weren't the only ones who brought supplies, and pictured above is the full backyard grill, a case or two of beer, 15 bottles of wine and a veritable smorgasboard of all kinds of food that we brought.

And yes, that's snow on the truck (In Pennsylvania near Trenton, N.J.). There wasn't too much snow at the Meadowlands though... but I assure you it was freezing (literally) and there were some snow flurries. I'm still waiting for some real snow to hit the city, though some are forecasting for some real snow here later this week.

Being outside from about 10 a.m. until the evening, I got my fair share of freezing cold, and stinging winds.

Some folks were wandering the parking lot selling gloves and Giants stocking caps (and probably making a mint). Though the Giants (and Sheagles) gear they were selling was totally unlicensed, so one of the nearby salesfolk actually got taken away and cuffed by security. Don't mess with NFL infringement rights... apparently they take that shit seriously, word.

Despite the freezing and the game technically being in New Jersey and the Giants playing some fugly looking football (we lost 20-14), it was a lot of fun.

On a fun side note, each week the tickets to the games feature a picture of a different Giants star, and in a wonderful coincidence the tickets for this week's game all had last week's proud titleholder NFL's "Thug of the Week" - Plaxico Burress! Unfortunately, it can be a fairly competitive title to earn...

So while his recent trouble with the law and his accidentally shooting himself in the leg kept him from joining the Giants in their ugly on-field performance, at least he was there in spirit.

Here's a fun (and sad) team-by-team look at the widespread criminal issues that have been ongoing in the NFL since 2000. That might make for a fun blog to keep up... Hmmm...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Apparently, the MTA wants my opinion...

Earlier this week on the way to work, a Metropolitan Transit Authority worker handed me an official MTA report card to fill out regarding the A train.

They asked all kinds of fun questions about things like delays, cleanliness and security and you rate them from unsatisfactory to excellent.

Apparently you can fill it out online like pictured above, but I filled out my paper one and mailed it (pre-paid postage) to the MTA folks... though the actual mailing address was some contractor/consultant in Maryland, since apparently New York City and state have nobody who can analyze surveys.

I'm sure some school, and we have plenty around here, would love to analyze the info for the MTA at a rock bottom price. I wonder how much they're paying for the surveys to be analyzed in Maryland, especially since the MTA is apparently beyond broke (facing a 2009 budget deficit of around $1.2 billion). It looks like they're going to be raising fares, making a lot of service cuts and adding some new tolls and such in the near future. Awesome...

As for the survey, it conveniently avoided any of the topics that are the biggest issues with the A train, like constant service changes and disruptions on the weekend and unreliability late at night.

Seriously, nearly every weekend the line is always whacked out, especially seemingly always having to take a shuttle bus instead of the train for part of the route (and the buses rarely show up). One time, we had been waiting a good while (and some angry other people had already been waiting a while when we got there) at the stop near my apartment, and the shuttle bus stopped a little before us and the driver got a hot dog from a vendor and just chilled there... 15 minutes later another shuttle bus came and stopped at the same hot dog vendor and had a little pow-wow with the other driver. The second bus eventually came and picked us up. It was a special kind of ridiculous.

The paper version of the survey was obviously not going through a scantron or anything, so I made sure to write my thoughts, in depth, on those issues in any white space I could find on the form... who knows, maybe I'll go ahead and write a letter about them to the MTA folks. Customer letters are always fun.

Also, one of the recent news stories around here is like a little taste of home - a teacher allegedly slept with her student somewhere in Jersey.

I know that teacher-student sex scandals happen everywhere (heck, I covered part of the trial for one that happened in a town of like 2,000), but the Tampa Bay area does seem to have more than its fair share. The Tampa Tribune has a fun little special section on the issue... though sadly I'm sure there are many, many incidents not listed...

We're just proud as punch...

And for the heck of it... some Overheard in New York from the A train:

Chick #1: What is your middle name?
Chick #2: I don't want to tell you.
Chick #1: Why won't you tell me what your middle name is? I showed you a picture of me naked!
Chick #2: That is so not the same. Your naked picture is on the Internet. Anyone can see it!
Mid-30s guy two seats away: I'm sorry, but what's the address of that website?

--A train

Conductor: This is West Fourth Street. Transfer is available to the A, C, E, F, and V trains.
Four-year-old girl: Mommy, he doesn't sing his ABCs right.
Mom: That's because he didn't go to college.

--A train

Friday, December 5, 2008

A little bit of art, Bronx-style

I heard that the Bronx Museum of Art was free to get into tonight... so I swung by there after work since "if it's free, it's for me," plus, I do try to see the boroughs other than Manhattan sometimes.

Except for a couple trips to Yankee Stadium, I really haven't been to the Bronx at all.

So they had one main exhibit, "Street Art Street Life from the 1950s to Now." It had some of the generic stuff often associated with "street art," like random shots of city buildings and folks and some petty vandalism passed off as art ("the artist placed wine bottles in trees in the park and left them there" - whatever, that's just littering...), but this exhibit also had some pretty interesting "pieces" too.

Some were what I guess you'd call "performance pieces."

For instance, this French woman had her mother hire a private detective to tail her for a day. She knew what was going on, but the PI presumably thought it was a normal job.

So the woman went about a normal day and at the end of the day wrote a sort of a journal entry about her activities. That was later juxtaposed with the candid snapshots the PI took and his notes/version of events.

Sadly, the PI seemed either lazy or just not good at his job though. She got picked up by her friends in a car at eight and went out drinking until about four in the morning, and the PI's last notation was something like "8 o'clock: Subject drives home for the evening." Oops.

I wonder if the mom got a discount for the guy messing up?

My favorite had to be on "One Year Performance 1981-1982," where this dude spent the entire year outside in New York City. They had pictures, artifacts and video documenting the "adventure." I was fascinated.

The New York Times described it pretty succinctly in their review of the whole exhibit...
And it’s great to be reminded of extraordinary endurance pieces performed by the artist Tehching Hsieh.

For one, done in 1981 and 1982, he lived outdoors in the city for a solid year, never going inside, equipped with only what he could carry on his back. The show includes relics of the project, an extreme street version of Outward Bound: a video, some photographs and one of the photocopied maps of Manhattan on which he made notations of precisely where he had slept, dined and defecated on a given day.

Unfortunately, he did end up spending one night indoors during the year though... in jail. "The Man" is always messing things up, right?

Though I wasn't there too long, I saw the guy peeing at least three times and going number two by the harbor once on the video documenting the year. I guess he had a really boring existence for that year. A lot of the other clips consisted of him sitting at a fountain at this one park, looking very bored.

The guy's name is Tehching Hsieh and he was originally from Taiwan. He apparently did a performance piece like that once a year for a little while in the early 80's, ranging from living in a cage for a year to punching a time card every hour on the hour for a year.

Click on "artwork" on his page, aptly named, and it has info on each of his endeavors, which is kind of cool.

I still can't decide if the guy is a total nut job or brilliant, a little of both I guess. I know I would lose my mind trying to do some of the things he did. It also had to be a little weird for whoever was documenting/assisting with some of these "pieces," like the guy feeding him in a cage for a year... oh well.

Anywho, another video was of this woman somewhere in Europe in the 1960's (allegedly) protesting the gender roles portrayed on television (not a Donna Reed fan I guess?). So she went to a public square, wearing only a TV-looking box fastened to her torso as a top. The front of the "TV" was like a curtain. She let men reach into the "TV" and fondle her breasts (only for like 5 or 10 seconds at a time though, she counted). The idea was to see who would be willing to act that way in public with tons of random other people there to see.

How this protested unfair gender roles on TV? I'm not really sure, but she looked to be enjoying herself, and the men were too.

Maybe through her awareness campaign she helped usher in the age of shows featuring accomplished career-women - like "Charlie's Angels." A definite move in the right direction for society as a whole in my humble opinion. An even bigger leap for mankind was when they replaced Farrah Fawcett with Cheryl Ladd. Cheryl Ladd > Farrah Fawcett. Sorry, it's just a matter of fact.

Hmm... I wonder if they have any episodes on Hulu...

(P.S. They apparently do! Awesome.)

There was also a slideshow made by this British guy of pictures of random municipal objects from all over the world, broken into sections like garbage bins, benches, barricades and bollards.

That one was otherwise fairly uninteresting, except for where the building I work in made a cameo... word! During the part on bollards. The dude totally had a picture of the bollards separating the building I work in from the streets. I was pleased.

While there were definitely plenty of pictures and things in the exhibit that were wastes of time and space, overall I'd say it was definitely more interesting than I had expected.

Chalk one up for the Bronx.

Well, I figure I'll throw in a couple Bronx-related Overheard in New York quotes for good measure:

Old black lady: Bus driver, you a dumb motherfucker! You just turned down the wrong street!
Man: Don't worry, Mr. Bus Driver, I still have faith in you.
Old black lady, to man: Get your faggot-ass off the bus!

--8 bus, Bronx

Mother: See, it says these are endangered deer from China.
Tween daughter: I guess they are from China. Look at their slanty eyes!

--Bronx Zoo

Male lawyer #1: It's sad -- all I can think of is sex, and I hate that stereotype about male lawyers, that we're all some sort of horn dogs. [Pauses and sees female lawyer] God, I wanna fuck her.
Male lawyer #2: Dude, everyone does. All the guys wish her pussy was the bar exam.

--Bronx Small Claims Court (I can only hope the court my brother works at is like this one...)

Chick: He's either retarded... or from the Bronx.

--Hell's Kitchen

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A roommate?... craziness, plus finally the night in Brooklyn I mentioned before

I'm doing terrible at keeping up... but here's an update.

So I'm going to have a roommate, which is very cool. We worked together on the campus newspaper back in college. She just got hired working for a family of fashion/hair magazines, which is what she loves, which is probably why she refers to herself as the "Fierce Fashionista" on her blog. I'll just shorten it to "Fashionista" here, since I imagine she'll be appearing here in the future a bit, hehe.

So it should be pretty fun having partner in crime here... plus she said she might even be able to help me not dress like such a mook (I've never had much fashion luck so I'll believe that one when I see it...)

I had mentioned in the last post an adventure in Brooklyn, but then I got real lazy in posting department, so here goes.

I finally made it back to Brooklyn to catch a Sunday night show at the classily named joint, Trash Bar. It was a cool little dive with a front bar and a back bar behind a curtain with a stage for concerts. Plus, they had free PBR for an hour before the show, which is always good (or bad if you actually think about the inevitable trouble it causes down the road, but that's no fun...)

Some of the bartenders at the Union Square bar, Revival, are in a band, Furmurther, so I went to go see them play.

It looks like they threw a clip of that night's show on YouTube, so here goes.

Also, one of the other Revival regulars was there with his band which was also cool. They were a jam band, so no words, just jamming... and they incorporated a lot of theremin/electro-theremin. That's the instrument used to make weird noises in old school horror movies or the strange noises/music in the background of "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys. So that was interesting.

I at least had an idea of what to expect from the first two bands, especially since I had seen Furmurthur a couple times before, but the third band was like a big steaming bowl of WTF. Seriously. I was totally baffled, but a little intrigued at the same time.

They were an orthodox Jewish hardcore punk band. I'm not making this up, I swear. The lead singer was rocking a yarmulke and saying Hebrew prayers (I'm guessing) between songs while covering his face with his hand and looking up and down.

The cooking oil on this curveball was the girl in the band. She was in the audience half the time, but some songs needed her pipes for "background." She would literally scream into the mic as loud and as shrill as possible. We're talking like bloody murder, and I don't think there was an attempt to make it rhythmic, I think the idea was to let out as intense a shriek as she possibly could. It was... interesting, and way scarier than anything that came out of the theremin.

I later found out their name is Moshiach Oi!, and I was right when I figured that night that I didn't understand a lot of the lyrics because they were Hebrew. Either way, they were fun... but totally came out of nowhere and threw me for a loop. I probably wouldn't be crushed if I saw them again though. They weren't necessarily bad, just weird as shit.

Also of note about the Trash Bar... while essentially a normal little dive bar, it did have one thing that made it stick out - Tater-tots! Unlimited, free, golden, fresh, delicious tater-tots! They just had a fryer built into the wall behind the bar and would pop out delicious batches on request.

I don't even want to think about how many tater-tots I tore through that night. So far that's the best free bar food I've come across by far. Usually free bar food is something like Chex-mix or what not... which isn't bite-sized morsels of golden fried goodness. Mmmm... I'm getting hungry.

So, also something to file into the random column. At work, we have to do an annual ethics training where they remind us of things like not taking bribes and not campaigning at work. I think our trainer got a little lazy this year. We literally watched an entire episode of "Ozzie and Harriet," which killed about half the allotted time for the training. It was actually a pretty funny episode about the family giving each other Valentines gifts. It had a surprising amount of subtle, but definitely planned, gay jokes. The trainer tied it in to ethics (very, very loosely) by saying the episode included "gifts" and then noted we shouldn't be accepting gifts/bribes from contractors or something to that affect.

Anywho, the reason I mention that is because I made a mental note to download "After the Rain" and "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" by Nelson... since the Nelson twins are the "sons" of Ricky Nelson, who was the kid on "Ozzie and Harriet."

Enjoy the deliciously generic (and awesome) sound that is Nelson!

I know I'm going to end up getting caught singing one of those on the subway platform... it may have happened a few times already with "We Built this City," but seriously, who can resist singing along when such a catchy tune comes on, right?

P.S. So the iTunes store is now suggesting I buy some Winger (oddly enough their second album, In the Heart of the Young, which is sadly actually pretty obscure) since I downloaded the Nelson songs... psht, like I don't already proudly own every Winger song recorded and then some. Fools.