Singing in the Rain, Brooklyn Style
The New York area has hosted an abundance of concerts this summer, and I’ve gone to every single one I could muster the cash for, usually with Jen in tow. Since June I’ve seen George Clinton, Morcheeba, Incubus, Moby, David Bowie, Eminem, Me'shell N'degeocello, The Roots, Outkast, Polyphonic Spree, Mary J. Blige, and more – everything from funk to glam rock to gangster rap. We have a few remaining concert tickets in our possession, but for the most part the summer concert series is coming to a close. It ended on a perfect note this Saturday in Prospect Park, and we, along with some drenched fellow music appreciators, were there to soak up the music and the rain.
The Celebrate Brooklyn benefit concert was somewhat ironically entitled the Unlimited Sunshine Tour, and featured Cake, De La Soul, some bands I had heard of (Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips) and some that I had not (Kinky and the banjo-strumming filler act – I think they may have been called the Hackensack Boys.) The proceeds from the nearly $40 ticket price went toward supporting the free concerts and activities in Prospect Park throughout the year, so we felt good to be doing our part to keep events free for our fellow New Yorkers. Because it was raining on Saturday, Jen, her 19-year old sister Julia and I decided to arrive late to the show, rationalizing that if we were going to get wet, we’d prefer it to be while dancing to the bands we wanted to see the most. With hats on our heads and mini-umbrellas in hand, we set off for the Prospect Park Bandshell, and were blessed with overcast, yet dry skies, upon our arrival. The banjo boys were warming up the crowd before De La Soul. We surveyed the 4,000 person long line to the beer tent, concluded that we didn’t need a drink that badly, and found a place to stand before De La took the stage.
De La Soul played a decent enough show, but they’ve clearly lost a bit of vocal range since Me, Myself and I hit the airwaves back in 1989. (You know that Woa oh oh oh oh oh part? Well, they could only hit “Woa oh”, and left the remaining oh oh’s to the crowd. Not pretty.) It was fun but maybe I’m just an old fashioned girl that prefers a little live music at a concert rather than 3 guys walking back and forth across the stage. Regardless, the DJ spun all of our favorite old school tunes and the obligatory special guest sauntered in from stage right – in this case, Dres, the lead singer from Black Sheep, added some vim to the set. Still, it wasn’t quite as exhilarating as I’d expected, and by the end of it we decided to face the challenges of the beer line and get a bit of a groove on for the rest of the show.
When the Flaming Lips hit the stage the sun (what sun?) had set and the night sky was a perfect backdrop to their ironic style and unusual stage presence. The lead singer, Wayne Coyne, sported a tan fitted suit and clearly had a penchant for the macabre, as witnessed by the fake blood dribbling down his face during one of the songs (forgive me for not knowing the name of the song, but up until this show, I wasn’t much of a follower of this band.) He threw glittered confetti onto the stage and into the crowd, and an extremely close up camera attached to the mike stand allowed us to follow his every facial expression, which were varied and entertaining. Apparently the band had enlisted several people dressed as large animals, just like the ones you see at a kid's birthday party or an amusement park, who bounced around both sides of the stage and danced little jigs. We liked the chick and the cow, although the penguin, pig, and frog weren't bad. Between the animals, the dry ice, and the images projected on the huge screen behind the band, there was a lot to take in at this show. If that weren’t enough, they covered Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue, and the looping image on the video screen of a naked woman falling down just about summed up the empty repetitiveness of the song (although, I still love it. I really do.) The Flaming Lips were interesting, funny, and they sounded good too. I was pleasantly surprised.
By the end of their set, the skies had darkened and the rain was coming down. Hard, this time. Really hard. At least half of the audience split, and Jen, Julia and I conferred to discuss the options. Jen and I had seen Cake before, but it had been at Roseland, and the sound and the crowd had sucked so badly I had considered writing an apology to the band on behalf of all the bridge and tunnel assholes at the show, asking them to give New York another chance. It wasn’t necessary, since they were the brainpower behind the Unlimited Sunshine tour, and as the headlining act, they also had to deal with a torrential deluge during their show. Julia really wanted to see the band, and on a trip to the porta-potty, confided in me that the conditions at the show were superior to those of most fraternity parties she'd been to that year. I realized she was right, and we decided to stay. Our hats and umbrellas were no longer doing us any good – the rain was coming down so hard that even the inside of my closed purse was soaked (still is a bit damp in there… ugh.) Miraculously, the beer line disappeared, so we bought ourselves some cool ones and hung out in the rain. There were occasional lightning bolts in the distance but nothing big and bad enough to get in the way of a good rock concert. We befriended the remaining fans, namely a couple of cuties who brought us up to the front with them, and had one of the best visceral concert experiences ever. With the rain pouring down our backs and faces, the music sounding so good, and the young boys lavishing such attention upon us, we had the time of our lives. And Cake didn’t have to ask us to finish any of their lyrics for them. We were singing right along the entire time, sans invitation - the only true indicator of a supurb show you really need.
Posted by GxxP at 12:56 PM
Since I don't seem to be having any luck meeting a guy all the normal ways (bars, mutual friends, etc.) and I have a couple friends who met boyfriends this way, a few months ago I decided to try the online dating thing. I have actually gotten quite a lot of responses, but the problem is, not a lot of them are guys that I’d want to date. Some live way too far away, some are just not my type and some look downright scary! I even had two responses in the same day from guys that are married! Well, at least they’re honest, I guess…!
So, I did find a few here and there who could write and spell, (you would be amazed how many men in the Chicagoland area enjoy “fine dinning!”) had something interesting to say and that looked okay too. So, after a few emails exchanged there were a few sometimes awkward, sometimes okay phone conversations, and eventually the meeting for coffee or a drink. The first guy said he lived in Chicago and turned out he actually was living with his mom somewhere in the ‘burbs in a town I don’t even know where is (but he assured me he used to live in the city and was moving back in a few months). He was a nice enough guy and we had a decent time hanging out but I think we both knew that there was just nothing there. We never talked again.
Second guy seemed okay, and we agreed to meet for coffee. Along comes the day I am supposed to meet him and I feel really shitty. I try to convince myself I’ll be alright because I feel really bad canceling on him so I take a shower and then realize there is no way in hell I can leave the house and meet this guy. I’m feverish, my whole body aches, my throat is swollen, my glands are swollen and I have the worst splitting headache I’ve ever had in my life, my head feels like it will literally explode. So I call him and he’s not home. I leave a message but worry that he won’t get it in time. I have visions of this guy showing up at Starbucks and thinking he’s been stood up. I consider driving there and telling him I’m sick or calling and giving the people at Starbucks his description and to be on the lookout but realize both options are completely ridiculous. So I try him at home again and thank God, he’s there and I tell him that I’m really sorry, I feel like crap and I won’t be able to make it but I would like to meet him when I’m feeling better (I’m sure he thinks I’m lying, I probably would if it were the other way around).
So, eventually after I realize it’s not the flu and it’s not going away after a week and a half, I go to the doctor and guess what – I’ve got mono!!! I am 30 years old with mono and not only do I feel hellish and won’t feel better for at least a month (did I also mention that I was supposed to start my new job at the time and had to start three weeks later than planned?!?) but now I’ve got to endure everyone teasing me about having “the kissing disease” and as you can gather from the fact that I’ve resorted to online dating, I certainly haven’t at least gotten it through kissing! I don’t even know how I got it either. (In case you’re wondering, apparently it’s very easily spread and my doctor tells me you can get it through something like touching a doorknob someone with mono touched after coughing into their hand and you don’t realize and put your hand to your mouth or something – gross, I know.) So, I tell the guy that I have mono because for one thing it’s a really good excuse for not meeting him but on the other hand, he might think I am totally gross and that will be the end of that. Luckily he’d had mono in college (he got it by tasting someone else’s soup) so he was very understanding. We talked on the phone quite a few times throughout my recovery and eventually we again agreed to meet.
So we met for coffee and had dinner and walked around for a while. There wasn’t a ton of chemistry but he seemed alright so I figured we’d talk again and who knows, maybe even go out again if we decide to. We talked a few times after that and on one occasion we talked about possibly meeting up after I had dinner with a friend and he’d been out with his friends. So I call him after my dinner and leave him a message saying to call if he wants to meet. By this time I’m tired anyway so I don’t really care if he calls. He called alright – at about 3 or 4 A.M. my cell phone rings and I see his number and think, “What the hell…?” Of course I didn’t pick it up. I figure he’s drunk and actually find it kind of funny, so I call him the next day asking if he had a good time last night and ask if he remembers calling me and of course he doesn’t! We did talk a few more times but I guess there wasn’t really a whole lot there so the phone calls kind of fizzled out and that’s that.
After a couple months I decide to give it a shot again and I update my profile. I get some emails and one from a guy who’s my age, lives downtown and is a futures trader -- sounds okay. So we exchange a couple emails and talk on the phone and then decide to meet for a drink. I decide it’ll be nice to meet him downtown so I agree to meet him at his building. I get there and he opens the door and he really doesn’t look like his pictures – at all. He offers me a drink, I decline and so we set off to have dinner. At dinner we go through the usual small talk, order drinks and I tell him he looks kind of different from his pictures. Turns out they are 5 YEARS OLD! He thinks he looks the same just with a little less hair…um, sorry dude, you don’t look at all like you did at 25!!! Claims his ex-girlfriend took all the recent photos.
Among other things, he asks me when the last relationship I had was. I tell him I haven’t really dated in some years, after two back-to-back long-term relationships I decided I needed a break and I also, excuse the cliché, needed to find myself and discover who I am and what I want, etc. Once I got out of the dating scene I found it hard to get back in and so here I am. He can’t believe that I haven’t dated in years especially since I’m a woman at that age (30) and what about the physical side of things!?!? Okay, he doesn’t even know me and is being really forward and I don’t know why, but so as not to appear as a prudish freak, reluctantly admit that I’ve had a friend with occasional benefits. So we move along to other topics and soon I realize that while I’m nursing one drink (I have to drive home afterwards) he’s had about 4 beers in the space of like 20 minutes. Not a huge deal, I guess, but I make a mental note of it. Dinner’s over and we get the check. He was nice enough to insist I not pay anything and takes out his I.D. and credit card. I ask him why he’s got a state I.D. and not a driver’s license and he casually replies, “D.U.I.” Oh, but he has no shame over his D.U.I., he proceeds to tell me about the bastard cops in the suburbs and brag about the great lawyer who’s gonna get him off, how he got him off THE LAST TIME HE GOT A D.U.I. six years ago!!! O…kay….
I knew I didn’t want to see him again but for some reason I figure I’m out now so I’ll just make the best of it. There are lots of bars in the area so he decides we should try one called The Lodge. He says he’s been there once a long time ago and right before we go in he tells me this is the bar Chris Farley was in the night he died. “Good omen!” I joke. Well, it turns out to be one of those bars full of older men and peanut shells all over the floor. We have one drink and decide to move along. I figure I’ll just go with the flow and let him decide, so next we end up at the Alumni Club. If you are trying to relive the college experience, this one’s for you! After he questioned the $5 cover they explain that it’s 50-cent draft night so he’s pretty happy and pays for both of us. We sit down at a table and a waitress takes our order. I insist he let me at least buy him a 50-cent beer after he already bought me dinner and a couple drinks so since they are 50-cents he relents. I am feeling generous and I offer to buy him 2 at a time so we don’t have to order again and by this time I can see how much he likes to drink so who am I to stop him?!?! We sit there for a while and it seems the waitress has forgotten all about us (it is 50-cent draft night so they are really busy) so I offer to go up to the bar and get the three drinks. Finally I get served and after weaving my way through people and tables trying not to spill them, find that the waitress has been in my absence and brought the other three drinks – now there are six drinks on the table!!!!! I sip mine and he gets busy with the rest, I think he drank about four of them.
After a while I get tired and since it’s a work night, I decide to head home. So, we walk back to his building and since he’s giving me a parking voucher for his building’s garage, I go up to his apartment. As soon as we get in he offers me, you guessed it, a drink (which I turn down but he doesn’t) and offers to let me crash there if I’m not okay to drive. I assure him I’m fine, but thanks anyway, and ask him if he’s okay, he’s had a lot more to drink than me! He explains that that’s nothing, he can drink like 30-40 beers, he’s got a really high tolerance. I say to him, “You know that having a high-tolerance is not a good thing, right?” And he says, “I know.” So after getting my parking voucher and petting his very cute cat (he did get points for that but alas, it was not enough to make me want to date him again!) I said goodbye and wished him luck with his D.U.I. charge in court the next day. I am not jaded yet, surprisingly, but I still haven’t updated my profile!
Images From Last Night That I Still Cannot Shake From My Head
Last night Jen's friend from high school, who is now a cop in LA, came to visit us in the Big Apple. Somehow what started off as an innocent night of drinking became one of the biggest debacles I’ve witnessed in a while. We were playing pool, singing along to our favorite tunes, and befriending strangers when suddenly our good time came to a screeching halt. I will leave the gory details to Jen, but for now I will share with you the recurring images that have been plaguing me since I stumbled into the office this morning.
- Being informed by a girl at Finally Fred’s while we lounged in the back patio that Cop Dave had fallen, according to witnesses, “like a dropped puppet” to the floor of the bar. Apparently a resuscitation attempt was underway on the very pool table we had been playing on minutes before.
- Being helped by Greg, a kind man with whom we had played pool, who moved Cop Dave to the curb in front of the bar, where droves of people had gathered to watch the spectacle. In an attempt to shock Dave into sobriety, Greg dumped a glass of water on Dave’s head and rubbed it all around. Greg also tried to feed Dave water out of his cupped hands as if he were helping a thirsty puppy.
- Driving to Brooklyn in Greg’s SUV, with Dave in the back seat, strapped in and flopping about like a rag doll. He would occasionally regain consciousness, only to accuse us of dosing him with PCP (this was not true). On the way back to Manhattan, Greg informed me that he had once been blind, and underwent a miraculous procedure that enabled him to regain his site, such that he was now able to drive.
Sweet sweet alcohol, you’ve ravaged us again, and left a hungover, if not befuddled, first-time visitor to our fair city in your wake.
Jen will fill you in on the rest. I’m just here to deliver the teaser. Now I'm off to meet a friend - for an alcohol free evening. I promise.
Posted by GxxP at 06:27 PM
Shifting T.V. into high gear, it's FASTLANE!
In the "watch it while you can" category, Fox has served up another meatball of a show. There is no doubt that the show's eulogy will soon be found buried in the back of Variety magazine, with a predictably ironic headline: "FOX In the FASTLANE to cancellation".
With that said, I, the world's biggest Tiffany Theissen fan, will still be there watching. Try as they may to shuffle the show around in a series of terribly inconvenient time slots, they won't be able to shake me, my VCR has a timer.
So break out the lotion and kleenex, boys! You won't have much time to peel one off when FASTLANE peels out of Fox's parking lot.
Posted by Eric at 12:50 PM
Due to time constraints and a general lack of creativity last week, I neglected to continue the exciting saga of the softball league that I have been so lucky to be a part of this summer. Unfortunately, I shouldn't have waited so long, as we were knocked out of the playoffs in a crushing defeat yesterday afternoon.
It all began last Wednesday when we played in the first round of the playoffs. I was really nervous to play the game. The team we were up against was gunning for us. The last time we met we were tied entering the last inning, and we somehow manged to score during the last play of the game. The runner slid into home, knocked down the catcher, and sent up a big cloud of dust. As our team jumped up and down and high-fived each other, I noticed that the catcher who had been knocked down was throwing dirt at the fence and screaming at the umpire. It was not pretty. Because of the nature of our first victory against the other team, they really wanted to win last week's game. So as a result, everyone was all business. As was witnessed in our previous meeting, we were pretty evenly matched, and when we reached the 7th inning of last week's game, we were once again tied. We played four extra innings before we were kicked off the field by another league. They set a date to play a sudden-death game the following week to decide who would advance to the next round.
This arrives us at yesterday. Sadly, I was too busy at work to actually play in the game. I wished my teammates well as they trotted off to Central Park to play. About 20 minutes later they returned. I don't know all the details, but rumor has it, they were an embarassment on the field. The short stop and the second baseman collided when trying to catch the same foul ball, and a ball thrown by the pitcher to the first baseman ended up almost hitting a girl who was sitting in the stands. To top it all off, a young man who likes to go simply by the name "G," took a crazy swing at a ball and completely whiffed it in a way that was most humiliating. In an effort to blame the mistake on extenuating circumstances, he staged and elaborate (and obviously fake) fall that landed him in the dirt. He then claimed that a faux ankle injury caused the incident. He even went so far as to have someone help him off the field. He is totally fine now.
So that's it. My rookie season is over. We did pretty well as far as I'm concerned. Considering all the drama that occured over the course of the season, I'm surprised that anyone is still speaking to each other. It'll be nice to play next year as the seasoned ballplayer that I've become.
Posted by Jen at 11:25 AM
Working the System for The Boss
I’m a Bruce fan. If you’re a Bruce fan than I don’t need to explain. You know that the word FAN takes on a whole new meaning when placed directly after the word SPRINGSTEEN. If you’re not, well you’re probably as big a mystery to me as I am to you. I concede that there are those rare few that fall in the middle of this equation. They look at the Bruce disciples with a bemused look on their face and marvel at their zealousness. This is because they are music fans and are therefore no more blind to Bruce’s impact on rock and roll than the horticulturist who admires the skill and nurturing essential to the growth of a marijuana plant, even if they do not care to indulge in or understand its intoxicating effects.
So falling into the Bruce fan category, you can imagine my state of elation upon hearing of the impending E-street band reunion, album and tour and then my bitter disappointment upon discovering I would be in the throws of a wedding ceremony when the tickets for the NYC area shows went on sale. Yes, I would be wiping the forced tear from my eye and desperately trying to contrive a sentiment slightly more original than “You two just seem so happy” to offer the newlyweds at just the moment Ticketmaster would be opening its phone lines. (If I sound cynical I assure you these comments are not necessarily directed at the institution of marriage itself, but more at its intrusion upon my summer and its larceny of about 50% of my weekends.)
Well, I shrugged it off, vowed to work every angle I had and waited for the release of The Rising. On July 30th, I woke up bright and early for The Today Show to catch my first glimpse of what had been hyped by the media as nothing short of the second coming of Christ (or Born to Run…same difference.). I was disappointed. Not disappointed enough to not purchase the damn thing that very day, but I was having doubts. After one listen, I was still disappointed. But again not disappointed enough to talk myself out of heading over to Madison Square Garden the night of August 12th and placing myself at the end of a 500-person ticket drop line. (To clarify for the non-fan, Bruce traditionally drops a large chunk of tickets at the box office the day of the show to minimize scalping and give all of us shutouts one last-ditch effort at getting into the show.)
I knew that the majority of the people in front of me had probably been there about 30 hours, received their bracelets and had actually paid their dues. My chances of making it to that ticket window were slim to none. I can’t explain it though. I just had this feeling, like when you can smell the rain and know it’s coming long before the clouds even roll in. I’ve had good concert karma in the past, but I just felt especially confident about this night and knew if nothing else, I had to put myself out there where the action was.
So I started to make friends and size up the crowd. It’s tough in these situations because it’s important to make alliances but at the same time you can’t commit too soon. Let’s face it, you’re out here battling solo and while you want to prospect the chances of that elusive Rosalita as much as the next guy, you know you’re a mercenary and will turn on these fellow soldiers as soon as the words “One for face value” make themselves audible. In this particular case, something did fall my way. I was working on getting a single ticket from a woman in front of me and while it looked promising, there were still many variables at play making the purchase anything but a sure thing. So when I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see a familiar face, my sensors were out and I was ready to pounce. “I just need one,” I blurted. No niceties here! This was a friend of a friend. While we had bonded over a particularly hairy incident involving a stolen purse, the incarceration of an innocent man, and a raced rental car up the NJ Turnpike from an abandoned Greyhound to the NY District Attorney (another story for another day), we weren’t exactly close friends. Therefore, my Bruce enthusiasm could have been construed as rudeness, but he didn’t bat an eyelash. He simply said he’d be right back. “$75?” he stated upon his return. Was he joking? Did he really phrase that in the form of a question? Hell yeah! My colleagues from line patted my back, cheered for me and bid me farewell, as I broke free from the line ready to claim my prize. I knew this was my night!
“So who has the ticket?” I asked John as we headed back to congregate with his friends. “Well, it’s not really a ticket. We’ve got a deal worked out with some of the guys in the Garden,” he explained, as visions of lost opportunity flashed before my eyes. Did I abort too soon? That other lady’s ticket was in the bag! As these panicked thoughts floated through my head, John handed me what appeared to be a ticket. It had all the makings of a Ticketmaster Rip-off Du Jour, but where it should have been emblazoned with BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E-STREET band, it had the words VOID VOID VOID and SHAHANI/RUSTOM/P 434 Monmouth St. Jersey City, NJ. Huh?
“OK, here’s what we do!” The ringleader of the group was now speaking. He was another familiar face, but I knew him about as well as a handshake and a “Good to meet you”. Survival instincts kicked in. Whatever this guy was about to tell me, I knew it was going to pertain to something highly illegal. The question was did this guy look like someone who could pull it off, and more importantly could he take me along for the ride. (Hey this was Bruce we were talking about!) I listened as he spelled out the plan. “Cover the ticket and flash it as you go through security. From there, it’s all prearranged. We go to a ticket taker at Gate X who will scan these tickets and let us in.” (Let’s just say Gate X for the story. I mean I’m no whistleblower. Maybe the contact at Gate X wasn’t even in it for the money. Maybe he was simply protesting the plight of the throngs of ticket takers across the country by sticking it to the MSG machine. This guy could be the next Casear Chavez for all we know.)
“Sounds good so far,” I thought, quickly weighing the risk/reward quotient in my head when a light bulb went off. “Where are we going to sit once we get in?” I asked. I mean call me pessimistic, but I didn’t think showing my stub with SECTION ____, ROW_____, and SEAT _____ would go over too well with an usher who wasn’t in on the take. “We’re getting in to general admission,” he said. That was enough for me. It was getting too close to concert time to dissect this too much. Hey anyone with a cache of fake tickets must have the plan thought out well beyond Gate X!
We all got through security, no problem. My heart was racing at this point and I couldn’t tell whether it was nerves or the fact that I had just placed significant distance between myself and the scores of other non-ticket holders outside. I was that much closer to The Boss.
The crowd at Gate X was thick. It was a balancing act…stick together as a pack or try to spread ourselves out? It turns out the decision was made for John and me. We watched our “gang” go effortlessly through Gate X while we splintered and were carried off by an eager pack of Bruce fans. I was still confident. I figured John knew some prearranged code word or at least how to furtively slide a wad of cash into our boy, Chavez’s hand. No such luck. “What are you doing?” I heard Casear ask John. “Come back later.”
Okay no major worries yet. He probably just wanted to spread us out to make it less obvious. We got back in line. (Looking back on it we probably should have let a little more time pass before our second attempt. I don’t know, maybe 45 seconds rather than our designated 30. “You think we’ve waited long enough?” “Yeah, You?” “Yeah, Let’s Go.”) Well, needless to say Round 2 went just about as well as the first.
Shit! I had a piece of crap ticket, a wad of $20’s in my hand, and an activist with cold feet …not a lot to go on. As images of Bruce pulling up a Courtney Cox look alike from the exact spot on the floor where I would have been standing began to cloud my judgment, John whipped into action and turned to the trusted weapon of any self-respecting New Yorker, his cell phone. “MMMM…. Oh Okay”, I overheard, as a look of awakened possibilities passed over his face. Apparently, the key to our entry was not the cash but the uttered phrase “We’re friends of TJ”. In fact the cash was our downfall. For all you future ticket scammers, lesson number one. When the fix is in, no cash exchanges hands at Gate X. Apparently the players (and yes there were many in this case) divvy up the score behind closed doors. We had simply been flashing the risk of imprisonment in front of Chavez’s face and not as discreetly as we had thought.
Third attempt equaled success! I ran through Gate X like a child coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. We were in. The group reconvened and began talking in hushed whispers once again. I gave John $80 and went to the beer line. I have no idea who finally got the money or how, and at this point, I couldn’t have cared less about Phase II of the plan. I could walk laps around the Garden for the duration of the show for all I cared. I had gained entry into this intimate room of 20,000 that included Bruce, Clarence, Patty, Nils and Max. As far as I was concerned my $80 had been well spent and that was enough for me. I heard the opening notes of Lonesome Day, and bolted through the entrance to the arena. As it turns out laps around the arena it was. We had become instantly engaged in a cat and mouse game with special forces MSG…aka the ushers. (Apparently, it’s somewhat obvious if you don’t have a seat in a sold out stadium.)
Did I mention earlier I was feeling the concert karma that day? The beautiful end to this scam came when John and his friends bumped into yet another friend. Now THIS guy had yet ANOTHER friend who was a security guard. I think some more money exchanged hands (but again I don’t want to jump to conclusions--perhaps it was an act of charity) and next thing you know the whole posse is being escorted down under the stage and into the General Admission area! Now here we could blend in with these folks. Not only did we now belong, no longer discriminated against because of a few misspellings on our ticket, but we were standing dead center stage and Bruce was in my sights about 75 yards away. Never have I been, nor ever will I probably be again, this close to the man himself.
Within 15 minutes Bruce and the E Street Band wiped away all notions of disappointment over the new album. Had the songs changed? No, but the delivery had. I saw the timelessness of Bruce’s relevance. Perhaps the songs and production of the album were not quite as fresh and instantly gripping as I had hoped. But that is who Bruce is. He experiments within his comfort level and fortunately for his fans the results always stem from a sincerity and passion that few can rival. He is not going to go out and get the Neptunes for his next project or collaborate with Redman to broaden his appeal. The Rising is not going to win Bruce many new fans. (As if he needs them.) And while I may not consider it the opus it has been touted to be in the media, the bottom line is that it is a riveting composition, wrought in empathy, hope and yearning. The fact that I needed to see these songs performed live in order to want to own them and be a part of them does not diminish their appeal. Once I saw him and the band perform these songs, I instantly loved them because it was so clear that they loved them. And if Bruce and the band love these songs than that is enough for me. I’m a convert.
Maybe my potentially cataclysmic journey into the concert had something to do with my romanticized view of the night. Ethical? Moral? Legal? I can safely say “no” to all of these. I could rationalize another 4 pages about why I don’t feel bad about it though. After all I can’t think of many characters in Springsteen’s songs that wouldn’t have jumped at the opportunity to do the same. Eddie, Wild Billy, Bobby Jean - Not only would they have taken the risk, they’d have known in their hearts that by doing so they’d made the experience just that much sweeter. After all, who do you cheer for - Maximum Lawmen or Magic Rat and barefoot girl? Well, last night this barefoot girl made it free and clear down Flamingo to the house of Bruce, where yet again he opened the door and let her in.
Posted by Pazzy at 05:48 PM
I'm Sorry I Misjudged You, Anna Nicole (House-Hunting Made Me Cry Too)
Earlier this week I shared with you my disgust with the E! channel's latest contribution to the steaming dung heap of reality television programming, the Anna Nicole Show. For those of you who have watched it, you too may have experienced discomfort at watching this grown woman stumble around like a drunken frat boy, slurring her speech and treating the most mundane of situations as sexual romps. A particularly disturbing scene during episode one, the house-hunting episode, involved Anna Nicole crying her eyes out upon viewing a house that she wanted very badly, but that was apparently out of her price range. "Oh, she's bombed," I thought to myself, wondering who in their right mind would let anyone see them cry over a piece of real estate (especially when you still have time to negotiate). No poker face for Anna Nicole. She wept on her assistant Kim's shoulder, mumbling, "I want it, I want it so much," and was escorted, dejectedly, to the car.
I can now say that I know how she felt. On Monday night of this week my roommate and I decided to amicably part ways after over three years of sharing living quarters. Aaron has set his sights on moving back to northern California, and I, well, I've always in the back of my mind wanted to live alone before I turned 30 (no small feat in Manhattan, but a girl can dream). Not being one to waste time, by Tuesday I put the word out to everyone I knew who lived in a desirable neighborhood (and yes, I ranked them too) to be on the lookout for openings in their buildings. By Wednesday I was schlepping around town on my lunch hour in the 98 degree heat looking at studios that were too small, or one-bedrooms that were on shitty blocks. By the end of the day I was feeling sweaty and defeated... but it was only my first day.
After my last appointment Wednesday, a broker called me as I was trying on a shirt in the Lord of the Fleas dressing room (probably not the best idea before one has to shell out a few thou on a new home, but I was feeling low, and needed the boost that only a new addition to the wardrobe can give). He had a one-bedroom available on East 10th Street and told me I could be the first to view it. I bought the shirt and within 15 minutes was on East 10th. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, 10th Street between Second and Third Avenues is the heart of the East Village, a neighborhood that has consistently topped my list of New York faves, yet I've never been able to afford anything more than a studio the size of a broom closet there. As I waited for the broker at our arranged meeting place, I gazed at the beautiful tree-lined street and brownstones and read a sign touting the block as an historic neighborhood. When the broker approached and started leading me away from the meeting place, I grumbled that he was "baiting and switching" me. But I was wrong.
We walked across the street to an adorable 6-story pre-war building and he unlocked the door. We took the elevator to the fifth floor and gained entry to 5C, a charming one-bedroom with stainless steel cupboards, plenty of natural light, and... gasp!... a dishwasher. The broker then told me about the roof garden, and I was hooked. Still, it was only my first day of looking, and I couldn't believe my luck compared to the horrific selection of apartments I recalled from years past. I left a teeny tiny deposit, negotiated lower rent, and set off to "think about things" for a spell. If this apartment was out there, maybe there were others, twice the size for half the price. I felt like someone who falls in love with the best person for them the first time they fall in love. How do they know they have it so good? What else do they have to compare it to?
Well, it only took me about 15 minutes to figure out what a great opportunity I had in front of me. I went with my gut (and the opinion of several friends who were like... "DUH, Gina. Take it! Call the broker now!") This apartment just felt right, and if there's something better out there, I don't really care. When you have something that you believe is the best, then what’s the use of shopping around? To you it is the best. Nothing else, at that point, matters.
By Thursday I met the broker again and measured the walls of 5C, imaging how I would arrange my furniture once I moved in. Of course I was getting ahead of myself, but like I said, something about it felt right. In spite of my horrific history with NYC apartment hunting, I staked my claim - and my heart - on 5C. When I returned to the office, I started to cry at my desk thinking about how much I wanted it. I had become Anna Nicole Smith, without the Valium.
Today I emptied my savings and checking accounts and signed the lease. I have one more week of anguish before I meet the co-op board and dazzle them with my charming personality. Again, I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm already referring to the apartment as mine. Maybe sometimes you have to put your whole heart into something, no matter what the risk, in order to get what you want. I know it worked for Anna - she got the house. I just hope it works for me.
Posted by GxxP at 11:35 AM
Who Is Responsible for this Anna Nicole Nonsense?
Everyone is talking about the E! channel’s latest contribution to the seedy underbelly that is reality television programming – The Anna Nicole Show. Not to be left out, I checked out the program for myself this week, and was shocked by what I saw.
Yes, Anna Nicole is big, and yes, Anna Nicole is a mess. I think however that she is still very beautiful, and now that she’s a self-declared “big-boned girl” with her own television show, maybe there is hope that our culture could move away from the ectomorph-worshipping we find ourselves guilty of today. Maybe large-bodied women can be revered and emulated in art again as they were in Rubenesque paintings. If that indeed were to happen, then we could say that something, anything came out of this embarrassment of a show. Something, that is, besides discomfort in its viewers and ultimately Anna’s teenage son, who must be returning to school shortly, the poor, unfortunate soul.
On one hand you can say that Anna’s weight gain has its companion health threats, but so do the lifestyles that some models embrace in order to be a size 2 (they don’t call them “heroin chic” for nothing.) Although I must admit that Anna Nicole’s drug abuse – and clearly it’s there – is of genuine concern to me, especially since she seems unable to clean herself up, even with the television cameras rolling. Over the weekend Jen and I, along with the rest of the viewing public, I would imagine, made guesses to what on earth she is on. Painkillers, prescription downers, yet something to keep her moving (cocaine?) are among our ideas. Lots of booze, Jen thinks, even though I pointed out her lipstick is never smeared from excessive drinking. I postulated that she’d snorted some ether, thinking back to some of the wacky shit Hunter S. Thompson used to dabble in. Whatever it is, I feel bad watching it, as if I recognize someone needs help yet there’s nothing I can do to help them.
Anna Nicole’s fragile state (which consists of her bumbling around, followed by a motley crew of people whose sole purpose seems to be making sure she doesn’t fall on her face), in addition to the obvious and sudden weight gain and her slurred and disconnected speech, remind me of Elvis Presley’s final concerts that I watched on television as a girl. In his white sequined jump suit with a 30-piece orchestra supporting him, the King, severely bloated and obviously confused, stumbled through his lyrics and poured sweat like a… well, like a drug addict. He died not too long thereafter, which is why if Anna Nicole is in even half the trouble Elvis was in, it seems unethical of E! to exploit her situation. I’m not saying death is knocking at her door, but I am saying the woman has clearly fallen on some hard times. During one of her muffled speeches, Anna lamented the fact that the news is always covering situations “where shit happens and you die.” When she pointed out that the real hell is in the lives of people “where shit happens and you live,” I realized how unhappy this woman really is. Cindy Adams may have summed it up best – Anna Nicole needs a guardian. Not a television show. If no one's willing to stop it, the least I can do is stop watching.
Posted by GxxP at 10:35 AM
From Pigeons to Faggots- My Life as a Lunchtime Voyeur
When my previous employer sold our department to a direct marketing company and moved our offices to Hudson and Houston Street, the first thought that came to my mind (well, after “Thank GOD, this place was driving me CRAZY!”) … was cool new neighborhood! Located at the crossroads of Soho, Tribeca, and the West Village, our new ‘hood is replete with outdoor cafes, parks, and confusingly winding streets to explore. Unlike the rest of Manhattan, where the buildings are so tall you can barely see the sky, the buildings in our neighborhood rarely reach higher than four stories -- therefore there's a very open and inviting feeling to the area. When weather and our work schedules permit, Jerry, Stevie and I take to the streets at lunchtime to get fresh air and good food. Sometimes we get a lot more than just that.
The Cowgirl Hall of Fame has quickly become our Monday lunch destination of choice – it’s the one day of the week we splurge on a double-digit meal price because we believe in treating ourselves well on the gloomiest day at the office (and we usually have a lot to catch up on from the weekend.) Cowgirl tops our list because the décor is brilliant (white trash laundry strung from wires, old cowgirl photos and a curler-haired mannequin in a lawn chair are among the decorative draws of the establishment); the servers practically know us by name; and its location on Hudson Street is the perfect window from which to view the lives of the Greenwich Village passers-by. We ogle men and invent stories of the regulars we see walking the street each week – the old woman with the absurdly large sunglasses, the boy in the too-tight shorts, etc. On a Monday afternoon two months ago we were seated outside, chatting away, when suddenly we spotted a party of seven people joining the table behind us. Jerry’s dramatic gasp alerted us to the fact that Sarah Jessica Parker and Stanford from SATC were among the group. We desperately tried to spy on them without being too obvious or intrusive (ever the plight of the polite yet star-struck New Yorker), and realized that Heather Graham and a woman that Jerry insisted was Patricia Heaton (although I’m still not convinced it was her) were also among the crew dining beside us. It was a triple-word-score sort of sighting, not only because Sarah Jessica is second only to Madonna in Jerry and Stevie’s book of entertainment goddesses, but also because catching four (or three depending on who you talk to) celebs casually munching in the noonday sun doesn’t happen as often as non-New Yorkers might think. (In fact the closest I ever came was when I saw Danny DeVito, Catherine Keener, and Ed Norton at Tao in 2001.) We stayed an extra fifteen minutes picking at the ice in our empty soda glasses that day, glowing from the proximity of the stars.
Most of our lunches aren’t star-studded, however, which is why we’ve gotten into the habit of making regular people seem more interesting than they appear. Typically this involves Jerry saying something like, “Ya, we are visiting from Sweden, we lav New York Ceety!”, or, “I’m an actor and I’d love to tell you about it but I’m running late for my shift at the diner,” to which Stevie and I look around and laugh upon finding the people to which he is referring. Of course we never really find out if Jerry is right or not, but I’m inclined to believe that most of the time he is. Our personal tastes have started to form as well, especially in the boy-watching department. (Stevie likes the dirty boys, Jerry likes the preppy ones, and I like the guys who travel in packs or hang out with their grandfathers.)
Our voyeuristic little game is not limited to the human race. Stevie projects thoughts on the dogs of our neighborhood’s streets, usually musing, “I’m tiny!”, in a high-pitched doggie voice. He is clearly the Doctor Dolittle of the group, and our dog-watching has evolved to include those of the avian species as well. For weeks we spied Father Olsen Square from its bordering restaurants, mesmerized by the old timers that spend seemingly hours on end communing with the pigeons. Recently we started eating in the Square, and are quickly becoming the weirdos we’ve been observing all this time. We now call it “Pigeon Park” and have taken to giving the birds our bread scraps at the end of our meal. We deliberately try to throw crumbs to the plucky finches who, although one-fifth the size of the thirty or more pigeons around them, exercise aggressive Darwinian schemes to get as much if not more food than their feathered neighbors. We do our best to help them, and have as much fun watching the birds as we do the old humans surrounding them.
Last Thursday our voyeuristic tendencies hit an all time low. As we dined on Mexican in our street-level conference room, Stevie interrupted the conversation to point out that he knew somebody on the street. I turned around to see, and witnessed the beginning of one of the most interesting (and humiliating) lunch scenes to date. The guy Stevie thought he recognized was sitting on the sidewalk outside of the Saatchi building, dressed in black pants and a gray knit shirt, in conference with a blond boy in jeans and a retro shirt. Immediately Jerry observed, “Oh, they’re breaking up,” and indeed it looked as though they were. Blondie was leaning back on his arms in a hurt-looking sort of way, and the Saatchi boy, who we later dubbed “the mean one”, was leaning in, gesturing with his hands and frequently rolling his eyes. They fought on the sidewalk for a while and I moved to the other side of the table to catch a better view. As the fight wore on, Blondie and Meanie stood up, and Meanie tried on several occasions to check his watch and slowly walk backwards to the entrance of the building. But Blondie wasn’t having any of it, and grabbed Meanie’s arm in a pleading, pathetic sort of way. All along Jerry and Stevie were dubbing the conversation as if it were a foreign film – “How many time do I have to tell you, it’s over!”, “How can you throw everything away just like that?”, etc etc. Our view was as clear as if we’d been right out there with them, and our question of whether or not they could see us watching them was eventually answered, 45 minutes into the argument, when Meanie pointed in our direction and Blondie turned around and looked right at us. We quickly dipped our heads into our long-picked-over lunch remains, and blushed in the embarrassment of being caught red-handed. Blondie wiped a tear from his eye, Meanie huffed back to work, and Jerry ran across the street to determine whether or not they could have seen our faces (evidently yes, as clearly as we could see theirs.) We felt a bit bad, but gathered solace in the fact that we seemingly broke up the fight, and hopefully gave them some time to collect their thoughts for break up fight part two, should it happen to occur.
In short, our lunchtime observations make us feel part of the neighborhood, and give us something more to talk about than work and our weekends. Everything we see is right out there, on the public streets, for anyone and everyone to observe. Most New Yorkers – and I know I’m guilty of this as much as the next person – don’t pay an ounce of attention to what’s going on around them, particularly if they have somewhere to be (and five minutes ago, at that.) But our luncheon observations have opened my eyes to the craziness and diversity of this city and its human – and non-human – inhabitants. Just because we’re looking at it doesn’t make us bad. After all, we’re just opening our eyes. Everything else is up to them.
Posted by GxxP at 01:13 PM
Jen's Clumsy Time Journal
Jen is possibly one of the most accident-prone people I know. She has rolled down hills, fallen in mud, and once tilted off her chair at work and rolled into her neighbor's cubicle. She also had a suitcase thrown at her by a crazy person in Brooklyn and has been pushed down several times by strangers in Manhattan. She's broken heels off of her shoes and ended up splayed in the streets of midtown for people to step on her. She falls inside and outside, day and night, drunk and sober. I, of the ever-scientific mind, have decided to log the empirical evidence supporting Jen’s clumsiest periods, to determine if the most bumbling of episodes are related to, say, the tide or the fluctuation of the GNP. This project has only just begun, so apologies for the limited observations at present. Believe me, it will grow in time.
Jen fell in dust today. Spilled an entire Slim Fast. Dropped celery and carrots on the floor. Dropped a wine glass. Dropped another glass of wine. Also dropped a clove and spilled droplets of wine on my couch.
Jen fell down in front of Macy’s today. She also dropped a bag of rice cakes, three fell out, and she ran over them with her chair, spreading rice cake dust all over the floor. She also spilled a ¾ full glass of white wine. Not too bad so far. Oh, and knocked the Vegas ashtray to the floor (it did not break.)
Spilled a cup of coffee. Accidentally wiped red lipstick on her khaki pants. Lost her shoe while running up the stairs, had to hop down to get it. Spilled coffee grounds all over the kitchenette. (And it's only 11 am.)
Posted by GxxP at 10:50 AM
I recently received the following email from a friend of mine….
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 11:34 AM
Subject: Six Degrees of Danny Pintauro
Oh my God! I just read a little of your "When Andy Rooney Attacks" story, and it's totally like "Six Degrees of Danny Pintauro"! Everybody I know has a Danny Pintauro story! It's so freaky! My very good friend Alice went to Fire Island one summer, and met this guy Griffin who she became friends with. Well, Griffin's boyfriend was none other than...Danny Pintauro! Alice hung out with them a few times. She said Griffin was sad because Danny still wasn't over his previous boyfriend. Well, guess who Danny's previous boyfriend was? Jose's roommate Justin! Weird!
In and of itself, this tale of a (minor) celebrity encounter was really nothing to write home about. However, this particular sighting was not an isolated incident. Danny Pintauro entered my life when I was 13 years old, and I have yet to shake him.
On March 22, 1990, my after-school snack was interrupted by a sharp knock on the door. I dragged myself away from some bad afternoon television and found a uniformed Western Union Employee standing on our porch. “Mailgram for Jennifer Stephan!” She said brightly. The fact that Western Union still delivered mailgrams door to door was perplexing enough on its own; the fact that someone was actually sending ME a mailgram was even more difficult to believe. I signed for the letter, opened it, and found some startling and exciting news. There it was in black and white..."Congratulations! You have been named a winner in the Speak For Yourself letter writing Contest…."
At first I didn’t even know what they were referring to, but quickly remembered back to a youth group meeting a couple of months before. While at the meeting, the youth group leader informed us that he wanted us all to enter a writing contest. The RespecTEEN Speak For Yourself writing contest asked that the entrants draft a letter speaking out about an issue that was of concern to them. “It doesn’t have to be long,” he said. "It just needs to be from the heart. Oh…AND the prize is $500 and a weeklong trip to Washington DC for the RespecTEEN National Youth Convention!!” Spurred on by the thought of cash and a free trip, everyone immediately set out to find an topic to write about. While most of the kids immediately began writing about standard adolescent issues such as drug abuse or teenage pregnancy, I took the opportunity to voice my opinion about a problem that was very near and dear to my heart at the time: eliminating the practice of dissection of animals at the junior high and high school level. At the time, I was embroiled in a heated battle with my 8th grade biology teacher. I was refusing to participate in the latest mandatory experiment; the dissection of approximately 30 innocent little frogs. I completely understand that dissection is necessary in the case of say a medical student studying to be a doctor. It is however completely unneccesary for 13 year olds to kill an animal so they can see what it looks like inside. I insisted that the knowledge gained from such an act was negligible, and most likely we would learn more if we simply saw detailed pictures of the frog’s anatomy, or used computer programs that simulated dissection. I was quite emphatic about my beliefs, and I saw this contest as a perfect opportunity to further validate my point. I had no idea that the 20 minutes I put into writing the letter would result in winning the contest.
The letter stated that I had won the Speak For Yourself contest for the state of Rhode Island, and was invited to attend the RespecTEEN National Youth Convention in Washington DC. I, along with 49 other winners from around the country, would attend conferences, tour the nation’s capital, and meet with congressmen from around the country. It was actually really exciting for me at the time. I was interviewed by a couple of local newspapers, I received letters from my congressmen, and I got to buy my first pair of high-heeled shoes. What more could a girl ask for??
After a month of preparations, my mother and I set out for Washington DC. Upon arrival we were thrilled to find that RespecTEEN was no shoddy operation. It was clear that the convention was going to be first class all the way. They were putting us up at the Westin Grand Hotel in Washington DC..not too shabby. Our days were to be filled with fancy meals, first class tours, and (as was labeled on the itinerary sheet) getting to know your fellow “Respectable Teens.” Regardless of how cheesy it sounds now, I was really excited. The first event was a formal Congressional Reception, to be held at the Hyatt Regency. As I donned my very first Laura Ashley dress and slipped on my new 1-inch white patent leather heels. I couldn’t have been more delighted. The reception was lovely, I met congressmen from all over the country, and for the first time in my life attempted the act of “mingling.” We were just beginning to enjoy the crab cakes and pigs in a blanket when someone at the podium interrupted us. After welcoming us to the convention and going on and on about what a special experience this was going to be, the speaker announced that he had quite a surprise for us. “I want to welcome a young man that you all might find quite familiar,” he bellowed, “star of the television show Who's the Boss?…Mr. Danny Pintauro.” I don’t know about you, but like most children of the 80’s, I was a religious follower of Who’s the Boss. Granted, my favorite character was Samantha (she was soooo cool), but Danny was the one that had graced us with his very tiny presence, and he would have to do. He gave a little speech, his voice cracking every so often with the telltale signs of puberty. He was wearing a cute little suit, and gigantic eyeglasses that changed color in bright light. I was smitten.
The next couple of days were filled with excitement. Sure the special White House Visit and the tours of various national monuments were great, but most of my energy was focused on hanging out with Danny Pintauro. He was a fixture among the group. He went on most of the outings with us, and hung out in the RespecTEEN lounge in the evenings. He even went with us to Hard Rock Café where we danced the night away. The highlight of the week came as the convention came to a close, when I mentioned that I wanted to take a trip to Georgetown Mall. Much to my surprise, Danny agreed to come along. Granted, we were not alone on our mall date per se (there were several other RespecTEEN members along for the ride), but he did walk next to ME. Also in attendance was Danny’s father-slash-bodyguard. The senior Mr. Pintauro followed along about 20 feet behind the group, sporting a red, white, and blue leather “Who's the Boss?” jacket. It was bliss. Sadly, Danny said goodbye to us the next morning. He gave me a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and an autographed postcard displaying a picture of himself. At that moment I thought that he was the sweetest boy in all the land.
I never heard from Danny again and after Who's the Boss went off the air, I didn’t see him either (Nor did anyone else for that matter). In fact, he almost completely faded out of my memory. He would randomly come up in conversation on occasion. Friends of mine who knew about the illustrious mall-date with Danny Pintauro would occasionally bring him up to poke fun at me, but for the most part Danny became a thing of my past…that is until about a year ago. I was watching the E True Hollywood Story about the cast of “Whose the Boss?” and was intrigued to find out what had happened to little Danny Pintauro. I was not so shocked to find out that he had very bravely and quite publicly come out of the closet. He was one of the first child stars to do so, and was a huge gay rights advocate, making tons of public appearances. (I wonder if he still does spots with RespecTEEN?) According to “E” he was living in New York City while pursuing a career in the theater. That career in the theater was precisely where we found him. Last December we discovered that he was starring in a play called “A Queer Carol” at The Duplex in the West Village. “A Queer Carol” was basically a gay version of “A Christmas Carol.” In this version of Dickens’s classic, the setting was not in fact an old lending house, but instead an interior design firm. Tiny Tim (played by Danny) was not a little boy, but a young gay man dying of AIDS. The ghosts of Christmas's past, present, and future, were not ghosts, but flamboyant drag queens. We immediately purchased tickets. At the show I was surprised to realize that he was much as I remembered him (of course sans the big ugly glasses, Guess Jeans overalls, and fluorescent Hard Rock Café shirt). Unfortunately, I couldn’t work up the courage to speak to him, so I instead forced Gina to accost him as he was running out of the dressing room. He did not remember me, but did in fact remember the Guess Jeans overalls. Go figure.
After the play, stories of Danny began popping up everywhere. First I had a very involved, and very strange dream about Danny, and shortly afterwards, while walking in midtown Manhattan, I found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with him on a street corner waiting for a light to change. Again, I couldn’t work up the courage to speak to him, and instead flashed him a smile in the hopes that he’d maybe recognize me. He did not. A little while later, Gina and Jerry spotted him at a party at The Park, surrounded by scantily clad male dancers. Now, as per the email above, we’ve found out that he’s one of our friend’s roommate’s ex-boyfriends. Confused yet? I am. I have no clue how a relatively unknown child star has become somewhat of a constant presence in my life. Seriously, what are the chances? Perhaps some things are just meant to be....
Posted by Jen at 09:56 AM
Question: What is the single biggest reason for the lack of productivity in the workplace?
Most likely way too much has already been written about this topic, however that will not stop me from writing even more. Something honestly has to be done about this problem. My company is completely out of control. I'm pretty sure that I've been spending more time in meetings lately than actually doing the work that I am being paid to do. We have meetings about ridiculous nonsense, and we have them ALL THE TIME. We've even had meetings where the topic of discussion was what we were going to talk about in the next meeting.
Time: 12:30 PM
Date: August 8, 2002
Place: Conference Room C
I am currently sitting in meeting number 4 of the day. It's only 12:30 PM. A gentleman with a stutter just spent 30 minutes explaining to us what a page view is. I had to physically restrain myself from banging my head against the table. I'm seriously considering feigning illness to get out of here. I've used the excuse that I had to go the bathroom once already, so that's not an option. Perhaps I can pretend to faint, although if I did that they'd probably make me attend a "make-up" meeting to get the useless information that I missed while faking unconsciousness. I must think of another plan.
20 minutes later....
One of our sales people just entered the conference room and asked if this was the "anti-cable pitch" meeting. Apparently he had gone to 3 conference rooms and stumbled upon the wrong meeting each time. We sent him on his way, as the meeting that I am in right now is entitled "How to sell the Internet."
30 minutes later...(1 hour into the meeting)
I thought that the meeting was over, but I was mistaken. We have now moved on to the question and answer period. So now, to add insult to injury, not only do I have to listen to the meeting leaders drone on and on about nonsense, I now get to listen to my moronic co-workers ask asinine questions that naturally result in unnecessarily long answers. I can't take it. This has to stop.
20 minutes later....
The guy leading the meeting just did a horribly racist impression of a man from Pakistan. I can't believe this is happening to me.
10 minutes later...
Finally I'm out of the meeting and back at my desk. I think I've reached a breaking point. I need to take serious action to fix this problem, but unfortunately that will have to wait, because I have another meeting in five minutes.
Posted by Jen at 01:56 PM
Take me BACK to the Ballgame
I decided to come out of retirement yesterday. After the horror of my last experience playing softball for my company's team, I turned in my jersey and informed the captain of the team that I would not participate in his twisted little softball league. He accepted my resignation with a perplexed look on his face, and said "Okay."
Over the past couple of weeks I kept feeling slight twinges of jealousy when I would see the team donning their ugly jersey's and heading off to Central Park, so when our team captain approached me yesterday and begged me to play (they were short a girl, and without me they would have had to forfeit), I decided to come out of retirement. Since the last game left me with such a bad taste in my mouth, I expected the worse. Fortunately, the entire experience was COMPLETELY different and I actually had a great time. This was due to several factors:
1. Our team had already made it to the playoffs, so the outcome of the game was irrelevent. It was actually going to be "just for fun" as was promised to me originally. I was assured that no one would yell at me or knock me down.
2. Instead of a drunken beer peddler as an umpire, we had a professional. (And a cute one at that)
3. The team we were playing was horrible. I honestly don't even know why they attempted to participate in the league. They all hailed from the accounting department and, with one excpetion, I had never set eyes on any of them before. Their lineup consisted of :
The Captain: An older gentleman who did not actually participate in the game, but instead chain-smoked while barking out commands to the team.
The Catcher: A very large man who I'm pretty sure left during the middle of the game to go get stoned.
The Pitcher: A cute brunette who threw a temper tantrum when the umpire called her out.
1st base: A very old man.
Second Base: A young guy who fancied himself to be somewhat of a stud and hit on me whenever he was at bat (I played catcher).
3rd Base: A man that did impressions of various actors while he was on the field (very BAD impressions).
Shortstop: A girl who was wearing sandals.
Center Field: A giant redheaded guy who was wearing a cowboy hat.
RF: I can't remember.
Left Field: A slow-witted mail room guy who kept having to be told "don't swing at every pitch now!!" by his teammates. He also posed for various photos throughout the game. He was striking poses ala the little league photos that you had taken when you were little. (i.e.. "Down on one knee with your glove under your arm" or "Poised and ready to hit an imaginary ball.")
Compared to these guys I looked like a seasoned player.
Suffice it to say, we won the game. I even caught a couple of balls. Unfortunately this happy-go-lucky, just-for-fun attitude will not last long. The playoffs begin next week, and if I do decide to participate I'll once again be dealing with a group of ridiculous middle aged men who take the league entirely too seriously. Regardless, I'll do my best, and try not to end up injured and ashamed like last time. Wish me luck....
Posted by Jen at 11:48 AM
At first I was a bit apprehensive about adding Jerry's latest contribution to the Photo Gallery. Part of me felt it just wasn't right to exploit Jerry's neighbor in such a way. But the fact that Jerry came home late one night, passed her on the stoop enjoying her feast, and then returned to capture the moment on his digital camera means that it deserves its place in the documentation of our lives and those around us. You may find it funny, or you may find it sad, but it's a true snippit of life on Jerry's block, and therefore it belongs.
So without further ado, I present to you Jerry's masterpiece.
Posted by GxxP at 09:41 AM
I find that I don't really enjoy making fun of something unless I know what I'm making fun of. In the case of Stevie's recent White Trash BBQ, I had limitless experience to draw from, as did many of the other guests. Port Lavaca, TX; Mechanicsville, VA; and Peoria, IL are all specks on the map from whence the party attendees hailed. Deviled eggs, cheese in a can, and Twinkies were among the delectable foodstuffs we feasted on. People sported mullets, bras peered out from behind too-tight shirts, and personalized coozies kept our Budweisers cold. For those of you who weren't able to share the fun, here is a glimpse of what you missed.
Posted by GxxP at 02:54 PM
Posted by Jen at 01:15 PM
Recently my friend Beth told me that this summer felt bizarrely similar to the Summer of Sam. Twenty-five years after that ill-fated summer we are experiencing a stifling heat wave in New York City, power outages are rampant, public transportation is in shambles, and with September 11th around the corner, some people are already on edge in August. All summer long we've been hearing of kidnappings and missing children, primarily in California, but locally as well. It's as if the whole city, and possibly the country, is falling apart this summer. Last Friday it finally rained, and two people in the New York area, a 25 year old in Little Italy and a 16 year old in New Jersey, were struck and killed by lightning. What the?! The whole reason city folk like me look forward to the summer is so we can frolic around outside with sun-kissed skin, enjoying free concerts in the park and taking day trips to the beach. This morning it had to have been at least 110 degrees in the subway. There is no pleasure in being outside on days like that. Four months ago I didn't think I would say this, but I wish it were fall already. Let's put this miserable mess of a summer behind us (or at least petition Mother Nature for a cold front)!
Posted by GxxP at 10:31 AM
If you, like me, spend the vast majority of your day in front of a PC, you are likely using Microsoft Windows to toggle between programs and organize your work. As someone whose first foray into the world of personal computing occurred in 1984 when DOS was king, I found Windows to be brilliant, a godsend, yet another example of technology simplifying my life and enabling me to work and write more efficiently as a result. But after years of working within a Windows environment, I must publicly declare that I was wrong. Windows has not made my life easier. It has given me A.D.D.
I’m sure my story is familiar. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve opened up an email, started to respond, and gotten an instant message from someone in which they ask me a question that requires opening a browser window. As I paste the link from the browser into the IM window my boss asks me for something that’s in an excel spreadsheet, which I work on for about five minutes until I get another email that I start to respond to, when another IM interrupts my thought process. At any given moment I have five to six programs open, a dozen little windows lined up at the bottom of my screen, and very few completed projects on my desktop. In fact, there have been days when as I’m shutting down my machine at night I realize that an email I composed at 9:51 that morning is still open, sentence dangling, unsent. I realize that I work this way, yet continue to do so, as if it’s out of my power to stop it.
Attention Deficit Disorder is also pervading my home life. A few weekends ago I set out to clean an air conditioner that Jerry and Greg were coming by to pick up so they can combat the sweltering summer heat. As I was halfway done scouring the air conditioner, I started to organize a pile of papers on my dresser. I then took out the trash, cleaned my bathroom counters, and started to organize my CD collection. Partway into the CD project, I went into the living room, sat on the couch, and started to read an article. Eventually the ringing of the buzzer alerted me of Jerry’s arrival and snapped me back into cleaning mode. I think I accomplished half of what I set out to do that night. What on earth was I thinking?
Again, I blame Windows. Somehow Bill Gate’s brainchild has revolutionized the personal computing industry yet rendered us as useless as a classroom of hyperactive 14 year olds who didn’t take their Ritalin. The tools that are supposed to improve our quality of work, and thereby our quality of life, have instead enabled us to produce a lot of half-ass work at once. It’s almost getting to the point that we need support groups or twelve step programs to cast the dirty habit from our lives. I admit that I need it – and acknowledgment is, after all, the first step.
Posted by GxxP at 09:51 AM