Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strangers with Candy

Well, I'm waiting for my roommate to get home so we can watch the Glee NEW YORK finale together (he saw Trouty Mouth at Topshop when they were filming here.. ZOMG!!) so just thought I'd share a fun story about a spontaneous little experience I had on my way home from work.

I have always wanted to try out the Chocolate Library on St. Mark's Place and Avenue A, so I offered to pick up a gift for a client on my way home from work so that I could check it out.  The sign outside said there was a free chocolate tasting which, as I expected, just meant there were some pieces of chocolate by the register.  Whatevs.  I explained my purpose to the store owner and he helped me pick out a couple of nice chocolate arrangements for our client (and let me try the caramel and sea salt brownie chocolate truffles since my fat ass was "on the fence" about them).  Done.  As I'm paying, he asks me what kind of chocolate I would buy if I was shopping for myself.  I said I like coconut at which point he reaches under the counter (he's the Jamaican Willy Wonka) and hands me a bar of Indian coconut curry chocolate.  Umm.. yes please.  He asks if I'm in a hurry and when I say no, he brings me over to a table in the middle of the store and goes to the back, returning with a box of Belgian truffles.  2 other women walk in and he asks them to join.  He tells us to each pick a truffle and goes to the back office.  I pick a champagne truffle (delish) and one of the other women stupidly picked one that was just a remaining half.  "I wonder if someone already bit into this or cut it in half? Oh well!"  Mmm, yeah don't worry. No one in the East Village has hepatitis.  

Byron, our store owner friend, returns with 2 Woodchuck hard ciders and 4 wine glasses.  "Sorry, but we're going to have to go on a wine run later."  Later?  Is this a date?  I went on a date with a guy I met on the Long Island Railroad and, after suddenly mauling my face with his mouth in the middle of a dive bar in Sea Cliff, he tried to take me into a desolate park at 10:30 on a Sunday night so this sounds like the start of a date I would find myself on.  
No books on those shelves.. just chocolate. 

Anywho.. after singing the praises of my champagne Neuhaus Belgian truffle, I ask Byron which is his favorite of this glorious box.  He then says that last night after smoking some organic cigarettes, he polished off most of that box (yeah, sweetie, I don't think he used a sterile knife to cut that truffle in half while he was satisfying the munchies), and he seems to think that the cognac ones were his favorite but who knows!  He also created and sells an educational board game about wine (which, according to the Toy Industry (is that an official organization?)/Byron, is the only board game that offers a complete education on a single subject.  What a renaissance man!  He is blowing Chris from the LIRR out of the water right now.  

Alas, though, they're moving to a new location.  Just when I've made a friend with chocolate benefits in the neighborhood :(  After finishing my hard cider and playing Vitti Vino for a few rounds, I bid them adieu.  And now I will bid you all adieu as well because my roommate is home and he and I have to get our Glee on.  Later kids.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Move over, Harold and Maude. The Walker family just came to town.

Well, folks, we've got a week of rain here in the Big Apple which means it's bloggin' weather.  I've got a James-Taylor-inspired Pandora station happening as I write this, so I'm ready to make up for lost time.  I have to start off with a shout out to Nathan in Ireland, my blog's first follower other than, well, myself.  You've officially doubled my readership and the number of continents I'm reaching so 'tanks a bunch.

I've recently discovered that Brothers & Sisters is on instant play on Netflix which is a game changer in my mission to catch up on movies that I should have seen but haven't yet.  One of my brother's friends lent me Amelie and The Royal Tenenbaums because as I impressed him with my breadth of film knowledge (why yes, I can distinguish between the ginger child actor in Love Actually and Freddie Highmore), he told me about his 5 favorite talkies and these two were not yet crossed off my cinephile bucket list.  The verdict?  Loved Amelie, fell asleep for the third time during Royal Tenenbaums.  I've decided that like potato salad, no matter how many times I try Wes Anderson I'm just not going to like him.  I kind of liked Rushmore (well, mostly I liked the inclusion of "Ooh La La" by The Faces) so maybe there's still hope for Wes Anderson (and potato salad.. like one infused with bacon or something).

Anyway, my brother's friend's drunken enthusiasm for me to watch these movies inspired me to use my Netflix subscription to continue my film education, filling the void that has become more apparent as I reach my college graduation's one year anniversary.  Now, I'm limited to the instant watch because I keep forgetting to bring Casino home from work, so I've now saved up 49 critically-acclaimed flicks in the instant queue. Then lo and behold, what does Netflix recommend based on my interest in emotional, family-based, often-politically-themed, wine-fueled television dramas but my old friend, Brothers & Sisters.  How do they know?!  Sorry, Schindler, but you just got bumped from the top of my list.  Apocalypse Now?  Try Apocalypse later.  The 400 Blows?  You said it.  Make room for the Walker family.

Right now I'm on episode 6 which begins with Nora (the Walker family matriarch, played by Sally Field) and Kitty (her emaciated youngest daughter, played by Calista Flockhart) waking up during the night to the sound of someone breaking into the house.  I know immediately that it isn't a stranger but someone who knows them because if you knew the Walkers, you would stop at nothing to get inside that house and be part of their family.  Believe me, if I were a fictional character, I would tunnel my way into the wine cellar with a spork, hide in one of their 13 spare bedrooms (Nora Walker makes bin Laden's digs look like a suite at the Dogpatch, U.S.A. Super 8), and then during the night hypnotize one of them into marrying me (which I'm pretty sure is exactly what Rebecca did once Justin found out she wasn't actually his half-sister... draaaa-muh).  Turns out, the supposed intruder was Tommy Walker, the eldest of Nora's sons who ran away to Mexico after embezzling funds from their family produce business, Ojai Foods.  Tommy's character is a grade-A douche bag.  The only thing I hate more than Tommy is the name of the actor who plays his character: Balthazar Getty.  And the only thing I hate more than that is the scar on his eyebrow.  Fuck you, Balthazar.

Here are the reasons why the Walkers rule:

1.  They have the most intense family dinner parties at least once-a-week, to my knowledge (I'm not sure what their schedules are like during the summer hiatus).  About 45 minutes into the episode, they've all gathered at Nora's house for a beautifully prepared dinner that won't be eaten because Rebecca thinks Justin is too distracted by med school to focus on their wedding (seriously, where are his priorities?  maybe he's distracted by the fact that for six months he thought you were his sister), Scotty thinks Kevin is pressuring him to adopt a baby, oh and Kitty has cancer.  Sarah is just awesome all the time.  Even though she kind of looks like a duck, she still scored this hot French guy, and you know why?  Because she's a Walker.  Anyway, at this point about half the table throws down their napkins and storms off, and the other half...
2.  ... grabs another bottle of wine.  Which leads me to reason #2 why the Walkers dominate: they are drunk all the time (yes, Calista Flockhart, "sips" will get you shitfaced if your diet consists of apple skins and chewing on a rawhide bone).  The Walker family expanded Ojai Foods with a new business: Walker Landing, a winery using Ojai's grapes.  Their family alone could make the new venture profitable with a Mother's Day brunch.  How do you think everyone gets the nerve to speak their minds at the dinner party after a 45-minute (excluding commercials) lead-up?  Wine.  How do they calm their nerves after storming away from the table/waiting awkwardly for someone to pass the garlic knots?  Wine.  And how do they get their children to eat their vegetables?  Wine.
Did I mention her dinner parties
are the BEST?!
3.  Rob Lowe.
4.  Besides my own mom (who never lets me step foot on a plane without a couple of mini Tanquerrays in tow), Nora Walker is the best mom ever.  Sally Field positively steals the show.  She gets arrested for smoking a doobie.  She tells her kids when she gets laid.  Her love interests include both Danny Glover and Chevy Chase.  And she throws the booziest, scariest dinner parties ever.  She is a domestic primetime powerhouse.  Besides being a badass, though, (like my own mom) she is totally nurturing and adorable.  I cried the first two episodes of season 4, then almost made it through the third without shedding a tear, and then Sally Field steps in for 2 minutes with her gardening gloves and turkey meatloaf telling Uncle Saul about how Kitty has cancer and forget it, it's over.  Waterworks.
5.  They will kick your family's ass at game night:

Tommy, of course, embarrasses the family name.  
But I would watch a Jurassic Park re-make with Kevin Walker playing every character.

Now I just found out this week that B&S has not been picked up for another season, so if my readership expands beyond Nathan and myself to the higher-ups at ABC, consider this my plea to keep this deliciously guilty pleasure on air.  And if not, then I raise my glass to the Walkers and say farewell.  I'll see you in syndication.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Where the Kisses are His and His and Hers

In case you didn't notice, I updated the page design.  I ripped the picture off some girl's Hipstamatic-heavy tumblr blog, but it tiled well so I'm going for it.

I was in New Jersey/Long Island this weekend for a family wedding so I haven't been around the apartment since I left early Friday morning.  Upon my return this afternoon, I decided it's time to blog about the delicate living dynamics of a 2-month Craigslist sublet.  I'm in a 3-bedroom apartment, and my 2 roommates are gay males a year or two older than me.  When I first told my parents I had found an apartment, my dad started singing the Three's Company theme song..  although that was 2 straight girls and 1 straight guy who was just pretending to be gay and is not really similar to my living situation at all.  Unless my dad is suggesting that I'm a lesbian pretending to be straight which I guess would mean the sexual orientations/sexes of our corresponding characters are just reversed.  Whatever, I don't think Three's Company was even set in New York.

So like I said, I have 2 roommates.  I will protect their identities with fake names.  I will call them Greg and Drew.  I get along with Greg best because I see him the most often since we have similar work schedules.  I really enjoy talking to him, and he has cool friends with names like Amadeus.  I've decided we're going to be best friends.  Drew works nights so I don't see him as often.  He kind of looks like Woody from Toy Story but younger (yes, I'm saying he looks younger than a doll) and replace the cowboy hat and flannel with a Deep V and seersucker shorts.
This could be us :(

I like Drew as well but sometimes I feel like I'm having a hard time getting him to warm up to me.  He seems to like me but that could just be in comparison to how much he hates the girl I'm renting from - we'll call her Emily.  One morning he broke one of Greg's coffee mugs and apologized saying he wished it was Emily's Bat Mizvah mug.  Bitchy/awesome comments like this make me even more determined to make him my friend.

Oddly enough, Drew is a Craigslist find too (Emily and Greg went to college together).  But now that I'm the newbie, Drew seems to have taken this opportunity to pass the rando crown onto me.  And he's really driving the point home.  When the three of us are hanging out, he starts off his comments by addressing Greg.  Weird.  It's an awkward transition living with people you don't know, especially when it's a temporary situation.  Am I supposed to just hang out in my room?  Can I have friends over in the common space?  Are we supposed to all hang out together?  I'm not sure if I'm an awesome roommate because I'm not around much or if I'm a disappointing roommate because I'm not around enough.  Are they secretly longing to be my best friend, too?  Is Drew just acting out because deep down he wants us to snuggle on the couch and Sporcle?  Greg suggested we all go out for drinks and karaoke a night.. When we brought this up to Drew, he basically pretended we hadn't said anything and then started talking to Greg about the Real Housewives of New York.  Why won't you be my friend?!?  I cleaned the shower AND defended you when Greg told you he wouldn't let you in the apartment wearing tank tops from the boys' department at Macy's.  PLEASE LIKE ME.

Last week, we stumbled upon a common denominator that the 3 of us could have a lively conversation about: Glee.  Of course - why didn't I think of that?!  Even though I do like Rachel, I pretended to hate her too because I was reveling in this roommate bonding.  Matthew Morrison's status as a seasoned veteran makes him less likeable?  Sure!  Whatever you say!  Can we be Facebook friends now?!  We even watched a sneak peek of the Fleetwood Mac episode and claimed which characters we would want to be.  It was wonderful.  I thought I had struck gold.  A few days later when I came home, I told Greg that I'd caught up on this week's episode and we started discussing it.  Drew came out of his room, and when he heard what we were talking about he said "Didn't we just have this conversation the other day?"  Balls.  While I thought that our Gleek status was going to be the cornerstone of our budding friendship, apparently he considered that a one-time conversation that could be buried in the unimportant common interest cemetery along with meatless diets and spray tan experiences.

Well, I've been holed up in my room writing this, being a Craigslist leper, and am now going to Netflix Good Will Hunting Easy A and go to bed.  G'night loves.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So Fresh and so Clean Clean

I've been living in the city for 3 weeks now and have managed to avoid doing laundry.  2 weeks ago I bought new underwear and 6 pairs of pants so that I could continue walking past the laundromat that is directly below my apartment building without stepping foot inside.  But alas, I am starting to get a saggy butt in my jeans so it's time to shell out some quarters.

This is what $20 worth of quarters
looks like, Blake Lively
I can pick up my apartment's wireless signal from here - compounding the shame of putting this off until now - which means, folks, I am liveblogging from the trenches.. an embedded citizen journalist in my EV laundromat unit.  I don't have a laundry bag - I've been using a couple of empty dresser drawers as a makeshift hamper - so I rolled in here with a suitcase of dirty clothes (which my roommate took a break from looking at black and white photos on Tumblr to tell me was "classy"), my Key Foods store brand laundry detergent, and a prayer.

Which reminds me - grocery shopping is another normal errand that I avoid like the plague.  Maybe it's because instead of the Food Emporiums on the UES - sorry I don't live in a penthouse and piss champagne, Serena van der Woodsen - I have a Key Foods a block away which looks like a glorified Kwik-E Mart and features a self check-out that always requires cashier assistance.  How do they fit all your grocery needs into one tiny space?  By stacking paper goods above the freezers and shelves in the dairy aisle.  Last week I was trying to bring home a 12-pack of toilet paper to show my roommates that I'm not a deadbeat Craigslist roommate and had to use a giant roll of gingersnap cookies to reach up and knock down a pack of Scott's.

Ok, back to the laundry.  That Key Foods story got us through the washer portion of this mission, so we've penetrated the frontline and are onto the dryers.  It's 25 cents/7 minutes so I'm doing this one quarter at a time and taking out the dry pieces on 7 minute intervals.  This is taking much longer than necessary but I'm biding my time while I wait for a hot freelance artist/drummer to walk in, notice me in my laundry day Target dress (which happens to show just a little too much cleave for a Wednesday night at the laundromat), drop his bag full of soiled flannel, and sweep me away...  So far I've only seen a girl in running clothes and a guy who looks like that baby Satan in Passion of the Christ.  Maybe next month.

The laundromat guy is laughing at me because I definitely did not need $20 worth of quarters.  In fact, he just exchanged the coins that remained in my urine sample cup of quarters for $14 in regular bills.  I assumed I was going to need the large machines - which, upon closer look, could tumble dry a bison - but my 3 weeks of shame comfortably fit in one medium washer/dryer.  (Yes, I mixed all my colors in one washer.  It's called being progressive.)

Well, thanks for joining me for this completely unremarkable experience that I'm hoping you'll find interesting so you'll read my blog.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Now that she's got a blog, she thinks she can do anything

Basically, I moved to the East Village a few weeks ago and I've decided to start a blog about life in the city.  I realize it's a fairly unoriginal premise, and there are a string of multi-camera sitcoms to prove it, but I think part of why I love New York is because it's brimming with original stories.  (If I ever use the phrase "I couldn't help but wonder," feel free to cyber-punch me in the head.)  Groucho Marx said, "Practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book - and does."  Well, that's because on the way to the work you give a homeless man a sandwich and he yells at you that you're getting ants on his blanket, on the way home you nearly get run over by some jackass on a skateboard who turns around to say "Nice reflexes!" with a thumbs up, and when you get home you and your gay hipster roommate discuss whether or not skinny black linen pants exist (they do).

So there you have it, Groucho.  I've got half a mind to write a blog.

I've attached a cute video of a puppy doing a handstand because right now I'm still spicing up the design and I need some sort of diversion from the solids/gradients so this doesn't look like a powerpoint presentation.  Seriously, though.. this puppy is adorable.