I still have one story left to write before I begin my official holiday break, but I wanted to point out a thing or two:
Miss Heather at New York Shitty wrote a piece about a food bank in Greenpoint running out of food this year. How about bringing one less pie with you to mom's house and donating some money to them instead. A food bank running out of food is seriously unacceptable. I shelled out this morning and hope you will consider doing so as well.
Every year my friend Kurt mails out a Christmas fanzine called Festive. He is the only person I know who is more of an xmas dork than I, and that is saying something. In the interest of saving trees (and $$), Kurt moved Festive online this year. His interview with John Waters alone is worth the click. And there's much, much more and even more going up every day. Fa la la la la!!!!
Apparently there are a lot of Europeans in Williamsburg these days. Wow. This is news? I guess the newsiness lies in that these are rich, annoying Europeans. Not the artist types that got priced out of the nabe few years back. Instead of Swiss cartoonists and Lithuanian sculptors, we have British i-bankers and Swedish marketing professionals. And not only are they buying apartments with their bushels of Euros, they're opening businesses. Like this guy:
Fredrick Larsson, owner of a Swedish furniture store, Scandinavian Grace, is greeting customers in different languages and learning to handle their questions.“They
don’t just want a pretty product,” Mr. Larsson said about European
buyers, who make up half his clientele. “They are more serious
More serious than who? More serious than moi? (That's French for "me," btw.) It's true. I do tend to adopt a lighthearted, whimsical attitude when snapping up Marimekko washclothes and panda bear pillows. I see now that attitude is wrongheaded and I will never again walk through those doors without an appropriate pout on my face.
The French are also well-represented in the hood:
In Paris, Ms. Gouirand, 36, a marketing executive who has been
training at night to become a chef, said she used to live two doors
down from a sweet shop known for the best croissants in Paris. She has
not felt homesick in three years because she has found all of the
“cheese, pâtés and cornichons” she craves in Williamsburg, which she
describes as “the American version of Le Marais.” And she is never at a loss to find French friends: Her neighbor is from Grenoble; she meets friends at Fabian’s, which is known for French pastries; she catches jazz concerts at Zebulon, a French-owned club; and she dines at the French-owned restaurant Fada.
How awesome that she can find her tiny pickles and pate all the way out here in big sky country. (The article also points out that the baguette biz is booming!) To be fair, I highly doubt these newbies are nearly as ass-chapping as the writer paints them. Though the woman who owns Mamalu sounds pretty close:
“Most of my friends actually are French,” said Scheyla Carriglio, a transplant from Barcelona who bought her Williamsburg apartment two years ago and is a part owner of Mamalu, a coffee shop with an indoor playground on North 12th Street. “I hardly have any friends who are not European.”
Don't even get me started on that place. Walk in there without a kid hanging off your nip and you're immediately given the hairy eyeball. Trying to order a coffee takes 15 minutes because the mommy in front of you is quizzing the counterperson about every possible ingredient in the all-organic Cheerio/soy milk equivalent she's feeding her brat. "I know it says no peanuts, but do you think any peanuts were processed in the same factory?" But that's a whole other story.
And this is my chair. Pathetic, isn't it? That blob you see stuck to the back is a puffy sticker of Eddie Van Halen, back before the booze bloated him. I don't know who stuck that to my wildly uncomfortable chair, but I have a clue.
As soon as I knew I'd be working at home, I started shopping for a new chair. Though the pillow cushions my tender tush, it's a really uncomfortable situation. I feel madly, deeply in love with this chair, but as it was over $2,000, I had to say no. In a way, I'm glad it was completely out of the question because if it had been "only" say, $900, I might've broken out the old charge card and bought it. But $2k? When people are starving? (It's so easy to sound altruistic and high-horsey when you can't afford it anyway.)
So I settled for this chair from CB2. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday, but I had to go get my head shrunk and I missed the Fed Ex dude. It's supposed to be be re-delivered today so I have been sitting in this apartment, ALL DAY LONG. My hair is so filthy it itches, but I don't want to get up to take a shower because I know the second I get under the water, the buzzer will ring. And I don't want to tantalize Mr. Fed Ex by running down there nekkid and wet (boom chika chika). Meanwhile, Inky and I are getting a wee bit restless.
UPDATE: Success! It arrived and I've assembled. It feels weird to have back support!
I recently started the Watchers of Weight once again. Last time I lost about 30 pounds, but pretty much gained it all back. This time I plan to stick with it, even though I'M HUNGRY ALL THE FUCKING TIME and I'd pretty much kill a man for a cheeseburger and a slice of chocolate cake.
I'm already kind of in a mood (24/7) and so wasn't I just ready to give Serious Eats' Ed Levine a serious beat-down after reading what he eats on a typical—and successful—diet day. The list includes Cuban sandwiches, pizza (two slices!!!), prosciutto, cookies, something called tarte Basque, which sounds really good, but I'm unwilling to put myself through the drooling that would result in actually looking it up. He eats bialies pretty much every day! Sometimes with whipped cream cheese! There are cupcakes, candy—I need to stop because I'm about to keel over. The man has managed to lose weight on this diet.
Know what I ate today? Three Wassa crackers with a wedge of crappy fake cheese spread between them, a whole wheat fig newton and some grapes. I will eat more in a short while, but after a month on Weight Watchers I haven't even hit a five-pound loss yet. Levine's eating tarte Basque and losing weight! So not fair!
The next person who tells me that men have just as hard a time as women losing weight is going to get a smack upside the head.
My friend The Determined Dilettante and I have been mumbling about a bowling night for months now. This past Monday we finally organized it. I asked my pals Debra and Kiki to join us. Elisabeth brought along her lovely Aussie love. DD had said we should meet in the lobby of the Port Authority bowling alley. I hadn't recalled there actually being a lobby, but figured we'd find each other.
I was the first to arrive and wasn't I gobsmacked to discover that instead of rickety glass doors, I was being ushered into the alleys via a red velvet rope! Once inside it was like I'd walked into FancyLand. There was tasteful lighting. Loungey sitting areas with naugehyde-covered cocktail menus! They moved the bar into the center of the room and on all four corners rested ice buckets full of champagne and wine! There was sangria! Cocktail shakers! Everything was tasteful and swellegant.
As if that weren't disorienting enough, they were playing COLDPLAY!!!!! Coldplay isn't bowling music—it's yoga music! How am I supposed to hit even one pin while my ears are being tortured by Chris Martin's rancid mewlings?!? Ugh. We carefully selected the Port Authority lanes precisely because we didn't want the fancy. Bowlmore is too loud and filled with NYU students—we wanted old school.
Once our party had all arrived, we naturally wanted a lane. It sure looked like there were plenty, but we were informed they were for the leagues. Eventually a family of four split, so we took their lane, next to a wide expanse of open lanes. None of us are very good bowlers, so we chose deathmetal names to psych ourselves up. E was Annihilator 666, Kiki was Mass Destruction, Robyn bowled under Killer, Debra was Dreamslayer and I was DemonHeart.
Even though we were all pretty bad (with a couple exceptions), fueled on by nachos, candy and lite beer, we were having a good time as the rest of the lanes filled up. The guys next to us were wearing matching turqoise bowling shirts and one of them was needlepointing a squirrel. It was so cute! Until the grouchy bear of the group growled that we weren't following proper bowling protocol. Taking a bigger look-see, we realized that each league team was buffer and more well-groomed than the last. We'd stumbled upon gay league night! Who knew?!?!
Jim, the grouchy bear (who continued to be an uptight primadonna all night) was on the "PussyCat Balls." The team with the cute tops were called the "Endowed Husbands." You would've thought there'd be more of a festive, party atmosphere, but gay or straight, sports fans are sports fans—those boys were only interested in winning. Ah well. At least they started playing disco classics instead of crappy Coldplay. I believe we have the gay boys to thank for that at least.
I'm too slammed to write a long, coherent post about my four-day visit to the Big Easy, but I have two flickr sets of photos if you care to look. They're here and here.
I'm just going to break the trip down into greatest hits:
• My visit to the Ninth Ward was the highlight. Dave and Ana are friends of a friend and they thought it important I not leave NOLA having seen little other than the French Quarter. They were right. It gave me an entirely new perspective on the city. In case you were wondering, it seems poor people are completely expendable. Hopefully that's all about to change. The photo above is from there. Go look at my Flickr set for more.
• Oddly enough, my trip to the Ninth Ward gave me a new appreciation for Brad Pitt. His organization and Habitat for Humanity are the only ones that seem to be building any houses out there. Between that and his donation to defeat Prop 8, I'm starting to like him again.
• Rock City Morgue—aka, my new favorite band. Sean from White Zombie plays keyboards and bass, a Dave Navarro lookalike plays guitar and a skinny guy with great moves, Rik Slave, sings. Very cinematic and creepy and if you know me at all, you know that's a very good thing. (I'm so Martha!)
• The honeymoon suite at the Olivier House. We had two ginormous rooms and a balcony overlooking Toulouse Street. Yes, it did seem like the bed might cave in on us, but it was the perfect place to stay in New Orleans. The staff was unbelievably nice too. Especially when the BF's band members showed up tripping their brains out at two in the morning. They were a lot kinder than I was, actually.
• The Halloween parade! I usually hate parades because in NYC it means being herded around in huge groups by mounted policemen and being jammed up against tourists and their screaming brats. This parade had minimal police supervision and the most good-natured crowd I've ever been part of. Everyone was nice and talking to each other—unbelievably fun.