Thursday, May 31, 2007
Whew. What a busy week. One day I'm napping on the back deck in Connecticut, and the next I'm chasing around NYC without a minute to spare.
These past few days I've spent my evenings doing the booze and schmooze, an activity I seem to be quite good at. I took pics along the way, just for your viewing pleasure.
My first stop was a book party for Ned Vizzini, whose latest book, It's Kind of a Funny Story, is out in paperback. Buy a copy, suckas.
The party was awesome, and at Lolita, which seems to be the go-to spot for book parties these days. Jen came along as well. Here we are, looking sharp:
The Lower East Side, as the Sun Goes Down
Today I went to see my friend Jeff Parker, who was one of my teachers when I was at Syracuse. He is single-handedly responsible for my ability to hand-code HTML. He has a few books coming down the pipe, and you should buy them as well.
Here we are, at his reading in Williamsburg:
And for all you cat lovers, here is Mozart, shaved and alert two weeks ago:
Friday, May 25, 2007
In true La Pauline fashion, I fled New York City last night in an effort to avoid the Metro-North on a holiday weekend. I've learned the hard way that even though it's a holiday, Metro-North doesn't add extra cars to off-peak trains in an effort to thwart crowding. That said, I was on the 8: 40 p.m. train last night and have been hiding out in Greenwich ever since.
I spent most of the afternoon sunning myself on the back deck. I also just finished reading Anna David's book, Party Girl, which I highly recommend. Other plans for the weekend include a possible hike on Bear Mountain, which is the highest point in Connecticut, as well as a trip to Tod's Point here in town. On Monday Old Greenwich has their little parade as well as patriotic music in Binney Park. I'm such a sucker for old-time festivities.
I hope everyone can find a way to get out of NYC this weekend, or at least to the beach. I think Long Beach is the best bang for your buck, but I hear Far Rockaway is also worth the commute. Brighton Beach is also a good pick, espcially if you like vodka and fat Russian men in Speedos with your sun bathing.
Erin C. just forwarded me this link about bathing a kitten. A week after Le Doug and I shaved The Boys for the summer, I am finally feeling better about the decision. They were a little wild-eyed last week, but you should see them now, napping comfortably in this near 90 degree heat. Last summer they would just stow themselves away in the basement for the afternoon. Now both of them are hanging out in the window sills with me. Maestro, in particular, practically flies around the house now that all his fur has been removed. Thankfully, so has all my guilt.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I must stress how happy I was with Big Apple Movers. I literally opened up the yellow pages last week and picked the first mover I could find, and I certainly picked the right ones. They were on time, professional and didn't break a thing. The three guys that I had were very funny and got the job done in three hours flat. These are the guys to use if you need anything moved anywhere. They are fully insured and don't screw you over and charge you for tape and packing and stuff like that. There were no surprises. Ask for Santiago!
I still have to dust and rearrange things a bit, but I will have snaps up soon. Even though there are shoes and boxes everywhere, the place is really starting to more grown up. Aces.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I spent part of the afternoon at Saks today. I was en route between Le Doug's office and another appointment and I decided to stop in. I was in the mood for a signature scent for summer, anyway. I thought I wanted one of the new Versace scents, but walked out with some Marc Jacobs instead, because it came with a shimmery body lotion.
It's easy to get sucked into Saks. It's nine floors of endlessly pretty things, and everything smells good. The cosmetics are top-of-the-line, they have every designer imaginable and the gems and jewelry are downright obscene, and you know how I love obscene jewlery. Inside Saks, it seems perfectly normal to spend $500 on a dress or a pair of shoes. There must be something in the air, because rational thought goes right out the window when you're staring a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps in the face.
I love Saks, I really do. I love that there exists a happy place where fashion and pretty things rule and the only thing that matters is that your credit card goes through. I love the sense of escape one feels on the fifth floor, among the Nanette LePore frocks and the Tori Burch flats. I love that I can manhandle Baccarat water goblets on the eighth floor, right next to the Hermes place settings. It's tremendous, it's all happening. If grown women are allowed to have fairytale indulgences, I believe Saks is it.
And then, before you know it, you're back on Fifth Avenue, and there's some homeless guy asking you for change and a bunch of tourists taking pictures in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral. But with your little bag of goodies, be it a Miu Miu purse or maybe some Creme de la Mer, you have your oasis of splendor to indulge in once you get back home.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
It seemed like a perfectly good idea at the time: get The Boys, Maestro and Mozartm shaved before the start of summer so that when the heat kicks in they won't suffer. After all, Le Doug had a Himalayan named Spitfire for years, and every May he would get shaved.
Our regular groomer doesn't do lion's cuts, which is when you shave almost all of a cat's fur off, leaving just a mane, booties and part of the tail. Instead, she referred us to another place just down the road.
Early this morning we dropped The Boys off and told the groomers not to be surprised is Maestro gave them a hard time. He can be a little wiley sometimes. Mozart, on the other hand, shouldn't be a problem.
Hours past and we didn't hear back from the groomer. Eventually we called and were told that Mozart bit one of the groomers and it was so bad that the groomer had to go to the doctor.
We went down to pick up The Boys and we were greeted by a very unhappy groomer. Turns out the guy that Mozart bit had to be taken to the hospital, because he might need stitches. It seems that when he was giving Mozart a bath Mozart sunk his teeth into him and sliced open his whole hand. This is odd, because Mozart only has three incisors, as opposed to four that normal cats have. Also, Doug and I give Mozart baths all the time and he's always like them. Methinks this groomer's technique could use a little improving.
The groomer that told us all this was really pissed off, as if Mozart's behavior was somehow a reflection on us. If it were socially acceptable to throw a shoe at us, I think this gal would have. Doug and I even came in with two bottles of Rose wine for the injured groomer, as a measure of goodwill. And not for nothing, but isn't getting bit by an animal an occupational hazard of being a pet groomer, the way electricians always risk getting zapped? Then again, if you know what you're doing, you probably won't get zapped, or bitten, for that matter.
Regardless, below are some photos of what The Boys looks like now that all their fur has been shaved off.
Inspecting Each Other's Damage
At least They Have Each Other
Ariel View of Maestro
Lion's Cat Mirror Image
Mozart Tries to Deal With Reality
.. And Eventually Settles in for a Nap
Friday, May 18, 2007
Last night I began another phase of organizing the Gramercy Bunker: Operation Throw Out Furniture. Getting rid of furniture in a studio is like playing one huge game of Tetris: you have to move the couch one way in order to get the dresser past the bed, etc.
Last night I cleaned out and tossed a dresser that I'd had since I moved in in 2003. It was given to me by another tennant, along with a table for my television. That table is being tossed as well. In a way I was sad, since I'd had these things for so long. Was I tossing out a former version of myself? Probably, but I have much nicer things coming. Quite frankly I'm also tired of the place looking like a glorified dorm room. Bring on the dumpsters.
Before you can toss out furniture, you have to take all the junk out of it. I never realized that I owned about 20 bottles of half-empty scented body lotions. I also had a lot of my grandmother's scarves. I kept those. I tossed out all the old clothes, because if I haven't worn it in the past year, I don't see a reason to keep it. In the end, the contents of an entire dresser were broken down to a large shoe box. Not too shabby.
Tonight I have to toss out my bed, which is lumpy anyway, to make room for the new one. Then there is one more dresser to shove out into the hallway. I don't care where it goes from there. Once everything is shiny and perfect in the Bunker, I will post photos. Right now, though, everything is topsy-turvy and not a good reflection of my character.
Household tip of the day: Did you know that you can toss silk/satin shoes in the washing machine? I found three pairs of awesome satin heels in the back of my closet, but they were dusty and gross. I put them in the machine with a little Dreft, the detergent you use for babies, and let 'er rip. The shoes are perfect now and drying in my bathtub. I think I'll show them a good time once the weather is a little warmer.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Urban Outfitters boggles my mind. Here is a company that prides itself on selling poorly made clothing to people who don't live in New York City so that they can feel like they are some downtown hipster. Even more baffling is that there are at least three of these stores in New York, as if we need a bunch of marketing goons telling us what's cool. For years I looked the other way as they hawked bubble skirts, assymetrical dresses and jelly shoes. Eventually I figured their focus groups would come to their senses and realizes that we don't need to bring everything back from the '80s.
You can imagine my horror, then, when I was in Urban Outfitters yesterday and I saw that they are trying to offer NKOTB T-shirts as a viable fashion choice. Despite my adoration of Jordan Knight, even I never wore these things, for fear of getting beat up. If there was ever a reason for hipster-on-hipster crime, this shirt would be a valid reason.
What would be worse? Having to spend an eternity in Urban Outfitters get ups or Anne Taylor mom outfits? I shudder.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I have to move a bed, mattress, two bookshelves and an armoire from my friend's elevator building on the Upper West Side to my elevator building in Gramercy.
This mover MUST be reliable and trustworthy. No flakes. This job needs to happen ASAP.
Monday, May 14, 2007
No one ever said that transitioning newspaper into the online world would be easy. Lately, though, at least the decision makers of the media world are trying to find out what it is that the youth want.
As someone who teaches journalism to undergrads, I actually have a little insight into this. Video is better than print, and if it's going to be words, it should be online. Even though The New York Times was free on campus, not a lot of my student picked it up on a daily basis. That's not a criticism. Most of them got their news, from hard news to entertainment, online. I tell all my students to log onto The New York Times web site as often as they can, watch The Daily Show and download some NPR podcasts.
This piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer talks to undergrads about how they want to get news. I agree with the statements about never watching a 6:30 p.m. newscast. I don't remember the last time I tuned in on purpose. Instead, The Daily Show and the Colbert Report provide much better context. Who wants to watch items about shootings on the local news when Comedy Central brings real newsmakers onto its shows?
I also love this item about how John Edwards is tapping the brain of John Mayer about attracting younger voters. Again, video is good, but get to the action quickly.
Recreational activities kept me busy and away from the blog today, but at least I'm here now.
Yesterday, as we all know, was Mother's Day. I hope you all did something nice for your Ma. Le Doug and I took La Madre to brunch at the Grand Hyatt in Greenwich, which turned out to be a curious affaire. Brunch at the Hyatt is always a good idea, especially if you have to impress someone. The service is great, you can eat in the atrium with all the birds and trees and there is more food than you will know what to do with. I recommend the dessrt table.
The stakes go up on Mother's Day because everyone realizes they have to do something nice for their mother. The Hyatt realized this and turned their grand ballroom into an enormous Mother's Day event with about 300 tables for families. It looked like a giant wedding, complete with a jazz quartet in the middle of the room and the desserts were on a stage in the front. Bloody Marys were served at a station right as you walked in. The food was in the corridor. I really wished I had taken a photo of it, because I've never seen so many people crammed into a hotel ballroom, yet not complaining at all. The service was even pretty good. Most importantly, La Madre was happy.
In unrelated news, here is a story about one of my old professors from Syracuse, Robert Thompson, and how journalists always call him for quotes. It's not the most original idea for a story, since pretty much everyone knows about him, but I must give Syracuse a link. And for the record, I got a B Plus in his class, The Golden Age of Television. In it we watched old episodes of Hill Street Blues, where the cops actually sweat, and Twin Peaks, which still doesn't make any sense to me.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
One of my many claims to fame is that I make amazing chocolate chip cookies. I don't know why this, of all skills, has been bestowed upon me, but yet I have it. It started last year when I made a batch for Le Doug and his office, and now it's gotten to a point where both his office and Metro-North train friends make special requests for my cookies.
Thing is, there is no secret to it at all. I just use the recipe on the back of the Nestle morsels package. True, there are other nuances to cookie making, such as watching the cookies once they are in the oven and which rack you put it on. All in all, though, anyone can make really good cookies.
My friend Ned Vizzini has a piece in The New York Times Book Review this week. Please read it and wish that you were as briliant as he.
Also noteworthy is the cat fight that seems to be brewing over Rebecca Mead's book, One Perfect Day, which is an exploration of the American wedding. Jodi Kantor doesn't seem to be a fan.
And for all you music dorks: Rolling Stone may still be the leader in music writing and Creem may be gasping for air, in whatever form. Spin may have gone all emo, and Idolator makes fun of them all. Nevertheless, don't forget about a small contender back in the 1960s called Crawdaddy.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
There's some spring cleaning going on the Gramercy Bunker. I have some furniture coming in from a friend who has to turn her guest bedroom into...you guessed it...a nursery for her papoose. That said, I have a new bed, bookshelves and an armoire en route.
In order to welcome my new arrivals, I've been gutting the apartment. Like a liquidation sale at a sleazy electronics store, everything must go. The fake potted tree, the clothes that date back to 2001, the cheesey framed art whose origins I don't know. Even my lumpy mattresss...out the door.
My extensive collection of books is also being pruned, mostly because I woke up a few days ago and felt surrounded, outnumbered, if you will, by the written word. I packed up as many as I could and for the past few days I've been bringing sackfulls down to The Strand. I tried giving them to the local library, but they wouldn't take them. Something about not having enough space? So, off to The Strand they went, and in went money in my pocket. So far I've made $40 in pocket money, all for doing nothing. That's my kind of income.
The thing about getting rid of things, such as books, is that you remember where they came from. As I tossed a copy of James Joyce's Ulysses into the bag, I remembered when I bought it in 2000, thinking I would do something smart for my brain and actually read the thing. No such luck. I got rid of all the chick lit that was lingering, dusty, in the bookcases. There must someone who will appreciate them more than me.
Naturally, some books stayed. I kept all my books about diamonds, because I've been totally into them for the past year or so. (Le Doug knows all too well about this.) By diamonds, I don't mean what's new at Harry Winston, I mean the searching for and mining of diamonds. Blame Tom for this new interest. I kept all the media and news books, since I have to teach that subject. Any signed books also stayed, because they might be worth something someday.
One thing that is staying is my original A Chorus Line poster from the 1980s. You'll have to pry that my from cold, dead hands.
In case you'd like a video, and who wouldn't, here is selection of clips from one of my favorite shows, Clean House. It inspired me not to live, as Niecy Nash would say, in foolishness.
Monday, May 07, 2007
My fascination with shopping malls is well documneted, so you can imagine my glee when I found a few blogs last week that specialize in malls and mall history.
Mall history, you say? The internets are a great way to track down any form of nostaligia, and there are people who collect vintage photos of malls. Other collect histories of malls by state, others track dead malls, which is the saddest kind of mall there is.
But wait, there's more! After a store or mall closes, often all that is left is the big box of the the building, a shell of the retail excitement that went on inside, along with the name of the store still carved into the side. That is called a Labelscar. Labelscar, the blog, examines closed malls around the country, complete with photos, and goes in-depth as to why they closed and what department stores anchored them.
Say what you will about malls, but it's a great way to learn about the retail business without picking up a textbook.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
It seems like just yesterday that I officiated Sue's wedding. Sue is expecting a little boy in a few weeks, and on Saturday we all got together and showered her with gifts.
I didn't know that Sue, in addition to working and finishing her MBA, is renovating her entire apartment to make it ready for the baby. And by renovating, I mean she and her husband are doing it all themselves. That's guts. If they can handle renovating in a co-op, then parenthood should be a snap.
Naturally, they are blogging all about at BabyBrownstone.com. Read it. Love it. Sue is also doing product reviews for SwankyMoms.com, so check those out as well.
Friday, May 04, 2007
There comes a time in every woman's life where she finds she is going to more baby showers than bridal showers. This seems to be my case right now. While 2005 was the year of the wedding, 2007 is the year of the baby shower. It's gotten to a point that when I long onto Amazon they suggest baby gifts I might like, as opposed to novels and music,.
This morning I got up bright an early to buy some gifts for a shower I'm going to tomorrow. At first I thought I'd get some onesies and be done with it, but baby stores have a strange allure to them. Even though I don't know the first thing about baby care, I was fascinated by all the bibs and lotions and teething rings and blankets. Babies are big business, maybe even moreso than weddings.
I left with a sack of practical but very cute goodies. Methinks Baby Henry will be quote pleased.
Also: Green is an underrated color for little boys. I'm just sayin'.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Most people pick hobbies that won't injure them. Me, I seem to like a little pain with my game. As if the herniacted disc wasn't enough, I have now added plantar fasciitis to my list of running-related ailments.
What's plantar fasciitis, you say? Basically it's an inflamation of the connective tissue between the heels and the toes. You know you have it when you feel a sharp pain in your heel which makes it very hard to walk. It's the worst in the morning. This morning I was literally hobbling. It's getting better, but I need to stay off it, at least for a day.
Rest is one thing, but this had better not interfere with a 10K I'm running on the 19th. Grrr.