Wednesday, November 30, 2005

And More Rules for Walking....

...can be found here. These additional tips are more "Here's- everything-that-has-ever-bugged-one-guy-in-NY," and its still funny. His entire blog is worth a read. Guess what? Being a NYC bouncer for too long makes one hate people. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dear Record Geek

I was very pleased to get a last-minute invite last night to the Ray Davies show at the Supper Club. First of all, Ray rules. Always and forever. In spite of the fact that I had been up since 4 AM and then found myself standing around in a place that was chock-full of old dudes randomly hollering "WHOO!!" and "RAY DAVIES!!!" in the middle of quiet songs, still just damn good. He was a little schlocky, where his stage persona suddenly seemed to come straight off a Benny Hill episode with soundtrack to match, and we had to hear some stuff of his new album (not bad but not so good either). But Ray did enough songs like 20th Century Man, Oklahoma USA, Sunny Afternoon and Johnny Thunder to make me still love him. He's always a great presence on stage - funny, personable and totally entertaining.

After seeing the crowd (90% men/10% women) last night, it made me want to post a Missed Connection on Craig's List that would read something like this:
We saw each other across the room at the Ray Davies show. You were singing along to every word. You were around 6 feet tall, slightly balding with graying hair and glasses. I think you were with 2 other guys, and none of you were drinking. I think you had on a shirt from the Kinks tour in 1982.
I'd probably get about 65 responses.

Rules for Walking

Man, I hate non-professional walkers in NYC. It drives me absolutely nuts when people are slow/confused/on the phone/in big groups/generally retarded. Here's some tips for those chumps.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Emasculators R Us

Since I've been veering dangerously into total chick territory over the past few days talking about cats and babies, I thought I'd continue the trend with a link to this article on dating in the NY Observer.

We are told there's a trend of professional women dating "down". Other than the fact that I have an invisible sign on me that says "Foreign-born carpenters talk to me" with the tally at six or seven in a quick non-scientific count, I wouldn't know anything about this. Christ - you like who you like and maybe, just maybe, women sometimes find themselves being into men who don't meet every single requirement on the apparently invisible chart-of-qualities we all carry around in our heads.

Stupidheads. A non-professional job does not an idiot make. And its not about someone's job or bank account - its about boys being nice to you, and appreciating the fact that you are one hell of a gal. Well, that and having a really cute accent to go along with great arms.

That not having a driver's license thing really irks me, though.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Miracle of Childbirth

Right -- so with the flurry of babies my friends have churned out over the past year or so, I now get the real truth from mommies that I have done some time with; mommies who are some of my favorite girls. There is good and bad to this. Because the last two babies were birthed by Laurene (that's her Benjamin in the photo) and Denise, two of my most frank talkin' friends, I now know things about childbirth that no one should dare speak aloud. Because no one would ever have another baby, ever again. Seriously, it's a messy business and bodies go completely haywire. Hell, I just thought babies came out all pink and smiley and two months old, and you kept the body of a 23-year-old forever.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Pony Tale

Yesterday, after almost three weeks of deterioration, I had to put my beloved Russian Siberian cat, Pony, to sleep. He was 3 1/2 years old and had been in perfect health. He essentially died of congestive heart failure, in what was called by the vet an "undefined cardiomyopathy." His heart was enlarged and too severely damaged to work properly anymore; his body filled with fluid and he was unable to breathe, and so I made the decision to put him to sleep instead of seeing him so sick with no chance of recovery. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do. I do not know how I will get used to having an empty house; Pony had such a big personality that his presence is everywhere in my home. He simply was, as I used to say to people who dared ask, The Best Cat in the World.

People who do not want to think of me as a crazy cat lady stop reading here; but in my new role as CSI: Veterinarian, I have many questions surrounding his death that only get more convoluted as I find out additional information. Pony was a purebred Siberian cat, obtained from a cattery called Emerald Forest Siberians in New Jersey. Siberians are a relatively new breed in the US, only being imported from Russia within the past 15 years. They are alleged to be "non-allergenic", which means allergic people tend to see less reaction to Siberians than a standard domestic cat. Since I am allergic to cats but couldn't imagine living without one, I got Pony in June of 2002. While I don't totally buy the non-allergenic thing, I ended up falling in love with the personality of the breed. Pony was rambunctious, animated, vocal, silly and constantly by my side, involved in anything I was doing. I always called him the dog-cat, because he displayed qualities I have only seen in dogs.

When he first became sick, I called his breeder, Jill Peterson, and told her that the vet was hoping he had asthma, but feared a heart problem was the cause. I specifically asked Jill if she had heard about any heart problems in Emerald Forest cats, but she emphatically told me no. When I realized this Wednesday that Pony was probably not going to make it, I began posting to the Siberian Cat List on Yahoo, in an effort to learn anything I could about disease in Siberians while receiving support from other Siberian lovers. It truly has been a godsend to have these people to talk to while I come to terms with Pony's death.

I soon learned that at least two other people had lost their Emerald Forest-bred cats to a disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy , which couldn't be more similar to what Pony died from. HCM is a genetic disease, and can be caused by inbreeding. Because there is such a small gene pool for these cats in the US, problems can occur if new stock is not brought in. I did not have Pony autopsied, so I will never know for sure. Obviously, Emerald Forest does not want to develop the reputation of having diseased cats, so I was flat-out lied to by Pony's breeder. The fact that Jill Peterson would put making money above the health of her cats was so shocking to me, I barely knew what to say when I started putting the pieces together. Most breeders also refund the cost of the pet if something like this happens, but Jill never once admitted any smidgen of responsibility or even suggested that a refund MIGHT be a small gesture she could make in sympathy.

Whether this was done accidentally or knowingly does not matter in the end to someone who has lost a pet suddenly; discussion between breeders is the best thing that can happen to improve the breed. Several other breeders have contacted me to record Pony's pedigree in an effort to track these types of illnesses, and I applaud their efforts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Only In Ohio

This thing scared me to death the first time I drove down 1-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati. I was talking on the phone, and said to my friend "Jesus Christ!!" when I saw it. They were concerned: "What's wrong? are you are okay?". I said: "No really. JESUS CHRIST!"

I came back and went on and on about it to my mom. I really could not get over a 60-foot Jesus, rising out of a lake, in Middletown by the interstate. And as she said "Well they don't have that in New York."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Eatin' Out - Vintage New York

482 Broome@Wooster
Vintage New York was the first wine shop that had Sunday hours in the City. Offering only New York produced wines, I always remembered the name and location, just in case I needed a last minute bottle for a Sunday dinner. Now the business has expanded into a restaurant next door that gives new meaning to the words "eat local". Everything on the menu has a New York connection, from all the wines to the meats, cheeses, breads and duck. I am very curious about New York State wines, especially those produced on the North Fork of Long Island, but have been burned more than once by crap wines. New York wines are getting better with time (particularly the much-heralded Reislings from Upstate), but as of now, some of the growers are just too young to be worthwhile. A grape juice-y, overly fruity flavor can really put a drinker off.

Constantly busy with Soho shoppers done for the day but not obnoxiously overcrowded the Friday night I was there, this 2-floor space is warm and comfortable; service is conscientious but not overly solictious. The staff is knowledgeable, offering recommendations when asked. Twelve different wine flights of different New York variatals are offered for between $10-$14, with 2 oz of each of three wines for that cost. I had a good cabernet franc from Castello di Borghese on Long Island to accompany a very tasty cheese plate. I do love a good wine bar, and this will be one I'll return to.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ol' Charlie LeDuff

I've been reading terrific, first-person reports from the seedier-side-of-life by Charlie LeDuff in the New York Times for the past ten years. He had a brilliant column in The City section during the late 90s entitled "Bending Elbows", which essentially involved Charlie going to NYC dive bars and writing about whoever he met. I always wondered how he got that job, and assumed he was some old codger who conned his editors into publishing his drinking tales after working for years at the Times.

I liked his book Work and Other Sins, and even with a photo on the cover, and knowing he had won a Pulitzer Prize, I still thought he was some old boozebag on his last legs.

Imagine how surprised I was last night when I flipped on the Discovery Times (don't ask, I didn't know it existed either) channel and found that ol' Charlie has his own show called "Only In America." Imagine how much more surprised I was when it turned out that he's 39, and kind of a fox. His show presents a brand of Hunter S. Thompson "participatory journalism," where Charlie immerses himself each week into a subculture of America such as New York modeling, gay rodeos or arena football. The show is pretty funny, but veers dangerously close into being ALL about Charlie instead of about the story. Additionally, he's been accused of plagarism on several occasions. What's that saying - don't let the truth get in the way of a good story??

At any rate, he's certainly charismatic, and I bet in person, you'd either love him or want him killed instantly. P.S. I think he might look a little like Vincent Gallo.

Dirty Found

I love Found magazine. But I love Dirty Found even more. Browse the detrius of other people's love lives found on the street or in the garbage by viewing trashy polaroids, dirty notes, and assorted ephemera that either will depress you, or make you feel better by knowing that everyone's relationships are messy. Just hope that if you are prone to taking sleazy photos with your partner, it doesn't end up in Found. I think I will always be scarred by seeing the photo of a chubby girl clad only in tights tied up to someone's bed beneath an "Alf" poster.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

TWIB: This Week in Brooklyn

Whining and talking about "woe is me" is really boring, but I have to relate my life events over the past couple of weeks in an half-hearted, comedy of errors attempt to take the Schleprock crown from Ms. Miller:

1) I was lucky enough to be sent to Verona, Italy for work. However, the Italian men printers were not feelin' bossy broads from New York making demands about schedules. Italian men, in fact, do not respond well to any pushiness, or mouthy chicks. V Magazine #38 gets done, but not without drama.
2) Rome. Rome is really great, amazing, an education in itself, but sullied by the fact that my hotel is dirty (someone's old green sock was in my room for my entire stay) and the fact that when I go to check out, my debit card will not work in an ATM or a credit card machine, although I have used it for 8 days without a problem. I am threatened with jail by the hotel owner if I don't pay up, and basically read the riot act about what a scumbag I am. So I cry, and they let me leave so I can make my plane, but in the process leave my work laptop at the hotel.
3) I get back to JFK. My car of the past 6 years dies an inglorious death in the long-term parking lot, is towed out and given to charity.
4) The computer is still not returned by hotel who apparently are holding it hostage because I am a deadbeat.
5) A former flame who blew me off a year ago spams me and cyber-stalks me in the same week. Hey brainiac -- turn on that "make me invisible to other users" feature!
6) I buy a new coat from that I don't like and return for a refund. The package goes missing in mail. Total loss = $256
7) A tall, cute 25-year-old boy invites me to hang out, says he'll wait for me, and then disappears while I am in the bathroom. Another sometimes-more-than-friend stops returning my calls or speaking to me with no explanation, and thus transforms into a rude jackass.
8) I get sick and lose my voice for three days.
9) The laundromat loses a lingerie bag containing my best bras and underwear, plus three of my favorite shirts. Total loss = $400.
10) Pony the cat gets so sick that I am convinced I will come home and find him dead. I take him to the vet twice, force feed him pills, and listen to him to continue to wheeze and struggle to breathe. Pony is still sick...perhaps the hypo-allergenic cat has asthma, says the vet. Der. Total cost to date = $425
11) It now gets dark at 6pm.
12) And my work computer is still in Rome.

On a positive note, I was taken to a delicious "does this absolve me of all fault?" dinner at Peter Luger's, have reconnected lately with some friends I haven't seen in awhile, and had a ball going to 2005 Breeder's Cup at Belmont, winning $125 on the Sprint (although ending up $80 down for the day) and playing tour guide for some fellows in from London/Ireland. Plus, the Xmas trip to Vieques is booked. I do have high hopes about my new acupuncturist, and trainer. We'll see how long this being healthy thing works. I'll probably break my leg.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Eatin' Out: Queen's Hideaway

222 Franklin Street, @ Green in Greenpoint
(no reservations accepted, BYOB w/corking fee)
Queen's Hideaway is a deliciously idiosyncratic restaurant whose genius relies on whatever's in season, while adding a healthy dash of personality, creativity and some "fuck you, we'll cook what we like" attitude. Its a place, helmed by chef Liza Queen, that essentially takes on the traits of the four women who run the joint -- Lots of spice, lots of sass, always honest and solid. There's a southern tinge to the food, but in all honesty, it's just damn good homestyle cookin'.

The flavoring isn't for the timid or for folks who want things "on the side". This is food for people who like some punch in their eats, and don't need it fancy for it to be really good. The menu generally has 5 entrees, 5 appetizers and 3 or 4 desserts. Get any kind of fritter, or get anything smoked -- it adds incredible depth to dishes, and the smoking of whatever is done out back daily in the midwestern-styled garden. On a recent night, I started with a poached, smoked egg served over julianned bell peppers and a 'gnarl' of spaghetti squash. Then onto a the "BBQ Pork Picnic" - smoked pork (fat and all!), chopped into 1' long slivers, served over black beans, squash and perfectly tender collard greens.

The always entertainingly-worded menu changes daily -- look for themes based on events like Breeder's Cup or Millicent's Metal Massacre (lots of seafood killed while all metal soundtrack played). Tang is served for 25 cents a glass. And don't skip dessert - pies, crisps or simple benigets are all terrific. The Hideaway has gotten tons of good press, so go early, on an off-night, or expect to wait. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I hate Vincent Gallo

I'm guessing this is (mostly) a joke but still. He'd have to pay me a million bucks to have his child. He is everything that irritates me about downtown types. And 5' 11", my ass. The guy is 5'7" if he's lucky. Douche.