Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here's a story...

No, no story today. Just the fact that to relax I like to (gulp) watch The Brady Bunch. There's something very soothing about that suburban ranch house, the 70s muted Technicolor, the antics of those earnest Brady's, the dog even. Alice.

Other recent television delicacies include the perfectly good and awful "Killer Wave" (manmade tidal wave hits coast of Maine!) -- Hallmark Channel (!). So well done in an awful way or awful in a really well-done way... There's nothing like a good disaster movie to make you feel better about your own disastrous self. Not that I'm disastrous. Distressed, depressed, disturbed, dismayed, maybe. Yes.

The best so-bad-they're-almost-good disaster movies have a few things in common: a beginning so banal that its portension of disaster is in equal measure chilling (think moving shot down tree-lined suburban street, extra points for mother in car humming to the radio with kid in the backseat); lots of cut-aways to newscasters; and scientists (but not jawing on for too long -- just for a touch of exposition and a stab at credibility). Throw in the actual disaster (manmade or otherwise) and Anne Archer and you've got yourself a hit. Whoa. That's one disaster of a website there (best viewed 800 x 600!). Note to self: spruce up blog with my own face tiled as background.

Monday, May 26, 2008


According to my hair stylist, using Pantene conditioner is like putting floor wax on your hair.

So we can put something on Mars (!) but my parents still don't have the Internet in Maine. Hm. (Congratulations, NASA!).

Best first movie I've ever seen: Reprise, from Norwegian Joachim Trier. Cool, engaging, sad, hilarious. Films about writers (would-be or otherwise) usually make me nervous but this was just a joy. Catch it now at the Sunshine Landmark (best theater in town).

Had a nice dinner with C. and her friend H. at Mogador (hummus, goat cheese salad, halloumi). C.'s struggling with her novel; H. is in a band and is a freelance publicist, though he turned out not to be the one who posted flyers all up Sixth Avenue (how strange).

Discovered a treasure trove of clothes that didn't fit me last year -- the motherlode. Next stop, about eight hours of ironing.

Had a terrible dream in which this guy got mad at a bunch of birds making noise in a tree so he threw a rock really hard and all the birds flew away but also stones fell, hard, from the tree and some landed on O. Henry (my cat) and he was bleeding and stumbling and cross-eyed. I started beating up the guy but then asked my mom to take O. to the vet. Then I woke up, felt around the bed for O. Henry and accidently punched him in the eye. WTF? Spent from 2:45 am to 3:30 am comforting him (he wasn't hurt, just perplexed).

Ah, the joys of spring. Went out early this Memorial Day for coffee and counted at least four females doing the walk-of-shame, hobbling home on nightclub heels and blinking in the sunlight. Ha! Can't tell if I'm repulsed or jealous.

Now, later, there's a young girl actually selling lemonade from a stoop on my block. What is this -- frickin' Park Slope? I crossed mid-block to my side of the street to avoid her. I had thought about telling her I was diabetic or something and couldn't have sugar. Surely her lemonade was too sweet. It would undoubtedly disturb the delicate balance of nutrients I'd ingested in preparation for the gym (dried apricots, yogurt, a few cashews, a "corn thin" (yum) with scallion tofutti, orange juice and brewers' yeast). In any event, I didn't have any change.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Okay, So...

This will undoubtedly be one of those "yeah, so what?" posts, leaving my legions of fans to mutter, "faaascinating....," and click back to Gmail or the now-not-ever-just-Sunday Times online or wherever people go to escape reality. This is reality, man.

I awoke today with great hopes for accomplishing a lot. By noon, I'd figured out, philosophically, that there's a lot of value in doing nothing, for nothing's sake -- especially when forced into productivity by our capitalistic society and my company's insane mandate for its workers to actually work for a full 35+ hours a week. Monday looms, so accomplishing nothing in a sort of Zen way seemed to be the right thing to [not] do.

I ate a couple of Turkish apricot pieces, a slice of sharp cheddar, a half-handfull of cashews (which I read somewhere are good for your teeth) a slice of apple and a slice of Asian pear with a sprig of fresh basil, and called breakfast over and done with.

I then ruined yesterday's haircut (so perfect, so soignée!) by washing it (things started downhill then, I think). Thought I deserved a break so I cracked open Kate Atkinson's Case Histories, which is pretty good ("Case Histories is so exuberant, so empathetic, that it makes most murder mystery page-turners feel as lifeless as the corpses they're strewn with." - New York Times Book Review). It's good... but why do sentences like this bug me so much: "Victor had long since given up maths." Why do the British sometimes make my teeth curl?

By the time (page 68, 1:20 pm) I looked up, the sky had darkened and my grand plans had evaporated along with the sunshine that had so bouyed me on my 9:30 am trip for skim milk and apples. (Ew, I'm starting to sound British myself!)

For the record, I have plans tonight to see friends play acoustic guitar(s) at the Greenwich Village Bistro and have signed up for whitewater rafting* in June. So there. What are you doing?

* I'm serious.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mostly About Food

Okay, so my friend B., who's generally a terrific source for random nuggets of news from the blogosphere (especially if it will debunk anything I've said) suggested that the doomsday scenario referenced in my last post got the chances of an impending astroid hit wrong by a factor of around 30. He also mentioned that it was some high school kid who said NASA got it wrong. Something like that. Well, I couldn't find anything about that kid so I put it all aside.

Then I was reading in this week's New Yorker a well-written article by Bee Wilson (what a great name!) who poses the question "Is the world's food system collapsing?" -- and culls from the recent (and not so recent) publications some illuminating answers from books, from Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and back to the grim predictions of Thomas Malthus.

"Our current food predicament resembles a Malthusian scenario --- misery and famine -- but one largely created by overproduction rather than underproduction. Our ability to produce vastly too many calories for our basic needs has skewed the concept of demand, and generated a wildly disfunctional market."

Depressed yet again by my leisure reading, I headed up to Citarella where I spent way too much for an Asian pear. No locavore, I. I did, however, refrain from buying a big box of California strawberries, alas. They smelled so good, just like fake strawberry jam. Yum.

Speaking of food, I finally made it to Nobu with B. last week, apparently a good ten years too late. While inventive, it was slightly disappointing. I wanted the omakase, since I get so indecisive when ordering Japanese food, but it takes an hour to prepare (I guess the chef has to spend some time thinking about me and what would please me the most). The sushi I ordered was the size of my little toe (which is very, very small) and the salmon was pale, tasteless and (shudder) farmed, to boot.

We were both very annoyed at a couple next to us from Long Island (hadda be) who felt it was fine to set a video player of some sort right on the table in front of their squirmy seven-year old son who made faces and let food fall from his mouth on at least one occasion. Anyway, the tempura (pumpkin) and desserts were really, really good. That said, I won't be going back, even if I could actually afford to.

This just in (to me, anyway). And now I really really hate global warming.

Photo (salmon tartar) courtesy B.'s cell phone

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chicken Little?

"The odds that a potentially devastating space rock will hit Earth this century may be as high as one in 10. So why isn’t NASA trying harder to prevent catastrophe?"

Interesting -- if frightening -- article in this month's Atlantic Monthly. Great. So now I have to keep my eyes on the skies while simultaneously watching out for dog shit on the streets of Manhattan?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pulp Fiction

In the spirit of pith (or is it "pithiness"? I know the former is part of an orange, but still) and brevity, I'll keep this short and bulleted.

  • Observed a motorcyclist doing a wheelie up Sixth Ave. That was kinda cool. But from the look on his face, I'm not sure it was intended.
  • I have a neighbor who always does laundry when I do, regardless of time or day. He's a big guy who always wears shorts, has a pleasant demeanor and doesn't have too much to say.
  • I'm going to start making my own sushi again, as Kirara on Carmine closed and Yama is icky and Koo is weird and Blue Ribbon is only for special occasions.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What Not to Do

Well, I promised a post a day and too bad for you all, all I have so far is my dream. I should never wake up and then go back to bed. I gotten up at 7:00 (ugh! on a Saturday!), finished reading P. Petit's "To Reach the Clouds" and went back to sleep listening to NPR.

Okay, so in the dream, I was with a bunch of new people, atractive men and women, young. In a very cool restaurant. They befriended me and suddenly started talking about Paris. I was thrilled to say, "oh, I've just been there." Which I haven't, by the way, not for a while. I tried to compare the lovely restaurant we were in to one I knew and loved in Paris but couldn't remember the name (kept thinking "Landmarc... no. That's in New York City.") I got rather riled up and couldn't even remember the neighborhood, and they were still indulging me but started to get distracted.

I finally remembered the neighborhood, Le Marais, and spent priceless moments trying to get the French accent right. Now they were really distracted, and talking about dinner.

I found myself sitting with them and a young man who told me he'd dine with me, as he stroked my hand. "Come on," he said, "I'll show you to the best table." We then had to slide down a winding, wooden track and I got claustrophic. At the bar, my new fellow unfortunately started throwing up so we left him there.

Then I was with another group and my ex-personal trainer, all laughing about how I'd just found someone else's cell phone in my purse. We all fell into paroxysms of hilarity as apparently I was well-known for constantly finding other people's mobiles as well as losing my own. M. (the ex-trainer) speed dialed our company's entire Global Management Team to figure out whose phone it was, as I looked on horrified and then he disappeared so I made it my mission to find him. By the way, the phone I had found was made of gray rubber and star-shaped and could do anything... just... anything.

But then I was back in the restaurant, still determined to try borscht for the first time (forgot to mention that that's what I had been flirtingly discussing with the throw-up guy). But the bartender told me dinner was over and I should have this entirely weird cocktail instead. I kept asking her what the strange ingredients were ("Cano?" Is that dog something?") but by then her head had turned into Robert Downey Jr.'s helmet from his new movie. But then Woody Allen and Bing Crosby pulled up barstools next to me. Bing was bright-eyed and friendly but Woody Allen looked like he was decomposing. Then I woke up. Okay, time to do laundry.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ship's Log

The nano-crumbs of feedback I've received have telegraphed to me that my blog is boring in a way not even I could have imagined. But I get it: a good (journal-like, as opposed journalistic, or focused on a meme, theme or political viewpoint) blog needs daily updates. Not just "What I Did This Weekend," or "Look at All the Cultural Activities I Engage In" or even the overly-wrought experiential or fascinating (to me!) internal debates, no matter how amusing or poignant.

Furthermore, if it's a "log," as I've called my collection of words for years, then it should be taut, like a ship's log -- and updated often.

Over the years, I've read nearly every extant account of sailors -- men and women -- crossing unimaginable distances under extreme circumstances. It began in my father's library with Gypsy Moth Circles the World, by Sir Francis Chichester (he, my father, inexplicably holds onto three copies, one in paperback and warped by salt air from his own journeys) to the Hollywood-ready The Perfect Storm.

What I mean to say is these books contain logs that are pithy to the point of absurdity (out of necessity, but still...):

"Jesus, what an effort. Hand-steering all day."

"Snowing hard, -2 degrees C. , big tabular berg to port."

"Sleep has been interrupted by token lookouts." *

I'd like to say I live a life that allows for such encapsulization. So far, not so much. But in undertaking a daily missive, I hope to find adventure in at least the retelling -- and be inspired to find adventure in even the smallest of things. This effort (like re-joining my gym and quitting cheddar cheese) will start tomorrow.
* From Ice Bird, by David Lewis, who tells of a singlehanded circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent (1975).

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Secret of the Grain

Sunday was filled with La graine et le mulet (The Secret of the Grain), an amazing French film (part of Tribeca Film Fest). I say "filled" because my day started off thinking of it, realizing it started at 11 am and that one was supposed to arrive early. Oops. I also hadn't heard from ex-colleague friend E. whom I'd invited. Oops again.

The line, at the theater on 19th and Broadway, was very long but I got a good seat. I unfortunately hadn't eaten breakfast and when I overheard the popcorn-munching girls next to me say that the move was two and a half hours long, my heart sank as my stomach started growling.

Filled though, also, because it's the kind of film that really lingers in the mind, the characters so real you can conjure them up completely at will. It was... long. Interminable at points, but interminably enjoyable, tense, and erotic.
To be honest, it was slightly torturous, too. There was a family dinner scene in which the characters ate and talked and yelled and laughed -- all with their mouths full of couscous. Ew. And a belly-dancing scene that went on forever. The film's ending, however, when it finally arrived, was perfect: perfectly unexpected and perfectly executed.

I walked home in the suddenly hot sunshine, alone, and only for a few minutes felt a sharp, brief sorrow that comes of having no one with whom to discuss the movie. Luckily, I had remembered my sunglasses.

Weekend Update: Colors and Pain Perdu

Well, my weekend began on Thursday, at a cocktail party thrown by F. and her husband, G. on 9th Street. I almost didn't go, as I was exhausted, but marvel at how I almost missed such a great time. P. from France was there -- my old roomate on St. Marks Street from NYU days, a very dear friend with whom I'd sort of lost touch for a while (like 15 years). His wife, S., was there as well and she's one of the warmest, sincere and attractive women I've met in a long time. There were others there as well, from my past (well, more like P.'s past but tangentially mine). It was a lovely evening of just mingling and drinking red wine, all very mellow, and musings over the view of Washington Square Park at night.

Yesterday, I met A., a woman I met seven years ago, on grand jury duty. Fun times! We met up at Landmarc at the Time Warner Center (not half as cozy as the downtown one) and reminisced about how we (the jury) first acquitted an obvious drug dealer (he had some story about a teddy bear) and, later, feeling we'd shirked our duty, sent a very old and pathetic crack whore (self-described) to trial.

Anyway, the food was ok, not great. I had salmon tartare (half the size as downtown, and twice as oily) and an undercooked cheeseburger that one could find pretty much anywhere. A. is a hoot, though. A dance instructor and theater buff, she has a million stories that meander all over, in a good way, ending with her recent friendship with an aging film star with the initials S.M. A good pairing!

I left her at the Columbus Circle subway stop and decided to go to MoMa since I was in the neighborhood. For some reason (the crowds?) I wasn't feeling it -- took in a sorta cool nano-art exhibition and then the much-anticipated "Colors," which I didn't find particularly... colorful. Oh well.

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