Saturday, January 07, 2017

Blinded by Broccoli: The Incident with the New Blender

Tom and I bought a blender for ourselves for Christmas. Tom wasn’t as keen on the blender idea as I was. But don’t get me wrong, the blender still counts as a gift in the Tom column. That box is checked.

Our new blender:

I didn’t pick out one of the really really fancy blenders. We aren’t good enough chefs to warrant a blender that costs as much as an artificial leg. But our blender is good enough to have a smoothie setting that makes your cheeks vibrate when it gets going. The little wheel spins like a helicopter blade. The whole blender might go airborne if you don’t clamp your hands around the chassis.

As soon as the new blender arrived on the scene, I got busy with it. Nothing has been safe from categoric pulverization. Early on, I had a broccoli moment. We had a lot of broccoli. I jammed a bunch into the blender and it was go time. Except not much happened. 

The little wheel was spinning around like a champ but not connecting. It was a classic engineering dilemma. I needed to smoosh the broccoli down further. I took the lid off the blender and brandished the included smooshing tool. I’m a very good smoosher, it turns out. I pummeled so hard I went right through the broccoli and got the smoosher caught up in the blade. 

There came a horrific squeal and a cosmic broccoli explosion. I was all fresh faced and happy-go-lucky one second, and the next second I had so much broccoli plastered to my glasses I couldn’t see anything. I had to change my shirt and I spent ten minutes combing green chunks out of my hair.

Broccoli on the ceiling

The next day, I went to get a haircut and had a little panic attack. If the stylist washer girl found a remnant chunk of broccoli in my hair, how would I pass this off nonchalantly? 

Darcey said to just proclaim that half smashed florets of broccoli are a new secret shiny hair beauty trick. 

I think I might get out of the broccoli smoothie business. Romaine lettuce holds some promise. It would seem to have a shorter propulsion trajectory.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What to Wear Cross Country Skiing: A Guide for Noobies

Most people are their own worst enemies when it comes to dressing right for cross country skiing. The possibility of being cold gives noobies panic attacks. They think to themselves, "It's better to be warm than cold because you can always take something off."

I'll grant you, there's some logic there, but only if you dress so it's possible to remove a layer and not be left in only your sweaty underpants.

If I were a brand new, or almost brand new, cross country skier, this is what I would wear. But first, let me run through my assumptions:
  • I'm assuming you will fall down a few times. It's almost inevitable, even if you are a downhill skier. Some of the best schadenfreude I've ever had the pleasure of indulging in was watching cocky-ass downhill skiers put on a pair of cross country skis for the first time ever. It takes them about five minutes to get their shit together, but those five minutes are bloody terrific.
  • I'm assuming you'll be doing a bit of standing around, either to listen to an instructor or to pause at the top of a hill and wait for everyone to clear out of your potential crash zone.
  • I'm assuming you are not skate skiing. In fact, I'm assuming you don't even know what skate skiing is. 
Also one last fashion pointer for downhill skiers:
  • Pretty much don't wear anything you wear downhill skiing to go cross country skiing, except maybe your underwear and socks.
  • This means, do not wear your hat, your coat, your pants and under no circumstances, your goggles.
Without further ado, here's your cross country skiing outfit checklist:
  • A running t-shirt, but take two with you so you can change at lunch. Something like this:

  • A thermal long sleeve shirt (not fleece). Something such as:
  • A vest. This vest should not be puffy, it should not be fleece. Go with something thermal with a high neck and a zipper in front like:
  • If it's really hella cold out there (like 20 degrees below freezing), or if you know for a fact you'll be standing around a lot, you could add this on top of everything aforementioned so you can easily remove should you start steaming in your own juices:

  • A shell jacket. This jacket should not be insulated, just windproof and breathable:

  • On your legs, wear one or two pairs of running tights or one pair of long underwear, not cotton. If you're going the long underwear route, get some polypropylene or whatever the new fangled version of polypropylene is called these days.
  • Some sort of waterproof shell pants. These shell pants should be breathable and not insulated. It's best if they have legs wide enough that you can get them on or off over your ski boots so you can strip 'em off when you go in for hot chocolate in the lodge:
  • Bring along three pairs of heavy smart wool socks so you can change if your feet get sweaty. Definitely not cotton. If you want to get fancy, wear one thin pair of smart wool socks, and then one thicker pair. This helps avoid blisters. Another way to avoid blisters is to put silk tape all over the back of your heels and then smear Vaseline all over it. You're welcome, tip of the year, there.
  • For your hat, wear a hat you'd see a runner wear. Some kind of low profile knit affair. Or wear a beanie or a doo-rag and a knit cap over the top of it. It should look like this:

  • Wear a fleece scarf or some sort of scarf big enough that it can cover your chin and mouth when you zoom down a black diamond or the wind starts blowing.
  • My hands get cold, so I wear lobster claw gloves. It'll be a little trial and error to find a pair of gloves that work for you, so bring every glove or mitten you own and try them all out. If you have a pair that are windproof but not too bulky, those might be your winners.
  • Hand warmers and toe warmers.
  • Tie your long hair back. It's a disaster if it starts snowing and your hair gets wet and plasters itself to the side of your face.

If you click on any of the links to Amazon above, apparently I'm supposed to get some sort of cut. They say I'm supposed to mention this. Check that box, even though I've had this blog for ten years and have never, not even once, received one red cent from anybody clicking through on anything. Not sure if this is because my biggest fan is my mother and she has a high tolerance for consumerism or if I never actually set up my Amazon account right. Either way, consider yourself in the know and have a great time skiing!

Saturday, December 03, 2016

A Penny Arcade Discussion Guide

To be candid, I was taken by surprise last night at Penny Arcade's performance at St. Anne’s Theater in DUMBO. Apparently, when I buy tickets to shows, I’m more of a “look at the pictures” kind of online shopper. Here’s the show promo:

I thought we signing up for some sort of drag cabaret. I thought there might be cake. I was wrong. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the work of Penny Arcade, as I was until yestereve, let me clue you in. She’s a 60ish ingenue formerly of the Andy Warhol set. She's hell bent to rage against the machine for 90 minutes. Except it’s not a rant. It’s art. This was a thing in the early 80s downtown.

I can distill 90 minutes with Penny Arcade into four bullets, and I mention this because it’s actually my main point. But here we go:

  1. Penny Arcade considers herself in the “control group” immune from the idiocy perpetuated by uptight suburbanites and their entitled lily-livered, gay and straight children who indulge in artisanal ramen and fancy cocktails and cry great wailing sobs when someone calls them by the wrong pronoun or dares to say something the hive mind rejects.

  2. Penny Arcade is in this "control group" because she has never seen Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Arc or Sex in the City.

    Also because in the east village in the 70’s, a plus-sized, topless beatnik jabbed a meth needle in her ass, right through her clothes, and she learned a valuable lesson that night.

    And lastly, because she is very smart. Much smarter than anyone who didn’t go to Max’s Kansas City every night for a decade and have words with Patti Smith.

  3. Penny Arcade bitches about slow-walking tourists who don’t look where they’re going and run right into you. She dislikes Hummer-sized baby carriages in Park Slope. She also has a problem with hipsters and cupcake shops. She pinpoints gentrification as a problem because local communities lose their unique identity.

  4. Maybe because of her "control group" status, Penny Arcade seems unaware of the 400-500 stand up comedians and 90% of the NYC journalism community who have already beaten the tourist, baby carriage, hipster and gentrification memes into one big-ass vapid chestnut.

    I gather there’s a certain cohort who loves Penny Arcade and it’s not a crew I particularly want to upset. First, she's well-loved by your old queers (her term) who were part of the larger-than-life Lou-Reed-ish scene back in the day, or at least were part of it in their imaginations. 

    Also there’s younger white folk sporting vintage hats hooting and clapping and desperately seeking… something. It could be truth. But I thought of another audience end game. It’s possible I’m rationalizing my evening.

    I could certainly watch Penny Arcade in the same way I watched the new Twisted Sister documentary. Or that biopic on Hugo Chavez or Anthony Weiner. The point isn’t trying to find the lessons in what comes out of anyone’s mouth, but to ponder why they believe what they seem to believe about themselves and about everybody else.

    It's all about the context-- seeing the chess board top down, not taking a queens-eye view on blind faith and because she lectured you for an hour and half. 

    In an ironic twist, I'd bet money that Penny Arcade would fucking hate to be anything other than the all-star big star of her show. In another ironic twist... she did berate us endlessly to think for ourselves. So maybe in the end Penny Arcade had her masterful way with me.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

    We are Concert Champions

    To get into the luxury boxes in Madison Square Garden, you gotta know a guy. Or Diana. She gives you these big fancy red tickets and you plan all week how you'll approach the ensuite buffet. 

    Tom, Stacie and I arrived early. We wanted to take full advantage of the amenities. This was an astute move since Tom required six trips through the metal detector to successfully empty all his pockets.

    We stepped out of the damp and noisy crowd and into a serenely quiet private elevator reserved for suite guests. A tall man looking awfully suburban was already in there. He chatted up the elevator guy. He said to us in a jocular tone, "So nice to get out of the plebeian masses." We didn't do a fist bump or anything, but there were "same here" looks all around. 

    Then the suburban man told the elevator guy he was going to the 9th floor. We said we were on the 7th, closer to the stage. The man gave us a mock salute. We totally won that round.

    Upon arrival, we attacked the buffet. They had these tiny grilled cheese sandwiches and dip that looked like tomato soup. They had dumplings and sushi, a lovely arrangement of sandwiches and shrimp on toast. All this action went very well with adult beverages. 

    We lounged on bar stools at a bar table facing out over the stage. So Tom could continue to surgically clean out every single mango slice from the fruit plate. And when the steward handed out chocolate pretzel covered ice cream pops, we devoured them very suavely. 


    Billy Joel came out. Andy's friend the guitar player came out. We cheered wildly.

    Monday, November 28, 2016

    ...and Tom just laughed

    I went to the alternative doctor today to see what could be done about these sinus headaches. He looked at my tongue and told me my digestive system was weak. He advised me to immediately:

    1. Give up coffee.
    2. No dairy. No gluten.
    3. Quit drinking.
    4. Go to bed before 11pm. (He actually said 10pm, but given that 10pm is like the middle of the afternoon, I am deliberately not hearing that right.)
    I didn't even make it 2 hours. Tomorrow I will try again. 

    NaBloPoMo #28.
    2 More Days!

    Sunday, November 27, 2016

    Things I've Seen on The Sidewalk Lately

    1. A pressed cloth napkin on Greenwich Avenue near 7th.
      I imagine someone got up from a lovely brunch and made it the whole way out onto the street before the napkin static-clinging to their pants tumbled to the curb.
    2. A huge dead rat on 8th Avenue by 15th Street. The rat was grey and very well fed. It lay on its side, in the dead center (ha ha) of the sidewalk. Someone had carefully stuck a red baseball cap on the rat's head. At first, I thought it was a "Make America Great Again" hat, but it turns out it was not. 

    NaBloPoMo #27

    Saturday, November 26, 2016

    Changing of the Guard

    Friday turned into Saturday and family turned into friends. Then other friends bearing Gibson Les Pauls and Fender amps (twinsies!). And drums. And a ukulele. And some kind of weird cigar box slide guitar thing. We found Tom a microphone and. Band Night.

    Darcey with the recap:

    "I don't mind talking into a microphone. But singing...."

    "I can play Gs and As all day."

    "We should be called The Soft Pants."

    Now it's 1:30AM and we're watching old music videos. Everlong. Closer. Karma Police. Toxic.