Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Auspicious Things

  • When standing on the train platform, the train pulls up with a door directly in front of you.
  • The exact song your brain has been singing all day just happens to be playing on the radio when you turn it on.
  • Writing with a smooth medium blue ballpoint pen.
  • The day the flowers on your porch bloom.
  • Using gym locker 175. And occasionally 177.
  • Opening up a new sleeve of spiced ginger cookies, Thin Mints or Fig Newtons.
  • Hitting every green light on the way somewhere important.
  • Losing something valuable. But only if you have managed to convince yourself the item was a sacrifice. So by losing it, you can be assured future good fortune.
  • Carrying a large steel washer in your pocket.
  • The Lotus flower.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dad : Suburban Treasure Hunter

Tom, Mom and I step out for a six-mile foot tour of the Randolph hood with Dad, Suburban Treasure Hunter:

"Look, I found a piece of copper pipe. It was right here on the side of the road under some leaves."

"I'm going to take this pipe down to Viozzi's Recycling and sell it. A couple weeks ago, I sold a copper elbow pipe. I got three dollars and nineteen cents for it."

"Copper is pricey these days. There's a shortage. This pipe is a lot longer than an elbow pipe. It should go for some sheckle. Maybe five, six bucks."

"It's funny. When I carry this pipe, the cars really take a wide berth."

"I've decided I'm not going to take my copper pipe into the porta-john with me. I'll lay it down over here in the grass. Keep an eye out and make sure no one takes it."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Me at Morris County Farms Today: Thanksgiving Eve

I roll up to the greenhouse five minutes before closing on the day before Thanksgiving. The guy collecting little red wagons in the parking lot gives me a dirty look.

So as not to score any more asshole points than I already have, I shop with tremendous speed. I'm beelining for the cash register and it's only five after. I apologize for my tardiness to the clerk and all her cohorts standing around waiting to leave.

The cashier has a warm heart. I can tell even in the dark. They'd already cut the lights and hung up the Closed sign. She says, "Oh don't worry. There's always That Person here after closing. Usually in a frenzy picking up just 'one more thing.' We're used to it."

Turns out, they don't take AmEx. I can't find my MasterCard. I don't have a checkbook. I dredge $37 in crumpled dollar bills and a pile of loose change from my handbag. I still owe $22. The cashier, the greenhouse owner, and myself discuss options. We work out a payment plan.

Then it occurs to me. I'm "That Person."

(If you are looking for Morris County Farms, it is located at 33 Smith Rd., Denville, New Jersey 07834. Tel: 973-366-4448. Call before you go on the weekends, because hours seem to vary. Location is up behind Greystone off of Casterline Road.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Hero Tom Qualifies for Boston at the Philadelphia Marathon: November 18, 2007 + Philadelphia Marathon Review

For all newbies, here's the background you need:
  1. All marathons are 26.2 miles. If the race is not 26.2 miles, it is not a marathon.
  2. You can't run the Boston Marathon unless you qualify or have a lot of money and buy your way in. Assuming you go about it the bona fide way, you have to cross the tape in a very speedy fashion at an earlier qualifying marathon. Qualifier times are age-graded so anywho can compete. This is why Boston has been called "The People's Olympics."
So yay! Tom devastated his qualifying time of 3:15:59, hauling ass in 3:14:44. We're all going to Boston in the spring!

SRating: The Phillie Marathon is largely a praiseworthy affair. Diligent volunteers, interesting course well laid out for spectators, good food at the end, Gatorade waterstops.

Yet a triumvirate of slip ups:
  • First, someone forgot to remove a barricade behind the start line separating different groups of runners. Luckily a couple of participants took it away, otherwise everybody behind it would have been smashed up against it by ten thousand surging racers after the gun went off.
  • Second, no one monitored who was lining up where. As usual, joggers, sloggers and even some people with canes lined up in front of cheetah fast runners. God bless the five-hour potbellies for gutting out twenty-six big ones, but please. Exhibit just a little bit of courtesy for the poor, quick people who trained harder than you and are now going to miss their goal times because they are stuck behind a wall of jiggling asses.

    I just don't get it, yet it always happens. If you run ten-minute miles, why are you standing in the corral for six-minute milers? Do you think some speedy pixie-dust is going to rub off and turn you into a rocket in sneakers?
  • No markers at the end of the race calling out how far to the finish. At the NYC Half ("The most well-run race of all time," according to Tom) they had markers every 100m for the last half mile. When you've just pounded over this much road, you want to know EXACTLY how much farther you have to go.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Out and About with Afrodite in Soho : The Earth Room by Walter De Maria

So you approach the grey steel door in the cobblestones and bricks and $700 shoes section of Soho. You press buzzer 2b and some hidden video camera gives you the once over. The door unlocks, assuming you didn't show up with shovels and a wheelbarrow, which would be indicative of your art heist intentions and I seriously doubt you'd be let in. You squeeze up a narrow stairway, get buzzed through another door and then you're in:

The New York Earth Room.

You stand in an airy foyer facing a beautiful pristine loft apartment that would probably cost a couple million even in this bear market. White columns, capacious windows, a nook.

Except the entire vast white space before you is filled with 22 inches of dirt. The dirt is neatly contained behind a Plexiglass barrier that discourages you from footslogging through the dirt. You can just gaze out over the expanse of it.

Upon closer inspection, you notice that the dirt is actually a
rich loamy clumpy soil with delicate rake tracks covering its relatively even surface. Upon questioning the lone security guard reading a book in the backroom, you learn that the exhibit is moistened and picked free of debris on a regular basis. You also realize that soil kicks up some heat and that's why the windows are all steamed up.

Artist Walter De Maria created the Earth Room in 1977 and it is owned by the Dia Center for the Arts.

SRating: The Earth Room
is basically a museum with one piece in it. It handily jolts you out of your normal until now day and assures five minutes of no-entrance-fee free head scratching. Swing by if you're in the area. If you aren't in the area, go to MoMA instead.

One reason to be in the area might be to go to this place:

Le Pain Quotidien
New York, Soho
100 Grand Street
Tel.: 212 625 9009

Get a load of my fabulous lunch.

I was so jubilant over the whole idea of lunch. It was three o'clock pm and I was starting to hallucinate after so much fecund earth and so little nutritional intake.

Plus the tables are really thick rustic wood and the whole place smells like coffee and baking bread. Shangri
-La to my watery starving eyes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meme-oriable Meme

Meta-Dad, my memesis, has tagged me for a meme. His own seven things were pretty well thought out. Suspiciously so. Honestly I think he's been secretly jotting notes for months, waiting for someone to tag him so he can BAM. Trot out his seven chin-rubbers like it was effortless.

This is what I say:
  1. Seven is a lucky number, so I'm up for this. Three and five are also lucky numbers. Three is the most lucky, followed by seven and then five. Eleven is another lucky number, although counter-intuitively, the number one is not particularly lucky when it presents alone.
  2. hal-9001@hotmail.co.uk is probably not the email address of a Series 9001 Delta Core Artificial Lifeform. My skepticism blossomed when the reply to my handshake email calculated the stocastic probability heuristics of me of being an inferior chatterbot at 83%. Plus he called me a nerfherder. This is not the sort of language I'd think you could expect from a machine who allegedly passed the Turing Test in 2 minutes and possesses an IQ of 10,001.
  3. My great-great grandmother, Bubba Cherry Street, had an apartment on the Lower East Side. She went through a series of husbands. Maybe six. One day she climbed up a step ladder to accomplish something handy and her daughter came in and stabbed her and stole her pearl necklace.
  4. It took me twenty years to figure out that my mother did not, in fact, take Perky Puppy to "live on a farm in the country" after he peed on her oriental carpet.
  5. I used to speak Swedish fluently but every year that goes by, I forget more. Sometimes I'll randomly find myself waiting for the light to change beside some Swedish tourist family and I will devote myself to eavesdropping on their conversation.
  6. Tom and I are deeply into the first season of Heros. The TV show. We are renting the DVDs from Netflix. Skyler was cutting off Peter Petrelli's head right before "to be continued" ended the episode and now we have to wait for the next disk to show up. Luckily, Tom exhibited the foresight he is well known for and returned the Weeds disk yesterday, so we should find out Peter's fate by Friday.
  7. We have two matching corduroy couches. They were in our house when we moved in. Sometimes when we have parties we drag them out on the deck for a truly decadent affair.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Mother's Shit List: East Coast Plumbing Suppliers

I want a Dual Flush Toilet. Eight-tenths of a gallon flush for liquids and 1.6 gallon flush for solids.

All over Australia and New Zealand, I saw the Dual Flush Toilet. All over Europe: Dual Flush Toilets. They come standard.

The one I picked out is this Aussie Dual Flush. Excellent reviews.

On the west coast, you get a rebate if you buy a low flow toilet. $150 back. Not like in PA. I went to the plumbing supply in town and the guy told me the Dual Flush Toilet does not even exist.

What is it, a figment of my imagination? I told him I saw plenty of Dual Flushes with my own two eyes and he gave me this annoyed look and refused to help me anymore.

He's on my shit list. All the plumbing suppliers around here are on my shit list. Including Lowe's. I went there too.

This is ridiculous. This is crazy. We all have water problems. The Dual Flush Toilet has excellent engineering, not like the old low flow toilets. All they did before is just make the tanks smaller. Idiots. Of course that was not a good plan. I'm not an engineer and I even know that.

We all need a new kind of toilet. These toilets are the same as we've been using since forever. But people don't care. Too bad the children will pay for the buoyancy of their parents' shit.

If I can find a Dual Flush Toilet in NJ, I could put it in the car and take it home.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11|11 Today is Corduroy Appreciation Day

Corduroy Appreciation Day is today, 11|11, the date that looks most like corduroy.

Hail the Wale!

Corduroy Appreciation Day celebrates the advancement of Corduroy awareness, understanding, celebration and commemoration of the fabric and all related items.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Motion City Soundtrack / Mae / Anberlin @ Roseland Ballroom, November 9

In the seedy underbelly of the East Village, tickets always claim 6:45 doors; and shows never start before 9:00. We're one with it. So needless to say, mid-town traditions smacked us awares. Color us surprised. At Roseland Ballroom on 52nd Street, shows begin promptly.

Thus we missed Anberlin entirely.

I dig Anberlin. Such was the bummer.

First-string opener Mae took the stage just as we rolled into the venue. As they cranked through their set consisting of basically one very lengthy song, I got to thinking. I got to thinking that Mae's songsmithing beautifully fits into perfect musical singularity: that grand sausage of unidentifiable bands remembered as long as your average inner-ear infection.

Motion City Soundtrack exploded onto the stage. Lights, noise, flinging hair. The stage show kept your brain busy with snap crackle and pop, plus offered up a phantasmagoric backdrop for the bandmembers. Who vaguely reminded me of guys performing in front of their bedroom mirrors, making up banter on the fly and worrying not so much if actually made any sense. Desperately hoping their sister wouldn't fling open the door and find them in a compromising guitar hero pose which would be used for dastardly blackmail purposes until middle-age.

I give the show a rating of "entertaining," especially special because the boys were juiced to headline their biggest show to date. But here's the clutch thing. Although recognizable in a mix with other bands, MCS's formulaic songwriting overfloweth when played back-to-back.

Luckily, auxiliary action abounded when things dulled on stage. I enjoyed the chick fights, bald-headed bouncer heads popping up to knock moshpit crowd surfers off the stage, and the flailing skinny white shirtless dude getting locked down and dragged out by security.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Things Tom Would Put in his Man Purse (if he had one)

  • iPhone
  • Glasses (Sun)
  • Glasses Cleaner
  • Orthotics
  • Keys
  • Sunscreen
Tom would not carry chapstick in his man purse.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Coat Rack Fait Accompli Despite Summer Off

I decided early summer 2007 that I was a 2.5 season blacksmith. Standing before a 2000 degree blast furnace in 100 degree heat is just too fucking hot. And piggies ain't happy when your steel tip boots go subzero. It only took me five years to figure this out.

So this coat rack took six months to put together. My whole Starting with No Firm Plan also does not lend itself to speedy project completion. Nor does my insane compulsion to grind off welds so I can weld again in exactly the same spot with exactly the same amount of splatter.

At first I was worried that if I hung my really heavy winter coat on the coat rack, it might tip over. Yeah not so much. I always forget everything I pull off weighs no less than four hundred pounds. We might need to get some structural supports in the basement.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Suzanne's B-Day: Festive at 3 West*

We caught up with Suzanne at her 3-West birthday-o-rama. She was getting awesome with her peeps, the fabulous and beautiful OC Girls, along with their arm candy.

Despite several interruptions perpetrated by Jen**, I managed to lock up a rock-solid exclusive birthday interview:

There is a rumor afoot that you and Preston are starting a Wiggles cover band and that you will open your act with a number called "The Wombat Song."
We have memorized every verse of the Wombat Song, including hand gestures and some pretty plausible sound effects. And it is true that Margaux has been accepted into the School of Rock in Chatham. She also belted out a doo wop version of Happy Birthday for me today. But right now, unfortunately, none of us has the time to dedicate to a band.

I understand that you did
in fact canoodle with the Wiggles in person?
Yes. I scored their digits. In a professional capacity.

And do you have any comment on Sam, the fresh new Wiggle? He recently snatched the Yellow Shirt from Greg, the Ex-Wiggle who Faints Due to Orthostatic Intolerance?

We like Jeff, the Wiggle who sleeps too much. Wake up Jeff!

How's your tuna tar-tar this evening?
7 stars. Respectable, certainly. The tuna tar-tar at La Petit Chateau in Bernardsville consistently rates 8 stars or more.

What's Margaux been into lately?
Yesterday, she pointed out the moon.

So Preston's been running around the house again in his all-together?
No, the moon was in the sky. And it's David who runs around in his all-together.

Thanks for the clarification. But speaking of your all-together, did I just hear you mention the talented Girls Next Door? From Hugh Hefner's award-winning foray into reality television?
I only said I didn't want to become a candidate for the show. Because I was getting too blond. That's why I worked some low-lights into my look... to add some color diversity. Which is politically correct, of course, especially for hair.

How did you spend your birthday today?

I took the day off work and treated myself at the spa.

And what is your Birthday Goal for the upcoming year?

Topping my short list would be to furnish our new home in a color palette inspired by nature.

That sounds like it will be lovely. Have you also considered getting a tattoo?
No. Absolutely not.

*For the purposes of accuracy, which admittedly we aren't big fans of around here, it could possibly be hypothosized that not quite everything in this post was actually said out loud.

**Jen's interruptions really were not that serious. Nothing a professional such as myself couldn't handle. But, as discussed previously, I did make note of them in the Pleatherberry.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Two Trick or Treaters Score Big

Super Shopper Tom is on Acme's mailing list. He locked up a serious price-slashing coupon: $10 off any shopping bill $160 or more. We never spend close to $160 at the grocery store. We rarely eat at home.

No matter. Tom dedicated himself to making it happen. He was going to cash in on that coupon savings if he had to buy a twelve pack of low sodium V8, every flavor of jello and some really exotic fruit. As well as a fantastic quantity of candy resplendent in its Halloween-themed ginormous container. It was too big to fit in the kitchen, so I put it outside where it quietly compressed the porch into the earth.

On the big day, trick or treaters were sparse in our hood. There were exactly two, to be exact: a duo consisting of the Grim Reaper and his sister, Scary Cheerleader. With great enthusiasm and a lot of holiday spirit I unloaded a solid forty pounds of candy into each of their colorful pumpkin sacks. I hope they have a shed.