Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Christmas Tree, Pizza, Hank, and a Cupcake Lady Buffet

Last Saturday started early with a little festive cheer at Swedish Club. I decided to bring a mini-Christmas tree to ignite the holiday spirit. At the end of the party, I suddenly realized I had a partner for the evening. The mini-christmas tree and I took the subway downtown to catch Kent's band, Marlowe Grey, at the Mercury Lounge

Me and the tree salmoned through the middle of the crowd, all the way up to the front by the stage. I cleared a path by stabbing people in the ass with boughs of evergreen. We missed Kent's band, but got there just in time to watch the next act set up and hear Adele predict, "That Asian chick up there in the jumpsuit is gonna fuck shit up."

Tom rocks the selfie.

Upon the conclusion of the jumpsuit excitement, Tom, Darcey, Kent, the mini-Christmas tree and I dipped out for a slice of pizza before Hank and Cupcakes took the stage. It was great pie, but I forgot the mini-Christmas tree on our table! Oh the non-horror. 
Cupcakes had some dizzying girls power.
I decided it would be a leading indicator of the Mayan apocalypse if someone possessed the evil in their heart to steal someone else's mini-Christmas tree, late night, at a pizza joint. Especially a pizza joint right next door to Katz's Kosher Deli. Turns out, we'll be fine. An hour later, the mini-Christmas tree remained, redolent on a paper plate, waiting for me.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

The Mayor Celebrates Silla's Big Ass Birthday Party

a few of my citizens enjoying their repast

"Yabba Island Grill is the perfect spot in town
for the grandchildren, grandparents
and the kid in all of us!"

Whatever, bitches, I'm the mayor here.

I deserve the job, my darling coffin-dodgers. I bellied right up to that YabbaBar and enjoyed a YabbaRita. It was majestic and fluorescent. And then I came back the next day and stuck with bottled beer.  Two check-ins in two days, you can dribble your awe near the tips of my closed-toe shoes.

My mayorship commenced just after Suzanne's informative discourse about a place called Vergina's, an alleged restaurant right across the street. Several pudgy dudes also listened with keen interest to Suzanne say "Vergina" early and often while "You Take My Breath Away"lilted from the bar surround sound and melted our hearts.

It is possible I bellowed "I am your Mayor" with a flourish of spirit fingers to the bar area in general. Mostly my citizenry looked on, confused. One guy nodded. The bartender did not give me a free drink. Anne was the only one who showed any respect for my status. I'll have to put her in charge of something fabulous at city hall. My first order of business will be to forbid the USE OF CAPSLOCK, even though most of my beloved flock clearly finds it IRRESISTIBLE.

Youthful actors enjoying lunch on the Yabba's webpage 
All too soon, we needed to bounce to our dinner reservation and fully celebrate Silla's Big Ass Birthday before the town of Naples shut down at eight pm. I hopped in the 'Lade with my crew and we rolled out on our 24s. As befits the mayor. It was a hella-fun weekend despite my civic responsibilities.

Happy Birthday, Silla!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank you Hurricane Sandy : Things I found in our house after the power was out for almost 13 days

After 13 days without lights, electricity, heat and hot water, your house becomes a pigsty of mystery. When the lights finally flicker to life, you get to see your wonderous cluster fuck of a living situation bathed in glorious incandescence.

Hurricane Sandy: Accuweather Power Outage from Space
In our house, clumps of dried leaves had rubbed themselves with great vigor into every square inch of carpeting. Understandable. When you cook pots of coffee, 10 pounds of freezer waffles and a 50-pack of half de-thawed mini party weenies on the grill, that's a thousand trips in and out the backdoor. I didn't even notice our indoor nature fest due to the pitch-black-darkness problem and the working-during-daylight problem. But even if I had noticed, it wasn't like anything was going to happen. Vacuums do not run on D-batteries.

We found a fleece jihad in the bedroom. Rejected items littered the perimeter-- goggles, a broken pole strap, half a trail map and a pile of ravaged rubber maid tubs labeled "Skiing." On any given night, you'd find Tom and I in bed with our iPads wearing jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and four hundred weight polypropylene. That was no pea in my mattress, just ninety tubes of chapstick I apparently hoard in my ski pant pockets.

On the plus side, the frigid indoor temperatures killed a swarm of fruitflies slumming around our kitchen. And Tom justified the purchase of a $40 light saber. Not only would it double as a flashlight, but also enabled him to intone "Luke I am your father" at various and odd intervals. It sounds fucking eerie when it's as quiet as the goddamn moon in your zipcode.

I developed a newfound appreciation for headlamps. Much easier than wandering through the house with a flashlight clutched in my mittens or following around slowbi wan kenobi swinging his light saber and knocking over furniture.

In comparison to others, we were lucky, really. Nonetheless, the cat was not at all pleased.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Pop and the Non-Tree

Bryant Avenue by 167th Street, but not in 1955.

Pop grew up on Bryant Avenue in the Bronx:

"I never saw a real tree until I was maybe 13. There was this large vegetation out front our building that I thought was a tree. But then my mother broke the news. It wasn't a tree, just a big bush."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tom and the Mystery of the Vanishing Purple Underpants

I bought Tom a gift online at  

Thursday Morning: A kind of large box arrives and Tom pounces on it with a pair of scissors and single-minded intent. He loves a gift. In short order, Tom reaches into the box and pulls out one pair of electric purple underpants on a hanger. He takes the hanger, with the dangling underpants, up to the closet and hangs it next to his work shirts.

Friday Morning: Tom forgets about his new hanging underpants until after he's already pulled on an old pair and has both legs in his jeans. Go-to drawer habits are hard to break. Tom decides he will be late for work if he disrobes to switch up his underpants. But he wants to wear his new ones at the first possible occasion-- meaning Saturday in new york city. So he unclips the underpants from the hanger and throws them in one of the bags we take with us to the city.

Saturday Morning: Tom cannot find his purple underpants. He settles for an old pair after finally conceding that he probably somehow left his new ones in New Jersey.

Sunday Mid-Afternoon: We are at the grocery store stocking up on hurricane canned goods. The place is packed. We brought our own bags, as usual. Tom reaches inside one and pulls out a handful of material. He thinks it is another bag so he shakes it open and sticks his hand inside. Except it is not another bag, it is his new pair of electric purple underpants. The cashier girl is very impressed, along with many other nearby shoppers.

Vanishing underpants mystery solved.

Monday, October 22, 2012

If only the rest of the world worked like this...

My nephew Jackson and I were hanging out by a garbage truck. Watching it parked by the curb. Its dusty green exterior not glistening at all in the sunshine.

This is how we roll.

Every five minutes or so, a very African American twenty-something guy walks by us carrying a bunch of empty produce boxes and tosses them in the back of the truck. He wears I-work-in-a-kitchen checked pants and a white T-shirt.

At some juncture, I have about enough of the starry-eyed garbage-truck gazing, so I suggest to Jackson that we consider moving on. The kid looks up at me and asks, "Can we just stay here until the white guy goes by one more time?"

I am momentarily confused. Only one guy keeps going by and he is most assuredly not white.

Then I realize the guy has on a white T-shirt.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Tom's Head Slightly Injured during Hardcore Ape Caper

All I hear is some thrashing around and Tom shrieking like a little girl with a vile potty mouth. I sprint into the livingroom. Tom stands amidst an explosion of broken glass. Some blood trickles off his cheek at a non-fatal velocity. Alex the Cat hovers nearby, puffed up like one of the more gigantic Uggs spaceboots.

It all began innocently enough.

Tom had been lushing on the sofa watching the prequel to Planet of the Apes, starring James Franco. Alex nestled on his lap, sound asleep. Suddenly, an Ape let out a wild Ape wail. Alex, in a singular apoplectic freakout, popped straight up in the air and landed on the top of Tom's head. His claws clung to Tom's face and he perched up there like a demonic koala.

With some quick battle reflexes, Tom yanked Alex off his head. The cat landed on a glass bowl and broke it into a million pieces.

Luckily no one was injured beyond the Lord, whose name was definitely dropped in vain amongst a cluster of soaring f-bombs, the noted flesh wound, and the Orrefors candy dish which I purchased at the factory in 1988. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Mother. Smack Talker.

"I'm much better than your father at mini golf. He chokes in the clutch."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Jackson and the McNeilus Rear Loader

We stood in the middle of the festival, people dashing all around us eating ice cream with sprinkles. My nephew Jackson gestured for me to lean over so he could whisper in my ear. He said he wanted to take a look at the garbage truck.

Of course I agreed. I'm his yes-aunt.

We shoved past some kid getting his face painted up like spiderman and dodged the line to the bouncy house on the way behind the food carts. To stand before the garbage truck. Gazing at it. Parked there. Kind of smelly. Parked there. Silently.

After awhile, I made a shimmy like I was about to head over to the giant lollipop booth, but Jackson clutched my hand in his tiny vicelike grip and told me that this garbage truck had a dual ops compactor. And he would just like to watch it a little longer. Parked there. Silently.

Jackson is into front loaders, rear loaders, side loaders, pneumatic collectors and grapple trucks. He will gaze at you with a very disgusted expression if you mix up a dumpster and a roll off.

One time, in an error of heinous proportion, I pointed to a blue garbage truck barreling down Sixth Avenue and said, "Look at the NYC garbage truck, Jack!" The kid shook his head and replied, "Oh Aunt Stacey. City garbage trucks are white. That one is municipal."

Whenever Jack can get his paws on an ipad he watches videos of worldwide garbage pick up endlessly-- garbage pick up in Taiwan, garbage pick up in Austria, garbage pick up in South Africa, garbage pick up in Hawaii. Sometimes the waste management activities are set to techno music. Those are my favorites.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On the Bolt Bus to Boston. A Transcript.

Seats right in back of me.
One Asian guy flirts with the other Asian guy.

"I got us a room in a nice hotel. Here's a picture of our room."

"No, there's only one bed. They may be able to get us a room with two beds. We can ask. I mean. If you want."

"Hey! There's no pocket on the seatback!"

"You CAN't sleep on the soFA! It will be LUMpy!"

"We'll go down and have at least one drink at the bar in the lobby. But you have to dress nice. Do you have a nice shirt I can borrow?"

"Are those your headphones? I have nicer headphones. Do you want to use them? You take this here and you stick it in your ear. Just slide it in there."

"Can I split the headphones with you? I use the one earbud and you use the other one?"

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Circa 1981: Another visit to the ER for Nutchie

Probably one of my finest unsisterly moments transpired during the fight over the slingshot with my little brother. Nutchie had the slingshot in his vice-like grip. I had the sling. My brother yanked to. I yanked fro.

Then I guess I got bored. "Whatever. you can have it."

Five stitches on the forehead for the Nutch.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Dizzying Scansmanship

Today I encountered the self-check out at the acme supermarket. It was wonderous.

Tom marched right up to the sleek contraption and started scanning yogurt cups like Herr Badass. Even though my hands started to sweat a little bit, I definitely saw a place for myself in the action.

Tom totally dominated the scan pad. Every time I tried to siddle over with my boxes of Kashi Mega Crunch, he would accelerate his swiping to sub-teriyaki speeds. But my noob ass could not be  thwarted. I timed my thrust and got my barcode in there first. Eureka! How you like me now, Fast Hands?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Your father claps when he sleeps

Mom, Dad, Tom and I roundtable Mom's declaration:

"Dad has the clap?"


"No I don't have the clap."

"He sleeps on his back with shorts on and he's going like this, clap clap clap, with his legs. It's really loud."

"Your mother exaggerates. I was just dehydrated."

"Maybe duct tape some throw pillows to his knees."

"You could just duct tape my legs together."

"That would be easier. Except when you have to get up to go to the bathroom."

"He can just hop like a frog."

"If Dad puts cymbals between his knees he can join a monkey brass band."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review of the play Hoaxocaust :: Calling it a satire doesn't spin epiphanies from flaxen strands of bombast.

Attended a one-man-show called "Hoaxocaust" last night. I'm glad I went; the production, hopefully a work-in-progress, has given me cause to limber up my floppy brain cells. Although probably not in the way that the playwright intended.
The whole affair was a fiesta of cognitive dissonance. Let's start with two statements made by the production team in a Q&A after the performance:
1)  The play was written in part to highlight that only a paltry few know enough facts to successfully argue the holocaust happened.
2) The play's holocaust content is tailored for a "graduate-level" audience— who presumably know enough facts to successfully argue the holocaust happened
Thus, we can conclude:
The target audience of this play is those paltry few.
So there is a rather obvious problem with the producer's stated goal:
"We are hoping to show this play to a broad audience."
But here's the more important oxymoron: If I were already a "graduate-level" student of the holocaust, then the play is singularly unprovocative. In the climactic final scene when the actor booms to the crowd, "What will you say when you meet a [holocaust denier]?" 
No points for the playwright:  If I were "graduate-level" on the holocaust, I would likely be able to articulate a powerful graduate-level something to say.
Yet I can see why the playwright was fast to mention the need for "graduate-level" knowledge. Without that level of understanding, the play leaves the audience knowing just enough to be dangerous. It presents 45 minutes of reasons why the holocaust did not occur and then assumes the audience will commit two logical fallacies in order to believe that it did:
Logical Fallacy (1)
In the Q&A, the playwright reiterated parts of the play dramatizing a ridiculous Satan story and a ridiculous theory about estranged Brooklynites perpetuated by holocaust deniers. He said by spotlighting these wacky denier claims, obviously the audience would realize the ludicrous nature of all the deniers' arguments.
But in order to do this, the playwright assumes the audience will fall prey to association fallacy. Just because I know one thing is false doesn't mean I can simply assume other things are also false without proof. Just because one guy starts talking about the Jews pact with Satan is no reason that I should disbelieve another guy writing that forensic evidence demonstrates Anne Frank's diary is fake because her alleged pen was only invented in 1953.
Logical Fallacy (2)
Showing that a set of holocaust deniers is crazy does not prove that the holocaust was genocide nor that it even happened. Just because one thing is false does not make another true. Life is not a multiple choice quiz. This bifurcation fallacy is the same one creationists use when they say the missing link proves creationism. Just because there's a missing link does not prove creationism any more than it proves we were dropped on earth in an egg like Mork from Ork.
The play's attempt to expose the fatal flaws in the deniers’ arguments by championing equally flawed arguments does not appear to me to constitute a plan for success.
It is my belief that the play's rational shortcomings undermine the intent of the performance, which is unarguably compelling. The discomfort of the audience, overtly addressed in the monologue, may not be the kind of discomfort that comes from having our beliefs shaken by agents of change. It could be the discomfort that comes from fear. The fear that an inexpert execution of this subject matter will do more harm than good.
My strong recommendation would be:
1)  to select one dominant theme and fully explore it.
2) to accurately define and speak to the majority of the audience, which I would presume to be far from "graduate-level"
3) to retool the play’s logical foundation
4) if the q&A remains an essential element of the production, it should not look like an optional, somewhat half-assed bolt-on


In an unrelated aside, I started to disassociate with the play when the character's Ohio born-and-bred jewish mother had an accent more new york jewmongous than my Bronx ghetto-bred Bubby. It was even more disconcerting when I had to ask Niki why the actor pronounced mischpocha all weird. Maybe that's how they roll in Ohio, but as far as I’m concerned, if you are going to ascribe your secular Jewish mother a thick NYC accent, you’d think she'd have taught you the most common secular NYC Yiddish words. You only learn Hebrew in temple. Where we don’t go.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

BTW - I opened up a little antique mart in your old closet. Love Mom.

There are two gigantic problems with this sms I just got from my mother, and I'm not even counting that she always signs her texts.

1) Ruthless and brazen newsflash! She has been selling my historic mementos and possibly treasured personal effects.
2) Her advertisement describes attire I wore at one point in my life as "vintage."

Vintage? I just graduated from high school a couple years ago, give or take twenty!!!! And here's one more thing I just thought of:

3) She wrapped up a big box of my old track and cross country trophies and gave them to me for Christmas. Now I know why: She couldn't sell them, probably even after substantial mark down.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The little ones are fast, fluffy and evil

Well today was a busy day:
  1. Ran 4 miles, minding my own business on the shoulder of the road
  2. Got bitten by a little dog
  3. Screamed "Your fucking little dog bit me" so loud doors opened and neighbors came out on yards
  4. Had a protracted altercation with the old man owner who said things like, "Fluffy didn't really bite you, he just ripped your skin off with his claws."
  5. Ran 4 miles home with blood dripping down my leg
  6. Called the cops
  7. Went to the ER
  8. While waiting at the pharmacy counter for my antibiotics, bought a tube of really excellent Blistex
After that, nothing much happened for the rest of the day except Tom cramped up something fierce and I had to get him a banana. Also, despite a limp arm from the tetanus shot, I am enjoying rehydrated lips protected by a five-star rated UVA/UVB moisture shield.

(Apropos tetanus shots, the last time I achieved one, Tom and I were administering intravenous fluids to a cat. The IV bag hook slipped off the top of the Nordic Track and I skewered my index finger.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Avengers : My report, etcetera

First off, Loki rules. Really zesty. Definitely put me in a blue funk when he got hauled back to Asgård in a space-age hannibal lector mask. Spoiler alert, there.

Seriously. What do those Avengers know from badass?
  1. Loki had by far the best outfit. Lots of supple black leather bespoke tailoring.
  2. Slithering toothy reptile ships are fucking magnificent.

Thor might have had the best outfit if it was a much smaller outfit. Are you kidding me with the maxi-vest? By the Power of Greyskull show us your abs. It will distract us from your curiously inert dialogue.

It was 3d surreal walking out of the theater onto 23rd Street after watching midtown get its clock cleaned for two hours.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Thunderbolts and Lightning at Lip Syncho de Mayo!

I thought taking on Billy Jean in 2009 was some kind of brinksmanship, but the Bohemian Rhapsody? Bite my spandex bewinged ass! Freddy Mercury is to lip synching what the Sally who met Harry is to orgasms. After I finally figured out Andrew was not dressed up as Aerodynamic Harry Houdini, I marveled at the sizable sack of balls required to tackle such a big Queen.

Finding the caliente in Andrew's 2012 magnum opus was like finding hay in a haystack. Here's my short list:

1) I liked the tufts of artisinal chest hair. I like it when a spandex unitard comes kitted out with a deep V-neck and ravenous fur.

Shot of Andrew's pre-show desk, courtesy of MJG.
2) What foxed me was the Beelzebub sidekick posse over on the side. They popped in like a demonic bold flash powerpoint animation.

3) I liked the stage swathed in darkness. It smelled like anticipation.

4) I liked the florescent aria and the cross-over fake piano spirochetes. Even Scaramouch would appreciate the general fandango.

5) Gymnastics. Suspenders. Mustache.

It was a spectacular junket well crafted by the titans of the lip synch. Although I still have no idea what that song is about.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Killing it Softly at sexo de Syncho Lip Syncho De Mayo

Earlier in the week, I showed our Lip Syncho De Mayo video to someone whose only comment was, "That is very weird."

 Violence and smut are of course everywhere at LSdM. You cannot attend the event without seeing them, although sometimes you are forced to wait a little while. The night began with a fiery opening ceremony engineered by Andrew. I saw ample evidence that LSdM performers are surprisingly resilient-- how they chase gold, year after year, with different shortpants and different configurations of hair.

Kully and Sharon did not take the stage until after the first or second intermission. As a reporter, I probably should know exactly when they went on, but achieving accuracy is often so terribly inconvenient. To the muted, warm milk tones of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly, the two pulled off a sequel to their LSdM signature performance in which they demonstrate there is a fine line between cuddling and duct taping someone to a chair so they can't get away.

Kully appeared hotly smarmy in his poly fabulous asbergers-blue suit. He looked as though he should possess some vile halitosis, but sadly, he did not. He is no method actor. Sharon deployed her black nightie from last year.

I was on tenderhooks!  What will happen to the two protagonists? What will happen to Kully's inimitable socks? The act was layered like a croissant with intrigue. Somewhere toward the end of the number, shots rang out, as shots are wont to do. Kully slumped in his chair looking mild-to-moderately dead. Sharon had accidentally iced him with a duct-tape encrusted fake handgun! Touché 2011 Kully! She is one deadly lady in a nightie. But then, a twist! Kully may not have been quite as deceased as previously assumed. Don't leave us hanging until next year!

 The secondary plotline about Kully's socks also remained unresolved. It's conclusion is probably on the deleted scenes, along with commentary from Michael C. Hall.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Magic of Friday Night

Periodically, Friday night has the central nervous system of a magic eight ball. Is this a bad thing? Au contraire, my fairy. I'm all for a night in a parallel universe.

First, Tom and I manage to get to Brooklyn, the borough of no return. As we alight from the L, I say, "Think we'll ever get back?" Tom should have replied, "Outlook not so good." Or, "Sure. I've sent in my three easy payments of HA HA HA." In hindsight, it was definitely a sign when I collided with two bunny plushies chasing each other around the turnstiles like squirrels in mating season.

We make it to Mercedeh's "sentience" photography exhibit at the Greenpoint Gallery. She has the entire second floor dedicated to portraits of intriguing humans plucked from crowded, sweaty streets. We also see large amounts of blue foam spray-mounted to available surfaces and zebra stripes. We see a very short girl playing a very large guitar very near a cauldron of fire dangling on a chain. We meet Alex in the stairwell and chat up a couple Iranians. We look at the time and realize we're two shakes from late for a late dinner.

Alex joins us for the trip back to Manhattan, which almost immediately takes a turn for the worse; and I'm not even counting how we missed our stop on the southbound G and had to do a platform U-ey at Flushing Avenue.

After letting the suspense build for long enough that all the hipsters and non-hipsters in their Friday Night gear have had the time to flock in droves, L-trains suspend themselves until further notice. Along with every other flummoxed transit rider in every station in Brooklyn, we surface and try to hail a cab. But there's a problem with trying to hail a cab when a hundred thousand other people are trying to hail a cab-- your odds plummet. We set off on foot for the Brooklyn Bridge.

Our trek is interrupted when, in a crescendo of wild hope, the Chariots of Fire theme drowns out all the street noise in Brooklyn and Alex takes off like a shot. He sprints gold medalist-style chasing the singular unoccupied taxi in a ten mile radius.

One traffic jam later, we find ourselves dropped off in the middle of an #occupy drumming circle in Union Square. We barely notice. It's now midnight and our brains are stuck like magnets on a solo thought: dinner.  Stephan and Benjamin having been putting away saki and kimchee pancakes in Koreatown for three hours. We head to 33rd Street.

In front of us, a skinny Korean girl in black bedazzled stiletto man-eaters climbs the stairs into the restaurant. In her shoes, she's 6 feet tall and higher than aces. She sits at the table next to ours. Ten minutes later our girl keels over, flinging her entire head in a bowl of ramen. A swarm of drunk, short metrosexuals try to carry her down the stairs. I wonder how she will explain the bannister bruises on her forehead at work on Monday.

Stephan begins and ends a commentary on the restaurant's microscopic portions right before our waiter drops off a gigantic salad and a massive kimchee pancake. They stare up at us from our black table like giant anime eyeballs. Daniel talks at length about tadpoles growing legs and Benjamin shows off his track jacket featuring a stylized drawing of an athletically chiseled soybean.

On the way out, we pause while Stephan debates the severity of his craving for Pink Berry. There's the damp smack of a face bouncing on concrete. Take two. It's another fallen size 0 Asian girl, this one yardsaling her way out of Red Mango two doors down with a big cup of fro-yo. Strawberry vanilla twirl spatters nearby legs like frothy ectoplasm.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Stressing out about friends who lie in wait for me to fail at being their friend

In this lifetime, here's my advantage: people usually get to know me before they decide whether or not to hate me. God knows I can be an asshole on occasion and some people really don't like me. The good news is that I earned my haters one by one. I was born a whitebread majority in terms of race and sexual orientation. I might get a few points deducted for knowing too many yiddish words, but luckily this isn't twenty years ago and I don't live in a red state.

My experience with discrimination and its side dish of festering hate may be limited to Rush Limbaugh, certain other misogynistic commentators and the politicians they pay. Although these talking heads clearly hate powerful or outspoken women, they (probably) don't hate all women sight unseen.

My point is this: I have no viable personal experience being despised for what I am, not who I am. I simply cannot empathize with my gay and non-white friends because empathy requires a shared experience and I have not experienced castigation for simply being myself.

Don't get me wrong. Just because I cannot empathize does not mean that I am not affected by the vitriol directed at some of my dearest friends and family. When the washed-up former child stars and angry pulpiteers shriek their hysterical rhetoric, I watch their lips. I see thick black putrid sludge spewing toward me and I can feel it rotting my soul.

That I am a "majority" is no secret. Nor are my unshakable bonds with those who are not. So why, in the middle of a lovely morning or late night or walk in the park with certain non-majority friends, do I sometimes feel the niggling awareness that I am being watched and judged? I steel myself in case I'm pounced on for saying something that shows I don't fully understand the plight of my companion. Of this there is no uncertainty. I do not fully understand. So perhaps it is too much for me to ask for their understanding for my lack thereof and to teach me what I can't hope to learn by myself.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because it can't figure out how to get out.

I have just spent the past five days in Las Vegas varying degrees of completely lost. On my best day I can barely make it from one end of a straight block to the other. If I'm distracted at any point, chances are 50/50 I'll wander back the same direction I came from. I've learned to accept my Achilles head as an easy way to accidentally investigate places where lots of prostitutes hang out.

Maybe if I were a gambler I would feel otherwise, but Las Vegas befuddles me. It's a lite-brite babylon with the desperate, frenetic energy of a recent divorcee on New Years Eve. I am simply not turned on by looped video footage of various fat middle-aged men passed out in twinkling pools of vomit while a country music version of "We are the Champions" blares in the background. I wander around looking about as terrified and uncomfortable as Mitt Romney at the Leatherati Black Party Expo.

If the watered-down swill I non-enjoyed was any benchmark, Las Vegas is not a place for people who like fancy designer cocktails with cucumber juice and fresh ginger. It is also not a place for people with no sense of direction attempting to leave one establishment and go to another establishment. I noticed they went to far greater lengths then entirely necessary to trap me inside death-star style floor plans and fire-spewing slot machine mazes.

To get to my convention, I had to make it from the monorail stop at Harrahs over to the Sands. The first day, a kind-hearted valet helped me plot out "a shortcut." I only made it once without a detour into the casino employee shower area, but here is a pictorial travelogue of my journey:

Leaving Harrahs by the backdoor shuttle bus pickup area:

Heading to "where the sun hits that wall over there":

Little rat hole along the way:

Walking along the road by the dumpsters:

Entering the parking deck with some signage-born trepidation:

Going upstairs:

Traipsing down this back hallway:

Popping out in the basement behind the Paradise Gift Shoppe:

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Watch out for elevator doors

Although it sounds all romantic and maybe even handy at times, I'm glad I don't have a tail. Grooming a tail would probably add at least fifteen minutes to my morning routine. I have enough trouble remembering to comb the hair on my head, let alone fluff out my hindquarter.

Whenever I reflect on this subject, I always assume the human tail is fur-covered. I picture a puffy spaniel-like appendage, as opposed to bald, pink and rat-like. If humans had rat-like tails, we'd most likely go in for wallpaper tattooing and bedazzling. Half the sites on the internet would peddle tail slings, muffs, pouches, hoists and other prophylactic devices because no one wants their naked tail dragging on the sidewalk. Personally, my tail-lette would be a woodland-print knit with LED lights.

I might get a tassel or a pompom to hang on the end of my tail.

Nonetheless, a rat-style tail may have some advantages over a hairy-style tail. Hair would require all sorts of product to stay on top of like gels and sculpting butt mousse. There'd be special circular barrettes, banana clips and scrunchies. You could go to Rickey's and buy semi-permanent tiger-striping home color kits. Maybe you could also pick up tubular tail wigs in leopard print or snowy white clip-ins with gigantic poodle balls.

Tail etiquette would concern us. Cosmo would run articles like "When to Wag."

But most gravely of all, assuming a consensus to shun ass-less chaps at least in business settings, the tail would require an underpant and trouser redesign. Consider how challenging it would be to jam your furry tail through a small, rear-facing hole. A more sensible choice is certainly a slit that closes at the top with the modern convenience of velcro.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Skiing with Mom and Dad

Occasionally, Pop decides he's unhappy with the current ski trail, shrieks "Shortcut!" and takes off into the woods. This is probably not the worst of it.

What might be worse is the gut-wrenching fear that comes from watching my mother, who tore her ACL and is supposed to be, but is not, wearing a gigantic knee brace. She skis down black diamond trails at a perfect, rail straight, 90-degree angle to the hill.

Meanwhile, Dad decides it's boring to walk back to the hotel so he skis right through the middle of the Winter Carnival, right past the teenagers in the toboggan line and everybody out front the hot chocolate stand. He waves 'hi' to the ice sculptors and tells the ticket takers chasing him down that he's "just passing through."

The rest of us slog out down the road with our boots on. Mom rolls her eyes and says Dad's probably hypoglycemic. Other than that she's not concerned. She swings around, skis in hand, to let me know this and takes out three school children on the curb waiting to board their bus.

Here's a picture of my entire nuclear family crashed into each other on a logging trail circa 2006. I like the logger in the background, looking on with WTF written all over his face.

My brother is pancaked there in the front. Attempting to skate ski on an ungroomed trail, he got his. I felt no sympathy. The depicted event transpired the day after Nutchie skied in front of me, backwards, the entire way down a mountain griping that I really needed to pick it up some for the sake of propriety, appearances and lifetime total distance.

Pop recovers fast, handy with a pole. The logger remains spellbound. This is one of my favorite family photos.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not so fast, Nuchie

My brother was excited to report he biked 4000 miles in 2011. Until he talked to Dad, who informed him that the 700 miles on his stationary bike did not count.

"Stationary bike miles are easier than road miles so you can't include them. If you used a formula, like an indoor mile is worth .68 of an outdoor mile, then... Maybe. I wouldn't do it."

"Running miles, I round to the tenth of a mile and I round bike miles to the whole mile. I always round down. I have always done it that way. I can do it however I want."

"My friend Ed always rounds up."

"I would never ride my bike, for example, 20.95 miles and have to round down to 20 miles. I always look at my computer as I ride down the hill in front of the house. I would just ride down the alley and up Elm street to clock the extra .05 needed."

"At the end of our trip to Ireland, we were at the airport when I realized we had biked 998.8 miles. I took my bike out and rode up and down the service road."

"I like a round number. They're easier to add together."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 14 Scandinavian Club minutes

4:30 - Meeting called to order.

Freden i Knäred 2
After all my cash fell out of my pocket Friday on my way to the Lower East Side, I immediately keep the trend going by forgetting my credit card and metrocard on a back table. Luckily, the Danish Unit commandeers the table and keeps an eye on it for me. I keep an eye on the Danish Unit just in case they decide to hoist their large Danish flag, invade other tables and hold them for ransom.

Special Guests Arrive
We meet Awe's fästmö Annika at long last. At first, they only speak with other people whose names begin with the letter "A." Luckily, Leslie is very charming and insists they meet the rest of the alphabet.

Snakke snakke snakke
Topics under discussion include banks, 16th street, the punjab region, jazz and Leah's lovely blouse. At one point, the owner of the bar tries to convince me we should meet there two-five times a month and Alex mentions his new Galaxy tablet. We all agree Petrina's new shop-cook-eat logo rocks.

A Small Rant that Ends Well
Not that I have anything against the brooding, the aloof and posturing trés fancy in this fine town, but I really dislike those cliquey-cliquey events where all you see are peoples' backs. I am proud to be the organizer of an awesome group who is wise enough to know that facing forward is much more fun.

Other Things are Going On:
Jenny is now on the board of SVEA. Grattis! Eric's sambo Ashley is hosting a gallery opening on Thursday for a Japanese artist in Chelsea. You should go and have a glass of free wine. Malou's boyfriend Sebastian plays the banjo in an Irish band. We must consider extending diplomatic courtesy and gift the Irish with a rousing snapsvisa at one of his shows.

Tusen Tack
A thousand thanks to Art, Alex, Fredrick, Karin & Petrina for helping lock down the venue.

9:45 - Meeting Adjourned.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A rare and spectacular clusterfuck : Bring it on Minus the Bear

Hottie Jake Snider
manhandles his guitar
"A rare and spectacular clusterfuck" is how Pitchfork, Ian Cohen specifically, described one of the Minus the Bear albums which I happen to melt into a puddle over. Further, Ian claimed Minus the Bear's vocalist Jake Snider sings like a "disinterested outsider." I need to explain some things to Ian.

First of all, Neat-As-A-Button is dogmatic and predictable and irons his white cotton underpants. Not that I have anything against Pitchfork darlings like Cults, that last School of Seven Bells record, Rome, or Neutral Milk Hotel*, but their music is unrelenting in its symmetrical perfection. It's like two trendy little chairs perfectly angled by a trendy little sofa.

And attractive as your modern euro-design 3-piece livingroom set may be, I'd prefer to be draped across a night-colored canapé surrounded by vintage taxidermy, a tray of really good tacos and five "over-produced" math rockers from Seattle. Any day of the week. Bring it on, clusterfuck!

Second of all, about this "disinterested outsider" tag-- get a girl on your review team for the love of the gods, Pitchfork! Bad boys don't heave their bosoms or weep, especially when describing driving around drinking vodka out of a lemonade carton. The lyrics are a simple, iniquitous play-by-play uncluttered by any sentimental posturing. It is exactly what it says it is: some debauched dude recounting the libidinous thing that happened last week backed by a gargantuan stack of noise. I'm not saying that a few of the songs aren't mouth-breathers, but the ones that go the whole way easily round all the bases.

*Just in case someone actually get it into their heads to fact check this diatribe, please note that it is subject to the flexible quality standards of the internet.