Sunday, December 21, 2008

And now, a word about the weather

Before coming out here, Crissy and I had heard it a million times. “Wait till you see how much easier the winters are on the east coast. They’re much milder than the Midwest. We’re so awesome, the Midwest sucks.”

We weren’t buying it. How much warmer could it possibly be? I personally have gotten stuck in a New York blizzard twice, on two separate occasions, two years in a row. Seems to me I’ve been here plenty of times when it’s been cold, and I’ve been annoyingly unprepared for it every time, because people keep telling me about these alleged mild winters.

So it’s with deep regret that I inform you, our Midwestern brethren, that it’s true. As of the date of this entry, this winter has been a piece of cake (jinx, meet Kevin. Kevin, meet jinx), with a difficulty level ranging from, “mild” to “this ain’t sh#*.”

So what the hell does mild mean, exactly? It’s not like new Yorkers are sipping daiquiris and toe tapping to Cheeseburger in Paradise in the middle of November. People aren’t exactly playing cornhole in their Jams and cooking bonfire weenies. Nobody’s playing a sweaty game of slow-motion volleyball wearing backwards, upside down visors.

Really, all it means is I didn’t have to break out the puffy coat until this past week. To me, a winter’s not a winter until you gotta break out the puffy coat. Or the humungous duck boots. Or the man mittens.

Winter's when those pansy little skull-caps imported from LA boutiques and post-production houses go into storage until May, and you break out the real winter hat. The one that’s all function, zero form, and makes your brain sweat if you wear it indoors. That’s winter.

And I won’t lie. I kinda miss it a little bit. This time of year, it’s nice to cozy up indoors and blast through an entire season of 30 Rock in a snug room lit by Christmas lights and candles.

Which is one of the many reasons it’ll be fun to get home next week. But something tells me that after five days of Chicago wind chill factors, we’ll be ready to head back to, and better appreciate, New York’s mild n’ toasty high-thirty temps.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Real NYC

So, this whole time I thought I was living in New York City. Uhh, yeah, I was wrong.

When most Downtowners joke about not ever needing to go above 14th street, I joke about never needing to go above Canal. For those of you who are familiar with New York, you understand how almost absurd that statement is.

I walk to work at a leisurely pace, bopping along to my ipod with my iced coffee in hand. I gaze at the pretty buildings and the cobblestone streets. I watch the nannies walking their employers in their Maclaren strollers and see the deliverymen making deliveries to the fancy restaurants on Hudson. It's such a peaceful start to my day.

But today I ventured to Midtown for work for the first time in awhile since we moved here. I got off the subway at 42nd & 5th and was immediately jolted into picking up my pace. People were on a mission in every direction. It was lunchtime, and I wanted to fill my belly before I went to my meeting. I ducked into the first soup/sandwich/salad cafe I saw. I grabbed my greens and gave it to the guy behind the counter. As I hemmed and hawed over what items I wanted in my salad, he quickly and loudly clacked his tongs against the counter to not-so-passive-aggressively tell me that I was taking too long to choose. When he was done mixing everything, he literally threw the salad at me to send me on my way. Paying for it was just as harried. I couldn't put my change in my wallet fast enough before the people behind me were on my ass. I shuffled over to the seating area to find a table but there were no vacant seats - just a sea of suits and business-folk. I was sweating and hungry and felt like there was a really strong possibility that I was on a candid camera show. I finally jockeyed for a seat and scarfed my salad down in 7.3 minutes flat.

When it was time for me leave, I stalled for an hour because I didn't want to go outside during rush hour. But in New York it's not actually rush "hour". It's rush "few hours". But I knew I had to suck it up and do it. I walked out of the building and into the throngs of people on the sidewalk like I was a car merging onto a crowded highway where all the cars are going 100 miles per hour. I walked swiftly and with a purpose, just like everyone else. I made it back to the subway and finally returned to what I will now refer to my neighborhood as - the suburbs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

story time

I’ve been maintaining radio silence lately because I was saving up all my creative juices for the Moth storytelling performance I was hoping to give on Tuesday night. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Moth? Neither had I.

Basically, the Moth is a way to get up on stage and tell a good story to a bunch of strangers. It’s held twice a month, and anyone can get up there. It’s not stand up, it’s not performance art, it’s not ranting on a subject. It’s strictly storytelling.

The rules are simple: everyone puts their name in a hat, and if you get picked, you get five minutes. Plenty of people go over the five-minute mark, but sticking to the time limit is one of the criteria you’re judged on, so it’s not recommended. The catch? NO NOTES ALLOWED. Ten people in total get picked, and the judges are members of the audience who are determined at the beginning of the show. That’s it. Oh, and don’t suck.

So I’ll spare you the anticipation. I didn’t get picked. Which was certainly a bummer, but it was good just to get a feel for how the thing works. And we definitely learned a few dos and donts for next time:

Do: get there early. The line is down the block before the doors open at 7. As a general rule of thumb, if there’s a free podcast of the event on iTunes, it’s gonna be crowded.

Don’t: be at the end of said line. When the doors open, it’s a complete free-for-all for tables. They let everybody in who pays the six bucks, but the people who don’t get a seat have to stand in a tiny area by the bar, near the super hammered old Mexican dude groping anyone within ten feet of him, and sexually moaning at every syllable uttered into the microphone.

Do: have a good, tight, short story with a beginning, middle, and end. You wouldn’t believe how many people ignored this important detail in a storytelling competition. Just like in regular conversations, stories that ramble, blather on, or shamelessly go for a pity vote aren’t going to be well received. “Blah blah blah blah blah, mlah mlah mlee mloo, blee blee blah blah, my friend was HIV positive.” Next.

Don’t: forget to eat before you go. It makes the “emcee” who fancies herself a “comedian” supremely maddening. Also, it makes everyone jockeying for position in the standing area seem extra punchable.

Do: practice your story. Nothing makes people shift in their chairs faster than an unfocused tale. “We were at the store…and we were there…and there were people there…and it was a store...” Move it along. They blow a little flute thingy to let you know when your 5 minutes is up. Then they blow it again at 6 minutes, which means OK now, that’s enough. Then they blow it again at 7, which means get the f*$% off the stage, douchebag. Nobody wants to hear the flute thingy.

Don’t: get intimidated by the regulars. Some people are really really good.

So next time, we’ll be prepared. All in all, it was really cool to see. And we’ll definitely try again. If you get a chance, take a listen to a couple of the stories on iTunes (or check some out here)…they’ve been culled down to the best ones, and they make for great time-wasting at the office.

P.S. Oh, by the way, most of the stories on the site are from the mainstage, and are told by famous people or bigwigs. These are meant to be 10 minutes long. Enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Plain Happy

‘Tis the season to count your blessings and tell the ones around you how much you love and appreciate them. So to all you loyal readers, THANK YOU for keeping up with the green apples every day. Writing this blog challenges us and keeps our brain juices a’ flowin’ and in our opinion, that’s a good thing.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say how incredibly blissful and fulfilled I feel every day. I know some may think it’s cheesy, but I want to say (write) out loud that this might just be the happiest I’ve felt my whole life.

Let’s be honest, 2008 started out as a crap-fest. With many people close to us learning of illnesses, to the downturn in the economy, to friends unfairly losing their jobs, it feels weird to say that 2008 was the best year of my life. But it's because also in 2008 I got married to my best friend (and had the most kick-ass, true-to-ourselves wedding), we traveled and ate our way around Italy (and London!), and we packed it all up and fulfilled a life-long dream of moving to New York City.

So to all my awesome and inspiring friends and family, I LOVE YOU.
Here’s to a fantastic 2009.

*Please enjoy this photo – another thing that makes me happy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


OK OK, enough of the laziness. We both truly apologize. How long does tryptophan stay in your system? Can we blame it on that?

Anyway, last Friday night I finally pulled off the surprise party for Crissy’s 30th birthday that’s been making my hair fall out since September.

Man. Planning a surprise party is for the birds.

Let’s just start with the fact that Crissy began asking me if I was planning a surprise party around July, with daily interrogations intensifying straight through October. And let’s not forget the fact that she pretty much guessed everything I’d planned for her.

“Are you throwing me a party at Alex and Christine’s house?” (not anymore)
“Are you throwing me a party at your sister’s apartment?” (I guess not)
“Are you throwing me a party at Portillo’s?” (I tried…goddamn it’s expensive)
“Are you arranging for me to pet a monkey?” (now wait just one damn minute)

Fact is, I WAS trying to arrange for her to pet a monkey. Crissy’s told me on several occasions that it’s one of her biggest goals in life to pet a monkey.

And I TRIED. I’m telling you I tried. Most of the people reading this post know this story by now, but let me just repeat this general rule of phoning strangers: if you ever want to get someone to hang up on you as fast as possible, start the conversation with the phrase, “Hi, it’s my wife’s dream to pet a monkey.”

So, short of taking a weekend trip to Bali (next time hon) monkey-petting was out. Instead, I threw the old lady a monkey-themed surprise party. And boy did we get her good.

We started the night with a fakey, extra half-assed “surprise” party at my sister heather’s apartment. It was sloppy. It was unorganized. It was pathetic. When we opened Heather’s door, 5 guests were waiting inside to surprise her. One of them was the Ramona the dog.

But I gotta give the missus credit. She did her god DAMNdest to hide her disappointment. Which made it so much sweeter when we got to the real surprise, which was in the party room at our friends Matt and John’s condominium complex down the street.

We told Crissy we were going over there to watch the Michigan avenue lighting ceremony from their rooftop deck, and the lameness of the fake plan was made even sweeter by John’s two genius improv lines when he met us in the lobby:

1. “I hope you brought warm coats…it’s really really cold on the rooftop.”
2. “There are a ton of little kids out there already, I hope you don’t mind.”

When we got up to the room, she said she suspected something was up thanks to the smell of the Portillo’s catering wafting out of the party room, but still…she had a satisfactory freak out moment when everyone screamed “surprise,” running back down the hallway to compose herself before returning to the festivities.

After plenty of booze, hotdogs, beef sandwiches, cheese fries, monkey balloons, kid n’ play choreography, and one decapitated monkey piñata, we headed back to Alex and Christine’s, where we were spending the night. Though we did wake up scratching our heads as to how we got there.

Which, when it comes to 30th birthday surprise parties, is a good thing.

P.S. Check out the monkey piñata. It’s so scared it’s shitting streamers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the boy (and girl) in the bubble

When we moved into our apartment, one of the things we were most excited about was all the light we get from the big, sunny windows. Unfortunately, when the weather changed, things started getting a little chilly in here. Which caused us to take advantage of one of the things I’m most excited about. Calling the maintenance guy to do something about it.

Thankfully, they were all over it, giving us two options to keep our apartment nice and toasty. One option is weather stripping, a kind of thick, sticky tape drawn across cracks and small openings, which is meant to keep moisture out, and interior heat in. I’ve used this method before, and found that it doesn’t work that well.

The other option, apparently, is a hermetically sealed, biologically stable bubble, meant to provide a sterile environment with the added benefit of expelling pathogens. In addition to keeping us warm, it seems the bubble will protect us from disease in case both of our immune systems fail.

I mean, I’m not complaining here…Crissy and I are very excited about staying warm in the winter. But judging by the looks of things, we’re assuming we’ll never again be able to taste a Coca Cola, smell the beach, or experience direct human contact. Tomorrow I think I’ll go down and ask them if they can install the rubber arm attachments, so we can feel the patter of rain on our thick, biologically stable, gloved hands.

Oh, and if they ever make a made for TV movie about us, we’d like John Travolta to play both of us.

An Open Letter to the Crazy Girl Next Door -

We. Can. Hear. You. We can hear everything! We can hear it when you’re in the bathroom and you cough while on the toilet. We can hear it when you turn your shower on in the morning. We can also hear the nasty fighting and “making up” you do with your boyfriend Colin. (Yes, we even know his name.)

The blood curdling screams when you have an argument make us think that you are being slowly murdered with a butter knife. The wail-crying and histrionics make you sound like a deranged, hormonal teenager who’s boyfriend was caught talking to another girl. What’s really funny is that’s exactly what you two were fighting about!

But the make-up “make out” last night was enough. As we were peacefully trying to fall asleep we heard an extremely loud jackhammering type of noise. To our dismay, it wasn’t the construction going on outside - it was happening right in your bedroom.

So please, Crazy Girl, for the love of god, SHUT THE HELL UP!

Your Neighbors from #2G

Monday, November 24, 2008

babbo for the biggie

The missus is finally catching up to me. She turned 30 years young yesterday, which makes her exactly as old as the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” and the Bee Gee’s “Night Fever.” Oh, also, “How Deep Is Your Love,” by the Bee Gee’s.

I decided I’d like to take her to a fancy pants “celebrity” restaurant for her big three-oh. Being the foody that she is, I gave her four options: Chef Mario Batali’s Babbo, Chef Gordon Ramsay’s creatively titled, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chef Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak, or Chef Anthony Bourdain’s Brasserie Le Halles. We went with Babbo.

After a minor annoyance with a snooty maitre d’ (turns out sometimes "sir" means "sir," and other times "sir" means "dickhead"), we took a seat, flopped open our menus, and rubbed our hands together in anticipation.

Though I have to admit, the menu was slightly intimidating at first. On the first page alone, you’ll find tripe, pig's foot, and warm lamb’s tongue. Just when I start to think I’m a pretty open-minded dude, I read a menu offering me lamb’s brain francobolli, and I find myself dreaming of Chef Boyardee.

Luckily, there were plenty of normal options to choose from. We began with a bottle of Chianti, an outstanding arugula salad, and a ridiculously tasty plate of grilled artichokes. This was followed by a slightly slow-to-arrive, though perfectly prepared plate of bucatini all’amatriciana, which we shared. For our main courses, I got braised beef with porcini mushrooms, and Crissy got pumpkin ravioli in a butter sage sauce, which was incredible. For dessert, we shared a chocolate hazelnut cake that was so maddeningly delicious Crissy rammed a switchblade into the table.

For entertainment, we sat close to a tallish, well-to-do man in his 70’s with a hip shaved head and a sharp suit, who was out to dinner with his 30 something raven-haired granddaughter. Or so we thought, until their conversation turned to his private jet and the fact that his wife didn’t suspect a thing. When Crissy overhead the term “premature ejaculation” cross the man’s lips, we stuck our fingers in our ears and sang the national anthem to avoid spewing two fancy birthday dinners all over the table.

We left Babbo incredibly happy and satisfied, and headed out to a bar in midtown to meet up with a few friends, including our friend Kurt, who was back in town to hang out and introduce us to his new squeeze.

Several birthday tequila shots later, Crissy’s auto-dance button was switched on and accidentally broken off, rendering her incapable of not dancing the remainder of the night at a bar where nobody else was dancing. We stuck around until a little after 1 a.m., at which point the old lady danced her ass out the door, danced her way into a cab, danced while she brushed her teeth, and danced her ass right into passing out, which is the only way to override a malfunctioning auto-dance button.

Happy Birthday, Lou.

Friday, November 21, 2008

comedy in the wild

I was walking down the sidewalk the other day, trying to get around a mouth-breathing, massive-headed, plodding woman, measuring roughly 5’2” 265lbs. As she walked past one of New York’s ubiquitous sidewalk fruit stands, she nonchalantly pawed a handful of cherries and rammed them into her mouth in stride, pits and all, like a gasping marathon runner, right in front of the fruit stand owner. She didn’t stop. She didn’t pay. She didn’t even blink. I thought for sure they knew each other.

When I turned around, the utterly helpless little middle-eastern dude had this exact gesture and expression on his face, which he held until she turned the corner a block down.

When I’m feeling down, I just think of this little incident, and everything’s better again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What Recession?

Last night I dipped my big toe into the olympic-sized New York City sample sale pool. I had read horror stories about the weirdos who kick and punch and pull hair for wedding dresses at Filene’s, so I was a little scared about going to one of these things. But this sale was for one of my favorite handbag designers, and I’ve exercised restraint over buying one of her bags because they were always too pricy. But 50% off retail?!? I couldn’t pass it up.

Armed with my trusty pal Laura, we braved the elements and showed up promptly at 8pm, just as the invitation had instructed. To our horror the sale was in a full-blown frenzy. The doors had been open for an hour already! Seeing all the women hoarding their handbag bounty made me immediately break out in a sweat.

I went in with a very clear plan of what I wanted. In the days prior to the sale I gave myself internal pep talks about not getting sidetracked. I was going for one reason only. This was not a trip for pleasure – it was all business.

But of course, as it always happens with I’m in those situations, all of my logic flew out the window. At one point I found myself with no less than 9 bags strapped on my body. And happening all around me was a very polite, yet completely palpable fierce competition going on, which only made things worse for me. Was I getting the right one? Did they have secret colors that were being given out only to people in the know? I reeeeally need a basic black bag too, maybe I should buy another one...hmm...

In the end I had a few Sophie’s Choice moments, but I came out victorious. I got exactly what I’d been wanting for so long, and I’m so proud of myself for using restraint. And after going to my first sample sale and seeing it live, I could used to it…but now I just need my paycheck to arrive!

Monday, November 17, 2008

you get what you pay for

Last Saturday afternoon was cultural day for Crissy and me. The WWInterweb told us that Matt Taibbi would be engaging in a free political discourse with David Rees at the Brooklyn public library. No clue who these people are, you say? Don’t feel bad. Nobody really does.

Matt Taibbi is a political correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine, who I only discovered because I happen to have a subscription. If you’ve never heard of this guy, please do yourself a favor and read this essay he wrote called, “Jesus Made Me Puke,” a hilarious/terrifying account of infiltrating a Christian Zionist “Encounter Weekend.” Parts of this essay made me shake with laughter. Parts of it made me weep for our country. All of it was awesome. (Amy, this is a great lunch read).

The other guy, David Rees, is a political cartoonist who is most well known for a cartoon called “Get Your War On,” another Rolling Stone staple. I’m not quite as into this dude’s work, but I think I’ll give it another try now that I’ve seen how funny he is in person.

Now, I know many of you are saying, “Ooooh, look at Kevin, mister political pants all of the sudden. Now that Barack Obama’s president-elect, did you buy a stiff new Obama cap and Obama foam finger and say you loved him back when he was a community organizer?”

No, and for the record, Matt Taibbi doesn’t only write political stuff. He’s also a very funny normal writer. So back off!

Anyway, Crissy and I hopped on the 2 train to the Grand Army Plaza stop in Brooklyn, a trip that took us roughly 30 minutes. When we actually got to the library (a huge, stodgy building that could easily double as a prison), we weren’t sure exactly where we were going, so we headed over to the "information" counter, where the English language was butchered so mercilessly I wasn’t sure if I was being insulted or given directions. I still don’t know what the hell the woman said, but she pointed at the floor, so we figured she was either saying down with American swine, or the auditorium is downstairs.

When we got down to the tiny auditorium, Crissy and I were both shocked to discover that Taibbi, a writer who’s work is infused with healthy doses of rage and fury, was a smiley, quiet, friendly guy. The other guy actually did all the talking. Well, most of the talking. The rest was covered by the completely insane dude who sat right in front of us.

The insane dude was built like a mailbox, with brooding delirium in his eyes and steel wool for eyebrows. He was wearing a ratty Sarasota, FL cap, which was fastened on the very last notch. Since he was sitting right in front of us, we had an unobstructed view of his strange and grotesque balding pattern, which caused his hair to cease growing about halfway down the back of his scalp, so there was plenty of red, meaty flesh for him to scratch vigorously as he shifted in his seat, grunting.

Soon after sitting down, he turned to a 40 something bookish lady sitting next to him, and loudly asked,

“Matt Taibbi,” the woman whispered.


“He’s a writer.”


“David Reese.”


“A political cartoonist. Shh.”

“AND HOW ARE YOU?” he asked, extending a hand.

“I’m trying to listen.”

A few minutes later, someone on stage mentioned something about John McCain having spent time as a prisoner of war.


This caused a dreadlocked black dude to whip around in his seat and hiss, “Why would you say that!!”

Moments later, a female library administrator walked up the aisle. The insane dude extended a hand.


"I'm...looking for someone."

Clearly, things were getting dicey, and Crissy informed me that it was time to move seats.

Once we relocated, everything seemed to calm down a bit. Until the Q&A session. As one of the library administrators was fiddling with the cordless microphone for audience questions, the insane dude belted out a long blathering tirade that started with a question about the media, and ended with a declaration that he was proud not to have fought in the Vietnam War. We decided it was time to go.

Anyway, I caught Taibbi on the way out and awkwardly asked him to take a picture with me.

His half smile says, “How many insane people were at this thing, anyway?”

My double chin says, “Isn’t food good?”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

let's rock this cafeteria

Lisa Loeb stopped by to give a live performance at my agency today. It was kind of weird. We got about 3700 email reminders that she was gonna be in the office, not to mention the 4000 posters, 500 video monitors showing pictures of her, and town criers announcing her arrival. You’d have thought her last gig was billed as “Puppet Show, and Lisa Loeb,” and her manager was trying to make it up to her.

But let me tell you, all that hootin’ and hollerin’ worked. People came in droves to see her set. I actually tried to get into the cafeteria/bar area where she was performing to take a picture, but I could barely get in the door. The one picture I got looks like it was taken from the nosebleeds at a flea circus with a spy camera. So this picture will just have to do. It was pretty much exactly like this, just not as prestigious of a venue.

Not surprisingly, Lisa decided to play her 1994 smash hit “Stay.” You know the one:

You say….I only hear what I want to
Something something something something.
Something something something something.

And so forth.

What was surprising was the fact that she decided to make it the second song of a multi-song set-list. I’m not really sure how many songs she played in total, because I couldn’t hear anything over the crashing cafeteria tables and trumpeting elephants as people jumanjied for the door when she said, “this next one’s from my new album.”

I get it. Everyone wants to hear the one song that reminds them of crying in the shower when they got dumped by Carl the movie theater manager for Cheryl that bitch. But for god’s sake, hear the woman out. How bad could it possibly be?

I mean, I totally had to get back to work. But, you know, not everyone’s job is as important as mine. People have some nerve.

Also of note, though completely unrelated, is the fact that the Starbucks people by my work are beginning to recognize me and remember my order, a triple espresso. Normally I’d object to the humiliation of having to call it a “tripio,” but every time I order it, one employee looks up to the ceiling and howls (at the top of her lungs) “TRIP! TRIP! TRIPP-EEEEE-OOOOOHHHHH!”

She loves saying it, I love hearing it. Lately, she’s been doing it right when I walk in the door. She very well could be making fun of me, but even if she is, it has a sad little way of making me feel extra special.

P.S. a friend of mine just posted some pics on Facebook of the band that came to perform at his work last night. We get Lisa Loeb, they get Eagles of Death Metal. What a gyp.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So I’ve decided I need to have a better attitude about this job. Many people in this economy are having a really tough time, and I am beyond fortunate to have a well paying job doing something fun.

The following list includes the things I like about my company so far:

1. It’s small. It’s not so overwhelming and huge and I don’t feel like I’ll get lost in the shuffle.

2. It’s green. They don’t have any plastic cups, plates, flatware, etc. They have tons of the real stuff. And they even have a big dishwasher so you don’t have to sit there washing your dirty dishes by hand. Also, they give every employee an aluminum reusable SIGG bottle to cut down on plastic water bottle use. There are multiple water coolers around the agency so you can fill up easily. And they have community garbage cans to encourage people to cut down on waste.

3. From my apartment, work is a quick 15 minute shot straight down Hudson Street.

4. You don’t have to go through some laborious process to sign guests in. They just show up and the receptionist calls me.

5. The windows. As mentioned in my previous post, the office space is a completely open floor plan. We are surrounded by windows that actually open. So if it’s getting a little musty in the afternoon, i just pop open a window and get a nice breath of fresh air.

6. I’m not the baby anymore. I’m at a place where no one knows me as the assistant producer. It’s nice to have that confidence.

7. Did I mention can I walk to and from work?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

day one

I had a hard time sleeping Sunday night. I don’t think it was due to nerves, because I can honestly say I’m not nervous about this new job. So after a night of restless sleep, Kev and I woke up early for a run. It felt good to start the week off right.

I arrived at the office exactly 15 minutes after leaving the apartment. Being able to walk to work is supremely convenient - yet another reason why I’m happy we decided to do Manhattan instead of Brooklyn.

Security at the building is a breeze. You basically just have to smile at the guy at the front desk and he’ll let you in. I walked up one flight of stairs and I’m at the front desk. Definitely nothing like the maximum security prison I formerly worked at. Thank God.

After a quick tour around by the HR girl I was shown my “office”. It’s actually not an office at all, but rather a seating area that’s completely out in the open. No more nose/teeth/wedgie picking in the privacy of my soft-walled cube. Now I am out there for the whole world to see. It’s going to take some getting used to, but at least everyone here is in the same boat.

It’s always tough being the new girl. I think that’s part of the reason why I stayed at my old job for five and a half years. Who wants to leave and start all over again? You have to be miss smiley nicepants, learn faces and names and who not to screw with and new email/phone/anything electronic. And most importantly you have to prove yourself all over again.

What have I gotten myself into?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

greetings from the future

Behold, the Hand Key 2000 Biometric Recognition System. It is the system by which Crissy and I get from our side of the habitation pods to the other side of the habitation pods, where we can enter Equinox, the muscular synthesis center, gain access to the E.O.P. (elevated observational platform) , or use the 50 Murray exit portal.

In order to activate the portal to the adjoining sector, you simply dial in your access security code, and insert your hand into the gamma reader, at which point the HK 2000 emits a series of gamma ray bursts, which read the size and shape of human hands.

This information is then computerized by millions of tiny micro-bots, which translate that information to a series of quasi-numbers. Those numbers are compared to that of a predetermined five dimensional hologram of the bio-material. Once a match is confirmed, a high-pressure blast of frozen nitrate cools the bolt-mechanism, which is catalyzed by enzymes, and the door opens.

It’s simple science, really. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out the website here. Or you could not bother, since I just explained exactly how it works.

Friday, November 7, 2008

one more thing

What the heck is with east coasters using the term "wait ON line" or "stand ON line" instead of IN line? And no, they are not describing spending time on the internet.

I would even prefer someone to use the British term "queueing".

a quick trip

As we're all aware, this past Tuesday was a day of epic proportions. Obama took the presidency -- and I went back home to Chicago. I had two main reasons for my visit: I wanted to see baby Avery Forst (and mama G!) in the worst way, and I wanted to spend my last hours soaking up my weekday freedom with my best partner in unemployment crime, Christine.

As soon as I stepped off the plane and smelled that familiar McDonald's/Manchu Wok/Burrito Beach smell from the food court, I was grinning from ear to ear. It could have been my xanax induced happy haze, but darn it, it felt good to be home.

In all, it was a fantastic trip. We celebrated Alex's birthday by eating rabbit legs wrapped in bacon. We cooed and oohed and ahhed at the supreme cuteness that is Avery Shea Forst. We had dinner with Kub and Heather and laughed and talked and pretended like one of us (ahem) didn't move away.

But there was a big part of me that was really excited to come back to my HOME in New York. Being back in Chicago made me realize just how much I really do love it here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

death on wheels

Allow me to take this opportunity to discuss one of the biggest plagues on New York City.

Oh, you mean rats, Kevin? It’s a big city, what do you expect?


You mean cockroaches? The cockroaches are pretty big.

No no, not that.

Oh, you must mean the garbage piled on the sidewalks. There are no alleys in New York, you know.

That’s not what I’m talking about.

Is it the crazy cab drivers?

It’s not the cab drivers. Shut up and I’ll tell you.

I’m talking about bicycle delivery men. And I don't mean the scabby, sinewy hipster-types who deliver blueprints and storyboards in snazzy Chrome messenger bags fastened with seatbelt clasps.

I’m talking about the food delivery guys here in New York who speak zero English, obey zero traffic laws, and think airplanes are angry flying gods.

I’m talking about the guys who wear no helmets, yield for nobody, and Miss Gulch their way through the manic streets and sidewalks of Manhattan with a chow mein wrecking ball dangling from each handlebar of their undersized, brakeless, spoke-free, 1993 Toys R Us Huffy.

I’m not kidding about this. It’s a serious problem. For the most part, New York is a well-tuned, well-oiled transit machine. Sure, things seem fast and crazy, but there’s a method to the madness. A controlled chaos, if you will. With these guys, it’s as if you entered a jalopy into the Indy 500.

Every one of these rolling liabilities rides with the efficiency of a yard sale on wheels. I can’t believe restaurants aren’t getting sued by the thousands on account of their delivery guys mowing down women and children in the street. I personally have almost been killed no less than four times.

DO NOT GET ME WRONG. I am in love with this city. After a month and change of living here, I still walk around gawking starry-eyed at the sheer size of everything. I love the frenzied activity, the personality, and the architectural beauty of the only world capital I'll probably ever live in.

I'm just saying. If I get killed on account of some lazy slob wanting his jumbo burrito 30 seconds faster, I'm gonna be pissed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, November 4th 2008

Barack Obama is about to become the 44th President of the United States. A few comments, just so I remember:

Crissy is home visiting some of her best friends in Chicago. I’m missing celebrating this incredibly historic event with her.

People are screaming on the streets of New York.

You heard it here first: Chicago, IL…site of the 2016 Summer Olympics

They keep showing footage of Grant Park on MSNBC. I’m not saying I’d be anywhere close to there if I was home right now, but I’ll tell you…it makes me pretty proud of my home town.

The TV footage makes the park look like several acres of mint ice cream covered in billions and billions of sprinkles.

Which, by the looks of it, tastes pretty damn sweet.

Monday, November 3, 2008

boo york

This past Friday night Crissy and I decided to check out the Greenwich Village Halloween parade, which I guess is the largest Halloween parade in the world. Fifty thousand people march in the parade, which stretches for about a mile, and draws around two million spectators. This year, we were proud to make it two million and two.

Now, usually Crissy and I are huge Halloween fans. Anyone who knows my wife knows that she isn’t shy about fully committing to shockingly unattractive costumes, as evidenced by her unsettlingly pube-heavy Borat from '06. But for whatever reason (sheer laziness), we just couldn’t bring ourselves to get out of the house and forage for costumes this year.

Which we figured wouldn’t be a problem, since people weren’t exactly stuffing our pockets with party invites. But see, the problem is, if someone does invite you to a party at the last second, you’re simply not allowed to go. That’s the rule. You cannot go to a Halloween party without a Halloween costume.

Otherwise you stand in the corner, chest-protecting with tepid keg beer, looking like the lazy, uncreative Grinch who stole Halloween. Before you know it, people start asking who you’re supposed to be, and you resort to the lamest of all lame non-costume jokes; “I’m a 32 year old dude drinking a beer,” or “I’m a jaded advertising copywriter and his wife,” or “I’m a dick, f*#% you.”

So, instead, we grabbed the camera and headed up to the parade, which was being broadcast live on NY1, the local news channel.

Though we were a little hesitant to head out into the streets thanks to a fast-spreading report that the Bloods were holding an all night gang initiation, during which as many as 20 single women were to be murdered on the streets of Manhattan. I suspected that this was some kind of Halloween hoax, but just in case, we tried to steer clear of people dressed in red, avoiding sexy red devil costumes and sexy little red riding hood costumes and sexy Hellboy costumes. Which lasted about a half a block.

On our way to the parade, Crissy and I stopped into two bars and took a couple shots of “annoying crowd serum,” sometimes referred to as tequila. By the time we got to the actual parade, we were ready for as many “in character” zany seventies guys as New York City could throw at us.

The parade itself was really cool, I have to admit. Millions of people show up to this thing, and everybody’s in a good mood, looking to have a good time. All except for a fat southern dude and his wife, creatively dressed as a cowboy and cowgirl, alerting the police that they smelled marijuana in the air. You’ve never heard pure, uncut sarcasm until you’ve heard a New York cop on Halloween say the words, “Yeah, we’ll have to do something about that.”

After the parade, we stumbled around a bit, took pictures of drunk people eating Mexican food in their costumes, and strolled back home. Officially capping off our first New York Halloween, which, by my estimation, was a huge success.

And next year? Our costumes are gonna be totally kick-ass. You’ll see.

P.S. Please enjoy this drunk dude eating Mexican food in his costume

Thursday, October 30, 2008


i get the whole "orange dress for halloween thing" (sort of) - but why does katie insist on this foolish nonsense? the poor kid even looks like she's over it. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)


For the past few weeks I've been spending a couple of my weekdays sleeping in EXTRAORDINARILY late. I (almost) feel bad about it. But yesterday my guilt was exonerated after I accepted the job offer, knowing that my days of snoozing well into the afternoon were numbered. No more PJ's 'til 3pm, lounging around in my robe watching daytime tv and wasting countless hours on the computer.

To my credit, i've spent a lot of time going out and getting a job, as well as adjusting to the city and doing both of our life and house chores.

But I'm not gonna lie, I sure am glad I'll have a place to go every day come November 10th. So you heard it here first: HOORAY FOR WORK!

(ps-Please don't judge me by what is on my television.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what I don't know could kick the crap out of me

Crissy and I were getting coffee together this morning, and she made a crack about my stupid, huge headphones that I had hanging around my neck. Sure, maybe they look a little ridiculous, but the sound! It’s so much better than those crappy little iPod buds.

But it’s not only about the sound. They also protect my innocent ears from the slings and arrows of angry New Yorkers. For example:

It was eight-something in the morning, about a week ago. I was minding my own business, waiting on the subway platform for the 4 or 5 express. As the train rolled in, I joined the usual rugby-scrum for positioning outside the doors as the cars groaned to a stop. Suddenly, I felt someone’s hand on my lower back.


No way that just happened, I thought to myself.


Suddenly, fire truck sirens and fireworks and nuclear explosions are going off in my brain. Few things are more maddening than someone shoving you from behind. One of those things is someone shoving you from behind into the flow of passengers exiting a train. Naturally (because the dude was smaller than me), I leaned back hard and dropped an elbow into him.

Unfortunately, as I did this, my balance shifted into the path of an angry (and much larger than me) take-no-shit-from-nobody black woman exiting the train, who thought I was jockeying for position in her personal space. Without hesitating for ONE SECOND, she lowered her shoulder like a salivating linebacker and put a hit on me that made my teeth clack. I could swear I saw her pupils dilate just before the hit.

Thankfully, I bounced off the little bastard behind me, who was supported by the rest of the scrum, and scurried onto the train. This sent the woman into a rage, screaming obscenities from the platform. Which is where the headphones come in…

I’m sure what she was saying was bad. I’m sure it was aimed at me. By the slack looks on people’s faces around me, I’m sure it was emasculating. But I didn’t hear any of it. Or, I should say, I didn’t hear much of it.

Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that I was listening to The Beatles “Let it Be.” Here’s what I would have heard:

When I find myself in times of motherf*#ker you better run trouble
Mother Mary will beat your sorry motherfu*%in come to me
Seeking words of in my motherfu#*in sight wisdom
Let better not look this way bitch it be…heeeeeee!

Though under any other circumstances this 6-second crisis would surely have destroyed the rest of my day, thanks to my trusty headphones, I could not have cared less.

And it only took about a half-hour for my back sweat to dry.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

november 10th, 2008

is the first day of my new job. hooray!

i took a position as a broadcast producer at a medium-sized ad agency. nothing super sexy, but it's a job in this dreadful economy AND i get lots of vacation time (now i will just have to see if they actually let me take it).

Monday, October 27, 2008

a blast from the two months ago

Well, this past weekend was a smashing success, I gotta say. We got some fantastic hang time with a few friends we haven’t seen in awhile. And let me tell you, it’s so nice hanging out with people you like. It makes hanging out with people that much more enjoyable.

Friday night we were paid a visit by Rob and Katie, two old work buddies from Element79 who were in town for a producer’s summit. We were gonna go out on Thursday, but we decided to hold off one more night so we could do dinner and really whoop it up afterward.

I suggested either Thunder Jackson's Urban Roadhouse, or Señor Swanky's Mexican Cafe and Celebrity Hangout. We ended up going with the Tribeca Grill, a fancy restaurant in our neighborhood rumored to be owned by Robert DeNiro who, to our shock, was not in attendance. What a gyp.

Regardless, the food was excellent, and we washed it down with large amount of delicious, delicious alcohol, including a bottle of pink bubbly ordered by Rob. Halfway through dinner, I was already “tellin’ it like it is!” and the night was just getting started.

After that we stopped by a neighborhood bar for a couple beers, before deciding that we should bring our friends back to check out our place and touch our stuff. Now, I have to admit, things got a little hazy around this point in the evening, but the flashes of memory I do have include the following:

1. Watching a Steve Martin magic act on YouTube.

2. Cursing the locked door to the rooftop deck, staggering down to ask the doorman what the rooftop hours are, only to have him (Howie, not recognizing me) respond, “the rooftop is closed at two thirty in the morning.”

3. Having a loud, passionate sing along at around 3 in the morning to Puff the Magic Dragon.

We woke up the next morning with angry brains, a foul taste in our mouths, and some confusion over what happened the night before. And you know you’re getting old when, instead of cigarette butts in beer bottles to remind you how the night went, it’s the iTunes purchase email for Puff the Magic Dragon that makes you mildly queasy.

The following night we met up with my old college buddy Kurt, who was in town from Newburgh, NY, which is about an hour north of the city. We headed out to a bar, had a few drinks, and pretty much called it a night. When Kurt, who’s about 6’6”, decided to generously pick up the bill, he had our friend Ken sign it for him. Why? Who knows? But Ken dutifully capitalized on the opportunity to make Kurt look like a prick by signing, “Kurt Najork, #44, “ his high school basketball number.

The following morning, Kurt stopped by to check out our place, before we all piled into his car and headed up to The Stumble Inn for beer and football. Our buddy Tyler’s younger brother Keith tends bar there, so we yukked it up, made fun of some hillbilly Dolphins fans, and decided to head home.

Highlights from the day were Crissy’s onion rings, and my burger stuffed with Swiss cheese. Which, not surprisingly, were lowlights several hours later.

P.S. This is a picture Katie and Rob. I think they're trying to figure out who's singing lead and who's singing harmony on "PTMD; the Extended Jam."

Friday, October 24, 2008

shake it baby

today was my first experience with the "world famous" shake shack. it is indeed a shack and it's located in a corner of madison square park. in my quest for a great burger and fry, i did extensive research on the joint and even google imaged photos of the food. they have a live webcam on their website so you can see how long the line is before you venture over there. and the stories i've heard of the long lines at this place are true (see my last photo if you want proof).

being a chicagoan where the favored local cuisine is anything-fried-goes, i consider myself somewhat of an aficionado on the subject. my verdict on the shake shack: what is all the fuss about?

the shack burger was great (shack sauce, lettuce, tomato, american cheese - and be sure to ask for pickles), but the cheese fries left much to be desired. the fries were good enough on their own (and fried in trans-fat free oil) but the cheese was a mix of slightly chunky/creamy and tasted like actual melted cheese. i guess i'm just used to portillo's where the cheese is so creamy and delicious you could drink it straight from a cup.

but i will probably try this place again. i'd like to see if the "shack-cago" hot dog really stands up to what we get at home.

check out the webcam around lunchtime on a weekday and look at the line yourself! you won't believe the madness.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

work sweet work

I really hate to make all my posts about lame-ass work, but I've had several people ask me what my workspace looks like. Lucky for me (so I don’t have to go around taking pictures like a total nerd) there’s an article about this place in the latest issue of Interior Design Magazine, complete with pics.

I guess they gutted these offices a couple years ago, brought some fancy-pants designer in here, and really put the scrub to everything.

And I won’t lie. When I interviewed here, I was damn impressed. Ok, I’ll admit it…I was intimidated. Coming from an agency that looked like a series of low-rent law offices, it’s kind of refreshing to work in a place where they at least TRY to make it feel creative.

So, for those of you that care (both of you, anyway), I present to you…the place where I spend 80 hours a week! (tadaa)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the day to day

Well, like the missus mentioned, it's been one month since we moved to New York, and man it's easy to slip into routine and forget to pay attention to things while they’re happening. So it’s time to give some of those things their due. Like my route to work, for example.

Every morning, I come down the B staircase and say hello to whichever doorman is sitting bleary-eyed behind the desk.

It’s usually Christopher, a friendly 30-something Hispanic dude.

But it could be Pierre, the gap-toothed, bright-eyed islander type who smiles like the Prince of Zamunda.

Or it could be Zef, an intense, 50ish Eastern European dude who I imagine was a fireman back in Slovakia, for example, before he became the Alpha doorman at 53 Park Place. Zef stands with a wide-legged stance, and keeps several buttons undone on his shirt in case he needs to rip it off to wrestle a boar.

Or it could be Howie, the heavy-set, wall-eyed guy in his mid-fifties, who speaks in stage-whispers like he's just come out of a coma. I have a sneaking suspicion Howie is actually legally blind, but doesn't want anyone to know so he doesn't lose his job. Usually, Howie doesn't recognize either of us. When I remind him that we live in 2G, he gets all flustered and says that I'm hard to recognize without my "knapsack." Which, of course, I'll be wearing at the time.

To be perfectly honest, Zef and Christopher are the only ones who actually seem qualified for the job. I’m sure Zef has doled out some beat-downs in his day, and Chris has at least checked ID’s at a seedy nightclub somewhere.

I think Pierre would get his ass kicked by a cough, and Howie would surrender his wallet to a coat rack. It's a triple bolt night when either of them are on duty.

Next I walk east on Park Place to Broadway, passing an outdoor fruit stand, and a steaming bagel and coffee kiosk on my right. Then I cut through City Hall Park, where I run the gauntlet of surly, cigarette smoking squirrels who are pushy and fearless in their panhandling. “What’s this crap? Bread crust?" they hiss. "Cut him, Manny.”

If I make it to my subway station, there are three trains I can take. The 4, the 5, or the 6. The 6 gets me there in about 12-15 minutes. The 4 and 5 get me there in 6-8 minutes. On the train, I wear huge, air-traffic controller looking headphones, try not to make eye-contact, and sweat through the few short stops to Grand Central station.

When I get to the escalator at Grand Central, I’m always blown away by the respect people have for escalator etiquette here in New York: stand on the right, walk on the left.

But I’m equally blown away that people will actually line up to stand on the right side of the escalator, rather than walk up the left side, which moves like the autobahn. I mean, there will be a line of easily 30 people waiting to stand on the escalator. I find it so interesting that, in a city where time is money, people would rather pay than walk up a flight of stairs.

When I get out of Grand Central, I hang a left on Lexington, where I just have to fall into the flow of people pouring down the street. Trying to weave through people during rush hour is like riding a bicycle in a stampede. Just keeping up is fast enough.

By the time I get to my building I’m sweaty, red-faced, and half out of breath. I'll unzip my jacket, take off my ridiculous headphones, and fall in line for the right side of the escalator.

Monday, October 20, 2008

one month

it's been 30 whole days that we've been residents of new york city.
just thought i'd make note of the (non-momentous) occasion.

mmm. cupcakes. i haven't had a good red velvet in awhile.
that might have to jump to the top of tomorrow's to do list...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday's Jackpot

Since being in New York I have spent many, many consecutive days not seeing a single person that I know. (No, Kev doesn't count) But yesterday I was incredibly lucky to come in close personal contact with six people (and one dog) who I didn't have to introduce myself to. What a relief.

The morning started off huge with a short visit from the Cirel's. Bek, Adam and Macy were (unfortunately) in town for Adam's grandfather's funeral, but I was happy to get a little time with them before they had to get back to Boston. Little Miss Macy has gotten so big since I last saw her. She used to be a snuggly little bug, but now she is a full-blown teenager who just wants to be out joyriding in mom and dad's car, blowing off her algebra homework and kissing older boys. (She is pictured above in her upcoming halloween costume - look at that sass in her face) And she sure took a liking to our place because in the short time she was here she managed to pee in the kitchen and take a large dookie on the living room rug. We had to open the windows and the front door to get a cross-breeze going to get rid of her stinky butt.

Next up was Ali Dolan, a good friend from the element79 days. Again, she only had time to stop by for a short visit while her Nani napped back at the hotel, but every minute was delightful. She'll be here again in two weeks and I really hope we get to have lunch or dinner together. Thanks for coming by, Ali.

Rounding out the lineup were Danny Thomases and his brother and sister-in-law, Greg and Jess Thomases. We met all of them for the first time at Tyler and Vanessa's week-long wedding extravaganza in St. Thomas a year and a half or so ago. We hit it off with them from the start have have been friendly ever since. Our meet-up happened in a loud and crowded bar so we didn't have the patience to stick it out past a couple of drinks. But we plan on seeing them again very soon.

And please don't let Kevin's prior post deter you from coming to visit. We need to have a couple more familiar faces streaming in the front door because that was one of the best day's we've had here yet!

so often that you won't even notice it

In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit something: our apartment is loud. It’s not horrible, and we’ve gotten used to it, but I just have to get that out there for the scores of you who will be visiting us and sleeping on our huge, comfy new couch.

Whew. I feel better already.

Now, look. This better not be a deterrent from any of you visiting us here in the big apple. Sure, maybe our living room vibrates a little from the rumble of the subway system below our building. So does my office in midtown.

And sure, maybe sometimes the couch feels like a vibrating massage couch at The Sharper Image. It’s really only like that during rush hour.

And OK fine, maybe sometimes we notice the pictures on the wall are a bit askew. It makes them look more exciting. Like an episode of Batman. Zammo!

The truth is, we really don’t even notice it anymore. Plus, for some inexplicable reason, you can barely hear it in the bedroom. It sounds sort of like distant thunder, which I kinda like. Come to think of it, I wonder if we could record it and sell it as a sleeping aid for millions! We could accompany it with soothing music! Like Enya! We could be rich! I gotta look into that.

In conclusion, if you come visit, we promise to provide so much ear-clogging fun that you won’t notice it, either. Or if you do, it will act as a built in alarm clock to get your ass off the couch, and go walk around New York City.

p.s. please enjoy this picture of my t-shirts in the closet, which Crissy color-coded for my wearing pleasure.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I probably could've gotten shivved on the subway for taking this picture (just kidding, Mom), but this was too good to pass up.

This guy's facial hair was so delicate it looked penciled in, and he was so high his eyes looked like incisions. His girlfriend didn't know where she was. The best part was that his paranoia was forcing him to listen to this beast at a sensible volume, so it really wasn't bothering anyone. It was just his personal theme music.

Please note the the purring "Lasonic" components, which include the flashing 'bass-o-meter' in the upper left corner, and the blue light on the front of the stereo, which reads, "iPod mode."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

wholesome foods

There’s a little Amish market underneath our building. I guess it’s not really that little, actually, considering it’s got two eating areas, one upstairs and one downstairs. I love that about all the grocery stores out here. You can eat in at so many of them. The lazy guy in me loves the food. The cheap guy in me loves not tipping for it.

But you can’t buy beer at the Amish place. When I asked, the guy looked at me like I was a complete asshole for not remembering that we were at an Amish grocery store. Then he rang me up for day-old sushi.

Anyway, I like that they sell pumpkins. They look cool.

back just in time

Whoah, this blog got girly while I was gone. I gotta dude it up, quick…

Spit, punch, honk.

There we go. Now, where was I? Oh yes, Kingsport, Tennesse, my little work trip last week. Man…

You may or may not remember an earlier (apparently, hotbutton) post about an elephant and a rope. If not, go back a few.

So it turns out everybody knows about Mary the elephant but me. Weird.

As soon as I got to Kingsport, I started asking people about the incident. The first person I asked was he chief PR woman we were dealing with, who said, “oh please don’t include that in the video. You’d be surprised at how many people bring it up.” It made me feel bad for her. We’re talking about something that happened over 90 years ago. The fact that nothing significant enough has happened since then to get people to forget hanging the elephant is exactly the type of town it is.

It’s one of those towns that has one reason for existing, and that reason is a gargantuan chemical plant. Where the air smells like forgetfulness, and cameras are unwelcome. In Kingsport, you work at the chemical plant, or you don’t. And God help you if you don’t.

But I will say that the people we dealt with were mostly very, very friendly. Certainly on our side of the camera. Our little video crew was full of local guys from all parts of Tennesee, and every one of them had awesome, hilarious stories.

And man, is Tennesse is the SOUTH. It’s so south their forebears decided to make 2 syllables out of one, whether you like it or not. So, people in Tennesee don’t say him. They say hee-yim. They don’t say four. They say foh-wer. They don’t say oops. They say shee-yit.

We tried to woo our client by bringing her to the fanciest restaurant in town. The concierge (an old man with an incomprehensible accent and a bruised lip) told us we should go to “Cootie Brown’s.” This is a picture of Cootie himself, a “fictitious figure” who travels all around the world serving “delicious home cooked meals.” Which, incidentally, was also fictitious.

Friday, October 10, 2008

check annnnnd check

today i did some very "new york" activites that i've been wanting to check off the old list. here's the rundown:

1. i ran across the brooklyn bridge and back. it was a relatively short run, but it was awesome. there were LOTS of tourists. and i almost got steamrolled by some dick on a bike. but boy, that sure helped get my heart rate up! plus i can now officially say i've been to brooklyn!

2. i walked to meg's hood and we took the subway up to central park. we grabbed lunch and spread out a blanket for a picnic of turkey sandwiches, trashy magazines and weirdo watching. we sat there for hours and lapped up the sun - there was not one single cloud in the sky. but there were a lot of nasty couples publicly making out. we also saw one too many crusty men in their underpants. PUT YOUR PANTS ON MY FRIENDS! YOU ARE NOT DAVID BECKHAM OR EVEN MARKY MARK CIRCA 1992! oh and p.s. - you are not in the privacy of your own home.

3. since we were already uptown we decided to go to henri bendel's (editor's note: if you want to sound like a native, drop the henri and only say bendel's). meg and i confessed to each that we are too intimidated to go in those stupidly overpriced stores by ourselves for fear that the shop girl scene from pretty woman would be re-enacted on us.
it wasn't. but i did leave wishing that i ran into blair waldorf.

on another note, i made the orange and scallion beef stir-fry tonight. it was AWESOME. and healthy. i had to stop myself from eating the whole batch so that i could save some for kev. i have to prove to him that i can cook something other than meatballs.

and my final comment for the evening: i watched the premiere episode of real housewives of atlanta tonight. holy crap, i just found my new favorite show. those ladies are pure genius. especially kim and nene.



Thursday, October 9, 2008

more where that came from

go look up that song title on itunes - it's by the miss dolly parton. i saw it on a target commercial. if you don't tap your feet and smile while you listen, you are a cold hearted bastard. really.
and i don't even like country music.

another recent favorite is the new tv on the radio album (dear science).
it is a goosebump inducing journey through all 16 or so songs...every one of them special in their own way.
buy (don't steal!) it now if you know what's good for you. (interesting fact: the lead singer is in the new movie "rachel getting married" - and you know that the role he plays is EXACTLY who he is in real life - and that makes me love the band even more!)

in other news, i spent some money today (around $50), but it was on food. meg came by for dinner for fiesta night (and SNL thursday weekend update watching). tomorrow i am trying my hand at asian. i SUCK at cooking that genre of food, but i'm determined to get better. tomorrow's menu: orange beef and scallion stir-fry with brown rice. i got the recipe from a great cookbook rebecca anne gave me for my birthday last year - i'll let you know how it goes!

and i've been thinking a lot about cheese fries lately. pasquale says east coasters don't get the "cheese fry phenomenon". that information disturbed me so greatly that i actually looked at ticket prices to go back to chicago so i can have portillo's, and then quickly realized what an a-hole i was. i can wait until christmas, damnit! i think.

(ps - KEV, COME HOME!)
(pps - gina is in labor - everybody think good thoughts for her and greg and the baby!!!!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

i might could win a world record

today i only spent $6.00 (and it was on coffee for me and meg).
that brings me to a grand total of $8.50 OVER THREE DAYS! i can't even believe i am sticking to it. ANNNNND i even went in a bunch of stores and walked out empty handed each time.

meghan asked me if i wanted to grab something and sit in a park today for lunch. i stuck to my word and finished off the deli meat we had at home and brought my lunch to our date.

what in god's name has happened to me?
maybe aliens have invaded my body?

tonight's dinner menu: tomato soup and grilled cheese (all made with stuff i already have at home).

believe it or not this is actually kind of fun!

*please enjoy the photo - i saw this awesome juxtaposition on 6th ave today.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

day 2 of getting closer to the dollar

success! i only spent $2.50 on coffee.
i kind of can't believe it myself.
we need toothpaste and i am going to ask kevin to pick it up on his way home so i don't have to break my streak!

the advertising jet-set

Tomorrow I’m leaving New York for an important business trip to sophisticated Kingsport, Tennessee, where local lore has it that way back in 1916, a circus elephant named Mary was brought to town to entertain kids.

While Mary was drinking from a nearby pond, an assistant elephant trainer thought it would be a good idea to jab Mary behind the ear with a hook. Not surprisingly, Mary slammed him to the ground and smashed his head in.

Naturally, the town felt the only way for Mary, the 5-ton elephant, to learn her lesson was to be euthanized.


By way of hanging.

The event drew 2,500 people, most of them children. Presumably so they could learn the moral of the story:

If you think somethin cain't be done, riot. That always gets ’er done.

I can’t wait for my trip.

Monday, October 6, 2008

i am learning to be close to the dollar

i didn't spend a single cent today.
not one. zip. zilch. zero with a capital Z.

i wish i could say it was because i witnessed the horror of the dow dipping to a sickening 800 point drop today. you see, it's fun being unemployed and being able to watch the daytime pundit shows on CNBC and CNN. nope, not gag-inducing at all.
but in all seriousness, i am just sick of spending money when i have none of my own coming in.

and as you can imagine, not spending is frickin' hard to do in this city.
hmm. i wonder how many days in a row i can do this.
i am going to try and eat only the food in my house and only allow myself to buy espressos over ice (the cheapest coffee at the bux). this will be fun!
uh, ummm, maybe.

(ps-thanks to the judge for introducing me to the term used in the title of this post. it's one of my favorites!)


This is Tony Viola, my art-director cube mate. In addition to having the world’s greatest name, Tony is the nicest person I think I’ve ever met. He dresses in a tie and sport coat every day (I took this picture on a casual Friday), smiles non-stop, and when he’s not smiling or laughing, seems cheerfully confused.

When he shakes your hand, he winds up and fires his hand at you like a women’s softball pitcher, then shakes vigorously. It’s both hilarious and endearing, especially because that’s exactly how my Grandad used to shake hands.

The thing is, in the super annoyingly hip world of advertising, a pair of boot cut jeans means you must’ve been born during the Eisenhower administration. A little gray hair and you should be writing your will. A year over 40? You’re a topic to be discussed in geology class.

Which is why it’s so nice to see that guys like Tony Viola have found a home here. As far as seating assignments go, there’s a clear line in the sand between the young, impossibly cool future advertising superstars, and the older, graying, future advertising superstars of yesteryear. The older guys work on pharmaceutical commercials and cream cheese print ads, while those born after 1985 write thinly veiled dick jokes for candy advertising. In the end, it’s all the same thing.

And let me tell you something. When it comes to seating assignments, I’ll take sitting next to Tony over those young punks any day. Why?

Because just before I took this picture, Tony asked me for some help on a project. I found what he needed on the web and emailed him a link to the page. When he got the email, he said, “Now if I click on this, will it take me to the internet?”

First I cried. Then I hugged him and thanked him for making me feel so hip.

a little something for the saps

Well, it’s been another stupid weekend of work for me, and I think the missus should win a Nobel Peace prize for not wanting to kill me yet. Not only does she not want to kill me (yet), she wants nothing more than to take care of things. Have I mentioned that I’m married to the greatest woman on earth?

Let’s just start with the way this apartment looks. I mean, it’s as organized as the dewey decimal system, and we’ve been here two weeks. Who does this? And do you have any idea how awesome it is to come home to a squeaky clean, warm, comfy, kick ass apartment after an 80-hour week? The answer is: very awesome.

Last week she wanted to make sure I was eating well during these stupid hours I’ve been putting in. So she went to Whole Foods, bought lunchmeat, fruit, and snacks, and made me a brown sack lunch every day of the week. Just to make sure my new partner didn’t feel left out, she made one for him too. He can’t stop talking about it.

Tonight I left work at 10:30 (for which I received many a stinkeye from a group of hipsters pulling their third straight all-nighter), only to return home to a closet full of freshly laundered clothes. I’m not sure what I did to deserve this woman, but I hope she doesn’t come to her senses any time soon.

P.S. Just in case I haven’t built a strong enough case for having the greatest wife on earth, please note the newest addition to our wallspace. The fact that this idea got green-lighted by the missus still has me in shock. Look at them. Ooooooh. Just look at them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

hell's kitchen flea market

today was the first day since we've been here that kevin has been able to see more of new york than just the walk to the subway to get to and from work. we slept in suuuuuper late - 12:30pm. then we grabbed a quick lunch before heading uptown to the hell's kitchen flea market. we were looking for a small side table for our living room, and found these instead. the "artists" were a husband and wife team of really loud and super fast talking, country-fied scheisty mcschiesters. but we got it for a much better price than we ever could have at a place like crate and barrel. it's 4 old crates that were primed and re-painted. we stacked them on top of each other and there you have it - a nifty end table!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

one. singular. closet.


snore pie with yawn sauce update

i'm sad! christine was here for a few days and just left. we had a fantastic time (as we always do). we walked for miles, ate lots of great food, drank a ton of wine and talked non-stop. i don't think i'll see her again until possibly november, and that feels waaaaay too far away for me to even comprehend. BOO HOO!

job news: i have a meeting tomorrow morning with a woman who owns a successful editorial company. she's well-connected in the industry, so i'm excited to be able to start meeting folks and making contacts. i am also going to meet with someone at an agency a week from next monday. i'm cautiously optimistic about it all, but will keep everyone up to date.

i haven't seen much of kev this week with christine being in town combined with his work schedule. i can't wait for him to get home so we can watch the vp debate together. it's going to be such a joke.

fall is officially here. i needed a jacket on top of my cardigan today. i'm not ready for it yet, but people say the winters here aren't as harsh as chicago. i'm skeptical, but hopeful that they're right.

more later - i'm off to start laundry (across the hall from my unit!!!) and get dinner.

*please enjoy this photo of a small portion of my varsity team