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