Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sleeping Beauty Bean

Giving Mom the stinkeye for waking her up

jammed out

For about 20 years now, the Allman Brothers have taken up residence at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side, where they play every few nights throughout the month of March. This year was their 40th anniversary as a band, and since I’ve never actually seen them live, I convinced Crissy to come with me to their final show on Saturday night.

Can I be perfectly honest about something here? It was a little disappointing. I don’t know. I guess I expected something less…hokey.

The problem with seeing your classic rock heroes in concert is that you forget they’re not the same 22 year old guys you’ve listened to over and over (and over) again on the albums that were recorded in 1971. Most of the band has been replaced by a slew of graying studio percussionists just oozing new age spirituality, wearing Africa beanies and bad tie-dye (oops, I think bad tie-dye is redundant). I know you know what I’m talking about. These guys are really, really good at their instruments. They’re just not the guys I came to see.

As for the actual band members, they still completely rock. But maybe it’s because our seats weren’t great (yet really, really expensive). Maybe it’s because I didn’t hear any of the songs I wanted to hear. Or maybe…just maybe…I just don’t have the patience for jam bands any more.

Look, I play guitar. I bow down to guitar gods in a big way. I can geek out with the best of them on a scorching 5-minute guitar solo. Or even a white-hot 10-minute solo. But it’s the 34-minute Mountain Jams that make me sigh and shift my weight and start to notice the doughy, balding, middle manager flailing wildly in front of me with his Woodstock ‘94 concert t-shirt, sweatshirt tied around his waist, and blackened bare feet on the sticky floor.

I know I know. I’m a total asshole for noticing these things and saying them out loud. But it’s just that I still think of these bands as SO COOL. And I really want to keep thinking of them that way.

But thanks to the jumbo screen with the blow-your-12-year-old-mind psychedelica and the Microsoft screensaver-quality animation, I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching the opening act for the Wiggles at the Arkansas County Fair.

Forgive me, guitar gods. Please, forgive me.

p.s. Crissy took this picture of this dude's braided leather belt. So I'm not the only asshole to notice, okay?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Please Take a Moment

to say hello to us - I noticed some interesting locations checked in on our blog today - people all the way from Spain and Australia! Even if you're in Chicago, chime into the comments to say hi or introduce yourself!  

I'm so curious to know who is out there.

at long last

Saturday afternoon marked a huge milestone for the missus and me.

We were feeling particularly adventurous on account of Heather and Tom coming out to visit, so we thought we’d try to catch a ferry out to Ellis Island. What the hell, right?

Of course, the moment we arrived at the dock, we realized what a terrible, silly mistake we’d made. The half-mile line looked like we were already on Ellis Island, circa 1892. Sooty faces, malnourished babies, huddled masses. We aborted mission when we saw mustachioed men inspecting the line for measles and cholera.

So we decided to try another, far simpler staple of New York City.

The dirty water dog.

Crissy and I had wanted to try a street dog since we got here, but we just hadn’t gotten around to it. And I have to say, the hot dog itself was pretty good. When you’re dying for a quick snack, it’s hard to beat good old fashioned hooves n’ snouts.

But you know what I think is really weird about New York? You cannot for the life of you get yellow mustard in this city. It just doesn’t exist out here. Mustard only comes in the spicy brown variety.

How is it possible that a city of 8 million people can all be denied the wonder that is yellow mustard? There’s something like twenty-five thousand street vendors in this city, and you mean to tell me that not a single one of them serves yellow mustard? Is it just me, or is that completely insane?

Watching my brother-in-law, Tom (a native Chicago Southsider and hotdog enthusiast), eat a hotdog sans yellow mustard was like watching a Tuscan chef dine at the Olive Garden. The shameless bastardization of his native cuisine was almost too much to bear.

Not wanting to be rude and insult the custom of our new city, he closed his eyes, held his nose, and swallowed the hotdog in three bites. Then he wiped a single tear from his cheek.

Friday, March 20, 2009

6 months ago...

...we arrived in new york. Seems like much longer.
Happy anniversary to us!

And Heather and Tom are on their way to our place RIGHT NOW for a much needed visit.
What a way to celebrate!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

new, outrageous trend

During a walk through Soho yesterday on a beautiful Spring day, I was brought face to face with a disturbing trend that I first noticed when we arrived here six months ago: skanks without bras.

On occasion there are the rare Amazonian models who can pull it off (and sorry to generalize but they're probably European or Brazilian), but mostly they are the kind of women who have no business leaving the house without a boulder holder. The trend is this: a girl wears a very flimsy, thin cotton-poly blend tee-shirt, sans undergarment, letting her gals run free and flap in the wild. It's wildly offensive mostly because of the lack of personal space in this town. One can be brought up close and personal to it without warning. I'm sure some of you pervy dudes won't complain, but I'm a woman and I'm outraged. This is not 1972, people! Saddle up!

I'm sure it all started with some hot European chick in Ibiza or some crap, and was spotted by a hot New York chick who was there on vacation and in turn is about to ruin breast elasticity/perkiness/class in America. Just you wait - this phenomenon will spread from city to city like skinny jeans, newsboy caps and dressing like a hobo.

So to all you ladies out there - unless you are a AAA cup or have fabulously perky augmented ones, i beg you - please don't do it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

by the skin of our teeth

So it turns out we almost died on Saturday. Which would’ve sucked.

Being the organized, healthy woman that my wife is, she decided to schedule two much-needed teeth cleanings for Saturday morning at 9:30. One for herself, one for her fangle-mouthed husband.

The only problem, of course, is that we’ve never been to a dentist in New York. And we didn’t have any recommendations to go on. So Crissy threw a dart at a phone book. Then she pulled out the dart, got online, and found us a dentist.

The first thing I noticed as we walked up the stairs to the receptionist’s desk was the color of the paint on the walls. It was the most horrific, pale, mirthless pink I’ve ever seen in my life. It wasn’t a pink you’d find in any natural state. It was like, the "pink” dress of a burned doll left behind in the rubble of WWII. Or, the “pink” dentures dangling halfway out of a 90-year old woman’s mouth in an insane asylum. It was nightmarish.

We reluctantly checked in at the desk, where they gave us some paperwork to fill out. We grabbed our clipboards and pens, and turned to the waiting area. What we saw made our eyes bulge and our sphincters loosen.

It was like a movie set out of a mangled, twisted Terry Gilliam film.

It was like a Mexican donkey show on acid.

It was like if the fast food joint in the Where’s the Beef commercial franchised dental offices.

Everything was huge, depressing, and surreal. I felt like I was experiencing life through a fisheye lens. I could have sworn I heard carnival music.

Fist of all, the place was packed. You could’ve easily mistaken the waiting room for jury selection. Parents slumped in misery, kids thundered through the room in their underpants, goats and chickens roamed freely.

Crissy and I turned to each other, and thought, “Well, I guess this is just how they do it in New York.” So I headed up to ask the front desk how long it would take. The woman told me she had no idea. “Maybe an hour?” I offered. “Sure, an hour.”

While I was away at the desk, Crissy overheard a thirty-something grandma reprimanding her 7-something grandson for loose gang talk:

"Michael said you were out of line last night. Talking about bloods and crips. You know what happens to little boys who join gangs? They end up in jail. Or dead. Clean your fingernails."

Every second we spent in that waiting in that room felt like an eternity. I was starting to get stir crazy. Now I know what death row inmates feel like. Or Mengele patients. I started taking pictures to document the last moments of my life. Please note the "dentist" blocking his face in shame. (I'm not kidding, click on it now)

Then suddenly, mercifully, the woman called us up to the front desk. “There was a mix up with your insurance. You’re going to have to call your insurance company, tell them you want Dr. Cohen to work on your teeth, and reschedule your appointment.”

We ran screaming.

When we got outside, it occurred to us that we should be a little annoyed. We woke up early on a Saturday. Waited patiently in that hellhole. What gives?

But let me tell you something. I hate the dentist. Who doesn’t? That was no dentist. It was a torture lair. So just for the hell of it, we decided to come home and check out some reviews of the place.

The following are just some of the titles of the reviews, cut and pasted for your reading pleasure. I didn’t make a single one of these up.

Oh, and P.S. Thank you Jesus…we owe you one.

Would never go back 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
I Hate That Place!!!!! 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
THE PLACE TO GO...... CRAZY!!!! 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Absolutely horrible customer service 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
AWFUL 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE, DO NOT GO HERE!!!! 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
THE WORST SERVICE EVER 1 Star Rating - Unsatisfactory
Unprofessional, Disrespectful, Abusive 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Would never return 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
I NEED TO CHANGE MY DENTIST... 1 Star Rating - Unsatisfactory
Feeling lousy 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Awful Management 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Dental Factory. 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Not yo momma's dental office 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
BEWARE!!! 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Nothing to do with Dentistry!!!!!! 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
Crooks, unprofessional, liars 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory
STAY AWAY 1 Star Rating – Unsatisfactory

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Sunday


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

so much for that experiment

We promised we wouldn’t become completely annoying crazy dog people and have all of our posts be about our new dog. So I’m not gonna write about that. Even though it’s all we talk about. Ever.

I’ve been taking a break from listening to music on the way to work lately. Not by choice. I lost my iPod. Also, a homeless guy screamed laughing at my oversized headphones recently on the subway, so I won’t wear them anymore.

It’s been an interesting experiment to take in all the sights and sounds of New York on my way to work. On my sidewalk alone, there’s a bagel/coffee guy kiosk, two candy/gum/lottery guys, a hot breakfast guy with a sizzling griddle, a gyro dude, and, when it’s warm, a fresh fruit guy. I love all of these people. They’re part of what makes New York cool. Most of them are out there come rain or shine. I love it.

But before I pass any of that, I pass the pirated DVD guys. This, I hate.

It’s the first thing I see at the end of my block. Actually, it’s the first thing I hear. It goes like this:

5 dollar DVD! Buy five, get one free!

But it’s not the quaint, local charm of a sing-songy salespitch. It’s the sharp, obnoxious rasp of a brazen hustle.

Maybe it’s because I know how they get those DVD’s. They slip a video camera into a movie theater, sit in the back row, and shoot the screen as it plays, complete with people getting up for pee breaks and shouting at the screen in front of you.

But what do I care? It’s pretty much the analog version of stealing movies and music online, which I’ve, ahem, never done.

I guess maybe it’s because the table is set up five feet from the crowded-ass A/C/E stop that swarms like a hornets’ nest every day at 9 am. People are staggering around, the sun’s beaming, there’s confusion, disorientation, fear. The hot stink of human panic heightens my senses like a soldier in combat, and I can suddenly hear whispers a block away and dog whistles in midtown and my body’s tired so tired and then--



I gotta buy a new iPod.

P.S. here’s a picture of a fire escape I thought looked cool.