Monthly Archives: June 2008

Cold War Kids in Prospect Park for Celebrate Brooklyn!

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, concerts, living in new york is neat, music is my boyfriend, narcissism
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My roommate, Wen, invited me to go see Cold War Kids play for $3 as part of Celebrate Brooklyn! on Friday night. The only song I’d ever bothered to listen to was “Hospital Beds“, and I didn’t loooooove it like everyone else I know seems to, but I figured a concert in the park would be nice. I listened to the songs on their MySpace that day in an attempt to form some sort of opinion of them, and I felt okay about their songs, but they didn’t move me or anything. I did come away thinking that their vocalist reminded me a bit of Jack White of The White Stripes, though, and that’s exciting.

My friend Beth accompanied me to the park, and we meandered along the tree-lined sidewalks of Park Slope and looked in the windows of brownstones filled with baby strollers and bookshelves that don’t have to move from apartment to apartment as the rent goes up and can therefore actually be filled with books instead of the Avenging Unicorn Playset and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines that mine are.

We got seats toward the center, swigged from our $2 cans of Snapple, and set to judging everyone in sight. Our main target of ridicule was this girl right in of us with these really great maybe-vintage light brown sunglasses that took up her entire face. We mocked her mostly because we felt like she didn’t deserve them. Well, that and her half-hearted greasy female pompadour. And handgun earrings. Then we switched to deciding who I should sleep with while Boyfriend Kamran’s visiting home in Laguna Beach and no doubt ogling tons of blondes in bikinis: the guy with the excellent Bonnie Prince Billy beard or the really classicly-romantic-looking girl two rows ahead of us who might have very well been 15 years old. Wen’s arrival cut the conversation short, and I instead went about taking pictures of myself showcasing emotions ranging from shifty

to manic.

The first band up was Sam Champion, who were billed as “not local for long”, but we found them pretty much nondescript aside from the fact that their lead singer was hot, but even that was questioned once he took off his face-obscuring sunglasses. I think they thought they were kind of . . . The Doors-ish? . . . but we spent most of their hour caring more about the biracial lesbian couple next to us chasing their blonde-haired, blue-eyed toddler up and down the aisle.

The middle band was Elvis Perkins in Dearland, who we took to pretty kindly despite the singer’s all-white outfit and the inclusion of an organ in their instrumentation. I’ll admit that a lot of their music was drowned in our discussion about whether the P on the vocalist’s hat was for Princeton or the Pirates (I voted for the former, since I have a boyfriend who has a Ph.D. from Princeton and all and think I know what the Princeton P looks like), but we also genuinely liked the folksy guitar stuff they had going. If you’re checking out their MySpace, I think “While You Were Sleeping” is a really good representation of what we heard.

In between sets, we amused ourselves with the screen hanging from the back of the stage that showed messages and pictures people in the audience could text in to a special number. There were a lot of “hipsters go home” and “hi lux from axel and cooper :)”, but there were also some marriage proposals and one admittance to giving someone else in the crowd genital herpes.

When Cold War Kids came on, everyone stood up, the aisles filled with people, and the row behind us went crazy singing along (on key, thankfully) to every word of every song. And I found out that I actually liked the band quite a bit. Well, the singer, at least. In fact, I liked him so much that I wished he’d ditch his instrumentalists, get some better songs, and become the new Jeff Buckley. I got so mad that he kept wasting his voice on screaming, but now that I think about it, it provided a nice juxtaposition to his sweet crooning. I felt totally inspired by his singing and his stage presence and his completely soaked shirt. Listen to this, and you can imagine the effort that goes into it.

So yeah, it’s safe to say that I love him.

And the park at night.

And getting sauced at a Mexican restaurant that looked like an Aztec temple afterward with Beth.

Sex and the City: Not Just for Weepy Girls

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, there's a difference between films and movies
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A few weeks ago, one of the bloggers saved on my Google Reader was talking about how she went to see the “Sex and the City” movie with three of her best girlfriends, and I was like, Meh! All of my ‘girlfriends’ [a word that I would never actually use, even in my head] have already seen it without me! I’m a loser! Not that I had any desire to see it, you know, but it was the principle.

But then my friend Emily came back from vacation in Germany and wanted to see it. And then my friend Beth moved back to NYC after living in California for a few months and wanted to see it. And then our friend Mike said that he wanted to see it, and he’s gay, so he totally counts as a girlfriend. And then we somehow coerced our friend Jack into seeing it, despite the fact that he’s straight AND has never seen the show.

This caused great joy among the other guys in the office, and the guy-iest of them all, Nik, created the following to commemorate the occasion:

Mike, Me (as the slut? really?), Emily, and JACK

Interestingly, I really liked the movie, despite the fact that feminists everywhere should be having a total field day with it. I even cried during it. Twice.

Restaurant Review: Roebling Tea Room; Renegade Craft Fair 2008

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, it's fun to be fat, living in new york is neat, restaurant ramblings
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A couple of Sundays ago, my ladyfriends and I wanted to meet for brunch–and it should be noted here that brunch in NYC can strangely fall anywhere between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.–in my neighborhood of Williamsburg, which is uncharted territory for us as far as brunches go. We planned to check out Egg, which New York Magazine named Best Overall Breakfast this year, but their sign-in sheet was packed, and they stopped serving at 2, so we deliberated for a while

and then walked down to the Roebling Tea Room, which you will be incredibly interested to learn is named after the man who designed the Brooklyn Bridge. (And also the street that the restaurant sits on, but that’s better left unmentioned.)

My friend Emily had her brother’s Yorkiepoo (I know, right?) with her because she’d thought we’d be eating outside, and dogs on patios here are as numerous as taxicabs, but luckily Penny happens to be the cutest dog alive and won our waitress over with only a swish of her little hypoallergenic tail. It also helps that pretty much everyone who sees her mistakes her for a child’s plush toy at first, so Emily could just stuff Penny in her bag and let everyone believe she’s the kind of grown woman who’s unable to leave home without her playthings.

We were seated right away–despite the fact that we were a group of six and the place looked packed–in front of the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows that line the front wall and make it evident that the building was once a warehouse of some sort. They filled the room with light and ruined all of my pictures, but it was well worth it.

The walls were covered in green paper with white molding, antiquey sconces, and equestrians on white horses, the tables were thick, dark wood, and the waitresses were neighborhood women with infrequently-washed hair; funny how those things all fit together.

Bridgette ordered the baked cheddar eggs, which came in a little souffle crock next to a bigger crock of grits, surrounded by two huge slabs of raisin toast with apple butter. I’m used to scrambled eggs that I make myself from $1.99 grocery store cartons, so hers tasted dreamy to me, and her grits had a cheesy taste to them that we didn’t expect.

Emily and Beth ordered egg and cheese sandwiches that looked so boring to me on the menu but turned out to be monsters with dense, seeded bread and a folded heap of fillings. They’re a couple of dieting assholes and left the top of the bun untouched, and I was soooo jealous . . . until my pancake appeared.

The menu touted it as “A BIG BAKED PANCAKE (DUTCHSTYLE W RHUBARB & SPICED BUTTER)”, and never have capital letters been so appropriate. It filled the entire plate and more, piled high with warm fruit and a mound of flecked butter that had just begun to pool. The middle was a bit underdone for my taste, but the outside edge was delightfully crunchy, and the whole thing was filled with fruit. At the time, all of my friends and I were like, “Mmmmm, rhubarb!” But, umm, the menu was wrong, and we realized later that it was actually pears.

LaChantee and her boyfriend, Brandon, ordered a couple of salads that had exciting toppings but were still salads and therefore don’t deserve mention. But they did have homemade potato chips, and that’s the only reason I’m still friends with them.

Our food took approximately an hour to arrive, and no one seemed concerned about patting us on the head and thanking us for waiting, but that and the noise level in the place were the only drawbacks. My iced green tea latte tasted like the most delicious grass imaginable (and I mean that in a good way), and LaChantee loved The Lovers Tea, which arrived in a nicely sized pot with strawberries, vanilla, and sweet cream. The prices were very reasonable (and maybe even cheap) for the amount of food we got, and wine and tea list was extensive. After tasting what I did, I want to go back every week until I’ve tried the whole menu.

To wile away the afternoon, we headed to McCarren Park Pool (featured on this past season of “America’s Next Top Model”) for the Renegade Craft Fair and passed two people doing what appeared to be performance art. This pretty much sums up my neighborhood:

The craft fair took place in the pool, which has been drained for more than a decade now, and was rows and rows of vendors selling their homemade wares. Emily picked up enough Christmas presents to give the entire state of New York a happy holiday, but I kept my purchases to one necklace with a glass strawberry (mostly because I’m too cheap to spend $65 on a felted purse). HOWEVER, the fair was totally inspiring and made me want to go home and start making things right away. Those vintage-fabric skirts selling for $200? I could make one for $2. Those greeting cards with the funny phrases? My best friend and I have been thinking up even funnier ones for months now. And those $65 felted purses? I’m commissioning her to make one for me as we speak.

There was also this amazing project called 1 Bite 7 Days, which is going to be a documentary based on the Japanese proverb that says you gain seven days of life for every new food you try. I didn’t get to participate, because I was too interested in chowing down on Mister Softee ice cream,

but I love the idea of it, especially because Boyfriend Kamran has crammed so many exciting new foods down my throat in the year and nearly nine months I’ve been dating him. I think I should get seven extra years, by the way, for agreeing to eat the GONADS OF A SEA URCHIN with him.

Book Slut

Filed under all of my friends are prettier than i am, fun times on the subway, readin' and writin'
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I feel like a different and better person when I have reading material in public, especially hardcover books. Back when I worked for Barnes & Noble and had all the hardcovers I could ever need and want at my disposal, I ripped through everything the day it was released, wanting to look all-knowing in front of customers. “Oh, the new Junot Diaz? I mean, it’s interesting, but I don’t get the hype,” I’d say as I led them instead to the Miranda July collection of short stories. “No, no, don’t get that Augusten Burroughs,” I’d command, adding, “You really need to read Running with Scissorsfirst if you want to enjoy Dry, and you can skip Sellovision altogether.” Once I quit there, though, I realized that I couldn’t afford to buy the hardcovers I was used to getting for free, and I’m not the kind of girl to own paperbacks.

I’ve been making due with library books for months now, but it’s not the same. I know that people see the little Dewey Decimal number on the spine and think less of me; the New York Public Library, after all, is only for doctoral candidate research and minorities who want to look at porn but can’t afford to have the Internet in their own homes (unlike the Columbus Metropolitan Library, where I used to work in Ohio, which provides what its users want and not what looks most pretentious on paper and is a beacon for the community, so ha). So thank god for my extremely generous co-worker Adam, who without any urging on my part, purchased the new David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, for me out of the goodness of his heart a couple of weeks ago.

Now when I’m on the train, I feel people looking at me differently. Not only are they thinking, Look at that girl with her expensive hardcover,” they’re also thinking, Oh, David Sedaris has a new book? My, aren’t I behind the times. The only problem is that I find myself reading this book sooooo slowly, just to make it last longer. I read the same paragraphs over and over to really suck all the worth out of them and take every chance to close the book after only reading a page or two. My subway stop is five stations away, so I’d better just, uh, put this back in my bag and, uh, concentrate on where I’m going, I’ll tell myself.

I’ve been wondering what I’ll do when the pages inevitably run out. Sure, I can reread it a couple of times without anyone noticing, but then what? Submit to paperbacks just to be able to hide them inside the Sedaris? Take to stealing dust jackets of even newer, more expensive books to slap on $5.98 copies of leftover bargain bin chick lit? Actually reading my copy of the 688-page I Am Charlotte Simmons like Adam’s been pushing me to just because I know it’ll take me two years to finish it?


OMG Twin Bulldogs

Filed under super furry animals
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A couple of weeks ago, I was walking across 40th Street in Midtown East to grab some dinner for Boyfriend Kamran and myself on one of those summery days that was already delightful enough as it was, when I spotted a woman with TWIN BULLDOGS that were grumpily waddling around the kind of little red wagon that you see parents pulling their children in. I asked if it was okay for me to take a picture (because OMG, twin bulldogs!),

and she unclipped their leashes (because of course they’re too slow to take off anywhere)

and tried to push down their butts to make them sit and pose (but of course they weren’t having it).

And then I went to Kamran’s apartment and bragged and bragged about it, because he’s so allergic to pets that he can’t even look at them.