Tag Archives: good times at everyone else’s expense

Pathetic on Pinterest

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Can we agree that anyone who has a “wedding ideas” board on Pinterest and isn’t engaged is a desperate psychopath who should never be proposed to?

If you have a “someday wedding” board but had the good sense to make it private, I’ll grant you some leeway.

And actually, I’ll grant you all of the leeway if you pin stuff like this:

My BFF, Tracey, says that women have to hoard these ideas now because we’ll otherwise have forgetten the things we’ve liked about other people’s weddings by the time we actually get married. So I’m convinced that every wedding from now on is going to include the things that were popular when Pinterest began: mustaches-on-a-stick, everything chevron, and ombre cakes.

The best part is that I randomly chose those pins, and then discovered that these are the boards they’re from:

• My .:*eclectic bohemian inspired free-spirited color-filled fun-loving flower child*:. dream wedding board

• FINALLY- Wedding november 16, 2013

• Ideas I wish I’d had for my wedding

THAT’S RIGHT. The last person is already married and still has a wedding board. For her second wedding, I assume.

Jury Duty in NYC with No Mob Bosses in Sight

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I was horrified when my roommate brought up the mail and my jury summons was inside. I love my desk job with its endless supply of Internet and bathroom breaks, and I hate any sort of disruption to my daily routine that doesn’t include a couch and some HBO. “How could this happen to ME?” I kept asking. My annoyance was alleviated a bit when I remembered that the courthouses are just a few blocks from my apartment and that there’s a combination Pizza Hut/Tim Hortons across from one of them (what?), but I still had fears of being placed in a criminal trial and having threats to my life made by mob bosses.

On Thursday morning, a couple hundred of us were seated in an auditorium with floral-fabric-covered seats spaced farther apart than any I’ve ever seen in cramped NYC. We were shown a video starring Diane Sawyer that started with a series of New Yorkers talking about how annoyed they also were at getting summoned for jury duty, but it then went on to talk about medieval punishments for crimes, how lucky we are to have the modern court system, how valuable it is to have a group of people deciding your fate versus just one judge, and how “Law & Order” ain’t real life. At the end, the video showed different New Yorkers talking about how jury duty isn’t so bad and how they’re proud to participate in a system they believe in. My heart surged with municipal pride. I started thinking, “If I had to go to court, I wouldn’t want my life in the hands of a single judge. I can convict some perp AND walk home to take a crap at lunch! This is awesome!”

But about ten seconds later, I remembered that everyone else in NYC is an idiot. The clerk who was giving directions to us on how to fill out our summons (which had directions on it already and was to be filled out prior to arrival) said that anyone whose summons wasn’t dated January 17th should come to the podium. A line of at least twenty people formed. Exactly two of them actually did have different dates on them, and then eeeeeeeeeeveryone else was sent back to their seats with their appropriately-dated summons. “Well, this is going to be a long day,” the clerk said.

It went like that all morning, with people either not listening or not reading and then throwing hissy fits and stomping back to their seats when the clerk had to point out this or that to them. I’m generally annoyed at myself for my overly-prepared, overly-concerned nature, but you can bet I had read the rules on my summons enough to have brought my kid’s birth certificate with me had I been trying to use my status as a caretaker to get out of serving my time. The worst part was the guy next to me who had come in late and was unknowingly complaining about the exact same things the people at the start of the video had been. Like, “why should I be allowed to judge someone else?” and “why don’t they just let a judge decide the cases?” He kept muttering under his breath about what a waste of time it was and was making me feel stupid for laughing at all of the clerk’s jokes while he sat there moping.

Luckily, my name was called as soon as the clerk finished, and I was put in a room with nineteen other people to be questioned about a particular case to see if we were unbiased enough to serve on that jury. It happened to be a personal injury case I was suuuuuuper interested in because I already blog about the topic, but I wasn’t called up for questioning in the first set of ten potential jurors and had to spend the day listening to the lawyers ask them one by one if they could be impartial to a person who had to speak through a translator, if they liked their jobs, if they had ever been taken to court, etc.

The whole process really appealed to my natural desire to talk about myself and impress people. After one guy in the room was asked about his regular job but then admitted that he’s really in NYC to work on his sculpture, I couldn’t wait to talk about my own art of photography and blogging. When I heard the intelligent people in the room talk about their feelings on personal injury award caps, I couldn’t wait for my turn to sound intelligent. Because of course I assume I sound intelligent.

Some of the people in the room depressed me when they didn’t know what credibility meant and asked if we could find for the defendant but still award the plaintiff money just to be nice, but one of my favourite moments was when a foreign-born woman was asked if she would have a tendency to side with the plaintiff, one of her countrymen, because of national pride. She said, “I love this country. We have the best judicial system in the world, and I’m happy to be in a place that has these laws.” And a little tear came to my eye.

In general, I was amazed at how many people there were originally from another country and spoke another language. When we were filling out our jury summons with the clerk that morning, he had asked anyone who didn’t have a basic understanding of English to come forward, and I just expected that no one would, because this is ‘MERICA, people. But a whole stream of adults had formed a line, some of them with children in tow to act as translators. I wanted to be like, “FER’NERS!”, but instead, I’d felt a sort of pride that my beloved Brooklyn is full of such diverse people. Eww, I know.

Although one of those people was a woman behind me in the security line, which never had more than a few people in it and just involved us putting our bags on a foot-long conveyor belt to be scanned and then casually walking through a metal detector. It was about the least amount of security possible next to making no effort at all, yet this woman behind me complained, “This is one step away from a cavity search!” And then I whipped out my concealed pistol and clocked her.

By noon on Friday, the lawyers had chosen their six jurors and two alternates, and I was released back into the main juror pool without ever having been questioned. On my way out, I said to one of the lawyers, “I’m sad I didn’t get chosen. I’m dying to know how this case turns out.” He looked at me like I was such a freak and said, “Oh.” And then went back to his paperwork. It felt like being in high school again, when I actually liked biology and geometry and band but learned to be cool about it so I wouldn’t be made to feel like a loser. I wanted to be like, “It’s a good thing I wasn’t chosen for the jury, jerkoff, because I’m totally biased and would’ve ruled against your client.” This was the same guy who had warned us that as jurors, we couldn’t award his client money just because we liked him. NO PROBLEM.

In summary: jury duty is nothing to be afraid of, and lawyers are all awful.

My Top Ten Reasons to Live in NYC

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photo by my friend Anthony

I was complaining to my friend Kim the other day about people who say to me, “I could never live in New York City.” They rarely mean it in an “I’m in awe of how you’ve managed to make so much of yourself and live such an exciting existence in a city that so often leaves lesser humans battered and broken!” sort of way. It’s usually more like, “Sucks that you wanted to make something of yourself, big shot. Now pardon me while I go make a baby quilt in this entire room I have set aside in my huge house just for crafting.”

Kim said that people say that to her all of the time, too, and that her response is: “You probably couldn’t live in New York City.” God bless her.

I’m sure it’s fine wherever you are. Just don’t try to make me feel bad about where I am. Just in case there was any question, here are the top ten reasons I never want to leave NYC:

• Feeling so much safer than I ever did in Ohio. Houses scare me. Big, open roads scare me. Someone is lurking in my bathroom in Ohio, and someone is waiting to throw himself from the forest in front of my car. I figure if I live in an apartment building with thirty floors and ten or so apartments on each floor, there’s very little chance that the psycho rapist who somehow got past the doorman is going to choose my apartment specifically to break into. I can walk home at 5 a.m. alone from watching “Game of Thrones” all night at Ash‘s and feel totally secure. I can also walk home at midnight, 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. It’s always safe.

• Food delivery. It’s not just that nearly every restaurant delivers. It’s that they deliver for free. And that you can place your order online so you don’t have to actually have to speak to a person. And that you can have something from your favourite restaurant on 14th Street delivered to you on 42nd Street, which is considered three neighborhoods away. It’s so easy to have food brought to you that you actively wonder why people bother cooking. But if you want to cook for whatever reason:

• Grocery delivery. There are big warehouses on Long Island full of all kinds of groceries you can’t buy in your small town outside of NYC, and if you order them by midnight, they’ll be at your house before work the next morning. And the local grocery store delivers, too. So does the local bodega. WHY ARE YOU LEAVING YOUR HOUSE?

• Having everything within walking distance. Sometimes, when we’ve run out of toilet paper and Kamran won’t let me flush tissues, and he walks a block down the street to the convenience store that has the toilet paper we like, I think, “Somewhere, someone in Ohio has just had to load up his car and drive twenty minutes to the nearest grocery store for the same thing.” Which brings me to:

• Having a lot of things inside your own apartment building. A gym, a laundry room, a post office, a restaurant, a hair salon, and a convenience store are all in Kamran’s building. (Mine only has a gym and laundry room, BUT THAT’S NOT IMPORTANT.) I don’t have to wear shoes to do most of the things I need to do in my life.

• Being able to complain about apartments like this. I don’t want to make fun of anyone, but when I saw a friend of a friend post that photo of her apartment in an attempt to get someone to sublease it, a little of me died. That bedroom has a front door in it. Like, to the outside. And no steps leading up to it. I hate NYC housing aloud, but I secretly admire myself for being able to fit my entire life into a ten-foot-by-ten-foot space. And I would choose a studio apartment over a house any day.

• Having access to the best restaurants in the world. You know how many three-Michelin-star restaurants there are in L.A.? None. In Chicago? One. In San Francisco? Two. In NYC? Seven. (Okay, fine, there are ten in Paris, but France is for weenies.) If you don’t sometimes weep while reading donuts4dinner, you’re probably one of those people who eats for nutrition. Oh, I also have access to some of the best museums, theatre, and nightlife. Sorry.

• Getting totally trashed at those three-star dinners with wine pairings for all sixteen courses and not having to drive home. Not having to drive anywhere ever. Getting to read books on my commute to work. And not having someone read them to me over my car stereo speakers, which is not reading in case no one noticed. I’d rather have a fight with an old lady on the subway every single morning than ever touch a car again.

• “You are from New York. Therefore you are just naturally interesting. It is not up to you to fill all of the pauses. You are not in danger of mortifying yourself. The worst stuff you say sounds better than the best stuff some other people say.” – Hannah, “Girls”

• Waking up every morning and being amazed that you live here and realizing that people all around the world want to be here. People write blog posts about how badly they wish they lived in NYC. People write diary entries about how they’ll make it in NYC someday. And I live here. I want to be here. And I’m making it.

What is Art?

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I love art, and I love to make fun of it, too. When my friends Ellie and Kinard came to visit late last year, we went to MoMA one afternoon, and before we left, we had a long conversation with my roommate about who gets to decide what art is. I think his basic argument (and I’m sure he’ll lambast me in the comments if I’m wrong) was that the individual observer gets to decide; if it’s art to you, it’s art. I think Ellie‘s basic argument was that nobody gets to say that something isn’t art. I think Kinard‘s basic argument was, “Let’s go to Shake Shack again.” Just kidding; that was me.

But yeah, I’ll defend your art to the death, even if it involves throwing soup on a statue. Still, here are some of the pieces at MoMA that gave me pause:

Questionable MoMA Art
Belgian Lion by Marcel Broodthaers

The placard for this said, “Found object in frying pan.” It was under glass, which makes it all the funnier to me. ART.

Questionable MoMA Art

These are evenly-spaced orange squares. ART!

Questionable MoMA Art

There was a great story behind these that I don’t remember. Some benefactor said he’d give some artist, like, 10 bajillionty dollars to paint him an original piece every year or something, and this is what the artist gave him. And he totally didn’t murder the artist after receiving the first one. ART!!

Questionable MoMA Art

I don’t think there was actually a rifle shot in this wall. AAAAART!

Questionable MoMA Art

I absolutely love this description: “Each site was photographed at the time the marker was placed with no attempt made for a more or less interesting or picturesque representation of the location.” NOT-EVEN-TRYING ART!

Questionable MoMA Art

I actually kind of like this one.

Questionable MoMA Art

And this one, too.

But here’s some more ART:

Robert Barry’s 90mc Carrier Wave (FM) “consists of radio waves generated by a hand-engineered FM radio transmitter installed in this gallery but hidden from view”. INVISIBLE ART!

While all of this is a little laughable, it’s all a little wonderful, too. And really, I’d rather be too willing to call something art than not willing enough. Take a look at Mark Rothko’s No. 10 and tell me you want to be the person described in the last sentence of the MoMA placard next to the piece:

“The irregular patches of color characteristic of the artist’s Multiform paintings of 1948 seem to have settled into place on this canvas, which Rothko divided horizontally into three dominant planes of color that softly and subtly merge into one another. Between 1949 and 1950 Rothko simplified the compositional structure of his paintings and arrived at this, his signature style. He explained, ‘The progression of a painter’s work, as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity: toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea, and between the idea and the observer.’ MoMA acquired No. 10 in 1952. The painting—the first by Rothko to enter the collection—was so radical for the time that a trustee of the Museum resigned in protest.


Just Another Day in the Life of a City Curmudgeon

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Last night, Kim came over with Big Gay Renly Brownies™, and we finished this season of “Game of Thrones” (I fell in love with Khaleesi all over again), and then my roommate/landlord/co-worker/friend, Jack, and I watched the last three episodes of “Girls”, all of which were so entirely MY LIFE that I have no idea how everyone isn’t feeling the bignostalgicfeelings I’m feeling for this show. Hannah considers moving back home to Michigan for exactly one minute before realizing she needs to date boys whose buttholes she can stick her finger in, and those boys don’t exist in Michigan. She and her friends go to a Williamsburg warehouse party not because they want to but because it’s just what everyone’s doing. She calls herself a writer but is really an unemployed administrative assistant by anyone else’s standards. It is good.

This morning, I was waiting in line to go up the stairs from the subway platform when a woman in a way-too-classy-for-work silk blouse and pencil skirt clomped by me in some suede sandals with too-tall heels. Her feet had gotten sweaty from the heat, so she was sliding around in them and appeared to be having a really hard time walking, but that didn’t keep her from cutting in front of ten people in line to get upstairs first. I got on the escalator, still thinking about her sweaty feet, and watched as a shrimpy little man in a tight polo shirt tucked into pinstriped pants that showcased how tiny his waist and how ample his backside were ran up past me like his bowels were imploding. I heard him start saying, “Excuse me! Pardon me! STEP ASIDE!” to someone ahead of me and saw that the woman was standing still on the left side of the escalator. WHICH LITERALLY EVERYONE KNOWS is for people who wants to walk up instead of ride up. He said to her, “Do you not know how to use an escalator?”, and she said, “Shut up!” But you know she moved aside.

Then, going into my office building, a woman behind me got frustrated with my leisurely pace, decided she couldn’t wait for me to get through the revolving door, and opened up one of the side doors. I’m not sure why, but people not using the revolving door causes seething hatred to rise in me; I feel like these people are not just careless but, like, actually-bad people who torture kittens and send spam e-mails to grandmothers asking that $50,000 be sent to an offshore account to help rescue the king of Namibia from his captors or whatever. She rushed ahead of me and was already waiting in the elevator bank when I got there a minute later. We have one of those newfangled elevator panels where you type in your floor, and it tells you which elevator to get into. Only not all of the elevators are in the system yet, so it sometimes just tells you to wait for one of the unmarked elevators to come. Well, she had evidently been told that, because when I came up and typed in my floor number and was told to get into Elevator C, she watched and then huffed and puffed like the elevators had committed a personal offense against her. She then came over to re-enter her floor in an attempt to get on my elevator, but my elevator arrived just then, so as she approached with her arm already outstretched, I cut her off, and she apologized for the privilege.

I know that I’m a very small person, but I feel like everything’s coming up Katie.