Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I miss this old house.

Sometimes, I come back by this blogspot dive and think, "Aw, it's like my first apartment! A dump, but what good times." It's gotten a bit tough to maintain the new place--the stress of putting just the right things in could be getting to me. Maybe it's just that I have so much on my plate. Or worse, that the person who quipped about shoes and cupcakes and weekend trips is gone. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

OMG, are you STILL stopping by here?

Well, as long as you end up over here, I'm okay with it. It's not like you can cheat on me with, you know, me. Heh.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Siddity in the City: Now with more minty flavor!

I've been kind of absent letely, I know.

Sorry. A lot going on.

Like the fact that I'm moving. Over here. Update your links! Come on, we'll have a party! A blog-warming party. Kind of like a pants-party, but with none of the morning-after awkwardness and a nicer, new-blog smell.

Have I completely unpacked and finished decorating? No.

Do I have the patience to keep double posting or importing work from here to there? No.

So should you wait to visit that pretty-even-though-it-ain't-done blog instead of this the-best-I-could-manage-at-the-time blog? No.

I'll be consolidating, too. Same Old Sid and the food bits will end up over there, as well. Eventually.

I am so not looking forward to tagging 700 posts. Jeebus.

So, yeah. Woohoo!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Quick FYIs

Bluefly is having an "Additional 15% off all handbags" sale, if you're into that sort of thing.
If you can drag yourself out of bed early enough, tomorrow at 8:30, Kanye and Pharrell will be in Bryant Park. For free. But you need to get there early. The park opens at 6:30.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The 80s are coming back.

But, if we all band together, we can turn back the tide of evil.

Simply pledge the following (left hand raised and right hand over heart):

I, ____, do hereby pledge never to wear a bubble or poof skirt. Ever. Ever. Everinmylife. I furthermore promise not to make the foolhardy mistake of believing leggings hide a multitude of sins. I swear to avoid any and all denim trimmed in lace. In fact, the only lace I currently believe in is Battenburg, and I swear that that is only suitable for formal kitchen linens, which I will only come by inadvertently, as my sweet-but-dotty Aunt Eva insists on making it part of my bridal trousseau. I pledge that, having just figured out how to really artfully clash bag and shoes, I will not return to to matching the two, and I certainly won't do it with bows or clips on either. I will shoot the Bedazzled on sight. I will continue to pluck, wax or thread my brows into demure arcs of ladylike submission. Banana clips are not now, never have been, and never will be an acceptable solution to any hair dilemma. Shoulderpads...just, no.

Christ-chucking bloody DAMN IT!

I've got wee bastard aphids eating my mint!


Now I have to toss the plant or commit to a course of pesticidal diligence, because I don't want the fuckers migrating to my basil and tomatoes. I have one window, my only source of natural light. All three pots need to share that space. I would just stick the mint outside on the ledge, but I live enough floors up that such action could lead to some poor sucker's demise if a good wind came along and blew it over.

Fuck. I could make an organic garlic pesticide, which apparently takes nothing but crushed garlic, oil, dish soap and water. Alas, I have nothing to spray it on with. Not to mention, I don't want my whole room smelling like a fucking pizza. Argh. ARGH!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Know what I rillyrilly want?

A bacon cheeseburger and a Bass. Is that too much to ask?

The world is just full to bursting with ridiculous.

1. They can't possibly mean "resellers." Because doesn't that imply it's been used? Maybe they mean retailers? Distributors? *shrug* Who in the hell would want a used she-pee?

2. I've been doing a bit of media recon lately, which means trawling through the mags on the market geared to the 18-35 year old woman of color.

I am not impressed, people. In fact, seeing what's out there, I'm having a hard time understanding how Suede could have flopped, and I wasn't a huge fan of that. But it was light years ahead of anything else out there right now.

Vivica Fox's Jolie? That's kind of a joke. Seven-and-a-half pages of typos and "articles" which are in fact barely disguised reprints of press releases by publishers, record labels and tourism boards.

Iona? Looks a bit better than Jolie, but needs editors. You know, the kind who can actually edit--clean up copy, tighten prose, or hell, give the writers any direction at all. I mean, how out of your depth do you have to be to not realize the phrase you are looking for is "art nouveau" and not "art nuevo"? Yikes. Don't even get me started on the advice columns. Please. I shudder to think on them now.

(An aside: Dear Hill Harper, I love you. Please, marry me. And thanks for singlehandedly trying to raise the quality of these two struggling magazines. Is there any black lady mag you aren't writing for? Why aren't you the name on every woman's lips when she talks about celebrities she wants to hook up with? )

Jewel is looking more promising than both combined...decent enough for me to actually spend money on it. (I lie. I bought it because of the picture of Will Demps in the back. Holy hell, that man is fine. I have got to start paying more attention to the NFL.)

What was I talking about? Will Demps/Hill Harper sammich? What?

When's the last time I did a beefcake post, anyway?

Uh, It's late and I'm not making any sense....Back later.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On comedy.

So, I'm watching Sarah Silverman's Jesus Is Magic. Considering it seemed like every critic in America reviewed this show as though they sat down in their theaters, Silverman appeared onscreen, and the sun commenced immediately to shine out of her ass, I expected some great, irreverent, off-color genius stand-up.

Uhhhhm. No. Nope. Not seeing it.* I mean, yes, she does say all the "irreverent" and "off-color" things she was touted for what? I really don't see what all the fuss was about. It seems like most of the critics who loved it assumed if people hated it, it would be because it was "offensive." I wasn't offended, I just wasn't moved. She tried too hard to be edgy, said lots of things plenty of other comics have said before, and didn't present any of it in a way that was new or exciting, including her sub-par musical numbers (I can think of several other comics who really shine when given a thesaurus and a guitar. She falls totally flat. Totally). Unless, of course, the draw was that she was a pretty white girl saying these things. Female comics are usually not white, thin, straight and traditionally attractive. I guess that could be why people (and by people, I mean male critics) seemed to be falling all over themselves to sing her praises.

Because almost nothing she said was funny. Certainly none of the "un-PC" things were new, or exceptionally delivered. Oh, except this, delivered as the punchline to her "I'm not racist, I don't base my jokes on stereotypes, I base them on facts" spiel:

"Fact: Every 30 seconds in this country a person of color jumps up and down and waves their arms behind a local news reporter." That? Funny.

All of this is to say, this just proves that the only real beneficiaries of affirmative action? Cute, skinny white girls.

(Don't get mad. I was paying homage to Silverman's stand up style just there. It was a joke.)

*To be fair, the woman is dating Jimmy Kimmel, and if that's who she's bouncing her ideas off when she goes home at night, well...that's like Paula Abdul using William Hung for a vocal coach, is what that's like.

Reality checks, and other unpleasantries.

1. What drug-addled studio exec greenlighted The Guardian ? Kevin Costner hasn't been able to carry a film since, what, Robin Hood? And Ashton Kutcher never has and never will be able to carry one. And IT'S ABOUT THE FUCKING COAST GUARD. Not even. Coast Guard school. (I know, it's called the academy. Creative license.) HELLO?!?! Earth to Hollywood? Newsflash: While, in reality, the Coast Guard handles some hardcore natural disaster isht, all the sexy points go to the other armed forces. Wait--do we even consider them part of the armed forces? I'm confused. And either way, show of hands: who saw Annapolis? Anybody? No one? Yeah. That's because no one gives two shits about military academy films anymore.

2. I really need to stop opening my Myspace mail. Today I opened a message that looked like it was from one of those party-girl types (you know, the ones who try to add everyone in the history of Myspace ever to their friends lists?) but turned out to be very, very different:

"I know this is random, but I work for a fertility agency. I hope you aren't offended with me writing you. I was just on myspace and I happen to notice you. I think you are absolutely stunning. Have you considered ever being an egg donor? It is completely confidential, and relatively painless and it doesn't reduce your fertility or anything silly like that. It really is a great opportunity to help a breast cancer survivor or an infertile couple. It pays anything from 6,000 to 15,000 dollars. It takes about 6 weeks and you can donate up to 6 times in your life. The time commitment is minimal and it won't really affect your school or work. If you are at all interested, I would love to talk to you more about it."

What. The. Fuck? I'm not offended, really. I mean, I remember being an undergrad and finding ads in the student paper seeking white and Asian donors only, so I'm glad we're all going equal opportunity here. But clearly someone did not notice my age in that profile box. I'm rolling up on 30 (only another year and a half, bitches! Spit-shine those party hats!), and there's no way I'll be ready to start popping out anklebiters any time soon. Which means, by the time I am ready, I'll need all of my damn eggs, 'kay? Also, relatively painless? I feel for the poor girl who falls for that line, ignoring the "relatively" and focusing on "$6,000-$15,000" and "painless." Shooting yourself full of fertility drugs on a regular basis is fucking painful. Having someone invade your girlie bits to get at your eggsac? Painful. Personally, knowing there's someone who's half-me running around somewhere in Chelsea or on the UES, whom I would never meet? Pain-fucking-full. Oh, the lies people tell themselves, each other. And all for a few grand. Sigh. Please, someone, anyone: tell me you've gotten a message like this, too, and I'm not the only one getting this stuff?

Here's another winner:

"Hey guy..

So, looks like the time has arrived for me to finally start using this account. I can resist no more.. Let the obsession begin! I took a gander though your page and well, I liked what I saw.. :p

So, they call me XXXX. I think me and you should be friends, cause you seem pretty fun, and interesting, and possibly cute! (it's so hard to tell in this cold digital world.. :)

anyways, i would go on forever, but I'd like to get an answer from you first!"

Wow. The moral here? If you plan to send out mass emails meant to look personalized and like you really care, use gender neutral pronouns, genius.

3. Listerine whitening mouthwash. Hate it. It isn't nearly as nasty as regular Listerine, but 15 minutes after I've used it, I find myself pulling a weird, eggyjizzy film out of my mouth.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ah, romance.

Dating in New York. Perhaps the most perilous endeavor, save perhaps apartment hunting, one can undertake in this city. Actually, it's a lot like apartment hunting: there seem to be literally millions of available units in all varieties everywhere you look, but when it's time to jump ship from one unit to another? Good luck finding one that isn't already taken, too small, hideous or too goddamn costly.
Where was I? Oh yeah, dating. So my therapist and I, we've been working on my various issues for a good 9 months now, and uh, we're trying to birth a new, better me. (Or whatever. This post began with such trite promise. Sigh. Onward.) We worked out the things that would make me a happier, more adjusted human being. Apparently, they involve getting a new job and having lots more sex. Or, who am I kidding, any sex at all.
Oh, mommy, if you're still here, this is where you should stop reading. Loveyouthanks.
So I've started, as you know, Internets dating. It's impossible for me to meet anyone appropriate at work, given my limited interaction with anyone who isn't short, married with kids, or already a royal pain in my ass. And Match sent me that three-day trial email, you know. I kinda got suckered in. Shortly thereafter, thanks to the wise counsel of a few of you ladies, I also joined Nerve. You know, just for shits and giggles.
Lots of shits. No giggles. (Okay, a few giggles) God in heaven. I don't think anything has so strongly put me off the idea of dating as actually fucking doing it.
Let's start with the emails, shall we?
I will admit, nothing has even come close to the level of illiterate drivel I get on Myspace, and for that, I am a teensy, eensy, weensy bit grateful. No wait, Myspace is free. I'm paying for this shit. I take it back. I'm just bitter.
On Match, I've gotten the usual one-liners: "Hi. How R U?" Just dandy. Want to send me something that demonstrates that you a) can spell and b) have bothered to read my profile? Or: "You are very beautiful here is my number call me sometimes." Slow your roll, babydoll. You have no photo and practically nothing in your description. Why in the HELL would I do that? Seriously? Then there was the email from the delightful New Jersey boy, flexing his wee muscles in wifebeaters and jeans in his photos, which read, simply: "I am free this Friday. I will allow you to take me to dinner." Suh-mooth. Wow. How can I resist game like that?
Nerve has been much less interesting. I mean, aside from the fact that there are just fewer people, there are fewer under 40 who seem to have any interest in yours truly. At least, of those with a real, silver or gold membership. I'm not paying for Nerve, so I pretty much have to wait to be "chosen." I keep meaning to subscribe, but then I remember all the luck I've had so far and pretty much think, "fuck that." I don't even have good email stories from Nerve. They've mostly been on the, "I liked your pics and profile, let's chat/IM/have coffee" variety.  And seriously, all but one have come from a "single" man over 40. WTF. No, really, what the fuck. Do I draw the perpetual bachelor/cheater to me? (An aside: Have you seen the BBC show " Manchild" ? Oh my god. The horror. It's kind of funny, and really, Anthony Head is pretty sexy--you know you were all giddy too when on Buffy it turned out he was married to Phina--but these characters are such prats. I digress.)
Which is all to say, no luck so far. It's been a bit over a month, I believe, and I have now been on...two dates. Both, bizarrely, older Australian men. That I cannot explain. One was from Nerve. After emailing a bazillion times back and forth, we arranged a "pre-date" meeting, involving coffee, apparently to ensure the other wasn't "crazy." I suggested the coffee and a walkabout--public spaces, easy escapes--and got myself a theater ticket as a failsafe escape plan. But when I arrived, his escape plan was even better.
He had picked up groceries on the way over.
Yes, groceries. Undoubtedly, nothing was perishable, but what a lovely fallback if things went quickly to shit. You just say, "Well, I have to get these home." I had to respect the man a little for that. We got coffee and chatted for a bit over an hour. No spark, nothing special. So I was surprised when, at the end of our little "pre-date," he suggested we have dinner in Jackson Heights. "Yeah, if you like cooking it'll be great, we can go and get you some spices and stuff while we're out there." And then gave me a really unexpected hug and kiss (on the cheek, thank god, because I didn't see that shit coming at all and might have injured him otherwise--I take my personal space very, very seriously.) to send me off. I was even more surprised when, after his response to my thanks email a few days later, he said "Let's do something this week, call you later" and I never heard from him again. *Shrugs*
I don't mind if there's nothing there, man, really, I don't. It would take a few dates for me to make up my mind about a complete stranger anyway, unless he was clearly a sociopath of some sort. You can just say, "Well, thanks. Good luck." You need not fabricate elaborate follow-up date itineraries, really. *eyeroll*
Aussie #2 was a bit younger (only in his late thirties), much taller (not a good scene, I've realized, having now been embraced by two men over 6 feet. I know I say I like tall men, but the tallest I have ever dated was about 5'10" in Jordans, okay?) and had red hair. I love red hair. And he was well traveled and delightfully literate, it seemed. And willing to commit to an actual film and coffee right out of the gate. I figured, we'd at least have something to talk about.
We saw Water. Perhaps the most depressing film in Deepa Mehta's trilogy. Not a good start when your date has to surreptitiously wipe tears from his cheeks when the house lights come up. I pretended not to notice. Then coffee and snacks at a diner. General conversation. Pleasant, no gaps. Still no spark, but I figured, he was interesting enough to see movies with, and seemed nice. I'd have gone out with him again, if just for that. We ended with an awkward dance, me extending my hand for a shake with him, arms outstretched for a hug, and then the reverse, before settling on a loose hug. (Space, damnit! Space!) Again, I got a, "let's do this again sometime," before never hearing from him again. Okay, not true, he did email me. But he took such pains to avoid implying the possibility of a second date that it would have been better if I had never heard from him again.
Apparently, I appear to be either too nice or too fragile to "handle" lack of interest. Which is funny, because in both of these cases, I didn't even suggest a repeat. *eyeroll*
So anyway, Nerve vs. Match--0:0. And I'm really not looking forward to more dates, but by god, I've paid for another two months of Match, apparently, so I'm going to press on.
I'm pretty sure there's a basic economics principle that renders my thinking entirely stupid and wrongheaded...but whatever. I need something to blog about.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

All I wanted was a brochure, really.

Yesterday, I decided to take my free afternoon and apply it to my future as a multimedia domestic superdiva.

Translation: In the 100 degree heat, I decided to walk the 50+ blocks from my digs to a couple of Chelsea cooking schools to have a look around and sign myself up for classes.

I started at the less expensive, and thus more attractive, of my options. Or, rather, where the school website claimed the culinary classes to be. When I arrive, there is a class in progress, yes, but no school. Apparently, they had just moved their offices three blocks north and hadn't yet gotten around to updating the website. What's that you say? I should have called first? Oh, I did. Their phones weren't working. That's why I decided to stop by. More on this later.

Next stop: ICE. Much more promising. A large, clean, shiny, airconditioned building with floor-to-ceiling mirrors all over the place (the better to monitor your expanding waistline between classes, perhaps). The doorwoman directs me to the fifth floor for enrollment. I climb into the lift-pod and shoot upward. I step out on five to a space that looks far more Madison Ave marketing than cooking school: open spaces, sleek finished doors and floors. Occasionally, an instructor or student in full chef's whites pops out of a door and rushes off to concoct something. Fancy.

Cheered by this encouraging turn of events, and pondering how unflattering chef's whites will look on my squat little figure, I approach the reception desk to inquire about the courses I'm interested in: a knife skills workshop next week, and an intensive techniques course in August. My joy is swiftly squashed.

"Oh-ho-ho," the receptionist/admin laughs, "maybe you can get into one for September. There's no way you're getting into those now. Our classes fill up fast. You'd need to sign up at least two months in advance. We can put you on the wait list if you want, though."

Wait-listed! Me! I've never been wait-listed for anything in my life! I got into two Ivies, damnit! And now I can't get into a bloody chop-chop class!

I swallow my pride and get myself tucked onto the wait list. I'll have to take what I can get at this point, it seems. I hop back into the lift-pod and drop, with my spirits, to the ground floor.

On the street, the hot air greets me as I trudge the few blocks to the new offices of the first school. After a misstart (I get sent to another, similarly named school's offices thanks to a misapprehension of the doorman's accent) I end up in the right place.

My heart sinks a little further. The offices are unfinished and apparently understaffed. It looks thoroughly like a start-up, and the small staff on hand seems a little out of sorts. No wonder no one is answering phones. There aren't any working phones. There is no school to tour, no place to chat privately with an admissions officer. Yipes. I'm not feeling at all confident in this school's ability to provide me with any serious training.

They are, however, very friendly, and I am given a few brochures and an application for classes and a kitchen assistantship, which would allow me to observe classes in exchange for my labor. Jackpot. I fill out the application at a little side desk and hand it in, expecting them to call me whenever their phones start working. Instead, I am quickly "interviewed." Then, the curveball.

"Um, do you have any plans for this evening? One of our assistants canceled on us an hour ago, and the Chinese food class starts in an hour, and we really need someone to help set up right now."

I look down at myself: White linen skirt. Short-sleeved tee. Open-toed, ankle-wrap sandals. The opposite of appropriate kitchen attire. But when I look back up, she's still looking at me as though her request is serious, and I figure, Hey, why not? I came for a preview, and Burlington Coat Factory is across the street. I can get some $3 pants on the way over.

So I accept her challenge and head back over to the school's kitchen. Yes, there is only one. It is 5:30.

I'm received by the other assistant, an older guy who's developed that older guy tummy and is on the verge of developing that older guy aroma. He's incredibly relaxed and unconcerned about the fact that he's just been sent a girl in white linen and Jesus sandals to assist him in running an instructional kitchen. He hands me an apron and shows me the ropes as we go. The kitchen manager, quickly establishing that I will not be gabbing with him en espanol throughout the night (though there will certainly be time for me to do so if I accept courses to work later on), delivers information in a too-quiet, thickly accented voice that it takes me the whole night to grow accustomed to. Assuming I've already committed to working the kitchens indefinitely, he also hands me copies of about half the other course packets in the program. Highly against the rules, but I'm appreciative. I've got the entirety of what I'd learn in three of the courses I'd considered taking in hand, now.

The instructor is a great old Chinese guy--a bit brusque, but good-natured. Half his class shows up on time and they begin. The other assistant and I observe, procuring ingredients and cooking tools and then clearing them when necessary, and occasionally raiding the fridge. (Did I neglect to mention I hadn't bothered to eat before I left home? Yep. But free food is the only coin for the KAs, it seems, and neither the assistant, kitchen manager, nor instructor bats an eye at chowing on leftovers from the fridge. Awesome.) The rest of the class trickles in. Occasionally, when there are excess ingredients and our assisting services aren't needed, the instructor lets me have a go at preparing the dishes. I learn how to make some good-looking dumplings, if I do say so myself.

Three hours and four dishes later, the class has prepared everything on the agenda for the evening and the students are all sitting down to eat. The other assistant, kitchen manager and I hustle through clean-up (god bless work-study in the dining halls as an undergrad; I know my way around an industrial kitchen) and then sit down to eat the leftovers. We scavenge a third of a bottle of wine, a few beers. The students leave and the instructor joins us, munching on the forgotten dessert. We chat. We wrap up. About 10:30, we're done and ready to head home.

"Good night, angel, get home safe!" the other assistant calls as I head for the door. And then I'm back on the sticky streets, heading uptown.

I don't know these men, or this place, but I feel more comfortable in this element than I have at any time in the entirety of my last two-plus years at my current job. I'm not being paid, yet I am happy with the day's outcome and feel like I've been amply compensated. It is the most honest work I've done since, oh, 2000, and I want to come back. I know it wouldn't always be so smooth, and certainly real work in a kitchen would be much harder, more demanding work than this, but for the first time, I'm reevaluating my assertion that I don't want to actually work in a kitchen, I just want to write about it.

I went in for a brochure, maybe a tour, and I got a five-hour, quick and dirty little education, at least on what it is I want, long term. I think I just may enter a degree program, maybe even full-time. I wouldn't do it there--the school is far too small and disorganized for a certificate from that place to do me any good technically or carry any weight professionally, it seems--but I'd certainly go back to assist. Free classes to observe, free meals and getting to muck about the kitchen? Gold.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

So, why have I just developed an ear-crush on John Mayer?

I mean, I've been avoiding him forever. I figured, really you can only have an ear-fling with one funny-looking, gravelly-voiced, guitar playing, funky dancing white singer-songwriter boy at a time, and I was hung up on Dave Matthews already. But maybe I can hold a place in my tympanum for both.


I thawed a bunch of chicken breasts earlier in the week and forgot. Now I have to make them. But I really don't feel like "cooking" right now. So I'm broiling 'em plain. In about a half hour, they'll be mango-curry chicken salad. What can I say? Somtimes a kitchen mistress has to go low-key.

This weekend, I have to make some crockery, go out with one, maybe two, tall Aussies, travel to D.C., and make a pot of cachupa, the Cape Verdean poor-man's stew. Lawd, I'm tired already.