Saturday, July 31, 2004

"Where is my Darkness? Bring me my Darkness."

Mama, this is another entry for you to ignore. So I am rereading A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton for the second time in two weeks. That woman knows how to write a hot love scene, by golly. Talk about a "fertile" imagination. The main character has not one love interest, not two, nor even three. Hussy has six. SIX! And she gets to--nay, is required to--have her way with them nightly. Like, they trade off. Unless they want to double up, in which case the double-uppers get two nights in a row. Whew. I'm all atingle. So anyway, as with any good scifi/fantasy series, there is an official web haven for geeko fans to gather and spend time being fan geekos together, and this is LKH's. Of course I've been. I'm even going to get a mug, to prove how fanly I am. I got sucked into lurking on a message board about which of the main character's suitors is the hottest and most likely to become her permanent bedmate. Mind you, these are totally fictional, written characters without any visual representation as yet. Still, there were plenty of opinions. Very very concrete opinions. The most popular seemed to be this one character nicknamed the queen's Darkness. He's head-to-toe black, is part hellhound, and has a tendency to stalk the lead around the bedroom and growl during "relations." I'd vote for him, too. Which got me thinking. Where is my Darkness? I want a Darkness! Any volunteers? By the the end of the third book of the Merry Gentry series, Merry has sixteen suitors, BTW. God damn. I love this series.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Big, Bigger, Biggest

'>Sid has become a bonafied porn photographer, woohoo! Okay, not really, since three BBW photoshoots does not a porn photographer make, but it sounds so much more interesting when I say it that way, and also maybe using the word "porn" a bunch of times will increase traffic to this unloved little corner of the web. Porn. Porn. Porn porn porn. Ahem. So anyhoo, I have this Internet superstar friend who has drawn me into her web of fantasy, or something, by letting me be her styling assistant/photographer for a few shoots for her site. I ain't no Avedon, but the pics always come out okay, and it's fun saying things like "pretty hands darling," and doing coke and all (y'all know I mean diet vanilla, right?). Being the obliging internet superstar, friend is ever mindful of her fans, and decided to do a special shoot according to this one fellow's really very particular desires. This required wigs, stockings, and fake lashes. Which required (yay! yay! yay!) a trip to a drag-queenie wig shop down on E14th. Yay! Anyone who knows Sid well must surely know of her love of boys in makeup and longstanding secret desire to be a drag queen, as evinced by her love of films like Priscilla, ABBA music, and newly begun collection of Eddie Izzard DVDs. Sid is not yet sure whether it is the bold take on sexuality and fantasy inherent in this sort of gender performance, or the mind-bendingly astonishing mastery of eyeshadow and stilettos that titillates her more, but there you are. So I was very happy to tag along. BTW, superstar friend is not a boy, but she is very tall and does wear death-defying heels and lots of makeup. Yay friend! Moving along, we went first to the Avenue shop down on, oh hell, I don't remember where, we took a cab, to get her some fancy pants and stockings. Which we did, and then we went to the wiggy shop, Royal Wigs, which was run by a very unfriendly Korean couple who became much friendlier once it became clear we were actually planning to buy something, and not just arse around and try everything on like a couple of irritating SVA/NYU/Pratt students. Then they regaled us with tales of the stars who had been to their store (Jim Carey, a news anchor from the 11 o'clock news, who knows which, and the cast of one of the many avatars of Law and Order. Each and every one of these individuals, should this be true, has some 'splainin' to do. Not that I object to the wig shop visits, but damn, you would think those folk would go a little more upscale for their weave). Friend bought two wigs and three pairs of false lashes. I bought one pair of falsies, which I promptly realized would go unworn, much like the pair of orange graffiti stilettos I bought last time I went shopping with internet superstar friend. Hmmmmm....slowly, it seems, Sid, too, is building an internet superstar wardrobe....are orange heels and false lashes, like, gateway drugs to internet porn-stardom?!?! Probably not. While we were out, we wandered into a Tex-Mex place run by a Chinese family. The restaurant was good, and cheap, but generally unremarkable, except for Lucky Fish, the restaurant's unofficial mascot and the biggest bloody goldfish I have ever seen. If LF hadn't swam so placidly back and forth in his tiny tank making kissy faces at us with his engorged fishy cheeks rather than snarling through the glass with 'roid rage, I would have sworn his flakes were being doped. But then again, what does a mutant goldfish snarling with 'roid rage really look like? Fish don't have many expressions. In fact, all they have is "kissy" face and "hook-in-mouth panic" face. So maybe Lucky fish wasn't swimming placidly. Maybe he was raging. Hm. We zipped back uptown and shot a bunch of nifty, not-naked pin-up style photos and then went out for dinner. On the way back from dinner, we stopped by a corner newsstand to pick up a copy of Big Butt magazine, for internet superstar friend has been asked to grace its pages, which information ISF happily shared with the vendor, who was relatively nonplussed, despite being in the presence of a potential future Big Butt magazine centerfold. I mean, really, does that kind of thing happen to him every day? ISFwas not offended by his lack of enthusiasm, and bought an $8 copy (big butts= big bucks, apparently) and we walked on. Until ISF took her mag out to peruse it and realized the covermodel and featured centerfolds all seemed to be ladies of color (which ISF is not). It was then that we realized she had purchased Big Black Butt magazine. Zoinks. What does one do when one realizes one has bought the wrong $8 fetishist porno mag? Why, one turns right around and returns it, bold as brass, of course. Which she did. Then we went to another newsstand/corner store and ISF looked for the real Big Butt magazine while Sid pretended to peruse Better Homes and Gardens instead of unabashedly flipping through Hustler and making ironic comments, which would have been the cool, New York thing to do. Oh well. Sid is lame.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Has anybody else noticed that...

Denis Leary looks more and more like a proboscis monkey every day?  

Jaws of life

Very little happens when you are between paychecks, for money makes the world go round, and keeps you flush with starchucks mocha light frapuccinos and "souvenirs" of your day's travels, which is how I like to think of all the random and by-and-large unneccesary miscellany I tend to buy every time I leave my apartment. Did I need sushi stationery? No. Did I buy some anyway? Of course. It was there. Since last week's adventures, I have had to pay student loans, alas, which means I've had to entertain myself on the cheap since last Tuesday. It shouldn't be so hard in this city, since there are plenty of other broke-ass folk and broke-ass folk sympathizers--er, purveyors of culture--to drum up free or cheap activities: Shakespeare in the Park (check), NY Philharmonic in the park (check), First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum (check) . Since I had already worked my way through those options, I had to get more creative with this last week's jollies. So far I have scammed a discount admission to the Met through use of my old student ID card (I am ghetto enough to scam a discount, but not so ghetto as to refuse to pay at least some of the "suggested" admission price. I would be too ashamed, and paranoid enough to think the guards were radioing to each other as I approached each new exhibit: "The cheap heiffer's coming, look out, she might try to pocket a Louis XV necessaire." Then again, have you seen those things? Some of them are the isht. If Diddy gets a look, you know they'll be making a comeback, and next season it'll be all about the Sean John platinum engraved grooming kit. But I digress.) And the lie-berry is always the hook-up. But I have finally surrendered to the wave of peer- and media-pressure that is the Netflix revolution. For two weeks I get movies delivered free to my door. Well, to my building mailroom, at least, since my mailman refuses to believe I live there and leaves my very clearly addressed letters sitting out on the refuse counter with question marks written all over it despite the fact that I put my name on the box in his presence and we are about to have words....but anyway, 'til next week, it's free. 'Course, come next week they'll take $22 a month from my bank account unless I cancel, but we'll see how much I likes it, first. Netflix is nice. And so is Maxilla & Mandible, the nifty store I discovered near the American Museum of Natural History, where the bio/geo/paleo/entomo geek can satisfy almost any "I must own latinized dead things" whim. (451 Columbus, between 81st and 82nd. If you feel the need to casually drop words like "ungulate," "coleoptera," or, for that matter, maxilla or mandible, you will like this place. I do. Nothin' says lovin' like a gift of dead beetles in a box. Mmmmmm, shiny.) So go there, if you have a chance, preferably with small children, and see if the clerk will still buzz you in. Oh, that's the other thing, you have to be buzzed in. 'Cause if I was a coked-up armed-robber on the UWS, I would hit the skull-and-stones store first. Wouldn't you? All those uncut hunks of chalcedony might be worth some serious green on the black market. Anyway, they do have a small selection of dead creatures (ladybugs, scorpions, spiders, beetles, etc.) cast in lucite (bangles, key-chains, rings, etc.) for the fashion-minded, but somehow things like that make me very sad. I would much rather have a pretty replica, perhaps crafted from precious metals and sparkly stones. Anyone know where to find things like that? Want to buy me some?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Save some lives, save some money, all in a day's work

Well, today I learned how to help save young lives through a Red Cross training course in infant/child CPR. That was nice. Then I did something really impressive: I got a $90 area rug for less than $15 at an Urban Outfitters! Now, I generally dismiss UO as thriftstore chic for the hopelessly lazy or terminally stoopid (Sid does not condemn terminal laziness  or stoopidity out of hand; but why pay top dollar to look like you got your clothes from the Goodwill and your furniture from a dumpster? I mean, have you seen the price tags they put on the decorative store furniture that you and I both know they actually did get from one of those two places? They crazy.). On the other hand, I do like to go every few months to sneer and see what the little trendmonkeys UO calls "buyers" are marking up 4000% and slinging, like the style equivalent of crackrock, to the masses these days. I enjoy roaming the store watching suckers pay ten or twenty times what I paid for something similar at an actual thrift shop, but what I really love is when the public gets wise, something doesn't sell, and UO is  forced to charge what an item is actually worth. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My purty new rug is as warm and fuzzy as that feelin'.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Cupcakes and Fresh Muffins

Well, it has taken Sid some time to piece together the events of the last few days, but this is what happened, I think,  in as close to  chronological order as drink-induced haze and my adult ADD will allow (just kidding, Mom. Why don't you read the one about Jesus and sandals now? This entry won't be so interesting. It'll be all about exhibits at the Met, the Cloisters, and a bakery. No fun at all. Love you!) :   So anyway, we tried to get to the Met and the Cloisters, but we failed. We did, however, make it to the bakery.   The bakery in question, Magnolia, is in the Village, at 401 Bleecker (A,C, E or L to 14th St. and 8th Ave). I say this as though everybody and their mama (excluding me and mine) doesn't know where it is. Apparently, it's legendary: besides being a much touted NYC destination on its own , it was on an episode of "Sex in the City," so when we got there Sunday afternoon, after a long and eventful walk from one end of Bleecker to the other, there was a line that came out of the shop and wrapped around the corner. Now, I ain't no fool. No cupcake is worth an hour outside in the rain. At least, that's what I thougth at the time, and my friend, who had been before, decided it wasn't worth the wait. So we left Magnolia and headed to a fantastic bar on the LES called Verlaine (110 Rivington. I dunno how to get there; we took a cab. The subway route may or may not involve the F at 2nd Ave. Godspeed.).   Verlaine is heaven. Heaven, heaven, heaven. Those neighborhood guide websites will tell you some fancy background BS about the place being named after a poet, about the laid-back, minimalist decor, the high ceilings and chill music. Blah, blah, blah. It has the best drinks in the world, ever.  Fruit juices like lychee and pineapple and herbs like ginger and lemongrass punch up old favorites like vodka martinis and bloody Marys (the menu is Vietnamese themed, and no, goddamnit, you do not use an apostrophe to make "Marys" plural, though most of the American populace seems to think you can put one any damn where) as well as already exotic drinks like caiprinhas,  and drinks are half priced at happy hour, which I think is before 8 p.m. ($4 for a lychee martini? "Oh bartender! Another round, please."  Verlaine, Verlaine, Verlaine. Y'all had me at "lychee." ) Too bad it's way the hell downtown. It would be my local watering hole of choice, were it even so close as midtown. But it's worth a bit of a hike. Oh, they serve food, too.   Then we got lost, briefly, before jumping in another cab and heading to Chinatown for dinner. New Green Bo, on Bayard, is superb and cheap Chinese. The lines that stretched outside, in the rain, were a testament to its reputation. Yummy dumplings, noodle dishes, soups and dim sum at crazy cheap prices. Three of us ate for about $35, with leftovers that fed a midnight craving and breakfast the next day.    That was it for Sunday. Oh wait, nope--we had brunch at the Hi-Life on Amsterdam (gooooood smoked salmon benedict), a pint at the Dead Poet, again, and snackies at this place called Indian Bread Co., on Bleecker, that does a mean aloo paratha (and had a few remarkably pretty boys behind the counter).   And then there were two.  Sunday night our third partier left because he had to work Monday, poor sap. The two of us pretending at lives of  leisure took Monday to act like the kept women we wish to be, shopping for pricey num-nums at Zabar's and heading back to the Village for some sidewalk-cafe action and another run at Magnolia.   Our first course of business in the Village was not the Magnolia Bakery, but there was some muffin  action at Eve, a great, affordable little salon across the street (Confused? Hint hint--they have a service called "The date wax," which cleans up fuzz uptown and downtown, for under $50--hence the punny heading. Bonus points and drinks on me if you see the funny in "punny.") Yasmin is the recommended depilation tech.    We did finally get ourselves some cupcakes, after some outrageously priced sangrias at a Bleecker St. cafe, I can't remember which, since I won't be going back. But we did get back to Magnolia. I got a pink frosted chocolate, and a chocolate-on-chocolate with pretty candy flowers on top. I ate the pink first. Now, I don't like frosting so much, as a general rule, and this one was about 2/3 whipped-pink-sugar confection, but as we strolled back up Bleecker, I looked like a little kid, taking big, fat fingerfuls of frosting and moaning with glee over the sweet, creamy goodness. No wonder they have a 4-dozen-cupcakes-per-customer limit.   Later, we took our Zabar's goodies and had a late night picnic on the Great Lawn in Central Park while listening to a free performance by the NY Philharmonic.  A nice end to a fantastic long weekend.   And now, Sid sits, alone (happy friend flew off into the sunset hours ago), finishing off her second cupcake, gettin' crumbs up in her keyboard and lickin' extra frosting off the box. Sad. Back to work tomorrow, but they were good times while they lasted.   

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Mmm, drinky drinks

So a friend is in town this weekend, and we have decided to try to cram in the following things, not listed in order of importance:   1. Food 2. Drinky drink 3. Culture 4. Shopping   Now, as she arrived in the evening, it only made sense that we get started with numbers 1 and 2. Well, 2, then 1, then back to 2. Our first stop, a tiny little neighborhood bar called The Dead Poet (is it just me, or are there at least three bars called The Dead Poet in every major city?) turned out to be a winner. Though small, it is remarkably clean (including the restroom, which I think may be a first for any bar open more than five minutes) and won us over not only because the bartender was friendly and knew how to pour a proper pint of Guinnie, but because it was one of the few bars in this city that seemed truly unpretentious. We loved, four stars, or whatever.   After picking up an additional drinking buddy (her TS) we all headed to Sido for a little belly-lining. Sido is one of those great cheap food joints that you rave to your friends about long after you've moved out to the burbs and settled down with a spouse and 2.3 ankle-biters. They do shawarma, falafel, hummus, baba--and they do it brilliantly, for a great price; you can fill up for under ten bucks. And on this, my first eat-in evening visit, the staff made sure we were well fed and pleased, even giving us yummy baclava and falafel (the best outside Holland, according to one of our party. Yeah, I didn't know Holland was all falafel king, either) snacks gratis. And I am a sucker for the gratis.   After the snackies, we went to this joint called the Gin Mill, which seemed to cater to a younger crowd. It was sporty, and crowded, and that's about all. Not bad, but not my cup of tea.   Tomorrow: culture, shopping, and lychee martinis at Verlaine. Mmmmm.  

Saturday, July 17, 2004

A lesson hard learned...

is worth a random blog. Always, always, always check the stupid service advisory listings for the frigging subway. God damn. I hate the subway. It took me half an hour to get downtown, and two and a half to get back up, because there are so goddamn many service changes and late night alternate bloody assing routes. God damn.    

Friday, July 16, 2004

Ghetto Quest

So I went to a new doctor yesterday to get a long overdue physical (read: 4 years), praying that everything would come out alright. With my new job I have actual honest-to-god health insurance (as opposed to the accident and sickness BS I was forced to pay $800/yr.  for in grad school), but I have been informed by my insurer that, since I have been so long between coverage, they can refuse to cover treatment if anything should come up (For those unfamiliar with the pre-existing condition exclusion laws of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York, if you are without health coverage for more than 63 days before starting a new plan, your new plan can tell you to go screw yourself if you get sick, up to a year after you start, despite the fact that you and your employer are paying premiums, co-pays and fees up the wahzoo. Am I bitter? Nah. But this country needs more than HIPAA regulation to reign in the greed and inequality inherent in the healthcare industry, for reals.)   Anyhoo, the doc sent me to Quest, the blood-and-pee testers, for basic blood work.  It was right up the street from her office, off CPW. Fancy. Right?   Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Ghetto. Ghetto. Ghetto.   Sid is afraid she might have come out at higher health risk than when she walked in.  Alarm bells should have tinkled when the administrative nurse didn't realize a half dozen people on the waiting list had been in and gone. But it was lunchtime, and maybe there was a shift change. I would reserve judgement.   And then I heard:   "Eh mami,  you need to axe your doctor to approve this test. Go over there and axe the blonde how to do it."   This, to an elderly doyenne of the UWS, who looked mildly confused, yet attempted to comply. Now, I'm not saying watching a little old rich lady being bossed around and called "mami" is not hilarious, and worth a little unease provoked by dubious procedure. It is, I assure you. (If you're wondering, Sid was called mami, too. Joy.)   It is not, however, worth being pointed into a little room already containing other, nervous looking patients and being tended by a tech who looks to be about 14. Nor did the fact that she dropped her head on her folded arms on top of the sanitary gauze and proclaimed she "couldn't do this now,"  inspire confidence. For that matter, the empty vial kicked under another waiting victim's chair and the overflowing wastebasket did tend to make one nervous, as well. Spotting me looking around, another cheery nurse, who replaced our frustrated adolescent tech, rectified the trash situation by squashing the overflow back in with her foot. Classy.   Not knowing where to find another branch of the testing center, and doubting there would be much improvement if I did, I remained while, gladly, the nurse got new sterile gauze, put on gloves (threatened by her seriously long acrylic tips) and drew the requisite blood samples from my pudgy arm.   Sid scurried out, relieved that none of the morbid  needle-accident scenarios that had been running through her mind came to pass. Of course, I never did see what the nurse did with my sharps after she used them.  If you can't get decent medical attention in the high-rent (okay, higher rent) neighborhoods in this town, I'd hate to see how the story is playing out in poorer facilities. The implications are staggering.   And I am afraid.    For more info on helping the unisured and underinsured in this country get the care they need, click here.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Jesus would like some new sandals.

I was going to hit the TJ Maxx or Bed, Bath and Beyond for cheapie pans and what have you, but I headed for the bowels of Tribeca instead. Why pretty up your digs when you can hit sample sales? Discount TJX co. Calphalon is forever, but 80 percent markdown off retail is fleeting. So off I went, "Where New York" map in hand, searching for deals. Unfortunately, I neglected to take a few things into account: a)80 percent off a grand is still two bennies, and sample sale goods come in "sample" sizes. Since we all know top designers don't plan on anyone thicker than a sapling birch slinking around in their creations, this was a problem, for Sid is a lady of er, generous, size, alas. Still, there was the accessories sale, and as any big gal will tell you we love our bags and shoes...   So off I went to Anbar, a shoe store on Reade Street that I heard had spanktacular deals. Maybe I was too late for the good stuff, maybe I was disgruntled about the 45 minute detour into Brooklyn I took when I hopped the wrong subway line, or maybe I just have an off the wall idea of good shoe, because I was not the least bit impressed, with the stock or prices.  It's not really a deal until you dip below $20, I say.   So I decided to wander up to Loftworks on Lafayette, another alleged deal-haven. Let's just say I was as impressed as I was with Anbar. I actually did find clothes of interest there; unfortunately, they were all too big and were cast-offs from about 7 years back. I know--I actually bought some of the stuff during the Clinton administration.   Anyhoo, I made my way back uptown and was accosted by a flyer-passer-outer, ubiquitous staples of the NY subway system. Usually I take one and throw it away later, since it makes people happy to have someone not ignore their presence, and it doesn't make me unhappy to hold a piece of neon paper for a minute. When I glanced down at the little pink propaganda sheet, though, I got pissed.   It was titled, inanely, "How Old Is Your Church?" The point of the thing was to  condemn non-Catholic religions on the basis of age. Well, to be clear--anything not founded by Jesus (which the flyer claimed the Catholic church to be, in the year 33) was founded and flawed by man (which, we are to presume, the Catholic church is not,  indulgences, Crusades, and international sex abuse scandals notwithstanding).   I would think, given the litany of crimes of which the Catholic church has been guilty these last two millenia, a comparative history is the last thing they'd want to highlight. Jehova's Witnesses after all are only guilty of shoddy apocalyptic predictions and maybe double-booking an allegedly limited number of spots on the jumbo-jet to Heaven.  Catholics not only actually sold seats, they put thousands of  unfortunate Muslims, Jews, and other "heretical" types in them.   Not that I mention this to hate on the Catholic church. Hell, my daddy's Catholic, and I whole-heartedly believe faith is not only good, but necessary, wherever you choose to place it.  I just hate the hypocrisy and willful amnesia involved in painting the Catholic church as this great, infallible, God-sent arbiter of human fate. I mean, why would anyone trust a bunch of people who insist they own Truth regardless of historical fact, who, come to think of it,  fight the uncovering of truth tooth and nail to maintain their position, eliminate dissenters at will, and refuse to admit failings in the face of overwhelming evidence?   Hang on, this all reminds me of something.... Hmmm, what could that be?   Oh yes.   Vote Kerry.     

Ooooh, I found a new way to stroke my ego!

Welcome to it. I realize it may be a cheapening of the blog experience to write down any old thing in this, my first blog entry, but so what? It's gotta start somewhere, and here (being my chichi-yet-underdecorated apartment on the UWS) is presently dull as hell. I've been in this city for a month and I think I've only left the UWS twice. I need to get out more. Today's adventure: the Lower East Side. I'm going hunting for kitchen stock. I'll report back in a trice. Yeah, I said it, a trice. Late.