Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Black List

Today my friends - my post is coming to you via another web site - The Black Table. This is a great website that features all kinds of stuff, think pieces, crazy links, you get the idea. Every Wednesday, they put out a bit called the "Black List" - reviews of goings on around town and in life in general. So this week they posted my bit about table service at clubs. Check it out:

Scroll down - keep scrolling for mine. It's there. Enjoy! :-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I Heart New Orleans

I followed Hurricane Katrina all day yesterday via I watched the footage last night on TV - the amount of devastation and destruction that has occurred is amazing.

New Orleans is a funny place. The first people to settle there were actually criminals - French criminals freed from prison if they would go and settle this humid swampland that no one else felt like settling. And the spirit of Bourbon Street was born, the raucousness, the party like your parents are out of town, anything goes craziness that accompanies a trip to the French Quarter. New Orleans: home to the hurricane (the drink, not the storm), voodoo, haunted houses, and more. New Orleans is a badass.

Now all the above stuff sounds crazy, and sometimes its over the top. But there really is something about New Orleans. Here's something I wrote about Bourbon Street for a travel web blog that I post on:

Bourbon Street can sound very pretty, but in actuality, it can be the ugliest street in America. Try walking down it in the morning before they've cleaned up all the garbage from the night before. Cups, papers, beads, vomit, bottles, and more will clog the gutters, and when that Lousiana sun shines down on it, you will smell the sinfulness of the night before. Don't take a stroll down this street at 10am, because you will see things you do not want to see. You will see the garbage I have just mentioned above, those who are already drinking too much, and those who still haven't stopped from the night before.

Instead, take a stroll down this street in the early evening, just when dusk has fallen. As the neon lights of Bourbon begin to kick in, and the music pours out of the bars and clubs, you can feel like you are in the midst of Mardi Gras, even if it's the middle of September. There is something joyous about people cheering all the time, about rainbow-colored beads raining down from the balconies. There is something raucous about women showing their breasts for hooting admirers, and about the shadow of a stripper through a joint's shaded window. There is something so delicious about the feeling of a hurricane going down your throat like fruit punch, and then clouding your brain like moonshine.

And about Royal Street, which runs parallel to Bourbon:

Royal Street runs paralell to the infamous Bourbon Street. It's something to note, that as crazy and wild as Boubon Street is, Royal Street is equally as elegant and peaceful. Royal Street is the place to go if you are looking to take a peaceful stroll on a pretty street on a sunny afternoon, especially if window shopping is your game.

While Bourbon Street is littered with beer bottles Royal Street is crammed with art galleries, many exhibiting paintings and artwork featuring things "New Orleans" like jazz musicians playing saxophones on street corners and green plants raining down from black iron balconies. The color that jumps out from these works of art is fierce...all bolds and no hint of whimsy pastels on these canvases. Art lovers will also find shops specializing in antiques and glass.

Royal Street has some of the prettiest buildings in New Orleans...ones done in beautiful pastel colors, sunny yellows, salmon pinks, and many with the famous New Orleans black iron balconies. As I before-mentioned, many have ferns and other green plants raining down towards the street, and these homes and hotels can make for great picture taking places.

For those that appreciate street performers, it is on Royal Street that you can find them as well. From the slow wail of a saxophone from a parapalegic musician, to the men who stand on soapboxes, frozen until someone drops them a dollar, at which time they move, playing music or miming for the crowds, to the delight of young and old alike. Look for one man dressed in an Uncle Sam red white and blue suit who is walking a dog. You will find him not far from Jackson Square on Royal, walking his dog across the street, frozen in mid-stride. It's really something else.

I can only hope that New Orleans will begin to recover soon, and to help, I'm doing this, and maybe you will too:

Monday, August 29, 2005

I Hate Bouncers and Club Promoters and Anyone that Works that Door of Someplace that Thinks Its Swanky

Ok guys? Get over yourself.

I got to go to one of the trendiest clubs in Manhattan this weekend - Marquee. By 10:30 p.m. There was already a huge line outside - and people were being asked "Are you in the list?" And if they said no -they were dismissed with a fleeting wave of the hand, a "get out of here, be gone," type gesture. Trendy pretentiousness pisses me off. But what was really making me laugh is how this guy seemed all put out by having to do his job. A party of 14 was trying to get in ahead of us. The guy at the door said he'd only let them in if they promised to buy a minimum of five bottles. Now these bottles go for no less than $300 a pop, so that's a pretty tall order. Somehow these guys agree to do this, and the Door Guy says, get the rest of your party. Guy on the street starts saying "Guys come on," and his friends start working their way up to the front of the line. Then Door Guy sighs heavily - cause these people are taking too long to wade through the sea of people that are waiting in front of the club. Hey, Door Guy? You've got the least stressful job in the whole wide fucking world. All you have to do is stand at the front of a club in balmy summer, holding a clipboard, and tell people whether or not they can go in a club.

People that know me well know that I hate and despise clubs and genereal pretention and trendiness, so this may be the beginning of several entries about clubbing. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Early Bird Catches No Break

I have to agree with one of the latest "Only in America" mentions from Reader's Digest. This little mention talks about those who take the initative to go to work early so that they don't have to stay horribly late - only they end up doing it anyway. Here's the text:

More of us have a choice of when to start work these days, and increasingly, we're setting the alarm for sleep-stealing pre-dawn hours. About 37 million Americans begin their workday between 4:30 a.m. and 7:59 a.m., according to the Department of Labor, and businesses from the Washington D.C. subway (open at 5 a.m.) to Starbucks (many stores open at 5 a.m.)are helping us get there. Starting early has its upsides. Traffic is sparse, the workplace lacks distractions, and a 6 a.m. start will have you home when school lets out - in theory. Unfortunately, in many offices, "Staying late is like the red badge of courage," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute. "We still have this notion that presence equals productivity." While attitudes are changing, some early birds have to slither out the back door if they want to leave pre 5 p.m. and still be "team-players." Hmmm...start early, still stay late. That better be one tasty worm.

We really could take a lesson from the Europeans here. Or better the Australians. I met a couple once while traveling through Europe, and the woman was complaning that her new job only gives the bare mimimum - six weeks vacation. Imagine the pity when I shared that I only get three! Yup -this is what it is these days. I am leaving work at six tonight - and I'll feel guilty - that's the earliest I leave now, and still I feel like I should be here longer. Oy.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

This one's for you Kelly Anne

Last night's episode in the Village got me thinking about just how many times Kelly and I have laughed hysterically together over the the situations we get into and so on. So I've decided to list ten sayings that will have Kelly cracking up and that none of the rest of you will understand. Sorry guys, but this one is for you Kelly Anne:



3. You should be.

4. Stop it, you're makin me blush!

5. Did you just come out of a wall of beans?

6. I thought that Ship of Fools was on 23rd and 2nd...

7. But we came all the way from Syosset!

8. Handsome and Trappy!

9. It smells like an ash tray threw up in here.

10. We're almost off the good numbers in Sic Bo!

Love ya Kel!

You want fries with that?

Weird night last night. I met my friend Kelly and her friend Rebekah in the Village. Kelly was on the hunt for a framed photograph - you know those panoramic photos of cityscapes? she was going to buy one of the Vegas strip for this friend of hers who just got engaged, cause they met in Vegas. So we're on Bleecker where all the gallery stores are - only for some reason, three different galleries have closed and gone away. okay...

The other half of the night's mission was that Kelly wanted to go to this bar called Down the Hatch. It's a tiny hole in the wall that's sort of in the basement of one of the buildings on West 4th street. It's a collegey type hangout, loud and not very pretty - but they have great buffalo wings which was the entire reason for going there. So the three girls go in, and luckily we snag a small table - cause we're about to order a few baskets of food. Of course, as soon as we do, two beer smelling scruffy guys approach our table.

One starts talking me up. "Where are you from?" I begin with the one word answers. "Queens". "Oh yeah? Where do you work?" "Madison Avenue." "That's a big street." "yes," I say. "It is." He asks me if I have a boyfriend, and I say yes, the standard answer for whenever anyone horrible is trying to pick you up. Funnily enough, it ended up being his friend that was the annoying one. He sat himself down at our table even though we didn't really want either of them there and he hadn't been invited. Kelly gives me a look but says nothing. Then the food comes. Buffalo wings, big waffle fries and mozzarella sticks. The three girls start eating.

Sal - the guy that was trying to pick me up is yakking my ear off - asking me whether or not he should marry his girlfriend. Because he was yapping so much - it took me a little while to realize that his friend was sitting at the table, who had yet to say a word to any of us - EATING OUR FRIES. He just sat there, shoveling one after another into his mouth! I looked at Kelly who was caught somewhere between laughing and being completely fucking pissed off. She finally says - "You know, if you want some fries, you can go right over there and order your own," the guy takes offense, and after cursing at Kelly - he throws his beer bottle into the fries, and they both leave the table. The nerve! I mean, its one thing if these guys are talking to us and we offer them some fries. Kelly said later "I know sometimes you're in a restaurant, and you see a plate of food at another table and you say - 'oh, that looks good,'. But you don't cross the room and just start eating off it!"

Oh, the bar scene. Everyone always seems to think its so fun. Why is that again?

To make up for the bullshit we went to Nova Ice and bought ourselves silver necklaces and then to Cones for ice cream. Another fabulous night in the Village.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Green funerals

Six Feet Under has got me thinking morbid thoughts this week - that's what the show does best I suppose. I'll try not to put too many spoilers in here for those who haven't seen the episodes - but geez, the last one kind of freaked me out.

I've always wondered why we go to such great lengths to dress up, show off, moon over and party with the dead. Wakes, one after the other. Clogging rooms with flowers until the smell of the air is so sweet that you almost feel sick. Dressing up the dead, streching their skin and weighing their skin with makeup so they can look presentable, yet nothing like they did when you knew them in life. Now I'm all for having funerals, people saying words, and mourning and saying good-bye. But it seems like most of it - like burying someone in a silk laced pillowed coffin, which goes inside some kind of worm proof box which then goes inside some over thing - seems a bit over the top.

Then I saw last Sunday's Six Feet Under. The Corpse of the Week (tm. Television without Pity) wanted a green funeral. An environmentally friendly one - no coffin, no family plot, no embalming, no makeup, no viewing, nothing. He wanted to be wrapped in a shroud and put in the ground on a hillside somewhere, back to nature. Sounds a little old fashioned, but all right. Now maybe it was just the way they did the episode - but geez, it was creepy. Drive out to the middle of nowhere in a nature preserve. A hole dog next to a tree. Pallbearers hauling the body out of the hearse in just a white shrould with carrying straps. Laying by the grave. A poem. Then lowering the heavy body in the shroud into the hole, and shoveling dirt over it themselves. No headstone. No marker. The cars leaving. The whole thing gave me the shivers - just being placed in the ground out in the middle of nowhere like that...and suddenly I felt like I had a bit of a better understanding of why so many people dress up death and make a parade out of it.

On that note, thanks Six Feet Under for making me think. Only two episodes left - I sure am going to miss this show.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Things are getting too politically correct...

I just found out that apparently, over on Sesame Street, Cookie Monster is getting healthy. The folks over there feel that they need to teach kids more about eating healthy, getting exercise and taking in sweets in moderation. While I'm not against any of these things - I have to wonder if its fair though to take someone like Cookie Monster and force him to start choking down carrots. See, the thing is, he's a cookie monster. Cookies are his thing. That's all he ever did was eat cookies. I mean, we all watched Sesame Street when we were kids, and we turned out fine, didn't we? We don't want to eat cookies for breakfast lunch and dinner just because Cookie Monster did, right? (I mean we all did in college, but that was different. We had like, finals and stuff). Sigh. Well, Cookie Monster, I feel for you. I really really do. But if they start making him count carbs..

Monday, August 01, 2005

Spam can be fun

At work - I get lots and lots of spam emails - as I'm sure many of you do as well. I actually find some of them really amusing - especially the ones from the "Nigerian email scammers". For those of you who have read my fiction - you've seen them before. For those of you who haven't - there are many people in Africa and other places around the world who have found that scamming people for money via email can actually be quite lucrative. Many of them are from Nigeria - hence the generalization. They send out these email sob stories asking for help - and you begin writing them back because once you say WIIFM - What's in it for me, inevitably, the answer is usually several million dollars. Only somewhere down the line - your finances are needed to complete the transaction - for bank fees or good faith money. That's how you get scammed. Now I've gotten into the habit of reading some of these scam emails when they come in because I must admit - these guys get damn creative in their bullshitting. This one in today:


As you read this,I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday. My name is AZIZ OMAR,a merchant in Baghdad,in (Iraq)I was married with two children.

My wife and two children died in a car accident six years a go I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer.It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.

I have not particularly lived my life so well,as I never really cared for anyone(not even myself)but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focused on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world.

I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it. Now that God has called me, I have willed and given most of my property and assets to my immediate and extended family members as well as a few
close friends. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so, I have decided to give alms to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deterioratedso badly, I cannot do this myself anymore.

I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves.

Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for
them. The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of twenty million united states dollars that I have with a finance/Security Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and dispatched it to charity organizations. I have set aside only 10 % for you and for your time.

God be with you.


This guy is fascinating. First of all - I enjoyed his first message - "don't feel sorry for me, for I believe that everyone will die someday," Really? Thanks for clueing me in chief. And don't worry, I won't feel sorry for you. Then I like it that he gets real personal - talking about how he wasn't very good to people - even hostile to people. I almost have to give these guys credit - they don't skimp on the details. Anyway Omar - keep typing away- but don't expect much from me. I think I'm going to keep my money in the bank where it belongs.