Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strike: Day Three

Today was not bad. Not bad at all.

7:25 a.m. - Depart Maspeth. You can see I'm getting tired of this strike business - my departure time is a little later every day.

7:40 a.m. - arrive at the Wooside LIRR station. This time there's barricades up and a long ticket holder's line. Darn. They've finally got their ducks in a row.

7:45 a.m. - I reach the back of the line, which stretches down Roosevelt Avenue and up 62nd Street.

8:00 a.m. - We've moved quite a bit and I'm near the stairs for the platform.

8:10 a.m. - We move all the way to the stairs, and after a conductor glances at my ticket, I can advance up to the platform. I think its pretty funny that I've only had one ticket actually/taken punched so far. Otherwise, I just keep waving the same ones over and over again.

8:11 a.m. - At the top of the stairs on the platform, an LIRR employee tells us to move to the end of the platform. HA. Sorry chief, not falling for that one again.

8:15 a.m. - The train arrives. Since I was on the right end of the platform, I get on. But its very tight and pushy. Flashbacks to the express bus to Prep.

8:32 a.m. - Arrive at Penn Station. Somehow I end up coming out of a different exit every day. Today its somewhere in the middle of Madison Square Garden.

8:47 a.m. - Arrive at work. A day and a half more of this - and then I'm off for Christmas vacation, yay!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Million Little Pieces

In other news, it's time for another book recommendation. Kelly gave me this book, the one you see everyone in the free world reading now that it's an Oprah pick "A Million Little Pieces". Now I don't care too much what Oprah says, I just read what I want no matter who says what. But this book - this is definetely one of the best things I've read all year. (And I've read plenty, believe me). This book was raw, painful, interesting, and touching. You just get into it, into the story, into James Frey, and I read the book in less than two days - I just couldn't put it down. I read the last pages as I walked home in the dark from the bus one night...and stood in front of my house reading it until I finished the last pages. Pick it up! Super highly recommended.

Strike: Day Two

I went with the same travel plan this morning as I did yesterday. I managed to shorten today's commute to an hour and forty-five minutes, down from yesterday's two and a half hours. So for all of you in other countries or states who aren't playing along here, here's the play by play:

7:15 a.m. - Depart Maspeth. Thank God I have Dad to drive me to this train station.

7:27 a.m. - Arrive at the Woodside station of the LIRR. There's an insane ticket line weaving around the block like there was yesterday. But I bought multiple tickets yesterday, so I show a ticket, and head on up to the platform. No waiting downstairs. Score!

7:30 a.m. - We are told to move all the way to the end of the platform. I do.

7:45 a.m. - A train pulls into the last station, only the last car is about two car lengths away from me. There's way too many people and there's no way I'm getting on. Thanks jackass, for making me move to the end of the platform.

7:50 a.m. - I decide that it's still Christmas week and I need to be in good spirits. Put on the MP3 player and listen to Christmas carols.

8:05 a.m. - A train that's half empty with available seats and everything speeds through without stopping. Great.

8:08 a.m - Same thing. Stupid.

8:15 a.m. - A train finally stops at Woodside again, only to be even shorter than the last one, and I'm still too far down on the platform. Damn it.

8:20 a.m. - Half empty train full of Long Islanders, happily enjoying their commute.

8:25 a.m. Same thing.

8:30 a.m. - Finally get on a train. Stand up for the fifteen minute ride into Penn.

8:45 a.m. - Arrive at Penn Station. Go out the first exit I see and end up on 34th and 8th.

9:00 a.m. - arrive at the office. For the first time ever, I am partaking in the office morning coffee rush.

Happy strike - er, I mean Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strike

So it's finally happened. All the talking smack has finally materialized into honest to God action - transit workers walked off the job at 3 a.m. - and New York City is left with extremely limited options on how to get around. Here's what I did this morning to get to work:

7:00 a.m. - leave Maspeth. Dad drives Matt and I over to the Woodside station for the Long Island Rail Road - which is separate from the MTA and still running.

7:15 a.m. - we arrive at Woodside and disembark from Dad's car. He says he might just spend the day operating as a livery cab. He says he'll make a fortune. He's right - he would.

7:16 a.m. - Matt and I are directed by LIRR officials to go to the back of the line to buy tickets and board the trains.

7:18 a.m. - We are still walking, trying to find the end of the line. We have already walked one full block and gone around the corner.

7:20 a.m. - We reach the end of the line, about a quarter of the way up the other street. Matt and I shake our heads, shrug, and try to pass the time with stories and life happenings.

8:00 a.m. - Still on line. Now we've gotten around the corner, but we still have most of the block to get through. We're starting to get cold.

8:15 a.m. - I can't feel my legs. Having run out of regular things to talk about, and the cold is starting to make us a little crazy, Matt and I start acting silly. We're making fun of these Mexican tortilla trucks that keep parking nearby. We keep saying "Oaxaca". Don't ask us why.

8:40 a.m. - We finally reach the ticket window and purchase tickets. We are allowed up on the platform.

8:45 a.m. - A train arrives. We move on - thank God there's room and we are excited to be out of the cold. I actually get a seat.

9:05 a.m. - We disembark from the train. Penn Station is flooded with people - and it takes us about ten minutes to slowly make our way out of the station.

9:15 a.m. - I bid Matt good-bye and good luck. He heads uptown, I head east.

9:20 a.m. - 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue are closed to all traffic but emergency vehicles so that these guys have a way to actually get to emergencies. Everything else is pretty gridlocked.

9:25 a.m. - I arrive at my office. My doorman is telling someone that he slept there last night.

Day one - approaching the halfway point. Now let's see how the commute home goes!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Talk About Getting Shafted

Okay so on the Apprentice final last night, Randal got hired. This was no suprise to me (or the rest of America) and he certainly deserved to get the job. However - at the end of things - old Trump says to Randal, "Do you think Rebecca deserves to work for me as well?" And with that moment, there's a management job at the Trump corporation being dangled in front of the coolest calmest 23 year old woman I've ever seen. She's not perfect, but she's damn cool under pressure. and Randal says that he thinks there should be only one Appentice, just one - and in that moment, Rebecca's back to being the loser - her opportunity for a job with Trump gone. Just like that. Donald says, "Okay, I'll leave it at that." Wow. I was with Donald on picking Randal - but it was damn cold of both of them to almost hire Rebecca, and then not. Crikey.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Okay everybody. Here's the next book that you need to go buy. This is a YA one, but it's written by my friend Will, and it's awesome and it just came out. I read several YA books a year because I'm in the children's book business and I like to keep up with what everybody else is doing. And this one is quality. Small-town boy faces big-time decision: go away to college, or stay in Mattoon, IL and be a big fish in a small pond. Oh, and of course, there's a woman involved. It's a good read, funny and poignant at the same time. And props for Will for including a reference to Happy Bunny in this book. Now go out and buy it! :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Really Annoying Christmas Commercials

I am very into Christmas and everything that comes with it. Well, most everything. Some of the holiday shopping commercials that they air during the holidays are just so stupid and annoying. Now I'm not saying I'm against the commercialism of the holiday - I admit, I like my gifts just as much as the next person - and I really do love buying stuff for everyone else. But some commercials just get under my skin. So to the corporations that made the following commercials, please stop:

LEXUS: The spouse is looking in a jewelry store or online for a gift. Sad plinky music plays...awww, he/she can't find anything for the love of their life. "Wait a minute! There's a Lexus parked outside with a red bow on top - WHAT A GREAT IDEA! I'll just take the $38,000 I had sitting around and buy a Lexus for my wife/husband. Whew. Glad I'm done Christmas shopping now. Now I'll have time to go hom and help the kids apply for college scholarships since I just spent all that money on a fancy car." Seriously, these commercials are so stupid. Normal people can't run around surprising their loved ones with Lexuses. And somehow I doubt that people that can afford to are sitting around and watching House or Lost or whatever I'm watching when these commercials air.

MACY'S: I watched about an hour of the Today Show last weekend - don't ask me why. And everytime there was a commercial break, Macy's would show three or four commercials in a row, with a piano Christmas song, and people bouncing around in white and red sweaters with presents from Macy's. Playing a commercial three or four times in a row (I don't care if the gifts are different each time) every time there is a commercial break is horribly annoying. It makes me never want to go to Macy's ever ever again. Take that.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Jenn & Kel's annual Christmas shopping trip

Okay, I know I'm a loser and I haven't been posting. But I've been busy! Case in point - last week Kelly and I took our annual outlet shopping trip to Connecticut to Christmas shop. For those of you who don't know what this is (and at this point there aren't many of you) Kelly and I take two days off in the middle of the week, leave NY state, and drive to a set of outelts in PA or CT and shop our heads off, stay in a crappy motel, and just laugh and hang out. So on our little adventure, we managed to accomplish the following:

Stayed in a quaint bed and breakfast that weirded Kel out at first - "We're like, staying in these people's house!" Photo of the exterior on the right!

Scored massive bargains at the outlets - my most notable one being the purchase of a knit poncho from BCBG - original price: $148 - Jenn's sale price: $19. BOO-YA!

Completed eighty percent of my Christmas shopping. It's a little hard to shop for Kel when she's with you the whole time. ;-)

Sang "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" five times. Kel and I listen to all Christmas music during this trip - and some CDs repeat stuff like this. (But we sort of love it).

Ate in the same Friendly's restaurant twice. This was a complete accident. We ate lunch there, fine. Then for dinner, we just starting driving down the road, looking for anywhere to eat. Options are limited in the middle of nowhere CT. We approached the restaurant from a different way, so we didn't know it was the same one until we were inside. We are such losers.

Had lots of fun! Kelly and I usually laugh for about 48 hours straight on this trip, and this time was no exception. Thanks for the fun trip Kel!

Friday, December 02, 2005

School Wasn't All Bad

I've got school on the brain these days, and I'm just thinking about what some of the fun things I did in classes while I was there. It was these kinds of days that made the rest bearable, so I thought I'd do a top ten of the most fun things I ever did while I was in high school or college. Here goes:

10. Spent a semester arguing one thing. I took Philosophy 101 in college, and all we had to do all semester was try to argue for the existance of God. Our teacher spent the semester rebutting everything we came up with, but it was fun, interesting and challenging. Plus - the final exam was a take home essay. Sweet.

9. Kept a dream journal for a month for a psychology project. I actually wrote down my dreams every morning and analzyed them, and it was pretty darn interesting. Try it if you don't believe me.

8. Watched "The Stand". Junior year of high school. I was taking some class that was a mix of juniors and seniors, and since the seniors were graduating, they finished school about a month before we did. So May came and we'd already taken our final exam, but we still had a month to kill in class. So we watched "The Stand" a little every day until the end of the semester.

7. Took bowling as one of my gyms. That's right. Why fuck around with lacross or track or something when you can drive on over to the bowling alley at nine am on Wednesdays and bowl away?

6. Taking golf as the other gym. Armed with over fifteen years of teaching from Dad, this class was a breeze, and my golf swing got better. Awesome!

5. Watched "Midnight Cowboy". We watched this film in some honors English class that I was taking. I can't remember why. But who ever thought you'd hear the name Ratso Rizzo while you were in school?

4. Went to the Hall of Science for a school project. Intro to Media class required that we visit a museum or something - and the Hall of Science (you Queens folk will know exactly the place I'm talking about) was on the list of acceptable venues. So Bobby and I ditched some other class and spent the afternoon there once. We made bubbles with huge metal rings! Walked into a room that makes you look smaller as you move to the other side! Cool!

3. Watched "Deliverance". Again - things you never thought you'd hear in school: "Come on, squeal like a pig! Squeal!"

2. Took a human sexuality class where the teacher was a sex therapist. This wasn't your average "Now this is a diagram of the vas deferens" sex ed class. Our syllabus rocked. There was a class on orgasms, a class on tantric sex, a class on arousal. It was well worth the time in amusement alone. A wisely spent elective!

1. Took a film and literature class. This was my favorite class that I ever took in college. Read the book/story, watch the movie. I loved how for our papers we had to watch movies and talk about why props and light are used in certain ways in the movies - it was so interesting. And I love doing it now - looking at why they film things the way they do. Cool freaking class.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thanks for the update Captain Obvious

The fact that Lake Pontchartrain oozed into almost every neighborhood in New Orleans wasn't enough of an indicator?