Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Stories About A Wedding 6.30.04

It's too early to wake up. The sun's barely risen. The streets are clean. It's too early for determined Manhattan singles to run in short shorts. It's too early to realize that it's Friday or that I haven't had breakfast or that I slept 4 hours. We take the F train and thankfully Brooklyn and DUMBO's cobblestoned streets come quickly. Soon we are in Karen's car trying to get Silver's I-Trip to lock in on a radio station and play some tunes that will invariably include Bob Dylan. Later, at a rest stop in Rockland county, or Duchess County, or somewhere else I don't frequent, as the world's tallest pan has a continued pay phone conversation, we agree that working batteries make the I-Trip work better.

Silver has brought bananas. Hence the picture. I have candy. Karen has directions. None of this gets us to our destination in under 6 hours. The Taconic is our driving playground under overcast to partly cloudy skies. In a Massachusetts town named Pittsfield, we circle and curse the midday traffic and the traffic lights. We smile at the town of Hoosick (Me sick? We sick? A town obviously established by an opportunistic doctor, Karen surmises). We make wrong turns in Bennington, VT. We make wrong turns in Manchester, VT. We tour the whole town with our wrong turns. We see the surrounding hillside. We find the beautiful Chalet Motel. There is a television and not much to do, a Friendly's in town that makes us feel like we're getting fat, and some rest.

We're here for the wedding of Big Guy (Andy) and Linner (Lindsay). We only know ourselves, Heather and Morgan, the bride and the groom. And the bride's family. It's okay. We're friendly and g-ddamnit, people like us.
The Friday evening barbecue is held at a country club tennis center. Heather's boyfriend Morgan and Silver and I drive over, thinking we're late; Heather and Karen have been over with Linner and her family, doing a wedding run-through (which apparently doesn't help-details later!). I still feel fat from Friendly's. I think it was the supersized apple pie sundae.

But there are hamburgers and sausages and brats and hot dogs dispensed from a cart. And a bowl of jelly jars for gifts. And the great Swede game of koob on the lawn, pictured. Played with the world's cutest little blonde kids.

The gnats advance on our position as the shadows get long, as the skies get dark, as the clouds bunch and drizzle on us. We outdo nature by going inside and drinking all the beer we can get our hands on with the BigGuy Tuscon Revue, Andy?s friends.

Linner?s sister in law, Alissa, is pictured presenting a wealth of cookie and ice cream goodness.
The morning after-the day of the wedding- is drizzling and overcast. There is a heavy fog over the mountains. Or hills-the Rockies are mountains. We?re a quarter mile high, last I saw, and that ain't no mountain.

The rooms of the beautiful Chalet Motel are filled with recovering tipplers. Some wake up to hunt down breakfast in town or to go shopping. Morgan is solid. He and I get bagels while Silver sleeps off his drunk. Which made him roll around all night. While I was in the same bed. I didn't sleep much.

I wanted to run. Get some of the badness out of my system. Feel a little cleaner, more athletic, less of a shlub. Emma, staying next door, who knows a number of my HS classmates, had made a running pledge. But she too was feeling the hangover. Me? I didn't feel it at all. I was anxious, sitting in a foreign bed, watching cartoons.

Did I mention Morgan is solid? He had comic books. I think he put it best when he told Heather or Karen that we were talking for a while and then he brought out some comics and we went silent and read. Good times.

The sun came out around 2 pm; Emma was energized and we ran. She led the way on a run we guess totaled 3 miles. I didn't feel the pain at all; she runs at an excellent pace. Made for distance. Plus she is good company. I think the drunks were impressed that we were being athletic while they were still seeking the hair of the dog. I went running again on Monday, 5 miles, using that pace-and that felt good.

Saturday evening, the wedding itself. At the Southern Vermont Arts Center, which, unbelievably, has sculptures all about the grounds. The skies have cleared up and the boys have cleaned up. The band is ready and warming up, the people are milling about. The groomsmen are in pink striped ties and the bridesmaids are in simple pink skirts and black tops.
What's to say? It's a wedding, secular, fun, filled with smiles and cute children and people taking pictures. But we missed Lindsay inside, who slipped and fell on her ass. Kind of like the time when she sprained (or was it broke?) her ankle walking-her heel broke then. But not this time. Everything else came off without a hitch. Ari told some jokes about Big Guy. It was very sweet.

I was at a table of people I didn't know, besides Linner's brother Steve. But it was good. I sat next to Small Brown (her name is Andy also, so she became Small Brown Andy vs. Big Ugly Andy, the groom) who doesn't eat for days but swims; there was Chris who Silver doesn't remember the name of; Alissa's brother Todd who was really chill; Sarah and I think Tim; some other folks who you don't know, Tiffany and I forget the other one's name.

But you put a bunch of drunk kids together, add a bouquet, some jazz standards by the band, cold weather, the Arizona kids (Ryan and Keith, especially) letting loose-Ryan on the dance floor with Tianna and Keith, just in general. I should take this moment to mention that Keith was described to me as the guy who says things that creep other people out. Like how much he enjoys me. That's cool, because I do the same thing; and Morgan was the one talking about the joys of manicures and pedicures. We all fit well together. Pictured: Keith and Kirsten, Andy's sister.

An example-Keith was talking to Ryan about how cute one of the bartenders was. She was cute in a goofy sort of way, brown hair, looked as if she was a bit hip. She wasn't half as cute as the small one with the straight brown hair, dark eyes... I don't have a movie reference, but it was closer to Natalie Cigliuti who was on Saved By The Bell, but shorter. Keith was afraid to kick it, to invite them for the afterparty at the Chalet. Mind you, I'm not sure that they were all of drinking age. But as they say, whatever happens in Vermont, stays in Vermont.

Keith dawdled, drank for courage. Then he was off; he took his opportunity and spoke some game, and she seemed receptive. He came back, happy. We began making plans. Gathering the extra wine and whiskey and whatever else we were drinking. I mentioned the beautiful Chalet Motel to some of the other kids working the event, as we all stood in the cold, watching Ryan spin Tianna around, as Ari and Linner's cousin made nice on the dance floor.

"Do you mind if kids come," the redheaded kid asked. By kids I am assuming 15-16yr old townies. So of course I said, "sure, as long as they don't like destroy stuff." I believe in promoting underage drinking and modeling alcohol responsibility at a young age. Keith and my favorite brown-eyed ladies were jumping into some hot vintage vehicle and we left them with a bottle and directions. Yeah, we congratulated ourselves. Back at the beautiful Chalet, there was more alcohol than this collection of individuals could remotely drink (as we found the next morning).

And the young ladies of Vermont never showed up. Keith and I were sad. Got over it quickly.

Only one noise complaint. We got our drink on and fell asleep late.


Monday, June 28, 2004

and by morning i will tell you all about the BEST. WEDDING. EVER.

well, it was hella good.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Here I-- UGGGGHHH! -- Come! 6.21.04

The girl in the pink has an OC ringtone!!!

Now I wish I had a cell phone...

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

A Lighter Shade of Smart 6.16.04

A few weeks back I started to point out to Gurnifer that young men on the streets of SoHo, on the streets of Brooklyn, on the streets of Queens were eagerly adding pink to their ensemble. Pink LA Dodgers hats on heads. Pink sneakers. Pink knee-length shirts.

I thought it was silly at the time, since pink is generally thought to be an expression of femininity. I thought perhaps that the homo-thugs were simply expressing themselves—“I’m hard and I get hard for men” and such.

But apparently, people really, really follow Cam’ron, the rapper with such memorable tracks as “Oh Boy,” which Sharma will agree is destined to make you stupider with each listen. Not only do they know his lyrics, his style is pervasive. On Good Morning America, a fashion commentator was talking to the four hosts, talking about pink being a hot color for men, in Trump’s ties, in hip-hop style.

And then host Tony Perkins: “like Cam’Ron.”

I never knew the power of the stupidest rap set ever reached “GMA,” and therefore, middle America; some hip twentysomething in St. Louis is probably thinking of wearing pink and looking up Cam’Ron’s bio online and finding lyrics like:

Come on home wit me, grandmothers is 30
One gram on that butter is 30
Sold grams wit my cousin birdy
School, cutting it early
Don't stutter motherfuckers you heard me
Come on home wit me, these are the facts
Steve Francis and Latifah got jacked
Mike Tyson punched Mitch Green in the face
Sauce snatched by the feds, weed was the case
And shit he still pleading his case
Come home wit me, hoes say "let's jones wit you"
But I wouldn't take them home wit you
Come home wit me, get stoned wit me
Get zoned wit me, the crome you see
Dip set come home wit me

And links to Juelz Santana and the rest of the Dip-dip-dip-dip-SET! a/k/a the Diplomats.

Disturbing. The stupidest man in rap is on his way to becoming a fashion phenomenon? And pink?! It’s not for homo-thugs anymore…


Jadakiss on Regis and Kelly? What the hell is happening here?!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Greatest President Like Ever Ever! 6.8.04

from the Guardian:

For better or worse - and, in my unfashionable view, it was for worse - Reagan and Thatcher made such an impact on their respective societies that their names were given to Reaganomics and Thatcherism.

The anti-government rhetoric of both leaders did a lot of damage to the very concept of public service. In front of cabinet ministers and officials, Mrs Thatcher used to rail against government as though she were an outsider from another planet, not at the head of it.

And the anti-government rhetoric of both was overdone. Of course, governments and officialdom have to be watched at every turn. But it is impossible to run large democratic societies without a considerable degree of government - the real point being that the emphasis should be on good government, not no government.

There was a fundamental flaw at the heart of Reagonomics, namely the idea - epitomised by the famous Laffer Curve - that tax cuts would pay for themselves via greater incentives.

The truth was that the supply side doctrine was a crude and intellectually shabby attempt to justify tax cuts for the rich. For those with incomes above $250,000 (£135,879) a year, taxes as a percentage of income came down from 48.6% to 38.9% between 1980 and 1984.

The way in which certain tax exemptions were removed actually led to a rise in the proportion of income paid in tax by the lowest income groups. In most of the eulogies for Reagan this week, all those cuts in government expenditure on food stamps, school lunches, welfare Medicaid and subsidised housing have been forgotten.

Tracking 6.8.04

Six months of interviews with security consultants, former DARPA employees, privacy experts and contractors who worked on the TIA facility at 3701 Fairfax Drive in Arlington reveal a massive snooping operation that is capable of gathering – in real time – vast amounts of information on the day to day activities of ordinary Americans.

Going on a trip? TIA knows where you are going because your train, plane or hotel reservations are forwarded automatically to the DARPA computers. Driving? Every time you use a credit card to purchase gas, a record of that transaction is sent to TIA which can track your movements across town or across the country.


Monday, June 07, 2004

Reunion 6.7.04

I’d like to start with a line told to me and my camp co-conspirator Mike, from an older lady with an urge to tell us everything that came to her mind—because this sort of thing often happens on the downtown-bound 3 train once one reaches the Upper West Side.

“Bananas, they look so innocent but they are really killers!”

The reunion was late that Saturday night, in a bar I’d never heard of on 23rd Street. I thought about changing clothes and didn’t; I thought about getting more cash and didn’t; I thought about leaving/ arriving early. Didn’t. Barely could get myself out of the door. I was tired and my trepidation was growing, slow like a balloon. What would these kids be like? Unlike some other schools I didn’t expect the group to be a self-selecting unit of ex-football jocks (we had no team) and sorority alumni and geeks who’ve made it big.

After all, we were all geeks. Even the slightly prettier ones or the more athletic ones. There was never a serious strong delineation or a poking fun at the smart; being stupid was certainly a cross to bear.

I walked up to the bar wondering how on earth I was going to start the conversation, thinking that I hate the common standbys, “isn’t this awkward,” “you look great,” “oh my God you look so different!” But in front of the bar was Tina (who never graduated and is the class’ advocate for repeated baby-making with one’s partner) and Paradise Hotel’s Dave (and his goofy girlfriend who thinks I’m fun), some other fellows, and my friend Grace who I’ve lost touch with, who has the same “f**k it” perspective I have, and is also into public policy kind of things.

Turns out the reunion was pretty fun. Not some sort of revelatory “I’ve made it” or “I’m better than you” kind of jam. But good clean fun. One of the hosts and I chatted a bit, probably more than she and I did in high school. Some awkward moments, but nothing too bad; even made goofy and nice with a Boston resident who I always thought was pretty nice.

Of course there are those people you don’t talk to and can’t see a reason to; though some of them come up to you, drunk, and engage you in conversation (and an interesting “you know, people often hook up at this sort of thing” conversation. Let me compliment myself and say it was a come on, even though I know it wasn’t).

And there is always one blowhard. Diane—the Boston resident—and I had a little giggle at him. He was exactly as I expected. Slick, greasy, right in place in a bridge-n-tunnel kind of bar, the kind of place you expect to hear “ohmyGAWD” repeatedly. He and I were cool in HS and I wouldn’t have minded talking to him, but he wanted to be slick and roll with his very tanned very slick girlfriend (who was really sweet from our conversation).

All the men got bald and they also got fat.

Priscilla (who has a few lines in the movie “Kids”—I believe one of them, as she’s sitting across from Chloe Sevigny, is “I just love F**King”) noted that I am bigger than I was. Reconnected with a couple of kids. Saw the friends I already see. Missed out on talking to a few folks; conversed with one fellow I think is an out and out assbag, but it was cool.

I’d give the reunion, on a 5 apple scale, 3 and a half apples. 4 for you sentimentalists.

And happy late birthday, Silver and Christina.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Buck Town 6.3.04

Today was the day of the NahWeYone fundraiser for the camp I’ll be putting together in a month.

I had cancelled lunch with Gurnifer. Ironed some black linen pants. A brown dress shirt (thanks, Selvadurai’s fruity closet!). Buffed the shoes from scuffed to black. Went to the NYU library to find a reserved course packet in vain—the construction/ rehab of the library means that the reserve items are in a smaller space, with fewer terminals dedicated to locating said items; and said terminals were being monopolized by two slow lazy people, drifting through records and articles and gobbledygook on chemistry, running their pen up and down sheets on the monitor’s left, circling, staring, as if those two line bibliographies had the solution to their research.

Left. Walked north. Walked 14th Street in search of a party supply store—who knew these kind of places were so difficult to find? It was about 80° and 3.30, about the time I said I would be at 103rd. Sweating, my bag, heavy on my back. And there is a crowd across 14th Street, peering in a window, shooting photographs. Being that the awning had some reference to stripping or nudity, I thought I’d get a free show.

The interior of the place was black and the crowd wasn’t thick but substantial enough that I had to work my way into a view. They were excited, but I couldn’t see any titty. There were two cops outside the place—one NYPD, one from the city of “Everett.” I’ve never heard of such a city.

The lights were flashing and I tried to smile and pretend I knew what was going on, as I cupped my hands around my eyes. And what I saw was out of Law & Order, not out of Nice Rack 8.

There was a man, face-up, stream of blood coming out of his mouth, eyes wide open, stiff like a mannequin, cop over him checking his pulse, crowd going “yo, I think he dead,” on the edge of a pole-dancing stage, in a room decked out in deep red.

I still don’t believe it was real; why wouldn’t the police cordon the place off? Still… that’s a little sick.

In case you were wondering I was still the first person up at 103rd to set up for the fundraiser. It was good times but I had to leave early of Conflict Management class.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

To Recap 6.02.04

Michael is fruity.

This weekend people came to New York—it was Memorial Day, I guess that’s what happens. So I saw dear old roommate Pavel on Sunday who is still oblivious to the fact that women find him charming. I think he’s got some powerful ass pheremones. Maybe it's the Russian accent? I wanted him to stud-strut his ass on over to the three women in matching designed shirts and find out what they were about. Their shirts had long red sleeves and blue torsos, slim to the body— with different writing… one had

Paris, May 2004

One had

London, May 2004

We couldn’t see the third, me and Pavel’s friends.

And the young ladies sitting with us weren’t adventurous enough to simply ask for our collective curiosity at first; Pavel wasn’t in the mood for it. If I could have gotten out from the corner of the table, I would have stood up, walked over, and engaged these visiting, slim, and perhaps a little homely in that oh-so-cute way women in conversation. It would have been much like when Alex and Joel and I met Suzanne McManus in Art Bar that one fateful night in… uh… I forget. Let’s say 1999. Side note, Alex—I bet they had low self-esteem. Ripe for the picking. Yeah, I said it.

They were obviously new to New York and all new people should be shown the requisite "good time" by welcomers such as myself and Pavel, right? Right? Just waiting for a couple of charming fellows to show them the bright lights and the glitz of New York. "Oh look... here's your hotel room..."

Anyway, one of our women stood and went to the door, ostensibly to… look at the street? She had no cover for her walk to the front and back but she did it anyway.

The third shirt was just New York, May 2004. Yaaawn.


Saturday left me gasping for air as I tried to keep up, running Prospect Park with Gurnifer. That young lass is a gazelle. It didn’t help that I had a few beers before running, on the grass with Gurnifer, Schneider, Matt Funk, Craig, Alice, and Sara. I have learned my lesson. Drink and ride, don’t drink and run.

Also, we played lots and lots of hearts with the travel cards Alice brought; the cards are smaller than Silver’s—uh, glasses.


Monday I found Jen Richmond taking a post consumption deep breath underneath an awning at Saks Fifth Avenue, cheeky as always, standing out of danger of the rain (she says she won’t but I know she’d melt). It was the afternoon but the tourists still looked too stupid or too blonde. But they got out of our way, we didn’t have to beat anyone up.

We went to Lombardi’s where Matt’s ex-co worker Shannon was ready to eat and helped myself and Rizalia sing Wilson Phillips’ moving hit “Hold On.” And that’s even less cool than Tears for Fears. But at least Carnie and crew have a new album coming out. Alex came good and late. We went to Schneider/ Rizalia’s and watched Jessica Alba in “Honey” which is surpisingly worse than you’d think—go rent “You Got Served” – and tried to learn the dance move with the DVD (it was an extra). Then we watched Francois Ozon once more extol the redemptive and freeing virtues of not-quite-asked for ass sex and evil women in Criminal Lovers.

That’s a weekend for you. Pixel, sorry I couldn’t come bowling.