Monday, July 30, 2007

Come on over you sexual he-man

The weekend kicked off early with a date with swim boy on Thursday. Count it, second date. We headed out to his sweet condo (yes he owns) in Brooklyn (groan) to watch a movie. Well there are certain things that are appropriate to disclose on your second date, and there are things better kept for…well never. He had some artwork from his young cousins (who call him Uncle Mark…okay, doesn’t quite match but hey they are only six or so) hanging up…everyone now, awwww so cute. Anyway, while digging thru his photos to find a snap of the kiddies, he showed me some old pictures of him. Okay, the little tike ones were super cute since he had a mop top of curly auburn hair. However, the teenage ones captured the “awkward phase” well. I kept thinking, dude this is not a way to win over the affections of a lady. Later we listened to his 80’s mix for his friend’s upcoming wedding. Basically the couple got smart and economical and asked their close friends to put together play lists in lieu of hiring a DJ. Anyway, he loves big hair bands of the 80’s (another plus) like me, but he also is quite fond of Christina Aguilera! What! Yeah he threw on genie in a bottle and was like “she is so talented, wait check out this music video”. If I wasn’t already 100% certain he digs chicks, I could make an argument in the gay column (not another one!). Ah ha ha ha. Okay, I am harsh but at least he is still holding my attention which is one of the greatest compliments I can bestow on mankind.

Riding to and from Brooklyn was put to good use because I was able to finish the newest Harry Potter book. Now I am not one of those super fans who line up at midnight and dress up for the movie premiers (yes I have seen those people here, then again they could have just been dressing up as witches/wizards because it was a Wednesday…only in NYC). I enjoy the books and wanted to read it before the media was flooded with spoilers. Yeah I have been dodging news articles or programs for fear of them blurting out major plot points or who dies, etc. Seriously, I will be watching the news and then they switch to a HP updated and I have to immediately turn the channel.

Saturday night I traveled to the West Village to celebrate my running friend Aimee’s birthday. Earlier that day, we ran 11 miles as part of our self scheduled half marathon training. A gang of us ate at the Blue Ribbon Bakery on Bedford (say that three times fast). We had the sweet chef’s table down in the wine cellar. Since we were surrounded by wine, we were inspired to consume some….well lots! One good bottle was called “barrel of monkeys”. No joke. The label had a 50’s looking ad with a woman talking on the phone with a monkey (well monkey in a tux). The caption below the pictures explained how this was no ordinary chimp, but a sexual he-man, blah blah blah. Well we thought that was hilarious (granted a generous amount of wine was consumed) and made the birthday girl wear the label like a tattoo on her arm the remainder of the night. Okay, how can Chimps dressed up in human clothes not be funny? You don't have a soul if you don't find that funny!

The group gave Patty a good ribbing for her level of vegetarian classification. She will not eat anything with feet. Cow, no, chicken, no, lobster, no, fish, yes. You get the point. Well we all got slap happy and started asking her if she would eat a snake since it had no feet. Then someone brought up a legless turtle (just head and shell). Yeah, it was a riot at the time. I think we stumped everyone on seal since they technically have flippers and not feet.

Later the gang headed out to the bars of the west village (I want to say a tap room but it was around St. Lukes). Our group had control of the back pool room where we drunkenly challenged each other to really long and awful games of pool. Seriously, it would take five turns before a ball would sink. Eventually a group of hustler guys came in and put their quarters down for next. Well we were no match and they soon had only the 8-ball to land (yeah we still had four or five balls left on the table). The burly guy shot and sunk the 8-ball….and scratched! We all jumped up (seriously, druuuuunk) and celebrated our victory (or their misstep, take your pick).

Thankfully it rained all day Sunday, so I was able to get some cleaning done in my apartment. Wait, did I say cleaning, I mean TV watching and intermittent naps throughout the day. TBS was having a My Boys marathon. Now when this show first came out, my Chicago guy friends called me up and said “I swear it is like they were watching us…seriously freaky similar to our lives!”. I never had the time to catch anything more than one or two episodes during the season, but now with the marathon, I was able to catch the entire season. Seriously, five hours of straight TV watching. I was so worthless, but the show is soooo good that I could not turn it off. I called a few friends and told them to call the cable company and have them shut off the program so that I would not spend the entire day on my couch. No luck, I was that lazy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kicking it old School

Of course a visit back home would not be complete without being woken up at daybreak by your parents. See my parents have gotten wise and removed all clocks from my old bedroom. Therefore, when I ask what time it is when they wake me up, they can say 9 o’clock or something late to get me out of bed. Only when I emerge from the shower do I realize it is really 7:30! Anyway, they had good reason to wake me up early Saturday morning, a church run….what, I am sure God would not mind if I got a few extra hours of sleep! Actually my parent’s church was hosting the annual Resurrection Run in honor of the town celebration ‘Gretna Days’ (yeah, don’t ask). Here is the conversation my mom and I had about a week earlier.
Mom: “so Lindsay, since you are going to be back in town, would you like to run in a race for the church on Saturday”.
Me: “sure, how long is it”.
Mom: “they have a 1, 3, and 5 mile run”.
Me: “sign me up for the 5 mile (drop in a bucket since I am ½ marathon training for a friend)”.
Mom: “good, I already did, oh and it is at 7am”.
Me: “uhhhh, no I change my mind”
Mom: “but Lindsay, it is for the church”
I guess that was supposed to end the discussion. Getting out ruled by a higher power, okay, gotta pick my fights better next time. Yes, the day after my riotus 10 year reunion, I was woken at 6am sharp. After I washed the hungover stench off me, I headed over with my parents to the race gathering point. Mind you, everyone seemed glad to be up at dawn, and here I come dragging my sorry self into the crowd. I probably still had a bit of stagger to me and looked like hell run over because everyone kept asking if I was okay. I eased their troubled minds by saying “no I am not dying, just really hungover”. Now not appropriate talk for a church event, but hey they know my stripes already. While running (okay, mild shuffling of the feet, I was in no mood to run) my companions and I joked about my condition and pointed out good places to puke if I suddenly got the urge. The route left the church, pasted the old high school, circled a neighborhood and doubled back to the church. Well this was the 3 mile route, the 5 mile sorry sacks had to pass the church and hit a two mile loop around ‘old town’ Gretna which included the most evil hill ever….Westplains Road! Since I considered this nothing more than a fun run (the finish line was marked with a roll of duct tape and supported a ‘finish’ banner from two step ladders), I figured I could take my good sweet time. I stopped to chat (okay complain) with my parents and get a drink of water at the 3 mile point. I probably spent a good five minutes small talking (did you pass by the Lunzmen’s house, how are you feeling, yes you used to baby-sit their sons, blah blah blah) before they told me I should get back and finish the run. The whole time I am not taking the run serious at all (waving at people, cracking jokes as my headache dwindled, stopping to talk to people, etc) and I finished with a gloriously sloooow time (probably close to 12 minute miles or something). While enjoying the free pancake feed at the church afterwards, the organizer came into the fellowship hall and announced that the award ceremony would be beginning shortly. Award ceremony…huh…for a fun run? Turns out I got second place in the female 25-30 age category. Ah ha ha ha….probably only two people who signed up, but oh well. The best part was that they made me come up to the front to accept my giant silver medal, and people in the crowd would say “hey that’s the hungover girl, wadda go hungover girl”. I took it like a champ and faux flexed my muscles when accepting the prize. First time I’ve ever been rewarded for being hungover. Ah ha ha ha.

After a quick shower, I was able to head down to main street and watch the Gretna Days Parade. Yeah small town parade means a shit ton of Shriners. I guess the allure of driving a mini car around diminished as I got older, but I still want one of those tassel caps! Anyway, I had a choice spot with my parents, Brandon (Shannon’s husband), and their two little girls. One thing that has improved over the years, is the amount of candy they toss into the crowd. I remember wrestling out with other kids to secure the lone pixi stick or super bubble gum piece. Now the practically coat the pavement! This year they also handed out popsicles (the ones where a tube of colored water is frozen in plastic and you have to mangle the ends to suck out the delicious nectar). Anyway, they were handing out so much candy and popsicles that the girls started refusing them! Seriously, Liliana would say “no mister, I have enough”. Ah ha ha ha. It capped it off when she started throwing the excess back into the street (in front of some other kids). It was a riot but I am actually quite proud of her. Anyway, the highlight was badgering my friends Rollie, Jacque, Heath, and Dru when their “Hardies Chiropractic” float rolled by.

That night, I headed into Omaha for my older sister’s bachelorette party. One major difference between Omaha and large urban cities (NYC or Chicago) is mode of transportation. When a group of girls in the city want to go out, we just grab cabs or hop on the subway. Well Omaha doesn’t have either of those options. Okay I can throw in a covered wagon joke here, but you get the point. Anyway, I needed a way to transport the group of girls around the city without the blemish of drunk driving. We went though ideas of renting a limo and assigning DD’s until the perfect option appeared….rent a school bus! Yeah, I guess you can rent school buses (regular and short bus size) for about $30 an hour! Sold! I tried to secure a short bus for us since we only had ten girls attending the party, but they were all out. Therefore, I had to settle on a regular sized bus which could hold 50 people! Not letting a big bus go to waste, we arranged for the groom’s bachelor party (one of many I hope) to be held on the same night.

The group of girls met at an apartment complex club house while the guys met at a bar across the street. During our ‘girl party’, we had a passion expert come in a present her complete line of passion products. Okay, no use trying to glam it up, it was a sex toy show! Yeah she knew what she was talking about because she had personal stories for almost every item in the collection. She was quite good though, warming up the girls with softballs like lotions, massage oils, edible creams, etc before whipping out the dildo collection. Yeah she had small ones that fit on your finger and monstrous ones with harnesses, etc. While we passed them around and played with them (not in that way sicko, just trying out the features like the one with a light show and the one that bent at a 45 degree angle and rotated…like sticking a watermelon…well you get the idea) one girl shrieked “oh my God, there is a face on this one!”. The passion expert explained that the company she represented was Japanese and it was illegal to sell “sex toys”. Therefore, they had be made funny and marketed as “adult novelty”. After closer inspection, they all did have an elephant, beaver, butterfly, rabbit, or face on them (still cannot get over the smiley face on the tip of the thing…ah ha ha ha you enjoying it huh). Anyway, the most amusing one, in my opinion, was the piston powered dildo! Yeah is started out at 6” but it could expand and retract with a piston while rotating the whole time. Basically you can just aim it and literally go fuck yourself! Ah ha ha ha!

She wrapped up the presentation just as the boys headed over to the clubhouse. While waiting for the bus to pick the entire group up, we amused ourselves by chasing the groom around the room with the piston penis! Yep, we are that immature. The group headed down to the Old Market (aka the hip bar district for Omaha) and dropped the boys off at Billy Frogs. The girls went around the block to Upstream. After a drink and a shot, the VERY intoxicated bride started whimpering for the groom. Okay, how is it going to be a bachelorette party when we are hanging out with the groom? I guess it is really sweet that they can’t stand to be separated…everyone now…awwwww. Anyway, we headed over to the bar and joined the guys. The bride was quite drunk and suddenly decided to get a piggy-back ride from the groom…too bad she didn’t warn him. She jumped on and took a huge tumble! Ouch…oh she’ll live. The whole time I am thinking, how is this lightweight related to me? Maybe I should cut back on being an alcoholic or something.

After closing out the bar, we hoped back on the bus. Now it was annoying to be the only kept head in the entire bunch because we were one short on the ride home. I spent 15 minutes searching the bathrooms, sidewalk, and any other location the group suggested to find our lost one. Eventually it dawned on some guy to tell me the guy left early to meet up for a birthday party. Thanks a-hole! I lost my grumpiness (cannot believe that is a Microsoft accepted word) once the groom was forced to sing “I’m a little teapot” for the entire group in exchanged for his wallet…yeah he was a bit drunk. Needless to say, my parents got to know their future son-in-law better on the ride back home in the minivan. Here are some pictures. Angela (the bride and my sister) is wearing the green tank top. The groom (Brad) is in the tan shirt.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

10 years in the making...

Friday night, I attended my 10 year high school class reunion being held at a one of the three local bars. Classy huh! Actually, the location could have been worse/funnier since two years ago, my older sister’s reunion was held at the American Legion Post. Ah ha ha ha. Anyway, 10 year reunion…..yes I am getting old. I feel like I have accomplished a lot in the last decade, but I guess each person’s opinion of accomplishments is different. Case in point – babies. I swear it was an all out baby fest. People had one, two, even three children and they kept whipping out pictures of their kids. I felt a bit left out so I contemplated whipping out my driver’s license just so that I would have a picture to show around. I tease about my yokel Nebraska upbringings, so I am a bit relieved that the natives had enough sense to bring the picture, and not the baby to the bar.

I actually was really looking forward to the reunion (yes yes, I am a dork, well I guess that didn’t change since high school) because I was curious to see how the last decade had changed (or lack thereof) my classmates. Granted I still keep in touch with some friends, but you know there always a few loose cannon, crazy hillbillies that you are really eager to see what has become of them. Come on, every school had a few….those people who would dye their hair blue, wear sweat pants every day, or are petitioning to have buck hunting added to the winter Olympics. These are the people who you just ask ‘how have you been’ and then sit back for a wild and entertaining oddball story.

Well the drinks flowed like water….well actually vodka flavored water. Anyway, the super cheap booze was the biggest (and most used) surprise of the evening. Seriously, I order three top shelf mixed drinks and my bill was only $10! Ahh, that is the same price for one very lousy cranberry concoction in Manhattan! With more booze came the entertainment. My friend (or BFF as Brandon calls it…wait when did he turn into a 13 year old girl) Shannon just learned about text messaging and used it to order us a round from the bar. Granted, we were only 30 feet from the bar, but she texted her husband “we need five mike’s hard lemonade…STAT” (oh did I mention she is a doctor…it makes is a bit more funny…okay I guess you had to be there fun haters).

Everyone was so friendly and a ton of fun to talk to. Not kidding, it was like the stereotype high school clicks all but disappeared. It was soooo much fun reminiscing with the girls I was in a posse with. We decided after much discussion, that our click would be summed up as “nice to your face, rip you apart for our own amusement behind your back”. Seriously, we were such good, nice, sweet, blah blah blah girls, but if your opinion of us would switch after reading our junior yearbook. Basically we got punch drunk one night (not real drunk since we were goodie-goodies) and tore thru that thing writing our thoughts on people and activities. I seem to recall the VICA team was dubbed “very into chugging alcohol”. I cannot even estimate the hours of hilarity Mrs. Walker’s ass provided. Yep, nothing was sacred like the smoking nurse or people who grew fungus under their armpits. Okay okay, pure evil I know. I am waiting for that call from Ricki Lake or Maury Povich asking me to come on their show because someone from my past wants to confront me.

Thankfully, most of the people resembled their old self barring some improvements with age and wisdom (Rollie, I’m talking about your haircut…ah ha ha ha). I only had to ask two people who they were. Yeah embarrassing and quite the bitch of me since our class only had 85 people! Turns out, one was Bodie who was my first real kiss. Yeah, the girls gave me hell about it (especially a situation involving a donut….long story), but I am not ashamed since he still looked pretty handsome. Anyway the ribbing stopped once we pointed out Lynn’s first French was with Cody! Ah ha ha ha, how our preferences in boys change. Trials of teenage dating did not stop there since Jessica G. pointed out that Lynn and I both briefly dated Tony Simon who had four fingers on one hand (Simon not Simpson right?). No joke! Ah ha ha ha!

The most humorous moment of the night (well we thought it was the funniest probably due to the vast quantities of alcohol we had drunk by then) was destroying the class of 1997 shrine. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure we did not intend to ruin it, I just know it was utterly defeated by the time everyone had their way with it. The shrine was composed of pieces of poster board topped with streamers and a banner honoring the class of 1997. Each individual graduate’s senior picture was stuck to the poster board. Remember senior pictures….wallet sized trading cards with you posed next to your favorite wagon wheel, giant ’97 number, or faux bookshelf/fireplace background (hey this is Nebraska, there were plenty of hay bales, pick up trucks, and hunting gear proudly on display). Anyway, the destruction started when Dugan joined our group with his senior picture affixed to his baseball cap. It was the most awesome idea ever (granted druuuuunk by this time) and we all sought out the shrine to pluck our pictures off. The ode to ’97 was hidden off in the dance floor room which was obviously vacant due to the lack of Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, or some other guy crying about how sexy his tractor is. Anyway, after everyone started wearing their own picture (still laughing about that while writing), we found use for the dozen or so pictures of absent classmates. Again, remind you we were slap happy and tipsy, we started putting wrong pictures on people. We put Dan C.’s picture on Andy H. just because someone mistook Andy for Dan earlier in the night. Later we put Mike B.’s picture on Dru, who proudly displayed it for ten minutes before realizing it was not him. Okay, it was damn near hilarious at the time…I guess you had to be there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Run for your lives...

To start things out, I was not effected by the NYC steam explosion. One of the offices I work between is right over at 41st and Madison, so they were almost at ground zero when it happened. Luckily, I was at the other office that day. The people there said they heard a big boom and then screaming people. They stuck their heads outside the 10th floor office to see people screaming and running down the street away from the explosion. They were hysterical (think Godzilla movie) and even ran out of their shoes/sandals (there were shoes all over the sidewalk left from people in a hurry to get outta there). I live on the other side of the island so my trains and power were just dandy. Ha ha ha east side punks!
My flight Thursday night foretold how my weekend in Nebraska would be….rushed for time! I had a 30 minute layover in Minneapolis where I had to switch planes. Those who have flown out of New York know that LaGuardia airport has never had a flight arrive or leave on time. I was bit worried about making my connection so I made it a point to stow my carry-on in the first class bins so it would be up at the front. Of course, we were delayed 45 minutes in NYC, but the pilot said he would speed up the flight so that we would only be 25 minutes late. Okay now I have 5 minutes to make my flight! I talked to the stewardess and tried to beg my way into first class so that I would be up front and ready to run! No luck. I anxiously kept an eye on my clock and once the ‘ding’ went off, I sprinted down the aisle. Surprisingly enough, there were about a dozen of us who were all headed to the same flight (who knew that many people from Nebraska would be in NYC). We all compared notes on how many gates and which way to turn (thank God they had maps of the airport in the skymall magazine) while hungrily watching the stewardess unlatch the door. By the time she got the door open, we were seven minutes past our departure time. Out first was a college age guy. He had no carry-on, kicked off his flip-flops, and took off at a dead sprint. I scooped up the flip flops and shouted after him ‘hold the plane for us’. The whole group (including an old couple) ran like hell from terminal A to terminal C (seriously long run!). I am sure it was amusing for the people waiting for their flights to see a group of people running by at full speed shouting ‘hold the plane’ and whipping their luggage behind them. Anyway, I got to the gate (after what felt like ten minutes of full sprinting) completely out of breath. The stewardesses had held the plane for us all and we were able to stumble on. If they didn’t hold the plane (come on they only had to delay it 20 minutes max…if they didn’t do that, they would be total commie Nazis!) we would all be stuck in Minneapolis for the night. That would have derailed all of my jam packed plans for fun times in Nebraska.

Surprisingly, I awoke early Friday morning even though I got into Gretna around 2am the previous night. Yes Gretna, home of the green and gold…suburb to an Omaha suburb….land of three stop lights, one Runza restaurant, and four gas stations. Yep that pretty much sums up the small town/suburb. Anyway, back to the story, I got up early so I could head out to zoo before the day got too hot. Hot weather + animals = them being lazy and just sitting around/sleeping (well I would to if I was stuck outside in the heat). The Omaha Zoo is amazing! Seriously, I think it is better than San Diego. I have seen both, and maybe I am a bit biased, but SD’s only trump card are pandas (who needs them anyway). The Omaha Zoo just finished building a new ape complex and I was looking forward to seeing it since monkeys and apes are amusing. At one point, one adolescent gorilla pressed his face against the glass and started kissing (looked more like making faces) at the human children pressed up on the other side.

I hit up my favorite exhibits from child hood like the rain forest, sea lions, bears, big cats, and koi pond, but all was dawned in comparison to the aquarium. Yes the aquarium. Those who know me, know I have a thing for sharks. Okay not a sexual thing you perverts, I just am fascinated by them (I even wrote a research paper on their mislabel of ‘man hunters’ in college and it was published, if anything should be called a ‘man hunter’ it should be me, seriously!). The aquarium was rehabbed in the last decade or so and has this ‘shark tunnel’ where you can walk through the massive tank full of sharks. Yeah, I was there for a good half hour or so. Don’t get me wrong, the jellyfish tank and coral reef tanks were pretty as well. Most of my pictures didn’t come out well since the buggers were moving, sheesh! Anyway here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

On my way home from the zoo, I was able to cross two more Nebraska things off my list….eat at Runza and shop at Walmart. Those from Nebraska know that Runza hamburgers and fries are nectar of the Gods! Those not from the area, ask a Nebraskan about Runza and they will talk your ear off about its deliciousness. Alright, since I live in a city with hardly none big-box stores, the glorious cheap prices for household products offered at Walmart is a welcomed sight. I went down the isles grabbing items like cotton balls, toothpaste, detergent, plastic storage containers….ahhh love the low low prices. In NYC, you can either hike out to BFE or pay twice the regular place at a local Bodega or corner shop. The other interesting thing about our local Walmart is that you run into a lot of town folk while there. It is like the water cooler at work where you make polite greetings and dish on town gossip. Oh well it could be worse (like back in the day it was the bowling alley).

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Jersey....only the stong survive

Thursday night was date night with “Swim Boy”. Note “Mr. Rebound” is still in the picture, but he travels so much for work that I figure I am entitled to play the field. Anyway, Swim Boy is the cute, funny, athletic, All-American boy that I met while swimming at the pool (see prior blog post). He had never explored Hell’s Kitchen (aka my hood) so our date was tour del HK. We started off the night at Port 41 which is this dive bar tucked right beside the bus terminal. The area around the bus terminal is super sketchy, so you are probably wondering why that particular bar has appeal. Two words….skee-ball! Okay that may be one word because of the hyphen…whatever, I’m an engineer, not a writer. After two rounds of drinks, I challenged him to a game. Now this guy is super athletic and I am wearing high heels and a dress (hey gotta look cute when on the market), so you could guess who would have the upper hand in the game. Wrong! I smoked him! Seriously, I finished up with 270 thanks to a very erratic ball that magically dropped into the 100 slot and the poor boy only got a measly 160. Hurrah! He demanded a rematch to reclaim his man hood but I refused because I wanted to savor the glory.

Our next stop was the local fav Rudy’s. Not only can you get $3 beers (super cheap), but you can enjoy them out in the beer garden (more like someone’s small Chicago back yard). At Rudy’s, I introduced him to the oh so classy booth seats that consist of duct tape over pleather! He told me he was gearing up for the literature GRE breath test because he wants to attend Yale grad school and eventually teach at some university. Hmm, brains and brawn….gotta go out and get a lotto ticket because my lucky streak is in full force! First Mr. Rebound, now him….dag! Okay okay, not quite everything was perfect. He was the captain of the chess team in high school (ah ha ha) and he lives in Brooklyn (ugh…leaving the island…boo).

Friday night I ventured into the great unknown….New Jersey. Okay the only time I had been in NJ before was when I went to Atlantic City, and I don’t even know if that counts as truly visiting NJ. Anyway, a co-worker was having a BBQ at her newly finished condo out in Jersey City. There are a few towns (Hoboken) along the coast of NJ that are just one or two train stops from the city. My work friend Rob and I left from work and hopped on the PATH train. Being jaded by Chicago and NY subway, I figured there was one train line that went into NJ and it had multiple stops on the same line. Wrong! We ended up dead ended in Hoboken and had to take two more trains to work our way to Jersey City. The train platforms did not have signs that say where the train was heading, so it was a crap shoot to which train would pull in where. Plus the trains only had small lighted signs (dating from 1950 I suspect due to their appearance) above the doors. We must have looked super lost because an old lady walked over and asked us “okay, you surely have never been to NJ before, where exactly do you want to go?”.

The work BBQ was as expected. The highlight was talking to a random real estate Jersey girl (yeah she fitted every Jersey stereotype to a T). She would blurt out things like “feel my guns, I am so buff, yeah but I have a big ass, but I’m tight, feel it come-on feel it”. Plus she had lost her volume control so she was shouting these things out for the world to know. Makes me wonder if I tend to loose volume control when I drink…oh well, could be worse.

Around midnight, I left the party to meet up with Josh in the Village. Little did I know that New Jersey is really Alcatraz and that I would have a hell of a time escaping! Walking the four blocks to the train station was the scariest experience of my east coast tour sofar! Seriously, Jersey City is the sketchiest place on earth, and that says something since I live in a very sketchy area of Chicago. I waited on the train platform for 30 minutes before the train arrived. When it did, I sat on it for another 15 minutes because it was having mechanical problems but would move shortly (yeah shortly my ass!). I finally gave up figuring it was NJ’s way of further annoying city people, and hailed a cab (I got so lucky that there was a cab in the area and it was willing to go to Manhattan). By the time I got into the city, I was fed up and not in the mood to party. Thankfully, Josh had met up with Jeff and Laura in my absence.

Saturday was running and shopping day. I started off the day by waking up early to run 9 miles with my running friend Aimee. She signed up for the half marathon, and I promised to run with her. Little did I know the training would cut into my sleeping in time. Oh well, since the race is in three short weeks. After the run (and a glorious cold shower), I stopped in a newly opened Indian buffet in my hood. I was starved from the run, so I went through three heaping plates and two desserts! Poor guys were probably thinking, how could I go through that much food (I wonder if they thought I was a competitive eater or something). Anyway, I got my $9.99 worth….mmmmnn love Indian food. Later, I headed down to Canal street in Chinatown to score gifts for the family and friends since I would be heading back to good ole Nebraska next weekend. Of course I hit up my favorite basement room of purses for a selection or two. I also checked out the Louis bags from a West African man who told me “stand next to me instead of in front of me so you look like my girlfriend and I don’t get arrested by the cops”. Nothing beats dealing with “cash only” transactions.

Saturday night was low key with Rob, Ali and I lounging out on Rob’s rooftop (see pride parade post). Rob had just returned from a peace corp/structural engineering trip to Guatemala where he volunteered to design/construct a bridge. He goes two or three times a year….yeah ultimate boy scout. Anyway, each time he goes to Central America, he comes back with bottles of moonshine. He says the beer there is so expensive (equivalent to $8 a beer) that everyone just drinks moonshine. You evidently go into a general store and ask for the Coca-cola Blanca and they will pull out an empty two liter bottle and run out into the woods. A few minutes later, they return with the two liter full of clear moonshine. He claimed that they enhance with age (what is this…wine), and he had vintages dating five years back. Well we sampled all the vintages (actually Ali just tried the last one because he said the last time he drank moonshine…Kansas moonshine mind you…he couldn’t see right for a week). They probably would have been better used to remove paint or polish silver, but we sipped them anyway. By 2am, my stomach was fighting with the spirits, so I headed home.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Oh won't you please be my neighbor

Okay here is a random story, but it makes me question the caliber of my neighbors. The apartment I share a paper thin wall with is a one bedroom housing three guys (mid twenties). Okay, three guys sharing a one bedroom is not unusual in NYC since the price of apartments often makes people share a studio. I awoke around midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning to the slamming of a door. Since my bed is pushed up against the share wall (and the fact that our walls transmit sound better than a cell phone) I was able to piece together what was happening on the other side of the wall. Evidently, the girlfriend of one of the guys “got with” one of the other roommates. The boyfriend just found out about the affair and he went on a rampage. At first it was a bunch of yelling and slamming door, then it turned to fist fights! Yeah, when it was just yelling, I was temped to go over and knock to tell them to be quiet. When they started beating the crap out of each other, I decided to stay put in order to avoid any tangential fury.

Well the boyfriend was beating up the roommate before handing out bitch slaps to the girlfriend. I am hearing shouting from the guys, smacks of the fist, wrestling shuffles, furniture breaking/moving, the girl screaming and crying hysterically, smacks across the face, etc. At one point I thought about crawling into my bathtub because it would be safest there in case one of them pulled out a gun. After the dust settled, the third roommate (bystander) was the voice of reason and made them stop (or made the boyfriend stop beating the other roommate). He kept shouting, “stop man, he is hurt, he is bleeding and shit, and his arm is funny, we need to go to the hospital, I’m telling you man he is f-ed up, where is the hospital”. The third roommate and the affair roommate left for the hospital. The boyfriend then went to the sobbing (loud sobbing) girlfriend and said soothing things to her. I couldn’t tell what he said (probably, I do this because I love you, etc) but it was softer and more soothing sounding. Anyway, those two eventually picked up and went to the hospital (I assume since she got part of the wrath).

I was able to get back to sleep (after deadbolt and chain my door and shove a chair under the knob) eventually. No word from them in the morning while I was getting ready. It poses the question; in NYC how well do you really want to know your neighbors?

Grab the is raining men!

Well you know the saying “when it rains…it pours”. Based on my weekend, it was more like “it’s raining men…hallelujah”. I had a very busy weekend picking up men (yeah and it was not even premeditated…gosh I love being a woman).

Friday night I met Josh and Jeff out at Red Lion in the village. They were there to meet up with some girl friends (not girlfriends). Anyway, the young crowd and lack of motivation made me turn in early for the night. Little did I know the chain of events this set into motion.

Because I went to bed early on a Friday night, I woke up early in the morning completely refreshed. I figured, since I am up, why don’t I hit the pool. I waked over to my gym (alright it is the NYC park district pool, but you cannot beat the $75 for a year membership deal). Since it was technically the “beginners” lap swim time, I jumped into the “fastest” lane. See the lanes are set up: (2) slow, (2) medium, (1) fast, and (1) fastest. If you are in the fast or fastest lanes, you better keep pace and only use the crawl/freestyle stroke. If you start pulling out the kickboard or breaststroke, you get mad angry looks and usually a cocky fast swimmer will tell you off for being in the wrong lane. Anyway I was sharing my lane with 3 other male swimmers (hurrah guys in Speedos). Typically the lane has 3-6 people all circling within it which is okay as long as everyone follows proper swim etiquette. The fastest person starts first, you wait till they have a lead you will not swim up on and then you go, repeat for the next person, etc. If done properly, you have everyone continuously swimming in one big counter-clockwise loop. Anyway I was resting with a very wholesome, cute, wiry/ripped man at the end of the lane. We started talking about how the lone “bad/slow swimmer” in our lane was driving us crazy. Basically the guy was mailman-ing (swerving side to side in the lane making it impossible to pass like the old lady driving down a street or mailman, etc). Well the mailman all of a sudden stopped in the middle of the lane and stood up to rest. The fastest (and coincidently the prick of the lane) didn’t stop swimming his route and rammed right into the guy. Well the cute guy and I doubled over in laughter which didn’t bode well with mailman. With his feelings (and probably gut) hurt, he changed to the next lane and continued to sulk for the next half hour.

Anyway, the cute swimmer said he was near the end of his work out but would love to keep talking with me. I also was at the prune point, so decided to end my workout as well. After a quick trip in the locker room, we met up at the ping pong tables. I actually got ready faster than him to which I explained “yeah seeing all the droopy naked women wandering around the locker room doesn’t entice me to linger”. He replied “really, because I feel the opposite about watching the droop old men”. Ah ha ha ha, check two. We walked to a neutral location (I was going north, him south, so we went east), he timidly asked for my phone number so he could swim with me again (he later admitted that he wanted to ask me out on a date but thought that would be too forward since we had both seen each other practically naked….Speedos don’t leave much to the imagination). Hurrah, I’ve still got it…oh and we are going out for skee-ball this week.

That night (Saturday), Bree came over to try out my bargain sangria mix. After eating our fruit serving for the day, we headed out to the Hell’s Kitchen bar “the snug”. We found a comfy bench and talked between ourselves about current issues, hot dog eating, blah blah blah. Well I guess two girls talking to each other while completely ignoring the sausage fest that was the bar, is a green light for guys to introduce themselves. First it was three guys who were in the “entertainment” industry even though they could not produce any credentials. The lone interesting fact was that one of the guys was from Basque, Spain. Now there is another real country between France and Spain (Andorra) and he claims that his territory is also a separate country. I guess France and Spain take turns claiming and invading this piece of land in the valley between two mountain regions. Because they are constantly (or were) under attack, they are known as terrorists because they like to blow things up. Anyway, I talked to some French and Spanish people at work here and they just shrug off his comments as “well yeah those guys are barbarians, but they are officially part of Spain whether they like it or not”.

Finally we rid ourselves of that threesome via curt words and complete lack of interest. Well within five minutes of their departure, another guy approached our table, sat in the chair across from us, and then turned his back on us to watch the TV. Okay the book “the game” talks of this technique – ignore the target – so Bree and I were on to his little ploy before it even began. Whu ha ha ha (evil all knowing laugh). When turned around to acknowledge us, I noticed he had quite the pretty boy face but his trim body was too muscular for my taste. Anyway, he asked us if these guys were our “boys”, and we didn’t know if he meant the three douche-bags who hit on us earlier or the Yankee game playing on the TV. I don’t recall what Bree and I said, but I am sure it was not inviting since we were in no mood to deal with another bad pick up? Like clockwork, his friend swooped in since the introduction should have been made. I blurted out “so are you the wing man” which stunned him for the moment. I guess insults are not the kryptonite that they usually are when the guy is wasted drunk. Poor Bree, she had to put up with him since she was nearer while I made small talk with PB. We were hitting dead ends until I saw that we had the same watch. Okay people tease me because I cannot tell time (I have a digital watch) and love the Velcro band. Anyway, I told him about our matching heart rate monitor/watches and he said “yeah it is great in the pool”. Ding ding ding, he said the magic word. Turns out he is a triathlete and offered to call me next time he goes on a training tour bike ride. Hurrah! In the mean time Bree had to put up with the drunk friend saying “yeah I wanted to come talk to you girls because you both looked plain and I like plain looking girls…blah blah blah verbal vomit”. Okay we look plain? Maybe because we both wore our hair in ponytails, were not blonde, and not wearing pastel pink? Whatever douche-bag. Bree had enough and started telling him how she was going to leave so she could be with her boyfriend….yeah the guy didn’t get the obvious direction to walk away! Bree quickly left the bar and I was on her heels (after giving PB my number incase he ever wants to give me a free meal or show me a new bike trail in the city…win win situation). Bree’s parting comments were “talking to those guys make me appreciate Ali more”….everyone together…awwwwww!

I’ll keep everyone posted on the “Lindsay takes on the NYC dating scene”. Wish me luck…shoot that means I have to start shaving my legs more frequently now. Damn!

There she blows!

Here are pictures from the 4th of July fireworks show on the East River. Rob and I had front row spots on the FDR (around 38th st). We were so close to the action that the seismic booms erupting from the fireworks repeatedly knocked us back and shook the road/overpass. (note this is only a sample of the dozens of pics I took that night. For more, check them out posted in my "myspace" pics)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wiener Winner

If I didn’t love wieners so much, I doubt I could have convinced myself to get up early on a holiday, especially after a very late previous night. I met up with my friends Rob and Dave and headed out to Coney Island for the 4th of July Nathan’s hot dog eating contest! On the train ride down there, we saw quite an interesting character (Rob called him an Andy Warhol wanna-be). I pulled my “oh I am just testing my camera” act and snapped a picture of him. He he he.

Well we had perfect timing (10:50) and were stationed about 20 people back from the competition stage. Within the next ten minutes the area behind us was as deep as you could see. While waiting, they had opening entertainers that included clog dancers, comedians, and some really horrible singers. Rob was so excited about the contest, that he went over to the Nathan’s stand and got a dog for himself (he also ate some of the awful fries and agreed they are terrible). Anyway, the MC was hilarious and said plenty of stuff that they didn’t air (or I assume didn’t air) on ESPN. An hour before the contest, he did the “real” introductions which were about 5 minutes per person. I’m sure the details he quipped about the individual competitors were all bogus, but they were soooo funny. One guy he claimed had named all of his teeth, men on top and women on bottom. He he he. It is amazing all the eating contests the participants had won. I’m talking reining spam, pig knuckle, crystal burgers, and ice cream champs. The black widow Sonja (who is only 105 pounds) reportedly ate 48 dozen oysters in a 10 minutes or so. Yeah that comes out to 576 oysters! She evidently also once ate 11 pounds of cheesecake. What diet is she on?

After the real introductions, they took all the competitors back stage to talk to ESPN. We were left with some hot short sporting skanks who shot t-shirt’s into the crowd. I wonder if those girls’ life long dream was of the one day they would shake their ass before a hot dog eating contest. Next stop, ring girl at an AC boxing match (featherweight division). Sad sad sad life. About 15 minutes before the competition start, the MC brought out the competitors again and did the “tv appropriate” introductions.

Just like a track event or swim meet, they put the top seeds in the middle next to eachother. The reining champ was a tiny Japanese guy Kobi-blah blah blah, you know who he is. He was about to be usurped by a civil engineering student (hurrah), Joey Chestnut, from California. Actually there were two civil engineering students in the field, yeah it figures engineers would be the only ones to sit around and try to figure out how to excel at a sporting event that requires no hand-eye coordination. Anyway the crowd was divided among shouting “Joey” , “Kobe” and “USA” (holla holla to the rednecks). The MC was biased and kept routing for Joey, which was another blow to Kobe since he was suffering from a jaw injury, or was he…my theory to be discussed at the end.

Behind the top three eaters, they had the hot short skanks holding turn numbers that would let the crowd know how many dogs the competitors had downed. In front of each eater was also two or three referees also with turn counters. Well the competition can only be described as thrilling! The top two started out neck and neck with Joey consistently one or two dogs ahead of Kobe. At one time Joey sprinted out to a lead of 5 dogs, but like sprinters, he started waning in towards the mid to end of the time limit. Kobe, the distance runner metaphor, was steady and consistent, and was able to gain ground on Joey as the competition progressed. It is amazing to see how these guys eat hot dogs! Joey had this dance where he would shove in two or three dogs and then shimmy and shake and toss his head up and down like a baying horse. Okay you just have to see it for yourself. Towards the end, both eaters eclipsed the world record and were one dog apart. I found myself jumping up and down and cheering for Joey. In the final twenty seconds, Joey’s flip card turned to 63. A second or two later, Kobe’s also flipped to 63. In the remaining seconds, both Joey and Kobe shoved three dogs into their mouths. Then the buzzer went off! Evidently, the final push was too much for Kobe and he spit out the three dogs (I think ESPN was showing that throw up scene in slow motion). Like a good American, Joey swallowed the dogs and took the Mustard Belt with a total of 66 hot dogs and buns!

Okay he didn’t just beat the previous world record (and his personal best) of 59.5, he shattered it. Come on, surpassing your best by 6.5 dogs when most people could not eat that much in 12 minutes, what a feat! My theory on Kobe was that the jaw injury was fake. He knew that Joey was capable of surpassing him, so he throws out word of a disadvantage. This way, if he looses, it was because of the injury, if he wins, then it would be a spectacular upset. Anyway, Kobe’s previous personal best was 56 dogs, so for him to beat his record by 10 (well actually 7 if you count the three he spit out), you know he must have been operating on all cylinders. Well that or some kick ass pain drugs.

After the contest, the three of us went to the side show. Okay this is Coney Island…aka the most glamorous dump on the east coast, so the side show follows in that image. We saw a guy put a screw driver, nail, and eventually a drill up his nose. He also later juggled chainsaws. Also there was a girl who did a sexy dance with a big boa constrictor (they advertised that she would be dancing with a deadly poisonous snake…errr wrong, boas are constrictors and not poisonous). A hot young girl swallowed swords and later climbed into a box before thrusting 20 steel blades into it. The wolfman (guy with serious hair overgrowth on his face) came out and walked the tight rope, granted it was only suspended four feet and he walked a total of five steps…hey remember Coney Island. The best act was the fire eater. Her routine was extremely polished and on cue with the music. She ate fire, lit her arms and hands on fire, held a flame in her mouth. In the finale of the act, she took a sip from her flask, winked at the crowd, and then blew a flame from her mouth 10 feet in the air! Seriously impressive except the whole place stunk of kerosene afterwards. My fav was the sign advertising that the performers were "all real and all alive", as if they would wheel out dead Doug for his amazing feat of lying perfectly still! Ah ha ha.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

So who exactly are you...

The weekend was relatively quiet since everyone was gearing up for the big 4th of July holiday. Friday night I attended the play of an eccentric friend Crystal. I have been to another of her plays and I would describe them as intellectual and thought provoking (if you read between the lines, I did a lot of head scratching and conferring with other attendees). Well the play took place at the Avenue B gardens in the East Village. Now this area is home to a very large random sculpture/tower and is the basic starving artist setting for the Broadway Show Rent. On a side note, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp are coming back for a few weeks to reprise their roles as the original Roger and Mark. I have got tickets and cannot wait to see them in person. Anyway, the bad idea of the night was to wear heels to the play. Since it took place at several places throughout the garden (hence walking and constant motion), I kept aerating the soil! At one point I almost tumbled over when my heel got stuck in a soft spot but thankfully my friend Tony grabbed me in time.

Sunday was date night with the new boy. He had been in LA on business all week, so the hormones were happy to finally see him. I am quite jealous since he spent Saturday at a Playboy Mansion party! Yeah, his LA friend knew of a charity event, and for a small donation, you could get a table and party with the bunnies. He was able to tour the mansion and grounds and pose with the bunnies. Now I am a huge fan of the E channel (back when I got the channel) series “Girls Next Door” which follows around Hugh’s three blonde girlfriends. After my encouraging, he spilled the details and talked about how disgusting the grotto was. Basically all along the path leading to the grotto was people having sex. When you got to the pool, it was again full of naked intercourse swinger couples. I don’t know what they use to clean the water (ewww) but I hope it is part turpentine and bleach!

Now Monday was a great day. I have been checking the IL state licensing board website religiously for the past few days because rumors that they would post the PE test results were circling. My Chicago friend (and former coworker) called to say he had his results (he passed), so I looked up my name. Hurrah I have passed (more in an impromptu blog post). Later that day I was asked to go to the Yankee’s game as a special treat for passing (double hurrah!). Now I am not a baseball fan, but see a Yankee’s game is on the NYC to do list (I’ve already crossed off Mets game on Mother’s day). Well Roger Clemens was pitching that night, and I guess he is some hero or icon in baseball or something. For an old guy (in professional sports) he pitched 8 solid innings before some closer came in on the 9th. While at the game with my host (work friend Rob), I ran into my old roomie Jordan and his girlfriend Ashley. They had season tickets just a few seats from us! Anyway, the Yankee’s won and it was Clemens’ 350th win. Pity they did not have a big fireworks display or a dancing apple like the Mets. Oh and I think the pic of the guy wearing the Clemens shirt pointing at Clemens was a great snap of mine. Pat patty pat on the back back back.

Tuesday night was a night of drinking since I did not have to get up early for work (I did end up getting up early to head out to the hot dog eating contest…blog post to come). I met Josh, Jeff, Bree, and Ali out at the local Scruffy Duffy’s. Later we headed down to SoHo to meet up with Bree’s friend. Now one big difference between Hell’s Kitchen and SoHo is the price of drinks. I ordered a cranberry and vodka and for $11 you get a tiny tiny tiny glass with a whole lotta cranberry juice. Seriously, my drink was blood red and tasted like um well JUICE! If I am paying that much for a three sip drink, then it better be laced with diamonds or crack or something!

While at the spring street SoHo bar, we started discussing commercials. That lead to the new cavemen TV series and how it will run out of material fast. Well we were approached by a mid 20’s guy who interrupted the group and asked “hey I hear you are talking about television, do you all work in television?”. Ummm…no. We all gave him a confused look because if you are talking about the space shuttle launch doesn’t automatically mean you are a rocket scientist! For some reason he didn’t believe us and proceeded to ask what we each did for a living. I wanted to say, “I’m an engineer, a professional engineer, I have the stamp to prove it” but that would up my geek factor to twelve.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Test Results!

Okay the big news of the day….I passed the PE test! If you recall from one of my April posts, the test was a horrible mental raping. I have never been so mentally defeated. Thankfully I either guessed incredibly correct (when in doubt, B) or the entire group did so horrible that they lowered the passing score. Anyway, I now will get a little rubber stamp that bears “Professional Engineer”. To think one little stamp completely validates the last ten years of my life! Oh well, at least I have a sense of accomplishment for all my hard work, sweat, and headaches.