Monday, April 11, 2011

long time ...

but i wasn't actually away.  due to some ridiculously exciting recent life events, this blog has moved to:

Monday, January 31, 2011

more snow

woo a new pair of (sensible, even) boots (have i mentioned how much i love boots?) ... and more snow on the way.  i may just have to dig through my closet to try to find something appropriate for immersion in cold, wet snow so i can go out to play tonight.  we'll see how long i can last.

here's to hoping the midwest doesn't steal all the snow before it gets here ... i want MORE!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

first date game

last night, i was reminded of how happy i am to no longer have to endure the awkward ordeal of going on a first date.  j and i went out for thai (at the aptly named thai terminal in the east village - the food was great, but the ambiance leaves a little to be desired - it was a bit like sitting in a terminal ... but yummy food).  because it's nyc and a restaurant only occupies about 15 square feet, you are quite cozy with the parties beside you - it's like your neighbors are sitting at the very same table.  last night, we had the joy of joining a couple on what was obviously their first date ... and what sounded like the first time they had ever met.  oh the joys of internet match making.  we overheard awkward discussions of whether someone is or has to be a dog person versus a cat person, followed by an even more awkward discussion of why the woman hated wearing glasses.  my favorite quote of the night was the man saying, "i think it's really funny when glasses fog up when people are outside."  have i mentioned how happy i am to not have to deal with awkward first dates?  to be fair, there can be some excitement about a first date too - the future for them was a great big question mark.  the future for us included a stop at a store on the way home to pick up dish soap.

after we left, j shared his brilliant idea of how we should have coped with the experience of sharing that couple's first date: we should have pretended we were also on a first date and then attempted to out-awkward the competition (and hey, at least the other couple would go away feeling a little better about their experience when they compare notes with the weirdos sitting next to them).  on the walk home, j and i started thinking about all of the eyebrow-raising, gut-wrenching, mouth-dropping things we could have said.  "i'm a real animal lover - i own 13 rats and a canary."  "my doctor gave me some cream for it, and i've been feeling so much better since."  "i had to get restraining orders for my last 3 exes, so i'm just so thrilled to be out with someone normal for a change."  "who's your favorite jersey shore character?"  "i had what i really think must have been a psychic dream about this date - i just know we are going to fall in love." "my friends didn't really like your profile that much, but i thought you were cute."

also on the walk home, we happened to walk by the coolest snow octopus.  i wish i could say i had made it (or i wish i had gone to the park and actually made a really cool snow sculpture) ... but let's be honest, anything below 30 degrees fahrenheit is like absolute zero to me: every cell in my body stops functioning.   and while i really, really love snowmageddons, most of my outerwear was chosen more for its frilly prettiness than it was for its functionality for romping around in the snow.  for some reason, i had been under the impression that the city really didn't get much snow and/or that snow didn't really stick around here.  but ... someone made a pretty awesome snow octopus in front of St. Mark's Church in the east village.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

holiday scenes in nyc

because i'm no longer in nyc, today's post will just be a collection of holiday scenes (the numbers in the picture refer to the dec. 16 post).

#7 free gift wrapping
a picture of random strangers with an fao schwartz soldier:

#10 fao schwartz soldier
the decorations suspended above fifth avenue

giant snowflake above 5th avenue

Monday, December 20, 2010

yay real kitchen!

today i got to enjoy something i've abandoned all hope of ever possessing while living in nyc: a real kitchen (and by real, i mean larger than 25 square feet).  woo hoo!  i did some more holiday baking ... decorating will follow in the next couple days.  pictures to come ...

review of the bolt bus to boston

why i love the bolt bus from nyc to boston (er... okay, love is a strong word ... swap out "love" for "occasionally tolerate"):

1. it's cheap

2. it does not involve radiation and naked 3D photographs or groping by questionable security officials

3. (some of) the seats have electrical outlets and the bus promises free wi-fi

4. at least one driver begins the voyage by asking if anyone knows the way to boston.  enjoyed him.

how the bolt bus could improve:

1. make good on that wi-fi promise (i.e., yes, technically it exists ... but if it is not possible for people to use it because there is not enough of it to go around (resulting in no one using any of it), i don't think that really counts).

2. signs.  they need more signs.  for example, a sign on the inside of the bathroom door to inform well-intentioned passengers that the floor is not the appropriate disposal receptacle for their chewing gum.  and a sign requesting that passengers treat tuna fish like the dirty little secret it is - as something to be shamefully consumed in private ... not devoured in confined public spaces, where its nasty odor can waft over into the nostrils of the innocents.  or how about a sign on 34th street that clearly distinguishes the philly bus from the boston bus?

what happens now: during the 30-60 minutes before a bus arrives, passengers begin arriving on the street corner.  they walk around confused, happening upon a line that someone has started somewhere (the line has not been started by an employee of the bolt bus - if they are even around, they will tell you that the spontaneously formed single file of passengers "is not a line because the bus is not even here yet").  the newcomers might ask around to find out if they are in the right place: "is this for boston?" "are you going to boston at" (fill in a time)?  they derive a modicum of comfort from discovering that others intend to board the same bus they do or they walk around looking for something else vaguely resembling a line.  or maybe they are confused because the bus everyone else intends to board should have left 15 minutes previously. but no one is really sure of anything.  if an employee happens to be around, some passengers might ask him/her for information, only to discover s/he doesn't really have any.  then on their way back to their place in the single file of strangers, others will ask them what they found out.  the strangers then play telephone with the message that no one knows anything.
eventually a bus pulls up to a curb.  either the uninformed employee who happened to be there with the masses or an employee who has materialized out of nowhere softly makes the announcement of a destination and a time.  the masses who do not intend to go to this destination play telephone with the announcement, passing it along down the line that is not really a line.  the people who intend to board the bus suddenly make a mad dash to throw their bags in the luggage compartment and mob the entrance to the bus (and then we learn why the line was not a line ... yet it seems to form itself again and again before each bus arrives, even though the only purpose i could see it serving would be to keep the masses from rioting in disputes regarding who had arrived first (before, of course, they realize such distinctions are futile).   then the employee recites the first few letters of the alphabet ("a! anyone for a?"), pausing while harried travelers shove through the crowd toward the door of the bus.  some flash pieces of paper in front of his/her face, while others hold up their handheld electronic devices.  sometimes the employee looks at what they are showing him/her as they file past and finally board the bus.  other times, the employee is distracted by a compelling discussion with his/her coworker. eventually, by some dark magic, everyone ends up on the bus, seated with their carry-ons stowed.

3.  related to #2, some system of keeping employees abreast of which bus is which ... or some expectation that they communicate their knowledge to their customers

4. heat.  no, i don't mean on the bus (though it was a little on the chilly side for me).  i mean a heated waiting area.  it is cold when you are standing still on the streets of nyc in mid-december waiting for a bus that no one is sure will really arrive until it actually does.  in fairness, the outdoor "terminal" situation is probably not really bolt's fault.  bolt has its own terminals at the station in boston (and boarding there is quite organized).  maybe space is at such a premium in nyc they have been unable to secure ideal space.  or maybe they do enough business they don't care about securing something resembling a terminal in nyc.  i don't know.  i just know it is cold waiting for that bus.

5. in the summer, functional air conditioning for the entire bus (not just the first half of the bus).

6. functional seats.  yes, i understand that maybe you want to advertise that (some of) your buses have leather seats because maybe this is a major selling point for many (first-time/uninitiated?) customers.  but to those who equate leather with comfortable, let me explain something.  the seats are about 2" thick (warning: that might be a slight exaggeration - maybe it is closer to 4 or 5 inches? i'll have to pay closer attention if we need to use the bus again ... but they are thin).  and the actual seat part (you know, the butt cushion) falls considerably short of at least 2 of the passengers' knee pits.  as in, constant effort is required to prevent oneself from falling out of the seat.  to their credit, i think perhaps the bolt bus engineers must have known this could be a problem.  they installed foot rests beneath the seats so that passengers in each successive row could brace themselves.  (unfortunately, the first row lacks a bracing apparatus ... but passengers riding in this row have seat belts so that they can strap themselves in to prevent themselves from falling out of their seats).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

nyc scavenger hunt, part 2

the last saturday before Christmas is quite possibly the worst day of the season to do the holiday scavenger hunt.  i guess a lot of cattle were expected to come through midtown because the police had set up barriers on every block to keep the anticipated herds on the sidewalk and off of all the streets ... fortunately, when the traffic signals indicated the appropriate time, the police did open up the gated corrals to allow people to cross the streets.  seriously, i'm no fan of weekends in midtown pretty much ever ... but this was sidewalk cholesterol at its highest level.

but we had friends visiting today (including a), so we did the scavenger hunt today anyway.  and we had fun.

we probably actively hunted scavengers for about 2.5 - 3 hours in total (we had a side expedition of finding somewhere a group of six could sit together for reasonably priced, tasty lunch).  because we ran out of time, we didn't make it to a few locations.  our scavenger hunt score was a mere 20.  we'll have to try again next year.

when the picture taking involved random strangers, we found others surprisingly happy to stop and let us take pictures of their bags or their pets.  the only damper on the whole day was the crummy bakery by the name of crumbs bake shop (on 8th street in the village).  three of our group went into the bakery to try to find a holiday cake on display.  they were promptly reprimanded for photographing the merchandise (even when they innocently pointed out they were merely on a scavenger hunt).

so ... you don't want anyone to take a picture ... are you afraid someone will try to duplicate your designs?  because:
a) as one member of our group pointed out, if someone really cared to do that, they could buy one of your little cupcakes, take it home, and really study it in order to duplicate it (were such study necessary).
b) i hate to break it to you, but in this age of cake decorating insanity, there is nothing particularly special about your designs (if we are conceding to call rolling a cupcake in sprinkles a design)
c) you post pictures of your products online ... and i'm going to tell you what i tell all the social networking teenagers i love: be careful what you put on the internet; anyone could see it.
and d) seriously?  you're concerned about someone stealing your work?  the cupcake that is currently featured most prominently on your site is black with a white swirly pattern across the top ... and it looks exactly like a hostess chocolate cupcake.

but i should be fair.  maybe hostess stole the design from you ... maybe that is why you are a little extra sensitive.  either way, you may want to rethink pairing that cupcake with the statement, "You can enjoy your favorite Crumbs treats in the comfort of your own home - just like Mom used to bake."  let's try to ignore the referent ambiguity (did Mom used to bake your home?  was she baking your comfort?).  but still, if anyone was eating those cupcakes in the comfort of their own homes, it wasn't because Mom baked them.  it was because she bought them from the "not-really-food-but-will-survive-nuclear-war-and-winter" section of the grocery store.

#31 giant Christmas lights

#3 a person riding a fish