Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wino slug fest!

Amy Winehouse, gotta smack some bitches before the emphysema totally kicks in. I hope no one paid for this performance...
I think a drunken Colleen sang this song better karaoke-ing in Myrtle Beach :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Everyone loves a pregnant girl.

So I was reading my Time magazine the other day, and apparently there’s a high school in Gloucester, Mass. where 17 girls in the senior class were preggers. Things in this small fishing town seemed a bit “fishy” when girls were coming to the school clinic and getting tested for pregnancy multiple times, and then seeming disappointed if the results were negative.

After some questioning of these biddies, school administrators were able to find out that the girls made a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. You know, like when you talk with your friends and say things like “let’s all live on the same street and our kids will be best friends.” Only they the whole buying houses near each other step and just going right to the shootin’ out a baby phase of the process.

The principal also found out some information about one of the baby daddys that probably made the girl’s parents a bit uncomfortable. And anyone else who hears it: “We found out one of the guys is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head. First of all, if you were the principal of this school, would you really release this information to the press? That some messed up girl in your school wanted a baby so bad she banged a homeless dude? She couldn’t find some horny high school guy? I think she wasn’t looking hard enough.

And forget celebrating high school sports—these girls cheerlead for the baby-making team. Apparently after the girls found out they were pregnant in the clinic, some reacted to the news by high-fiving each other and making plans for baby showers. Sure, the miracle of life is something to celebrate, but do these girls realize they’re going to have stretch marks at the age of 17? I wonder if they’ll still be raisin’ the roof when they’re changing diapers.

I think the most ironic part is the fact that when the school nurse and doctor decided that maybe they should make birth control available in this school of fertilized eggs, they got resistance, even from the mayor. “Dr. Orr and Ms. Daly have no right to decide this for our children,” said Mayor Carolyn Kirk. Orr and Daly resigned in protest.

And I agree with them. I resign too. To the fact that teenage girls are crazy!!!! Sleepovers galore! We can talk about cute boys, baby names, stroller companies, and natural childbirth.

Count me in.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

…and five things I like about nyc.

With the aim of not sounding like a completely ungrateful Miserable Marci, I’ve decided to include a list of things I *like* about living here in the Big Apple. Well there’s one thing right off the bat. The apples I mentioned in the previous post (that I spilled all over the ground) are actually delicious, some of the best apples I’ve ever had. And now with that glass half full attitude we all love to hate, here’s a list of 5 things I kinda like about my new lifestyle:

1. being able to go to Yankees’ games.
I love the Bronx Bombers! And it’s cool that when I have nothing to do at work I can just browse craiglist and/or stubhub and score some bleacher seats to basically whatever game I want. Even a game on a weeknight! Sure, the two games I’ve been to so far have been extreme cases in weather (the hottest 98 degree Sunday afternoon ever and a Wednesday night hour and a half rain delay), but nothing compares to hanging at Yankee stadium, hearing the girl in the row behind me talk on her cell phone about how “fucking hot Derek Jeter is,” and watching the field crew dance to the YMCA during the seventh inning stretch. You can almost see little thought bubbles emerging from their heads—“this whole dancing thing is not worth seeing every game for free.” But it really is worth it.
best part about this nyc perk: the Jason Giambi “power of the stash” graphic they put on the video screens when he bangs a hit out.

2. hanging with my bro.
Another key to things that make me happy around here is the fact that my broseph is around to chill with. He’s been here since his college days, so not only is he a good guy to cook dinner with after a hard day at the office, but he’s a reliable resource to call for: directions anywhere, what to do when the subway is being worked on and they won’t take me to my usual stop, and what plays are good to see. Even though he takes offense to my rants about hating city-life, he’s a good guy to have around none-the-less for some family when you need it most. And his friends are funny, too!
best part about this nyc perk: he always walks to my apartment to hang out so I can maximize laziness

3. Jersey City/the Chili’s in Jersey City
I love Jersey City. My friend Hoover lives there in this amazingly huge, bright, beautifully decorated apartment that I like to refer to as home on the weekend. Sleeping on the orange couch in the room formerly known as the “no girl’s allowed” room just makes me very happy. It’s so much quieter then the city, there’s a real live shopping mall just down the street, they’ve got a sick view of the city (it’s nicer to be outside looking in), and the kicker – a pool! Who would have thought I could find a place to plant myself next to a beautiful chlorinated oasis and suck up the hot rays of the sun in New York? After my stint in LA last summer, I’ve got to keep at my run towards skin cancer. There’s already some suspicious spots on my neck…

But back to Jersey City. Because even though everything I’ve told you about the Disney World of an apartment complex Hoover lives in is great, I haven’t shared the best part. There’s a Chili’s across the street. Only the greatest restaurant ever. Just thinking of those frozen margaritas and bottomless baskets of salty chips and salsa makes the sides of my mouth turn up in a slight grin. This quickly changes to a full, blown out SMILE once I step inside. The wait staff is friendly, the drinks are tasty, and the Cajun Chicken Sandwich is out of this world. I’ve been there at least once a weekend since my nyc debut, and I’m looking forward to keeping that up.
best thing about this nyc perk: big screen tv’s, PJ Ryan’s, and a rockstar bartender named Jamal.

4. my unlimited ride metro card.
If I’m going to be forced to ride these devil trains, I may as well be able to swipe my damn card anytime I want. Unlimited access to the subway kind of feels like being a VIP at a party you didn’t want to go to in the first place. But hey, as long as you’re there you might as well be treated like royalty…

Well I guess just because I pre-pay for my subway rides every month doesn’t make me much of a celebrity. But it’s satisfying every time I walk by the people standing in line at the machines to buy their LIMITED ride subway cards. Because with my metro card, traveling the humid tunnels of underground Manhattan…is limitless.
best thing about this nyc perk: gas prices up the wazoo.

5. Ithaca people. everywhere.
Who would have guessed that after I graduated college I would come in contact with more Ithaca people than nyc people? We pretty much own the place I where work, the copywriter above me graduated the year before me, as did three account people on the floor above me, and a senior level guy here graduated about 20 years ago. Which may explain the tendency to hire new Ithaca-grads…

All of the Jersey City people I love to stay with are Ithaca people, and we even ended up at a bar on Saturday night in Manhattan that was just opened—by an Ithaca grad! Who was a senior when we were freshman…he’s doing pretty well for himself.

And in the bathroom at that bar, as I stood by the sink, I saw a girl who was in one of my classes in college who told me to send her my resume and she’d get me a job! And all I had to do was wash my hands!

Thanks, all of Ithaca, for moving to nyc so I can see you and make those so called important “connections” people keep saying are so important to get a job. And it’s pretty nice to see people you know around in a big scary place as well.
best thing about this nyc perk: seeing a guy wearing a Cortaca Jug shirt on the subway.

JC Penney loves Teenage Sexcapades??

hehehe a fake JC Penney's commercial. Apparently the company's got their knickers in a knot about it. They don't want loyal mom shoppers to turn in their JC Penney credit cards because the company condones their kids gettin' it on...

Monday, June 23, 2008

noticed something watching Friends tonight...

New Yorker.

So I moved to New York City. For the summer at least (an internship and a sublet won't get me past August, so if I want to stay I've got some work to do). I wanted to write something about an aspect of being here, everyone's been asking how it is, how I like it. But I couldn't really decide what to focus on. And a writer with no focus produces work that (usually) is hard to focus on.
So I sifted through my impressions of the city, things I could comment on. And I've come up with a list of let's say… 6 things that I would like to talk about in regard to my new place of residence. Here they are (in no specific order) –

1. Subways.
I really had to give up my beautiful blue spaceship car to ride in these crowded, dirty, loud, uncomfortable underground railroads? Every morning, despite the fact that I have to wake up before I feel like it and go sit inside for eight hours while the sunshine of the outdoors is begging to shine down on my pre-cancerous bronzed skin, I also have to wait in a muggy, smelly subway station until a train rolls in and I finally think, "thank goodness, air conditioning." Until it brakes with the sound of Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act 2 dragging her fingernails against the blackboard and the doors open to already full cabins of miserable people going to their miserable jobs and I have to file in with the masses and push and shove my way into this horrible train I don't even want to be so it can take me to a place I don't even want to go.

And once you get on a train, even though it takes you out of the horribly humid, hot station, you are forced to stand in uncomfortably close quarters with strangers you don't want to be near. And there's always that one person who shoves themselves into the space right by the doors that they don't fit in right after the helpful, polite robotic subway man has clearly stated "stand clear of the closing doors please, " so then everyone who was already shoved into the train car gets pushed that much closer to one another.

And then there are the metal bars that you must clench in your once-clean hands to ensure that you don't get jostled into the passengers around you. Because even though people are for the most part very apologetic and understanding on the subway about people accidentally brushing against others, there's always one person who genuinely takes offense to the fact that someone has nudged them and feels the need to respond with an over aggressive "Excuse me," or a comment to a friend they are standing near about how "bitches will best stop bumping me or I'll smack them." To which I always respond to (in my thoughts, for fear of starting a subway riot) with "we're on a really crowded subway I'm sure they don't really want to touch your gross body anyways but thanks for making everyone else's morning that much more pleasant with your passive aggressive bullshit. Why don't you just really smack someone so we can get the party started and do this up right?"

And when I finally get to my destination, it's a struggle to weave through the mess of people, around the group of tourists who somehow find it enjoyable to "culture themselves" by standing around a group of musicians who are playing as loud as they can in the echoing enclosed space of the muggy subway station, around the slow moving people who apparently enjoy moseying around the ol' subway station and finally file up the stairs until you hit the light of day again. And your cell phone commences to work once more.

Even though gas prices are at an all-time high and blah blah blah, every morning (and evening) during my commute I yearn to sit in my car with the windows down and one of my cd's blaring. I almost miss sitting in the horrifying LA traffic last summer on the way home from work. Because I'd much rather rock out to my jams in the privacy of my clean, personal vehicle than turn my I pod up way to high for my ear's sake, attempt to not fall forward and make out with the weird man standing face to face with me in the jammed packed compartment, and try to drown out the most horrible sound of all – "Ladies and gentlemen we are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us."

2. My Apartment (specifically, my bedroom)
So my apartment is in Brooklyn, in the hipster neighborhood of Williamsburg, and I guess it's not too bad of an area. But the apartment is small. Very small. And my bedroom is – very, very small. If I was some sort of gnome I might be rejoicing, but since I am a full-grown person with lots of things I like to keep in my room, it's not the ideal situation. I don't mind the cramped space, there's just enough space to fit my bed, nightstand, small fold up table for my computer and the closet provides just enough space to shove in most of my clothing, but the kicker is that there's no windows. A room with no windows.

I could walk in the room at one in the afternoon and it would be dark. If there were no clock on my nightstand, I'd never know what time it was. My body is confused. It wakes up in the morning and wonders why it is the same level of darkness that it was when I went to bed. It tells me, "don't get up yet – it's still dark." But it's not still dark in any normal room with windows. It's just still dark in my small dungeon room.

And when it gets hot – like two weekends ago when it was reaching the high 90's to 100 degrees, my apartment becomes a pressure cooker of heat and sweat. Just sitting on the couch produces the sweat output of a hard 30-minute run, and fans must be dragged out and positioned in front of wherever your immediate position is in order for living to even be tolerable.

But it gets worse. When it's really hot and you live in the room with no windows, your room is UNBEARABLY hot. Like, so humid you can't breathe and all you have is a small fan that hardly even helps because the small amount of cool air it produces cannot cut through the heavy heat filled air that is stifling around your room and you're sweating even with no sheets on you and by the slight chance that you actually fall asleep in your uncomfortable state, you wake up naked because your natural body's response has been to rip all clothes off to try and survive. And you're still sweaty. You get the idea.

So that's the deal with the small apartment.

3. Nowhere to Work Out
So at school, in return for me paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to sit in several classes every day, I also got a free membership to the Ithaca College gym. Which actually was a very nice gym. If you got there before or after the 4 o’clock treadmill rush, you could basically do any workout you pleased with the equipment there – they even had rowers and the girl-sized padded bar weights. But here, in the city of dreams, I can’t afford a gym. There’s actually a place by my work that’s touting it’s big “Summer Sale!” with banners outside and brochures on a little table. So I picked up one of these handouts and called about it (I should have known it was out of my price range when the prices weren’t specifically stated on the postcard…) For one month, their special price is $219. Now I don’t know how much other gyms cost around here, because I haven’t really shopped around too much, but if I decided to take this summer gym deal, it would cost me about one-sixth of my hefty intern salary. And the little apartment I live in – would be an additional 2/3 of my monthly stipend. So going to a gym is not in the stars for me. It would mean that I definitely couldn’t afford to eat at Chili’s in Jersey City once or twice a weekend. And if I can’t do that, it’s not worth getting up in the morning.

On the brightside, there is a park about a half-mile from my apartment. With a track! While this is a free easy place to go run and stay in shape, it is always absurdly crowded. With runners, walkers, little kids riding their bikes on the track, people playing numerous soccer/Frisbee games on the field in the middle of the track, racquetball court players, families just sitting around, and teenagers just hanging around on the track. Now I’m not that anti-social that I hate being around people, I just hate being around them when I’m trying to work out and they are in my way. I don’t mind weaving in and out of the other joggers/walkers when I’m trying to run around the track and no one is following the convention of leaving the inside lanes open for faster runners, but I also have to be on constant lookout for stray soccer balls, Frisbees, racquetballs, and teenagers moseying around the track. The first time I was there I was in my running zone when all the sudden I was struck on the leg, mid-stride, by a soccer ball. I didn’t fall or anything, but it scared me! And if it happens again, and I was to fall, it would be so embarrassing because of the sheer amount of people around hanging out at the track.

And who hangs out at a track anyways? Teenagers, the country is talking about the absurd amount of overweight young Americans, and I’m glad you are taking note. But merely planting yourself at the track and hanging out with friends while others struggle to run around you to get by does not qualify as exercise. Lace up those running shoes and get moving.
It’s also hard for me because I was really getting good at pull-ups (or assisted pull ups on the machine at least). But now I have nowhere to practice my sub par pull-ups, no machine, and even if I could find a bar I wouldn’t be able to pull myself up even once. Come to think of it, that may be my own fault for being too weak to lift my own bodyweight. I’ll work on that.
So I guess there is a place to workout if I really want to – the track is sufficient, and I even have room in my little backyard to swing my 20 lb kettlebell around. It’s just hard to leave the comforts of a gym and end up at an overcrowded track. With no rowers.

4. Elevators at Work
Going to work isn’t something I necessarily enjoy. And once I’m there, even getting to my desk becomes a hassle. Riding the elevator up to my floor (36 out of 38) is a task that takes forever. First, the wait in the lobby for the elevator to arrive seems to take forever, and if you’re there during rush hours (anytime around 9:30 in the morning or lunch time), as you wait for an elevator to arrive more and more people flood the waiting area. So when the “ding” of the elevator finally arrives, you have to be strategically placed in front of the correct elevator door to have a chance of squeezing in.

Then the ride begins. I’m usually squished somewhere near the back or side of the small enclosed area, and I’m glad that I am not a person who is frightened by riding elevators, because it’s not a straight shot of a ride. We usually stop about at about 7 to 8 floors before we finally reach my humble floor of 36. And since the car is so packed, once you get to each floor its usually the person standing all the way in the back who says “excuse me,” and then everyone files out, giving them room to exit, and then everyone files back in, ready to stop at the next floor. It’s also funny when the jam packed car stops at a floor and the doors open to someone waiting to get on who takes one look at the full to the brim elevator, looks confused for a moment as if they want to try to squeeze in but know they really can’t do it, then steps back and lets the door close once again.
And lastly, probably the most uncomfortable part is the unwritten rule of elevators that you can’t really talk to people who you don’t know, but in the case of this elevator, you’re actually with them for an extended period of time. At least long enough to make an acquaintance. Or even a friend. But instead you just stand looking up at the floor numbers and count how many are lit up, mere stepping stones on your way up to your desk.

5. Grocery Shopping / Laundry-doing
As I mentioned before, I gave up my wonderful car when I moved here because of the availability of the wonderful subway system and lack of parking. One thing that my car had is a lot of trunk space. For groceries. Let’s compare the amount of groceries I can carry in my car:

To the amount of groceries I can manually carry the six blocks home from the grocery store:

As you can see, the difference is staggering. And the other thing about the grocery store (besides the fact that anywhere you go that’s not Wegman’s is a downgrade), is that you have to go to the grocery store for most items, and then a separate store for your fruits and vegetables. Why must we make things more complicated than they have to be? And as I showed before, since I don’t have my car for transport and two hands can’t hold that much, it’s always a task to carry all the grocery bags and make sure all the fruit and veggies don’t fall on the floor. Last week I spilled my apples all over the store. Not only embarrassing, but I had to eat bruised apples all week.

The last problem I have with grocery stores here is that they don’t have all the things I like! Last week they didn’t even have original Triscuits. Only those weird flavors. Come on, get the plain ones.

I’ve also decided to group laundry doing into this itemized rant because it is another chore that is made harder because it takes a five-minute walk to get to. Then you must get about 5 dollars worth of quarters to get just one load done. And since I don’t really want to spend hours of my day sitting in the Laundromat, I have to walk there, drop my stuff off, walk home, do something that cannot last more than 20 minutes, walk back, transfer to dryer, walk home, do something that cannot last more than 50 minutes, then go back to get my clean clothes. I miss the days when doing laundry meant walking into the room next to mine throwing my stuff in (for free!) then leaving it there until I felt like moving it. Or my roommates yelled, “Whose stuff is in the dryer!” Then I simply had to walk next door and get it. Those were the days.

6. Crowds and/or Noise
And the last item that I can think of that really upsets me as a New Yorker is the fact that it’s always loud. And crowded. Wherever you go. Whenever I’m doing any of the other things in New York that upsets me (subway riding, grocery shopping, etc) it is usually accompanied by loud noises and lots of people. Even just walking down the street involves careful weaving through and around people, and even when you’re just standing on the subway, the squealing of the train on the track can sometimes be enough to make your face scrunch up.

For example, I’ll get out of work and want to chat with someone on my phone as I walk down the street, but we won’t be able to have a conversation of any sorts because a bus or truck will be motoring by, people are yelling, cars are beeping for no apparent reason other than to promote noise pollution, and some sort of emergency vehicle will have it’s siren blaring and will be headed in my direction. Apparently anytime I talk on my cell phone triggers an emergency of some sort. Maybe I should lay off the calls and numerous fires/crimes will be avoided.

And even if you are walking down the street with someone who is physically present, right there next to you, there are numerous times in a two block radius where you cannot hear a thing they are saying. And sometimes, if you want to walk briskly, you’ll lose the person you’re with completely. Especially when you’re in high traffic areas (Times Square) crossing a street. It’s a block of people crossing a block of people and it’s hard enough not to smack into anyone without trying to stay next to your friend as well.

And get this - the subways are so loud when they roll into the station, or even when you are on them, that I can have my I pod buds in my ears, and have the music turned almost all the way up, and not hear anything except the roar of the train. Which I think is probably really bad for my ears. So mostly now I just reserve myself to the fact that I can’t leisurely listen to music when on the train, but instead I have to hear the loud sounds of the underground subway machine. And whatever crying kid is on my subway car.

And it’s not like I don’t like people—I think people are very wonderful for the most part; I’m not a hermit or anything—but I hate large crowds of people. When they prevent me from doing something, like moving. Or getting where I want to go. And that seems to happen a lot here.

So, there you have it. 6 reasons preventing me from buying a 5$ tee shirt from the next street vendor I see and proudly proclaiming to the world:

And I would like to take this last sentence to apologize for sounding like a huge miserable Debbie Downer throughout this whole post.

“But Marci, there are so many things to do in New York, you’re lucky to be living in a city where dreams come true for millions of people… …”

Waaaah Waaaaah.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Karaoke Superstar.

I have a tee shirt that says Karaoke Superstar on it. I didn’t buy it because I think it’s funny, or stylish, or because it’s just that right shade of green. I don’t take the slogans on shirts lightly. I honestly believe that I am a Karaoke Superstar. And it’s not because I have a really good voice, because I don’t. It’s also not because I have a really awful voice that’s fun to imitate (William Hung). In fact, I’m not really sure why I think I’m a Karaoke Superstar…

Maybe it’s because last summer in LA I lived down the street from DIMPLES, the first ever Karaoke bar in America. And the first time I went there, I performed Celene Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” with my roommate who I didn’t even really know that well. And we rocked the shit out of it. I’m not just saying that because I felt good up there. Or because I was drunk. Because I was completely sober. I’m saying it because when the song started, the completely packed house was moaning because of our selection. But by the end of our rendition, after I growled out the climactic “BABY, BABY, BABY,” the audience was screaming for more. And for us to make out. So as I stood up there, watching the video play back on their large projection screen, and seeing the gems on the crown I had put on shine as I belted out lyrics from my favorite French Canadian diva, I just knew that me and Karaoke were meant to be.

That summer, my roommate and I took every opportunity we could to hone our karaoke skills. We were the only people to sing songs in English every Margarita Monday night at our favorite Mexican joint down the street, we continued to frequent Dimples regularly, and we even sang among the child stars at the open mic night in the Oakwood Community we called home. I think I finally knew I hit the big time after we performed at one such open mic night (Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”) and was approached by a showbiz mom who eagerly told me, “I love your voice. It’s very unique.” What she was thinking was “I wish you were my daughter. I would have had you in auditions at the age of four.” That moment was when I graduated from Karaoke novice, to Karaoke Professional.

How did I become a superstar, you ask? Well after leaving Los Angeles, I sort of fell out of my Karaoke ways…back at school in Ithaca I wasn’t accustomed to the places that provided the sport of imitation singing, and I seemed to be busy every Wednesday night, the one day each week the locals came out to sing their hearts out at The Haunt. But I kept at it, singing in the shower, and sometimes jamming out to Oxygen OnDemand, which allows you to perform primitive Karaoke in your own living room. But it just wasn’t satisfying my itch. I needed a stage, I needed an audience…I needed – Spring Break.

Mrytle Beach. March 2008. Six girls and one dude (mega pimp) trucked it down to South Carolina to lie on the beach during the day, and drink the nights away. After a pricey dinner at Senor Frogs, and a frustratingly expensive tequila shot, we decided to try and find a cheaper way to spend our first Spring Break night. We found it. And boy did we love it. It was called Broadway Louie’s. And it just so happened they had Karaoke every night of the week. After two of us were selected to be judges for the Karaoke Contest that night (and given a $40 bar tab), we decided this was the place for us and sat back to enjoy the show. It took a little while to get back into my singing to the masses mode, but I decided to sign up to sing my girl Rihanna’s “Shut up and Drive.”

As I found my way to the stage and looked out into the audience, I thought to myself, “This is it. This is what I’ve been dreaming of.” So I sang that song. And I did not hold back. I dished out RiRi’s lyrics with the grace of a woman, not the timidity of a girl. And as I held my microphone out into the crowd of my friends in front of me so they could sing the famous “Shut up and Drive” line for all to hear, I knew that I had finally become – A Karaoke Superstar.

Every night that week we frequented Broadway Louie’s. And every night we rocked the house, acquiring fans and friends. We may have left Myrtle Beach at the end of the week, but we were forever in the hearts of the folks at Broadway Louie’s. They even took a photo of us as we left on that last faithful Friday night and posted it on the homepage of their website.

And that’s the most important thing I’ve learned about being a Karaoke Superstar – that even though it’s about the fun and glory, you gotta look out for your fans. Because when it comes down to it, they’re counting on you for a great time. So as I pick my next Karaoke hit to grace the stage with, and look out at the drunken masses I sing to, I will smile and sing my heart out.

Because I am a Karaoke Superstar.