Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday and Friday: An old movie, a new sculpture, family and a friend

I meet with my 82-year-old friend every week. He comes over to my place and I cook beans and rice and a green vegetable and we eat and then watch a movie (or The Food Network or YouTube videos of babies playing with puppies). A month ago he made me watch Casablanca (came out in 1942) and a few weeks ago we watched The Maltese Falcon (came out in 1941). I should be grateful that he's introducing me to these classics because they're classics and I should know and appreciate what came before, but sometimes I just wanna see a movie in color and see a little skin and don't want to hear all the dramatic gangster talk and see chicks in ballgowns and dudes in tuxes. I want a guy in some Diesel jeans and Vans and a lady with a smokey eye and Uggs. So when I asked Al to pick up a new flick for our next meetup,  "Something made within the last TWENTY YEARS, Al." I should've known better.  Al loves old movies 'cause that's what he grew up watching, so that old stuff is comforting for him to see and that's really all he knows. So yesterday he brought over a flick called The Day of the Jackal.  It came out in 1973. So, fine, it's not THAT old, but it still didn't have one actor that I recognized and I'm pretty sure there wasn't one person in Diesel. Fine fine, It was entertaining. The only real slightly annoying part was that it was 2 hours and 23 minutes long, but other than that, it was a good flick. I'll admit it. Oh and there were boobies in it! And a bare ass! Go Al!


After the movie ended (and the rain stopped), we took a leisurely stroll over to Madison Square Park, so I could show Al the new 44 foot art installation. It's probably the coolest-looking sculpture I've ever seen in person:

It almost looks like a it kind of blends into the clouds and yet it's so gigantic and solid-looking. It's strange. It's hard to wrap your mind this large angelic face as big as the surrounding trees just sitting there on the grass. I have to admit, it's slightly creepy too, but mostly cool. I mean, I still haven't seen this piece at night. That might freak me out. I saw the Statue of Liberty at night and I had nightmares for months. (Note to self: Don't go to Madison Square Park at night.)

Here's Al (in the green jacket) with the sculpture in the distance:

It's made of fiberglass resin. You should just check it out. It'll be up until mid-August.

Anyway, after taking a bunch of photos, Al and I relaxed on a bench in front of the busy dog- run and people watched. It was pleasant until...we had to get up and move every fifteen minutes because some fool decided to light up a cigarette and carelessly blow smoke in our direction . What's with cigarette smokers! I'm gonna start carrying a container of dog shit (or human shit) around with me everywhere I go and the next time a smoker lights up near me, I'm gonna pull out my Tupperware, remove the lid, and delicately place it beside them. And when they complain about the smell I'm just gonna say, "I'll put away the shit once you put out your cigarette. Or you could move, that's also an option for you."  I mean, there's really no difference between feces and cigarette smoke. None.

Anyway, here's Al being silly. It's a subtle Ode to Micheal Jackson:

Then I saw this:

Wow, man, that's the life.

Al and I left the park shortly after and said our goodbyes.

What did I do *today*? I met with my friend Rob (on the left) and my cousin Shane (on the right).  They're in town visiting from London for a few days...

Remember them from London? Well, they met up with me at my place this morning. I showed them around my studio apartment (took all of three minutes because it's just one room), we chatted about the Royal Wedding for a few minutes and then we headed out to get some brunch at a nearby restaurant called Penelope.

Here they are standing outside the restaurant looking at the large list of food choices (aka the menu):

 After a twenty-minute wait, they let us inside. The place was super-cute and super-crowded. Check it out:

(It's Friday at 11am, do people WORK?)

I decided on the homemade granola:

Shane had an omelet and Rob had an egg sandwich. (The photo's a bit blurry because the boys were cutting their food with great vigor and enthusiasm):

We ate and then walked to Union Square Park and sat on the steps and people watched. We saw an American Indian/Mexican-looking man with a long black pony tail that had a red rubber band just barely holding on for dear life at the end of the tail. He was  holding up two red folders with cut-up mirrors attached to the outside in the shape of a crucifix on one side and a five-point-star on the other. He held both folders up in front of his face as if someone was about to spit on him and then he'd move the folders around like he was vogue-ing with 'em. We could not take our eyes off of this guy. Then we saw a very cute dude that was walking slowly and hesitantly towards Whole Foods. Rob was gonna walk up to him and pump up his Australian accent to the 10th power and try and pick him up, but then the guy all of a sudden walked with purpose in the opposite direction and started talking to some chick with a Jherry Curl.

Shane and Rob'll be in town until Monday, so we'll be hanging out again soon...

Tomorrow I have my Meetup group and then Sunday?

Get ready for this...

My grandmother's coming to town for *three* weeks. She won't be staying with me, though, because (according to her) my bed is too low and my cabinets are too high and it's just too exhausting for her to deal with, so she'll be staying at a hotel. But we'll still be hanging out practically everyday. She's even gonna drag me to the opera! It's okay. We're going on her birthday (May 3rd), so I'll suck it up and go and promise not to complain much I dislike opera. It'll be okay.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Meetup group!

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I started a Meetup group about a month ago. It's called: fun/social group for artists, writers and bloggers. I have 75 members so far (not too shabby).  There are a variety of creative people in the group: a couple of singers, a bunch of painters/artists, a ton of writers, a good amount of photographers, some bloggers (including myself) and even a jewelry maker. I'd been posting ads on Craigslist for a few months and didn't get one response, but as soon as I posted on Meetup, I had fifty members within the first week. Amazing.

We've had two meetings so far...

Here are a couple pics from the first meeting:

There are three artists at the table (I put all the messy artists at the table). Two were sketching and one was painting with watercolors.

And this was our meeting last night...

There were a bunch of writers at this meeting and an amazing photographer and sketch artist. We worked on our own creative stuff for an hour. And then everyone shared something (except for two people). Then we ordered pizza and watched Anchorman. It was a good time.

I'm planning on having meetings every week or so. 

That's the 411.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baltimore: Day three

Zack and I had to check out of the hotel by noon. By the time we did what we needed to do (shower, pack, etc.), ba-bam, it was noon. Zack's friend Ben would be meeting us in the lobby at around 12:45pm, so we headed downstairs and blogged it up while we waited for him to arrive. When Ben showed up, Zack and I were still at work, so Ben pulled out his laptop (and Blackberry) and we all did our own thing together. At around 2:30pm, when Zack and I were done blogging, Ben and I were done Facebook-ing, iPhone-ing, and Blackberrying, and Zack was done Tweeting, we made our way out of the Holiday Inn to get some grub. Baltimore (near Camden Yards) isn't known for its amazing cuisine, so we had to settle for California Tortilla. It ain't Rosa Mexicano I can tell you that. I had the taco salad (I use the word "salad" very loosely) and shared an order of nachos with Zack which was hands down the *worst* nachos of all time. When we ordered them the day before they had that fake liquid Cheez Whiz type stuff on 'em (and that's not a good situation), so Zack decided to ask if we could get them with "real" cheese this time. The acne faced gentleman with the luscious pony tail taking our order said, "Sure. No problem. We can do that." We were thrilled. Even Ben was thrilled that we were thrilled. BUT when Zack picked up the nachos and brought them over to the table and we took a look at the finished product, we were shocked and almost amused. Let me see if I can describe them: Imagine a tablespoon of shredded white cheese (sans melt) purchased at a gas station sprinkled over a tub of greasy deformed tortilla chips with a couple squirts of off-white grainy-looking sour cream, several pickled jalapeno peppers (that's the only good part) and a spit of old guac. We could not believe our eyes. I mean, we really couldn't. We just stared at the nachos for a good five minutes and then continued to ridicule them loudly for the entire establishment to hear. "Are they SERIOUS?! You suck, Nachos." Zack went back up to Pony Tail and asked if someone could melt the cheese and Pony Tail said that they weren't able to melt cheese. "We don't have that kind of equipment," said Pony Tail.  Really? You don't have an OVEN or a microwave in a **restaurant**? How about an Easy Bake oven? That would work. Any heat source would work. Someone wanna volunteer to sit on the nachos? But, no. No such luck, A few seconds later Pony Tail admitted they *could* melt it, but it would take a VERY long time. (?) We then thought, "Maybe we should ask to put that fake cheese on there? It might help." That Pony Tail could do. So he gave us a large cup of hot Cheez Whiz and we thanked him. And you know what? This time the Whiz wasn't that bad. We actually started to like it and poured it all over the chips and made a big fake cheesy mess. Ben looked on while all of this was happening and just laughed. Then a man with a large tumor protruding out the back of his head stopped off at our table (on his way back from the bathroom) to vent about the Yankees. He was thrilled to see Zack's Shea Stadium (Mets) t-shirt, so he had to share his thoughts on his hatred for the "other" NY team. He said that he would not save a family member if it meant that the Yankees would benefit (or something like that). We were all shocked at his intensity and disgust. He was about 55-years-old, average height, Humpty Dumpty-looking, with thick 70s style glasses and dark grey trousers that were pulled up way too high on his belly (the pants were fastened just below his nipples). Oh and he had a herpes sore on his left upper lip. Hmm...what else. Oh yeah and he was bug-eyed. Anyway, he kept yelling for the entire California Tortilla population to hear,  "Fuck the Yankees!!! Fucking bastards." Zack and Ben (almost) entirely agreed with the man (I mean, they also hate the Yankees, but just don't condone such anger and public cursing), so it made the whole experience more amusing. If Crazy'd been venting about how much he hated baseball or ballhawks, the boys might not have been as tolerant. But who knows. Zack escaped to the bathroom for a few minutes leaving Ben and I to entertain Crazy. I asked if he was going to the game and he said, "I work [at] the game." And in a flash, he disappeared. I saw him once again at the stadium later that night in the picnic area sitting beside a mop, but I didn't say hi.

ANYway, the game. Yes. We got the hell out of CT and headed over to the stadium. I actually made it inside a minute earlier than Zack, so I was able to get this hilarious shot of him running for his life to beat the other ballhawks who'd entered from the other side.

Here's the photo:

Haha! That's serious. (That's Ben on the right in the orange Orioles jersey and shorts.)

The day was filled with lots of baseball I don't think I've eaten so much unhealthy food in a three day period in my entire life. Okay, maybe when I was in Junior High I might've eaten quite a bit of crap, but this was almost as bad. My colon might not EVER be the same...

In the next few days, I will be ingesting the purest and healthiest foods known to man. I can guarantee Cheez Whiz will not make an appearance.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baltimore: Day two

No BP today, so Zack and I had lots of time to sit around and make each other laugh...

I wish I had photographic proof of me laughing my freaking head off, but there isn't any. Zack doesn't know how to use my fancy camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it. He did manage to get one shot of me, but I'm just chillin'...

 Oh...there were also spit bubbles. I forgot. Zack's skills never cease...

Fun times. : )

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baltimore: Day one

This was the plan: Be at Zack's place by 10am. That's what he told me on the phone the night before, "We need to *leave* my place by 10:45am! I wanna get an early start." So I woke up at 8am, left my apartment at 9 ayy emm to leave time to get two shots of wheatgrass juice and stop at Fairway to pick up a bunch of healthy snacks (rice cakes, freshly ground peanut butter, organic apples and oranges, and organic yogurt) for our 72-hour trip. I got to his building at 10:05am (or so). I buzzed his place and I should've known something was up 'cause it took him 30 long seconds to buzz me in. Apparently I woke him up. It was 10:07am. And then there's the intense baseball prep that that goes on before any baseball trip, so we didn't end up leaving his place until around 11:30am. Yes, folks, it took him 90 minutes to get ready. What's with men? I can be ready in ten minutes, is all I'm sayin'.

We borrowed his mom's Volvo station wagon and headed south on 95. I drove. I love to drive. I used to own a Mini Cooper when I lived upstate and would drive all the time even when I had nowhere to go. So I drove and we listened to my music (most of the way). Well, technically it wasn't *my* music, we were listening to Pandora, but I chose most of the stations. I promised Zack that we wouldn't listen to Rhianna. That was his only request. We always listen to Rhianna...'cause I really like her, but I have to admit, Pandora does tend to play the same Rhianna songs over and over, so I took a break from her. We listened to a Cat Power station instead (which sucked beyond belief), and a DJ station (that Zack chose) which was painfully chill, and a few other soulless stations. Finally I was like, "I can't take it anymore. I need some Mary J Blige or Method man. Jesus!" So he put on a Method Man station and I got happy. Thirty minutes later, we got tired of that one, too and put on some Mary and then stuck with her until we got to Baltimore. "Mary!"

We arrived at the Holiday Inn around 3:30pm. I sat in the car while Zack checked us in. This process should've taken only a few minutes, but there was a rather large group of high school girls (an actual girls volleyball team) checking in at the same time. So I don't know if it was because they were all needing rooms asap or if Zack was just dilly dallying in the lobby to gawk at the scantily clad young ladies, but either way, we were delayed. Finally we made our way upstairs and as soon as we walked into the room I smelled cigarette smoke. I was like, "Uh, no. We need another room." Zack needed to confirm. He claims to have a good sniffer, so he stepped inside and took a couple of deep breaths and eventually agreed that the room was unacceptable. I called downstairs and told them the situation and in 30 minutes or so (after removing the three tissues that I'd put in the trash and going back downstairs to exchange the keys) we were finally in our new room...which also smelled/smells like cigarettes, BTW,  but we didn't/don't even care at that/this point. I was hungry and needed to get a veggie burrito stat. We quickly got ourselves together and rushed out. We had to be in front of the stadium by 4:20pm to be the first in line. The gates open at 5pm for BP. We were there by 4:30pm.

I'm gonna be taking a bunch of pics on this trip. You know me, I like to take pics. I convinced Zack to let me do them in black and white for a day. I'd been to a number of games with him in the previous couple of weeks with my new camera, but this would be the first time I'd be shooting monochromatic-ally. So without further ado, here are some of my shots from the day:

That's it for day one. Tomorrow? Ethiopian food and then our second game. This time I'm taking pictures in color. Yeah, that's right, color.

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Today in Williamsburg

I met up with my friend Melisa today at a hipster rich cafe on Bedford Ave. I walked into the coffee scented establishment at 2pm on the dot. We said our hellos while standing beside Melisa's stool. Five minutes later we met up with her new friend Jordis (who just moved to NY from Germany). We all chatted while we wandered through the streets of Williamsburg.  Eventually we found ourselves in a funky (yet clean) cafe with lots of natural light, big pink flowers in a huge glass vase, and a bathroom that looked like the inside of a girly naval ship. Since I'd been eating an obscene amount of cheese, white flour and tomato sauce (aka pizza) the past few days, I decided I really needed some raw veggies to make things right again, so I ordered (and ate) a black kale salad with beets and walnuts (and a few of Melisa's fries). Everything was yummy. Here are the two girls (plus me behind the camera) waiting for our bill:

We walked out into the sunny cold with full bellies about to embark on a serious vintage clothing crawl.

We started at Beacon's Closet. A bunch of my friends had been raving about this place for years, so I was exited to finally get to take a peek.

Here's the peek:

I haven't been to too many vintage stores in my life, but this one was impressive. It was very organized. All the clothes were separated by color...

The clothes seem to look more vibrant hanging next to each other, though. As soon as I removed one item form the group, the bright toned garment turned dull and ugly. Maybe the clothing doesn't like to be alone. Or maybe it looks good again once its worn. I didn't test the latter theory out, though.

Here's Melisa commenting on the intricate ridiculousness of this shirt:

The front of the shirt looked normal and somewhat decent, but the back was an entirely different story.  It was shorter in the back with blue sequins attached to the hem and shoe laces crisscrossed up back like a roller skate. And priced at $14.99? (I wouldn't give them more than $1.99) You just have to ask yourself why. Plus it probably had bed bug juice on it. So thanks, but no thanks. Okay, the truth comes out, ....I'm just not a huge fan of used anything. I know vintage clothes are "cool" and you can probably find some really unique items at a bargain, but I can't get past the fact that everything's already been sweated in by a stranger. It kinda grosses me out. I prefer going to Duane Reade and getting a brand new pack of Hanes white t-shirts and calling it a day. But it was still fun to look.

We left and quickly made our way to the next used stuff store ("Wait for me, Guys!"):

Oh and as I was walking I noticed this on the sidewalk:

Anyway, here's another vintage shop a few blocks away:

Ahhhh! Hipsters EVERYwhere! Actually...come to think of it, no one ever looked at *me* funny, so I probably looked like a hipster too. Maybe a not so cool hippie hipster in training?

And then in an effort to show off her new pedicure, Melisa tried on some Frankenstein tranny sandals:

We then all stepped inside an antique shop (Melisa danced inside) that smelled like an unwashed  grandparent:


THEN we went into a jewelry store where you can make your own jewelry! They have all the clasps, colorful beads, chunky charms and chains in all different sizes and and and. I found a chain (the size of a choker) that I wanted to combine with an old time key, but I also wanted to combine it with a smaller heart shaped charm and have them dangle on the chain together, but I didn't have the patience to sift through all the choices, so I told myself (and the girls) that I'd come back when I have more patience. (I also had to run to photography class.) Oh and I couldn't get a picture of the  inside of the store. It wasn't allowed. Meh.

Jordis and I took the L train together back to Manhattan. Melisa stayed in Williamsburg to study (she's in school studying neuroscience). 

Funky fun time in Brooklyn.