Saturday, December 31, 2005

Amateur Night (Or, Is That All?)

When I was about six or seven years old, I begged my mom and stepdad to let me stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve to witness the turn of the new year and, of course, the Dick Clark Times Square ball drop on television.

Given what year it must have been (1977 or 1978), Tony Orlando and Dawn were probably headlining the telecast, with co-hosts Pamela Sue Martin and Sean Cassidy.

Somehow, I was expecting more than just a ball drop and a burst of shouts and hugs and kisses. I was expecting some kind of physical shudder to freak out the earth's rotation. I was expecting nothing less than an earthquake, given the hoopla surrounding the simple stroke of midnight on one certain night of every single year.

When the causal earthquake and/or solar eclipse and/or cavalcade of winter tornadoes didn't rock my world when the ball in Times Square it its base and the crowd roared tinnily through the tiny stereo speakers of my parents pre-cable rabbit-eared Panasonic color television, I sat entirely confused, like I had blinked and missed the dramatic moment I had waited up to see.

As per the usual tradition, my mom and stepdad hugged me and exclaimed "Happy New Year!"

"Wait, that's it?" I asked.

They looked at each other and then turned to me to again say: "Happy New Year!"

"Seriously, is that all that's going to happen?"

"Well, yes." My mother replied.

"It's pretty silly then to get so excited, since it's just another day."

Their faces fell a little, like I had just told them I knew Santa was a commercial myth or that I had just dropped the F-bomb or that I had just robbed a liquor store.

Ever since, New Year's Eve has been at the ass-end of my list of favorite holidays, written in pencil down there on the back of the second page just below Flag Day.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hello Again To All That Again (Or, A Quitting Holiday)

I stopped smoking for three weeks.

Quitting, I now realize, was not the operative word in play here.

I "quit" but lingering thoughts of smoking never fully left my head. I would take the same breaks in my daily work, walk down four flights of stairs and stand outside in the cold in the same place I would always stand and smoke, and I would stand outside in the cold in the same place I would always stand and think about not smoking.

Or, rather, I would stand and think about smoking.

I took deep, cleansing breaths.

I let my mind wander, as it did when I smoked.

I relaxed without the consequent tension that would jump and high-kick into the quiet of my post-cigarette world like an aerobics instructor on cocaine.

Then, of course, ye olde holiday party frenzy season arrived, in all of its boozy, bourgeois recklessness. One drink leads to three...three leads to five...five leads to fourteen...and so on. Since cigarettes go hand in hand with booze, like the gloriously dirty good-time couple they have been and will always be, naturally a cigarette popped into my right hand accidentally on purpose, where it felt like it should be.

"Oh, sure. I can be a social smoker no problem" I thought to myself. "It's really just the booze talking anyway."

Before long, I was a goner. I told myself that as long as I didn't buy a pack for myself, I was still a "quitter" - at the very least a nicotine reduction achiever.

Before long, I bought a pack.

And another.

And so on.

The weakest part of me is wont to blame my mother for my smoking tendencies. She has been a smoker most of her adult life - taking extended vacations when she was pregnant and when my brother and I were wee lads. So, can't I blame genetics or "disease" for my lack of self-control?

My mom has undergone just about every smoking cessasion treatment out there. My personal favorite was when she went on "the gum" or Nicorette, as Chicklet and Juicy Fruit, its pals in the candy aisle, like to call it. I was a teenager at the time my mom started on "the gum" - one day, I walked into the kitchen and I found her chomping wildly on something, in some sort of spastic fit.

"Are you alright?" I asked.

"It's this goddamn gum," she replied mid chew.

"How's that working out for you?"

"Well. There's one big problem. Let me show you."

She then took the piece of Nicorette gum out of her mouth, rolled it between her fingers into a tubular shape, and placed it between her lips.

The piece of chewed gum dangled from her mouth like, well, a fucked up looking, gooey cigarette.

"Got a light?" she asked.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tell Me Is It Time To Get Down? (Or, When Brunches Attack)

...Right now on the decks: Low-Fidelity Allstars' Battle Flag.

I'm trying desperately to find something funny to say right now, but for some reason, humor is on vacation in Miami, playing Mahjong and sipping a too-early-in-the-day Cuba Libre saying to itself:

"Girl, Fuck that job."

Hopefully soon, maybe even this afternoon, I can coax it back into action with the promise of cash, cheap lusty affection, and maybe a gift certificate for dinner for two at the Olive Garden.

Until then, I sit trying and thinking, enduring a long pause that should become a push forward.

Right now, Low-Fidelity's dirty funk has morphed into Crowded House's plaintive cooing of "Better Be Home Soon". Which reminds me of a long-lost story:

I once, perhaps too nakedly, extolled the beauty of the Crowded House song "Don't Dream It's Over", like I was a programming executive at VH-1 in 1987. Unfortunately for me, I sang the song's praises at a brunch full of hungover bitches even more bitter than I.

I was given the righteous queen smackdown as such:

"Lady. That song's about as sad as a Hootie and the Blowfish cover sung by the ghost of Karen Carpenter on a Dionne Warwick infomercial."

As I tried desperately to backpedal and think of some equally snappy comeback, I slunk back into my seat and let the crowd roar at my expense.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rudolph the Latest Interior Decorating Decision (Or, When Trends Attack)

Ahhhh, New York.

Ahhhh, the fickle tastes of young New Yorkers.

Ahhhh, mind-fucking trends that can make your head spin.

The most recent mind-fuck: the transformation of the cluttered hunting-lodge aesthetic from quaint upstate authenticity to hipster must-have-right-nowness.

Merchants in the various Chelsea flea markets rush to up the prices on their "lodgy" items as hipsters stroll by their stands.

Of course, the whole "gay-goth" t-shirt mini-phenom could be rolled into this category as well. I kind of chuckle to myself as I watch shoppers in the Barney's Co-Op decide between a Marc Jacobs cashmere twinset and a Rogue's Gallery goth-as-fuck pirate T-shirt ensemble:

'MO A: I don't know, Michael. Is this "Stevie-Nicks-Drunk-Bitch on the back of a Harley" the right look for me?

'MO B: It depends on the shoes.

'MO A: Right.

'MO B: Do you think I can wear this to work?

('MO B holds up a dirty vintage screenprinted rugby shirt that features a Victorian illustration of a donkey humping a pirate wench)

'MO A: Hmmmm. Tucked or untucked?

'MO B: Yeah, you're right. I would have to get the right belt then.

'MO A: Omigod. Those panties with the deerhead print are, like, so cute.

'MO B: What does that say underneath Bambi's daddy's head?

'MO A: "Buck On This, Sucker"

'MO B: So cute.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Where My Cookies At? (Or, From the Front to Back)

I'm not quite sure how four days in Ohio = six of not posting.

Oh, yeah. The holidays.

Oh, yeah. XXX-Mas.

Oh, yeah. Not really wanting to be in front of a computer at all for a little while to enjoy the finer things in life, like being in front of the television for long whiles of slothy contemplation.

Oh, yeah. Saving it all up for a post that says next to nothing about the last week of my life because writing about the inhalation of cookies and meat and cookies and more meat and more cookies and more cookies and more cookies is like writing the sentence I just wrote - its cumulative effect on me is one of:

"Shit. Where are the cookies?"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Agony and The Ecstacy (Of Eric Bana)


Despite early funky reviews, I'm kind of hoping that Munich showcases the talents of Eric Bana. Since seeing the film Chopper a few years ago, I will admit I have been more than my share of teenage-girly smitten with him. He stole Troy right out from under Mr. Jolie-Pitt, but hasn't quite risen to the heady call of Hollywood stardom as of yet.

There is something about him that smoulders like certain old school movie stars. He doesn't have to work at it either (not like that Irishman who works so hard at attempting inner depth, his furrowed eyebrows jump off the screen).

Donde esta la Playa?


Bitch Question Everyday

The morning newscasters on NBC4, clearly unused to this much ante meridian action now that the Today show has been swept aside for coverage of the transit strike, have been bitchy and confused all morning. There is a male and a female anchor, both bewildered and bewitched and bebitched by more on-air action than they have presumably ever seen (I have never seen them before this morning...the Female Anchor looks like she was out all night and the Male Anchor looks like he needs a stiff drink).

MALE ANCHOR: So, as you just heard, schools are open, but all afterschool programs have been cancelled.

FEMALE ANCHOR: Uh, actually, we just said all afterschool programs are going to be in session.

MALE ANCHOR: What?

FEMALE ANCHOR: What I just said.

MALE ANCHOR: What did you just say?

FEMALE ANCHOR: I'm not sure. But whatever it was, it wasn't what you just said.

MALE ANCHOR: What did I just say?

FEMALE ANCHOR: I'm not sure.

MALE: OK. Well, you know, this is a really tricky situation.

FEMALE: Oh, yeah. I know, I mean I can barely keep track of it, so I'm sure the viewers at home are having trouble too.

MALE: Yes, this is a tricky situation.

FEMALE: Yes, yes, it is.

MALE: We should...cut to something now...is there...oh, OK.

FEMALE: Are we cutting to something?

MALE: Yes, thank you so much. Let's go to the scene now.

FEMALE: Yes.

MALE: And, now as we...hold on...just waiting for word from our producers...oh yes. We're going to a scene now.

FEMALE: Yes, that's just great. Hopefully we can get his cleared up for our viewers.

Santa Baby, Shutting Down the Transit Last Night

As December rolls on and suddenly drags due to the cold and the holiday cheer and the transit strike, I will remind myself now:

As hot, as nasty, and as lurid as summer can be, it still beats this shit hands down forever and always.

And then the deeper wondering:

Is Los Angeles really all that bad?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Camille, How Do I Heart Thee?

Why I triple-heart Ms. Paglia

(More like, "Note to self: find an excuse to post some classic, glorious skankness of Michigan's finest export since Lily Tomlin.")

Rumble in the Mall of Manhattan (Or, Objects Appear More Interesting Than They Are)

On Saturday, I made the (partially) regretful decision to go shopping in SoHo, which on any given normal Saturday is a bit like trudging through any given mall in America. Long gone are the art galleries and interesting smaller shops, dug deep are the massive chains, the massive crowds, and the massive annoyances that come with both.

My friend Torrey and I seemed ready for the rumble though and the afternoon started off mildly enough.

Since I have a MoMA membership, I thought perhaps a spin through the design store there would prove fruitful (in addition to getting some added discount off the flurry of various over-designy impulse buys and art books that usually grab my attention), but all I got was a fistfull of unintentionally hilarious attitude and an irrational bloodlust boiling up inside of me. It was like riding the subway through Midtown at rush hour while desperately trying to purchase things that no one on the planet really needs or possibly even really wants.

Moss was not much better.

While crammed in between the glass cases filled with items that only have an appeal inside of glass cases, I mistakenly took the glance of a salesperson as the hint of flirtation. Instead, for X-Mas he gave me this in response to my semi-extended, not quite cruisy look:

"Sir. We do not allow food or beverages in Moss. I will have to take your coffee from you."

I nearly forgot I was carrying a cup of coffee anyway, since its warmth had took flight somewhere earlier that afternoon. I wasn't really annoyed at giving it up, but the italic emphasis the salesperson put on the store's name spoiled my time there, as well as the intended (and forced) allure of the experience. The we-will-treat-you-like-crap-and-act-precious-about-the-meaningless- because-we-want-this-to-be-an-aspirational-brandness of it all allowed me to leave, knowing of its innate hucksterism and the brand's own insecurity.

Long ago, the masochism of this kind of consumption would have done what it is supposed to do: make me drop cash thinking I was not worthy of the trinkets, the chairs, the shit, and the $25,000 Cindy Sherman photoscreened china.

So, I left the store and my cold cup of coffee behind me.

I took comfort in a sentiment from a long beloved British sitcom:

"Sweetie. You work in a shop. Get over yourself."

Standing on the street outside the store, Torrey and I were ten shades of: "who gives a fuck about carrying around a beverage in a store anyway...it's just a fucking store."

As we started to walk, Torrey was overcome with panic.

"Wait, where did I leave my coffee?"

A second later, he was flushed with the memory:

"Oh, shit. I left it at the Ralph Lauren store."

"Oh yeah?"

"Right in the middle of that table full of cashmere sweaters."

We laughed at the thought of the twenty odd $800-on-sale knappy as shit sweaters getting soiled by the remains of Torrey's coffee.

I guess the salty shopgirl at Moss has been around the block a few times.

Friday, December 16, 2005

What the Gringo Saw


When The Pawn Hits The Conflicts He Thinks Like A King

-A series of days
Leads to comfortable dispassion
A manner of ways
Rewinds a well turned motion
A selective haze
Foils the clear day's fold
Into light with its buckling
A gauze of commotion

Thursday, December 15, 2005

See Jane Says

Happy Holidays - Courtesy of 80east Design

"Ladies" First

This morning, while I was waiting in line at my corner deli for my usual guilty semi-hungover breakfast of a bacon-egg-and-cheese, I was nearly knocked to the ground by a typically uppity New Yorkity on the goity lady of leisure-ity woman. She was blabbing on her cell phone about being late for pilates and bitching about her nanny when she cut directly to the front of the line to yell:

"Hey. Look, I just want an English muffin, OK. Don't toast it or anything just give it to me, now."

Despite there being a line of, oh, more than five construction workers in line, her request was granted. She didn't excuse herself or pause to consider her environs for just one second, she even bumped into one of the Carhart-clad dudes in line and had this semi-appalled look on her face when she bumped into him, as if to say: "Don't fucking touch me."

She then continued to bitch on the phone, loudly no less, about what a gross deli it was and how her pilates teacher was, in her polite manner of speaking, a real cunt.

She then yelled at the coutner person for trying to put a napkin in her bag.

"I don't fucking need that. I didn't ask for that."

I waited patiently for some kind of karma boomerang to knock her on her skinny white ass, but alas, nothing.

As she barrelled through the too-heavy keep-out-the-cold bodega vinyl barrier, the crowd inside the deli breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Upon paying for my greasy breakfast, I turned to the browbeaten coutnerperson and said, "What an asshole."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Check Order Before Placement

Yesterday, the topic of a certain website came up in conversation. I don't have an active account on said site, much to the dismay of the man I was talking to.

"What?!?" He exclaimed, as if I had to, had to, had to be the kind of dude to be lurking online like that.

Naturally my "Well...once upon a time..." online hook-up narrative started to unfurl.

There were downs, and there were downers.

There were downs, and there were down and outs.

There were downs, and there were never ups.

I refused to divulge any details, but the gist of it goes like this: to me personally, using such sites is like ordering in food from a menu that is undependable and shifty, like you think you order one thing, the host at the restaurant repeats a different order back to you over the phone, and then another entree shows up entirely.

You open the door, you open the bag.

Expecting a satisfying Sesame Chicken, you see a knarly BBQ rib instead.

You squint your eyes.

You dim the lights.

You have a beer.

Oh, yeah, I guess it sort of looks like Sesame Chicken now, you think to yourself. You tear through the meal as quickly and dispassionately as possible, remembering never to order in from that restaurant again.

There are better leftovers in the fridge.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

J-J-J-J-J-J-Jing-Jang-Jang

As the holiday season deepens and deepens and my yearly sojourn to visit my parents in Northeast Ohio approaches, one thought barrels through my head: how many times will my mother play Barbra Streisand's Christmas album?

Other classic holiday collections have entered her possession over the years, yet none seem to last in the CD player longer than a song or two. Once Barbra's album finishes, and the pregnant pause of empty, un-Streisand holiday air fills the living room, my mom will get a curious look on her face, like she knows a storm is coming or she has just witnessed the cat is writhing in the corner, overdosed on catnip or she has left her pocketbook neglectfully at the Clinique counter of the local department store (where she is wont to worship the latest shade or fragrance or anything that comes with a free gift with purchase). When she realizes it is just the absence of the ironic, heated flow of Christmas music from America's most famous Jewess, she never fails to lean in to me and whisper:

"Trev, honey. Go press play on the CD player."

She knows I will obey and let the insanity of that famously hyper version of "Jingle Bells" fill up the room one more time.

She knows that if she were to ask my brother or stepdad Joe to attend to the music, Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr. or any number of the other neglected stars of yesteryear would receive holiday airtime she's not willing to give up.

Every year, another new compliation of holiday music ends up in the stack of albums.

Every year, Barbra's triumpantly kitsch white fuzzy gown and Egyptian eyeliner steal the show mercilessly, giving my mom a spring in her step as she cooks in the kitchen (a very new pasttime) and a light in her eyes echoed by the bodily giddiness she exudes in having her two sons home for the holidays.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Penis In Furs (Or, Hey Bitch. Nice Hat)

So, I bought this rabbit lined hat in Iceland. At the time, high on foreign travel overspending and the chill of an otherworldly landscape, I was eight shades of "this- will- be- the- coolest- thing- I- get- on- this- trip."

Now, everywhere I go - literally - thousands of other New Yorkers are all furred out in similar hats. Seemingly it was like everyone else was behind me in line at the same small, hipster store in the middle of Reykjavik. (More like, I was way way behind everyone else in line at an even swankier import store on the Lower East Side or NoLiTa.

Needless to say, I am so always behind the curve on such things, it's downright laughable. The first time I wore the hat, I was stopped on street by a friend of a friend. His first words:

"Oh, it's you. It's so hard to recognize anyone now that everyone is wearing the same fucking fur hat."

Leave it to another New Yorker to kick you in the crotch when you're already bleeding from the head.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ice, Ice Baby (Or, Not So Cold, Not So Cold)

During my trip to Iceland over Thanksgiving, I was crazy in love with and triple-hearting Icelandic street art. I got a little obsessive in taking photographs of the various tags and murals and general mayhem that were spread on most surfaces of the center of Reykjavik. During one fit of documentation, I was approached by a store owner who turned out to be producing a book on Icelandic street art - I hung out with him and his partner for a while and they showed me a galley proof of their book. Definitely one of those groovy things that only happen when you've got your away game on.

All of the tagging sort of made me long for the days when New York was a little scarier and dirtier - back when if you saw street art, you wouldn't have to wonder what advertiser was footing the bill.



Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Or, Silence Is, Like, So Golden)

So, for no good reason, I've been on an extended blogging holiday. I went to Iceland, had a birthday and drank more than an Irish grandmother. Despite having so many things to say, I let the hard, silent rush of intoxication keep me, um, silent.

But, keep the faith, Faith Evans.

Your baby's, uh, virtual daddy in drag is about to get sprung from his self-imposed white collar prison cell.

So, in the words of the prophetess, Miss Paris Hilton:

"Check back soon, bitch."


3XHearts, The Editorial Staff of BV