Tag Archives: news from the flip front

the lady & the lightning

Monday, July 19

I think you already know that my big idea of the day was coming up with Flat Jasmine. To give you an update: Rachel is currently prepping FJ for BlogHer ’10:

Getting ready for BlogHer '10!

I’m dying over how great she looks. The ChronicBabe logo is for Jenni, who can’t get to BlogHer this year either. The Buried logo for Kerri‘s husband Chris, who wrote the film. Am I namedropping? Sure, why not, but I believe it’s honorable when done for the sake of your friends.

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10 years: you make me feel mighty unreal

Back in January, I had this idea that to celebrate 10 years of blogging, I’d post every old dispatch of “news from the flip front” (what this blog used to be called until last year) to this blog. I got a pretty good start, or so I thought, and then I just got lazy and forgot about posting the rest.

Story of my life.

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410: iPapi

Yeah, I know that was five weeks ago that I last wrote. Without meaning to, I took the month of August off from writing. I’m like France that way — August comes around and I’m at the seashore, bumbling about like Jacques Tati in Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.

Friday, August 4: Possibly the last summer company party that we’ll ever have. I drive down to the party with Joe & Jacinda, taking Thom along as my date. My co-worker Sean catches a ride, and it is a lovely drive down LSD (that’s Lake Shore Drive, for you non-natives and non-residents) to the owners’ house. The usual picnic fare is served for supper, which is eaten at tables scattered across the lawn. Dusk turns to dark as people drink and eat. The DJ plays disco and old R&B sides while guests drink enough to dance. The night ends with me salsa dancing with a dev from the New York office. And of course, what’s could be lovelier than the iPapi, an idea for an inflatable love doll we had? Not only could you make music with it, you can listen to music on it, as it would also be an inflatable speaker system into which you can plug your iPod.

Saturday, August 5: After months of talking of doing it, Kathy, Adrienne, and I go to the Cascade Drive-In to catch “Talladega Nights”. Totally worth it, though I got us lost on an already long drive out to West Chicago, which may as well be called “As far as you can get from Chicago proper while maintaining the name Chicago, Illinois”. We munched on Popeye’s fried chicken in the comfort of Kathy’s Camry and tripped over small children playing in the walkways when we’d walk to the ladies room or go for a tub of popcorn.

Sunday, August 6: My note for this day read: “I [heart] Will Shortz.” Oh yes — Wordplay at the Landmark. Afterwards, I bought a book of crossword puzzles to work.

Monday, August 7: Clerks II — cute, and occasionally funny.

Wednesday, August 9 – I frighten the ladies next to me with my intensity. Not because I’m yelling or anything, but just because I’m totally focused on making sure that the Sox beat the Yankees in the second game of their three game series. The Yankees won 7 to 6. D’oh!

Thursday, August 10: I go to Sean’s after work for beers and chat. It was a gorgeous cool late summer night. Sean’s back porch is decorated with plants and strings of lights. It’s a makeout-worthy situation, except that Sean is gay, and I don’t know how appropriate (or in my nature) it would be to go out, find a guy, and bring him back to Sean’s place. But wouldn’t that be funny? Sean could rent out his backporch to young couples of various persuasions so they could mack and be macked on in a safe space. Ideal for teens with overbearing parents and people with roommates. Much like Japan’s famed love motels, only without the crazy theme rooms.

Friday, August 11: Damien invited me and some other folks to Fogo de Chao for a belated birthday celebration. Much to my disappointment, I didn’t put it away like I have in meals past at that fine establishment with their fine meats and superfine gaucho servers.

Saturday, August 12: Speaking of meat, Molly and I host a small barbecue at our apartment. Finally dusted off the grill, inherited from Maria. Drove up to Portage Park to buy food at the very reasonably priced A & G Fresh Market — a huge selection of ethnic foods, fresh produce, and a huge butcher and deli counter. Also, the music played over the PA was excellent. I was picking out potatoes while dancing around to Dean Martin. Brilliant.

Sunday, August 13: Hot Chocolate for lunch with Andrew and Rozi, then we went to see Little Miss Sunshine. Note for the day: “Bwa ha ha ha!” Also, Rozi gave me some fashion magazines to read, so I went home to loll on the couch and inspect Glamour for the lastest in lip gloss trends for fall 2006.

Monday, August 14: Kathy and I picked up our packets for the Nike Run Hit Remix 5-mile run we were doing. Something about just being in Niketown made me feel a little more motivated, though I was taken down a peg by all the tiny women milling about me, trilling “XS” or “Do you have a size 0?” when asked their shirt size. I glumly chose a men’s XL. Afterwards, we saw “The Devil Wears Prada” and I thought: “Oh the clothes are kind of ugly at times but I love the bags.” But was it just me, or does Anne Hathaway look like Liza Minnelli?

Wednesday, August 16: Mediabistro workshop with Laurie Scheer, who taught my screenwriting class. In person, she is as vibrant and funny as she was on-line, if not more so. I emerge from the three-hour workshop feeling reinvigorated (and a bit hungry). I send a few texts to Sean S. in New York, but we’ve yet to begin writing again. So Sean, yeah, I’m calling you out. We. Write. NOW.

Thursday, August 17: Okay, so I was nervouse about the Nike run. Not only because I didn’t think I trained well enough, or long enough, but because I had dinner at the Park Grill with Kathy, Adrienne, Will, and Robin (who cheered us on) and was sorely tempted to eat a big burger. I had the fish, drank water and diet coke, and then walked down to the start with my friends. We were among 10,000 people who were going to run a 5 mile route which would be dotted with live musical acts. Local acts got in on the fun, but the main attractions would be Young MC and Digital Underground, with De La Soul headlining the post-race show in the park. The start was slow. I trotted, shuffled, and jogged until I fell into a speed-walk. The Chicago skyline at night in summer is really beautiful, and it’s rare that I can get a view as privileged as I got walking down LSD, past the museum campus and Soldier Field, down into… what appeared to be the parking garage for McCormick Place. But even before that, Young MC was the first big act on the race — a great energetic act to start the evening. After him, Digital Underground! I stopped for the ‘Humpty Dance’ but left when Humpty Hump, having jumped into the crowd to perform, groped up on me when he sang “Hey yo fat girl c’mere are ya ticklish?” and I decided to just move on. That kinda ruined the rest of the night for me. I felt kinda gross, and it was all in fun, but I didn’t feel fun. I just felt fat and slow and wanting to get away. So I did. I jogged. I walked. I shuffled. I moved past the Elvis impersonator (who gave me a “Bless you, mama!” from his mini-stage when I jogged past, cheering for Elvis as I did), the bag-pipers, the *awesome* Taiko drummers, and the local bands who won contests to play the race. Around the aquarium I made friends with a Mexican journalist who was in Chicago as a tourist — she’d volunteered to walk the race, taking pictures for her running friends with their cameras while she walked and soaked in the view. I finished in 1 hour, 45 minutes — I will not even tell you how long it took Will aka “Iron Man” to finish. I know I was one of the last people to finish. But I finished, and look — I even got the (incredibly unflattering) picture to prove it.

Friday, August 18: Motherfucking snakes on a motherfucking plane! Yes, I saw Snakes on a Plane with Foster and Damien on a rainy night. Afterwards, Foster and I traveled north to see Jer
emy’s band The Dundrearies. No snakes at the show, but the ladies room was well appointed with all sorts of toiletries and a lovely woman working as an attendant.

Saturday, August 19: Sean (of the makeout porch) had a party. A small party, to be sure, but lovely nonetheless. I stayed too late and, lacking cash walked halfway home. I found myself at the corner of Belmont and Western at 2:00 am, ignoring the hissing of a man in a small car while I waited for the Western bus and tried not to be scared.

Sunday, August 20: Khloé had me over for dinner. Salmon en papillote, green beans, a chocolate bread pudding with homemade custard. Jealous yet? No? Well, you should be.

Monday, August 21: A small dinner cookout for Sarah and Sanjay, Molly’s sister and nephew, who are visiting from Ann Arbor. Sweta the upstairs neighbor visits, as do Jessie and Carla.

Tuesday, August 22: I go to a free preview of Beerfest with Joe and Jacinda. One word: “Bwa hahahahahaha!” Also, Patrick and Will’s birthdays. Patrick, now that you are 25, your quarter life crisis may now begin.

Wednesday, August 23: It begins at 12pm with a text message. Rozi’s been at the hospital since midnight, having gone into labor. I am antsy all day, anticipating the arrival of the baby who I have come to think of as my unofficial niece or nephew. I relay messages to Jacinda, who is dying to know what is going on. I am too, but I don’t want to call Andrew too much. His cell phone battery is probably dying, or he has to field calls from his parents or Rozi’s. I give in around 2:00, and learn that Nathan has arrived. Mom and baby are fine. Later that afternoon, Andrew sends out an e-mail with subject “Arrival at ORD” and it’s official: I am now a Tita somebody.

Thursday, August 24: I’ve been thinking about getting a dog, but hemming and hawing because I am a commitment-phobe. Jessie and Carla bring over Gargo, a little beagle mix they found wandering around near Stanley’s Produce. Garbo is adorable and inquisitive and curious, but I can’t commit to even having her come for a brief visit, let alone being her adoptive mother. Which makes no sense, as she is great: well-behaved and not a howler. So what’s wrong with me?

Friday, August 25: Last day at work before vacation. I tried to tie up loose ends as best I could regarding projects, then scampered off to enjoy the first item of vacation business: visiting Andrew, Rozi, and Nathan at the hospital. There were overpriced, dead flowers in the gift shop, so I forwent buying a gift until, you know, there was something decent to buy, and make my way up. I heard Nathan before I saw him, pushing through a curtain in the family’s (!) room to see Rozi sitting up in bed, and Nathan swaddled in one of those carts they push babies around in at hospitals. He is tiny, wearing a cotton cap, and has red cheeks — he looks just like Andrew, only without the cool eyeglasses. Rozi, I must add, looked great — shiny hair and that glow I can usually approximate with a lot of expensive department store blush. Everybody looked sleep-deprived. Upon being informed that I was their first visitor at the hospital, I did a victory dance. Andrew and I went for food in the cafeteria while Rozi and Nathan had some alone time (read: nursing) in the room. Andrew is, to say the least, overwhelmed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them this calmly happy? Happily calm? We talk about getting the baby home, making sure the baby gets bathed by the night nurse, Andrew’s paternity leave, etc. After dinner, we returned to the room where I got to photograph Andrew feeding Nathan for the first time. I am too excited to weep in sheer happiness.

Saturday, August 26: Kathy nearly bought her dream car, but did not when the dealer would not budge on his asking price. This after a week of good feelings all around — she even got to drive the car out to her mechanic for an inspection! And yet — no. So buffalo wings were in order, and we stopped at a Friday’s on the way home. At home, we were a bit grumpy, and feeling like maybe we shouldn’t stay in to watch television. So Molly, ever the proactive soul, suggested drinks at the Charleston. The Charleston, being the popular neighborhood bar that it is, was crowded, so we slunk to the Artists Cafe and had some pints before a hip-hop show started at 10:00.

Sunday, August 27: I had a space on the Soul of Chicago tour, a private tour of the CTA organized by Tony Coppoletta. Starting at the Wilson stop on the red line, we rode south to 63rd & Ashland on the green line, then to Quincy on the brown/orange/purple line. Southwest to Kedzie on the blue/pink, then back up the red line to end at the Sheridan line. I had no idea so many hipsters were into the CTA. Also, Chicagoist provided snacks so we didn’t starve during the three hour tour. I noticed, though, a lack of diversity among the guests that appeared especially glaring when we were on the south side. How many times do you see a slew of mostly caucasian folks with cameras on the corner of 63rd and Ashland? I didn’t want to appear as though I was on some sort of bullshit pseudo-anthropological safari, but I didn’t want to make it any worse by yelling into a bullhorn “Attention! Pay no attention to the honkies on the corner.”

Monday, August 28: First day of vacation. I spent it at the movies, watching Hilary and Haylie Duff in “Material Girls”. Somehow, admitting that I would do such a thing by putting it in writing makes me feel better.

Tuesday, August 29: Hit the Museum of Contemporary Art, where a farmer’s market is set up in the rain. I buy two bunches of mint, and then realize I have no idea what to do with two bunches of mint.

Wednesday, August 30: Jacinda came over to yak, then we went to Jo-Ann Fabric to look at yarn.

Thursday, August 31: Did nothing. Oh man, do I love vacation. And then I watched what was possibly the dullest VMA’s of all time. Didn’t stop me from recapping them, though.

Friday, September 1: Andrew and Rozi invited me, Jacinda, and Joe over for pizza. When we weren’t poring over the piles of parenting books that have taken over Andrew and Rozi’s apartment, we were holding the baby. Taking pictures of ourselves with the baby. Cooing at the baby. Nathan took everything in stride as we wore ourselves out trying to impress him and making sure that we were his favorite non-parental adult. In that regard, I believe that I am still winning. Boo-ya! Afterwards, I stopped at the Lakeview Broadcasting Company, a new bar in Boystown, for Thom’s birthday party. A cool space, if a bit self-conscious — what good is having a semi-cute girl lounging in a glassed-in library for all to ogle if all she’s going to do is send text messages to her main gay, who is stationed elsewhere in the bar?

Saturday, September 2: Unventful flight to LGA from ORD. The rain in New York is not quite storm level, though it is steady and persistent. I waste $7 on a 1-day Metrocard, as there are no 7-day passes to buy anywhere in the airport. Why is there no Metrocard machine anywhere in the airport? Would the TLC (Taxi & Limousine Commission) throw a hissy if there was one? Hmph. Dad picked me up, and we drove home to College Point, where I got all sullen when my mom began her barrage of questions about my life. It was my own fault, as I am bad about keeping my parents posted on the basics — work, religion, romance (or lack thereof) — and they are so very very nosy.

Sunday, September 3: The parents head up north with my sister Jackie to hit the buffets at the Mohegan Sun.
Justin, Patrick, and I, left to our own devices, went to see Beerfest and Idlewild at the local multiplex. The theater was overrun with tired parents of many nations, feeding their small children sugar and salt in all sorts of forms.

Sunday, September 4: Patrick and I went to the West Indian American Carnival. We were not the lone Asians in the crowd, though we did stand out. If not for our skin color then because we, unlike thousands of others, did *not* celebrate our heritage by wearing bikini tops fashioned out of the flags of our homeland. Though who could say what kind of fun would have awaited if we had? The parade was mainly trucks loaded with speakers blasting all manner of Caribbean music, mainly salsa and merengue. Not so much reggae, though most of the people wearing national colors wore Jamaican gear. The flags were really beautiful. Even more beautiful were the long lines of tents and tables offering grilled meat. Jerk chicken. Curried goat. Sorrel and green bottles of Ting. Big plastic bags of herbs and roots and flowers, visible through smoke from large firepits. You could buy squares of many types of meat and seafood on skewers, each drenched in homemade barbecue or hot sauce. Rice and peas. Jamaican patties. Lots of little brown children running around with juice on their faces, dancing to the music or gawking at the grown ladies in their carnival costumes. I saw women who must have been in their fifties dancing down Eastern Parkway wearing what amounted to little more than beaded bikinis, and tall sheaves of feathers and even more beads on their heads. Men on stilts danced frenetically to one truck after another. As it was a week before the primaries, volunteers were out handing out cards and fliers for various candidates. These fliers were most often used to fan overheated cleavages and necks. After the parade, Patrick caught the train home to Queens while I headed uptown to the Ding-Dong Lounge for drinks with my sister Joseline, her boyfriend Phillip, their friend John, and Sean S. We drank beers. We talked about bikes and bike stores. We drank more beer. We had a bucket of chicken from the Kennedy Fried Chicken across the street. There was more beer. Phillip disappeared for a few minutes, which was a cause for concern as he was rather inebriated, then reappeared with an even larger bucket than before. Which we finished. And then I went home to prepare for my side-trip to Philadelphia.

RHCP – Love Rollercoaster; Wilco – I’m the man who loves you; Ramsey Lewis – Dear Prudence; Lily Allen – Smile; The Beatles – Two of Us; The Charlatans – Opportunity; Otis Redding – Day Tripper; Liz Phair – Table for One

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410: iPapi preview

nadine hulas in washington square park
Originally uploaded by missjasmine.

Hi. It’s been a month-long break from you lot, so here is a list of dates and words to prep you for what will surely be a long-ass dispatch. Also, pictures of my vacation in New York! Check ’em out.

8/4 – summer party! iPapi

8/5 – talladega nights at the cascade

8/6 – wordplay; i [heart] will shortz

8/7 – clerks ii

8/9 – sox game with sarah, and the lady with webbed toes

8/10 – sean’s apt

8/11 – fogo de chao for damien’s belated birthday

8/12 – barbecue; a & g fresh market

8/13 – hot chocolate, little miss sunshine with andrew & rozi

8/14 – packet pick up; food life; devil wears prada

8/16 – workshop with miss laurie

8/17 – i got groped by that guy from digital underground

8/18 – snakes on a plane; dundrearies

8/19 – car talk; party

8/20 – nothing; khloe’s for dinner

8/21 – cookout for sarah & sanjay

8/22 – beerfest! birthdays – patrick, will

8/23 – walnut arrives

8/24 – garbo visits

8/25 – visiting walnut

8/26 – no libidinous peanut; drowing sorrows in the finest hot wings oak park has to offer

8/27 – CTA tour

8/28 – material girls

8/29 – MCA, farmer’s market, library!

8/30 – jacinda, jo-ann

8/31 – nothing, VMA

9/1 – errands, dinner with nathan, thom’s birthday, “boymanship”

9/2 – nueva york estado de la mente

9/3 – movies with justin & patrick

9/4 – shaking it with the west indians on eastern parkway starring jasmine & patrick

9/5 – PHL

9/6 – grown-up toys; washington crossing; cabaret

9/7 – olivia; soup dumplings, and $4 lychee martinis

9/8 – nails, girls, dessert, drinks drinks drinks

9/9 – lost day, kevin & gabe’s

9/10 – home again

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406: don’t move

Friends in Lincoln Square at dusk

It’s almost midnight and I should be in bed, asleep. Instead I am in bed listening to Mobb Deep and writing an edition which is, as ever, long overdue.

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384: oh my gulay

here we go
Originally uploaded by jasmined.

I spent MLK weekend in New York, visiting friends, visiting family, and eating a lot of delicious food. Below are some notes:

Belleville – Brunch Saturday (1/14/06) with Sean. I had the omelet with argula, tomato, and Gruyere. Sean had the Mediterranean eggs, which were phenomenal. Sean and I talk about the screenplay we’re working on, pausing occasionally to admire the decor and wonder at how much money is earned by our fellow diners, who look casual in the way that only trustrafarians can.

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358: heavy air

{i had a biopsy and all i got was this lousy scar}1. chick flick

I’ve been feeling restless lately. Maybe it’s the humidity, the arrival of summer and clouds of gnats that surprise me on the walk home from the bus stop. I begin to sweat almost as soon as I step outside and squint into the sunshine. Nights are the worst — wind is high, and I talk on the phone outside my building. Not only because my cell phone reception is bad inside my apartment, but also because I enjoy the wind blowing my skirt up past my knees.

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341: the lone pilgrim, pt. 2

The Gates near the Met
Originally uploaded by missjasmine.

Being a houseguest allows you to fantasize with no one crowding you. After all, you are but a guest, an adornment. Your object is to give pleasure to your hosts. Lolling around in other people’s houses allows your mind to drift . . . Oh, domesticity! The wonder of dinner plates and cream pitchers. You know your friends by their ornaments. You want everything. If Mrs. A. has her mama’s old jelly mold, you want one, too, and everything that goes with it – the family, the tradition, the years of having jelly molded in it. We domestic sensualists live in a state of longing, no matter how comfortable our own places are. (Laurie Colwin)

4. liquid lunch (2/15; Chris T’s birthday)

Kim picked me up so we could find her a futon and get some lunch. After finding a futon in Brooklyn Heights, we tried to get cupcakes at Baked in Red Hook. Baked was closed, so we had lunch at the Hook & Anchor instead. Clam cakes and a Caesar salad for me, pierogies and the chopped salad for Kim. Kim’s just moved into a new apartment, so we talked about her new space. She’s also in the process of applying to vet school, and had to visit UPenn for interviews on Thursday. But I think we caught up enough that I could actually tell you how she is doing, as opposed to just guessing like I have been for the last few years. She mocked me for having a cocktail with lunch, but I could not resist the combination of Pimm’s, lime, and natural sour on the menu. Delicious. Before taking off, Kim bought Nick and Nadine’s futon frame for her new mattress. We helped her load the frame into the car, then I watched her drive away into the sunshine.

In the afternoon mail, Nadine received a notice that she published her first story. This called for drinks, so after dinner we headed out to a dim hipster bar on Smith Street. The hipster bar had everything you would expect of a hipster bar in Brooklyn in 2005: dim, almost dangerous lighting. A bowling arcade machine. Girls with questionable accessorizing talent. Boys with funny facial hair. I was still cramping like a maniac, so I made it an early night and promised to meet Sean for lunch the next day.

5. saffron (2/16)

Lunch with Sean at Baluchi’s. I had the chicken makhani and a basket full of plain nan, Sean the chicken tikka masala. It was delicious. The place was full of Asian students, families, businessmen, young people like us who played with the cruet. I walked Sean back to work, then took the bus up to 86th and Central Park West so I, too, could witness the phenomenon of “The Gates”. And it was fine. A light rain began to fall as I went round the reservoir. I ran into the Regis cross country team as I made my way out of the park, and I was instantly reminded of doing plays with Regis boys, sneaking cigarettes with them on the evening walks to the subway. I took the M3 bus down Fifth Avenue, making faces back at the little Spence girls in their smocks as we creept through heavy traffic. Thankfully, the train ride out to Flushing to see my parents was quicker, but just as crowded with children. This time Asian high school students who filled the car with laughter as they would shove each other out of the car at each stop.

Spent the night at my parents. My dad instantly bugged me about my diet, so I shut myself in my sister’s room to read back issues of Teen Vogue and wait for the morning.

6. silk (2/17; Andreas’s birthday)

I found Nadine across the street from an oversize needle and button, a sculpture to remind you that you were on Seventh Avenue, the heart of the fashion industry. We slunk through several fabric stores, comparing one store’s bolt of gray silk dupioni to another, taking clippings from bolts of red silk shantung for the ties Nick’s groomsmen will wear. Once I found the fabric of my dreams, we stopped at an Old Navy on the way home so I could finally get myself a belt. Oh, and cute pink and orange clutch for $6.99, natch. The basement of the ON in Herald’s Square (34th near Seventh Avenue) was a huge clearance room, and the low low prices helped ease the pain of the fact that the Barney’s Warehouse sale, which started that day, was still out of my price range.

With Nick and Nadine out to the theater that evening, I joined Sean and Michelle for dinner. We had nachos, watched some ‘Buffy’, played with Freddy. I fell asleep on their futon, the cat curled up next to me like a fluffy hot water bottle. I realized that I’ve spent every day of my trip sleeping with cats — Scrabble & MungoToe at Nick and Nadine’s, Mango at my parents, Freddy at Sean and Michelle’s. It’s a good thing I’m not allergic, or this trip would have been totally impossible. I’d still rather have a dog, though.


The Ramones – Judy Is A Punk; The Coup – Cars & Shoes; Genesis – Land Of Confusion


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340: the lone pilgrim, pt. 1

Creepy dessert case at Krystal’s
Originally uploaded by missjasmine.

Prologue: Chicago

My vacations tend to be short, so it was unusual that I would take ten whole days, in a row, to go away. And I didn’t go anywhere exotic or weird. I just came home. Apart from the day I spent in Philadelphia, I spent my time eating and walking through the outer boroughs of New York City.

Before I get to that, I have to thank Khloé, Jeremy, Joe, Josh, Jeff, Maria, Foster, and all the folks I used to work with in tech support. It was my last day in tech support on the 11th, so I packed up my things, hauled them up to my QA desk, and allowed myself to be feted in the pit. There was Champagne and a pink velvet cake baked by Khloé. Of course, I felt a little weird, as the department I was moving into didn’t even exist anymore. Come Tuesday, I’ll be doing essentially the same work, but I’ll be working for a developer, and not with the QA group whose camaraderie I had grown to enjoy. This new model of testing is supposed to be faster, but who knows if it will succeed, if I’ll still have a job after the 90 days the owners are giving this experiment.

So I had a heavy heart and a heavy conscience as I got tipsy on drink and sugar, had one last AC/DC sing-a-long with Khloé at our desks. I left work a little early so I could buy some cheap jeans which fit at the store and then seemed to become a size too big the next day. Very strange. I wore the jeans later that night to Tim’s party, where I sat around with folks from work, did many shots of ouzo, took a demure shot of Maker’s Mark, and made it home in time to get three hours of sleep and miss my 7:00 am flight. Boo. Rebooking on the 8:00 am was no problem, and gave me some time to smoke a cigarette, get breakfast from McDonald’s, buy the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair, put on some lip gloss. The flight was pretty damn near empty, so I got to stretch out with the queeny attendants in the back of the plane. I watched a DVD of ‘Popular’ while they talked about the condominium market in Dallas. We flew north a bit over the Hudson River, then circled round into LaGuardia and landed ever so gently on the runway.

1. metropolitan transit (2/12)

The little newsstand at the terminal does not sell 7-day Metrocards. Bitches. I tell my dad I’ll be fine taking the bus then the subway to Nick and Nadine’s apartment, so I don’t need him to drive me. Which is a mistake, as all the service changes turn an hour-long trip into a two hour trip. This trip consists of watching a man wearing a coat eerily similar to mine blow his nose and wipe the snot on the seat next to him on the M60 bus; considering the pair of fey young men on the downtown 5 train; hauling my heavy suitcase through several platforms to transfer to the Q, and then walking from 4th Avenue and Atlantic to Wyckoff Street and the comfort of Nick and Nadine’s living room. I lit a cigarette, telephoned my brother to inform him that I would not be meeting him and assorted others in the park to join the hordes viewing The Gates, and would instead meet him for dinner in Chinatown.

I needed consoling, and baking a ginger cheesecake with Nadine was just the thing to provide. We baked the bake before, or after, we went to Kimera to book her wedding dress. This was exciting stuff. The shop was small and dim and seemingly lined with endless dresses of silk shantung and silk dupioni. Nadine looked best in v-necked tops and full skirts. Neither of us were feeling the straight skirts, though she tried on a few of those as well. After the dress shop, I got on the subway and met my siblings and their respective significant others for dinner at XO. Food was good, and what’s not to love about a cheap-ass noodle joint that has a concrete tree growing in their dining room? The tree was decorated with paper hearts and lights for Valentine’s Day. I seemed to be the only single girl in the place. I didn’t have too much time to dwell on this, as I had to acquaint myself with my sister’s latest boyfriend, my brother’s longtime girlfriend, and Henry. Henry is one of Patrick’s oldest friends, and played with his Zippo through most of the meal. Patrick’s girlfriend Anna is a sweetheart, and I wish I had met her sooner. I invite her and Patrick to visit me during her spring break. I don’t get to talk to Phillip too much, as he is on the far side of our very large table, and he spends a lot of time taking pictures of Patrick taking pictures of him. Which, I assure you, is much funnier than it sounds.

Post-dinner, we dithered about what to do. Drinks, yes, but where? Phillip brought us to a faux Hungarian nightclub, then to the Knitting Factory where nobody wanted to pay the cover to see some crummy suburban hardcore bands, so we got on the subway north to get some cream puffs at Beard Papa and consider our options. Henry suggested the Blue & Gold Tavern on 7th, so off we went for cheap beer. The B & G was crowded, no seats so we stood around awkwardly and tried not to get impaled by the pool cues wielded by our fellow drinkers. Henry got bored very quickly and threatened to leave, so we went to Krytal’s Cafe for ube cake and coffee. Ube is a rather ugly purple yam from the Philippines from which it is possible to produce delicious though luridly colored desserts. The slices we got at Krystal’s were huge, and easily taken with cups of sugary coffee. On a projection screen hanging from the ceiling, an episode of “Queen for A Day” showed women competing for tiaras, cruises, and cash. I felt certain it was a sugar-induced hallucination.

2. birthdays (2/13)

Sean and Michelle’s birthday brunch. I resisted the urge to bring over a bucket of the Colonel’s finest from the KFC on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Warren Street. As it was there was plenty of food at Sean and Michelle’s — the cheesecake I helped Nadine bake. Eggs scrambled with tomato and cheese, and a large box of chocolates from their pal Barry. An assortment of Sean’s friends from work and from his time at the Actor’s Studio chatted easily, pausing only to eat more food or pet Freddy, Sean and Michelle’s overstuffed cat.

Nadine and I didn’t get home until late that evening, as we watched episodes of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” with Michelle after everybody else had gone home. On the walk home, Nadine and I stopped at Walgreen’s so she could buy some Valentine’s chocolate for Nick, and I could get some more toiletries. It wasn’t especially late, but it was Sunday so the only people out were the deli owners closing shop, or young lovers stumbling home from early Valentine’s dinners. I was supposed to get to bed early, but I didn’t. I slept fitfully, not only because of the slow-leaking air mattress, but because I was going to Philadelphia the next day, and the weather was supposed to be just awful.

3. the rain (2/14)

My jeans kept falling down, and I had awful cramps, but I made it up Nevins Street to the subway early Monday morning. Commuters were dressed appropriately for the cold rain outside, but a bit warm for the subway indoors. I removed my jacket as I got on the train, and stifled a chuckle when a girl standing near me asked her friend “Why it gotta smell like hot ass on a summer’s day on this train?” Why, indeed. Penn Station was just as grimy as I remembered it, though the waiting area for Amtrak customers was awfully cool and shiny. Almost indifferent, actually, all sleek metal bars and elegant black leather seating. I got change when I bought some cigar
ettes at the Hudson News.

The train was full, but I managed to snag a seat opposite a girl with copious amounts of tattoos on her neck and arms. She slept easily, only occasionally roused by a new stop and new passengers. She shot a dirty look at a woman who talked on her cell phone, then went back to sleep. I read Vanity Fair, examined my pores in the mirror in the tiny ladies room, and applied lipstick. I called Jeff and Grace when I arrived in Philadelphia, then stepped out the 30th street entrance to smoke and consider the rainy day ahead of me.

Jeff and Grace took me to POD for lunch. POD serves pan Asian cuisine in a sleek futuristic setting. We were seated at a white four-top, and from where we sat we could see the pods where parties of six or more could dine. I had the Peking duck, which was fine. Jeff and Grace regaled me with stories about ill-mannered children and their parents at the Chinese New Year party they had thrown the weekend before. I told them about the weird goings-on at work. After work, we went back to their house so Jeff could be home in time for his daily conference call. Grace gave me a tour of their lovely home, a pile of handmade soap, and more sweets to take with me. Olivia came by at 3:00, and we walked back to campus so she could show me her neighborhood.

Charming Victorian houses, semi-detached townhouses, hilly streets and sidewalks overhung with flowering trees. The rain made my bags heavier, and I had to stop every two blocks to roll down the waist on my jeans. I made a mental note to buy a belt the first chance I got. Olivia and I talked, mostly about school and her impending trip to Laos. She brought me to Cereality, which is coming to Chicago very soon. I mixed several types of Cheerios in my bowl and chomped happily. I had to slurp my milk quickly, as Olivia had a 4:30 colloquium. She dropped me off at Houston Hall, where I smoked a cigarette, called Andreas about meeting for drinks later, and took a nap in a velour armchair. When I finally woke up at 5:40 or so, I had missed a few calls, and Olivia was raring to go home. I called Andreas while we waited for the bus, and we made plans to meet for dinner at a local Ethiopian restaurant.

Olivia occupies a room on the third floor of a women’s co-op. I was glad to set down my bags, use the loo, examine her charming bedroom. Pictures and postcards were tacked to a corkboard above her desk, and a low shelf above her air mattress bore candles and framed photographs. I was sad to leave the coziness of her warm for the cold damp of the outside, but the restaurant wasn’t so far away. Dinner was fine — I wasn’t super hungry. I had butterflies in my stomach, maybe because I was afraid my jeans would drop every time I stood up? Whatevs. Andreas turned up, and the conversation turned almost immediately to graduate school concerns. I tuned them out and focused on my butterflies, who were clamoring for something warm. A few blocks down, I had a Maker’s Mark on the rocks with a twist. This may seem a sacrilege, but I assure you, it was delicious.

Olivia was kind enough to drive me back to the train station, where my train back to Penn Station was 15 minutes late. Once on the train, the hunger that eluded me during dinner returned full force. Fortunately, I had my leftover duck from lunch to consume, which sat well as I switched on my iPod, turned out the lights, and fell quietly asleep. I didn’t get to nap for long, as the trip was barely an hour. Instead of doing the smart thing and getting into a cab, I decided to be thrifty and take the subway. How was I to know the C would run on the F track, or that I should have gotten off at Hoyt? The C deposited me somewhere in lovely Fort Greene, where I was sorely tempted to curl up in the doorway of one of the many brownstones whose gas lamps winked at me in the dark. I had a good turn, finding DeKalb Avenue from where I could see the Williamsburg Bank. Once I started walking towards the bank, a vacant taxi turned a corner. I hailed it, and $9 later, I was home on Wyckoff Street.


Truth Hurts – Addictive; Amerie – 1 Thing; Gwen Stefani – Rich Girl


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310: all quiet on the jasmine front

I want to give my brother Patrick a nickname. I was thinking that his nickname could be “The Peej”. In the past several attempts were made by certain factions in the Davila clan to have Patrick known as “P.J.” Which, to my culturally jaundiced ears, sounds weird as a nickname for anybody who isn’t White. So I offer “The Peej” as an alternative to that ill-fated nickname of his childhood.

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