Monthly Archives: February 2012

Lame Adventure 285: Barrier Method

In general I have a three-track mind that predominantly thinks about food, sex and scribbling.  On this particular morning while riding the subway into work I had a small feast of crap dominating my thoughts.  Elsbeth, my boss, sprang for Girl Scout cookies for my colleagues, my sidekick, Greg, (not) Under Ling (anymore) and me.

Crowd pleasing flavors.

I was also carrying a new nosh of my own, a package of Pub Mix.

How I cover my sodium intake.

Of course, Pub Mix solo leaves something to be desired.  What immediately comes to mind is it being washed down with a few pints of frothy suds.  This is not something I’m inclined to do with my lord and master sitting in an office approximately ten feet away from my desk.  Hm, maybe I should live on the edge and relocate my desk?  We have plenty of empty space in the back of the room.  My fantasy exchange with my superior:

Elsbeth:  Why did you move your desk?

Me:  Now that I’m noshing on Pub Mix, I want to drink beer while I’m here.

Elsbeth:  Should I install a TV for you so you can also watch sports?

Me:  That would be so considerate of you, Boss!

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Can I sit back there, too?  I love beer!

Elsbeth:  Sure, why not?

Greg: What’s going on?  What are we doing?

Me: Move your desk back here.  Elsbeth has given us the okay to get drunk!  Have some Pub Mix with me, gang!

Back to the reality of riding the subway, I’m distracted from thinking about cookies, Pub Mix and beer by a middle aged bloke who stands next to me with his fist pressed against the pole.  Pictured below is a Lame Adventures re-enactment of this chap’s unique style of pole handling featuring Greg’s fist and a shiny metal pole in our workplace environment.

Greg's fist pole pressing.

On the train I had the following exchange with the Pole Presser:

Me:  Excuse me, may I ask why you’re pressing your fist into the pole that way?

Pole Presser:  I forgot my hand sanitizer.

As soon as I arrive at my destination, whenever possible, I simply wash the subway off my hands, but hey, to each germaphobe his own.

As Greg and I were preparing our re-enactment ever helpful Greg suggested:

Greg: Do you want me to spit and piss on it, too?

Me:  No, but thanks for offering to share your precious bodily fluids.

I told my sidekick about my dialogue with the Pole Presser.

Greg: Doesn’t that guy ever rub his nose?

Me:  Apparently not.

Greg absorbs this possibility.

Greg (in his best running for dog catcher voice): Get pink eye like a real man!

I’d vote for Greg.

Lame Adventure 284: Handicapping the Oscars Lame Adventures-style

The buff guy's back.

First thing this morning (I was still in bed in a semi-coma), my four-days-shy-of-85 year-old father called.

Me (groggy):  Hey Dad.

Dad (enthusiastic): Who’s gonna win the Oscars tonight?  Don’t tell me you were sleeping – get the hell up!

Me: Probably The Artist.

Dad:  I saw The Artist.  I liked it!  I’m okay with that.  I also liked The Descendants and I liked Hugo; didn’t think I’d like that one, but I did!  It was damn good!  Did you see it?  Did you like it?

Me: Yes and no.

My father, as usual, ignores my response.

Dad: Did you see Iron Lady?  Meryl Streep was terrific!  But I hated that movie!  She should win it, but if you ask me, I’d also give it to that one that played in The Maid.  She was terrific, too!  And that was a damn good film!

Me (perking up):  You mean Viola Davis in The Help, right?

Dad: Yes!  The Help!  Did I call it The Maid?  [Insert aging male growling sound before getting second wind.] I like her!  Give it to her and the other one.

My buddy Milton shows his support for Viola with cake!

Me:  Octavia Spencer?

Dad:  Who?!  I’m talking about the other maid – the one that baked that pie!

Me:  I know who you’re referring to!  That actress’s name is Octavia Spencer!  She’s up for Supporting Actress.

Dad:  Oh!  Good.  Yeah, give it to her.  That way they both get one.  They deserve it.

Me:  Let’s hope our memo reaches the Academy in time.

Again, my father ignores me.

Dad:  Do you think George Clooney’s gonna get it?  I thought he was great!

Me:  It might go to Jean Dujardin, the guy in The Artist.

Dad:  You know what?  I’m okay with that!  I liked him, too.

Me: It’s between them [murmuring] and Uggie.

My father ignores me and changes the subject.

Classy lassie flaunting her unique brand of Oscar fever.

Post-script: For you serious Oscar-types, my dear buddy, Milton, sitting in his East Side man cave, has wrapped his noggin around this subject in a big way.  Check out his site and see if you agree with his opining.  Start an argument or send him cake!

Lame Adventure 283: Copy Crap

This iPhone 4S ad is on the back cover of the February 27th issue of The New Yorker, the current issue.

Foggy from over here.

I stared at the copy for a full ten-count partly because I was confused and partly because I had nothing better to do with my time than to blow it looking vacantly at magazine ads.  Amazingly, I was not at work where I perform the lion’s share of my mindless time wasting.  In fact, I was home; I had just eaten dinner followed with a bout of food coma where (hide the small-fry from the sensual image to follow) I passed out with my drooling face pressed into this ad.  Thanks to my buzz saw style of snoring, I eventually revived.

The contraction “What’s” is what baffled me.  I knew the question this iPhone 4S user was asking was not, “What is my day look like?”  Unless they’re so addicted to the name of that American treasure, the I Can Has Cheezburger site, they’re suffering permanent English impairment.

For a moment, it occurred to me that this particular iPhone 4S user could be someone that speaks English as a second language.  My pal Coco has a friend with a heavy European accent.  When he first got his iPhone 4S he dictated an email to Siri intended for Coco.  Siri could not understand his accent at all, so she guessed at what he was trying to say.  Siri also omitted punctuation.  When Coco received his email, she thought he had suffered a stroke.  Yet, there is nothing else in this ad that indicates that this iPhone 4S user is not an ordinary English speaker, but why did they speak such lousy English?  Or, did they?

This prompted me to do a Google search that took me to a site called “Your Dictionary”.  This site insists it’s, “The dictionary you can understand.”  Clearly, they don’t know me.  Your Dictionary made a valiant attempt to set me straight:

Daylight.

So, this iPhone 4S Bozo or Bozo-ette (the hand looks female and I have yet to meet a guy named Karen) is asking, “What does my day look like?”  That copy I would not have questioned, but that’s not the copy in this ad.  Personally, I would have preferred if the copy read, “What’s my day looking like?”  Unfortunately, no one on the creative team thought to consult me, and The New Yorker does not have editorial control over crappy copy in Apple ads.  If I could afford an iPhone 4S and I had the audacity to ask it a question about the course of my day, I’m sure Siri would drop the cheery-talk with me and cut to the chase.  She’d blurt in a voice that sounds hauntingly like my perpetually angry fifth grade math teacher, Mrs. Flackenhag:

Siri (snarling): Another wasted day, today, Lame!

Okay, so I’m amongst the select breed of minimalists that still uses a mute dumb phone, and I also happen to make my toast by drying slices of bread in the sun, but stuff it with the fancy schmancy-ness, Siri.  Your ad’s crummy copy started this!

Lame Adventure 282: Slight Heart Attack Time

Possibly I’m deluding myself, but I like to think that I’m not too squeamish nor am I a wimp.  I will admit that I don’t do well with the dead.  Residing anywhere for any length of time one will encounter road kill.  That’s a fact of life.  Here in New York, the unpleasant sight of a flattened pigeon or rodent is common.

Splat the pigeon.

Whenever I encounter the downside of nature, I make a mental note of where not to look and what street I will side step for the next few days.  Every time I do stumble upon some creature’s untimely demise, it is always a bit jarring to me.  I am never truly relaxed when I glimpse a mangled form of what was once very likely earlier that same day a living critter.  This does not imply that for the rest of that day that image will haunt me.  It is an isolated shock in the moment, but then I move on, forget about it and resume whatever it is I am doing.  I don’t dwell on the frozen lifeless cat put out with the trash.  Okay, that dead cat I saw nearly twenty years ago was exceptional.  It has remained stored in my memory bank  forever, but usually, I delete these images almost as quickly as I see them, unless, of course I photograph them.  Hey, you never know when you might need a picture of pigeon splat.

On a recent rainy afternoon I had to run an errand near my office in Tribeca.  Sheltered under my umbrella, I was moving at a brisk pace, focused on getting to where I was going when my eye caught that simultaneously familiar and shocking sight of a limp heap lying atop the corner of a tree planter.  I thought the usual:

Me:  Yuck.

Then, I did the usual.  I looked away and walked past.  I assumed it was a dead blackbird, similar to the kind of bird featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds.  As I raced away, I was uncharacteristically still thinking about that bird.  I felt disturbed.  Birds do not normally drop dead atop tree planters.  Some cruel creep had to have harmed that poor defenseless creature.  I felt outrage.  I wondered:

Me: Was it poisoned or shot?

Scene of the crime.

People, their inhumanity and their lack of respect for the living infuriate me.  I write a blog, I have a voice, and on a good day I have seven readers (if my friends and sister check in).  I am obligated to be a spokeswoman about this sort of mindless animal cruelty.  Therefore, I reversed course and marched back to that tree planter, if only to show my compassion for …

A glove with a soggy, furry cuff that a considerate soul in a random act of kindness placed here.

Maybe there is a shred of hope for the human race after all.  It might also behoove me to get my eyes examined.

Lame Adventure 281: We’re in Good Company

Bet you can’t do this.

Leo the Care-free Border Collie showing off.

Neither can I.  In fact I’ll come clean.  I finally quit trying to catch Frisbees in my mouth after turning forty. By that stage in life I had invested in so much dental work, it was comparable to having a Mazda Miata parked in my kisser.  Therefore, I begrudgingly accepted reality and knew the time had come to downsize on the carefree frolicking in favor of keeping my two front teeth intact.  As for Leo the Care-free Border Collie’s impressive Cirque du Soleil maneuver while balanced gracefully on a flowerpot, that completely blows what’s left of my mind.

Lame Adventure 280: Common Stupidity

Possibly this has something to do with me being a jaded New Yorker with only a thimble full of hope for the human race, but when I exited my modest dwelling to confront the day I was immediately greeted by this sight cluttering the hallway.

Brownstone blight.

Sights like this reinforce my belief that common stupidity has overtaken common sense.

I am not a particularly strong woman physically.  In addition, I’m short, extremely nearsighted, and practically everything makes me sneeze.  Then, there is the problem with my ears.  They’re in bad shape.   Following one of my early acts of intimacy with my Special Someone I felt her breath in the right one.  I suspected there was more than breathing going on over there.

Me:  Hey, did you just say something?

SS (slightly shouting):  Yeah, I said your hearing’s not that bad!

I conjured my best “what made you think that right now” facial expression, the one that slightly resembles a camel digging out something stuck between its cheek and gum with its tongue.

Me (semi-stunned):  You think?

She said something in response that I did not catch and it really was not the time that I wanted to discuss my deficient hearing, but I am quite sure she instantly revised her thinking about my deafness.  I suspect she is now fully aware that I am nearing the point of being Helen Keller’s understudy.  It’s even possible that she’s already discussed this with me and I just didn’t hear her.  But I digress …

My point is that I am a minor, easy to ignore, innocuous player in The Game of Life, but I do have the capacity to break down packing boxes, tie them together with twine, lean them against a wall – and this is very important – a wall in my own home, and then take them outside my building to where the recycled trash goes instead of tossing them like two ill-fitting Russian nesting dolls in the communal hallway as my personal contribution to the proliferation of fire hazards and proof that I’m a thoughtless, clueless, lazy blemish on society incapable of picking up after myself.

[Insert pause for breath.]

After taking the above photograph I removed my motorcycle boots, tiptoed away in my socks, and scurried fleet of foot all the way to the subway station since I prefer to avoid conflict.

Lame Adventure 278: New York Hospitality

This weekend, my buddy, Coco, celebrated her birthday, a relatively innocuous one since this year’s ended in a three, not a digit from the trinity of dread — zero, five or nine.  We settled on a plan to meet at 6:30 at an Italian restaurant we frequent in Greenwich Village. This gave me time to run a quick errand before hooking up with my pal.

When I returned to my sanctum sanctorum to pick up Coco’s birthday gift* and head downtown, I noticed that The Trash Phantom had visited my building while I was out.  The Trash Phantom is That Wily One that leaves  junk prominently displayed within close proximity of the trashcans without putting said junk actually inside the trashcans.  The Trash Phantom must deem this junk as having value to some schnook passing by in this neighborhood, where the average resident earns $80k.  I do not earn anywhere near $80k, but I also have standards and an immense fear of athlete’s foot. Therefore, this pair of purple plaid rain boots from The Eyesore Collection stuffed with an umbrella near my building’s trashcans had zero appeal to me.

Eyesore Collection Rain Boots. Look for them in the finest neighborhoods on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Considering the massive bedbug scare that plagued Gotham City in 2010, I’m very skittish about most junk I see on the street.  Yet, I suppose if it was a pillowcase stuffed with gold doubloon, my skittishness would instantly evaporate and I could easily access my inner pirate.

Regular readers of Lame Adventures, all three of you, may also recall that The Trash Phantoms have left outside my Casa de la Shangri-La fedoras, office furniture, and my personal favorite, an odd looking stuffed fish that reminded me of a tennis ball, possibly because when it was put out for grabs the timing coincided with the US Open tennis tournament and I had tennis on the brain.

Back by no demand, odd looking stuffed fish that reminded me of a tennis ball.

As usual, I wondered about the mentality of someone that would leave a pair of rain boots and an umbrella out for the taking.  Did this person think they were being altruistic, were they ambivalent about chucking rain boots that they knew were still in decent or possibly never worn condition, or were they someone with such advanced attention deficit disorder, they were distracted by a low flying sparrow, and completely blanked on their intended task, dumping the rain boots in the trash?

A few years ago a Trash Phantom left a vacuum cleaner out on West End Avenue.

Adopt-a-vacuum-cleaner.

They attached this note that I thought was responsible.

Sincere sounding adopt-a-vacuum-cleaner note.

Possibly The Trash Phantom of the Rain Boots could have done something similar:

Umbrella – like new.  Rain boots. Woman’s size [whatever].  Never Worn.  Have strong purple plaid aversion.  Please rescue.

*Coco’s practical birthday gift from me — a harmonica and a Mars candy bar – obvious useful objects my fashionista cohort would never think to give herself.

Perfect for the woman that loves Chanel.

Lame Adventure 277: Funny Valentines

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.  It’s a day I find reliably disappointing for once again I’m Special Someone-less.  When I last checked my inner melancholy-o-meter, with 1 being “good riddance” and 10 being “suicidally depressed”, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I will admit that I’ve lost all motivation to shave so under my clothes I resemble Chewbacca a little more every day.  I miss those Backrubs on Demand and I wish she had returned the book she borrowed, Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, among a few other reasons why I regret fighting like cats and cats.

Overall, in my 369 ¼ dog years, I can recall experiencing few romantic Valentine’s Days, but in that same time period, I have been bombarded with countless reminders of what I should do to celebrate this day with the Special Someone that usually eludes me every February 14th.  See examples below.

Say it with a classy card*.

*Card available from Noble Works.

Say it with flowers* provided no one is deathly allergic like me.

*The say it with flowers site.

Say it with a Jacques Torres* chocolate puzzle heart.

*How to get a chocolate puzzle heart.

Say it with Salmon Provençal and a Chicken Leg*.

*Maybe not.

I asked my buddy, Coco, a certified vixen of the heterosexual persuasion, to share any of her tales of man-woman Valentine’s Day joy.  Allow me to hand the keyboard to my pal.

Coco: VD.  Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday.  Venereal Disease is a gynecologist’s holiday.

Thank you for that insight Coco.  Embedded below is a video Coco shot while hanging halfway out her narrow bathroom window of my sidekick, Greg, standing on her fire escape playing , My Funny Valentine, on his saxophone.  Enjoy and here in Lame Adventure-land we hope you share our gift of music along with candy, flowers and of course, that crowd-pleaser, Salmon Provençal and Chicken Legs, with your Special Someone.

Lame Adventure 276: Super Gripes

I was pleased that Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants was a very competitive game that could have gone either way down to the very last play. Yet, I have no intention to invest $99.99 in the Trophy Collection Bundle even though my team, the New York Giants, won 21-17.

Who needs this crap?

I must confess that had the Giants lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago, “my” team would have still won.  This is because I was born and raised in San Francisco where my father and brother taught me how the game was played when I was a very tender age — around four or five.  Considering how complicated the rules are to football, one might say that the main men in my family bestowed me with quite a gift.  I suppose it is a pity that the gift I was bestowed was not something more useful in the game of life such as learning a second language, playing an instrument or negotiating a raise that results in being paid a living wage.

Without the patient tutelage of my dad and brother, I would probably be another clueless type declaring the game boring instead of what I am, an out of my mind maniac screaming my lungs out at the TV whenever my team fails to make a play, receives a penalty, or I disagree with the officiating.

Although I am not very sentimental, when I moved to New York in 1982 to earn my BFA in Film at NYU(seless), one of the mementos I packed that I have saved through the years is this ticket stub from January 10, 1982 when I was in Candlestick Park watching the 1981 NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.

Cue Barbra Streisand singing "The Way We Were".

This was the most exciting and memorable football game I have ever seen in my life – coincidentally this is not the sort of factoid I reveal about myself on a first date unless I’m dating someone I hope to never see again.  This same ticket for that same seat would have cost $154 for this year’s NFC Championship Game when the Giants beat the Niners.

Sentimental sap aside, there is so much that I utterly loathe about football, especially the pretension leading to the Super Bowl.  What gets on my nerves is the pompous  battle music, the frenzy concocted by the NFL that infects the media, the ridiculous hoopla, the endless hype, and the solemn Voice of God narrators recounting highlights from previous games with a degree of reverence one would expect for the career of an illustrious head of state.  Do not get me started on the use of the Roman numerals.  What the hell is that about?  Is there supposed to be some Ben-Hur connection?  It’s just a game and if viewers are lucky it won’t be a lopsided blowout.  On the other hand, I suppose this sport is good for the economy, but it baffles me who could afford the price of tickets in this economy, but somehow the stadiums are always packed.

On Saturday I relented and tuned into what I refer to as Day Before the Big Game Bullshit.  One of the segments was about the Super Bowl ads that would run during the game.  This year a thirty-second spot cost $3.5 million.  I wonder how many more bags of Doritos Frito-Lay expects to sell by running their Super Bowl ads, but I will admit that their spot, Man’s Best Friend, was my favorite – not that this will motivate me to eat Doritos.

As for Madonna strutting what’s left of her stuff during the half-time show, I did wince when she seemed to lose her footing climbing up a step and made a few other awkward dance moves.  Ever the trooper, Madge continued to hoof and I popped an Aleve in sympathy.  My back was aching just from watching her, but fortunately I made a recovery in time for the second half of nail-biting and screaming.

Lame Adventure 275: Depressing Sight

One night this week I was waiting for an uptown local subway train to take me to my destination, a movie theater where I was going to meet my friend, Felipe.  I was standing on the platform with fellow members of the beaten-down-after-work-heading-to-the-land-of-gin-and-tonic crowd.  Most of the herd was looking in the direction of the dark hole of a tunnel for an oncoming train’s headlights that were nowhere in sight.  I was focused on the tracks fixated on this depressing sight.

"Is that what I think it is?"

The curled green cover made me think that this little book, whether it held addresses, notes, or the answers to all of the important secrets of life (where do all my lost socks go?), had probably belonged to a woman.  Yet, maybe it belonged to a guy who is colorblind or indifferent to color or simply a fan of green and has a leprechaun fetish.  Whoever this notebook belonged to, he or she probably had no idea what happened to it.  As pessimistic as I am by nature, I like to think that it was not the owner that tossed this little book into the tracks.

Little green notebook meeting its depressing end.

I imagine its owner probably just thought it disappeared and entered the void, as lost things often seem to do.  Then, after realizing our loss we think:

We (thinking):  Where the hell did [whatever that is] go?

Through the years I’ve asked that exact question about the aforementioned lost socks, as well as gloves, umbrellas, tickets, lip balm, packs of gum, pens, keys, photographs, my American Express card, and rather fabulously two crisp twenty dollar bills that had the unmitigated gall to sprout wings before my eyes when I stopped to use a pay phone at least 25 years ago.  How that happened was I unzipped a fanny pack I was wearing strapped across the front of my body.  I dipped my mitt in for change and my wallet-less cash flew out in the summer breeze and sailed gracefully in tandem into the slits in a sewer grate.  I looked helplessly down in the grate at them looking up at me at least ten feet out of my grasp forever.  My half-deaf ears were in better shape in my reckless youth for I seem to recall hearing them snicker.  I vividly remember that sick feeling of loss I suffered as if it happened yesterday.  This was also the last time I  wore one of those tourist-type nerd packs anywhere on my body ever again.  Even though I knew exactly where my cash went, that incident also absconded with one of the many missing pieces of my mind.

My battered Moleskine notebook safe and sound ... for now.