Tag Archives: idiocy

Lame Adventure 440: Destructive Forces

When I was a scrawny kid standing barely four feet tall and weighing no more than forty pounds, my mother viewed me as a condensed package of pure trouble. She never wanted me near anything mechanical. She was taking no chances to give me any opportunity to break anything. She was certain that if I held my father’s “electric eye” movie camera I would drop it, the mix master was for someone else to use as I watched, and I should just forget about ever making a milkshake in the blender on my own. When I would enter a room when guests were visiting I was subject to “the look”, a fiercely watchful eye that screamed:

Mom: Don’t touch anything!

My dad would allow me to blow off steam and let loose my inner maniac. I would sit in the driver’s seat of his car where I would go crazy playing at the steering wheel. The engine was always off so there was no chance I could floor the accelerator I couldn’t reach and drive through a wall.

Fast forward to this year, early October. I’m walking down Hudson Street en route to my bank when I see a sight so incongruous, I almost throw out my neck: a mint condition Beatles lunchbox circa 1965 hanging off the handlebar of a stroller. It’s being pushed by a nanny tending three small fry. That happened to be the exact lunchbox I wanted when I was in first grade, but it cost more, so my mother bought me a compromise solution lunchbox featuring the Flintstones. The nanny’s charges were a tot of about two, a toddler girl around four and their big brother, a boy, I guessed was six and probably in first grade.

Me: Excuse me; I remember that lunchbox in my youth. May I photograph it?

Nanny: Of course! His father loves the Beatles. Everything with his daddy is the Beatles.

Does Mom have the Hope Diamond lying on the coffee table?

Does Mommy use the Hope Diamond as a doorstop?

So this lunchbox belonged to the little schoolboy. I thanked her for her time and moved on imagining that Daddy was at least my age, obscenely wealthy, and Mommy was a trophy twenty-five years his junior. Later I researched what a Beatles lunchbox in mint condition is worth: about a thousand dollars. There’s one on eBay priced at $6,500. I wondered what that kid’s lunchbox would look like at the end of the school year. Dented, scratched and battered? Who in their right mind would allow a six-year-old to carry his PB&J sandwiches in a collector’s item that will only increase in value over time? This isn’t yeah, yeah, yeah, but no, no, no! I ordered myself to calm down. Who am I to dictate what people do with their collector’s items? Let it go, or how about, let it be?

At month’s end, I spent a weekend on the West Coast with my siblings, Dovima and Axel. My sister lamented about how she wished she still had the Beatle fan book that she bought in 1964.

Me: It’s in Dad’s house.

Dovima didn’t believe me, but I assured her it was indeed there. It took us two days to dig through the entirety of our family archives, but finally, I unearthed it buried deep in a file box tucked high on a shelf that had not been opened in well over thirty years. My sister was elated. Hero-me gloated.

Back in the hands of its proud owner.

Back in the hands of its proud owner.

As we looked through it for the first time in decades, Dovima, in her excitement turned to the third page, but I insisted:

Me: Turn back; let’s look at it from page one.

On the lower right corner of page two we saw this.

Dovima was calm. I dropped a barrage of f-bombs.

Dovima was calm. I dropped multiple f-bombs.

I have no recollection of when or why I wrote my name on it, but possibly it was for  a school show and tell or maybe it was in frustration when my mother refused to let me set my own alarm clock or sharpen a pencil or ring the doorbell. Obviously, Mom did not keep me away from pens. I hope that that schoolboy with the Beatles lunchbox doesn’t follow my lead and do something stupid like give them all goatees. As for Dovima, when we saw that the autographed centerfold was still intact and unscathed, she breathed a sigh of relief. At least I managed to control my impulse to be the fifth Beatle, and I refrained from being the ultimate imbecile by signing my name with those of the lads from Liverpool.

John, Paul, George, Ringo and what a relief, no sign of me.

Signed John, Paul, George, Ringo and what a relief, no sign of me.

Lame Adventure 426: Am I Being Tested?

I admit that I will never be mistaken for someone who is conducting a passionate love affair with their day job. What I do is label tile, an occupation that is equal to tossing years of one’s life off a cliff, but I make an effort to consciously label tile accurately. Labeling tile is an honest, and at times, a stupid living. A recent example of stupid: I received a delivery of tile samples where I discovered I was missing two tiles. I notified the vendor that I needed two more pieces of three-inch square tile, one in the color, Latte Matte, and the other in Steel Grey Matte. Pictured below is what the vendor sent me in the follow-up delivery.

The story of my life in three tiles.

The story of my life in three tiles.

One of the many reasons why I enjoy living in New York so much is that I love the culture. It’s everywhere including in the street.

It's those krazy klowns: Kim and Kanye!

It’s those krazy klowns: Kim and Kanye!

But I also love the theater. Last week, my friend, Milton, treated me to the current Broadway revival of the musical Cabaret playing at Studio 54 starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams. This was my Christmas present. When Milton purchased the tickets in 2013, the best seats available were for this performance in July. We’re two patient people who were fine with celebrating our Christmas in July. For those of you who appreciate feedback about shows (the rest of you skip to the next paragraph): this is a terrific revival of a brilliant musical. We were both entirely in our bliss. Alan Cumming has been playing the role of the Emcee off and on since 1993. He was born to play this seductive character. Milton noted that for a guy who is not very handsome, Alan Cumming is so charismatic in that role, he becomes the sexiest guy in the world. This revival is a first for Michelle Williams who had never appeared on the Broadway stage before. She’s cast as Sally Bowles, a role I had only seen on film played extraordinarily by Liza Minnelli. Michelle plays Sally as someone sincere but with minimal talent. Her Sally is infinitely heartbreaking. When Liza powerfully belts the title song, Cabaret, in the film, I recall feeling uplifted. When Michelle’s Sally sings it earnestly on stage, I had the impression that she’s thinking that she’s going to follow the lead of the friend who died “from too much pills and liquor”. She was so vulnerable. We thought she did a fine job in that pivotal role. It’s a shame that she did not score a Tony award nomination. We thought she got robbed. It was a great night of theater in New York City.

Usually, Milton and I find ways to get discounts on our theater ticket purchases. One way is to subscribe to a theater company’s season. One of the theater companies we subscribe to is the Public Theater. Recently, we had to order all of our tickets for the 2014-2015 season. We got great seats at great prices on all the dates we wanted. I had the tickets mailed to my apartment. Imagine my dismay when I opened my mailbox to find our tickets in this envelope. My friend, Coco, suggested it could double as a skateboard ramp.

Special delivery.

Special delivery.

It rained buckets that day, but if my letter carrier had a beef with Mother Nature, was it necessary to direct the hostility on our theater tickets? This person had to shove our ticket envelope into my letterbox, and then they rolled and plunged two catalogs and that week’s issue of The New Yorker on top of the envelope. This took concentration and force. I told Milton that I sniffed the envelope and was relieved that it did not noticeably smell like urine.

There are days when I don’t feel like labeling tile samples, but I’m not going to take a hammer, smash them to smithereens, and send them off for display. By doing my job relatively whole assed, I can afford to attend the theater. As for my letter carrier, I’m unsure what to think other than I’m irked.

Irked!

Irked!

I wish he or she would invest in another way to express hostility, preferably far away from my mail, possibly at a more appropriate place like an active volcano. Occasionally, I have to junk discontinued tile samples. Maybe I should offer them to my letter carrier to throw when feeling rage.

At least our tickets are smiling.

Our tickets are smiling.

Lame Adventure 398: The Million Dollar Migraine

In time for the holiday shopping season there’s an opportunity to own an authentic painting by Pablo Picasso worth one million dollars for $135.

Man with Opera Hat

Man with Opera Hat (Pablo Picasso 1914).

This is for a lottery that will be held December 18 in Paris. Tickets cost 100 Euros or $135. Only 50,000 tickets will be sold and it’s for a charitable cause, a fund-raising project to benefit the International Association to Save Tyre (AIST), a city in Lebanon that has taken a beating in military conflicts for decades. Tyre is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its history goes back to the Phoenicians, making it slightly younger than dirt. The money raised would support two cultural initiatives: an arts center and a scholarly institute. This chicken would sooner study art in an infinitely safer place such as sitting on the third rail of the subway track. But possibly, Lebanon will transform into a country of unicorns and rainbows when this arts center opens. Why not donate 135 clams to a worthy cause and have a one in 50,000 shot at owning the ultimate conversation piece?  I don’t happen to have a spare 135 clams, especially during holiday spending season, and the painting lives in France. Here’s the fine print:

Party of first part excerpt.

Sending it stateside in time for a Christmas delivery reeks of hassle. A proxy could prove to be unscrupulous; someone named Jean-Claude d’Oily who might swap it out for a picture that looks more like this.

"Hey, this isn't in color!"

“Hey, this isn’t in color!”

Transporting a million dollar Picasso is complicated. It might behoove the winner, such as someone like myself, to take a trip to France to personally retrieve it. That would eliminate the shipping fee. As a woman of modest means I would need to cut more costs. Another way to pinch pennies is to avoid staying in a hotel. This would be a no time for sightseeing, grab and go operation, where we fly in and fly out. Naturally I would travel with my human shield: Milton.

Milton in his Thinking Cap.

Milton in his Thinking Chapeau.

With Milton in the dual role of protector and navigator — I have no idea where that warehouse in Gennevillieres is; we could inconspicuously transport it back to my humble abode in a Le Bon Marché department store shopping bag. This painting only measures 9 ½” x 12”. In fact, I could easily slip it into my messenger bag. Who would suspect that we would transport a million dollar 99-year-old Picasso in a shopping bag much less a canvas satchel along with a comb, antacid tablets and hand sanitizer?

The French: Can you believe those two stoo-peed Americans with the sanitized hands?

But it is as guaranteed as death, (value added) taxes and middle age weight gain that Milton will give me guff should I try to stuff it in the plane’s overhead bin.

Milton: No, you are not putting your Picasso in the overhead bin! That’s simply unheard of!

Me: Like it’s customary to carry a Picasso out of France in a shopping bag or satchel? Where the hell am I supposed to put it, or should I ask Brigitte Bardot over there?

Milton: Brigitte Bardot?

Me: That flight attendant. The blonde.

Milton: You think she looks like Bardot? Please. Mitzi Gaynor in 1975 if you’re looking at her through cataracts.

Me: Can we stay on topic here? It will be fine in the overhead bin. Let’s not over-think this.

To keep the peace, I’ll place the painting under the seat in front of me. So we get it back to New York without incident i.e., no one gets mugged or murdered. Then what do I do with it? Hang it on the wall in my crappy apartment?

Milton: Before you do anything else, you must insure it!

That means I have to call Geico, get past that annoying Gecko, and research how much they’ll fleece me. I anticipate that phone conversation would be priceless and knowing my luck I’ll be arguing with a customer service drone of indeterminate gender named Begonia. Maybe I could just slip my Picasso into one of those renter’s insurance policies costing $14.25 a month that more than covers all of my other worldly goods worth a combined value of $3,497 when I factor in my spin bike and the three-pack of socks I purchased in October. I could plead ignorance that I had no idea that storing a million dollar painting on a shelf next to my paper towels might increase the cost of my policy 75-fold.

While eating brunch with my pal Lola, who was born and raised in Spain but has lived in New York for decades, I mention this potential life crisis.

Me: My life is a never-ending headache — real or imagined.

Lola: If you win this painting, I’ll tell my sister to pick it up.

According to Google Maps, driving from Spain to France is the same distance as going from New York to Cincinnati, approximately 640 miles.

Google maps NYC to Cincinnati

Google maps Spain to France

Lola: I’ll sell it for you when I’m over there. Buy your ticket.

But I will resist the temptation. If I lose, I would be out the $135 I’m intending to spend on Christmas presents for all those nearest and dearest me: custom made soap-on-a-rope. But maybe you will want to take that one in 50,000 chance. If so, click here.

Lame Adventure 329: The Gift of Goat

As someone that suffers stage 4-level lactose intolerance, if I would dare nibble on a sumptuous ripe Brie the after effects on my intestines would be as if I had swallowed a stick of lit dynamite whole.  I have a very sensitive stomach.  Fortunately, thanks to sheep and goats, I am not entirely cheese-deprived.

Get your goat logs, goat medallions, goat Olympic medals here.

Unlike cow’s milk cheese, goat cheese is gamier, but I like gamey to an extent; I’m not going to chow down a pickled farm animal’s hoof anytime soon.  That’s an odd vinegar soaked delicacy my Italian granny was drawn to that made everyone else at the table recoil.  On the other hand, a cheese with distinct character pleases my palate very much.  Lucky for me my posse accommodates my many dietary quirks and limitations.  They’re all pretty much goat cheese eaters now.

Goat cheese with French names.

When my Current Companion has absolutely nothing better to do and visits me, I have been known to get us a variety of both goat and sheep’s milk cheeses.  I have been eating goat cheese for decades, but only recently have I started paying closer attention to the sheep’s milk variety.  There is one sheep’s milk cheese I get that she likes very much, but much to our mutual dismay, I suffered a touch of A.D.D. and forgot to note its name.

Current Companion:  How could you forget the name of that cheese?  It was sooooooo good!

This prompted my usual logical train of thought:

Me (thinking):  Is this a deal-breaker?  Am I gonna get ditched over failing to remember the name of a cheese?

Me (saying):  I think it’s kinda coming back to me.  Relax, I can wing this.

We visited the cheese department in the Upper West Side’s Fairway. I asked the cheese monger with authority:

Me: Do you have a sheep’s milk cheese called something like Idiot Zabel?

A short while later, we settled for Naked Goat and Drunken Goat.

Drunk goat sleeping it off, “Hic!”

They happen to be two of our favorites and Current Companion wryly and dryly observed:

Current Companion:  Those are names you’ll never forget.

Drunken Goat from Fairway.

I did happen to see a wheel of Idiot Zabel afterward, so we got a wedge of that, too.  Once again though I did not write down its exact name, but it really does taste great.  Overall, Fairway has a good selection of goat cheeses.

Cute little goat pillows.

My favorite is Drunken Goat.

Drunken Goat unwrapped with signature violet rind.

It’s from the Murcia region of Spain a mild white cheese with a slightly fruity flavor that’s been soaked in red wine for a few days giving its edible rind a deep violet hue.  It pairs well with olives, salty dry meat, and snarky women.  It’s also miraculous on the digestive tract.

“I’m sober as a judge.”

Note about the guest goat puppet, his original name is Furryosity Goat (since renamed Bill E.).  Even though Bill E. has been relocated to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, his siblings are in SoHo awaiting adoption at Treasure & Bond, a very cool store owned by Nordstrom’s where 100% of all after-cost profits benefit children in need.

Treasure & Bond

Adopt a goat (puppet) today!

Lame Adventure 328: Hanging Around

Can you believe it?  Michael Phelps has a record nineteen Olympic medals and now that it’s August it’s been over four months since I first tackled the scintillating topic of tree bagging.  For those of you unfamiliar with the illustrious pastime of tree bagging, that’s when you’re out meandering, your mind is elsewhere, possibly veering in the direction of strenuous wanton sex, sinfully decadent foodstuffs, or you’re wondering if that 2-for-1 sale on nasal decongestant is still happening. Then you look up and notice the phenomenon of shopping bags nestled in tree branches.  If you reside on the Upper West Side like me you focus specifically on one multitasking tree on your block that doubles as a trash receptacle with branches.

That’s the tree in March.

Back in late March the bags in that tree looked like this.

Bags in tree.

Go ahead, take a closer look.

Now, more than four months later, I have reason to report on the State of the Tree Bags. I had just finished doing two loads of laundry after work but before dinner.  I was feeling hungry for my salad; the only dinner I have eaten almost every day in summer because I do not intend to use my stove again until fall. There were days in June and July that were so sweltering inside my un-air-conditioned hovel that I could have easily fried an egg on my bathroom floor, not to imply that that was actually on my “to do” list.  I’ll be the first to admit that greasing one’s bathroom floor is not such a genius idea.  Besides, I’m certainly not going to eat that egg.  Ew.

So there I was, deep in shallow thought while walking back to my sanctum sanctorum, carrying my bag of freshly done laundry.  It had been a long and busy day at The Grind. The soles of my feet were aching.  I was thinking:

Me (thinking):  Why are my feet aching?  Now what, do I have gout?  Doesn’t that only afflict old guys?  Or am I the one woman in the entire universe that’s screwed with this curse?  Can I ever get cut a single solitary break or is my entire life a constant disaster?  What is this going to cost me aside from epic humiliation? I can hear my dad right now, “How the hell did you get gout?  I know guys in the mall with it.  Gals aren’t supposed to get that.”  It would probably behoove me to exclude mentioning this in the “objective” category on my resume, or maybe it would show character and pith?  “Got gout.  Hire me.”  Hm, it does have an original ring to it.

I glance up at that tree’s branches.

Same tree more than four months later.

Then, focus my gaze and access my inner zoom lens.

Closing in …

Close-up.

I thought:

Me (thinking):  Wow!  That Fairway bag is still there!  It’s survived so many elements, the heat, the humidity, several rainstorms, even The Hunger Games entire run at my neighborhood multiplex.  Remarkable!  Am I almost out of balsamic?  I wonder when I’ll next get laid?  What happened to the second bag?

“I’m right here!”

Lame Adventure 324: Mother Nature Flips Me the Bird

Following another productive day of unwinding paperclips at The Grind, I exited the 72nd Street subway station at 5:55 Tuesday evening.  I looked up at the temperature on the Apple Bank digital clock at 73rd and Broadway and thought:

Me (thinking):  I can’t believe it’s 94.

Believe it.

What compelled me to think that made no sense for it’s July.  July is always hot.  Some July days seem hot as hell. What would call for genuine disbelief is if the temperature was half that, 47.  Or 57.  How about 27 and snowing?  Snow in New York City in July would certainly be a global news top story.  The Big Apple had snow in October last year and en masse everyone was bracing for a winter worthy of Siberia.  In fact, last winter was one of the mildest on record. We had next to no snow all season.  Of course people were bitching about that.  I paraphrase:

Bitching New Yorkers:  Where the hell’s the snow?   It doesn’t feel like winter.

Back to the present on this seasonably hot July day that feels exactly like summer, sweat was surfacing from my scalp down to the soles of my feet and all body parts in-between.  Soon you could probably fry an egg off me.  A minute passed. It read 5:56 on the clock.  There was a correction that added validity to my disbelief.

The reward for staring.

I wondered if I continued to stare at that clock like a slack-jawed doofus for another five minutes would the temperature climb to 100?  I didn’t stand around to find out.

Lame Adventure 322: Cake Chaos

Whenever someone’s birthday rolls around at my company we have a cake.  In departments other than mine, where quantity steamrolls quality in appeal, it’s often a mammoth-sized confection of a dense cheese variety topped with gelatinous uniformly sized strawberries that I suspect are manufactured by Dow Chemical.  Our showroom manager, Coco, refers to these cakes in two words:

Coco: Colon cleanse.

Any cake that can double as colonoscopy prep is not welcome in my department, Design.  In general we prefer delightful treats in bite sized-portions.  I’m thinking that next year I might request a cake so small and luxurious that my sidekick, Greg, will be assigned to stand next to me to hold my candle.  That’s another rule of Cake in Design.  The candle is limited to one.  This probably has more to do with my boss Elsbeth and I being a combined 833 in dog years.  We share a mutual disinclination to blow out a forest fire of eyebrow singeing flames.

This week my buddy and colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) celebrated her natal date.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) told me that she didn’t want a cake and was more in the mood for a fruit tart.

Me: Could you go for a raspberry tart?

How about a raspberry tart like this one decorated with a single candle?

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Yes.  And don’t worry I’ll act completely surprised like I had no idea it was coming when you guys give it to me.

Me: Possibly you could appear so shocked, you could fake fainting?

I called Le Pain Quotidien and special ordered a seven-inch raspberry tart for my colleague.  Elsbeth gave me the payment in cash.  Greg, who does all the heavy lifting including that of 14 ounce tarts, picked it up. Then, we had to come up with the latest harebrained ruse so (not) Under Ling (anymore) could feign surprise.

Elsbeth sent her to the photo room to take a photograph.  I had the bright idea that if we sent our unpaid Summer Intern to the photo room to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) this might take our veteran staffer off the scent for a nanosecond.  Elsbeth thought that was brilliant.  The boss gave Greg, who was working in our warehouse, the universal hand signal screaming one of two things, “Yes, I have read all three installments of the Fifty Shades of Grey series” and “Get your ass in here now!”  I lighted the candle on the cake and ordered Our Summer Intern:

Me:  Okay, go now — get her!

Greg raced into our office as our Summer Intern raced out.  Elsbeth, Greg and I  waited.  And waited.  We were approaching a ten count when our superior spoke:

Elsbeth:  Where did our Summer Intern go?

Greg:  Wasn’t she just supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore)?

Annoyed, I left our office, and thoroughly scoured our warehouse for our missing  Summer Intern.  She was either expertly hiding from me, or she instantly found a paying gig, or she was living my fantasy i.e., she walked out the door and just keep going.  I returned to our office intern-less with this report to my waiting Superior.

Me: I don’t know where she went.

Elsbeth: You took so long I thought you went missing!

Greg:  Like an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Everyone who steps out to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) disappears!

[insert beat]

Elsbeth (to me):  Just get (not) Under Ling (anymore).

I visit (not) Under Ling (anymore) in the photo room, and lamely say:

Me: Elsbeth wants the camera back.  Now.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) (muttering to self):  Finally, I get my cake!

We eat the cake baffled over what happened to our Summer Intern, but not that baffled that we sent out another search posse.

Picture perfect slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for herself.

Mangled slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for me.

My phone rings.  It’s Coco’s extension:

Coco:  Your Summer Intern wants to know if she can come back upstairs now?

Me:  Was she down there with you all this time?

Coco: Yeah.  What the hell’s going on with you guys?

Me:  She was supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) – not visit you!

In response to Elsbeth asking me what happened to our missing Summer Intern I calmly explain to my superior that there was a miscommunication.

Then I popped my fork through my plate.

Stabbed plate held by Elsbeth.