Tag Archives: friendship

Lame Adventure 450: Water Cooler Torture

On my first workday morning of the New Year, I was the first member of my department in our office. I went through my usual machinations: turned on my computer, logged in and then approached the water cooler to make a cup of hot tea. Our water bottle was full, but only one drop of water dripped out of the hot spigot of our dual temperature cooler. I tested the cold spigot. Not a single drop emitted there. Bad sign.

I hightailed down three flights to the Accounting department where I filled my cup when no one was looking. Accounting hates my department, Design. They think we’re superfluous; my boss, Elspeth’s vanity project. I did not want to feel guilted into leaving a kidney and a dollar for them so I raced out their back door sight unseen. When I returned to my office, my colleague, Godsend, had arrived.

Godsend: Happy New Year!

Me: I think our water cooler shit the bed!

I bellowed for the company janitor on the Voice-of-God intercom that is heard throughout our entire six-story building and halfway across New Jersey. This was a crisis. He came quickly. I explained the situation. He disassembled our water cooler and discovered that it was frozen solid inside.

The big freeze.

The big freeze.

We unplugged it and waited a few hours for it to thaw. Once the ice melted, I plugged it back in and tried to run water out of it. Nothing flowed.

Debottled and dysfunctional (could double as a band's name).

Debottled and dysfunctional (could double as a band’s name).

The next morning, the water in the well had frozen again. Even though I am not a Water Cooler-ology major from MIT, I guessed that there was something wrong with the thermostat. This would be one of those repairs that would cost more than replacing the unit. It had been in use for the entirety of the ten years that I have been employed in the dual role of Minister of Tile and the Person Who Deals with the Crap No One Else Wants to Handle. It had probably been in continuous use for about fourteen years. I threw myself on the grenade and visited the immovable mountain that is the Accounting department to beg for a replacement. Spewing fountains of contempt, they’re fine if Design is parched.

I return to my desk, Google water coolers. Home Depot is a good source. I see one that I think will work perfectly for us. Elspeth tells me to order it.

Our new cooler arrives on Friday. Our shipping manager unpacks it and I proceed to conduct the setup. The only instructions are a red caution card hanging off the hot water spigot warning not to activate the cooler’s hot switch until after the tank is filled.

Heed this warning!

Heed this warning!

We plug in a new water bottle, wait for it to fill the tank and then I insert the cooler’s plug into the wall socket. Easy peasy.

Ta da!

Ta da!

A cloud of noxious vapor belches out of the cooler’s rear vent directly into my face. The fumes fill our office.

Even though it is nine degrees outside, Godsend opens the windows. I call our cooler’s manufacturer and get through to a technician. He diagnoses that a snafu occurred: it somehow shipped with the off-switch in the on position.

Hidden under this tape behind the black metal grate, the off switch is on.

Hidden under this tape behind the black metal grate, the off switch is on.

Because it seems to be working normally, he is keeping a file on it but will give us a replacement should it eventually malfunction. While I have him on the line, I ask how sanitary it is from the get-go. The conversation gets awkward.

Technician: Most people just pop in their water bottles and start using their coolers right away. [pause and translation: bad idea] They never clean them. [pause and translation: bad idea] No harm in running a few quarts of water through both spigots first.

I heed the message and flush out half the new bottle in a bucket. The stink in our office has faded, but Godsend remains traumatized from witnessing that cloud of vapor explode in my kisser. She has willies similar to the ones she suffered that time we noticed the copper-colored mineral buildup in our old cooler’s well.

Copper-colored much in old water cooler well.

Copper-colored dome in old water cooler well. Ew.

I’m not wild about personally doing a taste test of the new cooler’s water. I call Donald who works upstairs who agrees to be our guinea pig. Before drinking a cup of cold water and a mug of hot tea he tells me that if anything happens to him he has two words for me:

Donald: Screw you.

Me: Thank you for doing this for us.

Donald drinks. Godsend shudders. I check my watch wondering how long before it’s quitting time. He announces that the water tastes fine hot and cold. I get thirsty and try the water. I assure Godsend that it tastes good.

Same color as strychnine, but more refreshing.

Same color as strychnine, but more refreshing.

Me: It’s irrational to fear the water cooler.

Godsend remains unconvinced. I have ways to change her mind.

Psychological ploy.

Psychological ploy.

Lame Adventure 371: Marriage Lame Adventures-style

When I launched Lame Adventures in January 2010, I saw my site as an outlet for sharing tales set in New York City from the perspective of a hapless minion of modest means. At first, it was fine with me if only my close circle of friends and my sister, Dovima, read my blog. I am by nature an anti-social networker. Eventually, bloggers began to discover me, and I realized that was okay, too. I now enjoy reading several fellow bloggers and I have gotten to know members of my cyberspace posse quite well. On more than one occasion I have even been fortunate enough to meet fellow bloggers when they’ve visited New York City.

The most rewarding experience I’ve had thus far with meeting a fellow blogger occurred last Thursday when I met one of my earliest followers, Kathy McCullogh over at Reinventing the Event Horizon. Instead of doing the usual, hanging out at a pub, Kathy emailed me and asked if I would serve as witness to the City Hall nuptials between she and Sara Coppler, her partner of seven years. On May 1, they would move to Cuenca, Ecuador. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse. My co-witness, Jackie over at Jackie Cangro, was on board to attend, too. I have since learned that Jackie is both an excellent sherpa and writer.

This year, Kathy and Sara’s lives have been in such a whirlwind I almost need a nap before I explain what’s been happening. They’ve sold their house in Kentucky and have been in the process of completely liquidating their life in the U.S. ever since. They chose to relocate to Ecuador for many reasons. Ecuador is on the East Coast’s time zone (except during daylight savings time), it’s a three and a half hour flight from Florida, the currency is the U.S. dollar, the price of oil is cheap ($1.48 a gallon), health care and housing are affordable, the overall cost of living is low, and the perpetual spring-like climate is a perfect compromise for both of them. Kathy hates heat and Sara hates cold. Gee, maybe Milton and I should stuff ourselves into their carry-on bags.

Before making this move, Kathy and Sara were advised that because marriage equality is on the rise in South America, it would behoove them to travel to a state in the U.S. where same sex marriage is legal. Getting married stateside before moving overseas would give their union more legitimacy in their adopted homeland. Hence, they chose New York to officially tie the knot.

As honored as I was to be included in this historic event in their lives, for a moment, a flash of terror shot through my entire being from the soles of my feet to the roots of my hair. No, this terror had nothing to do with my lifelong fear of commitment, but the thought of having to dress up twice in one week. They were marrying three days after Milton and I attended a black tie gala at Lincoln Center for Barbra Streisand! Kathy reassured me that it was going to be very casual.

For anyone considering getting married in New York’s City Hall, the ceremonies are actually held in the City Clerk’s office at 141 Worth Street in lower Manhattan. There is a 24-hour waiting period after a couple purchases a license, possibly to prevent couples from impulsively entering boneheaded unions, such as when Britney Spears got married in Las Vegas to, if I recall his name correctly, That Schmuck.

First thing first, fees.

First thing first, fees.

Kathy and Sara have been ready to make it legal for years, but like so many committed same sex couples, they were waiting for the laws to change.

Kathy and Sara in their final moments of waiting to wed.

Kathy (left) and Sara in their final moments of patiently waiting to wed.

On wedding day proper, April 25, the four of us agreed to meet at 9 a.m., but we all arrived at 8:45. Even though I am not an early riser nor am I a morning person at all, no way was I going to be The Jerk That Arrives Late for this special occasion.

New York City’s Marriage Bureau is a place where the vibe is warm and welcoming. All a couple has to do is show up and wait their turn. The bureau has flowers, a gift shop, even a backdrop with a photograph of the actual City Hall for brides and grooms to pose before. It’s run very efficiently. Check it out.

Flower selections.

Flower selections.

Cake toppers and ducks.

Cake toppers and ducks.

Reading material neither Kathy nor Sara needed during the 24-hour waiting period.

Reading material neither Kathy nor Sara needed during the 24-hour waiting period.

Camera-ready City Hall mural backdrop.

Camera-ready City Hall mural backdrop.

Kathy and Sara's ceremony number.

Kathy and Sara’s ceremony number.

Kathy and Sara filling out forms.

Kathy and Sara filling out forms.

Exchanging vows a.k.a. this is happening for real!

Exchanging vows a.k.a. this is happening for real!

Double ring ceremony.

Double ring ceremony.

Missed money shot due to delay in my camera's shutter speed.

Missed money shot due to delay in my camera’s shutter speed.

Just married! Finally!

Just married! Finally!

Backdrop looks complete now.

Backdrop looking complete now.

Kathy and Sara entered lawful wedded bliss by 9:59 a.m. When we stepped outside, we encountered a photographer named Braulio Cuenca. Apparently, he’s been a fixture outside the City Clerk’s office since 1994. If you’d like to read his story in the New York Times click this link. Coincidentally, Braulio is Ecuadorian and from — where else? Cuenca! He shot Kathy and Sara’s official wedding photo. We saw that as a good omen.

First step outside as spouse and spouse.

First step outside as a lawfully wedded couple.

Braulio showing Kathy official wedding photo.

Braulio showing Kathy official wedding photo.

Afterward, Jackie and I accompanied the brides on a few errands before heading over to Chinatown for a celebratory dim sum lunch at Ping’s on Mott Street. Our next stop was Ferrara’s in Little Italy for dessert Italian-style. Then, we parted ways. Jackie returned home to Brooklyn. I headed uptown. Kathy and Sara, caught a cab in the Big Apple detour in their journey.

Jubilant Kathy and Sara in taxi heading toward the next leg in their life together.

Jubilant Kathy and Sara in taxi heading toward the next leg in their life together.

Upon reflection, I realized that were it not for the blogosphere, I never would have met this very cool, very loving couple and made a new writer-friend in Brooklyn. This is an adventure that was far more lucky than it was lame. The Lame Adventures will return should this city slicker ever visit them in Ecuador.

Lame Adventure 370: People, People Who Need Barbra …

Banner outside Avery Fisher Hall.

Banner outside Avery Fisher Hall.

Are the luckiest people in the world — if they have a friend like Milton. The Film Society of Lincoln Center held their 40th annual Chaplin Award fundraising gala in Avery Fisher Hall on Monday night. This year the honoree was Barbra Streisand. Milton is a HUGE Barbra fan, and I am, too. Both of us have been fans since the 60s when he was a boy in Nebraska and I, a girl in San Francisco, decades before we were destined to join forces in 21st century New York City.

It was a black tie affair with Liza Minnelli, Wynton Marsalis and Tony Bennett performing. The speakers included Michael Douglas, Catherine Deneuve, Pierce Brosnan, Blythe Danner, Ben Stiller and, oh yeah, Bill Clinton was presenting the award to Barbra. With such a superstar honoree and that cast of stellar supporting players, the price of admission cost $200 to $500. Seats at the post-show dinner ranged from $1,500 a ticket to $100,000 a table. On my meager alms, no way could I attend. Milton was resigned to going solo and that bothered him.

A lot.

He is a long-time Film Society member. In March, he purchased his Barbra ticket the second they went on sale to members — members get first crack before the general public. He selected Tier 1, Box 3, seat 5. His seat was close to the stage, directly across from Barbra. The event sold out quickly. It generated $2 million for the Film Society, a million dollars more than any other Chaplin gala honoree. I suggested to Milton:

Me: Maybe they should have held it in Yankee Stadium.

Milton: For those prices, she’d have to sing.

As the honoree, Barbra’s job was to appear, soak up the adulation, accept her award from the 42nd president of the United States and give an acceptance speech. Nice work if you have the resume that rates it.

Last Thursday, something extraordinary happened. The Film Society announced that they were releasing a block of $25 partial view seats in Tier 3. Milton happens to know the layout of Avery Fisher Hall about as well as his own living room. For example, he can point out exactly where he and his mother sat when they saw Sarah Vaughn perform there in 1977. Milton scrutinized the cheap seats and he knew that Tier 3’s, Box 3, seat 15, would not only rock, but it was not partial view. In fact, this was the absolute best nosebleed seat in the house for it was in the box two tiers above his. He pounced and yes, I was there.

The coveted ducat.

The coveted ducat.

Damn fine view.

Damn fine view.

Nerd inside with collector's item Playbill.

Lucky nerd inside with collector’s item Playbill.

I was sitting directly across from Barbra’s box, too. From my bird’s eye view, I could even see where Hillary Clinton was sitting — center orchestra row six on the aisle next to a bald guy that looked a lot like former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. I doubted that was who he was. Other celebrities that I thought I recognized were Bill and Melinda Gates. They weren’t sitting in Tier 3. I saw them riding up the escalator as we were people watching in the lobby.

No bland muzak here; guests were serenaded by this fine harpist.

No bland muzak here; guests were entertained by this fine harpist.

The event was bursting with the Swells of New York. Milton being Milton, he did have some qualms with the way some of the attendees were attired, especially the young woman in the short hot pink sheath with tall black boots.

Milton: Hideous!

He did give the two gay guys in matching skinny blue suits with brown dress shoes a pass.

Milton: They’re making a statement.

Me: Like what, they’re both colorblind?

We both agreed that this gent's red patent leather tassled loafers were great.

We agreed that this sockless gent’s red patent leather tasseled loafers were great.

The overall crowd was quite gay or as Milton put it:

Milton: I see a lot of men with their mothers.

There was a significant lesbian turnout, too.

The entertainment, as expected, was top notch. Liza Minnelli took to the stage first. Even though she now has hip problems and was supposed to perform while seated, she forced herself to stand and she belted her heart out.

Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli

Wynton Marsalis serenaded Barbra on his trumpet with Hello Dolly and 87-year-old Alan Bergman, who co-wrote the lyrics to The Way We Were with his wife, Marilyn, sang a very poignant version of that song to her. He wrote some new lyrics celebrating The Way You Are.

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis

Presenters included some of her leading men. Omar Sharif and Robert Redford appeared on a screen in previously taped tributes. Kris Kristofferson, her co-star in A Star is Born was there. He recounted that “the bathtub scene” with her was “a lot of fun”. George Segal who starred opposite her in The Owl and the Pussycat, joked that he did not know what was more improbable in that film; his role as a failed writer or hers as a failed hooker. Amy Irving, who starred with Barbra in her directorial debut, Yentl, recalled that their kissing scene was, “The best girl on girl action a girl could hope for.” Meow!

Ben Stiller, who referred to himself as Barbra’s “cinematic son” — she played Mother Focker to his Greg Focker, in some of the Fockers comedies, introduced Bill Clinton. Clinton declared that every great person is driven, “But if that person has massive talent, big brains and a bigger heart, you want to go along for the ride.”

Barbra at lectern; Bill Clinton sitting behind her.

Barbra at lectern; Bill Clinton sitting behind her.

Barbra delivered an eloquent acceptance speech. She recounted tales from her youth, how she longed to be an actress who would perform the classics, but “no one wanted a 15-year-old Medea.” When she was 16, she had to perform a love scene opposite a guy she felt no attraction to. What she did to make the scene work was place a piece of chocolate cake behind him so she could look longingly at it.  She admitted, “Thank God I was given a good singing voice.”  She knew that her vocal gift was the key that opened the doors to her acting, screenwriting, producing and directing careers or, as she called herself, “a hyphenate.”  As she closed her remarks, she mentioned memories and added, “I feel like I should sing a song or something.” The audience went wild, hoping to hear her rendition of The Way We Were, but she quickly waved away that idea.

Former President Clinton returned to the lectern and delivered one more introduction. This was for Tony Bennett. He closed the event by singing Smile. Charlie Chaplin wrote the music to that song which was first heard in the film, Modern Times. Thanks to Chaplin’s contributions to film, this prestigious honor was started in 1972. He was the first recipient.

Barbra in center on stage at event's close.

Barbra in center on stage at event’s close.

Afterward, I joined Milton outside. We agreed that we had just witnessed 90 minutes of bliss.

Milton: I’m so glad we live in New York!

Me: I’m so glad I know you!

Barbra Streisand, 71 years old today and she still has it. (Invision — Photo by Charles Sykes)

Barbra Streisand, 71 years old today and she still has it going on. (Invision — Photo by Charles Sykes)

Lame Adventure 365: I, Numbskull

In February, I received an email from the Public Art Fund announcing that a new outdoor art exhibit was opening on March 5th called United Enemies. It’s comprised of two monumental bronze sculptures by Thomas Schütte.  Both sculptures feature a pair of angry men tied together but struggling to pull apart.  They are so consumed with contempt for each other their faces are distorted.  Naturally I thought:

Me: The Democrats and the Republicans!

Apparently, I was onto something for I learned some specifics about its origin:

“Conceived during a residency in Italy at a time when several politicians had been arrested for corruption, this series of works refers obliquely to these individuals, though the figures represented in the work are mythical characters rather than specific people.”

Last week, the Public Art Fund sent me an email reminding me that the exhibit has officially opened, or at least that’s what I thought the email was about. I didn’t read the email’s text.  I looked at the image and instantly thought these pairs of freaky gents would be welcome on my site.

Take fifteen seconds to read this.

Too busy to take fifteen seconds to read this.

On Sunday afternoon, I hopped on the downtown 1 local subway train, exited at 59th Street and walked east down Central Park West, prepared to take my usual mediocre photographs. As I passed each entrance and exit to the park, I was confounded for I could not find these sculptures. I knew they weren’t lawn jockey size.  Since they were bronze behemoths I thought it was highly unlikely that they were stolen or damaged.  When I reached Fifth Avenue, I considered asking a carriage horse driver if he knew where they were, but that struck me as absurd since they were obviously nowhere to be found.

I then proceeded to retrace my steps going west. I looked closer at each entrance and exit to the park, but still, there was no sign of these sculptures and my bafflement escalated.  Why didn’t I read the text in that email?  Was this exhibit postponed or opening at a later date?  I walked up Central Park West and looked over the lower end of the park.  All I saw was a woman walking two poodles clad in coats that surely cost more than my crappy down jacket.

Then, I had a light bulb: I’d look at the email!  Last Xmas The Boss gave me a refurbished iPod Touch.  I turned it on, but could not access the internet.  I felt foiled and regretted only being able to afford a dumb phone.  I really did not want to return home to read that email on my home computer, but then I had another light bulb: I may have a dumb phone but I have friends with smart phones. First, I called Milton, but he wasn’t around.  Next, I texted Coco, but she wasn’t around.  Last, I tried my pal, Lola.  She wasn’t around, either. I gave up and proceeded to walk home.  As I neared 66th Street Milton called:

Milton: You rang.

Me: Yeah. I’m trying to photograph a Public Art Fund exhibit near the entrance of Central Park, but I don’t know what entrance it’s at.  Can you research it for me?

Milton: What’s the name of the exhibit?

Me: The artist is Thomas something, a German-sounding name.  Just Google Public Art Fund.

Milton: What’s the first word I’m Googling?

Me:  Public.

Milton: What?

Me: Public.

Milton: Say again.

Me: Public.  Like the Public Theater, but don’t Google the Public Theater

Milton: Oh.  Public. The Public what?

Me: Art Fund.

Milton: The Public Art Fund.

[Channeling Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins: By Jove, I think he’s got it!]

Milton: It’s in the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue. Who’s Doris C. Freedman?  Where the hell is that?

Me: I have no idea. I’ve just spent the last hour walking up and down Central Park West like an idiot.

Milton: Figure it’s by the Plaza Hotel.

The Plaza Hotel.

The Plaza Hotel.

Me: I was just by the Plaza Hotel.

Milton: You were probably on the 59th Street side.  Go to 60th.

Just then a 66th Street cross-town bus arrived. I stood behind two senior citizens that paid their fares in loose change.  This took an eternity to accomplish.  I counted the traffic light change three times and began regretting not carrying a sleeping bag.  The bus crossed the park. I exited at Fifth Avenue to continue my crusade.  Metal stands left over from the St. Patrick’s Day parade were still crowding the sidewalk.

Metal stands hogging sidewalk.

Metal stands hogging sidewalk.

I noticed several well-heeled pedestrians carrying shopping bags from the tony department stores in the area walking in the street.  Clearly they have better health insurance than me. Finally, as I approached 60th Street I saw the sculptures in the distance.

Hallelujah moment.

Hallelujah moment.

Putting their best peg leg forward.

Putting their best peg leg forward.

From this angle these guys brought to mind former governor of Alabama George Wallace.

From this angle these guys brought to mind former governor of Alabama George Wallace.

Two more miserable bronze dudes.

Two more miserable bronze dudes.

Pastoral shot of park doubling as eyeball cleanse.

Picturesque shot of park doubling as eyeball cleanse.

Lame Adventure 355: She Swims with the Fishes

Recently I mentioned to Greg, my sidekick at The Grind:

Me: My arthritic left knee has not been hurting me lately, but my right elbow has been killing me.

He pondered this and suggested:

Greg: Maybe you’re favoring your knee with your elbow.

Three weeks ago, my knee was motivated to regain complete function when I was standing on Rodeo Beach at the Marin Headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area with my longtime friend, BatPat. We were waiting to be attacked by a hungry California sea lion because I was wearing a sweater that resembled a delicious looking squid.

BatPat:  That’s not true!  Tell your seven loyal readers what really happened!

For fifty weeks of the year, I am an extreme city slicker here in New York, the slickest of cities.  The closest I get to nature is when I see someone out walking their dog, or notice a rat in the subway tracks, a squirrel climbing a tree or the unofficial Gotham City bird, the pigeon, strutting its stuff.  I’m completely fine with these fleeting encounters with pampered pooches and standard urban wildlife.

"Cinnamon raisin bagel, my favorite!  Yours, too, perhaps?"

“Cinnamon raisin bagel, my favorite! Yours, too, perhaps?”

For two weeks of the year, one in December and another in June, I visit my family and BatPat and her family on the West Coast.  For the thirty-five years I have known BatPat she is forever forcing me to commit extreme acts against my glass, steel, concrete and soot-flecked nature such as going on a hike.  On a dirt path.  Surrounded by trees.  Places where the woodpeckers are not animated.  On my most recent trip West, she suggests:

BatPat:  Let’s go to the beach!

Yay, the ocean where we can go cartwheeling and get hypothermia!

Yay, visit the cold ocean where we can go cartwheeling and pull a groin muscle!

Me:  Why?  It’s colder there than the inside of a refrigerator.

BatPat:  We can see the ocean, not splash around in it.  It’ll be nice.

I suggest a compromise solution:

Me:  Can’t we just look at it from the car?

BatPat:  Let’s go to the Marine Mammal Center.

Since it’s not my nature to be difficult, I groan my approval of this idea and begin craving fish for dinner.

The Marine Mammal Center entrance.

The Marine Mammal Center entrance.

No sooner do we step out of the car to enter the center than a marine mammal rescue worker comes running towards us.  Instinctively I think she may have mistaken my Jack Purcell badminton shoes for flippers so I assure her:

Me: I feel fine.

Marine Mammal Rescue Worker: We’re releasing a sea lion right now. Follow me to the beach!

The Rescue Worker runs down a hill.

Me:  Please tell me that we’re taking the car.

We climb into the car.  BatPat floors the accelerator and we’re tailgating the rescue vehicle.

Hotly pursuing a sea lion.

Hotly pursuing that pinniped (fin-footed mammal).

We park and join the cluster of fellow sea lion stalkers that gather to witness the release.  The ocean is rough and so foamy that it reminds me of shaving cream, not to imply that it would ever be on my “to do” list to shave my gams with sea foam, but if offered a significant sum, I might use it on that patch of fur that’s sprouted from my lower back.

Real deal sea foam.

Industrial strength sea foam.

On foot, we follow the crate carrying the sea lion, a female that was either injured or ill, but has since been nursed back to health at the state of the art facility.

Riding in style.

Riding in style.

The rescue workers roll the crate down to the beach and prepare for the rehabilitated animal’s release back into the wild.

"All eyes are on me!"

“All eyes are on me!”

The workers hold rescue shields, and stand in formation — two rows that the animal, if everything goes according to plan, will waddle between straight to the sea for supper.  Before the door to the crate is opened a rescue worker makes an important announcement:

Important announcement time.

Important announcement time.

Rescue Worker: If she charges you, run.

I turn to BatPat who is watching the sea lion’s cage as if in a trance and give my own advice:

Me:  Maybe it would behoove us to get a head start and run back to the car now.

Just as I am loading the reel with the story of my life in my head so it can flash nicely before my eyes as I’m being chewed to pulp, the cage door opens.  The sea lion follows protocol and waddles between the rescue workers with dignity.

"Hello everyone!"

“Hello everyone!”

She moves down the sand with such style and grace, if I were a talent agent I’d be inspired to sign her on the spot to appear on Dancing with the Stars – and partner her with Michael Phelps.

"Is that supper I smell?"

“Is that supper I smell?”

She has plans of her own and chooses to return to the sea that is her home.

rolling in the deep

Now we see her.

Now we don't.

Now we don’t.

Lame Adventures-style buffoonery aside, The Marine Mammal Center is a wonderful Northern California institution to visit if ever in the area.  Click the hyperlink to check out their web site to learn more about their commendable work rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and seals.

Lame Adventure 340: Up On the Roof In Times Square

If there is one place in New York City where I guarantee I will never be found as long as I am breathing, it is Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  Being there at that time on that day has less appeal to me than playing slip and slide over hot coals while naked. There are certain situations that I feel so strongly negative about and this is one that scores sky high on my hole in the bucket list, right under how much I loathe clichés like bucket lists.

I am not a list-er and I prefer to blather about what I’ve done after I’ve done it.  Whenever people are compelled to yammer at me about what they intend to do – take a class, write a novel, throw a party, shoot an arrow, whack a mole, whatever it is that is so important at that moment, my eyes glaze over.  If you’re compelled to do something, I say:

Me:  Great.  Do it.  Tell me about it when it’s an actual thing and not air-infused pontification that is about as likely to happen as world peace by next Tuesday.

Earlier this week I happened to be in Times Square with my bud and fellow blogger, Natasia, who writes Hot Femme in the City.  Last month she had suffered a ferocious cold accompanied by one of those coughs that sounded similar to a phlegm-filled foghorn.  She was very bummed that her illness prevented her from attending an outdoor screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark in Bryant Park with her colleagues.  Factoid-on-feet-me told her that this film was going to open for a week in September in IMAX theaters in conjunction with its release on Blu-ray DVD.

When that week rolls around, Tas and I make a beeline for a screening after we left our respective grinds for the AMC 25, the IMAX theater in Times Square.  We were joining the minor masses i.e., it was not a horde of rabid theatergoers, eager to catch this classic popcorn flick first released in 1981.

We arrived an hour early.  We didn’t have enough time to head over to any of our preferred watering holes in the area. It was also premature to start stuffing ourselves with a trough of popcorn so heavily salted I am certain that I have fulfilled my sodium requirement for the remainder of the month or possibly the rest of my life since that infusion of salt could result in me succumbing to a massive stroke by the weekend.  So, what to do with forty minutes to kill?  We hightailed up to the roof.

This multiplex theater’s rooftop is not the most romantic in New York City so it is probably not a go-to place for a proposal unless the proposal is, “How long is the movie?  Should we hit the bathroom before hand or what?”

Couple on lower level AMC 25 rooftop, not exactly Hollywood romance surroundings.

Great place to propose bathroom break strategy.

Although this hidden rooftop oasis is essentially industrial strength viewing, it does offer a unique perspective on this world famous area that’s also tourist and crowd-free. Apparently it’s also a welcome place to eat sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seed detritus or possibly evidence of a visit from a Yankee or Met.

Check out the other sights.

Madame Tussaud’s mitt up close and personal.

Thomson Reuters headquarters building.

The Thomson Reuters building is also known as 3 Times Square.  As interesting as seeing Madame Tussaud’s well manicured hand, we were far more captivated seeing the Times Square Ball in the off-season.

The Times Square Ball mid-pole in September. The colors gradually change.

Times Square Ball changing to lighter color.

Times Square Ball closer.

Times Square Ball in bolder colors.

We were hypnotized as we watched the Times Square Ball, but then I started to bark like a seal and we regained our senses.

The Paramount Building.

The Paramount Building is also known as 1501 Broadway.  At the time we were looking at it, Tas guessed that it was Big Ben.

The view looking west down 42nd Street.

A ship sailing the Hudson with New Jersey in the background.

Hotel Carter.

The Hotel Carter, which opened in 1930, has a reputation for being ranked the dirtiest hotel in America for four years running.

The Westin Times Square.

For tourists that would like to avoid bedbugs, the Westin Times Square might be an infinitely more attractive alternative.

The Westin even has a pretty reflection.

One Astor Plaza.

One Astor Plaza is home to Viacom’s headquarters and MTV’s New York studios.

The Times Square Building and the former home of The New York Times.

“Hey Tas, let’s go back inside! Don’t bring the stranger!”

Dinner comprised of salt, popcorn and 37 napkins.

As for the film, it holds up well — if you ignore the boulder-sized hole in the plot of the Nazis being completely oblivious to Indy’s archaeological dig taking place right in front of their faces.

Lame Adventure 335: Overdue

Here I am lying down on the job.

Can this double as a passport photo?

And here I am 2,500 years hence, significantly more dried out and inked than I am at present.

Yay, I finally shed those unwanted pounds!

What prompted these images was an email I had received a week earlier from Natasia, my tattoo-worshipping antagonist over at Hot Femme:

Tas email: Tattoos: a 2,500 year old trend. Almost as long as satchels!

Natasia frequently mocks my use of the words satchel, behoove, and some other of my trademark expressions I cannot recall due to my advanced case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

Me email: Aren’t you feeling oh so smug!

Tas email: Find yourself a mummy with a satchel, Lame.

That dare set me off.   A week later, I emailed Natasia the above image of the mummy with a satchel, agitating this fresh snark:

Tas email:  I’m assuming this is (not) Under Ling (anymore’s) work.

Okay, Natasia’s Cornell degree in Something Hard and Complicated Involving Math once again paid off.  That was a correct assumption.  Yes, I have been blessed with two crack graphic designer buddies that have generously contributed to this site, my former colleague, Ling, who designed my banner, and now, Ling’s successor and former number two, Under Ling, since renamed, (not) Under Ling (anymore) after she was promoted last January.

Ten Lame Adventures ago (not) Under Ling (anymore) was anticipating a Lame Adventure of our own collaboration, a Lame Adventure entitled:  The New Office Accessory.  The reason this Lame Adventure went missing was that other Lame Adventures suddenly took precedence — Lame Adventures about the reliable crowd pleaser, tree bagging; the Lame Adventure about goat cheese and my pet puppet goat, Bill E.; collaborations with my wingman commenter Mike G, my humor advocate Le Clown, and my neighbor’s wonderful pooch Blanca.

Blanca: coolest pooch in my hood.

When, my sidekick, Greg, shared the YouTube link featuring the Wilhelm Scream, it never occurred to (not) Under Ling (anymore) that our joint Lame Adventure would once again be superseded and this time by nearly sixty year old yelling.  And, of course, there is my problem with CRS.  I’m so overloaded mentally, emotionally and alcoholically I’m nearing the day when I’m just going to start signing my name with a middle finger print.

Without further delay, here is that long overdue, especially if you’re (not) Under Ling (anymore), tale about The New Office Accessory.

In my ongoing passion for all things mundane, I would like to announce that after nearly eight years of employ in my illustrious career as Minister of Tile, I no longer have to march the twelve point seven feet from my desk to my superior Elsbeth’s office to sharpen a pencil.  My svelte colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) has altruistically donated a kidney to our General Manager’s ailing ferret and in exchange The Powers That Be In Accounting have stuck a crowbar in the company wallet and approved the purchase of a $7.00 extension cord from Office Max. This will grant us the opportunity to share our very own electric pencil sharpener without ever having to leave our desks again — a departmental first, emphasis on mental.

Examples of more pencils in our future.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) did all the setup involved possibly because she is very wise for her 24 years and she instinctively knew that The Cranky Fossil in Jack Purcell badminton shoes would sooner scrub the floor with her toothbrush than climb under her desk to plug in that cord herself.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  Ever.

Fortunately, The Cranky Fossil sits next to a very can-do member of the Millennial Generation, at least someone that is very can-do when it comes to entering Middle Earth to set up the electric pencil sharpener that they now share.

End result.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) performing first pencil sharpening.

And yes, the sharpener sits six inches away from The Cranky Fossil and two feet across (not) Under Ling (anymore)’s desk possibly because the youthful member of the equation’s head will explode if she has to hear The Cranky Fossil whine one more time about her aching back.

Ta da! “Nice and pointy!”

Hey, watch it!  Don’t stick me in the eye with that thing!

First spent pencil memorial.

Lame Adventure 318: The Lion in Summer

This week, on Wednesday, my close personal friend Milton bade farewell to the coveted 18 – 49 age demographic six days ahead of his obvious counterpart in the hairline department, Tom Cruise.


Milton had a good day.  He had entered the ticket lottery for one of the handful of front row $26 seats to the matinee performance of Wicked, the always sold out musical on Broadway.  He won!

Milton loved the novel written by Gregory Maguire that is the basis for this show, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, but he was certain it would be watered down.  During intermission he emailed me.  I asked:

Me: How’s the show?

Milton: It’s empty, but has its moments.

Me: Oh, it’s the story of my life!

Afterward, when we got together at Bettibar, an adorable theater district pub upstairs from the Hourglass Tavern, Milton admitted that he was very impressed with the show’s overall production.  Had he seen it when he was nine he thinks he would have been in such a state of bliss he would have instantly become obsessed with Broadway shows.  He seemed pretty happy about it at the half century mark or maybe it was the shot of tequila he had just pounded talking?

Initially, Milton was afraid to get together with me for he was with a few other dear friends the night before celebrating at the Cheesecake Factory in Westbury, Long Island.  They arranged to have Happy Birthday sung to him.  He was now irrationally worried that I might subject him to the same fate, something he could not endure twice.  What could I say to assuage his fear?

Me:  Are you insane?  Do you know me at all?  Is this the first time we’ve met?

Only if faced with the prospect of torture that would lead to certain death would I ever subject anyone near and dear to me, or even someone far and loathsome to me (yes, I’m referring to you Dick Cheney), to that dreadful public humiliation.  I would not want to be subject to that pain myself so why would I inflict it upon one of my VIP-level friends?  If I had past lives, I highly doubt that any of them included me being a sadist.

Yet, I will admit I did have one noisy trick tucked in my satchel.  When we had moved to a table, I gave him the sound effect birthday card that I bought for him three years earlier in anticipation of his milestone.  One glance at those glitter-coated Audrey Hepburn eyes and I knew this was the perfect card for him.

Audrey Hepburn eyes.

I had no choice but to get it then and there and proceed to wait over a thousand days to give it.  In the intervening three years I misplaced his card twice and I lived in fear that when I would finally present it to him on his natal day proper the battery would be as dead as Rafa Nadal’s 2012 Wimbledon hopes but fortunately, Papyrus uses some fantastically long shelf-life ultra battery.  When Milton opened his card to read the caption, “The Big 50!”, our corner of the establishment was consumed with the sound of a woman shrieking in terror at the top of her lungs.

He liked that.

I was not feeling so confident about his gift, a DVD of one of his favorite films, Fellini’s Casanova.

A slender slice of snafu?

Although he frequently lamented about it not being available on disk, he is a blu-ray aficionado.  Right now it’s not being produced in blu-ray so I anticipated one of two things – he already had it since it’s release last November, or he’d be disappointed that it was not in his preferred blu-ray format.  Much to my surprise he wasn’t even aware that it’s now available on DVD, and he didn’t care that it was not on blu-ray, he was so elated to finally have it.  Score!

I will end this post with a trademark Miltonian observation he shared with me last weekend. Milton was expounding on one of his favorite topics, the male animal, after reading an article in The New York Times called Normal as Folk written by David M. Halperin.  Halperin expounds that the current generation of gay men are blending in more in mainstream society as opposed to their elders.  Milton observed:

Milton: Gay people are not less gay.  Straight people are more gay.  They know it’s sexy so they’re now embracing it.  You can’t tell who’s gay … You can’t ask anyone out any more!

The next day we were in Greenwich Village waiting for the Pride parade to start when Milton discreetly confided to me:

Milton:  Look at that guy over there.  Oh my God, he’s so gay!  But he’s not; he’s straight — with his girlfriend.  Exactly what I was talking about.

I dyslexically looked in the wrong direction at the wrong gay-looking-straight-guy that was standing with his arms wrapped around a woman wearing a sundress.

Me:  He sure looks gay to me.  I feel for his girlfriend.  What’s that about?

Milton: You’re looking at a woman!

Me:  Huh?  [focusing my myopic eyes better on a very androgynous butch lesbian with her femme girlfriend] You’re right!

Pictured below is Milton’s straight metrosexual guy that personifies someone who’s embraced the gay male style.

“Does this French sailor shirt make me look fat?”

Happy birthday buddy!