Tag Archives: Pequa

Lame Adventure 77: Weekend Getaway!

As mentioned in my previous post, my friends, Ulla and Charles, invited Milton and I to spend the weekend at their lovely home in Hampton Bays.  According to Wikipedia, Hampton Bays is a hamlet in Suffolk County, New York in the Town of Southampton.  Or, as Milton said, “You figure out how we’re going to get there.”

On Saturday morning, we rode the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station to our destination. The train ride took a few hours.  For much of our journey, the passengers sitting across from us talked loudly and incessantly about numerous grisly murders.  Exasperated, Milton muttered, “How many murders are in this conversation?”  This made me laugh and in doing so I accidentally squeezed the polka dot bikini clad rubber chicken squeaky toy we had brought for our friends’ border collies, Tulip and Astro.

Tulip wanting to play.


This momentarily silenced the murderers row narrators and caused the guy sitting in front of us reading his iPad to jump about fifty feet.  Milton recommended that I muzzle the chicken or face the consequences of getting our throats slit possibly with a new iPad app.

Ulla was waiting for us at the station in her air-conditioned car, which was brilliant since we both nearly suffered heat stroke upon exiting the train into the blast furnace-like temperature outside.  She had to work a few hours more, so she drove us to Sag Harbor where Milton tried in vain to scarf a rum raisin ice cream cone that was determined to drip on his hand and shoe in a melted mess in the searing afternoon heat.  Since I’m brutally lactose intolerant, I had a synthetic flavored watermelon ice, which apparently no customers have ordered since 2003, so it had the capacity to remain igloo wall hard even in the fires of hell.

Sag Harbor Ice Cream store

Sag Harbor boats

To further escape the heat, we dove into a wonderful bookstore called BookHampton.  It reminded me of Endicott Booksellers, a booklovers oasis that I used to frequent on Columbus Avenue in the Eighties and Nineties.  I remember getting the homina, homina, hominas when Susan Sontag walked past me, but I held my own when I encountered Camille Paglia at a book signing.  Endicott closed in 1995; a few years after a Barnes & Noble Superstore opened nearby that essentially devoured the little guy.  <sigh>

Milton has never heard of this author, but he likes this book's cover.

After killing about an hour in BookHampton, much of it spent turning the pages of a coffee table book edited by Picasso’s granddaughter called Art Can Only Be Erotic or Make Sure the Kids are Not Around When You Look at This, we next ventured up the street to a hardware store in search of our favorite drain cleaner, Pequa, not that we needed Pequa at this time, but we just wanted to see if they had it in Sag Harbor.  We couldn’t find it.  Then, Ulla met us again.  She asked us what we did during our visit to this picturesque town.  We mentioned the ice cream and BookHampton, but left off the part about our drain cleaner hunt, not that that would have surprised her.  She was born and raised in Sweden.

Ulla then took us on a scenic ride of the area showing us where the swells live as well as a number of McMansions.  I became fixated on a cornfield and a row of birds perched on street lamps.  Even though we were barely a hundred miles out of the city, I momentarily thought we had entered the Twilight Zone.

Birds perched on light posts.

We then went to an outdoor bar where we met our mutual friend, Coco, for a relaxing drink before heading back to Ulla’s house where we were greeted by Charles and their energetic canine comedy team, Tulip and Astro.

Ulla grilled a delicious marinated flank steak for dinner.  Coco brought excellent raspberry and chocolate sorbets with cookies for dessert.  In between we drank copious amounts of wine over the course of several hours.  Electronics wizard Charles has a state-of-the-art sound system where you name any song playing in the iPod in your head and he programs it so it plays.  Milton wanted to hear the R&B artist, Bettye LaVette, and Charles was game to accommodate his request, but was stumped over not being able to access her music.  As it turns out, we were misspelling her name!  Equipped with the correct spelling, Charles found her in his system in a nanosecond. Very cool.

The next day Ulla and Charles asked us if we wanted to go to the beach.  The consummate city slickers that neither swim nor drive, our first thought was “no.” We were both perfectly content to play with the dogs and lounge by the pool we would never dare enter.

Back yard paradise

Back yard paradise hammock

Not wanting to appear like the lumps we are we said, “Okay, sure.”  We piled into Charles’s SUV and headed to the beach.  When he stopped at a 7-Eleven store to pick up a newspaper, Milton and I assumed we were at the beach.  We looked around and wondered where the sand and ocean were hiding.  Milton opened his car door to exit.  Ulla patiently shed daylight on the situation, “Guys, we’re at 7-Eleven.  This isn’t the beach.”

The beach itself really did look like the beach.  The sand was hot as we trekked towards the ocean, both wondering, “This is so much work. Where’s the fun?”   My assignment was to carry the bananas.

Banana ass shot of Ulla and me.

Both Charles and Ulla are either people with phenomenal inner GPS (something neither Milton nor I have at all, especially if we both can mistake a 7-Eleven for the beach) for they instantly found their very cool friends from Brooklyn, D&G.  I was awestruck that people from Brooklyn cannot only swim, but swim in the ocean.  Then again, we’re from Manhattan and can barely handle sitting in our bathtubs without water wings.

D&G and Charles

After much cajoling, Ulla finally managed to get Milton and I to take a walk along the ocean’s edge where, naturally, it is so much cooler.  The surf rolling in and out felt great on our feet.  Milton was certain that the lifeguards had their eyes on us the entire time and said to each other, “Those two down there; the awkward uncoordinated ones.  Code red.”

Just another day at the office until ...

"Look down there. See those two stumbling around? Bad news on feet."

Better keep an eye on them.

I was worried that the surf might knock me down.  Milton assured me that fear was unfounded.  Then, the surf knocked him down in front of a two-year-old girl that was standing in front of him.  Milton is still baffled how a pint-sized person that weighs about as much as his right elbow did not fall down.  Even Milton’s significant splash did not knock down that little kid.  After spitting out a salmon, Milton told me that the Atlantic does indeed taste salty.

Look at me, Mister! I'm still standing!

Back up on dry land, we were feeling pretty tranquil.  Sitting on the beach in the company of good friends staring out at the ocean is quite nice.  When we headed back to the car, the sand had even felt reduced from third degree burn level to second.

At Ulla’s house, we sat around the pool, sipped beers with Charles and played with Tulip and Astro.  Coco joined us since she was driving us to the train station. Before leaving, we showered in the outdoor shower Charles built (we determined that he and Ulla are capable of doing anything; had they lived in the Gulf, they probably would have solved the oil spill down there in a week).  Then, we bid our fond farewells to our wonderful hosts and headed back to Gotham.

On the LIRR heading back to the city, two very polite middle aged women sat across from us speaking Italian the entire time.  Every so often words in English would pop up such as “Six Flags” or “Bridgehampton.”  I did not have the impression that they were talking about murder at a Six Flags in Bridgehampton.  Milton said that sitting across from them made him feel like he was in a foreign film.  He added, “I wouldn’t change a single minute of this weekend.”  Neither would I.

Goofing around on a sand dune.

Lame Adventure 27: Movie Madness

Milton wants the world, or at least anyone inclined to log onto Lame Adventures, to know that he has purchased the Blu-ray version of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin to watch on his new 42” LG flat screen TV.  Possibly he’ll follow this perversity with wearing Givenchy to clean his bathroom.  If his drain is clogged, I’ll give him a cup of my Pequa – my big ticket tax return purchase (see Lame Adventure 6 for those exhilarating details).

Battleship Potemkin cover art

It upsets Milton that I am not a Battleship Potemkin aficionado, but I do have the capacity to recognize why this 1925 Marxist propaganda film is considered a masterpiece.  Between the ages of 15 and 23, I had seen Battleship Potemkin at least five times, but once was more than enough.  In fact, all I really needed to see was the Odessa steps sequence to grasp why every film scholar dead or alive (and Milton) declares this brilliantly edited film a classic.  It is the first of its kind, and it influenced the editing of every film that followed.

I get it.

The first time I saw Battleship Potemkin, at age 15, I chose to do so on my own because I was a budding film-whore and I was aware that it was considered seminal cinema.  I simply had to see it.  It did not occur to me at that tender age that I would major in Film in college, and attend four different universities – majoring in Film in each of them – and I would be subject to seeing this one particular film in each and every institution.  If anything, I was ready to enter a mental institution just from having seen Battleship Potemkin so many times.  Our government should add screenings of Battleship Potemkin to the torture to-do list.  Yet, I am sure that would be a violation of the Geneva Convention.

I know I definitely sat slack-jawed and bleary-eyed through screenings of Battleship Potemkin when I was a student at San Francisco Sate University, UCLA, Stanford and NYU, the school that reluctantly awarded me a BFA after I finished an incomplete in … Watching Battleship Potemkin.  That’s a joke folks.  Actually, my incomplete was in something equally preposterous, Writing.  Every time I saw Battleship Potemkin, it seemed to double in length and the print, probably the same one shuttled from university to university, atrophied further.  The last time I saw it, its 66 minute run-time seemed to balloon to a day and half.  If I never see another black and white close-up of a maggot, I know I’ll die a little less miserable.

These boots were made for stomping.

Not the best place for a woman ...

... Or baby to be.

Odessa Steps sequence wide shot aka, "Get me outta here!"

Although Milton and I have known each other for several years, Battleship Potemkin never came up in any of our many film-related chats until a bone-chilling evening in February before a screening of Jan Troell’s wonderful epic, Everlasting Moments.  We were talking about editing, or possibly Milton was talking about what older actresses are looking fat these days, and I changed the subject to editing.  Battleship Potemkin came up which channeled a negative memory and deep groan from me.

Milton insisted that now that I am a “mature age” – I turned the dreaded number ickity last year, I will now “love” Battleship Potemkin.  I told him, “Are you crazy?  I could live to be a hundred and ickity; I will never, ever love Battleship Potemkin!”  I would sooner love listening to a concerto of forks scraping slowly across dinner plates than finding myself watching that silent hell a sixth time.  That sixth screening would undoubtedly expedite my death considering that I had to chew through almost an entire roll of Rolaids to stomach The Blind Side.

Should my fortunes, which have in the past sixteen months, been in a state of free fall, change in an upward direction, and I am no longer gainlessly employed and contemplating subsisting on cat food in Central Park in my golden years,  I might consider investing in a high definition TV and Blu-ray player of my own, and maybe, just maybe, give Milton’s copy of Battleship Potemkin a glance. Hey, if it is torturous viewing, I can always pop out that disk and pop in something divergent like Martini Max’s copy of Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Watching that Russ Meyer lunacy never grows old to me.

The original Pussycat Dolls in boots made for stomping.

Lame Adventure 6: The Hole in My Head

Flush with the windfall from our Federal tax returns, Milton and I take it upon ourselves to personally lift the sagging economy.  He promptly purchases a 42” flat screen LG TV and a Sony Playstation 3.  My cash inflow is a shade less than his so I splurge on a new shower curtain liner and a quart of Pequa drain opener.

My bathroom’s drain is slow, but I have not replaced my bottle of Pequa since I last used it a year or two ago.  Many years back, a plumber named Luis who used to service my building, advised me to always have a bottle of Pequa in my home.  He was very persuasive when he said, “This shit works.”  I like to think that there is no link between Pequa and his death from cancer a year later at age 34.

Certain that I will forget Pequa because I tend to think of it more as “the shit that works” than its plumbing industry name, I have kept the empty bottle under my bathroom sink since I finished it.  I could have tossed the bottle into the trash and written Pequa’s name on a post-it and stuck that post-it to the inside of a cabinet, but that seems like too much hassle.  It’s easier to keep the empty bottle under the sink for a year or two since that is exactly where its replacement will go.

Before venturing out to my local hardware store I bundle up because it’s 27 degrees today.  Yet, it’s not the layers of clothing I don that takes so much time, it’s making sure that I pack my two digital cameras (one a Flip video), my cell phone, a pen and pocket notebook (can never predict when inspiration might strike), two lip balms (trying to get in the habit of carrying a spare), keys, wallet, and a copious stash of tissues since my nose runs like a faucet in the cold.  Every pocket of my jacket is now bulging.  When I glance at myself in the mirror, it appears that I’ve transformed into a nursing terrier with several swollen breasts.

As I am trekking through the freeze, halfway to my neighborhood hardware store, Beacon Hardware, it occurs to me that the one vital necessity that I forgot to pack was the piece of paper where I scribbled “Pequa.”  The rest of the way, the mantra looping inside my head is, “What the hell was that shit called, what the hell was that shit called, what the hell was that shit called?”

Beacon is a family-owned and operated small business that has been on Amsterdam Avenue since 1940.  They’re my go-to hardware store since their prices are not as extortionist as their competition.  I never feel like I have to barter a kidney when I buy a replacement bulb for my refrigerator or a scrub brush for my grill pan from Beacon.  I also like being loyal to the little guy.

Mayberry in Manhattan

Entering Beacon is like entering Mayberry.  It’s such a time machine when you open the door, a bell clangs, and Bru, a mellow Labrador Retriever, is the official greeter, but today, he’s apparently not on duty.

Store greeter Bru ready for his closeup.

Instead, I see John, who immediately asks me if I need help.  That’s a loaded question in general, but I tell him, “Possibly in a moment.”

I’m still determined to remember the name Pequa on my own.  Therefore, I head over to the shower curtain liner shelf, grateful that I still have the capacity to recall that I need a shower curtain liner.  After locating a liner in my favorite color next to black, clear, I accept reality that this attempt to recall the name Pequa is hopeless.  I grab a liner and head over to John.  I am so flustered at my inability to remember Pequa, I become inarticulate when I approach him.

John:  So what else do you need?

Me: I need …

I pause pregnantly not wanting to say what I’m thinking, “The shit that works.”

John:  Yes …?

Me: I need the stuff that … uh … unclogs the … thing.

Yes, I blanked on the word drain at that pivotal moment.

John:  Oh!  You need Pequa!  Over here.

John walks over to a high shelf, and I follow him.  He reaches up, removes a bottle and hands me a quart of Pequa.  The package looks almost identical to the one I last bought during the second term of the Clinton administration.  I immediately look at the price, $7.99.

Me: Huh, it’s only gone up $2 in twelve years.  I was anticipating it would double. You know this um … um … hmm.

I pause resisting the urge to sound impolite and say “shit.”  Psychic John comes to my rescue again.

John:  Stuff works.

Me: Yeah, this stuff works.

This shit works.