This phone booth has had gay chat lines on it for many years, and it's only ever been a matter of months before it gets some anti-gay slur or rant on it. Then a few more months pass and either the whole thing is wrecked (like in the photo), or the phone company fixes it. It's really disturbing, especially as I consider my neighborhood to be hip and safe (Google 'smith street brooklyn'). But I suppose it's easy to forget the natives are largely older Italian Catholics, and many of them strongly resent the gentrification that has gone on for the past 15 years.
They finally changed the ad to one for Target, I think.
I've been here for nearly a week now, and I feel I can make some pronouncements: 1) There are a whole lot of pawn shops, loan companies, title loan companies, and such. I guess that speaks to the poorness down here? I wonder how many of the people that patronize these institutions could save tremendous amounts of money by not doing so. 2) Rush hour here moves much faster than back home. You'd think this would be a good thing, but it feels just as congested as the NYC metro area, just we're going 60 instead of 5. This, plus the construction, makes for very stressful driving 3) I still feel a little weird watching soldiers go by. Like they're too conspicuous, so I have to look away, just like I did in the city. I suppose after some more time, I'll get familiar with them, and this will go away. It'd be best if this went away by Monday, though, when I have to give a class to 25 of them. (And again on Thursday, and again on Friday.)
“___, when you get time down in Georga. Go slow so slower I guess part of this the co through part that the fact that we are very much not in charge here we brought in. We were brought in for 1 small piece of the puzzle and that is the piece of the puzzle we are providing and until when you got this is just the occasion questions and yeah noting okey. Next week I have classes to teach about our technology and to ___ at time that will be interesting and right now I'm have quite a day I ___ when I first got here I was not driving myself into work cos I be tired I didn't have a monthly pass there is this past whatever you wanna call it. But I got that last afternoon when I get that I was able to start driving myself to work in the morning yeah. As you may know I'm kinda of a creek person about getting on time with things so I may an effort to leave a little earlier to be able to cut traffic and everything else that might come up and anybody else who had the key to the door by at least 10 15 minutes and then I came back from work again worry that I was running late and know body else was here I think somebody just arrived maybe but I think very highly very not to speak. I was just now doing my phone but I retained myself and remind myself that I hadn't forgotten them yet and I also maybe in a week. Anyway you can call me very easy to like have things switched only by car and that includes even like carve mail is.”
There is a guy out in front of our building today, protesting. He's across the street, on public sidewalks, so it's absolutely legit, but it's a little strange. He's wearing hunter's camo (i.e. screen printed pictures of trees and leaves, not the pixel camo or the patches camo that actually work), and has a sandwich board and a sign. He's been there all day from 8am, and I'm pretty sure he's still there now.
The front of the sign says "PERJURY", "FELONY", and "FIRE CEO YBERATRE*" with the famous Obama/Joker picture in the middle. The back of the sign says something along the lines of, "Watch out, Terrorists Ahead!" The front of the sandwich board says "VGG* DISCRIMINATES AGAINST AMERICANS!" And the back of the board implies our company should "DEPORT" all H-1B visa holders.
The really, really ridiculous thing is that we have no foreign nationals in this building, let alone H-1B holders. We have very particular rules about who is allowed in the building, and when foreign nationals are in, we are all alerted and must not discuss business in hallways, and so forth.
I'm not annoyed by him, as he's providing exactly no nuisance, but I am amused at the lack of research he did, and I wonder what corner he came from. My coworkers theorize he applied for a job here and was turned down. They also joked it was a recently (well, actually about a year ago) laid-off mutual coworker, but it's not.
* All identifying marks have been ROT-13 encoded for Google-protection.
A friend is building a game for XBox 360 Live Indie Games market that he's calling Zomband. It's a classic rogue-like adventure game (like angband, etc.) with Zombies. His development company is The Hip Gamer, and he's raising development funding at Kickstarter. It looks like it's going to be really interesting. If you think so too, toss some bucks his way. They're just days away from a tech demo!
Last night I noticed some kids hanging out on my stoop. My parents are away and my brothers were having a party at the time, so I checked with my brothers to ensure the loiterers were not theirs. They weren't, so I asked them to please get off my stoop. This one kid said no, he wouldn't, he and his friends lost something and anyways they were only going to be a few seconds. Oh, and he also swore at me. I asked him if he had already looked for it, and he said he had, so I repeated the request. He said he wouldn't, after all, what would I do, call the cops? The cops know him, he said, and they'd just laugh. He then said that he'd likely been in the neighborhood longer than I had, even though he was half my age and called me a yuppie.
This is about where I truly lost control of the conversation. I told him I grew up in the neighborhood. Never saw me, he said. Probably because I have a job and a life. This went on for a while until one of my brothers came out and also asked them to leave. The kid then said that if I wasn't going to call the cops, then he'd just have to fight me right there on the street.
Eventually, one of my brothers' friends came out, knew the kid through his sister (they are much more integrated into the locals than my family and I are) and gave him $10 for his lost property, and he went on his merry way.
The lost property? A dime bag, of course. They wanted to smoke up on my stoop. Which would open my parents' property up to search and seizure in case a police officer wanted to make a case of it. Which would have been bad for my dear brothers' party, no?
I just felt so helpless and useless. I hope tonight goes better.
· 2007 Mazda 3 Hatchback — Giant interior cargo space, that I didn't use. Small and nimble, but not too much acceleration. Easy to park, and in my case, purple. Also, Canadian, so reading an odometer/speedometer in km/h was a little odd. But I was in Canada at the time, so at least they matched! One interesting thing about the trim was the inclusion of the vehicle's color on portions of the seat fabric accents.
But before Canadian stories, new Zipcar: · 200? Toyota Prius — If it looks like a small car, sounds like a small car, it is one, regardless of hybridness. The car had a very strange shifting method, where I had to hold the shifter into the selection and then release. There was also a separate button to put it in park. The rear view glass was hard to see through and annoying to use. And I found the idling creep a little slow to engage. But it handled well, and it had OK acceleration. The killer-app was the incredible cheapness ($8/hr on a weekend!) and being at the right place (Herald Square) at the right time (when Erin and I had tons of shopping we didn't want to lug on the train). So far in Toronto: * Public workers' strike means overflowing garbage cans and no more ferries to the Toronto Islands, which I wanted to go see. * Erin and I had a great time at the CN Tower and Steam Whistle Brewery. At the latter, I ate a pellet of hops, which was a most interesting experience. * We also did a lot more transit use today than yesterday. * Speaking of yesterday, we had a pleasant and uneventful trip to YYZ from JFK, and then both of us took mass transit to nearly our hotel and walked a long distance to the hotel. Now we use the streetcars instead of walking. * Both of our feet have been having a tricky time with the significantly higher workload.
And, believe it or not, we have been trying to relax, too!
“It seems to be a problem with moving slowly and in pieces is that every time you move something you say yeah I moved this last night some one ___ and I was just shocked and disbelief and kind of an ___ if you were confident you would have finished moving all that.”
erin_trying and I are going to Toronto, Canada from July 7 to July 12. You guys have any touristy suggestions? We like architecture, museums, tasty food, and pretty things. Obviously free/low-cost is better than not, but suggestions are suggestions. I'll be picking up the DK guidebook (my favorite brand, thanks Eyewitness Books from my childhood corrupting me to this very day) today or tomorrow for more ideas, but personal ones are best, of course. We'll be staying in Harbourfront, but the subways and Zipcars can take us anywhere, so long as it's not too far afield.
First off, the new Zipcars: · 2008 Honda Civic — The cockpit looks like a spaceship! It's surprisingly roomy inside with a nice amount of acceleration and handling. I didn't have it for long or use it for much, so I cannot really comment on it too much. · 2008 BMW 328i — So much fun! From the push-button start to the three different shifting modes (Drive, Sport Drive, clutchless manual), this car was all about a good time. The inline 6 rode smoothly and powerfully and erin_trying and I had a great time opening it up once or twice. Being a 3-series, the backseat was a little small, but the trunk is surprisingly large for such a small car. The only problem I had with it was the steering was a little tight at low speeds, making it slightly harder to park. As a geek, I really appreciated the MPG meter right below the tachometer.
Thursday I randomly ran into my dad as well as my cousin and his wife down in the Village and had dinner with them and Erin. Well, not entirely random, as my cousin and his wife were in town for the wedding.
On Friday, Erin and I took off from work. We brought some final stuff to the venue in Queens as well as bought the wine. Then we returned to Brooklyn and picked up my brothers for help set up the venue. We got there at 3pm and nearly finished by 6pm. We all returned to Brooklyn yet again for dinner with my dad's family, with even more people from out of town!
Saturday, very early in the morning, I took the train to lower Manhattan to pick up the aforementioned Beamer and drive it back to Brooklyn. I took the Brooklyn Bridge and bought flowers and bread and way too many breadsticks on the way back home. After a short while at home, Erin and I took off with the really truly final load of stuff for the venue. We were a little late, so Alex and Kitri were already there, ready and willing to help out.
After some setup, Erin and I took off for some last minute supplies (coffee things, balloons and an emergency undershirt for me) and came back to some small emergencies. While the cupcakes arrived on time and in perfect shape, the Fairway order had gone slightly awry. The lasagna had been completely sloshed about, the wrong salad was delivered, and an entire entree was missing! Our servers from Barnard Bartending Agency were able to rescue the lasagna before guests arrived, while Fairway was able to redeliver the correct salad, the missing chicken, and a "we're sorry" cookie plate along with a 10% discount. So yeah, I'd still use them again. I heard rosefox may have had something to do with all that, but I was in the car, so I'm not too sure about what exactly happened.
During some of the Drama above, I got dressed, then picked up malaul and Erin for them to do the same. Then I schmoozed with the now-arrived guests while they got ready. Sometime in there, Rose gave me her very cute paperclip cufflinks to replace the ones I left at home.
Shortly after the ladies returned to the venue, we did the ceremony (again). Afterwards, Erin and I returned to the car to enjoy some alone time and A/C. (The venue forgot to turn it on, initially, so it was still rather warm in there throughout the entire gathering.) We came back, and used a text message to cue Rose (our lovely DJ) to start some big band song I'd only ever heard less than 24 hours prior, but it was sweet and true. Dinner was served according to flower color (my idea, thank you very much!).
All the while, everything moved very smoothly, and for that I have to thank the Barnard girls as well as the powerful solution finders of Rose and Faelan. Erin and I schmoozed primarily with our friends and family, rather than our new in-laws, but that seems rather natural to me.
After dinner came cake and after cake came the last dance. We hired the Barnard girls for an additional hour to help break down, but they were done in less than a half-hour! Perishables were loaded into my car (never I have I ever taken so quickly to such possessive language with a Zipcar), gifts loaded into my father's car, and everything else loaded into Erin's parents' van. Erin and I stuck around to make sure the breakdown went successfully and to pay our delightful servers.
Erin and I returned to Brooklyn to drop off said perishables, and it is during that time that any liberties that may or may not have been taken with the car happened. We dropped off the car at its home in lower Manhattan and walked to the hotel.
Picture this: Young couple in semi-formal wear, lady with a veil, gentleman with a vase and a bouquet of roses. The couple checks into a fancy hotel, just across the street from the WTC site. The person at the desk takes a break from checking them in to go into a back office. Moments later she returns with her (presumed) manager who asks, "You two got married today?" The couple responds affirmatively, and he replies, "Well, I just got you an upgrade I think you'll be very happy with."
We went up to the 52nd floor and found some lovely fireworks over the East River visible outside the window in the elevator lobby. After a little bit of watching, we headed over to our room. I should say "headed over to our massive suite with 1½ bathrooms, jacuzzi tub, king bed, and views to the North, East, and West". We were so invigorated (and hungry) that we ran out to a diner and came back to sleep a peaceful sleep — after all the planning and the stress, we were done.
Got up the next morning, ogled the view some more and wend out for brunch. Came back, checked out and went home on the subway. Did dishes and laundry and then Erin went out for a massive massage while I chilled with my dad's family for one last evening.
My coworkers are discussing various methods of avoiding getting raped, should they end up in jail. The amount of agreement with the sentiment that suicide is preferable to (forced) anal sex disturbs me. "Yeah, I'll be dead, but at least I'll be an ass-virgin."
They also all agree that I would not be able to defend myself in prison.