Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Phantom Pee

You know you're in Chelsea when you're about to going into your apartment building and you hear the side door to Rawhide open just feet away from you. Just open about 2 inches. Enough for an employee to start pissing out the door.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Got a New Job? Drink Olive Beer

So yay for me, I got a job! We wanted to go grab a drink to celebrate but weren't sure where to go. We head down to West 4th street to walk to Little Italy, which we discover is basically just a couple blocks right up next to Chinatown. There are people everywhere and singers serenading outside diners. Seems like a tackier version of Boston's North End.

At this point neither of us care much where we go, and there are literally dozens of options around us. Too many options to be honest. But in our peripheral vision, something strikes us. What's this? Happy Hour ALL DAY? Well, sign me up.

The restaurant is called Puglia's and upon closer inspection we find that the happy hour deal is for the bar only. The bar looks uncomfortable (to put it kindly). Red Flag #1. We say screw the bar and let's just eat in the dining room. But there are two doors that open up to a dining room with no clear host/hostess stand. And no waitstaff. We wonder, where on earth to we go in and who do we talk to about getting a seat? Red Flag #2. A nice Yankees fan instructs us on where to go, despite Pam's Red Sox shirt (or maybe because of it).

We find someone and they basically tell us to sit wherever we want. Most of the tables are pushed together rather cafeteria style off to either side of the room. Red Flag #3. But we find a nice quiet corner that we think shouldn't be too bad. We begin looking over the menu. And then...

The entertainment begins. And he's got a keyboard. And he's got huge ass speakers, one of which is directly next to us. "That's Amore," "The Chicken Dance," oh he does them all. All the classics. Loudly. Small children walk by literally covering their ears. It's funny for about 37 seconds. There's really no way to fully describe the experience, but there's evidence on YouTube (complete with diners singing along exuberantly):

We shout our order to the waiter: a bianca pizza, stuffed mushrooms to start and a pitcher of Coors Light. The beer comes first and the second I take the first sip I know immediately something is wrong and when I look up I see Pam smacking her lips pointedly as if to say, "Hmmm... well that sure is interesting. Something you don't taste every day." I thought maybe it was just skunked... or a dirty tap. But after a second... and third... and fourth sip I knew it was definitely OLIVE. Very olive. Olive oil(ish). Or maybe just straight up olive juice. Olive infused beer, if you will. In a word: disgusting. This was unfortunate. We kind of wanted to get out of there as soon as humanly possibly and it seemed (at the time) that it would be much more hassle to return the beer (by screaming over the music to the waiter to explain that it "tastes like olives").

So we just shotgunned each glass. Naturally.

I haven't found anything online about olive tasting beer, so comments would be appreciated if anyone has heard of such a thing. And describing it does not give the full effect, so I photoshopped a little something and this is exactly what it tasted like:

Stuffed mushrooms were meh, but the pizza was decent if not slightly drowning in ricotta. We finally managed to get out of there after a side trip to the ATM, another round of classic Italian canzoni, a lobbed drinking glass off the table, and a pitcher full of olive beer in our bellies.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Day after the Bronx

Pam and I wanted to head to a different neighborhood to grab some lunch.

"I need sunglasses."

We took the subway to Union Square and walked around for a bit, hoping to stumble on a decent place to grab some food. It was one of those days when everything we said was inexplicably funny.

"Did I mention I need sunglasses?"

After about 10 minutes we found Maxie's Bar & Grill, which was almost empty. Turkey burger was hard but the the staff was great and yet again we made new friends because of Pam's Red Sox shirt. I think one was a Mets fan and one was an Orioles fan. Not sure, but either way they both hated the Yankees. Several times before our food even arrived we were getting looks for uncontrolled fits of laughter.

"This sure is a happy table, huh?"

I think we were only on our first beer. Food was just okay but at least we got to catch up on the Little League World Series (go Guam!). Before heading out we decided to hit up the bathrooms. Our toilet was still inoperable at this time. I walk into the mens room and naturally the toilet in there is completely totally disgustingly clogged. Go figure. We chose to walk back home.

"I need sunglasses."

The Midnight Auger

So Pam has a secret. Actually, no. She doesn't anymore. No. She flushed it down the toilet. Yeah.

In the morning I had gotten up to begin my day of looking at less than satisfactory job ads. Stop in the bathroom on my way to the living room, when I had been setting up shop for the day with the Macbook. When I flushed, I thought "huh." I remember thinking the toilet flushed rather slowly when we first moved in. But this seemed extra slow. So I plunge and plunge (thankfully we have two because everyone needs at least two plungers). But nothing really helps.

That night Pam comes home from work [side note: I feel like such the housewife at home while Pam's bringing home the bacon] and when she walks in immediately sees two plungers sitting in the tub... and naturally bursts into a fit of laughter.

"I'm sorry if you had trouble with the toilet today," she says, meekly.

Point of information: If you ever happen knock your secret solid deodorant into the toilet, when you go to catch it would be best not to accidentally hit the flush mechanism because while it may seem like a toilet would not have enough sucking power to pull something that big and plastic down into the bowl... it does. It will.

This made apartment living interesting, given the natural things one has to do when living your life. The things that require a decent full working toilet, of course. It did work, though. All day everything seemed to go down. Eventually. With at least six or seven flushes. Sometimes 15 or 16. But it got down there.

At night, Pam goes to bed and shortly after I start feeling some stomach cramps. And more cramps. And then it's clear I need to go immediately.

Except this time is different. This time it doesn't go down, oh no. No, this time it keeps coming and the water (and other stuff I put into the water) begins to spill out over the toilet everywhere. This is about 11:35 and this was supposed to be the last thing I was going to do before crashing that night. But what could I do? It had to be cleaned up.

About 90 minutes later... after I have now disinfected the entire bathroom, I look online to find out how one might fix a toilet with a secret jammed in the toilet. Aside from actually detaching the bowl, the only suggestion was to get a really plunger that works (unlike our two crappy ones... so now we have three plungers), and to purchase a plumber's auger and snake a metal cord down into the toilet to loosen any snags down there.

Since you can find pretty much anything 24 hrs a day in this city, that's what I did. Over by 3rd or 2nd Ave I found a 24 hr hardware and purchased said auger.

The auger yielded mildly satisfactory results for about half a day before problems arose again. And I did want to have to run to Qdoba or Starbucks every time I had to go.

The Big V was called and eventually days later he arrive to pull the toilet off. Poor Pam had to listen to him swearing over and over and over. Thankfully I wasn't there. But for good reason... I was off getting meself a jobby.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Drunk Ecuadorian and the Bitter Old Homosexual

Pam wanted to grab a drink after work so we headed down to 151, a pub on 8th Ave. Very laid back mixed crowd that we seem to enjoy when we want to go some place low key. There's an airplane theme to this place. Other than the full name of the bar (Flight 151) I don't think there's any other noticeable flight theme besides this scary track they play in the bathroom that oddly mimics flight attendant announcements ("if there's an emergency, calmly place your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye").

The great thing about NY is that almost every place you go has happy hour every day 5 - 7 (sometimes as late as 9). $2 pints. Sometimes 2 for 1 deals. We were parched so we drank up, headed over to the Rockinghorse Cafe for another drink and decided to just walk and see what we stumbled upon.

At 23rd street we found a bar whose name is escaping me. We walk in and see two chairs next to an older man and we're not in the bar for more than 10 seconds before a very cute, very inebriated latino man is enthusiastically greeting Pam, right up next to her, hugging her. From that point on, Pam had a new best friend. Unfortunately for the old man next to us (a "homosexual" - his word not mine), this new young strapping buck was now focusing all of his alcohol-induced infatuated attention on Pam only. Clearly they'd been having a conversation before we walked in. The young cute guy we learned was Christiano. From Ecuador. With an impossibly amazing body -- he insisted we both feel his biceps. He was just grabbing a drink at the bar before meeting up with his brothers.

We're still not sure if the whole brother meetup was just a line because he stayed the entire time, snuzzling up next to Pam and acting all flirty cute. After two minutes of unsuccessfully trying to convince us he's gay, he admitted that he does, in fact, like the ladies but he has no issue with gay men so therefore we should both immediately touch his bicep again while the Bitter Old Homosexual sat off to the side secretly hating Pam and giving us the laserbeam deathray stare. That could have beem him touching the bicep, but noooooooo, Pam and I had to walk in and ruin everything for him.

At some point I met H & J and we started talking... although the details are a little fuzzy. We were there pretty late. And thanks to the randomness of NYC, we now know where to go when searching nonstop attention from a sauced up gayish straight Ecuadorian man.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

chelsea living

So we're living in Chelsea. We found this place in one day. I came down to the city with Pam back in the first week of July. We stayed at the Hilton and looked at apartments for half a day. Frank, our realtor, showed us mostly one-bedrooms in Hell's Kitchen. His idea was to put up these pressurized walls to create a second bedroom out of the living room.

The first two bedroom we saw was in Hell's Kitchen reminded me of a possible sitcom scenario where Country Bumpkins, Jon and Pam, move to the Big City to live life to the fullest. I imagine the open shot of the credit theme to be the both of us stepping into the apartment for the first time and our joyful eager faces immediately changing to looks of digust and horror as the theme music begins - something lightly and cartoonish like the Mr Belvedere theme. When we did walk in I was trying hard to imagine clean walls and floors and actually furniture. I turn around to see pam shaking her head an emphatic "no no no no." None of the room proportions made any sense. Not to mention it was a tad dirty. [Pam's side commment: "Not enough bleach in the world could clean that place"]. The shower was a shower stand only shower to was flush against the toilet to the point where the toilet bowl actually curve over the side of the shower perimeter.

The only other two bedroom was in Chelsea and Frank was intent on getting us this place. And I'm so glad we got it. Right in the heart of the Chelsea neighborhood we are directly two floors above one of the neighborhoods most well known gay bars. The area is fun and there's just about everything you could possibly need within a two block radius, often available 24 hours a day.

A few pictures

My room:

View of kitchen from living room:

Living room with view of dinner table and stairway (to the Forbidden Rooftop):

Living room from staircase with view of kitchen entrance:

View up the staircase and skylight:

The Red Sox Shirt

Pam likes the Red Sox. A lot. This is an interesting city to be a Red Sox fan in. Several times we've gone out to get drinks and Pam has chosen to wear her Red Sox shirt. My expectation was that we'd come across certain hostile individuals that haven't grasped the concept that baseball is a sport, not a war. But really, the opposite has happened. Instead we're often approaches by other people enthusiastically. Not Red Sox fans... but other fans that HATE the Yankees. Mets... Orioles... you name it. Anyone who hates the Yankees really.

In a gay sports bar called GYM, a drunken queeny Mets fan stumbled up to Pam and declared that she "has bigger balls than any of these men in here!" I believe he also declared her an awesome person. Or his favorite person. I can't quite remember what.

Later at night we went to dinner with S&N at the Viceroy where we sat outside and watched Fred Schneider walk by twice.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Move

The morning of Tuesday, August 5th Pam arrives at the apartment and together we wait for the movers to arrive. They're here by 9am and they begin unloading all of our things. They also packed everything at Pam's old apartment back in West Newton. About two hours in I think we started to get really nervous. I was envisioning a living situation where we'd have to make tiny pathways between all of the boxes and just live in those paths. There were SO MANY BOXES. Everywhere. About three hours in, the movers started to get nervous. "Sure is a lot of stuff," they'd say as our eyes would widen at the sight of yet another enormous box being brought in. "Sho' gettin' tight in here." "Yup," we'd say. "We see that." Nervous laugh.

At one point it was just Pam's stuff coming up, one after the other. I walk up to Pam... "Are you feeling a teensy overwhelmed?" She laughs. A verbal answer is clearly not necessary. The movers were so good and had great personalities. Later, one of them comes back and a Pam asks about what he's holding. "Mo' o'yo stuff! That's what it is! I ain't seen one box that says 'his' on it!" I clearly had to forgive her later on when she begrudgingly began opening yet another box and started jumping up and down in excitement that it was exactly MY STUFF in the box.

There were definitely moments when we both were thinking there was no possible way we were going to find room for everything. But only have we found room for everything, but we actually ADDED furniture by getting a TV stand from IKEA. [side note: IKEA ferry has MUCH better views than the Staten Island Ferry].

Things are coming together.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Forbidden Rooftop

So, Sofia had a party up there, according to V, and "all those dumb girls wore high heels! poke! poke! poke!" Bitches ruined the roof. So now we suffer. Peaking out the roof door to the right you see the glass porch sliding door to the top floor apartment which directly access the roof, like our door. I wonder, if no one is allowed on the roof, why are there all kinds of other potted plans, lawn chairs and coolers on the opposite side of where our door opens? Not that I saw those things, seeing as I'm not allowed on the roof and all. Ahem.

A few pictures from the top of a roof that I was not on top of:

View of 8th Ave north from the Forbidden Rooftop:

Building across the street from us:

Across the street:

jon places the fear of god into pam

On Sunday, I went to the park for the first time and walked all around, listening to my ipod. I make my way through the park... lots of people, dogs, more people, condoms, more people.

I get to Columbus Circle and decided to take the A or C train back home. I make my way to the middle of the platform and start playing a game on my phone. I still had my ipod on but the volume was low enough to hear a bunch of touristy girls near me screaming bloody murder. Now... I'm playing my game on my phone so I'm standing up straight and staring straight down at my phone. As I move my phone away and just begin to look up to see what the girls are screaming about, I see a LARGE RAT run straight through my legs. It runs off to the right on over the foot of the man standing next to me.

I turn back to the girls and they're staring at me, clearly having just seen this rat (which was approx the size of my foot -- the body, not including the tail) just run through my legs and over the man next to me. They start looking past the man next to me, so I turn back around and everyone around me begins watching the wave of reaction follow the rat making its way down the entire platform.

The rest of the way home all I could think about was how glad I was that I decided not to wear flip flops that day.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

the big V

V is our super. I had to contact V on my second day, after interviewing at the temp agency. We needed to have our stove and fridge delivered. When we looked at the apartment Frankie Baby told us they would be replacing the fridge and possibly the stove. Weeks later they still hadn't done so and they asked us to purchase the appliances and take it out of rent.

V needed to install said appliances. He's an interesting man. Won't look you in the eye. "I don't trust people who look you in the eye." Also, don't expect him to shake hands with you at a doorway entrance, if you are in one room and he is in another. "Bad luck." I knew we were going to have to watch ourselves around him on the day the stove was delivered and he started calling the delivery guys a bunch of assholes. He also insisted that Sofia, who lived here before us, was evicted for "not recycling." Sounds a bit extreme if you ask me. Not that I can blame the guy for trying to instill fear in us regarding the recycling. The sanitation department comes around on each trash day and actually bangs garbage around to listen for clinking bottles in trash bags and then fines that building for not recycling. It's like parking tickets really. The city must make heaps of money doing this. V's agreement with the management company is that HE has to pay for those fines.

The other thing he's been adamant about is the Forbidden Rooftop. NO ONE is allowed on the rooftop. Sofia also was evicted for having a party up there. Or so he says. I'm learning that you have to take everything he says with a grain of salt.