Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rave: Belarus

This man is my new hero and style icon.
Sometimes you just have to show those bears who's boss.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rant: Subway Douchery

Hello readers! How would you describe your commute to work this morning? Were you trapped in your car, being subjected to some early morning traffic? Did the radio not play what you wanted it to? Did someone cut you off? Was your commute mildly unpleasant, the transportation equivalent of a melon-heavy fruit salad?

Guess what I did?

*Note that I simply chose this morning's subway incident. The subway is like the lottery: some days could hold the elation of escaping into the armpit of a tall businessman, other days one may experience the sweet terror of being trapped in the car with an actual crazy person. The NYC subway commute is life's version of craps, except you always roll "Snake Eyes" and never a Boxcar.

If you are a loyal reader reader (ha!) you will be familiar with my morning commute; it is a science, nay, a religion. Getting out of the door is only half the battle, my friends. Next comes Satan's Playground, otherwise known as the New York City Mass Transit system.

Allow me to illustrate that of which I speak by simply describing my most recent subway rides. To wit, yesterday I was innocently standing in the vestibule of the 2 train rea
ding my New York magazine which i had folded into the smallest possible configuration as to not insult, or touch, any actual real-life New Yorkers. Next, at Borough Hall, I was crushed ass-to-belly with a postal worker. This was a good day, readers! I knew that this was my postal patron saint of comfort. No-one in their right mind would mess with a city employee, let alone a city employee with another city employee (namely, me) attached to them. That is akin to messing with Charlie Manson while he's suckling on Jeffrey Dahmer!

The MTA is a special breed of mass transit, a cruel mistress indeed. Every day it asks you to prove what you're working with in no uncertain terms. Can you deal with fervent proselytizing on a hangover? Can you bite your tongue while an obviously ridiculous fight breaks out?
Later that same day, as I was on my way to grad school:

The scene: a busy 6 train from 59th street to 68th st. An old man with a cane is pushed along with the ebb and flow of people cramming into the subway car.
Young man (40 years junior to cane man): "Yo homes, touch me one more time imma beat that ass!"
Old Man (somewhat indignantly):  "I was pushed, (gesturing feebly towards the masses) there's people...I can't..."
Young Man: "Yo, fuck you motherfucker. Touch me again. Touch me one more time. I told you. Imma whoop you, son."
Old Man: ???
Young Man: *Grumbles menacingly for the rest of the ride*

Did anyone step in? No they most certainly did not. You know why? Because that was nothing. If the young man had come good on his threat and actually proceeded to beat the old man's ass it still would have been a minute before anyone did anything because we all would have wanted to see the old man's game. Maybe he would have displayed his cane-fighting skills and delivered an old fashioned ass-kicking to the other guy. You can't count anyone out on the subway. This is a town that found it acceptable to lock its commuters on board a train with a man who had just stabbed another passenger to death in front of them

This being said, I feel it is my duty, nay, my responsibility as a human, to educate you as to the "dos" and 'do not dos" of the New York City Mass Transit System. I don't want you, my dear readers, to be like those unfortunate tourists I see gripping the handrails in terror while young children pop 'n lock wildly around them.

Do Not Do: The Pole Lean
I am serious when I say that, if jail time was not a certainty, I would eat the face off any person who did this move in my presence. Hey! Guess what? Those poles are there for a reason: 1) they make it so that I have something to hold on to, and 2) I can avoid grabbing onto some irate high school student who will shank me.

Pole-leaners deserve a special spot in Hades. How dare you force me to do that weird thing where I try to hold on to the pole with my tippy-fingers. I am not ET, dammit! I don't have special suction pads on my fingers which will enable me to simultaneously manage the buffeting of the 2 train and avoid your nasty greased hair.

Do Not Do: The Man Move
Are you hiding the crown jewels in there, guy? If not, how about closing your legs a little so that you don't take up three peoples' seat with your polterwang.

Do: Keep Your Grooming Confined to Your Bathroom.
Although this image comes from, I have personally watched people clip, paint, buff and pluck all manner of bodily appendages while riding our fair transit system. STOP THAT! I don't want to watch you freeze off your wart with computer dust cleaner at 7.45am. I really don't.

Do: Avoid rats whenever possible.
I'm not gonna lie. If you use the subway you will share it with rats. Not mice, rats. Sometimes they are just on the tracks, simply trying to get some fries to bring home to their baby mama.

Other, bad, bad, times they get on your car.

Do Not Do: Warm Up
Do not perform your stretching routine on the Subway. Yikes!

Do: Keep dressing like Peter Pan, it's delightful!

Do Not Do: Subway Love
I know, I know, sometimes when you are on the subway that romantic feeling takes over. Between the fluorescent lighting, the rats and the garbled service change announcements it can feel like Shangri La. However, please resist the urge to make sweet, sweet bum-love to your boo. Keep your sweats on and wait until you reach the platform before you begin making the beast with two backs.

* The best part of these photos is that the people around have opted not to move, preferring instead to keep their seats. 

So, there you have it. I hope I have shed some light on subway etiquette. Please keep these tips in mind next time you visit our fair city.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rave: Awkward Family Photos

I nominate the kid at the far right of this glorious picture as our collective teenage id.  He/she embodies exactly how I felt whenever I was forced to interact with my family from the years 1992 - 1997.

What are they? Cells? Leaves? And do I spy a gunt?
All of these photos come courtesy of my new favorite time suck. Here are just some of my favorites:

Unlike the first photo, everyone here seems pretty stoked to be involved:

You don't need real children to have an amazing family photo:

This one's for the Manimal; this is his dream family. I hope one day he reaches the lofty style heights of Pops in the middle.

I like everything about this photo:

If I ever need to announce my impending motherhood, I think these two have the right idea:

And finally, my absolute favorite. I think this will be our next Christmas card:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rant: Dirty Trees

Ah, trees. Who doesn't love them? They create nice air for us to breathe, they let us climb them and construct nests, forts and other miscellany in their comforting branches. Symbols of strength and wisdom, they nurture us in so may ways.

This makes it very hard to say what I am about to say. Readers, not all trees are wooden representations of mother earth's beauty. No, some are dirty, wanton even scandalous. These trees ruin any forest unfortunate enough to count their vulgar trunks and skanky branches as members.

I first became aware of these harlot trees after the Manimal, his brother T-More and their friend JoSi decided to hike in Yellowstone National Park. Upon their return I decided to peruse Manimal's holiday snaps to see what the young scalliwags had gotten up to. Imagine my horror when I came across these:

I know. Shocking, right? At least the Manimal wasn't party to this; he was just taking the photos. No stank-ass tree bitch gonna steal my man! No way. Not now, not ever.

But this got me thinking. How many other trees are out their flaunting their stuff? Just standing around reveling in their immodesty, letting tourists stick their fingers wherever they please. As it turns out, there are many, many more.

Look at this hussy; peddling her wares to the first passerby. Just because one has an ample bosom, madam, that does not condone such tawdry displays of bark.

Well I never! This is the kind of photograph which makes me question the direction this world is going in. A real lady you are, Silver Birch. Didn't your mother ever teach you "legs together for Jesus?" Letting that tourist openly lollygag at your ladyparts? For shame.

Heavens to Betsy! Now I'm not one to judge anybody for their sexual preferences. No siree. Whatever floats your boat, I say. What I am wont to judge, however, is when people feel compelled to invite us all to be active participants in their private affairs.

Aren't there laws against this kind of public indecency?? I, for one, will be writing my local Councilman and venting my ire against these woodland wretches.

Get a room.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Travel Tips: Tas-Mania! (Part 3: Ronnie and The Chocolate Factory)

Well readers, here it is: the final installment of my epic Travel Tips: Tasmania Edition. In this final post, I will guide you through the lower portions of this fine state.  
If you'd like to catch up, I suggest you read parts one and two first.

So, on to the Tips.
After the loitering miscreants of The Spirit of Tasmania, the speeding bogans of Davonport and the various other human flotsam and jetsam we had encountered in the north of Tasmania, its capital city, Hobart, seemed as glamorous as Monte Carlo.

See what I mean? There were shops, cafes and people wearing pants! I would suggest packing your fancy flip flops... just in case.

To add to the general feeling of hateur, my brother and I immediately decided to pronounce Hobart in our own ways, as a sort of homage to this fair city. I decided to capitalize on the fact that everyone was already greeting me with the respect and adoration universally shown to Americans abroad and pronounce it Hoeburrt, really taking care to draw out my adopted Brooklyn accent. My brother felt that a town as elegant as this needed to be pronounced 'Oberre, with a silent H and T. Either way, people seemed to embrace our interpretations; they would contort their faces in enchantment and make peculiar gestures to their companions. This is just the way 'Obertians are: delightful.

We stayed at a local "hotel" which was promisingly named The Pickled Frog.

 The barefoot patchouli-scented woman at the front desk took our money and, sizing us up as high rollers, signed us up for one of their "concept rooms". Charmingly, the hallway to our room looked as though it may have been considered as an alternate filming location for "The Shining".

But even that couldn't dampen our enthusiasm for our Concept Room. What would it be? A safari theme perhaps? Or maybe an ancient Egyptian affair with ornate sarcophogi in which to sleep? No, imagine my joy when I discovered that the "concept" was, in fact, that I would have to share a bunk bed with my parents.

* My intrepid step-father poses with the "concept bed".

A delightful, and not-at-all awkward, night ensued in which I was treated to a thrilling nasal symphony from my parental units. Seriously readers, does anyone amongst you have it so good? People would have gladly shelled out good money for this once-in-a-lifetime performance, but there I was soaking it all in for nada.

By morning, after tackling the unisex communal showers, we were more than ready to set off for our next "must-see": the Port Arthur penal colony.