Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another Good Day

Today was a muggy, hazy day in New York. Thankfully, the air conditioner unit was repaired at our store overnight last night, so by this afternoon we had cool air again. We've been without a.c. for about a month. I know it isn't a necessity, but it sure is nice.

I introduced myself to some more customers today and hope to remember their names. It was kind of fun to make that connection with them. One of our regulars, who I haven't officially met, has been a biker for 30 years (I think she said 30, or maybe 20- either way, quite awhile), and she was in the store today with bruises on her face. She said she had her first wreck and had broken her nose. We have discussed biking before. She reminded me to wear my helmet when I ride. It was a good reminder. I do wear a helmet when I ride. Oh, and I saw Jodi Foster today. That was fun.
My roommate Greg came back from over two weeks of visiting his girlfriend in New Mexico. He was supposed to bring his dog Moby back with him, however, the temperatures were too hot in the cities he was flying through, so they would not allow Moby to fly. I'm not sure when he will get here. Our third housemate Sarah should be moving in within a few weeks as well.

The lease at our new apartment begins on Friday, so Greg and I moved a few of my belongings over this evening. I have a few things to get in order here, but I will be ready to move by August 1st. My coffee table is in the new place, which basically leaves my desk and clothes to move, along with a few other odds and ends. The space we're moving into is larger than our current apartment, so we don't have much furniture at this point. That will come in time. Below is a picture of our common space. The kitchen is around the corner. I may put some other pictures online after we get moved in.

This evening some of the community members stopped by our current apartment to welcome Greg back to the City and to celebrate his new teaching position. He just got hired today and it isn't too far from our neighborhood.

All-in-all it was another good day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Great Day!

You know, I haven't really had a lot of bad days for quite awhile, but it feels like in the past couple of weeks I've been a bit more pummelled mentally and emotionally. I am grateful to report that as customers or roommates have asked me how my day has been today, I am able to say, it has been a great day!

The bike ride to work this morning was peaceful and cool. I even got there a little early and had time to sit down in the lobby and visit with my co-worker Jen (who's a riot) and her friend Ryan before we started work.

Work wasn't too busy and I really enjoyed my co-workers. Last week I let someone at work know what I was frustrated about and we talked about it, cleared the air, and I feel like that work relationship is more relaxed now.

I enjoyed light conversation with some of our regulars. Many of these people seem fun and interesting and I think it would be great to get to know them better, and not just their drink preferences. I think I will at least introduce myself more often and try to find out more of their names. Jen made a mock-up card for me to hand out to customers. (see below)

I stopped in Chinatown on my ride home and picked up some fruit from a vendor.

I had plenty to do at home today, but I decided to take a 30-minute nap, which turned into almost three hours! Much longer than I had intended, but it felt great to sleep.

Melinda picked me and my laundry up in a friend's Miata convertible and we went to the laundromat. While the clothes washed, we came back to my apartment and Melinda helped me to sort through some papers. Some who are reading this will have had first-hand experience helping me with this. It is better than it once was! I am moving to my new apartment this Friday, so I want to get things in order as much as possible before that.

Melinda rode my bike back to the laundromat to put our clothes in the dryer. She has considered biking in the City, and she enjoyed this experience! I'm all for new bikers in the City! (One of my co-workers recently bought a bike and has also been commuting from Brooklyn into Manhattan.) After more sorting we went back and finished our laundry. It was nice to have company. Usually I am bored out of my gourd at the laundromat.

I have the entire day off tomorrow, so I plan to do some house-cleaning, take some belongings over to the new apartment, and run some errands. In the meantime, I am going to eat some ice cream and go to bed. This has been a great day!

Friday, July 25, 2008


One of my favorite customers is Rachel. Rachel is cute and perky and she laughs a lot. She has a great smile and her hair is always in two small side ponytails. Rachel doesn't come into the store daily, but we see her from time to time and I always enjoy our happily raucous conversations.

Recently Rachel was spending a lot of time in Connecticut for a theatre event she was involved with, so we hadn't seen her in the store much. When she returned I asked her about her time away. Our conversation went something like this:

Matthew: Hey Rachel! How did things go in Connecticut?

Rachel: Things went really well. Oh, but there were a lot of ticks there.

Matthew: Those are nasty. I spent a lot of time in the country growing up and sometimes the dogs would get big, juicy ticks on them that would have to be pulled off.

Rachel: Yeah, one of the cats got Lyme Disease.

Matthew: Oh no! Did you have to put it down?

Rachel: What?!?!?

Matthew: Did you have to put the cat down?

Rachel: No, I said cast. One of the cast got Lyme Disease!

Maybe I should start considering Miracle Ear...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Elvis Is Rolling Over In His Grave

I am a bit of a Facebook addict. While looking around on a friend's FunWall this evening I happened upon a bizarre video, and I wanted to share my thoughts about it with someone. Lucky you for reading my blog.

I do not endorse this video. I do not even recommend watching the whole thing (I couldn't) - it's just too disturbing. (I wish I knew how to edit videos and just shows clips.) For some reason, I don't think the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" had this in mind when he was performing this song. Is this what his legacy has come to?

P.S.- As a general rule, I am not anti-figure-skating. The performers are talented and certainly have more physical stamina and discipline than most people, but if you are a woman trying to figure out why it's so hard to get guys to watch figure-skating with you, really think about what you just watched and then I think you'll understand why. I mean, really...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tall Is Beautiful

This afternoon I saw an amazingly beautiful woman on the subway. She was very tall with dark skin. I don't know how tall she was, but she towered over me. In fact, her head almost touched the ceiling of the subway exit. She and I both rode the G-train from Metropolitan to Myrtle-Willoughby, and I wish I'd had a reason to talk to her. She was captivating.

I think tall women who carry themselves well are some of the most beautiful people in the world. I have a friend from college who stands taller then most women, and she is one of the most gracious and lovely women I've met. Some people who are tall (both men and women) slouch over and seem to be attempting to blend in with short, average, or just semi-tall people.

But I say, if you are tall, carry yourself with amour-propre and confidence! That is beautiful!

On a related note, I am currently trying to work on my posture. I tend to slouch. In making this new attempt, I have noticed that most chairs are not designed for good posture (especially subway benches), but I would like to do what I can to remedy my posture problem nonetheless. If anyone has suggestions on how to improve posture, send me a note. I'd love advice.

That being said, I feel I should also say: if you are of average height (or short or semi-tall for that matter- heck, I say this to anyone), carry yourself with amour-propre and confidence! That is beautiful!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


When I was visiting New York last summer, I tried to take everything in. One of the new experiences I had was being rained on by air conditioners as I walked down the streets. The condensation from the air conditioners falls in drops from apartment windows onto the sidewalk below. I actually found this to be a somewhat endearing aspect of summer in the city.

Recently I mentioned this to a fellow resident and I'm pretty sure they thought that was an odd thing to enjoy. And I have noticed a change in my own attitude towards this "a.c. rain"- perhaps not incredibly repulsed by it, but not really liking it as I once had...

This morning I was walking to work and some of the "rain" fell from a window unit up above onto my lower lip.

That was not endearing.

That was gross.

But I had to laugh about it. As Melinda wrote in a text message, "Haha! Oh the perils of city living."

Monday, July 7, 2008

If You Were an Animal...?

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I would be a slug. At least today I would be... Okay, who am I kidding? Often I would be. I had the day off and I slept late into the morning, watched some episodes of Lost on DVD, checked my email, read some blogs, slept some more, made one phone call, and managed to drag myself out of the bedroom a couple of times to eat. Oh, and I also shaved and showered at some point and exercised for about 20 seconds.

Thankfully people were around the house this evening, so I walked down the block to get a sandwich from the corner deli with Sharaya (the sandwich was cheap but delicious- worthy of it's own post sometime) and spent some time catching up with other housemates who I haven't seen for a few days. A few of us helped my roommate Greg move some of his belongings into our new apartment. (I haven't written about it yet, but I am moving to a new apartment down the block at the end of July. I'll write more about that in the future.)

After we were done moving a load into the apartment we met Jimmy, one of our new neighbors. Actually, Greg introduced himself (he's fearless like that) and then we talked for a little while. Jimmy was born in the neighborhood in 1951. He moved away for a bit, but it sounds like most of his life has been lived in the townhouse next to my future home. He told us all about the different stores and buildings that used to be on our street. He had great stories about the neighbors he grew up around. I could write a whole entry about his stories. He knows a lot of the block's history and has seen a lot of its highs and lows. Jimmy told us that now that we know him, if anyone gives us problems, we can just let him know. He said we met the right person. As Greg told Jimmy, we will try to live up to the name of "neighbor".

I'm off to bed now. I have to be up for work no later than 3:30 a.m. tomorrow. YUCK! I was getting used to being up early for awhile, but lately my shifts have been scheduled for later in the morning. I prefer to get the workday over sooner rather than later, but I am out of practice. Good night!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Carbonated Joy

We left this morning for Saratoga Springs, New York (north of Albany). We drove through beautiful landscapes, had breakfast at a roadside diner in New Jersey, slept some, laughed some, and had semi-intellectual conversations in the car. Actually, we had a long conversation about justice and race and poverty and privilege, etc., and by the end both the ladies had fallen asleep- I guess we men aren't as interesting and fun as we'd like to think.

Saratoga Springs is beautiful and the place we are staying is in the woods and amazing. Our hosts, Rick and Julie, are very welcoming! And except for the married couple and one pair of ladies, we each have our own room and our own bed!

But do you know what has made me smile the absolute most so far today? It was a 99-cent Pepsi from the fountain at a convenience store near Albany. Really, I was filled with glee when I found this. This past week I have been craving cheap fountain drinks and this just made my day! (I bought a fountain drink the other day at a pizza place, but it was small and I'm sure it was over-priced... I didn't ask how much, I just ordered it).

It's interesting that not having access to cheap fountain drinks is a part of NYC culture shock for me, but I suppose culture shock can manifest itself in unpredictable ways. Before moving, I hadn't even been drinking a lot of pop. Regardless, I had a BIG smile on my face as I prepared the Pepsi today and I loved every minute of consuming it. Delicious!

While the price of the drink was wonderful, the cost of fuel was a bit shocking. I know most of you deal with this on a regular basis, but I have not had to fill up a car for four months. Wow! The cost of the fuel (about $60) was three-fourths of the price of a one-month MetroCard (currently $81), which allows me to ride unlimited around the City on subways and buses. It's nice to know something is cheap in New York.

I'll be sending out more updates about the weekend getaway. In the meantime...

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Back on the Streets


I just drove for the first time in New York City. I have not driven a vehicle for four months.

The car is new (it has a start/stop button). The car is fast. The car drives smooth. The brakes are touchy. The streets are full of activity. My driving is as herky-jerky as ever.

My roommate Greg is brave and he was not scared.

I was nervous at first, but I had fun.

We leave for a Radical Living retreat in Saratoga Springs, NY tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday in the Park With Me

Tonight I am posting from Brooklyn Bridge Park while enjoying a beautiful sunset over Lower Manhattan. I may have mentioned this before, but this park is one of my favorite hangouts in New York. It is situated between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges on the Brooklyn side of the East River, so it's right by downtown Brooklyn (in DUMBO). In addition to the great views and green grass, they also have free wi-fi access. What more does a modern urban park need?

I love to come down here and spread out on the grass for a nap. Sometimes I read. Sometimes I do both. Here you'll find a lot of pavement-pounding pedestrians just relaxing in bare feet on the lawn. Some people picnic. Others sun-bathe or exercise. There are always photographers, amateur and professional I'm sure, trying to find the perfect angle. Couples, families, friends, and people sitting alone are all spread out across the space. Earlier this evening there were young people with band instruments playing music down by the water. One day I ran across a man practicing his bass off the path behind some shrubbery.

The water traffic on the river and helicopters buzzing around overhead aren't what I typically think of when I think about parks, but they add to the atmosphere here on the Brooklyn waterfront.

Right now there's a man doing cross-legged push-ups and bouncing around like he's boxer. If you like to people-watch, this is a good location for it. The interaction between dogs, their masters and other random people who get caught in the mix is also a source of continual entertainment.

For being a "concrete jungle", New York City has some great green spaces. They invest a lot in these parks, and I think overall they do a quality job of maintaining them. I believe people need to get out and connect with nature. It is a blessing indeed.

Oh, look. A white cottony seed of some kind just floated in front of my face.

This is a good place to be tonight.