So Fall

Still, i can not get over how amazing this seasons things is. LA will do that to you. Though i still maintain there is an unfair system of weather imperialism throughout the US. It’s not wrong that So. California doesn’t have four distinct seasons. It’s just different. Maybe it’s this four seasons thing that’s actually the bizarre anomaly. Ok already i’m off the topic. Right : Fall. Honestly up until i moved to New York, i had the impression that the change of seasons was at least partially fiction, made up mostly for greeting cards and television shows. I mean, i’d never say it to anyone, but deep down i didn’t really believe in it, if that makes sense. Falling reddish leaves were as exotic as pink polka dot leaves. Even now that i’ve lived in a place with honest-to-goodness seasons for years i still shake my head in disbelief sometimes. Usually on a really nasty summer day (or a really nasty winter day), i’ll stop and think how this very same piece of sidewalk that i’m standing and sweating on, in six months will be holding up my cursing freezing pissed off self. And it’s just crazy. I mean, isn’t it?

In between the sweaty pissed off and the freezing pissed off, there is, if we’re lucky, a small wondrous moment called fall. This is by far my favorite season. It’s more predictable than the spring, and drier usually. Where spring has your pale pokey hibernated ass caught in a yellow tank top under it’s glaring headlights, fall forgives all your mistakes and invites you into closed shoes and fuzzy sweaters. Yum.

It may be even a little premature for this ode to fall. It started out rainy and chilly this morning, but feels like the day might end in a late summer night. But still, i’ve been thinking about things fall that i love:

  1. The quiet on the first night the bedroom window stays closed.
  2. Sleeping in proper pyjamas.
  3. Tucking your arm under the covers cause it’s cold on the outside.
  4. Really wanting a hot shower in the morning.
  5. The first, almost constrictive, feeling of a light jacket.
  6. Putting on socks inside.
  7. Not hearing the ice cream truck 7 times a day.
  8. Tree rain.
  9. Tights
  10. Wet leaf prints on the sidewalk
  11. Having a fall party

Weekend of Weird

I had a weird weekend. Weird. It involved a parent, old flames, a very sweaty party, and the track. There wasn’t much of a common thread so i’m having a hard time pulling it neatly together. Perhaps it could be A Weekend of Scenes Stolen From an Indie Comedy.

Imagine your first boyfriend with whom you fell obsessively in love, with whom half of your nostalgia for New York City remains wrapped up, who introduced you to parts of yourself you never knew existed, who kinda broke your heart into a trillion pieces and then stomped on those pieces several times with big heavy hard-soled boots, whom you haven’t really seen in 3 years and haven’t really hung out with in even longer. Imagine he shows up in the city (with quite a few surprise developments in his life to boot). Then imagine he comes in on the same night as your mom is coming in to town stay with you from LA, and the two of you have a mint ice tea and then run into mom outside your building and he helps her with her bags up the stairs and then the three of you sit in your unlit living room (because you still haven’t fixed the lamp that the subletters swear they didn’t break) and talk about the plight of the third world’s labor force.

Fast forward to he leaves to meet other friends, you and mom have a nice dinner of nearby french food, you and your mom arm wrestle because she’s been taking kick-boxing classes and challenges you. She handily beats you on the left arm, but you sweat out a narrow victory twice on the right arm. That night you invite First Boyfriend to a party out in Bushwick that you’d wanted to check out but only with a vehicle, which he has. So the two of you sweat and half-dance and half-talk and share way too many sideways glances at this party full of cool kids, take a moonlit walk in the car graveyard nearby, and get home at 4:30AM where you make a bed for him out in the living room and creep into your own bed with your sleeping mom.

Then the three of you wake up, he goes to the store for eggs and juice, you cook up eggs with an avocado salsa, and mom sets the table, and the three of you sit down and eat a homemade brunch which is actually really very pleasant in a CBS sitcom sort of way. By then it’s 12 noon and you have to shoo everyone out so you can go meet another former crush and take the LIRR to Belmont Park to go bet on the horses. Which turns out to be super duper fun, and the two of you end up $31.40 ahead. You suggest earmarking the $31.40 to treat yourselves to something cool, but now that you’ve had a few days to think about it, $31.40 “treats” two people to very little in this city. You can only think of a movie with a soda and popcorn each, and maybe shared Milk Duds if the theater is semi-reasonable, but not ice cream. Nope, it can’t cover ice cream.

It could have been weirder, but probably not by that much. But nice. There’s something about seeing First Boyfriend that reminds me of when i was a little stupid, but less cynical about things. I was still cracking one-liners which i can’t remember doing so much when i was 17. I liked seeing Aaron again. I liked that he’s still a person i enjoy being around. I like that the people from my past are not locked away and gone forever. They can show up and we can eat eggs and make small talk with my mom. I liked that my mom is much more able to roll with the punches than i give her credit for. And i like watching the horses and winning money for nothing, regardless that it gave me overwhelming urges to drink Bud Tall Boys and smoke Parliament Lights, which if you must know, i resisted.

The FG

It appears Jami is moving to Brooklyn and is holding open submissions for folks to convince her which part to call home. So far she’s gotten recommendations for Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens, but [gasp] no one’s written in on behalf of lovely, perfect Fort Greene. This feels like a personal challenge, and of course i’m stepping up:

In Defense of Fort Greene… or Why Fort Greene is Better Than Anywhere Else

  1. Rows and rows of picturesque brownstones
  2. Fort Greene Park, which is big enough for running, exploring, and hidden picnicking, but no so big that there are teams of cyclists, runners, and soft ball players whooshing by and reminding you that, yes you are still in overachieving, relentless New York City
  3. Tennis courts (more important to some than others)
  4. BAM, this might even have to count twice
  5. Frank’s Lounge</li
  6. Not Ray’s Pizza
  7. Atlantic Ave train station, serving nearly every train line and the LIRR.
  8. Atlantic Center Mall, for when you get nostalgic for the suburbia of your youth. Including an Old Navy, perfect for down days where you can buy a new hoodie for $10 and feel better
  9. More (and better) French food than you’ve ever imagined could exist in Brooklyn. This also translates into perfect espressos and cappuccinos on every block.
  10. Citizens who take sitting on the stoop very seriously
  11. Precious few New York yuppie families taking up three hours and two tables at brunch (see Park Slope)
  12. Genuine diversity (see Williamsburg)
  13. Relatively less glaring economic inequality than you see elsewhere in Brooklyn
  14. Generally easy to get to all the other Brooklyn neighborhoods via subway
  15. And, well, i happen to live here

In Praise of Paris

Last night i saw In Praise of Love which brought back many memories of my last year in Paris. If Woody Allen makes the city his star in Manhattan, Godard does similarly for Paris. I was surprised and grateful that he seemed to think of the city in the same two ways as me: beautifully lonely and damp. Especially damp. It is raining or has just rained in nearly every scene. For every sunny day, i can think of a week of damp. This pattern started in early November and ended in April sometime. After the first month of rain it was hard to tell if damp was a part of the city or a part of my mood. I went everywhere with my clear plastic umbrella in tow. I was attached to that umbrella unnaturally. It was the first time that i actually wore out an umbrella instead of leaving it somewhere. The rainy night it broke outside my apartment i was in disbelief. I took the thing upstairs and fiddled with the innumerable metal rods that hung from the plastic. One tiny fastener ring had broke and the entire construction had fallen apart. I never knew what a complicated and fragile thing an umbrella was. It took a few weeks of denial, of keeping the thing in a corner of my kitchen, of going back to it several times with determination, until i finally gave up. After, i was surprised that any of these contraptions last longer than a few weeks. As luck would have it, it died in April.

The film also captures a gritty and post-industrial Paris i never knew. There is a certain long scene on the Seine across from a burnt out Renault factory. I won’t comment on the maybe-too-obvious symbolism, but i racked my brain for where this could be. I could name almost every other area pictured. In my 10 months there, i took insanely long walks in what i thought was every neighborhood in the city, but i must have missed some places. When i was there i remember noticing actually the lack of post-industrial spaces which made New York and other cities in the Northeast US distinctive.

Along with the damp, the decrepit, and the lonely, there is a heavy (and boring) rant on the lack of American identity, mostly focused on Steven Spielberg. Yawn. If there is anything i could say i miss the least about being in France it’s the nationalism disguised as anti-Americanism. I tried to not pay attention during those parts. This was easy because, call me slow, but i couldn’t really follow any of the plot of this puppy anyway. It was actually ok because i could snuggle down in the almost empty theater and just enjoy the beauty of the cities on the screen, and make a game out of trying to remember my French. In Prase of Love is slightly more coherent than his King Lear which i saw in Paris last year. But the funny thing was, after the lights came up, there was the exact same exhausted chuckle that came from the handful in the audience in both movies in both cities. Vive la similarity.

Runny Nose

A rainstorm hit, 2 car alarms are going off, and i woke up with a cold. It has been ages since i had a cold. The last one i can remember was over two years ago. I guess i was asking for it. If i didn’t wake up with a cold, it would have been the third morning in a row of me having crashed into bed kind of drunk, clothes in a ball, not brushing my teeth, and then getting up and doing things all day. So i’m concluding it’s a cold of exhaustion. But fun’s been having had: In backwards order, it was a night chock full of self publishers at Dori’s birthday party. Had a really nice really new york city walk home with Jami and Swerdloff. And am particularly grateful to Jami who wanted to leave after only a few because it had the potential to be one of those nights where i spent way too much money and drank way too much. Realized that Juli lives 4 blocks away from me, and i’m hoping Jami moves into the neighborhood so she can crack me up much more regularly than she does now. Before then we wandered around in “for rest”, which was actually very very impressive (but very very hot). I particularly liked the paintings by Frankie B. Rice, none of which i can find online to link to. They were really nice oil paintings of rows of trees and plants. Just my favorite types of things, order among disorder, or vice versa, or whatever. They were good. It was a plant themed evening all around actually. I had on my Biosphere II t-shirt and gave Dori a few cuttings from the herb garden for her birthday, “To Eat or To Plant”. Unrelated to plants, i broke in my passed-down powder blue cowboy boots, which i may never take off again.

Tired and tired, yesterday Darleen and i saw The Silent Project in the city. It was pretty weird. There was a lineup of quality djs, and you went up to this counter to rent headsets to hear it. And then people just sort of shuffled around listening to music and exchanging really uncomfortable glances. I’d be curious to know if the curators thought it was successful. I danced a little bit just cause the beats were really good, but it was really stuffy and moreover weird to dance alone while 20 or 30 people stand around aimlessly and try not to stare. I knew that they were hearing the same music as me so there was this very small connection, but it was really pretty isolating to have headphones on in a room full of people with headphones. And then it’s weird to talk to people cause you don’t want to be yelling over the music that only you can hear, and you don’t know at what volumes everyone else is listening at either. My suggestion was that they might have planted 5 or 6 people to really dance and get people going. But maybe the whole point was just to realize that music is way cooler as a shared experience. That’s what i came away with anyway.

The night before then i saw an old friend, and it was revealed to me that i was a “Spirit Guide” to a friend of a friend at burning man 3 years ago. The story was actually really sweet, and made me feel pretty nice. you know one doesn’t get told that they acted right too often, only when you mess up usually. Oh, and being a Spirit Guide entitles you to drinks. Thus the tired hangover yesterday. We went to some old haunts in the burg, and i swear the new new shit economy has hit. On both Friday and Saturday night, along with a Saturday brunch i shouldn’t have been spending money at, half the booths and tables were empty. It was kind of nice actually.

Before then, i finally got to hit some tennis balls and pick up my awesome looking business cards that John kindly designed. They look so great that they might engender a redesign of Now i just need to hobnob with the types of people who might want to pay me to do things.

Plants, The New Dogs

I no longer have a pet, no where near having a child, mostly single, and only very marginally employed. So what have i done with my lurking need to care for and/or about something you ask? Plants. And lots of ‘em. I want to introduce a few of them to you my loving readers, and my loving bots.

Gordon T Basil II

This is Gordon T. Basil II. Gordon T the First lived fast and died young when he was trapped in an unfortunate wind tunnel at the 110 St – Cathedral Parkway 1/9 train station in 1996. He was only able to produce one pesto, but it was a fabulous pesto. Gordon T. II, however is a real trooper. Every time i turn around there’s a new stalk, and the smell… ummmm that smell. He’s so perfect i’ve had to add basil to things i’d never dreamed of before. Basil catfish anyone?

His cousin once removed is Willie. Willie’s a sweetheart. Really, he’s a sweet basil. He has the same robust growing nature as Gordon T II (must run in the family), but his taste is a bit more subtle. He’s great with chicken and currently sharing an overcrowded New York City space with some parsley which i haven’t named yet.

The Johnnies

And finally there are the Johnnies, the three tomato plants. Technically there are 11, but there are 3 pots so i go with the easier number. I grew all these lovelies from seeds, and i’m particularly proud of the tomatoes which i’ve replanted 3 times because i was convinced they’d never survive and kept scrimping on the pots. Now, i’m not sure if it was my constant love and attention or the unending weeks of sweltering heat and humidity this summer, but they’ve done marvelously. I can’t remember if i planted late or the summer started late, but if we have a couple more weeks of hot weather there’ll be be a plate of Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella worthy of gods. If it gets cold soon, i’ll be taking this Fried Green Tomatoes thing seriously. It really doesn’t sound like it should be taken seriously tho. Really doesn’t.

I’ve got lots more, but i don’t want to seem like a crazy plant lady or anything so i’m holding back. There was one casualty of the summer, a row of cilantro which was doing fine and then all of ‘em just up and died one morning, out of nowhere. It was sad. And particularly weird since someone told me cilantro is a weed and should grow with practically no care. Maybe i cared too much? Death is always a risk in the game of loving plants. But i’ll still take my chances.


Grrr. If you watched any television yesterday you were probably forced to cry at least a little. It was like sweeps week, except instead of being after ratings those urchins were after tears. Am i being impossibly cynical? I don’t know. It was all moving because the stories are moving, but i don’t trust any of the well-coifed news anchors to care about the actual well-being of people past the moments when their eyeballs are stuck to the TV.

I have probably watched the least amount of television coverage of anyone, having been abroad with no TV set for 8 of the last 12 months, but i’m still at the i-can’t-take-anymore stage. I only saw the video footage that everyone here knows by heart last May. I watched the actual event in a tiny window on a french webcast at work in paris. Then i nervously chain-smoked cigarettes with the other American outside the office. I was sitting on the hood of a little car and it was a crisp fall day. In later months i would feel horribly disconnected from everything New York and everything Paris. I wished i could either be back in New York, or wipe the place out of my mind, but i didn’t do either. Mostly i just smoked.


I saw Woody Allen’s Manhattan yesterday at free show at BAM. Manhattan has never looked more beautiful, she is the real star. As a love story though, the film is pretty depressing since everyone in it is kind of a jerk (and i find myself relating to all of them). And the couple in front of me was being so cuddly i kept imagining how easy it would be to step on their heads, repeatedly. But like Mr Allen, i also fall in love with Diane Keaton whenever she’s in one of his movies. That hussy!

Before it started, like a scene out of a Woody Allen movie the slightly dorky guy sitting next to me started talking to me about obscure French directors who’s names he couldn’t remember. I wasn’t biting. I’m only impressed these days by guys with absolutely nothing to prove. Guys who are basically indifferent to me. And even then i’m skeptical. I need a date desperately but i don’t trust anyone in pants. It’s a quandary. And it’s interesting that no one i encountered yesterday said a word about the anniversary, yet it was the only thing on the lips of our media. Was it simple over-saturation, or was not talking about it for just one day the best way? I don’t know. Nobody knows, least of all Fox News Team coverage.

donut crust

Yowsies a pie with donut crust? I might want like a custard inside instead of redi-whip, but donut crust… brilliant!

Root It Down

Holy Shit. Last night i went to the best club, with the best djs, and the best crowd in more time than i can remember. And the craziest part is… it’s in LA. Do things get any weirder? It was here, the Root Down, corner of Melrose and Normandie. It started out odd cause we’re in the middle of Koreatown, which isn’t known for its hopping nightlife. On the upside, the street parking is a cinch (two and a half weeks and i’m acting like a native again). We got there at 10 to take advantage of the half price cover until 10:30. Some people close the club, others open it. We all have our place. No one was there, but the 15 year olds milling around the entrance had us slightly concerned. Things got more worrisome as i ordered my Gin & Tonic and the bartender asked me for six dollars. Six Dollars!?! Motioning to the door, “Isn’t this the corner of Melrose and Normandie?” i quipped in my best Clueless voice. It’s possible i’ve missed some serious neighborhood facelifts, but it was kind of like a six dollar G&T in Sunset Park. Ok ok, i’ve never had a G&T in Sunset Park either. I just have my ideas about these things.

But the djs started and things started looking up really fast. The first dj was the dude i saw spinning at burning man. To be honest i was a little nervous. I had thought he was cookin really really hot out in the desert. Enough that i was inspired to dance up to the dj booth and yell at the top of my lungs, “Dude! You are Rockin’!” But i had a substance or two in my body, and i admit that i may have had an exaggerated idea of how hot this cookin of his really was. And i had talked him up majorly to the ladies, so like, my reputation as a spotter of cool was on the line.

After drinks the three of us tentatively made our way on to the empty dancefloor. The music was good, but everyone seemed to be hanging on the walls. Slowly, i barely even noticed how, the dance floor packed em in. And it was packed with really really good dancers, with moves i’d never seen before. The music switched from hip hop to dancehall to salsa to combinations of everything in between. Mostly it was beats i had never heard, and did i say yet, it was really hot. And everyone was dancing. And no one had any attitude. And the crowd was totally mixed (and all really good looking). And none of the guys were being sleazy. It totally changes the vibe if all the guys are dancing just to dance, or are more interested in picking up girls. And they all seem way more attractive doing the former.

Eventually i went up to the dj and told him i heard him spin at burning man which totally floored him, and made me feel kind of like a leacherous dj groupie. But we did have this special connection. Swear. Anyway, i kept asking Liza and Amy (all 2 of my friends in LA) if all clubs were this cool out here. If so, i would have to start reconsidering my life plan. Neither of them gave me a straight answer, and i suspect not because they were as surprised as i was at how fun everything was. Point is, if you find yourself in LA on a thursday night you’d be crazy nuts not to get yourself to the Root Down.

In the meantime, it’s once again fabulous weather out here by the beach, and i have a shopping date with mom. I may buy these second hand red snakeskin cowboy boots that i saw in a window the other day, but i really shouldn’t cause i have no room in my suitcase and no paying projects in my future.

PS – I have this hairbrained idea that i want to be bicoastal, so if anyone out in LA wants to hire me for anything, i’m game. (Umm.. actually that goes for New York too).

broom buying info: Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Broom Scroll down and read the reviews – fabulous! Where was this when i was a young’un?