Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mother nature's masterpiece.

Friendship is a marvellous thing. I love nothing more than having people over and strolling about the city with them, catching up, chatting idly, having a beer or two and checking out the odd sight.

That's why it was a true joy to catch up with 'Gus' on Monday. We did all of the above (while his girlfriend shopped) but best of all we went to the new viewing deck on top of The Rockefeller Center. I'll let the pictures tell the story but I should add the following.

The price was great, only $14. No lines. Loads of space. The glass barriers erase that 'caged in' sensation you get at the Empire State Building. Oh, you get an amazing view of the Empire State Building!

Despite the fact it's a touch shorter than NYC's premier viewing spot you're still 70 stories up for chrissakes?
Also, the view of The Chrysler Building is crap, but this one is still definately worth your money.

Book learning #7

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell.

I quote Weasel from Book Learning #6

"Sarah Vowell however is much better silently absorbed in print. Have you read Partly Cloudy Patriot? She's even more obsessed with presidents than you are."

He's right really isn't he?

That's why I loved this book. I could go on about selecting spectacles in order to look as much like LBJ as possible but that would be all about me. This is supposed to be all about how much I enjoyed reading this highly amusing selection of essays.
I'll admit that as far as I'm concerned she was completely preaching to the choir. When she writes about patriotism I agree with almost every word. When she writes about Al Gore, Gotta tell you, I was only just thinking the very same thing.
When she writes about sibling bizarro world, you guessed it, yep, me too.

All the same, despite a strong sensation of "dammit! Why didnt I get off my arse and write this book myself?!?" I couldont put the bloody thing down. Guess I was lucky I had a week off in order to read it very slowly and chuckle alot, that way I got full mileage. I say this to all of you of a geeky, political junky bent "Buy this book now!"

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March 23rd.

Another trip around the Sun.
Beer and Bocce, The good times did 'roll'.
(God that was an awful pun but really, what the hell did you expect?)

Then, on Friday I went with Listmaker, Mr Glen and last minute anonymous minor to witness the glory of fully retro Billy Bragg. More on him later.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

V for Vendetta.

I normally leave movie reviews for the likes of Listmaker et al. Those reviews normally come out in an 'end of the year' type of format.

V for Vendetta? Noooooooooooooo!!!!

'nuff said.

I may have invented a new sport.

And I can call it a sport because it involves physical excercise and running shoes. If I thought hard enough I could even invent some more rules and a scoring system. But for now allow me to give you the basic premise.

You have to run through a crowd of people without touching any of them.

This morning I did the bridges and as I was running through the courthouse bit between Chinatown and City Hall I encountered a gazillion lawyers (count them!) all on their way to work at their high falutin legal cases. I initally tried to avoid them by running in the road but that involved an increased risk of car related injury or possibly death.
I ran through the crowds, shimmying this way and that, like some mad hopscotch game. It was fantastic! I tried to avoid them whilst not losing my pace, they skirted around me whilst making cell calls and trying to drink coffee!
My, didn't we all have fun?

A couple of pointers for anyone trying this.
The smell of coffee on an empty stomach at 9am is a cruel, sweet thing.
Don't try to hustle the cops, they get edgy and they have guns.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Amendment XVIII (Beer)

Right, New Year resolutions come and go but this one (The beer resolution 1/1/2006)is in critical condition.
For those of you unfamiliar with the legislative process in the Mondale mind, it goes a little something like this. I decide upon a course of action, act upon it until it gets difficult, then pretty much drop it altogether.
The beer resolution 1/1/2006 has stumbled, it has fallen down.
The inital resolution was 'no beer until Memorial Day'. This was in order to lose 20 pounds.
Then I introduced some ammendments.
I. Beer is allowed if a family member is visting from out of town.
II.Beer is allowed if the imbiber has returned from work after 9pm.
III. Beer is allowed if watching sport.
IV. Beer is allowed if Kevin buys you one.
V. Beer is allowed if playing Bocce.
VI. Beer is allowed if watching '6 feet under'.
VII. Beer is allowed if a family member who lives within the five boroughs offers to buy me a beer.
VIII. Beer is allowed if buying a family member from out of town OR resident within the five boroughs a beer in return for the beer bought for me. (Be rude not to wouldont it?)
IX. Beer must be consumed when eating any of the following: burgers, wings, hotdogs.
X. Beer must be consumed when attempting to avoid getting too loaded too quickly.
XI. Beer must be consumed when fishing.

I think that's about it.

Needless to say I need to reel in the beer. Accordingly I shall limit the beer amendments to the following.

XII. All prior beer amendments are anulled.
XIII. Beer can be consumed inside the home when friends and/or family visit.
XIV. Beer can be consumed in a bar.

That's it, that's the future from this Friday morning.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Nu Shooz.

I just purchased a spanking new pair of New Balance 766 running shoes. My brother had recommended them a while ago. I went to Paragon Sports and had my traditional argument with the old guy who sells shoes. It normally goes something like this...

OLD GUY WHO SELLS SHOES " Listen son, i know what I'm talking about and you know fuck all, you jumped up little shit."ME " Has anyone ever told you that you are a complete and utter miserable bastard who inspires nothing but fear and loathing. When I tell you that my current pair of shoes are a size 13 you have to believe me. I am not lying, although if I were to lie to anyone I would certainly lie to you, all the time, just to piss you off."

Anyway, I got the shoes I wanted and this morning I set out over the bridges, The ususal jaunt except this morning it was a pure joy! I ran further, more comfortably and in a better pace and frame of mind than I had in ages.
There we go, and remember, if you are tall, overpronating and running between 3 and 6 miles twice a week I would recommend them.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Book learning #6

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris.

After a meaty read through the pestilential days of the Black Death I decided to go for some one stop, guarenteed humour.
I got it. I tore through this in about 3 days just like I knew I would. I got the jokes and the wit, I laughed out loud a few times, including once on an LIRR train. Everyone knew what I was laughing about and no one minded.

I have always enjoyed his work, I just think he's funnier when he's telling his stuff. I just prefer to listen to him.
Of course I would recommend this, Of course I would pass this along, The way he describes North Carolina as a third rate instituion still pisses me up. But I just wanted something more.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


I'm hingover after the school auction. Jelani saved my life several times. Here's Kitten, enjoy. (I know it should be 'hungover' but i misstyped it and it looked great.

Friday, March 10, 2006

John Profumo. 1915-2006

John Profumo, The man who introduced the British to sex has died, aged 91.
Check the title link for pictures.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Book learning #5

The Great Mortality by John Kelly.
I loved this book!
I enjoyed the tone, the style and in a disturbingly creepy way I was fascinated by the content.
Between 1347 and 1350 the Black death swept through Europe. Kelly joins with us on a tour of pestilence. He spares little imagination when describing the puss, the buboes and the agony of filty, mediaeval death. He also fills us in on the rounds of superstition and rumour that followed in it's path. A gruesome and despicable read. I couldon't put it down!

An open letter to the Wedding Present.

Dear Weddoes,
I'm sorry I missed you last night. I truly am. Something deeply nostalgic collided with something deeply now. The now won.

The nostalgia really wanted to watch you play lots of disturbingly loud, fast, jangly guitar indie rock. The now wanted to get a good night's rest before a very important day of work.

The nostalgia wanted to pretend that I was 16 again and dance the night away to the aforementioned brand of guitar based, fast, loud, jangly, indie rock. The now really had to tidy up the apartment before the cleaning lady came.

The nostalgia knew that if I only had three beers I could probably cope with a smaller than usual ammount of sleep and be only slightly deaf in the morning for all the very important meetings with all the very important people.

The now knew that would not be the case at all.

The now knew that I would be sluggish and deaf, less incisive and perhaps even slightly smelly. The now knew that I would cheekily drink five beers and that I would hurt in the morning.

The now knew that weekends are for rock and that school nights are for watching 'Six Feeet under' or 'The West Wing'.

The nostalgia didn't care when the lady at the Bowery Ballroom told me that you would not be playing until 10pm. The now knew that it would likely be 10.30 or maybe even later. The nostalgia was all up for sitting in a bar and hanging for 2 hours. The now knew that that would be a recipe for disaster! The now took me home.

The now realises that a little something died last night. But that's OK. The now keeps telling me that age may well have wearied you as it has me, That you may well have come across as four, forty year old men rather than the twentysomethings you used to be. The now wonders just how much frenzied jumping about there would have been. The now is trying to make sense of all this. The now really wishes that you had scheduled this gig for a weekend or even just a night when I didn't have a massive day at work the next day, and not the massive kind of paperwork day but the massive kind of meeting with people who need me to be serious yet knowledgable kind of day.

The now could go on and on about this.

The now and the nostalgia meet, they acknowledge each other and smile. They are still good friends, very good friends. The nostalgia is willing to let this one go, there will be other battles.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


It's exhausting all this, being alive nonsense.
This week I am out everynight doing something or other and I have had to spend early mornings avoiding middle aged lady bus stop stalker.
She is one of those super chatty/hyper annoying types one bumps into by accident at bus stops. I guess I have an approachable demeanor but not at 7.30am. I guess at some point in the past month I caught her eye as a target.
I have had to change my bus catching habits in order to avoid her conversations. This morning she caught me at the next bus stop (she was on the bus when I got on a block away. She gave me an excellent death stare). I imagine she will try and talk to me about why I moved stops. I wait for that day!
It's just that I have absolutely no wish to talk to anyone at that time of day. My job involves being pretty nice to people, I am, in general a fairly pleasant person, I just will not tolerate people who abuse that. I know, she's probably lonely, her own kids probably live out of town or don't visit enough (or both). Perhaps there's a reason for that? Perhaps it has something to do with forced jolliness in the pre dawn hours.
I mean, I don't even talk to Dave the Bus that often. There are mornings when we chat up a storm , there are the other mornings when we say NOTHING to each other (and we know each other, work together, drink beer together and our wives are friends, still doesn't mean we have to be jolly at 0730 hours).
There, got that off my chest.

Tonight I make pilgrimage to the Bowery Ballroom to check out 'The Wedding Present'. It's been a good 15 years since I last caught site of Leed's premier Indie rockers. I used to go and see them every time they were in the east of England. I must have seen them about 6 times. I realise how middle class I've become when I caught their ad in 'The New Yorker' last night and said "Gosh, the Weddoes are in town, I'll go after work and groove with the youngsters". Of course it'll be full of old indie kids like myself. Am I still an Indie kid? What should I call myself if I'm not? I'm not even bothered if they are shit (I am fairly sure that they will hold up OK) as it's only cost $16.

Where there is a deadline there is non work related internet fun to be had. I found this little gem today. It's very basic and has it's flaws, the major one being it's Australian based, but it's also got me ridiculously hooked. I can't do links but you should try to google it anyway. It's a cricket game. If you don't like cricket or are an American just don't stress, move on.

School auction on Saturday night. Just checked with a few of the usual suspects. I shall be attending in order to reach a sustainable yet comprehensive state of drunkeness. I shall schmooze with parents I like and avoid those I don't like and the rest of the time gossip with coworkers. Well, that's the plan anyway.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Reply all.

When friends of friends of friends of friends hit "reply all" aren't you just tempted to reply "WHO ARE YOU?"