Thursday, December 22, 2005

Five Senses of South Arkansas

Sight: Pumba has been glued to the window in Mary B.'s old room, watching birds and dogs outside.
Sound: Birds chirping and kids screaming on loud four-wheelers in the woods.
Touch: 60 Degrees and warm sunshine.
Taste: Ah, sweet tea. How I've missed it!
Smell: Five oil refineries within five miles of my mom's house. Still stinkin'.

and, a bonus FYI:

Fortunate timing: I missed the entire transit strike!
Unfortunate timing: I struck a squirrel in transit. :( It just ran under my car, thumped twice, flopped once and went to climb the big acorn tree in the sky.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Home for Christmas

Mom and the iPod
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
I'm headed to balmy South Arkansas for Christmas, so I'll be quiet online for a while. Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

While I'm gone, I'll be wrangling the Pumbinator through the airport, chatting with Mary B. on our way down to the boondocks, making breakfast for my mom (see the picture), popping curiously strong breath mints so I don't get as many smoking lectures and hugging all my relatives' necks.
See y'all later!

Monday, December 12, 2005

A beautiful Connecticut wedding

Sparklers instead of rice
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
I had two remarkable experiences this weekend.
Saturday night, I had the pleasure of attending a perfect wedding in snow-covered Connecticut. I'd never been up there, and I went as my friend Chris' pinch-hit date. I'd heard a lot about his family and the small town where he grew up, so I was glad to drop everything and head north for the day. Well, the stories were true: his family is awesome. They all make each other laugh and weren't afraid to break out their moves on the dance floor. (Go Robby, go!!) It was a holiday wedding, and the deep red of the dresses complimented the snow outside. From the uncles who kept refilling everyone's wine glasses to the sweet old married couples who still got up to slow-dance after 40 years of marriage, the wedding was just fantastic.

But another event, much shorter than the wedding party, is also on my mind tonight. I watched Brokeback Mountain on Saturday, right before I got on the train for Connecticut. The movie is beautiful, one of the best I've ever seen. With mountains and valleys as the backdrop, Ennis and Jack fall in love the moment they meet. It's raw and exposed when they're alone, but they live their separate lives in shame and denial, hating themselves for a love they couldn't stop.
I know it's just a movie, but this one left a lingering sadness with me. I walked out of the theater with red, swollen eyes because even though this was set during the 1960s and '70s, it can still be that frightening to be gay today. I have friends who've been with their partners for a decade, but they are still careful about coming out to strangers. Maybe if more people watch Brokeback Mountain and let it live as a love story rather than just the Gay Cowboy Movie, we'll make a little more room for each other.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The funniest Amazon in New York

Holy crap! Michelle Collins is The Most Hilarious Woman in the whole freaking city. She abandoned her Jewish roots for a few minutes and wrote the perfect Christmas song.

Just bookmark her site and add it to your daily regimen. You can't find an easier smile anywhere.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Warning about the iPod

I've made an unfortunate discovery about using my iPod in the wintertime. Maybe it's the polyester lining in the wool pants I'm wearing, or it could be the long wool coat I just bought, but my iPod has been delivering more than just Sam Cooke's crooning today. Every time I take a few steps, my earbuds shock the inside of my ears with static electricity.

Frankie and Johnny were sweethearts--ZAP!!

Sometimes it's a little shock. (ow?)
But then I shift my bag to get my Metrocard or something, and it pops me for real. (OW!! WTF WAS THAT?!)

I might try carrying a couple of dryer sheets in my coat pockets.... does anyone have a better idea?

At least I don't have it as bad as this guy.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Not bad for a Sunday night

I've got it good today.
There's a man in my kitchen, whipping up something tasty to share, and I've got Christmas cards to write, Elliott Smith playing in the background and snow outside on the ground. Three cheers for lazy Sundays!

Monday, November 28, 2005

A frosty Thanksgiving

Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
I had a crazy-busy Thanksgiving this year.... I spent Thursday morning drinking Bloody Mary's with Brandi and Megann while we watched the Macy's parade from an office window high above Times Square. Then, I called the whole family and talked about how I wished I could be with them to eat all the olives.

By 3 p.m., I had hopped a train to eat turkey with my adopted family in New Jersey. We watched the Wizard of Oz and stuffed ourselves.

On Friday, I got back on the train, this time with Pumba in tow, and Megann, Brandi and I made our way to Westchester. There, we met Julie, who drove us all the way up New York's backside and across Lake Champlain into Vermont. (Did you know that Vermont is shaped like a "V"? I didn't.) We took over the house for the weekend and tried not to think about how the place must surely be haunted. It's on top of a hill, surrounded by icy water and fast winds. We all told ghost stories after the first night of sleeping there. The place was amazing, though, and I wasn't ready to leave. Thanks for taking us on a mini-vacation, Julie!!

Wanna see the weekend for yourself? Go here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gimme a beat!

My rock-n-roll friend Brandi and I don't fight about much. We love hanging out together, even just to run errands or talk shit about the world, and I miss her when we let each other go for too long. We look like opposites---our differences start with my blonde hair and her brunette---but we've got a lot in common inside.

Our musical tastes overlap with Death Cab, Pinback, Badly Drawn Boy and other emo-bands like that. Brandito introduced me to all of those groups, and I admit that I was skeptical when I first heard the name Death Cab for Cutie. (I mean, come on!) But with Brandi's persistance, I finally gave them a real chance to rock, and I've never been the same since. Now that I have an iPod, I'm crazy about new music, and I LOVE discovering bands on my own.

So over the years, Boo-head (the woman of many nicknames) has offered me a lot of insight into new tunes. There's really only one thing that occasionally makes me want to string her up by her own guitar strings: she has no tolerance for great singing if it's not packaged with amazing musicians. Pop stars Joss Stone and Justin Timberlake and all country icons like the Dixie Chicks have all put out some excellent music, perfect for singing in the shower or humming at work, but Brandi WILL NOT give them any love because they are a) too produced, b) not REAL musicians---they only sing, or c) pussy-whipped pop-tart shiite.

Brandi and I have had this fight hundreds of times. It's the only thing we really argue about. I can date loser asshole men and she doesn't have as much to say about it as when I ask her to put "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson on at a party.

So what do we do about this problem? Why, we start a music review blog, of course! Brandi and I, and about eight other contributors, are going to be going head to head reviewing new music at Sound Hound Review. The music begins this week, where we will use 150 words to wrestle each other into admitting that our favorite songs rule and the obviously sucky songs, well, suck.

Come check it out and give props to the reviewer who sees your light. ((My contributor name is Earworm.))

Rock on!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Forsake thy name

It doesn't matter how many times I watch it, I just keep waiting for Juliet to reach out and touch Romeo's hand when she first comes out of her death sleep. I sit on the edge of the couch, listening to Leo talk about how Claire is so beautiful that death cannot touch her and thinking that this time, things will be different. Romeo will get the letter and show up to Juliet's funeral with flowers in hand, ready to start a new life with his gorgeous bride.

I've watched Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet dozens of times, and I still hope that the ending will change. I still believe that the lovers they spy through the aquarium can be together.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can Chicken
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
I don't know how it happened, but it seems I grew up in the South without ever eating Beer Can Chicken. Apparently, I'm the only one who managed to miss this fabulous dish. If you are as lucky as I was yesterday, you'll have someone in your kitchen willing to cook one of these for you. Otherwise, run to the store and buy a whole chicken, a stick of butter and a can of light beer. Turn your oven to 450 degrees, and drink half the beer. Get to know the chicken biblically. If there's anything inside the chicken you bought, take it out and shove the beer can up the chicken's bottom. (He won't mind, much.) The chicken should look like it's sitting upright in the pan. Slather him with butter (maybe under the skin? I was sneaking hor'devours instead of taking notes at this point.) Then cook him for a while. 45 minutes, maybe??

The beer steams the chicken from the inside, and the resulting dish is moist and delish!! You can use a Sprite if you want, too.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Perky Hilton

This has been a fun week so far. First, I got to eat in two fabulous restaurants: Saul in Brooklyn and La Goulou on the Upper East Side. I ate food I can't pronounce both times and consumed two Michelin stars altogether. ((Now that Michelin has started nudging its opinions into New York, I can't even tell you what Zagat says about those restaurants. It's just so much easier to say, "It got two stars" instead of "This cramped but stylish bistro is hip with the size 2 fashionistas, but watch out for grumpy servers and raisins in the rice."

Secondly, through the course of my job--which I will never discuss here thanks to Dooce and Krucoff--I got to wear a 40-karat diamond ring yesterday. The salesman, in jest, slipped the rock on my ring finger ((of course it fit over my suddenly elegant knuckle perfectly)) and I barely felt the weight of the Chup-Chup sized jewel. Why, I suddenly started declaring statements in mah best suuthern accent, and ah just could not take mah eyes off that purty thing. I was wa-aving at people in the showroom, just flipping my hand back and forth to catch the light so it could twinkle. I felt like a Hilton sister. Perky Hilton, the chunky heiress who dates Alabama shipping magnates instead of the Greek variety. Who knew I'd be so easily transformed into a princess. One gigantic, shiny rock will do it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Popping my own cherry

Don't tell my "friend" Tom at MySpace, but I'm about to jump ship and bring my click clacking to Blogger.

See you soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

i fell off the wagon

my no-cigarettes wagon hit a bump in the road last night after several beers and a little coaxing from chris. but i'm back on the patch this a.m. i missed having the crazy dreams....

and i'm SO ready for my vacation to England. less than three weeks to go!!

Currently listening:
By Grandaddy
Release date: By 10 June, 2003

Monday, August 15, 2005

side effects of the patch

several of my friends already know this, but i am trying to quit smoking... again.

i decided to try the patch this time, and i put one on for the first time last night. i went with the medium-strength version since i smoke less than half a pack a day. i'm 12 hours into it, and things seem to be going well so far... i'm chewing a LOT of gum.

but the patch has some weird side effects, one of which my friend megann warned me about... you can sometimes have "vivid" dreams while you're on the patch. i was skeptical, but my dreams last night were like movies! in one, i dreamed that i was sitting on the bank of a pond on my paw-paw's farm, watching my dad and my brother swimming at sunset. while they swam around and laughed, i was watching for -- get this -- hedgehogs in the water. not water moccassins... hedgehogs. rabid little things, i suppose.

weird, no? i might start a dream journal to keep up with some of this stuff.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

i sent this email to a few female coworkers today...

could you guys help me with a little something today? i am on breast watch... i put this shirt on this a.m., forgetting that the MF'ing buttons tend to pop open on their own. it would be handy at the after-after party, but in the office, it's a pain in the ass. so, could you guys just raise a big red flag if you see the girls coming out for an adventure? i'd appreciate it.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

my seat is sore...

I saw Manhattan in a whole new way today: from the seat of a bicycle.
Thanks to my gracious host, who sensibly talked me into wearing a helmet, I have now biked through Central Park (it took me 35 minutes to get around the main loop. I was lapped by a kid with training wheels once.), Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights. It was awesome. And I even managed to keep from flying over my handlebars when some chica opened her car door six inches in front of my bike.

It was a great time, and except for the fact that I may never be able to sit down again properly, I had a blast.

I learned a few things during our five-hour ride... Open fire hydrants are a special blessing. There is a neighborhood in Harlem Heights that looks like Quebec City, complete with cobblestones and row houses. There are men on this planet who box, salsa dance and bike all in the same week. And this city has a lot of hills. The only way I could keep pedaling at some points was to imagine twinkies and cheetoes falling off my ass.. All those spoonfuls of Ben n Jerry's vanilla ice cream, plopping to the ground after I pushed through each uphill stride. I did walk one particularly tough hill behind the Cloisters... It was so steep that I thought I might need some rope to repel back down it. Of course, I might have been able to ride up the hill if we hadn't stopped for lunch at a Harlem restaurant called Soul Food. For our mid-ride lunch, I ate fried pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy, the best damn corn muffins I've ever tasted and black eyed peas. Oh, and a jug of sweet lemonade. I can't imagine why they don't serve that exact meal to all the racers in the Tour de France. Oof...

Sunday, July 31, 2005

kit kat update

It's been a week since the orange throw pillow named Pumba came to live with me. I think we're going to work out okay. My friend Beth, the cat whisperer, helped ease him into his new space by coming over to visit during the weekdays. She played shoestring with him and gave him a lap to snuggle in, and I'm pretty sure that her visits are the only reason Pumba decided to start eating (everything in sight) and drinking like a regular cat. He loves to sit on the table by the window, and he can't get enough snuggle time in my ever-growing pile of dirty clothes. And he only shit on the kitchen rug once, although he did make sure to rub it in a bit.

The thing about the Pumbinator is that he's old. The cat-lady at the shelter said he was eight or nine, but I doubt it. Pumba the Warthog hit the movie theaters in 1994, and I'm guessing that some kid named this sweetheart cat after the farty-but-loveable cartoon character pretty soon after the movie came out. So I bet this kitty is more like 10 or 11 years old. He has some trouble getting his back legs to cooperate after he’s been sleeping on them for a few hours. When he has trouble getting up on the couch, I always think of that scene in My Dog Skip when the puppy has gotten older and can’t jump up on things like he used to.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

His meow-er is broken too...

So I got a new kitty cat over the weekend. His name is Pumba, and he's about 8 years old. Generally, we're getting along great. He's super-fuzzy and loves to snuggle. And he has the softest hair of any kitty in history.

Still, he's got some issues. My cat is anorexic. He's turned his nose up at three kinds of food now, including the stinky wet stuff that makes most cats crazy. He walks by the dish to smell his food, but he's apparently worried about fitting into his leather pants, because he doesn't eat at all! I should have renamed him Lohan.

He's a big cat, so he doesn't look particularly skinny, but when you pet him, you can feel his ribs. I'm going to call BARC, the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition, and see if they have any advice for me. He's survived this long, so he must have been eating SOMEthing.

I put up a picture of him in the myspace photo section so you can admire him, or click here.

Friday, July 22, 2005

He sorta looked like a squirrel....

The subway train was late. A crowd of tired people had gathered on the platform in heat that made us all sweat right through our cute hairdos and oxford shirts.

This particular tunnel belonged to the yellow N/W trains, and as more people filed down the stairs to wait for the next ride home, the air kept getting hotter and the mood switched from impatient to desperate and abandoned.

I was standing close to the edge of the platform, so I could crane my neck out to check for oncoming trains, when two skinny rats suddenly darted onto the tracks. They were little brown ones, chasing each other over the steel rails and wooden planks, through the puddles of rain water that had collected there days ago. The whole front line of the crowd silently watched the vermin run around their little obstacle course, squeezing through impossibly tiny cracks and squeaking at each other.

Then the chasing rat stopped still on top of one of the steel rails and stared up at the crowd. It was weird, but as that rat looked up at us, I had an overwhelming urge to shoot him like a squirrel in a tree.

Now, I've never been hunting in my life, but I did grow up at a school in Arkansas where all the kids stay home on Deer Day, the first day of deer season, so they can go set up camp for the fall hunting trips. Maybe the inclination of shooting squirrels is just part of my rural fabric, but when it occurred to me how people would react to some nutter taking aim at a rat on the tracks, I realized how absurd country living must seem to lifelong New Yorkers. Of course, I guess it would also be weird for a country boy to think about standing in a packed crowd of strangers in a sweltering underground cement tube.

Friday, July 15, 2005

a pint for the lady

i bought my ticket to london today. oh, baby, i can't wait to be surrounded by british accents and pints and biscuits and fish n chips and curry houses and jelly babies! i'll be there for 10 during the fall.

this will be my first time overseas. i haven't been this excited about a trip since i visited new york for the first time four years ago. yippee!

Currently listening:
London Calling
By The Clash
Release date: By 25 January, 2000

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I ate a $30 hamburger yesterday. Just one hamburger, 30 smackers.,,, talk about shabby chic.

Served on a parmesean bun, the patty was made with shredded short ribs and foie gras. I'll probably burn in PETA hell, but it was damn good.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the tube and a double decker bus

I am going to London in September to spend my first Euros and drink a peck of pints with my friends. Damn the terrorists.

Tony Blair is speaking on the radio as NPR covers the blasts in London. Outside my Brooklyn Heights apartment, I've been able to hear helicopters flying around Lower Manhattan for the last half hour. They always fly over a few times a day, but they are hovering now, keeping watch I guess.
I wasn't living in the city when Madrid's subways were bombed, but I'm sure that this was part of New York's reaction back then, too.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

a great week

This has just been a kick-ass week.

I met some new interesting people, including two awesome Episopal priests, an aspiring German actor and a witty Brit.
I reconnected with some old friends, including New Orleans' own editor of Pussycat Magazine. Oooh, and I saw another buddy perform in a play called Ladyhouse Blues, and the show was so good, I actually cried in the theater.
My stepmom came through a major back surgery without any complications.
I came up with some fun story ideas for work, which has been the hardest part of my job so far.
And I topped it all off today by laying on the beach for a few hours and getting some serious vitamin D therapy.

I'm rosy cheeked and happy.

Currently listening:
Sounds Of Summer - The Very Best Of The Beach Boys
By The Beach Boys
Release date: By 10 June, 2003

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

chivalry in the city

It took me a while to recognize some of the courteous gestures that men make here in the city. Maybe it sounds strange, but chivalry takes on a different look in a place as big as this.

Back home, a courteous date (at least on the first outing) might open the car door. He might also catch the door at the restaurant for her, and he'll probably watch her walk to her front door to make sure she gets inside without too many June bug attacks.

It's a little different here. In New York, courteous men watch the walking path for puddles, subway grates and sidewalk cracks. If there's a puddle, the guy might steer the chica out of the way so she doesn't catch one of those icky mystery drips that fall from scaffolding and air conditioners. Subway grates and sidewalk cracks tend to break heels, so considerate sweethearts are careful to walk over the grates themselves, sparing the possibly expensive shoes of his date. (Unless the guy is a cross-dresser and he's the one in heels. Adjust as appropriate, of course.)

I've also felt a little grateful flutter when I'm all dressed up and my date does the cab flagging/chasing. Sometimes you've got to get a little aggressive to catch a cabbie's eye, what with the arm waving and the lurching into the street. So when I'm all dolled up, I don't mind taking the princess route and letting the fella hail a ride.

Other dates have made me feel all girly by offering to carry my bag or purse after we've been walking through the city for a while. I don't usually take them up on this one, (My ipod is in there!!) but I'm always flattered. And, finally, up here, dates who want to go the extra mile (no exaggeration) have walked me to my subway stop, even if it's not the station they need to get home. I walk around the city by myself a lot, but I think it's a sweet gesture.

So maybe the fact that I'm wooed by these little things makes me a frilly princess. Oh well. I balance my own checkbook, take out my own trash, buy my own erotic novels and clean my own toilet. I'll take the ocassional mushy moment.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

see jane squirm

I was not prepared to see Jane Fonda's nipples. But there they were, staring at me from my new TV screen as soon as I turned on a movie my MOTHER recommended, Barbarella.

If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil all the fun, but it's basically a young Jane Fonda learning to get her rocks off by having kinky sex with a handful of freaks. We're talking about having your clothes ripped off by mean children's toothy dolls, animal skin lovin with the president of the New Orleans Grizzly Bear Club, and nesting with an ego-bruised angel.

But I was very impressed with her ability to change into a new sexy outfit every three minutes, and I would love to know where she to get one of those rooms with shag carpeting all over.


Currently listening:
By Scott Weiland
Release date: By 02 June, 1998

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Ben Nichols, if you're reading this, know that you'll have a fan base in any town I call home. And it adds something special that Katie's always there to scream for you to take your shirt off. Hopefully, you'll take her seriously someday....

I went to see Nichols and his band, Lucero, at the Bowery Ballroom this week. Nichols still had the Arkansas flag waving on his arm, and he still holds a handful of my heartstrings. I've seen them in four cities now, which I think is my record for any band, and they just have such a good time singing about drinking and pining while they tear their strings apart. Their sound is sort of Bruce Springsteen meets Bob Dylan.

Currently listening:
I Drove All Night
By Roy Orbison
Release date: By 01 July, 1991

Monday, May 30, 2005

I survived

New York is hardly predictable.
The weathermen all swore that this three-day weekend would bring a gush of rain and chilly weather -- more than enough to dampen my plans to sun on the rocks of Central Park. Instead, we were blessed with abundant sunshine and blue skies.
The weekend turned out to be one of the best I've had up here. On Friday, I went salsa dancing and saw The Longest Yard, a surprisingly hilarious movie. (Who knew Nelly could act?!) Saturday, I went to a Czech/Slovak festival in the beer garden in Astoria, where I met a bunch of interesting new people and ate just enough dumplings and kielbasa to offset all the cheap beer I'd consumed. On Sunday, my two best NYC girlfriends and I went on a day trip in a zippy little car with our new Greek buddy (we met him at the beer garden the night before.) We drove up to the outlet malls upstate and spent 8 hours shopping for the perfect shoes. Then today I wandered the empty city and bought a TV, which my friend Keith so kindly set up for me.
In all, it was a fabulous way to celebrate my first anniversary in New York. I could get used to this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Southern Living

I live in New York City because Southern Living -- the magazine that every dedicated Southern woman proudly features on her coffeetable -- turned me down for a job during my junior year in college. Admittedly, the magazine was right for booting me out of the interview, since I hadn't even read the sections for which they were hiring, but it still stung when they smiled sweetly and said, "Thanks for playing, honey."

So after they said no, I went into business journalism, which I thought would bore me to death (what's EBITDA?!) but ended up intriguing me all the way to New York. After a few years of talking earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, I pretty much started thanking God that I didn't get hired on at Southern Living. It's a beautiful magazine, but I think I would have gotten bored quick.

Still, if I'd landed that job, I could have been closer to my roots, some of which I went to visit this last week. A lot of the people I grew up with are still living in the deep South, and this trip allowed me to check in on their lives over frozen daiquiris at Applebees. We talked about minivans and SUVs, softball and dance recitals. Even though they had changed a lot over the years (what's Junior Civitan?!), they were still the same crowd I remember.

My accent slid right back into place after five minutes in the Little Rock airport, and I suddenly wasn't the only one calling people "dear" and "honey." It made me wonder what my life would have been like if I'd stayed closer to home after college.

Monday, May 09, 2005

homeward bound

i'm heading to arkansas at the end of this week, so i'll be out of touch with the Internet, seeing how my mom only goes to the library to check her "electronic mail" once a month. but don't worry, the twangy southern drawl that i'll have when i return to the city will be worth it!

we're kicking off the week with a family fish fry. from there, i fully intend to eat spaghetti and fried chicken in tontitown, spudnuts in el dorado, liz's tamales in little rock and cheese dip in every restaurant along the way!!

my ass will be wider, but so will my grin!

Currently listening:
The Perfect Country and Western Song
By David Allan Coe
Release date: By 01 January, 1996

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

mole people

My commute to work gives me about an hour of reading time on the train every day. I usually read one of the freebie newspapers and then zone out with my iPod.

But I just started a new book, The Mole People, and I'm only reading it while I ride the subway. It's about the homeless people who live underground in New York City and settle in abandoned tunnels and subway stations beneath Manhattan. The book tells the stories of the tunnel people who author Jennifer Toth got to know during her research.
It came out 12 years ago, but the book is still amazing.
I use the subway as a convenience to get from my big red couch to work and parties and dinners. These folks live in the dark that my trains zip through every day and make homes out of cracks in the walls.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Good morning to you, too!

I was filing off the train this morning, and a short, kinda shabby-looking guy was standing right in the middle of the moving crowd, handing out pamphlets of some sort. (Ever since I figured out that the "Free Stress Test" in Grand Central was really a cover for the Dianetic extremists, I rarely answer anyone calling out to me or take the papers people try to shove into my hands.)

So this little guy was trying to get folks to take his handout, and most everyone was just brushing past him on their way to Starbucks. I was about five people away from him when I realized he was chanting "Bitch, bitch, bitch" to everyone who didn't take his pamphlet. (Except in his accent, it sounded like he was saying Beech, beech, beech.) So when I walked by him, I put my hands up and said, "Oh, no, I'm a beech, too. Sorry."

That just made my day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Sir Mix A-lot's Baby Got Back is my favorite workout song right now. It's perfect for the last leg-burning, jiggle-fighting hill on the elliptical machine at the gym. I'm pooped by that time, but I get a burst of energy when that song comes on.

I mean, who doesn't love a man who's got a weakness for curves?

"You can do sidebends or sit-ups, but please don't lose that butt!"

No problem.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Houses and homes, pt. 2

Following a weekend of butchering my diet with Grimaldi's pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge... the history of my dwellings continues:

16. After living in Arkansas for my entire conscious life, I sent the matching bedroom suite back to El Dorado, sold everything that wouldn't fit in my Corolla and moved to the New Orleans. Grandmother helped me find a dreamy carriage-house apartment in the Garden District. It was beautiful with lots of natural light, a skinny gallery kitchen and an orange tree in the back yard. I paid $500 a month and lived across the street from Commander's Palace. Big groups of tourists would come by the house and take pictures on their walking tours because my place was part of the Five Sisters. I'm sure lots of those tourists got home with pictures of me sitting on my front stoop, reading a good book and ashing cigarettes into a flower pot behind my gardenias.

17. I moved across town to Mid-City after I discovered an open apartment on Grand Route St. John, between the bayou and the Jazz Fest horse track. It was the ultimate neighborhood with built-in friends next door, a tiny Whole Foods store down the street, and the city's best paella on the next block. For $300 a month, I lived in a two-room apartment on the second floor of a mansion. Mary painted the bathroom to look like a springtime sky, and she lived there with me for one glorious summer. And my cat, Poydras, loved the place, too. His most favorite trick was to run downstairs and set off the ear-splitting burglar alarm. Good times...

18. When I decided to leave New Orleans, I sold everything that couldn't be crammed back into the Corolla. Thanks to, I had already set up a place to live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with some roommates. But that deal didn't work out because the roommate who I was supposed to replace suddenly died there at the apartment building. He fell from the roof in the early morning and shocked his two best friends who had been living there with him. It was startling to me because he was the one to sell me on the place, and I had gotten along so well with him on the phone. The two remaining roommates didn't want to live there after that tragedy, so we all went our separate ways.
So I arrived in New York City with no plans about where to live. But thanks again to Craigslist, within about four hours I had found a tiny bedroom to rent in a three-bedroom apartment in Bed-Sty. It was a good place to get started on the scene, since any subway line I line I'll ever use will be better than the one I used there. The G Train just sucks. But for $645 a month, I got a living room big enough to serve as a dance floor and a Kosher kitchen that had two sinks and plenty of room to store all the kitchen goodies I so love.
And finally....
19. My current apartment is a tiny gem. It's the location, mostly. It sits half a block away from the Promende's freakishly beautiful view of Lower Manhattan, and the subway that stops two blocks over puts me in Midtown in about 20 minutes. For $1,300 a month, I got a one-room studio, painted sort of buttercream yellow, with the kitchen along one side and ceilings that are at least 15 feet high. It's only 1/5 the size of my other Brooklyn apartment, but in the week that I've been there, I've already had more visitors than I ever had in my other place. The two big windows face East, and I start smiling as soon as I wake up with the sun shining through the curtains. I'm digging it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Houses and homes, pt. 1

In honor of my new tiny-but-expensive apartment, let me just recap the history of my dwellings.

1. I came into consciousness living in a single-wide trailer in rural South Arkansas, just down the street from my kindergarten. I shared a room with my baby sister.
2. After a year or so, we moved to another single-wide trailer on a hill by Dixie Food Mart. I had my own room, but I would often wake up lying in front of the box fan that blocked the entrance to my parents’ room. I still have trouble falling asleep if the fan isn’t running at full blast.
3. When I was in the third grade, my folks moved us into town, to a brick house on Herron Drive in El Dorado. I got a huge room with green shag carpeting and a dock on a lake. It was like a playhouse.
4. In the fourth grade, I moved to Little Rock for a brief stay in a two-story townhouse. Mary and I bunked together again.
5. My family moved right back to the same house on Herron Drive sometime after our first blizzard in the city.
6. In the fifth grade, we moved back to the hill next to the convenience store. We settled into a log-cabin-covered double-wide trailer this time.
7. After my sister and I were damn near killed by a rope swing with a wooden seat that hung in the front yard, Mom and Dad broke the house into two pieces and hauled it out to a big grassy lot in the country. I was in the sixth grade, and the house still sits there today.
8. In college, I moved into a dorm room at Pomfret Hall at the University of Arkansas (Go Hogs!). I shared a room with a stranger from Texas. She watched me pierce my own ear and taught me how to shoot tequila poppers.
9. In the summer after my freshman year, I paid my first rent ($100 a month) to live on the living-room floor at a college buddy’s apartment.
10. For the first six weeks of my sophomore year, I lived in Pomfret Hall again, alone this time. Peanut butter toast with honey was a staple of my diet.
11. Then I fell in love and moved in with my new boyfriend practically on the second date. We lived in a huge house on a hill, and I paid something like $200 in rent for hardwood floors and three bedrooms.
12. When that was too much money to pay, we moved into the basement apartment of said beautiful house. I paid a mere $40 a month, but the place gushed water every time it rained.
13. Just after I graduated from college, I lived in my friend Brandi’s guest bedroom for two weeks.
14. After that, I rented my first solo apartment. It’s still the biggest place I’ve ever lived in alone. For $350 a month, I fit an overstuffed couch and loveseat in the living room. The bedroom had space for an entire furniture suite, including a princess bed, a gigantic bureau and two matching end tables. I even had my own washer and dryer. But for all that space, it was kind of a sad setup. Mothers moved their three kids there after their fathers suddenly disappeared on them. Newly immigrated Mexican families slept seven people on the living room floor while they looked for work at the nearby chicken plants. It was just a tough place to be.
15. To lighten things up, I painted my next apartment a pale shade of pink. It came with a bathroom small enough that you could shit, shower and shave all at once, but the place was a favorite. It ran about $300 a month. Mary lived there with me for a while, too. That always makes a house feel more like home.
To be continued…

Saturday, April 02, 2005

sunshiny days....

I'll share pictures when I get back to NYC tomorrow, but just know that New Orleans has been very good to me. (I'm sitting in the sun with a breeze blowing on my back.) I've made new memories with my old friends and realized that I have a permanent home here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Making groceries

It was a beautiful spring day in New York yesterday. Tonight it's supposed to snow three inches. But at least I'm not having to wash thick coats of pine pollen off my car these days.

In honor of next week's trip to New Orleans, I thought I'd post a grocery list of the things I plan to buy while I'm visiting the Crescent City.
Blue Plate mayo
Pralines from Decatur Street
Blue Lake dilly beans
another vat of Tony C's seasoning
Tabasco Cheez-Its
Zapps sour cream and creole onion
and Zapps dill pickle

Have I forgotten anything??

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

27 and still kicking ass

Today, I reached my late 20's. Laying in my Ikea loft bed, which still feels startlingly like a bunk bed from elementary school, I thought about what my new age means. Here are the thoughts that ran through my head:

Finally, I am officially old enough to roll my eyes at people who do kegstands and the idiots who hold their feet.

I hope I never have to eat ramen noodles again.

If I'm going to become a rock goddess and OD on some needle drug, I've got a year to get it done before it becomes tacky and passé.

Why does it happen that every time I turn on the radio, every station just sounds like sheep wrestling at 3 a.m. It's probably the iPod's fault.

Isn't 27 too old to get a zit?!!

Didn't Time Magazine say that 27 was the age when it starts getting harder for women to get pregnant?

I wonder if I have any diet coke in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Young punk to hotel magnate

I just watched a classic movie called The Warriors for the first time last night, and it was fabulous! It came out in 1979 and features a bunch of young c-list stars running around New York fighting gang wars. (The guy who played Richard Wright ((Samantha's hotel magnate exboyfriend on Sex in the City)) was playing a macho punk even back then!)

The best thing about the movie was the gang colors. The Warriors, from Coney Island, all wore brown leather vests with no shirts. The Orphans sported raggedy green t-shirts that must have been collected from the trash over the years. Keith aptly renamed The Furies to be the Franken Yankees because they all wore baseball uniforms and Marilyn Manson makeup. There was even a group that wore striped rugby shirts and bib overalls.

It is priceless. Go rent it with a group and raise your glass every time they say "Ya dig?"

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I just learned that it can rain and snow at the same time. Especially on days when you're wearing wimpy leather shoes that drench quickly. Blech.

Countdown to respite in New Orleans: 21 days.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

32 degrees, feels like 22 degrees

I've never been so ready for spring. While I was walking home from the subway last night, I didn't even unplug my iPod to hear the snow falling. It was just too cold to think of the new snow as anything but annoying. Then today I forgot to change into dressy shoes before a fancy lunch, so I was stuck in my snowboots.

Oh, sunny daffodils. Where are you now?
I need your buttercup to brighten up this town.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

lessons learned in philadelphia

lesson number 1... The competition between Pat's Cheesesteaks and Geno's Cheesesteaks is an entrenched and likely bloody, competition. These neon-covered take-out stands face cattycorner from each other, and when we visited, both had lines wrapping around the block. But these people don't take well to tourists who want to try a bite of both sandwiches. One of my friends squirted a little Geno's hot sauce onto her Pat's cheesesteak, and the guy behind the counter damn near gave himself a heart attack yelling at her in his best Sylvester Stallone angry-voice. Something about us bringing "that inferior sandwich" into his majestic, but greasy presence upset him. My friend offered to pay, but nothing much would get him to stop waving his spatula at her and screaming. So we ran away with our steaks and agreed that Pat's was definitely the better sandwich.

and lesson number 2... Lesbians make great wingmen. The girls who took me on this trip pushed me to the front of the crowd every time a straight boy appeared, and I had a great time flirting. It was like having my own cheering section at the Regional Coy Smile Championships. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

big sister advice

well, one of my baby sisters is turning 22 tomorrow, and i want to share some advice with her... (i'm sure she just broke out in a sweat.)

the novelty of being able to buy yourself a drink in any american bar will start to wear off TOMORROW. the next step toward honing your party skills is to start defining the drink you prefer. it took me awhile, but my most favorite drink in the world is the raspberry stoli vodka and tonic with two limes. it just doesn't get any more refreshing than that, and the fruity flavor is never overpowering. (this might seem trite in terms of life advice, but i wanted to offer my expertise in the only category i feel qualified. she can figure out her own direction with relationships, academia, her career, television preferences, ect;)

to prove that this is a legit bit of knowledge, here's a list of the folks who have certain drinks associated with them in my head:

keith1: brooklyn lager if abita amber's not around
logan: gin and tonic
keith2: vanilla stoli cosmo
regan: grey goose vodka and soda
brandi: vodka tonic
g-mom: bloody mary with crunchy tony c's on top
jeff: bud or some other wet beer
bill: guiness
patrick: pabst blue ribbon
katie: mojitos (white trash with seven up)
ronie: corona
peter: vodka tonic w/2 limes
stacey: red wine of any kind
lori: salty dog (vodka grapfruit juice?)
chris: makers mark on the rocks
gale: white wine spritzer
alison: hot chocolate with rum

if i were going to a bar to meet any of these folks, i would try to have these drinks ready for them.

so happy birthday, pumpkin! have fun figuring out which ones you like and which ones you can't stand. (like the tequila popper. ick!)

love, eb

Monday, February 14, 2005

eat some chocolate!

Happy Valentine's Day, folks! I'm the world's biggest sap when I'm twitterpated, so I've been giggling every time I spot some tough looking guy toting an armful of roses on the subway. And it's happened a lot today. I know people say this is a Hallmark holiday, but I say screw that! There are plenty of days that go by without any romance, so kick V day in the pants and go all out! Write a poem, pick some flowers, go see the Gates, eat some chocolate, cook dinner, make a card!

For the other singletons out there--and you're in good company--treat yourself to some good stuff too. I'm going to open the good bottle of wine, settle in for a girly movie and be glad I don't have to pick up anyone's dirty socks on Feb. 15.

Love, eb

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I didn't realize how much it would suck to miss New Orleans' Mardi Gras, but IT'S REALLY BAD! I'm homesick like never before for a place I only lived for two years. It's rainy down there, and I'm sure the same Bourbon Street gunk is clogging the tread on everyone's shoes down there, but I MISS MARDI GRAS!! I actually teared up a few times at work today -- once when the elevator-TV started showing pictures of King Zulu and some clown-haired revelers.

I'm wearing my favorite Muses throw - a red high-heeled bracelet - to the shows of fashion week, but it's not helping too much. There's no substitute for the parades, St. Augustine's marching band, beer in plastic cups, long strands of sparkly beads, crawfish and listening to all of your friends talk at once.

Maybe some of the models at the Nanette Lepore show will throw some beads into the crowd and get the party started tonight.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

my tiny quandry

what the heck do i wear to fashion week? i don't own clothes from the fashion houses i'll be watching, so should i just wear all black or what?

(i love that this silly thing is my biggest worry right now. knock on wood, things are really going great these days!)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

chocolate heaven

attention new york friends: get thee to the cupcake cafe at 39th and 9th Ave. for the best damn cupcake on earth. (i'm talking take-a-bite-and-blush here.) i recommend the chocolate icing on yellow cake, but suit yourself.

i'm now putting cupcakes on the best food in new york list. (pickles, pastrami sandwiches and pizza are the other outstanding foods on that list.)

Friday, January 28, 2005

just suppose a juxtapose

yesterday i learned that this city is big enough to make room for people who knit during their commute on the train, those who pierce their faces like pincushions and scowl at everyone, and the ones who knit on the train while they scowl through their piercings. awesome.

Monday, January 24, 2005

i asked for snow

well, i asked for it. i bitched about how new yorkers kept promising snow but it never would come... obviously, it came. since saturday at noon, i've learned that snow in a blizzard comes down much the same way as rain in a hurricane. that is, sideways.

i learned that you cannot possibly hide your entire face from the blowing snow, and pink cheeks are overrated. i also learned to love my old gortex boots. ugly and functional, they're my new favorite shoes.

i hid from most of the blizzard at megann and brandi's house. let's hear it for pringles, dominoes and dvds!!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

the dukes of hazzard

I was on the phone with a friend in New Orleans the other night, and we were debating the ultimate intellect of Daisy Duke. He said she was sexy but she offered sage advice and wisdom to Bo and Luke Duke when they got into trouble. I said she was a bimbo with her butt cheeks hanging out of her shorts.

This was not a common conversation for either of us, but I can speak intelligibly on the subject as needed. Any child of the South can, whether or not they liked watching that orange Charger get shredded every week.

The very next day, someone at work presented me with the second season DVD set of The Dukes of Hazzard as a joke. Now Bo, Luke and Daisy sit on my desk and watch me work at my fancy New York City job. How cool is that??

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


you have to adapt to certain situations in this city. my friend kevin lives in harlem, and my abode remains in brooklyn. so when my eyebrows grew bushy right before a fancy formal, we met in the middle on a secluded bench outside an eileen fisher store in the time warner building. as thirtysomethings bought scarves at banana republic across the hall, we sat there and had our own little tweezing session. it was lovely.

and in case you're morbidly curious, ahem keith b., my new and improved eyebrows can be seen in my picture folder here on myspace.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


i am so lucky to have the family i got. i live in brooklyn in a bedroom so tiny i have to hang my shoes up under my loft bed because there's no space on the floor for them. and they all live in country neighborhoods in Arkansas where you actually have to mow the lawn or call it hay. but i was sitting here at the computer this morning, and i realized how close they really are, even from half a country away. i talk to my sister, grandmother and dad online almost every day, and my mom sends letters and calls on the phone weekly. i couldn't have asked for a better support system.

now i'm going out to buy a formal dress and the makings of the world's best bloody mary (thanks again to new orleans-keith's ex for the recipe.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Two notes on NYC

I learned two things living here yesterday.

1. If you are of the female persuasion, such as we cute ones are, don't extend a handshake to men wearing Orthodox Jewish garb. It saves everyone a few awkward moments, and he doesn't have to explain that he doesn't shake hands with women becuase it's against his religion. That was a new one on me.

2. I also learned that New York keeps its kinky sexlife under wraps rather than putting it up on the balcony for everyone to see like New Orleans does. It makes it all that more surprising when the freakiness bubbles into professional conversation out of nowhere.

notes after midnight.

oh how i love to download music when i come home from a night out, slightly toasty from red wine (remember the new year's resolution to drink only red wine so as to shrink the rear-end!!)

i usually revert to my roots and download country tunes that i can't get up here. doug stone, better off in a pine box.

maybe a little billie holiday: gee baby, ain't i good to you?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Remember Alexandria, anyone?

I just read online that two public libraries in Mississippi have banned Jon Stewart's book America: The Book. They objected to the picture of naked Supreme Court Justices.

Leave it to Mississippi to make the backwoods stereotypes come true. It's a photoshopped, satirical picture, folks!! Come ON!!

What's next? Should we pull all of the art books off the shelves because they show, gasp, a dick on a statue?! What about those health books? They show up close and personal pictures of venereal disease... "Golly, Maggie, we better burn them nasty books so our sensitive readers don't get offended."

Sunday, January 09, 2005

bag lady carts

i grew up rural. by that i mean, the roads in my trailer park were gravel for years before they sent a blacktop crew to make us all civilized.

now i live in new york city. in a few minutes i'm going to load all my dirty laundry (which means 20 pairs of black pants) into my bag-lady shopping cart and head down the block to the laundromat.


Friday, January 07, 2005

frozen foodies

moving from new orleans to new york didn't make me too nervous. i had already left my home state of arkansas, where i knew all the backroads and which flowers bloom by the roadside in the summertime, so going from one city to the next didn't seem too crazy.

there were really only two things about the move to new york that frightened me. number one was the winter. i saw a few ice storms in arkansas, including one that sent a tree through my rooftop at home and scared my little sister to death. but it only snowed two or three times a year there. when it did come down, or even look like it might, school and work closed down immediately so everyone could rush to krogers to buy coke, water and enough chocolate chip cookies to last three years. then we all holed up until the winter weather warning passed, usually the next day. so when i moved from new orleans to new york last spring, i expected to freeze solid in my ikea loft bed by november. that hasn't been the case so far, although i am sleeping with two comforters and heavy socks.

my second concern about leaving the crescent city for the big apple was more serious. i worried that i would never find food as good as it can be in new orleans. would new yorkers really be able to sit down at a mess of crawfish, potatoes and abita beer and understand how close to heaven they really are? would they appreciate red beans and rice that have cooked ALL DAY LONG, preferrably on holly miller's stove? do they fry their chicken/fish/steak masquerading as chicken/shrimp/oysters and mars bars? the answer is no. i tried red beans and rice once up here, at jacques-imos in grand central station, nonetheless, and it was a sad day. they were dry, and sweet, and served with some funky spices that made me think of yellow rice. and almost every shrimp i've seen has been steamed WITH NO SHRIMP BOIL at all! just naked. they're big, but they have no flavor. you can't excuse the high cholesterol without the flavor, so i try to avoid them.

although new york doesn't serve the food i love from new orleans, it does have a few things working for it in the food department. in a word, pizza. there's a garage-door down the street from me that opens late and stays open late and serves the best square pizza on earth. it's sicilian pizza, which means it has crack in the sauce. i feel happy the second i take a bite, and i always think i can eat two pieces, something that cannot be done by humans less than 7' tall. even bad pizza up here is better than most i had down South.

i also discovered udon, a hot yummy noodle soup that usually comes in a vat with chicken, mushrooms, onions and other goodies. i love it, even though i never can finish the vat.

new york also has the market cornered on finger foods. i've been to 100 parties/pr events since i moved here, and you cannot find better muchies anywhere. i can't recognize a lot of it (except the tiny cheeseburgers) but the spreads run the gamut from sweet and chocolatey to salty and crunchy. three cheers for this city's party food.

and there's a lot more food to try. i'm just getting familiar with korean food, and there are more indian and middle eastern dishes than i ever knew. i am enjoying trying all these new things, but i'm also keeping an eye out for the food i loved at home. it may have to wait until i can go back and visit.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

no snow in brooklyn

yesterday our office was buzzing with warnings of snow and sleet and ice and general wintery blusters. six inches, they said! just wait and see, you'll need snow boots tomorrow, they said! so, being from the South, where the only winter precipitation that falls turns to black ice and ruins the roads, i got all excited thinking i would get to experience my first real snowy day.

well, they got some inches in westchester, where most of my coworkers live, but we got no snow at all in brooklyn. not even a fairy dusting, dammit!! i actually woke up early this morning, just to catch the sight of my neighborhood covered in white, but it was just wet.

this is my first real winter, and so far, it's not living up to my expectations. (cue the arctic blast from canada to punish my complaining.)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

sweating to the oldies

it's a new year, so my dreams of having a slightly smaller, cuter rear-end swamped my brain right around 3 p.m. on New Year's Day. pausing between bites of french fries, i suddenly realized: i've got to go to the gym and lose some weight and get buff and refuse all the cigarettes keith offers me and drink only red wine in small portions to keep my heart healthy, except when i'm drinking water with my daily vitamins and sickness-preventing echinacea.


so i drug myself to the gym on monday, the same day everyone else decided to go, and after squeezing myself into my seemingly shrunken workout clothes, i climbed onto the treadmill. i had just broken a good sweat and was feeling like maybe i deserved a treat for being so dedicated to taking care of my body when the gym's music network broke out into some bob dylan. who the hell can exercise to "tangled up in blue"? i started singing along, and pretty soon i wasn't running on the treadmill anymore. i was sorta strolling along to the song. maybe the fierce mental consideration i gave to the lyrics made up for the loss of momentum, but i doubt it. my ass whittled no calories on monday, thanks to dylan's slow song and my wimpy will. i'll try to get some work done at the gym again tonight... hopefully dylan was just a cameo.