Thursday, February 16, 2006

Screw It, I'm Going to New York (Blizzard Edition)

So last Tuesday I received an invitation to a house party in Brooklyn. I had no plans to be in Brooklyn this weekend, but then I realized, why shouldn't I? So I booked a Greyhound bus and got a cheap hotel and lo and behold, I was off to NYC for the weekend.

I did, however, forget to check trusty ol' As it turns out, New York was in for a bit of snow this weekend. Not just a bit of snow, but the city's the biggest snowfall ever on record.

It was fine my first day. I paid a visit to the New York Historical Society's exhibit on slavery in New York, and then went to the Met for a leisurely evening visit before heading to Brooklyn. But by the time I left the party, the snow was really coming down and the wind whipped it into great big white swirls that felt none too good on bare skin. Luckily, I was wearing Parkazilla and big ol' snow boots. This was not a trip about looking hot.

The next morning there was 27 inches of snow on the ground, and people were positively giddy. I had seen a few inches fall on the city, but nothing like this. Cars were buried, streets were unplowed, and everything was quiet. As I walked down Central Park West, a small SUV came barrelling down the street and spun out wildly in front of me. Before I could properly react, a young college-age guy leaned out the window and said "WHHOOOOOO!!! Dude, you gotta do it!!" I gave him a thumbs up in approval.

People were pulling their kids in sleds through the streets in Brooklyn, artsy looking kids were taking pictures of lamposts in Central Park, people were building snowmen in Rockefeller Center, and everyone was generally behaving as if they had woken up on another planet. But there were still a good number of people out. One lady out with her beau was wearing heels and Capri pants. You gotta look good, I suppose.

I was very glad for a lovely snowy day, but transportation was not the most enchanting part. Greyhound basically laughed when I called about scheduling. So I took a train, along with passengers from the three previous trains before mine that had all been cancelled. Signal problems, empty cafe cars, and eavesdropping on semi-drunken bisexual college students occupied my time during the duration of the eight-hour ride home. It is not supposed to take eight hours, nor is it supposed to take 45 minutes to get a taxi from Union Station, but such is the price to pay for spontanaeity.


Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Pennsylvania Solidarity

It scarcely needs mentioning that I anticipated last year's Super Bowl far more than this year's. However, I bear no ill will towards the AFC Champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a rule, I almost never support the NFC team in the Super Bowl, unless their name starts with an E and ends with an A-G-L-E-S. Superpal Beth has been supportive of me in the past Philly-less weeks, and has invited me to her own Pittsburgh-affiliated haunt-- the Pour House on Capitol Hill -- to watch some football. So naturally, I watched the Super Bowl with Beth to feed off the vicarious joy of watching somebody else's team win.

Because seating in the Steelers bar was so very precious, I felt it imperative not to advertise the fact that I was an outsider. A sympathetic outsider, but nonetheless, I was taking up prime barstool space. So I did my best to blend in. I wore black and gold eye makeup and nail polish, and did my best to expunge any Seahawks-oriented blue and green from my person. At Beth's behest, I arrived at the Pour House at noon. So I held my perch at the bar for ten. bloody. hours. They played a Steelers fight song album ad nauseum. Aye, there is enough material for an album. Much of it has a polka theme. I now know every word, and probably will for all my days. One day there will be a very tiny, shriveled old woman tucked into the corner of some assisted living center emphatically yelling "Polamalu! Doo-Dooooo-da-doo-doo!"

Anyway, I wouldn't care to make this a yearly activity, but it was nice to feed off the crowd's energy. Beth shed a tear or two. Very nice.

Next year, I hope to host Beth at the Rhino in Georgetown, where Eagles fans gather. There she can compare the Pour House's relative civility to the drunken staff and patrons throwing empty pitchers at each other, abusing opposing supporters, and singing our ONE drunken fight song.

I later got an update from on-the-spot reporter/student teacher/brother Bobby, who told me that he saw many a couch set alight in the streets of Pittsburgh after the victory. I myself have experienced dizzying euphoria on occassion. I have been moved to sing, dance, laugh, cry, holler, yelp, spout nonsense syllables, and moo like a cow -- but never have I been compelled to express my delight by setting anything ablaze, let alone something so precious as a couch. Do people stockpile rank old couches just in case? Just wondering. 'Cuz I really like mine, and utilize it quite a bit. I'd be lost without it, really, and can't pictures torching it in a fit of joy. It's also quite heavy, and rather difficult to get into the elevator. The logistics alone would be enough to kill my buzz. I'm all for new experiences, but I'm fairly comfortable with maintaining an arson-free existence.


Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Screw It, I'm Going to England

So when you're feeling a little blue and a little lonely and a little out of sorts -- and British Airways is having a killer sale -- there's really only one option left to you.

Leave the bloody country.

After careful consideration of about 10 minutes, I went and booked me a trip to the UK this March to visit dear old Christine in York and spend some time in the old stomping grounds of London.

It doesn't hurt that the sale included a free night at a posh hotel in Kensington either. It's rather too good a deal. I should really check and see if there are any unsavory conventions in town that week or something.

Though considering that a few weeks ago a hotel in my neighborhood played host to the Mid-Atlantic Leather Appreciation Society, I think I can deal with any debauched conventioneers.
Yes it was as bad as you think. Though it did make me oddly nostalgic for Greenwich Village...