Monday, August 25, 2008

So, I'm reading The Dud Avocado and it's a lot of fun but I have profoundly mixed feelings about its author Elaine Dundy for the following reason:

I used to have this old friend (she was old, I mean, I didn't know her for all that long) named Lise and when GK4 and I lived in London (she was an old friend of his family's in both senses) we spent a lot of time at her apartment. Later she and I got really close and I stayed with her a few times. She was utterly marvelous; she had the deepest whiskey tenor you've ever heard and she smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish and you could ask her anything from where to find the best salt beef to where to rent a top hat to the best car service plus how to get discounts therefrom - and she knew!And she was endlessly generous and loved to help people in a very unfussy way. She was also one of those people who's incidentally met everyone in the world. She never brought it up but if, say Peter Ustinov or Samuel Beckett or Simone de Beauvoir or the Labor Whip came up, it turned out she'd in fact known/translated for/worked with/dated all of them. When she died it was a great loss to the world.

Anyway, apparently once in the 60's she and her husband were throwing a party (they were known for their marvelous parties) and Kenneth Tynan and Elaine Dundy (to whom he was married at the time) were there, and Lise spied Elaine Dundy grinding out cigarettes into the rug. Lise asked her if she wouldn't mind not doing that, to which Elaine Dundy replied,
"Fuck off, bitch."
Said Lise, "This is my house, and if there's to be any fucking off, it shall be by you," and kicked them out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Had the following exchange with Maeve:

"So, I made something very excellent/disgusting last night. I made a half batch and here were my quantities:

Unroll one tube Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and separate into rectangles (4.)

Spread with a mixture of 3 T butter, 1/3 c. l.b. sugar, 1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t nutmeg.

Roll, short end first. Chill at least 1/2 hour. Slice each log into 6 rolls. Place tightly (use foil to fill gap) and bake at 375 for 15-20.
(Note: in future I'd probably use half white sugar for grainier texture.)

These are very tiny."


"Interesting. I heard an excellent/disgusting tip on how to make boxed brownies palatable:

sub black coffee for water (no-brainer)
sub mayonnaise for vegetable oil (shocking!)

Am intrigued, will probably try in distant future and report back."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Here is something strange

The other night I got a call from (inebriated) GK4 Former Fiance (I was trying to go to bed at the time) in which he drunkenly trashed various friends of mine, broke into Latin, talked a good bit about "bones turning to dust", made various inappropriate sexual comments and rambled philosophically for some minutes before I hung up on him. He requested that I blog about the call, by the way, but I was too annoyed. Until now.

The next day I received a chipper text about his first day of classes. I called him back in a fury.

"Is that all you have to say?" I demanded. "No apology for that call?"

It soon transpired that he had absolutely no recollection of calling me; I made him check his calling history to verify it. It seems he'd had some Chartreuse, which went to his head.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Slim texted, "The Boy Bait has turned predatory and slightly alcoholic." We have thrown it out.

He also texted that he'd cut his hair "and look like a hillbilly's gerbil." Having seen him, I'd say more kind of creepy and militaristic/Travis Bickle.

Saw Beethhoven's 2nd last night. Also, Mozart concerto for "basset" clarinet, which they happened to have handy - and I'm a sucker for period instruments. The soloist, Kari Kriikku, was excellent, but looked uncannily like a Moomin. It's true, I have been dipping into Moominsummer Madness, which perhaps gives me a warped idea of Finland generally. (Although I thought he looked Snufkin-like before I knew his nationality.) I love the luxury of these free concert tickets (my mother works there and there are always tickets going begging.) It removes the ceremony from the experience and allows one to really just enjoy the music, go when one wants etc.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

fyi: finally have a ring. It's lapis ("Some lump, ah God, of lapis lazuli, Big as a Jew's head cut off at the nape, Blue as a vein o'er the Madonna's breast!" as Browning would have it)and in the image of an ancient Egyptian piece in the Met's collection . I have been silently singing, "she has an Egyptian ring/It sparkles before she speaks" all night.

Here's Yeats for ya, "Lapis Lazuli":

Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I finished Never Let Me Go, as it was too good to put down, and while it did give me some nightmares (dying elementary school classmates and some secret little sister who existed in a parallel 1940's universe), I think the fainting cannot be laid at its door! In any case, I'll get a physical. Have started The Dud Avocado - await reports.

My chum Buckingham has had a bit of trouble lately with the chap at her local 24-hour-market which, due to the hours she works, she needs to patronize pretty regularly. He's nice, but has become rather overly familiar and generally makes the process of buying canned beans a fraught and stressful one (this is the sort of thing women, especially friendly ones, understand immediately and men, not at all.) I wrote my dapper friend Peter, who lives in the same neighborhood, who says he's game to go in with jer some night - which is sadly but truly usually the easiest and kindest way to deal with this kind of situation. Await reports.

I regret any slander of the Blueberry Boy Bait. Almost a week later, it is still moist and delicious.

Yesterday got the promised haircut at a spot in Williamsburg. "Ginger" (who amongst the hairdressers had no surname on her card, the boldness of which I kind of liked) was terrific - black bob, Joan Crawford lips and a 4" heel - and we chattered a mile a minute. She was very kind about the ill-judged at-home haircut and said, "I'm going to make it look like you cut it yourself - only good." The up-shot is, it looks pretty much the same, which is what I look for in a haircut.

While over there, I stopped by this vintage menwear store and while I was waiting for someone to ring me up (never a high priority in Williamsburg), overheard the salesgirl say, "I really wasn't into the way the bouncer acted. I mean, treating someone that way, it's just so 20th Century." Am obviously now saying this about everything.

Had plans to dine with David/Moishe (always playing with his psuedo) and due to a communication error ended up at Fette Sau (hipster bbq) while he was at DuMont Burger. Downed a quick bourbon then compromised on Bonita where we had some very good tacos (fish, pork resoectively) and deemed things "20th Century" for a while, also the fact that this hipster whom he approached on the bus the other day was obviously lying when he claimed a shirt was "vintage" and it obviously wasn't. (NB this sort of behavior is highly 20th C.) Slim spent the evening with the Old Timey musicians nd did a little light tree-climbing. "We're having a party in Central park tomorrow night, you should come,' Slim told me when he came home much later. Further questioning revealed it to be the worst party ever (aka "drinking out of a paper bag") so I said I'd think about it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I have read about half of Never Let Me Go and just don't know that I can finish it. It's heartbreaking, but more to the point, all the "donations" business makes me a bit light-headed. Well, more than a bit: I fainted on the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway platform todayon my way home from the Greenmarket (in fairness I think there's something wrong physically) and am still woozy now. Then too, was duped: several people who know my strong feelings about fake governments and vaguely post-apolocalyptic stuff generally deliberately concealed this aspect of the novel from me, which is fair enough as I'm completely unreasonable on this point, but still galling.

Slim passed his exam with flying colors - 95% - but then hurt my feelings by opting to celebrate with the dullest sorts of debauchery instead of a dinner or something. When I told him why I was miffed, he tried to make it up to me by arranging a date for tomorrow, but I told him coolly that he'd really need to give me more notice as I'm booked through Sunday, which is really only partially true as my plans for Thursday are just going to a French movie by myself at the Film Forum.

("All-around gymnasts are like the Chinese panda: tougher and tougher to find.")

I am getting a haircut tomorrow.
"Do you want something edgy or more classic?" asked the guy at the desk (who was rocking a bob, skinny tie and suspenders.)
"I want," I said, "someone who won't scold me for having cut my own hair." Let's hope "Ginger" is that person!

I picked up a number of 60s comfort reads at the SalvA on Bedford: Hedgerow and From Secret Places, both English country-house romantic suspense. Holding them for a rainy day.

There are two very cute hipster carpenters working on the (we hear) nascent whiskey bar next door to the shop. Buckingham and the younger one are engaged in a silent flirtation. I gave Maeve explicit instructions to make Buck speak to him on some pretext and, if she won't, to go and instruct him to ask her out. Or at least talk her up. I went over to do it myself yesterday but they'd already knocked off for the day. I have no qualms about humiliating myself on my friends' account. Time allowing, I'm going to swing by Ready-Set tomorrow and, if I see a promising-looking young carpenter, put in a good work for Buckingham. (She fancies the idea of a sensitive woodworker. Well, don't we all. Slim of course is in fact a carpenter at the Met, so there you are.)

Slim came by to check on me post-faint. Now he's out with some friends from North Carolina, all of whom play Old Timey banjo and stuff. I admire this tremendously but never know what to talk about with this genre of friend as I always feel rather talky and neurasthenic, as though I ought to be able to just whip out a harp and yowl something soulful and alternately be kind of wise and silent - or at the very least throw back a lot of liquor and have a husky laugh. Well, they say the Jewish gene makes for lightweights, so that's half an excuse.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Buckingham just friended Pigeon O'Brien from my Facebook account.
Just went to the bookstore, could not wait. I tried to find the recc'd The Likeness but need the price and portability of a paperback - I don't have much confidence in my libris branch - so it may be a while. I ended up cracking and buying Never Let Me Go which is probably just as well as I have a bad tendency to destroy books I borrow - bbq sauce, etc., she said vaguely - and then feel compelled to buy replacements anyway. I also succombed to a new edition of Moominsummer Madness
, the very best Moomin book, plus Patrick Leigh Fermor's Time of Gifts, in which he finds the value of silence in monasteries all over Europe, in, presumably, characteristically lovely prose. Methinks I'll need to rec this to GK4, former fiance, given his many years studying monasticism and his occasional flirtations with vacations at La Grande Chartreuse. I also want to suggest he download this new Grizzly Bear song from myspace - "While You Wait For the Others" (and which by happy chance is also on the playlist at work.) We're supposed to have cut off contact, but given that he sent me a very plaintive plea for recipes he can make in advance (he invoked straitened financial circumstances) the other day, I think this will be okay. I gave him recipes for chili, a couscous dish, and the enchiladas (of which Slim, the pig, apparently ate five.)


Slim has his big financial exam tomorrow afternoon so I'm giving him a wide berth for studying. I also laid in Tollhouse cookies and some of those vegetable enchiladas he likes. I have had good luck with cookies lately; since I started melting the butter (I've been doubling the salt and adding very large hunks of walnut for years) the texture's been excellent - or at any rate, just the way I like them. I sometimes think Cook's promises of objective perfection are dicey when your definition of the platonic ideal differs from theirs, as in the case of banana bread. In case you can't tell, I'm very hungry. I've been looking at appealing/appalling casseroles on taste of home all morning and my yogurt is looking increasingly sad and lacking in Velveeta, ground beef and white sauce.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Have decided to give some Boy Bait to Bonecrusher.

Boy Bait

The Blueberry Boy Bait is somewhat less enticing than I had hoped. Plus, huge: an entire 13x9" worth. I guess it's good for what it is, but I'd anticipated a denser, more coffee-cake-like texture and this is decidedly fluffy.(I used Cook's Country, which is a division of Cook's Illustrated so obviously the recipe is perfect.) Slim was up all night and was only baited into consuming a small square. (He was trading gold, obvs.)

Still between books - finished A Special Kind of Love - and the panic is setting in. Never Let Me Go has been intimated but I don't know that I can wait for Amazon/my landlord to get it to me - I have mentioned his practice of dumping five Time Outs on my doorstep at a time, right? Usually on a Sunday.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On the Town With the Petite Sophisticate

Double-feature last night: first Mostly Mozart (WAM, Faure) and then downtown for Francis and the Lights show at Mercury Lounge. In between we got some steak fries at Katz's.

(Wow, uneven bars look really hard. I have a Blueberry Boy Bait in the oven.)

Soemtimes the Mercury Lounge whips me into a rage but last night I was reasonably calm; I mean, I was kind of irritated by the amount of self-consciously sexy dancing going on by a nearby group of girls; and, you know, I'm pretty sick of just anyone thinking she can throw aggressive glasses on which have nothing to do with her face; and this one guy crashed into me and kind of hurt my foot - but, overall, as good a show as one expects from Mr. Starlight - certainly one of the hardest-working men on the indie rock scene. Slim's not in his good graces anymore because he addressed him by his real name AND on another occasion referred to his style as "funk." The one time I had dealings with him I was so intimidated by his romantic pallor and palpable air of melancholy that I couldn't do more than ask him, 'is that carpaccio?" (It was.)

(Boy Bait looks good.)

Subway smells better. Maeve brought me (along with tub of maple butter from Polly's Pancake Parlor) a really bizarre career romance called A Special Kind of Love, which I suppose refers to social worker Helen's love for her work, as she seems to despise and maltreat all the men I've run across so far, to say nothing of her secretary and her patients. Await further reports.

It's A Miracle!

Enlarge and read.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Thinking Cap

Slim has a habit of going into very deep thinking trances in which he has deep thoughts and finds talking very distracting. I'm prepared to respect this, but the problem is these are difficult to distinguish from his just zoning out, which he also does a lot. So I have proposed that, when he is in think mode, he don a literal thinking cap, which he removes when he is in talking mode. So far, it's worked; he's been putting on one of my berets, in lieu of anything else, and harmony reigns.

Charlie en vogue

Took my brother out for the promised lobster roll last night. He was sheepish because he was featured in a Times Styles section spread on "The Brooklyn Prairie" in which he was, presumably, one of the "homesteaders" fleeing Manhattan. Now, the very same photographer snapped me in THE VERY SAME SHIRT a few months ago and didn't use me! Hmph.

As to the other pic, which is only online - well, while I was with him a friend texted him, "NAMBLA called."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Food etc.

Between books: awful feeling.

I'm making a chicken chili. Rash? Perhaps. But my attempt to dose Slim with grass-fed beef resulted in three days of agony and definite confirmation that this metabolic difficulty was not a figment of his imagination! Besides, Pam Anderson is pretty reliable. I've also started a banana pudding; I'll make a jalapeno cornbread closer to dinnertime tomorrow. I've asked a sort of motley crew and chicken and chili both feel sort of safe, although not it's true necessarily in combo.

Slim is in very queer stirrups and has been grouchy as all git-out lately, which is why we're going to Pearl Oyster tonight. With my brother, but still. And Charlie as we know is looking seedy and needs fattening up. I'm planning to have: shrimp cocktail and caesar salad, which sounds dull but they do both spectacularly well.

Might do a margarita tomorrow but 3 count em 3 guests are all on the wagon, so perhaps not. I know, it's strange.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just back, by the way, from a reading - Winnie Cooper's second book, Kiss My Math. I got into a rather undignified fight with a little boy and there was an old man with a greasy iron-gray ponytail who chuckled loudly throughout at nothing in particular, but otherwise uneventful.

In other news, the G smells absolutely foul, and has for the past few days; going to the train is like descending into the bowels of Newgate Prison circa 1790. The lady at the desk (the one with the gourmet foods calendar) told me it's "an E.P. problem" and "they've reported it." I commiserated with her on having to work in such stench; she said that, Medieval-style, she has a bowl of potpourri that keeps her booth fragrant.
..and folks said such smart things in 'comments' here that I'd love to quote them on the tumblr.


We have done it! The Amazing Girl Tumblr is born! So far it's really just placeholding stuff, but ultimately I want all sorts of the best/worst clips from Harold and Maude, Garden State etc., plus galleries, quotes, music ("she belongs to me"), thumbnail bios of AGs in history. So far it's just me and Jess and Willa, but that's okay, too.

more strangeness

The other night we found ourselves at the odious Daddy's Bar in Williamsburg. Well, I "found myself" there because the awesome, heavyset guy from the video store was DJing and I wanted to stare at him from across the room.

Slim's friend Greg - the one who's almost certainly seen a picture of me naked, as stated previously - was in a sentimental mood.

"You two are going to be so cute when you're married!" he shouted, throwing his arms around our shoulders. "And then some day I'll have to knock you both out with one blow!"

We couldn't deny the justice of this.

AM Report

I just gave Slim (sleeping) a kiss on the cheek. He sat bolt upright and exclaimed in disgust, "They're all the same!"

"What?" I said blankly.

"Silicon Valley and the Bear Market!" he shouted, and fell back asleep.

(BTW I should be proofing 'The Good The Bad And The Ugly' right now.)

I just did something rash. First of all, I went to the Polish deli, when it's sort of tacitly understood that as a non-Pole my loyalty belongs to the Italian Deli, even though it's super-depressing. I went to the Polish deli and got coffee, organic milk and a hunk of a strange berry cake. And now I am Afraid. Also passed my landlord, in an apron. I think he's having an affair with the upstairs neighbor; I saw him pinch her rear in the kitchen of the restaurant they just opened together when I wandered in before opening hours to tell him about a broken freezer.

Last night, Slim said, "Curt was really touched that you said he was your favorite of all my friends,"

"I never said that," I said blankly.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Brother's Keeper

Maeve (who lives with my brother AND works with me) is in New Hampshire for the week, so Charlie's on his own. She left him a meatloaf and a macaroni and cheese casserole, but my parents have still asked me to take him out and see that he gets a good meal as he's "looking seedy."

The Hobos of Greenpoint

Well, maybe 'hobo is the wrong word, as that sort of implies some itinerancy and I'm assuming this particular klatch of sots all lives in the near vicinity. There are four main guys, frequently found hanging around the G Station of a morning, drinking Vodka and speaking in Polish. All are very weathered, like old salts really, although I have no idea why. Although they're uniformly surly, they pretty much keep to themselves. There is one with a beard, who is particularly gnarled and nut-brown with a thatch of iron-gray hair. Another wears a very fine argyle sweater. A third, well, has no legs. The fourth one is actually more of a loner, and sort of the worst drunk of the lot, even though they're all drunk at all hours and frequently slumped in doorways on Nassau Avenue. The fourth, who has a moustache, frequently weaves down the street like a cartoon souse,except it's not remotely funny, sometimes falling down or setting off car alarms when he lurches into them. Once over the winter when it was very cold and getting colder I tried to buy him a cup of coffee and get him indoors, but he became furious and sort of tried to punch me. Another time he came into a deli where I was buying a cranberry juice and started screaming at people in Polish, especially me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The chicken I cooked tonight tasted very peculiar, very peculiar indeed. Darn that Met Food, anyway.

Slim and I just moved the car. Now dishes. Because we're both natural slatterns, we've developed the agreeable habit of reading aloud while the other washes. For a while we were reading from this oral history biog of Alexander Calder Matt picked up somewhere but it was exceedingly tedious and Calder had the habit of mentioning obsessively any "negroes" he encountered. Next we moved on to The Power Broker (talking of racists) which got us through many sinkfuls, let me tell you!

In music news: The The (Soul Mining), Brownbird Rudy Relic, Sandy Denny.

Generation Kill

The other day our Polish neighbor, Bonecrusher,who has PTSD, came by to ask if Slim was home. While they'd hung out in the past, he'd never come by to ask for company before, and was clearly embarrassed. We were about to eat, but Slim went over.

When he'd been gone an hour I brought him a plate of dinner; they were watching Nacho Libre.

An hour later, Slim came by to use the bathroom. "It's getting pretty intense over there," he said. "We're watching Generation Kill.

In another hour (it was by now about 10) he came in looking haggard. "I need a drink," he said. "Bonecrusher wants to show me photos of the people he killed in Iraq,so he won't forget what a terrible person he is."

I cleaned the bathroom and watched 20/20.

"Done?" I asked hopefully when he showed at 11. "Now we're watching The Break-Up," he said grimly. "Apparently Vince Vaughn's character is Polish."

Ultimately, during a round of some war video game, Bonecrusher got so disgusted by Slim's inept killing that he kicked him out and we went to bed.
I asked Slim what his plans for the day were. "I thought I'd do a few push-ups," he said.

As re: Slim, I sorta threw him under the bus for a cheap laugh which is Bad. He didn't mind, of course.

(When I was looking for that link I just happened to see a comment on something I did today. Golly, why should what I say get anyone's ire up? Oh well, such is life on the net, I guess. I have gotten awfully philosophical and thick-skinned, really! A few weeks ago I'd have to go into the bathroom and weep.)

The Montauk Creature

Have you seen The Montauk Creature? It's kind of turtle-like, but covered in fine hairs. Maeve thinks it looks like a Lindwurm, these wingless creatures whom Marco Polo claimed to have seen all over Asia and who figure prominently in Scandinavian folklore. Anyway, Maeve is going to go as The Creature for Halloween, abandoning her previous idea: the Minotaur. She's going to wear a nude bodysuit, cover it with hairs, flies and a judicious dusting of sand; wear a bald cap and a beak. Slim and I are seriously considering Strawberry Shortcake and the Peculiar Purple Pieman. Problem: all available Shortcake duds are kinda slutty, and I want to be as frumpy as possible. Where any of us will wear any of this is an open question.

Long Time, No See

So, since I went temporarily semi-pro as a blogger I've sorely neglected TPS. And now I actually know how to do hotoshop and stuff so it's kind of a waste.

In news: Slim has sorta slid into living with me; a new crop of stoners have taken up residence in his old room, referred to as "the lowland hicks." Effectively, this only means a couple more suits in the closet. Theoretically we want to find a new spot in a month or two but it needs to be cheap enough to suit him and squalid enough to please me - strangely enough more mutually exclusive than one might think. Of paramount importance is, of course, an old-fashioned bathroom with no modern improvements. We're looking all kinds of outlandish places in Staten Island and Sheepshead Bay etc. but I still secretly believe an old eccentric will bequeath us something amazing and dirt-cheap on grounds of general awesomeness.

In clothes news, I am attending Fashion Week in a month's time, which, while ridiculous, is something that Must Be Addressed. I was thinking of hitting up that chick Slim was sleeping with last summer when I thought we were exclusive and he didn't, as she's the only designer I know and apparently won all sorts of prizes at her design school in London, but even I knew this was a Bridge Too Far and ultimately we arrived at the agreeable solution of my wearing the store's new line, which premieres this fall and shows all signs of being vintage-inspired. Am also going to sport a glasses chain.
As re: the wedding, nada. We have various vague plans for engagement parties involving the Nam Wah Tea Room (this incredibly depressing 1920s dim sum parlor on Doyers Street) and this ragtime piano player named Terry Waldo who sometimes plays in Bryant Park while crazy folks leap around wildly. Slim also saw some jazz combo of all kids somewhere in the subway who, if we can ever track them down, we want to have play during cocktail hour. Cocktail hour will involve Miller Hi-Life, the Champagne of Beers.

I have purchased the following:
-High-waisted navy wool skirt, verging on the schoolgirlish but maintaining dignity. This I shall wear with cream turtleneck.
-Cream lambswool cardi with leg o' mutton sleeves.