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Brooklyn

June 23, 2008 1 comment

I spent this past weekend in New York–primarily Brooklyn–as a visit to Susan was way overdue. After much scheduling and postponing, we settled for this weekend because it coincided with her birthday. Lilly (whose birthday was last Tuesday) and I thus made our way to New York from DC and Philly, respectively, on Friday.

PHILLY –> NEW YORK
Because I’m severely allergic to the Chinatown bus (no, not really; I just hate it), I looked into booking my roundtrip tickets with BoltBus ($13 each way). I later learned about Megabus from my friend Ashley who was heading to New York on Thursday for a taping of the Daily Show–$6 each way! Unfortunately, the available return times were less than desirable, so I only booked a one-way, from Philly to New York. $6 ticket + $0.50 registration fee = fucking good deal.

The bus was set to leave at 5:15pm, and I wasn’t planning on going to work, so I had all day to pack and make sure I wouldn’t forget anything. I left around noon so I could head to the Gallery and get birthday cards for Susan and Lilly, as well as small presents. I walked around the Reading Terminal Market–one of my absolute favorite places in the city–and finally headed to the 30th Street Station, where the bus would come and pick us–New York-bound travelers–up. The bus, of course, was forty five minutes late, but with $6.50 tickets, who really cared?

The man who sat next to me smelled like metal. If you’re wondering what that smells like, get a bunch of coins and sniff them. Sniff them real good. That’s what the man smelled like. Also, he was gigantic, leaving me with not much space.

We pulled up to Penn Station around 8pm and I had to pee like a mother!

FRIDAY NIGHT
Susan took me to Vinny’s, a nice little Italian restaurant not far from her house. The portions were huge and the prices reasonable; I had chicken parmigiano with ziti bolognese, Susan had penne alla vodka.

Later, Susan’s mom drove us to pick up Lilly who got in much later than me. Just as we spotted her at a street corner, it started pouring!

SATURDAY
We started the day with a bowl of cereal and some television. We then headed to The Painted Pot for some ceramics painting. Susan’s friend Kathryn joined us a little while later and ended up painting something as well. We were supposed to meet Gus at 12:30ish, but were late…of course. We had some bagels and it was delicious! We then hopped on the train. Gus was waiting for us at one of the stations and hopped on when we saw him. Off to Coney Island!

It was the Mermaid Parade! There were an incredibly huge number of people, naked, half-naked, non-naked… The boardwalk was very crowded, which, as I understand, is usually not the case. We wanted to ride the Cyclone, but I refused to pay $8 for a roller coaster. We got cotton candy and hopped on the train back to Susan’s place (except for Kathryn, who was to meet us again later).

We got some beer (1664!) and some rice balls, and witnessed a very painful third goal by Russia against the Netherlands–last goal apparently, as Russia won 3-1 in overtime. After much talking and learning about very shocking things (I’m still all wtf about that), we took quick showers and headed out again.

SATURDAY NIGHT
We met up with Kathryn and Vanessa, another one of Susan’s friends from high school, to go to a barbecue at Susan’s cousin’s place. We met some of Susan’s family and had some food before we headed out to the bar. Susan had texted a bunch of people she went to high school with as an invitation to come and join us at The Brooklyn Inn, a place I wasn’t very impressed with–except for the architecture; that place is fucking gorgeous. But the $1.50 pool game, and the jukebox (aka music that you have to pay for), I wasn’t digging so much.

I got excruciatingly bored after a while (because I’m restless when I’m drunk) so I started climbing onto the bars of the gigantic windows and following a girl who looked like Ugly Betty. For serious, she could NOT have been real. I took with me Lilly and Gus–who wanted to find a deli–and stumbled into a bodega, where there was a cat. I sat on the floor and started to pet the cat who enjoyed it tremendously, until a cop came in and asked me if I was all right.

Susan and Kathryn came and took us to The Last Exit, where Susan’s sisters and her sister’s boyfriend were. More drinks, much dancing (finally!), a Soul Train line, getting hit on by someone who told me I was “G.U., geographically undesirable” aaand we called it a night. It was roughly 4am.

We dragged Susan to a diner against her will–even though the diner was HER idea in the first place–and had some delicious food. Or at least some of us did. Gus fell asleep while holding the last quarter of his turkey club, and I had a gigantic pickle. Now that I think about it, I might have taken a picture of that pickle…

By the time we left the diner, it was light out. We got back to Susan’s place at 5:30am, so I guess this covers Sunday morning.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON
We were almost late for Lilly’s bus, which was set to leave at 1:45pm. We were supposed to meet Chaleigh for brunch at 11am, but given the time we got back, it wasn’t gonna happen. Besides, Chaleigh went to a wedding on Saturday, so we could pretty much guarantee this wouldn’t happen. We rescheduled and met her at 2pm instead.

We went to Nolita House, a cute little place in Nolita (North of Little Italy), Manhattan. We walked in to a bluegrass band playing (Nolita House has Bluegrass Brunch on weekends), which was quite enjoyable. I had a croque monsieur–delicious.

NEW YORK –> PHILLY
After a decent catching up with Chal, whom I hadn’t seen since our graduation last year, we barely made it to my bus, which was set to leave at 4:30pm. As in, it was 4:26pm and there were two seats left. I said my goodbyes and hopped on. I’m pretty sure I slept on the girl I was sitting next to, but I don’t think she noticed, as she was in a pretty deep slumber herself. We got to Philly’s 30th Street Station at 6:30pm on the dot, which was very impressive.

VERDICT
New York isn’t all bad. For years I’ve said that I pretty much disliked New York, but that’s because Manhattan was the only part I’d ever been exposed to. I strongly dislike touristy areas in the United States. Brooklyn was very exciting; there seemed to be a lot of things to do. I highly enjoyed the presence of bodegas, which are pretty much everywhere you turn. I do wish Philly were a little more like it…

I had trouble getting up today. It was humid and I was very sleep deprived, not to mention quite dehydrated. I went to the gym after work, and now am in desperate need of sleep. On that note… peace out.

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Categories: Personal, Trips Tags: , ,

Credit Cards

June 20, 2008 Leave a comment

My camera’s battery life has been significantly reduced over the past three years or so. Somehow it feels like the suckage happened overnight, but–the point is, my battery sucks and I need to replace it. At first I considered replacing the entire camera, but it’s pricey, and I’d rather spend conservatively over the next few months, or until I get a job that can help me pay my bills. My search for a new battery led me to amazon.com where, as I got ready to check out, I was offered the Amazon Visa card. Along with that offer was a very tempting instant-rebate of $30. $30 off my $39.99 purchase? Hell yeah!

But then I got worried. I don’t want to become one of those people with ten different credit cards and a huge debt at the age of 23. I’m already taking a loan out for school, and I feel awful enough about that. Besides, I do have three credit cards already (though I’ve never thought of them that way; GAP, Macy*s, and Radioshack).

Then, last week, I received a brand new credit card in the mail. I thought it was some sort of mistake, but when I read everything carefully, I saw that it was supposed to replace my Radioshack card.

I’m still sitting here, pondering whether or not I should get an Amazon Visa.

Pros:
-$30 off
-rewards
-I do shop at Amazon enough to warrant a credit card

Cons:
-It’s a credit card

Then I’m wondering if I should just use my brand new credit card, but I’m afraid the bill won’t come before I leave for DC, thus making me pay the bill late.

And finally, I’m wondering why I’m not just taking the platinum card that my bank is offering me.

This is so complicated. Once you open an account, you have to stick with it; it appears that canceling a credit card hurts your credit score–but that not using your credit cards at all isn’t good, either. So you have to make at least one purchase with each credit card per year and pay your bills on time.

Maybe I’ll talk it over with Susan and co. when I see them in NEW YORK THIS WEEKEND! That’s right; I’m heading to New York for a wicked time. I hate it when people call it “The Big Apple.” It’s STUPID.

Anyway. New York!

Categories: Personal Tags:

Crappy Day

June 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Today sucked from start to finish. I woke up about one hour early because some asshole was jackhammering the shit out of my street–right in front of my house. My jeans fit funny. I tried to make an appointment with the ophthalmologist and was put on hold three consecutive times, only to be told that they’d have to call me back because they were “too busy.” They didn’t call back. During my second call, I was put on hold once and then was told that they couldn’t accept my referral for a contact lens fitting. My lunch hour got reduced to a half hour because of work. The chicken Caesar wrap I had for lunch tasted awful. My combination lock refused to open. I got a stomach cramp while I was working out and wasn’t able to finish my thirty-minute cardio. I went to Macy’s with my mom, thinking that all she wanted to get was a scarf and a pair of pantyhose; she took fucking forever to pick out BABY CLOTHES for this pregnant woman at her job. The fucking ORGAN started playing extremely loudly and it sounded like shit. This resulted in a terrible headache that refused to go away until we got home. One of my mom’s friends in California was supposed to mail us some photos she had of us during our first trip to the USA; the envelope arrived, the photos didn’t–because whoever fucking mailed them was too STUPID to seal the envelope correctly, i.e. PEEL THE BACK OF THE FUCKING FLAP TO EXPOSE THE ADHESIVE BAND. Result? Mom and I have x pictures of us wandering around the country somewhere. FUCK.

The one thing I’d like to mention outside of this time line is that, between my two phone calls to the ophthalmologist’s office, I was SHUSHED during my bitch session at work. I was shushed by a woman who talks ten times more than I do, and significantly louder than I do. What the shit? I don’t care who you are, and I don’t care how nice you are; If I am visibly pissed off and bitching about the reason why I’m in such a foul motherfucking mood, you do not shush me. DO NOT SHUSH ME. Especially not you.

Categories: Personal Tags: , ,

Simple Pleasures

June 3, 2008 1 comment

There are few ordinary things I enjoy more than feeling the coolness of the water wash the day off my skin–one of those things is taking a shower with the window open while it’s raining. This evening’s shower was relatively rain-free; one could smell it in the air, but the rain wasn’t supposed to hit us until later tonight.

It’s raining. There’s something very special about the smell of the rain in the summer; its smell in the grass, its smell on the pavement, on the asphalt. I like the way it sounds, the way it looks, the way it feels. I imagine most people find the rain quite annoying and think of it as more of an inconvenience than anything else. Not me; I love the rain.

Categories: Personal Tags:

Old Age

June 3, 2008 1 comment

My mother’s phone calls to her older friends and relatives are amusingly predictable:

Mom: Hello? Hello? Helloooo? HELLOOOO? Can you hear me? Hello? Did you eat? Did you eat? Yeah, but did you eat yet? I said, did you eat? Are you eating? DID – YOU – EAT – YET?

I don’t want to get old. I used to think people were silly for not wanting to get old because, well, such is life: you get old and you die. But as I grow older, those around me do so as well and it’s quite terrifying to see the transformations. Growing old, even gracefully, is by no means pretty. What happens is, people basically rot from the inside out–and sometimes from the outside in, too. Everything rusts, slows down, decomposes, and fails. A less morbid way to put it would be, your joints hurt, your heart beats slower, your muscles turn to flab, and you die.

It’s inevitable. It’s so inevitable, in fact, that I’m starting to wonder if there’s a point in dreading it.

After leaving the supermarket with my mom tonight, we sat down on a low ledge along the pavement to wait for the bus. The sun was getting ready to set and the warm breeze blew steadily as we watched the car go by. I like sitting outside quietly during summer evenings; there’s something strangely comforting about the golden light of the setting sun.

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