Friday, December 3, 2010

哈 哈 哈 ! = Hahaha!

I shared this recently with a Chinese friend. LOVE the definitions for this one small word.

The scarf

I sit at the Starbucks on Lexington and Fifty-Something. I'm perched atop a tall chair in the window, facing the street. Long-haired women in long trenchcoats trot by, the spiked heels of their boots punching the wet sidewalk, iPhone 4s pressed to their cheeks. It's after 6:00, so they must all be coming from corporate Disneyland, making tonight's martini plans.

Me, I'm killing time. No martini plans for me. Instead, I'm counting the minutes (and waiting out the drizzle) until I can start walking to the Regal on 42nd Street, where my friend and I are meeting to see "Tangled." No corporate Disneyland in sight, but REAL Disney princesses! This particular friend and I share a love for movies that are intended for people under ten. I sip my tall (I'm broke) low-fat (I'm trying to drop a couple pounds) chai latte and continue to watch the trenchèd ladies, wondering if I'll ever have the ability to drop $300 on the perfect rainy-day khaki trenchcoat or the 25-inch waist to really rock it like it's meant to be rockèd.

A gray scarf sits on the chair beside me. It too watches the Lexington ladies, sans tall chai latte.

I thought it belonged to someone who was sitting there but in the bathroom, but in the fifteen minutes since I'd been people-watching, no one had returned to claim it and the seat. It looks soft. I reach out to touch it, and in the process of picking it up I try to make it look like I'm looking for a nametag or anything to alert me as to who might own it or why it was left there. Just in case anyone is watching me and thinking me weird for checking out an abandoned scarf that may very well have the bedbugs.

Oh, this is definitely cashmere. Like really nice cashmere. The fabric is light enough to trick my fingers into thinking I'm holding nothing at all. The gray isn't actually gray at all, it's a combination of browns and pinks and blues. My hands trail down the scarf to find three fingertip-sized holes which, admittedly, make the scarf far less perfect, but still gorgeous.

And belonging to no one.

I return the scarf to the back of the chair and my hands to my tall low-fat chai latte. Who could have left it? An Italian tourist, who stopped in for a double espresso and in her rush to return to the city streets, forgot it on the chair? A college student, who is halfway to her $700 per month Astoria two-bedroom by now and won't even remember neglecting the scarf until she's home sweet home? A posh elderly woman, who won't even care because she owns thirty scarves just like it and this one has holes anyway?

Chai latte in hand, I reach for my backpack and tear it open. It's stuffed full with a black shirt, black dress pants, a thick apron and shoes, all part of my waiter gear. The scarf joins them as I push it down, quickly so that no one notices that I just lifted a lost and found scarf from a random chair at a random Starbucks. How weird and poor they'd think me. Zipping up the backpack, I kill the last of my chai latte.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Server Test

I'm not a waiter, though I should be, because I'd make a lot more money. But I think I'd be a pretty horrid waiter, because I know nothing about wine, I'm terrible at holding drinks, and when I don't know the answer to something I freeze up. "Does the banana bread have nuts?" Umm...well...maybe...let me go check on that...I'll leave my face sweat right here for you.

But I snatched up a server test at the restaurant where I work as a host (saving lives), just to put a couple more facts in my toolbox. (?)

Let's see what I know here.

1. What is frisee?
My answer: Okay, I know this one because every person who applies to work at my restaurant gets it wrong. Most people think it's whipped cream, but it's actually PART OF YOUR SALAD. Gasp! It's the very light green prickly leaf that is crunchy and untasty. That guy is frisee.

2. Name three oysters and where they are from.
My answer: Small, medium and large. All from the sea.
Correct answer: Kumamoto from Washington State (sounds Japanese, but whatever), Blue Point from Long Island, and Cape May from New Jersey. According to Wikipedia. The Kumamoto are sweetest and most flavorful in the summer months (and they ARE imported from Japan, according to, because that is closest to their spawning time. (Ew.) Blue Point oysters are "characteristically briney," with a sweet aftertaste. And the Cape May are smaller, round oysters.

3. What is the difference between ice cream and sorbet?
My answer: Sorbet is more colorful.
Correct answer: Ah. Sorbet is made with sweetened water or juice, not milk or cream. (But it IS also more colorful.)

4. What is a bellini?
My answer: A drink...a fancy a James Bond movie, or Italy?
Correct answer: It's a Ventian cocktail! I was right about the Italy part. Mmm! It's sparkling wine and peach puree served in a champagne flute without ice (which means "straight up," I now know). Tasty.

5. Name three cheese varieties.
My answer: Um. Swiss. Provolone. Cheddar.
Correct answer: Those were technically varieties of cheese, but here are more interesting kinds.

  • Brie: creamy and slightly sour; great with merlot.
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano: Italian cheese with an oiled rind; slightly salty. Paired well with "big red wines." (What does that mean? Are they the red wine conglomerates, CEOs?) A hard cheese.
  • Stilton: A strong and tangy English cheese with blue streaks (very alternative, Scott Pilgrim-esque). Paired well with sherry, port and walnuts.

    6. What is proscuitto?
    My answer: Ham?
    Correct answer: Ham! It is a dry-cured ham (this means storing the ham for a long time?) that is thinly sliced and uncooked.

    7. How do you make a martini?
    My answer: With food coloring and olives?
    Correct answer: Ah! A martini is made with gin and vermouth and garnished with an olive (1 for Kim). My question: two different kinds of alcohol, and no juice? Hmph. So, first, a classy bartender must pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes and stir. Then strain in chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with an olive. Thank you, International Bartenders Association.

    8. What is the primary grape varietal in Chablis?
    My answer: Purple? I understand only half of the words in the question.
    Correct answer: I believe the correct answer is Chardonnay, which is surprising to me because I did not know that Chardonnay was a grapevine. I am also not sure if the word Chardonnay is capitalized. So I was very wrong, because Chardonnay is a white grapevine, making the Chablis wine a white wine.

    9. What does the term "grass-fed" mean?
    My answer: Um, it means grass-fed? Like the cows ate grass?
    Correct answer: This could be the first question I've gotten right, after the definition of "frisee." Grass-fed means that the cows ate grass for most of their lives; however, some producers call their cows grass-fed, when really they fed the cows grain for the last three months before slaughter. Shudder. This reminds me of why I was a vegetarian for three years.

    10. List three names of Scotch.
    My answer: The kind my dad drinks, the kind my dad is too cheap to buy to drink...
    Correct answer: Dewar's (I know that one!), Ballantine (that sounds lovely) and Johnny Walker Black. (There is also Johnny Walker Red.)

    That concludes the server test.

    In sum, I know nothing. See, I would make a horrible server. I would spill things on the guests, pair the wrong wine with the wrong cheese and pause during service to Wikipedia something on the menu. It's a good thing I get paid for what I do best: smiling, batting my eyelashes and talking like a high-quality hooker on the phone.

  • Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    A hard day at the office. And by office, I mean Brangelina's private plane.

    Monthly rent: $610. Subway card: $89. Electricity/gas: $25. Internet: $16. Laundry: $12.

    This morning, the weekly conversation I have with my roommates about how we might make a little more money in our lives turned to the topic of personal assistant jobs. We began imagining being the personal assistant of someone fabulous, what our jobs might be if we waited on Angelina Jolie, hand and foot. "Oh, I can't go to the park today, I'm going to Pakistan this afternoon with Angie. God, I hope Z doesn't cry on the flight! That girl hates planes."

    Or what would it be like to be Lady Gaga's personal assistant? "Oh, Gaga will not stop texting me to pick up her custom-made feather snake hat at Marc Jacobs's apartment. I can't believe I forgot to go over there again. Must go before the Norway trip."

    Or Paris Hilton? "I have to go shopping with Paris tomorrow afternoon. I hold all of her cocaine while she browses the meth."

    Or Martha Stewart? "Terrifying."

    Or Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick? One of my roommates said, "I'd do anything to nanny for them. If I hang around Prospect Park long enough, one of them is bound to jog by in a Lululemon spandex short."

    Then what? Chase them down? Waaaaaait! Come back! Here are my resume and references!!

    Sunday, September 5, 2010


    I'm obsessed with this new graffiti---the word "moustache" scrawled in curly letters above the lips of giant poster faces. Whoever does it has very nice, swirly handwriting. And likes to draw graffiti in very practical places.

    A beautiful day in NYC, and Blake Lively was there

    After months of staggeringly high temperatures, damp armpits and butt sweat, today was a breath of paradise in good old New York. I actually wore a LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT to work. I know. And then, when I left work, I KEPT MY JEANS ON INSTEAD OF CHANGING BACK INTO SHORTS. I KNOW.

    You won't believe it, but I even GOT A LITTLE CHILLY in the park after the sun went down. I know.

    To commemorate the beautiful day, I took myself and Wilde (the book of Oscar Wilde poems, plays and short stories that I found on the sidewalk a couple months ago) to dinner at Chelsea Market, where I splurged on an $11 veggie burger at Friedman's Lunch. (Which also serves breakfast and dinner, as you'd have it.) I rarely dine solo at a place that isn't Chinese fast food, so it was a true luxury to sit in my long-sleeved shirt with Lady Windermere's Fan, which could be a) a bad play, b) a fine play but just not as smart as The Importance of Being Earnest or An Ideal Husband, or c) TOO smart of a play for me to truly understand. AKA, I don't really get it, I don't think it's funny...and it seems kind of stupid. And I'm almost at the end. It seems unredeemable. (Not a word?)

    In the middle of the third act, when I am still trying to distinguish between Lord Darlington, Lord Windermere, Lord Augustus and Dumby, I look up to see Blake Lively and Penn Badgley walk by me. An avid (read: giddy, giggly, girly) Gossip Girl (read: the anti-Wilde) fan, I normally would have felt my heart grow three sizes at the sight of the two of them together only inches away from me. However, this is actually the third Blake Lively sighting I've witnessed in just two weeks. The first sighting was when she and Penn came into the busy restaurant where I work. It was Sunday brunch and we had dozens of people waiting for a table, but when they sauntered up, I threw the waitlist all the way into the Hudson River. "What waitlist??! We'll get you seated! Right this way! Anywhere you like! Right this way!" The second sighting was just a week later when she came in and asked to sit out on the patio with her dog. Of course, she was in a fedora and floral jumper and looked like just the essence of the twenty-something fabulous New Yorker. Of course.

    And here I was again, casting my eyes upon her lovely self---long blonde hair tied into a fabulous (overusage of word, but just no other way to describe it) mess, short shorts and a tank top, Penn in all of his monotone glory in her shadow. They sat in the back of the cafe, and I indulged in a glance, but that was it. I thought briefly about being cool enough to say hello on the way to the bathroom or something, but then realized that that wouldn't be cool at all, it would be scary.

    I finished every morsel of my veggie burger, threw them one last look and packed up my Wilde. What a girl. I'd like to be her, have her style. Or at the very least, have those legs. That'd be JUST fine.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Collegiate a cappella at its most badass

    I'm a loyal alum!! And looking forward to the group's auditions/callbacks/newbies this year. Listen to "Ramble On" for an eargasm.

    If it didn't cost $89, I would tear my Metrocard into tiny tiny pieces with my savage teeth.

    Please swipe again

    Please swipe again

    Please swipe again

    Please swipe again

    Breathe. Don't scream. You have a very good life. You are not missing any limbs and you have a family that loves you. Breathe. Swipe again.

    Please swipe card again at this turnstile

    And I hear the train coming. It's the last train until midnight. Swipe, goddammit. You cost $89, for God's sake. DO SOMETHING RIGHT. LET ME THROUGH!!

    The train is coming. Fuck my life. My life sucks. My life is terrible. Sweat is dripping from my hair into my ears. My life SUCKS.

    The train is gone.

    Please swipe again


    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Let's start this off with some reminiscing.

    You're going to think I'm a loser. That picture is me in 2008, at the Coldplay TODAY Show performance. Going crazy, clearly.

    I was asked recently to recall a song that brings me "profound joy," and after some thought I had to give that honor to Coldplay's "Speed of Sound," which I know is very Top 40 of me, but what can I say. I'm a Top 40 kind of girl. My most played songs on my iTunes are Justin Timberlake, Jason DeRulo, Feist and Keri Hilson. And Coldplay. Sure, there's some Martha Wainwright, Fleetwood Mac and Aretha Franklin in there...but you'll find Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen first.

    The first time I heard "Speed of Sound" was a total Beatlemania moment. I was sitting in the passenger seat of my mom's Camry, parked outside a Quizno's. The opening piano melody, wistful but joyful (could it be anything other than Coldplay?), came through the speakers and I shrieked. My mom waited with patience as I squirmed and screamed and sighed and came close to passing out as the song continued. Somehow, the sheer sequence of notes made sense to my brain. I loved it. I loved it and I loved them.

    What is it about their bouncy-yet-melancholy style that continues to make me warm all over to this day? Sure, I loved their most recent album. "Viva La Vida" was a staple of my 2008 summer. I listened to it on the subway, while walking, while sitting, while showering, while reading. I basically began to see the world through that album. Like all albums, it eventually grew old and some other band released a new album that I would make my autumn staple. Then the autumn staple would be tossed for the winter staple. Then the winter staple would be tossed for the Christmas staple. "Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays)," anyone?

    But whenever I let Coldplay back in the old earbuds during my subway commute, I'm brought back to the Beatlemania moment outside Quizno's. Yes, yes, yes. My ears love this. Give me those soaring melodies, the pounding piano, the quietness of the ballads, the balls-to-the-wall epicness of "Speed of Sound." Give it to me, and take me back to summer 2008, when I slept on the sidewalk outside Rockefeller Center to see my beloved band play the TODAY Show the next morning.

    YouTube wouldn't let me embed the music video: