Monday, May 26, 2008

Who feels like it's summer?

Okay, let's see a show of hands -- who now feels it's officially summer? Who barbecued and sunbathed and celebrated this official unofficial start of the season? If I interpreted the weather map correctly (and I'd like to think I did), it looks like pretty much everybody had a GORGEOUS weekend. And don't we deserve it? Yes, we do. We in the Northeast/Middle Atlantic states, and probably others, have suffered through what I think I'm confident in calling a MISERABLE, SUCKY SPRING. But this weekend, my friends, was a gem. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling pretty good right now. And that has nothing to do with anything I may or may not have consumed. It has to do with sunshine and beautiful clear skies. It has to do with the intoxicating aroma of the masses of lilacs (late) and roses (early) I encountered in my stroll through the Botanic Gardens yesterday. It has to do with how much I sweated while I was running in the park today. Yeah, it would have been fun to go to the beach, but I think everybody else was there. So I was happy to stay put and plant my flower boxes.

I saw a really great movie this weekend - Son of Rambow. Really cute, really funny. It's about two British boys, about 10 or 12, who decide to shoot their own action movie using one boy's video camera. It was written and directed by the guy who did Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. After you've maxed out on Indy and Ironman and Speed Racer, Son of Rambow is the perfect antidote.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still noshing on party leftovers

I'm tellin' ya, there's nothing like leftover party food. It's like getting a present every day, coming home after work and being able to raid the fridge for dinner, not having to think about cooking. What's the matter, you don't consider hummus, sliced genoa salami, olives, fruit salad and slightly stale brownies a balanced meal? What's wrong with you?

The party was a rousing success even though only about half the number of inviteds showed up. I knew about half a dozen were maybes. Those were the ones who had to work or had other engagements earlier and said they'd try and make it later. They all flaked (although one called me the next day and invited me over for dinner). There were a couple of out-of-towns and a few MIAs. But no matter, a good time was had by all. I was even coaxed into juggling a little, but I discovered (no surprise) that it's not something to do when you've been drinking.

I tried out a couple of new snackie-things. I always like to try out new recipes on visitors. A few people brought goodies. The most extravagant was the cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. This is a place that, all you have to do is walk by the door and you gain five pounds from the aroma. I think they keep the butter and sugar manufacturers in business. The frosting on those babies is lethally good! I could only tolerate a fingerful at a time, seriously. It's so intense. The champagne went and so did most of the wine. I helped.

It's always fun to see how your various friends will get along with one another. Happily there were no fistfights. In fact there was lots of laughing. So everyone seemed to find somebody to talk to besides the person they came with. I had a good time too. Final verdict: definite success.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It only took me a year

I am coming up on my one-year anniversary of being in my apartment. Times flies, don't it? So I thought to mark the occasion, I would have a party. I didn't get around to having a housewarming last year, so I'm doing it now. I invited just about everyone I know in New York. I figure, maybe half of them will show up.

This whole party thing got me started on a closet cleaning and organizing binge. I had forgotten that when I moved in, I just shoved some cartons in the spare closet with the thought of getting to them "soon." Well, "soon" came and went a long time ago and I kind of forgot about them. So today I burrowed in there and yanked one of them out. It was full of books! I had actually been looking for a couple of them and couldn't figure out where they went. Duh. I'm really happy to have them back, even thought technically they were never missing. Now I'm wondering what's in the other three cartons. They're going to be a pain to get out because they in a corner behind a dresser which I shoved into the closet. There's gotta be some other good stuff that I have totally forgotten about. So I'm looking forward to cleaning out the rest of the stuff. Probably not before the party though.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Update on my steampunk post

Q: When is a hip, new trend no longer new?
A. When the mainstream gets a hold of it.

It was but a few mere days ago that I mentioned steampunk, which I had just found out about last month. Well guess what -- today steampunk is plastered all over the front page of the New York Times style section. Does that make me a trend spotter? Rather the opposite. The fact that I only clued into it shortly before the Newspaper Of Record means I'm only inches away from So Last Year. it's almost laughable.

Just cause We All now know about it doesn't mean we'll all be hopping on the steam-powered bandwagon, however. Real steampunkers are hard-core folks. They're very into handcrafting their eccentric Victorian wardrobes and gadgets. The rest of us can now admire knowingly from a distance, but I don't think they're in danger of being overrun by new recruits. Looks like fun, though.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I wonder if I spend too much time inside my head

I blew off a cocktail party this evening in favor of coming home to my apartment and being by myself. First of all, it's important to explain that this was a work-related party. Tonight was our gala, our major fund-raising event of the year. Staff are not invited to the meal and all that, but we are allowed to come to the cocktail reception beforehand. Well, I hate my job (as has been well-documented here), so why would I want to extend that into my own time? To me it also feels very condescending, like allowing the servants upstairs into the master's house on Christmas Day or something. And I was not alone in this; everyone who had not been roped into working the event took off as soon as they could. But it made me wonder, once I got home, if I spend too much time alone inside my head. I have a very rich and enormous inner life, as I think everyone who hangs out in the cyberplaces I do has. (Bad syntax there, but fuck it.) Still, is it a healthy thing to prefer the vast inner spaces of your head to the company of the jerks in the living world around you? I kind of loaded that question, didn't I? But you get the idea. I don't have an answer to this. I'm arguing it out with myself. And guess what, both sides are winning. But the thing is, I love live human company -- the right company, anyway. I thrive on conversation and shared jokes and all that stuff that sociologists say is typical of humans. But I'm also perfectly happy to wander off into the wilds of my mind. It occurred to me only recently that maybe not everyone has as much going on inside their heads. Maybe they've just got a few little sparsely furnished rooms instead of a whole universe. Maybe they don't really care about going exploring in there. Or maybe I'm just really weird. Either way, I'm really happy I didn't have to go to the stupid party this evening.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I told a joke in Italian today

For the better part of two years I have been studying Italian. No reason other than I think it's a very sexy language (second only to Brazilian Portuguese) and it's good to be able to speak more than one language. Plus, Italy is a fabulous place. I took French and Spanish in high school and college but I haven't used them since then. The first thing I noticed is that it's a lot harder now to learn a new language than it was when I was a teenager. It's very frustrating sometimes and my brain feels like a sieve. All this information gets poured in the top and then promptly runs out the bottom. Those wacky Italians have way more pronouns than anyone in their right mind needs. Even they'll admit as much. And some words change spelling just because it sounds better. I mean, how Italian is that!

But little by little, it seems to be sticking. So this evening in my class I said I heard a joke and I wanted to try and tell it in Italian. There's no doubt my delivery was way funnier than the joke itself. But somehow I lurched through it and made it to the punch line. And people laughed! I managed to make it intelligible enough that they got it. I'm very proud of myself right now. Okay, maybe just a little proud.