Saturday, June 13, 2009

from our last (most recent? final?) fight

we don't work she said
i want to raise kids
i want to have a career
we can't do that shit together she said
we don't work

Friday, June 5, 2009

never one foot on the ground

a part of me has spoken and is silent
a part of me hears everything you said
a part of me is living on an island
a part of me sees no way out: a head
a part of me is deafened by emotion
a part of me can't hear the other part
a part of me is drowning in mid-ocean
a part of me will not give up: a heart
apart i can only be poked by your digital fingers
apart i'm restricted to reading your laughter and smiles
apart from your taste and your waist and the way that the way that you look out at new york lingers
apart three thousand would have been too many miles
apart from you i know i am diminished
apart – no sure way forward – but not finished?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

one year ago

may 31, 2008; the last time i saw r. behind the natural history museum, we had a conversation she probably expected was final (dawning on dej: "it's not a good sign that you were with me thursday night, and now it's saturday and you're thinking about someone else..." r, with scrunched-up little wry cute face: "no, it's not.") but was just the beginning of a long playout for me. i wouldn't let her leave me in the subway (perhaps remembering d. in '01), so we kissed goodbye (but not like that makes it sound) at north 7th. i bought the inaugural disappointmental pack of newports, walked down bedford past the jewish babies hanging out in window boxes, and made it as far as flushing ave. before catching the bus to see m. and then that started. (and now it's over too.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

final friendster profile

    * Male, 31, Single

    * Interested In: Dating Women, Relationship with Women, Friends, Activity Partners

    * Member Since: Apr 2003

    * Location: Brookline Village, MA

    * Hometown: Brookline, MA

    * College: Yale University

    * Company: one warehouse, one museum, one town camp, two chemistry labs, one map library, one high school with no walls and frogs in the halls, one census bureau, two family farms, one parks department, and four hours of test prep tutoring training

   * Schools (Other):
      mandy donovan's playgroup, cambridge montessori school, runkle school, brookline high school, branford college of yale college of yale university, university of pennsylvania

    * College/University:
      Yale University, Attended 1994 - 1998, Class of 1998, Bachelor's Degree, Linguistics

    * Occupation:
      Trained Linguist

    * Affiliations:
      american dialect society, aaa, banana republic card

    * Hobbies and Interests:
      red sox, cats, scrabble, geography, side dishes, the early 70's, evolution, roadfood, radio-indie-pop (except they never update it), trader joe's finer wines (i've moved on from charles shaw), friendster itself, neon, state quarters, american elms, howard stern, louisiana, elevated trains, mileposts & boundary markers, coca-cola in moderation (original or slurpee), c2 (when it was all the rage), diet cherry vanilla dr. pepper, diet coke w/ splenda, the banjo, my adidas, knob creek, low back vowels, gatorade, instant and text messaging, historic architecture

    * Favorite Books:
      ulysses, lolita, l.o.t.r., cultural geography of the u.s., in cold blood, canterbury tales, how buildings learn, moby dick, all the king's men, portrait of a lady, dune, the power broker, savage love (advice column), language log (blog), romance philology (journal), honey and junk (poems), bob dylan chronicles vol. 1 (memoir)

    * Favorite Movies:
      back to the future, adaptation, boys don't cry, the godfather, star wars, lost in translation, citizen kane, rushmore, north by northwest, jules et jim, last tango in paris, coal miner's daughter, a few good men, the lion king, no direction home

    * Favorite Music:
      the beatles, bob dylan, van morrison, liz phair, new pornographers, hanson, r.e.m., dirt bike annie, ramones, weezer, the band, toots and the maytals, fleetwood mac, magnetic fields, bruce springsteen, elvis presley & costello, hank & lucinda williams, beach boys, abba, jonathan richman, britney spears, sublime, they might be giants, big star, otis redding, american top 40 (kasem/seacrest), the shins, arcade fire, avril lavigne, the part of a song where the verse goes into the chorus, and whatever amazing playlist taco del mar on california ave. is using

    * Favorite TV Shows:
      not six feet under! deadwood, sopranos, seinfeld, queer duck, teletubbies, my so-called life, x-files, sabrina, american idol, saturday night live (in theory), cbs evening news (with dan rather), south park, scrubs, 24, that 70's show, the simple life, the simpsons, country video channels

    * About Me:
      i want all that stupid old shit, like letters and sodas.

    * Who I Want to Meet:
      a good girl, loves her mama, loves jesus [but doesn't believe in him], and america too, crazy about elvis, loves horses, and her boyfriend too [but doesn't have one].

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

my st. patrick's day

let me preface the story of today by saying that last night did not go too well for me. i took the bus to cranford new jersey to hear karen's dad (and it turned out brother) play in their irish band, the tipsy rovers. i really felt out of place among the locals at the riverside inn, and i was not much fun to be around. i realized that my life story and current situation, the kind of things you talk about when you're meeting someone or catching up with them after ten years, strike other people as rather strange. and maybe that would be all right if i didn't essentially agree. 

anyway after a brief argument over the national provenance of the (English!) song "Dirty Old Town", an efficient 90-minute trip home, and around the usual amount of sleep, i woke up this morning and went to the downtown brooklyn elco (early local census office) to observe a training. my boss wants us to observe some field operations, to broader our perspectives. i used to work in operations in 1999 so i kind of already know the score, but he sent me anyway. i was going to walk but was running late, so i took the bus and got there on time. except it became clear that i was in the wrong place, so i took another bus way into bed-stuy to this little political office covered in retrospectively interesting posters like "Spitzer '98 for Attorney General" and "Vote for Al Vann in the Democratic Primary, Tuesday, September 11, 2001".

i basically had a shitty time at the training and was either bored or actually falling asleep for most of the time i was there. i only animated a little bit when borrowing and checking out one of the trainees' handheld computers, which are pretty cool. i arrived late and left early (for my haircut! see below). but i did have short conversations with two of the trainees, both essentially against my will but i ended up enjoying them anyway.

first, at lunch i had gotten some collard greens and then went to mcdonald's to get a sweet tea. in the line i ran into one of the trainees, then i went to sit and hoped he would not sit at the same table - my stomach was bothering me so i was perhaps grouchier than usual - but he did. kok was a jolly asian guy about my age. when i asked how he got into census work, he told me he had worked in the IT department at lehman brothers for ten years, ever since graduating from college. he said "everybody i knew lost their jobs", and when the stock price went down to 20 cents, everybody lost a lot of their savings as well. the census job he has now, unlike mine, doesn't come with health insurance. it sounded like he didn't have any health insurance. and then i found out he had two kids.

so that was like the face of the recession for me. kok also made the great observation that there were about three hair salons or more on every block of fulton. (of course, i had an appointment at a very different kind of salon at 5 pm.)

on second thought, the other trainee conversation isn't really worth reporting on. i'm sort of running out of steam on this post, so let me just do quick highlights of the rest of the day.

waiting for the c at kingston-throop

taking the c to the a at nostrand

listening to a guy hawk bootleg dvds in three languages

predicting how long it would take to get to w 4th street and only being off by 5 minutes

running down 3rd street, being out of breath and having to stop (see previous post)

getting to the building of takamichi hair and thinking i was too late and it was closed

eventually getting buzzed in and then escorted up to the 7th floor in an old fashioned elevator

waiting a while just staring into space and being glad i hadn't been on time

getting one of the longest and most careful (and i think best) haircuts i can remember

everyone assuming that i found the place in best of new york magazine, which was true

having some kind of flirtation with the receptionist

leaving and getting cash and coming back with the tip and probably overdoing it with the receptionist

leaving again while being shown how to operate the elevator

imagining how nice it's going to be in new york when it gets warm and really liking the vibe and the architecture around great jones street

imagining that i had asked out the receptionist (although even in my fantasy, she said no)

buying an actual suit of clothes - my first since 7th grade - black wool with white speckles

enjoyable but fruitless shoe shopping including incredible live bob marley album playing in shoe mania

wishing i was in the next subway car where i could see through the end of the cars that a mariachi band had started playing

having popeye's red beans and rice (which still reminds me of 5/29/08) on the way home, then trader joe's spanish bean thingy, at home

meeting virgil, the ugliest slaveriest bulldog whose gums look like ground beef in her mouth so it actually makes me nauseous, who is living - and breathing! if you can call its constant heavy panting breathing - with us for the next few weeks

chatting with maryam


waiting for sophie to go downstairs so i can steal some of her turkey hill iced tea

Sunday, March 8, 2009


i became a real smoker the day liz called the cops: june 2, 2007. after getting out of palo alto, and before getting home and calling laura, i bought a pack of newports at valero on middlefield. it would last less than a day.

newport is the only brand i can feel at all anymore; i missed them in england. smoking for me is both physical and psychological: the head rush and the control. there's so much that i want to do, and even more that i want other people to do. and when i can't do it, and i can't make them do it, i can still have a cigarette.

i'm smoking five a day, a level i've never been able to maintain before. i usually 'quit' when my chest starts to hurt, and start again under stress.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

irish soda perfection

tonight in a random old-fashioned deli in long beach, i found club lemon soda, which promised (and ended up delivering) "real lemon bits". the briticism "bits" made sense when i saw it was produced by Britvic Ireland, Ltd. i've never seen this soda here, nor did i in england, where i enjoyed coca-cola's lilt (pineapple/grapefruit flavor) among other citrus brands.

club lemon basically tastes like a fizzy version of homemade lemonade. it is the finest lemon soft drink i have ever consumed. not without reason does wikipedia deem it "so popular a drink with Irish people that it is one of the most sought after products by Irish expatriates".

i hope very much to find and try club orange, club rock shandy (an irish term for an orange/lemon mix), club apple, and club pomegranate & cranberry. the soda does have the most calories of any i've seen (255 per 500mL bottle), and it cost $2.00 (though it might have just been an expensive deli). but if your waist and wallet can afford it, i heartily recommend this irish product.

Monday, February 9, 2009

fish and deli - fries and steam

this is from yesterday, and it's been somewhat overshadowed by today's events, but let me not forget to give my first mini restaurant review to the magnificently named "Fish and Deli - Fries and Steam" located at 90-71 sutphin blvd. in jamaica, queens.

say you're heading from long beach to brooklyn on the LIRR. or maybe you're going from hunters point ave. to amagansett. and you find your train of choice has a transfer in jamaica. you may start to feel sad. but do not despair, commuter!

when it comes to restaurants, you can usually judge a book by its cover. while amazing food places might have ho-hum exteriors, excellent signage very rarely fronts a mediocre eating establishment. (similarly, i usually select wines based on the label, though i've been told, and am starting to believe, this doesn't work so well.) in this case, the crimson awning offering four disparate categories of tempting treats was visible from inside the station, and drew me outside.

i can only speak to the fish. if you go for whiting, you get three pieces. there's also red snapper, flounder, and my choice, bluefish, which was two pieces for $3.50. fried in front of you, friend, and slapped on top of white bread (or wheat, if you insist). you add the hot sauce yourself, and then she wraps it. she's asian, the guy in the more deli-ish (and probably equally delish) front section is more judeo-hipster. out on the street they're mainly black, and you're golden, as you head back to your platform with a delicious and bargain lunch.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

a snowy, stressy day

i've been in new york (long beach, long island is where i've been staying) since friday, and it's tuesday night now. i've had two days of work, and already have had moments of questioning whether i've made the right decision. the adjustment to an actual job work day (8:30 to 5) is proving, so far, harder than i thought it would be. the days seem very long and i feel lost at the bottom of a vast bureaucracy, which i will be able to learn only slowly, and where my opportunities for advancement, mastery, and creativity may not be what i had optimistically hoped.

but the hardest parts of my day came when i went outside, first for lunch where i was faced with an incredible array of expensive food choices in every direction (i went with a bowl of black bean chili at a diner, which cost $7.00 with tax and tip). i did mail a card that i wrote on the train ride in, and i also made semi-successful inquiries at the t-mobile store (i brought my nokia 6500 back from england, complicating my choices with respect to a new cell plan).

after work i debated - that sounds dispassionate, but actually i was quite overcome with anxiety about it - whether or not to meet karen and go to a mixer at the yale club. in the end, i did both, and i'm glad i did. i don't know why this transition is proving so much harder than when i moved to england a year ago. i'm pretty sure that then i found an apartment and started work without too much psychological distress. that came later, and was of a different kind.

as you know, it's not like me to be afraid to run into friends or to make plans with people.

a symptom as well as an additional cause of the stress is my stomach, which has been bothering me every day except when i pummel it into submission with over-the-counter medications. duane reade is a place i feel quite comfortable, though of course it is no cvs.

when i hesitated about getting on the subway downtown after work, i looked up and saw the empire state building through the snow. its old, familiar presence felt stable and reassuring. it made me feel like eventually things will work out. i could somehow moor onto it like the zeppelins used to do. or actually, as the internet has just informed me, they never did. but still, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city helped me to think that i will settle in eventually, and get on with figuring out what i need to get on with.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

a day in

ups was supposed to come today and pick up five boxes that i'm sending - at great expense considering their somewhat lame contents - back across the pond. i didn't know when they'd be coming. around 3 i heard they would come between 3 and 7. they didn't come.

so i didn't leave the house between waking up (between 9 and 10) and going out with ged (my housemate) and gemma (his girlfriend) and nanna to indian food (really good saag gosht). so what did i do?

well, i wrote my grandmother a letter on one remaining pre-postaged air letter form i had. not a very good letter, but i think she'll like it. i sipped a bit of rum out of the bottle, which wasn't half bad for being cheap dark rum, supermarket brand. i also heated up some baked beans to which i added brown sugar (an improvement) and more of the said rum (possibly an error). i g-chatted with many of the usual suspects. and i watched a fair bit of tv, including that 70's show which caused me to wonder about the wildly varying fame/fortunes of the various cast members in the years since. i mean, with all respect to ashton kutcher and mila kunis, aren't topher grace and laura prepon equally good? well, maybe not, but they're not way way worse, right?

i also watched a poorish episode of ally mcbeal, most of a lost (which looks like rubbish), and something else that seemed memorable at the time but apparently isn't. but i really wanted to post about cold case.

cold case has a few things going for it. it's set in philadelphia, and filmed there. it has an attractive, winning cast, and they always solve the crime. but the best thing about cold case is the music used during the flashback sequences to evoke the feel of the period in question. so this episode's crime took place at the millenium new year's eve, and so we had (thanks to the following 1999-era tracks:

eagle-eye cherry, "save tonight" (1998)
featuring the line "you and me... and the bottle of wine" and the chorus "save tonight, and fight the break of dawn, come tomorrow, tomorrow i'll be gone" [gone/dawn rhymes in philly, too!].

r.e.m., "it's the end of the world as we know it..." (1989)
not close to 1999 but still works in a party scene, just like r.e.m.'s "stand" could set a 1992 mood in "definitely maybe".

third eye blind, "never let you go" (1999)
a great one you don't hear much anymore, chorus is "i never let you go / i never let you turn around, our back on each other / that's a good idea, break a promise to your mother"
remember it? better than "semi-charmed life", in my book. and wikipedia tells us that sheryl crow took the guitar riff and used it for "soak up the sun" in 2002 (backing vocals: liz phair!), another fave.

tlc, "no scrubs" (1999)
another classic. i would have guessed it was older. remember the response song, "no pigeons"?

tal bachman, "she's so high" (1999)
"i know where i belong, and nothing's gonna happen..." never a favorite, but it still does bring you back (an advantage to the top 40 radio system is that songs get associated rather firmly with particular points in time). you're putting her on a pedestal, tal.

len, "steal my sunshine" (1999)
i remember driving down mt. auburn street near the intersection with mass ave. and hearing this one, i think joanie was in the car. and she knew the song through her brother? joanie had a thing where she would say "my brother" and i was supposed to be able to tell which one she was talking about. she had two. i thought this was really stupid until i somehow figured out how to tell, then i prided myself on it, of course.

jewel, "hands" (1998)
ok not one of jewel's best, and not much later jewel would morph into dido, but i saw her open for bob dylan in new haven in 1996. she was known for yodeling then. this may have been the infamous show that i reviewed for the yale herald and talked about wanting to take dylan's water glass - asking for it, in fact. "don't be sick, man - don't be a psycho" was the roadie's reply.

well, that's the cold case playlist for this episode. i would have like to hear "every morning" by sugar ray. i remember that one from the east side of crowley, louisiana. near the store where you'd get a shrimp po-boy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

some definitive

this isn't going to be about eating or not eating. it's not going to be about politics or comedy or necessarily be comedy, though hopefully it will sometimes.

i was no good at livejournal and i've had the same diary since august 2005, which should tell you how often i write in it. so if this gets going, it will definitely be "for me". but i hope you like it too.

i've been in england just over a year, and it hasn't been bad. today someone said she thought i hated the place. not true! i do wish i was leaving sooner than in a week, but that's just because i'm bored. i finished packing boxes today, even though the movers aren't coming until thursday.

tonight i seriously considered a second viewing of "definitely maybe", but it was making me too emotional so i settled for the first five minutes, which i hadn't seen last night. found out we don't get the channel showing "elvis: aloha from hawaii". after ten minutes of "diner" (and only one believable baltimore accent) i turned off the telly and thought of doing this.

friday is my leaving dinner and pub crawl but so far only seven people (including me) have accepted the facebook invitation! it's a good core group of seven, don't get me wrong! but a large posse would be fun. nanna says most people are not on facebook on the weekend. hmm. those people must have a different relationship to facebook...

i'm moving to new york for a job i'm pretty excited about. beyond that, or through that, i'm hoping to eventually [just took call from eccentric aunt; her cats ate a lot during the cold snap; she also had strong opinions on checked baggage and tax withholding and tai chi and family history] get to a place where i can think of new plans and schemes (in the american sense).

last year was exciting - i traveled to england and scotland and holland and germany and israel and jordan and norway - and productive, but also disappointing in a few big ways. now i'm taking some steps back - dan even said "well, you're starting over" - with the hope of moving forward in a better direction soon.

or as the lesbians say, closer to fine.