Saturday, October 31, 2009

Where the Month Went

I have been remiss.

Well, I have been busy.

Instead of my usual essay on a single topic, I present to you the entire month of October in a nutshell.

Patti Kelly's stained glass studio. I'm working here two days a week now. Patti is a friend of friends who has had her own studio in the East Village since the late 80s. She recently took on a big project to restore 20 windows for a church in New Jersey. "Restore" means that the windows from the 1960s, which were badly put together in the first place, need new support bars, new frames, new lead phlanges to hold the glass in, which involves soldering, some glass replacement and a lot of puttying and polishing. The windows come four to a box, which weigh upwards of 300lbs, and the windows themselves buckle and sway when they are handled and the glass makes scary, pingy-cracking sounds. Very nerve-wracking when that time comes, and it takes at least 3 of us to flip them over. When they are re-boxed, there's a lot of carpentry involved creating holes in the wood with power drills and saws so the boxes can be handled, and then drilling the pieces together. It's a lot of hard, physical labor and hours on the feet, (at the end of it and for days after my arms feel like dislocated noodles and the bottoms of my feet burn) but I'm loving it. My bod is getting buff too! Patti is very cool-headed and snarky, and our cast of team members - local artists and barflies - are so much fun to be around. Through them, I am learning all about the neighbors, the cops, the worst odd jobs ever, the best parts of human nature, how to swear in Italian and where to get the best sandwiches in Alphabet City. None of us on this church project is a believer. We are sooooo getting smote upside our heads! But if not, we are all planning a field trip to Jersey to see our hard work in place at the end of December. That's me with power tools working on the window boxes. Groovy! Fall colors unintentional, yet timely.

Food Writing class at Media Bistro taught by Andrea Strong. Though in the course of 8 weeks we are only responsible for two articles and two pitch letters, somehow, this seems to suck a lot of my concentration, but in a good way. There are ten of us, all girls (there used to be a boy, Peter, a chef, but he hasn't shown up the past two weeks. I think he felt overwhelmed by the estrogen-charged attention, poor guy). Usually in a class that size there is always "That Person" you don't like (you know the one). But I am happy to report we all really get along and genuinely enjoy hanging out. We read out writings out loud, but we also spend a lot of time just gabbing and giggling, as a group of gals with common interests will do. We are of diverse backgrounds, but we all love food. It is the ultimate bonding agent.  Andrea is super cool too. So glad I decided to do this. I'm learning a lot.

Last week I got to go to a taping of the Daily Show! If I was attracted to Jon Stewart before, I am now officially smitten. So worth standing out in the rain for. It was a total blast.

Tried out Henry Public. Met a cute guy. Who called me immediately and did a lot of enthusiastic texting. Then bailed out of our date when the weather was crappy and hasn't returned my subsequent texts. All I did was mention when I next had a free night, nothing beyond that, nothing stalker-iffic. Sigh. It was indeed too good to be true. But I still like the bar, the cocktails and look forward to tasting their turkey leg sandwich. Maybe he'll show up again. If my life had a soundtrack, this would have been "Da Doo Run Run" followed by the Smith's "Never Had No One Ever." Or maybe just the sound of the trumpet, "Wha Wha Whaaaaaaaa..."

Still looking for work. Joy. More too good to be true scenarios. What's that trumpet call again?

Revisited Saul with my parents and experienced wonderfully-prepared dishes and fantastic service. And ate my first baked Alaska in like 15 years! Hadn't been back there since my 29th birthday. I'm not doing the math for you.

And finally, my uncle, whom I love dearly, has been very sick. It's been an unsteady battle that experiences the occasional cease fire, but doesn't end. We have become close over the years and it's been pretty nerve-wracking. I can only hope this ends up OK.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Here's my only photo from the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Blind tasting of 4 cognacs and armagnacs during a class moderated by Da Man of the Spirits Journal, F. Paul Paccult, with cocktails by Clover Club and Flat Iron Lounge's Julie Reiner and sexy spirit slinger Charlotte Voisey!

I need a new camera. The iPhone just isn't cutting it for these events and my 5 year old Nikon is too clunky to travel and has weird, useless settings. Now that my computer might have been saved, I think I need to invest in a Cannon Sureshot. Anyone know where this never-retail-paying Jew can get a good deal on one? Please comment and let me know.

Great weekend. Sarah, my close friend since we were 11, came to visit and participated in some of the MCC events with me. It was great to get an outsider's perspective about the industry and just wind her up and watch her go. She didn't know who any of these people were, or who represented what spirits or what the politics of the cocktail bars were about. For her, it was just delicious drinks. By Sunday afternoon she was getting her cocktails directly from Jim Meehan and Guiseppe Gonzalez at the bar, charming them with her high pitched giggle and enthusiasm, and just having a great time. As it should be.

I also got to meet some of you fellow Tweeters! May you lush long and prosper, great to put a face with a chirp, ladies. 

On Sunday, still buzzed from the afternoon, (I went to Wondrich's class on the History of the Cocktail in NYC and then stayed at the bar way too long), Sarah and I met our friend Jason at Po, stupidly drank a bottle of wine with our pastas and fish and went to Clover Club as the rest of the cocktailians attended the gala. I almost had free tickets, but alas.

So we drank at Clover and nearly spent as much on drinks as on a gala tickets. Brilliant. And let me tell you, if any of you catch me asking a bartender for "...the liquor equivalent of an amuse bouche... for the road..." Please make me go home. Please.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October, It's the Tenth Month!

Sorry posting has been so sporadic this month. Been lots going on.

I'm taking a food writing class at Media Bistro, taught by Andrea Strong, of the Strong Buzz. In it, we are writing two food articles and two pitch letters, in hopes that these actual articles will be published in actual publications! Seems like a good move in the right direction, yes? A lot of energy and time and been put into this so far, hence less writing on the side.

The other fun hilarious news is that my laptop has been acting up. It's a Mac iBook, three years old. And running great until I spilled water on it over the summer. Like half a glass. And here I am reacting, furiously trying to dry the keyboard and underneath, without thinking to maybe turn the MACHINE off so it doesn't fry. Then I watched in horror as the screen image literally just slid off and went black. I think there might have been a quick flash of two x's for eyes and a bottle of poison with a skull label, but not sure. Then, because clearly the women's daily multivitamin I've been taking was laced with a 500mg of Idiot and 750mg of Technological Helplessness supplements, I called Apple Care in a panic to see what could be done.

Big no no. Apparently, as nice as they are on the phone with the, "It's going to be OK. Let's just get you into an Apple Store and take a look. No really, you'll be fine." It's so not fine. As cute as they sound over the phone, with the flirting and the helpful calm assurances, once they know you've gotten your machine wet, basically, all your Apple Care is negated. In reality, the flirtatious geek on the other end is a vengeful enfant terrible who knows you need his expertise and gets paid to make you need it and that extra $200 (cost may vary) you spent useless. They wear headsets just so they have their hands free to rub them together premeditatively as they speak. Apple doesn't cover water now because all those people who bring their laptops to coffee shops have had too many liquid-related "accidents" (as well as the countless times other people have most likely dumped stuff on their computers on purpose for snarky comments and bad tipping). And they flag your account in case you try to bring it in for maintenance down the road, if it lives.

Well, somehow, my trusty iBook awoke from the spill and was working fine. But I was warned that since they wouldn't open it up to check, could be some water still inside that will eventually rot and fry the machinery. So it could be fine one day, and not be fine another, with no guarantee of time or extent of damage. In the meantime, back everything up like an Oxycotin addict.

That day started to come last month. It basically regressed, but way faster and more entertaining than Benjamin Button. First it had trouble waking up, then sometimes it got cranky and didn't want to stay awake or perform on command and crash in the middle of activity, sometimes it forgot passwords and couldn't sleep properly, I think it actually tried to shoo me off the keyboard and shake its mouse at me, then one day it simply wouldn't start at all.

Luckily, my friend Max, bless him, knows A LOT about Macs. Max for Macs. So like the uber-sweetie he is, dropped everything two days this week. Unsuccessful first attempt first day, was here all day yesterday uninstalling and reinstalling everything. Plus, bonus, gave me Snow Leopard! She's running like a champ now. Bless you, Max, the Mac Whisperer.

But she could still die any second. I'm basically operating under the assumption I need to plan on about a $1000 addition to my debt in the near future. I'm not a praying gal, but let's see if I can finally catch some breaks this fall. Maybe I could just pay that outright. It's about damn time.