If You Can’t Find It In Chinatown

I have an iPhone 5. I pre-ordered the phone when they were first released. I didn’t receive my phone for 3 weeks after that. After my first exciting week of being douchy new iPhone guy, I dropped it on the tile bathroom floor of my work and shattered the glass face.

This was the day before Hurricane Sandy closed the subways and the MTA was already practicing their emergency train route. As I mentioned in a previous posting, the J train ran to Hewes stop in Brooklyn and then everyone had to exit and take the shuttle bus across the Williamsburg bridge to Manhattan. That Saturday morning was chaotic because the entire eight train cars had to exit one set of stairs from the platform, exit the turnstiles and emergency exit, grab a ticket from an MTA worker, exit another set of stairs to street level, walk about a block and a half past the line we were all searching for the end of, then turn around and slowly work our way back to the shuttle buses lined up to drive us to Manhattan.

In hindsight, it was the MTA knowing they needed to shut down the rail system ahead of the approaching storm. I had no idea this was happening, and it was a rude awakening when I was just trying to get to work. When I showed up forty minutes late I was flustered by the trip and I hurriedly changed into my work clothes in the cramped bathroom. I went to put my brand new, slick aluminum, way thinner than my previous iPhone 3, practically a credit card in my hand, did I mention brand new mutherfuckin iPhone 5 into my backpack and it slipped right out my hand, face down on the tile. I knew I was fucked. I picked up my phone and the face was trashed. I can still use it. But I can barely read what I’m texting and my thumb is being carved into sandpaper.

I’ve been trying to find a replacement screen but nobody has one that will fit the iPhone 5. Everyone is telling me places to check out, but when you go to Chinatown and they tell you they don’t have it, where can you go?
This is where fake Rolexes, cheap noodles, and first run movies on DVD for a dollar live. If you can’t find it in Chinatown then you’re screwed.

So yes, I feel like a douchebag for buying a new iPhone and breaking it a week later, I didn’t even have time to buy a case, and no I didn’t take the insurance. I didn’t need it for 2 and a half years with my previous phone. I had a month to change my mind after I ordered the phone. Only problem was I waited for three weeks to get the phone from Apple and then UPS, and then I had the phone for just over a week when…well you know. Where October was a great month, November has been mediocre in comparison, even if the hurricane and the broken phone happened at the end of October, the hangover lasted through November. I left out the disappointing part of my college football team waiting until late November to lose their first game of the year, and eliminate themselves from playing for a national championship. That added to my foul mood.

Kind of like last year, I had a great birthday in Vegas with friends and family in October then came back to find out I was getting laid off at work. I spent November contemplating the future and ended up moving to New York. So I’m saying that happened for a reason. I’m not sure breaking my iPhone will make me a better person, unless that means I stare at it less in pubic. Here’s to a better December and hopefully the world isn’t about to end, but I will rant more about that next time.

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Double Feature

I’ve been slacking since the 9/11 post. I’m living between two places, staying out until 5am every other night and of course going to work. A lot feels like it’s happened in the last week. I’m not sure how much I can remember or I’m allowed to talk about. I went out last Tuesday with my new friend Gigi. She was about to leave town for some traveling and teaching some drumming classes. We met through my roommate and managed to have one cool jam session at a place in Bushwick called the Sweatshop. It has drum sets, big guitar and bass amps, microphones and PA systems. You rent it by the hour, bring your band, or your friends, along with your guitar and you make some noise.

Gigi grew up in the Bronx and Queens and was hanging with her old friends the night before she was leaving town. I met up and it was a group of real New Yorkers, accents and all, plus most of them were drummers too. Metal drummers. So we did a lot of drinking at a bar under the train stop, way North in Queens. When the night was over, everyone went their separate ways and I had a long, late night train ride back to way east Bushwick.

The rest of the week was somewhere along those lines, so last night I finally got around to watching some Netflix DVDs I’ve had, just to have a relaxing night. Oddly enough they were both movies involving New York. On top of that, Anna Paquin was in both, each time playing the role of jailbait or barely legal temptress.

First off, I watched the Squid and the Whale (2005), a depressing movie about divorce in a family that lived in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn. Park Slope is a nice neighborhood full of beautiful brownstones and yuppies. This is true today as it was in 1986 when the movie takes place. Jeff Daniels is a college professor/has been writer and Laura Linney is his up and coming writer/soon to be ex-wife. Did I mention that Park Slope and the surrounding zip codes are home to the most published writers per capita in America? It’s something like that, I just read it in a book that I’m not going to footnote. But Norman Mailer and lots of important writers of the 20th century kind of established that and it continues to this day.

Someday when I become the Widely Read and Well Paid Blogger, I will move there too and become pretentious and douchy. In the meantime, you all can say you kinda knew me when I was kinda down to earth and only kinda douchy.

Here’s the deal with the Squid and the Whale:

The Dad – Tweed jackets, hipster/Charles Darwin beard, drives a volvo, talks down to everyone, is a really arrogant prick.

The Mom – Too busy trying to jump on anyone with a dick to care about her soon to be ex-husband or that her kids are looking towards a lifetime of therapy.

Son #1 – Plays “Hey You” from Pink Floyd at the school talent show, claims it to be original, wins $100. Excuse me but The Wall was released in 1979, and no one at his whole friggin’ school knew he was playing a cover tune? Highly improbable. And he gets found out. Duh! Not cool kid. So not cool.

Son #2 – Goes from crybaby to drunkard in about two weeks. I actually kind of liked him. By the way, he’s 11 or something. He’ll eventually be sending some therapist’s kid to college.

Anna Paquin plays the hypersexualized college student that needs a place to stay and ends up moving in with dad when he has to get the second home across the park. Which by the way, is not as cool as being in Park Slope.

Overall, I didn’t like the characters, it was one of those make you feel bad indie movies, and I don’t recommend it.

Moving on, I then watched the 25th Hour (2002), a Spike Lee Joint starring Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Let me just say that for me, you can’t go wrong with Ed Norton and PSH.

The other odd coincidence was the movie’s tie in to 9/11. Being released in 2002 it has the influence of those events, even though the novel was released in 2001 before they occurred. It’s the little things like looking out of a Wall Street apartment onto the empty pit of ground zero, and referring to lost firefighters.

Funny thing is, most of these characters are flawed. Ed Norton is a drug dealer about to go away for 7 years. Barry Pepper is his oldest friend who grew up to be a douchy Wall Street Gordon Gekko wannabe. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the awkward high school English teacher who can’t resist the flirtatiousness of his student played by, you got it, Anna Paquin. And Rosario Dawson is the beautiful girlfriend living off her drug dealer boyfriend.

Somehow, you find sympathy for these characters, and feel moved by what they suffer, even though they are not role models. Part of it is the way Spike Lee turns it into a reflection on the loss suffered by the city of New York and how everyone was in it together and would fight to keep the city alive together. In Do the Right Thing, Spike had the moment where everyone gets all racist on each other before the big riot and calls each other all kinds of derogatory names. In the 25th Hour, Spike brings it back when Ed Norton is talking to himself in a mirror and hurls the insults at everyone: Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Koreans, corrupt cops, gay Chelsea boys, rich upper east side white women, black guys on the basketball court, baseball bat wielding Italian Tony Soprano wannabes, terrorist Muslim cab drivers, and a few more I can’t remember. It’s funny and revealing of our society at the same time and all the more relevant living in New York and recognizing the neighborhoods and the stereotypes.

If you haven’t watched the 25th Hour, I highly recommend it.

And just for fun, because I typed douchy so many times today.

Random Thoughts, Follow Ups, Celebrities Are People Too!

Summer is ending soon. That’s how I mark my years. January 1st, you’re still stuck in the middle of winter. Even though I moved to New York in early January of this year, it seems that fall is the new beginning. Maybe it’s the start of school, football season, or my upcoming birthday, fall is always the time of renewal for me. Say goodbye to lazy days hanging out with the friends, camping trips, wakeboarding on the river. Oh wait I haven’t done any of that lately. I guess it’s just ingrained in my psyche. I’ve been out of high school since before anybody knew what an internet was and yet it seems I almost annually have a back to school dream. Usually it involves something ridiculous like being there with the football team and my old coach is asking, “Haven’t you used up your eligibility by now?”

Maybe I’m just revealing my unwillingness to grow up, and grow old.

August has actually been a fairly pleasant month, considering how hot it was at the beginning of summer. Everyone was saying how it was going to get up to 130, and I’m thinking “130, is that for real or are you just pulling a number out of your ass?”

Instead, August has ranged in the 80s, which is fine, considering the humidity still adds to the discomfort factor, and as I complained a few posts back, there are lots of thunderstorms after the humidity builds to intolerable levels and then one nice clear day and it starts building again.

Speaking of complaining, I just want to say one more thing about NBC. I kind of got bored with the Olympics by the end. By NBC’s coverage I mean. It just seemed too difficult to find when something I wanted to watch was being broadcast, tape delayed or not. It was more something I just read about. It seemed they did very little to hype Ashton Eaton, winner of the decathlon and University of Oregon Duck. I missed Usain Bolt winning the 200, and running the 4×100 in which the Americans took second with what was the former world record.

Remember when you just thought Jamaicans smoked ganja and made groovy reggae tunes?

I would love to see Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, and Asafa Powell grow some dreads and burn everyone on the track. Twice.

When it came time to show the closing ceremonies, NBC cut away before the end to premiere their new stupid tv show and once again earned ridicule on Twitter at #NBCFail.

What kind of moronic douchebag do you have to be to run a tv network? I’m sure I’m qualified. Underqualified?

Haven’t they ever heard of the Heidi Game? Have you?

The Heidi game is only the greatest moment in live tv coverage eff ups that happened before I was born and changed the way live sports were shown. During a period of bitter rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, the tv network showing the game, a certain NATIONAL BROADCASTING CORPORATION, had plans to air the movie Heidi. In the days before cable tv and VCRs, people had limited options. Showing Heidi was a big deal for families, and Timex, they used to make watches, had bought ALL the commercials for the airing of Heidi.

The executives said that Heidi must air on time, and of course the football game ran long and involved multiple lead changes, so just as things were getting good, legions of Jets fans and degenerate gamblers had their gridiron contest invaded by a little girl in pigtails. Everyone began frantically calling the tv stations and tying up phone lines, the ending was not seen on the East coast, and NBC looked the fool.

After that, tv shows and movies were preempted by sporting events, unless they only happened to be closing Olympics ceremonies.

I promise to not mention NBC until 2016. Unless I hear from their lawyers, or they offer me a job.

I’m still doing the Times Square sushi thing. It pays the bills and can be entertaining. For instance, I took it for granted that people know how to eat with chopsticks. Maybe my friends are more sophisticated or I have a bad memory or they’re just Asian and that’s what they know, but I thought most Americans had been exposed to Chinese food as well as Japanese, especially sushi, considering how many sushi restaurants are around New York.

Of course there was a time when I was a young kid of about six and my parents took me to San Francisco to visit the Lu’s. Now the Lu’s were friends of my grandmother and they emigrated to the USA around the same time, although my grandmother moved with my dad and his sister to Los Angeles.

So years later my dad is married, with a not Chinese wife and a half Chinese kid who has never used chopsticks before visiting the Lu’s and their whole extended Chinese San Francisco family and we’re having bowls of noodles and this inept kid, me, is trying to figure out how to make the chopsticks work, and even knowing it’s wrong, trying a two handed technique just so that I can eat.

So last night a group of hedge fund guys was in drinking at the bar and one of them was a little wasted and ordered some sushi. He was the quiet one of the group, possibly because of his state. I saw him warming up with his chopsticks before the sushi arrived and it was really entertaining. He was trying to get the ends to meet and was having a lot of difficulty, but his persistence kept him fed when the food arrived. I felt like giving him a noogie and saying “Way to go sport.”

At least its better than having to ask for a fork, or trainer chopsticks. After my San Francisco experience, I vowed never to be humiliated or go hungry again and I made myself learn. Years later as an English teacher in Korea, there were nights when groups of us would get kicked out of the bars at 2am and go to the Pojungmacha, or Soju tents, which were basically bright orange tarps hung by the river, with an older Korean woman cooking food and serving beer and soju. It was a great place to keep the party going. Part of the fun was eating communal squid stir fry and if you weren’t good with those slippery Korean metal chopsticks, you would starve. We would deliberately steal food from the other’s chopsticks as either a drunken challenge or a way to flirt. And if you couldn’t keep up, you definitely weren’t in the gang.

So if you’re one of those people who fear that the Chinese are going to take over the world you had better learn to eat with chopsticks.

Cindy Lauper can eat with chopsticks. She was eating at the restaurant just the other day. Isn’t it amazing! Cindy Lauper eats sushi. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Actually I didn’t even recognize her. My first thought was, “Who’s the crazy lady with the giant glasses? She’s so unusual.” Then somebody in the kitchen mentioned it and I went back and looked at her and thought, ‘Cindy Lauper, huh, how old is she? How old am I?’ And then I heard that voice. Yes, that was definitely Cindy Lauper, and she’s definitely from New York.

But I didn’t bother her, because what’s the point? Celebrities are people too and they eat, sleep, and breathe just like us nobodys. Cindy, thanks for being my first celebrity I’ve sighted in New York.

Clubbin’ NYC

You can picture it, right? Me in a pair of shiny shoes. A popped collar. Bathed in some douchy cologne. Name dropping while standing behind the velvet ropes, trying to impress the doorman to let me and my posse in the club where I get a corner table and order bottle service like a Ukranian pimp, before showing off my cutting edge moves on the dance floor.

If you really know me, you probably just laughed into convulsions or vomited hysterically. Maybe that’s not me, and maybe that’s why I never went to the Greenhouse. And now I never will. That’s because the Greenhouse is closing down. It happens all the time for night clubs, but the significance here is that the Greenhouse was home to the Chris Brown/Drake bottle throwing melee that left shards of glass in wily NBA Frenchman Tony Parker’s eyeball. Sacre Blue!

If you’re like me and losing touch with vapid youth culture, you’re asking who the fuck are Chris Brown and Drake? And why should we care? According to Wikipedia, instant information gratification central, Chris Brown is a rapper/dancer/actor. All I ever knew about him is that he beat up his girlfriend Rihanna. Class act. But apparently he’s been on songs with other rappers, was in the movie Stomp the Yard, AND was on an episode of The Suite Life With Zack and Cody. Gangsta!

Drake is a Canadian Rapper/Actor. Apparently Canadians don’t dance eh! Drake, much like Brown, has been on songs with other rappers, but neither Wikiresume offered a specific song of their own to identify them by. Hmmmm. AND Drake was in Degrassi: The Next Generation, which was a spin off of Degrassi High.

So what this really comes down to is a battle between Disney Channel and Nickelodeon teen savants for who gets to be the baddest of the bad boys. What’s next? The boy band bitch slap fest between Ricky Martin and Lance Bass over who’s wearing the gayest shoes? Makes you miss the days of weaselly Axl Rose calling out Micky Rourke over Carre Otis. Get in the Ring!

Of course that’s the real reason for this brawl in the first place. Drake and Chris Brown were fighting over Rihanna. Now I don’t know much about Rihanna, and I’m not going to look her up, because, I am NOT a journalist. The opinions presented here are expressly mine, superior to yours, and facts are loosely based on how I want to portray myself at any given moment. Besides, I know Rihanna actually does have a singing career, because her song has been played literally EVERYWHERE for the last four months. How else would I have heard it 335,022 times? I don’t listen to the radio or watch MTV, but I’m subjected to it in stores and clubs almost constantly. Or at least I was, I think the hype has finally died.

The story of the Gouging at the Greenhouse refuses to die because Tony Parker has filed a $20 million dollar lawsuit over his injury and claims he won’t be playing in the Olympics, changing the Vegas odds of a French gold medal from 10,000 to 1 to Infinity.

This Greenhouse place just sounded like a real vortex of douchebaggery. Created under the guise of being “green”, it was supposedly powered by wind and the urinals were piped upstate for treatment and filtration then recycled as drinking water for the Jersey Shore. I just hope they got the Grey Goose bottle glass out of Tony’s eye and melted it back down. The Greenhouse is LEED certified, which means someone dropped a fat stack of Benjamins on the desk of the head NYC’s DEQ SOB. I give that all the credibility of when a business points out they are BBB certified. If you’ve ever noticed, the ones that make a point of telling you this are the sketchiest businesses you’ve ever run across.

If you’re coming to New York soon, don’t fret over the closing of the Greenhouse. There’s no shortage of velvet rope ringed STD factories with $20 covers and a guy with a laptop pushing the play button on music made by someone else while you try and buy $20 Malibu and Diet Cokes for your next booty call.

But when the bottles start to fly you better duck.

As my dad likes to say, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”

But I think mom knew best when she said, “That’s what happens when you hang out with douchebags.”

Now Hiring, Idiots

“No I’m sorry sir, we aren’t hiring any more idiots. We are the idiots, and our jobs are taken.”

Seriously, finding a job is never fun, but some days I gotta wonder how these people doing the hiring got their jobs in the first place. The economy sucks, and if you’re fortunate enough to be employed, don’t take it for granted. You could wind up working for these people. Here’s some headlines from Craigslist:

Do You Want a Live Changing Career?

“No I prefer a DEAD end job.”

OPEN HOUSE ON TEUSDAY

“This typo is slightly excusable, the proofreading is not.”

EXCELLANT LINE COOKS

“Bill and Ted’s must be hiring.”

this position requires you to be very energetic and work with a SENSE OF ERGENCY.

“Sense of spelling optional.”

Restuart Staff Wanted

“Stuart? Stuart! Who the fuck is Stuart?”

Bartenders need woman only – (Yonkers )

“No! Bartenders need Beer and Woman. That make Bartender happy!”

You’re better off working for yourself than these idiots. Fuck the man. Now listen to the Clash tell it how it is.


Overheard on the Subway

Everybody loves people watching. Checking out people’s styles and attitudes, the way they interact. Sitting in a crowded bar on a Friday night or on a park bench on a hot summer day can provide nearly endless entertainment. How do you feel about people listening? Sure, we could call it eavesdropping, but that makes it sound so dirty, so contrived. If you’re in a public place talking loudly with your friends, or even worse on your friggin’ cell phone, then you deserve to be made fun of for the stupid shit that comes out of your mouth.

A little background for you. The Unread Blogger spent many years as a bartender, a fact that has been largely ignored by the local restaurant community.  But my unemployment will be a subject for another post. My point was when I walked up and down serving the bar, people sometimes forgot I was there. Now some people flat out told me their troubles and I listened like any good bartender should. But some of the funniest, nastiest, dirtiest, most scandalous things were said when I was not expected to be listening. And women, your stories were the best, or the worst, depending on perspective. However, I am a professional, at least I was, and I overheard your stories in confidentiality and would never sell you down the river. Just remember your bartender hears everything. Even washing glasses on the other side of the bar. Well except that hipster dude with the handle bar mustache, he’s too cool to pay attention to anything.

However, when you ride the subway and you are surrounded by people who are fare paying customers, it is on. Last night I’m coming home to my little couch on the prairie and the subway is fairly full, and two boys, because that’s the way they referred to themselves, were talking about their exploits. They apparently are enrolled in school of some sort; art, film, somewhere you can find lots of girls willing to bang you according to them. So I got to listen to all their exploits and planned exploits as they carried on as if they were the only two people on the subway. At one point it lead into a little about a grad teacher only a few years older who told him:

“Don’t come to class drunk or high”

“But I swear I don’t”

“Dude, it must be your eyes.”

“Well, we have mutual friends, she told me.”

“Maybe she wants you, do you want her?”

“The teacher, hell no. But you know who I passed by yesterday?  The lesbian that plays guitar. We passed by each other and turned to look at each other after we walked by. And I was all ‘I knew you like boys.’ Right, I mean she totally was into me, why would she check me out otherwise. She must do boys occasionally.”

And it went on and on and on. And I know I wasn’t the only one listening.

So good luck boys, with the whole banging girls thing, but really, that was pretty tacky.

And for the lesbian that plays guitar, it sounds like you’re very pretty. I don’t care whether you like boys or girls, or men for that matter, just stay away from that douche.

I’ll be listening.

-The Unread Blogger