Tag Archive: NYC


Pizza race number

So one week after I partook in a bike race by mistake, I found myself in another race this weekend.  This time, my entry was entirely on purpose.  And completely impulsive.

Because I’m surrounded by avid runners who take their sport very (too?) seriously, I’d been swept up with all sorts of talk about running.  I fucking loathe running.  I find it the dullest, most tedious athletic activity on the planet.  After all, per “the rules,” one should only run if being pursued; and one should only run fast enough to evade capture.  Everything else – fuck that noise.

So what the fuck was I thinking on Thursday when I opened my email and read an article about a foot race around Tompkins Square Park on Saturday?

This race was called the New York Pizza Run.  Apparently, this was the fourth year it’s been run, but this was the first I’d ever heard of it.  But unlike other races, this had a splendid twist to it.

The race comprised 4 laps around the perimeter of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.  At the completion of each lap, you had to devour one slice of pizza before you could commence to the next lap.  At the end of the fourth lap, you cross the finish line and you’d have 2.25 miles in the books.

Two-and-a-quarter miles, four laps around a small park, three slices of pizza.  That sounded so goddamn ridiculous, there was no way I couldn’t not do it.  And so I signed up.

But I also invited my runner friends.  The ones who run multiple marathons a year.  The ones who are constantly training for some triathlon or other.  The ones whose every conversation at every party is about running.  It was as if to say, “Hey, you guys, I’m doing a foot race, I’m one of you guys now!”

Except, I wasn’t, of course.  This was just running around stuffing our faces with pizza.  TOTALLY NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH.  Not within a million miles of being in the same league.  If they were the NFL, I was tossing around a Nerf ball trying to be cool.  “I’ve got not time for jokes, bro.”

Hardly anyone even acknowledged getting my email asking them to join me in this ludicrous run.  Not that I gave a shit because I was going to do this run with or without them.

So Saturday came, and I took the train down to Astor Place and walked the four blocks to Tompkins Square Park.  I might’ve even sprinted a couple of blocks.  Gotta warm up, get loose.  This is a race, after all.  (barf)

I checked in to the race, and got a race number.  Ooooh, a number, this is serious shit.  Then I looked to my left and saw the professionally-crafted start line on the sidewalk of in the middle of 7th Street.  SO OFFICIAL, you guys.

Pizza Start Line

And of course this was exactly the sort of race that draws participants who dress up, run goofy, and take the piss out of the whole running thing.  There was a girl dressed in a banana suit, another dressed in a pizza costume, another in a Superman outfit.  Shit, even I ran with baggy knickers but that’s because that’s all I had.

Shortly before the start, a friend from work actually took me up on my offer and joined me for this race.  Yay, somebody to run with!  Except he ran a fucking marathon this past spring, so, you know… I figured he was going to just lap me at some point.  He’s fit as a fiddle, I’m fat and slow, it’s inevitable.

Pizza3So we lined up along the chalked line, and without much fanfare, the race was on.  This was not a closed course.  We were simply running on the cobbled sidewalk around Tompkins Square Park.  That meant we had to swerve around the homeless.  We had to take evasive action from oncoming hyperaggressive city moms with their massive strollers that were not.moving.out.of.the.way.because.fuck.you.runners.  We had to run around tourists (those fucking, wandering guys).

Oh yeah, and at the end of each lap, we had to wolf down some pizza.  And it seemed a real goddamn shame to have to go all Joey Chestnut on these incredible slices.  Sure, by the time we got to them, they weren’t warm any longer, but holy shit, they were delicious.  They were supplied by Cer Te, and they were quintessential New York margherita pizzas.  Ultra thin crust, sweet fragrant tomato sauce, large discs of melted mozzarella, and slivers of basil on top.

Mmmm pizzaThe rule was that you couldn’t run with the slice of pizza.  Before you were allowed to start your next lap, you had to eat the whole slice.  You were permitted to run-and-chew, which is what I tried on lap 2, and that turned out to be another in a string of poor decisions.  Trying to run with a bolus of half-chewed pizza in my fat gob meant that I choking on bits of pizza that would go down the wrong tube.  When your mother taught you to not run around with a mouthful of food, she was right.

When I got to the end of the third lap, I paused before I took that slice of pizza.  Three slices of pizza on any day would be more than I would typically eat.  Three slices while trying to run – that was bullshit.  But I had one lap to go and my friend had started to take off for his final lap.  I grabbed the final slice, stuffed it in my mouth, slugged some water, and staggered on to the final lap.

When I reached the finish line – yes, it was also drawn out in chalk – there wasn’t any over-the-top fanfare.  There wasn’t any big noise or confetti or anything grandiose.  (It’s a fucking pizza run, what do you want, jeez)  Just a lot of laughter, a lot of high fives, a lot of beaming smiles.  And for me, a slight sense of “huh.”  Somewhere between “well, that didn’t suck” and “that was pretty awesome.”

And that was it.  Four laps and three slices later, we were done.  It was hilarious, it was ridiculous, it was oddly satisfying, it was brief, and no one threw up.  We got a bit of a workout, and we were well fed.

My first ever foot race, only my second time ever running outdoors.  I was never going to come in first, but if I didn’t come in last, that was my greatest achievement of the day.  You know what, scratch that – the fact that I even ran this thing was my greatest achievement of the day.  And if it wasn’t so ridiculous, there’s no way I’d have done it.

Count me in next year.  Because when there needs to be a futile and stupid gesture done on somebody’s part, I’m just the guy to do it.

 

 

You’re too Canadian

METZ

Forget the “eh” suffixes, forget the poutine, forget the moose and beaver jokes, forget aboot it all.  The oft-overlooked Canadian stereotype is that they’re a painfully polite bunch.

This was never more evident that the show I went to a couple of nights ago:  METZ at the Bowery Ballroom.

It was hard for me to imagine what this show was going to be like, given that this is a band with only one album.  One album that comprised ten songs, with a total running time of about 28 minutes.  The last time I saw a band with similar credentials, it was Vampire Weekend at Terminal 5, and I swear that show was done by 10:30 – 10:30!! – and no one had any idea what the fuck to do with the rest of the night.  We were all let out of show, and I swear I saw kids in pajamas getting ice cream with their parents.  That was just fucking weird.

But METZ are nothing like Vampire Weekend.  I guess folks categorize these guys as noise punk, whatever the fuck that means (I fucking hate these categorizations because they’re all trying too fucking hard, and each label is more meaningless than the next).  A power trio from Toronto that’s not fucking Rush.  They don’t suffer Graceland-era Paul Simon-type melodies.  These guys are built one thing and one thing only – noise.  So maybe I shouldn’t get too concerned.

After a couple of entirely forgettable opening bands, roadies cleared the stage and started to set up for METZ.  After a very quick setup – gone are the days of thirty pedals on the floor with a rack of half a dozen guitars; now it’s one instrument going into one, maybe two pedals and that’s it – the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered… and the roadies came back on stage.  Wait, what?  Holy shit, those weren’t roadies – those guys setting up were METZ themselves.  I’d never seen that shit before – a headlining band setting up their own gear.  “Oh, that’s alright, don’t go through any bother, we’re quite happy to take care of ourselves.”

How painfully Canadian.

The lead singer/guitar player looked like a millennial Bill Gates.  The bass player looked like comedian Rob Delaney.  The drummer, fuck knows what he looked like but he was back there machine-gunning away at the heads.

A couple of polite hellos and boom, off they went.  Bill Gates launched into a rapid, piercing riff and shrieked into the mic like a dragon whose balls had been set on fire.  Eager headslamming on stage; in front of me, a mosh pit quickly formed.

A mosh pit?  That’s adorable.

About that mosh pit – it was the nicest, most gracious mosh pit I’d ever seen.  I mean, how often have we gone to show where fuckheads who don’t know how to mosh end up slamming around and punching someone in the face, then a fight breaks out, and everyone gets tossed from the floor by security.

In this case, everyone knew how to mosh.  It was weird, but everyone followed the unwritten rules of moshing.  If someone fell, a bunch of guys would reach right in to help pull him up.  Girls jumped into the middle of it, and the guys would take it easy.  Despite all the slamming and stomping around, there just wasn’t much angst and rage.  The mood was more, “hey, we’re just here to have a good time”, not “hey, we’re here to kick the shit out everyone.”

It was the most polite mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Meaning, it was the most Canadian mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Which begs the question – did the band bring their own moshers?

Back to the band, METZ’s on-stage presence bordered on being marginally comical.  When the amps were screaming, they shrieked and raged like banshees.  Between songs, Bill Gates would gently thank the crowd, “Thank you so much, you guys.  We’re so happy to be here.”  Insane noise machine one minute, boy scouts the next.  It was this seamless transition between madness and gentleness that made it all so fucking bizarre.  Yet, remarkably refreshing.  Here, check it out yourself:

Even when the bass player had blood pouring from the bridge of his nose when he slammed his head into the mic, he sheepishly told the crowd, “Excuse me, I’m gonna have this looked at to make sure I don’t need the hospital.”  He came back with duct tape between his eyes (a proper rock move), thanked the crowd, and then resumed slamming his head to his bass lines.

So, so Canadian.  Canada rules.

 

 

When shit happens, run like hell

 

 

So, a supermegafreakohurricane swept into the New York area and soundly kicked everyone’s ass.  Some asses got kicked much harder than others.  Almost in biblical terms, the hurricane smote the Jersey Shore, possibly for its past transgressions but I don’t wanna appear insensitive.  The financial district in downtown New York also bore a major brunt of the storm.  Farther north and inland, it seemed a bit different.  It appeared that if you got away without much harm, you were inconvenienced at best.  But if you got any damage, you got royally fucked.  No middle ground, it seems.

My family and I got incredibly fortunate.  After several harrowing hours of pounding winds on Monday night, we came through the next day with only a loss of electrical power to the house.  Everything else remained as it was.  The cars were covered in leaves, and the yard just littered with small branches, but that was about it.  Holy shit, did we dodge a big one.

Without power, we were fortunate to have friends around the corner who’d offered us refuge in their homes with some essentials – warmth, good food, and PAH-WOAHHRRRR!!!  And gobs of wi-fi.  ZOMG, wi-fi-nom-nom-nom-nom-nom!!!

Even as I write this, I’m shamelessly leeching my friend’s wi-fi to post it on the blog.  Clearly, I’ve got my priorities in order.

The first day or two was spent being resigned to trying to learn just how fucked the New York area got after the storm.  When I got tired of watching the dreariness of TV news, I turned my attention to seeking out storm porn online.  I did nothing but stare at a screen and stuff my fat fucking face.  By the end of the second day, I could feel the physical and emotional atrophy starting to take hold.

So I resolved do something I’d never done before in my entire life – go for a run.

Now, the idea of going on a run for exercise or for fun is something that is as alien to me as a W is to Jets fans.  I mean, what the fuck is that all about?  According to Velominati rules – of which I am admittedly in constant violation more often than not, but remain in reverence – one “should only run if being chased…  [and] one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.”  Makes perfect sense to me.

I decided to go on a run because I had no other choice.  I couldn’t go another day without actually getting off my fat ass to do something.  My gym had been submerged under the deluge from the Long Island Sound.  Like the idiot shithead that I am, I left every single one of my perfectly functioning bicycles (yes, I have 8 bikes; they all do different things, don’t judge) in my garage that became entirely inaccessible when the loss of power knocked out the electric garage door opener.  Real first world problem, you know.

What was left for me, but to strap on a pair and give this running thing a try.

On the morning of the third no-power day, I laced up my sneakers, plugged my ears up with old school metal (you sure as fuck can’t go running to something like The Cave Singers, can you?), ran out the door.

After 100 yards, I had to walk back 10 feet to pick my spleen up off the road.  I thought I was going to DIE.  My lungs were on fire and every joint in my legs throbbed.  After a mere 100 or so yards.  I am such a fucking fat ass, I was thoroughly disgusted with myself.

I took to walking.  After a few minutes, and having some of the sheer embarrassment drain away, I tried running again.  I lasted one block.  Fuck, now I’m really gonna die, I thought.  I got lightheaded.  I might’ve puked if I didn’t have an empty stomach at the time.

Fuck it, I walked a bit more, then ran a bit more.  Then walked a bit more, then ran a bit more.  And because I’m not only a fat piece of shit, I’m also a horribly shallow piece of shit.  When I saw someone approaching, or when there was someone passing in a car, I’d stop walking and start running.  As such as they were out of sight, I’d have to clutch my chest, and wheeze down to a walk again.  Walk, run, walk, run, fight with the earphones falling out of my head, walk, run, walk, run, fumble with earphones some more, walk, run, goddamn these fucking earphones, run some more.

Not quite the excursion I’d imagined.  After 45 minutes of this bullshit, I ended back home.  If I die now, at least I die at home, not along some suburban road like some sad fuck.

The Velominati were right.  Fuck this.

Which is why I found it comical when the big debate came up about whether or not the New York City Marathon should be run at all, coming less than a week after Hurricane Sandy dropped a huge steaming dump all over the city.

Holy shit, how dare they even think of running this thing!  This is such a crass event to hold so soon after such a devastating event!  So horrible, think of the humanity!

Mind you, these are all from people who have lights on in their houses and don’t have roofs torn off their homes.

I say, shut the fuck up and let them run this marathon.

Listen, if 35,000 assholes want to run all over New York City in the state that it’s in, fuck ‘em, let them do it.  Don’t alter any of the routes: if part of the marathon route is underwater or if there’s a power line in their way, let them run go right through it.  You want some excitement to break the dreariness of waiting for repairs to your house?  Go watch 35,000 dickheads run through raw sewage and live wires in Brooklyn.

Not good enough?  Fine, we can easily turn the whole thing into a humanitarian effort.  You wanna run this stupid race?  Fine, you have to carry 20 lbs of relief supplies and distribute them as you ferret your way through the city.  Stop being a selfish dickhead and make yourself useful, for fuck’s sake.

Thing is, cancelling the marathon or moving it to another date or place isn’t at all feasible on short notice.  Millions had already been spent – by sponsors and participants – on this event.  You don’t just toss all that out because it makes some self-righteous schmucks feel better about themselves.  The 35,000 runners have probably been training hard as hell for this – a once-in-a-lifetime event for some.  Who the fuck are you to tell them that they’ve been training for nothing because you wanna feel better about yourself.

It also doesn’t mean that just because the marathon’s in gear, absolutely no one is getting any help or disaster relief.  Trust me, people are going to continue getting help, you whiny bitches.

So, fuck it, let’s all go running after a storm.  Because really, is there really a better time to go do something remarkably stupid?

 

 

 

The close button in every elevator in the world.  Half the time the open button doesn’t even work.  But the close button?  100% of the time non-functioning.  Doesn’t matter if the door is just taking a little longer to close, or if you see your douchebag colleague running across the lobby to catch the elevator you’re in and the little spot of joy in your dreary morning is to pretend like you’re reaching for the open button to keep it open but you’re really thumbing the shit out of that close button to slam the door on the him – that stupid close button is there just there to mock you which you stand in this cabled box.

 

The “aroma” button on my coffeemaker.  This was designed for the express purpose of filling you with false hope.  It’s a coffeemaker – it fucking makes coffee and coffee already makes everything smell like coffee.  What’s the fuck could this button possibly do?  Make a bigger coffee smell?  I have no idea how it’d do that.  This is such a stupid non-functioning button on my coffeemaker.

 

 

Bay leaves.  The charlatan of the herb and spice world.  The whole fucking bay leaf industry is a fucking sham.  We all throw these stupid razor-like leaves into our cooking and think that they’re magically going to make our food delicious.  Here’s a test – what the does a bay leaf even taste like?  That’s right, you have no fucking clue.  You can’t tell if your spaghetti sauce had a bay leaf in it or not.  That bay leaf is entirely inconsequential to your cooking.  Yet, we’re all schmucks to go fishing around our gravy to pull this stupid leaf out so that no one accidentally chokes on it.  Fuck bay leaves.

 

The “no tokens” sign in NYC subway turnstiles.  There hasn’t been a fucking token in use in about 10 years now.  Just who the hell are these signs targeted to?  The packrat crazy guy living under the Brooklyn Bridge who suddenly just came upon a token he’d hoarded back in 1999 and suddenly decided to take a train ride up to Central Park?  How about you put up some useful information at these subway stations.  “Next train in 3 minutes and there’s a douchebag who’s with a recumbent bike in the second car from the rear.”  That’s useful shit that could come in handy.

 

Check engine light.  The single-most pointless indicator ever invented.  It tells you NOTHING.  All it does is freak you the fuck out and make you sweat bullets as wonder if your engine’s gonna just suddenly drop out from under your car.  Or if your engine bay will turn into a big ball of fire while you’re gunning 90 on the highway.  Or absolutely nothing will happen at all.  It’s fucking stupid.

 

America, fuck yeah!

20120620-084448.jpg

(source: Mark Armstrong Tumblr)

Unlike a lot of city dwellers who can’t wait to skip out of the town the minute the sweltering summer hits, I fucking love New York in the summer time.  Granted, I don’t live in the city, and if I was stuck in a smoldering shoebox in the city, I couldn’t be blamed for wanting to bail and glom on to my friends’ Hamptons rental at every available opportunity.

I live in the burbs of New York, and even though I spend every fucking day in the city at work, I love being in the city.  But with the onset of summer, I’m hastily reminded of the single-most grating aspect of city – the motherfucking tourists.

Motherfucking tourists are the fucking worst.

A couple of years ago, when I saw that picture above of the two-laned sidewalk, I thought my dreams had finally come true.  If I could vote, I would’ve re-elected Mayor Bloomberg as mayor for life.  Alas, it was a fucking stunt, and my dreams and hopes were crushed to smithereens.

What New Yorker wouldn’t relish some concerted initiative focused on making sure that tourists get and stay the fuck out of the way?

This morning I had to refill my subway metrocard.  Wouldn’t you know it, I get stuck behind two tourists.  They did everything you expect tourists to do – fumble around the touchscreen, going back and forth.  Which is understandable if you’ve never used the machine before.  But they were buying a shit ton of single-ride tickets, and chose to pay for each fucking ticket with motherfucking coins.  Coins.  Half a dozen single-ride tickets with goddamn coins.  Where the fuck did they score that many coins anyway?  There are no slot machines in the city, far as I know.  Pair of shitheads.

We need set up one subway card dispenser in some dark corner at each station.  If you take more than 10 seconds to buy your subway card from the regular machines, boom, you get locked out of the regular machines and you have to the shitty machine in the corner.  That’s fucking teach you.  Especially if you’re a New Yorker – stop buying your subway card like a goddamn tourist.  Subway card machines should be like the Soup Nazi.  You walk up, you punch the buttons precisely, you take your card and you walk away.  Quickly.  If you take more than 10 seconds, you gotta go to the dreaded tourist card machine in the corner where the wino using as a makeshift urinal.

You know what, let’s make it a whole checkout thing altogether.  In stores – I don’t care if it’s a small drugstore or a massive department store – we need to have dedicated checkout lanes for anyone with bulky backpacks, athletic sandals, fanny packs, soccer jerseys, and/or Hollister shopping bags.  That shit’s a dead giveaway you’re goddamn tourist ready fuck things up for the rest of us.  Special lanes for you so that you can fumble for loose change in that fanny pack while the rest of us can get our shit, get out, and get on with our goddamn day.

And why limit those tourist and local paths to sidewalks?  Put that shit on crosswalks as well.  I’m not sure what it’s like in other cities, here in New York, most of us will fucking jaywalk a Don’t Walk sign if we feel we’ve got anything more a 50% chance we’ll make it the other side of the street before getting splattered by that mad yellow cab careering towards us.  I got shit to do, I can’t be standing around waiting for some light.  But what good is that when you’ve got a wall of German tourists standing like they’re trying to defend a free kick at the World Cup in front of you?  I say we make ‘em stand in a tourist-only crosswalk lane while the rest of us are free to put our lives in our own hands and dodge traffic all day.  Like I said, I’ve got place to go and shit to do.

And how the fuck do we get around the whole tipping thing when it comes to tourists?  I get that tipping isn’t a big thing outside the U.S. – some more argue that plenty of assholes don’t tip within the U.S. either, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I was in dark, dank bar in the West Village a few weeks ago – one of those bullshit “secret” bars that EVERYONE knows about.  Well, I sat down for a few brews and this Swedish girl walks up to order some drinks for her friends seated at a nearby booth.  “Can I have a beer?” she says.  First of all, that’s completely retarded question to ask at a bar.  In any case, the kind barkeep offered a beer suggestion, she took it, got three pints, paid for the beers, LEFT NO TIP, and walked away.  The barkeep didn’t seem too bothered by it – probably not the first nor last bunch of clueless tourists who wandered into his bar that night.  But holy fuck, can these assholes please get some crib sheet when they arrive at the airport on what proper etiquette is expected of them when they come to NY?  Shit, if I’m obligated to try and converse in a bit of French when I’m in Paris, you sure as fuck are expected to tip the people serving you in NY bars and restaurants, bitch.

Here’s what a cheat sheet might look like (and of course it’d have to be written in goddamn Comic Sans – if it wasn’t written in Comic Sans, how you would know it’s completely stupid?):

All of which is to say that Big Gulps aren’t ruining New York.  Not bath salts.  Not douchey hipsters.  Not Tim Tebow (OK, maybe a bit).  It’s fucking tourists.  Goddamnit.

When the rain is pissing down so hard that it looks like the book of Exodus has opened at your front door, that’s the best time in the world to make your way to a tree-hugging festival in the middle of NYC, right?  Right.

Which is what I did yesterday.  Wifey’s idea, natch.  She was all into celebrating Earth Day so she signed up the whole family for the NYC Green Festival.  Which I suspected was going to be every bit as terrifying as it sounds.   You fucking know it: a fully-sustainable clusterfuck of granola, drum circles, and hemp shampoo.

To help protect Mother Gaia, do we do the right thing and take public transportation to event?  Fuck no, we all hopped into our 250hp fossil fuel-fed four-wheel drive family sedan and gunned it down the West Side Highway.  I may have even hit a bird on the way down.  We then spent another 30 minutes circling the west side looking for a parking lot that wasn’t full so we could park our car.  Fuckin’ A.

Eventually, we got to the event, which was tucked into one corner of the Javits Center.  It was the smallest event at the convention center that day.  It was dwarfed by something else called the International Beauty Show (they used the most unfortunate acronym, IBS New York – I was expecting row upon row of portajohns), and some college fair.  We snaked our way through what looked like a million Snookis and another half-million high school imbeciles.

 

When we got into the Green Festival, it wasn’t entirely what I was expecting.  Being at the Javits Center, this was like a trade show.  But open to the public.  Four massive aisles of booths, multiple stages set up across the floor for talks and workshops, and a floor full of extras from Portlandia.  We started our wander through the booths.

What did the kids immediately make a beeline for?  The first few booths, which had tons of chocolate, all boasting fair trade, organic, small batches made by Nicaraguan cave children or some shit like that.  Kids didn’t give a shit, they just saw open bowls of chocolate and they were encouraged by the nice hippie ladies behind the counter to help themselves as much as they wanted.  Thanks for nothing, bitch, you’re not the one who has to deal with the sugar crash in 20 minutes.

 

Eventually, I came across a booth that didn’t piss me off – a bike shop!  They had some sweet small brand bikes, but in the end, they didn’t really have anything that excited me too much.  The only bike I wanted was the owners fillet-brazed steel fixie.  And he wasn’t about to part with it.

Right in the back of the hall was this big white bus.  The inside of the bus was a kids’ play area, but the whole thing looked suspiciously like some brainwashing lab on wheels.  I imagined my kids going in as normal kids who eat hot dogs and play with lightsabers, but then coming back out wearing a hemp sackcloth, eating a bean taco, and asking to adopt a goat.

Thankfully, Kid Uno did not disappoint, as he took to their whiteboard and happily predicted the devastation of the earth’s poles (left).  I have never been prouder.  My kids ain’t half bad, after all.

Also not half bad was the centerpiece of the event, an all-electric Ford Focus.  I have a difficult time with Ford.  Being an American car, I can’t be blamed for thinking it’s going to be a piece of shit, but the Ford Focus also has roots in Europe, which means it can’t be completely awful.  This electric version was eye-opening, that’s for sure.  Not only did it not suck, the build quality was quite decent, design fairly ergonomic, and the ripped-off-from-Aston Martin front end was flattering rather than offending.  Downside was that it’s still a short-range, single-speed, 40-grand hatch.  It may be one of the first all-electric cars that doesn’t look like a Tamagotchi toy, but it’s not quite the answer yet.

And in what shape did I emerge from this whole thing?  Fuck if I know.  All I know is that my kids had a blast, wifey enjoyed it, I ate some really shitty food (vegan cheese and kale chips), some not-so-terrible food (corn salsa and vegan macaroons), and I wanted to punch this fucking guy who kept walking around playing a guitar…

 

And I escaped without getting caught up in some tree-worshipping pagan ritual.  Boo yah.

Kid Dos, part dos

There is no limit to what this kid will do or say that makes me want to smash my head against a brick wall.   Like these:

  • While waiting in line to get into the fucking Lego store at Rockefeller Center during the Christmas holidays, he shouts out, “Hey, I have a great idea, why don’t we just walk around this line, go to the front, just cut in line, and we’ll get in before everyone else!”
  • When asking me for cardboard: “Dad, can I have some cardboard please?” “What for?” “I want to make a cardboard sword so I can go cutting and stabbing!” “WHAT?! You’ll do no such thing.”  “OK, OK, I’ll just make some cardboard guns then.”
  • “Dad!  I know what a yeti is!  It’s a crazy snowman!”
  • “Do you know why I can’t have a playdate with a girl?  Because she might get attracted to me.”
  • Out of nowhere, “I hope I don’t have Pilates today.”  (Pilates?!)
  • “Dad, why do we even need mommies and daddies?”  “Because kids can do some things and not others, so mommies and daddies can help.”  “Well, I can fight off robbers with my karate powers.”
  • Upon tasting the toxic swill that is Hi-C for the first time: “Woah, this tastes epic.”
  • “I like everything in this world, except bad guys.”
  • “Mommy, I’m looking for some weapons.”
  • After a few solid swings of the bat during tee-ball practice in the backyard, “When I grow up, I don’t have to be a ninja, I can be a baseball player.”
  • “Dad, during an earthquake, did anyone lose all their teeth?”  (WTF?!)

 

Last week, as I was doing my daily persuing of Gawker, I came across this article.  While the conclusion (the Gawker one, not the incredibly douchey quote they used) was most apt, I started to make an assessment of what I do that makes me a “New Yorker”.  By the way, I fucking hate the term “New Yorker”.  “New Yorker” is a goddamn magazine.  More so I don’t want to be a “New Yorker”, like it defines me or something.  The same way people with diabetes or asthma don’t want to be called “diabetics” or “asthmatics.”

I prefer to say “I’m from New York”.  Except I’m not.  Like a kabillion other people in NY, I moved here from a far, far away.  Halfway ‘round the world, in fact – Kuala Lumpur.  But that was a long time ago, and NY is now my home.  It has been close to 20 years.  Which means, as the Gawker article suggests, I am for all intents and purposes, a goddamn “New Yorker.”

Which also means that it is my God-given right to get massively fucked off with clueless tourists.  But worse than tourists are people who live in NY but continue to act like tourists.  If the “living in New York for 10 years” rule is pretty spot on, then most of these offending residents are often kids recently out of the school who are now working in the city.  Or folks transferred to NY for work.  Either way, you know who you are.

For fuck’s sake, start acting like you belong here.  Stop being so visibly enchanted by all the cool and crazy shit you see around you.  Stop going to your Facebook account and saying how much you love this city.  You sound and look like a retarded cat chasing around a laser pointer.  In fact, stop using Facebook to show off to your family and high school friends back in Ohio or Virginia or wherever you’re from, what a good time you’re having here in New York.  I’m sure your mom is sufficiently impressed, but that’s no reason to broadcast this past weekend’s exploits at the Frying Pan to everyone you know.  Why are you friends with mom on Facebook anyway?  That’s just weird.

For fuck’s sake, DO NOT call the city “Gotham”, “The Big Apple”, “City That Never Sleeps”.  No self-respecting New Yorker (ugh!) says shit like that.  I know people from northern New Jersey – NEW JERSEY!! – who refer to the city like that.  Those people need to be restricted from ever leaving the state of New Jersey.

As with not calling New York stupid names like “Gotham,” if you live here, you also need to stop acting like the whole city is one big “Sex & The City” episode.  That fucking show – besides being braindrainingly retarded – also set the city back by several decades by portraying city women has annoying, devastatingly insecure harpies.  Even so, it’s a stupid TV show.  That’s like moving out to L.A. and trying to live like Brandon Walsh.  Knock it off.

Also, stop eating at places like Olive Garden or Crapplebee’s.  No self-respecting New Yorker eats in shitholes like that.   Richard Christy, one of the writers from Howard Stern’s show, is a hilarious yokel shithead from Kansas, who’s been part of the show for the better part of 10 years now, and he’s been living in NY the whole time.  The hilarity stops when he goes in the air and talks about how he orders from Papa John’s when he wants to treat himself.  WTF.  New York has a minimum of ten proper pizza joints on every block, and pizza here is without question the best pizza in the country.  Yet, this shithead can’t see beyond the greasy manhole covers they sell at Papa John’s?  Richard Christy clearly no interest whatsoever of “being from New York.”

And for God’s sake, move around a little.  If you live in the Upper West Side, get out of the Upper West Side as often as you can.  Go hang out in Red Hook (yes, go look it up, I’ll wait).  Go see Staten Island (the ferry is free, for fuck’s sake).  If you insist making your New York existence as some hipster douchebag living in Brooklyn, go venture to the Upper East Side or something, even if you don’t think you’re gonna find anything you like.  Not everything is a cosmo bar or some trendy BBQ joint.

But avoid places like the top of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. What are you, insane?  They’re loaded to the gills with tourists and you’re trying to avoid being associated with tourists, remember?  Only go if you have family in town and if you go, make sure grumble the entire time.

I’d like to think I’m New York enough.  But I live in the ‘burbs, just north of the city – still New York state, not New Jersey or Connecticut.  I like my front yard, my backyard, I like not sharing walls with potential axe murderer.  That may cause me to lose some major cred with my New Yorkness.  But close to 20 years in, I think I’ve got what being from New York mostly figured out.  Mostly.

 

When I read for the first time about the idea that New Jersey wanted to host a Formula One grand prix race, I rechecked to article to see if I’d inadvertently been reading The Onion.  At first it was only within the F1 press, which most F1 fans will tell you, make up 50% of the bullshit stories on a good day.  Some time went by, then other proper news channels like the BBC, USA Today (granted, not a proper news source, more like a colorful doormat at hotel rooms), and the like started to give credence to the story.

Shit, I thought.

Then Tuesday, October 25 rolled around and the press conference happened at 2pm.  About a kabillion politicians proudly declaring a second grand prix race to be run in the U.S., to accompany the U.S. Grand Prix to be run in Austin from 2012 on.  From 2013 on, Weehawken and West New York will jointly host another F1 race.  They claim that it’ll be “challenging like Spa” and “feel like Monaco”.  Yes, it’ll be exactly like Spa and Monaco.  If both Spa-Francorchamps or Monte Carlo were built and run by Paulie Walnuts.  Because when I think “glitz and glamor of the Riviera”, I automatically think “Weehawken.”  And West New York, a town so bereft of a proper identity that it’s named after a navigational direction from a city which lays in an entirely different state.

It’ll still smell and look like New Jersey, for fuck’s sake.

The Hudson River Grand Prix.  The Lincoln Tunnel Grand Prix.  The Meadowlands Grand Prix.  The North Jersey Grand Prix.  The Smells-Like-Bad-Eggs Grand Prix.

Never have I witnessed something so horrific yet so hilarious.  Except maybe for Nancy Grace and Chaz Bono sharing the same prime time hour.  The horror… the horror.  But holy shit, that’s fucking hilarious.

Here’s why the Dirty Jersey Grand Prix is a phenomenally bad idea.

Traffic.  New York and its surrounding areas are already packed to the gills with some of the most dreadful traffic known to man.  There are a gajillion terrible vehicles on shredded roads all over in and around New York.  The last fucking thing I need is for the F1 circus to come to town and jam up the roads even more.

It’s New Jersey.  Has anyone ever looked at New Jersey and ever thought, “New Jersey, now that’s a well-run state.  I wish we could be like New Jersey.”  No one in the history of time has ever said anything that retarded.  It’s a state that is so up its own ass with bad decisions and even worse management that it damn near imploded into a black hole several short years ago.  How the fuck can anyone trust this state to properly run a grand prix?  A grand prix is a big fucking deal.  Hundreds of millions of eyeballs around the world are going to be on it.  New Jersey?!  It’s already the biggest fucking joke in the hemisphere – New Jersey, is this your attempt to become the biggest running joke of the entire universe?   Canada will not take kindly to that.

European and South American douchebags.  New York already has clueless tourists coming out if its ears.  Do we really need several thousand extra douchebags from Italy, Germany, France or Brazil fucking up this city?  “But, oooh they’ll spend lots of money here.”  No, they fucking won’t.  These shitheads will show up with backpacks and sleep in the Holland Tunnel or outside Port Authority.  They’ll eat at Sbarro then whinge about how shitty New York is.  They’ll order Bud Lights then moan about the piss-water beer.   At least when the grand prix was held in Indianapolis, the distance from the port of entry might’ve been a bit of a deterrent for some.  Now that it’s right smack in the New York area, these fuckers are going to show up by the shedloads.  The grand prix is going to held in New Jersey.  Do you think they’re going to spend any time in New Jersey other than when the racing’s taking place? Like fuck.  These assholes are going to swarm into the city like locusts.  Large, hairy, smelly locusts.  And there’s going thousands of them.  Thanks to EasyJet or any of these other budget European or South American airlines that’ll let them fly into JFK for the price of a baguette.  Fuck.  That.

Everything is going to be stupidly expensive.  And I’m speaking relative to already jacked up NYC prices.  Plus, I’m going to be locked out of every decent restaurant in the city.  Because that’s what these fuckers do when the F1 circus rolls into town.  Doesn’t matter where it is, everything becomes increases exponentially in price.  A $5 falafel from the street meat truck will now cost you $9!!  I remember paying shitloads of money for some shitty Days Inn motel room on the outskirts of Indianapolis.  On a given day, the room would’ve probably cost $30 and you’d get a can of Lysol with that.  But on race weekend… $200!  Plus an extra $20 if you wanted clean sheets!  Motherfuckers.  Same shit’s gonna happen to all my favorite food joints.  If you can even get in, that is – if they haven’t all been booked up for every manner of F1 party the week leading to the race.  Red Bull are probably going to throw 25 different parties a night for a week and I’m not invited to a single one of them.  No one’s invited unless you’re 23 and have D-cups.  Vodafone will probably buy out a corner of downtown and give rides to their VIPs in McLarens (forget it, you’re not getting in).  I won’t be able to get a table at a restaurant in Murray Hill because Force India will have locked up that whole area the whole week.

This fucking guy.  I don’t wanna be anywhere in the same zipcode as Flav.  I might contract some disease from his slimy trail of suntan oil and sleazy underhanded dealings.  Seriously: Flavio Briatore is the greasiest douchebag ever to slither his way onto a grand prix paddock.  And now that his ban from the sport is over, you can bet your ass that he’s going to make his way to this grand prix event.  Because he’d be right at home in fucking North Jersey.  I’m getting skeeved out just thinking about this fat fuck.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind going to a grand prix, I just don’t want a grand prix to come to me.  While part of me is pleased at the prospect of being able to get into my car, pull out of my own driveway, drive down to a grand prix race for the weekend, then drive home again (amidst hours and hours of stifling traffic), and NOT need to cough up gobs of cash for shitty flights and even shittier hotels in some other city, I still think it’s a fucking terrible idea.  I’d rather pay to go to someone else’s city to watch a grand prix than to have the F1 madness fuck up my city.

I’ll believe this is really happening when I see or hear the first 18,000rpm 2.4L V8 fire up in Weehawken.  And when that happens, who’s in?  Ahhh, fuck it, I’m in.