03 December 2007

I managed to fit both a Phil Collins and a Rod Stewart reference into this post. Patrick Bateman, eat your heart out.

“How many times have we taken the subway downtown for absolutely nothing?” I asked.

“We’re going on at least three,” Sarah said as we got back on the Q train. This was only an hour after we had originally deboarded at Union Square on Saturday night.

The time in between was spent standing in line in the (literal) freezing cold for Michael Ian Black’s show at Fillmore East, only to be informed the show sold out when we got to the ticket window.

I was heading back to West Midtown to drink a bottle of wine, eat a block of aged gouda cheese, and watch “This Is England.” Not a terrible Saturday night by any means, but since downtown had rejected us for the third time, I still felt like the subway owed us one. Sarah and Mike agreed.

And that night the subway did pay us back. Handsomely.

CHAPTER I: MAY 2007, In Which 12 Friends Take the Subway to 14th Street at 2 a.m.
I refer you to this blog entry, in which about a dozen of us walked around the West 14th Street area for a good hour looking for a strip club. Unsuccessful in our quest, we took a cab back to our hotel.

CHAPTER II: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2007, In Which 4 Friends Take the Subway to Despotic State “Aura”
A few hours into drinking at a bar in Midtown Friday night, Sarah’s co-workers decided to change venues; they were taking a cab, while Sarah, Mike, Joe and I decided to stay behind to finish our drinks, eventually taking the subway downtown to meet them in progress at the pre-determined location. This location was someplace at 5th Avenue and East 19th Street. When we got to the general vicinity, Sarah called:

“Where are we going—an apartment?”
“Is that a bar?”
“No. It’s a LOUNGE.”

We found Aura just a bit later and queued behind the “velvet rope.” Velvet ropes, as a general rule, send Mike over the edge. He started throwing out claims that this was no “lounge” we were lining up for, and that it was it was, in his opinion, a “club.” He then proceeded to make fun of clubs/clubgoers/this specific club within earshot of the doorman. The doorman who was supposedly going to let us in.

I bet you think that this is the part where the rejection comes. Wrong. This is what people in the writing biz like to call “a twist.” We did get over the threshold of Aura’s outer layer moments later (although much to the doorman’s chagrin). Sarah dropped the name of the party we were there for. Anyone could tell it pained him to let us pass.

Three minutes later, we were back outside.

Why? Not only are you REQUIRED to check your coat at this particular establishment, but you have to pay $4 to do so. I was so flabbergasted by this situation, I could not even verbalize the bevy of questions that this coat-check policy brought up. For example:

• Can’t you see that this over-garment hits above my hip, therefore classifying it as a jacket rather than a coat?
• Is this a coat check or a jacket check?
• Define “coat.”
• Can’t you see that this “jacket” is CLEARLY part of my outfit?
• What if I wear sleeves all the time because I have hideous burns on my arms? Maybe I have arm acne. Open sores. Wrist scars. Vulgar tattoos. Excess flab. Things that, if you’re so concerned about “image,” maybe the coat would be preferable to.
• If the old saying goes “Jacket Required,” are you telling me this establishment is “No Jacket Required?” If so, this gives entirely new meaning to Phil Collins’s solo career.

So we walked back from Aura, and went to an establishment whose policy is “If you’re cold you can wear your jacket, if you’re not, you have the option of taking it off. Unless you think your jacket adds a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the whole ensemble, then you can choose to keep it on. Basically when it comes to layering, do whatever the fuck you want.” House of Brews at 46th and 9th has said policy. They also had cheese fries and Yeungling bongs, which were more our style anyhow.

(I mean seriously, is there anyone out there that thought Phil DIDN'T mean "A jacket is optional--but not necessary--to listen to this album? What jackass is jamming to 'Sussudio' sleeveless in Minnesota because they thought Phil was making a call for no overcoats?)

CHAPTER III: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2007, In Which the New York City Subway Ultimately Redeems Itself.
Just as Mike, Sarah and I all nodded in agreement that the subway—particularly the N, R, Q, W line—owed us bigtime, a lanky old toothless hunchback, who also happened to be blind, stepped on board and started belting out “The Christmas Song.”

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jackfrost nipping at your nose…”

Performances of this nature are rather commonplace on the subway, but I’ll admit that this was a particularly hard one to simply ignore since:

1.) This guy had an alarmingly loud voice;
2.) You couldn’t help but feel really sorry for this guy’s teeth/sight/homelessness situation; and
3.) If, like me, you had to control urges to laugh at his crooning, the guilt pangs were tangible.

He finished up the song, finally…

“Although it’s been said, many times, many ways, ‘Merry Christmas’ to yooooooooooooouuuu, and you and you and [high note] yoooouuuuuu!”

[SEAMLESS TRANSITION] (And I really cannot effectively express just how seamless it was)

“If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, come on baby let me know!...”

If your mom didn’t listen to Rod Stewart when you were a kid as much as my mom did and/or your name isn’t Jessica Farmer, you might not know that the lyrics above are from the Rod Stewart song “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” which the old blind toothless hunchback continued to sing for the next two subway stops.

I hid my face in my collar to (ineffectively) disguise my gasping laughter and when I resurfaced for air about 90 seconds later, I had tears running down my cheek as I turned to Sarah and said, “That was payback.”

Q Train, your balance is back to zero.

02 November 2007

A part of me wishes we dressed as the Bluths for Halloween.

I have arrived at the conclusion that nothing would be more frightening to a non-westernized human than walking through Times Square on Halloween. I’d say I am westernized to the max and it was still a bit scary.

In celebration of Halloween this year, Mike and Sarah dressed as contestants from the early-90's Nickelodeon show GUTS. I dressed at the GUTS referee, “Mo.” There should have been a third contestant to round out the troupe, so we created the
backstory that he/she had been disqualified for illegal doping.

Since I was portraying the ref, Mo, I wanted to make sure to have at least a few of the event names at the top of my mind grapes in order to keep the character believable. So I visited the GUTS page on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUTS). And printed out all 15 pages of information.

What I found was startling.

I found that someone--whoever authored this page- has not only conscientiously sat down to watch--no...FOCUS on-- every episode multiple times, but also took notes and calculated stats at a level of detail I thought only Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man could achieve. And then he analyzed those notes and stats. And fact checked them.

The first two sentences of the entry alone is full of more information than I could EVER know about GUTS:

“GUTS is a 30-minute "action-sports" game show that aired for four seasons on Nickelodeon from 1992 to 1995. Mike O'Malley presided as host; Moira Quirk (often called Mo) was the referee. The show was taped in Universal Studios Florida on Soundstage 21 which was not part of the Nickelodeon Studios Complex, but was rented by them.”

Here are a few other gems:

----“In 1992, Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean appeared on GUTS, competing against Amanda "The Accelerator" Bulger and Jamie "The Jackal" Mendelsohn, and finishing with the silver medal. He was in blue and referred to on the show as "AJ 'Mean' McLean". He had one event win during his appearance, that being a win in the Slam Dunk event.”

----“The fifth and final event, the Aggro Crag (later renamed to the Mega Crag, and finally the Super Aggro Crag) ultimately decided the winner. All three contestants raced to climb a fabricated mountain, activating a series of lighted targets commonly referred to as "actuators" (six and later seven in the first season; eight from the second season on) on their way to the peak.”

---“It should be noted that the Aggro Crag was not actually made of rock, but out of foam and particle board. Thus, being awarded an actual piece of the rock was intrinsically impossible -- the winning contestant received a trophy like the one seen on-camera.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Did Mike, Leslie and Sarah have a piece of the crag?”

Does this answer your question?

Now, I know what I’m about to say may come as a shock to some of you, but GUTS is not exactly a mainstream costume. It’s certainly no Spiderman. There is a small window of "generation" that experienced GUTS and I'd mark that window around people who are currently ages 20-27.

It was evident that a lot of people did not know what was going on with the elbow pads and Crag. But when someone recognized our theme, they got SOFA KING CISED. We got everything from "OMG! GUTS! I LOVE YOUR COSTUME!" to "FUCK!!! GUT'S WAS MY SHIT, YO!"

And then finally, I got a "Meow!" Has nothing to do with GUTS but it came from a guy who was about 80 years old and was not wearing any costume whatsoever besides the whiskers he scribbled on his face.

And before I get to the truly awesome portion of the evening, the chewy center, if you will, I'll run one more "bad pickup attempt" by you:

Guy in costume walking down Bleeker Street: "Hey, you're cute."

Leslie, to Sarah: "Oh really sir? You are wearing a giant inflatable penis costume."

Then we watched him try to get his giant inflatable dick-self into a cab. Which was AH-MAZING. He had to deflate his head (And I ABSOLUTELY did not intend a pun there) to clear the cab door opening and squeeze into the back seat...WITH TWO OTHER GUYS ALREADY IN THE CAB ALSO DRESSED AS GIANT INFLATABLE PENISES.

God I love Halloween.

Alright, now to the meat of our evening. Sarah had got us on the list for a Halloween party sponsored by The Onion, featuring comedians who voice the Cartoon Network show "Lucy: The Daughter of the Devil" at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

I guess we got there an hour or so into the festivities, and we really had NO IDEA what we were in for at this event, but just as we arrived a gentleman talking in a gruff voice and wearing a paper Jim Leyland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Leyland) mask was ranting on stage.

We were standing towards the rear of the crowd, by the bar, and I ordered a PBR can (naturally) and a cup of candy corn (my favorite fall candy, which according to the “Arts & Living” editors of The Washington Post means I am a "Purely deluded” person. I “don't get that candy shouldn't attempt to imitate other food groups, particularly corn." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/source/features/2007/halloween-candy-102807/chart.html?hpid=smartliving)

As we were enjoying our drinks, snacks and comedy, a few of Sarah's co-workers passed by us on their way out and we ended up relocating to spot they vacated in order to get a better view of the stage.


Right after we moved, Mike turns turns to Sarah and I and, in a discreet yet fervent tone says, "Um do you realize that you were standing RIGHT NEXT to David Cross?"

LG: What?!?! Tobias Fucking Funke? Where?!?! Where? [tiptoeing] I don't see him!!

Mike: He was actually standing so close to us that I couldn't whisper "David Cross is standing next to you," because he definitely would have heard.

I maneuvered my way into a position with a decent view of the bar where I had been standing. Sure enough, the spot was now occupied by genius character actor/comedian David Cross.

BITTER! I blew my opportunity to chat up David Cross! My only secret hope and dream at that point was that he would somehow get involved with the show that was underway.

As I made my secret wish and then announced it to Mike and Sarah (I am a bad secret-keeper), “Jim Leyland” welcomed a guy named Todd Barry to the stage. Didn’t recognize the name, but I immediately recognized him as....that guy from....FUCK! WHAT HAVE I SEEN THIS GUY IN? It was killing me. I took a break from racking my brain though once I realized how hysterically funny this guy was. I guess his schtick is total low-energy delivery with a really calm and soothing--borderline creepy—voice.

At one point he told us about how he recently did a show in Alabama, and he always gets asked by New Yorkers: “Alabama? What was THAT like?”

“Oh, well you know. It was at a club. There was a stage. Chairs were made available for audience to sit in…..No. I know what you mean. What was it [whisper] REALLLLLY like? Well, I arrived the Birmingham airport and was immediately greeted at the airport by the grandmaster wizard of the Klu Klux Klan. From there we rode bareback by mule to the comedy club, where I was barely able to deliver my routine over the shouts of “Go home Jewboy!” And then I was paid in pork rinds. Is that the answer you were looking for you narrow-minded liberal assholes?”

After the show I ran into Todd and talked with him a bit. Funny. Nice. Doesn’t talk in that creepy-calm voice in real life. FINALLY realized what I recognized him from…He’s Todd from Flight of the Conchords. TODD! The bongo-playing Todd that achieved massive musical success by forming a rival band with Dimitri Martin and releasing the hit song “Doggie Bounce.” I remember when the episode aired I recognized Dimitri (I’ve posted one of his Daily Show videos on here before—“Video Resumes,” if you recall) and texted Sarah: “Dimitri Martin. Key-tar.” That’s all. She understood completely too, which is why we get along so swimmingly.

Jim Leyland (who I will mention was actually John Glaser) hopped back on stage and was rudely interrupted by a loud skur-kuffle at the bar. Something about Heineken not being available and Red Stripe tasting like piss. It took me a moment to realize that one of the two guys fighting with the bartender was David Cross and this was a staged sketch. David Cross and another guy (who I recognized but still haven’t figured out who he is) took the stage as “The Heiny Brothers,” two rather unrefined guys from Boston that love the Sox and loooooooove Heinekin.

Finally, the last stand-up, Eugene Mirman, took the stage. It started off awkward, to say the least, which immediately indicated that he was going to be AWESOME. By the end, I was doubled over in stomach pain from laughter. I wanted to run into him after the show just to tell him that without a doubt, I have not laughed as hard as I did during his bit than I have in, I’d say a year.

Eventually we did cross paths. Toward the end of the night, in the garden, after he had had (I would guesstimate) around 8 glasses of scotch, he sat down next to me on a bench. He was slurring his words a lot and I'm fairly certain that he had no idea what was going on, but we got a picture of him holding the Crag.

The next day I IMDB’d him. He plays the landlord on Flight of the Conchords. EUGENE THE LANDLORD!! And on a hot tip from a couple we met dressed at Rhymenocerous and Hip-hop-opotamus, he apparently hosts Sunday nights at this bar with Michael Showalter. (Love him!)

If there is one thing I can take away from Wednesday night, it is that you should always believe people who dress as Rhymenocerous and Hip-hop-opotamus. People dressed as giant inflatable penises, not so much.

25 October 2007

An unlikely duo.

As most of you know, I prefer to leave work-related items out of this blog as much as possible. But tonight cannot go untouched. So I’ll have to just sub in some names and let you draw your own conclusions.

My office is handling all media relations surrounding the 10-night run of the band Von Hovi* (name changed for privacy reasons) at a brand new arena in Newark, New Jersey. Since you probably have no idea who Von Hovi is, I’ll fill you in on the background: This is a band from NJ that became rather popular in the 80’s and maintains a steady New Jerseyan following. As my friend Sarah said, “Going to see (Von Hovi) in Jersey is like going to see Jesus…in Jerusalem."

Until that week, we didn’t know how much press would be allowed to cover this, but it quickly got out of control and it was clear that all hands would be needed on deck.

So yesterday, one of my bosses says to me: “So? Are you a big Von Hovi fan?”

LG: “I really couldn’t care less about them.”
Boss: “Let me rephrase that. Do you have unbreakable plans tomorrow night?”
LG: “I’d be happy to work the show.” (at this point, not super thrilled…but alright. Why not?)

The essential concert personnel from our office headed to the venue around 2pm today, and the three of us (including me) who were called in for backup headed over around 4:30. One of the guys I was traveling with is fresh out of college, about 5’3" and is ALWAYS bouncing off the walls...and totally cracks me up with his crazy energy. We’ll call him “Fritz.” The other guy could not remind me more of Woody Allen. Right down to the way he talks, lives (in Brooklyn) and wears glasses (thick). We’ll call him “Woody Allen.”

As we were boarding the train to the Jerze, Fritz started naming every Von Hovi anthem he could think of and then proceeded to sing them. Passionately. Oddly enough, this actually got me pretty stoked to see the band. I kind of forgot how many songs they sing that remind me of college frat parties (there are A LOT of Penn Staters from NJ).

Walking from the train to the arena, Fritz mentioned that Eddie was really excited to see My Chemical Romance (There is no sense in changing this name. It’s just too perfect).

LG: Oh? Woody Allen, when are you going to see My Chemical Romance?
Fritz: Tonight. We all are. They are opening for Von Hovi.
LG: WHAT? !?!? Are you sure? That doesn’t even make any sense. At all. (then I proceed to text Robbie that I am going to have an awesome story for him later because I already know that the possibilities are endless when it comes to talking MCR with Robbie. It leads into discussions of Hot Topic, emo haircuts and eyeliner always.)

Now, before I go on, I just want you to sit back and think for a moment about the kind of crowd a MCR concert + Bon Jovi concert IN New Jersey will draw.

If you were thinking “an awesome one,” you are right. Gold star.

When the three of us got into the press room, our boss told us that our main duty will be to escort and accompany the photographers to the front of the stage before each band’s set and escort them out after each band's third song. He then took us into the arena area and showed us where to stand during all of this. The area is between the bouncer barrier and the stage. Closer than front row seats, obviously.

Then I looked up. And Ron Von Hovi is standing over me getting ready to sound check.

I can play like I’m too cool for school all I want, but that is fucking unreal. Ron Von Hovi is kind of an American icon. One that doesn’t age apparently, either, cause he looks great (and I’m not into him at all). Kudos to his dermatologist, personal trainer and dentist.

Then, we walked backstage as Von Hovi's soundcheck was continuing and we passed a gentleman in a black hoodie who seemed friendly enough, gave us the "chin up" nod and a “What’s Up?” I almost didn’t recognize him without the eyeliner and tears running down his cheek, but it was definitely the Black Parade music video dude. Or MCR lead singer. However you want to associate it. Fritz said he thought that his casual salutation was actually an outcry for friendship and perhaps if we were a bit warmer, he would have gone in for a hug. Maybe he is so sad because he needs friends. Don’t hate on emo kids. Change an emo kid’s life by befriending them. There are many on MySpace that you could certainly AT LEAST EXTEND an offer of e-friendship to.

Anyway, I was thisclose to the stage for MCR, and homeboy wore all black, but no makeup, surprisingly. And if it’s not tooooo weird to say, he’s actually a very pretty guy under all that Sephora. Perfect teeth (which I have a thing for) and gorgeous eyes (why detract with all that eye gunk? Sounds like SOMEONE needs a Jane “makeUNDER”!!!)

The we escorted the photogs out after three songs. I was going to try and go back in to catch the last song (which I assumed would be “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and I am not ashamed to admit I really like), but my services were needed backstage blocking the media from attacking the catering room. One chick asked if she could go in and get some hot soup. I wanted to be like “What? Are you Oliver Twist? Does this look like a fucking soup kitchen? First of all, steak and fettuccine alfredo are what’s on the menu. Second of all, are you starving? Go around the corner to Quiznos like everyone else. Better yet—a base has just been stolen in the Sox game. Free Taco.”

Then the Hovi hit the stage. And I was in charge of keeping order amongst the photographers in the stage left area—the side closest to Von Hovi guitarist Dickie Shamshora.

And there is one question that will continue to perplex me until the day I die: How does that guy score chicks from Melrose Place? He is a wrinkly old bag. If he weren’t a rock star, best he could do is chicks from The Golden Girls. Best. And I’m talking Bea Arthur and Rue McLanahan (let’s face it, she’s a ho. FO sho.). Estelle Getty has higher standards than that.

All in all, totally fun night. Totally unexpected. And TOTALLY Jersey. I didn’t know whether to tease my bangs or sweep them over my black-rimmed eyes. One thing is for sure though: tight pants required.

18 October 2007

The ballet is TIGHTs! (that's a slang pun).

Last night I went to City Center to see Christopher Wheeldon’s premiere of “Morphoses.” As a person who knows relatively little about ballet, besides my two-year stint as a ballerina around the ages of 5/6 (which coincided with my stint as a tap dancer…god I hope those cowgirl pictures of me tapping in the fringe skirt and sequins never surface) and know who Mikhail Barishnikov is (who, by the way I SAW outside of the theatre last night. But just to prove how much of a non-ballet-focused person I am, my first thought after my eyes popped out of my head was “OMG! Alexandr Petrovsky!! Why were you such a dick to Carrie?!?).

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes. As a person who knows relatively little about ballet, it was….AWESOME.

Which I think was kind of Wheeldon’s point, from all the press I’ve read (his publicist needs a pat on the back).

Check out this New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/arts/dance/30solw.html
And this week’s New York Magazine article: http://nymag.com/arts/classicaldance/dance/features/39314/

Wheeldon wants to bring ballet to the young folks…and make it fun, youthful and sexy. Mission accomplished, sir.

About a month ago, Sarah B. sent me a list of various events she wanted to attend and if I wanted to go to any with her. Given my budget I only allowed myself one. Between picking from various ballet and theatre events she listed, as well as an Arcade Fire concert (and you all know how much I like Arcade Fire), as soon as I looked up the description for Morphoses, I was sold. I think the nail in the coffin was the fact that Wheeldon brought in Narciso Rodriguez to do the costumes. I figured, even if I hated the show, I could appreciate the outfits.

I didn’t hate the show. In fact, I was mesmerized. During the second part of the show, each ballet was introduced by a short behind-the-scenes rehearsal film, which I thought added an entirely new and interesting element to the presentations.

The real jaw dropping show was the last piece: Fool’s Paradise. My first reaction after watching it was “Did David Lynch direct this ballet?” So, OBVIOUSLY, I loved it. It was totally weird and sexual in a creepy yet awesome way that makes you want to watch it again. Which is how I feel about most David Lynch projects.

I know this premiere run is sold out in New York, but if Wheeldon’s company takes off, which I predict it will, I highly recommend catching a performance to ballet and non-ballet folks alike. A truly mesmerizing and interesting experience that will make you smile at times and scratch your head in wonder at others—a dichotomy that begs you to come back for more.

Final tidbit: According to his Playbill bio, Wheeldon choreographed the movie Center Stage, a cheesy guilty pleasure of mine (story-wise, the dancing at the end is tight though, so hats off to you, sir) which plays on the Oxygen Network AT LEAST once a week. That did not stop me from impulse buying the DVD at Target for $7.99, though.

05 October 2007

Niles Crane is angry and he's not gonna take it anymore.

Last Friday, Sarah D. asked if I wanted an extra free ticket to the Rangers-Islanders game at Madison Square Garden. Why not? I had an open evening, and had never been to MSG.

Little did either of us know, she COULD have posed the question THIS way:

“Do you want to go to a top shelf open bar suite with an all-you-can eat buffet for free? Oh, by the way, there’s also hockey game going on….....Yeah? Ok. Meet me at 6:45 in front of Madison Square Garden.”

To say that things got out of hand fairly quickly is somewhat of an understatement.

To say that we considered calling the MSG “concierge” to have them bring us another bottle of Johnny Walker because we had already gone through one bottle by the second period, but didn’t have to because the concierge replenished it automatically, would be accurate.

To say that I didn’t consume a week’s worth of food and at least a weekend’s worth of drink would be a total fucking lie.

I don’t know who won the game. I think it was the Rangers. But by that time, Sarah and I were lying on the suite floor. BECAUSE WE COULD. An hour after the game, when the MSG staff told us it was time to pack up, we headed on our trek back uptown.

Our trek involved a stop at what I can only describe as “Disco McDonalds” so that I could use the bathroom, and Papaya King so that Sarah could get the most disgusting looking hotdog I had ever seen. Then, As we rounded 45th Street towards Mike and Sarah’s apartment, Sarah had a glorious idea.

As a bit of background, David Hyde Pierce (AKA Niles Crane on “Frasier”) is starring in a play on the corner of Mike and Sarah’s block. The first weekend I was in the city Sarah and I were walking through a crosswalk and I saw DHP walk right by us. And of course pointed him out. The following week, Mike and Sarah saw DHP on their block hugging Liza Minelli (AKA “Lucille 2”).

Anyway, Sarah’s glorious idea was to wait outside of the theatre with the rest of the post-play crowd that had gathered and meet David Hyde Pierce.

I was pretty amused by this idea. Mike was not amused AT ALL. But he basically got outvoted because I always love watching people make fools of themselves. Which of course was inevitable. Every time a cast member came through the stage exit, Sarah took a picture with them and even had one actress sign her arm with a Sharpie.

We were both visibly and olfactorally intoxicated, which really pissed off the Playbill-carrying crowd patrons (everyone but us). The actors and actresses went along with it and kind of had fun with us.

UNTIL David Hyde Pierce appeared. I guess he was wearing something that had to do with his role or part of his costume or something, but he was wearing a Boston Police Department hat and polo. So after he signed a receipt that Sarah pulled out of her pocket, I asked him if he was from Boston.

DHP: No.
LG: Then what’s with all the Boston garb?
DHP: Well MAYBE if you’d come see the SHOW you’d KNOW.

[Mental note: OOOOOHHHH Snap. I totally just got carried by Niles Crane.]

Sarah: Well we just live next door.
DHP: Well then you really have no excuse.
LG: Um, Ok. Maybe we’ll get tickets.
DHP: Get tickets, come back, and I’ll sign your Playbill.

[end scene.]

Mike, who has been totally embarrassed by the whole situation that had ensued over the previous 20 minutes had a smug look on his face, “You just made mortal enemies with DAVID HYDE PIERCE.”

The next morning, I met up with them to head to a bar for the Penn State game. Sarah still had “Deborah Monk” scribbled in Sharpie on her upper arm.

26 September 2007

My encounter with the two smallest non-midget humans + Wes Anderson (also very small)

Last night I went to a film screening, followed by a Q&A with WES ANDERSON (!!!), Jason Schwartzman (!!), and Natalie Portman (!). I knew Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman were small, but sweet jesus, not pixie elves. Luckily, short people don’t scare me, so their physical stature doesn’t affect the high esteem in which I hold both of them. Jason’s long been in my top 5 list of favorite actors, and has been holding steady at #1 ever since I saw the grossly underrated movie Slackers. As for Natalie, I’ve always respected her role choices and she gets even more points for her boldness last night. Read on.

Last night I attended the SoHo screening of "Hotel Chevalier," Wes Anderson’s 12-minute prequel to "The Darjeeling Limited" (out in limited release this Saturday). More so than the news that FOX cut the short film from the theatrical release of "Darjeeling," "Hotel" is making headlines for bringing us Portman’s first nude scene. While it was done extremely tastefully, you have to be super bold to sit in front of a room and answer questions from a crowd that just saw you totally naked.

I LOVED the film. But since I saw it in an atmosphere chock full of Anderson superfans that waited 3+ hours in line for 12 minutes in cinematic heaven, it’s hard to say whether that assesment is based on the film itself or the shared experience of laughing at every dry line that more often than not goes over the head of a typical moviegoer. Also, I saw in the credits that Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton had something to do with the costume and luggage design for the project. Soooooo, you can imagine that my state was somewhere between overstimulation and blacking out from hyperventilation.

Wes is known for his visually spectacular presentation, and although the entire movie was shot within the confines of a Parisian Hotel room (a real room/set- i.e. no fake walls), he still managed to pull it off. True to form, it also features quirky music. In fact, during the Q&A, Wes admitted that the song that plays throughout, "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" by Peter Sarsted, was the inspiration for the film. In fact, Jason said Wes played the song in the background when he called him with the idea.

Before I go on, I must give credit to Sarah D. for calling me Monday night to give me the head’s up on this event. She’s quickly securing a spot as my “Person of the Year,” between her wingwoman skills and the Wes/Jason alert. I was nervous I wouldn’t get into the screening, as the policy was first come first serve and the earliest I can get out of work is 6. The event was at the Apple store on Prince Street (SoHo) and I rolled up around 6:30. Success! Full success! I got a wristband and a guaranteed spot inside. And if you wanted a shot at actually being able to see the screen, the Apple staff advised us to stay in the line. So I did. Until 9:45. When they finally let us in. 45 minutes late.

Capacity was 200, and I was number 132. The Apple store has a decent sized screening area if you’re entertaining, say a 3rd-grade field trip. There were 5 rows of theatre-style seating which I’d guess fit about 75-100 viewers. The rest was standing room only. I got a halfway decent spot behind the event photographers. I could see the film fine, although once Jason, Natalie and Wes came out, I had to shift and tip toe. I’m going to blame that on their height, though, not mine.

I had prepared two questions, which ended up getting asked, albeit by other people. The first question, the obvious one, was addressed in Wes's first answer. “Which came first the chicken (Darjeeling) or the egg (Chevalier)?” Wes said the “prequel,” Hotel Chevalier, was originally shot before Darjeeling was ever written, not as an afterthought of the movie, and not as a part of the movie. He also once considered making it a part of the full-length film, but then thought it might be cooler to show a 12 minute short, have a little break for people to check their cell phones and get some snacks and then show Darjeeling. But then he realized that didn’t really work in a theatre setting. Hotel will be a feature on the DVD though. I also heard it might be made available for free download on iTunes.

The other question I had jotted down (also keeping in mind Natalie Portman’s recent participation in "Paris Je t’Aime," a collection of short films by various directors shot in exclusively in Paris) was whether or not Wes would ever consider doing a collection of short films. As an afterthought now, Hotel Chevalier was shot in Paris. That totally could have been a part of "Paris Je T’Aime." Anyway, Wes said he would love to do a film composed entirely of shorts. And I would love it if he did, too.

My favorite question, though:

Guy: "Is Kumar in Darjeeling?"
Wes: "Um, I don't think most of the people here know what you are talking about and I'm not going to explain it, but yes. He has a brief part."

NOTE: I knew what he was talking about. And I suspect any Wes Anderson fan would. You underestimate your following, Wes. You really do.

The Q&A lasted about 30 minutes and, for me personally was a once-in-a-lifetime experience not only to gain insight to my all-time favorite director’s perspective, but just to see Wes and Jason banter back and forth from, like, 20 feet away.

Even though I spent three and a half hours waiting in line, I have zero complaints. The people watching was second-to-none. The screening might as well have been co-sponsored by NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts and whoever produced that “Hipster Olympics” video that’s so damn popular on YouTube. In front of me were two female students/American Apparel employees, one sporting a platinum blonde faux-hawk and silver lamé bike shorts, the other rolling her own cigarettes. The guy behind me wore thick-framed glasses, tight jeans, brought dinner with him from Dean and Deluca, followed by a can of beer wrapped in a brown paper bag. I ended up chatting a bit with the guy standing next to me when I first arrived, who appeared to either be a reporter or a very diligent note taker. He was kind of cute in a retro-nerdy way but he definitely had some kind of nervous tick, so I assumed he was probably some brand of psychotic. Later on in the night his friend, a white guy with an Afro (who via eavesdropping I found out later was an actor/comedian/bandmember with no dayjob...which I think is the norm here) showed up on his bike and reported that he had a 24 ounce beer and four chocolate chip cookies for dinner. MAN! I was starving. I must have looked it too because the girl working at the Alessi coffee bar that I was situated just outside of in line gave me my choice of pastries they had left at closing. So I chowed down on slice of Almond Brioche and looked forward to the evening to come…

Appendix: My favorite lines from Hotel Chevalier.

Jason’s character: [On the phone with room service, ordering in French] “…oui, et pain avec frommage…Um. How do you say grilled cheese in French?”

Natalie’s character: “If we fuck I am going to feel like shit tomorrow morning.”
Jason’s character: [long pause] “That’s OK with me.”

Update from my "Person of the Year:"
Marc Jacobs meets Wes World: http://www.observer.com/2007/welcome-wes-world

Other press:
Pictures of the line from last night (I was at about the spot where this picture cuts off):

Pictures of Jason, Natalie and Wes at the Apple store last night:

LA Times on "Hotel Chevalier": http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-darjeeling24sep24,1,3665790.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews&track=crosspromo

Guy who got the actual quotes right from last night because he is a reporter with a notepad:

23 September 2007

A weekend of highs and lows.

My first week in NY was a whirlwind. I think the blog is going to take a back seat for awhile now that I know work is definitely going to be a lot more intense (no more posting during office hours, from what I can tell so far).

Friday after work I stopped at Pinkberry for frozen yogurt. And after just one cup I am addicted. It’s indescribable and incredible, but I’ll take a shot: Tart, frozen creamy deliciousness topped with fresh fruit and various cereals. I opted for raspberries and Cap’n Crunch. Also available: Fruity Pebbles, Coco Pebbles, Granola, Kiwi, Blackberries, Lychee, etc.

I hit 10th Avenue with Sarah, Mike (Sarah’s husband) and Joe (Mike’s brother) later that evening. As I was walking to meet up with them however, some sort of particle hit me in the eye and I was having a tough time trying to get it out. So I stopped in Mike and Sarah’s bathroom before we went to the bar and realized a huge chunk was missing from my cornea. Sarah had no eyepatches on hand, so I braved the bar with a red, tear-y eye, which really consistenly flared up when I laughed really hard…to the point where I needed a napkin to sop up the tears. So Sarah has about 4 pictures of me that look like I am in absolute agony, weeping in a bar on my first night out.

Mike and Joe were taking in the Yankees game at the bar, while Sarah and I were taking in many drinks. The game went into something like 14 innings and Sarah and I (who both loathe the Yanks) had about enough by inning 12. So we left the boys to finish watching the game and took the subway down to the village and ran into a bar I had been to and had a great time at before: Fat Black Pussycat. For a bit, it was just me and Sarah at a booth, which apparently is the universal invitation for obnoxious/sketchy guys to come chat. One such fellow sat down next to me and would not shut the fuck up. I thought I could get us off the hook my mentioning that Sarah was married. Turns out that just made him refine focus his focus to me. So Sarah winked at me, got up, and left me at the booth. Alone. Distraught. And wondering what signal I was giving her that it was OK to leave me alone with Creepy McCreeperton, the self-proclaimed Investment Banker (which I am POSITIVE was a total lie).

Turns out Sarah is the best wingwoman ever. She discreetly found two normal guys, explained the situation and talked them into saving me. No less than 2 minutes later, my “boyfriend,” Brian and his friend showed up and yelled “LESLIE!! Baby? How’s your night going? Why is this guy here??” So they sat down at chatted with us for a couple minutes and then our real entourage, Mike and Joe showed up, depressed from the Yankees loss shortly thereafter. Crisis averted.

Got a late start Saturday, but Sarah and I did some shopping downtown at The Container Store before watching an extremely depressing Penn State-Michigan game. I’ll be the first to admit that we deserved to lose that game. The only thing good about it was the bottle of red wine, hummus, nachos and salsa we consumed during play. Morelli should be tarred and feathered for that performance.

Today I met my other Sarah (Buck) for lunch in Central Park and a walk around the Upper West Side. It was great catching up with her and planning our upcoming concert and ballet schedule. I also feel like a terrible friend because I totally didn’t realize tomorrow is her birthday (I am horrible with dates). But anyway…HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!

17 September 2007

Maui is the New Bermuda Triangle.

I’m thinking of a word. 8 Letters. Synonymous with “United Airlines.”


I was originally supposed to fly to Baltimore and move my stuff with my Dad and brother to my apartment in NY on Sunday morning. However, my flight was canceled in Maui, so I decided to fly directly to NY. It took a total of 42 hours between the time I arrived at the airport in Maui and the time I arrived at my new front door.

I’m thinking of a 6 letter word to describe my trip here.


The whole mess began when our flight to the mainland from Maui was canceled on Saturday afternoon. Now, I completely understand that travel plans get messed up from time to time. But to begin with, the flight cancellation was due to a United eff-up to begin with. This cancellation launched a domino effect of fuck-ups that resulted in United paying for the lodging of 300 passengers not one, but two nights in a row.

No one really ever gave us a reason for the cancellation, because they couldn;t decide on a good story. But when the pilot finally told us the truth the next day, he said that the initial problem was that someone overbooked our flight’s pilots according to the TSA’s flying time-off requirements and we didn’t have anyone that could legally fly us out of Hawaii to the mainland. Solution? Fly an entire Boeing 777 to a smaller airport on a different island. The airport we flew into:

  1. Was a 10-minute flight away.
  2. Had a total of 5 gates.
  3. Is not enclosed in any way.
  4. Looks like a Pizza Hut parking lot.

When we arrived (after nearly skidding off the runway) we were told to get our bags and go to the airport curb and someone would provide instructions. What happened when we got to the curb was someone in a Tommy Bahama shirt checked our name off a list and then just left us all standing—IN THE RAIN—with no idea what was going on. FOR AN HOUR. Luckily, my newlywed friends, Robbie and Jessica were stranded with me. As we stood huddled in a massive group, I told Robbie that I couldn’t live under this United Airlines dictatorship and that we needed to organize a coup. He replied that although it would be nice to stage an uprising, there was no one there to rise up against. The United people just disappeared. They had no idea what was going on either or how to handle a group of 300 stranded passengers. So they just left us there.

Finally a bus showed up and everyone stormed it. Half of us got on that bus, which was headed to an unknown hotel. A few minutes later another bus showed up and took the other half of the plane to another hotel. After awhile of just sitting in the parking lot, a flustered United agent got on the bus and said that she had meal vouchers for everyone but that:

1. The meal voucher was only good for $10 towards the hotel restaurant’s $40 buffet and

2. Her printer was broken so we would have to sit and wait on the bus for the printer to get fixed.

We all yelled to fuck the vouchers and just get us to the hotel.

Since the hotel buffet was out of the question, Robbie, Jess and I walked to town and got Nachos and beer at a dive restaurant called “Lulu’s.” At Lulu’s you can write whatever you want on a $1 bill and staple it to the restaurant walls/tables/fixtures. We opted for this:

We had been instructed to be at the hotel curb at 5:30am the next morning so that the bus could depart promptly at 6 am. None of us thought that would give us enough time to check in for an 8am departure, but like I said--dictatorship. So to add fuel to the fire, the bus did not show up UNTIL 6am. That got us to the airport, which was completely and totally unequipped to handle us, an hour and 15 minutes before we were scheduled to take off. 300 people, all queuing in a line at once, all who have to rebook connections. Compund that with the Hawaiian work ethic of “let me smoke some doja and move at a glacial pace…and BE AN IDIOT,” and you have a recipe for an hour and forty-five minute flight delay. By the time the plane ended up taking off, all of the connections we had just stood for two hours in line to book were now null and void because when we arrived in Chicago, the airport was done for the day. I’ll also mention that they ran out of food on the plane and we had no opportunities to buy our own food in the morning before leaving. So Robbie and Jessica lived on ‘Nilla wafers they bought the night before. I lived on trail mix that I had packed. Oh, and sleeping pills.

In addition, I will also remark that Robbie, Jessica and I stayed in relatively good spirits throughout the ordeal. There just wans't much you could do about the situation except laugh and make snide comments. There were some people there with real problems stuck in this situation though:

1. An 95-year old wheelchair-bound woman with Alzheimers.
2. A Make-A-Wish foundation recipient.
3. A couple who had just flown to Maui to get married and were returning because he was shipping out to Iraq the next day.

Luckily, people on the mainland (and in a major city) are competent. When we landed in Chicago (about 10:30 pm), the United customer service team had water bottles and snack boxes ready for us when we got off the plane. Then everyone got in a new line, which was much more efficient than anything we had experienced so far, booked connections for the following morning, got assigned to a Chicago hotel to crash at for 5 hours, and a $3 meal voucher. Yes. You read that correctly. THREE DOLLARS.

Do you know what I was NOT able to buy with a $3 voucher? A bottle of fucking water. I used my $3 meal voucher and $1.25 cash to buy a $4.25 bottle of FIJI water for breakfast the next morning.

Things you cannot afford to buy with just your $3 meal voucher at Chicago O’Hare International Airport:

-A bottle of water
-A plain croissant
-A scone (HURTING food item. I wouldn’t even want it if it were free!)
-A Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks
-The Egg McMuffin combo meal from McDonalds
-A fruit “medley”

I arrived at LaGuardia at 10:15am this morning, hydrated from my $4.25 bottle of water. I retrieved one of my bags, which had arrived on the 6am flight. My other piece of luggage—the one with all my clothes in it—is lost.

I opted to splurge on a taxi to the city since I had been traveling already for 40 hours. Since airlifiting wasn’t an option, I wanted the next possible fastest route “home” (an apartment I have only actually seen for 5 minutes).

The taxi line was at least 20 minutes long, so the Town Car guys were soliciting people right and left for flat rate rides to midtown. For $35 dollars I got a 15 minute ride to my door by a Thai curse-word yelling, red-light running, cut-off-any-car-at-all-costs aggressive driver. God, I love New York.

29 August 2007

I got webbed.

That mean's I got the apartment!

[And also, farewell to the blog for a short while.]

After living for three months in utter uncertainty, my life seems to finally be coming together. I've landed both a job (a couple weeks ago) and an apartment (last night) in Manhattan and I move out of my current place in...2 days. Next time I am going to see how much closer I can cut it. FUN game!

Ok, so about my new place. It's a 3 bedroom with two other girls about my age on West 57th Street between 9th and 10th Avenue. Two blocks from Central Park, two blocks from Columbus Circle and the Time Warner Center (where there's a Whole Foods, many shops, and basically every subway I need to get where I'm going).

This place was the last apartment I looked at after a long day of scurrying all over town on Monday looking at hell holes. Monday I had woken up at 5am to catch the 6am Chinatown bus because I had a noon meeting at my new office. I met with my new boss and the managing partner of my new firm to discuss upcoming projects and what I should expect. Things went great. I think I will fit in well and will have a lot of opportunities in my new position.

The rest of the day I had decided to dedicate to apartment hunting once again. However, based on my last go-round, I decided to focus more on roommate situations. Most places were being shown in the early evening hours, so I had some time to kill between my meeting and 5pm. I ended up having lunch at Il Cantinori in the Village and then going uptown to meet Sarah for afternoon coffee.

Every place I looked that evening at had some sort of terrible living situation, be it a bad roommate or a horrible living area. My favorite was this place I went to in the East Village. It was really the only apartment downtown I looked at, and my appointment was in between showings uptown, so I took a cab in order to make it on time. The place was the top floor of a 7-floor walkup, and there were about 15 other people in the apartment looking at it at the same time. The room was decent but had no closet (which is KIND OF a deal breaker for me if you've ever seen the amount of clothes I own), but I was nearing the end of my rope, so I actually considered it. Until I saw who I'd be rooming with. Apparently it was with a raver from 1998. Or maybe the head of wardrobe for Da Ali G Show. I overheard him interviewing one of the other potential roommate applicants: "Do you have any diseases? If so, what kind? How many times per week do you have sex? How many times per week do you anticipate bringing someone back to the apartment to have sex?"

[Exit apartment].

The apartment that ended up webbing me was the last one I looked at. I was tired, stressed, and frustrated as I rolled up to the door. But as soon as I met the girl showing the place, we immediately hit it off and the apartment, while small, was very cozy, charming, clean and livable. Then I took a look at my would-be room, which has a loft area for either storage or a bed (I am planning on putting my bed up there so that I can use the main space for my favorite red comfy chair and a little entertainment area). Then I turned around and closed the main door to see [angels singing from the heavens and a halo glow emerging] a huge (by NY standards) closet. I let out an audible gasp and said "I just looked at a studio the size of this closet and they wanted $20 more rent per month."

Then we chatted in the living room a bit. I was told that on top of rent, that cable including HBO was a non-negotiable. We then proceeded to discuss every HBO original series that aired the night before- Big Love, Entourage and Flight of the Conchords. Then she talked about how it's rare that the three roommates are all home at once and how everyone basically keeps separate lives and values their privacy, but if everyone's at home they'll sit around and have a bottle of wine and watch Sex and the City, to which I replied, "I like red wine. Sign me up."

After I told Charlotte about this discussion she typed (in what I will assume was 'sarcasm font'): "Wow. I hope you fit in."

By the way, if you enjoyed reading about my previous adventures in apartment hunting, you'll like the expanded essay I wrote for Farmhouse Magazine, which should be hitting the internet September 1 at www.farmhousemagazine.com.

The blog is going on the back burner for the time being, since, in two days, I am out of DC, later next week I am off to Hawaii and immediately thereafter moving to my new place in NY. But I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories to tell once I'm settled. Stay tuned...

23 August 2007

Moving day.

I dread moving. Not moving away. The actual moving process. Last Friday I got the process going by inviting my brother, Evan, over so that he could drive me to the Fort Totten dumpster. It was a really generous offer that he simply couldn't refuse.

I took a half day at work because the dumpster is only open during work hours. And why not? What are they going to do? Fire me? Fire me for taking half a vacation day? A vacation to the dumpster in Northeast?

Anyway, I had a hodgepodge of items in my apartment to dispose of. A tall Ikea bookshelf that cost about $19.99 and was in no way worth moving; some ugly glass nesting tables I got as a hand-me-down; a weird hamper/shelving unit that my former roommate left behind; and who knows what else? It's out of sight/out of mind now.

Our biggest challenge was that my brother drives a Mazda 3 and the point of going to the dumpster was that I needed to get rid of items too large to dispose of in the regular trash. Large items, small car. This required destruction of said items before transporting them.

Destruction that Evan deduced could only be inflicted via karate chopping.

E: This isn't working. I wish I could just karate chop it.

L: If you have to karate chop it, karate chop it.

E: But I've never karate chopped anything before.

[Leslie exits living room. Immediately hears loud crash. Returns to see a broken top shelf.]

L: HEY! Quiet down! People live downstairs!

E: I can't be quiet when I'm karate chopping.

L: You're going to splinter yourself.

E: Not if I go through it. Karate choppers do it all the time. [long contemplative pause.] I'm not a blackbelt though.

L: If I get evicted before August 31st, I blame you.

[Evan attempts to karate chop through the wood again. Unsuccessful].

E: Ow! That hurt. [long pause]. I'm really not that good at karate.

After 3 unsuccessful attempts at breaking the shelf via karate chop, and one painful forearm later, I finally realize the need to capture this on video.

About 20 minutes later, we were headed to the Fort Totten dumpster. And little did I know, going to the dumpster is possibly the most cathartic Friday afternoon activity of all times. Now, I'm told by Evan that our experience at this particular dumping area is much different from others, but I'll walk you through what happened.

Upon arriving in the vicinity of the dumping grounds, we approached a security booth. The guy at the booth just waved us in. A bit later down the road we approached another gentleman at the gate who asked us to roll down our windows, but then said nothing. So I started talking.

L: Um, do you need my DC License?

Guy: [mumbling in what I could only half identify as Creole].

L: I.D. Do you need to see it?

Guy: [still sort of mumbling, but I manage to understand] Did the other guy look at it?

L: No, he didn't ask for anything.

Guy: But you have one, right?

L: Yeah. Wanna see it?

Guy: No. Go ahead.

Who knew the Fort Totten dumping grounds operated under the honor system?

We then pulled into what appeared to be the set of a Mad Max movie, loosely disguised as a construction site, driving ABOUT 4 miles per hour on the dirt surface while a dumpster employee yelled 3 or 4 times "Slow down!" So Evan brought it down to about 2.

There was absolutely no order to anything going on around us, but apparently the process is to back your car up as close as you can get to a random pile of trash and just start chucking your unwanted crap into the heap. We were launching 2x4s into the air, tables were getting hurled into garbage oblivion, and in a strange twist of fate, I ended up getting a splinter. I'd say for the dumpster experience, though, it was well worth it.

21 August 2007

True Life: I want to live in a Manhattan studio for $1200/month.

Yesterday was my first experience apartment-hunting in Manhattan. The reason I chose this day to apartment-hunt was because I found a ridiculously cheap (by Manhattan standards) midtown studio listed online with pictures...and it appeared to be fantastic. Small bed area, but decent-sized kitchen, private bathroom with a tub and well-kept. I kept thinking there had to be some sort of catch, but I wanted to see for myself, so I made the first available appointment to see it yesterday, which was the day it went on the market.

FIRST of all, the agent I made the appointment with called out sick. SUPER start already. So I met with another lady, who didn't have time to take me to see the apartment but gave me the key and directions. That's fine with me. I know my way around, I could take my time looking at it, and without any pressure. I just felt it was a bit odd, if you're going to charge me a $2,000 broker fee for an apartment, maybe you should do something besides process my application. I'm pretty sure experian.com can pull my credit report for like $20. So you have about $1,980 to account for, ma'am.

Alright, so I take the subway back down to where I started, to Penn Station/34th street, and walk two avenue blocks west and one street block up to 35th and 10th. The apartment building is on 10th Avenue, sandwiched between an empty tire-repair lot and a Madison Square Garden parking garage. The front door to the building looked like it had been hinged on with masking tape. Also, I'm pretty sure they shot the Taxi Driver apartment shootout scene in the front hallway of this very building. DeNiro was here! And they kept it in its original authentic painting and flooring! What a landmark! Sweet Jesus.

But I was still in good spirits as I started making my way up the stairs to the 5th floor, as I thought I could now save about $90/month by not having to join a gym. By about the 4th floor though, I was wondering if the ceiling would hold well enough for me to install some sort of pulley rope system so that I could repel up and down each day. Saving time and energy, obvi.

The apartment was a DEBACLE. The listing online provided pictures, which I will assume were either taken by a pulitzer-prize-winning trick photographer or were not of this apartment.

I returned to the broker's office and politely declined.

THIS was about the time her attitude surfaced. She was acting like I was a waste of her time. I wanted to be like, "Um, you are wasting MY time by posting pictures of an apartment with a kitchen and then showing me a place that not only DOESN'T HAVE a kitchen, but also looks like Satan's earth vacation home." I know the place is cheap, but it doesn't save me much money if I have to eat take out every night because I can't even boil water for ramen noodles and I have to choose between getting the apartment refloored or wear steel-toed workboots 24/7. Also, if there's no air-conditioning unit, you could at least install a shower so that I can take cold ones in the summer. (you read that right. No shower.) Rather than going to see more apartments after she ended up being a total bitch when I, after looking at my first NY apartment EVER, didn't beg her to fill out an application, I just thanked her for her time and left. If you've ever seen me angry, what happens is I stew to myself for about 5 minutes, and then I get real determined. I get more work done in the 10 minutes following an idiot-induced anger spell than I do during any normal work week. So around 11:45 am I am standing in Columbus Circle calling every other agency I could Blackberry a number for.

I did end up finding an agent I liked who agreed to meet me right away. By 12:15 I was on the Upper West Side, walking up another 5 flights, but this one in a much more pleasant building. I fell in love with the neighborhood and the 2 top-floor studios he was showing had access to a private terrace. Everything in the apartment was new and clean. I even considered it for a moment. The problem was, the unit was literally the size of a walk in closet. I would be able to fit my mattress in it and that's it. As a point of reference for my PSU friends, roughly the size of a Heister Hall single without the closet space. As a reference for my "Flight of the Conchords"-watching friends, roughly the size of Jermaine's "studio"/maid closet. Maybe down the road I will get that desperate. But I have some time and, fortunately some generous friends I can crash with when I first move up, so I am not settling now.

This broker was really nice about discussing options with me, not pressuring me into the apartment, suggesting neighborhoods I might want to check out to see if I like them, etc. So I will probably try calling him when I get back up there. I also think it will be a much easier process once I am actually there and can make appointments as places open up. I'm definitely glad I made the trip, even though it proved unsuccessful , as I at least got to experience a few places/brokers and now have some point of reference for future apt-hunting. Moral of the story...I'm much more open to rooming with people now.

Which brings me to a few Craigslist "roommates/shares" listings I came across last night. (Key- Headline: "Most important part")

$250 livin companion: Okay, this one you should just click on it. He's looking for a live-in girlfriend on Craigslist.

$1285 Dope place in East Village looking for Roomates (East Village): "im 24 and make music. Im in the studio all day and i go out at night never around this place is 420 friendly and im open to all people my last roomates for two years were a gay black man and a white female stripper so im into meeting new and all types of people."

By far my favorite:

$480 small rm./pri. full bath apt. share for small female under 5'3" (Midtown West): "The reason for the height limitation is that the stairway of this duplex doesn't have much headroom and you should be petite because of small passageway... I use the kit. 1 day a week and most of the time I am not here. Should help a bit w/lt. housework. seeking a friendly, social, respectful person(can you ride a bicycle?)maybe snacks. I'm looking for a long term situation." (http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/roo/401929151.html)

Good lord. I don't know what will end up being more stressful. Finding a job (done) or finding an apartment (sketchyyyyy).

15 August 2007

It's the MOST wonderful time of the year

I'll be the first to admit that NCAA football preseason rankings mean absolutely nothing. In the past we've gone from being unranked to being #3 and from being #3 to unranked by the next season's end...and just about everywhere in between throughout the years. It does warm the cockles of my heart, though, to see that Penn State (who else did you think I meant by "WE"?) is included in the preseason rankings today released by USA Today. AP rankings are yet to post.

It also somewhat warms the cockles of my heart, while at the same time baffles the cockles of my heart, to see that Wisconsin is ranked #7 and Ohio State is ranked #10.

First of all, let's review some facts about my heart cockles:

1. The happiest day of my life will be when Ohio State is ranked infinity last -OR- loses the national championship to Penn State in a gut-wrenching gloooorious play in the 4th quarter. The latter might be a stretch as it's pretty unlikely that two Big 10 teams will ever play each other in the National Championship. I'm certain that "infinity last" is an actual possibility, though.

2. I only care about the Big 10. Exceptions: Notre Dame (which I would like to see ranked infinity last + 1, and Duke, which basically already is ranked infinity last +2 when it comes to football).

3. Out of all of our opponent Big 10 teams, Wisconsin is probably the team I have the least amount of hate towards. In fact, I'd venture to say I'm pretty neutral on them football-wise. And, as it turns out, people from Wisconsin aren't nearly as big an assholes as people from Ohio. Or any other state for that matter. Wisconsin has good beer (Miller Lite), good people (I actually went out with a Penn State guy who transferred from UW-Madison a few times, we were friends for years), and cheese (which is inherently good).

The only thing that's irking me about this whole preseason ranking situation is that I have a handful of Wisconsin-loyal friends that I primarily hang out with in DC (Tristan, Mike, Will, Ted...I think they may have even converted Rachel by buying her a Wisconsin shirt. I'm basically surrounded.). And I just know I am going to have to listen to them talk a big game and rub it in my face until October 13th. When we settle it on the field.


Pretend an MP3 of "It's the most wonderful time of the year" is playing in the background (if you aren't already singing it in your head). Also acceptable to pretend is playing: "Fight On State." Bonus points if you pretend like you are the Blue Band conductor with the stick-thing in your hand while humming it (coughSHAMRAcough-cough). Carry on.

08 August 2007

I have a new love.

My new favorite time-passer-by/waster at work is Last.fm. In an effort to continue expanding my musical horizons (I finally tired of listening to my Shins, Arcade Fire, and Justin Timberlake CDs on loop), I set up a "dashboard" at Last.fm this week and downloaded their music-player-application-apparatus thing.

Upon signing up, the site instructs you to listen to music for about a week and then it will start streaming a station based on your preferences (I know that this thing called "Pandora" exists, but I have banned it due to my mental affiliation with Pandora and the band "Deep Forest." Thank you, Mike.) And although I have never tried Pandora, I am going to ignorantly assert, anyway, that this site is better. Case in point? I use it. That makes it better.

So, anyway. When you get to your page the first time, it asks you to type in an artist you like. I typed "Spoon" (since I was already in that mood having listened to "Ga ga ga ga ga" for the 200th time since it came out 2 months ago). Now the page says that I am listening to "Station: Spoon's Similar Artists." Cool.

The only issue I have encountered? About every 7th song or so is a Spoon song. Not that I mind. But Spoon isn't similar to Spoon. Spoon is Spoon. This is absolutely a recurring issue, as the "Station: Rilo Kiley Similar Artists" and "Station: Ryan Adams Similar Artists" each played several songs by Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams, respectively.

However, I WILL say that almost every suggested artist has been dead on, about 25% of which I already have in my CD library somewhere because Last.fm is predicting that I will like music that I already know I like. So basically, I have found a radio station that plays a song/artist I already know I like about 25% of the time and plays new shit I end up liking the rest of the time.

In addition, every time a new song comes on, a bio with band trivia appears. This is particularly helpful to me because when hispters eventually take over the world in about 10-15 years (inevitable from my perspective), I'll probably have a shot at winning "The World Series of Pop Culture: Indie Rock Edition." I put the grand prize somewhere around $1 million + a lifetime subscription to Paper Magazine.

Here are some of my new favorite songs I've discovered on Last.fm:

Cat Power: "The Greatest" (I heard this song for the first time on Monday. iTunes says I have played it 11 times since then. You know, if anyone ever gets a hold of my iTunes play count list, I will be so embarrassed. DO NOT JUDGE ME BY HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE LISTENED TO SALT N' PEPPA'S "PUSH IT"! Is there any way to clear that history?)

Cold War Kids- "We Used to Vacation"

TV on the Radio- "Staring at the Sun" (incidentally, a friend of mine also predicted I would like this band and burned me their album "Return to Cookie Mountain" a couple of weeks ago. "Staring at the Sun" is from a different album though. And they're both right! Love them! This is one of my new favorite bands!)

Sparklehorse- "Shade & Honey"

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists- "I'm a Ghost"

Other songs I suggest you listen to, and that Last.fm would probably suggest to me, if I didn't already pre-empt it's awesomeness:

Spoon- "You got Yr. Cherry Bomb" (Obviously, I am a little obsessed with them at the moment. Spoon is to the latter part of 2007 what the Shins were to the former. Mainly due to their June/January 2007 new album release dates, respectively)

Ben Harper- "In the Colors" (New single. Probably has played 11 times in the past two days as well because it's on my playlist right after that Cat Power song I've taken such a liking to).

Okkervil River- "Unless it Kicks" (This album is getting great reviews. It came out yesterday, but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet. Can't wait to hear the whole thing. There's a link to "Unless it Kicks" here and a discussion of and link to another song on the album here.)

PS- This is by far the best blog series I have EVER read. Ever: "Who's worse?"

06 August 2007

Weekend snapshot.


Leslie: 3 shots of Goldschlager, please.

Bartender: We're out of Goldschlager. Can I get you something else?

Leslie (famous last words): Just make me something that will kick me on my ass.

-30 minutes later-

Leslie (to Rachel): I have to leave. I have to go home and puke. BYE.


Turns out Jen (recipient of 1 of the 3 shots) puked and Rachel (other recipient of 1 of the 3 shots) passed out on her bathroom floor in a puking attempt.

Now convinced shot was actually ipecac.

I laid in bed hungover until 4pm. Went to see Labyrinth at E Street Cinema for the 20th anniversary celebration with Ted later that evening. So much fun to watch with a big group of people that truly appreciate its campiness/David Bowie in spandex.

After a couple glasses of wine later that night, I found out I was not quite ready to start drinking again. But it was helpful in easing the experience of watching Will's home video (for the third time) of him playing Wisconsin-backyard-football circa 1991. After that special screening, I went home and watched the Shia LaBeouf SNL re-run through Weekend Update and went to bed.


Productivity, finally. Woke up early. Did a little trash and treasure separation in my apartment (I move out at the end of the month). Hit 7-11 for coffee then had a brunch of fruit and veggie samples from the Dupont farmer's market. Also loaded up on locally-grown tomatoes, peaches and fresh basil. Took the metro to Friendship Heights and got a new piece of luggage. Came home and grocery shopped. Cooked some scallops for dinner. Called my Grandma. Went over to Will and Ted's for our weekly Entourage and Flight of the Conchords viewing. This ended in probably, what was the highlight of my weekend: a kitchen duel between Will and Ted. What happened was, after Flight of the Conchords, I was sitting in Ted's room talking and we were watching a movie trailer and Will walked in. This prompted Ted to exclaim: "WILL! GET OUT OF MY FUCKING ROOM! JUST GO! LEAVE US! GET THE HELL OUT!" Of course, this just egged on Will and the situation escalated until they eventually ran out into to the kitchen, Ted grabbing a pepper grinder as a weapon and Will grabbing a wine bottle as a weapon and after a minute-or-so-long stand off, Ted yelling, "LESLIE! OPEN THE DOOR!" And so I did as instructed and Ted threw down the pepper grinder and ran out of the apartment. I mean, I guess that's pretty much a typical Sunday night at Will and Ted's. At least I'd assume so from most of my experiences there.

OH, PS- If you haven't picked up on it yet, I'm moving to NY. This has come as a surprise to some people when I just throw it into casual conversation, so I guess I haven't been real effective at relaying the news. Anyway, I leave DC at the end of August. Traveling to Maui for Robbie and Jessica's wedding Sept. 5. I get back to the mainland on the 16th (barring any volcano incidents) and start my new job in NY on September 18. So there, you go. My life in a nutshell for the next month and a half.

01 August 2007

Ben Versus the Volcano

Rachel is convinced that visiting Volcano National Park=certain death.

You know what I say? BRING IT.

What better way to go out than "Death by Volcano?" If that's not a fucking blaze of glory, I don't know what is.

I thought I had my glorious demise all figured out until Tristan and I started brainstorming our "Tristan is giving up her social life to go to law school/Leslie is moving to New York City/Jessica is turning 24 & getting married in two weeks" blowout party (location TBD, although date-wise we are *thinking* Aug. 25th).

Mike threw in the marvelous (?) idea of incorporating an eating contest into the day, featuring the trifecta of DC drunk staples: Falafel, Jumbo Slice and what I lovingly call the Ben's Chili Bowl "Cardiac Arrest" combo.

Although Ben's is probably my favorite DC eatery, I've never *actually* attempted the "Cardiac Arrest" combo. It consists of my three favorite items on the menu, each of which I've had pairings of, but have never attempted all three in one sitting:

1. Chili Cheese Fries
2. Chili Dog
3. Cherry Milkshake

On its own, I think that's enough to get myself checked into the Howard University Hospital ICU (it's only 3 blocks away). Add that that to Jumbo Slice and falafel, and we basically have a situation where I have pre-empted the Volcano plan.

So which is a better tombstone?

Death by Volcano
Death by Ben's Chili Bowl?

25 July 2007


Rachel finally booked her ticket to Hawaii. It reminded me that I'm going on a sweet Hawaiian vacation (because I'm a bridesmaid in a sweet Hawaiian marriage) in about a month or so. When Rachel (my wedding date. She's hot, I know.) sent me her flight information, it reminded me that I should probably actually start planning stuff to do while we're there. I had been thinking that I want to book an island hopper on one of the days so that I can explore an island besides Maui. And until now I had been pretty set on traveling to the Big Island, as I am dead set on seeing an active volcano (which there are at Volcanoes National Park).

However, the National Park Service website is a real Debbie Downer. They need new PR staff because their "safety" page is really not enticing. In fact, it talked me out of going to Volcanoes National Park.

This is their sidebar:

[photo of magma creeping along]
Caption: "View Lava Safely. Prepare well - Stay alive!"

"Stay alive!??" Thank you, NPS, for your advice. This is their safety page in full (Charlotte, don't go! Pregnant women should not be around the volcanic fumes).

Listen, I'm willing to "prepare well to stay alive" if I'm going to see some lava. But apparently the danger level (based on some stupid earthquake like a month ago that's still going on) has increased enough to force a couple of park area closures and it seems here that there's no lava to be seen, at least on one of the volcanoes: "According to scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, NO lava is visible at Pu`u `O`o, flowing on the pali or coastal plain, or entering the ocean."

Well, you can't fool me. I am pretty good with research in the "internets." And I DO KNOW that there is lava/magma to be seen somewhere, but according to this bulletin, that area is closed:

Road and Area Closures Due to Current Seismic
and Volcanic Activity on Kilauea Volcano's Upper East Rift:
An intrusion of magma into the upper east rift zone of Kilauea has prompted the closure of some roads and areas in the park while the situation is carefully monitored.

Side note: as a communications student, I was only required to take two soft science classes to graduate with a B.A. I took Astronomy (along with pretty much every other liberal arts student...I fucking punished the final in that class too) and "Geology of National Parks." Aside from my Ancient Architecture class, this had to be the coolest elective I took in college. I've already been on my gothic cathedral tour of France, I'm ready to see some volcanoes erupt!

National Park Ranger guy, I ask you this: Am I going to see some fucking magma or what? Tell me now before I book my ticket. Until then, I am bookmarking this geological "blog" which will update me daily on the volcanoes' status. If I can't figure out this situation by mid-August, Oahu it is.

24 July 2007

Beep Beep!

Before I tell you about the best part of my weekend, I need to put it into context, by telling you about the other things I did this weekend.

In no particular order (OK, I guess it's pretty chronological):

1. Had dinner at Fado with Lindsay and Rachel Friday night. Fado, it seems, has introduced a "fancy" drink menu. On this new menu appeared one of my all-time favorites, the Caipirinha. I decided to give it a whirl, even though I thought it was kind of weird that an Irish restaurant featured a Brazilian cocktail. And my suspicions were confirmed after one sip. Terrible. It was essentially a bad excuse for a margarita. We decided then and there that we should stick to Irish drinks at Fado. So we had a round of car bombs and left it at that.

2. Attended Rachel's birthday party at Rocket Bar. Rachel and I had scoped this bar out before she decided that this would be the venue for the party. I was immediately sold because they had a video game table featuring Frogger, Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Pac Man Junior, Pac Man Plus (there are a lot of Pac Mans), Tetris, Pooyan (this game features fire-breathing dinosaurs that fly through the air on balloons. You have to pop their balloon before they reach the ground or they will come and eat your babies! UPDATE: Wikipedia says the "dinosaurs" are actually wolves. But I don't believe this for one second.), Burgertime (Don't play this game. It sucks. I *think* the goal is to hit the bad guys with burger toppings, but I lost before I could really figure out what was going on.), and Tetris. About a week before the party I asked Ted if he would challenge me at Pac Man, to which he said "do you even have to ask?"

There was a lot of smack talk leading to Friday, and a lot of Ted telling me that he was going to "waste my ass."

I came prepared for battle: $12 worth of quarters in my Marc Jacobs tote.

Long story short, I don't think Ted will be disrespecting my skills any longer. By the end of the night, he declared me the undisputed Pac Man champion.

3. Attended Jessica's Bridal Shower. Conclusion: I need to trick someone into marrying me so I can get a shitload of awesome stuff from Crate and Barrel too. And while she was being inundated with toaster ovens, indoor grills, wine glasses and lingerie, I was manning the blender to make sure Jessica's mom was getting drunk on Blue Hawaiians and Pina Coladas. Charlotte did an awesome job prepping for the shower and turned their house into a veritable "House of Leis," Jessica looked super cute in her new Lily Pulitzer dress, and we dined on Outback coconut shrimp all day long. I posted some pics from the shower in my "Summer 2007" Flickr album.

Also, for one reason or another (probably me not paying attention), I hadn't really absorbed the full scope of the beachhouse we're renting in Maui in September. All I really absorbed was that I am staying with pretty much the coolest people I know for really cheap for 10 days. I was enlightened on Saturday at the shower, though, as to the full extent of the awesomeness. Pool table. Pool. Hot tub. Blender.

If you don't think we're having a pool party every night featuring tropical mixed drinks and Jimmy Buffet blasting from my i-Home, you are sorely mistaken. SORELY.

4. Punched myself in the face (accidentally) twice and stubbed my toe, all in the course of an hour on Sunday afternoon. This really was never a contender for the best part of my weekend. But, man. I just wanted to go on record and declare what an idiot-klutz I am. The inside of my lip is still broken.

OK, so considering I went to dinner with two of my favorite people, a kick-ass birthday party where I dominated at Pac Man (obviously), and a sweet hawaiian bridal shower where I discovered the life of luxury I'll be living in for 10 days in September, the best part of my weekend was....wait for it....

5. Saturday night visit to the Bowie Rita's Italian Ice stand. Who knew Rita's was such a magnet for the weird and ridiculous?

If you've ever hung out with me, you know that one of my favorite things to do is stand around joaning on people. But honestly, if you could have seen the odd ducks pulling up to the italian ice stand that night, you'd have agreed that they were just asking for it. The best was this 40-ish guy wearing a yellow tye-dyed shirt with an airbrushed roadrunner (of roadrunner and coyote Looney Tunes fame) on the chest area tucked into his stonewashed jean shorts. As soon as he queued up behind me in line I snickered a little to myself about his ridiculous outfit. When I got back to Robbie, Jessica, Levi and Rachel (who were already enjoying their italian ices near the parking lot and watching this guy all along) they told me to take a guess as to which car he arrived in. I scanned the lot for about two seconds before I said "That one."

It was a souped up canary yellow hot rod with a roadrunner decal on the back window and Maryland license plate "BIRD 8 U."

The best part was when we all finally got a back view of Mr. Roadrunner. His yellow tye-dyed airbrushed roadrunner shirt had a catch phrase airbrushed on the back: "Beep Beep!"

At that, we all had to step away from Rita's and into the Rent-A-Center parking lot in the hopes that a few more feet of space would muffle our comments and uncontrollable laughter. I think things really hit rock bottom when I noticed that Robbie was spitting out his gelato onto the sidewalk because he was laughing so hard.

That guy, in all his ridiculousness, made my weekend.

17 July 2007

Possible extra footage for "An Inconvenient Truth II" reel.

Last Thursday I get an e-mail out of the blue from my friend, Rich: "Adam is in town. Want to go fishing?"

LG: "Fishing? Um, no."

Rich: "You don't have to fish. Just sit on the boat and drink."

LG: "OK. Sold, sign me up."

So around 1:30 Saturday afternoon, Rich picks me and Adam up and we drive out to Deale, Maryland (this is what I will refer to as "red state" Maryland, or you could also go with "redneck" Maryland. Whatever is least offensive.) to board our fishing vessel.

The Capitan (Cap'n George) isn't quite ready for us when we arrive, which was fine because we were starving and decided to eat lunch at the restaurant on the dock. They served Hush Puppies, so I was a happy camper. Adam decides that this trip, being his first fishing venture onto the Chesapeake, is really a personal expedition for him to find out firsthand as to whether or not we really need to "Save the Bay." If we catch tons of fish, he isn't going to worry about it. If we do OK, he might get one of those Save the Bay license plates. And if we catch nothing, he is going to bat-phone Al Gore.

Just as we're being served our food, Capitan George walks by and slurs the words "Be back in a few, just need a refill," and holds up a thermos. CG is ABOUT 98 years old, from the looks of his leathery wrinkly skin and has clearly subsided on whatever fish he's caught, coffee, cigarettes and booze for at least the past 20 years. At this point, I'm realizing that this boat is going to have to be driven by one of us. Because there is no doubt in my mind that he is refilling his thermos with vodka.

Our fishing trip, which really turned into a booze cruise, was about 4 hours long. Our "first mate," Eric, claimed to be 19 years old. Although if I were a guessing person I wouldn't have put him a day under 25. I guess that's what life at sea does to you. Maybe Captain George is really only 35. Just "weathered."

Eric was (underage) drinking Captain Morgan from a straw out of a Coke fountain cup and told us he once jumped off a lighthouse drunk. He doesn't recommend it to us, though because "there's rocks down there. They hurt." He was pretty knowledgeable about all things Chesapeake, I'll give him that.

With less than an hour left to go "at bay," and having caught ZERO fish, I turned to Adam and said "Well, I don't think we are going to catch a tiger."

Adam: What?

LG: You said earlier that you wanted to catch something CRAZY. Like a tiger. Remember? I was laughing really hard.

Adam: I said "TIRE. I want to catch something crazy like a TIRE." I was wondering why you laughed so hard at that. Who's catching a tiger? THAT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE.

Leslie: EXACTLY!

Eric: Well, I caught a deer out here once.

Leslie and Adam: [baffled stare]

Eric: You know. It was just like a deer carcass out there. Floatin'. I reeled it in.

Adam: Well you should definitely call Al Gore. He could use that footage. Let's do a contrast shot of a polar bear prancing through a dandelion field and a deer on a boat. Then no one will be able to deny global warming.

Rich: One day at sea and you're already turning into a conservationist. What will your republican friends think?

Leslie: What other crazy things have you caught? Have you ever caught a person?

Eric: Yeah. Four people, actually.

(Now I'm totally losing it and he's telling a story about dead bodies washing up on shore. Which is totally blowing my mind. He said the Coast Guard was already on it though.)

Leslie: So what do you think makes for a better story? Catching no fish or catching one?

Adam: I'm going to go with none.

Leslie: Well, I think you're going to luck out.

Adam's Chesapeake eco-action experiment RESULTS:
-Four hours on a boat.
-No fish caught.

-Deer are going swimming.
-Polar bears are frolicking in gardens.
-The Chesapeake is beyond saving.

Personal conclusions:
-"Fishing" is code word for "sitting near or on water and drinking beer." In fact, even though I went on the trip purporting NOT to fish, I did just as much as everyone else on that boat. And I probably drank more.
-I am the best fisherman.

10 July 2007

Killing me Softly with any song by Nickelback.

Apparently I have conversations with Rachel sometimes that I don't remember ever happened. Like for example, this morning I had a revelation that the new Interpol album was dropping today and I really had an electrifying wave of excitement come over me at my desk this morning when I discovered this "news". Then, in my jubilation, come to find out that I had mentioned something to Rachel about it last week??

Well whether that conversation actually took place or not, I KNOW I have been eagerly anticipating Spoon's new album "GA GA GA GA GA," also dropping today (which I didn't remember until this morning). I guess this new music Tuesday just crept up on me, that's all.

Then, around lunchtime, I heard a DJ mention something about a new Idlewild album also coming out today. Could it be that today was a A LESLIE SUPRISE GOOD MUSIC TRIFECTA?

Well, yes and no. Idlewild does not have a new album. But the band's lead singer (Roddie Woomble) does have a solo side project that came out today (yeah, I know. That name is so ridiculous on many levels). I had a listen on MySpace and it's pretty tight. A lot more folksy than Idlewild, but Roddie Woomble's voice kept me listening and I came around.

Finally, during my MySpace perusal, I listened to Charlotte's new profile song (surprisingly NOT Neil Diamond), which is Mark Ronson's remix of Toxic. Loved it. Clicked on the link to Ronson's page to hear more. AM NOW OBSESSED with his remix of Amy Winehouse's version of The Zutons "Valerie" (there are so many layers of versions of that song. Like a parfait.)

By the way, guess when Mark Ronson's album "Versions" came out? Today.

Is this the best new music Tuesday ever? Possibly. But then I also found out in my "new music Tuesday" search that Nickelback's new album came out today.

So that pretty much cancels out anything good in this world.

[UPDATE: Here are some things to make you feel better--

MP3 of Spoon's "The Underdog" [Which, the first time I heard, doubled checked on IMDB to make sure hadn't been in a Wes Anderson movie before. After reading a few of my favorite music blogs, however, it seems as if I'm not the only one who picked up on it's Anderson-esque-ness.

Foo Fighter's to release 6th album with a track titled: Cheer Up, Boys (Your Makeup's Running)]