Monday, November 27, 2006

Apres Ski for the Office? Good grief...

I've always thought of New Yorkers as fashionable. Not as fashionable as Parisians but as close as we are going to get in America. I generally viewed what passes for fashion in Los Angeles as what happens when people with little taste and a lot of money influence too many people with no sense of self or personal style...

After living in New York, I either need to revamp my opinions or blame Jet Blue for spreading LA fashion-think like a bird flu pandemic.

This summer there were day-glo rubber gardening clogs all over the sidewalks. I saw men, women, children and medical professionals (in white ones) wearing them everywhere. Evidently, they're not just for gardening anymore.

Now, it's fall and I'm seeing women downtown wearing designer apres ski boots with their business suits. In the office... not as a warm, comfortable alternative to wear to get to and from the office!

I'm no footwear fashionista. I'll readily admit to owning some decidedly un-chic chaussures. But... I can at least match a style of footwear to a type of outfit. LA, hate to break it to you, but Ugg boots just don't go with a bikini on the beach. And New York, gardening clogs (if you must) belong in the garden and apres ski boots belong at the lodge.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Farewell To Wheels

My most important possession has always been my car. A car has always meant independence, control, escape... If you take away my ability to come and go as I please, I get a little panicky (and as a result... a bit querulous).

Last Friday with my car lease nearing its term, I surrendered my Jetta. My 2003, 5-speed, 1.8 Turbo with heated seats and a stereo system that finally made me understand the value of a good system. It was a beautiful car. It was really the first car that I ever had that was what I wanted, not just what I could afford or what was sensible.

I'm really glad that I took the time for a drive up the PCH to San Francisco while I was in California. The Jetta was made for those kinds of curves... It was pretty good on the straight-a-ways, too.

I'm won't be getting another car because having one in New York has just been a hassle and an expense. I really don't need a car in Brooklyn. I'm a little sad but I haven't felt particularly panicky, yet. Cabs, public transportation, walking... I still have independance, control and a means of escape. However, I do wish that I at least had an old car key to use as sort of a security blanket during this adjustment period...

So... thanks Volkswagen, for four great years and 44,206 fabulous miles. And, thanks to Liz Klopper-Watson at Ganley Westside Imports in North Olmsted, Ohio for leasing me the car. Liz made the selecting and leasing of the vehicle a 100% pain-free experience. And lastly, thanks to Peter at Kings Volkswagen for accepting my car in spite of NY/NJ Volkswagen dealers having no obligation to accept lease returns due to space considerations and in spite of it being a stick-shift (evidently, not a popular feature in Brooklyn).


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Church Is Not An Appropriate Place To Walk A Dog!

I was headed back to the office after picking up lunch yesterday when I saw a frowsy blonde standing on the sidewalk yammering away on her cell phone while her dog was wandering around inside the John Street Church. The dog hadn't gotten loose; it was on a leash... albeit a long one. And, it was a Methodist Church (evidently, the first in the country) so I'm positive there wasn't a pet blessing in progress for St. Francis of Assisi's or anyone else's feast day.

I may not be the biggest fan of organized religion but come on! It was perhaps one of the stupidest and most inconsiderate acts I have ever witnessed. I'm glad she had already dragged the dog out by the time I was close enough to yell at her. I'm wondering if perhaps the dog hadn't wandered into the church in the first place because it didn't want to be seen in public with that woman.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Confessions of a Late Adopter

I received an iPod Shuffle for Christmas last year. It sat in the box for a while because I was disappointed that I couldn't return it and upgrade to a Nano.

A few months ago, I finally dumped a bunch of songs onto it. I wasn't terribly enamored. I mostly appreciated its value as a prop for pretending not to hear street people telling me to accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior.

Then a couple weeks ago, I was stuck in the house for a few days and I got bored and started playing around with iTunes. I put together a few playlists.

It was like a mixed-tape from a friend but better... When I downloaded one onto the Shuffle, my life suddenly had a soundtrack!

My favorite playlist has a theme but it's not synchronized by beats per minute, musical genre or favorite songs - necessarily. It only contains songs that inspire a corporeal reaction. There's Paranoid (live with Randy Rhodes), Faith No More's We Care a Lot and Mountain Song by Jane's Addiction. I literally have to force myself to not toss my hair around - - - kind of a jerky Tourettes-ish almost-figure-eight head bang for Ozzie; a head down left and right swing for Faith No More and Jane's Addiction screams for that full back and forth arc that when done properly sets long hair revolving in a full circle. There's Patience by Guns N' Roses, Postcards from Paradise by Flesh for LuLu, Just Like Heaven by the Cure and Dreaming by Blondie that inspire vocalization, or at the very least a little lip-synch. Faith by George Michael, Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant and I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow make me need to dance (and I did when I found myself alone in the elevator earlier). I'm quite certain I look like I have a neurological disorder particularly when Ballroom Blitz or She's Crafty are playing...

I'm now totally obsessed with finding MP3s of Tin Tin's Kiss Me and the theme song from the Courtship of Eddie's Father to add to that playlist.

I was pretending to be a DJ for my second favorite playlist and actually paid attention to the beats per minute. It's mostly French and Brazilian lounge but I managed to work in some Prince, Spoon and April March. April March's Chick Habit to be specific; the transition is practically a work of art...

I've developed a warm fondness for the Shuffle; I'd probably hurt myself flailing about with anything larger. Maybe this Christmas, I'll catch up with another trend and ask for a Playstation. I was always a big fan of NHL Hockey...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Post Election Day Hangover

Last Tuesday was my first time in a voting booth since I left Cleveland. I wasn't able to vote in CA due to timing issues and when I registered in New York, I did so without entering a party affiliation.

In Cleveland, because of my job, I always knew almost everyone on the ballot. Or at the very least, I knew one person in each race. It made voting pretty easy. I never had to make much of an effort to learn about the issues or a candidate's record, I had to deal with them everyday in the office.

Voting in NYC was a revelation into just how hard it can be to become an informed voter. I have a more than healthy skepticism for the content in campaign commercials/literature, endorsements and media articles... another by-product of my chosen profession. So, I ended up only voting in a few races. What's more disconcerting is that I'm not exactly certain how to ensure that my next trip to the polls will be any better.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The 9 of Clubs (what Dryck warmly refers to as my "degenerate past")

I don't know if my late teens and 20s were any more special than anyone else's. It felt like a special time - the people, the places, the music... I'm sure people the world over feel the same way. How else can you explain why "Hotel California" still gets so much airplay?

However, what was truly special about my late teens and 20s was the community that was born on the dance floors at the 9 of Clubs, Aquilon and throughout Cleveland's alternative scene in the 80s and 90s.

What's unparalleled is how that community still exists across time and miles. I'm referring to how Lena acted as my personal "Welcome Wagon" when I moved to California; I had no clue Lena (whose last name I never even knew during our club days) had been living there for the last 10 years until I ran into her at a party my first weekend in LA. Or, how Julie Webber told me to pass along her contact info to Josh Lauber when I told her that he had moved to Texas, despite Julie not even knowing Josh. Or, how Lee Mars and Colin Miles (who I don't think I ever even met in Cleveland) helped me plan my job hunt when I bailed on California and headed east. Or, how when Dawn Phillips passed away last Thanksgiving, word radiated out across the country and many of us travelled back to Cleveland for the funeral. I'll be forever grateful that I had a friend from those days, Jason Merhaut, to fly with back to Cleveland. Or, how Berni Veider and Michael Nigro invited me (and a lot of other familiar faces from back in the day) to their holiday party in Brooklyn last year, despite my having lost contact with Berni well over a decade ago. I think that's a bit uncommon for acquaintances made in a bar years previously...

For those of you who have sadly lost contact with that community or who just feel like doing a little reminiscing, Richard Brown started a web site dedicated to those years at the 9 of Clubs. Check out the site and be sure to send him your old pictures.

Also, I just learned that there is a 9 of Clubs myspace profile. I don't know who created the profile but interestingly, I found a photo that I took posted to the site.