webcowgirl: (Travel)
My last day in New York went pretty fast. I went by my brother-in-law's for brunch: he of course didn't hear his bell ring & left me on the doorstep panicking. I then went to the restaurant thinking he'd be there. He wasn't, but they let me use their phone, and I called him (waking him up I think) and he came over. Breakfast was good (pancakes & bacon); afterwards I went to his apartment to BS for a while & pick up the crap I'd had shipped there. The 2 new pairs of boots & shoes looked great (I'm wearing the shoes now); Sierra Trading Post rocks! On the other hand, Skirt Sports screwed up and sent me a plain red shirt instead of one with dragons on it. Fail.

Bizarrely, BIL's parting to me was, "Safe flight and have a nice life." It was kind of grim and dispiriting. Thanks, Jeff, no need for me to ever see you again either if that's how you want things to be.

Then it was back to [livejournal.com profile] koaloha's to deposit my ill-gotten gains (let's not forget the bagels!) and then head to Leia's. She was done with hanging with her mom for the now and came across the street to sit in the cool outdoor bar and drink vodka lemonade with me in the obscenely pleasant Indian Summer sunshine while little plates of food came by our picnic table. It was really a great visit: highlight - she asked me, "How are you really doing?" No one really seems to ask me that ever, probably because they don't want to hear the answer; given the freedom to speak, I seriously unloaded. Hell, she and I might not see each other for another two years: you have to build the bonds when you have the opportunity. I left feeling much better than I did earlier. It was nice. It's good to have friends that you know are out there for you even if they can't be in the same place as you.

Then it was back to K's with a slight detour (AHEM) through Target to see if I could find an appropriate T-shirt for [livejournal.com profile] robotmel (grey with bats or black with silver cobwebs?-your choice) and a box of Count Chocula for [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy. Then I repacked and reweighed my suitcases, just skidding below the 50 pound max for Big Red, and headed to the airport via the Long Island Railroad and Air Train.

After that everything went like clockwork, including a lovely 5 hour snooze on the plane and an otherwise unremarkable flight and arrival. When I landed, I got my first text about the reorg from my wingman; my second came an hour later, as I headed from Hammersmith underground on the Picadilly: there were no job losses in my team, not one. In retrospect, as I came back to the kicked pile of ants that is Il Postino this week, I discovered 23% losses across the board and some job groups in which 50 people are going for 35 jobs. I've felt embarassed about going around talking up my team to various groups over the last year, like it's the kind of work that only a useless tick would do; but now I feel like I must have done something right, because all my little chickens are safe in the henhouse, every single one. It's a huge relief.

I should write more about the week since I've been back, but it's really been so busy I haven't (and don't) have time, but I can say this: Pilates twice, ballet once (Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet), dinner with (kinda mentally messed up) team last night, dinner for [livejournal.com profile] dr_d tonight. I'm also showing a potential short-term tenant the house tonight and hoping he'll say yes. Meanwhile I'm backlogged on reviews: I wrote up The Scottsboro Boys (new Kander and Ebb!) while I was on the plane, but I still haven't got around to Time Stands Still. Someday, someday.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today was my last full day in New York and I started with a big plate of pancakes at a restaurant called Farm in Brooklyn. Service was good, the pancakes were large, but I was really turned off by the bacon, which was almost entirely fat with a shocking lack of meat in it. I guess it was gourmet by American standards but ... has living in England turned me?

Then it was off to Lincoln Center (after a few shopping stops) and my last trip to City Ballet. I got lucky in that the middle piece (by Millepied) was replaced with "Glass Pieces," the one piece of rep I really wanted to see but had decided to pass on in favor of getting to the airport at a more reasonable time. Trying to pack as much in as possible, I dashed from Lincoln Center to the Whitney - walking the whole way as I was unable to find a cross town bus (though this meant I got to hear a Beatles singalong at Strawberry Fields as I crossed Central Park) - but then discovered they were a "pay full price place" instead of "by donation" at least until 5:30 when they were free - but I picked up a map to figure out what I wanted to see and I got in for free, hurray!

Unfortunately I didn't get to see any Kienholz or George Still (though some Hoppers & a few other modern masterpieces, including a lovely Claus Oldenburg floppy toilet), but I went down to the temp exhibition area and saw an awesome show by Charles Burchfield, who did kind of psychedelic landscape paintings (at least that's what I saw in his work). It was the kind of really inspiring show that made you want to get out there and start doing art. (My favorite painting was The Sphinx and the Milky Way, but I can't find a picture, alas.) I was inspired enough to buy the book, then was chased out of the museum. Oops!

With almost two hours to my show, it seemed like the perfect time to ... go shoe shopping! I took [livejournal.com profile] koaloha's advice and went to Harry's Shoes, which was, for me, the ultimate shoe shopping experience - a whole store full of brands I like, with many I did not know but developed a craving for, salespeople who knew their stuff (she went EXACTLY to a low heeled, waterproof boot available in wides), and YUM I could have really dropped a packet. As it was, I got replacement boots for this winter and managed to make it to New Pizza Town on 78th AND get to Times Square in time for my show.

Time Stands Still had a celeb heavy cast but a story I was not enjoying: basically, a couple that's been together for a long time has their relationship fracture as they want different things and both are failing to make the other happy. The man has unresolved anger at the woman. The show ends with them going their different directions. A real pick-me-up, eh? To make it worse, the young woman played by Christina Ricci was nauseating as a character, too sweet to be believed. Bleah. Laura Linney's character was great, though. Ah well, with my last seat at the top of the balcony for $25, I guess I got what I paid for.

After this it was back to Brooklyn with my ill-gotten gains (candy from Walgreens, boots) and time for bed! Tomorrow I'm skipping shows in favor of spending more time with folks and not rushing around so much. K needs me to get up at a reasonable time as she's heading off to the airport and needs to return the part of the flat I've been sleeping in to a less bed-like state ... and I am tired. Man, I am actually looking forward to getting home - wish I was leaving earlier!
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today I woke up with my legs and feet aching and things didn't really get better for them. However, I did discover the most charming Flying Saucer Cafe at 199 Atlantic Avenue, which is like a blast from the 1980s coffeshop past, only with a really nice garden in back. I was met there by L and her mom, and we headed off to Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tour.

However, since it was a FABULOUS day, the whole world apparently had the same idea, and we had to wait 90 minutes between the time we bought our tickets and the time we actually got on the boat. This made me decide to skip the Statue of Liberty, as I felt like I was barely going to get to see Ellis Island in the time before it closed. I was right; by 5 PM I'd only seen the interior of the main building, and not even most of the exhibits inside. But I was tired and it was time for me to get a move on, so I said goodbye to L&T and headed back to Manhattan.

Next stop was the TKTS office right near the South Street Seaport Museum, where they had Scottsboro Boys tickets but for $30 more than my coupon and cash only. So I gave up and headed to the subway, stopping by L&L Hawaiian Barbeque at 64th Fulton Street to get a plate lunch. Oh man, Hawaiian teriyaki beef on rice with MAC and salad and only $7! I was in heaven. I took it with me to Union Square and ate it in the remaining sunlight, admiring the rather thick bunch of freaks hanging out in the park. Then (boring bit) I attempted to shop, buy neither DSW or the Shoe Palace (or whatever it was called) understood the idea of a sensible, waterproof, low heeled boot in a 7 1/2 wide, so I gave up in frustration and headed up to Times Square.

I managed to get "the only ticket left your coupon is valid for" in the princely row N of the orchestra/stalls for Scottsboro Boys. It was really quite a show - not as musical as I was hoping, more of an experience. I sat around afterwards and talked to some black women about the show. Both of them found bits of it genuinely offensive. I'll try to do a good write up of it but ... later. It was good and I'm glad I went, but it didn't make me feel like I have to go back tomorrow and see it again. Instead, I'll be doing the Brooklyn Flea, then a 2 PM ballet, then ... well, who knows what the evening holds. Unfortunately I don't have anyone to hang out with ... so I can do whatever I want! I just don't know what that will be. Stay tuned for tomorrow!
webcowgirl: (Darger)
Oh, I was a happy, happy girl sleeping until nearly 11 o'clock today, straight through my hostess's departure and well beyond, as I was a bad girl and did not go to bed until 2 last night. Such pain and no actual theater blogging was done! I wound up having to hustle my ass to get out to the Folk Art Museum, though (skipping breakfast altogether - I wound up getting a Philly cheese steak at a food truck near Rockefeller Center), as I had a 2:30 Date With Destiny (or rather with [livejournal.com profile] koaloha).

The Darger exhibit (my icon is a picture by him) itself was quite small, and I actually was kinda aggravated by the captions. So much of what they had to say was based on the authors' trying to interpret Darger's emotions about his life: "he liked little girls because he wanted to have a family" "these were very sad because he was a lonely man" "he collected art because ..." I mean, really, they had NO IDEA how he really felt about anything - none of these people knew him personally, as near as I know the only person who has ever been interviewed and even kind of knew him was his landlord, and I'm positive he did not talk to her about being traumatized by being orphaned as a child. I also found the entire assertion that he was an "art collector" most spurious. I mean, people put shit up on there walls pretty much everywhere, that does not make them "art collectors." (Hmm, maybe I should go back and come up with my own ideas about the works and possessions of his on display - the Folk Art museum runs a scholarly stipend to study Darger and I could probably say more than these people.) He did, however, make collages and then frame and hang them, and they were cool. There were also two or three full panels of his Vivian girls work on display, and they were most enjoyable, especially as they had some of the source work also on the walls.

The rest of the museum was: two floors of quilts (I liked the hollyhocks quilts but this is not my area of enthusiasm); a floor of representations of people: and ... hmm, carved duck decoys, weathervanes, etc. I blazed through the gift shop and then ran over to my hotel; they did have my computer plug there. Then it was BLAZE BLAZE up to Lincoln Center. I arrived 10 minutes late but all was well and I got a tour backstage at the Koch Theater. Highlight was seeing Ashley Bouder rehearse; lowlight was ... well, there wasn't one, really, and as an extra prize I got a pair of tickets to Saturday's matinee. Yay!

Afterwards [livejournal.com profile] koaloha and I went to Old John's Luncheonette, where she had a salad and a burger and I had a slice of real New York cheesecake. And a vanilla shake. Yum. Then she headed out and I went to the Barnes & Noble to kill time before the show (and get the new William Gibson book, 50% off hardcover) and have a cup of tea. 6:30 and back to the Koch, where my brother in law appeared fairly close to time, then in for the show. It was only a two hour deal as it was the big gala, with all sorts of folks in fancy clothes and paparazzi to take pictures of them; sadly, the dances were kind of dumbed down to suit them (in my opinion). I enjoyed Balanchine's "Tarantella" and "Western Symphony" but could have skipped the first two pieces.

The good news about it being done by 9 (in time for the suits to have some kind of fancy hoo-hah after the show) was that it left us time to go have dinner in Chinatown: Congee Palace, here we come! I was unable to resist a $5 lychee martini on top of my also very cheap dinner. We had a good visit then headed back to Brooklyn for the evening. So overall, a good day!
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today seemed like one in which I could have fit a bit more in ... but am glad I didn't. Up in the morning, S went to get a new computer while I chilled in the flat and slowly packed. We checked out at about the last moment possible, then went to the South Street Seaport Museum to see the Stieglitz exhibit we'd missed on Monday. We also got to see an exhibit all about the French luxury liner The Normandie (the interior of which we'd admired the day before at the Met), and toured a ... um, wooden masted boat, the Peking. Then it was off for slices at Lisa's Pizza and S and I ended our trip together.

I then went to Brooklyn to find [livejournal.com profile] koaloha, who appeared shortly after I arrived at her flat near Atlantic Avenue. We sat in the back and had tea and gossiped, then I dashed off to the very nearby Target and felt my pent up consumer desire blow a hole through my wallet (resulting in new socks, underwear, pyjamas, and cute Halloween t-shirts - plus BooBerry). I came back in good time for us to head back into the city for a 7 PM showing of A Life in the Theater after first stopping for a quick slice at a place called, I think, New York Pizza, about which I want to say IT AIN'T WORTH $6 A SLICE BUDDY. But I did manage to get some Red Hots at the Walgreens on the way, so yay for that!

The show was funny and a bit hammy (the audience was eating out of Patrick Stewart's hands) though ultimately enjoyable (though $75 was rich for my tastes). We finished nice and early at 8:30 (hurray for 90 minute shows with no interval) and headed to Chelsea to the Tipsy Parson, home of good Southern food (bbq ribs, thyme biscuit, and fried green tomatoes for me).

We ended the night at Marie's Crisis, which was suffering a bit from non-local-itis due to an article about it appearing in the New York Times last week, but we ignored the looky loos and got our groove on, signing along to South Pacific and Anything Goes medlies, enjoying some gorgeous solos, and making my own contribution ("I Enjoy Being a Girl") to the night. (Comment: "My God, an actual woman is going to sing that song?") We got home at about 12:30 and then puttered around the house until I was absolutely sure I'd lost my computer cable somewhere, mostly likely at the hotel. Boo. Time for bed now, and I'll get that show review written sometime ... tomorrow.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today got to a slow start as my Ess A Bagel took FOREVER to get cooked. On the other hand, the cook remembered me and the lady behind the cash register was asking me questions about what to do about accessing her daughter's school records (as I am apparently a computer whiz). Unfriendly New Yorkers? Haven't seen them!

Then S and I headed to the Met to meet up with L and her mom. This was a long trip to the Met - we stayed until it closed! Highlights were the room full of Georgia O'Keefes (never get to see her in the UK, really) and this crazy French art deco panel from a luxury liner that was entitled something like "The History of Shipping" and was massively overdone in gold and shimmering stuff. It was actually impossible to ignore as we walked by the gallery it was in, even though I tried hard as I was Actively Avoiding Furniture (a good way to lose a lot of time in the Met). And we finally saw the Temple of Dendur!

On the way to visit [livejournal.com profile] lastwordy I finally got to visit a Vosges shop, and I'm now the owner of two boxes of truffles and a bacon chocolate bar. Then it was Koreatown again and a rather long dinner with [livejournal.com profile] lastwordy involving 2 bottles of shochu ([livejournal.com profile] babysimon apparently didn't realize that every time he emptied a glass, I'd refill it, which means he was quite schizzled by the end of the evening) and ultimately a trip to a bar (Blarney Rock, not fancy but cheap and completely fine for amaretto sours). We caught up about our families and talked shit and generally whooped it up - all that was missing was ballgowns and tiaras, which apparently were what she was wearing on Saturday night. Alas!

We actually got home at a reasonable hour, but I've spent most of the night writing up my Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson review (now done) and discussing the rest of the week's plans with [livejournal.com profile] koaloha, which will involve Scottsboro Boys, A Life in the Theater, and a trip to a rocking flea market. Meanwhile tomorrow I've got one last day with [livejournal.com profile] babysimon and we're going to make the most of it and head back to the freaking museum to see the Stieglitz exhibit - we saw two photo exhibits today, one of mixed modern stuff, the other Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein's New York Photographs, 1950–1980, which I found pretty groovy, and what with all of the mentions of the Photo-Secession movement and Gallery 291, we're primed for the Stieglitz. Go go gadget art fiend!
webcowgirl: (Darger)
So we don't seem to be getting as much done as we would have liked to.

Today we went to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry (it's free!) but it was misting and had got a lot cooler so it wasn't really as good of a view of the Statue of Liberty and what have you as I would have liked. We just did the round trip, no visit to Staten Island per se, because we were going to the ....

South Street Seaport! This was our goal after the ferry, though as it was now lunch time we diverted to the DaVinci pizza restaurant on Water Street (good pie, lots of selections) on our way. When we arrived, we discovered.... it is closed on Monday, so no seeing the Alfred Stieglitz New York photos I'd wanted to see. And no seeing rather a lot of museums (such as the Whitney) that were also closed.

It started pissing down rain, so we went to the subway to visit ... The Neue Museum, which is open Mondays, but had a touring exhibit I did not care for and a mere two rooms of Klimts and Shieles, a real shame as it seemed like a big space but I thought the permanent collection would be just a bit bigger. (I discovered right now that I've missed a Henry Darger exhibit, but I can remedy that in the next day or two.)

We then did a bit of shopping at Macys - or, rather, looking, as I found nothing I wanted to buy. We then headed back to the flat (as S was worn out) for tea and cupcakes (courtesy of the Cupcake Truck parked nearby), then headed out to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a fairly freaky rock musical which I will right up soon. Then Mexican food, home, and an early bedtime!
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today was another blazing day. I was still in a bad mood about being stood up by my brother in law and worried that maybe everyone was going to start blowing me off, but after breakfast I finally got L (current Shadow mom) on the phone and things set up for the evening and WHEW not everyone is willing to blow me off with four hours notice, after the fact.

We attempted to make it to Battery Park but trains were working against us, and it seemed like we'd made it only half way there in an hour, so when we surfaced to figure out just how we could make it to the southern tip of the island, suddenly there was the Brooklyn Bridge and the weather was nice so hey, why don't we walk across it? And we did.

We then puttered around in a little park on some former docks (I'm guessing), and by puttering I mean I got ice cream ($3.50 a scoop, ow) and S took photos. Then we decided to not trust to luck and actually leave very early to get to the ballet. We did actually arrive at Lincoln Center half an hour early, which gave us time to find Traviata Pizza and sample its wares (good).

The ballet itself was good - Chaconne seemed both sexless and senza brio, but act two we had the famous and deserving it Ashley Bouder in the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux, which entirely smoked the rest of the afternoon. I thought it was good to see a whole program of Balanchine, but I was reminded of the Martha Graham company - so much of this stuff they're dancing is so old that the company is in danger of going hopelessly stale.

Then it was off to Brooklyn to see L and of course my beloved Shadow, who apparently had some kind of gland infection and burned through her India trip money getting it sorted. However, this could mean that I see her before so long, so lemons/lemonade. We had some Thai food and then went to the cool bar across the street that had just 6 months ago been an actual operating garage. Home by midnight and ... more tomorrow!
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today S and I got off to a lazy start, waking up at 8:30 (woo!) which was really great considering the jet lag issues. We then went to the New York Luncheonette around the corner for a pancake breakfast (though I cheated and got eggs because I wanted the hash browns). Then I went back to the hotel room and burnt some major bucks arguing with my bank on the phone; seriously, if my bank card was compromised, shouldn't they have told me before I tried to use it?

Money acquired, we went to Central Park via Radio City Music Hall and spent a good long meander getting some sun and trying to reset our internal clocks. Then it was first pizza of the trip (Mariella Pizza, not as great as Ophrah said per the sign in the shop) and then Chelsea, where I spent a good hour poking around in an antiques mart and yet only spent $8 (on glasses with poodles on them, so obviously necessities). Afterwards we wandered off in the direcction of the Chelsea Piers, which took us through historic Chelsea, but most importantly to the High Line Park, a totally awesome public space built on abandoned elevated train tracks. It was cool as shit and massively crowded and I loved it.

Then (legs rather tired this many hours later as it was 5 PM) we headed back to the little grass shack, where I took a nap and S propped up his feet for a while. Cups of tea, check email to confirm this n that with people, then off to the ballet, where we saw "Serenade," "Interplay" (a Jerome Robbins piece) and the "Brahms-Shoenberg Quartet." S did okay with the ballet but we'll see if he wants to go back tomorrow or not: the deliciously sunny weather may ensure a no.

Finally we headed to the Chorus karaoke bar, where one of the people I checked in with at 6 rather amazingly completely failed to show up. We waited until 11:30 - a good hour after he said he'd be there - decided it wasn't happening and went home to find a message from him saying "something came up with work." Seriously, how is it that people complain "our family just doesn't try to stay in touch" and then pull this shit? Anyway, that's my brother in law for you, and we were out $35 for some drinks we could have happily skipped out on based on our tiredness level. Ah well. I'm back home, I've had a shower, and my Saturday night in New York is over.
webcowgirl: (Default)
It's been a busy week for shows, despite spending Wednesday night in Chesterfield. I've got reviews up now for "All My Sons" (Tuesday night) and "Dream of the Dog" (Thursday night); in some ways they were very different (America family drama circa 1947 versus South African white vs black confrontation circa 2010): but structurally they were very similar. And then last night I went to Above the Stag (with [livejournal.com profile] booklectic and [livejournal.com profile] dr_d as well as [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and Andrew) to see the all-male "Dangerous" (a modern day "Dangerous Liaisons"), which was another kettle of fish altogether and which I haven't quite managed to review yet. Soon, though, and it had better be really soon, because I have another play tomorrow night and I need to Get On The Horse.

Tonight was "unbirthday cards unparty," which meant about five people were over, 2 for hardcore cards from earlyish and then four for dinner and cards and chatting and (as it turned out) charades and it was all a really good time.

Last night was also a good time with the play but a special star was seeing [livejournal.com profile] koaloha for dinner. When people talk about social networking I think they are talking about making money and getting jobs but for me it's all about people and god damned if I don't use this damned blogging and chat and Twitter shit to help me make real friends in real life. [livejournal.com profile] koaloha I met through an LJ post from probably 8 years back about singing showtunes on the subway, and yet years and years later (in fact 2 Christmases ago) I turned this into meeting her in real life and it was great, she was all of the wonderful person I might have guessed but even better in person because there were another thousand stories there waiting to be told, even though she seems like she's really a bit shy. And now I have an invite to come back and see her, me, visit, her, in New York, this October, and you know what, goddammit, I'm gonna buy me a ticket next month and this is going to happen. And she said some stuff about me looking like I've really got my life pretty sorted and I'm doing well and that, well, that made me feel good in a way that's going to last me all week long. Me, I'm almost 43 years old, and my life has really turned upside down in the last six months, but someone who's seen me at both the nadir and now, she says I'm doing alright. That makes me feel good. See you all on the flip side.
webcowgirl: (Theater)
Right, I've managed to crank out my review for Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab. It's a bit of a quickie because I'm still three shows behind and I'm hungry.

Sadly, we've run out of boxes, and we're not anywhere even near the middle of the packing. We're in the very beginning. Wah.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
This was a day of few accomplishments. The museum we went to was closed, I couldn't get a battery for my laptop, bah. Completely wasted trip into town except for the hot chocolate at Ceci-Cela (thanks [livejournal.com profile] koaloha for the hot tip). We bought a few last presents and that's all we managed.

Now I'm going to pack a last few things, eat my lunch (a sandwich from The Bagel Hole), and go.

Thought of yesterday: we were at the Natural History Museum looking at all of the stuffed penguins, narwhales, dolphins, manatees, and walruses, and I was kind of upset by how wasted their deaths were - just hunted to be put on display. Then I said, "Well, hey, you know, in a hundred years, this may be all we have left of any of these creatures, and maybe people will go to a museum like this to see all of the animals that aren't alive anymore."

Then we went upstairs to the museum of the Asian peoples and looked at the artifacts on display there, and I realized that most of the cultures they were showing specimens of were actually pretty much completely extinct.

Of the two, I don't know what thought made me sadder.

Anyway, see you all soon.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Well, we did our best to make good use of our day - a full day with my brother in law and New York City beckoning. Er, well, except that since I stayed up writing until 1 AM last night I didn't really get an early start today - I was exhausted from two nights of poor sleep and today I raced to catch up, putting in a good ten hours of snooze time. But, well, you know, I'm on vacation, and to me, part of "vacation" is "feeling rested," not running yourself so ragged you're more exhausted when you come home than when you left.

So - we got a bit of a late start today. First stop was the "Donut Shop and Luncheonette" (324 7th Ave), a little dive a few blocks up the street from our normal stop. The food was hot, stunningly affordable (all three of us had breakfast for under $20? And I had waffles? How did that happen?), and served quickly and with sass. (I thought it was good, also, especially the home fries.)

Next stop: Museum of Natural History. It seems it took us about an hour to get there (thanks to needing to run another errand and the distance from Brooklyn), and when we got there it took almost thirty minutes to get in as the lines were rather long. And THEN the exhibits we were interested in seeing were "sold out" for the day - all of the free pre-reserved tickets were gone until four hours later.

Truth be told, with so many people in there, I was pretty well through in about twenty minutes, but we soldiered on, going to the earth gallery (cool igneous rocks), the big sea life room with the model blue whale, PUSHING PUSHING PUSHING THROUGH PEOPLE AND BEING BUMPED CONSTANTLY, then finally making it to Dinosaurs Wot Ate Meat room, where we saw a fabulous allosaurus that had been remounted during the period we were living here so that it actually stood in a position like what they currently think they stood in - so the tails were more or less parallel to the ground. (There is a picture of me standing in front of it in an earlier post.) This skeleton is even COOLER because it's an honest to God fossil, not a cast - that is, what you're looking at is a big pile of ROCKS, and it's held together with a steel armature, because obviously it's very HEAVY and rocks don't like to pile up in lines far above the ground in a manner similar to a spinal column. Next to it was an allosaurus that had been mounted in 1908 or so, and it was comic because it looked like a toy dinosaur in its hysterically inappropriate he-man stance.

From there we went to the Dinosaurs Wot Had Chewy Teeth gallery, where we saw AWESOME DINOSAUR MUMMIES that showed what dinosaur skin looked like, and, in some cases, dinosaur tendons and occipital (and ear) bones (this was actually just one really good skeleton). The really cool mummy was preserved utterly as found, which looked like he'd died, fallen over, and had a bit munched out of him before he'd been covered in sand. I loved all of the various duck bill dinosaurs and their relatives ...

Except the PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE everywhere AARGH though the bumping wasn't so bad as I'd given [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy my bag and he was taking most of the brunt of the shoving and pushing and things actually mellowed out when we left this area and went to the Loser Mammals of the Early Daze room, which was apparently Lacking In Cool as these were mammals and THANK GOD the people cleared out. But I'd seen and correctly identified a Styracosaurus earlier and I was happy about that. J went to see the mastodons and I saw sun out the window in Central Park and I HAD TO GET OUT OUT OUT! So off we went, and we took our time walking through the park to a subway station rather further up the street than the nearest one (and walked by the John Lennon memorial), and it was nice and it was great to be in the fresh air and away from the piles of people and only around the some people.

Um - then we had no real goal as it was getting near sun setting time, so what we did was kill some time before dinner with some pizza (Bleeker Street Pizza, the Nonna Maria slices were deelish), some ice cream (Scoops, I think it was called, they had corn flavor but I got zabaglione and vanilla instead), pints (The Peculier, but I got a lychee martini instead), and shopping (key stops: McNulty's, not really the tea selection I was hoping for, and Vosges Haut Chocolat, which was only disappointing insofar as I was obliged to stop picking things out and call myself done without actually emptying the store). We noodled and doodled and finally made our way back to El Maguey Y La Tuna - only to discover they are closed on Mondays. Bah. So we went somewhere else for Mexican, but it was forgettable, and then we decided to just head home and play rock band and pack. This has mostly all happened, except for the packing, and it's near 1 AM, so I'm going to hop in the shower and call it a night (once I'm out).
webcowgirl: (Default)
This was a very slack day due to us staying up very late last night. I was up earliest at 11, but it wasn't even until 2 that we went and had brunch up the street (Sotto Voce). Then we puttered around on a long loop to the flea market up the street and then finally to my brother in law's old apartment, where, yes indeed, the sweater I'd won off of Ebay three weeks ago was sitting waiting for me. It was an incredibly mild day, in the low sixties, but we weren't inspired to do a walk in the park because of the threatening rain and the fact it was so late in the day it was getting dark by the time we'd got the sweater.

I showed a tiny degree of ambition by deciding to make pasta alla norma for dinner tonight (along with my fabulous sous chef [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy), inspired to some extent by the salted ricotta for sale at the great Italian grocery store up the street (Rosso's, I think it is). After we were finished and the plates were cleared away, we played Rock Band, which is fun but silly. Then folks called it a night, but I stayed up finishing my review of the New York City ballet's Nutcracker. My thought overall is that I really must try to write these reviews up sooner - it's been almost a week since I saw this show and I've already forgotten way too much. Ah well.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Yesterday we were awakened at 7 AM by the arrival of my brother in law and his girlfriend. YAWN. And then we slept until 10, at which point we started stirring ourselves in anticipation of brunch. Brunch was deelish Mexican food at El Maguey Y la Tuna, but the real point in going was to see Michael S., a friend of J's from the Phoenix days (also a friend of mine) and meet his husband and their 2 year old daughter (Vivi, who wanted to hold my hand when we left the restaurant and flirted outrageously with me during the meal). It was fun to see them both (er, well, all three of them). Oddly, they may wind up moving to Seattle, depending on where Husband gets his medical residency. And the food was fantastic.

Afterwards it was off to the Noguchi museum in Queens. I have really come to love Noguchi in the last five or six years - the Black Hole Sun in front of the Asian art museum is his. And this had a broad collection of his stone carvings, many of which had features I really associate with him - a sort of respect for and fascination with the rock itself. Basalt isn't just a material to create sculpture - it's interesting on its own, and somehow his sculptures, especially from the 80s, make you see the rock better (as well as having interesting shapes). It was a big hike to the museum from the subway stop but the trip was well worth it - I doubt I'll ever see so much of his monumental work in the same place again. I left asking myself, now, why can't I have one of these in MY back yard?

Then it was back to Brooklyn and the official meeting of the sister outlaw and late family Christmas present opening. Afterwards we went to a Korean bar for Korean chicken wings and drinks, then across the street to Chorus for a late night Karaoke bash. And by late I mean we went until 2 AM. Apparently the bartender likes my brother in law and sister outlaw, as he gave them free shots of Johnny Walker Blue and also gifted our table with several free drinking snacks, including a wonderful plate of fresh fruit. We ordered four or five of these jugs of Korean hootch (shoju? shochu?) as well as beers (for the boys) and sang and sang. There were a fair bit of other people there but it was a really nice atmosphere - people jumped in on other folks songs and helped them out or just participated because they liked the song in question. I think we got eight people up there for "Bohemian Rhapsody," among them Tom, who later tried to give me his number. Dear dear, I think we _all_ had just a bit to drink. We were in bed around 2:30 and we all decided that we would just not plan to do much today.

I actually got up at around 11 (I had been dreaming about [livejournal.com profile] dreamsewing, who was in England and wanted me to go to brunch in Cambridge with her), and broke down and ate some of the turkey from Christmas dinner at around noon. Now J and I are getting ready to have some tea (it's about 1:30) and with luck we might be having some brunch soon. J's holding on to his DS Lite (his Christmas present from me) like it's his lifeline to reality, and I am waffling between reading a silly Charlaine Harris mystery (Shakespeare's Christmas, my present to me) and writing up the Nutcracker ballet. Ooh, and drinking tea. I should really do that now.

Note: my mother in law got me a (in my mind) ridiculously expensive Christmas present (necklace and earrings). I'm not talking to her or having anything to do with her now (and basically hoping to never see her for the rest of my life). Do I thank her or do I let J do it or do I mail it back? What can I do to politely discourage such largesse?
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
After what I would call a fairly bad start to the day, Christmas started picking up when the "outlaws" (my sister in law's family) showed up. They brought over the Christmas presents that were waiting for us at their house (half for my brother, half for me and J) and we gave them the ones we had for them. Then, of all things, the doorbell rang - and it was the postman - delivering a package on Christmas day! Well! We certainly knew for sure that we were in New York, the city that really never sleeps. (In fact, it's been making London feel a bit 17th century. I mean, the subway was running today - with people in the ticket office! It was great!) Then we got to open another present of two, and then call my brother and SIL and visit with them for a while before we headed out for the day.

Then it was off to Dim Sum "Go Go" in Chinatown, where the four of us (after an hour spent trying to park the car, don't ask) had the most amazing dim sum I've had in ages. The variety of gorgeous vegetarian steamed rolls alone blew me away. It was (sadly) all done by ticking off things on an order box, but at least this made it easy to know what the eating options were. The restaurant was half filled with Jewish people, if I'm not mistaken - I felt like I was in the Secret Jewish Christmas Party, and I liked that a lot. I swear people were winking at us and acting generally conspiratorial, like we were all there together. Which in some ways we were. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] koaloha for the hot tip - I want to have dim sum on Christmas day every year!

At this point we said goodbye to the outlaws ... who still thought we had Christmas dinner to go to (it had got switched to Christmas eve after [livejournal.com profile] thedivas found out we were stuck high and dry that evening) ... and headed off to the half priced tickets booth at Times Square to see if we could get tickets to Forbidden Broadway (we did). We killed some time at Wacamba, the gay Colombian bar, then stopped in "Carve" (760 8th Ave) for the second best pie we've had (the garlic butter on the crust was the selling point). Then it was down the street to the 47th Street Theater for "Forbidden Broadway," in which nearly every big show on was mocked deliciously. (With luck I'll get a full review up in the next two days.)

Afterwards we went to Marie's Crisis in the Village - a proper divey piano bar, like the Sea Wolf meets Sorry Charlies. It was in the basement of the building where Thomas Paine died, and a man was sat behind an upright with a bar (to hold drinks) attached to it, playing away while he and pretty much the entire bar sang along to whatever he was doing. This was great - really homey and unpretentious. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] koaloha (in person at last) and proceeded to shoot the shit until sometime around midnight or so. She's got an idea for my first movie and I am looking forward to spending a lot of tomorrow with her. She gave us a Christmas present - a cab ride back to Brooklyn (she had the cabbie drop us off before her stop) - which was really great. When we got back, I dug into yesterday's congee and we opened the remaining presents from [livejournal.com profile] wordknitter and [livejournal.com profile] irrationalrobot. Thanks, guys! We'll get your presents in the mail soon.

And now - it's 1:30 and I am going to bed. Harold Pinter and Eartha Kitt in the same day ... isn't it sad?
webcowgirl: (Default)
We had a bit of trouble getting to our Christmas Eve dinner - the cab companies just weren't answering their phones and I didn't really want to carry a bunch of hot food through the streets in the rain.

Half an hour after we started trying to get a car we were finally in one, and on the corner of Vanderbilt and Atlantic (or so) we saw some guy on a bike, in the rain ... with rain gear on.

And then we realized he was delivering pizzas.

On his bike. In the rain. On Christmas eve.

I mean, shades of Bob Cratchit! Suddenly it was obvious my life could be so much worse at that very moment. I think even the cabbie was feeling good about things.

When we got to [livejournal.com profile] thedivas, food was a-cooking and folks were happy to see us (but fortunately not bitching about us being so late like I thought we deserved). My stuffing was popped in the oven for its final baking. When it came out, Ben effusively praised it, which just pleased me to no end. So just in case anyone wants some hints on making stuffing when you don't really have the fixings, here's the recipe I followed (rather, here are the ingredients I used - I made it all up). It serves about four.

Fry an onion in some butter. Add the meat from about three full sized sausages (I used two spicy Italian and one regular - the spices were important because I didn't have enough around the house to really add flavor to the stuffing). Add about six chopped celery stalks (the leaves are useful, be sure to use them) and half an apple. Add three tablespoons bacon fat and two more tablespoons butter (to make things nice and rich). Add some appropriate spices, such as thyme, sage (this one's really tasty), parsley, and of course salt and pepper. (I had to do what I could with what I had, and all I really had was parsley, salt, and pepper. The sausage really took care of it for me.)

When everything looks cooked down, add in a loaf of good bread that has been mostly decrusted, cubed, and allowed to dry (I cheated and used the oven for a bit). Stir this into the celery mix so the buttery grease gets into the bread; then add chicken broth/stock (I cheated and used bullion cubes) to soften up the bread a little. There should not be any liquid remaining in the pan. (I used about one cup of liquid total for this recipe.)

Put in a lightly buttered pan, pack down a little, toss a few pats of butter on top, and bake at 350 until it's a little crunchy on top.

Anyway, I was really happy that after all of those years of slaving over Thanksgiving dinner I was able to make a dressing totally freehand. WOO HOO! I should get a special merit badge.

Afterward we played Carcasonne: the Discovery, which J won by a long shot. Then we BSed about individual freedoms in other parts of the world, whether or not it's practically criminal to be a Christian, genetically inheritable liver disease, and everything else, which was great. With luck we may try Agricola Friday night.

Okay, well, Merry Christmas to all, and let's all be happy the days are getting longer already.
webcowgirl: (Default)
We spent the only productive part of today looking at the reconstructed apartments of two Jewish immigrant families who lived in lower east side tenement buildings during the great wave of Jewish immigration into the states. I was fascinated with the whole Tenement Museum project - it was kind of like a much more thorough version of the Dennis Severs house, but still with the magic intact.

Based on how tomorrow is going, I'm thinking it would be great to start a new Christmas tradition of biscuits and gravy for breakfast (biscuits from Popeye's, gravy courtesy of the sausages I bought at the really expensive grocery store across the way) and dim sum for lunch. That's most of what we'll be doing. Afterwards we'll be listening to drag queens sing and maybe even making it to a piano bar.

Now we're off to [livejournal.com profile] thedivas's for a Christmas even dinner. I'm so grateful we have somewhere to go and some people to spend it with. I've even got a copy of Agricola I bought yesterday for us to figure out how to play. I tried whipping up some stuffing with a kitchen that's not really stocked to do it, but I think she won't mind the randomness of it all. And with luck [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy won't mind that he's only got one little present from me to open - everything else is lost in transit. *sigh* Oh Christmas snow, how much you've screwed me over.

Miss you all - see you again in a week.
webcowgirl: (Default)
Oops. I spent too much time writing my review of the Klezmer Nutcracker last night and didn't get to bed until midnight. That means I pretty much missed my chance to see the Noguchi museum unless I go on Saturday. What's sad is that I'm still insanely behind on my reviews - I've got four more to write up. Aaargh! What am I doing when I get back to the flat?

My Christmas message to all and sundry can be pretty safely considered to be this long editorial by Polly Toynbee, which I'll summarize as, "Why do religious people think they are better than us? This is crap."

I guess part of the reason I wasn't spending all of last night typing away is because I was making plans to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] koaloha on Friday. She also recommended Dim Sum Gogo for our Christmas brunch with [livejournal.com profile] wordknitter's mom and dad. Christmas night I'd like to see about seeing a play (Forbidden Broadway) and then going to a piano bar. [livejournal.com profile] koaloha recommended "Marie's Crisis," Sue recommended The Duplex. Maybe we can see both somehow. We've also been invited to hang out with Michael Sullivan, an old friend of ours from Phoenix (so really back in the day). This looks like it's going to turn into brunch on Saturday, which I was already planning on doing, only it will be more fun because it will be with someone instead of just us.

Yesterday our big do was going to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center (I kept typing "Lincold," which makes me think I've been using the word "cold" rather a lot lately). We were running behind thanks to the overly long trip to Trader Joe's and didn't have time for dinner again (thus meaning slices once more - sure is a cheap way to feed ourselves!) - well, actually, we could go but instead we went to a shop to pick up a copy of Agricola, which I thought might be a good way to entertain [livejournal.com profile] thedivas's household while we were over. (If I got a copy of it for Christmas from someone else I will be very embarrassed.) Our seats were awesome and I even managed to sell my brother's tickets, albeit for about half face value - so now I can send them a little Christmas present in return. I'll do a full writeup of the ballet later, I promise.

Wow - 36° and raining outside. We've got tickets to the tenement museum at 2 PM but I don't really feel motivated to do much else. I guess that means it's time to make breakfast.
webcowgirl: (Travel)
Today we pretty much took it easy, aside from the fact that we didn't actually nap. We met up with [livejournal.com profile] thedivas on the edge of Prospect Park, then walked in with Shadow and played fetch for a while. It was nice to see him, but I didn't feel all heartbroken about how he "wasn't mine" anymore - it really was a case of knowing what was good for him and also realizing that he'd mostly have forgotten about me after even six months went by. And, well, it was the first time I'd seen him in two and a half years, and it was clear to me that he didn't really miss me. Missing is a people thing. He's a dog, and dogs live in the here and now. Shadow is happy and that's what matters. I knew he would be with her. It's good.

Afterwards we did two things: go to Target and go to [livejournal.com profile] thedivas. Target was rather horrifying; the quality seems to have really dropped to a Primark-like quality, but no doubt I was feeling this in part because of the way the store looked like it had been hit by a bomb - though in fact it was - hordes of pre-Christmas shoppers. I came out of it with some chocolate bars and a $10 copy of Hairspray; J got some new jeans. The whole experience was exhausting and I just couldn't really stand being around so many people. Calgon, take me away!

Once Chez [livejournal.com profile] thedivas we ordered pizzas and entertained ourselves with American eggnog with whiskey in it (yum!) while we waited for dinner to show up. The pizza was godlike - I must write down the name of that pizza place! (LATER: Brooklyn Pizza Factory, best we've had so far) - which was good as it's also what we had for lunch (we grabbed slices on the way back from the park). Then we watched Zohan, which is one of those classically bad American comedies you find yourself laughing your head off at while simultaneously being embarrassed that you're finding it so funny.

We indulged in a taxi back to the apartment ($8, why not, it was a hell of a lot warmer than walking). Right now we're thinking about what to do tomorrow. I'd like to visit the Grace Rare Teas shop, but also the Tenement Museum. In the evening we're going to see [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner's Klezmer Nutcracker, which I think will be just lovely. And who knows, maybe at some point I'll write up the shows I've seen this week - I'm feeling a bit worn out and not much up for writing at present.

Wow, I just checked my brother's flight online, and it's delayed by four hours. That is really going to hurt ...

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