29 April 2007

seis minutos

i have six minutes left on the clock and no more euros, so i've got to make this fast. i'm in san sebastian on the north coast of spain, a stunningly beautiful beach town with the best damn tapas i've ever had. we're lucky to have found a place -- every single hotel, hostel and pension we could find was full when we called. we got the last room in a tiny place in the old town, although i'm sharing a room with my folks, which is a little weird. tomorrow i'm taking them up to the trailhead where they'll start their 500 mile hike to santiago de compostela. it's been cloudy here and there but it's been beautiful, especially a day's drive through cathar castles in southern france. i'm still jetlagged and i can't remember the last time i slept more than a couple hours, thanks to my extensive partying before leaving town. that was dumb.

i'd forgotten the incredible thrill of complete helplessness -- depending on sign language and good graces to get by puts you in a special place. i've realized that i'm tired of traveling alone -- it was a novelty for six months in africa but i'm totally over it now. so i'm headed to madrid to see some friends, even though it's hours and hours away. i've always wanted to see the prado anyways.

time's up. more later hopefully.

25 April 2007

i'm off

a quick one before i head to jfk. i'll have internet here and there, thank god. what would i do without the internet? so hopefully this won't be the last post til i come home on may 6th. might even be able to post some pictures...

24 April 2007

to quote ben folds:

good morning son.
i am a bird
wearing a brown polyester shirt.

and in my brown polyester shirt, i am headed out into the beautiful sunshine and enjoy a day at.... the dmv. okay, maybe not the best place to spend a gorgeous day. but i'm finally getting my new license, which means i won't be arrested in spain. one of my regulars gave me a huge tip yesterday and explained that it was the start of my bail money.

although this prison doesn't sound so bad.

23 April 2007

r.i.p. boris

dance forever, my sweet russian angel.

how not to be a mets fan.

check out this guy.

so he shined a high-powered flashlight into the eyes of the opposing players. as queens district attorney put it, "this was definitely not the defendant's most shining moment." god that's awful.

but that's not the worst part. read on and you'll discover the intrepid writers for the ny post have dug deeper.

Former Bronx neighbors of Martinez, an exterminator, said he was thrown out of his Ericson Place apartment because of his Mets fanaticism.

"He was a psycho. He used to scream for no reason," said Abigail Torres.

She said when the team would play he would shout "M! E! T! S!" at the top of his lungs and later at about 3 a.m. he would go into the hallway and do it again, over and over.

i think i've finally found a way to properly express my love of the mets. i should probably warn my housemates...

20 April 2007

how you doin?

thanks for asking, title. i am doing great.

it's a beautiful day. i mean stunning. any minute now moxie will wake up from her nap and we are going straight to the playground. after the nasty nor'easter weekend, this is just so redemptive. god i love spring.

why else am i great? my express mail package is on the way from the dmv in california, which means i'll be able to drive through spain legally.

and speaking of spain, that is another reason why i'm great. i leave on wednesday. which is soon. i actually thought i left early thursday morning but oops. so it's going to be a hectic couple of days. but by thursday night i'll be in montbolo, a tiny village just north of the border into france. it looks like this:

gorgeous. it's just off the mediterranean. i'm not sure if it'll be warm enough to swim yet. whatever, i've jumped naked into the winter waters of the pacific. and i don't think there are sharks in montbolo.

i am also great because two of my best friends in the world who've been engaged for too long finally got married. yes, i'm a little sad that as best man/bridesman (long story) i wasn't there, but there'll be a big party this summer and as best man i get my way paid. right sarah?

ha! i am giddy with warm weather and well-sleptness. hopefully only the well-sleptness will be fleeting -- closing the field tonight with a volunteer project at 9 am saturday morning. what in the hell was i thinking?

18 April 2007

playing dress up

sorry, loyal readers, it's been a busy couple of days. this morning i got up early -- 8:30! gasp! -- and i dressed up nice and headed to a meeting in midtown with the state department. turns out my online "jokes" about terrorism were taken very seriously. fyi, fellow bloggers, they are always watching.

no, i'm kidding. but i did go to the state department! their international visitors program is bringing over a group of iranian musicians for a cultural exchange program, and red hot is on board. they'll be here in july and we're setting up recording sessions and concerts -- no after parties though, since the visitors program won't pay for alcohol...

i'm excited about the work, but it's a little strange. what exactly are the motives of the state department? to convince these artists that america is a good place? they want to put the artists up in times square, which sounds like a terrible idea to me. why not put them up in astoria or jackson heights? let them see america at its best, a hundred languages in a single block, muezzin calls and cooking smells filling the air...

17 April 2007

breakfast of champions

yes, i'm having breakfast at 1 pm. sue me, i worked last night. in fact, i've been behind the bar four nights a week for the past two weeks, with one more week to go before i go to spain...

so what is my breakfast today? cookies. i need to go shopping... but you can't shop hungry! so cookies it is.

lesson learned -- never call the DMV before breakfast. those people are evil. still working on getting my letter from california... and the woman this morning was about the least helpful person ever. this after a surprising string of helpful and candid advice. i think i got spoiled.

DMV Demon: Sir, you have to know the name of the person you spoke to. We don't rush items to anyone.

Me: I've spoken to three different people, I'm sorry I don't know their names.

DMV Demon: Yeah, it's a problem. You have to remember who you talked to. We have Greg, Bob, Alan...

Me: Can you just look up my driver record?

DMV Demon: Why did my computer just crash? Hold on.

worst cab ride ever...

and i thought the ride from grand central was bad. but this...

14 April 2007

saturday morning

good morning! what a couple of days. thursday, 12pm-5pm at red hot and 8pm-4am at the field. friday, 12pm-5pm with moxie (the 18-month-old i nanny) and then 6pm-4am at the field. working two 16 hour days with four hours of sleep in between is the best!

on the plus side, i just paid may's rent in 48 hours.

13 April 2007

i am the hunter.

i am the hunter. you cannot escape me.

you, small brown haired girl with ugly jacket.

you might think that since i'm behind the bar that i can't see you. but i do see you. who could miss that ugly jacket? and now i am coming for you. when you came in with your friends, did you think that i didn't notice you? it's hard to be sneaky with a jacket that hideous.

i know your secret. all your friends look under-age but to my great surprise they are all 21. some are even 22! but that is older than you.

i approach your hiding place with the stealth of a snow leopard. there is nowhere to run. i feign friendliness. "i'm sorry honey, but do you have ID?" i ask but i already know your answer. you fumble through your purse. then this is my favorite part -- you turn away and stop looking! did you expect me to just forget about you?

the hunter grows weary. "you can't be in here without ID." what did you say? you grabbed the wrong purse? oh, that's too bad. you should go home and get it. buh-bye now. don't forget your ugly jacket!

i am the hunter.

12 April 2007

three reasons why i hate my job today

1. because the office is too hot when it's cold outside, and i'm sure it'll be too cold when it's hot.

2. because i used to have a great computer, and then my co-worker lost his other job and took my workstation, and now i work on a pc running windows 2000 and i want to blow it up.

3. because the office manager's office, which houses my beloved postage machine, has had a do not disturb sign on it for the past two hours. the sign is in arabic. i think she's a terrorist.

a rough couple of days

no, not for me, don't worry dear readers. i'm doing fine.

but kurt vonnegut is not doing so well.

and neither is johnny cash's ghost.

oh, and poor howard k. stern! i know how much he wanted that baby.

r.i.p. kurt. so it goes.

11 April 2007

i call it "magnetic field of dreams"

thanks to william for the rockin' poster. hope you'll be joining me!

getting up early

not something i'm very good at usually. understandable given that i wasn't home until 4 am last night, and that's a regular occurence these days. both this thursday and friday i'll be there again.

it's worth getting up early just for the light, which illuminates the brownstones with a soft wash of light, more subtle than the glowing parisian dusk. even the monolith of long island college hospital seems peaceful. ellis island glimmers across the harbor, the wizened domes rising from the white-capped waters. even the undertaker had a smile on this morning.

on too few hours of sleep, i headed to brooklyn montessori to talk about markets in uganda.

not my best performance with a class full of unruly kids, but we had fun.

i haven't had the most productive day since. mostly i've just watched planet earth. did i mention it's the best thing on television?

10 April 2007


that was a scream. i'm at the nyu library and i just needed to let something out. nyu hosts red hot's archives, which is great because we don't have to pay for cold storage in jersey any more. but i came in an hour ago and needed a copy of an 11 page folder. an hour later, i'm still waiting for the folder to be copied. seriously? i mean, i could copy 11 pages quick. well, i wouldn't take an hour. truthfully, i probably couldn't do it as fast as tempy.

the best acronym ever

who knew? this is hilarious, and sort of scary.

i've always wondered what JONAH stood for.

yeah, i like cadbury eggs too...

this cockatoo thinks cadbury eggs are real eggs.

but the real highlight of this obviously insane bird?

"She's got so much character it's unbelievable. She hates men - we've had a builder in who had his neck bitten. We had to prise Pippa's beak off his neck.

"When she attacks you, she attacks your ear lobe - she goes straight through them. We do free ear piercing here."

lets go mets

in order to spare my readers who aren't as obsessed with baseball as i am, i've started a mets blog with some friends.

it's called home run apple. enjoy!

09 April 2007

andrew bird...

live music is a huge part of my life, but most of it is working at shows downstairs. i'd forgotten how powerful live shows can be. but my goodness, tonight i have had a stunning reminder.

tonight i went to see andrew bird. three piece band. andrew would lay down looped violin counterpoint and make a bed for his dummer/keyboard player (one hand drumming, one hand milking a fender rhodes) and bassist. giant sounds erupted from spinning phonograph horns. and then andrew comes in with... whistling. soaring, like a musical saw or theremin. the loops twist and feedback and waves of sounds and textures rise from the burning amplifiers and the crowd goes crazy.

oh. did i mention it was a secret show announced day of and that i was on the guest list? that makes it that much sweeter.

he's playing letterman tomorrow night if you'd like to see and hear.

the best shirt ever

light headed fun

in the midst of the chaotic license replacement process (new social security card, express mail to california), i ran into a mobile blood drive unit offering free tickets to mets games for giving blood. can't resist that!

so now i'm home, a little woozy and watching the mets home opener.

last night was the worst night of bartending of all time. six customers in ten hours and a total of nine dollars in tips. ouch. at least i'm getting better at darts.

08 April 2007

i think jesus hates me.

because i didn't go to church on easter for the first time in my life. does the fact that i went to easter mass at st peter's at the vatican 11 years ago count double? i've been saving it up.

i'm at work, and since there's no internet (again) upstairs, i brought things downstairs. it's not like *anyone* is coming to a dive bar on easter sunday anyways. so i have my book (ben okri's songs of enchantment -- more on that later) and my computer to keep me company.

i'm a little freaked out. yesterday while i was out shopping, my driver's license fell out of my wallet -- at the same intersection where i lost my wallet last year. it's not like i ever drive in the city, but uh oh, i'm going to spain in three weeks and driving all over the place. oh, did i mention it was a california license and that you can only get a replacement in person? i've got a shot at getting a new york license, but it's going to come down to the wire.

jesus totally hates me.

yea, and verily jesus spoke, and said, get of my house with those garbage shots.

06 April 2007

tell me, who are you this time?

i have a favor to ask of you. i'm curious who reads this blog regularly. if you don't mind the invasion of privacy, can you comment below and tell me who and where you are? thanks.

also your SSN and a major credit card. jk

it's easter dammit!

yesterday i looked out the window of my office at madison and 30th, up to the soaring heights of the empire state building. and i could barely see it because of the thick horizontal snowflakes. that is so not cool at all. the last gasp of winter is always frustrating, but it looks like highs in the 40s through the weekend. hello, it's jesus time! do you realize, controllers of weather, that you're totally going to piss jesus off? what about all the barbeques and egg hunts that are somehow related to his teachings? if it's cold this weekend, it'll ruin everything.

it was bad enough when you ruined christmas.

and when i say you, i mean my sister hannah.

05 April 2007

ten thousand

is how many CDs i just moved out of our storage unit and into the office.

that's a 1 followed by four zeros.

my back hurts.

the best rules ever

please read and follow all of these rules. for your convenience, i have put the most important rules in bold. unfortunately the people that need rule #28 won't ever understand.

frank rich, you are a god.

the 86 rules of drinking:

1. If you owe someone money, always pay them back in a bar. Preferably during happy hour.

2. Always toast before doing a shot.

3. Whoever buys the shot gets the first chance to offer a toast.

4. Change your toast at least once a month.

5. Buying someone a drink is five times better than a handshake.

6. Buying a strange woman a drink is still cool. Buying all her drinks is dumb.

7. Never borrow more than one cigarette from the same person in one night.

8. When the bartender is slammed, resist the powerful urge to order a slightly-dirty, very-dry, in-and-out, super-chilled half-and-half martini with a lemon twist. Limit orders to beer, straight shots and two-part cocktails.

9. Get the bartender's attention with eye contact and a smile.

10. Do not make eye contact with the bartender if you do not want a drink.

11. Unacceptable things to say after doing a shot: Great, now I’m going to get drunk. I hate shots. It’s coming back up.

12. Never, ever tell a bartender he made your drink too strong.

13. If he makes it too weak, order a double next time. He'll get the message.

14. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she refuses, she does not like you.

15. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she accepts, she still might not like you.

16. If she buys you a drink, she likes you.

17. If someone offers to buy you a drink, do not upgrade your liquor preference.

18. Always have a corkscrew in your house.

19. If you don't have a corkscrew, push the cork down into the bottle with a pen.

20. Drink one girly drink in public and you will forever be known as the guy who drinks girly drinks.

21. Our parents were better drinkers than we are.

22. Never talk to someone in the restroom unless you're doing the same thing—urinating, waiting in line or washing your hands.

23. Girls hang out, apply make-up, and have long talks in the bathroom. Men do not.

24. After your sixth drink, do not look at yourself in the mirror. It will shake your confidence.

25. It is only permissible to shout 'woo-hoo!' if you are doing a shot with four or more people.

26. If there is a d.j., you can request a song only once per night. If he doesn't play it within half an hour, do not approach him again. If he does play it, do not approach him again.

27. Learn how to make a rose out of a bar napkin. You'll be surprised how well it works.

28. If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford to drink in a bar. Go to the liquor store.

29. If you owe someone twenty dollars or less, you may pay them back in beer.

30. Never complain about the quality or brand of a free drink.

31. If you have been roommates with someone more than six months, you may drink all their beer, even if it's hidden, as long as you leave them one.

32. You can have a shot of their hard liquor only if the cap has been cracked and the bottle goes for less than $25.

33. The only thing that tastes better than free liquor is stolen liquor.

34. If you bring Old Milwaukee to a party, you must drink at least two cans before you start drinking the imported beer in the fridge.

35. Learn to appreciate hangovers. If it was all good times every jackass would be doing it.

36. If you ever feel depressed, get out a bartender’s guide and browse through all the drinks you’ve never tried.

37. Try one new drink each week.

38. If you are the bar's sole customer, you are obliged to make small talk with the bartender until he stops acknowledging you. Then you're off the hook. The same goes for him.

39. Never tip with coins that have touched you. If your change is $1.50, you can tell the barmaid to keep the change, but once she has handed it to you, you cannot give it back. To a bartender or cocktail waitress, small change has no value.

40. If you have ever told a bartender, “Hey, it all spends the same,” then you are a cheap ass.

41. Anyone on stage or behind a bar is fifty percent better looking.

42. You can tell how hard a drinker someone is by how close they keep their drink to their mouth.

43. A bar is a college, not a nursery. If you spill a beer, clean it up. If you break a glass, wait for a staff member to clean it up, then blame it on someone else.

44. Being drunk is feeling sophisticated without being able to say it.

45. It's okay to drink alone.

46. After three drinks, you will forget a woman's name two seconds after she tells you. The rest of the night you will call her “baby” or “darling”.

47. Nothing screams 'nancy boy' louder than swirling an oversized brandy snifter.

48. Men don't drink from straws. Unless you're doing a Mind or Face Eraser.

49. If you do a shot, finish it. If you don't plan to finish it, don't accept it.

50. Never brood in a dance bar. Never dance in a dive bar.

51. Never play more than three songs by the same artist in a row.

52. Your songs will come on as you're leaving the bar.

53. Never yell out jukebox selections to someone you don't know.

54. Never lie in a bar. You may, however, grossly exaggerate and lean.

55. If you think you might be slurring a little, then you are slurring a lot. If you think you are slurring a lot, then you are not speaking English.

56. Screaming, “Someone buy me a drink!” has never worked.

57. For every drink, there is a five percent better chance you will get in a fight. There is also a three percent better chance you will lose the fight.

58. Fighting an extremely drunk person when you are sober is hilarious.

59. If you are broke and a friend is “sporting you”, you must laugh at all his jokes and play wingman when he makes his move.

60. If you are broke and a friend is “making sport of you”, you may steal any drink he leaves unattended.

61. Never rest your head on a table or bar top. It is the equivalent of voluntarily putting your head on a chopping block.

62. If you are trading rounds with a friend and he asks if you're ready for another, always say yes. Once you fall out of sync you will end up buying more drinks than him.

63. If you're going to hit on a member of the bar staff, make sure you tip well before and after, regardless of her response.

64. The people with the most money are rarely the best tippers.

65. Before you die, single-handedly make one decent martini.

66. Asking a bartender what beers are on tap when the handles are right in front of you is the equivalent of saying, “I'm an idiot.”

67. Never ask a bartender “what's good tonight?” They do not fly in the scotch fresh from the coast every morning.

68. If there is a line for drinks, get your goddamn drink and step the hell away from the bar.

69. If there is ever any confusion, the fuller beer is yours.

70. The patrons at your local bar are your extended family, your fathers and mothers, your brothers and sisters. Except you get to sleep with these sisters. And if you're really drunk, the mothers.

71. It's acceptable, traditional in fact, to disappear during a night of hard drinking. You will appear mysterious and your friends will understand. If they even notice.

72. Never argue your tab at the end of the night. Remember, you're hammered and they’re sober. It's akin to a precocious five-year-old arguing the super-string theory with a physicist. 99.9% of the time you're wrong and either way you're going to come off as a jackass.

73. If you bring booze to a party, you must drink it or leave it.

74. If you hesitate more than three seconds after the bartender looks at you, you do not deserve a drink.

75. Beer makes you mellow, champagne makes you silly, wine makes you dramatic, tequila makes you felonious.

76. The greatest thing a drunkard can do is buy a round of drinks for a packed bar.

77. Never preface a conversation with a bartender with “I know this is going to be a hassle, but . . .”

78. When you’re in a bar and drunk, your boss is just another guy begging for a fat lip. Unless he’s buying.

79. If you are 86’d, do not return for at least three months. To come back sooner makes it appear no other bar wants you.

80. Anyone with three or more drinks in his hands has the right of way.

81. If you’re going to drink on the job, drink vodka. It’s the no-tell liquor.

82. There’s nothing wrong with drinking before noon. Especially if you’re supposed to be at work.

83. The bar clock moves twice as fast from midnight to last call.

84. A flask engraved with a personal message is one of the best gifts you can ever give. And make sure there’s something in it.

85. On the intimacy scale, sharing a quiet drink is between a handshake and a kiss.

86. You will forget every one of these rules by your fifth drink.

meet the mets

god i love baseball. i love it so much i'm starting another blog to spare the non-baseball fans from my obsession. it's not ready yet though.

the mets are amazing. my heart will always be with oakland, but i can watch every mets game and take the subway to shea -- 10 games last year & two in the postseason. and to top it off, we serve mets beer at the field. so it's inevitable.

04 April 2007

it's gross.

it is cold and rainy today. feeling the danger of staying inside all day, i went to AAA and got my international driver's license. broadway and 62nd street is really far from my house.

you know what else i did today? i took all my change to the bank. i had $60 in change! i'm totally going out to dinner.

really keith? really?

when i die, *NO ONE* is allowed to snort my ashes.

not even you, keith.

am i a bad person?

on monday night at 3 am, a cracked-out homeless woman sold me a bike for $20. it's pretty obviously stolen. it's a sweet bike -- original leather saddle style seat, beautiful italian handlebars... someone loved this bike. and now i feel bad. so i put up a notice in the lost & found on craigslist. i swear i'll give it back if the owner gets in touch. although now they owe me 20 bucks.

anyone recognize this bike?

what do i hate?

"a place for friends"? how about "a place for a huge corporation to let you pretend like you own a piece of the internet but actually just a place for them to bombard you with advertising while your inbox and comments page are filled with fake friends and spam messages."

fuck you myspace. i hate you.

what do i love?

i love techmology! i just happened upon my dad checking his email from holland and conversed via gchat. i think that's the first time he's ever used an internet chat program. he wasn't very good at it. he was writing long paragraphs without entering the text and i had to tell him, no dad, just write a single sentence and then hit enter. i don't want to sit here while you write the next great american novel via IM. at least he doesn't know how to use emoticons.

were in ntherlands sabbatical is AWESOME!! :) lol


the spanish tapes finally came through, and they're fucking latin american spanish, not castillian. why am i even doing this? i'm spending all my time in basque and catalan country anyways, and the pyrenees don't speak any language except that of majesty. oh well.

03 April 2007

and it's morning.

hello there. i just stayed up past 6 trying to get to sleep. and getting music -- new albums by andrew bird, tom waits, beirut, i'm from barcelona, menomena, built to spill, regina spektor and great lakes swimmers -- not a bad haul, although the one thing i i wanted -- spanish lessons -- is far from done.

i don't think i'm going to be very productive today.

it's my grandma's 84th birthday today. i'm going to call her right now.

what time is it again?

my occasionally tremendous insomnia has got the better of me again. it's too late for this. but it happens sometimes when i nap in the afternoon. which was necessary after getting up at 7 am and talking to a support group for HIV-positive spanish speakers in east bushwick. that's a new part of the city for me. in fact, seeing any of the city before 9 am is pretty much new to me.

at least i'm using my wide-awakeness past 5 am productively. i'm stealing. some music, but more importantly, a three part audiobook for learning spanish. relevant, given this morning's activities. not to mention i'm going to spain april 26th.

anyone have friends in barcelona? i'll be there the first weekend in may.

staying up late paid off for me tonight. after a long weekend closing late, exhausted and feeling under-tipped given the effort, a great monday downstairs. best tips in a while, and i even got a new toy tonight. i can't tell you what it is though. it's not dirty or anything, it's just too exciting to talk about until i have a picture to put up.

okay, i should get to bed. jesus it's late.

01 April 2007

stealing from the neighbors

after weeks of the utter isolation that is life without the internet, tonight i'm finally able to update my blog. thanks for the connection, anonymous neighbor!

here's 10 things i've learned.

1. it is always better to be honest with yourself, even if means hurting people you love.

2. i do not like working past 5 am two nights in a row.

3. i can play a solo acoustic show and people will like it.

4. living above a bar where you drink for free is hazardous to your health.

5. i am out of shape and something must be done.

6. discovery channel's planet earth is the best nature television ever. seriously, ever.

7. i love the mets.

8. i miss my grandparents.

9. i don't update this blog enough.

10. see 1.