Well, something’s lost, but something’s gained

26 11 2015

I went to the Neue Galerie yesterday to see the Berlin Metropolis 1918-1933 exhibit—but, alas, the exhibit was closed.

On a Wednesday! (I thought Mondays were when museums snoozed.)

Anyway, the upside to that downer was that it was early enough to stroll through the park.

I haven’t been through Central Park in, oh, a year, maybe? My favorite part is the very north, but angling down from East 85th to 72nd and Central Park West was still lovely.





Once I hit the street again I kept walking west until I hit the train station. There were a lot of people out, but I’ve learned how to look around while dodging oncoming pedestrians; all I could think, as I gazed at the sculpted ironwork and stately facades, the cheeky cornices and inscrutable reliefs, was Oh, this really is a beautiful city.

I bitch a lot about my life—I’m middle-aged and living like a graduate student, I’ve tanked my own career—but I’m living in a city that I’ve loved since I was young, and teaching students from around the world at a city university which is open to them all.

I really don’t know life at all—maybe I never will—but I’m all right. I’m all right.

May you live a beautiful life in a beautiful city, however strange it all may be.

Black coffee

13 10 2015

Have I mentioned how I like my coffee?

'People Who Order Coffee Black Are More Likely To Be Psychopaths'

I learned the hard way that, in New York, if you want a black coffee, you have to specify ‘black coffee, no sugar’.

‘No cream’ is implied in black coffee, but, unlike elsewhere, ‘no sugar’ is not. You must be clear.

(‘Light and sweet’, by the way, means hop that hot caffeine up on cream—and it will often/always be real cream—and multiple scoopfuls of sugar.)

If the coffee slinger doesn’t know you, s/he’ll repeat this back you, skeptical: ‘Black coffee, no sugar?’

Again, this must be confirmed: ‘No sugar.’

If you buy coffee often enough at the same place, your java dealer will remember you by saying ‘black coffee, right? no sugar?”, then grin when you confirm this is so.

I very occasionally drink coffee and cream—a shot of Bailey’s in a mug of joe is a lovely winter drink—but sugar makes it unpalatable.  I once threw out a large cuppa because I had simply ordered a black coffee, and the server helpfully included the sugar.

That was a sad day.

It was also instructive, as I never made that mistake again.


I think I’ve mentioned this story before, but it’s good enough to repeat: A former editor of mine at The Daily Cardinal once said ‘I hate coffee, but when I drink it, I drink it black, because real women drink it black.’

Now that’s a role model.

I hate you, you hate me

30 09 2015

This is a nightmare-in-waiting: a human-rating app.

And it’s called peeple. (Of course it is.)

“So, you can’t please everybody, but if you’re a business owner, or you’re a professional, or you’re that young urbanite or you’re that parent looking to make better decisions, you also deserve to see where you could improve,” [peeple CEO and co-founder Julia Cordray] said.

“Think of this as an ability to grow and get some honest feedback.”

Yes, that’s just what the internet is good for: honest feedback.

And if you sign up and decide you don’t like it? Tough.

“Let’s say we allow you to delete your profile and let’s say you are a person of questionable character. All the people of questionable character could hide from the app and then what’s the point?” said Corday, adding those on the app could see benefits for their good scores.

What would be the point, indeed?

And even I, the epistemological nihilist, shrinks from this:

“It doesn’t matter how far apart we are in likes or dislikes,” she tells some bro at a bar in episode 10 [of her YouTube series]. “All that matters is what people say about us.”


h/t Shelby R. King, The Stranger

We’re sailing on a strange sea

15 06 2015

A friend who I thought Had It All. . . doesn’t.

She’ll be okay—she’s the most resilient person I know—but the next few months will be rough for her, and it’s unclear what her life will look like once matters do clear.

I’ve been lucky with friends. My life doesn’t look much like theirs’, but it’s not an issue. Some are married, some own homes, some have kids, some are, like me, alone in a rental, but I’ve never gotten the sense from any of them that how I live is inferior to how they live.

I often think that I live an inferior life. I do compare myself to others, as well as to what I think I could have if-only, and I preface any invitations to visit with the warning I live like a graduate student. Almost 50, and I live like a graduate student.

But what I missed in seeing only my own shortfalls was that the Having It All can be a kind of front. Not a false-front, but the kind that seems sui generis—as if it just happened, and that there was no work, no struggle, no falling-short behind it all.

I think we are all so separate and our lives so distant, and in some ways, we are. But we’re also all just bobbing alongside one another in the wavy deep.


Looking out my window

8 06 2015

Finally got the basil in:

Okay, so I should have taken the picture before replacing the screen.

Okay, so I should have taken the picture before replacing the screen.

I would have done this earlier in the week except that I was a) sick, and, as a result of a, b) tired. And it was rather cool here last week.

Anyway, I only planted 6 plants this year and it seemed a bit sparse, so I checked last year’s blog posts (search=basil), and it looked like I crammed in more plants (which, given that they pretty much gave up the ghost by mid-summer, might have been too many*).

I’m thinkin’ that the nursery last year sold them in 4-packs (and I bought 2) and this year in six-packs, hence the six.

(I did have two 6-packs in hand at one point, but was dubious, so I finally read the little plastic info thingy the nursery sometimes includes in plants, and it said to *plant ’em 8″ apart. Yeah, 12 plants in a 16″ box woulda been too many.)

Anyway, the basil box is back. One of the few unreservedly good things about summer.

Now eleven million later, I was sitting at the bar

3 06 2015

Many years ago, when my friend T. and I were both broke (she no longer is, I’m, well, I ain’t at her level), we’d fantasize about how we’d support ourselves in old age:

“Let’s rob banks, and if we don’t get caught—helloooo Costa Rica. And if we do, then it’s at least three hots and a cot.”

That’s if the lottery didn’t work out for us.

Well, it seems some seniors have beaten us to it:

Elderly Crime Rates Increase - Bloomberg Business'e

Never was much of a golf fan.

In the summertime

31 05 2015

Three signs of summer in the absurd household:

1. Sheer fabric in the windows:


2. The summer quilt:


3. The shaving of the legs (human, not feline) twice rather than once a week.

Nobody needs to see a picture of that.

Oh, and the heat, of course, the fucking heat.

How could I forget.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,497 other followers