Sunday, November 18, 2012

When My Heart Finds Harry Connick Jr.

Most people do not share my enthusiasm for Harry Connick, Jr. When I bring him up in conversations about music people tend to look at me a little sideways, like I've just admitted to having a puppet fetish. People think of him as the Christmas guy, or that guy who kind of sounds like Frank Sinatra. I'm not going to launch into my whole thing about why he's great but I will say that I have 4 or 5 of his non-holiday albums, some of which are albums of Jazz standards, some of which are original compositions in which he sounds approximately nothing like Frank Sinatra and I enjoy them thoroughly and un-ironically.  Furthermore, I generally appreciate his existence as a human being. I even went to see him on Broadway in "On Clear Day You Can See Forever" despite its very tepid reviews. Anyway, his career and his pretty, pretty face are not what I'm trying to write about today. It is less than a week before thanksgiving which means that soon I can start listening to Holiday music, specifically my HCJ albums which, besides the Ella Fitzgerald classics, are pretty much the best  seasonal schmaltz out there. I am looking forward to getting drunk in flannel pajamas and listening to all of "When My Heart Finds Christmas" in my parents basement as I struggle to wrap oddly shaped boxes in fancy looking but very cheap wrapping paper that I will inevitably buy on a whim at TJMaxx.

HCJ is like my own personal Santa Claus (an idea which was never encouraged in my house except when my parents needed to evade the "did you get me that____ that I asked for??" question). Although I listen to him year round there is a certain nostalgia specifically surrounding his Holiday music that I find comforting. For people with more of an anchor in tradition I can imagine this is how they feel about angels and mangers and shit. Keep in mind here that I'm not even vaguely Christian in any meaningful sense of the word. My family celebrates both Xmas and Hanukah (spelling varies so I'm going with one that looks most reasonable to me) in my house because Holidays are actually a lot of fun when no one makes you go to Church or read out loud in Hebrew and I suppose we figure "why the hell not?". For more thoughts on why we need Holidays in the winter you can refer to my post "Important Dates in February"

I'm pretty much done talking about this now so I will leave you with a couple links to just a song via youtube and video of a live performance. I usually hold off until after Thanksgiving but I'm going to make an exception here. The second video has a little chatting at the beginning because his charm and good looks add to the total experience.

1- Must Have Been Ol' Santa Live version of same song:
2- Please Come Home For Christmas (Live)
3- A song that is usually unbearable, done better by HCJ.

P.S Mariah Carey and her ONE stupid song can suck a dick.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tipsy Face Making

Well, It's official. I've run out of things to write about.

Not really. To be honest I was really pleased with how I did my makeup and hair tonight and usually I'm too lazy to really do it at all so I went ahead and indulged my vanity and made today a photo blog.

Without further blathering, I present An evening with Emma: In Pictures.

Hi! Good to see you! You had a rough day? Ok. I'm listening.

I've stopped listening because I noticed myself in the mirror.

Can we pause for a second? I'm really excited about my new gloves. True story. 
Ok... I see you're really intent on discussing your issues here.
 I'm trying to listen but not...quite...getting there.

Can we talk about my gloves some more?

No? OK fine. Whatever.

I'm just going to think about something I like while you talk.


I want some cheese.

You have some cheese??!!

I'm so stoked.

Can I have some? Please?

In the kitchen? On the other side of the house?

Can you go get it?

Thaaaaank you.

 Oh fuck you. This is SWISS cheese.

Who the hell keeps swiss cheese as a snack?

OK I GUESS Swiss can be OK.

But I expected more from you.

Now I realized I'm really hungry.


Are you sure you don't have like some fresh Mozz. on you?

Oh...we were talking about YOU?. Was it important?

Ok OK. Go on.

Mmmmhmm...yup....riiiight. OMG yeah...totally....

What was that about wine?

You have some?

 Rosé? Yeah um, I think I'm gonna get going. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Some Final Political JibberJabber (100th Post!)

Please excuse me while I purge my mind of all political musings so I can go back to not writing about politics at all for the next 3 years. 

We had a Presidential election recently. A lot of people are happy with the result. A lot of people are not, and those people are in full swing curmudgeon mode. Apparently I have some Republican friends on facebook and I'm seeing a lot of harsh language. "We're fucked!"... "There goes the economy"... "The liberals don't realize that they're celebrating their own demise"... "America died today". I'm sure there would have been equally stupid and hyperbolic statements made if the vote had gone the other way (for that matter, there were some pretty stupid and hyperbolic things said in favor of the outcome. I may have let a few rip myself). I get it. There is equal camaraderie in celebration and lament. When your guy loses you feel like a loser so you'll probably be quick to cover lost ground by predicting future failures of the other side so when the time comes (and it always does in one way or the other) you can feel superior again. Or you actually believe that whoever is in charge is personally responsible for everything that has gone wrong in the last four years or will go wrong in the next four. Because you're a mega dum dum.

 No one gets to have everything they want from the American Government. We're too big and too diverse for that to ever be a reality. I feel bad that there are people who truly believe that God is going to destroy America because we elected Obama. I mean, I wish everyone who thinks that way would just GTFO already and go manage their own affairs in a corn field somewhere, but its kind of adorable how terrified and angry they are. I want to stick a pacifier in their mouths and put them down for a nap. Being backwards and ignorant doesn't make your emotions any less real.  I wish there was a place for those people where they could feel safe from the wrath of a disappointed* God. I imagine that the possibility of being smote at any moment is a really scary reality to live with.  I mean lets be honest I basically do exactly what I want every single god damn day A)because I just don't give a fuck and B) my general agenda pretty much lines up with things that are legal and don't interfere with anyone elses business. I get that what SOME people want to do is run around screaming at everyone trying to get them to understand that we're going to hell if we don't shape up. That's basically not allowed. I mean, it is, freedom of speech and all,  but if that's how you're spending your time the whole "pursuit of happiness" bit of being an American is kind of bust. Pursuit of not going to hell is probably a joyless undertaking when you have several hundred million godless heathens mucking up your chances.

Religious fanaticism aside I understand that a lot of people actually believe that a Republican President was the only way to get the economy back on track** and were willing to overlook social issues that they might have otherwise swung left on. They might have been right. We'll never really know.  I have observed though that many Republicans start taking a hard party line earlier on in life because their parents don't employ the same "find your own way" tactics as often liberal parents. So you get these creepy, baby faced, suit clad young republicans yammering on about business interests. Not to say that the liberal youths don't spout their own fair share of bullshit but it's harder to picture their daddy's hand up their butts while they're doing it.  I lost track of this thought.  Something about  deeply ingrained ideology not being the same thing as clairvoyance.

I could be completely off about this but this year I feel like the more reasonable right wingers were straining a little to fully back their candidate. This is the party of Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum. Romney really was the corn kernel in that pile of turds. More than ever it was just an issue of we DON'T want Obama. Fair enough. I just don't believe that anyone  actually LIKED Romney as in...yeah man he's just a really solid guy. I trust and respect him on a personal level***. He kept adjusting his stance and flashing that shit-eating grin and it must have been disconcerting for someone trying to find a foothold in the shifting landscape of GOP politics. Obama can be kind of a drip sometimes but the man has swagger and his supporters support the CRAP out of him. From what I remember, which isn't much ( I was 16 and had bigger fish to fry), John Kerry had a similar ick factor to Romney's going on in his campaign. Icky guys finish last.

Social media is notoriously inflammatory and we could probably all benefit from taking a moment to ponder the cyclical nature of government so we're not all horribly disappointed and disproportionally excited four years from now when we're exactly back where we started. I really hope that doesn't happen but as long as the Rick Santorums of the world still garner support we're going to have a lot of push back on any attempts at making social progress stick. He's managed to convince his minions that not forcing other people to adhere to Christian doctrine is somehow an attack on their religious freedom. He might be a wizard and that is some serious shit. So let's just take a breather and remember that no matter who won the election we can't, and won't, get exactly what we want and even if we do there's probably going to be a whole lot of very sneaky and unsettling things going on among the people we have chosen to run our country. Also the middle east. That shit is crazy and we should all be worried. Also Europe. And probably Russia too. South America seems OK maybe? Except for the drug violence. I don't know. We're all going to melt in the fire rain anyway.

* A disappointed God is much scarier than an angry one.
**Personally I think it's abortions. Lots and lots of abortions. And mandatory anal intercourse.
*** I actually do hear this a lot about Obama from people more politically active than I am

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Disasters Of Varying Degree

Today is Thursday, October 25th I have a full day to myself. I  worked the previous ten days in a row so I could get home to Vermont for a few days. I took four days off because I thought I might need Thursday and Sunday as full travel days if I was going to take the train. I was able to get a ride up Friday morning though so today is a free day to do some laundry, unwind, and generally get my shit together.

I woke up at 8 AM ready to deal with ten days of laundry. I had a plan. 2 hours for laundry and then off to Target to buy some sort of fancy device to clean the wood floors in my apartment and maybe a small dresser to store the clothes I planned on bringing back from Vermont. This is going to be my most efficient laundry excursion EVER I thought as I separated my delicates. I'm even going to do two separate loads so my tights don't get all tangles up in my jeans.

 I loaded my giant bag of normal laundry on one shoulder and my satchel of underpants on the other and I headed out the door, confident in the fact that I had two bags worth of weight on my shoulders which  meant that I had my purse with me and am ready to go. Obviously.

My laundromat is right across the street from my apartment but the crosswalk situation is insufficient to say the least.  I wait for a break in the traffic and sprint across, leaving a trail of socks behind me. No time to go back. I get through the doors of SUPERWASH and quickly claim one 3 load washer and one 1 load washer. I  recently put $20 on my laundry card so I'm feeling rich as far as laundry funds go.  I load the washers. I reach to my side to get my wallet out of my purse. But there is no purse at my side. In a panic I search the floor but I knew in my gut what I had done. I left my purse in my room. Which meant that I don't have my keys, wallet, phone, work pass, or my little note card where I have important numbers written in case I lose my phone. 

My first instinct is to run back to my apartment and bang on the door for a while even though I know no one is home. Then I run back to the laundromat and frantically search through anything with a pocket to see if I can find any cash. Fruitless. I consider throwing up. A small thought passes through my head.  I am never getting back inside. Things will never be OK again. I shake it off and review my options. I can go sit in front of my apartment until someone comes home. For 8 hours. I can walk to work in Manhattan and see if they'll let me in so I can use my computer. But you need an ID to get a guest pass. And it's 6 miles away.

My main concern is that I am supposed to go to my boyfriend's place in Manhattan tonight with all of my stuff for the weekend in Vermont and right now I'm not sure when I'll be able to do that. I need to get in touch with him, and hopefully with my landlord as well so I could find out when I can get back into my apartment. Just as I begin weighing the meditative benefits of sitting in one spot for eight hours it occurs to me that the Brooklyn Public Library is somewhere at the top of Prospect Park not far from me up Flatbush Avenue. I'm pretty sure.  

I start running and continue to do so for what is probably only a 1/2 mile but feels like 2. Luckily I'm wearing workout clothes, as I tend to do on Laundry day, but I am wearing no makeup and had no way to tie my hair back. The weather is compliant but on the chilly side so by the time I reach the Library my face is blotchy read and my hair is slicked back with the kind of sweat that can only be excreted during panicked sprinting. 
Good news! There are free computers with internet!
Complication: You need a library card. I don't have one.
Good News! You can get one on site!
Complication: You need an ID.
Good News! You can buy a guest pass for $2.
Complication: I have no money. The ornery slag behind the counter is not sympathetic. I understand her position but I am reasonably distraught. I go outside and sit on the elaborate stoop next to a tiny, pointless fountain.  I am presently enraged at its very existence. I cry a little for lack of a better idea. I remember that there are real homeless people and decide to pull it together. I reluctantly slump back down Flatbush Ave, dragging my feet and humming "empty chairs and empty tables" from Les Mis, which feels appropriate. It isn't.

There's still no one home. I shuffle down from my third floor walk up for the third time today. I  have no idea what time it is. Could be 10 AM could be 3 PM. I've been operating in a state of Emergency and have completely lost track of time. I get back downstairs and just stand outside of my apartment for a few minutes. I realize that I left my laundry sort of strewn in front of my chosen machines so I decide to check on it. Still there. No one seems to be complaining. I notice that is internet offered on a computer in the corner. $1 for 10 minutes! No Change. Cash only. I just need to get some money and everything will be OK, I think. I still have no wallet, no ID, and no phone on which to call a friend (though to be honest I probably wouldn't call anyone. I'm a wimp like that). Maybe, if armed with enough information, the bank will give me some of my money. I know there's a TD around here somewhere. I do everything by direct deposit but I could have sworn I saw one right near the park on...Prospect Park South? Southwest? Ocean Ave? Definitely near one of the corners.

By shear intuition and force of will I find a TD Bank. I end up walking almost the entire parameter of the park but I eventually get there, even stickier and blotchier than I was at the Library. I have my social  Security Number! I know my last five purchases! I even know that somewhere in my account number there is a 9 and probably a 7! The teller shrugs and lets me withdraw $20. I even get a free key chain. I decide that instead of going back to the Library for free internet I'm going to use the pay internet at the Laundromat so I can also do my laundry, which has now been sitting in a pile in front of the washers for several hours. Not a frugal decision, but a logical one, I think. After all I still don't know when I'll be able to get into my apartment. Might as well get something done. First though, I need a McChicken sandwich ASAP. Because I live in a neighborhood which I lovingly refer to as hood-adjacent, there is a McDonalds right next to my laundromat (as well as a Popeye's, Wendy's, Dunkin' Donuts,  and BurgerKing). I inhale my sandwich and use their bathroom which luckily is a normal public restroom and not one of those get-the-key-from-the-manager-and-navigate-a-series-of-complicated-locks situations. I cry a little more for no specific reason.

I scrap my idea of doing two separate loads. I have limited funds now, so it all (barely) goes into one double-load washer. I determine that it is only 1 PM (seriously?)  and set about writing as many emails as possible in a ten minute span to maximize my dollars. My boyfriend gets back to me quickly. My landlord eventually (three dollars  later to be exact) does and lets me know I can get back in at 5:30 and that she will meet me.

I switch my laundry into the dryer and I wait. I watch public access news which is mostly just warnings about a Hurricane that's supposed to be hitting next week. I fold my laundry very slowly and carefully. I wait some more. Finally it's 5:30 so I head over to my apartment building. The front door, which has been broken since I moved in, has apparently been fixed since I last checked earlier today. Now not only am I locked out of my apartment, but out of the whole building. I sit on my laundry bag and sulk. It occurs to me that my landlord might have thought I meant that I was locked out of the building and will be meeting me down here. But now a nice lady is offering to let me in as she leaves. I can go put my stuff my the door and then check back down here every few minutes. If she goes to the door she'll see my stuff and assume I'm near by. It's going to be OK.

An hour later, after dozens of trips up and down three flights of stairs, I have given up and taken up residence on the landing in front of my apartment. I can hear through the door to my apartment that someone is trying to buzz up.  I hop up and run down stairs and open the door to my surprised roommate who obviously wasn't expecting a live person to open the door. "Good timing! I'm locked out too!" She looked even more baffled. "Of the apartment, I mean. Did laundry today. Left my purse. Landlord never showed up to let me in". I don't know my roommate very well and she's not sure how to respond to my manic demeanor.  It doesn't matter though because within minutes I am INSIDE my apartment hugging my purse and laughing like a deranged child. (It turns out my landlord thought we were meeting in the laundromat and left a key at the desk. She's cool. No hate).

I quickly gather my belongings and head uptown to meet my boyfriend and next morning we drive to Vermont and have a lovely, relaxing weekend. I realize that my horrible stressful day really wasn't so bad. Everything is going to be OOOOKay!

In the car on our way back to NYC we hear on the radio that subways will be shutting down at 7 PM in preparation for the coming storm so we decide to go straight to his place instead of bringing me to Brooklyn so I wouldn't get stuck there alone.

Five days later, exactly a week after I spent the day locked out of my apartment I am still in Manhattan because I literally can't get to Brooklyn at all because of flood damage and general hurricane induced metropolitan chaos. Not mine, but entire neighborhoods are under water or have been destroyed by fire. Lower Manhattan (where I work) has no power. I've been working from home, watching disaster television and cringing at the horrible scenes of destruction. It is a legitimate disaster. The moral of the story here is that if you lock yourself out of your apartment and get too dramatic about it your city will probably be destroyed by a Hurricane just to make you feel guilty. I'm thinking of having my keys surgically attached to my body.