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Have you ever done the boredom Google? Where you’re doing your internet stuff, and some random memory crosses your mind and you think, “Hm. I wonder what ever happened to that person?”

In my case, it happened yesterday morning, while I was futzing around on Jezebel, and some story made me wonder about an ex-boyfriend.

Now, I dated this guy for a short period of time in the early 90′s — maybe five/six months. He pursued me, for what it’s worth. The owner of the gym where we met told me that the day I joined, he noticed me and said, “She is going to be my girlfried.” This was months before we actually met. Anyway, he approached me one night at the gym, in all his buffness, and the rest was, as they say, history.

A few tempestuous months go by and we take a vacation together. We came back from Puerto Rico and he suddenly dropped me cold, without explanation, and took up with the high-schooler who worked the counter at the gym. (Needless to say, I changed gyms, which didn’t stop him from sending his friends there to stalk me). I was HEARTBROKEN. Tears, sobbing, rending of clothing, excessive drinking all over the place, yagggh. You know the drill.

But we move on, and upward, right? I met Matt, who I dated for five happy years, yadda yadda yadda. Somewhere in that period, I got a phone call from this ex, who wanted to have a drink with me. Hey, no problem,I’ve moved on, life is good, we meet for a drink. He tells me he is engaged to marry a different 18-year old (starting to see the pattern here, folks?), and proudly shows me a picture of them together — AT HER SENIOR PROM. (I can never unsee that photo of a 30+ man in a prom picture, alas.)

I am left with nothing more than that “whew!” feeling you get, where you swipe the back of your wrist across your forehead. That was a close one.

So, back to the boredom Googling. I saw something online that made me go, “Hm. Whatever happened to Rocky?” (Yes, I dated a guy nicknamed “Rocky.”) I google his real name, and oh holy shit.

He is now a registered sex offender in Virginia and Florida! Without getting into all the legalese about it, the charges appear to be related to this statute: “A person is guilty of the use of a child in a sexual performance if, knowing the character and content thereof, he or she employs, authorizes, or induces a child less than 18 years of age to engage in a sexual performance or, being a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of such child, consents to the participation by such child in a sexual performance.”

One of my exes is a pedo!

I know, ewwwwww, right?

Yes, I’m sure it’s the same person, the Florida DOC page has his picture right up there.

You cannot escape the tractor-beam of my adorableness!

You cannot escape the tractor-beam of my adorableness!

 

It’s not something I can fully explain, but somehow the Dood has come around on the kitty. Mind you, he was never antipathetic so much as indifferent; the cat came as part of the package, like the book collection and crammed CD shelves.

At first, he was adamantly opposed to the cat sleeping on the bed, when she had always slept on the bed. You know how that battle ended, right? Every time she jumped up on the bed, on his side, he would bark at her, and shove her off with his foot. It all ended with something of a standoff — Miss Not-So-Bright-For-A-Kitty figured out that she should wait until he went to bed, and to only jump up on my side, and to settle in on my side. Trouble is, now when he goes to bed, it’s become her signal to stand in the doorway and holler that it’s time for me to retire, as well. After he wakes up in the morning, that’s when she jumps up and goes to sleep on my head.

I had to train him that she is a little kitty, and not a big hulking dog that likes horseplay. Though I think he learned the hard way that when playing the Hand Game with an un-declawed cat, the Hand always loses.

Apparently, my business trips have become their major bonding times, because the last time I returned from California, a few minutes after I walked in the door, after we had hugged and kissed, our conversation went like this:

Me:  Did Kitty miss me?

Dood: She didn’t come out the first night at all, then at bedtime last night, she stood in the doorway, and was like, “meow, meow, meow MEOW, meow, MEOW.” I told her “She’s not coming back ’til tomorrow,” and she said, “Meow, meow, meow, MEOW!” and turned around and marched back into the bedroom.

Yes, Dear Readers, there were facial expressions and head gestures to go along with the meowing. They had a conversation.

I think he’s officially a Cat Dood.

(It’s important to note that if Mambo was still alive, Cat Dood probably would not be Cat Dood. Mambo was my special cat, but he was — how do I put this? — an asshole.)

OCD (occasional)

Sometimes my own situational OCD is so obvious that I can see it. Tonight I asked Dood to prepare our rice and scampi plates after I had cooked, while I poured the wine. I looked over to see him scraping the scampi out of the skillet with the flat wooden spatula I had used to cook the dish, and I barked, “SPOON!” Because, you know, there is a correct utensil for getting the scampi out of the pan, right?

His eyeroll was all the answer I needed.

The shrimp was delicious. (Was? Were? There were multiple shrimp involved, so should they be referred to in the plural? Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am so out of practice that I can barely construct a coherent sentence anymore. And this little tangent reminds me of my Cuban friend Miguel, who always calls multiple shrimp “shrimps,” in the most endearing way. “I loff thee shreemps,” he says.)

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I’m writing this here so it won’t get buried in a pile of wholly undeserved 4- and 5-star Yelp reviews. But I still may post it on Yelp, for the lulz.

Peter Luger can kiss my ass.

To wit:

I got it into my head that Dood and I should kick off his birthday week by having burgers on the 4th of July. Radical idea, right? And being the good Brooklynite that I am, and both of us being extreme carnivores, I thought a burger at Peter Luger, New York’s most renowned steak house, would be the perfect thing for us. I’ve eaten there before, food’s always been great.

Now, some things you accept with your Luger meal, almost as if they’re “insider” secrets: no credit cards accepted, terrible decor that hasn’t been updated since about 1899, a shitty selection of beer served pisswarm in 8-ounce glasses, assholes for waiters, and great meat. You’re expected to put up with all the other things in exchange for the great meat.

But even I have my limits.

I made the reservation for 1:45, so we could have a lazy morning at home, and walk to the restaurant for a late-ish lunch. We strolled out the door at 1:00 and had a leisurely walk to the restaurant, arriving at 1:40. The bar area was empty, with only two guys sitting there, and the restaurant was not crowded. We were seated promptly in the front room by the maitre d’.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, let me remind you, today was a holiday, and the restaurant was not crowded. Also, did I mention that it was blazingly hot and humid today? Well, it was very hot and humid today, and while we were sitting at our table in the middle of the uncrowded dining room after our long walk to get there, a glass of water would have been nice.

Instead, we sat. No menus were proffered. Here’s what was on our table: Bread plates and napkins. I fanned myself with my napkin to try to cool off, since, as previously mentioned, no one brought us water when we sat down.

Here’s what I observed while we sat: No less than three waiters worked on the other three or four tables of diners that were seated around us. I watched one old crank of a waiter arguing with a younger crank of a waiter over what tables made up each station. They each strolled past our table at least twice, managing at all times to avoid eye contact with either Dood or me. Remember, the asshole waiters are supposedly one of the “charms” of Peter Luger!

We watched one of the waiters bus a table by the window, then stroll past us and ignore us.

We watched the other waiters stroll past us and ignore us. No sense of urgency or speed to these guys, they were just taking their sweet time going back and forth past us.

We were a tiny island of invisibility in the middle of the dining room.

We watched THREE OTHER PARTIES of four people get seated around us, and water and bread appeared on all those tables.

At that point, I had had it, and I returned to the host station.

“Hi,” I said nicely, “do you think you could seat us in another room? We’ve been sitting there for 10 minutes, and tables that were seated after us have gotten bread and water, and we haven’t even gotten a glass of water yet.”

The maitre d’ followed me back into the dining room, where I returned to our table and sat down. I watched him speak to two of the waiters, gesturing to our table. Then he left the dining room.

At this point, I figured at the very least, water would appear.

Nope.

The waiters proceeded to ignore us, even harder, if that is possible. Here I am, hungry, thirsty, and now I’m PISSED AS SHIT. On the verge of a food-related personality change, if you will. I’m sure by this time there was probably steam rising from the top of my (unhydrated) head, probably with a faint whiff of devil’s sulfur in it.

Five more minutes, and Dood and I looked at each other, put our napkins on the table, and stood up.

“Screw this, we’re out of here.” And we walked out.

Totally anticlimactic, I know. I would have said something to the maitre d’, but he was mysteriously missing from his post when we left, so we didn’t even get the satisfaction of huffily announcing our departure.

The happy ending to this story is that we ended up at Maison Premiere, an oyster house with a NOLA vibe on Bedford Avenue, where the hostess was sweet as anything, and the staff is attentive and doesn’t act like you’re bothering them. They had a Dixieland quartet playing out front, which added to its nice vibe. I was happy to pay $110 for oysters, clams, lobster and crab salads, and icy-cold beers served in frosty mason jars.

So, Peter Luger is now on my permanent black list. I will tell everyone I know that they are shitheads who don’t know how to treat their customers. I will tell everyone I know that their waiters are assholes, and if they want to be tourists and insist on going for the “experience” that they would be better off standing in front of the restaurant setting $100 bills on fire than actually stepping inside to be treated like an annoyance.

Peter Luger, fuck you.

I won’t be bringing the Dood here for his birthday ever again. This year, I am taking him to DeStefano’s Steakhouse, where I’m sure the food will be better because it will be flavored with that extra added something known as good customer service.

I know, my first blog post in a long time. And it’s a how-to guide for tourists? Seems cheap, right? Well, too bad. I haven’t written a darn word in MONTHS other than being obnoxious on Facebook and a secret twitter account, so this post is mostly some kind of warmup.

* * * * *

It’s summer in New York City, and that means the commute of everyone who actually lives and works here just got a little more hellish. The subways will be filled with clueless tourists trying to navigate our 600+ miles of subway tracks through 450-some stations.

This post is my public service for those tourists. You don’t need to act like a New Yorker, but there are ways to navigate the system efficiently without feeling overwhelmed, getting lost, or enraging a local. Here we go:

1) Know the difference between an unlimited ride MetroCard and a pay-per-ride MetroCard. The unlimited ride card seems like a great way for a family to travel around to your tourist destinations in NYC, until you actually try to use it to swipe your entire family into the subway. See, the unlimited ride card can only be used once every 18 minutes. If you swipe yourself through, the card won’t work again for a third of an hour. The unlimited ride card really benefits us local folk, who use the subway to go everywhere, all the time. It’s cheaper for us. Buy a pay-per-ride MetroCard. But even with the ppr, you should be aware that if you’re traveling with a group of 10 people, only 4 of you can swipe in with one card.

How to swipe: watch how the New Yorkers do it. Fast, but not too fast. Go too slowly, which seems to be more prevalent, and you will get the dreaded “Swipe again at this turnstile” message. And “Swipe again at this turnstile” means exactly that. If you move to another turnstile, the MTA loves you, because they will take the fare from the first turnstile AND the fare from the 2nd turnstile. They’ve just made a profit off of one fare.

2) There are maps in pretty much every subway station. Use them! Usually, there is a subway system map next to a neighborhood map. Orient yourself before you leave the subway station. Being the low-tech gal that I am,  I still use the neighborhood maps all the time.

3) When traveling in a large group, try not to become a massive, platform-hogging, stair-clogging scrum. Break yourself up into groups of three or four to leave space for other people (me) to get past you.

4) People need to use the stairs to go up AND down. Go single-file. DON’T HOLD HANDS ON THE STAIRS. Trust me, your 10-year-old isn’t going to lose you on a staircase from one train to another, and all you are doing is making yourself an impediment to the flow of people in an already-crowded situtation.

5) Subway seats are for asses, not your stuff. Put that shit on the floor or your lap where it belongs.

6) NO MILLING. Milling is one of my biggest pet peeves, and people seem to be unable to avoid doing it. Here are some typical milling situations:

  • Turnstile Milling. People swipe themselves in, and then just stand there, waiting for their fellow travelers to swipe through. I’ve seen groups of a dozen people come to a dead stop JUST INSIDE THE TURNSTILE. People, when you do this, no one behind you can get onto the platform. Swipe and STEP ASIDE, well away from the turnstile, to wait for your companions.
  • Stairway milling. What is it with groups of people who get to the bottom or top of a stairway and just stop? Keep moving and get out of the way. Other people are behind you.
  • Subway car milling. When you step onto a subway car, do not just stand there at the door if there is room in the car. Assume that there are other people behind you who also need to get onto the subway. Standing in the doorway and making people shove PAST you to get into the car makes you an inconsiderate asshole.
  • Subway platform milling. Same thing. At your stop, step briskly off the train and MOVE AWAY FROM THE FREAKIN’ DOORS. There are people behind you trying to get off AND people waiting on the platform to get on. When you step through the doors onto the platform and just stand there, you are blocking traffic. Think of it this way: when you drive to your local mall, do you turn into the parking lot and just stop your car and sit there, or do you keep moving? KEEP MOVING.
  • Corollary: If you are standing by the door on a crowded car, and the train pulls into a station that is not your stop, do NOT just stand there blocking the door, forcing a carload of people to funnel through a 1-person opening. Step OFF the train and stand just outside the door (if there is someone waiting to get on, they will back the fuck up, trust me). Old school conductors will announce, “Let them off!” Let them off, I beg you.

7) Traveling with your luggage: Look, I understand that you have just spent thousands of dollars on your NYC vacation, and don’t have any money left for a cab to the airport. Honestly, you should have tucked 60 bucks in your shoe to use as your last cab, car service, or airport shuttle bus fare, but instead you spent it on a round of drinks to celebrate your last night in New York City. Now you and your hangover are trying to get to the airport via public transportation, which is admirable because it’s both frugal and environmentally friendly. It’s also foolish, but admirable. I’ll be perfectly honest, the Port Authority and MTA haven’t done the best job at making any of our 3 airports accessible via public transit. Unlike some cities like Chicago, there is no train that takes you right into the city center. You will need to take subways and buses with multiple transfers, hauling your luggage up stairs, down stairs, on escalators, ugh. If you’re doing it during rush hour, good luck cramming your giant 30-inch wheelie bag onto the uptown R train. Further good luck getting on that M60 bus in Queens, which is nothing less than a nightmare. Trust me, I’ve done it without luggage when going to pick up a friend at the airport. It. Just. Sucks. Plus, it takes HOURS. Plus, given that the entire subway system is still recovering from Tropical Storm Sandy, you never know when you will be unceremoniously booted off a train with nothing more than the announcement: “This train is now out of service.”

Take a cab or call a car service. Those commercials for Carmel Limousine you’ve been seeing on your hotel TV? Call 777-7777. You will thank me. Just make sure if you call a car service, you get a quoted price from the dispatcher ahead of time, and if you take a cab, your fare to LGA should be no more than $35-40 bucks (with tip) from midtown, no more than $50-60 bucks to JFK. Even better, the Super Shuttle van will pick you up at your door, and it’s $15 bucks from midtown to LaGuardia.

8) If you’re riding the subway in a group, make sure everyone in your group knows where you are getting off. The newer subways have nifty next-stop signs inside the cars, as well as automated announcements. The older trains will have conductors making next-stop announcements, which can be challenging to hear/understand (consider decoding argle-bargle conductor announcements part of your New York adventure).

9) The subway map does not in any way represent real distances or geography! Just thought you should know that. If you get it in your head that you want to “jaunt” to Coney Island, you will be on the subway for at least an hour and 15 minutes. From midtown to Yankee Stadium will take about 45 minutes. If you are going to Citifield to see the Mets (though why anyone would do that is beyond me), your best bet is paying a little bit more to hop on the LIRR instead of the 7 train. The 7 is tortuously slow; the LIRR will get you there in air-conditioned comfort in about 15 minutes.

10) The best places to transfer trains are Times Square and Union Square.

11) Uptown = toward Queens and the Bronx. Downtown = Brooklyn.

12) MTA.info. Bookmark it. The MTA does a great job of updating service status for all the different train lines.  Hopstop is also a great resource. Use it! The only thing I would recommend is that if you are going somewhere with a designated start time, like a play, give yourself an extra 15 minutes beyond what Hopstop tells you.

13) Be careful. Seriously, something like 30 people have become subway hamburger this year. 55 people died in 2012 – more than one a week! Don’t run on platforms, don’t hang out over the edge of the platform to look for trains, and for god’s sake, if you drop your wallet or iPhone on the tracks, don’t jump down into the track bed to get it. (PS, on rainy days, those knobby yellow safety strips on the edges of the platforms are slick as hell! Avoid walking on them at all costs!)

14) If you are totally confused, ask for help. We don’t bite. (mostly)

15) In your travels, I hope you have the good fortune to encounter some of our amazing underground musicians. I’m not talking about the guy drumming on the 5-gallon paint buckets (he’s just annoying and loud, and honestly, he’s been doing it for TWENTY YEARS) or the old man playing the accordion very badly in Union Square, but sometimes you will stumble upon someone truly extraordinary, like Theo Eastwind. I see some of these acts and wonder why they aren’t famous while Katy Perry shouts her way to millions. Here’s Theo, performing in his milieu:

Side note to the underground performers: feel free to spit on the shoes of the gangs of teenagers who swarm onto a subway car and shout “What time is it, folks? It’s SHOWTIME!” They will then hijack the entire subway car and hold it hostage with a boombox and acrobatic tricks. It’s amusing/cute once, but every time after that it’s okay to want them dead. I have spoken.

Style Rookie

I have so much to say, but organizing my thoughts in the aftermath of the disaster that happened here and in the run-up to tomorrow’s election has been hard. So this may be a little run-onny and scatterbrained.

In the middle of the storm, my favorite sites (all of the Gawker Media sites, basically) went DOWN, leaving us with their skeletal Tumblr backup blog, which just wasn’t the same without the Gawker commentariat, frankly. There was Gothamist, though, which was a great source of up-to-date storm information and photos (and they even managed to keep some snark happening).

New York fell in love with Lydia Callis, Mayor Bloomberg’s ASL translator. I don’t think I was the only person who would watch ONLY HER as the mayor spoke.

Our elected officials were spot on, for the most part. Mike Bloomberg did have one great big, huge stumble, when he failed to cancel the New York City Marathon in time for runners to seek other accommodation, resulting in bad feelings all around. I get it, Mr. B, you wanted to provide a sense of normalcy for folks, but putting 47,000 runners on Staten Island, which hadn’t even finished finding bodies in its smashed homes, then running them through the other hard-hit boroughs, handing out free food and water to them while people didn’t have flushing toilets, and diverting an already-overtaxed NYPD to police the route — it was a teeny-tiny bit short-sighted. The optics were bad, as people would say. For once, I was glad to see him cave to the mass of pissed-off New Yorkers. We can get back to dealing with the fatties and their bigass sodas later.

I did make it back to work on Thursday. There was no way I was going to fight huge crowds to take the free MTA buses from the Barclays Center, so I decided to take the ferry across the East River instead. It wasn’t free ($8 a day round trip), and I had to walk to the ferry landing (1.5 miles) then from the 34th Street landing to my office (another 1.9 miles), but it wasn’t terrible. There was one moment on Friday evening as I stood on line to get on the ferry — a hipster couple tried to do a weasel-move into the line at 35th Street (the end of the line was at 32nd Street), the way people do at airport gates. “Hm, hm, you don’t see us, we’re just blending in here, look, we’re in this line.” What then happened was that five scary Gorgon women on line stepped to them (physically blocking them from moving further), all saying stuff that basically boiled down to, “What.The fuck.Do YOU think. You’re Doing?” They got scared and slunk away (to the back of the line, I presume, because I can’t imagine anyone who witnessed that was going to let them get away with line-jumping, either). It was a beautiful thing to see, and I swear I wasn’t one of the five scary women. Actually, I was, and I gotta admit, it felt good being a scary Gorgon woman. We were all very pleased with ourselves, but refrained from high-fiving. We just looked at each other, smiled, and went back to our waiting.

When I got home on Friday night, I was very, very tired.

Well, here I am on a scheduled day off, our power never flickered except for one 11-hour stretch at the height of the storm when our cable/internet went down, and in my obsessive internet surfing, I found Tavi Gevinson’s Blog. Which was the point of me blogging today in the first place. She’s only 16, and she wrote better stuff about creepy Terry Richardson than pretty much anyone out there. She’s fucking fabulous. Go read her.

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