Archive for June, 2007

Somehow the giant pulsating death machine also known as Apple has convinced everyone that they need an iPhone. People have been in line for days. Pathetic people like this guy and the mayor of Philadelphia.

Although I’ve been in the market for a new phone ever since I took The Big Long Trip Where I Lost Half of My Belongings, I’m going to keep waiting for my wonder-phone to appear. After browsing through some of the 1,600+ articles, I know for sure this one isn’t it. Ignoring the fact that this “diety” of a phone is made by Apple, which everyone knows I despise, I am in awe that so many people want this phone even though it lacks so many features and capabilities.

The New York Times touched on the pros and cons. A million tech blogs have covered it, and some others have done a good job of making fun of it. But I’ll go ahead and say what I don’t like about it.

1. No instant messaging. No AOL, no Yahoo, nothing. What the fuck? As an avid texter that is by far my largest gripe. Why would anyone get a phone without a chat client? Why why why?

2. Touch-screen keyboard. Looks like a pain in the ass to type and a have a decent amount of viewing space at the same time. But I guess since you can’t instant message on the damn thing, you won’t be doing much typing.

3. The signature Apple trash can. From the article, “…e-mail messages collapse down into a trash can.” So is it throwing out my e-mail or just hiding it from view? The last time I used an Apple computer (I think it was a G4), you were supposed to drag a disk onto the trash can icon when you wanted to eject it. Not when you wanted to delete information, which is the most intuitive explanation… Please give me just a moment to shudder in disgust.

4. Slow internet and poor phone signal. Having spent a considerable amount of time in rural Texas, I know not every phone is going to perform well everywhere. From the studies conducted AT&T; network signals, I’d have to be on the top floor of a building in one of the world’s largest cities just to make a phone call. Hey, wait a minute… Still, even I have to leave my house sometimes.

5. You can’t charge it like you’d charge a regular iPod. I used to tool around the country with a laptop, and it was nice being able to use it to charge my iPod before I got on a plane or something. In general, it’s easier to charge something with something else you already have than to set up a whole new apparatus in order to charge a self-important gadget.

6. Low battery life. I was used to charging my Sidekick every night until it fucking broke. But battery life is a huge concern for many people who use multi-purpose phones. If the iPhone is supposed to do everything but wipe my ass for me, it should have some extra juice, right?

7. You choose your calling plan through iTunes software. This is really low on the list since I can’t think of anything functionally wrong with that, but it seems really fucked up.

The second page of the article goes into more detail about iPhone’s pitfalls, but the ones listed above are my main issues. The author makes some excuses for the new phone’s shortcomings, but I won’t buy into them just yet. If another version comes out and right some of the wrongs, that would be pretty cool. Even then, however, I probably won’t be “thinking different” for awhile.

Warning: If you are a boy, you will probably not like this post. Not trying to be overly assumptive, just sayin’…

Today I returned to Bumble and Bumble for my free “current cut.” Several months ago, I agreed to be a hair model for the B&B; school and let a student give me this type of cut after viewing several pictures in a photo book. I went in with the understanding that they were going to do something “avant garde,” which a normal person may loosely translate as “strange.” But hey, I was game as long as the left some hair for me to correct when it was all over. Of course, since I’m writing about it and it involves me acting as myself, the experience was not without some turbulence, hubbub, and perhaps a pinch of ballyhoo.

It all started last night when I had a nightmare about wet hair. That’s right, I was supposed to be doing something fun at some fun place with a lot of fun people, but I was stuck in a room drying my hair for hours and hours. The longer I dried it, the wetter it became, and I never did make it to the party. Considering most people have dreams about their teeth falling out or being killed in some way, this one isn’t particularly harsh. But still… foreshadowing… stay with me here.

So I went to my appointment, which had already been bumped due to overbooking, which I had also tried to rebook on my own to fit my work schedule and was denied. Anyway, I was put in a group of “current cut” models and the eight of us received a short explanation from a moderator. I was given a seat and told to wait for a student. When my student arrived at her work station, she made a production of putting her stuff down and didn’t even acknowledge I was there. As other students and their models were beginning to converse, I was faced with a dead fish. I made a point of introducing myself and stuck out my hand. Okay, now we can talk.

She played around with my just-washed, unstyled, uneven waves for a few seconds and asked, “What do you want to do with your hair?”

I answered her question, explaining that I usually straighten my hair, or dry and curl it with an iron, since you can plainly see that the waves aren’t easily manageable. My hair has a really loose wave on top and is poodle-curly underneath. She kind of half-ass muttered something about “using product,” which is a decent idea, but not on its own. I know from vast experience that you can’t rely on any product alone to tame over a foot of kinky, unbalanced hair in smog, humidity, and whatever else this city kicks up. And if you’re going to try to convince me otherwise, muttering, “product” isn’t going to seal the deal.

When I didn’t jump out of my seat exclaiming, “Yeah! Just dump some stuff on it and leave it curly! It’ll be perfect!” she called over her professor. Her professor played with my hair a little bit (just as you thought: thin, dry, and massive—hair only a correctionist could love). The two muttered a few things back and forth before ultimately deciding to “switch me out.”

This was annoying as hell, as I had already waited three weeks after my scheduled appointment for a haircut. The student asked me what I wanted so I told her. I didn’t say I wasn’t willing to try something new. But it’s not like I’m going to let her give me an AC Slater mullet and be okay with it. The student’s poor communication skills combined with my ridiculous mop of hair (actually, it’s not as hard to style as it looks) meant I was going to have to wait even longer?

The student seemed to believe she would be able to do “something,” but didn’t appear to have the confidence or knowledge to execute it. She was like a doctor that walks into a visit with the assumption that they know more about your body than you do. In some ways that may be true and while I bow to an educated judgment, my confidence quickly wanes when they begin a sentence with, “Let’s try…” Stop. I don’t want to “try” something, I want to do something that has a proven track record of being known to work. I understand these are students, but according to the moderator, each of these students had a minimum of two years’ experience cutting hair. You don’t have to be Sheer Genius material, but at that point you should know something about hair if you’ve been paying any attention. Even if she did, “dealing with clients” was apparently outside her skillset, so I needed some more communication to happen before she whipped out the hedge-clippers.

So I talked to the moderator for a decent amount of time, expressing my frustrations. She tried to be very “PR,” which is her job, but in so many words, I told her, “Unless I leave this building with a haircut, I am going to be very, very upset.” She then offered to give me a free haircut from a stylist. Thus, I received the cut I wanted from a professional, and I got a free bottle of conditioner for my bumped appointment. I still had to tip, which kind of sucks, but I realize that there is no shortage of girls in New York who want free haircuts and the moderator could have easily told me to go fuck myself.

Believe it or not, I’m actually going back in a few months for a “long, layered scissor cut,” the kind of cut I wanted in the first place. Despite the moron who hastily did my assessment for the current cut and the student with the poor bedside manor, the people facilitating this project are actually very kind and helpful. And my appreciation for free shit knows no bounds.

I found out my work schedule has been pushed back a little bit today. Yippee! So I came home for another quality two hours of scarfing ice cream and watching Meerkat Manor. On my way in, I picked up a package from my friend in Chicago who found my ring!!!

Yes, the superfluous punctuation is absolutely necessary because I thought this ring was gone forever. A couple months ago, I visited my friend in Brookfield, as part of what became known as The Big Long Trip Where I Lost Half of My Belongings. Included in them was an antique silver ring with a large turquoise stone. Irreplaceable of course, I was almost certain I’d lost it at the bar along with my scarf.

So long I lamented the loss of this ring. So many nights I lay awake crying due to my wayward finger ornament, on top of the scarf, compounded by the blatant theft of my necklace, which I will someday gather the strength to thoroughly discuss… Anyway, whatever. I got my ring back. Yessssss.

Instead of watching Meerkat Manor, I should write my friend a thank-you note.

I am happy to report that my Ryan Christopher sighting proved fruitful. If you clicked the link and read the comments, you’ll see that he contacted me and now we’re planning to meet. I’m pretty excited. Yakkity yak, new contact.

Last weekend I went to Vegas, which I will discuss in detail later. What’s important now is that I saw another person I used to know, this time from high school.

Unlike my friend from college, this is not a person I was particularly thrilled to see. I hadn’t seen her in at least 10 years and we weren’t exactly buddies when we knew each other. We hung out together a few times in elementary school, back in the good old days of being forced to play soccer and eat kiddie food. We quickly grew apart as she was an “athlete” and I was a “nerd.”

Despite being an athlete, she had a stocky frame, flat chest, protruding belly, and tree-trunk legs, and time had changed nothing. She also had a nasal problem as a child to which she adapted by breathing through her mouth, kind of like Napoleon Dynamite. That was still happening too.

I spotted her standing in the cab line at the Flamingo as my friends and I were gathering outside to board a limo that would take us to a wedding. This time, I had a few minutes to look closely and make sure it was her. She and her plain-looking friend were dressed in dumpy Midwest tourist garb and backpacks. You could tell they woke up one morning and said, “Let’s do something adventurous. Let’s go to Vegas!” They were so obviously single that to mention how I could tell would be an even greater tragedy.

She and I weren’t standing close enough for me to innocently say, “Amy?” to see if she’d turn around. Even if we were waiting for a regular cab instead of a limo, we wouldn’t have been in her plebian line anyway because a) we have a cab driver in Vegas that we call when we need to go places and b) Gus has Diamond status at all Harrah’s casinos now, so we wait in the Diamond line. More on that later too.

Since this girl and I weren’t friends before, I didn’t feel it was worth my time to walk the 30 or so feet to introduce myself or deal with the off-chance that it wasn’t actually her. So I just looked at her. I continued to look as my group boarded the limo. I guess I was hoping she’d see me looking at her and recognize me, or wonder what the hell my problem was, or both. It’s possible she did and chose not to do anything.

I wish she had though, because getting into a limo in Vegas with your man and a group of friends is the perfect circumstance under which to reunite with someone who thought she was too good to hang out with you. It doesn’t really matter though. I’ll see her fat ass and everyone else’s fat asses at the ten-year reunion next summer. If I’m even invited.

In conclusion, Amy Braunies of Naperville, Illinois, resident of the Naper Carriage Hill subdivision, graduate of Naperville Central High School, playing soccer, basketball, and possibly football needing only the assistance of a fake mustache and athletic cup, I saw you in Vegas. And what happens in Vegas… gets posted on my blog for everyone to read.

Morning elevator rides can be brutal. I can always tell whether a man or a woman has ridden before me by what I smell. Most good-smelling men have left for work by the time I use the elevator, so that leaves the girls and the stinky people. So it’s either an overly sweet tidal wave of nauseating perfume or the rank B.O. of someone who’s been doing hard labor for the last several hours. This morning it was the latter.

I am a New Yorker. These activities prove it.

Bjorkestra
Gus and I met a couple of friends at the Highline Ballroom to see Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra on Friday night. Before I mention the show, a note on the venue: What the fuck?

Gus bought will-call tickets. When we arrived and Gus presented proper identification, we were denied our tickets, as they had been given away to another man by the same name moments ago. The guy in the will-call booth spent a few minutes floundering about in a confused state (understandable), but then made it seem like the mix-up was our fault (not understandable) and attempted to rectify the problem by entering the dark, crowded venue to seek out Bizarro Gustavo (what the fuck?). I realize they’re not hiring mensas to work the door at music venues, but everyone knows you don’t just walk into a concert and find someone, even if they’re looking to be found. The guy ended up letting us in like he was doing us some huge favor, saying for his own assurance, “We’ll get him on the way out.” I’m sure you will, tough guy.

The Bjorkesta, as our friend pointed out, was more like a Dorkestra, consisting of a large brass section of band nerds, some other dudes, and a quirky lead singer all dedicated to remaking Bjork songs. The singer tried really hard to be as quirky as Bjork, but of course she fell short. A for effort though. She entertained me enough that I can say I enjoyed the performance. And much like when you hear an orchestral rendition of the score from your favorite video game, it’s hard not to appreciate the symphonic beauty of the familiar.

Most of the songs they played were from Post, which is probably Bjork’s most fun album. There were a few from Homogenic, which I also like. Vespertine and Medulla are kind of like the red-headed stepchildren of Bjork’s discography, acknowledged but largely ignored. There’s definitely a lot more to play with on her new album, Volta, and the band sounded like they were planning to remake some of those songs in the future.

The Bloomberg Summer Party
Gus and I arrived early because we thought it was going to rain. It did, but we somehow stayed until the end anyway. Like last year, I’ll make a list of what was there:

  • A carousel
  • A giant black butterfly
  • A fountain with three women posing as statues shooting water from their hands
  • Kangaroos
  • ICEskating (topping last year’s rollerskating)
  • Volleyball
  • Giant chess, checkers, and Connect 4 (sneaky move, Mike)
  • Some weird game involving water balloons
  • Baby buffalo
  • Racecars
  • Pool, ping-pong, and shuffleboard
  • Basketball-playing unicyclists
  • Henna tattoo artists
  • Llamas
  • A scent-making station
  • A tall, spinning teacup ride
  • Dancing and dance lessons
  • Free glowy thingies
  • A hat-making station
  • A pirate ship
  • Pirates
  • Every kind of food imaginable, except sushi, which is okay with me

This time, we took some pictures, which includes this gem of Gus, a kangaroo, and someone’s unzipped fly:

I had a lot of fun, and toward the end of the evening I invented a new dance called the “Crash into Steve and Megan on the Dancefloor.” Everyone will be doing it this fall. I suppose Steve and Megan should invest in some protective gear.

Stand-Up Comedy
One of our friends from comedy class invited us to see him perform at a new night at the Comedy Village. The lineup was much larger than I expected, and he was one of the last few people to perform. That was okay because many of the folks before him got at least a laugh or two out of me, some of them more.

The last performer was this sad sack of shit and he was NOT okay. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, Wow, he must have said something really offensive, or if you’ve seen my stand-up, you’re thinking, Who the hell are you to criticize someone else’s routine? You’re justified in thinking either or both… until I tell you about this guy’s bit.

Awful. I hope he was drunk. But this wasn’t a free open-mic night. Gus and I paid 15 dollars each to watch this shit, and I want to say there was a drink minimum too.

Anyway, his entire 20-minute bit (the average one was about five) consisted of what a loser he is because he got third place on the first season of Last Comic Standing telling jokes about mundane shit like food. Meanwhile, wars are taking place, this country is in the crapper, and he’s living the high life somewhere on the Upper West Side. He could have done something really great with his life, but now he’s grappling with being a has-been that never was.

So that’s the theme and for 20 minutes it doesn’t stray. Other than it not being funny, here are my issues:

1. Gus and I were sitting with a girl from our comedy class who had also come to see our friend perform. She whispered that the guy was from the aforementioned tv show, I asked which season, etc. Unfortunately, after light laughter from his first joke, the place was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. He calls us out, our friend says sorry, and I want to say, “You wouldn’t have heard us if your jokes were funny!” But I didn’t. I made the mistake of waiting for it to get funny.

2. If you’re upset with the turn your life as a comedian has taken, why continue? The guy obviously didn’t write any material before he came, so it’s not like he’s continually investing effort. Being a comedian also keeps your days relatively free, so there’s plenty of time to explore other opportunities.

3. A lot of people in New York do work hard and aren’t living in a nice apartment on the Upper West Side, which he felt it necessary to describe in detail. There’s no point in rubbing it in while speaking publicly unless you can make it really funny, and he didn’t even approach sort of funny.

4. This happened on a new night at a lesser-known comedy theater. You could tell a lot of the comics there were green and had made an effort to get some friends come watch them. It’s an embarrassment to the club and the other performers when a more seasoned comedian books a show and can’t crawl out from under his rock of self-defeat for five seconds to spit out a few funny lines.

I have more gripes, but this list will suffice. It kills me that guys like this get work. Die in a fire.

…when there are ice cream wars going on at the Food Emporium! All of my favorite kinds are on sale right now. God bless superfluous food intake! *scoop*

It appears my little friend decided to make a second appearance. This time, I spotted it on the wall above the bookcase. I ran over to the coffee table to swipe a magazine.

L Magazine? No, the listings in that are still good.

Bluff? No, we haven’t read that one yet.

Advertising Age? No, too big!

Victoria’s Secret Catalog? No!! Too flimsy!! How the hell am I going to kill this thing?

A-ha! Metro Source NY. I lept, arm outstretched, and smashed that pest with 200 pages of fabulous gayness. Unfortunately, I used such force that the sexy Armani ad on the back cover left some very unsexy black marks on my wall. Since I can’t readily remove these marks, I left the smashed roach up there too. Kind of an explanation for why those marks are there.

New Big 10. *Narrows eyes to the right*

I got free hams at Grand Central Market, which is like Austin’s Central Market, except it’s GRAND. And it has one of the busiest train stations in the world attached to it.

Master Cleanse—over.

Massages—still good.

New York—still hot.

And that’s the news of the day. Bye!

Today I went to the Puerto Rican Day Parade held annually in New York City to celebrate the heritage of our afterthought of a US acquisition. I didn’t mean to go, but like most events, I just sort of found myself there.

Did you click the link? That’s exactly what it looked and sounded like for blocks and blocks. Noise-noise-NOISE-noise-red-white-blue-noise-flags-noise-fat-chick-noise-NOISE-noise. I was enjoying it fairly well until I realized something: I fucking hate Puerto Ricans.

I don’t hate them as a people, but every person with any Puerto Rican blood in them at all that I’ve gotten to know on a personal level has turned out to be a complete shithead. (This excludes folks I met while actually visiting Puerto Rico.)

I won’t name names, you know who you are. Screw you and your stupid, noisy, fattie-infested parade. I’m going to Rockefeller Center to use the bathroom now.