27 July 2008


Girl Props
153 Prince St.
New York City

Choose Your Poison

I was reluctant to enter the zebra-print storefront with the sign “Girl Props” towering over it, for obvious reasons. What exactly was in this shop? And why did it blare the double entendre for all on Prince Street to see? The black-white-and-hot pink sign drew so much attention, especially being on a corner, of course pedestrians would be compelled to watch who enter and exit the shop.

Once inside, though, I realized my anticipated embarrassment was unfounded. Girl Props is a treasure trove of girly crap accessories: foofy, elastic, plastic, and plated pieces of jewelry, belts, and head gear, all at ultra low prices (Xie xie, China!).

The store offers jewelry for every occasion: raves, Eighth Grade Dance, proms, Quintoceras...so you can’t go wrong stepping into this cache of cheap riches. But stepping out with that potentially lead-based charm bracelet may not be the safest or most fashionable purchase…unless you’re going to the New Kids on the Block Reunion concert on October 27th at Madison Square Garden. Then it’s totally acceptable and encouraged to rock poisonous nostalgia pieces for the three most anticipated hours of 2008. The green will fade, but not the memories (well, unless you are actually poisoned, then you'll quickly lose braincells and die). But you've lived long enough to see New Kids on the Block reunite and Girl Props was there to deck you out.

21 July 2008


This is Normal, Right?

Last week I was surfing a social networking site when a photo caught my eye. I clicked on it and realized that I was in the photo, my back to the camera, and I was talking to this cute baby-faced guy. Who the hell was he? It suddenly dawned on me: I dated this guy back in 2002. It was a quick and torrid affair. Well, not really…that just sounded like the right thing to say. But our dating history was brief—lasted 6 months, and it was a bit complicated.

Seeing his face launched me into a (certifiable?) two hour, cyber-“investigation”. (I hesitate to use the word “stalking.” But drop me a note and let me know if the following actions qualify as an “obsessive pursuit.”).

First I Googled him. I wasn’t sure about the spelling of his last name, mainly because his country of origin has like 42 letters of the alphabet, most with squiggly marks on them.

I then tried MySpace which requires less knowledge of correct spelling and relies more on location and age. Nothing.

But wait—My Guy had a Best Friend…tall, bald, googly-eyed. I knew his first name and approximate age. I MySpaced him. Sure enough, third person down…The Best Friend. I clicked on his photo—yep, it was My Guy’s Best Friend for sure. Still living in New York City.

I proceeded to search The Best Friend’s friends. My Guy wasn’t among them – not even in his Top Twenty! So much for best buds. I scoured The Best Friend’s photos – and a third of the way through, I found the picture I was looking for. (I really wasn’t looking for any specific photo, just evidence that My Guy’s still alive). It was posted in November 2007. My Guy looks older, scruffier—not the fresh-faced Glenn Quinn* look-alike from 6 years ago. He looks almost sick. Like he has some disease or potentially grave illness. But it’s working for him. He’s still hot and now looks like Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas.

My sleuthing didn’t end there. Once I figured out The Best Friend’s last name, I Facebooked him. Luckily he has a public profile so I could search fairly easily. The Best Friend has over 300 friends so after a few pages of profiles, I had to draw the line. I delved into his photo gallery and came across the same photo I saw on MySpace. But The Best Friend did something different with this photo – he tagged My Guy. I had a last name.

Commence rabid and rapid Googling. The results: My Guy helped, in some capacity, a band back in 2006 (which means he was still in the states a few years after I dumped him). And he has a Facebook account (with a gorgeous photo of him playing guitar on stage)—but it’s set to private. However, my eagle-eyes noticed that the public can view his friends. Obviously he wants people to see who he’s linked to…and to speculate as to why and how they are linked, right? Of course, I clicked on it.

My Guy has one page of friends, which strikes me as a little odd. His (formerly) soft-spoken and shy Best Friend has blossomed and knows over 300 people. My Guy was/is a doppelganger for a Hugo Boss model and should have hundreds of friends, music fans, and smitten girls connected to him on Facebook and MySpace. But he doesn’t.

I’ve toiled over this for a few days now (yes, I originally said I spent two hours investigating. That is true. But the fallout from this sudden bit of information has taken longer to digest). I’ve come to the conclusion (through inconclusive evidence) that…My Guy is married (obviously not to me, but he wanted to be…and that’s a story for another post). Why else would he: drop The Best Friend, not have a MySpace page, or a public Facebook account? The answer: a jealous warden… I mean, wife.

So that’s that. I feel that I got what I wanted, though I’m not entirely sure what exactly I was looking for. Was I hoping he’d be single? That he let himself go? Did I want to know that he was ok and life carried on without me? I think it’s a mixture of all three, but more that life moved forward for him and I didn’t totally destroy his hopes and dreams (again, a story for a later post).

Oh, and I’ve concluded a few things about myself as well: I’m relentless and driven when I am passionate about something; that I have mad cyber-investigative skills; and that my need to know everything about My Guy from the moment I said goodbye through present day…is completely normal. And not an obsessive pursuit. Right?

*Glenn Quinn was an actor on the hit tv show "Roseanne" who tragically died of an overdose in 2002. He was hot and that’s why it’s so tragic.

15 July 2008


Joy Burger
1567 Lexington Ave.

A Reason to Cross the Invisible Line or They Don’t Sell Crackers But They Sure Have A Lot of Them

There’s a line most white New Yorkers won’t cross and it runs along 96th Street on the East Side. “Whoa, that’s way up there,” some say. “Once you walk above 96th, the neighborhood changes quickly.” That I can’t deny. Once you pass the ritzy doorman complex known as Carnegie Hill between 96th & 97th Sts., you hit the Lexington Houses, bodegas, chicken restaurants, and find yourself in East Harlem.

It’s sort of rare to see Caucasians in this area—so rare that I’ve been called “Nicole Kidman” a few times…and I don’t look much like her. All white women look like porcelain-skinned movie stars to black people and Hispanics, I guess. It’s a delusion I must live with.

That said, there are two newish restaurants* above East 96th Street worth crossing the line for. And lately, white people have been. In fact, the first time I walked into Joy Burger, I was astounded. Where did all these hipster whities come from? Seriously. There were tables of cracker college kids, young cracker professionals, and nuclear cracker families, all chowing down on inexpensive burgers, onion rings, and sipping mint-flavored sweet tea.

I’ve been to Joy Burger a few times since – the food is really good and very reasonably priced. The service is great. The owners and workers are friendly and eager to please. But each time I step inside the joint I marvel how I never see these white people on the street…only inside the restaurant. Were they smuggled in? Grown on the premises? So white they are transparent, rendering them invisible, in the sunlight?

No matter how they’ve gotten there, though, these people have discovered a fantastic new burger hangout that’s transforming East Harlem from the inside out. Joy Burger is a reason to cross the 96th St. line…and may be the only reason.

*review for restaurant #2 coming soon.

13 July 2008


On her second day as temp, my colleague Anne had thought she stumbled on a clue during her initial training session. After a long discussion (interrogation?) with the Learning Leader, turns out, it was just the flagging feature in Lotus Notes. Anne did get something out of her meeting though:

Day 3
I am no longer allowed within 150 feet of the Learning Leader’s office unless an HR representative is present.

My theory is that Anne has some sort of mental illness background and it’s illegal for Best Practice to let her go on the grounds of her being crazy, so they have to keep her. How else could she get away with creating a hostile work environment?

Today Muffin’s assistant, Tara (codename: Mini-Muffin or Donut Hole…I can’t decide just yet) trained me Database Administration. My tasks include moving the mouse, clicking buttons, selecting options from drop down menus and clicking again. It takes much skill and intellect to manage the functions. I was told to “play around” with the database to “get a feel” for it. I sense Mini-Muffin’s suggestion was a tip-off. Unlike Lotus Notes, the information contained in this database MUST hold clues as to my mission.

I’m afraid to look at the database. I have a feeling Anne’s fucked it up while playing “spy” lady. Actually, I can guarantee she’s fucked it up, based on what happened later that day.

Received a Fatal Error message from the Database. Fatal means “dead”, so with paperclips and a letter opener, I took apart the computer up and removed bits of the inside in hopes to revive it. Broken Spirit noted that computer issues are dealt with by Worldwide Help Portal in Zaire. Best Practice does not have computer technicians on premises and I am not supposed to move my computer, let alone take it apart, without Worldwide Help on the line. After inputting my Number and speaking to Justin in Zaire, I realized the outsourcing works in my favor. I shall continue to break things so I may investigate Best Practice on a global level.

06 July 2008


The Triumph Room
311 W 57th St
New York City

If you enjoy roid-ravaged Deep-V clad bodies, oiled hair, and BO, The Triumph Room is your Bridge and Tunnel connection. There’s no other place in NYC where you will find a mix of clubbers hailing from Turkey, Senegal, Babylon, and Secaucus (okay, maybe you can find their doppelgangers at Webster Hall).

There’s no point to shelling out money for Triumph. Go before 10pm to avoid the $15 cover charge. Sure, you’ll be standing in an empty venue for about an hour and half, which technically, if you considered the hours of your life priceless, then you’ve paid far more than $15, but don’t part with your Lincolns and Washingtons. Save it for the overpriced drinks from the aloof bartenders.

In the basement, you’ll find the techno/house music. This is where you’ll experience the BO. The dance floor fills up for a sweaty half hour, then quickly disperses…but the stench lingers. It’s like being trapped in an elevator in France/Germany/(insert EU country here) and then the doors finally burst open you escape gasping.

Head upstairs around midnight for hip-hop and Top 40. I discovered the main floor at 2am, well after I lost my sense of smell. I couldn’t get close to the middle of the dance floor, so I partook in fringe dancing. It’s fun dancing on the outskirts for a few minutes, but you end up gyrating against spectators ogling and the comedy in that can only last so long.

Important Note: if a Guido from LI walks through your dancing trio, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, smack his ass. Because that Guido will multiply like a wet gremlin and you’ll find yourself being molested by a mob of Gotti-kid look-alikes who bump and grind you like you don’t want to be. So as hard as it may be— refrain from smacking ass!

02 July 2008


Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern*
188 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY

Rosemary’s was my first introduction to hipsters- people who pay good money to look poor. People who slit their shirts “Like A Virgin”-style and wear fedoras tipped over one eye. People who “play” themselves in this movie called life. If you are a hipster, want to be one, or better yet, mock them, than Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern is the premiere venue to ogle these enigmatic creatures in their dive bar element.

Make your way to the back where the jukebox contains a mix of favorites and obscurities. My recommendation, tried and true, is to choose the most offensive song offered- in Rosemary’s case, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”- drop in your quarters, make your selection, and quietly head to the bar where you can down cheap beer in a 32 ounce Styrofoam cup. Watch as a wave of utter astonishment washes over the crowd and giggle as someone tries to hijack the jukebox and select The Pixies.

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern is not just about the people, the jukebox, or the beer. It’s all those things combined, to create the perfect backdrop for life's mockumentary.

*Sadly, Rosemary’s has gotten rid of the awesome jukebox selections. But the Styrofoam cups remain.