Friday, May 30, 2008

How big was it?

At my sister Jennifer's wedding this past weekend, I was introduced to a large table of her husband Brian's extremely cool, interesting, friendly relatives during the rehearsal dinner. Brian's brother, Brett, asked me to share with them any celebrity dirt I knew, but since I'm a copy editor and, therefore, a glorified grammar geek and, therefore, the last to know anything, I didn't have much (and I probably wouldn't be able to share it if I did). When they asked me why John Mayer is able to bed so many women, I told them what I've read online and elsewhere:

"He's huge," I said.

"Huge, like ..." they said.

"Huge, like, he's very well endowed," I said, holding my hands about two feet apart.

This is a perfect example of why people need editors. People who have good editing minds don't tell a large table of strangers who are only just joining into their family that a celebrity has the shlong of an elephant before even learning their names. I am klassy.

The good news is is that everybody stuck around, nobody appeared to be scared off by my special lack of boundaries, and the wedding was lovely.

In uploading the photos from the weekend, I finally uploaded all the pictures I've taken since December that have been nesting comfortably in my Canon. Those are coming soon. Nora and Tallulah are waiting patiently to show off their extreme attractiveness.

Also, I just want to recognize two terrible losses during the week. Rest in peace, Sidney Pollack and Harvey Korman.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Um ... thanks?

On Saturday, Josh and I went to his salon — he got a haircut and I got my eyebrows waxed. Having one's eyebrows waxed and plucked is a painful experience, to be sure, but a necessary one, as I don't want to fug up my sister Jennifer's wedding pictures this weekend.

My Experienced Eyebrow Technician, Eva, directed me to the mirror when she was finished.

"Look," I said, "now I have two eyebrows."

"Instead of three!" she said.

I hadn't thought of it that way. I'm sooooo attractive.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 09, 2008

Oh, also?

Another thing I love about living in New York? Catching out-of-context clips of people's conversations as I walk past them on the sidewalk. Tonight as I walked down 50th Street toward the subway on my way home from work, I passed a guy who was whoa!chatty with his friends, but all I caught was, "You know what I was thinking in my head?"

And then, as I crossed the street to my block, I passed a woman who was yikes!chatty with her friends, and what I caught was, "I mean, she was chubby, chubby all over, but she wasn't fat."

You know what I was thinking in my head?

As someone who can easily be described as chubby, chubby all over, I was thinking in my head, Isn't chubby all over the very definition of fat?

And then I started thinking in my head about what the differences are between just chubby, chubby all over, and fat. And then I wanted to hit myself over the head (the one in which I think things) with something blunt, so I stopped.

Labels: , ,

Hey now, hey now

Stacy moved to New York right after undergrad in 1996 to go to law school here. I followed not too long (but also too long) afterward, moving here in 1998 because I always knew I would. And ever since then, we regularly, and very unoriginally, talked about our I Heart NY moments. A great many of hers involved boat cruises with the Firefighters' Association, a great many of mine involved conversations with transportation employees, but just by nature of leaving our apartments, we got splattered with them every day. Splattered in a good way. Like, 1983-splatter-paint-T-shirts-knotted-at-the-side splattered. We've been lucky to be resplendent in splatter.

Some weekends I would hibernate in my apartment and have this conversation with myself:

ME: Wait, why does today suck? I've been sleeping all day. I love sleeping all day.
ME: Because you're not outside.
ME: Oh.

And then Stacy would call and tell me all about her I Heart NY moments that she'd had that day, and I'd have this conversation with myself:

ME: You're an idiot.
ME: Yes.

Now that Stacy's living in San Francisco and having I Heart SF moments every day, it's up to me to carry the torch. And the torch was a-blazin' last week. Herewith, two splatterings of why I love this freakin' city:

1. P.S. 22

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights last week, I saw Crowded House at Irving Plaza. I mention with some frequency that Neil Finn is my fantasy husband, so as his devoted fake wife, it's my duty to support him during his performances that are, of course, all dedicated to me because he loves me so much. Whenever My Fantasy Husband Neil Finn comes to town in any incarnation — as a solo artist; on tour with his brother and former Split Enz bandmate, Tim; with the re-formed Crowded House — I get tickets for as many nights as I can go, empty wallet be damned. The beauty of living in New York is that if a band, especially the lesser known ones, are touring even on a truncated schedule, they pass through here. We get everybody. Tangent: A couple weeks ago I saw a small band out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, called Tally Hall — I'd been attracted to the concept because Tally Hall was a mini-mall and food court where I grew up buying goomie bracelets and blue nailpolish and almond boneless chicken with my superfriends in the '80s — and I realized I babysat for the lead singer. Crazy. Anyway, on this small tour, Crowded House played three nights at Irving Plaza. I had to work late during the first night, so I got tickets for the other two.

The band's performance Tuesday night left me dazzled, and I timed my arrival for the Wednesday performance right-on: during the middle of the opening act's last song. Woo hoo. So I'm standing there, feet already hurting because two standing-room shows for an almost-34-year-old woman are tedious, man, and then, 15 minutes before Crowded House were due to go on, My Fantasy Husband Neil Finn walked onstage. No music, no full wardrobe, no house lights went down, no spotlights went on, no bandmates with him, no guitar in hand.

I panicked.

He took the mike and welcomed everyone. Then he said that they've had a great three nights in New York and everything has been wonderful for them.

They're not playing, I thought. They're not playing, somebody's sick, somebody's hurt, they're canceling.

He went on about how much they love to play New York.

They're not playing. They're not playing, somebody's sick, somebody's hurt, they're canceling. No no no no no.

Then he said that he had the fortune of receiving a video of someone singing one of their songs, and as a songwriter, it's a thrill. So he invited this party onto the stage, and onto the stage walked ... the fifth-grade chorus of P.S. 22 from Staten Island. The crowd went berserk.

These kids filed onto the stage, all of 10 years old-ish. Neil stepped aside and let them sing. They started off with Tori Amos's "Flying Dutchman," then this fabulous girl went solo on "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," then they sang CH's "Private Universe." Then the band came out, joined the chorus on the CH song "Throw Your Arms Around Me," and then they all launched into this rocking encore of the usually more subdued "Private Universe," during which a couple kids stepped forward to breakdance. I've never seen anything like it. Check it out here.

Apparently, the choir's director is this awesome young guy who wants to teach the kids stuff they'll like, as opposed to just the usual school-choir standards. They've received some attention and have been able to perform for various luminaries and celebrities. I hear that someone saw a video on YouTube of the students singing, sent it to My Fantasy Husband Neil Finn, and he was so moved that he invited the kids to join them. These are kids from not the greatest area of New York, with seemingly limited resources and possibilities, and this choir director has opened up a world for them that most schools never even consider exposing to their students. By virtue of living where he lives, this guy has attracted notice for his students and put them onstage at Irving Plaza. As Stacy said, "Ms. Mansfield totally didn't do that. We were too busy singing 'The Boogie-Woogie Ghost.' And square-dancing."

The band got such a kick out of it that when they were ready to start their set, they had to wait a few minutes for bassist Nick Seymour, who was still backstage saying goodbye to the kids.

In another testament to My Fantasy Husband Neil Finn's generosity as a performer, he recognized an Argentinean fan in the audience whom he'd once allowed onstage during a show in California, invited him back up that night to sing with them, and when the fan asked to accompany the band on guitar, Neil handed over the one he was playing. I was so proud to be his wife, and I immediately reminisced about all the good and romantic and dirty times we've had together. I'm so content to be carrying his lovetriplets.

2. Tuna melt

Last weekend, I went to Chicago for Jennifer's bachelorette party. Josh picked me up from the airport Sunday night, and just as we were entering Brooklyn at about 11 p.m., I realized I was famished. Couldn't wait. Couldn't go to bed without eating something. And that something was a tuna melt. I don't know why, I just had to have a tuna melt at 11 at night. It's not like I'm even pregnant (except with My Fantasy Husband Neil Finn's lovetriplets). I'm the healthiest person ever.

So Josh found a 24-hour diner in our neighborhood. We walked in and ordered some food to go, then sat at a booth to wait. There were three other customers: two folks eating together in a rear booth, and a mountain of a man up front watching the news on the ceiling-mounted TV. His tattooed arm was the size of a small person. He was huge. The owner of the diner was in a booth behind us filling out the next day's specials on a dry-erase board. We all sat quietly while on the news was a story about protests that have begun as fallout over the verdict in the Sean Bell case. (Sean Bell was a black man who was gunned down by police officers the morning he was due to get married while he was leaving a club where his bachelor party was. He had been unarmed. Something like 50 shots were fired. The cops were aquitted. Needless to say, this has sparked another wave of debate about race and police brutality in the city.)

The mountain-of-a-man began to talk to the diner owner about his years as a cop and all the riots he witnessed. I turned and asked him, "OK, so, you were a cop?"


"Would there ever be a scenario where it would be necessary to fire that many bullets?"

Mountain Man and the diner owner, who serves cops all day long and knows an awful lot about policing the city, started to talk and debate about the nature of automatic firearms and how much control police officers have over what they fire. They talked about adrenaline. They weren't making excuses; they were talking more about how being a police officer has changed over the years and how, because the force is managed so differently so as to cover itself for lawsuits, rookies aren't properly trained and seasoned officers are flailing. Again, they weren't making excuses, and they seemed forlorn about the state of the Bell verdict, but they were explaining the state of law enforcement based on their own experiences.

We talked about neighborhood identification. Every time Mountain Man recounted a story about his time as a cop, he referred to those incidents by noting which precincts were closest to the action.

"I love that your frame of reference for the city is police stations," I said to him.
"Mine is diners," said the owner.
"Record stores," said Josh.
"Ex-boyfriends' apartments," I said.

All in glorious, thick Brooklyn accent, of course. By the time our food showed up, I learned that the diner owner lives in Queens and doesn't really know his way around Brooklyn despite having run a successful business there for years, and that Mountain Man retired and is now a sensei.

Also, splendid fries.



Today I learned that gerbera daisies don't smell. I don't know why I never noticed this. On the flip side, Josh brought me some gorgeous, ginormous stargazer lilies the other night that smell so lovely that the fragrance has filled the whole apartment. I do, however, have to examine the fact that, when he handed them to me, I looked at him skeptically and said, "What did you do?"

Photos of Karl Lagerfeld wearing tight pants make me uncomfortable.

Whenever somebody at Jamba Juice asks me if I want a free boost, I get a little sad for them.

After being introduced to the band Tokio Hotel as "Maria" today by a coworker with whom I've toiled for about a year, I've decided to stop fighting everyone else's nature and change my name. Mail, telemarketing calls, strangers to whom I've spoken the name Marla: all Maria. I suppose it could be worse. When I was in third grade, I went to a mock trial at a courthouse. A reporter approached me and asked for my name. I spelled it out for him, watching him write it down correctly on his handy reporter pad. When my parents found the article in the newspaper (slow news day?), they opened it to my photo — an entire half-page of my fashionable bowl cut and freckled mug — and the caption below it: Marcea Gasfield listens intently to the trial.

Basically, it's hopeless.

So: What do you guys think? Does Maria Garia tickle yer fancy?

Labels: , , , , , ,