TartFestshomon: how I saw it

We took the train down from New Haven, and arrived in Grand Central Station in mid-afternoon. We took a train down to the Wall Street Station, and meandered our way around the area for a while - in the freezing air -until we found our hotel.
We checked in and they sent us up to the 8th floor of the Exchange Hotel on Front Street. It was a very nice room:

(You'll note that Monkey brought some of her favorite accoutrements from home, including her stuffed cat Jumbles and her Pokemon pillow. I will note that in all the changes to New Blogger, they still can't get it so I can post a picture midway through a post.)
We hung around the room for a while - Monkey watched the plasma television, Loki looked around the room and read, and I took a shower. I called Tart to tell her we were there and to ask her how to get to her place. We hit the road, armed with our maps and our directions.

We encountered our first snag when we discovered the Wall Street Station going uptown was closed. So we trudged up Maiden Lane, on what I must remind you was a very cold evening. We found the Fulton Street Station and headed uptown to on the J M Z train. Except that the train's final stop was Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall, where we transferred over to a different J M Z and headed up to Essex Street, and then we promptly got on an F train headed uptown instead of towards Brooklyn. Boo!

Anyway, we finally got to Brooklyn, and we had a long, cold walk ahead of us. We stopped at a market to pick up some beer (DogFish Ale? and something else? I don't know, I don't really drink beer, Loki will have to fill in the blanks) and I got a small packet of cashews because up until this point of the day, I had eaten exactly nothing.

We finally found our way to Tart's apartment, which is adorable, not as small as I anticipated, and delightfully warm after our walk. I went into my New England defensive mode and put my hand out to shake, lest anyone attempt to hug me (Sidebar: I like hugging, I really do, I just am very nervous about hugging people I've just met, even though I sort of know them. I'm weird about this, I freely acknowledge.)

Loki commenced with the boozing, and Tart made me a very nice black Russian. Monkey was in shy mode at first, but Tart drew her out pretty well - you'd almost think she worked with children or something. I gave my brief impressions of everyone in my previous post.

I had a nice conversation with Sean, who works in advertising - we talked about product integration and "pos-mens" (I don't know about Sean, but this could be why I don't get invited to many parties). I told Toast he reminded me of my brother-in-law who happens to be a right-winger, which required an explanation: they hold pretty much opposite opinions, but they both have a mildly aggressive, forceful, no apologies way of expressing their opinions, and I like that. Of course, I like Toast's political opinions better, because they are mostly the correct opinion. And we talked a little bit about blogging, and John Howard, and how the bigger a blogger gets, the more their site becomes a cult of personality, which sucks a lot of the fun out of things.

I talked to Chemist about the differences between California, New York and CT. I feel like I'm too old to comment on this, but Steve is really good looking. Tart, too - they are both positively glowing with radiant youth.
Monkey growled and made claws at everyone - she told me later, when I asked her why she acts like a wild animal around people she doesn't know, and she said that it's what she feels like doing naturally. And now you know why we call her Monkey.
Tart served spanakopita and cheese & crackers and grapes, and the party was pretty loud and the people (other than me) were getting more and more drunk. I talked to Angelos' wife about teaching, and eventually, Loki and Mike were arm wrestling, and almost pulled down Tart's bookcase.

Everyone left around the same time, and we walked to the subway station. Well, most of us walked, some of us stumbled, although I won't say who. There was some conversation I missed, because on the train, Angelos and Erica were asking Loki if he was a creep or an asshole, and I was going to say he's neither, but maybe I missed something, and I hope someone can explain it to me. Everyone on the train decided they'd rather be an asshole than a creep, and as everyone was declaring "I'm an asshole!", one of the local denizens joined in to tell us he was an asshole, too. It's like drinking Dr. Pepper, I guess.

We got off the train first, and I am curious how long the F train sat there - it was still sitting on the tracks, with the Toasts and the Angelos' and Mike inside.

We couldn't get any further downtown than Fulton Station, so we had a nice long walk back to the hotel. Loki and Monkey crashed, but I was awake for a while, popping naproxen until the dull ache in my hip faded (the ache was more from the cold than the walking, I think. )

Next day's plans were fairly nebulous - I only knew there was some talk of going to MOMA and the dinner reservations at Uncle Nick's. We had a fairly nice continental breakfast at the hotel, and headed out to the Hayden Planetarium.

(Monkey posing with the gift she got in the gift shop)

We saw the planetarium show, which I mostly slept through, because it was dark and warm and the chair was comfy, and I was tired. Thankfully, the music cues were very effective and I was able to open my eyes for the more dramatic parts of the show.

We stayed there as long as we could, but Loki was due to work that night, so he had to go home. We went back to the hotel together, and after Loki was on his way, (and after I rubbed Monkey's feet and she rubbed my feet, which I told her made her my favorite daughter, don't tell Sio) Monkey and I headed up to Times Square - her request. Times Square was freezing and more crowded than I've ever seen it. Monkey had a goal: to ride the ferris wheel at the Times Square Toys R Us. We ended up taking a cab because no trains seemed to be going uptown. We went to 3 different stations before I gave up.

Another sidebar: my first visit to Times Square happened in the early 80's, when it was a fascinating mix of culture and sleaze. It's weird how much more I liked it back then.

The line was only twice as long as the ride itself, so I bought tickets. Monkey was terribly disappointed that they seated us in the Little People bus - I personally was hoping for My Little Pony, but...denied.

After that, we walked around Times Square a little bit, but it was cold and there were too many people. So we made our way to Uncle Nick's.

That's where I met Amy and the lovely woman whose name I can't remember, which is going to make me feel terrible. Sean was there as well. There were some service issues, and we didn't all sit together, but I had a great time talking to Amy during dinner. I had avgolomono and potato garlic dip, but my favorite dip was the fish roe - damn, that was some good stuff, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was fairly chaotic, and I can't even remember everything we talked about. But I know I had fun.

The eyeball incident: Sean had ordered a red snapper, and Amy bet anyone who wanted $5 to eat a fish eyeball. Mrs. Toast was in the restroom, but Toast said to leave it for her, and god damn, she didn't futz around, she put it in her mouth and chewed on it. I admire that woman, I have to tell you.

Monkey and I headed out. Once again, we were plagued by changes to the subway schedule, and we got out at Chambers Street. There were sketchy people hanging around, so we quickly got a cab and had a short little drive back to the hotel, where I know I personally slept like a dead person.

On Sunday, I didn't open my eyes until 9am, which is just unheard of these days. After showering, we went down to breakfast again, and went back up to the room and packed up all our belongings. We left them with the bellman and went to Chinatown - Monkey's choice.

We headed down to the water and took some shots of the Brooklyn skyline and Bridge.

(Trompe l'oeil Brooklyn Bridge)

When we got to Chinatown, we saw a street artist making these name plaques, and since they were pretty and cheap, I got one for Monkey:

We had a really nice, really cheap lunch at some dive looking Chinese restaurant, and bought some souvenirs, and then it was time to head back to the hotel, pick up our bags, and go to Grand Central.
While we were waiting for our train, I got Sio a New York Cheesecake (her favorite). We ended up sitting near these asshole rich kids on the train, but we had a lot of fun on the trip home, playing war with our NYC deck of cards, and basically making each other laugh a lot.
So that's basically my take on TartFest. I missed a lot of the action..I think..since I don't think many bars are kid friendly, but I had a great time meeting everyone, and I hope it isn't the last time I can get together with all these great people.


Sugar Free Me

Although I'm no longer Catholic, I decided to give up sugar for Lent this year. Between recent weight gain and a co-worker getting diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and my mother haranguing me about taking coffee with sugar, I decided it was time to break free. (I'm including high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, sucralose, etc. in my ban).

I'm doing well, for the most part, but every now and then, I just get this desperate feeling that I must eat something sweet right now. I've been eating fruit and chewing sugar-free gum (not at the same time) to combat that feeling. Earlier tonight, someone in my house made Pop Tarts and didn't eat them, and I just had to throw them in the garbage to stop myself from taking a bite. I even made it through my weekend in NYC without eating any sugar!

Mrs. Toast ate a fish eyeball

Got home a few hours ago from TartFest. I almost felt like I only got to participate peripherally in some of the activities, but I had a great time. Tart is completely lovely, and her apartment is adorable, and very loud when there are 8-12 very drunk people wandering around in it. Quick impressions:

Tart: lovely, as previously stated, and she is a warm and gracious hostess.
Chemist: If I worked at a liquor store and he came in to buy beer, I would card him

((I just did something weird to my keyboard, and I can't figure out how to fix it - it won't let me periods at the ends of sentences and I have to hit the left arrow key to make the cursor go right

Toast: exactly the way he writes. Exactly. I am editing to add that this is a good thing. He's very funny.
Mrs. Toast: she's awesome, full stop

Angelos: I didn't get to speak to him, but I did get to chat with his wife, and she was terrific

Mike: I didn't get to spend any time talking to him, either

I also got to meet some of Tart's friends: Amy, Sean, a very nice native New Yorker whose name I can't remember (sorry, I suck ). Amy seems like the quintessential New Yorker, but she's actually from California, she talks a mile a minute and she's very funny.

Highlights of the trip:
see the title of this post
"I'm an asshole too!"
Except for one incident involving arm wrestling which threatened to tear down Tart's bookshelf and its lovely, lovely books, I think everyone had fun. And I don't really know what happened with the wrestling thing, but my husband has apologised, so I hope any offended parties can put this behind them
This keyboard thing is going to annoy the fuck out of me until I figure it out.. .


Light posting

I'll be working a short week this week, TartFest over the weekend, and then back to normal.


I am Spartacus

Following the lead of d r i f t g l a s s


I am feeling broken hearted

on this St. Valentine's Eve. Sis has resigned from her position with the Edwards campaign, the vile bastards are out in force on her blog, admonishing her for her lack of civility one hand and insulting and denigrating her on the other, and I'm pissed that the someone whose moral code excuses pedophilia but beats down hard on criticism of the Catholic Church (which, if you recall, was the organization that protected the pedophiles) is going to claim this as a victory.

I know a lot of religious people. There are blogs listed under the "Friends and Family" header on the right hand side of this page that are written by people of devout faith who I am proud to call my friends. Three of my aunts are nuns (RIP, Aunt Eileen). My husband's best friend is a priest.

I don't feel the presence of God in my life. I'd rather be honest about it than not, which is why I say I'm an atheist. I suppose I'm really agnostic, because who knows, really, but I am skeptical, to say the least. I try to be respectful to people of faith, although I do not always succeed.

I'm about to fail again, although my friends and family, please know I am not talking about you, but about the rotten people who are spreading lies and calling it God's fruit.

I can't help but wonder at the weakness of faith within the people who are so-called believers but cannot stand any criticism of their beliefs. If God is all you say He is, He can take it. If He lets Bill Donohue and Pat Robertson represent him on earth, I'd be checking his ID. Not just because I disagree with them politically, but I disagree with them as human beings, and I've seen them both lie, distort and obfuscate to gain the upper hand. If that's what God wants, that makes God kind of shitty. Good people of faith should shun Bill Donohue and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. At least until they make some kind of act of contrition for all the evil they've performed in the name of God.


I don't think you can even have one

This article on Yahoo! News had a headline that read "Can you have two soul mates?"

If I could erase the phrase 'soul mate' from the lexicon, I would do so in a heartbeat. First of all, until some hard evidence comes in that there is, in fact, a soul, it's not possible to have a soul mate at all. And whenever I hear the word 'mate', I think of those nature documentaries, or the time I saw two dogs 'mating' on the front step of my friend Diana Brown's apartment, and I thought one dog was dying (that would be the male - I thought his penis was his intestines falling out or something) and the other dog (the female) was rendered immobile by whatever horrific disease had taken hold of the male. So the whole phrase just doesn't work for me, and everyone should stop using it now. Thank you.


Cliff Schecter has a blog!

If I could still embed videos, I would link to one of the videos of Mr. Schecter ripping some lying Republican retrofuck jackhole a new one. I'm adding him to the blogroll - I'm sure he'll be grateful for the tens of readers I can send his way.

Funniest thing I've read all day

over at Driftglass



I figured out something about New Blogger: if you try to sign in on the main sign-in page using the New Blogger link, nothing happens. But if you try to sign in under Old Blogger, you will swiftly be redirected to the Google Account sign-in page, which will quickly allow you to access your blog. Nice feature, Blogger - I've always thought signing in once wasn't enough, thanks for adding a step!

Also: I was listening to the radio tonight on my way to pick Sio up from her mandatory 8 hours of watching disturbing and gory car accident footage that I'm sure will make everyone a better driver*, and I heard a Business Editor from The Economist Magazine on NPR's Marketplace. The gist of his editorial was that privately owned companies are superior to publicly owned companies because, among other reasons, they aren't subject to the whims of the market. I'm no financial guru, but isn't that opinion completely at odds with the Magic Marketplace our capitalist owners are always shoving down our throats? I mean, isn't the marketplace, like the blogosphere, supposed to be self-correcting? Okay, bad example.

I really shouldn't listen to Marketplace, it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They had another story on about the poor corporations who have left the U.S. for foreign shores so they don't have to subject to our darn auditing laws, who are now suffering through a move in Europe to add the same kind of auditing laws. Those laws, by the way, would be the ones put into place after Enron robbed its employees and shareholders of their livelihood and retirements. Poor businesses - it just gets harder and harder to make record profits when you have to actually account for what you're doing with the books!

*i.e., driver training


She's my Sister, and I love her

Shakespeare's Sister, aka Melissa McEwan, is my favorite blogger. She's got a sharp mind, she's an excellent writer, she is always generous with her pulpit, and I adore her sense of humor. I was thrilled for her when she announced that she had been hired to blog for John Edwards. I knew that she had been out of work for a while, and I was so pleased that she was going to have an opportunity to use her skills on a presidential campaign.

Sis has been under attack for a day or so, prompted by right-wing Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, a man who makes his living manufacturing outrage - as long as he can rail against someone who isn't politically conservative, that is. Media Matters pointed out that when Jerome Corsi made comments about Catholics, Donohue didn't say a word.

In 2004, Media Matters first detailed anti-Catholic comments made by Jerome Corsi, who, as co-author of Unfit for Command (Regnery, 2004), was one of the ringleaders of the smear campaign by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) -- a Catholic presidential candidate. Among Corsi's bigoted comments:

CORSI: "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the laywers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it."

CORSI: "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press."

Corsi also called Islam "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion," and a "cancer that destroys the body it infects" and claimed of Muslims: "RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters -- it all goes together."
Despite the uproar surrounding Corsi's comments, Donohue apparently remained silent at the time, and subsequently dismissed the comments as "quips." A search of the Nexis database yields no examples of Donohue denouncing -- or even commenting on -- Corsi's anti-Catholic remarks.

A search of the Catholic League's website for "Corsi" yields only one result -- a 2006
news release in which Donohue defended Corsi (who is referred to in the release as "Jerry Corsi").

Corsi and Donohue share a common cause, so there is no railing against the, dare I say, VULGAR expressions made by Corsi.

I hope Edwards stands by McEwan and Marcotte. But no matter what happens, Sis will still be my favorite blogger.


Obligatory New Blogger Sucks post

Apparently, I can't embed videos on New Blogger. I was going to send myself off to bed with a post featuring some music, including a video of what appears to be a 15 year old Ben Kweller with his old band Radish on the Weird Al Yankovic show. But no.


Well, that just sucks

Joss Whedon Dropped from Wonder Woman

I'm not one of the Whedon fans who think Joss can do no wrong (Amends, making Marti Noxon showrunner), but I love the guy, and I'm not certain the team responsible for Beerfest and Soul Plane is going to approach Wonder Woman with a feminist perspective. Or any perspective other than making sure their leading lady has big boobies.


I have reached a low point in blogging inspiration

So here are pictures of actors - and one author - that I find attractive. That's right, this post is basically me being 14 and putting up pictures of boys I like.

Jason Segal I like Jason Segal as an actor, mostly. He was hilarious as Nick Andropolis on Freaks & Geeks, a little scary as Eric on Undeclared, and he's a big sweet lug on How I Met Your Mother.

Liam Neeson I like this picture of Neeson with glasses on. He's got great eyes, there is such tenderness in them.

John Irving The Cider House Rules changed my outlook on abortion. And the only time I ever skipped school in my whole life was when I was reading The World According to Garp - I didn't want to put it down, so I skipped out during gym class.

Nathan Fillion Cap'n Tightpants. Fillion is one charming guy.
Daniel Day-Lewis My celebrity paragon of sexiness. I credit his role as Johnny in My Beautiful Laundrette for shaping my love for watching men kiss other men. I was young and impressionable, and I think I rewound the "a launderette as big as the Ritz...oh yes" scene about a million times. And he's just a brilliant actor.

And just for the hell of it, here's who I loved when I actually was 14:

John Taylor from Duran Duran I liked my boys pretty and non-threatening back then.