it’s the first shortened day of the season and what better way to maximize the mass crankiness that abounds than with a day’s recount of old fashioned rants? so i present to you a critically personal walk through the city and a list of the truly important things that happened. nothing else really mattered.
today was the new york marathon. i’m really on the fence about this one: on one hand, as a potential participant two years straight (who, both times, had to bow down, err, out to a fucked up knee) i get a prickly sense of pride and accomplishment as i see those runners freshly crossed over the finish line clutching their foil capes and hobbling home; on the other hand, something is to be said about their piss poor attitudes toward anyone who didn’t run the marathon. that hawk-eyed look that basically says, “yeah, i did it. i ran 26 and change miles, and now i’m better than you. i’m gonna be on NPR tonight.” right. as if we’re all afforded the ability (and opportunity—getting in is some comPETitive shit) to run a marathon. maybe they’re just tired. anyway, my pissed meter may bob slightly, but nobody feels as badly as those people just “out for a sunday run” who, when reminded of the marathon that is going on basically all around them, must feel like total assholes. a defeatist surge of shame pulsates through their body as they turn up the lady gaga on their ipods and push even harder, their skin pitting like golf balls with the harsh, shameful glares from all the people around them. it’s like thumb wrestling at a WWF match.
the moral(s) of the story is(are): swap your hater-ade for some gatorade. -or- there’s always next year.
with our takeover of eastern europe almost nigh, i made a point to stop by the idlewild bookstore to rub elbows with the well-traveled intelligentsia i figured i’d encounter there to talk about, you know, books and traveling and stuff. but before i got there, several storefronts down, in probably my most cliche moment of the week, i stopped by a little restaurant called cafe prague.
still decked out in halloween decorations that included life-sized talking vampires and bloody brides, i found cafe prague irresistible and walked right in, hoping to leave all my mental baggage of the day outside. banking on a cliche and actually trying to cram some authentic culture into my afternoon, my visit to cafe prague was the escape i wished it would be. it’s run by czech staff and is actually czech in origin, a fact confirmed by the authentic menu items displayed on the large screen TV behind the counter: goulash, svikova, polom’s chicken (named after a village in the czech republic, otherwise nondescript save for its eponymous chicken dish) and other indigenous fare. i initally frowned upon the selection of pre-made panini in the deli case, but seeing them here granted me the realization that panini, the biggest sandwich trend to hit the US since, i don’t know, the big mac?, may, in fact, be a universal thing and i should turn down the snobbery should i encounter said panini once i’m actually in prague. i sat down with a cherry tea and chocolate prague square (a two layer ganache/yellow cake thing) and enjoyed a nice departure from my sunday afternoon in nyc, but my real moment of escape came when the title song to the neverending story played on the sound system. i don’t know who was responsible for that musical blast from the past, but suddenly i felt not only worlds away, but decades as well and cafe prague earned a category of star that had never previously existed.
the moral of the story is: when in doubt, go to prague.
oh, and after complaining about the same thing like 74 times, i came up with a new concept: a regular series called “nothing is worse than:” that generally expresses the most recent things i find distasteful, and probably will for years to come. so yeah, go me for self-expression.
nothing is worse than: a door that closes loudly, and never gets fixed.
at-home cake pops
walking aimlessly in the city is like the cheater’s edition of where’s waldo because it just throws in your face all the things you’ve been looking for your whole life. like this at-home cake pop maker at the bed, bath & beyond (editor’s note: initally, i wasn’t going to disclose the location, but i figured why delay fate, right?) so this is the at-home cake pop maker, another obesity-causing obsession started by starbucks now makes its way into american homes through the black hole of excess and waste known as “under the tree.” because who wouldn’t want this for Christmas? or Hanukkah? or Kwanzaa?
the cake pop started out innocently enough—a little cake to satisfy a big need.
but this is america, people—big needs need big cake. i’m sure the makers of the at-home cake pop maker thought, with the best of intentions, "we'll make 12 slots so there will be one cake pop for every girl at the sleepover" when the sad reality will go something like this: on a cold, frosty winter night some weeks after Christmas an obese female college student will find herself in the home aisle of the tj maxx deciding between the martini glasses with the flowers painted on them or the margarita glasses with the glittery pink cactuses, when both shrivel into oblivion as the at-home cake pop maker catches her eye and gives her 12 reasons to forget about the festive stemware entirely.
the moral of the story is: just say no.
(a modified version of the theme to “the price is right” that has more of the vintage 70s gameshow horns plays in the background)
and now it’s time for “that’s my obsession!”
the vibram five fingers information series
i love, with all ten toes, the five fingers line of footwear from the italian company vibram. aside from comfort and ridiculously engineered ergonomics, these shoes make you feel like a superhero. a superhuman sense of agility and strength comes to you and you find yourself (ok, i find myself) wanting to balance on curbs instead of simply walking home; curling my foot to avoid cracks in the sidewalk simply because the flexible sole allows me to; walking up the side of buildings to see how high i can get. and this feeling is mutual among other five fingers wearers—we have a code, a shared understanding signified by a smile, similar to the way jeep owners wave and beep while passing each other. we are partaking together in some esoteric way of life that has brought us fortune most of the world will never experience. or something like that. anyway, with the pros come the cons, and thankfully, mine have nothing to do with the design or performance of the shoe. it’s with the audience reaction.
let me start by saying vibram five fingers should be marketed exclusively to "exceptionally extroverted persons who may possess aspirations to pursue a career in motivational speaking" because the second you slip these suckers on and step out in public, you're the center of attention, the man with a plan, the one with all the answers, keanu reeves in speed, and expected to act accordingly. people look up to you for answers, asking left and right about your shoes and expecting an answer that can also solve the economic crisis. questions range from the inane "are they comfortable?" ("no, I find it easier to maintain my morning erection by stimulating my s&m fetish all day long") to the actually interesting, “i saw them in the conde nast traveler and was thinking about getting a pair...can you tell me about them?” at the beginning, i decided being called upon so frequently to deliver these lectures came with the territory of wearing such unique shoes, and it was my just duty to deliver the good. but once I started missing subway stops and fell behind on my book club reading because of my impromptu seminars, i raised my arms to the heavens and pleaded, “Lawd come save me!"
today, i got a break. kind of. the public commentary on my vibram five fingers hit a new high...or low. or perhaps a new level of whoa! An MTA employee was all laughs as she told me on a recent episode of CSI (or it may have been CSI miami, apparently the difference is crucial) the killer had been wearing the same pair as me. (ha ha ha, oh). she was then kind enough to share some advice, which I could have predicted with one eye closed: “don’t go killing anybody now!” my response laugh was so over-rehearsed, its shallowness rivaled that of the puddle of pee on the seat adjacent to me. and with that the doors closed, separating our worlds forever, and the train pulled away taking me with it, head down and headphones on, avoiding eye contact and any future run-ins with tourists hungry for information on “those toe shoes that crazy boy is wearing.”
the moral of the story is: one doesn't want to be rude.
that’s all for now.
Xs and Os