Tuesday, December 6, 2005


First real snowfall of the winter last night--so pretty when it falls sideways in front of the streetlamps. Inches on my car this morning, but didn't take long to dig through. Almost fell on my ass in the work parking lot because they hadn't yet put down salt.

I was thumbing through Martha Stewart's Living yesterday in the doctor's waiting room. Even the ads in that magazine make me feel like a failure, not to mention the suggestions for holiday cheer. Hey, did you know you could melt your own wax candles and even shape them into reindeers with tiny silver beads strewn on them and little reins made out of leather? You can also bake a fourteen layer cake filled with chocolate mousse, fresh cranberries, and mint and topped with holly constructed out of tiny slivers of petrified grass. Or make your own Christmas cards--you only need cardstock, a laser printer, a family, a dog, calligraphy materials, and a studio in which to take the photos. Oh, yeah, and a digital camera. The only suggestion she had that I could maybe do is to wrap some presents in old-fashioned napkins, but you're supposed to pin them in place and that seems like a disaster waiting to happen plus where do I find the napkins circa 1950? I could also probably manage to make name plate placards out of toothpicks stuck in fresh limes, but I can't imagine an occassion where I would need to do so. The other suggestion I could reasonably duplicate is to transform holiday cookie cutters into ornaments by inserting festive paper and pictures inside them and adding a red or green ribbon to hang it. But we don't have a tree. I supposed I could hang them from doorknobs but that seems sad. I resent anyone who has the time on his/her hands to make any of the recipes. And am envious of it too, because I can't see myself having the patience or focus to do any of these things.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Dive Bar Tour Extravaganza

So, my friend Tara threw a birthday bash for her boyfriend Jimmy on Saturday that involved inviting about 12 of his guy friends from all over the country to surprise him by ambushing him as the two of them walked up 5th Street. His glasses flew off and he was toppled to the road, not unlike a perpetrator in Cops. We then walked him to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar below Washington where two other of his guy friends were waiting to surprise him further.

Here's Ray's: They have a jukebox next to one of their sticky bar tables and a statue of James Brown above the mirrored bar. The women's room is so small that your knees almost touch the door when you're sitting on the toilet. It's dark inside and smells like cigarette smoke and spilled beer. They had a Christmas tree in one corner decorated with white lights and beer can ornaments. I think we spoiled a typical Saturday at the bar for many of the older men in flannel shirts who frequent the joint. Everyone ordered PBR's.

Next stop, Dive (formerly Low): The bartender at this place was super super low key; didn't even get mad when one of the more drunk guys walked behind the bar or that we brought deli sandwiches, cole slaw, and potato salad into the bar for people to eat. He picked up a sandwich and did two shots with the guys. I told him he looked vaguely like Mark Ruffalo but he didn't know who that is. Dive bar is basically one long bar with stools and a large TV that plays movies (Wedding Singer was on while we were there). The guy who runs it is a very dorky guy with a pointed beard and moussed boy band hair and two hoop earrings. He wasn't there for the happy hour, but he usualy runs around slapping high fives with people he recognizes and asking everybody if they're doing okay. I prefer him though to the blase, disenchanted attitude of people at Royal Tavern next door.

Friendly's Lounge: On the sidewalk near Friendly's, we ran into three women who were just leaving there to go to meet friends at Dive. Jimmy said, Come on, women! Come back with us! They followed us to Friendly's and we were unable to shake them for the rest of the night (in fact, two of the guys were unable to shake them until the next morning when both were sheepinshly dropped off at Tara's after having taken the Drive of Shame). Friendly's seems to be mob owned and run. Not much in the way of decorations, but the bartender, an older guy with slicked-back hair, lined the bar instantly with green bottles of Yuengling Lager. Jimmy's a semi-regular there and so the bartender handed off two guitars, one to him and one to his friend Mike and they crooned and strummed for awhile. I had my first inkling that maybe I could possibly go home soon. Shawn had to back out after Dive, having consumed about a case of PBR's in an hour without the benefit of the corned beef sandwich that arrived just a few moments too late.

And on to Bob and Barbara's: A much roomier bar where they are usually three black musicians on drums, sax and guitar set up right next to the bathroom. Good mix of people here including average Joe's, hipsters, and frat boys. Can't remember too much what I did here...Oh, yes, one of the other women there who had a red ribbon in her hair told me about her brother who died. She started crying a little and excused herself. I struck up a conversation with two guys next to me who were med students from Penn. We had a fairly earnest conversation about organ donation and then they left to go somewhere cooler. Watched as one of the women we picked up on the street inched closer and closer to one of the single guys in our group--she was probably nice enough but she had that wet, curly haired look from the early 90s and a large, horse-like face. Who knows; maybe she was a fabulous conversationalist and had sharp insight into current politics and the human existence. I got a little worried when I noticed I was slightly careening around like someone stuck in a pinball machine--bumping into doors and people and generally tipped off balance in what I hoped was a not noticeable way.

And lastly for me: Dirty Frank's: Not a far distance from Bob & Barbara's. Dirty Frank's has booths and a square bar in the center and places to sit along the wall (though it might have just been the radiator we were perched on). I managed to have part of a PBR, use the bathroom, and say good night to Tara and Jimmy and a couple of the other people before trying to walk out with the PBR in my coat pocket which the bouncer made me leave. Hi, I'm 21 years old. I wove my way home with a double consciousness. I was aware that I was walking erratically and doing things like leaning over to look intently at the numbers of my cell phone and thinking, God, I'm appearing to be so drunk, but I couldn't stop doing it either. Made it home after eleven. I thought Shawn had left again to come out to meet us, but he was still in bed which was sort of a relief.

The rest of the crowd finished the night out at Tattoed Mom's, closing the place without any serious incidents unless you count a few instances of suspected infidelity. Jimmy did momentarily expose his ass at Dirty Frank's (I think), but that's to be expected. I lasted from about 2:30 to 11 which I think is pretty good. Didn't do any shots, had about an hour off in the middle, and ate a little roast beef. Didn't get sick, make out with any strange men, sob uncontrollably, pee my pants, or otherwise create a scene, though I am embarrassed about the beer in the jacket pocket.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

I Snub You

There's a cute blond trainer boy at the gym whose name is Luke (Sweat has a wall of trainer names and black and white photographs on the brick staircase as you ascend to find your machine). He's about 23 years old and teaches ab classes and will be your personal muscle building slave for the right price. I imagine that most girls (and some guys) at the gym think he's adorable. I imagine too that he doesn't notice me much because there are so many pretty young girls in cotton leggings, tight sports bras, and swinging ponytails who bounce around the place. So, to counteract his not noticing me, I pretend not to notice him. If he's at the front counter when I swipe in, I smile at the girl and ignore him and his fingerless weight-lifting gloves. If he comes into our class to retrieve a rubber ball to lay on, I don't turn my head. If he strolls in between the ellipses machines, I focus my attention on Dr. Phil. See, I'm trying to teach him a lesson that not EVERY girl thinks he's a hottie (even though I do think he's cute). And the sad, sad thing is I'm sure he has no idea that I'm doing that because I don't register on his scanner. (I wonder if people I don't notice are secretly snubbing me? Stop it!)

I like the woman who teaches our bouncy class. She's energetic and has a great atheletic body and doesn't tolerate chatty girls. She said to two girls yesterday, I'm going to separate you two if you don't stop talking. Sometimes if she's making us do three sprints in a row, I hate her for an instant, but then I like her again. There's a woman who comes into class every week about 15 minutes after we start. She's short and wears a gray sports bra and black or gray Spandex tights. She has a tiny little upper body with hard, hard abs and a gigantic ass. I mean, BIG. I can't stop staring at it. It just doesn't match the rest of her. She doesn't seem to mind. She always gets up in the front of the class closest to the mirror and stares hard at herself as she jumps on the trampoline. I picture her at a dance club in a little tank top shaking her booty like nobody's business.