Monday, May 28, 2007

Coffee jerk

Tried to get an iced coffee from Cafe Fresh, the attractive but not-very-well-managed coffee place across from campus, on Amsterdam Ave. I went in and the guy barked, "We're not open right now." I asked him, "Well, when are you going to open.'' He said, "I'm not getting into the details of why we are not open.'' So I repeated, "No, no,I didn't ask WHY you aren't open, I wanted to know WHEN you are going to open so i can have an iced coffee.'' He replied, "I don't feel like having a conversation right now about WHY we are not open.''

And so I went to Starbucks. Nuff said. Their coffee was delicious and they were nice.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mountain extravaganza

I've just returned from a grand tour of the mountains for a freelance writing assignment. I threw down a 12-mile trail run into the backcountry, explored a creek and a briny lake, hiked through a field full of swallows and dragonflies, traversed a national park, learned a lot about mining and earthquakes, ate a duck, toured an Ayurdevedic spa, interviewed 20 people, spent the night in an historic lodge and watched the sun set over the humpbacked mountains. It was a terrific experience though I'm sleepy now and trying to get some rest but my cat is mauling me. Tomorrow I'm back in NYC (but only for a couple of days)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Return of the human boomerang

I just had a strange realization about my life in relation to geography. I was born on the West Coast, and then my father moved us all to the East Coast when I was two. At age three, my family moved back to the West Coast, where I stayed for 15 years. Then I moved to the East Coast for six years, at which point I returned to the West Coast for six years, at which point I moved to the East Coast for three years. Now, I'm about to move to --- guess where - the West Coast AGAIN!! I am a human boomerang but didn't realize it until this moment.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The tease continues

So check this out. I went into our friendly local grocery store the other day, the one that sells tomatoes that look like someone hurled them against the wall -- and for once, they were unblemished, tasty and beautiful. I decided to try my luck in the 'student rush' ticket line for the Broadway show, "Talk Radio,'' expecting to get shut out and yelled at by nasty people. But guess what, there was no line, the tickets were cheaper than dirt, we got second row, dead center, and Liev Shrieber just tore the roof off the place. In fact, the guy at the ticket counter sold me the tickets 15 minutes before the box office was supposed to open! How weird is that?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

New York is a tease

This city has been showing its very best side to us, now that it knows we are leaving.

We have been going to the Shake Shack and getting their vanilla ice cream cones, then watching the Empire State Building flash a strange new color each night. We've been going on long hikes and runs, snarfing the famous banana pudding at Buttercup Bakery and strolling through the cherry blossom esplanade in Brooklyn's surreal botanical gardens. I know that if we changed our minds and decided to stay out here, the nice weather would vaporize in an instant, and cockroaches (as big as spaniels) would crawl into our apartment and throttle us in our sleep. But this is a perfect, gorgeous time in NYC, a time when there is no better place on the planet. Everyone is having fun, throwing Frisbees all over the place, and even the rickshaw drivers near Columbus Circle are almost smiling. In three or four weeks, the weather will be hot and disgusting, and desperate people will pay good money to see Sandra Bullock movies just for the air conditioning. But in this two-week grace period, the city is accessible, overflowing with options, good humor, art, music and dogs of all shapes and outlooks. I'm scrambling to take advantage of it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dreading the bagels but full of anticipation

I am moving, for the time being, to the Bay Area --- lovely place, brilliant people, great weather, although the bagels are dinner rolls with bellybuttons. Though I am excited to be out there again, I am not looking forward to the bagel withdrawal. As a result, I've been mainlining H and H and Absolute bagels like you would not believe --- just opening my mouth and shoveling in fistfuls of bagels to make up for the fact that I will soon be eating Noah's bagels, which are so insipid. One time at Noah's Bagels in Santa Cruz, I asked for a toasted bagel with cream cheese on it. Instead, the guy ignored me and microwaved the hell out of a bare bagel. When I complained, and clarified what I wanted, the guy took the microwaved bagel, stuck cream cheese on it and then put it in the toaster!!! It was like eating a shingle with mouth-searing, melted cream cheese on the top of it.

However, I am very much looking forward to seeing loved ones, being able to afford sushi (the kind of sushi that I can afford in NYC looks suspiciously like the stuff that they drag behind fishing boats in shark-chumming contests) and enjoying a wonderful fellowship (the Steinbeck, through the auspices of San Jose State University) which will allow me to finish my book, develop a second book, and get going on some intensive research. I will miss the Chelsea pier, cheap student tickets at the Metropolitan Opera and the staggeringly good vanilla cones at the Shake Shack. I won't miss our stomping, thumping sociopath neighbors and the rats in the laundry room, but I will miss my colleagues at Columbia's School of the Arts (though I've been told that a huge contingent of them lives in the Bay Area.)