Friday, January 30, 2009


It's Beth's birthday tomorrow.

(Click on the chat to make it BIGGER/readable!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

i should write the antidote book to "don't sweat the small stuff"

Every once in a while, you'll get an e-mail from someone you don't really talk to very often or know very well with a specific request, sometimes followed by an offer to grab lunch or get coffee or talk on the phone about whatever it may be. Maybe she wants some info ("...can you tell me about Stan before I ask him to be my roommate...?") or maybe he is asking you to help out with his senior project or maybe she wants your advice on some job you did one summer in D.C... You know what I mean, even if the examples I just wrote were sort of weird and boring.

Anyway, when the time actually comes to see or talk to the person, the absolute worst thing that I DREAD is the mandatory 5-25 minutes of small talk until the actual thing you have to talk about (= the only reason you are seeing the person in the first place) gets brought up. The whole time I'm thinking "Should I bring it up? Is it too soon to go there? Why am I talking about 'Slumdog Millionaire' with someone I barely know? I wasn't the one who sent the e-mail in the first place, so will just cutting to the chase make it even more obvious that our reasons for getting coffee together are business not pleasure?"

Sometimes it can even take until you're done eating for him to bring up the topic; he finally stutters "So, anyway, uh, like I e-mailed you about, I've been wondering..." but by this point you've already finished your Diet Coke (which you nervously drank super fast) and your sandwich ain't around anymore to distract yourself with, so you've just got to make eye contact - and if there's anything we can all agree upon, it's that nothing is worse than having to make EYE CONTACT!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

the kind of "science" i can get behind

I really cannot tell you what inspired me to search these two terms in "Google Trends" yesterday... but I did, and IBL the results. What we've got here is scientific proof that (as of early 2006) awkwardness now reigns supreme as our national mood. This is something we all probably sort of knew deep in our hearts (I mean, Michael Cera is America's heartthrob and people only communicate with each other via text message), but now there's a fancy chart to prove it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

things the subway provides

1. When people get mad at you for screening their phone calls, this is the go-to excuse:
- You: "Oooooh, I didn't even get your call - I must have been on the subway."
- High-Maintenance Helen: "But your phone rang four times and then went to voice mail..."
- You: "Oh.... yeah, that's just, uh, what my phone does when it's not getting signal."

2. A great excuse for being really late. (e.g. "Yeah, I am so sorry you've been waiting since 7. The subway was all messed up.") For some reason, no one ever challenges that explanation.

3. An amazing (if not the most amazing) opportunity to people watch. It takes just a few small details -- the color of a scarf, the choice of reading material and the cautious way she pushes her hair out of her face -- to develop an entire life for her: a family, a college romance, some repressed insecurities. (Sometimes I write these things in these blogs and don't really think about how weird I probably sound...)

4. A breather from the travails of life. Whenever I descend into the caverns of the number and letter-coded maze, it's like I'm swiping my MetroCard into the Break Room of Life (whoa, let that one marinate for a bit). No cell phone service. Surrounded by the anonymous masses. The whole thing bigger than you. When your day is filled with little pokes and scrapes, it's nice to close your eyes and jump into the sauna. A sauna that smells sort of awful.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a mess in the (gourmet) park

I've branched out a bit in terms of my work day lunching locales. At first, it was all about "Food Exchange"; it was safe. Then I got a bit more adventurous, took some recommendations, explored the region a bit -- I was rebelling. Now I have settled on a few go-to places. [Scintillating post so far, eh?] One of the eateries that has earned a coveted position on my Lunch Hot Spots list is this place called Gourmet Park. It's really a total copy of Food Exchange but it has a (marginally) less ridiculous name and you have to walk down this steep decline to enter which makes me feel like I'm entering an exclusive and swanky club (... the kind of club where you can make your own salad and everyone looks disgruntled).

There is one thing about Gourmet Park though that I find horrifying/fascinating. Every day they set a display of food outside on the sidewalk (see photo above). It doesn't look that bad from a distance, I guess? Orange drinks! With straws! It seems they're going for a Pavlovian response kind of deal where people will walk by, see the food and then immediately walk inside like brainless, trained monkeys. At first I thought the display table was totally the worst and then my friend was like "Every café in Miami does this" in a sort of nonchalant way and then I just sort of repressed my annoyance with the whole thing.

But today I took a look up close at the food and realized... it is DISGUSTING. I mean, I almost feel like I should tag this post with a NSFW or something because it's so offensive-looking (see below). I could try to like make some witty comparisons but this photo is too gross to even look at for long enough to do that. I mean, can you even figure out what these dishes are??! They kind of look like what would happen if someone gave a 5-year-old different random sauces and was like "Mix these together on a plate and then vomit in a taco shell!"

It's like, fine, you want to be all Miami up in here and put food out on this fancy table in the middle of Midtown, be my guest. But do me a favor and don't make me throw up before I've even starting eating my overpriced salad (which I am feeling sort of disappointed about anyway because I forgot to have the guy add in avocado). And c'mon G-Park, before you go all SmartWater on us, you gotta keep the tomatoes in line first.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This was my stream-of-consciousness thought process upon seeing this cover of OK! Magazine over the weekend:

OK, OK! Magazine, let's be honest here, I'm only giving you the time of day because you put Britney on your cover. Normally, I pretend you and your infuriating exclamation point don't exist. "WHAT PRICE FAME?" Seriously?! Either I am going crazy (not impossible) or OK! Magazine totally left a word (or a few words) out of this headline. But wait, Dubofficer (this is what I call myself in my head when I'm figuring out mysteries): a national magazine wouldn't mess up on this sort of scale. I gotta be missing something. Hmmm. Maybe it's a sort of challenge directed at the concept of "fame," as in (note the comma)"What price, fame? What price is it going to take to please you? $3,000? $15,000? How much is enough to placate your ceaseless appetite??" Or maybe it's supposed to be read as three short one-word questions, like "What? Price? Fame?" (That makes no sense, Dubofficer.) Or maybe you're supposed to imagine Brit driving around town in one of her pink wigs and asking herself in one of her put-on accents "What price fame?" because in her adolescent mind, the question would actually make sense. Or perhaps the most likely explanation of all: maybe OK! has such little respect for its readership that it actually thinks none of the subscribers (related: do people even subscribe to OK!?) will notice?

[I start to walk away, but then move back to the magazine rack.] You got me, OK!: like Ms. Spears herself, you make no sense, but I just can't look away.

Friday, January 9, 2009

shedding some light

8:57 p.m., Thursday night, Vietnamese restaurant on 13th Street

Suzy, re: the proliferation of video wall posts on Facebook:
"It's like, stop pretending that you're leaving the video because you have this smart, witty, inside joke thing to say... when it's really because you realized you looked good in the lighting."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

what happens after

Pretty much any time you run into an acquaintance you haven't seen in a while on the street or at a party or in the dining hall, you'll chat for a few minutes, ask how Becky is doing, reference that one funny thing that happened that day when it was snowing really hard and then part ways (usually one of you has a friend who is waiting patiently for the fakersation to end). When it's time to part ways though, one of you almost always says something to the effect of "Definitely give me a call sometime" or "We need to catch up - let's get dinner next week" or "Please e-mail me about seeing that movie, OK?" and it always seems really earnest and there's always a lot of smiling and laughing and back-patting. But both parties know there will be no calls or dinners or movies... and that's totally fine, because everyone knows that's just what you say when these things happen.

We've all been there.

But what I'm really interested in is that moment right after the parting of ways, when you have said your goodbyes to the acquaintance and you are walking down 14th Street with your roommate (the one who was waiting patiently by the parking meter during the convo). Your roommate will look at you and say something like "That was weird" or "So awkward" or "Who was that?" And even though you know you aren't going to call the acquaintance like you said you would, and even though in all likelihood you won't see him again for a few months (you'll check his Facebook once in a while to stay updated), you feel this need to defend. "I actually really like him," you'll say. Or "Actually, I'm totally gonna take him up on that movie offer." Or "He was in my English class and he's actually really smart." And you say "actually" with this overzealous authority that sounds disingenuous even to yourself the moment it comes out of your mouth.

Monday, January 5, 2009


This balloon-filled building takes up a whole block on Park Avenue. I have walked past it twice a day for like five months now. Somehow, today is the first day I have actually stopped to be like: "I do not understand this building. Um, why is it filled with balloons? How are all of these people walking by and not noticing it?! How do you even walk around inside with all those balloons everywhere?! And most importantly of all... can the balloons be popped?!?!"

Of course, after I took this picture and after I asked myself these questions, I just kept walking instead of seeking answers. I'm sure, as seems to almost always be the case, whatever this balloon building actually is isn't nearly as exciting as what I am imagining in my head. That, and I was feeling too lazy to cross the street.