Sunday, July 23, 2006

Out of My Element

A friend from college, Matt, came to NYC this past weekend. He works for a company called Recessive Gene Records and was in town with his talent, Katherine Schell, for some business with Music Television and Video Hits 1. He called me up Saturday to see if I wanted to hang out with him. He said he was going out with his booking agent, Ilya, and meeting up with some MTV guy named Charles to go to some Prada party. The activities somewhat appealed to me, and I decided I’d go.

We all met up at Zum Schneider to have a couple beers. Our friend Jackie, who has lived in NYC her whole life but couldn’t navigate her way through the public transportation system if her life depended on it and also has a severe gambling problem, met up with us as well. Zum Schneider is a beer garden and had a plethora of fine brews from which to choose. Feeling overwhelmed, I just ordered the first tap that I saw—Schneider Weisse. It was actually very tasty.

We ventured directly across Avenue C to some Latin lounge that only offered liquor and $8 bottles of Amstel Light. It did have an Indian movie projected on the wall even though you couldn’t hear the dialogue. There were a lot of loungy yellows, oranges, and pinks, not to mention a lot of Asians in the corner behind us. They were all dancing and taking tons of pictures with their extremely skinny Sony Cybershots. I almost felt the urge to bust out my burnt orange Casio Exilim, but without my mini tripod I felt outclassed. This lounge also offered $20 hookahs, which according to Ilya, was crazy expensive. I wanted to give the hookah a try. It wasn’t bad. I didn’t feel or taste anything as I inhaled. Apparently, we were smoking some apple, I think green apple from the way it tasted as I exhaled. Just to summarize, we were at a Latin lounge with an Indian movie projected on the wall, tons of Asians in the corner, and smoking a hookah. I think I was the only person there that looked remotely Latin.

In any case, Charles, the Music Television representative, showed up at this location and told us we were walking to the special party now. It was being thrown by Pat Field at a club called Element, and he was on the list. I think all those facts were supposed to indicate that he was super cool, but we were all clueless about everything he said and just blankly nodded at his statement.

As we approached the venue, I noticed that the outside was abuzz with a motley crew of characters. Some people were even dressed in costumes. I didn’t think anything of it because I figured that it must be the norm for a Prada party. We eventually navigated our way through the maze of costumed partygoers to reach the side door that led to the basement. Because Charles was on the list, we didn’t have to wait in line and we all felt very special. As I’m walking down the stairs, I saw this postcard on the ground.

It struck me as a little strange because I thought this was a Prada party thrown by Pat Field. I started to question what we were doing, but decided to give it a chance. We walked inside the club, and it was a pretty lively scene. It was more of the same type of people—costumed, extravagantly dressed, and probably gay. I kept thinking, “It’s just a fashion party,” so I figured it was normal.

We made our way to our special private alcove, and purchased drinks. Actually, Matt purchased drinks because he had a corporate card. I love expense accounts. We lounged, drank, and watched the parade of freaks as they looked at us in envy. I also decided that I would try to fit in, so I completely unbuttoned my shirt. Even after doing that, I was still the most conservatively dressed person there. In any case, we got a good laugh out of it. There was also a woman who was probably 40 who decided that she would jump into our alcove and start dancing with Matt. She was somewhat scary. The highlight of my night was when Amadeus showed up. I’m not completely sure why he came in, but I was very happy to see him. I wanted to break out in “Rock Me Amadeus.” Falco would’ve been proud. (I definitely got pictures of all this stuff, which led to Charles asking Matt why I took so many pictures. Matt didn't bother explaining the Asian affinity for picture-taking. He just said that I was in culture shock. Click the link in the right sidebar to go to my photo album. If you don't see the sidebar, just cut & paste this link: http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=casm83)

While we lounged, Charles explained that this was not a Prada party. It was a party thrown by Patricia Field, the costume designer for The Devil Wears Prada. She rented out the entire basement of Element for this party. When Matt had explained the party situation to us earlier, he couldn’t completely make out the voice message that Charles had left him. He also had not heard of The Devil Wears Prada, so that is why he thought it was a Prada party. No one really cared because we had our own VIP area and got free drinks.

It was about 2 AM, and we felt like going to another bar, particularly a more normal bar with a greater majority of straight people. Ilya was also feeling really uncomfortable because Charles was definitely trying to spit mad game at him. Unfortunately for Charles, Ilya would never fall for his semi-popped pink Abercrombie polo under plaid sportcoat because Ilya likes girls. Before we left Jackie thought we should check out the upstairs main club. That was a big mistake. The aforementioned postcard finally made sense. The Abercrombie & Filth party was upstairs. Full-fledged gay bar. Have you ever seen the episode of The Simpsons about the steel workers? At the end, the steel factory morphs into a night club and all the steel workers become gay and yell “Work hard, play hard” in a gay lisp. It felt exactly like that. I suddenly realized that all those stereotypes about gay clubs are true. At that point we left, especially since Ilya was really feeling the heat from Charles. We went to some dive bar across the street, and I bought the guy a Bud Light. He had a tough night.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Anniversarius

Anniversary - from the Latin anniversarius, from the words for year and to turn, meaning (re)turning yearly; (known in English since c1230) is a day that commemorates and/or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event.

Like a bad boyfriend, I missed the anniversary of my blog. I knew I started writing it in mid- to early July of 2005, but I wasn’t sure of the exact date. I randomly checked the date of my first post on July 8, and lo and behold, it just so happened to be my blog-iversary. I had thought it was a sign that I was supposed to write the greatest blog entry ever; however, I was extremely sleepy and didn’t even stay awake for the third place game of the Copa Mundial.

A lot has happened in my life over the past year. For one thing, I actually possessed the mental fortitude to stay with something for a year. A part of me is not surprised that I was able to blog this long because I always wanted to be a writer, particularly a screenwriter, but another part of me is surprised because I am, as my mom would always say, “a jack of all trades, master of none.” Maybe I’m finally recovering from the psychological pain that she caused from calling me that. Whatever the case, I was able to go one full year—71 posts.

I originally started the blog because I had so many thoughts on Laguna Beach, but had nobody to share them with. I couldn’t just walk up to my old roommate and start bitching about why Kristin sucked as a narrator. His favorite show was myth Busters on Discovery. Needless to say, he didn’t really care for Laguna Beach night. Many of my early posts were Laguna or reality TV-related, but I started getting comments that all I blogged about was TV.

I started looking at my own personal experiences and decided that I was slightly less boring than most people. It seems a bit ridiculous now, but it was tough for me to start writing about personal subjects on my posts—it seemed a little too Dr. Phil. I also didn’t want to have a Real World confessional tone—I think I’m depressed and hate life because my dad once told me “you sucked” right after a soccer game. I didn’t want to put you through that crap. If anything, that story is actually really funny, and I’m glad it happened. I have a good laugh when I think about it, and I even tell it to friends sometimes but I won’t be able to any longer since I just told everyone in this blog. Oh well.

Anyhow, something strange happened as I ventured down this personal blogging path. My loyal readers—all 50 of you—happened to think I was slightly funny. This was all the motivation I needed. I loved sending out updates and getting comments or E-mails about how entertained you were. I loved that people would read my blog at work to pass the time. The fan love—50 fans strong—was exhilarating.

Some fan favorites and also my favorites include the BSB post, the I’m a Foreigner post, the Hottest Guy on Campus post (not because of my writing, obviously), my modeling post, and The Dirty Burrito vs. Clean Taco blog-offs, which I won 2-0 thanks to my loyal fan base. My post in semi-letter format informing the world of my resignation from The Corporation holds a special place in my heart. It’s how my parents found out I quit my job. I was on my way from Minneapolis to Chicago to partake in some resignation celebrations when my dad called to ask me if I had quit my job. He had just read my blog and was curious as to whether it was true. He seemed concerned at first, but then seemed to relax once I informed him that I wouldn’t be asking him for money.

I was much more aware of my experiences this past year because I did blog about many of them. The low point came at the beginning because of my horrible time at The Corporation, though there was an anomalous peek in August when my kickball team destroyed the Target league and I scored both runs in a 2-0 win, thus cementing my kickball legacy. Luckily, the year just got better, mainly because of my trip to The Island and internship at The Agency. I also got to be an international male model, with one of my ads actually reaching the Cannes International Ad Festival. It was such a great experience that my mom was calling me every week asking if I was actually coming back to The Americas. After that stage I went home to Michigan for a month, and then I just packed up 2 suitcases and move to NYC. I ended up finding a job where, so far, I’m happy. I enjoy the work and the people. It’s a completely different experience from The Corporation, where I’d get the evil eye from my mentor just because I’d come ask a question. People at my new place actually understand that a few questions are standard for a new employee. My boss actually hugged me today because she was leaving for a business trip for the week. Obviously, I told her I’m suing. I’m cashing in baby.

I’m somewhat happy with my situation right now. Hopefully, this trend keeps going. I hope I’m still doing this blog a year from now. I’ve been slacking lately because I’m so tired from work. Keep reading, and I’ll keep writing. Remember, I keep tabs on you guys through Google Adsense. Don’t forget to click my ads! It supplements my miniscule Assistant Account Executive income.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

NYC Observations

I was picking up my dinner from the Chinese restaurant below my girlfriend’s apartment, and the streets were filled with Italians driving around, flailing out of their windows waving flags, honking their horns, and screaming for joy after their 2-0 defeat of Germany in the World Cup semis. It was a pretty cool site. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles were not cool. I had wanted to eat hot dogs, but I watched Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Watching Kobayashi spray hot dog out of his mouth as he did his patented Kobayashi Shake pretty much ended that idea.

The guys that perform on subway cars for spare change really impress me—they have the most unbelievable balance in the world. While most people are gripping the bars for dear life, the subway performer is standing freely in the middle of a car playing a guitar, playing his harmonica, and singing all while the train is rounding a curve and coming to a sudden stop that throws old men to the ground. I also really enjoy their music.

According to the three nerds waiting at the 8th Street R/W Station, the mother alien from Alien Vs. Predator looked very different from the mother alien in the Aliens movies.

I wore a Ramones T-shirt last night and was extremely scared that some East Village hipster was going to confront me about it.

I’m thinking about moving from the East Village to an apartment in Astoria because I’d be closer to my girlfriend and my current apartment has no window. I never know what time it is in the morning because I get no hint of sunlight. It is really convenient to live in Manhattan, so maybe I’ll just stay put and see if it works out.

Last night, I observed these two guys drive away a group of girls from a table. They spit some game, but the girls were having none of it. It was pretty amusing to witness the girls give the fake laughs and the “I’ll pretend like I give a damn until you buy me a drink” nods.

It costs $8 for a Jack & Coke. I’m in an entry-level position in advertising—I think I will stop drinking.

I think I might volunteer at this place that offers free kayak tours on weekend mornings. They are pretty popular, but I think volunteering will guarantee me a spot in the tours. I really like rowing, even if it’s in the Hudson River. It’ll also give me incentive not to drink the night before a morning of volunteering because I’d have to leave my apartment at about 6:45 AM to get to the pier on time.

I have yet to try a New York bagel. Apparently, they’re much better than Einstein Bros. or Bruegger’s.

Every morning, I stop at the breakfast street cart at 55th & 3rd to get a coconut donut for $.60. The coconut donut is the most delicious donut I’ve ever had. It’s even better than the peanut butter frosted donuts I used to eat at the bakery where I worked in high school. The top and the bottom of the donut are left as is, but the sides are glazed and coated with coconut flakes. Also at work, they left a box of Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins at the desk of every new hire. I had a coconut donut and Munchkins that day. Just for the record,my least favorite donuts are Krispy Kremes and jelly donuts. I think they suck, but I’ll still eat them if they’re the only donuts available. I love donuts—such tasty goodness.

It is fucking humid.