Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to ride the subway

I realize this is a little out of left field, and I apologize in advance if you don't like snarky condescension. Feel free to press "next" in your reader and move on. I want to share some tips on how to ride the subway, specifically in New York City, but please feel free to adapt to use on any public transport.

Summer in New York means tourist season. Well, actually, it's always tourist season here, but it is high tourist season in the summer. People come from all over the world just to ride our subways. Right? That's why they come. Many of these people don't know how to ride the subway, and are cruisin' for a bruisin' if they keep up this behavior, so I offer my advice.

This may also be used as a refresher for New Yorkers who have forgotten how it's done.

I'm not going to go over the very basics; you should know to give your seat up to a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or someone who needs it more than you. New Yorkers have a big problem doing this. Just do it, you lazy so-and-so. Come on. Another basic: don't hold the doors. People have places to be that are not on this train. You know this too. So let's move on, and start at the beginning.


Go ahead and walk all the way into the train. Do not stop in the doorway. Get right in there and make a space for yourself where you can hold onto a bar. Don't worry about when it's time to get off the train - even in a crowded train, people will move aside to let you off. And if they don't? Well, this is NYC, you can do some gentle nudging through the crowds. That is a-ok. The most important thing is that you enter the train and let other people also enter the train.


This part is fun, because it means the train is moving. Hold on. What, you don't want to hold on? You will fall into someone, and that someone is going to be annoyed, if not angry. Hold the bar. WITH YOUR HAND.

DO NOT hold the bar with your butt-cheeks. DO NOT lean against the bar. Just hold the bar with your hands and your fingers.


Living in NYC means giving up on having a lot of space. Few have yards, few have big apartments. That little tiny bit of space we can manage is very valuable. So, don't touch me.  Don't let your stuff touch me. Take off your backpack. Huge purse? Hold it in your hand, not on your shoulder. But most importantly: do not sit so close to me.

This is good spacing technique.

Some trains have defined seats. You can tell that three people, or two people, can sit there. But some trains have benches, and you may not be sure how many people can sit in that space, so let me tell you: THREE. Three people can sit in that space. You may see a little room, you may think a fourth person can get in there. And maybe they can, but ONLY if you know both people on either side of you and they don't mind touching you. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you squish yourself between strangers. You are touching them. There is a no touching rule on subways!


Obviously, you can talk. You can chat. Don't yell, use your inside voice.  Don't get too excited and start hollering. Some of us are reading, or sleeping, or preparing ourselves for work, or recovering from work, and we don't want to hear it.

OK, that's all. Sorry for the all-caps and the snark. Here's a picture of my cat so you know there's no hard feelings.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Harder than you would think

Like any Brooklyn hipsters worth their salt, we buy vinyl records. But just to clarify, we aren't hipsters or even very hip, and it's H. that buys and collects vinyl, not me.

The current dealio

Recently H. told me that we need another record cabinet, and that I should use my furniture-buying skillz (is that a skill? I hope so) to find the PERFECT record cabinet.

Now, I'd just take a moment to remind you that H. is very particular. Let's remember than he doesn't eat cheese or pancakes, so you know we're dealing with someone who may not be all there.

H's requirements are that it:
1. Matches the other furniture we have (ie leaning towards the mid-century modern).
2. Is open-front (no cabinets, no doors).
3. Is narrow enough to fit on the end of the sofa like an end table, facing forward.

My specifications are:
 1. I can put a lamp on it.

You wouldn't think that this would be a very difficult item to find, but it is. There is nothing out there! I've been scouring eBay and Craigslist for weeks and nothing is coming up. The closest things that we can nearly agree on are these:

Obviously, I think the cabinet from Dinosaur Cabinets is the best, but it was sold months ago. My second favorite is the Bruksbo Scala one, even though I couldn't put a lamp on it, and also there's a good part of me that actually thinks it pretty fug. The other two of meh really.

Where have all the record cabinets gone? I'm going to be patient, and keep looking. Good things come to those who wait, right?

Monday, July 16, 2012

stop me if you've heard this one before

I've mentioned before how much I miss visiting the family cottage, and how I wish I could get there more often. It's been three years since our last visit, and one of my goals for 2012 was to get there. I'm happy to say we've booked our flights, rented a car, and I expect to have my toes in that lake by 3pm Sunday, August 12.

See you soon, honey.
And I've mentioned before that H. and I have long been thinking about buying a place to live. Maybe in the 'burbs, or maybe in the city. So hard to decide. We're city folk with a fear of the suburbs, but we yearn for space - maybe even a yard?! So, thinking about these needs, and thinking about beloved cottage, I started thinking about a weekend home. Am I crazy? Probably. In fact I asked a friend to rate me, on a scale one 1 (not crazy) to 10 (crazy), and she gave me a 7. That's how crazy this weekend home idea is.

But just think, we could remain Brooklyn people, and then on the weekends we could hightail it out of here and go to our quiet weekend home. Crunching some numbers, and tightening our belts, we could just about swing this.

I've been admiring a few little cabins up around the Catskills.

Cute yella fella, Shandaken, NY via
Yellow has has awesome insides too.
Looks cottagey, in Shandaken, NY
Izzy and I could cuddle by the fireplace in this one in Claryville, NY.
This is the kitchen on a fixer-upper in Arkville, NY - I just like this photo
Of course, if we had a weekend house, we'd have to buy a car - and that would add to the cost of this little daydream. But if it ever happens, you're all invited to the barbecue!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

giving eggplants another shot

Last week we had some friends over, and we made them bring their own food. Because that's how we roll!

Everything was delicious, but I was particularly enamored with what Ally Jane brought, Israeli couscous with roasted vegetables. Why so impressed? Her eggplants were delicious. So I wrote to her the next day:
I particularly enjoyed your couscous and vegetables, so I would like to know what exactly you did to those veggies to make eggplant palatable! I must know!
Well, Ally Jane has a blog, Kitchen Princess because she is a foodie person, so I should have known that her easy recipe was available, because that is where she pointed me. This week for lunch we'll be enjoying her roasted veggies and couscous.

From this giant eggplant.

And an update on my last post, in particular about those 3rd Ward classes: earlier this week I signed up for a screen printing intensive at the end of August. Hooray. I'm gonna print some shiz.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Q2 Report

Now that the year is juuuuust over halfway done, how about we have a look at where I am with my 2012 Get 'er Done Goals.?

So far, this is what I've accomplished:

3rd Ward Goals:
Intro to HTML/CSS

Digital Strategy: Creating Synergy in Your Marketing Program
Web Analytics: Integrating Website and E-mail Data for Effective Digital Marketing Programs*
Strategic Search Engine Marketing Campaign Planning and Execution
E-mail marketing: Integrating Social Media and Mobile marketing for Optimal Campaign Results*

The GGs:
Ringuet, Thirty Acres 
Morley Callaghan, The Loved and the Lost
Colin McDougall, Execution
Malcolm Lowry, Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place*
Brian Moore, The Great Victorian Collection
Jack Hodgins, The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne
Leon Rooke, Shakespeare's Dog
Josef Skvorecky, The Engineer of Human Souls
Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Englishman's Boy
Patrick DeWitt, The Sisters Brothers

Misc. Goals:
Get new glasses
Get a haircut
Southwest road trip!

* - these are actually in progress right now, so I"m generously considering them done, because they will be completed very shortly.

I'm pleased that I've almost finished my NYU classes - I'll be glad when they're done. Not that they aren't interesting - some of them are - but it's exhausting to be taking classes after work when you really just want to watch reruns of 30 Rock

On the GGs, I've mentioned before that I got pretty side-tracked by other books, but I'm happy that in these first 26 weeks I've crossed 10 off my list.

This is what I've still got to get done:

3rd Ward Goals::
Intro to Upholstery
Mystery Class #3
Mystery Class #4

Advanced Social Media Marketing
Developing Online Promotions That Get Results

The GGs:
Bertram Brooker, Think of the Earth
Laura Salverson, The Dark Weaver
Winifred Bambrick, Continental Revue
Hugh MacLennan, The Precipice
Germaine Guèvremont, The Outlander
David Walker, The Pillar
Lionel Shapiro, The Sixth of June
Adele Wiseman, The Sacrifice
Hugh Garner, Hugh Garner's Best Stories
Douglas LePan, The Deserter
Robert Kroetsch, The Studhorse Man
Dave Godfrey, The New Ancestors 

I've really not progressed far on those 3rd Ward classes. I think that they've been somewhat thwarted by other goals, particularly saving money and the NYU classes. However, even though I have managed to teach myself a few upholstery skillz, I'd still like to take a class and learn some things properly. And those other "mystery" classes? I'm thinking printmaking, and maybe evening knitting. Whoa.

As for the GGs I have yet to read. I think I can do it. I'm sure I can. **IF** I can find some of these books. They are getting harder to find, and Laura Salverson's The Dark Weaver seems impossible to find. So, we'll see. 

And these are too soon to say:

Misc. Goals:
Save money. Lots.
Go to the cottage this summer
Take more photos

We haven't saved as much as I would like, but I can't complain too much since I'm basically paying NYU a bazillion dollars for those classes. 

The cottage looks like a go, assuming I get my time off approved. Oh lordy, I cannot wait to sit by the lake and stare into space and maybe knock a few of those GGs off my list while I'm at it. 

Finally, I've taken more photos, which is largely thanks to my phone and ye olde Instagram (thecrabigail - follow me!). For you, a brief photographic tour of these first 6 months:

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