Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Other Room + Barbuto

I'm most at home in New York when I'm just roaming the streets, with no plan and open to any possibility.  I was early for dinner on Wednesday and wandered up a few blocks until I found The Other Room on Perry St.    It was soothingly dark, with interesting art on the walls, a great variety of beer and wine, and the bartender shared my musical taste and was great to talk to until my friend arrived and he slowly melted into the background, not before convincing me that it was time to take up snowboarding.  

We were near Barbuto, so I changed my mind on dinner and decided we were going there.  I've only known it in the summer, when there's a breeze moving through the restaurant and the sun still provides a nice warmth on the outdoor tables before it sets later in the meal.  That night the restaurant had a strangely protective feeling, as we entered you could feel the warmth of the kitchen emanating towards our table, the lighting was just right, and the clear garage doors separated us from the dark of the neighborhood streets.  

I had a fantastic evening as I always do with him, making it horribly bittersweet as we left the city for our own places.  

Friday, February 27, 2009

Am I Freakishly Tall and No One Bothered to Tell Me?

So we've been anxiously awaiting our staff photos from NBA All-Star, particularly this fabulous shot of The Muresans:

We are such a happy family.

However, as I look at the collection of photos, my co-workers look like little kid verisions of themselves (dare I say little people!), while I come a little too close for comfort to Gheorge's shoulders.

Have you all been keeping my freakish height a secret and focusing on my freakish strength instead?

One of my favorite photos!! I call this one Twin Towers (too soon? still?)

Me and the Chosen People

Amazinglly, I'm much more flexible than the three year old me

I've hardly been to the JCC in the last six months, but jumped back into my old workouts this week.  I was outed by my swim partner's friend as a non-Jew and he jokingly told me I had to swim in the last lane.  They apparently don't like the sleeper Gentiles.

Last night was a good one, after complaining earlier in the week that I didn't have anything to work out in my head during my hour swims; I had plenty to think about last night and swam my fastest mile.  Yoga was fantastic, too, although my body hadn't cooled down as I ran straight up from the pool and I was dripping with sweat (or cleansing my body as they say), even though our heater wasn't working to do hot room.  

We practice Ashtanga yoga, which focuses on a constant flow, so there's no rests during the 90 minutes.  My body couldn't have been happier; my joints were popping back into place throughout the routine as my body realigned and I melted into the floor at the end of the to finally get back to my previous levels of flexibility.  Plus, there's the added benefit of being able to sleep after yoga, as I don't get home until ten thirty, unwind for a few hours and can easily fall asleep.  That doesn't happen too often for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Absolutely Horrible Idea


My Kicks were all the rage in Philly this weekend

Occasionally I have to step back from my preferred role as Dressy Jessi and this weekend I pulled out my Espezials to get the job done right.  

After a rather excited call from El while I was in Phoenix, I knew I had to head to Philly where my worlds were colliding that weekend.  Not only did I get to finally meet two of El's closest people, but Jody's circle was going to be there and surprise, surprise, Weins was also invited to the same party.  It was a great reason to jump in my car and head to the city of brotherly love.

We hit an indoor soccer game, where we made friends with a player who later came to the party to find us with some more players.  Unfortunately, they took us to a club while I would've rather stayed with my bar-loving friends after we finally settled down from the karaoke.  The hours with the team at least provided us with some foreign language filled entertainment.  And somehow resurrected my French.

I should be banned from visiting Philly during daylight, lest I start pointing out where national treasures are hiding...damn that Nic Cage movie.  Nevertheless, I did get a cool shot of City Hall.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Cardinals at the Shubert Theater 2.20.9

Last Friday Isaac and I ventured to New Haven for an evening of pizza (BAR = flat, neapolitan goodness) and Ryan Adams and The Cardinals.

I'd caught The Cardinals with Sam on Halloween at The Apollo and loved the show.  The band is filled with very talented instrumentalists, who almost make their craft seem too easy, which might have led this New Haven columnist to describe it as a sense of boredom...or maybe that's why the band now does a joke of the day and entertaining musical ditties for the band introductions.

My evening was made as RA's harmonica broke into "Come Pick Me Up."  They don't play it too often anymore, so I was hoping to hear it, but not convinced that it would happen.  My other pre-show request, Everybody Knows, came early in the night...that song has stuck with me personally since I found Easy Tiger to get through a phase and it still rings true.  

The other highlight of the evening was the continued banter of the band with the crowd.  A rather large man in one of the Abe Lincoln boxes kept shouting murmurings to the band that no one could understand.  And when he wasn't shouting he was playing some air guitar and head banging...not exactly that type of show dude.  Then there was the overwhelming smell of pot or popcorn in the air that eventually had the band jokingly pull a flashlight on the main man up front.  

RA chastised a heckler after the joke of the day, when the crowd would try to edge the band into quickly launching into a song as they retuned, we were reminded that we came for a rock show, not for the dancing girls and pyrotechnics--this is a recession afterall (he loves to reference the recession as much as I do!).  Isaac mentioned that it seemed RA was having issues with his tuning/overall sound system earlier in the evening, but that didn't prepare us for what happened as they launched into La Cienega.  His tuning was way off and he stepped away from the mic, screamed a few times towards the offstage area and then came back to reassure us that he was well-adjusted.  The crowd encouraged him to keep playing and he joked about his non-craziness, asked us to step back to when he'd just finished yelling at the heckler and where we go again.  The song ended up beautifully and it made me appreciate that he takes it so seriously that he ends up in crazy outbursts, but the result is so worth it.  

The band played their long jam version of Goodnight Rose, which is what Sam and I walked into at the Apollo as we got there late.  On Halloween, I'd said that that song was worth the admission and they didn't disappoint on Friday.  

Fortunately, for my future love goals, RA seems to have found contentment with Mandy Moore, with whom he recently became engaged.  No more need for me to try to save him, which means the "Everybody Knows" guy has my full attention once again.  

Here's the set list and Come Pick Me Up...the video isn't great, but I could lay in bed for hours listening to that harmonica.

Set list
1. I See Monsters
2. Two
3. Everybody Knows
4. When the Stars Go Blue
5. Fix It
6. Let It Ride
7. Magick
8. Wonderwall
9. Come Pick Me Up
10. Grand Island (Neal Casal sings)
11. Meadowlake Street
12. Freeway to the Canyon (Neal Casal sings)
13. Oh My Sweet Carolina(Evening Joke)
14. Evergreen
15. The Rescue Blues
16. The Sun Also Sets
17. La Cienega Just Smiled
18. Natural Ghost
19. Goodnight Rose
20. Born Into a Light
(Carribean they thought someone from the crowd might have muttered it and launched into a quick cover)21. A Kiss Before I Go
22. Easy Plateau
23. Bartering Lines

We have had a Wax Disaster Tonight Folks

The Candle Gods were out to get me tonight...and they haven't come at me since my days in Athens.  Back then I would light the large candle that I kept on top of my bedroom tv (dumb idea, I know) and of course I'd be distracted by something like Patrick Swayze's awesomeness in Roadhouse, the Canadian calling me in for some CSI or the boys quoting one of the official movies of our apartment.  One day I was really distracted and the wax spilled down over the tv screen (they were convex in those days), along my favorite novels and all over the carpet.  

Tonight I was laughing as I lit my Self Defense Candle and took below photo:

 In case you're an idiot, we call it the Self Defense Candle as it's my favorite Ritz scent, but it broke in my luggage coming back in December.  I did not let that deter me and have been firing it up.  Should someone break into my room or Jeremy gets really mad at me for watching the finale of So You Think You Can Dance before he gets home, the jagged shards of glass will protect me.

Well, as much as I think Self Defense Candle looks out for me, tonight, the wax spilt all over the frame with the Canadian and I to the point that it's stuck to my large bookcase, then down onto my favorite photo of the pier at Santa Monica and all over my Notre Dame photo album (the later years).  I think the Canadian secretly wished this upon me, after my rather giddy international phone call today.   

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes Google Search Results Make Me Giggle

If you didn't know already, I love watching how people end up at the blog.  I'm now used to the usuals and know where all my friends work as a result...however, my favorite part is seeing how people end up here from google search results.  Once someone googled "vampire dominatrix" plus some neighborhood in new york and it brought them to an article where I called my Crazy Asian Roommate, Dawn the Dominatrix.  

After the Super Bowl, I posted video of the Best Crotch Shot EVER after Bruuuuuuuuce aimed hard for the camera as he slid across the stage.  Since then I've been getting all sorts of traffic anytime people google a name I've written about plus crotch.  It's amazing how often people google celebrities' crotches.  Usually I find it strange.  Except for when someone googled "Jason Bateman crotch" and I just said to myself, "ooooo, someone in Tennessee loves Jason Bateman more than me!!"

Isn't he just delicious?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Damn Packing/Unpacking!

That's my luggage pile as things have spilled onto the floor between my last two trips.  While I'd love to travel with 7 pairs of shoes, I know that a sensible traveler only packs 4 pairs per piece of luggage.  

I'm racing to start my laundry to have clean clothes for Philly this weekend, but am heading out in an hour for some pizza in New Haven and the Ryan Adams show.

Happy weekend everybody!!

Tonight at the Bell House - Benjy Feree

I love the Bell House and I've had "Fear" stuck in my head since the beginning of the year.  But as is typical with my travel schedule I won't be able to make it tonight.

Benjy Feree released his concept album, "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Bobby Dee Bobby Dee" earlier this month and is touring the east coast (plus Ohio!) in support of it.  

Benjy grew up a huge fan of Peter Pan and wrote a musical eulogy to Bobby Driscoll after learning the sad story of his life following his career as a child actor:

Once Disney’s golden boy of cinema,  Driscoll was fired from Disney after the making of Peter Pan for the unforgivable crime of hitting puberty and developing acne. No longer cute and profitable,  he struggled to find work and fell into a life-long battle with drugs until, ultimately, dying homeless and broke in a Manhattan, tenement in 1968 at the age of 31.  With police unable to identify his body,  the Academy Award winner ended up in an unmarked pauper’s grave on New York’s Hart Island.

And on that uplifting note, check out the Bell House tonight and get there earlier to enjoy their drink specials between 5 & 7 and the cozy couches.  

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NBA All-Star Weekend

I am finally home and don't have any travel scheduled until Florida in 5 weeks, so I'm looking forward to catching up on the east coast.  

I definitely needed FBF with me on this trip, as we had about 12 large guys with lots of bling on my flight back last night, but I could not identify them and my texts to him were not helping matters.  I sat with one guy who got a sext from what I imagine to be a groupie as soon as we landed, judging from the photo she sent him.  

Luckily for those of you at work, my photos are a bit more g-rated.  Hammer still has some of the photos, but here are some of my current'll still have to wait for my favorite family shot 

Paul Pierce, Jessi Lauer, & Tony Parker
Well-lit beer, white wayfarers, and Stacey Brown

My second-favorite family shot of the day.  Uncle Terry Porter, Scottie and the boys.  (I think I participated in Terry's final practice in Phoenix, as he was fired after these two ran our clinic Sunday morning.)

Lisa saw me taking the previous photo and came running forward, yelling, "I'll be the nanny!!"  There are definitely NBA Player Association alerts going out to keep your kids away from the girl with large hair and her asian accomplice.  I love it, anyway. 

Manu stopped by with flowers and his championship trophy to say hi to Stacey.  

Bill Russell & I during our Chalk Talk.  He has a fantastic laugh and told me that I had the best smile in the Western Hemisphere...well, that was back in the green room after this awkward, please don't yell at me while we take our photo smile.  

The 2009 NBA All-Star Game
Napster & I in our suite
DiLillo was heading back to the courtside seats and came running back in, insisting that I get my photo with this guy.  I knew it had to be an American Idol, as nothing excites DD as much as that show.  It was!
Spike Lee was really loving that top hat.  Luda went without one.

They call him Stiff-Arm McCain for a reason.  The best was watching him go down his side of the courtside seats to kiss Maria Shriver, then say goodbye to Eva Longoria, Luda, Nate Dog, Spike Lee and That Guy From Scrubs.
Jesse Jackson & Maria Shriver's Leopard Coalition
Dave and I after the game

Dave, me and Napster after the game
Worst bus ride EVER.  These drunkards squeezed on the bus and decided to sit on each other.  For the next thirty minutes I alternated from declaring this the worst bus ride ever and reminding myself that it was too late call a certain person in Jersey who hates people sitting on each other as much as I do.  

The rest of the current photos are on my facebook link

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Desert Botanical Garden + Chihuly Exhibit

Even though I get to go to a lot of cool places, I don't always get to see that much of the surrounding area, so I was really excited to hit the Desert Botanical Garden with one of the executives' wives on Monday to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit.  I've been amazed by his stuff since my first trip to Vegas when we walked through the Bellagio and I gave myself a stiff neck as we walked through the lobby.  Luckily, the lady that I went with to the garden was into photography, too, so she didn't mind my frequent stops to take photos.  

Chihuly exhibit = check
Botanical garden = half check...I've been so close to going to the Brooklyn one so many times, but looking at a bunch of cacti wasn't the same thing as I imagine they have in Brooklyn.  So that is still technically on my list :)

And if you want to read more about glass blowing, I learned a lot from the book, The City of Falling Angels.  It didn't live up to Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, but it was still an enjoyable read.  Since I've already done my trip to Savannah to explore the sights of Midnight, I think a trip to Venice is in order!  

Valentine's Day Prank

We've learned that you have to get in good with the bellmen if you want to pull any pranks on the road.  I stayed back at the hotel with Lisa & Chantelle on Saturday/Valentine's Day, while everyone else went to All-Star Saturday Night.  We split into two teams with the bellmen and decided to meet back at Andy's room to leave him a little Valentine's Day surprise.  

Other things we've learned.  If you travel with your stuffed animal of 17 years, Fat Face, you should always hide it, lest the cleaning ladies, bellmen or your coworkers find it.  Hanging a lifesize Luol Deng in my room is a nice attempt at retribution, but doesn't come close to this.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oh did I tell you that last week was a very fat week for my friends and I?

I flew back from Super Bowl that Tuesday after 5 days of over-eating.  Normal people eat three times a day or when I'm home long enough to buy groceries, I like the big lunch with four other small meals throughout the day.  But when you're entertaining corporate guests, you feed them 5-6 large meals a day.  This is not good for anyone, particularly my favorite pair of jeans. 

So we all fly back from an event making serious dates with the pool/running trail/gym and life is supposed to get back to normal and your jeans like you again.

Last week was not one of those weeks.

The NBA invited Andy and I to join them in their suite for the Knicks-Celtics game.  When seats finally opened up near the end of the second quarter, Andy and I broke them within 4 minutes.  

I got home that night and found this website.  I don't eat like that so it made me feel not that fat, even with all the seat breaking.  

I headed into the city with Evie the next day for some fun with Keri before heading to Brooklyn to see Beirut.  

After dropping Evie in the 80s, I headed to Keri's and spotted this license plate.
Traffic was horrible along 2nd so it took me a while to get to Keri, but when I did, her jeans split as she got in the car.  We did not let us deter us, as we drove back around the block to her apartment, grabbed new jeans and headed into the East Village and ended up at this yummy Italian place for drinks and dinner.  

Good, fat times all around.

Oh, and if you need some fat inspiration, check out this list of the top burger joints in the New York area.  Justin A will probably beat me to eating at all of them, but Burgers, Shakes and Fries will always be my favorite.