Monthly Archive: May 2005

May 27

WANTING!!!

iRobot Scooba

oh my. Perhaps a little flying duster next, and my life would be complete.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/27/wanting-2/

May 26

More New York updates

Ok, not so much New York specifically, but…

We went to see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith last night in an “old skool” (not stadium seating) theater in the mall next to Jeff’s apartment.

Yoda is so cute… I just want to scritch behind his ears. ;-)

Amidala had the best line in the whole movie, IMHO: “So this is how democracy(1) dies…To thunderous applause”.

(1) Apparently there’s a bit of controversy (scroll way down) about this line. I swear I heard “democracy” (and quoted that to Jeff afterwards), but the Star Wars WIKIpedia entry and several other sites (like IMDb have “liberty”.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/26/more-new-york-updates/

May 25

NYC

Though it’s substantially colder here than what I packed for (highs seem to be in the low fifties, when weather.com told me last week while I was packing that it would be the low- to mid-70’s), I’m still having a swell time.

Sunday was a long travel day, but upon finally arriving I cheered up due to the immediate prospect of Japanese food (all I’d eaten so far was a handful of cereal and a Cinnabon …mmmmm…. cinnabon). Across the street from Jeff’s building (warning: possibly the worst website ever) is a great little place called Komegashi, where I got a noodle thing (cold soba) with tempura shrimp and a dipping sauce I cannot remember. Lesson for the future: just because the food comes on a little platform with a little bamboo mat across it, please do not assume that there’s a “floor” under the platform. Frustrated with trying to dip noodles into the dipping sauce, I dumped the dipping sauce on the noodles, where it rained down through the bamboo mat, onto the table and very nearly onto my lap. Oops.

Despite my sadness at misinterpreting the structural integrity of my plate, the evening was cheery in the end because we stopped at BABO, a tea house and gelateria — right across the street from Jeff’s place on the other corner!!! Life is *gooooooood*! I had “meringue” and mint chocolate chip and they were both marvelous … this place has excellent gelato.

Monday I worked. The VoIP stuff is behaving well, so telecommuting from here is really not much different than telecommuting from home, though it’s strange to be able to look out the window and see NYC. Monday night I decided that we must go experience Indian food in a neighborhood that all the Chowhounds said was chock-a-block with good Indian food (and is even apparently known as “little India!). So we caught took the Path (train)(1) two stops to Journal Square, walked a few blocks, and found *wonderful* food at Rasoi (where they were kind enough to make my Chicken Tikka Masala *very* very mild!). I’d also read on the Chowhound boards that an Indian ice cream shop was a must-visit, so even though we were bursting at the seams, we stopped in at a little ice cream shop where the owner apparently just wanted me to experience the full breadth of indian ice cream!

He said: “Today, you are the lucky ones. We will try all the ice creams. I will prepare for you a tasting…” and proceeded to lead me through tiny tasting spoon after tiny tasting spoon of indian eggless ice creams. Sometimes I knew the flavor (lychee= ick; pista=pistachio=mmmmmm), sometimes he could translate (gulkand=rose petals=WEIRD!!! Like eating perfume), and sometimes he knew the indian name and not the english translation (chicku=very odd), so I just tasted and enjoyed (or, in a few cases, not). The flavors that I was accustomed to (chocolate, english toffee, etc.) were very rich and quite good, but the fun was in trying the ones you wouldn’t find at the Harris Teeter.

I don’t know quite what I did to deserve such fine treatment, but when I finally decided on a large with english toffee and mango (thereby blending the familiar and comforting with the exotic and strange), he proceeded to add another two flavors to “make it look good” for me! I think I ended up with pistachio (it’s green at any rate) and some variant on the rose one. Because I was so full, I ended up taking most of it back to the apartment, where it awaits me (perhaps a snack this afternoon…)

Tuesday night we had a run of extremely good luck. After taking the ferry over to midtown, we discovered that there was a free-with-ferry-ride bus that would take us to 42nd (we had tickets to Spamalot on 44th). It was getting a bit late (already lmost 6 and the show started at 7) and I was getting a bit panicky about dinner, so we’d decided that when the bus stopped we’d just get off and find some quick (and hopefully cheap) eats to tide us over until after the show).

By some stroke of incredible good fortune the bus stopped right in front of (I think) Gray’s Papaya, the best “cheap eats” in all of NYC, according to many of the articles I’d read. Two hot dogs and a fruit smoothie for $2.75!

Then there’s Spamalot. LMAO! ROTFLOL!! And extremely surreal too, as Hank Azaria and David Hyde Pierce and Tim Curry spoke lines that I’ve heard (both watching the movie and recited by friends) hundreds of times. (caution: maybe some spoilers here, though I don’t think they really count, as all the reviews talk about the same thing, and we’re really not talking major plot twists here. Or even major plot, for that matter.) There were many references to other musicals (West Side Story, for instance) and performers (Liza Minnelli, I think) that all somehow got worked in to the somewhat re-directed plot about finding the grail and making a musical (!). Everyone could sing (which, I suppose, was to be expected, being that it was a musical and all, but I was still surprised when Tim Curry (as Lancelot) started really belting out a number (but then I realized that Rocky Horror Picture Show was also a musical!). Hank Azaria had many of the intrinsically funny and quotable bits, like the taunting French Knight, Tim the Sorcerer and the main Knight Who Formerly Said “Ni”). This worked exceptionally well, as Hank Azaria can do silly accents like no one’s business. One of the songs (“This is the Song that Goes Like This”) was a parody of the overwrought lovesong that’s found in most musicals (particularly those by Andrew Lloyd Webber) and contained one of my favorite verses ever:

And then we change the key!
Now we’re into E
That’s awfully high for me
But everyone can see
We should have stayed in D

I would see it again tonight if I could just to catch the bits I missed.

Post-show Jeff indulged me and we took the subway(2) to Serendipity (as featured in the John Cusack movie by the same name), where I had a frozen hot chocolate (honestly just a really good chocolate milkshake, but it was fun to go there, having seen the movie).

(1) I have discovered my personal trick to riding subway trains: stand perpendicular to the direction of the motion, preferably with a pole in front of you, though one to the side will also work). The reason this works (for me) is that most of the “jouncing” on trains is side-to-side as the train slews and careens on the track. By placing my feet shoulder width apart and orienting perpendicular to the motion, I absorb most of the back-and-forthing through the motion of my hips, which are quite accustomed to rocking side to side. When the train does abruptly brake or lurch forward, you still have that pole in front of you to grab onto to *and* my arms are stronger in this direction than they are when extended out to the side (or worse, over my head!). This discovery was a major revelation and has contributed greatly to my ongoing train comfort.

Interestingly, it doesn’t work for Jeff. My suspicion is that his hips don’t know how to rock-and-roll (he suffers from the curse of the white boy) and so he’s not effectively absorbing the motion.

(2) Subway signs LIE!!! Walking towards Spamalot, we passed a subway entrance that said you could take the R train from there. Upon leaving Spamalot I consulted my directions to get to Serendipity and noticed we could take the R to 60th & Lexington, get off, walk two blocks and we’d be there. So I directed Jeff back to the same subway entrance…

…where we walked down two flights of steps (which I still have to do one foot at a time, thanks to the bum knee), through, I dunno, *three* subterraneancity blocks, *down* another flight of stairs, down two rather steep ramps, through another block or so, then down an elevator (thank heavens we found the elevator) to reach the platform! The sign should have read something like “get on trains N and P right here or you can walk underground for a mile and get on train R”. Wow.

Tonight we see Star Wars. :-)

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/25/nyc/

May 23

weekend update

Thursday night my friend artykim and I drove down to Myrtle Beach for a “Girl’s Weekend” with Mary Jean (my roommate from high school) and three of her friends from Shelby (where she grew up), Linda, Susan and Becky. Kim and I yabbered the whole way down (except for the bit where we were slurping down our McFlurries — I <3 road trip food) *and* scored product goodness BIG TIME at a Walmart in, erm, Conway?, South Carolina (1).

Once at the beach, we proceded to get on with the main order of business, drinking. Two appletini’s and a bunch of catching up later, we fell into bed, exhausted, and slept for 10+ hours!

Friday, after a muffiny breakfast (and much needed coffee), we went for a golf cart ride around the resort, including a cruise by my most favorite house (which was on the market last summer when Jeff and I were there… for a measly $650,000ish :-O We also saw alligators (cute in a really ugly kind of way) and many many birds (most of which either Kim or Mary could identify, which was nifty).

Post-carting, Kim and I were bound and determined to get some beach time in, despite the fact that the weather was none-too-good to start with and the pressure was falling. We trundled off towards the beach (Mary was kind enough to drop us right at the beginning of the boardwalk for conservation-of-knee purposes) and, upon assembling the proper equipment (lovely, if heavy, beach chairs), started the beach-intensive portion of the vacation. We finally gave it up when the sky had darkened, the wind had starting blowing rather fiercely, we’d gotten a bit chilly, *and* Mary and Becky came down to the beach to fetch us as they’d seen the wetness coming.

Then the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down.

Eventually (feel free to insert “gabbing” during any unaccounted for periods of time in the narrative), we went to dinner at Bovine’s, a steakhouse, which is situated next to Devine’s, a seafood house, in the next little town over from Debordieu. We thought about writing the owners and telling them they should open a bar-b-que joint next door and call it Porcine’s, but then we remembered that we were in South Carolina and their idea of “bar-b-que” would not be the pulled pork which we knew and loved (we’re all North Carolinians, except for Kim, who has attained semi-native status at this point).

Back at the ranch, we made a giant vat of frozen lemon drop mix(2) and played board games. The first, called Sequence, was basically Tic-Tac-Toe with more variables, and the second, Taboo, is my favorite game ever. I have *many* words, which is a distinct advantage in Taboo.

Saturday (upon waking, late-ish, unsurprisingly, and seeing the rain, rain, rain come down, down, down) we decided to go shop, see a movie, have dinner and go to a dueling piano bar (really). We headed down to the outlet mall (where I scored a cute shirt and *fabulous* 50’s style dress [on UBER CLEARANCE!! 30% off the 40% off of the “Off Fifth” outlet price — yah me!] for a few hours, then on to Broadway at the Beach, a bizarre mash-up of mall, amusement park, restaurant row, bar strip, mini golf and movie theatre, where you can take the whole famdamily for a day’s fun (or so it would seem).

The movie was Monster in Law…it was ok, but not good enough I want to bother looking up a link for it. Then on to Landry’s, a pretty decent seafood restaurant (had fried oysters, which I’d have never known I’d like had it not been for ferociousbcycad, as I thought I hated oysters thanks to my one experience with raw (ew!) oysters with thebroomecloset… not his fault. His ex-girlfriend’s fault. ;-) Finally we rounded out the evening with a visit to Crocodile Rock (a dueling piano bar). Embarrassing admission: I *love* dueling piano bars.

It was an odd musical mix, though, as it apparently was Harley Bike Week at Myrtle and the bar was filled with hundreds of Harley guys and gals. The mix was heavy on the Southern Rock (Alabama, Skynard) and heavy metal/hard rock (Aerosmith, Poison). I did get them to play “Blister in the Sun” which was fun, and they did play some of the “classic” piano bar songs (“Piano Man” etc.), so it wasn’t all music I don’t entirely adore. That being said, the combination somewhat singable music, a fun bunch of girls and jello shooters served in giant faux syringes(3) turned out enormously well. We got home at 2:00am (it was an hour’s drive), and I had to pack, so I went to bed at 3:00am.

I got up at 8:30 to get ready to go to the airport (an hour away) for my 11:30 flight to DC for my 2:45 (delayed from 2:00 :( flight to NYC to the cab ride (Midtown tunnel closed due to construction…had to route up to the Queensboro Bridge) to the Path train to Jersey City (where Jeff’s place is). Arrived at 6:30, exhausted.

So, I’m in NYC telecommuting this week. And I think that catches me up.

(1) There’s this self-tanner, Jergens Natural Glow, that apparently works, even for the perpetually pallid such as myself (and one of the shades is “Light” as opposed to the “Black Hole Sun” shade that most self-tanners come in). It’s been in a bunch of mags, on TV and is hyped all over the ‘net, so I was determined to try it.

You can’t get it in the Triangle. It’s sold out at CVS, Eckerds, Walgreens and Walmart. Yes, I called them all. The CVS on Garrett was supposed to be getting a shipment last Wednesday, but when I called them to confirm, they told me they’d gotten notice that the warehouse was sold out.

They are selling on eBay for 1 for $11.00 (plus shipping and the ever-so-popular “handling”) or two for $20.00.

So, you can perhaps imagine my joy (even if you’re not a product junkie like I) when, upon stopping into Walmart for Visine (Tim & Kim have doggies and the essence-of-doggie in the car, though faint, was still making my eyes flip out a little), I actually remembered to go check the self-tanner department (as demarcated by a giant yellow awning hanging from the ceiling, covered in beach balls and deck chairs) and found *six* bottles of the much sought-after lotion. Kim bought one. I bought the other five, figuring that even if it doesn’t work on me, there’s always eBay… :-)

(2) This was a great idea in concept: big plastic bucket full of stuff, which you add vodka to, stir and freeze. The execution, however, was flawed, as it didn’t taste anything like a lemon drop, particularly not the yummy ones that Steve makes. It was sooooooo bitter (not sour, really) that I had to add four Sweet-n-Lows and two spoonfuls of sugar before I could drink it!

(3) Thereby solving the number one problem of jello shooters — how to get the jello out of the little cup. These you just squirt into your mouth — whee!!!

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/23/weekend-update-5/

May 17

One more oddity

Of late, I’ve been watching Sex & the City (yes, I know, I’m like 40 million years *after* the fact on this one, but they’re on TBS now!) and at this point in the series Carrie is dating “the Russian,” played by Mikhail Baryshnikov.  The whole time I am watching these episodes I’m thinking to myself “he’s vaguely familiar”, but attributing that to the fact that he’s Mikhail Baryshnikov and that I’ve seen him in other things before.

… 

(ok, the ellipses are [ellipsis is?] a complete cop-out as far as narrative structure goes, but I’m tired)

When I was at Duke, I worked in Tech Support to earn spending money.  Mostly I did light hangs and sound checks, but every once in a while, Mark Kitchens, the Tech Support manager would call me with an interesting opportunity, like working a show (I saw Fine Young Cannibals, amongst others, that way).

Early1 one Saturday morning, Mark called me and said he had a gig for me that he was _sure_ that I’d want to take, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was.  I trusted him though, so I got dressed and headed over to the office to see what needed doing.

There was a VCR that needed setting up.  In a guest room at the Washington Duke Inn.  In Mikhail Baryshnikov’s2 guest room at the Washington Duke Inn.

Yes, I met him.  Yes, he’s just as …mmmmm…. in person.  Yes, it took me three episodes to put the two and two together to get the four.  :-)

1 Back then, as now, “early” means anything prior to 8:30am.  That’s not to say that I get up at 8:30, oh no…in fact, I often get up much later than that.  But when I have to *do* anything before 8:30, then I consider it “early” (and try to avoid it whenever possible).

2He was on campus doing Stephen Berkoff’s “Metamorphosis,” based on the Kafka novel.

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/17/one-more-oddity/

May 17

(No title)

meep, this one is for you:

(I was cleaning out old files from when I was a PR geek and found this clipping, based on a release I did while working in the NCSSM communications office.  A little bizarre that she and I now keep up with each other via LJ, but par for the course for my life, I suppose.)

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/17/361/