Thursday, April 13, 2006

home sweet home!

düsseldork is on her way home for Ostern! because i love dead guys on crosses and have given up on the triumph of European secularism, i decided to hightail it out of the 'dorf on the pretense i need to get some god on.

what this means is you can find me drinking at various east village dive bars from the 14-22. all interested raise a pint. that's right, a pint... i don't even remember what those look like any more.

and because it's my geburtstag that week, there will be some serious dilettantism on thursday the 20th. current signs point to a gathering at drop off service, details TK.

most excitingly, düssy finally gets her digital camera. which means constant updates from here on out. developing...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

alternatively, i could use my brain to derrida goethe, but this is so much more fun

Skimming through Gawker the other evening, feet up on the coffee table, glass (bottle) of vinho verde in hand, doing my nightly keep touch with new york trifecta of the Times, Gawker, and Curbed. Gawker has begun to grate on me of late, as Coen and co. become increasingly shrill in their defense of the site's ongoing commercialism - but I digress. It is still a convienent link summary of where and what has happened in the past few days to my beloved home.

Stumbled across this link out to a girl complaining about the inevitable character comparisons to Sex in the City, and of course, as the often called Miranda myself, was curious. She makes some salient points about the irritating vapidity of the show, and I passed it on to my fellow pseudo-pretentious lit-snob best friend who just happens to share with one of the characters on the series a love for writing, an air of perpetual personal déshabillé, and a petit blonde frame. As we debated the merits of the series, the clichéd ending, and the irritation of watching grown women whine, it occured to me that from our cultural perch two years on, perhaps the show wasn't as mortifying as it seems now.

To wit, as I wrote to my stylish litzeitgeist friend, the foil to my redheaded gravity:

"Yeah, now I feel a bit silly about emulating these vapid characters. But
the girl sort of misses the point -- they weren't meant to be entire
character studies, they were meant to be gross exaggerations of our many varied nuances.

She's right in condeming the absurdity of women aspiring to these flat
archetypes, and shes dead-on in mocking our self-imposed
comparmentalization into characters, but I think that to entirely write off
the series is a bit grand. It forgets that the images we had of women on
the screen previously rang false as well- A the wise and forgiving mother
(Mrs. Banks of Fresh Prince), the exasperated and smarter, yet curiously
patient wife (Ms. Allen, of Home Improvement), the bossy businesswoman (Murphy Brown), sexless workaholics (Law and Order, ER) a raving bitch (Brenda of 90210, all the women of Melrose Place) the neurotic guys gal (Ros of Fraiser and Elaine of Seinfeld), the vapid beauty (Wings, Cheers, etc.), the eternally single creative New Yorker (Will and Grace) or the relationship obsessed singletons (the girls of Friends). It's been said before, but it bears repeating. the interesting characters we see now on television - the Grey's Anatomy girls, the Housewives spring to mind - are all far more demanding of their lives, jobs, partners, etc. and far less likely to exist as foils to a single issue.

As cliched as the SITC girls now seem, their humanity didn't come from
their juxtasposition against men, it came from their need of each other.
Men were merely the context against which the personas could interact and challenge each other- a decision I feel was perhaps just the most expedient. It can almost be seen as a personality writ large - the directions of our nature which call us to do different things at different times, those four or more subegos that we alternatively let lead us along if we let the Samantha in us be stronger today, where will it put the Carrie tomorrow? Lord knows my Miranda and my Charlotte do epic battles nightly over here. Darren Star even began with this a bit, using Carrie's column as the cohesive element, writing about her friends as ways of exploring various different approaches to life. Unfortunately and fortunately, I think as the show progressed, the initial expository element was toned down. (Good in that it was so forced in the early episodes, bad in that we became used to thinking of each character as the embodiment of a real individual.)

And if nothing else, I laud the show for giving us a shorthand for contradictory impulses and desires, without being judgemental. Certianly, Samantha now seems 'tragic' and okay, her life was a bit cheap. Carrie is ridiculous, and Charlotte would be insufferable (yeah, Miranda would be tolerable, she was the most real.) But you and I can now express our needs to be these persons without thinking of them as tawdry impulses. While the characters were necessarily larger than life and excessive in their behavior, they also de-stigmatised certain behaviors by providing alternative labels, ones that provide additional room for accomplishments. Now a girl who sleeps around doesn't have to be strictly a 'slut', she can be Samantha, which allows a range of other personal characteristics that are not obliterated by the word most commonly used before - driven, successful, demanding - in all aspects of life. ;) It removes passivity because each of these characters (with the exception of maybe Carrie, who seemed driven like the snow - with the wind) were adamantly what they were. For the first time, a girl could want to be a mom on the Upper East Side, and be unabashed about it. She had purchase, grit, and a goal.

That I respect, even if the superficial aspects of the show - the brunches, the shoes, the apartments - detracted from the fundamental accomplishment of providing women with agency. And even that consumerist lifestyle was a bit over the top, lets face it, so was the decade it represents. It was a period where life was a bit absurd itself, where maybe we didn't have to worry about oil running out, or global warming sending a hurricane through our backyard. Even the tragedies of the day- 9/11, et. al - could be seen as heroic, ennobling, man as triumphant. Now it is as though we all live in a Dada painting - an absurdist horror of meaningless symbols imbued with our reflected fears.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Monday, March 20, 2006

bright lights big city, UK ed.

vodka red bull - socially acceptable bolivian marching powder

we just spent £700 on a bottle of belvedere and some canned mixers! (awesome!)

their mothers were right and their faces froze like that

Friday, March 10, 2006

Göttliche Durchwahl

a priest in the crowd on his mobile?

i've been looking for a good confession

what's that sign say?

göttliche durchwahl- god's direct line!

... but this isn't any absolution i've heard of?

i know a little something about this subject

the big man and i compare notes

enlightenment attained! don't you wish you know


Helau is the word used for greeting people in Düsseldorf during die fünfte Jahreszeit. Cheery and slur-proof, people love to sing it out, arms raised in the direction of their exhortation. As a bonus, it is even easy to remember... although maybe that is because there's a few hundred years of practice behind the only slightly vowel-modified... Hallo.

willie wonka wants you to have this lotion

willie wonka wants you to have this beer

candy may be dandy, but liquor sure is quicker

watch out for willie's cane

and the lord's best intentions...

that's me in the middle, the beneficiary of willie's beer

hopefully this is the only time i end up held by the polizei

the golden einhorn! apparently there was dancing involved

Rosenmontag Zug

Rosenmontag has nothing to do with Roses, pink or red, but it is on a Monday. Rosenmontag comes from the word 'rasen,' to rave. 'Cause once a year, Rheinlanders go nuts... and when they do, watch out...
because it's gonna be a barrage of cheap wrapped candies,

nickelodeon character assassinations,

mockery of other nations (with new, anti-religious flavor!)
and the Gay Tops. yeah... remember, the word top here doesn't have the same connotations. it's just like a dreidl. not that that doesn't have a whole set of cultural associations...

that's a pretty wicked firetruck. oops, or early '20's cruiser.

fresh produce? gemüse, anyone?

they brought the big bags, filled them, and still tried to steal ours...

Viva Colognia!

it wasn't the first night of karneval, but it was the first anyone thought to document. friday the 24th we headed down to cologne, the grande dame of the rhein, to investigate rumours that kölsch is a better beer, and that kölners have a better handle on this celebrating thing that their friendly neighbors to the north. so for a night we left Helau back home and went to spread a little Alaaf instead.

8:30 PM. espressos in the köln hauptbahnhof as fortification for a long night

4:20 AM. yummy drunken imbiss kebab. the drinking is over but the fun's just begun

4:46 AM. what train did you guys say we were supposed to take?

4:47 AM. yes, that's my ass. four guys and a camera, inevitable, really.

4:54 AM. hey cowboy, can you help me wrangle a late night ride?

5:02 AM. like he knew where we were. and surprised we expected otherwise.

5:13 AM. should have gone for the shwarma.

5:24 AM. he was supposed to be on a flight in two hours, an hour away

5:26 AM. train? really? where? cause i'm not seeing a train

5:31 AM. we'll make it home eventually!

5:42 AM. briefly considered as an option

5:34 AM. hauptbahnhof! weren't we just there? düsseldorf, bitte?

6:08 AM. that's a wig, kiddos.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

With regards to why Germans don't dig the appellation Anglo-Saxon:

It's the hyphenation thing, I think. They hear Anglo-Saxon and immediatly get all hung up on the Anglo bit, and start feeling insecure... like Anglo is better than Saxon just because it is in front.

I told them, look, the Kaiser made some fantastic contributions to European history, but let's face it, you never did have an empire. I mean, even Portugal had an empire. And then you tried to go and make an empire, but the time had passed. it was like moving to Williamsburg after the mid-ninties- the rent was high, the locals didn't want you, and the cool kids had moved on long ago. And you totally like, went broke and pissed people off in the process, and ended up having to share your country cause you couldn't make rent.

And who had the best newest shiniest and biggest Empire, the empire to end all empires, the one the sun never set on? Uh huh. The Anglos.

My best friend and fellow self-conciously literary banterist then had this to offer: defines hyphen as:

hy·phen ( P ) Pronunciation Key (hfn)
A punctuation mark (-) used between the parts of a compound word or name or between the syllables of a word, especially when divided at the end of a line of text.

I think there should be an additional definition:

2. A punctuation mark used two link two surnames or two proper nouns (usually ethnicities) in order to achieve the impression of a higher social or evolutionary status. This was a particular common practice during the Wall Street Boom of the mid 80's.

Examples: 1)Tabitha Harrington-Brown

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

a whole new take on gummies

now, usually I am a daily candy hater. I can't the presumption that I loll about in wicker backed chairs at sidewalk cafes on shady, tree lined street on the upper west side, (are there any cafes as such? Or are they the delusional conjurations of new yorkers with a paris inferiority complex on their third glass of sancerre?) wearing oversized sunglasses and eating egg white omelettes (hold the calories, please) while my useless mop-dog tangles its prissy handrolled leather leash around the legs of unsuspecting sidewalk strollers.

but this? my mirror still effects two purposes, but without so many powdery remains!

can't focus much on work

when i know this is where i'm going sunday... compare to picture below. give me sweet sun!

that pink slip is a hell of a hangover

this is superb. cringe with me now.