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grammargirl: (Paper En Why Cee)
[Posted June 15, will remain at the top of my journal through the end of the summer]

This is mostly for my own reference, but if anyone wants to come with me for any of the events, by all means let me know.

Read more... )
grammargirl: (Paper En Why Cee)
Anyone want to come see The National at South Street Seaport with me tomorrow evening? It's freeeeeeeeeee!
grammargirl: (annoyed kitty)
So, I just got to work around noon.

There was an epic thunderstorm last night. We're talking thunder loud enough to wake me up from a sound sleep multiple times, super bright super close lightening, and atmospheric pressure that made my cat go completely apeshit. I woke up this morning, noted with relief that the rain had stopped, got dressed, and walked to Atlantic Terminal to catch the train... whereupon I noticed about 75 people standing outside talking on cell phones. Uh oh. Turned out that there were no trains running into Manhattan. Okay, fine, the easy access to every train known to mankind is one reason why I moved to this neighborhood. So I called Haley to let her know that the trains were messed up and walked to Hoyt Schemerhorn to see if the A was running. No love. During one of my update phone calls to Haley I somewhat jokingly commented that I was considering walking across the bridge and walking uptown from there. She thought it was a smashing idea, so, with no real forethought, I walked the 15-20 minutes to her apartment in Brooklyn Heights, and the two of us commenced walking into Manhattan.

The Brooklyn Bridge was packed with pedestrians and cyclists, as I imagine it was during the blackout a few years ago or the transit strike in '05. The whole thing felt like some kind of crazy adventure, and it was weirdly heartening to see how many people, when faced with a complete train shutdown, simply shrugged, changed into comfy shoes, and walked. After a brief stop at a Duane Reade for water, Haley and I commenced our hike uptown. Everything was going pretty well until somewhere around 14th street, at which point my feet started hurting in earnest, and the last 40-odd blocks were pretty difficult. Did I mention that the humidity is approximately nine hundred percent, and also I'm wearing sandals? Yeah.

Googlemaps is sort of a dubious resource for this sort of thing, since it provides routes for driving rather than walking, but it looks like all told, from my door to my office building, I walked about 5.7 miles:

...and with that, I drag my sore ass to lunch.

ETA: Haley says that according to Google Pedometer, we walked 6.08 miles and burned 551 calories. How about that.
ETA2: I just entered my own route into Google Pedometer (which is really a cool hack, btw), including the walk between my apartment and Haley's, and got 6.67 miles and 605.5 calories. Hot damn, no wonder I just consumed half my weight in pizza.
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For reasons surpassing understanding, awesome things seem to happen whenever [ profile] vert and I are in the same place at the same time. Last night, for example, was the Pipettes show. I'd been looking forward to this for weeks, but of course had somehow managed to forget about it completely until [ profile] vert IMed me to make plans for meeting up. So okay, fine, not how I'd planned on spending my Tuesday night and I was dressed a wee bit business casual for a sold-out poptacular dance party, but whatevs. We met up after work and proceeded to a diner I'd passed on the walk from midtown to Union Square (pre- or post-show diner food rapidly becoming a [ profile] vert-and-Melanie tradition). One glance at the menu told us that magic was in the freakin' air. With food names like "Hunka-Hunka Burnin' Pancakes," "Hummus of the Gods," and "Rappers Delight 2 the Hip Hop, It Don't Stop" (yes, really), how could we go wrong? The ancient Trivial Pursuit cards on the table and adorable oh-so-Southern waitress, not to mention the delicious heart-attack-on-a-plate food itself, only added to the awesome. Carb comas accomplished, we wandered toward the meatpacking district for a night of pop music heaven.

Okay, so first of all, immediately upon our arrival something happened that never happens to me: even though doors were at 7 and we didn't get there until 8:15, the place was deserted enough that we snagged a prime spot right up against the stage. I'm tall enough that normally I'd feel guilty about standing right up front even if the opportunity presented itself, but fuck it. Later on, the people standing immediately behind us proved to be drunken jackasses, so I really didn't feel bad about blocking their view. So anyway, we plopped on the floor and [ profile] vert entertained me with some truly impressive card tricks while we waited for the first of two opening bands to come on.

And here's where the magic (card tricks notwithstanding) really started to happen: both opening bands were good. Not just good, but fantastic. Marit Bergman's a Swedish/Norwegian folksinger who looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal and sings like an angel. One of her backup singers, incidentally, looks eerily like one of the bigshot editors here at work. Anyway, she sings these really pretty, catchy, acoustic songs that sound sort of sweet and wistful until you realize they're about things like a Swedish girl getting raped by three hockey players and gay sex on Chelsea Pier. She was also really nervous in that charming, rambling stories kind of way, which with her accent was just about the most adorable thing ever.

...the most adorable thing ever, that is, until the next opening band, Smoosh. These guys were like, I don't even know, the pre-teen Sleater-Kinney? I guess technically they're actually teenagers--the keyboardist/lead vocalist is fifteen, and her sister, the drummer (she also does some vocals, which according to [ profile] vert is really hard), is thirteen--but they released their first album at age twelve and ten, respectively. Now, the keyboardist was awesome enough, playing songs she writes herself, tapping her foot to the beat so enthusiastically that she actually lost a shoe toward the end of the set, with a little smirk on her face that told me without a doubt that she is a nightmare in school. The drummer, however, was flat-out amazing, not just for a thirteen-year-old but for anyone. Her face was mostly hidden behind one of her cymbals as she headbanged and sang and beat the shit out of her drum kit, and she was flailing around so violently that I thought she must be one of those angry drummers, taking out her excess aggression with her sticks... and then, for just a second toward the end of the set, I caught a glimpse of the most blissed-out, thrilled-to-be-alive grin on her face, and I realized that she was having the time of her life up there. She totally wiped the mat with Rachel Trachtenburg's bored tapping, I tell you what, and we're not even bringing Meg White into the conversation. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the youngest sister, who came on stage to play bass for a few songs. She's ten and her hands are so small she could barely reach the bottom string. I don't think I've ever seen an audience respond that enthusiastically to an opening band.

After that, the Pipettes themselves were almost an anticlimax, which was impressive because they were even more sassy and British and polka-dotted than I expected them to be. Everyone danced as much as we could, given the space constraints (I know New York audiences have a reputation for being jaded and undemonstrative, but it occurred to me last night that part of the reason for that is that sold-out shows here pack everyone together so tightly that it's often impossible to do anything more movement-intensive than nodding along to the beat). They did all my favorite songs and a bunch of new stuff I'd never heard before--Pull Shapes, the pre-encore finale, was just as great live as I'd hoped--and looked like they were having a blast doing it. If their performance had been all I'd seen last night I would've considered the outing a rousing success, but they simply could not compete with a thirteen-year-old girl in mismatched socks putting [insert famous drummer here] to shame.

Afterward, I limped to the subway (the only downside to the night being a mysterious ankle injury acquired somewhere between midtown and Union Square, which will teach me to wear flip-flops for walks of more than, say, 20 blocks), free poster in hand, convinced that [ profile] vert and I need to hang out as much as possible from now on.
grammargirl: (Paper En Why Cee)
This morning I was on my packed-as-usual morning train (you would think leaving half an hour earlier for summer hours would alleviate the morning rush hour traffic a bit, but nope). As the train lurched out of the station, a tiny old Asian woman who had been standing in front of me suddenly flew toward me, knocked from her pole by the jerky motion of the train. I sort of half-caught her with my free arm, more by surprised instinct than any conscious helpful intention. Physics being what they are, the two of us then knocked into the woman standing next to me. All told, probably half a dozen people were stepped on, bumped into, or otherwise had their personal space invaded by the time the old lady regained her footing. Instead of glaring or complaining, as one might expect, people immediately stepped in to make sure she was okay. The woman standing next to me dusted the old lady off and led her back to her pole, while several different people moved aside so she would have enough room to grip the pole with both hands. The poor flustered old lady was apologizing all the while, but the woman standing next to me was having none of it. "I don't mind, I just want to make sure you don't get hurt! Anyway, she [meaning me] caught you, so no harm done." Disaster averted, we all went back to our Commuter Daze and moved on with our lives, and I smiled the rest of the way into work.
grammargirl: (Default)
*The Museum of Natural History is the COOLEST PLACE EVER. Seriously. And if you wander in an hour before they close, as I did, they don't make you pay. Sweet!

*There's no point in even trying to deny it anymore: Strand Books has officially made me its bitch. I went in there planning on spending less than $10 and ended up spending just over $15. I mean really, could you resist a brand new copy of David Copperfield on sale for $4? I didn't think so. I've decided that as a post-training present to myself at the end of the summer I'm going to spend $20 on a black Strand messenger bag to take to school in the fall.

*You know why I love Union Square? Well, today I sat on the steps eating overpriced but delicious Whole Foods sushi while a bluegrass band composed of three kids about my age created unbelievably awesome music with a banjo, an upright bass (constructed out of a metal washing tub propped precariously on a textbook, a broomstick with a hole drilled through it, and some string) and a variety of metal bowls and pots. The drummer was a hot skinny white boy with a voice like the redheaded stepchild of Louie Armstrong and Tom Waits. Occasionally they would interrupt their music to converse with an old man who had a hook instead of a right hand. Also, there was a homeless guy wandering around dressed up like a king. That is why I love Union Square.

*Wandering around Central Park for a mile or so en route to the Natural History Museum: awesome idea. Doing so in flip flops: not such an awesome idea. At this rate I'm going to have to replace my poor Tevas before the summer's even half over. And possibly my feet as well.

I don't think I did too badly for myself today, all things considered.

I'm considering sucking it up and dyeing my hair tomorrow. The problem with this plan is that I start student teaching on Tuesday and the hair dye I use generally leaves my hair, well, kind of purple for the first several days. I wonder how well purple hair, however temporary, would go over with my principal-to-be...


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