Inhuman Swill : NYC : Page 12

It is, of course, Work Hell this week. I don't know if you're observing it where you work, but we are here.

At any rate, I took a couple of hours this evening to sneak away from the celebration and meet a science fiction friend and colleague and his girlfriend for drinks at a brand-new multilevel sports bar called Tonic East. To think that this is the pinnacle of our technological prowess as a society. But I digress.

We had a lovely time in the roof garden, though the bit where we managed to snag a table was more carport than open-air seating. Coming back here to the office afterward—full of Newcastle Brown Ale, which I will probably have to stop drinking now that they're mounting such an aggressive and ubiquitous ad campaign in our fair city—I strolled uptown on Madison Avenue, only to pass a gaggle young young lasses loitering together in a knot on the sidewalk. Surreptitiously eyeing them and their long (as they are referred to in bad fiction) coltish legs, I thought to myself, "This looks like a chapter meeting of the Future Streetwalkers of America."

Then my eye chanced to fall upon the brass placard affixed to the front of the building before which the delicate things were congregating.

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Sunday Bushy Sunday

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Everyone and his dog has probably seen this cut-and-paste job of Bushy reciting the lyrics to "Sunday Bloody Sunday," but I hadn't, and it cheered me greatly this morning when [info]nitewanderer sent it to me:

This week is officially Work Hell. I have worked at least fourteen hours and been here until past eleven p.m. each the past three days. And yes, you're counting right—that includes Sunday. It's what happens when an Irresistible Project meets an Immovable Deadline. I can't see straight.

And this morning when I arrived at work, I realized that I had accidentally turned off my home computer—which is also my private music server, and lets me listen to any of my 42,000+ tracks from the comfort of any broadband connection. It's also the only thing that gets me through some of these infernal office days. I have texted the dogwalker, though, and he has agreed to turn the computer on for me when he arrives this afternoon. Whew! I need my fix, man!

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I forgot to report my Friday subway adventure! Friday afternoon I left the office at 4:45, but I didn't make it home until nearly 7:00 pm. Seems most all of the underground subway lines leading into Queens were flooded in the thunderstorms.

My usual 6 station was jam-packed with non-commuting commuters, so I walked over to Herald Square to catch the R home. I took a Q instead since it turned out that R was terminating at Times Square, and E, R, and V trains weren't running to Queens. At 57th Street I went topside to try to call Laura and warn her to take the N or W. But by the time I got back down to the platform, the N and W were shut down as well. I took the Q back downtown to Times Square and set off for the 7 train.

A huge crowd was trying to fit down the tiny staircase to the 7 platform in the bowels of the station, like sand in an hourglass, so I slipped down to the 2/3 platform and took a shortcut down to the 7 platform that apparently almost no one else knows about. I managed to get onto the least crowded 7 train, and the one that left first. The crowd on the platform at Grand Central, though, was truly terrifying in its vastness, and one woman was yelling at everyone on the train to move to the center of the car or else be responsible for tragedy in the station. People packed in so tight that I (being a good citizen in the middle of the car) almost could not get out at Queenborough Plaza.

I probably could have caught an N shuttle to Ditmars at Queensborough Plaza, but by the time I realized this I was down at street level and walking toward home. As I got close to the 39th Street station, I decided to try again and ascended to the N platform. Laura and I had been calling each other back and forth but for some reason not catching each other. She was walking home from midtown, and up on the platform I got a message from her saying she had just made it over the bridge. After ten minutes or so, no train had materialized, so I threw in the towel, descended again to the street, and kept walking.

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Police state on Steinway

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Walking to the subway just before nine, I could see the smoke from this Greenpoint warehouse fire, still rising in a thick column way off in the distance.

Random bag check in the Steinway Street subway station. I didn't get picked, but as always I was prepared to refuse and walk to a different subway station if stopped.

Update:  Via IM, Laura tells me: "I saw a guy with the words to his privacy rights printed on a bright yellow messenger bag and at the bottom of the words, in red big letters it said, 'I do not consent to this search.'" Nice.

Update the second:  A great Newsday photo of the smoke plume from that warehouse fire.

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The avocado album

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The new Pearl Jam album Pearl Jam comes out tomorrow. People are lining up around the block at the Tower Records at Broadway and 4th, where a midnight purchase of the new disc will also get you a free ticket to a secret Pearl Jam club show at Irving Plaza an "undisclosed location" this Friday.

We've known about this show for a few days now, and tempting as it is we finally decided that we're just too busy already this week to try to squeeze in a day-long wait on queue and a long night at Irving Plaza. Sigh. That would have been something.

But hey, there are compensations. I preordered my copy of the new album a while back, direct from the band, and it JUST NOW arrived in the mail, along with a bonus live disc of a 1992 New Year's Eve show at the Academy in New York City.

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Presented without comment, except to say that it takes a long time to load, here is the New York Times' interactive New York City homicide map, mashed up using Ajax apparently.

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This 'n that

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The Google logo today for Joan Miró is quite lovely.

The more I read about the rescue operation for the passengers stranded on the Roosevelt Island tram a couple of days ago, the happier I am that I never did get around to riding it. Laura and I always talked about how pleasant it would be to ride our bikes over to Roosevelt Island and then take the tram over to the Upper East Side for a movie and some food. And the weather is just getting to the point where we might have started talking about it again. Not now, though.

A lovely reading at KGB last night with [info]nihilistic_kid and [info]14theditch was marred only by the fact that I spent most of Jeff's reading slumped over the bar trying to hold onto a) consciousness and b) my dinner. Seems my enthusiasm for our pre-reading conclave at d.b.a. was a tad too enthusiastic, and while I outdistanced them for a time, those three single-malts (Auchentoshan 21, Ardbeg 10, and Glenfarclas 10) and three Arrogant Bastard Ales all caught up with me at the reading and tried sloshing themselves everywhere. (Thanks for the scotch nonetheless, Jeff, and it was great get a chance to hang out for a while.) (And great to see you, as always, [info]asphalteden! Thanks for coming!) Laura heroically fetched me fish and chips from A Salt and Battery around the corner, and I managed to hold it together. But sadly I didn't catch most of Jeff's story, and I don't remember half of the cab ride home. Thank Cthulhu I don't go crazy like that very often. (Nick, sorry I didn't get a chance to introduce myself. I did have to rush off awfully fast afterward.) (Good to see you there too, [info]slushmaster. I hope I was not as much of an ass in my alcoholic stupor as I seem to recall.)

But one great thing I did take home was a slightly advance copy of the US edition of Hal Duncan's Vellum from Jim Minz. It comes out next Tuesday, I believe. I can't wait to dig into it, as soon as I'm done with all my reading for the Blue Heaven workshop.

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A man walking down Broadway in Astoria twirling his bamboo cane like a drum major with a baton.

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I popped uptown today to have lunch with my lovely wife Laura and a few of our friends. I met Laura and Anand outside their office, but we were nearly frustrated in our attempts to reach the next rendezvous point by the Mitzvah Tank convoy rolling down Fifth Avenue with a police escort. There were at least twenty of those RVs, probably a lot more, festooned with signs announcing the presence of Moshiach, happy Lubavitchers waving out the windows from inside. I did not realize the parade was today. The line of tanks scrolled off so far down the street we couldn't count them.

We waved back jauntily, and Anand called out, "Hello, chosen people!"

Lunch for me was curry don with duck, served piping hot. I am now sleepy. I wish Moshiach would come and slap me awake so I can get some work done.
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Weekend update

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I keep meaning to post a quick overview of what we've done since the start of the weekend, but as I put it off the list of things to mention becomes longer and the task of reporting more daunting. I'll just plunge in, like a dog into April snow.

Friday evening, as I mentioned before, Laura and I went to a stage production of Fahrenheit 451. At the theater bar before the show, Laura ran into an old coworker of hers and her new husband, who were there to see the same play. (There are three theaters at 59E59.) A lovely time was had catching up, and everyone in the impromptu party seemed to enjoy the show immensely.

Saturday Laura and I braved the wilds of New Jersey to call on [info]asphalteden and his multiadjectivial bride. (Don't worry! They're all appealing and impressive adjectives.) The evening's debauchery has been ably touched on elsewhere (WWMD, indeed!), but let me add that Laura and I were so full by the time we left we could barely walk. Good thing there are trains.

Sunday was a whale of a day. It went well for Laura, but for me it was one step forward, two steps back. We had a perfectly delightful time with Ella at Astoria Park in the morning, but in the early afternoon, while Laura was out and I was trying to get my Fahrenheit 451 review written, there was a colossal misunderstanding with the bathroom fixtures, and a rather unappealing tide began encroaching on the hallway. The worst part was, just as I was slapping down a towel to keep the foul brew from engulfing the pantry, the toilet gave a satisfied gurgle and suddenly the contents all drained away. It was as if the porcelain god were flipping me the bird.

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William Shunn