Inhuman Swill : NYC : Page 12

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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Medical emergency on the downtown 6 uptown this morning, messing up subway service roundly. I keep forgetting why I hate coming to work during rush hour.

Anyway, I had another lovely U.N. night last night in Astoria. Actually it started right after work in Murray Hill, where I went to Artisanal for mostly French cheeses and white wines with an out-of-town colleague and his wife. The best cheese we sampled was the Bleu de Basque from French Basque country. Yum. One wine from our flight had gone bad—full of sediment and tasting very thin—and our waitress promptly replaced it with a similar Spanish wine. Yum.

Later that evening, back home in Astoria, Laura and I walked over to an Irish pub called The Quays that we'd been meaning to try for some time. (Sadly, there was no live music, though I have it that Shane McGowan of the Pogues has appeared there in the past.) But when I say Irish pub, I mean Irish pub—I.R.A. ballads on the stereo and the whole nine yards. We might have had the only American accents in the place, and Laura was one of only three females. The third female, by the way, was a young pug named Lucky (yes, a dog) whose owner was feeding her Guinness from a plastic cup. The Guinness was four bucks a pint, and we had a great time. We'll have to come back when there's music.

Laura was hungry on the walk home, so we stopped at a place called Ukus, offering Balkan pie, for a late dinner. We each had a huge pizza-like slice of spinach pie, and the nice owners brought us each a mug of a cold, thick, sour, yogurty drink the name of which I can't now recall, on the house. They told us that this drink goes with the pie, and damn if it didn't. We watched American Inventor on the wide-screen televisions as we ate. I went home feeling happy and full, but poor Laura had a stomachache by the time we were greeting the dog again.

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Bill in front of Dinosaur BBQ, NYC
Oh, beef! Why must you be so irresistible, yet so heavy in the belly? Why must a dry rub accentuate your smoky, mouth-watering flavors so? Why must you go well with bourbon and black porter? Why must you always toy with my affections? Beef, I hate myself for loving you!

Yes, last night Laura and I joined our friends Lisa and Joy for an excursion to Harlem for a bacchanal at Dinosaur BBQ. Lisa has posted details and more photos from the sinful evening, but I must add that I have long heard Dinosaur's praises sung by friends from upstate, where it originated, but never in my life did I imagine the reality could live up to the hype. We are fortunate indeed that Dinosaur BBQ has graced our fair city with its presence.

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Mamma mia, thatsa lotsa snow!

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  • 20% of the stuff takes 80% of the time to pack. (Corollary: 20% of the stuff takes 80% of the time to unpack.)
  • If it's valuable and you don't pack it yourself, it may not turn up at the other end.
  • It's never wise to start a long day without either coffee or breakfast.
  • Never attend a new Woody Allen flick on opening night on the Upper East Side. (Corollary: Never attend a new Woody Allen flick.)
  • Better to spend a little extra money on higher-quality packing tape.
  • Self checkout at Home Depot rocks. (Corollary: But only if you have the deft touch of an Indiana Jones.)
  • Never attend a kid-friendly exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History during the holiday break.
  • Nothing hits the spot after three days of moving like grilled cheese, fries, and a chocolate shake.
  • Reversing the doors on a refrigerator is not a trivial operation, but neither is it impossible.
  • Even the friendliest, least threatening of dogs can make you believe even the friendliest, least threatening of moving men, telephone technicians, and cable installers are serial killers freshly sprung from the lowest depths of hell.
  • Some apartments look bigger when furnished than when empty.
  • Antibiotics are more wisely acquired before the move than after.
  • Friends and in-laws make everything go better.
  • Sleep is good.
Oh, yes, and, as requested, there are pictures of various stages of the move.

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Why I've been absent

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Moving day = tomorrow

This is also why I'm wearing my favorite black-and-white paisley shirt with ratty old jeans and giant clodhopping duck boots. Everything else is packed away in boxes.

I'm getting over a cold and I'm exhausted, but I was cheered to see that this morning was another of those brilliant midtown mornings where the shadow of the Chrysler Building fell perfectly on that blocky MetLife Building looming uptown over Grand Central Station and Park Avenue.

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Strike two

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Was fortunate enough this morning to have some friends driving to Woodside at 6:00 am to catch the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station. Though our train was running 14 minutes late, it was still a pretty quick trip into the city. I walked to the office from Penn Station, and I was here by 7:30 am.

It's good we left early. One of my traveling companions reports: "[So-and-so] just called me from Woodside - said he got there at 7 and is still waiting to be able to get on a train - it's 8:30!"

Not sure yet exactly how I'll be getting home this evening, but I had to come into the office today. I could have worked from home, like I did yesterday, but it's just easier to get work done in the office. And I wanted to be one of those intrepid New Yorkers who doesn't let a little transit strike keep him from getting to work!

Laura biked into the city today and yesterday, but with temperatures in the 20s she's coming down with a cold! Can't do that again tomorrow!

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So last Friday, several of us arranged to have the afternoon off from work, the point being to visit Six Flags in New Jersey and ride Kingda Ka. Rain put the kibosh on that plan, so instead we went to see Wallace & Gromit, downed some food and much drink at the Westside Brewing Company, and then ambled over to the American Museum of Natural History to catch an evening laser show at the Hayden Planetarium.

While a few of our number entered the museum to get in line, a few others—and I'm not naming names here—slipped across 81st Street to a nearby liquor store. Thus it was that a good friend of mine—and I'm not saying who, except to remark that he has been known to moonlight as a man of the cloth—slipped me a small plastic bottle as we waited in the antechamber to the planetarium. Said bottle, upon examination, turned out to be a diminutive container of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

So it was that, as we enjoyed a DJ mix by Moby and space-tastic visuals that were rather more highly evolved than the laser shows I used to see as a youngster, I sneaked little nips from my JW bottle. Beside me, another unindicted co-conspirator who shall remain nameless except to say that I'm married to her, was taking hits from a darling little bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream. Reportedly the planetarium staff were keeping a close eye on our group, though I was rather too absorbed in the various and sundry spectacles to notice.

So this morning on the way to work, I put my hand in the pocket of the coat I hadn't worn since Friday, and what did I discover? A second, yet unopened JW minibottle. (Yes, just the thing to find in one's possession on the way to the subway and the office. Yeesh.) My good friend the reverend had slipped it to me as we left the planetarium. "For the ride home," he said.

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