Thursday, July 31, 2008

Self Portrait with Caryn

I must be getting better at these arm's-length self-portraits. I have about a thousand of Caryn and me doing this, but most of them are pretty awful (I have a double chin in at least three-quarters of them). This one, though, is not half bad.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Park(ing) in New York

I just heard about this interesting thing happening in New York in September. Select parking spots all over the city will be handed over to people for one day only to be turned into something more fabulous than a place to stick your car. Park(ing) Day is a chance to “get everyone thinking about our scarce public space and how we use it.” Most folks seem to go for a park effect, rolling out sod, bringing in benches, shrubs, and umbrellas, and setting up camp.

What would you do?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Little Italy of the Bronx

With a bit of prompting (and driving) from Rena, I found myself on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx this weekend for the first time in my entire life. I loved it! Of course I did: it was a trip all about eating. And not only was it all about eating; it was all about eating Italian food and Italian pastries. Anyone who knows me could have predicted that this trip would have been a success.

I liked it much better than Little Italy, which is a complete tourist destination now. Though Arthur Ave definitely had its share of tourists, it also felt more authentically like a neighborhood. And the food was great and a bargain, too! The eggplant parmigiana we had from Mike’s Deli was worth the trip alone. There were so many things that I didn’t get a chance to try (despite eating enough for a week) that a second trip would not be out of order.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tell No One

Saturday night, Todd and I tried to see The Dark Knight. We were disappointed but not completely surprised when we arrived at the theater in the early evening only to learn that every show until the 4:20 a.m. was sold out (side note: are people really going to the movies at 4:20 in the morning?!).

None of the available movies were really speaking to us, so we ditched the blockbuster theater and headed a few blocks south to a smaller and more indy- and art house-friendly cinema where we saw Tell No One. This French thriller is definitely worth watching: it has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout, while never veering into the land of the absurd. And I appreciated the European sensibilities present, where not every loose end is tied up with a neat and happy bow.

I still want to see The Dark Knight, but this was a very satisfying alternative.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's contagious

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Friday, July 25, 2008

Health in the USA

The other morning on our way to the train, Todd was saying that he wanted to lose some weight. The conversation went a little something like this:

Todd: “I bet I could lose 20 pounds in two weeks if I took a bunch of laxatives.”
Tori: “Sure. You could also just stop eating chocolate every day.”
Todd: “No. The laxatives are chocolate-flavored!”
Tori: “You know, there’s no secret trick. All you have to do is eat more vegetables and exercise a little.”
Todd: “But I’m an American!”


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Self Portait with Joey

At long last, here is another self portrait. I needed some pics of me with Joey when she visited last weekend and managed to snap this one myself. She's a beauty.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama VP Predictions

McCain can’t get more press (especially on this blog!) than our main man Barack, so let’s guess who his VP will be, too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McCain to choose VP soon

Word on the street is that McCain might announce his VP choice as early as this week. I recently read an article saying that McCain would likely make his announcement during the Democratic National Convention in order to steal some of Obama’s spotlight that week. Looks like he wants to stop the momentum Obama has coming off his successful overseas trip now, though.

So who do you think it’ll be?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Virginia is for Lovers

This tourism slogan has apparently worked on my sister Shannon. Over the weekend she packed up and left Massachusetts for a lover’s life with her boy in Richmond. To toast her new home, here are a couple of fun facts about her new home state:

  • The first theatre in the United States opened in Williamsburg, VA in 1716. As an actress, this one should be of particular pride to Shannon.
  • Virginia’s state dance is the square dance. This also has personal resonance for Shannon (and me and Veronica, too). Our parents met square dancing, so none of us would be here if it weren’t for the spin-your-partner-round-and-round and dosey-dos of Virginia.
  • The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as necessary. When it was built in the 1940's, the state of Virginia still had segregation laws requiring separate facilities for blacks and whites. Finally—a place women don’t have to wait in line (consider this a silver lining to our racist history).
  • And, randomly, the Virginia Big Eared Bat is the official State Bat. Good thing, too, because no one likes those stupid small-eared bats. Am I right?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The God of Small Things

Thanks to everyone who voted for The God of Small Things on the summer reading polls. It was a really, really wonderful book!

Roy's unique voice and tender story about twins growing up all too quickly is beautiful, sad, and a joy to read. It should make all your summer reading lists, too, if you haven't already read it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day at the Museum

The Lieberson family made the trek to NYC again yesterday, which I naturally loved. We spent most of the day at the American Museum of Natural History pointing things out to Joey. At ten months, she didn't really show a sustained interest in the t-rex skeletons, lemur videos, or Plains Indians dioramas, but if she becomes an historian or a paleontologist, I think we can point to this trip as the beginning of it all.

Here are a couple of photos from the day, just so you can all see how big she's getting. I swear, she doubles in size in between each visit.

Oh, also coming up: The return of Self Portrait Thursday! I have a couple of pics from the day that will resurrect the long ignored project.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good job, Mayor Bloomberg!

New York City taxis are going green. Three hundred hybrid cabs are being introduced to the taxi fleet each month. It's unclear to me whether these are replacing 300 gas guzzlers every month or whether we'll all just have an easier time hailing a cab in the rain, but either way it's good news.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hot And Cranky

So New York City is in the midst of a veritable heatwave. This morning I heard that it would reach the low-nineties today and mid- to high-nineties tomorrow. Bleh. I'm not so great in the heat. My skin gets all red and I look like I've just worked out for hours, even when I'm just sitting there. I sweat, then I stink, then I'm crabby. It's not a good situation. It's definitely not a good situation when my office loses air conditioning right when said heatwave hits town.

We didn't have air yesterday, we don't have it today, and we won't have it tomorrow. I think this is bullshit. We're in the stupid CitySpire Center, which is supposed to be some kind of big deal. All we kept hearing when we got kicked out of our old offices (where we each actually had an office) and moved into this cubicled space, was that it was an "A" building. At the time I thought that "A" might stand for Annoying that I'll now sit in a shitty cubicle.

But now I think it might stand for Absolutely unbearable. Or Are you fucking kidding me?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Offensive or Successful Satire?

What do you all make of the controversial New Yorker cover? I think it's a bust, at least in part because it's so difficult to satirize something that is already so over the top. When the mainstream media calls Barack and Michelle's fist bump at "terrorist fist jab" and it barely makes a blip on the ridiculous meter, we're deep into some pretty odd times. And how do you mock something that is already so over the top? It's like trying to satirize Bush's malapropisms: it's easy to repeat them and laugh; it's a lot tougher to add something new to the equation, though.

What do you all think?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Police State?

No, it’s just Columbus Circle. Coming through the 59th Street subway station this morning I passed no more than six armed...police officers? Army dudes? I’m not sure, but I will tell you this. They were dressed like a fucking SWAT team and had giant, giant guns. I don’t pretend to know enough about weapons to tell you just what these were, but I will tell you that they were the big-ass two-handled versions that (god, I hope) take a lot of training to use. Just what do they think is going on at 59th Street that requires such a presence? I can tell you right now: nothing. Maybe, maybe, a little pick-pocketing. Definitely some shoving and mumbled “move the fuck out of the way”s. That’s it. Nothing that requires six uzis and a bomb sniffing dog. Yeah, there was a dog there, too. Pretty, but surely trained to go straight for my throat.

I really wanted to take a picture of them to support this post, but I thought they’d probably shoot me for doing it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Masters Update

A couple people have asked, so here’s the skinny: I’m going to apply for Columbia’s masters degree program in Strategic Communications. As with most programs, it’s actually the electives that look the most interesting.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Biking Bonanza

It was a big biking weekend. The sun finally peaked out from behind the rain clouds, and Todd and I took full advantage. We did about ten miles on Saturday (ok, it was more like nine, but ten sounds so much better), biking down to Chelsea and back, stopping in the Chelsea Markets and lounging in Riverside Park along the way. We pulled the bicycles out for a short sprint through Central Park this morning, too. One of these days I'm even going to bike to work again. I'm less and less afraid (though still not unafraid) of being killed by a taxi each time I ride, so maybe I'll find the commute less stressful.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

No More Excuses

I think I'm finally done procrastinating and making excuses about why I'm not taking classes at Columbia. They have a part time masters program (all classes are held at night) that is fully connected to my job, making the whole program both completely free and, I think, one I can actually get admitted to. I'm posting about it now because I'm just starting the application process and have a history of losing momentum on this kind of thing. By making it public, there are no more excuses. You all now know my intentions, and my reluctance to repeatedly (to all four of my readers, anyway) explain away my flakiness will, hopefully, act as a good motivator.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Walking Camilla

What do you all think about walking a cat outdoors? Todd is quite taken with the idea of us putting Camilla on a leash and showing her that there is a whole wide world outside of my little apartment. I'm pretty convinced that it's a bad idea. I believe that Camilla is happy in her small, contained little world, and I think she'd freak out if I put her on a leash and took her to the park.

I think that it would go something like this, at the very best.

What do you guys think? Should I give it a try?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Love this book cover

I subscribe to The Book Design Review blog, which is simultaneously a great quick fix of visual stimulation and feeds my bibliophile nature. I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover; that's good advice since the author and the designer are not the same person. One could be wildly talented and the other not, or they could simply be mismatched. A cover is not always indicative of a book's contents or worth. Still, I'm interested from a design perspective, and the BDR gave me a great cover to look at today.

I haven't read Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life, so I really can't comment on how good it is. But I'll say this: I love this cover. I love everything about it, right down to the cockroach's crossed legs. Love it. Way to go Steve Snider (designer) and Douglas Smith (illustrator).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who the hell is Lindsey Fullard?

Grabbing my mail tonight on the way in, I saw that the mailman had stuffed two Time Out New Yorks in my mailbox. Figuring one was a neighbor's (and I was going to do the neighborly thing and leave it by their door), I took a peak at the name and address on the first copy; it was addressed to me at my correct address. I flipped to the second and was taken aback to see that it was addressed to Lindsey Fullard at my address, my apartment, the whole she-bang. I don't get it. Who the fuck is Lindsey Fullard? And why is her mail coming to me? Did someone tell TONY that I changed my first name? And seriously, I don't need two copies of this magazine. I wouldn't need two copies of any magazine, but I find TONY especially unworthy of double delivery. The way it's organized is completely different from the way my brain is organized, and I can never, ever find what I'm looking for. Twice as many trees dying won't make this 'zine any less lame.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Lonesome Cowboy

Over the weekend, Todd talked me into schlepping out to Brooklyn (not really that far, really, since we were on the express) to see the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I had no idea who Murakami was and went on faith but not out of a real interest.

Luckily, Todd was definitely on it with this one. The exhibit was a fascinating introduction to an artist I was ignorant of before. The exhibit only goes until the 13th, but anyone in or around NYC is definitely encouraged to check it out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Only the best

Have you all heard about Wipeout? I'm embarrassed to admit that I watched an entire episode of this train wreck, but in all honesty, I have to also admit that I laughed more times through this than through a lot of scripted comedies I've seen. This is by no means high art, but if you're looking for 45 minutes of totally mindless ridiculousness, you should check it out. The beginning of the show is in the vid below, or you can see the whole episode here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Year of Magical Thinking

Since Joan Didion was an early favorite in the summer reading poll, I went ahead and picked up The Year of Magical Thinking last week when I was in need of new read. Everyone I know who has read this book had raved about it, and I'd had a very good (if less cathartic than expected) experience with the stage adaptation. I went in expecting a really good book, and Didion didn't disappoint.

As with the play, though, I did feel less emotional upheaval than I'd expected. Todd maintains that I'm some kind of heartless freak for not crying at a single point during the course of this read, but it remains true: I was dry-eyed throughout. But that does not mean, as Todd would have you believe, that I was unmoved. Didion's story is simultaneously a portrait of marriage, parenthood, and loss. That's a lot for any writer to fit into a few hundred pages and Didion does it seamlessly.

Scenes and small snippets of conversation between Didion and her husband John paint a portrait of an incredibly close, interdependent, and supportive marriage, but Didion resists the urge to see their relationship through rose colored glasses. Her struggle to do right by her daughter while she's sick is honest, understandable, and heartbreaking. Her cognizant awareness of what people think she should do and be during her mourning, her attempt to cope by reading what others have written about grief, and her wholly illogical responses to many things all ring incredibly true.

In full disclosure, I am somewhat annoyed by Didion at certain moments: there is a small proletariat part of me that resents her refusal to acknowledge how her wealth affected her situation. One could argue, of course, that it changed nothing. Her husband died, wealth or no wealth. Her daughter was ill, money or no money. But in some ways it truly did change things. When her daughter has a relapse in California, Didion was in a position to fly across the country at a moment's notice and set up in a suite at the Hotel Beverly Wilshire for over a month, neither of which caused her a moment's concern. This is a rare and lucky situation to be in. Most mothers, loving their daughters no less, would, at the very least, need to deal with stressful logistics that Didion was spared.

I don't know why, but a single sentence noting that she was relieved of this added anxiety would have gone a long way for me. And because she didn't do this, off hand comments about how she and her husband got Kincks tickets directly from the NBA Commissioner seemed to unnecessarily set her apart from the average joe.

That fairly minor complaint notwithstanding, the book is a wonderful one. Love and loss strike without regard to status or wealth, and so Didion's story is still universal on many levels. Anyone who has lost someone they loved will find aspects of their own story mirrored here articulately, thoughtfully, and, most importantly, lovingly.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The polls have officially closed

My summer reading poll had no official end date but I'm calling it a done deal right now. First, it's my blog, so I can do anything I want. :) Second, I'm already making reading decisions based on it. And third, I only have a few readers and I choose to believe that you all check in regularly enough to have already cast your votes.

So: The 2008 summer reading list is now decided, based on the percentage of votes each book received:

63.6% Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
58.3% Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
41.7% Dave Eggars, Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
41.7% Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman
41.7% Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City
41.7% Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Tonight I feel independent not only from those damn oppressive Brits, but also from work, a reliable internet connection, and good weather (not all happy freedoms). Todd and I made our way to Williamsburg to see the city's fire works from the Brooklyn side of things, which equals twice in only a week that I've left the island. I've become one of those people who now considers it a big trip to leave Manhattan, which I recognize as both ridiculous and funny. Brooklyn treated us ok, though. The weather on the Brooklyn side of the East River was just as dreary as it's been on this side, so we huddled under Todd's giganto umbrella for a while before the show actually started. It was never more than a heavy drizzle, but it was enough that we didn't want to stand there for an hour without a bit of protection. The fire works when they finally started were really good. Lots of loud booms, smoke, and razzle dazzle, just as you'd want from a good show.

How are you celebrating your independence?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Full Circle

The sadness: The Jane Street Theater, where I spent a few nights ushering for Hedwig and the Angry Inch and MANY nights ushering for Tick, Tick...Boom is now a full on hotel. The building actually started as a hotel many moons ago, so I guess it's coming full circle. But I loved that space as a theater. It was limited as far as performance spaces go, I realize, but it has a special place in my heart; I'm sad to see it turned into another hotel with an annoying website.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

E-Book Schme-Book

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a friend about Amazon’s Kindle. He said he wouldn’t buy one not because he didn’t believe in e-books, but because he thought the Kindle itself was a bust: badly designed and with no ability to share books with other Kindle users, something he thought was imperative.

I could see his points, but even if he had told me the Kindle was the greatest thing ever and that I was a fool not to buy one, I’m sure I still wouldn’t own one. Admittedly, I am something of a luddite (no Facebook for me, thanks! And seriously, I still don’t even understand what Second Life is supposed to be). But I just have no interest in getting my books in e-form. I love my books. I love them on my shelves. I love the feeling of the paper. And yes: I love the smell of the glue. Maybe none of that is rational—good writing is good writing, after all. But the truth remains that I don’t want an e-book gizmo, and neither do most people I’ve talked to.

In my internet travels today, I read a great rationale for why books are here to stay for the foreseeable future. This is my first time visiting Nick Hornby’s blog, but it's a good first impression.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Goal

There was a time when I saw just about any show I could get tickets for. Good buzz or bad, I wanted to see it if it was on, off, or even off off Broadway. I've missed many, many shows recently, so I'm setting myself a goal to see at least two per month. Jen, my go-to theatre buddy, is off to Cape Cod for the foreseeable future, kayaking and rubbing elbows with all manner of Kennedys, which makes this resolution a little less fun. But I would really like to get back into the know about what shows are hot and which are just hot messes.

Anyone want to see Adding Machine?