Thursday, January 13, 2005
coke, the commute, the Mummers, emails, music, and voting
I've noticed that over the past few days on the site I've been overly extolling the virtues of cocaine. Sigh.
Boys and girls, I would like to go on record to say that not everything is good about cocaine, and some things about cocaine are bad, and even horrible.
First and foremost, it's expensive. Not like "a couple bucks here and there" expensive, but "I just spent and went through $50 worth and I need about $100,000 worth more to make it through the next few hours" expensive. It's because it's hard to have just a little, so you often wind up spending more than you bargained for.
Second, it's illegal. This means that in order to get cocaine, you have to deal with and associate with a bevy of unsavory characters, who may or may not threaten to stab you in the heart if you piss them off or eat all the salsa they have in their fridge, even if you promise that you'll buy them more right away. Additionally, if you get caught with it, you're going to go to jail (but I wouldn't worry about getting caught with it and going to jail unless you are a minority and poor).
As someone who's had his struggles but has been clean for well over six hours now (ok, forty minutes), seriously, cocaine is bad news. It makes you jittery, irritable, and the comedown is like the worse day of your life times ten. So if you've never done it, don't start. [Most] Drugs aren't [that] cool, and it's [sometimes] not worth it. So don't do it. And if you don't believe me, just listen to Duran Duran's "White Lines". That should scare you straight, but not in the sexuality sense.
And if you're a hypochondriac who constantly thinks he's having a heart attack, then you really should stay away from cocaine. Otherwise, it's gonna be a pretty embarrassing scene when your roommate has to take you to the emergency room at 4am on a Wednesday because you think you're in cardiac arrest and you have this conversation with the female doctor:
Doctor: "So you think you're having a heart attack?"
Person Under the Influence of Cocaine: "Yes."
Doctor: "First question - take any drugs tonight?"
Person: [pretending to be offended] "No - of course not! No!"
Doctor: "Are you sure?"
Person: [pretending to be even more offended; flailing arms] "Am I sure? Of course I'm sure!"
Doctor: "So if I were to give you a drug test right now, it would show that there are no drugs in your system?"
Person: [realizing the charade is over, trying to make light of the situation] "Well, no, there's no way I would pass at all. Not even close. If 70 were passing, I'd be in the 30's, maybe 20's. I don't know - can I get below a zero?"
Doctor: "That's what I thought."
The moral: don't do drugs.
We now rejoin our regularly scheduled programming already in progress...
This morning, I was a little hungover, having gone out for some brewskis last night with Ace, Don, and AGU of Slack. Still I managed to get out of bed and start the day, with the promise that when I got to work I'd go to the nearby Burger King and get myself one of those new double croissant sandwiches, which have egg, cheese, bacon, AND sausage, and of course a Yoohoo. Fucking A.
However, when I got to my local 96th Street subway station, I learned that the downtown trains were not running. Hmph. The station was in chaos, as people were scrambling to figure out how they were now going to get to work. I walked up to the NYC Transit employee, a very large black woman in her little glass-encased booth (I know - a super fat black lady working for the MTA? Next you're gonna tell me that some cab drivers are actually not speaking English into their cell phone headsets as they do 45 up Madison Ave! Crazy!). I asked the MTA employee if the trains were running downtown from the 86th Street station, the next closest station, and she said yes. So I started to walk to 86th Street.
This was an inconvenience, but not a major one. See (give me a moment here), I take the local "6" from 96th Street every morning. I take this one stop only, to 86th Street, where I switch to the express "4" or "5" train. This gets me to work much faster, as the "4"/"5" express makes stops at only 86th-59th-42nd-14th-etc, whereas the "6" local stops at 96th-86th-77th-68th-59th-etc all the way down. So instead of taking the train one stop, I had to walk a couple of blocks. No big deal.
[If you're having trouble following this because you too are hungover, click here to see a NYC subway map.]
But when I got to the 86th Street station, it was pure pandemonium. People were flipping out, and there was a lot of pushing and yelling and a lot of anger. Also, there was a homeless guy doing a Michael Jackson impression, and, if he wasn't crazy and I wasn't terrified of him, I would have marched right up and told him that it was the worst Michael Jackson impression I had ever seen.
Apparently, there were NO downtown trains running at all, from 96th Street or 86th Street or whatever station. People started yelling, "There's no service - go to the westside" (meaning cross Central Park to the west side of Manhattan, where one could get subway service downtown).
And now I was pissed off. I was hungover, hungry, and it was cold and wet outside. Fortunately, there was this GORGEOUS woman at the corner, crouching down and tending to her lil' dog, providing me with an awesome view of her abundant cleavage. I'm serious; I hadn't seen a cleavage shot that good in a while. It was one of those "Lady, you should thank your lucky stars there's a police officer standing on the corner because otherwise I'd have you tied up in my buddy's attic in thirty minutes" moments, because she was just that hot.
I think I need a minute here.
So I began my walk downtown to work, hoping to catch a cab, but things looked bleak. The lines for busses were wrapping around corners, and everyone was trying to hail a cab, yet very few were successful. I called my manager to tell him I would be late, and explained the situation on his voicemail. Then I had an idea: I could call the "Operations" department at work, which always sends out emails about expected delays or street closures or car delays when it's raining. This was perfect, since I could possibly get some information about the subway closures and at the very least alert them that many people would be in late.
I spoke with some guy in Operations, told him that there are no trains running on Lexington Avenue, and he was surprised. He told me that he hadn't heard anything about this, and I was the first one to call him about it. I told him that I wanted to give him and the firm a heads up, he was gracious, and we hung up and I continued walking.
When I got to 77th Street (the next subway station), I was very surprised and relived to learn that there were no problems there and everything was running normally. It turns out that there was some sort of police investigation that closed down the 96th & 86th Street Stations momentarily, but things were back to normal. Nice. So I hopped on the train, and made it to work (still 45 minutes late).
I felt silly on the train into work. There I was, freaking out, thinking that the entire east side of Manhattan was paralyzed by the trains not running, information I got from no official source but fellow commuters pissed off and trying to get to work, when really it was an isolated incident at two stations that lasted no more than thirty minutes. I'm such a silly boy.
When I got into work, I opened my email and saw an email from the Operations department sent to everyone in the New York office at 9:18am, saying,
"We have learned of possible delays on the downtown 4-5-6 trains along Lexington Avenue. We are working now to verify this, and will provide additional information as it becomes known to us."
I checked my cell phone, and saw that I had called Operations at 9:15am.
Then, I noticed another email from Operations, again to everyone in the New York office, this time at 9:34am:
"We have not been able to verify reports of delays on the downtown 4-5-6 trains along Lexington Avenue. All trains are operating normally."
I know I'm pretty late on this, but the Mummers Parade on New Year's Day was a major success. And by that I mean I got drunk, had a good time, and managed to not poop in my sweatpants, get arrested, or get beat up. That, in my book, is fucking success.
However, I don't have any stories for you, because I just don't remember (George Carlin has a great bit in which he says something to the effect of, "You know, everyone always tell these crazy stories about the '70's, but I don't have any, because I was too fucked up and blacked out").
This is a far cry from last year's parade, when I returned home in the afternoon and was so drunk I tripped over my mom's living room coffee table, did a somersault, and then got up a puked all over myself in front of my little sister.
My sister: [looking warily at me convulsing on the couch] "Mom - I think Jason's gonna throw up!"
Me: [quietly puking all over myself] "No I'm not!
My sister: "EWWWWW!!!"
And we (Froggy Carr) actually came in first, which hasn't happened in a long, long time (maybe 1988?). Of course, like I mentioned when I wrote about the Parade before, we didn't win a big prize (I think the club got something like $700), but we have bragging rights. Of course, I'm only home about ten weekends a year, but still, it's nice.
And now there's only 352 days until the next one. I don't think I can make it.
I am really, really trying to get back to all of your emails. I'm sorry for such delayed responses, but, well, there's really just too many. But I'll get back to you, I promise.
And please keep in mind you need not always go through the "Email Me" page to send me an email; you can just send what's on your mind to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- "Take the Fifth" Spoon
This is a perfect song to put on when it's Saturday night, and you and your buddies are standing in your living with your jackets on, ready to go out, finishing your last beers. A staple in our pre-gaming playlist, "Tonight We're Gonna Touch You In The Basement".
- "Lover, You Should've Come Over" Jeff Buckley
This is the saddest song ever. There is no competition. I'm getting all choked up and sobby just thinking about it. Lines like "It's never over/My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder" remind me of Pablo Neruda (I read poetry because I'm very in touch with myself) and make me feel faint. And no, really, I'm straight. I'm just really, really sensitive.
- "Nothing Compares 2 U" Prince
If you have not heard the live Prince version, which is a duet with NPG member Rosie Gaines, then you MUST download this. Prince wrote this song, and does a much, much better rendition than Sinead O'Connor (who, by the way, has a greatest hits - can someone tell me how this is possible? Is it her version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" sixteen times?)
- "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits" The Magnetic Fields
Every time I hear this song, I think, "Why the hell am I not in this band?" ("And when we've had a couple of beers/We'll put on bunny suits..."). Hilarious, but not so much that it detracts from the cool sound of the song.
(That doesn't make any sense at all)
- "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" Led Zeppelin
I'm gonna say something pretty intense here, but here I go: this is my favorite Led Zeppelin song. "III" was their first album I bought, and this foot-tapping, bass drum-driven acoustic Zep jam blew my fucking mind, when all I really knew about Led Zeppelin were songs like "Heartbreaker", "Black Dog", and "Dazed and Confused". Fucking dynamite.
- "Crown Of Love" Arcade Fire
I tried to resist this band, because the hype around them is way too out of control, and I'm a big fan of disliking anything that's cool to like. But damn, this is a beautiful song. And all hell breaks loose when there's about a minute left. Intense.
[Music suggestions are always welcome. To send me some, email me at email@example.com and write "Music Suggestions" in the subject line.]
I owe a big "thank you" to you guys for really answering the call and voting for me in the BoB awards. Not only is it no longer embarassing for me, but as it stands now, I'm actually winning, so good job (but voting closes on Monday, January 17th, and I don't think I'll be able to hold onto that lead until then). However if I do win, at least it'll be something cool to tell my agent, who's no longer returning my calls since I sent that picture of my scrotum to his cameraphone.
To vote (for me hopefully), click here.