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When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

Best of The BAD: NYC 101

Another ‘Best of’ this was originally posted this past summer after reading an article in the NYTs about twin blonde-haired sisters trying to “make it” in NYC as college grads.  The article, aside from making me shake with rage, seemed to be sympathetic towards two white chicks living on the UWS, spending their days baking cookies and hanging out in Starbucks waiting for oppertunity to just waltz right in through the front door.

As a former NYer, who literally had to eat cat food off of crackers for sustenance at one point, I thought I’d inject my feelings on the article, which was originally title “Surviving NYC”.  So here it is, rebroadcast for your enjoyment.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go give my wife the wake up pipe.

Enjoy.

***

It seems that nothing much in the news or in the world has gotten me very fired up lately.  Boston sports is pretty much a numb limb; an arm lifted high for so long that the blood’s drained out of it, and the body proper can no longer tell what the fingers are doing.  Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum have been sniping at each other with the typical deft of an over grown four year old.  A war toils on in a waste land, etc etc etc.

So this morning – Sunday – I was flipping through the Times, when I came across this article.

If you don’t want to wade through three pages of mind numbing and frustrating bullshit, I’ll sum it up for you.  The Barry Twins, Kristie and Katie (aww) have been “struggling” to find long-term work in NYC for the last 18 months, and are starting to get discouraged by their lack of results.

Freshly out of college, the Ohio transplants have degrees in Journalism, which is akin to having a degree in Latin or VCR Repair.  It’s a useless degree in a field that shrinks daily in size like a puddle under the sun.  They aspire to be sports broadcasters, tv talk show hosts, or anything else related in the field.  According to the article they’re “flexible.”

They’ve submitted untold resumes along with freshly baked cookies.  They sit in bars or Starbucks, whining about how ‘tough” getting work in NYC is.

I don’t know where to begin.

I’ve read the article three times now, and each time I get a little more bullshit.  The first time I read through this slapped together feature piece, I thought it was a satire; some fiction to help illustrate the effects of our economy and rising unemployment rates on college kids finally entering the real world.  The Twins share an apartment with their college-attending brother and his artist friend on the Upper West Side to the tune of  nearly 3000 dollars a month.  One of the twins works three nights a week as a bar tender and rakes in 800 bucks.  The other used to bar tend, before getting fired for keeping the music “too loud.”  Now they spend their days browsing job posts on craigslist, sucking down 6 dollar Starbucks coffees, and playing the saxophone on subway platforms not for change, but for business cards.

It’s almost adorable, the naivety.

The second and third times I read through the article, I was just making myself more and more upset and flustered.  I mean, really girls?  You pull in 800 bucks a week, working three nights at a bar, and you’re not even really cute.  You should count your blessings on that alone, where the average 24 year old out-of-towner probably pulls in a fraction of that amount busting his or her ass at three jobs for a total of 60 hours a week.  I should know, because I used to be one of those 24 year olds.

The UWS apartment?  It’s a “cozy, fourth floor walk up.”  I lived in East Bumfuck Queens in a 1000 dollar a month hole in the ground with slits for windows that had a total square footage of a public bathroom, and smelled just as bad.  Starbucks and drinks at the bar?  I ate cat food off of saltines for a period of time, because I had no money.

I actually considered mugging people.

The Twins come up with cutesy ideas to try to get noticed, like sending home-made cookies with resumes, and the aforementioned sax playing for business cards.  Bitches, lesson one about living in NYC:  Cute doesn’t cut it.  NYC is the majors, it’s serious chemistry with all the charm of a dead hooker.  People literally live and die by the decisions they make in that terrible gray piss-soaked metropolis, and you’re sending cookies to HR reps?

Here’s how that’s likely going over:

HR Rep:  Hey, what the fuck are these?  (smells) Cookies?  And what’s this they’re stuck to, a resume?  Huh, not much on here to work with.  Well, I guess I’ll stick these in the break room, maybe someone will eat them.

Girls, don’t whine that in 18 months you’re not getting any bites on that ‘dream job.’  ESPN is not going to come knocking down your door because you’re the next best thing since white bread.  You have to work and earn your place in the pecking order of NYC, you are owed literally nothing.  Yes, you have friends, according to the article, that hook you up in various ways, so utilize that.  It’s called “networking.”  You meet people who know people and you keep adding them to that list.  You don’t sit on your ass all day baking treats and scanning job listings online.  You beat the pavement, you wear second hand clothes and you sure as hell don’t live ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE!

I’m almost willing to bet that they won’t even look for work outside of Manhattan.  I bet they’ve never been to Queens.  They went to Brooklyn to check out a trendy hipster bar, once.  And they probably took a cab.

The comment thread has been 50/50 where people are either supportive of the girls, or bleakly realistic.  A lot of would-be NYers, (like myself) have weighed in with their own experiences, detailing how the city eats people alive.

Again, I did three years, one of which I was pretty much on my own.  I started off by staying at a dorm while I was taking classes near Fordham, then moved into a two bedroom apartment in Brooklyn with two other guys I knew from school.  I basically turned the living room into my own room, which sucked because every morning I had to turn it back into a living room again.  When that situation fizzed out about two years later, I got the aforementioned apartment in Queens while picking up work at a generic office building.  I had my own little broom closet sized office and I wore a suit every day to the tune of 11 bucks an hour with no health insurance.

But it all came to an end and I realized I couldn’t do ‘this’ anymore so I packed my shit and went back home.  And here we are today.

I admire these girls for having the balls to at least try, and I don’t necessarily blame them for being so utterly naive.  There’s no class in college that breaks it down for soon-to-be-grads.  No one to stand there and be like “oh hey, by the way, this degree isn’t going to mean jack shit in the real world.  You’re going to be bussing tables til you’re about 29, so try to keep your head up.”

NYC is for self starters and these girls certainly have the potential, however they need to head in the right direction and pay their dues.  There’s doctors and lawyers who have been living in NYC for the better part of twenty years who don’t have an UWS apartment.

My advice to The Twins:  Dye your hair brown, cut out the cutesy self entitled bullshit, stop going to Starbucks (coffee at the diner down the block is like 65 cents, there’s little to no waiting, and you won’t be surrounded by smug assholes.  This is where the real NYC winners tend to gravitate towards.  Starbucks is for tourists and college kids), and start getting guys to buy your drinks for you at bars.  You’re both female; there’s no reason why any woman in New York City should be buying their own drinks, unless she’s an ultra feminist lesbian.

Move to Brooklyn, there’s plenty of nice places for half of what you’re paying in rent, close enough to the city that you’ll be actually forced to take a bus some places.  And for the love of Christ, stop sending out cookies with resumes.

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February 14, 2010 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , , | Leave a comment

350 Million People CAN be wrong….

So I restarted my Facebook account over the weekend, but only out of necessity.  You see, when we moved into our new digs, we neglected to check our cell phones to see what kind of reception we would be getting with the place until after we signed all the paper work and checks, etc.

Turns out, we’re lucky to get one bar, by the windows.  Usually it’s no bars or the dreaded ‘no signal’.  However, both those options are better than “searching….” being displayed, because while ‘searching’ for a signal, your phone traditionally uses more battery power, as it tries to boost it’s internal antenna to grab a signal it thinks is just out of its reach.

We’ve been getting by just on internet alone.  Thankfully having wifi enabled phones allows us to connect to our internet connection at home, so our iPhones aren’t just expensive paper weights that I drop 175 bucks on a month.

The problem becomes when one of us is home and the other is out and about running errands or working.  There’s no way to make a phone call or send a text to the person who’s away because there’s no cell reception.  We found this out relatively quickly on one of our first nights at the new apt when I ran out to the store to get milk, and Ang wanted me to pick up Nilla Wafers and paper towels as well.

Without ‘Push’ notification, email on the iPhone only updates every 15 minutes, meaning I could’ve gone to the store and came back in the amount of time it would’ve taken me to get the message if I wasn’t constantly refreshing my gmail (Apple offers MobileMe, which for a subscription price of 100 bucks a year, you get Push and Cloud features)

There’s the option of getting a traditional landline, an option I’m still giving deep consideration to.  My job somewhat dictates that I be accessible at all hours, and if I don’t have a working phone, it’s an issue.  My company actually provides free (1980s era) cell phones to employees who don’t have or can’t afford a cell phone, they’re that serious.

The problem with a landline is that it’s going to cost an arm and a leg down the line.  Comcast (our cable and internet monopoly provider) offers a deal where if you get cable, internet and a phone line you only pay like 100 bucks a month, oppose to just having cable and internet (like we do) and paying 110-120 bucks a month (like we do).

The rub is that after 6 months, Comcast jacks the price of the service up to 140 clams, leaving you either with the option to get rid of something, or pay out the ass.

I spoke with the installation tech who hooked up our cable and internet at the new apartment about the offer and this is what he said:

Call and speak to a customer service rep,” he suggested while speaking in an Irish brogue.  “They can sometimes set up deals with customers, like extended contacts for a certain price per month, that sort of thing,”

“But, what if I don’t want to pay the corporation, … maybe I’d rather just deal with the man on the street?”  I hinted.  He grinned a gnarled grin that only someone with a knowledge of the British Isles could love and brushed off the obvious attempted bribe.

Sorry, it’s not the same as it used to be, where we could just program the box to give you free HBO or Pay-Per-View, it’s all monitored and regulated by dispatchers now, sorry.  But seriously, give them a call, and see if they’ll work with you.  They’re more inclined to make a deal, because it’s money in their pocket in the long run,” and he has a point.

Though, he did fuck up the install, requiring me to call Comcast later that night from the end of the driveway.  While some phone jockey gave me instructions on rebooting our modem and changing out the signal to our wifi, I had to place my phone in the dirt and run back and forth from our apartment to take the necessary steps in ensuring our computers had proper internet connection.  So what does he know, really?

The next option we briefly explored was using Skype, the Voice Over Internet Protocol service that let’s people video chat for free around the world.

Skype would’ve been a great fix-it option if it weren’t for the fact you need wifi to make it work.  Due to AT&T’s business practices, apps and services like Skype can’t make calls on the infamously bogged down 3G Network.  Calling out from home would be no problem, since there’s wifi there; it would be making calls to home where we’d need to find a hotspot someplace.

I found this out while at work all weekend, where I desperately ran around my office’s property in the dead of night with my phone out in front of me, trying to locate the strongest unlocked wifi signal from the surrounding houses so I could steal some bandwidth and call my wife.

Hint:  If your wireless network is named ‘linksys’, I’m pretty sure it’s being abused by some dude parked out front of your house right now with a laptop full of porn.

So, tired of emailing back and forth, which in this day-n-age without Push Notification is similar to communicating by message in a bottle, Ang suggested I open the dusty crypt that held my old Facebook account, reactivate it, and use the chat on there.

The Facebook iPhone App isn’t bad, and I don’t have a real beef with it.  Its minimalist, like how Facebook used to be, easy to navigate and its chat feature is similar to the iPhone’s SMS/MMS screen.

It was a gut wrenching decision, honestly, because I wanted to leave Facebook behind me.  I’m 28 years old, and in my humble opinion, I’m in the waning years of online social networking.  I use Twitter extensively, because there’s no real bells or whistles to it; I post something that’s on my mind, or post a link to this blog, and let it ride from there.

With Facebook, there’s too much required involvement.  I have to ‘poke’ back everyone that pokes me, even if I don’t want to.  Someone’s bound to send me some virtual gift that I sure as hell don’t want, but will have to comment on, lest I look like a fucking Scrooge.

There are too many people for me to keep in touch with as ‘friends’ only because they’re associated with people I interact with.  I don’t want to get status updates (and subsequently the notifications regarding a status I commented on from people I don’t even know) from the wife of a guy I work with, because she decided to ‘friend’  me after raiding her husband’s friend’s list and wanted to pad her own numbers.

I can’t reject her request, because then I’ll hear about it from the guy:

“Dude, be friends with my wife,” I don’t even know her name!  I just have the unsolicited knowledge that you two like to ‘do it’ doggystyle!

And speaking of  the people I work with,  I’d like to keep most of them at an arm’s reach distance.  I can’t unfriend them, because again, I’ll fucking hear about it in real life.

And that’s really the point: when I got rid of Facebook, the biggest reason of all was to reduce the amount of ridiculous , unnecessary drama that was bleeding into my life.  With anyone with a set of ovaries who posted on my wall, I’d be grilled by my wife and her Spetznas-like interrogation tactics.

Have you ever been waterboarded while trying to make pancakes for breakfast?  It sucks.

But wanting to be able to at least text with my wife meant more to me than dealing with Facebook and the bullshit associated with it.  Fuck it, I thought, who cares?

Within 24 hours I was back to checking my News Feed every twenty minutes.

Fuck you Facebook.  Fuck you.

December 8, 2009 Posted by | Around The Office, Blogging Couple, Corporate America Hates You, Getting Older, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate, People I Love, The Great Indoors | , , , , | 2 Comments

Fuck It, Let It Ride (With Edits, However)

A slightly edited version of the earlier article.

Given where I live, I spend about 65% of my time on the road, either commuting or running errands.  Since moving to Cape Cod about two years ago, I’ve learned to hate driving, begun to detest riding my motorcycle, and have found that I have “rage triggers” when I’m stuck in traffic.

So I decided to write this article, breaking down my rage as to better understand it.  Each of the following sections will detail exactly how I feel at that given moment, as this piece was written largely in my head, while behind the wheel of my truck as I operated it like I was maneuvering a one ton black bomb on four wheels.

Section One:  Traffic.

traffic

Until I moved to Cape Cod I had never experienced the level of fucking traffic I’ve witnessed on this miserable tourist trap of an island, and this is someone who lived in NYC for three years.  It seems that during the summer tourist months people will come from all over the country to just sit in traffic from the Bourne Bridge to Provincetown.  “Hey kids, let’s go spend a blistering week this summer in our car, packed tighter than inmate’s shit and stare at NOTHING while we drive from one end of Cape Cod to the other!”  Why else would these people come out here?  It’s can’t be because of the beaches, because they suck and are over crowded when they are in fact open (thanks to a species of endangered bird, beaches on Cape are closed for half the summer).

So all these people come out and clog up the major arteries to get around Cape Cod.  What usually is a ten minute drive to the super market a few towns over takes three times as long because there’s just so much traffic to contend with.  Compounding things is that most of these jag offs want to turn left while driving down our one highway, causing a huge log jam of traffic.  The other tourists in the opposite lane won’t yield to let the turner make his turn because they have places they want to get to and can’t be bothered, leading me to lean out of my truck’s open window and hurl a fruit smoothie at someone’s windshield.

Section Two:  Other Drivers.

102_road_rage

As stated above, the mass of population I tend to deal with are out of staters here on vacation.  Like any vacationing sheep, they pack just about everything except their god given common sense.  Hey asshole, how about looking behind you when you back up, and I mean actually looking over your shoulder and not relying solely on your mirrors?  Or if I’m out for a run (I know I’m not behind the wheel of a car at that moment but it relates, just go with it) how about you don’t just pull out blindly from a side street?  Nearly getting fucking T Boned when I’m out minding my own business and trying to avoid you at all costs kinda puts a damper on my spirits.

Also, thanks for flying that “stay the fuck out of my way” flag on your rear view mirror.  Be it a handicap or camp ground parking placard, seeing something dangling from your rear view mirror tells me that you require wide birth because either you’re actually handicapped and shouldn’t be allowed to operate a motor vehicle but we feel bad for you, so here’s a set of keys, go wild, or you’re a fucking tourist staying at a camp ground and have no clue what you’re doing or where you’re going.  Either way, I know to stay the hell away from you.

One more thing about the camp ground placard:  The camp ground placard is also a swell indicator that the operator of the vehicle will likely slam on their brakes at any moment and try to make an abrupt left handed turn into traffic to take his tourist brood to either an ice cream shop, fried seafood restaurant, some gaudy eye-sore of an inflatable knick-knack/t shirt store, or yard sale.  The placard may as well just read “Caution;  Stay Back 500 Feet.”

Section Three:  Parking

103

If there’s anything on Cape Cod that’s an overpriced commodity, it’s real estate.  And at an even higher premium is a parking space.

To wit:  My wife bought a town parking pass to use for when she has to go to work.  This pass is supposedly designed for the purpose of people who work/live in town to be able to park at a reasonably close distance to their places of employment.  However, in practice, this is not the case at all.

On numerous occasions she’s had to double back to our apartment and have me drive her back out to work and drop her off and pick her up because the lot she’s supposed to park in is full.  Now, either the town sold too many passes (at 135 dollars a piece!) or people are just saying “fuck it” and are taking the 20 dollar hit on a parking ticket for illegally parking in the lot which they’ll never pay because they’re out of state residence.  Regardless, it’s a huge pain in our asses.

Also, again, getting back to the whole tourism thing, tourists out here tend to think they can park where ever they want, whenever they want, regardless of people’s feelings or intentions.  We, Ang and I, were going to do some laundry.  We had parked her car in the lot next to our apartment, all the way at the end, so the car would be out of everyone’s way.  It was mid day, the lot was about a third full.

We’re walking down the lot, carrying laundry baskets, detergent, quarters, etc, and we both get that weird sensation that we’re being followed.  So we both turn and there’s this champagne-colored Mercedes with Florida plates slowly rolling behind us.  Behind the wheel is some middle aged self-righteous She-Bitch in a big hat and sunglasses.

She waits for us to get to our car, load our laundry, get in and start the car.  She then proceeds to block us in by taking the spot next to us, making it impossible for us to pull out smoothly, resulting in me having to “shimmy” out of the spot.

Enraged by this cuntbag tourist’s selfish actions, I put the window down on my wife’s Honda and yell out “there’s like a million other spots you could’ve taken!”

From behind her cell phone she calls back “but none of them were in the shade, thank you!”

Thank you?  Was she thanking me for my comment, this arrogant bitch?  I was livid, to the point of wanting to drive directly to the nearest hardware store, purchase a spade, and proceed to bludgeon and dismember this audacious bitch into pieces to be eaten by seagulls.  I couldn’t believe her.

I should’ve rammed Ang’s shitty little Honda into the rear quarter of this old cock dumpster’s Merc, and shouted “THANK YOU!” over and over again.

I would’ve rammed her cell phone down her throat and kicked in her stomach until I dialed Tokyo.

Section Four:  Pedestrians.

pedestrians

Is it me, or do people generally think they have a magic force field around them as soon as they enter a cross walk?

Shortly after the vaginal swab of a tourist blocked us in, we were driving down our main drag when some beer delivery man decided to step out from behind the front of a parked truck, on a crosswalk, without looking to check for traffic, pushing his dolly in front of him.

I hit the brakes hard and let out an audible “YO!” with our windows down.  The dickbag with the hand cart turns over his shoulder at me and says “state law!” and keeps on pushing.

Yes, it is in fact a state law to stop for pedestrians crossing in a crosswalk, very good sir.  But that same state law will not mend your broken legs and hip when you get struck by a car because you failed to uphold your end of the bargain by stepping out into a busy street without looking.

You can claim “state law” all you like as a matter of fact, because when the state police’s accident reconstruction team arrive and release their findings on the collision, they’ll determine I was driving maybe 20 mph and see that you failed to look both ways when crossing a street, the first lesson we as people learn shortly after managing to tie our own fucking shoes.

Left, right, and left again, dildo-licker.

I have all the respect in the world too, for beer delivery people.  It’s a tough job and they truly are some of America’s unsung heroes.  So it sucks that one of you guys has to be a sandy tampon about crossing a street.

Part two of this section:  GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY.

growling_dog

I understand that this certain street by where I work is a thoroughfare of just.., bizarre shit and that you’re all on vacation from your jobs as doctors and teachers and who knows what else, and you’re all having a gay ol’ time, I get it.  However, you’re walking down the middle of a fucking street, dude, where there’s actual traffic, slow moving I know, but it’s still traffic.  We, in the big objects on four wheels known as “cars” can’t fucking get down the street if you and your Abercrombie and Fitch model friends are blocking it up by walking down the middle of it eight abreast, blowing bubbles, slowly riding a bicycle, walking your poof ball little dog, or doing one handed push ups in tiny briefs (for real, not an embellishment).

I have a job I need to get to, and my office is at the tail end of this street.  It takes me almost half an hour to go one mile some times, from the hardware store to my front gate.  If I tap my horn, and I say “tap” because that’s what it is, a friendly “get out of my way please I’m driving here” and not a long, boorish blast that says “hey fucknuts, get the fuck out of the middle of the road or I’m going to dropkick you off the top rope” do not turn your head over your shoulder and give me some bitchy/sassy fucking look like I’m the one who’s fucking up YOUR day.  Just scamper out of my way, that’s all you have to do.  Do not argue with me, because sir, or ma’am or whatever, I am encased in an air conditioned almost-sound proof chamber and can’t hear your bitchy effeminate whining.

Section Five:  The Radio.

Retro Radio DJ

Here’s a sampling of the songs that were playing on my presets as I was writing this article out in my head:  Station 1: Smashmouth “All Star”, Station 2: that one song by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  Station 3:  Some generic Led Zeppelin song.  Station 4:  Some generic song by Papa Roach.  Station Five:  NPR’s Fresh Air, but the topic was something obscure and boring, probably to do with some artist I’m unfamiliar with.  Station 6:  WEEI, sports talk radio, which I think is just a cover for their conservative media agenda, so I don’t really listen to it.

I don’t know about where you live, but here on Cape, the radio is fucking trash.  Until my truck was broken into a year ago, I used to listen to my iPod through an FM tuner.  Most mornings on my commute I listen to NPR, unless it’s something boring, as stated, or if it’s The Diane Ream Show, which makes me want to snort a line of chalk and sit down upon the Seattle Space Needle, bare ass.

Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with all the shit I’ve already listed, and then having to fiddle with your pre sets in the car, to find one station out of six that’s playing A) music, and B) something worth listening to.  I love Led Zeppelin, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing the stations around here play, because honestly, I think that’s the only album some of these stations have.  I will guarantee you right now, if I were to flip on the radio in the other room, I could get a Zep song, any Zep song, right now.

YOU’RE RUINING LED ZEPPELIN FOR ME PIXY 102.9!!
I’d shell out for satellite radio, but it seems overly costly for something I can get for free, that’s only really giving me more options.  Instead of 6 channels to choose from, now I have 600, but like that old Bruce Springsteen song goes “150 channels and not a damn thing on” or something like that.

I slam the buttons on the presets so often that I’m actually starting to wear away the numbered decals a little.  And if it isn’t music that’s being played, it’s some god awful local business advertisement, usually a used car lot.

“Come on down to Jeff’s Subaru, where we’ll give you honest prices from honest guys.  Hell, we’ll even throw in a fifty dollar gas card for just taking a test drive!” and so on.  Or the staged interview with the lot’s owner, dispelling some sort of rumor that he has a “private connection” with the factories in Detroit.

Dickhead, Detroit doesn’t make cars anymore, they’re all made in Canada now, get a clue.

I don’t know how to conclude this article, so I’m just going to say this:  People, next summer, just stay the fuck home.  Do me a favor, and don’t come out here, don’t spend your money on an overrated tourist trap, don’t waste your time bullshitting yourself that Cape Cod is a magical place to spend a week or two.  Sell your condo, time share, cottage, and get the fuck out of here.

I’m selling my motorcycle because of you.  Do you know what that means?  Let me put it another way:  I’m 27 years old, and I’m going gray because I get so stressed out behind the wheel.  Just stay home, if not for me, do it for your kids.  Because next summer if I see them lollygagging in the middle of a road I’m trying to transverse, I’ll fucking eat them.  I’ll kick them each in the balls so they can understand the pain I feel.

I fucking promise you.

August 22, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments