Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another Era Comes To An End

Blogger has long been my blogging home. Change is not a favorite activity of mine, but since my entire web presence is now headquartered on my website on Wordpress, I'm gonna go ahead and blog there. I've blogged there before for different reasons. Now the reason is to keep it all together neatly as any good Virgo gal should. If I do not like it, I'll be back, but the plan is to like it and stick with it and keep it there for good. Because if I don't that would mean more change, and even a change back is not a favorite activity of mine. So thanks, and farewell.
I don't know why this seemed appropriate for this moment, but here it is.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fake Gingerbread Fake Village

A warning upon the notion of misrepresentation: when you see articles and blurbs on Time Out New York and such about how you simply need to go to Madison Square Park to witness in person the fantastically fun Gingerbread Village to celebrate the wintery holiday season, and even when you click on said articles and blurbs and view the pretty pictures, do not add it to your Must List. Instead, add it to your If I Want To Waste Hours Of My Time List. In fact, simply add it to no lists. Click away, walk away, build your own gingerbread house.

Flashback: Last year, S and I spent a lovely day learning at the New York Hall of Science while also taking a stroll down Gingerbread Lane which is exactly what it said it was: a lot of gingerbread houses built across a wall of the museum.

Flashforward: S and I stood on line for over an hour in the cold during SantaCon to walk through a gingerbread house that was not real gingerbread nor was it a village.

Village: a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area. (Thank you, Bing).

A group. A GROUP of houses. This is one house. 
Okay, so it's not a village. But it's a house, right? A gingerbread house.

S was disappointed because it wasn't real gingerbread. Nothing about it was real. Not the ginger, not the bread, and not the icing. I wasn't as let down because I didn't expect it to be real because squirrels and birds would eat it.

I did, however, expect a group of houses because it's supposed to be a village. I thought maybe there would be even cardboard 2-D houses and then one to walk through. Nope, this was it.

We stood on line because we were there already. At least we'd get to delight in whatever they thought the inside of a gingerbread house might hold. As we neared the outside, it was cute. Some decoration was questionable, but for the most part, cute.

Cute
We're adorable, too.
It's that square window in the middle panel that's questionable.
I have a version of this in which I smeared out the guard, but having the guard at the gingerbread house is funny.
One of eight pictures S took of me in various poses.
Cute
We wound around to the front and waited some more.  I went to check the other side to see if there was anything special around the house. There was not. However, there was this pretty tree next to us.
And across from us were where the hammocks have been outside of the Flatiron Building for a while. However, the hammocks were down; I'm guessing because of SantaCon.
SantaCon
Please explain.
Hammock holders
Cowboy Santa
No Hammocks Here
 Finally, we made it to the front! And then we went inside! And! Then!

You know how when you're a kid, you can take an empty cardboard box and turn it into anything you want? Like in 3rd or 4th grade, or maybe it was 5th, I made a time machine out of a cardboard box that probably once held a refrigerator and we used a real doorknob held on with duct tape (which was a really big deal from me because I didn't know you could just go to a hardware store and buy a doorknob) and on the inside were drawings we made of swans based on a book we'd read and a chair. Maybe S has a better memory of this than I do if she was involved in this project, and I think she was. Anyway, it was a cardboard box we turned into something neat.

Back to the gingerbread house. It was empty. Our cardboard box had more in it than this house. This house had a projector on the ceiling. Instead of furniture made out of gumdrops--even if the gumdrops weren't real!--they had projectors. The guy who pulled back the curtain behind the door to let us in told us that we could stand in front of each projection and move around and the images would move, too.

So that was it? Motion-sensored projections on the walls of a cardboard box?

By now, everyone should know my problem with motion-sensored anything. In general, doors don't open. Just last week, I was at FoodTown. I grabbed a cart and stood in front of the door. It wouldn't open. A woman came up next to me, grabbed a cart, and still, the doors wouldn't open. We both moved back and forth, further away and closer, and they wouldn't open. We expressed our dismay and disbelief until two other women without carts came up behind us and wondered aloud what we were doing. We explained that the doors wouldn't open for us. One of the women walked between us and the doors opened. I exclaimed, You have the magic touch! She didn't answer because, you know, me, so we all shuffled into the store quickly before the doors closed again.

Also, the sensor light on my garage has not been working at all. It comes on when you swing the car really wide across the street to come into the driveway. Other than that, it doesn't detect anything, and I wind up parking in the dark where the raccoons may lie in wait.

So back to the gingerbread. I spent a few minutes slinking back and forth in front of the projections, not getting much of a response, while right behind me, the children were jumping and delighting in cartoonish glee. S was not pleased, either.
The popcorn pops over the stove.
There's a tree that doesn't do anything.
The lollipops whir in a circle.
The snowman comes in and out of frame.
The gingerbread man stands up and then his other friends do, too.
This is mostly what I experienced. Nothing happening.

There's also a fireplace animation that shows photos people have taken and tagged with #holidayheritage. I have no idea what the hell that hashtag has to do with what we were doing.

When we came outside, we took a cute picture without the guard.
And then people were asking if it was fun and if it was worth it and S was like, if you want to waste your afternoon, and I was like, well there are cute interactive animations if you like that kind of thing but the line is too long, and S was like, No don't do it, again.

Then we went to Yamamama to meet up with LH and her sister, and that made it all better. If you plan to go next year to the gingerbread village, you can simply go to Yamamama and look at the lone standing fake gingerbread house from across the street.

To end my day on a fabulous note, I saw this on my way home. 

It's a dog in a coat on the train.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Zumba Takes A Turn

Four dollar Zumba got even better when I finished ten classes and took a class for free. That's right: Zero Dollar Zumba! Just one class, but free is free.

Every time I go, I learn a new dance, I get my sweat on, and I have a grand old time. Usually, it's a grand old time.

However, the instructor found a song that says something like, you wanna battle with me? Then the class divides in half and we dance at each other. You know, like in the movie Step Up but with less coordination and more oldness with worse style.

I don't actually mind the battle so much. I mind what it leads to. Usually a circle that gets us really close to each other. This is at the end of class. That means, most of us are sweaty, and some probably have a stench starting to build. The first time this happened, the instructor was like, It's okay! We all smell! Let's do this! And it was funny. But funny only once.

In addition to the let's get in a circle, it's been Let's find a partner and dance and then hold hands and then do a soul train and then maybe hold someone's hand again.

The reason S and I loved line dancing so much was that we didn't have to touch people. The no-touch dances work really well for people who don't appreciate strangers or germs or socially awkward people who know no boundaries. Sure line dancing had a few drawbacks--at the beach, there was a woman who would make us hold hands in a circle, but there were so many people there that we didn't actually have to do it if we opted out. Then there was that time the woman in Jean's class asked us if we would do Scottish folk dancing and we were like, do we have to touch people, and she was like, yes, and we were like, nope.

During the free class, I drank a lot of water, but I didn't want to stop Zumba-ing. Then I thought, okay during battle, I'll go to the bathroom. I waited for the battle song, and it never came. I was relieved that we didn't have to do all that, and then I'd just go to the bathroom during cooldown.

Except that the instructor decided to do a battle with a new song that doesn't even mention anything about battling. And it was too late for me to go to the bathroom without everyone noticing that I was leaving specifically because of battling. (I'm pretty sure no one would notice and no one would care, but this is me being me, here).

So I battled against and through until we switched sides. Then the instructor yelled, Find a partner--someone you DON'T ALREADY KNOW! Everyone kind of knows everyone except me already, and the woman I was standing near I'd already danced with so I kind of know her so she couldn't be my choice, and it wasn't an option anyway because was looking everywhere but in my direction. Since everyone knows everyone but me, you may think that everyone immediately bombarded me, jabbing each other to be my partner. Again, this is me we're talking about. Those things don't happen in my life.

Instead, people paired up with people they were near, and I could tell some people paired up with people they didn't really know, so that was good that some people were following directions. I was, you know, dancing by myself, but then a woman from the front came to the back. She wasn't there to dance with me. She was calling to another woman to come to the back with her and giving a reason for it, but the other woman wasn't listening, so she wound up kind of next to me. I said to her, It's so helpful you're in the front because I've been following you.

I shit you not. This was her answer: Oh, I, yeah, well, um, okay, well, thank you. And she kept dancing and I kept dancing, but we weren't really dancing with each other.

Then we all got in a circle really close and then we backed out into a wide circle and then we did that two more times until it was time for everyone to take a turn and dance in the middle of the circle.

I am not shy to dance in the middle of a circle. However, people were all trying to go at the same time, and I didn't want to awkwardly set foot in the circle when someone else was going, so I didn't dance in the circle. I danced my way to the bathroom as the circle broke up and they started cooling down.

With all this touching and battling and circling, Zumba is turning into something I enjoy for the first forty-five minutes and then dread for ten. With the price rising next year, I'm not sure how much longer I'll put in the effort to go.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Layers

Hockey games are fun! Hockey games are cold! Here's how I go to the Ranger Game.

Period 1: Sweater and scarf, like any normal, fashionable human being.

Period 2: Add a hoodie, keep my hands in my pockets, put my hood up.

Period 3: Put on my hat and coat and gloves. Warmth over fashion every time.

If we go outside, though, I'm super prepared. Like if Eddie and I decide to go see Macy's windows, we're cold but I'm already bundled up.

Eddie's Santa Doppleganger
We look so cute together.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Train Time!

One year when I went to Fresh 102.7 in the Park for a free outdoor summer concert with D and T, we almost melted because it was over 100 degrees even after the sun went down. You know, the type of night when you sit without moving and still sweat. It was gross. Fun but gross.

A fun and not gross time is Fresh 102.7's Holiday Jam! It's in the winter! It's indoors! Yeay!

Eddie and I went to see Train because seeing Train at a smaller venue is the best way to see train. We were at the Hammerstein, not in the general admission stand in a crowd part, but up in the balcony with the ancient seats part. I actually wouldn't mind paying a few dollars more for them to upgrade their seats to be not broken.

With a chill in the air, we walked from Penn to Hammerstein in under three minutes and didn't have very long of a wait outside. As a bonus, we got FREE stuff! We got laminates that said Holiday Jam and had a coupon. We also got bracelets that lit up. The guy handing them out was like, Do you want one?

Want one? I want all the ones!

O.A.R. opened the show. There was one guy in the back up band we really enjoyed who was in the spotlight because he's from New York and it was his birthday. We liked him because he was dancing and putting on his own show. A lot of the crowd who was cheering seemed to be fans who travel to see them and they knew every song. We knew some of the songs and the rest were entertaining.
James Bay was up next. We thought it was going to be a little sleepy because he sings "Let It Go," not the song from Frozen, but the one by, well, him, and it's slow. Apparently, we don't know his music very well. He put on quite the upbeat frenetic show and then he sang "Let It Go." Then he covered "Proud Mary" and I kept insisting Tina Turner was going to come out as a surprise guest. She did not. Still, good cover.
Right after his set was done, a fight broke out in the crowd. Let me say that again: a fight broke out at the Holiday Jam after James Bay. Seriously, know your place, fight-pickers. It was a short fight. It was stupid.

Then it was time for Train. The members of Train are all clearly thankful for being able to play music, and they are clearly having fun. They played mostly known songs and they included the new "Play That Song" that a lot of people already know. Pat Monahan then said that the bassist was going to sing a song. But there was also a special guest! Nope, not Tina Turner. Sorry. But it was Matt Nathanson! So close!They all sang David Bowie's "Pressure" and it was phenomenal.


Free stuff. A bonus Nathanson. This is what the holidays are about.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

We Know Stuff When We Pay Attention To Stuff

Another glorious night of trivia at Sip This! So glorious because I put together a spectacular team (which, might I remind you, is my job--to put the team together), and this team did not come in last!

The topic: Marvel, mostly movies but some comic books

The plan: Read wikipedia daily to learn everything there is to know about Marvel. Look on YouTube to learn about Marvel (and then stop watching because it's just way too complicated). Read IMDB for everything about all Marvel movies. Look up all of Stan Lee's cameos. Go see Doctor Strange. Write as many words on the answer board as possible so that one word might be the right answer.

After a month and maybe twenty pages of notes, I was prepared! Eddie was prepared because he has the ability to watch a movie and remember a lot of stuff about it simply by watching it.

Sidenote: When I watch a movie, I don't know any of the characters' names, and I pretty much forget almost everything it was about except whether or not I enjoyed it. I need to start eating peanuts or whatever it is that makes your memory better.

Also on the team were D and F. D doesn't pay attention to pop culture anything, so this was not her forte. F said he knew some stuff. Some stuff is better than no stuff, so our team was solid!

When Eddie and I walked into Sip This, he told me we'd already lost. He saw someone wearing a Captain America jacket in the back. Maybe it's just a fashion choice. Maybe he doesn't even know it's Captain America. Plus, Captain America is on our side because that's the movie we watched on our honeymoon when the weather took a turn towards torrential downpours, so, you know, that matters.

Trivia started with a question that may as well have been in Japanese because I didn't understand anything it was asking. Then F said, It's Guardians of the Galaxy. I was like, oh, yeah, the one movie I decided not to pay attention to. And so the next two questions were also foreign because they were about the same movie.

Then it took a turn. There was a question and I knew I knew the answer. I wrote it down. We got it right. A point! We got a point!

And on it went. We got a few right in a row. Then we made up a really good answer for a bonus question: What does Jarvis stand for? I could tell you that Jarvis was in the Royal Air Force, but I couldn't tell you what it stood for, so I came up with Just for the J. And then we all added in words. Turns out, we got pretty close, as noted the trivia host. No points for close.

In an attempt to earn points on wrong answers, I took to waving my hand in front of the answers like one of Barker's Beauties. I also waved around the whole board, to which the host replied, That's not working but if you flip it around and do tricks, then maybe. I did not flip the board around for fear it would hit someone in the head.

I also tried smiling really hard and keeping the wrong answer up, which simply led to the host shaking his head "no."

Eddie completed his self-imposed task of getting one answer right. He knew the thingie the Hulk spoke to was called Blue. Then he exceeded expectations during the written portion.

Yes, there was a written portion! They gave us the super hero name and we had to fill in the real name and then the actor name. For any actor I didn't know, I wrote Zach Effron because, you know, why not. Also, I now know his name is spelled Zac Efron, so even that was wrong. There were two or three heroes we'd never even heard of. For those, I made up alliterative names like Bill Bobins and Ned Nevers because most real people names of superheros are alliterative i.e. Peter Parker and Wade Wilson (Spider-man and Deadpool).

The last round was about the comic books, and the final question was about the sinister six, and I knew I had the answer written down on one of my many pages of notes, and I knew that Doc Ock was one of them. So we wrote Doc Ock and then a bunch of other names that may or may not have been actual names of comic book characters.

When all the points were tallied, we came in fourth out of six. Actually, we tied, which according to the host meant there was no last place because no one came in sixth. Sure, I'll go with that. We got 22 points. The winning team got 77. Hooray for mediocrity!

The best part about throwing myself fully into the Marvel world was that it's going to be really helpful for my next poetry collection. The one coming out in March is Liberating The Astronauts, which leans towards sci-fi and science. The one I'm planning after is moving towards superheroes, at least in part. Geekery and poetry and trivia--it all falls into place.

Finally, whenever I start to put a team together, I get a lot of suggestions for trivia in the future, like, I'll be on the team if they have this kind of trivia. So, here are the suggestions even though I have no control over trivia topics:

1. Chinese History
2. History in general
3. War history
4. Cars, as in the automobiles, not the movie
5. Another Seinfeld
6. Another Disney
7. The Big Bang Theory
8. Music
9. Indiana Jones

My only suggestion is me winning.