By Corinne Flax
August 15th, 2005
An Exercise In Self-Indulgence
This Sunday was a better day then I could have ever anticipated. I imagined I would wake up late, hung over, and have to run to pick up the kid I babysit for in Time Square. We'd probably miss the train we wanted to get, and would be forced to loaf around Grand Central for an hour, during which he would tease me unmercifully. Then I'd have to rush to get home and change for work, work would be long and arduous and we'd get out so late that I'd barely be able to drive home with my eyes open. Instead I woke up without (yes, I said without,) a hangover, picked up my charge right on time, got on the train twenty minutes before it left, got home with time to study for the GREs, work was fun and easy leaving me with enough energy to go out afterwards and visit a friend. Expecting the worst can be great like that, it makes anything better then awful seem amazing.
Now I am going to indulge myself, which is something I am singularly good at. One of my secret dreams has always been to be a food critic, and I had a really fabulous meal on Saturday night.
The restaurant is called Hell's Kitchen for its location, 679 Ninth Ave somewhere around 50 th st. When you walk in the door you are greeted by warm orange and red tiled floors and candelabra made out of wine bottle racks. We started with the house margaritas, which were free, and therefore my favorite type of drink ever. I actually don't normally like margaritas because they are too sweet, but these had a nice kick of lime and not much sugar. After drinks we sat at a window table and munched on complementary corn crunchers with bean dip. For an appetizer we got the lobster fritters, which came on a bed of cold corn and chive salad. One of the things about this restaurant was that everything was served on a bed of something else. The fritters were amazing, each bite released an explosion of spicy hot oil that made your mouth a truly fantastic place to be. For our main course I ordered the tuna steak, which came crusted and perfectly rare surrounded by a lake of spicy peanut sauce. Underneath the tuna was a bed of steamed greens on top of a yucca and potato pancake. The yucca and potato pancake was sweet, the greens lent a cool note to the dish, and all of this seemed to move in perfect harmony with the meaty fish and spicy sauce. My friend had the grilled shrimp, which were served in a really cute and novel fashion. Each shrimp was placed atop a grilled slice of plantain that was then spread with guacamole. This combination was really great, although I thought the dish was brought down a little bit by the bed of stereotypical Asian salad it was served on top of, made of shaved carrots, Chinese crispy noodles, and some random green crunchy vegetable.
Thanks for bearing with me on that one, it was fun, for me at least. The other event of note on Saturday was the two hours we spent in Ara, a wine bar in the meat packing district. This was really fun because the bartender and my friend are buddies. I got to try all sorts of wines, and I felt cool because the I knew the bartender's name.
Hopefully within the week I'm going to be getting some pictures up here, and then you'll be able to see what I see...also Christian's blog moved and this is where it is now.
August 13th, 2005
Another Rough Saturday Morning
Blech, it's morning, it's Saturday, and my head feels like it needs to be de-linted. I stayed out to late last night playing beer pong at somebody's parent's house. If my sister wasn't at home I wouldn't have gone because it was her friend's party. Since she's only going to be around for a few more weeks before she goes to Japan for a semester I feel like I have to spend as much time with her as possible. Being in someone's parent's house, drinking nasty light beer, trying to make those damn ping-pong balls into the cups, it all made me feel very old and young at the same time. I didn't want to go really, but I felt like it would be wrong to bail on my sister and my friends. We'd had a nice barbeque, and watched the most amazing thunder storm from the porch, and I probably would have been content to curl up with a movie at 11:00 last night, but instead I opted for more beer and less sleep.
I've been studying for the GRE every day this week, and today is not meant to be an exception, although my head feels like its packed in cotton wool. Hopefully after I write this I'll have the energy to try find where I stashed my books and then I'll open them up. It's almost 11 right now, and I've been awake since nine, just unable to get anything done until my body fully woke up. Actually being able to spend a nice long morning in bed with a book, is there anything that really tops that? I'm reading Movern Callar by Allan Warner, and the whole thing is written in really thick Welsh dialect, so I feel like I'm really accomplishing something when I read it. It's an interesting book, and I recommend it to anyone with a somewhat macabre sense of humor.
Tonight I'm going into the city to act like an adult with a friend. This friend sells wine and liquor to restaurants and we're going to go to all the places he likes and do a 'wine bar crawl', but first we've got reservations at 7:30 at Hell's Kitchen. I'm excited to go out all gussied up on the arm of my (very attractive and very platonic) friend, but my feelings are more mixed then that. While it's going to be nice it's also going to be expensive. I've really got to start saving money for my big move in January, and going out in NYC to expensive bars isn't exactly the way to do that. Also we are essentially going out to drink, which means that we will be getting drunk, which means I will be waking up hung over. Since I have to pick up the kid I babysit on Sunday morning at 1030 at Time Square this means I will be waking up hung over and then taking care of a precocious 11 year old. On top of all that after I get my charge from one parent to the other I'll be putting in a solid work day at good old Starbucks, which I'm sure is going to be great.
So now you're thinking, 'Well sweetheart, don't go out, don't spend the money, don't get drunk, and don't get hung over.' I retort "Easy for you to say!" Even though I know what the sensible thing to do would be I am completely and totally unable to not go through with this evening. It's summer, its hot out, New York City is grinding away at a speed that boggles my mind. I'm going to have such a good time watching how the beautiful people live while (hopefully,) getting compd. drinks from bartenders my friend knows. Yes, the morning after is going to be a painful one but there's that old saying, no beauty without pain.
August 11th, 2005
Life As We Know It
Life is such a matter-of-fact thing. It can be condensed into five or six simple actions; going to school, working, sleeping, eating, having sex, and excreting. If you're lucky maybe you read some books or watch some good movies in the mix, you might even go on vacation or go swimming. Essentially though it's a hamster wheel of work, sleep, and not much else. In my heart I have always had romantic notions about life, about how it works and how its meant to be. The older I get the more often I am forced to cast away my romantic notions and see the world without their softening veil.
It always used to surprise me, and still does sometimes, how blunt people can be about the various things that happen to them. For me almost everything is an important plot point that will have to be considered later at great length. Deer tick found on stomach? Well that must mean something that we won't discover till next year. You got to spend a semester in Italy? Well you must have gained something other then the ability to speak conversational Italian at bars and a wider knowledge of cured meats. No matter what anyone says (including myself,) I know that everything that's happened to me in life is supposed to mean something.
Perhaps I'm not getting my point across clearly. Amazing crazy wonderful things happen to me, and I assume everyone else all the time. Personally I feel compelled to tell people about the things that happen to me. I want to inform people about my life, bring them in and let them somehow know the joy/pain in the ass it can be to be me. Then I talk to other people and I find out that their lives are as, if not more, amazing then my own. One person grew up in Japan, another knows how to scuba dive, someone else knows Dave Grohl personally. How is it possible that everyone is so damn unique?
Then there are the sad things that happen, the things that you don't want to believe to be true, that are supposed to happen to other people and wind up happening to you. When I was younger the things that I thought were to much to handle were painfully insignificant compared to what's been thrown at me since. Once when I was at college a member of my group of friends ended up with oral herpes. Oral herpes is highly contagious and permanent since it is a virus. This was at college and we were all spending 24/7 together so there was a lot of concern as to whether or not everyone would end up with it. In fact we were all so freaked out that we were unable to do any of our homework that night, and were forced to deal with our concerns by getting drunk instead. The next morning I explained to my teachers that I was unable to do my work because of my tension and concern over getting an infectious disease. For some reason this was ok.
This could never have happened in the real world. In the real world people get fired for going to a friend's funeral and leaving work twenty minutes early. In the real world friends get much worse diseases then oral herpes and you worry about whether or not they will be around next year, not whether or not they will infect you. I've had friends die in car crashes, kill themselves, get killed by drunk drivers, go and fight in Iraq, and get addicted to different substances. I have known people in abusive relationships, watched as friends got pregnant and dealt with that in many different ways, and lose jobs, apartments and parents.
So what exactly am I trying to say? I'm trying to say that the world is a cup brimming over with different things, some good and some poison. There is no way to make it through this world without drinking, and there is no way of taking the good without the bad. Sometimes I honestly can't believe we don't just all go crazy right now and get it over with, there's so much out there that we can't see or control. Living is like flying a plane through a cloud and not being able to use the radar.
August 9th, 2005
Doldrums Of Daily Life
21 days till the GREs, do you know where your practice book is?
Actually I do know where my practice book is, its over there by my bed. It's 11:12, and in an hour I'm going to go play bingo with my grandmother. Right now I should be jumping into the shower, but instead I'm trying to deal with my freakish nature by writing. Wa-hoo! Its tough dividing your days off into little effective blocks of hard work. Someday I'd love to be able to just work from home, but how would I get anything done? Without the goad of a job to get me going its hard for me to contemplate how I would get myself moving.
Speaking about not getting anything done, showers are so damn tough to get into for me. For some reason they have begun to seem like such a waste of time, I imagine that if I actually didn't have to interact with people I'd probably only shower once a week, instead of three or four times. When I was younger I was totally obsessed with showering, I'd shower two times a day sometimes, and this while I was at college using the communal bathrooms. Now I live at home with all the amenities and comforts therein, and I can't seem to force myself to bathe. There's got to be something wrong with me,
Then there's the stuff I don't even have to try to get done. Taking a walk is a pleasure, and I almost always seem to able to make time for that, even though I can't seem to get to the gym ever since it got warm outside. While I seem to have serious issues depositing my pay checks and paying my phone bill on time I have no issue getting to my favorite thrift store once a week. Finally even though I seem conditionally unable to make doctor's appointments in a timely fashion I have no problem getting into Manhattan every weekend to see my friends. All in all it seems as if my priorities are skewed towards relaxing and chilling out rather then practical needs. At least I drink enough water.
So now I'm going to go and take that shower I was talking about, and then hopefully I'm going to clean up at bingo. After that I have plans with my friend Bert to study for the GRE while he studies for the LSATS. I've found that when you study with a buddy you often work harder and more effectively, if only because you want to impress the other person. Plus which sometimes they know answers and tricks that you've never heard of. I doubt I'll be much help with the LSATS, but I bet he can help me with the math sections that are hard for me. In fact I might be able to get him to explain quadratic equations to me, if I'm lucky.
I guess I'll leave you all with a little bit of, well let's call it advice, that I just got from a book called The Lake Affect the advice was to try and live in the future, but only five minutes in the future. The idea being to not try and plan ahead any farther then you can see. I'm not sure if its good advice or bad, but it stuck in my head and I thought I'd pass it on.
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