I ran outside yesterday for the first time in a long time. My iPod died halfway, but surprisingly the view was enough to keep me focused. I ran the entire loop from 59th st. to 110th st and back. I was planning to keep going but I definitely underestimated how it would feel to run on actual terrain for the first time in a while.

A lot of things are changing in the park. Near the 70s, there was a little tunnel made out of tree branches that inertwined, but it was hacked and cut through. Tavern on the Green, although I think I heard about this, was out of business and the lawn and parking lot bare. That was a little depressing. It was always a fixture at Central Park with all of its lights and pruned animals (I especially like the unicorns). I am surprised no one wanted to jump start it. It was always a place that just rested on its previous laurels and location. I had my prom there, which was beautiful, but the food was less than. I don’t remember anything from the food that night.

I used to run regularly when I lived in Manhattan, but now I try to fit a run in in the mornings, so I’m running on a treadmill for less time. It’s completely different and I missing running in Central Park. Especially with the winter, running outside after I get out of work isn’t really an option. The only opportunity I would have is to come into Manhattan early on the weekends.

I am going to have to do that more often, since I applied for the 2011 New York Marathon Lottery and joined Road Runners to qualify for 2012. At one point I could run 12 miles like nothing, but clearly I need some more training now. My aim is to run the 26 miles under 5 hours. My stride for running 5-6 miles is 9 minute miles, around 10 it’s over 10 minutes, around 10:15 miles. If I were to run 26 miles now, I’m pretty sure the time would go over 5 hours.

It’s not that I have any desire to be a marathon runner, but the NYC Marathon is different with an incredible vibe. As a New Yorker that’s lived here her entire life, I just want to run it at least once (and maybe twice – if I get in for 2011).

So… here’s to many other runs in 2011 in Central Park!

I was going to complain about how I’m not good at updating this blog again. Instead, I am going to talk about blogs through the years…

I’ve had this blog FOREVER. I think I started blogging around 1997-1998. Those archives are still somewhere on the net, if my ex, whose servers I used, still has it up and running. (Consequently my site shared space with their porn archives. Just saying.) I’ve had couple of domains and finally settled here at winglike right around 2001… if I’m not mistaken.

This is just to say, I’ve seen the culture develop and morph. I’ve followed some people like Dooce, since before her marriage or two kids. I actually think other than Dooce, there is no one else that I’ve followed for this long that has continued to blog, which is sad. And recently, I’ve been lamenting that I don’t have any real interesting personal blogs to follow. Zannah over at found and vox machina, who is mostly MIA, might be the only other person. Sure, there are technical blogs, advise blogs, fashion blogs, etc… The closest is my friend Lohr, who I have been following for years. Even my close friends who used to have Livejournals have stopped updating.

One of the more interesting parts of blog culture was the whole E/N scenes that popped up in the late 90s. One point, I used to be hooked on cam culture. That might not sound like much, but it was voyeurism before reality TV took off. There were the pretty girls hamming it up for the cameras and then there were the weird nerd people posting odd shit on their webcams. I had a webcam and can you guess which one I fell into? Unfortunately a lot of them went underground or came full out of the PG closet. (Remember Nay? Apparently she went full on adult site and now retired with a child.) E/N sites (Entertainment? Everything/Nothing sites? Who knows what it stands for now.) were the shit and I used to read Webgossip by Webpig religiously. Now, I don’t think there is anything quite like that anymore.

What I really want is some juicy linear story telling and living vicariously. I used to follow this law secretary who worked in Paris, who wrote beautifully and lived an exciting life. I’ve met her once in person, too and corresponded with her. However, she eventually stopped writing after she applied, got in, and graduated from Harvard law school and went into a full time job. It’s to be expected.

It’s funny, Lohr writes about the same thing, where he refers to these journals as “lost voices.” And that is exactly what they are. I think I am just not immersed in the right blog or blogroll, but it looks like there is nothing out there.

I think this is also partly why I don’t write. I understand the need to close up shop and move on. Perhaps the time for personal blogs have come and gone. I feel like the blogs that get traffic now are “self-help” or “hot-to” blogs that focus narrowly to one topic. (It’s good to know what you’re getting, I guess.) Oftentimes I thought about closing up the archives and moving to a different name incognito. However, there’s just something sad about that. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that without inspiration and other people writing, I’ve lost perspective on how and what to write about.

I liked to follow people and hear about their lives… in hopes that I might feel inspired to do something new. I felt inspired to read a new book they raved about or go on vacation to a new and exciting destination. It’s a window to someone’s life and I guess that laid the foundation for my reality TV addiction. You know? I just want to read something funny and refreshing.

Holiday Greetings! I hope everyone is done with their shopping!
(Ho ho ho – since it’s a bit too late now…)

I haven’t been into this Christmas, really, but I did do some shopping. It was mostly for my partner’s parents and sisters. I got something for my mother and some other select items. It’s funny, but I bought most of these things during a week period two weeks ago at various sample sales.

Just in time for the holidays, all the fashion companies were having sample sales of their previous spring and fall line. Of course it’s a gimmick, but one that draws me in like a moth to a flame. I usually don’t shop, but when you put me in front of a good deal… game over.

I used to work near 3 “Lots Less” stores and for a while I used to go to them religiously 3 times a week. My coworkers would be like, “?!$#&!” My cubicle had at least 2 full bags that I would need to take home at any time. They would ask me why I need 10 small 99 cent mac n’ cheese cups to keep in the office (and subsequently steal them – ahem!), but at the time it seemed like a good idea. I would buy random items that seemed brilliant, like a laptop lap board with fans in it to cool your laptop. Have I used it even once? Nah.

Seriously. These shops should have business meetings with my big fat face as the target.

That week… I would innocently enough just stop by during lunch to browse… and then 30 minutes later I am wincing at the register as I purchase non-returnable items in bulk. It started as “I’m just going to pick up this $10 scarf… which somehow turned into $100+. I don’t really want to discuss that. Ridiculous. I think in that one week, I went to Collection 18 (which does Henri Bendel, Vera, etc…), Natori, Lauren Merkin, etc… At work I would go to lunch and literally come back with two large paper bags. It was ridiculous and I lamented that I probably have a problem. I would leave, just to browse, and of course come back with serious baggage.

The tipping point of when I realized my problem was when I finished my initial Christmas shopping and still went back to accessory shop. I found some silk scarves marked down 90% and decided to get 6. I saw my friend Lige the other day and this is SUCH an Asian thing. We’re like squirrels hoarding acorns for the winter… because uh… delicate silk scarves are going to keep me so warm. Um, yeah. Does that work? (And yes they were all the same.)

Issues. Anyway. This is just to say, I finished my shopping that week. Today was spent quietly at the gym and at home with my mother. I gave her her present and tomorrow will probably be just as quiet. We’re not big Christmas people.

As an afterthought, I told my mother about my excessive scarf buying and she was, of course, in agreement that those are always good to have around. Like mother like daughter, I suppose. She’s the one who taught me how to hoard. (Oy vey!)

The Laundromat had a gallery opening the other night. And I just couldn’t resist buying a particular piece. It is Blackout by Liz Atzberger. If you remember, we have a piece by her already. It’s using black paint and magnets and it’s a beautiful small piece. I like how the edges are washed in a rusty red and green haze, and add to the light and depth of the black. Liz mentioned that it would make a good companion piece to the other work we have. I didn’t really think of that, but I have to agree. The variation in mediums makes me want to position them in a way where they will oppose each other, black and white… I’m still throwing around some ideas in my head. I’m still trying to figure out where to put it. Kevin hopefully will walk over and install it for us. I’m used to associating her with plastic cable ties (which I dealt with way too much when I worked for the NYS Dept. of Ed.) and bright neon colors, so it’s funny that we have pieces that are primarily white and black.
I was telling Ryan that I was a little against getting a second piece, once I found out it was her, because I didn’t want to have a “thing.” I am fundamentally a little allergic to the idea of having a “thing.” The only thing more ridiculous is to make “not having a thing,” a thing in of itself, so I ignored that and went with my gut.

The show itself was along similar lines as the The burger show they did last year. Basically the showing artists create concepts that people will consume. There were some really great burger ideas last year. There was some talk about doing a hot dog show, but they settled on drinks. I think practically that that is the better idea. However, I was a little excited a for the idea of hot dogs. This, I think was a winning idea. They had an extensive menu of tasty treats and cute names.
Ben Godward’s drink seamlessly melded with his sculpture, which consists of buckets and globules of paint creating something of a neon phallic mountain-scape. His corona bottles were mini little sculptures that one of the prop stylists that attended the show bought for a famous day time talk show host/cook. (And coincidentally Ben was so sweet and gave us a bottle to have, which we are a little hesitant to open. We have something this semi-famous person has. HAH.)
We also had a Creamaster, which was a white russian, inspired by the video artist Matthew Barney by Artist Bob Scheib. (Who, by the way, enthusiastically made us the drinks and didn’t charge us exclaiming, “Art should be free!”) Another notable whiskey and soda green drink with a plastic shark was “The impossibility of a hangover in the mind of someone getting drunk…” Liz created a drink with coffee grinds, anise and vodka, which was pretty frightening, but went down pretty easily. Finally, I had the bacon salt rimmed pickle martini with a pickled brussel sprout, because it has everything I love. And it was surprisingly creamy and pretty damn awesome. Late in the party, I was running around shouting, “LICK THE RIM” pretty enthusiastically. That’s what happens to me when you mix bacon, martini, pickles, and brussel sprouts with me.

Finally, there was this beautiful delicate piece by Maiko Susu Shioda. I’m annoyed that my iphone couldn’t capture the details of the dress, which was made out of a certain type of packing tissue. It was delicate with dress like creases, a peter pan collar, and beautiful intricate details done in collage form.
Amy and Kevin purchased this piece (which was inquired about by other patrons, as well…), but they showed me an alternate piece that she did, pencil and paper of a bird, that was delicate, intricate with its wings splayed. Her lines are amazingly skillful with its texture and fineness. I was tempted to buy the piece, but it felt too impulsive. I might brood on it.

Maybe someone more knowledgeable can set me straight, but I don’t understand what charges they can bring against modern Polygamous couples, like the one highlight in the current “Sister Wives” scandal. I don’t see how they can charge him with “marrying” more than one wife, when it’s illegal to begin with to marry more than one person.

Let me explain, there is no way legally that all four of his marriages are legal, so technically he isn’t breaking the law, right? I mean, he’s cohabiting and having sex with 4 women, one of them his wife, and their children. I don’t see what charges they can bring towards him. What’s the difference legally between this and someone with an open marriage letting someone who has a sexual relationship with one or both of them live with them for a while? Seriously.

In the very least, I suppose a conservative place like Utah can claim that it’s a harmful environment for their kids and attempt to displace them… I wouldn’t be surprised if they were able to do something like that.

Of course, I don’t know the law in Utah, or in many other states, so I can’t really say whether there is some other archaic law binding them.

I feel like in this instance, people are calling this marriage a marriage, because it helps them damn them. Whereas other situations where people consider themselves privately married and living with each other are not recognized under the law as marriage.

Everyone knows that I LOVE THE OFFICE. Parks and Recreation got off to a bumpy start, but I really like Amy Poeler and after a while, the show really grew on me. It was a subtler humor, not as sad or as sardonic as the office, but kind of light hearted and zany. And some of the humor is SO abstract. I love Ron. He is my favorite character, I think. I love how he loves breakfast foods, enough that there is a mention of it in almost every other episode (how there is a larged framed picture of eggs and bacon as his decor. I too had a picture of a banana… committing suicide…).

I love how Parks and Recreation is different. All the main characters on the show are quirky and weird, but in a different way than in The Office. I like how, “Middle America” it is. I like how it’s a departure from the British-based show and something completely different. I like how both shows are feature bosses/management being completely passionate about a thankless job that most people wouldn’t think twice about. I was really skeptical about the show, but I think it’s really well conceived and has finally developed a great identity. I’m just afraid that it doesn’t have too many fans as of yet… (And I am secretly afraid it is turning into a show that focuses on romantic relationship/melodrama… instead of awkward encounters and other work based quirky work relationships.)

And really, work is just like The Office and Parks and Recreation (and even 30 ROCK!). Seriously. People get really bored. For example, at my last job… I had an on-going “cube war,” with the guy who shared my neighboring super cubes. (As people left, we would poach and take over other cubicles, as F-ed up as that sounds.) One time, he spent … I don’t know how long, making like hundreds of tiny paper balls. And then waited until precisely the right moment to ambush me showering me with it all, shouting, “CUBE WARS.” Unfortunately I was in a really foul mood and he almost made me cry. :P But yes, this was also the same guy that made creepy masks of people in the office so that a bunch of us could wear it and walk around being … a group of really creepy people.

You know, fun times.

I think work comedies are a really good idea, because it kind of forcibly brings together a diverse group of people, the audience can definitely relate to most situations, and zany shit really does happen.

One time in one of my other jobs, someone high up was getting fired. As one of the managers of the IT stuff in the office, I had to watch her pack up and walk her down. In the process the woman took out a crystal ball (and I all ready knew she had some zany new age stuff up her sleeves) out of her desk, and asked me to keep it for her. An awkward exchange happened, where I just said, “No.” And she was trying to be sweet and leave it behind. Yeah. Don’t ask. I think she pawned it on the controller until around 6 or so months later when she had some random guy pick it up.

Everyone has odd coworkers, right? When I was in my government job, there was someone everyone referred to as “Inspector Gadget,” because he was a hoarder and would go dumpster diving. All the weirdest stuff (like when I needed to get my key altered (cut/trimmed a little), you would go to him and he would have EVERYTHING and the most random-est shit ever.

Everyone has crazy work stories. Next time, over a few beers, ask me about the time I came back from the Consumer Electronics Show and had to deal with a bleeding crack addict in my work elevator… coming at my coworkers.

I am convinced that I have enough true life material to come up with at least a season’s worth of materials. I really do.

(Hey I noticed something funny. I’ve worked for a sales oriented company, aka. a Dunder Mifflin, a government office/branch, like Parks and Recreation, and am currently working for a network… kinda like 30 Rock!)

Here’s the thing, insurances, the different plans, the separate plans for health, dental, vision, home-owners/renters, pet insurance etc… I just don’t want to deal with it. I’ve gotten screwed over, especially with dental plans in the past. I’ve come to accept that it’s going to involve a continual *ss-r*ping, if I can be crude.

I’ve never had insurance growing up. I think I did up until a point where I got gravely ill and Blue Cross/Shield whatever refused to pay my parents and they went all rogue just paying for medical in cash. That might freak you out, but I was used to it. I went through years of life without any insurance. Now that I am grown up with a job, I have insurance for myself, but I can definitely understand why anyone would lose faith in the system and just say, “screw it!”

I got a root canal done on a tooth that is still a baby. Long story short, adult teeth doesn’t exist there, so I still have my baby teeth. Since I cannot afford a $3,000 implant, I would like to keep said tooth. I got a root canal done and a crown put on. The insurance paid for part of the crown, but I paid for all $1,200 of the damn root canal (and then like $300 or so for my part of the crown). It sucked.

This time around, when my crown came off, I am told that my current insurance isn’t accepted by them. I can either go somewhere else, or they will just charge me for the extra post they put in (and they will give me a crown free of charge). Fine. So I am going to pay them another $300+ for that. Are you following this, internet? SCREWED out of dental. What is the point of opting into my dental plan…? Should I change to a PPO that is accepted? Find another dentist? (I am a little sensitive to dentists)

Headache. And now, I need to find renter’s insurance. Really, I was skating by without getting one for so long. Recently someone in my building was in need of some security like that… I’m not sure of the details, but it reminded me to hop on it. Do you know how mind-numbingly annoying looking at different quotes and shopping around is? I am ready to almost throw in the towel.

I just really hate navigating these waters. I think that maybe I just want my choice eliminated. Just give me something and it will be the end of story. If it sucks, I can complain that it couldn’t be any other way and go on with my life. Of course I am only semi-serious…

For example, my mother’s Medicare. I HATE reading about what plans were discontinued, what she can do to amend get other drug coverage, and all these other companies wanting to sell her a second insurance. For the most part they all seem like scams. Like, really does she need an extra AARP plan that might make her primary insurance not want to pay for something because she has an alternate plan? Am I suppose to be doing something here? How do I advise her? How is she expected to know what to do?

Maybe this would interest me if I hedged and made bets, but really insurance shouldn’t be about that. We can’t really possibly be expected to make a choice on all these promises when we have no real way of knowing whether they will follow through. THAT is what really pisses me off. I don’t understand most of it but I’m forced to navigate the waters going on what little I think I get. This is exhausting and just depressing.

So much of a lot of businesses is dealing with abstract ideas of much speculation. You know, when businesses play with money they don’t have yet, but their projected profits for the future. We’re putting money away for very idea of some future we don’t know about. That’s fine. But even the insurance isn’t any guarantee that everything will be taken care of. Not to get all meta up in here, but we need a contingency plan on these insurance policies. For reals.

Brooklyn is a very distinct place. I remember the fragmented image I had of the place right before I moved in. In High School, it was either residential, scary, or bare. I ventured into the borough only 3 or so times. By the time I went to Graduate school, it was a hip hip place that all the people in my program moved into (that and it’s low rents). I think that was the time that I really explored Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Prospect Park, and not yet gentrified Flatbush area…

I remember bringing my mother over to see my apartment, walking from the train station through warehouse neighborhoods. She called it a “Slum,” and I just said that she didn’t understand. I live in a residential street with tons of local families and new transplants living together. For the most part, for the three years I’ve been here, there have been couple of incidents that made me feel shitty (like local kids throwing things), but for the most part the good out-weigh the bad.

Although I have been told that Bushwick has immense hipster clout, for the most part, I think the outside media imagines most of it. Most people here are down to earth, living here because the rent is right. We’re just riding the coat tails of some of the transplants from Williamsburg, who are probably just too cool for words, but spends most their time hiking it up to Bedford. In fact, East Williamsburg feels more like a young artist’s commune than party central. For example, there is this article I read a few weeks back in the Style section of the NY Times about Bushwick Collectives that is really great. It dissects the food, art, and living communities that exist in this hub between Montrose and Dekalb.

I personally really connected with this neighborhood after discovering and patron-ing a lot of the great watering holes that exist now. Before that, I felt a little like I was stuck.

There has been several articles in the New York Times romanticizing or condemning Bushwick. There was an article a few months ago about commune living here, where poor artists live in bed bug ridden warehouses with no doors or no privacy for super cheap rent. I think it fascinates a larger part of the Times audience that lives in Manhattan. Yes, I know of many occurrences where this happens. However, a lot of people in Bushwick are 30s-near 30s, living social responsible, non-communal lives.

Of course, for responsible family living, Prospect Park area/Park Slope is known for the mommy carriage invasion. Bushwick, seems to attract, perhaps because of the living spaces, singles and youths. Park Slope, on the other hand, seems to have sprawling beautiful brownstones and new complexes being built (which is also happening in Bushwick, though) that seems more condusive to family life.

Bushwick/East Williamsburg really grew on me. The kicker are the great bars and restaurants (because that’s really where my priorities are at) that are popping up all over the place. Bodega Bar, the Narrows Bar, and Momo Sushi Shack just to name a few recent notables. I mean, it’s to the point that we are scheduling bar crawls in my neighborhood, starting with Wreck Room, Narrows, and then Tandem, eventually ending up at Bodega Bar. Seriously.

Anyway, the article does a good job of summarizing the collective mindset that exists in a lot of the businesses in the area, which I think is amazing.

Roberta’s, for example, the locavore pizzeria near the Morgan Avenue L stop, acts as a kind of community headquarters for area residents and local business owners. In a backyard tent, the managers of the Wreck Room bar and the Deth Killers of Bushwick, a fashion company, can be found doing inventory on their laptops…

In addition to food advocates, Bushwick is loaded with artists. Many have formed collectives to combat the isolation of the studio, the disappearance of state arts funding and what they see as the commercialism of the art world. Rather than petition fruitlessly for Chelsea gallery representation, these groups exhibit their work wherever they can — bedrooms, stairwells, street corners.

Although the article features the Times darling, Roberta’s, I think they should have done some more research in the new places opening up and creating communities. There is the Loom Space, which I first discovered during Bushwick Open Studios. It is a large beautiful space filled with odd stores (Better Than Jam – great dress shop, Knitting Stores, Hair Salons, Bike Shops, Furniture Stores, and a Shabbat) and a HUGE rent-able bar with a sprawling beautiful back door space. It’s like a re-conceived notion of a mini-mall. Really, like a Brooklyn interpretation of a small business owned mini-mall, within a beautiful art gallery. You shouldn’t let the stark outside fool you. Come in doors and prepare to be a little impressed. When there is a party going on inside, definitely peek in. It’s pretty happening.

Another group that I feel should have been mentioned is Laundromat Gallery. I’ve spoken about The Laundromat before, which is a community apartment loft converted as a gallery, run by Kevin and Amy. It features local artists and as well as visiting artists, such as their many featured international artists. They have a lot of ties to the artist community in Bushwick and got a lot of press for their Burger show.

Finally, another group the Times should have included is the burgeoning theater group, Hybrid Theater Works, which did a huge collaboration with Brooklyn performance artist at the end of August. Although I think their headquarters is downtown Manhattan, Tracy who runs it is a recent Brooklyn-ite that runs these great shows on Bushwick rooftops.

A real community is continuing to develop here that’s pretty exciting and I hope to be celebrating it here, on this blog.