Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Hollow Blog.

Right before he fell asleep at this play, Jesse brought it to my attention that I ended this blog rather abruptly - in the middle of my Brooklyncation, no less! That situation deserves to be rectified.

It's an exciting time to be a cupcake - Netflix is now offering Charles in Charge on Instawatch, I have a great new career, the Funfetti is flowing and I attened a bris. All good things must come to an end; on an unrelated note, this blog will also come to an end.

Thank you to everyone who clicked through, day after day and continued to believe in this blog long after it lost its mojo. Your encouragement, support and suggestions have been greatly appreciated. If you would like to keep up with my projects in the future, please email iminthecupcakemafia at gmail dot com and join the mailing list.

In the meantime, I hope you will consider supporting my new side project - raising money to fight leukemia with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. More information here.

Now, I will leave you with the words of the famous blogger T.S. Elliott

This is the way the blog ends
This is the way the blog ends
This is the way the blog ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Thanks for the memories. Remember, it's not over until the fat lady licks the wrapper.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

On my Second Day of Brooklyncation

On my second day of Brooklyncation I rose late and after I finally showered, I dragged myself to the bakery across the street for a cappuccino and a double chocolate biscotti. Then I walked to the park (Prospect, natch) for some rest and relaxation in the shade. The park was full of mommies, nannies, lovers and losers. I watched a soccer coach lead a pee wee team through calisthenics. The sight alone of four-year olds doing jumping-jacks was worth the price of admission. The coach only made them do 10 - I fear this country will never be a contender in the World Cup. I laid prone on the grass reading a yellow paperback. A mother with androgynous blond twin babies settled next to them and cooed at them in Russian. I contemplated becoming a Green Card bride so that I need never return to work.

I walked to the library and returned some books, whereupon I incurred a five dollar fine. Next year, I'm claiming the Brooklyn Public Library as a dependent on my tax return. I went to the ladies room and encountered a "Marty For Life: End Term Limits" sticker. Outside my stall, two older black women discussed the dangers of "waiting until the last minute" and when I exited I noticed that one of them had undone her fly and was clutching paper towels.

I decided to take advantage of a weekday afternoon to go shopping at Target, thinking that the place couldn't possibly be as crazy as it is on weekends. However there were still enough foul-mouthed toddlers, teenage mother and dysfunctional families in every color of the rainbow to make it truly depressing. But I was able to get a shopping cart without punching anyone in the face; that was a big improvement.

At night, MuppetLover and I took a walk to Fort Greene and ate in the courtyard at ICI. It was a fantastic meal and a beautiful night. Suggestions on how to spend the remaider of Brooklyncation are encouraged.

Proud Day to Be a Skipper

Thanks to SmartyPants, and then Jesse, for bringing this story to my attention. Apparently, the best-tasting tap water in this country is in Southampton, MA. Snore. But, (but!) the short list of finalists in the competition included my hometown, North Kingstown, RI. Frankly I am as shocked as you are. It's a fine, fine day to be a Skipper (my high school mascot. Do you feel me, Beta?). Of course, Jesse's hometown is ... Southampton, MA so once again he has triumphed over me, but more odd is the coincidence that we were bounded by reservoir to be friends.

Also, thanks to Hooly for drawing my attention to this story in the New Yorker. If you think a long form piece of journalism about elevators could not possibly be interesting, boy are you wrong. On the New Yorker's website you can see a time lapse video captured of Nicholas White, who was stuck in an elevator in Manhattan for 41 hours. Just watching this makes me want to die. Here is my favorite part of the article, written by Nicholas Paumgarten:

In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties,
the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it
works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a
key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to
watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually
closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer.

Fish Camp

Here are some examples of shacks from a fishing camp in the swamp (a real fish camp, not this kind). This area was only accessible by boat. It was difficult to tell if these shacks were destroyed in the storm, or if this is what they have always looked like.Not to sound like an idiot, but cruising around the swamp made me think of Kermit the Frog. I learned the difference between a bayou and a swamp, but I forgot it. I do remember that marshes don't have trees.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"91! I'm playing the drums!

On my first Day of Brooklyncation

No disrespect to the Big Easy, but I have been looking forward to having five days to bum around Brooklyn nearly as much as my trip to NOLA. There is something so decadent about cruising the leafy streets of Park Slope, laying around in the park and getting some leisurely shopping done while the rest of the grown-up world is at work (bartenders and hookers not included). Of course, in my neck of Brooklyn one must share the daylight hours with the ever present stroller brigade, but I'm not sweating it.

On my first day of Brooklyn Vacation (henceforth "Brooklyncation") I discovered an amazing lunch special at Sette in Park Slope. I had Parmesan fritters, bucatini pomodoro and a fine cup of coffee for ten bucks. Then I went to Tarzian West to shop for a bread knife, so I don't embarrass myself the next time Mr. and Mrs. Marcy come by. This day, I had the shop to myself and only had to worry about knocking over some wine glasses with my hip new tote bag. And, okay, in addition to the bread knife, I walked out with a new spatula and a silicone pastry brush (because Mrs. Marcy has one and I want one) but I restrained myself from purchasing the collapsible silicone colander, some new tea towels and the air-tight storage jars. George W. had better personally send me a thank-you note for all the dough I'm pumping into the economy. I took my time walking home and stopped at the new (to me) YoGo Monster, which I first inspected because I thought it might be a yoga studio with a sense of humour (these are lacking in Brooklyn). It's one of those new, natural Greek-style frozen yogurt joints. I had an amazing peach and strawberry twist cone, but wondered when a small ice cream cone hit $3.50. That makes me feel better about splurging on a pint of Ciao Bella.

I went home and took a roundly satisfying afternoon nap. Then I woke up, made scrambled eggs and sourdough toast, and watched more episodes of Law & Order SVU than is healthy thanks to Netflix InstaWatch. I dicked around with Word Press and was back in bed by 2:30am, lulled to sleep by the most recent podcast of Radio Lab. Erm, remind me to do a Google search for "Jad Abumrad" now that I have some time on my hands.

Brooklyncation, I think I love you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Can You Spot the Gators?

French Quarter

A quiet April Morning in the French Quarter. Not many tourists about (I was down there in between the French Quarter Festival and the Jazz Festival) but lots of conventioneers in town, absent-mindedly wearing their name badges everywhere they went. Also encountered several French tour groups.

Do You Know What it means to miss New Orleans?

Harrah's Casino

Made a sizable donation to the video slots here. If you think casinos are loud places, you should hang out here. I was sitting at a bewitching penny slot machine, happily sipping away on a diluted cocktail when a full second line jazz band complete with mummers marched through the casino and halted 30 feet from me to try to drown out the standard casino din with some dixieland jazz. Needless to say, I loved it. In addition to the band there was an unfortunate Native American (Chocktow?) rounding out the group, dressed in pink and sullenly banging a tambourine.

Beignets, Done That

...To quote the motto of the Beignet Cafe. This photo was taken at Cafe du Monde - three beignets and an ersatz Cafe Au Lait cost four bucks. Best breakfast ever. The sunshine and live music didn't hurt either.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Look around your world pretty baby.

Today Jesse and I went to the new Brooklyn Flea Market. He didn't think I would post this photo on my blog, but I just did. Today I learned something new about Jesse - he really hates Del Amitri. I was also unable to sell him on an album of all Regae covers of Radio Head songs. I guess we're still friends.

Nuts to this.

When I was home in Rhode Island, I was sitting at the kitchen table working on my father’s laptop. He kept distracting me by pointing out the antics of a squirrel outside. Then he told me that when he was a boy, they used to learn in school about all the rituals of springtime. For instance, they learned that the squirrels dig up all the nuts that they buried for the winter. He said his classmates used to ask the teacher, “But how do they know? How do the squirrels remember where they buried the nuts?” The teacher never answered. A few weeks ago my father was sitting on the porch watching the squirrels and he realized that the squirrels must be able to smell the nuts underground – that’s how they know. He said, "I can't believe it took me fifty years to figure that out!"

Rather than compliment him on this belated triumph of logic, I told him something that would really blow his mind. I said, "You know, camels are the only animals, besides humans of course, that remember where their dead are buried. When Genghis Khan was killed, his men were retreating and had to quickly bury the body. They didn't want to mark the burial site for fear of grave robbers, so they slaughtered some baby camels and buried them with the body. Later, when it was safe to return, the mother camels led them back to the place where Genghis Khan, and the camels, were buried."

"Is that true," asked my father.

"Yes, that's true."

"Wow, I'm going to tell that story to everyone I know."

So here's my question to you, readers, is that true? And if by some chance I didn't make that up, can anyone pass along some corroborating texts?


Friday, April 04, 2008

Last Day to Sign Up

Team Grow's Green Gotham is still accepting volunteers (and dollars). We've gotten our project assignment, I'll just do a cut and paste from Alphabet's email:

Hi everyone! I have a few more details about the project now, which I hope will entice you to join. For those of you who have already signed up – thank you! Please use this information to recruit any friends you think might like to lend a hand ... be sure to sign up by this Friday, April 4, 2008.

The Project: We’ll be working on an Urban Farm in East New York. Yes, it’s crazy far out in Brooklyn, but it’s right off the 3 train and easy to get to. C’mon, channel that outer borough love! It’ll run from 9:30-3pm, and I’ll have more details from the site captain this week. This is a very cool project, especially if you’re at all interested in local/sustainable food.

The Goods: Free lunch, free T-Shirt, and an after-party with free booze sponsored by the Brooklyn Brewery! Oh, and free ego boost for doing something good for the community.

This is going to be a great project. Not only is the Urban Farm a great use of a former abandoned lot, the project promotes nutrition and local sustainable agriculture in the community. Here are some stories about the farm from last summer.

To volunteer, click here (soon!). To make a donation, click here. Special thanks to the following friends and blog readers who will be joining us on April 12, 2008: Sharon, Hannah, Jesse, Sarah and Emily.

Speaking of April Fool's Day

Today on the subway I was sitting across from a man reading the New York Post. I saw that the cover story was about a pregnant man (Headline: "Pregnant Man's Baby Joy" and the man is holding a parrot, just to give you a visual here). Naturally, I thought this was an April Fool's Day story - then I remembered that today is April 4th. So I assumed the man across from me was reading a three-day-old paper. Now you and I might think that the news is somewhat "timely" and should be read accordingly, but people on the subway will generally read anything so as not to have to make eye contact with the person next to them. I thought, "Does the Post really have credibility to spare so much so that they can pull off an April Fool's Day hoax? I mean, I just generally accept that anything I read therein is not true, so ..."

Late this morning, now that I have some time to investigate such matters, I went to the Post's website and saw that this is indeed the story of the day. Apparently a pregnant transgendered man is having a baby and he appeared on Oprah yesterday with his wife. Oh baby. Sorry I missed that episode - I would be curious to see if Oprah and the audience treated the couple with dignity and respect.

Only slightly salacious photo spread from the Post here.
As you may have heard, or as I may have told you with breathless exuberance, I resigned from my current position and accepted a great new job. I am very excited. When I start my new job, I will be shutting down this blog, so maybe now that there is an end in sight I have rediscovered my joie de blog. Adding to my sheer joy is the fact that I have taken two weeks off between gigs. I wanted to take a nice little vacation, and I got a great deal to go to New Orleans. So, yeah, Cupcake is hitting the Big Easy. If you have any suggestions about how I should spend my time, please let me know. I’ll be there for four days.

To sum up:

My Life = About to get better
This Blog = Bites the dust on April 28, 2008
Until Then = Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler.

Breaking News

Catalog Choice is the most exciting thing that has happened to me today. You can sign up too and stop the insanity.

Grapples. Not what you think.

I learned about this disturbing product from a Natalie Dee cartoon. Thanks, Internet.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I swear, I've never ordered a Yankee Candle online.

Now that I will be losing my work email account and my Blackberry, I'm going to have to rely on my personal email account, something I have been dreading because every time I log in, my inbox is choked with special offer emails from retailers I presumably had a relationship with at some point. I know I can unsubscribe by clicking the link hidden at the bottom of the email in six point font, but the idea of totally unsubscribing just seemed so daunting. Until tonight. I have cut the ties and it feels good. Sure, I might miss out on a Clinque free gift, but I probably shouldn't be spending $25 to get the free gift anyway. So goodbye Sephora. Goodbye Travelocity and Yankee Candle. Goodbye, Pottery Barn and Fresh Direct. Goodbye NY Times Select, Plaxo, Lands End and Providence Performing Arts Center. For God's sake, I haven't lived in Rhode Island in years. Dell Computers? I paid off my loan to you years ago, and despite what you seem to believe, I never owned a small business. J. Crew - all the clothes I bought from you never fit. Friendster alerts? Friendster, you seem like a youthful indiscretion now. Amtrak Guest Rewards, despite the fact you sold my credit card to some mega "World Points" conglomerate, you can stay, at least until I use up all my existing Guest Rewards Points. Besides, I don't take the train anymore, I Zip Car. Zip Car, you can stay along with Netflix and Media Bistro, although I really wish MB would not send me every email twice. Smith Alumnae Association, I'm staying signed up, for now, but you're on thin ice.

There, that's better. Now does anyone know how I can get off these catalog direct mailing lists? I almost broke my neck when I slipped on an L.L. Bean Traveler magazine in my vestibule tonight.

You Probably Desserved it.

Jesse is taking a little blogcation, so it is up to me to bring you this story of a free service that will punch people in the face for you. This must be part of that "kinder, gentler New York City" I've been hearing so much about.

Here's someone I do not want to punch in the face - Drew Belstock. Drew told me about Hulu, where I can now watch every episode of Arrested Development ever made, for free, on demand. Thank you, Belstock.

And since two Drews are always better than one - Lord of the Barnyard is back! Check out his new blog here.