Saturday, June 11, 2011

I am still alive.

I am such a bad blogger. I really have NO good excuse for abandoning it (temporarily) except that suddenly classes got busy and life got busy and next thing I knew it was summer (again).

A rapid fast run down of where I'm at in life. I'm less than a year until I'll have my MA, which is exciting and scary all at the same time. Life is still quite busy, though significantly less so for the next few weeks before I start my ridiculous French Translation course at the end of June. I also have not one but two important exams in the Fall that I need to study and read for, so Summer will be very busy for me.

Here are some fun things happening:

I joined the Park Slope Food Coop. Easily one of the best decisions I've made in the past couple months. Such cheap groceries, for very little effort. For those of you who don't know, the Coop was founded in the 70's to provide high quality groceries at the lowest price to working members. The basics are if you work 2 3/4 hours every 4 weeks you get to eat all the organic lettuce you want to. Also, for real, the cheapest cheese I've ever seen AND they put Whole Foods to shame for variety and quality. Oh also, they're not evil, which is nice and I get to ride my bike to it, which I definitely enjoy.

Another exciting development is I got a dog! For more than I year I've been saying I wanted one and part of the "deal" with myself was I had to keep a plant alive and well for at least a year and then I'd know that I had concrete proof to myself that I could have another (or multiple as it turned out) things dependent on me and everything would be okay. Anyway, so about a week ago I went off to the animal shelter with this French Bulldog Boston Terrier mix in mind and took him for a walk and then found out he was a bit of a bag of mystery, having just gotten to the shelter and because his breed has a genetic history for medical awfulness. Plus, he apparently 'marked' around his old house. So, clearly he was not a good candidate for me to bring him home. Next I took this little scrappy thing for a walk, much older (about 6 years) and much easier to walk. While waiting for Shelter volunteer to get her file for me, I sat down on the sidewalk to see how she did with playing and to see how her temperament was and she hopped into my lap. Suffice to say, I was sold.

Her name is Edie and she's probably the best dog ever. House broke, crate trained, relaxed but with the potential for high energy. An excellent first city dog.

Now I swear I'll have more updates. Especially about me joining a local community garden and other exciting things the summer has waiting for me!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Classes Start Tomorrow

Classes start tomorrow and I just thought it'd be nice to say something about these past couple of months. It really is hard to believe that summer is over and to think of whether my prediction of "This summer will be the best one ever", proved to be true.

I learned A LOT the past couple of months, which while these lessons were not always easy, in retrospect they were worth any crap they came along with. Here are some:

That sometimes the best and easiest way to make sure you get what you need at the hardware store is to literally take a picture. When we moved into our flat, one of the locks they left for us was, lets say less than adequate. So off Claire and I went to the hardware store. Looking for locks, screws to attach said lock, saws to cut the screws to attach said lock and at one point contemplated taping the lock to the damn door. It was an adventure to say the least. We only were able to get the lock attached and workable after 3 hardware store workers, a guy across the street who cut the original screws (and damaged them) and finally my cousin who it turns out actually knew what the hell he was talking about. So maybe besides learning to take pictures, I also learned to better be able to distinguish between people who don't know what the hell they're talking about and those who do.

Door lock fail

Learning to sift through the bullshit and truth is likely one of my most valued lessons of this summer, to be more guarded, to be less trustful, to be uncompromising and to be particular when it comes to those you let close to you. In that same genere and theme falls Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, which is likely one of my favorites in MOMA's collection, it really evokes a feeling of loss, of being left without your defenses, to be disarmed, to long for more or different. This summer had a lot of that and I'm grateful for how I learned these lessons, because like Wyeth's painting, I can leave the painting, the risks and injury someplace and walk away, thankfully unscathed.


That ultimately 25 is just a number, which I think I always knew, and really it's silly to be sad or to dread birthdays. Have fun, go get a few (or many) drinks, especially at 2 in the afternoon, eat yourself fat with sushi. Oh and start the day
off with birthday shots at midnight. Melon Liquor=yum.

Turning 25

And also, go see as many films in the park as you possibly can, seriously. Loads of Fun, especially if you can wrangle up a southern redhead who's always got a vitamin water full of rum stocked away somewhere.


That's all I can really say about these past couple of months. Lots of Learning, Lots of Living, Lots of Loving, Lots of Loss. I would not change a thing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Someone Shat in the Elevator.

I like to think of myself as a pretty nice guy. There's a really good chance that if you needed me to do something for you, and you asked me nicely and I could, I would. It's just my nature. I'm sure you can trace it back to my view on things and humanity, the whole I am my brother's keeper. It's nice when you can do things for other people and when they can appreciate it and maybe one day when I need it, the favor will be returned.

So today, with that in mind I gladly agreed to use my zipcar membership, driving abilities and what little brawn I could offer and help my friend Luke move from Harlem, down to Brooklyn. In fact, into an apartment in my building. I consider it just me doing part in gentrifying the neighborhood.

So we set off at 11, grabbed the car, the handtruck (thank god the hardware store rents them out for $10 a day) and headed up to Harlem where we would, along with his boyfriend and one of the current tenants of hsi old place, move his bed, and boxes. It was a fairly easy trip, aside from some fun double parking and trying to fit a mattress too big to fit in the bed of the pick up truck, in the bed of the pick up truck. Let's just say that we use A LOT of rope and I tried my best to not let the power of the pick-up truck go to my bed and start telling other drivers I would run them off the road if they braked or didn't use blinkers (might've happened on the way up to Harlem...).

When we got back to Harlem, after safely schlepping the mattress and box spring to Brooklyn we went to tackle the literal mountain of books that some might threaten to call the A&E show "Buried Alive: Hoarders" on Luke for (might've happened on the way back to Brooklyn with an actual truck load full of books...). The worst part about this second run was the fact that no joke, someone shat in the elevator of his old building, possibly multiple times. The smell was awful and also meant we had to carry said mountain down a flight of stairs, I guess the whole if you can't bring the mountain to Muhammad, line is now no longer relevant, considering I drove it from Harlem to Brooklyn today.

So that's that. I'm so exhausted and now I'm off to see a movie with Amy (a fellow Brooklynite!) at Brooklyn Bridge park, expect an update on it).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A collection of Things.

I have horrible writer's block. Absolutely horrible. Lucky for me Blogger saves every blog I've attempted to write and stores them as drafts. What follows is a weird collection of thoughts, sometimes about Brooklyn, sometimes not. Yeah, it'd be nice to have a photo montage of Brooklyn, but sometimes this blog is as much about Brian as it is about Brooklyn. Hopefully the little bits of my brain I can commit to words will be entertaining.

Titled: What we owe to the people we love, or don't love, or even barely know.

This has been a busy month for me.

I had a short trip on my birthday weekend which was spent celebrating the nuptials of my cousin in Vermont. It was a fantastic time. The first time we had the majority of all the cousins together for something joyous. Vermont is also absolutely gorgeous. If not for the repeated failure to deliver on the promise of Moose crossing the road and the absolute crap cell phone reception, I would consider living there.

Because of the wedding and because my birthday fell on a Monday this year I pushed the celebratin' forward to the Saturday after. It was likely the most ridiculous birthday I've ever had. a bunch of my friends and my sister met up at the Brooklyn Brewery to do the tour (which literally last 10 minutes) and to imbide in the endless supply of cheap, delicious and potent beer. We're talking $3 8.5% beer here folks. I could barely stand by 3 pm. Mission accomplished.

The one awful bit of the day was the ridiculous heat. Besides having to ride the shuttle bus and getting the seat that I'm fairly certain were actually part of the engine manifold, that literally gave me burns on my back and butt, the day was burning hot. After the brewery we all stumbled onto the L and made our way to a lovely and cheap sushi place ($55 fed 6 people). Getting there, it literally felt like someone was flaying the skin off of us with a hot butter knife. SO HOT. Even so it was so much fun and is likely one of the best birthdays I've had in a long time. Hurrah(?) to 25!

Titled: Summer in the City is full of Cleavage, Cleavage, Cleavage.

I was wandering across the internets and happened upon a discussion abotu winter boots in Montreal. Don't ask. Wikipedia probably led me to it, and lets face it, when you enter the wormhole that is Wikipedia, you're lucky you end up still on the internet and not trying to hunt some rare pygmy bird on Mt Kilimanjaro. Anyway, the general consensus was that in the winter time it is so cold, Montrealers wouldn't care if you had oven mitts wrapped in tinfoil on your feet, because it's winter and anything goes. Well, New York is basically the same way when it comes to heat and clothing (or lack thereof). For the love of christ, I can't even begin to formulate a number that would adequately give you even an estimate of how many bellies, boobs and muffin tops I saw running loose in the streets of Brooklyn and New York these past couple of weeks; there were that many. It really sometimes made the beaches of Jacob Riis look like a national Burqa convention. Now that's not to say I've suddenly adopted tube tops and daisy dukes to fend off the brutal heat (spans of days over 95 degrees), I'm still clinging furiously to the cliff of good fashion sense, albeit often soaked with sweat. Ah, New York.

Titled: The Finer Points of Gentrification.

When I first moved in and until recent days, I had concerns about whether you could consider my square inch of the Clinton Hill Neighborhood an up and coming place. Now, absolutely it was not "real-estate" Clinton Hill like my old place, (which p.s. I'm now too afraid to go there at night), but I still have my concerns. You may ask yourself, Why? Well, it could have been the crazy lady who no joke, lives on the roof, or the "Candy Store" across the street that is never opened and definitely doesn't sell candy, these are both glaring reminders that Brian, you don't live in an effective gated community anymore. In recent days though it has become more and more obvious that my neck of the woods is becoming a lovely piece of heaven! First a pretty awesome hipster yuppie bar has opened literally across the street from me. It easily has 10-15 quality beers on tap for cheap and it's a diamond in a stretch of closed commercial store fronts. What is even more exciting is that the future home of the Greene Hill Food Co-op is nearby too! Modeled on the thriving Park Slope Food Co-op, this will bring some much needed produce to a neighborhood sorely in need of some good eats. I'm real excited.

That's about all I can muster. Apologies, I spend most of my free time now reading the pile of books that the New York Public Library has waiting for me, hoping to prolong summer and push back the beginning of the Fall Semester.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Stranger in my own Borough

I'm turning 25 in less than a month.
My being here, physically, literally, mentally, whatever, seems more a testament to my bumbling gumption more than anything else. I'm like a slightly demented lichen, on the rock of life. What it and other happenings in my life has prompted is a reflective look at what's behind me, what have I done and where I've gone in the past year, hell last 25 years. We all would like to, even need to, believe that everything in one's life is a straight, continuous track, that we don't veer off, that the train doesn't derail, that we one day don't just wake up in Montana (or New York for Montanans), but we do, oh but we do. And sometimes we can't ever justify why we've ended up in a place so far, so foreign from where we were. We just can't.

So for me, now especially because I'm reaching a life milestone, I've started to understand and reflect on just how far from home I really am and more so hopeful that counter to everything anyone ever tells us, you can in fact go back home. Otherwise I'm going to have to practice my cowboy speak. Do they even have indoor plumbing in Montana?

All that being gran thinking and stream of thought having been said, I have a birthday to plan and it's going to be fantastic and Brooklyn. What would it say if the blog author of the Brian and Brooklyn Blog didn't have his birthday in Brooklyn. (Thank god there isn't a usage charge for using Bs)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If Robert Moses could see us now.

Robert Moses, for those of you who haven't brushed up on mid-20th century New York Public Works history, was the great Machiavelli of the New York State Public Works. Highways were laid, to the inch, where he wanted them to, Bridges erected, tunnels dug, great public parks created and constructed. Moreover an equal amount of Highways, Bridges, tunnels and parks were swept into the dustbin if he did not want them to be. Now, all this being said, and accepting that he did leave, via the work of his office, New York a great wealth of benefits, that to this day it derives wealth from, Moses was a bit of a Elitist, Racist. Moses for lack of a better word didn't really care for the poor immigrants of the city. Rumor has it that although he created what is argued by many some of the nation's most beautiful beaches on Long Island, he also created low bridges across every major highway leading to these beaches in order to prevent bus loads of poor, inner city immigrants from mingling with the middle and upper classes and sullying the pristine beaches on the Island.

Now, on to the Brooklyn adventure, Moses was not a heartless cruel autocrat, he also built the poor folks a beach, closer to the city, now called Jacob Riis Beach. Intended to be the playground of the poor folks, last Saturday I, with a gaggle of friends, claimed another rights as a member of the poor folk class. Yep, the middle/upper class suburban kids were mingling with the unwashed masses, poor Moses likely spun in his grave.

Though it does only cost 2.25 to get to the beach, via the 2 line to the end and then transferring to the Q35, getting to Riis beach is a bit of an epic journey, but totally worth it.

We likely had the best, BEST location on the beach, right next door to literally a small house built by a Puerto Rican family. It had a roof, an actual roof. It was a sight to behold. Besides the fun that our neighbors provided, we also had fun with sand (Thanks Kel for "letting" me steal this photo):
After spending a good chunk of the day out on the beach and some of us getting wickedly burned by the sun, we packed up and headed home. What I think really was the icing on the cake that was this day was the couple we saw walking back to my apartment.

They apparently went to the shore too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Like a fat kid at Golden Corral

Golden Corral for those of you who have never had the privilege to wander into one of these fine dining establishments is a wickedly cheap food buffet. Now, I'm sure the majority of their food was utter crap, but for me they had a salad bar that would make any herbivore wet with joy. For real. I got my money's worth on salad alone. This boy likes his leafy greens, what can I say. Anyway, on with the chunk of this entry and chunk indeed.

I have done nothing by gorge myself on food for the past 4 days or so, very much like a fat kid at Golden Corral. First I went out and had dinner with my sister and a family friend on the island and literally ate my weight in mussels. SO YUM. So after that food coma the next night I made homemade Wild Mushroom Raviolis with a friend, from scratch. Like flour and eggs we're talking. They were outrageously delicious. I wanted to crawl into the pan and just roll in them they were that good. So I'm sure you're thinking, this must have been the limit. Surely he didn't go and have another gorge-fest. In fact I did. The next morning I woke up and went with same friend to the Big Apple BBQ fest-thing. It was held at Madison Square Park, which is on the Lower East Side-ish. They had so much food and Heartland Brewery had set up a Beirgarten and was charging $6 for a big ole cup of one of their 6 offered brews. I had this dark beer that had molasses and honey. It was so delicious and filling.

Anyway, after having our fill of BBQ and Beer we headed back to Brooklyn (thank god) and wandered upon a $3 Jazz concert at Prospect Park. Now before you dismiss this as just some half-assed lame concert, the head liner was the Allen Toussaint. He's a pretty big jazz name and it was absolutely delightful to sit under the darkening skies and hear beautiful jazz float across the park to our little spot on the grass, all for $3.

Now I'm sure you're all worried that your blog author is now on his way to two-ton-hood, but rest assured, tonight I spent 2 hours playing dodgeball at an open play event. I wasn't really planning on going until 45 minutes before. It just seemed like a better option than finishing the 1/4 left of wall I have to paint and besides I want one ass, not two.

Okay lovelies, Thanks for reading and for the love of God, send a Brother some love and comment!