Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baking, baking, baking...

For the first time in eight years I am not racing to catch a bus, packing up the car or heading off to work on Thanksgiving Eve. What's more, I will not be doing any racing around tomorrow. Arbor Boy and I have a lazy Thanksgiving in front of us that will find us sitting on the couch with giant mugs of coffee watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and then feasting on a breakfast of buckwheat pancakes and sausage. A little later we'll pop open our bottle of champagne, maybe check in on the football games and then head off to one of the delicious Greek restaurants in our neighborhood for our own little Thanksgiving feast, Astoria-style.

There is something so very relaxing about not having to be any when most everyone else is hitting the road or lining up in airports. We'll be heading to the south fork for a traditional Thanksgiving meal this weekend but right now it's just the two of us, the three cats, and a Thanksgiving Eve session. Freshly baked pumpkin bread is cooling on the stove and there is Brooklyn Oktoberfest in the fridge.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spend a lot, get a little

This must be the new motto of the New York City Mass Transit Authority because they released their planned proposal for next year and it is, in a word, craptastic. Facing yet another year of major budget deficits they decided to do what they do best - increase the fares and tolls. If the plan is approved the cost of a subway ride will most likely increase to $2.50 and a monthly card will now cost $100. If these fare hikes happen, subway riders will be paying over 80% of operating costs for the New York City subway. But wait, there's more. Not only will we be paying more but we'll be paying more for less (which equals worse) service. The MTA plans on cutting the W and J lines entirely, decreasing the G and M routes, and cutting back on all trains. That means that for $100 a month we'll be standing on platforms longer, squeezing into more tightly packed trains (didn't think that was possible, did you), and creeping along at a slower pace. Oh yes, and they also plan on cutting more than 2,000 jobs.

The fare hikes may make more money for the MTA but the ramifications of their plan will be staggering. With gas prices dropping, many people are already planning to do more driving and less mass transiting. That means more single car drivers, more congestion in the city, and more carbon emissions in the environment. It will basically unravel any environmental work being done by green groups in the city.

This makes me angry and it should make you angry. Every year the MTA comes up short and every year the only option they claim to have is to raise fares on us. The subway system is the transportation for most people in this city, sometimes the only transportation for people, and the MTA takes advantage of this fact. They half-heartedly claim that the plan won't go through if they get money from the state but we all know that the state has it's own billion dollar deficit to deal with. So that means the fare hikes will be their goldmine.

But if we are going to be paying for the majority of the operating costs then we should demand transparency of the MTA finances. Most people know that the MTA seems to work off of two different sets of books, making money magically appear after they claim to have none. Subway riders need to demand that we see exactly what the MTA is working with and where our hard earned money is going. This city is quickly becoming a playground for the wealthy while leaving the rest of us digging deeper and deeper into our already empty pockets.

Get angry, New York. After all, isn't that what we're known for?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Menagerie

On Friday, I officially adopted Melvin from the ASPCA (and got his kitty bits snipped, sorry buddy) and, as you can see, he's fitting into his niche as "feline #3" quite nicely.

Although Pandora still seems to have her doubts about her new adopted sibling....

Puck has taken his role as big brother in stride.

Welcome to the family, Melvin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I, I am a dancer...**

Ballet at Carol's Academy of Dance. I'm the left-handed one.

Broadway Dance Center Student Showcase

(**a reference I expect dancers and theater geeks to get.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vote or Die

After what seems like years of primaries and campaign trails the time has come to finally get out there and vote, which is what I hope all of you plan to do on Tuesday if you haven't already. This election has been covered from front to back and top to bottom. We've watched the presidential and vice presidential candidates debate. We've heard the words reform, economy, taxes, and health care tossed around ad nauseum. We've heard sound bites like "fundamentally sound", "small town Americans", "mavericks", and "going rogue". We've heard the names Joe Six-Pack, Joe the Plumber, and Joe Obiden. We've heard everything we're going to hear from the candidates and now it's time to make our decision. In the spirit of what appears to be an historic election, I would like to add some of my own personal talking points to keep in mind when going to the polls:

~ Barack Obama is not Muslim. Remember the whole Reverend Wright uproar? If he has a reverend then he's not Muslim. Sorry conservatives, you can't have it both ways.

~ John McCain doesn't know whether he should sit down and talk to President Zapatero of Spain (or any other Latin American leaders).

~ Barack Obama is half black and half white.

~ John McCain has never been an astronaut.

~ Sarah Palin's view of Russia from a tiny Alaskan island gives her foreign policy experience.

~ John McCain plans on giving everyone a $5000 credit for health care, even though your current plan most likely costs close to $12,000.

~ Sarah Palin was stumped by Charles Gibson, Katie Couric, and two comedians from Canada (now those two are a couple of mavericks.)

~ Barack Obama is not Marxist, Socialist, or Satanic.

~ Sarah Palin can't name any newspapers she reads or any Supreme Court cases other than Roe vs. Wade (c'mon Sarah, Brown vs. Board of Education, Dred Scott vs. Sanford, Miranda vs. Arizona, Curly vs. The Three Stooges...oh, wait, ignore that last one.)

~ John McCain knows how to catch Bin Laden...but he'll only tell us once he's President.

~ The fact that Obama rhymes with Osama means absolutely nothing.

~ There is nothing wrong with having hope and supporting change.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat, Bushwick Style

Happily, Halloween fell on a Friday so we were off to Goodbye Blue Monday in Bushwick to hear some good bands, watch some funny hipsters and get decked out in our homemade superhero costumes.

(pictured above Emergency Party's Miss Frosty on bass, Noel on drums, and Gian Carlo on guitar)

Emergency Party rocked out at midnight, along with Killer Whale and Barghest.

Miss Frosty as Slash's long-lost sister.

Caution Boy and Danger Girl
Happy Halloween!