Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Thing #128: Chairiot Awaits

Sometimes I feel like this blog is turning into "Jen's Fulfillment of Ridiculous Childhood Dreams" Blog. And you know what? That's okay! Since when is it a bad thing to live a fully functional adult life, with the occasional foray into childlike joy? In accordance with the first part of that, my business-owning boyfriend wants to get rid of his current office chair. In accordance with the second part, I very nicely asked him to push me in it from his apartment to the drop-off site. It was hard to accurately document this, as he was pushing and I was riding and we wouldn't have expected any of the strangers giving us dubious looks to also want to snap photos of us. He pushed me down his block to the subway station, where I got up and rolled it through the dank, often slippery tunnel, and then I sat on it in a crowded elevator to the top of a cliff, where he rolled me again most of the way to drop it off at someone else's apartment. We used to have crazed, unauthorized chair races in the hall during college newspaper prodcution nights, but to ride the rolly outside was truly a new world!

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Thing #127: Poppin it

When I went to the unconventional but possibly effective holistic doctor last week, he sent me back to CA with a half-suitcase worth of supplements. Today I started taking the pills, which are various degrees of gigantic and must more or less be taken by the handful. They are, in no particular order:
Omega Pure (Essential fatty acids from coldwater fish. If they're so essential, how come I'm not dead of never having taken them before?)
Ortho Biotic ("Because," the bottle seriously says, "Efficiency Matters")
CoQmax CF
Iodine With Tyrosine (such a cute couple)
Betaine Plus HP
a-Lipoic Acid
Mag-Glycinate, Highly Absorbable Magnesium. HIGHLY.
With having to shove all this into my mouth, I darn well better turn into a superhero.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Thing #126: Blue and Yellow

It's sort of hard to ignore the hype of a movie (based on a tv show I rarely watch but am actually quite fond of and always enjoy when I stumbled across it) building to a palpable frenzy across the country. Especially when the airline you use to fly back from California has declared itself the "Official Airline" of the regionally nebulous town in which the show takes place. Not feeling particularly fantastic today, and therefore not in the mood today for much else, I Simpsonized myself.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Thing #125: Showtime!

I've never really spent a lot of time in Harlem. We went to a would-have-been jazz show there once, and ended up chatting with the club owner for an hour while a couple of kids jammed in the back, the result of the band that was supposed to play not having been able to find a bassist. That was sort of the extent of my Harleming, but tonight upon landing at JFK, getting in a cab and having the driver get pissed off about the Harlem River Drive, I ended up seeing all of 125th street, from end to end.

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Thing #124: It Takes Two

Not only was today's thing totally new for me, it's part of the reason I'm still in CA and not back in NY funnin' it up at the Del Close Marathon. In college, I got to be in Into the Woods as sort of a senior year swan song. I had a tiny part because although I really didn't have time for rehearsals, I was friends with the director and sort of guilted him in to letting me do it. Tonight, my sister played Rapunzel in a production of the same show here. It occurred to me that this is the first time I have seen my sister in a musical I've already done. Of all the collective 30 or so shows we've done between us, this was the first-ever overlap. It would be pointless to compare the two, produced 7 years apart, but I do have to say that tonight's production was perfectly cast. Especially the role of Rapunzel.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Thing #123: I'm the Queen!

This is another thing from the Stuff I've Always Wanted to Do at My Parents' House but For One Reason or Another, Never Did file. My parents have this lovely balcony overlooking the backyard. All evidence indicates that they never use it, which is a shame. I've always had this vision (and I'm not sure which reality it lives in; perhaps one in which I become Queen and live in their house while somehow maintaining a life on the East Coast? Whatever) of sitting out there in the morning, eating breakfast on a small table. This morning, I moved a small table onto my parents' bedroom balcony and ate breakfast there. It was already hot and sunny by the time I had everything set up, which made the meal even lovelier.
(There have been some odd gaps in posting for the last couple of days. This will be resolved when I come back to New York tomorrow.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Thing #122: Andiamo!

I find it amazing that with all the dessert eating I did as a child, and all the eagerness for cold taste treats that I still experience as an adult, I've never even tried Italy's second most prolific dessert (I shared a cannoli from the NYU snack place on West 3rd during a 6-hour class in grad school). Yesterday, Kevin and I took a day trip to Coronado Island, and after exploring the Hotel Del and feasting on pizza, I ate gelato. It was, of course, totally delicious. The coconut-raspberry combo was the perfect blending of sweet and tart, and though this seems like something best savored in a crowded Roman piazza, eating it on a sun-drenched bench across the street from a historic hotel wasn't a half-shabby alternative.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Thing #121: Walla walla bing bang

I've been having strange health problems all year. Nothing major, just some annoying little oddities. Add to that an overprotective mother who has been researching Eastern medicine on behalf of a friend who has benefited remarkably from it and today I had an appointment with a holistic doctor whose main method of diagnosis involves the patient squeezing bottles. I've been warned not to be too skeptical about it. I'll make the judgement call three months from now, if the bag of supplements he gave me have done anything for my weight and my hair. Because if you can't experiment with alternative medicine when you're in Southern California, when can you?

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Thing #120: Pool Party

I'll consider March's clothes-on shower to be a warm-up to what I did today, another one of those things I've wanted to do since I was a kid. Specifically, I wanted to do it on the last day of 8th grade, but it didn't work out. So I waited 15 years, and here we are.

I jumped into my parents' pool with my clothes on!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Thing #119: Pew know it

When you turn 90, I think it's understandable to want to accept everybody's well wishes, whenever they might occur. The party was yesterday, even though the twins' birthday isn't until next week. Today, we went with my family to church, where they had donated flowers in Gramma's name, and the pastor even took time out from the carefully planned program agenda to wish her happy birthday in front of the whole congregation. The guest piano player took the cue, and led everybody in singing 'Happy Birthday.' So at the risk of being considered irreverent, I sang Happy Birthday in church. This sis along the sames lines as the suggestions friend L has been giving me, though under L's instruction, I would have ducked into a crowded church in New York, screeched the song at the top of my lungs and quickly fled. This was much more civilized, and deviant in that dad's-letting-me-have-cake-for-breakfast way. I only wish I'd had the foresight to bring along a recording device; the sound of 100 voices tentatively singing a non-religious song, coupled with most of their inability to either remember or correctly pronounce Gramma's name (along with my sister and I and our boyfriends triumphantly singing "Gramma" at that part), was fantastically amusing. Up next: juggling chickens at a funeral!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

New Thing #118: Double Identity

Most of the New Things I've done so far are things that most people could easily do as well. But I defy any of you to do what I did today: I went to a birthday party for 90-year-old twins. My grandmother and her sister will hit the big 9-0 later this month, and to celebrate we had a semi-elaborate, 80-guest to do at a country club in L.A. Photos later!

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Thing #117: Check it out!

I got the idea for this project in January, at which time I had already taped 'Millionaire,' so I knew that there would be plenty of steps associated with that which could count as New Things. Well, today was pretty much the end of the road, but it was a good end to a great road! I got my check in the mail yesterday and today I deposited a check for $25,000. It's definitely the biggest check I've ever endorsed, and just holding it made me really nervous- the color-changing box on the front that reacts to body heat and photocopy lights made me want to pick it up with tongs. I practically threw it at the WaMu teller, who took note of the memo ("Prize Winnings, Who Wants to be a Millionaire) but otherwise didn't say much. I'm not going to go spending it all in one place, but I will be in California this weekend, and the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale does start today, so...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Thing #116: Go Your Own Way

A few months ago, I started passing my day planner around at social events so people could write New Things in on a random day, and one day I would turn to that date and say, 'wow! Look what [lovely friend] wants me to do today!" So far, none of these have actually worked out. But then I got to today, and the venerable Kristina had written, "take a one-hour walk choosing all directions by the stoplights." Done! After dumping my stuff backstage at Blue Man an hour before my call, I set out. Every time I got to a corner, I walked with whichever signal had a walk signal. If I got to a corner and one light was red and the other was blinking, I stayed on that block and turned the corner without crossing the street. There was more zig-zagging than my poor control of the tools in MS Paint, as applied to the map below, would have you believe. But this is the gist of my route:
In the spirit of randomness, I also didn't make a playlist, nor did I ever hit advance on my iPod, resulting in the following walking soundtrack:
Rapture Blondie
I Just Want to See His Face The Rolling Stones
As Long as You're Mine Wicked
All Shook Up Elvis Presley
I Who Have Nothing Shirley Bassey
To Sir, With Love Lulu
Reverie Claude Debussy
Just Can't Wait to be King The Lion King
She's Got Everything The Kinks
Happiness You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Everywhere Fleetwood Mac
Haiti Arcade Fire
Panama Van Halen
Me and Mia Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Nutcracker Marche Tchaikovsky
T***d on the Run The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Thing #115: Bearly

I'm going to make this very brief, and if anybody actually wants the details, I don't want to know about it. We're going to California on Friday for a week. I will be in a bikini for much of the time. This evening I got not my eyebrows waxed. It did not feel good.
Please enjoy this completely unrelated photo of a clingy panda:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Thing #114: I'm a bonehead!

Today's New Thing was new for two reasons, the first being that it was a crossover Thing, partnering with Noah Scalin, who is creating a skull every day for one year. He's made them out of gum, fliers, bookcases, the continental United States, and today, I made the shape of a skull with my hand and Noah drew the facial features on in black ink. Before this, the closest I'd come to being a skull or skeleton in any form was having been called 'Skelator' from time to time throughout elementary school. Sassy pal Eliza seemed to sense this, and put me in touch with Noah, who she's known since childhood.
This is the first time since 10th grade tennis that the boniness of my hand has been put to good use. Coaches used to call on me to stick my hand through chain link fences to retrieve tennis balls. This was more fun and a lot less pressure.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New Thing #113: Change is good

I'm pretty good about not letting household chores slip. Mostly. Especially now that I live alone and can't assume that someone else is going to take out the trash, wash the dishes or change the lightbulbs. It's that last one that's been gnawing on me since I moved into this place. Unlike my last apartment, which had mostly clip-on light covers, or the dish-like kind that you never have to take off, current place has exclusively the screw-on-with-tools kind of covers. We had only one of those in the last apartment; Cat and I just resigned ourselves to a dark hallway when the bulbs burned out. Here, though, I knew I wouldn't have a choice. Yesterday, I had simultaneous bulb outages in the kitchen and bathroom, and I knew it was up to me to replace them. Avoidance was no longer an option. So I got out one of the six tools I own and changed the lightbulbs in two fixtures with screw-on covers. It was, of course, totally not a big deal. It wasn't hard and it didn't take very long. I sort of feel like I should go back to my old apartment and change the bulb in the hall there.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

New Thing #112: Water Flowjo

I love summer downpours. When it rains in California in the summer, it gets cold until the sun comes out again. Here, it can be 89 degrees and pouring at the same time, so if you get caught in it, it's less like inclement weather and more like running through the sprinklers. There was a brief downpour tonight around 9, at which point Kevin had just left my apartment, so I couldn't smooch him in the rain a la Breakfast at Tiffany's like a couple of people suggested. So instead I threw on my running clothes and I went running in the rain. I did about a mile loop around my neighborhood, half way through which it started to let up a bit, so I made sure to run under the trees and bump into them a lot.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

New Thing #111: Gerkin Girl

In the dead of summer, with temperatures hovering in the high 80s, with medium-to-high humidity, I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect summer treat. I've grown rather weary of ice cream, root beer floats, and even Tofutti cuties (though we recently discovered the key lime flavor, which is deLISH). So I sought out a new summertime delicacy, preferably something cheap and fun that I can make myself. And today I made Kool-Aid pickles! I first read about these weirdly wonderful snacks in People magazine, which printed an extremely simple recipe: Make Kool-Aid the way you normally would. Add pickles and marinate. Done! And on Monday I plan to bring them to work and test them on my coworkers. I used grape-flavored Kool-Aid, and while I was mixing it, I realized that due to my health-conscious upbringing, I've never mixed Kool-Aid before. I doubt if I've even drank it. So biting into a grape-flavored pickle on Monday will actually be two birds with one peculiar little stone.

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Thing #110: We are the champi

I started an iGoogle page a few weeks ago, as a way of consolidating my email, blogs, and all the other junk I need to keep track of during the day. On a whim, I selected the 'WikiHow to' window, and have been getting wonderful bits on "how to restore an abandoned cemetery" and "how to make a hidden door bookcase" (which we will totally have in our house eventually. The bookcase door, not the cemetery). A couple of days ago, I bookmarked an entry on 'How to Do Champissage." Also known as an Indian Head Massage, this focuses on nerve endings and chakras and is intended to relieve pressure both physically and spiritually. Tonight I did Champissage on Kevin. He's been headachy and busy lately, so it seemed just the thing to alleviate some of the stress. It took about a half hour, and I must have alleviated some stress, because it put him to sleep. Then he woke up and we watched a Disney movie from the 70s. If that's not a spiritual healing aid, I'm not sure what is!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Thing #109: Summer Rolls

I thought something like this would happen sooner or later, I just didn't know what the reason would be. Today I did something adorable and fun and it was another one of those things I've wanted to do since childhood. I made a video of it, but the adorable doggie I just finished dog-sitting for ate the camera cord last night, and I forgot about that until now. So I can't upload the video until I buy a new cord. I'll do that tomorrow.
Edit: I rolled myself up in a rug!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New Thing #108: Five alive on 7/11

Tonight I bought ten tickets to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and nerdily caught an opening-day showing with 9 friends at Loew's 34th Street. It's late and I'm tired so that's about it for now. The book was better, but the film was entertaining. Daniel Radcliffe just keeps getting stronger and stronger as an actor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New Thing #107: Sudon'tku

I've mentioned before that I am reluctant to jump on certain bandwagons. I've never seen a second of Lost or 24 and I've never worn Crocs. I have also never played (done? made? completed?) a Sudoku puzzle, the frustrating, intellectually brutal number game that's sweeping New York (possibly the nation. I don't know. This city has kidnapped me.) So as I write this, I am taking a break, because for the last hour and 45 minutes, I have been doing a Sudoku puzzle. I get the gist: the horizontal and vertical lines, as well as each 3x3 box, must contain one number 1-9. I thought for a moment I was a prodigy, as I filled in the top and bottom lines fairly quickly (brazen, I know, since I've never even tried this before) . But- oops! An hour later, I had a 3x3 box with two 2s, a vertical line with nowhere I could put a 6, and.. you get the idea. I started at 9:10. It's 10:45 and I recently erased the entire board to start over. I'm being much more patient and thoughtful this time.
Here's an early-stage, pre-erase photo. I'll see how far I get before either my brain explodes or I get really tired.

Update on 7/12: I did it! It was a different puzzle and it was two days later, but I finished a Sudoku!

Monday, July 9, 2007

New Thing #106: Water nerd

This is something I've wanted to do forever. Secretly, because it's weird and juvenile and a little gross if you're not careful. Luckily, I totally was careful, so when I frolicked in the deluge caused by a broken fire hydrant, I didn't get inappropriately soaked or ingest any lead or even muss my frizz-prone hair. I did draw some odd looks from folks on Kevin's street who watched as I videotaped the gushing while tramping around in it. But that was about it. I didn't even damage my camera- I only left it on for a few seconds, just to gather some sound (it was dark so you can't see much). But what fun! What depression-era, poorly-maintained uptown water main fun! I'm only sorry that I happened across it at night; had I seen it during the day, I might have had company!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

New Thing #105: Ball new

Today's one of those days when I've had to reschedule what I had planned, and figure out something else on the fly. (Planned Thing was bit much for a day so hot and humid, and the point of the project is to do new things, not to die in public.) I did walk Blue over to the pond in northwest side of Central Park, and on the way back we both needed a break. We sat on a bench on West 108 street, where Blue and I watched a game of pick-up basketball at Booker T. Washington Park. On and off for nearly 6 years I've walked by the super-competitive games on West 4th street, mildly intrigued but to busy to be bothered. I've never really sat and watched an amateur game anywhere before, let alone right outside a public high school that many of the players likely attend. There were plenty of swears and good-natured jabs, but most of the players seemed pretty skilled. I didn't come in at the beginning, so I didn't get a sense of who was winning. One team, with a kid taller and more intense that the rest, did get the majority of the baskets during the time I watched, but nobody seemed neither upset nor boastful about it.
(There are no pictures of this because Strange Lady Watching Kids Play Basketball doesn't want to also be Strange Lady Watching Kids Play Basketball and Taking Pictures of Them.)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

New Thing #104: A freakin'

You're going to have to take my word for it on this one. Any video I could have of this is overshadowed by very agitated dog whining and barking. When I played the mbira (a Zimbabwean thumb piano), my dog-sit charge, Blue, got so upset and annoyed that later, even the sight of it drove him into a tizzy. In fact, I had to completely hide it from sight so he wouldn't tear it apart (RIP, one of my shoes). It's in my ballistic nylon (and therefore presumably indestructible by dog) suitcase, and whenever I so much as touch the pouch he knows it's in, Blue goes into mini-hysterics. It's adorable but unsettling, so I'm refraining from playing it for the time being. But later, I plan to get video proof of my solo mbira version of Ennio Morricone's 'Theme from Malena." It sounds awesome. Just not to a dog.

Friday, July 6, 2007

New Thing #103: Mnid Mled

I seramblcd the letters in tihs enrite psot, jsut to fuhtrer prvoe taht the stduy coneuctdd by Cambrdige Usivernity was rtghi: It dseon't mettar waht oredr the lertets are in, besauce the hamun mnid dosen't raed ecah iadividunl leettr, but the wrod as a whloe. It wuold be ncie if my whloe day colud be lkie taht: I cluod nap at there in the aftorneon, see moives at noon, do my wrok in the mddile of the nihgt and hvae dsseert for brsakfaet. And my bdoy clcok, empyolers and digisteve sysetm wuoldn't rlaely notcie beuacse tehy'd see my day as a wohle.
Now I'm teeptmd to wirte an eitnre book lkie tihs. But I wluodn't enaourcge chirdlen to raed it. Thier ltitle mdis shluod absrob informtaion the coerrct way bfeore tehy satrt trynig to warp thier brnias aruond scuh werid cencopts. Beeidss, trehe are plnety of wyas to mses wtih kdis! Lkie, by tleling tehm taht "ptale" is "seowhr" and taht we beign ecah mael by smreacing and diong a hudnred jimpung-jakcs, or the cenilg wlil trun itno a smawp. Not taht I wluod eevr do taht to a clihd.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

New Thing #102: What shoe cryin about?

Today was long and stressful and I got faux-home feeling sad and exhausted. What does a girl do when she's sad? She buys shoes! What does she do when she's exhausted? She buys them online! But what does she do when she's also committed to doing one new thing every day? She designs her own! So just now I went to SteveMadden.com and designed and bought my very own, personalized pair of python-print leather kitten-heel pumps with green leather top trim and bow and dark brown leather heels and back trim. I'm a big fan of the kitten heel, as it gives me a bit of a lift without making me man-in-draggishly tall. But my shoes are usually pretty tame; solid colors in classic styles. I've never owned python-print anything before. But a girl needs something sassy for fall. A punkish print with a bold color just screams, "hey weather! Get cold! I'm gonna growl at you!" These babies should ship in three weeks, at which point I will start prematurely pairing them with brown skirts and white oxford shirts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New Thing #101: Red, white, blue and Blue

When I first put out the call for suggestions for this project, someone (I don't have my master list on me, so I'm not sure who) threw in this simple gem: walk a dog in Central Park. Being a dog non-owner, I didn't think this would be feasible. You can't just grab somebody's dog and walk it in Central Park. But you can say yes to staying with your cousin's dog when he and his wife are in Hawaii for 9 days, as a thank-you for him having given you the correct answer when you called him as a lifeline on "Millionaire." You can also say yes to having a low-key, semi-spontaneous 4th of July picnic in Central Park with friends. Then you can walk the dog there. So in honor of our nation's birth, I walked a dog in Central Park. The dog, Blue (who is napping next to my leg as I type this), is a bit shy and a little skittish, but once he realized we were on our way to the city's greenest fire hydrant, he was totally game for the outing. Then he got to chill on a lake-side grassy knoll for a while with me, Kevin, and some friends while we talked cartoons, music and patent law. On the way out, I felt that much more like a true New Yorker with my boyfriend on one side of me and a spunky Dachshund on the other.

(later, both of us were temporarily unspunky)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Thing #100: Filling Groovy

Today marks the doing of my 100th New Thing! And what better way to celebrate than by doing something I've wanted to do since I was a kid? Today I ate nothing but candy and dessert food all day.
Breakfast: Chocolate donut with frosting and sprinkles, vanilla donut hole, Petite Ecolier chocolate cookie.

Lunch: 11 Gummi bears, 7 mini Reese's cups, handful of skittles, two Jolly Rancher lollipops.

Snack: Rootbeer float, with mint chocolate-chip ice cream.
For dinner, I'm planning a cheesecake, a snickers, and perhaps a wholly decadent ice cream sundae. Happy One Hundred, me!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Nre YThing 99" I can't see!

i am wirting this post blingfolded@ I took the photo bling folded too, so id it looks funky, that's why. At work I type all the time while talking to other people, but I have the lusury of being able too\ look down and correct something if I need to. I am not goinf to spell check this before I post, and IP no tlooking at the screen, bivuiyskyt. U recebtktt abd swered a very kycratuve questiun abiyt keyboard plavemnet, so I'm hoping to parlay that into a semi corenet blog post. I am not sure whther I will be able to post this without looking, but I do know that i can copy and poaste and save it if need me. I may or may not trabnslate this once I take off the bliundfold, vur I willl definitely not read this post for at least an hour after I post it. So if you're one of the lucky early readers, enjoy@

Update after I looked: That ended up being a lot shorter than it felt! It had the same effect as when you walk around the house blindfolded and take off the blindfold after what seems like an hour but has only been ten minutes.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

New Thing #98: I don't want a nickel...

I find it fun, every now and again, to see how awesome I might be at developing a new skill. Sometimes it's a hit (yoga! Whether I'm awesome is debatable, but I do like it a lot!), sometimes it's a miss (card-house building). Something I've been dying to try for a while, and which still needs a bit of honing, is riding the unicycle. I know this is tough and will take years of practice, so first thing first. Today I test-drove a unicycle at a bike shop. It was frustrating at first; this was the conversation I had with the guy who tried to help me:
Me: (after seeing a unicycle in the window) I'd like to look at unicycles.
Guy: We only have one.
Me: Okay, can I look at it?
Guy: Sure. (Takes it out of window and hands it to me)
Me: Do you know if there are any stores that carry more of them?
Guy: No, we only have one.
Me: Right. Do you know if there are any other stores that carry more of them?
Guy: No.
Me: No, there are no stores, or no you don't know of any?
Guy: I don't know.
Me: (refraining from asking if he doesn't know whether there are no stores, or if he doesn't know if he knows of any) Okay. Can I give this one a try?
Guy: Yes. Do you know how to ride it?
Me: No. That's why I want to buy one.
I climbed onto it while bracing myself on the counter, and awkwardly teetered while rolling, then tried to roll without teetering. It's tough, but I think with the right rig, I might be able to get the hang of it. This particular one was a bit high for me, but I think I'd heard that the seat heights can be adjusted.
Me: The seat heights can be adjusted, right?
Guy: (immediately taking the unicycle) Sure, let me take it in the back.
Me: No, no, I was just curious.
Guy: Ok.
Me: Okay. I'm going to check some other places. Thanks?