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That was good, this was better. –By Jill

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I guess I’m on some sort of luck streak. I thought the garbage bag of was a freakin’ God sent, that’s nothing compared to what happened at JFK. (I’m flying home to Seattle to see some wonderful friends.)

As I wait through the gargantuan security line ahead of me there seems to be an express line which is only available to people who waited to arrive at the airport 2 minutes before their plane started boarding. I got to JFK mega crazy early. I don’t miss plane flights and am content playing my 3DS for hours at the gate. But my fellow passengers aren’t so content seeing foreigners in broken English plead with the TSA agent that they’re going to miss their flight. Tensions rise and for some reason a 10 year-old throws up.

Eventually one of the TSA agents cave (something I’ve never seen) and switches one of the two check points over to the express line. Meaning that gargantuan line I’m in now only has one person processing boarding passes. I continue to watch tension around me approach a boiling point. The newly cordoned off check point finally lightens the load leaving my line still congested but an otherwise unused station for metal detector preparation wide open.

Maybe it was my relaxed demeanor (brought on by that bottle of wine I finished before my shuttle) or just my cute smile, but I politely asked the TSA agent if it mattered which metal detector line I went though. He unclasped the elastic barrier and ushered me into the empty line. Booya!

But it didn’t stop there. Flash forward a few hours. I’m in my row 28 C seat (that’s back of the plane by the bathroom/aisle seat) when the drink cart pulls out. Now my favorite drink in the world is club soda/seltzer and for some reason air plane drink carts tend to have only 2 the whole flight. So by the time they get to me I’m S.O.L. With the cart pushed all the way passed me to the front of the cabin, one of the flight attendants, (middle aged, but not yet bitter by old age, she could have been my 3rd grade teacher) walks to the back towards me. I grab her attention and ask her if she’d save me one of the limited club sodas. I know she heard me, but this request seemed to be out of her realm of possibility. She doesn’t respond so much, as she turns away and returns to the cart.

I figure “oh well” and return to my Kindle. About 2 minutes later, she comes back with a full can of club soda and a cup of ice. I feel guilty as the looks of the other passengers glare at me (the drink cart is still about a dozen rows ahead of us).

When the drink cart finally does get to us. Said same flight attendant inquires to my English limited row mates about what condiments they’d like in their coffee/tea. After that debacle of misunderstanding, I ask how much one of the liquor bottles are. Her reply, “how many do you want?” She and I exchange a spark of a glance. I’m about to become a partner in crime and I have no idea why. I simply respond “Two. Jack,” and she slips two bottles of Jack Daniels into my front seat pocket and moves on. “Let me know if you need ice or some more later.” She winks and moves on and I’m dumbfounded.

I’ve had guys buy me drinks and honestly I’ve never felt guilty not even talking to them afterwards. It’s their job to charm or whatever me. If I’m not in the mood to put up with their pick up shit, that’s their sleazy fault. But this…I was confused. What did she want? Did she like me? Was she just being nice? Is the cosmic balance of the universe simply rewarding me for putting up with a year of shit in New York? Or did she want something? I’m sure many guys have lesbian stewardess fantasies and even a few girls like myself. But I’m not the type.

In the end I figured fuck it. If she liked me, let her make her case. There was always the thank you but no thank you, response. I was going to just leave the bottles in the seat pocket, but then I figured if someone found it she might get in trouble. I took them with me and so far on this awesome Seattle trip they’re still in my bag. As for the somewhat sexy cougar lesbian flight attendant? I simply got a wink and an enjoy your stay on the way out.

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in By Jill

 

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All I wanna do is to thank you even though I don’t know who you are…–By Jill

So wet. And not the good kind.

The other day it poured rain like a mother fucker. And not just any old mother fucker, but a mother fucker awakened by a rape horn at 4 in the morning.   If the metaphor is lost on you, I’m saying it rained really hard. Hail in some parts of the city, but thunder and lightening throughout. And of course it’s the one day I don’t have my umbrella because I left it at the bar last night.

As I creep out of the subway tunnel, hoping over puddles already pooling on the stairs, a crowd of stranded subway commuters awaits me at the entrance.  They stare at the sky hoping for reprieve while I’m wondering if the rain will seep though my bag and ruin my iPad if I run three blocks. A woman sitting on the floor among the captives intermittently shakes her cup of change like heavy maraca. Da-du-DAH, Da-du-DAH. I give her what change I have to which she responds with a polite “Thank ya kindly, and God bless.”

The instant she finishes her blessing, a man shuffles down the stairs with a garbage bag for protection. He disrobes his disposable poncho, gives me one look and says, “You want this?” “Damn, skippy. ” I reply (I’ve become very fond of that phrase) then take out my wallet and give the maraca lady another buck. I thank the gentleman and head on home looking like white trash (literally).

As I navigate the drenched streets through a severely limited peripheral vision, three things strike me. 1) This is what Harry Potter must feel like when he wears the Cloak of Invisibility. 2) I’ve never had the sensation of getting wet, i.e. pelted with rain, without actually getting wet. It’s sorta trippy. And finally 3) I would have Geggy Tah’s Whoever You Are stuck in my head the rest of the day. Granted I wasn’t driving, but I think the spirit hold true.

–Damn Skippy!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in By Jill

 

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Not so Amazing Spider-Man — By Jack

Once a generation a Spider – Man is rebooted.

It’s a shame our cinema blockbusters have come to this. The mass rebooting of franchises and poor ones at that.  The newest victim Spider-Man–

That’s it! I’m not letting your poo-poo another awesome summer movie. First Prometheus, then Ted, which was freakin’ hilarious! Now–
This is my blog post, Jill. Why don’t you bitch about the subway or something?

It’s coming. And I can’t have you crap over every fun action film. No one’s trying to win an Oscar this season! Are we really doing this? You’re going to argue with me as I review Amazing Spider-Man?

Damn skippy!

***Word of warning – this is no longer a review, Jill and Jack are going to bitch about this movie with the assumption you’ve seen the film. MAJOR SPOILERS!***
Shut up Mack! Go write about Quantum Entropy!

Okay…let’s start again. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater this reboot–Looks amazing. From the first person web slinging, to the darkness of Manhattan at night–
Yes it looks good. The action is fast. This Spider-Man is lankier than the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man which is true to the comic.  But let’s talk about the plot–

Okaaaay. Peter Parker is a bullied and likes Gwen Stacy. He gets bitten by a genetic spider. Becomes Spider-Man. Bada-bing! Bada-boom web-slinging action! But this movie is desperately trying to follow the Christopher Nolan-make-a-dark-and-compelling-superhero-story-so-we-can-be-taken-seriously approach. It casts Sally Field and Martin Sheen in the smaller parts (ala Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.) Even its opening screams Batman Begins. Hell, I thought little Peter Parker was going to fall down a well and get covered in spiders. 

So? What’s wrong with that? It doesn’t pull it off. It has plot holes you can drive a truck through (Spider-Man just gives up looking for the guy who killed Uncle Ben)  and forced emotional moments that make you want to laugh. (cough cough the construction crane scene, anyone?) 

They’re just so good together.

Those didn’t bother me. I got to see a romance blossom that was miles deeper than anything Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were ever capable of having. Jesus, did Peter have to reveal his identity to everyone in the film? We’ve seen three movies of Peter Parker keeping his identity secret. It really struck me to see him come to Gwen’s window, bruised and beaten, to be cradled in her arms. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone had great chemistry. They’re dating you know. Duh!

So many elements just felt left out there waiting be developed but instead were forgotten while other moments felt forced. The lizard cops, Ben’s killer, the true nature of how Peter got his powers. Hell, even the tower falling from the top of Oscorp felt superfluous. Once again! Summer action film! If you want to see character development go see Moonrise Kingdom.

There is an important distinction between action sequences and explosions for the sake of explosions. One moment that did work for me was when Spider-Man was on the bridge, webbing the cars to stop them from falling. He finds the one kid trapped in the car and goes to pull him out before the car infernos. You’re really going to use inferno as a verb? The point is in that scene, Spider-Man’s holding the car with one hand, the webbing with the other and doing everything thing he can to get the kid to climb. He’s being pushed to his super hero limits and he still might fail. That what I want to see in my summer action sequences. Not a giant skyscraper antenna falling after the villain of the film has been defeated which it doesn’t affecting anything except to give the unsuccessful justification of the  3D glasses upcharge.  

I thought that was awesome. Except that I saw it in the trailer a dozen times. Okay, point blank question; were you bored?
 
No. But counter point blank. Were you satisfied?
Sure.
Really? The way you were with The Dark Knight, The Crow, and The Incredibles?
Yes. Yes I was.
I can’t believe that. 

Maybe it’s because I’m a Spider-Man fan and have been since I was 4. The movie just got what I’ve always loved about him so much more than the Sam Raimi films did. The web-shooters, the wise-cracking, and of course the sewer scene.  This was a film for Spider-Fans. 

Okay this was pretty cool.

We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t agree with that.

Addendum: Jack, Jill, and I all agree, The Amazing Spider-Man has the best Stan Lee cameo ever. Period. 

This isn’t the cameo.

 

 
 

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A New York attitude — By Jill

It’s on!

Moving from Seattle Washington to Manhattan has definitely added a bit of an edge. Maybe it’s the cramped spaces, high prices, crappy service, or just every single person’s damn certainty that they are right and they’ll tell you so with the snarkiest comment they can think of.  Or maybe I’m just getting older. Whatever the cause, things that I would have shrugged off in Seattle, in New York I get into a grudge match over.

So I’m walkin’ yesterday listening to This American Life. (Yes some parts of Seattle me still exist.) I cross the street when all of a sudden I hear…

Sure, take your time!

I turn around to see some douche bag in an SUV, button down shirt with rolled up sleeves, and sunglasses stopped in the middle of the street yelling at me. I look around seeing no other traffic but this asshole’s car and reply…

You must be in such a hurry if you stopping to have a tissy fit.
You’re walking around with your head phones for chistsake!
Don’t have a fuckin’ heart attack or nothin’.
Why don’t you use the fuckin’ cross walk next time?
What the fuck you wearin’ sunglasses for? It’s overcast.
You can suck my dick.

By then, this fucktard who was in such a hurry, now has four cars behind him honking for him to get moving.

Looks like I’m not only one who wants you to get the fuck out of here.

The impulse to snap back at someone comes so much easier now. I used to get stifled. Granted I don’t go looking for people to verbally abuse, but if you’re going to bitch me out, you’d better be ready for a bit of a fight. Besides, who the still drives an SUV anyway?

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in By Jill

 

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Subway Energy — By Jill

I’ll start off this post by saying that generally I’m a “keep hands to yourself,” bubble-of-personal-space type of girl.  Sure I like a good cuddle now and then but that takes a while and when it comes to sleeping with someone, it’s you stay on your side – I stay on my side. Don’t know what it is, but this is how it’s always been.

But as sensitive as I am to things that make me creep out, I am also sensitive to good touch. I’m not talking about masturbating here.  Dirty minds! No I mean that physical comfort you can share with someone. Hell, I’ve been on dates with guys, them sitting next to me at a movie or a play, our shoulders barely touch, and I can feel an electricity. It’s like anticipation wrapped in attraction with a side of tingling.  Don’t know why it happens. It’s not logical. But when it does, it’s undeniable.

Needless to say, most of the things on New York’s MTA subway system generally makes my skin crawl, waddle, then run. When the trains get super super crowded I almost freak out from claustrophobia. Standing smushed between people is worse than crowded seating. I usually lean forward in my seat immersing myself in my Kindle (the perfect escape from reality.) But this one day last week I felt the spark on the B train.

It wasn’t the exciting spark, it was more of a soothing wellness feeling. The train got rush hour crowded. And for some reason I didn’t lean forward. Instead I kept shoulder contact with the guy next to me (maybe ’cause he was kinda cute.) We never looked at each other, I was in to my book, he was into his iPad. But I felt it. It was that feeling comfort I had when I was with my 10th grade boyfriend, spooned on his couch after school watching Simpsons reruns. That type of comfort you can melt into.

The burdens, anxiety, and anger that accumulate on these hot and muggy days  the city of New York bestows upon me evaporated. I may have even put a little extra weight into him and I swear he did the same damn thing.  I stole a glance or two, but he never looked back.  My stop was fast approaching. I didn’t want to get up. I swore to G-d he was going to ask for my number. But sure enough 103 arrived and nothing. I got up and exited. Looking back at him through the window he never stopped reading that damn iPad.  The B train continued to 110th and stood there perplexed as to what the hell happened.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in By Jill

 

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And More Taxes!! — By Jill

 

 

Upon receiving the letter from the State of New York demanding an additional $895 I immediately went back to Liberty Tax.  The woman who had helped me before was there. But instead of being the mountain of confidence with “11 year’s experience who didn’t like to make mistakes” she seems now to angry and annoyed at me.  Apparently “doesn’t like to make mistakes” just means you get angry when you do.  Seeming lost, she jumped back and for to her manager (which is weird cause I thought she was the manager) but he was busy with other things. So much of the experience was spent waiting for him to finish what he was doing.

Most of this waiting time was spent looking at the giant Liberty Tax promise poster which clearly stated “If you’re not 100% satisfied we’ll refund your preparation fee.” As she struggled with the software trying to figure out how to amend the tax form with out having to start a whole new one, I decided after all was well and done, unless they got what I owe to New York very low, I would demand my preparation fee back ($262.) Why not? I decided to go with them over H&R Block (I still had their numbers written down with my tax documents.)  When you are selling tax services, you’re selling numbers and the ability to produce those numbers. If you fail at that you’ve failed at your job.  And c’mon, this is New York. New Yorkers don’t put up with bull shit! (Actually they do and in larger amounts than I’ve ever been exposed to.)

The error came down to one part NY state (they attributed my Seattle earnings to taxable NY income) but mostly parts Liberty Tax declaring me a partial resident then having me pay no Manhattan resident tax. (Turns out if you’ve live in Manhattan 180 days you still have to pay a prorated amount.) The amount owed went from $890 to $710, but then with some deductions to finally $360. Then said I wanted to talk about refunding my preparation fee.  The “nice lady” said her manager would have to deal with that. She went over to him (once again he was on his iPhone) and brought over a printed copy of the poster to point out to him.

Eventually he sauntered over to me. “So you’re going to pull this on us now?”

“Pull what? I went with you over H&R Block because I was only going to owe $90. Now I owe $400.”

“But that’ wasn’t our fault. And we fixed it for you.”

“Yes it was your fault. There’s a $360 discrepancy here. If it’s New York’s fault, help me take it up with them, otherwise you pay it.”

“I mean, I’ll give you your money back. Fine, that’s just fine. I’m just saying, it wasn’t our fault. And you’re pull this on us now, after it’s all done.”

I walked out of there triumphant but ambivalent. Yes, I was in full right to ask for my money back. $360 is a lot of money that will make the coming month rather difficult. Yes, it was clear Liberty Tax lacked professionalism and courtesy. They lacked the dignity to hold themselves accountable and own up to their mistake.  There’s were a whole list of reason I could come up to feel better about asking for my money back. But at the end of it I still felt wrong.

Ultimately I came to this, had I walked in there that afternoon and said “You guys fucked up, give me my money back, I’ll go have someone competent do my taxes right” that would have been okay. But I didn’t. I employed someone’s services to do a job (albeit a shitty one) then I had that same individual do further work to their best of their ability, fix that job. Someone had worked hours for me. And to not pay them for that work, because of a very poorly worded corporate policy, felt wrong. (Yes I realize that that $260 is not going into that tax preparer’s pocket.)

I called the manager back when I got home and told him to cancel the check.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in By Jill

 

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And We’re Back — By Jill

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It’s been a while since you’ve seen little me. I know, I’ve been pretty distracted. I fell for someone and kinda let it get out of hand. It’s funny when you set up “rules” for who you will and won’t date only not only find yourself going against those, but falling in spite of them.

I’ll start out by saying I’ve often thought of myself as a broken person. Sex has never been particularly fulfilling for me. Sure it’s fun and I enjoy the physical contact, but when it comes to getting off it’s never clicked for me. Now I know lots of girls say they have a similar problem, but for me, whatever feeling, whatever building momentum you have that leads to orgasm has been completely absent in the bedroom. I can get myself off so it’s not completely absent. But with a guy in the room, it’s not.

But then I met Martin. And everything changed. Thing about him is that when I’m with him I feel like we’re two refugees. Like we share a secret that no one else in the world could even begin to understand. With him, he not only understands it he shares and delights and carries it. And that something I never expected to actually find in this life.

Now there are problems. Unavoidable, illogical, and possibly insurmountable problems. We’re in very different places in our lives. He might move. I’m really busy. Our families would hate each other. He can be emotionally distant.

So when you look at it, you’d think, “yea, this probably isn’t going to work, why bother?” I’m pretty sure that’s the way he feels. But that tears at my heart unlike anything else ever. “So what?” I want to scream. “Do you know how long I’ve been looking for you?” I don’t understand how despite the obstacles, a person wouldn’t be willing to take the chance when you connect on such a level.

Maybe it’s just more special to me than it is to him. Or maybe he’s just so focused on himself that he can “turn off” the emotion. I hate him so much for that. That if we broke up, I would be a wreck, and he’d be able to walk around, a robot, living his life.

The break hasn’t happened officially. But a distance has started, a pulling away. For the past 3 weeks we’ve been in almost constant communication and now it’s sparse at best. He’s away on a business trip right now, so it make’s sense that he’d be busy. But he’s been away before and the communication had found its way though then. I’m bracing for the worst when he returns.

Once again I feel played with by God, or the cosmos, or whatever you want to call it.

–Jill

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in By Jill, Dating

 

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Ira Glass, why do you hurt me so?! — By Jill

One of the magical and awesome things about living in New York is that you’re going to run across celebrities. And when you work in a restaurant of good reputation, there’s a decent chance you’re going to be waiting on them.  In my short year here I’ve run into or seen/served at the restaurant; Steve Martin, John Goodman, Bono, Scott Adsit, Anthony Michael Hall, Daniel Day-Lewis (three times, the last of which he was dining with Steven Spielberg,) Michael Emerson (Ben Linus from LOST and Person of Interest,) and Sharon Stone (not as high maintenance as you’d think.)

And the novelty was nice, but I honestly got sick of it pretty fast. Great, there’s a big shot who doesn’t want to be bothered in the first place, why should I piss myself with excitement? I don’t want to wait on them because of all the extra attention I’m going have to give to make sure everything’s perfect. And I can’t blow them off like I would another high maintenance customer. Actually the very idea of celebrity kinda pisses me off.  So when one of the other servers run up, squeeling with joy, exclaiming “OMG! so-and-so celebrity is on table 42! ” I just role my eyes and continue getting my drinks for the guests I do care about. It’s even worse when another guest recognizes the celebrity and then starts probing me with questions about them. “No, I don’t know what they’re eating.” “No, they don’t come in at a usual time on a usual day.” “For fuck’s sake, I don’t have time to take your picture and angle it so they’re in the back ground.”

So imagine my surprise when this man tapped me on the shoulder asking for the bathroom…

Now most of you probably won’t recognize a radio celebrity. Especially not a National Public Radio one.  But this is Ira Glass host of my favorite thing ever This American Life. At least I was pretty sure it was Ira Glass. I’m used to seeing pictures of him looking like this…

…clean shaven, scrawny, short Jewish man. The man who had tapped me on the shoulder was tall, at least like 6 feet, and he had a beard (like the top pic.) Also my associations with him aren’t visual, they’re from his distinguished voice. Oh and he’s one of my personal heroes. If you’re not familiar with This American Life. Scroll up and click on the link and start listening to it right now. There. I made another link so you don’t even have to scroll up. It’s a documentary style NPR show about very personal stories of Americans (and sometimes not Americans) and their lives. It  has stories of love, living during a recession, there was one about a teenager that hit accidentally a girl with his car (but she might have committed suicide) and all the guilt he has to carry with his life. The episode “The Giant Pool of Money” explains how the housing crisis happened but in a very accessible and entertaining way. And they did it in May of ’08. That’s MONTHS before the recession happened.  If you can’t stand radio, there’s a Showtime version of if they did 2 seasons of. The show has changed my life.  The point is I was pretty sure it was him, but not 100%. And while all this is hitting me and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s him or not, he’s waiting for me to tell him where the restroom is.

Finally I snap out of my trance and tell him to follow me (I never do that, I usually say, “It’s down the hall and to the right.”) I immediately run to my friend Alice who I got addicted to TAL, and I can barely speak. “What the fuck is wrong with you, Jill?” And I’m all like, “I think Ira Glass is here.” To which she shrugs and says, “Oh. Cool.” Blasphemy. I hope she moves away to Los Angeles.

I spent the next hour or so  periodically walking by the table intently listening to his voice trying to make 90% surety, 100%. TAL is Chicago public radio. Why would he be in New York? On vacation? But last weeks episode was new. And so is this week’s. Maybe TAL is done from New York after all.  I begged the server to let me clear his table when they were done.  Finally when the check was down. The credit card would tell all. When Tony snatchs up the check, I was right behind him. And there it was in embossed silver. IRA GLASS.

Now restaurant policy is that you never approach celebrities in any personal capacity. I feel it appropriate. But to just go up to the guy and say. “Sir, you do amazing work and it has changed my life. Thank you and don’t stop.” What would be the harm in that? But at the same time, he’s with his kids and his wife, and he’s probably pretty busy. He doesn’t need some nutty girl badgering him. Fuck it. I decide this is probably the only time I will ever see him. He’s not just some celebrity…he’s created something that touches me on a personal level and he does it every week.

The plan. Wait for him to get up from the table, as he exits say “Have a good day.” He will look up and say “Thank you.” As he smiles and waves, I’ll say “Excuse me, Mr. Glass…” and the rest will follow. Short, sweet, done.

But then Alice flags me down. She’s got this 7 top that ordered a bunch of cocktails (at lunch there’s no bartender, so we have to make them ourselves) and they are demanding to order food despite the fact that she’s making the drinks they just ordered. “But Alice…Ira!” Then I shut up and go to the table. I look over my shoulder. Ira’s still sitting. I’ve got time. The 7 top starts asking me all these stupid questions. “What type of rice is in the risotto?” “Where’s the salmon from?” “Can I substitute the spinach for a side of pasta?” “What’s your favorite thing on the menu?” Ira’s getting up.  Fuck. I start bullshitting the table. Making up answers left and right. Finally they actually start ordering. I get it and Ira’s behind me on his iPhone.

I spin around and blurt out a “Have a nice day.”

He doesn’t even look up from his iPhone.

My heart is beating like crazy.

I take a few steps parallel to him and try again. ” I hope you enjoyed everything…”

Nothing. My hero walks out the door.

I go over to Alice. “Here’s the order. Position 3 has a gluten allergy.”

 
 

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