Monday, December 29, 2008

new place

My roommates and I moved into a new apartment. We liked all the shelf space, and the exposed brick walls. But there were several drawbacks---the giant, gym-locker-room style bathroom that took up about half the apartment and flooded on a daily basis was less than ideal. I also wasn't a big fan of the fake New Orleans interior design scheme. Each of the bedroom doors had a stained glass window etched with the name of a street in New Orleans and a stylized drawing of a jazz musician. Neon light sculptures of additional jazz musicians hung from the brick walls. Classy. I got there late, and my roommates had taken up all that wonderful shelf space with their books, DVDs and CDs, leaving me none. I threw a big fit, screaming and yelling and maybe throwing some things. Later, I apologized, embarrassed for my outburst, but things remained pretty tense.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I encountered a number of pestilences. Tornadoes. Fires. Earthquakes. The worst was the room full of snakes. This big purple cobra cornered me. I thought I was fast enough to get around it and out the door. Boy, was I wrong.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the new world

I joined an improv troupe, but our chemistry was all wrong. We just weren't funny, and I think two of the other girls were clinically depressed. The rest of the group decided to order in some fried chicken, stay up all night, and work everything out, but I jumped ship and headed to Michigan to hang out with my coworkers.

They were eating dinner at the house of one of the publicity assistants' parents, which was on a Manhattan city block transposed over one of the hilly forested areas near Ann Arbor. The publicity assistant was mad because one of the publicists had taken over her bedroom and filled it with baby-related gear. The really annoying part was that the publicist doesn't even have a baby. Still, I liked what she'd done with the place. Everyone was debating whether or not to head over to a party on 6th Ave. It was only one block away, but that block was steep and icy and covered with heavy forest.

We decided to drive to the frozen yogurt place instead. It was a no-name Pinkberry imitator, and they weren't doing so well. The place was a mess, with napkins and fruit bits and yogurt residue covering every surface. I was almost to the front of the line when the place totally broke down and became two narrow strips of land running in parallel across the Atlantic Ocean. A neverending train of prehistoric animals, from pink brontosauruses to baby-blue woolly mammoths, trudged along the isthmuses toward their new homes.

I cut a perilous path between all those giant, adorable legs and soon found myself in a small port city somewhere in Spain, full of notable architecture and elevated causeways. At every corner, there was a park with artfully arranged bushes and benches, so that the heads of the people who sat there poked up like rows of cabbage, making out, taking naps, or just taking in the scenery.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

carless in Los Angeles

Getting around Los Angeles without a car can be a real pain, especially if all the trains are full of zombies. I was visiting friends up in the hills, but had to get to a high school reunion on another hill. I'm not quite sure how I made it, but it definitely involved a lot of running and quick-footed zombie evasion down by the train tracks. I arrived just in time to hear this girl who used to live down the street from me out her little brother. He didn't seem to be expecting it, but he handled it well.

My friends got me a room in a really nice bed and breakfast up on the hillbilly side of town. Getting there was also a challenge, but it was worth it. The next day I even snuck back in to use the bathroom after I checked out because it was just the nicest place around to do my business. Then I walked down the hill to the local fruit stand. The line for this place was around the block. A local lumberjack told me that their recent popularity was due to their delicious waffles and jalapeno tacos, but they still slept out back in the mud with their pigs. I was glad to hear that success hadn't changed them (although in their case a little upgrade probably wouldn't have hurt).

Friday, November 28, 2008


I found a tunnel that led into my dreams. It was out in the woods, but not too hard to find. So I took a bunch of my friends, and we wandered around. My dreams sometimes looked like a city with a confusing public transportation system, but other parts of them just looked like a mall. They were mostly under construction. I assumed I'd be able to fly and do whatever I wanted to, but every time I tried just left me lying flat on my face.

The bus to the exit only ran twice a day, so I had to make sure we left in time to catch it. I didn't want people running around in my dreams at all hours. I found some people, but John Kim was missing. We sent out search parties, checked out all the stores and alleyways, but he was nowhere to be found. We stopped in a coffee store to regroup, and decided to leave without him.

At the bus stop, I turned on my iPod. It was playing Crash and Burn by Radiohead. This seemed somehow wrong. So I tried scrolling back to the menu, where things really started to fall apart. Some of the songs didn't even have names, and the ones that were there didn't make any sense. It dawned on me that being inside my dream was itself a dream. I tried the flying thing again, but just fell...and fell and fell, into my parents' family room as it looked in 1989. But this time I knew for sure the whole tunnel into my dream thing had been a dream, and this was, too. So I started flying around for a while until I got bored. I don't care what you say, flying around your parents' family room is never very exciting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I arrived in Costa Rica, which is kind of like Disneyland, and also kind of like an airport. There were turnstiles at the entrance, and then a kind of waiting area. The American tourists had a special area on one side with leather chairs and their own bartender. I stuck with the locals on the other end, waiting for a bus up to the top of the large hill that was visible from one end of the waiting area.

My bus driver was pretty cool. But when we got up to the top of the hill, he dared me to ride a skateboard all the way down on the main road, which ended on a dock and would send me straight out to sea. To be honest, I was scared shitless, but I said, "Sure, whatever."

Luckily, it started to rain just as I was about to take the plunge. The whole hillside went dark like it was moved inside a barn. Everyone in the town was sitting outside with their families at backyard picnic tables when the storm started, and they continued on with sharing their meals and company like nothing was happening, even though they were getting soaked. I waited out the deluge, dreading the aftermath.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

musical journalism bus

The musical journalism bus is a moving city landmark. Kids line up outside the bus depot all day, practicing their saxophones and violins and various percussion instruments, just hoping for a chance to take a ride. I was showing some friends around the city, and they all wanted to get on. Unfortunately, none of us had any musical skills. I considered auditioning with my singing, but everyone in the group quickly vetoed that idea.

Somehow we all managed to sneak onto the bus without having our credentials checked, but some jerky kid with a flute ratted us out. As the bus pulled out onto the street, the door flew open and we were pushed to the front, where a militant looking woman started to pull us off the moving bus.

"I'm not jumping off a moving bus!" I said.

"Yes you are," she said, giving me a final push. I exaggerated my recent ankle injury as I hopped down, hoping to make her feel bad. People who kick other people off moving buses are among my top ten least favorite kinds of people.

It turns out one of our friends had been holding out on us. In fact, he was kind of a scratch clarinet player. We caught up with him a few hours later when the bus dropped him off near one of the bridges. He showed us all of the pamphlets he'd received. We oohed and aahed over all the insider information on interview techniques and fact checking. "If I had known if was a stupid journalism seminar," he said, "I would have gotten off with the rest of you."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the worst

In a horrible twist of fate, George W. Bush was re-instated as the president elect. He was also my brother. As he waited for the 2009 inauguration, he made me take a trip with him down to Mexico to put our parents into a cheap retirement home. I was unhappy with all aspects of this situation.

We got in a fight in the parking lot outside the Mexico City Costco. I made the mistake of asking him about his plans for his next four years of the presidency.

"Leave me alone!" he screamed. "I don't fucking want to think about it. I'm just gonna do it, okay?" The tires of our SUV squealed as he pulled into a parking spot that was much too small. We had to crawl out through the back door because there was no room on the sides.

"But you must have some kind of plan, right?" I was having trouble getting my knee over the back headrest. "There's a lot of stuff you have to fix."

"Whatever," he said. He jumped out and left me tangled in the seats.

I caught up with him in the electronics section, where we struggled to figure out the current exchange rate for the peso. W was convinced we should be getting 23 pesos on the dollar.

"But what about inflation?" I asked him.

"Fuck you," he said. He flipped me off and headed for the vegetables.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

stupid beavers

It started out innocently enough. Crossing a small park near my apartment, I noticed a beaver rustling around in the dead leaves. He was dragging a large saw with his mouth. Not like a chainsaw or anything crazy like that. Just your normal, old-timey-lumberjack-cutting-down-trees-in-the-woods kind of saw. It seemed like a reasonable thing for a beaver to do, especially in dam-building season. I pointed it out and said, "Isn't that cute?"

But then the beaver followed us home. I tried to keep him out, but that's hard to do when your apartment has no roof. The beaver clambered up the side of the building and tailed me around the family room like a lonely puppy. I tried to get him to leave me alone, but he started going nuts, scurrying around the apartment and bouncing off the walls. My roommate told me I should let him sit on the couch with me, that he would get bored and go away. But that just made him worse. Once he got up on the couch, he invited his dog friend along, and they both howled and panted and got dog and beaver slobber all over me. It was the worst. Never ever let a beaver in your apartment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Me and everyone I know were Batman, and the Joker demanded a face-to-face meeting to resolve things once and for all. But it was a trick. His designated meeting place was a maze of wonders, full of beautiful gardens and amazing sights and challenging intellectual puzzles. We spent hours following his route, marveling at every turn and patting ourselves on the back for our wits and sense of adventure, while back in Gotham crime raged unchecked.

Friday, November 7, 2008

tomato garden

My dad has this amazing tomato garden. Red ones and orange ones and purple ones and yellow ones. He keeps them plump and juicy with an elaborate irrigation system rigged up to the roof drains. The pipes and tomato plants wind all around the house and into the garden like stringy pumpkin innards. You can hardly breathe without inhaling a tomato. Now my dad's threatening to take out all the drains and just let the rain fall where it may. I think this is a bad decision.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

my shiny derelict future

I was an old homeless woman who had been living on the same street corner for twenty-five years. That stability was the reason I was able to get such a good rate on car insurance. The agent cut me an excellent deal, and told me so as he shoved me up against the hood of a nearby car and pressed my face into the windshield. "The only reason I'm even giving an old hag like you any deal at all is because I know where you live, and I know I'll always be able to find you here," he said. "You got that?"

Then he had me fill out a form indicating all of the items in the lunch box my mother still made for me every morning. The rate went up slightly because I had switched from cheddar thins to whole wheat crackers, which seems counterintuitive, but who knows what crazy algorithm these insurance agents use to figure this stuff out.

The insurance wasn't actually for a car. I haven't driven in years, not since I moved to New York. But the fancy new subway cars require it. You know, the ones NASA designed? They strap you in like you're riding a roller coaster and take you from stop to stop elevated several thousand feet above the city. It's a big rush, but they haven't worked all the kinks out yet, so proof of insurance is still required.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I went on a job interview. The office was in a poorly lit motel room attached to a well-lit rustic bar. My interview was with the president of the company. We sat on opposite sides of one of the double beds in the room and discussed the job requirements. I think some reference I made to Battlestar went over well, because he bounced over to my side of the bed, but I was sitting right on the edge and we both rolled right off. I squawked, rather unprofessionally, and struggled to pull myself upright on the floor. That signaled the end of the interview.

They ushered in the next interviewee as I gathered my things and squeezed past him to get out the door. The rest of the company's employees were gathered in the kitchenette off the main room, and they burst out laughing as I dashed out. I could really use a drink.

Luckily, the bartender in the attached bar was just opening up, so I bellied up and asked for some lemonade. He was pissed off, and complained for hours about kids these days while I waited for my drink. Eventually I gave up and left to meet my roommates.

They were gathered near a pond outside my old high school, trying to solve a math problem. "If we solve this problem," Erik said, "the princess will pass her class and will love us forever." I offered to help, but Erik quickly figured it out. I mean, the assignment was to find the area of a hexagon---it wasn't that hard. We just figured out different variables for the area and circumference, then asked the princess to think of her favorite thing in the whole world, write it on a piece of paper, and put it in an envelope. Somehow that was the answer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I didn't sleep at all last night. When the sun came up, I got up and punched my bed. I threw all the sheets at the wall and pounded them with the pillows. Ugh.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

following your dreams

A famous conservative elder senator sat next to Natalie Portman on an airplane. I can’t tell you which senator, or the details of the flight. But the senator and Portman became friends, and she convinced him to drop his staunch anti-environmentalism stance and support green initiatives. She also convinced him to go public with his transvestism.

A friend of mine tipped me off about the senator’s upcoming presentation at a breakfast meeting for an important Senate committee and hooked me up with a press pass. The meeting took place in an old theatre, and I took a seat in one of the boxes. The committee members and their aides were spread around the main floor, lacklusterly eating donuts, drinking coffee, and looking through paperwork. Several of them were doing the crossword puzzle.

The senator came on stage in his usual gray suit and striped tie. Natalie Portman came out with him, also wearing a suit and tie. The two of them looked the room over in silence. Then some burlesque music started playing, and they started dancing. In unison, they ripped off their suits to reveal fringed black thongs with rhinestone embellishments. Both of them were topless. They shimmied across the stage in the name of the environment, but the committee members were nonplussed.

My friend who had got me in escorted me out through the stage entrance. “We knew he was going to do that today, so we didn’t invite the press,” he said. “Thank god half the committee members were missing, too.”

I thanked him for the show, then hurried off to meet my family for our trip to the pick-your-own-fruit farm. We all packed into the van, my parents and my brother, my cousins, my aunt and uncle, my grandparents, and the foreign exchange student who was my rival. We found a pretty good spot in the harvested hay field that doubled as a parking lot and headed in, only to find that it was actually the Olympics.

I received a schedule that told me I was supposed to be running in the women’s 200m qualifier heats on a certain day, but the date had been cut off on my schedule, so I wasn’t sure when. I was pretty sure I missed it. I got really mad and started screaming at my dad. “How can you just sit there when I just missed my only chance to be in the Olympics?” I hollered. He got mad, too, and we both went into hysterics. But then it turned out I was already qualified for the final, so I dashed down to the track to take my spot.

There in the next lane was my rival, the foreign exchange student who had been making my summer miserable. She was running for Romania, I think, but I never really paid attention to where she was from. We set up our blocks and got into starting position. Then the gun went off and I ran my heart out. I thought I’d come in last. After all, I hadn’t run a 200m dash since high school, and even then I wasn’t very good. But it turns out I finished second, losing by a hair to that goddamn foreign exchange student. I hate her, I hate her, I hate her. But, you know, spirit of the games and all---I walked over and shook her hand. She smiled her smug Romanian smile and I wanted to punch her face off.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

late-night bike adventures

I was staying in a fortress with my extended family. The grownups got bedrooms and my cousins got the foldout couches. I was stuck on a cot in the corner, which was fine, because the foldout couches were pretty much impossible to sleep on anyway. Someone important was also staying with us, or else we were somehow important, because the fortress was heavily barricaded and guarded.

To pass the time, we conducted experiments on slugs. At first I thought the slugs were kind of gross, but I got over it. Soon I let them crawl along my arms and snuggle against my ear. Looking back, this is still kind of gross.

So the hypothesis we set out to prove in the current experiment was that slugs, being stubborn and contrary, would only eat food we did not want them to eat. We set out a chicken caesar wrap on a table and let the slug do its thing. It ignored the wrap. Instead, it crawled on my arm, down my torso and leg, and onto the floor under the table, where someone had dropped a stray french fry. The slug latched onto the fry and hightailed it for a corner of the experiment room.

My partner exclaimed, "It's true! He went for the fry!"

The slug, who had turned into a small man resembling Kal Penn, shouted tinily, "Of course I did! Can't you give me some real food? Who wants a freakin' wrap?" He was carrying the french fry, which was about half his height, in both arms like a giant bag of laundry.

Suddenly, one of the copy editors, who had also been staying with us, went nuts. She was convinced the guard stationed outside the front door and across the highway was actually a terrorist planning to kill us. She tore out of the door with a gun, and we all chased after her to try and stop her. We dodged through the traffic on the five lane highway like it was multiplayer Frogger and assembled on the dusty median, where the copy editor was pointing the gun directly at our guard. The guard was actually a very nice, non-terrorist guy, and we all knew it. The copy editor's eyes looked all crazy. Her normally neat hair was blowing around in unseemly wisps.

She fired several shots, but her aim was terrible. The bullets came right at me, and I had to run around in the median trying to dodge them. Luckily, my bike was there, and I hopped on and took off. I had plans to hang out with my soccer team at the movies, anyway.

The cinema had a whole room devoted to self-serve candy---at least twenty of those giant gumball machines that give you handfuls of Mike and Ike or Sour Patch Kids instead of gumballs. There were also displays of candy bars that you paid for on the honor system. One of those creepy twins that I keep seeing around town (at dodgeball, on the CUNY station, at H&M, in my dreams) stormed in, told us to cover for her, and ducked down to steal some candy bars. My other friends pointed out the security cameras. "But it's not like they really care if you steal anything," one of them said. Regardless, I was too chicken shit to take anything.

I hopped on my bike again to head home. It was now dark out, and I was trying to turn left at the intersection of 14th and 6th without a helmet. I should mention that I have never ridden my bike in Manhattan before, ever. It was terrifying. I took off as quickly as I could at the light and tried to keep up with traffic, but there were cars everywhere, and for some reason I was carrying a book that prevented me from braking with both hands.

I stopped in at a coffee place, where this really cool person I know works. I wish I could be as cool as she is. I don't really wish I worked at a coffee place again. I was there with an investment banker type who somehow had never been in a coffee place before. He must live under his desk or something. We were standing outside, talking to the cool barista girl, when an elderly couple from the neighborhood walked by. The barista went inside and made them free drinks because they were a charity case. We waited for them in the store, browsing through bins of death-themed tchotchkes. They soon came back, showing off their fancy drinks---a peanut butter mocha ripple and a coconut latte.

My banker friend became fascinated with the drink process---although I think he just had a crush on my cool friend. He watched her make all sorts of drinks for other customers, putting a dollar in the tip bar every once in a while, even though she hadn't made him a drink. I got fed up and decided to continue my trip home, but that meant riding on the 110 freeway at 11 p.m., and I knew I wasn't going to get very far.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

brief summaries

I wanted to buy a large inflatable apple from Goodwill, but it wasn't for sale.

I got a job arranging plastic food for a banquet in a model home.

I read a book and realized it was set in my apartment, two years before I moved in.

I found out George Harrison had written a Beatles song about me. It had my name in it, but he spelled it wrong.

I needed a copy editor to work on a book by these twins who own a pizzeria and play dodgeball, but they had all gone to the seashore to take pictures. The copy editors were all fully dressed in tweed and corduroy, and they were getting wet sand all over their sensible shoes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

green performance art

I was taking turns living in an igloo in a foreign city that may or may not have been Bangkok. I'm leaning toward "may not," as it seems unlikely that an igloo would last very long in Thailand, and this living arrangement went on for months. At the end of it, my igloo-mates returned to New York to turn the experience into a performance piece. The performance was completely organic, with zero carbon footprint. Instead of explosions, they used some kind of hemp-based steam. We lounged about in a large square park as they projected images into the trees. My friends hated it, but after all that time in the igloo I couldn't stand to hear them belittle my experience. We sort of caused a little scene among all the blissed-out environmental activists. I was mortified.

Friday, August 8, 2008

late for class (with bikes!)

I was back in high school, and needed to get from Troy High to Athens High in 40 minutes for a class. So I decided to ride my bike. The ride was so so hard, uphill all the way, and my bike is kind of crappy. It didn't help that halfway along I obtained an intern, a slow dumpy girl who wasn't very bright and insisted on asking me stupid questions the whole time. Every five minutes, she would get distracted by something and stop or pull into oncoming traffic. I got so frustrated that I tried to leave her behind, only to hear her yelling, "Wait for me! Wait for me! Don't leave me!"

We stopped at a pier to do something sneaky with motorboats, and then at my aunt and uncle's house. After that, or maybe before, we came across my dad's tunnel amusement park, which consisted of two short tunnels you could ride your bike through. Making ghost noises in the dark was encouraged.

All in all, the trip took way longer than it should have.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

my mother, the entrepreneurial earth goddess

My mom decided to open her own store, one of those places that sell jewelry and incense and herbal remedies. This sort of place seemed out of character for her, but I agreed to help her set it up when she promised me I could work behind the counter on my days off.

Apparently, starting this kind of store involved secreting a large bundle of starter herbs out of the jewelry/incense/herbal remedy store where she was already working (I had no idea!). We had to sneak in when the owner was out to lunch. My mom's friend and co-worker went behind the counter and pulled out a large bundle of some pink-flowered herb I'd never heard of, wrapped in a swaddling cloth. My mother held it like a newborn. "Let's get out of here," she said.

Monday, August 4, 2008

anti-strip search

My family was returning from a visit to Soviet Russia. It might also have been Iran. At the border, guards made us get out of our car while they searched it. As we watched from a distance, they opened all of our bags and put on every piece of clothing we'd packed. One guard had on five shirts, three coats, and a pair of underwear on his head. They appeared to be conducting a Chinese fire drill, jumping in and out of the car and running---prancing---around in our personal effects. This was hard to watch.

To pass the time, we wandered into a freedom garden erected on the non-Soviet or non-Iranian side of the border. A balcony extended over the border, with grates in the floor so you could look down and see the foreign ground. There was a library section with the 100 greatest books of freedom of all time. For some reason it was all American writers from the 1920s. But they were all first editions, and I couldn't help thinking they would be worth a lot of money if they ever made their way out of this garden in the middle of nowhere.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

enforcement agents

I was hanging out on the beach in Iraq when two American soldiers arrived. They faced off with some Iraqi sunbathers, West Side Story-style, then pulled small silver cylinders out of their pockets in unison. The cylinders expanded into long tubes, and a bouquet of rounded prongs popped out of the end. The soldiers held the silver contraptions over their heads like chef hats and danced around. You would think it looked ridiculous, but it was actually very menacing and intimidating.

The soldiers pulled hand cranks out of the small end of the silver chef hats, and suddenly I realized they were holding giant mechanical whisks. They inserted the whisks in the sand in front of the Iraqis and mixed the sand up into a frenzy. As they mixed, the whisks expanded to become a set of large wheels, and then two large beach bicycles. The soldiers hopped on the bikes and pedaled off along the beach.

I was about to go for a run, so I ran in their direction. The beach soon ended and became a series of crowded streets filled with bazaars. Most of the stalls were selling discount footwear. I finally caught up with the bicycle-riding soldiers, only to discover they were my friends Jake and Branda. I asked how they made their strange bikes, and Branda told me they got them out of a mail-order catalog for way too much money, considering they were already falling apart after one ride.

Then my mom swung by in a special car for legally blind drivers. We both pretended to be blind, which involved sitting in the back seat and hugging large teddy bears with "legally blind driver" printed across their chests. My mom took a wrong turn into the parking lot where all the cops hang out. "Just play it cool," she said.

Our car coasted through the crowded parking lot like a baby seal through a den of sleeping polar bears. There were all kinds of cops---city cops, state troopers, security guards, park rangers, mounties. I pretended to be blind. Suddenly, a cop was rapping on my window. I rolled it open for him, and he said, "I'm gonna have to take you in."

I said, "But we're legal," and pointed to the teddy bears. We had him, and he knew it, too. But he was on his home turf and had something to prove. He pulled out his baton and lightly rapped it against his palm. I started sweating like crazy. I tried to remind myself that just hearing that noise wouldn't really intimidate a blind person. If anything, it sounded like he was casually applauding our efforts. But out of the corners of my not-actually-blind eyes, I could see the other officers closing in on our car. This wouldn't end well.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

barbeque ghosts

I finally went to Dinosaur BBQ up by Columbia, only to find it had been infested by ghosts. Twisty white wisps of ghostiness twisted up from the roof instead of delicious-smelling barbeque smoke. We took some pictures. On the screen of Joyce's digital camera, the ghosts looked past us with empty stares.

So we decided not to get barbeque.

Instead, we attended a happy hour I'd organized for young publishing professionals. There was a pretty good turn out.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

worst parents' weekend ever

My parents' were in town, and I wanted to show them a fun New York weekend. It didn't quite work out that way. I tried taking them to the pool party at McCarren Park, and we got there really early, right after my parents got out of church. But at 11 a.m., the line was already all the way around the pool, down the block, and across the Pulaski Bridge into Queens. We waited in line for a long time.

Eventually I gave up and took my mom out to breakfast with my friend Steve and his sister. My dad must have gone home, disgusted with all the queuing. I guess it was a fancy breakfast. I offered to pay for my mom and myself and ended up shelling out $100 for eggs and coffee.

Then my brother and I started breaking into people's apartments, just to check them out. We saw a cute attic room, and an apartment inside a large sailboat with a tendency to flip over even in the mildest weather. The sailboat apartment was full of clues. We discovered a tiny little wrench taped to the thigh of the guy who lived there (he was asleep). Then we found equally tiny little pieces of copper tubing under all the cushions in the room. The more clues we found, the bigger they got, until the entire floor was covered with nuts and bolts that we could barely scoop up into our arms without dropping them everywhere. At some point, we decided to let the clues be clues and leave the mystery for someone else to solve.

Now I was faced with the problem of finding a subway that would take me to work from Queens. The locals were full of useless advice. I took a B or a D further away from the city to catch an M, which seemed wrong, and someone told me it was running local on the weekend anyway. To transfer to the M, I had to climb down out of a parking structure, cut across a perfectly manicured lawn, walk through a very formal living room (which I think is more correctly called a salon), and hop a fence to cross more lawn. The whole time, I could see the train coming. In my hurry I kept tripping and getting stuck on fence posts and knocking over televisions. The various people I'd asked for directions crowded around and cheered me on.

The M station was very technologically advanced, with shuttle pods that would airlift senior citizens directly to Broadway shows. Still, I had to buy my ticket from an angry old woman at the bar, which took some more time. What I'm trying to say is, I totally missed that train, and I knew I would be stuck in Queens forever.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

camping, and not camping

I went camping in someone's backyard in Michigan. I'm not sure who came with me, but she'd never been to Michigan before. It was a terrible night. There was heavy rain, and lightning, and crocodiles crawling around in the tree branches. A couple of deer wandered into the backyard, and I pointed them out to my friend. She was impressed.

But then the night got even worse. Something attacked the deer---it was pretty dark, but in the brief bursts of light from the lightning I made out lions, cheetahs, water buffalo. The deer stood over us protectively. Blood gushed from their flanks. They didn't speak, but I could tell they wanted us to get the hell out of there and save ourselves. So we did. I mean, the house was only about ten feet away, so we went back inside and waited out the storm.

Once it stopped raining, my parents took us to crash someone else's family reunion. We stood in line next on the Wattles I-75 overpass. The people in front of us were taking way too long to hand over their tickets, so we jumped the line and hopped over the turnstiles. This was an unusually rebellious move for my family.

The other family's reunion was pretty lame. I milled about with my mom and dad and brother and unidentified friend. I wanted my mom to play Skee-Ball with me, but I couldn't remember what the game was called, and it didn't seem like they had it there anyway. My mom did find a tub full of pool balls. It looked like those pits of rainbow-colored plastic balls they used to have in the play areas at McDonald's, although trying to jump in it would probably have been pretty painful. We wisely decided not to try. Our rebellious phase was over.

Monday, July 21, 2008

the Israeli army story

I was hanging out with my friend Larry, helping him get ready for his wedding. I told him this story about an Israeli army officer. I have no idea what the story was about, or why I told it, but apparently Larry really liked it.

This became apparent when I showed up at the ceremony and saw my name in the program. I was up right after the minister's opening remarks, telling my story about an Israeli army officer. I sat down at the back of the church. The church itself was outside in a garden, but my seat was behind a wall in the back area. I sat down on a stool in front of a window looking out on the proceedings and hoped no one would notice me.

They noticed me. Five minutes in, Larry called out my name. He pointed at me in the back and beckoned me on stage. "You guys are going to love this story," he said into the microphone, before ushering me in front of the podium.

I drew a total blank. There must have been hundreds of people there, and they all stared at me expectantly, with those polite smiles people have when they're sitting through weddings. "Hey, everyone, isn't Larry a great guy?" I said into the mic. Everyone nodded in agreement. I couldn't even remember how my story started. I shuffled through the papers on the podium, looking for a clue. There was no clue. I was stuck.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Exes and Drunks

One of my exes tried to rekindle the old flame, but I apparently was having none of it. I told him we should just be friends, and he told me he could do better anyway. So he went off in a huff to the Brazilian supermodel he had waiting in the wings, and I went off to find my friends Kelly and Todd. They were on their way to check out the swim club they had just joined.

It turned out the pool was in the middle of a dive bar in a sketchy part of town. As we splashed around in the surprisingly clean yet small pool, old drunk men leered at us from the barstools. They seemed really upset that the swim club was encroaching on their establishment. It was a bad scene. The gentrification around here is really getting out of hand.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

family vacation

I was supposed to go on a trip to northern Canada with both sides of my extended family. At first, they were all crashing in my apartment. They rearranged all the furniture, left my grandad on the couch, and went shopping. I was having one of those days where I just couldn't wake up. I dragged myself out of bed around noon with my eyes full of sleep gunk and stumbled into all the newly relocated couches and chairs. My favorite shoes were sitting right outside my door, and when I kicked them by accident they went flying in opposite directions. One shoe I found under a couch; the other I never saw again.

Then we were at my parents' house in Michigan. I brought my friend Erica and we all hopped in the van to drive to Canada. Halfway to the border I realized I'd left my passport in New York, and I forgot to pack any extra shoes. I was wearing my old running shoes, which I hate. I would look like a stupid tourist all week, running around in smelly white athletic footwear. That is, assuming I got past the border.

My mom refused to turn back. She said we would ask the border guards to issue me a new passport when we got to the bridge. I was skeptical.

But then I was alone in Kitchener, trudging up a snow-covered road, trying to find my cousin and uncle. They were waiting for me in the park, which wasn't snow-covered. Actually, it was a pretty nice day, and dogs were running around all over the place. My uncle had to go somewhere for a minute, and my cousin showed me his special phone. He had a new job with the University of Waterloo, and they issued him a big blue plastic phone that was always connected. My cousin told me whoever was on the other end of the line would provide any information, and do whatever my uncle asked. She goaded me into trying it out.

So I picked it up and held it to my ear. "Hello?" someone said. "Oh, wrong number," I said, and quickly put it back down.

All of a sudden all the dogs went nuts and ran after something on the other side of a hill. There were hundreds of them, all different shapes and sizes. "It's a cat!" someone yelled. And then it was. The cat was booking it, running in every direction with the dogs close on its tail. It ran past our blanket, then attempted to climb a tree that was much too short to get it away from the dogs. "Don't do it!" I yelled. It gave up on the tree, but I could tell it was getting tired. As it staggered on, a vulture swooped out of the sky and nailed it just as all the dogs were closing in. Poor cat.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

stolen cars, road trips, bad paint jobs

My friend roped me into helping him hand out fliers for a new local restaurant outside the long-established local homeless shelter. I spent about two hours standing there in the cold and snow, only to discover that my friend had been sitting inside the restaurant the whole time.

He felt really bad about the whole thing, so he stole and hot wired a really shitty car for me. "It's all yours!" he said, and I putt-putted off into the night.

For some reason, driving a stolen car made me really uncomfortable. The first chance I got, I ditched it on a suburban street and wandered around until I was totally lost and would never be able to find it again. Then I found myself an equally shitty bike and rode it to my soccer game in Golden Gate state park.

After that I had to go on a road trip with my family. We got stuck in traffic just outside Detroit, so we got out of the car and sat down in the median with a large group of German exchange students. They were singing boisterous German national anthems, and it drove us nuts.

Eventually we managed to make our way to our actual destination, a very small political convention at my parents' neighbors' house. The neighbors made us dinner and pulled out the sofa bed for us. The next morning, my grandfather and I spent about half an hour trying to figure out how to put the couch back together. Then I had to repaint all the walls in their family room. I chose tar black, and came up with the brilliant idea of pouring it on really thick at the top and letting it drip down. Unfortunately, it didn't stop dripping when it hit the bottom of the wall. It leaked over onto the floor and formed strange goopy paint formations. I crawled around on my knees, trying to scoop up the extra paint with a spoon before it could dry. Everyone else was in the kitchen eating breakfast. It sounded delicious.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

snakes and authors

One of our authors hired me to reorganize his work space, so I took the train upstate with some of my coworkers to check it out. The place was kind of awful. It was a one-bedroom ground-level railroad. The author slept in the back, then rented out the bedroom during the day to a college student who only went outside after dark.

We all arrived the night before and crowded together to sleep in the bedroom. Then the college kid arrived and tossed all our stuff into the main office. Already the place was a disaster. The author and his employees did most of their work huddled in the kitchen area, piling stacks of paper precariously along the edge of the counter. I suggested moving the main work area over to a large and unused table in the middle of the room. They were skeptical, but decided to humor me.

The author stayed over by the kitchen. He seemed to be cooking. I had been hoping he would be working on the book he owed us. Then random people started trickling in off the street and placing sandwich orders. The author explained how his office doubled as a deli at lunch time to bring in extra cash.

After the lunch rush, we went outside to check out the store front. The front wall of the building appeared to be plastered with stickers from stock racing teams and skateboarding retailers. It was hard to tell what the building was supposed to be.

I was about to explain the importance of easy-to-read signage when my boss came running around the corner screaming. There was a large orange snake wrapped around his neck. The author seemed nonplussed. "We don't have any poisonous snakes around here," he said, and went back inside to make more sandwiches. That didn't console my boss, who continued to scream and run laps around the building.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

escaping, cheating, celebritizing

I had to attend an event for work at the President's Club, some sort of exclusive secret society where celebrities come to watch variety shows at the top of a fancy hotel.

We came with Matt Lauer, who was having a hard time getting in. He kept saying, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Matt Lauer!"

The people at the door shrugged. "To be honest," one of them said, "I don't think you're famous enough, Matt." I had to help some people carry in some equipment from the van, but when I got back we were clear for entry, so Matt must have demonstrated enough celebrity credentials, or paid off the bouncers.

Upstairs, the room was packed with famous people, but not the ones you would necessarily expect. I saw Mariah Carey, and George Clooney (actually, he probably is one of the ones you'd expect). I didn't recognize the rest of the people, but I assumed they were famous for things I didn't know about. I haven't been keeping up with People and US Weekly lately.

All that famous in one place kind of freaked me out. It freaked out my coworker, too. We decided to make an early exit, but we were worried people would see us and realize we weren't famous. We knew that would mean big trouble. Unfortunately, the elevators would only come if you had a registered celebrity ID, so we were kind of stuck. We stood by the elevator bank looking around nervously until another celebrity arrived and we were able to slip into the elevator as he got out.

I was so happy when we got out of that place. But then I ran into my friend, who confessed to me that she was cheating on her boyfriend with the guy I'm dating. I couldn't tell if she knew I was dating him, but I acted supportive anyway. "You're just doing what's right for you," I said. In truth, I was really mad at her. Her boyfriend is a great guy, and I couldn't understand why she would ever do that to him. It seemed very out of character for her.

Only later did it occur to me that I should have been mad at her for sleeping with my boyfriend.

Monday, June 9, 2008

eww, eww, eww

This one is a little grosser than usual...

I was a living skeleton, somehow still alive despite losing all of my non-bone body mass aside from a little bit of skin, which covered some of the bones. I also had hair, and a tongue, which lolled dryly out of my skeletal mouth like layers of moldy filo dough. I couldn't really move much, but sort of shrugged around on a couch while people discussed me in the kitchen. "It's amazing she lived to be this way," someone said. "Most people die long before they reach the skeleton stage. It's because it all happened so slowly." The other one said something about anorexia, and when I heard what had happened to me I was so embarrassed.

Then I was myself again, sometime before all this happened, looking on. There's no way I'm going to let that happen to me, I thought. I love food. I looked at my normal-ish body in the mirror, but already I could see that I was losing flesh. Not in a uniform way, but in chunks missing from my abdomen and arms. My skin puckered over the submerged holes like cellulite.

Suddenly I had horrible diarrhea. It seemed like it was never going to stop. In fact, it never did stop. At some point I realized it was probably time to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

driving, walking, tricked

My parents just bought a house right next door to Steve Jobs, on a densely treed street somewhere in Birmingham, Michigan. So maybe I screwed up a bit and stole my parents' car and drove without a license and got caught. And so now I had to walk home with Steve Jobs' kid, who I wasn't actually even aware existed until now, when we were walking from somewhere many miles away from home. I didn't even really know where we were going, but I kept my spirits up for the kid's sake. By the time we walked past that cemetery further down on Woodward, we were both pretty pooped. I called my parents and asked for a ride. Steve Jobs was over, I guess having tea with my parents or something. When he heard where we were, he insisted my parents come pick us up, so mini-Jobs and I stood by the side of the road waiting. My parents were there pretty fast, probably because we were only two blocks from the house. Good one, Steve Jobs.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

boring, book, parties

My friend, who's a chef, but looks a lot like another guy I know who isn't a chef but is actually a stand-up comedian and a screenwriter, was having a book party for his first book, a cook book which I highly recommend. Danny Meyer was hosting for him, in his loft apartment which doubles as a yacht.

As the party went on, and everyone mostly ignored me as is generally the case at these sorts of events, the loft--yacht detached from the building and floated around the streets of New York City, which were conveniently flooded at the time.

Everyone wanted to talk to my chef friend, so I wandered to the front of the yacht and befriended the housekeeper, who was working double duty tonight as the yacht captain. She showed me how to steer and let me take the wheel for a little while. We reached the end of the West Village and launched out into the Hudson River. There were some great views, but they were hard to see, what with all the rain.

At some point, my glasses fell off my face and flew overboard. I'm pretty sure it was somewhere on the LES. After the party was over, the housekeeper and I backed the yacht up over our route, checking the gutters for them. Of course I didn't find them. I'm pretty much blind without my glasses.

Monday, May 26, 2008

you, me, everyone we know

I went to the beach with my whole family, my parents and my grandparents and my aunts and uncles and cousins and all my brother's friends and some of my friends, too. It was a warm day, but not very sunny, and the ocean was a depressing slate gray from far away. When you were actually in it, the water was amazingly clear and full of giant koi in bright oranges and yellows and white.

So we were all hanging out on the beach on assorted beach blankets under rainbow umbrellas. Suddenly, my grandmother announced that my aunt was missing. She had gone swimming in the ocean and never came back. This aunt died twelve years ago, but I guess she was back for the day. We all jumped in the water to look for her. I hugged the coastline to the north, treading water through the koi, looking down at the bottom. Eventually the ocean narrowed into a sort of canal that cut inland. I continued to swim along until it started going through rooms with dramatic lighting from above. There was an apartment, a kitchen, a dorm room, a computer lab.

Eventually, I ended up in a giant restaurant at the University of Michigan. It was packed full of everyone I'd ever met. I started going from table to table, staring at all the faces and asking people if they'd seen my aunt. No one had.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

rock show, church, rock show

My friend Joe's band had a show with a bunch of other bands. It was in some kind of church, and it was pretty good. After the show, I went to hang out with all the bands at a giant house in the suburbs. I was way tired, but they never went to sleep. People kept locking themselves in the bathroom and having to be coaxed out by their friends, which was annoying whenever I needed to use it. At 4 a.m., I finally passed out on an air mattress in the living room, which was more like a gymnasium at an elementary school that could double as a cafeteria. But before I knew it, everyone was pulling me up to do calisthenics. We pranced around the main room in a big circle, doing jumping jacks and skipping. Not exactly what I was expecting for an after-party.

The house was in a hilly city that was like San Francisco, but darker and more forested. There were tunnel staircases that went from one street to another, but they were kind of creepy looking so I generally took the long routes.

Later on I had to drive my family to church, but there was nowhere to park. We skipped the first mass and lurked in the parking lot until everyone left so we could steal a good spot. But that meant we were way early, so my dad suggested we check out a Pixies concert in Somerset Mall. I never got into the show because I spent all the time in the car trying to decide what to wear. For some reason I only had a suitcase full of dirty running clothes. My options were sweaty shorts and t-shirts with holes in them. I also had one pair of pants that were too small and made wooshing noises when I walked. I went with the pants, even though I knew I looked stupid.

Monday, May 19, 2008

bowling, desk change, swimming

I was having trouble with directions. My best friend was trying to follow me around New York in a car. My dad was driving like the out-of-towner he is and breaking all the traffic laws. We accidentally got into the lane for a bridge out of the city, but my dad pulled a U-turn at the last second. My friend got stuck in traffic on the bridge for an hour and was late for bowling.

I was a terrible bowler. I'd throw the ball one way and hit pins in another lane. My roommate wasn't much better. We were all having trouble following the rules and remembering not to throw more than twice in a row. I kept hitting the thing that comes down to reset the pins, which at this place looked like a red velvet curtain.

Then they offered us new desks at work, but I was back in high school and those desks were reserved for the newspaper staff. I was jealous of them because I never had room in my schedule to take the journalism class. As it was, I was going to have to drop regular orchestra or Girl Scout orchestra. My mom thought I was crazy, but I was leaning towards dropping the Girl Scouts. At least then I wouldn't have to wear that stupid uniform anymore.

I ended up with one of the new desks anyway. It was way worse than the desk in my old office, set up hastily on those fake wood tables with uncomfortable plastic chairs in a large library-like room. We didn't even get our own areas. I had to share a table with this girl I've always hated. The computers looked like they were from 1985. I can't believe I signed up for this switch. To make matters worse, new desks were in a contained living facility. We were not allowed to leave for any reason, although I was seriously considering breaking out to go meet up with my parents at the beach.

We lived in dorm rooms above the work space, and they offered us a shopping area once a week that everyone was excited about. I climbed down the stairs to the outdoor fenced-in area to check it out early one Saturday morning. Beyond the fence, giant fields of rich green grass flowed out in every direction. Large groups of students dressed all in black were practicing different group exercises inside the fence. Yoga, tai chi, miming.

Then it was open swim and everyone jumped in the pool. I was shy about getting in because I thought I didn't know anyone, but then I noticed all these girls I knew from high school splashing around. My Caribbean lit professor from the University of Michigan was there in a flowery bathing suit. She gave me a hug over the divider between the shallow end and the deep end and asked me when I was going to call her up in Toronto and meet her for lunch. I promised to do it really soon, although I'm not sure how if I'm stuck in this place.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

aliens, fires, the end of everything

It was the end of the world, aliens arriving by water in giant dragon-faced ships. We could see them from the beaches in L.A., coming in fast. Forest fires broke out spontaneously on the dried-out summer hills. It was hard to maneuver around the flames, even if we knew where to go.
We pretty much knew we were all going to die.

Jamaica, suburbs, floorplans

I went to Jamaica with my grandparents to visit a small town on the northwest side of the island. This wasn't like the Jamaica I remembered. Actually, it looked a lot like an American suburb, except slightly more jungle-like. My usually overly protective grandparents even let me walk around on my own, wandering down a tree-lined street to find a an orange grove and a collection of colonial-style houses. Kids were playing baseball in the street with plastic bats.

We were staying at my uncle's house, a giant place full of extraneous doors and mysterious staircases. The place just kept expanding. Eventually, I found a staircase that led up from the attic to a spacious loft apartment, a little dusty but otherwise fantastic. Floor to ceiling windows, a baby grand piano in the kitchen. Apparently no one had known it was there.

When we went outside and looked up at the house to figure out where everything was, we saw a twelve-story apartment building rising from the roof, above my uncle's house and the newly discovered loft. The whole thing looked like it was about to fall over. In Jamaica, homebuilding is kind of an iterative process.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

camping, animals, danger

A few days ago I went camping in the redwood forest. There were tall trees and tents and wild animals and s'mores and everything. Late at night, after we all pooped out in the aforementioned tents, the wild animals began to forage. A bear went after our food, and my friend wanted to jump out of our tent to stop it. I held him back. "It isn't worth it!" I said. That's when the tiger arrived and started slinking around our campground like it owned the joint. When it roared at us, we both popped back inside the tent and stayed put. Strangely enough, the animals didn't end up taking any of the food. They did rip open my friend's brand new Skip-Bo game, though. Animals love Skip-Bo.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hamptons, Patrick, housewarming gifts

I have a place out in the Hamptons. I tell myself it's cheaper than living in the city, but I'm probably wrong about that. We have a kiddie pool out back, and I steal water from the neighbors when they aren't looking.

Patrick Stewart came to visit and presented me with a jarful of quarters, each individually wrapped in blue cotton fabric and tied with a tiny little bow. I said, "Wow! Thanks, Patrick Stewart!" But really I was thinking, shit, it's going to take me forever to unwrap all these quarters.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

adventures, babysitting, swamp

There's this big swamp right by the Hudson River in New York. At one end, there's a dock where people desperately try to get on boats and emigrate to the other side. Jersey, I guess. Things must really be bad in New York. There's also an outdoor bar at one end of the swamp, with tree stumps for chairs and vines all over the place, where I spent hours with two friends from work trying to find something good on the jukebox.

We'd just about given up when we met this guy who writes for an adventure magazine. Their thing is to profile crazy adventurers by taking the whole staff and reliving entire journeys. Every month, the publisher and the writers and the copy editors and the sales team and the intern would all take off for a remote locale, climbing Mount Everest in t-shirts, crossing the Pacific in a dinky little raft. This month they were living in the swamp, which is full of snakes and alligators in the wet bit in the middle. This guy had just walked/swam across, and he looked terrible. We all felt bad for him and bought him drinks.

Later that day I had to babysit these two kids, a little girl and a little boy. I'm not sure where I got them. I had a feeling they were my niece and nephew, but that didn't seem quite right. These kids HATED each other. They were constantly fighting over who was better. The little boy was a lot like the guy who swam across the swamp. The little girl was a lot like me.

A bar is no place for small children, and I had to get back to work anyway. So I took the kids with me to the office. They immediately started to complain to my boss about all the horrible things they had done to each other. The boy pushed the girl into the swamp. The girl gave the boy cooties and played Hootie and the Blowfish on the jukebox. I began to think maybe these terrors belonged to my boss after all. I wanted to lock them in a room with a movie so I could get some peace and quiet. Does that mean I'm going to be a bad parent one day? I did take the girl to the bathroom to wash her hands, holding her over the sink so she could reach and making sure she used enough soap. Who knows what she got on her hands in that swamp?

From my office there's this great view of the swamp, a big green-blue bowl cutting into the landscape. Across the river, a giant sandbar juts out into the water. It looks like Jersey City created it as a parking lot, because it's covered with cars. From here, it doesn't look too hard to just walk across the barely submerged sand. I'd be in New Jersey in no time.

Monday, May 5, 2008

college, hobos, gasoline

I decided to go back to school, and somehow managed to get a lease on the same house I used to rent in Ann Arbor. The place looked like shit when I got there, like it hadn't been painted since 1955. I guess it's been a while.

I was the first roommate to arrive, so this time I took the good room. There was a time when I would have been more fair about things, and waited until everyone arrived so we could all put in a bid for the rooms we wanted. Maybe I would have suggested a lottery or something. Whatever. I took the big room, with two windows and a view of the street and fewer stains on the carpet. Just as I finished setting up my room, putting up photos on the walls for once like I was really living there, I heard someone else dragging stuff in downstairs.

It was this girl I went to high school with. We got back in touch through facebook when they added that friend finder feature. It's great for stalking all those popular kids I never really talked to. They're all engaged now. I don't know why that bothers me. Anyway, this girl didn't get engaged. I think she went through some rough times, never managed to finish college the first time around. She must have been doing some weird drugs at some point, because she seems a little out of it these days. She smiles too much and is way too nice for a former popular girl. It freaks me out.

I went downstairs to say hi, and ran right in to this homeless dude who also happened to be this guy:

Eddie Jemison

You might remember him from such films as Waitress and Ocean's 11. I kind of hope you don't.

My new roommate was guiding him into the house. I asked her what she was doing. It turns out the guy needed a place to stay, so she offered to let him stay with us. We had a quiet little talk outside. I told her no fucking way. She stopped smiling and stormed off, so I went inside, found homeless Eddie Jemison, and guided him back out of the house. Then I went and got groceries.

When I got back, the rest of my new roommates had already moved in all their stuff. And that crazy smiley girl was back, dousing my room in gasoline. She had a big can of it, the kind you use to buy gas for your lawnmower, and she was swinging it around so it soaked everything, my bed, my closet, the carpet, the ceiling. She walked out smiling and told me, you better be careful.

It was okay once it all dried. It didn't even smell that much of gasoline. Maybe she just filled the can with water and sprayed it around to scare me. Or maybe she thought water was flammable once you put it in a gas can. But just to be safe, I tried not to light any matches or have any open flames anywhere near my room.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Esther, bluegrass, pheasant

My boss sent me to Kentucky on business and Esther Newberg invited me to dinner at her mountainside restaurant. We sat out back at an unsteady table, in between the lawn gnomes and the bluegrass. I guess we talked about books and ate some wild pheasant. She was nicer than I expected.

Friday, May 2, 2008

sushi, art, beer

My best friend is dating a middle aged artist. He's foreign, although no one really knows what country he's from. He took us all out to a fancy restaurant that mixes Asian fusion with Tex-Mex. I had roasted pork sushi rolls, and they were delicious. Then we helped him set up an art installation in our apartment. I needed to use the bathroom, but someone was in there, so I went to the bar on the corner. They did some remodeling, and now they're a sushi lounge/art gallery/skating rink/bowling alley/beer garden. The hostess told me I couldn't pee there unless I bought some sushi. I didn't want any more sushi, so I held it, and she gave me a tour of their new facilities. The beer garden is lovely.