Friday, May 30, 2008

Quote Of The Day


Courtesy of my brother Jeff Hancock:

"I always knew it would be Will Smith who would play me in the movie."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Indiana Jones And The Numerous Leaps Of Logic And Random, Unexplained Natives Appearing Out Of Nowhere


Never thought you'd see the day when Indy was riding bitch, did ya?

I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last weekend, a film which my friend Jessica aptly described as "the equivalent of a big dumb puppy." As soon as those computer-generated prairie dogs appeared onscreen in the opening sequence, I turned to the person next to me and said, "I think that pretty much sets the tone for the entire production, don't you?" (Though I did enjoy the scenes that were shot at Yale.)

My friend Mark had a similar reaction. He says: “I turned to my friend and asked, ‘What is this, fucking Caddyshack?’ At least they didn't steal his fedora and escape down a hole. I hated. Hated. Indy. I wanted so badly to like it. But I just sat there for two hours, being alternately confused/appalled about how pandering it was to kids. Prairie dogs? Monkeys? Tarzan vine swings? Cheap aliens? George Lucas needs to be shot into space.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

These Are The Days Of Our Lives

This blog post made me LOL, as they say, but I think my friend needs a vacation. Balk, I hear the Sandals resorts are lovely...
Every morning I rise before dawn, stumbled bleary-eyed to the shower, get dressed, take my “vitamins,” ride a shockingly overcrowded train up to Grand Central (it’s 6:30, where the hell are all you people coming from?), walk over to the office, smoke a couple of cigarettes under the scaffolding while trying to read the Times, lumber into the elevator, open the office, turn on the lights, get my browser going, and start planning what’s going to happen on the website that day. Throughout the day I’m faced with various pitches, questions, meetings, disgruntlements, and constant reminders of my inadequacies as a manager, not the least of which is my inability to convince my employees that they need to be in by noon. (I’m not crazy, right? Noon isn’t an irrational, overbearing hour to ask for, is it? Do people complain, “That dick told me I had to be in by noon.”?) By the time 5 P.M. rolls around I’m a battered shell who just cant wait to tuck into a bottle of bourbon and pass out in front of the A.C. And then the moon rises and falls, the alarm clock buzzes, and I do it all again.

Change

I pulled a back muscle hauling my loose change to Coinstar last weekend. I had almost $200 in coinage, which turned out to be quite heavy. I was carrying it in my purse and was thrown completely off-balance so I ended up limping down the street in the manner of a peg-legged pirate.

I was reminded of this homeless guy I used to walk past every day. "Spare any change?" he'd ask. "No, sorry," I'd reply. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to give him any money and I almost always give money to homeless people. "What if they're lying?" people say. "What if they're not really homeless?" The way I see it, if a person is faking homelessness then they still need this change more than I do. But there was something about this guy. I think it was the fact that he was on the same corner every day. It's like, at least move locations from time to time and give me the illusion that you're off using my money to look for a job. Work with me here, man. Plus, he was overweight and I don't believe in fat homeless people. How can you be homeless and still be fat? I don't get it. Clearly he's somewhat resourceful, right? Only in America do we have fat homeless people, I always say.

Anyway, one day I needed some cash so I grabbed the big clear bucket I throw all my change in at the end of the day and headed down the street to Coinster. Of course I wound up walking past the guy. "Spare any change?" he said. I looked down at the big clear bucket of change I was so obviously holding and said, with a perfectly straight face, "No, sorry." At time time I thought it was kind of funny but I caught sight of my unshowered, uncombed self in the mirror earlier and realized that I'm just a few freelance paychecks away from standing on the street holding a bird cage full of parakeets crying, "Feed the birds!" like that lady in Mary Poppins.

Me Blog Pretty One Day

The New Yorker’s David Sedaris archive has me completely tickled. Each one of Sedaris' articles is summarized on the website, undoubtedly by some intern they hired straight out of a Jay McInerny novel. Seeing his ridiculous tales broken down in that quintessentially humorless New Yorker way is totally amusing me. I've reprinted a few of them below.

NOVEMBER 29, 2004
Reflections
OLD FAITHFUL
REFLECTIONS about fidelity, competitiveness and the author’s current and previous boyfriends… Writer tells about a boil he developed on his tail bone while staying in London with his boyfriend, Hugh. Tells about how Hugh likes to complain when his…
by David Sedaris


FEBRUARY 16, 2004
Recollections
THE LIVING DEAD [ABSTRACT]
RECOLLECTIONS about the writer drowning a mouse at his Normandy home. The writer was on the front porch, drowning a mouse in a bucket, when, strangely, a van pulled up. No cars ever stops in front of his house. Plus, it was three o’clock in the morning. In addition, there…
by David Sedaris


MAY 08, 2006
Reflections
MEMENTO MORI
REFLECTIONS about a human skeleton the writer gave his boyfriend as a gift… Writer tells about a list he keeps of gifts that he would like other people to buy for him. Tells about petitioning various friends to buy him a portrait of a dog he had seen at the…
by David Sedaris


JANUARY 29, 2007
Reflections
THE BIRDS
REFLECTIONS about the writer placing album covers and photographs of terrorists in the windows of his Normandy farmhouse to deter birds from trying to enter through them… Writer tells about his boyfriend, Hugh, listening to the Kate Bush song “Aerial” in their Normandy farmhouse. The song opens with the trilling…
by David Sedaris

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bring Me the Voice of John Lennon!

Me: "You know, every time I try to download a Beatles song from iTunes and end up having to settle for, like, a low-rent version of 'In My Life' by Bette Midler, I dislike Michael Jackson a little more."

Nick: "This is why you dislike Michael Jackson?"

Monday, May 26, 2008

Horsies!

Nick and I went horseback riding in Prospect Park today. We've decided to start Doing Things again. When one of the other horses on the trail heeded the call of nature while still in motion, we had the following exchange:

Me: "Man, don't you wish you could take a shit while walking?"

Nick: "I really do. I'd save so much time."


These are the things we talk about.

On a related -- but less disgusting -- note, when I was nine years old I found myself on a runaway horse that had taken off galloping across a field headed for the woods. I was pulling as hard as I could on the reins but the horse wouldn’t slow down. Then I saw it off in the distance -– a thick tree branch headed directly for my face. I had no idea what to do. I know what you’re thinking. Why not just jump? But the horse was going incredibly fast so I just sat there paralyzed for awhile, weighing my options. Jump off the horse and risk breaking my neck or wait for the tree branch to do it for me? I actually have no idea what happened next. The next thing I knew I woke up on the ground in a thorn bush. I don’t think I hit the branch because I didn't have any bruising, but I also don’t remember making the decision to jump off. Best I can guess, I was so scared that I simply fainted and fell off. If I were faced with this dilemma today, I think I would just pee my pants and ask my heart to stop beating.

The Memorial Day Marathon Has Arrived


Don't bother answering that question in my last blog post. I think my coolness is pretty well-documented by my DVR.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Who is Sadder?


The guy who's playing a turkey baster as a musical instrument on Jay Leno right now? Or me, who is at home alone on a Friday night watching a man on Jay Leno play a turkey baster?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bright College Years

It's spring! New beginnings and all that. Was walking past some NYU students in their graduation gowns the other day and realized it's been six years since I graduated college and 10 years since I graduated high school. Thought I'd post some photos for old time's sake. After spending four years competing against each other, graduation attire was a great equalizer, wasn't it? Everyone looked fat in the robes and the hats were shaped like a McDonald's filet-o-fish and flattered no one. Kind of brilliant, I must say.


Where it all began! My best friend Lindsey and me in 1998 on high school graduation day. We went to different high schools, hence the different colored robes.


Kissing my Yale acceptance letter in '98. You always knew the big envelope was good news. And, no, I don't know what my parents were thinking with that couch either, but how awesome was our wood paneling?


Graduating from college in 2002. I later wrote about the experience for the Yale Daily News. Being a complete idiot, I didn't try on my graduation gown until about a half hour before the ceremony, at which point I discovered that the sleeves were three feet too long and inexplicably sewn shut. Luckily we managed to find a replacement gown at the last minute so I didn't have to accept the diploma between my teeth.


Running with my diploma beneath Harkness Tower. That gate is only unlocked on commencement day for graduating seniors to walk through. To tell you the truth, it was kind of a pain in the ass the rest of the year when you wanted to cut through the courtyard, but now I appreciate the pomp and circumstance.


The quality of this picture is terrible (it was a point-and-shoot and the flash had stopped working) but it's my favorite picture from college graduation. We'd just had a whirlwind weekend of activities and lunches and ceremonies and I'd sat down, exhausted, on my dorm room floor because we'd already packed up all the furniture. Notice the bottle of vodka, Cheerios and toilet paper sitting on top of the mini-fridge. How great was college?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For Shame, Dick Wolf

Earlier this year, I was ready to give up on the new cast of Law & Order, I honestly was. You guys know what a big decision that is for me. That show is my bread and butter. But the new season was leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Sam Waterston wasn't getting enough airtime. Newcomer detective Cyrus Lupo has a name like a soap opera villain. The Medical Examiner has done something ridiculous with her hair color. The new braggadocio A.D.A. (played by Linus Roache -- another soap opera name) just seems like a Waterston ripoff.

Then I lost my job and my television-watching time quadrupled and I ran out of TV shows. Now I find myself clinging to the new cast like the floating door at the end of Titanic. It’s like when you’re about to break up with someone and then you get some bad news about something else and you chicken out, saying to yourself, “I can’t believe I was going to break up with him! I don’t know what I’d do without him! What was I thinking?”

But I’m not so blinded by love that I can’t admit that tonight’s season finale was incredibly disappointing. It was the dramatization of the Eliot Spitzer hooker scandal yet somehow it was completely unriveting. I was confused by the plot line where the guy was thrown into the incinerator, but admittedly I wasn’t paying that much attention. I was still contemplating that McDonald’s commercial, wondering where they got the idea that southerners eat chicken biscuits for breakfast. Anyway. They didn’t even get to the governor till almost 40 minutes in, then they made Silda out to be a co-conspirator! Silda! That was cheap, L&O. Cheap!

P.S. I've said it once and I'll say it again, though: Sam Waterston is still hot. I don't care how old he is. As the kids say, I’d let him get it.

What I Know For Sure

I just devoured the Nora Ephron book I Feel Bad About My Neck. It's a fast and delicious read. (Though after reading about how much she accomplished in journalism in her twenties, I felt like writing a book called I Feel Bad About My Career.) The penultimate chapter is titled "What I Wish I’d Known" and includes random insights such as:

The plane is not going to crash.

There’s no point in making piecrust from scratch.

The reason you’re waking up in the middle of the night is the second glass of wine.

If only one third of your clothes are mistakes, you’re ahead of the game.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.


There are more but I won't spoil them for you. Off the top of my head, below are a few pieces of my own wisdom that I’ve accrued over the years. Some of these missives have probably been said before by other people, yet it seems like we always have to experience them for ourselves before we believe it.

-- If you’re wondering whether or not he cheated on you, he probably did.

-- Always go on the interview, even if you don’t want the job.

-- You should always make friends with the people in the tech department.

-- Once you overpluck your eyebrows they’ll never grow back the same way again.

-- If try to take Astroglide on vacation it will leak all over the place and ruin your luggage.

-- Mini-umbrellas are engineered to break after the fifth use.

-- Women apologize too much. Men don’t apologize enough.

-- Laser hair removal doesn’t work all that well.

-- Once you download AIM onto your laptop, it’s never quite as fast as it was before, even if you uninstall it.

-- If you’ve seen one Law & Order episode you’ve seen them all (trust me, I’ve seen them all).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Your Celebrity Guide to Current Events

A few years ago, a writer at the Yale Daily News wrote a clever and surprisingly accurate essay explaining international relations by using characters from The O.C. In the spirit of that article, I thought I’d share which modern day celebrities come to my mind when I’m reading about world affairs. This isn't going to be nearly as thorough as the YDN article. If I thought harder about it, I could probably keep going, bringing in the housing crisis, gasoline prices and Hezbollah but I think I’ll keep it on the small side for now, at least until I figure out how to make my posts jump to the second page (it’s some html thing I’m too lazy to figure out).



The Presidential race is The Hills, the surrealist, often silly drama that's been captivating America for several seasons now. Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt are Hillary and Bill Clinton, a polarizing couple disliked by many. In the beginning, Hillary was friendly with Obama (Lauren Conrad) but as time went on – and with Bill’s help – the two have become fierce enemies. Bill and Hillary have had to resort to mud slinging in order to stay relevant to the plot line, launching a hate campaign that involves going on talk shows and radio shows to talk about how much Obama sucks.



Lauren Conrad is Barack Obama. The sensitive, all-around favorite. Star of the show. Can’t understand why Bill and Hillary keep saying such nasty things about her.



Stephanie Pratt is John Edwards, trying to stay on everyone’s good side but recently sided with Obama and sold “Hillary” out during a trip to Vegas.



Whitney Port is John McCain. Has the most experience out of the bunch, is certainly likeable enough but not necessarily a real contender. Always surrounded by rumors that she going to be kicked off the show.



When it comes to foreign countries, Britney Spears is clearly Iraq. Highly unstable. Everyone keeps hoping for a comeback. In the last year, there was a surge in the relief effort to help Iraq. Lots of people rushed to Iraq’s aid and for awhile there it seemed like things were looking up, but the situation still looks dire. Most people think that a comeback won’t be possible until Iraq learns how to help herself.



Our second unstable region, Darfur, will be represented by Lindsay Lohan. Darfur isn’t getting the help she really needs to stop self-destructing, partially because she's being enabled by China (Dina Lohan), who keeps pumping her for resources. Everyone is saying that China has a responsibility to protect Darfur, and China claims that she’s trying to help save Darfur. However, China has a lot invested in Darfur and she’s not going to sacrifice money in the name of humanitarianism.





Ah yes, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe aka: The One Who Will Not Go Away. He will be played by Paris Hilton. Both have been in jail, both have been terrorizing their countries for quite some time. They easily turn on those who stop supporting them and become powerful in their own right (see: Kardashian, Kim; Richie, Nicole). Paris lost her considerable inheritance, Mugabe destroyed his once-booming economy. Ironically, Paris keeps saying she’s going to Africa and Mugabe won't leave.



Bear Stearns’ sudden fall from grace? Look no further than the collapse of Miley Cyrus Incorporated (via Vanity Fair, symbolizing high risk investments). Both rose to become leaders in their field and raked in buckets of money before their respective downfalls caught the public by surprise. Though Disney is supporting Miley and Bear Stearns is being rescued by J.P. Morgan, their reputations are now tarnished.



The recession will be represented by Rihanna’s forehead. No explanation necessary.

My Father Has Inmate Friends

My dad, who has a penchant for sending me Wall Street Journal articles, recently branched out into CNN articles. Yesterday an email arrived in my inbox with the subject line: “I just saw it on CNN: Man's rare ability may unlock secret of memory”. It was an article about a man with hyperthymestic syndrome, a condition involving excessive remembering. Give him a date and he can tell you not only what he was doing but what world events happened that day. I wrote back to Dad, “That’s so unfair. I would have done so much better in school if I had a better memory.” My father responded with one of the strangest, more spectacular emails I’ve ever received from him. It read:

I’m really jealous of people who can recall in great detail. There is a guy who goes to the catechism class at the prison on Monday nights (he’s an inmate) who studied at a seminary at one time who can recall an amazing amount of detail about the church’s history (he also helped me pronounce “concupiscence” last night - as I was reading the night’s lesson).

'Scuse me???I love how he casually drops “the catechism class at the prison on Monday nights.” I should point out that my dad is not in prison. I have no idea what he was doing there. The man works in the cable industry. I guess he’s now ministering to The People (and the incarcerated people, at that) in his spare time. Very humanitarian of him. I also had no clue what “concupiscence” meant and when I looked it up just now on dictionary.com, all I saw was “sexual desire; lust” before I was frantically moving my cursor in the direction of the X at the top right hand corner of the page.

Monday, May 19, 2008

When the Steakhouse Becomes a Metaphor for Dating


My boyfriend and I had dinner at Strip House on Saturday night. We were celebrating his 32nd birthday but it was a last minute sort of thing and we didn’t have a reservation, so we ate at the bar. About halfway through dinner, three women rolled up and stood on the other side of Nick. They were in their mid-30s, drunk and ringless. Even though Nick and I were clearly on a date, they kept coming up with excuses to talk to him. One blonde was particularly transfixed. She said they’d gone out to dinner earlier and decided to come by Strip House afterward for a drink. “Wow, that smells really good,” she said, gesturing to his steak. “Why do you think it smells so good?” Nick was friendly but trying not to engage too much.

“Er, I dunno,” he said. “Because it’s a steak?”

I’m the first to admit that I have a jealous streak. There was a time when I might have leaned over and said something cutting, or at the very least, “Excuse me, can I help you, ladies?” But they seemed harmless so I said nothing. When Nick left the table to go to the bathroom, the blonde plopped down in his seat and looked at me with accusing eyes.

“How old are you?” she demanded without introducing herself. I knew where this was headed.

“28,” I said. “Turning 29 in two months.”

“Oh, sorry,” she said, taken aback. “Wow. You look great, honey.”

She continued: “I thought you were, like, 19. We were over there like, ‘Why is this guy with her? What is he doing with someone that young?’”

I, by no means, look 19 so she must have been extraordinarily intoxicated. But it raises a point I made last week about how women are hardwired to view all other females as competition. You would never see a guy go up to another guy at a bar and demand to know his vitals. The scenario reminded me of that episode of Sex and the City (why does it always come back to SATC?) where Carrie’s Vogue editor, Enid, complains about the injustice of thirty-something Carrie dating fifty-something Aleksandr Petrovsky.

"It's not fair,” she says. “When you're a successful fifty-something woman, all the men your age like the bimbos, and so it's a very small pool...it's a wading pool, actually. So why are you swimming in my wading pool?" It’s true: As men get older, their dating pool gets bigger and the women’s pool gets smaller.

So why is it that I didn’t take offense to those women? Maybe it's because I’m confident and secure in my relationship. Perhaps I’ve gotten more mature with age. Or maybe I've also realized that could be me in a few years, trolling a steak house for a prime piece of meat, wishing all these damn kids would go back to the baby pool.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Did I Ever Tell You About the Time I Received a Cease-and-Desist Letter from Tom Cruise’s Attorney?


Tom Cruise has been everywhere lately. He’s on Oprah! He and Katie and Suri are in New York! They’re at the Met Costume Institute Gala! So I think the time has come that I tell you about a letter I once received from his attorney. Cease-and-desist letters are very commonplace in celebrity journalism but that didn’t dampen the experience for me. This was my cease-and-desist letter. It is among my most prized possessions and now hangs in my bathroom in a lovely double frame because the attorney needed two pieces of paper to adequately convey his displeasure. It sits on the wall opposite my Yale degree -- that’s how important it is to me.

The day the letter was placed in front of me, I think I physically turned around to see if there was someone standing behind me. Really? Me? This couldn’t possibly be for me. Yet there it was at the top of the page: Ms. Noelle Hancock. It was addressed both to me and to the president of the company. The lawyer must not have realized how low I was in the pecking order because he definitely skipped a few rungs on the corporate ladder. I was just the blogger, the messenger, if you will. I was simply reblogging a story that had been written by someone else. I don’t even remember what the story was about now. TomKat was in full-force then and, frankly, there’s nothing we could’ve said about Tom that was any worse than what he was already saying himself.

There are no less than four other lawyers CC’d on the letter, but what really stands out is the unlawyerly language. One sentence reads: "Your greedy desire to sell your salacious publication by smearing these two decent people is disgusting." And later on: “Your deliberate choice to brutalize this lovely couple by printing false statements to create scandalous and shocking headlines to sell your publication demonstrates your malicious intention to defame Mr. Cruise.” Whoa. That is an aggressively long sentence, which sounds like it was written by a publicist rather than an attorney. Also, use more adjectives.

The note continues: “You and your staff are a disgrace to the profession of journalism.” Well, I don’t have a staff unless you count the one I carry when I’m herding my sheep through the foothills, which happens more often than you would think. But calling someone a disgrace to the profession of journalism is a bold, BOLD statement. The only statement more laughable might be "a disgrace to the profession of law practice."

Then -- in a stunning crescendo! -- it reads: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.” Ashamed of ourselves? I love it. Sir, I’ve posted pictures of myself on the internet at the age of 12 wearing a rhinestone-studded leather jacket with dangling crystals. There is no shame left. There hasn’t been for some time.

It is signed "Very truly yours." I really love this letter.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just How Handy Are Handi-Snacks?


I agree with Megan. I totally use the paddle. The crackers just aren't strong enough to handle the cheese-scooping duties and always break. I think we can all agree that the paddle is awkward, though. It's a tough call as to which is less efficient: the red paddle or the white stick that comes with Fun Dip. On the one hand, the stick is edible (though it tastes like chalk and might actually be chalk). But the stick has to be licked first in order to work, which is a pain. I'm overthinking this, aren't I?

[Via eatsleepdraw]

A Disturbing New Trend in Men's Footwear



I have to tell you, I hate mandals. They scare me. Three summers of lifeguarding taught me that men's feet belong in the category of Things Best Left Unseen along with Wild Hogs and celebrity vaginas. You know what else I fear? Gladiator sandals. Are they shoes or are they little foot prisons? Either way, this is me giving them a big Joaquin Phoenix thumbs down. When this trend took off in Hollywood, I responded more violently than I did to the great leggings plague of 2003. So when I was on the F train earlier today and looked down and saw a dude wearing gladiator sandals, I strongly considered pulling the emergency brake so that he would fall over and get some fashion sense knocked into him. Instead, I decided to get out my Blackberry and secretly take a picture of them. What else can one do in the presence of gladiator mandals? Unfortunately, the camera flash (which I didn't even realize my Blackberry had, by the way) had somehow been set to automatic. This big flash went off along with that audible click that says "I just took a picture." So busted. Everyone in the vicinity turned and looked at me standing there with my cell clearly pointed at the terrible shoes, at which point I turned and looked out the window.

Alcohol: It Does a Body Good (According to Study)


My guest-stint blogging at Nymagazine.com has, sadly, come to an end. I wrote my last post yesterday about alcohol, which I thought was appropriate for my return to unemployment. See it below...

I always joke that everything in life should come with a two-drink minimum like at stand-up comedy shows, and I was so right! Vindication! A new study reveals that a drink or two a day may make for stronger bones, while more than two drinks may lead to a broken hip (due to bone loss, not because wasted people are falling down). People in the study who drank between one half and one alcoholic beverage a day were 20 percent less likely than teetotalers to sustain hip fractures, The American Journal of Medicine reports.

What is it about two drinks? It’s that magic number on which so much social interaction hinges. It’s enough to make you feel good but not enough to get you sloppy. And why is it we New Yorkers can so rarely limit our consumption to two drinks? Do we just not want to good times to end? Is it because we have more taxis than you can wave a hand at and don’t have to drive home? Or is it because we’re an extreme generation living in extreme times and are completely incapable of moderation? (Remember the first time you found out that four drinks is considered binge drinking and you were all, “That’s not binge drinking. That’s a warm-up”?)

If you’re on a date, the two-drink theory is also a good indicator of how your night will turn out. If you have more than two drinks, the date is going well and you’re probably going to hook up. If it’s not going well, you usually won’t have more than two drinks. There's that awkward moment after you’ve each already had two drinks when the waitress asks, "Another round, guys?" and it’s like she might as well be asking, "Do you want to have sex?” Then there's that pause where the two of you look at each other and have to, like, decide.

The two-drink litmus test can also be used when you’re having drinks with people connected to a job opportunity. If you and your prospective employers get tanked together, it’s a good sign. But if the meeting doesn't go beyond two drinks, it likely means you're not getting the job. Or it means that they have kids and are really devoted to their family, in which case you shouldn’t take the job anyway because you’ll be stuck at the office till 10 p.m. every night doing their work while they peace out at 5 p.m

Study: 2-Drink Limit Pretty Hip [NY Post]
Examining the Two Drink Barrier [NY Mag's Daily Intel]

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Are New Yorkers Actually Rude?


I wrote a post for Daily Intel today pondering whether or not New Yorkers are rude. See below.

New Yorker writer Joan Acocella recently went slumming and wrote an article for Smithsonian magazine debating the question, Are New Yorkers really rude or really nice? And, if they are rude, did they come here already rude or did New York turn them rude? Personally, I arrived here a polite southern gal and later turned into an asshole. This much was evident over the Christmas holidays when I found myself in Rockefeller Center and sent a friend a text reading: Omg, I hate plowing through the Rockefeller Center and Radio City tourists every day. I honestly just want to tackle every one of them from behind, grab their heads in my hands and bash them into the concrete.

Seriously, I used to be lovely.

Acocella, for her part, thinks that New Yorkers are no-nonsense but pretty nice overall. She writes:
It is said that New Yorkers are rude, but I think what people mean by that is that New Yorkers are more familiar. The man who waits on you in the delicatessen is likely to call you sweetheart. (Feminists have gotten used to this.) People on the bus will say, "I have the same handbag as you. How much did you pay?" If they don't like the way you are treating your children, they will tell you. And should you try to cut in front of somebody in the grocery store checkout line, you will be swiftly corrected.
She doesn't really get into why New Yorkers are sometimes short-tempered, but here is my answer: We’re constantly surrounded by people. We live on top of each other in apartments for which we pay too much and which are too small (as I type, I can hear my neighbor’s cell phone going off and it’s on vibrate). We live in the most expensive city in the country so we always feel poor. We have to walk to get everywhere so it takes more physical effort to get places. There are tourists everywhere, and since they don’t have to be at work, they move more slowly than the rest of us, and they don’t know where they’re going so they just stand in the way. It’s enough to drive a person to drink, if we could afford cars, parking, and the $12 cocktails. But the fact that we have to work so hard to live here only makes us love it more. It's also incredibly fun and enriching, and really good pizza is always available.

Disagree? Well, fuck you!

Are New Yorker's Actually Rude? Discuss! [NY Mag's Daily Intel]

Monday, May 12, 2008

Are the Friendships in 'Sex in the City' One Big Lie?


I put my American Studies degree to work earlier today in a very long blog post for nymagazine.com, in which I analyzed other people's analysis of 'Sex and the City.' I'm posting it below.

Sex and the City: The Movie has dared to debut in a city other than New York. The film had its world premiere across the drink in London today. In light of this occasion, The Guardian asked some quasi-famous dudes for their thoughts on the series and how true it was to life. Toby Young, former Vanity Fair scribe and author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, weighs in:
I lived in New York for five years and in my experience such behavior was typical. Attractive single girls not only dropped their 'dates' at the slightest whiff of a bigger, better deal, they routinely betrayed their girlfriends, too.
Well, what about the middle-aged men who routinely drop their wives for a bigger (breasted), better deal, leaving them to take care of the kids? Sorry, Toby, no sympathy here. When it comes to courtship and marriage, women won the battle, but men won the war. Young makes a fair point in the latter part of the statement, though. One aspect of the girlfriend dynamic that Sex and the City never really delved into is the theory that women are socialized to view all other women as competition. Plainly: That all girls secretly hate other girls, and if you don’t believe this to be true, you clearly haven’t been watching The Hills this season. (For all the accusations that the show is scripted, it captures female cattiness in a way that is unparalleled.)

Young continues:
Once you remove the pixie dust of female camaraderie, contemporary New York emerges as an essentially pre-feminist society in which the courtship rituals are strikingly similar to those depicted in the novels of Jane Austen. Women are second-class citizens who are expected to use their youth and beauty as commodities in order to secure their economic wellbeing. 'Sex and the City' is set in this world, but it conceals its brutality behind a veneer of cocktails and laughter. In reality, female friendship is the first thing to be sacrificed in the cut-throat competition for rich husbands.

Eh, disagree. In Jane Austen’s time if you didn’t land a husband, you were screwed — like, majorly screwed and forced to live with your parents because there were all sorts of laws preventing women from owning property. Whereas the characters on the show had jobs and could afford to support themselves in New York, one of the most expensive cities in the world. The women used their youth and beauty not for economic well-being but to find a partner because it’s human instinct and we’re raised on fairy tales that ingrain in us the notion that love and marriage equal a happy ending. Also, female friendship isn’t the first thing to be sacrificed when in cutthroat competition for a husband. It’s our free time and then our pubic hair.

P.S.: Sarah Jessica’s hat reminds me of this totally disturbing book I read as a kid about a boy who ate a seed and then a tree grew out of his head.

P.P.S.: See that woman in the background wearing flats at the premiere? She was later taken aside and quietly pummeled with Manolos and Jimmy Choos. Don’t feel sorry for her. She knew the risks.

Are the Friendships in 'Sex in the City' One Big Lie? [NY Magazine's Daily Intel]

Some Thoughts On My Unsightly Neighborhood Sculpture


In all its glory.


I don't know what those things are in front but they look like they have scrotum sacks for feet.


If this doesn't scare the hell out of you, you are not human.

There's a 65-foot sculpture called the Toy Tower in a community garden around the corner from my apartment. It's been there for 20 years but is about to be taken down on grounds of being structurally unsound. I was IMing about it with my Nymagazine.com co-blogger, Chris Rovzar, and I guess he ended up using our conversation in his post about it. Conversations like these are why we never get any work done. It was only a matter of time before we found a way to integrate them into the work to compensate.

CRISTAL: Wait, you hate the Tower of Toys?
NOELNOEL: I do.
CRISTAL: Why?
NOELNOEL: It's weird.
CRISTAL: That's not a reason.
NOELNOEL: And creepy
CRISTAL: Yeah, it is creepy. That's kind of why I love it.
NOELNOEL: It looks like the fucking junkyard from the Heathcliff cartoon, only with toys instead of cars.
CRISTAL: It made me think of RENT. It was like the only authentic and gritty thing in Alphabet City still there by the time I moved in.
NOELNOEL: Why am I always the negative Nancy in these scenarios? Outdoor eating, mini-cows, toy towers…
NOELNOEL: Then you come in all happy and gay and make me look all curmudgeonly.
CRISTAL: You didn't like Heathcliff? That cartoon was awesome.
NOELNOEL: I loved Heathcliff! But what happens in Cartoonland should stay in Cartoonland.
NOELNOEL: I loved how everyone freely hated on Mungo, who in retrospect was obviously mentally impaired.
CRISTAL: I just liked how ugly the thing was. When you walked down Avenue B, it was like, "Ooh, have a delicious Kir Royale at Rue B! Try an organic, grass-fed burger at Back Forty! Eek! Shit-covered toys hanging from the sky!"

The Avenue B Tower of Toys: a Requiem IM [NY Magazine's Daily Intel]

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

'Wall Street Journal' Articles My Dad Has Emailed Me Since I Was Laid Off

My father -- who I can say without bias is an adorable man -- likes to randomly email me articles from the Wall Street Journal, which he has read front to back every day for the last 35 years. He usually emails them without any explanation or context, leaving me to try to decipher the underlying meaning. Below, I list the ones he's sent me over the last six weeks and what I think it all means.

If at First You Don't Succeed, You're in Excellent Company
(Translation: It's okay that you got laid off. Happens to the best of 'em.)

How to Teach Yourself How to Do Almost Anything
(Translation: It's okay that you majored in American Studies and are now basically unfit for employment. There are online classes that can teach you how to do things.)

Gossip Blogger Expands Into Radio
(Translation: I'm emailing you a story about the astronomical success of Perez Hilton in an effort to inspire you, but I have no idea this man makes a living drawing semen blobs on celebrities' faces.)

The Star Treatment: Flying Like Jennifer Aniston
(Translation: See, the Journal runs stories about celebrities. Maybe you should try to get a job there?)

Newspaper-Circulation Drop Sharpens
(Translation: On second thought, don't get a job at the Journal or any other newspaper for that matter.)

To Cut Risks of Sleeping Pills, Hide Car Keys, Unplug Phone (Translation: I am worried that you take too many sleeping pills.)

New Tactics Take a Bite Out of Bedbugs
(Translation: Remember when you had bedbugs a few years ago? That was something.)

The Real Cost of Tackling Climate Change
(Translation: I'm still not sure that global warming is real, but even if it is I probably don't want to pay to fix it.)

Getting to Know John McCain
(Translation: I am worried New York is turning you into a liberal.)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Keepin' It Real, Son



Everyone's all abuzz over Mariah Carey's new "Touch My Body" video co-starring that guy from 30 Rock. Me? I prefer her more bootleg efforts like her video for "Fantasy." As Boinkology points out, "it's very relationshipy and it's got motherfuckin' clowns. What more do you need?"

What more do you need?

I'm Just Going To Go Back To Decorating With Posters

So I buy this wall hanging from the store CB2, which is like Crate and Barrel for people who cannot yet afford matching dinnerware. It’s a lovely wall hanging measuring about 6 by 6 feet but the store sells it to you in a 12 inch by 12 inch package, folded into a neat little square for easy transport. When I hung it up, I was bothered by the multiple creases that ran up and down the fabric in a grid pattern. I borrowed my boyfriend’s iron and tried to get the creases out myself, which is rather difficult when you don’t own an ironing board and are using your living room floor as a substitute. Finally I said to hell with it and I took it to the cleaners. “Can you just dry clean this to get the creases out?” I asked. They said it would be no problem and they weren’t lying. When I went to pick it up today, they had dry cleaned it. Then they had folded it up into a neat little square and slung it over a wire hanger. You know, for easy transport.

Eating Brunch Outside: Too Soon?


As I mentioned before, I'm guest-blogging over at Daily Intel for awhile. My fabulous co-blogger, Chris Rovzar, and I had an IM debate last week over whether or not it's acceptable to eat outside when the temperature is in the fifties. (It's warmed up considerably this week but I swear it was chilly out when we wrote this.)

CRISTAL: So I ate brunch outside this weekend, for the first time.
CRISTAL: It was awesome.
NOELNOEL: See, I don't understand why all of New York suddenly decides it needs to eat outside when the temperature rises above 50 degrees. It's too cold to eat outside right now.
NOELNOEL: We look ridiculous. Eating outside with our coats on?
CRISTAL: I was actually wearing a very fetching polo that accentuated my arms, I'll have you know.
CRISTAL: And, as a matter of fact, I was freezing.
CRISTAL: But it doesn't make you happy to see people out on the sidewalks eating again? It's so festive!
NOELNOEL: Sure, it's nice for the passersby, but why is everyone so excited to sit outside and stare at a loud noisy street and the dogs that are coming by and taking shits in front of them on the sidewalk while they're eating?
CRISTAL: Because when it's still cool out, the city doesn't smell like a special blend of pee, vomit, and rotting food, like it does in the summer.
NOELNOEL: I had drinks outside with some friends the other day, and it must've been 50 degrees. We could barely hold our glasses we were shaking so hard, saying, “Maybe we’ll warm up after a few drinks!”
CRISTAL: Did you warm up after a few drinks?
NOELNOEL: Yeah, because that's when we gave up and went inside.
CRISTAL: But didn't you think to yourself, "All those stressed-out people on the sidewalk running to get somewhere — they must be soooo jealous of us here with our cocktails."
CRISTAL: That's how I make most of my decisions.
CRISTAL: Based upon the level of jealousy the results will stir in others.
NOELNOEL: I like the idea of eating a meal outside, but it’s just not a pleasurable experience at that temperature. And once you get out there and start eating there's no turning back. It's like when you start masturbating and know it's not going to be a good orgasm, but you keep going. You're not even enjoying it, but you feel like you have to see it through till the end.
CRISTAL: Ew.
CRISTAL: I once ate dinner in the East Village in the rain under a giant umbrella that I was holding. Myself.
CRISTAL: I kind of considered it my New Yorkest moment ever.
CRISTAL: But, in retrospect, it may have been my most assholic.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Are Strappy Sandals the New Backtoo?





I was having drinks with my friend Manish last weekend when he stopped to admire my new sandals. “I like them because the straps are thick,” he said, looking them over with approval. “Not too revealing.”

“It’s possible to have shoes that are too revealing?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” he said. “If a girl is showing too much foot, I assume that she’s a slut. Especially – especially – if they’re lace-up. I think it's part of the fall-out from Sex and the City.”

“I thought the slut litmus test was always the tramp stamp -- whether or not the girl has a back tattoo?” I said.

“Oh, strappy sandals are the new back tattoo,” he declared. “The first thing I do when I meet a girl is check out her feet. If her shoes are too skimpy, I won't go there." Who knew?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Special Needs Monkey. That's All You Need To Know.


I never thought that, in my lifetime, I would ever type the words "special needs monkey." Not altogether and not in that order. It's just something I never thought I would have the opportunity to do -- like fly to the moon.

Then a friend of mine passed along this article titled “Special Needs Monkey Celebrates,” which recounts the recent birthday party of a mentally-disabled capuchin monkey that is in danger of being evicted from an Australian zoo. Below are my three favorite paragraphs from this incredible piece of journalism:

They made special cards, queued to wish him Happy Birthday, and one youngster brought a banana tied with a bow to help Ricky, the special-needs monkey, celebrate his 15th - and possibly last - birthday at Natureland.
Ricky, who was left badly brain-damaged after being brutalised by a jealous sibling when he was born, has been in the media spotlight following the council's announcement, with staff and the public expressing concern at what might happen to him should the zoo close.
Their mother, Jody Pettis, said Damien had been excited to see Ricky, and had been chanting, "Monkey, monkey" as soon as he entered the park.
Oh, and earlier today I got to blog an article about an amputee goat that was adopted by an amputee owner. I really don’t know where we go from here.

Muffin: I Will Cut You, Bitch!


I tried to find a photo of a menacing muffin to better illustrate this story. It's not possible. Muffins are just inherently wimpy-looking.

What is wrong with people? An NYU student brought razor-filled muffins to class this week. According to the New York Sun:
The muffin was baked for a philosophy course. According to a spokesman for the university, John Beckham, a student brought in the booby-trapped confection along with several normal muffins as part of a project on absurdism, a philosophy based on the belief that the universe is irrational and meaningless.
[...]
"A friend of mine, another student, picked them up and said, 'Hey, there's free muffins,' and being college students, we never turn down free food," Mr. Jarosch said yesterday in an interview. "The muffin I happened to grab had razor blades in it."

He said he was lucky: "I spit them out before they cut. It could have been a lot worse, there's no doubt about it," Mr. Jarosch said.
Somehow I don’t think that’s what Kierkegaard and Camus had in mind. However, it’s worth pointing out that The Razor Muffins would be a great name for a metal band.

Do I Blame Delta or the Postal Service?


I received this letter from Delta yesterday that began "Dear Noelle Hancock: Don't Let Your SkyMiles remain unused any longer!" Then I looked at the top of the page. I don't know about you but I think I might have missed the boat plane on this one.

Sorry, God, Your Church is Going Condo


This is a post I did over at nymag.com's Daily Intelligencer last week about a church that's being razed to make room for a condo.

It’s kind of comforting to know that even God is powerless when it comes to the whims of New York real estate. A church in Brooklyn yesterday cleared out its inventory of 211 corpses that had been buried in its crypt to help pave the way for a luxury condo complex. The 109-year-old United Methodist Church in Bay Ridge is scheduled to be demolished in May. The guy who’s fighting to save the house of worship? Councilman Vincent Gentile. Of course that would be his name.

"It's a sad day for all those ancestors of the church, whose bodies were at rest, to now have to be uprooted, disturbing their eternal peace in the name of residential development," Gentile tells the New York Post.


Protesters and members of the congregation say that those 211 corpses would be rolling over in their graves right about now (if they were still in them).

"It's like rape" in the "name of greed," said Kathleen Walker, who heads a committee fighting to save the church from bulldozers. "I wouldn't buy a condo there; who would want to live above an ex-crypt?"


Well, that depends. How much are they going for? Hell, I’ll live in a coffin if the price is right and utilities are included. And at least you’d know for sure that all the wood is original.

Grave Insult [NYP]

Mah Robes Is Tattered


I know. It's bizarre that I'm posting a picture of myself in my bathrobe on the internet. But I really felt like the hole in the robe needed to be seen to be fully understood. That's my Yale degree on the left. I hang it in the bathroom to keep me grounded.

My beloved bathrobe is so threadbare that it now has a hole in the back. I can’t find a new bathrobe that I like so I continue to wear the old one, pretty much all day since I’m freelancing from home. Every time I make a sudden movement or stretch with too much enthusiasm, it rips a little more. I think I’m actually going to wait until it rips down to the waistline and becomes an open back robe. Then I’m going to host a bathrobe cocktail party in my apartment where everyone will be required to wear heels and ties along with their bathrobes and I’ll bust out my fancy backless robe of wonder. The majority of the female partygoers will go the traditional route and work their cleavage since most robes have a v-neckline. But not me. I will surprise them all. Everyone will say, “Wow, great open back robe! It’s so flattering and unexpected! Where can I get one?”

Cough. Did it get weird? Um, I’m really tired.

I Don't WANNA Know

"I don't know what took place in that bathroom before I went in there, but it was bad and it was violent." -- Jessica, coming out of the women's restroom at the bar 2A