Friday, October 31, 2008

Outage Chase

It's always really comforting during a massive global economic crisis, when financial institutions are falling apart left and right, to have your bank's website crash on a Friday.

Thanks Chase.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I intend to blog more...

Yet another blog posting about posting blogs. Kinda like student films that begin with shots of alarm clocks going off. Pretty trite.

Nevertheless, I do intend to try to blog more often and more consistently. Not just here; in fact, my main focus will be over at my other blog, Bachelor on a Budget ( I figure in these ridiculous economic times, the least I can do is share some of my methods for living on a shoestring budget.

Speaking of which, gotta get back to shoving Italian pastitsio into my mouth.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Journey to the Fortress Astoria

So my roommates and I recently moved out of our ridiculously fantastic Chelsea loft. My three roommates, who I've known since college, had lived there for nearly 13 years (I had only been there less than 3), so we had managed to pay a reasonable amount for a space that was over 2,000 square feet and occupied the entire floor of the building. Our elevator opened directly into our apartment; it was a quintessential yet unique New York apartment experience. The building had been sold at the beginning of the year and the new landlords finally got around to handing us our walking papers. Either that or we could pay over double the rent (they were raising it to $7,700!)

Since that wasn't going to happen, we negotiated an extended term of occupation with the new owners to give us some more time, and commenced a rather exhausting, two and a half month search for a new place that would accommodate the needs of four, rather fussy middle aged men. To make a long, LONG story short, we came across a few great, near misses, a great many not-even-closes, and a large number of fair to middlings. (I'll be making a video of our apartment search in the near future.)

During this time, a friend of mine, Wendy, predicted that we would end up finding our apartment in the final two weeks before we had to move. "Everyone in New York finds their apartment in the last two weeks," she assured me.

Meanwhile, those final two weeks approached and panic began to set in. Negotiations on a GORGEOUS Harlem townhouse fell through because of a rather shifty pair of landlords who kept changing the terms of the lease and didn't know anything about the place, as they had never lived there. The roommates began to make alternate plans - one had begun to suss out one-bedroom apartments and the rest started looking at three-bedrooms/two-bedroom combinations. My personal emergency exit plan involved me shoving most of my things into storage and taking my camera and computer around the world for a couch surfing tour (not the worst plan in the world, actually - part of me was kind of looking forward to it).

But, lo and behold, in the final two weeks, success: we happened upon a converted, duplex office space in Astoria, a neighborhood we had all grown fonder of during our various apartment searches. The building was three floors, with a storefront on the bottom level and two levels of "office space" above that. Apparently the original owners had built it to be an office, only to find out afterwards that it wasn't zoned for office space. It sat vacant for years while they tried to change the permits, and finally earlier this year they sold it to our current landlord (who is a story in and of himself, for another time) who made a few minor adjustments to convert it to a residential space.

We all fell in love/confusion when we first saw the place. It was huge, for one, but more importantly it was unique and quirky enough that it matched up with who we are and where we are in our lives. Plus, a backyard!

More later, but for now, check out some pictures of the place.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Now, I'm no reporter. Nobody ever confused me with Woodward and Bernstein, or even Larry Flynt for that matter.

That said, remember that you heard it here first: Colin Powell is going to endorse Barack Obama this coming weekend.

Colin Powell was National Security Advisor for Reagan and the first president Bush, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and George W. Bush's Secretary of State during his first term. He is actually a friend of Senator John McCain and, as such, had intended to remain neutral during this election.

However, my sources tell me that the retired four star general has been thoroughly appalled by the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. This in addition to his well-documented disagreements with the direction in which the current administration and the Republican party have led this country, have forced the Secretary Powell's hand. As the patriot that he is, he no doubt has realized just how important this election is and thus is intending to endorse Senator Obama within the next few days.

Of course, I could be wrong - as I said, I'm no reporter. But I have faith in Secretary Powell's love of his country and his judgment as to who will be best suited to lead it. And that's clearly Barack Obama.

McCain is Rickles, but Obama is Sinatra

Watching the footage from last night's Albert E. Smith Foundation Charity Dinner was like watching one of the classic Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts from back in the day. John McCain killed the way Don Rickles would kill during his set, and Barack Obama charmed and entertained the way Sinatra would when he'd get to the podium - pure class.
McCain Roasts Obama

Sinatra's Obama's Turn:

At the same time, it made me feel bad for John McCain. With his set, he reminded everyone why he was such a nationally liked fellow - he was funny, self-effacing, sincere in his admiration of people he respected regardless of their political party. Unfortunately, the powers that be in his own Republican Party are so horribly corrupt and unethical that these past two months have been spent burying the real John McCain under a mountain of mud-slinging, fear-mongering, rumor-spreading, spin doctoring and just out and out lies.

A recent video of a McCain event showed just how conflicted the Senator must feel about the turn his campaign has taken; he's forced to correct racist rumors about Obama's ethnicity and patriotism, trying to take the high road that he once trod.

It really must kill him that he's been convinced to use the exact same dirty, Rovian tactics that George W. Bush used against him during the 2000 Republican Primary campaigns. You can see the pain and frustration in his face.

And at the end of his remarks at last night's dinner, he made what was essentially an early concession speech, speaking of his admiration for Barack Obama, and for all patriots. Because, while he may not be suited to being President, deep down, that's who John McCain truly is: a true American patriot.

But if you really love your country, Senator McCain, for the love of God, please don't win.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My IM With Chai

My Friend Chai: You're in Astoria?

Me: Yes, it's great

My Friend Chai: are you being sarcastic?