Thursday, November 27, 2008

At Long Last, my nyc experience is complete

I've battled roaches, and won.

I've fought with mice, and lost, then won, only to lose again.

I've melted into a puddle on the sidewalk in the middle of the summer when it's 95 outside and 92% humidity.

I've frozen my a$$ off in winter.

I've experienced an epic snowstorm.

I've navigated the City and subway on crutches.

I've seen the marathon, several parades (Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's, Mermaid, Tartan, etc.), watched the tree lighting at Rock Center, seen the ball drop at Times Square, dancing at Lincoln Square and the Winter Festival.

I've been to holiday markets, and green farmers markets.

I've listened to pipes rattle, squeal, hiss, ding, spit, and howl when the heat comes on in the winter.

I've fallen asleep to the hum of air conditioners on a summer night, only to be awoken later when people at the sports club a block away cheer at the latest touchdown.

I've watched the fireworks from the FDR.

I've been trapped in an elevator. (Not for very long, but still, it counts.)

I've awoken early in the morning to a woman screaming from the middle of the street, "Call the police, call the police, call the police."

So I did. (The domestic dispute, eventually ended. She was fine.)

I've seen the garbage and construction crews work the tunnels in the subway, and have wondered and read a book about Mole People.

I've been stuck on a subway and waited hours for the A train late at night.

I've learned to sleep through sirens of all sorts unless the stop at my building.

I've attended protests, seen the Central Park Skate Dancers, and been harassed by rent-a-cops for taking pictures.

I've walked past accidents where a bus and a semi-truck have run over people, and seen a body covered with a sheet.

I've had a neighbor in the apartment across from mine, die, then decompose in his apartment for three days. In the summer.

His relatives succeeded in dripping his oozing decomposing bodily fluids along the hallway into the elevator, then back along the hallway and down three flights of steps, then across the lobby as they removed the mattress from said apartment.

I've lived on a fourth floor walk-up and hauled my laundry, down the stairs, around the corner, past fancy restaurants and café's a couple of blocks away to the Laundromat.

I've arrived home late at night to find Amsterdam Ave blocked off at 79th street and filled with fire trucks and ambulances, only to discover that said fire trucks were responding to a now gutted building that just so happened to be right next to mine.

I've peered out my window and looked at the shattered windows and blackened rooms across the narrow chasm between buildings, and slept in a room that smelled like smoke for days, with a broken front door (thanks firemen, No, REALLY! Thank you!) because I had no place else to go.

I've walked from the very tip top of Manhattan to the other tip (Inwood to Battery Park) mostly.

And yet, until tonight my NYC experience wasn't complete.

You see it all started with a leak.

Or should I say drip.

Yes, drip. Or several or hundreds of them. And bulging bubbles of paint that hung from my bathroom ceiling over my sink.

Resulting in me vacating the medicine cabinet and moving all my skin and hair care products into the hallway.

And a couple of calls to my Super. (He lives upstairs from me.)

Tonight when I arrived home from a night out on the town, (book browsing, dinner @ Whole Foods, and the movies (Twilight, it half-way sucked)) I found disaster.

The only thing that remains of half my bathroom ceiling are the original lathe (as in lathe and plaster) slats from 1920.

Oh, and creepy dark crevices that make me scared that roaches will begin to invade again, or that mice will drop between.

I'm just glad I had the foresight , or shall we say intuition, to close my bathroom door today when I left.

Oh, so happy that the resultant mounds of dirt, dust and plaster chunks were contained to the bathroom.

Although, I am saddened to know my hesitance in removing my trusty, fluffy, cozy bathroom rug led directly to its demise.

-Bitter

No, I didn't take a picture, I cleaned the mess up, sanitized, and disinfected quickly, since the facilities were needed immediately.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow, at columbus circle

Star 3

Saturday night I stepped out of the frigid wind zipping down Central Park West into the cozy warmth of the Time Warner Center for a brief moment.

I needed to call my sister before I hopped on the A train and I didn't want to get frostbite while while chatting about the latest and greatest.

So there I was, mid-conversation, when all of a sudden flurries of snow filled the air. It appears that the Time Warner Center has added one more element to their ensemble of fabulous and colorful blinking stars and music. Snow.

Yes, snow.

The real stuff.

It was actually kind of fun to watch. The snow machines aren't on all the time, and it doesn't stick, but if you're in the mood for some holiday cheer and wonder, then swing by Columbus Circle.

And please, please be careful, if you decide to run around attempting to catch snowflakes on your tongue.

-Bitter

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Food Storage, wow, someone in harlem actually turned their basement back into a root cellar

I stumbled across a NY Times article earlier today about root cellars. I was a little surprised, and then a little in awe when I realized that someone in Harlem not only had a basement, but had reverted it back into a root cellar.

How cool is that? Bravo.

The article "Food Storage as Grandma Knew It", by Michael Tortorello, spoke about a trend that happens during difficult economic times, people begin to buy in bulk, grow, and store their own food.

Surprisingly there were a couple hints and tips, for those of us not blessed with the square footage to store root vegetables, for the savvy reader. I just might try a few. But otherwise, I'll just continue to dream of the day when I own a basement, and in the mean time buy "The Food Axis: Cooking, Eating, and the Architecture of American Houses" by Elizabeth Cromley, when it comes out in 2010.

-Bitter

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cheering, in the streets

It's 11:00 at night and people are out on the streets cheering and chanting "Obama".

I stick my head outside my 4th story apartment and listen to the cheers wondering if people have simply gathered at the park down the street or if they're marching.

I wonder, should I go join them?

My neighbors cheer as well. Some pop their heads outside their windows and chant too. Others just pull the drapes to the side and peer out.

It's too early to call, but Obama's ahead so far.

-Bitter

Update:
It's 11:13 and it looks like the BBC had called the election for Obama with at least 297 votes.

Of course after the debacle a few years back, we in the US are a bit more conservative in calling the votes. The NY Times is reporting Obama ahead at 217 votes. Here's hoping the Brits have called it correctly.

Update II: People are setting off fireworks down the street. All of the networks have called the election for Obama.

Voting, it went smoother this time

I'm happy to report that voting went A LOT more smoothly this time. (Click here to read about last time.)

The down side is that the police officers wouldn't let me take pictures, and they threatened to confiscate my camera.

The good thing is that I was greeted immediately when I walked through the door and was directed to a check-in table.

The next volunteers in turn quickly looked up my address and directed me a sign-in table, giving me clear directions on where the table was located.

While standing in line a friendly gentleman went along asking for last names, there were two people signing voters in, one covering the first half of the alphabet and the other the latter.

He quickly moved the line along, moving people ahead in line when the second sign-in book was available.

The volunteer handling my sign-in book had a little difficulty with alphabetization. She kept thinking that BITTER was found somewhere after BRINKERHOFF. I had to help her realize that BI comes before BR, . . . and BO. But it went smoothly and fairly quickly, and posed no problems.

When I finally arrived at the booth (which looked a lot nicer this time), a volunteer stepped into it with me, I was a little unnerved by this, but she calmly and happily described how to cast my vote.

1- Pull the lever over.
2- Turn the knobs.
3- Pull the lever back over.

Voila you're done.

She left me, I snapped a few pictures. Voted. Then stepped back out.

Overall, it was a vast improvement from when I voted in the 2008 Presidential primaries.

Here's the photo I promised from last time. I was too close to get the overall effect, so I just took a photo of the lever. I'm not going to go into details about my photo taking troubles, but let it suffice to say that the cops were NOT happy with me.

Voting Lever

Friday, October 31, 2008

Call Me Crazy, yes actually - you should

As you may have noticed, I'm doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. But I also just signed up to do 70 Days of Sweat as well. (You may remember 70 days of sweat from last year.)

So yeah, call me crazy. I'll be attempting to juggle two books at the same time. Do you think I'll be able to do it?

I guess only time will tell.

WIP Report:
Chronicles of Loresse, Book I - Final Draft stages
Chronicles of Loresse, Book II - NaNoWriMo, outline finished, starts Nov. 1st.
Historical Paranormal Romance - 70 Days, partial outline, starts Nov. 10th.

Wish me luck,
-Bitter

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NaNoWriMo, you know you want to do it



Calling all writers, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts in three days. It's not too late to sign up. Come on, you know you want to do it.

10 Reasons To Sign Up.
  1. I am.
  2. You can add me as your writing buddy.
  3. I know you secretly want to.
  4. It'll be fun, except for the parts where you have to force yourself to KYBICAHOK (Keep your but in chair & hands on keyboard.)
  5. We can be writing buddies.
  6. You can kick my rear end when I don't post my word counts, and I can do the same to you.
  7. It'll be cool.
  8. It's definitely doable.
  9. It's free. (But donations are welcome.)
  10. Um, and you'll hopefully actually finish writing a story.
-Bitter

p.s. here's my NaNoWriMo profile, just in case you decide that you absolutely need to add me as your, ahem, writing buddy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Water, important stuff

I first heard of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway back in April when he had a guest appearance on the Stephen Colbert show about water. Here's the link to his segment.

I just ran across a NY Times article that was talking about him again. Considering that eventually we'll be fighting wars over water, not oil, I'll be a little selfish by saying that I hope he gets massive amounts of outside funding, succeeds at mass producing these water purifiers and power sources, and does so quickly.

-Bitter

Friday, October 17, 2008

Aaaacccckkk! all my feeds are gone

So this morning I logged onto my computer, opened up Firefox to my iGoogle reader and all my RSS feeds have mutated into short feeds.

iGoogle. I'm officially NOT happy.

I've spent the past 40 minutes looking for a way to expand my feeds or give feedback to no avail, it's idiotic.

From the Google blog post: "We've rolled out an updated design for iGoogle to all U.S. users, which includes . . . full feed reading."

My response: "Um, WHERE?!?!?!"

Please tell me that you're not expecting me to go through and re-subscribe to all of my feeds in order to do this?

From the google blog: "I often wish I could deal with all my stuff without having to leave my iGoogle page."

Yeah, well as it now stands, I'm going to have to navigate away from my iGoogle pages in order to view full posts.

I'm not happy.

-Bitter

update:
Of course, three minutes after I posted, I discovered the full posts view. It's the double window icon at the top right hand corner of each blog box. Unfortunately, I kept clicking this icon on the blogs that don't burn full feeds.

To all my bloggers out there who don't burn full feeds, please change. It's annoying to only read a partial post, and most of the time I don't end up clicking through so some of us are missing most of what you have to say.

The end.

Update #2: Just found a new neighbor in my hood and added them to my RSS feed. But they ended up on the wrong tab. . . . It won't drag and drop into the correct tab. Now I'm NOT happy again. . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hallelujah, the heat is on

This is my fourth Autumn in NYC, and the most interesting of the bunch. The first Fall/Winter I roasted. The heat vents/radiator in the apartment where I briefly couch surfed were permanently on.

As in full on.

As in plastered into the wall with no access on.

The only way to cope, was to leave the windows open and wear shorts. It worked until the heat went off in the middle of the night and then we froze.

My next two fall seasons were pleasant, almost bland (heat wise). Actually, Autumn is my favorite season. Crisp cool days, turning leaves, hot chocolate and apple cider. Brisk walks through the city, shorter days, and the holiday lights and displays.

The past two Autumns, I haven't minded the slight delay of the heat turning on, while the super waited until the last possible moment to turn on the broiler.

This year I did.

I think it's because this is my first year at home. All day. Without heat.

You know, regularly, I'd go to work, sit at a warm but drafty cubicle, play into the evening, then come home.

I'd only be home long enough to snuggle down under soon to be warm blankets, toss and turn for a moment, dash quickly to the sock drawer to don additional layers, then dive back under the covers, where I slept soundly with my hoodie over the top of my head.

This year, I spend my days bundled up against the cold, with my "heater shoes" on (crocs if you must know) and multiple layers of clothing. And yet, here I sit watching my fingers freeze and the end of my nose turn cold.

It's the first year I actually looked up the NYC heat regulations.

The happy thing is that the heat season started Oct. 1st. The sad part is that supers aren't required to turn on the heat until the daytime temperature doesn't rise above 55 degrees, and the nighttime temperature sinks below 40.

Yeah. I thought the regs were shocking too.

I figured that since we're skirting those temperatures, but haven't reached them, that between the price of oil, the long-standing tradition of things going slightly unfixed around here, and our landlord attempting to save a buck, the heat wouldn't be turned on for a few more weeks. I was wrong.

It official. As of 6:00 this morning. The heat is on! We're saved!!! Er, um, at least I am. . . . What about you? Has your super turned the Heat on yet?

-Bitter.

Think, it's a car

I was meandering my way across the NY Times front page on Sunday when I ran across an article on "Green Tech" or "Clean Tech" (whichever you want to call it) and couldn't resist clicking through to read more.

It looks like we might have a new electric car on the roads as early as 2009 called the Think. The cool thing about this car (besides the point that it's electric) is that it will be made out of 95% recycled material.

How cool is that??

To read a little more about what the venture capitalists at Kleiner Perkins are up to, check out Jon Gertner's NY Times article, "Capitalism to the Rescue."

-Bitter

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

The End, cafe mozart

A week ago a friend came to the City to visit, so we hit the town to celebrate. Bitter Style, of course, so we dropped by The Hampton Chutney Co. between 82nd and 83rd on Amsterdam, to get dosas, then walked down to Cafe Mozart for dessert.

My friend had been dying to go to Cafe Mozart since I blogged about their luscious Hot Chocolate Souffle in June 2007, so we headed south umbrellas in hand, but not unfurled, sauntering down Amsterdam.

It was a nice evening, cool, but not cold. Quiet, but Citiesque. We dropped into the Jaques Torres store and bought some chocolate covered pretzels and dark chocolate covered almonds (Mmmmm). We browsed the flower selections at several corner shops and enjoyed the misting rain against our faces.

We chatted about old times and caught up on the new, and before we knew it, we were there. When we rounded the corner of the correct street, I was a little confused. The string of lights outside the restaurant were out. I double checked, yes, that was the restaurant, we'd turned on the correct street.

We chatted while crossing the street, ducked between a couple of parked cars, and around the scaffolding poles to the sidewalk shed, then shrieked in horror as we caught sight of this sign.

Sad Day.

This is what it looks like inside.

My Favorite Table was just over there.

What a sad day.

The Upper West Side's lost another one of their gems.

Oh, the memories. The good times. The birthday celebrations. The crazy wig for the birthday girl or guy. The decadent desserts and yummy food. (Can you tell I ordered dessert here more often than food?) We miss you.

.

.

.

It took us a while to decide, but we ended up going to Grom instead. The pear gelato was fabulous of course.

-Bitter

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bicyclists, in the morning

I woke up this morning to the sounds of whooping and hollering. Repeatedly. As I slept through it, with the occasional wake-up, I kept wondering what was going on.

I finally dragged myself out of bed, pulled the window open and shoved my head outside. It appears there is a race of sorts going on today. The 2008 Bike MS NYC. Looks like they've raised $1.99M so far. Not too shabby if you ask me.

For the past half hour as I've breathed in the fresh and clean (not normal, looks like it rained earlier) NYC air and watched young cyclists and old, heavy and skinny, roadies and mountain bikers pedal past my fourth story window I've thought to myself, hmmmmmmmmm, maybe next year I'll join them.

Of course that means that I'll actually have to ride my bike over the course of the coming year so my rear end doesn't hate me for the next decade.

-Bitter

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Marie, and the bassoon

I just realized that I've used four hours five minutes and 20 seconds of my life to listen to this song. (With the volume cranked up of course, since it sounds better that way.)

-Bitter

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Air Conditioner, why is it on right now

It's 2:00 am the perfect time to take a quick break from re-writing the current Work In Progress (WIP), so I meandered into my kitchen, plugged in the trusty toaster that The Expat Drama Teacher gave me last summer, and plopped in some cinnamon raisin bread.

There I stood, waiting for my toast to toast, while eating ice cream from the container with a fork when I was jostled away from the decadent feel of chocolaty creamy goodness melting in my mouth by the rattling hum of my neighbor's air conditioner.

Which motivated this post.

Why is your air conditioner running? It's 64 degrees outside.




And to the neighbors across the street, why was your air conditioner running earlier today? We had a high of only 72.

And to the majority of the neighbors along my street, why have you been running your air conditioners all night for the past couple of weeks? When except for the rain and humidity last weekend, it's been quite pleasant outside at night.

The current temperature right now is 64. But the low is going to be 59.

Please tell me that you keep your apartment at 55 degrees, otherwise you're most likely sweltering in your stifling apartment when you could be basking in the blessed coolness of Mother Nature, sans the electric bill.
I was just wondering, that's all.

Kind regards,
Bitter

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wedding: Agueda & Jong

In June, I joined Gulnara of Gulnara Studio's to photograph Agueda & Jong's wedding. We met up with them at their hotel near the United Nations. I stayed with the groom, so you'll see quite a few pictures of him in this set.

We strolled down the street to the UN, then took a cab across town to Pier Sixty where we boarded the Majestic Star. There was a sunset ceremony, followed by a quick outfit change, and a Korean wedding ceremony.

This couple was so much fun and the day was fabulous.




The Bride











The Groom











UN Building in reflection


Near the UN
I love the way her flamenco style dress moves as she walks.

Majestic Star


























View from the Majestic Star




















View from the Majestic Star


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lifestyle Portrait: Lexi & Ella

As I edited these images, I remembered why I got into photography in the first place. Capturing images that forge a connection between the subject and viewer makes me happy. These images make me happy. They bring a smile to my face, and make me sigh in contentedness.

The children in this portrait session are Lexi & Ella, it was a delight working with them. Location: Upper-Upper-West Side.

Let me know if you enjoyed these images as much as I did.

Edit: I just realized that I forgot three of my favorite images! So I'm sticking them up on the top. Not quite sure how I missed putting them up. But enjoy!









___Back to the original post. :)

























Come on, let's go play!












I can't figure out which one I like better, this one, or the next one. Which one do you love more?


























Freedom