Thursday, December 17, 2009

That Time of Year...

Christmas Eve, 2007.

I’m alone in Queens with a chihuahua-- pet sitting for a newly-wed couple who has dashed off to France for their anniversary. They are both blonde, attractive, and clearly, more successful than me.

They didn’t exactly say I could help myself to anything in their fridge, but I figured I would anyway.

There’s nothing in the fridge.

I try the freezer.

Paquita Borgita Jimenez the Chihuahua sits at my feet and stares expectantly up at me.

Jackpot. I’ve found a box of Lean Pockets with exactly one left inside.

I watch as my Christmas Eve dinner rotates on a little glass plate in the microwave and know this is some kind of new, personal low.

After consuming the stolen lean pocket, guilt washes over me because I have a well documented history of stealing food and I don’t want this couple to know my fat secret. So I suit up and set out on foot to brave the cold and find a grocery store that’s open on Christmas Eve. The closest one is located across a 4 lane highway.

Instrumental holiday standards pour out of a tinny speaker as I scan the aisles for the frozen food. I buy a brand new box of Lean Pockets, and also the world’s scratchiest, pre-packaged pajamas because I had forgotten to pack mine. They are red and have snowflakes on them. How appropriate.

I scurry back across the highway and into the apartment and am greeted by the nervous little animal.

As I go to replace the box of Lean Pockets, I realize that I only need to replace 1. If I replace the whole package, they will know I took their food. Now what?

Wait until morning.

The answer will come, and surely you’ll be hungry again, Brooke.

Actually, I am hungry now so I heat up 2 more and decide to have a 3rd for breakfast. Christmas Eve dinner has become comical.

I sit on the chair with Paquita and her eyes bulge out at me in a needy fashion as she daintily perches herself on my lap.

“This is human food!” I yell at her with my mouth full of toxic chemicals that have been rendered into food.

A small crispy flake of the “pocket” flies out of my fat face and she greedily snaps it up and quickly wants more.

Great. I’ve created a begging machine.

I change into my recently purchased pajamas and hunker down onto the sofa, looking like a grumpy elf with a bowl haircut. The itchy, unwashed material is uncomfortable and I begin to scratch around the collar. Paquita has mounted my left arm and begins humping. I catch a glimpse of this dismal scene in the black, empty television screen and don’t like what I see.

“Next year will be better” I vow, not realizing next year is almost a week away.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see two, lightning quick, grey blurs dart past me from behind the television.

It seems as though I will now be pet sitting for one chihuahua and two mice.

I don’t mind though because I have seen enough movies to feel that mice are craftier than they are pesky and I’m secretly hoping that because it’s Christmas Eve, when I wake in the morning the entire apartment will have been transformed into a tiny, winter wonderland.

I wake up. Nothing is different. Paquita is standing on my chest staring at me. I heat up my last Lean Pocket for breakfast and wonder what the big fuss concerning holidays is all about anyhow.

And then my phone rings and from 600 miles away I can hear my mother’s voice and feel the warmth of home radiate through my broken cell phone. “Merry Christmas” she says, “The holidays sure aren’t the same without you.”

I look around me---the empty apartment is silent, the sky is grey.

And for the first time, in a long time, I couldn’t… agree… more.

Friday, December 11, 2009

NY is Retarded is childhood friends with "I Hate LA"

To my massive amounts of followers, I just wanted to pimp out my very dear friend Suzi Barrett who quite frankly needeth no pimping. But, since I just spent a fabulous weekend with her after seeing her in the very funny show Worst Laid Plans I thought I would give her a shout out. Afterall, Suzi and I glued a pube beard onto a dude who passed out at a party. That is a good friend.

This is her hilarious video called "I Hate LA" that has got the interweb's panties into a hilarious bunch.

Even though she's on the opposite coast, this vid couldn't be more in tune with the spirit of "NY is Retarded".


Saturday, November 7, 2009

No Stylist Left Behind

I posted an article on about how it feels to be on the receiving end of a bad haircut even after you've been to great lengths to verbally and visually explain what you're going for.

After having this happen to me for the umpteenth time because most hairdressers can't wrap their minds around the concept of curly hair being longer when it's wet, I was graced with the only retribution one can receive after getting a "mom" haircut--- slight physical harm bestowed upon the offending stylist that occurred in a completely unrelated way.


Well, glory be--- the style experts over at ALLURE magazine online got a hold of my post and lightly chided my dark humor. Always quick with a tip, ALLURE solicited a real stylist for advice on how to avoid a bad haircut and well, I mean--- DUH. The tips were a bit basic and the only thing I can think is that this poor guy deals with the most vapid and rude clients, or he cuts hair for the elderly--"It is not the time to flip through a magazine, make calls on your cell, or slip into a catnap."


The ALLURE article got picked up and posted by Yahoo News and the comment boards are all a-titter with the warring factions of stylists and individuals wronged by stylists.

I LOVE reading comment boards because it is truly where the most acute spellers and writers can hash out their opinions in a public forum. It's like watching Springer.

Now I know that to some this could be viewed as empty-headed content representative of how the internet is sending society right down the tubes. Sure. I can agree that this topic is sort of fluffy.

BUT, what if I inspire just one person to get so angry about a bad haircut they have been victimized by that they stand up for themselves? What if they walk away from the salon that has been terrorizing their life, demand a refund, and hold the hairdresser accountable for their crime? What if this single act profoundly influences a person's esteem and they decide that there really is something to the saying, "Be the change you want to see in the world"?

This person then begins a campaign to better educate the beauty industry called "No Stylist Left Behind" and also teaches customers of hair salons to make informed choices. As a result the public expresses the desire for more transparency in the industry and before we know it, we are a country that not only has the right to Universal health care and education, but ALSO a phenomenal haircut that both flatters and frames our faces.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a 2 o'clock appointment for highlights and hair extensions at Fantastic Sam's where afterward I will be speaking in the lounge about how YOU can get involved in local salon politics.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mad about hot dogs. Again.

Not in like, the "in love with" sense. Although actually me and the boyfriend truly are in love with hot dogs, we are just actually mad about NYC gourmet hot dogs. Pissed, actually.

I NEVER YELP, but I must admit, we filled a whole night giggling and writing nasty reviews about places we hate that pushed us to our limit. I am telling you...when people, places, and things aren't very good, they just don't register with me. When they are spectacular or downright offensive, I am moved to post my feelings via the internet and so help me god, register for a Yelp account.

If you scroll down, I raved about how delicious Hot Doug's in Chicago is and also made an informative video. (believe me, you'll take away something from this video) and over the holidays in Michigan, I am planning a trip to Lafayette Coney Island and Lipuma's to eat nitrate riddled, hershey squirt looking coney dogs and document the adventure.

In the meantime, NYC, not satisfied with having superior pizza and bigger buildings has decided to attempt the gourmet hot dog craze after perfecting dirty water hot dogs from a street vendor cart. I introduce you to BARK hot dogs in Brooklyn which, well, sucks. They don't get it. It looked like a Chipotle with hot dogs instead of "burrito bowls".

Here is an edited review:
(for the whole friggin' thing, click here )

My boyfriend and I, well, we love hot dogs--- the nostalgia factor of a ballpark frank with yellow mustard and white onions or the new insurgence of hot dogs being prepared creatively with artisanal toppings is all good with us. We love these tasty, encased meat gems. Like, seriously love them.

This review is unfortunately about the gimmick of the place far out-shining the meager little trays of food we received and the main event, the HOT DOG, not being a highlight of the meal.

On the upside, we really enjoyed being able to order Disco Fries. It was cool to have that as an option and have it deliver well in the taste/texture department--very yummy! Chili Cheese Fries and Plain Fries were pretty good as well. We opted for booze instead of milkshakes, but I would potentially go back to try one.

Chili Cheese Dogs were ordered. Nobody outside of the mid-west can make a good chili-dog. It's just impossible to find in NYC--- we don't fault any of you, you just haven't experienced the best--- and they were over twice the price of what they should be. The chili was more like loose meat and didn't have much going on in the flavor department. The dog itself was just a tad lackluster and call me crazy, but they looked small too!

We want this place to do it's own thing despite all of our "Midwest hot dogs are superior" posturing,(even though they are), and for it to be a good neighborhood staple.

The enviro-friendly everything is cool and all but, after dropping 50 bucks for hot dogs, you have to then spend 5 minutes bussing and recycling the remaining contents of your tray before you can even leave. I kind of lost it at that point. Goddammit, I just want a good hot dog and I am not concerned about my health or the environment when I get a hankering for some tasty tube meat!

If you are going to charge this much money, you have to step it up big time because right now, a street vendor hot dog is equally appetizing, always consistent, costs 2 bucks and the sauerkraut is free.

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We were very honest. I think some things have changed over at Bark since some people started reviewing which is great, but my main problem is that the hot dogs which are not only tasteless, are super vegetarian friendly. Not my crowd. I eat homemade vegan fare at home all the time -- whole grains, steamed veggies, seaweed & azuki beans over field greens, but I NEVER want a VEGAN hot dog.

I know I am about to eat some good grub when vegans can't hang. Get your priorities straight, assholes and have fun munching on your 3rd helping of tofu for the day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And then there's this:

The name of this photo file on my computer is "pure terror".

This my friend, is a mustache bug. In NYC, people call it a silver fish but I beg to differ. The words "silver" and "fish" evoke a sleek, futuristic image or at least hearken to mind an aquatic creature, which last time I checked cannot crawl across my ceiling in the middle of the night. I will get back to this dead beat in a moment.

In the past week, I've had a few too many unpleasant run-ins with insects.

I am currently being terrorized by cockroaches. It is just the sad truth about NYC. It doesn't matter how clean a joint you work in with amazingly high quality standards and zero health code violations-- cockroaches can happen to anyone.

I had to stay behind after work one night and help seal up dry-goods, silverware and the like for the next day's bug bomb that was hopefully going to take care of the mounting roach problem.

For the most part, customers have been spared. The roaches like to hang with the waitstaff in our dark stations near the garbage and slop buckets. Up until last week, the "rachas" did not dare disturb diners enjoying a well-earned $26 loin of lamb, when some little upstart, decided to hitch a ride into the dining room inside of one of our impeccably folded linen napkins. I will credit the unlucky customer for not shrieking like he had a vagina when he saw that loser on his lap, but still, no one feels too confident about the meal they're going to consume after an incident like that.

Later that week, some lingering mosquitoes also decided to set up camp at my restaurant and bit the christ out of me. I was in the midst of my usual panic as we were way beyond capacity and the restaurant was in full tilt when I looked down to see 4 consecutive, largely swollen and irritated bites now lining my right and left arm. I always think something is going to cause me to go into anaphylactic shock or cause my throat to swell up and cut off oxygen, and so naturally i started to get light headed and freak out.

In addition to the work bites, I have a small family of mosquitoes living under my bed who I cannot smoke out during the day. I always hunt for them before bed time, give up after 10 minutes and then wake up with more bites covering my left calf, ankle and foot--- the leg closest to the wall.

I have so many scabs from bug bites that I look kind of ill--- or like I'm addicted to junk. It's not a great look either way.

Only 3 nights ago, I had a weird feeling in my gut--like I was about to be violated by a stranger who had been camping out in my apartment for a day waiting for the perfect moment to strike. I got up from my desk and walked into the kitchen sensing a "presence". I didn't even need to turn on the light to see the outline of what can only be described as the biggest cockroach I have ever seen just chillin' on the outside of my cupboard. I of course flipped on the light to confirm my worst fear and there it was--- a "racha" the size of a mouse.

We don't have cockroaches in my apartment. I've been here for well over a year and we have not had a single problem. Even with my massive pile of recyclables that I collect each week, still no rodents or the like. I was in pure disbelief. Did this miscreant smuggle himself home with me from work a few months ago all the while living under cover, strength training and carb-loading off of my poorly rinsed dishes to balloon up to the size of a toddler's fist? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.

I indeed screamed like a vagina, waking my drunken roommate from a white wine coma and scaring the daylights out of my boyfriend who I forced to kill the thing with an empty paper towel tube and ripped out pages from my stack of New Yorkers I never read.

Finally, they were being put to good use.

Even after being squashed, smashed, impaled and pounded for a full 30 seconds, the thing was still lucid and fighting to escape as we escorted it to the bathroom and deposited it into a swirling, watery grave. It's more than likely living in the sewer system now and harboring a grudge like those dreaded albino alligators, but whatever. Get it the fuck away from my sundries.

As trying as all of this has been, it brings me back to the silver fish aka "mustache bug". These things are a code red for me on the terror list and I am about due for another visit. I feel like Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it comes to destroying these losers. I have a highly developed sense for them. I have awoke from deep sleep with a premonition that one of these monsters is cavorting across my ceiling. This has happened three times now. I sit up in my bed, flip on the lights, and sure enough, one of these total zeros is out on the town, tearin' it up and wildin' out on the middle of my bedroom ceiling. Their very presence is disturbing as is, but after observing and familiarizing myself with their scummy habits, I watched in horror as these asshole bugs just stop what they're doing, decide they'd rather be on the floor and just....let go of the ceiling.

PRESTO! The mustache bug turns upright in the air, mcuh like a cat, tucks and rolls, and is back on track with his agenda for air diving in to land in your sleeping mouth.

I lost it when I saw that and played a psychotic game of cat and mouse with one of these freaks until about 4 am. It took me hours to catch it on the move before I could smash it to a segment-y pulp.

The next time, I knew better and acted fast while one was still on the ceiling. I was not quite able to reach it even standing on my desk, so instead I fumbled around on my dresser to grab a can of extra firm, aerosol hairspray and plastered that piece of shit with Aqua Net. I felt powerful and screamed a little bit as the mustache bug violently struggled but then only tangled his sticky, now cemented legs together to be frozen for all time on my ceiling. I was shaking from adrenaline and didn't clean it off my ceiling, but instead left it there to serve as a warning to other creepy crawlies that they were messing with a pro.

I've had enough. I am ready for the ground to freeze and for these insects to all die. It would be nice if mother nature would help me out here, because I can't take much more and if anyone out there from the Lepisma Saccharina genus is reading this blog, I'd suggest you take your business elsewhere unless you'd like me to make an example out of you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stop it with the plastic bags, already!!!!

I want to bust heads every time I see someone in my immediate neighborhood carrying around a thousand plastic bags. Even 1 plastic bag makes me want to assault someone. Seriously. This crap needs to stop immediately. I have a few, very few, areas in which I am superior to others and one of them undoubtedly is lack of plastic bag use. In your FACE! I am so good at it, that even when I forget to bring my Chico bag, tote bag, or giant purse with me, I will stuff my pockets full of produce and carry the rest of my items out the door in a wobbly, highly unstable stack. THAT'S how strongly I feel about NOT using plastic bags. They are bullshit and you all need to step it up and say "NO" to this stupid American culture and eventually less will be produced, hopefully even banned.

I am by no means someone who is 100% green, I am still working every day to lessen my carbon foot print, but EVERYONE can say no to plastic bags and this is one of those "no-brainers" that I cannot believe more people don't get on board with. It boils down to laziness and forgetfulness, that's it. These are traits which should be corrected regardless if you don't want to be a complete turd of a human anyhow, and start working on your flaws by making it a priority to either carry a tote bag, enviro-bag, chico bag, or back pack on you to store items you purchase. Those of you with cars----you have NO excuses. It takes no effort to haul that crap out to your car and just drive it home. Those of us city dwellers have to be a tad craftier, but, we also buy less at once because of storage problems and a general inclination to have someone else prepare meals for us.

Chicks. Yes, you ladies with huge purses that only have a wallet, lipstick, and bottle of Ephedra in it, you are some of the worst offenders carrying around a million plastic bags when in fact your "purse" could double as an orphanage. Put the fucking lotion in the basket, if you know what I mean! Seriously, if you are purchasing 2 toiletries, just put them in your tractor trailer purse! Stop, drop, and roll with it girl---- plastic bags are totes out, totes are totes in for the environment!

Dudes. I know many of you wander about "sans man bag". Okay, I get it, but the fact is, if you are a suburb dweller, you just need to keep one or two of those trendy cloth shopping bags in your car and use those for groceries/errands. If however you are a city boy, chances are that you have to carry some sort of day time bag with you whether it's a duffel, a messenger bag, or an attache. Simply put groceries or knick-knacks in them OR keep something folded up inside mentioned carry-all and voila, you've saved the earth. It's just the tiniest effort to get into a routine and the easiest way to avoid a withering look from me.

I for one live on a main drag in Brooklyn, New York. I literally live above a coffee shop, wine shop, and a stretch of grocery stores and bodegas. My head especially wants to burst into a million pieces when I see people who live on my block down in said businesses purchasing items which get placed in plastic bags and then transferred 10 feet into their apartment. WHAT THE FUCK. Just carry it! Seriously...say no thanks to the plastic bag once, and you will immediately climb onto the "i care about the earth more than you" superiority train, and though admittedly douchey, STILL SAVES THE EARTH.


It's the little things that really do make big differences in the long run. Tucking away 40 dollars into savings every week adds up to almost $2,000 every year! Doing 3 minutes worth of crunches whenever you think of it adds up to a stomach that looks better than a stomach without sporadic crunches! I know it's a long stretch to think people will all suddenly ditch driving and start showing up to carry-out joints with their own bio-degradable tupperware while simultaneously wearing a head to toe ensemble made out of corn, but, honestly, even that would not be that hard to do. I think walking to work in a fuel-depleted country under the punishing sunlight of a 145 degree day while garbage cyclones knock you down sounds a little bit tougher.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Binge Eating; Not Just For NYC Anymore

Inspired by Anthony Bourdain's Chicago episode of "No Reservations", I made a vow to eat some gourmet hot dogs at my old neighborhood joint Hot Doug's. I lived in Roscoe Village around the original incarnation of the encased meat eatery's location in 2003. My eyes popped out of my skull when I learned that on the weekends they actually fry their french fries in goose fat. Me and my live-in boyfriend at the time vowed to return with plump wallets and empty stomachs to properly ingest our weight in vein-clogging goodness.

And then, inexplicably, Hot Doug's had a fire in the kitchen ( which you can imagine smelled pretttttty delicious ) and they were forced to close down and move. Before they got back on their feet in the new location, I moved as well and started getting involved in things like marriage, divorce, temporary insanity, and an unannounced relocation to NYC, so I never did cash in on those hot dogs and fries.

Fast forward to July, 2009 after hearing about way too many people having the best hot dogs of their life at Hot Doug's, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Chicago performing at night and spending my days eating junk food. I didn't waste any time-- the moment I arrived I had a Vietnamese pork Bahn Mi for lunch and later that night me and the gang rolled into Mi Tierra on Belmont for nostalgia's sake as we sat by the man-made river, sucked down potent margaritas and each slammed a combo platter obscured by melted cheese. We ended the night drinking German Pilsners at Huttenbar before properly slipping into unresponsive states.

Well, good morning sunshine, we all rolled out of bed still stuffed from the day before and decided on having Hot Doug's as our first meal of the day. I wet myself from excitement I loved my specialty dog so much which was spicy pork sausage smothered in chipotle dijonnaise and pepper jack cheese. But I was left wondering what the big deal about Chicago style hot-dogs are and sullenly forced it down my gullet out of spite. We all got to the bottom of why Chicago dogs have a salad bar dumped on them:

I was able to walk around the city all day and convinced myself I "worked it all off". Uh, no. But not to be outdone I started drinking heavily during my show at Zanies and was properly loaded by the time I got to my spot at Chicago Underground. After an unsolicited shot of Jameson, I demanded my host for the week, Andrea, go get the car and immediately take me out for some El Quixote lest I fall down drunk in my "famished" state. El Quixote is my favorite 24-hour Mexican joint in Chicago. Hot Doug's had managed to sustain me from 11am Tuesday morning until about 1am early Wednesday morning, but barely. Without stopping to breathe I took down a basket or two of chips before the world's most perfect chorizo taco platter hit the table. I don't remember filming this:

The following days were a blur of more tacos, salty, fatty snacks from Zanies Comedy Club, lentil soup and falafel sandwiches from Taste of Lebanon, a grilled cheese with tomatoes and chili cheese fries at the Diner Grill (footage coming soon) and of course a sophisticated sit down meal at Erwin on my last night in town. We ate a lovely fried green tomato appetizer, beet salad with watercress, goat cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates, and a delicious sauteed skate entree paired nicely with some white wine. I hit the wall that Saturday night/Sunday morning when I ate a frozen pizza for dinner and then after my 7am flight back to MI,ate a sausage Mcmuffin at the airport and then choked down offensive wedding reception fare later that afternoon. Not surprisingly, my colon stopped working for 2 days.

I'd like to think I've done some out of control eating in NYC--- not even with vacation as an excuse, but Chicago really came out on top this time in terms of purely indulgent behavior, so once again NYC---you lose! Or do I lose? Hmmmm. My jeans still fit for some reason or another, so yes, NYC--you lose!

It's not a wedding reception without Bachman Turner Overdrive

I have enjoyed some really great feedback from readers regarding my new column called "Am I the Worst Person Ever?" It's a great little article that tackles the topic of saying no to being in a wedding party. You can read it here.

But in the original version I supplied the most awesome link to Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" which is a crowd pleaser at shitty wedding receptions and alas it did not make it into the post. I suggest watching the first 10 seconds of BTO's Randy Bachman awkward rock n roll baby-step stomp to the front of the stage as the song begins over and over again. Even better is the introduction by a plastered Keith Moon.

This will forever be my favorite wedding reception dance floor tune as someone convinced me to do "The Alligator" which, like The Hustle or Macarena, takes alot of intoxication to pull off with the proper amount of gusto. Luckily I had gotten shit-canned at my best friend's older sister's wedding when we were 16 years old the first time I gave it a go. We were rolling around in the middle of the floor trying to convince people to join our "dance". I wondered if maybe I had been conned into something but kept flopping anyways because I have always been an attention starved idiot when drunk.

It dawned on me to check and see if this is even a real thing and, well, god bless youtube here's a video from an Anytown, USA wedding reception complete with a douchey wedding DJ, smashed wedding goers,and BTO blasting in the background. Good to know my lower-middle class roots run deep and I didn't stop to question them.

I mentioned I'm from the Midwest, right?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I just updated my Racial Profile!

Flying home to the Midwest was the usual mass of insanity, uncleanliness, misinformation, and aggravation last week. I am now certain I could have a gallon jug of poison with a stick of dynamite duct taped to it in my carry on and I would still pass through security without controversy. I think La Guardia could care less about safety as long as people are departing with dangerous stuff. "Let Ohio Deal With Some Crap For A Change" is the new slogan I believe.

The remnants of a nasty cold, ever present pms, and not enough sleep quickly became a lethal mix for this nervous flyer. I could be on top of the world-- but the very prospect of air travel reduces me to a morose mess and clearly I wasn't in good form at La Guardia as I contemplated my much longed for visit to see my family and worried over the prospects for my comedy career upon return to NYC. I calculated what it was worth to the flight gods.

Thumbs up or down?

I sat at the gate nervously and sent out my usual round of last texts to friends and family. I already felt more than a pang of pre-flight anxiety when I began eyeballing and shamelessly profiling an Arab male. I didn't initially check him out because he was Arab though, I started zeroing in on him because he was incredibly intense, nervous, and shifty. He would not take off his sunglasses and he obsessively watched every move of the Northwest stewards, pilots, and airport employees. He was young and wiry with a "nothing to lose" air about him which fit into the racial profile rapidly building in my head. That's when I started putting my little panicky puzzle together that he was Arab, flying NYC to Detroit which is a hot bed of terrorist cells according to my mother, AND he had 2 gigantic, black duffel bags which he would not check. Nothing good is EVER in a duffel bag.

I felt annoyed at myself and also at the airport for having to do their job for them.

Sure, maybe I was overreacting to expect everyone else in the terminal to see the red-alert passenger in our midst. I hoped he would be called over by airport security and taken into a private room for questioning and minutes later we would see his bags driven out to the middle of the tarmac and detonated. That was probably a bit much to expect, BUT, if nothing else, could someone have at least called him on his 2, GIANT carry-on duffel bags?!?! I mean c’mon! I catch grief for having a big purse or a bulky jacket on these chintzy domestic flights.

I of course would rather die in a plane explosion than potentially look like an overly paranoid, racist asshole, with a nightly news propaganda saturated brain. The very thought of going up to the counter and nonchalantly trying to let someone know that I thought another passenger was going to kill us all was a bit much. If that guy had no intention of harming anyone prior to this, well, he would now, thanks to my detective work and self-proclaimed knack for sniffing out a blood-thirsty member of Al-Quaeda.

So I silently boarded flight 531 to Detroit with the solo, grim knowledge that we were all going down in a fiery offering to Allah. I almost had a full-fledged panic attack and because I was so busy concentrating on the impending explosion in the sky, I forgot to focus energy on my usual all-consuming fear of a good-old fashioned plane crash into the ocean, or engine failure resulting in the plane plummeting into a mountainside. Now I was juggling all 3 crippling fears AND I had the middle seat with nowhere to rest my elbows.

If anyone looked shady or capable of carrying out a diabolical plot, it was me. I rocked gently back and forth in my seat, became drenched with sweat and shifted nervously. My eyes darted with every movement and noise and I got up to use the bathroom far too many times. I certainly seemed like I was up to something.

We of course landed without instance and although disappointment would certainly be the wrong word to use, I was looking for some kind of validation to assure my worried mind that it had not also become a bigoted, prejudiced one as well.

Maybe this guy was terrified of flying. Maybe he didn't trust the system either. Maybe it freaked him out that LaGuardia is the biggest dump in the world and they've lost his bags a million times and so, like me, he refuses to check them anymore. Maybe he kept the sunglasses on to hide the terror in his eyes. Like me, maybe he scans the crowd of airport employees and pilots trying to pick out the ones who exude confidence, sobriety, and safety to inspire peace of mind. Maybe we were both riding on the same emotional rollercoaster but this guy has to deal with an extra level of worry because he is Arab-American and subject to the prejudices of not only airport employees, but also Brooke Van Poppelen.

I felt stupid. But then that emotion was squashed with the fear of having to board another plane to make my 40 minute connection to Northern Michigan. The whole emotional upheaval would begin again in just a few minutes and I needed to prepare for it by sending text messages to my loved ones in case it was the last they ever heard from me.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mom, I'm a street tough.

I found a new and entertaining way to pass time on the subway platform: Vandalism! I get it now. I totally understand why every inch of this city is painted, tagged, ripped, re-arranged and vandalized. I vowed never to be that person, nor could I understand how a book and an Ipod weren't enough of a distraction for some people. And then I snapped.

One of the most obnoxious parts of the MTA station has got to be the television and movie advertisements. The same giant, pixelated, airbrushed Matthew McConaughey face will be your companion for the entire month of May. His "me? i caused all this trouble?" smirk stays fixed in place as you grow angrier that the train is 20 minutes late and that a movie like "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" even exists. There is nothing else to look at other than adverts for these AWFUL shows featuring individuals who don't have to ride a subway as means of transportation. I'm surprised there aren't more car advertisements down on the subway platform. You could definitely lure me into an impulse buy after a commute from Greenpoint to South Slope at 3am.

Anyway, I am a good, reasonably normal person who frowns upon excessive graffiti and the ceaseless drawing of dicks on everything.....and then I joined the ranks of NYC hoodlums. And it felt great.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Karaoke is fun, not an audition, you twat.

As of late, I have been pretty hard pressed to find a good place in NYC to sing the Doobie Brothers in front of a crowd of strangers. Even harder than that is finding the right kind of karaoke crowd. I seem to keep only finding self-important crowds of idiots who talk over everyone singing or self important idiots who are apparently trying to land a manager who they think might be present in the crowd.

I have pretty strong opinions about karaoke which have evolved over the years. I have spoken out against large groups of office co-workers marauding the stage to sloppily sing "Love Shack" in a team effort to suck. Grow a pair. If you can't sing alone, don't bother.

I also get the douche chills every time I hear "Sweet Caroline" and "Son of a Preacher Man". Yes, I know those are crowd pleasers, but do you think we can come up with one of the thousands of other songs that every American knows by heart? It would be refreshing to hear the "Star Spangled Banner" at this point.

I am someone who frets over the perfect song to sing. Karaoke is for the people.

To me it's about surveying the crowd and then choosing a song that gets the whole bar to tune in and sing along. Isn't that what it's about? When you combine the perfect elements of being able to hit one or two right notes at the right moment, boldly sing the chorus that everyone knows, and ham it up with a few high kicks, all is right in the karaoke world.

Even better is a karaoke performer who encourages participation and picks a dramatic song in which we can all act like idiots and dance interpretively to.

I am a fan of standing on a chair or stool and singing Space Oddity. (seriously, could one of you f-in' karaoke joints pony up already and get a fog machine?) I stand there like a stoic idiot pretending I am waiting to be beamed up by the mothership while people realize they know and love this Bowie song. I swear to you, I can usually get a semi-circle formed around me and a countdown going in unison. "Take your protein pills and put your helmet on!"

It's karaoke utopia.

Everyone feels like they get more than their one song to participate in. It's a crowd pleaser. I'm happy, the crowd is happy, and there you have it folks--- karaoke fun.

Here is a photo of karaoke with all of the correct elements:
Note the presence of a stage, spotlight, teleprompter at foot of stage, and appropriate amount of enthusiasm even though I am murdering "Magic Man" by Heart.

Piano's on the Lower East Side was my first NYC karaoke extravaganza I attended and boy was it fun. The host had a full set of gold teeth, a defunct America's Next Top Model was always present with tons of gender bending hipsters, an occasional drag queen and of course me. Every person brought down the house, random strangers would grab you and make out,and of course we danced like fools.

Everything went downhill from there though.

I didn't know that above mentioned kind of karaoke was a-typical for NYC and so I stupidly agreed to join some people for karaoke in Midtown at a Sake Bar. Big mistake. This uber lame,swanky bar literally had the teleprompters on the tv screens above and behind the bar and you had to stand at the edge of the service bar to sing while people and cocktail servers elbowed around you trying to order drinks. Some people would just stay in their bar seats and sing to the rows of liquor. Way to phone it in, assholes. LAME!

Then there is the NYC phenomenon of renting a private room for just you and your friends! Yuck! Where's the fun in that bullshit safety net? Why not just stay home and sing into the mirror with a brush microphone? No risk, no reward. And, AND you have to turn your back to everyone to see the words as you sing and stand eye level with your friends who've already been ignoring you all night. Ugh.

Here is an example of me overwhelmed with disgust at the big screen tv teleprompter:
Note that back is turned to "crowd" (uh, friends who know all of your tricks)and more often than not, the bizarre,nonsensical music video that accompanies the song steals your thunder.

But even worse than all of this crap-ola is when you go to a kind of divey place with karaoke, you think to yourself you may have struck gold only to find out you are at an American Idol audition. Only in NYC can you accidentally stumble into a nightmare like this.

This is a night for failed rock stars, musical theatre drop-outs, and has been R&B singers to try and reclaim something that the world unfairly took away, or,this is how they make everyone in the room feel.

They sing their goddamn hearts out with tunes only they know the words too. They hold the microphone chord and tap it against their thigh, bend and sway with eyes closed and showboat like a jerk for 5 minutes. If you try to sing along they shoot a look at you that says, "Don't ruin this for me." I actually see people step outside to warm up their vocal chords and the air hangs thick in the bar the way it does in the waiting room for an audition. It's no longer about karaoke, it's about them. Booooooooooring.

Get a blog already and stop hogging the stage.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's not me, it's Manhattan!

NYC parties hard. Like, really hard. Getting smashed is a totally celebrated, public affair. How could it be anything else? Unless you lock yourself in your apartment every night to drink alone until your eyes cross, everyone in NYC knows you're drunk.

I was 27 when I moved here and had started to ease up on the wild nights and dangerous behavior while living in Chicago. I had been dating a sommelier after seperating from my husband and at that time a bender for me involved switching from white wine to red wine at a dinner party. Maybe a digestif or brandy after dessert if we were feeling frisky.

When I landed on the streets of Manhattan, I backslid to about age 20 when I was a legitimately drunk, human wrecking ball who picked fights, fell out of windows and threw food at people.

Even when I would misbehave in Chicago I could go about my business of gettin' saucy outside of the house and maybe 3 or 4 people would know how much I had to drink: the bartender, my 1 or 2 other friends at the dive, and my scornful husband. ( it's not like I never invited him to come have a few cocktails with me. Lighten up, right?)

I could covertly sneak out the back door of the bar, walk through the alley to my parked car and have a tranquil, solo, 10 block drive home. Just me and my drunk thoughts and behavior that no one had to know about. I could go home and pig out on my heavily stocked refrigerator and pantry because in the old days I would grocery shop like a normal person, using a car to bring home many items at once.

Getting sloppy drunk in other cities never really posed a huge problem because I could quickly and privately get home to terrorize my own abode or whatever it is that I like to do before passing out.

Living in NYC, it takes a while to sink in that just because you're done drinking and whooping it up for the night, doesn't mean the adventure is over. Nowhere near especially if you live in Brooklyn. And you better believe that those moments of privately being a drunk terror or passing out, now happen in public.

A 40 block sojourn down Manhattan's 2nd Ave, or a 60 minute escapade on the subway, is a completely different story when you are plastered beyond hope. I thought I had it together as an alcohol abuser and NYC sent me back to drunk school.

Total, amateur behavior on my part.

I would however like to explain myself and other respectable, hard working New Yorkers who overdo it when it comes to drinking. There are really good reasons that support this behavior and I like to consider them valid to justify the money, sanity, health, and calories I have wasted on hooch.

Here are not ten, but eleven reasons:

1. This place shakes you to your core when you first arrive, so you sooth your stress with booze

2. No one drives, therefore you can become a menace on two feet instead of 4 wheels which is an improvement in my mind

3. You can walk only 2 blocks and pass about 25 places that have some sort of "thing" happening that involves alcohol; some of it free

4. This place is guhhhhh-ross. Personally, I like being a little out of it to dull my sense of smell, and to not have to clearly witness the homeless dude sitting bare-assed across from me on the train

5. There are so many people in your face at all times that again, being numb makes it easier to handle

6. Everyone works really hard, therefore everyone parties really hard, OR your parents are rich enough to support your drunk, degenerate lifestyle

7. Pizza can be shoved into your face at all times should you become too inibriated

8. You can sleep off some of that hangover on the subway

9. If you are totally immobile, friends can dump you into a car and put your life into the hands of a stranger to drive you home safely for $30

10. It's a great way to avoid going home to your awful apartment and insane roommate who lives in the common area

11. Drinking is glamorous according to billboards and I always think and do what a billboard tells me to think and do---no questions asked.

I would say I hit an all time low this past summer after surpassing the previous summer's all time low when footage surfaced of me yelling and jumping on filthy matresses outside of Planet Rose Karaoke Bar on a Sunday Night.

This footage was taken after being kicked out of the bar for tearing a poster off the wall and also repeatedly reaching over the bar to turn on the blender every time the bartender was busy on the other end because it made me laugh. I just get a bit out of control sometimes.

Since then, I have settled down considerably and credit that to not drinking in Manhattan anymore. I keep the drunk antics local-- in my neighborhood mostly. I seem to have a long track record of falling into the streets of Manhattan, dropping food on myself and others, and paying exorbitant amounts for cabs only to get lost in Queens somewhere. You have to ease up on this behavior at some point and I find that my life is more tolerable and even safer now that I am a Brooklyn drunk.

I would rather slip down the smooth marble stairs of my boyfriend's 4th floor walk-up in Park Slope while drinking white wine from a plastic to-go cup instead of falling down the greasy subway stairs at the 8th Avenue A-C-E station ever again.

(In my defense, I had gotten way too hammered and was trying to eat a gigantic torta from the 14th street Taco Truck as I descended into the station. I lost my balance a little bit, and tried to steady myself with the railing, but it was so slick with grime and grease that I just sort of slid down the stairs hanging onto the railing the way you would ride down a fire pole, but on a 45 degree angle. I strained all of the muscle in my right arm while my left arm held the torta high in the air, still intact. See what Manhattan does to me?!?)

I would rather deal with the bland, limited food selection available to me late at night in my neighborhood after a bender in my living room than ever try and walk down 2nd avenue in the East Village, plastered, eating lamb vindaloo again. I of course turned my high heel on the curb, fell into the street, tossed vindaloo into the air only to have it shower back down onto me, scraped my bare knees on the AIDS riddled pavement and then rode the train home covered in curry stains vaguely resembling shit. To make matters worse, I had nothing to put on my bloody knees so I was drunk, crying, openly bleeding, and aparrently had lost control of my bowels.

30. minute. ride. in. public.

I have yet to be hit by a car in Midtown, but I have had embarrassingly close calls due to carelessly stepping into traffic because I'm blinded with the bliss of eating a lobster roll. I have however been hit by a pizza delivery guy on a mountain bike as I stepped into the street while simultaneously trying to yank open an impenetrable bag of chips. That hurts and you certainly don't get free pizza just because it fell out of his basket and into the street.

And I will be damned if I don't ride my little cruiser through the streets of Brooklyn all summer long from destination to destination instead of getting into a cab for an epic ride home from Manhattan's Upper West Side to Brooklyn's South Side that costs way too much money. And I will hoof it from Grand Army Plaza to my front door if it means avoiding a 90 minute train ride from the West Village to 4th Avenue,where instead of getting off on your stop you pass out and wake up in Coney Island at 5am, disoriented and surrounded by ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds.

It could be considered a little close minded to blame all of my problems on Manhattan. It could also be considered a bit cuckoo to control my life by avoiding the city all together. But, well, I have sort of put the kybosh on the Big Apple for now.

I just find that until I am ready to behave, it's best to stay away from the world's biggest playground for people with substance abuse problems. I want to be able to re-introduce myself to the city as a more composed, industry oriented individual who can handle herself at a business lunch with a glass of wine or two; someone who can be trusted to walk by a mattress lying in the street and view it as garbage instead of a trampoline.

Until that day comes, I will be working on myself here in Park Slope's South end, 1 less drink at a time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

South Slope Morning

Wow. Does anyone else live in a building where without warning, demolition workers start tearing down the walls in your hallway at 8:30am?

I wanted to spring out of bed and scream at what I assumed to be my upstairs neighbors working on an art project---they restore statues, art pieces, signs, you name it. For a week, I have walked into my building to the shocking sight of a 7ft. tall Goofy statue resting in the hall with a gigantic garbage bags wrapped around his newly formed arms and hands.

It was only slightly more disturbing than when I would come home to see the looming giant resting in the hallway sans arms with a completely blissed out look on his face that only Goofy could possess in such troubling moments. "Gawsh! I seem to have misplaced my arms! Hoo Hoo!" Creepy.

But no, this was not the neighbors, this was the definite sound of a blunt mallet smashing into a wall outside my door, dry wall crumbling and falling down a long flight of stairs with every blow. My entire apartment feels as though it could cave in at any moment, so this sound is very alarming to me.

I guess I am annoyed that I already live above the landlords and their Dry Cleaning Shop. I am home during the day and wake up to the whirring of giant machines steaming and pressing clothing mixed with talk radio turned up to a mind boggling volume. Every time they "dry clean" a batch, we have a minor brown out in the apartment. This happens every 20 minutes or so. The exhaust pipe that I am certain only releases noxious, harmful fumes is of course outside my bedroom window. On top of this the heat from all of the machinery, steam machines, and electricity turn my apartment into a sauna. Fine.

I can even deal with the weekly Sunday night drum circle upstairs, and the relentless noise of traffic on 5th Aveue but come on! No warning to tenants that there is going to be demolition outside your door that also happens to limit entering and exiting the building? I don't care if you have a thick, Greek accent and feel like you can't successfully communicate this to me. I think notice is more than fair, goddammit. Other than my roomie, we are a building full of artists and freelancers who need to sleep until 11 or 12pm! A little courtesy for my alternative lifestyle, please! Arghhh.

So, I decided to step out for a bit and work on my laptop but that usually ends in an infuriating scenario.

You see, our apartment also extends part way over a coffee shop which is a haven for Brooklyn 'lifers'. You know the kind---born in the neighborhood and will die in the neigborhood type of Brooklyn person. These are the scariest people on earth. In my immediate location, I get to co-habitate the local cafe with a group of women who are all in their 70's and sit out front and hijack the little patio. They refer to everyone as faggots, and they talk about their golden days in the mafia. Yup, mafia. You're either with them or they vocally plot your death every time you walk in and out of the apartment and don't greet them properly. They're not kidding.

They got mad at the barista one day for no apparent reason and sat at the front table in a semi-circle talking about how they were going to kick her ass. This coffee shop is a long-time staple in the neighborhood, 28 years old as a matter of fact and they were honest to god talking about beating the owner's daughter with a bat because she didn't give them a 4th free refill.

Compared to their 70 plus years in the 'hood', this coffee shop is still the new kid in town, does nothing right, and in their warped opinion is apparently one of the reasons why the neighborhood is 'going down the shitter'. Yeah, they hate that place so much that they camp out and stuff their faces with delicious pastries and cafe au laits all day, every day, hogging the tables. It's actually pretty ridiculous to watch someone grudgingly eat a scone.


( photo of a South Brooklyn local )

So, I of course forgot my headphones and here I am back upstairs since the atmosphere of Pearl Jam skipping on a shitty boom box mixed with 4 hags exchanging recipes for Italian Sausage isn't exactly conducive to writing.

I think I will go take a relaxing stroll somehwere less obnoxious---perhaps Times Square? A wrecking yard? Airport tarmac?

Ahhhhh, New York, how DO you do it?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Individual seeks full time humiliation

Job hunting in NYC. There's nothing like it. After eating a sleeve of Peeps, I spent a portion of Easter Sunday on craigslist with the hope that there would be less competition responding to ads on the holy of all holy days. This is exactly where my life has found itself. It's not a pretty place. My relationship with craigslist is an abusive one and I keep crawlin' back for some more mistreatment.

Don't get me wrong, I located my current roommate and apartment via craigslist rentals and I enjoy them both immensely. I responded to the Writing/Editing post that The Printed Blog put on craigslist and found myself legitimately published a handful of times this year. There is good stuff out there to be had! If you want the sex, you can get the sex---if you want to learn how to play theramin, someone out there on craigslist is offering lessons! There's even free stuff and who doesn't love a dresser missing a drawer!

My main gripe is going after restaurant jobs in NYC. It's outrageous. I currently have one job that is part time and not a terribly realistic amount of income. Actually, it's not cutting it at all so here i am all day responding to stupid posts on craigslist trying to sound peppy but also relaxed in my brief little intro as I then PASTE (note: potential employers HATE attachments and will NOT consider you for work as they so adamantly write in their bullshit ads) my resume into the body of the email, thus encountering all sorts of formatting problems and making my resume look even more embarrassing than it already is.

I've encountered a few obstacles with this job hunt. I refuse to work in Manhattan ever again and I know I am not the only server who feels that way. It makes the Brooklyn competition an absolute show-down. Cue E.L.O.

So I scour the pages looking for jobs in my surrounding neighborhoods which are few and far between, compared to the breakneck speed of turn-over in the city. I have found myself showing up for a restaurant "audition". Yeah. That's what I said. Nope, not an interview. Some of these places have "open calls" where you can make it or break it in the service industry. You would think it was a try-out for American Idol the way people get all decked out, line-up for this crap and try to sell themselves in less than 5 minutes. How do you sum up ten years of grueling, thankless work in the service industry in less than 5 minutes?! Like that I guess. It's a business for clowns.

Other places have you "guest bartend" or "guest serve" which is an absolutely assinine thing to put someone up to if they've never worked with your menu, customers, co-workers, kitchen or staff. I know now that a place like this does not care about the quality of their product if they are unwilling to train someone. But before I knew better, I showed up for one of these "guest jobs" in the West Village.

It's a waitressing nightmare come to fruition. You know the one---nothing is where it should be, you keep forgetting to bring things to the table, you can't read the writing on your own tickets all while the dining room keeps expanding in size and filling up with more people.

I showed up at this little cafe and was literally just thrown into the mix. I wanted to die for 5 hours as I was working with a server who was beyond pissed that she had to work with a "guest server" so she was passive aggressive towards me and when I would ask questions she would just become exasperated and say "I'll just do it." WOW. I certainly learned alot that day but it wasn't at DOMA. May you rot in hell, provider of murky coffee and stank attitudes.

Then there is the situation of the manager who never gets back to you after you've dropped off a resume and they say to "check back--But don't call." Great. So then you have to play the guessing game of "how many times do I casually drop in to chat before crossing the line into full blown stalker territory/ and/or will they even be present since I have no way of knowing because they said not to call."

I felt like I was in the beginning stages of dating someone. "Should I wait 2 or 3 days to see him again? I don't want to seem depserate, but I definitely want him to know I am interested." Clearly I wasn't stalker-ish enough because the job slipped out from under me the day prior and I walked out of there scorned. I sort of glared at the current wait staff who I had fantasized to be my new summer server friends and had made easy conversation with in the prior weeks. They were dead to me now and they averted eye contact.

It's never been a problem to just pick up an extra side gig as a server. But man oh man times are tough right now and I really don't want another one of these jobs as is!

I promised myself that the place I work at currently would be my restaurant swan song. I love it there, it's a great job with good hours, and I intend to have to quit because I finally have gotten some financial stability out of my other endeavors. I don't want to quit because I am sick of it, or because they are sick of me, or because I am 70 years old and still a server and broke my hip while hauling around a bus tub. I want it to be over and done with on adult, positive terms when the time comes. That is my fantasy for saying goodbye to the service industry and I'm being messed with, goddamnit.

But what's worse than not wanting to get a crap job on the side is that I CAN'T get one. I got turned down after an interview at a pressed sandwich cafe! Competition was much too fierce it turns out in the field of serving people dinner that was made on a Panini grill. Now my ego's taking a a beating right along with the bank account.

A Gentleman's Club on the west side called SCORES is hiring. They promise alot of $$$$$$$$ in their craigslist ad. I mean, why have dignity now? Yes, sure, I could at least handle being turned away because I am horribly pale and have been told I look like Debra Winger. But not being hired to serve people 3 dollar side salads and free coke refills because someone is MORE qualified than me to perform this embarrassing job? Well, That's just vulgar, and I have got to draw the line somewhere if I am going to be a self-respecting, and above all, employed individual.

Friday, April 3, 2009


( this is a photo of me suffering through yet ANOTHER shitty Mexican food experience in NYC)

It's time to address this bad joke.

The Mexican food here is disheartening to say the least. I wander the streets longingly peering into windows searching for tacos garnished with lime, cilantro and diced onion. I bow my head and continue to scuffle down the street in the pouring rain. It's been 3 years of this sad, sad life I live after being the self proclaimed Taco Queen of Chicago. I didn't know my legacy would come to such a brutal halt in the city that never sleeps and also apparently is reallllllly mixed up about how to make some palatable verde.

My first experience was at a little shithole called San Loco on NY's lower east side. Oh, my, GOD. I have had better Central American food in AMSTERDAM and that place would put mayonnaise on a shoe and serve it to you because everyone is higher than balls.

I recall walking into San Loco with new friends after living in NYC for about 2 weeks. I was like---"Hey---I love to eat as much Mexican food as possible---do you know a delicious place we could go to?" and soon to be terminated friends were like, "hell yeah---San Loco!"

I knew something was wrong when there was a lanky, greasy haired twenty-something in a super tight, Bad Finger t-shirt taking orders. He was not pleased to serve me and was none too accomodating when I asked if they could make an avocado tostada. I craned my neck to look back into the kitchen and it was staffed with more extras from the film Blow Up. I knew this was going to be sub par, but how sub par, I couldn't have readied myself for.

While we were waiting, we were given a basket of chips and what seemed to be a cough syrup cup filled with pickles and something full of hot vinegar ass nuggets. They may have been trying to pass it off as salsa. I am a salsa fiend. I will mow down a basket of tortilla chips quicker than you can say "dia de los muertos" if there is good salsa involved--the perfect amount of soupiness, onion, cilantro, and heat are all I need to gorge myself silly.

You can usually tell how much of a let down a place is going to be based on the chips and salsa they drop off on the table, or gasp, the lack of free chips and salsa all together.

I was at a place called Blockheads which is a newfangled "mexican restaurant" that's "FUN!" and has high energy and a fast pace and alot of tofu options for VEGANS who want to enjoy themselves too. Uh-uh. No. Their chips and salsa though bottomless, was pretttttty gross. So much so, that I could only bring myself to polish off 2 bowls by myself. It was the kind of salsa that you buy at a gas station----where the choices are either Pace or Tostitos brand which we all know tastes like spicy, chunky ketchup. The chips were overly salted and bordering on stale because of their shelf-life of 3 years.

I went with a plate of rice and beans because the options for tacos, burritos, or platters were so ridiculously overpriced to put anything on them that I just couldn't bring myself to spend 12 dollars on a burrito that was undoubtedly going to be a nightmare.

I hate menus that try and act like they're your peppy, helpful friend and that you're a retard. If you're going to literally write stuff on a menu like, "Allright!You're almost done making a combo platter. Choose 2 more of these shitty toppings for no charge, but if you want any of the typical ingredients that would normally constitute the food item you ordered, you're gonna have to pay out the ass for that!"

Tacos---the way you like 'em! $7.50
Choose your first 2 ingredients for no extra charge: Tortilla or a Plate
For $5 more, add lettuce and tomatoes!
Meat eater? No Problem. Choose boiled Chicken or Beef from a bag for an additional $3!
We've got the cheese! Choose pepperjack or Parmesan for an Italian Taco! $2 each!

That's right, only $17.50 for tacos with alllllllllll the fixins!

It's far less embarrassing to just point at a picture of food.

Blockheads and San Loco makes me so mad that I literally want to throw a brick through their stupid windows.

Almost as mad as the time I was duped into grabbing something to eat from Brooklyn's own Yummy Taco which I refer to as Great Wall Taco or Crummy Taco. Before I could totally process the fact that the person taking my order was Asian American and the whole staff was sitting behind the counter eating lo-mein, I had ordered a guacamole taco and a chorizo taco.

Before I sat down, the tacos were ready. I walked up to the counter to grab my tray with the foil wrapped ticking time bombs and bit into what tasted like Naan or Parata bread stuffed with super fake sausage that you would find on a Stouffer's french bread pizza. I set that down and bit into my "guacamole" taco which was grey-ish in color. I couldn't eat it although I will admit to choking down the chorizo taco. I pretended it was lamb vindaloo. My brain could sort of process that a little more than believing it was a taco. I walked out of there disappointed and per usual, infuriated.

I don't get it. Hipsters and Asian-Americans are running the taco joints making a mockery of Mexican food, Latinos are serving up Middle Eastern food that's totally gross and off the mark and Arab-Americans are running bodegas and selling stale bagels and croissanwiches. I am not mad at these groups in particular, it's just yet another trend of bad food in NYC. Can we be a melting pot in different ways please?

I am just here to say, No more MOCKERIAS!!!!!

As it stands, these are the only places I have had honest to goodness authentic tacos, tostadas, burritos, tortas and sopes:

*The Taco Truck that parks on 14th street and 8th Avenue is fantastic
*Sunset Park---it's a really Southern part of Brooklyn where Spanish is a first language
*5th Ave. and 21st in South Park Slope, there's a little Mexican bakery and in the back they crank out killer tacos and tortas, everything grilled to order.

As for Tex-Mex that's tasty, I love the fish tacos at Snack Dragon on 3rd street and Avenue B in Manhattan, Pacifico on Smith and Pacific in Boerum Hill Brooklyn, and Alma in Red Hook which is more of a fusion, upscale type of retaurant.

Please feel free to post some places you might know of that know how to appropriately garnish a taco with lime, cilantro and onion.
And please feel free to post a warning against a place that is infuriatingly bad.

Until then, good luck out there eating Crunchy Orange Chicken Tacos. Actually, that sounds delicious.....