Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Your Innapropriate Comment for the Day

Matlock and I spend a decent amount of time worrying that our jokes are inappropriate for the office. Three years with the guys at law school has basically erased any line I ever had. I told Matlock that E thinks some of his jokes are a little "off-color." And Matlock responded that when ladies are not present, he's told jokes in a neon blue shade that have had E in stitches.

I was, of course, jealous. Why should E get to hear all the good jokes? What constitutes "neon blue"?

Today at lunch, overly litigious co-worker McGee said he thought we should sue the woman who hit my car.

McGee: We'll all sue her!
Me: Yeah, that's a great idea. What exactly would you all sue her for?
E: Loss of consortium.


Me: That would be.... gross.
Matlock: That's what I mean by "neon blue," Meg.

Caught on Film

Last Saturday, I went to visit Kate and Bart up at her folks’ house. I consider Kate’s family to be my adopted family. I love my family a lot, but it’s always nice to have another family too. Anyway, after dinner, Kate was in the mood for a Guinness, so we went to our new bar.

A word on our bars of yore. When Kate and I were both of age, we started going to (I’m not proud of this) Friday’s. We had no clue where the good bars were, and Kate really liked their mudslides (milkshakes with booze, she called them). We hated Friday’s. We kept going there, but we complained every single time. The bartenders were completely immune to our feminine wiles, they never remembered who we were and I thought their drinks sucked (I also got into an asinine argument about the Yankees with one of the bartenders once, which I won’t even go into). We started going to the Palisades Mall where Kate discovered the Metropolitan Martini at Legal Seafoods. After a martini, we’d head over to the Loews, and let me say there are very few movies that do not benefit from a martini.

Anyway, following that, there was the dreadful Muggs, and it was all quite by accident that we discovered the Ramapo Valley Brew Pub. RVB had a great selection of beer, all brewed on the premises, and of course, had plenty of Jameson’s for Kate (or Jamie’s as she calls it, because they’re pals). We started going regularly on Monday nights and befriended the two bartenders – Mike and Charlie. Mike was a raging alcoholic who basically let us drink for free and would skip everyone else’s songs on the jukebox for us. Charlie was adorable, dense, and the straight man to Mike. We loved it there.

Then Kate moved down to DC. When she’d come up to visit, we’d head over, but Mike got busted for having about a pound and a half of weed in his car. Oh, and he was drunk driving on top of it. And Charlie quit. So, we gave up. In the spring of this year while heading to Suffern for dinner, my parents and I drove past the RVB and I noticed it was closed. Ma said it had been raided – drug sales and underage drinking. Kate and I sure know how to pick ‘em.

In October during a visit, while waiting for our sushi reservation at the excellent Tawara, we walked across the street to Brady’s at the Station. I never call it that because when I first went there, it was called the Trackside. Anyhoo, Kate likes it because the bartenders are pleasant and they have Guinness. I personally wish they had more of a beer selection on tap, but whatever. It’s no Gaslight Brewery, but beggars can’t be choosers.

While having a Guinness at the Trackside, the typical topics came up, including Kate and Bart’s pitch to have me move down to DC. And at some point, I said, hey, if you had a house big enough for me to live in, then I’d move down there. Kate and Bart were pleased.

Fast forward to Monday morning. Kate’s sent me a video on my e-mail. It goes something like this:

Darkened bar, lots of conversations going on. Look, there’s me!

Me: …a house that I could live in.
Bart: So if we have a house big enough for you, you would live with us and be a lawyer in Washington, DC?
Me: Sure.

I’d forgotten that Kate’s digital camera takes video. D’oh! Nicely done, Kate and Bart. I’ve offered to move in with friends before and be the kitchen gnome… shockingly no one has ever taken me up on the offer. Hey, I thought it was safe to say I’d move in with K and B – what newlyweds want their best friend moving in with them? I guess it’s better than a mother-in-law, but still.

Don’t get me wrong, I think living with Kate and Bart would rule. Of course, I’d rather they came up here, or moved to New York or something. But I don’t think Bart really knows what he’s getting himself into. Sure, I’d cook for everyone, because I like that sort of thing. But after a couple of months, rather than a wacky episode of Scrubs, it would probably be more like an ep of Absolutely Fabulous and Bart might be stuck in the role of Saffie or Eddy’s doddering mother.

On second thought, that sounds like a great time. Sign me up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Love My Co-Workers

First things first, I've decided to rename "D" "Matlock" for the purposes of this blog. Matlock because he's the oldest of the group and because I talk to him the most and referring to him perpetually as a letter is annoying.

Matlock is our out-of-the-office social director. His primary goal is to think of combinations of events that will make it difficult for the ladies, K and myself, to figure out what to wear. He initially wanted us to go to the rifle range and then to see Rent on Broadway. K protested, so now it's just dinner and Rent. Meanwhile, Matlock has decided we're going to the rifle range, followed by a reggae concert in the near future. To facilitate this, Matlock burned a copy of Babylon by Bus for E, our resident Star Wars geek.

Matlock and I had the following conversation during a Dunkin Donuts run:

Matlock: I burned you a copy of Babylon by Bus.
Me: Cool, thanks.
Matlock: I burned one for E too. I asked him if he knew who Marley was.
Me: (laughing in anticipation because I'm sure E doesn't know who he is). What did he say?
Matlock: He said, 'I know who Jacob Marley is.'
Me: What?!?!
Matlock: Yeah. I was like, 'Dickens, E? Come on, I mean Bob Marley.'

I love my co-workers.

Monday, November 28, 2005

When the Katz Away...

On Friday evening, I went in New York to spend some time with dear Phil. As you may recall, Philly left New Jersey several months ago and returned to being a city mouse. This weekend, his lady went home to visit her family while Philly stayed behind in Brooklyn Heights. I was concerned he might go blind from non-stop playing of Grand Theft Auto and proposed an outing.

So, you can imagine that it was a lot like last summer, except instead of me dragging Phil to Jersey gustation landmarks, Phil decided it was time that I experienced Katz’s Deli on Houston. Katz’s, of course, is the scene of Sally’s orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.

What can I say? Phil declares Katz’s to be his favorite in all of New York and that declaration is not without excellent reason. Phil recommended that we split a pastrami sandwich. This from the kid who never wants to share his fries with me, so I figured this must be a sandwich to reckon with. And oh boy, was it. Simply put, it’s ginormous. We split the pastrami on rye with mustard (and I was completely shocked to see people getting a pastrami sandwich with cheese – American cheese(!) – which is about as sacrilegious to me as filet mignon medium well) and we each got fries. By the end of the meal, I was completely stuffed. The pastrami is really incomparable.

Growing up, we were always surrounded by great Italian delis. And whenever a new deli would open, my mom would sigh that she wished there were a Jewish deli in the area. She always said it was one of the things she missed most about living in New York. So keep in mind that my pastrami experiences in life are couched by the fact that I live in Jersey and I completely accept the argument that you don’t know good pastrami till you’ve had it in New York.

So I’ve officially had the best pastrami there is. I highly recommend you check it out. And, if you get bored while sitting there, look around at the photos of all the celebrities with the owner. Wu Tang Clan, Spike Lee, Bjork and Bill Clinton all have their photos on the wall. According to Phil, when President Clinton rolled in, he had a sandwich, a hot dog and an order of fries. The man can eat.

We finished up the night at a Brooklyn Heights bar with not one, but two cask ales on the engine. Since Phil moved back to New York, my social life has changed. I spend a lot more time now with my new co-workers. I still try to see as much of Anhabelle, Gena, Pablo, et al. as I possibly can. I see Liana Banana and Wendy nearly every week. And when I do get to see Phil, it’s usually in the context of a poker game. So I’ll just say that while I try to navigate my little boat on the changing currents of life as gracefully as possible, accepting and embracing change as it comes my way, I am at times struck by how much I miss certain times, people and places. This outing reminded me that I miss Phil, which I already knew, but most especially if there’s a good meal and beer to be had.

An Elephant in a Mirror Factory

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all. As you may or may not be aware, for the last two years, I have been responsible for hosting my family’s Thanskgiving festivities. It’s always a mixed bag – on the one hand, I enjoy cooking and I love my family. On the other, I don’t have a lot of free time or a dishwasher.

Anyway, dinner turned out fine this year, though I’m still adjusting to this new oven which apparently does not run as hot as the old one. And I have totally learned my lesson about not taking short cuts with the pie crust – I solemnly swear I will not cheat and use frozen pie crust again. The results were disastrous. Also disastrous? My sister and brother-in-law’s disciplinary skills when it comes to my nephew.

As for the title, well, the little Buddhist in me is always pondering such mysteries as karma. And now that I have gotten to know my co-worker, D, better, I think about such things even more because D is an actual Buddhist. Anyway, Thursday, though fun in certain respects, was really quite stressful and busy. If you can possibly find a friend or family member to mooch off of instead of hosting the holiday yourself, I highly recommend it. Following dinner, I drove my parents over to the hotel where they were staying. On my drive home, about three blocks from my house, a woman ran a red light as I was driving through an intersection and hit my car. Poor car. Poor me.

As I sat in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot waiting for the cop to take my statement, I thought about the good I had done all day and wondered what on earth I could have done to deserve such karmic retribution. I couldn’t think of anything. I must have done something really shitty in a past life. I must have been an elephant in a mirror factory.

Long story short, I went home later and cried at the end of Finding Nemo because I always cry over substitute stuff instead of the stuff I’m really upset about. Then I had to wash all the dishes. As I told Chuck the next day, it’s going to be hard to top this Thanksgiving as the worst Thanksgiving ever.

The good news is, no one was hurt in the accident, and the car is just a thing which can be fixed. Of course, I then caught a cold this weekend. I’m really on a karmic roll. You might want to stay away from me. On the other hand, I’ve been blessed with great parking spots lately, so I’ve got that going for me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Lady Doesn’t Wander All Over the Room

Sorry for the lack of postings. I had to work this weekend. Boo! Booooo! But in summary, I went out with co-workers, D and K on Friday night in the cit-ay. It was good times. Since this is not an “anonymous” blog, I do need to beware of how I refer to work and the people I work with. So, co-workers will get just an initial.

Anyway, Friday night, late night. Saturday, Philly’s birthday party. Let me just say that parking in Brooklyn Heights is heinous.

And Sunday night? Rome, naturally. It was fan-fucking-tastic. Seriously, best episode yet. With eps like that, the show is going to give Deadwood a run for its money in the “Megs’ favorite HBO show” department. My favorite line was when Vorenus runs into his old friend from the wars at Pullo’s trial and he has to talk the guy out of rescuing Pullo for political reasons. The friend says: “’Politically?’ I fuck ‘politically’ and its fat ass.”

Anyway, the title of this post comes from the lyrics of "Luck Be A Lady." I must go to Atlantic City tomorrow night for “networking” shit. So despite the fact that “a lady doesn’t wander all over the room” according to Sky Masterson, I will be doing just that, shaking the hands of old men. Oh, who am I kidding? I was never a lady. I’m less than thrilled, though co-worker E and I decided to play some blackjack when the hob-nobbing is over. So at least I’ve got that going for me.

I hope to have an AC update by week’s end.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Who Knew A.O. Scott was a rap fan?

The Times’ A.O. Scott reviews 50 Cent’s new movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, which I incidentally have no interest in seeing, and actually shows some knowledge about rap music. I completely agree with this assessment: “As a rapper, 50 Cent has been an overachiever, selling boatloads of records in spite of his pedestrian skills. Lacking the verbal wit of a Jay-Z, the storytelling ability of a Biggie Smalls or the engaging personality of a Kanye West, he has gotten over through doggedness and a certain truculent charisma.”

I admit I enjoy “In Da Club” but I think that is the extent of 50’s talent. A.O. says the movie is okay, mostly because of the supporting cast and director Jim Sheridan, but that 50's acting abilities are, not surprisingly, as lacking as his rap skills.

The Most Sensuous of the Cured Meats

Like George Costanza, I too love a good pastrami sandwich. In law school, we used to refer to the deli on Academy as “the good sandwich place.” Occasionally, the good sandwich place would have a hot corned beef and pastrami sandwich and it was truly worth the walk.

Anyway, the Times has a good article about how tasty cured meats are. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Mole vs. Jet-Pack Boy

Anyone who watched Arrested Development last night will know what the title is about. To welcome back Arrested from it’s seemingly endless hiatus during post-season baseball, the lame-o’s at Fox put on two new episodes, and they may go down as two of the best in the sitcom. Seriously, this show just keeps getting funnier. It really is the funniest show on TV right now. Yes, funnier than Curb Your Enthusiasm. With Curb, I laugh later, while I screw up my face in embarrassment during the episode. But Arrested? I nearly peed myself.

The phone rang at 8:57 and it was Liana.

Liana: Are you watching?
Me: Yes. I nearly peed myself, I was laughing so hard by the end.
Liana: I was guffawing so loud, I thought I was probably annoying the neighbors, but I couldn’t stop myself.

We continued repeating funnier moments and giggling until Liana said, “Gotta go. Prison Break’s on.” Bless her heart.

Soooo, this leads me to my READER SURVEY! As you may recall, I used to review Deadwood when I started the blog. When Deadwood starts up again sometime next year, I’ll do that again. But in the meantime, I thought I’d have a weekly show that I review. The question is – what show? Any suggestions? Rome is probably out since there are only two episodes left. But, I do watch a wide variety of TV, so respond with your vote.

Man, that shit’s impossible

I caught the last half hour of a personal favorite last night - Riding Giants. If I haven’t sung the praises of this documentary on the blog or to you personally before, consider yourself on notice. Riding Giants chronicles the history of big wave surfing by profiling three individual surfers – Greg Noll, who brought about a renaissance for surfing in the 1950s, Jeff Clark, who discovered the treacherous Mavericks in California, and Laird Hamilton, the greatest surfer of today, and possibly all time.

Philly snarkily suggested that I have a crush on Laird Hamilton, but it’s really Greg Noll who captured my heart. The foul-mouthed surfer dude had a certain Vince Vaughn air back in the day. And he’s still foul-mouthed today, though quite a bit older. When he sees a magazine cover of Laird surfing a ridiculous wave in Tahiti, Greg says, “Man, that shit’s impossible.” It’s a funny moment. Though I must say, that Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reese make a very beautiful couple and their children are probably imbued with ridiculous athletic talent and good looks. Mia and Nomar, Stephie and Andre’s kids got nothing on the Reese-Hamiltons in the looks department.

Anyway, I highly recommend.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I think Delta Burke would be pleased

Saturday was Roxey’s birthday (or for you 50 Cent fans, birfday) and after watching a bunch of Arrested Development episodes and taking a nice nap, I got all dolled up and went to fetch Rox and her best friend Adonna. We headed down to New Brunswick for dinner at Delta’s, which is located by the swanky new townhouse development. For those of you familiar with New Brunswick eateries, it’s right by Frog & the Peach (très overrated in my opinion).

Delta’s opened in 2000, and so it was after Rox’s and my time in the Bruns. Neither of us had been there before, but Adonna had been there several times and had recommendations. And before I go onto the menu, as an aside let me say that I was on. On! I’m not a typically funny person, but every once in a while, say two or three times a year, I will have an evening where I am on comedic fire. It’s never when I would want it to be and there’s no predicting it. On New Year’s Eve last year on the Circle Line to Hell with Wendy and her friends, I was unstoppable. One of Wendy’s friends said to her after the Death Trap Raft Trip, “I didn’t remember Megan being so funny.” That’s because I’m usually not.

Anyway, we arrived at Delta’s a few minutes late for our reservation, so we sat at the bar and had some drinks, while we waited for the rest of our party to show, and then for our table. Delta’s has a very nice long bar and a live band playing jazz – but not so loud that you couldn’t have a conversation. I had a Mango Tango Martini, which was quite good. Others in the group had pineapple mojitos, which were a big hit, and sour apple martinis, which were also quite good.

After punishing us for being late, the hostess finally seated us. The service in general was just okay. But the food more than made up for it. Delta’s is basically a fancy pants southern soul food restaurant. And while I would not say that Delta’s babyback ribs are as good as Indigo Smoke’s (because, while they were good, they couldn’t hold a candle to Indigo) I will say that the food was generally fantastic.

The fried chicken was excellent, though not as good as my dad’s. Seriously, though, no one can beat my dad’s fried chicken. The macaroni and cheese? Un.Believable. Seriously, in a class by itself. Better than Indigo Smoke’s. I didn’t have any candied yams, but Roxey raved. And the collard greens eaters at the table had similar kind words. And last but not least, the buttermilk biscuits. Truly great – crispy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. I’ll be dreaming about those biscuits. And unlike Indigo, which charges you for the sides, every meal came with two sides included.

Complaints – I really wished the mashed potatoes had come with gravy. And I wished I had room to try the red velvet cake, but the servings were enormous and I pretty much wanted to die by the end of the meal. The overall price was reasonable – there were 7 of us, and including our share of the birthday girl’s meal, it came to $35 a person. And remember – we were all having drinkie-poos.

Adonna raved about the oxtail, which she had on previous occasion. While she liked the smothered pork chops she had on Saturday, we both wished we’d had the oxtail. Oxtail is tough to find, and I definitely plan on having that on my return trip to Delta’s.

I really think it’s hard to beat New Brunswick on the drink and restaurant front. I wish it were closer.

You Will

“Jan Schakowsky told me about a recent visit she had made to the White House with a congressional delegation. On her way out, she said, President Bush noticed her “obama” button. “He jumped back, almost literally,” she said. “And I knew what he was thinking. So I reassured him it was Obama, with a ‘b.’ And I explained who he was. The President said, ‘Well, I don’t know him.’ So I just said, ‘You will.’ ”

--William Finnegan, The New Yorker

The one and only Barack Obama was in New Jersey this weekend stumping for Jon Corzine. Roxey and I agreed that if Barack runs for president in 2008, we’re quitting out jobs and joining his campaign.

In other news, Roxey said she’d “bet money” that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will run for president in 2008, after seeing her speak at Rosa Parks’ funeral. All I have to say is that the dems have some pretty great people out there and if the best they can do is Hillary Clinton, who will never win, then shame on them.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

And then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.

Tonight is poker night, and I have to go sit in traffic to make it there on time, so this will have to be short.

I’ve gone and gotten sick. This is not surprising, given the frequency of illness in my office and my germ monkeys, I mean, nephews. I was worried this morning that taking DayQuil would make me all fuzzy-headed and that my work would suffer. But a few weeks ago, Kate quoted a letter she had read in an advice column about some girl who was bored of her corporate drone job and was thinking about going to law school. A reader wrote in with the following: “Please tell that girl not to go to law school. I am a lawyer. The law is simultaneously the most mind-numbing and stressful job you can have.” Too true, too true.

Anyway, being fuzzy-headed did not impede my ability to do my job. Actually it was good I was addled, because I didn’t have time to think about being bored. So there you have it.

Unfortunately, I doubt the DayQuil will be helpful in poker. I’ll just have to hope the guys get a head start on the beer.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Girl’s Heart

It has just occurred to me today that I am no longer in the sort of job where my blogging propensities can be made public to my co-workers. But since so many of my ideas come from co-workers, and context may at times be necessary, I shall have to find more creative ways of reference. It will have to be enough to say that I lunch with several co-workers every day. Frequently we talk about work, but occasionally we talk about fluffier stuff – TV, movies, and the not-so-fluffy President.

The other day, one of the female co-workers, we’ll call her Martha (because she’s a good baker), was sharing a story about a guy that she “met” at a bar. And by “met” I mean saw across the bar and thought was attractive.

Martha is a good girl. Absolutely no question. One day at lunch, though, we discovered that we shared the same affinity for Wentworth Miller of Prison Break. And I subsequently learned that Martha also liked tattoos. Regardless, plenty of good girls find tattoos attractive. Annyyway, back to the guy at the bar. The guy at the bar actually works at this bar. And he apparently exudes an aura of someone who has, oh, I don’t know, been behind bars. And when I say “behind bars” I’m not being tongue-in-cheek, punny, I mean spent some time in prison. That is when I learned that Martha is actually attracted to bad boys.

“Every girl loves a bad boy!” Marth attempted to defend herself when I professed my surprise. “Come on, don’t you?” Well, there are bad boys and then there are baaaad boys. Martha admitted that a little law breaking goes a long way. “No Class A felonies, though,” she insisted.

I, generally, don’t love a bad boy. They’ve never done anything for me. Messed up guys? Sure. I, like many girls, have been drawn to the idea of “saving” someone, though the luster is pretty much gone from that (“saving” usually leads to “taking care of” and I have enough problems taking care of myself). But felonies? Not so much.

So color me surprised when I found myself oddly attracted, not simply to Wentworth Miller, but to his mildly sociopathic character on Prison Break. Background: Prison Break revolves around Michael Scofield (played by my new boyfriend, Wentworth) who is a structural engineer. Michael’s brother, a two-bit crook, gets arrested and convicted of murdering the Vice President’s brother. He’s sent to death row. Michael comes to believe that his brother is innocent, gets himself arrested and sent to prison in order to break his brother out. I know the premise is dopey, but seriously, the show is riveting.

Michael has this sort of damn-the-consequences, I-don’t-care-who-gets-in-my-way attitude that I find, well, very likeable. As Entertainment Weekly described him, “His Michael Scofield has the silky voice of a sociopath, the resigned stance of a long-distance runner, and the deadpan delivery of Macaulay Culkin at his Uncle Buckbest.” Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

But why? Why a bad boy? What’s the allure? I suppose a part of it is, as Martha stated, the recklessness and dangerousness. But a big chunk of it for me is the idea that underneath all that, there is goodness and heart. Of course, in the real world, that’s not true. Underneath the bad boy exterior is more…. bad boy. Maybe you’ll find some of the pathos to explain the bad boy, and that is always interesting, but there’s no way of changing it. A good girl’s fatal flaw is her belief that she can heal the bad boy. But she can’t.

So now that I find myself attracted to someone as messed up as a Michael Scofield, I must once again purge myself of such dysfunctional radar readings. And in the meantime, I can continue to love Michael Scofield, because thankfully, he’s fictional.