an on-the-ground microenomic demonstration of how the recession affects you

November 12, 2008

The subway ride from Union Square to 42nd St.-Times Square on the yellow line, under normal circumstances, takes anywhere from 5-8 minutes once you’re actually on the train, depending on whether you catch an express or a local. Today it took 25 minutes, because – in unusually candid admissions from the frustrated train conductors, who normally content themselves with generic protests of “being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher” and a promise to “begin moving shortly” – there was a screw-up with the lights switch at Lexington Ave. all the way down, causing untold havoc. A frustrated conductor instructed anyone trying to get as far as Queens to get off right now, take the green line and shuttle, and proceed from there, because it would be inarguably faster. Because I’m a masochist, I stuck it out. I was already late for the movie I was trying to make it to.

And why, exactly, am I trying to attend a movie at 2:55 on a Wednesday afternoon? Well, there’s no work, because I’m not quite in dire straits enough yet to apply for Barnes & Noble, and anyway they have a three-month waiting list and the whole world of fall-back jobs is generally fucked beyond belief.  In the absence of something to actually produce, I wanted to try to do an in-house multiplex double-feature of Lakeview Terrace and W., neither of which seem compelling enough to pay $12 for on their own.

What I got, thanks to the subway, was Role Models. Which was fine (Paul Rudd yay etc.), but then afterwards there just wasn’t enough of a crowd at the Regal E-Walk for me to go up the escalator to W. Boo-hoo. Now, to be fair, I forgot that Wednesday at five aren’t exactly peak crowd times in theaters, but I can’t help wonder if the fine art of the multiplex double is dying (at least in New York, where they’re all vertical; even if you know which theater to go up to by checking the auditorium numbers on the ticket machines, you still have to get there. Those of you in the horizontal suburbs have it easy in my opinion.). I’m going to start Nextflixing this stuff; I hate DVD, because I have an attention-span problem and tiny screens don’t help. But really, if I can’t concentrate hard enough to watch Role Models at home, I’m in trouble.

Here’s hoping I don’t sound too much like Emily Brill.


why I hate Halloween

November 2, 2008

It’s not that I hate fun, or I begrudge people who really and sincerely get a kick out of dressing up. That’s be like traveling back in time and trying to bitch-slap every 19th-century European who enjoyed masked balls. That said, we’ve got problems for the following reasons:

* The idea that (as a friend who invited me to her party said; it was rockin’) people who don’t enjoy dressing up are somehow taking elitism further, disdaining common fun while trying to seem too good for prole amusements. Or like she said, mock-paraphrasing the unheard: “Oh, I’m good too good for life.” Some of us are really just shy and try to avoid being physically conspicuous whenever possible; that Halloween depends on being physically conspicuous (and putting a lot of effort, ingenuity and/or simply money into costuming) can be kind of a deal-breaker. And so what is really just our problem comes off as aloofness, the same way people are pressured into dancing when they don’t want to on the grounds that no one couldn’t enjoy it. Sorry, anything’s possible.

* People are retarded, at least in New York. Last year I saw someone getting arrested for being disorderly at 8:30 a.m.; I don’t even see this on New Year’s or St. Patrick’s. I realize that disguises liberate us from ourselves, allowing our ids to poke out (and, more importantly, that it really is the one night where adult promiscuity is just kind of expected, rather than just kind of indulgently tolerated as on New Year’s) and so on. But people just act like complete louts. E.g.: this year the male bathroom on the third floor of Union Square’s Barnes & Noble was completely overrun with drunken females pissing out beer, tweaking their make-up and complimenting each other on their hotness by 8:45. Not that I really care, but c’mon: if you tried this any other night of the year, you’d probably get arrested.

* These people all troop over to 6th Ave. for the parade, which makes that area and everything surrounding it virtually impossible to traverse. Thank christ I was in Brooklyn.

* Back to point one: not only do people judge you based on your costumage/lack thereof, I find this own pernicious attitude infecting my own brain. So: girl on the platform, with your hair all Sarah Palin and severe glasses, do you always dress like this? Because your boots are Friday-night New York smart and what I expect you wear every Friday. So either your costume is half-assed and you can’t bear to sacrifice your putative hotness, or you always look like this. AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY I’M THINKING ABOUT THIS

* It just comes down to forced cheer. I think the reason a lot of people love Halloween is because it’s one of the only holidays that doesn’t involve family, and I respect that. It’s just the idea that if you don’t love Halloween you’re being a grinch that pisses me off.

(All that said, I still had an OK time.)

subject heading: urgent!

October 2, 2007

I have yet to explain the purpose of this blog, and I’ve been slacking…in the meantime, suffice it to say that I’m a film critic part of the time, and I get e-mail. As follows:
My name is Mathew XXXXXXXXXXX III. I’m an 11th grade student at Ripley High School in Ripley, WV and I’m a big fan of yours. I’ve read your reviews for the most part I agree with you. The nature of your writing appeals to me and as a journalism student myself, I’m constantly trying to express myself with the same kind of professional honesty as you do. I have a great ammount of respect for you and your work as well.
This is why I was severely upset to find that you’re homosexual. As I was doing some research on you for an assignment, I came across a review that you’d written about Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Upon reading this vile excuse for an exposition I was left with no choice but to arrive at the conclusion that you’re interested in sexual contact with members of the same gender.
I’d like to say on behalf of myself and all other nongays that we’re sorry to have lost your support and that we can only hope that one day you’ll decide to stop eating sweet syrups or jams out of other men’s rectums.

Yours Truly, Matt XXXXXXXXXX (tre)
P.S. Fuck you and your family!

Holy fuck.

Protected: the worst class

September 11, 2007

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anti-labor day

September 6, 2007

In lieu of anything interesting happening to me today, a story from my roommate. Some context: I live way out in Bushwick, in an unfashionable neighborhood which is gentrifying quickly – as in, when I moved in 4 months ago, things were semi-nasty. (My second night returning to my apartment, a man walked up to me carrying one of those 2×4’s mounted on wooden axles they use to block traffic. It was slung over his shoulders. “I’m not crazy,” he informed me. “My back is in pain. I’m carrying this as penance for my sins.”) I’m no longer the only white face on the subway every night, and I’ve seen some hipster douchebag with an Andy Warhol bag prancing around – but obv. gentrification is not arriving quickly enough for shy suburban poor kids like me.

Witness: my roommate’s girlfriend (who lives two blocks down) was supposed to have some heating installed. The dude who sort-of manages the building (he’s not the super, but he hangs around, is vague about his status, and sells pot) brought in unpaid Mexican labor to install illegal heating while the super wasn’t there. Trouble was, the super was there, and he had the foresight to inspect the pipes for the heating system. Which, it was discovered, disgruntled Mexican laborers had filled with concrete – had it been installed, the building might have exploded. Lawsuits have ensued.

it’s the first day of the semester

September 4, 2007

And you know what that means. Well, you do if you’re unlucky enough to be around the NYU area:

* freshmen in sweat-pants toting expensive bags, carrying glossy cards inviting them to “party” at “the hottest club in town” and/or NYU paraphernalia advertising extracurriculars

* those assholes who stand on the corner asking “Do you like comedy?” (Soon to be followed by the Children’s International and Greenpeace people). This is all the fault of the freshmen, who are obvious, naive fresh meat.

* desperate socialization. “So, what class are you going to? Oh, that’s cool. Do you want to go to the dining hall later?” Often marked by hordes of 8 or more kids walking together from one place to another, scared of being alone for even a second.

I understand. I was a freshmen myself, not so long ago. But you know what? You’ll learn to dress properly in public one of these days (unless you’re in Stern, in which case you think it’s cool to pop your collar and saunter around in faux-expensive business attire), how to stare down those guilt-tripping sidewalk whores, and none of these people whose company you so desperately want right now will be your friends when you’re a senior. And someday, just like me, you’ll feel guilty about turning a cool area into an obnoxious campus.