Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You’re Gonna Make It After All

Rentokil's RADAR Mousetrap Has LASER BEAMS And James Bond SMS Alert Technology

“Like something out of James Bond's Q's laboratory, the high-tech Rodent Activated Detention and Riddance Unit (Radar unit, for us civvies), uses infrared beams and carbon dioxide to catch, and then gas the mice dead within 45 seconds. That's not all though, as when the little critter has floated off to mouse-heaven, a text message is sent to the homeowner's mobile, alerting them to the corpse residing in the unit.”


Monday, October 29, 2007

The New York Times is Too Big

The first weekend after Brooke and I moved into the new apartment, I walked out our front door to smell the crisp suburban air and there on the doorstep in front of me was a blue bag. Inside the blue bag was a copy of the Saturday New York Times (cover price like $50). At first I thought that a subscription to the Times came with all apartments in Park Slope. You know, as an incentive. Like when you order one Power Juicer you get a handy vegetable slicer absolutely free.

When I took it out of the bag though I realized that it actually belonged to the women who lived in the apartment before us. She must have forgotten to transfer her subscription when she moved. For a second I thought perhaps I should notify her. But then I started flipping through the paper and, holy shit, have you ever gotten one of these? There’s like 15 different sections! It’s a veritable cumshot of information. I sat down on the edge of the couch and made a decision right then and there: I would read the entire thing, and I would be smart.

Flash forward to this morning. I am on the subway reading the Arts & Leisure section from October 14th. It’s like trying to read a novel every week, except the novel is full of boring characters and all sorts of things you know nothing about. (What’s all this about Iran? I thought it was spelled “Iraq”?) Still, I feel smarter when reading it. People look at me differently, like I know things – things that happened two weeks ago.

The other problem is the size of the newspaper. It is huge. Like the size of a movie poster. Back before I it turned up on my doorstep like an unloved baby, I used to watch people try to read The Times on the subway. I hated them, what with their flailing arms and impossible creases. So when I became one of those assholes, I vowed to do it differently. I remembered from high school how a teacher once taught us the proper way to read The Times. (This was after he taught us how to drink tea but before he taught us how to cope with a life of bitter loneliness.) He showed us how to fold the paper so that you were always reading a small rectangle of information. He said it was made to work this way. (FACT: It’s not.) But it worked well enough where I wasn’t constantly hitting people in the face just trying to turn the page.

I keep the paper neatly folded in my bag so it is already inconspicuous and undouchbaggy as soon as I take it out. This morning was no different than the others. I get on the train, move in towards the middle and stand holding a bar above my head with a woman sitting down directly in front of me. Like always, I reach into my messenger bag and pull out the paper. As I unfurl it, though, I notice something out of the corner of my eye. It appears to be a feather gently floating down from the paper’s crease. Only it isn’t a feather. It is a large piece of lint. And it lands squarely on the shoulder of the woman sitting in front of me.

I immediately panic. The woman, who is nondescript in every way except that she is not white, not skinny, terrifying and she likely sings in a soul choir though her songs aren’t for me, doesn’t notice. It sits there, perched like a cotton parrot staring back at me, this gross piece of lint – gross on the one hand because what was it doing in there in the first place? It’s a messenger bag, not a dryer. Gross on the other hand because it is like a gross lint hand now gripping this stranger’s shoulder.

This was, in every way, exactly what I was afraid of when I started reading the Times. I am now, with the expelling of one small piece of tufted cotton, THAT guy. The guy that says, "I'LL PUT MY LINT WHEREVER I WANT TO PUT MY LINT. I READ THE NEW YORK TIMES."

I look at the woman sitting next to her. She stares back at me, eyes wide. We both look at the lint, then back at one another. She motions with her face as if to say, “You have to pick it off.”

“No, you,” I shoot back.

“Why would I? You put it there.”

“But I can’t touch her out of nowhere. I’m a guy. She might think I’m trying to rape her.”

“On a crowded subway train? Really? That’s what she’ll think?”

“I heard a story once about a woman who was stabbed in broad daylight on the 6 train.”

“What stop?”

Cypress Avenue, I think.”

“Was she white?”

“Yeah, why?”

“What was a white girl doing on Cypress Avenue?”

“Whoa, that’s a little racist, don’t you think?”

“I’m not the one throwing lint on black people.”

She has me there. But I cannot bring myself to do it. It’s like going up to a girl in a bar – the longer I wait, the more awkward it gets to pick lint off her shoulder. Running through the scenario in my head, there is not one way this plays out that doesn’t end with me dying. (In one scenario, just as I pick off the lint, the whole world blows up.)

Finally, after two long minutes of sweaty tension, wondering if the lint would hold, if the woman would notice, if the other woman would rat me out, we arrive at the Atlantic Avenue station and the lint-woman gets up and exits the train, the furry animal clinging to her shoulder pad. I breathe a sigh of relief, avoiding the gaze of the other woman by returning to my newspaper. There I read an article about http://isawyournanny.blogspot.com, a website devoted to catching nannies in the act of bad care giving. I’m starting to think that being smart isn’t worth it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Day At The Academy of Magical Sciences

Harry Potter: “. . . so then Voldemort comes charging at my on a drago– Oh, hello David.”

David Copperfield: “Hello, Harry. Want to see a new trick I’m working on?”

Harry: “Not right now, David. I’m in the middle of telling a story.”

David: “I’ve got a story that will blow your mind. It’s a story about a disappearing woman, and it goes like this.” (Music starts playing, women start dancing around him.)

David Blaine: “Hey. What’s going on in here?”

Harry: “Dave is showing us his new disappearing woman trick.”

David B.: “Yo, Dave. That stuff’s outdated, man. You need some new material. Here, I’ll show you one. Take off your shoe. I’ll eat it and poop it out whole.”

David: “I’m not letting you eat my shoe, Blaine.”

David B.: “Alright man, whatever you say. But . . . wait a minute. Hold on. Is that your car on top of the flagpole out in the quad?”

Harry: “Haha! Good show, Blaine!”

David: “Oh come on! That is so immature.”

Harry: “It’s alright, David. I’ll get it down for you. Expelliarmus!” (The car falls to the ground.)

David: “Ah shit.”

Harry: “Oh, David! I’m so sorry! It’s just I’ve had a cold lately and my magic is a bit off. I’ll pay for the damages, of course.”

David: “No, it’s not that. I’m the highest grossing magician in history. It’s just that I had a hooker in the trunk.”

Blaine: “Was she dead?”

David: “No.”

Blaine: “Oh.”

Harry: “Probably is now.”

David: “Right.”

Harry: “Shall we go make her disappear?”

David: “That’d be best. Plus I can show you my new routine. I’ve got some great new music. Have you ever heard of this band Evanescence?”

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Sensitive Side

Well I had hoped to have a post up much earlier on today about all these awesome new developments taking place on [redacted]. Then a few things got in the way of that. First, my boss gave me a project to do this morning that included numbers (really? on a Friday?) so I didn’t have time to finish developing all the awesome new . . . developments. But also, they’re not awesome. So I’ve had what you might call some roadblocks.

Luckily I’ve never been one to shy away from adversity unless it involved potentially tiring myself, so I spent the last hour coming up with the two new sidebar features: “Now Reading” and “Now Watching.” And if you can’t guess what kind of stuff I will write about there, then how are you not falling out of your chair right now? I think it will be fun, because I do very, very little with my life besides read, watch TV, eat and . . . well, four things would seem stressful anyway. Also, I plan on adding a “Now Listening To” section shortly, as soon as I can figure out the HTML code for an itty bitty audio player. I tried and it didn’t work. Back to the drawing board.

So this is all you get today. You can check out the new article up at Esquire here, which includes an instructional pooping video that will possibly change your life. I like to think this is how I serve humanity. That, and with Soylent Green.

One final note: I can’t let Brooke’s post go without at least a minimal response. You see, I didn’t buy her a new poster for two reasons:

1. Because I forgot, but 2 is much better I swear.

2. Because where’s the romance in a story about a guy losing a girl’s poster and replacing it? That’s not romance. That’s cold, hard rationale. And everyone knows rationale is the cold bowling ball that cramps one’s weighted loins. Replacement? My heart doesn’t understand the word. What my heart knows is passion, whimsy, danger. Make amends? My love seeks its own justice. And what my love knows (because it prefers wisdom to knowledge any day of the week) is that sometimes a stolen item between two people can be the most unifying of bonds – especially if that item is one’s heart.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

For Dan – with Love and Squalor

This past weekend was Dan’s and mine one-year anniversary. [Ed note: Dan’s and my?] Well, it was the one-year anniversary of the day we met, which is when I count from. Dan counts from the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. But since we’re not 12, I think that’s lame. Besides, the girlfriend question was only posed after a protection mishap, so it was more like, “Don’t worry about herpes, I’m not sleeping with anyone else. Are you?” Regardless, I’m not an anniversary type. No presents required. (But then Saturday I asked if he wanted to exchange presents before or after dinner. After he squirmed -- “Kidding!”)

Anyhow, in honor of this special day, I thought I’d share with you some things I’ve learned about Dan this past year. I know many of his female readers like to romanticize him. And he is, in fact, quite incredible. He’s smart, funny, thoughtful (“Hmm, Brooke, I was thinking you should give me a blow job”), he built me a closet which fits ALL MY SHOES, and he always pays for the emergency contraception. But most importantly, he knows just what to do with his big, black pot. Cook! Yes, he cooks for me. It’s swell.

But it’s not all abortion-avoiding and cookie-eating; on a rare occasion, we fight. And sure, some people would say those brief sojourns from bliss are my fault because I’m the one from the broken home, and I’m the one who ordered those magic pills from Thailand only to discover that they made me really angry. Like a bear. Like an angry bear who had taken speed from Thailand. And while emotional instability may have seemed charming at first, eventually Dan stopped staring at my boobs long enough to discover, “Dude, this chick’s crazy.” But it was too late, he loved me. [Dan’s note: It's easy to overlook her flaws, she fucks like a porn star.]

But last week we had a fight that I could’ve sworn was his fault. And I thought it only fair, as my own brand of anniversary present, if I shared it with you, his readers.

Like all good fights, it began nine months ago and with the best intentions.

The first time Dan was at my apartment, we did that thing where we shared stuff we liked with each other (as opposed to just watching TiVo). He went online and showed me his favorite painting: Chagall’s, “The Birthday.” “That’s my favorite painting, too!,” I cried. And to prove it, I went into my bedroom and walked out carrying a print of that very painting. Oh, great rejoicing, “We’re soul mates!” (No, he didn’t see the painting beforehand. Stop killing the romance.) Anyhow, I had never framed the print because I hadn’t intended on staying in that apartment very long.

And I didn’t. Flash forward to my move (away from Brooklyn) a couple of months later. Excitedly, I tell Dan that I can finally hang our fate poster (I never actually called it that) in my new apartment. And he proceeds to tell me this:

A few weeks earlier he had smuggled the print out of my apartment as part of a truly endearing plan to have it framed for my birthday. (Aww.) Then, on his way home, he FORGOT IT ON THE SUBWAY.

Now anyone that knows Dan knows that he has the same memory retention as Puppy. And sometimes, while running to get a toy, Puppy forgets that he’s playing fetch and sits down and stares at a wall. And just like Puppy, Dan’s forgetfulness is adorable. And while that’s a lie, his forgetfulness is, in the face of all his other wonderful attributes, forgettable.

So after hearing about him losing the poster, I simply laughed. But, my mom had given me the poster, so it did hold a special place in my heart along with the other things my mom has given me: varicose veins, oppressive guilt and an aptitude for math. So I said, “I’d really love if you’d replace it sometime. No biggie.”

Flash forward nine months: We move in together. Needing art for the walls, we browse art.com and come across “The Birthday.” I look over at Dan, and because I’m a girl, I say: “I’m kind of bummed that you never replaced the poster you lost.” Dan pats my head: “Sorry.” Ten minutes pass.

And because I’m a girl, I say: “But, you know, it really sucks that you lost it, and you never replaced it like you said you would.” [Ed note: I am not actually sure he ever said he would replace it, but I was about to declare war, and as the U.S. has shown, there’s no place for truth in war.]

Because he’s a guy: “If it mattered so much, why’d you never hang it the whole time you had it.”
Girl: “That’s not the point, the point is you lost something that mattered to me, and you should have replaced it.”
Guy: “You didn’t even want to hang it [Ed note: False], so why should I have bought it if you were just going to store it in a closet.”
Girl: “Well, why did you say you were sorry you didn’t replace it if you WEREN’T ACTUALLY SORRY!?” [Dan’s note: Good question…]

Door slam. (Now that we have two bedrooms, you can actually storm off and slam a door, as opposed to in Manhattan, where you had to storm off and climb up the loft bed, and then just sit up there where the other person can still see you. Not nearly as effective.)

Five minutes pass. Knock knock.

Girl: “Come in.”
Guy: “If I had known the poster mattered so much, I would have gotten it for you.”
Girl: “It’s not the poster that matters. I just wanted you to make the effort.”
Guy: “I’ll go get the poster tomorrow.”
Girl: “Forget it. I don’t even want the poster.”

Sex.

The End.

Happy anniversary, baby.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Man vs. Beast: Bathroom Edition

Last week I received an informal memo from my office building (I overheard some guys in the hallway) warning me against using one of the two men’s bathrooms on my floor. This was a problem because it’s my preferred bathroom: It is larger, has more stalls and better smelling soap. Basically it’s like going to the bathroom in a Cadillac as opposed to a Kia.

But when I heard WHY I shouldn’t use the bathroom, I quickly conceded. Apparently, there was what you might call a cockroach convention in the bathroom. You see, my office building dates back to 1920 (I just made that up, I don’t even know if that’s possible) and last month huge renovations began to completely restructure much of the building’s lobby, hallways and bathrooms. This must have bothered all the cockroaches who lived there, because they decided to hold this town council in the men’s bathroom (where else would they hold a meeting?) I didn’t peek in like some other guys did because I’m not a raging lunatic, but I imagine that if I did what I would have seen was fifty or so cockroaches milling about with cups of muddy coffee and biscuit cookies from a tin. There would have been a chairman in front of the group trying to quiet everyone down, and it would unequivocally have been the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life.

A little side note: It’s not that I’m that squeamish around insects. I was just like every other kid who played with bugs. But somewhere down the line I reached the age of reason and realized that bugs can kill you. This was confirmed when I was living in my first New York apartment during college and one night while watching TV I saw out of the corner of my eye something dart across the floor. It was so large that for a second I wondered how a cat could have gotten into my apartment, and how the cat could have fit a raccoon in its mouth? Then I nearly fainted when I saw that it was actually a cockroach. I mean, this thing could have beat me up in a standing fist fight. And contrary to what my dad used to say, it was not afraid of me. It was bothered by me, but thankfully too cool to waste its time on me. It left and I didn’t sleep for two days. That experience changed my whole way of thinking about bugs. In fact, you could even say that at that point I underwent a Metamorphosis. (I’m selling that joke to “The New Yorker”!)

So, logically, I avoided the bathroom all week, even though I had seen men walk in and come out alive (yes, I actually waited outside to make sure). It wasn’t until this morning, in fact, that I decided to venture back in. One too many times I had been forced to wait on line for a urinal in the small Kia bathroom. I deserve better than that at work. Well, I probably don’t deserve better, but I’m stubborn and kind of stuck-up, so if it came down to waiting in line to pee or overcoming my own petty fears, I decided I would just go in the janitors sink. But then they started locking that door, so I went with option C and faced my fears.

I opened the door to the bathroom like a police officer entering a crime scene: quietly, stealthily, eyes darting around the room searching for movement. I felt bad for the guy who was coming out of a stall right as I walked in because if I had had a gun, I likely would have shot him, and he knew it.

After a thorough investigation of the entire room, I felt confident that the building management had eradicated the cockroach uprising, or maybe reached a settlement agreement with them and given them their own conference room. Either way, I was relieved. I went into a stall and sat down. (HAHA, POOP! Come on, people, this is serious.)

After about 30 seconds, it happened. (No, not that.) My worst fear. I thought I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. No sooner did I audibly say to myself, “It can’t be . . .” did I see it approaching me. One cockroach. One, big cockroach. At the town council, he would have been the one with the dirty overalls and the ax over his shoulder. He moved slowly and unsurely, as if thinking, “I know that meeting is around here somewhere . . .”

I was paralyzed, not only by fear, but literally I couldn’t get up yet. I wasn’t done. So I tried to calm myself. “We are all part of Nature,” I thought. “There is a order to Nature. I understand that. I have my place; the cockroach has his. And his is Hell.”

To spare my loved ones a considerable amount of embarrassment, I won’t go into detail about what happened next. But basically the cockroach wasn’t moving. And I had to. But I couldn’t let him out of sight (that’s when they kill you). Since I was peeking at him through the bottom of the stall door in front of me, I had to kind of open the door before I stood up so as not to lose sight of him. Let’s just say that if anyone else had walked in the bathroom right then, I would have been caught in the most compromising position of finishing up in a bathroom stall, my gaze locked with a large bug, both of us wary of any sudden movements.

Luckily, no one did come in the bathroom. And the bug, for all his dumb bravado, didn’t make a move. I sidled past him to the sink where I washed my hands, never taking an eye off him. He remained still. In fact, he may have been dead. But he could have been just playing dead. You never know. Bugs are crafty. They haven’t survived for millions of years by being predictable. Which is why, when I left the bathroom and passed someone in the hallway headed to the bathroom, I didn’t warn him about the roach. Nature has its order, and I had survived that order. But it wasn’t for me to take food out of the roach’s mouth. We had a mutual respect.

But now I travel to the bathroom with a small can of Raid wrapped up in a newspaper. Because I won’t let him take away my freedom to pee at will. If I do that, he’s already won.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Leggo My Ego!

You’ll have to excuse me. I’m hungover. [insert disappointment from mother] Brooke and I had a housewarming party last night for her co-workers. Brooke’s office is 95% female, so the gathering consisted of me, Brooke and eight other girls. By the end of the night I knew all about the Fall fashion line-up, how to plan a wedding and whose arch enemies recently had abortions. It was fascinating, but not nearly as fascinating as how much they could drink. They drank like pirates. My pounding headache is impressed.

I had a whole list of things I wanted to get done today, including adding some new things to the site. I figure it’s about time seeing as how it’s been almost a year since I started it and the last time I added anything besides a post was about one year ago. But I’m moving a little slowly with this hangover, so it’ll have to wait. What you can look forward to though is some surprising new sidebar content (so surprising I don’t even know what it is yet), and some new links to other blogs. You’ll notice I already added a link there to my column on Esquire.com, which started a few months ago but I never bothered to mention assuming that the editors of Esquire would have caught their mistake by now. Like, “Wait, who’s Daniel Murphy. You were supposed to hire Paniel Murphy!” But along the way I worked my way into their hearts, one random act of violence at a time. Now I have a weekly column, and if my editor Eric ever wants to see his vintage vinyl collection again, it’ll stay that way.

Now, to balance out some of the self-promotion, here’s some altruistic promotional material. Bloginterviewer.com (the site from this post) got a hold of another blog that I really enjoy called She Just Walks Around With It. I don’t know what the “It” is, but I have to assume it’s something sexual like a vibrator or Chlamydia. Otherwise what’s the big deal that she walks around with it? Anyway, so far Kristy is doing pretty well, leading all voters. But I think she can do better. So go vote for her and let’s make sure she brings it home.

The best part? That they are giving away BIG prizes this month. When I placed second in August after our near miraculous push at the end, I won $25. This month? First prize is A LASER PEN. Not the cheap kind either – the kind that can do serious retinal damage. I can’t think of anything Kristy needs less. So let’s make sure she wins it.

And finally, a little something for the readers.

I’ve already commissioned her to do the score for “[redacted]: The Movie”.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

[redacted]: The Movie

[redacted]

I’m not one to Google myself (not only is my name Google-proof, but I’m hardly eager to learn that my entire internet footprint amounts to this blog, an Amazon review of one of Dr. Seuss’s lesser works and an online petition to legalize cock fighting – I’m not sure I knew what I was signing). But every so often I do like to check in on my blog. It’s important that [redacted] be easily found. Not for me, but for you. Too often the internet is helpful. It hands you the answers to your questions on a silver platter. I like the idea that someone searching for real information will stumble across my blog. And at first they will be frustrated. But then they’ll laugh and show it to their friend and say, “Look at the crap you can find on the internet!” And then I become famous.

But lately, someone has been trying to usurp my fame. A chap by the name of Brian De Palma. Maybe you’ve heard of him: he directed a couple of movies which didn’t turn out too bad. But after hitting a dry spell in his later years, Brian has looked for other ways to regain the notoriety of his youth. Namely by making a movie about my blog. OR SO I THOUGHT.

It turns out Redacted isn’t an unauthorized documentary about my blog. Rather, it is a scathing commentary on U.S. war-mongering in Iraq. Inspired by one of the most heinous war crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq, the movie, which isn’t nearly as funny as this blog, tells a montage of stories centering on rape, torture and the murder of Iraqi civilians.

(Makes a great double feature with The Jane Austen Book Club!)

I mean, it’s one thing to be out Googled by Wikipedia. There’s no stopping the public’s thirst for knowledge about words they don’t know the definition to. But the thing is, before this movie came out, I was the number one search result. Even above Wikipedia. Uneducated people everywhere were Googling the word “redacted” and clicking on my blog thinking, “What a complicated definition!” Then this movie comes out and everyone’s all like, “Oh, a movie about war!” Meanwhile, they think “redacted” refers to some military lingo, like when a tank blows up a building all the soldiers high five each other like, “Redacted!” So then they Wikipedia it and learn that it’s a wimpy English term. Meanwhile, my blog is getting pushed further and further down. ALL I’M TRYING TO DO IS BEING A LITTLE FUCKING JOY TO THE WORLD.

I’ve decided that I have two options. I can either sue Brian De Palma, which seems silly because lawsuits seem to take up a lot of time and I’m already behind on my Fall TV. Or I can make my own movie. It will be called [redacted] (the brackets make it different) and it will be a dark comedy centered around a guy who goes to war (Note to De Palma: How’s that for stealing content?) and in the depths of hell he must raise everyone’s spirit by blogging.

Started as a way for him to relieve the stress of killing (he is a sniper), his blog begins circulating around the military base camps. The soldiers crowd around satellite laptops late at night to read his posts and laugh together. One drunken night, a soldier posts a link to the blog on a jihadist message board, and suddenly the blog is being read all throughout Iraq. Sunnis and Shiites bond over their shared love of the blogger’s witty, self-deprecating humor. The movie will culminate with the blogging soldier sent out onto a mission where he goes missing. No one hears from him for weeks and the world waits in devastated silence for him to post on his blog. As the manhunt for the soldier continues, people everywhere crowd around computers refreshing his blog in the hopes that he has is still alive. Finally, in one of the most triumphant scenes ever captured on film, a group of Iraqis all huddled around a terminal in an internet café refresh his blog, and a new post pops up on the screen:

“[redacted]: The Movie”

DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? It’s like Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind meets Good Morning Vietnam. The movie’s tagline will be: “A blogger saves the world, one post at a time.” It will be semi-autobiographical.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I Can’t Believe I Live In Brooklyn

So far Brooklyn has been everything I had expected it to be. Other than your run-of-the-mill being stressed the fuck out about unpacking all the shit that only a few days ago you were stressed the fuck out about packing up, the neighborhood is charming. There are children everywhere, which doesn’t really bother me. As long as they aren’t mine, and I can shut the door and leave them on the other side of it, then they can do whatever they want. Except it was a bit annoying when I stayed home from work on Tuesday to wait for the cable guy and from about 11:00 to 3:00, all you could hear in the back yard was kids yelling. Apparently, on the other side of the fence in our back yard is the Berkeley Carroll School, otherwise known as The School Where Kids Learn to Scream. It was like the kids were taking a class on how to fight off a child molester. But on the bright side, the entirety of the time they spend at school doing harmful damage to their young vocal chords, I spend at work doing harmful damage to my soul. So that by the time I get home from work and have to drink in the backyard to heal my soul, the kids are long gone, back to their houses where their screams are heard only by their parents, who have to love them no matter what. It all works out for the best.

Also, I have spoken to my neighbors more in the first five days at this apartment than I have collectively for the first nine years I lived in New York. The couple living upstairs from us actually brought us FLOWERS in a VASE with a NOTE that said “WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME.” At first I thought it was a home invasion tactic. Like the vase contained a harmful acid they would throw in my face, and while I writhed on the floor in pain they would steal my laptop. But no, the flowers were as real as the sentiment behind them. I can’t say with confidence that I will wholly adapt to this new neighborly relationship. I am like a pit bull bred for dog fighting. You can’t just start loving me and expect me to curl up on your lap and eat kibble from your hand.

Speaking of, Puppy is enjoying the new home just as much as we are. Because both Brooke and I previously lived in studio apartments, he is a little confused by all the rooms. While we have been running from one end of the apartment to the other carrying boxes, putting things away and setting up furniture, Puppy always seems ten steps behind and constantly surprised to find us in one of the other rooms. He will peek his head in the doorway with a look on his face that says, “How did you get in here?” It’s cute, but also a little worrisome. Let’s just say it’s never good when mommy starts saying things like, “We’re in here, Dumb-dumb!”

Once he is outside, though, he is content as can be. The first day we took him out for a walk he casually walked to the curb and peed on the first tree he saw. Then, as though he hadn’t realized it until just now, he perked up as if to say, “Hold on a second, this is different . . .” What followed was a twenty-minute peeing spree. Trying desperately to mark every inch of his new territory, Puppy walked up and down the block stopping every few feet to go again. The look on his face was one of quiet determination, as though peeing on things was both his burden and his passion, as if to say like some heroic cowboy, “Well someone has to do it so it may as well be me.”

And, in a testament to exactly how friendly and neighborhoody Brooklyn really is, I witnessed this in the subway station earlier this week:

A homeless guy was sitting on a bench in the middle of the platform. He was surrounded by his possessions, including a shopping cart full of bags and a milk-crate on which he casually rested his leg. He wasn’t repulsive – in fact, if cleaned up properly he could pass for a mature Jackie Chan.












So he is sitting there and as people are walking past him, they wave to him. This is, apparently, The Local Homeless Asian. And everybody knows him. He waves back gently as though he were welcoming them into his Chinese restaurant. I sit down at the other end of the bench and watch the parade of commuters walk past like a receiving line. Finally, one middle aged white guy walks up to The Local Homeless Asian and hands him a dollar. This seems to be a routine, because The Local Homeless Asian is unfazed as he accepts it with a sagacious nod. Then the middle aged white guy starts chatting with him. About all sorts of things like the weather (“unseasonably warm!”), his health (“Do you need that leg brace or did you find it somewhere?”) and the items in his cart (“What have you got there, some boxes?”) This goes on for a few minutes to the point where The Local Homeless Asian actually seems bored. He is politely and tersely answering the guy’s questions, then glancing around like he was at a cocktail party looking for someone to save him. In other words, the people are so polite and neighborly here that even the homeless people, who have no one to talk to but their themselves, are tired of the niceties. It’s truly amazing. I love it here, even if the homeless people don’t.