Amber Alert

A friend of mine sent this in, so I thought I’d share. We go way back, but haven’t seen each other for years.

Anyway, it’s a dream she had. It’s fantastic. I’m going to paste it unedited:

So…I had a crazy dream about you, and I thought I would share.
We were in NY and you were trying to sell whales on the black market, and you were transporting them through flooded abandoned subway tunnels that ran under the real subways. I wanted in on the deal, but you weren’t letting me, so I kept breaking in to these seeding hotel rooms that resembled a gym locker room and rummaging through your clothing. At one point I caught up to you and the whales and I could see them through the grate in the ground and then you pointed a gun in my face and I told you you couldn’t shot me because it was my friends birthday and I had to jump out of a cake, and that they won’t pay me if I have a bullet wound. Then you took me in to another locker room type place and you and 3 other guys were playing poker and I was trying to dig through your locker while you fought with a guy about cards and you had all this whale camo…and I don’t know why it made it whale camo, but it obviously was something normal to have.
Then you got pissed that I was digging in your locker and you took me out in the tunnels (because these locker rooms were all next to the tunnels) and you were going to throw me in until flashlights and voices began chasing us. So you pulled out this pitch pipe that you would play to make the whales follow you through the tunnels and we just started running forever and voices got closer as we changed tunnels and bullets kept whizzing by and you kept shooting back, and then the tunnel ended and we had to either jump in to the hole where the whales were or get shot, so we jumped, and it was forever until we hit the water….

Woke up sweating and I mean like completely soaked.
Watch your back…the whale police are on to you…

Wow. Anyone?

The reader with the best interpretation of Amber’s dream will win a prize. If you live in NYC, I will meet you after work and buy you a drink at a location of my choosing. If you reside elsewhere, I will send you a sheet of McDonald’s or Dominoe’s coupons via the US Mail, with a hand written envelope and a stamp that I actually licked.

I don’t know which one is worse.

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Giraffes Are Gangsta!

From the “Things You Didn’t Know” department:
Sometimes, Giraffes fight. Each other.

Giraffe fight!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7HCIGFdBt8

And you didn’t believe me. Tsk, tsk.

"Ice-T" & Me? We have an understanding.

Several years ago I was sharing a shoebox two-bedroom apartment with three friends on the upper-west-side of Manhattan. Two roommates had to sleep on an air mattress in the living room. They were allowed cheaper rent as they were responsible for moving furniture and inflating and deflating their mattress every night and morning. The apartment was right behind Lincoln Center at 63rd & West End Ave., NYC.

There is an ultra-luxury building right across the street from the far-less-than-luxury building I was living in at the time. The property across the street had huge windows that were always freshly Windex’ed. The people that came in and out of the building were always dressed impeccably, like senior level HR women, or investment bankers, or high priced prostitutes. There were always taxi cabs waiting outside of the building. The drivers knew that these people were loaded.

I know all this because I love to skateboard. The luxury building across the street had these amazing curbs with angle iron attached to them. For those of you that don’t speak “skateboard”, just believe me when I say that it was awesome.

On the weekends during spring and summer, I loved nothing more than to skateboard on the curbs of the luxury building across the street. The best parts of the curbs were right by the exit of the building’s parking garage. As such, I would often have to stop, pick up my skateboard and step aside as the garage door would raise and a resident would pull their car out of the garage.

There was one Saturday when I was skateboarding early in the afternoon and I heard the ‘click’ that I had come to know as the sound of the garage door beginning to open. I picked up my skateboard and stepped aside.

The garage door slowly rose to reveal a cherry red Ferrari, its engine purring in idle. I dreweled for a hot minute and then wanted the car to move so I could Skate-or-Die.

The car just sat there so I looked through the windshield to the driver’s side.

It was Ice-T.

Ice-Fucking-T.

Cop Killa.

He had his left hand on the wheel, and his right hand between the legs of a ho (literally a ho in every sense of the word, you’ll just have to trust me) that was sitting in the passenger seat. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. As he idled his Ferrari in the driveway of the garage, he seemed much more focused on his right hand than his left.

Ice looked up and seemed startled when he realized that the garage door was already open. His eyes immediately fixed on me standing there with my skateboard. I did the stoic-chin-raising-head-tilting-back gesture while I looked at him with my eyeballs as if to say, “I didn’t see nothin’ man. I can keep shit on the DL, for realz.” Ice nodded at me with stern eyes and he drove away with his ho.

I took a deep breath.

I spent the next hour nervously shifting my eyes in preparation for men in black ski masks carrying silenced oozies to come and silence me. They never came. I continued to skateboard.

Over the next year this became a regular occurrence. The only difference was that Ice had a new ho and a new car every week.

I think this is what they call “The American Dream.” A new ho and a new car every week.

So basically, here’s how I figure:

Ice-T is cool with me skateboarding on his curb as long as I’m willing to keep my mouth shut about his hoes and his cars.

Well, Mr. Ice:

I don’t live across the street from you anymore and I’m busting the lid off of this story. I’m not scared of your silenced-oozie-toting ski-mask-wearing goons anymore because I live in Washington Heights now and I just downloaded a freeware security suite for my computer so there’s no way you can find me. Not even on my myspace account.

Take that, Cop Killa!

Adventure: North Brother Island

I have a new adventure planned.

I am going to sail my ass on a makeshift raft to North Brother Island.

What is North Brother Island? Good question.

I was playing around with Google Earth and was checking out Riker’s Island Penitentiary in detail. You can see the recreation yards and guard towers and all kinds of cool shit. In my mind I always pictured Riker’s to be one massive fortress. This is not the case. It’s a huge multi-facility compound. I didn’t know that.

Anyway, as I swung my aerial view back towards the city I came across a full blown island that I had never heard of. North Brother Island.

North Brother Island is between Riker’s Island and The Bronx sitting in the East River, NYC. It’s a thirteen acre island in the middle of the East River, and lots of New Yorkers don’t even know it exists. There is a reason for that.

North Brother Island is abandoned and off-limits to the public. As such, one might imagine that it has a fascinating history. One would be right. From around 1880 until 1960 the island was home to several hospitals which warranted the quarantining of its patients. Epidemic diseases, mental patients, drug addicts. In 1960 the island was home to what was supposed to be a cutting edge treatment facility for teenage drug addicts. However, widespread staff corruption caused withdrawal of funding and the program closed, as did the island. Aside from the occasional Riker’s Island escapee who uses the island as a temporary haven after a long swim, North Brother Island has been completely abandoned ever since.

I am going to fucking go there.

I’ve done a little research(see: I’ve become completely obsessed) and apparently there are all kinds of cool remnants lying around the ruins of the hospital units. Beds, old medical instruments, solitary cells, padded rooms, all kinds of awesome shit.

I am so fucking jazzed about this.

Rafts will be built. Intel will be gathered. Risks will be taken.

Being that this adventure is absurdly dangerous, I will be recruiting a few more adventurers to come along. The usual adventure crew will be invited–Warren, Sam & Mat. I also invited Tynan of BetterThanYourBoyfriend to jet out from Austin if he’s interested, as I appreciate his taste for adventure.

It’s getting cold, so this may have to wait until spring. We’ll see.

Other interesting things about North Brother Island:

  • A major nautical disaster occured in the East River in 1904 when a ship of daytrippers burned. Over 1,000 of the 1,300 passengers on board were killed. Their bodies washed up on the shore of North Brother Island, as did the ship. Photos and accounts of this are easily accessible with a google search.
  • “Typhoid Mary” spent her last years quarantined in a private cottage on North Brother Island.
  • Since it’s abandonment over 45 years ago, the island and ruins are overgrown with vegetation/vines/ivy and it has become a sanctuary for rare birds.
I am going to North Brother Island.
Fuck, I just might spend the night.


Seriously, how nuts would it be to spend the night in “Typhoid Mary’s” old private cottage?

Four Brothers

Ok, here’s another “we’re wasted and leaving the bar at 4am story.”

(the crowd cheers)

Three friends and I closed down the Raccoon Lodge on the upper west side last summer, and as usual we were twelve sheets to the wind.

It was myself, a friend named Trevor (tattoo artist), a guy named Jason (pasty/dessert chef at Serendipity) and Mat. You may remember Mat from the swimming the lake in Central Park story. He was the tough guy in the bikini briefs.

We’re weaving down the sidewalk going home when Mat starts with his usual tough guy thing. He starts telling us about the time he was in on a remote Indian reservation hunting coyotes with his bare hands when he ran into a buffalo stampede. He says he puffed out his chest and stood fast like a brick wall while hundreds of buffalo traveling at full speed bounced off him like rubber balls. Then a tribe of wild Indians in full attack mode came galloping in on horses and swinging hatchets and shooting arrows. Mat wiped out the whole tribe with nothing more than a cold stare. The Indian chief was spared and recognized Mat’s warrior instinct. The chief took Mat to the top of a sacred mesa and performed a secret ritual that inducted Mat into the tribe as a true blood warrior.

Well, not really, but you get the point.

In the middle of the story Mat stops himself, turns to Trevor and I and says,

“Hey, I bet I could take both of you at the same time in a wrestling match.”

Trevor and I share a glance. We both look back at Mat.

“You’re on. Twenty bucks a man.”, I reply.

Considering how you look at it, this is probably a bad bet for me and Trevor. If Mat wins, he’ll win forty bucks, twenty from me and twenty from Trevor. If Trevor and I win, we’ll only receive ten bucks each as we would split Mat’s twenty. Whether or not this is a good or bad bet depends on how you calculate the odds that either party will win.

For it to be a good bet, I have to be certain that Trevor and I are at least twice as likely to beat Mat as he is to beat us. Do the math.

I could get into more details about the odds, but I’ll spare you.

So we find a side street that doesn’t have a lot of traffic and we discuss the rules.

Very simple, if we can pin Mat’s shoulders for three seconds, we win. If Mat can pin either one of us for three seconds, he wins. Period.

We assign Jason, who’s looking a little green in the face, to be the referee. Jason sits down on the curb and leans back against the fire hydrant.

Mat, Trevor and I all walk out into the middle of the street.

In case I haven’t mentioned this, Mat is huge. Like, 6’4”, 220 pounds, and athletic.

Trevor and I are about the same size, 5’11”, 145 pounds.

This is not going to be easy, to say the absolute least.

Mat takes his shirt off and starts pumping himself up.

Trevor and I look at each other with an eyebrow-raising head-tilting “here goes nothin’” kind of look.

Jason, our referee mumbles “Go.”

Trevor and I start circling Mat. Mat has his arms straight out to the sides turning around slowly as we circle, trying to keep us both in sight.

I shoot in and wrap up Mat’s legs and yell at Trevor to push him over from the top. Mat kicked me off like a small dog trying to hump his leg.

Ah crap, this is gonna suck.

A few more attempts at the same strategy and Trevor and I get our timing perfect and get Mat down on the street.

Trevor and I both jump on top of Mat and try to get him pinned.

Ain’t happenin’.

We were all rolling around in the middle of the street like one of those dust balls from the cartoons. You know, where an arm or leg can occasionally be seen emerging. We are all getting very tired.

Finally, I think I have Mat pinned and I yell for Jason to start the three-count.

I look down and I definitely have Mat pinned. The problem is that Mat has Trevor pinned at the same time.

We all struggle for a couple more minutes, but it’s not doing any good.

We agree to call a truce and let it go to a judge’s decision.

We slowly get to our feet while examining our bloody knees and elbows and foreheads and god knows what else. Mat’s shoulder blades looked like he’d been dragged by a car. I proudly take credit for that.

We take a moment to catch our breath.

Almost simultaneously we all look over to Jason to ask him who won.

Sure enough, Jason is passed out cold leaning up against the fire hydrant with his mouth hanging open and his eyes rolled back in his head.

Needless to say, as the three combatants, we were fairly pissed about this.

We made a deal and came to a reasonable agreement. We decided to call it a tie.

As such, Mat gave us each half of what he owed, and we each gave Mat half of what we owed. In the end, Mat was ten bucks richer. Funny thing is that ten bucks wasn’t going to come close to what he was going to have to spend to fix himself up.

Trevor and I didn’t look too pretty either. I had to wear long sleeves to work for a week in the middle of summer to cover my cuts and bruises.

Anyway, we slapped Jason in the face until he woke up and limped and hobbled home.

Wanna hang out with my friends and me this weekend?

*Aside: A rarity for me, I got through this whole post withough cursing once.

Long Way Down

I do pretty stupid shit on a regular basis.

However…

My buddy Tynan of BetterThanYourBoyfriend.com put me to shame last weekend.

He installed a swing on the balcony of his high rise apartment. It swings out over the edge and drops down 200 feet. You guys have to see this. Pictures and all.

FYI, Tynan also designed the graphic and layout for this site.

If anyones needs a web page designed or a swing installed, you know who to call.

Another New York Moment

A few friends of mine and I shut down our local bar around 4AM on a Friday night last October. As tradition dictated, we walked a few blocks over to Central Park to find our favorite spot to cause trouble. The rocks by the lake always paid dividends in this respect. It’s somewhere in the area of 72nd St. on the west side of the park.

The path we usually take to get to our spot leads to a rock cliff with about a nine foot drop to a sand bar below. One has the option of jumping down to the level below or walking around and down to get to our little spot. Since I’m a really smart guy, I know that the shortest distance between two places is a straight line. I’m in for the jump. I turn to my friend Sam, who will rarely back down from a challenge, and say,

“Hey, if you do it, I’ll do it,” and I motioned towards the cliff. Sam must have known immediately from the look in my eye what I was going to say because before I could finish an eight word sentence, literally, Sam had hurled himself off the cliff without even looking over the edge first. Wow, balls.

Okay. I had jumped off this particular cliff a few times, and I know it’s something you have to prepare for. It’s dark, it’s a long way down and there is all kinds of nasty debris on the landing.

Sam is a reasonably fit guy, able bodied and strong willed. Even so, I was pretty sure that anyone who did what Sam just did would more than likely not be okay. They would be hurt. My notion was supported by the grunting and moaning coming from the bottom of the cliff.

I crouched on the edge of the cliff, found where I wanted to land and took flight. I landed a few feet away from Sam just as he was getting to his feet. He actually seemed to be okay with only a couple complaints about an aching foot. Good for Sam. Sam is man.

Sam and I got to our spot on the rocks by the lake before the other three guys did. Pat, Warren and Matt showed up a couple minutes later because they took the dress shoe route, around and down.

At our spot we all sat or stood on rocks, talking about whatever, when Warren turns to Mat and says,

“Mat, I’ll pay you $100 to swim across this lake right now. All the way across.”

Mat’s eyes got really big and he immediately starting taking his clothes off and got down to his bikini briefs. This is particularly funny because Mat is a really big tough guy. He’s got be at least 6’4”, 220 pounds, and not fat. Yep, big scary guy standing at the edge of the lake in Central Park at four in the morning wearing bikini briefs. This may not be as uncommon as I thought, as later in life I heard that this is a very popular “cruising spot”. I don’t wanna know.

I’m sure Mat’s enthusiasm in regards to the proposition had a lot to do with the fact that he was newly unemployed. In addition, he had managed to completely botch his state unemployment claim and now receives a total of $38/week income. By comparison, it would be like someone offering me around $3,000 to swim the lake. I don’t blame him for being excited. (See: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity)

Remember, this is October in New York City. It was about 43 degrees fahrenheit outside. Warren argued it was in the low-50’s, at least.

Mat took a couple deep breaths. Even though he doesn’t believe in god Matt said a quick prayer where I overheard something about dirty needles in his feet. I don’t know.

Mat literally set one foot in the water, spun right around and said there was no way in hell he was going to do it. It was way too cold. Of course everyone started goading him but he wouldn’t budge. He said it was just too cold.

At that point I immediately offered to take the bet myself. Warren, who had originally offered the bet looked at me and said,

“No. I know you’ll do it. That’s not the point.”

I had a feeling that’s what he would say. But everybody in attendance was already worked up and wanted to see someone swim the lake.

Warren’s a very bright guy and proceeded to make everyone the following offer:

Warren, Pat, Mat & Sam would each pay me $25 to swim the lake. Someone would have to cover Matt’s portion as we already know he’s broke.

Warren has a gift for working a great deal for himself in any situation. He was ready to bet Mat $100 out of his pocket to swim the lake, and all the other guys would have gotten to enjoy the spectacle on Warren’s dime. Now Warren has worked a new deal to make everyone else pay to bet someone whom they already know will swim the lake. Nice work.

Of course, I take the deal. I strip down to my boxers and approach the water. The film on the top of the water containing algae and god know what else made it impossible to see the bottom. Great. I don’t believe in god either but I think I said the same prayer Mat did. I added broken glass to the prayer.

Mat was right. It was really cold, but probably manageable. I mean, we’re not talking about immmediate hypothermia or anything. I waded slowly into the water, being extremely careful with every step. My focus was so intensely concentrated on the nerves in my feet that I think I could have read a newspaper with my toes, no brail. I could have identified Coke over Pepsi with the soles of my goddamn feet right then, I swear.

Once the water got up to mid-thigh or so, I started swimming because I couldn’t fucking wait to get my feet off the bottom of this death trap. The bottom of the lake slowly dropped out from under me and the cold began to set in much faster than I thought it would.

I swam faster.

I got to the middle of the lake and was getting kind of tired. I stopped and treaded water for a few seconds to get my wind back. Apparently it worried my friends when they stopped seeing the splashes because they all starting screaming words of encouragement,

“You’re half way there man!”

“You can do it!”

“Keep going!”

I have pretty smart friends, but to this day I’m surprised at how scripted their encouragements seemed.

“Shut up dicks! I’m just resting!” I yelled back.

They shut up.

I started swimming again.

I was wearing a really old pair of boxer shorts in which the elastic in the waist was completely worn out and stretched. While I was swimming, the drag of the water kept pulling my boxers down. Accordingly, I had to stop swimming to pull up my stupid underwear several times. This began to take up a lot of precious energy and was completely killing my momentum.

I had to let the boxer shorts go.

I hated this idea for several incredibly obvious reasons, but the job had to be done. As hard as this decision was initially, I have to admit that it was a rather liberating experience when I finally roundhouse-kicked the boxer shorts off my left ankle with an aquatic propulsion force matched only by the finest U.S. made nuclear submarine.

I gargled through the last third of my swim across the lake at Central Park completely naked. The other side started getting closer and closer and finally I felt the bottom again. Oh god. Not again. Being the genius that I am, I didn’t think about having to deal with the bottom while getting out of the lake also. To make things worse, I am now naked. (See also: Completely Exhausted)

I stay in the lake, laying motionless in the shallow water with only my head sticking out. I look around for my friends, moving only my eyes.

I feel like a naked Navy Seal.

Fuck its cold.

I started shivering pretty badly and decided I had to get out of the water. I floated up as close as I could to the bank, where the water was only a few inches deep. I stood up and made a hot-coal’esque scramble through the shallow water to the shore where I found a sadly small tree for cover.

There I was standing two feet from the main walking path, shivering violently and completely naked. More than the sole embarrassment of being naked in public, I was really concerned that a gaggle of hot twenty something chicks would walk by and think that my penis was really that small.

“No, no! It’s the cold, I swear!”

It’s amazing how priorities change in extreme circumstances.

Thankfully there were no hot girls around as far as I could tell, and I could see my friends coming around the path carrying my clothes. They were still pretty far away.

I screamed at the top of my lungs,

“I WANT MY PANTS WITH MY FUCKING MONEY IN THE POCKET!”

I see my friends chuckle from a distance and continue to take their sweet ass time walking up the path. Sam seems to be limping.

Another sudden priority shift.

Let me try to explain something about being naked, cold, and alone in the middle of the night in a location where record numbers of murders and all kinds of mind-blowing violent crimes occur:

Every second seems like a fucking year. I cannot stress this enough, as the proper words do not exist in the English language.

The guys obviously didn’t understand the urgency of the matter.

“HURRY THE FUCK UP! I’M NAKED AND I AM GOING TO GET KILLED!”

This got their attention.

Speaking of getting attention, I realized that the exact words that I screamed should have been chosen more carefully. I mean, if some sicko really was lurking in the shadows of Central Park waiting for the right victim on which to pull off some crazy sex-murder, which guy would they target? Probably the one standing there screaming about being naked with money in his pants, right?

All my friends started laughing hysterically from a couple hundred feet away. I was not laughing. Warren, great guy that he is, starting jogging up the path with my clothes but he was laughing so hard that I wasn’t sure he was going to make it. It was the first time I’d seen someone almost fall down from running and laughing at the same time.

Finally he arrived to find me, sure enough, shivering and naked. He was laughing so hard he couldn’t even hand me my clothes. I had to snatch them from him and get them on as fast as possible, which isn’t easy when you’re wet.

Pat, Mat and Sam all found us a minute or so later. Sam was definitely limping.

We headed back up the path to leave the park and go home. I used the time to collect my winnings from everyone.

Warren was still laughing.

Sam wouldn’t stop bitching about his stupid foot.

Pat complained that the whole thing wasn’t worth his $25.
That’s Pat in a nutshell, but you gotta love Pat.

Mat had a silent defeat about him.

The sun was starting to come up.

Alas, the punchline:

We were all walking down Broadway, tired, drunk and just blocks from home. I was also getting a little queasy, and I wasn’t sure why. We were passing by a group of tourists who were standing in front of thier hotel waiting for a cab with their luggage. At the exact moment that we walked by the tourists I vomited, while walking, never missing a beat. The tourists all gasped and looked shocked and a little scared.

Immediately, the tourists’ shock turned to absolute confusion when I turned to them and quipped ever so matter-of-factly,

“What? It’s just lake water.”

***Later that morning, we all woke up to Sam’s voice on the answering machine. He was in the hospital with a broken heel.

Read the original New York Moment.