Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Man-i Pedi

Author's Note: Any family members with heart conditions should skip the first paragraph.

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, especially living in New York. You had to know that sooner or later some guy was going to put a blade to my throat and then make me give him money. For me, that day was yesterday. When it was done, I breathed a sigh of relief, smiled to myself, and tipped him. Because, really, if there's anyone you want to make sure you tip well, it's the guy with the blade on your jugular.

For those of you who haven't figured it out yet (and for those family members who heeded my warning) I went to the barber shop and got a professional shave yesterday. You see, last month I started growing a playoff beard in support of the San Jose Sharks. But last Sunday when the Sharks were eliminated from the playoffs, I was left looking like Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top for no reason. But, like, if he only grew facial hair on his neck and not his face. So really more like Kyle Orton. This was all well and good when it was in support of my team, but once they lost it was only nasty and brutish (sadly, it was not short). And since I was also in need of a haircut, I decided I'd take care of it all in one fell swoop.

So I looked for a barber shop where I could end my participation in the Grizzly Adams look-alike contest I had apparently entered. I came across a place called Solomon's Barber Shop. Given the name, the yarmulkes were not surprising. The Russian accents were. Still, despite the fears instilled by the film Eastern Promises (sorry, no link-- it's graphically violent, and this is a family blog) I went in and asked for a cut and a shave.

Men, (and some of you women... you know who you are) if you have never been professionally shaved, you really should try it. Yes, you could always shave yourself, but you don't have the time, skill, or equipment to do the job a professional does. Essentially, it's the male version of a manicure or pedicure. The parallels are actually quite striking. Both are grooming tasks that you can really do yourself, but to an inferior degree. Both leave you sounding like Ron Burgundy. Both make you feel pampered. And both will be gone (or at least will have lost their professional touch, which was the whole point) in a matter of days.

Now, I realize that I may have lost some of my men there. After all, if you're reading my blog, you must be a real man's man, right? So why would you want something I describe as being kin to a manicure? The key here is that it's got all of the benefits of a manicure, but with all of the awesomeness of being manly. I've never had a manicure before, but I imagine it doesn't involve a guy expertly wielding a razor sharp... um... razor right around your neck. And I'm not talking about one of those razors that has more blades than Wesley Snipes' filmography, I'm talking about an awesome, straight edge, kill you where you sit razor. And a piping hot towel wrapped around your face. It's really a wonderful experience.

In the slightly paraphrased words of Ferris Bueller, "I highly recommend getting one if you have the means. They are so choice." Add that to my list of discoveries here in New York.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fine Foods

Nope, I'm not dead. I am very much alive and excited to get back to my blog for two reasons: because I like it and because getting back to the good ol' blog means I'm not being crushed under the weight of full time class and near full time work any longer. Sixteen projects, five tests, a couple of homework assignments, and a presentation later (okay, so I only actually did fourteen of the projects, close enough) I am ready to get back to enjoying my fair city and telling you all about it. And fear not, for I was still able to learn even though school was monopolizing all of my time, which means I have plenty to tell you about.

It's the middle of the afternoon, and I'm getting hungry, so I can think of no better topic to explore with you right now than fine foods. No, really. I can't think of anything else. I wish they had a vending machine in here so I could get some Mike & Ikes or something. But I suppose food is as good as any other topic to discuss.

But since I am talking about "fine" foods in particular, I think it would be a good idea to talk about precisely what I mean by fine, because there are a lot of different meanings to the word, and I want to make sure we're using the same one. When I say "fine," (parental guidance suggested on that link, by the way) I am not using it the way young men use it to describe a young woman. I am also not using it the way people in relationships sometimes use it, meaning, "Not acceptable in any way."

No, when I say "fine," I'm referring to the other definition: a sum of money that must be paid when you have in some way messed up. Now before you jump all over me for using a noun as an adjective, I want you to pause for a moment. You're reading a blog, not a Proust novel. As long as Iz not speeking like dee lolcatz, eye think iz okay. Let's move on.

I imagine most of my readers have been forced to pay fines, or at least been threatened with them. Maybe for parking in the wrong place or for driving too fast. Fines like this are set explicitly by the government and are charged when you get formally cited for an infraction. The fines in the New York food system are much more subtle. The only citation you get is the preposterous check when you go to leave. And the codes that will result in these kinds of fines are also more subtle. It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between restaurants that have high prices because they are incredibly tasty or have huge portions and those where you have to pay for the mistake of going there.

There are all sorts of hidden fees in New York restaurants as well. One place I went for dinner informed me that I had to buy an appetizer (and by "appetizer," they meant 3 shrimp for $10... and not jumbo shrimp or anything like that). This seemed silly to me, but then the waitress explained that it was because they did not charge a corking fee. And even that might make sense, except it was a BYOB place. So I paid $10 for an amount of food similar to a single Tic Tac because I brought in my own beverage, which I had to do because they didn't sell beverages there. Yes, I paid a food fine that night.

The purpose of this blog isn't to complain or rant. Okay, it may be a little bit to rant. But more importantly, I want you all to be aware, so that if you come out here you can be careful so as not to incur extra expenses just for dining. After all, the purpose of this blog is to look out for you and share the vital information I have learned out here.