Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mad Men

We are coming upon my favorite time of year in the Big Apple - the winter holiday season! It's hard to believe it's already that time of the year.

Maybe tonight I'll try to make it to the lighting of the Christmas tree at Lincoln Center - since I'll unfortunately miss the tree lighting at Rockefeller Plaza on Dec. 3rd this year. Drat. I'll have moved away by then.

It's been a sad week for me, knowing that I'm leaving my favorite city. It almost hurts to go outside, knowing it'll be the last time I wander down the familiar sidewalks of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

I did find a temporary diversion from my pain. I took up watching Season 1 of Mad Men on Netflix DVD. I was hooked in no time. With each episode, as Matt Weiner's name scrolled by during the opening credits, I'd get all excited, recalling how I met the Executive Producer last month at a Madison Avenue book store. Such a great guy.

And an incredible show! My friend Tom was right, and I'm glad he recommended Mad Men to me. If you haven't seen it yet, you must. Season 2 just recently ended, and I'm waiting anxiously for it to come out on DVD next month.

I am in love with the dashing Don Draper, the lead ad services exec on the show who has a sort of Cary Grant/Humphrey Bogart air about him. He's classy. I hate him too - the lying cheat that he is. But he's the kind of "bad" guy whose manliness and fortitude endears him to the viewer. He can crush the immature little schmuck, Peter Campbell, like a roach just by looking at him with those piercing eyes. I'm sure I'm not the only one cheering in my living room when the spoiled brat gets exactly what he's got coming to him.

Don's wife Betty is so perfect that I keep thinking "Stepford Wife" every time I see her in the kitchen with her 24-inch waist, pleated skirt, neat pumps, nylons, motionless hair and apron.

What is amazing about that era is that everyone is smoking cigarettes everywhere, all the time. They smoke in the office, at home, in the car, on the train, in the elevator - heck, even the gynecologist smokes right there in the exam room before Peggy Olson even has a chance to get her feet out of the stirrups. It's hysterical.

To top that off, these ad men drink constantly too - morning, noon, and night. Before work, during work, and after work. And they are all having affairs - many with long-term mistresses.

But the most shocking part is the perpertual sexual harassment that women are subjected to - and not just in the office. I can't believe what some of the guys get away with! Was it really like that back then? Secretaries act more like nurse's aids to their bosses than assistants. If only people back then could see ahead to the 1990's, when laws were made to prevent that very behavior. My how things have changed in the past 50 years.

Oh my God - that is a shock in and of itself. 1960 was almost 50 years ago. Geez. When did that happen?

Yikes, now I'm really depressed!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Move Number 46 Coming Up

Here we go again.

The last three moves I did were each one move too many. Each time I vowed, "I can't do this again. I'll lose my mind if I have to move again."

And here I am, just nine months after the last move, losing my mind.

Unbelievable. My move to Northern Virginia is scheduled for December 2nd & 3rd.

I used to move by choice; now I mainly move to go where the work is. This economy has affected us all.

I'm going to miss NYC. At first the thought of leaving my favorite city had me in tears. But I'm adjusting to the fact now, knowing that after I get my Masters degree in Virginia, I might be able to come back later (when NYC will be even less affordable!). It seems that each time I return after being gone less than two years, rents have increased another 40%.

So I'm seeing as much of the city as I can before I leave. On Tuesday I went for a walk in Central Park. I'd gone to see the Coco Chanel exhibit, but when I arrived upon it, they were tearing it down. Oops.

I didn't realize the show had closed just two days beforehand. No matter. I was in Central Park in autumn - one of the most beautiful times of the year in the park. So I ended up wandering through The Ramble. It was absolutely beautiful.

Here are a few shots.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Voting in NYC

This past week was pretty exciting. Not just here in New York, but all around the globe. With the election of Barack Obama, it's a new and different world. The sense of "change" being in the air is welcome. Obama needs to be successful if we want things to turn around in this country, so I hope that every American supports him in his new role, regardless of party affiliations.

Last Tuesday afternoon it was a cloudy 62-degree day. I went to vote at the Supreme Court building around 2:00PM, a three-minute walk from my apartment. When I saw the line wrapped around the building, I decided to come back later and instead took the bus to Red Hook to get groceries and kitty litter.

When I came back, it was almost 4:00 when I left home to vote. I told my concierge, "See you in about an hour," thinking about how long the line was earlier. But George, one of the maintenance guys, warned me that they only have two booths open at the polls. For our entire district. Wow.

So I went back to the Supreme Court and got in line outside on the Cadman Plaza side of the building. The line wasn't really that long, so I imagined being done in an hour. Meanwhile, two nice young women joined the line behind me. I overheard one of them telling her friend that when she awoke that morning it felt like Christmas. That's how thrilling the 2008 election became for many people. I admit, I got caught up in the excitement, too.

A guy who'd just voted told us it was an hour and 40 minute wait from about where we were in line. Wow! Somehow we still couldn't believe it would take that long.

Turns out that the two girls were both law students at Brooklyn Law, a school on the block across from my apartment. We started talking, and later a school teacher joined in the conversation. The four of us got along great and had a lot of fun waiting in line. The teacher had quite the stories to relate about the challenges of modern day teaching. (Like how it's the teacher who gets in trouble for verbally reprimanding a student who throws a book in her face.)

Later, the guy in front of us, also a law student, joined in too. It made the process go by faster. there was a sign up that said "No electioneering," which we found interesting. When the guy mentioned who the best candidate was for a congressional seat, we all pointed at him and accused him of electioneering, which he took in good fun. Oh, and there were TV cameras from NY1 there too. People brought their small children. Everyone was having a good time, despite the wait.

It was after 5:30 and dark (and much cooler out) by the time we got indoors to vote. Sure enough, there were only two booths. Talk about poor planning. You'd think that a city of over eight million people would know better. Good thing it's a city full of great people to meet!

It was 6:00PM before I was done voting, making the total wait two hours. That is the longest it has ever taken me to vote!

But I honestly didn't mind. There's no way I wasn't casting my ballot in an election as important as this one. Walking home afterward I was proud to be an American. I'm sure that millions of other people felt the same way on November 4th.

The next morning I was at Penn Station, getting ready to get on board the Amtrak to Alexandria, Virginia. I wanted to buy a NY Times, but they were sold out at Hudson News. The paper sell-out didn't even click with me until I was watching the local D.C. news that night--the Washington Post was in such high demand post-election day that the newspaper decided to do another run at the presses! People whose papers were stolen from their front yards were interviewed and actually laughing about it.

And a day later, the Craigslist ads for sublets druing inauguration week were piling up.

What an exciting week!