Friday, December 5, 2008

"Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization"

Thank you adbusters, for fueling my disdain for the vacuous and self-obsessed era of hipster, the only people who've managed to make me feel bad about myself while actually just being ignorant assholes.

While I openly admit to ascribing to some of its definitions, (I ride a bike instead of driving, and it is fixed-gear) I attribute the similarities to a generational trend (I live in a city, I don't drive in Australia, it's ethically sound) rather than some embrace of apathy. Apathetic I am not; I am not afraid of describing and defending what I find interesting or what might move me to feel something, and I'm certainly politically and socially aware and active.

But maybe that's because I'm not a teenager, and I don't think that having an informed opinion makes me vulnerable. Also: I'm a feminist. Most of the hipster girls I meet are too concerned with looking like an American Apparel ad and being perved on by Dov's disciples to care much for the fight for equality.

All this brings me, however, to the fact that I've just justified how I am not a hipster. And as my friend Tim once observed, "only hipsters talk about hipsters."

UPDATE: There's an interesting response here, from a former Vice writer.
I think my biggest thing with hipsters is not so much their conformity (the Vice guy is right, that's just the case with the majority of the population) but their apathy. The hipsters I know are not the ones the Vice guy is talking about; Melbourne hipsters are small-town kids who think they're hot shit, don't know anything about the world and don't care to. They are politically and socially retarded and they're proud of it, and it is precisely that ignorance mixed with arrogance which drives me to hate people--anyone.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

That's More Like It.

From the NYTimes: "An eight-ton, 72-foot Norway spruce lit up with sparkling holiday colors as thousands of onlookers packed into the streets surrounding the center's plaza, with its famed skating rink and gilded statue depicting Prometheus bringing fire to mankind."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas: Oh come ON, Australia.

* * *

I was one of those lame kids who totally gets in to the Spirit Of Christmas. Come Thanksgiving I was all head-high and grinning (lips closed of course--this was pre-toothal-rearrangement, mind you,) making hand-made Christmas cards and carefully selecting which flavors of Jelly Bellys I would arrange in clear plastic boxes from Cargo Hold for the two people I called friends in middle school. It was so pathetic that when I was 14 and still hadn't come out to my parents as An Official Non-Believer in Santa, my stepmother pulled me aside and said, 'I know maybe you're just accommodating your little brother and sister, but Santa really doesn't exist [she braced herself and squared my shoulders:] it's JUST ME AND DAD.'

I was embarrassed; clearly my enthusiasm had caused my parents to rethink whether I might actually be retarded. No, I didn't really still believe in Santa, but by now I believed in Mariah Carey's first album, and that was enough to make me happy even as I was realizing that Michigan was not a romantic place to be for drama queens like me. I also didn't want to get less presents in the event that I did confess to knowing the truth. Anyway, like a normal teenager, I quickly discovered hatred for most things around me, and so the Spirit of Christmas evaporated, like bong smoke on a windy day.

My spirit was renewed, however, upon visits to Chicago in my late teens, and to New York in my early 20s. The cities boasted big Northern trees in their central squares—20-foot Norwegian furs, stacked with tasteful Christmas bling and nestled in an attractive depth of snow (holy shit I should write Pottery Barn catalogs). People bustled on Michigan and Fifth Avenues, shopping and pretending to look fucked off but secretly enjoying the dramatic and romantic vapor that reminded them of familiar movies.

Let me restate that I'm a total drama queen, and that a lot of the time I was herding through the masses in New York I had just had a pot brownie or had slipped Jamesons in my latte to help warm the walk. Like, that explains the stoned euphoria. But still. It was something.

* * *

So when they put this tree up every year in City Square in Melbourne, I just have to audibly sigh. Why are the tourists taking pictures of this thing? It is to make fun of it, right? You're not actually thinking this is what Christmas looks like, right?

Then they put these cheese-butt banners up on the major streets that say "Christmas" in whimsy bullshit lettering, to remind you that while you're sweating and getting skin cancer in this harsh Australian sun, you should suspend your belief long enough to think of Santa, snow, the North Pole, roast turkey, wool sweaters, extra blankets and milk. But the problem is just thinking about that shit when it's 85 degrees WILL ACTUALLY MAKE YOU VOMIT.

I say: just give it up. Stop calling it Christmas and just make it Presents and Lobster Day. Gifts n' Grog. Whatever. You're just making the rest of us reminisce for the days of Mariah*.

*Vision of Love was a good album, shut up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Live Blogging the U.S. Election

I'm sitting here at Jeremy's with Stuart and Rachel and we're all pretending to be really important, sitting in front of Jeremy's gigantor TV with our various Mac laptops. It's funny watching this in Australia, where Australian television has just succumbed to streaming the American Broadcasting Company, with Channel 9 anchors occasionally jumping in to go, "uh. Yeah, so...this is person." Rachel predicts the Aussie broadcasters are going to talk about Barack Obama being "clean" and "articulate" at some point in the game today.

11:27: Channel 9 has made their "break to commercial" graphic the U.S. presidential seal with a Hendrix-style guitar riff of Pomp & Circumstance. Nice.

11:37: CNN's pundits have amazing skin. Anderson Cooper is a gay icon.

11:41: Every woman involved in this campaign, including Diane Sawyer, is wearing false eyelashes. I have no problem with this. Charlie Gibson is annoying me already. RIP Peter Jennings.

11:47: Channel 9's studio anchor is asking the US Correspondent, "how did those people behind you get in? Did they have to buy tickets?"

11:52: One of Channel 9's pundits is bright red and possibly still drunk from Cup Day.

12:01: Charlie Gibson is telling us which states he wants Obama to win: Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Yessss. John McCain's got Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee. "People project Florida too early to their own peril"

12:07: CNN dude loves his touch screen software. He's pointing to random counties and babbling about some kind of trend, "John McCain cannot afford to underperform George W Bush in these areas." What?

12:09: ABC dude is talking about going to a bowling alley in Altoona, PA for reasons unknown.

12:15: Sources tell us CNN has 3D holograms!

12:18: Obama is hott.

12:26: Australia's Channel 7 news anchor to their Phoenix correspondent: "are the Republicans looking morose yet?" Also, Sarah Palin voted in jeans and a Carharrt jacket made out of moose.

12:30: Wolf Blitzer in da house!

12:35: Channel 7's anchor says, "this is not just about who's going to be in the White House, it's also about bums on seats in congress."

12:39: Wolf is calling Pennsylvania for Obama. WOOT!

12:51: The Australians around me are scared of James Carville. Fair enough.

12:54: Four years ago I spent about 9 months volunteering with NARAL, registering women to vote through phone banks and later, by bussing myself and elderly Jewish women to Pennsylvania most Saturday mornings to do non-partisan door-knocking. I ended up campaigning in some capacity in 4 states, and while those all went blue, I spent Election Night crying in front of the television at my friend Brian's house, spliff in hand, after a very long and exhausting day in Pennsylvania.

It kills me a little that I wasn't able to be active in my community during this campaign. I certainly would have been more inspired by this election cycle, and I've got friends back home who say they were sad I couldn't have been there with them.

Anyway, I'm glad to be here. And this year I'll be smoking a celebratory spliff.

1:00: Michigan goes to Obama! REPRESENT!

1:02: Tom Brokaw's experienced timbre joins the fray. "It's all about the economy." No shit!

1:03: NBC's map is an ICE RINK upon which they're sticking red or blue vinyl state stickers. Lame.
[UPDATE: I am dum and didn't realize it's Rockefeller Center. That makes more sense.]

1:04: The Australian anchor wants to know: "If Obama loses, will there be riots in the States?" You wish, Shane.

1:14: Holy shit. Obama is leading in Ohio AND Florida. Although Fox News is saying McCain's only .4% behind in the popular vote. Aw HELL no!

1:20: Charlie Gibson is on the touch screen. I hate watching old people try to use computers.


1:31: Oprah says "it's a moment for all Americans." I'm waiting for her to say "you go girl" to Obama.

1:40: Some country hoo-ha moron is playing the gee-tar on stage in Phoenix, trying to temper the blow of those assholes losing Ohio.

1:44: In the background of Channel 9's coverage in Phoenix, it totally looks like they're packing up the stage. SBS is covering the election after 2pm, after "Cooking in the Danger Zone."

1:46: The Australians are reporting, "you blokes are gonna need a miracle mate." I think we should be drinking every time someone says "blow."

1:47: Who the fuck styled Channel 9's "Mike"? He's wearing a tie Jeremy describes as "novelty squirting tie"

1:53: This girl is totally reporting "statistics" that she read on Facebook and Twitter. Um. She's getting paid for this? Why isn't she reading DGIST?!

1:56: Australian correspondent says "I think this election will make a difference in America more than Australia."

1:59: Anderson Cooper says, "Joe the Plumber isn't the face of America, don't they get that?"

2:00: Mormons love McCain in Utah, ____* love Obama in Iowa.

*who lives in Iowa again?

2:02: Anderson Cooper wants to know if they can go home once Obama hits 270. His pundits are working out the math of what time they can split.

2:03: There is a collective "awwww!" in the room as I announce Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are on live now (and it's not syndicated on TV here.)

2:07: James Carville, while describing the monumental Democratic sweep, is basically saying "I'm not going to get laid for awhile, folks."

2:12: Aussie correspondent says, "I was talking to a black American at the airport, a black American who was cleaning shoes, and he says he is scared that Barack Obama won't win."

2:15: Australian "US Politics Analyst" is totally using the wrong terminology..."the Republican caucus needed to fix the economy."

2:17: IT'S OFFICIAL: Channel 9 declares Barack Obama the next president.

2:24: Jezebel blogger says "
SPENCER: Take a drink every time Dana Bash blinks and you will be FITSHACED." Dana Bash looks like the dad in Finding Nemo.

2:25: Harry Malkonian is the only American on Aussie TV and Carolyn says "is Michael Musto's dad."

2:29: Channel 9's interim guitar riff has switched to the Star Spangled Banner!

2:32: Anderson Cooper is trying to make some random point and his pundits basically just told him to shut up. "Let's resist the temptation to characterize the Republican party as old white men" FUCK OFF OLD WHITE MAN!

2:38: Al Franken may win a Minnesota senate seat?!

2:43: Just drank for first mention by Australian anchors for "first Jew." Who knows what he's talking about. Lieberman maybe?

2:58: VIRGINIA FOR OBAMA! Hasn't happened since LBJ in 1964.

3:00: CNN Breaking News: Barack Obama elected president!!!!!

Friday, October 31, 2008


I'm starting on the sauce a bit earlier than usual next Wednesday, to kick in the Obama presidency in real-time. So like, 8am screwdrivers. I've been really bummed out that I haven't been in the States these past two years of campaigning–I'm one of the most politically-obsessed people I know–but it's been interesting to have this faraway perspective.

My friends in NYC are describing this feeling of surge and renewal around them, despite the economy collapsing, due mostly to Obama. As I've scoured the NYTimes every day, I've been thinking a lot about the divisive nature of people—of only feeling strong by feeling a part of something that others are not a part of. It's a basic instinct and has been used blatantly and successfully throughout our collective political history.

But being behind the candidate who kicks the dust off the high road, and "incidentally" into his opponents' faces, I can't help but feel embarrassed for having bought into my own aggression. It makes me feel like getting called up as being mean when really I'm just at a loss of something better to say.

I haven't written a post on here in 6 months because I'm feeling this "otherness" so overwhelmingly that I've considered scrapping this blog and renaming it The Reluctant Australian. It's like I'm telling myself, "I'm here, not there, get over it." It's just that these little Aussie things aren't so funny any more. Or maybe they are still, but my lone laughter is sounding a bit tragic.

Don't get me wrong: Safetytown is alive and well. I'm still noticing hilarious signs, or big useless clusters of them, or a row of bike racks mowed down by a Friday night motorist: (why did they put safety tape around it? "Don't hit the bike racks again."?)

But my point is I can be and am critical about anything and everything, so the scope of what I write may not be defined by my lack of connection to Safetytown anymore. It'll make it easier to write, at the very least.

Whatever, I'm not even drunk. It's Friday night and I'm blogging. If I were saying all this aloud, next to you at the bar, you'd rightly call me an emo and tell me to fuck off.

So I'll follow your advice and sign off now.

Cheers mate!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ute tell me.

The Ute is truly an Australian icon, as well as being the mullet of the car world: business at the front, party (or vehicle for livestock) at the back. I made this observation the other day while making a hook turn on my bicycle, and thinking "oh that sedan is about to tur---oh that's not a sedan, it's the ugliest car ever designed."

History tells us that the humble beginnings of the Ute were born from a rural Australian woman, who asked some dude who worked at Ford, "Why don’t you build people like us a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday, and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays?"

Why, indeed. Now, I'm not knocking the obvious benefits to having a Ute. They're very handy if you're moving and a friend happens to have one. Tradesmen use them for work. Some people probs still put their pigs in the back. That makes sense, if you have pigs you want to drive around. What does not make sense, however, is trying to make them glamorous, or even remotely attractive. They should not be painted yellow. Yellow is a ridiculous color for a car anyway, but on a Ute it's especially offensive because you can't help but have to look--not only at the ugliest car ever made, but at the invariably frightening owner of the vehicle.

I would venture to describe your average yellow Ute driver in more scathing detail, but I'm not exactly incognito here, and frankly I don't feel like getting my ass kicked by a local. I'll just post a picture up and then you can be in charge of being judgmental.


Yesterday, my friend Nev brought the Deniliquin Utemuster to my attention. It's some kind of Ute convention, not wholly unlike lots of events I'm sure Southerners call "tradition" and "heritage," which include essential props like cowboy hats, random sofas in parking lots, and women who pretend to be interested so they can get some fucking attention from their mens once in awhile.

This is all leading up to an inevitable post that will chart the similarities and differences between white trash and the Aussie bogan. Stay tuned.

Google in Cahoots with Safety Town

Google Maps caught this dude eating shit on his bike, right here in Oz. Let's all take a moment to laugh at him and applaud Big Brother Google for this morning's entertainment!

Thanks to the f for the heads-up

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spliffs, Krums and Pies

I've got a few small observations for you guys, none of which warrant a whole post.

The first thing is, you guys need to get with 420. It's not that hard. 420 (four-twenty) means marijuana celebration happy times. That means that if I happen to glance at the clock one afternoon and declare "4:20 doods!" in Ultimate Surfer voice then you should understand that I am excited about the prospect of someone having weed on them to share with me.

But the thing is with you guys, this explanation is never enough for you. You have to know why it's called 4-20. And if it has anything to do with Four and Twenty Pies (no) and if it's a reference to Cheech and Chong (also no). The point is, you're missing the point. Who cares what it's called. It's time to hit the bong.

The 20th of April is a special day for the world, worth celebrating and pondering: Earth Day. The anniversary of the Bay of Pigs. The beginning of the French Revolution. And a day during which millions spark doobs. It's communal spirit braaahh.

* * *

Yesterday whilst celebrating I went to the grocery store and bought these breadcrumbs, both because the name was so ridiculously Aussie--Krummies--and because I thought the packaging was old school and adorable. But now that I've had a look around the internets I've decided I must have bought a box of Krummies that had been sitting around the store since the last time they branded.

Krummies reminded me of a couple other brand names that make me laugh. One is Kumfs. It's a brand of ugly shoes from New Zealand. I also like the v. popular ice cream "Golden Gay Time". The other one is this store that has American Apparel-like clothing called Cotton On, which (I think) is an Australian expression for catching on to something. But every time I pass it I think,
"Cotton On Garth!"
"Cotton On Wayne."

* * *

I art directed a photo shoot last week out at a new housing development we like to call Satanic Ridge. Once we compiled a list of names we'd have chosen for a new subdivision, and it included such gems as "Crystal's Hymen" and "Guiche Creek." I'll have to dig up the list for you guys. But anyway, while we were at the shoot, one of the kids, who was ten, asked me which footy team I support.

"Collingwood," I said to him.

He squinted his eyes and hissed, "damn you" before walking off. !!! I lamely called after him, "well which team do you like?" He didn't even turn around, just called out "Carlton" and rejected me for the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Heading to the Hills

I've been feeling antsy lately about the fact that I live in Australia yet have no idea what Australia is about. I don't leave Melbourne. That's partly because nature is some nasty shit and also because part of me is afraid of Australia. Sharks eat people here.

But lately I've been thinking, at some point I'm going to be stuck in some gray, shitty-ass apartment in an inconvenient area of New York and think FUCK MAN, I used to live in Australia! but have no idea what that actually looks like, aside from what I've seen in Wolf Creek and Rogue.

Way to go Tourism Australia.

So anyway, enough of me being a pussy. I've been here a year and a half (next Wednesday, but who's counting?) Time to check out some cultcha.

The first thing we did was go to Sovereign Hill on Easter. It's a recreated gold-mining village in Ballarat, where 1/3 of the world's gold was found during the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s.

Here is a photo of me in the welcome center, recreating real history by stealing the chinaman's gold. I play the role of Whitey.

It was your typical family/tourist destination. We, of course, were stared at like we were circus performers; at one point while standing in line for the underground mine tour, people were staring at Ed's tattoos so blatantly, he offered to do a little jig for them while we all waited. Luckily none of them spoke English so conversation wasn't actually necessary. I'm just kidding. Some of them spoke English, but it sounded like "SHANE STOP HITTING NARELLE!" so I just tuned out.

As with all places like this we got tired and dusty, and since I was intelligently wearing a dress and heels we proceeded to whine to my mother in law until she fed us sandwiches to shut us up. Yes, we're 30 years old.

But here were the things I did like:

1. Oooh! Type! Ye olde printing presses!

2. And, curiously, all the things named after America. I guess the American gold rush was probs going on around the same time but I can't be sure because who can be fucked going to California to find out? I played plenty of Oregon Trail in 8th grade, I don't need no education.

* * *

Another thing I did recently was go to Luna Park, Melbourne's version of Coney Island.

I'd been wanting to go and I was in a shitty mood on Sunday, so I decided to ride my bike there. I figured it's impossible to stay shitty when there are terrified children on rollercoasters to laugh at. Also, I figured going on the old ass rollercoaster is a rite of passage like Coney's Cyclone. But when I got there the coaster wasn't running, so I took a seat, bought a crap coffee and people watched. After a few minutes I started wondering whether being there by myself was bad, so I texted my friend Matt to ask.

ecs to Matt: I'm at Luna Park by myself. Is that weird?

Matt to ecs: That depends if you are on acid...

ecs to Matt: Not on acid but it's interesting people watching. Scared kids' faces are hilarious.

Matt to ecs: Are you scaring children?
Matt to ecs: I like the idea of you frightening children.

ecs to Matt: Okay well let's go with that then. You should see my makeup today. It's disturbing.

Matt to ecs: That is why they are crying. Plus you are stamping on their feet as their parents look the other way.

ecs to Matt: And poking them with needles that are taped to my fingers. Uh oh security guards. Gotta go.

* * *

Tomorrow I head off to explore yet another corner of Australia: Sandy Point, about 2.5 hours outside of Melbourne.

Beach, ocean, house. I'm turning 30 on Saturday. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cops, comin' try to snatch my crops.

I spent a good part of last week sitting in my darkened-but-still-hot-as-hell living room, watching a pirated copy of Melbourne mini-series, Underbelly. It's not only pirated but banned from Melbourne TV, by order of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Underbelly documents what came to be called the Gangland Murders in Melbourne between 1998 and 2006, during which time like 34 people were killed in underworld power struggles. Some of the trials are still going on, which is why it's banned from TV here, but I didn't feel bad about watching it because I can't be on a jury here anyway. Also, supreme court? Nothing is safe from public knowledge. It's called wikipedia.

Anyway it's an awesome series and really piqued my interest because of how unsafe it all was. I also learned about how inept the cops are—or at least were—while this was all going down. I thought that was pretty interesting because I remember noticing as soon as I moved here how non-threatening the cops are.

3 signs that you may have lost your authoritative hold on the public:
1. You drive a white station wagon.
2. You wear a blue and white checked baseball cap.
3. You have billy clubs, but no helmets.

If I were a crim and that chick in front tried to arrest me, I'd just punch her in the tit. Also, why are they wearing black leather gloves? Are they breaking in somewhere? Lock their keys in the wagon? Someone get these jacks a stylist.

Okay, I didn't exactly condone Guiliani's technique in New York of putting a cop in fatigues with an assault rifle on every corner in order to stop crime, but (ahem) it worked. Sorry. You should be afraid of cops. Especially if you're thinking about doing something like, I dunno, killing people.

In Underbelly they kept this running line throughout the script about how the cops didn't have the budget to properly surveil these gangsters so they could catch them before they killed more people. Like, honestly, I don't really care about the drugs part. They were ecstasy pills. As tragic as I find flourescent clothing and drum n' bass, E doesn't really destroy lives. It just turns you into a tooth-grinding, bad-dancing, owl-eyed, sleepless, grinning, bro-downing moron for several hours before beating you into submission until you're fetal and can't remember anything about 10th grade. Seriously, the worst it can do is turn you into this:

Killing people is (marginally) worse. But I suppose when you've been a cop in Safety Town, killing sprees catch you off guard. You've been too busy launching a campaign against jaywalking.

I understand not wanting to come off as a bunch of fucking thugs, like a lot of cops are anyway, but there is a spectrum of authoritative figures available. Below, I list my nominees for Melbourne's police academy, Class of 2008!

1. Robert Patrick: either his character in Terminator 2 or the real dude. Either way: tough as nails.

2. The mom from Malcolm in the Middle. You won't mess with this mom. You know you won't because she's already got some psychologically fucked up plan to make you terrified of spoons for the rest of your life.

3. I realize I'm getting into big budget territory, especially with the rising cost of fuel. So another option is just to stick with Australian enforcement, like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. He's already gone through all the training, he understands bogan slang, and he has sword fingers.

4. The Ghost of Steve Irwin. Ghost + crocodile = "yessir officer". Can you imagine a crime going down when Steve was on the clock? Cops could just throw barricades up around a drug deal and throw some crocodiles in. Those things will do anything for Steve.

If this is all a bit too OTT for the Victorian police, can I make a suggestion? Get some new uniforms. Paint your cars black with big silver gun decals down the side. Put a big ass (useless) spoiler on the back. Dumbasses always think that makes a car go faster. And stop trying to be cyclists. It's not a good look.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dangerous Girl Goes Back to The D

I think sometimes people attribute my anger management problem to the fact that I'm from Detroit. That makes sense I guess; Detroit's an easy target. You can know nothing about it but still have some cursory understanding that it's a rough place. And it is...but it isn't. In a lot of ways it just got the short end of the stick for like 40 years.

But no, that's not why I'm such a psycho. Besides, to say I grew up in Detroit is like saying you grew up in Compton when you're really from the O.C. Er something. Whatever, L.A. sucks.

In 1967, race riots broke out in Detroit—as they had in a lot of major cities across the United States where there were high populations of blacks and whites living closely together. Detroit got the fuck burnt out of it during the riots and then in subsequent years, when the city was left to rot, because anyone who could, fled to the suburbs. The picture above is of the train station downtown Detroit. As you can see in the following photos, there are no windows left.

I'm not posting these photos to tell you what a bad place Detroit is. But I think sometimes people need to see the power of what can happen to a city's economy because of social breakdowns; because of neglect.

I think people think that they can continue to support their own privileged interests and ignore the larger picture of society. I think people believe that what happens to "other people" in "other places" simply will not ever affect them. Detroit is a victim of such neglect and stupidity and corruption.

If you forget that this is all the result of cumulative badness, though, there's something beautiful and eerie in the urban decay. Imagine the feeling you'd get walking through Melbourne and seeing major buildings, skyscrapers, empty and falling through. If you can separate the sadness, you can really see how people are what gives a building life, and how dead buildings make a city a ghost.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn

I came back last week after spending three glorious weeks in the Northern Hemisphere. Holy shit was it awesome. We first stopped in Detroit to see all 5 billion of my family members, which was great. They're funny people. Weirdos, in fact. I also got to give husband a tour of The D: the original Dangerous Town. But I'll write more about that later, because I have to skip to Brooklyn before I expode.

We arrived in NYC after spending a week with my fam and I [figuratively] kissed the ground at LaGuardia baggage claim. Grabbing a cab, we made our way to Elizabeth Street--where our aunt and uncle have an apartment they generously lend to us when we're in town--and after settling in, set off to see the city and find our crazy ass friends.

There were some changes in our 'hood that made me pretty disgruntled--for instance, on the Bowery, a stretch I once avoided in my youth after a certain hour, there is now The Bowery Hotel, a swank poop of a place that was constructed and opened in the space of 13 months. Gross. Looking up, I noticed the Village Voice had an opinion about it too:

There were more things too, like a handful of sky-rise apartments going up on the Lower East Side, (which is now filled with bankers and Australians anyway so whatevs) and a Whole Foods that takes up an entire city block. It was probably built on top of junkie graves so you know some poltergeist shit's bound to go down at some point...

But don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say it was all rough n' shit when I lived there, but when you return to a place you've missed as long as I've missed New York, you get offended when things aren't exactly as you left them. And things weren't. Two close friends moved to separate places in Brooklyn. Other friends have moved away altogether. A few dyed their hair. One even had a baby and moved to Park Slope while I was gone. You guys: some of them stopped smoking weed. (Not the new mom.) (JK.)

But we rallied on. We forced everyone out of their borough burrows despite the cold, and good times ensued. After a few days, I was walking around with the ol' spring in my step, as one does in New York when she doesn't have to go to work or pay exorbitant rent or hate humanity. It was great. And then on New Year's Eve, it got even better. Below, a photo essay with captions.

Our bag o' booze.
Contents: Gin, mixers, beer, and Olde English. Participants: ecs, husband, and D-Mak (a stray Aussie we found who needed a party.)

D-Mak and ecs. D-Mak had already had about 11 gin and tonics.

At left: Rikky, our host and good friend whose reaction upon my entering the party was probably the most welcome I've ever felt: full knee-slide from across the room, arms raised in victory, shouting eeeee ceeeee essssssss!

Husband Ed and D-Mak. I like to think of this photo as foreshadowing; Ed is gesturing toward the fifth-storey window he will later barf out of. The barf did not land on anyone. (I love the word 'barf'.)

D-Mak and Andy (it's his fifth-storey bedroom window.)

Cokane's future husband and my current husband. For the record, I approve of Tom, if for no other reason than because he bought that Cornholio t-shirt off a bum for 50 cents.

I'm smiling because I may or may not be looking forward to something that is going to be handed to me to put in my mouth and smoked from someone I've never met in my life.

These facial expressions basically sum up the entire evening.

When you can no longer hold your own booze, a good spouse will help you out.

Malt liquor and red wine already warring on two sides of my head. I wonder why I barfed?

* * *
None of these photos really do the night any justice--there were also fireworks, a Designated Rage Zone where we moshed to Weezer, and 400 other people having an awesome time in Brooklyn. There's no place like home.

Happy new year to you and yours. More to come.
Love, Dangerous Girl and Ed.