Wednesday, January 14, 2009

jfk > burbank

By Pauly
Hollyweird, CA

I had a 48 hour stint in New York City, but it felt like 4.8 hours. The time races by so quick. The city is just an aircraft carrier for me.... floating runway where I land, refuel, check out a mail drop, and take off again.

I felt blah upon my arrival in NYC. I think my body was not used to the winter and whatever bug I acquired post-Bahamas slowed me down a bit. Perhaps it was simple withdrawal symptoms. I'm on a non-drinking spell right now and maybe my detox is what ails me.

I completed about half of the amount of work in my inbox. I pushed off a deadline until I was feeling better. I read a lot and watched a bunch of sports and TV with Derek. The Knicks still stuck.

I caught up on the latest episode of Top Chef, which should be interesting since they got that angry British bald dude as one of the judges for the rest of the season. That guy does not pull any punches.

I became fascinated with women's luge. I think it's the whole Nordic blondes in slippery latex fantasy that gets me all hot and bothered. One thing for sure, the Germans and Austrians fembots dominated the world championships save for one Norwegian hold out.

I whiffed in an attempt to score Grateful Dead tickets on Tuesday afternoon. There were a dozen or so cities that I could have chosen to catch them. I had my eyes set on two in particular; New York City and Los Angeles. I also considered seeing them in San Francisco, Denver, Albany, Meadowlands, and Nassau. The only catch were that the tickets were ridiculously expensive.... like $99 for a ticket at Madison Square Garden. What the fuck? It's not like they brought Jerry Garcia back to life and the old fat man is playing again.

Due to the outrageous prices, I limited myself to a couple of shows. Unfortunately, I got shut out of MSG and only scored two tickets to the Dead in Los Angeles over at the Forum. Nicky and I considered driving up to Mountain View to see the closing night of the tour, but decided to save some money. Phish summer tour is just around the corner.

Derek and I ate Chinese food one night for dinner. I had not eaten that garlic chicken in a while. Since I knew that I would not be back in NYC for six weeks, I took the opportunity to enjoy my favorite NYC foods. I also visited the Greek diner a couple of times. I went there for a breakfast sandwich one morning and the old Jewish guys in the back booth were predicting a Steelers/Cardinals Super Bowl. And I stopped by one afternoon for a good old fashioned NYC diner cheeseburger.

My ride to the airport on Wednesday morning was 12 minutes late. I called at the ten minute mark and the dispatcher said, "Oh shit! Someone will be there in two seconds." My driver was late but at least he left me alone and didn't try to chat me up at 5:57am.

JFK was packed and I got stuck in a couple of testicle-numbing long lines with the most retarded travelers on the planet while despeerately waiting to drop off my baggage and scoot my way past security. A lot of people were escaping the frigid weather headed to warmer climates and most of them acted like they had never been in an airport post 9/11 before.

I ate a greasy biscuit at te food court and played online poker at 7am against a couple of Europeans. I won $5. Didn't even cover my breakfast. I found a used copy of the NY Times and breezed through that instead of actually paying for it. When I was done, an older gentleman asked me if he could read it. I found a couple of sections of the Wall Street Journal. I read one article that gave me the jitters. I have a feeling that the bond market will burst in a few months. A big storm is a brewin'.

My flight was about 75% full but there was a unsufferably annoying screaming baby three rows behind me. I tuned out the kid as best as I could and listened to John Coltrane as I finished the last forty-five pages of the The Sound of John Coltrane. I still had no fuckin' idea about 25% of what the author discusses about since I didn't play tenor or alto sax. The rest of book was fascinating. Too bad the heroin really fucked Coltrane up. Then again, did it help him get to some of those places that his peers could never think of going?

I finished off the rest of Heat by Bill Buford about his quest to work in Mario Batali's kitchen. Nicky read it on the beach this summer and I sped read through the first few chapters at some point in August. I stopped reading it at the short ribs chapter and picked it up from there. For the first time in a long time, I did not watch any TV on JetBlue. Instead, I immersed myself into Heat and finished the last pages we passed over Utah and into Nevada.

I'm definitely interested in reading Buford's book on soccer violence. I'll add that to my reading list. Alas, I have four or five books on deck to read including The Plague by Camus and a Bill Styron book. I also forgot that I wanted to re-read Gravity's Rainbow in 2008 and never got a chance to. I remembered my failed quest when I was wandering around Strand book store and a spotted a copy of Pynchon's epic novel.

My flight was on time and without fail Nicky was late to pick me up at the airport. It was OK. After all, how could I complain? It was 82 degrees or a good 62 degrees warmer than when I departed New York City.

We drove over the Hollywood hills via the winding Coldwater Canyon and passed all those funky little houses and cabins nestled in the lush hills before the road let out into the posh Beverly Hills past all the mansions on palm tree lined streets where the fretting inhabitants inside were freaking out about the economic storm on the horizon.

Tragic day when uber-rich folks have to make a decision to fire their live-in maid and have her only drop by twice a week. Tough times in the city on Angels, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's 82 degrees and as Dylan said, "The town has no need to be nervous."

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