Monday, June 11, 2007


I have noticed something interesting about my neighborhood... Alphabet City/Lower East Side. The longer the war in Iraq goes on, the more Middle Eastern techno/hooka bars pop up. They are everywhere now and there was perhaps 1-2 5 years ago. Just an observation.

Nemesis 2: Electric Boogaloo

My other Nemesis and I played a game against each other for years. A game of will power… and it was a fight to the death from which I have recently realized that I have emerged victorious. My Nemesis was a guy who stood on St. Marks and flicked a flier at me.

Not just any flier though, this one was for a sketchy tattoo/piercing place called Andromeda and their flier was a crudely rendered and printed 3x5 piece of paper with drawings of the various piercings available and what they looked like on various parts of the body. I had seen them on the ground and they were so crudely done that it was quite difficult to figure out what part was what part. I was once walking by a group of about 12 year old girls who had gotten fliered by this man and I will never forget their conversation:

Girl 1: This ones your ears and that’s your bellybutton.
Girl 2: That’s nose and ewww… penis!
Girl 3: What’s that one?
Girl 1: That’s your p*ssy dumbass!

From the mouths of babes.

For years, every day I would walk this stretch of St. Marks, sometimes multiple times a day and a tattooed/heavily pierced guy outside of Andromeda on the sidewalk would flick the flier at me with an audible “Flick!”. I would ignore him and move on.

No matter how many times a day I walked by…”FLICK!” in front of me.

I came to loath this man, for surely after years of walking by he recognized me as from the neighborhood as I recognized him.

Thus began the battle of wills. Would I ever take the flier? Would he ever stop offering it to me? Would we ever say a word? How much longer would it take him to realize I would never take the flier?

Even if I were to get another tattoo or get a piercing, this became the last place on earth I would ever get it from, just for my desire to never give in to this man.

It is a petty Nemesis but it is a battle that managed to rage on in my heart and mind for 9 years.

9 long years of walking by this person multiple times a day and every time a “FLICK!”

I got to the point of where I would enter the block and spot him and a mantra would repeat in my head, “Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it.”

I walked by today with hopes of getting a photo of my nemesis only to discover him not out there. Perhaps they have stopped and he no longer torments with his crappy fliers of smudgy piercing drawings. I can only hope, for now I fear that this is another Nemesis that I have vanquished, and I am now Nemesis free.

For now.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


I was just walking by a bodega on Ave. B and past a group of 50ish Latino men when I had the chance to overhear this bit of a conversation about that poor 15 year old girl found after a year in Hartford:

Man 1: Yeah man, they found her after a year!
Man 2: She alright?
Man 3: Yeah... she alright, but she tired as fuck.

I love this city.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Silent But Deadly

It was this past Sunday evening, a perfect night for sleeping. It was rainy and cool, just after midnight. My lady and I got into bed at her place and settled in for a good sleep. The pup snuggled on one side, my lady on the other, it was about as comfortable as could be.

Then the Beep started.

It was super high-pitched and piercing then silent. A minute later another chirp that demanded we don’t ignore it.

We got up and found that one of the 2 carbon monoxide detectors in the apartment was beeping at us. I say only one of the two because the other had its batteries permanently removed due to the fact that it went off constantly… much the same as most fire detectors in the apartments of those who cook in this city. It’s often much easier to take the batteries out of the detectors than to have to constantly deal with the noise that a malfunction or smoky cooking experience causes.

We first ripped the batteries out of the thing then took it off the wall. According to the instructions on the back the beep we heard was from the batteries dying. No problem.

After rustling up some batteries we put them into the detector expecting silence. No dice.

It now was beeping at us with 4 quick beeps in short succession. According to the back of the detector, 4 beeps means vacate the premises, you’ve got a problem. The other detector gave the same result when batteries were placed in it.

I grabbed my ladies laptop and started reading up on carbon monoxide because we don’t know anything about it other than the fact we’re required to have the detectors and, well, it can kill you. According to what I read it’s dangerous in places without any ventilation. We had 3 windows open and a cross breeze. Shouldn’t be a problem.

Then my lady mentioned she was getting a headache. I stood up and felt a bit wobbly. Fuzzy headed. We thought it silly to think that there would be a problem. No one else in the building’s detectors were going off and we were in a well ventilated place so there was no problem.

Then why did we both feel “off” and wobbly? Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, confusion, and dizziness. We had 2-3 of these symptoms.

I decided at this point we were getting out fast. We were sure it was nothing but there is no reason to tempt fate. We both grabbed our things and the dog in about 5 minutes and were in the elevator headed out.

When the elevator door opened in the foyer we discovered an ass that lives in her building passed out asleep and snoring on the floor in front of the elevator door. We stepped over him and hopped into a cab and fled to my place like refugees getting out of a dangerous country.

We felt freaked and concerned. What if we left and didn’t alert anyone and someone else in the building died of carbon monoxide poisoning. My lady called 311 in the cab and was transferred around and told not to worry about it by the fire department, that her neighbors had detectors that would alert them of a problem.

When we got to my place we couldn’t sleep for a while or very well at all. Freaked out by this mystery unseen or smelled danger. What could have caused it? What was going on? Were we affected? Were our nausea, dizziness, and headaches caused by our imagination?

The next day the detectors found nothing and all is clear.

It’s just strange to think that it’s something so small and minor that could get you. If it was a fire I’d understand it and know better how to deal with the situation (Stop, Drop, and Roll then Look, Listen, Feel) because I’ve seen all the PSA’s and read enough to know what to do. Earthquake, hurricane, tornado, lightning strikes, termites, I got it, I’m covered. Carbon monoxide poisoning is too new a threat in the home for me to know or understand it other than what I’ve seen on CSI, but it’s time to learn something new.

Friday, June 1, 2007


At various times in our lives we seem to have a Nemesis. Whether it’s a co-worker, friend, or a stranger that keeps popping up in our lives, there is always someone who becomes you Nemesis.

I’ve had 2 in this city. One has been a constant and the other was just around for a couple months… but battle against each other was mighty. Or maybe it just was in my mind.

Nemesis #2 ( The Lesser)

I feel like #2 is the right place to start. There was a time when 2 friends and I were regulars at a pub quiz at a tiny bar called Fish Bar in my neighborhood. It was a simple questionnaire of 20 questions that, if you won, netted you $20 in free drinks. These drinks were usually spread about the bar afterwards and my friend Christopher and I were quite good at their quiz and won often. One night Elijah Wood was there with a friend and we helped him out on some questions… though not too much, we still wanted to beat the Hobbit.

It was at this bar that I met Nemesis #2. He was a large man that would come and do the quiz with minimum of 5 friends. He was one of those guys that was harmless but regardless seemed to rub you the wrong way. He was loud, obnoxious, and always thought his jokes (usually the same one over and over) was hilarious. Like that annoying guy that thinks that Monty Python references are still funny 30+ years later and when heard for the 7 gajillionth time. We also disliked him because he would cheat. He would text people and call people at home on their computers for answers where we abided the rules and competed with our own knowledge of useless information, attempting to use it for good and not evil.

I’ve never understood doing a quiz for $20 in free drinks with 5+ people because if you win, you won’t have won enough for a round of drinks. The amount of people and price of drinks just isn’t in your favor for a large group.

For some reason Christopher and I named him as our Nemesis and decided that we didn’t care anymore if we won the quiz… we just wanted to beat him. It was around this time that he started to make jokes at Christopher’s expense and though some snappy comebacks were exchanged (Christopher is excellent at them) that is all that became of that one. He could try to sneak and cheat and it would only harden our resolve to beat him. We did smite him often and regularly. Eventually he stopped attending the quiz and with our challenge gone… we soon did as well. Actually we stopped in order to start doing our own quiz elsewhere, stories for a later date.

Nemesis #1 coming soon… hopefully with a photo.