Thursday, July 31, 2008

Those Crafty Hobos

Today as I was walking to the subway from work today I saw a hobo with the craftiest sign. He was sitting near the fire hydrant on 34th street and I just happen to look down in time to read his cardboard box sign and wouldn't you know it said, "I'm like Obama. I want change." Get it? Ching ching change...

I thought to myself how inventive is he? It didn't make me want to give him any money, but it did make me laugh. Every once in a while you pass by those funny hobos. The ones with the witty sign or the inventive song and dance. If only they could channel that creativity into a job.

I know, I know not every hobo can probably get a job, but still.

So, I used google image and I put in the phrase "obama hobo," and this is the photo I got. The same hobo picture from my previous posts but with Hilary Clinton's face on it. I thought it was too funny not to add. Maybe if I see that same hobo with the sign tomorrow I'll ask if I can take a picture of him.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hungry, Hungry Hobo...or not

Now, I know everyone probably thinks I can't write about anything but hobos, but they are around in my everyday life so I can't escape them. Here is today's story...

Most of the time my job is pretty lame. TV sounds cool, but most of the time we just work a lot and don't get paid a lot. Every once in a while you get to do a cool interview or you see someone cool in the building, but that's about it. Today was a double fun day...I met Simon Doonan (the creative director at Barney's and TV personality) and Glenn O'Brien. For those of you who don't know either of these people you should google them. Glenn O'Brien is the Editorial director/co-editor of Interview Magazine. A magazine started by Andy Warhol back in the day. He casually dropped the first time he and Warhol saw David Bowie perform and how he convinced Andy to let Bowie stay despite the mime act he began with. Often times I'm not impressed by celebrities and what not, but this was pretty damn cool to me.

So on to the of the few perks we have when we shoot is a free lunch. Today I ordered a delicious chicken wrap, but only had time to eat half of it. I decide that since the other half is untouched I would give it to the first hobo I saw. Well it's about 80 degrees outside and I see this woman right at the door to the 34th st subway station. She is dressed in a heavy jacket, a blue large winter hat, and she is sitting on a suitcase, but for some reason I say to myself, "No, this lady isn't crazy." Well I offer her my lunch and make sure to tell her I haven't touched it and all she does is shake her change cup at me. I laughed (and then imagined her kicking me down the subway stairs for laughing at her). She didn't kick me or anything, but she couldn't have been that down and out or I would like to think she would have accepted my food.

Then as I get off the subway at my stop I see one of my neighborhood hobos outside the local McDonalds. He has no shoes on, his shirt is open, his pants are dirty, and he is eating a bag of Doritos he literally just pulled out of the trash. I say to myself, "perfect!" a genuinely hungry hobo who will really need my chicken wrap. Well he pushed it away and says no...

So is it me? Or are the hobos in NYC not really hobos at all? If I had to pick Doritos out of the trash I think I would also accept untouched chicken wraps, but I suppose he is not me. I know I am ignorant for expecting people to be grateful for what I give them, but I really don't think that on a rational level. I just assume when people are hungry they will eat food. Silly me. Oh well, I put in the trash and hoped someone nice would pick it up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Poop cup rain detector

New York City weather is quite unpredictable. I suppose weather everywhere is unpredictable, but here since we walk so much you have to be prepared or you will be wet, hot, cold, whatever it may be for the rest of the day.

This is where my trusty poop cup rain detector comes in. I know it sounds weird, but this trusty Styrofoam cup lets me know whether or not it has rained in the night, which often indicates to me whether or not I should bring my umbrella to work that day. Let me explain...

First of all, I hate pigeons. They are flying rats. I don't hunt and I don't like guns or killing things, but if I could I would hunt pigeons. I would call them flying rats, but that would be insulting to rats to happen to be a very smart rodent. Now, because I hate pigeons so much I decided to put pigeon stabbers (they are plastic bases with metal pokers so that pigeons can't land of them without getting stabbed), on my air conditioner window unit.

My "delightful" neighbors decided to stick a styrofoam cup onto my stabbers and at first it bugged the crap out of me, because it looks bad and the pigeons pooped all over it. However, I realized that the poop is washed off each and every time it rains! How helpful in the mornings! I know you say, "Why don't you just look outside to see if it's wet?" And I say...because I don't have to, I have a pigeon poop cup rain detector.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Animals as snacks...

So after a long night of little sleep and lots of editing I was leaving my boss' apartment after an early morning hard drive drop off. She lives on the Lower East Side and although most of the drugs might be gone, the crazies are still abundant. However, sometimes the crazies wear sheeps clothing and you just can't tell from the exterior how crazy they really are. Well talk to them for five minutes and you will soon find out.

So as I was be-bopping down the street and I saw this little older lady with three dogs (all off leashes mind you, illegal in NYC. This should've been my first clue). Well two of the dogs were beautiful golden mixes of some sort and since I dream of dogs all the time I sometimes like to be creepy and ask people what breed their dogs are. So I asked, "What kind of dogs are those?" She pleasantly replied, "Retriever lab mixes." So, I countered with "What a great mix, beautiful and good temperaments."

Then out of no where the sky got dark, the dogs turned rabid, and the lady's eyes turned bright red. Okay, that didn't happen, but it might as well have because I would've been less scared if it had. Before I even knew what was going on the woman goes into this tirade about how if you love animals you don't eat them...cows, chickens, dogs, cats, birds, all of them. I can't even reply before she decides to educate me on the fact that humans were not evolutionarily designed to consume meat and not only meat, but eggs. ice cream, yogurt, all types of dairy. Then she says with indignation (towards apparently me and every other meat eater out there) that humans are herbivores and by not practicing that we are killing the environment!

Well I need to add a few side notes.

1. Homo Sapiens (or humans as we know them today) have been eating meat for at least 1.5 million years since the first humanoid type hunters the Homo Habilis. So, I think it's safe to say our bodies have evolved enough to digest meat.

2. As my super smart sister pointed out, if we weren't evolved enough to consume meat we wouldn't have canine teeth or incisors.

3. In New York, or any walking city for that matter, once you start a conversation with someone on the street walking next to you the only way to end it is to turn on a cross street or awkwardly speed up. So once you're screwed until the block ends.

Side notes added, after she continues on her diatribe I just sit there not really knowing what to say (especially since I never admitted I ate meat anyway), so I just smiled and nodded thinking the corner couldn't get here fast enough. She even pulls out freaking PETA paperwork to hand to me before I quickly crossed the street and took a nice deep breath of McDonalds hamburger smell.

I learned a couple things from this experience. Don't start conversations in the middle of the block because there is not an un-awkward way to get out of them. I really like most meats and dairy products and I will continue eating them all I please. And finally...don't talk to anyone! Because even people who look normal could in fact be very crazy

Friday, July 11, 2008

To Eat or Not to Eat

During a recent conversation with my sister about how and why the DC Metro does not allow people to eat in the subway and why the New York City subway does not share such a rule. When considering which subway my sister rather eat in she said definitely DC and I had to agree. Our next question was; How do they enforce such a rule? I was told that in DC people are ticketed heavily for being caught eating or drinking in the subway, which in theory would get people not to do things. However, I have definitely sat in a subway car with guy smoking a blunt before. It may have been at about 3am on the F train in Brooklyn, but still he did it with cops only being one subway car away. He also made us promise not to tell anyone (he may or may not have been cracked out). All that aside I just don't feel like New Yorkers would follow such a rule, because they don't really follow many of the rules already in place.

The excellent point my sister made was that the subway she rather have a turkey sandwich on is the very one where she might get ticketed for doing so. So can you not eat on the DC train because they don't want it to be as disgusting as the NY Subway? Or is the NY subway disgusting because people are allowed to eat on it? I'm not sure food alone could make the NY subway system as gross as it is. I think it's more a lack of maintenance and indifference by it's riders to clean up after themselves. How do they keep the DC Metro so damn clean? I can't possibly think it's based on the no eating rule alone. Maybe it will always be a mystery...

I think this is a case that will not be solved. It should be put up there with "Is Santa Claus really real?" Until it is figured out I will continue to eat my pop-tarts on the subway and try hard not to think about all of the little particles of rat poop flying up and sticking to the jelly as the subway car passes by. Gross? Maybe, but I like to think I am just building up my immune system for when the next black plague hits. We'll see how well the DC population fares when that happens.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ugly Americans

I just finished a book I borrowed from my sister called Ugly Americans. It was pretty good and a fast read. The book is about 1990's American investors took advantage of the Asian stock market and managed to make millions. I do not understand enough about the American stock market, much less the Asian market to explain how exactly they did this, but they did and at the expense of always.

John Malcolm is the lead character and although he's a real person his name was changed. He basically got involved in the business straight out of undergrad not having any clue what he was getting into. After learning the ropes, seeing some people bottom out, and realizing what he had gotten himself into...he left, but not before scoring some major moola. Although the author makes him out to be the good guy amongst a bunch of bad guys. I'm not sure if I buy that, but I wouldn't have minded making 500 million in a few years and then retiring at age 26.

Overall an okay book. Well written and everything, worth the read since it's suspenseful and easy to get through. I recommend.

Dear Uncle Sam, Thanks for the great weekend. Love, Jules

Well, well, well there are "free" things in the U.S. I think they're all in DC and I paid for them in taxes, but still. I decided to spend our nation's Bday in none other than Washington DC. I do not consider myself a particularly patriotic person (I do like America), but being in the capital makes me want to be least for the weekend.

The real reason I went down to DC is because my good friend Stephanie lives there and I hadn't visited her yet. I also got to catch up with an old college friend that I used to volunteer at the hospital with as well. :) It was a great weekend with great people Lincoln and Jefferson included.

I had never been to DC, so I didn't know how clean their subway was, how free all of the things to do are, and how friendly it was (especially compared to New York). Not only can you get into all of the memorials for free, but the museums and the monuments are free too! Unlike the Statue of can go inside the Washington Monument (and up near the top) for nothing! I thought it was the most fabulous thing. A great place for a poor person like me to visit. Although I don't understand people's need to build huge marble buildings to honor the dead I sort of liked seeing them. The memorials, though sad, were powerful and Arlington Cemetery was eerie and not in a good way. It was interesting to see, but very cemeteries typically are.

Overall DC was fabulous. I still can't get over the fact that all of the Smithsonian museums have free admission. At least we know we can benefit in some way from our government. They may stink at invading countries (post 2000) and keeping our public schools funded and many other things I wish not to dive into, but they sure can keep our monuments and museums up to snuff. Everyone should go whenever they have the chance. Let your government give back to you for once!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The hobos take Manhattan

Summer in New York is a special time. The urine smell in the subways is always stale and warm. The amount of trash goes up due to more people being outside and the overall hostility of hot and sweaty people cramped in a small subway car is like no where else on the planet. In addition to all of that fun the hobo population seems to reach new's like were in that bad Michael Keaton movie from the 90's Multiplicity (except with hobos that look similar instead of cute little Michael Keaton). I'm sure they live here all year round, but they really seem to start walking around more in the summer. Sometimes they wear winter coats and other times hardly anything at all. The BO is always fresh and the change cups jingle jangle as if it were Christmas time.

My interactions with our city's homeless population has been mixed. I once had a man in a coonskin cap spit on me in Union Square. He claimed I stared at him for too long, but wouldn't you stare at a man in a coonskin cap in the middle of Union Square? He was a bit hostile to say the least. Then there are the nice hobos like the one that hangs out near my apartment, who typically offers to help me carry my groceries. I never take him up on it, but it seems like a sincere offer and not him trying to get something out of me. Then there are the unhomeless homeless. The people that have better shoes on than you asking you for change because they lost their job, their life savings, their home, their AIDS...whatever it is. I don't have a lot of sympathy for these folks because they are ripping off tourists and taking away from the people in actual need.

Well even though I joke with you I am mildly sympathetic to the plight of the hobos. I often leave food out or give them whatever food I have on me. I once got some pizza thrown right back at me for offering it to the wrong hobo. Apparently not all homeless people want to be spoken to or offered things. I also got followed down Broadway and yelled at for like 6 blocks for smiling at the wrong hobo. Perhaps hobo isn't the nicest word and maybe making light of what mental illness many of them have also isn't nice, but I am just joking for laughs. I do feel sorry for many of them, but there is also some humor that needs to be found in it or you will depress yourself with the amount of homeless people you come across any given day in this busy city.

So if you have any trips planned to NYC in the summer keep an eye out for your neighborhood hobos, bring some extra snacks, but you can't give money to all of them (Shannon) or you will be broke in about an hour.