Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Boyfriend Birthday Gifts

It ticks me off that when I search for "unique gifts" and "boyfriend" on the web, I get links to websites that sell personalized mugs, teddybears, pens and other useless things that will eventually accumulate dust in the corner of his closet. The same go for girlfriend gifts I suppose. To save the trouble of thinking about getting that truly fantastic boyfriend gift for someone that has everything, I have listed my gift thoughts below.

1. Hot Air Balloon Ride - I love this kind of stuff. You can get an exclusive balloon trip for 2 plus a romantic dinner and a bed and breakfast and a champagne party. But it will cost you - $695 (includes tax). And it's in New Jersey but New Jersey has to be good for something. Check out Inflight Balloon Adventures.

2. Flying a Plane - Not for someone who is afraid of flying but if they aren't, this is a pretty cool deal. A Discovery Plane Lesson/Ride is available from White Plains. Your better half can attempt to drive the plane for a short time while pretending he's a fighter pilot. May be helpful to get a pair of Ray Bans for the event. Price is pretty reasonable too - $55. Check out Panaroma Discovery Flight.

3. Renting a Luxury Car - Not for the faint of heart or for the empty of wallet but it's a great gift for your boyfriend if he really loves cars. You can rent a luxury car like a Lamborghini Gallardo for $1150. Mind you, this is only for a half day. And it doesn't include the insurance. The full day costs $1750. And these are just the weekdays. Then again, you could be spending that grand on something more worthwhile. But if this is something that your honey has been dreaming about, check out Gotham Dream Cars.

4. Luxury Watch - I like this because it's the kind of item that will be with him for his lifetime. If it's a really good watch, that is. I know that my Dad kept his Seiko Kinetic watch with him for over 30 years and counting. I tend to like Movado watches. Especially the simple kind with a silver band but for the more ostentatious, there is always bling to cater to any fashionista's desires.

5. Monogrammed Cuff Links - This may seem like a boring gift but done the right way, I think it could be truly memorable. Especially if you get silver cuff links from Tiffany and monogram his initials in front and engrave your message in the back. I'm not sure if they can engrave your message in the back but that's what makes the present so special so the search should be more than worth it. Everytime he puts on his cufflinks, he will think of you.

6. CD - This is kind of cheezy but I like it. I picked it up from a Board somewhere a long time ago. You can make a CD of all of the Number 1 songs from each year since the year your boyfriend was born. It would be even better if you could package it up in an iTunes gift certificate for retrieval on the iTunes website but sadly, they have not caught onto the idea of pre-purchased gift iTunes yet.

7. Magazine Subscription - You know your boyfriend likes reading magazines be it football, porn, finance, cooking or gardening. I think most guys are too lazy to get a subscription or just don't think about it. How about buying a subscription to a magazine he will love? Some ideas include Playboy, Hustler, Maxim, Stuff, Discovery, Football Digest, Sports Illustrated, etc.

8. Of The Month Club - Let's face it. Guys are lazy. They like to have stuff delivered to their doorstep so they don't have to think about leaving the house. And guys love the "Of the Month Clubs". Who wouldn't? You get an assortment of beers, scotches, cigars or other vices delivered to your doorstep once a month. No hassle. And sometimes they pop in a freebie. Prices range depending on what assortment you get and for how long.

9. Make something he'll actually use - Knit him a sweater or a scarf if you are a good knitter. Make him stereo speakers or a bookcase if you would prefer. Personal gifts are always nice but follow 2 rules: 1. The quality should be as good. The made at home bonus is negated if there are huge gaping holes in the scarf. 1. Make sure it's something that they want/need. It's useless to give them a homemade bookshalf if there is no space in his apartment for it!

10. Sports equipment or cooking/gardening - Whatever his hobby is or just an interest he has been thinking about, equipment is always needed. So far my boyfriend has received a tennis racket. Lessons may be included in the future. Other ideas could be golf clubs/bag, snowboard, rollerblades, grill, kitchen aid mixer, etc. Lessons could be included in the gift also. Maybe even a trip to somewhere where he can really use his present. Make a whole weekend out of it!

11. Car Race Track - I haven't tried this yet but doesn't it sound spiffy? I think there are racetracks in Connecticut where you can get an instructor and rent a race car to drive around the track.

12. Porn - 'Nough said.

13. Tickets - This could be tickets to his favorite football/baseball/basketball team. Or it could be tickets to his favorite Broadway play. Or tickets to dinner theater or whatever. It's a nice gift.

14. Video Games - You're lucky if you are gift giving during the video gaming system/video games release dates. It makes things easy. Things to look out for: XBOX 360, Nintendo Revolution, PS3, PSP, Nintendo DS Lite. One video game that I would really recommend for true gamers - Oblivion.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Disappointing Four Star Restaurants

I love food. I may be a skinny little bitch but I eat like a champion food eater. I can outeat most men. Thus, I like to go to restaurants. A lot. Because I can't cook to save my life. I frequent my favorite restaurants often but I try to hit one or two new restaurants a week. I really like New York food but I have to admit that the food is much better in Europe. *sigh* I think the food in New York gets worse year after year. Low end to mid priced food is OK but it doesn't have the flavor of that grouchy guy in the neighborhood making you your favorite dish and snuggling up with the kitten on the counter. I love that special made with love quality! Or maybe it's the lack of fresh food as I have to admit that even the food in San Francisco is better. And celebrity chefs are always looking for something that makes people go ga-ga but they don't pay as much attention to the taste. I don't give a fuck about presentation. Give me the real thing! Or barring that, give me something fried. I guess they are looking for a way to present artwork that can be eaten and a high enough price to keep the riff raff out.

I made reservations for Daniel last weekend for my anniversary. The service was impeccable but the food For a dinner that came out to more than $300, I was expecting more than just eh but we pay for the reputation, right? I find that when it comes down to it, most fancy restaurants cannot compare to really well made pigs in a blanket (so good!) or Totino's pizza rolls!!! I guess I have proleteriat tastes but I'm proud of it! There's a reason why this stuff sells!

I'm always open to revising my opinions so I have made a reservation for Jean Georges next month. Hopefully, they will serve better food. I'm also diligently calling to get reservations at Per Se but no luck. I figure I will get through one of these days. The only expensive restaurant which was really worth it in my culinary experience was Bouley. The food is fantastic! Other than that, I have never really had a memorable experience with high end French restaurants.

Nobu reminds me of certain meals my mother cooks which are great but not so special when you can just have your mom make it at home and save the $300 dinner tab. From just randomly picking new restaurants, I listed my favorites below:

- Grace - Pulled Duck Sandwich
- Shopshin - Half an order of Mac n' Cheese Pancakes with Sausage Walnut Hash
- Peter Luger's - Steak and Creamed Spinach
- Gray's Papaya - Recession Special
- Basso Est - Pasta!
- Dekk - Garlic Bread with Pesto
- Bouley - Whatever they have
- Tea & Sympathy - Welsh Rarebit with Tea
- Queen of Sheba - Vegetarian Ethiopian
- Agave - Brunch
- Grimaldi's - Pizza
- John's Pizzeria - Pizza
- Gallo Nero - Special gnocchi if they have it
- Blue Gans - Weiner Schnitzel
- Aki - Chef's Choice
- Moran's Restaurant - Seafood
- Assenzio - Gnocchi
- Bruxelles - Fries
- Nathan's Hot Dogs - Hot Dogs

This is really a quick list as I just typed what came to me at the spur of the moment but it's a good list to get started on.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Uneven Eyebrows!

I have uneven or asymmetrical eyebrows. One eyebrow is higher than the other and this drives me crazy. It has nothing to do with the way I pluck my eyebrows. The muscles on my right eyebrow are just lower than the left eyebrow. I bring this up because I am seriously considering surgery to correct this. The reason why is that I had a disturbing conversation with my doctor.

So I'm in the doctor's office and she asks me about my weight and height and all that other stuff. Then suddenly, out of the blue she starts saying:

"I'm trained to notice small details and I noticed that that one side of your face is lower than the other. Did you have a stroke in the past or something similar?"

WTF? At this point, I'm shocked and I'm mumbling something about getting my eyebrows fixed or something. I mean, it's good that she was forthright and asked because it is better to know that other people notice rather than pretend not to notice but it was a huge shock. Plus, I guess she was doing it out of concern for my health but seriously, WTF? I never had a stroke. This is my NORMAL face!

Part of the problem is that I have an eyefold on my left eye and no eye fold on my right eye. For those of you that aren't Asian, this is the epicanthic fold or the crease in your eye where you put on eye shadow. A lot of Asian don't have this fold and so their eyelids look one-lidded or flat. Other Asians have the fold and it makes their eyes look much bigger and friendlier. Many Asians who are mono-lidded get surgery to artificially these eyefolds. My sister got this surgery a few years ago. This surgery has been vilified as a means for Asian to look more "Western". But really, the surgery doesn't make someone look more white, it just opens up the eyes and makes the eyes look a lot bigger which is more attractive in a lot of cultures. Sometimes the surgery actually makes the eyes look more Asian as it emphasizes the slants at the corners. Also, the eyefolds that are more popular and most requested look nothing like Western eyelids.

I digress. So this one eyefold thing is part of the problem of my asymmetrical face. The other problem is my uneven eyebrows. So how to fix it? I find that if I lift my right brow to the same level as my left brow, my left eye automatically becomes folded in resembling my right eye. So I'm thinking this surgery could be worthwhile. Am I taking this too far? I wonder if anyone else has had the same problem. I looked this up online and found patients who most often request this surgery are old white people with droopy eyelids and bags. Is there an easier way to accomplish this? I can't be the only Asian with uneven eyes!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Love New York

I think I write far too much about things that annoy me rather than things that actually have happened in my day. Mostly because I'm frustrated with the direction that New York City is going and I feel that a lot of the uniqueness that makes New York City itself is slowly being drained out. All the interesting people are leaving and being replaced with grown up frat boys and sorority girls who want to be Seinfeld or Friends or a myriad of other shows. I love New York so much and I don't think I could ever leave. My family is here and I would like to continue living here.

*Sigh* But everything is cyclical, yes? One day the construction will end and the financial markets will roll over and play dead and we may get some breathing room for the interesting things to start again.

My father has been working in Brooklyn at a stationary store for over 30 years. I think he is the longest running storekeeper in his neighborhood. I remember "helping" him work at the store during the weekends when I was 7. He has seen the transformation of the neighborhood from a predominantly Jewish neighborhood to a Caribbean neighborhood. He has been held up a gunpoint numerous times and witnessed his friend get shot in the chest by crazed druggie.

But out of all this, New York still holds that indefinable charm which keeps him here and working. He has his steady customers and his daily NY Post. Occassionally I go back to the store to help out during the weekends by watching the customers as many people steal - mostly kids take things and sometimes the parents help out by hiding the loot. But there are stories and these stories are slowly fading as are the neighborhood businesses. My father will probably retire next year and will bow out of his 30 year lease (Yes, they actually had 30 year leases back then).

The one good thing about gentrification is that the neighborhood is getting safer. The unspoken rule is that the less black a neighborhood gets, the safer it is. Crazy, huh? I wish it weren't that way but we have lived far too long in the city to not see the correlation. But I like the flavor of different cultures coming together and seeing poverty and wealth mashed up against each other rather than separated by a visible line.

Where will we be in the next 20 years? Will Manhattan be a fortress of wealthy white people being served by poor minority folk commuting in from the outer boroughs? It certainly is going down that direction right now. But perhaps the poor minority folk will no longer afford to live near New York and as the service in the City gets worse, the rich will be tempted to leave and go populate another city. I guess we will see.

Attack of the Double Wide Baby Strollers

Battery Park City probably holds the most children per square foot in Manhattan. I can see why families would want to move down here because Battery Park City is a new development with great elementary schools and beautiful parks. I love kids and I hope to have many brats of my own one day, but as much as I love kids, it just sucks being stuck behind a mommy or a nanny slowly pushing the double wide stroller. Is it just my imagination or does there seem to be a very large amount of twins in New York? And an abnormally large amount of strollers? I long for the days of white flight back in the 1980s when families wouldn't be caught dead in the City parading around with their double wide stroller and diaper bag.

I just hate to be behind those double wide strollers because they take up the whole damn sidewalk and slow all of us regular non stroller pedestrians down. Mommies and nannies also love to use their strollers as walking weapons. I have seen strollers used to push a fellow pedestrians out of the way, ram open doors and prop doors open. I have also seen mothers hurrying across the West Side Highway with their strollers when traffic had the green light. What a way to put your kid in danger! I wish that these families would move out of the cities into the suburbs where they didn't have to deal with the frustrations of cramming their super sized lives in with us economy sized New Yorkers.

I think some families are good about getting an appropriate sized stroller and making sure that their children are under supervision and generally being respectful of other people. But the majority are not and I suspect that many of them are originally from places where stroller SUVs are perfectly acceptable because no one really walks anywhere. *SIGH* But I guess Manhattan is getting suburbanized. And Battery Park City is the prime example as it almost is like a gated community. All I can hope for is for crime to be on the rise once again so that families will scurry away to greener pastures.

One thing I noticed about New York families is there seems to be a hierarchy of status among the mommies. Just wait in front of an affluent elementary school and you can see that there are basically three main types of people who pick up children:

1. Nanny - She is hired by the parents as they are both working in professional jobs that don't leave them enough time to pick up or take care of their kids after school.

2. Mommy - The daddy makes enough money so that the mommy can be a stay at home mommy and take care of the kids. Or there is a trust fund somewhere.

3. Mommy with Nanny - The daddy makes enough money that mommy can stay at home plus hire a nanny to take care of the kids. Or there is a trust fund somewhere.

Of course there are situations that are different than the 3 main scenarios above such as the stay at home daddy or the work at home mommy that can pick up the kids or the recently fired mommy or the maternity leave mommy but those are the 3 major family care options in affluent NYC.

I point this out as raising kids in today's New York City is really status driven. This translates into competition to get your kids into the best schools regardless of whether the school is actually a good fit for the child. Research kindergartens in Manhattan and you will see what I mean. It takes applications and essays to get into KINDERGARTEN! I feel especially bad for those kids who don't have the resources to get into these schools because their parents can't be bothered to fill out applications or because their parents cannot read or write or because a variety of other reasons in which they cannot meet the high bar set by these schools to even apply. The bottom line is that you have to have parents who care and have certain abilities. If you don't, you are pretty much fucked because you are tracked to the worst possible schools.

As diverse and equal as the people would like schools to be, the natural inclination of schools is to be divided by income and class. This is nothing new but it is scary to think that this is happening from the kindergarten level and it is getting worse. I think at this point, homeschooling is the best option for parents in New York City if they have the time, ability and inclination.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Deodorant Without Antiperspirant

I can usually get away without wearing deodorant. I know - ewwww! But seriously, I'm Asian! East Asian, that is. East Asians sweat but we don't get stinky. Well, not as stinky as everyone else. And it's been proven! But still, with years of mental conditioning from growing up being the only Asian in my class, I have the need to own and occasionally wear deodorant. If only for the reason of not having to explain that I'm not totally arrogant thinking I'm not stinky. So I always have a stick of deodorant in my bathroom cabinet.

I do get slightly stinky after really strenuous exercise so the deodorant is always nice to have. But I am the exception rather than the rule in my family as I think I'm the only person who has any kind of body odor in my family regardless of the exercise. However although I support deodorant use I have never been a fan of antiperspirant. Something about antiperspirant makes me nauseous especially when I apply the stuff in the morning. So I quit buying antiperspirant and stuck to deodorants. Then I found these intriguing articles about the possible link between antiperspirant and neurological disorders. Well, the link isn't really between antiperspirants and neurological disorders but between the quantity of aluminum we absorb and neurological disorders. Antiperspirants contain some form of aluminum as an active ingredient to block the pores from sweating. Yuck! I think that grosses me out the most - that these companies shove aluminum up the pores to stop your body from sweating out the bad stuff from the body system. Anyway, this further convinced me to stop using antiperspirant.

But it's really difficult to buy just deodorant! Walk into any Duane ready in New York City and you will find an entire aisle of deodorant. And most of them will contain antiperspirant. The guys' section of deodorant usually has half and half - Half of the deodorants are just deodorants and the other half have antiperspirant. But the girls' section of deodorants all have antiperspirant included. I think there is only one brand without the antiperspirant - Tom's of Maine. I refuse to buy Tom's of Maine because I have had bad experiences with their products in the past. I just don't think their products are effective. Where did all the plain old deodorants go?

I still have my stick of deodorant from Lady Speedstick from a few years ago. I don't use deodorant that often so a stick every few years works fine for me. I'm worried that I won't be able to find deodorants without antiperspirants anymore in my local drugstore to restock my supply. It also frightens me a little bit that drug stores are stocking antiperspirants with little or no alternatives for women. I can either use Tom's of Maine or that stupid mineral crystal ball thing that you rub under your armpit. I guess they are just responding to demand from customers. Is it that men know more about the possible dangers of antiperspirant use? Is it that women are more paranoid about sweating?

I may just cut off deodorant use entirely as I don't really need it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Perfect New York City Doctor

I think everyone in New York City must be on the quest for the perfect doctor. Once you nab one, it is of utmost importance that you hold this information close to your heart and hope against hope that your perfect doctor doesn't get overloaded with patients. Once the perfect doctor gets outed, it's like a stampede. You would be lucky to get an appointment within three months. If you are one of the precious few that have always had access to the fabled perfect doctor, I hate you (but will love you again if you would forward me their information). It typically takes a series of wrong prescriptions, time spent waiting on the phone, unnecessary procedures and "oops! I'm sorry I made a mistake" doctors to find the right one. If you have found "the one", remember to properly appreciate your doctor!

I recently underwent a frantic search for a good OB/GYN as my previous perfect wonderful OBGYN retired. She was my mother's longtime buddy back in the day when my parents first immigrated to New York City. She was considerate, helpful, gave me free prescription sample medications and was very discreet. So wonderful that she successfully battled my mother into submission on OB/GYN visits when I was a teenager. My mother is a very nosy person and loves to be in the room with me wherever I go. Just imagine trying to convince your mom that you seriously do not need her in the bathroom stall with you when you really need to go! My OB/GYN would physically push my mother outside the room and lock the door. Of course, my mother would be pounding on the door trying to get in but my OB/GYN was probably the only doctor in the world who could keep her out and have it not affect her performance. *Sniff* I loved my doctor.

But one sad day she retired and referred me to another doctor. As I really trusted her advice, I immediately put the referral information in my Contacts and set up an appointment with the new doctor. I have now learned never to trust referrals from doctors. I had a hard time understanding my new OB/GYN as English was his second language. His nurses also had a difficult time understanding him and would frequently ask him to repeat himself. I was uncomfortable having a male OB/GYN but I trusted my previous doctor enough to try this new one out. Within a year of having this new doctor, I underwent unnecessary surgery, was assigned wrong prescriptions and was scheduled for appointments with the doctor when he was away on vacation. He also never called me back with the results of any of my tests. Granted, some of these problems were due to the administrative office but I really believe that a competent doctor would also keep a tight check on administrative issues like making sure that there are no appointments on the schedule before going away on vacation! I also think a doctor should call you regardless of whether the tests are positive or negative to at least let you know.

I recently found a new OB/GYN and she confirmed my suspicions about my previous doctor. I am now contemplating whether I should report my old doctor but I don't know if my accusations would be serious enough to warrant an investigation. It would also be a huge pain in the ass. So, I will most likely just move on with my life.

But I am so happy that I have now built up my personal arsenal of great doctors and a wonderful dentist. Still searching for the right oral surgeon. Have any tips? I need to get my wisdom teeth out! I went to an oral surgeon at the recommendation of my dentist (never trust professional recommendations!) and had a horrible experience. I'm not sure if it was because extracting wisdom teeth is in general a horrible experience or if the oral surgeon sucked. I requested general anesthesia instead of the local anesthesia because I wanted to be knocked out when they took those suckers out. I only asked for the left side to be taken out as I would be going to Russia shortly afterwards and I needed at least one decent side of the mouth to chew with and I was uncertain as to how to say - can you grind that food up into a pulp for me and pour it in my mouth - in Russian. I guess I could have survived on caviar and vodka but that would be a different story.

All I know is that the oral surgeon immediately began to attack my mouth while I was awake. I counted to ten and looked around for that mask they put on your face to put you to sleep. But I couldn't find the mask anywhere in my peripheral vision. As I was freaked out at this point, I started waving my arms and making ARGHHHH! noises and trying to get out of the chair. Finally, the oral surgeon stopped poking around my mouth and I explained that I requested general anesthesia. Then he put me under and knocked me out with whatever gas they use to knock you out. I still suspect he charged me for the local anesthesia as well as the general, bastard!

The beauty of general anesthesia is that you feel nothing. You also have no perception of time. It feels like you went to sleep and woke up immediately 3 minutes afterwards. Then you start to wonder why the clock is 3 hours ahead and what you are doing with a bloodstained napkin and why you are so groggy. I would imagine Roofies would feel the same way. Anyways, I was picked up by my loving boyfriend at the oral surgeon's office after receiving a prescription form for Vicodin. Little did I know that the oral surgeon did not give me any painkillers to tide me over until I got to the drug store to pick up my Vicodin. As soon as the numbing agent in my mouth wore off, I was in nailbiting pain. I started off whimpering softly and holding my mouth but that soon progressed into gulping sobs and tears with blood gushing down my gums. At this point, we were in Duane Reade on the line at the prescription counter. (A slight digression but I have to ask why the heck is there always a huge line at every Duane Reade prescription counter when there are like three Duane Reades on every block in this city????) As I was gushing blood and crying, my face had swollen to grotesque proportions. People hurriedly let me cut them on the line.

Then came the ordeal of the Duane Reade cashier. Now I know that these cashiers are paid minimum wage and they have a difficult life but I find that the Duane Reade cashiers especially the ones at the prescription counter are like really dim dinosaurs. They move at the slowest pace possible, have the worst attitude and it takes awhile for them to process anything. (I don't know if dinosaurs had bad attitudes but I assume they did. I secretly believe that this was the primary reason why they were wiped out as they pissed each other off and destroyed each other in a mutually destructive act.) Obviously, this is a generalization and I have met really nice and smart cashiers but I generally prefer if the pharmacist is manning the prescription desk as they are much nicer and faster. At this point I was babbling incoherently about needing medicine to make the pain stop. My boyfriend asked for an emergency rush on the Vicodin as I was clearly in pain and dripping blood on the counter. The cashier just stared at us blankly and said we would have to wait the requisite half hour. At this point, I was hitting my head on the counter (no really! I was hitting my head on the counter) because at least I could concentrate on a lesser pain rather than the huge explosion going on in my mouth. I think this among other things ( my boyfriend yelling at the cashier, other customers staring in horror, customers asking her to help us, the pharmacist stepping in) speeded the process up until I finally got my Vicodin.

So, all was well and I took my Vicodin and cried myself to sleep. I am thankful that my boyfriend continued to stay with me through my psychosis. I hope there is a special hell for those really horrible Duane Reade cashiers (not the nice ones but you know the ones I mean) and incompetent doctors. I think the incompetent doctors deserve the special hell more than the cashiers as I still harbour sympathy for the cashiers as I too have spent a year earning less than minimum wage, but maybe the cashier would be moved to a nicer level of hell. Remember, never trust professional recommendations! Always do the research when it comes to NYC doctors. I use and the New York State Professional Misconduct and Physician Discipline. And check this NY Times article out.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Stop Having Sex with My Nose!

Spring is hell for the simple reason that spring is pollen season. Severe allergy sufferers will overwhelmingly agree with me on this one. Those trees look so innocent and pretty but never forget that they will be trying to have sex with you. They spread their pollen far and wide looking for a willing partner. Damn them! I always forget how terrible my allergies are when spring starts because I am so happy to get out of my bulky winter coat. My allergies don't start until mid-April which gives me a teasingly short amount of time to enjoy the sunshine before I am holed up in my apartment with my Claritin and tissues and begging any god in the heavens to make it stop. After my allergies stop which is around the end of May, I conveniently forget this all happened and the cycle begins again the next year.

I spent my formative years on Staten Island happily trolling along on tree-lined streets with standard front and back lawns as part of every neighboring house. So I have to throw up my hands and ask - why do I have allergies????? I was exposed to pollen at a young age! I should have built up immunity or something! My theory is that this is all because I was born and spent part of my childhood in Brooklyn in an apartment building that was surrounded by comforting concrete and asphalt. I think my body went into rebellion when I moved to Staten Island at the tender age of 7. I blame my parents (sorry mom and dad!).

The important thing with allergies is to identify which allergy sufferer you are. For example, I am a tree. This means I am allergic to tree pollen. My boyfriend is a grass - allergic to grass pollen. Pretty silly until you realize that people are allergic to a lot more things and it's easier to cut it down to the essentials. When you commiserate with fellow allergy sufferers, you can rattle off your list like a pro - "I'm a tree, grass, chocolate and nuts. Whatta about you?" Identifying yourself can also help figure out how to mitigate the impact on your social life. I know that my allergies are really bad right at the peak of tree pollen season so I cancel any family photographs, camp outings, picnics until the ordeal is over. Grass pollen season begins right after tree pollen season so I know that my misery is ending when I see my boyfriend suffering. I give him medicine and pat him comfortingly in the middle of his hell but I'm secretly jumping up and down with joy that I will finally get to breathe again.

It sucks to be the allergy sufferer especially as a kid because remember the kid with the runny nose who never seemed to get it cleaned up? That was ME! Remember the kid with the bloody nose who had to be taken out of class? That was ME! (I blew my nose so much it always bled) Remember the kid who peed at his desk? That wasn't me. I am so thankful that Claritin and Allegra and all those other fine non-drowsy medications are available for me. Thank you drug companies! I hate you for all the bad things that you do but I love you for the allergy medicines!

Speaking of effective allergy medications, check this one out:
I don't think I would go this far but if things get much worse, I might try this out.

So, I'm wondering how many native New Yorkers are affected by this blasted disease? I'm sad that I can't visit my family in Staten Island during this time because of the clouds of pollen hovering in their borough. Are you the same? Let me know! How do you combat your allergies? I am considering wearing goggles and a filtering mask outside. Has anyone done this before? Does it work?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Native New Yorker

One reason why I put up this blog is that I really enjoy reading other people's blogs and I thought that I should add something to the blog universe. The second reason why I put up this blog is that the term "Native New Yorker" has been taken, abused and generally gimped out to sell everything from pizza to toilet paper.

Case in point, You would think that this would be some sort of guide to New York or a diary of a native New Yorker. But no, my friend, this is the website of a state-wide franschise restaurant in Arizona. To add insult to injury, the founders of this restaurant are not even from New York City. They are from the illustrious city of Buffalo, NY. No offense to native Buffaloers.

I have very definite ideas of what a native New Yorker is. A Native New Yorker is a person who was born and raised in the glorious five boroughs of New York City. If you weren't born and raised in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island, you are not a native New Yorker. Period. It also helps if you still live in NYC but not a requirement by any means. There is an image of the native New Yorker cultivated by our real New Yorkers such as Woody Allen, Humphrey Bogart, Robert DiNiro, Seinfeld, Jennifer Lopez, P. Diddy, Ed Koch, Al Pacino, the list goes on and on. People start to use this term "native New Yorker" in conjunction with people who fit this image and it is now a term used to describe one born in New York City rather than New York State. It would be a disservice to use this to describe something other than what people know to be a "native New Yorker" (especially to sell things!) as it is deliberately leading them astray.

People from Buffalo are generally just known as up-staters. Upstate New York has a lot going for it (pretty leaves! fresh air! apple farms!) but us native New Yorkers really hate those guys because our tax money gets siphoned upstate mostly because the upstaters have much more political power. The political power in New York state is proportioned based mainly on land and not on population size. New Yorkers have a secret dream of seceding from the state and marking out our own territory but we know it won't ever happen. We just generate too much money for the rest of the state to let us go.

Now, I know how one describes a New Yorker can be highly controversial so I welcome any comments. Please note that I am describing a "native New Yorker" not a just plain old "New Yorker". I believe one can be a New Yorker if one moves here, falls in love with the city and sticks around for awhile. I appreciate anyone who loves my city as much as I do.