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A Good Week Spent With Good Friends.

I’ve had a few friends in town this week…

“I’m 58, I’ve got this smokin’ hot 25-year-old waitin’ at home for me.”

– Some muscle-bound, middle-aged douche with a ponytail I walked past today discussing his lady who, incidentally, is the age-equivalent of me hooking up with a girl who is barely 13 years old.

It’s been a fun week for several reasons, but the main one is just coincidence; It seems that over the last week, quite a few friends of mine have inexplicably decided to come to New York for one reason or another all at the same time.
I wrote in my last post about how I went to see Rancid play on Friday night at Terminal 5. I had no idea they were playing in New York, but a friend of mine from Singapore, Jaspal Singh, was in the US and had gone to see them in Chicago. Jaspal came to New York and was in town until Sunday and the plan was to catch up on Saturday night, however, that fell through because his phone died when he was in Brooklyn that evening.
Still, it’s been a fun week…

Monday, September 21, 2015
Monday was a pretty regular day that I normally wouldn’t bother writing about, except for one thing; We started planning our trip for the Christmas/New Year’s period. The current plan, albeit off the top of my unreliable head, is that we’ll be flying into Guatemala City on Christmas Eve and staying there until New Year’s Day, a holiday that will include a visit to an ancient Mayan city called Tikal. From there we will travel to Honduras for one of Anna’s mission trips where she will conduct free eye-surgery on underprivileged  people. My job will be to help carry and set up equipment, as well as possibly conduct vision tests and do some data entry work. It should be some fun.
I also received confirmation about volunteering in a thrift store near our place, I start next Monday at Midday.


Cristy battling with a Reuben.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
A few weeks ago an old friend of mine from high school, Cristy Neilson, told me that she would be visiting New York and our plan was to meet up on Tuesday. I was supposed to meet her out the front of Grand Central Station on 42nd St at 11:00am, but Cristy got a little disoriented when she went to try to find a decent cup of coffee, so I ended up meeting her up near 7th Avenue. Our trip would take us down Broadway to 3rd Avenue, down 3rd Avenue and the Bowery to East Houston St, a look around St. Mark’s Place, and then back up.

The first stop was John Varvatos at 315 Bowery. Why this particular store, a place I would never shop if you paid me? Because Cristy has a similar interest in music to me (she’s a big fan of The Cramps) and John Varvatos is the former site of the legendary CBGB. Needless to say, she was as disgusted as I was when I first visited. How can one of the most significant venues in the history of punk rock now sell scarves for $295?
We were starting to get a bit peckish, so I suggested Katz’s Deli, my reason being that Cristy is traveling around the US with her best friend who just happens to be a vegetarian, so what is the least vegetarian thing I can think of? A Reuben sandwich from Katz’s. We bought two, one regular and one pastrami on rye. She couldn’t finish hers and I was bloated as hell after mine, but I didn’t remember feeling this full the last time I had one. When I told Anna, she said it was because we shared one between us, these things are huge!

A grown man sulking in front of Katz's.

A grown man sulking in front of Katz’s.

It was now time to try to walk off that enormous lunch. I thought it would be fun to take her into Whole Foods Market and laugh at the pretentious advertising and the insane prices that self-righteous but financially sound hippies are willing to pay under the guises of “health” and “fair-trade”. I’m not so sure that US$8.00 is reasonable for a watermelon, nor is selling bottles of Asparagus Water for US$6.00. We had a laugh and continued on our way, stopping off at a few of my other favourite places, the first being Search and Destroy (go on, click that link and check out the photos) and the next being Academy LPs.
We tried to make our way back, but when we were close to my place Cristy’s feet resembled udders more than feet and she had to take a cab back to her hotel. I had a look at the pedometer on my phone and it turned out we’d walked 25kms (15.5 miles), but I still made it to the gym, however, Im not turning into one of  those guys.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
I got out of bed on Wednesday morning and my legs were like jelly. Anna had been having Singaporean food cravings, but it’s almost impossible to find decent Chinese food here, so she asked me to make bak kut teh. It was a bit of an effort to make the five-minute walk to the supermarket to get the ingredients, but I did it and started cooking.

I knew that Caracal, a Singaporean hardcore band fronted by my mate, K.C. Meals, were playing shows in New York and I had agreed to go to their Thursday night show. K.C. messaged me to let me know that they had a gig that night at Singapore: Inside Out, a festival showcasing the creative talents of Singapore. I told Anna about it and she was excited, “Cool, they might have Singaporean food!” Thanks, Anna, I guess you forgot what I had spent my day doing.
We caught up with K.C., caught their show and had a great time. Probably the most amusing part for me was how he told me that in Singapore people say they are too loud, but when they were sound-checking for this gig, the New York audio guys were cool. That is until a Singaporean complained that they were too loud. Oh well.
It was a great show, but it was a strange crowd; All of the Singaporeans were at least 10 years younger than us, but everyone else was about 10 years older. Here are some photos from the gig:

Thursday, September 24, 2015
Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, I can’t go to Caracal’s gig tonight, but they have another on Sunday, so I’ll try to make that.
Again, today was somewhat of a non-event except for one particular moment, a great accusation, so I’ll need to rewind a bit:

About a month ago I accidentally splashed coffee on the keyboard of my laptop and now it doesn’t work. I’ve been meaning to get it repaired, but I’ve been using Anna’s computer so I keep forgetting, but I planned to do it today. My computer is an Asus so I looked up where the repair centre was and was on my way. One problem: Today is Pope Francis’ arrival in New York and the city is on lockdown. There are police everywhere, roads blocked, trucks ready to dump sand to block more roads, helicopters overhead, secret service agents around, ironically with ‘Secret Service’ emblazoned across their chests in enormous letters for some reason. Typical American paranoia and you’d think the Pope of all people would have a little more faith in humanity.
I’m lazy when it comes to shaving so I look a little scruffy, but I wasn’t going to do anything about it today. I put the computer in a bag, slung it over my shoulder, and was out the door. Eventually, I arrived at the location where the infinitely unreliable Google Maps told me to go. I went inside, asked if the Asus repair centre was there, the doorman told me there was a place that repairs electronics on the eighth floor, so I got in the elevator and went up. I arrived at a dingy little room with parts of electrical appliances strewn around, it didn’t look like an official repair centre, but I thought I’d try my luck, but ended up having the following exchange:

Me: “I don’t know if I’m in the right place, but do you repair computers?”
Woman at desk: “We can.”
Me: “Okay, well this is an Asus…”
Woman at desk: “Isis?!?”
Me: “Huh?”
Woman at desk: “You said ‘This is Isis’!!!”
Me: “You’re crazy. F___ it, I’ll go somewhere else.”

Maybe it’s just my accent, maybe it’s the heightened paranoia surrounding the Pope’s visit, or maybe she is just bat-shit crazy, but I don’t think Isis guys just walk into hard-to-find computer repair stores and politely introduce themselves by saying, “This is Isis.” It doesn’t matter, I found another centre and they’re going to check out my laptop.

Anyway, tomorrow is still crazy due to the Pope, so Anna can’t get to work and will have to work from home, but we’re going to try to catch up with Cristy and her friend tomorrow night for dinner and drinks.

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