Posts Tagged ‘bill simmons’

My Room, part IV: My bookshelf

Posted in me! on November 23rd, 2009 by Nathan – 1 Comment

This is the final part of the discussion of my room. If you missed them, here’s parts one, two, and three.

The other major part of my room is my bookshelf. It takes up a large part of one wall and in addition to having things on the shelves, I also have things taped to either side.

For example, pictured here are four tickets from the New York showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a backstage pass for the Talib Kweli concert from last year, a tag that Joey and Jason left on the gift they got me for my birthday a few years back, and a sign from Columbia Catering that says “Home Fried Potatoes.”

That sign cracks me up. I suppose potatoes can be French Fried, but Home Fried? How do you Home Fry something? [Clearly they wanted to make Home Fries sound more appealing or upscale.]

Also taped to the side of my dresser is a ticket from every Broadway show I’ve attended. (Actually one is missing.) There’s some good shows up there, but I’m sad to say I haven’t been to a show in quite some time. Hopefully that will change Tuesday, when I’m supposed to go to South Pacific.

The first shelf of my bookshelf contains a bunch of books (no shocker there, I know), including my six Sci-fi short stories collection, The Book of Basketball (autographed by Bill Simmons), some cards from family and friends, and a plush Turkey I got while working at a USY convention over Thanksgiving a few years back.

The next shelf is less exciting. It contains my excess soap, a hard drive that I use as a hammer, and a bunch of school books. It also has my Cowboys hat, and another Columbia catering sign on a small metal cube. This sign says “Whole Milk” and was left behind in a class this year, so I acquired it.

The other exciting shelf (there’s two others, but they don’t have anything important on them – just papers and water bottles) contains a whole mess of stuff! In addition to my plush Cartman, I also have my sick Penzey’s salt and pepper shakers and a ton of glasses. One is from the Samuel Adams brewery, one from the Saint Arnold brewery, one is from the Jameson distillery, and one is a Stein from Germany. Also I have two mugs, one from Leif’s (the breakfast joint near camp, which has the greatest hash-browns of all time) and one that my Resident Director got me as a gift last year (we’re both huge Cowboys fans, and she went to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame).

Finally, hanging over all of that is my wine rack, which I bought and installed last night. It holds four bottles of wine (Trader Joe’s Three Buck Chuck, at the moment. I’ve clearly already opened the third one.) and it looks really awesome hanging over the coolest shelf on my bookshelf.

Well that’s the totality of my room. Well, that and a lamp without bulbs because I keep forgetting to buy bulbs and it’s really bright enough without it.

How was I hassled today?

Posted in Ridiculum on October 30th, 2009 by Nathan – 5 Comments

The MTA is the classic example of the New York hassle On the way to the Bill Simmons book signing, we passed a Duane Reade, at which point Joey verbalized his hatred for the drug store chain, citing high prices and monopoly power as his reasons for his dislike. Being that I find Duane Reade to be an okay place, I was surprised. But it led me to a story of a bad experience at Rite-Aid, such that Rite-Aid is an official part of the list of places I don’t enter, much like Tom’s Restaurant.

The story of Rite-Aid is a long one, and I won’t bore you with the details here, but suffice it to say that it was a story of being treated poorly arguably for no reason, something that is not foreign to this city. Joey followed my story with a different story of being hassled, at the front door of my building. He had a conflict with the ‘guard,’ and it was just another example of the New York hassle.

After we shared these stories, Joey explained the concept of the New York hassle, which is the idea that being hassled is such a part of NYC life that it’s not only accepted, it’s expected. At the end of the day in other cities, people go home and enjoy the company of others by discussing funny stories from work, what they learned in school, some issue on the news or in pop culture, etc. But in New York, the conversation nearly always revolves around stories that answer the question, “how was I hassled today?”

It’s integral to any good NYC conversation. Countless times I’ve walked by conversations of someone who seemed shocked at the level of inconvenience or disrespect they experienced. Yet these people revel in the details, regurgitating every line of dialog and every characteristic of the situation – it makes for great conversation.

Similarly, you can tell the New Yorkers from the tourists based on their reaction to a hassle. In a hassle situation, most visitors choose to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, so as to avoid the situation worsening. Conversely, those of us who have been here for a while will actively engage in the situation, hoping to tweak further details and comedy out of a situation, in order for the maximum possible retell value.

It may sound like a terrible thing, but it’s actually one of the things I love best about this city. Being that I’m so used to complaining and generally acting the curmudgeon, it thrills me that I’m not alone. In New York, everyone is hassled and everyone complains. It’s a contest to some, a inconvenience to others, but for everyone, it’s a part of life.

6 hours of buildup for 1 minute of excitement

Posted in Reviews on October 29th, 2009 by Nathan – 2 Comments

Yesterday evening, Joey and I went downtown to a Boston bar called Professor Thom’s for the purpose of meeting Bill Simmons, my favorite sports writer, and to get his latest book signed. We departed at six in the evening, unaware of the long wait we had ahead.

When we got to Professor Thom’s, Bill Simmons was just arriving. We tried to enter the bar, to find out there was a line of people who didn’t have books. We were told to join the line. It was LONG. In fact, it stretched so far that it stretched from the bar (at 2nd Av and 14th) south on 2nd Av and around the corner on 13th halfway down to the next avenue.

We waited in this line for nearly an hour and a half, finally entering the bar around 8:30, at which point, we commenced standing for even longer. Game one of the World Series was on TV, so we watched while numbers were called in batches of twenty. See, our wristbands had numbers on them (I was 5966, Joey was 5983) and when we entered, they were calling 5701-5720. So we had a while to wait.

Sometime around the 7th inning of the game, an announcement was made that there were seats upstairs. We headed upstairs and continued watching the game until finally, 5961-5980 were called. We both headed downstairs.

We bought our books and got into a very short line at the end of which sat Bill Simmons. When I got to him, I asked if he was still writing sentences or if it was too late for that. He said he wanted to keep it short because he couldn’t feel his thumb anymore. I said, “oh well never mind then” and thus he signed, as pictured above, “To Nathan, Never mind. Bill Simmons.” [This is typical Bill Simmons, and I actually think it’s pretty funny. The original sentence I had in mind was “too bad the Rockets peaked before you hit puberty,” but this wasn’t much worse.]

I shook his and and said that I love his column, etc, and then was shuffled along. After Joey got his book signed, we left in a hurry and went to Artichoke, a pizza place nearby with a Spinach & Artichoke pizza that is absolutely amazing. We then headed back uptown, finally arriving back at my place at midnight.

Thus I spent six hours to meet Bill Simmons for one minute. I have to say it was pretty disappointing, as there was very little order and the organization was nonexistent. However, I did meet, shake hands, and get my book signed. And the conversation (as it always is with Joey) was lively and intelligent, so in all it was a pretty good experience.