Archive: NYC

The Moth in St. Paul

Are you in Minnesota?

Are you in St. Paul or Minneapolis or the environs?

Do you like to listen to stories?

Do you like cheese curds?

Do you love cheese curds?

If you answered yes to the questions above, then here is some important news that’s tangentially related to cheese curds:

I’ll be doing The Moth on November 7 in St. Paul. It’ll be at the Fitzgerald Theater, which I’m told seats 1000, which means WHAT I am PEEING ALL OVER MYSELF RIGHT NOW. From fear. Not from, you know, just needing to pee and being too lazy to walk to the bathroom or whatever.

I will be eating cheese curds. The first time I had them I was visiting my friend Rhena in Minneapolis and I thought, dude cheese curds are awesome, how was there a cheese product that I’d NEVER had before? It was a crazy discovery-slash-revelation.

True story: Cheese curds are hard to get in NYC.
You know what’s also hard to get in NYC? Ebola. Unless you’re eating someone’s vomit, which you aren’t, because you’re too busy eating pizza, then you will be ebola free.

So to sum it up: The Moth in St. Paul on Friday, Nov. 7. No to ebola, yes to cheese curds.

See you there!

Sad-inavian

It is with great sadness that I report SCandynavian, our mildly loved Scandinavian candy store has closed. I walked past it today and noticed that the lights were off and all the candy had been removed from the bins. There was no techno, no strawberry race cars that taste like plastic, no sour apple frogs that do not taste like frogs. There was no sign saying that they had moved locations. So I bid them adjö and uh, however you say “good luck” in Swedish. I think it’s buena suerte. Yeah pretty sure it’s that.

But fret not NYC friends, if you want Scandinavian candy, might I suggest heading to Sockerbit (located in the Village of the West), which is another Swedish candy store. Yeah I know, right? Why there was more than one Scandinavian candy store in NYC, I don’t even know. Of course, you can go to IKEA and get candy there.

Speaking of IKEA, I totally went there yesterday and bought $100 of crap that I obviously needed so badly, like the hand towel with the ping pong paddles on them. I mean how am I not gonna buy that? I don’t even like ping pong, but I definitely needed it or else the the hand towel with the wacky puffer fish on it would feel so lonely. Hand towels always travel in pairs because if you’re lucky, you have two hands, so obviously you need two hand towels. I also totally needed the bath mat that is too big for my bathroom floor. And needed the salt grinder because salt’s not gonna grind itself, you guys.

What are you doing May 1?

New York City, holla back!

Let me ask you something: What are you doing Thursday? Why not come to a reading featuring me and two of our best friends from Canada?

Thursday, May 1 at Word Up Community Bookstore!

This is the perfect opportunity to ask me how I got my hair so shiny and soft.

I’ll be reading with Doretta Lau and Aaron Peck. They are Canadian so they are very polite and want to be your friends and do not want to offend you and they will say sorry a hundred times in their adorable Canadian way. But they are also amazing writer-human hybrids.

See you there, friends!

Thursday, May 1, 7 to 9pm
Word Up Community Bookstore
2113 Amsterdam Avenue (Washington Heights)

SCandynavian Part II: Electric Bugaloo/Havana Nights

Today I returned to the Scandinavian candy store, and bought $10 worth of candy, which is kind of a lot of money, but we all know things are more expensive in Scandinavia. As the saying goes, you’ve got to pay to play. And I totally paid $10 for bulk candy. I probably bought, like, $5 worth of the sour cherry dicks alone. You should know that the dicks are a bit stale today. But I guess when the dicks are coming all the way from Sweden, they’re gonna get a little hard. OMG these dick jokes–I’d apologize, but I don’t want you to think I’m gonna stop making them. What I’m trying to say is that I’m eating these stale dicks because I just spent $10 on candy. I’m going to eat the shit out of it and call it lunch.

I got a few new pieces of candy this time and I shall review them. I’m assuming you all want to know the same thing: Are any of these better than the dicks? Probably not, but as my mother used to say, “You got to try.” She would say this when I was learning to read and couldn’t figure out how to read a word. I’d get frustrated and she’d be like, “You got to try” which is TOTALLY FUCKING UNHELPFUL. She wouldn’t help me read it either. She’d just say “You got to try.” Like dude, I’m TRYING but I literally cannot READ this bullshit word with all these stupid vowels that combine to form some DIFFERENT sound. It wasn’t until much, much later that I realized she said that because she couldn’t read the word either. English is so goddamn hard. It’s the worst. Korean is basically what you see is what you get. So is Spanish. But then English is like nooooooooooo gh makes a fff sound as in ffffuck. Anyway, candy. Let’s talk.

OK here’s a question. Is this a gummy ghost? Like from Pac-man?

squid

The answer is NO. It is not. It is a gummy SQUID. How adorably Swedish! Squid! In Asia, if you call something squid, it is actually squid. It was my favorite snack for a long, long time. I’d pull off a tentacle, dip it in some kochu-jang and park my ass in front of some cartoons until my mother turned it off and told me to do my homework, which I had already done, but she wanted me to go forward in the textbook to get ahead. Anyway, I said Ooooohhh gummy ghosts, yay, and the blonde six-foot blonde yeti of a shopkeeper said they are squid. So they are squid. They are covered in some sour dust, which the Scandinavians call “salted.”

Right, right. Salted. NOT sour. So in Sweden, if you say “salted candy” it means “sour.” So I said that was confusing because salt tastes salty and sour tastes sour, which is why we have two words for them. The dude did not care for my argument and just said they taste good.

You know how when you eat Lucky Charms, you spend a lot of time fishing out the marshmallows and eating them because they are the best? And maybe you fish them out before you pour in the milk because it’s easier to find the marshmallows that way? And then after you actually pour the milk to eat the cereal, you get sad because you had eaten all the marshmallows? And remember how you’d confuse marshmallows with mushrooms? Yeah that. So these taste like sour cereal marshmallows. They are sorta fluffy and spongy and chewy at the same time.

Grade: B, aka “Not an A, but pretty good”

hardcandies

These are hard candies. They are covered in some sugary substance and the shopkeeper promised that there was sour powder on the INSIDE. I was like YEAH this is what I want BRING IT ON and loaded up on these. Important to note that they are solid and therefore heavy and contribute greatly to the $10 I spent at this store.

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS A TOTAL RIPOFF.

There is NO sour powder on the inside. It’s just a hard candy. Tastes like a Life Saver. Taste like what an old lady would have at the bottom of her purse and upon offering it to “youngsters,” they’d be like uh no thanks. Imma gonna go eat anything else than this.

Grade D: The D stands for Disappointment

frog

This is a gummy apple frog. Doesn’t really look like a frog, and it doesn’t taste like apple either. So I guess it gets 0 out of 2 right. The texture is softer than a gummy bear, though not as soft as Chuckles or Sunkist Fruit Gems. Taste wise, it tastes like nothing. There’s a certain ‘fake apple’ taste that we are accustomed to, the way apple candies all taste the same way even though it tastes nothing like an apple. Call it the apple gestalt, not to get all fancy about it. This bullshit candy does not have that apple gestalt. It tastes like a gummy bear that’s been in your pocket, something you saved for later because it’s tasty. Now imagine you saved it for later and you’re like ew this is gross. Why did I save this? My pockets are ruined! That’s the gummy apple frog.

Grade D-: I’d give it a lower grade, but there’s something that’s worse. Keep reading.

caramel

This is a caramel “twist.” It is the texture of a Twizzler, but with a caramel flavor. It is also a bit on the buttery side. It is akin to that buttery flavor a Werther’s Original, except it’s chewy like licorice. But the texture sort of falls apart in your mouth. I don’t like it. It tastes like plastic, which is why I hate Twizzlers. I want candy to taste like candy and not like a bracelet. I hate this. I hate that this is in my mouth right now. (Dick joke!)

Grade F: Need to spit this out

licorice

This is half black licorice and half red licorice, covered in mildly sour “salt”, as the Scandinavians would say. Here’s the thing: I love black licorice. I love it more than red licorice. I do understand most people hate the black stuff. So this is the Two-Face of licorice. Good and Bad. Bad and Good. And guess what? It’s delightful! The black licorice is definitely the stronger dominant flavor. So if you hate the black stuff, then move on. Texture wise it’s about the same as a Sour Patch Kid that’s been opened for a day. So not too soft but not too hard. It is nice and chewy and sticks between your molars, like all good candies. Delicious. I wish I had gotten more.

Grade A: If you like black licorice. If you don’t then stick to the dicks.

I realized that I am taking photos of food and putting them on the Internet, something I always make fun of people for doing. I realize I’m being a giant hypocrite. BUT in my defense, I’m not at a restaurant. I’m just in my kitchen eating an unruly amount of candy. But I’d like to show you this, taken from the Findings section of Harper’s Magazine.

harpers

People Are Being Nice and Saying Nice Things

People are saying nice things about SHUT UP, YOU’RE WELCOME! Yay!

First, Meg Cabot has been recommending my book all over town, including the official publication of hotels everywhere, USA Today. This is kiiinnnnnndddd of like getting a personal hug and a giant chocolate cake (without frosting because fuck that shit) from a hero. I love Meg Cabot, she is one part workhorse and two parts dreamboat, topped off with a tiara. HOW can one woman do all this?

SHUT UP also got a supremely kick ass review in this month’s BUST Magazine. It got a four boob review! Four boobs! Who doesn’t love boobs, amirite?

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“It’s as if a friend with great comedic timing was telling you a very animated story about losing her luggage.”

The great Patricia O’Toole once told me “Bad for life, good for writing.” This is how I approach Virgin America now.

And finally there’s a really great writeup in Paste Magazine.

“I found sprightly anecdotes galore and prose technique to rival the best humorists now working in this style.”

High praise! High praise! I am high, on praise! Now I will operate heavy machinery.

Thanks for all your support, everyone. I am super stoked about this book and grateful that it’s out in the wild, doing it’s thing. Meanwhile a mouse is living under my stove and doing mousey things like being a dick and pooping on the floor I just vacuumed and mopped. I know it’s weird that humans poop in a can of water (when you think about it, it’s really bizarre) but mice just poop wherever. Like they literally shit where they eat. It’s gross. My current mood is “keeping it real.”

An Imaginary Conversation Between My Neighbors

“You know what I feel like doing?”
“Dancing?”
“Yes! What else?”
“Singing show tunes?”
“Yes! What else?”
“Playing the ukelele?”
“Yes! It’ll be fun!”
“It’s a great time to play the ukelele.”

-My neighbors, May 19th, 3:30 am.

Niagara Fails Was a Success

I survived my trip to Niagara Falls with my parents. So in this sense, it was a success. Another success: No one fell down the falls and died. However, my father kept looking over the edge and saying, “When I look down, I feel dizzy.” And my mother kept teling him to stop looking over the edge. Easy. And yet, not easy. Because this kept happening. My father would point to the waterfalls every time he saw them, which was basically all the time because we were at Niagara Falls. Then my father kept complaining about walking and my mother kept complaining about being hungry. The reason why I don’t have kids is because I have parents. Seriously. My friend’s kids sound EXACTLY like my parents. I’m hungry, I’m tired, why is it so far, are we there yet, I’m hungry again, I have to go to the bathroom, I’m sleepy, where are we?, I have to go to the bathroom right now, what’s for dinner, can we get coffee, is there a Starbucks, why can’t I use American money even though I’m in Canada?

My friend Madelynn tells this great story of a play she attended a while ago. It’s in this tiny theater, really intimate, meaning the audience members are basically sitting on the actors’ laps. Everything is dark and quiet. It’s a play. Shit is intense. Shit is real. Actors are acting. They are emoting, but not too much. They are transforming into another character, which I guess is what acting is. And at one point, there’s this lone voice that comes from the back: “Oh GOD, this is ENDLESS.” And one can only assume the actors hear this and just feel bad about themselves and perhaps question the whole acting thing and how it’s pointless and how if I haven’t made it now I’m probably never going to make it, and what am I doing with my life I have no backup plan, all I want to do is act. Anyway that basically sums up this trip. I am the voice from the back wailing in agony. But that’s what happens when you wake up at 4:15 am so you can take a 5:15 car to the airport and then fly to Buffalo, which–holy shit–is where Buffalo wings come from, how you never made that connection until now is a mystery, also you fucking hate Buffalo wings. They smell like fried urine and leads you to believe that the only thing that comes from Buffalo is bad news. Then you drive for forty minutes to the Canadian side of the falls while you’re sorely undercaffeinated and while your parents literally read EVERY SIGN OUT LOUD and then backseat drive as if they’ve EVER been to Buffalo before. Your father, of course, went to Niagara Falls in the seventies and is absolutely SHOCKED that the cute little hotel he stayed at is no longer there and has become a Sheraton tower with 1,000 rooms. He keeps bringing it up because…I don’t know why he just does. He’s obsessed with the hotel he stayed at before you were born. Meanwhile, your mom is walking like a champ–she’s in great shape and hits the elliptical machine every day. She is in better shape than you, maybe. Your father, however, is struggling behind and shuffling his feet on the pavement and complaining that his feet hurt and the shuffle sound is MAKING YOU CRAZY and more importantly and perhaps more entertainingly, making YOUR MOTHER crazy. She says “pick up your feet” so then your father marches and does a high step, which is funny but then two seconds later he’s shuffling again so that didn’t work out for anyone. And if you want to go to any of the sweet wax museums (like the one that promises a whole bunch of CRIMINALS!!!!) then sorry buddy, no fun for you. And don’t even think about the haunted house. Your parents do not like fun. They will ask you, repeatedly, what’s for lunch and what’s for dinner as if you’ve been to Niagara Falls before and have a whole slew of restaurant recommendations. So you use Yelp but the cell network in Canada costs, like, $1000 Canadian dollars which is the same as US dollars, but sometimes you can get AT&T but on the Edge network which is basically like a dial-up modem for your phone. Then you find a pizza place and your dad is impressed that he managed to eat two slices of pizza that has no meat because his daughter is a goddamn vegetarian still after, like, 20 years.

Then, you wake up the next day and go back to Buffalo and then back to NYC and walk around the streets of Greenwich Village because your parents like to pack it in and every minute they have to be doing something. You discover your mother has an excellent sense of direction and understands where Washington Square Park is in relation to your apartment but your father thinks you are close to the World Trade Center, which you are not. Nor are you close to Central Park, Times Square, or Rock Center, but since your dad visited in the nineties he believes he’s an expert on NYC geography. Then the next day they wake up at the crack of dawn again to head to your father’s high school reunion/golf trip.

All this to say, I had a great time. Great time meaning I survived. But above all, my parents had a good time, which I guess was the point. They want to go on another trip with me but I am TOFTS (That stands for Too Old For This Shit, keep up, people.) My parents should probably have their own reality show but the fame would go to their heads and they would truly be intolerable.

The End.

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Me and Steven Seagal

It turns out that me and Steven Seagal have a lot in common.

We both have ponytails.

We both like Ukrainian food.

The End.

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Niagara Fails

For the first time ever, my parents are visiting me in New York. Now I know what you’re thinking: Annie, how is it even possible that your parents have NEVER visited you in NYC? The short answer is that they don’t love me. The long answer is that they don’t love me. No, no that’s not true. They do love me. Just not enough to visit me. Ha ha ha SOB SOB SOB. Actually, it’s not about me. It’s more about them not wanting to visit NYC because they’ve been here before, in 1992. My parents do not like to visit the same place twice.

This brings me to Niagara Falls. My father has a high school reunion in Pennsylvania. I think it involves golfing and maybe looking at Amish things. And you are absolutely correct, my father did not go to high school in the States, but there’s still a reunion here because so many classmates ended up immigrating. Anyway my parents thought, well if we’re going to this reunion, why not swing by NYC and see Annie. But instead of spending time in NYC, which we have been to before, why not go somewhere else, like…Niagara Falls?

My mother has never been there and would like to go. My father has been there and is grumbling that he has to go again. I have never been there but I have access to Wikipedia and so yes, I have been there. I’m not sure why it has to be Niagara Falls. I’m sure they are majestic, but they are also waterfalls. It’s not like you can hike up them or go canoeing or rafting or do all sorts of outdoor activities that I despise. But OK, my mother wants to go, so we go. She is the commander of the ship. Note that Niagara Falls is, like, 7 hours away and my parents want to DRIVE because road trips are fun. Who doesn’t like fun! The answer is me. I shot the whole idea down because I have a life to lead, a life in which I do not drive through Buffalo, aka New York’s icy butthole. I rather fly because planes were invented just to prevent road trips with parents.

But instead of taking a trip where people relax in the Niagara Falls area and do whatever it is people do in the Niagara Falls area, my parents want to PACK IT IN. So we are flying out at the crack of dawn on Friday and coming back Saturday morning. Every minute is planned. This is going to be really painful, you guys.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that this is a good time to follow @annietown on Twitter. I will update my life so that my pain can become your enjoyment.

Return of the Shredi

Every weekend, someone in my neighborhood straps on his guitar, faces his amp out the window, and lets it rip on full crank. He sounds like one part Ted Nugent and all parts suck. It’s awful. It’s like this faux classic rock wail that makes you feel sad. His guitar deserves better. It deserves a person who respects music and also respects NEIGHBORS, specifically ME. No one wants to hear someone’s music unless they are actively paying for that person’s music, say, at a concert, or if that person is famous, say, a person who is not my neighbor. Like if I lived next door to Eric Clapton, I’m sure I’d be ok listening to him play, even though I don’t particularly care for Clapton. (Here is where everyone goes awww come on, the Yardbirds? And to that I say, I still don’t like him and Clapton wouldn’t be living in this drafty-ass, pre-war building, just saying). But this guy is no Eric Clapton. He’s not even Eric Carmen.

I can’t figure out where the music is coming from, but I actually think it’s from a building down the street. Down the street! As in, a hundred yards away from me! What must that sound like to his real neighbors? Actually, the same: One part Ted Nugent and all parts suck. Anyway, my point is that this guy’s amp must be insane, which leads me to my latest Amazon review.