Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oh alcohol, would you please forgive me?

Lately, I've been thinking about bars. My opinion gets asked every now and again as to where people should go in the city for booze, and as I was pondering a location for a friend's birthday gathering (they asked my advice), I couldn't help but think about the types of bars I love and the types that, well, normal people love. Here are my critera for great bars.

1. Cheap alcohol- I am poor. If I am going to drink outside of my home, it will have to be something that I can afford. In some cases this standard is met in the form of a great happy hour (example: The Abbaey or Devil's Den), and in others this is met in the form of just cheap draft beer.

2. Unpretentious- Few things bother me more than feeling like i'm not the right "type" of person to go to a bar. I like being able to wear jeans and sneakers into a bar and not feeling like I should be wearing a skin tight top or have gauges in my ears.

3. Room to breathe- It's not that i'm clostrophobic, but when a bar is wall to wall people, I feel as though the whole night is an exercise in futility. I certainly don't want to go to an empty bar, but i like being able to talk to my friends without screaming, put my jacket somewhere (that doesn't ask me to pay or tip to do so), and be able to get to the bar for a drink.

Those are the big three. The rest are just silly things that I like about some of the bars i frequent.
-- Good jukebox
-- Personable bartenders
-- Good beers

So here are my top ten bars in Philly that fulfill these criterion (in no particular order)-
1. 12 Steps Down (9th and Christian)
2. The Capistrano (13th and Wharton)
3. Brownies (the irish pub on second street, not the crazy dance club in university city)
4. The Side Car (21 (22nd?) and Christian)
5. The Abbaey, The Devil's Den, Los Cabillitos happy hours only (3rd and Fairmount, 11th and Ellsworth, Morris and Passyunk respectively)
6. Las Vegas Lounge (7th and Chestnut)
7. Bob and Barbaras (15th and South)
8. Doobies (22nd and Lombard)
9. National Mechanics (3rd between market and chestnut)
10. Ray's Happy Birthday Bar (9th and Federal)


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Been a while.

Yes, I should post more often. For now though, my new favorite song, and like so many others, one that reminds me of my own scattered life on some warped level.

Be Ok
By Ingrid Michaelson

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today
I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today

I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today
I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today

Open me up and you will see
I'm a gallery of broken hearts
I'm beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts

I just want to know today, know today, know today
I just want to know something today
I just want to know today, know today, know today
Know that maybe I will be ok

Just give me back my pieces
Just give them back to me please
Just give me back my pieces
And let me hold my broken parts

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today
I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today
I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today
I just want to know today, know today, know today
Know that maybe I will be ok
Know that maybe I will be ok
Know that maybe I will be ok

Sunday, October 05, 2008

"And in the end it's not just you, with your memories and your scars..."

My first real outing in Philadelphia was to the TLA. We were two or three weeks into my first semester at La Salle, and four of us way too white suburbanites traveled down to the TLA to see Dynamite Hack (remember them?) and Goldfinger. The subway ride was tense, the walk down south street disconcerting, and TLA was smokey and thumping from the base guitar of the opening acts.

So it seems fitting that tonight, up in the balcony of the TLA, with Lish (since she was there on that first tense outing), that Matt Nathanson played the soundtrack to my college career.

Call his music whiny. Even he tonight called it "sissy music." Say that I'm too old to go out and listen to his music with all of the drunk college kids. But, in the end, his music is attached to so many people and moments of my life that I don't think I could ever not go see him when given the opportunity.

"I stuffed myself sick on your memory, on the beautiful mess that we'd made."
Tonight he played "First time", a song forever associated with the summer of 2003. The summer of baltimore and the attic bedroom. The summer I'd left La Salle without saying goodbye to graham, and spent most of the summer livid at him. This song was what I played that summer when I looked back on all of the failed attempts at romance I had dealt with up until that point.

"Because I've gone long enough waiting for wonderful."
He played "sing me sweet." A song that when I hear it, I will always remember a chilly november morning when septa was on strike. Laying on a futon in the middle of a spruce street apartment, wondering what the next few weeks would bring. The months that followed, this song just reminded me of him, and even now when I know that everything happens for a reason, I can't help but think of him as Matt Nathanson declares that he's "gone long enough waiting for wonderful."

"Oh Princess, you're ready for greatness, all edited and weightless, never more alive."
Although in concerts MN declares that this song is about a girl that he thought was terrible. This song, even now, is me. It is how I would describe myself. I keep my hands in my pockets and my eyes innocent... with all of my thoughts close to my chest. I am always "bold for the boys who keep [me] guessing." I could always use a win...

"And in the end it's not just you with your memories and your scars, fall on me if you ever forget how beautiful you are..."
This song is harder to explain. It's college graduation. It's Dave moving to Chicago. It's a perfect love song to someone who will never understand. It's a time it's a place.

On this night, after a great concert (GREAT CONCERT), after looking at wedding pictures on facebook of a group of people I was never really connected to, and yet played such a huge role in my life, I tired and thoughtful. Thinking of all the places I have been in my life, and all of the places I have still yet to go....

(I am aware of how disjointed this post is... my apologies.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The amazing crossroads of democracy and infomercials.

When I was six years old, Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush were in the midst of their presidential campaigns. A week before the election, Fields Road Elementary School held a mock election. Purely an exercise in finding out how our parents were going to vote. Proudly I stepped up to the table and took a slip of paper in my hands. For weeks and months I had listened to my grandmother and mother talk about the evils of Bush and the republican party, and based on their influence, I checked the box next to Dukakis's name. In the end, Bush won the mock election at my elementary school and went on to win the general election.

Flashforward four years, at the age of ten I was still blissfully unaware of how the political machine really worked. I loved simplicity and words. One night when I was laying on the living room couch with my grandmother watching the evening news, I made the statement, "democrat sounds ugly. I would rather be a republican, it sounds pretty." My staunchly democratic grandmother, who frequently told stories of the glory of FDR, the tragedy of MLK's assassination, and how she vomitted when Bobby Kennedy was shot, did not proceed to lecture me on the evils of the republican party, but instead made fun of me for my strange way of choosing a political party.

As I grew up, I began to learn more about the world around me. I came to the conclusion that while republican is still a nicer sounding word, the democratic party, for all of its faults, was much truer to who i was becoming as a person. As I've grown up working and the living in the hearts of two democratic cities, my liberalism, although more moderate than some of my dearest friends, is now inescapable.

Tonight I watched the first night of the Democratic National Convention. I watched it on PBS because CNN and MSNBC anchors irritate me. I found myself engrossed in the speeches, captivated by the rhetoric, and completely obsessed with everything democratic. It truly is the nation's biggest infomerical and I couldn't turn it off. I cheered for Ted Kennedy, and chanted with Nancy Pelosi. I teared up at Michelle Obama.

Trite as the speeches may be, tonight I fell for it all. The great thing about an election year is that it's okay to get caught up every now and again, hoping that this time your man will win and things might get a little better. Even when you know it's just that place where democracy meets infomercial.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cat Calls from Cars

I had this whole post written about why women blame other women for men's mistakes, but blogger crashed as i was posting it, and saved it at the very beginning. I have no interest in re-writing it. Instead I will write about my walk home.

I will never undersatnd why men yell at women through car windows, but it's incredibly popular to do in philadelphia. Screaming "nice tits" at a woman and driving by does not make a woman want to sleep with you. I know that's a shock, but seriously guys there are better ways to get a woman to like you. While misguided, usually the shouts are complimentary. They might be degrading or slightly offensive, but the intent seems to be to compliment a part of your body that these men find attractive.

Tonight I walked home from Doobies at about 1 a.m. Not exactly the smartest thing I could have done, but it was broad st. and well lit, so i decided that it would be okay. (I didn't have cash for cab fare, and there were no busses passing by.) As I was walking a silver volkswagon station wagon passed by me, and a male voice screamed out the window "fat-ass whore". Since I don't know anyone who drives a silver volkswagon station wagon, it had to be a stranger. This insult surprised and offended me, not because of the insult itself, but how personal the insult was. It also gave me great information on exactly what type of person decided to yell it.

"Fat ass": That's easy enough. Clearly, someone who observes well. It doesn't take much to see that I have a rather well defined bedonkadonk. I was built with childbearing hips and a love of chocolate, it is only natural that my tuchas is wide. Nothing I wear hides it. It's just there. In addition to having stunning observational skills, i will surmise that this man is caucasian. Now, I don't mean to racially profile, because most men i have dated have been white and fans of my larger bedonkadonk, but sterotypically white men like their women with large boobs and no ass. Everytime a man of african-american or latino decent has referred to my "fat ass" it has been with admiration or at least an appreciation of my curves. So to start with, we have a white man with good observational skills.

"Whore": This stung quite a bit more. I was walking alone, yes, but i was wearing an ankle-length skirt and a tee-shirt. If anything, I looked like an orthodox jew. Nothing I was wearing radiated whore. And further more, I don't think even if someone knows me that I radiate the term whore. I mean I am a woman with healthy view of sexuality, so maybe "slut-muffin", but not whore. Give me slightly more credit than that. So the only thing I can then infer about this mystery man, is that he was drunk after being recently dumped by his cheating girlfriend. The drunk would lower the inhibitions enough to shout at random women on the street, while the recently dumped due to infiedelity would explain the "whore" and anger.

So instead of being upset and offended by this white, observational, recently dumped drunk man I actually feel sorry for him. He clearly doesn't know how to deal with his feelings, and if he continues this path of heavy drinking and insulting women... he will never get laid again.

Damn shame.... I think.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"It must be summer cause the days are long, and I dial your number but you're gone gone gone."

Jess chastised me for not writing in my blog, and it has been a while, so i might as well write.

"The way that summer fades underneath the weight of it all..."

This summer has been a great so far. Between adventures in Colorado, baseball games, beach trips (not nearly enough though), bar outings, walks through the city, weddings, concerts, and birthdays I don't know where the time has gone. It's been a great few weeks, and with a little under a month left I can only imagine that I will be busy living up my last few weeks of freedom.

It's funny how quickly i fall into a routine for my mornings over the summer. I get up between 9 and 10, I make my coffee, turn on a rerun of a 90s television show, sign on to gmail chat and talk to my mother, graham, and jess. I've done that almost every morning since school has ended. It's very relaxing. It also prevents me from doing anything productive until at least noon.

"Cause I love the way you say 'good morning', and you take me the way I am."

Before I continue with this section: Check out Ingrid Michaelson's CD Boy and Girl, it's fantastic!

So it's been eight months, almost nine, and while I am still ducking with the fear of an impending shoe falling on my head... it's good. It's really good. So of course I'm terrified of it and expect it won't last very long. But he seems to care about me, and he seems to take me for all the bucket of crazy i try so hard to conceal but never get it all.

"I'm a big girl now, see my big girl shoes..."

Okay the picks of the summer so far:

TV shows: How I met your Mother (I know I came three seasons late to this party, but it's damn good), and My Boys

Books: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Severance Package

Album: Ingrid Michaelson's Boys and Girls

Monday, May 26, 2008


"He was always a stupidly optimistic man. I mean, I'm sure it came as a great shock to him when he died."-- Clue

I spend a great deal of my energy avoiding being an optimist. I don't share details of my life with many people, because i feel it brings about a sense of optimism that I might have. If I share my happy, it might make me believe that only the best can now occur. If I believe that, and something bad happens... I don't know.

Still, after a weekend like I had, with so many joys and so many great things... I cant help but wish I could allow myself to revel in my happiness, and giggle and gossip about all of the things that I am thinking.

It was a good weekend... nay great weekend... and I will quietly smile and pretend that I am not being optimistic.