Monday, May 27, 2013

Sleeping Strangers

Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife, damnit!
I don't know about you, but I don't particularly welcome the idea of a random stranger poking around my apartment while I sleep. I'm not weird, am I? I don't know, I guess we all must have different comfort thresholds for this, because it appears some people are A-okay with strangers rifling through their homes without feeling concerned enough to open their eyes. I've performed at least two or three inspections in which residents were not fully conscious. One time it happened when I was relatively new to the mold game; I was involved with some legal HPD thing (NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development) in a low income housing development. I inspected the room of some sleeping teenage boy, in the dark!, while an HPD official and the kid's mom waited outside in the living room... Like seriously, what the fuck are you doing? It's 11 am on a Wednesday! Get your ass up! So, so awkward.
Last Friday I found myself in another slightly uncomfortable sleeping situation, but at least this one was a million times more legitimate. I was up in Riverdale performing an inspection for an extremely old woman. I guess she had recently been in some sort of accident and was having trouble moving, in addition to other more long term ailments. The woman greeted me, but just didn't have the energy to stay awake during the inspection. Thankfully I was not the only conscious body in the apartment, I had her friendly housekeeper for company. Before the lady had drifted off, I learned that she was super cool and friendly, and had an amazing terrace garden with the most spectacular view of Manhattan. We compared notes on our gardening likes and dislikes (I love deserts and have been working on growing my own cactus/succulents garden). I didn't want to be a total creep and take a million pictures of her garden, but check out these shots from her terrace. What a view!
So much green!
'Sup Manhattan
Boom! A section of my very own BADASS cactus garden! :)
Photo credits: WAFF-48 News, The Bed Intruder Song, Antoine Dodson

Perigrinating to Poughkeepsie

Last week I received a request to do a mold investigation upstate in Poughkeepsie, New York. The journey involved a two hour train ride on Metro North's Hudson Line. The expedition was breathtakingly beautiful and relaxing. It had been so long since I had left the concrete jungle of NYC and I thoroughly enjoyed the air's clean and refreshing scent. Unfortunately my mold inspection was quite the opposite. Thank god the apartment's resident wasn't home during my investigation - the entire place wreaked worse than a dumpster you'd find behind an Arby's on a 90 degree summer's day. Not sure I have any desire to meet the person who chooses to keep their house in such condition... Anywho, below are some photos taken along the way. Enjoy!
Couldn't have asked for a more gorge day!
Necessary bridge shot
This looks like a scene from the Lord of the Rings. I kept hoping to catch sight of a hobbit or two.
Andddddd this is the sticker I found on a banana I ate today

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Mind if I Do

I always am!
Growing up we're all (hopefully) taught not to talk to strangers, and that accepting food from them is absolutely out of the question. Life just isn't so in New York City. Regularly walking around any busy area at rush hour - Union Square, Madison Square Park, or Penn Station for example - will result in receiving some sort of free food product or other promotion at least once a week from one company or another. Among other things, I've personally received knock-off Ray Ban sunglasses from Pepsi, packets of Emergen-C, more bananas and granola bars than I can count from some church, and lipsticks from Cover Girl. Last summer Trojan caused quite a ruckus trying to give away free vibrators in the Flatiron. Today apparently Dove was giving out free cookies and cream chocolates. My coworker grabbed a huge pile of samples and so generously handed them out around the office. As any good chocoholic knows, Dove chocolates always come with some sort of unbearably cheesy "inspiration" inside the wrapper. Even though the messages are usually saccharinely sweet, I couldn't help but love the message inside my chocolate. If you can't read the picture above, it says, "Be the first to hit the dance floor". Way too perfect for the girl who constantly demonstrates Zumba moves in the office at 9 am. This Dove inspiration is now proudly taped to my cubicle wall. :)
Just saw The Great Gatsby (and before it hit theaters, yo!) and had to include a flapper dance pic
That's what I'm talking about
Photo credits: Green Park Inn

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Subway Sightings: Where There's Always an (un)Willing Audience

Fun facts time! The New York City MTA includes:
  • 468 Stations
  • 21 Subway Lines + 3 Shuttle Trains
  • 6,311 Individual Subway Cars (the number per subway train varies depending on the line)
As I'm sure you all are eager for more fascinating subway facts, have fun clicking HERE!

Any New Yorker can attest that the MTA is an integral part of our lives - I personally spend at least two hours a day riding the subway. And that's if I don't have any scheduled mold jobs. This  leads us to today's blog post which is dedicated to #3 on Buzzfeed's most recent NYC-themed viral article, "23 Signs You've Been Living in New York City Too Long": the subway performers. 

Thank god there is an unwritten rule for subway performers, "performers", peddlers, and beggars to lay off the harassment during the daily rush hour commute (it's way too crowded for that shit anyway). Non-rush hour daytime and evening trips are a whole other story. You are guaranteed at least one interruption per ride, usually more. Mind you, this is in addition to all of the performers in the subway stations themselves. Union Square for example is consistently host to at least three separate but simultaneous shows. 468 stations, 21 subway lines, and 6,311 cars certainly provide ample opportunity for hustling the masses. 

I've cried on the subway and I've vomited (twice) on the subway. I've also witnessed pretty much anything and everything on the subway - banjo, rap, cello, saw, bucket, magic, recorder, and Motown a capella performances to name a few - ranging from horrible to incredible. After recent events, I can now add to my list that I've been kissed by a (possibly homeless) stranger on the subway.

Last week, while riding the 2 train downtown from Harlem, a man seated on an amp graced my subway car with an extra long performance (its duration was approximately six stops) on his electric guitar. He was a rather lively man, receiving more than the standard amount of attention from an unusually receptive crowd. After several songs, the singer specifically singled me out and dedicated his own modified version of The Temptations' "My Girl" to "white girl in the grey coat". Lyrics went a little something like this:
I've got sunshine on the 2 train.
When it's cold outside I've got the month of May.
I guess you'd say
What can make me feel this way?
My white girl (white girl, white girl)
Talkin' 'bout my college educated white girl with the grey coat and pony tail...
Then he added in a bit of free style about me. I randomly remember something involving Jamaicans... Anyway, his next song was prefaced with, "If anybody can guess who sings this song, I'mma gonna kiss that white girl over there". Guess what, somebody correctly named the song's artist. And guess what else, he was not kidding. I quickly slapped my hands over my face as the man approached. I was shaking my head and saying no, no, that's okay, you really don't have to do this... Butttt, he did. Thankfully it was just the quickest and lightest of pecks on the back of my hand. Fortunately he seemed relatively clean and un-diseased, but regardless, I took a long, steaming shower the second I got home. 
I've just got all the luck
I will now leave you with another Buzzfeed article that is equally true of la vie quotidienne in this one of a kind crazy city, "48 Things You'll Only See in New York City". 

Photo credits: Pokemon

Street Spotting: Oh the Humanity

The advertisement on the side of the delivery truck pictured above almost caused a human pile-up during Midtown morning rush hour. While walking up Sixth Avenue at the tail end of my daily commute, I stopped in my tracks to do a double take at this truck. I had to verify that my peripheral vision was to be believed, and of course then take a picture once I had confirmation that my eyes were indeed working correctly.The whole incident resulted in causing four harried, sleep deprived people to run into me on that early Monday morning (sorry, my bad!). At least we now have proof - the king of class Ed Hardy has blessed the world with his own collection of wines. Intrigued and want to learn more? Good news! As any serious oenologist knows, a real website is not necessary to represent your brand, all you need is a solid Facebook page. The wine is described as:
Don Ed Hardy is known as "the godfather of modern tattoo" for his sophistication,  depth and sense of experimentation. A California native, Don Ed hardy is recognized around the world for his technical brilliance and mesmerizing imagery. Designer genius Chrisian Audigier has created a powerhouse lifestyle brand around the Ed Hardy images and now brings that brilliance to the palate of wine drinkers with a new line of wines from France adorned with the vibrant, rebellious images of the master tattoo artist.
Quick recap: Ed Hardy wine is for rEbElLiOu$ wine drinkers! No real information on the wines is actually provided... Well at least they're French, so they can't be bad, right?

I don't know how much faith we can put in the LA Times, although  the newspaper alleges that the guido-approved wine ain't half bad. (And apparently it's been around for a while? The article is dated 2009??)

All I know is that I don't even need to taste the Ed Hardy wine to know that it ain't got shit on the Hello Kitty wine that came out in 2010. Yes, of course I bought it. And yes, of course it was terrible. But look how cute it is!!!!!
Hello Kitty wine is the best shitty character wine ever, times a million, no comebacks. Take that, Ed Hardy 
Why am I not wherever this is??
Photo credits: Hello Kitty Wine,