Archive for December, 2006

31
Dec
06

My Big Red Hat

Greetings from Santiago!  The wedding was yesterday – beautiful.  In this Catholic chapel on a univ campus in the suburbs of downtown Santiago, but actual chapel looked like an old CA mission.  The vegetation/flowers, etc. set up were amazing, the staff was abundant and the food was good, if WAY too fancy for me.  Fran’s Chilean friends and family are very stylish and smart - the M.A.S. called them the cognescetti.  :)  Many architects and urbanists, so we have no shortage of conversation, which is good.  The only drawback to the wedding was that the reception was outside from noon to 6, and SO hot.  Really really hot. The M.A.S. looked very glamorous.  We are having a nice time.

The only drawback is the weather here. It is SO dry.  My throat is always so dry, and my hair is gross, copious amounts of conditioner do not do it.  It’s all about the ponytail this week.

We are headed to the beach house this afternoon, today we will explore Santiago a bit uintil we head out later in the day.  I am wearing a big red hat that I love but the M.A.S. thinks makes me look eccentric, like one of the elderly ladies who wears purple.  But what does he know! 

Happy New Year!

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30
Dec
06

Bienvenido A Miami

Weboy here – As you can see, the lady just can’t take a vacation. 🙂

One thing Red asked me to do – and I am happy to take this up – is to warn you away from Miami International Airport. For such a major city, Miami’s airport is a surprisingly low-rent affair. And, more than most airports in the post 9/11 world, Miami has had to do a lot of catching up in terms of security and border patrol.

Keep in mind that MIA is the main embarkation point for much of Central and South America into the US, as well as the Caribbean. Much of this has to do with the dominance of American Airlines in the airport, and the large Hispanic population already there (I remember being surprised in Costa Rica to discover that the most comprehensive English-language paper in the region was the Miami Herald).

So Miami is just frustrating – poorly laid out, and with added security, luggage laden walks can stretch interminably. International Customs paperwork (Passport review) is handled on a third floor mezzanine above the airport – but Customs Baggage Check is in the basement. Thus people on my return flight from Curacao (which was hours late) who thought they could still make their connections nearly died when they realized all the procedural hurdles between them and their next flight. And, thanks to the reconfigured space, one had to return through the main security checkpoint to get back to the gates, creating additional delays as American tries to hold flights for connections.

Don’t get me wrong – I think Post 9/11 Security is crucial. And I love to fly – I am willing to accept the trade-offs needed for increased security at airports, and I think more travelers should get themselves better educated about what needs to happen at security checkpoints. But Miami is a mess. And there’s nothing reassuring or safe-making about their security process. And the lack of amenities (which Red helpfully pointed out, close at around 8pm when she was flying at midnight) is just mystifying – though it’s clear Miami was never designed to have service at the gate areas, but only in the main terminal. That’s changing. But all of it is a good indicator of two things: one is that for all it’s boasting about being the “American Riviera,” Miami thinks surprisingly small about its basic services; and the other is that Miami is a reminder of just how many problems remain on the Homeland Security front – in terms of airline security, immigration, and anti-terror efforts.

But I’d be happy if they just had a nice Chinese place near the gate. 🙂

29
Dec
06

Your Far-Flung Correspondent

Per usual, trying to figure out how to use the foreign language keyboard.  Hoping this time her boyfriend hasn’t fallen asleep and thus locked her out of her room. 

Ola!  Buenes Noches!  From Santiago, Chile! I see you’ve all met my guest blogger – NYC Weboy.  As he dropped me off at Logan (not too many can pride themselves on providing a turquoise company car!), I thanked him for assuming my identity while I was gone.  I have no doubt he’ll keep the place clean and the martinis flowing, the latter purely in my honor.

I need sleep, and no more cervesas and pisco sours, and I will shortly pursue that.  But first I had to say hello.  Chile is cool so far; anything can outshine the Miami Airport, that’s for sure – what a dump.  Place shuts down at 8:30 pm – no food, no People magazines, etc. – despite numerous flights taking off – and being delayed – well after midnight.  Also, it’s a gateway to the U.S. from Latin America, and the primary food is Pizza Hut and/or Uno’s – 50g of fat per individual pizza serving, no doubt.  Welcome to America.

We took off after midnight.  I slept a heavily medicated sleep on board, and we survived through arduous customs/immigration lines only to learn at check-in to the hotel that we’re missing a document, and there will be “paperwork” waiting for us when we return to the Santiago airport (SCL) on Sat.  We rented a car, it was delivered to us on empty; we speak no Spanish so got no directions to the hotel, but the M.A.S. was a fabulous navigator using multiple maps out of the travel book, and I drove my usual Masshole style and we arrived in style, if a bit sweaty.  It is SUMMER here.

We lunched, slept, have a terrific junior suite deal at the very cute hotel orly in providencia, santiago – it’s Brookline or Cambridge or something – and had a terrific dinner with the American hipster crew who has arrived for our friend Fran’s wedding.  It’s all Brooklyn fashionista here, all the time.   I am doing my best to maintain my UES style, which is not all Ralph Lauren all the time, but some upscale mall version of that.  Hopefully Wesley can dissect.

The wedding is tomorrow; I forgot the lovely earrings the M.A.S. gave me – in an effort to not bring any valued jewelry abroad, so we had fun shopping at South American downtown malls tonight buying me a new, tackier, bejeweled pair.  And a big red hat for when we head up to the beach on NYE.  I will be in touch again, but I don’t know when.  It’s cool here.  It’s urban, a cuidad (anyone who’s ever ridden the NYC subway knows that word).  I assumed I knew Spanish, living in NYC for all that time, but I don’t speak a word of it.  Joke’s on me.

Miss you, and be nice to Weboy.  He’s sharp and smart and on to you, and John Edwards too.  That’s a big photo op to live up to, such an announcement from the L9W.

 

29
Dec
06

John Edwards Declares

Weboy here.

So, before Red left on her trip, I kind of mentioned John Edwards announcing his decision to run for President (big surprise), but I didn’t get a chance to engage her in the part I found a little disturbing: his decision to make that declaration in The Lower 9th Ward.

Edwards in NOLASince Katrina, Edwards has made an admirable effort to volunteer time, energy and support to Katrina relief. He’s been down there on several occasions and he’s encouraged others to get involved. On the day he declared, he helped yet again with cleanup efforts.

So why do I find myself a little, well, dismayed at the politics of it? Well, maybe it’s the way RedStar has posted so often and with such energy on the situation in NOLA. Maybe it’s those pictures she sent me documenting the destruction and the slowness of the cleanup process.

But I think mainly it’s that I hate to see Katrina and its victims become props for the Presidential race, especially when the basics of cleanup, rebuilding and sorting out the public policy issues involved are still such a struggle. I am not questioning Edwards or his intentions here – I believe he is sincere in his attempts to make “Two Americas” and a renewed commitment to addressing poverty central to his campaign. But when Hillary goes there, or McCain goes there (or Obama even), what then? When little progress is still being made, what can we say? Who can we ask? Who, after all, will bear responsibility, not for how we got here, but where NOLA is going from here?

I firmly believe that a big part of the 2008 election will be facing up to a number of issues we haven’t dealt with up to now; and I’ve laid out a number of them over at my spot. But the point of these problems is that they are big ones that have languished for a while now, and solving them will be complex and take fresh approaches and new coalitions, and not the politics as usual. Katrina and its aftermath won’t be fixed with a photo op, and the manual labor of helping a few folks dig out will only go so far. I look forward to hearing Edwards offer up something comprehensive on moving forward in NOLA. Without it, he’s just a pretty face in a nice photo op.

28
Dec
06

Special Guest Star

Hello. I am Weboy. 🙂

Bad SantaRed has graciously supplied with the keys to the kingdom (queendom?) and the use of a company automobile; not a bad arrangement, if you ask me.

So here I am. What can I tell you about me? Not much – I am trying to be the Zorro of Cyberspace, so I try to keep a lot of personal details out. Some people believe they can call me Wesley, but I can neither confirm nor deny. Once, I was a New Yorker; now I am a New Yorker in Exile.
What I can tell you is that RedStar and I share a love of Grey’s Anatomy, similar political views, a tangled work history, and, usually, the Most WASPiest Night of the Year. I can also tell you that I love to write about film, that I have some strong views on a variety things, and that I have created a monster called the Worst Song Ever.

For the next couple of weeks, I will try to keep the place tidy, dust occasionally, post on the topics I think Red would talk about herself, and try to maintain two sites at once. My plan is for very little cross-posting, because I think things should be distinct. We’ll see how that, and my sanity, holds up.

Please feel free to e-mail me (nycweboy-at-nycweboy-dot-com) your thoughts and suggestions. I am very customer service oriented. 🙂 And try not to break anything – Red will kill us if she finds out we had a party without her. 😉

28
Dec
06

Coda

NYC Weboy has graciously agreed to guest blog while I’m away.  As you all should know, he has taken the blogging world by storm.  I don’t know how frequently he will post here, but I’m sure it will be entertaining.  Give him some love. 

As for any other takers, they will be a surprise.  Keep your fingers crossed.

 

Oh, and the redemption of the Izzie-Denny storyline is Alex holding her at the end while she cries.  That works.

 

And I’m out!

 

19
Dec
06

Happy Hanukah!

I know, I’m a few days late…I’m a bad Deis grad, and a bad Honorary MOT!

But I’ve been wrapping up – and celebrating the end of  – the semester.

In the spirit of the season, forgive me!  😉

So,

Happy Hanukah!

From my Community to Yours.

Urbanorah

 

This was a lovely image as I stumbled up the sidewalk last night, laden down with Nordstrom boxes from the Providence mall.  Love the upscale department store, the quality of the items, the quality of the service.  Makes the prices feel worth it compared to waiting endlessly at shabby Macy’s for the salesperson who never materializes, leaving you to wonder if you can’t just find something better elsewhere exhibited by a person who actually turns up to assist you.  (I was wrong to buy in so quickly to the overall department store renaissance, vs. the fortitude of the luxury retailers.  The veteran Wesley correctly tells it like it is.) 

I hate Providence Place, like I hate Cambridge Side Galleria.  Pay-to-park (I’m sorry, didn’t I just give you all my $$ inside?), tall and narrow three-story malls that make you feel like you’re always walking from the dept. store anchors back to the escalators in the middle, or to the food court tucked in the opposite corner 2 flights up from where you’re standing outside the Gap.  Is there anything more depressing than sitting alone in a food court, gulping a lemonade or diet coke with a nasty $8 faux panini?  Gross.  Too late I discovered the Nordstrom cafe hidden in the children’s section, with ample, leafy salads just calling to my now slightly nauseated self. 

But I took care of just about everyone for the holidays.  While buying myself a pair of shoes, the checkout guy noted that I must “really love a lot of people,” I had so many packages.  I told him my friends “keep bringing babies into the world.”  If only it weren’t so fun buying kids clothes, I might be bitter about this.  :)  Plus, it’s a feminist challenge each time in these stores to find some gender “appropriate” clothes without succumbing to the shackles of pink v. blue. 

But this week, we’re all about the blue:

Happy Hanukah!