Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Travelogue The Sequel Part. III

"Another Starbuck's Ripoff"

Last year I had to point out just how cheap the people were at the Starbuck's at 81st and Broadway...

Customers of the Starbuck’s on 81st and Broadway, whatcha’ gonna do? Show me that Californians are wrong? That New Yorkers understand that hard work could at least be rewarded a quarter or two? Prove me wrong? Not likely, because y’all too CHEAP!


That should "be rewarded by a quarter or two." Anyway...oh, what's that? Can you feel it? 'cause I sure can,'s...a...rant!

So still on the Monday night tip, right after we hit the Village, we walked across St. Mark's to the nearby Barnes & Noble for a little reading material. We ordered a blueberry frappucino and a strawberry frappucino...don't bother with either flavor, if you can help it.

The thing is Barnes & Noble, is that you as a corporation, are lacking in consideration. The mystery section is just small and pitifully stocked, that it's a mystery as to why it is even there. Second, there is no tip jar at the Starbucks. Can you see that big empty space in the picture?

The cheap bastards won't let the poor people at the coffee counter have a tip jar, "because the other employees do not have one, either." At least that was what was hinted at, they couldn't tell me directly because one of their supervisors conveniently showed up in line behind me. I still said it was wrong...nice and loud, plus I took a picture of it. Not to mention, I said that the neighboring three Starbucks franchises in the neighborhood should dump their tip jars here until this gets rectified.

"The Hotel Swimming Pool's Next Top Model"

That night, Procrastinator Junior and I hit the pool at the hotel for a relaxing swim. You all missed out on Naomi Campbell Junior, whom despite her meager audience, still put on a show like it was the runway. The resemblance was slight, though she was tall enough, had the accent down, and she had enough attitude to be the cousin of the model.

She didn't punch or bite the maids, but then again, there were none near by. She didn't want to get her hair weave wet, so she clung to the pool's coping whenever possible. I just dug it because she had to be on at all times, like there were dwarf paparazzi lurking behind the plants that were about to spring forth and put her on the cover of a magazine. Pre-coked out print models crack me up.

"Penne Alla Vodka & Mrs. Parker"

So come Tuesday morning, the youngest sister-in-law cancelled out her portion of the Manhattan visit. Because the youngest of her brood was coming down with a bit of a cold. This freed up our the earlier part of the day to run the errands that we were going to do on Wednesday morning. We had to go to Utrecht to pick up some calligraphy supplies, so that the Missus could create seating cards for the In-laws Golden Anniversary.

Then we hit the Garment District, so the Missus could hit the bead shops because she's a part-time jeweler. This and an unfortunate incident which I'd rather not blog about (nothing major, just embarrassing for me), ate up most of the day and it was time to get ready for dinner.

Yes, the dinner. The meeting of the minds. The Algonquin Table Redux.

I invited Becky first, then Chelene and last but not least, Coaster. I wanted to invite the great Is That So Wrong, but he doesn't even blog anymore and I don't know if Joyce Carol Oates had the literary mafia do something bad to his typing hands (or worse).

Let me preface this by saying that I screwed up, big time. I believed, though deep down I knew better, that I could get a reservation for 7PM with just four days notice. Nope, you will take 6PM or 9PM and like it was my response, though they said it in a more polite manner. I tell you what David Bowie, let's do a remake and call it "Aneurysm City."

So all had RSVP'd, though I knew that it would be a miracle if everyone could get there before six, even though two of the Bloggers Three worked nearby. I wore a shirt that bore my slogan and told the Bloggers Three to look for the Spouse, The Offspring and myself.

So we took a cab, because I panicked and believed that we wouldn't be there early enough if we walked (the hotel is some seven blocks away, in case you're wondering) and we got there with about twenty-seven minutes to spare. We had so much time in fact, that the Missus and Junior disappeared on me twice, taking pictures of Time Square in the process.

I made a reservation for nine, just in case someone wanted to bring someone else. The fine folks at Carmine's said they wouldn't seat us until the majority of the party showed up. They were nice enough to hold the table for us, as traffic and the Theater District crush conspired to do away with our table.

I must have gone in and out about a dozen times, relying on the few pictures I've seen of everyone here and there, plus a poor memory to remember them by. Becky showed up first and Chelene, just a few minutes after.

You know, men in Manhattan may have taste in food and in clothes, but they don't know sh*t about women. The fact that such two beautiful and charming women aren't beating potential suitors off with a stick, speaks volumes. Not to mention there isn't a picture in the world that does either woman justice. "Good gravy" is all I'll say further on the matter, as I have surely already incurred the Missus ire.

The irony was that during my meeting the two of them and trying to get ahold of the wife, who couldn't hear her cell phone through the ambient noise, was that I held open the door for Coaster and Poor George, and I didn't even know it. I have some recollection of it because Coaster is a lot taller than I expected and he was the only person of that height to walk by as I held the door.

Introductions all around and we were off to the table. Like I said, I made a reservation for nine and we had two extra chairs, as I wanted to cover all bases in case someone else tagged along. So if I were seated at the six o'clock position of the table, the Missus was at the 7:30, Junior was at the nine o'clock, Poor George at the ten, Coaster at the 11:30, Becky at the 12:30, and Chelene at around the two o'clock. Remember this configuration, because it was difficult following three conversations at a time, while trying to engage in another conversation.

Coaster was taller and wittier than I had imagined, though he was a lot more laid back than his online persona. Poor George has a slight resemblance to a cousin of mine, but his mannerisms and voice are exactly the same as said cousin! These two are probably the coolest couple I've met and they were cracking us up, constantly.

The waitress was pretty patient, considering we had time enough to order about four times, before we even ordered our first appetizer. She was not only a patient waitress, she was smart as I told her to bring the check to me so that Poor George couldn't pay it first (I do the inviting, I pay the check, Mr. G) and she was tipped well.

We covered jobs, ages, eating habits, where we came from, and where we're all going. Educational backgrounds and I found out despite our various origins, we all have a taste for trashy made-for-TV movies. I can't remember whether it was Chelene or Becky who said that we should switch seats, just as they do with speed dating.

I didn't know exactly what to do because as I had mentioned in Part. I, the acoustics in Carmine's lower dining room, leave something to be desired. Well, maybe not the acoustics so much as the hundreds of people talking all at once. If we all go there again, I'll insist on a reserving a table upstairs. I had Poor George talking in one ear, just cracking up the Missus and Junior while I was trying to hold a conversation with Becky, Chelene and Coaster.

On the menu was calamari fritti and stuffed mushrooms. Penne alla Vodka, Cheese Ravioli, Chicken Saltimboca, and spinach for the main course. Everybody hardly ate anything as we were all talking. Everyone was also amazingly patient with me, as sleep deprivation and searching for the perfect word, slowed my end of the conversation to almost a standstill.

It is certainly easier in life to talk online and via email. You have all the time in the world before you hit "publish post" or "send" to find the appropriate word or quote. It's a whole lot different in real time. If any of the Bloggers Three tell you that they're much more boring in person, they're just disarming you with their words, just like the jab of Larry Holmes. They'll knock you out with their words if you're not to careful.

"The Bloggers Three" from left to right: Coaster, Becky, Chelene, and the guy on the right is some a**sh*le that jumped into the picture at the last second.

"The Bloggers Three" and that a**h*le again. Coaster judo-flipped him a millisecond after this photo was taken and it's a good thing, as he was trying to put fliers for Appleby's in Becky and Chelene's purses. Not pictured: The Missus, Procrastinator Junior, Poor George, and Write Procrastinator, who helped to subdue the Appleby flyer-bearing menace!

Let me just say that it is rare to meet four people with such heart. Let me also say that if I were to base it solely on that day, Poor George has quite a future in comedy. Procrastinator Junior says he's way better than Letterman. If this were a blogging Algonquin Table, Poor George would be Mrs. Parker and that says a lot, as Bloggers Three could hold there on with any crowd.

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Blogger BeckEye said...

Dinner was quite delicious. And WP a most charming and generous host.

Poor George is funnier than Letterman, I'll agree.

Thu Aug 16, 05:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Chris said...

One day I'd love to have a mass gathering of all the great people I've met through blogging. I just know I'd be laughing a ton!

Thu Aug 16, 06:48:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Beth said...

You had a chair for me. I'm flattered!

Thu Aug 16, 09:53:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


Thank ya.


You should throw a big bash in the Windy City next year.


You and Dale.

Thu Aug 16, 11:56:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bubs said...

That sounds so cool. I'm envious. But not in a scary stalker way, just in a good-natured wish I was there kind of way.

Thu Aug 16, 03:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger chelene said...

The dinner and the company were both fantastic.

And I agree, Poor George is a riot.

Thu Aug 16, 07:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


I felt the same way last Sunday when Dale waited until I was at JF*, to have a Blogger lunch.


"The dinner and the company were both fantastic.

And I agree, Poor George is a riot."

I agree with all : )

Thu Aug 16, 08:26:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Dale said...

I wish I'd been there for your round table too WP, I heard only great things about you and the fun.

Why doesn't Poor George have his own blog anyway if not a cable show?

Your other guests are all hilarious, brilliant and beautiful in many ways.

While I did wait for you to be safely on your way before emerging into the wonder of NYC, I did hold a chair for Beth trying to entice her but she couldn't make it.

Chris and Bubs are welcome anytime too!

I'm glad you had such a good time despite the obstacles thrown in your way.

Sat Aug 18, 10:46:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


"Why doesn't Poor George have his own blog anyway if not a cable show?"

Good question, though he's too good to do cable access.

"Your other guests are all hilarious, brilliant and beautiful in many ways."


"I'm glad you had such a good time despite the obstacles thrown in your way."

The obstacles are part of the adventure, like when you go to shows or take the train.

Sat Aug 18, 11:11:00 AM PDT  
Blogger angel said...

oh MAN that sounds spectacular!
i would LOVE to meet some of the bloggers i read, and every now and then i read about one of these get-togethers i just get itching to organise or attend one!
thank you all of you for sharing!

Tue Aug 21, 01:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


You're welcome. That's what I like about blogs in that you can see another country from a point of view that you won't see on TV nor in magazines.

Tue Aug 21, 08:34:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Coaster Punchman said...

NO WAY is Poor George Mrs. Parker in this scenario. He's way not bitchy enough.

Sorry to be slow on the uptake on this post (as well as your others) - been on vacation - check your email on that one.

Wed Aug 22, 12:01:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


"He's way not bitchy enough."

Well, by that criteria, none of us would qualify.

"Sorry to be slow on the uptake on this post (as well as your others) - been on vacation - check your email on that one."

It's all right, my ears weren't the ones that were burning ; )

Wed Aug 22, 10:05:00 AM PDT  
Blogger James said...

You guys all have great asses. Too shy for a full frontal shot?

Wed Aug 22, 04:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


If you look on our blogs and avatars, you'll see the frontal shots. But just like the MPAA, you'll never see a "full frontal."

Wed Aug 22, 05:12:00 PM PDT  
Blogger is that so wrong? said...

Sorry I missed the blogger-get-together fun! Next time you coordinate an NYC blogger bash, I'll be first in line.... and we'll hit the Carmine's on the Upper West Side where it's less crowded.

Mon Oct 01, 04:16:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


The thing was for this visit was that it was closer to work for Becky and Chelene, not to mention that it was a spur of the moment thing. Next year I'll have the logistics down and we'll do it up there, as I would love to have an excuse to go north of the Natural History Museum.

Mon Oct 01, 08:21:00 PM PDT  

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