Thursday, September 30, 2010

MoMA Fall Openings

Kurt and I don't lead very fabulous or fancy lives. We also don't do things in Manhattan often. This past week was an exception to both those points when we were able to score tickets to the Museum of Modern Art's Fall 2010 Openings. One of the new exhibits is called Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement and features a Rural Studio project--a 20K House built by an Auburn Outreach team. The whole Rural Studio staff made the trip up to NYC for the big opening, so it was great to see some familiar faces.  Most of all, I was super excited to see Mackenzie! She was amazingly able to tag us on to the RSVP list and Kurt and I were able to attend the event. We were expecting a small reception centered around the single exhibit. Little did we know, it was a big party for new work in many of the galleries. They shut down the museum to the general public, hired a DJ, lowered the lights, and of course, had an open bar! It was a great party and the exhibit looks great. It's amazing to see the Rural Studio, a program I hold near to my heart, in such a respected setting, surrounded by many great architects and their work. Definitely not your typical Tuesday night for us Brooklyn-philes!

After spending some quality time at the open bar (even though they were not serving beer...what kind of people don't drink beer?!.....oh, right.....artsy Manhattanites), Kurt and I were able to guide a few of the Rural Studio-ers down to the Corner Bistro in the West Village. I felt badly that we drug them farther than they were hoping to walk in their fancy shoes, but some cheap beer and catching up were well worth it. We were out late enough that Kurt and I actually took a cab back to Brooklyn! You can mark that in the record books: Kurt and cab in the same sentence :) I was tired and hungover the entire next day but I had a blast with some old friends!

Thanks for getting us into MoMA, Mackenzie! You'll have to come back and hang out longer next time!

(Photo credit: Top 3 [expertly photographed and manually photomerged] images courtesy of Kurt L. Martig.)

We have a winner!

New cat will henceforth be known as Aubie. He's my little tiger! For those of you who don't know, Aubie is Auburn University's mascot and the best looking tiger in the South (there are several!). Aubie satisfies my name requirement of 2 syllables as well as ending in a -y or -ie. It also reminds me of home! I think Aubie and I will be quite happy together :)

Thanks for the idea, Jessica!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

3F has a new roommate!

He is orange and cuddly and acts like he owns the place already. I had been wanting a cat for a while (or wanting some sort of animal interaction until I have the means to own a dog) and finally got around to doing it. Let me tell you, the cat adoption process in Brooklyn is quite involved! There are tons of shelters separate from the ASPCA and city humane societies and they are serious about cat welfare. I respect the fact that they want to find these neglected kitties good homes, but I had to jump through quite a few hoops before the shelter woman would leave this guy in my care. I had to fill out a 4 page application including 2 references. We had a meet and greet session the day before he was delivered and my apartment had to be inspected to make sure there are screens in all the windows. I wrote a hefty check to the shelter and was lectured about the cruelty of declawing and the statistics of kitty runaways.

But now he's all mine! Well, I still have to undergo some periodic checks to make sure I am not neglecting him. The sweet foster parents also asked that I send pictures and news about how he is doing. I promised a Christmas card of me and Gino (short for Orangino).

That comes to my next point. I don't know what to call my new little kitty friend! The rescuer called him Gino but I'm not in love with it (makes me think "guido"). The Graveline's are notoriously bad at naming animals (Buster, Blackie, Buddy, Pumpkin, Fluff, and the list goes on), so I'm at a loss. Well, you can see in the top picture that he has little thumbs. The shelter lady says it is rare but some people search it out. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway thought they were good luck, so he surrounded himself with them when he lived in Florida. He was so into these thumbed wonders that they are sometimes called Hemingway polydactyls. One suggestion for a name was Hemingway (Hemi for short). I thought maybe Ernest/Ernie but it's a little too Sesame Street.

I need help! Send me your suggestions (all 3 of you readers out there)! I'm afraid "Kitty" might stick if I don't find a real name soon!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Game

The Rotunda

The game was at 3:30 in the afternoon, so after some intense bike touring in the morning, Kurt and I had some time to check out what these Midwesterners call tailgating. This was one of the main things I was excited about seeing at Ohio State and being able to compare it to Auburn. But really...there isn't much comparison. I will say that the tailgates I saw were pretty extensive with food, drinks, tvs, and more cornhole than you can imagine. They just lack the sheer magnitude that Auburn tailgating entails. In Columbus, tailgating is mainly done with your RV or bus and is contained in this dull little parking lot completely detached from all the action of the stadium. In Auburn, I feel like fans descend on campus Friday afternoon and claim every bit of open space they can find--the closer to Jordan-Hare the better. I can't wait to show Kurt the mayhem in Auburn!

Our main goal in our tailgating exploration was to find the Eleven Warriors outpost. These guys write a football ball blog that Kurt reads religiously and had announced they would be hanging out and would love to meet their readers. We went, had some free food, and had a taste of some really good beer brewed by these OSU fans in Chicago. Everyone I met was incredibly nice--I venture to say even more friendly than Southerners.

I was also completely amused by the difference in gameday attire. I only spotted one sun dress (and she was a Miami fan) and I think a guy in a suit would have looked laughably out of place. No one dresses up! Not only do they not get fancy for games, but there is a strict adherence to an Ohio State logo t-shirt or jersey. I don't even think a red sweater would fly! This lends itself to a booming graphic t-shirt business. I saw so many different ones! There were few repeats but we spotted tons on Homage shirts. I guess the same way a girl in Auburn takes pleasure in finding the perfect orange or blue dress, all those lady Buckeye's enjoy picking a unique t-shirt that no one else has? I just don't get it.

Kurt and I were just in time to catch the Skull Session where the band (also known as The Best Damn Band in the Land) holds a pep rally before each game. We got to see the football team walk through right at the beginning. I was a bit shorter than the crowd but Kurt got a glimpse of the coach and star quarterback.

This is for you, Joey Fante. They had a contest going where you could win the chance to get married in Ohio Stadium! Why couldn't Jordan-Hare have done this back in April?!

As game time drew closer, we headed into the stadium and set up post on the inside of the Rotunda so we could watch the band enter the stadium. These friendly Buckeyes let me stand right on the rail so I could get a good view. They were so excited that it was my first game (in Columbus, that is). I stood next to this sweet old lady who works at the stadium. She was all decked out in her scarlet and grey and told me about all their traditions while we waited on the band.


One of my favorite things is the Script Ohio. Our seats were waaaaay off in the other direction but the guards were nice enough to let Kurt and I hang out here to watch it because he wanted me to see it right side up :) See! So nice!

And Jen Fante, this one is for you! Rascal Flats sang the national anthem at the beginning of the game. I kept waiting anxiously for the jet fly-over at the end of the song, but alas, Ohio State isn't as awesome as Auburn :)

Our view. 3 rows from the top!

Silvia is from California, a place which doesn't appreciate football in such a widespread fashion as, say, Ohio or Alabama. She was still super excited for the trip. Before we left Brooklyn, Erik even gave her a crash course on the rules. I think she caught on quite well.

Look at that sky!

Luckily we were prepared with fancy Ohio State ponchos!

The rain didn't last too long and eventually the clouds parted and the sun came back out. Just in time for Ohio State to win the game! The Buckeye's beat the Miami Hurricanes 36-24. I don't remember the finer points of the game but it was fun to watch it with really excited fans. They're never satisfied though! They always find some nit-picky thing to complain about. While they adore the coach, Jim Tressel, they always have issues with him and his style of playing. You just won! Be happy!

Anyway, after the game--win or lose--the team has this tradition (started by Tressel) where they sing Carmen Ohio with the band. It's quite touching. It may have even brought tears to a certain person's eyes. I'm not telling who...

Waiting around at the end of the game to see the band exit the field (we wanted the full experience!). Go Bucks!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


We're off to Ohio! A couple weekends ago, Kurt, Erik, Silvia, and I all headed to Columbus to see an Ohio State football game. The Brothers Martig and I were flying to Pittsburgh and Silvia was meeting us later in Columbus on the Friday before the game. 

Don't the brothers look cute in their matching t-shirts?! Kurt and Erik had recently purchased Ohio State NYC Alumni Club shirts (made by their favorite t-shirt company, Homage...but more on that later) and were eager to show them off in their old stomping grounds.

I flew with the boys from JFK to Pittsburgh. This is us trying to navigate the poorly labeled and extensive Delta terminal at JFK. Thankfully, we got there ridiculously early because I failed to correct Kurt on his timing. Traveling makes me nervous! I like to be there with plenty of time to spare.

Once we found our gate, we had enough time to choose a bar to eat at and then sheepishly escape once we realized how expensive it was. They wanted $11 for a Blue Moon! Ridiculous! We found somewhere slightly more affordable (airports are much too expensive!) and hung out until our flight boarded.

We flew like this the entire way. He was my "infant in arms". We are that frugal.

We arrived in Pittsburgh where Mr. and Mrs. Martig were waiting to hand off a car to us. We had a nice little dinner then left straight for Columbus.

Welcome to Ohio!

Once in Columbus, Kurt and I were staying with his friend Scot, so we dropped our stuff at his apartment and then headed to one of his favorite neighborhood spots, Johnnie's Bar and Grill (although no one can ever recall them serving food). Erik had to run to the airport to pick up Silvia and then convene with their host Jesse, so they all joined us later. I met a few of Kurt's old friends and coworkers and enjoyed ridiculously cheap beers. It's nice to escape the NYC markup occasionally!

For a late night bite, we headed to Surly Girl for a yummy pizza and Columbus brewed beer. Silvia is dead set on recreating our pizza because it was so delicious. I remember it having several cheeses, including Gorgonzola, and a sweet balsamic drizzle, so I look forward to taste testing her attempts!

Kurt and I also overestimated the ease of catching a cab (we must be too used to the city) and ended up walking quite a distance back to Scot's apartment. Normally, I wouldn't have minded but it was late and we needed to conserve all our energy for our big Saturday!

The next morning, we all got moving pretty slowly but met up to head to a local bike shop to rent bikes for the day. I'm such a fan of this way of exploring a new city. Biking allows you to get around easily and quickly without having to deal with the hassle of driving and parking--especially on a game day.


We toured around campus a bit while the boys pointed out all the buildings. They must be building like crazy at OSU because it seemed like every other building they described was new. I was blown away by their new recreation  and aquatics centers. I'm jealous! Auburn's facilities seem quite shabby in comparison. In the above photo, you can see us walk along the axis of the Oval which terminates on the library.

You could take an elevator to to the 11th floor of the library where there is a reading room with great views of campus and Columbus. You can see the "'Shoe" in this picture. They call the stadium the Horseshoe because of the shape. Kurt can tell you much more than I can about the history of their stadium.

This is the Ohio State architecture building! A little more impressive than Dudley Hall, no? Apparently they received a generous donation for the construction of a new building but one stipulation was that it had to be clad in white marble. The architect was Mack Scogin Merrill Elam

Column examples reused from the former architecture building.

The building was locked but luckily Kurt and I spotted a random girl inside who decided we looked sane enough to admit in. I was excited to see the studios where Kurt and Erik toiled away countless late nights and crits. The building is practically one large space with levels connected by ramps and stairs. 

You can't live without random studio furniture.

The architecture building has a large terrace with a great view of the stadium.

Insert game experience here. The post was getting so huge, I decided to split it into our Columbus fun and actual events directly related to game time! Intermission time!

Well, after the game, we rode our bikes a little distance from campus to beat the mad rush for dinner. The boys raved about this pizza place nearby. Sadly, we had a little setback and weren't able to try one of the best pizzas you will ever eat. We continued on the quest for food on our bikes. The next place we tried had a band so they had a steep cover! Jeez! By this point we were cranky and ravenous. We weren't too far from where the boys used to live, so they wanted to check out what had replaced Taco Ninja, one of their constant go-to meals while in college. I had no idea what to expect. It turned out being a small little burrito outfit tucked inside a dive-y bar (see above). Perfect. I was sold. Kurt and I ordered burritos and cheap beers and settled in to watch Alabama beat up on Penn State on the bar's TV. Food always seems to taste best when you are starving and these burritos were no exception. Delicious! Unfortunately, Erik and Silvia did not share our burrito love and we split up a little later so they could find something else to eat.

We eventually ended up back together at a bar in Short North, a really cute neighborhood south of campus. There were tons of shops, bars, and restaurants with a great street presence along High Street, a main thoroughfare through campus. Of all the places in Columbus, I think I liked this stretch most. It probably reminded me of my beloved Brooklyn :) After a pretty extensive night of partying to celebrate the WIN, we finally headed off to bed.

The next morning, Kurt and Erik were excited to visit Nancy's, a diner north of campus. They used to frequent this place and get tons of food for next to nothing. Apparently, that isn't the best business model, so the restaurant had some financial trouble while the boys were in school. A facebook group got started to Save Nancy's! and actually worked! It helped them get back on their feet and continue to serve delicious food! I had some great biscuits and gravy and Kurt had an omelet. We were stuffed by the time we left.

One of our last stops on the Columbus tour before heading to Salem, Ohio to visit the Martigs was the HOMAGE store. Homage is this t-shirt company based in Columbus that Kurt has fallen in love with. They mainly produce Ohio State graphics but also have a random assortment of other themes. The catch is that most of the shirts are reproductions of vintage shirts from the past--therefore paying homage to those periods. The graphics are awesome and the shirts are soooo comfortable. I even have one :) Kurt has too many to admit. While browsing their newly opened shop (they used to just be online), Kurt and Erik chatted up the salespeople and expressed their love for the store. One of the guys was like Hey, do you guys want a coke? and got them a couple of glass bottles out of their retro coke machine. It was such a feel-good Coca Cola ad from the 90s but the boys were elated. They could not have been happier. I think it was a great conclusion to our couple days in Columbus.


I'm not exactly sure how Kurt and I came into such good fortune but am really glad we did! Monday morning I was in the office and our lawyers called to speak with one of my bosses, Hope. They chit chatted a while and when Hope got off the phone, she announced that their law firm had 2 extra Yankees tickets to Tuesday night's game and wanted to see if anyone from our office would want them. My coworkers Karen and Eric thought about it for a moment and decided they weren't interested. I'll take them!! I emailed Kurt quickly to see if he was free and our lawyer friend set up a messenger to bring the tickets over to my office.

I've only experienced minor league baseball in New York, so I was pretty excited to see what all the Yankees fuss is about and see their shiny new stadium. Once I got the tickets, Kurt and I did some research on our seats and slowly realized they were pretty fancy! We were in the Delta 360 Suite which is a small section of cushy seats which wrap behind home plate. We had a special entrance reached by an elevator which we shared with some important looking businessmen in suits (we did not fit in). The Delta Suite had its own concessions and bar and you could get waitress service from your seat! Sadly, nothing was free (we had high hopes) but it was nice to experience the game from a different perspective as opposed to the cheapo nosebleed seats we would purchase ourselves. The downside: we're spoiled forever. I'll never be able to visit another stadium without padded seats and a private bathroom!

Our view of the field. Our lawyer friend warned me beforehand to stay alert because this section gets a lot of foul balls. Kurt brought a couple baseball gloves in hopes of snagging a souvenir ball. A lot of fouls came to our section but none close enough to grab. Plus, we were smack in the middle of this section of big guys (other lawyers, I'm assuming) who were armed and ready to dive for their own chance at a foul ball. Our competition was steep. 

The Yankees ended up winning 8 to 3 over the Tampa Bay Rays (I thought they used to be the Devil Rays? Oh, is that offensive? Jeez...). The game was pretty boring but the experience was great! I can now check the Yankees off my list. If anyone is handing out free tickets in the future, send them my way. I'm always up for a new adventure!

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