Friday, September 21, 2007

I sprayed myself with pepper spray....

...well, sort of...

The other night, I was making dinner with Vel, and I wanted to make roasted vegetables since I had just bought a bunch of red peppers from Essex Market. So, while she was preparing the chicken, I got to work cutting the peppers and scooping out the seeds with my fingers.

Into the 10th or 11th pepper, my forefinger started to hurt, like I had gotten a paper cut and the juices were getting into it. Not surprising, I probably gave myself a little cut with my knife. I washed my fingers and inspected, but there was no cut to be found. So I continued.

Well, about 20 minutes later, all of my fingers were in uncontrollable burning pain!! I realized they were caused by touching the capiscum seeds!!!!

Han recommended me to spread toothpaste all over my fingers and stand in front of the air conditioner to allow the minty coolness to calm things down. That helped for about 10 minutes until the toothpaste started to dry out and I wanted to eat dinner..

It was so intense I could barely hold my fork.... Then Vel got out a half-eaten container of yogurt that Dylan hadn't finished from earlier on. I soaked my fingers in there which felt great again, until the smell of the yogurt started to get me sick.

Wendy and I finally left and during our 10 minute walk home, I guess my swinging arms got all my blood to rush to my fingers so I was in intense pain again. We briefly talked about her come up to my apartment with me to help me take out my contacts, but I convinced her that I would manage.

From the internet, Paul helped me find some home remedies including soaking fingers in rubbing alcohol or vodka (both of which I didn't have), or Clorox Clean Up (of course I have a full bottle under the sink).

So I ended up spraying my countertops with it and rubbed my fingers through that, and then alternated between soaking my fingers in a 50/50 bleach & water solution and then 2% milk. I took 2 advils, spread on thick hand lotion, and went to sleep with still tingling burning fingers.

However, when I woke up, I was thrilled to find that my fingers had healed 99%!! Only the tips of my fingertips, right below the fingernails, were slightly tingling!

So, my advice for next time, USE GLOVES.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hot shots!

A drunken conversation on Saturday night actually became reality when Hide voiced his desire to shoot some guns in New York, because, well, he was in New York. (All Americans own guns, right?!?)

Add to that, he is a bonafide police officer in Japan (but has never had to use his gun), so why not?

Well, on the morning of September 11th, I found myself with Hide and Raylene at the Westside Shooting Range in the middle of Manhattan. We were sitting and chatting around a table, casually loading .22 bullets into the magazines of our rifles, quilting-bee style.

After a short intro lesson, we were armed with goggles, ear protection, a stack of targets, and a rifle each.

Hide in New York

Hide, my police officer friend from Japan, just came out to New York for a whirlwind visit. Even though it was his 3rd time here, it was the first time he was here with a "local".

The main purpose of his trip (woah, I sound like a Japanese textbook) was to watch the Men's Semifinals and Finals of the US Open! Big time. I've never even been to a Yankees Game and he's seen all the major sports events in New York.

Anyhow we squeezed in visits to Central Park, Bryant Park (Fashion Week), Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Soho, Nolita, downtown Manhattan, and a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Lots of shopping, lots of walking, and lots of eating, to be expected.

The last time he visited New York, he met a stretch limo driver on the street so he ended up hiring the guy to drive him to the airport. This time, he took a helicopter! wait, what?!? Yes! For only 100 bucks, you can get from Manhattan to JFK in 10 minutes, on a helicopter! That beats a $50 car service or cab sitting in traffic for an hour anyday. Well, I'm too cheap (and poor) so I take the subway to the airport.

But yeah, good times. I'm still recovering...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

kimono sensei

As one of the highest appreciators of Japanese art and culture, Raylene was the recipient of my sheer black kimono that I brought back from Japan. We had a "dress up" session where I got to dress and tie her up in all the layers associated with wearing a kimono and obi...

Pre-kimono exquisite lunch, glowing window, bird in hair, and glass bubbles all added to the magic.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


After a leisurely, delicious dinner at Delhi Palace (Jackson Heights, Queens), Anne Marie, Edward, and I were walking back to their apartment, sucking on some Malai Kulfi popsicles.

Even though it was like 10pm, we passed all kinds of bustling street vendors, shops selling things from saris to cigarettes... Man, you can get ANYTHING in New York...

Anyway, so we were walking past these beautiful old brick apartment buildings when I noticed a backlit window with some sort of active shadow puppetry going on. When I slowed down to see what all the activity was- it was actually a couple of rats, scurrying around in the basement of the building, right up against the window!! They were quite playful, but really, the whole thing was making me a little nauseous.

I was so flustered that I couldn't find my camera to take a video, but my handy cell phone caught them in action. (And technology these days!!! I even sent them from my phone to my email account, just like my great Japanese phone!)

Anyway- back to the dirty rat show... It was so WEIRD to be so close to the scampering vermin and not be scared sh*tless by them possibly running over my feet, or possibly even up my leg and into my skirt or something. I stood there in disgusted awe, watching the show with that thin piece of security glass separating us.

However, it was free and the lighting was great (2 of my most favorite aspects for any experience)...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Overheard (and experienced!) in NYC: #2

Paul and I went to my friend Susan's birthday party at a bar in Brooklyn last Saturday- it also happened to be her wedding day! It was great to see both sides of Susan and Chris' friends and family, relaxed after a whole day of formal festivities.

Now, the crowd was pretty wasted by the time we showed up (about midnight) so we had a lot of catching up to do.

A guy with a shaved head in an impeccable National Guard uniform (a friend of Chris) roped us in for our first shot of the night- after much debate on whether it was going to be vodka or tequila, we ended up deciding that I would pay for the round of vodka shots- 3 for us, plus the bride and groom. Then he was going to buy the next round, where he would show us the "correct" way of taking a tequila shot.

He kept telling me and Susan that we'd be pardoned if we refused to take the shot after watching him do it the "correct" way, because women are "wusses" or something like that, which of course, put us on the defense. But really... after seeing what he did, I'd be fine if he called me a wuss for the rest of my life.

This is what he did:

#1) Took the salt and spread it out on the bar. Took out a credit card and started chopping it up and making lines. SNORTED the salt up his NOSE.

#2) Took the tequila shot.

#3) Took the lemon wedge and squeezed it into his eyes.

This ranks up there with my other crazy bar experience in Kyoto.....