Updates from September, 2004 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ted Mann 3:50 pm on September 21, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Night of the Passion Party 

    My bachelor party is scheduled to take place this Saturday and, while I know none of the details, I’m already giddy about one thing: the B.P. double standard. That is, the understanding that guests of the bachelor party are sworn to secrecy–and, indeed, subject to prison time for revealing even the most minute details–but those who attend the bachelorette soire have to spill the beans.

    To wit: Ana confessed that last Saturday, while I was enjoying a very innocent first-birthday party with my twin nieces in White Plains, Ana was in Philly attending a “Passion Party.” If you aren’t plugged into the Bachelorette Party scene, a passion party (aka “pleasure party”) is basically a Tupperware party with dildos and ointments instead of rubberized bowls. Actually, for all I know, rubberized bowls may have been utilized, too.

    This posting from Craig’s List explains further:

    You and your friends will have the unique opportunity to taste, touch, smell and check out the power of all the products in a comfortable atmosphere of the home party setting. I bring the Adult Store to your Door!! All the stuff you wouldn’t go into an adult store to purchase, is available and EXPLAINED! I aim to entertain, educate, and equip you to spice up your romantic lives in just a few short hours! Our presentation is professional, tasteful & educational not to mention – the most fun you’ll ever have!!

    For more details, check out Passion Parties by Linda. I’m not sure if this was who Ana’s bridesmaids, Neha and Parisa, hired, but the links to “passion products” — such as vibrators, bullets, waterproof, and c-rings — will certainly give you the gist (the pics are just a little too dirty and revolting to post here).

    When Ana arrived home she was still buzzed with excitement from the party, and proceeded to rub innumerable pheromone lotions on my hands. Sorry to say that this didn’t have the intended effect, and Ana quickly lost interest and moved on to writing thank-you cards to her shower benefactors.

    On the positive side, the sparkly lotion did seem to interest Fuzzy the cat, who came over, licked my knuckles, and began attacking Ana’s pulsating, battery-operated, chrome bullet as if it were a futuristic rodent.

  • Ted Mann 4:35 pm on September 17, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    The Cereal Experiment 

    A few weeks ago, while helping Gabe move up to New York, we hobbled into a Panera Bread restaurant for lunch. Over a meal of $10 deli sandwiches, we got into one of those entrepreneurial brainstorming discussions, where you talk about some weird commercial phenomenon and figure out how you can exploit it. In this case, it was the yuppization of blue-collar food.

    Specifically, we were talking about how restaurants like PF Chang’s try to capture the experience of eating ordinary takeout Chinese food in a Pottery Barn setting. Likewise, the Cheesecake Factory is really nothing more than a pimped out diner. In Philly we have Jones, a Steven Starr restaurant that is basically like getting KFC in an ironic, hyper-cool Brady Bunch lounge. And isn’t the food at Maggiano’s an awful lot like your typical Little Italy restaurant, minus the opera singin’ waiters? The thing about all these places is that they’ve taken staple comfort foods and it with mood lighting, part-time actress waiters, hard wood, cloth napkins, and jazzy mix tapes.

    So, Gabe and I wondered, what boring, but essential, food could we repackage into a postmodern ultra-hip restaurant? Pizza’s already been done. Indian is just a little too unusual. Rice is just–well, rice. Way too postmodern (those who’ve heard the story of “divorced girl” will know what I’m talkin’ about). Ultimately, we couldn’t come up with anything, and decided to spend the rest of the drive debating the size of John Kerry’s bladder.

    As it turns out, there was an untapped comfort food, but we never came close. You gotta think supermarket. Think cereal. CEREAL!

    Imagine a “Seinfeld-esque” kitchen setting featuring homey kitchen cabinets stocked with familiar cereals. Right there you’ve got the design concept for Cereality, the new franchise that’s trying to do for cereal what Taco Bell did for Chihuahuas. There’s already a franchise in the works, set to open in early November. Most remarkable, it’s going to be right in the heart of Penn’s campus, next to the bookstore.

    The company’s slogan is “all cereal, all day, all ways.” The idea of custom-blending name-brand and specialty cereals, as well as hot and cold varieties, seems downright brilliant. I’m not sure I agree with the company’s press release, which touts cereal eating as a “habitual and highly personal” habit, with late-night compulsive tendencies. But no matter, this idea is friggin’ brilliant anyway.

    I gave up cereal long ago, figuring that it was devoid of nutrients and protein. But hearing about Cereality’s wacky concept, I’ll be one of the first to line up at the 1,500-square-foot cafe at 36th and Walnut.

    I’ll be there hawking my smashed sandwiches and homemade donuts, of course.

  • Ted Mann 8:29 pm on September 14, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Shower Power 

    In my best Jerry Seinfeld voice: What’s the deal with bridal showers? Given the obscene level of gift gouging, they should be called bridal shakedowns. Or maybe, given that we can’t open any of the presents until after the actual wedding (and possibly not even then), it should really be the bridal catch-22.

    We drove up to northern Jersey on Sunday for Ana’s big to-do. I was very resolute in my decision not to stick around and be one of those guys — you know, the creepy grooms who hang around and open presents with all the girls. If there had been pillows available, and scantily clad co-eds pissed off enough to use ’em, I might have stayed. But as it were, there were a dozen or so women teasing me in a foreign language and more than a handful of my mom’s charmingly, annoyingly chatty friends, and so I got out of there fast. I had a nice visit with my brother and nieces at their new house in White Plains, NY. When I got to the door, Winifred ran to me (as fast as a one-year-old can run), hugged my legs, and then said “Teddy.” At least, I think it was “Teddy”; could’ve been “Freddy” considering how much time she’s been spending with gramma lately.

    When I got back to Shower Central, Ana’s sister-in-law’s house, there was an unholy mountain of presents waiting, expectantly, for me to transfer to the car. I guess this was the first shower I’d ever been exposed to, because nothing had prepared me for the frightening level of gift-giving that had taken place. We packed our Pontiac Vibe to the roof, filling it up like a Tetris puzzle, stuffing bags between Ana’s legs and the driver-side pedals. And still, we only managed to cram half of the gifts. The rest will have to await our return to Scotch Plains.

    Of course, we aren’t allowed to open or use any of the gifts until after the wedding. Thus, right now our apartment could easily be mistaken for a Crate & Barrel stock room. In fact, I often make this mistake when I come home from work.

    My favorite part of the shower, or the ex-post-facto version I got from Ana’s nieces, was the scrapbook that Ana’s maid of honor, Vicki, put together. There were pictures from friends, poems from cousins, and nice notes from Ana’s and my family. But my favorite part of the album has to be my friend Gwynne’s creative take on Ana’s favorite bedtime compulsion.

    Gwynne was kind enough to grant me one-time Internet blog permission to reprint her masterpiece here. Hope you like it, too!

  • Ted Mann 11:00 pm on September 13, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Pride in Philadelphia 

    I don’t usually have the kindest words for the city that I call home. If I’m not railing against Mayor Street’s corrupt administration, then I’m bitching about the legalization of gambling in Pennsylvania and the inevitable riverboat casinos that will end up on the Delaware. To maximize the nausea, I often combine the two albatrosses, Street and gambling, and concoct a Michael Moore-brand conspiracy theory.

    But this summer, in the city of bro-lo, there’s been little to gripe about. In fact, time and again, there have been exciting announcements that make me think Philly might finally be emerging from its medieval mentality of isolationist fiefdoms, pay-to-play politicians, and all-around malaise. Herewith, the top five recent developments that deserve mad props:

    1. South Philly Ikea: In late August, Ikea opened it’s first “urban” store, on Columbus Boulevard in Philly. Not only is the store as gi-normous and pimped out as Ikeas get, its cafeteria’s got a fabulous view of the S.S. United States, the Titanic-like ship that’s parked outside (rusting, on the Delaware) and still owns the record for fastest trans-Atlantic cruise. Though my beloved Inga Saffron complains that the lack of exterior sidewalks, nearby bus stops, and windows make the store seem distinctly suburban (ie not urban), I don’t really see the need to quibble over such details. I mean, hey, we’re the first major American city to get an Ikea within our borders! (Sorry, Elizabeth, NJ. With all due respect to my fiance, the store at exit 13A just don’t count.) Other cities, like Chicago, are sure to get urban Ikeas soon, but, as with the store in Plymouth Meeting (first in North America), the region will still be able to say that we’re on the cutting edge of Swedish furniture retailing.

    2. Wireless City: Speakin’ of cutting edge … in one of the most surprising moves John Street has made in his five years as mayor, he announced two weeks ago that he wants Philly to be the nation’s first city with wireless access to the Internet everywhere within its borders. Back with all the investigation into Street’s shady business dealings–the bug, the federal probe, all that–it came out that Street was an obsessive Blackberry emailer (the fed’s confiscated three of his devices), so I guess it’s not totally shocking that Street came up with this techie fantasy. Who knows if it’ll be implemented, or if citizens will balk at the idea of taxpayer funded web access, or if Verizon will freak at the idea of losing DSL business to city-subsidized access points. But for the time being, I’m delighted to finally see Philly taking a pro-active attitude towards the technology sector and the young-adult population. If the Inquirer story is correct, and the total cost for city-wide wireless would be around $10 million, that seems like a steal.

    3. 2024 Olympics: As reported by my old mentor from the City Paper, Howard Altman, at the end of August, the William Penn Foundation has been conducting a feasibility study to determine whether the city should put in a bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Remarkably, the prognosis looks good. Philly already has 17 of the required 31 sports venues; the transportation system and hotel capacity is already capable of sustaining the traffic that the Olympics bring; and there’s already a perfect location for an Olympic Village, down in FDR park, near the stadiums. Of course, I’ll be 47 by the times these plans come to fruition, and I’ll probably be driving little Timmy and Suzy to band camp and unable to return to Philly to enjoy the games … but who knows, maybe I’ll be able to talk Timmy and Suzy into watching a little ping-pong. That would be swell.

    Quick editorial note: Why the hell did the City Paper ever let Altman go? Having just read his Inquirer article about the Olympics bid, one of the biggest city scoops this year, I don’t have the foggiest idea why a two-bit alt weekly would have fired their best reporter–who, I might add, also happened to be editor-in-chief and the heart and soul of the paper. With executive decisions like that, things don’t bode well for the good ol’ CP.

  • Ted Mann 4:09 pm on September 9, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Ted’s Wedding Wish List 

    I’ve already mentioned the Omnibot, Robosapien, and Roomba as potential items for an alternative wedding registry. But thanks to Andy, I’ve found an even better suggestion.

    How do I register for one of these?

    • Gabe 3:38 pm on September 10, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      Try this. It’s slightly more compact. Or, at least, it can be.


    • Gwynne 9:45 am on September 13, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      I think Crate & Barrel now carries these….actually, If I’m not mistaken, I think I remember seeing Ana open one of these at the shower yesterday.

  • Ted Mann 7:32 pm on September 8, 2004 Permalink | Reply  

    Back to Blogland 

    It’s been almost a month since I posted anything. And for that, faithful blog readers, I’m truly sorry. As with everything these days, I’m going to blame it all on the sweatshop labor that goes into planning my wedding. Lots of invitations, ceremony programs, out-of-towner bags, and other assorted DIY projects (that’s “do it yourself,” for those that arent fluent in wedding parlance). My computer also went into a meltdown last week, and I’ve become fanatically obsessed with fixing the damn thing–even though I don’t know a bit about programming or how to fix ODBC DLL files or rewire the Root structure. In all likelihood I’ve done more harm than good. Oh, and I also took a little pre-Labor Day vacation to the Jersey Shore with the fam, which was a much needed reboot (I keep telling myself, must stop thinking in computer language, but with all the debugging, I can’t help it).

    Here are some of the recent highlights from my life (and my friends’ lives):

    Jersey Shore: The fam got a place in Avalon, which is near the southern end of the shore, just north of Stone Harbor. We spent most of the week ogling my siblings’ offspring: Winifred, Frances, and Owen. I particularly enjoyed watched Frances eat sand, a new hobby (her first, I think) which she took up with gusto. Sadly, towards the end of our stay, Frances came down with Roseola, a viral infection which gave her a nasty flu and then, a couple days later–right when she appeared to have recovered–a head-to-toe rash. She was not a happy camper those last couple days, but I will say this: she is the most adorably pitiful sick person I’ve ever seen. No word yet on whether there’s any connection between sand consumption and Roseola infantum. Ana keeps telling me she’ll do a Medline search.

    Gabe’s limp: I spent the weekend before last aiding and abetting in the hobbling of my friend Gabe. He was about to start a new job at Citibank, in New York, and I thought, What better Philly good-bye gift could I give my friend than a couple sprained ankles? Actually, that’s not totally accurate. The thought process went more like this: I need to do some wedding-related printing at the office, Gabe is a groomsman, so I’ll bring him along to help, and he can find his way out of the office when he needs to leave. This plan did not foresee the likelihood of Gabe getting stranded on a fire escape and deciding to jump the twelve feet down (rather than calling me on his cell or banging on the door or lowering himself down). So, long story short, Gabe started his new job on crutches.

    Neha’s cell phone crisis: Some ingenious prankster got the idea, a couple weeks ago, to re-route phone calls to my friend Neha’s cell phone to her ex-boyfriend Jared’s home phone. But that’s not all! Jared’s calls were in turn routed to Neha’s cell. When Nabe called Jared to ask if he was experiencing any of this weirdness, he said yes, but then added, suspiciously, “maybe it’s because someone thinks we should be talking again.” Now, I don’t have enough space on this blog to delve into the complicated wackness that is Jared and Neha’s relationship. Nor do I have the stamina to create the five blogs that would be needed to recount all the tortured Jared-Neha stories, but I do have one question: Who on earth would ever think it appropriate for ex-boyfriend and girlfriends to speak? That’s just a dead giveaway that Jared, his fellow mathletes at U of MD, and Verizon are behind this whole sordid affair. God bless them.

    • Gabe 2:02 pm on September 10, 2004 Permalink | Reply

      I think it was only nine feet or so.

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