About Amanda

I’m a disgruntled Metro-North commuter by morning, real estate journalist by day, insomniac by night, and cancer butt-kicker for life.

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Long Island

A Forgotten Treasure Chest

When cleaning out my mom’s house of all my stuff, I found a box that was packed away long ago. And forgotten. Judging by its contents, I likely packed it before I left for college in 2001. Unpacking it has been like revisiting old friends (except they’re non-stalkable on Facebook). Books, stuffed animals, knickknacks. I didn’t know the box even existed. Once in a while I’d think of something that was in the box, wondering what happened to it. Did I give it away to charity? Sell it in a garage sale? Lend it to a friend? I never connected the dots that they’d all might be together somewhere.

There were boxes in that storage area that were even older—some from our original move in 1992. I found toys I hadn’t seen in years, including a wooden puppet stage I once had. I’m itchy to see what else will be recovered over the next few weeks.

At the rate we’re going, I’m hoping that the boxes we’ve moved to Ossining don’t get unpacked for another 13 years. Yikes!

The Cheapest Concert I’ve Been To?

Today, I bought my best Groupon to date—$15 tickets to see Heart in concert at Jones Beach Amphitheater on July 27.

Besides shows I’ve seen for free (like Gregg Rolie and Steve Augeri), I don’t ever think I’ve purchased concert tickets this cheaply for a well-known act!

In my opinion, it’s what concert tickets should cost. I’ve been to many concerts since 1998 (when I started going to shows with my friends), and tickets are astronomical to the point where half of the concert venue is empty. It’s sort of depressing to see the upper tier of Jones Beach empty when there’s such a great show.

In 2001, when I attended my first Journey show (whom I’ve seen 17 more times since), tickets were $40—and I got third-row tickets at Jones Beach to boot. As Journey surged in popularity again, tickets for those type of seats have swelled to VIP packages costing hundreds to get the same experience.

That’s not what music is about, and it’s discouraging that artists don’t speak up more about this. The high cost of tickets and merchandise—with service fees and sometimes even parking thrown in—have made me think twice about going to other shows.

But $15 is amazing. I’ve never seen Heart live and it’s a band I’ve always wanted to see. I have no clue where my seats are yet—and I presume they’ll be nosebleed, which are normally selling for $25—but this price is a start. I hope more artists jump on this cheap-ticket bandwagon and fill venues once more.

Burning Down The… Hood?

Today, I was in the beauty supply store that my sister works in, when a woman in her mid-70s walks in, reeking of cigarette smoke. Not in a “I smoke a pack a day” kind of way, but as in “I’m smoking in your store right now.”

I didn’t see any cigarette in her hand, but then I saw the source: Smoke was pouring out of her coat’s hood. I waved wildly at my sister’s co-worker Jaimie to show her, as I didn’t want to call out the customer when I didn’t work there.  Jaimie didn’t know what I was talking about, so I ran to the back of the store and told my sister’s boss, who walked calmly to the front, plucked the cigarette out of the woman’s hood, and said, “You have a burning cigarette in your hood.”

You think the woman would freak out, right? No. She didn’t know it was there, but acted like it was totally normal that she had a burning cigarette in her hood. Seriously?

Looking back, my reaction was a bit odd too. You’d think I’d pull out the cigarette myself. I don’t know what was going through my head at the time, but it was more along the lines of, “Oh, the woman must’ve stored it in there so she can resume smoking it as soon as she leaves the store.” Why did I even think something like that?

Spring Is Here, The Earth… Sticks Out Her Tongue?

It’s the second day of spring. Each year on the first, my grandmother would sing “Spring is here, the earth rejoices…”

Today, it seems Mother Nature is instead sticking out her tongue. It’s been snowing all day!

A look at my defeated crocuses:

defeatedcrocuses

 

It’s supposed to go up to the low 50s this weekend. Let’s see if this was her last hurrah. I’m ready for the daffodils and warm breezes!

Show Review: Welcome To Lawn Guyland

I’ve been getting a little lazy these days. A week ago or so ago, I heard Islip Fire Department sirens wailing, and instead of putting my shoes on to go ambulance chasing, I hopped on to Twitter and typed “Islip” into the search box. I found my answer quickly: There was a house fire two blocks over. And a tweet below it was a Long Islander, Stevie GB (or [twitname]Steviegeebee[/twitname]), a comedian from Long Island who mentioned that his one-man show, Welcome to Lawn Guyland, was just reviewed in the Islip Bulletin. In short: a humorous take on his own life, how he moved from Brooklyn to Long Island when he was 14, and how life’s like as a middle-aged suburbanite.

Given that I just turned 30 and I’m in the midst of making that vital decision on where I’m going to be living out my middle age, I was intrigued. So Alex and I attended tonight’s show at the Rose Theater in Holbrook, a bare-bones-yet-not-uncomfortable joint behind an office building off of Lincoln Avenue.

Welcome to Lawn Guyland‘s setting was simple—piles of leaves, a garbage pail, a bike against a wall—could have been most Long Islanders’ front yards. The half theatrical/half stand-up show takes place in a representation of Steve’s front yard, as he sits in a lawn chair and swigs a beer, reflecting on his youth in East Flatbush and his subsequent move to East Islip. (At that point, he cracked what’s possibly the only Islip joke I’ve never heard as a three-decade Islipian. I won’t ruin it for you here.)

Steve’s story was eerily similar to my mother’s move from Bushwick to Brentwood in the early ’70s.  But you don’t have to be in your fifties or sixties to enjoy the show: He connects to each member of the audience in one way or another, no matter the age. Still call NYCB Theatre at Westbury “Westbury Music Fair”? Check. Still mistakenly refer to LIPA as LILCO? Check. Read through the entire, encyclopedia-ish menu at the local Greek diner and still only order the cheeseburger deluxe? Check.  Bonus points if you’re from Suffolk County, as the show trends heavily toward this half of the Island.

If you’re in older than 20, have lived on Long Island for at least five years, or can sing the Cellino & Barnes jingle from memory, you’ll likely enjoy this show and the trip down Memory Lane. (That is, if said lane doesn’t suddenly turn into Merrick Road… err, South Country Road… I mean, Main Street… no, Montauk Highway… aww, %$#@ it, Route 27A!)

The show ran approximately 90 minutes, and I bet he could add another hour of shtick if he brings Long Island Rail Road, mall, and beach stories into the fold. We live in a very unique place and Steve captured it perfectly. Highly recommended!

The show only lasts until next weekend—you can see it tomorrow at 2pm, next Friday and Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm, Rose Theater, 1320 Lincoln Ave (just north of Route 454… uh, Vets Highway). Tickets here. Or you could just make a left at the Smithtown Bull.