Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon Blah

I sincerely wish that the last entry for August would find me travelling the world as a spy, or heading to Paris to close on my apartment or heading out to dinner with Michael Fassbinder after he's bought my screenplay. However, I am sitting in my quiet apartment on a Friday night, reading Frank O'Hara poems and for refreshingly once, I don't feel a pressing need to be elsewhere. At this one perfect moment, I am content.

I have not yet taken a retrospective look at the past month's entries. In truth I only half remember anything I wrote this month and apparently have saved my more vivid memories for the two glogs this month. I know that it felt good to have an assignment to complete everyday (though, admittedly, I phoned it in for a few of those but that's only because I have a drinking problem. Ish.) and that overall, I have been writing more this month than I have all year. I was really hoping that would happen since there are a lot of projects I needed to finish/start/progress. August was a creatively rich month for me and I think that contributes to this contentment. 

Then again, tonight is a blue moon so I could very well be experiencing rarity on this singular of all nights just because.

If you are reading this and have read this blog before, I thank you. If you are so inclined, message me or comment here or if you've linked over from facebook comment over there. It means a lot to me to hear from anyone who reads this because it can tend to feel like a one sided conversation sometimes. If you are writing something yourself and want to share, please let me know because I would love to read it and link your blog here. I'm well aware that the communities that build up around blogs/youtube channels and other creative outlets can be rewarding and I guess I'd like to get in all that. 

As for now, I'm tapped out. I am blogged rotten and need a short respite. But I read somewhere that it takes 28 days to form most habits. This may have become a habit. I suppose in terms of habits, it could be worse.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two hours to kill

One thing I know about myself is my ability to have very meandering thoughts when I'm sitting idle with nothing to distract me. This happens when I forget to bring a book with me and I have to wait somewhere in excess of five minutes or in every and all business meetings. I had an extra long one today and I took notes. I transcribe them here, on the eve of my final blog post for Blog Every God Damned Day in August. (BEGDDA)

At nearly all meetings, someone makes the pretense of health and brings something sugar free or a couple pieces of fruit. They almost never get eaten, due to all the alternatives. The unopened container of stale looking sugar free sugar cookies sits lonely in the  middle of the conference table, having just been used in a threat.
"So and so is late to the meeting. Make them eat one of those as punishment."
This is said in jest but there's a whole slathered on layer of truth to it, as we'll later find out. Throughout the meeting I see everyone in the room at some point staring at the sealed box. I think about daring someone to eat one.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss conferences and the myriad things we learned at said conferences.It is only partly true that I learned a thing or two of value. It is more true that I did many other things that I would never tell anyone there. I sigh in the memory, indulge for a moment in reenactments and return to that windowless office while someone is speaking and for some reason think: "She has an old English judge's face and I wonder if she ever tried on one of those white curly wigs."

The entire two hour proceedings appear to be mired in thinly veiled hostility from one particular person towards another.Observing the interaction between them, I envision him holding a bouquet of roses and offering them to her. She snips the buds with large garden shears and smiles smugly to herself. I feel badly for this newbie, on the receiving end of arbitrary dislike.

This precipitates me eating one more cookie than I intend to. The cookies taste like the boredom that inspired their consumption.

There is a space cadet present, the unknown stellar journey she appears to take is not to the stars but rather to the innumerable particles that have gathered beneath her nails. She does not once lift her eyes to feign listening. No one seems to care.

A woman I have dubbed "trouble" makes snide comments under her breath, forgetting that in a small room of ten people, everyone notices. Trouble always appears in a room and looks and sounds as though she's just woken up. Her perpetually sleepy face and sore sounding throat belies the endless amount of shit talking she actually does. Maybe it makes her tired.

When it is my turn to speak, I try to look everyone in the eyes. Only two people return the look. I hope they are not listening to anything I'm saying. I hate being heard saying nothing.

I must look very studious, writing all this down. I wish there was a more covert way to take character study notes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Damnit, Rochester

Oh internet! How easy you make it to allow one hour to go by! I just decided that I would like to purchase two items of clothing: 1) a pair of those cute horn rimmed plastic sunglasses I keep seeing everywhere (I just tried finding a picture and ended up searching zappos for half an hour) and 2) a shirt that has a cat face on it. I arrived at these desires randomly, just in case you were wondering.

Nothing whatsoever of importance happened to me today. As I explained to a friend in an email, I started out this week setting my alarm very, very early (4:45am to be exact) in the hopes that I would get up, lollygag for twenty minutes and then exercise. What has ended up happening is that I'll indeed get up at 4:45am but instead of ending the lollygag at 20 minutes, I'll read for an hour and a half, realize I have to get ready for work and rush through all the tasks of the morning that I need to take my time with, considering I won't see the inside of my apartment for several hours. I comfort myself by focusing on the fact that if I'm not exercising my body, I'm exercising my mind. Ahem.

I'm feeling a little emotional today for no apparent reason. Since this never, ever happens to me (ahem) I decided a good idea would be to watch Jane Eyre. I watched the most recent version of it, the one that stars Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. If you don't know who that actor is, well, you won't know if what I'm saying is true but I have never seen a Mr. Rochester played as sexy before. I think maybe Fassbender can't help it. Anyway, aside from all that sexual tension, which for this version I swear was played up because I can't remember any other version feeling like that, I cried like a baby. Pretty much from the moment of this dialogue:

"Because," he said, "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you--especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, --you'd forget me." the moment Jane returns to Thornfield. Little, pathetic, quiet tears. Ridiculous, I know but damnit Rochester! How could you make the words corresponding quarter sound so damn sad?

Also, I just now discovered that Michael Fassbender is one year YOUNGER than I am. How is this possible? Why am I so damn old? Should I go cry about that too now??

I told you I was emotional. I think I need to get some froyo on my way home from work. I think getting up so early to read really earned that for me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to Work (and other exercises in heartbreak)

We are entering the home stretch of this Blog Everyday in August-o-rama and I can't say I'm unhappy. I do enjoy blogging the minutiae and underwhelming aspects of my everyday totally normal life but sometimes, just sometimes, when you stumble home after a long day of a staycation, and you may or may not have been drinking and eating to your heart's content, you just want to go close your eyes and fall asleep in the middle of playing words with friends on your phone. But the committment to blog lingers in your hazy brain, like notions of not locking the front door or not feeding the cat and, just like those situations, you must oblige your self created obligations.

Here are a couple of things that have occurred to me today, the day of the return to my normal work schedule:

a) The stray cat that I fed last week is still hanging around my apartment complex. I saw him again last night and early this morning as I walked to my car and he had a friend with him. My fleeting hopes that he belonged to someone in the complex were dashed completely when I saw him just lying around the parking lot, collarless and nonchalant. I don't want to care about stray cats. It is an exercise in heartbreak.

b) When I deviate from the workday routines for a full week, I forget how to do very basic things, the repetition of which on a normal schedule are rote tasks. An example is showing my ID to the security guards at the front desk of my first job. I was very nearly scolded when I had the nerve to walk right past the desk before flashing the ID. It turns out that I neglected to even bring it with me, which is something that one of the guards hates. I have heard this man yell down the hallway at someone for not showing their ID. This, despite the fact that the employee has worked there for ten years, seems to be what he lives for and I almost fell prey again. When I consider that the highlight to someone's day is the pride they take in a truly pointless task such as checking ID's of incoming students and employees ad infinitum for years and  years until retirement, I feel my heart break again, just a little.

c) Returning to work after a week away and finding yourself unmissed and with not a whole heck of a lot to do (of any importance whatsoever) is something I find oddly comforting. I may be in the minority here, but I'm comforted to know that life carries on without me. I mean sure, my heart broke a little when one of my coworkers told me they missed me. But I know any schlub could be hired to do my job eventually.

d) I miss being on vacation with the passionate heat of a thousand suns. A thousand lazy, sleepy, sweaty suns. Waking up at 5am this morning, glancing at the clock and doing very accurate math to determine exactly how many times I could hit snooze (why are snoozes ALWAYS in increments of nine minutes??) before it would become too late to look presentable for work was a lesson in heartbreak. My cats peered up at me with sleepy eyes that seemed to say "Why, God? Why?"

e) I complain too much about work. I'm going to try to stop. It just feels so easy on my first day back. Is there an allowance for that? It would break my heart if there wasn't.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All I got

Even after having a glog yesterday, I don't want to post an entry today. I'm on the eve of having to go back to work after a week off, I'm full and tired and I just want to surrender to sleepy oblivion. This useless post is brought to you by my almost disturbing need for symmetry in the Blog Every Day in August challenge.

That is, sadly, ALL I got right now.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ralph's Italian Ices: A Love Story (as guest blogged "glogged" by Marianne R.)

I am glogging today in lieu of Allison's normally beautifully written work. So today you get me, and I'm not nearly as talented as her and since my job requires little brain activity, I'm very out of practice with my writing, so bear with me. I'm going to tell a story and it begins a long time ago. It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, rather it was a dark and balmy night. Our story, Allison and myself, begins nearly 10 years ago when we were young and foolish (as compared to now when we are nearly middle aged and foolish). This is not to say our friendship began at this point, but rather our love affair with a delicious frozen icee begins. Picture it, Copiague, NY, 2003 (I don’t know if this was the exact year but I’m trying to impress Allison since she has such a memory for details like this; it’s weirdly freaky and extraordinary at the same time). After what must have been a long night of South Shore Long Island Bar Hopping (I put all of this in capital letters because it was what we did for most of our 20s. So, you know, this was an official thing), we must have decided we needed a frozen treat. Ok, maybe we weren’t bar hopping that night. It’s entirely feasible that we were out eating somewhere and decided to continue our eating frenzy. This was the other thing we did for most of our 20s and continues well into our 30s. But I digress, back to our frozen treat. We headed to the nearest frozen ice establishment and got ourselves a delicious icee then proceeded to the nearest water dock and sat in my magenta colored Honda Civic. We were in our glory, icee mess dripping down our hands and onto my stick shift, after all it was a hot night and we had to drive a few minutes to get to this romantic setting we found ourselves in.
I distinctly remember that it was around 11pm and we were staring out into the water, probably reminiscing about something completely stupid and reliving the jokes over and over, when out of nowhere, there was a pounding on my window. Startled and upset because my icee enjoyment has been interrupted, the security at the dock said "S'cuse me, ma'am? Are you gonna finish that icee?" (Oh god, I was a ma'am even in my mid 20s)! Actually, he didn't say that at all, but he may as well have considering that is how Allison and I relive that story at least 100 times a year. Stupid? I know. Stupid is as Stupid does. (No, don't get us started on a Forrest Gump debate.) Instead he proceeded to tell us that the dock was closing and we needed to leave. Thus begins Allison and my journey into the world of frozen icees. It continues until this very day. Literally, I had an icee today.
Ok, now picture it Patchogue (my hometown), Sayville (my work town), and Shirley (my other work town) 2012: Ralph's Italian Ices. Every year I challenge myself to eat all their flavors. I usually go at it haphazardly and I never keep track. It's not surprising that I find myself failing at this eating challenge year after year. This year, I swore, was going to be different. This year will be the year that I eat all 90ish flavors and I decided to go about it logically: alphabetically. I studiously printed out the website's official list of flavors so that I can cross off each one as I try it. As I started my challenge in April and I have until November, when the season ends, to complete my tastings, I needed to be methodical about it. I quickly found out how difficult this would be as each Ralph's location has extra flavors that are not on the official list nor consistent with the other locations I frequent most often. I immediately became stressed and agitated. Wouldn't you? This was going to be complicated. But it's not called a challenge for no reason. I vowed to continue.

I began my challenge on April 4th assuming that this would be easy as pie. In fact, my first flavor was Apple Crumb Pie. Not a bad beginning if I do say so myself. I devoured it within 5 minutes, similar to the way a zombie would devour its first bite of flesh. Plowing my way through the flavored icees, both water based and cream based, I was loving life for the first half of April. No matter where I was, home or work, I had easy access to Italian ices! The "A's" were easy to get through since there was only one. When I hit the "B's", I was thwarted once more. Some flavors are repetitive: Banana, Banana Fudge, and Bonzai Banana. No offense Ralph, but they all tasted the same. Still, I forged through one too many scoops bananas. One flavor sticks in my memory: Bubble Gum because it contained actual pieces of rock hard gum in it, similar to the gumballs in the machine at the grocery store (that reminds me, I need to pick up some ice cream at the grocery store later). I found myself chewing my icee. I would pack it to the side of my mouth so I could continue eating the actual ice but it would get so big, I'd have to spit it out and start again. I felt like I was last in the batting lineup for the Yankees, just waiting on the bench for my turn.

I like to think of myself as the life of the party. This certainly is not and will never be the case as I'm a bit introverted and self-conscious. But now, when I go to parties, I bring pints and gallons and fun tub sizes of several Ralph's flavors. Let everyone else bring the Entenmann's Coffee Cake (oh, who am i kidding, I'll have a piece of that too!) and I'll bring the much loved Ralph's Famous Italian Ices! I don't mean to brag, but it always is a big hit while allowing me to sample several different flavors in one shot. This is also the only time I allow myself to 'jump' around on my official list, so i was able to sample Rainbow Cookie (one of my top flavors) and Red Velvet (huge hit on Mother's Day, specifically with my mom) early in the season.

One recent night, Allison and I patronized our local Ralph's. I was up to the early "C's" at this point and was loving my Cappuccino Icee. But there were 3 teens intent on ruining my night: one boy who was clearly trying to impress the two girls he was sitting with. There was also a little black cat, minding his business, passing through. This boy decided to flick a spoonful of Ralph's at this harmless little feline and followed his asininess with a laugh. Now, between Allison and me, we are moms to 5 feline furbabies so we were not going to stand for this. When asinine boy decided to flick another spoonful at the cat, I had to speak up and embarrass him in front of the girls he was with.

Me: You're not going to fling anything else at the cat, are you? Because, you know, he didn't do anything to you.
Asinine Boy: No (mumbles incoherently to the girls).
Unimpressed Girls: Stop it! Don't do that!
Cat: Hissssss
Allison: Plus aren't you a little too old to be doing things like that?
Asinine Boy: Aren't you a little too old for Ralph's?

His last comment elicited much laughter from Allison and me. The cat was unharmed and wandered away, undoubtedly thinking the same thing as Allison and I: This boy is never going to get laid. But it did get me thinking....Am I too old for Frozen Ices? For a thirst quenching Root Beer Ice, for Crazy Coconut Ice which conjures up sweet memories of vacationing at the beach whilst drinking Malibu Rum mixed with anything, or for Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice (btw, if Ralph himself is reading this, please add more 'jelly' to this flavor) reminding me innocence in a paper bag lunch? As we walked away from the establishment we spied more teens hanging out in the back of a pickup truck. The bed of the truck carried one girl with many guys and the girl was dancing provocatively while the guys watched.  We wondered what kind of town we lived in. This was clearly a failed attempt at a Ralph's night out for us. I mean, maybe we ARE too old for ices? Maybe that asinine boy hit the nail on the head?

Okay, well I'm really dragging this out. And likely Allison is the only one who will actually read this entire post. At this point in August, I find myself still stuck on the "C's", yet i'm 36 flavors in my challenge. In my defense there are approximately 26 flavors beginning with the letter "C". I'm serious in my quest. So serious that last week I sized up to a medium cup and had 3 flavors put in. I made sure to eat a light dinner. THAT'S how serious I am. Did I mention I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant? I thought this would be easy and that I'd be starving everyday but the complete opposite is true. I barely have an appetite and I get full so quickly. Yet another obstacle in my challenge. Whoever said this would be easy as Apple Crumb Pie lied. Oh wait, that was me.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Aeroplane Over the Sea

I'm home and again, getting this under the wire. I'm sure I'd be much more disciplined about this damn blog and everyday entries if I had a proper desk and a dedicated space to work in. Also, if I didn't stumble back to my apartment at 11pm, drunk.

Here are some song lyrics that I love and because I'm taking the easy way out.

from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea:

 What a beautiful face 
I have found in this place
That is circling all round the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun 
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be 
In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me

And sincerely, that's all I got for today. An entry that belongs to someone else entirely. I'll be better tomorrow I swear!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A word about some super talented people I know

I'm following up the post featuring my sister's photograph with one today about my brother Andrew and his girlfriend Kristen, mostly because I love bragging about the wonderful people in my life.

My brother Andrew is 12 years my junior, a surprise baby of the family. Though there are times when I can  contend this, Andrew is not a baby anymore. In fact, he's a full grown adult living in NYC, freshly graduated from college, looking for work and grappling with all the same things that plagued me at his age. That last point is again, often up for contention since every generation believes they experience things the previous generation "could never understand". Also, is 12 years enough to qualify as a generation? I go through periods when I feel like I understand the 20something set completely and other times when I can only express what I feel with a qualified "huh?" Anyway, I'm getting away from the point of this post which, for a refreshing change, is not me.

Anyway, Andrew and his girlfriend Kristen have been dating for no less than four hundred years. They met in college, art college to be exact and I am always interested in the projects they are working on, when they aren't working/looking for work/facing existential dread/awakening to the notion of "real world bills" that we all must awaken to eventually. The other night, over paninis and white wine, I asked about their recent work. And you'll have to forgive me, but I have never written about art in any official capacity so bear with me.

Kristen majored in fine art and she is a painter with undeniable talents. The very first work of hers that I remember seeing is a series she did when she was still in school that centered around paintings and sculptures of candy and cinnamon buns. She, along with the other students in the school, was given a small space to personalize and showcase the final projects for the year and I vividly remember the bright pink walls and the icing that seemed to coat the entire space. I remember being struck by how palpable the work was, despite the fact that there was nothing there to actually touch or taste, I distinctly remember leaving that exhibit feeling like I had indulged in something sweet. I also remember the golden coated candies that seemed rococo, like they belonged under a glass domed platter in Bach's house. So for a first impression, Kristen's art left me thinking the word palpable, which, the last time I checked, is a good thing.

 She told me a little about what she is working on these days and the first thing she mentioned was patterns. Her most recent pieces have been focused on melding different patterns together in one piece. I didn't get a chance to see any of these paintings in person but all of her work, including the aforementioned candy work can be found at her website if you click here. When she spoke about the patternwork paintings, I was intrigued and seeing them there on the website, that feeling is validated. There is an ordered chaos to these pieces that I completely appreciate. I wish the works had names or reference numbers but I'm thinking specifically of this one:

 It reminds me of something created in and even depicting another world, one with its own dimensions and rules but rules nonetheless. When I look at it, I want to miniaturize myself and frolic. How cool would that be?

In addition to being an awesome painter, Kristen also decorates cakes for a living for a pretty famous and renowned bakery, the name of which rhymes with Spagnolia. It would be no shocker to anyone to say, I'm prouda this chick!

Andrew started his artistic endeavors by studying film editing but has since branched out to work in visual art, most recently involving photography so when I asked him about what he's working on now, he didn't hesitate to tell me about his work involving old found photographs. The "found" moniker is applied here, even though most of the photos he's working with lately are family photos but only because all of them carry the air of having just been found in an estate sale or a thrift shop. That they are especially personal makes what he's working on particularly interesting to me. Here's a sample, more of which can be found at his website if you click here

Our family recently suffered the loss of a very dear member who, while elderly and ill for some time, still left us all reeling. During the preparations for her funeral, Andrew found some old photographs of her and of my grandparents. Coincidentally, our grandmother was also recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and the double whammy of all these things happening at the same time has informed his latest project of manipulating various photographs, stamping them with his unique design and in essence, enhancing the memory. As he told me the other night, looking at the old family photos, he got the impression that they could be anyone's family and that a few or even one more generation removed, who will remember who any of these people were or even who we are? The photographs that chronicle our lives accurately depict our actual lives in that they are temporal but they are what remain after we take our memories with us when we go. This notion was at the forefront of Andrew's mind after losing Mima and realizing that our grandmother is slowly dissolving in what seems to be one memory at a time. With these photographs, he's attempting to make the marks left behind darker, more permanent.

In many ways, Andrew is still, as we all are, discovering himself. When I see photos he's taken or worked with I feel so lucky to be witness to his discovery through art and his desire to illustrate these universal ideas through his own expression. It is impossible not to admire that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poetic Science

I sincerely don't feel like writing today. I should know since I had the ENTIRE day with nothing to do and did not write a damn thing. I read instead. And I marvelled that I have only read 25 books this year and we are nigh on September. I don't know why I give myself such high ambitions every year. I never fulfill. In fairness to me, I work two jobs and when I'm not working, I like to have my brain on hiatus.
I did finish "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" which was an excellent read but left me rather depressed.

I do recommend this book though. Especially if you want to read a very human story about the most extraordinary circumstances. Though I'm not in any way science minded (I barely got by in any given science course I've ever taken, including meteorology) it has always struck me how poetic science (and even math) can be. Henrietta Lacks died a painful death from cancer but her cells are immortal. They can live forever and they have proven invaluable to humanity. It is impossible to ignore the poetry of that.

I'll leave it at that today. Tomorrow, I shall talk about my other siblings and their projects. Or what I can remember about their projects since they told me about them after I had a lot of wine. I'll refresh my memory by, oh I don't know FACETIMING them!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NYC is art

Today I feature a photograph by my insanely talented sister, Lorraine.  Since I'm currently staying at her apartment for the evening, I decided to ask her to select a photo from her many and to tell me a little bit about it. So, here it is:

22 Apr 2012

This photo was taken outside her apartment's living room window. The living room window overlooks a central courtyard and these windows are colorful entryways to the surrounding apartments. Images like this are quintessential New York City for me and I'm struck by this photo. When I asked Lorraine what her inspriation was behind taking this she told me it was late at night and she was looking for a picture to take for her photo of the day. (She has been doing a project that has her taking a photo a day for the year 2012 and can be found here.) The windows had all been illuminated at that very moment and she wanted to capture that feeling of wondering what went on in the neighboring apartments. I think there is an air of mystery here as well as something even Rothko-y. I love it. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

I have only one discernible quirk

It strikes me at this moment that I have become fully entrenched in the digital world. I'm no lawnmower man but I did find myself inside a moment that I never thought would happen. Since I have the whole week off, I decided to kick things off by doing a massive cleaning of my apartment. It was desperately needed. While I was doing that, I needed to find an alternate spot for some books I had picked up at book expo, which yes, was almost three months ago.Don't judge me! The jumbled pile atop my dining room table wasn't doing it for me anymore.  Though I have a ginormous book shelf in my living room, I have had to lie books on their sides, double stack them in multiple aisles per shelf and in general, make the whole thing look like an unorganized mess due to the fact that I have a ridiculous amount of books. I broke a sweat while doing this and I guess because of that I had the fleeting thought that my life would be less labor intensive if only I didn't have so many damn books. It feels dirty, admitting that. Dirtier still when I remembered that I have had that thought before, (but just once!) when I was packing for a plane ride. Also, I was at a coffee shop yesterday afternoon with 30 minutes to kill and I had my iPhone and a Kindle (that I've borrowed) at the ready with nary a book in sight. If I had envisioned the same scenario a scant two years ago, I would have laughed, then cried, then been very, very afraid and quoted you something by Zamyatin. However, I'm too distracted to do that, what with all the bright lights and apps to put on my phone.

I was just incredibly distracted by a Groupon in my email that offered a ten day excursion complete with a guided tour to Marrakech and the surrounding area. When I think of Morocco, I almost feel like I can smell spice in the air and feel cool royal blue ceramic tiles at my fingertips. I'm hoping to piggy back a trip to Morocco on the other trip I'm taking next year to Barcelona. But when I get offers in the mail that make it sound so easy (just click here and give your credit card number now), I get restless and yearning to go go go. I never used to think Morocco would be a place to visit. A friend I used to have introduced me to the idea and I have wanted to go ever since. It'll probably happen.

The town I have called home for about two years (THREE in February!) is quickly becoming a destination. I have noticed more young, hip people on main street in the last hour than I ever have before. I can't help but feel this is an upward trajectory, despite all the endless bitching and moaning from many homeowners on the local blogs about "Wah, taxes and wah, traffic." It will make me think moving out is a mistake as I always leave places before the party gets started (See: My entire college experience).

Also, general question: Is anyone else under the impression that people will invent quirks about themselves to feel unique? Or are people unique enough that they should be believed when they say that something "quirky" bothers them or they are interested in something strange? I do have one discernible quirk. Everyone who knows me will ridicule me for every time it comes up and it is this: I hate going to dinner with a group and having someone order the same thing as me. I hate it. But my reasoning is this: I want to try everything, particularly if I've never been to that restaurant or haven't tried everything there before. However, this reasoning falls short when I realize that I don't always try everything from everyone else's plate. In fact, many people don't like to share their food at all (weirdos). But it is this thing I have. I didn't invent it to seem interesting, I swear. And actually I'm trying to slowly get over it because it annoys me. My quirk annoys me.

So you would think that I'd be slightly more understanding when I hear that someone has a similar thing. But apparently I'm not. For example, I just witnessed a conversation between two 20somethings (who clearly want to sleep together) and the guy mentioned a book he was reading and told her she should read it. She responded by saying "I feel like it is a really personal thing, what you are reading. I don't like knowing what people are reading because it is soooo personal. I can't even read the same thing someone else is reading at the same time." And I put myself in the guy's shoes and it would just make me think she's a lunatic. It doesn't seem charmingly quirky. Am I alone on that? Forever alone?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Short and sweet Sunday

Today was a rather lazy day during which a lot of shopping was accomplished. I spent some QT with Marianne and we got her some nice preggo dresses. Preggo dresses differ from normal dresses in that they are inexplicably rare and often more expensive than should be allowed. Seriously, why don't more stores carry maternity clothes? I don't get it.

We then picked up Rob to dine at one my favorite places on the island, Grey Horse Tavern which also happens to be the location of a special photography exhibit in which my sister has a few pieces. Here's a photo of the exhibit with my tiny head in the corner.

I had an amazing dinner, as is usual when I eat there. The highlights were a curry lentil soup and the fried pickles. I also had a caipirinha (or two) and an overall lovely end to a Sunday. I wish I had something more substantive to say but what with my week off finally here, all I have on my brain are long days full of nothing in particular to do and I am loving every non-planned second.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Pull of the Apple

Today at work, I wanted to go full on Bartleby, beginning in the first twenty minutes when I dealt with no less than three people who wanted exceptions made for them. Everyone wants to be the exception to the rule, they think surely "you can make an exception for me just this once." And it was all over the dumbest shit.

I did get introspective as a result of one woman's actions. She was inappropriately angry because she was sitting at a computer but had not logged in. At the library where I work, you have to log in almost immediately if you intend on using a computer, lest you lose it to someone making a reservation before you get a chance to. That's pretty much what happened. While she was busy sifting through her collection of about four hundred thousand papers, someone reserved the computer where she was sat. She angrily got up after I nicely told her that she was free to make a reservation for the next available one. She responded huffily saying "Didn't you see me sitting there? Can't you override the reservation system?"
Me: "No."
Her: "I don't see why not."
Me (in my head): Of course you can't see why not. You can't see past your pressing need to use the library's computer to print out more pieces of paper to stuff inside your rotting old purse. It is inconvenient for you to wait five minutes so that prevents you from seeing why the rules can't bend for you.
Me (out loud): "I'm sorry, I can't. But I can help you make a reservation."
Her: "I can't believe how mean people have become. I cannot wait to leave this place."

Now that last line of hers may provoke sympathy in you but rest assured, she basically spat it out as she looked me up and down with utter disgust. She then proceeded to make a few phone calls as she hovered near the computers. During the phone calls, I heard her "story" about how horrible it was to have to get up from the computer when "clearly" she was waiting to use it as she related it to a few people in her contacts list. I noticed that while all this was going on, about three computers became available but she did not notice, what with her ceaseless, complaining phone calls to make.

And I thought about how so many of us do this kind of thing. We want something, sometimes badly. It doesn't matter how small or stupid it is in the long run. We want it and when we are told we can't have it, we spend a  long amount of time complaining or lamenting or just in general letting our disappointment over not having what we want turn us into raging assholes. And while we are busy "sticking to our guns" and telling everyone who will listen how UNFAIR it all is, opportunities are opening up and we are ignoring them. We are too busy being negative about what we don't have to really notice that something else is opening up to us. I do it too. I do it often, unfortunately but I think that is only because I am usually so certain of what I want that when it doesn't work out, I'm either devastated or full of despair. I would love to stop that behavior, if only because I cannot count how many times I am able to look back say "Phew. I dodged a bullet there. Thank god it didn't work out like I originally wanted it to."

I want to move to the city but I have quite awhile before that will even be feasible. Instead of always bitching about it, I'm going to try to enjoy it here while I'm here. This is a recurring theme in my life and, consequently, this blog: my coming to terms with being here now. What can I say? It is a life long struggle. That's what bitchy lady taught me, through her ridiculous reaction. Thanks, bitchy lady.

Unfortunately, she also began a pattern of negative library patrons that lasted all the way until about five minutes before closing. Everyone wanted everything, last minute. The self centered part of me thinks this is because it was my last working day before a week long vacation. However, I'll forget all those minor ills by the time I finish typing this paragraph because I'll be off for an entire week from both jobs! See? Done.

Last night I met up with Marianne and Rob for a drink and some dinner during one of our town's summer street festivals. It seemed suspiciously empty until we went to dinner where apparently every person under the age of 30 decided to have a beer. It was like being in the middle of Times Square, only boozier. Also, 89% of the men were wearing the same thing: black t-shirt and khaki shorts. I swear I was expecting it to turn into some kind of uniformed flash mob.

At dinner we discussed politics a little which again, was a pleasure because we all agree on our politics. It is always fun to be agreed with. Also, I finally felt Marianne's baby kick which has been a source of fascination for me. It was the sweet potato fries that did it for him.

In true, I'm late to the party fashion, I got my first iPhone yesterday. Getting it was a bit annoying but I defy you to share one cell phone purchasing experience that wasn't annoying. Ma Bell set the stage for the arrogance and outlandish behavior of every phone company I've ever dealt with but what can you do? However, I love the phone more than I thought I would but I have vowed not to become constantly mesmerized by it, only because I can feel the pull of the apple, beckoning me with shiny lights and cool features and apps and something called Facetime. Hours upon hours of entertainment await me in that little handheld rectangle. I just need to tread lightly.

And right now, on the eve of many days in a row off, I sit in my apartment (which has become self aware and is now actively petitioning me to clean it) full of Greek salad and really trying to overcome this damn cold. Tomorrow I'm going dress shopping with Marianne and just like the damn girl that I am, I can't wait.

Friday, August 17, 2012

An utter failure

I'm in the last stretch of Gone Girl and I am itching to finish it but it would be in bad form to sit in my office reading while my coworkers work (or pretend to) especially so considering I will be on vacation all of next week. So it sits atop my desk, all plot twists unanswered until I get a damn moment.

I want to thank Nancy for glogging for me yesterday. The story she told is 100% true and I cannot believe it was nine years ago! I AM OLD. However, talented, witty, sweet, genuine people? My life is full of them and I am blessed, always.

This post started out much more substantive earlier this afternoon. However, I am home from many vodkas and I am in possession of a new iPhone. Therefore, this post will be utterly useless. But the important thing is, I made the deadline. Much better tomorrow.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

In which Nancy, fan of parenthesis and all around astounding gal guest blogs (glogs)!

I am guest blogging (glogging?) today for Allison, as August is a very long month, and she would like a small break. Spoiler Alert: I am a fan of parenthesis. If parenthetical statements irritate you, you should probably skip today's blog--and maybe even the whole damn day.

Anyway, today, you and I will be talking about blackouts. Not the kind that happens when, say, (hypothetically) you drink too much "Purple Haze" at an APT party and wake up on your own living room floor the next morning, unsure how you got home (though the trail of discarded clothing, crushed Honeycombs, and crushed Honeycombs-laced vomit extending from your front door to your floor-space, paints a complete--if not pretty--picture). No, today we're talking about the kind of blackout that happens when a rapidly aging energy grid collapses suddenly, plunging the entire East Coast into darkness. Just such a blackout occurred 9 years and one day ago (a time segment which feels at once pressingly recent, and impossibly far away). For a lot of reasons (some which I will share, others which I will keep carefully folded in my heart), this is one of my favorite moments as a life-long New Yorker. It also involves Allison (as do many of my favorite moments since I met her).

Let me set the scene for you. It was a hot-ass August day. People turned on air conditioners on for their air conditioners. If it were a Michael Bay film, there would be several quasi-ominous scenes of foreshadowing: a woman sees a transformer smoking, but rather than call Con-Ed, she lights a cigarette off the flames and jokes with her friends about "Green-Freaks" (this movie's name for people who care about the planet)--she's also 18 months pregnant; a group of children runs through a field of switches, turning on lights and TVs willy nilly; an old man (the neighborhood crazy person) gently urges a child to conserve energy as said child obliviously makes a daisy chain of generators and car batteries.

Anyway, it was hot and electricity basically died. I forget the exact reason why but 1) I'm too lazy to look it up; and 2) I was so distrustful of media at that point I probably didn't believe it anyway. The only important take away was that it was NOT terrorism, which, frankly, was pretty much everyone's first thought (it being just shy of two years since 9/11). Once non-terror was established (which, in retrospect, was relatively quickly given the lack of communication devices that could actually be turned on) the whole mood of the city changed. Yes, it was hot, yes it was inconvenient, but when compared with the alternative--it was no big deal.

At the time I worked in midtown--just two blocks from my good friend (and Allison's sister) Lorraine. Cell phones ceased working almost immediately as everyone on the eastern seaboard tried to dial their moms simultaneously. Luckily, Lorraine and I had an emergency meet-up plan, which we promptly forgot, but which also somehow worked. We found each other pretty quickly. The problem was that Allison, who had just started working a bit further downtown, had not yet been looped into our (failed) plan schematics.

We decided we would fight our way through the hoards of New Yorkers migrating in all directions at once and head downtown to find her. However, I was still in somewhat frilly work clothes, and being that I had my softball gear with me I thought, why not change into track pants and cleats and at least be comfortable while we plow through the masses.

Since my building had been evacuated and everything was pretty much closed, my only (perhaps not ONLY) option was to change in the ATM lobby of a nearby Chase. This may sound slightly like an excuse for exhibitionism, but the soul-scaring experience of junior high phys ed left me exceedingly good at changing without revealing even the tiniest bit of skin. This, however, would be the first time I tested my skills in a lobby that was 2/3 floor-to-ceiling windows. Just as I finished my (fairly awkward) transformation, I look up and see Allison being swept along with the sea of people past the bank. Perhaps this does not seem particularly amazing to you. But when you factor in the chaos of 4 million people milling about the streets of Manhattan, it's pretty special that the one person we were looking for, happened by at that exact moment.

Reunited, we proceeded to walk over the 59th Street Bridge for the second time in as many years. While part of me was haunted by memories of the last time we'd made this crossing together, and there was something distinctly unsettling about leaving a darkened city skyline behind us, I found myself in good spirits. There was a swell of relief and camaraderie that seemed to buoy all of us. When we got to Astoria, I spent my last $12 (a large chunk of that of that being loose change) on beer. Allison, Lo and I hung out on the stoop of their first Astoria apartment (unofficially also MY first Astoria apartment given the number of times I crashed there). Steeping in the humid night air, we just talked and laughed and watched Mars slink up over the black silhouettes of the nearby apartment buildings. It’s not exact, but I generally mark that moment as a personal turning point in my healing. It was the first time in almost two years that the drifts of anxiety and sadness that had buried me for so long finally receded enough to reveal the shards of what would slowly become a reconstructed faith in the world around me.

Of course in the Michael Bay version of this story that’s the exact moment the evil alien robots begin crashing to earth, but that’s another post for another day…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scenes from my apartment

Last night when I arrived home from work at around 9:30pm, I was greeted by a stray cat. And when I say "greeted" I mean the cat had been walking slowly toward the parking lot and slowed as I parked my car and got out. After I saw him, I approached him carefully to see whether or not he had tags on (he didn't) and he let me pet him. This is generally a sign of a cat who is not feral so instantly I felt sad. After I pet him he darted around me and went straight to my car, hopped on the hood and then to the roof of the car where he sat, regal looking and utterly unconcerned. I decided then and there to leave some food out for him because, even if he belonged to someone in my apartment complex or nearby, he deserved an award for his brazen attitude to my car.
I am not interested in becoming a cat lady but my heart does break a little when I see strays and I do entertain the notion of rescuing them. After I fed him, he plopped down right in front of my screen door, as though he belonged there, as though he'd always been right there. I had to close the door because I was seconds from bringing him inside and the two cats I actually do own were going a little insane. I have had my fair share of experiences with cats in the neighborhood and this one was playing out like the last. I had to just make peace with feeding him and then let it go at that. In all likelihood, he was just an indoor/outdoor cat scrounging for a free extra meal. At least that is what I told myself when, at 2:30am I was awoken by the loud crack of apocalyptic thunder and a series of bright and constant lightning strobe lighting my bedroom. You'll think I'm employing dramatic embellishments when I tell you that when I first woke up and sat up suddenly, rigid with fear the first thing I saw was my cat Thelma on the floor near the bed, her little face illuminated by the flashing lights as she stared at me accusingly, but it happened. Well, one human's accusation is another cat's indifference. (And I did mention it was 2:30am so I could have dreamed all of this.) Regardless, I hope that little guy found some shelter or, at the very least, his way back home. I also secretly hope I never see him again if it is going to prompt all this guilt in me again.

I also ran into my neighbor who was coming downstairs from her boyfriend's apartment. Her boyfriend happens to live next door to her on the other side. I have often witnessed them leaving together for dinner or one leaving the other's apartment in pajamas to "go home" and I have to admit I feel envy for the convenience of that. I love that they retain their own houses, their own personal spaces but are so conveniently located that they can still be together whenever they want. It hearkens back to Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, living on opposite sides of Central Park and though that didn't work out so well, I would honestly relish this arrangement. The only thing I remember about my last relationship at this point was all the gross hair in the bathroom and the general mess of the apartment. While that is telling about that particular relationship, I'd bet I'd have been happier to descend the stairs and be home in my own spot. Ok, listen, I'd even be willing to travel a block. Perhaps things did not pan out with this one guy earlier this year who lives two streets over: long distance relationships rarely work out.

Now that I'm thinking about my neighbors, I am wondering what happened to this one woman I used to call "The Lady of the Night." She earned this nickname (in my brain) because I would often cross paths with her as I left my apartment for work early in the morning and she was just getting out of her really nice black Camaro, dressed in what had to be last night's dress. She lived two doors down from me and while she was always friendly, she was also always just slightly on the icky side. One time I saw her walking with two trash bags to the dumpster in the parking lot while barefoot. She said to me in passing "Sucks that you are on your way to work on this gorgeous day." I didn't take note of her tone because I was too distracted by her bare feet in that close proximity to the garbage dumpster. Also, one time I passed by her car in the parking lot and peeked inside. To say it was hot mess would be to understate things. Well, just picture this, but inside of a camaro:

 And the part of me that is always looking for symbolism in real life, as though life were one really long work of literature, assigns meaning to that car. That car may be a metaphor for herself: beautiful and sleek on the outside and a complete and utter disaster on the inside. Anyway, she no longer lives there. I never saw her move out but if I were writing her story, she would have fallen for some west coast trust fund baby and followed him out to California where he may or may not have unceremoniously dumped her.

There is also this charming little gazebo in the middle of the parking lot of my complex. My landlord can often be found drinking his coffee there on weekdays and I always wave hello with my free hand as I stumble to my car with my hands full of bags and books and coffee and breakfast. The gazebo is outfitted with a small radio which can be heard playing 24/7. It is always tuned to some top 40 nonsense but when, on those evenings I'm coming home from town a bit tipsy or outright blotto, I can hear the echoing sound of Gotye in the parking lot that is full of cars but devoid of people, I can't help but think of apocalyptic visions of civilization left behind. Just like in the movies, there are fingerprints of evidence that people used to exist right there but no people to be found anywhere. Humanity ends and all that remains is Top 40 pop music.

When I come home tonight, I hope nothing of interest whatsoever happens, since I'm anxious to get inside my little space and chillax, chillax like the wind.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On being a real person-ish?

Holy crap! I just read something that seemed extracted directly from my brain.

For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blase: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.
It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.

--from the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Whenever I experience the big things in life: falling in love, getting my heart broken, losing a loved one, you know, the real life changers, I always find how surprised I am by how it feels. I think I often speak that sentiment out loud "Oh, so THIS is how it feels." I think what is described in that excerpt is part of the reason why. I think I have this idea of how things are supposed to play out because that's how it always happens, right?

And I always kind of wonder if other people experience things that way, if they even notice and understand their reactions outside of the context of normalcy or what is considered to be a "normal" reaction. I do often question whether or not I'm acting a certain way out of genuine emotion/thought or whatever it is that makes me act a certain way or I am doing it out of habit, a habit I learned from these established parameters of being normal. Also, which is real? What does a real person do? We build ourselves almost entirely based on how other people react to us or how we want to be perceived but how much of that is REAL?

Most of the time, I feel in sync with what the character in that novel is saying. I feel that we are just repeating phrases, that we experience things before we actually DO experience them as some kind of product of our instant culture. But then again, sometimes I have thoughts and feelings that feel both very specific and very universal at the same time and I think "Ok, THAT'S real." It feels too genuine to be manufactured. So I haven't really been able to come to a consensus. With myself.

And now that I've descended fully into my navel I would like to do this to myself and I wouldn't blame any of you for feeling the same way.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Light Blue

Today I'm not feeling my best. A light and misty blue cloud has taken shape inside my head. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that if I had my druthers, I'd be at home with the blinds drawn, cocktail in hand watching something melancholy. Today I'd feel at home not doing anything but talking to myself about all the stuff I wish I'd said at one time or another. A day full of L'esprit de l'escalier if you will. If you don't now, you will want to, tomorrow.

And when I get in these moods, I can't do what I want to do the most which is just shut my brain down for a little while. Instead, it feels as though my brain goes into hyper drive and all I can do is overthink everything. I'm only a little annoying today. There are, after all, benefits to having your brain on overdrive. For example I was just listening to a song I have heard thousands of times before and I just noticed violins in one part that I never had noticed before.

And you know when you get into these moods, how everything just seems utterly redundant and pointless? Yeah, that. I had some time to kill before my 2nd job so I went shopping. Not even the delicate lilt of retail therapy that can usually pierce clear through the cacophony of a day spent mired in overwrought thought helped. It didn't stop me though. My attraction to spending money I don't technically have is what will keep me here, marooned on this long, long island with no end. Though it depresses me that everything always has to change, at the very least I am constant in my character.
Constant as a northern star.
And I said, "Constantly in the darkness? Where's that at?
If you want me, I'll be in the bar."

(Ten imaginary dollars to you if you know what that's from.)

At the moment there is the impending scratchiness in my throat that I will try my damnedest to appease by supplying it with tea and honey and airborne tablets and not singing along to all the depressing music I'm in the mood to sing along to. I can but don't want to get sick right now. If I'm going to lie abed all day, I want to be healthy for it. It loses its tragic romance if you are spooning a large wad of snotty tissues as you fall in and out of a deep, congested snore. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Tired Sunday Recap

Yesterday at work, I got frustrated. I won't lie. There was a moment when I imagined myself running down the aisles of the library, knocking the books off the shelves indiscriminately and screaming. Imagine how satisfying that would be to our five year old selves. I often feel that frustration takes me back to being a child since I've never really connected with a valid reason for frustration. I experience it often but I don't ever feel justified in feeling it. Or maybe that's not right, maybe I just feel immature.

I went out drinking last night with my siblings. They came out to Guam my town for the evening. At one point we sat around agreeing with each other over politics since we all think the same way. Those are really the only sort of political discussions I actually enjoy, since bar room political "debates" between people of opposing ideas is akin to passing around a large wooden block and hitting your own head over and over again. So I am happy there was none of that.

They all had to get going incredibly early this morning so it was a semi-early night. I woke up at 5am to let them out and spent the next hour or so awake and feeling the kind of sorry for myself that I only ever feel at 5am, unable to sleep despite being so tired. My piecemeal sleep was the main reason I did nothing whatsoever of substance today despite my apartment's state of complete disarray. I did go to my little cousin's 7th birthday party so I spent the afternoon surrounded by family and eating and drinking away an afternoon. As with most kid's parties, there was a separate menu for the kids. Today's consisted of chicken fingers, only my cousin Jessica inadvertently bought, and I don't lie when I say this, Cap'n Crunch coated chicken fingers. First of all, ew. Second of all, why would it even occur to a store to make that? Even the children were grossed out by them.

Right now I'm tired after having come home and organized my clothing. I have too much clothing. Fatigue sets in when I contemplate the uneven piles on my bed, on top of which I'm tempted to fall asleep. And I'm starting to feel tired and sorry for myself yet again. I wish I had been more productive this weekend. I wish I had said certain things and done certain things and even though I got to spend time with my family and I had a pleasant weekend overall, I still feel washed out, faded at the edges and longing for the oblivion of a long and deep sleep. I think I'll oblige myself.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

All Alec and no Angel

Last night I volunteered to help out at the concession stand of my local movie theater. It is a new place that shows independent films, foreign films, basically all the movies most people don't watch in the theater out here in the boonies. It is on the ground floor of the building that is directly behind my apartment, which happens to be a special artist's community they built two years ago. I get their newsletter regularly and it always asks for volunteers with the incentive that if you volunteer,  you see the films for free. Yes, please!

Yesterday was the first time I did this, not because I was particularly interested in seeing what was showing, but because I wanted to get my feet wet so that when they inevitably showed something I wanted to see, I could just volunteer. I didn't know what to expect, having never worked a concession stand before and knowing no one involved in the daily operations of the theater. Because the theater is so small, the concession stand was really just a makeshift table with some Costco purchased candy and sodas and fresh brewed coffee and hot water for tea. And there was a popcorn machine, of course. It took about 30 minutes to describe the popcorn machine to me, not because it is especially difficult to operate but rather due to the makeshift nature of this still up and coming theater. I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I said I could have used a flow chart for this operation. There were fans to be put on, doors to be opened, oil to measure and chants to recite. I'm kidding about only one of those things.

Anyway, there were maybe 3 people in total that actually bought anything, much less popcorn so the pressure was off of me. In addition everything was priced at $1 or $2 so making change was easy. You may laugh at this but I am abysmally bad at figuring out basic math. I don't have any desire to improve this aspect of myself so I have just continued along in my badness. I have convinced myself that people find it charming. They probably do not. Anyway, in a few weeks they are showing Queen of Versailles and I kinda want to see that for free so I'll likely volunteer again. I sure hope I don't burn the popcorn.

As for the film, it was Michael Winterbottom's Trishna which, if I'm being honest, I did not care for. I really have enjoyed Winterbottom's other films immensely with 24 Hour Party People  and The Trip being at the top and even his other Hardy adaptation Jude would rank on my list. And I am a huge Thomas Hardy fan (Trishna was loosely based on Tess of the D'Ubervilles) but this one just fell flat. And the story was bereft of an Angel Clare which was the only salve for Tess in the novel. In this film adaptation, Trishna had no one and nothing apart from Alec who was called Jay in this flim and the grisly ending was just too much for me. I'd rather recommend any one of the number BBC adaptations of the novel or better yet, read the damn novel, lazy people.

Tonight, I'm having drinks with my family members because I'm not done celebrating my birthday yet. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tornado Friday

We just had a staff barbecue (in the middle of a downpour) which is an annual event to commemorate the ending of summer and the influx of a bunch of snotty college grads into law school for a new semester. We also run this charity program and this barbecue is usually the celebration and awards and all the blah blah that goes along with that. It was strongly recommended that we all be in attendance and so we were. We also have guest speakers during this event, often our local congresspeople and this one man who has a very, very red face and a shock of snow white hair. I don't ever catch his name nor what he really does because I am always way to distracted by what he looks like. I do know that he must be a politician or in some position of power because no matter what he says, people sound like they are patronizing him and laughing at all his jokes.

Anyway, apparently while I was wasting away in my office, the building had evacuated to the basement due to an impending tornado. Only they forgot to tell anyone on the 2nd floor. So yeahhh, I suppose I should be comforted that a) there turned out not to be a tornado and b) I would not have died alone.

In about ten minutes I'm going to volunteer at my local art house theater. From what I understand, I'll be handing out popcorn and, perhaps at the pinnacle of importance, I'll be able to see the film for free. I'm not even entirely certain what the film tonight is, but I enjoy a nice surprise, like a tornado warning from nowhere.

I may or may not have something of substance to report later or tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Half your age plus seven

I had a bit of a mid-week treat last night thanks to my friend Lauren. For my birthday (yes, I continue my birthday celebrations a full week after the fact) Lauren bought me a ticket to see Bloc Party at Terminal 5. Bloc Party has a special sentimental significance for us since we first saw them play at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn back in 2006ish. It is an evening we both remember fondly since the concert was inside an old public pool, it was hot as balls that night, we danced barefoot on the hot concrete, we ended up at the Beauty Bar later that night where Lauren got a manicure in the dark and I got stuck in closing subway doors. But that's another story for another day. Anyway, we went to the show to relive old times.

We met for dinner and went to this place on the west side near the venue. I had an interesting concoction of beer with dinner. It was called a black velvet and consisted of half Guinness and half cider. It was the first of many, many beverages. It looked not unlike this:

It was delicious.

Before we knew it, we were late for the concert. We waited in line to get in but because I was carrying my overnight bag, I had a few granola bars in there and amazingly enough the security guard wanted to throw them all out because for some really odd reason, unopened, innocuous food was not allowed inside the venue. In a supreme act of annoyance, he would not tolerate me going in with this food. Luckily, Lauren's office was nearby so we went to drop my bag off there for safekeeping. The guard was nice enough to keep an eye on it and we chatted briefly before rushing back to the show. We got in to realize the band had already started and decided to drown our sorrows in vodka and soda. The band sounded great and we commenced reliving the concert of 2006 but this time we kept our shoes on. Also, everyone in the venue was over 6 feet tall so we pretty much resolved to not seeing anything on stage.
The dancing and drinking continued for the length of the show and it was easy to forget it was the middle of the week. After the show ended we wanted to continue that Saturday night feeling and go out in the neighborhood. I had to get my bag so we went back to her office and the first thing the guard said to us was "They serve drinks at Terminal 5?" So, I guess it showed. Ahem.

We spend most of our lives in our workplaces and often we are different people there or we hate it or love it and talk about it to each other. I like seeing the scene of where my friends and family members play out their days and so I enjoyed seeing where Lauren works and meeting a few of her coworkers, even if it was after hours. However, it was time to find another drink. It WAS Wednesday after all.

We ended up at this place on 9th avenue that had karaoke and the people singing sounded like professional recording artists. We got involved in a serious conversation and afterwards decided to move on for some fun at another local place that we've been to before. On the way there we started talking to these two guys who lived in the neighborhood and everything got a little hazy for me at that point and so I don't remember how this came up in the five minutes we walked with them but we talked about how one of the guys was the type to cook dinner and not be able to enjoy it until all the dishes were washed. Yeah, I don't know. We asked if they wanted to join us for a drink at the bar we headed into but they were on their way home from a long happy hour.

So we went in to the bar, got more vodka and you know how the ads for the Friday's restaurants say "in here it's always Friday!"? Well, that's what NYC felt like to me last night. The bar was pretty crowded and it was a lot more than residual happy hour folks. I immediately noticed these three guys who were having a grand old time dancing and being silly and eventually Lauren and I made our way over to them. We noticed they were on the youngish side of their 20s and a conversation about who is age appropriate ensued with the conclusion being reached that the old addage "half your age plus seven" was reasonable, even though it isn't really for either of us. Anyway, these guys were nice and fun, two of them were from Germany were over here for work for three months and one of them was from Alabama. They all spoke fluent German so I decided to impress them with the only German thing I know how to say which is "Ich habe eine katze." They seemed pleased and then told me how to pluralize that. I figure with that extremely useful phrase, I'm ready to take Germany by storm.

Before we knew it, it was 2am and it was time to go home and, perhaps most importantly, to stop drinking. Because it was Wednesday. On our way out and while we said goodbye to our new friends, there was a man there who identified himself as both a comedian and an NYPD officer and he was wearing a lighted graph under his shirt. I don't know why or how better to describe it but when I asked him why he was wearing it, he refused to answer. In fact, this was the exact shirt he was wearing.

Mesmerizing, is it not?

Anyway, I had taken today off from work as did Lauren so it was the perfect time and day to be very hungover. We slept very late which was very easy since Lauren has the coziest apartment with the most comfortable couch in Manhattan. We went to eat some omelettes and then proceeded to lie around watching tv for most of the afternoon. We also spent the afternoon "setting up scenarios" for situations from last night that we didn't really have enough information about. Assumption and making up stories is fun and easy and it is one of our favorite past times. Then I got on a train with a whole horde of exhausted commuters a large majority of whom were drinking tall cans of Budweiser hidden in paper bags. My hangover was still lingering and the smell of it in the confined train car was enough to keep me nauseated until I got home, where I am now currently safely ensconced and ready for tomorrow, a Friday that will feel like a Monday.

I'm getting this entry in under the wire so I apologize for any inconsistency or grammatical mistakes but I'm tired and ready for more sleep.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8, 2003

My mind is nowhere near my location right now. Please hold the line while I take a brief mental vacation Paris. Okay, I'm back. Ish.

Hey, do you ever read something you wrote, oh say, nine years ago? What do you feel when the old you comes to visit for awhile? The following entry is dated 8/8/03. I had just turned 27 and was living in Astoria, going to graduate school full time, working part time at my college, adding up the hours of the groundskeepers. I did this manually. I still remember the smell of the ink on those time cards, still remember my daily commute of two buses and a train to Flushing. I still remember feeling melancholy and old and all the things I was not. I also remember that this was a mere week before that huge blackout of the Eastern U.S. and how I kept having to check my meandering moods and deal with these strange anomalies that were happening in the city during those years. this would have been just a random Friday afternoon.

i woke up extremely groggy this morning after strange strange dreams. one of them involved me bleeding to death and only noticing when i saw the red stains on my clothes. the doctor told me an instant before i woke up that i had a case of the west nile virus. ok, then.

it is friday and i am relieved. in one week i will be on my way to florida to melt in the sun. i will be shitting a small brick on the plane, as it will be my first flight in a long time, roughly two years.

my mood of late is melancholy. perhaps i didn't sleep enough last night but at the moment i feel no energy to put forth my usual fronts. i would much rather roll right into some random bar and slowly wreck my mood. slowly feel opposite.

last night i noticed two strange marks on my body, origins unknown. these types of odd injuries displace me just a bit. make me feel that perhaps in my secret life, i have at least unruly potential. the first is a scratch, pretty deep one at that just above my right knee. the second is a bruise just near my left elbow.

it would appear that i am tumbling headfirst into my 27th year.

I just happened to think of my old journal today; my vacationing mind went back there for a bit. I may do this again because sometimes it is good to look back to what was going on in your life 9 years ago. Sometimes it is good to remember that you have lived for longer than you can remember.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Call Me

Yesterday I applied for what, on paper, seems like a dream job. It is the kind of job in a building that you stand outside of, looking up with big, wide eyes and go "HELLO WORLD!"....on paper. In reality, jobs like that are always seem much more glamorous than they actually are and the wide eyed wonder of being outside turns into wide eyed horror of being inside. However, for this job, I'd be willing to get scared a little, if only for location, location, location. We'll see. I'm subscribing to the "don't expect anything and don't get disappointed" school for this one.

My coworkers just threw me a birthday party! We have a tradition of bringing in treats for each other on our respective birthdays. Well, all of us except one person who is just a very bizarre individual. One time this bizarre individual offered to bring in an already opened tin of caviar. I'm not going to comment further on that except to say that every office has one right? Anyway, they also gave me lovely roses and this beautiful spread of guacamole, cheeses, jelly beans, ice cream....they know me so well.

I really have nothing whatsoever of substance to report so here's a Frank O'Hara poem. It always makes me want to leave notes on people's doors, inviting them to call me and wait around to see if they ever do, even months later. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Call Me

The eager note on my door said "Call me,"
call when you get in!" so I quickly threw
a few tangerines into my overnight bag,
straightened my eyelids and shoulders, and

headed straight for the door. It was autumn
by the time I got around the corner, oh all
unwilling to be either pertinent or bemused, but
the leaves were brighter than grass on the sidewalk!

Funny, I thought, that the lights are on this late
and the hall door open; still up at this hour, a
champion jai-alai player like himself? Oh fie!
for shame! What a host, so zealous! And he was

there in the hall, flat on a sheet of blood that
ran down the stairs. I did appreciate it. There are few
hosts who so thoroughly prepare to greet a guest
only casually invited, and that several months ago.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What I did this weekend or "Oh, hi Mark!"

Above is a classic sample from the film I saw this weekend as part of a birthday gift from my good friends Nancy and Jon. "The Room" is a film that was made in 2003 and has become a cult classic and last Saturday at midnight we attended a boisterous and extremely hilarious screening of this tour de force of cinema at the Sunshine theater on Houston. This just added to what has so far been an incredible set of birthday celebrations. "The Room" has become the next "Rocky Horror Picture Show" in only one but very important way: screenings are attended by rabid fans full of the desire to participate in the movie watching experience a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. Also, I should add that not only did we see the film, but the director and lead actor were in attendance for a "Q&A". That is in quotations because it consisted of two questions: Why do you wear so many belts?(He was wearing four.) and Why did you not just film on an actual rooftop instead of using a green screen with special effects to simulate a rooftop? (Please see the above scene for proof of this. Valid question that was not answered, for whatever it's worth.)

Before the movie, I went for a drink with my sister at this teeny Brazilian place that gets an A for decor but a C- for the sidecar. Despite that, I'm going to start a tradition for my birthday that includes the intake of one sidecar. It just might be arbitrary enough to work as a long standing tradition but I'll keep you posted on that.

We had a long and lovely dinner here and achieved some respite from the soupy NYC weather that visits every year on my birthday. And, amazingly despite that weather, the neighborhood was crawling with people in every bar and restaurant as far as the eye could see. In addition at about 10pm, there was already a rather impressive line to get into the theater for the midnight showing of the ticketed event. Opting instead to get another drink (my kind of people always opt for another drink), we headed to a bar that was having a "film festival" event. That just turned out to be a series of music videos for terrible music, so we left shortly after arriving and went to stand in line for the movie, a line that had doubled in length in the 40 or so minutes we were watching terrible music videos.

Did I mention that outside in the city last Saturday night was like standing inside someone's mouth? Well it was. I was also reasonably drunk. We stood in line for a good 30 minutes before realizing that the line was to have something autographed by the film's director and not, in fact, to go inside and try to transform from melty blobs of flesh back into solid form. After discovering this, we went inside and collectively breathed a long sigh of "ahhhhhhhh". The movie didn't actually start until about 12:45 and since I'm old and tired of life in general (and still drunk with a stomach ache from laughing so hard), I was exhausted by the time we got out.

Hailing a taxi when there are no taxis to be had at 3am on New York's Lower East Side is a nightmare. I lived that nightmare only once before on New Year's Eve of 2003. I think a few of us resorted to all of these that night, in a desperate attempt to get home:

It didn't work back in 2003 and it did not work last Saturday night. However, a lot of that had to do with the fact that cabbies have taken to riding around with their 'off duty' lights on when in fact they stop and "interview" you about which borough you are going to before agreeing to take you. Yes, this is illegal and no, no one can do anything about it. So after trying everything short of carjacking, we ended up on the subway. Boo hoo. Still, if I'm being honest, seeing "The Room" with a crowd of like minded enthusiasts, seeing the director and his many belts and his weirdness in person, dinner and drinks with friends, well it all seems worth it.

I got about 3 hours of sleep, chatted with my brother in the morning for a bit over DELIVERED iced coffee (good lord I miss NYC) and headed back to wilds of Long Island. Marianne came to pick me up and we went to a little outdoor market thing in the middle of another triple digit heated day. I kept trying to deflect to Marianne's pregnancy in order to excuse myself for not wanting to walk around too much. She wasn't really buying it but thankfully we both just wanted to go back to her house and watch Louie in the sweet ass air conditioning of her home and that's exactly what we did. We later went out for fondue in Sound Beach with Rob and Dana and honestly, another great meal with great friends reminds me of how great my life really is and contributed to the good feeling I have for this year.

What will make it so great, you ask? Well, I plan on getting as much enjoyment out of life before the mid-life crisis kicks in, so there will be that. Also, I might go for my EGOT. Keep an eye out for my acceptance speeches.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Birthday lateness

I have had such a great weekend that I will write about tomorrow because frankly, I'm stuffed and running on about 3.5 hours of sleep. So for today's entry, I want to share a scene from one my favorite movies. I feel not unlike the blind man today.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Typical Saturday at the Library

The following scenes were culled from a combination of Saturdays at the microcosm of society known as the local public library.

Seated directly in front of the reference desk are arguing twin sisters in their 50s at dueling computers with the husband of one twin sat in between them wearing a pair of very large headphones. They are bickering about what ingredient should be used in a sauce. One twin then tries to give members of the library staff a half eaten danish. There are no takers.

A library computer patron arrives to upload photographs from online stores selling lingerie so that he may enlarge the photos and zero in on the crotches. He cannot be told to stop because he is not on a filtered site. The fact that he does this makes him creepier than anyone going into a strip club on a weekday.

A mother and her son are seated at a computer arguing. Well, the son is arguing with the mother. Well, he is belittling her and calling her stupid because she is unaware of how to open a Power Point document. The fact that he also does not know how to do this escapes his attention. The mother is ostensibly helping him with his homework and from what I can tell, his homework assignment involves texting his punk ass friends while his technologically challenged, ever suffering mother types up his report on turtles. She gets up in frustration to use the restroom saying that if, while she is in the bathroom, her son uses Facebook she is going to "beat the snot out" of him.

A patron calls the reference desk from her cellphone to ask if something can be done about the loud group of gentlemen poring over a blueprint in the middle of the "quiet study area". This mystery patron is seated somewhere within the library but wants to remain anonymous. She also does not yet realize that libraries stopped being quiet the moment cellphones became popular. The strangeness of receiving a call that was coming "from inside the house!" provides ample chuckling.

A girl of about 11 years old approaches the reference desk excitedly to ask if we have the next installment of a series about warrior cats in a fantasy world. When she learns that our copy is checked out, the crestfallen expression that envelops her young face is enough to break a heart. Her mother tries to comfort her as she laments "But I just wanted to know what happens next!"

An elderly woman calls the library asking for information on assisted living facilities. As the conversation continues she says the following: "I'm very worried I won't get three meals a day. I don't know who would deny an old woman alone at least three meals. It is just such a shame that you don't know how long you are going to live. If I knew that, I'd just stay in this apartment, where I've lived for ten years and eaten three meals a day."

The program at the library is an "Elvis Impersonator" only he looks nothing like Elvis. He is wearing a Party City wig and sounds nothing like Elvis. The room is sold out. There is no one in there under the age of 65. When fake Elvis proclaims in his very, very Long Island accent "The 1950s! Those were the days huh?"  a woman from the audience shouts "I wish I could go back!" Fake Elvis begins "Don't Be Cruel" and the crowd remains seated, swaying back and forth quietly.

A young woman calls the library asking for help on downloading an audiobook onto her iPod. The librarian becomes exasperated when it becomes clear that modern technology often makes things more complicated than they ever needed to be.

The librarian witnessing these snippets desires to go to the break room and eat a donut from the box gifted to the staff by the defensive driving instructor. She finishes typing and does just that.