Monday, January 30, 2006

Photo Philler

I'd hoped to get some real blogging in today but I kept having to work. At work! Can you believe it? It's not like they're paying me to do shit for them...oh, wait, it's exactly like that. Damn.

Oh well, so it's cell phone photo time instead of a real post! (Click on a photo for a larger view.)

Getting artsy on the subway platform. I like how thin my shadow looks.

Pretty view of the east side of Manhattan and the west side of Queens from my office's conference room early this morning.

Radish has been surprisingly cuddly lately, getting into our laps in the evening and sleeping on the couch. He's still a rambunctious little brat when he wants to be, but we're hoping there's a softening trend happening. Plus, look at all the cuteness!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Just been that kind of week.

I did, however, write my holiday cards today. I feel like by January 26th they can't even really be considered New Year's cards, and I don't believe in Valentine's Day, so where does that leave me?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

You call that schadenfreude??

Okay, I don't like figure skating. Or worse, ice dancing. On the rare occasions when I watch, it's in the hopes that someone will fall. I don't watch Dancing With The Stars, because I have little interest in watching D-list celebrities humiliate themselves and even less interest in ballroom dancing.

But Skating With Celebrities held such promise! Hell, they don't have to be famous -- put non-skaters on the ice and promise me blood and I am there!

So what the hell was that, Fox? No one fell down!! Not even a wardrobe malfunction!

Well, things are getting more complicated in future episodes, so I expect some head wounds, dammit.

Loud is the New Good

I watched about 5 minutes of American Idol last night, and during the seemingly endless this-is-some-of-what-you'll-see-this-week opening sequence, a girl described by Ryan Seacrest in voiceover as having "the voice of an angel" (to contrast, Foxerifically, with her "home life from hell") SCREAMED her way through "Since U Been Gone." Now, I'm not saying she was bad, but I don't approve of the message that belting your lungs out is "angelic." Even when she rocks out, Kelly Clarkson doesn't just yell that song. Girl can belt, but she can also act a song. There's nuance and emotion there even when she's being loud. I like American Idol and I think all the winners so far have been talented (except for that last really bland girl), but must they continue to promote this idea that shrieking is the ultimate goal?

Fox may redeem itself if I see some blood on Skating With Celebrities in a few minutes.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Lv is a frce v ntrrrrr...

I know I said I wasn't going to write about Brokeback Mountain, but this is something I haven't really seen anyone else comment on. So am I the only one who wasn't that impressed with Heath Ledger. I'm not saying he was bad, or that I didn't enjoy him, but his performance seemed overly mannered to me. Like he wanted us all to know how hard he was ACTING. "Maybe keeping my teeth clenched for an entire movie qualifies as a character choice. Plus it'll take my mind off the fact that I'm kissing a boy." I spent the whole movie mentally screaming "Open your mouth, dammit!!" Then I started thinking about it from a practical standpoint and decided Jack Twist must have really been using that big combine to compensate for other things, if you know what I'm saying.

Heath's a good actor and it's a perfectly good performance, but I can't help wondering if he's getting all these accolades just for playing a homo. Is homo the new retard? (See also Philip Seymour Hoffman... though I haven't seen Capote, so that's not a comment on his performance.)

A friend sent me a link to this odd site of Bert from Sesame Street photoshopped into various movie posters and stills. I don't really get it (sorry), but I did find this one highly amusing:

In the News

Home health care workers are rallying in the city today to protest the fact that they only make $6 an hour. I'm sorry, what? People who go into people's homes and take care of other people, who clean up piss and shit and vomit and blood only make $6 an hour?? And the TWU went on strike because $20 an hour wasn't enough for driving trains? Fuck you, transit workers. Again.

The top story for days has been about a little girl who was beaten to death by her stepfather. Apparnetly the child services people were involved, but somehow missed the fact that this girl was in imminent danger, and neighbors knew but didn't say anything, so it's a big scandal. It's a tragic story, very upsetting. But here's the thing, and I suspect it makes me a terrible person: I can't hear the child's name without thinking what the fuck? Her name was Nixzmary. It's apparently pronounced "Nix-marie," like Marie Antoinnette, or "Nix-mary," like Mary had a little lamb, depending on the reporter. The Z, I guess, is silent. What the hell kind of a name is Nixzmary?? This is not the thing to be focusing on in this appalling story, and so I feel guilty every time it happens. It happens a lot. Every time they say it. Does this make me evil?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I Wish I Could Quit You

Last night at the AMC Empire, as the Acoustic Guitars of Gay Cowboy Angst played in crystal clear surround sound, I came to an important realization: I don't really like going to the movies anymore.

I'm hardly the first person to write about this recently, and I usually attribute my lack of movie-going to a lack of time or general apathy, but the truth is I can't remember the last time I fully enjoyed the experience.

Again, it doesn't seem original to complain about the price of a movie ticket these days, but we had gift certificates and we still had to pay real money because, this being NYC, they didn't cover the full price of admission! (Only $1 each, Boy is quick to point out, but it's the principle of the thing.)

Then, no seats. I hate sitting up close. I'm generally a middle-of-the-theater fan, but given the choice I'd take the last row of the biggest house around over the first five, maybe even ten rows. It doesn't matter if it's not a big action movie with lots of chase scenes. A director and cinematographer worked very hard to arrange those pictures on the screen, and I'd like to see the whole thing, please. If I'm too close I get a headache and a stiff neck before the previews are over. Why do they even put seats there? Brokeback Mountain has been playing in town for over a month, in several mainstream theaters, and we couldn't believe how crowded it was. Yes, it was Saturday night, and yes, we cut it very close on time. Totally our fault. That didn't make it any less annoying.

Then, of course, we had the woman to our right who felt the need to narrate the film. "He's drunk!" "He can't get up!" "They're gonna kiss!" "He's gonna lasso him!" WE KNOW. I don't think she was really talking to anyone but herself. It was like some kind of audience Tourette's. Behind us was an older couple who kept muttering to each other throughout the movie. Not whispering, but quite audibly muttering. It may not have been in English. I glared at them a couple of times and they glared right back, oblivious as to why I might be annoyed. And then they left before the movie was over. But not like "Wait, we didn't know this movie was about homos!" early. Maybe five or ten minutes from the end. The Empire has those gigantic seats that lean back on springs. You know, the kind you can't really recline in since you have to push back to do it, but you can't just sit up straight in them either. The kind children sitting in front of me inevitably decide are just the thing to bounce in for two hours. So of course the departing talky couple had to touch everyone's headrest for balance on the way out, so that we were in danger of being flung into the screen when they let go.

I bought some Movie Manners Courtesy Cards from Glarkware a while back, but I've never actually had the balls to use them. Maybe it's time to start.

Now, that said, it was a relatively well-mannered crowd. There were a couple of full-audience vocal reactions that made me remember why I do like the communal experience of going to a theater (movie or otherwise). I think a cell phone went off once. But I was so distracted by those few people and my stiff neck. And even the best behaved audience tends to bug me. They cough (and last night I was the one doing that), they have annoying laughs, I can hear them chewing their ice and crinkling their candy wrappers and shifting in their seats (me again). It's usually different at a live show, I think largely because of the lack of food, and the fact that most people understand that not just their audience-mates but also the performers can actually see and hear them.

I almost prefer seeing a bad movie in the theater because I care less about being distracted, and there's something fun about sharing that experience with people. When everyone's mocking, it's okay.

I do not have anything that could be called a "home theater." My TV is pretty big, but it's also 8 years old. Even when it was new it wasn't all that fancy. We don't have surround sound, and although the DVD player is hooked up to the stereo I never bother to switch it over. I pay $15 a month for Netflix, so if I only watch 2 movies each month I'm still getting a deal over seeing them in the theater, and I can watch many more than that if I have the time. I can sit on the couch under a blanket, with the Boy and the cat, pause to go to the bathroom, not be self-conscious if I'm eating something noisy or messy, comment out loud if I feel like it, and never feel bad if I decide I don't want to finish something.

I watched War of the Worlds the other day. Not a great movie by any means, but exactly the sort of thing I used to be adamant about seeing in the theater, just because it's a Big Summer Event Movie. "This might suck," the logic went, "but at least the effects will look and sound cool on the big screen." And actually, I quite enjoyed watching it at home. I didn't feel like I was missing anything. In fact, because it wasn't very good, I was happy to be able to do other things while it was on. I enjoyed it enough to watch the whole thing, but I didn't feel like I was wasting my time or my money. The effects looked great on my TV, and I was relieved I didn't have to see Tom Cruise's giant teeth blown up to 2-stories high. Everybody wins.

Anyway. We liked the movie. It's been blogged about to death (for instance, here, and here) so I won't bother. I'm actually glad we waited though, since the hype was countered by a whole lot of "eh," and my expectations lined up with the actual experience pretty perfectly. But I also didn't get spoiled at all on the plot (I mean, aside from the obvious – gay cowboys!), which was nice.

Though it probably would have been okay if I'd waited for the DVD too.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Subways in the Mist

While I'd never suggest that I in any way need a camera phone, now that I have one I'm really enjoying the ability to just snap a (crappy 1-megapixel) pic of something that strikes my fancy. So I think I might start photo-blogging some more.

From this morning's foggy commute:

Good Morning

There are few things I hate more than sneezing while eating.

Except possibly sneezing while eating on the subway.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

After reading this article about the apparent train wreck that is Book of Daniel, I'm so bummed I forgot to watch it. It just sounds like such an amazing hodge-podge of badness.

Moreover, though, I really liked what the author, a Baptist preacher, had to say about the reaction of some of his colleagues:

Stop taking things so personally. You're giving the rest of us Christians a bad name. Learn to laugh at yourself, or do what I did. Just turn off your TV, look at the person next to you, and say, "Well, that sucked!"

But I think all the uproar from Christians is symptomatic of a more disturbing trend. More and more Christians seem to think that affirmation from our culture is where they will find their power. Since when do religions need affirmation from television stations? That's a little shallow, don't you think? What we should be doing is practicing our devotion and letting our changed lives speak for themselves.

And I've got news for you, Christian. If your faith isn't changing your life enough to make a difference in the world, you've got bigger problems than NBC.

Word, Gordon Atkinson!

In other news, I'm still sick, and it still sucks. I'm not so sick that it's debilitating, nothing too dramatic or sympathy-inducing. More like "Please don't breathe on me and pass the Purell." But I'm not well enough to really feel like doing much of anything, particularly things like cleaning or going to the gym. Wait, how is that different from before I got sick? My symptoms change somewhat from day to day, which for three days now has given me false hope that I'll be better "tomorrow." But instead I just wake up with a changed but no less irritating situation. Today, for instance, I'm barely coughing but I have a runny nose and a sinus headache. Whee!

I've booked some temp work -- two separate jobs that will take me back to some old haunts for the next five or six business days. First to the Foreign Lawyers and then to Huge Financial Company downtown. So that's good. And the Foreign Lawyers, being foreign and all, are open on Monday, which is a bonus. As much as I respect Dr. King, holidays are annoying for those of us who don't get paid to not work on them.

The bad news is that both gigs are project-based, which presumably means I'll actually be busy the whole time and not just waiting for some executive's phone to ring, so I doubt I'll have much downtime to blog. Small price to pay for an income, I suppose.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No fair

Yesterday was meant to be the day I got off my ass and started accomplishing things with my time off.

So of course it was actually the day I got sick.

I haven't had a full on cold in over a year, so I suppose I'm due, but the timing is just annoying.

Oh well, I guess it's a day of I Love The 80s 3-D and Project Runway on the DVR.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Not that I'm not enjoying it, but...

...why is The 40-Year-Old Virgin 2 hours and 12 minutes long??

Friday, January 06, 2006

Various and Sundry Streams of Consciousness

Making up for a lack of posts in 3 weeks, here are several mini-posts!

I'm unemployed again. "That's show-biz, kid." But I was hoping to get a couple more weeks out of this one. The holiday schedule meant we closed, oddly, on a Friday. December 23rd, to be exact. Merry fucking Christmas.

I've put a positive spin on the whole thing, because I really was in desperate need of a break. I made lots of to-do lists and planned all sorts of cleaning and organizing projects around the house, daily trips to the gym, lots of reading and writing. I don't really do New Year's resolutions, because they're always the same for me – lose weight, read more (I have unread books that I got last Christmas – oh, excuse me, Holiday), and write more (both for the blog and for myself).

You can tell I haven't been keeping up with the blog, so you can trust me when I say I have not been using my free time well in other areas either. Mostly, since returning from Boy's mom's for Christmas, I have sat on the couch playing Geist and watching Starting Over.

My favorite jeans have a hole in the crotch. If they were simply my favorites I could cope, but they're also one of only three pair of casual pants that fit me right now, because I need to lose 20 pounds. And since I refuse to buy new fat pants (as if that will somehow help me lose the weight), having to take a pair out of rotation is deadly.

Before Thanksgiving I checked out The Abs Diet. Boy got the book a while back but neither of us really did anything with it. I like it. It's like Atkins minus the crazy. Lots of protein, no refined sugar or corn syrup, avoid starchy carbs but whole grains are great, lots of berries and fruit and greens, rah rah fiber. Trying to get some motivation for the gym, I downloaded the "personal trainer" audiobook from iTunes and I like that too. Lots of weights (which I'm happy for the guidance on) and not much cardio (which I tend to get bored doing). Of course then work got insane and I completely dropped it. So far not much luck using my "vacation" to get back in the groove.

I did manage to catalog and sort all of our books, and clean the kitchen and bathroom really well. That's enough cleaning for one year, right?

Rufus Wainwright is not cute in person.

It's very hard to get a cat to sit still and wear a yamaclaus.

A very tiny silver screw appeared on my desk a week or two ago. I left it there, hoping it would reveal where it belongs. Now there's another one. Either they're spawning, or something I own is slowly falling apart.

I made a chocolate-mint cheesecake for New Year's Eve. See above re: pants not fitting.

I'm tired of people dismissing musicals, regardless of the style of music, because "people don't sing in real life." Yes, it's called fiction. Why can you accept a world in which Superman flies and elves battle orcs and reality TV is real, but you can't accept one in which people sing? It's an age-old method of storytelling. And these are probably the same people who will convey emotion by making a mixtape.

I got a personal training session for Chanukah, and I never used the free one that I got when I joined the gym, but I feel like I have to work out more before letting a trainer judge me. And I'm afraid that after my two sessions they'll pressure me to do more, which I can't afford.

The Razr is sexy. It also will make an audible tone when its battery is low, even if it's on vibrate, and emit a light brighter than the sun when you open it to turn it off. It will do these things with no regard for the fact that you're in the middle of a Broadway theater when it decides it needs more juice. Sorry 'bout that Broadway patrons and actors.

The Razr's lack of theater etiquette pales in comparison to that of the old woman behind us at the same show, who apparently was unable to breathe through her mouth and had some sort of sinus infection. It was like seeing a play with Darth Vader.

Because I'm a freak, I'm anxious to start my taxes, even though the year's only been over for 6 days. I could really use a refund!

What is with people getting new cell phones and not transferring their numbers over? Or not keeping any sort of address book anymore? I know I'm more obsessive than most about this sort of thing, but if I get one more "I lost my phone in a cab and I lost all my friends' info" email I might scream. Make an Excel spreadsheet, for God's sake.

Speaking of God's sake (or gods' sake, for you polytheists out there), is there some rule in the Desperate Housewives writers room that says every character must incorrectly say "for god sakes?" Obviously no one over there was reading my blog last year when I complained about this.

Radish had is first (somewhat belated) proper check-up at the vet. He was a brave little trooper and I was completely stressed about it.

I got a book to teach myself FileMaker, which I think would be very useful in my "real" career as well as a marketable skill. Of course, I haven't opened it.

When did product placement become so prevalent in video games?

Why do people pretty much only use the word "sundry" nowadays in the when they say "various and sundry," which is pretty much redundant?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Kitten in a Bag!

I've got some real posts in the works, but it's been a while since I've been That Pet Guy (at least on the Internet), so...

There've been lots of bags and boxes in the apartment lately with all the holiday shopping and gifting going on, and this seems to make Radish very happy. And very cute.