Monday, February 27, 2006


Last night I went to Carnegie Hall for the first time. A good friend from college was making her debut there as a soloist in an opera-in-concert. In general, I don't believe in dressing for the theatre. (I also don't believe in spelling it that way, but since I work for Canadians Word auto-corrects my lowly American English and I'm too lazy (damn American) to change it back.) I think it implies an elitism that, for the sake of my own livelihood, I'm happy to see go away...not that that's likely to happen when Broadway tickets top $100, but that's a topic for another post. Of course I'm not saying dress like a slob, you're out in public and in close proximity to other people, after all, but I don't think you need to "dress up."

However, this was Carnegie Hall, and it was opera (which I pretty much never attend), and it was a big deal event for my friend (who was radiant and wonderful, by the way), so I felt like it was worth making a "thing" over. I wore a suit and I gave Boy a hard time over his more casual choice.

I needn't have bothered. The audience's attire ran the gamut from a man in a giant fur coat somewhere between pimp and live bear, and the group of teenage girls behind us in jeans and sneakers (who gave me a fright when I saw them, and even more of one when I eavesdropped on their conversation before the show, but I have to say they were some of the best-behaved theatregoers I've ever encountered). There were some immaculately tailored young eurotrash opera queens, and a surprisingly large number of older gentlemen who apparently stopped updating their wardrobe and jewellery some time in the mid-70s.

As for the fabled hall, the auditorium was lovely; not terribly ornate, and I had some sightline issues, but the acoustics are brilliant, and that's what it was built for. The other public spaces, on the other hand, are a disaster. I can't imagine this is a consequence of the place being old, since it's always had to hold the same number of people and serve the same basic functions. I've never seen such a terrible traffic jam at a box office, which is blocked by columns that both get in the way of getting in and out, and obscure the view from the other side of the lobby so that you can't tell which window to line up at. It's impossible to form a line for the bathrooms without blocking 2 doorways and the stairs. Getting from one side of the house to the other (and therefore, from the side with the ladies' room to the side with the men's room) requires travelling a narrow area inside the house, behind the last row of seats, in which people naturally are milling about, talking and stretching their legs. And speaking of those people, I'd expect better from a crowd that's supposedly smart and cultured and has probably been to this house before. Several times someone in front of me stepped into a doorway then stopped dead, realizing she didn't know where to go next. People stood in aisles and stairways, completely oblivious of their own bodies in a high traffic area. I know I complain about this a lot, and I accept that in many ways it's the nature of a big city or any large group of people, but for god's sake pay attention to the world around you and move your fat ass!

That said, as someone who doesn't like opera much (it's a stylistic problem, not a conceptual one; obviously I love musical theatre), I was astonished at how much I enjoyed it. Though it's probably not something I'm going to run out and buy a recording of, I thought the score was lovely, and to my untrained ear all the singers were great. Though I don't generally find glass-shattering sopranos appealing, actually watching someone make those sounds come out of her body live is pretty impressive. And I love an event during which I'm actually encouraged to read. The house lights stayed up at about 3/4 for the whole show, so we could follow our translated libretti. So when I got bored (and my friend wasn't on) I could flip to the essay on the composer and the performers' bios and let the opera become background music for a bit. And it wasn't considered rude! (I suppose it might be considered rude to read something other than the libretto, but who but Boy and the teenagers behind me would ever know?)

Just being there made me a little bit gayer: It inspired me to look up Judy Garland's concert there on Netflix. Alas (or probably for the best, really), it's not on DVD.

Friday, February 24, 2006

To the Men of the New York Sports Club at 51st and Lex:

I am not, generally speaking, skeeved out by gym locker rooms. Whatever theoretical grossness lurks in the shower is invisible and therefore can remain theoretical in my mind, and since my presence there involves lots of hot water and soap, I'm good. And whatever you boys want to do in the steam room is fine by me.

But is it really so fucking hard to pick your towel up off the floor and drop it in the big hamper on your way out? It's right there, between you and the door, it's not like you have to make a special trip. Because what I really don't want is after all the soapy goodness to have to move, with bare hand or bare foot, a pile of wet-with-god-knows-what, been-god-knows-where towels that have been deposited directly in front of my locker.

Now, I realize that the majority of you who are using this gym a block from the Citicorp Center at lunchtime on a weekday are not hourly temps like me, and are used to your secretaries and trophy wives doing stuff for you, but no one's asking you do laundry or operate the fax machine. You know, if you toss the towel on a bench or over the door of your locker instead of the floor, you won't even have to bend over to pick it up.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate people?

Monday, February 20, 2006

That's a funny idea of "calming."

I hope Felicity Huffman got paid A LOT of money for this.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A small glimpse of why I am the way I am

Some high schools create scandals over productions of Grease.

My high school created a scandal over a Palestinian state.

I'm just saying, Freaks and Geeks it ain't.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Minutes,'re eating minutes!

Does anyone else think it's weird that Kiefer Sutherland is now the voice of Apple and Verizon? He's like all-purpose tech voice.

"I'm Jack Bauer, and this is the longest day of my iBook crashed, and I lost my Razr..." Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

There is a Force that penetrates us...

I thought I was tired of online Brokeback Mountain parodies. Oh, how wrong I was.

Star Wars: The Empire Brokeback

(If you don't have a subscription, you'll need to watch an ad to get a "site pass." It's worth it to get to the real clip.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In case anyone was wondering

The party was great fun, not sad at all. Two women, one straight guy, and a plethora of gay men. Now that says Valentine's Day!

On the other hand, now I'm drunk on Tuesday night, which doesn't bode well for me getting a post out tomorrow.


I had a completely non-Valentine's-Day-related post planned for today, a real one, with lots of words (some of them big) and witty observations (some of them mean), and not just photos from my phone (some of them bad), but, well, it didn't happen. So here are some links:

Pamie's Eighth Annual Valentine's Day Poems

Single Girl Valentines

If it seems like I'm down on Valentine's Day, it's because I am. And no, nothing horrible has happened to me and Boy, but if I suddenly reversed my position on something I've hated my whole life now that I have a fabulous boyfriend, it wouldn't really be fair, would it? I mean, it wouldn't be sudden, we've been together for almost 5 years, but you know what I mean. I basically don't approve of the idea that Hallmark gets to tell us when and how to express our love for one another, meanwhile making single people feel pressure to...well, not be single.

It's hardly a new or original argument, but here's a specific example that's got my feathers ruffled at the moment: A friend of mine has an annual sort of hipster/ironic Valentine's Day party, and this year it's actually today instead of the nearest Saturday. And today, in case you're reading this in an archive in the future (are there flying cars and microscopic iPods yet?) and don't remember, is Tuesday. Since I'm not on a theater schedule these days, I asked what the deal was with that when I got the Evite. The friend, who recently broke up with her boyfriend, said, "Because if I don't have something to do on Valentine's Day I might kill myself."

What the hell kind of holiday is that?? Holidays should be FUN. Okay, maybe not Yom Kippur. Fun or spiritual. A holiday that goes out of its way to make people feel like shit is not one I want to celebrate, even though I'm fortunate enough to have a fabulous boyfriend (did I mention he's fabulous?). And then all these people have the nerve to answer the Evite with notes like "Sorry, I have a date." Nice, people, really fucking nice. So this may well be the saddest party ever. Fortunately the friend lives very close to me so I can go and help her not be too depressed or bitter and still get to bed at a reasonable hour. But it all seems a little wrong to me.

Plus, my mom insists on giving me (and now Boy too) chocolate every year. And I eat it, 'cause, y'know, free chocolate, but even as a child it struck me as kinda Oedipal.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

So much for global warming

Here are some more snowstorm pics. It was apparently the biggest blizzard in NYC history. I found it surprisingly easy to get around. I've been much more annoyed and inconvenienced by smaller storms! My camera has been on the fritz for a while, being picky about when it would decide to turn on. Today was unfortunately a no-turn-on day. But the phone did okay, I think. Click for larger sizes.


This station is indoors, so I'm curious to know how this happened:
Edited to add: Yes, those do indeed look like louvred windows up there. Guess I've never really looked up carefully in there before. Seems like an odd design choice - I wonder if they can close them?

Ah yes, SUVs are so useful:


The first thing I saw when I woke up this morning

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Upgrading my ticket to Hell to express

Taking this picture may be the second meanest thing I've ever done. If that's so, then posting it is the meanest.

Unfortunately, the Razr's low-res camera and my own haste in getting the shot before my subject realized what I was doing have obscured the reason I felt an undeniable compulsion to take the picture in the first place.

This woman is eating a sandwich and reading a book called Fat Tuesday.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Power of Out-of-Context Editing

Jenn just sent me this and I just had to share:

Brokeback to the Future

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hogging the Spotlight

I ought to like Groundhog Day. I appreciate a holiday that's entirely silly, I don't care for winter, and groundhogs are adorable. But every year I'm more baffled by the "festivities" and nearly as irritated by Groundhog Day as by Valentine's Day.

First of all, according to the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, "a groundhog's life span is normally 6 to 8 years. Phil receives a drink of a magical punch every summer during the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him 7 more years of life." Um...yeah. Even with the magical drink, that means there've been 2 to 3 Phils in my lifetime. And without magic, as many as six. What's up with that? How come Phil's death and miraculous rebirth never makes the news?

Then there's what seems to be general confusion about the legend itself. As my mother (who, in her typically weird way, is really into Groundhog Day) explained it to me when I was little, if the groundhog sees his shadow and runs back into his hole because he's scared of it, it means 6 more weeks of winter. Even as a child, this confused me. If I stepped out of my house and saw a bunch of reporters and children on my usually tranquil front lawn, I'd run back inside too! On the other hand, a Phil near the end of his lifespan is probably used to all this by now, living in a zoo and all, so maybe nothing fazes him. But in recent years, the people on the news seem to just focus on did he or didn't he see his shadow. Wikipedia (oh yeah, I did research!) is remarkably unhelpful: "If the groundhog emerges and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end; however, if the groundhog sees its shadow because the weather is bright and clear, it will be frightened and run back into its hole, and the winter will continue for six more weeks." Huh? What of he sees his shadow but isn't frightened? What if it's sunny but he's looking the other way? If it's overcast then do we just get six weeks and not need the groundhog at all? Also, I definitely had the radio on at 7:15 this morning and heard the "results," but it was still barely light out.

And which damn rodent are we supposed to pay attention to anyway? Southern New York and Pennsylvania have pretty similar weather, generally, but Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (or so they claim) more often than not, and Staten Island Chuck, good New Yorker that he is, fears nothing. So whom do we believe? I think I'm going to go with the groundhog from Canadia, since they have better healthcare and allow gay marriage up there, so they're obviously more sensible.

Last but certainly not least, who cares??? Well, I do, obviously, judging by the length of this post. But that news piece I linked to was the top story today. Not Iraq or child abuse or the man who jumped from the Empire State Building or drug-smuggling puppies. Ooh, now there's an idea! Let's give the groundhogs some heroin and see how they do!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Notes to Advertisers

Okay, look, you can play that damn When A Stranger Calls commercial as much as you want, I'm still not going to see the movie, so really could you lighten up a little bit?

Also, while I'm sure Weight Watchers is fantastic, and it must really suck to feel like the heaviest woman in the room, if I hear Cher's "Song for the Lonely" one more time I may have to kill someone. Someone fat.