Monday, November 27, 2006

Revelations from a shuffling iPod

Victor Garber has played both Jesus and Satan.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

My cat's breath smells like cat food

I remember a cartoon – probably several – from when I was a kid – Garfield or Heathcliff or Marmaduke or whatever – in which an animal comes running from like a mile away when he hears a can opener. This always struck me as very silly – aren't dogs and cats all about smell? – but in fact Radish comes running if I so much as touch a pouch of wet food or trats (but not, say, a bag of Craisins). He's apparently learned the sound of those specific plastic crinkles.

He also gets very friendly if we open a can of tuna or salmon, but not beans or corn, so I figured that one was about smell. But last week I popped a can of chicken to make some chicken salad, and suddenly Radish was rubbing all over my legs like the whore that he is. I tried to explain to him that I didn't have what he thought I had, but that didn't work 'cause, well, he's a cat. Well, he likes chicken-flavored cat food, I thought, and I put a small piece of it in his bowl. He sniffed at it, then gave me a look that would have clearly said "What the fuck is this supposed to be?" even if I didn't project and over-anthropomorphize. I suppose it's for the best that we don't have a cat who'll eat anything, but I do sort of wish he were easier to please.

Today I took one step closer to becoming one of those cat people. I gave him his weekly wet food a few days early as a holiday treat. I can't tell the difference between "Turkey Dinner in Gravy" and any of the other varieties, except that it smells less fishy, but it seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving. You know, as if he has any idea. It's probably just as well he doesn’t like cranberry sauce.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Though I accept it as part of the nature of my job, I sometimes resent having to work on the holidays. No, that's not it – I resent other people who get to enjoy their holidays, oblivious to the fact that lots of other folks are working.

But today I'm sort of thrilled by the whole thing. Today is my first day off after a week and a half of 14-hour days, and I'm just so happy to have it that I couldn't care less about having to go back to work tomorrow. In fact, I found myself feeling completely smug about my indifference to the holiday. I went grocery shopping this morning, and the store was crowded for a Wednesday, but not appallingly so. Later on at the liquor store, things were worse, but it didn't get to me. Everyone else had an air of panic about them, rushing to accomplish things before going away, or stock up for their own dinners (or booze for coping with the in-laws), but I just breezed through my day. I had an urge to shout, "I'm taking this wine home to drink by myself while I catch up on TV, suckers!"

Tomorrow I'll have dinner out with Mom (Boy's away with his family) and then go to work, refreshed and relaxed. Now that's something to be thankful for.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Uninvited Guests

This is sort of an embarrassing thing to broadcast on the blog, but I'm hoping for some advice. So I'm both glad I have so few readers and wishing I had more.

We have a minor roach problem in the apartment. Bugs don't generally freak me out, provided they leave me alone. And a roach or two in an apartment building (especially when we're lazy about doing the dishes) is to be expected. But lately we've had what I consider to be a higher-than-normal amount. Not like some kind of horrific Creepshow infestation, but I see a few each day, and I do not like that. I did a big take-everything-out-of-the-drawers-and-cabinets clean of the kitchen, and then set out new Combat baits, which have always worked for me in the past. Hardly any change. I moved on to the Combat gel, which actually seems to have made the problem worse.

An exterminator comes to the building once a month, and judging by the full sign-up sheet in the lobby we're not the only ones having this problem (which helps me not feel like a slob, and also gives me yet another reason to hate my neighbors). But I've always been wary of airborne insecticides, which don't seem terribly healthy, and now that we have the cat, I really don't want any industrial poison in the house. But I don't want roaches either.

So, anyone have any suggestions? Kill the roaches but not me or the kitten, preferably without having to take my whole kitchen apart? Something organic, perhaps?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pull my lever

Having only ever voted in NYC and by absentee ballot, I honestly never realized before 2000 that not everyone in country used these:

When I was little, I'd go with my mom when she voted, and she'd let me flick the switches for her. I simply believed this was how voting worked everywhere. The big, bulky machines certainly feel secure, with the firm click of each voting switch, the satisfying chunk of the big lever when you finish. And none of the vote-count problems in recent years have happened in states that use them. I read somewhere recently that these old machines are very difficult to maintain and replace, and will have to be phased out soon. That makes me sad. Those levers and switches make me feel like I'm part of something much older and bigger than me in a way that touch screens never will. Though given the events of the last few years, maybe it's best that that illusion is shattered.

With all the hubbub around this election (by the way, Yay!), it was a little weird to walk into the voting booth and realize I had no idea what was going on locally. We get political ads for three states in the city, and I've been tuning them all out for weeks. Big races in other states have gotten more press. I kinda forgot I was voting on a new governor, though at least I was familiar with both candidates from their prior jobs and campaigns. I was most embarrassed to discover that I had never heard of Hillary Clinton's opponent. I'm guessing neither of them bothered to campaign much in the expensive and extremely blue NYC area, focusing their efforts upstate. But, really, I had no idea.

Oh well. I cast my vote for change, and change won. And I got to do it on the cool Democracy Machine.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Breaking News!

How sad is it that today is election day, and the top story on is Britney Spears' divorce?

Hob-nobbing among the elite

Tonight I worked at a very schmancy old-NYC-money charity event. So schmancy that none of my friends and colleagues I mentioned it to had even heard of the charity, or the venue at which the event was held. It's a perfectly worthy cause, but not the sort that will be sending you free return address labels and asking for 25 bucks this holiday season. It's not my world.

There was a performance element to the evening, and that’s why I was there – brought in by an actor-director friend to stage manage, which here meant some brief liaising with the lighting and sound people, calling three cues, and getting an actress a cup of tea. Easy, easy money. Oh yes, I got paid, and very well. Charity or not, people this rich don't expect you to volunteer.

My part of things went very smoothly, and was a big hit with the crowd (though all the botox made it difficult for them to laugh). I got to meet a couple of actors I admire, and a very influential producer. I should have left it there.

The organizer of the evening, a very sweet, down-to-earth woman who I'd liked from our first meeting, asked me to stay for dinner. The first time she mentioned it, a few days ago via email, I made noise about possibly having another commitment, but when she asked again tonight it seemed rude to say no. And really who am I to turn down a free rich-people meal? They want to pay me and feed me? Twist my arm!

The food (and wine, and coffee) was splendid. The company...not so much. I was seated at a table with other people involved with the show, but between us were patrons. I guess the idea was to impress them with the stars so they'd give more money, but I was of course completely unrecognizable and had nothing to contribute to the conversation. I was also underdressed. I recently purchased an inexpensive (though far more money than I am wont to spend on clothes) but perfectly passable suit specifically because I've been working more and more charity and corporate events. It's great for standing in the back of the room by the light board, but entirely inappropriate for sitting down to dinner when every other man in the room is in a tux. I mean, they might have mentioned that when they extended the invitation for me to stay. I felt awkward and obvious enough as it was.

But okay, so there I was at dinner with the rich WASPs. On my left was a woman who happened to have an unusual and recognizable last name. Turned out her sister is a TV star. Beyond that vague connection to the arts, we had nothing to talk about. She kept asking me questions about what I do, but they weren't smart questions and she didn't seem all that interested in the answers. I tried steering the topic to her, but she didn't want to reveal much on that front either. Colleges came up, and she asked when I was at mine, and when I told her she acted like I was 20 years younger than her. She also mentioned having been at her firm for 25 years. This woman looked to be in her 30s, and she looked nothing like her sister. True, the lights were dim, but if work had been done, it was awfully good.

I wish the same could be said for the dead animal around her shoulders. Now, I'm against wearing fur in general, and for many reasons, but topping the list is that it's fucking creepy. Seriously, what would possess a woman to kill a fox and just drape it over her shoulders? Around her neck I could maybe understand, but it's not like this thing was keeping her warm. And it had a head. And its head was pointing at me. It's beady little glass eyes staring at me all through dinner. It was seriously disturbing.

Though not quite as disturbing as the woman on my right. This lady looked more or less her age (60s, I'm guessing), though in that artificial way of old-school cosmetic surgery. Nothing really moved properly. It was a wonder she could speak at all, the corners of her mouth were so tight. She had very nice, well-styled grey hair, and I thought what a shame it was that she might have been one of those beautiful, stately older women if she'd cared to be. Of course it was also a shame that she was dumb as a bag of rocks. Or maybe (since this crowd was doing so well at living up to all the stereotypes) she was just too drugged or drunk to speak intelligently. There was an amazing naïveté, and it was clear to me that this was a woman who had never needed to be smart, or even to think for herself. It was almost sad. Except for the way she kept trying to talk to me.

Oh, and the homos. Sad little society homos, forced to marry women so they'd get their inheritances. Let's not even talk about it.

There were several young-ish people there (though after my experience with the TV star's sister I have to wonder how true that is) and it took me by surprise. This kind of money and the events that go with it feel very old-fashioned to me. We were in a building designed and built in New York's golden age of Morgans and Whitneys and Carnegies. It's hard to imagine that still exists, and somehow when the people are old (though of course they're not that old) it makes sense. But of course they had children, and the society – real, old-school society, not the Paris Hilton kind – continues to this day.

I don't have a witty ending here. I'm sort of disheartened. It was an awkward evening. But I'm also excited to go back to my Broadway show tomorrow – it's a small one, relatively speaking, and it feels a little like art. I'm happy to sell out as a general rule, but on a night like tonight it's nice to know I'm somewhere I belong doing something I believe in, and I don't have to wear a tie. And hey, when I get the rich-people-charity's check in the mail, I'll cash it with a smile.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

People who need People

Of course I think it's great that celebrities keep coming out of the closet, even if they're not exactly A-list, even if it wasn't exactly on their own terms, and even if no one's exactly surprised. As far as we've come, we still live in a world where people have trouble accepting a gay actor playing straight, but a straight actor playing gay wins an Oscar. (And a gay actor playing gay "won't discuss his personal life.")

But why People magazine? Lance Bass, TR Knight and Neil Patrick Harris have all gone to People with their announcements of gaydom. Couldn't they have picked a slightly classier news source? CNN has a website too, you know. Or better yet, Fox News!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Quick Crank

Sorry I've haven't posted in a while. The new job has been tiring me out with 10+ hour days. Not in a bad way – loving my job and most of my coworkers and there's an end in sight to the long hours – but in a when-I-come-home-I-just-want-to-have-a-glass-of-wine-and-pet-the-cat-and-the-boy-and-watch-an-hour-of-TV-and-go-to-bed-and-don't-even-think-about-blogging way. But I have time today for a brief inventory of crankiness....

It's only November 2nd, and I'm already sick of Christmas. Seriously, you guys, what the fuck? The stores are decorated, the commercials have started, and my mom asked for my wish list yesterday. I'm all about getting the shopping done early, but the holiday season isn't special if it lasts three months. Thanks, American Retailers!

Also, I'm sick of it being 70 degrees out. This is certainly not helping it feel at all like Chrismukah. It's not that I actually like the cold, it's just that it's autumn in New York and I'm ready for it. Thanks, American Polluters!

I'm sick of people who don't know how to use their computers. I'm not saying you should know how to fix your computer, or write elaborate formulas in Excel, but I'm surrounded by people barely know how to turn the thing on. And they have Macs! When I spend 2 grand on something, I take a few minutes to read the manual. Everyone should know how to adjust basic preferences, add a printer, burn a CD, and get on to an unprotected wireless signal. It's not that hard. Thanks, um, technologically inept people?

Sigh, even my ranting has lost steam. Thanks, really awesome but tiring job!