Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve, Manhattan 2007

New York City is a city of gatherings and happenings and parades. Before Christmas there was the massive Santa event and when I came out of the subway at 42nd street today there were 100s of cops in New York's Finest Fall Fashion Wear. They were gathered, of course, for the Times Square Ball Dropping New Year's event. What was so cool was tourists and the police were having a grand old time taking photos.

It was a great atmosphere there during the day.

I walked along 42nd Street past Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. I ended up in Grand Central Station. It was the last day of the Grand Central Kaleidoscope Light Show. What good fortune! I had no idea. Essentially it is one of those "You had to be there because it sounds lame if you were not" things. There is grand music and a light show that fills up the great hall. I am a sucker for such things as this. Any lights set to music and I am had. Lovely.

I got home and tried to rest before my big Upper East Side dinner party. As has been the case with about everything since I moved here: I had a wonderful time. Took the 79th Street bus across the Park to the East and the #6 subway up Lexington. Jerry from my work was the most excellent host. I have never seen a calmer one. He was gracious and sat with us knowing he had 5 courses ahead. I would have been chain-smoking with rivulets on my forehead, one for each person multiplied by each course. There were 11 of us for dinner. These are mostly old and dear friends and he asked me to join. I was quite honored. And what a great laugh. The meal was really amazing and a celebration of life, really. I know it seems weird to put things on that grand of a scale, but when someone cooks for his/her friends it always feels like that to me and I think I am correct on this one.

The soup in front of us is a fennel blah, blah, blah with a reduced blah, blah, blah. Delicious.

Jerry with Two Tarts. The candied citrus for the chocolate tart was divine.

After some time we all departed into early morning of a brand new year. I got back to my pad around 3am and went to bed.

Ciao e grazie 2007, CIAO 2008! CIAO!!!!!

Here is what I think is a quick video from Grand Central Station and the lights to music (turn your volume up!):

Happy and Healthy New Year ALL, xo Pat

Sunday, December 30, 2007

River Walk

16542 Steps

Took a walk. Along the Hudson. With my ipod. Knowing just 100 years ago someone made this very same walk with a gramophone strapped to his head. Times were hard then.

I listened to the St. Lawrence O'Toole Pipe Band Glasgow Concert album. It was a perfect complement to the river walk. I walked from the Upper West Side to the Village. I have to say New York is so clean and makes so much sense. It shocks me. This is such a livable city. They have made this bike/walking path along the river and it is wonderful. I expect that kind of urban behavior from mid-size cities trying to get on a "Top 1o Most Livable Cities" list, but New York has nothing to prove and yet.

Along my way I passed by this portal to well, New Jersey, but this portal that says "Department of Sanitation." It felt like it should have been written in the original Greek. So classy.

And chairs that support their own roof. Art and Function. With the Empire State Building in the bg.

But then I passed by this billboard for Manhattan Mini Storage. I am sorry, but suggesting that you are making a statement against the government re: a woman's right to choose when you are really being "playful" with back alley coat hanger abortions to sell storage space... !! This is one idea that should have stayed in the closet.

Made it to the village just as the pipe band was wrapping up in my head. Went to Sean's for a brunch with Frank, Charlie, Bill, Sean and Pat. Sean did an excellent job. The meal was really good. And the day was fun. Just to drive whatever cliche home, we had quiche. Three of 'em. Excellent and really good coffee. Left at nightfall. A great time.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Oh, the People You'll Meet

7869 Steps

Today was a day of big, big plans: I had to get shoelaces and toothpaste. This list expanded to gel and a haircut and new eye glasses. And then mushroomed into dropping off my laundry and buying a TV tray.

I lost my glasses at Thanksgiving and spent all this time CONVINCED that they would return to me because I MAY HAVE put my LA return address label on the inside of the case and JUST MAYBE some kind person would MAIL them to me in LA and I would get them via forwarded mail. Like a woman pacing the widow's walk waiting for her man to return from the sea, I waited. No glasses and a series of headaches and blurry plays and movies. So now I am just going to fork out the $10,000 it costs to get a new pair and be done with it.

The shoelaces were decidedly cheaper. My friend Sean took me to a cobbler and I got my shoelaces for $2.
"For $2 you want a photo too? Geddouttahere!"

To celebrate we went to the local donut place called something like "The Donut Store," That isn't it, but it is something like that. Cool, old, neon sign, stools and a counter. Love it. I got a Black and White cookie. The woman was not into having her photo taken, but capitulated when I told her it was for a school project.

This photo screams for a caption contest for what she is thinking at that very moment.

Then it was off in search of a TV tray. Brian says The Secret says to not get one TV tray, but two to allow for someone else in your life. My philosophy is if I am sitting with someone else and they have a TV tray too, the relationship is over before it has even started. So I wanted a singular, lonely, I eat in front of the TV by myself TV tray. This was not easy to come by. We happened in to The Container Store where my friend John who is now in LA used to work. They do not deal in TV trays as TV trays do not contain anything except a life of lonely slovenliness. But I did meet Joe who knows John and I took his photo to send to John. And the world!!! MwahhAAAHHHhhhAAAHhhh!!!

Joe. Container Store NYC scholar and FOJ ( Friend of John)

Finally hit TV Tray Gold at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They had the Deluxe Faux leather-topped model which I saw as sort of from the British West Indies collection. I almost went for this as it was kind of masculine and solitary. Lone Wolfish. But like the tree that fell in the woods to build this TV tray, just how macho does one have to be, or can one be, dining alone without the threat of company? I went for the more basic model (read: cheaper). I also managed to get my gel and went all crazy in this store and bought razor blades, Ziploc bags (will blog eventually about my total obsession with Ziploc bags. Get ready for the compelling and hard-hitting entry.), and sponges with scrubby siding. A bonanza.

The razor blades costs more than the TV tray!

In New York City most folk take the subway and at Bed, Bath and Beyond they will wrap your packages for subway transport! I had no idea. I got my TV tray shrink wrapped with a handle attached. Superb!

I could not believe it was nightfall already and I had just set out for shoelaces and toothpaste! I got home and then left to get my haircut. I was the last customer in the shop before they closed. I explained that this was my first haircut in New York and my last one of 2007 and it needed to be excellent. I didn't really explain, I implied. Okay, I didn't really imply, I just sat there and said "Over the ears, please." I was putty in her hands. She was very nice, but had a Caspian edge. The shop owner even gave me a free T-shirt and CD. How may barbers have their own CD's? His has chosen for his logo the Male arrow symbol with the phrase "Who's the Man?" underneath it. Excellent question. You can see it all at His father was a famous barber in Uzbekistan so maybe "Who's the Man?" is a translation of something really cool there. Nice people. Local. I would go back.

"Who's the Man?" The one on the left who is happily going to spend Saturday night with a TV tray.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh Little Town of Hoboken

12230 Steps

Pat, Charlie, Sean and Peter get through customs.

The festive season continues with my first trip to New Jersey. Went with friends to Frank and Teddy's Christmas party in Hoboken. What a really nice town. Parts reminded me of Noe Valley in San Francisco, parts Ugly Betty, parts Europe. All blended with that red & white checkered table cloth Frank Sinatra/Billy Joel vibe. Does that give you a clear image or just make you tilt your head like a dog and go "Huh?"

It was so nice to get out of work and go somewhere right after. (Like that is new for me?!). AGAIN I met a lot of nice people and had a great time. The food was great and Frank outdid himself in decorating the place. I had my camera in my pocket and never took pictures inside for some reason. Shame.

Back to Manhattan. It was raining. Charlie and I took the subway uptown. Turns out he works in the animation business and knows people I know from my past. When will this small world end? Never, I hope.

I woke up at 8am and really wanted to sleep in. But I was thinking of coffee and TO DO lists and the world outside so I got my carcass upright. When I was downstairs I looked at the clocks and it was 7:20am. But my alarm clock says 8am? NOW I realize why I was getting into the office so early and quickly this week - my clock was set ahead 40 minutes and I never noticed. I just thought the train was really fast!!!!

Today I am going to have my first New York haircut. Last time was at the Mexican barber in LA with the straight razor. Loved that place. And I am going to get toothpaste and shoelaces. This is the kind of day that I love. Just going to enjoy it.

Mac Me Happy, Won't You?

7233 Steps

I am convinced I need a Mac in order to be happy. Where is that coming from? Excellent marketing? Low self-esteem? Low RAM? Hey, now that I am a semi-professional blogger, I need to be ON THE GO! I need to be able to blog in the flash of a pan of a moment's notice. If someone drops a gum wrapper on the head of a pigeon who is dead in Union Square Park and then buys an apple and walks away, my readers need to know about it. Now. This, of course, has nothing to do with owning a new laptop. I just want something new and streamlined and pretty. And since that is not my body at the moment, I need a new computer.

"Do I look fat holding this MacBook Pro?"

I remember when I was convinced that a Walkman would make me run more. My parents finally got on board with this logic and got me one. I ran on the track at UCLA with it a few times and that was that. Perhaps Mom and Dad should have included a tape that repeated "Go to grad school, don't move home, follow your dreams now and don't smoke." But that would have been hard to put to music back then.

There was a point when all I wanted in life was a bean bag chair, a hanging fern in a macrame holder, a walking stick that turned into a seat and Earth shoes. IF I had ALL of those attainable items, I would really be happy. Still.

So where does this all lead, grasshoppers? That's right --
Scratch that itch until it is satisfied and/or bleeds. Rationalize, rationalize, rationalize.
Here is a good starter example: "If I get this [Armani suit, Mac, BMW, Piaget watch, etc.] then I am telling myself I care about myself and it is stating to the world "Hey, this guy is serious about caring about himself so he will be better able to care for others and the world he lives in." And that will get you more money, broads/dudes, recognition in the market place, recognition in the market, and just much, much more.

"You can give a man a fish and you have given him a meal OR you can teach him how to edit his fishing trip in Borneo on his MacBook Pro and burn DVDs of it to give to friends and he will have a lifetime of achievement and pleasure and memories."

Until a newer version comes out. And Borneo is no longer cool.

But that will be a while...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

10364 Steps

The Day after Christmas should be a Holiday in the US. I don't want to sound greedy, but no good can come of going back to work the day after Christmas.
This is what it could help to avoid: exhaustion, confusion, bitterness, raccoon eyes, raccoon breath, raccoon coat, shoddy workmanship, disorientation, price tags hanging from one's personage, irritable vowel syndrome.
I am too tired to operate blogging machinery today. Too tired. So I am just going to write crap. Please feel free to take the day off from reading.

Here are some goals for next year:
1. More sleep
2. More water
3. More exercise
4. Less coffee
5. More reading (esp. classics like "Greek Mythology for Dummies")
6. Less computer
7. More veg. eating.
8. Less prepared foods
9. More saying "Good Day to you, kind sir/madam" on the street.
10. More tipping of hat when doing 9
11. More hat purchases for tipping of.
12. More bagpiping
13. More listening to music
14. More feeling okay about not watching TV
15. More meditation.
16. More breathing.
17. More yoga
18. Less ice cream.

Sensible Things I Would Do with Too Much Money:
1. Have weather boxes installed outside my windows so I could click a button and have whatever weather I wanted appear: Heaving, driving rain for reading, snow for Sunday mornings, hail for soup days.

2. Have a car horn that blared "FRANCE!!!! in an American accent every time I honked it. "France, France, France!"

3. Have a guy who would follow me around and photograph me and my friends. Saves having to ask other tourists and show them the right button and then pose and have to walk towards them again to set it all over.

4. Have Dettol flown in from the UK so I could clean my place with it.

5. Have someone cut my hair in my sleep. I hate getting my hair cut.

6. Have someone shave me. Unless s/he was cross with me in any way.
(I hate shaving. And I like not shaving. I think they are two different things. ) I would have my weather boxes set for "foggy then to sun" for this ritual.

7. Have a live-in computer geek/driver/coffee maker/personal-trainer/massage person who darns.

8. Have a Modigliani painting hanging in my kitchen next to the message board.

9. Have all my shoes hand made by Estruscans.
10. Go to all the "Hotdog on A Stick" locations in the US by motorhome and photograph them and journal about the experience for use later in a self-published coffee table book-slash-expose called "Hotdog on a Stick: Cultural Icon or Creepy Lolita-esque Sausage Purveyor?"(working title.)

Things I Want to Have Less Fear of in 2008:
1. Spice racks
2. Yeast
3. Technology
4. Stunning looking people who say "Dude."
Travels for 2008
1. Quincy, MA
2. Japan
3. The Bronx
Work more with in 2008:
1. Fennel
2. Sorrel
3. push pins
4. fresh fish
5. post cards
6. floss

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas with the Cohens

10728 Steps

This morning I got up and went downstairs to make coffee and open my presents under the pumpkin. I put on my fave collection of Christmas music and had the moment. I have to say I LOVED all my presents and really more appreciated the art of gift giving, though I really did not participate in it this year. So thank you to those who DID! So I guess, really, I appreciated the art of gift receiving.

I got a groovy scarf, an outdoorsy shirt, homemade epicurean provisions and an amazing knife. This all together suggests I could exist in the wilds of New York alone for quite some time.

I put my new scarf on with my shirt and new jeans and headed out to meet Cheline and Hilary for Chinese food in Chelsea. Only bagel shops, Chinese restaurants and Starbucks are open in New York on Christmas day. Sort of a Will Smith "I Am Legend" vibe, but with Jewish and Chinese people. And me. The Chinese food was delish and we had such a good laugh it was almost painful.

Hilary, Pat and Cheline in Chelsea on Christmas Day, 2007

Later Hilary and I went on to Brooklyn to Steve and Nhadine Cohen's house for our Christmas feast. Hilary and Steve went to grad school together. It was a GREAT evening with about 20 people and an all-vegetarian menu of amazing food. Amazing food. I so enjoyed meeting all the people who were wonderful and interesting and really, really friendly. You could tell that Steve and Nhadine are that amazing couple who brings all their friends together. I think theirs is the home you go to when your relationship is falling apart or you just need a cup of tea and a home-cooked tofurkey.

Later Cheline met us with her boyfriend Murph who just flew in from Austin. He made an apple tart that he imported from Texas and it was amazing. Someone else brought a lovely Red Velvet Cake from Georgia. It was just like Christmas on Walton Mountain if Pappa Walton went to Tennessee for a bundt cake and couldn't get back in time for the serving of the traditional red bean paste casserole, but showed up just in time before Mary Ellen was going to make the mistake of her young life.

I have no idea where I was going with all that.

The evening finished off with about the best White Elephant gift giving I have ever been part of. That is that game where you take numbers and the first person picks a gift on the table and the next person can either steal that gift or take a new wrapped gift off the table. I was #5 in line and picked what was to be the MOST STOLEN gift of the evening: "Heroes of the Torah" glasses.

There were two in the set that I had and I loved them. But it was not meant to be as they were promptly stolen away.

Hilary #2 gets posession... briefly

This game went on forever when I finally had my window to reclaim what was rightfully mine, but then I was to lose it all again when Steve suggested a King Solomon-type deal where we would each take a Rabbi and walk away. I could either have one or lose it all for a fleece hat, gloves and scarf set. In white. I went for it and went home with Rabbi Goldberg.

Steve and I learn the true meaning of Christmas by splitting Rabbis.

All in all a wonderful Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Not a Preacher Was Slurring...

A Squirrel Eating Red Berries outside the Met. (bad touch-up job by me.)

19325 Steps

Christmas Eve 2007.

Though I am far from home, away from family, and orphaned by my parents, I managed to keep alive all of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions: I got up, did an Excel spread sheet of all the possible contacts I have for work, walked with a friend to Grant's Tomb (He is still right there next to the missus), stopped in to hear the choir sing divinely at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (Do you know they are doing refurbishments on that church and the actual initial building has never been finished? That means parts have gone into disrepair before the whole was every completed. Much like life, I suppose.), got a Christmas Eve massage and went home to watch Julie Christie slowly sink into Alzheimer's in "Away from Her."


As a matter of fact it was all kind of okay. I have so loved this season and being here and I did all the Christmasy things I could want to do. I even went to Bach Vespers last night at Holy Trinity Church on Central Park West. Amazingly beautiful. So today was kind of great in its not so Christmas Evieness.

And now to sleep to awaken on Christmas morn and see what Santa has put under the pumpkin.

And to all a rude bite?, a lewd kite?, a "should write"?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Whatta Year 2007/Blog Pauses for Christmas Letter

If I were to graph my 2007 it would start so high and then plummet so low and then plateau and climb and then dip and then soar and then get all squiggly and end climbing, but cautiously, but climbing.

But whatta ride, man.

I started out 2007 coming off a wonderful Christmas with my family in San Francisco by meeting up with Jan, Ashley, Annie and Jenean in Palm Springs for New Years. It was perfectly perfect. Then met a guy at a birthday party at Trader Vics in Beverly Hills. Over by the puu-puu platter. He was a really nice, funny, talented, smart guy and he asked me out. I was starting my year meeting a great guy. (In fact may 2008 start the same!) But we had to wait to go out because I was going to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah to work in the programming office!!! Whatta way to make someone wait! You can't write this stuff (oh, I just did.) It was the most amazing experience and I realized for 12 straight days I was really, really happy. It was a combination of being in air so thin and doing something I really, really loved. I got to introduce filmmakers and their films and go to screenings and parties and meet a bazillion people. I have to stop because I could keep writing about this part.

Leaving for Park City with my Programming colleagues and pals.I am really here!!!With the filmmakers of "Adrift in Manhattan" (hmmm? Foreshadowing?)

Me with Kim and Basil, fellow programming friends.

Got back to California and started dating which for me is like being up on water skis and wondering what you are doing up there since you don't know how to water ski. It was great, but scary and came crashing down into the murky water and was dragged around by the speed boat way too quickly. I thought. But what do I know about water skiing?
Then I got hired to be the Panels Programmer for Outfest Film Festival in LA. This was the best timing as it got me out of my black hole and back to being productive. I worked with great people and got to run my own show at the same time. It was a huge success and I loved every minute of being at that Fest.

The cast of Ugly Betty, one of the panels I produced at Outfest. With my excellent bosses too!Matthew Rhys from "Brothers & Sisters" - another great panel at Outfest 2007!

Then momentum slowed, and I got a call that my pipe band folded. No job, no date, no band. I may as well have bought a dog so you could kick it. But I took trips up to San Francisco to see family and friends, played pipes with pals at the Bohemian Grove, and made a mad trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida with my pal Brian. (He was in Seattle, I was in Los Angeles, we met up in Florida.) I read my hard-hitting, seminal piece "I HATE LA" at Chi Chi's Word Parlour thanks to being chosen and for the greatness that is my pal and writing teacher, Marilyn, at Writing Pad. (see link on my blog links.) I attended the Caledonian Club of San Francisco Highland Gathering to receive my 25 Year membership pin at the grandstand show with my wonderful brother Sean and lifelong pal, Will. We were presented these pins by our good friend and bandmate, the Chief, John Biggar. Wow. Cool.
Brian and Pat in Florida
At the Bohemian Grove with good friends. I just missed my brother.

Here he is! With Leiyan, Oonagh and wee John. I loved that day with them.

The three Graces on Angel Island. (Amy, Lauren, Jen) Notice the Golden Gate Bridge in the bg if you see past all the beauty!

My niece Claire and my nephew Mitch.

An amazing dinner at Eileen and Rick's in San Francisco.

Cheline and Marjorie mixing it up.

No San Francisco party is complete without whipped cream. Trust me. Me reading on stage at Chi Chi's Word Parlour in Los Angeles

Will, Sean and I after getting our 25 year pins. A lot of history.

Back to LA. Eric and Lana forwarded me an on-line advert for a consultant position at Sundance Channel in New York. What the heck. I applied, wrote to the Sundance Channel folks I met at the beginning of the year at the Festival and got an interview. Then two more interviews and then the job.

I got the offer on 14 September and on 28 September I landed in JFK. Thanks to SO much help by friends in LA and SF I was able to pull this off.

Steve, John and I wrapping and rapping in advance of my move.My Dolce Teresa! Love that woman. I cannot even write words about how much I adore Marian and Eric. With David Dean! He gave me my first "kitchen intervention" and threw away all my crap right in front of my eyes!
Brad and I became friends right before I jumped ship for NYC. So glad we did that.

I really am a Lesbian at heart. Truly.

My Northern Cal crew after a hard day!Two of the many princesses in my life: Claire and Lisa.

Now I live in New York City and love it more than I can describe. As I have said before, every day here feels like a backlot musical to me.
So let's recap: I started in the desert (literally), met a guy, got high, lost a guy, got low, paneled, performed, travelled, got medaled, moved. Wow.

I am blessed with loads of good fortune, wonderful friends and family and a new town. Thank you 2007. And thank you all for being in my life.

I hope you all have a wonderful, healthy and happy 2008.

xo Pat(rick)
I just moved to NEW YORK CITY!!!!
My hoos!My neighborhood.

I miss you Mum and Dad. Thank you. xo Pat