Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tennis, Everyone!

Lefty from Luxembourg pulls it out.

"Tennis, Everyone" was my Facebook status that I re-purpose here as my blog entry title. I find myself so cross-platform, multi-media, re-purposeful these days. I mean, I love it. Now to get into video. It adds 27,000 pounds, however.

Back to the US Open I was. My second time on the number 7 train to Flushing to join the throngs of tennis fans. There is such a vibe, a spirit and even a New Yorker thing about being part of this event. I felt it, loved it and wanted to roll around on the grass in it. It was that wonderful.

My pal Ron (not to be confused with date) and I spent 11 hours watching tennis today. (Thank you #70 sunscreen.) There is such access here and we were practically courtside for most of the day. Somehow seeing it in person makes it seem less slick and the players less god-like. They make lousy shots and hit it off the rim and out of the park. I know their pain, but not their paychecks. But you also see truly fantastic tennis. These athletes truly work hard, but when up close you can see their mental game at work and it is a lesson for us all. Amazing how so much in life is so much a mental game. Today I laughed, I cried, a cheered, I jeered. It was fantastic.

Gilles plays to the crowd. The Luxembourgian Sentinel was selling like hotcakes after this win.

I saw Gilles Muller from Luxembourg beat Nicolas Amalgro from Spain in what started out as a boring match and accelerated into a total upset. I was also thrilled and got too emotionally involved with the Patty Schnyder/Katarina Srebotnik match. I wanted Katarina to win so badly that my body physically willed it. It was not to be, but with my stomach clenches I think I developed my abs a bit more. The most professional and exciting match was the Jarkko Nieminen/Fernando Gonzalez match. The Finn vs. the Chilean. I have to say South American fans are WILD. They even have songs. The Finnish fans, if any, not so much. Gonzalez, when he was on, was a master at shot placement. Jarkko was amazing too. Sadly he slipped and slid on the court with his face and his hitting arm. The crowd cheered wildly when he got back up and continued play. We love our "heroes" wherever we can find them.

Srebotnik. The first time I got emotionally involved with a woman since 1992.

One of the highlights of the day was meeting up with my friend James LaRosa. (I use his last name here because he is a "public figure" and needs to be Googlible.) He was here from Los Angeles to cover the Open for The Tennis Channel. James is their official blogger and a great writer and a really nice guy. And handsome. What is NOT to like about this guy? (Plus he will read this entry so I must effuse!) Check him out on The Tennis Channel website. He also writes articles for Tennis Magazine. Go James! And heal thy back and get back on the courts!

James and I in front of the big ass scoreboard.

Ron and I had a great day and night at The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Here we are in a photo pose that I stole from somone else and forced Ron to be a part of. Hey, I'm a semi-professional blogger and owe it to my 5 readers. I wish there was more of the courts and less of us. I think we both wish there was plain "less of us" in general. Then maybe you could see more of the court!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dating in Damascus

Okay, maybe he is right.

New York is full of people. It is full of stolen glances, chance meetings, dropped gloves, and watering holes and social gatherings. But like all other places on this globe, it is full of busy, shy, self-involved folk and thus websites like proliferate and thrive even though you could meet someone on the subway platform no problem.

I have started to do the "match thing." I find it interesting, and it makes me feel like I am 'doing something about" my personal life, but rarely are the guys who write to me the ones I would want to date. And rarely do the ones I write to want to date me. That seems the case anyway. The whole thing is an admitted crap shoot. And the the spirit of "nothing every really changes since high school" it is fraught with "do I want to write my first name and his last name on my school folder?"

Tonight I went out on my third match date, and second with this same guy! That is amazing to me. I had written to him because I was attracted. (My scared Grinchian heart melted a bit and I hit send.) I had an in because he had read a book that I am reading. I got a nice note back that read something like "thanks for your note. I don't think that we are a connection, but I'd like to discuss the book with you." Huh?! What is a fledgling guy supposed to do with this? "I have no interest in dating you, but it would be nice to talk to someone about this book." And this is fair enough, I suppose, but I just didn't know how to handle. I countered with "Sounds great. Why don't I finish the book, we get together to discuss and use the time as a "practidate" where I can give your feedback on your dating skills and you mine as if we were on a real date?"

He didn't bite. Just wanted to discuss the book. This being cyber space, I let it go and moved on to write to other guys who would never write back and ignore e-mails from guys who write to me from Denver or Philadelphia. What am I missing here about distance?

For some reason I checked back in with book-only guy and he was delighted to hear from me and suggested we meet. "Without attraction and me having read the book?," I wanted to reply. We met and had a great time. Aside from him saying that I reminded him of Diane Keaton, it was a success. Diane Keaton?! I mean "La-di-da, la-di-da, la la..." It turns out he was not initially attracted because I had a down jacket on in one of my photos and he thought I was hiding my HUGENESS! I had to laugh. I used that photo because I love snow and I was happy in that picture. Amazing to hear a different take. So no burka photos, folks, people may not reply.

Tonight we went to a movie -- the new Woody Allen one!!! How funny, eh? It was really good and then we ate dinner al fresco and walked around the neighborhood. It was a New York date as if in a New York movie. Like a Woody Allen New York movie. Maybe I AM Diane Keaton. Well, la-di-da, la-di-da...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh TV, How I have Longed for Thee

Today I got TELEVISION. Not like other people "got religion," I just got the cable guy to come and hook me up. Shove a cable line in my veins and make me worthy of talking to other people. TV, an invention that many have enjoyed, been hypnotised by, gotten a personality from, taken as a lover, for years. Myself included.

From the blog "Stuff White People Like," #28 is "Not Having a TV." Meaning white people like to tell you that they don't watch television so that they can feel superior to you. Funny stuff based on some truth.

If I had to come clean, I didn't have TV because cable is such an expense every month and I found that my life in New York kept me way too engaged to rationalise having it. Sure I would have liked to continue watching "Brothers & Sisters," "30 Rock" The OLYMPICS! But once I didn't have it I did not miss it. Kind of like alcohol, cigarettes, a car, abs.

But the hitch for me, and I will say this here on internationally-read blog (!!!), I apparently work in television! Or will potentially work. This kind of changes things. Kind of like being a doctor and not staying up on the latest medical procedures (heck, combine the two and see: "Grey's Anatomy).

So now I am officially TV fit with DVR and a gazillion channels. I have TV, but no job. (First things first?) What I do have is another $80+/month bill to add to all the others that make modern living so...livable.

Do they ever ask you in an interview if you have a television? I think it is assumed. And fair enough. So I am fighting fit and can now lie on the couch, watch endless hours of...stuff, and tell the world I am doing research.

Now to give up my gym membership to compensate.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Cold

A last souvenir of an excellent summer in the East. I got The Summer Cold. I felt a sore throat on Monday, but thought it was from that common ailment of "too much bagpiping" that people often experience. I seemed to have forgotten all about it on Tuesday and then Wednesday while at the US Open I knew the body aches and chills and sneezing and headache were not from over excitement, which I did indeed have at being in such and incredible place.

Getting sick happens. But I always treat it like a personal attack, which I suppose it is in termas of germs/viruses attacking the body, but I take it personally, like the flat tire. "How can I have a flat tire NOW?! I am supposed to accept the Democratic Presidential nomination! This is a REALLY bad time for this." And one must pause and ask "And JUST WHEN is a GOOD time to have a flat tire?" Same with illness. No good time.

I had a meeting today and then I was going to Williamsburg tonight for an Obama/Ice Cream Social party. I was even planning to take my Zumba class beforehand. But I am a big boy now and knew to cancel it all.

I have been trying to just get this damned thing out of my chest. I lay around. I watched more "Slings and Arrows." I read some of a book! Then I tried to putter as this was a good time to get a lot done whilst captive. But that is the WHOLE point: don't DO, REST~!! I had to stop.

This evening my landlords were kind enough to let me come over to watch Obama speak. I do not have TV until tomorrow. It was a good speech. I am all for it. I hope they are not just promises to get elected. But what choice do I have? Voting for McCain is insane and I am in awe of how many people think that is a good choice. Unlike most politicians I DO NOT credit the American people with intelligence. Not at all. Spirit, perhaps, but not intelligence. I think the fact that Obama/Biden in a quasi word scramble looks like Osama bin Laden will sway folk. That is how stupid I think people are. (Clearly, I will never get elected.)

I am cranky. I am sick.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The US Opened to ME!!

Ever since I was knee high to a whatever I have watched tennis. Wimbledon and Forest Hills (now Flushing) were always places on television to me and today thanks to a lovely birthday gift from my friend Ron, I got to go to the US Open. The US Friggin' Open! I was there. I was part of it. It is what WE NEW YORKERS DO!! Ha! I am still so tickled I can't stand it.

The grounds are most definitely like the Vatican of Tennis. It is a walled city in there with all things tennis. There are giant jumbo trons in the open eating areas and people queue at the various courts to wait for a pause to go in and see a match. How can I truly express my excitement at being there? I do not know. It is like describing a sunset. But I was there. I heard the scuffle of the tennis shoes on the court, I saw the ball boys and girls in the Ralph Lauren clothes do their thing. And the fans and the players from all over the world.
Can you even believe this!?!!

We sat through singles matches and doubles matches and I just enjoyed every moment. It was amazing how close we got in some arenas. Arthur Ashe Stadium requires a different ticket, but some day!

I took the #7 from 42nd Street out to Flushing with Jay and we met Ron there. When we took a lunch break we sat with a father and son from Minnesota. The son went to the rival high school's of Jay's in Minnesota. The son was applying to UCLA and USC. I told him that I went to UCLA. His sister lives with her husband in Noe Valley in San Francisco where I used to live. It was a great lunch and a funny small world conversation. Plus it was so great to see a father take his son on a trip like this. Wow, what a gift.

Ron and I stayed past nightfall and left after the mixed doubles were over. If the gods are kind and I get over this cold I now have I am going back on Sunday!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Story Time

Don (left) and John getting ready to go.

I think no matter how old I get I still love being told stories. And the ones with the greatest experience of time, hard work, success and hardship seem to tell the best ones.

Today I was fortunate enough to be the representative of the BAFTA/LA Heritage Archive (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) at the taping of the Don Taffner interview for the archive. It was done in conjunction with the Television Academy. I got to work with Karen Herman who is the Director for the Archive of American Television for the Academy. She was excellent and very nice.

Don could not have been a better subject. He was interviewed by his long time business partner, John Fitzgerald. The two of them were pros and really knew how to talk to each other. Don lit the place up with his stories of producing "Three's Company" and bringing "The
Benny Hill Show" to the United States. What a nice, nice man. I was fascinated by all his work with the UK and that he is a majority owner of the Shraftsbury Theatre in London where I have seen many a play.

In the room where we did the interview was a full set of Rennie MacIntosh chairs and a dining table. After I told him about my time in Glasgow he told me his wife Eleanor was on the board of the Glasgow School of Art! I got to meet her afterwards and she was a delight.

What a great day it was.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Interview This.

Today I got up, went swimming, saw Brad off to Los Angeles, and had my job interview for a big ass position that I really wanted. I was prepared, relaxed, buttoned up. Ready to ROCK!

It was over the phone with the company's LA office. We went through my work history, my reasons for wanting this position, my salary requirements. And then she said, "There has been one slight change in the job. It has been filled." Perhaps this is a new technique they are using out west to see how potential candidates deal with a perceived "we have totally wasted your time and you prepared for nothing. What, are you going to do, cry little girl? Betcha are? C'mon."

I didn't. I masked my anger and sat on my frustration and rage and said something like "That is unfortunate as I was really excited about my potential in that position, but at least we have spoken and should something come up that is a good fit you will have me in mind."

I will add this to the job hunting/interviewing collection items that I have already shelved like the woman at E! Entertainment who told me after she interviewed me that the job was already filled, but she just likes to meet new people. And the one where the EVP was sitting across from me on a couch and fell alseep in the middle of my interview.

Having said all that, I have knocked some interviews out of the park. So it will happen again.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Patrick and Patrick and Patrick and Michael and Ted and Brad. Oh My.

Brad and Patrick x 3 and Ted and Michael

I have become used to two Patricks in a room. It happens. But today there were three Patricks. That is a lot of Patricks outside of a Patrick convention or an Irish pub. Or an AA meeting.

Brad has a friend Patrick who is also friends with my friend Sam and his partner is Patrick as well. And today we went over Patrick and Patrick's where they live with their dog Olive. Michael and Ted where there for a visit as well. It was a gathering.

They live in a lovely apartment in the West 50s that has a name. I am not going to mention the name in cyberspace, 1. because I respect privacy and 2. because I can't remember it. But it is one of those "The Something Arms" or "The Lost Gold of Shangri-La" or "The Something-Ger." Posh and awning-ish with doorman and entryway. Lovely.

Patrick and Patrick were so gracious. They had champagne and sparkling water for us in the garden. I liked everyone right away. They were all so pleasant and interesting and Patrick-friendly. We did what gay men do on Sunday afternoons: we ate and drank imported and organic things and talked about babies (pro or con?), marriage (pro or con?) and books (pro.)
I found out that Ted is a blogger like me. He writes on books, life, etc. You can read him here:

Patrick (one of the ones who is not me) works at the place where I have an interview tomorrow. Small world again. Fancy that.
Today felt like a taster for a TBD in the great life I have in NYC.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Michael "Bo" Bowman 9/24/68 -7/9/08

There was a Celebration of Life for my friend Bo tonight. At Tavern on the Green in Central Park no less. Bo died last month of Necrotizing Fasciitis. He died from a blister on his foot that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He never saw 40. It seems so hard to believe. In fact it is hard to believe. I feel he was just getting started. He had a job he loved, a partner he loved and new apartment with an amazing view of New York City he loved and he was so very, very loved by so many, many people.

We were new friends. I met him at the beginning of October last year when I first arrived in New York City. Our mutual friend Brad in Los Angeles gave me his number and said to call. I did. He and his partner Andy had just bought an apartment in the sky and had just moved in. He invited me up that evening of my phone call sight unseen. I liked him and Andy instantly. I had a great evening looking out at the view over the unpacked boxes. Bo had just made New York City a little smaller, a little warmer, a little more possible for me.

I had a hard time wrapping my head around a "Celebration of Life" for someone who was not 70 or 80 years of age. If someone dies at 39 it is a tragedy and should be mourned. But this celebration with remembrances and songs and photos and LOVE was exactly right. I was wrong. Bo is gone whether I think it is right or fair or ridiculous. So his life here is over and what he did here needed to be celebrated.

The Celebration was held in this over the top room that was like a greenhouse with clear windows looking out onto the lush Tavern gardens festooned with 100s of lanterns. Inside there were giant, ornate chandeliers of all colours everywhere. It was the winter palace from Dr. Zhivago mixed with a little gaiety. I liked being there with all these people.

I told Bo's mom later that though I had only known him 10 months I knew exactly what all his near and dear meant when they said that Bo loved celebrating peoples' creativity and how he wanted people to do well, how he wanted them to know what he loved and what excited him. They talked about how he often had a hard road figuring out how to manage his exuberant energy, but how he kept at it. And how he was so happy settling down with Andy. I felt all that from Bo.

He seemed to be always concerned about my flaking skin on my face and really pushed moisturizing. Once I had a job interview and Bo asked if he could come to my apartment and give me a facial. He did just that with all his gear in tow including blow dryer for a hot oil treatment. I still have the bottle of vitamin E oil that he gave me. Somehow I think I will always be inspired by vitamin E.

I have been blessed so HUGELY since coming to New York City and a gift I received early on I thought would grow and expand, but now I feel I have to take Bo and bottle him and use him sparingly and be inspired by of him often.

Goodnight, my new pal. And thank you for loving me in a way that I had not earned yet. Thank you for taking me in to Bo's world. I will miss you and I wish selfishly and longingly that we could have had more adventures in NYC together. But your pixie dust has been sprinkled and I am a grateful recipient of the glow it makes when the light hits it.
Here is the poem they read for Bo tonight:
In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm a Hairy Guy

My pal Brad arrived in town this morning at 6:30am on a red eye from Los Angeles. He is here for our friend Bo's Celebration of Life tomorrow. I had to tell him if he wanted to see "Hair" at the Delacorte in Central Park tonight he would have to drag ass with me straight away to get in the queue. Poor guy. Welcome to his nightmare. We met up with Ron and the three of us had our own "Be In" for 6 hours in the park to get the free tix for tonight's performance. Fortunately it was spent on a comfortable park bench in the shade with benchside food service.

Folks, it was all well worth it. Well worth it. Except for the unfortunately flat performance of "Sheila" (some key numbers she had as well) it was pushed way beyond my expectations and made me laugh, cry, be angry and be joyful. I love all the music and once again (apres 40) youthful energy rocks my world. It was a total celebration and as hokey as it sounds the audience is welcomed to rush the stage and dance to "Let the Sun Shine In" with the cast. It was electric, truly. The whole audience on stage and in the bleachers just gets into it. I let down my own hair which is really good for me. I really think people are dying connect sometimes and this was one of those moments in the middle of Central Park.

In my senior year of high school our History grade was primarily based on a "thesis" we had to do on something historical that took place in 1968. Most papers were on JFK and MLK, Jr. I wrote about how "Hair" opened on Broadway in 1968 and reflected what was going on in the world outside the theatre where it was playing. I got the only A+ in the class and loved all the research I did. My dad always said he could never see the play as he would be arrested for assault because he could not accept someone burning the US flag on stage. Not sure that they did that, but maybe they did. The fact that we can still "accept" Bush and his regime leading us into a senseless war that kills and maims 100s of thousands of people for a lie, I think is way more grave than stagecraft. It just breaks my heart. For our freedom, my ass. A 40 year old play that sadly is still topical.

Brad, Cynthia, Joe, Ron. Dinner al fresco on my terrace before play. Flower Power in foreground. We met up with our friend Roxy at the park.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You're Extra Special to Me

Another stunner of a day in New York City. As if in "Enchanted," I bounced through the park on my way to the Eastside with my headphones in whilst listening to a stirring and rollicking song by the Proclaimers. People were frolicking all over that park and with my music I felt as if I could touch each of them gently on the face as a passed, have a bird land on my finger and then whisk away over a bridge. This is what headphones and a beautiful park do for me.

Though my awareness of traffic and all things safety-related diminishes when listening to my i-pod, I feel hyper-aware of the world around me and I am astounded. Once again I notice stories everywhere. And since I am the main character in my life, the others that I just see as I past through are extras, background talent to fill the spaces in my movie. Though this is not a great shot, I came across these croquet players in the park.

Just seeing them in their whites doing something they love in a public, open space brought me so much joy. They were not "croqueting" for me or even aware of me, but it enriched my journey just to see them. Much the same way people get a thrill when I am practicing my bagpipes in the park. I am there to practice and they are there to play a croquet game, but, though we are all leads in our own stories, secondarily we are extras in someone else's. And a much-appreciated funtcion most often that we don't think about.

To sound all 'come on down, we have been saved" with it, when we are experiencing joy, we are giving it out to others. I absolutely feel that. It is a vibe thing.

So, three readers that I have, go out and experieince joy and trust that someone else is secretly
riffing off your vibe!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ya--HOOOOO, the Falls!

Hey Kids. What a great day in the life of ME!

I worked all day at an office building downtown. I was across form Bowling Green Park where the fence is pre-dates the Revolutionary War. I had coffee there this morning. The king's statues was pulled down, but the fence remained. There used to be crowns adorning the fence, but you can see there they were lobbed off. Still a working bloody, you can touch it fence. I love this damn fence.

We were shooting inside an elevator all day with actors in street clothes, people dressed in Yahoo purple and people playing musical instruments. It was all day, but fun. I had a walkie with an FBI-stle earpiece. Copy. Over. That sort of thing. Dug it. Just like when I had my first chemistry class (Day one) I wanted to be a chemist, or wherever I go I immediately want to live there. Today I want to work in production and wear a walkie. And have a plumber's crack. But the craft service will KILL me!

Josie and Pat. Two Production people!

We wrapped around 6:30 and I did a mad wash and change in the men's room of the building to meet Shawn at Pier 16 to go on the Producer Guild of America's cruise to the Waterfalls. [note to self: how wonderful is my life, really?]

Shawn and Pat apres cruise

It was a beautiful night and we had great seats on the boat and went to all 5 waterfalls. The are so surreal and specktack that they looked like phoney CGI. Amazing. I now thing I want to be a BIG ART INSTALLATION GUY with a picture of Cristo on my bathroom mirror.

The waterfalls were conceived by Olafur Eliasson,a Dutch artist. You can check it all out at

My friend Dru was on the boat and I met Shawn's friend Meredith who produces the Rachel Ray show. Turns out Shawn and Meredith both have 2 Emmy's a piece! I had no idea. (When I was back at Shawn's house I saw them and hefted them. She said I can come back and play with them another time.)

It was a gorge night and just a lot of fun.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wed. Wow.

I started work as a Prop Master on a Yahoo commercial. In the school of I know nothing about working as a prop master,etc., I trusted my friend Josie and just went and did it. She hired me so she should know (better?). Today I had to get my props for the shoot which is tomorrow. I got two trees, a backpack, some flowering plants, packing tape. The killer surprisingly was the counsel table. I was in three stores and two prop houses finding this bleedin' thing. Finally got it at the second prop house where I worked a deal into a better table. Already, I am good at my trade and a New Yorker to boot! "You want $250 for that?! Fageddabowtdit." When I got back to the production office I rigged the drum with wing nuts and it worked like a charm. I am already an innovative prop guy. That is why they call me the PROP MASTER.

Going home by the Museum of Natural History I see they are still shooting "Night in the Museum 2." This plane was on 77th Street. Cool.

Went on a date tonight. It was really good. We ate ice cream, walked in the park, talked about our mothers. It was good. We are planning to go out again. That is all I am saying.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Ark

Went out to Newark Airport to meet my pal Scott coming in from playing at the World Bagpipe Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. He had a layover before heading to California so we got to hang out and talk.

It was great to see him so pleased with the trip overall in spite of some things not going well in the competition. I am always glad when I see him psyched. I find it infectious.

He plays with the Australia Highlanders Pipe Band and before he landed in N. Ireland (they had a contest there first) he had never met any of the players save for our friend Colin, another California player. How amazing is that? There are players in that band from California, New York, New Zealand and, of course, Australia. It is a global world (redundant, right?) and it is even in evidence in the bagpiping world. We did talk about the great brotherhood that exits (amidst all the infighting!) in the piping world and how grateful we are to be a part of it. It is amazing, truly.

I had brought my camera out to the airport like a good bloggy boy to capture the moment and again completely forgot to take a snap of him. He is one of my most faithful readers (that is a real pal, I tell ya) and supporters. I know he would have loved/hated, well hated, the photo thing, but it would have been good. What is my deal? Instead I ask for you to look for him in the Bangor, N. Ireland contest they played with a clip courtesy of You Tube.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Snaps.

Today I am going to go all New York hodgepodge with photos. I am quickly aiming for something between a blog and a video log, or vlog. I guess this is a phog! I really got out in the city today just living my life and it was wonderful. So often as people do everywhere we stay in our own area which makes me an Upper Westside denizen to the point where it has become Manhattan to me. Arggggghh! That cannot happen so soon, I am not even a year old!

Had to go get really inexpensive items on lower Broadway. Then I had a hankering for Chinese food and thought that Chinatown was best for that. Passed through charming, but sadly too much a tourist trap, Little Italy. It has lost some of its charm for me.

I had some good Chinese in a small restaurant where I was the only non-Chinese person. I thought they would all be watching the Olympics on telly, but they were watching some bad Chinese version of the Eurovision Song Contest. Here is a park where Chinese footballers were having a Sunday match.

Had to rush home with my Pinesol and mousetraps before going to a dinner party (No, not a hostess gift!) I walked by the Museum of Natural History and they are shooting the sequel! How exciting.
I also saw that RIGHT BY me is ANOTHER baby clothes store. Here is all that is left of the Upper Westside shopping: Baby clothes boutiques, dog grooming/dog clothing boutiques, Starbucks, Duane Reades, banks, banks, banks.

Gillians's flat is in the Lower East Side and they still have Hebrew on buildings. And graffiti.

Kara, Gillian and Sophia at the bounteous table. Oh and amazing Winston the wonder dog. It was such a great time and a lovely night.

My handheld attempt at the view from Gillian's. Pretty cool, eh?

This was taken resting on a ledge. The camera, not me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Piping in the Park

When I first moved to New York I thought, "Where do New York pipers practice?" I knew not to even try in my apartment. Then I noticed this giant park right by me called Central. I went over there and found a little lane and that is where I play. I love my bench and my rock and the trees that provide shade.

At first, because I was there to practice, I was a bit annoyed by people gathering or asking me "how hard are they to play?" (very, BTW) But now I realize what a gift it is to ME. Not only do I get to play in front of people which, for nerves, is an excellent exercise, but I get to meet all sorts of people from all over. How friggin' great is that? WHO gets to do that? And I bring people joy and amusement. Who gets to do that?

Today I met

1. A grandma out with her grandson and granddaughter. The kids were waiting for their mom to have twins in the hospital nearby. They didn't know if they would have two sisters or two brothers or one of each, but they both were excited to be big sister and big brother to whatever mom put out that day.

2. A father and his two strapping sons. Bill, Bill, Jr. and Randy from Memphis. Randy had pipes at his wedding and they followed the sound across the park to find me. They were all so Southern polite and introduced themselves, etc.

3. A mother, father and son who also followed the sound. The son just got back from the Tattoo in Edinburgh. I posed for photos.

4. A mom, grandma and wee grandson. The grandson had just finished a red, white and blue rocket Popsicle and was covered in what looked like watercolor paint! He told me it was a Popsicle and it was really good.

5. Sam, from Minsk, Belarus. He came to New York when he was 8 and he is now 82 years old. He stays young by walking his two giant dogs around the reservoir every day. He one dog, Max, barked with joy when I played. We did a sort of duet. It was fun. Sam went to UC Berkeley where my whole family save me went.

I usually play with my case open on a bench so I can get stuff I need and I never put it out anywhere to get tips, but today on a quiet lane with no intention I made $12! Wow.
So life is odd. Life doesn't go the way I want it sometimes, but life gives me joy so often if I just pay good attention...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Freitag, You're It

Saw this giant Hello Kitty at Lever House on Park Avenue. Kitsch on top of $10 million/sq foot real estate.

Met with Erin Flood at Next New Networks this morning. We had a coffee at Les Halles on Park and 28th. My friend Mary Pickert at Disney set us up to meet. Really nice person that Erin who can Google herself and find this entry! Delays and a meeting she had to go to cut our meeting short so I hope for a reschedule to talk to her about multimedia content, etc. This is my new bag baby and I am fortunate to be able to meet great people. So Erin please see me again! It was her boss, Fred Seibert, who got me blogging in the first place. That has to count for something. As I told her, I think I will listen to whatever he tells me. "Pat, go kill squirrels and eat them."

I got a Flip video because of him.

When she left I decided to stay on and order breakfast. I had French press coffee and poached eggs. I read the Post! I checked my emails and made a plan. I think location is very important sometimes!

I had another meeting up on 5th and then went to the gym. What a great workout. I had calls and STUFF. Finally the day was over and I met my pal Corey for a UWS meal and walk and talk. He grew up on the UWS and does not like to come back so I felt like Mike Wallace on the raining streets of the Upper Westside doing a "walk and talk" interview over his issues. Turns out his mom grew up in the same building that my dear pal Greg did. New York is like that.

All in all a good day, but much is left to tomorrow to do. Blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Facing Fears" or "This Is What NORMAL People Do"

I am on the this jag lately of just trying to walk through things that scare me. Not things like clowns or rock climbing, but simple, everyday LIFE things that I have felt almost embarrassed to admit at my advanced age.

One of them is dating. Especially asking someone out. This falls under fear of rejection x 1000 other items. And then there is the what to wear and where to go and does he think I know too much about musicals. It just goes on to a degree that makes me curl up on my couch in a three way with Ben and Jerry.

Another is dinner parties, or having one other mammal, who is not a mouse, over for dinner. At my home. That I prepared. I can just feel the hives whilst typing!

I have to trust that whenever I have "walked through" a fear before most often 1. I have gotten out the other side and 2. It was worse in my head and on the page than in reality.

And the Tennyson quote of "It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all." (my yearbook quote if you can believe that!) comes into my head ala "It is better to have invited someone over for dinner and overcooked everything and dropped the ham on the floor and ill-timed the broccoli than to never have the memory or the connection." So I invited my friend Robin over for dinner tonight. She of the forgiving, understanding, nurturing Robins. I booked our dinner in advance like I have seen adults do on TV. She said yes. Though I do not have a fear of rejection in this arena, I needed the yes in order to face the fear, right?

My VISION was to dine al fresco on my cool BIG CITY terrazzo, but thunderstorms prevented such behavior. I usually have a hard time with "flexi-vision" but this time I handled it fine by setting the table indoors with the outdoor open to the falling rain. The dinner turned out fine (I will admit to a cheat of Trader Joe's stuffed chicken breast, but the rest was all me, baby.)

As I have noticed COUNTLESS times when I have been over other peoples' homes, it is a gift to share a meal and cook for someone else. The people that do it all the time are starving for people like me to invite them over. They just do not get the level of fear it induces when all they want is a crust of bread, a salad out of a bag and some pasta with sauce from a jar. The whole idea is to take care of someone else and share one's life a little more intimately. Do I speak for anyone else?

And I hang my head once again in shame as a semi-professional blogger. I have no photographic evidence of the beautiful table, Robin dining with me, etc. If I do an also-ran photo of her it will be in the black, down North Face jacket that I have her in in all my photos!

Next fear bash: learning to live more independently without a corporate life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It Finally Happened...

I fell asleep on a park bench during the day.

Yes, folks I just plum fell over asleep during the day in Central Park on a bench. All I needed was an aluminum can and a paper bag.

Here is a re-enactment:

[reenactment taken by author.]

I had a job interview in the morning and then met with some of my old colleagues at the channel. This was a 4 + hour adventure. I decided to walk to Columbus Circle and get something healthy to eat so that I could rationalize eating a whipped cream, cake and fruit parfait before hitting the gym. This salad + water + parfait was a $16 meal! I ate it on a park bench so I could feel all " I am embracing my city" with it. And I did.

But I woke up next to two African nannies with shockingwhite babies and an Hispanic man. A copy of "Eat, Pray, Love" lay on my chest and there was some druelage. I cannot decide what was worse: the passing out in the middle of a day on the bench or being seen reading Chicklit. After all I have admitted aren't I healthy enough to not care? I imagined a Greek classic or at least something by one of those Bronte sisters. Alas, I am sure no one cared.

That evening I had dinner with Pip Short. He is a director on "Coronation Street" in the UK, Blighty's biggest and longest running soap. My good pal Alexandra Boyd is on the show and when Pip was coming to New York she suggested we meet. (My sis Eileen will love to know that he was the 1st AD on "Pride and Prejudice" with Colin Firth. How cool is that? What a great work of television. )

We had dinner on the east side at Isle of Capri on 3rd Avenue at 61st Street. I LOVED it. It was open in 1955 and La Mamma still works there. Food was really good, excellent atmosphere and reasonable. Very for me as Pip paid! We had such a good time telling stories and relating to each others' experiences. If it weren't for his girlfriend I may have made a move! Ha! What a supper nice guy. I do hope I see him next time I am back in England. And we spoke about the "you never know" factor of meeting new people. And you don't.

Pip and Pat: a 1950's magic act on the boardwalk in Brighton.

As I walked back towards the gym on the westside where for some inexplicable reason I went swimming at 10pm on a stomach filled with penne, I delighted once again in how happy and fortunate I am with the people I meet and the places I go in my new city.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to Emerald City.

Everything must end. Including a long weekend on the white sandy edge of the world with two good friends. I am blessed, I am rested and I sated. Let's go.

We did get to pay our respects to Greg's dad who is buried there in a small cemetery within sugar-borrowing distance from Jackson Pollack's grave. I have never seen such and arty and crafty cemetery with many many handmade headstones. I swithered for an envious ME moment but have still decided to be SCATTERED ("As he was in life, he is in death...) outside the Golden Gate in San Francisco Bay.

Greg and George and I drove to JFK where they boarded a plane for the Left Coast and I got on the subway for the Big Apple. Perfection.

That evening I went out of my first every dating website date. We met in Hell's Kitchen for coffee and it was really nice. I was half asleep from my trip, but it was nice. It was a like connection I felt and not a love one. But they tell me you have to kiss a lot of frogs and this was my first lilypad venture so ribbit, ribbit. Good on me I say for going out in the big scary, doesn't matter how old you are, world of dating.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Beauty and the Feast

Another perfect day in Paradiso Easto Coasto. Antiquing (I swear this was my first time, really it was) and then a drive out to Montauk or as the locals call "The End." Montauk is the end of Long Island in the South Fork. As far as ye can go. It is very pretty and I think I want to live there, but then I want to live everywhere. There is a lighthouse and loads of atmosphere. Of course I really didn't take photos of that either.

Why does "Americana" bug me? I hate that it bugs me. I want to love.

Montauk Montage

After more naps at home, Greg went out and purchased a massive lobster FEAST for our last night in what I took to be our home. I forget when I am happy sometimes that I don't actually live wherever with whomever. I think it is a very pleasant and complimentary delusion. Well this lobster FEAST was just wonderful. Every succulent second was delightful. And made more so by the company AND the screened in porch that I came to covet.

Mmmm, lobster.

Giddy with anticipation at the porch/kitchen serving window

Das FeastDie FeastersThe Aftermath

Sunday, August 10, 2008

By the Sea, by the Sea

Weather forecast in the South Fork of Long Island (aka "Das Hamptons - Land of Rich People, Big Houses and a Fairy Dusting of Glamour") read: "Get your blinding white asses out to the beach now as there will be thunderstorms that not even the Spielbergs and the Hedge Fund Folk with Hedges the height of your favorite basketball player can prevent." So we did.

We were on the sand around 10am with chairs, towels, umbrella, books, sunscreen, the works. Folks, I have to say I had the best day and could have cared less if it rained the rest of my time there. THIS was living! The sand was hotel ashtray white, the surf was perfect temp and the reading was excellent. Greg and I even walked along the beach collecting shells and trading stories. If summer is supposed to BE something, then this was it. In pill form.

Boys on the Sand

After coming home to take naps to recover from relaxing all day we got dressed and went out for a drive that included the beach at East Hampton and a walk around the various villages where locals can feast on real estate agencies and women's clothing boutiques.

We ended up in lovely and very picturesque Sag Harbor for dinner. Of course I have really nary a photo of Sag Harbor, but it is quite historical, but I guess most importantly Chrities Brinkley lives here.

Greg about to enjoy his feast in Sag Harbor.