Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Emotional Maturity and the Art of Keeping It Together

I am in like and I can't help it. The "I can't help it" is the best part in terms of emotional honesty, but a red flag in terms of "why, child, do you want to help it? Something wrong?"

Being in like seems to go hand-in-hand with being in fear. So crazy, crazy. Fear that he won't like me as much? Will dump me? Will find out I like him and run away? Arggggghhh! How many years since I left high school? Am I really writing my first name and his last on my school folder?

Why does even admission of like seem to be a handing over of valuable power rather than the greatest gift on earth? Is this stage of dating an emotional stare down with whomever blinks not the seducer, but the weak prey to be soon discarded? Do I want him to fix me? To "complete" me? Boy, I hope not. Do I want him to patch me up a bit with gaffer's tape and fill in a few of the gaps with an oil pencil? Okay, that would be fine. Great, in fact. Oh, oh, a little to the left... There. Ahhhhhhh.

I just want some of that no-nonsense, against-all-logic Palin confidence in this arena. ie Of course he likes me! Who wouldn't? I am tall, faultlessly handsome, impossibly charming, about to land a really huge position and I have a size 13 shoe. That sort of thing.

Instead there is the creepy: I am post-lanky, unemployed and I rush my movements on the bagpipes. What a loser!

So today I end the month meeting him at the movies. It is dark in there. The screen will do the talking. If his knee hits mine at any time it will mean that he wants to go CA to get married by a lesbian shaman and I will have security.

His knee never frayed my jeans. Yet he said I was really handsome. And he wants me to meet him at his work when I am in that area of town. I could be in that area tomorrow? How's that? Are you excited about that? No tell me in 5 different languages and write it the sky so I am certain.

Nothing is less attractive than a needy, panting, leg-humping mutt.

So I play it cool. See ya. Yep see ya. Me too. Yep. Sleep well. Yep. You too. See ya.

Shoulders back. Don't look back. Let him see you check your phone like you got something going on. Coooooool Exxxxxxcelllent.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Man and Hat. Still In.

I thought to write to today about New York City. My whole blog was about me moving to New York and putting my hat in, my commitment, my energy to living here. I have done that one year now as of yesterday or close of business on Saturday.

I moved here on 28 September, 2007. One way. I had two bags, a laptop and a set of bagpipes as one would moving to a new town. I had a 6 month commitment of a job and a one month sublet.

As I look back, I can only say thank you, New York. Thank you friends and family. Thank you, me. And thank you spirit that watches over me! Truly.

So one year later I am supposed write about the great job I have, the lovely flat that I am furnishing and the great guy I am dating. And snow shoeing trip in Vermont booked.

Not quite.

I am still living in my sublet which I love and I have the greatest landlords. I am so happy here, that I feel no need to change. Check. My job ended after 6 months and I got another one and that ended after 3 and here I am looking for work in an economy that is sponsored by Tidy Bowl and in a city that is sponsored by Chase Manhattan. No income in a shitty economy in the most of expensive city in this country. There is room for improvement here.

But I sit on the stoop of "my" brownstone and I smile. I am happy.

When I take my fear out of the equation, I know I am living in the right place for me right now. New York City inspires, challenges, enlivens me in ways that I have never felt or been ready for. I am in the right place at the right time.

I have met a guy and we are dating. That inspires and terrifies me and makes me happy. Today. You meet people in New York in ways that that are "on the ground" operations like you just don't so many other places. When your face is pressed into someones armpit and your crotch is shoved into someones purse on the subway, there is a unique intimacy here.

But full disclosure...I met the guy on Match! Ha! So much for dropping my glove at a museum benefit! Ha!

But there is music and life and seasons and creativity and industry and so much that makes my heart sing that I had not felt before.

I DO NOT suggest this cannot happen elsewhere for other people or even myself, but right here, right now, I am ready and open and satisfied.

Yes, the career eludes, but New York City is not just going to it give away to me. Coming here and living here as been, well, really easy. Once it started to roll it all just happened. NOT without some doubt, fear, panic, stress, but that is me, but overall NYC kind of lifted its dress to me and now it just needs to be bought dinner or something. A fine time to play coy New York when I need to work, but if that is game, so be it!! I am not going to go away forever just because you don't want me to come up tonight!

Where am I going with this? Well, I guess I am checking in. I have enjoyed all the seasons here. I have met some great new friends. I have had summer get aways. I am playing in a local bagpipe band. I have connections and there are always possibilities and I have soaked up the fairs, museums, theatres, markets and rivers.

And when I fear that it is all not going to happen for me, I look back on this blog that has over 365 entries and I see a life that is rich and I realize it has only been one bloody year! There are millions more people to meet and new everythings happening every day.

Man. Hat. In. Still. In. With. Pleasure.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pat Turns One

I awake from my slumber in room 120 at the Comfort Inn in Bethlehem, PA. After yesterday morning I am a seasoned waffle maker and I look forward to making another bad boy to sit in stomach all day.

Let's just cut to the chase. Today it is PISSING rain. It looks like a simulation tank for playing in Scotland. Wet, wet, wet. We head to the field for two more contest, but this time with Inverness capes on.

It would have been a total groundhog day of yesterday except the grass is turning to mud and it is generally as comfortable as putting on a wet bathing suit. Blecch.

One drowned, but happy, rat.

By the time we are tuned up and reading to march into formation in front of the judges for our first contest of the day it is LASHING rain. We are out there in capes, but my glen and my arms are soaked. Why not just enter a tug-o-war event on the muddy field afterwards? We couldn't get any filthier. It is a laundry commercial out there now.

Huddled under one of the marquee tents we wait. The whole rest of the day including our last contest is cancelled. Time to get out of muddy, wet stinky wool and pack it away.

I had this brill idea to make lemonade out of the day and asked someone to shoot "publicity stills" of me that I can use to start a piping business in Manhattan. She did a great job, but I forgot to tie my tie!!! Argggghhh!

One of the surprises for me here was my freind Kenny was here from Glasgow. He is one of the owners of MacCallum Bagpipes. We played in bands together in Scotland and California. Wow, it was good to see him.

Kenny and me. Many years, Many stories.

Oh, but the whole point of the title of this entry is nothing about piping or Pennsylvannia, etc. It is about today I have lived in New York for one year. That is something, eh? And I am still happy here. I am still engaged here. I love it here. I look forward to year two.

Since I am in PA and in pipes, maybe I will blog my thoughts about this tomorrow.

I went over Ron's tonight to celebrate. That was good and wise. I have to say that there is a whole OTHER blog I could write about life outside the Manhattan bubble for me. Esp. during these polarizing times. Ohmmmmmm.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oh Steel Town of....

Today was our first contest, or my first contest with the band. We played a parade through the town of Bethlehem first. What a beautiful setting for a games. It is of course a former steel town (SEE: Outsourcing) and has all the beautiful homes and worker's homes that would go with such an industry town. I have no idea what they do now for money. But then I have no idea what I do now for money! I digress-- There are amazing 18th century houses in the center of town. I was awed by this place. But apparently not enough to take pictures of the lovely arches, and spires and bridges and old stone buildings. Wikipedia the place!

The wee folk leading marching with our banner.

I have to say Drum Corps are always cooler than pipe corps.
Today we played two competitions, an March Strathspey and Reel competition ( equivalent of "compulsories" in ice skating) and a Medley contest (like the freestyle skating, but without a bad Bette Midler ballad). We played okay. Not great, but it was okay.

This is the kind of event where you plain just never go home. After the massed bands, the fun continues in these GINORMOUS marquee tents that have long tables and chairs and loads of amazing folk bands. I am in my element. I got the band to come and listen to the Tannahill Weavers, this great band from Scotland. I couldn't believe they were even here. My Calicentric attitude just didn't think PA had it in them. But they do. This is a big deal event which is free to the public and huge crowds come.
The Tannahill Weavers
Irish dancers have way bigger hair back here! Yikes. I wish you could see it up close. Downright flamable!
Brian and TommyFlo's dad buys her a beer. He was a proud pappa and rightfully so. She played great.Megan, Margaret, Pat and Eddie at concert.

I was told that this was the first year in record it ever rained and I am the only difference in the ranks. Hmmmm?

Fun night.

When Brian rescues a stranger's sandal from hight atop the jumbo tent, it is time to go home. A whole story in itself.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Debate, Birth Date, Anniverserate.

Today is my sister Eileen's Wedding Anniversary. I remember this only because it was our poor departed dog, Luv's, birthday. I like to tell Eileen it is for her: "Love's Birthday," but I think she either doesn't get HOW BRILLIANT that was or found it naff and all around not worth commenting on.

Today in honor of Eileen and Luv I am heading to Bethlehem (birthplace of Jesus who is generally used today as a weapon), PA (birthday place of a lot of good founding father writings. that are generally ignored today) to play in the Celtic Classic bagpipe competition with the band.

We are staying here at the swank Comfort Inn. I really should not mock because it is truly really perfectly fine and it is clean and comfortable. AND it has a waffle maker.

I drove through with Eddie and Tex (Dan) and we made excellent time. We got in around 10:30pm. The group was watching the debate. It was not what I expected from this crowd and I felt a little removed politically. Yikes. Pipe Bands have always been Democrats! Think about it. I am not saying everyone is Republican, but, well, I can't discuss it. The Dems have lost touch with the pipe band vote I guess. Yikes.

Straight guys like Sarah Palin.

I just have to go to sleep now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Are You All Wet?

It threatened to rain all day today. Gothamites were at the ready with umbrellas. Save me. I always seem to be amazed that someone SECRETLY tells all the other New Yorkers to bring an umbrella except me. Like I forgot to tick a box or something when I moved here. I guess it is called "being informed." And I must say New Yorkers seem to always be informed. And you know this because they constantly tell you.

Typical New Yorker opening lines: "Did you read that article in the New Yorker about..." or "The Times the other day..." The "New York" part is a given here. Or "(So and so) on Enn Pee Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...." I think it is a ruse frankly, but that is just my own ignorant defense because I have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly and no radio.

I usually counter with something to cover up like: "I can see Russia from my back window" or "In California...blah, blah..." (The latter implying "In California where you really wish you could live and I have already done that so that is why I am not there, so stuff your New Yorker...blah, blah.")

Envy and Ignorance are in green and taupe this Fall season.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


When you feel odd and down, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I said, WALK, don't JUMP!

I don't really mean any of that, but that is what I did today. I had a great night last night and a wonderful morning, but then just hit wet sand mentally. It was so odd. I couldn't lift a spoon, pen, eyelid. So I knew enough to cut my losses and get out of the house.

Why is it when things, isolated things, are really great, that we (I?) want more and more and more and because it is not in skywriting and in permanent ink, I turn frothy whipped cream into mush? It is insanity and whenever I get like this I do not recognize myself. I am NOT THAT GUY! Well, buddy, right now, I guess you are. YIKES>

DUMBO. Manhattan Bridge - so real it looks movie-set phoney!

There was an art gallery in DUMBO that I had as part of a vision for this day and I decided to take myself to it. DUMBO is in Brooklyn and stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It was once warehouses and is now an organicky, trendy, artist's community too expensive for artists to actually live in, but having dissed it, my pretentious ass likes it fine. AND it is right by one of the most beautiful parks in the US which overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan skyline. Wow, spelled with a capital W.

The exhibit was good (http://www.wesseloconnor.com/) and I looked at a few others in the gallery space. On gallery owner told me about the upcoming Art Under the Bridge Festival this coming weekend, but I will be in Bethlehem, PA competing at the Celtic Classic with the band. Come see me!

My dreary head which should have been singing sappy songs, muddled to the park to have a cookie and a drink of really trendy still water in an azure bottle. Seeing lower Manhattan, the bridges, the waterfalls (only until Eileen's birthday, 13 October, people!) made me feel better. In fact, I decided to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan and take the subway home from City Hall Park.

Et voila. Movement is key to mopiness. I felt better and got on with it. One thing I know is a good night's sleep is key. I have that ahead. Let's hope that (and the mental pleading) does the trick!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I read "Blindness: by José Saramago a few years ago in my wonderful bookclub in Los Angeles. I will be grateful to that club for the wonderful friendships, opportunities and literary exposure it gave me. The book was a powerful allegory about war, government tyranny, modern-day epidemic and man's propensity/potential for goodness.

I went to the screening of the film version last night with Ron at the AMC Lincoln Square. The director, Fernando Meirelles and stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Danny Glover were there too. This film got kinda PANNED at Cannes, but I have to say that I liked it for the most part. It did the emotional trick for me. I was horrified, moved and I clenched! And Juilanne Moore is always watchable for me. I cannot say the same for Mark Ruffalo or Danny Glover, I am afraid. I find them replacement actors oftentimes for others who have turned down the roles they got. Ouch! The director is cute as a button. My new type: Brazilian film directors with goofy smiles and Scorsese glasses.

Ron and I went out to an Italian restaurant by my house afterwards and had a good dinner. We split the salad and the lamb tartar. His brother dropped by like we were in some small town and he was the sheriff, but it was a pleasure to meet him and I seem to love Manhattan as a tiny hamlet of baker, butcher, candlestick maker.

It was a good, good night. The kind I hear other people have often and I had it and I loved it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You Gots to Recolize

How can I be tired? How can that be?

I puttered in the morning. Went to the gym. Ran errands and went to band practice tonight. I am flat out.

It is exhausting filling in time. I have plenty to do. Organizing is key to living life. I think I will fall over dead from organizing. While others may be doing that dream trip to Tanzania, I will be festering in my one room feeling guilty because the drawers are a mess.

I truly have this feeling that ONCE "I have all my papers, socks, books, files..." in order THEN I will begin to REALLY something. Really figure out what I want to do? Really start living? Really entertain? Really get those abs of steel to match the buns?

It is all hogwash. Truly and REALLY.

I live my life AS I organize. Yes, it would be great to have everything in order, but if I look around, I am functioning. I do not have stacks of newspapers with cats resting atop and an array of floral house dresses. I have a tidy flat and I go to the gym and socialize and I just hosted a brunch!

So time now is to GET TO IT. I am organized for now. NOW I need to MOBILIZE!

Did I just write this whole thing for me and foist it on you?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Tale of Two Boroughs.

I have often said that my life in New York is like a back lot musical. Just so full of images and color and excitement. Truly. And no one really works in musicals (at least during the big dance numbers unless they are vendors or barbers, right?) so it all fits.

I alight from my amazing 1892 brownstone and open the front door to balloon vendors walking their wares down my street. ("Who will buy?")
My plan was to walk all the way down the Hudson River walkway to the Village to meet Frank and Pat. This takes longer than you think and even longer when you add in huge production numbers! It was clear I was not going to make it on time. But that walk is full of birds, and willow trees and cyclists and people having coffee. It is friggin' amazing that I am here and this is New York City. It is so "reclaimed marshland" -like, not urban decay trendy.

I cut over to take the subway around 42nd Street and happened upon the Broadway Flea Market where all the Broadway shows have booths and old playbills are sold, etc. Fun.

The two circled are 2 of the 4 stars of "[title of show]" that I saw recently. The guy is also one of the creators. They were all really good.

I made it the Village and we went out to a new place for brunch. There is a LOT of brunch in the Village on Sundays. People are doin' it everywhere. It is clear there needs to be a number inserted here about brunch.

Pat lives in Queens in the Jackson Heights neighborhood. We have always been threatening to do "Queens Tours" (or at least I have) and I throw it out to Pat and he bites!! I feel an Act break coming on.

Subway to Jackson Heights. Chug-chug-chug...

Pat has a great apartment there in a 1930's building. Loads O space and a bed on the floor (this I notice as I am still in a sleeping loft - bed on floor is a new goal like running a marathon or learning to knit may be for others.) He shows me around the neighborhood. It used to be Irish and Jewish (and what didn't?) and now it is Dominican and Indian mostly. This is the part in the musical where the music takes on a decidedly ethnic edge. I feel a "lovers from different backgrounds meeting" vibe.

"Pat is his 'tat" (habitat) Cute captions only work if you don't have to explain them...
We see the Indian markets and the amazing jewelry stores and all the lovely chaos. It was a great day and I hope to go back to have a gastro tour when we are not full on egg whites and cilantro from the Village brunching. ( I SO lie. I had the Lumberjack Breakfast.)

I leave Pat and head back to the UWS and have to shake my head as if it was all a lazy, lovely dream.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Starbucks, My Captain

It was first told to me by Starbucks. I went in the other day in my shorts and tennies and there was a sign: "Pumpkin Spice Lattes." Pumpkin spice lattes?! It is friggin' summer. Just like ladies' hemlines dictate the economy, I guess Starbucks is the bellwether of the seasons. If they say it is Autumn, then dammit, it is Autumn.

And sure enough. The next day is was cool. I was in jeans and a sweatshirt. Thanks, Starbucks! You KNEW AIG and Lehmann were going to tank, didn't you? What kind of hot beverage did you use to announce that?

I arrived on these Eastern shores a year ago in one week's time. I was all ready for the sweaters and the patched elbows and root veg, but all the New Yorkers were walking around in shorts and tank tops and Central Park was a virtual beach! Now Starbucks has told me this year "Nah, nah, it is time for pumpkin spice lattes so get with it."

I have now shut my window for the first time in months and put another blanket on my bed. I know it does not matter if I am "ready" or not, but change is exciting...and hard. My slacker, "freelance" SoCal self loves the shorts and sandals life, but I am also a really "bundly" guy who loves layers and wearing maternity clothes, so Fall is a better "fit" for my body image issues!

Autumn, come and take me!

Thank you Starbucks. I will pay attention to your board for more seasonal, economic and social indicators in the near future.

I have to say, Starbucks, I pray I will be taking my coffee black using Kenyan beans in November and there will not be any "Full of Beans Moose Milk Lattes" on your magic chalkboard.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I've Been S(h)aved.

When I was in the Hamptons this summer (always a great opener...) I was watching TV (not a great follower) and there was this kind of "come on down, look at this, how the hell can you live without this?" advert for a product called "Save-A-Blade." This is a contraption that sharpens your razor blades so you save 1000s of dollars on the cost of replacing the blades when they get dull. Brilliant. Those suckers cost a fortune as evidenced by the fact that they are kept behind glass at most drugstores.

Now I may have been out in the Hamptons, but I was there because I had no job to go to. "Save-A-Blade" may just be the answer to my prayers. If I saved 1000s of dollars on razor blades I could go to the opera, buy more produce, throw more dinner parties and get a personal trainer. Who needs employment right away when you have "Save-A-Blade"? That was my thinking.

I had been down this path before, meaning getting seduced by the huckster on TV, but I have never been able to reap the rewards because I didn't call. I am still smarting from not listening to Christie Brinkley years ago with some teeth whitening product she was flogging on television. All those stained years when I could have been in a relationship and driving a Ferrari instead of covering my mouth and ducking into doorways.

NOT THIS TIME, MAN! I am dialing. As I got up from my chair, I heard the "But WAIT!" part of the pitch. "Save-A-Blade" normally cost 10 million dollars, but if you dial RIGHT NOW, it will be only $19.99. I quickly did the math. That was a $9, 999,980.01 savings. I got my credit card out when I heard the "AND...." And, I could get AB-SO-LUTELY FREEEEE a whole big ass personal hygiene nail clippery, filey, scissory kit for nothing. Nothing will buy you at least a time share somewhere, no? The savings were staggering. I would not have to find work for a year at this rate. What fool would stay in his chair now?

I spent the next 37 minutes on the phone with a recorded voice entering all sorts of personal info to some company called Exceptional Products in Texas. No doubt some right wing conspiracy front. Soon my parents' bodies will be exhumed and my siblings hauled off to jail so I can have some extra green.

To get my FREE personal hygiene kit I would have to pay almost what is cost for the "Save-A-Blade" in shipping, but I was already millions of dollars in the black. What the hay. So for a total of $33.89 I would be the proud owner of more shit in my life. Yay.

I had come back from the Hamptons, been to events, started dating, job interviews, got a freelance job, had my first Zumba class, and had consumed loads of dollars in expensive 5 bladed blades that made my face as smooth as a baby's behind [whose one parent was descended from a piece of sandpaper -I am a terrible shaver.] and had forgotten all about this gizmo of glory.

It arrived today. All the way from China via Texas (enter conspiracy theory here.) I am delighted even though I have not yet tried it. I will be able to put a down payment on an apartment soon I can feel it. In my face I can feel it. And the personal hygiene kit has more brushes and pluckers than backstage at La Cage Aux Folles.

I am all set for something with this razor sharpener and all these brushes and pluckers.

I think it is called drag.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

They Said There'd Be Days Like This

I saw this woman on the street and asked to take her photo. "Making Lemonade" I shall call it!
What another fantastic bloody day! I am serious. If this keeps up I just may implode.

I sat at my desk and drank coffee and made some solid job hunting inroads. (Heavily into "get into the solution, stay out of the results" lately.) I then practiced my bagpipe music with a metronome. The metronome and I have not become lovers yet and one of us in sometime not in synch with the other. (Metronomes can be fickle lovers is my theory.)

I then had lunch with John Fitzgerald of DLT Entertainment. He is the co-chairman of the company and the nicest fellow. I met him on a BAFTA shoot her in the city. He and his company brought Benny Hill to the US and created and executive produced "Three's Company" based on the UK hit "Man About the House." A huge career in the UK and US and a lovely, lovely man.

And here is what was in their lobby when I arrived for our lunch! What a lovely touch, eh?

He took me to a swank Chinese restaurant and with enough tailored waiters to staff a cruise ship. I think I ate my Hunan lamb on china like it was the first meal I had in 3 weeks it was that good. John gave me some really good pointers and was very encouraging. I left like had three sessions of therapy and a good massage.

John Fitzgerald is fantastic.

I walked along 55 th and passed by Martha Stewart and Arianna Huffington within two blocks of each other. For some reason I was playing Christmas carols on my ipod and just loving the amazing weather and the stroll from East to West in Manhattan. It is a kaleidoscope of humanity. I slinked into the Park on 6th Ave and was listening to Bono belting out "the snow's coming down" when in fact people were still taking sun, but I didn't care I was flippin' happier than a happy cow. Ron called me and that just made it even better. Stop me if you dare, world kind of feeling. I need to bottle this for later injections.

I walked to my gym and phoned my pal Scott on the Left Coast. We blethered for a long while and it just makes my day when I speak with him. We are just good, good friends and I feel so blessed with that. I was in a such a good mood I decided to call him and say hello since he had been on my mind for days. Ta-dah! Excellent.

I went and grabbed a coffee and read my book in the park and then finally entered the gym for a good workout.

Now off to dinner with friends and a date.

Knock me over with a feather.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Be an Asset Not and Ass

A thinly-veiled parable:

There was this guy named Elmer who played in a tuba band. One day he was blowing his tuba and playing the the hell out of it, he thought. His fingers were pumping those keys like he was tickling the back of an angel's wing (huh?) and he was huffing and puffing like a well-oiled heart machine. One of his fellow tuba players remarked later, "Seems you need a little work on that piece." "What?!," thought Elmer. He had never had a word mentioned about his tuba playing before. Immediately he lost the puff in his cheeks and began to scowl. Elmer had played in some of the best tuba bands in the world, had a solo tuba career and had the fingers of death. Who was this guy to remark on his playing? "Need a little work. Harrumph," muttered Elmer.

With one innocent comment by a guy whose younger siblings he could have fathered, Elmer was felled.

When the guy first said that he needed some work he didn't quite hear him right. Then Elmer immediately said something mildly defensive like "Well, I did make a mistake, but YOU GUYS play the your tubas way round and I need to adjust to that." That was the best knee jerk reaction he could have? Yup, knee jerk reactions are usually not that great.

Elmer could feel this comment tanking his night. He immediately tried to breathe into an imaginary paper bag. When he heard the other guy play his tuba he thought to mentally attack with a thought like "you play like your fingers are gnarled Cheetos and there is no music coming out of that tuba whatsoever. Let me give you a few pointers."
Elmer liked this guy. He is a good guy, but he should make no comment above his station so thought Elmer.
Elmer had a choice, to write him off as a liar, quit the band, play a few weddings where he would be appreciated and then quit forever OR he could take it (or not) and practice harder and more, regardless. What if he was right? Is there any harm in checking?

Elmer recently bought a metronome. Now let's have some honesty: staying on the beat was never his strong suit. Elmer rushes, He can blow all over the map, he gets nervous, he rushes the beat. Columbo may have heard something. He may be right.

So instead of hating (himself) and getting all bent out of shape, he decided to just work on making certain he was a solid, consistent tuba player in the band. Elmer was never about criticising others unless it could help and he most definitely had to work hard on his own playing. The guy may be right or he may be full of feathers, but Elmer can always practice and get better no matter.

He decided to just uncurl his lip and get on that...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Career Day

I had another fantastic blinkin' day in this huge ass town of giant pommes.

I am looking to redirect my career towards creative development in New Media (ie original or re-imagined content for the internet and mobile.) Sound hot, huh?

With thanks to Christopher Barry at Sundance Channel I attended "Digital Day" at the New York Television Festival. The panels were all about new media and how internet, mobile, etc influence and enhance TV. I went to a few cutting edge panels and thoroughly enjoyed it.

One panel : "New Storytellers: What Works on the Web" had Fred Seibert, my "seiber" mentor from Next New Networks. (Tip your waiters and link to those who help you!) As I mentioned before he got me to blog and soon to vlog and I want to learn more about new media from him. He and the rest of the panel were great and what is going on on-line is overwhelming in terms of keeping up with the programming. At least that is the way I feel.

Fred in all white tones and the rest of the panel.

I also went to a "Digital Brainstorm" where we from the audience and the professionals on stage had 15 minutes each to develop three transfers to web ideas like TV Dating shows, Conan On-Line and Creating a site for gathering conspiracy theories to make into a documentary series. It was a fun exercise to look at the endless possibilities.

Brainstorming session. No bad ideas, my ass?

I also got a call from the chairman of BAFTA EC inviting me to be on the Screening Committee! We are meeting on Monday. I really like her and the whole group there. This will be a great thing for me, I feel. I am on the TV committee as well. I want to work hard and make a difference here and they are such a welcoming bunch I look forward to doing that.

Then I got to meet my friend Ron in town to see "The Seagull" in previews. We had coffee and talked about life and love and the economy.

Then it was off to the gym for a latenight workout. Ohmmmmmm.

Tomorrow is a NEW day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Salad Daze

Met my friend Nicole and we went to lunch at Edgar's in the UWS 4 blocks from my house. This lunch and dessert place is really great and is on the site where there was a house where Edgar Allen Poe wrote "The Raven."

There are a lot of plaques in New York City on the sides of buildings where nothing famous happened or lived, but they are on the site of where something did. I always find that a stretch as I am an ooh/aahh, brick and mortar "THIS is the EXACT structure where...George Washington and Madonna danced and signed a few treaties over mead" kind of guy. I want the THING, not the airspace of the THING.

I digress. We had a great lunch and dessert and caught up and I am so glad she is doing well and looks great. I value her as a friend and she was one of the first to welcome me to New York City. We had brunch almost one year ago at a coffee shop where Jennifer Aniston ACTUALLY worked, NOT the site of where she worked, but the exact place. Burger tastes better.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Brunch That Happened.

Almost a year ago I met Pat, Frank and Sean. They have been touchstones, support and good pals since I landed on these shores. I feel like they were assigned to me once I arrived and I feel so blessed for their friendship and neverending judgement, I mean, encouragement.

(Frank, Pat, Sean, Pat)

I have wanted to have them to brunch since the weather got nice. That was my VISION. Well the weather got nice a million years ago this summer and finally today I arranged to have them come to brunch at my Upper Westside pad with outdoor terrace that screams to be brunched upon. VISION only happens when you let others in on it and make it happen, I found out.

Now this is livin' : What a great time with food and friends. And a terrace in New York City. And bagels with all the fixin's.

My lovely houseguest and food assistant, Alexandra, resting from charming boys.

Alexandra and I put together a bagels and lox and fresh fruit and coffee and babka brunch that only two New York Jews would put together. Wait, neither of us is a New York Jew, but we love it as if we were!

[I think I have to stop and say this is one of my death row meals:

everything bagel, smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, red onion, tomato, squeeze fresh lemon, cracked fresh pepper. SUUUUu-blime.]

It was so much fun to entertain and I wish I did it more often. I adore these guys partly because they warrant it and partly because they read this blog.

The conversation went all the directions that I love: sex, politics, religion, theatre, and fashion.

After the boys left, Alexandra and I took naps and collected ourselves for our evening plans!

Alexandra went to drama school in London with Paul and Simone and Barbara was their vocal coach. Well, Paul and Simone are a couple of 21plus years who just got married in California and now live and work in New York. Barbara is over from London because she is Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)'s vocal coach for his Broadway debut in "Equus." The poor guy is mobbed daily she told us. They have security gaurds when she and he get driven to the theatre every day.

I was worried about being able to hold my own against theatre people (trust me, even for someone as chatty and hand-gestury as I, it is really hard.), but they were all so lovely and gracious and I have to say it was one of the most global, educated, unpretentious, intelligent conversations I have had in a long while. Barbara and Alexandra are English, I am American, Simone is French-Canadian, and Paul is South African. And we all broke sushi rice together in New York City.

We met for dinner at this (and to the 1.5 New Yorkers who read this write this down) amazingly wonderful and affordable sushi place. The best sushi I have had in NYC so far. It is called Tenzan and is on Columbus at 73rd. A total find in my hood.

Barbara, Simone, Paul and Alexandra. Of course the Yank knows the importance of having photographic memories!

After the meal we strolled along Columbus on this warm summer evening and saw Dustin Hoffman walk by with his wife and daughter.

This day was truly a great, great day indeed.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Night Alive

Saturday night in the big city and Alexandra and I met up with Dr. Ron and his pal Ethan for dinner in Hell's Kitchen at a hole in the wall Italian. Alexandra was dressed in a beaded dress and boots right out of "Fellini meets Barbarella"and I went for the "divorced middle-aged father of two who lives in Seattle and drives a Jeep" look with jeans, laundered casual shirt hanging out and brown lightweight car coat.

Ron and Ethan were already there which allows an actress and her escort to make an entrance.

We had a good time. Alexandra got to assess Ron and I got to feel self-conscious, but happy. Yes, that is what I aspire to --" Self conscious and happy." Another therapy session not needed.

Afterwards we went to a comedy club. The three New Yorkers hadn't a clue where to go, but we used my trusty iPhone and the griddiness of the City and went to a place where I could spend $15 dollars on two seltzer waters. It is fun to laugh, I have to say. Like bowling, and dating I never think of comedy clubs, but when I do these things I usually always enjoy them.

And right now especially dating...


And...if you missed the SNL opening with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, it is effin brilliant. Watch it. They are both so good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Festa di San Gennero

After a day of working and errands, I met Alexandra down at her friend Jonathan's SOHO loft for drinks and snacks before going out to dinner. It was a rainy, lovely night. Jonathan and Alexandra did a play called "Orson's Shadow" at the Globe in San Diego about 8 years ago. I remember driving down to see her in it and I am sure I met Jonathan at the time, but I do not recall.

He was a really nice guy and his place was New York loft, Soho, cool, relaxed beautiful. In fact it could have been a set for such a feeling. He is a big theatre actor and his partner was the director of "Rent" the HUGE sensation that just closed on Broadway. I loved talking theatre, I have to say.

We hoofed it through Soho and managed through the Feast of San Gennaro taking place in Little Italy with all its colorful lights and deep fried goodness before crossing into Chinatown for a lovely meal at New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe. You would think it was, or I would think it was!, an English as a Second Language typo/mistake for "New York Shanghai Deluxe," but it is not. So a big new YEAH! for this place. It was a place I, as a semi-tourist still, would not have known about.

It was such a great evening and a pleasure to meet a maybe new friend in the citayyyy.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Hate My Anger

I do not know the tone I want to write this entry in. It is September the 11th, 2008 and it is my first 9/11 in New York City. What does one do? It is not like the St. Paulie Girl advert, "You Never Forget Your First September 11th in New York." And I do not write that with any disrepect towards that terrible day in 2001, I am just saying as somone who is not a New Yorker, who was not there, er here, who is new to the city, etc. I just don't know what is proper. And then I thought, "Go with how you feel."
But I feel so angry. I am so angry. I want to feel peace, but I feel rage.

I decided to go down to Ground Zero, not to gawk, but to pay my respects. There is such a helplessness with distance and I was shocked and grieved like everyone else that day, but here I am, well, HERE. Alexandra and I took the subway down and walked around. It felt good to see people still questioning that day in what yet remains free speech in this country. It felt right to look towards a space of nothingingness where so many died and pay some sort of respects to them and their families. It felt odd, but unavoidable to feel outraged at how our leaders have not been seeking those that did this to our country,but have ignored this attack in place of a lie of a war in Iraq. That anger has never felt good, but it is there.

We listened as names were read out by family members. My heart breaks for their loss. Are we to say "Never Again" as they did after the "liberation" of the concentration camps in WWII? (As that happens again and again.). Oh leaders of our country, what are we to say? What would you say?

Dana Perino the spokesmodel for Pres. Bush says, and I quote: "The President thinks about 9/11 every single day. When he wakes up and before he goes to bed this is what he's concerned about." How in the hell does she know that he thinks about this every single morning and every single night? I guess he told her that? How sincere can that be when you are telling the Press Secretary of what you do in bed? But he must have. And how can we know this to be true? How can you verify this for us, Ms. Perino?

I am so sad that our own president has tarnished the memory of these people by going to war in Iraq and ruining the good will and economy of this country and the lives of so many. I wish he would think about that every morning and night.