Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rockland County Feis

The pipe band I play(ed) in became Eastern United States Pipe Band Champions in Grade 3 yesterday. I wasn't there.  I am only champion adjacent.  But I was really happy to hear it.

Today they competed at the Rockland County Feis and won by a landslide let's say.  They played really well. I was there. But on the sidelines.  I am having medical difficulties - I can't blow.  (Insert all your jokes here and let's move on.)

I could write a whole blog entry on the psychology of playing music and competition and group sports, etc.  There is something in my brain that cannot get on board at this moment. It was so odd being here today and being on the team, but not really.  No one made me feel not included except myself.  They really are a bunch of great people who are truly keen. I admire that.

I think everyone should have to check back in with themselves every 5 years to see they are still wanting to stay in their job, marriage, pipe band, city, blazer with the different-colored lapels, etc.  Sometimes we forget to check back in and sometimes we forget to leave.

I will always love the pipes, but I don't know if I can play with pleasure any more.  That is a though one to get my ahead around. Am I just having a hard 15 years or do I really not want to play anymore?

Oh, here is their winning performance:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Census and Sensibilities

Hot as hell in NYC today.  Others are jumping in rivers and lakes and doing pagan dances around fire hydrants spaying water joyously.

I am sitting in a US Census meeting.  One fan. And it isn't me.  Drenched. My t-shirt looks like I entered a contest in a bar sponsored by Jagermeister.   There is droning about Form #49283XBF and the matter of the RUV-83DE project.   I just want my answer what do about the asshole doorman on 21st Street who is ruining my life. Instead I sit and fester and marinate.

Census work is not for the weak of heart. It is for the unemployed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Empire State Building

This is all I am saying about my night in New York City.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From Hand Wringing to Hand Holding.

Holding hands in the movies should be the right of all people the world o'er.  Holding someone else's hand, I mean. 

Probably one of the lovliest things I have experienced in recent memory.

I looked down and noticed his hand in mine and all felt right with the world for that moment.  Except for the film, frankly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jimmy Webb

Went with my friend Ellie to see Jimmy Webb tonight as part of the wonderful River to River Festival that is put on every summer here in New York.  It is one of those corporate-sponsored free summer concert series that cities put on to keep middle-aged white people off the streets and out of trouble during the hot months.

I had never heard of Jimmy Webb but I found out he wrote "Up, Up and Away" and "MacArthur Park."  Wow.  A bajillion people recorded him and he was fantastic. I crashed into my BAFTA colleague Gillian who was sitting with Jimmy's wife.  Who knew?

Ellie and I then stole away for a fantastic dinner and post-game chat at The Palm in Tribeca.  Wow, what a summer night.  I didn't know I needed it, but I did.

Thanks, Ellie.

Up, Up and Away...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Limelight

Joni Mitchell wrote about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot and it was very strange to walk by the Limelight Marketplace on 6th Avenue and 20th Street in Chelsea.  I had read that they had turned this former church into a shopping arcade and wanted to just go in and see for myself. I got an odd vibration that was not spiritual.

The place is full of coffee and pasta and cute rubber rain boots and probably candles and some handmade $7 greeting cards, but no batik.  Lot of wee stalls that I will probably never need/use.  But that is me.  (If you want a tin of biscuits for $36 dollars or a handmade tailored shirt to get you over the hump until you finally get a job go here I guess. )

It was not weird because I use to worship here, but because I used to dance here!  Okay, I danced here once.

Long before it was a shopping arcade this deconsecrated church was a popular nightclub called The Limelight.  And long before I knew I was gay, I remember dancing here with my shirt off.  And this was long before I knew I should not dance with my shirt off ever.   It was full of disco music and sweaty men and probably Grace Jones.   Much like my ipod is today.

Now it sells gelato.  Which is far better than it being torn down for parking.

But boy looking up at the vaulted ceiling and remembering sipping a madras on a pew, I thought "What was I thinking?!"

Trader Joes Comes to Chelsea

As a California boy and one who went to university in Los Angeles, Trader Joe's and I have been together a long time. In fact my CA friends and I call it "Trader Gods" because we kind of worship it.  Moving to Manhattan was a SHOCKER when I found out there was only one on the ENN-TIRE, SEE-MENT island!  Now there is another and what a welcome sight.

I went in and marvelled at the widest aisles I have seen in years and the high ceilings and the no snaking lines throughout the store.  I will have affection for 14th Street, but I think Chelsea TJ's is my trophy wife.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fire in the Hole

Loads of firetrucks came to my corner this afternoon. Smoke was billowing. Okay, really maybe just wafting. Frankly it was simply rising out of the grills coming from the subway below.  They sprayed and I think that did the trick.  Jaded new New Yorker that I am I didn't hang out long enough to find out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I am a CNN Talking Head. Finally

Last week I was playing my pipes along the Hudson River (or trying to play them - this is a related story to my PANIC attacks.) and this CNN van pulls over and a guy comes at me with a microphone and a cameraman. (How MANY erotic dreams have I had over and over about this very scenario?!  It so beats the dirty French maid or Caveman meets Octopus.  Have a shared too much? ) 

Anyway, it is Richard Roth and it seems he wants to interview me about Queen Elizabeth coming to New York to speak at the UN and tour Ground Zero.  I have to tell him I had no idea that the Queen is coming to New York.  He is nonplussed about my cluelessness and procedes to ask me quesitons about my heritage, my bagpipes, the Queen, why I am so scruffy and wearing an Iowa Hawkeyes t-shirt and how I could possibly be single and unemployed with my movie star looks and clear talent.

Okay he didn't ask me all those things, but this is what ended up in the piece - my queeny wave.


Thanks Sean for shooting and editing this with iphone 4.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Panic in Penn Station

I am in Penn Station waiting to take the train to band practice on Long Island.  There are people swirling around like "Another 100 people just got offa the train" and my heart goes into my mouth, my head starts spinning, I feel like the right side of my face is falling back to January 2009 levels of Bell's Palsy sunkeness and I realize I cannot get on that train.  I stagger like a drunk man holding a bagpipe case (this is not an unusual sight at all in Glasgow Central) and I make it back to the subway and home.  Shaken. And stirred.

New York is getting under my skin.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day & Night - Pixar Short

Sean and I went to see "Toy Story 3" on a hot summer night in New York.  They showed this short before the film (which is Pixarific, by the way) called "Day and Night."  It was initially confusing to see where they were going with it and then it blossomed into just a lovely, lovely short. Wow. A major achievement.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fireworks Along the Hudson

Got home to New York to watch the awesome fireworks from my roof.   I think this is the first time I have been in the city for this. Which seems impossible, but I think it is true.  Loved it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Snow Globes

Getting on an airplane at LaGuardia and this was the sign. 

My friend Pat wrote on my Facebook wall when I posted this: "If they don't let us take our snow globes on airplanes, the terrorists have won."

Just sucks for all those tourists who carry on and collect snow globes.  Oh and the snow globe industry.  That has got to suck.  But there is a silver lining. You can buy snow globes in the airport stores once you have passed the security check. 

My globe is always half full.