Friday, January 21, 2005

NY Journal # 26

Friday, January 21, 2005
One of the other #%$^'s in this office (we'll call her Large Marge) just said:
+ Did you watch the Apprentice last night? oh my god. those three street people?? they beat those three college kids. yes they did. do you know that they make three times what those college kids make? it's disgusting.
+ I said dont burn the toast. he burnt the toast. I asked for extra mayonaise, there's no extra mayonaise. I said maybe you should stop talking and pay attention to what you're doing... well, I -should- have said that, I mean really. I said it's cold out here, c'mon... this other guy just wanted a coffee, it's freezing, I mean how hard is it to make a sandwich right, you see the problem is ... (5 minutes later she was STILL talking)

And I wonder why I walk out of here hating humanity.

Large Marge is the new bane of my existence. I swear my brain shrivels up slightly when I hear her voice. The ominous shadow she casts makes me cold and squint for proper lighting. Her perfume disipates airborne illness and suppresses alergens... and my appetite. my appetite wanes, hers seems to be strangely unaffected by just about anything.
Did I mention the time when she stood behind me, asking about some order, with her breasts-bigger-than-my-head brushing against me no matter how much I tried to inch forward..? OH MY GOD, she's STILL talking about her sandwich!
And NO, I'm not making fun of fat people - save your PC "yellow card". I'm accurately derogating the reprehensibility of a person who happens to be fat. You can however yellow card me for using 'derogating' and 'reprehensibility' if you like.

post script - 15 minutes later, she brought up her sandwich again

In news of the-not-so-annoying:
Volleyball last night was... how shall I say this... all about how much I still rule at volleyball. Kory? How awesome are you? Here, let me show you, KA-BLAM!! Oh No, our team is losing! No worries, KA-BOOM! [insert image of girls on the other team swooning over my magnificence] Who can step in to play every position because we need help at setting? No problem, here's a perfect 20 foot back set! FFFFT!! Who's the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks? Well, that would be(Shaft!) right on. Who is the man that would risk his neck for his brother man? that would be me and (Shaft!) can ya dig it?
Seriously, it was amazing. I was in the zone. A zone of pure zoneness, at one with my zoneitude and prepared to share zoneosity with anyone prepared to zonify. It's been over two years since I've played (not counting last weeks most boring and inactive scrimmage) so to come back swingin' (ha ha) like I did... felt damn good. daaaaamn good.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Hello, my name is Kory, and .. wow... this is hard to admit... I .... think I'm.. addicted to snow. (yes, I'm also addicted to punctuation: and over punctuation; ... and "over"-'pun'-ctu-a-tion)
Addicted? surely that's too harsh of a term... It is. And it isn't.
While I definitely experience the ecstatic rush of fresh falling snow and then the high of a uniformly snow covered city and .. I suppose the 'high' wearing off as the snow will eventually melt.. I know I wont be experiencing a craving or 'jones' to... 'go out and score some more snow'. That's where the analogy breaks down. Or does it? If you told me I had to move to a state that doesn't get snow.. having now revelled in the glory of that great 'White Out' from above..? I dont think I could. My skin would crawl, my nerves would tingle with anxiety laden discomfort and I'd be perpetually irritable with the knowledge that I'd been artificially removed from, among other things, a much needed seasonal marker to my biological clock. Unless I fall on my arse and break something or get a leak in my oh-so-awesome snow stomping boots and get frostbite requiring amputation... I'm sorry, I'm not seeing any downside to this addiction.
I simply dont know how else to explain away the affect snow has on me. Judging by how ridiculously giddy the snow makes me, it must be a drug - it just must. There's no other reason I should be turned into such a single-minded simpleton at the sight of the stuff. I'm at a constant state of barely controlled hyperactivity ... barely contained spasticity... sometimes I fear I'm a few IQ points and some drool away from mental retardation when I step outside my building and see sidewalks lined with untrampled snow that I get to tromp through. Higher brain functions seem to shut down, time slows and all I want to do is run full speed, take a flying leap, and Pete-Rose-belly-slide into the proverbial first base of pillowy, wintery delight.

So... our blizzard on Saturday was great. - by 'great' I actually mean 'orgasmic'. Heavy snow fell throughout the whole day. Heavy, thick, constant snow that built up quickly and fell without too much wind, which only added to it's beauty and the degree to which everyone seemed to enjoy it, if apparent smiles and boyfriend/girlfriend snowball fights were any evidence of enjoyment. In Washington Square Park, the three fenced off concrete berms I named "take-me-to-the-hospital!-skate-park" for it's so-so-poorly-planned and litigiously dangerous design were over-run with kids with sleds and parents who seemed more than on edge by the amount of playful screaming and chaotic activity they were forced to supervise. Mind you, these concrete berms amount to, what would be a three foot wave in the ocean that would take it's riders... seriously, not more than twelve feet. Did these kids care? Did I mention the joyous screaming and the fence they had to knock down?
The whole park was just too damn beautiful so I went to Duane Reade, bought a disposable camera and took many a picture back at the park. Matt and I then hiked it up to 23rd street for some house-sundries-shopping and winter boots for Matt, then up to Times Square... just to be walking around. The streets were mostly empty of cars, fairly empty of people. The few who were out seemed either to be unprepared tourists, city dwellers on their way somewhere or diehard snow lovers, also just out for a walk. Walk really is a misnomer - trudge is far more accurate, even if it sounds unpleasant. to walk or march.. ..usually laboriously.. That sounds unpleasant, there's no denying. Walking or jogging on treadmills is also laborious, and yet my gym always seems to be filled with treadmillers who, in hindsight at least, would say they enjoy treadmilling immensely. (treadmillers, treadmilling not words? And that's stopped me in the past, when exactly?) From Times Sq., Matt went to Karen's and I started back towards home. Initially, I was just going to walk to the subway but though "eh.. why not go to 34th and subway it from there?" - at 34th I thought "eh, why not 23rd?" - from 23rd it was 14th and at 14th... well, taking the subway one stop is kinda ridiculous so... hey... another 100 block round trip day - in the snow, even. That would be how I define Awesome.

Wow. it seems that ice is falling off of the roof of this 48 story building - the wind or air currents carry it a few feet out and then some of it comes smashing back into the windows as it makes it's way down. It sounds like fast pitched softballs or suicidal birds slamming into the glass. I'd hate to be on the receiving end, down below. Maybe it's time I break out my kevlar coated, army missile nose cone I've been saving for headgear for such an occasion. And everyone just laughed when I went to that military auction. Who's laughing now, huh? who's laughing now!!! Wh... No ... no one's .. laughing? sorry, I .. thought I heard laughing.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
In Other News of Things I Think I am Thinking:
¤ Flapjack is one crafty son of a gun. A great military strategist, on par with Alexander the Great or Ghengis Khan. His ability to feign an open front and then attack from the flanks when least expected is truly impressive. I had thought that I had won our famed bath mat war. I had been shown evidence that I had. I hadn't even won the battle. not even a skirmish. It's game on and FJ leads, 17 to 0.
¤ "President" Bush requests that you bend over and cough ... up... another $80 billion. for a grand total of $427 billion budget deficit. that makes $300 billion for this war alone!. I wont even mention our next war with Iran already in the planning. I could do so much shopping at the $.99 cent store with $300 billion! you dont even know! and still live like a king on the change.
¤ speaking of change - Commerce Bank rules for putting "penny arcades" in their banks to gouge out the deep pockets of coinstar's gouging of our change pockets. No more .09 cents on the dollar surcharge for turning your change into dollars at local supermarkets. you dont have to be a commerce bank member to use the service. Big thanks out to Karen for the heads up!
¤ I think I'm going to outfit Flapjack and Hambone with proximity shock collars so they stay the frack away from my closet while I sleep. I swear to bajesus they think it's a fun factory when the lights go out.
¤ On the southbound 1/9 subway line to South Ferry, there are constant announcements by the train conductor that only the first five cars' doors will open due to the station being so short. It's mostly annoying because they repeat it at each of the 6 stations between Christopher and Rector, urging everyone to move forward so they can get off when the train reaches the end of the line. Maybe one out of every three times though, the conductor gets noticeably aggravated and starts talking in that slow, loud way some people do when trying to talk to deaf people: "you will NOT be ABLE to GET OFF the TRAIN ... IF YOU DO NOT MOVE UP. you will BE STUCK on the TRAIN and will NOT be ABLE to EXIT, MOVE UP NOW. YOU.. in the back of the TRAIN... you MUST move UP to one of the FIRST FIVE CARS", etc, etc. It's obvious ... well, to me at least, that the people they are speaking to probably dont speak English. which is sad, I feel sorry for them, I do. But I cant help but smile and almost laugh at how frustrated the train conductors get. They're, of course, doing everything they can to keep these people from getting stuck - I swear you can almost hear the anguish in their voice, like some mama bear trying to urge on an orphaned dog it's adopted, but in the end, the mama bear has to just say "stupid dog, fend for yourself, then". this, all happening in a world where bears can talk and regularly adopt other animals.
¤ How awesome is this? With all the 8-10 foot high snow banks retailers are shovelling together into the streets, -all- over the city, there could be thousands of igloos made. I'm going to go tonight to see if it's still there and if it's not ridiculously expensive or crowded, might eat there. Report to follow (or a report on why there'll be no report)

Friday, January 28, 2005
Wow. No, seriously.. Wow. A co-worker just made THEE best personal call, ON speakerphone, I may have ever heard,..... at any job.
and it goes a little something like this:
"You have reached the red light photo monitoring offender system hotline. For English, press one.. Para Esp.. [beeep] ... If you would like to contest your ticket, you must do so in person at [courthouse address]"
That's cajones. I mean, why dont you just go all the way and call a Russian-Brides dating service from work? or maybe detailed calls with your doctor about rectal problems? then again, DM runs her entire household from 10 feet behind me, so I'm not sure why I'm suprised by anything. I know more about her husband's Urologist appointments than I really should.
Come to think of it, calling to contest motor vehicle tickets on speakerphone from work is even better than the Oscar Meyer Weiner hotline we used to call at MediaTel in to listen to the Oscar Meyer theme song being sung by children. The calls I hear here aren't nearly as refreshing as that.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
I'm having one of those days where I want to punch everyone in the uterus. Is that a crime? is that so wrong? what's tha... it... it is? it's illegal? you're sure? ok.
Work sucks - I'm getting temp wages for permanent employee work which hmmm... has this strange negative effect on one's motivation to do a job... Imagine that! My boss is supposedly talking to his higher-ups about getting me and my coworker permanent positions. or more temp money. or it's possible he's working to get us replaced by desperate temps who wont ask for more money - and maybe even start them off with less. Probably not, but I wouldn't put it past him. In fact, I might even admire the pure evil of something like that.
Volleyball is going well... my team sucks but I'm playing well and somehow, that is ok with me. I want to join another league that plays on a different night, just to have two nights of volleyball but it' not worth the extra money now that it's a few games into the season.
Please make my coworkers stop talking about American Idol and made-for-tv movies. I swear to you, that is almost all they talk about. crap-tv and complaints, allll-daaaay-long. The voices... behind me... are like... having your jaw ripped open and all your teeth scraped down a huge glass window. make it stop. please.
The snow has almost completely melted, though big piles have turned into pedestrian traffic barricades really, and still stand slowly melting on curbs and sidewalks where they were shovelled to last week. The slow melt is kind of fascinating in a time-lapse-photography kind of way.. each day you revisit a spot brings new, slightly lower formations.. The slush color really isn't as gross as some people say it is. Especially when you imagine it to be delicious root beer Slushie mix that's spilled from some 7-11 Slushie machine in the sky..
It's warmed up considerably, as well. By warm, I mean 25-35°. The human body is really remarkable when it comes to that. Operant Conditioning. (And -I- am remarkable for remembering "operant conditioning" from my psychology classes in 1990!) You get used to 6-14° weather and a biting, cold wind and all of a sudden 35° feels like summer and you find yourself sitting in Bowling Green park, soaking up some sun like it's summer.

Friday, February 04, 2005
I am Clint Eastwood in Fist Full of Dollars. I am Gary Cooper in High Noon. I am John Wayne in The Shootist. And I have stood for what is mine.
Yes, I just had an oh-so smoothly played, totally nonchalant, Raider-shoulder-firm, high-noon stand off with my boss over whether I was going to be made a permanent employee or if that is to be delayed, made into an independent contractor and paid what is being paid now to the temp agency. OR, barring any of that, I'd have to of course start looking for more permanent work. In a Western world, it might have gone like this:
The sun stands high, too high - as if swaying from a noose thrown over the remaining limb of a tall, long dead tree. Tumbleweeds roll in a loose formation across the dusty road. A silence as complete as a thousand conversations all stopping in unison, casts itself over the unseen spectators who anxiously peek from behind store front curtains. A dog stands, circles itself in the shade of the porch overhang and again, lies down.
The treble ring of spurs echoes quickly as boots strike earth, slowly, calmly, toward the center of the street. Then, standing firm, unshaken. Silent, valiant, ready. Facing the imposing stranger, the middle manager's lip twitches, sweat beads at his left temple.. an unconscious tremble in his right forearm exposes the fear he'd fought to hide. 'I'm just a middle manager with a Napoleon complex" he cried out, though only in his mind. "I wasn't made for showdowns like this - his... his cool is just too... cool. .. I've .. lost already'. He was right, of course. The air charged with tension, the potential energy of the scene fought to contain itself. At least until something would set off the cascading destiny about to unfold.
A whirlwind blur, seemingly remembered by the middle manager - and yet, he knew it wasn't memory. It had happened. So fast. Too fast. Spotlighted under a dead-eye aim, targeted, without knowing if he had really seen the strangers arm raise. His hand twitched in resigned defeat, knowing the showdown was over before it had begun. He stood, staring at the stranger, waiting. The thought of pleading for life crossed his mind in a dozen different ways, but couldn't find his now frozen lips, in any form.
"Go. tell your vice president of sales" voiced the shadowed stranger. "Permanent employee or independent contractor, getting the temp agency out of the pay loop - however it needs to work. I hate to say it because I enjoy working here, but I'll need to start looking for permanent work soon if things wont be changing within a .. short while". There it was. the shot fired. Not to the forehead. Not to the heart. To the left thigh.. the middle manager crumpled to the ground. Now begging, pleading for life - for the life of his order accuracy, for the life of not having to train another employee, for the life of having a competent employee on which he could count. "Ok. I hear you. I do. It is definitely on my radar and I'll be pushing it with Paul (sales vp) and also looking into what it would take to get out of our contract with the temp agency and do an independent contractor deal instead"
Turning without aparent effort, the wind casting coat tails aside, his weapon, somehow, now holstered - the strangers spurs again crack the near silence of the slight breeze with their staccato jangle as he saunters serenely away.

wow. that was fun. maybe I'll write Western novels.

"I dont have a very conscious creative process at all. It doesn't .. books dont happen because.. i think about them. I'm more and more conscious that they happen, books happen because I write them and the genuinely creative parts emerge from the actual procees of putting one word after another. The bits that I enjoy, which are bits that suprised me, that i didn't expect, they come out of the actual process of writing. they dont come out of a process of cogitating or being visionary or trying to imagine."
--William Gibson on writing, in the DVD No Maps for These Territories

That quote is what inspired my above attempt at writing fiction. He also said, I'll have to paraphrase, that 'writing fiction is most like... well, it probably uses the same areas in the brain as day dreaming or masturbation fantasies... in the amount of narrative detail you invent... the story you tell yourself... or like imagining scenes of high anxiety... imagining some event that would make you really nervous, something at work maybe or a conflict with a loved one, a family member... the details that create the anxiety come from the same place that writing fiction comes from...'

My problem has always been that I've felt I'm better at commentary than invention... re-action over action. Something happens? excellent, I can probably write about it. Someone needs describing, I'll go to work. But the idea of writing a novel... seems.. absolutely overwhelming. Like being asked to step into an auto repair shop and just start fixing cars. I haven't felt like I'm equiped with the tools, the knowledge of how to invent from scratch. And then I heard Gibson's 1st quote above. While I still dont think I could write a novel, it's at least reassuring to know that I can piece together some semblance of an invented narrative - if I can base it on enough factual (or imagined, it seems) reality. And this is the best part - it was damn fun putting that little Western scene together. Far more than I could have imagined.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

NY Journal # 25

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Laughs In Translation -
in the email trail of an order request I received:
---We work at Telefonica and as carrier providers we need to know some technicals aspects to reech a succesfully and opertionally upgrade of the line your customer leased to us.
---I apoligize if my english redaction is not pretty well, but I think you'll understand the meaning of the questions. If there is any doubt, please let me know.
---We'll appreciatte to get your answers as soon as you can send it back to us.
Yours, faithfully. Instalaciones - Puesta en Marcha

still no snow. insert pouty face here.
ok, so it snowed a little bit yesterday. but while it snowed, rained. it would have made for ideal snow enjoyment since the temperature was around 40° - which in East Coast winter thinking translates to "warm". rain during snow also means that none sticks to the ground. insert picture of me shaking fists and cursing Jupiter, Roman god of weather.
I heard on the news that last year we had 20 inches by this date. We've had three so far this year. Jupiter!!! wake up, you.. drunken Roman... gas .. giant.. what?

The first rule of Raider-shoulder club is.. tell everyone about Raider-Shoulder club.

Have I talked about "Raider shoulders" in previous journals? I probably have. If so... pardon my elaborations on the same:
What is a Raider shoulder? Ohhh, I'll explain... at length probably.

The "Raider shoulder" as .. not-at-all-defined by Merriam-Webster is: a walking, shoulder nudge to someone who, most often through general absent-mindedness or intentional A-hole-ness, moved themself into your way or after you say 'excuse me', is then not getting out of your way. Since it is basically for people "not playing by the rules" of general walking traffic, it must be done in a way wherein it is obvious to the person being bumped into that they were at fault.
Originally, the name "Raider shoulder" derived from the viscious tackles of Oakland Raider Hall of Fame safety, Jack Tatum. I have seen dozens of his tackles where four things happened, almost instantaneously: 1. a fast moving blur of Jack Tatum is seen coming in for a hard hit. 2. a massive collision occurs. 3. the player tackled goes flying, limbs flailing like a ragdoll. 4. Jack Tatum remains standing, nonchalantly looking down at his victim, as if he had calculated the physics needed to crush someone AND remain standing.
In practice however, the Raider shoulder isn't at all so viscious but actually refers to keeping your momentum going regardless of what absent-minded people around you are doing. I hate to romanticize it (who am I kidding, I love nothing more than romanticizing it!) but it is very Zen in it's cycle of maintaining your own (paying attention) harmonic motion while disrupting the disharmonic motion that people who dont pay attention exude. Walk through the obstacles placed before you. Bruce Lee would often say "do not strike a target, strike through your target". Bruce would have given a masterful Raider shoulder.
Why is this necessary? Well, because we all have common sense. We all know when someone around us is holding us up or causing a traffic jam for others. We even realize in hindsight that we have done that to others. That's fine. If you've done that, you deserved a Raider shoulder. I'm sorry, you did. I'm not above this, by any means. I have literally congratulated people on the fine Raider shoulders they've delivered to me ("good one!" i say). I seriously take No offense at this,.. whatsoever. I messed up. I'm adult enough to admit it. I needed to be taught a lesson about awareness. In turn, I shoulder (ha ha) the task of returning the favor to others who are caught up in their own heads when they should be paying attention to what they're doing. Your day should not be disrupted by the self-involvement of others. You shouldn't be dodging out of the way of people. You have your own space and agenda. Respect it enough to maintain it.
For example:
- when a bottleneck of people form so that opposing traffic can only pass eachother one at a time in either direction BUT two conversing people coming at you STILL insist on walking side by side... you definitely have to give a Raider shoulder to the one nearest you.
- when you're walking down the street and someone, or a group of people, just stop. right in front of you. without considering who might be walking right behind them... rrring-rrring ... who's there? Raider-shoulder!!
- when a group of three or more people walk side by side and you're walking at them... gaze straight through them.. Raider shoulder if needed (often they'll part to let you through... if they dont - bon apetit! deeelicious Raider shoulder!)
- when you've been holding a door open for people to enter a building and as you go to enter after them, some corporate meathead on a cellphone tries to barrel out of the building without a look or word of thanks for holding the door open... 'Ello Gov'Nah! Raida' shoulda' fo' ya'!!
- when people crowd a subway train door and dont let people off? Ohh there's a whole lotta Raider shoulder about to be dished out!

Am I describing some sort of individual, vigilante justice? maybe. Is it my job to teach people lessons? well... probably not. Am I suggesting we create an almost 'fight-club' type atmosphere by suggesting that everyone should take personal responsibility for enforcing the rules of public common sense and then accept accountability for when you've broken those rules, accident or not? why yes, it would seem that I am. Is asking questions and then answering them myself annoying? You bet it is. Will I stop? probably not. Why not? dont know... kinda dont feel like it. Ok, really, I done now? ........yes.

Think about it. How many times in life can you exact miniscule amounts of justice on the dumb people around you? I mean, really. These are not things you can do in a car... not without getting your insurance company or the police involved at least. You cant punch your boss in the neck for being an idiot. You cant reach across a counter and backhand a cocky salesclerk. You cant slap the cigars out the mouth's of yuppies. You just cant. I know you want to. I feel your pain. I share it. Trust me.
I know this all comes off with an aire of condescension but honestly, that is part of it. it has to be part of it. You are doing something right. And someone else is doing something wrong. Need an official mandate? Fine. I hereby deputize you as autonomous instruments of justice in the interest of maintaining order. Vigilantes dole out justice, that's what they do. If I were advocating knocking people to the ground or punching people in the kidneys, sure.. I'd be crazy, worthy of being locked up. I'm talking about a simple shoulder bump. A not-too-hard and not-too-weak reminder to the self-involved that their self-involvement burdens others. What I'm advocating is turning your back on timidity. "Do something about it" when saying "excuse me" isn't enough. "Do something" instead of doing nothing. Do it so you dont go home and bitch about what you could have done or could have said to some rude person. Think about how much better it will feel to go home and tell a friend or loved one about a nice hit you laid down on some idiot who blocked the heavy flow of exiting traffic so he could light a cigarette while still inside the building.
Tell a tale of how you stood up for yourself. How you may have added to the global common sense of the people around you. How maybe one person will be a little more aware the next time and not stop to tie their shoes in the middle of a crowded street.
There are varying degrees of the strength of the Raider hits you should be delivering, of course. And different strengths for different offenders. Mean old ladies might need a slight nudge - you really dont want to be the person everyone's staring at for knocking an old lady down. Try not to lay hits on children either - generally, your shoulders will be above their head height anyway. Basically, make the punishment fit the crime. Also, dont Raider shoulder roving gangs of hooligans.... or psychotic, crazy people. I haven't had reason to try, but I'm gonna guess that it'd be a good idea to not Raider shoulder the police. or body builders. what about people with knives? good, you're catching on - off limits. safety first.
If you're not using common sense with who you Raider shoulder... well... maybe you need a Raider shoulder. chances are, if you Raider shoulder inappropriately, you'll be lucky to get off with just a shoulder back.
In the right hands and used properly, the Raider shoulder will be your friend. It will love and protect you. It will instill a feeling of self-reliance and assuredness. It will administer small bits of justice in small enough doses to small time offenders. It will make your food taste better and your hair luxuriously soft.

One last point. or three. Once you Raider shoulder, never look back. always smile to yourself as you walk away. never apologize (unless you accidentally shouldered too hard to fit the 'crime'). You will feel better, they will have learned a lesson .. . . or not. in which case, someone else will teach them again, later.

And lastly - use your shoulders for good, never for evil.

Thursday, January 13, 2005
DMChronicles -
(to a tech at MCI) - "they laugh at me here, the way I talk. like I'm talkin' to a deaf person or retarded"

Super Size Me
if you eat fast food, at all, ever - see Super Size Me
if you have kids, or plan to, ever - see Super Size Me
if you teach kids, please.. - see Super Size Me
*and please oh-god-please.. make them see Super Size Me
if you're watching your weight, or have, ever - see Super Size Me
if you eat food at all, ever - see Super Size Me
in fact.... just see Super Size Me

in other movies-I've-seen news:
¤ i think.... that Elizabeth and I are in the background of the first Joe's pizza scene in Spiderman 2 Elizabeth's in a burgundy jacket & I'm in a white jacket. I know for a fact that we saw that scene being filmed.
¤ Shaolin Soccer is most, most excellent. hilarious and visually stylistic. there's a few scenes though where it's Airplane humor will make you want to kill yourself. be warned.
¤ Anchorman is so damn funny it hurts. Will Ferrell is walking genius.
¤ Hero is no Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
¤ Elf is appropriate movie watching material, any time of year.
¤ Shaun of the Dead is without a doubt one of the best movies I've seen in a year or more.
¤ as is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Cold, cold, cold. finally. but no snow. No. freakin'. snow.
how cold? below zero with the windchill. 9° without windchill, but c'mon, unless you're standing in an elevator shaft, there's windchill everywhere.
So what's the point of all this cold without snow? aside from the fact that people look so darned cute all bundled up in heavy jackets with furry hoods, colorful scarves, leather gloves and mittens, I'd say there's no point. No one goes out much it seems, except to coffee shops that get overcrowded and loud, kinda defeating the whole purpose of "reading at a coffee shop", right? right. I'm glad you agree. What about skiing? I dont ski. Ice skating? ehhh... no. thanks for asking though... it's more of a group activity. or for couples.
So when it comes down to it, a winter without snow is.. well.... it's an absolute bore beyond compare. If it were snowing, I could and would easily entertain myself with walks in it. Maybe an occassional snowball throw at stop signs or SUV's. Even just sitting on a bench or chair in the middle of a pristine, snowy field, reading, would be great. (I did actually do that a few days ago, at Bryant Park, though it wasn't actively snowing at the time, snow was all over the field)
So without much to do, I thank the gods for the company of kittens who in all honesty, have been doing a marvelous job of entertaining me, without much effort on my part. A plastic, bendy stick with a string leading to a tassle of leather pieces provides inexhaustible hours of play. That, mixed with chase-and-tackle runs up & down the hallway, through the living room, up & over my bed then back the other way is enough to make anyone smile. or scream. They sooo want to be tigers or mountain lions, it's ridiculous.

mid-post script - I am so awesome. I am. it's true. I talk about how there's no snow and what starts happening? no, not 'rain'. seriously, that's your guess??? guess again. Yess! snow! and now I hear from the office ladies that this is just the beginning - "we're gonna get hit big this weekend" says DM.
Bring. It. ON.

In other news:
¤ On Saturday, I shaved my head for the first time, ever. I hadn't initiially intended to - I'd tried out the buzz-cutter on it's lowest level, which... umm... ended up being so short that I figured I might as well go all the way with it, or I maybe never would. So I did.
Wow. it is quite the experience. Even with the M3 battery powered razor (which I swear by and recommend highly) shaving one's head is a substantially scary ordeal involving a necessary balance of wanting to be thorough and wanting to not slice your head open. It's ... a strange feeling, to say the least. The ingrained self-defense mechanism to do no bodily harm to yourself stands in the face of such an obvious flirtation with danger. Having said that.... ... it's also kinda fun.
and then your head is shiney!
And then... days later... prickly-sticky. like you wouldn' believe. like sandpaper. as in, it's difficult to put on beanie hats or sweater hoods. very sticky. almost frustratingly so. but still.... kinda fun. Basically, I've just been having fun with non-style hair styles since cutting off the long hair. It's -still- amazingly liberating... I wish I'd have cut the long hair years ago. Sadly, I did not take any pictures so I'm guessing I will shave it at least once more to get some pics. maybe this weekend.
¤ I'll be in Irvine in February for my mom's wake. Well... "memorial service" is what I was told it was. I wish it were an Irish style wake, full of tipsy laughter and joyous rememberance. Somehow I think it'll be more on the sad, lamenting side. Hmm. I may have to do something about that.
¤ There are film trucks all up & down Whitehall Street in front of my office building. The actor's trailers have about 12 doors on them, the only two with plastic placards printed with character names (as opposed to the handwritten ones you see for the lesser characters) say: Lucy and Desi. my guess is that they're not making some sort of I Love Lucy movie but that they name the lead actor and actress "Lucy" and "Desi" for fun. or to not give away what the movie is to passerby's. OR - and this may be too clever, even for them, Lucy and Desi are the producers/directors AND the lead actor/actress ala Alec Baldwin & Kim Bassinger or some other acting/producing duo like that.

¤ In tv news (since I'm inside too often these days) - Battlestar Galactica is back on the air and flippin' amaaaazingly good. If you saw the miniseries last year or even if you didn't... watch it. LOST is also quite, quite good. Very well written and everyone on the damn island is droolingly beautiful... I'm convinced the name of the show is actually short for Lost Island of Super Good Looking People. I haven't seen it yet but Strange Love looks hilariously addictive - Flava Flav and Brigette Nielson?? dating eachother?? yes, please. Significant Others may be the best show ever made. I found out after having watched a few of them that it's mostly improvised - which would make the actors Absolute Geniuses. Scrubs, as it always has, makes me cry laughing at least once per episode.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

NY Journal # 24

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Hepy Freikin' NooYeee Ova' Heyah'
So I'm walking to the 1/9 train this morning and I see a blonde lady - straight blonde, well cut hair .. hmmm, lovely.. , a bright red wool jacket .. quite the attention grabber .. , a black wool skirt... everything good so far ... black ribbed stockings ... something about it was kinda not-right .. and black boots with that stupid fake-fur fringe on top ... sh!#, there goes my attraction ... and looking even further down is her affectation ... ahem, I mean... her dog.. leading her along by a leash.. a miniature Benji type dog.. it's slightly disheveled look adding some bit of respectability to it.. over say, a comically shaved poodle dog or those bio-engineered, yappy weiner dogs that seem more nervous and bitchy than any walking bag of skin should ever be.. what? me?? not like small, small dogs? c'mon, what gave you that impression?
So... she's walking parallel with me accross the street and as I cross the street, I'm still curious about what this lady looks like.. what kind of person owns such an unfortunate tampering of nature. At the intersection, I see her finally and in an "oh, duh!!" realization, I see that she looks just like her dog. Well. not exactly like her dog, dont be ridiculous, but "just like her dog" in that way that most dog owners match their dogs.
When I see her, she's tying the dog leash to the back of the permanent news stand at W4th & Christopher, I assume, to walk to it's opposite side so she can buy a paper or coffee or .. i dont know ...Dog Fancier magazine. I think to myself "ok, that's just... slightly odd, tying your dog up so you can go somewhere that's not in line-of-sight to where you're going, but hey,.. not my dog - maybe it'll get stolen... or stolen .. and eaten!"
So... I cross the street to the downtown-side of the 1/9, go into the station and... as dating or married men would NEVER ever admit, even under truth serum or black ops torture... I look for, and at... (with practiced slyness of course)... all the beautiful women in the subway station. Have I mentioned the beautiful women in NY before? I have? You're sure? ok, then.
Soooooo...... long-story-ridiiiiiculously-Long - ... I'm looking around & as is usually the case, most of the beautiful ladies at the Christopher St 1/9 stop are on the Uptown side... so as I'm looking up & down the platform at all the ladies who, I can only assume would be dying to talk to me were they on the downtown platform... I notice one it particular... she looks familiar like I've just seen her today... pretty blonde hair, a red jacket and ... HEY!! what the... and... And... where's your dog?!??! you .... you ...? you Left Your Dog Tied To a News Stand so you could take a subway uptown?!?!?? Are You Freakin' KIDDING me???
My mouth was literally agape. You know when you're in total shock with your mouth open and you're aware that people are probably looking at you with your mouth open and then trying to figure out why you're standing there with your mouth open? ya... that was in full effect.
So, I'm about to yell out "HEY! you stupid ..." and then i realize I cant just yell out "hey, you stupid b!#@#, you cant leave your dog tied up while you day trip on up to Bloomingdale's!!" ... and as I'm trying to figure out what I can yell across a subway station, the part of my brain that says "ok, wait, there's gotta be a logical answer behind all of this" notices that she's looking down occassionally and at the wall behind her. huh? Down on the ground is a rectangular black bag, only as big as a paper shopping bag. Could it... well.... i guess it.... hmm. Oh. ok. I see. She's... a dog-carrier...-carrier. One of the thousands of New Yorkers who slings a designer bag with air holes under her arm and takes her yappy ball of nerves around with her all day. I was probably no more than ten seconds from screaming a mostly obsene demand for someone to be a humane pet owner - across a crowded subway station. Ohh, it's really impressive how close we come sometimes to making world class asses of ourselves in public. WooHoo!

postscript - later that same day I saw a guy tie up his dog to the inside-door handle of a Chipotle restaraunt (an overpriced fashionista burrito shop for the executive crowd) - which, in itself is not so horrible. What Is so horrible is that he then tested the door he tied his dog to, to see if it was locked (he'd used the other door to enter so i guess he thought one door would be locked & one would) ... it was not locked. He sorta half looked around for another place to tie his dog, didn't see one & then in that I'm-about-to-litter-because-I-dont-immediately-see-a-trash-can-right-in-front-of-me-and-oh-I'm-also-a-lazy-bastard kinda way.. gave a look like nothing was wrong & went to get in a 20 minute line for his $8 burrito.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
The Mandel Chronicles -
"These are the people in your neighborhood".
I doubt Mister Rogers ever had one like this. Specifically, my work neighborhood. Specifically, a person named Dianna Mandel. She is from Brooklyn. Ohhh how she is from Brooklyn. Specifically, the part of Brooklyn that gives to the world my favorite brand of cubic-zirconium-encrusted jewels of comically foul mouthed, bitter and spiteful, venom-tinged loud mouth's that are pretty much, a walking sit-com of vulgarity and totally inappropriate work nastiness. She sits ten feet behind me. I hear everything. Every Thing. You know who also hears everything? My Jehovah Witness coworker Taresa, who sits six feet from Diana and I. Which makes the cursing episodes even funnier because Diana will curse, then catch herself, then apologize to Taresa, then a few minutes later, curse again. repeat.
My fascination with her negativity began with overhearing "conversations" she had with her daughter (which she calls to order around no less than two or three times a day) but quickly broadened into arguments she has with her husband and then, as geological gems are usually scattered through layers of nothing too interesting, into conversations with coworkers and people at other companies and lastly, mutterings to herself.
And so.... I will now be collecting Mandel-isms. I should have started much, much earlier because I've now missed months of gems I could have logged for you. I wish I could impart the amazing, caricatural accent these gems smack you in the head with, but such is the shortfall of typing.

(to her daughter) "Ya, when you dont wake up'fa school, it -does- kinda annoy me, Ya."
(to her daughter) "listen. do you have a job? do you? do... you... have... a... job? no. no you dont."
(small talk with a customer)
"how many [kids] do you have? god bless you... I had one daughter, I should have had ten sons"
(to her daughter) "shut up [click]" hangs up phone
(to her husband) "shut up [click]" hangs up phone
(to a provisioner at Verizon) "are they retarded????" .. "Oh no, I have to beat the sh!t out of somebody"
(I had no idea who until i heard 'cartons') "you have the Seneca 100's..? full flava? ya... 5 cartons. the Seneca's aren't on back orda', are they? ok, good"

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
DiannaMandellChronicles -
(DMChronicles for short, going forward)

(to her husband) - there are full packs [of cigs] .. just walk into your daughters room [super frustrated] i dont have time to play games, Dave.
(to her daughter) - you know, i just got an attendance record for you from school... [pause]... get the hell out of the bed. if i can make it to work on 2 & a half hours sleep, you can go to ... hello...? ... hello...? helllooo...? you need to straighten up, Lauren.
(to her husband) - Dave, I will beat you.
(to her daughter) - Lauren, I will beat you.
(to me) - sometimes I just want to poke his [our boss'] eyes out.