Monday, September 21, 2009

TiDbItS all up in your grill

Take a look at one of these and I promise you'll go look at the rest of 'em.

If there's any justice (or intelligence) in future urban planning, this is it.

100 Free (ie. me) things to do in NYC.

R.I.P. Jim Carroll .. the first poet I ever saw perform live.

The effort put into making this + "Fur Elise"-greatness = you watching this.

A similar feel to the first link above, somehow "ghost-ier".

"No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets." Edward Abbey (1927 - 1989)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bits of Tid, the Next Generation

Esra and went to Stone Barns yesterday to see a kids play with two couples w/ kids, friends of Esra's.  The place was the Rockefeller's farm at one point, donated to .. well, sustainable co-op farm peoples. it supplies the restaurant Blue Hill in the city where the pres. did his little date night thing.  The farm & it's buildings, land, animals, everything .. is freakin beauuutiful.   If you have kids, if you dont have kids, if you might have kids ... Go.

On Friday, we went to Central Park's Summerstage to see Istanbulive.. a turkish music (and food, and drink, ..and advertising) festival.  Good times.  Turkish people are just so damn beautiful, per capita.  Especially my favorite half-Turkish pregnant lady.

if you're ..36 to 40 or so, this is why we're the luckiest, awesomest, sexiest generation since the one that saw the moon landing (?)

NPR is doing a call-in thing with unemployed people telling their unemployment stories.  Listening to it is like having your family eaten by a brown bear and then only ever talking to people who'd had their families eaten by black bears.  it's NOT THE SAME, people!!

I cant decide between the firetruck and the streetsweeper.

Houseboats in New York.  you may buy me one at any time.

You may also buy me this and take photos of me riding it and then make fun of said photos.

as I am probably the finest the only jaw harpist that you know, here's some damn fine jaw harping.

if you can honestly say you DONT want one of these, you are still a liar.  I'll get you one anyway.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

St Maarten also-should-mentions

beach dogs - are everywhere.  They belong to people but they hang out on the beach all day.  Our hotel had a hotel-dog, Stripe, pictured in the slideshow.  There were usually around four dogs within sight at all times.  All happy, friendly, tongue wagging kings of pure sloth and play: Wake up.  Eat some food (granted, dog food), Sniff the beach a bit.  Get too hot.  Jump in the ocean.  Shake off.  Sniff around some more.  Play with dog friends.  Chase dog friends off your territory. Go find a beach chair.  Dig a shallow, cool pit underneath it to lie in.  Nap ... Repeat.

dune buggies - we saw this car on our second to last day or I would have raced our rental car back to the lot and rented this in a HEARTBEAT.  Oh my dune buggy goodness.  Cant you picture me in this?  I mean, Really!!?!?!!

lizzards - are everywhere also.  My theory is they turn into beach dogs later in life.  My theory has not met with popular approval amongst the scientific community.

pregnant ladies - are everywhere also, also.  Is there a connection with beach dogs and lizzards?  Scientists may never know.

robbie's lottery - define's the term "are everywhere".  You know when you hear something like "what's with all the Dunkin Donut's in Boston??" and then you start noticing all the Dunkin Donuts and then you start thinking "WTF?  what IS with all the Dunkin' Donuts??!" and then you keep seeing them.  And then you start getting angry at Dunkin Donuts.  And then you get scared.   Wait, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, Robbie's lottery.  It's like the Dunkin' Donuts of St Maarten.  Except they replace your income with false hope and despair.  Definitely less calories, though.

Fireman Rich - Our next-hotel-door-neighbor was a retired Manhattan fireman, ..forcibly retired by his union due to 9/11 related health issues.  Suffice to say, part of what we talked about was that day and it's after effects.  Heavy stuff, obviously, but intensely interesting, heartfelt, jaw dropping stories.  He'd been there on a neighboring island scuba diving where he dove.. with a head cold.  the pressure in his sinuses didnt equalize & he blew out an ear. [ouch?] He said he'd be recovering in weeks but that the Dr.'s told him he couldnt dive for a full year.  [ouch?]  Did I mention that he'd had a liver transplant?  And in his retirement had built his own house from scratch?  Yeah.. an amazing guy to say the least.  Oh and when he asked where we lived & i told him he said "Ah, ya.  I've got a friend who lives over there. Steve Buscemi" - (whom I'd seen on the street for the 4th time in my 6 years in NY, not 2 days before meeting Fireman Rich.  (They'd both been fireman in Engine 55 w/ him prior to Steve's acting career))

Reading World War Z while on vacation - highly recommended.  Although,.. I kept expecting zombies to walk out of the ocean & all I had around me to kill them with were coconuts and beach chairs.

St Maarten babymoon

With a renewed dedication to writing, I brought my laptop on vacation to St. Maarten.   Five days later, .. I begin my writing.  On the plane.  Heading back to New York.

   "St. Maarten?" you say.  Yes (I answer).  The mother of our previously mentioned soon-to-be offspring did request such beach-i-ness.  And request.  and hint.  and beg.  and finally, in no uncertain terms, demand (albeit, not so demandingly) a beach vacation before her belly, and our lives, become unmanageable.  There really is no fighting the conclusion: My baby['s mama] wants a vacation?, I give my baby['s mama and soon-to-be-baby] a vacation.  And so vacation we did.

  "St. Maarten?" you say.  Yes (I still answer).  We'd polled and queried and researched amongst friends as to the best of the beachy deals and [typical Kory] long story short long, we stayed here - Mary's Boon.  Situated smack dab on the beach and yet, strangely enough, smack dab right behind the airport, it was an exercise in relative perfection.. vs-moderate-to-low-frustration ratio.  While thoughts of your average airport-proximate hotel usually conjures images of rarely-washed, rarely-laundered, rarely-safe budget stays, Mary's Boon, and all of Simpson Bay.. or about half of St. Maarten actually, is close enough to the two airports (1 international, 1 Carribean-local) to make the average tourist pause and look up at the loud jet or prop plane thrusting through full power on their way to ... well, somewhere undoubtedly less beautiful.  I say "the average tourist" because most islanders seem unfazed by these occasional subsonic conversation interludes.  I should say here that flights only go between 9am and 10pm and the loud, international jumbo jets take off & land about every hour & a half, tops so honestly, it's really not that bad.  

   What is bad, or can be bad [knowing me as you do, I can not describe something with at least some description of bad vs good] is:  the state of road repair (somewhere near none?).  The level of service, at restaurants and such, also lacks at times.  Sometimes maddeningly so, sometimes understandably (after 20 or 30 years of dealing with cruise-shippers, I imagine I'd also have difficulty keeping surliness under wraps).  At our hotel, we got placed in a beachfront room (which inside and out, was honestly amazing) that happened to be right behind the kitchen.  The kitchen staff, not wanting to be confined to a hot kitchen when they didn't need to be, hung out and talked right outside.  Right outside both the kitchen and our room.  Again, a minor inconvenience that we could have solved easily by asking for a different room.  IF it had really been that big a deal.  Obviously it was not.  (I mention it only because, with a hotel full of rooms, half of them vacant, why put anyone in a room right behind the kitchen?)    The only other thing I could, or at least will complain about would be the hordes of European and American ...professional-drinkers let's call them, who treat St. Maarten as Cabo-San-Lucas-Part-II.  Yes, I know the obnoxious-level goes up when you get more than 5 or 6 drinkers together but throwing up over the side of the barge-that-is-a-floating-restaurant and then hollering out "Emilyyyyyy!!  Another .. margarita before [belch] .. before happy hour ends!" will always, always get you punched in the face, by me, my own private fantasy.   Other things that will get you fantasy-punched-in-the-face-by-me:  smoking too close to my pregnant wife when she obviously notices it, treating me like "the white devil" when I ask you a simple question or make a request, and fraudulently faking election results to re-elect yourself supreme d!ckhead of the universe, thereby crushing my soul and the will of the people whose freedoms you suppress daily.   [More on this in a future post]

    Ok.  Back to St Maarten  [yes, please]   It really is quite wonderful.  The water's color and warmth, the sand (rumored to be the whitest of the Carribbean), the local food, the toplessness of beaches.  Just being on vacation is euphoric enough, St Maarten seems to amplify it.  I suppose that might also be why the negatives stood out more.  Not to say that they weren't all very real issues.

  In my darker moments, I'd have to describe St. Maarten as "the best parts of a hot, dusty day in Tijuana mixed with the worst of the narrow, serpentine-ness of Italy's coastal roads, mixed with both the good and bad smells of Puerto Rico .. mixed with the overpriced-ness of San Francisco's Fisherman Wharf or Marina districts."  In my lighter, more travel-review friendly moments, I might say "all the bliss of long-wished-for divine beaches, crystalline blue waters and year round perfection of weather.  Food and drink as good as you could hope for".  What I might never be able to describe is how much we needed and loved our St Maarten getaway.

Monday, June 08, 2009

"THE" news.. yes, that kind

  By now, you might have figured out that when I haven't written in a while, either nothing is happening or everything is.  Ok, so it's more of a spectrum and lately I, we, are far more near the everything end.

  Many of you, we've already told first-hand but for the greater world at large, specifically my enormous fanbase in the Congo and southern Chad, we are.. Esra is .. where is my drumroll???  Damn it, Frank, get in here.. I said drumroll ... that's better.    Pregnant.   Expecting.  Mom-i-fied.  Dad-i-fied.  Initiated, inaugurated, inculcated (oops, sorry, not inculcated).  Having gone from that group of humans that do not have children to (soon, though it feels like now) that group of humans with them.

  We are, Esra is, 15 weeks along and our little foetus looks more or less exactly like this:

I sort of want to know the sex of the baby but Esra doesn't so we're going to keep it a secret until/unless the moment comes where Esra does want to know.  And then we will know.  And then I will tell you.  Either way, as you can see in the photo, our baby has awesome written all over it.   It's developing with textbook perfection.. as our doctor told us "your baby is A+ .. you have an A+ baby".  Little did I know that the school grading system also applied to the gestational process. (or that "your baby is A+" would then have to be rephrased for us as ".. you have an A+ baby")

Not pictured in the ultrasound are those little cutenesses that have developed this week: the ears, the eyes moving from side mounted fishy eyes to forward facing, wiggling fingers and toes, and breathing, sucking and swallowing (relative cuteness level undetermined).

More pictures and news to come, including belly shots (like it or not) ((Esra's, not mine)) as her belly balloons babyward.

As for me?  Wow.  it's all so much to absorb.  Thinking about it sometimes brings about a dreamlike daze that I should probably avoid while driving.  How else can you tell I'm a slightly different person?  I'm going to sign off before I write half a novel.  Like I normally do.

So many changes.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Turkish word of the day

I downloaded a Turkish-word-of-the-day app for my iPhone.  this was the nugget of wisdom for the other day:

Just thought you'd want to know.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So many changes, so much the same...
  It's rare that I'm not sure whether a lot has happened or not.  You'd think life might be more straight forward.  Most worthy of note, on the subject of me and my world, is winter ending, specifically my most-hated Daylight-"Savings"-Time.  Banished are 4pm sunsets and the borderline seasonal affected disorder no one wants to admit happens.  Good riddance, DST. Stay away longer next time please.  Also gone, less joyously, is Esra's 6 year daytime job at Real Networks, everyone's 401k's and stocks and such and the global ennui that 8 years of presidential mismanagement can sometimes bring.  Work, for me, flutters in & out (mostly out) with a week or three or few days here & there - an uneasy modus operendi to be sure.  
  .....The most recent job was on ABC's Fringe, produced by JJ Abrams of X-Files (and many others) fame.  An old work-friend of Esra hooked me up with an informational interview with the set designer and as timing would have it, their Art Dept PA (production assistant) would be out on Grand Jury duty for 3 weeks, so .. cover for him, I did.  
  .....The job itself was pretty .. pedestrian,  let's say.  It's a union tv show which means that, in the art department at least, any duty that technically should be done by someone in the union, has to be done by a person in the union (and not lil' ol' me, despite how much time or interest I had to spare) - this is all under penalty of someone getting fired so .. actual work for non-union Art PA's on union jobs is usually pretty limited. And so, I got a bit lot more experience being an Art Dept office PA - which I suppose is the same as a regular Art Dept PA... minus all the nonstop driving around picking up and returning stuff, occasional heavy lifting, all the hands on assembly of the various things that'll actually be seen in a show - so basically everything)    
  .....I did a bit of research, I delivered some monster guts 
 to location (my first day on the job, sadly, it was the highlight of my 3 weeks on the show), I made a lot of copies, did a few runs into the city with the art department car but for the most part, I sat in the Art Dept office with the Art Dept coordinator and chatted, surfed the web via iphone and petted the dog belonging to the (married) set designer & art dept coordinator.  The pay on that job was ...humbling but the hours and people were truly some of the best I've seen so far. 9am - 6pm sharp is unheard of for .. well, any position on any job in the entertainment industry.  The Art Dept coordinator was actually a really great mentor in helping me get on the road (finally) to take the test to get into Union 52 (for set dressers in NY) and generally being a fountain of great information on the industry itself.  Coincidentally, a big brouhaha of industry scandal hit the front pages of entertainment consciousness while I was there.  It seems that Governor Patterson hasd not renewed the huge (30%) tax credit that was being given to the entertainment industry to continue bringing tv shows & films, commercials, etc to New York.  Fringe has all but announced that they are moving to Vancouver for their second season (an interesting component to the NAFTA treaty, I found out, is that ABC can bring only the top tier of production people up to Canada (producers, directors, DP, art dir, set designer, set dec, a few others) - whereas a Canadian program coming to the US could bring their entire crew to work legally in the US.. thanks again NAFTA) and many more shows will be leaving New York, not to mention all the new shows that wont ever start here.  We had union and industry reps on set lobbying a government rep to bring word back to Albany that there's thousands of people about to be affected, we'll see how much affect it had by the time NY's yearly budget is pushed through.
   ....aaaaand since Fringe (it's now 2 months since I wrote all the above. oops) .. I've worked on .. not all that much.  I did a Maybelline commercial(s) where I mostly drove two set decorators around NY while they shopped (I helped shop where I could but in NY, parking is something is so randomly regulated, you could park legally for a minute and get a ticket or park illegally for 7 hours and not get one.  You could also swear you parked legally but end up getting towed (oops, sorry Amer's Nxt Top Modl)... long story short, the most effective method for avoiding tickets is someone staying with the car.  There are times when this feels like the worst punishment imaginable, other times I think I have the sweetest job ever - I've chipped away at novels while stressed out coworkers search a dozen stores for the right shade of fuchsia pillow to accent a couch (that may or may not end up being visible in a shot).  
   ....And then there's the other kind of job I do occasionally.. the non-commercial / non-tv/film job.  This time it was an H&M clothing line launch for H&M execs, industry buyers and journalists.  Done in four adjoining rooms of a classy hotel in the meat-packing district, it was, as all events are, a joy not to have to jockey for the one freight elevator with camera crew, grips, lighting, etc.  Having 100 or 200 people working on the same job in the same space gets to be a bit much.  The event jobs are also great for the opportunity to be a little .. well, arty.  I get to paint, sew, maybe do some light construction, carpentry, some light electrical wiring maybe.  There's a bit more respect, all around, for everyone's abilities as equals in set dressing - a problem that has been frustratingly slow-going (on the tv/commercials/film jobs) in working my way up through the art department ranks - petty politics and high school favoritism, ass kissing.. oh it all goes on in the entertainment industry too.   But I digress....
   ....The second part of the job was a party for said same clothing industry people, journalists and .. well, whoever else gets invited to those clothing line launches.  It was to be held aboard a huge old boat, formerly used for riverboat gambling, docked at the South Street Seaport.  A sleek three story number with two elevators, full bars and a dance floor.  With a musical performance by Grace Slick.   Sounds cool, right?   No.  Not right.  The boat, we found out, would not be moving away from the dock during the party (though it would be moving up and down and this way and that - we were all seasick within an hour of working on the load in).   Not only would the boat not be cruising the Hudson or East Rivers but party goers would not be allowed on the many decks to smoke or drink or enjoy the view.   Luckily, I was on shift 1 of 3, meaning I helped finish the set up for the party and then took off with a few others to wrap up the hotel location.  Shifts 2 and 3 were present for the party itself and the wrap up of the boat at 5am (striking everything, putting it all back in our two 14' "cube" trucks) so that shift 1 could come the next day and return everything to the various prop and rental houses where we got the stuff, days before.   And that's how these jobs go.. hurry to load in, wait around while other people do their thing, then load out in a hurry & get everything back to where it came from. All done so you can do all too similar things with a different company, god knows when.
   ....And so the freelance waiting-for-a-phone-call fun begins again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

and Kory from Brooklyn writes in to say...

A month ago, I heard a rumor that President Obama would be considering ending daylight savings time because studies have proven that it doesnt increase productivity and it wastes energy.  Ending daylight savings time would "be in line with [his new] energy policy"

Today on the Brian Lehrer show, they asked 'what are the top 5 things Obama can do to help NY" so being the DLS-time hating, smart ass that i am, here's what I wrote on WNYC's write in poll

less than 5 minutes later, I heard:  "and kory from brooklyn says (of top 5 things obama can do for NY this year): # 1 .. end day light savings time .. # 2, end day light savings time, # 3 end day light savings time, # 4 end day light savings time # 5 increase funding for MTA"

and then discussing briefly with his in studio expert, said: "kory from brooklyn, why dont you call in & explain why ending daylight savings time would help NY"

(the answer of course is 5 fold:  1. DLS-time does not increase productivity or energy savings and so abolishing DLS-time would be in line with a streamlined energy policy.  2. Arizona and much of the world survives quite well without it. 3. being in a state that experiences actual, changing seasons, a standardized sunset time would decrease Seasonal Affected Disorder symptoms.  4. anything that helps NY, helps the nation as a whole.  5. Adopting a standardized clock would add weight to global non-seperatist feelings about our new administration, ie. that we are rejoining the rest of the world. (metric system still be damned, though))

sadly, as I was on the phone being interviewed by their pre-interviewer person, my buddy matt heard: "Kory from Brooklyn just called in ... but we're out of time. call tomorrow"

If I'm around tomorrow and listening, I'll call in.. If I get on, I'll paste a link to the podcast here...   [I listened in the next day but no such prompting for call ins]

 "I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind. I even object to the implication that I am wasting something valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to reduce my time for enjoying it. At the back of the Daylight Saving scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves."
(Robertson Davies, The Diary of Samuel Marchbanks, 1947, XIX, Sunday.)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Reasons you should elect me Zombie Overlord for the upcoming Zombiegedon

Greetings human-but-future-zombies,
I'd love to take a moment to share with you reasons why I should be your Zombie Overlord for our upcoming global zombie apocalypse.

I will love brains. Yes, any legitimate campaign to be zombie president should begin and end here but since we will all love brains, I will have to bring more to the table and so I will tell you this: I will love brains more than you do. How can you know that? Eat my brain and find out. You wont, will you? That's right you wont because as humans, it is against the law. Also, zombies dont eat other zombies so I guess you'll just have to go on faith for this one.

As your zombie president I will curb government excess, namely, there will be no government. This means no zombie air force one, no zombie vacations, no large zombie cabinets of overpaid advisers. Can my opponent promise this? Can my opponent promise anything? If he can, that means he is talking to you and he is not a zombie.

I'm tough on crime. There will be no crime, but still. Your fresh brain is yours to eat, not your neighbors, not the mob of likeminded zombies you travel with, Yours. My team is currently working on ways to enforce this. I call it: One Brain, One Zombie. In the future, I will most likely refer to it as "Braaaaaiiins" (assuming my lower jaw has remained intact).

In the first 100 days of my Zombiedency I will propose plans for finding and and then eating all the brains. Underground bunkers, fortified malls and chain linked compounds will be no match for our tireless dedication to eating all the brains. They will be so very tasty and there is no reason we should not have them.

I am strictly against sniper headshots, decapitations, being shotgunned in the face and / or other crowbar-like weapons thrust into and / or through our heads. It will be the only way to kill us so let's stop the violence before it starts, people. We all love a good, dramatic growl and moan but when Mr MovieHero has his sawed-off pointed right at your slack jaw, duck. Live (undead) to moan and drool another day.

Speaking of moaning, I know we cant add additional words to our vocabulary (of Uhhhhhh) but could we at least start pointing? It would great aid in helping others of us know where the humans ran off to.

With your help, we can make the future a feast of brains and glorious, bloody flesh as we turn humans, all the humans, into zombies. I'd like to lead you, future zombie. Towards .. a brain. Yes, that one. go get it.

Yours truly,
Gnarrrrrgllllarrrr ChompArrgh

Covering covers # 1 - Song to the Siren

In a new, ongoing series of utterly awesome things that come from the mind of me, I present the most bloggy thing I've done in quite a while: wholly biased reviews of every possible cover I can find of many songs that warrant such a collection. Reviews, anecdotes, wild tangents.. all of it for your amusement, my folly and the greater benefit of research scientists everywhere. Your welcome, internet.

I've always known that the first song I'd cover-catalog, so to speak, would be Song To The Sirens. Why? I'm not sure. It's so ballady and emo, you'd think I'd be too cool for school to label it one of my favorite songs ever. As a goth teenager with a self-stifled picture of musical history and genres, I mistakenly thought this song was created by This Mortal Coil (2nd version below).
Alas, no. Written in 1967 by Tim Buckley and his writing partner Larry Beckett, it was first released on Buckley's 1970 album Starsailor ..later released on Morning Glory: The Tim Buckley Anthology, the album featuring a performance of the song taken from the final episode of The Monkees TV show [March 25, 1968.] Wikipedia actually has a great page of background info on the song (thank you internet?) so check it out if ya like. Otherwise, on to the versions....

SeeqPod - Playable Search