Tuesday, April 29, 2008

(Sing Along)

I am ancient, this I know.
The C.W. told me so...

Come on, you all know the tune!

Is anyone else as excited as I am that the writer's strike is over, and "Gossip Girl" is back and sassier than ever?

Yes, I am fully aware that I am a bit too old to take such delight in a television show about rich high school kids--particularly considering they're all UESers, and after spending 9 months as the hired help in that little corner of the universe, I came to the conclusion that I can't stand rich people--yet I can't help myself.

So last night I was comfortably camped out on my couch, a bit more-than-tipsy from celebrating a friend's birthday (as evidenced by the large plate of less-than-healthy snackage which I was inhaling) and watching the evening's episode thanks to my faithful DVR.

All the kids were stressing about their SATs and I was laughing thinking "oh come on, they're not THAT bad..." when Serena said something about needing to score higher than 2200.



Isn't the maximum 1600?

Suddenly my paltry 1350 of yesteryear no longer sounds so impressive.

Much like my potential-future-children will never lay eyes on an audio cassette or a VHS tape, and will gasp in shock that their mother was born in the 1900s, so too will they eventually reach that golden age and ask "So mom... what did you get on your SATs?"

... and gasp in shock that their mother could be such a dunce.

Le sigh.

Yes, I am, of course, being ridiculously over-dramatic, but with only 2 weeks left in the semester, I am allowed. Expect many more posts of such inconsequential nature--if, indeed, I manage to write at all.

And so, because making lists helps me focus my stress more keenly as I take in just how much I actually have to get done... here is the "To Do" list from today through May 9th.

  1. 5-7 page research paper on Martha Graham. This is trifling really, because a.) 5 pages is NOTHING, and b.) I already did all the research a month or so ago... I just need to re-examine. But still, it's work.

  2. Final Self-Assessment for Acting/Directing class. Yes, that's right, we grade ourselves. And then defend that grade like the Greeks defended Thermopylae... though hopefully with greater success.

  3. 3-5 minute solo physical performance piece. Have I started this yet? Hahaha, that's a good one...

  4. Show review/analysis of a piece of physical theatre. Have I seen a show? No. Do I have time to see a show? No. Hopefully I can find a way to make "The Awesome 80s Prom" at Webster Hall count, because I'm going there for a Bachelorette party next weekend.

  5. Job Application for a position in the Fall, which requires: A cover letter outlining my teaching style and philosophy (like I have any clue what that is); A C.V., which I need to start from scratch, because no arts organization cares that I booked international travel and made powerpoints for a bunch of executives; and, a 45-minute experiential lesson plan to prepare elementary school students to see a show that I myself have never seen.

On top of all this, I also have a reading for the short film project I'm working on, a call-back for a staged reading series, a youth theatre show to attend, a Bachelorette party, a day of shooting for the short film, dresses to buy for upcoming weddings, train tickets to buy for upcoming wedding, and plane tickets to buy for my travels this summer.

So, as you can see, I am perhaps just a teeeensy bit swamped.

Where oh where have the last three months gone??

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Once heard and thrice beaten...

Three days of Shakespeare? Fantastic.

Three episodes of "The Tudors" and a bottle of Three Buck Chuck after Three loooong days?

Almost better.


Here's hoping your weekend was thrice fabulous!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday Snippet

Setting: Hallway outside the room where "Afternoon Tea" was taking place on Day 2 of the conference--"Afternoon Tea" sounding far fancier than was actually the case.

Moderately Odd British Guy: Oh! You were [That Role I Play In Outreach Company]

Froggy: Yes, I was.

MOBG: You did very well.

Froggy: Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

MOBG: You seemed to be enjoying yourself.

Froggy: Oh yes, definitely!

MOBG: So you are... what are you doing?


Froggy: I, er, I'm getting my Masters in Educational Theatre

MOBG: And you are an actress? You've been acting for many years?

Froggy: Most of my life, yes.


MOBG: Well...


MOBG: We do some very... allegorical Shakespeare work. Take my card. If it interests you... email me. Yes....

Froggy looks at card, supresses a groan, and puts it in her pocket.

Froggy: Thanks, I will.

Exit, Moderately Odd British Guy

* * * *

Flattering? Perhaps.

Ironic? Definitely.

The only company that solicits me is the only company presenting at the conference with whom I would not want to work.

Basically they believe that Shakespeare's plays contain allegory reflecting a Jewish theological perspective, and thus believe they were written by a (Jewish) woman poet.


I've had enough Shakespearean Conspiracy Theories, thankyouverymuch.

Oh well, still one more day to go. There's still time for that mystery plant from the RSC to come offer me an apprenticeship and, you know, pay off my Masters while they're at it... right?


Hey, a frog can dream...

I'm just dreaming that my prince comes bearing a three-year contract.

Ed. Note: UPDATE -- So after having my little snarky moment above, I went back to the conference program to read about the other people from [Company] aside from MOBG... and their credits were quite impressive. I just may have to recant a bit, after I do some research. After all... I don't necessarily have to buy their theory in order to perform in their shows... do I?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Struckey has loxed again.

Pardon me, I am a bit fried this evening. You see, I have sold my soul.

Yes, it's true. Until sometime in the afternoon on Monday, my soul belongs to... Shakespeare.

Today was the first day of a three day conference on Shakespeare in education, featuring some fabulous (and some not-so fabulous) workshops, a performance by yours truly with my outreach company, and a keynote address by a renowned Shakespearean actor perhaps best known for roles in Nicholas Nicholby, "Cheers," and Robin Hood: Men In Tights (from whence comes the title of this post).

And I must say... he may be in his 60s, but I've got a bit of a crush.

Also the address was fabulous and inspiring and available via podcast next week!! If you remind me (should you be so inclined) I will share some highlights when my brain has regained its usual level of functionality.

After the performance and talk-back, my ensemble-mates and I went out for food and fellowship... which of course involved a few martinis on my part, only adding to my somewhat frazzled state.

Really, I'm just exhausted. And I have two more days to go!

And so I shall leave you with a little bit of writing I composed at the end of a workshop on doing Shakespeare in prisons. The first line comes from The Scottish Play (I can't say it, and you can't make me!!), and the rest is all Froggy.


The instruments of darkness tell us truths
that else would never fall beneath our gaze.
A watching, wary seeker who should chance
this mystery, shall now see through the haze.
To sleeping country ne'er beheld by man.
The waking tide, a single grain of sand.

(Oh yeah, that's iambic pentameter, bitches!)

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Reasons You Wish You Were Me

  1. Homemade, fresh-baked ciabatta
  2. Massive chopped salad
  3. Chicken stuffed with spinach and a mixture of cream cheese and Italian cheeses.


I felt the burning need to document this evening's dinner because the last restaurant I worked in had a killer chopped salad and tonight is the first time I managed to duplicate it! Hoorah!!

Oh, and in case you don't like chicken (or, god forbid, bread!), here's one more reason: I finally cleaned my apartment this week and as such my dining room table has been unearthed from beneath the mounds of school work that have occupied it for the past several months... Lookie!! It actually looks like a grown-up lives here!!

Who wouldn't want to eat dinner at that table?

Though Kermie here might tend to disagree with the whole "grown-up" thing...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The "date" was... okay.

It certainly wasn't bad, definitely not. There just wasn't any... spark. No chemistry. That flirty energy I had sensed while we were working together appears, like Elvis, to have left the building.

We had good conversation. He asked me about school, what I was doing, where I hoped to go with it. We talked about travel--he's been all over as well and had many interesting stories to share. I still have no idea how old he is, though based on conversation I think he is older than my original guess, but still within a decade. We had a few drinks, chatted for awhile, then walked up to 14th St together and hugged goodbye when we went our separate ways.

It was fun... but I did not ride home on the subway filled with that heady rush of ohmigod-that-was-amazing-I-can't-wait-to-see-him-again!! Granted, that heady rush usually gets me into trouble, but that doesn't mean I don't want it to be there.

I'm just... not sure. Maybe we were both nervous. Maybe the overhanging cloud of expectations dampened the energy I thought I'd sensed between us before.

Or maybe that was just the magic of the theatre.

It's difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced it, but the true magic of the theatre goes far, far beyond anything the audience gets to see. The energy that is unleashed through this cooperative act of creation creates bonds that are both instantaneous and fleeting. I've fallen in love at least once during any production I've worked on--more if I'm feeling particularly saucy. I call it the "show crush." Generally inappropriate and rarely--if ever--acted upon; the show crush is the one person with whom that bond forms the tightest, and you could swear you would be perfect together if only that person weren't so old/young/married/gay. You take breaks together, lurk together giggling on the sidelines when rehearsals are slow. For a few months you eat, sleep, breathe this person as if they were your oxygen--all the while pretending everything is perfectly normal, and everyone around you knowing that it is perfectly not.

And when the final curtain goes down, you part ways. You think fondly of one another from time to time; but after one last curtain call, one last tearful hug farewell and exchange of email addresses that will never be used, the bond slowly dissolves and you fade from one another's memories.

It really is the perfect break-up. No tears, no ill-feelings, no wounded ego to collect from the floor, reassemble, and start over again. Just a slight flutter when you come across an old photograph, or see a paddle with the word "Mistress" studded on the surface.

So perhaps, on a much smaller scale, SFox was just another show crush.

Or perhaps it was just a mediocre date.

Small runs of nostalgia aside, I'm not splitting hairs. If he asks to see me again, I'd do it, but the ball is most definitely in his court. If he doesn't, well, I don't think I'll be crying myself to sleep over this one.

Come to think of it, that--in and of itself--is quite the victory.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Like Sands Through the Hourglass...

I got my first taste at age 17.

It was the Spring of my Junior year of high school, and twice a week I surrendered my 6th period study hall to go down to one of the Home Ec labs and sew costumes for the massive dance production my high school staged each year.

The brand-new, ten million dollar auditorium was not the only recent effort to make the school as high-tech and up-to-date as possible for 1997, and so each classroom had a very nice television mounted in a corner near the front. There were several of us sewing costumes, and as we sat at our surgers running pastel jersey under the needles, we were allowed to watch TV to amuse ourselves.

That's how it started.

There were two Seniors down there with me, and each day they would tune the TV to Channel 7, and there it would be...

Days of Our Lives.

Stephano, played by Joe Masocolo, still reined supreme in Salem. Kristen had Marlena locked in that basement room of the DiMera Mansion. I couldn't understand what on earth Kristen saw in John, but I hated Marlena for being such a goody-goody stick-in-the-mud, and so I cheered Kristen on at every interval, even as she used the crazy, Elvis-loving nanny Susan to further her schemes.

Summer arrived and each day at 1:00pm I was glued to the television. When school began again, I only saw the show once in a blue moon, when I was home sick, or when I skipped school to go stay at High School Boyfriend's house--letting me watch Days was always part and partial to the deal. Fortunately Soaps move at such a retarded pace that the plot can be followed even with sporadic viewing.

Then came college, and my own tv/vcr which I knew how to program. I taped it each day and would take one or two evenings a week to watch the shows that I had taped. When I went abroad for a year--where they are several years behind on all the American soaps--I found a wesbite (surprisingly run by a man!) that gave a daily synopsis so detailed it was like watching the show yourself.* Yet I still regret missing the massacre at Greta's coronation.

After college I moved to New York. It was a bit shaky for the first few months when I was living with Cambodia (aka, "The One That Got Away"), but then I moved and found a new job and fell into a groove. Wake up, watch Days, go to work... rinse, repeat. My roommate even got to the point where she knew the characters and their backstory.

And then, as so often happens in the Soap Opera world... I slowly fell out of love. The stories weren't as good. My favourite characters were all gone. Kristen and Stephano were both now on The Young and the Restless (not the characters, of course, but the actors--Eileen Davidson and Joseph Masocolo). And I got bored. And eventually... I stopped watching.

I broke up with Days of Our Lives.

Until recently.

About a month ago, I was piddling around with my DVR and suddenly I thought... "Hey, I wonder what's going on on Days these days..."

So I set my DVR to record. And I started watching.

And it's not as good as it used to be. Not by a long shot.

And yet I was still intrigued.

You see... I have always had a soft-spot for Magical Realism, which is a trademark of Mexican and Chicano literature and theatre. But it is also a trademark of a Soap Opera.

In any other genre, if you lose an actor, the character is gone. In a soap, you simply re-cast. The only exception to this rule of which I am aware is the original Tom Horton from Days, whose voice is still used for the famous voiceover during the opening credits. Otherwise, any role is open game.

I love the fact that a single day can span two weeks, but children can age decades over a single episode.

I love that nobody is ever dead--not really. As they so clearly illustrated in the movie "Soapdish" (one of my favourites), anybody can come back from the dead.

I love that the acting is fabulously terrible--though I still maintain that Days has the best actors of any Soap currently on the air.

But most of all I love that I could stop watching for three years, turn on my TV, and within three episodes figure out what's going on--who had died, who is back from the dead, who is dating, who is divorced, who are friends, and who are enemies--and I already have predictions as to where the show will go.

Don't get me wrong, it's not the same as it used to be. When they dramatically aged Belle and Shawn (formerly Shawn D), I fell in love with Kirsten Storms and Jason Cook--no other replacements will ever do those roles justice. Then again, they've brought back the original rapidly-aged Phillip, and got rid of that jarhead moron who had no chemistry with ANYBODY, least of all Belle who was supposed to be his wife.

So, much like Marlena is having difficulty reconciling herself to this "new" John, I found myself having difficulty reconciling myself to this "new" Days, which is not necessarily the show I fell in love with well over a decade ago. Yet I think Marlena should take a page out of my book. Because this new version? It may not be as good as the old, not by a looooong shot... but it has its merits. And I'm willing to see where it leads.

For the time being... I shall follow.

*To those few of you who know my real name: if you Google it, I believe you will stil find a link to a version of a Days drinking game that I updated, still posted on that site.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Bronx, Burgers, BBQ Sauce, and Blade Runner

What, you may ask, do these three things have in common? Well, other than beginning with the letter B, each played an interesting role in my day yesterday.... which was LONG, but (on the whole) lovely.

I woke up at the CODA (Crack of Dawn's Ass) to head to the Bronx for the final performance by my outreach program. However, it seems that I am an idiot and read the call-time wrong, and was hence aiming to arrive half an hour late, and to add insult to injury, my 5 train decided to start running local in the Bronx, AND terminated 2 stops before where I needed to get off.

A note to the general public: power-walking in Crocs? Not fun.

And before you lambast me for sporting this most heinous of footwear, relax. They are the ballet flat version. If I didn't tell you they were Crocs, you'd never know.

The performance itself was ehn. The kids were rowdy and the accoustics in the space only served to amplify every fidget and whisper to epic proportions. Their teachers really did nothing to keep them in line, thus I blame the staff more than the students, but it was still irritating.

Afterwards I made it home for a brief nap before heading back into the city for a meeting about all of my study-abroad programs this Summer. All I can say is... YAY!! This is going to seriously kick ass.

After the meeting we had some time to kill, so Slater and I found a pub with outdoor tables and sat on the sidewalk having burgers and beers. During this lovely lunch/dinner (Linner? Dunch?) I decided to "come out" to Slater about the blog. He was actually intrigued, and flattered that he made it in here and earned a nickname :) (Though he and I are in agreement that the nickname I've given him probably conjures up a mental image that is quite far removed from his actual appearance... which I think makes it doubly amusing).

I love sitting at sidewalk tables, though I often wonder what passers-by would make of the snippets of conversation they hear as they pass by--"What was I saying? Oh! Right! The Chlamydia story!!"--and I think we were panhandled by at least 3 different people, but such is the price we pay to enjoy an excellent burger al fresco.

We left and tried to find a spot to camp out in the tragically diminished Washington Square Park (do not get me started on the insane bullshit that is going on over there... closing half the park to move a fountain TEN FEET??? FOR A PHOTO OP!?!? GAH!!!), so Slater could listen to the monologue I'd just barely memorized. Fortunately he told me I didn't sound like an ass, and I went off to my audition, which went well (knock wood).

After the audition I headed over to rehearsal for Slater's directing piece (yes, we spent well over 50% of the day together). One of the performers in his piece is actually a professor in our program, and after rehearsal we all trekked over to her apartment to order pizza, check out her massage chair (incidentally, if I had one of these things in my house, I don't think I'd ever leave), and kill time before the midnight showing of Blade Runner (the final cut) at The Sunshine.

And where does BBQ sauce fit into all of this? Well... there is this girl, let's call her Mama, and Mama basically has no filter whatsoever. Whatever pops into her head, she says... with the most simple, soft-voiced, deadpan delivery, that if you didn't know any better you'd swear she was screwing with you.

She is not.

So the pizza arrived while I was out on a beer run, and Mama asked the professor if she had any BBQ sauce. When the professor responded in the negative, Mama responded:

"Oh. You see, because I am black, I tend to put BBQ sauce on everything."

It helps to imagine it being said in the same tone of voice in which Queen Elizabeth II might say "Lovely weather, fancy a spot of tea?"

Now, with a comment like that, you would think she was from somewhere down South... Georgia, or Alabama perhaps.

She is not.

She is from Trinidad.

Perhaps you had to be there... trust me, if Slater is reading this right now, he is laughing his ass off.

Sadly she did not come with us to see the movie... though when we were turning off our cell phones Slater got a text from the girl who walked to the subway with her, stating "Mama just told me that the massage chair made her gassy."

Oh, and seeing Blade Runner on a big screen? Ridiculously awesome.

Finally managing to hail a cab on the LES at 2am on Friday night, only to have the meter break and have to get out a block later? Not so awesome.

And finally, to wrap-up this long-winded and Seinfeld-esque (i.e., really about nothing) post...

I have a date on Tuesday!!

Whether or not he knows it's a date remains to be seen... but I think/hope so.

His nickname shall be: The Silver Fox. No, he is not 60.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Overthink Everything

So the gentleman in question wrote back... in the affirmative!

However, he also sent another email to everyone in our group saying we should grab drinks sometime.

The response to my email was written around 1am. The email to everybody around 9:30am. So what does this mean? Is he going to try to combine the two and thereby eliminate the possible connotation as a date?

Or am I just being ridiculously paranoid?

I'm guessing that Option B is more likely to be the case, but hey... we all have our little defense mechanisms. Mine is expecting the worst so as never to be disappointed.

So please, my dears, send positive thoughts my way :)

And now I am off to do laundry. You know it's bad when you have so much dirty laundry that it will require multiple trips to the laundromat. One one hand I wonder how I let it get so out of hand... on the other I wonder how the hell I wound up owning so many clothes!!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The email has been sent... I figured that my jumping every time my "new email" chime sounded, hoping that it was him beating me to the punch, was a sign I should just suck it up and do it.

But the gentleman in question only earns a Moniker if he responds.

If he responds in the affirmative.

That being said, I am off to start reading up on the Institutional Review Board, because without their blessing I will be unable to do my culminating project next semester and will be forced to finish my degree buried in the library doing something far less interesting than what I currently have planned.

Ahhhh, I love the smell of red tape in the evening.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Postcard From a State of Relative Relaxation...

Everyone now... take a deep breath....

Aaaaand... let it out.



Well, I survived the weekend. I felt like ass for most of it, which didn't help, and my plan to spend an evening with Slater watching DVDs of "Coupling" and drinking tequila had to be forfeited for the sake of my health, but still. I made it.

The dinosaur bones came out great. I wish I'd taken a photo of them, but I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off and afterwards I donated them to the school's prop closet because I'd be damned if I was lugging them back to Brooklyn on the subway. Getting them into the city during rush hour was bad enough.

For those who were wondering, they were a set piece for a scene presentation in class. The play called for a partially assembled T-Rex skeleton to be present on stage, and so I did my best to bring that to fruition.

Overall the presentation went well, and the only foul-ups were entirely out of my hands so really, I can't complain.

The end of the semester is rushing towards me like a freight train, but for today I took it easy. I promised my body that if it got me through the weekend intact I would spend today being lazy, and so I did.

I slept late. I watched a movie recommended by the director of my short film project and I have now decided that he is not allowed to give me any further film recommendations. Cinematically, it was lovely. But the characters just made me angry and I really, really just did NOT like the protagonist. At all. And it's hard for me to enjoy a film when I really just don't like anybody on the screen.

It was a French film called "La Haine" (Hate). Basically the main characters were all French hoodlums who live by that apparently male code of solve-everything-by-getting-angry-and-violent. Behavior like that just irritates me. Oh, the girl doesn't immediately want to fuck you as soon as she lays eyes on you? Let's get mad and break things, because really, that's the logical way to react.

No thanks.

So to get myself back to a happy place I decided to delve further into the Netflix pile and watch "Newsies," because I'd never seen it before.

I'll give you all a moment to gasp and grumble in indignation (I'm looking at you DS).

...there. All done?

So aside from the fact that it was so very very Disney it kinda made my teeth hurt, I loved it. The choreography alone makes it worth watching--I really do love all male dance numbers. Any of you Newsie-files out there know if Christian Bale was actually doing his own dancing? If so, he has now climbed another few rungs on the ladder of hotness, because I loves me some men who can dance.

And the uber-cheesy "New York" accents? Priceless.

In other news, I've got myself a bit of a crush, and I'm seeking advice. For one of the scenes in our scene presentation, the director (a girl in my class) brought in several of her friends to be the other actors, and one of them most definitely caught my eye... and what minor flirtation I allowed myself did not appear to be entirely unreciprocated. I didn't want to flat out hit on him and risk making the working environment uncomfortable but the presentation is over now, so my question is... is it kosher to shoot him a "hey, want to grab a drink sometime?" email without saying anything to the girl in my class? I feel like it might be a bit awkward if I were to suddenly hit on her friend... but it would be equally awkward to be like "Hey L, your friend is kinda hot... mind if I ask him out?"

Slater says just go for it. What do you think?

And finally, I am relieved to announce that Super Roach has not shown his face--or any other part of his nuclear-holocaust-withstanding body--since last Thursday; and while my eyes do immediately migrate to the spot in which he made his debut whenever I enter the kitchen, I no longer live in abject fear of discovering him vacationing in my bag of chocolate covered pretzels.

Because really? I fucking HATE roaches. Mice, I can handle. They're cute and furry and so long as they stay out of my food, I really don't mind if they occasionally want to make a shortcut through my apartment en route to wherever they may be headed. If they get too cheeky, my cat will teach them a lesson. But roaches? Roaches do not seem to interest her... and this particular roach? He looked like all he needed to do was learn English and he could take over the fucking world.

Fine with me, so long as he stays out of my fucking apartment.

And that, my friends, is the current state of affairs. I'm sure I'll manage to work myself back into a manic mess about something before the week is out, but for today? Today I am walking on the sunny side of the street.

And I must say... it's rather nice.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursday by Numbers

Trips made into Manhattan: 2

Meetings Held: 2

Bits of information in Meeting 2 that were already received in Meeting 1: 437

Art stores visited: 1

Art stores that had wheat paste available on website: 1

Art stores with wheat paste actually in stock: 0

Blocks walked in search of an art store I thought I'd see before, but was apparently mistaken: 18

Dollars spent at Trader Joe's after giving up on non-existent art store: 65

Erroneous grocery items purchased: 1 (rice pudding?? wtf!?!?)

Non-art stores visited in rare bout of optimism that they would carry wheat paste: 2

Boroughs in which those stores were located: 2

Copies of AM New York pilfered from box on the corner: 8

Hours spend on kitchen floor making papier mache dinosaur bones: 2

Dinosaur bones awaiting next layer of papier mache, provided I can stretch my supplies: 6

Copies of AM New York remaining: 3

Trader Joe's Bags awaiting decimation: 30 (a rough estimate)

Days until dino bones need to be finished: 3 1/2

Days in which I actually have time to work on them: 1-ish

Classes attended: 1

Pairs of flip-flops worn: 1 (FLIP FLOPS!! OUTSIDE!!!)

Gi-motherfucking-NORMOUS roaches spotted scurrying across my kitchen counter: 1

Ear-splitting shrieks emitted: 1

Obscenities uttered: countless

Wishes that Home Depot was open late so I could buy Roach Hotels RIGHT FUCKING NOW: innumerable

Second-thoughts before touching/lifting/opening any item in the kitchen: at least 30

Turkey-burgers with goat cheese and roasted red peppers cooked and consumed in spite of roach paranoia: 1

Dinnertime: 11:30pm

Bedtime: coming up reaaal soon.

Christ I cannot WAIT for this week to be OVER!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Holy Shitballs.

There were two electric bills in my mail pile this evening. One addressed to me as living on the third floor (where I have never lived), and one on the 4th (which is where I do live, although my apartment number is 3).

The one to the Third Floor address closed my account and told me I owed nothing further.

The one on the Fourth Floor was a new account number and told me I owed OVER SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!

WTF are they smoking over there?!? How on earth could my little tiny apartment use over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH in electricity!?! That's nearly as much as my fucking RENT!!

You can bet your ass that someone over at ConEd will be getting a motherfucking earful tomorrow morning.

Damn skippy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Snarf. v.

the act of unintentionally expelling a beverage or food item through one's nose, generally the result of witnessing something humorous.

When my girlfriends and I were 12 years old or so, we were obsessed with Pixie Stix. Then again, who wasn't? Artificially flavoured sugar in convenient straw-shaped packaging? Who wouldn't be?

And, as inevitably happens when you are too young to experiment with real drugs, but wish to emulate the experience of doing so, someone came up with the brilliant idea of snorting Pixie Stix.

Why? I have no fucking idea.

But I totally did it.

One night I watched as a friend of mine laid backwards with her head hanging off the end of her bed, inserted the end of an up-side-down Pixie Stick into her nose, and took a looooong inhale...

...and promptly shrieked, leapt off the bed, and flew to the bathroom to attempt to rinse her nose out while I, like any good friend, rolled around on her bedroom floor laughing hysterically.

Rest assured that I bring this story up nearly every time I see her, which, fortunately for her, is not all that often.

This particular event left an indelible impression upon me, and I have always assumed that, above all other foreign substances to enter the nasal cavity--water, milk, grape soda, benzoylmethyl ecgonine--Pixie Stix must be the most painful.

I was, as fate would have it, sorely mistaken.

This afternoon I decided to make a pizza burger for lunch--a pepperoni pizza burger. A restaurant in Hometown used to call it a Godfather Burger, and it is divine.

As my burger browned atop the stove I prepped my toppings and realized that, after topping the burger, I would only have 2 slices of pepperoni left. It seemed silly to put two little slices back in the fridge, so I popped them in my mouth and went about cleaning up the counter.

Then I coughed.

Wait... was that? Did I just feel a piece of pepperoni fly up into my nasal cavity?

I gave an experimental sniff.

Nope. Seemed all clear. Then, a moment later, it began to burn.


I sniffed more frantically, but nothing moved. The burn was getting worse and without thinking I grabbed my Neti Pot from the cabinet, filled it with water directly from the tap, and attempted to dislodge the rogue piece of pepperoni.


Let it be known: Jala Neti normally does not hurt... because you use saline (water with the same concentration of salt as the human body). But flushing your nasal cavity with untreated, cold, Brooklyn tap water? When it's already full of fucking pepperoni? HURTS!!

So now I'm coughing and sputtering and my eyes are blurred with tears as I grope for a paper towel to blow my by-now-very-unhappy nose. I find one and stumble into the dining room frantically blowing my nose.


And there, in the paper towel, was a tiny bit of pepperoni.


And another one.

I believe that, through this highly scientific method, the score now rests at Pepperoni - 1, Pixie Stix - 0.

Lunch, however, was delicious!

Friday, April 4, 2008


I have not written much about my time in Uganda.

The truth of the matter is that here I am, months later, still processing everything I saw and experienced; and while I am further along now than I was upon my return, I think it will be years before I fully understand the effect it has had on me.

This evening we gathered in a dance studio on campus--the students from this trip, from last year's trip, and people who just wanted to learn about our experiences. We watched a few short videos from both years, and then each student shared a reflection. Some were short, some were... not. Some brought tears, some brought laughter. But mostly I felt joy, and a sense of community.

I will share one of them with you now.

On our last night in Uganda, we went to see a performance of the NDere troupe--an amazing group of traditional Ugandan dancers. I wish I had photos or video of the Pot Dance, which is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, but alas it was dark by then and none of my photos turned out. However, here is an example from earlier in the evening...

Incredible, no?

Aside from being a national treasure of sorts, the NDere dancers are also a large tourist attraction. As such, touristy-type entertainments take place, generally to cover the costume changes. At one point all the children in the audience were brought to the stage to dance. Another time all the foreigners--which was over half the audience--came to the stage and we sang "Amazing Grace" (which, heretic though I may be, I must admit brought tears to my eyes).

Towards the end of the evening, two groups were called to the stage. Ours, and a group of Australian missionaries.

We had a dance-off.

Bear in mind that, while yes we were there to study dance, half of our number were not dancers.

It seems that none of the Australians were.

Yet their energy was impressive as they leapt and cavorted and, well, taunted us quite extensively. After a few seconds we pulled ourselves together and found the rhythm of the drummers behind us, falling into one of the steps we'd learned from our immensely patient teachers, now cheering us on from the sidelines.

After several minutes of dancing (on our part) and silliness (on the Australians'), the drums ceased. The Emcee culled several volunteers from the audience to act as our judges. In turn he asked each of them which group should win, and why. In turn, they each named the Americans victorious, which was gratifying in and of itself.

By the time he reached the final judge, a Ugandan woman, we had already won by a landslide; but still he asked for her vote, and she replied... "The Americans."

He asked her why.

"Because they understand African music. They understand African dance."

I felt my heart swell with pride and love as the Australians ran across the stage to hug us, and our Ugandan friends joined us on the stage for a victory rendition of the Owaru dance.

The remainder of the evening passed in a blur of tearful farewells and singing on the bus back to our final night at our peculiar Chinese hotel... and yet that one moment is crystalized in my mind.

Standing on that stage, vacated only moments before by some of the most incredible dancers I had ever witnessed, I realized that these friends had taught me much more than steps and words.

I may have left a piece of myself in Africa, but deep inside I brought a piece of Africa home with me.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Darling, I love you... Now STOP trying to convert me!

I have a friend who loves Jesus.

A lot.

When we were in Middle School, she actually chose, of her own volition, to leave our public school and attend a private Christian school. While I never set foot inside those hallowed halls, I am willing to bet that it was similar to that high school in the movie "Saved."

This girl has been my friend for many years, since elementary school. I love her, I do, but in the name of all that is sacred, I really wish she would stop trying to shove Jesus down my throat.

I have a sensitive gag reflex.

I grew up in what I like to call the Bible Belt of Pennsylvania. The majority of my friends subscribe to some breed of Christianity, which is, of course, a personal choice and one that I would not impede. I may have tried, when I was younger and first discovering my own sense of the world, to entreat them to look at things from a logical (i.e., my) perspective, but I have since learned to respect their individual spiritual rights. To each her own, etc.

I wish she would do the same for me. For all of us.

Her best friend fell in love with a woman, and hid it from her for years because she was afraid of her reaction--and rightly so. When she finally told her, rather than being happy that her friend had found love, she flipped out because it was a "sin." Their friendship has since recovered, in a sort, but you'd have to be blind not to see the tension when she and the girlfriend are in the same room.

A few years ago I was going through a rough patch and I emailed my Girls--she among them--to vent about how life was shitting on my and I sincerely wished it would stop.

Her response was something along the lines of "I know you probably don't want to hear this, but there is Someone out there who will always love you, and He will always listen when you are ready to talk."

She was correct. I did not want to hear that. So why, in my time of need, rather than comfort me, did she feel this inexplicable need to say something which she knew would only piss me off? What is it about Christianity that its most ardent followers feel driven to impose their religion on everyone within ear shot?

I've never had a Jewish person knock on my door and ask if I'd like to read the Torah. Muslims don't try to flag me down in the subway and hand out leaflets. This need to convert the populace seems to me to be a strictly Christian passtime.

Perhaps you are wondering what spawned this little tirade.

A few minutes ago I received an email from this friend. It was prefaced with:

"I know some of you do and some of you don't share my beliefs, but for no matter what, this is a powerful skit!"

Right, sure it is.

As I scrolled through the email, the previous fowarders had added messages such as:

"I absolutely had to pass this on. It was preformed at our Easter service, it was so powerful and touched me deeply. Such a vivid visual of God's never ending love for us, no matter where we are, or what we may be going through. Praise and glory to God for His sweet presence and constant love for us.

This link is for the same skit preformed at another church. The awesome part of the skit is when the congregation erupts in cheers over the Lord's victory."

At this point I was fully aware that whatever followed was not something I cared to see. However, curiosity, as they say, killed the cat.

Apparently that also applies to frogs.

This is what followed.

I made it about 5 seconds in before I stopped and closed the window.

The bottom line, for me, is summed up in her initial message: "I know some of you do and some of you don't share my beliefs..."

That is correct. I do not share your beliefs. And while I wholeheartedly support your right to have those beliefs, I do not support your attempts to foist them upon me.

So please, my friend, in the name of all non-Christian-but-still-perfectly-good people out there... STOP trying to convert me. It will never work. And each attempt you make to do so only drives a deeper wedge between us.

The greatest thing you could do, as a Christian, and as my friend is stop trying to change me, and simply love me.

Isn't that what Christianity is really about?