Archive for May, 2009

At 94704

May 31, 2009

IMG_1023Sally’s cut a lovely swathe of pink roses that seem to still be climbing from their vase in Carole’s living room.  The coffee–truly home-roasted–is the best. I have a week with minimal work obligations ahead.

And now I am off to practice acting on the word: vacation!

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Unexpected bump ups

May 30, 2009

My friend Linda and I had made plans to meet for a drink yesterday, after BEA.  She’d spotted a distinct possibility, for those of us who cherish single malts, and so I headed over to St. Andrews, a not surprisingly Scottish themed pub on W 46th.  It turned out to be quite nice, oddly free of tourists (but rife with a crowd who looked like aging rugby players).

I got there (no surprise) 15 minutes early, having literally crossed paths in the crosswalk of 8th avenue at W 46th with two “Billys” and 1 “Michael” from the “Billy Elliott” production at the Imperial theater.the Michel appeared to be the one we’d see the night before but the 2 Billys (including the Cuban who lives in Montreal) had had Thursday night off.  the three of them seemed on a mission to see how the “Jersey Boys” banner painting on the west side of the thesater looked from across the avenue.

Oh, well, I was 15 minutes early as I trundled by them–and then I realized that the St Andrews pub is squarely across the street from St Mary the Virgin church, where my mother’s ashes are interred.  Not what I was expecting as a cool your heels activity, but, what else would one do?

the organist was having some sort of practice session, one that might be for an upcoming really big show involving a highly dramatic–not to say bombastic–train wreck. Loud doesn’t touch it as a name.

After all that, the ruggers at the pub that seemed to be really in Scotland instead of Times Square–oh, how welcome!

Welcome to the 80’s

May 29, 2009

One of the things I actually love about shows at the Javits is, of course, the walk there.  With this morning’s rain, that walk was reduced to the Times Square-through-Hell’sKitchen portion but the sun’s out this afternoon and…here’s the part I LOVE: the Central Park horses, who are cared for in Hell’s Kitchen, in the block around 11th/10th Ave and W39th, were out being bathed this afternoon in the sunshine. There, just southwest of Port Authority, there above the highway, tethered to the fence on the sidewalk proper so they are in the same space as passersby.  It always feels magice to me, moreso as the years go by.

Last evening there was a different magic, the theatrical kind.  I went to see Billy Elliott and, yes, the staged version is different from the movie and a great, politically charged story and the dancing is jus plain unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so positively content with such an outing; my only regret is that Fred probably won’t see it here.

So there it is: 1880’s this afternoon, Thatcher’s 80’s last night.  And the temp has climbed to about 80 (back in Fahrenheit land!), too.

back in the neighborhood

May 29, 2009

Out in the world of the neighbourhood, the little girls leaving St Hilda’s and St Hughs for the day still wear white ankle socks and ballet flats with their light blue uniforms, although the little boys’ long sleeved white shirts have been modernized to sport Polo on the chest next to the maroon striped tie. 

IMG_1016 The neighbourhood’s Morningside Book Shop is closing this weekend, after a 50-year run.  A block away, Bank Street books is doing landoffice business in the after school hour.    IMG_1012

The building fronts west of Broadway look like a cake decorator’s practice board, with abundant curls of stone, carved blossoms, scrollwork that has pediments masquerading as cellos. I can never get enough of this eye candy. I make myself stop to eat a sandwich, although food doesn’t seem nearly as interesting—as necessary?—as detail gazing.  Tuna on rye here costs less than the daily special in Dartmouth; like the unfailing politeness of subway riders who excuse themselves when they bump into you in a relatively uncrowded situation, NYC puts the lie to its reputation as big, greedy and uncaring.  (When bumped in a tight crowd, there’s no need for excusing).

I eat the sandwich at a lunchcounter, admiring the madness behind it, up against the chrome faced wall:  three milkshake blenders with assorted syrups, glassware, soda spouts—and a half gallon bottle of vodka. Then back to walking, the best reason of all to come to New York.

Taking my 10 fingers and no excuses to the USA

May 27, 2009

This morning’s news from BBC pulled me in, of course:  Cancer drug erases fingerprints. Having never been diagnosed as having or being treated for cancer, this isn’t my issue.  But certainly the socio-political effects of the side effect of this drug are near and dear: if you don’t got the prints, the US (and Canada) raise eyebrows.

It may be that, because this article originates in Britain (where, in my experience, a variety of disabilities are actually addressed with legally required assistance) there is no discussion of why the ADA isn’t invocable in “our” situation. And the fact is, I haven’t suffered any swelling or other inflamation of the palms of my hands, as seems to be the culprit for these cancer patients.  My condition would seem to be idiopathic  (which, yes, looks like it’s related to idiocy, but let’s not get personal).

So, I’m off to the land of my birth today, toting all 10 fingers, replete with three prints among ’em, and relieved that in this situation I am not deemed a foreigner.  I’d never get out of the airport, since I’m not under treatment.

Appetizer?

May 26, 2009

The news from California was about to put the kibosh on my general good feeling about the world as I headed out the door today, so I walked up to the Bridge Terminal instead of taking the ferry.  While certainly no panacea against one kind of bigotry, I at least bought a front row seat to a lighter sort by so doing.

The bus was crowded and made us all privy to each others’ conversations. And lucky me, stuffed up against a couple blase university students:

“They stuck me in a bunch of philosophy classes!”

“Me, too!  Aristotle!  Can you believe Aristotle?  He’s got some crazy sh*t goin’ on.”

“Let’s go for Thai food!”

“For what?  I want to eat Chinese.”

“Oh then you’ll totally love Thai.  It’s fancy Chinese.  Pad tay [sic] is all noodles and shrimp and stuff.”

“I hate seafood.  I want Chinese.”

“Well, we don’t have to go for Thai. We could have Vietnamese.  There’s no seafood with that.”

“Have you had sushi?”

“I don’t like seaweed.  I like regular Chinese food.”

“But rice is better.  I don’t like to pay for cooked noodles.”

I was glad to see my stop. Glad we were going for Japanese food, seafood and seaweed and all.  Too bad we didn’t have a volume of Aristotle along.  Of all philosophers, he’d stroke out over the classification probs these folks expressed.

WWRR

May 25, 2009

Since forever, I’ve had a tendency to think one person (someone I don’t know) resembles another (someone I do know) when the resemblance isn’t apparent to anyone else–and, admittedly, likely has more to do with the known person being on my mind than any scientifically verifiable physical similarities. In this case, my motivation seems pretty clear:  I was sitting in a coffee shop booth yesterday morning when a group was seated at the next one ahead, and a woman in that party, whose back was to me but of whom I could see a partial profile looked like…well, just a little like Rory (okay, minus beard and hat).

In recent months, I’ve seen a flood of really good comics, ranging from The Photographer to Unlovable, and, of course, every time, I want to call Rory up and say: “Have you seen this yet?” And, of course, I wouldn’t get the chance to say much else, but I’d get back three of four more (per half hour) to consider as well. The question for me is, what would Rory  read?

I didn’t embarrass myself at the coffee shop by asking his transgender doppelganger.  But I did know he’d find the claim of  doppelganger-ness worthy of eyerolling…and it would inspire a book suggestion.

T minus three

May 24, 2009

The excited, if not exciting, period before a trip gets underway is now upon me. The right suitcase to take has been sorted; the dress for Al’s wedding is ironed; I’ve finally got a grasp on what I’ll wear this Thursday, to look properly professional without also looking pasty, on the Day of Dialog panel.

Bob, who leaves a week after I do (going straight to California, minus the NYC pre-trip), is working his way through seemingly every tie-tying video on YouTube.  Fred’s checked in from Dundee to say he found Al something she wants. I have about 10 hours of writing left to do before take-off and can’t figure how that will possibly work into the 72 hours that have to include 16 in the office, another 16-20 of sleep, and the assorted dribs and drabs necessary for general chores and a spot of reading.  Oh well.

Meanwhile, the world just outside my house continues in its own strange little whirlwind.  This afternoon I opened the front door to a crowd that continued heading north past my doorstep for literally minutes; turned out it was a walk-a-thon for MS. I couldn’t figure out how the pair of great danes fit in, but gave them space nonetheless.

The Chilean navy is here

May 23, 2009

When we started walking toward Hollis street this morning, along Morris, we could see the spar of a huge sailing ship cutting across the horizon line.  We walked on to the waterfront–no crowds at that hour, even though the sun had been up for hours and the air is warm and kind even right on the water–and arrived in time to see the Esmeralda‘s crew being mustered to morning rites of some formal sort.  This is one huge tall ship, with four masts, more than a couple dozen sails the sizes of small farms and a figurehead that appears to be a turkey in flight.

It’s not, of course, but rather a condor. I just never knew that condors have red wattles much like the turkey’s.  Never knew about the Esmeralda‘s history either.  She looks far too cheery, and her crew too laid back, to get this image in mind readily. But not impossible.

The shipping news

May 22, 2009

Most of this week the harbour has been home to two German battleships, great dark grey things, the larger of which is more massive than any US one I’ve seen (and I’ve been in San Diego and other battleship-heavy ports).  The radar features made for massive superstructure along the “skyline” and the German flags at the bow were…well, Germanic.  There is something about seeing a German battleship–however postmodern–that is just unsettling to me.

They cruised away this morning, with crew in full dress.  And in their wake appeared a strange submarine.  It wasn’t one of the British anchovie cans, but longer and with a prow that turned up more sharply than a cartoon snub nose. There were folks on its deck–of course the thing was mostly afloat rather than submerged or who would have known from a third story window at harbourside that it was there at all?–and they, most unlike the Germans, were in a state of beach dress:  shorts, tanktops, reds and yellows.

And all the while that this traffic was underway, the harbour’s also sprouted two new platform, in addition to the small one that sailed in about two weeks ago.  These rigs look mighty peculiar as they arrive, just a bit more ship-shaped than a barge and sporting high towers.  The towers go down like legs and the “ship” folds up to a platform well above the waterline, with shortened towers still rising on each corner.

One of the wonders of this harbour, to me, is that with all this activity of large, important craft, one can see kayakers and even dories from time to time, threading among the tugs and speedboats.  Richard Scarry would swoon.