04.17.15

ten minutes after the last stragglers had trotted into the press and industry screening, the film students and i flopped against the carpeted wall in the theater lobby. the one from staten island showed me smartphone photos of the lighting gels he'd used for a friend's music video. "sylvester stallone sold his dog when he was making rocky, he was so poor,"* he said. "the studio wanted to use a different director and actor, and he sold the dog so he could do things the way he wanted." "geez," i said. "how much do you think he got for it?" "i don't know, but when he finally made some money and tried to buy it back, the guy said no!** and the dog had been his best friend!" "uncompromising," i nodded.

*true, per a 2013 interview.
**false; per stallone, the guy sold the dog back for $3,000 and had a cameo in the movie.

04.16.15

vipers

04.04.15

BIRDS THAT HAVE BITTEN ME

american crow
american robin
blue jay
bufflehead
brant
canada goose
chukar
herring gull
house sparrow
laughing gull
mallard
mourning dove
muscovy duck
mute swan
northern cardinal*
red-breasted merganser
ring-billed gull
rock pigeon
ruddy duck
snow goose
wild turkey

*a permanent resident at the wild bird fund, ben deserves special recognition for having inflicted more bites than the rest of the list combined. do what you do, dragonbird. i love you madly.

04.02.15

in half an hour or so, i'll head across town to pick up my fourth tribeca crew tee. it's nearly film festival time, internets! i fantasized about taking shifts every day for two weeks and retiring with my earnings, but i can only work 32 hours over the course of the whole extravaganza for what i presume are weird-local-income-tax-related reasons. guess i'll have to continue to spend most of my time pitching and writing and running to avoid pitching and writing.

on pitching and writing, i've been wooing new outlets with something like success; i'm in no danger of being able to retire with these earnings, either, but i enjoy visiting slick magazine websites and growling MORE! as evidence of strangers' approval accumulates. it's a little like faux-casually breezing past a dish you've prepared and deposited at a potluck to see if it's being eaten. you take that casserole and you come back for seconds, mister. (i recently made a pretty great casserole, by the way. the broccoli should have gone in raw and it could have used a little cayenne, but i must say, recreating canned cream of mushroom soup at ten times the price is actually rather justified in that context.)

03.24.15

the dirty dozen {notes from my hometown police blotter, as reported by the oc register*}

Suspicious person/circumstances. 9:35 p.m. A caller said he witnessed a man expose himself to a woman. The man was described as in his late 40s and possibly wearing an Angels beanie.
Suspicious persons in vehicle. The owner of a tire shop called because two men came in asking to have a tire repair and he suspected they were under the influence and the car smelled like weed.
Disturbance. 12:37 p.m. A woman was selling expired coupons to elderly people. The caller said it was an ongoing problem with the woman.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 8:50 a.m. The caller reported a man looking into yards.
Terrorist threats. 10:03 a.m. The caller reported a man who threatened a driving evaluator after he failed his driving test.
Burglary in progress. 2:26 a.m. A man, about 30, with a medium build wearing a black baseball cap with orange writing, a black shirt and black pants, was reportedly trying to break into the newspaper stand. The caller said he saw quarters falling from the man's pocket.
Drunk in public. 6:47 p.m. A juvenile was reportedly drinking beer out of a water bottle. He was reportedly stumbling and skateboarding.
Annoying phone call. 5:27 p.m. The caller said her soon to be ex-husband is calling her at work and complaining about her babysitter.
Assist outside agency. 12:37 p.m. The caller reported a combative man in a wheelchair behind Wells Fargo.
Reckless driving. 5:20 p.m. The caller reported a Cadillac going across all lanes, stopping suddenly and stopping to ask for directions.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 7:22 a.m. The caller reported a homeless man sleeping outside the office. The caller was afraid to go to work.
Suspicious person/circumstances. 4:14 p.m. Several subjects were reportedly drinking beer behind flamingos.

*previous installment here.

03.17.15

one of the six dozen public-address systems along the half marathon route began to thump with the piano notes at the top of "empire state of mind" as i made the turn from seventh avenue to forty-second street. i'm guessing it played once every ten minutes for three or four hours sunday morning, but there was something undeniably inspirational about how jay z kicked in just as my metrocard completed its intimate migration down my running shorts (when i am a second-time half-marathoner i shall wear pockets). last week i speculated that i became a real new yorker when a fancy pigeon pooped in my armpit; i now know that the magic happens when one runs through times square with a metrocard in one's ass. excelsior!

02.24.15

last week's axes were awfully obvious, if one can blog about emotional and cultural geometry (does one blog about anything else?). down on the fifth floor of our apartment building, a pair of our elderly neighbors were sitting shiva for her late mother. my morning training runs intersected with their visitors' arrivals and departures—we are all on the same secret schedule—and i'd share my vertical trips with a half-dozen mourners. on the way down in the elevator i would wish them well (i'm sorry), and on the way back up i'd squish myself into a corner and try to downplay my sweatiness (i'm sorry).

horizontally i crunched out to the bird hospital and the bookstore along grand street, a dragon's gullet of scarlet and gold awaiting the beginning of the year of the sheep. a flyer in the laundry room invited us to the annual lion dance at the restaurant down the block. the dancers wear strips of lights in their pants; it's outstanding. back and forth, trailing glitter and feeling the rustle of my nostrils freezing together.

i came up the stairs and across the bird hospital yesterday to help splint and re-bandage a crow. he's in terrible shape, with tendon-baring gashes across his legs and a grisly keel wound, and he's developed a respiratory infection. i realized when i entered the treatment room that i'd been called to replace J, one of my favorite staffers; her eyes above her surgical mask were fixed on nothing, up and away. in birds we call that stargazing, a symptom of anything from an awkward position in the egg to poisoning or a virus. for J it was the news that her beloved crow will probably be euthanized today. "he'll bite you," she murmured as she left the room, and he did, halfheartedly at first and then so hard that i forgot where i was for a second (who is stronger than death?). three serrated caws as i returned him to his carrier when we were finished. i went back downstairs.

02.18.15

vol de nuit

[Sarah Sophie] Flicker helps run a women's-rights campaign called Lady Parts Justice, "to keep women up to date on what's happening with their uteruses," and she sees the [Elizabeth] Warren movement "as a bit of political theatre." "I'm just interested in moving Hillary [Clinton] to the left," she said. But I'm Warren-curious—which I guess is like bi-curious."

That's what I am!" Kathleen Hanna, a musician, said, holding a veggie burger. (Also on offer: "Butterscotch Frozen Thing with Sour Apricot Sorbet.") In the nineties, Hanna helped to launch the riot-grrl movement; one of her songs features antiwar speeches by Al Sharpton and Susan Sarandon over a dance beat.

[...]

[Beastie Boy Adam] Horovitz was standing with Hanna—they're married—who says that she likes Warren, but that her primary concern is a Democratic victory in 2016. "I just want to make sure some weird fucking Nader thing doesn't happen." Horovitz looked down. "I might have been responsible for that one, too," he muttered. In 2000, the year Nader siphoned votes from Al Gore, Horovitz contributed a song to a Nader campaign compilation. "I mean, he had his moments!" Horovitz said defensively. "He just wouldn't go away." He shrugged and took another bite of the Frozen Thing.

(reeves wiedeman, from "the artist vote," new yorker 02.16.15)
nader had no moments.

01.24.15

grape syrup, cappadocia

FOOD. Sylvia [Plath] was earthy and welded to the sensual world. Toasted cream cheese and olive sandwiches. Late-summer feasts of steak, swiss chard, corn on the cob, and peaches with cream poured over them. Fanta. Sugar Babies.

GAMES. Go Fish.

HOT DOG. On Friday the 13, 1945, Sylvia had a nightmare that she was being chased by a marshmallow and a hot dog—which she illustrated in the margin of her diary the following day.

(elizabeth winder, from pain, parties, work: sylvia plath in new york, summer 1953)

01.19.15

THINGS YOUR CLOTHES SAY ABOUT YOU

You’re like the sister they never had.
Your too-animated conversation with Count Vronsky in Princess Betsy’s drawing room was peculiar and improper.
They’d never have expected you to have kids, but now that it’s happening it makes a crazy kind of sense.
Your husband made more than 5,000 edits to a pre-publication draft of Frankenstein.
You quietly removed the charitable-donation option from your online registry a month before your wedding.
You don’t reciprocate Bobby Kennedy’s feelings, though you care deeply for and maintain a sexual relationship with him; you imagine yourself as a future First Lady.
That summer of fancy sleepaway camp was just cover for your nose job.
You were able to get a doctorate in quantum chemistry in Berlin because you accommodated the East German system through active participation in the Free German Youth.
You’d be pretty if you stopped wearing so much makeup.
You and Anthony Babington are conspiring to assassinate Queen Elizabeth on your behalf and reestablish Catholicism in England.
You remind them of themselves at your age.
You abduct local peasant girls and perform unspeakable acts on them in your castle’s secret torture chamber because you believe that bathing in the blood of human virgins will keep you beautiful and gloriously strong.
You put out for college guys.

01.14.15

conversations with doctor omnibus* {better living through chemistry edition}

doc: anything new?
LMO: well, i got laid off!
doc: that's a good thing.
LMO: i mean, i think so.

[...]

doc: why wouldn't i be comfortable with xanax?
LMO: i have friends whose doctors are uncomfortable with prescribing it.
doc: are you comfortable with vulgarity?
LMO: sure.
doc: fuck 'em.

*he might be eighty now.