• All Blog Entries,  Comedy

    Luca Lounge & Kickstarter

    Carol Hartsell and I are teaming up with Luca Lounge and we need your help! If you’ve ever wanted stage time or have endured watching a show in a crappy space, you definitely know why this is important for NYC comedy. Please consider donating anything from $1 to $3,000 to help us realize our $8,000 goal and get this Kickstarter project funded. Click here to donate & review a list of what your pledge will get you (besides a better space, of course). Below the video are more details if you’d like to read more about what we’re doing and why.

    What We’re Doing:
    We are transforming a leaky party space in the back of a bar called Luca Lounge in the East Village into an independent theater space for comedy. We are partnering with the owner to fix up the space and program cheap or free comedy and storytelling shows there 6 nights a week.

    We have already been producing shows in the space, working around the inevitable roof leaks whenever it rains and now we want to take it to the next level.

    With extensive roof repairs, the installation of stage lights and a revamped sound system, production equipment and backline essentials, as well as new tables and chairs, we can create an artist-run hub for NYC’s alternative comedy community.

    No more begging club owners to let us try our shows out there, only to have them gouge our friends and fans with high cover prices and drink minimums. No more apologizing to audiences and performers for a sub par room where the laughter dies before it begins and you run the risk of the occasional electrical shock.

    A great room for great comedy, that respects the artists and the audience. That’s what we’re building.

    Why We’re Doing It:
    We’re comedians and producers ourselves who have already put on great weekly stand up shows at cool independent spaces that have since closed like Rififi, Mo Pitkins, Ochi’s Lounge and Comix. Every time a venue closes, a huge number of quality comedy shows are forced to scatter and regroup elsewhere, wherever they can find a willing space. Sketch and improv have UCB and the PIT. It’s time for New York’s unrivaled stand up scene to start putting down some roots too.

    The best comedy is smart, reckless and exuberant, and it deserves a venue that embodies the same adventurous spirit (except with regards to roof maintenance).

    At one point in time, downtown was home to several venues that offered alternative comedy several nights of the week (Rififi, Mo Pitkins, Ochi’s and Luna Lounge) and they have all since closed. We want to rebuild the space, the spirit, and the community.

    Why You Should Support Us:
    Over the last two years, those of us involved in the Luca Lounge Comedy Project, as we just dubbed it, have made a commitment to work together and prove ourselves, both to the owners of the venue and the audiences we’ve brought into it.

    We currently have 13 shows that call Luca Lounge their home and we’ve had some of the best comedians in the country grace our rickety stage, including: Janeane Garofalo, Fred Armisen, Bill Burr, Judah Friedlander, Reggie Watts, John Mulaney, Lizz Winstead, Donald Glover, Kurt Metzger, Joe DeRosa, Kumail Nanjiani, Baron Vaughn and more.

    But, more importantly, we’ve showcased hundreds of up-and-coming New York comedians and we will continue to focus on fostering their work first and foremost.

    In short, you should support us because we are true comedy believers who want to support the work of our community, not just our own.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan

    Au Contraire! Art

    The cover of Christian’s DVD / CD “Au Contraire!” is actually a painting by the incredibly talented Stephen Gardner. Stephen and his lovely wife Angie stopped by our cabin today to deliver the real thing. It is stunning and beautifully framed. I’ll wait for Christian to return from LA before hanging it. It could go in so many places.

    Incidentally, they are also running in the NYC Marathon.

    You can donate to God’s Love We Deliver in their honor. It’s super simple and a great organization. In the “Payment Information” section of the donation form:
    1) Select “ING NYC Marathon 2011” in the “I am making my donation in response to” box
    2) Select “In honor of” in the “Tribute Box”
    3) Fill in “Angela Martin” in the boxes below the “Tribute Box”

    And are posting their progress here: https://www.facebook.com/pages​/Steve-and-Ange-are-running-th​e-NY-Marathon

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Strip Clubs & Other Playgrounds

    As I watched live coverage of the NYC Marathon two years ago, the announcer said, “Now the marathoners are entering the less than picturesque part of Queens.” That’s where I live.

    There is zero in the way of outdoor park space except for a tiny playground that is across the street from a strip club.

    Yes. The only playground is across the street from a strip club.

    Most mornings the playground looks post-apocalyptic as if zombies had raided Queens and I survived till morning to witness the carnage. Garbage cans overflow and needles, used condoms, beer and liquor bottles, and broken glass litter the ground. Just this morning, Christian took this photo of a bloody t-shirt next to an empty Four Loko can.

    For a year, the door man at the strip club Riviera barked me to come in. Never mind that I would  have a dog in tow or would be carrying groceries or wearing gym clothes.

    “Why would he think I’d want to go in there?” I would wonder even as I wore the lesbian uniform of jeans, Chuck Taylors and a softball t-shirt.

    Finally, he said something that made me reconsider: “Ladies drink for free!”

    Whoa. Beep, beep, beep! Back the truck up.

    Free? I’ll be here Tuesday. What time do you open?”

    Prepare to lose your rent money Mr. Jiggle Joint Owner because my pal Jenn & I will clean out your stash of white wine!

    I imagined the bar manager taking inventory Wednesday morning and firing a cocktail waitress for swiping bottles of Pinot Grigio. Because, really, how would they go through so much so quickly? Men in strip clubs aren’t exactly heavy imbibers of crisp white wine. I, however, am.

    Without consulting with each other, Jenn and I both wore summery dresses and had on makeup. Something about being around naked women made us want to look our best. We arrived so early there were only two other men there wearing suits and seated at the ring of seats around the stage.

    The doorman escorted us to a table of our choice, away from the stage. We didn’t want to take a seat from a legitimate customer looking for thrills. He also introduced himself to me officially. His name is Abdelaziz Essafoui and he is a Greco Roman Wrestler who competed in the 1996 Olympics for Morocco. In addition to serving as security for the strip club, he competes in cage matches in the Bronx.

    We pulled out our notebooks and had a great time brainstorming, catching up on gossip and, of course, drinking free wine. As we were new customers, a dancer was sent to the stage and took off her clothes. It was like Jenn and I were hanging out in the locker room at the gym with one of those particularly extroverted women who stands around with her top off for a long time for no real reason except to show off and/or make me uncomfortable.

    Soon, two casually dress guys in their late twenties came in and took the table next to me and Jenn. Again, a dancer was sent to the stage to welcome their arrival. According to the emcee who sounded like a morning radio DJ, her name was Licorice. She was wearing a one piece, stretchy bodysuit which, to me, seemed like an odd choice. If I were a stripper, I’d want more pieces to take off as part of the tease, but what do I know? I put on pants on after I put on shoes. But in one simple move, she was butt naked save for a sliver of string that covered her hee hoo.

    A few more gentlemen came in while Licorice was finishing up her song and the DJ called for Candy to take over. (Hmm…theme night?) The song ended but Candy was no where to be found.

    “Candy, make your way to the stage,” the DJ bellowed. “Gentlemen be ready for some delicious Candy.”

    Licorice looked positively bored, maybe even irritated that she was still on stage without anyone paying her any mind, and moved with the least possible effort required to simulate writhing. The emcee beckoned again, “Candy, has anybody seen Candy?” Still no Candy.

    Licorice had had enough. She picked up her body suit and began to get dressed.

    On stage.

    Now, ladies and gents, seeing someone take off clothes might be titillating, but watching someone get dressed is not. In fact, it is an unequivocal turn off. Especially in something like a one-piece stretchy bodysuit. Licorice didn’t care.

    Picture a woman trying to put on a too-small pair of Spanx. She wriggled and squeezed and clenched and thrust her body to squeeze into her outfit all while teetering on 6-inch platform heels. This should be an act on “America’s Got Talent.” It takes SKILL, people.

    As we watched the spectacle unfold, Jenn curled her upper lip like she’d just smelled someone fart after eating nothing but sauerkraut for a week. “She really should do that elsewhere.”


    Finally Candy appeared, as did a large group of men. The music got louder, the lights dimmer and strippers took men to back rooms. The shift in mood was palpable. It was like hungry lions lounging lazily in the sun were suddenly tossed a lone, bloody carcass. And Jenn and I were like caribou whose fellow herd mate got caught and ripped to pieces. Do you stay behind to try to save them and witness the slaughter? Absolutely the fuck not. So we asked for our check.

    Turns out Mr. Olympic Greco Roman Wrestler Turned Doorman at a Strip Club and Cage Match Fighter lied. Ladies don’t drink free. He only bought us our first round. Shocker! And, how could we argue? Present the contract?

    Luckily the wine was priced at typical NYC prices and not the jacked up rate strip clubs often charge. To split the bill, Jenn needed to break a $20. Because the place had gotten so busy with men dropping loads of cash, we were not high priority for the staff. Jenn grabbed the first available stripper, handed her the bill and asked, “Can I get change for a twenty?”

    A stripper? Giving change?

    Maybe in Heaven.


    When a barmaid came by Jenn asked, “I gave that stripper $20 and…” I waved frantically and mouthed, “Don’t call them strippers.”

    “Oh, excuse me,” Jenn continued, rolling her eyes. “I gave that ‘exotic dancer’ $20 for change and she never came back with it.”

    The last time I had been to a strip club was with a famous billionaire. Let us just say, we were treated differently that night. Jenn never recovered her missing $20 which made me feel terrible. The main reason I invited her was for the free drinks and to save her money. Abdelaziz* was conveniently missing in action.

    Now, when I need my thrills, I go to the playground.

    *When an Olympian says free drinks, one expects free drinks. I mean, isn’t there some Olympiad code of ethics?

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    The More Things Change

    Ten years ago, I turned thirty. In my first year as a 30-something in New York, terrorists attacked the country, I co-founded a business, and Dad tried to kill someone again.

    September 11th from our Roof by kambricrews

    I moved to New York City in the fall of 2000. I knew one person. I entered my thirties to little fanfare. After finishing the work day as a legal assistant, I enjoyed a few drinks with co-workers at the Rink Bar, the outdoor restaurant in Rockefeller Center that serves as the infamous ice skating rink during cooler months.

    Afterwards, I headed home to Queens on the N train where a tiny Latino man assaulted me under my skirt. His height topped out at my waist, at best*; an excellent access point if you’re prone to fingering slightly buzzed women on public transit. Being from Texas and new to the city, I sized up my assailant and chose fight over flight. I ran after him freely spewing vile curses and threats to his life while wearing my 3.5 inch heels. I was double his size with a fury in my eyes.

    He looked positively terrorized that I’d given chase.

    The strangers around me looked positively terrorized that I’d used such vile language.

    In his desperate attempt to escape, he pushed people aside and jumped a turnstile, losing me.**

    A decade has passed and the goals I’ve accomplished and wildest dreams that have come true are too numerous to count. I’ve pinched myself silly. I ain’t dreamin’. I blinked and now I’m forty. The next ten years has a lot to live up to. I mean, in my thirties, Erik Estrada was involved. Twice.

    Still in New York City, I know more than one person now, but again celebrated a milestone of life with little fanfare. I’ve never been the birthday bash type. I guess I prefer producing fun for other people. But it was very special and spent with my favorite people without assaults by any miniature men.

    I don’t know much, but I do that in my first year as a 40-something, I will celebrate five years of marriage, my memoir will be published and Dad will be up for parole.

    The rest is a mystery. And isn’t that the most thrilling and frightening thing ever?

    *In his defense, I was wearing heels.
    **To this day, I wish I had caught him. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t.

  • All Blog Entries,  News


    Received praise for Burn Down the Ground: A Memoir from Sister Helen Prejean, Janeane Garofalo, Annabelle Gurwitch, Paula Froelich, Hillary Carlip,  and more. Read what they had to say, here.

  • All Blog Entries

    Interspecies Love – Dinah "Feeds" Griswold

    Our parakeet Dinah is obsessed with our puppy Griswold. His grungy fur is much more interesting to clean and pick at than any of ours, I’m sure. On Saturday, she took their relationship to the next level: LOVE. To show love parakeets regurgitate and share their food with their loved ones. All day and night she swarmed around Grizzy, stretching and pumping her neck and trying to get food in his mouth. Lucky for her Grizzy will eat anything, though her beak is a bit ticklish for him.

  • All Blog Entries,  Rock House

    Work on the Rocks

    I’m working “on the rocks” at our cabin in the Catskills, more specifically the “patio” between our cabin and the outbuilding, and having the most perfect day.

    First up, I took an early morning bike ride to and from one of the gobs of local post offices where there are no lines, everything you might need is in stock, and the postal worker is happy to see you. Read that last line again and appreciate the shock and awe of it. I’m tempted to abandon emails in favor of snail mail just to give me an excuse to go back. And the bike ride was just challenging enough to work up a sweat but without the “OHMYGODI’MGOINGTODIE” feeling that some of the hills around here induce. I came home to eat breakfast and read the paper on the aforementioned patio while listening to Ken Burns Jazz: The Story of American Music, took a trip to the hardware store (yes, that’s part of the perfect day…I could spend hours in them), I’m wearing flip flops and a sun dress and there’s just enough breeze and clouds to cool down the sun. Perfect, I tell ya!**

    The patio between the cabin and the outbuilding has been a rewarding, not-too-labor-intensive project. It started as a huge mound of dirt and rocks as deep as two-and-a-half feet in some spots and a ten-foot long by three-foot wide area. The pile was left during the renovations that took place some five years ago. I was convinced there was something worthwhile under the rubble or, at the very least, we could make the dirt level to where we could put down stones.
    Once the ground thawed, Christian and I went to work. We used some of the bigger rocks to build a stone staircase and began the sweaty, tedious job of hacking away at the rock pile. We unearthed a smooth patch of concrete patio along with some natural rock and some broken concrete slabs. The picture at right is just past the mid-way point. It’s great knowing something awesome and usable is underneath that pile and that it didn’t cost us a cent. But it’s not so great knowing that you have that much work ahead of you. After a while it was like pulling the string on a sweater…just when does it stop?
    As you can see from the bottom two pics, it was worth the effort. Once we patch a hole, add a few flowering plants, and a string of party lights and we have a party!

    **And, okay, so maybe it’s not PERFECT. Christian queued up Elvis Costello (blech) and, while Texas loves to brag about how big everything is there, lordy the mosquitoes here are the size of horseflies. And my Texans are saying, “Sheee-it, here we call them gnats.”
    Full Flickr set of Rock House photos here.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    How’s this for a Memorial Day weekend?

    Friday, I rode my new bicycle to a protest. Now I just need to grab a granola bar and stop shaving and my transformation will be complete. I WILL be the person I would have rolled eyes at.

    The impromptu rally I attended was in reaction to NYPD officers Moreno & Mata, aka the “Rape Cops,” being acquitted of rape. Luckily, they were found guilty of a few lesser charges so Ray Kelly promptly fired them from the NYPD. Their sentencing isn’t till later in June and, hopefully, seeing the public’s outrage at the verdict the sentence will be the harshest allowed (2 years) for the lesser crime of misconduct.

    Incidentally, “attend a rally” is on my re-vamped bucket list. I had forgotten this until I was actually chanting with the crowd outside the Supreme Court in lower Manhattan. Since writing that post, I’ve also now ridden the Orient Express, though it was in Peru. I still want ride the REAL Orient Express.

    Anyway, all told, I rode about 18 miles through Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens during rush hour traffic, including the smelly streets of Chinatown, and only fell once (while stopped at a traffic light and trying to adjust myself on my seat — stupid), scraping my right knee but not to the point where I needed to stop for a band-aid or anything. Not bad for my first time!

    I was ever grateful I didn’t injure myself because at the crack of dawn Saturday morning, Christian & I hopped a flight to Akron/Canton for my ex-husband’s niece’s wedding. She didn’t know I was coming as her mom, my ex-sister-in-law Tracy, wanted it to be a surprise. Upon seeing us at the church, Alisha burst into happy tears! I was worried the shock wouldn’t go over well but she was overjoyed. I hugged so many ex-in-laws and friends that my rotator cuffs are sore.

    We flew back to NYC less than 24 hours later, picked up Griswold from the vet where he had been neutered. I headed in to Manhattan for a lovely dinner with Tex in the City pals, Scott Ramsey & Greg Gorman, and today has been video games, writing the acknowledgements for Burn Down the Ground, and general laziness. What a perfect weekend!

    We really need to learn how to operate iPhone cameras because none of our wedding photos are that great. But here we are from top to bottom:  Me & Alisha, me, ex-husband and current husband duke it out, me & my ex-husband (aka The Sailor for those of you who follow my http://www.lovedaddy.org/ blog), and poor little Griswold.


  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Comedy,  Family & Life,  Random

    Erik Estrada is in Mortal Peril

    Will Christian Seek Revenge on Nemesis Erik Estrada

    During a little cocktail party prior to the TV Land Awards, a certain Mr. Erik Estrada had me swooning. The man I knew and loved as the star of CHiPs was as charming, good looking and fun loving as the 8-year-old me had hoped and dreamed. See evidence Exhibit A to the right: Erik and I gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, as my then fiancé, Christian Finnegan sulks nearby.

    Read my original blog posts here and here and here.

    Five years have passed since I was hypnotized by Ponch’s spell, and I still get giggly thinking about the moment.

    Today Christian is filming a scene with none other than Erik Estrada on the set of TBS’s Are We There Yet?. He’ll be on Christian’s turf. The question remains: has Christian forgiven him for working his Latin magic on his lady?

    If not, he might have to recruit Terry Crews to help take him out. I mean, have you seen the Ponch in action?

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  Recipes

    Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

    Tortilla soupOkay, I found my Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe mentioned in my blog entry that will improve your sex life, make you lose weight & become rich & famous*.

    2 large chicken breasts (1 lb or slightly more)
    2 cans of chicken broth
    1 fresh jalapeno sliced or 2 tbsp pickled jalapeños or substitute 2 heaping tablespoons of Mrs. Renfro’s** jalapeños
    2 chili peppers diced (I never can find fresh chili peppers in the store so either skip this or throw in a few extra jap slices)
    3/4 cups of diced red onion
    2 extra large tomatoes diced OR two 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes
    2 garlic cloves minced (or 1/4 teaspoon if from a jar)
    2 tablespoons cilantro minced (Dang, I love cilantro. My tablespoons are heaping!)
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    2 teaspoons cumin
    2 teaspoons pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons tobasco

    Put chicken in bottom of crock pot and pour in all the other ingredients.

    For super tender chicken that shreds easily, cook on low for 8 hours. If you don’t have the time, cook 4 hours on high.

    Garnish = tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced avocado.

    Hold on to your wig, otherwise it will be blown back by how yummy this is.

    *Results may vary. If these things don’t happen to you after eating this recipe, then it’s probably your own fault.
    **She’s was a counselor at my high school in TX and Mrs. Renfro’s salsa & jalapeños are delicious! COOL!

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  Rock House

    Martha Stewart Crawled Into My Ear & Laid Eggs

    And they hatched into tiny little Martha spiders that have taken over my body. This Crewsfly I’ve meta-morphed into is quite a handy little worker bee.

    Just a few dishes I have made lately include red beans & rice with sausage that could compete in cook-off, meatloaf & mash potatoes that would blow your WIG back, chicken tortilla soup* that tastes like you’re in #$&*! Mexico minus the sun and sand of course, and caramel apples that make your mouth water like a slobbery infant.

    In addition to various home projects like painting and hanging shelves, I’m awaiting my order of supplies to make homemade soap and have a yummy recipe for a brown sugar scrub that I might “accidentally” eat in the shower.
    Are you sitting down? Good, because check it out, I have even taken to sewing.

    We have a kitchen “island” which is actually an antique gas stove that is inoperable and missing a door creating an unsightly, gaping hole. So, I bought a gingham checked shirt at the thrift store for $3 and turned it into a little curtain. Check out the before and after by rolling over the image. If I had a machine & more cloth, I would have done it differently but let’s not get crazy here. You don’t live in a barn because your trailer got repo’d and not have to sew a few things by hand — hemming skirts, patching up holes and trying to make things last or look halfway decent like Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink. I can sew. I just don’t. My hand job is perfectly fine serving both a function & adding a fun little kick to the island.

    Since I don’t have a machine, I just got a little emergency travel sewing kit from the hardware store. It was standard, containing a couple of needles and small spools of thread and that thing. You know the bendy little silver metal thing with the face on it. I stared at it curiously as I have in the past wondering what function it served. My first instinct was to look it up on the internet — which shows you just how long it has been since I last sewed: THE INTERNET DIDN’T EXIST. So I Google “sewing kit silver thing with the face on it” and got this answer.

    It’s a needle threader! All these years I’ve been painstakingly threading needles while the face on the silver thing was staring at me. How had my mother never shown me this when she was teaching me to sew? I guess she was too busy teaching other basic things like don’t steal, take candy from strangers, or tell people she smoked marijuana. There are some lessons I guess parents never get to. But that’s why we have the internet, to answer plaguing questions that your mother didn’t tell you. Like what is a clove of garlic or the silver thing with a face on it and is it normal for women have hair on their nipples?

    *Trust me, you want my recipe. I just need to find the paper I wrote it on so I can transcribe it. So, pray that I do locate it, because, like using a needle threader, it will change your LIFE.
  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Christian Finnegan,  NYC

    Thundersnow & Lightning

    It’s the winter that keeps on giving and last night was a first: THUNDERSNOW. As I worked in my home office, there was lightning flashes, rolling booms of thunder, sleet, hail and by this morning a foot of snow. Paquita was terrified of the storm and the building was creaking and making weird howling sounds so she ran for cover and stayed there all night. Her safe hiding spot: under the toilet.

    I’ve never seen a more pathetic looking creature. When I pulled her out, she squirmed out of my arms and hurried back. Today, she’s glued to my lap.

    The snow has stranded Christian in CT where he is filming episodes of “Are We There Yet?” (TBS, Wednesday nights at 9 CST/10 EST). Which, speaking of, his character “Martin” has a B-plot in an upcoming show where he’s dating  an older woman. And just who is portraying the love interest? Paulina Porizkova.

    He came home that night covered in glitter and in a great mood. Hmmm…not sure I want to tune in for that episode.

    Nothing like having your husband canoodling with a supermodel to make you re-think your diet and exercise plan. Oof.

  • All Blog Entries,  Rock House

    The Carpenter’s Daughter

    Perfectly HungI may not have known what a clove of garlic is and may have had to consult the internet to confirm exactly what constitutes a stalk of celery, but I sure know how to use a drill. I used a level, calculated the exact spacing, drilled holes, inserted anchors and screws and hung these bad boys up.

    In less than ten minutes. Including gathering and putting away tools and cleaning up.

    Tomorrow I’m patching a hole with plaster, sanding and painting. That’s nothing.

    Saving face.

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  Rock House

    Things Cooking Chili Taught Me

    I’m at the cabin and cooked my 2nd crock pot dish. This time a chili recipe I got from my cousin Shari’s blog (see yesterday’s “I’m Your Night Plower” entry). A few things I learned in the process:

    (1) I could rake in the big bucks on “Supermarket Sweep”. I picked up everything on my list in order without needing to double back in a store that I’ve never stepped foot in before. Although I’ve never purchased things like cans of chopped tomatoes, cloves of garlic and fresh bay leaves, I instinctively knew where to find them.

    (2) Cloves aren’t just for smoking. The list called for two cloves of garlic. Check. It also called for three whole cloves. Cloves of what? I went in figuring my cousin Shari would know since she has seven children. You don’t keep seven humans alive without knowing such things. Sure enough, along with all the other spices, there was a bottle of whole cloves. Whole cloves are actually pretty small. They look like a really thick, brown, harder pistil of a flower.
    (3) A clove of garlic is just one piece of the entire bulb. So, I put in too much garlic because I thought the bulb of garlic was a clove. I didn’t put THAT much extra in, though, because peeling the pieces of garlic was annoying. And chopping them up made my eyes water and my hands still smell like an old Italian.
    (4) I want a garlic press. That’s something I never imagined me saying. I still want a jigsaw before a garlic press, but still: I want a garlic press so I never have to deal with mincing garlic by hand.
    (5) I follow the rules. The lines were long with people whose carts looked like they were cooking for the Octomom. I had about 25 or more things and they had express lines for 5, 10 and 15 items or less. I just couldn’t bring myself to get in the 15 or less line, even after seeing a guy with much more than I had do it. I simply can’t bear the idea that I’m the “some jerk”when a person with only 15 items gets in line behind me, has to wait and tells their waiting friend or family, “Some jerk got in line with like 30 things in the 15 or less line!” While my dad and I always remark about how much alike we are, this is definitely where we differ. No way would he wait in a regular line behind carts filled to the rim. No. Way.

    Side note: I lost my list which I had written on official White House Situation Room note paper that I snagged during a private tour of, well, the Situation Room in the White House. I like that some hillbilly is going to find my list and think that a real White House employee, with such extraordinary stress and job responsibility, is writing down a chili recipe and shopping list instead of, you know, helping keep America safe.

    Chili in a cabin surrounded by snowcapped woods is just about as Norman Rockwell picture perfect as life can get.

  • All Blog Entries,  Anipals,  Food & Drink,  Rock House

    I’m Your Night Plower

    I woke up today with a mission: get paint, groceries to make my cousin Shari’s chili, and end my day at the cabin painting said cabin and eating said chili. I left the apartment, dragging a ticked off Chihuahua through the snow behind me while carrying 100 pounds of STUFF in a temperature more frigid than Gwyneth Paltrow.

    The alley cats that live in my private car lot shot me concerned looks and slinked away, low backs, shifty eyes. I smelled like danger. I was THAT flummoxed. Car cleared of snow, warmed and loaded, I set off. Never have I tried to find a spot and parallel park after yet another snowstorm (including the 10 years I lived in Ohio), and I’ve only driven a handful of times in ten years. I quickly realized I had a better chance at finding Bin Laden than a place to park near the paint store on Steinway Street. I had left an hour later than I hoped, Paquita was whining, and I just felt FAT all bundled up in winter gear trying to program the GPS and check for blind spots…like I was someone who couldn’t bend over and tie their own shoe. Also, I realized I dumped all my change in a collection jar at home which meant I couldn’t feed the muni-meter.

    “This is NOT cool. NOT cool, Universe! I just wanna RELAX! How do people LIVE in this city! No wonder I’m trying to get out!” I may have even screamed a nonsensical, “AGGHERRERHHHHH!!!”

    Ask and you shall receive!

    A spot miraculously appeared, the new muni-meters take credit cards but as I fished through my wallet a woman gave me her unexpired meter receipt with FORTY-FIVE minutes left on it. I went inside, got my paint and supplies and met zero traffic out of Manhattan. No, you were not slipped a roofie. I did, in fact, type that I had ZERO traffic out of Manhattan. I got to the Shop Rite in Monticello, pulled up my cousin’s blog for the ingredients and found everything I needed in a jiffy. IN and OUT in 30 minutes on a Saturday.

    I get to the cabin and DOH! The driveway wasn’t plowed! I thought we had already made automatic arrangements with our plow dude, but no. There is NO place to park as an alternative and, sure I could stay at a hotel but who wants to blow money on that and have groceries go to waste? A lot of freaking out and frantic phone calls later –The groceries! The dog! Where will I go? What will I do? — I started driving around and saw a truck w/a plow attachment parked in front of a convenience store. I parked,
    went inside and found a dude who looked like he might drive a plow (read: filthy, reflective coat, missing teeth and buying two packs of cigarettes).

    My radar was spot on: it was his plow and it turns out he’s my neighbor. In less than ten minutes, he cleared a place for the Thunder Nugget, and I took down his info and gave him all the cash I had. (Don’t worry, if you know me, I carry little to no cash.) But now I’m worried that he knows I’m in the woods alone. So, while chopping up garlic, I had fantasies of stabbing him in the neck with the butcher knife and splashing him with the simmering crock pot full of chili.

    But for now, I’m here. In the cabin with my Chihuahua, paint and chili. Just when I think I want to stay holed up and write a sequel to the Unibomber’s Manifesto, the path is cleared.

    Just in case: His name is Rich and he lives in a yellow house just up the road from me and I have his cell number programmed in my phone.

  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  Travel

    Viva la Peru!

    For Christmas 2010, Christian & I went to Peru for a 10 day, adventure-filled vacation. I won’t bore you with a long travelogue (What? You don’t want to read about the intricacies of foreign bathrooms and whether hot water was available in each place? No? Okay, fine.) But let’s be honest, this mostly for me, so I will only bore you with it for as long as you allow.

    After 24 hours of travel (flight to Miami, then to Lima, then to Puerto Maldonado where we got on a bus that took us to a boat that took us to the lodge!), days 1 – 4 were spent at Libertador Tambopata Eco Lodge and camping in the jungle. Lots of boat rides, treks into the jungle and spotting of wild animals like capybaras (the world’s largest rodent), caiman (alligators), boars, birds of every shape. We saw four different species of monkeys (capuchin, squirrel, tamarin and red howler) that were so abundant we hit the Monkey Load. Heh.

    The more exciting thing involved a less glamorous animal: a wild boar. We came across a couple of hundred of them crossing a path in front of us, froze and watched in wonder. No problem. After it seemed they were all done crossing, we continued along holding our breath along the way. I have never smelled anything so bizarre and rancid. Our guide kept blowing his nose and hocking to try to get rid of the stench that lingered. Suddenly we realized there was another herd of boars still crossing. Again, we froze this time a boar caught sight of us and came TOWARD us. It stopped, raised its nose and wriggled its snout to get a good whiff of us as we stood as still as possible. I was in front of Christian & our guide trying to stay balanced as I was squatting with my camera aimed at the boar afraid to hit a button for fear that the boar would see me moving. I was having a staring contest with a wild boar while a couple of hundred of its buddies crossed our path!
    Staring Contest with a Wild Boar
    It then made a few more steps to get CLOSER to us and was joined by another pal. Oh no! They’re on to us.  But as soon as the last boar crossed, the two watch pigs departed. Coast clear, we all burst into relieved laughter. “We never discussed what we should do in this situation!” I guffawed. Our guide then gave us a rundown on what to do should we come across any other beasts like pumas.

    We camped in the jungle one night at least 9 hours away from the nearest town. Our site was monitored by six vultures and two macaws that were tending to a nest. This would have been fun in a scary way but ended up being horribly terrifying because of an INTENSE, ALL NIGHT thunderstorm that was so dangerously close. Our crew of four included a boat driver who had to sleep on the boat to make sure it didn’t wash away. Our guide, cook and “errand dude” for lack of a better description all stayed in one tent while Christian & I stayed in another. I purposefully typed “stayed” instead of “slept” because sleep was nearly impossible. The lightning was so persistent it was like a lantern was blazing in our tent and the sound of breaking trees, thunder and cracks of lightning were so close that we all wondered if we’d make it through the night. It was so scary that no one said a word. Have you ever read about how in crazy plane situations witnesses will recount how passengers were strangely calm and very quiet? It was like that. There are no words. Christian & I know that no one will ever understand the fear or the surreal danger but we know. We stared at each other in the morning with an all knowing look and then got dressed for breakfast.

    Days 4 – 7 were spent in Cusco & a train ride / hike up to Machu Picchu. There’s not much I can say to adequately sum up these two places other than fun and beautiful, respectively. Cusco was decked out for Christmas and people were in great spirits. They love their nativity scenes there! The views of city lights against the mountain range was awesome. We toured Le Catedral and the Museo Inka, shopped at the local market which had such nasty stuff for sale (a bowl of raw cow mouths, anyone?) that it put Chinatown to shame and ate a lot, happy to be back in civilization with electricity and a phone line. I was disheartened by the hundreds of stray dogs but after a few days it was clear the dogs weren’t like regular dogs. They had no interest in humans, were immune to touch and were doing just fine thankyouverymuch. Still, I would have liked to have seen more of them with green collars which the city puts on to indicate they’ve been fixed.

    Machu PicchuThen we took a train ride to Machu Picchu (we would have loved to do the full hike, but we really wanted to do the jungle and Lake Titicaca so time wouldn’t allow). Every other second was a picture worthy moment. Lush farms, rivers and streams, animals everywhere, women carrying bundles of harvest on their backs (one had a puppy nipping at her heels for crying out loud!), sheep frolicking, just too much beauty in one place it isn’t fair. We hiked up to the top of Machu Picchu in the rain but within 15 minutes the clouds parted and the sun came out. We really lucked out. Pictures don’t do it justice but, well, we took lots of pics anyway. Llamas were in charge of trimming the grass and I loved being near them even if they could have cared less about me.

    Days 7 – 10 were in Puno & tours of the islands on Lake Titicaca which included visiting Isla de los Uros (the famous floating islands made of reeds) and staying with a family on Isla Amantani. The latter was a really unique experience that just puts in to perspective how different our lives are. Sure, you can see that people dress and speak differently, that poverty is the norm and hard work is a must. That’s a given. But we totally understand why Angelina Jolie is always scooping up kids…it’s very hard to not fall in love with them and want to give them more opportunity. But to live with them made us stop having so much white guilt and feeling like they’re living beneath their means and appreciate that they are blessed with such wonderful families, communities and togetherness that we’ll never have. They are filled with joy and love.

    Lucia and her brother William entertained us while their mother and grandmother cooked for us. All six of us were in their one room kitchen/living/dining room while their lamb Ñeñe looked on from their patio. They dressed us in traditional garb and took us to a dance where we laughed and sweat and carried on like kids.

    We met some really nice people from around the world, hiked a mountain (Pachatata aka “Father Earth”), ate lots of new foods like alpaca and cuy (guinea pig), and I managed to read two books and start a third on my Kindle. So I definitely got every ounce of pleasure and relaxation out of my 11 days. Getting upgraded to first class both to/from Lima/NYC sure helped. I wish I knew the magical reason we were upgraded (TWICE!) but the mystery is unsolved.

    Photos arranged in order of our trip. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kambricrews/sets/72157625701155196/


  • All Blog Entries,  Comedy,  News

    Luca Lounge

    Opened a newly re-vamped performance space called Luca Lounge with Carol Hartsell. We will book, produce and promote two shows a night every Sunday through Thursday.

  • All Blog Entries,  Books & Publishing,  PR & Marketing,  Writing

    A Q&A with Jason Buhrmester

    As a teen, Jason Buhrmester created skateboard and punk rock zines with names like “Slappy” and “Mullethead Illustrated” as a way of escaping the confines of his small hometown in rustbelt Illinois. Today, the journalist, editor and novelist is adding screenwriter to his resume by transforming his book “Black Dogs: The Possibly True Story of Classic Rock’s Greatest Robbery” into a film. It’s a fictionalized account of a real life robbery in which Led Zeppelin lost $203,000 in cash while on tour in 1973, just a month after Buhrmester was born.

    Your hometown of Kankakee, Illinois was rated the worst place to live by “The Places Rated Almanac”. Was it really that bad?
    I hated it the minute I was born. You couldn’t keep me there. If I could get to the train or get hold of a car –even illegally– I was going. I actually drove to Chicago at fourteen in a friend’s brother’s car. I felt like I was meant to born somewhere else. I never bought yearbook, went to prom, or joined a club. I thought, “Why make friends? You’re leaving here and never coming back. Don’t even bother meeting these people.”

    How did growing up in such an awful town influence you?
    I wanted to be connected to something outside of Kankakee. I had friends in Chicago who were into the same kind of punk rock music that I was. So every weekend I was there skateboarding, going to shows, and meeting girls.

    But I was a high school kid and there were times I had to be home. I think that’s what influenced my desire to get into journalism. I would buy mail order records from small punk rock bands. They would send it to me with a note and I’d write them back.  I was interviewing bands from the time I was 16 or 17. There was no publicist–it was me going up to them and asking if I could get an interview. I would write scene reports and record reviews for punk rock magazines and they’d send me the magazines. I was isolated but there were other people out there and I could reach them somehow.

    Why did you gravitate toward writing instead of forming your own band?
    It was really all I had to offer. I couldn’t draw. I could play guitar a little bit but there was no one in my town to form a band with and no one that was into the stuff I was. What could I do?  The only thing I had that I had any sort of natural ability was writing.

    You were a successful editor of Inked Magazine, so why quit to write a book?
    I remember being at a dinner and a guy said, “I just wrote a novel and it was optioned for a movie.” I was so angry with myself. Why hadn’t I done that? This guy was my age! I have connections, and I work with publicists and publishers. I wasted so much time playing fucking video games! It was like someone had beaten me to discovering America. I quit my job maybe three months after that and started writing. I was that pissed off about it.

    Did you have a movie in mind then?
    Not really. I thought it would be fun to see what would happen. Even if it just sits in a drawer, I wrote a book. I wanted to see if I could finish it. I knew the idea was at least good, so why not?

    Did it get lonely after working in buzzing magazine offices for so long?
    I only have hobbies that seem to isolate me. I love playing guitar by myself. I love boxing; I can do that by myself. I love skateboarding; I do that by myself. I have no coach. There’s no team; there’s no uniform. Either I do it or I don’t do it. I think all my pursuits in life involve me sitting alone, so I don’t have to listen to somebody else. And when I’m writing, I’m sitting alone.

    How does your wife feel about that?
    She’s used to it–and she’s into her own things. We’re one of those couples who can be in two separate rooms of the apartment for a day and not talk. She’s used to the ebb and flow where I’ll be really panicked and work seven days a week and cancel any plans. You guys go have fun and have a picnic in the park. I’ll be at home trying the best I can. Then there’ll be a week where I finally crack and get cabin fever and am just going out drinking every night and not even looking at a computer.

    Writing the book must have been a true labor of love. How did you make the switch from journalist and editor to fiction writer?
    Several literary agents told me I had a great idea, but nobody would represent me until the book was finished. I guess the book companies learned if somebody gets a check based on an idea, they just fucking disappear. So it became my job to make enough money so I could focus on finishing it. I had the idea but didn’t have the time, so I switched to freelance writing. I’d save enough money so I didn’t have to worry about paying rent for three months. For two months I did nothing but work on my book. That was my 9 to 5 job. I’d get up, sit at the desk and try to write something.  When my bank account started going down again, I’d go out and hustle for freelance work and build my savings a bit.

    You must have had a pretty rad book tour?
    If you thought there’s no money in magazines, there is no money in books. Unless you’re a huge author, there is no book tour. In fact, there is no book launch party! The publishers don’t do anything for you. I saved some freelance checks and quickly realized that my meager little budget was bigger than theirs. I fell back on my punk rock DIY roots: “I’ll do this myself.” I did my own publicity, shot a book trailer to post on YouTube, set up readings, threw a launch party, everything. People are pretty receptive especially if you kick at their door.  It’s simple logic like weightlifting. Pick up the weight or don’t.

    The publisher would call me and say, “Hey, the book’s doing really well!” Yeah, because my wife and I were killing ourselves!

    How do you feel about reviews?
    I’ve interviewed a billion musicians and they bitch about the negative reviews but don’t complain abut the good reviews. My logic has always been that you can’t pick and choose. Either reviews have validity totally or they have no validity. Which is it? So I just didn’t care. A good review to me has about the same weight as a negative one which is none.  You just gotta do your thing.

    What if the movie flops?
    I’ll just write something else. I’m like a cockroach; I’ll just keep coming back.


  • All Blog Entries,  Christian Finnegan,  My Jailed Deaf Dad

    Ward & June in the 21st Century

    This week started out with Christian and I acting like Ward and June Cleaver. Christian woke up early (?) to head into his Manhattan office (?!) to work while I stayed home (!), went to the grocery store (???) and made dinner (#$@&*!!!!).  If I didn’t know better, I’d say these were Signs of the Apocalypse.

    In reality, Christian’s office is just a temporary home this week as he ramps up to film a pilot for a cable TV network this Thursday. It’s a game show he’s been working on for over two years and suddenly it feels like it’s being whipped together in a week. I’m scared and excited for him, but mostly scared. You give birth to these things and then your baby is thrust into the care of another person. Hopefully the nannies don’t drop the baby on its head.

    And while I did stay home, it was to Skype with my editor and work on my memoir. The cooking part came because, well, I was famished. I ran a few miles as part of training for the next half marathon I’m running and needed some nourishment in a bad way. On the way home I grabbed some groceries and the mail which contained a new letter from My Jailed Deaf Dad. He needs dentures like I need oxygen but he says the prison dentist won’t assist. So, I spent a good two hours researching prison rules, case law, and a dentist in Huntsville, Texas who makes “house” calls.

    So, yeah, I suppose we are the 21st Century’s version of the Cleavers, if June had a homicidal father in jail with missing and rotten teeth.

    Our cast has an abundance of Eddie Haskells, but our dog and rabbit will have to count as Wally and the Beav.

  • All Blog Entries,  Comedy,  NYC

    It’s a Small World. Keep Your Clothes On, K?

    The best part of posting a clip of nude ukulele players? Getting an email from a friend saying she works with one of them. She sees him clothed. At work. Had no idea about this, erm, side of him. Gah!

    I most certainly will remained clothed when I throw my name into the hat tomorrow night at The Moth held at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The theme is Inspired so naturally I am going to tell a story about David Lee Roth if they draw my name. There’s always a part of me that hopes they won’t. It’s nerve wracking, especially so when it’s a new story such as this one that I’ve never said aloud before. Regardless of how tomorrow night pans out, I WILL tell the story on Saturday night at The Creek & the Cave in Long Island City. The free show starts at 8:00.

    Now it’s off to write, write, write at an outdoor on this beautiful September day.

    Life is good, but not so good that clothes shouldn’t be required.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC

    Grieving in the Nude

    We all knew the day would happen when 9/11 became uncomfortable self promotion day. “Sorry for your loss, but can you come out to my comedy show at Chuckle Hut? Hey, I’m exercising my freedom of speech! That’s very American!”  But an interactive naked ukulele cabaret seems too soon. (Link SFW)

    What exactly might one expect at a naked ukulele cabaret? Check out the clip below which is also safe for work, I suppose, but my eyes. MY EYES!!!

    Want more and aren’t allergic to a tiny dash of a mushroom cap in your evening’s sauce? Click here.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  NYC

    Bucket List 2.0

    I have a confession to make: I’m closing in on the big 4-0. Yes, I know I’ve been telling many of you that I was 40 for a few years now. I lied. Forgive me. Now that we’ve gotten past that, let’s move on to the subject of this post. I’m re-vamping my “Things To Do Before I Die” list. Let me refresh your memory from an old post…

    I was 17 and a senior in high school when I got hitched and was 23 years old when my divorce from the sailor was finalized. After six years masquerading as a Midwestern housewife, I was free to be Me. Trouble was, the definition of “Me” had yet to be determined. I decided this huge upheaval of my life would not be for naught. I would reclaim my lost youth by creating a list oh-so-creatively titled “Things To Do Before I Die.” However, I never had a plan on how I would accomplish a single thing.

    Ten years later, during a move to a new apartment in New York City, I purged lots of old journals, letters and pictures and came across this list. I was tempted to throw it out; some of my items were downright embarrassing. “Be serenaded.” Really? I assure you, I didn’t want that then, and I most definitely don’t want it now.* I clearly wanted to be loved.

    In looking closer, though, I was pretty astounded at how earnest and mundane most of the items were. Ride a train, eat sushi, see a parade — check, check, check.

    Growing up in the woods, being responsible for myself, working full time at a very young age, I simply hadn’t done anything. See a Broadway play, learn to golf, vote, ride the subway, have my hair styled, handcraft pottery, learn to bike, go on a cruise, picnic, ice skate. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check.

    A week to the day the auction ended in which I sold my memoir to Random House, I remembered my List. I dug out the journal and scoured the numbered items and found:

    8. Write my autobiography.

    Seeing it written so plainly in my earnest naivete — as though writing a book were as simple as riding a train, eating sushi, or seeing a parade — makes me marvel at one’s ability to get things done. Other “never in a million years would this ever happen to me” stuff I listed did, in fact, happen: walk the red carpet, attend a movie premiere, and be self employed.

    I’m proud of having broken free and carving out a pretty interesting, varied life for myself. That said, there is still quite a bit of simple stuff on my list I have yet to accomplish. There is no other time like now to “get busy living or get busy dying”. Thoughts DO become things and so I want to write a new list of things to do. Below are some to get me started:

    Ride on the Orient Express.
    Master the ukulele.
    Compose a song.
    Get a pedicure.
    Get a massage.
    Drive across the U.S.
    Build a snowman.
    Participate in a rally.
    Ride a camel.
    See the Grand Canyon.
    Go sled riding.

    I’d love to know what’s on YOUR list and input on what should be on mine.

    *Was “serenaded” to by my husband on our 4th wedding anniversary. He sang “Any Way You Want It” by Journey during karaoke at Sunswick in Astoria at my behest. Now THAT is more my speed.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life

    Cheese Texas-Style

    What a difference a few years makes. The first time I brought Christian down to visit my mom at her home in Magnolia, Texas, she made us dinner. The appetizer was chips & queso followed by a main course of cheese fudge. Why, yes, that IS a two course meal made entirely of cheese. Well, not if you count the chips which served merely as a vessel with which to ingest MORE CHEESE.

    This visit, she was on the South Beach diet and prepared a healthy breakfast of veggies and eggs and ate big, delicious salads in downtown Montgomery. She’s lost a few pounds already and I hope she’ll hop on the treadmill soon so we can do a 5K the next time I see her. (Heck, I hope *I* can do a 5K. My right knee and both feet have been troubling me since running the half marathon.) Either way, kudos to her for taking the first step towards getting healthier.

    Cheese lover, but have limits. Cheese fudge pushed them.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Running

    Half Marathon "Medal"

    Half Marathon “Medal”
    Originally uploaded by kambricrews

    My nieces and sister-in-law gave me this “medal” and awesome notes of encouragement and congratulations on finishing my 1st half marathon.

    I’ve been laid up with extensor tendinitis since last Wednesday & have been missing running. Their notes made me miss it even more. I hope to get back there soon and earn another “medal” just for them!

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  Recipes

    Pudding Pop!

    Pudding Pop!
    Originally uploaded by kambricrews

    My spontaneous purchase of popsicle makers resulted in this yummy treat. Sugar free chocolate pudding pops made with 1% milk and chopped up chunks of bananas and strawberries = DELICIOUSNESS WITHOUT GUILT!

    An all AC/DC station for free on iTunes radio? Well, hello, Utopia.

  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life

    Bed, Bath & Beyond

    Now that we have a car (!!!!) we can do things like shop for large items without concern if we can physically carry them home. We took the Thunder Nugget out for a spin and filled him with things from Bed Bath & Beyond, a magical place where I believe I am a master chef and homemaker.
    The first set of sliding doors opened and I grabbed a bag of 100 tea light candles from a display and tossed them into the shopping cart. I WASN’T EVEN IN THE STORE. The second set of sliding doors opened and I was bedazzled. WHERE DO I BEGIN!?!? Christian had the same wild-eyed look. It was like we had broken into Santa’s Workshop.
    “Okay, we need to calm down,” he panted. “Let’s look at our list.”

    Right! Our list! We smartly and thankfully made one:
    Trash Can (SimpleHuman and worth every penny! Who knew a garbage could be improved upon and so very awesome?!)
    Shower Head (Installed in a jiffy by yours truly)
    — Toilet Seat (Also installed by yours truly. No photo. Did you really want one?)
    This cream pitcher turned vase and Ped Egg were things I did not need but suddenly felt I MUST HAVE THEM! They are mine now. So are these popsicle makers, a bajillion AA batteries, felt pads for the bottom of chairs, Brita filters, a soap dispenser and tons of other stuff that I simply could NOT leave behind in the store.
    Not everything is irresistible. It is unlikely I will shake my way to firm & fabulous arms despite what the box tells me.
    $375 later, the Thunder Nugget was filled with STUFF. We didn’t even need to put the back seats down, but we did because we CAN! After a quick and delicious lunch at Jackson Hole Diner f/k/a The Air Line Diner, we were home and unpacking our new “toys.” I was gleeful and inspired to make sugar free pudding pops with chunks of bananas and strawberries with my new popsicle makers. Domesticity is fun again.

    The Ped Egg? It’s LEGIT. No matter who you are, if I draw your name in Secret Santa this year, you will receive this.

  • All Blog Entries,  NYC,  Running

    My 1st Half Marathon

    I just ran 13.1 miles!

    I feel pretty good, physically, and like a million bucks, mentally. My morning didn’t start well. We drove our new car — my first time ever riding in it! — and parking was already full. We knew we should have left sooner, but whatcha gonna do. So, we drove around looking for street parking which was harder than it should have been. All the street closings and pressure to find a spot made us go the WRONG way on a freeway exit ramp! GAH! Cars were flying towards us honking, trying not to have a head on collision. Luckily it was 6:30 AM on a Saturday and traffic was light. We managed to turn around, find a spot and high tail it to the starting line.
    Being late and shaken up, we didn’t get to stretch or buy bananas. That said, it went well. It was hot & humid to be sure, but there was a nice breeze in some spots. I stopped at every water station as recommended by a few articles I read for 1st time half-marathoners. My shoes were SOAKED by the end so my feet felt mushy & gross. It wasn’t painful, just a distraction.

    The best part was seeing all the new sites of Flushing Meadow Park where much of the race was held. (Photo set here.) I ran past the Unisphere, an Aquatic Center, the Queens Zoo, Citi Field, Arthur Ashe Stadium and lots of lovely marsh land. Who knew it was all down the street from me?

    I came in 2435th place overall and 115th in my age/gender group. Finished in 2:20:22 at a 10:43 pace. Christian did well, too. Came in 999th place overall and finished in 1:56:56 at a 8:56 pace.

    Here are the stats for you running nerds:
    Distance: 13.1 Miles, 21.1 Kilometers
    Date/Time: July 24, 2010, 7:00 AM
    Location: Flushing Meadow, NYC
    Weather: 86 degrees, 63% humidity, wind 12 mph
    Course map


  • All Blog Entries,  Family & Life,  Running

    Back in the Saddle

    Memorial Day has come and gone. I was *supposed* to be in Los Angeles running a half marathon with my cousin’s wife and her brother. Instead I spent it moping around my NYC apartment wishing I were there. They ran it without me and did quite well. I’m so proud of her and her incredible transformation. Since October ’08 to date she’s gone from a 213 pound woman who couldn’t walk a mile to a woman who is fit and can run a half marathon!

    I was so frustrated and disappointed to not be there to see her cross the finish line and, damn it, I wanted to cross it, too. Why wasn’t I there, you ask? Because I’ve let work take over my life. I feel at the fed up point she did back in ’08 when she said, “Enough. I’ve had enough.”

    No, I don’t have weight to lose and, yes, I already run (I ran 10.75 miles today, in fact), but the small things in life are passing me by. I am, by nature, a workaholic. I’ve actually had days when I never saw the sun because my office is in the basement and I don’t come up for air. I haven’t seen my dad in 3 yrs, for crying out loud.

    Enough. I’ve had enough. It’s time for a change.

  • All Blog Entries,  PR & Marketing


    It’s time for my annual free Oscar watch party at Comix and I came up with the 1st drink name called “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Gin & Tonic”. My pal Julie Reed suggested “The Blind Sidecar” reminding me why this is our favorite time of year.

    There will be $5 drafts, $6 bottled beer, $7 well drinks and $18 draft beer pitchers along with those fun specialty cocktails and food specials like:

    CalaMarlee Matlin
    Lord of the Wings
    Whoopi GoldBurger

    And more!

    You’ll have the newly revamped Copper Room and the Comix Theatre to enjoy with big flat screen TVs showing nothing but the Oscars. They’ll have ballots for sale with chances to win lots of great prize packages given out during commercial breaks. Even if you show up late, you won’t be out of the running to go home with a prize.

    Brush up on your trivia, too, for even MORE chances to win.

    Doors open at 6:30 and seating is first come, first serve for those who have RSVPd.

    Doors will open to the general public once the Oscars begin at 8:00 PM.

    Everyone is welcome, so invite anyone and everyone who loves the movies!

    **Please RSVP to kcrews@comixny.com with your name and number of party in attendance **


  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  NYC

    I Just Wanted Coffee. Is That Too Much to Ask?

    This morning I went to my normal Sunday deli, my regular deli being closed on the Seventh Day. Back home, I settled into my leather recliner, newspaper in one hand, homemade Deaf Hope coffee mug filled to the brim in the other. The coffee had more half & half than I would like, but whatever. Then I tasted it. Blech. The cream was sour. So I dumped the coffee and waited an hour and a half for the corner cafe to open up.

    Cafe el Maya is a new little mom and pop operation and serve up delicious tacos and burritos. They’ve been advertising breakfast and I loved the idea of supporting them. I was the only customer so sat down at a big table and requested a cup of coffee with a little half and half. What I got was a bowl of half and half with a splash of coffee. I *wish* I were exaggerating. I was a little embarrassed to ask for it to be fixed — I try not to be a high maintenance customer, especially in a little shop like this, but I am a regular and, well, I was jonesing for java. It took three tries but finally I got a steaming cup of delicious coffee while I waited for my ham, cheese and onion omelette. What came out was a plate of thin, fried egg thing with no ham, no cheese, no onions and two slices of dry white toast. No butter or jam. After the frustrating coffee exchange, I just didn’t have it in me to send it back and *hope* they’d get it right. I was so hungry and in need of coffee that I felt exceptionally angry and helpless that I couldn’t just get a simple, no frills order.

    I finished my coffee, left the plate of food untouched except for the one bite I took to see if maybe there was ham, cheese & onion hidden in the eggs that I just couldn’t see, paid the $5 bill and walked to Panera. At least there, I knew I could get coffee.

    I just missed Panera’s breakfast so wasn’t able to get an egg souffle but no matter, there were tons of other tasty choices. There was plenty of coffee, served however I liked, reasonably priced and served quickly. Panera was packed full of happy looking people, laughing, chatting or using the free WiFi. As much as I hate the homogenization of America and my little area of Astoria, Queens, I was thanking God for this chain restaurant for getting everything right. And it seemed like every other person in Astoria had already figured it out. I suppose that’s why chains exist and take over the quaint towns of the nation, but it makes me sad. I will never give Cafe el Maya another chance except for the 2:00 AM $2 chicken taco. They do get those right. Or do they? It could be that I’m just too drunk to care.

    I’m a sell out. A sated, full, caffeinated sell out.

    Going to Subway for lunch and Applebees for dinner and Regal Cinemas for my entertainment.

  • All Blog Entries,  Random,  Travel

    New TSA Rule

    Due to the failed bombing attempt of a Delta plan flying into Detroit, the TSA won’t let you stand, retrieve personal items, use the restroom, or even read a book for the last hour of flights now. That means on a 5 hour flight terrorists will have only 4 measly hours to work with.

    Gosh, how will they ever find the time?

  • All Blog Entries,  Food & Drink,  NYC,  PR & Marketing,  Running,  Tex in the City

    Work & Working Out

    The past few weeks I’ve been lax about going the the gym, opting instead for burgers & beer & friends. But today I went and ran a 10K in 68.52 minutes. It felt GREAT! I know it should be a priority for me but when work calls, running is the first thing that gets shoved to the side.

    And work has been running me ragged. One thing I’m excited about is further movement on the “Life’s Tough. Laugh More.” ad campaign I developed three years ago. It’s finally seeing more action than just the sole TV commercial that aired last year. (Click here to watch. I wrote, directed & appeared in it, but wish we had a 30 second spot instead of the 60 sec. spots Time Warner gave us). I was able to get an amazing deal on as at a PRIME location in the NYC subway system (the N/R/W stops at the corner of 49th & 7th Avenue) and in the mall at South Street Seaport. So I got photographer/designer guru Kirill to shoot some spots with  Scott Ramsey (my BFF & Tex in the City partner) and Ophira Eisenberg. I have two more shoots up my sleeve but since we’ll have a FOUR month presence, I have some time to work those out.  Facebook users can check out a few of the behind the scenes shots taken at the shoot here on our Fan Page. I can’t wait to see what hoodlum New Yorkers draw on their faces! HA!

    Then there’s the upcoming Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival for which I am helping publicize. All the famous celeb chefs have sold out their shows, of course, so I’m working to help bring attention to Alicia Silverstone‘s demonstration. She is coming to Comix Oct 10th to showcase recipes from her first cookbook “The Kind Diet.”  Tickets & info here: http://tinyurl.com/nt3kyu
    I’m still plugging away on my book (I’m in the midst of doing an annotated scene list so my editor can wrap his head around the whole thing), we had a road trip to Boston for a wedding, my mom is coming for a visit in October as is an old high school friend and Tex in the City is resuming its First Friday Roundups beginning September 4th. Phew! My head spins. Now you see why it’s so easy to beg off the gym. But man I do feel better, less stressed and happier when I’m at my fittest. I’m not 20 any more so it’s easy for fatigue and bad eating habits to show up on my face and butt.

    Sometimes I wish I could check myself into “rehab” so I’ll take care of myself. There’s got to be a better way!
  • All Blog Entries,  Deaf Culture & ASL

    DeafHope’s Tea Party, Marlee Matlin & Yours Truly

    I am truly honored to have been invited as the Keynote Speaker when DeafHope presents their 8th Annual Tea Party “Defying Gravity” in Livermore, California. The tea party is a fundraiser to support direct services for abused Deaf women and their children at DeafHope. I will read or tell a story or something (guess I’d better get cracking on that) along with Mistress of Ceremonies and President of the National Association of the Deaf Bobbie Beth Scoggins and this year’s DeafHope Trailblazer Award Recipient, Marlee Matlin.

    The September 26, 2009 event includes delicious food by the Food Divas catering and tea with a free mug made by Hildy Licht and a silent auction.

    The tickets are $75.00 per person and address and directions will be sent to you after your payment. You may pay via Paypal (link and info on their site, here) or send check payable to DeafHope to following address:
    470 27th Street
    Oakland, CA 94612

    One last thing…on DeafHope’s site, they have a banner that rotates various photos of people and their completion of a sentence that begins “When violence against women stops…”

    Mine will be: When violence against women stops, I will ride the subway alone after 11:00 PM.