I sent an old friend from Montgomery, TX my yearbooks from our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade years and she mailed me her senior year yearbook. I knew some of the students since I was seven years old. If we hadn’t moved to Ft. Worth before my 10th grade year, I would have graduated with them. So it was genuinely interesting and also kind of heartwarming to see them in a way I hadn’t seen them before: older than when I left them, about to embark on a new phase of their lives.
After going through the Facebook Page I mentioned below, Mom decided to mail me some old photos I don’t have and some other notes and tidbits she’s kept over the years to add to the page.
And, best of all, as a Christmas surprise, my brother mailed me an old wrought iron bell in the shape of a longhorn. We used to ring it when we wanted my horse Charlie Brown to come back to the barn for food or I wanted to saddle him up for a ride. It’s been through a lot, not unlike me, my brother and mom. Looking at it brings back so many memories and I’m grateful to him for sending it. I’m going to hang it alongside an old kerosene lamp my mom mailed me a year or so ago. We used to use the lamp in the months before we had electricity. The knob to raise and lower the wick is rusted and stuck, so I doubt it will be in working order again but, like the bell, it’s a lovely inspiration and a reminder of my country roots displayed in my New York City apartment.
If a deaf schizophrenic still hears voices.If anyone else kept the shoes they walked home in on 9/11.Or the shoes they walked in for Blackout of ’04.Why it took my passport only 1.5 weeks to arrive. Aren’t we in post-9/11? A white girl from TX isn’t scary as all git out?How I never opened the drawer that held the jeans I’m now wearing in over two years. These jeans are phenomenal.Why Maybelline, the bunny I rescued while in NOLA after Katrina, doesn’t like coming out of her cage anymore. Sideways sad face.What story I should tell on Tuesday at SpeakEasy Stories.If anyone else’s rent did not go up. Ours stayed the same for the first time in four years.Why I’m so attached to clothes I haven’t worn in ages.Where all these pens came from.
The Comix questions have subsided, though, I did end up going in on Friday after a day full of errands. I dropped off my holiday cards for my assistant to stamp and mail, took care of Greg Fitzsimmons’ and Patrice Oneal’s press itineraries, and answered some pressing emails.
I got my passport renewed and dropped off my laptop which I’m picking up today. It had a virus on it which they eliminated before installing some protective firewall stuff and cleaned off all the unnecessary programs. All told, it cost $220. Pretty fair cost, in my opinion. I usually just buy a new version when I start to have trouble with my gadgets, so I’m pleased with myself for being frugal and taking care of what’s already mine.
I only dropped off half the home videos I intended because the price I was quoted over the phone of $5 each, suddenly jumped to $20 each. Yikes! I left the longest recordings, mostly videos of plays I starred in years ago, the rest I can easily transfer to Mini DV here at home. I had just walked four avenues in an awful snow / sleet storm, was pouring down sweat and my feet were soaked and freezing due to the giant puddles on every corner. So when the guy told me the $15 price difference, I kind of had a melt down. It was funny watching him not know what to do or say to make me feel better. It wasn’t his fault, I told him, but I still wasn’t happy to have walked so far out of the way to HIS video store when there’s dozens more convenient places around the City. I knew that $5 price was too good to be true, but I had been quoted a similar price for a back room operation that runs out of a porn shop. I figured I’d go with the legit business and, well, it cost me.
No takers on the armoire. How does anything get sold on Craig’s List? I keep hearing how easy it is but we didn’t get one single inquiry. It’s gorgeous and a bargain. I suppose we should wait till after the holidays. Or we can just hire some of the guys that loiter around Metropolitan Lumber looking for day labor to help us carry it down two flights so Salvation Army will pick it up. (S.A. will only pick up furniture two flights up or less.)
I’ve gone to the gym three more times, so that’s six out of ten days I’ve put in a good work out. I’m down three pounds total. (There’s no goal number in mind, and I’m sure I’ll gain it back once I go back to work. I just find it interesting to see how conscious living / eating has such immediate results.) I indulged at a comedy industry party and had sugar and lots of wine, as expected. Other than that, I’ve stuck to no sugar and no alcohol. I’ve not eaten a lot of sugar since Christian lost his weight almost 3 years ago, so it hasn’t been hard, thankfully. I remember when we first “de-toxed” from sugar and it was maddening. Hard doesn’t define it. Sugar is evil.
I’ve had a few days of non-writing thanks to the aforementioned errand running, Comix day and holiday party, but I’m still up 14,000 words. When I get home from today’s errands, I’ll pick up with Chapter Seven “You’re a Good Horse, Charlie Brown.” Now that I’m approaching chapters where the stories are ones I’ve told dozens of times and have much more impact on the story arc, I think the words will fly off my fingertips. We’ll see.
Headed to Rockefeller Center again during the busiest season of the year. This laptop had better work for a long while!
Holiday cards are done. I’m still stuck answering Comix questions and taking care of press for upcoming comedians, but I hope that doesn’t continue.Laptop is being taken in tomorrow for general cleaning and repair. I was able to take care of lots of the glitches and annoyances once I devoted an hour or two to it, but I’d still like the pros to wipe off a bunch of the crap I don’t need.The armoire is cleaned and all its contents removed and sorted into sell, donate and keep piles. It’s on Craig’s List if you’d like to buy it: http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/fuo/960556791.htmlHome videos sorted and are being taken in for transferring to DVD. A lot faster and less of a hassle than me transferring them to mini-DV as I had started to do. Mini-DVs just don’t hold that much compared to a VHS tape.I’ve gone to the gym three days in a row, haven’t had any sugar or alcohol in a few days now so am down two pounds. I’m sure that will change once I hit the holiday parties. I scrubbed the skin off my office. I’ve been here for nearly four years and hadn’t given it a thorough washing. It sparkles.Christian bought me a beautiful floor-length mirror for Christmas. Unfortunately I figured it out when I was at our mailbox place and they showed me the package. Eek. Oops. Oh, well. He assembled it and it’s in my freshly cleaned office looking dazzling.Um, what else? Oh, yeah, I’ve managed to churn out 6,000 more words. Not shabby but far from my goal.
Speaking of…back to the keyboards!
Sort of. In my line of work, I can never really be on vacation or MIA. I’ll definitely try to pare down my emailing and what not because I haven’t taken a single vacation since Paris last Christmas. Sigh.
There is lots to catch up on around the house like selling or donating my big armoire. It’s beautiful but I’ve had it for 8 years and it’s quite bulky by NYC apartment standards. Plus we really need a new TV. Sure, we want a new flat screen, but we actually need one. Our old tube TV is fading. A flat screen would look beautiful against our exposed brick wall that is nearly fully covered by my giant armoire. So, yeah, we’re looking forward to purging.
I also need to renew my passport, finish writing out the 250 Comix holiday cards, drop of my laptop for repair, transfer some old home videos to DVD and stuff like that that simply haven’t gotten my attention due to the insanity that was 2008. I also went grocery shopping for the first time in about 5 months. I’m a pretty healthy eater by nature, but not when I’m out in restaurants. I definitely like my greasy bar food. I figure if I’m home for the next two weeks, I might as well try to re-calibrate my bad eating habits that have spiraled out of control lately. (This may come as a shock but pints of Ben & Jerry’s NY Super Fudge Chunk at midnight really aren’t necessary.)
Finally, I’d really like to finish (or come very close to finishing) the first draft of my memoir. I’m one-third of the way through without much concentrated effort. I think if I can spend the next two weeks consistently writing for days in a row, I could bang that sucker out. I truly expect to at least get another one-third on paper. Any more than that would be amazing.
It’s an awful lot to expect out of two weeks off, especially during the holidays. But if I can get at least half of what I want done done, it will have been a success. To help me stay on track, I’m keeping a daily diary of everything from what I eat and drink, to how much time I’m writing, watching television (Thankfully Survivor & Dexter have ended. Knock out The Biggest Loser & How I Met Your Mother and we’re in business.), and on the internet.
If only the cursed internet would break down for a few days. Do I really need to look up the ingredients in lip balm that make it “addictive” or famous comic book villains? No. But tell that to me when I really am curious about the answers.
It feels like not much is going due to the holidays on but where the hell did the time go?
We’re working on updating Christian’s bio, resume and what not in preparation for the big PR for his DVD. After his photo shoot, we’ve narrowed down his promo shots to 50. The cover of the DVD is already designed and the second cut of his hour special was delivered yesterday. So, all is chugging along on that end.Brian Posehn and David Alan Grier are in town back-to-back weekends so I’m busy with their PR schedules, designing the Comix holiday card, updating the mailing lists and planning the annual holiday party. With all that and Thanksgiving in Boston, there wasn’t much time to focus on writing even though it’s all I want to be doing. While in Boston, we stayed at the Parker House across from the Granary Cemetery. The Parker House has a rich history which includes notables such as Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X, JFK and the like. The Granary boasts the remains of John Hancock, Paul Revere, Sam Adams and Mother Goose. Quite the spot to spend some time meandering around on Black Friday.Christian’s family all live relatively close to one another so they all drive to eat turkey, call it a day and pfffttt, that’s it. Couldn’t we just do that some other Thursday when no one else is traveling and, therefore, traffic and prices are normal? Holidays…I don’t get ’em. That said, we of the kids’ table, had a great time doing a TDay pub crawl through Boston with Christian’s cousin, his fiance, his other cousin and his sis-in-law. The six of us created a new tradition from here on out, and I look forward to the next time we see them. You know, just for fun and because we actually like each other and not because the calendar dictates it.
I’m going to dub one random day a Festivus-type holidy and shake things up. We can pretend it’s a tradition in my family and Christian really needs his family’s support to make me feel welcome. It will involve chanting, candles, robes…oh, wait, that’s just church. Hmm…guess nothing’s weirder that what’s already out there.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
We officially withdrew our offer for the co-op we liked on the UWS. The building, a lovely brownstone right on Riverside Park and three blocks from Central Park, was only 50% owner occupied. The other 50% were owned by the sponsor. Not good in these troubled financial times and our broker, attorney and accountant all felt the same. We should wait for prices to drop and find a place that has only 10% or fewer units owned by the sponsor. Or, better yet, find a condo.
We’ve actually got our eye on a few new condos in Long Island City right on the East River with breathtaking views of Manhattan and only one subway stop (or two?) from Grand Central Station. With LIC being the new “it” residence and new developments popping up left and right, we can afford to sit tight and see what the market does.
Christian is right: I love projects and take on new ones all the time without dropping any old ones. So, with that out of the way, I hope to spend less time thinking about real estate and more time writing. Browsing various real estate, decorating and furniture websites daydreaming about a new place was a HUGE time killer for me.
Speaking of writing, off to do just that for another 10 to 12 hours today.
I didn’t write much over the last few days but, even still, I’m excited about the changes I made for Chapter Three. It was a chapter that was going to be all back story about my mom and dad.
Back story is important, of course, but I simply can’t write fluidly and excitedly about stuff for which I wasn’t present, let alone born. That said, though, I was obsessed with their romance. It seemed lifted from the pages of a screenplay. Finally, after reading and re-reading, staring and daydreaming, I realized why. It reminded me of something that was very tangible, real and exciting…
They went together like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong. Which when you think about it, doesn’t go together at all.
Chapters Four and Five are humming along with no problems because they’re all about spiders and snakes. Now that’s something I know about.
—Kambri Chang chang changity chang shoo bop that’s not the way it should be!
I listened to a particularly depressing This American Life podcast yesterday. I won’t ruin it for you or drag you down to my level (entirely), but it is about the last days of the election in Pennsylvania. Basically, racism is alive and well and it’s fu*king disgusting and bolstered by a mind-boggling level of ignorance and paranoia. Of course we already knew that but listening to an hour of reporting on it was tough. Hearing ostensibly decent people rationalize their racism was even tougher.
Can’t wait to cast my ballot for a black man not because he’s black or in spite of him being black, but because he shares my views on issues that are important to me.
After all that, they settled the case before we, the jury, could deliberate. Harumph. It was still a very interesting process, and I would do it again even knowing that I would never get to help decide the outcome. What it ultimately means is that I’m woefully behind on my email. Strangely, though, I don’t care. I say “strangely” because I have an empty inbox 99% of the time. No joke. An email comes, I read it (or not if it’s spam or a similar unwanted source) and answer, file or delete it as needed. I don’t let it sit around and gather dust unless there is a significant reason.
Instead, tonight, I skipped the gym, dined at Cafe Bar, napped, painted my nails, and am now propped up on the couch with a glass of Shiraz and my laptop to look for open houses. In other words, things right now are unabashedly, selfishly mine. I work hard. Very hard. But jury duty reminded me that I work too hard. I haven’t vacationed since Paris last Christmas — not one single day truly “off” and tomorrow I’m taking one to celebrate my husband’s success and infinite talent and charm during one of the biggest events in his career. He makes me tremendously proud, and I look forward to just sittin’ there looking purty while he rightfully basks in the glory of this milestone.
I 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.
I love my morning walks to the deli with Paquita. So does she. Like all dogs, she really thrives on routine and has come to learn what my different shoes mean. At the sound of my opening the front closet door she will race to see which shoes I pull out. Flip flops she most definitely should expect a trip to the deli. The dejected walk she makes to her bed at the sight of my gym shoes and high heels would make me sad if I weren’t so proud of how perceptive she is. She pathetically plops down as if to say, “Time to make my bed and lie in it…for several hours.” Sigh.
I’ve mixed up the routine so that each part of the ritual has its own meaning for her: WALK! Each act — tearing off paper towels for picking up poop, getting out her leash, gathering $3.70 for my morning papers and coffee — is enough to make her shake all over and frantically follow me everywhere her whole body saying, “Can I go? Can I go? Can I go? Are we going? Are we going? Are we going?!?!!”
Saying, “Yes, you’re going, don’t you worry!” only gets her more excited and she doesn’t quite believe it till her harness is buckled. Ask her if she likes coffee and you’ll be met with a frantic wimper/bark. She doesn’t actually like coffee (she’s more of a white wine or lager girl), but she knows it equals a trip to the deli.
Some mornings I like to trick her by waiting till she goes back to sleep with Christian. I’ll quietly collect my change, carefully tear off a paper towel, slowly ease open the closet door and slip on my shoes then say, “Coffee?” The time it takes her to scramble to the front door depends on how deeply she has buried herself in the covers, but it is never more than a few seconds. She trips over herself on the slick hardwood floors and comes to a skidding halt.
She reacts in this same way when the sun shines on a pillow from 9:00 till 11:00 each morning. Yelling “Sunshine!” will make Paquita drop whatever she’s doing, run to the sunshine-y pillow and flop on her side to soak up the rays. Her mouth hangs open with her lips pulled back, and I could swear she’s smiling. She really likes the morning sun.
Sundays are the quietest as many of the shops don’t open or open later than usual. Today we passed our neighbor with a boy Yorkie that really loves Paquita and our other neighbor with his mutt Rocky who Paquita wants to kill. Then I saw the scruffy old white guy who “drives” an equally old greenish brown Dodge Demon. I say “drives” in quotes because he never really drives it. He moves it from parking space to parking space and generally spends his day drinking a cold beer and smoking outside of the deli talking to various people. We continued along and the Cuban woman who works at the Latina Cabana lit up when she saw me. “Well hello!” But Paquita isn’t allowed inside so we just waved and said to have a great day.
I passed the man who sweeps up the sidewalk and empties the trash cans without saying hello. He doesn’t like dogs and gets really mad if you try to throw away poop in his garbage cans. Paquita was fixated on a smell and wouldn’t budge as he swept closer and closer to her. I’m sure he was trying to scare her but she didn’t budge. Something must have smelled really good to her.
Finally we reached the deli just as the old Pakistani man who is friends with Sherman, the deli owner, was coming out. I had scooped up Paquita and was holding her in my arms when he saw me. “Oh, hello! Good morning,” he said. “Good morning!” I replied. He started to go on his way then stopped and said, “People say when they have a baby they are happy. But when people have a dog, God is happy.”
So am I.
Christian and I didn’t take too many pictures in Paris. We didn’t even bother bringing our video camera. We wanted to enjoy the sites and soak them instead of worrying about the perfect photo op. But we did take a few pictures (26 to be exact), most simply because they were things that we knew weren’t available in a postcard form or available online like the photos I snapped of two sculptures / headstones in Cimetiere de Montparnasse.
I started to write some quick highlights of the things we did but found myself wanting to elaborate so here’s a brief summation of our trip:
1st Day – Took a bus from the airport and checked in to the Hotel des Artistes. Walked through the Luxembourg Gardens and had our first Parisian dining experience with no problems. Christian’s high school French got us bemused, appreciative smirks.
2nd Day – As the sun was rising, we walked through the Cimetiere de Montparnasse which, although not the more famous one with Jim Morrison and the like, was amazing and houses the most beautiful, touching, sad, haunting sculpture. We tried to visit the Catacombs – the site I was most interested in seeing, actually – but it was closed for renovations. Bummer. We had coffee before heading out to our first walk with the aforementioned Paris Walks book that took us from St. Germain-des-Pres to the Musee d’Orsay. We stopped at Deyrolle, a 170 year old taxidermy shop that is surreal. I bought a gorgeous blue morpho butterfly of the lepidoptera order that I can’t stop staring at. Then we hit the museum to feast our eyes on an impressive collection of paintings by Renoir, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, et al. You know…the usual.
3rd Day (Christmas Eve) – We embarked on our longest walk of the trip by starting at the Louvre (the Paris Walks book gave us a useful tip about a relatively unknown entrance to the museum that let us avoid all the lines) where we saw the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Both, while lovely, were difficult to enjoy because of the ridiculous over-use of cameras of every size and shape. I wanted to snatch them away from everyone and make the people just stop for a moment to savor the view. The museum really should do something about this…something along the lines of the Hope diamond. I recall seeing it by filing up to it in a single file line, having my solitary moment with it then moving on.
We moved away from both and went to the more quiet exhibits of amazing sculptures and Egyptian artifacts. But the most beautiful thing of the Louvre, in my opinion, is the Louvre itself. There were moments where the building, the ceilings the courtyards were dizzying. Also in my opinion, the glass pyramid constructed above the main entrance is hideous. Apparently many others agreed but some have come to appreciate the merging of modern and ancient design, including Christian. From there we continued a Paris Walks walk that took us off and on the Champs Elysees till we reached the Arc de Triomphe.
After a short nap, we ventured out again to the Eiffel Tower where a full moon shone. It was a bit too cold to stand in line to travel up to the top and, as we had found at other places, due to the clouds we weren’t sure that we’d see anything from up there anyway. Instead we walked along the Seine and had a leisurely meal at a bistro where Christian was served the saddest salami and pickle sandwich. I think the kitchen was mad at our late arrival (it was due to close in 10 minutes) and decided to scrimp on his meal as punishment. I hope Christian has the photo of it that I can share. It was hilariously bare of meat and pickles.
4th Day (Christmas Day) – We had a cozy breakfast nearby our hotel where the most ridiculous U.S. couple confirmed all those stereotypes about rude, loud Americans. They were so awful they were an exaggerated caricature of the stereotype. Christian snapped a pic on his iPhone that I’ll have to post later but the pic will not do any justice. They were absurd. So absurd we apologized to our waiter on their behalf.
We trekked to Notre Dame where we partook in Mass. It was lovely –both the building and the Mass– but religion is baffling to me. Stand up, sit down, chant in unison…it’s all very cult-like and creepy. The heeby jeebies set in after a few minutes so we skedaddled over the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, on which the above photo was snapped. We completed two walks from Paris Walks that day and just generally enjoyed being out and about with no agenda.
Christmas dinner was at Villa Spicy near the Champs Elysees which was bustling. You would never have known it was Christmas. The sidewalks were packed as if it were any other shopping day and the trees along the street were brilliantly lit with blue twinkle lights.
5th Day – We doubled back to the Conciergerie (really not as interesting as a museum as it could and should be as the prison that housed Marie Antoinette among others due to much of the building still being used for the Paris law courts) and the Pantheon which had been closed for Christmas the day before. We somehow managed to time out longest and most difficult Metro experience with rush hour which made for squeezing into the train car an experience in itself.
We finished our day with the Arts and Tarts walk in Paris Walks. This was, by far, our favorite as it was the most romantic and quaint and uniquely Paris walk of those we had completed. It took us to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart which was breathtaking. The views were spectacular and we were constantly delighted at seeing the domes of the church suddenly appear again as we walked around the winding, hilly roads. We vowed that if and when we return to Paris, we will stay in this area or arrondissement.
Our last meal in Paris at Sensing was our most decadent and was a fun experience. A man’s job was just to stand and watch us eat. If a crumb fell, he was there. Water? Of course. Last bite eaten? Plate promptly removed. It was weird but fun and delicious and adventurous. We had a nightcap at a pub where a regular was trying to make moves on every woman in the room. He convinced one to dance with him and as their dancing continued she clearly became uncomfortable and abandoned him as he tried to tuck his obvious boner into a less apparent position. Awkward and awesome.
Lots of little details have been left out, but this sums it up nicely, I guess. The next time we visit will definitely be in Spring or Summer where we can truly enjoy the gardens and outdoor cafes. But for our first time and as a way to spend Christmas, we had an amazing time.
Ready for ’08!
What a beautiful city you are, especially when the last sight of you is followed by the drive home from JFK down Steinway Street in Queens. Ick. But it is good to be back home with the animals and Paquita is sporting her brand new Parisian harness. She would have loved you too with dogs being welcome anywhere and everywhere. And now, I cross you off the list and hope to see you again soon . A la prochaine, moi.
There is too much to write at this late hour on so little sleep. We did the touristy things, of course, but we incorporated them into walks courtesy of “Paris Walks,” a useful, easy guide for first time visitors. I have only one or two minor, nit picky things about the book’s practicality and some snarky editorial but wholeheartedly agree with the two reviews on the Amazon page. We never took a cab, even from the airport to the hotel, but instead relied on our feet and the freakishly perfect Metro system. It is pristine and a cinch to navigate.
While I enjoyed the sites where we, for whatever reason, felt we needed to go / see to say, “Yes, I have seen the [FILL IN THE BLANK],” the fun parts were more about the culture, the joie de vivre and the drunk and disorderly. The best way to get a sense of how “things are done” is to see how people react to situations like an over packed subway car at rush hour, post office lines, the drunk unsuccessfully trying to get served another drink, the drunk handing another drunk with a Santa hat a half empty bottle of wine, the drunk trying to make a move on every woman in the bar whilst tucking away his obvious wood, and the like. Maybe over a vin or two I will tell you about the trip but until then, joyeuses fetes.
First class on international trips is ridiculously, ridiculously amazing. I am still full nearly 9 hours after landing.
I don’t want to pretend that I have *any* talent for music. In fact, I will venture a guess and say I’m the *least* talented person musically except for, say, my deaf family…of whom some actually formed a Christian folk group called the “Signs of the Harvest”. I have no ear for it. Ahem. But, I have gotten quite good at the medium level of Guitar Hero (hard and expert seem positively savant-like at this point) and I am amazed at the level of intense concentration and full body cooperation goes into my hitting 100% of the notes (brag). This has given me a new found respect for the rock and roll star.
The fact that they are able to play any song, let alone several in a row, and using real strings and chords instead of color coded buttons is mind boggling. I actually got tired in the middle of one song and thought, “My hands hurt and I really want a sip of that wine.” So I hit pause and sipped the wine and stretched my hand which had frozen stiff into its claw like pose necessary to hit the blue and red buttons simultaneously. Just how the fuck do they play with a fly buzzing around and all that hair in their eyes? In their mouth? And drunk? Because that’s how I’m trying to play and it’s hard!
It must be an act. Rock and roll stars are actually sober savants who calculate their drug addled look.
I related a funny story about the small Deaf world to my friend the other night and decided to write it down:
When I was about 19, I moved to Ohio and worked as a teller during the day while attending paralegal school at night. An older deaf couple we’ll call the Wilsons regularly visited the bank but never came to my window. Finally, one day I saw them come in and I waved them over. Of course, the first question the husband asked was how I knew ASL.
“Mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunts & uncles, everyone all Deaf,” I told them.
Read the rest over at Love, Daddy.
Saturday night I saw a childhood friend who was in New York on vacation. Our grandfathers and our parents grew up together at the deaf school in Oklahoma, and my brother & I grew up with him and his sister. The eight of us, at one time, were inseparable even moving into the woods of Montgomery together and eventually buying matching trailers. We talked and talked and danced and laughed till 4:00 in the morning. The next day I woke up and my hands were stiff and sore from all the signing!!!
I was excited to tell him about “ASL in the Raw,” the show by and for the Deaf produced by and starring Doug Ridloff and Jason Norman (pictured below) which I am promoting this November at Comix. Maybe he’ll come back to NYC for that one. For you New Yorkers or those in town for the Thanksgiving holiday, pencil it in your calendar. Or, better yet, buy your advance tickets at ComixNY.com.
Aren’t they cute?
We made it home late last night after a pretty non-eventful day of travel. Well, uneventful excpet for ride to the airport. The cab was driven by an Apache Indian who had decorated the entire interior of the cab with feathers, dried flowers, etc. He was so incredibly nice he even showed us his photos of his grandson’s naming ceremony and gave me a hug before we parted ways.
I spent the flight reading a book Christian got me for my birthday — a quick little read about the publishing industry — to help me prep for my upcoming book proposal meetings. Meetings which I now feel infinitely less qualified to attend but will try to bluff my way through.
Spending my birthday in Austin was amazing. Seeing old friends, the magic of the MySpace birthday notification and the kindness of the club staff meant that I had lots of birthday wishes, desserts, gifts and general goodness bestowed upon me. Being a little periodical meant that I welled up with happy tears at least three times. Thank you for making it a really special weekend for me.
No snarkiness here, just real gratitude.
It’s been a whirlwind of work here and at least four new clients for me to promote and a hilarious new show to produce. In the midst of all that, I just accepted a kick arse PR gig that means I might need to hire a part time junior publicist to handle my Ballyhoo clients. How cool is that? My baby PR company is the little engine that could! Even if the job doesn’t work out, I will have a major notch added to the bedpost that is my resume.
In an extension of that blog post about the right path being easier and obstacles getting in one’s way when one is on the wrong path, Christian and I had a long conversation where we reflected on my last two and a half years.
When Tex in the City was formed in 2002, I pretty much devoted every waking minute to it. The problem was that it never paid me a salary and there was always some angst or obstacle surrounding any meeting or project. So in December ’03, Greg and I started tossing around ideas of how to start another company that focused on the work he and I were doing: PR and marketing with some event planning and production. We worked harder than anyone we knew and we complemented each other well on every project. Alas, he had a hot iron in the fire and wasn’t ready to commit to anything new until he got word. I couldn’t wait.
Tex in the City was officially relegated to hobby status, but I was determined that I would move forward with my experience in some form or fashion and Greg (and Scott, too!) was very supportive of this. Christian, bless his heart, listened to me brainstorm and reflect on every thought I had and helped guide and shape my ideas. In February 2004, Ballyhoo Promotions was born, just two months after Greg & I first discussed branching out.
In June of 2004, Greg’s iron paid off and he announced his move to DC so it seemed things really did work out in the end. Greg is wildly successful, Scott is now a full time actor landing yet another role and Ballyhoo Promotions never encountered any obstacles and quickly grew into my work from home, full time job.
The best part is that I still own Tex in the City and the website so can still have all of its best parts: a fantastic networking resource and promotional tool for me, Scott, Greg and my other Texan friends. Just yesterday I got a lovely email from someone in Texas who found me while searching for images of Gov. Ann Richards. He saw this picture and recognized me from when I was volunteering in animal rescue & recovery in NoLA after Katrina. Turns out he does lots of high profile work in NYC. Weird, small world.
Tex in the City was great fun and taught me a lot about working in entertainment in NYC and really showed me where my best talents lie. So all those hours invested for no monetary return really proved useful. There’s really no point to this post, just that I have been reflecting a lot over the last year that I have been working from home. I am really thankful for those early years of trying to run a production company and honoring the obstacles that crept in because those obstacles are what made me go in a different direction more suited to me.
Interestingly, in the first days of Tex in the City, the path was very clear –many serendipitous events happened– and I knew it was something good. So when the roadblocks did happen later, they were glaringly obvious. I was determined to keep working on something. I needed to. I had to. I was lucky to be dating a comic around the time I saw that business not living up to its potential. It showed me an opportunity with a focus on comedy. And though I’m still on this path and don’t know where it will lead, it seems like I’m headed in the right direction. Knock on wood.
Lemons into lemonade, as they say.
In L.A. for a showcase at the Laugh Factory before jetting off to a lodge in Salt Lake City for some hot honeymoon action of which the Mormons are sure to disapprove. Meanwhile, I can’t get to everyone’s emails and comments which makes me sad because my heart is bursting from its newly enlarged size to make room for all the love everyone showed us. So instead I’ll sip frozen drinks poolside at the Standard and warm my spirits in a heated pool on top of some mountain whose name I can’t remember. Pfft.
Meanwhile, here are some great captures of me making my way to the stage as Christian lets me pass in front of him. I’m positively bursting with happiness. Truly the best weekend of my life. And when Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” blasted over the speakers, Christian and I giggled like schoolgirls up in the private loft. Best entrance song ever. Better than — dare I say it — anything by AC/DC, but don’t tell anyone I said that.
On to the pics. Click on them for alternate sizes including high resolution versions.
So we got married, blah, blah, blah. That doesn’t take any talent or special skill, so on to other topics of interest.
We missed seeing my pal Mandy of the NY Post at our nuptials; but I suppose if you’re going to miss a wedding, getting bitten by Andy Dick while covering the roast for William Shatner then having it covered in Page Six makes for an excellent excuse!
We also missed our friend Adam Felber because he was out in LA for his new book Schrodinger’s Ball which also happened to get a great review in the NY Times. In a bummer turn of scheduling, he’ll be in New York this weekend while we’re out in LA and Utah. This means we’ll miss the private shindig hosted by his friend, NPR co-worker and co-blogger Mo Rocca at Mo’s pad celebrating our mutual friend’s milestone.
Faithful readers will recall that Mo popped in for Edith Layton’s book launch party. Why? She’s Adam’s mom, that’s why! She also happens to be an amazing woman and multi-award winning romance novelist with her own book coming out soon. That family is sincerely talented and awesome and funny with her daughter Susie Felber adding to the talent pool as an accomplished comedian and writer and gorgeous mommy-to-be. She also happened to capture the (thus far) only photo of me smiling too wide whilst descending the stairs at my wedding party thingy.
There’s plenty more of our friends who we need to congratulate — more books, CDs, marriages and what not — but right now I’m just bubbling with joy for Adam and for Mandy probably not being “too AIDS-y“.
“Pitch out!” – Grady Hinchman
Quote by more than five or more dozen guests tonight. I heartily agree.
Sideways smiley face.
Coney Island, here we come!
So Friday I decided I wanted to carry flowers. And last night thought, “Maybe I should paint my nails because people will want to see my ring.” And, oh, I haven’t written a toast yet and we still need to buy bubbles and tablecloths.
So what did I do? Got hammered with my mom, mother-in-law-to-be and my ex-mother-in-law from my first marriage who came in from Ohio and I haven’t seen since ’95. Plus “Reverend” Ramsey and lots of friends were there to party.
I had a wee bit of a headache this morning but no matter. We got up for brunch and a little hair of the dog, found the exact flowers I had in mind plucked from an arrangement at a funeral home, bubbles and tablecloths all within a square block.
Sometimes living in Astoria is awesome. Where else can you find a giant party store, funeral home with attached flower store, an awesome diner with giant bloody marys and a million dollar stores with cases of bubbles just hours before your wedding? Not on Park Avenue, I assure you.
Blogging when I should be writing a toast and maybe getting a manicure. And maybe shaving my legs or underarms.
With only three days left till wedded bliss, things are running smoothly if not a little jam-packed with all of Christian’s CD stuff.
The weather report looks promising with mid-80 temperatures and sunny skies. I don’t care if it rains on Saturday but I will be sorely disappointed if Sunday is a bust for Coney Island and Christian’s first pitch for the Brooklyn Cyclones for which he is ill prepared. Just where should one practice pitching when one does not own a ball or a glove or a yard? His finger was wrenched last Tuesday, too. It healed almost completely within two days but he’s been treating it with kid gloves hoping to get it back to 100% in time to throw. This could be awe-ful-some.
I also cashed in an offer from Serednipity 3 that Christian got in his gift bag back when he appeared on Last Call with Carson Daly. It was supposed to give him a free Golden Opulence Sundae. Valued at $1,000, it is the most expensive dessert in the world. Turns out that offer was a Valentine’s Day promotion so the publicist is giving us and two out-of-town wedding guests free lunch instead. That’s even better in my book but don’t tell the publicist that.
Oh! In other “windfalls” news, you know those news reports about unclaimed funds that are just floating out in the universe that eventually revert to the State? Well, I have some! $1,098 to be more specific. What a nice little surprise. I read and re-read the letter a dozen times sure that it was a scam but it’s not. Who knows what $1,100 will buy? I got a free laptop not long ago, don’t need clothes or books or electronics or anything really. I guess I’ll invest it barring any brilliant ideas on how to blow money I didn’t even know I had.
Spa treatments? More classes at NYU? A weekend getaway?
So I’ve been pitching (heh) the Brooklyn Cyclones like crazy hoping they would let Christian throw out the first pitch the day after our wedding when we take our big group of 60 to go see the game. I hadn’t heard anything and was kvetching to my old boss Jack over vodka gimlets about how I really wanted that to be my wedding present to Christian.
Guess who Jack just happens to know? The owner of the Cyclones. One phone call later and guess who is throwing out the first pitch on Sunday, August 13th? Yeah, I knew three years of office insanity with Jack would pay off.
Update: As it turns out, it was my pitch that did it and not the phone call. Guess who will still try to claim credit and lord it over me until I re-pay him?
Guess who is in line for a very special thank you that he’ll never let me forget?
As a birthday gift, NBC aired Christian’s appearance on Last Call with Carson Daly. Here’s the clip featuring a whopping four minutes of stand up by the birthday boy. Watch it here.
This is the first year I haven’t baked him a cake since we cut sugar out of our diet for our New Year’s resolution. I feel like a slacker somehow. I treated him to a free viewing of all the Beastie Boys videos directed by “Nathanial Hornblower” (aka Beastie Boy member MCA) at the AMMI. It was us and two girls when the show started and at the end we all clapped. On our way out we noticed a man had snuck in while the lights were out. That man? MCA / Nathanial Hornblower. Christian was so excited he interrupted MCA’s conversation with the two girls to introduce himself. Yay! Then I treated him to afternoon booze and food at a pub where we played video games till we ran out of singles.
I can’t stop laughing slash sweating slash snorting slash blushing when I look at this hilarious slash sexy slash embarrassing photo of me & Erik Estrada as my fiance’, comedian Christian Finnegan, sulks nearby:
Video taken at the 2006 TV Land Awards right before we hit the red carpet:
Here are a few photos from the TV Land affiliate’s cocktail party at Shutters in Santa Monica that took place the night before the awards ceremony. It was a small little gathering with Christian performing and Marion Ross, Tom Wopat, Christopher Knight, Adam West & Erik Estrada as the other celebrity guests. There’s a cute one of Marion Ross & Christian embracing. She’s so cute. Gotta get my disposable camera developed for the pic of me & Erik. I hope it turns out!
During the aforementioned cocktail party, Larry, the president of TV Land, told us a funny anecdote about musical guest Diana Ross. While setting up the stage in preparation for her performance, she told a production crew member she wanted a speaker moved.
“Yes, Ms. Ross. I’ll try to do that for you.”
“Now you know I don’t like the word ‘try’.”
How awesome is she?!
Flew home with Adam West & Mary Tyler Moore.
If you had told the 13-year-old, tin trailer living, outhouse using, raggedy clothes wearing version of me that her life would come to this, she would have wanted to believe it with every fiber of her being but couldn’t possibly have imagined it coming true. I swear I wished on many a bright star, birthday cake candle and 11:11 clock read-out that I would have a life & career that allowed me to have a night like I had tonight. And the awards haven’t even happened yet!
Tom Wopat told Christian, “Your fiance is beautiful.” And he was totally serious. And he was talking about ME! Later, I “made out” with Erik Estrada (picture forthcoming) with Christian’s blessing. Erik is by far the most gregarious, charismatic person I have ever met solidifying my impeccalbe taste in men even when I was pre-pubescent.
Marion Ross is the most awesome, touchy feely lady ever.
Adam West is witty and vibrant and clever and handsome. He also lives in Idaho which made Christian bite his tongue to abstain from making a bat cave joke.
Chris(topher) Knight was without Adrianne which made me sad because I think she’s adorable, but he was enthusiastic and gracious all the same.
I fear for this site’s future because I can’t really honestly talk about half the crazy, surreal, jaw dropping moments and, well, what’s the point of writing about them if I can’t really write about them?
Tomorrow is going to feel like the ULTIMATE Battle of the Network Stars!
I received an eight page, handwritten letter from my jailed deaf dad. He received the five postcards and two letters I have sent since August 5th and the $50 I deposited into his inmate trust fund.
With his money he bought:
A new fan – $20
Radio with awake shaker – $13.60 (He means a vibrating alarm clock)
Sport watch – $4.00
Double hygienes – $7.00
Pint of Blue Bell – $1.50 (Texas brand ice cream for all you yanks)
24 oatmeal pies – $2.10
He has a grand total of $0.21 left in his account. (Don’t know where that other $1.59 was spent).
As for the last item above, he said, “Guess what I got 24 Oatmeal Creme pies and I ate all in 2 days — Damned it. But I feel good to taste real sweeting foods.” That’s totally worth $50. I sent $40 more yesterday so he can buy two sets of dominoes ($9.50), a new padlock ($10.50) and still have $20 to blow on oatmeal pies and other “sweeting foods”. I also bought him this book and a six month subscription to the Seminole Producer for which my cousin Wil is a writer and photographer.
There was his usual ranting about the thieving, cheating, lying troublemakers in jail and an entire page about the real origin of the HIV/AIDS virus. That it originated in Middle Africa around 1957 but they didn’t call it HIV at the time. Much of what he wrote was pretty accurate, but based on theoretical conclusions. Read the history of AIDS here.
Finally, he addressed a question I posed in my last letter to him. Figuring the reason he didn’t write more often was that he felt like he didn’t have any new information to share, I wondered if he would be willing to answer any questions I posed to him in the form of written interviews. I proposed that I could compile his stories and perhaps publish them on his own website, create a manuscript or any number of other avenues for writers.
His reply was an emphatic “YES!” The pages nearly caught fire with his rapid writing and his language became nearly indiscernible. His excitement at my idea has him charged. Here are excerpts from his reply:
“Kambri, Yes Many years ago, I always want to writing a story about fiction and nofiction with my real life and make up a story. published a book. and make millions dollars.” [Excellent. This is something he has wanted to do and I can help make it happen.]
“Of course I will write a story every weekly and send you and you make good languages and add more ideas…Yes I will tell you every things about real life of myself. And your mother still not know about I gone to old Mexico They arrested me for possession of Dope. They sentenced me lifetime but I only stay in prison 28 days. That awful story…” [WTF? A Mexican prison? My mom doesn’t even know about it?!?!]
“Kambri I will write you every weekly 2 different story about real life and nonfiction. One best story is happiness and fun in Paris, France. Bad story in Old Mexico…My Worse life is that I hated being deaf & mute…I will explain you mail order. Its is best fast profit and lots million dollars in few weeks. Its better than published books.” [Mail order? I’m going to have to tell him about the internet.]
He then switches gears and complains about a guy who wants to fight with him. “Don’t worry,” he assures me. “I will whip and real good bruises & maybe break his teeth. He really need get lesson…” [ARGH! How many times do I have to tell him not to get into trouble! If he gets solitary, he can’t enjoy the commissary, get visits or write to me.]
“Kambri you know that I”m good gentleman real man — No fool No play — I love you my daughter. Daddy. P.S. I’m happy that I can help with you will make & published book. please.” [Me, too, Dad. Me, too.]
So there we have it. It looks like we’ll be collaborating on the story of his life. It could be sad, shocking, embarrassing, angering, frustrating but is guaranteed to be interesting.
Now, what should I ask him first?
Day two of our “vacation in our own city” was on Sunday, September 4th. We called a livery cab to drive us to Hunter’s Point in Queens to hop on the NY Water Taxi. First off, we almost never hopped on the taxi because of this gloriously cheesey, man-made beach that was nestled in the midst of rocky construction and ugly coastline and offering $2 PBR, hot dogs and classic rock blaring over the speakers:
Strange twist of fate / timing / whatever, unbenownst to me at the time I snapped the photo, my friends Rachel & Chuck are directly under the yellow flag in the picture below. I discovered them later as we sat atop the ferry (dock entrance pictured on the left) and waited to depart.
We smuggled Paquita on board and made her stay in her bag the whole time from Hunter’s Point to Manhattan’s East Side, down around the south tip stopping in Brooklyn, passing the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street & then on to Pier 63 on Manhattan’s West Side. Well worth the $10 on such a beautiful and uneventful day. But Paquita wasn’t too happy:
After a very long leisurely al fresca lunch at the sports complex of all sports complexes Chelsea Piers, we walked to Sin Sin for Rob P’s show The Pro Shop. Paquita was a peach and just chilled sipping water and “digging” herself a bed on a cushioned bench.
Overall, not a true vacation since Christian did a spot on Rob’s show and we’ve been to Chelsea Piers before and the Sin Sin lounge, but the Water Taxi was so worth it as was getting Paquita out of the house to blow some serious stink off.
Her head still smells like an egg roll, though.
Labor Day weekend looms and Christian is finally home for more than 24 hours (@&*^%!) since mid-July. We plan to celebrate his presence by staying close to home and enjoying some of the sites our fair City has to offer.
If you were visiting New York, what would you like to do?
Some of our possiblilites include:
— The Museum of the Moving Image which is literally right around the corner from our apartment. Coincidentally, they are hosting a special screening of The Thing About My Folks (see yesterday’s entry) and also have a special exhibit on Gumby and stop-motion animation (see my August 27th entry below).
— A cruise on the New York Water Taxi from Hunter’s Point (also very close to our apartment) to Chelsea Piers. The cheap commute allows some of the most beautiful views of the city and the quickest way to the west side pier for an early dinner.
— One or more of the walking tours available. So many to choose from that I may end up getting bogged down by choices and do none of them as a result.
Then there’s the Cloisters, a Yankees game, locating our apartment from the Empire State Building, any number of plays and who knows what else.
First stop: Nathan’s for the 2005 Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Contest where American, Sonya Thomas, set a new (American) record by eating 37 hot dogs and buns in twelve minutes. Despite her record setting efforts, she still only managed second place as four-time world champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan managed to devour 49 hot dogs becoming the clear winner once again.
FYI, Christian and I tied at two each.
Next stop: The Cyclone. I actually did get mild whiplash. What a piece o’ shite. Per the aforelinked site, “The Cyclone has consistently ranked at or near the top of every roller coaster top ten list published.” Clearly these aficionados are buffs for nostalgia and are not rating the coaster for performance and overall thrills. The first hill provided mild butterflies in the belly but after that I was beaten like a rented mule. I wonder how many necks have snapped? Tongues have been bitten? Brains traumatized? Rough.
Most unexpectedly scary as hell ride was Saturn 6. I’m not sure when I became such a wuss — I can’t say with 100% certainty that I actually am a wuss until I’ve been back to Cedar Point — but I was terrified. Why? It came so bone-chillingly close to a tree, the roof of a building, some electrical wires and, well, let’s just say the ride operators were about 12 years old and a bit pre-occupied with some hulking dude (“HD”) who was pissed that his little tiny, eensy baby wasn’t allowed to ride. It actually resulted into a bit of a shouting match which trickled off the ride and ended with the HD’s baby momma hitting HD in the mouth! I kept imagining the HD storming the controls and killing us all. I wanted off. The ride stopped finally and I saw one of the operators carrying the baby off the platform. In the midst of the scuffle, HD’s eensy baby had wandered onto the ride — luckily after the ride had stopped completely. Oy, decapitated babies are not my idea of a happy holiday.
Normally my favorite ride is the Zipper, but after Rob P. told us he saw someone welding it earlier, I opted out. Ah, Coney Island, you gotta love it.
Third stop: Game time! We played skee ball (I won two of three awarding me with two early morning coffee runs by Christian) and lots of fun carnival games. Christian scored this counterfeit Blues Clues dog for Paquita. It’s a little big for her to beat around so I’m trying to teach her how to hump it instead of my arm.
Final stop: Home! We have a great view of the city from our bedroom window and our rooftop connects with so many other buildings we were certain to have a great view near the comforts of home. But we didn’t plan a gathering — no time since vacation and without actually having witnessed a July 4th from this new apartment, we didn’t want to risk disappointing friends. Instead, we sat on our fire escape drank wine and enjoyed the fireworks and our awesome view. Sadly, my digital photo isn’t good at the night shots but here’s an idea of how it looked early on before the smoke covered the Empire State Building & the Chrysler Building.
Working from home!
Holy moly, did I see the best baseball game ever yesterday! Unbelievable! Guest of my friend Liam, I hopped on the 7 and prayed for sunshine. Thunder & lightening seemed to want to spoil our fun, but eventually the rain let up and the game started an hour and a half later than scheduled. The Angels were leading one nothing and the Mets were being outplayed.
— Beltran stole a homerun to prevent the Angels from a big lead.
Awesome, but then in the top of the 9th the Angels scored a run to make it a 2/1 game. Hmmph.
BUT THEN…in the bottom of the 9th:
— Anderson tied the game with a freaking IN THE PARK HOMEFREAKINRUN! When do you EVER get to see that? In person?!
Top the 10th the Angels score another run. Damn. Bottom of the 10th the Mets had a runner on 1st and 2nd with TWO outs. Floyd steps up and proceeds to get a full count. So it all comes down to this.
— Floyd knocks the shit out of the park! A WALK-OFF HOMEFREAKINRUN! When do you EVER get to see that in person?!
This is enough to make me become a sports broadcaster. F this Ballyhoo noise.
New Mets fan. For life.
The offending commentor called this morning to apologize. She ran our conversation by a few people (wha?) and they agreed — her statements are disrespectful to me, my work and accomplishments.
I made sure to remind her that everyone, not just [Redacted], has obstacles on their path to success. Identify yours and get over them the best you can.
This brings to mind something that irks me about women in business. I’ve read numerous times that women tend to say they got lucky in their careers while men will say they earned their success. Women don’t want to seem boastful.
Thomas Jefferson once wrote: “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
Well put. I say there is no such thing as luck when it comes to business. If you make good decisions and develop a good reputation, you put yourself in a position to get the lucky bounce and are equipped to accept and capitalize on opportunities that come your way.
Not lucky; GOOD.
“[Redacted] has to work so hard for everything. Kambri is just so lucky. Things just fall into her lap.”
I had a great lunch at Time Out New York today as part of the Independent Magazine Advisory Group (IMAG). Meetings like that always make my brain go into overdrive at all the possibilities that might never be realized simply because I am just me. I definitely need a staff. Once this Jest launch party is under my belt, it’s time to start the interview process. Meanwhile, any college students interested in being my intern, please drop me a line.
Before New York and before Cincinnati, I was living in Columbus, Ohio with not much to do other than drink and eat and sleep and work. What a dull town for a post-college age woman with no interest in children or marriage. Needless to say, I found myself drinking, eating, sleeping and working too much. With no theater scene to be found, I landed a role as “promoter”. A couple of NASCAR events and lots of Stoli vodka later, I invited my mom and her mother to come visit.
Born in 1923, Grandma and her twin brother Bobby were deaf as was their older sister, Wilma. Grandma dyed her hair jet black and wore bright red lipstick every day, even if she were just puttering around the house in her terry cloth slippers and housecoat. She subscribed to the National Enquirer, and kept back issues piled in a stack near her recliner curiously mixed with Archie and Jughead comic books. She never missed a single episode of The Price is Right or Young and the Restless. She didn’t vocalize much, but when she did, hers was a husky, gravelly voice from years of smoking a pack of Winstons a day. She kept her cigarettes in a leather case and her lighter was emblazoned with an eagle made of turquoise, her birthstone.
I spent many summers living with my grandparents. Grandma told me that having me around was like having a miniature version of my mother. I gave Grandma a voice, making her day-to-day life a bit easier. I accompanied her to doctors’ appointments, the pharmacy, the bank and the shoe store, where she gave me instructions on her various needs. Girls at school could keep their silly role-playing games of doctor or bank teller. I was living the real deal.
Now 78 years of age, deaf and widowed, life was different. Her house was no longer the hub of activity with Deaf friends and family coming and going. Instead, she lived alone in a small apartment or split time living with each of her daughters, my mom and aunt.
But never once did Grandma say “No” to an invitation to tag along, even if this meant hitting every seedy night club hawking the new flavored vodkas Stoli had to offer with her granddaughter in Columbus, Ohio.
That’s how, one night, we found ourselves at the infamous Red Party held at the biggest gay bar in town. There were gorgeous drag queens and transsexuals doing dead-on impersonations of Whitney, Liza and Barbra, lots of leather and latex, and an abundance of gratuitously exposed skin.
Minutes after we arrived, we spotted a barely legal young man speaking in sign language. “What were the chances?” We marveled. I introduced him to Grandma and learned his name was Brian. He was from Iowa and, not out of the closet back home, had traveled to Columbus specifically for this gay olde time. He spent at least an hour chatting with Grandma and they hit it off.
“What a nice boy,” she signed to me. Flurried hands, free shots of Stoli, laughter…she was having a ball. No pun intended.
Soon, Brian was blitzed and began acting how, I suspect, he would have behaved earlier had it not been for the distraction of a 78 year old deaf woman in a gay nightclub during the Red Party where he knew no one. No one else but Grandma until he started making out with another man whose name I never got and I’m sure he never did either.
The kissing progressed until Brian was performing an extremely provocative striptease/lap dance for his suitor just inches away from Grandma. Brian was down to a g-string, yet Grandma wasn’t agog or aghast or disgusted or confused. She sat on her bar stool watching them with the same curiosity you might display at the primate section of the zoo. “They’re so like me; yet not at all.”
I watched her watching them when Brian and his new friend disappeared. Grandma exhaled deeply and signed to me, “W-o-w! I have never seen a man strip and dance like this. Oh, sure, I’ve seen women strip before, but never a man!”
“Really? You’ve seen women strip before? When?!”
“Oh, I don’t know. Last week?”
Huh. Last week. Last week?
Just like that she reinvented herself to me. Here stood before me a woman who wasn’t afraid of trying something new without judgment, defying convention of what a mature lady should do and, well, just having a plain old good time. I don’t know why she was at a strip club the week before, but today she was with me at the Red Party and I loved her all the more for it.
I’m so happy she lived to appreciate the internet and embraced the technology that knocked down the barriers of her deaf world. I’ll miss serving as her “assistant” by interpreting for her . I’ll miss her laugh and the hours of SkipBo we played. Mostly, I’ll miss asking her to tag along with me on an adventure knowing she’ll say, “Yes.”
I love you, Grandma.
Sob Stories revels in the muck of love: broken hearts, creepy one-night stands, hookups and breakups. These comics have been around the block, and are here to kiss and tell!
Join host Christian Finnegan and featured guests Jonathan Ames (author, Wake Up, Sir!), Andy Selsberg (The Onion), Rena Zager (NBC’s Late Friday) & Jackie Clarke (UCB All-Star).
SOB STORIES: NOTHING BUT A HEARTACHE!
356 Bowery (btwn Great Jones & E. 4th St)
$5.00 – NO drink minimum!
The Clip Joint with Colin Quinn
Prefer to spend your money for a good cause? Then tomorrow night’s comedy might be your thang.
Colin Quinn headlines this comedy/variety show at The Improv. Comics Matt O’Brien and Rory Albanese host Colin, Seth Morris (Marijuanalogues, UCB) and other acts in a show that takes you back to the days when people got dressed up to go see comedy.*
All proceeds go to the Scott Carter Foundation.
318 W. 53rd Street
$15 (Includes a free issue of Jest Magazine!)
Visit www.ballyhoopromotions.net/Newsletter.html for these & other events along with news updates on all Ballyhoo clients.
I just bought this for our living room and should have it on Friday. Our internet will be connected tomorrow (sorry for being out of touch!) and our new couch arrives next Tuesday. A few rugs, nightstands, coffee table and chest of drawers later, we’ll be nice and cozy. Until then, our place is an organized mess and I love it. I sat up in bed this morning and peaked out at the Empire State & Chrysler Buildings and marveled at how close to perfect this whole thing has been.
I’m 15 minutes to Midtown, baby!
My pal Mike Wolf passed away very suddenly last night. My heart goes out to his family and dear friends for the loss of such an amazingly enthusiastic, passionate, fun and funny man. I simply am too shocked to really come up with a fun story about a few of the good times we had — Portable Comedy, Russian Vodka Room, Siberia and some other random bar come to mind. Sadness is multiplied knowing that his life was cut so short. (Mike would have inserted a short joke here.)
This comes on the heels of learning that Christian’s uncle, Father John T. Finnegan, also passed away last night (at 6:30 PM to be exact). He was the giver of my Christmas gift that nearly made my head explode from the weight of his kindness. He served in the Marines, was an attorney, penned books and devoted his life to God. What a full, rich life he led surrounded by such an adoring family.
Two lives find themselves at an end, one all too brief and one long and fulfilled, but both very sad to see leave.
Rest in peace, Mike and Father Jack. You will both be missed.
It was pretty obvious to me that this whole living together hasn’t sunk in yet when I typed yesterday’s entry.
I didn’t even notice that I hadn’t included him till I looked at my site later. “Oops, I should add ‘Christian and’ in the beginning of that sentence.” Correction made, changes uploaded. Hours later I realized that I had a big, fat “my” in the heading and promptly changed it to “our“. This might take some time getting used to.
We moved my old kitchen into our new kitchen last night and quickly realized there isn’t a single drawer. What the? How the hell did we miss that? So, we got online and bought this kitchen cart. We were so involved with choosing the right thing and completing the billing and shipping page that we didn’t notice Paquita was gulping down our white wine.
My little 4 pound baby was trashed.
Her back legs kept try to catch up with her front much like a car that slides on ice…turning and skidding sideways before she would fall over. She couldn’t hold her head up and could barely keep her eyes open. She was limp like spaghetti.
We fed her rice and ice cubes till she sobered up a bit then put my little drunkard to bed. This morning she woke up with a dry nose and pleading eyes and let out a long, exhausted high pitched whine.
Christian and I will see this every night.
Isn’t it lovely?
Catch Ophira Eisenberg on Comedy Central this Friday when her Premium Blend episode premieres at 10:00 PM EST.
Life Inside My New Apartment
Much time is spent daydreaming and discussing what colors, furniture, rugs, curtains to keep, get rid of, buy new …just how do we want this new place to look? I told Christian I would enlist my dear friend Scott’s help. “Yes. Time to call in the Gays,” Christian replied.
So, if you need a matching dresser/mirror & chest of drawers, a stereo, VCR, Foreman grill, microwave, mosaic & iron coffee & end tables or a wicker coffee table, email me.
Tonight marked the end of “Eating It” at Luna Lounge. The former moves to the Zipper (love that place!) and the latter gets demolished and turned into condos.
But I can’t really think about that.
We did it. We took the plunge. We signed a lease for a new apartment. No more turning back now.
We literally went from making the single most important jointly made decision together to the Lower East Side to an alternative comedy show in a dive bar and promptly got drunk. The bar even gave out champagne to mark the occasion. Well, technically it was for the end of “Eating It”, but whatever…
Pictures coming soon!
I am happy to report that Christian is doing really well headlining at the DC Improv. The shows have been sold out and he has been in top notch performance mode. I am excelling in my role of “enthusiastic and supportive girlfriend” by eating and drinking for free, hanging out in the green room, flirting with old professors and generally not getting in the way or on his nerves. Part of why I’m here this weekend — aside from the reasonable cost and ease of traveling here by train, that it’s a long weekend, I haven’t been in DC since ’96 and I had nothing better to do — is because yesterday marked our two year anniversary.
We celebrated with an okay lunch at Smith & Wollensky. On the whole, S&W is supremely overrated. Or at least this one was. Christian’s filet something provier was tasty, but the service was inattentive, my lemon chicken was dry as a bone and bland to boot, and our Bloody Marys were the worst tasting spicy alcoholic crap. On the upside, their salads — both the Caesar and the mixed greens — were amazing as were the whipped potatos. Dessert was overly generous and scrumptious and the price was extremely affordable due to the $20.05 Restaurant Week fare we enjoyed. Would I go back? If it were Restaurant Week, yes. I would simply stick to their specialty: red meat, make sure my server wasn’t sick or they weren’t going through a shift change, and stick to wine.
Having an anniversary that falls during a season of new beginnings affords us the opportunity to look back at the year together, acknowledge our amazing milestones and fun times as well as set goals for the future 12 months. We did this last year, and I’m pretty certain that one of Christian’s goals was to have his own 1/2 hour special (CHECK!) and one of mine was to start my own production and PR company (CHECK!). I can’t wait to see if this year’s goals are checked off with similar success. Stay tuned for January 15, 2006, for an update.
Today we woke up early — well, early for two people sleeping in a dark, cool hotel room after hanging out till the wee hours — and took the Metro to The Smithsonian’s American History Museum for four hours of absorbing our Nation’s history. We thoroughly enjoyed the Star Spangled Banner exhibit. Since 1998, it has been undergoing an extensive and exhaustive reconstruction and cleansing. A process you must see to believe. There is also a relatively new exhibit, open since November 11th, about the U.S. and all of its wars called “The Price of Freedom.” While the Civil War and WWII exhibits were extensive, I was disappointed at the lack of anything about 9/11 other than a giant steel beam and a phone from one of the planes. That was it? Seriously? I suppose more perspective must be gained to have an unbiased and less emotional influence on the display. History, after all, is still being made with regard to that day. It is strange to think, however, that 50 years from now that 9/11 is reduced to just that…a big beam and a mashed up sky phone.
Tomorrow on the Daily Dose: a trip to the National Archives!
Since no one is around to read, I haven’t felt much like writing. But there are a couple of things I wanted to share: a party last night, a Christmas wrap up, pottery sighting follow up, subway fisticuffs and more.
Party Last Night
Christian & I attended a birthday party at Employees Only. David Cross, Robert Smigel, Paul F. Tompkins and others were milling about, but we were a bit too mellow to mingle. We hung back with Todd Barry as he consulted with Seth Morris about what kind of line to use to try and pick up the psychic who had set up shop in the foyer. After a few “I’d give you my number, but you already know it” type lines, Todd bravely forged toward his target. To my surprise, he returned almost instantly. “That was quick!” I said. He replied, “She told me we will be having beautiful sex tomorrow.” So I guess he felt no need to hang around after that encouraging forecast. Today actually should be his lucky day.
Christmas Wrap Up
Now that Christmas is over, I feel a lot better about not having heard from my dad and lamenting my lack of family. Holidays are tough, man. But I so do love giving and the warm feeling I get when someone genuinely enjoys receiving from me. A fun example is below. Of course, Christmas wasn’t all terrible considering I have Christian, who spoiled me silly. It must be hard to try to please someone on Christmas knowing that no matter how much you give them, they will always be a little bit sad and disappointed inside.
Pottery Sighting Follow Up
Some time ago, I came across this blog entry and decided to write the author, Rachel. I had an idea to surprise the young fan of Christian’s for Christmas. The author wrote back, we met for drinks, had a terrific time and I delivered an autographed headshot of Christian and a photo I had taken of him at Our Name is Mud the very day of their sighting. He signed the back of that photo with a personal message to her. She finally received it and was thrilled. This is why I love the internet.
Two grown men got into a shoving match on my subway car this morning. A middle-aged handsome businessman with a thick New York accent and a younger guy (mid-20s maybe) that boarded the train in Astoria with a Greek accent. It consisted of a lot of “Just sit there and shut up.” “No, you shut up.” “You shut up.” “Stop looking at me.” “You stop looking at me.” “No. You.” They decided to take it “outside” at the next stop. My stop. A very busy stop. People were practically falling over themselves trying to get out first.
No punches were thrown. Some shoving ensued, chest bumping, a bag was thrown down and the younger Greek guy ended up on the platform while the businessman stayed inside the car. The doors closed. I didn’t stick around to see the ending, but Greek on the platform was trying to pry open the doors. I wonder if his bag was still inside? I wouldn’t want anyone hurt or their things lost, but God would I have loved riding in the car with the businessman when the subway took off without the Greek.
I guess I lied. That’s all I’ve got.
First, I must say, Paquita is the most well behaved, awesome traveler ever. Humans included.
I got a bubble gum bath bar from Lush (thanks, Mrs. Batchley) that is making my entire apartment smell like candy. At first I thought, “What an awesome bar of soap!” Then I realized my apartment is just that small.
From my mom, I received a little bucket of her homemade chocolate chip cookies. You’d be jealous if you knew how awesome they were. My dad is in solitary confinement again, so I didn’t get a card this year. I’m sorry to not get to share his holiday greetings on this, his 2nd Christmas of 20 — if he lives that long — to be spent behind bars. Instead, here is last year’s card & my blog entry:
Yesterday I received the first note from my incarcerated father since last May. He’s been busy, I guess. It was a Hallmark Christmas card. The front read, “God made all the nights and days and all the world to sing His praise.” The inside read, “The very sweetest song on earth once brought the news of Jesus’ birth – And as we sing His praise today, may you be blessed in every way.”
Then my dad wrote a warm and fuzzy Christmas note in his “deaf speak” handwriting that included this sentence, “I had been [in] solitary confinement four times since April for fighting with n*ggers cause me mad because stealings – all offenders are haters, thief, jealous, etc.”
Don’t you just want to pinch his cheeks he’s just so cute? You know you want him as a prison pen pal for the new year. Don’t lie.
Come on, he did care enough to send the very best!
So, yeah, no gifts from my “family” for the umpteenth year in a row and no card from my dad to let me know he is still alive means I had kind of a sucky Christmas.
After a short visit with Christian’s dad’s family, we all climbed into the car for another long car ride. I noticed a little Christmas gift bag I hadn’t seen before. I was confused before prying open the tag to see that it was for me and that it was from Father Jack, Christian’s uncle who has been, and is still, very ill. He snuck it into the car for me because he didn’t want anyone to know he had broken the “rules” of Secret Santa by buying gifts for anyone other than his chosen recipient. Inside was a wintery coffee mug and marshmallow Santa.
My heart nearly exploded from the kindness.
I know he’s a priest and so he gets paid to be kind to people like me, but still, he doesn’t even know about my family “situation”. So then I felt bad for feeling bad about not getting anything for Christmas and not having a place to call home because I have the best gifts ever — every single day.
A coffee mug and a marshmallow Santa!
I am having a really phenomenal (pronounced “FEE-nominal” in the literal sense) day today. A kick ass new client fills my roster (more on that later) and I’m fielding loads of press hits for my others. Now, if only my fees weren’t as nominal so I could take a long vacation and leave tasks to my employees.
I had all my dates mixed up. Stacey arrives tomorrow, the fundraiser is tomorrow, VH1’s Best Week Ever holiday wrap party is tomorrow, tomorrow is a busy, fun day.
This weekend was full of treats. Saturday, Ed Helms held his 2nd annual holiday bash in his awesome Brooklyn apartment. Everyone was in fine holiday form, literally and figuratively, and Ed is a gracious host. But earlier in the day I was running around in the cold which made me slightly under the weather, so my attendance at Ed’s party was cut short. That trip I took on the tram to and from Roosevelt Island just for fun was hardly worth it. The ride and the views were just so-so.
Sunday, Christian and I cashed in *free* tickets to see the Tony Award winning Broadway hit Avenue Q. We thoroughly enjoyed the performances, score & book, but the Golden Theater stinks. Our usher was a crotchety bald woman who angered more than one patron and continually barked orders to no one in particular. The seats were the tiniest I’ve ever crammed my pa dunk a dunk trunk into, and poor Christian looked like he was the last man crammed into a phone booth during a world record setting adventure. Tiiigghhht.
But live theater isn’t about comfort and perhaps, mused Christian, that is why Broadway is dying a slow death. Then the show began and sucked us in and, well, did it matter that there was really no room for anyone to breathe or walk or stand?