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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Re: I Remember Christmas

I remember Christmas growing up. I remember the excitement as the end of school drew near. I remember baking cookies, holiday parties in elementary school classrooms and buying silly little erasers at "Santa Shop" for all my cousin's presents. I remember walking home from the busstop, smelling the chimneys in my neighborhood, each step getting closer to my Christmas vacation. When I arrived, the fake fireplace was plugged in, and though I knew it wasn't real, it felt toastier somehow! I remember going to bed the night before Christmas, overtaken with the giddiness of the surprises I would wake to find. I might even strain my ears to try to catch sounds of the big guy sneaking around with our presents down there. My brother and I would creep out of our beds at some ungodly hour. We would sneak past my mother's room and down the stairs, being careful to avoid the top one that squeaked. I know we wanted to see the treasures that Santa had brought us while we slept, but I also remember not wanting to see them all right away. I couldn't wait to look through the darkness, still on the staircase, squinting my eyes to make out the shapes of the piles of goodies sitting at the foot of the fireplace. Which pile was mine? Which was my brothers? I would be filled with shear excitement, my heart leaping at the possibilties that lay in the shadows. I would sneak down for a glimpse, and then return upstairs to ponder what awaited me. Mom would hear our restlessness and make us wait as she got up and went down before us to see the looks on our faces. I recall certain Christmas mornings as if they all happened the same year, though I know that is not right. I remember my first cabbage patch doll, the pink stirrup pants I wanted so desperately, and a girl Snoopy doll that Santa had set up inside the door to the fridge on my little kitchen/stove playset. After the mystery of what toys had made up the shadows in that early morning light, I would then become anxious to go to my Grandma's and see all my cousins and aunts and uncles. I would select my favorite present and off we would go. Once there, we would eat, laugh, and play. My cousins and I would put on little pagents to show to the parents (would you guess I was always the shy one?). We didn't all get to see eachother all the time, so this was a special day. It was one of the rare times we were all together, sharing our excitement and love. ..>

I remember how things changed as we got older, as well they should. The pagents had long since come to an end. Since graduating from college and since losing my Grandma, so much has changed on Christmas for me. My relationships with my cousins, while important, have been overshadowed by an amazing and unique circle of friends. I still do my best to see my mother and brother over the holidays, but I rarely get to see all my cousins and their parents. One thing that I always try to do is give a quick call to my closest friends, perhaps hear their voice for a second and wish them well.

I remember this Christmas. Before noon, I received about 6 text messages that said "Merry Christmas". I won't explain how many of them were from that same amazing group of friends. Let me just say that it scares me a little. I definitely don't always send out Christmas cards, and have been known to mass email a greeting or two, but I am nervous for these new methods of reaching out and touching someone.

I enjoy the internet and use it probably too much sometimes. I have gotten to know some people better because of the internet, and know some people nearly well without ever having met them. I can express myself via email/IM/or blog in ways I might not have been able to come right out and say face to to face or on the phone. I'm sure I don't need to tell you the wonders of the internet. What scares me is that some people use it as a substitution for genuine contact.

I have never been a huge fan of text messaging, first because I don't have unlimited texts, and have to pay per message sent/received after a small amount. I use it from time to time, and it definitely can be handy, but when minutes are free and both parties could hear eachother's voices, I just don't understand texting. Obviously I am one of the few that feel that way.
..>

The problem is that so much can be misunderstood on instant messages, texts, or emails. Without hearing the proper inflection, without knowing the sense of humor of the person I am talking to, and them not knowing mine can sometimes cause problems. Confusion tends to arise on a regular basis even when you know eachother REALLY well. Does this mean we shouldn't use this technology? Not at all! I just don't think we should rely on them to have real conversations about important things that should be discussed in a way that both parties can fully appreciate what the other has to say. It shouldn't all be one way...and then the other...and then back again. We tend to feel good that we can get our points across without being interrupted using these methods. Sure, that can be beneficial, but it can't be the end all be all. I have heard of people ending relationships, working, and otherwise, over email. This has actually happened to me, though it isn't how I would have liked for things to happen. I have listened to friends explain their main source of communication with a new potential significant other being through texts. I have been concerned about the future of our connections if things continue along these lines. Regardless of the text messages I received that were, no doubt, a function of selecting all contacts in their phonebooks and clicking "send", I called everyone as I had originally intended. I had to leave a few voicemails, but that doesn't bother me.

I don't have the same things to look forward to on Christmas as I did when I was younger. So much has changed. I continue to look forward to having a moment to speak to my closest friends and wish them well, even if it is to their voicemail. While there can be no substitute for face to face relationships, I hope we can all communicate in as personal ways as possible with eachother rather than all of the new methods that make it so easy to "make the effort" in just a few clicks on a keypad, especially on important holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Steamroom Rebels...

There aren't many things in life I enjoy in quite the same way I cherish my time in the steamroom at the gym. It's warm, dare I say "hot"? It's moist, dare I say "wet"? The dampened heat blankets my entire body like no bathtub I have ever found. It seeps in through my nostrils, gently coating my throat in loving moisture and makes its way into my lungs. I breathe shallow at first, getting used to the new sensation. Once my breaths are deeper I smile and relax into the darkness and think...or not. The only way I can explain the sensation is to say that it feels like an amazing hot bath for your insides as well as out. The sign warns to limit your time in the steamroom, but I rarely do. I'm just a rebel like that.
The steamroom in my gym is not coed, so the women tend to take some liberties I personally wish they'd rethink. To begin with, most women are entirely freer with their bodies than I ever will be. I am not so closed-minded that I think everyone should be as painfully modest as myself. I realize I am on the entire other end of that spectrum. I walk in with a towel around me, and I keep it there until I am in the shower, and then back on again until I am done changing in the little private changing room. Alright, so let's just leave my strange inhibitions out of this. Basically I am fine with the nude female form freely roaming about around me, though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly baffled by their level of comfort. What I am not fine with, and what baffles me even more, are the ladies who freely flop their nakedness on the benches everyone sits on. It takes only moments being inside the room for every inch of your body to become as moist as the drops of water falling from the ceiling. Wouldn't you want to sit ON something? Yet there I sit in my towel, surrounded by women of every shape and size, lying all around me. Sometimes they splay themselves. Luckily it's often too steamy to really be affected by this. So there I sit, doing my best to stop contemplating why I am so damned shy, when someone walks in with loofa mitts on and she is now rubbing them all over her entire body. I can just picture her little skin flakes floating to the floor and sticking to the dampness. People come in there with lotions, and pumice, doing things they have NO business doing in a public steamroom! Before anyone out there is thinking this is, in any way, erotic, bare in mind this ain't no playboy mansion steamroom. There are rules that instruct women not to do any personal grooming in the steamroom. Evidently, like my staying in much longer than the limited time recommended, these women are rebels too. Tonight it was just one woman and myself. This woman lay splayed out, boobs sagging under her arms, and she hoists her foot up to her knee and starts sloughing. She sloughs and sloughs. I sit there, trying to think...or not think...and all I can think is how her fowl foot grime is just gonna be hanging out after she goes. I imagine it falling on her droopy boobs and wonder why she would even want to do that in here. All I can hear is the sloughing. Not only that, she is grunting and sighing. Don't get me wrong, I feel her...it feels damn good in there, worthy of a sigh or a groan if no one was there, but I can control myself. So she grunts, sighs, and sloughs. She continues this on the other foot, and then begins anew on the original foot. She may start to bleed all over the steamroom, for all the public sloughing she feels it necessary to do. I guess she'd feel fine with that too. Where do they draw the line? Let's cut our toenails together, and shave our legs...enema anyone? There are just some things that should be left at home. It isn't like you can't loofa away the top layer of your skin in the privacy of your own shower. Then you can rub and rub and rub to your hearts content, and I don't have to watch it. It is because of the rebellion of this "no personal grooming" rule that my own rebellion of lingering too long in the moistened air gets cut short. I try to remain as long as I can, but in the busier moments at the gym, I would just rather not have to deal with the other rebels.

Friday, November 25, 2005

No Day But Today...and Yesterday?

I went to see the new "Rent" movie not once, but two times since it came out 2 days ago. Should I be embarrassed? The first time, my friends and I went to the Ziegfeld Theatre (the BEST to see movie musicals!). The lines were crazy, the theatre was PACKED, and everyone there wanted to be there with their entire being! I have never seen a movie where people applauded from the opening credits, but this is how we started the night.

This show is very important to me, and to a lot of people I know. I cried for nearly every song from the beginning to the end. The entire show isn't ALL sad, but I couldn't help it! I was so happy it was made. I was so proud of it and all the people involved. It made me happy to think about all the people who never knew a thing about the show who will one day fall in love with it because of this movie. I was crying for the tragedy of such a brilliant creation existing on it's own without it's incredible creator being alive on the earth with it. I cried for the beautiful irony of his lyrics about 'writing one song...before he goes...a song about love...from the soul of a young man...'. I cried because he left this legacy of songs behind, not just one. Tears welled up in my eyes the way they always seem to since I moved here and witness people in front of my singing their hearts out on stage (usually live) on the stages of NYC. I cry because it shakes me. I cry because I know how it feels to do it, and I long to be a part of something half as good. I cry when I am afraid I won't get to. I feel chills up my spine because the show isn't only about love and dreams, he created a piece of art that speaks to people about issues we still want to ignore.

The songs of this show bring me back to my dorm room in college for musical theatre. If you weren't listening to the album in your room, and no one on your floor was, you would undoubtedly hear it coming through the pipes in the bathroom from another floor. We were far from alphabet city and not yet starving artists. We were starving college students who were starving to start living for our art. ..>

Tonight several of the same friends and I decided to go again, after eating a lot of food...with a few people who had yet to see it. We made our way to a less glamorous theatre. The theatre was nearly empty (probably due to the horridly cold temps!), and applause after every song just wasn't the tone of the evening. Of course I enjoyed seeing it again, but I was mortified when I heard the my friends on the other end of the row had to endure some ignorant people who never should have been watching the movie in the first place. Evidently these guys gaybashed through the entire movie, saying things starting with "fuckin' faggots..." and getting disgruntled every time a song started. What were these people doing in there?!?!?! Clearly they had just snuck in and should never have stayed. When they realized they were annoying my friends, I guess they decided they ought to stick around and ruin the entire night. I found out about this all upon leaving the theatre. I don't think I need to explain to you how bad this upset me. I just can't understand people intentionally setting out to ruin other people's happiness. I can't fathom how that could be an enjoyable time. It also slaps you in the face. We weren't sitting in a theatre in Oklahoma watching some Jackie Chan Movie, we were in NEW YORK CITY watching about movie MUSICAL about gay people, straight people, people with HIV. Of course NYC is one of the best places to be in our country if you happen to be gay or love those who are...but I think sometimes we forget just how far we haven't come in the scheme of things. We still are living in our very own city with people like that. I guess we need reminded of that, though I still don't quite know what to do about it.

As starving college students these songs inspired us to pursue what is real and genuine...in our careers and our friends and lovers. They showed us how important it is to live and love without regret. I am 8 years older. The NYC we live in is far different than the one these characters lived in 20 years ago. I am still inspired by these words and melodies. The most valuable message Jonathan Larson gave us, in my opinion, is to live in the present moment. As soon as we are thinking about this moment, it is already gone. Did we actually LIVE it? ..>

From the already powerful message that was harshly cemented with his untimely death:

"There is no future, there is no past, I live this moment as my last. There's only us. There's only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I am hispanic....

I have been doing several retarted things lately...most of which I am entirely too embarrassed to list. The only one I can bring myself to mention, for sheer comic value, is that I accidently checked off that I am hispanic while filling out paperwork for a job I applied for this week. I was being sort of rushed, and I totally thought I was checking off the box for caucasian...but no. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Twilight Zone....

I think when you turn 25, you are tossed into a new reality. This belief has been validated several times since then. Today was one such time.

I am in a room full of strangers, gathered to work for a small hourly rate promoting a brand on the streets of New York. I am surrounded by squeaky girls commenting on which clubs in NYC are good for picking up guys while contradicting eachother's agreements that you can't pick up good guys in NYC clubs.

They speak over each other and nod excitedly, all of their opinions magically coinciding to provide immediate bonds, for the moment. The topics range from "all the hot guys that were coming off the subway this morning!" to "guys, do any of you have fake IDs??".

They discuss circumsized/uncircumsized penises and their recent trips "studying abroad" in foreign countries. At some points I feel like I'm sitting in a bizarre episode of "Sex and the City" in which the stars' much younger and less experienced understudies have taken over. I am silent.

As I hear a few connect over the shared experience of just turning 19, another comments that 22 is such a 'cute age'. Just as one poo-poo's 25, another makes a pathetic attempt to redeem it by boasting that you will then be able to rent a car. They responded to that just as boisterously as I did on my 25th birthday. The original poo-poo'er defines 25 as an age that means "marriage" to her (she has just turned 19). I observe quietly along with the sweet brazilian girl whose english makes her a weak contender for their astute commentary.

I am trapped in some strange reality where everyone around me is at a COMPLETELY different point in their lives than I. Their realities are as real to them as mine is to me, yet they all seem like strange little giggling aliens! I find myself envious of their trips to Europe that I keep saying I'll take. That is all I am jealous of. I feel like I'm sitting in glass box at the end of the table witnessing an experiment to see what happens when you toss several '22 and unders' in a room with one 28 year old just to see what happens. All I could do was sit there, restrained within the reality I understood in my box, and appreciate everything on the outside as my excruciating amusement.

We continued the rest of our day and I made friends with the brazilian girl, partially because she too had felt a little left out of the ambiguously intimate lunch we had all just shared, and partially because Kate Winslet took one of her flyers!! Although I am now aware that I should have respected my initial reservations about taking this low-payed promotion, I accepted my having agreed to do it. I did this because, like these bizarre giggling aliens, I need the money.

It will only be a few short and quick years before at least half of these girls are in my position, far from marriage after 25 or having had their first baby already. I hope by then I will have experienced my travels abroad and we will ALL be very far from needing a job like this. Until then, I will still be baffled that one of them, born and raised on Long Island, now living in the city mentioned that she voted for Bush last year. She said she had faith in him. She thought John Kerry was evil. This is why I never voted in an election until last year, because when I was young and dumb like that, I knew I had no business being in a voting booth. In the world we are living in right now, though, I can't imagine still being THAT dumb.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"...seriously took naptime for granted!"

Pet Peeve # 3,989
Filling out job applications...

I have never enjoyed filling these out, because they are so damned time-consuming, repetitive, and they never leave enough room in the boxes to write everything they are asking for. My hand gets all cramped up from writing all tiny, yet maintaining legibility. Why doesn't someone think of a way you can include all of the relevant information of your work experience legibly typed on one pleasant sheet of paper? Oh wait, someone did, it's called a resume (something else I really enjoy creating). What a shame it is that there are still people out there that want you to fill out the regular application. Some will accept your resume in place of filling out the "work experience" section. Some are assholes and make you write everything out again in those tiny boxes that mock the amount of letters in every word you attempt to write. Do they really want to know what job I performed at that store? Well just read the friggin' resume I spent so much time on already! The power trips and busy-work have already begun.
What really has ALWAYS confused me is the section where they want to know about the schools you have attended, all the way back to elementary school! Are you kidding me? When was that relevant? I understand when you are 16 and getting your first job they would have very little to read if you didn't put that, but even then...what did it do for them? If you are in high school, doesn't that mean that you obviously completed elementary school? Then they ask what field of study you took part in at each stage of your school career. What does everyone else put in there? I mean, unless you are in the special classes (special-good, or special-"special"), what other fields of studies exist in grade school and high school? Someone told me to write "Academic". So I suppose my field of study in GRADE SCHOOL was highly academic, whatever the hell that means. Can I just write "Well, I learned to read, and seriously took naptime for granted!"?

Silliness, I say.

What's sillier at 28 years old?
-writing in detailed information about where you went to grade school, middle school, and high school?
or -still applying for the jobs that require that I fill out these dumbass applications?

Sigh.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mother Nature fights back...

I just wanted to mention, in light of my silly news report about the umbrella corpses in NYC, that I fully understand how we definitely haven't had the worst of the weather plaguing the world recently. Last week was miserable yes, but even as the rain started leaking into my apartment from faulty gutters around the door to my balcony, and I had several random buckets/bowls/towels to catch it...thoughts of people's entire homes submerged in water as they clung to their rooftop waiting for help were never far from my mind. It seems like mother nature is suddenly retaliating for all the shit we put her through on a daily basis. She is showing us in every nook and cranny of the world that she is still more powerful no matter how much we continue to take advantage of her. Floods are happening all over...earthquakes...tsunamis...dangerous rains and winds....it's insane! I can't help but wonder if these things aren't always happening, and we just don't know about it because when it isn't happening to us we barely pay attention. Certainly the media is very selective with its coverage, but when nothing has happened in the U.S. for a while, how much attention do we pay to these natural disasters in other countries? Sigh.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Umbrella Corpses

10,000 FOUND DEAD, WITH NUMBERS EXPECTED TO DOUBLE BY END OF STORM

Pummelled with incessent, monsoon-like rain this week, NYC's sidewalks are covered with the corpses of umbrellas that were unable to endure the heavy winds. Walking outside with a raincoat and large umbrella just isn't enough for this storm. Even if your umbrella remains in tact and sees you home, chances are you will arrive very moist none-the-less. Unfortunately, however, most umbrellas won't see their owners to their destinations.

Even more upsetting in these dismal days is that so many umbrella corpses have simply been tossed aside for everyone to walk over and step on. Umbrellas lie in peices on the ground exactly as they were when last their owners cursed them, verbally abusing them for mocking them so. "...I saw one that barely looked like an umbrella anymore.." said a dampened passerby, "...it had been run over by more than one car. Bits of metal and fabric covered the entire street corner! It made me want to vomit, until I got distracted when my fucking peice of shit umbrella blew inside fucking out too!" Bernie Bilko, a resident of a street corner near Tower Records in the east village told us, "I can't even find me any eats 'cause 8 or 9 dead umbrellas always be up in my trash cans!" It is hard to miss these tragic reminders that this storm has yet to be over.

Your umbrella too, may fall victim to the abominable winds. A tell-tale sign this is about to happen is when your umbrella begins to show signs of weakness by suddenly flipping inside out without warning, rendering it useless and slightly humiliating. While there is nothing you can do to prevent this misfortune, if it should happen to the umbrella you love, please take it easy. Take a moment to enjoy a few deep breaths, bid it a fond farewell, and gently tuck it into the nearest trash can (with some crackers for Bernie). Memorial services for the deceased have been cancelled due to rain.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sleepin' the day away....

Why did I sleep until 3pm today? I did it because it's cold outside, and moist (and not in a good way). I did it because my cat wouldn't stop cuddlin' with me. I did it because every time I tried to get up he'd gently put his paw on my shoulder and say "don't leave me like this". I did it because the covers were warm, and I was not. I did it because my pillows were making love to my head. I did it, even though I knew it would make it impossible for me to get a good night's rest tonight. All I know is at noon, when I was up to go to the bathroom, it felt like 6am somehow, and my body was hurting for more slumber. It felt unnatural to be alive and conscious.

There are some days it just feels right to live like a monster in a cave, not even pulling back the curtains to see the ugly weather outside. It comforts me to just hear the wind and the rain hit the windows as I stay warm and dry.

Today was one of those days.

I am not ashamed.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

The Drum Circle in Central Park

Walk into Central Park any Saturday or Sunday evening from about 5pm until 9pm...follow the tribal sounds to a cauldron o' cultures moving and singing, clapping and smiling...all to the same primative beats being cooked up by an equally diverse team of drummers. This is the drum circle in Central Park. I was drawn to the sound of the drums one Sunday a few weeks ago and didn't leave for 2 hours. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I watched young people, old people, little babies, someone from nearly every race and culture...some in business suits, some in jeans...all of them moving and laughing and enjoying life! There were amazing dancers who danced appropriately to the african beats while yet others, who normally would probably be embarrassed to dance in public felt compelled to move their bodies regardless of who might see them. Although I have lived in NYC for nearly 3 years now, I never came across this wonderful celebration, but it happens when the weather permits every weekend throughout the summer. I couldn't get this wonderful evening out of my head, and anxiously awaited the next decent weather day to get out there. I had an amazing time again tonight! Something I thought about the last time I was there was how hundreds and thousands of years ago this same sort of thing was happening....people banging on drums and those who were in earshot magnetically drawn to it and into the frenzied dancing for an inexplicable but undeniably euphoric shared experience. I remember thinking how unbelievable it was that we are no different from those people who danced together thousands of years ago. Upon further thinking about this party that I discovered, I have decided that what is even more unbelievable is that several thousand years ago there definitely wouldn't have been so many varied cultures enjoying it together and how fortunate we are to live in a time (and a city) where we can-and do. Ahhhh drums!

Friday, April 1, 2005

Tales of a Starbucks Nerd

Okay, so one of my favorite things about my AOL job is the weirdos
that I meet here. Last week, a nerdy guy rolled a grocery cart full
of HUGE, old desktop computer parts outside the window and came in
asking for one of the free AOL cds. I gave it to him and he proceeded
to tell me that the AOL cd "makes his computer wireless". This isn't
a correct statement as I understand AOL and the free cd...so I tried
to clear up his confusion. He told me that he is putting together
that computer (he pointed through the window to the cart) and assured
me that the AOL cd makes it possible for him to connect to a hot spot
wireless connection, as he had done it before. I shrugged it off,
since the cd is free no matter how crazy you are and sent him on his
way. I watched him reunite with his cart full of old computer parts
and wave at me as he rolled away with it. My brain raced...."Could
that AOL cd actually make a bunch of ancient desktop computer parts
wireless? How?" Then I could just picture him rolling up to
Starbucks and unloading that shit on a table and surfing the net
amongst the other New Yorkers. I giggled and enjoyed the silly
possibilities.
Later that day, one of my regulars at the free internet lounge in
the AOL store came, and I told him about this guy. My friend informed
me (before I mentioned my silly idea of him connecting in Starbucks)
that he has chatted with the guy-at Starbucks...where he sees him set
up with his equipment surfing the web. Yes. He actually does this.
I love everything about this. Yesterday, this nerdy guy actually came
in again and I was talking with him about his makeshift wireless
desktop computer. He is turning 21 this week and is looking for
someone online to share his birthday with. He is online dating and
sets up times an places to meet chicks around the city...(last night
he was meeting a chick at 8 at Starbucks! I don't know if he brings
his computer or not.

Well...my "regular" came in later yesterday and gave me the address
of a blogger's site that features the "Starbucks Nerd" as he calls
it...I urge you to check it out....this shit really happens folks...
http://www.chrisdiclerico.com/2005/03/30/starbucks-nerd/

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Fitness, Made Simple...

it's made for real people.



WHY can't I NOT sing along with this WEIRDASS commercial with the skeletal and leathery 109 year old man and his weird cult followers who have lost weight with his tapes? These commercials have freaked me out from the first time I saw one, but now I actually sing along (as I do with a lot of things), and sometimes continue singing long after it is done....help me stop!!!



If you aren't in NYC, you probably have no clue what I am talking about.

If you are, you still may not. Unfortunately I still do.