Monthly Archives: October 2003

Murderous pace

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Things have not slowed down, not even slightly. Too much to do, not enough people to get it done, not enough time. And then I get called to “must do” meetings on the silliest of topics, meetings that waste a couple hours or an entire day, and it gets frustrating. Despite (or because of) all the pressure, I wasted a day myself on Tuesday, touring New York Harbor by small boat. It’s a trip I’ve done before, and while I’m sure the Circle Line is fine, there’s nothing like bombing around the harbor with people who know what they’re looking at, and we covered a lot more territory, too – – from Gantry Park to the Intrepid, Governors Island and around Staten Island, up into Jamaica Bay, a quick dip in the Gowanus, and back home. Took all day. Of course, what I want to see and what a normal person wants to see would make for a nice Venn diagram, plenty of intersection, but a big space over on my side for power plants, sewage treatment plants, and the odd highway floating in the river (not yet, but soon). I think “outboard road detour” is my favorite new euphemism. Took lots of pics, but they’re not up yet. I’ll let ya know.

Off to la dentiste.

Stuck in my head

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Why did Constantinople get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the Turks’!
Off to New Amsterdam for the day . . . New Amsterdam, it’s become much too much; do I have the possession of everything she touches? Do I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches? Do I speak double Dutch to a real double dutchess?

Top 5

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It’s been ages since a Top 5 (or 10). Let’s!

  1. GO, the movie. I started with “Beat the Devil” in the DVD player, then decided I wanted to see Kirk Douglas chew the scenery in “The Champion” instead, but I couldn’t find my copy anywhere. Tripped on “Go” and decided it was perfect for my state of semi-ironic exhaustion. I was right. Funny, interesting, dark. And Sarah Polley. And Katie Holmes.

  2. “Direct from Brooklyn,” by They Might Be Giants. If you own only one music video collection, make it this one. Fascinating, full of their quirky music and equally quirky visual style, and they included the two Tiny Toons cartoons based on their songs “Particle Man” and “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”, which rock. Also, they have a new desktop application for TMBG fans, the TMBG clock radio, so check out the site.

  3. Elizabeth McCracken’s “Niagara Falls All Over Again”, a delightful romp through the lives of a pair of vaudevillians turned radio stars turned movie stars turned TV stars. I’ll confess to an inexplicable weakness for anything that shows an affection for vaudeville and early radio, when just about anything passed for entertainment (as opposed to today’s television? Okay, good point . . . ). This is well-written, touching, lyrical, and with enough detail to really bring the characters to life. Loving it. (I should admit that I once wrote a short story that was remarkably close to this in subject, tone and language, so maybe I was in love with this book before it was written.)

  4. The Y. Time to head back indoors and run the track and soak in the whirlpool. Time for bedtime hair to still smell of chlorine and to be a little loose about bedtime if it means we got a little swim in of an evening.

  5. Christmas cards. Created, ordered and delivered, baby! Here’s this year’s pic, unlikely at best but showing our lovelies off in their rock star mode (which Rebekah, at least, has been in since seeing “School of Rock”).

Now, where the heck is The Champion??

Let the Nutcracker rehearsals begin!

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Well, actually, my command isn’t what makes them begin, but I may as well feel like I have some little bit of imaginary control over my weekends for the next two months. For those who might say that our little metro area is devoid of culture, I counter with the fact that there will be no fewer than 37 different productions of The Nutcracker ballet this holiday season. (My mother asked last week, “Can’t they do something other than ‘The Nutcracker’?” No. They cannot.)

This is a huge deal, and every weekend from now until performance time we will be dragging our Pink Polchinelle and our Party Child into an overheated estrogen zone of dozens of dancers and their moms (and some dads, of course), and we will wait while they rehearse. (Yesterday, I chose not to wait, and instead wandered around with my cam capturing the aesthetic delights of downtown Albany. Got some amazing photos, and I’m starting with the least amazing, so check them out at my Fotolog.) Today is picture day, so there will be many hours of hair preparation this morning. Last year Lee’s arm was broken, and she was away on picture day, I believe, but we got through it because Hannah is such a good big sister – she was able to get her hair done and then took care of Rebekah’s. They were both clowns last year, which involves braiding and looping and ribbons, and while I’m not exactly the football-meat-beer type of guy, I’m not imbued with the hair-arranging gene, either, so Hannah was the hero of the day. Today, after some flip-flopping on the part of The Man (Miss Madeleine), the clowns are back to their old hair, and Hannah has to have ringlets attached to hers to make it Party-Child-Like.

I think there’s shooting going on over in the sand mine. I’m going to just ignore it, though it’s been a long time since I heard anyone taking shooting practice down there. When we moved here it was much more common.

What’s up with those Yanks?

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I thought something was suspicious, so I checked my beloved old “Complete Baseball Reference Guide,” the one I had thoroughly memorized back in seventh grade. Know what? There isn’t even such a team as the Florida Marlins. This whole thing is some kind of set-up. How can the Yanks be getting beaten by an imaginary team?

Downward mobility

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We are officially white trash – – we have a refrigerator in our garage. And it’s a loaner. Don’t even get me started . . . I’ve got to get the couch out on to the porch.

We’re having our annual revolt of the appliances. This year: the refrigerator and the dishwasher. Both exactly two years old. The fridge has never been quite right. The fan gets ice on it and gets very very noisy. Then the whole freezer starts frosting up. And the dishwasher has started leaking. They’re not supposed to do that. Luckily, all under warranty, but the guy they sent out yesterday, said he hadn’t seen this model before, and proceeded to take the fridge from “functioning, but like living next to the runway” to “dead” in just a few hours. Then he declared his day a loss and went home. Thanks, Mr. Snappy Repairs. This necessitated a run to Delmar by Lee in order to keep our new free range chickens in a frozen state, rendering them incapable of revenge. A bunch of stuff we just had to throw out. (Note that we did NOT have this problem in the blackout.) But the store was great when she called today, sent over a loaner fridge and with any luck we have a REAL service person coming tomorrow.

Otherwise, my day was like Roger Clemons in the first inning last night. I was just shelled. But I didn’t have that first hit in a World Series to make it all just a little better. Arrgh.

Christmas must be coming . . .

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Because suddenly I’ve had three hits in a single day looking for information on Burl Ives. One was for “burl ives norelco santa picture,” and I admit that for some reason that animation always creeped me out. I scored because of my “Burl Ives must die” diatribe of last December. One of the searches was for “Burl Ives messing about on the river.” Let’s just assume that’s a song title and leave it at that.

More dreams

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Then Lee told me she dreamed we were having The Beatles over to our house, and we had nothing to serve them but peanut butter and celery. I think that in general, any sixties group, even the Beau Brummels, would expect some sort of hors d’ouevres, and while the mods were generally known to favor peanut butter, it’s entirely possible they’d tear up the place over the celery. So better we should have it catered, I think.


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I’ve always had this odd tendency toward nightmares around the times the seasons change. Winter to spring, fall to winter, my sleep is unpleasant and filled with nightmarish images. Just woke from a dream in which I was (again) trying to teach myself guitar. Not a nightmare, but I just don’t need the pressure. My brain hates me.

Have to go and do a speaking engagement that I don’t want to do this morning. As I groused about it yesterday, the primary enticement I was offered was that there would be coffee and donuts beforehand. If you could see me you would know that, while not as svelte as I’d like to be, donuts are not my primary motivator in life. Why do people say things like that?

Okay, time to get back to that guitar dream.