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October 2008

Jumping for Joy Over Delicious Anticipation

After weddings and anniversaries of things dominated the past few weeks, it's nice to have a relatively quiet week even if said week does lead up to what is promising to be the Most Stressful Day Ever For Anyone Who Cares About America.

I think either way it goes, there'll be some post partum depression. You're not involved in something (in this case, the election) for so long (what's it been, like two years since this cycle began?) and simply move on immediately. November 5th will not be pretty for the part of the country that sees it's candidate lose. I'd venture to say that there'll even be a 'victory hangover' for the party that wins, again, because of the long gestation of this event. If recent politics are any indication (and I think they are), either side will certainly be howling for days to come afterwards..

On the other hand, like in any good story, I invite you to enjoy the delicious anticipation of whatever the next few days and the next few weeks bring. It's agonizing, it's stressful, but there is a sort of perverse pleasure in riding this roller coaster. It'll be over soon enough and then we'll have real work to do, all of us.

Rain Date

Every year around the anniversary of my father's passing, I remember him by doing something that reminds me of him. A day that we might have spent together doing things that he would have liked to do.

As I planned this year's day it occurred to me (as it does, I think, every year that I do this) that many of the things that he liked to do are things that I already regularly do so taking time to do something 'out of the ordinary' is really redundant.

Still, this year it meant a lot to me to remember him this way and for I think the first time ever, I brought someone along - the BF.

8am The day started off with busywork: laundry. The price I pay for not going to the gym: doing laundry while the BF works out. It's been a long time since I've been a regular gym goer and while I sort of miss it (and am watching my waistline enlarge) I'll take sleeping in any day.

9:30 Breakfast. A Dad breakfast with eggs and sausage.

10:30 I stop at a Lens Crafters across the street from the BF's place in order to transfer my account from another store across the city to them. The workers at this Lens Crafters are incredulous and roll their eyes when the other store wants to charge me $10 to fax my records to them. I say to them: "now you know why I don't want to be a patient over there any longer"

11:00 I stop by Ricky's Halloween store to pick up a costume. I'm MCing two Halloween contests in the next few days and I've got to have something that's a little sexy (they are, after all, contests in gay bars) but not too revealing (that waistline and all) as well as affordable, reusable and easy to manuever in while I'm ushering contestants across a stage.

I pick a fireman outfit. It's a little drab but I think I might be able to sex it up a little. Did I just say that? In any event, as I write this I remember I used to have terrible nightmares growing up that the house would catch on fire. I'm sure someone smarter than me could analyze that.

Noon The BF and I leave the apt and have a harrowing cab ride from the West Village up to the upper east side. We arrive shaken AND stirred at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, become members and spend the next two hours nosing through exhibits both permanent (Greek, Roman, Oceania) and temporary (Jeff Koons). Dad would have stopped to read every card on every object and painting but neither of us do that. Yet.

1:30 We discover the cafeteria, settle down with a couple cokes, a salad and soup. The woman next to us has trouble opening a super sealed cellophaned bag of three chocolate chip cookies. The BF asks if we can help. She shows us three cookies in a cellophane bag sealed with a twist tie. I struggle with getting the twisttie unraveled but that doesn't work. Then I struggle with getting the twist tie up and off. That's not working either. This is one strong flippin bag.

Success, I finally open the bag and the kind woman offers me one of the incredibly moist cookies.

As I bite into it I realize how much chocolate chip cookies remind me of Dad.

It doesn't hit me until I'm writing this that what saved us from losing our minds at his funeral was Pastor Holten's ridiculous analogy how "God doesn't throw away his children like a baker tosses out a bad batch of chocolate chip cookies". Later, the BF asks me if I think Dad (and a mutual friend who passed away) are still with us. I say 'yes' but I don't think I know exactly why I think that until this very moment.

2:30 We're walking down Fifth Avenue enjoying a cloudy and occasionally rainy autumn day. The leaves on the trees are still green but there are bunches of yellow and brown leaves swirling on the sidewalk aside the Park. It's gorgeous out.

2:45 Dad and I used to enjoy the Best Popcorn In The World from a little old fashioned red popcorn wagon that sat next to a bookstore in Wausau and so to that end, the BF and I decide to catch a show at the Paris on W. 58th just across the street from the Apple Store. This is a bust. The 2:20 show has already started and the line for the Apple Store (I think Dad would have been all into the gadgets so it seems a sort of natural place to go) is so long that we opt out of both and in the confusion I forget about the popcorn. We'll catch up on this sometime this week as the movie (A Secret) looks really good.

3:15 We're walking across 57th Street passing by Rivoli Books (Dad would have spent hours in there) and dodging raindrops when we pass by what used to be a typical sight in New York - people being outrageous. This has nothing to do with Dad and everything to do with just wanting to get a picture of the fabulousness. I ask to take his picture, he consents, I tell him I'm a New Yorker and he says "well, then definitely yes, then!"

3:30 We arrive at the newly renovated Museum of Art and Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle. Back as a kid I read Harvey Comics (the ones I would file away in the metal filing cabinet drawer that dad gave me) which had a Columbus Circle address but by the time I moved to the city, they'd moved their offices to Florida and Columbus Circle was a dreary muddle of outdated buildings.

Over the past 15 years I've seen in evolve into one of the most spectacular parts of town and the renovation of the building that now houses the Museum is the final touch.

Back three years ago when I recovered from a crippling relationship, the fountains in the roundabout in Columbus Circle had just opened up and Somehow they spoke to me and I would go there and sit and enjoy the calm (in the midst of cars .. I know, strange).

Perhaps appropriately, MAD's premiere exhibit features objects given a second chance - forks made into a vortex, spools of thread creating a picture of the Mona Lisa, vinyl records shaped into butterflys and so on. One ooohing and aahhing piece after another topped by the opportunity to watch artists create pieces for the exhibit. The staff is still a little rushed (they just opened a month ago) but the museum is a must stop for museum lovers.

4:30 Our feet are tired and we're a little cranky and so we subway back to Chelsea and top off the day with a pizza but pretty damn excellant at Roccos on 7th Ave.

5:30 Between the cookies and the pizza, this has been a pretty food filled day but we head to Baskin Robbins anyway. Dad, mom and I would often have dinner at Shakey's pizza joint followed by ice cream at Howard Johnson's, but neither exist in New York (do either even exist at all anymore?) so we got the next best thing. But BR is cleaning their ice cream vats and so we're out of luck but given everything that we've done already, I'm good.

Yeah, I think Dad would need a lay down on the couch with NPR on at this point and I think it's pretty much what I'm going to do as well.

Joyful Tuesday

"The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don't have to gain, develop, or attain them. "We're like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don't need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are -- as soon as we quit pretending we're small or unholy." - Author Unknown

I discovered this quote yesterday and posted on the Jumping for Joy Facebook page.. if you're on Facebook, consider joining us (there are two groups, mine is the second one so look carefully that you see me in the 'fans of the page' section) and if you're not a Facebooker, consider joining.

It's free and it's easy to share video, news stories etc. I've also managed to reacquaint myself with a number of old friends and make a couple of new ones along the way.

Now, if I can just figure out how to sync up my blog, my Facebook account, my Twitter account and my Linkedin account, I'd be set. (I know there's a way to do it but I just don't know how ... yet!)

Have a joyful Tuesday!

She Touched Me - Katie Holmes

http://video.aol.com/video/curtains-up-on-katies-broadway-debut/2284749?icid=100214839x1211809794x1200712093 (Click here to see aol footage of the event I'm writing about below.. and hey I even have a cameo at the end.. enjoy!)

So as you all know, I occasionally will work for an events company here in New York that produces opening night parties for Broadway shows. I've also worked various charity events (the BidAWee and BuddyWalk events) and stuffed envelopes. Ah, the joy of New York living where everyone has two or three jobs. Sigh.

Over the past couple years I've met Olivia Newton John, Susan Lucci, Robin Strasser and seen a half dozen others including notoriously Marion Seldes. This past Thursday, it was time for me to meet Katie Holmes.

Now, I have to say here upfront that I've never been agog by Ms. Holmes. I never watched Dawson's Creek when she was on that save for a couple random episodes here and there. I thought it was a very nice show but not worth all the crazy hype surrounding it (much like the nuttiness going on with Gossip Girl - much ado about nothing).

And when she met and married Tom Cruise the whole jumping on the couch thing seemed very forced and ridiculous but apt I suppose given persistent gay rumors that have dogged Cruise's career. But even then, Holmes was a kind of cypher to me, a pretty girl who had lucked into a really good marriage but who was sort of .. well, not really there. I wondered - why were people so ga ga about her?

Well, I found out.

Last Thursday I worked the All My Sons opening night party. Sometimes we get paid in tickets to see the show and sometimes we actually get paid. We were actually getting paid which was good since the temp had dropped about 20 degrees from the time I'd left my apartment on the upper west side til the time I arrived at Espace on W. 42nd Street 45 minutes later. I certainly wasn't dressed to be out on the sidewalk taking tickets from partygoers but there I stood with five other guys, all of us shivering in our business suits trying our best not to let patrons hear our teeth chatter.

The show, a revival of the classic Arthur Miller play, stars Patrick Wilson, John Lithgow and Katie Holmes. As is usual for these types of big starred events, security is tight and there's a press area on the sidewalk where the stars walk through and get grilled by various media.

We were out there shivering slightly and Michael, the head of the events company, moved us around like chess pieces setting us first in two rows of three to take tickets and then later, up as a human blockade between the official press in the official tent on one side, and a group of fans? freelancers? held back behind a fence on the sidewalk on the other.

It was kind of a scary atmosphere because the general anxiety began reaching a fevered pitch as three policemen, various security guards, the five of us working the door (one had gone inside) and a number of party guests came and went all swirled about in anticipation of the moment when Holmes would break free from the official press and the freelance press would have a scant few seconds to get The Shot before she went inside to the venue. We were all a little worried because it had the feel that chaos could break out at any moment and when I caught a glimpse of the guns the policemen wore, I kind of got a little freaked out. Michael noticed this and leaned into us and said "if anything happens, don't be a hero, just get out of the way". I couldn't help but feel that the 'anything' meant gunfire. Anything is possible with crazy fans I suppose.

Patrick broke from the official press and slipped into the party and Katie and John moved steadily down the row of press. I could see her more clearly now, a mere slip of a woman, a girl really: pretty, petite, very graceful. I thought - Audrey Hepburn and was embarassed by the comparison.

As if entering the eye of the storm, at once the crowd (fans, police, security, others working with me) suddenly muted as Katie broke from the pack of reporters and came to stand just a foot or two away from me. I blushed. The cameras were right there. She was right there. And I have to admit, she was quite lovely. I think we all figured she'd go right in but then, one of the fan/freelancers behind us called out "Hey Katie, give us a picture".

And Katie turned. Her handlers visibly jarred. She walked towards me to get to the fans behind me. I froze. Michael grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me aside.. and Katie.. she slipped by me, poised, and girlish and smiling and blushing, turned to me and put her hand on my left shoulder and smiled broadly. The world ended and began in that instant. Her lips moved but all I heard was silence. I was stunned. And then she moved away, her handlers giving me a quick glance while Katie moved towards her fans that had been waiting for so long for her.

She let them take her picture and like a true star, took a few minutes to talk to them. Michael was stunned and the only thing I could think to say was "we're old friends". I have no idea what made me say that ... but she's one of those people who simply makes you feel as though you're old friends with her. Maybe that's what makes a star, a star.

She broke from the crowd and circled round the five of us standing there lined up gawking at her shimmying past the guy on the end (lets call him Steve because I can't remember his real name) but stopping to take his hand and saying "thank you for working this event". Steve froze too and she smiled and moved into the party space.

The effect on us was transformative. We kind of looked at each other and we laughed and shook our heads. The official and unofficial press broke up other than a few who lingered for the rest of the party hoping to get exclusive shots of her coming out. However, we were warm in the glow of the excitement of the moment, a friendly face and above all, a simple touch.

Up and At 'Em

Woke up early and I've already been for a bike ride, had breakfast and cleaned the apartment and it's only 10:20..that shows you what a decent night's sleep will get you!

Off today for a rehearsal lunch for two friends, Norman and Guy, who are getting married tomorrow here in New York City.

Haven't been to any weddings in ages and suddenly two in the span of a month. One was for a couple that have been together for 11 years and tomorrow's is for a couple that have been together for 25 years. New York hasn't legalized marriage yet but they do accept marriages done in other states.

It kind of astounds me when one of the reasons that opponents of gay marriage use in refusing to support it is that gay (and lesbian) couples are unstable. Seems like couples that have been together 11 and 25 years are pretty stable. I know a lot of hetero marriages that lasted a LOT shorter than that. I'm just sayin.

On the political front, kudos to McCain for FINALLY saying something to his wing-nut supporters (I feel sorry for the poor woman who got all choked up - while she called Obama an Arab) about their crazy behaviour this past week.

But really, McCain has no one to blame but his own team which includes his crazy wife who with an icy cold rant accused Obama of voting against supporting the troops (not true but it makes a good sound bite) and Palin who is, well, just an idiot (and hopefully the findings that she acted unlawfully will change her standing in the political community).

And thanks to Lynn for the comment she posted to the previous post... you are correct... everything the Republican populace is saying against Obama ("terrorist" "Arab" etc) at these rallys is all code for "I don't want a black man in the White House".

Maybe these people don't even know what they're saying - I'm not sure which is worse though, delusional people who think that Obama really is a terrorist because he stood in a room with a terrorist 20 years ago (or whatever the hell they're grasping at straws about) or that people are still so narrow that the bigotry overrides everything else in their brain.

Either way it makes for some scary people on the loose out there in the world. It makes New York City look positively normal. And that's saying a lot. :)

Jumping for Joy - Strangers on a Plane or Airport: 88

Last night I had an early evening committment and so I ran late for the second Debate.

I think I turned it on at about the moment when they were tusseling about the economy. It didn't take me long to get disgusted by both sides' verbal wrangling although when McCain pulled out his 'nailing Jello to the wall' comment I had a choice: throw the tv out the window or turn the channel. I love my tv so I simply turned on one of the many things that I've DVRed recently.

In the last election the GOP railroaded Kerry with their Swift Boat lies and before that they attacked Gore by slamming him with Clinton's infidelities (which, sadly, were not lies at all although it had nothing to do with Gore).

When some people don't get their way, rather than accepting it, their answer is simply punch the other person out. Those people are called bullys .. and I know very well how they operate because I grew up related to a master bully. They rule through fear of being punched or teased and one's only way of dealing with it is to run and hide, stand up and be knocked down, or, as I did, destroy yourself from within believing that what the bully says is true and that you deserve to be beaten on a daily basis.

So, I know bullys.

If McCain/Palin thought they could win on their own merits, there would be no need to put Obama/Biden down. Simple as that. Bullys know their own inadequacy makes them inferior to the one they're bullying and they seek to goad the other person into being as 'little' as they are.

It's sad enough when children do it to each other, sadder still when adults do it.

Thankfully, this morning I tripped over this story that gave me the simple lift that I needed:


You can call it sappy or ridiculous but I don't care, it resonated with me and some of that verbal vomit that spewed forth from my tv is now washed away. At least a little bit.