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November 2008

Jumping for Joy - Life on Low Hum

It’s a short week and as a lot of people take these three days off, you just might be sitting at your desk noodling around on the internet because you’re without things to keep you busy. And post Election, it's nice to be anxiety free (at least about THAT).

Fear not, there’s all sorts of things that you can do. First, you might want to dig into a couple hundred years of photographs in the LIFE archives which you can find by checking out this Google blog at

Or if you’re just going to randomly put words or phrases into a search engine, why not make your idle curiosity pay? Use Good Search www.goodsearch.com for your needs and a penny will go to the charity of your choice for every search.

Good Search has a pretty hefty list of non profits that benefit from your search. Plus, if you use one of the many internet retail companies listed on the site, those companies will give your charity a percentage of the profits from the sale of the item you bought. So if you’re going to get the new Dido or Britney Spears CD anyway, why not order it through Amazon and at the same time help your favorite charity? The site is easy to maneuver and remembers whatever charity you’ve listed for your search in the past.

Then there's always Anne Telnes' cartoons from the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/opinions/cartoonsandvideos/telnaes/telnaes_main.html?hpid=opinionsbox1&referrer;=emaillink There's a library to choose from but the current one shows up on top.

Finally, if you're as much of a tv addict as I am, this will blow your mind, it's a website devoted to 'the mind of Tommy Westphall' which I may have included in a previous post but it bears repeating: http://home.vicnet.net.au/~kwgow/crossovers.html Tommy Westphall was the name of the austistic child who, it was revealed in the final episode, imagined the entire St. Elsewhere series as he stared into a snowglobe. That being established, then, it stands to reason that anything mentioned on the show or any character appearing on the show that appears in another TV show is also in the mind of Tommy Westphall.. and yes LOST and I Love Lucy are among the dozens of shows connected by guest charactrs and uses of fictional products.

It's all pretty cool stuff and it's a HUGE time waster so get going, you don't have another minute to waste.. ok so maybe you do ...

Expectant Joy

I was a freelance event planner before coming to Thirteen and every now and then I find myself tossed back into event planner mode.

Yesterday, Friday, I helped throw a baby shower. Actually the entire Membership department (where I mainly work because I straddle a couple of different departments) got together to pitch in and make sure that one of our own had a fun little send off before she departs for maternity leave.

Fortunately, the expectant mother-to-be didn’t suspect a thing and the look of surprise on her face when she opened the conference room door to discover all 20 of us in her department there, with cake, drinks, presents, balloons, ice cream and enough snacks to feed a small third world country, was definitely worth all the work that went into it.

I always said that event planning was the greatest job I ever loved, hated, loved, hated – usually all in the same ten minute time frame. The cake is late or you can’t find something crucial at the store that’s supposed to carry it… but all those troubles and worries evaporate when it comes together and there’s that look on the receiving end, that look of joy and appreciation for having done something extraordinary.

Well, I'm Back

More later this week but I'm back from my trip to Mosinee. It was interesting, I'll tell tales and thoughts as I feel my feet back on terra firma.

Thanks to those reading this that sent notes along about my mom and the situation... they meant a lot to me.


Save Me

I’m one of those people. The collector people. The people who save special issues of magazines in plastic Mylar bags. Yes, it’s one of my secret shames (along with keeping my photo albums updated, subscribing to Soap Opera Digest and .. ok that last one I can say because then it wouldn’t be a secret would it?). I don’t have an enormous collection but it definitely has staked a claim on a portion of my storage unit (don’t most people in New York have one…?)

In my collection? Various Clinton magazines, Princess Diana memorial magazines, the 1986 Space Shuttle explosion coverage, newspapers from the 1989 San Francisco earthquake (I was living there at the time) and, of course some 9/11 coverage including the LA Times and the incredible ‘black cover’ issue of The New Yorker. I also have the last issue of George featuring the wildly incredibly handsome visage of John F. Kennedy Jr. Yum.

Tonight, as I walked through Penn Station after work, I discovered the first wave of President-elect Obama magazines that have appeared and naturally I had to get them. All of them. Time, People (second printing, I believe, but whatever), New York, U.S. News and World Report and the New Yorker (I have a subscription but it almost always arrives slightly damaged). I think there was an Us that I missed. I’m OK with that.

It’s ridiculous I know. But at least credit me with having the presence of mind to get both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal (one of the last ones) on November 5th. Apparently the NY Times is worth a small fortune at this point. Probably more than my 401k.

My Name is Andrew, and I Voted

It took an alarm clock and a tremendous amount of will power but I got up at 6, got dressed and walked outside and across the street to the high school to vote. The place was crowded and there were lines but I only waited a few minutes, pretty marginal compared to what some folks in the country (and in the city) are going through. It actually took me longer to get out of bed and get dressed (30 minutes) than it did to go and vote (total time of trip from my doorstep back to my doorstep: 20 minutes).

Now... I'll wait along with everyone else..... and muddle through The Longest Day Ever.

Make a Wish, Count To Three

Well, we made it. We’re finally here. Tomorrow we vote.

But the Election has been such an intense circus for so long that it’s inevitable that on Wednesday there’ll be one part of the country cheering and the other part of the country will be depressed, or, worse, angry.

If I was near a fountain, I’d toss a penny (about the only thing I have left of my investments, oh joy) into it and wish that we could all be universally happy and eager to work whether it’s “my” guy or “your” guy.

But, being unable to work ‘across the aisle’ is where we’re at as human beings right now so the best that we might be able to aim for is civility when the results come out. Not only for the “losing” side, but for the “winning” side as well.

I can’t imagine anyone here at Thirteen not voting tomorrow and hopefully everyone reading this has figured out when they’re going to vote as well. Take a magazine, your iPod or go with a friend. It might be a wait. But this might be a good thing.

Wouldn’t it be really cool (like they’re saying in the Starbucks ad going round the web) if 100% of registered voters came out to vote?

This Election is already historic, a higher than ever turnout would add one more history making element to it.

Now why voting isn’t on a Saturday when people don't have to miss work in order to cast their ballot is beyond me. It would seem to me to be a no brainer but then they haven’t put me in charge of these things. Yet.

Where You Dance, I Will Dance

To me, gay weddings don’t seem to me to be that much different than every other wedding I've ever been to: a long fun filled day with a combination of schmoozing with people you have had some disagreements with, hewing close to the few friends you have there and trying not to say something stupid, offensive or brutal to your social whirl to those you don’t know at all.

HoldinghandsWeddings across the board are filled with boozy relatives both biological and created spouting embarrassing but heartfelt testimonials on the nature of love and commitment. Nothing really changes with the gender or orientation and at least at a gay wedding, you're assured of disco music being played at some point.

I'll admit I've had visions of what my own wedding would be like since I was pretty young. Would it be a big lavish affair or something small and intimate? Having little to base it on, I took my cues from soap opera weddings. My mom, housekeeper and sister and I watched the ABC soaps growing up and there’s always the interruption of vows – the presumed dead spouses turning just at the last minute or a bomb going off. You know, true to life occurances.

And for characters like the ten (or is it eleven?) times married Erica Kane on All My Children, having a wedding was as common as going to the market for bread. “Well, my goodness, a loaf of wheat and a husband in a brown paper bag please as I toss my hair to one side, thankyouverymuch.”

Will my own be like Norman and Guy's ceremony? A large, rambunctious extravaganza featuring traditional Biblical text mixed in with other ancient readings, highlighted by many musical performances while we wept as a group, held hands as a group, and admired the longevity of how long everyone had been friends with the grooms?

Would it be more like Brad and Chris’s wedding in PTown overlooking a beautiful vista, the bay into Provincetown? A more intimate event where the grooms wrote their own vows and incorporated each others traditions into the ceremony (like breaking the glass and standing under the huppa)??

Lynn and Terry’s wedding too was a traditional service held at a tiny church, the room filled with close friends. Knowing my sister as I do, I knew her stress level was pretty high so I did my best to ‘beam’ good thoughts to her throughout the ceremony.

I hope that on my wedding day someone is kind enough transmit good thoughts into my head because I think I’ll need it. Would my reception be more like Lynn and Terry’s ten years ago? They opted to hold a big sprawling party in our mother’s backyard complete with pig roast and neighborhood kids that I hadn’t seen in over 15 years.

Both Brad and Chris’s and Norman and Guys’ receptions were loud, long and filled with riotous dancing, conga lines and lots of alcohol much into the pitch of night, the echoes of which are still bouncing off the atmosphere I’m sure.

But the options of what to do to seal a commitment are only as limited as our imaginations (and, well, I guess our budget).

One old friend of the BF’s who got ‘married’ to his longtime partner many years ago held a public ceremony at the local Quaker house and had members of the community sign an actual document that held the wedding vows. The ‘contract’ is framed in their bedroom, a constant reminder of the commitment that they made to each other, and the commitment that their friends and family made to them.

For me, this is what’s really at the heart of a wedding. For two people to agree to commit to each other for the rest of their life, a wedding isn’t simply a big party but a moment to declare publicly that commitment as well as an opportunity for those around them to pledge their support of that commitment.

And although I fantasize about a big splashy event, in some ways I wouldn’t care if it took place in a cardboard box, as long as the people that I care about and, more importantly, the man I love are there with me.

(But psst, I’d kind of like a big splashy event. What can I say? I’ve been known to toss my hair aside on more than one occasion and more importantly, it will have been a long time in coming and I'll want to dance all night long to celebrate).

Photo: the internet.