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g'Night Journal

Hi all - hope everyone is doing well - just to let you know, I've been sick the past week. It was incredibly mild and very manageable although every moment of every day I remembered every article and every tweet I've read over the past 20 months of doom scrolling, so, you know, that part was super not fun.

But I read, I drew, I actually worked most of the week, and I also spent time scrolling for images of dragons for a tattoo I'd like to get this spring. I look for this (and other images) from time to time and keep them for inspiration. The one below is the best one I found this week. 

Anyway, I am grateful that the vaccine and the booster made this this mild and I am grateful for a fiancee who was willing to dote on me.

Have a good night! 

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The Friday Blog: Celebrating 20 Years in New York City! #lifeinthebigcity

Good morning! Today, May 12th, I celebrate 20 years of living in New York City. It's a little strange since I am only 29, but hey, math was never my strong suit <wink>

Rick gilbert 2013On this date in 2003, I moved back to NYC from having lived in LA for five years. It was a choice that I made borne from wanting to move back to the city I had loved from 1994-1998. So, in total, I've lived in New York for 24 years.

Wow.
 
As a kid growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I would see the city on SNL or in the movies and think what a magical, amazing place this would be to live. I was not wrong. 
 
I first visited in September 1986 for two days as I passed through on my way to London for a study abroad program. The city was indeed magical, but after running around, I felt a little disappointed that the city seemed too unmanageable for me. I ended up loving London and spending much of the next couple years there. I came out and fell in love and made some wonderful friends.
 
In June 1991, I was invited to a relative's wedding in NJ. I never quite understood how I got invited since I wasn't close to this relative and none of the rest of the my family were invited. But sometimes things just happen. So I said yes and came out for a week. I instantly fell in love with the city. The city was so different then but then again so was I.
 
I then lived here from 1994 - 1998 until I met a wonderful guy in 1997 who lived in LA who convinced me to move out to the west coast to be with him. Although the five years I spent in LA (1998 - 2003) were among the most productive and successful of my entire life, I never really felt at home there. I couldn't quite get a handle on things although I had and have many MANY people that I truly genuinely loved who live/lived there.
 
In any event, in 2003, at 39 years old, I was looking ahead at where I saw myself in my 40s. And, I chose to come back to New York. It was not an easy first couple of years, but eventually things started working out and, well, I'm still here 20 years later. It sometimes feels as though it's been 20 minutes. 
 
There was a moment, in about 2015 where I was rushing across town on W. 40th to the Andaz Fifth Avenue to set up for an event I was managing the next day. It was Columbus Day and I had to make my way through the parade. I was in a grumpy mood as one is when one has to configure ones path to get around a large internationally viewed event until it hit me - I was having to cross the Columbus Day parade to set up an event at the Andaz Fifth Avenue. How many people do that? So, rather than be grumpy, I was grateful.
 
Sometimes I can't quite believe my life -  a kid from a small town in the middle of the midwest living a life in this city. It has hardly ever been easy, but it has always been rewarding.

One of the songs that got me through the pandemic was Todd Alsup's Manhattan - it's a love letter to the city that never sleeps and it more or less encapsulates my feelings about this burg. Enjoy! ;)

(Photo credit: Rick Gilbert. Skyhook Entertainment, May 2013 for Bank of Tokyo  http://skyhookphotography.photoshelter.com )

 

 


The Tuesday Blog: General Hospital Has a "Nina Problem" #GH, #generalhospital, @watroswatros

Among fans of General Hospital there is no character who generates more opinions than Nina Reeves. Nina is magazine publisher whose mother put her in a coma in her late teens/early 20s when when she was pregnant with her doctor boyfriend's baby. This is all backstory, by the way, as Nina showed up only after coming out of her coma and reuniting with said boyfriend as middle aged adults. The story at the time was that Nina had lost the baby but soap fans knew that the baby would eventually show up. How could it not? 

NinaghAt first Nina was a little cuckoo, I mean, who wouldn't be after being put in a coma by their own mother? But after the original actress left the role, LOST alum Cynthia Watros joined the show and played Nina a little less crazy and more of a victim trying to find the child she lost through cruel fate. 

After a lot of storylines, it turned out that she gave birth to twins. One of the twins, Nelle, is presumed dead, and the other, Willow, is battling for her life against cancer. 

Through too many circumstances too convoluted to recap here, Nina is currently in a situation where she is or soon will be reviled by everyone in the fictional town of Port Charles. And therein lies the "Nina Problem".... because, what do you do with her when she is a total outcast? 

What I would do is this - Willow gets the bone marrow she's waited for for months that will save her life - but oh no! something else has gone awry and maybe she needs a new heart! The young mother of two babies is about to succumb when suddenly the doctor rushes in and reveals that there has been an accident and they are prepping Willow for heart transplant surgery (yeah, yeah, I know it's not like ordering a Happy Meal, but that's how these shows treat it... just go with it, it'll be easier that way LOL).

But, wait, everyone says, where is Nina at this moment? It's Nina that's had the accident and it's Nina's heart that will save Willow, her daughter. It would be revealed that it wasn't an "accident" that Nina planned it very carefully... and Nina is remembered as a hero, despite all of her misdeeds. Everyone would feel terrible at how they'd treated her and it would cause lots of great soapy angst. I would hate to lose the fabulous Cynthia Watros, but that would be one kick ass storyline in my opinion! ;) 

If you're a fan of GH, how would YOU solve the "Nina problem"? :)

 


The Friday Journal - Practicing Gratitude! @brigittezeitlinrd, #overthinkersanonymous, #coaching, #career

Good morning and Happy Friday! A million years ago (OK only 30, but it feels like a million), a business acquaintance suggested that, rather than saying "how lucky I am", to say, instead, "how grateful I am".

I've practiced that for nearly 30 years and I think it's made a difference in my perspective. The energy goes out to other person when one expresses gratitude when, from my perspective, expressing 'luck' points the energy back at yourself. I will grant you that it probably seems like a slight bit of semantics but I think the shift is actually significant.

This morning I stumbled across this article about expressing gratitude and one of the two contributors is my new friend, Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN. I brought Brigitte in to my work to engage our staff in a conversation about nutrition as part of last week's "Staff Appreciation Week". What's especially thrilling for me is that not only was there an incredible turnout, but that the conversation has continued into this week (and Brigitte is delightful!) Check out her website here.

So, a public thanks to Brigitte, I am grateful that you shared your energy and knowledge with us!

On this subject  - since the beginning of the year, my partner Matthew and I have been aiming to write down one good thing that happened that day and/or one thing we're grateful for and depositing it in a vase just before bed. I got this idea from a NY Times article at the end of 2022 and, my apologies, I cannot now find the source so I don't know who to credit... but while I can't say that I actually do it every night, I do contribute to the collection on a fairly regular basis. The thought is that at the end of the calendar year, we'll pull all the papers out and have a record of all the highlights. I highly recommend this. It's a way to end the day on a positive note rather than ruminating on whatever 'bad' things happened that day.

On a related note, the fabulous Andrew Sewell ICF ACC has created a newsletter for us overthinkers - check out his website and get on his list. (More on a recent conversation I had with Andrew in a future post)

Finally, I am grateful to live near New York's Riverside Park - as someone who grew up with a pine tree forest and the Wisconsin River in his backyard, I love being so close to nature in the city that never sleeps. This is a photo I took the other day while on a walk on W. 120th Street. Enjoy! :)

May 2023
 


The Thursday Journal: Love Again - @starwars, @loveagainmovie, @sonypictures, @thekarpelgroup, @celinedion, @yuhuhamasaki @mademanbarber

Good morning and Happy Thursday, May the Fourth Be With You!  

The other night I attended an advance screening of the new movie, "Love Again" from Sony Pictures. It's a romantic comedy featuring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan as a couple who meet cute via text. Celine Dion also plays a major role veering between giving sage advice to the characters, issuing comic quips with precision timing, and acting as her own PR team for her upcoming tour.

The leads have a genuine chemistry and although there are a few bits and pieces that don't quite work, the overall ride is very enjoyable: I laughed, I cried, and I found myself wanting to buy tickets to Celine's show (and this is coming from someone who only very rarely likes going to big concerts of that sort).

There are genuine flashes of genius hidden in the story, such as a book agent who finds a clever way to motivate Chopra's children's book illustrator character, and a funny cameo by Chopra's real life husband Nick Jonas. And, of course, for those Outlander fans who like such things, we do get to see Heughan shirtless a few times. Just saying. :)

The screening was hosted by performer Yuhua Hamasaki who dressed as Celine to greet attendees - fans of drag will remember that Yuhua appeared on Season 10 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Click here to read the Entertainment Weekly article about Yuhua! And, because performing is what our queens do, we were treated to a lip sync to "It's All Coming Back to Me Now". It should be noted that Yuhua was in the dark as the theater didn't have any kind of follow spot (they really need a theater person on staff to plan/manage these events! lol).

On a personal note, I used to work in LA and New York LGBT nightlife (1997 - 2016) and planned/produced fundraising events that featured tons of drag queens from all around the country - I never met one that wasn't 100% willing to jump in and give of themselves for a good cause. I do miss it!

On a further personal note, I knew I'd been needing a haircut for some time but seeing this photo really drove it home for me and the next morning I stopped into Made Man Barbers in mid-town and got one of the best cuts of my life. I now look less like an old man and more like an old man trying to look young. No, wait. That's not right. <wink> Seriously, it's a great cut and I'll be going back. 

"Love Again" opens this Friday, May 5th! 

Love again

 


Joseph and 4 Amazing Technicolor Reminders

It'll be 7 years ago tomorrow (March 22) that my friend Joe left us.

Free from his pain of a half dozen illnesses, I imagine Joe has not just been soaring with the angels, but probably has been using his newfound status as a spirit to roam dressing rooms occupied by the hottest Broadway dancers. :)

7 years later, Joes death still reminds me to:

1. Never pass up the opportunity to face your fears. I was terrified of hospitals and nursing homes prior to my regular visits with Joe. And the final visit sort of gave every fear a voice - that hospitals and nursing homes are places of death. And yet, I went. And yet, I faced that fear. And yet, I more or less overcame it by having to be in it. It didn't make me less sad, but I could do it. And you can too.

2. Never turn down an invitation to 'fall into friendship'. I only knew Joe sort of from a distance as someone who came to my weekly bingo fundraising events on occasion.... but he asked his friends to have me visit and so I went thinking it would be one and done. And yet, I went back over and over again and we always had great, fun, and had endless talks. I don't think that I entirely understood just how close we'd gotten until those final days.

3. Try as best as you can not to complain. In all the years I was visiting him on a regular basis, I never once heard him feel sorry for himself and where he was at: without biological family, without a job, without much of anything except what a few friends could keep for him and what was in his room. Here was a man who spent years in care facilities and yet he only spoke of 'when' he was back in his own place, not 'if'. That is nothing if not inspirational.

And finally -

4. Life is short. Make it count. Joe didn't care that an outing to an Imperial Court event would drain him for days or cause him to be literally sick or quite possibly land him back in the hospital... he did it because he grabbed every opportunity to take a bite of life. This tenacity and optimism is why I miss him so much.

xoxo

Spring 2023 b


The Stuffed Baked Potato #bakedpotato, #generalhospital, #GH, #doctorwho, #diamondanniversary

Good evening and happy Sunday! I write to you from December 2022 where, since my last batch of regular blogs, I've left one job, started another, traveled to Vermont, celebrated Thanksgiving, put up two trees with my partner (whom I refer to as "the Mister" since he values his anonymity), and tackled and finished two freelance design projects for a client. Whew. That was a lot to do in just six weeks. I suppose most people would have preferred all sort of spread out but while it felt like that the Michelle Yeoh movie "Everything All At Once" was the guiding light of autumn 2022, change happens when change happens and, although kind of chaotic, I managed to get through it with some grace. More on all of this at one point or another or maybe not, who knows. I sometimes overshare, and sometimes undershare but it all evens out in the end, I think. :)

For the moment I'm just sort of sailing through December trying not to fixate on the stress of the season as those who live here know the "special" kind of place our fair city is during the holidays. Instead, I'm trying to enjoy the moment and, to some degree, succeeding. :) 

Looking ahead into 2023, I realized that two of my favorite obsessions... uhm, er INTERESTS (lol) are celebrating 60 years in 2023 and I though how fun it would be if there was a cross over episode. I mean, Disney owns ABC which produces General Hospital and will start to stream Doctor Who in America next year so it's possible. I mean, common sense tells me that it  will never ever happen but in that small chance that putting it out to the universe will make it happen, here it is. Get to work, universe!

As an aside here, while we're wishing, "hi universe, I'd also like to put in my request for $10M to suddenly appear in my life" thank you. This could be because my comic strip characters get noticed by Netflix or Disney and they just HAVE to own them (now you know my asking price!) or maybe some person in the world decided that I should have $10M. I'm OK with either (but quite frankly, I'd rather it be the former than the latter... how wonderful for these characters to have a life beyond this blog and Instagram). 

ANYWAY. 

The point of all of this really is - I made it through all of last year, It was a LOT but I made it. With the help from The Mister and many friends. Please note that I will not be singing "I'm Still Here", but I absolutely could - I have, as the kids say, the receipts to prove just how much I've earned that (this is slightly cryptic for those who don't know some additional personal stuff that I was battling this year that I have not yet graced this blog with... ) 

The upcoming week is filled to the brim with all sorts of event work/holiday stuff and I am 100% looking forward to it but also looking forward to next Sunday, when most of it will be behind me. :) I probably won't have time to blog til this short cycle is over but know that I am chugging along in fine fashion. 

Finally- here is an advance poster for an event I'm doing at work. We decided to do a "Baked Potato Bar" and so today I purchased a stuffed tater at a local diner, shot it on a white towel, cut out the background and added some dazzle. I'm pretty happy with it and thought I would share it with you my blog reading public. :) 

Baked Potato Bar image only v3


Today's True Story: Catching up with Laurel & Hardy #laurelandhardy, #journal, #memoir @shakeysusa

Growing up in Wisconsin in the 70s pre-comic books and Star Wars, I was a huge Disney and Laurel & Hardy fan. We'd occasionally eat at Shakey's Pizza and they'd show old black and white comedies. My dad, having been born in 1925, grew up watching all the old Hollywood stars in movies and shorts. Somehow I took a shine to Laurel & Hardy and at one point both dad and I did what I'm sure others thought were pretty lame impersonations, but we, at least I, loved being Stan Laurel to his Oliver Hardy. :)

When I was 10, my older sister gave me Laurel & Hardy busts for Christmas and I've kept them all these years. They remind me both of dad and her and the good times we had then (and of course the delicious pizza we always had at Shakey's then. To a ten year old, it was THE BEST!!). 

Today, as we were doing some major house cleaning, I got it in my head to spend a few minutes dusting them both off. They sit at the top of a bookshelf and I don't think I've handled them in well over 2 years and I definitely haven't cleaned them in ... well, I don't think I've ever REALLY cleaned them. 

So today I dusted them off and then used a tiny brush to dig out the dirt. So. Much. Dirt. Below is the finished product. Aside from the few chips (inevitable given how many moves I've made over the years) they look as good as they did the day I got them. OK maybe not THAT good lol but much MUCH better than they did. 

Laurelandhardy