Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just A Few Random Thoughts #4

I've long been fascinated with tales of Hollywood back in the day, specifically harking back to the 30s and 40s, when Hollywood was a wide open town ruled by a crooked and corrupt police force. I've devoured most of James Ellroy's books, loved Hollywood Confidential, have The Changeling on my shortlist for this weekend, have been in love with Louise Brooks (one generation earlier, back in the silent era), thought Devil in A Blue Dress and Black Dahlia were great fun, and am about to start a bio of Tallulah Bankhead, an "I don't give a damn what you think" girl. If you know of any other movie or book that fits into this category and is worth pursuing, please let me know.
I'm starting to work on a sex and intimacy survey that comes from Thurday's Child, who runs a wonderful blog and who will be happy to include you in if you ask her. I've always felt that introspection is important to keeping your balance in a tippy world, and this survey asks lots of nice questions that will probably help me stay on track, or get back on track, or just understand why I've jumped the tracks. OK, enough of that metaphor. From what I can understand, the thought here is to learn about oneself, and to help Thursday's Child figure herself out...both worthwhile pursuits.
I've just finished reading desire by Susan Cheever, daughter of the late John Cheever. I thought it would be similar to the book a few years ago by a retired prima ballerina from ABT who revealed herself as the queen of anal sex, a tell all book with lots of juicy details, but it was none of those. She discusses at great length her sex addiction, how she views sex addiction historically and in numerous other ways, what lies ahead for her, similarities and differences to other addictions, lots of other stuff. It's a well written book, albeit with a few too many references about where lunch or dinner or drinks took place, and slim enough to be read in a day or so, perhaps over the long holiday weekend.
My thanks go out to those that had or held a positive thought for me concerning my audition. As always, it was much more benign that I would have thought, and I'm happy to report that I passed, and will be appearing with the NY Philharmonic next June for 7 performances during the month---yeah, me and about 200-300 others on stage, but still exciting.
The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday is a time to give thanks, so please take that time. Be thankful for friends either in the flesh or online, for family near and far, for loved ones past and present, for those that care about you and that you care about. Be thankful for the things you have, and truly examine what those things are, be they small or cosmic, and truly appreciate them.
I'm on the away team this holiday, and so it's unclear whether I'll have the freedom to get online for a few days. Travel safely if you're on the road, hold your loved ones near and dear.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

TMI Tuesday #162

1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
the cranberry sauce, the kind with the raw crans and minced up orange.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Which one will it be?
two bands from back in the day---iron butterfly (ina gadda da vida) or vanilla fudge

3. You seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. Holy crap, a hundred bucks! How are you gonna spend it?
I'm with lilly here, just fritter it away, although new toys might be a possibility

4. What is your favorite curse word?
again, siding with lilly, the F word---just sooooooo expressive, can be used in almost any context, except a religious service

5. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there?
Again, a back in the day answer...I had to opportunity to move to SFO in the days of the Haight, and passed it up.

Bonus (as in optional):You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What's it gonna be?
I'd opt for speed and becoming Flash

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Kid Stays In The Game

My good friend viviane recently used the phrase "pick up guy", and I harkened back to that moniker last night. I was never a pick up guy, never the one with the smooth line and the calculated come ons. I could always make small talk and still can, but I never had the rap and patter down pat.
She and I went out to the Blue Note to see Ivan Lins and the NY Voices. He's a wonderful Brazilian singer/composer, and they are such capable and innovative singers that they left me wondering how they find their notes and lines, and I've been listening to jazz singing groups since Lambert, Henricks and Ross.
The tables at the Blue Note cost $45 per person/cover and are reservable...and the seats at the bar are only $25 but alas not reservable, and so I went ahead, way early, arriving at 6:15 for an 8PM show, only to find that some seats were already gone, and so I sat way at the end of the curved bar, and was quick to notice two women sitting just past the curve. And we made eye contact right away, the prettier woman's gaze direct and unabashed. I ordered a Jameson and soda from the bartender, remarking to him that it was a shame that She was coming later, the two women were soooo attractive and obviously on the prowl. I was quick to notice that they conversed in French, Parisian French at that, and seemed to understand little English, as I had to translate several remarks from the bartender to them.
There were several back and forths with the prettier one, much eye contact, serious non-verbal flirting, and the doorman even floats by, saying to me what a shame it is that She's coming, because I'm already sitting there involved with a very pretty lady. Finally, they ask me when the show starts, and I reply "A huit heures, plus ou moin", meaning eight o'clock. It becomes obvious that they had no idea they'd be holding down the bar for another hour, and so after a brief conversation, they get up to leave, the prettier one throwing one last smile at me.
Nothing happened, but it's always nice to know that someone might be interested in picking me up.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Higher and Higher

The preface to this post is that I've outlived my father, his brother, one male cousin on my father's side. My father had his first heart attack at 47, as did his brother, as did two of my three male cousins. So you can see that my father's side of the family is fraught with health issues.
In 2001, I realized that I had a significant birthday coming up, and decided that I wanted to do something meaningful to reaffirm the fact that I was still alive, and was planning to stay alive and active and healthy for a very long time. I decided to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Well, not climb, because Uhuru, as it is known to the local Masai, requires no technical climbing to get to the summit, no ropes, no ice axes, no pitons, just the physical strength and the mental toughness to walk uphill for days on end. I traveled with an organized tour, shared a tent with the only other CPA on the mountain, earned the sobriquet Babu (a term of respect and endearment, meaning Grandpa), became the poky puppy early on, and summitted, reaching the roof of Africa after untold difficulties and superhuman efforts. I framed my certificate proudly, and look at it every day as I sit down to work.
I applaud the efforts and achievements of Anne Curry and her team in reaching 15,700 feet. She's right when she says that they were on the hill at the wrong time of the year...perhaps broadcast journalism required her to do make this journey live, and not film ahead and put it in the can for later broadcast. Even with days for acclimitization added into the mix, it's frighteningly difficult, no doubt about it.
What I don't understand is why none of her crew took any medication to combat the altitude sickness. This isn't one of those purist discussions, like climbing Everest without oxygen. Everybody that I've ever known has taken medication to combat the effects of the altitude on cranial pressure, whether it's Diamox(which was originally invented as a kidney medication) or some other substance. Even some of our less experienced Masai porters took pills as we climbed above 16,000 feet.
I only tuned in to the climb the last few days, so perhaps I missed the explanation of non-medicating which might have been given earlier in the series. Can anyone enlighten me as to whether a conscious decision was made, and discussed on air, as to why not taking the medication was the option chosen?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Client Relations Part III

"Please, don't make me beg."

She pulled one end of the tie of the dress, and it slowly slid part of the way open, the two uneven sides of the dress parting as she cocked one hip slightly higher than the other and tried to twist her lips into a crooked enough smile, her dark eyes flashing their lively message out at me. What precious little she wore under the dress could've fit into a coffee cup with room to spare...a pair of panties that didn't seem to begin anywhere, a tiny triangle of white silk covering the area where her thighs met her torso, suspended from her slim hips by what seemed like fishing line colored white, the lines making tiny indentations in her white skin...a quarter cup bra holding up her sweet looking breasts, her nipples surprisingly dark, peeking out from behind narrow white lace shells, the tips erect and pushing forward, almost bruised looking in their arousal.

She paused for a moment, perhaps feeling some small sense of modesty or embarassment, because she raised her right arm up and across her breasts, cupping the left one but effectively hiding them both from view, her other hand rising slightly to the cleft between her legs, and I could see her middle finger depressing the tiny bit of silk between her lips, the fabric all but disappearing. Her smile changed and faded, replaced by a different sort of grin, a cat that ate the canary grin, the cheshire cat grin, the only one corner of her mouth grin, her eyes squinting closed just a bit in concentration and determination. She tried hard to pout out her lower lip, and ran her tongue across both lips making them wet and shiny.

"Can we work something out? Isn't there something we can do?"

TMI Tuesday

1. When did you last use your cellular telephone as a flashlight? I never have, but She used hers to open the front door this past summer, in the dark, both of us way too inebriated to remember that the lock is installed upside down.

2. On a scale from 1-10, how comfy are you being naked? 8-9, not embarrassed by my body, just sometimes lost without my glasses.

3. What is the longest you've ever been celibate after having lost your virginity? close to a year in college...things just weren't working out.

4. Have you ever had sex in a car? No, born and raised in NYC, one of the oldest people you'll ever know that learned to drive.

5. When did you last use food or drink as medication? within the last month, when I had to put up with family issues, Hers not mine, and it meant listening to tales of mental cruelty and abuse.

Bonus: Name three words that:
a) get you excited-beach
b) make you squirm-honesty
c) make you laugh-nothing here, i'm a very random laugher

Me And The Night And The Music

So, I've tried to write this post more times than I care to think about, each time coming up slightly short or slightly out of tune, feeling as though I was singing the wrong words to the song, feeling the hesitation of 4 against 3, knowing that chords have been left hanging with their 7ths or 9ths reaching out for some sort of resolution. The true story of me and the night and the music is a lifelong story, one told in proper prospective, with intense periods of involvement, a constant background soundtrack, the never ending feeling that any teenager has in the incomplete movie of his life, in which he is always the star and always the focus of attention. I've started from when I was two years old going forward, from today looking back over time, from any number of midpoints blossoming out in all directions...not a single start has found its way to completion in any meaningful or satisfactory way.

There's some much to say and tell, and I'm only a lowly skills at wordsmithing and storytelling are suspect, my capabilities sometimes falling below even what I might deem adequate for the purpose at hand, and so I constantly start and delete the story of me and the night and the music. Perhaps the only way to get through the story is to just jump in and start telling it, and see where it goes. The process sounds comfortable, soft, friendly, forgiving of errors in style or content, accepting what is proferred, allowing me to get where I want to, to get to where I need to get to.

And so I shall---jump right in. I hate auditions, I lose focus, I lose attachment to the real world and seem to be operating on autopilot. I have sung pieces in the wrong language, omitted the last page of the sheet music for the accompanist (who politely left me hanging in an unresolved cadence), started sightsinging on the wrong note and floundered through a whole piece without hitting many correct notes, gone to the wrong room at the wrong time, shown up for auditions where I wasn't qualified to audition, you name it and I've done it. And yet, I've managed to pass every audition I've ever sung. I know it's partially because men in any chorus are desirable, partially because I really do have a good voice (jesus, such ego!),and partially because although I may screw up mightily, I never actually overstep myself and try out for a chorus I'm not reasonably sure of getting into. I'm a second bass, and can sing down to a low D comfortably, and up to an F above middle C without making dogs howl in the moonlight.

Next Monday I audition for a new chorus, a chorus that will do eight major performances in NYC next June, and as always, I'm petrified with fear. No prepared music is required, only a voice test, a follow instructions test, and the dreaded sightsinging requirement. I can learn the music, follow the conductor, show up at every rehearsal prepared, but I just don't sightread that well, and I'm hoping, praying, beseeching the almighty, that I can dazzle them with footwork and blind them with prestidigitation, once again passing the audition and giving me somewhere to go on Monday nights so that I won't have to keep company with David Caruso any longer.

Please, please, please, pray for me.

Earworm-Miles Davis, Porgy and Bess

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lady Heather

Tonight marks the return of Lady Heather to's probably the only hint of the bdsm world on network TV. Melinda Clarke, who is always wonderful at playing sluts and fallen women, has always worked so well at capturing the domme side of relationships. Granted that you have to read between the lines sometimes---there's only so much that will get past the censors, and what gets shown here is, for the most part, only the mental and psychological side of the relationship.
But it's a chance to say "ah, I get it. That's me," regardless of which side of the relationship you're on.
And if you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, has a sort of highlights catchup reel running on their website, just to put things in place.
CBS Network 9-10PM.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TMI Tuesday

1. Have you ever had a moving violation? An auto accident? That was your fault?
Never an accident, but got my very first speeding ticket in December 2007
2. Have you ever voted? How old was your were you the first time you voted?
I was 21 when I first voted...the rules were different back in the day
3. Are you glad this election cycle is over?
The cycle is endless, the process endlessly fascinating.
4. Do you have guilty pleasure? What is it (or are they)?
Porn for sure, shoot em up movies, the juacqueline carey novels among many
5. What is the most embarrassing thing you have done recently?
Told my shrink that she didn't really know the whole truth
Bonus: How much impact has the Wall Street and general economic wilt had on you?
Probably a lot going a CPA everything always affects me on a delayed basis

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Be A Lanavat

Early on my parents impressed upon me the importance of voting, of making a choice, taking a stand, adopting a position. I went into the voting booth with my stay-at-home mother every election day, and watched as she made her choices...I wasn't allowed to pull the levers, but I could come in and watch the process.
And so I impress upon my small readership the importance and necessity of voting. I know who I would encourage you to vote for, but it's sooo important to be part of the process.
And many many bonus points to anyone who can tell me what a lanavat is.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Calendar

I've long held that despite the fact that we're all adults, we all live on an academic calendar, from September through the summer...the calendar hanging on the wall in the kitchen and use to notate various events, is just formatted incorrectly, and Her filofax, which runs on the academic year, is the one we all live by.
I used to live by a slightly more skewed calendar years ago. I used to be a serious runner, a marathon runner, a train 6 days a week runner, someone who ran 12 months of the year, staying indoors only when the temperature dipped to single digits. I had started running while I was studying for the CPA exam, listening to review tapes on my walkman---it was a really long time ago, picking up the idea of mens sana in corpore sana for an ancient episode of the TV show The Paper Chase. I ran every morning in Central Park (lucky that way), awoke every morning at 5:51 AM (don't ask, please), and was able to complete a lap of the park (which teeters on 10K), be home to clean up and breakfast, and still manage to get to work by 9. I wasn't particularly fast, just persistent. I would focus on a fall marathon every year, running NY in the odd numbered years, and travelling to other cities in the even numbered ones---DC, Montreal, Newport among others.
And so this time of the year, the first weekend in November, which is when the marathon settled here after clashes with daylight savings time (don't ask, again) and Jewish holidays is somewhat sad and bittersweet. I miss the excitement of the foreign runners clogging the park during the week before the race, the Italian restaurants being stuffed to the gills the Friday and Saturday nights before the race, the getting up ever so early to take the ferry and catch my reserved cab across Staten Island, the millions of people waiting in the streets to applaud and encourage me, the occaisional stroke of good luck in finding a runner like the blonde haired woman in Montreal, who ran at exactly my pace for 22 miles, and was sad when I faded and we couldn't finish together. This was long before the marathon became an anybody can enter and walk the course event, when the participants were all runners and not tourists just sightseeing the city. I miss what I used to tell the Boy was "the gathering of eagles".
But I'll be out there tomorrow morning, which promises to be a brilliant day, cheering for the elite runners, and then staying to cheer of the citizens of the road, the people just happy to finish and meet or beat their own personal goals. They're all still my heroes.