Friday, November 27, 2009


After a too-long absence following my major blogging outburst concerning my recent visitors, I finally return to the blank screen to release my ideas, dreams, complaints, and commentary. Today (well, as I am editing this, yesterday) is Thanksgiving in New York, and it has been an absolutely gorgeous day, full of blessed unseasonal weather and unexpected sunshine. Considering my absence from my web memoirs and extracurricular data entry, I should be writing about the million things I’ve done or thought about in the past week or so, everything I have been meaning to say, but haven’t for whatever reason. I should be telling you about the delicious Prince Edward Island oysters I had in the Lower East Side (at Ten Bells), my growing love for the Whole Food's hot bar (grilled pear and brie pizza, forget about it!), or my strange viewing of The Me who Stare Goats. I should be reflecting on my suicidal attempt to attend the 90 minute HOT Yoga class (105 degrees). If I were doing things right, I would be telling you about rehearsals or the super cheap dumpling place I found. And surely, I would have more news from Locale. However, I think I'd like to talk about all the things I am thankful for this year, like a first-grader finishing their final writing/creative assignment before shipping out for the long weekend. This year, I feel I have so many wonderful things in my life, that I've been given so much. I am thankful for a few days off of work, that I get to spend hanging around the city with one of my favorite aunts. I am so thankful I have a job to have time off from (and that we had a very nice Thanksgiving party Wednesday afternoon). I miss and love and am thankful for my family. Though separated far and wide, we are united by our love for each other, by cards and calls, and random texts for those tech savvy enough to T9. I am blessed with good health, despite no current health insurance, and feel good and fit and centered in my body (thank you yoga, water, and spinach). I am thankful for new friends in New York, and the old ones I have here and around the country. I am thankful I live in a free country where I can say and do and believe what I want, and write this blog, whatever the content. I am thankful for our wonderful meal yesterday at Roth's, the salmon, goat cheese tart, butternut squash soup, and smoked turkey amousse bouche were particularly excellent. I am thankful for my independence, that I am able to live my life without constraints, at least for now. I am thankful Granny's surgery went well on Wednesday and pray she makes a speedy recovery. I am thankful for funny and interesting things on youtube, that sometimes inform, but usually distract me. And days like this, I am thankful for New York. For its energy, its vastness, its collection of people from every corner and walk of life. The walk we took through Central Park along the Jackie O reservoir was the perfect way accompaniment to our big Thanksgiving meal (not to mention cocktails and a bottle of wine). And I am thankful for what lies ahead for me, the treasures yet undiscovered, and what adventures may come next.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Taste of Home, Part 3

We began our eventful Monday at Mom and Wendy's hotel, nibbling on a little complimentary breakfast before heading out into the big city. Prepped for a day of walking and touring, we took the train down to Union Square to check out the plaza and the nearby Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I wanted to show Mom how yuppy New Yorkers do their grocery shopping. "But how do they get it all home?" she kept saying. After staring at the whole monkfish in the seafood section (terrifying), we made our way around the corner to Max Brenner's for some chocolate. Wendy got a mashmallow-topped hot chocolate, while Mom opted for a chocolate chai, served steaming in its own pot. While we enjoyed our richy, chocolatey beverages, we sampled the cocoa and chili powder infused waffle fries, which were quite delicious, adding them to our NYC fry count. After checking out the gift shop (decidedly better than the Godiva store from the night before). We crossed the street to check out the Strand Bookstore, another one of my favorite stops in the city. After walking around, scoping out titles and calendars, and making use of the public restrooms. From there, we moved east to, believe it or not, the East Village to hunt down The Theater for the New City, where "If This Ain't It" will be taking place in January. We passed dozens of pizza parlors and pastry shops, homeless men and hookers (well, perhaps I am exaggerating, though these are none too unfamiliar sights for the area). Upon locating the theater, we commenced in a brief photo shoot, assisted by TNC's own Bob, the facility manager. On south we headed, passing the Village Voice offices, Cooper Union, and stopping for a slice of pizza at St. Mark's Place (for $7 we got three slices of pizza and three bottles of water - our cheapest eats of the trip). After spying Yoga to the People, we stumbled upon Sex and the City designer Patricia Field's clothing store and had to go in. Unfortunately, we did not find anything for Mom or Wendy in the midst of the wigs, panties, baubles, and plastic pants. There were even a few men's options and a Mickey Mouse beer cooler. We soon found ourselves on Houston (How-stun) and headed to the Crate & Barrel, a beacon of white china, comfy couches, and elegant stemware. We shopped around for kitchen gadgets, presentation pieces, and new placemats for my apartment, adding a touch of decoration to our humble abode. The afternoon growing short, we hopped on a train to the West Village area, in search of Magnolia Bakery and Carrie's stoop. Though we found the street, we didn't have time to hunt down the exact stoop, though we did have time to hunt down our confectionary delights at Magnolia. Wendy opted for a peanut butter cookie and caramel cheesecake, while Mom got an old-fashioned lemon bar. I picked up a molasses cookie and a couple snickerdoodle cupcakes for later, choosing instead to indulge in a Key Lime cheesecake that afternoon (it was divine). Sugary treats in hand, legs given a workout Disney World-style, we headed to the subway again and returned to Queens. After feasting on our sweet treats at the Ramada, I headed to work, while the women readied themselves for a night in the city featuring that evening's performance of Rock of Ages. My shift at Locale went on as usual, nothing too special to report. We wined and dined our Monday regulars as well as a few new faces. It certainly didn't rival Mom's reported filet in Times Square before the show. After seeing their show, they joined us at Locale for some dessert (Mom got the Tiramisu, Wendy the Strawberry Napoleon) and an opportunity to not only meet Stefano, but also Johnny, the owner. Between their two visits, I think they met almost the entire Locale staff. Tired from a long day, we headed back to our respective homes, aiming to meet for breakfast in the morning before their flight. Breakfast that morning was delicious and cheap, courtesy of Sanford's, the chic-infused 24 hour restaurant. Caffeinated and full, we went back to their hotel for one last time, to check out and say some final goodbyes. It was a really wonderful weekend, one of the best I have had in New York. I was excited and proud to show them around my new city, feeling surprisingly more at home here than I would have imagined. Though I don't get to see everyone for Thanksgiving this year, I certainly am looking forward to Christmas to get another taste of home and the people I love. For now, this wonderful tidbit will have to tide me over.

A Taste of Home, Part 2

Sunday saw us get a much later start. Well, the women more than myself. While I hustled over to Locale for brunch duty, they slept in, then joined us for eggs and Bloody Mary's. It was good to be back at brunch, reunited with my brunch bitch Katrina, seeing a few of my regular customers. Everyone got a kick out of meeting my mother, and the women seemed to enjoy their brunch grub (as you can see, brunch is a very important happening in the city). After visiting with the Locale crew and gathering up their strength, I sent my elders out into the city unsupervised. Their destination: Macy's - Herald Square. Who knows what damage they did. With over 7 floors, the red-accented beacon of shopping held their attention until sundown. Luckily, they only had to get on one train and only walk up the stairs to find their shopping haven. Once I cleared out of the restaurant, brunch put away for another week, having devoured a piece of carrot cake with bartendress Kat (which sounds so so good right now), I went home for a short recess then readied myself for the city. I followed Mom and Wendy's tracks from the Godiva store to Rockefeller Center. We looked at the trees and coming Christmas decorations before journeying up 5th Ave to check out the high end shopping and designer duds. Once we reached the Plaza hotel, we hit the subway again to return to Queens, gearing up for Sunday's big Colts/Patriots game. After dropping their bags off at the hotel (a familiar experience), we took the train farther into Astoria to Gleason's Food and Spirits. With a good-sized crowd formed, we took a table in the back in anticipation of the big game. Lucky for us, it was 25 cent wings, and we each got a plateful, as well as sweet potato and traditional fries, our food our choice this trip (A special note, do not get the honey mustard wings at Gleasons, they're just not what you are looking for). As we sipped our beers and Coke respectively, the game began. After an initial touchdown by our Indianapolis Colts, things did not look so hot for the remainder of the game, encouraging us to drink more beer. Along the way, Katrina from Locale stopped by as well as roommates Megan and Erin. Katrina and I told stories and/or bitched about Locale, and Megan and Erin swapped stories from the temp-ing field. Mom and Wendy got a big kick out of Katrina's transportation of choice, skateboard, complete with its own set of stories. The game trudged on and on, looking none too good for the "home" team, and as our food and beer began to settle, our long began to catch up with us. After paying our tab, we hopped in a cab, making our last stops of the evening at comfort and sleep. I instructed them to be ready at 9 am for the next day's adventures. As we later found out the Colts won.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Taste of Home, Part 1

This weekend, I had a real treat in New York. Mom and Wendy came for their first visit since I've moved here to the city, a taste of the broad meadow in my urban jungle. Weary from a week of tax conventions and boring lectures, the Hoosier ladies made there way here early Saturday morning. Greeted by another grey and rainy New York day, we met up at their hotel in Astoria/Long Island City, just down the road from my apartment. After checking out my new digs, with pictures to prove it, we headed into the city to see what trouble we could get into. Coming out of the 49th St, we met the crowds and rain of Times Square (much to the dismay of Wendy's hair) and ventured to the TKTS booth, currently occupied by a band of foot stomping Jesus Freaks. After picking up some chance matinee tickets, we veered away from the crowds and traveled west to Hell's Kitchen for a bite to eat before the show. Spying an advertisement for brunch, we tucked into a near-empty Mexican restaurant for salsa, steak, and an hour of unlimited drinking (for only $5 - who doesn't love that?). Our stomachs full and a little buzzed (Wendy sipped cokes and supervised), we braved the cold again and headed north to Studio 54, the location of our afternoon show, the one I have been aching to see since landing, Wishful Drinking, created and starring Carrie Fisher. Set against the backdrop of the decaying the mysterious Studio 54, former home to legendary parties and height-of-their-youth stars like Liza Minelli, Michael Jackson, Debbie Harry, and Andy Warhol, we settled into our prime-orchestra seats (thank you TDF) in anticipation of the show. As the curtain rose, Ms. Fisher appeared in silhouette, making shadow puppets to a mashed up intro of "Happy Days Are Here Again" and the Star Wars theme. Entering through the scrimmed-door, she appeared onstage in pajamas and rhinestone flip-flops (which she quickly removed), on a living room-esque set, complete with glasses of water, Coke Zero, and a garden gnome who was never introduced. Sighting some skeptics in the audience, she even passed out drink tickets and ear plugs. Like Studio 54 itself, Ms. Fisher has seen brighter, flashier days, as the show chronicles her journey through Star Wars fame, Hollywood marriage and divorce, alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental health. Not missing a beat, she quips that last time she was here, people were having sex in the balcony and doing lines of cocaine. As far as I know, the Saturday matinee crowd, of which I was the seemingly youngest member, were only guilty of unwrapping candy and checking their hearing aids. She tells her story with overwhelming veracity and wit, assisted by slide projections, a few songs, audience participation, and even a giant chalkboard for a lesson in Hollywood Marriage 101 (her parents are Eddie Fisher and the divine Debbie Reynolds). Similar to Elaine Stritch at Liberty, she uses her time onstage to deal with her troubled past, work her through her issues, and learn to laugh at what was once tragic ("Location, Location, Location"). The show was clever and very funny, more Fisher poking fun at herself and her mistakes than any sort of serious or sad reflection. Not a swan song, but rather a triumph, a portrait of a woman coping with her problems, rather than a woman defeated by her problems. Brimming with camp, sass, boozing and Hollywood name calling, this was my kind of show. We all enjoyed the show very much, and were glad to have caught it on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Busy bees we are, we scooted back down Broadway to hit up the TKTS booth again for evening tickets. With orchestra seats for the evening performance of Ragtime obtained, we took the subway back into Queens to check into the hotel and allow Mom and Wendy to freshen up a bit. Dark but still rainy, we met up again and took the packed train into Manhattan, along with everyone else form Astoria looking for fun in the city. After locating the Neil Simon Theater, we went around the corner for beers and appetizers at a corner diner, though I probably should have had coffee and salad, you only live once. Ce la vie. We popped into the theater for showtime and situated ourselves in the cramped seats (perhaps when the theater was built a hundred or so years ago, people were smaller?). Having just opened a few days earlier, the house was quite full and abuzz with what the first Broadway revival of Flaherty and Ahren's most celebrated work might behold. The curtain opened to a huge, vertical set, the actors assembled in tableau. Unfortunately for us, the overhang from the balcony blocked our view from the very top and took away from the evening's performance (if only the TKTS man would have spoken up!). The musical tells the story of the early 20th century, played by three families, one white, one black, and one Jewish, their paths intersecting each other as the plot unfurls itself. Mixed in are appearances by several famous figures of the era including Houdini, a sexy Vaudeville star, Henry Ford, and Booker T. Washington. It is a very interesting concept and subject material, especially now that I am living in New York. Today, both the African-American and Jewish communities are quite established in the city, giving way to new immigrant groups from Latin America and Asia, another chapter in this island's mixing pot. The story and the music are quite grand in scheme and style, embracing the qualities of opera as well as musical comedy. This production was done in a fairly bare bones way, with limited set and theatrical flare, focusing rather on the story, acting, and music. I thought the production was quite good, though I admit to some minor dozing, as I am apt to do. Warm theaters, beer, and a lack of brass and dazzle are a deadly combination for Bradley the theatregoer. Drowsy and recovering from the complex piece, we headed to the Upper West Side for a few nightcaps and munchies at Magdaleer's (spelling?) Pub where Aly is now working. After being ID-ed (Mom and Wendy were thrilled), we found a table in the packed house. The evening turned into an IU reunion when Justine, Quinto, and Dylan Weinberger showed up, and it was quite a good time. We guzzled down beer and hard cider and gnoshed on jalapeƱo poppers and thick cut fries, everyone catching up or meeting for the first time. Two subways later, we arrived back to Queens a little after 2 am, certainly having made the most of their first day in New York. I'd say it was a little more exciting than tax classes.

New Beginnings

(I started this one on Saturday morning, but am just now finishing it). Last night, we began rehearsal for "If This Ain't It (or Disaster on Parade)," a musical revue by Don Arrington. Our motley crew assembled in the basement of the Theatre for the New City in a hallway/rehearsal space that also stores many props and set pieces (there were even some fake rats and giant feet with faces). Our company of about ten, sat around the piano as Don sang the songs to us in his bluesy/Broadway/smoker's voice, more vim and fire than text or emotion, and read the parts he assigned us for the evening (he is still seeking a transgender, Bessie Smith-esque Lady Liberty if anyone is interested - Edris?). For now, I will be appearing in two numbers, one as an incarcerated child (the Good Little Boy) and one as a dancing Mexican woman ("Starving But Dancing"). What a range. My string of characters and funny voices continues, though, I guess I will have to hold out for that romantic lead next time . . . The show looks like it will be a lot of fun, and I will definitely have a lot of fun stories to tell. Right now, most of it lies in Don's mind, let's hope it makes it to the stage by January. Spent after our 2 hour+ readthrough and disgusted by the ever-present rain, I snuck into Whole Foods for some comfort food relief (creamed spinach and homemade stuffing) for my subway ride home. Dry-ish and in Queens, a few hard ciders found my tired and ready for bed. Thursday was an exceptionally slow night at the restaurant that mostly saw us stand around and find our favorite selections from the Locale iPod. Though we certainly did not make bank during that shift (thank God for a guarantee), it was one of the first shifts that I have been totally relaxed and was not stressed out about anything (except for how I am going to pay my energy bill this month . . . ha . . ha . . I should probably unplug this kilowatt sucking laptop . . .). It also found me drinking copious amounts of coffee, tea, and soda to pass the time and the cold, which made for a long night Thursday for no reason at all (luckily I found vintage X-Men episodes on Youtube, my new guilty pleasure). On the book front, I have finished The Sun Also Rises and am looking to move on to my next assignment (perhaps I will continue my early 20th century theme with a little Carson McCullers or Fitzgerald, or a surprise book I picked up at the library by Alan Cumming). When the day comes, I will be most ready for the literary/arts section of CashCab/Jeopardy/Millionaire. Today, I am looking forward to a very special visit this weekend from my mother and her friend Wendy. Who knows what excitement awaits us in the city . . . much walking is guaranteed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Hump Day - Or is it?

The grey and the cold have returned to New York after a small relapse into summery weather this weekend. I can't stand the grey! Another day off, another off day. Can it really be called Hump Day when it is technically my day off? I think my official is sometime Sunday around midnight. I find most of my days off include lists of well-intended to-do's, that rarely get done at all. I suppose this is typical of days off, or at least the lazy days I tend to have. The city seemed especially quiet today, in part because of Veteran's Day as well as the somber weather. I had lunch with my friend Liz (of Locale) at Burrito Loco (the crazy burrito) in the West Village . As it has been a while since I've had Mexican, it was a yummy treat and fun to hang with Liz in the city. The restaurant is located across from a string of sex shops, so it makes for great one stop shopping: Spanish rice and Spanish fly. Hah. On returning to Astoria, I was still feeling the effects of my Mexican food coma and slept through yoga class. I suppose I will have to try extra hard to get there tomorrow before work at Locale. Last night, I had a wonderful dinner with Aly at the restaurant our friend Angie works at called Good Enough to Eat. Located on the Upper West Side, it is in a trendy, neat area full of restaurants (though sans sex shops). I dined on corn bread, collard greens, succotash, mac n cheese, and pumpkin pie. It was a very good night, and I undoubtedly had my butter fix for the week. As usual, it was a pleasure to see Aly, as we live in quite different parts of the same city, and check a new neighborhood. There are so many great hang out spots in the city, there's an endless amount of choices to the age old question: "What should we do tonight?" Somehow the Super Wal-Mart and Applebee's pale in comparison to New York's plethora of pubs, patiseries, and prixe-fixe (sorry New Castle). We begin rehearsal for "If This Ain't It" on Friday, and I could not be more excited. I am hoping this show will be just the bolt of inspiration I need to give myself the professional and personal motivation I have been lacking the past few weeks and will keep me busy during the upcoming holiday season. So many times where I am and where I want to go seem separated by such an immense distance, I don't even know where to start. Or worse, any action on my part seems futile. Seems silly. As usual, I am anxious to move on to the next thing in my life, the next project, the next job, the next holiday, instead of staying in the moment, savoring and exploring, living the day out to its fullest. So, while today has been a rather uneventful day (I did manage to do a huge load of laundry today), perhaps tomorrow will hold something brighter, or at least see a little more motion from yours truly. Work is so important for me. It anchors; structures my week. It gives me deadlines and discipline and gets me out of the house every morning (or afternoon at 3:30). I constantly find myself getting jealous of the city's many 9to5'ers, craving there schedule, their weekends, their professional attire, and supposed higher wages (not to mention health insurance and other benefits!). But for now, this is where I am, becoming somewhat of a night owl believe it or not, with a lot of free time to rest and wonder and dream.

Monday, November 9, 2009


his Friday, I had the special opportunity to see the new film Precious. Based on the novel Pushby Sapphire, the movie was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. As a privileged New Yorker, I was one of the first people in American to see film, attending the viewing on the first night of its selected city opening. The film tells the story of a teenage girl, Precious, who lives in Harlem during the late 1980's. Throughout the film, she struggles with obesity, teen pregnancy, abuse, and a myriad of other issues that occur during her life (I don't want to give any of the plot away). She is akin to The Color Purple's Miss Celie, a tragic character nearly destroyed by the wicked world around her, rather than her own choices. Like the Celie, we see Precious learn to finally love herself and embrace an inner strength of steel that leads her away from her mother's smoke-filled apartment. Her witch of a welfare mother is played by comedian Mo'Nique. The entire experience was quite grand. I saw the film with a few friends at the AMC movie plaza (home to at least 25 screens) in Times Square to a soldout house. It was one of the most exciting events I have ever attended in a theater, be it screen or stage. The full audience was entirely locked into the movie, cheering for Precious, laughing, crying, and oftentimes verbally responding to the movie. By the time the end credits commenced, I was glued to my seat, stuck in thought, rather than anxiously ready to exit the theater, glad I had endured 2 hours in my seat, asking where everyone would like to go for drinks. The film stands alongside my Broadway experiences seeing Wicked and August: Osage County or the SITI Company's recent Humana offering Under Construction as one of the most spellbounding and amazing theatrical events I have witnessed. The movie kept me guessing, completely locked into the moment, not looking ahead or guessing what's next. Instead of daydreaming or thinking about what i had to do the next day, the film in front of my eyes had my complete and total attention.

I cannot give enough praise to the acting in this film. I was blown away by the breakout talent of the young lady playing the title character and floored by the wicked, destructive, and oftentimes very funny character Mo'Nique, someone I never considered as a major acting talent, created on the camera. Like August, she shares lineage with that play's destructive mother, the pill popping Violet (both with ever present cigarette), as well as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf's Martha and Long Days Journey into Night's morphine addicted Mary. Deceptive, manipulative, fast talking, seeing and knowing all, she sits in her chair each day, blazing through copious smokes, watching TV game shows, and ruling her daughter's life, a royal welfare Queen. Though her performance is both horrifying and entrancing throughout the entire film, it is her final scene that in the social worker's office that sends chills down the spine and calls for ovation and ah. She is a vision of Realistic acting, the art we so desperately strived for in college, she plays the scene moment to moment, working her triggers, the images of what she is talking about coming alive in her eyes - she had it all. The movie masters the art of capturing the beauty in the ugliest of things, the delicate balance of tragedy and comedy, and a real reciprocity in telling the truth, rather than sugar-coating or playing the film at a biased angle. Admittedly, I have not seen many other movies this season, I hope this film stands among the winners and nominees when awards season commences this winter. Told through an Afriecan-American motif, this is an American story. While the aforementioned Color Purplewas shut out at the Oscars, I hope Precious brings home some metal come February. Rather than playing a Mammy (Gone with the Wind), a comedic sidekick (Ghost), or a famous singer(Lady Sings the Blues, Ray, Dreamgirls), this is an authentically African-American story told through the clearest lens, presenting the truth, without pretense or comment. When this film comes to your city, I hope you will check it out (and tell me what you think!); it is certainly worth seeing and eye-opening.

In other news from the city, things at Locale have been going out, becoming more and more a routine rather than an experience (it is work after all). The cigarette urn caught on fire last night, and it was quite comical to watch Stefano and the bus boy put out the potential fire. I have been doing an OK job of avoiding McDonald's, finding the Subway (the one with the sandwiches, not the rats) and eating at home. Though I did demolish a pint of ice cream last night . . . though that's at least dairy right? I think it may have even had less calories than a Value Meal. So it was the healthy choice, no? I attended the Afterparty again this Friday, which was very fun and found me drunkenly eating a hotdog in Times Square before dozing off on the train home. All in all, a good and busy weekend. This week sees me working a little bit,getting my life and apartment in order in anticipation of my mother's NYC arrival this Saturday. Time to finally scour that filthy bathroom. At least it's sunny out today!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Addiction: A Prisoner in a Golden Fortress

I have an addiction. No, it's not drugs or porn or cutting or smoking. It's combo meals. It's hot, salty french fries. It's the fizziest Diet Coke imaginable. It's McDonad's. I am powerless against its Golden charms. Resist I may, but I'm lovin' it. Every time I walk by one of those red and yellow burger palaces, I am drawn in, be it grey rainy day or late night munchies. My locations of choice tend to be the Times Square/49th St location right near the subway (I'm defenseless!) and the 31st location right by the Broadway stop here in Astoria. I feel like Rapunzel in her tower, trapped in an impenetrable tower, though hers was the case of dark leafy greens, nature's bounty, and I am addicted to grilled and fried products meant to make you "happy." While my usual defenses can last a few days; walking different routes, cursing its corporate wickedness, going to the gym, trail mix on the run, and cooking at home; I am ultimately drawn back to the Golden Arches like a moth to the flame. Circle and dodge as I may, even I cannot resist its magnetic pull and soon enough, I am alone and defenseless at its grips. I rarely indulge in McDonald's (it sickens me to the say the name) in the company of others. Perhaps I am ashamed. Perhaps it fills the void left by my lack of friends (must these paper napkins dry my tears?). What is it about these golden french fries and marginally flavorful beef and chicken products, which put me into an immediate comatose upon ingesting?Since childhood, McDonald's has been viewed as a treat. Now that I am an adult and have a sizeable income in comparison to my younger years, I can "treat" myself whenever I like. What's the treat in overpriced (thank you New York) over processed nutrient lacking food ranging from blondest brown to the most amber yellow? I don't even get a toy when; I abandoned the Happy Meal years ago in my lust for more food. Amazingly, I am always sad when I have finished, like my friend has gone home. At times, I am tempted to get seconds! Maybe I really did need that Filet of Fish as well . . . No! Perhaps as an American this chemical addiction is implanted in my brain from birth, as if there were trace elements of the Declaration hidden in amongst the calories and saturated fat. When we were kids, we would trick (yes, deceive!) my sister by telling her everything we ate was McDonald's. Meatloaf? Fried chicken? Hamburgers from a myriad of restaurants were all "McDonald's." It even became code for a general lie. "Jessica, the dentist is fun!" my mother and aunt would say. Brow furrowed, they would yell "McDonald's!" to me, as not to ruin their game. Oh the deception! While they may parade that disturbing clown Ronald as their mascot, I believe the Hamburgler would make a more fitting spokesman, for all McDonald's does is commit crimes! In the case of my family, it even encourages them! With over 99 billion served, we wonder how the world got itself into such a state! This madness must stop! Given years of consumption, my ongoing McDonald's addiction will leave me looking a lot more like Ursual than Prince Eric. Now that I am in New York, my guilty pleasure is far more complex and troubling than ever before. For some reason, knowing you are ingesting 1000 calories (half the daily recommended amount?) takes the fun out of that white paper bag filled with goodies. Depressed, alone and unloved, I flock to McDonald's for comfort, only to be reminded by the best itself that I will never be pretty enough to live in Chelsea unless I rebuke the Devil and run now! As if a mere mortal like me could that. What kind of mental manipulation must I endure in order to reset this innate hard wiring, to convince myself that indeed spinach and yogurt and green tea and daily hourslong trips to the gym are really what I'm craving. "Kale, I'm lovin't it." The phrase just doesn't have the same ring. Of course, I could always switch to one of the 'lite' options, try a salad or apple dippers . . . as if that's why I came to the golden enclave. How shall I escape this predicament? this addiction? this sin? Like Paul, will this addiction forever by my thorn in the side? Alas, we must endure, we must resist, we must move on. We must get more chicken nuggets. Oh no. This is not going well. I'm famished.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Besides the usual ghoulish festivities, this past weekend marked my 23rd birthday. It was not an especially special day; there were no fireworks, no surprises, no all-night bar crawls or fancy packages. For the most part I did not do much on my birthday. I lounged until midday, staving off my laundry until today, then met a friend for lunch and drinks. Afterwards, I returned home and immediately returned to bed - apparently my Asian lunchbox was not agreeing with me in the least. The next day, Halloween, was spent entirely at Locale, in my usual macabre inspired outfit of all-black. Again, I went straight home, went to bed, and arose the next for another edition of Sunday brunch Locale style, my apron just clean enough to squeak through one more shift. After an especially busy shift that found us all snapping at each other, I escaped Locale's clutches for a brief recess to visit my favorite IU professor Nancy Lipschultz. In town for a voice conference, we met up at a tiny Thai place on 10th Ave to dine on pad thai and enjoy each other's company as well as her two friends Mike and David. It was so, so nice to see her and go back to theatre world instead of restaurant world, reminding myself why I came here and receiving some encouragement from my superiors (I wouldn't dare write elders). They all congratulated me on my upcoming gig at Theatre for the New City, saying it was a well-renowned venue in the theatre community. Despite not the best birthday on the books and an abundance of plate carrying days, I am feeling more and more I am where I need to be. I am living in New York. I have a job that I somewhat like and at times rather good at. I am in a show that I know near-nothing about, playing a part supposedly written just for me. It is a time to save and slave and keep my eyes and ears open to what Fortune and Chance may throw my way. My goal is to get through the upcoming holiday season and emerge in 2010 with fresh head shots and my eyes on booking paying work for the summer/spring, still somewhat financially and mentally stable. As the leaves turn color and gather in the streets, my mind is continually drawn to the changes in the seasons and the seasonality of our lives, both in our external world and in our bodies and minds. My own season seems to be shifting, from a period of newness and exploring, to one of routine and work and carving out my New York existence. Now is not the time for the bright lights of Time Square or the flashiness of fancy restaurants, but rather the simple, cheap places to eat, shop, and do laundry and the comfortable drabness of Queens. My mind keeps returning to my summer reading list, particularly French Women for All Seasons, the sequel to French Women Don't Get Fat. In it, she speaks of taking full advantage of the current season, taking in the brisk winter days and enjoying hearty stews, red meat and wine, and root vegetables, instead of longing for summer sunshine and ripe tomatoes. So, I am going to ride out this winter, learning and gather, hoping to re-emerge in the spring fresh and at the top of my game - and hopefully having pushed myself to go the gym. Things at Locale seem to have calmed down, and I am "in" for the moment (I even had to wait on Stefano's wife this past weekend). So, maybe 23 is not necessarily an exciting year, but rather one working towards something else, planting seeds to be reaped later. Perhaps it will be 24, the hours in the day, or 25, a perfect quarter. For now, it's to the grind, taking in what I can and storing up my luck for my next big chance.