Friday, February 24, 2006

I Wish I Knew How To Quit This

Lego Brokeback Mountain. Definitely more awesome than Sanrio characters.

The Meaning of Life

Just a warning that I'm working on a rather lengthy and semi-serious entry coming up. I hope y'all will take time to read it and comment. Meanwhile, you'll have to make due with this.

Poor Wee Beastie

OK, not so wee, but it is kind of sad - especially since I can empathize with this guy so much. The weird thing is, this cat, markings and all, looks almost exactly like my ex-roommate's cat. Ex-roomie Cat started out a little feller, but sometime after getting fixed he grew and GREW. Not quite that big, but he is pretty huge, himself. And he really doesn't eat that much - he's been on a restricted diet for years!

I wonder if there's some kind of genetic connection between the cats' general looks and their weight disorders? I also wonder if there's some hormonal disorder related to my other health issues that has caused my weight problems, although I'm still working on that one. But most of all, I wonder if I'm a terrible person for laughing at this kitty. Because: Squishy-Fatty-Angry-Kitty-Boo-Boo!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I don't know what it is, but what with the popularization of "man with a pussy" porn star Buck Angel (warning: his blog is NSFW - if less so than his other sites) and the transitoning, pan-sexual character Moira on The L Word, I just can't stop saying the word "mangina." I am seriously analysing my reactions to this phenomenon and how it reflects my perceptions of gender and the impact of traditionalist morés vs. queer liberation, but in the meantime, I just like using the word as an exclamation or random entry into otherwise unobtrusive sentences. Just try it:

Mangina, mangina, mangina!

Honey, would you please pass the mangina?

It's fun for the whole family!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We'll Throw in Our Airports at Half Price

Unbelievable. What else can I say about the Bush administration's latest debacle with the ports? As Kos succinctly put it,
We bomb Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11, yet we hand UAE the keys to our ports.
Plus, more bonus points for the Battlestar Galactica reference. More here.

Update: I've since read an excellent and enlightening piece on this situation by Soj at DailyKos (and most of the attending comments, before I pooped out). It seems to be a volatile subject. Now that I understand the situation better I am less incredulous at the administration's position. I'm willing to admit I was misinformed. I'm still okay with the Dems (and some Repubs) attacking the deal, even if it is not certain that it would cause any security threat, just because it does seem ridiculous on the face of it that Bush advocated attacking Iraq on the pretense of lessening terrorism (which did nothing of the sort, as Iraq was little threat on that front but is now becoming a larger training ground and focal point for just such activity) and yet continually conducts major business deals like this with companies that are essentially puppets of the families that rule Dubai and the UAE. The Bushies' logic is generally so... well, I was going to say twisted, but it's more like...not. logic. So, why not have everybody jump all over it and obfuscate and call them stupid on what is clearly a trigger issue even if they do make a wee bit of sense in this case? It's just a wee bit, mind you. Certainly not enough to outweigh everything else.

Now, another main reason I was agin' the whole deal wasn't specifically related to U.S. security, but human rights. Let's face it, the majority of countries run by oligarchs, especially single families, tend to be breeding grounds for human rights violations and slave labour. In addition, I admit that I have a healthy skepticism about Islam-based governments when it comes to religious tolerance and women's rights. Now I find out that Dubai, in particular, is supposed to have one of the best records on these issues of any place in the middle east. So, does that make working with them okay? And, does it follow that anyone who feels uncomfortable with this deal, including me, is being xenophobic and racist, like the administration is implying in their recent counter-attacks?

Could be. I am willing to be educated. But I'm kind of with Kathy Griffin on this one. I have impulses to be "PC" and respectful of other people's cultural traditions, but I have to draw the line at treating women - not to mention gay people - like second-class citizens. And yes, I am even for banning governmental business deals with any other kind of discriminatory group - like, say, fundamentalist evangelical Christians. So, I'm an equal-opportunity discriminator. I discriminate against the kind of people who discriminate against, well, me. And if it's prejudiced to feel skeptical that a government run by Muslim sheiks would be 100% on the up-and-up on equality for women, gay people, non-Muslims and foreigners on their soil, I'm guilty.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all pans out. I do hope it doesn't devolve into pure xenophobic rhetoric but, if that's what it takes to counter Bush's overarching bullshit, then, I don't know. Let 'er rip.

Confessions of a South Sloper

Good Lord, I haven't been to the North end of 7th Ave in a dog's age and it sure has changed. Not along the lines of the East Village, where I still can't get over the transformation from homeless/pushers' shantytown to playground of the privileged in Tompkins Square Park, but it's way more gentrified than even when I lived there, maybe 8 years ago. And what the hell are they doing to the school down there near 2nd? I've gotta get out more often.

This isn't to say I haven't seen my share of butt-ugly construction in my neck of the woods, even if I rarely venture off of 5th Ave. From my digs in what we tartly call "SoSoSlope" or "Sunset Slope" (although it's really on the border between the South Slope and Greenwood Heights, depending on whether you're an old-timer resident or a real estate developer) on down to Atlantic one set of new condos pops up after another, each looking like the wet dream of a New Jersey mall architect circa 1980-something (expanses of green glass highlighting... the concrete staircases? Why?). Lots of blocky, tall structures with heavy-handed geometric sections in brick, teal and weird pinkish-beiges attempting to look "modernist" but coming up "cheap" or "community college dormitory" are beginning to block out the skyline. And who the hell wants to live there, I might ask? Not that I love pulling square nails dating to the dawn of the industrial age out of my feet every time I cross my apartment or worrying that all those old gas light fixtures might not be fully sealed, but from what I gather, people are paying upwards of $2,000 per month for a one bedroom in these places. I mean, I love my neighborhood, but even if I could afford it? Not ever. No. I don't get it.

I suppose I should never tempt fate, lest my landlords renovate us into the market rate (not bloody likely), and I don't claim to be a born-and-bred denizen who can complain about gentrification too much. But I can complain a little bit. I like old buildings. I like the feel of a brownstone neighborhood. I especially like being able to see the Manhattan skyline from my rear window, even if I'll always remember watching the towers fall from there and regularly inhale emissions from the expressway in my back yard. And I can't afford it if the prices keep climbing. As it is, I just moved to the Slope in the mid-90s, when things were just getting rolling before the big boom, and you saw more queer artist types sprucing up the place before the hipster/stroller-pusher set ran amok. I know that, technically speaking, I was a part of gentrification, or at least on the edge of it. And, naturally, I do benefit from it in having interesting new restaurants to go to now and then, relative safety and so on. But I'm tired of construction cranes and Starbucks, and it seems harder and harder to get away from them nowadays, without moving smack out of the city altogether. Is that the next step?

What's That On Your Head?

No, not a wig, but I'm sure you were all just on tenterhooks waiting to find out how my haircut came out. Well, the verdict is: fabulous. Upon finding very high ratings for Medusa on 7th Ave, I decided to try it out. The place is cute if a bit small and grubby. My stylist was called Kelly and I felt as though I could trust her once 1.) I saw she had quite short hair herself and 2.) it came up in the conversation that we had both been at the Duran Duran concert in Worcester, MA in 1984. Little things mean a lot.

Anyway, she was nice and did exactly what I asked her to do, to the letter. She quickly figured out what my hair could do and texturized it correctly. The price was reasonable - $52, not including tip and a product I bought. Oh, and the woman who washed my hair did a nice, long massage version with a wonderfully coconutty-smelling shampoo and conditioner, so that was a real plus.

Being the loyal tenderhearted soul that I am, I can't help but feel guilty that I "cheated" on my hairdresser of so many years. But sometimes you need to shake things up - and it was kind of nice getting this service from someone who doesn't know all of my business dating back to way back when.

At any rate, mission accomplished. No highlights, yet, but I'm thinking about it. Oh, and if you're looking for a place in Park Slope to get your hair done, check Medusa out. Even my exacting standards were met, and that's no small feat.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Hairy Business

I have been going to the same hairstylist for about 16 years. For some reason, like many other kids, my adolescent mind seized upon my hair as a major route for self-expression starting in junior high. I've had it almost every colour, but since I got to New York it's almost always been fairly short. Anything from a crew cut to a short bob was fair game, but generally it's been quite cropped, most often what they used to call "spiky" but now call "texturized". I guess when I think something fits me I stick with it, even if it means boring my haircutter after years of the same shtick (minus the early experiments with colours and perms).

Well, lately I think Miss Gina has been too bored. She is still a great stylist - she now even owns her own salon. But in the whirl of her business I think my coming in every couple month for "the usual" has led her to sleepwalk through it a bit, and I haven't been thrilled with a cut for a while.

Granted, it could all be a problem of self-perception. The personal difficulties of the last couple years, along with the weight gain, have made me loathe to look in the mirror much of the time. My hair has much reflected this. I've let it grow out into odd feathers or what I call "the Han Solo look" several times, and I listened to people who told me they liked it longer and softer. But, now that I'm starting to emerge from my funk a bit, I've decided I don't like it. So what do I do?

Why, I go to a new salon, of course. Normally, this would be a terrifying proposition for me. As much as the average person grows attached to the one hairdresser who understands what they want, I get twenty times more superglued. My obsession with getting each lock just right is legend - enough so that a friend even filmed me for her documentary on how people's self perceptions are connected to their 'dos (I got left on the editing room floor for not being dramatic enough, but maybe that's because by the tail end of the shooting I'd begun to slip into not caring so much about tonsorial perfection). But now that I'm making some changes in my life and taking some big risks - like quitting my job - I figured I might as well shake things up in other areas. So, I made an appointment at a new salon for tonight.

There's just one thing. I haven't become that devil-may care. I still want a haircut that suits me, something a little puckish, à la the Calvinesque side of my personality, without voyaging into the realm of unemployable. So, I decided to bring some pictures of how I want it to look. The problem? I can't find any.

Look, all I want is a semi-standard dyke/fag short haircut. Short on the sides and back without being a fade, a little textured on top without being architectural, a little rock and roll without being Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Is that too much to ask? But apparently, although I see variations on this haircut frequently in the city, it is never photographed. Perhaps all the little queers I see running around with it are vampires. That would explain them being stuck in a haircut that's really a couple decades old fashion-wise (which is just long enough to make it retro-cool, I suppose), but who am I to say? I want the same thing. Just like I still want those monk-strap Docs I had back then, too. And maybe the fedora.

Anyway, the closest thing I could find was, naturally, a picture of one of the Butchies. Of course. It seems that, however individual I may believe myself to be, I can still be lumped into the old stereotypes. And, truth be told, it's not that far off from the same haircut I've had most of the time since I started going to Gina (minus the experi-perms, and so forth). So, why change stylists at all?

Call it a metaphor. I want to make some changes. But most of all, I want to recognize what I want and have my desires listened to with interest when I express them, even if they're stereotypical.

Knowing me, I'll probably end up back at Gina's, eventually. But at least I'll have tried something new. It isn't exactly skydiving or joining the Peace Corps, but we shake things up in the ways we can. And sometimes risking even very minor disasters can make you feel alive.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lyric of The Day

Tell Slenderella to leave me alone
I'm not that hot, but my shape is my own
That's why the lady is a tramp

Fact of The Day

I hate shoelaces.

They Could Just Pay Us Not To Enlist

According to a new study, the U.S. military has spent at least $363 million over 10 years kicking 10,000 gay soldiers out of the service. And let's not forget that a large number of Arabic translators were booted, so who knows how much has been lost in the way of lives and equipment due to our soldiers being unable to communicate with locals in the middle east. Oh, and the cost of a Kevlar vest? $700 - $1,200. You do the math.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More great blizzard of '06 photos

from flickr. Might as well enjoy 'em, as the snow should be completely gone in a day or two.

Brokeback Mountain Shopping Lists

I am frazzled today, and when I get frazzled I can't concentrate on writing. So I just rip other people's shit off.

(Yes, that is most of the time, thank you.)

This little list comes from Uffish Thoughts, but she got it from a co-worker, so maybe she's frazzled, too. Enjoy.

Weekly Grocery Lists for Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Summer 1962




Coffee (espresso grind)
2 tubes K-Y

Fresh fava beans
Jasmine rice
Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced
Medallions of veal
Porcini mushrooms
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long
5-6 bottles good Chardonnay
1 large bottle Astroglide

Yukon Gold potatoes
Heavy whipping cream
Asparagus (very thin)
Gruyere cheese (well aged)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
6 yards white silk organdy
6 yards pale ivory taffeta
Case of Chardonnay
Large tin Crisco

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Somebody needs to buy me a new digital camera, dammit! I wish I were out in the snow today, sleddin' and takin' pictures, but here I am at work... typing this. Folks from out of town keep asking me what it looks like here after the big blizzard. Snowy. Oh all right, Dope on the Slope has some nice photos of what my neighbourhood looks like here.

Since our old digital camera kicked the bucket I only took a few photos on film, and who knows how long it will take for me to get my ass in gear and develop 'em. I think some may be cute, though. We took our queen bitch cat, Maya, out to see the conditions. She's always trying to sneak out of the house, so we thought we'd show her what she's missing. She looks kind of like a polar bear, anyway, so why not? Wrapped her in a leopard-print throw and took her out. At first she was fascinated, and looked adorable snuggled up in the bright green arms of M's puffy coat (made the colour of her eyes pop nicely, too). Then - smack! - a big wad of wind-driven snow flew off the tree above us and straight into her face. Not so fascinated anymore. Never saw her hightail it up the stairs faster. Poor gal.

Other than torturing not-so-defenseless beasts, the day was dull. We both felt crappy and slept a lot. But the scenery was priceless. More snow, please!

I'm of Two Minds

about... well, everything, lately. Actually, it's more like 73 basquillion minds, but I wouldn't want to make you count all those little 0s (and it just doesn't fit any saying, don'tchaknow). Being back at work today after essentially asking to be laid off by the end of March has left me both oddly exhilarated and semi-panicky. I'm actually leaning a little more towards "Woo!" than "Ack!" for now, though, but we'll see how it goes.

Friends have already sent me two job opportunties: writing for a travel book on Costa Rica and freelance proofreading. I don't know much about either or if they are really possibilities, but one probably comes with a free ticket to Costa Rica, so hells yeah, I'm sending in an inquiry. Maybe if I go there professionally next time I won't get bugs in my head, thrown off a horse, blown off by dolphins, bitten by toucans, threatened by a deadly snake or invaded by trots-inducing stomach critters. Or, even if I do? More party stories + money. Hey, you never know.

So, forgive me if my posts coming up are all coloured by this shiznit. Probably less boring than my usual random links, anyway - at least I hope. Just in case, however, I've got some links for yuz that I've been thinkin' about that do illustrate my confusion, reaction-wise. Like, should I be amused or appalled that Dick Cheney has finally proven that all Americans should be allowed to carry guns? Similarly, should I laugh or be outraged that the NSA is trying to indoctrinate children with lame-ass cartoons? I am definitely outraged that the administration is designing and hoping to test new H-bombs, but should I be relieved that if they're going to do it, at least they're trying to make them less vulnerable to capture or accidental explosion?

Well, just to cheer myself (and you) up, here's an animation I definitely like. But wait - should I feel squicked that the song is by a Christian-music singer? banana bread!
Thanks to Alix for the tips.
Animation by artsyexistence.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My Ass Ate My Thong

I bet you didn't know that, now that I am recovered from my spinal fusion, I am character modeling for computer animations. Oh, yes:

click to play

More here.

Andy Serkis, eat your heart out.

The Blizzard of 2006

WHOOOOOOOO! Hell, yeah, muthafukkaaaahhhhs!!!

Helen Damnation

A hearty welcome to my latest link addition, The Ninth Circle of Helen. This chick's eloquent and very, very funny. Reminds me of the days when I used to stay out late drinking with fabulous gay boys. Now help me back to my gurney...

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Whole New World?

Oh my God. I did it. I finally did it. I gave notice. I'm leaving my job.

This is years overdue. I don't have anything else lined up yet, but I had to take a leap of faith.

I think I have the vapors...

More later, perhaps...

Funny or Lame?

So I've got a couple friends who are 1. gay and 2. fans of the Sanrio characters, and I made this little design for t-shirts for them. (I know, I know - copyright infrigement. It's two gift shirts, not selling racks of 'em.)
Hello Mountain
Let me know what you think. And if you want to use it, please ask.

My Girlfriend Is Psychic

OK, so I thought I was supposed to be the woo-woo one around here. This morning M tells me about this upsetting dream she had where our girl turtle somehow got out of her tank and fell to the ground, injuring her shell. This has never happened to either of the turtles, so I reassured her that it was highly unlikely.

Well, she had to go home early today to wait for the cable guy (who still hasn't shown up, BTW), and when she checked in on the girl turtle, she was fine. Suddenly, M got the inexplicable urge to sweep the office - not something that happens often in our apt. Well, guess what? Our boy turtle had somehow escaped from his tank (he's never done that before) and fallen to the gound! [insert creepy theremin music here]

Fortunately, he is fine, it seems. No cracks in his shell, the cats didn't find him, and he didn't crawl into any dark, hard-to-reach places. He's back in his tank zipping around now. But tell me: how weird is that premonition?

Or did she force him out of his tank with the power of her mind?! [theremin!]

A Shadowy Flight...

...into the dangerous world of a man who... Jesus, I can't believe this exists!

I'm speechless.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Neater Crapola

For ease of use, I've updated my Neat-o Crapola section - aka Links. I've added a few interesting sites and lumped stuff into rough categories. Enjoy.

My recommendation for the day would be The Loom, the science blog by popular science journalist Carl Zimmer. The Loom presents fascinating scientific discoveries while maintaining a journalistic style that is easy to read. So, if you want to learn about dinosaurs' sexual displays, zombie roaches, how changing the kitty litter can alter your personality or just watch a video about leeches, check it out.

Animal News of The Day

Just because I can't resist promoting how we should respect animals as often as possible, here are a couple of tidbits.

Item:Undercover Agent in Fur Snares a Fake Veterinarian Who better to snag an unqualified creep who's performing backdoor surgery on animals than this handsome guy? Cute crime-story treatment in the Times, too.

Item:Rescued Dogs Used to Sniff Out House Mold Cheaper, more effective and way cuter than some guy with plumber's crack, why wouldn't you hire this lovely lady to inspect your house for hazards? And to think she could have been euthanized!

Now go show some critters some love.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

As Long As The Climate Ain't Gay

Well, whaddaya know? According to the NY Times:
Despite opposition from some of their colleagues, 86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."
Well, goody! Although...
The statement calls for federal legislation that would require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through "cost-effective, market-based mechanisms" — a phrase lifted from a Senate resolution last year and one that could appeal to evangelicals, who tend to be pro-business.
Although it's pleasantly surprising to see this large number of evangelicals breaking with their usual ranks and actually doing something Jesus might approve of - that is, trying to save the Earth and help the people and other creatures on it - it's not surprising that they couch it in terms of market-based mechanisms. After all, this group is often "conservative" - not in the old fashioned fiscally practical sense, but by being both socially traditionalist and very capitalism and big business-friendly. It's no secret that many megachurches teach that financial success follows from strong faith (and seemingly, therefore, vice versa). Now, I'm not against using market incentives to promote cleaning up the environment, but then the evangelicals have to go ahead and do something like this:
In their statement, the evangelicals praised companies like BP, Shell, General Electric, Cinergy, Duke Energy and DuPont that it said "have moved ahead of the pace of government action through innovative measures" to reduce emissions
Oh, yeah. I hear that has Jeff Immelt been chaining himself to rainforest trees, lately. (And by the way, I'm so glad to hear coal is sexy again.)

Granted, these companies have have shown some spunk of late with new emissions-reducing programs. But let's not start pretending that a few small concessions and some new marketing campaigns - aptly nicknamed "greenwashing" - negate the continuing damage companies like Shell and "BP inflict on all life on Earth.

The truth is that while market pressure might help motivate big companies to reduce emissions (or at least put out better PR), it's not going to do the whole trick. The demand is just too slow, especially in the US, where people want to pay as little as possible for everything (and with the growing number of extremely poor, have little choice), and megacompanies want to make us much money they can as quickly as they can. Maybe I should be happy that a bunch of traditionally conservative religious "leaders" are finally noticing the environment - any help is good help. And perhaps you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so praising the few things oil companies do right couldn't hurt. But in a political environment where we couldn't get the Climate Stewardship Act passed (even with the addition of a nuke program the second time around), much less Kyoto ratified, forgive me if I don't do much besides raise an eyebrow at this news.

There is some hope here, at least for the tide turning to some kind of cap-and-trade system, if not some more aggressive program. So here's one clap for the 86 environmentalist evangelists. I'll hold applause until I see you caring for the world in more actually Christ-like ways.

Even Newer Guinea, Pt. II

Go ahead - just try and resist my seductive good looks. You make a good hammock, guy. Hello. I am a golden-mantled tree kangaroo. No, not the big guy, the littler one he's holding. See? That's me again on the right.

I'm letting him hold me 'cause I don't have much experience with humans. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen one before. This one seems pretty nice.

I said 'hi'. He also got to meet my rare friend the long-beaked echidna, too. Say hi, Echie.
Heck, the only thing this guy has missed is a sighting of the never before photographed Pip-Squack bird.

This Da Nator person says she'd love to come see us, too. That would be okay with me, but she says that if I get too many human visitors tromping through my habitat I might get near extinctamated like my kind have been in other areas. I wouldn't like that.

Anyway, you can find out more about my home and the other animals in it here. You can find out more about the humans who found me and give them donations here. But if you want to touch my mantle, you'll have to travel a long way. And scratch my itches. But please don't extinctamate me. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Granted, I'm just catching up on the whole F-line Bagel Shop vs. the MTA debacle, but although I the shop owners' current solution is intriguing (despite the MTA being undeserving of the homage), I think I've created a new logo that might make everybody happy:
Needs a schmear

Even Newer Guinea

Hello, Gorgeous Hello. I am a golden-fronted bowerbird. Aren't I sexy? This is the first photographic evidence of my species ever taken in New Guinea. You can find more information and photos on a bunch of new species recently just discovered in New Guinea here. Now don't forget there's always more to discover - and more to preserve - out there on our Earth.

Fact of The Day

The carpet matches the drapes.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Oh My Non-Denominational Higher Being

You have got to read Fafblog's take on the big cartoon scandal. I think I peed myself.

Not only that, but it's "enlightmelicious"!

Poodles and Other Roommates

From a spike in my visit stats I noticed that brownstoner linked to my post on NY living situations. For all those who got here that way, welcome. I promise I will try to be more interesting and thus worth your visit. Heh.

I'm always fascinated by people's NY housing stories. I just spent some time yesterday helping a friend pack who has to move out of her Park Slope apartment due to a break-up. She's decided to get out of the country for a while and will be putting her stuff in storage - a big change from her lifestyle. We've offered her a bed if she needs it, as eventually she plans to come back to the city and will be crashing at friend's places.

Now, this friend is an ex-roommate of my ex-roommate; that's how we met. That is, the friend, whom I'll call X, was rooming with Y. Y moved out and became my roommate, but they stayed friends. I got to know and become pals with X through Y, get it?

So, that brought up a couple of questions for me. One is, just how often and in how many ways do people "crash" at friends' apartments while looking for a place in NYC? I never did it - I went straight from living in the NYU dorms to the first spaces I sublet. I did visit friends before I went to college, but that's it. If I had friends to stay with or look for a place with, I may have avoided some of the seedier arrangements I ended up with, such as staying in hallways and rooms separated by curtains or not at all, or cohabitating with the aforementioned geriatric toy poodle who was always trying to bite me and his aging gay parents who pronounced his name - Pierre, of course - with three syllables in true southern belle fashion. (It sounds faintly fabulous in retrospect, but it was wearisome at the time.) However, it seems to be pretty much the norm to live with friends temporarily amongst people I know who were not raised in the city or wealthy when they moved. I wonder if this is the same everywhere, or, as I imagine, more prominent in areas with decent housing shortages like NYC. Do people in other areas just find apartments almost immediately? They can't all be staying at the Y (although I do have a friend who did that when she moved here, which strikes me as particularly old-school and ballsy).

The other question is, how often do roommate connections branch into a sort of web of friendships? We've all met a roommate's friend that we can't stand, but sometimes we end up sharing buddies. Being something of a reclusive curmudgeon I don't have many extant connections from such circumstances, but I know a lot of folks who do. I'm not going to go all "the chart" on you, but I'm curious.

Any stories out there? Where did you stay when you arrived, and how many friends have you made through cohabitation? Maybe we are connected, and not just though Kevin Bacon.

Portents of...?

My God. The trees at Lincoln Center are budding. And it's early February.

Normally the appearance of new buds is a happy herald of the coming spring. Now it just makes me paranoid about global warming and worried the trees will be thrown even more out of whack as it gets colder again.

Still, seeing the new growth gave me a momentary, instinctive surge of joy. Maybe everything will be alright, in the end.

I feel I am trying to change and begin new growth, as well. I'm afraid and unsure of the outcome. Only time will tell.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I Say Sexy Things To Myself While I'm Dancing

How is it that I am both a Web geek and a cat freak and I'd never yet seen this?

Wide Open Spaces

If you've never lived in NYC (or you're rich), you might not believe this. The Times has an article today on the kind of spaces people rent to sleep in. Some rent mere beds in already occupied rooms, some share rooms in shifts. In this particular article, some students stuffed a mattress into the cutout space above a door and tried to rent it out for $35/month as a living area in Craigslist. The kicker? They got a number of takers.

I'm awfully lucky to be sharing an 1100-ft apartment I got an outstanding deal on with my partner (plus 3 cats and 2 turtles). The truth is, if I wasn't with her, I'd need a roommate, and we could easily sublet out several rooms here if we wanted to do so - provided we engaged in some subterfuge regarding our in-building landlords. But I've never lived alone since I moved to this city seventeen years ago, and some of the places I've stayed in have been not that far off from a mattress in the wall. My first two apartments involved sleeping on a twin-sized foldout chair on the floor in a shared studio with a relative stranger and on a foldout couch one room of a two-room apartment (minus the bathroom, which my middle-aged couple roommates and their angry, ancient toy poodle had to squeeze through my room to get to, while I had to pass through theirs to get to the kitchenette). Ah, the bohemian life.

Let's just hope those days are over for me, although I sometimes wonder. If you don't own your apartment here, you never can tell what might happen. I don't expect a break-up in my relationship, which could cause me housing woes, but any period of unemployment could leave me scrabbling for affordable spaces. It's just something you live with in the city. It's why most middle-class party conversations are about apartments and rent, and everyone has a dream of finally landing their own brownstone, if they don't quit the urban life forever.

As for me, this is just one of the reasons I've stayed in the job that's been killing my soul for the last few years (more on that later). As I contemplate finally leaving it, I do start to have nightmare flashes - could that be me up there on that mattress between rooms?

If that ever happens, you'll be reading this blog as posted from New Jersey. Hey, my mom could use the rent.