Friday, September 30, 2005

New York Minute

I have more to say about my time in New York, but I quickly wanted to post a picture of this really cool mural that I saw down in the East Village, because I just love the Clash so much.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Short entry, shamlessly stolen from Gene Weingarten's WP chat from Tuesday, September 27. Cats in Sinks.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bizarre Lunchtime occurence

So I went to lunch today at the newish pub across the street from my office called Elephant and Castle. Call it a foolish nostalgia for the pubs of my college days during my semester in London. Foolish, being the key word, since I found it to be just average in terms of the food and worse in terms of the service.

But to the occurrence. So I was sitting at the bar, and my lunch had just arrived (buffalo chicken wrap with a side salad, which, for some reason, had asian dressing). I had my book open (P.D. James for those keeping score, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman) and was reading. All of a sudden there was this tremendous crash from the end of the bar. I looked over in time to see the guy at the end flip backwards off his stool, hit the wall, and then the floor. About three of the staff ran over there, along with three or four customers, one of whom who seemed to have some medical background.

This raises one of these bizarre ethical questions. What do you do in this case? There were people caring for him who actually knew what to do. I could bring nothing to the situation. Going over would have been gawking at someone who probably didn't need to be gawked at. So I rather guiltily finished my meal, asked the bartender if the guy was going to be okay (and was told that he was concious and seemed like he would be fine), paid my bill and left. I mean, what could I do? It's interesting, because it actually very much made me think about what I could/should do in this situation. In this case, there were plenty of people to help. The employees rallied fast and efficiently. There was someone with some sort of medical training there. I would have been in the way. Am I justifying? Or being practical? Not sure yet.

Of course, this week Achewood had a story arc with very similar theme. Though I'd like to think that I wouldn't actually desert a dying man...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Argh, Mateys!

Hee. It's Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Cease drip

Well, the mystery has been solved. My upstairs neighbors, thank goodness, came back from a week's vacation late last night. I heard them upstairs, so I headed up and knocked on the door. So we chatted about what we though it might be, and agreed that there was nothing we could do about, so we might as well go to bed and we'd deal with it in the morning.

So this morning I woke up and the dripping had stopped, which was nice. Turns out they turned off their air conditioning, because they thought that's where it was coming from. They called their airconditioning company, the guy came and pinpointed a clogged drain, so it was seeping out onto the floor. So they've gotten that fixed, the water is no longer dripping out of my ceiling, and all is well, I'm going to give it a couple of days to dry out and then assess the damage. I think it'll pretty minimal, I don't think I'll have to be ripping out dry wall or anything.

All's well that ends well, right?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Drip, drip, drip

You know the worst thing you can hear as a homeowner? Yep. Drip. Drip. Drip. Apparantly, I have bad water karma. About four weeks ago, I woke up for work, and I heard this dripping noise, and was like, "Is it raining?" No. Because, normally? It doesn't rain inside the closet where your hot water heater is contained. But then I could see the leak, where it was coming from, and I figured out pretty fast that it was my pressure release valve. And this was something, while annoying, and initially panic inducing, I could take care of.

But tonight? I came home and was checking something on my phone, and suddenly I felt/heard this drop of water. In my bedroom. Coming from the ceiling, where no water should be coming from. I looked up, and saw a drop of water form on my sophet, pool up, and the drop down. On my antique cherry desk, which my parents refinished and gave to me for my birthday when I turned twelve. This is not a minor thing. So, I sort of panicked, as this was really beyond me. The PRV? Call a plumber. It's in my unit. I own it. This is something I need to take care of.

But dripping from above? Where I don't have a water line? Yeah, this is something from my neighbors upstairs. So I went upstairs. And my neighbors? Seem to be gone. For...who knows how long. A week? Two weeks? A month? Who even knows when they went away? But...yeah, I'm pretty sure my water is originating there.

And yes. I panicked, pretty hard. I'm not sure what to do. It's my problem, but...also not. I mean, it's coming into my house, but it's not my water line. So I called my brother, and no one was there. And then I called my sister-in-law's phone, and she didn't pick up. And then called my dad (who promised, cross my heart, honest injun, that he would have his phone on this weekend while he and my mom are in Rochester). Yeah, no one is picking up their phone. My dad's phone isn't even ON (we'll address the topic of "My Dad, the Phone Liar" in a later entry). And I'm supposed to be meeting people for a movie at the Cinema and Drafthouse. So I had to get in touch with my friends and be like, well, I have this problem. They were awesome, and totally threw over the plan to drink cheap beer and watch Batman Begins at the Cimena and instead come to my house and drink cheap wine and watch This is Spinal Tap.

My sister-in-law called me back and managed to mitigate the panic (which, of course, took the form of crying. I'm such a girl), and advised me to punch a hole in the sophet, put a bucket under it, and chill, because I can't do jack shit about it until my neighbors, source of the leak, come back. Then I called my management company, and my property manager, who was working late, basically said, you can't do jack shit until they get back, and you did the right thing by punching a hole in the sophet and putting a bucket under it, so chill. We'll deal with it.

Sigh. Being a homeowner, as much as I usually don't mind it, sometimes sucks like a bitch.

On the other hand, I drank some red wine and watched me some Spinal Tap, and effectively got my mind taken off of it. But still. Not what you want to come home to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


So I saw Othello on Sunday night. Starring Avery Brooks and Patrick Page. It's a gorgeous production. Really spare and traditionally costumed, but very simple. They really decided to allow the story and the words take center stage. I know this play better than I thought I did, as I realized that I've seen it four times. I've never seen my favorite play, Hamlet, ever produced live once. Which...I find sort of fascinating. I think people think it's overproduced or overdone, and everyone knows it. Anyway, Othello has a lot going for it. It's a pretty compact story, for one thing. I mean, if you really look at it, it's about six people, and how five of them allow the sixth one to completely play them. It has two great characters who present a huge challenge. Othello has to be self confident enough to command respect, but with a tinge of wariness, of knowing that he is tolerated, not seen as an equal. Iago has to hide his malelovence, his anger, his sense of injustice and being wronged and put on the apprearance of loyalty and friendship. I think they're both terrifically difficult to pull off. The first two times I saw it, separated by ten years (the first time at the Stratford Festival in Canada, the second a reverse race production at the Shakespeare Theatre where I saw it on Sunday) were earnest but flawed productions. The first crippled by a poor Othello, the second by a wooden Iago. In both, I was baffled by the trust everyone placed in Iago. He didn't come off as trustworthy in either of these productions. He came off as sneaky and oily and someone I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw him. As a result, I thought the play was terribly flawed.

And then about three years ago I saw a production at the Folger Library, and it transformed my perception of the play. Iago! The reason everyone liked him was because...he's likeable! He's everyone's friend, he invites confidences, confides in his turn. He's got something for everybody, an answer, a helping hand, a plan. None of them realize that he's sitting in the middle, orchestrating their every move. His wife craves his attention and approval, Cassio needs his connection to Desdamona, Othello trusts his consul, Rodrigo pays to get Desdamona for himself. Only Desdamona doesn't need him for the continuation of her future. In fact, he is the impediment to her future. It's a delicate balance, to maintain all those different plots. In addition, it was an inventive production. A revelation, in fact.

Patrick Page managed to continue this trend of playing Iago well. Other aspects of the production were uneven, to me. Avery Brooks was the central weak point, as he didn't seem to really connect with the emotional core of the character. I felt there was a lot of bombast and play acting, but not a lot of truth, in the portrayal. He didn't really connect with Desdamona, either. I never really bought the love affair, it was...too cutsey. There didn't seem to be a deeper emotional bond between Othello and Desdamona. But Page. Wow. He was really wonderful. He was so easy with everyone, always ready with the right word, a handy drink, a word of concern. He was so smooth, drawing everyone in, taking pleasure at every downturn of their fortunes. In the end, you never really know what motivates him. Even once he gets what you think he's after, he's not done. In some cases, I think that Iago was truly shocked at what happened. Not displeased, but astonished that it worked as well as he thought it would, maybe even better. At the end, when he sees the final tableau of what he's wrought, Page looked fascinated and satisfied, as if saying, "Job well done," to himself.

Another aspect of the play that fascinates me is the relationship between Iago and Emilia. He keeps her off blalance, and she is constantly vying for his attention, and he knows that if he withholds it, she's likely to continue trying to please him. I've always wondered at Emilia's seeming complicity in Iago's plan, but seeing her played this way, I understood more her desire for affection for her husband. I which she'd been more pained by seeing Othello and Desdamona's relationship, since it seems to be everything she wants and doesn't have.

I guess that's why it's a classic. Every time I see it I get something else from it, and my understanding of it deepens. And as i get older, I have a greater appreciation for Shakespeare's art, for his ability to see the nature of people.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Oh Thank God

The Scientologists are ministering to the hurrican survivors. From Radar Magazine. I know I'll sleep easier tonight.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

And then there's this

“And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them,” from our lovely former first bitch, Barbara Bush.

And then this lovely quote, (thanks Wonkette):
Barbara Bush may think the poor black diaspora from New Orleans will "be doing very well," but at least one member of the city's white power elite says the city will be doing very well without all those unpleasantly needy folk returning to a rebuilt Crescent City. Behold one Jimmy Reiss, head of the New Orleans Business Coulnel, speaking from within the subscription-only gated community of the WSJ online:

The new city must be something very different, Mr. Reiss says, with better services and fewer poor people. "Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically," he says. "I'm not just speaking for myself here. The way we've been living is not going to happen again, or we're out."

So really, it would seem that the whole thing was really a win-win situation for everyone. The underprivileged will magically be doing so much better in Houston rebuilding their lives, and the elite can continue to cower in their gated communities grateful that at last, they have a moat.

And, finally, courtesy of the Princess:
What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Daily Dose

So I've had my daily dose of Katrina coverage, since the tvs at the gym are pretty much permanatly tuned to CNN (unless they're on Fox, in which case...well, I think we all know how I react to Fox News). And what I'm seeing is a lot of mad spinning by this administration, rather than, I don't know, any actual compassion for the victims who seem to be out of a home, and anger at the obvious failures in our emergency response system. However, what I saw today was Tom DeLay giving a totally bogus explanation that the emergency response system works from the bottom up, so it was the responsiblity of the local authorities to ask for help from the state, and the state ask for help from the feds. So, does this mean that I am to assume that the feds just don't pay attention to weather reports and the news until the governor of a state picks up a phone and calls and formally requests assistance? How does that conversation go? "Hello, Mr. President. I don't know if you're paying attention to the news right now, but we seem to be flooded out, and are sort of desperate for someone to coordinate relief efforts, and to actually get some relief. Oh, you haven't seen it? I see. Well, we do seem to have people sort of starving to death here. Three or four days you think? Okay. Great." Like, do they think that the state is going to turn down the federal aid? "No, no, thanks Mr. President, but we don't think we need it. Yes, we are under fifteen feet of water, but we're a very proud people, and prefer to do this with our meager state resources." I mean, come on.

I'm pretty angry at the administration, but really, Miss Alli said it best over at This is Not Over on September 6.

Monday, September 05, 2005


I have to register my opposition to the statement VH1 is making right now that Showgirls is a "movie that rocks.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Big Surprise

I have an admission to make, one that may shock you. I...I hate Bill O'Reilly.

Okay, I know you weren't really shocked at that, but my hatred for the man really came into full bloom tonight. My gym is very small, and we all have to watch a common television in the cardio room. Some jackass has been choosing Fox News lately. I can usually ignore it, but with the aftermath of Katrina, and all the chaos in New Orleans, the visuals have been very commanding, and the situation changes so fast that I have been tending to pay attention to the news instead of burying my head in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly. But tonight I was exposed to giant braying head that is Bill O'Reilly. I really feel like the job of the media is to report on what is going on down there. I mean, it's all still unfolding, and it seems a little early to start throwing blame around and to politicize it. Yet, that is exactly what Bill O'Reilly was doing in the fifteen minutes I was able stomach before debarking from my ellipitcal trainer and changing the channel (anything anything anything, I muttered to myself. I will watch virtually anything so long as it isn't this jackass.). I could not believe the crap he was spewing as he positioned himself to lay blame on the Democratic governer of Lousiana for...I'm not sure what he expected...for not stopping nature from taking it's course? For not being able to personally control the actions of a dozen different agencies? O'Reilly sanctimoniously sat there talking to the reporter in the field (because, you know, God forbid he emulate someone like Anderson Cooper and actually go down there) asking stupid questions like, "Why didn't they declare martial law and just shoot looters on sight?" The reporter, sort of weakly, tried to explain that martial law is declared through Congress, and O'Reilly totally brushed that off. It's like he didn't get that a lot of these people were looting things like...water. And food. And baby formula. You know, stuff that's essential to continue living. Which, I guess, Mr. O'Reilly doesn't think they should because...I don't know? They're poor and weren't able to get out before the storm hit? I'm not endorsing stealing, but if your choices are A. take the bottle of water from the store or b. die, I'm pretty sure I know what my choice would be. (There was a really interesting article on looting and what it means and the roots of looting.) I'm not saying that I'd be stealing flat screen TVs and crap like that, but food and water? Hell yeah.

And instead of offering thoughtful commentary, or just reporting what was happening, he sat there judging the choices made by the law enforcement officers and the rescue teams that instead of gathering up dead bodies, that they try to rescue the living and get them out, and then maybe go and pick up the dead. Yes, the bodies have to be picked up and identified and given proper respect. But shouldn't the first efforts focus on saving the living first? Am I crazy, that this should be the first priority?

So my dislike of Bill O'Reilly, which sort of hovered around at a back-of-my-mind-six has now risen to a front-of-my-mind-eleven. Because, really. How dare he sit there and judge the actions of the people on the ground, who are ill-prepared for this sort of disaster. Our forces are stretched thin (you know, that little action you are all so gung-ho about O'Reilly? Gee, it really sucks the man power out of the country, doesn't it?), and, let's face it. This is unprecedented. I think no matter how well prepared you think you are, there's no way you can be sure. No one knew the levees would break (I mean, they certainly worried about it, but there's not anything that could have been done about it. It just really really bothers me that this whole thing is already being spun, and the actual real human tragedy that is unfolding is being cheapened by people grasping for a political advantage.

Katrina Relief Resources