Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Colds Last All Summer Long

Two days without contact lenses can feel like an eternity, but when your eyes are so bloodshot it looks like you've been cooking meth without ventilation all weekend... you do what you have to do.

Gradually... I'm getting my shit together again. Picking up the pieces.

This thick, muddy, NYC summer air hasn't helped me feel any better.

I don't know if it's allergies or a bug or probably some combination. But I've had the wind robbed from my sails the past few weeks, it seems.

It's Friday. Friday is meaningless right now except that each Friday brings me closer to a self-imposed deadline. I'm a little behind on the script I'm writing but it ought to be a fast script. A shorter script. And I'm confident I'll be able to bang it out before the buzzer. Whether it'll be good enough... no, it has to be good. There's no option.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Christine Osinski's 1980s Staten Island

"Come play with us, Danny! Come play with us! Forever... and ever..."

Check out Christine Osinski's evocative pics of 1980s Staten Island, if you haven't already.

I don't have the same nostalgia for 1980s Staten Island as I do for 1980s New York City, but it's still a world I identify with. The past always seems simpler, I guess. Especially when you're reflecting on your own childhood.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kidd Video

A random update to this entry I wrote way back in May of 2008.

May 2008... things were so different back then. The tone of this blog was... different... back then. If I knew then what I know now — you know what I mean...? I digress...

The entry was about this girl who played the Shiela-E-esque drummer in this Saturday morning live-action/animated show called KIDD VIDEO in the mid-80s. "Gabriele Bennett." I had such a crush on her. She seemed to disappear from the entertainment industry shortly after her Saturday morning peak.

An update, according to this Kidd Video fansite:

Gabriele is now a teacher, dance instructor, entertainer, and the mother of three sons. For a time she lived in Virginia Beach, VA, and appeared in community theatre productions there. In 2011 she relocated to Germany.

I found a more fleshed out bio:
Gabriela Rozzi-Nelson, aka Gabrielle Bennett, Gabby Nelson, born June 16, 1962 in Los Angeles, CA, is a Native American-Hispanic model, singer, dancer and actress. Gabriela began her career as a dancer in the 1976 musical film Grease, and as beauty queen and model in the late seventies and early eighties, winning titles to include Miss International Beauty and Miss Hollywood in 1981, where she performed in a televised screen test with actor Edward Albert, Jr. She traveled extensively as a USO performer with Bob Hope from 1980-1984, and appeared in a number of music videos, including Micheal Bolton's Soul Provider, and for Miami Sound Machine and The New Christy Minstrels.

During this time, she toured with two celebrity softball teams of models and actresses, The Hollywood Covergirls, and later, the Hollywood Starlets, making appearances for charitable causes before major and minor league baseball games. Gabriele is best remembered as 'Carla', the female drummer, of the NBC Saturday morning hit tv series, Kidd Video who sang and played on the actual soundtracks for the show and in the music videos from 1984 through 1987.

Gabriele went on to make television and film appearances, including Saved By the Bell, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mambo Kings, and numerous commercials. She recorded the soundtracks for the international versions of the Disney films, providing the voices for Pocahontas, Jasmine, Mulan and Ariel. In 1994 Gabriele decided to settle into motherhood full time, and in 1998, she met and married her husband - a Naval Special Warfare sailor. Gabriele’s career as a military wife began and they moved from the West Coast, to Puerto Rico, to Virginia Beach, Virginia, and to Germany where she currently resides. She continued to work in regional theater in Virginia, and with the New English American Theater, Kelley Theatre Center, and Stuttgart Theatre Center in Germany.

Gabriela is currently working on an original project for the Latin performing arts community, a script, entitled, La Costurera/The Seamstress, and working towards a Kidd Video reunion in the near future.
Here's a far more recent video of her performing with former Kidd Video co-star Robbie Rist:

Kinda sweet, actually.

If you really need more, here she is performing a scene from David Lindsay-Abaire's play "Rabbit Hole". Her age is a little more... *apparent* in that video. I don't necessarily recommend clicking on this second video link. Seems like someone's personal scene-study video. Sometimes it's best to just let certain things go quietly.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kenneth Siegel's 1970s NYC

Highly recommend taking a look at Kenneth Siegel's photographs of 1970s New York City, including rare shots of the original cast of SNL.

New York City in the 70s, 80s and even early- to mid-90s is such a different place than the CitiBike-plastered Disney theme park that it's become. I am fascinated by it. I'd love to hop into a DeLorean and spend a long weekend in the NYC of the 1980s. I know I lived in and around the city in the 80s but I was a child, then. It was a city filled with forbidden doors and curtains.

Monday, June 24, 2013

"If Citi Bike were NASA, there'd be a lot of dead astronauts."

Excerpt from Anne Kadet's WSJ article on NYC's new bike-sharing program:
... To get started on Citi Bike, I walked five blocks to the nearest docking station in Brooklyn Heights, fed my debit card to the kiosk, skipped past the fine print and selected a $10, 24-hour access pass.

I should have read the legalese. On my initial foray—a trip out to Ditmas Park to meet my little sister for hummus—I unwittingly violated three of the program's "prohibited acts": I let sis borrow the bike, I talked on the phone while pedaling and, worst of all, I locked the bike to a street pole while we ate.

Turns out, you're only supposed to park at one of the 330 Citi Bike docking stations between downtown Brooklyn and 59th Street in Manhattan. If you fail to dock within a half hour, the overtime fees kick in, and they're mighty steep. My total bill for a three-hour trip: $63. At that rate, I could have rented a Zipcar.
The article is definitely worth a read. They look fun to ride but the pricing system seems designed to bilk you with penalties.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Won Something on the Internet

Nothing important, mind you. Just a weekly Kotaku Photoshop contest. And "winning" doesn't really win you anything besides them pointing out that you've won.

The original picture was just a goofy one of some Nintendo top brass pretending to be human beings.

I then photoshopped Donkey Kong creator Shigeru Miyamoto into a Breaking Bad barrel, for immediate disposal.

This is what they're going to remember me for when I die.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini Has a Posse

James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr.
September 18, 1961 – June 19, 2013

James Gandolfini has a posse.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Who is this Clown??

The above image is taken from Dwele Oye Photography. It doesn't appear that Dwele Oye has any special relationship with this person; just another person on the street. "SexyQuinn" is given as the subject of the photo, but that may mean nothing.

Another image, from another photographer:

From the description in Flickr:
This lady was dancing around running up and down the block, hiding behind a tree, hugging random people and sitting in the floor like she own(ed) the place. It was pretty funny...
Another person who doesn't know the clown personally.

Commenters on reddit suggest it's a clown attending the Electric Daisy Carnival, which seems the most plausible, but that still doesn't get us closer to an ID.

So, internet... who is this fucking clown?

May return to this one...

Monday, June 10, 2013

LG Lucid 2

I didn't get my first cell phone until some time after I graduated from college. I remember having a beeper at my first regular job after graduation. At some point, cell phones became ubiquitous. And they became "smart". And they turned into the most critical possession in the world.

New phones can be an exciting opportunity, except when you've been forced into the buy.

The Droid 4 that I purchased back in October (to replace a glitching Droid 2) was stolen at a concert on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, I trekked down to a Verizon dealer at 11am and considered my options.

Since I'd upgraded so recently, I wasn't eligible for another upgrade. And I had no insurance on my phone. Which meant... I had to pay full price for any phone they had.

That nifty Samsung Galaxy S3 that I'd considered buying back in October but decided against because it would have cost about $300? Now it would cost $750.

I ended up buying the cheapest phone they had. Adding 2 years insurance plus taxes, the total came out to $604. The goddamn phone cost more than the computer I was forced to buy last month.

It's an LG Lucid 2.

I'm still getting used to not having a physical keyboard. So far, it's a very decent phone. Some would argue that it's better than the Droid 4 I had (that was STOLEN!!). But it will always be a bastard phone to me. A reminder of a loss. One day, when I'm in a better place, I'll look forward to replacing it properly.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Stick in the Mud

Saturday night, Guns N' Roses headlined the Governors Ball music festival on Randall's Island.

I'd seen them twice before. Or rather, for the fundamentalists, I'd seen GNR 2.0 twice before. (I got into them too late to see the original lineup.) First time was in 2003 at Madison Square Garden. Second time was in 2005 (I think) at Hammerstein Ballroom. Flaws and all, they're kind of "my" band. But I wasn't going to see them headline the Governors Ball because I just couldn't justify the cost of admission.

Of course, Saturday afternoon — like some kind of deus ex machina — I get access to some free passes to the show.

I'd already reconciled that I wasn't going to see them this time around. Saturday, I'd planned the quietest, most antisocial day for myself. But I couldn't possibly turn down a free ticket to a GNR concert. That would be unconscionable.

The mud was epic on Randall's Island. There had been a torrential rain the previous night which rendered most of the concert grounds... a massive pigsty. A great big mud pit. This is the point where I'd share some great photos with you... but my phone got STOLEN halfway into the Kings of Leon set. This free concert ended up costing me after all.

I don't know what fucking happened. I was being careful. The only thing I can figure is that somebody picked my pocket because I had it and then I didn't have it. God, how I replayed the moments leading up to the realization of the loss. I recently had to replace my computer and now I had to replace my fucking phone. This free concert ticket suddenly had a price tag attached.

I'll say that it's a credit to GNR — they were so good, the loss of the phone didn't bother me as much for a spell. They got onstage on time AND they sounded incredible. All of them. I wasn't the greatest company because I was so preoccupied with my lost phone and thinking about the expense of replacing it. A shame that this repellent theft had to sully what would have been a great and carefree evening.

We trudged out of the venue caked in mud. We listened to the echo of GNR's standard encore "Paradise City" as we hopped a bus back to the city. It was a great, great show. Over a longer arc of time, the fact that I lost a phone should be more of a footnote for my memories. During a bizarre short-term when money was tight. A few heartbeats before my next big windfall.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Cinemagraph 2

That Philip Seymour Hoffman cinemagraph (fancy animated GIF) looked lonely so I recreated this Tom Cruise weeping GIF. Which someone else has probably already done but hey, fuck it.

Tom Cruise Magnolia TGIF!


MAGNOLIA, Philip Seymour Hoffman, GIF

Have I mentioned that I lost a lot of files when my computer crashed a few weeks ago? Have I mentioned that at all...?? I'll be trying to recover from that for the foreseeable future. These PSH GIFs from Magnolia represent a partial loss. A version of this GIF existed online but the source files were lost. Not the biggest tragedy but I've attempted to recreate and improve upon the original GIF I created —

— and tried to make more of a cinemagraph. My first attempt, using new technology. Imperfect but a start.

Speaking of the cinema, I attempted to catch up on pop culture on Wednesday. I was curious about AFTER EARTH and FAST & FURIOUS 6. I ended up watching, in order:


Totally paid for them all, of course. I just, uh... lost my ticket stubs for three of the four movies...

The verdict...? They're all kinda bad.

AFTER EARTH and HANGOVER3 were the worst of the lot. AFTER EARTH, it turns out, is a sort of Scientology parable; worse yet, it's dead boring. HANGOV3R possesses a surprising dearth of laughs and labors under the conviction that killing animals is funny. A lot of fucking animals die in THE HANGOVER PART III — seemingly just because the writers think it's comedy. Well... compensated... writers. Writers who will probably *not* have to take a non-writing job this year in order to make ends meet. I love this world. I love the entire fucking world.

FURIOUS6 is not as good/fun as FAST5, but still counts as a fairly entertaining movie that's not technically "good".

NOW YOU SEE ME is kind of a stupid movie that thinks it's a smart movie. And that certain people will probably see as a smart movie. It's fun enough to watch and I held some hope that it would find its way to a final act that would really make it come together... but no, of course it doesn't get there. Some good bits, though. Modern movies have a hard time getting "magic" right.

A day well-spent, nonetheless. You can learn as much from the bad movies as the good. Sometimes more.


GAME OF THRONES, Cersei Lannister Licks Tyrion Whilst The Kingslayer Waits a Turn, GIF.

(Not a cinemagraph but still made with new technologies. How about that last episode, huh, folks?? Funny show!!)

Monday, June 03, 2013

Last Year at Marienbad

We ate at JEEPNEY on Thursday night: a Filipino Gastropub in the East Village. A splurge that exceeded my budget (in the wake of my computer meltdown), but sometimes you need to do things that other human beings do — if only to keep tethered to the human experience. I walked all the way down to the restaurant with the hope that I could hitch a ride back with someone; but everyone else was hitching a ride after dinner, so I just took the long walk back on my own. The long-distance walker is an invisible man.

The food was pretty good, for overpriced peasant cuisine. No utensils for the main course. A table with a banana leaf covering, topped with a long mound of rice which was buried in several classic Filipino dishes. Eaten with your hands to emphasize the peasant origins. A messy affair but an experience to be had. The interior could have used some fans to circulate the air better, as it felt like we were *actually* in a hot bus in the Philippines.

I've felt less than well. I've been battling a spring cold, brought on by the dreadful shifts in weather. Freezing for two days and then oppressively warm for se7en. I've been keeping peculiar hours, between dealing with the stresses of subletting the vacant room, and my computer catastrophe, and a sort of between-project writer's paralysis. And this cold that's left me with this lingering cough with my throat feeling like it's lined with hay.

Sunday afternoon, I took one of those unintentionally long walks I take now and then. When I know I need to go out but don't know precisely where I want to go. I headed aimlessly down into the Village and looped back up again. As I did, I saw more and more people using Citi-Bikes...

Very recently introduced to the NYC ecosystem, these are not an inexpensive ride, especially when considering that you could very easily be on the hook for mad extra costs if you extend a trip a little too long or get into an accident or have one of these two-wheel tanks stolen. Before Sunday, I'd seen three or four people actually riding one of these things. On Sunday's walk, I lost count of how many I saw riding these blue meanies. Most without helmets, of course. Through the convenience of these bike-rental-racks, they're encouraging a lot of inexperienced people to bike around the crazy NYC traffic without helmets. What could go wrong?

(I'm really curious about statistics because I can imagine quite a lot of things going wrong...)

As I walked through the city, the sound of sirens filled the air. Ambulances, fire trucks, the distance wails of patrol cars. When the weather is off — too warm, too cold, too wet — the city always sounds like a chorus of alarms.


We've landed in June with a massive sinus headache. We are NOT going to succumb to this year.