Thursday, January 31, 2008

Power concedes nothing without a struggle

This is a good quote, attached to the signature line of an editor at the New York Law Journal that I was emailing with today.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

— Frederick Douglass, 1857

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New glasses redux

Ah, the weekend. It seems even more welcome after a short week. This week has been pretty crazy for me, actually. On Wednesday I got thrown a job to put together a response for a request for qualifications for a climate change coalition. Luckily I was able to borrow from our unsuccessful bid for the ethanol coalition last year, but I still ended up staying until about 8 pm Wednesday, then just got it wrapped up at 5 pm right before the deadline on Thursday. Lucky too because I had planned to take Karina to get her hair cut at my salon in Chinatown, and I kept her waiting for about 10 minutes because I was late getting out of the office.

The upside to this week is that we got free pizza in the office on Wednesday, and Friday we had our monthly luncheon, free lasagna and salad in lieu of our usual morning muffins and bagels. Apparently it's Italians who run things around here, or that's the safest thing to order for everyone. Personally, I'd love to see some Mediterranean food or Vietnamese food ordered once in a while. Ethiopian is probably not good for big groups since you eat with your hands - you might catch something.

Anyway, I'm sure you all want to see my new glasses, so here's a shot I took this morning from my Web cam - these frames are by designer Michael Kors:

New glasses

And I also got my old Anna Sui glasses back with my new prescription lenses:


Headed out to do my errands now - the vegetable dumplings were such a hit last time with my family that we're doing it again tonight. I think I'll make some for myself this time also, and maybe I'll make a red vinegar ginger sauce to go with it. Some fresh garlic would be nice too. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

P-Tree Grammy nomination

This is cool - Porcupine Tree has been nominated for a Grammy Award in Category 95 - Best Surround Sound Album for Fear of a Blank Planet (which I got for Christmas). Time to give that one a listen.

See full list of nominees here

I'm sure someday they will actually be performing at the Grammys, not that they need any of that kind of validation. But it's exciting as a fan to see people slowly come to recognize their talent.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dating and broken screens

Ugh, back at work after a welcome three-day weekend. At least it's a short week.

I went on my first real date on Friday, the first since meeting Tara I suppose. Her name is Pam, and she's a 33-year-old lesbian living in Midtown. She works as a stage manager for theater productions, and she's getting her MFA in Brooklyn and working as an acting teacher for undergraduates. She's originally from Pittsburgh and has been here for about 10 years.

We went out to dinner at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant (well, the only one I've been to, thanks to Lori) and later got ice cream at the Cold Stone Creamery nearby, despite the near-freezing temperatures outside. She seems like a nice person, although a bit reserved like me. I'm not sure there's much chemistry there, but I think we could be friends. It would be nice to have a friend in the theater business, if you know what I mean.

The rest of the weekend was nice and quiet, except for one major hiccup. My family was over Saturday night for our movie night, and I was retracting my theater screen when it came off its mounts and fell down, smashing the front of my 37-inch LCD TV. It still works, but the crack in the screen disabled about 15 percent of the total screen area in the bottom right corner. It's still watchable after you get used to ignoring the damaged area, but obviously I'd like to replace the TV someday. At least I still have the projector for movies, which is most important to me.

Also on Saturday, my new computer speakers came in the mail, and I hooked those up to my portable DVD player in the bedroom to have music at night. This weekend I spent a lot of time at Borders buying all kinds of music by Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, Men at Work, Porcupine Tree, Death Cab for Cutie, Garbage, and Tara gave me some music from No-Man, which is P-Tree frontman Steven Wilson's side project. Plus, I also got the 25th anniversary edition of Purple Rain on DVD - I've been getting into a Prince vibe lately for some reason.

Sunday night everyone came over to my apartment so I could cook them some fried vegetarian dumplings I found at my local Chinese grocery store. I made myself some kim chee ramen with eggs. Afterwards we watched I Am Legend on my big screen, a SAG awards review DVD that a co-worker gave me. It was a little less scary than I thought it might be, but as I'm not good with horror elements to begin with, that was plenty. It was a very intense movie, and afterwards I felt like I'd just finished lifting weights or something. I had to watch some of Miyazaki's Spirited Away to settle myself. Bee did the same by watching another movie at home.

Last night Tara came over so I could give her a manicure while we listened to Roxy Music's Avalon in SACD surround sound. This has got to be one of the Top 10 best makeout albums ever, and it's a shame we wasted it doing nails....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Lesbian plays and shopping sprees

It's been a relatively quiet week, hence not much to blog about. I've been really busy at work too, dealing with a big internal project that resulted in a story that appeared on the BusinessWeek Web site.

I also went out with my friend Lori last Friday to see a Bare Bones production of a play called "She Like Girls" at the Lark Theatre. A Bare Bones production is like a final dress rehearsal in a large studio with minimal costumes, makeup and staging, performed in front of an audience of about 50 people. As you might guess, there were a large number of lesbian couples in the audience, and I'm sure many people probably thought we were one also, especially since Lori was kind enough to lend me her scarf when I had to remove my sweater.

I have in fact been slightly more active in the dating arena, but with not much to report. I had met a woman online last week and we were planning to meet on Saturday, but it didn't work out. I've decided that I'm just going to start meeting new people and developing friendships first, without the expectation that a relationship will follow. I think in a dating situation, it's harder to show someone the real me.

Sunday I took my family to the Brooklyn Art Museum, but we accidentally got on the tunnel instead of the bridge and got lost in Brooklyn. We explored the seedy waterfront area for a few dozen blocks before turning around and weaving our way back to Flatbush Avenue. Once there, we saw a nice exhibit of American watercolor landscape paintings, and the new feminist wing that recently opened. However, to our disappointment, most of the museum was closed for renovation, but at least we got to see the watercolors before they left. I also picked up a Degas calendar for my bedroom at the gift shop.

Tuesday night we all went to our local Borders, which is having a going-out-of-business sale to make room for a bigger parking lot. Everything in the store was 40% off, plus I had a 10% off member coupon. Some things, like the chai in the cafe, was 75% off, so we stocked up on that. I mostly got DVDs of old movies: collector's editions of Silence of the Lambs and Con Air, Outbreak, and the remakes of The Thomas Crown Affair and The Count of Monte Cristo. I also got a Sherlock Holmes collection and Marvel Comic's Ultimate Galactus Trilogy in hardcover, since I do love stories of that ilk (although I haven't seen Fantastic Four 2 yet). I leave you with this art from my friend Joanna's site - the end is near!


Monday, January 07, 2008

Kissing with raw egg yolks

Movie fan that I am, I came across this article in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal ("Kissing and Telling" - January 5-6, 2008) reviewing a book about memorable kisses committed to celluloid in the history of Hollywood. Think Scarlett and Rhett, Rick and Ilsa, Rocky and Adrian - you get the picture. However, there's no mention in the story about any gay portrayals or any from animated films, although clearly the focus is on older, iconic movies rather than a balance of classic and modern films.

For me, I'm always glad to see one of my favorite cult movies so prominently featured in the mainstream press:

The most conspicuous omission for me -- though inconspicuous, too, since the film remains relatively unknown to American audiences -- is an intensely erotic and brilliantly comic egg-in-your-face kiss in "Tampopo," the 1986 Japanese-language comedy by Juzo Itami. "Tampopo" is the funniest film ever made about food and sex (and film genres), and the payoff of a scene in a fancy hotel room is a 45-second kiss during which a Yakuza smoothie and his girlfriend pass a raw egg yolk from mouth to mouth -- seven times before the yolk breaks. It's a foodie's dream of heavenly bliss.

If you're a fan of food, sex or Japanese comedy, you owe it to yourself to check out this film (if you can find it). If you're not a fan of any of the above, then go back to whatever planet you came from and stop reading my blog!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

First peek at new glasses

For those of you who haven't seen them yet, here's a shot of my new Valentino glasses, which will be the first and last time you'll likely see a photo of them:

sick day

This was taken during my sick day, so this is what I look like when I roll out of bed in the morning, more or less. I set up my web cam for the first time since moving to New Jersey, practically, to take this shot.

The reason why you're not going to see these glasses anymore is that they don't fit me right, and Costco can't seem to get them adjusted properly. Apparently, the lenses are too large for the frame to handle. So on Saturday I went to Costco and exchanged these for another pair of reddish colored glasses, plus got my old Anna Sui frames refitted with my new prescription as a backup. I should have both pairs of glasses in a couple weeks.

Today my family and I went out to dinner at Harold's deli in Woodbridge, where I had my first beef tongue sandwich, along with their legendary pickle bar. It was very tasty, actually, like pastrami that melts in your mouth *licks lips*.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Sick day

I can't remember the last time I took a sick day, but I'm taking one today. I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold yesterday at work, so I left early. The receptionist said a large number of people at work were doing the same thing, so there's a bug going around the office.

So I feel pretty miserable, but at least I'm getting a lot of rest. Plus today I made a pretty decent fried rice out of my leftover General Tso's chicken from New Year's Day. I sauteed some garlic and onions, then added scrambled eggs, soy sauce and some Indian garlic relish for a little curry spice flavor.

Okay, back to the couch for me, continuing to break in my new center channel speaker, a Definitive Technologies StudioMonitor 450 I received in the mail yesterday.