Sunday, June 24, 2007

Daunting to say the least

When you're learning to play the guitar, it's sometimes helpful to watch professionals work. However, when that professional is Andy Mckee, it can be daunting not only because he can play the hell out of a guitar, but because he also plays what appear to be boats.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Your moment of zen

At today's audition, I was treated to an epic, Socratic dialogue between two actor degenerates involving "what's funny." I wanted to beat them both to death with the plastic chair I was sitting on.

To top it all off, one of them pulled out what I thought was the motherboard off of Deep Blue, but it turned out to be a cartoonishly big cellphone from which he had to remove a blast shield before using. Just at the peak of my fury, I was delighted to hear the following:

ASSHOLE: Hey, Debra? Yeah, it's Pete Assenfeffer. Listen, I'm a little tied up here at this callback, so I was wondering if I could swing by to your audition a little later. And you're located on 27th right? You know I'm bad with directions. (Jerk-style laugh followed by awkward silence) What? Oh...this is Pete. Assenfeffer. Pete, right.

That's right, baby. No one knows who you are. And that, my friend, is what's funny.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Art Finkelstein

Mike Sanzone is having another art opening (ooh!) on Thursday, July 5th (6 - 8PM). He'll be showing along with four other artists at the Mercer Gallery. The line-up includes:

Eileen Cubbage
Earl Barret Holloway
Ellen Letcher
Michael Sanzone
Taylor Kane Schwarzkopf

Mercer Gallery is on 55 Mercer Street. If you can't make the opening, the show runs from July 3 through July 14, so you have plenty of time to check out some masterful work.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pennsylvania is for lovers

My sister Georgina graduated from Bangor Area High School on Friday and I was not there to hear the woeful guest bloviating of Wilford Ottey who, when I graduated from the very same high school some ten plus years ago, served as the school's superintendent. He now resides in Colorado doing Lord knows what, but whatever it is, I hope it has little to nothing to do with education. Ottey's strength lies in cutting young people down, partly because his embittered faux scholarship won't let him admit to himself that he's a fantastic failure, but mostly because he's just a dick. A sample of his wonderfully trite wit:

MY MOTHER: My son graduated with your daughter Alice. He lives in New York now.

OTTEY: Oh? Does he work in a restaurant? (followed by some tweed covered snort, no doubt)

Go fuck yourself, Ottey. No amount of pretending to fight the good fight for education will cover for the fact that people despise you. I hope you fall down a flight of stairs after tripping over that "Great American Novel" manuscript you've no doubt been working on since the late Italian Renaissance.

Anyway, I may have missed the actual graduation, but I was able to attend the party. I arrived Saturday night and sat on the trampoline watching my brother Gunner take on my youngest sister Gracey in a no-holds-barred wrestling match in which Gunner received a titty-twisted that made him scream not like a girl, surprisingly, but like a 40-something year old adult woman. The aftermath:

As is our custom during family gatherings, my siblings and I hang around each other and run away from other members of the extended family. It's like a game of sorts in which we try to entertain each other at the expense of everyone else. It makes us happy in a totally antisocial way. However, Georgina was in good spirits despite being surrounded by family:

Specifically, being around our sister Gillian:

Gillian, Gracey, Gunner, Georgina, and I then decided to suck all the helium out of the party balloons. This was hilarious only to us.

Also, I met my newest cousin who is adorable. Her name is Brynn and she loves stairs (not the stairs Wilford Ottey is supposed to fall down):

At the end of the day, it occurred to me that I will probably not ever have a need to come back to my home town again, now that my family is moving out to Arizona in a few weeks. I'll miss it. For all its faults, it had a certain simple beauty.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Public Service Announcement from FODJ

For all New York commuters taking the A/C line to their destinations in Manhattan and Brooklyn after 11 PM, you know what? Don't bother. Don't fucking bother. It'd be easier for you to build your own train by carving it out of a solid block of marble. Actually, let me know when you're finished with that, because I would gladly take it over the MTA, which I'm convinced is a company whose sole purpose is acting as the most elaborate joke ever played on humankind ever. And the punchline is you don't get anywhere.

Have a problem with the MTA's service? Confused about why it's taking a half hour for a train to arrive? Why not ask one of the countless Cro-Magnons in blue vests who meander thoughtlessly around the platforms looking for people to annoy? You'd get a more enthusiastic and knowledgeable response from Ol' Shakin' Boots at the Gap (see post below).

Sure, there's track work (I'm sorry, "necessary track work," as opposed to the track work where the contractors bang on a rail with a crowbar for no reason). Sure, this track work is causing delays. You'd think when you ask one of the TWENTY contractors waiting on the platform the simple question "What in the fuck is going on?" at least one of them would know. No. No no no. No, they've made a solemn pact never to read the company memo beyond "TO ALL EMPLOYEES." If company memos even EXIST at the MTA. And what are these contractor's contracting? I hope they're contracting fucking trenchfoot because they certainly deserve it, and God knows they stand around idly long enough to let the sick shine in.

Seriously, if you're a company with a virtual monopoly on transportation, I understand the strong urge to fuck with your customers. I mean, what are you going to do? Ride a bike? Not at 11 PM, Lance Armstrong. In fact, let me know how that pans out when you get jumped and viciously beaten with your own handle bars. But come on, there are simple customer relation techniques that even CHILDREN SELLING LEMONADE ON THE ROADSIDE have a better grasp on than the MTA. For instance, when the kid runs out of lemonade, she puts up a sign that reads "NO LEMONADE." We, as customers, appreciate that. It saves time when you're not waiting for a product that's never going to come. So, when the ridiculous "track work" is causing major delays, why not mention that? Why not put up a few signs or say something, ANYTHING? Maybe your customers would like to plan an alternate route, most likely on another train WHICH YOU ALSO HAPPEN TO OWN. Maybe your customers will start a rebellion and throw their own shit at the token booths.

It's funny how certain topics can render one inelegant. But the MTA is a not-to-delicately constructed pack of retards.

(It took two hours for me to get home a couple of nights ago. It takes less than two hours for me to get home to Pennsylvania. I'm sorry for the trite post, but I get upset...)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Can that be enough with Catherine Hepburn already?

I'll preface this post by writing that I'm all for equal opportunity employment. Regardless of how much of a lie that is, I feel it needs to be stated for obscure legal purposes. Still, it is a nice, warm feeling to know that somewhere in this country, a below average citizen is making his/her mark in either the food service or retail industry. Provided, of course, that their level of involvement is kept to doling out pleasantries, making sure all the antifreeze is facing front, and staying away from the normals. It's when this last task is ignored that problems arise. When I go shopping, which is rare, I don't like being nagged by the staff. To extrapolate from there, I don't like being nagged by retarded staff. It's bad enough to have some disinterested teen who just flunked Earth Science recommend a cute blazer for the summer, but to have someone with a crippling disease encouraging you to try on a pair of slacks while they're in the throes of whatever havoc their horrible flesh-eating hair cancer is inflicting on their bodies does NOT make me want to buy things.

Just before I traveled to Munich, I went to the Gap on the corner near where I work to stock up on clothes because I dress like an Irish potato farmer. They had recently hired a woman who clearly has Parkinson's Disease. Well, initially I suspected she was just excited about clothes. Who wouldn't be? But her quaking continued to the point where I started to feel uncomfortable. Now, here's where most people argue "well, that's your problem, sir. You have an issue with her terrifying disease." And my response is yes, you're goddamned right. I do, in fact, recognize that it's entirely in my head that the situation is uncomfortable. And as I see it, the Gap has done this to me. I spent $250 that day because I couldn't say no to this quivering old woman, admittedly because I am chock full of guilt and fear. Did I think she'd have a major episode if I didn't buy the blazer? No. But I did suspect that her manager privately beats her with the ol' switch in the employee break room when she's not playing up her malady to sell Polos. "Make it shake, Suzy. Or no bonus."

All I'm saying is when have you EVER heard of ANYONE talk about wanting or needing store staff to assist them in a clothing purchase? Besides specialty places like sporting goods shops or dildo emporiums? Never. People like to be left alone. In fact, I can't imagine asking an employee at the Gap anything that could possibly help me decide on a garment. Except maybe:

"Can this shirt be used to strangle a medium-sized person, roughly your weight and build?"

"Do these pants come in a size you?"

"I like snuff films. Will these t-shirts go with that?"

"I'd like to wear what you're wearing right now."

"What are a 'clothes?'"

"Why don't you drop dead?"

And even when someone has been helpful, they dissolve the entire illusion by bringing you up to the counter, like a freshly caught salmon, in order to mark you as their commission. The friendship's over, baby. I want my money. In fact, I'll be damned if I didn't see the Parkinson's lady get eerily still after the sale was made. I suppose it could be a trick of the light. Or a conspiracy. In the Gap. What am I talking about?