Thursday, May 29, 2008

catching up

Yes, yes, I know, I haven't posted here for a while. I've been busy! Doing many things of interest, including getting cast in a production of Twelfth Night that's going up in August. Details to come later; for now suffice it to say that it's one of my fave plays, and I'm looking forward to the experience.

Also, I've finally entered the world of digital photography. It's been a long time since I've been behind a camera in any kind of serious way, and I have essentially no experience with digital, so look forward to a learning curve. But in theory this will be a really good outlet for the visual side of me, and ought to add a dimension to this blog as well.

Nothing terribly special about this one - just your basic "there's the Empire State Building in the distance beyond a bustling park in Hoboken on Memorial Day."

Kids playing in the fountain on the edge of said park. Tough place to fill your watergun, but I'm guessing he made it work.

From a performance piece on the East River the day before. This rates its own post, which I'll try to put together soon. For now, I won't mention her name (or publish your comments if you do) because I don't want to identify with paparazzi or trigger any blog alerts, but I don't think it's out of line to point out that one of the Famous and Beautiful is giving our Spiney Starfish the eye...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No X 4 = Yes

Yesterday was a pretty exciting day for Red Sox fans: John Lester pitched a no-hitter. Always a stunning event, the story is especially incredible with Lester, who was diagnosed with lymphoma 2 years ago (!) and made a recovery sufficiently strong to pitch the 4th and final game of last year's World Series and then this extremely rare achievement of a no-hitter. Kind of a lot to have done by the age of 24, don't you agree?

But let me take a moment to focus on the other guy in that photo. Jason Varitek, Captain of Red Sox Nation, center of the team, and one of the best catchers in baseball. Last night he caught his fourth no-hitter. Count 'em: four. More than anyone else in the history of baseball. On any team ever. I don't want to get too carried away here, but this man arguably has as much to do with the Red Sox Championships as anyone else, including Ramirez, Ortiz, and Francona.

I mean, sure - it's 10 times easier to catch a no-hitter than to throw one. But a great catcher, a strong veteran leader who understands his pitcher, the batters and the game in general can go a loooong way in helping the event. And look at the authors of the no nos he's caught: Nomo, Lowe, Buchholz and Lester - first rate pitchers, yes, but not exactly a who's who of Cy Young winners (though he's called the shots impeccably for future Hall of Famers like Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, too). You better believe that Varitek's help calling pitches, leading the team and keeping the hurlers centered had something to do with those games. Did you see the game earlier this year when Buchholz, barely out of his (part of a) rookie season, shook him off three times in a row? Tek let him throw the fastball, and it got shelled for a double. The look on Jason's face afterwards was priceless: "I've been around here a while kid. Helped you get through that no-hitter in your second start last year; don't you think I know what pitch is gonna work?"

And it bears repeating: nobody has ever caught 4 of these gems. Not Yogi Berra, not Johnny Bench, not Roy Campanella, nobody. Has Jason been lucky? No doubt. Has he been helped by some great defense? Hells yes. But I think that this record is more important than the attention it's going to receive, and tells us a lot about the success of the Red Sox.

There's no way Varitek will make the Hall of Fame. He's never hit .300, his RBI production is not that great, and neither is his arm (especially in his early years, people could steal bases against him with relative ease). But don't be surprised if people who know a lot more about the game than I do mention him as one of the great catchers and team-leaders of his era, if not of all time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg

I don't really have the time nor the knowledge to write a full tribute to Robert Rauschenberg, who died on Monday, but, especially in light of this morning's entry, I have to put down a few words about this artist who had the staggering ability to see beauty in the commonplace, and share it with us. He was a master of possibility, a portrait of persistence, an inspiration on many levels, and one of the great lovers of life.

In addition to the very good Michale Kimmelman article in the Times, there is an interesting remembrance from Jim Lewis in Slate, which yields a perspective on death that I like quite a bit: "I'm working on my fear of it. And my fear is that after I'm gone, something interesting is going to happen, and I'm going to miss it."

Ummm... yup.

It's the Little Things

Sometimes the details just line up and mean more than the sum of their parts. Today I had a friendlier-than-usual exchange with a fellow bus passenger, and I was having one of those Good Commute Tunes days (mostly indie rock, with more Sinatra than chance would seem to demand). But it was a cloudy damp day, and my head was aching dully, so it wasn't exactly an ideal morning.

Then I had one of those moments that's hard to describe. After a note-perfect Guided by Voices song, and a Sinatra tune I actually bumped forward about halfway through, I got the beautiful, plaintive 'Raincloud' by Leah Siegel. Had me in a nice place, and then just as she sang '...the way you feel the sun crashing down on the horizon' the sun broke through the clouds and cast a light that was, let's not be overly dramatic and call it 'miraculous,' but it was stunning. And it drew my attention to one of those buildings that I've surely passed dozens (hundreds?) of times but never really noticed - one of countless structures in New York which have a singular beauty but which all too often blend into undeserved obscurity because of the simple volume of Big Buildings on this island.

But not today. Today, as Leah's guitars made the case for love, I took in the levels of this building, noticed how the details catch the light, saw where arched windows had been bricked over, caught a sign that has probably been hanging in a window for 30 years or more.

Don't have a photo to share with you guys about it, but I wanted to recognize the moment.

And in other news, it's Free Iced Coffee Day at Dunkin Donuts.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reality. Check.

So in the wake of my recent whinefest, I checked Love Puppy's tumblr, which gave me a well-deserved shoulder shake.

I'm back.

See, that didn't take long!

Monday is the New Monday

Holy crap this is the Mondayest Monday I've had in a while. Very good weekend, but I'm not even in the mood to write about it because it's pissy and rainy and cold, I had pretty bad sleep, the computer network at the dayjob is superslow (and keeps kicking me off my email - very annoying) and I'm in pain from tendonitis.


Got here in such a good mood too! I'll write later when, I don't know, the stars realign or something.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Maybe it's that it's such a sunny beautiful day, or maybe it's just a feeling that the people in my immediate circle could use a little extra jolt of joy, but I'm digging this viddy from Goldfrapp:

Ok, it's silly, but it's fun silly. Irrationally fun, no? Plus, it's got to be harder than it looks to pull off that hopping...

Monday, May 05, 2008

thoughts from a walk in the east village on a sunday afternoon

I will not be a "good old days" person, if for no other reason than that the good old days always had something bad about them.

The spot where CBGB was is now some kind of gallery called 'Morrison Hotel'

[a moment, for you to let the irony of that simmer]

The building that once housed the Bouwerie Lane Theatre now offers Retail Space for Rent. And I think I saw in an article that a talented new developer has his eye on the residential space in the upper floors.

I will not sit inside a hot and badly ventilated coffee shop in the East Village on a gorgeous spring day, no matter how hip it is, or how beautiful its patrons.

I will, however, get one of their very delicious iced coffees and walk around the neighborhood for a while.

Much as it bugs me to admit it, the new facade of 40 Bond Street is pretty fucking rad.

I may sit in a cool and comfortable theater lobby while waiting for my partner for the matinee, no matter how un-hip.

Especially when there are nifty little tables & chairs.

No matter how geriatric I may seem in other circumstances, I am still likely to be one of the youngest people at certain live performances.

Especially matinees.

No matter how long I've known her, and how likely I know it to be, it still annoys me when she shows up late.


I don't want to be one of those "I could have done that better" actors, but I auditioned for this show, nailed it, and goddam it, I could have done it better.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Weekend Away

Last weekend, not this one coming up. Not sure what I'm doing this weekend coming up.

But last weekend, a group of us went to Shannon's family place in the Delaware Water Gap. This group:

Evidently, when I hang with these people out of town, I wear t-shirts from schools I didn't attend (see Fire Island trip from last year). I don't know if I possess any shirts from schools I did attend.

At any rate, it was a fantastic time, full of action and food and drink and fun and good company. Played some games that were new to me, did ok in a poker tournament, made some magic in the kitchen (gazpacho & pizzettas w/Sherin, inventiveness with Tequila, a vegetarian version of Grandma H's fancy baked eggs), had a good balance of indoors and out. Aaron and Shannon have a wonderful family of friends, and it's great to be included in it. Thanks guys!

I really like that photo of us by the waterfall (even though it's sans Sherin & J.P., alas), and have lately been feeling somewhat drawn to getting back into photography. Which would mean getting a digital camera that is not part of my cell phone. Not totally sure I need another activity that will take up time, energy and money, but I used to be kind of good at it, and if one of the trips I'm aiming at this summer comes to pass, well, let's just say the photographic potential will be there...