Sunday, May 29, 2005


Today I went to PRUNE with a group Young Nicholas handpicked (sister, sister’s boyfriend and high school friend). Afterwards we all went to see DOUBT--a pitch perfect play that just won the Pulitzer Prize. The production was flawless. It is sure to win a ton of Tonys. But it was a very difficult play for me to watch because of my Catholicism. My discomfort stems from the subject matter, which is absurd, but it’s been hard wired into me. In any case, Young Nicholas treated me to both of these events. During a time when my world seems a tad bit cruel, his kindness was a welcome surprise.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

New Proposition

I think I might have lost my mind. I'm actually considering attending culinary school next year. It's a six month commitment. It would coincide with my last six months here in NYC. So from 9am to 3pm Monday through Friday I'd be in class. Then I'd go to work six nights a week. I'm conservatively estimating that I'd be doing 75 hours a week.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Boogie Woogie Woogie

Tonight I spent with Kerry, Chris Monaco and Chris’s girlfriend Kristen. Before I retell the night’s events, some back story. I worked with Kerry at Per Se and remains the only person that I talk to from my stint there. She's a vibrant and passionate young woman who loves food. She's known that she wanted to be in the restaurant industry since she was in junior high. She went to Cornell for restaurant management. Her eye for detail is sick. I have no doubt she'll be a huge success. We’re very close. Chris and I met last year when we worked at a rather ill-conceived restaurant near the World Trade Center. He’s the only person I’ve maintained a strong relationship with from that establishment. We both quit that job and he went to work at Café Gray while I went to my restaurant. He's one of the hardest working people I've ever met. On top of the full-time schedule at Per Se, he is a student at French Culinary Institute (one of the top three students in his class...not top three three). He's destined for greatness. The kind that you read about and are inspired by. Anyway, after a while he learned everything he could from Cafe Gray. His restlessness prompted him to call me. He wanted to work at Per Se. So I talked to Kerry and told her about Chris and she agreed to letting him use her name to get an interview. He got the job of course. So now they work together and it’s all because I made it happen. (One day soon, I'll be a well-paid film director and I'll be able to finance a restaurant that Kerry and Chris would run. That would make me very happy.)

Time for a little tangent. I had a bigger plan than I let on when I got Chris his job at Per Se. Kerry, whom I love, had bounced from bad relationship to awful relationship the entire time I had known her and I for one was tired of seeing her get hurt. I thought Chris, who is a good guy and obviously interested in the same things that Kerry is interested in, would make a fantastic partner for her. They make sense together. Keep in mind, I was fully aware that Chris has a girlfriend, but that was incidental. I knew Chris and Kerry would hit it off. My plan was in motion. (Oh and I made Kerry totally aware of my ulterior motives. She never thought I was that serious.)

So now back to tonight. Kerry, Chris and I meet up at my restaurant and we go to The Spotted Pig. We’re waiting for Kristen to get off of work and we enjoy a couple rounds of drinks in the meantime. Right away I can see the chemistry between the two of them. It’s electric. Boogie woogie woogie. My instincts were correct. I sit as quietly as possible and drink my Red Stripe, only speaking to help keep things rolling conversationally between them. Eventually Kristen shows up. She’s a beautiful young woman, but is all wrong for Chris. As soon as she walks in, I turn to Kerry and whisper in her ear, “You are so much hotter than her.” She gives me a big kiss on the cheek and smiles. She likes Chris but won’t make a move until Kristen and him break up. Luckily the night before, Chris had mentioned that he and Kristen are on the verge of doing just that. So it’s all a matter of time. Excellent. After some heeing and hawing we eventually end up at Mary’s Fish Camp for dinner. Because of the lateness of the hour and the size of our party we end up at the counter, which is fine by me because I put Chris and Kerry in the middle of the four of us. They control the conversation and I just try to distract Kristen while they bond. The food at Mary’s Fish Camp is wonderful and messy--lobster knuckles, cockles, oysters. My parents would love this place. I can see Jenni and I spending many lazy afternoons there. Anyway, I order a second bottle of wine and we are off to the races. Kerry is hanging onto me for dear life. She’s three sheets to the wind. Chris is in heaven. He loves seafood. Between the soft shell crab, skate and grouper he can’t get enough. I am laughing very loudly. The two of them together are hysterical. Kristen looks lost. We're all drunk.

So my night was full of mirth and good humor. That’s all that one can ask for, right?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'm Finding It Hard To Find The Funny

I let Young Nicholas read my site last night. I gleaned from his reaction that he thought there would be more revelation about me after reading it. I imagine that he had hoped that I‘d use this opportunity to write something that no one knows or admit something that I’ve never confessed to. He even mocked what I’d write about tonight. He thinks my blog is quite boring. Sorry to disappoint, Young Nicholas.

Here’s something: I’ve been watching Young Nicholas’s copy of The Office (BBC version) and I had to stop. And I know I’m about to write something that most won’t agree with but I don’t find it funny. And I think I figured out why: it has something to do with the accents. I don’t find British humour particularly brilliant. I’ve never gotten into Monty Python or Masterpiece Theatre. I mean I understand why it’s funny, but I never laugh out loud. If anything it’s a sort of restrained internal laughter. What I’m looking for is the fall-down-on-the-floor-you-can’t-breathe funny. The British have never done that for me. Again sorry to disappoint, Young Nicholas.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


At precisely 7:27 this morning I receive this text message from Zion: “I’m really sorry, but Thomas and I have gotten into a dispute, and we will have to postpone our dinner until it’s resolution.” (By the way all of the mistakes are his not mine.) So I didn’t eat at Per Se. Kinda anti-climactic isn’t it? Sorry.

Only good thing to happen today was that Zeljko Ivanek talked to me. (For those of you unaware, he’s an obscure character actor that I had a brief encounter with once on a street.) Anyway, he is walking past my restaurant today and we both wave. I figure he’s waving out of politeness. He walks past my restaurant and down the street. He must not remember me. And that’s what I thought until he walks into my open door way and exclaims, “Have you seen it?” The one time we talked I mentioned that I was to see the show he is currently in THE PILLOWMAN. “Oh yes. I saw it the Sunday after I bumped into you. It’s wonderful.” And we talked about his career and the last two Lars Von Trier films (both of which he’s in) but mostly about the play. It was a nice moment for me because it was the first time that a celebrity had come up to me.

PS--My oldest friendship is with a woman named Adrianna and it's her birthday today. Happy birthday A. I love you very much.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I’m trying to get excited about my dinner at Per Se. It’s a highly anticipated event for me but I can’t seem to get enthused. Dinner at this restaurant is a dream for most people and I get to have it at an absurd discount. It’s the best food on the planet and I'm a foodie if ever there was one. I guess part of my reticence is that I used to work there and it holds some unpleasantness for me. While I have fondness for the restaurant but working extremely long hours and making less than was promised was awful. The dream of working for the best chef in the country while actualized but slowly became disquieting in nature. Tonight I return to the site of my first NYC job a full year after I left to have dinner there. I wonder how the management will react. It doesn’t matter. I’m there with Zion and he should buffer any ill will pointed towards me. Also, Kerry and Chris Monaco are working the shift so I shouldn’t feel that alone. What the hell am I going to wear?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pastry Chef

I had dinner with my pastry chef last night. I’m used to her being dressed like a chef (chef coat and matching pants) but last night I discovered her out on the town look—Hot Topics meets Contempo Casuals. She’s a sweet woman, who is as passionate about food as anyone I know. A truly brilliant chef who will be one of the greats someday. Conversation with her though, is a lot her talking and me nodding. She’s misunderstood at work; at least that’s her view. She tells me how her boyfriend and her met, how her marriage fell apart and everything else that popped into her head. I just continue to drink in hopes that the night will end sooner than later.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Cute Girl

First table of the night. Two young women, stylishly dressed sit nervously. One of them has a phone to her ear. The other turns to me and says, “It’s been a long day. We’re going to need some drinks.” I smile because the timbre in her voice is strained and self-aware of the desperation she’s conveying. I instantly like her. I get the two drinks and now the other girl is off the phone. They both look spent and frustrated. I’ve got no other tables so I decide to talk to them a little.

Me: “What’s wrong?”
Phone Girl: “Our friend was supposed to be here. We’re going to see Margaret Cho in concert and she forgot the tickets and had to go back home and we called her to see what’s up and she’s not here.”
Cute Girl: “And she fell on her way back to her place.”
Me: “Is she alright?”
Both girls: “Yes.”
Cute Girl: “When you meet her you won’t be surprised.”
Me: “Okay.”

Eventually the last girl does show up and I can instantly see what they’re talking about. She’s never outgrown that awkwardness that comes with adolescence. Worst of all she’s fully aware of it.

Now it’s just a couple minutes past 7 and their concert is at 8 and nowhere near the Village. So I quickly get their order and make the kitchen aware of their race against time.

During a casual pass at the table, I struck up more conversation.
Me: “Are we celebrating something tonight?”
Phone Girl: “It’s not someone’s birthday.”
Phone Girl and Late Girl are pointing to Cute Girl. Cute Girl is shaking her head. I’m quite smitten with her and I notice that I’ve been standing there a little too long, so I just say the first thing that jumps into my head.
Me: “It’s Mr. T’s birthday too.”
They all pause and laugh at the absurd randomness of my statement.
Me: “He turns 53 today.”
Cute Girl: “How do you know that?”
Me: “I have an insane memory for shit like that.”

It starts raining like crazy a few moments after that. Cute Girl just shakes her head.

Me: “It’s okay. We’ll flag you a cab.”
Cute Girl: “Yeah?”
Me: “Yes. And by flag you a cab I mean I’ll point you to the corner and say, ‘You can usually get a cab right there.’”
She laughs.
Cute Girl: “I’m wearing open toed gold shoes.”
Me: "Okay."
I bring her an umbrella that someone left behind from the night before.
Me: “You can have this.”
She smiles.

It’s quickly approaching 7:40 and they’re now done with entrees. I wonder if they’ll stick around for dessert. Their attitude has definitely skewed towards laissez-faire now that they’re all a couple cocktails into the evening. After a quick glance they order a couple of desserts, which means that they’ll also receive our birthday cake, which is wonderful. My pastry chef thinks it’s funny that I brought up the whole Mr. T thing earlier in the evening so she sends out a plate that has his name spelled out in chocolate sauce. My chef has a weird sense of humor.

Anyway that’s it. There’s no great end to this story. I didn’t ask the girl out, didn’t get her name. She left and I'll most likely never see her again. But she’s beautiful and I hope her birthday went well.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

PTA Meeting

I’m at work when I see someone across the street who looks familiar. I walk closer to the doorway to get a better look. By the time I get to the door, my instincts were confirmed. It is Paul Thomas Anderson. Now for most filmmakers if you were to ask them who their greatest influence is, they’d tell you maybe Scorsese or perhaps Kubrick or possibly Hitchcock. Not me. Give me PTA. MAGNOLIA was the reason I became a filmmaker. Spielberg and Mamet have gone on record saying that he’s the best up-and-coming filmmaker working today. And I couldn’t agree more. So I run across the street and meet my idol.

“Sir! Sir! Excuse me sir! I’m sorry to bother you but I wanted to tell you I’m a huge fan.”
“Thank you very much. I was worried that when I saw you running that I had run out on a check or something.”
“Oh no. I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re fantastic. You’re the reason I want to be a filmmaker.”
“Wow thank you.”
“I must have seen MAGNOLIA and PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE so many times in the theatre that I should just give you some money.”
He laughs.
“I hope you make a new one soon.”
“Next year. I’m doing a new one next year.”
“Well I look forward to it. I tell my friends that if I can make a film a tenth as good as you I’d be happy.”
“That’s very kind of you.”
“My name is Bernard by the way.”
“Nice to meet you. Good luck.”

Friday, May 20, 2005

It's Not About Love

Molly and I haven’t talked in over two weeks. She’ll call while I’m at work; I’ll call when she’s at work. Together we’ve taken the art of avoidance to a new level; it’s like we’re playing an ongoing game of phone tag that no one wants to win. Is this what our relationship is relegated to?
I don’t think I know how to talk to her anymore. What will we talk about? Not her current beau because that would end in a fight. Work talk can only last a half hour tops. What about the good stuff? You know the stuff we’d reveal to each other that no one else got to hear, usually late at night lying in bed. I don’t get first dibs on that anymore. He does. And that burns me. Until I get over that, I can’t really talk to her. I’m mad at her and I shouldn’t be. I need to stop being mad at her.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Let Me Be Sad

I’m currently experiencing some serious sadness. If I looked hard enough, I’m sure I could attribute it to one of many things in my life. But none of those are to blame. It’s natural as humans to search for the cause of things, so we can fix what ails us. But there are experiences that extend beyond reason and this is one of them. I go to bed later and later and get up earlier and earlier. It takes all my strength to get up in the morning. I can’t eat and when I do I eat poorly. My writing has turned to disconnected thoughts on random pieces of paper.

Margo, who buoyed my spirits this evening with her voice, went through something similar a while back. I remember that her advice was not to try and fix it. “Let me be sad,” she’d tell people. She didn’t want to talk about it. I don’t really either.

There’ll be times during the day when I am inexplicably angry for no reason. What’s that about? I don’t like what I’m turning into. How do you not become the thing you’re becoming? Sadness surrounds me like a fog and the only thing I know definitively is that I don’t like it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It's The Little Things

I found it. I finally found the heir apparent to my current messenger bag. There are only a few things that I am picky about and my bag is one of them. I’ve had it since March of last year and I’ve used it every day since. I love this bag. But it’s showing some wear. It’s going to be necessary to retire it at some point soon. But I can’t until I get my new one, which given the price could well be a while. It’s a Jack Spade bag: specifically a Warren Street Waxwear Field Bag (Chocolate). I just saw it and knew it was the one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


I’m stressed. Not in that way that I always am. It’s a new stress that I’ve put upon myself. As of this past Friday night, I am the new Wine Director at my restaurant. What does that mean? I’m the person in charge of ordering wine and maintaining the wine list. Now this sounds easy enough. But it’s surprisingly difficult. Between pushy wine reps and an ever shifting inventory, I’ve found myself very busy. Couple that with not being paid anything for this extra hassle and you’ll wonder why I volunteered for it. But here’s my reason for asking for this job: someone had to do it. The list was quickly dwindling and no one had ordered anything since Roger left less than a week ago. Things on the floor were getting hairy. And I was annoyed. We all were. So I decided that I’d do it. And the water’s been above my head ever since.

Monday, May 16, 2005


My apartment is full of shit that isn’t mine. On Sunday, J and Eric dumped what must be 75% of J’s apartment off and now I’m left with more clutter. I’m not complaining, but I’ve realized that I’m too lazy to move any of my stuff to make room for this new crap.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Got up early for brunch at Prune with J, her new beau Eric and their friend Emily. This was my first time meeting Emily and my second time meeting Eric. Emily is a very funny and quick witted young woman, who just graduated from NYU Law. Eric, who came into my restaurant with J last night, is a tall and erudite man and rising 2L. (His voice reminds me of Alexander Payne.) He and J seem like an odd combination at first, but it’s quite obvious from my two encounters that there is true affection between the two of them. And he makes her laugh. A good thing in my book. My only concern about him is that he’s a picky eater. Now any other thing I think I can look past, but this is mildly upsetting to me. What he chose to be finicky about he defended with reason. For example, certain cheeses are technically mold or mushrooms are fungus. These are true statements but here’s the thing: he’s a guy. I mean, being fussy about food as a guy just doesn’t sit right with me. I can’t explain it. A persnickety woman doesn’t bother me as much. Maybe because I’ve dealt with more of them and half expect it. But a guy...I don’t know.

Speaking of food, after careful deliberation, I decided who would be my date for the dinner at Per Se--Kerry. I worked with her at Per Se, and have maintained a wonderful friendship despite seeing her so infrequently. She knows Zion and loves food. That and I thought she’d really appreciate it and frankly deserves it--girl works more than anyone I know. But before I got to ask her, Zion calls me. It has dawned on him that that the girl he’s taking is too much trouble--she’s a vegetarian--so it’ll just be the two of us. So no date, which is good in a way. Now I don’t have to disappoint anyone.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I’m on the phone with Zion. He’s off of work out at the French Laundry and I’m laying in bed thinking about the sheer amount of shit I have going on later today. His call is a welcome distraction.
“So you know I changed my trip?”
He’s coming back to New York in about a week.
“No you didn’t mention it.”
“Yeah I’ll be coming in during the middle of the week.”
“Anyway, I’m eating at Per Se either Tuesday or Wednesday night and I was wondering if you’d like to join me.”
“What’s wrong?”
“That’s huge. I’m really touched.”
“I’m bringing this girl Jackie and you could bring someone if you’d like.”
Let me explain something to my readers. Going to Per Se for dinner is the hottest ticket in New York City, dare I say the world. It will be until the day it closes. It was just named last week the Best New Restaurant in the Country by the James Beard Foundation. For Zion to offer me and a guest an opportunity to eat there is absurd. Beyond that, Zion is among the French Laundry/Per Se’s finest and most loyal employees. He’s going to be hooked up--VIP tasting menu (well over 20 courses) and matched wines for every course. And then it dawns on me. I don’t have that kind of money to spend. Before I can break the bad news, Zion drops some science on me.
“Oh and we won’t have to pay for wine and the food will be half off.”
My mouth fell to the ground.
“Well yes. Of course. I’d love to go. I’m really honored that you’d ask me. And I’ll bring someone.”
“Good. Dinner for four at Per Se.”
Okay so now the dilemma. Who do I bring? Normally I’d ask Molly, but we haven’t talked in over a week and I just don’t see her new beau being down with that. If J were in town I’d ask her. But she’s not. Should I consider someone who knows Zion? How about Kerry? She works at Per Se and is one of my closest friends. But something keeps creeping into my mind and it’s this: If ever there was a “Guaranteed To Get You Laid” date this is it. Shouldn’t I spend it on a girl I really like? Am I wrong here?

Friday, May 13, 2005

They Say It's Your Birthday

Happy birthday J!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Look At That

I’ve been watching the same scene over and over for what must be days. It isn’t out of the question that I watch one scene or movie several times in a row. Sometimes I’m in search of inspiration. Other times I’m researching for something I’m writing. But lately, I find myself in the mood just to watch something beautiful. My mind wanders. How’d they do that? What was it like that day to shoot this scene? My mother will see something that leaves her awestruck and say outloud, “Look at that.” That’s all I can hear when I watch something that blows my hair back. In any case, the scene in question is my favorite opening scene in all of film. It isn’t something flashy or technically amazing. Instead it’s just a simple and beautiful moment--the first kiss between two people. If you haven’t seen ALL THE REAL GIRLS you’re missing out.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wish List

There I am at my coffee klatch, with my café mocha and valrhona chocolate doughnut, writing down an absurd list. My “What I Want In A Woman” list. It's an impossible list. I'd be more likely to create a woman with all of these things than to find one. But here for your reading pleasure is what I wrote. (It’s a working list.)

-Mary-Louise Parker’s voice
-girl with enough self respect to look at herself in the mirror before leaving her apartment
-not above licking off a dollop of sauce that has fallen on her shirt
-effortless humor
-a touch of self-deprecation
-low maintenance
-respects the importance of punctuality
-drinks but doesn’t “drink”
-seen enough film to be conversant with me
-willing to make fun of me privately and defend me publicly
-not threatened by my many female friends
-not weirded out by the fact that I have many female friends
-a great laugh
-a general lack of neediness
-gives great phone
-a healthy appetite
-Zooey Deschanel’s body

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Hasn’t happened yet. The heat that is. And I don’t have an air conditioner. Last summer, I bought the largest air conditioner I could find and blasted it every single day. At the end of the summer, I returned the air conditioner in its original packaging to where I purchased it and they refunded all my money. So essentially I paid for some more electricity and comfort. Those were the days.

Monday, May 09, 2005

A Guy Thing

I’m sick today. My ears hurt and I’m achy all over. I have a sneaking suspicion of lead poisoning from my apartment and if I die anytime soon, I request an autopsy.

Derek called today to announce a stoppage to our friendship. I didn’t fight him. A man makes choices and should stand by them. I’m sure that we’ll be friends again at some point, but not for a while. He knows that my phone is always on and he can always call me for anything.

In other news, Zion called me. Zion, my former co-worker and would-be roommate, who was among my closest friends up until he flaked on moving to New York and didn’t inform me of his decision. For whatever reason, he thought that he could just start talking to me again after over six months of silence. He knew how to get me though. He said this, “I miss my friend.” And I don’t know if the Derek thing played any part of my response, but I just sat there and kind of forgave him. And I’m still pissed at this guy.

But I’ve come to this conclusion. Friendship between two men is different than any other. It doesn’t require as much talking as one that involves women, but loyalty is paramount to it. It’s unlike anything else out there.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Please Stop Talking So Loud

I did something stupid last night. I got drunk. Now when I say that, I mean fall-down-on-the-floor-room-spinning sort of drunk. I can't remember parts of my evening. And for the first time in my life, I made out with a female co-worker I barely know (and what I do know I don’t like). In my defense, she started it (she grabbed my hand and placed it…well let’s not go there shall we?) and was far more sober than I. Hopefully she’ll forget by our next shift together.

A note about drinking. A couple beers I’m good. Half a bottle of wine still good. But those things together? Not so good anymore.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Coffee Help

This afternoon, I went to my preferred coffeehouse. I saw my favorite barista with whom I had developed a slight crush. Turns out that she’s gay and I’m still a little sad about that. While I’m there waiting for my mocha, there’s this woman who has the largest coffee order I’ve ever seen at JOE walking out the door. Ever seen those trays that you can put four drinks in (you know what I’m talking about if you’ve been in a McDonald’s in your life)? Well she had three. Twelve drinks in total. And no one was helping her. So I opened the door and offered to walk her to where was going, because there was a good chance that she’d drop some or all of her order. She welcomed my help and we chit-chatted all the way to her restaurant (this vegan place that Molly likes). As we walk in everyone working there started laughing. (I think because no one knows me.) I dropped off my tray and then I just left. Without leaving my name or getting hers. It’s like my mind shorted. I think this girl is cute, what the hell’s wrong with me?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I Call Him Day

I’m walking down 10th St. today with my co-worker Jackie and I see him walking the other way. I stop our conversation.
“Do you see him?”
Daniel Day-Lewis. He’s on the other side of the street walking the other way.”
“That’s not him.”
“A dollar says that is him.”
“I’ll do you one better. I’ll buy you a doughnut if it is.”
“You’re on.”
I run across the street.
“Excuse me sir!”
This man with a Grizzly Adams beard turns around. It’s him. My heart skipped a beat. I start my usual nervous talky thing that happens when surrounded by people I admire.
“I’m sorry to bother you but I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re wonderful. A truly fantastic actor.”
“Thank you.” He shakes my hand.
“Oh and I wanted to tell you that your wife is incredible as well.”
“That’s very kind of you to say. You know you could tell her yourself. She’s just down the way sitting on the stoop.”
“Yes sir. Anyway, good luck with your career, not that you need it.”
“Thank you.”
And then I waltzed over to Jackie.
“I guess I owe you a doughnut.”
And she did. And I ate it. My Victory Doughnut. And it was delicious.

Monday, May 02, 2005


So I’ve decided not to take the GM/Wine Director job at my restaurant. Even though I won’t take it, I will most likely take some of the responsibility for a nominal weekly fee. The idea of adding 30 extra hours to my week holed up in a small restaurant just doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather be writing and working on my film career. Which brings me to an announcement: before I leave for LA in August 2006, I will write four full-length scripts. Four projects that I want to direct myself and hopefully will get my foot in the door with some people out in Hollywood.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

What I'm Listening To

Two new CDs have entered my life this past week: Songs for Silverman by Ben Folds and Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple. Mr. Folds is my favorite musician on the planet. He's a genius. This album is by far his most personal album and a joy to listen to. Ms. Apple's album is one that has been unreleased by Sony (for reasons beyond understanding), but a friend passed me a copy of the CD which has been surfacing all over the Internet. Every track is brilliant. Just beautiful. Her best work to date. If you want a copy just send me your address. I'll mail you a copy.