Friday, September 30, 2005

Escape

My fire escape is incredible. Have I written about this? Maybe I have but I don’t care. There’s something about sitting out there with nothing but my thoughts. New York doesn’t exist there. I don’t hear any of the hubbub that one normally associates with the city. It’s peaceful. You know?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

What I'm Listening To

My current playlist:
Angeles by Elliott Smith
Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra
Beautiful Child by Rufus Wainwright
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
Gone for Good by The Shins
Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
July, July! By The Decemberists
Karma Police by Radiohead
Landed (Strings Version) by Ben Folds
Listen to Your Heart by Roxette
Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
My Father’s Gun by Elton John
Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine
The Scientist by Coldplay
The Sound of Settling by Death Cab For Cutie
Your Little Hoodrat Friend by The Hold Steady

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Movie Night

One of the things that J and I wanted to do when we moved in together was institute Movie Night. Tonight was the first one. Originally the idea was that one roommate would pick the movie and the other would get the food. First up, me on snacks and she would choose the film. This idea was abandoned a few minutes after 6, when J called to ask if we could switch. I would have gladly swapped roles, but had already gotten snacks. I volunteered to pick a movie, and the idea then changed to one person in charge of the entire evening. So I picked Love in the Afternoon. It’s a fantastic film and I’ve been itching to see a Billy Wilder film for a couple weeks…maybe it’s just my way of fluffing myself for Elizabethtown.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My Mannying Career Began Today

Today I hung out with John, his wife Suzanne and their three kids. There’s the seven-year-old twins (one looks like Goldilocks, the other Dennis the Menace) and the one year old that’s as big as a tank. We ate Mexican food and had margaritas while talking about the childrens’ modeling careers. Afterwards the young girl twin took my hand and dragged all of us to an ice cream place around the corner from where I live. On the way home, I was given the responsibility of taking care of the smallest one while the rest of the family went shopping at a pet store. I fed the baby ice cream while talking to him like an adult. We bonded.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mrs. Mendes


Rarely does advertising strike me but I was flipping through a magazine and I stopped at this above picture. I'm a fan of Ms. Winslet's work and have been for quite some time, but she has always made it look so effortless. This photo proves that actors, even of her stature and intelligence, work at it.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Notes on Dating

I’m so over dating. When I was young, I thought dating would be fun. And sometimes it is—the getting to know each other, telling self-deprecating stories for the first time and the occasional sex act. The entire process though, turns out to take too much time and energy. I’d like to just be in a committed relationship with someone I don’t have to work at caring about. Caring about someone should come easily while the rest is work. If anyone tells you different, they’ve never had a relationship that’s lasted longer than two months. Love isn’t enough. It’s work. A truly great long lasting relationship takes work.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not love is a choice. Do we really just fall in love with someone? A fated romance? Or is it a choice? Do you choose to give someone your heart? And if that’s the case, can you make someone choose you? I should do an experiment.

Oh so I asked J this yesterday and I’d like the peanut gallery to chime in. What are your thoughts of a date that begins at a thrift store and you decide to dress each other for the evening? Does that sound appealing?

A married couple I know are talking about having a baby. Is it odd that I keep thinking that this shouldn’t be decided by committee? It happens or it doesn’t happen, but children shouldn’t be a decision made over breakfast. How does that conversation go?
“I’d like to have a baby.”
“No.”
“Oh come on. Please.”
“Alright.”
It just seems absurd to me.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Land Dog's Getting Hitched

Margo, one of my best friends and better angels, is getting married. She announced this to me on the phone earlier today. Tentative wedding date is July 8th and I’m totally psyched. Mark, her fiancé, asked her on a ferry. She said yes, as we all knew she would. They are the most stable couple I know. He’s her equal. When one sees them together, it makes sense. I couldn’t be happier for them.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Unpack My Shit

J would like me to unpack. I would like to unpack. But here’s the thing: I can’t. Everything in my room is in boxes. And there are no closets, so I can’t remove the boxes of clothes out because there’s nowhere to put the clothes. I could take them out of the boxes, but I’d have to put them right back. And that pretty much goes for the entire room. Yes it’s a mess and I would like it to not be, but until I put together enough scratch to buy some shit from the Container Store I’ll be continuing to live this way.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Always Wanted To Be Pat Riley

John asks me to have coffee today. We talk about my middling love life and the food industry. And then John asks me a question.
“Suzanne (his wife) has volunteered me to be the twins’ basketball teams’ coach. (They have the world’s cutest boy-girl twins.) And I was thinking that I’d need an assistant coach. What are your thoughts?”
I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. I, of course, say yes. I can’t wait. Coaching seven year olds in basketball is going to be an experience to behold. I’ve had some experience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Awkweird

I’m talking to Susie at the coffeehouse. I take an extended break in conversation to announce that I’m leaving. I wave goodbye to the manager, who tilts her head and smiles.
“Wait for me. I’ll walk you out.”
Taken aback, I agree. I stand there awkwardly as she finishes the coffee-related matter she’s attending to. Eventually we do walk out together and I escort her to the subway. The conversation is light and flirty. I’ve always had a small crush on her, although she’s too much like me—direct and forceful. She’d ultimately dominate me in any situation, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It wouldn’t work, despite the natural fascination with each other.
Wait I forgot to mention something. Part of the reason for taking her to the subway was that Chris Monaco and I were to have lunch and he and I were meeting at the subway station that I was taking her to. She and I stand there and talk for a while when Chris emerges from the bowels of the subway. I introduce them to each other and after a couple minutes of that, Laura, the girl I have an ever-growing crush on walks up out of the same entrance way. Now I’ve got three people, who have no connection to each other than me, standing together on a New York sidewalk. Talk about awkward.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

floorsleepweddingportlandwriting

This is what my life has come to. Last night I fell asleep watching cable television on the floor. Why didn’t I just get up and go to bed? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I was reminded of this one scene from Love Liza. If you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about.

I’m so thoroughly psyched to be going away in October. I forgot to mention in my previous blog entry that I am part of the wedding party. I’ve been in two weddings in as many years. I’m thinking about making a policy that I shouldn’t attend weddings unless I’m in the bridal party. Of course, then you’ve got people like Tosha whom I haven’t seen in ages making me part of the wedding and now I’m obligated to go even though I’ve never met anyone in her family.

In related marriage news, Shannon and Nick have decided to give it another go. I have no specifics, but am ecstatic about this.

As far as Portland is concerned, I’m excited about seeing Margo and Nick. I can imagine Margo and me drinking wine until the wee hours getting increasingly loud and obnoxious. I can see Nick and I drinking bad coffee and pie until dawn, furiously writing.

Writing is about routine. There’s discipline that’s necessary. Truly great writers don’t wait for inspiration to strike them. They write and write and write, even through the bad times. You’re allowed to suck. No one tells you that. I wish more of my teachers would have told me that it’s okay to fail. It’s how you deal with any failure that defines you.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Trippin'/Go Time

A friend of mine is getting married and I’m going. I booked the flight today. And then I decided to extend the trip and visit Nick and Margo for the first time. So in mid-October I’ll be in Louisville, KY--pronounced Loo-vul--attending a wedding where I’ll only know one person (the bride) and then go to Portland, OR for seven days. Should be a blast.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Burnt Out

I’m burnt out. I think I’ve hit my saturation point with this industry. I knew it would happen sooner or later. It’s not what I want to do with my life.
So now I’ve returned to the restaurant I left a few months back so that I can make all my tips under the table and thus also collect my unemployment. The restaurant is an awful place. Terribly run and staffed by inexperienced and unmotivated people. And the one thing you learn in this business is that you can’t teach someone to care. It’s a situation that I knew I’d hate. But that’s by design. Now I come home and write. I write with an immediacy that I’ve never felt before and I kinda like that.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Christmas

I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past two days. I know it’s not in vogue to listen to seasonal music when it isn’t the appropriate season but I don’t care. I’m starting early. Christmas can be in your heart all year long. I’m sure I read that once somewhere. And I for one am not going to be ashamed of it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Stuff

Last night I saw The Notebook. It’s a movie my roommate loves and I’m not sure why. Apparently, it’s acceptable to believe that two people in love and at the end of their lives would decide mutually to die and then do just that. It’s a leap of logic I am not willing to take but apparently a lot of other people are more than happy to partake in.
No matter how bad a film is, I’ve decided to glean at least one thing from it. Last night I got this idea to do a film that is a romantic comedy where the woman falls in love with two men at different points of her life and then is given a true choice about who to be with. It doesn’t sound that different from anything that’s been done in the genre, but I’ve never seen a woman fall for two guys in the same movie. It’s been attempted, but I’ve never seen it be successful. It can be done. At least I think it can be done.

This morning I watched Renaissance, my only feature film to date. I have so many problems with it, but today I was able to let go of all of those issues and see it for what it is—my first feature. And for the first time I’ve accepted that.

What happened to me? Rewind to that time in my life and I’m ambitious and sure that I’d make it in the business. Now my writing partner lives across the country, my life seems a mess and my writing is scattered and choppy. What happened? Did I lose my ability to write? Or was it my desire that went by the wayside? And how do I recapture that?

Why am I tired all the time? I used to have all the energy in the world. And now I struggle to get up in the morning. I’m not depressed.

Maybe I’m a little depressed. The whole girl situation has blown up. We had yet another DTR. Touching is limited to the non-sexual and I’m not allowed to initiate. I’ve been put in the penalty box for some ungodly reason and I accepted that. Good for her that she could get me to agree to that. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have, but something about her eyes and the timbre of her voice makes me conciliatory. She obviously has the upper hand. Control. The person who cares less about the relationship is in control of it. I learned that on the Renaissance set. How come I haven’t learned it? Because I’m an idiot. What makes the lessons of the heart the hardest to learn? Does anyone have an answer to that?

I’m not like other guys.

Friday, September 02, 2005

DTR

It was while J was helping me with my brand new cufflinks, when I realized just how much hung in the balance of the date I was about to go on with the girl. I started to freak out a little bit.
The plan was simple enough. Go to The Modern (a restaurant that overlooks the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art), see the play The Pillowman (my favorite on Broadway) and then have drinks at a bar called APT, which is actually located in an apartment. (Really.)
She was unaware of any of it. All she knew was that I was taking her out on a belated birthday adventure. (I even promised a possible special guest star.) I used that word—“adventure”—because I didn’t want to use date until she used it. It was important that she introduce the word “date” into conversation, because then I could trap her in a word play.
I know what you’re thinking. Why have I spent so much time wrapped up with a woman clearly a little screwy and confused albeit charming? I don’t know. My better angels (aka J, Margo, Rebecca) tried to dissuade me from this course of action, but I didn’t listen. I can’t explain why.
So now she has shown up at the apartment, with J’s parents and J, quietly judging her. She’s late. She’s wearing heels and a dress. It’s a blur.
“Hello. Hello. Sorry I’m late. Yeah well. I’m sorry. This is J’s parents and J, my roommate. Nice to meet you. What time will you have Bernard home by? 9:00!” We all laugh.
First food. The restaurant is beautiful, but there was a genuine sense of cognitive dissonance for me. The menu and wine list features nothing truly innovative or daring. Solid, but I expected something more out of a place called The Modern. The company made up for any flaws. Conversation was light and flirty. Furtive glances coupled with mild innuendo. To onlookers we were on a date.
Afterwards, I took her hand and walked to the theatre. There was a moment when I took an intentional wrong turn past the show Doubt and her palms got all sweaty. She’s been dying to go see it, mainly to see Cherry Jones, one of her idols. I fully intended to take her that night, but Pillowman recently announced a closing date that was quickly approaching, so I left Doubt for a future date. We walked past the theatre showing Doubt and her heart must have skipped a few beats. I was putting her through an emotional ringer. Eventually we walked up to the theatre showing Pillowman and she hugged me. This was a show she desperately wanted to see and I wanted to see it again before it closed, so we both won. Throughout the entire play, we canoodled.
Time for a little tangent. Her father is a character actor, who makes a living out of it. And one of the actors on stage at the play (aka the special guest star) was someone who is friends with her father. I’ve sort of befriended the fellow on stage as well. So our plan afterwards was to go up to him and briefly talk to him.
And that’s exactly what we did. He was very pleasant and warm to the girl when her father’s name came up, even going as far as holding a real conversation with us. When attention turned to me, he actually remembered who I was.
Next up was drinks. I’ve never been to APT. And I had, for whatever reason, forgotten that it was a Friday night. It was a zoo in the area where APT was and we couldn’t exactly locate it. So we jumped a cab and went back to my apartment. We sat on the fire escape, and had yet another DTR—Determine The Relationship. The last time we had one it ended with me leaving abruptly. I was optimistic that we would end the evening on better terms.
“So.”
“Yes.”
“Let’s talk about my reservations.”
“Let’s.”
“I think we’re just going to be friends.”
“Hmm.”
“I mean, I like you. I do. But-“
“-Wait. So let me get this straight. You’re predicting that we’re just going to be friends, even though clearly there’s something between us that’s more than that.”
“Well yes.”
“That doesn’t seem right. Don’t you think it would be better if we’d explore those feelings and then go from there?”
“That seems reasonable.”
“I’m not saying we have to exclusively be anything. What I am saying is that I promise not to assume that we’re a thing, if you promise to tell me that you’re open to the possibility of this being something more than just friends. If it ends up that way that’s fine, but we owe it to ourselves to explore that.”
“No you’re right.”
And that’s where I’ll stop with the events of the evening because a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Moving Day

Later today I'll be moving into my new apartment in the Village. It's 1:34 in the morning and I'm going to start packing soon. I've started already. That is, if you consider re-creating all the boxes that I had to haul from NYU, starting. I don't have that much stuff. Really I don't. Every time I move, I throw more and more stuff away, just so that I won't have to bring it with me to the next place. We'll see if that holds up.

Today, before I got the majority of boxes in my apartment, I saw the girl at the coffeehouse. I was in a goofy mood.
"Did you get my e-mail?"
She shakes her head.
"No."
"I wrote you last night."
"I didn't check my e-mail yet today."
"You want me to just tell you what I wrote, being I'm right here and all?"
She slyly grins.
"Sure."
"'Dinner Friday? Thoughts?' That was it. It was a short e-mail."
She laughs. I love her laugh.
"I'd love to have dinner with you. But I have reservations."
"Reservations?"
"Well, I guess, since it's dinner, one of us should make reservations, but I have other reservations."
"Okay."
I know where this is going. And for some reason, I've ignored all the common sense and sage advice that all my friends have dispensed and asked this woman out again. But part of me just doesn't care. Maybe I'm a fool.
"I want you in my life as a friend."
God I hate to hear that sentiment. Guys like me hear that shit all the time. I for one, am tired of it.
"Uh huh."
"I want to be clear with you before this goes any further."
This seems like covered territory. And my reaction to this, was to play into it. I don't know what got into me.
"Listen, we'll have a great time. I know exactly what we'll be doing."
I didn't. I was just testing her fortitude on the situation.
"Are you trying to take me out on a date?!" She said this with equal parts mock surprise and scolding.
"Whoa whoa whoa. Listen lady. I just want to go to dinner. If you want to call this a 'date' that's your trip."
She laughed, like she always does when I'm being totally adorable and winning.
I continue. "You'll get an e-mail this evening as to the details for Friday night." And then I left.