Sunday, October 23, 2005

Best Vacation Ever

You know how most vacations you come back home more tired than when you left for the vacation? Last week was the best vacation I’ve ever had in my life, even trumping any number of Disney World family vacations and my freshman college sojourn to Savannah, Georgia. And for the first time a vacation has left me feeling invigorated instead of exhausted.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, I went to Portland, Oregon. It’s an amazing place for many reasons, not the least of which is that it is the home of Margo and Nick--my two closest friends. I had never been and it’s everything I was told and more. The city is beautiful and easy to maneuver around (I never opened a map the entire time there, even though I drove almost everywhere).

Last week, also was my first week of truly getting to know Mark (Margo’s fiancé). Even with all of Margo’s attention to detail, I felt I didn’t know him that well. She’s gonzo in love with him and I’ve been thinking (as any good friend naturally would do), “Is he cool enough for my friend?” A week gone I am able to say that not only is he everything that was hyped to me, he's more. Funny and generous in spirit, he is by far and away my favorite spouse of any of my friends. I even got to a place where I was able to let him give me a massage, which was a first for me. (He's going to school for it, so this isn't an extraordinarily weird happening.)

And I'm ready to declare that The Albina Press is the best coffeehouse in the city. It’s got Wi-Fi and a spread out room (both of which my NYC coffeehouse lacks).

I usually spend my NYC experience hungry but I was on vacation and I had heard Portland had wonderful places to eat. Margo took me to Zell’s for breakfast (which is the best in the city) and Nick took me another morning to the Tin Shed, which I like for ambiance and the self-serve coffee. For dinner, I loved Noble Rot, ate a couple times at Echo, brunch was okay at Gotham Tavern and I had lunch at Wildwood (which should have been better). But I ate like a king while I was there, in a constant state of fullness.

One night Margo, in spite of feeling under the weather God bless her heart, took me to a theatre pub, which is what it sounds like. At the concession stand, among your options are beer and pizza. And when you sit down in your theatre, there’s shelving so you can place your food and drink in front of you while you enjoy the movie. We saw Junebug, which was my second time seeing it. A gem of a film. And it was nice to hear Margo’s lovely laugh while watching. Girl’s got a wicked sense of humor.

I was there long enough to even take a day trip to see the Pacific Ocean. It’s a short drive (about an hour and a half), but worth it to see the indigenous trees and a misted beach. Truly breathtaking. (Random thought: Van Morrison is the best music to take a drive to.)

Oh Nick and I have begun writing a wonderful romantic comedy. It’s smart and is designed to reinvent the genre. Time to start a permanent revolution.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that, “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” And for the first time I think I get what that means. I have never laughed as much as I did this past week. And it meant more to me that I was able to share that with Nick, Shannon, Mark and Margo. Thank you so much you guys.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Vay-Kay

I'm in Portland, Oregon visiting NjP (and Shannon) and Margo (and Mark). I've been here for two days and already I've lost track of what I've done. It's been an intense boot camp in Portland culture. So far so good. (This place is among the most beautiful places I've ever been. Sen-fucking-sational.)
A couple days ago, I did stop for a day in Louisville, Kentucky for a wedding. My friend Tosha (whom I lovingly refer to as T-Money) got married to a young man named Ryan. I was in the wedding as one of the five groomsmen. This is notable because I hadn't met Ryan until a couple hours before the wedding. Turns out he's a super nice guy who treats Tosha and their 10 month old daughter Emma with nothing but love. It was also my first experience with Emma, who is a delightful child. Constantly smiling and at that stage where she's attempting to walk, she is a funny and acutely aware little girl. And she took to me quickly. Kids under a year are a great audience. They are easily amused and I am more than willing to be goofy for effect. Killer combination.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Not What You Think

I slept with Liz. The first night, she changed positions so many times that I couldn’t put together more than fifteen minutes of sleep. The second night, after an intense night of drinking and rooftop photography, she laid fairly still and let me sleep, either out of complete exhaustion or inability to flail her appendages at regular and inopportune intervals. There was nothing sexual about the situation, even though we held each other with warmth and tenderness. It’s nice to be held, don’t let anyone tell you different.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Liz

Let me ask you: If you had to guess how much fun you would have with someone you had met briefly several years ago, what would be you venture to guess? Not very much I would presume. And that’s what I thought. But my time with Liz has been amazing. Yesterday we spent it looking at art in the Brooklyn Museum, watching television and napping. The day before we went clothes shopping near Union Square. And all throughout it’s been fun and comfortable. I feel like I’ve known her my whole life. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such a good time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fuck you I like run-on sentences

So Liz, Mandy’s friend who is staying at my apartment for a couple days, and I are at Momofuku (my favorite noodle shop) today and none other than Martha Stewart walks in to eat lunch. Only in New York City.

PS--Also saw Darren Jessee (of Ben Folds Five fame) in J. Crew today with Liz. Shook his hands and everything.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Oh yeah...

Watched all four films and am exhausted. My favorite film of the four was My Wife Is an Actress. Just a wonderful little French film that I’m surprised hasn’t been made into a mediocre American film. Oh and I was able to squeeze time with Rebekah as well. Went to Corner Bistro (her first time) and then got food for tomorrow night’s Movie Night.
Lastly, I must mention that only a block away from my apartment I shook hands with one of my comedy idols—-Jon Stewart. Thought I should mention that.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sweater Weather

The leaves are turning and the air is brisk; it’s sweater weather here in New York. This is my favorite time of year in New York. Women wear clothes that force men to wonder, “What the hell is under there?” We really want to know.

And instead of spending it outside with a cup of mocha I’m spending the day inside watching four movies that I’ve recorded on our DVR—Scarecrow, Blood Simple, My Wife Is an Actress and Harold and Maude. I like to keep up on my recordings because I’d rather not clutter up the DVR’s memory. That’s just me. That’s how I roll.

I will step out later with my friend Rebekah, who has been gone for almost a month while tending to family related illness in California. She returned yesterday and we’re seeing each other today. Rebekah has become one of my closest friends in New York. She’s the little sister I’ve always wanted. In many ways she reminds me of Mandy, but with hair and without the absurd excess of energy (and she’s taller). When she’s here, I’m balanced. My world makes more sense. I can’t explain it.

PS—I didn’t have the date yesterday. Turns out she had to work. Which is fine by me. Really.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Looking Up

So things are looking up. My unemployment is no longer being withheld after a minor dispute between myself and my former employer. Work at my current restaurant is awful but in that “Oh I can’t believe it’s this bad” sort of way. My spirits have been buoyed by my flexible schedule, meager income and morbid curiosity in all things awful.

Also I got a date tomorrow. Most likely. It all depends on if she doesn’t have to work. If she doesn’t, then we’re off to see Proof. I love the play and it’s the one Broadway production that I wish I had seen in my life. But alas my Mary-Louise Parker fixation must be sated in other ways. In any case, they made a movie that goes against some of the given circumstances that are established in the play. And for that I cannot forgive the filmmakers. It’s a perfect play. Perfect. You don’t fuck with that.

And then there’s also my impending trip to Portland this upcoming weekend. There’s the brief sojourn to Louisville for T-Money’s wedding but then off to Portland I go. Margo, Shandar and Nick all think I’ll want to move to their fair city after this trip.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bravery in Stillness

A few weeks ago, when I saw David Gordon Green present two films (Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Jeremiah Johnson) from his favorite era of film—the 70s, he noted that, “no one makes films like this anymore.” Only recently have I noticed what he means. Unlike today’s films, there is a quietness to their pacing. Shots linger longer than they would today and as a result things unfold in front of your eyes. There’s also a warmness to the way they are shot, with that somewhat overblown look that is so common among them (Godfather, Scarecrow, Mean Streets). But more than anything the thing I’m taking away from them is just how brave a choice it is to be so still in a process that lends itself to being anything but.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Death by DVR

I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately. When I say that I don’t mean, “I’ve been watching a couple hours more than I normally do.” I mean I’ve been staying up to obscene hours watching the premium cable and occasionally falling asleep on the couch. To make matters worse, we have a DVR, which means I can record programs in their entirety, and then watch them at my leisure. This has proven to be my biggest problem. I record so much that I have to watch late at night just to keep up with what I’m recording. The good news is that I’m catching up on films that I’ve always wanted to watch and have never had the opportunity before. My film education is thriving while my sleep pattern suffers.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm probably in the minority but

I prefer…
-Laurel Canyon to High Art
-Made to Swingers
-Almost Famous to Untitled
-Wonder Boys to L.A. Confidential
-Quiz Show to The Shawshank Redemption
-Bottle Rocket to Rushmore
-Wag the Dog to Diner
-Two Weeks Notice to Love Actually
-Next Stop Wonderland to Sleepless in Seattle
-Get Shorty to Men in Black
-City Lights to Modern Times
-The Jerk to Roxanne
-The Godfather Part II to The Godfather
-Donnie Brasco to The Devil’s Advocate
-Manhunter to Red Dragon
-Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb to A Clockwork Orange
-Biloxi Blues to Closer
-Moonlight Mile to Donnie Darko
-The School of Rock to The Good Girl
-The Secret Lives of Dentists to American Beauty
-Unforgiven to Mystic River

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Repaying the Favor

I’m fucking stressed. My former employer has lied about why I left and now my unemployment insurance is in jeopardy. And if that happens, I’m screwed. I need that money to survive. I don’t understand why they lied about my reasons for leaving, but it just upsets me because I worked my ass off for them and they couldn’t repay the favor. I’m confused.