Monday, December 10, 2007

Two blogs for the price of one!!

So, this is two separate entries that I am forcing to coexist in the same space, because I think that the two, when presented back to back, clearly illustrate the dichotomy that is the true nature of my fucked-uppedness. Heartfelt apologies to the young lady who I sort of squashed in the process of coming to certain conclusions about myself, and especially for uttering the phrase “on paper” aloud, to you, the night I caused you to run out of the restaurant and subsequently delete me from your Myspace and write a blog or two about me and how your friends were kind enough to offer to TP my house, as if I were the Vice Principal at Belding High. So yeah, sorry about that. I’ll discuss that one soon. But this is about my feelings and not those of ones I’ve run roughshod upon, be it intentionally or accidentally.


I really wonder about myself sometimes. Is it that I am unwilling to make meaningful contact with other people (close friendships with anyone of either sex fall under this aegis), or am I just unable to actually connect with anyone who isn’t the person I’m concentrating on at the time (in a perhaps not-so-friendly way)?

I moved to the city because I felt alone and unhappy (I’m not a suburban guy, it’s just not in my nature. You can ask my uncle who lives in Chelsea about his hatred for Long Island as well, it just might stem from the same place, although maybe a little to the side), and now, like in a Dan Bern song, I’m in a city of millions, more connected than ever, and I’m still lonely.

I came to this show my friends (well, slightly more than acquaintances, but not exactly my close friends, but hugs abound when we hang out, which granted, has been a lot more infrequent since they left Long Island a few years ago)were playing, instead of going to my usual comedy show because I wanted to see familiar faces that once brought me a casual joy, to remind me of what it feels like when that human contact is made. But after the initial warmth, I’m not sure there’s anything real left there -- nothing presently, anyway. We left Long Island far behind, not just physically through all the miles we each of traveled across this great land, but emotionally and metaphysically -- the new lives, the significant others taken in and let out, new friends and jobs and the whatnot of modern existence. I used to be a part of these lives and vice versa, but now there’s this invisible wall where a common feeling once was...


(written the day after a wonderful night spent reconnecting with completely different friends from back on LI, some on purpose, some accidental, all leading up to my walking home practically skipping (and me a grown-ass man of 34 no less) with a shit-eating grin from ear to ear as Rosanne Cash belts out “Tennessee Flat-Top Box” on my iPod, followed, i shit you not, by Sly & The Family Stone singing “Hot Fun In The Summertime” in December as a chill wind takes the temperature down a notch from already cold -- well played, oh sardonic iPod, well played.)

Sitting in a corner cafĂ© in my adopted home, sipping my mocha cappuccino and reading On The Road - The original Scroll, not focused on anything but, when the Chinese Bootleg DVD Guy (CBDG from here on out) asks me if I want to buy a movie. I absent-mindedly said “No” without consulting myself. That certainly would never happen at the Brown Dog Cafe, where all I ever saw was some group of middle-aged potential pinochle players pretending to be a book club of some sort. I know it was just a cover for them to get to know each other well enough to invite each other to clandestine swingers parties on Avenue K, on the other side of the tracks. Of course, the Brown Dog would also have delicious soup. Since this is but the first stop on my journey, I’ll make do without the soup.

It’s funny, reading this rough draft of On The Road since it’s been so long since I’ve read the published version. At least I can still hear Kerouac’s actual voice in my head as I read, from having listened to the many recordings I once owned, now lost to the Gods of the War of the Sexes, too kindly I gave these up, still wish I’d gone to Buffalo soonthereafter, broken in to take what was rightfully mine. Too much I gave up, none of it did she deserve -- in retrospect -- but so be it, may Jack’s estate benefit from my follies of youth. I wonder how Dr. Sax is these days, if Dr. Sax still is these days. That kitty cat adopted us, and I was sad to have to leave him, packing up that banana yellow volvo deathtrap for my new old life -- pressing a virtual reset button, living and working right where I had left off 4 years later.

But what I meant to say, reading this now, is that I feel like I am On The Road myself, even though I am in one place, but it’s still a foreign place, filled with secrets and mysteries to be discovered and uncovered, so much to see and do and be, I embrace it all -- so excited to just be new, or at least be the same old me in a new context. My wanderlust given room to roam, even though I have a home -- it all feels still like camping out, albeit with an urban feel, perhaps that is the wave of the future knave -- urban camping -- I am testing my mettle, seeking my limits -- how much can I afford to go out, financially and physically, before I become spent and useless, broke and toothless, traversing this vast concrete jungle that is infinite within its finite measurements, with a skip in my step and a song in my heart, so eager for the new, anticipating the old mixed in like the fruit in the bottom of the yogurt that they are now saying is bad for you because of all the sugar -- hate to say I told you so, Yo...plait dead!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Morning 3AM

So, tonight was my first time checking out Kingdom of Heaven at The Creek & The Cave in Long Island City. I gotta say it was totally awesome. I got a little too drunk on Stoudt's Winter Ale (it was very stout-like), plus a free yeungling! I had birthday cake (thanks Melissa's parents!) and talked about Beowulf in 3-D sucking, kind of, while comedians played shuffleboard, just like my crazy grandfather used to (he refered to himself as "Wild Bill").

Anyways, I had some random thoughts that recovering from being drunk at 3am and feeling the need to share retarded non-sequiturs to get them out of my dreams (and into your car)....

Dear argyle socks that I bought at Target two months ago,
Why the fuck do you have a hole in the toe already. I've worn you maybe three times total. Douchesocks! Not only was it weird that my feet were sliding around inside my shoes because of you, but nobody even noticed I was wearing argyle socks. What's the fucking point if nobody sees them??

Dear Times Square Subway Tunnels (specifically, the part near the 7 Train),
You are freaking awesome! In a total of 12 steps (yes, that's a joke, but not far off the actual count), I received a flier for The Church of Scientology AND some kind of kooky apocalyptic Christian propaganda that I can't look at right now because I'll probably get nightmares (thanks, Grandma Flo). I collect all this crazy shit, so thank you! I also recently acquired a free Book of Mormon from a hotel in Reston Virginia! Who knew? So, not only do I have my Jew Bible (I have at least two mini-Torahs, a tiny Tanakah (not the breath spray, silly Gentiles!), two different Haggadahs, the New Union Prayer Book, the Jewish Book of Why (not the Jewish Book of Whine, though), AND the Book of J), but I also have a tiny New Testament that my college roommate Hoka gave me (complete with a dedication to read a certain line!), several Chick tracts, and a book on how Rudy Giuliani is a fascist dictator-type (or the devil himself, whichever..tomayto, tomahto). I have a lot of religious studies to catch up on. I think I'll finish Ulysses first, though.

Dear belt buckles (I knew a guy named John Buckles in Buffalo...any relation?),
Why the fuck do you keep itching my belly and making it red? Stop it, it's not nice!

And one more thing before I call it a night before waking up still drunk in four and a half hours for work...

Did you know you can microwave spaghetti squash? I didn't until the little sticker on the actual squash told me so. Yay, microwavable spaghetti squash - for the drunk and hungry asshole who can't wait 40 minutes to eat squash at 2am while watching an episode of "Smallville" from November 1st (spoiler alert - family reunions make me weepy, and this proved no exception. Finding out that Kira was the one who named Clark Kal-El and that her dad wanted to have sex with Helen Slater (well, can you blame him, she still looks good) was kinda awesome. But I digress).

Just be careful, though. It says to let stand for five minutes. Well, let me tell you something. I let it stand for maybe 7 minutes (I was dealing with some rogue asparagus), and it was still TOO HOT to hold, and I used to hold hot pieces of lead in my hands for work as a kid, so this was way too hot.

Oh and I lied. I just remembered a conversation I had with a co-worker this morning about Dunkin Donuts. He was saying how when your mom (or someone like a mom) makes doughnuts and bread and coffee, etc. that each item has it's own distinctive taste. Yet, he said, everything at Dunking Donuts tastes the same. The coffee, the donuts, the bagels, etc. He said that it's like they are all covered in the same coating (I suggested that it was really all coated in the soul of the "Time To Make The Donuts" guy now that he is dead. At least he can live on in your Bostom Creme! "Time to make the donuts. I AM the donuts!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Random Thoughts Before Bed - 11/26/07

I started writing a piece for a blog earlier today, but it isn't done yet. The four of you probably don't want to read an unfinished thought that spans 3/4 of a page. I mean, if you want, I can post it, but that only means I have to finish it soon so that I can post part two, which if you read the last blog that I didn't finish before posting, you know it doesn't work out so well.Enough about that. I'm going to sleep soon, but before I do, let me just say that I'm in the process of re-watching "Freaks and Geeks" on my roommate's DVDs (my brother used to have the deluxe super-cool version that came in the yearbook with two bonus discs, but someone fucking stole it), and I just have to say again how much I love this show. Yet more proof that people in charge of network TV hate everything I hold dear. It'll be great when I start writing for real. It'll be like Larry David's stint on SNL, where they only aired ONE of his sketches.

So, I was watching the Pilot episode, the one with the school dance. I thought about how I was always into the Lindsay Weir type girl -- smart and hot, but damaged and trying not to be smart. Sort of like the female version of how I viewed myself back then (although I didn't think I was hot...apparently, neither did the girls in my school). I'm pretty sure a cheerleader (and a senior at that!) did like me my junior year, and I know I liked her a lot, but I was too wrapped up in being an outcast listening to The Cure and The Smiths (before it was cool to like these bands outside of a John Hughes film). In particular, I remember a scene from the day we had a field trip to the Vanderbilt Planetarium. I may have even held her hand in the dark. All I remember is that while waiting for a ride home from the school, she looked at me longingly (I did not know what this meant back then) and I shit you not, she said "Why are you so far away?" probably not even realizing that she had just quoted my 7th favorite Cure song at that time ("Perfect Girl", "Pictures of You", "2 Late", "How Beautiful You Are" and "Charlotte Sometimes" outranked it, and "Like Cockatoos" fucking destroyed every other song on the planet to me at the time...O Robert Smith, wherefore art thou?).

I think that at the Planetarium, she and someone else had said that I should raise my hand and ask "Where's the Little Dipper?" or something at a weird moment. I probably could have made out with her if I had. Why was I such a stick in the mud? Did it have anything to do with being a "Mathlete?" Technically, it was called MESH (Math English Science History), and I was always more of a EH-xpert myself (math started eluding me in 7th grade, around the time the Space Shuttle blew up and I got a 49 on an algebra test. I thought my head was gonna explode after that). I never got to dance with her. Not like Sam danced with Cindy to "Come Sail Away." In fact, I'm pretty sure that any girl I tried to dance with turned her back to me as soon as I came near them.Wow, I have to be awake in 5 hours. Awesome!Oh, and in the one in 100, 000, 000 chance that you're reading this, Linda Cardellini, stop by and say hello.

Jonathan in Williamsburg and Margot At The Wedding

So far, I have lived in Williamsburg for three full weeks (this is my fourth week), and aside from having to stand most of the time for my entire ride on the L and A/C/E trains to get to and from work, it isn’t all that bad. I’m still getting my city legs, as it were. I mean, I love walking and it was one of the primary reasons I wanted to move out of the sticks (standup comedy, socializing and career options being the others), but I’m still adjusting to walking all the time again. Mind you, I’m no slouch. For shits and giggles last weekend, I walked from my apartment to Chinatown, crossing the Williamsburg Bridge in the process. It took me about 40 minutes, all told (I think I got where I was going in the same amount of time I would have had I taken the J train).

I’ve had a blast so far, having caught up with some friends from college that I haven’t seen in excess of a decade, and catching up with close friends I’ve missed since their own moves westward. Three full weeks and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to stop into a cafe for a bit to write down some thoughts electronically. Of course, most of what I was thinking I would type out is totally gone from my memory banks. Other things are too fresh to post now. In due time, there will be more stories. All just a part of life in the big city.

I’ve been going back and forth to Long Island on the weekends to pack up more and more of my crap. I am not into material possessions, as it were, but I AM a record collector. This puts me in kind of a quandary. I want to own less things, but all I own are records and CDs and tapes (well, and books and DVDs, to be fair, but if I had a smaller CD collection, like say, more normal people, it wouldn’t be an issue), and I am concerned that my furniture won’t fit in my bedroom in my apartment (although my bedroom is bigger than my previous occupancy, a quaint summer cottage on the water deep in suburbia that I lived in year-round, there was a living room and a front porch where all my CDs seemed to reside, all over everything). Mostly, I just want to have my bed and my TV in my room. And my other chair. I’ve been waiting for my other roommate to get back from tour to move the bigger items, because he has a van. I think he has returned from tour, but I haven’t seen him yet. I hope we at least stay in this place for a little while. Hauling all my belongings up three flights of stairs ought to last me awhile. Especially considering that I haven’t moved really in nearly seven years (I hardly count moving across the driveway, although my brother still managed to drop one of my speakers, breaking the peg that fastens the grille to the body of the speaker).

I made pretty good use of being on Long Island for the extended holiday weekend, though. On Thanksgiving, I saw “Margot At The Wedding” AND “The Giant Claw!” First off, I will preface my comments on “Margot” with the disclosure that I am a HUGE fan of Noah Baumbach, going back to several years ago when IFC would show “Kicking and Screaming” (not the Will Ferrell vehicle about kids playing soccer) in regular rotation, all because I heard that Dean Wareham did the music for his film “Mr. Jealousy.” As a big fan of Galaxie 500 and Luna, I knew it had to be good. Oh, and it was. Needless to say, I am a fan of Whit Stillman’s movies, as well. That whole Upper West Side intelligentsia thing that I had sort of mythologized and romanticized when I was a youngster (I envied my Uncle as I helped him move into his Chelsea co-op, imagining how amazing it must be to work and live in the center of the city).

Anyways, I had high expectations for “Margot” based on previous Baumbach excursions. I had heard some negative rumblings, but I held them in check until I could see for myself. First of all, let me say some nice things about the film. Jack Black was fantastic. He gets to show a serious, sensitive side that we should get to see more. Jennifer Jason Leigh is always wonderful, and her turn as Pauline is no exception. The actors playing the teenagers are superb as well. Unfortunately for all other parties involved, Nicole Kidman can’t even muster up enough emotion to portray a cold, neurotic bitch. Margot is a role that seems written for Parker Posey. Granted, that was probably what everyone would expect her to play, but I think the film would have been helped considerably by that casting choice. I mean, the film is a character study (it certainly isn’t an exercise in plot writing), so why bother employing an actor who can’t show depth? Margot is a complex woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She should vacillate between barbed insults and overly prodding suggestions and sheer lunacy. Ms. Kidman doesn’t really do this character justice.

What’s funny to me is that while I enjoyed watching this film, and I enjoyed a lot of the dialogue and pithy barbs tossed at a steady stream to whomever is in the room with whichever character opens his or her mouth, I was disappointed with the way it ended. The reason this is funny us because I am a big fan of Raymond Carver’s short stories, which are generally just snapshots of characters’ lives. They rarely start at the beginning or have a real end. Carver tended to fill in the colors, almost like a still-life with words. I love his approach. Yet, apply this approach to this film, and it left me perturbed. Is that a double-standard? Having said that, I would like to watch this again, and not just because Jennifer Jason Leigh gives the camera a little something something in one scene.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Blog Parts

blog parts 5/23/07

Dear Giant Ants,
Please stop hanging around in my bathroom, especially when I am sitting on the toilet. It is NOT cool, seriously. Climbing on my ass while i'm trying to take a poop is just crossing the line. It really eeks me out. Did I mention I found a can of RAID?



Ever have that dream where you're at a kind of party with Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd and you meet them and start hanging out, having a good time and whatnot, and then sometime after that, you're living in a gas station in a desert with your mom? And then your grandma comes to visit and the first thing she does is break your brand new acoustic guitar because it freaked her out? And then you find your backup guitar and it's covered in three different kinds of tape -- clear packing, electrical and duct? And then you realize you're going to be late for work.

So, you walk into this big building and there's yoga instruction going on, but you forgot your coffee in the guitar-mutilation mayhem, so you go down the escalator to the Koffee R Us or whatever, and Seth Rogen is there, and he's getting a coffee, too. So, you're palling around, the hostess is asking him if he knows anyone on "the inside" who can help her with her acting career, and he's all like "yeah, no, I'm not really in touch with anyone "on the inside" because, um, that's prison lingo, and I'm a Canadian Jew, so I uh try to keep a low profile, because I wouldn't survive a night in jail. Besides, the only people I have an in with are the kind that can get you a good grilled cheese with bacon sandwich. Because I'm fat." The hostess is offended because this whole speech went right over her head, so she disappears in a huff.

Then, you get up to the counter to order your grande mocha, because, even in your dreams you order the same damn drinks, and the barrista just stares at you. Ten seconds later, and he starts doing a standup routine on the stage. And it's good! He's totally killing! And then he leaves the stage, filling his mouth with whipped cream and disappears. You're left with the option of making your own damned mocha or going to work without coffee. Is that a valid excuse when you're late to work?

So, every commercial on the ION network is for a drug -- there's the one so you can breathe better, but it might prevent you from taking a crap. There's another one that helps your eyes produce tears if you've been born without working tear ducts -- but you can't take it if you have eye herpes! That's right, they actually say EYE HERPES in the commercial. Classy! (I know part of this was in the last blog, so eat it).

June 19, 2007 Day In Review, Part One

J-Ro’s Day in review Blog


So, instead of being the weird guy who goes to diners or coffee shops alone, writing and staring at people, I’m the weird guy who sits at the sushi bar alone, writing and staring at people. But hey, I’m hungry and want to be outside (it’s officially dine on the patio season), and my movie doesn’t start for another hour, anyway. And the best part of eating here is that the waitress looks like an Asian Jennifer Aniston. I don’t know how it’s possible, but it is. I want to call her Rachel. How great would it be if that was really her name? I would totally change my name to Ross just to go out with her. She’s probably way way too young. (side note: she can’t be WAY too young, because I saw her at the Nag’s Head on a Tuesday night)

A Myspace friend of mine had plans tonight, otherwise, I might possibly have had sushi not alone. But, such is not the case tonight. Maybe some other night. I have to say, though, that it might be nice to meet someone else. If I don’t end up moving soon, I might want to try that. Radiohead said that meeting people is easy. Which is a great joke, since someone who looks like Thom Yorke could not have gotten a lot of women if he wasn’t the singer in one of the biggest bands to come out of England in the 90s. I’ve been threatening to move for something like two years now. It really is time to shit or get off the pot, the pot being Long Island.

Boy, do I love sushi! I might try the Masago if there’s time. I should have ridden my bike again today, but I was actually cleaning my bathroom and vacuuming lightly. Hopefully this will keep me from getting sick all the time.

So, I had the sushi appetizer, which consists of one piece shrimp, two piece salmon, one piece yellowtail and one piece tuna (if I remember correctly). For a main course, I went with the Hotate roll, which is broiled eel, avocado and scallions, topped with spicy scallops. Hoo boy, was it tasty! When I finished that, I had one piece of Tako (octopus). Not bad. I did not get the Masago (smelt roe) this time. Maybe I will next time. I like trying different things, and so far, I’ve had the shitake rolls (great for vegetarians), the Red Bonbori rolls, the Louisianna Rolls...the sushi here is quite good. I also love Tomo Sushi in Smithtown (the Huntington location is good, too, and they even have hibachi there), but the sushi here is different.

Just in case you think that I will eat sushi anywhere and love it, that’s only almost true. Shiki in Smithtown is decent, but I’m not crazy about it. So, even though it is only down the street, most of my Tuesdays I get food from Tomo.