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Below are the 17 most recent journal entries recorded in Andy's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004
6:22 pm
Job Opportunites and a Happy Ending
I had a job interview today for a position that had already been filled which was strange. It was set up through Elaine, who I work with while interning at the Elizabeth Foundation. After she learned I had lost my job at the Princeton Review she made it her personal crusade to do find me some kind of employment. She is "dear friends" with the boyfriend of the man I was interviewing with today. In the initial email she sent to her friend hoping to get me an interview, she listed among my many attributes that I was smart and capable, and that I had "great hair." I don't know what to do with the last bit. I considered putting it in my resume, but Scott thought it was more cover letter material.

The job would have been a personal/administrative assistant for this older gentleman. He's a retired lawyer who is involved with a ton of different cultural and arts councils. From what I gathered off of the internet, and what he said today, a lot of it has to do with property rights of cultural and artistic commodities. While it's never been what I consider to be the most interesting side of the arts, had it been offered, I would have gladly accepted the position. Artists should have some knowledge of such dealings, I suppose. But, as I said before, the position had been filled. It wasn't a total loss, though. Obviously won over by my hair, (which, come to think of it, had a lovely just-out-of-the-shower tousled look to it seeing as I had just come out of the rain and had dried it with some paper towels from the bathroom) he promised to pass my name along to somebody who is the president of a corporation of which he is a board member. Sarah, hoping I was going to come out of the thing with a job, was a little upset, but I think there could be good news still to come.

After the interview, seeing as I was in Midtown and on the East Side, I decided to go check out some of the 57 Street galleries. I went to the Fuller Building first, but there was nothing interesting to be found there. There are a bunch of galleries there, but I am never terribly impressed by what it has to offer. Little John can be okay, but it's usually pretty boring too. After the Fuller, I went to the building which houses Forum Gallery and Mary Boone. I am sure it has a special name too, I am just not familiar with it. Forum, which can be utterly lame, had a pretty cool exhibition of miniatures on the forth floor. Little fake rooms. You can probably find some images online. I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Upstairs, Forum had a bunch of photo-realistic paintings of suburban locales. Had I not seen what was downstairs, it would have probably been one of the better shows I had seen there in a while, but since I did see what was downstairs I have to say the paintings were pretty uninteresting. If I thought about them more I could probably make them more interesting, but (you know me) I like things you don't have to think about. It seems like every time I am in galleries in that area I run into Michael A. He was a year ahead of me at NYAA and was among the group of us given a free trip to France to paint at the Forbes family chateau in Balleroy, Normandy over the summer in 2003. Coincidentally, he also worked for Barbara doing art handling work for a while until he (as Barbara puts it), "decided it wasn't the life for him." Since then he has been doing part-time art handling for different galleries in the 57 Street/Fifth Avenue area. Which is why I always see him, and why he was at Forum today.

Anyhow he's apparently found a full-time position at a gallery in the Fuller Building, and basically told me I would get his job at Forum if I applied for it. He also gave me the heads-up on an artist's assistant type thing he does about once a month that he will have to stop once he starts his new job. As a former student of NYAA, I don't know how much I like the idea of working at a figurative gallery. It seems so obvious. But I'll take it. If only for the time being.

There was an email from Elaine waiting for me when I got home. It was in regards to another friend of hers. This one, I assume, is completely ignorant of my hair status. I think he is in charge of construction at the Guggenheim Museum. He might be looking for some temporary work. I don't know how I feel about doing construction, but it is at a famous museum. And I imagine it too could be good for me. So it's been a pretty active job day.

Sarah just came in with a paycheck in my name for $450. I am officially a professional writer. Sarah is too, though not officially.

By the way, seeing as Scott just did a long entry devoted to the anniversary of his proposal to Amanda, it bares mentioning that today is not only famous for being the anniversary of the Japs preemptive strike on our Pacific Naval Fleet in 1941. It's also famous for something that happened much more recently.

On December 7, 1996, while enjoying a cup of coffee on at Cup A' Joe on Tate Street in Greensboro, NC I was approached by a young girl called Alexis. She recognized me as somebody who went to her school. She invited me to sit with her and a friend at their table while they waited for a boy she met at the Nature Store at Four Seasons Mall. His name was Bo. Or possibly Beau. Hours later, he did eventually show up. As did Ben H. Somebody I knew I knew from school and, coincidentally, another of Alexis' crushes. While that triangle worked it's way out, I had spent much of the night writing fake poetry with Alexis' friend, a certain Ms. S. Livengood.

For the longest time afterward I could recite for her how we had spent each of our days afterward. That was a Saturday. My dad's office Christmas Party was that night. I had spent that morning walking around Greensboro to show my support for the, I don't know, fight (?) against AIDS/HIV. I wasn't alone. There were other people there too. She walked me to my car that night, and I remember the windshield was very frosty. We sat in the car for a while. We didn't kiss for another couple of weeks. I was pretty inexperienced in the ways of the woman, and missed what I realized later were some pretty obvious signals. We did eventually kiss, though.
Saturday, November 6th, 2004
1:17 pm
Weekly Wrap-up of News Items You Might or Might Not Have Seen on TV
It was a very ominous week in the news. The Republican chant has proven effective, and we will indeed have four more years. Democrats are already looking ahead to 2008 for the next candidate the youth vote will leave high and dry at the last possible minute while Republicans are cringing over the homophobic vote that won them the election wondering how conservative they have to be for the next four years to show their gratitude to the religious right. With all this talk of "Political Capital," I have to admit that I am a little nervous.
I don't know whether to be very happy or very embarrassed that I live in New York after a result like Tuesday's election. People here are always referring to New York City as a bubble, an island if you will, completely separated from the rest of America. To say that I don't know anybody who voted for Bush would be a lie, but it is true that while I didn't make an effort to associate with only Kerry voters, I literally associate with only Kerry voters. Sarah has an arch Catholic friend who apparently voted for Bush on the issue of abortion. My personal beliefs on the issue of abortion are hardly as tidy as the typical Pro-Choice voter, but I do believe in the necessity of abortion rights and believe that those rights must be preserved. And while I don't allow myself to believe abortion will be outlawed over the course of the next four years, I will repeat again that the "political capital" line does make me uneasy. But even if the president doesn't have to worry about his own re-election, the party must remain cautious or they might lose the congress and the presidency next time around.
In her defense, I don't think Sarah's friend voted on some repressed urge to eliminate homosexuality which many Americans did. Last weekend there was a phone-in campaign in Ohio organized by Republicans saying that "We have to get Senator Kerry elected, so we can legalize Gay Marriage." Man, those guys fight dirty. And they won. This time pretty decidedly. Mandate. Mandate. Mandate.

Elsewhere in the world, Yasser Arafat is "knock-knock-knockin' on Heavens door," and the world sits with heavy anticipation to see if anybody's home. Or if it's still as hard as it used to be to get a table there. The real question is not whether Arafat will be given 21 virgins (or whatever) when he arrives at the pearly gates, but is instead what he will be leaving behind when, likely in the next few days, he finally does die. The news says he's been comatose since Thursday, but his advisers are quick to say it was a medically imposed--and completely reversible--coma. They wanted to make it clear to the Palestinian people that there was no brain death because they are clearly afraid of what will happen when his death is official.
The truth is that nobody knows. And everybody should be afraid. While it's possible that, since both Israeli and American officials have said time and again that they cannot negotiate with the PLO leader, Arafat's death will allow the peace process to begin again, but this outlook is optimistic at best. This isn't the outcome people fear. I don't think it's necessary to go into the horrible things that might result from the death of the long time figurehead of the Palestinian struggle. I'll just say that it could be bad and leave it at that.

Back in the New World, Sarah and I were on TV Monday night. We went to Rockefeller Center after work. Sarah works on 53rd and 6th right near all the major news outlets. NBC had Rockefeller Center made up into Democracy Plaza for all their major news broadcasts, so if you thought you saw us while Chris Matthews was interviewing Ben Ginsburg Monday Night, you were right. That was us in the top left-hand corner of the screen while the camera was on Ginsburg. I feel silly for just having been there, but felt like it was a little known news story that didn't get nearly enough play what with the election and everything.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004
7:43 pm
I guess it's official. What I have known was going to happen for three years has finally come to pass. George Bush has been re-elected fairly soundly, so we've got four more years (or so) of this ridiculous leadership. I don't know who to be more angry with; the people who voted for Bush, or the people who simply didn't vote for Kerry. Talk about the lesser of two evils.

Yesterday's disappointments started early. When I got to the polls in the morning I stood in line behind my downstairs neighbor and his sister. While they were both voting for Kerry, their shared understanding of the importance of the election and the issues discussed therein was embarrassing. They decided it was important that they remember to vote in the Senate election because, and this is an actual quote, "The senate is more powerful, I think. And I think I heard the Republicans were in control. And we have to make sure the Democrats win control." Thanks to their votes, Charles Schumer barely squeaked by with 71% of the vote, and the Democrats were able to hold the seat.

Voting in New York makes you think you've stepped through a timewarp. Yes, the third most populous state in the union votes with the antiquated lever system you've all heard about but have likely never seen with your own two eyes. There's no paper. There's not even a ballot, really. As you might expect, it consists of a system of levers. One big lever that starts and stops the voting process, and a series of other levers you use to cast specific votes in the different categories. There are instructions on your registration card, and then another series of instructions posted inside the voting booth.

My neighbor's sister was in the booth for a moment before she called out to the volunteer that she didn't know how to do it. We all had a laugh as he explained that it happens all the time, and that she had to pull the big lever from left to right to begin voting. To move it from right to left when she was finished. She followed these instructions, and in theory cast her vote successfully. Next it was her brother's turn. He was in there for ten, maybe twenty seconds, when from inside the booth came a voice saying "Now what am I doing here?"
Monday, November 1st, 2004
10:30 pm
Yeah, I'm not really lovin' it so much
Sarah met me for lunch today. She had nobody to eat with in her part of town, and I'm still a bit of an outsider at TPR, so she made the trek from 53st and 6th Avenue up to Broadway and West 84th so we could get ourselves some McDonald's. If you think that sounds like a long trip for something she could have gotten at probably fifteen closer locations, you're right. But it was really the company she craved perhaps more even than the Double Cheeseburger Value Meal. We actually didn't go to the closest McDonald's to The Princeton Review either, as they were out of ice, and if you know one thing about Sarah and me, know that we like ice in our soda. Especially Sarah.

So we actually walked about ten or fifteen blocks down Broadway to the next McDonald's. Once we got there, it is safe to say that we had already paid some price for our meal, and we just wanted to order, pay, and eat. The lines were not really an issue. There were lines, but there were also enough registers open to keep the lines moving at an even pace. The cashiers were of the typical lethargic breed you come to know quite well from most any customer service position in this city. Even though you're supposed to get something for free when they don't greet you with a smile, it's uncommon that you get anything other than a blank stare. Coming from the south, and a history of customer service work at both worker and management levels, this attitude used to bother me, but today I feel more sorry for these kids than anything else. Because where are they going really?

Anyhow, we ordered. Sarah, her Double Cheeseburger Value Meal. Me, my Double Quarter Pounder Meal. The total came out to be $9.71. I handed the cashier a ten dollar bill, and she explained to me that she didn't have any pennies so all she had to give me was silver colored coins. I accepted this state of affairs expecting that I was going to benefit from their lack of pennies, but when I counted my change what I had was two dimes and a nickel. The bitch shorted me four cents! No wait, calm down Andrew, she couldn't have shorted you. Ask politely for the total again, and I'm sure that you heard wrong. (That dialogue was not between me and Sarah, it was between me and myself.) So I ask for the total again, and again she quotes the number $9.71. This time from the receipt paper on the register.

Here is what ensued.

ME: "So given the choice, between shorting your own till one penny and shorting the customer four pennies, you choose to short the customer?"
HER: (oblivious) "Yeah."
ME: (slightly flustered) "McDonald's is shorting me four pennies rather than accepting a one penny loss?"
HER: (still oblivious) "Yeah."
ME: "No, wait. McDonald's is a trillion dollar company, and it's taking money from me rather than accepting a one penny loss. Doesn't that seem...?"
HER: (obviously thinking I am crazy) "Look, she (meaning her supervisor at the next register) told me to."
ME: "I don't doubt that, it's just that..."
SUPERVISOR: "Here sir." (She then handed me four pennies.)
ME: (after uncomfortable silence to original cashier) "I don't mean to be...."
HER: "Yeah."

That's basically where it ended. We waited for our food which had not yet arrived. Although there was a delay of them bringing my drink, one that caused the cashier girl to look at me confused and say, "What are you waiting for? That's everything" we did eventually get everything, at which point we happily took our tray to an open table. Sarah had already gone for the napkins and straws during the previous altercation, but had to ask for ketchup at the counter. They gave her four packets. This may seem like enough to some, but Sarah does like her some ketchup so it only worked to deepen my indignation over the parsimonious corporate attitude which I saw plainly illustrated in too separate occasions within three minutes of each other.

I will say that I had considered dropping the four pennies into the McDonald's Charity bins three or four of which decorate every counter but couldn't decide whether this action would be seen as generous or spiteful, and I didn't want to seem too generous. It wasn't until later, after I had had time to think about it that I began to consider that absolute absurdity of McDonald's asking people it just profited three or four hundred percent off of to then donate their change to a charity you would hope they had already donated to with their purchase. At this point I was trying to figure how much money a day the McDonald's Corporation would earn in additional daily profits if each location were to short one customer a day four pennies. Obviously more money than anybody who works at the location would make in a day. So what the home of the Big MAC is doing, thanks to what is apparently company policy, is getting at least one--perhaps many more than that--worker paid and then directly pushing the cost onto the customer.

I wanted to go back to the counter to explain to the cashier that not only was it not her I was mad at, but also why what I was doing was defending a good principle, and not simply the action of some cheap white dude over four pennies. I wanted to explain to her that it wasn't a matter of just a couple of pennies, but was instead an issue of thousands and thousands of pennies. I wanted to explain to her that while she wasn't profiting her company was. And how. Sarah just told me to calm down, and that she would never get what I was talking about. Maybe not. All the same, I am hardly lovin' it.
Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
7:30 pm
By Tuesday I am fading
I called in sick from the Princeton Review yesterday. It was to be my forth day on the job, but the illness that sidelined Sarah for much of last week caught up with me and I called in sick to a job for the first time in years and years. It wasn't just that Sarah had been sick. Rachel, who I work with at the Elizabeth Foundation, was also sick for a lot of last week, and I had to work the front desk this past weekend at the Open Studios there. The doors were open. It was cold. I had a couple glasses of wine Sunday night followed by a couple Nyquil when I got home. Bad combination. I spent the rest of the night in a hallucinatory stupor somewhere between sleep and awake.
So I was home yesterday paying attention to the evolving news cycle. A week away from the election, three major public appearances seemed to rule the day. President Clinton was out of the house and campaigning for Senator Kerry Philadelphia just 7 weeks after his quadruple bipass. Governor Schwarzeneger, after he claimed he would stay in Caleeforneea and not do any out of state campaigning for the president is apparently Ohio-bound. The third story was actually the first story chronologically. It occured on Saturday, so it took a couple days before the news cycle could actually catch up. Not to worry, the media did find this most important of news stories, and by Monday the country was finally united again behind a single cause. No matter who you're voting for a week from today, odds are yesterday you and everybody you know were ridiculing a 17 year old girl. Hooray.
That's right, Ashlee Simpson got caught using the wrong back-up voice track in her second performance on Saturday Night Live this season, and America is outraged. With all of the outrage I currently hold revolving around worldly events and the probability of election outcomes, I can only afford to ration off a small level of righteous indignation when it comes to Ms. Simpson, and frankly I find the second E in her first name far more inexcusable than the bombshell dropped by her use of backing--or even solo--vocal tracks at live performances. I cannot even begin to explain why this is not an important story. Everybody knows pop singers lip sync at live performances. This is not a Milli Vanilli sort of thing (not that that was all that big a deal, either). Those guys didn't even sing on their records. They were just pretty, light-skinned German guys who were offered a lot of money to pretend they sang songs they didn't really sing. Much in the way Lou Diamond Philips lip-synced over Los Lobos in La Bamba.
I am going to finish this later.
Sunday, October 17th, 2004
3:38 pm
Jon Stewart is my hero, and other observations
A couple weeks ago saw the much anticipated DVD release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Sarah and I saw it in the theatre here in New York on the Friday that it opened nationwide. Both of us, two very like-minded progressive types, found the film compelling in moments, but far too snide and propagandizing to be considered good as a piece of documentary filmmaking. Whether it be the sarcastic narration, the condescending montage paying "tribute" to the countries involved in the coalition, or the implication that not only did the administration--thanks to Bush/Bin Laden/Saudi Royal Family ties--give special treatment to foreign nationals with possible links to 9/11, but that they also only fought the war in Afghanistan to forge way for a new pipeline, the film's absurdities seemed to act as more of a powerful indictment against Moore than it's strong third act did against the president's pre-emptive war in Iraq. The audience we saw the film with disagreed. They took all the bait the film cast out, and cheered with thunderous applause while they were gleefully reeled in.
What I think upset us more than the movie itself was the assumption most people tended to draw when they found out our reaction to it: that we had to be Bush supporters. That was as far as the logic of these otherwise smart people could take them. These are people who had long hoped for a strong response from the left to conservative talk radio. It's simply not enough to demand competent journalism, we also deserve an opportunistic advocate who will conceal facts that do not support the face of a story he is trying to present. Simply put, these people wanted their own Rush Limbaugh, and now they have him. Michael Moore, a bigger, fatter idiot than Limbaugh himself.
He released his movie and has since been heralded with unimaginable praise from the left while receiving charges of anti-American, treasonous activity from the right. A patriot to some. A traitor to others. Michael Moore, like the president himself, did not create the polarized political atmosphere we live in. He is profiting off of it, though. And, in the end, it might be realized by all that the world has become a worse place thanks to the work of people like Michael Moore and President George W. Bush.

Earlier today, Sarah and I went to see Team America: World Police, the new movie from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. A Jerry Bruckheimer style action film with a cast of players comprised entirely of marionettes, it's a conceptually brilliant endeavor. It's also a pretty biting satire of the polar opposites contained within "our side" of the war on terror. The nationalistic and hawkish right is represented only by Team America who, in their defense, are effective at defeating terrorists, but fight with arrogant and reckless abandon often destroying landmark structures like The Great Pyramids at Giza and the Louvre Museum in Paris. The self-righteous left is characterized by Film Actors like Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn who sit in a secret society style Conference Auditorium and dictate how to best subvert Team America's desire to police the world at all costs and spread peace. The organization's name, Film Actors Guild (often referred to by the acronym FAG), is one of the more obvious running gags Stone and Parker return to throughout the film for a guaranteed laugh. Other easy laughs come from puppet-on-puppet oral sex and puppet vomit. The funniest moment in the movie involves panthers, and it is far too good to be given it away.
For all of the great moments in Team America, I have to say that it would have worked much better had it been shown on television as a mini-series. It drags way too much, and the running jokes I think would have worked better in short thirty minute sprints than they did over the course of the 90-120 minute marathon of watching it all at once. Being played in it's current state on TV would be difficult because of numerous FCC regulations including ones opposed to the word "Fuck" (which, as you might expect, shows up a ton of times over the course of the movie) as well as others which if they didn't exist before certainly do now. There are some things not even puppets can do on television. Still, I think all of the jokes and even much of the satire would have felt much better in three or four installments. In its current state it felt too forced.

The problem with a lot of the political satire that's out there right now is that it has to exist along side--and begs the comparrison with--The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. To quote a Bond song, "Nobody does it better." And Stewart, Colbert, Cordry, Helms, and Bee do it four nights a week. It's truly the greatest show on television, and is quickly becoming the one cable show which most resembles news programing. Constant assertions of "fake news" notwithstanding. Studies are constantly finding more and more people get their news from these guys. More telling than that, though, is the finding that their viewers are exceedingly well-informed. Translation: Either both of the studies are nonsense, or they do a better job of reporting the news than actual journalists.
On Friday Jon Stewart appeared on CNN's Crossfire. The moderators were Paul Begala "From the Left" and Tucker Carlson "From the Right." Stewart was on for three segments of the program (in theory) promoting America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, but he did a little more (and a little less) than that. As he would admit, he went on the show to confront Carlson and Begala for the part he said their show played in "hurting America." In promoting political talking points over actual debate and in further dividing the nation.
Apparently expecting some sort of attack--or hoping to instigate one--Carlson had questions ready to be put on screen from Stewart's September interview with Senator John Kerry. The Kerry interview was a softball one by anybody's standard, but it did occur while the presidential candidate was receiving nothing but bad press based in large part on inflammatory and false charges over his history before and after Vietnam. Plus, it was on Comedy Central. Stewart was ready and willing to compare the theatre of his show with that of Crossfire, but as he said, they're on CNN. His show's lead-in is puppets making crank phone calls. The very fact that such a comparison seems apt to anybody seems very telling of the current state of journalism.
Anyhow, Stewart went on and threw down. It was two days after the debate, and the last two news cycles had been focused not on the president lying to the American people about a well known and often repeated quote he made concerning not being concerned with the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, but instead with Kerry's utterly awkward utterance of the word "lesbian" at the same debate. Apparently, when it comes to television, lesbians will trump liars every day of the week. Also making more news than the president's--shall I say--gaffe was Bill O'Reilly's new sexual harassment scandal. Frankly, it's always been my opinion that working on The O'Reilly Factor was reason enough to be subjected to forced sodomy, but the media, especially CNN and MSNBC, seem more than happy to allow Fox News' bad boy's problem to monopolize what air time was not taken up by Mary Cheney's lesbianism.
Stewart was even asked his opinion of the O'Reilly thing, and asked what he thought he simply said "I don't." Yet another in a long line of refreshing moments of the interview. Anyhow, yeah, Jon Stewart's my new hero.

Here's a link to the video and transcript of Jon Stewart on Crossfire. http://mediamatters.org/items/200410160003
Wednesday, October 13th, 2004
4:57 pm
Twice on the pipe if the answer is no.
It's getting colder in New York. Even though it was warm today, the last few days have felt less like early-to-mid October and more like early November. Apparently the change was such that Mike Jr., our building manager/landlord decided yesterday was the day to turn the heat on in the building. This will be our third winter in the city but only our first in the building, and if last night is any indication of what this place is like when the heat is on, it might be our last.
If you live outside major cities, as I have for most of my life, and you have a heating system in your home, it is likely that you have either electric or gas heat. I lived in and around Greensboro from birth to age four, outside of Atlanta, Ga from age four to fifteen, in Gaithersburg, Md for six months, then back in Greensboro until about two years ago, and in none of these different homes did I have to deal with steam heat. All of the buildings were fairly new. They all had modern appliances (Central Air, electric ranges, and the like), and if we wanted heat we turned the dial on the wall up causing warm air to come out the vents in the floors, walls, and ceilings. We had heard of a radiator. We had even seen them on TV. "Mad About You" had a charming episode in which both the radiator and AC were malfunctioning leaving Paul and Jamie to go from one room which was incredibly hot and humid to another which was quite chilly. Layers of clothing were donned when they went into the bedroom and shed in the living room. On and off. On and Off. It was all very slap-stick. And all very funny.
What I don't remember seeing on any television show--but will be looking out for in the future--is an incessant banging of pipes whenever the steam, or hot water, or whatever, is on. We are no longer new to New York. We've witnessed the phenomenon before, and we've come to expect a little clanging during the cooler months. It ads character, even imposes a personality onto the building itself. Maybe not a cheery personality, but at least that of a lovingly crotchety old man living downstairs. One thinks of Mr. Roper or--to a slightly lesser extent--Mr. Furley. And, of course, Oscar the Groutch. Whatever television personality you want to invoke, the point is clear. While the racket might be annoying, you love the building in spite of, or even because of the commotion it causes. Last night I realized how utter bullshit all that nonsense is.
We have two radiators in this apartment. One in the living room. One in the bedroom. There's also a pipe that runs through all of the bathrooms in the building. It gets hot to the touch and is intended to keep the bathroom warm. Because we are on the top floor, the pipe doesn't go from floor to ceiling as it does in the rest of the building. Instead it sprouts up from the floor and rises about eight feet and stops. At the top, there is a valve which vents the steam which heats the pipe and everybody's bathroom.
The venting makes a lot of noise, but it isn't constant and isn't in the bedroom. If worse comes to worse you can always close the door on the noise in the bathroom. The real problem last night was with the clanging I mentioned before. The word relentless comes to mind. Usually the ruckus lasts a few minutes. Nothing more. You might wake-up, but it will be over soon and you'll be back to sleep in no time. Last night it began a little after eleven and continued until about seven in the morning when we finally got out of bed.
It's 9:15p. The Debate is on and I am tired.
Saturday, October 9th, 2004
2:04 am
Beauty and Brains. or What does all this mean?
Tuesday was the day of the big interview at the Princeton Review. They are located in Manhattan up in the eighties. West 84 Street and Broadway. It took me three trains to get there. The F from Carroll Street to Jay Street/Borough Hall. The A from Jay Street to 59 Street/Columbus Circle. And the 9 from Columbus Circle to 86 Street. The whole ordeal took me about 40 minutes, which put me at the doorstep of the Princeton Review with minutes to spare. There was no receptionist in the lobby of the building, so I did spend a few of those extra minutes figuring out that I needed to go to the second floor to let them know I had arrived. This is weird because most New York buildings like to at least project the illusion of security. You usually have to sign in at the front door if you are visiting or making a delivery, but I was able to access both the elevator and stairwells unseen. If I had been a spy looking to steal Princeton Review secrets I can't imagine it would be that difficult.
Once I had finally made my presence known, I sat in a second floor lobby which resembled a kindergarten class room with kidney-shaped tables and colorful chairs. It was at this point that I finally finished Philip Gourevitch's "We Wish to Inform You..." which I had been reading off and on for over a month. I remember feeling that it was a shame that I had finished it because I had a long train ride home and no book to read, plus I would need to find another smart looking book to be seen with on trains and at appointments. Beauty and brains is the image I like to give off.
Anyway, I met with David from the PR for about five minutes. He basically had me in to see, I guess, if I was serious enough about the job to make it all the way from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side. The meeting was over in five minutes, and I left with a job. No start date yet, but the assumption is that I will begin my tenure at the highly respected Princeton Review a week from Monday. Now begins the portion of my life where I am forced to break ties with the people who paid me when others wouldn't over the past several months.

I've talked a lot about the framing studio I've been working at in previous entries, and I don't really want to be all that redundant. Especially since this is already going to be a long entry without the unnecessary complaining about how much that place is going down with or without me. I will say though, that Ron finally called me again last Thursday (September 30, the day of the first Presidential debate), after over a week had passed since last we had spoke, asking me to work on that Friday. At the time I already had a job booked with Barbara for that afternoon, so I turned the job down. It eventually happened that the client canceled the job Barbara had booked me for, so I did end up going in to work with Ron that day. I had to get paid for the work I had done the week before, anyway.
It was another day of me struggling to do a good, quick job. Succeeding and failing in different stages. And Ron spending most of the time not doing the production work. This was October 1. I still hadn't been to the interview at Princeton Review, but I knew it was going to happen. I had also already accepted the unpaid position at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts which would keep me unavailable for him two days a week. I decided to avoid conflict and not tell him about either situation. I suppose what I am doing is postponing conflict. Not avoiding it. Whatever. The shining moments of that day were that we finally finished the job I began the day I started, and that Ron had been slowly working on the entire time I had been there. Also, a woman came in with an absolutely horrid Renoir painted sketch of bathers to be framed in a gaudy gold leaf frame. It's an ugly painting (Surprise, An ugly Renoir), but I was very happy to have the opportunity to hold it. And to examine it from the back. To see how the whole thing was put together. Pretty cool. There are good times to work there. We listen to WNYC all day, and talk about politics. It can be a lot of fun, but it's just not going to be there forever. Even if it were, do I really want to do that forever?
That's all I will say about that job for now. There's more to be said, but I am going to save it until the end because I didn't even learn about it until last night. Plus it deserves to get it's place chronologically and symbolically at the end.

I did end up going in for the internship position twice this week. If they could pay me, it would be a good thing to keep doing. Even if they couldn't pay me but I could find some way to do it and the Princeton Review job, it would likely be better for me. Such a balance is unlikely, and I am going to have to break the news to them next week. So I have to say goodbye to all the great contacts I might have had but never will.

Yesterday, I worked for Barbara. There were a few jobs to be done. All art handling. The first job was to move a number of paintings, photos, and sculptures from different studios and a gallery up to the Banana Republic (of all places) at Rockefeller Center. Aside from a 6' tall bronze sculpture by an artist called Joel Perlman, it was all pretty light work. The big sculpture was pretty heavy (about 150 lbs), and the fact that I am pretty sore today might be thanks, in part, to the role I played in moving it. I don't really have an opinion of the work of Mr. Perlman. It looks a lot like the work of a lot of sculptors trained at specific moment in art history. It was definately craft-oriented and abstract. I found it to be a little boring but quite nice looking.
Once we were done with the Banana Republic job, Barbara and I went to pick up another seven pieces (all paintings) from three different galleries about town. We then went to pick-up between 10 and 15 boxes full of books from a couple who deal in rare books at shows. We drove the books and the dealers to the armory somewhere on the Eastside in the twenties. The Book show was above street level, but the building has an elevator that you can park your car in and be taken up to the showroom floor. The floor was wood-planked similar to that of an old gymnasium, and the tires made a disconcerting squeaking noise on it when I would turn the wheel.
I didn't get to look around at the book show, but I have a feeling that, given the time, Sarah would really enjoy going there.

After having left the Book Show we made our way up to Westchester County to drop off the seven paintings at a private residence. The client in this instance is an art consultant who gets paid to take her clients, the people who own the house we dropped the paintings off at, to different galleries throughout the city to decide what art would look good in their house. They get permission from the gallery owners to borrow paintings on a trial basis. If they like them they buy them. If they don't, Barbara and Mike will go back next week to take them back to the galleries. This was my first trip to this residence. It was Barbara's third in a short time.
We had already received some grief from the client regarding how late we were projecting our arrival. She didn't want her clients to have to see us. What she wanted to happen, what in fact did happen, was for us to arrive before the people returned home, to leave the work with their immigrant servants, and to be gone before they pulled into the driveway. We arrived around six, and were gone by ten after. No controversy. For all the rich people know, the work was transported there via Star Trek-like technology. They can do that, can't they?
There was a lot of traffic, though. It was a Friday and a holiday weekend, and what should have been a forty-five minute ride back into the city took two hours. I was afraid because I didn't think I would make it home before the debate began. Plus sitting in a car too long tends to make my legs sore for days. Not my legs so much as my hips. The ball-and-socket joint of my hip becomes very tender. Sure enough, I am sore.
In the van we tend to listen not to NPR, which is what I like, but to Air America Radio. The progressive answer to conservative talk radio. It, like Michael Moore, can be all right in doses, but, as with Michael Moore, I get especially frustrated when the format of informative talk becomes skewed into a hate-based propaganda. I don't know why I am supposed to like Randi Rhodes any more than I like Anne Coulter. Or Michael Moore any more than I like Sean Hannity. But I am informed by people all the time that this is how I am supposed to think. I am supposed to like Randi Rhodes because our politics are similar. I am supposed to like Michael Moore because he sticks it to the President. Frankly, I don't like either of them.
Barbara likes Randi Rhodes, though. So we listen to her show which starts at 3 on weekdays. Barbara and I talked about politics for a while. About how we both thought the Vice-President all but crushed my former Senator on Tuesday night. And stated our predictions for how the second Presidential debate would go. We both felt that the likelihood of the President looking as silly as he did the first debate was not strong, so the debate would at best probably be considered a tie. And at worst a Bush victory. Having seen the debate last night, I tend to think the former is more likely. The timber company line would have been good for Bush had Kerry's description of the facts not been true. But since they were true, you get another administration debate one-liner that proves to be false. It won't be enough to really hurt the President, but it should be enough to prove he didn't win the debate. I also thought Senator Kerry wasn't as strong as he had been last week. The topics of the week barely asserted themselves during the debate which I found to be unfortunate.

Conversation last night eventually jumped from politics to the status of my employment at the framing studio which Barbara actually set up. I gave my typical description of how things were doomed. How I think George got out while the getting was good. How I think Ron is almost trying to fail. Or at least not trying to succeed. And how it is good that I am getting out. The topic then turned to the first time me working with him ever came up. I had been doing a job with Barbara and Mike, and we had to pick up a lot of frames that had to be redone because the paint they had been finished with had yellowed. It was a bad situation for Ron because that sort of thing can really damage your word-of-mouth credibility. So they were doing this huge job for the second time. This time for free, I think.
As Mike and I waited for the freight elevator with all the frames, Barbara had been speaking with Ron in the studio. She came out saying that, if I were interested, he might be willing to give me some work. What I didn't know that day, what I didn't learn until last night as I waited in traffic hoping to be home before the debate was the content of their discussion. A portion of the transcript of the conversation is enclosed:
Ron: (To Barbara) Who's that?
Barbara: Oh that's Andrew. He's a former art student who I've had do a few jobs for me lately.
Ron: He's gorgeous.
Barbara: Yeah, he's cute.
It goes on and on like that for a while. It only gets a little predatory. I don't want to give Ron a bad name, though. Eventually I scheduled a meeting one Saturday to talk to Ron about working for him. It was a long meeting. Nearly two hours long, and I came out of it with the job I have complained about for the last time in these entries. A portion of subsequent conversation between Ron and Barbara is contained below.
Barbara: So you met with Andrew.
Ron: Yeah, he's great. (Pause) He's really bright.
Barbara: Yeah.
I don't know what to do with this new information. He's hardly the first gay man who has been disappointed with my heterosexuality. He is, however, the first gay man who hired me for my looks. I guess this happens to men and women all the time, but it doesn't make me feel any less dirty. I'm just a small town boy in the big city. It's a good thing I have Sarah. Otherwise, who knows how my New York experience would treat me? Just because gay men everywhere find me attractive, that doesn't make me gay does it? Anybody?

To chart Andrew's path from his home to the Princeton Review, or to plot your own future journeys in NYC, please go to http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/nyct/maps/submap.htm
To see the art of Joel Perlman go to http://www.royboydgallery.com/joel_perlman.htm
To learn more about Air America, or to listen online, go to http://www.airamericaradio.com
Wednesday, September 29th, 2004
1:06 pm
pH balanced for a rod
There is a stick of deodorant in my medicine cabinet. Well that's where it is supposed to be, but seeing that I was the last person to touch it odds are it is sitting by the sink. I am sure Sarah will put it away when she gets home. If not, I will have a pretty good idea where to find it next time I need it. Anyhow, the brand is Speed Stick, and it is a variety known as 24/7. Right now, in the Tri-state area at least, there is an advertising campaign running for this kind of deodorant/anti-perspirant starring no other than former Texas Ranger and new third baseman for the New York Yankees. Alex Rodriguez.
Here's a synopsis. ARod is jogging through some New York neighborhood (in the Bronx, maybe), and all the locals are shouting to him words of encouragement like "Hey Alex, how many homers you gonna hit tonight!?!" ARod then looks to the camera and says something to the extent of "New York? Pressure? Nooooo." The point of the commercial being that ARod, the most overpaid man in sports history, was able to overcome all the pressure that goes along with performing for the most overpaid and highest decorated team in sports only with the help of Speed Stick 24/7. The intended outcome being that men all over will measure the amount of pressure they must be under against that of ARod, decide that they are not under nearly as much pressure as him, and realize it might be time for a new deodorant.

The fact that this particular brand found its way into my medicine cabinet can be explained on of two ways. It was either pure coincidence, or Sarah, a real-life Yankee fan, bought it for me so as to show her brand loyalty. I certainly didn't buy it.

Anyhow, I had two interviews today. I had one interview and one phone call really. The phone call happened around eleven o'clock. It was a short conversation with a guy from the Princeton Review which ended with the two of us scheduling a real interview to be held in person next week. I left that situation feeling pretty positive about my chances of getting the job. The second interview was for an unpaid internship I've mentioned before. I walked away from that situation having gotten the job. A job that pays nothing and would require at least 12 hours of work per week. It would be very difficult to swing both jobs, so if I get the job at the P. R., I probably won't be with the Elizabeth Foundation for long. This is a shame because it seems like a pretty good environment to work in.

Having skipped out on the Elizabeth interview earlier this week on grounds of a dirty shirt, I thought it only right to dress up for the second attempt. Anybody who has known me for anytime whatsoever probably thinks of a white t-shirt and jeans to be one of my staple outfit. I've recently grown tired of white t-shirts in general, and I've stopped wearing them even as undershirts. The problem with this practice presented itself today when the light blue shirt I chose to wear today began to turn dark blue in the armpit area.
I admit that I was under some pressure today to make a good first impression with possible employers, but it was hardly that of a two-on-two-out situation with an 0-and-two count in the bottom of the ninth. You would think that the anti-perspirant that is formulated to handle such situations should have been able to take the mild stress level I was facing, but either I'm far more man than ARod or the product is not nearly as affective as advertised. Either way, for days like this one, I feel like I have a better chance of not sweating with no deodorant on at all.

That's all I had to say really.
Tuesday, September 28th, 2004
11:31 am
The only dress shirt I had available yesterday had stain on the collar, so I had to reschedule my meeting. As strange as I feel saying it, all my other dress shirts were genuinely being dry-cleaned. I literally didn't have any clean clothes. The shirt that I did have, the one with the stain, is a new shirt that, aside from the minute in the dressing room, I'd never worn. So as ridiculous as it sounds, I had nothing to wear, so with 45 minutes to spare before the interview, I called and apologetically rescheduled. There was a moment when I considered using Teddy as an excuse, but when the time came I thought better of it, and put it off on something far more ambiguous.
Not long after that I got an email from David, a guy who works at the Princeton Review. He wanted to set up a phone interview with me for sometime this week. I was expecting him to talk to me about something part-time, but his email said 35-40 hours a week which could work for me if I get it. I told him that I had a meeting on Wednesday at noon, and that I would like to if at all possible talk before then. So I have two interviews on Wednesday. One at eleven for a full-time job. And one at twelve for a part-time, unpaid internship. Can you guess which one I am hoping for?
If I do get the job at the magazine, I will have the unhappy job of informing Ron, who I haven't worked for since last Wednesday, and who still owes me money, that I can no longer carry on in the charade that I will one day be capable of filling in for the absent George. This is a conversation I do not look forward to, as I like Ron and do not want to abandon him in such an abrupt way. He has had such a rough time with the business, and I don't want to add to the troubles he brought me in to help alleviate. But before he hired me it was he who said that neither of us could promise the other much of anything. If I do end up having to quit with this, it is better that I do it now, than after he had learned to really depend on me, I guess.

Aside from the job stuff, yesterday was spent making an elaborate list of things that interest me for my livejournal account. I never did it with the long since abandoned dessin account, and because I felt it shows more of a commitment, and brings with it the possibility of more readers, I thought it was time to do that as acetabulum. At present, the list begins with Ali G and ends with zoos. There must be a limit on the amount of letters per interest because I found that The North Carolina Zoological Park would not be accepted onto my list. Also refused was the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (accepted as simply The Daily Show).

With the list done, I did what I hoped others would do in reverse, I used my interests to find other people with like interests. I eventually came upon a community supposedly devoted to art discussion. http://www.livejournal.com/community/art_theory/
I joined right away. You'll notice that it seems more devoted to the vanity behind posting images of your own rather than talking about the works of others. You'll also notice that, at the moment, I am no longer a member. Anyhow, I've spent some--by no means all--of the last day making replies to the people I offended with a one paragraph description of the recent goings on in their community. People get touchy when you mess with their imaginary lives.
Monday, September 27th, 2004
11:16 am
Just a little typing before I go out
Another Monday and I am not working. I do have a job interview today, so even if I had been asked to work I would have had to decline. But nobody even asked me. Just when I thought that framer's gig was going to be a fairly regular thing I have gone three business days without a single call. I worked for Barbara in the delivery business on Friday, but who knows when the next time she'll call me will be? After two or three weeks of pretty steady work I might be back to the slow plotting of so much of the last few months.
But don't fret, I do have an interview for an unpaid internship today. Hooray. At least I'll have something to do with my days. The internship, which I learned about through Catherine, my former advisor who also got me the job with Barbara, is with something called The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. They have a website, but it's under construction. Honestly, I am not even sure what it means to be a foundation for the arts.
Even if I get this position, what does it mean to me? I'll have a place to be a couple days a week, sure, but is that all? I won't be getting paid. There's no guarantee, nor is there necessarily any prospect, of me being able to parlay it into a more stable paid position. It could help to pad my resume, but if that's it, would it really be worth it? I honestly don't know. I set the interview up a week ago, so I figure there is a fairly substantial chance they won't even be expecting me.

There is another prospect set up by Amy, a friend of mine from school. She sent my resume in to her contacts at The Princeton Review, who have since told her that they will be getting in touch with me soon. It would be a part-time position doing I-don't-know-what for probably about $12 an hour. If I did end up getting this paid position it might make the unpaid internship possible. One of these days my entries will not have so much to do with the nature of my current joblessness. I promise.
Saturday, September 25th, 2004
4:05 pm
It's Sarah's Birthday...Again.
Tonight is the night of the expensive dinner I still owe my wife. Neither of us felt up to a good meal this week, so we decided to delay it--and the rest of her birthday--until this weekend. Somehow, even when she has good birthdays, Sarah finds a way to extend her birthday past the usual 24 hours everybody else gets. It never works for me, but she never fails. So just one week later we are celebrating Sarah's birthday again.
Even though the week has been a rough one, the weather has been beautiful in the city proving once again that September is the best month in the city. It has gotten a little warmer which is unfortunate, but the haze has been gone for almost two weeks now, so eighty feels like eighty again and all is well.
We saw Shaun of the Dead earlier at the before one o'clock discount price of 6.50. I honestly think it is one of the better Zombie movies I have ever seen. Forget George Romero. I've never recognized the brilliance of his trilogy, and I don't think anybody is going to convince me of it anytime soon. The one that we saw today succeeds with all of the comedic elements everybody is convinced makes a movie like Dawn of the Dead such a classic. Only this one does it a lot better. And a lot smarter. Sorry George.
We came home and took a nap. This is part of our typical weekend schedule. Teddy was missed, but Ralphie was good enough to fill the void--as he has been all week long. Sarah was still sleeping when I woke-up, so I decided to go out and get her a present for her second twenty-fifth birthday. Last time I got her a kitchen pig statue from the brand new Target at the Atlantic Terminal here in Brooklyn. Today I went to Frida's Closet, a hip little clothing store on Smith Street here in Carroll Gardens. It's a cute little store the owner, though--like so many artsy women, especially those of hispanic descent--seems to have what I consider an unhealthy love of Frida Khalo, and has many T-shirts based on the artist's paintings. Personally, I like the shirts more than the paintings.
I bought Sarah a pair of dangly earrings for her newly re-pierced ears (note I was torn on whether or not to use the phrase re-newly pierced, which I actually like better, but thought didn't make as much sense). She saw them, the earrings, last weekend when we went window shopping. I reported on that in an earlier more somber entry. I left the box on her pillow, so that she would see it when she woke-up. Like magic. I would have waited until later, but I don't know where any wrapping paper is. Besides, I like the idea that they just appeared there.
Thursday, September 23rd, 2004
8:30 am
Crazy Framers
No work today. The framing studio I've been working at on and off for about two months, but more regularly for the last two weeks, is in a period of instability. The business consists of two partners who tend to divvy the work up by giving the one guy most of the primary production of frames and mattes while the other guy, the guy who started the business, does some of the basic production but is usually kept busy by the desk work. Answering the phones, dealing with clients, keeping the books, and other administrative work.
Anyhow George, the guy who does 90% of the actual tangible work, has recently decided that he didn't know if the framer's life was the one for him, so he's leaving the company. I don't blame him. He's been doing it since he got out of school ten years ago; he's still young and there's a lot of things he would probably like to try. It does put Ron (the founder of the business) in a precarious position, though. He's in his early fifties now and doesn't want to admit defeat and start over. But he can hardly run the business on his own. Enter me, a former art student who basically knows nothing about the framing business, to what? Save the day?
Last Friday was George's official last day. He'll continue to come in on an as needed basis for a while, though. The problem is that I cannot, and I can't imagine that Ron can, foresee a time in the near or distant future that Ron won't need to have George around to simply keep his business afloat. I'm still very green. I can do a lot of the jobs. I could do them well, or I could do the efficiently. You really need to be able to do both at the same time. A good, fast job. One or the other just won't do. I also don't have the experience with the way the company runs to be able to take any real initiative. So I end up finishing one job and having to go to Ron, make him stop whatever he is doing to give me a new task. It's not a very organic process, and I don't see it getting a lot better in the future.
It's not that I think the business is dying. I think it's already dead. Only Ron doesn't seem to be making any preparations for its burial. Instead he has brought me in to study the corpse like a med student in a gross anatomy lab. "Screw around for a while. See how this or that works. Have fun." I mean, I know he knows it's dead.
I'm not there today because he's not going to be. There's a huge back-load of work to be done that George is going to be in for a second straight day to get through. Ron, I think, has a wedding to go to tomorrow and won't be back to work until next week. I'll be working with Barbara, another middle-aged small business owner whose future is uncertain, tomorrow packing and delivering a bunch of art. Ron is a client of Barbara's, and I got the job with him through her. I got the job with her through a friend and former teacher of mine. She pays me more than Ron, and aside from the occasional beautiful piece of art I might handle before framing, I prefer the delivery work. It's far from perfect though, and I'll talk about the absurdities of that situation at a later date.

As an update, I almost didn't cry yesterday, and my finger, while ugly, is at about 80%.
Tuesday, September 21st, 2004
9:25 am
Teddy's Tooth
Sarah and I bought Teddy at a pet store in the Greensboro Friendly Shopping Center in the summer of 1998. It was our habit at the time to go into pet stores to look at the basset hounds and beagles and all the pretty cats. Sarah, whose childhood was made up with very few friends she could always play with, has never been without cats. They were her playmates. She organized a cat school in her yard where she would teach the little kittens to climb trees, to use the playground slide properly, and how to act like little babies in a cradle. You know, cat stuff. When she was sleepy she would use them as her pillows, though she never did find a cat that would abide by her putting all the weight of her head on them.
I was never a cat person growing-up. From the time of my birth through the present my parents have had between six and ten dogs. The only one we had at its death was a dog called Spunky, of whom I have absolutely no memory. I do remember the story of his death. Here's the abridged version.
We were living in the small town of Kernersville, NC. It's sort of halfway between Greensboro and Winston Salem. I was very young. No older than three. There was a wooded area outside my house and Spunky, who was the litter mate of our other dog Droopy, had not come home the night before. My memory is fuzzy on how exactly he was found. Either my father found him in the woods, or he made it home on his own will. Details aside, when he was found, in the woods or the yard, he had been terribly injured. His body had been opened up by a hunter's trap. They rushed him to the vet, but there was no saving him. My mother tells this story as being the first time she had seen my father cry. She uses this instance as an explanation for why my father never got too close to the animals. That, and the fact that he grew-up on a farm where the dogs are workers and not pets.

When Sarah first saw Teddy she cried. Later she would cry when she first saw dolphins. I love her so much. She cried when she saw Teddy because, being a full grown cat and an orange tabby, he resembled Tadpole her cat who had met his end while we were going to school in Asheville. He had been run over. Teddy was sweet, too. Incredibly. Almost un-catlike. I bought him for Sarah, but he very quickly became my cat. The people at the pet store had inexplicably called him Pepsi. We named him Ted. After Tad.
When I first took Ted home he was the typical scaredy cat, but I was soon able to coax him out from under my sister's bed, into my room, and under my bed. He would sleep with me in my bed at night, and with time he found the courage to make the house his own.
He didn't start out as the eater that he was for the last few years. At first we hypothesized that his lack of appetite was linked to him being scared. When that didn't pan out, we put it off to the sad fact that he just didn't have enough teeth left in his mouth to really eat dry food. As it happened, he had all his teeth. He had been a stray, and he came to us with an ear mite situation we knew about and a parasitic worm problem I had to find out about on my own. It was very traumatic for me.
Eventually Teddy would be saddled with a tooth problem, though. Over the period of a few days in the year 2000 or 2001 he began to develop a snaggle-tooth look with one of his canines protruding noticeably lower than the other. It was loose, and the vet had to put him under to remove it. That left him with three biting teeth (the two on the bottom and one on top). He got by.

When he woke us up yesterday Teddy was dying. He was struggling to breathe, and I was clumsily trying to help him. My first thought was that he was choking, and I was trying to push whatever was inside him out. Nothing came out, so I tried to stick my finger in there to clear his air way. There was nothing there, and Teddy, being scared and in pain bit the tip of my finger. "Fuck!" He had never really bit me before, but yesterday morning he had gotten me on the top and the bottom of my finger. By that point I had noticed that his tongue had changed color, and saw that as a sign for no hope.
In a matter of moments he stopped crying. He stopped trying to breathe. He stopped moving. His eyes were still open when I wrapped him in the sheet that Sarah and I had been sleeping under. I held him for a while while he was wrapped up. Then I felt him begin to stiffen up. I couldn't take it. We put him on a pillow in a box and waited until I could take him to the vet to be cremated. He woke us up and was dead by 5:40, but we had to wait until after 8:00 to take him in.

I loved that cat. Sarah and I slept on the futon in the living room last night. I don't know when I'll feel comfortable going into the bedroom again. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow. It won't be long. Right now I miss my cat. And my finger hurts.
Monday, September 20th, 2004
5:56 pm
Sarah's Birthday
Yesterday was a good day. It was very beautiful here in the city what with what was left of Ivan moving though on Saturday. It was wonderfully clear and mild. Monday the 20th is Sarah's official birthday and, since she no longer has one of those jobs that it being your birthday is an acceptable excuse for absence, we made the decision to make Sunday her unofficial birthday. Understanding that this wouldn't make her actual birthday any less special.
So we went out yesterday and shopped. I hate shopping, but it was one of those days that made you actually happy to live in New York. I was just happy to be outside with my wife. After shopping we came home and took a nap with our cats who were also very pleased to be alive and living in Brooklyn. Actually, Ralph didn't so much nap with us. He stood watch on the passers-by as the warm evening sun began to set on him. Teddy did sleep with us. He slept with his head on my right shoulder and his body on the bed. Sarah was on my left shoulder, and I was embracing the both of them and feeling very happy. And right. When we woke-up and saw Ralphie in the window Sarah and I started talking to him.
Teddy exerted his authority and chased Ralphie away. Then it was Teddy's turn to be in the window. Sarah, who would usually chastise Teddy for abusing his powers simply commented on how beautiful his orange coat looked in the warm sunlight. And it did. Last night was nothing special. We watched some of the Emmy's and stayed up past midnight so that I could be the first person--as if anybody else was here--to wish my wife a happy birthday. Then we went to bed.

This morning Sarah woke-up first. Teddy had just jumped up onto the bed. This was nothing new. He always finds his way in there to remind Sarah that it's nearly time for breakfast. This morning, though, it was a struggle to get into bed, and his cry was unlike his typical "I'm hungry!" moan. He was clearly upset. Once the lights came on and Sarah had gotten me up, it was clear that he was in pain. And scared. And we were scared, too. Sarah was already too upset. He was suffering and she couldn't watch him. She was in and out of the room saying, "Teddy don't die," through her tears.
But he did die. His tongue turned black, and he died there in my arms on our bed. I don't know why. But within three minutes of my waking-up, my cat, who was so very happy the day before, was dead in my arms. Somehow he made it to the bed to tell us. And while he died in pain, he didn't die alone. Some day this understanding might bring me some comfort. Today is my wife's 25th birthday and we have spent it crying.
Monday, August 23rd, 2004
10:12 am
Pretty Sunday
Yesterday was a beautiful day. It had been horribly humid for the second half of the week that culminated with a very hazy Saturday. I was out of the city delivering art and cakes for much of that day, and the visibility of the skyline was pretty low as we were driving back in. Then a violent storm blew in from New Jersey which took all the nastiness with it. So Sunday was clear and mild.
Sarah and I went for breakfast in the morning. I had a ham and cheese egg white omelet with coffee, home fries, and wheat toast. She had a plain omelet with french fries, and a bagel. Then we went for a walk in the city to do one of Sarah's favorite nice day activities: dog watching in Washington Square Park.
Then we walked down the Hudson to smell the salty air. We both got sunburned. She more than me but neither of us too severely. It was nice.
Thursday, August 19th, 2004
11:57 am
Here we go again
As is my habit with sketchbooks I am beginning a new journal with the old one barely even begun. I had a livejournal account under the name dessin a couple years ago which I abandoned after three or four entries. If the past means anything, this one will likly meet a similar fate. We'll see.
I started this one for a couple of reasons. Having finished with graduate school in May, I have spent the last few months doing very little. I have been spending the days on craigslist looking for work and sending out resumes, but the only work I've gotten has been freelance art and cake moving which I got through my former advisor in school. It's cool but unreliable. The rest of the days are spent either reading or watching TV.
I haven't gotten any real work done. I haven't painted since graduation--and won't until I have enough income to support a studio. I don't know when that's going to be.I haven't written anything in I-don't-know-how-long, but it's been something I have been wanting to get back into especially since painting isn't really an option right now. Maybe going through the motions will help to get it. Maybe not.
So that's the real reason. The other reason, which was more of a catalyst to the whole process than a real reason, was to apply for this community that a friend of mine is a member of. It's a literary community made up primarily, I think, of high school and college students who spend their time congratulating each other on their good taste of books and stuff. The other half is spent ridiculing those masochistic enough to post a list of their favorites seeking addmition into the community. Having spent seven years in art school I hardly think that these people are packing enough heat to actually cause any damage to my ego. We'll see.
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