Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Katina Corrao: Winner (2)

Katina: I have a question for you. It's OK to say no.

(I immediately thought, "I'm gonna say yes to this." And not just because Katina's a nice person, but because that's the whole point of 2008.)

Katina: On Sunday, April 6, at Comix, I am hosting a benefit for my friend Dottie who passed away. And at the end of the benefit, I was hoping to get all my friends on stage and sing "Seasons of Love."

Me: Are you serious? Please say you're asking me to do this.

Katina: And I would be honored if you were involved. I know it's cheesy, but I'm cheesy.

Me: This isn't cheesy, this is amazing. Let me put it on my calendar RIGHT NOW.

(Probably one of the easiest things I'll get to say Yes to this year.

And, for the record, Katina IS the cheesiest person I know. She's cheesier than _______.

I left that blank and asked Katina for a suitable, cheesy pun. She came up with these pastabilities...

- Chester Cheetah
- A wheel of brie
- Socks with Tevas
- Fondue (fon-don't)
- A Molly Ringwald flick
- Huey Lewis and the News

She finally decided upon saying "Katina is cheesier than Chester Cheetah watching a Molly Ringwald flick, at the point where a Huey Lewis and the News song pops up, while wearing socks with Tevas and melting a wheel of brie for fondue. Also, he has a yeast infection."

Thanks, Katina.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm Sore Today.

But not too sore. I thought I'd feel worse, since I haven't had this big of a work-out in a while, but I'm OK. It's the good kind of sore.

Do I think Yoga Booty Ballet's "Cardio Cabaret" is pretty dumb? Yes.

Did we go out to eat at a diner afterward to undo all our hard work? Yes.

Did I have fun? Yes.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Would I do it again? Ugh... yes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Laziness vs. Exercise

I'm supposed to exercise with my friends Heather and Erica in an hour. I really don't want to go (it's 18 degrees outside!), but because this is the Year of Yes, I'm gonna do it. I've got to do it, lest laziness claim another victory.

Ugh, exercise. I was talking with my friend Bill about this last night - my main gripe is that it's usually boring. That gym I went to for eight weeks back in 2007, it would kill me to use the elliptical machine for just 30 minutes, I'd get so bored. Even with my iPod and (hopefully) Law & Order playing in the background, it was such a chore.

This makes it sound like I have ADD or have a short attention span, but I don't, not really.

This also makes it sound like I'm a fan of Law & Order. I'm not, not really. Not in theory, at least. But whenever I watch it, I enjoy the show and then wonder why I always act like I don't like it.

I can come up with a million little excuses why I don't want to do this and should be excused, but none of them are valid. Even writing this blog is just a way of delaying getting out of bed and heading over. So please excuse the abrupt ending to this blog entry, but I need to say Yes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Heart Mary Cherry

So what else did I do last weekend? I attended a Popular viewing party.

An acquaintance of mine invited me, and even though I'm unfamiliar with the show, it sounded like it could be fun. On the other hand, a roomful of strangers is quite a painful situation for me.

Other than Crystal (the hostess), I'd only know one person who might show up. This being the case, would I take it as a Year of Yes opportunity, or would I let my fear of strangers and uncomfortable situations make for yet another No?

I made the half-decision to only go if Hallie did, and Crystal was very understanding about my cowardice. She said she'd keep me informed about Hallie's RSVP, and that was that.

I think about this all week.

About two hours before the party, still no word from anyone. By this point, I don't think I'm going. I take a bath, and, out of a nagging obligation to the Year of Yes, I text Hallie... just to be sure.

I don't expect a response.

I get one.

She's going.

And that means I am, too.

It's a lot like going swimming when I visit my parents at Christmas. The pool is pretty cold - bearable, but still pretty darn cold. Am I gonna do it? Should I do it? Is this a dumb idea? Will I regret it? Forget it, I'm jumping in. Crap, I'm jumping and here comes the water and now I'm in and it's always, always totally worth it.

Same with this party.

Crystal's friends were delightful, the snacks were snacktastic, and the show was great. Words can't express how exciting it was to meet Mary Cherry, the most deliciously cartoonish villain I've seen in a long time.

And Hallie didn't show up until about a half-hour before I had to leave. I'm weirdly proud of this fact. It kind of means, despite all that pre-party nonsense, I was able to do it on my own.

And it was totally worth it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thank You, Richard O'Brien

I normally wouldn't post twice in one day, but I just finished practicing my guitar, and I'm pretty psyched!

Until I get a book on the subject, I've been using this website to help me out...

and I've been working on the first set of basic chords (C, A, G, E, D).

After several minutes of going through them, though, I got a little bored... I know I'm supposed to memorize finger positions and everything, but it wasn't holding my attention. It was just random chords, not, you know, music.

So I got out my most well-used piano book ("The Rocky Horror Show") and tried to find some simple songs.

In my heyday, I could bang out the entire show on the piano (I used to have the entire book pretty much memorized), but on the Seagull... well, I was crazily limited: the verses for "Sweet Transvestite," most of "The Sword of Damocles," "Whatever Happened to Satuday Night," and "Eddie's Teddy" (incidentally, the Roxy cast version of that last one is one of my all-time favorite songs).

It was pretty slow going, but wow, it was a lot of fun - I kept going even after my fingers said it was time to stop. It was just so thrilling to experience the songs fresh, and I never get bored playing. But if anyone knows of other songs that use those five beginner chords, please let me know!

And I promise that this won't turn into a blog solely devoted to me learning the guitar.

My fingertips are burning.

The Seagull S6

I bought my first guitar on Saturday.

This was a pretty easy decision to make, to be honest, because I've been wanting to learn a new instrument for some time now. I can play the piano and accordion (even though I'm not that great), but I've been wanting to move on to something different. Something stringed.

I was seriously considering the harp, because it's one of my all-time favorite instruments, but decided that a guitar is more accessible. Also, once I can play the guitar (a two-planed instrument), I figure it shouldn't be so hard to move on to the (single-planed) harp.

Anyway, my friend Terry helped me pick it out, and here it is..
The real Yes wasn't in the purchase, though, it'll be in learning how to play and practicing regularly. It's a lot like joining a gym - the victory isn't in getting a membership, it's in actually exercising. Last year I joined my neighborhood dive gym for super-cheap... and stopped going within two months. But that was 2007. 2008 will be (and already is) different.

My plan is to play just a little every day, get my fingers strong, memorize chords, take it slow. It's already a little frustrating because I'm teaching myself, and I have yet to figure out the guitar "formula," like which frets make which notes, and why. I'm probably going to map it, like I mapped the bass buttons on my accordion to help memorize their location.

Terry made a good point - he figured things out for himself, and even if it's like re-inventing the wheel, it sticks better that way.

Oh, Seagull. I'm pretty happy with the way this weekend turned out, but I'll have to post about the other Yes later - my fingertips are sore.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stand-Up Comedy: NO.

Times Square. Lunchtime.

My co-worker Sarah and I were returning to the office after a quick field trip to look at one of the new LOST billboards (she's a super-fan and is slowly getting me addicted).

Non-New Yorkers might not be familiar with all the hawkers in Times Square - they try and get tourists to use their tour buses, buy their discount Broadway tickets, see a free taping of David Letterman, etc.

One of them stopped us (I never get bothered when I'm alone, but always when I'm with Sarah) and asked, "Do you like stand-up comedy?"

"No," I immediately replied. At the same time, Sarah said, "Yes."

I said no because, in my real life, I do a lot of stuff in the "comedy world," and have absolutely zero desire to sit in a tourist trap with an overpriced two-drink minimum.*

I think Sarah said yes to annoy me.

We kept walking. The hawker called after us, "Come on, just say yes!"

Clearly, he is a reader of this blog.

* I hope this doesn't sound too mean, but it's the way I honestly feel.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Minor Victories, Minor Failures

It's now three months after my birthday, and Lynn and I have finally scheduled a time for my birthday dinner.

This is pretty much my fault, October was a ridiculously busy month for me, and then, you know, way led on to way and suddenly it's January. It happens, especially to me.

That's why I decided something else during that New Year's Day conversation which spawned this blog - I'm going to spend more time with my friends in 2008. I seemed to have gotten Lost in Time and Space for a lot of 2007, and although projects got done... it got a little lonely, to be honest.

And yet, even after months of casual "We should do your birthday dinner sometime" (we do them for each other as an easier alternative to finding a present), I still wasn't committing to it. I don't know exactly why, but I guess it just wasn't a priority.

Even in 2008, this Year of Yes, I still almost didn't commit. Lynn wanted to schedule it for Saturday, and even though my calendar was clear for that day (pretty rare, to be honest), I hesitated... just in case something more important came up. That sounds really horrible of me, Lynn, and I apologize, but you know I'm a poor friend like that.

Fortunately, she called me out on my behavior and said 2008 is the Year of Saying Maybe to Free Dinners. So I said yes and marked it on my calendar. It's a victory, however minor.

But, as you can tell from the title, I also experienced a minor failure. It's important to include my failures in this blog, probably more so than the victories.

One of my co-workers told me that her friend (a theatrical lighting designer) needed someone to run lights for a few performances. A pretty easy job, I'd get to see a show for free, and it'd be an interesting experience.

I've worked with theatrical lighting before, so I know I could do it, but I hesitated and just never called her friend. In short, I said no.

Later on, I tried to figure out why. There are many reasons, most of them weak.

Part of it is laziness, which is a huge problem of mine (obviously - I can't even be bothered to get myself to a free dinner).

Part of it is the excuse that my calendar is always rough, and I "need" to keep it clear in case something more important comes up. I guess I'm expecting the Pope to suddenly stop by one night.

And part of it might be the stress and fear of messing up the job. Or just fear of new things.

I'm still not fully sure why.

The whole purpose of this blog is to stop acting like that and to take on new challenges I'd avoid out of fear and laziness, but here I am, still taking those same non-actions.

It'll be a long process. Minor victories, minor failures, you know.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Goodbye, Fast-Forward

I'm one of eight million people living in New York City. Like most of them, I commute by subway and don't own a car. And thus, I haven't really listened to the radio since moving here five years ago.

For anyone who regularly drives, this post might seem a bit frivolous, but for those of us who rely on portable music devices instead of the radio, well, hopefully you understand where I'm coming from.

I decided to stop hitting Fast-Forward on my iPod. This sounds like I'm saying "no," but really, it's more about saying "yes" to the songs that pop up randomly.

Not really a matter of consequence, you'd say, but during my 40-minute commute to and from work (not to mention all the other hours I'm riding the subway or bopping around the city), I usually end up fast-forwarding past hundreds of songs to hear one of the five I'm actually in the mood for. Really, my iPod should just have five songs.

(There are a few exemptions to this decision, notably that 34-minute song by Jarvis that is mostly silence or that weird track that's just a drum solo. I've gotta remove those from the iPod.)

Anyway, I decided to stop fast-forwarding when an unfamiliar song popped up during yesterday's morning commute. I have a bunch of unfamiliar songs on my 2-gig Nano (that's all I need, seriously, my mp3 collection is very small), most of them from birthday mixes or from random albums I'm taking for a test drive. And most of the time, unfamiliar = skipped.

But because 2008 is the Year of Yes, I didn't fast-forward past Sly and the Family Stone's "If You Want Me to Stay," I stayed. And I stayed for every song that my iPod decided to shuffle my way.

I thought this would be much harder to stick to, because I'm apparently very impatient when it comes to music. But really, it's made the commute a bit easier. And I'm enjoying the experience so far, which is the most important thing.

And in case you were wondering, "If You Want Me to Stay" really was the song that came up when I made this decision. It's like Fate, only more ridiculous.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Katina Corrao: Winner

Less than two hours after that first post...

Katina Corrao: Can I borrow $1200?

Me: No.


Me: But I CAN put you in the blog as the first person to say that.

(longer pause)

Me: Wait, are you serious?

(She wasn't.)

Starting a Blog

2008 is my year of yes.

On New Year's Day, I had a talk with my friend Lynn and she said that, even though it sounds like a stupid cliche, she regrets the things she chose not to do more than the mistakes she actually made. I haven't thought about it so much regarding my own life, but she's probably right.

Inspired by my friend Jen's blog (in which she does a new thing every day for a year), I decided to chronicle my year of saying yes to things I normally would decline out of laziness or fear.

I could set up a bunch of rules (examples: I'm not gonna say yes to just any old thing, like giving money to whoever asks for it, or taking LSD), but eff that. The long and short is that I'm gonna try and take more opportunities in my life and see where it takes me.

And the first example would be... starting this blog. I could just have easily thought about this idea and not done anything, or even waited until 2009 so I could start on January 1st (I seriously thought about this on the train this morning), but again, eff it.

So I started the blog and sent the link to several people. It's out there, it exists, and now I'm honor-bound to see it through until December 31st.