Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Ghost of Gertrude Tredwell

As mentioned earlier, last night I went on a ghost tour at the Merchant's House Museum in the East Village, called "Manhattan's most haunted" by Time Magazine.

It was pretty interesting, especially because I had a ghostly encounter of my own.


While in the first room of the tour (the room where Gertrude Tredwell, the house's most famous and active ghost, was born; also, the room where she died), something touched me on the side of the head. It wasn't a light cobweb or a small insect or anything very faint, I felt my hairs move apart and something poked me.

I knew it wasn't Sarah, since she was standing in front of me, so I turned around. Now I highly doubt it was the usherette or one of the few guests standing there, and since this wasn't one of those ghost tours where people dress up in costumes and scare you, I'm willing to believe it was Gertrude.

Later on in the tour, they mentioned how last year, during a chorale concert in the house, one singer felt himself get poked in the ribs three times. And this coincided with several guests witnessing an elderly woman arrive, sit in one of the old chairs, and watch the concert.

So maybe Gertrude likes to poke people, I dunno.

True story, but weird.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ugh, Parties.

A lot of stuff I've said Yes to recently has been pretty easy (going to see the final dress rehearsal for Dividing the Estate, which I did last week, or going on a ghost tour of the Merchant's House Museum, which I'm doing tomorrow), but I recently said Yes to something pretty difficult.

We're gonna throw a housewarming party.

The idea of this fills me with dread. It's weird, I know, but it seriously scares me.

What if no one comes? What if they have a bad time? What if they hate the food? What if they steal my things? What if the gerbils get upset? What if they stand on our bed while wearing shoes? These are all stupid fears - we're only inviting a handful of friends that are trustworthy, well-behaved and non-judgmental, but I'm still worried.

I'm frequently uncomfortable with anyone, even people I know and like, being in my house. Case in point, back in St. Augustine I frequently turned away would-be guests from my eccentric and spider-filled studio. Here in NYC, I've had almost no one over to any of my apartments ever.

One-on-one guests are bad enough (though, strangely, Julie came over last night to sketch Cakey, and that wasn't uncomfortable at all), but now multiply it to maybe a dozen people. Madness! And then add on all the hosting responsibilities. Lunacy!

It brings to mind the only party we ever had at my house when growing up. It was my brother's birthday. He was probably six or seven, so I was just four or five. And for some reason (I'd guess because my mom didn't understand the customs of birthday invitations or RSVPs), it was up to my brother to invite all his friends.

I don't know if my brother could really write back then - did he give out invitations? Did he just mention this party? How could these little kids be expected to tell their parents, and for their parents to take them seriously and drive them to this unfamiliar house? How did they even know the address?

I don't know what went wrong, but something did, because only one kid showed up. Just one kid.

Years later, I asked my brother if he remembered that party, and if it sucked, and he tersely replied that yes, he did, and yes, it did.

We never had a party in that house again.

So now we're gonna have a party soon. And seriously, this is probably the most stressful thing I've blogged about all year. Maybe even more so than getting my wisdom teeth removed. Madness.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Lodge Classes Up

Today the Lodge did something that I haven't seen (or noticed) during all my time here: they invited a guest chef to come cook a classy lunch, in addition to the regular options.

Now I'm one of those people who love Food Network but isn't a foody (I enjoy eating garbage - last night for dinner I had a slice of pepperoni pizza and a bowl of Fruity Pebbles), but I still think it's pretty cool that they got Ed Brown from Eighty One to cook a risotto and shrimp dish.

And, it being the Year of Yes, I totally ordered it.

I was a bit surprised by the portion, since the Lodge usually gives you mammoth-sized servings of meatloaf or whatever, and the price was twice as much as a normal lunch, but again, this is a guest chef.

Verdict: Pretty good! I am not really a shrimp lover unless they've been fried or cooked by my mom, but I enjoyed it. Still, I'm glad I got a small serving of chicken Waldorf salad (which I'd also never seen at the Lodge before) to top off the meal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey, How Was Equus?

In a word: mind-blowing.

In two words: pretty mind-blowing.

I'll forego writing anything stupid about seeing Harry Potter naked (although you do indeed get that), because once I got engaged in the play (and it IS quite engaging), that doesn't seem as important.

It's been about ten years since I've read Equus, and I'd never seen it on stage before. It's powerful, powerful stuff. About passion and madness and worship and how they can all mix together.

And I kind of feel this play is about the best argument for beastiality that one can make... which is something I never thought I'd write.

Anyway, Pam's birthday is next month (on the same day as my brother's - a coincidence that means nothing), so she gets to pick, and since she likes Entourage, we're gonna see Speed-the-Plow starring Jeremy Piven.

I can't think of any decent pun involving that title.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ZombieCon: A Survivor's Recap

I was conflicted about going to ZombieCon, because our TV and TV stand were getting delivered some time during the day (between the ridiculous window of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. - thanks, guys), and I felt kind of bad about leaving Sarah at home to wait for them.

But screw it, I went anyway! And here I am in my biohazard survivalist gear.

I didn't wanna wear zombie makeup, I kind of hate putting on that stuff (and I didn't feel like ruining any of my clothes), but it isn't right to tag along as a civilian, so I put together this outfit.

The cool part was I frequently heard people say "That costume is REALLY creepy," because you couldn't see any of my skin or face (underneath the gas mask I wore one of those invisibility hoods).

So how was ZombieCon? It was pretty fun! As you know, I love wearing costumes and getting my picture taken, but I probably would have had more fun if I went with a group of friends.

Things that were cool: Seeing people dressed up like zombies, natch. The Disco Zombie. Getting a feel for a zombie stampede of the Manhattan Mall. Walking through Halloween Adventure. People looking at me warily.

Things that weren't so cool: The puddle of water that condensed inside my gas mask and occasionally spilled out. People not getting into character - I saw too many zombies with cell phones and cameras. And a lot of them were pretty lively for dead people. At the very least, I'd hoped for more shambling and groaning.

But I'm guilty of this, too, I went mostly to take pictures, but it's like I learned at Dragon*Con - you can either be the photographer or the model, but not both.

I conked out around midway through the afternoon (mingling with zombies is hard work!), and I ended up heading home before things got interesting - namely, the invasion of Wall Street and the after party.

I'll be back next year... unless there's a real zombie attack before then, in which case I can relive the magic every day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

ZombieCon '08

Q. Do I wanna go to ZombieCon tomorrow?

A. Yes, I think I do.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Death Note II: The Recap

It was... OK.

The dub was fine, I stopped noticing after a while.

Chairman Kaga did indeed play Light's dad, which was exciting.

They took some interesting departures from the manga. One pretty important character was entirely different (sex, occupation, raison d'etre, etc.)... which is why I was so incorrect in naming the people on the poster.

And there was a lot of humor in it! I can only think of one line in the manga that made me laugh ("Why is this girl always hugging things?" which I'm sure is very unhilarious out of context), but the movie had a number of good bits.

But what I didn't like, aside from the crazy people who had to shout comments all the time (this was a pretty low-key screening, who WERE those people?! Fans? Lunatics? Or are just so many people idiots and a-holes that they feel they're allowed to say hilarious things all the time?), was the way it ended.

And no spoilers, but Death Note (the manga) is pretty long. This sequel was still midway through the story arc, but then they conclusively ended it.

It's like if, during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, they were like, "You know what? We're not gonna make anymore Harry Potter movies. But we shot 3/4 of this film. Let's just write a new ending, and have that be the finale of the series."

I was surprised, but not in a good way.

When we exited the theater, someone with a camera asked us what we thought of the movie. Don't be fooled, I just said "I really liked it" out of politeness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Food: Cheers and Jeers

Cheers to Swiss Chard, and to the new cafeteria, in general.

Some time ago, the Lodge changed their food providers, and I must say there's a distinct raise in quality amongst the food. And the prices ain't bad, to boot.

Today they offered Swiss Chard, which I had never eaten before. But I like leafy green things that aren't iceberg lettuce, so I decided to Year of Yes it. And it was pretty good! Tasted basically the same as broccoli rabe or spinach. And I'm pretty sure eating this will add valuable months to my lifespan.

Jeers to Lula's Sweet Apothecary, a vegan ice cream parlor that Sarah, Lynn and I had planned to visit before seeing Death Note II.

Not that I have anything against vegan ice cream (it tastes terrific), but they get a jeer for this:

Closed?! Damn it! That's just unacceptable (barring, of course, family emergencies or the like). Doesn't Lula know that the best way to disappoint Kirks who want ice cream is to close down the ice cream parlor on the specific day they're gonna get it?

Actually, the best way to disappoint Kirks is to have them excitedly rush up to the storefront, see that it's closed, press their faces sadly against the window, read all the varieties of ice cream they will not get to choose, wonder how they're gonna kill an hour before seeing the movie, decide to go to Cold Stone Creamery to get one of those kick-ass Cake 'n' Shake milkshakes (that have real pieces of yellow cake in them), then forget where the nearest Cold Stone Creamery is, never find it, go see if Dinosaur Hill has re-opened yet, see that it hasn't, sigh heavily, get in a crappy mood, try to find decent discount clothes at the Urban Outfitters on 2nd Ave., don't find shit, then arrive late for the movie so they have to sit in a sucky area.

At least I can now skip all that nonsense and look up 1) that Dinosaur Hill is still closed and 2) where Cold Stone is (it's on Astor Place, that's right, it's near where Barnes & Noble used to be. That's why I wouldn't have been able to find it, I thought it was on 2nd Ave. somewhere).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I'm going to a special screening of this tomorrow:

I'm pretty psyched... though a bit skeptical. It's a sequel to the first Death Note movie, which I haven't seen, but I've read a lot of the manga and have really, really enjoyed it.

It's about a guy who finds a book that, if you write someone's name in it, that person will die. And the guy decides to change the world by killing criminals.

Why am I skeptical? Two words: English dub. I hate 'em with a passion, and would rather just read subtitles. I tried to watch an episode of the anime (I think they screen it on Cartoon Network), but had to turn it off in five minutes because the voice actors were so, so bad.

This'll be the first movie I've seen in a theater since The Dark Knight.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Equus? Heck, yes!

Pam and Michael Martin are taking me to see Equus on Thursday as a birthday present, and I'm pretty psyched about it. Actually, I'm always pretty psyched about something, and after the suck-month that was September (Sucktember), I'm glad October is gearing out to be pretty good.

Back in the day, Pam and MM and I used to see all sorts of show's during what is now known as "Broadway's Renaissance." We'd seen Xanadu, Grey Gardens, Frost/Nixon, and now, keeping in the tradition of seeing shows with only one or two words, Equus, which is not only creepy as heck, but features Harry Potter naked (or so I've been told).

I feel that this almost makes up for me not getting to see Hamlet with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart in England, for sadly that trip didn't prove feasible in this time of economic and social uncertainty.

In conclusion, Thursday!

PS: That headline was the best Equus pun/rhyme I could come up with. If you have a better one, please leave it as a comment.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Surefire Cure for a Cold

I'm healing, slowly but surely. Last night seems to be the worst of it.

And I'm pretty amazed that Sarah was able to move so much furniture and get settled into the new apartment while waylaid with this cold. This proves she's got a higher Constitution than me.

Almost everyone I know is sick, and everyone's got their own cold remedies, but this one worked really well for me.

My supervisor came over and asked me if I'd ever heard of the old Internet meme, "How is babby formed?"

I had not, so she directed me to that site. Watching it 10 times in a row, laughing very hard and silently, really cleared out my head and lungs.

But, I suspect it's like Brigadoon, in that it only works if you've never seen it before.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Four Previews of Upcoming Posts

I apologize for the lack of updates, but (1) moving into a new apartment will do that for you. Even simply moving four blocks in Astoria isn't cheap or easy or quick. Moving sucks!

During my absence, I also (2) celebrated my birthday with my new favorite dessert, sticky toffee pudding. It's delicious!

And then yesterday I (3) ordered my plane tickets for Thanksgiving... looks like Sarah and I are going to Disney World! My first time back in almost eight years, whoa!

And finally, (4) I caught a cold. It sucks!