Saturday, October 30, 2010

never thought I'd see the day

Sometimes when I watch TV, especially commercials, I'm amazed at what they show, things I never thought I'd see as a kid.

There is, of course, the music on commercials. I never thought I'd see companies using the Beatles, the Stones, the Who to sell products, and Donovan is all over the place. One night, late at night, I saw a commercial for a vibrator followed by one for a penis pump.  Oh, and those Exzyte commercials, for penis enlargement.  At that stuff to enhance "female pleasure."  Tampon and condom commercials.  Commercials that say "diarrhea" and "hemorrhoids" a lot. 

But the ones that always get me, for some reason, are the Mucinex commercials with the little mucus family that moves into someone's sinuses.  People, that is talking snot right there on your TV set.  Walking and talking snot.  And this isn't South Park, which after all, featured a talking piece of shit.  This is a TV commercial you can see on primetime.  It's like something I would have giggled about as a kid:  "What if there was a commercial for cold pills and there was talking snot, like little people made of snot, and the cold pills would kill them?  HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!"  This is the kind of stuff that one of my old friends (no names, please) and I would laugh hysterically over when we were bad teenagers and indulging in herbal remedies.  Talking snot.

I wouldn't have remembered -- shouldn't have, really -- that yesterday was V's birthday, except that we share some Facebook friends and everyone was wishing him a happy birthday.  Barf.  I can't tell you how much trouble I used to go through for his birthday every year:  a selection of carefully selected gifts, cards, a couple of pints of my homemade sorbet and once I even cooked him dinner when Mrs. V was on a business trip on his birthday.  When I turned fifty, he blew off my party at the last minute, and then sent a gift, which was an unwrapped, damaged book with no card. Actually, the only time I ever got a birthday gift from him was one year that I helped him out with the internet -- he really didn't know how to use eBay, and I spotted a collectible there that he really wanted.  I told him about it, and he told me how much he wanted to bid, and I took care of it for him.  It was actually a lot of two identical items (I had a collection of the same item he did), and I announced that the second one would be his birthday present to me.  He was a really bad friend in many ways, but he had me so snowed with his wit, intelligence, and goofy charm that he got away with it for years.  He still gets away with it with a lot of people.  None of those people wishing him happy birthday have any idea that if you're not useful to him, he's not interested.  His fans, of course, are useful, to a point.  I'm not even a fan any more.  After 36 years, I gave it up.  I'm still not happy at being thrown away the way I was, of that passive-aggressive thing of pretty much ignoring me until I got upset enough to be the one to break it off.  I think I still feel hurt, and it did leave a certain empty space in my life.  But I'd rather have it empty than have him in it again.  Barry always thinks V. and I would, maybe should, reconcile; V. &  I knew each other for something like 32 of the 36 years I was a fan.  But it would never be fun again.  It would just be me, waiting for the next time my feelings would be hurt.  No more, no more.

I have a friend in Chicago I rarely see.  We actually met when he was in a band that did some gigs with V. in New York.  (I did meet a lot of worthwhile people through V, I must say.)  I'll call him Matt.  Matt and I met around 92 or 93, and had a huge and constant correspondence, all on paper, maybe four or five letters every week.  We fancied ourselves in love for a bit, but that didn't come to anything.  He was brilliant, an amazing writer, and amazing songwriter and singer.  He was also painfully shy and not very socially adept.  In other words, he was one of those brilliant and peculiar guys I tend to adore.  Anyway, about a year after I got married, he met someone and they got married.  We couldn't make it to the wedding, but i was very moved by how he wrote about her and by his obvious love and admiration for her.  Our correspondence dwindled, of course.  The last I heard from him was maybe a few years ago, and he included, rather proudly, a program from one of her roller derby games (which she did even though she was rather old and heavy for the gig).  He was really enthralled. 

He's not really an internet dude, but I had the idea the other day to look for his wife on Facebook.  We hadn't met but knew of each other, and I really thought she was cool.  I found her Facebook page and saw that she lived in Kentucky, which struck me as odd, but maybe they had moved there.  I decided to look at her blog before sending a friend request, and I found they were divorced, maybe a couple of years, and it seemed to have been her idea (a feeling-trapped, different-goals thing).  I felt very sad for him, did not friend her, and wrote him a long letter.  Some things end, I guess:  marriages, friendships.  And some of them change.  But I do hope to reconnect with Matt, who is a truly sweet and wonderful person.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


So one of the women I share a room with a work plays this radio station all day, not loud but audible.  I asked her if it was an oldies station, but she said it's a mix.  Mostly, though, I hear 80s and 90s music but nothing too contemporary or even hip-hop -- the most up-to-date artist I've heard is Katy Perry (who I guess is considered fairly mainstream, but I like her).  There's stuff like The Ramones and Bruce Springsteen and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I enjoy it and actually know who most of the artists are, and sometimes I even comment on it (maybe I'm a bit of a know-it-all).  So thing song comes on yesterday (I don't know if it's called "Zombie" but that word's in it a lot), and I say, "I think that's The Cranberries."  The woman who plays the station said, "I thought it was Bjork."  I said, "I don't think so, I think it's The Cranberries, and I think this was a hit around fifteen years ago.  Maybe their only one."  A few minutes later, she said to me, "You were right, it was The Cranberries."  I was trying to figured out how she found that out, and thought that maybe the station had a website where you could read a list of what was being played. 

Then I realized that it wasn't an online playlist  -- the radio station was online! It's the internet, dummy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

best pizza ever

This in and of itself is a reason to live in Brooklyn.  Barry turned me on to this place soon after we met, which would be about 13 years ago.  It got to be very well known about five years ago; before that, you never saw people lined up around the corner.  We were in there sometimes when you could pretty much get a couple of slices within five or ten minutes.  I don't know if he makes Sicilian any more, but that was also wonderful.

The Best Thing I Ever Done HQ from MargaretEmily MacKenzie on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the problem with watching Friday Night Lights too much

I catch myself saying "Thank yew" just like all of those real and ersatz Texans on the show.

WTF, Blogger?

It just ate a long post.  I'm not rewriting it.  Let me try a synopsis.  Current earworm:  The Overdraft by Warren Zevon.  Nyah, nyah, I saw Bob Marley live and also Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, James Brown, and Frank Sinatra.  Two I regret never seeing:  Warren Zevon and Elvis Presley.  Two singers I used to think were cheesy but now I respect:  Neil Diamond and Tom Jones.  I had a lot of crushes when I was a kid and a teenager, some I still won't confess to.

But here's something else I was thinking about today:  manicures and pedicures.  I have now had a manicure on the weekend three weeks in a row, and had a pedicure a few weeks before that.  This is not always a regular thing for me, but I am really enjoying it.

I had pedicures before I ever had manicures because I am a lifelong nail picker.  It is truly gross and unattractive and I am embarrassed by it.  So it was pedicures first, because I love wearing sandals, and I was terrible at painting my own toenails.  At first, I was somewhat uncomfortable at having my feet washed by an Asian or Mexican woman.  It made me feel like some kind of colonial/bigot/ugly American.  But truly, those women work hard, they're skillful, and I tip well. 

Now, I have had periods of stopping the nail-picking and growing a reasonable set of nails.  Nail grooming is key -- if I've managed to leave them alone for a couple of weeks, I put on clear polish, and graduate to colored polish as they grow in.  Usually I polish them myself.  They never do get too long, partly because they are prone to break or split, and partly because I'm simply not used to having long nails.  And I always felt silly going for a manicure with such relatively short nails.

When I went for my most recent pedicure, the woman asked if I wanted a manicure too.  I had started trying to grow my nails, and while they weren't raggedy, they were not very long.  I told her no, my nails were too short, and showed her.  She said, no, she could do them.  I didn't have them done that day, but I went back two or three weeks later, with longer nails, and she did my nails.  It was really a nice spot of pampering, plus my nails looked nice.  So I've done it now for a few weeks. 

I think the nail-picking may be over, since I'm way too old to still be doing it, and I simply refuse to have a jewelry job with ugly hands.  I need to wear rings and bracelets, and I need nice hands to do that.

I love rocks.  I've been loving Swarovski a lot for a couple of years, but now I'm back to loving rocks.  Crystal was just a fling, but I do use it with rocks now and then for a little accent.  My job is hard and very detailed, and I don't have a lot of time to commune with the beads, but I do get to spend a lot of time with beads and with jewelry, and I get paid for it.  ("Rocks," of course, is what I called beads and stones of any and all natural materials, so rocks do not include crystal or glass or metal, but do pair with pearls).  "Communing with beads" is simply looking at beads and getting jewelry ideas; it's mostly with my own beads, but I used to do it a lot in bead stores.  I used to work near 37th Street and Sixth Avenue, where there are a whole bunch of bead stores, and I went into at least one or two every lunch hour, occasionally buying but mostly just looking at the beads.  So I don't get to commune with beads at work that much, I mean really staring at them and studying them, but I do get to be around them a lot.  And let's face it -- it's just cool to work for someone who's crazy about tourmaline.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

not sure

At this point, I'm not feeling very happy at work.  I'm learning a lot of difficult and confusing procedures, which mostly involve paperwork and a proprietary computer system, and in no particular order.  I don't understand how they flow, what comes first, and how they fit into the overall process.  A couple of the supervisors have spent some time showing me these procedures, but it's difficult to be instructed when the work is not in front of me.  I have then been expected to actually do the work, without having had any time to put my notes in order; no one seems very happy when I ask questions about a detail.  Either the job is not as described or I didn't really understand what was involved.  I'm not sure that anyone except Stephen cares about jewelry.  It's basically a manufacturing job.  He's been quite pleasant so far, but has now asked to see me in the morning, and it doesn't seem good.  This is why I'm up a little shy of 6 AM -- can't sleep.  I hope I have time to learn the job and to make good, but I'll have to be ready to move on if they don't want me to stay.  The last person in my job stayed nearly three months, but she was absolutely hopeless on any computer applications, even Excel, and she left something of a mess.  I'm at least getting the hang of the system, and haven't wrecked anything yet. But I'm not even sure I'll get three months.  The whole thing is very depressing.  I work every minute of every day and do my best, and that's all I can do.

There's not much "otherwise."  I come home, eat, and go to sleep; I've been in bed around 9:30 every night.  The computer caught something, a virus or trojan, and once more had to go to the shop and have its hard drive wiped.  My online storage system, Mozy, somehow lost a third of my music.

We did have a nice brunch on Sunday for my dad's 80th birthday, at the Blue Water Grill.  My brother, who's basically been out of touch with everyone, did not attend.  The word is that he has to move, even though he's been living in his mother-in-law's house (she's in assisted living).  Seems that her money has run out and the house has to be sold.  My brother and sister-in-law have barely worked since they left New York for Providence -- he worked for a short time in a Rite Aid Pharmacy call center, and then he worked for the Census.  I don't think she's worked at all.  On top of that, he told my uncle that the last time we'd spoken, we had a fight. (???)  My uncle says that life is too short to be estranged, which is certainly my feeling, since I recently sent my brother a birthday e-card, a clipping from the Times involving his old high school, and an e-mail about my new job.  No response.  Anyway, the rest of us had a good time and a nice meal.

Regardless of my job, I did make a new necklace the other day, first one in a while.  My aunt Tina (my uncle's second wife) didn't have any of my jewelry, and was interested in the gem heishi necklaces I'd described to her, so I made one. I had some really nice citrine and I used that with a little carnelian, some silver wheel beads, and some gold rutile quartz.  Afterward, I went poking through some of my old stuff to pull out some other things for her, and came across a heishi necklace I liked better for her, so I kept the citrine one.  I'm also planning a multi-strand green necklace with jasper and some pearls. I still have a lot of material I haven't touched since the last bead show, which was maybe a year and a half ago (maybe two and a half years, I can't remember). I'm actually pretty well stocked, and don't need to buy anything at the moment.  I'm not quite as stocked as the bead room at work, of course, but there's really nothing there that I don't have or couldn't get easily.  (There are even things there I don't like, like frosted beads and heaps of rock crystal.)  I think I'll be doing a lot of jewelry this weekend, whether or not I still have a job.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

mad about jewelry and very crazy

I'm enjoying my job but the work is hard and complicated.  The people are very nice and a half dozen women -- basically all of the female staff -- eat lunch together in the lunchroom every day.  Nice having lunch with women, even if I am the eldest.

I have to say it's very cool working around a gazillion beads every day. For a lot of this morning, I seemed to be mostly running around bringing beads from one place to another, and I felt like I was living a charmed life.  But today did get very busy when I had to start doing some very complicated pricing paperwork and inputting things into the system and assigning numbers to parts and calling vendors.  It was a little overwhelming -- it had been explained to me and I took copious notes, but it takes a little while to put that together with actually doing the work.  The last person who had this job didn't last long, but the one before her put together some really great instructions and guides, as well as spreadsheets I can copy and update.  I'm getting my Excel chops back and learning the in-house computer program.

I wish I spoke better Spanish.  I understand it fairly well, but really can't speak it.  A lot of the women in design and factory are Spanish-speaking, and although we communicate fairly well, it would be better if I could speak Spanish.

I met Stephen my first day, and he was very nice.  He actually quizzed me on a bead, and I answered too quickly -- a little nervous -- and got it wrong.  But the second guess was right.  I like all four brothers, who are all co-owners and all work there.

It's just insane that I got a bead job.  Even though I'm basically in the production department of a manufacturer, it's beads and jewelry.  When I get those costing forms to fill out and look things up and check pricings -- each one is a bunch of papers in a big zip-loc bag, with a sample of the piece of jewelry to which it refers.  So I can look at it and handle it -- plus, I have to make spreadsheets with pictures of the jewelry in it.  Today, I had to price beads for a piece of jewelry, and two of the beads were priced by the gram, rather than by the bead or strand.  So I had to go to the design room, show the necklace, get one of each of the beads loose, and weight them.  Oddly enough, this job is very similar to the one Barry had at many button companies, but I get to do it with beads.  Yahoo!

Some years ago, I had a very boring job but worked right across the street from the block (37th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) where there are about eight bead stores, plus a few on Sixth Avenue and one on Seventh.  Almost every day, I would spend my lunch hour in those store, probably only buying one in ten times.  Mostly I just liked to be around them and get inspired.  My job is kind of like that, although I don't have the time to stand and gawk at the beads.  Though I must admit, I did go into the bead room a couple of times and spend just about two minutes staring and slowly turning around -- it's not a large room, but strands of beads on hooks cover every wall, floor to ceiling.  In fact, the first time I went in, I couldn't find the light switch -- it's hidden under strands of pearls.  Every time I walk near a wall of beads (there are three, not counting the bead room), I quiz myself a little bit.  I'm better at beads than at Spanish. 

But it's pretty much all working, except lunch hour.  There's no slack time at all; on the other hand, everyone pretty much bolts at 5:30. But working with beads, and working for a talented designer, is a pretty wonderful job, so far.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

celebrations have begun!

We went out for dim sum this morning.  Later I had a manicure. 

Alas, the IRS has "attacked" my bank account.  I'll have to try to call them on Monday.

Lily sent me a link today to this video, which doesn't seem to be embeddable, of Gary Jules and Curt Smith singing Mad World live.  Smith is the guy who sang it originally with Tears for Fears, but I'm afraid Jules (I like his version better) sings rings around Smith.  Tears for Fears is not a bad band, but a little too synth-y for my taste.

Since I will be much busier starting Monday, I expect not to do so much obsessing over TV shows.  Though I still do love Friday Night Lights and I still think Coach and Riggins are way cute.

good news at last

I'm starting my new job on Monday.  I will be working for Stephen Dweck, ordering beads and stones, and following up and logging everything in and hitting deadlines and so on.  I had a job interview where I was asked to identify the beads in three necklaces!  (and I thought the interview at that test-prep place was a great interview...)  I was hired about fifteen minutes after the end of my interview. 

I'm not sure I've written about being a serious jewelry crazy since about the age of -- well, I dunno.  Begged to have my ears pierced at 9; my mother agreed, but prohibited dangles until I was twelve.  (Younger people: this was a big distinction at the time, between wearing posts and wearing dangles.)  I think I managed to push that deadline a little.

I always had some jewelry: a gold heart with my initials (still have it), a little chai (ditto) bracelets with small blue-on-white enameled tile charms that my aunt bought me from Holland (also a small wooden shoe pendant in the same blue-and-white enamel, which I no longer have), a small birthstone (topaz)  ring (lost).  I loved to look through my mother's jewelry box, even though she didn't have a ton of stuff.  (A chai is not spiced tea -- it's that little Jewish charm that looks like an "n".  It's considered lucky and means "life," though it also means the number 18, which is my birthday.  Jewish people often give a gift or donation of $36, which is called "double chai.")  Actually, she had a fair number of nice pieces, but always pretty much wore one of two pair of earrings (I didn't learn until she died that the little gold hoops she always wore were not real), the same watch, a couple of pins, maybe some costume beads for a necklace.  She rarely wore the beautiful set of garnets my father gave her when I was born, her diamond engagement ring, any pearls (she gave me my great-grandmother's pearls when I was 21, and I'd never seen them before -- of course I still have *those*).

Jewelry always had a lot attached to it on my mother's side of the family, things like passing on my great-grandmother's pearls.  When my grandfather died, my grandmother and my aunt had his gold watch chain cut into three, set with diamonds and made into bracelets for themselves and my mother.  Kind of fetishy about those things.  Especially my aunt, who had *tons* of nice jewelry.  She worked at IBM for something like 35 years, made a good living and never got married, so she bought a lot of clothes and jewelry and went on a lot of cruises.  She now has most of my mother's and my grandmother's jewelry, a lot of it locked away (though she does wear my grandmother's beautiful opal ring, and the necklace my grandmother had made from my grandfather's Masonic pin...get the idea?). 

When my mother died, I was almost 22, and my grandmother died three years later; my aunt deemed me insufficiently mature to own any of it.  That was probably a blessing, since I was still an active alcoholic and addict.  I'm 53 now, sober 24 years, and it's almost all in my aunt's safe deposit box.  Just sayin'.  Before my brother got married (about twelve years ago), I called my aunt and said that I wanted my mother's "good pearls" for the wedding.  (Jewelry crazies, or maybe just Jewish women, are very clear about what is "good" jewelry, and that basically means real gold, real stones, high-quality pearls.)  After my parents split up, my mother dated a man for four years who worked in a nice jewelry store, and the big pearls were in lieu of an engagement ring.  (They never ended up getting married because he was a chronic cheat.)  So my aunt got me the pearls, and threw in a gold-and-garnet bangle of my great-grandmother's.  (Jewelry crazy plus family jewelry fetish.)  However, she claims not to have seen either my mother's garnets nor her engagement ring from my father.  I do also have a signet ring my father gave my mother when they were dating (his initials in marcasite), and her high school ring (Tilden HS, Brooklyn NY).

So I kind of grew up as a jewelry crazy.  My dad got me a big turquoise ring for my 16th birthday, which I think is the best present he ever gave me.  He's actually given me other jewelry -- Dad gets the girls-and-rocks thing, and has pretty good taste.  But the turquoise was very of-the-moment, and the stone and setting are stunning (and yes, I've still got that one).

For a time in the 90s, I really wanted to go to gemology school, because I'd fallen in a big way for expensive stones (also for antique jewelry).  But it was not affordable; I think it was a one-year full-time program, at a year-of-college price.  (I'm talking about the GIA, which is basically *the* place to study gemology.)

I started making jewelry so fast, like zero-to-sixty, that I had forgotten for a while just how I started (about eight years ago).  But I recently remembered that I'd bought a beautiful bead from a Tibetan store.  It was a big coral bead with silver end caps, like attached bead caps, which had small turquoise and coral stones set in it.  I just fell in love with it and bought it (I think it was $10).  I'm pretty sure that I started because I didn't know what to do with that big bead.  (I still have it, though I've never made anything out of it.  It's The Bead.) 

But I can't remember looking for and finding a beading store, what I initially bought and how I started.  I remember that early on I used base metal findings and glass and fire-polished (fake crystal) beads.  I only made earrings at first because I was intimidated by attaching clasps with crimp beads.  I know that I taught myself from a beading book (the little pink one that most beginners buy) and beading magazines.  I've only ever taken two classes:  one on knotting (because I had a lot of trouble learning this from articles and the book and diagrams), and the one I took recently on making wire rings.  Otherwise, I'm totally self-taught.

Once I started using stones, I somehow felt the need to know exactly what materials I was using.  I had to know the name of everything.  This was part jewelry fetish, and partly because I planned to eventually sell my work, and wanted to be able to tell those future customers exactly what the jewelry was made of.  I learned a lot of this by browsing bead stores and and browsing the net.  After a while, there was exactly one sales clerk at one of the Sixth Ave/37th St bead store who knew more about stones than I did, and luckily he worked in one of my favorite stores, a huge one.  If I couldn't identify something there, I had Roberto.  If he wasn't there, or I was in another store and didn't recognize a stone, good luck.

So today, I identified rose quartz, smoky quartz, agate, and Russian amazonite.  I think the Russian amazonite got me halfway to being hired; that was the ID that really seemed to impress Edmond.  (He's the brother I've dealt with through the whole application process.)  There were two other stones I didn't know and guessed at (one I now realize was amazonite of another type), but the guesses were pretty smart.  I thought the amazonite might have been an opaque aquamarine, and there was a lumpy white stone that I thought might be undyed howlite or possibly some sort of artificial ivory.

I was interviewed and told about the job by a woman named Divia, and Edmond ran in and out.  He was going to come in to finish the interview, but he was too busy.  So I walked home, and five minutes after I came in the door, he called and offered me the job.  Divia had asked about my availability, and I said I could start Monday, which was just a way of saying that I was very available.  But they asked me to start Monday.  For any other job, I would have asked for a week before starting, but they're kind of backed up and it was my first act as part of the team to start right away.  There are no orders to place just now, but I have to learn some software and get up to speed on the ordering and receiving system.  Apparently I'm also going to have to create some Excel spreadsheets, since my predecessor didn't have great computer skills.  I'm pretty sure that I was hired largely because I knew the stones (and also was familiar with Dweck's work), and had good administrative/office skills. I feel like the job was made for me.

I feel that at times, I haven't been the most disciplined employee.  In fact, if I don't work full-tilt for the entire workday, I feel guilty and like a serious fuck-up, and I've rarely been able to work full-tilt all day.  I've also had a bad habit, on and off, of sometimes not wanting to deal with something confusing or unknown or a task I didn't like.  But I think that will be very different with the new meds I'm on.  I've noticed a change in my personal life; I've become a lot more responsible about housework and cleaning (speaking of tasks I don't like).  I get a lot of satisfaction from doing it thoroughly rather than brushing it off or doing it half-assed.  If I'm doing dishes, I do them all and then clean the sink.  (My darling husband, for some reason, hates washing silverware and will do all of the other dishes and leave the silver.  He will also leave any pot or pan that would require even minimal scrubbing "to soak.")  I wipe the bathroom sink numerous times every day.  I sweep.  I organize things.  I throw out junk mail right away.  (I'm not supposed to say "junk mail" since my father worked many years in direct marketing, but you all know what I mean when I say "junk mail.")  This is all pretty new for me.  I've become mighty efficient and much neater.  I think this will follow me to work.

On a totally different subject -- I've been watching reruns of Friday Night Lights on the bizarre ABC Family channel.  They began showing it from the start five days at 6 PM, and I'm enjoying it while waiting for season 5 to start.  Barry watches with me some of the time.  There's a character named Tim Riggins who is a wildly handsome high school kid (and on the football team which is the center of the show), and as of the start of season two, has gone through three girlfriends.  Barry started joking about how Tim Riggins sleeps with everyone in town.  It's very silly, but it cracks us up.   The same actor (Taylor Kitsch) who plays Riggins was in the movie Wolverine, and it was on a few nights ago.  We said that Riggins would sleep with Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber.  It's not about something like Riggins being bi -- I think it's more about Riggins being irresistible to everyone.  We also wanted Tim Riggins to turn up on Glee, where there would be lots of people for him to sleep with.  Oh, here's a picture of old TR:

The first picture is with Sat Nite Lights costars Jesse Plemons and Scott Porter.  (To emphasize how football-crazy the town is, Plemons' character is named "Landry."  Barry calls him "Clamtree," and claims that he's slept with Tim Riggins, of course.)

What I really like about Taylor Kitsch, or about Tim Riggins, is that he's handsome in the way that handsome boys were handsome when I was in high school.  I would have had a mad crush on him when I was fourteen, and did have mad crushes on boys of that type.  And TK/TR is seriously cute.

I refer to the show as "Coach," as in, "Turn on the set, it's time for Coach."  Because while the football team is the center of the show, it's heart is absolutely the team coach, who is a wonderful father (both to his kids and the players), a wonderful husband, a very moral guy, strict but kind-hearted...and also very handsome.  Big time.  Let's see if I can find a pic of him:

The actor is Kyle Chandler: quite the looker.

OK, time to stop drooling over TV boys.  It's late.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

maybe a dream job?

OK, I answered a Craigslist ad yesterday for a purchaser for stones and beads for a high-end jewelry designer in Brooklyn.  I said in the ad that in addition to the administrative requirements, which I met, I have bought stones and beads for eight years as a jewelry hobbyist.  The guy replied almost immediately and asked about my salary requirements.  I told him, and noticing that his last name was the same as one of my favorite contemporary jewelry designers, I asked if they were connected, and they are.  He told me about the salary arrangement:  it's a good number based on a five-day work week, but the work week is only four days just now, probably going to five days early next year.  The four-day salary is a mite light, but I said it would be fine.  What he actually said was, "If we offer you the position pending a positive interview, would this be acceptable for your salary needs?"  That sounds to me like he's fairly sold on me already.  So I have an interview on Friday, and get this -- the studio is about six blocks from where I live!  how amazing is that?  Just the idea of working six blocks from home, buying stones and beads for one of my favorite contemporary jewelry cool is that?  (In addition, because I'm familiar with the designer's work, I already know what kinds of stones and beads he works with.)  I'm supposed to meet with the contact and one of his "associates" -- I'm wondering is it's going to be the designer.

When I lived in Manhattan, in the east 50s (I lived there for eight years before I met Barry and moved back to Brooklyn -- my Manhattan apartment was way too small for two), I loved walking around the city.  Almost every Saturday, I would walk across to the west side, go to the Donnell Library (a much better branch than my local one was), and do some strolling and window-shopping.  Since I was already insane about jewelry (though not yet making my own), I would usually look in Tiffany.  In the days when my credit was better, I got a Bergdorf's credit card, though I rarely used it for anything more than cologne and cosmetics (with the exception of one occasion when I splurged on a $700 coat, marked down from $1,200, which was huge money in 1988 -- and I still wear the coat!).  But I would often go into Bergdorf's on those strolling Saturdays, mostly looking at the first-floor cosmetics and accessories.  That's where I spotted this guy's jewelry, which was too expensive for me at the time, but I fell in love with his work. 

I have five contemporary jewelry designers I love, and actually own work by two of them (sterling Elsa Peretti earrings, and a Chan Luu necklace, five strands of coral beads, that I won in a drawing from Fragments).  (The stuff Chan Luu is showing now on Fragments is not nearly as nice as some of her older stuff.)  I got the Elsa Perettis by being a bit of a pig -- a fairly distant relative sent Barry and me a cake stand from Tiffany as a wedding gift, something we wouldn't use in a dozen lifetimes.  I cashed it in, and instead of getting something for us, I got the Elsa Peretti earrings to wear at my wedding.  Actually, Barry had gotten me a pair of Elsa Peretti sterling heart stud earrings for the first birthday I had after we met (I got him a pricey Native American sterling bracelet), but I lost one.  I also have a sterling heart-link bracelet from Tiffany that my folks gave me when I graduated college in '93.  I'm not that label-crazy, but then again, maybe I am when it comes to jewelry.  And Tiffany, let's face it, is Tiffany.

I gave that collectibles gallery one last shot -- e-mailed them and said, in a polite way, hey, weren't you going to get back to me for a second interview? I did hear back, and of course the response was very different than what I'd originally been told, but it was worth a shot.

Barry is still deep in whatever's going on with him.  He's having a foot problem on top of everything else, so I'm going with him to the podiatrist today.

Maybe I'm more attracted to the herbal guy (I suppose I can call him Herb) more than I thought, because I've recently found myself somewhat drawn to a couple of tall, thin Asian dudes on TV.  Go fig. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

the Fantastic Johnny C. & the fantastic George Gerdes

OK, now let's all boogaloo down Broadway.

Back in the day, when I worked weekends at Folk City (early 80s), I used to see a singer-songwriter named George Gerdes.  He was funny, and although he wasn't necessarily a good-looking man, he had some kind of insane charisma.  He was sexy as all get-out.  Around the mid-90s or so, he went out to California to pursue an acting career, and has done fairly well as a character actor.  I'm posting two of his reels, since one includes his recent True Blood appearance (as well as a recent A-1 commercial), and the other has his appearance on the Seinfeld "Bubble Boy" episode:

A few years ago, George came to New York for some special gig, I think it was Ed Sanders' (The Fugs) 65th birthday.  When I approached the club, there was an older balding guy standing outside, and V. said hello to him.  After the show started, the baldish guy got on stage a struck a pose with his guitar.  And OMG, it was sexy old George Gerdes! In fact, later, I told V's wife that we had seen Gerdes, and she asked me, "Is he still so hot?"  So it wasn't just me.  George had something going on.  His album or albums are out of print, and I'd love to get one.

Barry is still feeling crummy, and it makes me feel pretty crummy too.  Although the herbals I procured yesterday are very happy-making.  I'm thinking that Herbal Guy is getting some medical-grade product, maybe from NJ.

I weeded out all of my Facebook "friends" who weren't really friends -- I had acquired a lot of blues-oriented "friends" during the five minutes that I wrote for  They were kind of cluttering up my Facebook experience -- I'd log on and see posts from people I didn't know,. about gigs in other cities and such, and I finally edited out about a hundred people so that my "friends" are now people I know or people who interest me.  It means that when I log on, I mostly see stuff that interests me, though the political stuff leaves me cold.  I've finally become deeply interested in history over the past several years, but I'm still easily confused and bored by politics.  Maybe I'm missing the gene.

I loved the first two "girl who" Steig Larsson books, and have ordered the third.  I'm not a big mystery reader, or a reader of foreign fiction (I always feel I'm missing out because I don't get the cultural stuff).  But reading carefully, I think I got enough of a sense of Swedish life to enjoy the books, though I still don't understand certain things like the characteristics of certain neighborhoods.  (As if a Swede were reading an American book that said, "she moved from the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side, and she wasn't sure it was much of an improvement" -- s/he wouldn't know what those neighborhoods were all about and thus what the move or comment signifies.)

I enjoyed my reread of Kalki, which I read so long ago that I'd forgotten a lot of it, and I think I had a very different experience of it than when I was 20 or so (I read it many times over when I was younger).  It was also very interesting to see the plot against the publication date of's always interesting to see how the past envisioned the future.

I'm reading Marge Piercy's Sex Wars now, and she's become a real ace at historical fiction. The book is a fictionalized account of several real people from Gilded Age New York, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Victoria Woodhull.  It is of course told from a very liberal point of view, all about women's rights and status in that area, and those who broke away from the social conventions.  It's more history than politics, though the politics are fairly simple and not very dull.

Marge Piercy has been one of my favorite writers for many years, even before she wrote a lot of historical fiction.  Vida was always one of my favorites, about a 60s radical in hiding.  Woman on the Edge of Time is fascinating, and raises a lot of questions about mental illness: is the woman mentally ill, or is she truly transported to another place -- or rather, how does it look from her point of view?  Braided Lives is another good one.  They're all fairly feminist without being preachy.  And she has a wonderful style of writing.  I even like her poetry, and I'm not much of a poetry reader.  (Even when I wrote poetry myself, I didn't care much for reading poetry.)

A favorite male writer is John Irving, though I haven't read any of his new work for about eight years.  But I used to buy his books in hardback.  He has a real talent for odd plots, and also a great writing style.

I'm not sure what to do with myself today.  I saved a four-part talk about Scientology on YouTube, and may check that out.  Lot of scary movies on TV, now that it's October.  That's more Barry's thing than mine -- he watched a string of Hammer Dracula movies last night.  I just can't watch Hammer films.  A lot of British stuff has that Politics Effect on me.  A lot of people I know or knew adore British mysteries, whether books or films/TV, but I can't stand them.  I had a couple of serious Anglophile friends in summer camp, and I would just look the other way when they started doing Goon Show and Monty Python riffs (though I eventually did develop a liking for Monty Python). The girl Anglophile friend has a poorly hidden passion for Peter Cook, which was kind of embarassing when she wrote a novelette or something where the characters were clearly a fantasy Cook and Moore.  The boy Anglophile friend came to it more from a musical point of view -- he played a number of instruments and particularly enjoyed traditional music from the British Isles.  I don't know if he plays any music any more -- a random computer course pushed him away from music and toward technology, and as he is wildly intelligent, he became a Big Deal in finance and technology, rather than an awesomely talented musician (he played about a dozen instruments, many of them ancient ones).  With his long hair cut and beard shaven, in an expensive suit rather than jeans, he's been living in London for some years now.  I find it hard to imagine anything longer than a visit (even a long one) to another country.  I can't imagine wanting to live in any other country, but I've visited very few myself.

Friday, October 1, 2010

jobs and disappearing debt

I did interview for the uptown university job on Tuesday.  The department chair and four faculty members interviewed me.  They all seemed quite nice.  The only possible hiccup is that I didn't have some of the computer skills they asked about, though I imagine they were "preferred" rather than mandatory since I wouldn't have responded to the ad if they were required.  I of course said that I could pick up any of them easily.  I've used a personal computer on the job since 1984; in fact, the first one I used didn't even run on MS-DOS (it was CP/M, which I guess fell by the wayside a long time back).  I've probably learned about two dozen programs/software in those years, not counting newer versions of old products.  Anyway, I thought the interview went fairly well and I'm pretty sure I'd like the job.  I poked around online for the union contract that would cover this job, and even though I couldn't find a code for the title, I checked a couple of grades of administrative jobs and I figure this job should pay around $42K to start.  Plus it seems to be a very good union.

I have debt, some of it very old, mostly hangovers from various periods where good income suddenly dropped off, and never again became good enough to pay off much debt in addition to current needs.  They mostly involved various small lines of credit -- 300 here, 400 there, store cards and small-limit credit cards.  About six months ago, I paid off a couple when I got those notices offering a settlement for a one-time payment of a much lesser amount.

But one of these collection agencies has been bugging me a lot over the past year.  It was from a small-limit credit card from maybe three or four years ago.  But as best I can remember, the card had a $350 limit, and these people were trying to get me to pay over $700.  They've been phoning a lot over the past eight months or so. When it occurred to me that they were trying to collect a whole lot more than I thought I should owe, I started asking the callers to send me an itemized bill, since I thought the charge was incorrect.  A couple of them said they couldn't provide it.  I got to the point that when they called, I just said, "I'm not paying anything because I think the amount is incorrect.  If you send me an itemized bill, then I'll talk to you about it.  I'm not paying anything until I see an itemized bill," and then hung up the phone.  This happened about ten times.  Finally, someone called and said, "I understand you want to see an itemized bill, since you think the billing amount is wrong."  I said yes, and she said, "OK, we can do that."  This was about two months ago, and I never received the bill, though they did stop calling me.  Today, I got a letter from them saying that my balance owed is zero and they're going to remove it from all three credit reports!  I don't think this was one of the bills I paid off six months ago (OK, my record-keeping leaves something to be desired), but if someone tells me I don't owe them money, that's just fine with me.

I got a call about a week ago from another collection agency, saying that I owed something, maybe a few hundred dollars, to T-Mobile.  About 4 or 5 years ago, we went into a T-Mobile store to get phones and a plan, and they did an instant credit check and said that my credit was not good enough.  Period.  I told this to the guy who called, and I could tell he didn't believe me, and I repeated it several times, and threw in something about identity theft, and he finally said, "We'll investigate it and inform you of our findings within thirty days." Yikes!  But yesterday, I got a letter saying that we don't owe T-Mobile squat.  Again, I love a debt that vanishes.  I think I've actually cleared up everything except a student loan and taxes.  But I can't do anything more until I'm working.

Went to meet my herbal pal today.  He's a little shy and awkward, but he's a really nice guy.  I told Barry that I like the guy because he doesn't treat me like I'm twice his age, or act like it's weird that someone my age should be doing business with him, and so on.  Barry asked, "Is this guy coming on to you?"  Maybe I sounded like I liked him too much."  I said no, and later thanked him for thinking that someone would come on to me.  I told him that no one had come on to me for nearly thirteen years; this is nearly true.  That was the last *new* person who came on to me.  Someone I'd known for a long time had an eye on me in the interim.  But the truth is that maybe I enjoy the herbal guy a little too much, just a little.  For the most part, men overlook me, except old hippies from outside New York City.  (The thirteen-years-ago guy was one of those.)  That's been true for years.  Apart from being overweight, I'm short and flat-chested.  (Lucky me, overweight *and* flat-chested!)  Herbal Guy is not a flirt and has not been forward in any way, but he really seems interested in me and in getting to know me.  Maybe he just likes to be friendly with his customers, but it's nice anyway.  Hey, he said he liked my earrings (unsolicited), which will get pretty much anyone in my good graces, big-time.  It's not just admiring my work -- I like someone who notices details and is any sort of aesthete. 

Current earworms...I'm not sure if I explained the other thing, or what I called it, the sort of self-earworm thing when I repeat and repeat a song on my mp3 player or computer because I'm really enjoying it and can't stop listening to it.  It's like an input-worm.  Sometimes an input-worm turns into an earworm, or vice-versa.  But here are the current leaders:  Boogaloo Down Broadway by Fantastic Johnny C.  (I could swear I posted a video for this recently, but now I can't find it.  So go to YouTube and look around.)  Wild Young Hearts by the Noisettes.  I don't seem to be getting tired of that one.  There's one I heard today that may be a future one:  Bedroom Boogie by the Red Elvises.  A friend told me about the Red Elvises, and what I've heard so far is pretty cool.  And while we're on music, I wanted to mention Los Straitjackets, who are obscure but very cool.  They play surf instrumentals; rumor has it that they're a bunch of top-notch Nashville studio guys.  But no one knows, because they wear lucha libre masks.  They've been doing it for around fifteen years, way before lucha libre was on anyone's map in the US. I saw them once at the old Tramps.

On Sunday, I went to the Atlantic Antic, a huge annual street fair on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.  Unlike a lot of the usual street fairs in New York, which tend to have the same vendors and food stands, the AA had a lot of interesting foods from local restaurants, and wonderful jewelry and clothing and such from local artisans and craftspeople.  I swear that every third table was jewelry.  It's the first time I can remember that I started walking past jewelry tables because I was so overloaded.  (Lucky for Barry he wasn't with me, because I stopped and stopped and stopped.)  I ended up buying some little silver stud earrings, a tee-shirt for Barry, and some tights, leggings and a purse from Brooklyn Industries (they had a whole table of stuff for $5 apiece -- that bag was easily a $50-60 item originally).  The Transit Museum had an exhibit of old busses on two blocks -- you could get on them, and they had old ads.  A couple of people I knew were playing music, but I only caught one.  I hadn't been to the AA for a few years, and I really enjoyed myself.