Saturday, April 28, 2012

since I've already written the damn thing...

The "BigB" blog sometimes doesn't feel like posting what one has written. It has one of those stupid "recaptcha" things where you have to retype a series of displayed letters, but sometimes lately, it simply isn't there. So this is what I wrote tonight and could not post. I saved it, so I figured what the hell.

It was written as a comment on Big B's blog rather than as my own blog post, but it does explain what the past eight days have been like. And it probably should have been a blog post here anyway.

I feel like I'm just coming out of a terrible week - actually a few days more than a week.
Three people connected with the small school at which I work died this past week: a long-time teacher, a student my age, and the father-in-law of a board member. Our school is very small - 50 students, maybe 50 faculty rotating into 32 slots per year, 75 alumni, a dozen board members. Whatever happens to one of us, we all bleed. And as the administrator, I am literally connected to each and every person.

I suffer from terrible tree pollen allergies and we're having a particularly bad tree pollen season this year. Maybe that's good for the trees, but not for my eyes. They hurt and itched and watered as if they were infected - and this was *with* medication!

Problem with the internet at work - on the phone for two hours with various representatives of "customer mis-service" at AT&T.

Oh - and I was unable to post here for three days because there was no recaptcha. The first time I had written a post that I was eager to share, for once forgot to keep a copy - there was no recaptcha so I simply pressed Submit Comment, and the comment vanished.

And I had a bit of a financial set-back, which can be very painful when money is tight.

I was so tired I fell into bed as soon as I got home each night, and had very little appetite.

So I was very depressed for about eight days. It was pointed out to me a few months ago that I hadn't had a depressed spell since I started watching Indian movies (last October) - this was the first one (used to happen every 2-3 months).

I know that I could use some sort of discipline or practice to help me keep my moods a little more calm and even. I was lucky enough to spend some time with the film director David Lynch, who has practiced transcendental meditation for many years and promotes it very strongly. I met a lot of TM people who work with him, and they were all extremely nice. I was very interested, and talked to quite a few of them about the training and practice. What particularly attracted me was that it seemed the technique they taught was quite simple and worked immediately. As I have tried to practice meditation on my own for years, always unsuccessfully, I found this very appealing. Unfortunately, the cost for the four or five sessions of training was prohibitive, and it simply looked less good to me that it was unaffordable to a middle-class person (this was before the economy fell apart and I dropped out of the middle class). Should something that seemed so healing and freeing be only available to rich people?

(Really, this is me feeling cheerful again.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

have I mentioned laterly how much I hate this interface?

Watch out for spelling problems. I'm not doing well with those today. In fact, I've had a shitty few days, starting out with monster eye allergies Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Had this last year - thought my eyes were infected. So I stayed home, bathed them. Yesterday, when my eyes finally felt better, I crashed into a wall of depression. Let's face it: my friends are busy, nuts, or busy being nuts. Though I have to say that Barry is doing well and working becomes him.  But we're still poor, and bound to stay that way. That's one of the things that depresses me: that it's never going to get too much better. We'll never live in a place with a terrace or a yard; we'll probably never have a driver's license between the two of us and I doubt we'll ever go on a plane again. We won't live out our old age any place nicer than New York City, which is not at all a good city for poor old people.

I didn't end up getting a raise here because by some error, which no one ever caught, I was being overpaid to the tune of $3,600/year. Oopsie. So I wasn't even as poor as I thought, but I was still way poor. So there's no getting ahead, not for now. True, if the Village Scandal starts selling a couple of pieces of jewelry a month, and maybe if another store or two does as well, that could pull in a little extra loot. What I should really do if walk around and find stores where my jewelry works, and try to sell it to the manager there.Don't know if the holiday sale here in the fall will actually happen.

I did spend some of the lovely gift from COPAT ($150 gift card) on some Indian clothes: an orange skirt and sleeveless blouse, and green harem pants, all for $50. (Then $20 for two pink tees from KMart for my purple harem pants.) Spent most of the rest of the gift card on much-needed groceries (so much for "extra" money). I did get a little more makeup I need from e.l.f. (very cheap), and a few sets of glass bangles. I still feel like shit.

Although a couple of people have befriended me, Amitabh's blog has begin to seem like an icky place. Lots of internal fighting. Lots of favoritism. And really, not much contact at all to be made with him. Too much like the Rounders list, though (thank god!) I'm not running it. But best to leave now.

I have seen:

Chasing Madoff (very good doc about people who knew about Madoff 10 yeara before he was busted)
Bandhan (an old Hindi movie about the son of a criminal)
Darling (not the best Ram Gopal Varma but OK)
Satte Pe Satta (still haven't watched the end)

I am sour and pissy today, weepy, little appetite. All in all, I'd rather be asleep.

Also - when I tried to post a YouTube video here, it vanished! How bad does Blogger suck? REAL BAD.

Let's try again, just for ha-has:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

yet again, Blogger has changed the interface

I am so hating Blogger just about now. But I'll type and post and hope it all works.

There are probably other things to talk about, but here's what struck me today. Nice warm today today, around 74 degrees, a little overcast, and I went out for a long walk around the neighborhood. To the north of where we live are a lot of wealthy homes, but to the south, there are some very pretty, quiet, middle-class streets. So I was walking around, and what struck me was how many houses, and a few apartment buildings, had terraces, balconies, decks, patios, porches...and no one out on them. I would kill to have a home with any one of those. I think one of our favorite things on our honeymoon (which was in Aruba) was the terrace attached to our hotel room. It was "garden view" rather than "ocean view," which didn't make a bit of difference when we sat out every evening. If I had even a little terrace in the city, I would be out there day and night.

It reminded me a little of when I lived in Binghamton, how much outdoor life there was in yards, parks, all kinds of outdoor locations. If it was warm, you were in the backyard. (I never had one of my own, but a lot of my non-college friends did, the people who were from there.)

Although - I did have a little balcony at one of my apartments. It wasn't sunny, but it was private. The house I lived in was set back off the street, behind two other houses. (The address was 31-1/2 Cedar Street.) I had the top apartment, with a front balcony. I had a little hibachi grill up there, and a chair or two. Lovely place to sit out.

It's a little depressing because I wonder - I wonder this a lot lately - if I'll ever live in a better apartment than this one. This one is too small, dark, third-floor walk-up. At one time I hoped to be out of New York at this point in my life, in a house somewhere, working from home. I may never get the chance to change the way I live and where I live.

Things may not improve much more. Barry is working, and I'm working, but we make very little money, both have debt trailing us, and may never have better work situations. That honeymoon was the last time I was on a plane, nearly 12 years ago. Last vacation we had.

This is kind of depressing, isn't it?

OK, let's see if I can get this video up:

I heard this a few weeks ago kind of randomly...must have seen a link on Twitter or Facebook. I liked it, shared it somewhere else. Just a nice, catchy tune. Then I heard it again on the radio yesterday, when I was having my first mani-pedi on the year. So I'm guessing it's popular.

Twitter has been a fun neighborhood for me. I'm connected to a few Amitabh people and a host of Brooklyn and Coney Island people and groups, but I mostly enjoy the actors, writers, comedians and smart-asses. There's a guy who has a blog and what I guess is a somewhat well-known column in a magazine (and I swear I don't know if it's print or online) but anyway, he's a very funny dude and posts things I find really funny, and I often reply some kind of a build on his idea. He retweets me once or twice a day. I didn't notice until yesterday that he was something like 48K (Indian friends: K = 1000 which I think = lakh.) followers. I have 50. I just enjoy it a lot.

There are a handful of females in the "EF" who use the blog comments and Twitter to paste up endless declarations of love and heavy flirtation and the connection they perceive themselves to have (read = wish they had) with him. It kind of makes me cringe. Sometimes it makes me sad. Sometimes it makes me wonder about the company I keep.

It's certainly a different fan culture than the Holy Modal Rounders & friends were. No real sex appeal there, except for the handful of old bats who slept with Peter in the 70s and wanted another go-round. Not what you'd call a hot bunch of musicians. We liked their music and their personalities, and that was pretty much it. I've never belonged to a fan community for a sex idol of any sort (even an old one), mostly because whenever I've had that kind of crush, I found it to be a slightly embarrassing thing and best observed solo. Maybe that's why I have a problem with those crush-y girls: I'm kind of embarrassed for them. They're doing something I would so not do because...can I saw it? it's ridiculous and pointless.

Do they ever make some contact and have some exchange? sure. Does he appreciate and like his fans? yes. Are we ever going to be part of his actual life? Uh-uh. A few superfans get a backstage visit or a photo, but it's not ever going to be more than that. Sorry crush-y girls and buddy-wantin' guys.

Good so far: Satte Pe Satta. Full - fuller, anyway - review soon.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Satte Pe Satta, jewelry, whatever else I think of

I started watching Satte Pe Satta last night...I can rarely watch a whole Indian movie at one sitting during the week. (Indian people: these movies are considered quite long compared to US movies, which are generally 1-1/2 to 2 hours.) This is an Indian remake of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and so far, it translates beautifully. Kishore Kumar sings for Amitabh, and Amitabh is very, very funny. I may have said this before, but as concerns his early movies, I think I like the funny ones better than the "Angry Young Man" ones.

I finally spoke to Wendy at The Village Scandal a couple of days ago, and she said that she would like to hang on to my jewelry, that there's been some interest but that they are too long for most of her customers. (The necklaces are 16-17".) So I went down yesterday and brought her a 15" necklace I had made in the same style, and offered to shorten the others over the weekend. So I took the other two necklaces home. She sounds quite optimistic about being able to sell them, which is pretty exciting.

Did I mention that I volunteered to work at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island this year? They contacted me recently, and it looks like I'll be selling merch in a booth, which is perfect for me. Not only am I good at that kind of thing, but it means I won't be standing out in the sun all day (and it's been extremely hot and sunny every time I've been there). And I believe I will get a Mermaid Parade Volunteer tee shirt, and how cool is that? (Although I don't wear them very much any more, I adore tee shirts, and often can't afford the ones I want, which is why I don't have a single one from the Mermaid Parade. When I did music reviews, I used to beg shamelessly for tee shirts. I still have a Michael Hurley one from 1994 that I very rarely wear, so it's still in excellent shape.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

see comment #9

I've published quite a few magazine articles in my day, even contributed articles to two books, got an honorable mention in a New York Magazine competition, had a letter to the editor printed in Esquire...but I do believe this is the first time I've been in the New York Times. Pretty big deal in my world.

Also, I finished watching Mazdoor, and thought it was quite wonderful. Dilip Kumar was great, as was Raj Babbar. And I liked the labor-vs-owner theme - but like most Indian films, they heap on extra plots, so there was a whole love-triangle thing that was kind of stale. But it was a well-acted, earnest film. As a former union member, I wholeheartedly approve. Ram Gopal Varma/Amitabh Bachchan movie, Department, opening next month. can't hardly wait!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Tomorrow is my one-year anniversary at this job, which is a happy-making thing. But I also realize that this week (the 13th, I believe) is a big, round-number anniversary of my loss of virginity. I was WAY young and the anniversary is a pretty big number. What say I don't tell my age or the number, and instead talk about sex in days of yore...

In the early 1960s, the birth control pill came on the market (and it was simply known as The Pill). From that time, until people became aware of AIDS (that it was sexually transmitted and not limited to gay men), there was a twenty-year period where people had more, and more, and more casual sex. And in the late 60s and into the 70s, it became OK and not very well-hidden. In the 70s, there was a phenomenon called "singles bars," where you basically went to find people to take home and have sex with. Some people preferred to think of it as a dating scene, but it was really just for finding sex partners - a straight equivalent of the gay bar.

At the singles bars, women generally wore slinky synthetic dresses and no bra; guys had big hair and mustaches and wore some really loud suits. It was basically a disco atmosphere.

But sexual freedom was all over - not just in the singles bars but in high school and (as in the 60s), among the hippies. (Keep this in mind when I mention "hippies": a lot of what people associated with the 60s actually happened in the 70s.) In certain sets, sex was like shaking hands. There was outside sex when people were in relationships, secretly or within "open" relationships; sometimes there were multiple relationships going on at once, or multiple casual sex partners.

The worst things that could happen were these: getting gonorrhea or syphilis (each requiring a shot of antibiotics), or getting pregnant. HPV wasn't around, herpes wasn't around, AIDS wasn't around. If you picked a partner who wasn't insane or murderous, it was pretty safe.

So, you know I racked up some pretty impressive numbers. I started young and had sex with a lot, a lot of men. (Even the occasional woman.) Although there are some liaisons I probably should have skipped, I don't regret the way I conducted my sex life. Certainly I can't say that I missed out on anything (well, I never did have sex with an Asian guy, but that's about it).

This time in my life is very, very different. I'm married, but my married life lacks the physical component and pretty much always has. This is why I often voice an interest in coloring outside the lines, so to speak. On the one hand, it's a more complicated matter, for many reasons; on the other, I'm not ready to call it quits just yet. I will entertain all proposals from Asian men...although I'm having warm feelings of late for someone who is not Asian. Perhaps you remember my recent blathering about trying to listen to someone while trying to make an impression. I think I've gotten a mite better at it. However, I have to wonder if a youngish guy is simply enjoying my company and nothing else. I'm way cute to guys 60 and up, at least the ones who don't think they deserve 22-year-old trophy girlfriends. Old-hippie guys love me. But this younger dude seems to be paying attention, just not sure what kind. It remains to be seen.

Verizon Fios, my TV provider, just got their act together concerning the Bollywood-on-demand channel. They charge about $7 a month, and I was very disappointed by their selection, which was basically three no-name movies and half a dozen film-music videos. But all of a sudden, there are 25 good movies, recent ones and some golden oldies. On top of that, there are maybe a dozen film-music videos and a dozen making-of features. $7 was overpriced for the old content, but now it feels like a huge bargain. Last night I started watching Manzoor (1983) with Dilip Kumar and Raj Babbar, mostly because I'd never seen a Dilip Kumar movie. It is excellent so far. (Of course, the lengths of these movies often precludes watching an entire film on a typical evening.) It's nice to be able to see an Indian movie on the TV instead of the computer, even if the computer has a better and hi-def screen. (The TV is an old tube TV which will be dying any month now.)

It is a dead quiet week at work. The interns are on spring break an I'm all caught up - even my desk is tidy!

Barry's been on the job for two nights now, and it seems to be working out. It's odd for me to go to bed alone and to wake up along, although I confess that I like sleeping alone and I like having a quiet, undistracted morning. Another change is that I've started cooking dinner, which is a pretty painless way for me to start contributing more to the housework. And as nice as it is to have someone else cook, I can get meals much more to my liking when I do the cooking, and arrange to have leftovers for Barry if he wants the next day, or for me to bring to lunch. (Barry is not good about eating leftovers, I have no idea why. Maybe because he's not interested in eating more of the same the next day. I adore leftovers, especially when something came out really well.)

Food, sex, is not dull.

Monday, April 9, 2012

delinquent blogger

Haven't posted in over a week...brought to my attention by a faithful reader. (Nice to have a faithful reader!)

The big news here is that Barry started working last night. He's working for Ohel, as a caretaker in a residence for developmentally disabled people. It's an overnight shift, which will be an adjustment for both of us. He works 10 pm-8-am on Sundays, then 11-8 Mondays-Wednesdays. Most of the shift, he has very little to do (and makes a very low wage for those hours). Around 6:30 am, he's responsible to wake and dress etc one of the residents; they pay a higher rate for the "awake" hours.

The other thing that's truly wonderful about this is that Barry has always been uncomfortable around people with physical and mental disabilities, so this is a huge thing from him. Frankly, I was a little surprised that he applied for it at all. It's a big growing-up thing.

I'll hit my one-year anniversary here in two days. I do like my job. It's varied, and the people are lovely. I get a lot of positive feedback. Recently, I helped a group with two lectures they put on, which is part of my job (we have about half a dozen groups here that put on seminars, lectures, etc), but I guess they thought I went above and beyond. The leaders (faculty) gave me a $150 Visa gift card as a thank-you!

Then, of course, I had this gift card, and a zillion ways I wanted to spend it. I do think it's right to keep my bonuses and gifts for myself, except that we were in a dreadful financial squeeze. So I went to an Indian clothing store on 8th Street (it's at 51 West 8th, I forget the name, but it's a great shop), and bought a top, a skirt, and some pants for a total of $50. Then Barry and I went to Shop-Rite on Saturday and bought $60 worth of groceries. And I still have $40 left. Pretty fair, I think.

Money will of course be a little easier now that Barry is earning, but it won't be close to what it used to be. Still, I'll be glad not to have these months where we become flat broke at the beginning of each month. We really haven't been making it on my salary alone, and have ended up selling things (unwanted jewelry, stereo speakers, etc) to make ends meet. It's humbling and sometimes wrenching.

Having said this...we may get ourselves a fourth cat. Patricia, the cat rescue lady who tables across from Union Square, likes me and generally lets me hold the cats (a no-no for most people). Last week, I came up to the table and she handed me a half-grown orange tabby, who cuddled in, rubbed his face against mine, and purred. I brought Barry the next day and he held him, and also immediately bonded. We've only ever had female cats, but this male is extremely sweet. Patricia tend to balk when it comes to actually turning over a cat (we had an incident where we waited weeks for her to make up her mind about a calico kitten, and simply gave up because the waiting was killing us). I hope she'll give this cat up more easily, since it's way harder to find a home for a 6-8 month old cat than for a tiny kitten. Of course, we have already named him: Vijay. It's partly in honor of the character name Amitabh frequently uses.

No word yet on the jewelry I've had at The Village Scandal for over a month. I've been trying to call the owner for a few weeks now to arrange a time to come down, but she never returns calls. I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

I started making myself an anklet last night, because it's that time of year. (Amber and apatite, golden yellow and ocean blue.) I've also started thinking that maybe what I need to do is find a store where my jewelry goes with the clothing, and then try to place some pieces there. If I can find the right match, maybe I can do some regular selling.

Since I wrote last, I watched 3 Idiots, with Aamir Khan. If it were an American movie, the title would indicate something shitty, along the lines of Dumb and Dumber. But this was actually a wonderful and not-stupid movie. I'm not sure if I wrote about the Tamil film Nanban, but it was a remake of 3 Idiots. (I'd actually made a point of watching Nanban first, since I assumed the Hindi film was a remake; good Tamil and Telugu films are often remade in Hindi versions.) The film is about three pals in their college days, and a surprising reunion later in life. It's basically a buddy movie, though one of the guys does have a romance (who is, of course, Kareena seems to be illegal to make an Indian film without her these days). Khan's character, "Rancho," is as compelling as Vijay's similar character, "Pari," in the Tamil version. It's a great story about friendship, and the actors are quite compelling. Quite a few peeing jokes, for some reason.

Two American films this weekend: I watched a camera-copy bootleg of Hunger Games, since I'd just finished the books (wonderful) and was anxious to see the movie. The movie was quite good, although so much gets edited out, and I found the male leads to be kind of so-so. Jennifer Lawrence was very good even if she was 22 playing 14 or 15 or 16, can't exactly remember.

The other was Shame, which was quite good. It's a strong portrayal of the bottoming-out of a sex addict, although frankly I found the plot with his sister a little distracting and not needed.

Oh dear...I did have a lot to catch up on here. And there's probably more that I'm not thinking of.

There's a new Ram Gopal Varma movie, Department, opening next month, and Amitabh is one of the leads. I've probably mentioned how much I like RGV's films - he's a big fan of American genre movies and steals from them quite liberally. He also uses Amitabh beautifully. I'll have to make a point of seeing it in the theater.

I'll end it here for now, and there will doubtless be postscripts dribbling in...